Wednesday, September 24, 2014

And the Parents went to Europe...

One of the funnest things I have done in a long time was spend the summer with the grands.  Abby and Britton are so hilarious.  This is Britton trying to get both of his "suckies" in his mouth at the same time.  I think Mommy and Daddy have since taken his little helpers away from him, but that is so not Grandma's job.  This little guy has a wonderful sense of humor and shares it often.  Sometimes, he just cracks me up!

Abby is growing up big and strong, and here she is showing off her big muscles.  She was a great little helper with her brother and with Mommy and Daddy's shop.  She moved bolts of fabric, sorted fabrics by color, and

made a quilt, with a little help from Grandma!

We went to the 4th of July parade with Uncle Sean and girlfriend, Jessica, and it was **HOT**.  I think it was 104*F that day.  Whew!

Britton gave up on our walk back to the car, sat down in the middle of the street (which was conveniently blocked of traffic because of the parade, thank goodness) and decided he was just - done. 

We rode on the carousel...

And drank milkshakes...

And played in the park...

and "rode" bikes...

and fed the ducks...

and taught each other dancing...

and read lots and lots of books and colored lots of pretty pictures...

and best of all, Grandma got lots of cuddles (while someone was taking selfies)!

All in all, it was an amazing summer!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My New Toiletries Bag - A Process Post

One of the crafty things I did before I left on my trip this summer was to make a new toiletries bag.  My old one was a Clinique freebie that was at least a decade old, and had certainly seen better days.  Even though the old one was ugly, the real motivation was that the zipper was breaking.  A toiletries kit isn't much use if the zipper is broken.

My LQS had some wonderful laminated fabrics.  The one on the left is Nicey Jane by Heather Bailey, and the one on the right is Rose Peacock Feathers from Soul Blossoms by Amy Butler.  I think they look nice together although this probably wouldn't have been my first choice if there had been more of a selection, but laminates don't come in very many prints.  I had never worked with laminate before, so I solicited help from the Instagram community, and as always, everyone was very helpful!  It's so great to be part of such a wonderful group of people who are always willing to give advice.

I measured my old bag and cut the Soul Blossoms fabric 1" larger.  I made some piping (straight of grain because laminate doesn't stretch) with the Nicey Jane and stitched it all the way around the outside of each rectangular piece.  If I was to do this again, I would make the piping join in the center of the bottom instead of at the corners - it would make the gusset and the zipper go in much easier, I think.

Essentially, I made two bags - the outside and the lining - and joined them together.  If I had it to do over, I would be sure to use a double separating zipper and sew a tab on the bottom of the zipper on both sides so I had something to grab while zipping and unzipping.  Joining the outside and the lining is a little tricky in some places, but I just kept at it until I got it mostly correct (yes, my seam ripper became my best friend for awhile - you can see at the bottom of the zipper on the right where the machine didn't catch the lining the first time... oops!)

I am pretty pleased with the finished product.  It is the perfect size and shape, just like my other one.  It held up well during my trip this summer, which is nice.  I'm really glad I put the laminate on the inside, since on the very first plane ride, my body lotion oozed out of its container and made a mess.  The laminate made it super simple to clean up.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The End of June... A Berry Fine Retrospective

Today, I thought I'd start to tell you about my summer, since I promised and all.  The weekend before I left for Utah, my youngest daughter came for a short visit.  One of the things she always likes to do in the spring is pick blueberries.  This year, possibly because of our amazingly cold winter, the blueberries lasted a lot later into the summer than usual, so we were able to pick blueberries at the end of June.

We got up early to avoid the heat and headed out into the country.

Along the way, we stopped for a little pre-4th of July donut action.  How better to celebrate our country's independence?

This little girl just had to have her picture taken.  She was waiting in the shelter while her mom picked berries.

There were lots of lovely flowers bordering the berry field.

And some sunflowers standing as sentinels.

And even a visitor or two.

And honestly, my sweet girl can look adorable anywhere, doing anything, don't you think?

It was a wonderful day spent with my little sweetheart (well, actually, she's a grown, married woman, but I'm a mom, after all.)

Sunday, September 21, 2014


It's really been awhile since I've posted on my poor, neglected little blog, and honestly, it doesn't look like that's going to get better any time soon.  After a wonderful summer of watching the grands and a fabulous cruise with the hubs, I came home and didn't even get fully unpacked before I had a job offer, which has totally consumed my life.

Once upon a time, before there were grands or children or even a husband, there was this idea that I would one day teach English.  Then the changes came, one by one.  Good ones, but sometimes distracting.  First, my mom got me a job at the bank where she worked so I could earn money to pay for college.

Next came the husband, right in the middle this educational adventure.  He was military, and so we moved a lot.  Since I was in a rush to get my degree, I didn't take any Ed courses, just the courses necessary to get that oh-so-essential piece of paper.  Meanwhile, I kept working at banks as we moved around.  It seemed like they always needed people.

Sometime later, children came, but by now, the banking thing was a career, and I was deeply entrenched.

Quilts I made in 2013

Then, decades later, I got laid off, and I got to quilt full time for almost a year and a half.  It was awesome!

Things I swapped in 2013
But as amazing as full-time quilting was for my emotional well-being, it wasn't so great for the budget.  In fact, I realized that if I spent all my retirement money before I was 60, there were going to be bleak years ahead.

Somewhere along the line, I remembered that old dream of teaching English, and started applying for various teaching positions with our local school district.  One day I went to an interview, and the next thing I knew I had a job offer.  From there, it got crazy.  In fact, it's been a little like trying to sip water from a fire hose.

Between teaching 130 students a day and taking the necessary classes and workshops for my certification, Barbie has been pretty lonely.  And when I 'm not teaching, taking classes, or grading papers, I am sleeping.  But I am confident that these early days won't last forever.  Hopefully, one day soon, I can come home from work and sit down and do a little quilting, just as I did when I was a full-time banker.

Until then, please don't give up on me.  I'll be back.