Monday, December 31, 2012

Winter Wedding: The Last Few Finishes of 2012

All marriages are made in heaven. But then, so are thunder and lightning. –Craig Clyde

My youngest brother got married a couple of weeks ago to a very lovely girl. I used my new iPhone to snap a few photos after the ceremony. Don't they make a beautiful couple?

As a side note, doesn't my new sister-in-law have the most beautifully perfect hourglass figure? I mean seriously. And that dress? Amazing.

When they got engaged, I started thinking of ideas for quilts. I wanted to use some Asian fabrics from my stash, but it just wasn't working, so I decided to make something using Ellen's favorite colors, pink and green. I wanted to have at least the quilt top finished for her first shower and then get it quilted for her second shower, which was a week later. We kind of got snowed in and I didn't make it to the first shower {never mind that the top wasn't finished} and I was out-of-town for the second shower {top still not finished}. Then my plan was to finish it in time for the wedding. That didn't happen either.

You see, my brother and his then fiancée wanted all of their family members to dress in their wedding colors, honeydew melon green, robin's egg blue and grey. I knew I would never be able to find such springy colors in the dead of winter without much difficulty. The easiest course, or so I thought, was to make skirts and blouses for LadyBug and me. As the wedding got closer, I realized that I wasn't going to have time to finish everything while still maintaining my sanity. I re-evaluated what I could do and I decided that I'd finish the quilt and just make blouses for LadyBug and me. We could wear black skirts we already had. They were close enough. And then, with only three days until the wedding, the borders to finish quilting, the binding to put on, and not even a start on the blouses, I decided that LadyBug could wear a dress that she already had {which she was totally OK with; she's not that into new clothes and especially not anything that is girly or fancy}, the quilt could wait and I was going to make a blouse for myself to wear to the wedding.

It was probably a little bit of a selfish decision to make myself a blouse and not finish the quilt for the bride and groom, but when my youngest sister got married, I made vests for all the little boys and dresses for my sister and sister-in-law, but not for myself because I ran out of time. I felt out of place and kind of bad that I wasn't wearing something fun and new in the right colors and I didn't want to feel that way again.

If the blouse {and my hair} looks like I had a nap in it, it was because I did. I was up until 3:30 am the night/morning before the wedding, and up by 5:00 am to make it there on time. Apparently, people took bets on whether I'd be late. In spite of the snow, I made it with plenty of time to spare and even a few minutes before one of my sisters. Between the wedding luncheon and call time for photos before the reception, I had a nap {and a migraine :rolling eyes:} on my mom's couch.

I used a blouse that I've had for several years as a pattern. I've always loved the fit of it, but not particularly the print, so when it frayed at a couple of the seams I decided I could live with cutting it up to make a pattern from it. I love how it turned out {I didn't even make a muslin; as a matter of fact, I'd never heard of making a muslin until I started blogging. I always just measure the person really carefully and then alter the pattern to fit the measurements} and plan on making at least one more top using this pattern.

More fun with the iPhone camera. I love those shoes I'm wearing. If you've ever read The Wizard of Oz, you'll know that Dorothy's shoes are silver {and not ruby}, and my silver shoes feel a little bit magical.

I finally finished the quilt for my brother and his wife last night. I love how it turned out. Please ignore the man behind the quilt. The snow was over a foot deep and I didn't really feel like trudging through it to get to my favorite fence for quilt photographing.

Here's a close-up of the quilting I did in the nine-patches. I used a design from the book 501 Quilting Motifs, which Mr. Bug got me for Christmas and which might have fallen open accidentally after it arrived in the mail and before it made it to the secret present stash.

I think my favorite part is the cat's eye pattern in the sashing. It came out rather nicely, if I do say so myself.

As usual, I did an embroidered tag, half of which I have to blank out so as not to give away too much information and get my identity stolen.

I'll drop this in the mail as soon as the post office opens on Wednesday. I'm so glad to have it finished and on its way.

Today's post brought to you by:
My 2012 Finishes

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Random Bits: Christmas Wrap-Up Edition

The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do. For instance, you can accept that your father was a pirate and a good man or you can't. But pirate is in your blood, boy, so you'll have to square with that some day. And me, for example, I can let you drown, but I can't bring this ship into Tortuga all by me onesies, savvy? So, can you sail under the command of a pirate, or can you not? –Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Calling this a wrap-up post isn't quite accurate since you get pretty much everything about Christmas this year in one post. But I love a good pun, so just go with it.

What I Can Do
In the past few weeks I've been thinking a lot about what I can't do. Perhaps there has been some tiny shift in the cosmos that has caused time to speed up, and therefore, I can't get as much done in one day as I used to. Quite possibly, my responsibilities at work have increased and I have 10 to 15 fewer hours each week to work with, depending on the week. Or maybe I just overestimate my abilities. Whatever the case, it seems like there is an awful lot of stuff that I can't do.

I just celebrated my 2-year anniversary at work. Since I started working, I've been struggling with finding the right balance. And I've never actually considered myself as "working." In my head, this has only been a temporary thing. Two years is less temporary than I'd hoped. We have a plan in place, which makes my employment status even more less temporary. But I'd still like to think of it as temporary. What's a couple more years, right?

In the meantime, I'll continue to work on balance. I've been finishing far fewer projects and blogging a lot less than I would like to. And it will probably have to stay that way for a while. LadyBug, Grasshopper and Mr. Bug are my top priority, and that is how it should be. In the mean time, I'm going to focus on what I can do, for and with my family as well as my personal pursuits.

Neighbor Gifts 2012: Felted Wool Ornaments
It is with the "what I can do" mindset that I approached my Christmas crafting this year. I love to give handmade gifts. But there just wasn't time to do something for everyone on my list. So, I focused on what I could do. In our neighborhood, we have a tradition of taking around a little something to each other. Over the years, I've done several different things, but my favorite thing, by far, is to make ornaments. I've been collecting ideas for handmade Christmas ornaments, and have decided that I'm never going to bake and decorate 42 dozen sugar cookies, or mix up 250 servings of minty hot cocoa mix ever again. Granted, making an ornament for each family on my list probably takes the same amount of time, but there are so many fewer dirty dishes that it is worth it.

This year, I didn't get started on my ornament making until the 20th, but I was determined to get it done. My brother got married on the 15th and I was trying to get a quilt done for him {still working on that}, as well as make skirts and blouses for LadyBug and me for the wedding. I also had work and laundry and snow shoveling and life to fit in there. And then there was the matter of finding the right felt for the job. I was inspired by the pretty red felted wool ornaments P. made and who graciously shared her pattern, but was going to make due with some cheap acrylic felt. After further consideration, I decided that felted wool was the only way to go, but wasn't sure if I'd be able to find the right wool item to thrift/get enough thrifted wool to make my ornaments so I bought a yard of winter white wool at JoAnn's {thank you 50% off coupon} and felted it. I'm not 100% sure, but I think I saved money by buying wool yardage and felting it myself vs. buying felted wool at a quilt shop.

This year, I had 55 families on my list. I know. I'm nuts. Once you make my list, the only way to get off is to move and not leave a forwarding address. As I assessed the situation, I realized that I could not get 55 ornaments done and delivered by the 24th. A few cuts had to be made. Since our families have the gift of us, I crossed off members of both mine and Mr. Bug's families, reducing the number of ornaments to be made in 3½ days from 55 to 38. Here are 25 of the 36 I finished before Christmas. 11 had already either been hand delivered or mailed out when I took this and I still have two more to make and send out. Obviously, those are going to arrive after all the decorations have been put away. But it's the thought that counts, right?

Yes, I'm feeling the guilt for cutting our family members from the list. But it was what I could do. I'm starting next year's ornaments tomorrow so I don't have to leave anyone off the list.

My 2012 Finishes

Christmas Greetings
Not everyone who gets a Christmas card gets an ornament, but everyone who gets an ornament also gets a card. Again, the only way to get off the list is to move and not leave a forwarding address. Even then, I may still track you down. We send out 108 cards this year. I've tried to cut my list, but it is pointless. I don't want anyone to feel left out. That includes you, so I hope you won't mind a virtual card.

The Great iOS Debate: Escalated
Ever since the iPhone came out {in 2007, I believe}, I've wanted one. The problem is, I think it is absolutely ridiculous to pay $80 a month for service. When the iPad came out, I kind of lost interest in the iPhone, because an iPad seemed much more useful. I discussed this at great length several months ago, when the iPhone became available through Virgin Mobile, but the debate was tabled because we needed a new oven.

After Thanksgiving, the prices of the iPhone 4S dropped and I decided that it was time. To tell you how truly busy things have been around here, I've had this awesome new piece of technology in my possession for 2½ weeks now and haven't blogged a peep about it.

As a matter of fact, I've already dropped it hard enough to break it, if it weren't for the OtterBox I got to go with it. You can see the divot on the bottom corner, there.

Apple iPhone 4S, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. OK. I won't. Because if I did, I'd go on and on and on for more than you all would care to read. I'm guessing that a lot of people have already lost interest in this extremely long post and quit reading two subtitles ago. So in the interest of keeping it interesting, or at least from getting more long winded and boring, I'll cut straight to the chase. I love my iPhone SO MUCH that I now want an iPad also. Or maybe an iPad Mini. Or maybe both. It is that awesome.

Christmas Joy
Christmas at Bug Cottage was pretty good this year. Mr. Bug and I had the shopping done by the 19th and I have enjoyed watching everyone enjoy their presents. As for me, aside from the iPhone, which is part Christmas and part because it was time for a new phone, I think my favorite gift was a Gingher rotary cutter from my Mom. It was unexpected, unnecessary and extravagant. In other words, it was perfect.

I've already put it to use. About 2½ years ago, Shay and I did a fabric exchange. I sent her some random bits of brown and pink fabrics and she sent me a completely awesome layer cake of Sparkle All the Way. Since then, I've been on the look-out for the perfect quilt to put it to use in. I entertained several ideas, but nothing seemed just right. A couple of weeks ago, I was inspired by the Brights Christmas Quilt Amy over at Diary of A Quilter put together. I hopped on over to her Etsy shop to check out the pattern she used, and found an even better fit for the layer cake. I ordered some Remix dots, found a couple of the Sparkle All the Way prints, as well as some prints from a couple other Robert Kaufman Christmas lines, and voilá. I have a complete kit for one fantastic Christmas quilt. For sometime in the future. Don't mock. It's what I can do right now. And it's all cut out for when I finally get around to it.

We Three Kings
I know Christmas was yesterday, but The Piano Guys' awesomeness doesn't have an expiration date.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Mormon Messages: Wise Men Still Seek Him

Precious gifts to the Christ Child
Upon a holy night were once brought.
But wise men today a new thing are taught;
Give unto others as Christ would have you give.
Remember the season
and echo the reason
for His miraculous birth.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mormon Messages: Christmas Spirit

The Spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul. To catch the real meaning of the Spirit of Christmas we need only drop the last syllable and it becomes the Spirit of Christ. –Thomas S. Monson

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mormon Messages: An Unexpected Gift

You and I may cry out, "No one understands. No one knows." But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands. He can reach out, touch, and strengthen us.David A Bednar

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sabbath Songs: O Come, Emmanuel

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. –Luke 2:10-11

With Christmas approaching, I have been reflecting upon the life of the Savior. I had a moment recently where I appreciated a little more the love that our Heavenly Father has for us in giving us the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Mired down with particularly difficult situation, I came to understand more clearly something that I have been taught all my life. I was listening to what I call "Sunday music" on a regular old Thursday. As I was trying to figure out how to handle things, the lyrics of a song spoke clearly to me, simplifying a concept that I understood in principle, but not fully in practice. We are taught that the Savior led a perfect life. I think that the word "perfect" gets in the way of what that really means because it is such an abstract term. The lyrics helped me to see an alternative word to describe his life; sinless. And it suddenly made sense to me. Because he led a sinless life, He never had the need to feel the weight of or suffer for His own sins. Yet He willingly took the weight of our sins and paid the price for them, so that we could repent and become free from them. He knew He did not have to suffer because of sin but He chose to do it anyway, for us. For me. His Atonement became more personal because I understood just a little bit better what it means to me. And I felt hope.

Shortly after my experience, the Bishop {pastor} of our ward {congregation} echoed this sentiment in his message in the ward newsletter for this month. In reference to the scripture quoted above he said, While Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of all of God's children, indeed the Savior of the world, that isn't what the angel taught. He said simply, "unto YOU" is born a Savior. He was born for you. He was born for me. God doesn't run an assembly line operation when it comes to our lives and ultimately our salvation. Each of us has unique talents and challenges, strengths and weaknesses. The miracle of Jesus Christ is He has the capacity to help and save each of us, regardless of where we live, what we do, the color of our skin, or our unique challenges. The angel's declaration is truth: He was born for you.

Neatly book-ending my experience, I was very touched by this new video from The Piano Guys, which beautifully depicts scenes from the Savior's life. From The Piano Guys: The lyrics of this piece speak of being "ransomed" from captivity. In general terms, at some point or another in our lives we find ourselves at the receiving end of a "ransom" — a rescue by someone or something — even as simple as a note from a friend, a hug from a child, a much-needed vacation, or the unconditional affection of a loyal dog. That is what this song represents to us. ... To many, including us, the story of The Savior is the sweetest and most priceless "ransom" of all. To Him we dedicate this song.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
and ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

Friday, December 7, 2012

What Would P. Do?

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. –Scott Adams

Have you met P.? She's one of my favorite bloggers. She's down to earth, has a fun sense of humor and great taste in music. One of the things that I especially admire is her sense of style when it comes to quilting. She's equal parts vintage and modern, classic and contemporary. She does amazing things with fabric. I love the combinations she comes up with. She has a way of finding beauty in a diamond in the rough and really making it shine.

So when I set out to make a quilt that was a little out of my calico comfort zone, I tried to channel P. Over a year ago, I'd set aside a number of fabrics with sort of an Asian feel to them to make a Sudoku quilt. Most of them came from a friend's stash. There were some really great fabrics in the bunch. Like this one.

And this one.

I really, really love this one.

I usually don't buy more than 1 yard of any given fabric unless it is for a specific project. The fabric I picked for the border and back of this quilt is some I bought for another project that was scrapped { :lol: I love a good pun}, so it became stash fabric and turned out to be just the right amount for this quilt. I was looking forward to making this work because using nothing but stash fabrics for an entire quilt is a first for me. Well, except the dark blue with gold leaves on it, which I bought specifically for this quilt to use in the sashing. But since it's sat in a drawer for a over a year, it totally counts as stash fabric now. Excited about the prospect of spending nothing on a quilt {because everybody knows that once it hits your stash it didn't cost anything} I cut the fabrics up and laid them out. I intended to give the quilt to my brother, who is getting married next Saturday, and his fiancée as a shower gift {for a shower that was four weeks ago}. I laid it all out and was completely underwhelmed.

It is practically impossible to go wrong with fabric choices for a Sudoku quilt. But the lyrics from that song that Mrs. Banks sings in Mary Poppins , though we adore [them] individually / we agree that as a group they're rather stupid, came to mind while looking at the fabrics after I'd laid them out. It was quite a let-down. I'd spent some time auditioning fabrics trying to find the right combination to make something spectacular. I even pieced this fabric so I would have enough blocks in this print {F.Y.I. a fat eighth is not enough to make nine - 4½" squares}.

I left the fabrics laying on my living room floor up on my design wall for entire week, hoping that one day I would wake up and like it. Or at the very least, it wouldn't be as bad as I remembered it.

About day three, I decided that it wasn't necessarily the fabrics that I didn't like, but that the look and feel of this particular quilt were all wrong for the happy couple. So I went in a completely different direction.

Those are my soon-to-be sister-in-law's favorite colors. Some of the fabrics I had in my stash. One of them was even from that same friend who sent me all the Asian fabrics. And I might have channeled P. a little with the pink and green vintage-ish floral, which may be more like 80's vintage than the awesome 60's and 70's vintage stuff that P. does. But hey, I think this quilt works a lot better than the other one, at least for my brother and his almost-wife. Let's hope I get the quilting done this weekend.

I think I'm still going to make the first quilt, which have I decided to call Fusion, because I think perhaps it is not so bad, after all. The possibility of making a successful {ie, not totally ugly} quilt entirely from my stash is just too tempting. I will probably lay it out a little differently. I'm entertaining the idea of switching out one of the fabrics for some of the red that is in the borders and back. There are about sixty zillion possibilities when you lay out a Sudoku quilt, so I might like it better if certain of the prints are never next to certain others. If I have time {and that's a big if; after I finish quilting and binding the pink and green quilt I still have to make blouses and skirts for LadyBug and me for the wedding and then I think I need a nap for a week}, I'm going to make it for my other brother and give it to him for Christmas. I think it fits him a little more.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holly Jolly Christmas: Reprise

Have a holly jolly Christmas
It's the best time of the year
I don't know if there'll be snow
But have a cup of cheer
–Johnny Marks

Yesterday I showed you this cute little table topper that I made for my bowling league Christmas party. It was so fun and easy to put together, so I've written up some super simple instructions and included my holly design.

Here’s what you’ll need:
80 – 1½” squares of red and green fabric; 40 of each color
8½” square of neutral fabric for background
Scraps for holly leaves and berries
15” square of fabric for back
9½” x 17” piece of fabric for binding {makes 2¼”- wide binding}
15” square of batting.

• Appliqué the holly to the background fabric using your favorite method. I used fusible webbing and did raw edge machine appliqué on mine.
• Sew the 1½” squares together into pairs of red and green; alternate colors and make two strips that are 2 squares wide by 8 squares long, and two strips that are 2 squares wide by 12 squares long.
• Sew the 8 x 2 strips of squares onto the left and right sides. Finish the topper by sewing the 12 x 2 strips across the top and bottom.
• Quilt as desired.

One of the things I enjoyed most about making this mini is that I used fabrics from four different people on both sides of the country {shout out to Angie, Iris, P. and Wanda!}. It was fun to think about them as I used the fabric they had sent me. I love how the scrappy border turned out.

The holly design is a composite of things I liked from different images. I liked the shape of the leaves from one image, the cut-outs in the center of the leaves from another, the berries from a third image and the placement from yet a fourth image. There was a little bit of tracing, some free-hand drawing, a circle template and a lot of erasing involved as I pulled the different elements all together to make the perfect holly sprig. To size the holly for the 12" table topper, you can either copy the image and paste it into a Word document or save it to your computer and insert it into a Word document. Then set the size of the image to 8" by 8" and you're done. Or you can download the Holly Jolly Christmas 12" Table Topper PDF, and the image is ready to go. Just remember to print it at original size {make sure the "fit to page" option isn't checked}. If you use my holly, even if it's not for a mini like mine, I'd love to see it! Leave me a link so I can come check out your work!

And what could be more fun than a little music to sew by?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holly Jolly Christmas

Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves. –Eric Sevareid

I think I mentioned that I joined a bowling league. It's been a lot of fun. Once a quarter, we have a little party. On Halloween, they put on quite a Witches' Feast. This week was the Christmas party. When they reminded us last week about the party and gift exchange {translated: I'd completely forgotten we were having a Christmas party, was surprised it was so early and wasn't even aware that there would be a gift exchange}, the wheels in my brain started turning. I always bring a little something to stitch on by hand between my turns at bowling. And the ladies are always curious. I figured that since I already have sixty-eleven other projects that need finishing ASAP, why not start something new to bring for my gift exchange?

Holly is one of my favorite Christmas images. I even have Christmas "china" with holly on it {and I use the word china lightly because I got them in a box set of 8 place settings at KMart}. Last week before bowling I'd been admiring Lane's appliquéd Christmas quilt. I loved the machine appliqué and the scrappy non-Christmas-print-fabrics-but-still-Christmas-y look. I was going for that same sort of feel and came up with a 12" table topper.

It was really fun to put together. There are eighty - 1" squares in the border. I used 34 different fabrics and three different colors of quilting thread. I tried a little McTavishing in the center. Maybe someday I'll get it right. And I'm not completely happy with how the holly puffed up. I think I maybe stitched too close to the edge of the appliqué and if I'd moved out a teeny bit, it would have looked a little nicer.

The gift exchange was really fun. When you got a strike, you got to pick a gift out of the pile. I bowled a strike my first frame {which was a total fluke and the rest of my game was absolutely rubbish} and got the cutest little wooden nativity magnet set on a stable shaped magnet bard. As it turns out, the woman who brought the gift I got ended up getting my gift too. What funny coincidence :wink:.

While I was putting the mini together, I kept thinking of her and hoping she'd get it. She is the cutest lady and I just love her to pieces. She is always the first to come over and see what I'm doing that week and to admire my work. I almost put her name on the tag with the plan to hand it to her under the table and tell her to pretend she drew it out of the pile when she got her strike. But I left it up to chance. Mostly. I probably got us both on the naughty list because when I got there, I told her that she might want to pick what I brought. She winked and told me which one was hers. I'm glad it worked out because there were only a handful of gifts left, mine being one of them, when she got her strike. I'm sure that strategically unattractive gift wrapping had something to do with that. And since I had less than a week to put it all together, I just printed my label instead of doing an embroidered label.

Find tutorial and holly design here.

Today's post brought to you by:
My 2012 Finishes

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Stitch In Time: November Finishes Giveaway Winner

We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same. –Anne Frank

Thank you to everyone who participated in the November Finishes Linky Party! I am excited to announce the winner, drawn by LadyBug. She picked #17.

Happy Ever After

Congratulations to
:partytime: Simple Sew :partytime:

She will receive a Rolie Polie of Happy Ever After by Sandra Workman from The Fat Quarter Shop. Simple Sew had two other finishes this month, #16 and #28, so if you have a minute, click on over and check them out.

The December Finishes Linky Party is open, so you can link up as you go throughout the month. Remember to include the December Finishes button {code found in the December post} somewhere in your post. The giveaway, sponsored by The Fat Quarter Shop, for the December drawing is a Fat Quarter Bundle Amour Pam Kitty Love by Pam Kitty Morning!

Amour Pam Kitty Love

Today's post brought to you by:

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Stitch In Time: December Finishes Linky Party

I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday.

Welcome to the December Finishes Linky Party! So far this year 553 finishes have been linked! That is amazing! Thank you to everyone who continues to participate! I hope we can all find a little time in the busy Holiday season to complete one or two more projects and finish out this year with a bang!

To participate in this month's linky party:
• Finish a project {finished as in done, finito, nothing more to add, ready to use/display/give away} with some sort of stitching in it and blog about it or post a photo of it on Flickr.
• Scroll down to see what other bloggers are up to and link to your own finishes.
• Please include the December button in your blog post. Copy the code in the text box below and paste it somewhere in your post. The button is a link back here, so that other bloggers can find their way over and link up too.

• Each time you link up a finished project, you're entered to win the December giveaway, a Fat Quarter Bundle of Amour Pam Kitty Love by Pam Kitty Morning!

Amour Pam Kitty Love

Check out the fun "Back to School" quilt-along, featuring Pam Kitty Love, over at The Fat Quarter Shop's blog!

• Thank you to The Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring our giveaway!

The Fine Print {which might be boring but you really should read}:
• Projects must include stitching of some sort. For example: appliqué, crochet, cross-stitch, embroidery, knitting, practical sewing {garment construction, bags, curtains, etc.}, quilting.
• Projects must be completely finished. As in done, finito, nothing more to add, ready to use/display/give away.
• You can pick something new to do, but projects do not have to be started during the month. If you pick up a UFO, Ph.D, WIP and finish it during the month, it counts.
• Finishes must be completed during this month, but you have until noon MST on the 1st of the next month to link your post.
• Post about your finish and then link your specific post {instructions here} above. Links to your blog and not the individual post about your finished project will be deleted.
• Have more than one finish this month? Great! Post about each finish individually and then link the specific posts up separately. Each finish, and therefore each link you add, counts as one entry for this month's giveaway.
• If you've already posted about a finish for this month, there's no need to do a separate post. Just add the button to that post and link up.
• Please copy and paste the code below to include this month's button somewhere in your post {not your sidebar}.

December Finishes

• Don't have a blog? You can link from your flickr account. Just post a picture, include a little note about your finish and a link back here {code included below} in the description. Then join the linky party.

• Make sure to visit a few of the other links and leave them some love {ie, a comment}. A good rule of thumb is to visit two links for every one you include.
• Winner of the sponsored giveaway will be drawn randomly from among the links and announced by 8:00 pm MST on the 3rd of the following month.
• Instructions for making an index page to your finishes can be found here.
• Kindly consider changing your comment settings to the pop-up window option for faster and easier commenting for visitors to your blog. Instructions can be found here.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Travelogue: {Not So} Sunny California

My guests, you're welcome here,
Be at your ease.
Get up when you are ready,
Go to bed when you please.

I'm happy to share with you,
Such as I've got,
The leaks in the roof,
And the soup in the pot.

You don't have to thank me,
Or laugh at my jokes.
Sit deep and come often,
You're one of the folks.

Thursday, November 15
9:20 am
Mr. Bug just called and said that his work is offering tickets to a pre-screening of Breaking Dawn, part 2 at 5:00 pm or 6:15 pm. It would have been nice to have a little more notice. I'm flying out to California tomorrow morning to meet up with the Twi-Quilters who live there, it is a work night for Mr. Bug and I don't feel comfortable leaving the Little Bugs alone for that long. We decided the responsible thing to do is not to go.

Being responsible sucks.

3:31 pm
My office-mates were talking about headaches and I noted that it's been almost three weeks since I had a migraine.

I hope I didn't just jinx myself.

6:13 pm
I'm off work at last. T-minus 16 hours and 57 minutes. I have so much to do before I leave.

6:43 pm
Where did I put my phone? It's not in my purse. It's not in my coat. It's not in the car.

Of all the days to leave my phone at work . . . I don't have time for this.

9:47 pm
Ugh. Driving to work once a day is bad enough.

9:59 pm
Please let my phone be here. Please let my phone be here. I forgot how much I hate this stupid lock. Please let my phone be here. Please let me get this door unlocked.

10:01 pm
Good. My phone is here.

10:21 pm
Home again. I just want to go to bed. I have too much to do.

11:39 pm
I've been lying in bed for at least 20 minutes. Why am I still awake?

11:47 pm
So close to sleep . . . but I forgot to put my camera on the list of things to take. Oh, and the batteries need charged. And the memory card is still in the card reader on my computer. Maybe I should get up and take care of that?

No. I'll remember. I'll remember.

Friday, November 16
6:00 am
What is that noise?

Oh. That's right. I changed the ring tone on my alarm so I wouldn't sleep through it.

6:00 am and 10 seconds
There's Mr. Bug on the land line with my wake-up call.

Why can't I find a phone?

6:14 am
How am I going to fit everything in a carry-on? I guess I can make due with only one pair of shoes, but where's the fun in that? My hair dryer is bulky and I really do need to bring clean undies. Why didn't I book with an airline that allows a free checked bag?

I remember now. If they loose my luggage I'll have to wear the same undies for my entire trip.

6:21 am
There's no way I'm going to fit everything into a carry-on.

7:02 am
It is not worth the stress. I'm going to pay for a checked bag.

Why didn't I have Mr. Bug get the suitcases down from the attic last night?

Oh, yeah. Because I have some silly penchant for clean underwear.

7:15 am
It wasn't as hard as I thought to get the suitcases down from the attic.

I'm glad I didn't fall off the ladder.

7:56 am
I just dropped Grasshopper off at school. It's a miracle he wasn't late this morning. He gets up at 6:00 am on weekends, but when he has to go to school he won't get out of bed. Teenagers.

One down, one to go.

8:29 am
Phew. LadyBug is at school.

I need to be out the door in 31 minutes.

9:14 am
Late as usual, but I'm finally out the door.

9:18 am
Longest. Stoplight. Ever.

9:20 am
Oh, no. I left my boarding pass on the kitchen table. I really, really, really hope the electronic boarding pass I had them send to my phone works.

9:47 am
Uh oh. I hope that what I'm feeling on the left side of my head is not what I think it is. I mean, c'mon. Can one person have this many migraines? It's not a migraine. It's just the stress of getting everything ready to go this morning.

Yeah. That's it. It's just stress and once I get settled in, I'll be fine.

10:08 am
Car parked. Row and shuttle stop noted.

Shuttle successfully boarded.

10:23 am
Wait. Is this my shuttle stop? I didn't hear what the driver said. What terminal are we at? What airline am I flying? Is this my shuttle stop? OK. I see the sign. This is it.

I love the airport. So many beautiful people off to exotic destinations or going back home.

10:27 am
I'm cutting it close. They start boarding in 20 minutes.

My bag is checked and I'm headed to my gate.

10:28 am
Which gate did she say?

10:29 am
I'd better make a quick pit stop.

10:37 am
I got through security without too much hassle. I was able to find some Dramamine. And lucky for me, they still have those screens with flight numbers, times and gates.

10:49 am
I kind of don't like flying. Except it is better than a road trip.

Mr. Bug told me that when he was in the Navy there were a few sailors who would throw up as soon as the whistle blew to signal they were underway.

Just walking down the sky bridge to the plane makes me queasy. It must be the same psychosomatic reaction.

11:01 am
We're pulling away from the gate. Eeee! I'm so excited.

12:06 pm
We've moved one time zone backwards, so I've got an extra hour. And we arrived a little early.

So glad I didn't get airsick.

12:19 pm
What is taking the baggage so long? Is this even the right carousel? Did they loose my suitcase?

I knew it. I'm doomed to three days in the same undies.

12:21 pm
False alarm. There's my suitcase.

12:22 pm
There's Iris! I'm so excited to see her! What a cute jacket! And it is so nice of her to pick me up and show me around.

I'm meeting Colleen for the first time. It is really nice to finally meet her in person.

12:38 pm
The city of Oakland is really very pretty. I love the architecture. Those buildings with the green roofs are very pretty.

Oh, and look, there's the Oakland LDS Temple on the hill, there.

1:14 pm
Iris and Colleen picked a really yummy Italian place for lunch. I love it!

2:00 pm
Is there anything better to do than to shop for fabric with friends? Iris picked this particular shop because they have lots of batiks and she knows I'm stash building.

The ladies here are very . . . friendly.

3:00 pm
Those ladies sure were chatty. It took forever for them to get us cut. I got some good batiks, though. I'm excited about that.

Next stop, San Francisco.

3:12 pm
What a fun trip. I'm enjoying catching up with Iris and getting to know Colleen.

Iris warned me before I came that it was going to be rainy. She said it was sunny the whole week before and was forecast to be sunny next week, but that it would be rainy the entire weekend. It's a good thing I like rain.

Maybe we'll get to see some Cullens.

3:57 pm
We've been across the Bay Bridge, which was pretty awesome. I've never been on a suspension bridge, at least I don't think I have.

We're on our way to the Golden Gate Bridge now.

4:24 pm
It was a pretty amazing thing to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. It's not something you do every day.

Unless you live in San Francisco.
{Colleen, Iris, Me}

4:35 pm
We're going to dinner in Napa. It will probably be too dark to see the vineyards as we drive through, but that's OK. I'm enjoying the conversation.

6:12 pm
It's not stress. It's a migraine. Or maybe it is stress that's causing the migraine. It seems like every time I go somewhere I get one. Good thing I came prepared.

Maybe I'm allergic to travel.

6:48 pm
My meal comes with a goat cheese souffle. I have no idea what to expect. I've never had goat cheese before.

Or a souffle, for that matter.

7:02 pm
The goat cheese souffle is fantastic! Wow!

9:17 pm
Iris is so kind to let me stay with her. I've seen pictures of her girls, but it great to meet them. They are such cute girls!

Saturday, November 17
12:02 am
Sleep-overs are even more fun when you're a grown-up. Iris made pumpkin pie—so good!—and she gave me a tour of her beautiful home. The best part was hanging out in her sewing/craft room. She showed me all of her fun projects.

My favorite was the Twilight quilt she is working on. She has it up on her design wall and she's done some really amazing work.

9:32 am
Today we're going to Sacramento to meet up with Jerri Lynn and Wanda. We're going to see the movie. You know. The one about sparkly, teenage vampires.

11:30 am
What a fun morning with Iris' family. It really was great to get to know them.

I need to remember to bug Iris for that recipe for French Toast Souffle. It was amazing.

1:38 pm
I think Wanda is the biggest Twi-Hard of us all. She dressed up the island in her kitchen with Breaking Dawn themed items, put together Twilight themed swag bags for us and she even invited Edward to the party.
{Iris, Me, Edward, Jerri Lynn, Wanda}

2:12 pm
It is so fun to meet Jerri Lynn in person. I've know her forever, but it is really good to put a face with my friend. She looks different in every photo I see, so now I have a fixed image in my mind. She brought here Twilight quilt. I've seen it in photos, and love it, but it is so much more amazing in person. Wow!

4:04 pm
Lunch was awesome. Again, lots of fun conversation and catching up. Our next destination is the movie. Finally.

It has been hard to contain my enthusiasm.

4:18 pm
Ugh. I just can't stay ahead of this stupid migraine. The medicine only dulls it, but I guess that's better than nothing. I won't enjoy the movie at all if I'm fighting to ignore the headache. Since I'm headed to the concessions stand for a soda, I'll get souvenir cups for everyone. The ones with Edward on them.

I love that I can show my geek with these ladies.

4:30 pm
Squee! It's starting!

6:48 pm
I loved it! I mean, I really loved it. And I loved what Stephanie had to say about it.

11:48 pm
Yep. Sleep-overs are better when you're a grown-up. I'm staying at Wanda's tonight. I have really felt like "one of the folks" this weekend.

Our little group really is made up of amazing women.

Sunday, November 18
3:58 pm
It really has been an extraordinary weekend. Aside from the migraine nonsense. Wanda and I went to brunch this morning, with her adorably awesome husband. Then we went to church. It's kind of an odd combination of things to do. But there it is. My plane is about to take off now.

I'm anxious to get home and see my family. I've missed them.

7:38 pm
Oh, no, no, no, no, no! I put my suitcase in the back of the Trooper, locked the back door, and as it was closing I realized that I am not holding my keys. It's too dark to see in the windows. They're not in my purse. They're not in my pants pocket. They're not in my jacket pocket. What am I going to do? Can I call airport security from the shuttle stop? Do they even help with that sort of thing?

I need a plan.

7:39 pm
This can't be happening. I just want to go home.

I'd better check my pockets one more time.

7:40 pm
I'm a dork. I big one. I freaked myself out for nothing. They were in my jacket pocket after all, just not on the side I usually put my keys.

I'm on my way home, and there's no place like it.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm A Mormon: Lindsey Stirling — Hip-Hop Violinist

A lot of people are really surprised when they hear that I'm Mormon and that I do hip-hop violin. I want to stand for the fact that I haven't compromised any of my values and you can be what you want to be and you can stand for everything you want to be at the same time. –Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey competed on America's Got Talent in 2010. She makes beautiful music. And she's a Mormon.

Get to know Lindsey at and hear more of her music and see more of her unique style on her YouTube channel.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Grateful and Thankful: Top 10 Edition

Gracias, danke, merci—whatever language is spoken, “thank you” frequently expressed will cheer your spirit, broaden your friendships, and lift your lives to a higher pathway. –Thomas S. Monson

Growing up, there was this little old man who attended our ward {congregation} and whenever he was asked to pray, he always included a large number of things that he was “grateful and thankful” for. We thought he was being superfluous as he included those same words, “grateful and thankful,” in each of his prayers before every item on his very long list. And so we called him The Grateful and Thankful Man. Upon further reflection, I don't think it is possible to be overly grateful and thankful for anything we are blessed with.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I really like the idea of setting aside a day to be grateful and I like making lists, so this post is my top ten things I am grateful and thankful for this week.

1. When I was putting my list together the first thing, or person, that came to mind that I am grateful for was Mr. Bug.

Mr. Bug and I are as different in temperament as it is possible for two people to be. He is patient and kind and so easy-going. That's one of the things I love best about him {and also one of the things that drives me the craziest about him}. There is a song by Snow Patrol. It's called Chasing Cars. You've probably heard it. It's one of those seriously overplayed songs. There's a line in there that always makes me think of Mr. Bug; I need your grace / To remind me / To find my own. Over the last 16 years I have learned by his example to be more patient, more forgiving, kinder—to find my own grace. Thank you, Mr. Bug. I love you.

Disclaimer: Items #2 and #3 on my list are NOT ranked in that order. I am equally grateful for both of them, but I list them this way because that is the order in which they were born.

2. Oh how I am grateful for my little Grasshopper.

Actually, Grasshopper is not so little anymore. He's as tall as taller than I am. In the last 17 months, he's grown 6½". If he continues at that rate, he'll be 7' 2" tall by the time he turns 18 :lol:. He's really turning into a neat person. He has a fun sense of humor. He makes friends easily and treats everyone with respect. One of the things that I love best about him is that he doesn't take himself too seriously. He's happy with who he is, even when I tell him he's got huge, knobbly Hobbit feet, which is only appropriate since he eats like a Hobbit. Thank you, Grasshopper, for being you.

3. I am ever so grateful for my LadyBug.

LadyBug is the most amazing girl I've ever met. She is sassy, witty and has great timing. She's creative. She's thoughtful and polite, obedient and cheerful. She's determined and knows her own mind. And she's a restful person to be around. Thank you, LadyBug, for being you.

Shameless Plug {for which I receive no compensation}: I'd like to thank Mr. Bug's brother and his wife for the amazing photos! Matt & Krystal did a wonderful job. They live here in Springville and are offering a 15% discount on their already low prices for anyone who mentions my blog when you book a session with them. Check out some of their other amazing work at MK Shoe Box Photography.

4. I am grateful to be me. Sometimes it is hard to live in my own head; I tend to be not very nice to myself most of the time But today I am giving myself a break. I'm thankful for my quirks and idiosyncrasies. I'm thankful for my strengths, but I'm also thankful for my weaknesses. I love my blue eyes. I love that I always have a plan. I love that I am organized. I am thankful to live where I do. I'm thankful for the experiences that have made me who I am. I thank thee, Heavenly Father, {it seems rather impertinent to address deity using the common vernacular, so I hope you'll pardon my formal phrasing} for all that thou hast blessed me with.

5. I am grateful for talents. Specifically, I am grateful for the talents I have. I am so glad to have several things that I love to do and that make me happy. Thank you to everyone {mom, I'm talking mostly to you, but also to my teachers, mentors and friends} who has helped me to develop my talents.

I am also grateful for those who are willing to share their talents and who add beauty to the world. There are so many talented people out there who have influenced my life. Whether I know you personally or not, thank you for sharing your talents with me.

6. I am grateful for family—both immediate and extended. You don't get to pick your family, but if I did, I wouldn't choose a single one differently. Thank you for being who you are.

7. I am grateful for friends—old and new, distant and near. You do get to choose your friends and I'm glad I chose you and that you chose me. Thank you for your kindness.

8. I am grateful for beautiful music. This kind of overlaps a little with the talent category, but I think that it is separate enough to deserve its own mention. I am thankful for composers and performers who make music that elevates my soul, enlightens my mind, speaks my thoughts, calms my fears and makes me happy. Thank you, musicians, who have spent countless hours practicing so that I can enjoy your music.

Shameless Plug {for which I receive no compensation}:
Available for purchase from ThePianoGuys
The Piano Guys album available for purchase from ThePianoGuys, at Amazon {on sale through December 1} or on iTunes.

9. I am grateful for the beautiful things of the earth. To list a few, I am thankful for the renewal that spring brings, for the majesty of the mountains I live near, for green grass, for tall trees, for flowers in every shape and size, for orange sunsets and rainy days, for new-fallen snow, the heat of a cloudless summer day, and for starry nights. I thank thee, dear Father, for the beautiful world thou hast created for me.

10. I am grateful for my job and not only that, but that I am able to work. There are so many good things about my job. My hours are flexible. There is plenty to do while I'm there and I can leave when I am done. I can take time off when my family needs me. I like what I do. Thank you to my employer for keeping me around.

This list is really only the tip of the iceberg. I think one day of thankfulness is not nearly enough to be properly thankful, so I'm going to work on being more aware and more verbal about things I am grateful for. Perhaps, after all, being known as The Grateful and Thankful Man or Woman is something to aspire to.