Thursday, March 26, 2009

I think I created a monster...

...though I don't think I mind in the least.

Tony just walked in the room from tucking Miss Liv into bed, and reported that she had tried to curl up under her dolly quilt. And then he says, "I think I may have started something I shouldn't have... but I asked her if she liked that quilt so much, did she think maybe she needed to make a girl-sized quilt with mommy. And she said yes."

I'm not sure what makes me happier. That my girl wants to make take on a girl-sized quilt, or that my dear husband is so supportive.

Life is good,

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Buttercup, buttercup

Wye is a small town about 30 minutes outside of Little Rock. In Wye, there's a small Methodist Church that plants a hillside with daffodil bulbs. Every spring the entire hillside turns yellow with buttercups and they host their annual Wye Mountain daffodil festival. It's kind of a local tradition for parents to take their kids to the festival and to snap some pretty spring phtos.

Yesterday evening we did just that with Liv. Tony had to work late so Denise went with me. The drive was beautiful, leaving the city behind and winding deeper into the hills. The weather was perfect - 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. We got there just before sunset.

Happy Spring!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tutorial: Shamrock pins for St. Pattie's Day

Liv and I made these fun shamrock pins other day in honor of St. Patties day. It's really a simple idea, and it can be adapted for just about any holiday. They look like they've been coated with UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel) but really it's just a thick spray glaze.

What you need:
--chipboard (I pulled a cream puff box out of the recycling bin. Yummm....)
--newspaper scraps
--die cut machine that can cut chipboard. I used a Sizzix with a retired shamrock die. Really, I don't suppose you *need* a die cut machine, but it does make it super easy to cut shapes from chipboard.
--Decoupage medium. (I used Aleene's, but that's just because my Mod Podge wasn't handy at the moment.)
--acrylic craft paint
--Deco Art Triple Thick Brilliant Gloss Spray (I love this stuff!!!!)
--pin backs
--strong adhesive for gluing pin backs. I used E6000

So here's how you do it:

1. Cut the newspaper into thin strips. You don't need very many, just enough to cover the piece of chipboard.

2. Coat the chipboard with the decoupage medium and lay the strips down, covering with a second coat.

3. After you've covered the whole piece of chipboard with newspaper, paint the newspaper with a thin coat of acrylic craft paint. I used several different colors of green and mixed them together here and there. You should be able to see the newsprint faintly through the paint.

4. Wait for the paint to dry. This could take a while so go do something fun while it's drying.

4. Now here's the fun part. Use your die-cutter to cut out a bunch of shamrocks from the painted chipboard. Then, spray the shapes with the Triple Thick glaze. You'll end up with some very shiny shamrock shapes.

5. Now, just glue a pin back on to the back of each shape.

Voila! Shiny pretty shamrock pins.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday night is dinner party night

We have a new and old tradition in our family - Tuesday night dinners. When I was a kid, Tuesday night was one of my dad's visitation nights. He'd take my sister and I out to dinner while my mother was at night school. We continued our dinners long after my mother got her degree, but finally as my sister and I became adults it was harder and harder to keep it up.

Fast forward 15 years. My father was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. He'd most likely been experiencing symptoms for years, but we just chalked it up to his natural ditziness or his habit for smoking something he probably ought not. We realized that we didn't have that many years of good times together, so we restarted our Tuesday night tradition. With the addition of my sister's husband, my husband, my husband, and my daughter, it wasn't financially feasible for us all to go out to eat. So the Tuesday night dinner party was born.

Last night my stepmother was out of town and my sister and her husband had to work, so it was just my father and my immediate family. We hosted at our house. Lemme tell you how my last night went:

With my stepmother out of town, it was iffy whether he would remember our dinner or not. So I waited until early afternoon to even invite him, and then 10 minutes before he needed to be here I called to remind him. If he had remembered to come, he would have already left. Naturally, he forgot. I told him to come on over, that dinner would be just coming out of the oven. Now, it should take no more than 20 minutes for him to get to my house, so I was a little concerned when 40 minutes later he still wasn't here. He probably just took time to get dressed before he left, I think. So I call his house and get no answer. Good, he's left.

Meanwhile, my mother-in-law calls me to get the update on my grandmother. I hadn't told you that part yet. It was about midafternoon when I got a call from my mother saying that my grandmother had fallen outside her house, and that she'd been laying on the ground calling for help for 30 minutes before a neighbor saw her. (No broken bones, by the way. We think she'll be okay.) So, all the while I'm trying to get dinner together and trying to order things so that my father will remember to show up, I'm playing phone call clearinghouse receiving updates from my mother at the emergency room and then passing that information on to all interested parties.

So I'm on the phone with my mother-in-law giving her the update on my grandmother while Tony is shuffling around all the food in the kitchen either finishing up the cooking or trying to keep it warm. And that's when my dad calls. "Hi hon," he says, "It looks like I've gotten myself lost."

So I quickly end my conversation with MIL and proceed to find out how far off track my father is and give him real-time directions all the way to my house. AAAAAAAHHHH!!!! It was at that point that my brain started to explode.

Anyway, the dinner worked out really nice. My father was on good behavior, we think because it was such a small group. Sometimes at our "dinner parties" he can be overly self-centered or thinks it's fun to get my daughter all riled up. The previous week he had said something very hurtful to me, and then had no memory of having said it. I was a bit nervous about this week, but we ended up having a lovely time together as a family.

After dinner, I went over to my grandmother's house and sat with her while my mother ran a few errrands in order to get settled in to stay with her for a few days.

So that was my Tuesday night dinner party night - stressful, but filled with feelings of kinship and the interdependence that is part and parcel with such closeknit groups.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Remember the doll quilt?

We finished it last week.

I'm so proud of my little girl. Not only was she integral in the design process, but she stitched every single seam of this quilt. I'm afraid at times I was a little bit of the quarter-inch-seam-Nazi but by the end of the quilt she really got the hang of how to feed the fabric through in order to maintain the straight seam allowance.

We pieced it together in rows, then attached row to row to make the rectangle. Her eyes lit up when she saw the pattern taking shape, and she let out a little gasp. "Oh!" When the top was finished, I sandwiched it and pin basted it for her, then let her do the quilting. I used a edge-stitch foot to help her keep the stitching as much in the ditch as possible. She did surprisingly well.

As a reward for finishing her quilt, Denise and I took her to our local quilt shop to show off her creations. The ladies oohed and ahhhed and gave her a round of applause, and generally made her feel like a rock star. And then we bought her more fabric for her stash. She's got good taste, I think.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dude... These are our curtains

This was Thursday's Daily Swatch over at True Up. AND it's the fabric in our living room curtains. How seriously cool is that?!?!


Friday, March 6, 2009

Yeahhh, I'm still here

Remember how I said I had a busy, busy week? I guess I actually had a busy, busy week followed by a lazy, lazy 2 weeks, and then another busy, busy week.

I don't know why it is, but once a week had passed without posting to the blog, it got harder and harder to write this entry. I think I thought that with that much time away, I had better write something significant - either to justify my silence or perhaps penance for my silence.

So tonight I'm just writing the "get the feet wet again" blog post. I won't bother you with the details of my absence, but I'm back from blogging vacay. Liv finished her dolly quilt (even did the quilting herself) and I'm finishing up a cool mini-art quilt. Will post pictures tomorrow. Or Sunday.

Still here,