Monday, December 24, 2012

It's Christmas time!

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

2012 Tree
Richard and I had our Christmas last night.  Today we are going to head to my parents and have Christmas with them.  Richard got me a new camera (since I've lost mine and have been using my phone since May.  Oops) and thought that I should have it to take pictures of my Dad when he opens his quilt.

I had my mom over last weekend (?) and made lots of Christmas cookies!  Since both of my Grandmas have passed away this year, we were going to miss our annual cookie plate.  I think I'm going to keep this rolling with my mom every year.  It was a lot of fun :)

Here is how I destroyed my Dad's quilt.  The blue really doesn't look so bad in the picture, but it was horrible.  Probably since I spent so much time and money on that stupid thing.  Pam suggested that I get some fabric markers and paint over the blue.  I did and the end result is OK.  The right (center) corner is one that I painted over in the right picture.  It is white, but it is also pretty stiff.  I painted 4 out of 6 and left the other two because they were pretty light.  I'm hoping he doesn't notice!

To keep the Sparty theme rolling I also made a wall hanging as a secret Santa present for one of Richard's cousins.  I hope she likes it.  She studied zoology and now works with the penguins at the Detroit Zoo.  Richard said it was going to be the best gift out of them (and I really hope so).  Basically, they all think I'm a country bumpkin, so I hope this isn't too.... crafty(?) for them.  At my wedding shower I had to explain to them what "canning" was and then they all looked at me like I was outside of my mind.  

I hope you have a very merry Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Terrible.

I tell you what, I am super pooped after this weekend.  It was, basically, ridiculous.

The good? I finished my MSU quilt.  See?

I loved it, was so happy with it.  (Thanks USGS hand models.)

The bad?  My house hates me.  More to come.

The terrible?  My MSU quilt hates me.  I put it in the washing machine on Saturday morning, no big deal.  Threw in some color catchers for safe measure.  I pull it out and drape it over some chairs to dry.  Then I see it.  6 white strips are blue.  OMG.  There's someone from best buy in my house talking to Richard so I back slowly away and start cleaning before I have a mental break down, since Christmas is only two weeks away.  

It's the fat-quarter snowflake fabric I bought from a quilt shop.  I would have never guessed that fabric would be a traitor!  As soon as I find the rest of it, to the garbage can it will go.  I spent the day alternating between trying to avoid it to preserve my sanity and fixing it so I didn't feel like my heart was ripped out.  I found synthrapol at a quilt shop about 45 minutes from me.  The closest one, and they are closing!  Horrible.  Since I've started quilting I have seen 3 shops go out in my general radius and I feel terrible every time.  

I took it to a laundromat and used the synthrapol but I couldn't figure out how to work the giant washer so that it would give hot water, because of course they are not fancy and you can't pick your settings.  Great.  It still came out with 6 blue strips.  I brought it home, nearly defeated.  Richard rallied me and we tried scalding hot water in the bathtub.  That was terrifying because green water was everywhere.  I abandoned ship after about 5 minutes and threw it back in the washer to rinse with about a box of color catchers.  We pulled it out and as a last ditch effort we grabbed a tide-to-go pen.  It lightened it, but not enough.  It took a whole pen per strip and it's still blue.  Now, I'm defeated.  Pam said I could rip them out and reverse applique new strips in.  I can barely think about it, but I know I need to make a decision swiftly.  

On Sunday, Richard dragged me out to find a Christmas tree.  I used to love finding Christmas trees.  Get all pumped up with adrenaline, name them even. Now I dread it.  It's cold and they are never good enough for Richard.  And it's seems to always be raining.  I think this Christmas was a giant fail for me from the beginning, so I'm going to blame past events.  Like buying all our gifts for a sponsor child and finding out that the information was wrong and everything was actually asked for by another child that is sponsored by someone else.  My sister's gifts?  She didn't ask for anything because she already bought herself stuff.  So I cut her a check.  Richard?  He bought himself golf clubs.  My mom cut us a check.  Richard's parents?  They bought us a ping-pong table.  GREAT!  We are never, ever going to use it.  Ever.  And to fit it into our basement we have to move my treadmill to an area of the basement I loathe.  Double fail.  The worst part is that Richard wants this monstrosity and I can't tell him how mad I am because he doesn't know about it!  Hopefully this holiday season swiftly turns in a better direction.  

Has anyone had this problem?  Not necessarily a fabric bleed, but more like a fabric absorption   Any words of wisdom before I go mad?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tula Pink Swap!

Last night I helped Pam and Pauline bundle up fabric from the Tula Pink Swap Pam hosted and I participated in.  I'm not going to lie, I was skeptical about the fabric because some of this designer's stuff is just out there.  That said, I'm in love with quite a number of the pieces I got!  I went through my stack this morning and had to share my favorites!  

We were so busy putting the stacks together that I barely took notice of what fabrics came in.  As I was thumbing through the stack my coworker pointed out the red print, and said "look, another turtle."  What?  Oh my gosh, sea horses too!  The green turtle is my favorite so I was pretty thrilled to have more little turtles grace the pile.  The lion eating the woman was pretty great too.  I have no idea what I'll do with her, but she is fantastic.  Maybe center her and just make a wall hanging?  Who knows.  

I got my MSU quilt back last night too (YAY!) and I've conned my coworkers to help me take a picture of it today!  Hopefully the sun makes an appearance for the photo shoot!

I've also got quite an adventure ahead of me this weekend in our basement, but I will tell you of our escapade, and the reason for it, later.  Hopefully we can make something amusing out of it.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A new project! With a deadline..

Oh my gosh you guys.  I'm going to make a baby quilt.  My cousin is pregnant!  I can't even wait!  I love the baby already and I want it here now but he/she won't be here until July!  That's just too long!

Mama Spark made a couple of Noah's Ark quilts a while back as a gift and I love them.  Her quilts, combined with a previous interest and my desire to make my cousin a baby quilt (eventually) made me start quilting!  And I'm soooo happy that I did because now's the time!  Mama Spark generously donated me the remainder of her fabric from the project because it is no longer in production.  It is the All Creatures Great and Small by Moda and I knew I needed it for Amy.  I even got enough to make myself one :)  
(Thanks again, my friend- you've helped make me so happy to be able to do this!)

Anyways, I know it's not much, but I was so happy that I needed to share!  

I'm getting my MSU quilt back from the quilter and then I only have one more side to bind on it!  I also started a mini MSU wall hanging (which I think I told you) and I'm done sewing the blocks and I'm hoping to trim them all up tomorrow evening and sew it together this weekend!  YAY!

Off to field work!
Hope you're having a lovely day!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Crafty Item: Sewing machine cover!

One of my Crafty projects this month {and to be honest, last month} was to make a sewing machine cover.  I followed the pattern used in the Holiday Lane Blog Hop, but I altered it because I didn't actually want to have a winter cover.  I hate the cold.  And also because who knows the next time I will actually make one of these.  My cover is very simple.  See?

ignore the mess!

I had to measure my machine and alter the pattern so the scale would look right, and because I'm a country girl and dislike close houses, I decreased the amount there were and added some super cute trees in their place.  I love them.  They are my favorite part!  I embroidered a {giant} bird, and she's also pretty cute though she doesn't stand out very well.  I might add more decorative stuffs later. 

To make it, I worked on the front panel, then added enough fabric to cover the top and back.  I lined it with batting and some white fabric scraps that my Grandma had and I inherited and quilted it very simply.  Vertical lines on the front and diagonals on the back.  Then I added the sides.  It was kind of an experience since this was my first 3D piece I've ever done, but it came together.  Then I machine bound it, which I like because it looks much more like grass.  Mama Spark made one which more closely follows the pattern.  Hers has open sides that tie with ribbon.  There is a fancy tutorial and everything!  If you'd like to know how I made mine, let me know!

I want to make another one out of strips of batik fabrics and add a pocket so I can store some notions.  Someday :)  I hope this gave you some inspiration for your own sewing machine covers!

I also started an MSU wall hanging last weekend as a secret santa gift for a cousin.  It is basically a mini version of my MSU quilt-in-progress for my dad.  By the way, it is nearly done!  I can't wait to show you!  Hopefully I'll wrap that up this upcoming weekend!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Things of string

Hey guys!  It's been a while!  I've been super busy, just like many of you!  It is the holidays after all.  I have been working on a few projects, one of them is made of string!

I needed to learn how to knit to made some adorable baby booties for my cousin who is trying for a baby so I used a day when I was sick to lay in bed and watch youtube.  I made a cabled tea cozy!  I didn't finish it in that day, though, because I had to rip it out 5 times to get it right and then I still messed up and decided to keep going {Oh right, just like how I sew}. 

It doesn't look too bad though, if I do say so myself :)  I just need to add buttons and snuggle it against my favorite mug.
Other things that have kept me occupied:  our house, vacation, and field work. 
We are refinancing our house into a lower interest rate so DH and I were frantically running around our house before and after vacation of these last two weeks trying to get things done for the appraisal.  We finally boxed in our office.  It looks amazing!  We also had to repaint a ceiling and put in lots of new light fixtures.  I finished putting up curtains in every room {which I'm still blown away from}, and then I had to patch drywall and paint.  Plus the cleaning.  Oh my gracious, the cleaning.
Before we left for vacation to Florida, Richard decided that he needed to complicate matters for us.  He was changing a light bulb that hangs over our staircase.  Sounds simple, but to reach it you have to use a ladder that converts to scaffolding, cover the scaffolding with wood, and then top that with another ladder to reach it.  Richard got that far by himself since I'm so terrified of heights that just standing on our landing is a victory for me.  Well, he needed help folding the ladder back into its "standard" position so when I helped and walked away I said, "Now don't forget to lock that ladder before you put up that ceiling fan."  20 minutes later I heard a decent thud.  Normally thuds in our house are followed up by a "Are you OK?" .. "Yes I just dropped the {hammer, drill, level, tote, chair, etc}".  Not this time.  I got a lot of grunting responses.  I thought he had broke his foot but after bounding upstairs I saw the ladder had gone through the wall and Richard was on the floor holding his hand which seemed to be bleeding quite well.  I knew my first aid from work would come in handy!  Downstairs to our bathroom we went where I wrapped him and told him we needed to go get stitches.  Since we still had so much to do, obviously he refused until our nurse neighbor said to go get them.  Thanks Kelly.  Off to the urgent care we went where I nearly passed out and the doctor made me lay on the bed with Richard until I got some color back.  We decided that I might not be able to handle children.

But doesn't it look wonderful??
New lighting!

 Then we went to Florida.  It was a short trip, but we had fun doing basically nothing.  We did go to the Miami Seaquarium though, and it was pretty fantastic.  I thought there would be more fish, but it was mostly marine mammals.  Whatever, I'll take it :)

I hope you all have a very happy thanksgiving! Doing any black friday shopping??  I hear JAF has some pretty good bargins...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween ya'll!

My pumpkin.  Richard's lame and didn't carve his this year.
Best costume I've seen tonight:  Publisher's Clearing House Girls.  One came with the giant check, the other had the balloons.  Awesome.
Hope your evening was spooktackular ;)

Monday, October 29, 2012

In other news...

I finally have a husband again!  Richard took his last preliminary actuarial exam on Thursday and he passed!  Oh, I can't tell you how happy I am!  This last exam he took was super difficult and actually not applicable to his job- it was basically just knowing a ridiculous amount of math for knowledge sake.  It usually takes people upwards of three times taking it to pass.  Which is ridiculous.  This was Richard's second attempt and he made it!  I was super nervous that he had spent literally every hour he was home studying for it to not pass.  Now though?  I have no idea what to do with him.
I'm so used to cleaning and spending time alone in our house so when he's around now I am just confounded.  Saturday morning I was unloading the dishwasher and he was standing there staring at me because he didn't know what to do with himself either.  So I told him to put away the utensils, haha!  He did it wrong (which impressed me since he takes silverware out of the tray thing every day...), but at least I didn't have to do it.  And yesterday?  He vacuumed.  And cleaned his office.  And took out the garbage!  I KNOW!
Since he has passed though, life suddenly got super busy.  We had dinner together Thursday to celebrate, went out with his co-workers Friday night, lunch with his parents Saturday, Halloween party Saturday night, then oil change/transmission flush/new tire shopping for my car (see ya $600), stop at Kohls and BBB, grocery shopping, speed made freezer meals for Richard's mom {who's having surgery when we are going on vacation next month}, throw in some craft time here and there, then sickness.  Ugh. I felt it coming on for a few days but last night was the worst.  I stayed home from work today and haven't really left the bed.  It's just me, Annie, and the vaporizer hanging out.  In theory, DH and I are gutting pumpkins tonight and carving tomorrow since we just didn't have the time for it this weekend.  If we don't have them done by Halloween, I think it will be the first time in my whole life I didn't have a pumpkin!
Wish me luck :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I was super excited for Friday Night Sew in this month, first because I remembered it and second because I had lots to do!

I didn't actually sew much, but I basted my MSU quilt, failed horribly at quilting it, and made a couple projects that I have been wanted to make.  See?

cute pincushion with storage

kleenex travel case
My MSU quilt is too big for my machine and I am horribly disappointed that I can't do it myself.  I'm also pretty sure I will have to rip out the stitches I did do before I send it off.  I feel so much more accomplished when I complete a quilt start to finish on my own, but since it is so large I don't think it can be helped otherwise!  I'm going to start the label on it soon too, probably next weekend.

I also drew out another project to start working on and I'm hoping that it will come together quickly so I can show you what it is!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

MSU Quilt Top

            YAY!  I got my MSU quilt top all sewed up this weekend.  It went relatively quickly because all I had to worry about were the seams.  It was nice that NOTHING else had to match.  It doesn't really look much different from what I had showed you before, but here it is! 

I am going to have DH help me take a better picture of it, but his exam is on Thursday so I rarely see him even though he's home.  Only 4 more days and I'll have him back for a while :)
I need to sew together the backing next.  I bought some spartan flannel- I'm hoping there's enough so I don't have to design anything on the back, but I'm planning for the worst.  I still have a few things I need to get done before Christmas, though I'm hoping they don't take as long.  I need to make a couple tissue covers {the little ones}, finish sliced apples and donate that, make a phone case, and get a sewing machine cover done.  I'd like to make a cover for my kitchenaid mixer too, but I just don't know if I'll have time.  Fall field work is going to be ramping up soon and will last until just before Christmas so I'll have my hands full again shortly!  Any new projects you're starting? 

Saturday, October 13, 2012


OK, so... I can't decide what I like better.  The first has a diamond in the center and it just radiates.  The second has LOTS of diamonds.  It's kind of busy, but I think it makes it interesting.  If you were getting this as a gift, which would you pick??

Monday, October 8, 2012

Oh My, MSU!

Ok you guys!  I never thought I'd ever get to this point with my MSU quilt!  I've been busting my hump this weekend and I got over 70 green blocks done for this thing!

I had to use a spare bedroom to lay it out and it just barely fit!  I haven't made the final layout yet, but I was just super excited to get it to this!  I need my weekend to be 2 days longer! 

In other news I tried out a couple different recipes this weekend that were pretty spectacular.  The first one was a taquito recipe.  The ingredients sounded yummy but I had no idea why they were called "little tacos" until DH told be you buy these out of the frozen food section.  Huh.  I don't know why anyone would since they are ridiculously easy to make (and to freeze for later!).  So anyways, if you like those things you should totally make these because DH says they are WAY better than the kind you buy.  I made one batch as a meal and then made another and put them in the freezer for later. (Also, I only used .5 t chili powder and no lime juice- I didn't have any).

I also tried out a vegetable chowder.  The flavor was good but mine didn't really thicken like it was suppose to.  Next time I'm going to try with cornstarch since I always have more luck with it.

Right now I'm making apple chips and I just canned some applesauce.  I tell you what, I've never made it before and it takes a ton of apples for not much in return!  I'm rethinking this for next year.  I still have some left from our 1/2 bushel and I don't know if I should make apple butter or apple jam again.  We'll see what DH has to say about it! 

Happy Columbus Day!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Yummy fabric buys!

This week I've gotten lots of packages!  Fabric, bedding, and clothing!
I'm participating in a swap for Tula Pink fabrics and I got 2 packages in the mail.  I attempted to buy yardage from but they cancelled 3/4 of my order 5 days after I placed it because their website wasn't up to date.  *Sad face*  So, I ordered from someone I've never bought from before:  Pink Chalk Fabrics.  They have a super cute website and their prices for what I purchased were good.  Plus the package came looking like it was wrapped in love.  When I opened my order from and my order from pink chalk I was amazed at the difference- even down to the care they took to fold the fabric!  And pink chalk wrote "Thank you Stacy" on my order form.  That was nice- I'll even overlook that they forgot the e!
So anyway, this is what I got from Pink Chalk Fabrics:
Little Bits (bottom) is what I'm swapping
This is the additional I got from
I like The Birds & The Bees line from Tula Pink and was nervous that we wouldn't get much in the swap.  Sadly, I was right so I'm glad I bought some extra.  I will probably have to supplement, but I'll wait a while yet.  This will probably be the last swap I do for a while too.  I'm finding that I like entire lines of things and not necessarily random fabrics.  My stash just isn't big enough yet to have anything to supplement with!
I also went to viking sewing in Ann Arbor this week because I was scared I was running low on greens for my MSU quilt.  The fabric shops by me either went out of business or have a very small selection, so I have to venture far and wide to get what I need. 
I have lots I want to do on this gloomy day!  We went to a cidermill (last week maybe?) and bought a half bushel of apples so I need to can some applesauce and some applebutter.  I also want to work on that MSU quilt today.  I think I might squeeze some in this morning before my doctors appointment!  I've cleaned the bathroom and kitchen so far and I'd like to run this afternoon.  OH! And I'm going to try out a new recipe for dinner tonight!  Baked Taquitos!  I'll post the recipe if it is yummy! 
Have a lovely day! 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy Weekend!

Even though it's over :)  I'm thrilled because I got everything on my chore list done!  I rarely say that.  Like, ever.  Then I got more done.  AND I even had me time today!

Because I had me time I decided to work on my Dad's MSU quilt.  Technically, that was on my list too, but I count it as "me" time because it's sewing :)

See the mess I made?  It was fabulous.  I'm going to get back to it shortly, but I thought I'd share my world with you!

I cleaned that aquarium this weekend too!  My fish are much happier..
Wanna see what else I did?

Our fantastic sea world bathroom has been transformed into one that anyone can use!  And by anyone, I mostly mean adults.  And by that, I really mean no one since we rarely have stay-over visitors.  I fixed the hole under the window, painted it tan, and added a towel ring.  Then I had to clean it.  Ugh.

 Do you remember the horrible pink room?  Probably not, I don't know if I've ever actually told you about it... but you can see it here.  Well now it's yellow!  We had extra paint from our master, and because it came out waaaaaaay to bright yellow we mixed it with white to tone it down.  It gave us a lot of leftovers.  So I fixed the hole in this room, then painted everything.  The ceiling, walls, closet (which was also pink...) baseboards, trim, and doors.  I was so tired of painting.  Then I assembled a bed out of the bunk beds my parents brought over a couple weekends ago with the assistance of a ladder.  Richard was home but he was working, as usual, so instead of bothering him I propped up one support on a ladder so I could bolt it to the headboard.  Then I had to get a mini scaffold we had to hold up that side while I bolted the other one with the ladder technique.  I was pretty stoked about my ingenuity.  And that Richard had no idea what in the world I was doing up there.  He is pretty proud of what I got done!  We don't have any twin stuff so I bought some sheets at target and ordered a mattress pad and comforter today from kohls.  I'd like to make a quilt for it.... someday...

I also de-strawberried my flowerbed.  I planted 2 strawberry plants from a co-worker last year and they literally took over everything.  See the bigger flower bed?  Every bare patch was covered with strawberries.  I transplanted a lot of them to this little area between our air conditioner and our patio.  I'm hoping they are going to be quarantined there, but who knows.  They have a mind of their own.  There are still some remaining strawberry plants in the flowers because I found the praying mantis again and I didn't want to disturb it too much.  I think he/she liked my forest of strawberries.

I also made raspberry jam and sauce this weekend!  I haven't tried it yet, but it smelled delicious :)  Next weekend I'm going to can applesauce!

Anyways!  Back to sewing.  I think next weekend I'm going to lay out my quilt again to see the progress.  Stacks of blocks just don't o it for me :)  I'll show you if I'm as productive next weekend as I was this weekend!

Have a lovely week!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tula Pink? You know you want some!

Mama Spark is hosting a Tula Pink fabric swap that I'm going to play along in.  28 people swapping 28, 10" squares- and there are plenty of openings if you want some Tula Pink variety in your life.  I'm using Little Bits from The Birds & The Bees.

cute, right?
I also bought some coordinating fabric from this line, just in case there are not too many.  Better to hedge my bets I thought- plus it got me to free shipping and more is better than less :)

If you like Tula Pink, play with us!  You need 2 yards for 28 10" blocks and the deadline is Oct 31.  You can find all of the information about it here.  Check under "Sign up for the swap" under discussions, review the rules and if it sounds good to you use the handy-dandy form to sign up.  Mama Spark will post your name in the list.  Review the fabrics, pick one and post a photo of it!

I'm excited to see what lines pop up!

Hope you're having a lovely afternoon!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lifestyle change!

A while back I decided it was time for a lifestyle change since I was tired of being out of shape, and let's face it- diets don't work.  Like everyone else, I had been steadily gaining weight since college and when I saw my weight on the scale this summer I was mortified.  Hence, lifestyle change. 

I got this app on my phone called MyFitnessPal which allowed me to set a weight loss goal, track my foods, and input my exercises.  I used it more as a learning tool to see what I was actually eating and how much activity I was getting a day.  Brutal.  I logged my foods for about 3 weeks until I was learning what I should be eating and how much I should be running.  So far I've lost 8 pounds!  It is all from areas which are unseen to the general public, but I'm much happier with what the scale says.

Now I'm not counting calories but I am much more aware of what I intake and how often.  It also helps that I've essentially made healthy snack options as the only ones available in the house.  Now- don't get me wrong, I still eat chocolate, but I don't crave it nearly so much since I've stopped eating so many sweets.  It's like once you eat one, your body wants more!  Solution?  Stop eating them apparently and your body wants things like grapes instead.  Weird.  I also started running again so I feel much better about eating a piece of pie after I've had a good 45 minute run :)

Anywho!  I've been pretty busy with household stuff still, but life is showing signs of returning to normal.  Remember how I was destroying our upstairs while Richard was away for so long at work?  Well I've finally started putting it back together!  Pictures to come...  And now we have CURTAINS in the living room!  Apparently all I needed to do was go to TJ Maxx and buy tension shower rods and curtain panels.  Plus a bunch of other stuff, like a calphalon stockpot for $50!  Real curtain rods for this size: $40-60 each.  Tension shower rods: $15.  Perfect.

Richard won't let me go shopping alone anymore
I really need to finish my MSU quilt for my dad for Christmas so I pulled that back out this weekend.  I seem to have gotten bored with it and I found that brainstorming quilting patterns for it has given me a little more push to work on it.  Do you have any ideas?  It is essentially a giant block S.  I'm not sure I have enough green fabric for the strips so I may be on a hunt for more green soon...
While I've been busy, Annie just follows me around causing trouble.  Or if she is really bored by my activities, she finds a nice pile of blankets to snooze on. 

Yes, those are my clean shorts Anniekins.

Hopefully this weekend I will have some progress to display!  I hope you're all having a good day!