Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas - New Year - and Stuff

Merry belated Christmas and an early Happy New Year everyone!

This has been an unusually busy Christmas season for our family.  We have been so blessed.  We had two amazing "Christmas Miracles" that literally saved our Christmas.  Through the generosity of others we were able to give our children gifts this year.  Because of the medical issues we had earlier in the year and a great deal of time where both my husband and I were out of work we didn't see any way to buy gifts this year.  We had decided that the gifts our children would get from the grandparents would just have to be enough.  Then a few weeks before Christmas we received very unexpected envelopes with the money we needed to get gifts for the kids and take Craig out to dinner for his birthday.  So... To our Christmas Angels, Thank you!

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
(Check it out!  I made a collage - That's a first.  I used Picasa.)

During the Christmas break I finished a quilt.  I can't show it to you yet (shhhh it's a gift). But I will post pictures soon!

I received this wonderful thought in an email and thought I would share it with you!

A man decided that he would change the world.
But, he wasn’t successful.
So he decided to change the country.
But, he wasn’t successful.
So he decided to change his community.
But, he wasn’t successful.
So he decided to change his street.
But, be wasn’t successful.
So he decided to change his family.
But, he wasn’t successful.
So he decided to change himself.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Our Needy Kitty

I have established in the past that I have the neediest cat ever.  Spooks demands attention.  When he wants attention he will force his way into your space and keep at it until you give him the love he believes he deserves at the time.

A number of years ago, I fed Spooks when I woke up.  My alarm clock would go off in the morning and I would hit snooze.  The next time I would go to hit snooze that darn cat would be sitting on my alarm clock.

When he feels like I have been on the computer, or sewing machine, or reading, he will lay across my keyboard, lay across the top of the sewing machine, or nudge my book repeatedly.  He is truly a riot.  He shares his love pretty equally.  None of us get away with ignoring him and we all get the demanding head bumps, and the invasion into our space.

Today it was CJ's turn.  He was trying to work on his homework.  Now you should understand, homework with CJ is a pretty difficult struggle.  He fights, and cries and makes it about 20 times harder than it needs to be.  Today, Spooks decided to help.  It had been a very stressful hour trying to get a double sided page of math finished.  We had moved into my room where there are less distractions.  Suddenly Spooks invaded.

Remarkably enough, even though he was laughing at the intrusion, CJ settled down and finished the last few problems without any fuss.  I sure love my needy kitty.

It isn't uncommon for animals to help children with developmental difficulties, and special needs.  On the right side of my blog you will see a button for "Canine 4 Kennon".  Kennon is a wonderful little boy, and my friend.  Please take a moment and read a letter written by Kennon's parents (they're our friends too).  Kennon has qualified for a service dog.  This service dog will be trained to deal with Kennon's specific needs.  These animals are highly, and specifically trained, and they are very expensive.  Please read about Kennon and consider making a donation.  Any amount would be helpful.

Thank you!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Challenge

The quilt shop, The Gingerbread House, that hosts our quilt guild, peace by piece, sponsors a quilt challenge every year.  Each year Karen, the owner of The Gingerbread House, chooses a pattern, a color way, or certain fabric to be used in the challenge.  We receive the challenge at the October meeting and we have until the December meeting to submit our piece.

This year we received what Karen called, a crayon box, eight different fabrics (fat eighths) rolled up into crayons and packaged in a bag together.  The rules... We had to use each fabric.  That's it!  We could make anything, use any additional fabric, use any pattern.  We just had to use every fabric.

Now... I swear I took a picture of the crayon box and the fabric, but I can't find it!  And since my computer has died since we got it who know what happened to it!

I decided right away to make this a true challenge.  Not only did I want to meet the requirements of the challenge, but I wanted to make it a personal challenge by doing something I'd never done before.

I decided that I would make a "cross-stitch" or "postage stamp" quilt.  I found this really cute cross stitch pattern online and started to process of transferring to a grid for quilt.

I was using Excel to convert this too a quilt pattern.  So, when I lost my computer I lost this image and the excel file I was working on.  So I needed to go back to the drawing board.

I found several ideas.  I thought a bow tie would be cute.  I could do quit a few of them to make a table topper.

But this is just didn't meet the "do something I've never done" part of my personal challenge.

Then a saw a beautiful miniature quilt of falling leaves.  I thought, hmmm, that would work, I could have a background, a border, and six falling leaves.

This is not the miniature, I don't have a picture of that but you get the idea.  Right?
I felt like it met both the quilt challenge and my personal challenge.  I'd never made a miniature quilt before, nor had I ever taken a pattern and re-sized it.

I knew I had a pattern in a book somewhere so I started looking!  While I was looking I found a very different but perfect pattern.  I found it in a long forgotten book.  A friend gave it to me a number of years ago.  It has old quilt patterns "modernized".  The problem is that this was a used book she found at a garage sell, so all of the paper templates were missing.  This particular pattern basically said, cut a certain amount of template A, a certain amount of template B, and piece using photo for placement.  

Now that's a challenge!  My husband thought it would be perfect.   It shows the fabrics beautifully!  I've never done anything like this before, basically designing a quilt from a photo, using Y seams, and cutting 60 degree angles.  

I chose to make a 7 Sisters table topper.

Here are the eight fabrics.  I am very pleased!  I think it turned out great!  I found a boarder and binding fabric from the same line as the center star.  

What ya think?  I am very happy!!!!!

I also finished my Christmas Advent Calendar.  You can find the tutorial for this one at the Moda Bake Shop.  I gave one of these to my sister, my brother, and my mom.  Their calendars actually have numbers on them.  But I didn't end up having enough for mine.  By next year I will get numbers on it!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Finally! I'mmmmmmmmmmm baaaaaaack!

Shortly after my last blog post my laptop was knocked off of my kitchen table.  Two of my little darlings were fighting over who got to be first on Polar Bowler and they knocked the table on the floor.  Trust me it wasn't a good night for anyone!

I was so angry!  I had a really hard time not loosing it!  I needed the kids to understand that their behavior was wrong and was going to cause a lot of problems for us.  They needed to understand that their behavior had consequences, and not just for them.  But I also wanted them to understand that they were more important to me than the computer and there is nothing they can ever do that would make me stop loving them.  That was a very difficult balancing act for me.  I hope I didn't fail.

Luckily I had insurance on it so I was able to get it rebuilt for a small fee, but I had to send it out to be fix.  I did not have the computer backed up so I was freaking out!  I was devastated to think of all the things on the computer that I could never replace.  Luckily, we were able to get all of the files off of the laptop.  The only thing I lost was programs, like Microsoft Office.  So very little is lost, I just have to get everything from the back-up files onto the new computer.

I don't have everything running yet and I can't find my Microsoft Office disk so I'm afraid I'm going to end up having to buy that again.  ARGH!

I did get a lot done though while my computer was gone getting fixed.  I'll blog more about that later!

I am sooo happy to have my computer back.  I have been offered the chance to do some of my work from home so that I don't have to drive the 65 miles to work everyday.  I think it will be a great way for me to be home a little more.