Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kimono Garden

People pay for what they do, and still more, for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it simply: by the lives they lead. –Edith Wharton

Free-motion quilting is kind of a scary thing. It is just you and wherever your imagination can take the thread. As I've worked on improving this skill, the biggest obstacle is figuring out how to quilt something. Edge-to-edge works for some things. But I really prefer custom quilting that enhances the quilt's design.

I'm still working on branching out with quilting designs. I gave this quilt the Swirly Treatment; the same favorite swirls I've put into at least four other quilts.

And I quilted the squares and border the same way I did the Sudoku quilt. As a matter of fact, I designed this table runner specifically so that I could quilt it the same way.

This year, on both sides of our family we're doing “Dirty Santa” gift exchanges, where everyone brings a gift, we draw numbers and the person with the lowest number picks a gift to open. The next person can either steal that gift or open something else. It's called “Dirty Santa” because playing dirty is allowed. Doing a gift exchange this way takes a lot of pressure off. You don't have to worry about finding “the perfect gift” for a specific person. The party goers get to choose what their perfect gift is. And since I don't know who this will end up with, I can blog about it beforehand without spoiling the surprise.

Today's post brought to you by:

My 2011 Finishes

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Finished: Sudoku Quilt

Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny. –Tryon Edwards

This quilt was so fun to make! A shout out to P. for the inspiration and to Sarah for sharing the pattern! I'm pretty sure there will be another one in my future.

To quilt this, I marked diagonally through each square and then quilted a series of arcs around the X's I'd marked. It was a lot of fun.

Mathematically, this quilt is awesome. The outer border is 8", exactly double the nine-patch squares, and it divides evenly by 8 as well, so I marked it in 8" squares, drew X's through them and quilted the same arcs as I did in the nine-patches. And with all that stripey goodness, I couldn't resist a bit of stripey bias binding.

I quilted my favorite swirls into the sashing. They are hard to see from the front because the thread is the same color as the sashing, so here's a view from the back.

Here's a shot of the whole quilt. So much fun and so quick to put together!

Read more about this quilt:
Fabric Selection
Sudoku Quilt Group
Finished Quilt Top

Today's post brought to you by:

My 2011 Finishes

Monday, November 28, 2011

Various and Sundry Monday: Vol 19

Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true. Robert Brault

The Proof is in the Pudding
OK, not so much the pudding as the stuffing. And technically, it was dressing, since I didn't actually stuff it into the bird.

Mr. Bug's mom always makes home made stuffing and it is SO good. However, we spent Thanksgiving with my family, so for my contribution to the meal, I offered to make stuffing from scratch. I asked Mr. Bug's mom how she makes hers. She is one of those cooks who doesn't follow a recipe. She just throws stuff in a pot and it tastes good. Not me. I like to color inside the lines. And I like to have a definitive recipe to follow when I cook. Never-the-less, I decided to give it a try because if I succeeded my efforts would pay off and if not, we had some Stove Top to use as the back-up plan. I assembled my ingredients and started putting the recipe together.

Butter melted, check. Chopped onions and celery cooked until tender, check. Salt, pepper and sage, check. Two bags of dry bread, che . . . hey wait. There's not enough room in the pot. What do I do now? Stirring carefully isn't working. I'm just making a mess. Is there a bigger pot somewhere? Yes, that's what I need. A bigger pot. I'll move the stuffing to the bigger pot . . . uh, oh. Crap. I don't know how to cook on an electric stove and the stuffing at the bottom of the pan is burned. Dang. I hope I can get it all out. I'd better turn down the heat while it try to dig the burnt bits out.

It wasn't a complete disaster even though I burned the stuffing at the bottom of the pan a second time, while I was trying to dig out the bits from the first time. And I cheated and added two packages of Stove Top to the mix, just to get a better flavor. I wasn't sure that the sage was enough by itself. Everyone seemed to like it and there was plenty to go around despite the fact that I burned about a third of the recipe.

Still, next time I volunteer to bring the stuffing, I'm going to Google an actual recipe.

Another Toad Has Gone Missing
A while back, I mentioned that we keep fire-bellied toads in an aquarium. We started out with Henry who was the class pet in LadyBug's 1st grade class and then we bought Henry a friend, who we named Violet. It turned out that Henry was really Violet and Violet was really Henry and then Henry mysteriously went missing. We supposed that he buried himself in the rocks and that was the end of him. I never found any remains, but I didn't go looking for them either. I disturbed the rocks as little as possible when I changed the water and cleaned the aquarium. When I finally did get brave enough to shift things around {like four months later} there was no sign of Henry anywhere. But we can't figure out how he might have escaped, either.

That's not to say it isn't possible because the other day Pants, the replacement we bought for Henry so Violet wouldn't be lonely, shimmied up the corner of the aquarium and had his nose poked out a teeny, tiny little notch in the hood meant for the cord of the filter. There are actually two such notches on the cover, but since we only have one filter, we only use one of them. I thought we'd taped over the other to prevent any more toads from going missing, but I guess we didn't, because Violet isn't anywhere to be found and I don't really have the heart to sift through the rocks in search of her.

I guess the question now is, do we get Pants a friend?

Poultry in Motion
I'm making table runners to give as Christmas gifts this year. I don't know who most of them will go to yet because we're going to play gift exchange games at most of the parties I'm taking them to. I have Kimono Garden all quilted and the binding just needs the hand stitching on it. I'll show it soon.

I've got two other runners put together, sandwiched and basted ready for quilting. I'm calling them Poultry in Motion. I can get away with calling them both the same thing because they'll be going to two different parties.

Before you think I'm all clever with the name for these, it is the name of the fabric line, but I thought it was pretty hilarious, so I kept it.

I love how these turned out. As I was putting them together, I pondered ways to quilt them. I'm excited to try a few new free-motion things. But at the same time, I still have that nervous what-if-I-mess-up feeling as I take the first stitch.

I am pretty encouraged at how quickly the tops have gone together so far. The quilting on Kimono Garden was pretty fussy, but even that went pretty fast, so I'm really hoping that I'll be ahead of the game instead of hand-stitching the binding down in the car on the way to the party.

Monday Music Spot: The Goat Rodeo Sessions
Michelle at The Gypsy Quilter shared some really great music recently and I have to pay it forward. Classical cellist, Yo-Yo Ma has teamed up with Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile and Stuart Duncan to create The Goat Rodeo Sessions. It is a little bit bluegrass, a little bit classical and a whole lot of awesome. In this clip the four musicians talk a little bit about the album and there are snippets of a few songs.

I'm hoping that Santa puts an iTunes gift card in my stocking, because this has jumped to the top of my wish list. Here's another sampling {note: swear alert. Stop at time index 4:15 to avoid}. And for more, check out The Goat Rodeo Sessions Playlist on YouTube.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Sermons: In the Spirit of Thanksgiving

Let us give thanks for what we are and for the circumstances God has given us for our personal journey through mortality.

When we understand that God offers us opportunities for blessings and blesses us through our own adversities and the adversities of others, we can understand why he has commanded us again and again to, “thank the Lord thy God in all things.”
–Dahlin H. Oaks

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Super { Service } Saturday

Who was this Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief? Who is the King of glory, this Lord of hosts? He is our Master. He is our Savior. He is the Son of God. He is the Author of our Salvation. He beckons, “Follow me.” He instructs, “Go, and do thou likewise.” He pleads, “Keep my commandments.” Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His word. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of GRATITUDE. –Thomas S Monson

We all know that women love to get together, especially when there is some sort of creativity going on. There is a kind of tradition that goes on among the women of my church where a large number of projects {along with instructors} are available for you to work on. It is a yearly event and if the project that you wanted to do wasn't there this year, it'll probably be there next year. We call this day Super Saturday.

This year, we decided that instead of making a bunch of stuff to bring home and wonder what to do with, we would donate our time, talents and materials to make something that would be helpful to those in need. There were several projects going on; through the combined effort of the women in my ward {congregation} we tied a quilt to be donated to a local shelter, put together hygiene and school kits to donate to shelters, made headbands, bows and covered notebooks to give kids in the foster care system, and decorated picture frames to be donated to care centers so the residents could keep a picture of their family nearby. The area I was over was the little sewing room, where we had eight machines plus a serger, cutting table and ironing boards. In there, we turned place mats into little tote bags to hold the school kits and we made pillowcases to donate to shelters, foster care and/or the children's ICU at local hospitals. I cut 27 pillowcase kits {all from donated fabric} and we were able to finish 15 of them; several women took the remaining 12 kits home to finish there.

I put these four pillowcases together. The pink one with frogs on the hem is flannel. It is SO soft!

These three have a theme going on. The two on the left are “Go USA,” and the one on the right is kind of “International” with Big Ben on the pillowcase and the names of lots of different countries on the hem.

Here are a few specifically for boys, and there are half-a-dozen other boyish kits out there to be assembled. The bear is a panel, just the right size to make into a pillowcase. It seemed like a really great idea at the time, but now I'm worried that it might give someone nightmares. The skulls are a little creepy too.

I love how these came out! The fabric for these three, along with six others pictured here, was sent to me by my sweet friend, Wanda. She was cleaning out her stash and sent me a bunch of really great fabrics. I've used lots of it for different projects and loved having so many fun choices to use in these pillowcases.

I think that these two are my favorite of the whole bunch. They are so bright and cheerful and I hope they'll make someone's day a little better.

These pillowcases are fast and easy to put together. I've written up a set of instructions, which you can access by clicking on the button below.

Or, you can go directly to the printable Fancy Pillowcase PDF.

This post brought to you by:

My 2011 Finishes

Friday, November 25, 2011

Favourite Things Friday: Classic Movies

Drama is life with the dull bits cut out. –Alfred Hitchcock

I've mentioned before that I have a fondness for going to the movies. I've also talked about how much I like musicals. Most musicals fall into the Classic movies category and that's what I want to talk about today. Classic movies. One of my favorite musicals from my insomniac-PBS-watching days is Bells Are Ringing with Judy Holliday and Dean Martin. This adorable switchboard operator at an answering service does more than just take and give messages. She is a counselor, a friend, a helper, a muse, a confidant to her clients. As she gets involved in the lives of these people, her world is turned upside down in a series of hilarious hijinks.

Another favorite {in the non-musical category} is Yours, Mine and Ours, staring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. The 2005 re-make with Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo was fun, but the 1968 original is still my favorite. Jumping back to musicals, With Six You Get Eggroll and Pillow Talk are a couple of my favorite Doris Day movies. As a matter of fact we're crossing over a little bit into my love of Barbie, with the recently released Pillow Talk Giftset. Doris-Day-Barbie looks so beautiful in her white gown and Rock-Hudson-Ken is very debonair in his classic black suit.

Another great Doris Day movie is The Man Who Knew Too Much, co-starring Jimmy Stewart. This movie is kind of the trifecta of classic movies; Doris Day, Jimmy Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock. Over the years, I've watched most of the Jimmy Stewart movies, as well as most of Alfred Hitchcock's movies. In the category of “really great movies” {or any other category, for that matter}, I don't think that I could narrow it down to just one absolute favorite, but pretty high on the list of all-time greats is Rear Window, an Alfred Hitchcock production starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly.

It is a psychological thriller, which I absolutely love. Movies that make you guess at motivations and put pieces together like a puzzle are absolutely the best, in my opinion. In another cross-over {this post is just full of them}, the Grace Kelly Barbie from Rear Window is amazing. She has such beautiful features, but how could she not considering the inspiration?

In 1998, a Rear Window remake for television came out, starring Christopher Reeve {another favorite; he will always be Superman in my book} and Daryl Hannah, which was pretty good right up until they changed the ending. And while clickety-clicking around the web for this post, I discovered that the 2007 film, Disturbia, starring Shia LeBeouf, was based on Rear Window, so now I'm interested to see how it stacks up.

Todays post brought to you by:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hymn of Grateful Praise

Do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love. –Thomas S. Monson, The Divine Gift of Gratitude, October 2010

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light,

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Must Ask . . . Grateful & Thankful Edition

Our society is afflicted by a spirit of thoughtless arrogance unbecoming those who have been so magnificently blessed. How grateful we should be for the bounties we enjoy. Absence of gratitude is the mark of the narrow, uneducated mind. It bespeaks a lack of knowledge and the ignorance of self-sufficiency. It expresses itself in ugly egotism and frequently in wanton mischief....

"Where there is appreciation, there is courtesy, there is concern for the rights and property of others. Without appreciation, there is arrogance and evil.

"Where there is gratitude, there is humility, as opposed to pride." –Gordon B. Hinckley

About 10 seconds after I posted the last I Must Ask, I realized that I'd forgotten a VERY important category, as far as places to meet a spouse. Work. And so, for all those who were shafted in the voting, I'm going to post your comments.

Mommarock said, I met my hubby at WORK. We were in the military together way back then... 24 years ago. But work isn't a choice there. So no vote.

Too right you are. Sorry about that!

Marianne (aka, Ranger Anna) at Misadventures with Rangers shared this, I was working for the local Girl Scout Council, and my hubby was the Ranger/Manager at a park directly adjacent to one of our camps. I called him to arrange some type of event, and he mentioned, quite quickly that he was a single Dad of a Girl Scout. We dated for 4 years to be sure our little Girl Scout could handle another person sharing her Daddy with her. DH proposed by saying, "So. You wanna get married or what." A couple of days later he gave me a chain saw--which cuts a lot more stuff than a diamond, says he. Not to mention the family heirloom diamond he gave Darling Daughter's mom ended up cutting his face when she delivered a left hook while wearing it. I did get a diamond anniversary ring for both our 10th and 20th anniversaries. And his Mom thought the story about me not getting the ring sucked, so she told everyone that "when I go toes up, Marianne gets my ring." I wear her beautiful ring whenever I can.

I think he made a great choice when he picked you!

Pink at Pink Suede Shoe had this to say, I met my hubby at work. We worked opposite shifts, then I moved to Russia for a year and when I came home we were on the same shift. We started work at 5 am and spent a few hours talking everyday before the store opened. He got to hear all about my crazy Russian ex-fiance and I got to hear all about his crazy ex girlfriend. And a few weeks into it he asked me out. We went out after work every single day for a few weeks and it didn't take long before we knew we were supposed to stay together. We kept it a secret at work for months, because technically we weren't allowed to date co-workers. And then he got promoted to my supervisor and we knew we really had to keep it quiet. I didn't wear a ring to work until less than 30 days before the wedding, because that was my official window of time to find a new job. Luckily I was able to transfer to another store right after the wedding and we both got to keep our jobs. I later got promoted, transfered back to my original store where we met and took over his job. Anyway, I was shocked that he loved me when he saw me at my worst. Just reeling off of the Russia mafia ex-fiance experience, and lets be honest, no one is at their best at 5 am day after day. After the whole Mafia guy/ex-fiance I was ready to swear off men and dating forever. But despite my best efforts to ignore how he made me feel, I fell in love and we got married at the next semester break, just before Christmas. Which was a really convenient time to get married, and a terrible time for an anniversary.

Any man who can fall in love with you at 5:00 am is a keeper.

Cat e-mailed me directly and said, I went to do your poll again this week but you needed an extra option. I met my husband at work. We were on a workplace training program together that went for about a year. We didn't actually work together at the time - there are about 1600-2000 people working for my organisation, but once we were engaged we actually ended up working in the same team!

One more apology for forgetting that the majority of single adults spend about ⅓ of their lives at work! I know that this week, I'm bound to leave something off the list too, so make sure to leave a comment if you don't see what you're looking for.

Growing up, there was this little old man who attended the same ward {congregation} as we did. We called him The Grateful and Thankful Man because every time he was called on to offer a prayer, he had a long list of things he was grateful and thankful for. In our youthful ignorance, we failed to realize that this man was on the right track. After all, everything we have comes from God, so why not take a few minutes to be thankful for some of those things. Focusing on the positive in life changes perspective. As I prepare to stuff myself with turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing, here are a few things I've been reflecting on.

I am thankful for family; for goodly parents, for beautiful children and a kind spouse.
I am thankful for a listening ear.
I am thankful for friendship.
I am thankful for opportunities to serve.
I am thankful for modern medicine.
I am thankful for good books.
I am thankful for the beauty of this earth.
I am thankful for a roof over my head, gas in my car and money in the bank.
I am thankful for my talents.

I think that Thanksgiving is a really overlooked holiday. As soon as Halloween is over, it's all about Christmas because, I guess, you can't sell thankfulness at the store. But I really enjoy pausing for a few minutes to reflect on the blessings in my life. How about you? I must ask . . . what are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Breaking Dawn Charity Quilt

You could run from someone you feared, you could try to fight someone you hated. All my reactions were geared toward those kinds of killers—the monsters, the enemies.

When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give your beloved, how could you not give it?
–Bella Cullen, Breaking Dawn, page 1-2

I belong to a little on-line group called Twi-Quilters. We've been working on a quilt themed around the book Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer. Our quilt is finished and we are proud to bring you the Breaking Dawn Give-to-Win Charity Quilt fundraiser.

Last year, our Eclipse charity quilt raised $1,729.00 for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. With your help, we hope to raise even more than last year.

This year, we have decided to pledge donations to two charities: Alex's Lemonade Stand and Childhelp. Our group members have donated all the fabrics and supplies, as well as our time, to create this quilt, which includes scenes from Breaking Dawn, as well as autographs from eight cast members, including Peter Facinelli, who plays Carlisle Cullen and is a spokesperson for ALSF, and BooBoo Stewart, who plays Seth Clearwater and is an ambassador for Childhelp.

For every $5 donation from you, which will be split evenly between the two charities, you’ll get one chance to win the quilt. So please give generously. Donations will be accepted through December 4, 2011 and the winner will be announced on December 7, 2011.

Read more about the individual blocks:
Alice: Vampire Bat in the Belfry by Colleen
Alice's Note by Nicole
The Amazon Coven by Nicole
Aro's Gift by Angie
Bella & Edward's Cottage by Beth
Bella & Edward's Wedding by Mel
Bella's First Hunt by Beth
Bella's Shield by Iris
Bella's Transformation by Jerri Lynn
Cast Member Autographs
Cravings by Angie
The Denali Coven by Joyce
Eggs by Kate
The Egyptian Coven by Nicole
Feathers by Cat
The Hybrids by Joyce
The Irish Coven by Jerri Lynn
Isle Esme by Cat
Jacob & Renesmee by Elizabeth
Jacob & Rosalie's Rivalry by Kate
Jason Scott, Attorney at Law by Wanda
Midnight Swim by Kate
The Nomads by Joyce
Renesmee by Joyce
The Romanian Coven by Joyce
The Wolf Packs by Elizabeth

For more information about the charities, click on the buttons below.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nothing to Report

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. –John E. Southard

Dear Readers {if there are any of you left},

I don't have anything note-worthy to report. This past week has been full of regular old life; homework and school projects and work and chores and a small amount of sewing and a tiny bit of recreation. I'm certain that you all would not want to hear about LadyBug's gigantic book report on Paul Bunyon. Really. It was as big as Miss LadyBug herself. And even though I enjoyed it, the re-telling of how I stitched on nine yards of bias binding would put most of you to sleep despite the fact that it was very cute and stripey {see the finished quilt here}. I'm bound by confidentiality agreements at work, so the only thing I can tell you about that is that I shaved 3 minutes off my commute by taking a back route rather than driving through town {but you're all really curious now about who I work for now, aren't you}. I'll show you some of the other projects I've finished in the next day or two, so that leaves me with an ever-so-slight amount of gloating to do because on Thursday evening I saw Breaking Dawn followed by dinner with Mr. Bug and was home and cozy in my PJ's two full hours before ticket-holders for the midnight show were starting previews. Gloating's not very pretty, though, so maybe I shouldn't do that either.

As I said, nothing to report.

xo -E

Monday, November 14, 2011

Various and Sundry Monday: Vol 18

The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs. –Joan Didion

Meet Stanley
I'm not sure if this spider, with its head-of-French-knots and button-bottom is whimsical or creepy. I mean, look at those legs and the bead-y orange eyes. This is the last piece of the hat portion of Zelda's Fancy Hat. I still have three brim pieces to do, but after I finished Stanley the Spider, it was time to put this project away for a bit.

Kimono Garden
The Christmas crafting has officially begun. I've got this table runner just about ready to baste and quilt. I'm going to make several different runners for various parties, and based on how quickly this one went together and barring any flare-ups of my chronic case of procrastination, I hope to be done with all handmade gifts with time to spare. Wish me luck.

100 Years and Still the Heartbeat of America
On November 3, Chevrolet celebrated its 100th birthday! Here's a look back at the last century.

Thank You for Your Votes
Last weekend, I entered the weekly themed quilt contest over at Quilting Bloggers. The theme was Remembering Veterans and I submitted the t-shirt quilt I made for Mr. Bug, using his old t-shirts, sweatshirts and work shirts from the Navy. My mom informs me that my dad voted from every single IP address he could, and called all my siblings and told them to vote from their computers and smart phones. I know many of you voted, and left me really nice comments of encouragement. I finished in 4th place, with 113 votes which is so amazing considering that the vote was split between 27 quilts. Thank you SO much to everyone who voted for me. I really appreciate it! It really made my weekend!

I Can't Help Myself
Part 1 of Breaking Dawn premiers at midnight on the 18th. I, somehow, lucked out and have tickets for a pre-screening at 5:15 pm on the 17th. I'm just a little excited. Here are a couple clips with scenes from the movie to help with the pre-wedding jitters.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sabbath Songs: Because He Lives

And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.1 Nephi 19:9

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Quilt for Little Peanut

Friendship is a sheltering tree. –Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I belong to a really fun on-line quilting group. Most of our group efforts have produced quilts about the Twilight series of books. But that's not all we love to quilt. In early 2010 we discovered that our cute little Mel was expecting, so we started planning a quilt for her new little one. While she was pregnant she called him, Little Peanut, so we decided on an elephant/peanut theme for the quilt. Nicole headed up this project, setting the layout, choosing fabrics for the border and sashing and assembling the blocks. She did a really fabulous job! Mel's sweet little baby boy was born on October 1, 2010. This post is long overdue, but I still wanted to share this fun group project.

Mel had this to say about the quilt, For my 29th birthday, I received a totally wonderful and unexpected present. A quilt, handmade by my very special Twilight Quilters friends! It made my day to open up the package and find that beautiful quilt, made just for my little baby. Owen has loved his one-of-kind present from the start. (And let me share a little secret . . . I used it a few times myself! And it's really snuggly!!!) This is something I will treasure for the rest of my life, and I feel truly blessed to have such wonderful friends, even if they all live hundreds and hundreds of miles away from me.

For my part in the quilt, I did a few jungle trees. I used a rubber stamp as my 'pattern' for the trees. I stamped the image onto paper, scanned it, enlarged it and then also reversed it so that I had trees going in both directions. I did raw-edge appliqué using Heat 'n Bond and did a machine blanket stitch around the trees. Then I did a bit of messy free-motion stitching to add a few details to them. The background fabric was a FQ that Wanda sent to me for my birthday, and I thought it was perfect for the trees. These were a lot of fun to make.

Here's the Little Peanut, with his new quilt.

For photos and details about all the quilt blocks, visit the post at the Twi-Quilters blog.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vote for Me, Please

Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them. –Immanuel Kant

I entered this week's Themed Quilt Contest over at Quilting Bloggers. The theme is Remembering Veterans, and I thought Mr. Bug's t-shirt quilt fit perfectly into that category.

And now the shameless begging. There are 27 quilts featured this week. Hop on over, take a look, and vote for your favorite {please, please, pick mine!}. My quilt is called Service Rendered. Voting is open until 11:59 pm {EST} on November 13th

Today's post brought to you by:

Weekly Themed Quilt Contests

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Must Ask . . . How Did You Meet?

The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of. –Blaise Pascal, Pensées, 1670

Last week, we talked about anniversaries. I had you vote for the month you were married and then asked for engagement or wedding stories. March did not get any votes and September got the most votes. I'm guessing it is because both my parents and my sister voted :lol:. And the stories you shared were all really fun and since I can never pick a single favorite and it's my blog, I'm sharing them all.

First up, P. at The Way I Sew It had this to say: We had our (pausing to do the math) 28th in June. A wedding story, huh? Well, we had a very small ceremony at the courthouse. The judge was in the middle of a trial, apparently for some sort of drinking offense, because there was a beer bottle on the counsel table when we entered the courtroom. Court had taken a recess so the judge could marry us at the appointed time. Oh, and nobody had thought to bring a camera (my dad just had his Instamatic which did not have a flash), so one of the ladies in the clerk's office who knew me ran across the street to the Sheriff's Dept. where her husband worked as a detective. She borrowed his Polaroid and came back and took a handful of the only photos we have of the ceremony!

P., you must scan and post your wedding photos. I'm dying to see, but I can probably wait until next June, when it would be most relevant for you to put up on your blog.

Next, is Rhonda from Quilt Nut Creations: I think I had those same glasses :wink:. We are celebrating 18 yrs this year; on December 18th. The reaction we got from people planning a wedding the week before Christmas was priceless! But a wedding story? My brother was one of the groomsmen and he had been out goofing off the night before the wedding and ended up sleeping late. So he had to drive himself to the church. On his way, he decided to get a car wash and got his car stuck in the wash :lol:!!

LadyBug mentioned the glasses too, when she saw that photo. She asked me why they were so big :rofl:. And only vaguely related to your car wash story but I'm telling it anyway because it's my blog, we borrowed a car from my parents to drive to the reception and left both our vehicles locked in their garage. While we were at the church, someone smeared liquid soap from the bathrooms all over the borrowed car and some sneaky soul let some hooligans brandishing Oreos and plastic wrap into the garage. We had to wash all three cars, but no one got stuck in the car wash.

Retired Dairy Queen shared this: We were married for 42 years last May. The wedding went beautifully, no funny stories there. We got engaged two years before. I actually asked him because I was allowed as it was a leap year, hence the girl can ask the guy. Thankfully he said Yes.

You are one brave soul! Wow! Thanks for sharing. That is amazing!

Angie at 5 Little Monkeys Quilting said: We were married for 3 years in August. You want a 'romantic' engagment story? We had been discussing getting married in October but I was never 'proposed to.' So one day I was sitting at work and the man called me and said, 'since your parents are coming to visit next week how about we get married then so they don't have to come back in a few months?' I said 'I tell you what . . . here is my dad's number, you give him a call and see what he thinks about that.' (At this point the man had never even spoken to my parents.) He says 'hang on, I'll call you back' and hangs up. He calls me back about 15 minutes later and says 'OK, let's do it.' I thought I was going to puke! And 2 weeks later we got married by a total stranger because we couldn't find anyone we knew to do it.

Wow. Pulling together a wedding in two weeks must have been crazy! I love it!

Mommarock had this to say: We have been married 23 years now, I have a funny story to share. DH and I got married in Sparks, NV. So it was just he and I. We walked out of the wedding chapel, and the first words he said to me as my loving husband were, "Well, let the nagging begin." A Clint Eastwood take.. Nag, Nag, Nag.. I just looked at him and said.. You, ***. You will never forget that those are your first words to me as my husband, because you just gave me permission to nag! I remind him frequently. :biggrin:

Ha, ha! The joke is on him!

From Shay at Quilting in my Pyjamas: Mr. P and I are completely insane because we got married New Year's Eve. That way the whole world celebrates our anniversary plus I got to say the day after our wedding that we got "married last year."

Mrs. P, you are one smart cookie! Getting married on the last day of the year counts on your taxes {at least it does here} as being married for the whole year. Plus, you can say every party you pass is in your honor. I will lift a glass {of ginger ale} to you every New Year's Eve from now on. Only I will have missed it because it will already be the New Year where you are. This time difference is killing me.

Jenna at JazznJenna Happily Ever After was also smart about planning her wedding on a day that everyone celebrates. We got married on Valentine's Day, 1998, 13 years ago. It was President's Day weekend, so the 3-day weekend was just right for our wedding in the middle of the semester. We took an extra 2 days off of school to have our little exotic honeymoon in Salt Lake City, an hour away from where we lived. It's fun that it's a day we never forget each year (I love how the stores and everyone all celebrate our anniversary along with us), but we often choose a different day to have our anniversary date so we don't have to fight the crowds.

Anyway, last of all I just want to throw in how VERY MUCH I love my husband! He is a very good man, and I am so lucky to have his love and devotion.

Thank you for sharing such a sweet sentiment!

So today, I want to talk about how we all met our sweethearts. I know it's been a long post already but, it's my blog so I'm sharing how I met my Mister. It was a blind date. Yep. A blind date. I swore I would never marry a blind date, but it was kind of kismet.

Before I tell you about the actual date, I have to start about 2½ years before that. When I was 21, I served a mission for the LDS church in Brasil. In preparation, I spent eight weeks learning the language {:rofl:} at a Church facility called the Missionary Training Center {MTC for short}. While I was there, I shared a dorm room with three other girls who were also going to Brasil. One of them told me she shelved books at the library for $10 an hour. That sounded like a great idea to me and I filed it away for later because I spent the next 16 months in Brasil on a volunteer basis.

When I got home, the first order of business was to get a job. I marched straight down to the Main branch of the county library system and filled out an application. I didn't hear back from them, so I got a job working in the Christmas shop at a department store. After a few months, a part-time department lead job in junior dresses opened up. I applied for and got that job. I was all settled in and cozy, working part-time and going to school full-time when the library called and offered me an interview. This was about five months after I had applied with them. They had two circulation desk {check in and check out} positions open; one at the branch less than a mile from home and one at the branch on the opposite end of the county. I nailed the interview and they gave me first choice of which branch I wanted to work at. Naturally, I chose the one closest to home.

Fast forward about 5 months. I took summer semester off, got a second job waiting tables and was completely over the college dating scene. I was happy being me, not interested in social events that involved men and finally had a handle on the courses I needed to take to get my bachelor's. It was then that a coworker suggested that I should meet her husband's brother. I agreed and we arranged a double-date, because, well, meeting new people wasn't completely out of the question.

Mr. Bug called me a few days before our appointed date-night. I remember him being easy to talk with. He was interested in me and my family and my jobs and school. We talked for about 30 minutes and I was pleasantly surprised.

The evening of our date arrived and we, along with my co-worker and her husband, Mr. Bug's brother, went to dinner at a little Italian place that I no longer remember the name of and which is no longer in business. I was nervous about ordering—about spending Mr. Bug's money. I didn't want him to spend a lot on a dinner for someone he may or may not ever see again and who may or may not eat all of it. He put me at ease, saying that he was going to order what sounded good to him and just enjoy it. We had a nice meal with polite conversation, after which, we went for a round of miniature golf. Throughout the evening, Mr. Bug was fairly reserved. I wondered how I was ever going to get to know him. And so I tried to push him into the little pond. It was a playful push, not hard enough for him to actually go in the water, but just hard enough to break the ice. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Now that you know my story, I must ask . . . how did you meet your sweetheart? Vote for the option that most closely fits your situation and if you have a great story to share, leave it in the comments!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This & That Wednesday

Darkness has a hunger that's insatiable and lightness has a call that's hard to hear. –Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine

Only 357 Days Until Halloween
I'm supposed to be working on Christmas gifts. I was really on a roll with my Twilight quilt {which interrupted work on my Halloween quilt}, but I put it away so that I could get my Christmas gifts done more than 15 minutes before we're supposed to leave for our parties. While I was organizing things, you know how you do when you change projects, I started winding some of the skeins of floss I'd bought onto bobbins. I've got all the colors of DMC floss now, but not all of them are on neatly labeled bobbins stored in containers. While I was doing that, I started to think about the 28 bobbins of floss I have separated out for Zelda's Fancy Hat, and kind of wanted to put them all back in their boxes so they'd be with their friends. But I can't do that until I finish using them. So, I started stitching.

I had two of the sections finished, the orange “lavender” and the lazy daisies. I finished three more sections for the hat and am working on the last section now, which fits down in the bottom right corner, making what you see into a triangle with a rounded bottom, that you roll to make a cone with. I really love to do hand work. There is something very soothing about the rhythm of it. The problem is, our first Christmas party is in 38 days. And I have a lot of sewing to do between now and then. So, I'm afraid I'm going to have to put Zelda's Fancy Hat away for a while. And putting all those floss bobbins back in their boxes will have to wait too.

Gaga over Little Big Town
Recently {like yesterday}, I was introduced to a fantastic band called Little Big Town. They are mostly country, but also a little bit bluegrass, which is something I really love {see also, RSRB}. Their music is all about the harmonies, which they do beautifully. They have some really great original songs {see Kiss Goodbye and Bring It On Home}, but they've also done some really great covers. Their version of Born this Way by Lady Gaga is one part redneck, one part chutzpah and one part pure genius.

My Little Pony?
The latest movie in the Twilight franchise is only 9 days away. I've already got my ticket to see a pre-screening at 5:15 pm on the 17th. Until then, I've staked out all the late-night {and daytime} talk shows so I can catch clips of the movie. It doesn't hurt that some of the actors turn up and say really hilarious {and sometimes really off-the-wall} things. This clip from Letterman last night {a huge thank-you to the media pirate who moves at the speed of light to get this up} has a clip of the honeymoon. I loved it!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sabbath Songs: Hold to the Rod

And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God. 1 Nephi 11:25

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Must Ask . . . When Is Your Anniversary?

A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year. –Paul Sweeney

Last week's topic was lots of fun. I enjoyed reading what you all had to say about your siblings, and I think I even replied to some of you this time. Angie's dad takes the prize for the most siblings — he has 21. I'll let you all ask her about that. And for those of you who don't have any brothers or sisters, I would have envied you when I was growing up :lol:.

What's on my mind today is anniversaries. In less than a week, Mr. Bug and I will have been married for 15 years. Anyone who has been married for more than 15 minutes knows that a lot of work went into those 15 years. I wrote about our engagement and a little bit about our wedding day last year, so if you want to read about one of my finest moments, follow the links. Today, I must ask . . . when is your anniversary? I turned it over in my mind quite a bit on how to do this. There's really no good {ie. concise} way to poll the days of the year and/or how many years you've been married so you'll have to tell me that in the comments. And if you have a funny/embarrassing/horrible/wonderful proposal or wedding story, make sure to leave it in the comments too and I'll share it next week. Today's poll is for which month you celebrate, so take a second to vote for the month of your anniversary.

And what's a post about wedding anniversaries, without a little nostalgia?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You're Never Too Old to Play Dress-Up

There once was a sweet little maid, much beloved by everybody, but most of all by her grandmother, who never knew how to make enough of her. Once she sent her a little riding hood of red velvet, and as it was very becoming to her, and she never wore anything else, people called her Little Red Riding Hood.
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales, page 140

It has been a busy last few days and this post is hardly relevant anymore. But this is the first second I've had to myself, so grab a piece of Halloween candy {if you still have any} and pretend this is two days ago.

I love Halloween. I love making costumes. And I love dressing up. But I have a serious procrastination problem, which presents itself the worst during the month of October. After my second or third year in a row of pulling an all-nighter to get costumes done, I made a “rule” that I was only going to make costumes every other year and my kids could wear something they already had on the in-between years. This year was an “off” year, but we all know rules are made to be broken. I decided that I needed a new costume. After all, I haven't had a new one since 2005. I think it was about then that I decided that I wanted to make a Little Red Riding Hood cape and this year seemed like the perfect year to do it.

10 days before Halloween, I went fabric shopping. I'd seen the perfect fabric at JoAnn's last year, and JoAnn's being what they are, I figured they'd still have it. But I guess their costuming fabrics are not like most of their other fabrics, in that they go out of print. Since I couldn't find what I wanted I decided not to make a costume. But 5 days later, when a costume contest was announced at work, it was back on. A tight deadline always makes things more exciting, right :crazy:?
{Back row, L to R: Mad Scientist, Luigi, Pioneer Woman, Dr. Who
Front row, L to R: Steam Punk Vampire, Little Red, Amelia Earhart, Space Cowboy, Nudist on Strike}

It surprised me how many people dressed up and how clever the costumes were! The Steam Punk Vampire, who got my vote, won the costume contest. Besides the costumes here, there was a soccer player, a “newsie,” a witch/Marilyn Manson/Severus Snape, a baseball coach, Sally {from Nightmare Before Christmas}, Strawberry Shortcake, a mobster and a mummy. The person who got my “most original” vote put on a yellow satin gown, some beads, a sweater, scarf, boots and gloves and said, “I was playing dress-up, but my mom made me go outside.” I'm thinking that is one you had to see and I'm wishing I'd have snapped her picture.

Besides all of the fun at work, I helped with Grasshopper-Potter's classroom party, made our traditional Halloween dinner, chili with breadsticks and Jell-O, and took the Little Bugs trick-or-treating. The weather was just beautiful for traipsing around the neighborhood demanding free candy with a thinly-veiled threat.

The batteries in my camera were dead first thing, and it was a busy, fun day. I finally managed to snap photos of LadyBug and Grasshopper in their costumes {I stuck with the wear-something-you-already-have “rule” for them} just before bed. The lighting isn't that great, but when it gets dark by 7:00 pm, you work with what you've got.

Officer LadyBug handcuffed me for making her eat chili for dinner and we haven't been able to find the key. It's made getting around interesting. And Grass-Potter still owes me a detention.

This post brought to you by:

My 2011 Finishes