Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sylvia's Bridal Sampler - Aunt Sukey's Choice

Seriously . . . who names their child Sukey? Seems like there's one of those whacky, nonsensical nursery rhymes about a Sukey. The name doesn't even go well in the poem, if memory serves. Anywho, all I can say about this one is it's done.
The angles didn't line up as precisely as I'd hoped, but after the time investment I'd already made, there was no trying to fix that. The colors are good though, right??? :-)

"Sometimes I wake up grumpy, and sometimes I let him sleep."

This morning I should have let him sleep. I anticipated having problems getting my children out of bed when they hit puberty, but I didn't know it would start at four! Mr. Tired came downstairs for breakfast in a whiny mood, dressed in his lint-free navy pants, and proceeded to roll around on the floor (the cat-fur-covered floor) lamenting his lack of sleep and asking whether he had time to play. (Please note he resisted bedtime last night with little regard for our reminders that he would be tired this morning if he didn't go to sleep.) I explained that had he gotten up at the time I asked him to (almost 30 minutes earlier) he would have had time to play, but since he'd chosen to take his time getting up, the playtime window had been closed and it was now time to eat breakfast. "You're mean," he said. Mean, huh? Mean mothers must get up after little sleep themselves (yes, less than you got, dear) to make breakfast for you . . . take the time to chop up the extra veggies you like in your eggs, make sure the fruit options are acceptable for your fruit-picky self, slowly reheat your chocolate sprinkle doughnut in its own oven so it gets warm without melting the sprinkles. "I am not your son anymore," he added. Well, that's a relief. That means I can throw out the carefully crafted lunch I just made . . . yogurt with a separate container of granola so you can sprinkle it like you like to, the exact combination of veggies you requested, lovingly put in a special lunchbox I picked out just for you, all while my own breakfast is getting cold. Phhhhhhtttttt. Suddenly I'm feeling a very deep connection to Bill Cosby, "I brought you into this world, and I can take you OUT!" Pray for me . . . and go ahead and put me on your prayer list for the next 20 years or so . . .

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sylvia's Bridal Sampler - Arizona

45 . . . that's the number of pieces in this block.  Holy cow!  I'm very happy with the way it came out though, especially since this is the most intricately pieced block I've ever done that wasn't paper-pieced, and, yes, I'm making friends with the triangle. 
Going through the motions on this block makes me realize just what kind of commitment I've made with this quilt, but I'm still on board!  Hopefully I'll still be 45 blocks from now . . .

Friday, May 21, 2010

Playing . . .

Yes, I'm playing with my blog to make it a little more "me" and a little less "blogger," so please forgive any weirdness for a while until I get things the way I want them.


Well, I finally did it. I washed the last batch of bottles for my baby and put them neatly away in a box. The dirty bottles have been sitting in my sink for almost two weeks now, and I finally just had to give in and do it. So many times, especially during the winter, I lamented having to wash bottles again, my knuckles cracked and bleeding from all the washing (and the lack of time and motivation to supplement with hand lotion). Now, I just wonder where the last year has gone and wish I needed to wash them again. He's officially graduated to sippy cup land, although more often than not the cups are used merely as an entertainment object - he throws them, Mama picks them up; it must be really exciting for a baby to watch that because he does it over and over again. ;-)  He's crawling too, which means it's only a matter of time before those cute chubby thighs and arms are gone from all the exercise his new-found mobility affords him. I promised myself, after having watched my oldest son grow up so quickly, that I would cherish even the non-glamorous moments with my baby. I know how few of them there are before nature begins the inevitable process of pulling him away and developing the independence that deep down I know he'll need to have.  The love started with just the thought of him, then the wonder of having him growing inside me, the elation of holding him in my arms, and now my heart is full watching him interact with his brother and the world around him. Today, though, I just can't help but wonder whether I've cherished it all enough . . . .

Sylvia's Bridal Sampler - Anvil

Remember I said I hate triangles? Well, now I hate trapezoids too. Sorry for hating on the geometry today, but I really need a piecing lesson, I suppose, for lining these things up. I do think it looks okay, all things considered, and I can always chalk this block up as a lesson, right? I AM loving the colors I chose so far though. They make me happy . . .

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Where's the Beef?

As I typed that line, I realized there are probably quite a few blog readers out there (not necessarily reading MY blog, cuz, let's face it, younguns are probably reading something a little more hip) who probably don't even know where that line came from.  Ugh.  I'm really getting old . . . did I mention my 20 year high school reunion is coming up??  . . . anyway, I digress . . . I used to be pretty dedicated to doing regular vegetarian meals.  We don't really need all the meat we usually have in our diet, and having a weekly vegetarian meal at least deceptively makes me feel healthy.  Well, this time of year, especially with all the spring/summer veggies being delivered by our co-op, I find it very easy to just sit down to a colorful plate of yummy grown IN the earth not ON the earth sustenance.  (I must also reluctantly admit I might have been motivated by the lack of meat options in my freezer right now, having too long put off the dreaded grocery shopping chore). 
Fresh green beans, cooked with just a little onion, sliced carrots roasted with a little cinnamon and honey, corn on the cob (which didn't need any topping) and a squash casserole made with yellow squash and zucchini.  I steamed about 4 c. of thickly sliced squash (I really hate it when it's cut so small it's mushy and unidentifiable), then added about 1/4 c. of mayonnaise, 2 eggs, 1/2 c. of crushed Goldfish (really, they're GREAT in this), 1/2 c. of cheddar cheese, and a little dry Ranch dressing mix.  Mix it all together and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until puffy and set.  No, this isn't the most health-conscious recipe, but there's a little room for increased fat when you're missing the fattiest part of a usual meal . . . the beef. Hmmm . . . think I'm going to Whataburger for lunch . . .

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sylvia's Bridal Sampler - Amethyst

One block a day, so far, so I think I'm staying motivated . . . for now, anyway.  I really like working on a sampler quilt since each block is a different pattern.  I do hope I get a LITTLE bored with it though so I'll be motivated to work on some of the other projects I need to!  This is another paper-pieced block, and I really like how precise things turn out using that technique.  Sigh . . . I guess I should do some laundry or something productive now, huh? Toodles . . .

Sylvia's Bridal Sampler - Album 2

I mentioned how much I hate piecing triangles, right?  Maybe after a few more blocks, I'll get better about lining them up.  I'm pretty happy with this one though, even if it IS a little "cattywhompus" as my Mimi would have said.  Hopefully the sashing in the end product will hide these imperfections. :-)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cue the theme to "2001 - A Space Odyssey" . . .

Another product of a productive "quilty" weekend is an unfinished project from over 5 years ago . . . this queen-size blooming nine-patch . . . and I shall name her "Sunset." :-)  I'm taking a photo now of the top because who knows when I'll find the courage (and, truth be told, the capability) of quilting this puppy, but I'm so happy to have this one done. It survived being moved several times (and I even managed to find all the pieces) and came together in all the glory I thought it would. My friend Robin helped me choose these fabrics (my first batiks), back when she was in Texas and teaching me the craft, so I'll think about her whenever I look at it. Thank you, Robin, and another big YAY for me!

On another note, I also managed to get all the fabric cut and laid out for the Baby Flynn quilt, but I'm unhappy with one of my fabric selections and will remedy that before posting any teaser photos (since I know Robin is one of the few readers I have :-)).

Sylvia's Bridal Sampler - 2 Down, 168 To Go

Yikes! 168??? I'll not look at that number and instead relish the euphoria of actually starting this very long project. I had a very special amount of "free" time this weekend while my husband took our oldest camping, so baby sleep time equaled mommy quilt time. My first accomplishment? Two blocks for Sylvia's Bridal Sampler. First, "54-40 or Fight."
No, the points don't line up, and yes, I've still not gotten the hang of piecing triangles, but HEY. It doesn't look half bad.

Second, "Album 1."
Yes, I'd forgotten how tricky cutting fabric for paper piecing can be (and there are a couple of edges where the seam allowance will be 1/8" when I put together the top) but, again, it looks pretty good! Yay me! Now, maybe I can be inspired by Robin, who with a two-week old baby has still managed to piece two blocks of her own sampler quilt, and stay motivated. Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I hate leftovers . . .

I'm sure I've probably said that before, but I'm going to reiterate it.  I'm not sure at what point I was spoiled so, but I am.  Not having been fortunate enough yet to find that elusive money-growing tree either, sometimes I need to find a way to make myself eat them rather than letting them go to waste.  For me, that requires I dig deep into the little creative spirit that lives somewhere under all the other practical parts of me.  Last week, I made lasagna using some leftover meatloaf.  Last night, it was potato pancakes.  Okay, so that's not really THAT creative, but it was a crunchy alternative to the soft mashed potatoes we had earlier in the week.  To about 3 cups of leftover mashed potatoes, I added two eggs, about 3 T of flour, S&P to taste, and some finely chopped green garlic (which is a "garlicy" green onion I've been getting from my co-op this season).  A little Pecorino or other cheese of your choice is good in these too. After mixing everything together, I just dropped big tablespoons full into a little bit of olive oil to cook.  The result is a perfectly crunchy exterior, with a fluffly, cloud-like center (which the photo doesn't do justice in capturing). 
My oldest son WAS a little disappointed that "pancakes" last night didn't mean syrup, but he and the other two guys at my house enjoyed them.  They were even making little sandwiches with the pork tenderloin in the middle.

Speaking of pork tenderloins, they are just about my favorite thing to cook.  They are so easy and always moist unless you just really don't tend to them at all . . . my favorite seasoning is McCormick's Grill Seasoning (LOVE that stuff), a little salt and pepper, and some coriander.  Coriander's not used a whole lot in most every day cooking, at least in my experience, but it makes a huge difference on these.  I drizzle the tenderloins with olive oil, sprinkle on the seasonings I mentioned, brown them quickly on the stove, then finish them in a 350 degree oven for about 20 - 25 minutes.  Let the meat rest, of course, then pour the pan juices over after slicing.
The photo also shows the last of the braising greens, I'm afraid, as the spring/summer season at the co-op is in full swing now. I'm so excited to be getting all the new produce though!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's Coming! Baby Flynn Quilt, Part I

Baby Flynn, my friend Robin's baby, arrived with perfect timing (on my oldest son's birthday :-)), so I've got to get busy on his quilt. AAAAGGGH, the pressure of doing a quilt for someone as talented as Robin! She'd tell me to hush, undoubtedly, so I'll change the subject and just say I'm pleased with my pattern, which will remain a surprise until it's finished, but here's the first of the teasers . . . the first and best part - FABRIC SELECTION! You can even sneak a peak of little Jemma enjoying new fabric as much as I do. Stay tuned!

Here's a little better photo of the fabrics . . .


Sigh, I can't believe how long it's been since my last post. As a mom, I really don't need much more guilt in my life, so hopefully anyone who reads the blog will forgive my absence of late. One of the reasons for the lack of posts is a painfully sad one - the loss of another kitty, Maggie. This one was my baby, born just a week after my husband and I were married almost 14 years ago. She'd been sick and was only hours/days away from kidney failure, so we had to do what was in her best interest and let her go before she was suffering. I really can't talk about her much yet; I'm still in denial about the fact that she's gone . . . still looking for her in our closets, where she spent most of the last few months, expecting her to be waiting on me outside the shower to have a little "shower water" refreshment, having her nuzzle my hand when I'm typing like I am right now. Maybe she'll get a post like Abby did sometime in the future, but for now, I can't even really look at pictures of her without breaking down.

On a much lighter and brighter note though, we were in a bit of a hurry to fill some of the "furry" void in our house pretty quickly, seeing our little Sue in need of a friend having lost both of her play buddies/snuggle mates in such a short time. So, we searched out a rescue organization, and left on Sunday hoping to adopt a sweet Russian Blue who was a young mother, recently playing mother to two kittens that weren't even her own; we thought she'd be a perfect fit for our family. Sometimes you can't plan it all out that way though, so we ended up bringing home not only the mother, Jemma, but also her son Ballou. They're both very fun to have around and are adjusting well to their new home. We're still working on the "kitty love" with Sue but feel confident they'll all be snuggled up on the bed together soon (except for Ballou, who will undoubtedly be playing with one of the others' tails!).

I've also decided to start looking for a job again, something temporary until my freelance business can get up and running, so I'm busy with resumes and applications and, more importantly, finding a perfect daycare for my baby. So the purpose of this post is, I suppose, to say I'm sorry for infrequent blogging, I'm busy (and will likely be so for the next 20 years), but I'll try to be more regular with my posts, okay?