Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A whale of a challenge

So my bloggy friend Sandra and I were checking out some of the same web sites and links and were both admiring this selvage whale here. Being the cool crafty bloggers we are ~ she challenged me to a Whale Off (blogged by her here). We each had till the end of this month to complete our whales.

I not only met the challenge, I kicked it's butt. I chose to piece and quilt my whale. I used a fat quarter pack that I've had for quite some time. It was just waiting for the perfect project and this was definitely it.

Well it actually was a bit challenging for me because it's just pattern pieces with no directions. I wasn't thinking and cut out two left sides and no right sides the first time I did it. I blame the amazing amount of ibuprofen I've been taking after hurting my knee (which is a whole nother story).

Here she is lounging by the pool.  Julianne and I have named her Keiko and I'm keeping a close eye on her. These things usually end up disappearing and making their way to Julianne's room.

It was a really fun project to do and I'm thinking they would make great presents for the little girls and boys in the family for next Christmas. I'd want to embroider their eyes though to eliminate the buttons ~ now lets see if I actually get it done. Considering I just sent out some of last year's presents I wouldn't hold my breath.

As for Sandra's whale, she chose a different whale pattern that didn't quite work out.. but I hereby grant her an extension to look for a new whale pattern cause I can't wait to see what my super talented friend comes up with!

Oh and if you are looking for some crafty inspiration head over here to  Adventure's in Alice Land.  She is having a great crafty give away!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I have the bestest husband ever!

So I (re)injured my knee the other day, being the klutz that I am, and couldn't walk at all Thursday night, all day Friday ~ got my knee brace for Saturday and Sunday so I'm hobbling okay now and icing it when I'm not.

In any case my darling husband decides to make dinner on Friday night and try out a new recipe. I am a little leery here cause you don't want to know what happened when he "seasoned" chicken with I'm not sure what but think pink meat and not the good kind of rare steak. I"m talking very unnatural bubble gum pink chicken...and then there was the time he added garlic salt to my home made macaroni and cheese,  but I digress...

I'm just happy that he has offered to make dinner and I can sit and ice my knee. He informs me that he is making Pasta Primavera. Okay, not one of my favorites at a restaurant. I'm not crazy about heavy sauces but again...I'm not having to make dinner so it's all good... but turns out IT WAS GREAT!!!!!  
I'm telling you, this was probably the best dinner at home or eating out that I have had in forever.  He roasted all the veggies in a little olive oil and spices ~ it was a party in my mouth. 

Never again will I question the man's cooking skills.  I'd have married him all over again (yes for the 4th time!)
In case you need to make some of your own ~ he used this recipe.

You'll have to try it and tell me what you think... In the mean time THANKS HONEY!  I love you!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A picnic with the manatees

I've been meaning to post about our fairly recent picnic at Blue Spring State Park. I wrote about it last year here. This year my mother in law asked if she could come with us to see the manatees so she drove up to come with us. Also my son in law had also expressed interest in going so he and Jen met us there as well.

It was a beautiful day. A welcome retreat from the cold we have been experiencing and the sky was amazingly clear. I packed a picnic lunch with all kinds of goodies and we stopped at the grocery store just down the street from the park and got some great fried chicken. DSC08115 This is Jen enjoying some fresh strawberries. I also brought mangos, oranges and watermelon ~ I love me some fresh fruit!

Richard and the kids played frisbee DSC08123 I tried to get a picture of them in mid jump, which while not completely successful was pretty darn funny DSC08177

I delivered the completed Snoopy quilt to Jen and Jeremy. This will go on the spare bed in the nursery. DSC08118 They were pleased with how it turned out.

It was great to spend some time with Jen and my future grandbaby ~ who is quite the little squiggly worm. DSC08127

The park and the springs are just beautiful DSC08133 Actually if you click on the above picture and view the larger size, you will be able to see an alligator basking on the bank. We saw several while we were there... and yes, they coexist quite well with the manatees.

Of course, that is the hi light of the day, seeing all the manatees. DSC08139 As you can see you can get quite close to them DSC08161 although you are not allowed to get into the water with them.

The manatees flock by the 100's to warmer water of the springs during the winter. This year it was so cold we lost quite a few of them, which is such a shame. They are very cool animals.

Once the manatees start leaving the park (right around the end of March) the springs are open for the public to swim in. They have stairs that go right into the water. DSC08154 And while the water is very clear I'm not sure I would be comfortable going in. You see the manatees may leave when the weather warms up but I can pretty much guarantee the gators don't. And while I love seeing gators out in the wild, I don't think I want to swim with them.

In any case, it was a great day. Everyone enjoyed seeing the manatees up close and personal DSC08134
And we all enjoyed spending the day with each other DSC08124

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not such a win after all....

I try not to bitch and complain on my blog.. I mean, who wants to hear it anyway but I've had a situation arise and it's making me crazy so I thought I would run it past all of you out there in bloggy land and I'd really like to hear your opinion ~ good, bad or otherwise.

So remember my last post where I talked about donating 100 yards of fabric and getting $100 in coupons to buy new fabrics.... well Monday I went over to the "The Quilt Place" to spend some of my coupons. Shopped around and picked out just about $70. worth of fabric. I went to check out and handed them $70 worth of coupons to be told that I could only use $4.00 worth of coupons. WHAT???????
"I'm sorry ~ you can only use a coupon on a full yard cut and only one coupon per yard!!!!" EXCUSE ME????

Now, no where on these coupons does it say either one of those things. What it says is "$1.00 off any 1 yard of regularly priced fabric." Now, the announcement asking us to donate our fabric was very specific that fabric brought in must be a full yard cut and must be quilt shop quality fabric. No where on the coupon does it say $1.00 off a 1 yard cut of fabric so in my mind 2 half yards equal a yard of fabric. It also does not say "only one coupon per yard of fabric."

So, I asked to speak with the owner who I saw when I came in but she's apparently gone at this point and I ask them to have her call me the next day ~ and no, I did not buy the $70 worth of fabric. I asked them to put my order aside until this gets straightened out.

Well the next day comes and I don't hear from the owner so I called her... by her tone and comments I can tell she has heard about the situation so I very nicely explain that there must be some mistake... That I brought in 100 yards of fabric and was given $100 in coupons. That I even joked with the staff that I would get to come back and spend $100 on new fabric and no one bothered to correct me. She got very pissy with me and we went back and forth a bit. I told her that I thought that this was all very misleading. She told me it was all for a good cause (I still agree that it's a good cause) and was all in fun. She took in my 100 yards and sold it all for $2/yd and donated the proceeds with no profit for herself. Okay, but not really because it was a great way to get people into the shop to drop off fabric and I'm quite certain most if not all of them also purchased fabric at that time... but I digress.....

We are still having a discussion about "my" misunderstanding and she has the nerve to actually ask "do you really expect me to just give away fabric?" Oh "HELL TO THE YES" cause that's exactly what she asked her customers to do ~ give their fabric away~ and I did. I gave away the equivalent of $800 ($8/yd) worth of fabric ~ and in turn I would get approximately 11 yds (at $9/yd) of new fabric which probably costs her $50 max. $50 which she could probably claim as a charitable donation.
She is now expecting me to buy 100 full yards of fabric at a cost of $900+ so that I can get $100 off ~ oh and the coupons expire at the end of May. I don't think so!

But she's not budging on any of this... and then has the nerve to ask me what I want to do with the fabrics held aside. I wanted to tell her where she could "put" that fabric but I didn't. I did say "I really don't care what you do with it but I really don't want it now."

It wasn't until after I mentioned that I wrote a blog that to date has had over 22,000 views and that my projects have been mentioned by Lazy Girl Designs as well as Sew News Magazine and Creative Machine Embroidery. That I have given her shop a positive mention several times, posting a link directly to the shop and that I may just have to post about her shop again. At that point she "sort of" apologized but it was that she was sorry that I was upset, not sorry about the situation or taking any responsibility for the "misunderstanding."

I hate to think of how much money I have spent in that shop in the 3 yrs we've been here but I can promise it stops here and now. I can see from her side how she may not have wanted to "give away" fabric but it's my opinion that she should have made the terms of the coupons as clear as the terms of the fabric she was willing to accept.

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest ~ it's really making me crazy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Home of the Brave

Friday and Saturday my local quilt shop, "The Quilt Place," did something very cool.

They asked customers to bring in their unwanted quilt-shop-quality fabric and for every yard, donated you would get a coupon for a dollar off a yard of new fabric. Then, all the yardage donated would be sold at $2.00 a yard. The profit from all this is going to "Home Of The Brave Quilts".

"Home of the Brave Quilts" is a grassroots organization that makes and gives quilts to the families of fallen soldiers. I believe this all started in Redlands, CA but has spread all across the country.

I think I did my part this weekend by donating...are you ready for this.... 100 yards of fabric!!!
I now have $100 in coupons to buy new fabrics. It honestly was stuff I wasn't going to use anyway and helped clear up my fabric shelves just a little bit (honestly it didn't make much of a dent ~ how sad is that?) Richard came with me to bring the box of fabrics in, and as we were walking in, he said "Do I really want to know how much this box has cost us?" I told him he really didn't want to go there and to just not think about it!

He is a good sport about all of it and the ladies at the shop got a giggle out of him being at the store. He really does appreciate the beauty of quilts though and supports me in what I do.

So, do you want to see what 100 yds of fabrics look like??? DSC08455

Ya know, the hardest thing about giving away the 100 yds of fabric ~ not cutting off and keeping all the selvage edges!

And here's my nice, neat and clean shelf!

See, I still have room for that $100 worth of fabric I have coupons for.

And here's my shelf I haven't tackled yet


Maybe I can get to it this week.

In any case, I think this was a win/win for everyone involved.

You may want to contact your local guild and see if they are doing "Home of the Brave Quilts."

It's a great cause!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Julz gets a haircut

Yes, my child finally gave in and cut her hair.

She's been fighting it for a while until her two BFF's both got haircuts ~ then she had to have one IMMEDIATELY. I'm not complaining, though: Richard and I have been wanting her to cut it for ages.

Now mind you ~ she is always cute:


But just look how adorable her new haircut is...


Nate, on the other hand...


still needs a hair cut!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Today's post brought to you by the color Green

Happy St. Patrick's day to all of you out there in Bloggy land.
I've always loved this day. I love corned beef and cabbage (yes, even the cabbage).DSC08424 I love that I am of Irish heritage. I love a holiday that's about drinking green beer and getting drunk! I also happen to love the color green.

So, here are a few green things that I'm loving today. The family, of course!DSC08421 DSC08400 DSC08399
Some green buttons.DSC08405
My cute little green bunny who is happy that spring is here.DSC08411
Can't live without a green flamingo.DSC08413
The queen of green ~ Tinkerbell.DSC08414

Last but not least... my newest project.DSC08407 It's a screen bag made from selvage edges ~ green ones, of course! I've been wanting to make a selvage project for a while and thought I'd start with something I knew. Since I've made probably more than 100 of these bags I thought it would be the best place to start. I really enjoyed doing it and think the green yo-yo's and buttons are the perfect finishing touch.

Oh and one more green thing... DSC08433
Key Lime pie for dessert.  What else would a good Irish Floridian have for dessert?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A great giveaway

Jackie over at Canton Village Quilt Works is having a great give-away... It's a signed copy of "Quilts from the Selvage Edge" by Karen Griska ~ the selvage godess. If you haven't visited her blog (I've been lucky enough to be shown on it) you really should.  She has some amazing stuff on there.

I have been saving selvages for a while now ~ just waiting for the perfect project.   I'm thinking I may do my new clutch pattern and matching wallet with them but who knows.. if I manage to win this book (please please please let me win) I could come up with tons of selvage projects.
Don't be surprised if I come to your house and start cutting off all your selvages!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Okay, so I lied

I said I was going to give my poor little sewing machine a rest... but I woke up on Saturday morning inspired. Somewhere in between asleep and awake I designed the cutest little clutch purse. I quickly jotted down notes before the ideas faded like my dreams so often do. Here's the end result.


I did some squiggly quilting and even added an inside pocket. It's the perfect size to hold your wallet (made to match, of course), your keys, your phone and a few other essentials. It's about 10" across and 5" high. After it was done I cut out another one so I could keep one and put the other one in my Etsy shop.

I've also have a few more in different fabrics cut out and ready to go. I'm loving these!

And if that wasn't enough, I came up with these head bands:


Julianne and her friends were over, and they went crazy for them. I let them pick out their own fabrics and they did a wonderful job.

"L" is in the 7th grade and chose black and white "'cause it goes with everything."


"K" is in 4th grade and loves everything with peace signs on it.


I am also putting these up in the Etsy shop. Well not these ones exactly ~ I paid my models in merchandise ~ but I made duplicates for the shop.

A pretty productive weekend, wouldn't you say?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What was I thinking???

So in between the craziness of Jen's shower in Ft. Lauderdale and Jen's shower in Jacksonville, Julianne turned 11! She really didn't want much for her birthday except a Facebook account and a sleepover. So we squeezed in a sleepover for 12 OF HER CLOSEST FRIENDS!

Fortunately, not all of them showed up but 10 did. There is no way I could ever describe to you how unbelievably loud it was in my house that night.

We ordered in pizzas, we played "twister", we sang karaoke, we played Freeze Dance and Simon Says. We did not sleep! Well, I tried to sleep. I went into my room about 1:30 AM only to be awakened at 3:00 AM by the girls who thought they saw someone outside (it was a tree!) but they were so wired AGAIN they asked me to stay up with them.

I did catch a bit of sleep sitting up in the chair! In the morning, it was French toast for 13 and by noon they were gone and all was quiet in my world again.

They did have a blast which is good cause I've learned my lesson with this one!

Here is Karaoke DSC08300
And Freeze Dance DSC08294
Giant Cookie Cake DSC08275
Twister competition DSC08256
And goodie bags DSC08231 DSC08229

These are the Maggie Bags from Lazy Girl Designs. (posted about them before here) I monogrammed them with the girls' initials and loaded them up with sugar goodies. (Again, what was I thinking)! They were a big hit though.

I will say most of the girls were very well behaved. We did have one (isn't there always one?) who caused some problems by going through the other girls' things and Julianne's drawers and such. Of course, she was also the only one who didn't say goodbye or "Thank you" when they left ~ but besides that... all the girls had a great time and I had a great nap on Sunday afternoon!