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A Life Full of Laughter: January 2008

"All that I'm after is a life full of laughter...."

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Friday, January 25, 2008

"Idoleyes" got me thinking

Although I am pretty much obsessed with quilting there is another thing that verges on obsession.......reading! I really do love to read. Over the past few months I've sorta gotten away from it but I've come up with a plan. Every night my husband goes to bed around 10:30 or 11:00 because he has to get up so early for work. I am a major nightowl so I don't like to go to bed until atleast midnight or sometimes even 1:00. Usually I would just come back downstairs and get stuck on this computer or the television. But starting last Tuesday I've decided to stay in our bed & read after he goes to sleep. I love it! I am getting atleast an hour and usually more like two hours in every night. It feels good to be reading again!

The book I started on Tuesday & actually finished last night was "Idoleyes" by Mandisa. She was a contestant on Season 5 of American Idol. I don't know how many of you out there are watching American Idol but I absolutely love it! Actually I pretty much love all the reality shows on right now!!! Season 5 was probably my very favorite year of American Idol because I really, really liked Chris Daughtry. I thought for sure he would've won & I still believe that he should have. He's awesome!!!!! Anyhow, Mandisa was on that season too & we all liked her alot as well. I was really looking forward to reading her book.

I am so glad that I read this book and would recommend it to anyone! She is so down to earth and such a "real" person. It was fun to read about the behind the scenes things with American Idol. The biggest thing I loved about this book though was reading about her Christianity and the way she tried to live her life. She is very close to God and very strong in her beliefs. I would imagine it could've been difficult to follow the path of American Idol and remain grounded in her religious beliefs but she did it with flying colors.

This book really got me thinking about my own relationship with God. I want to work on it. I want to feel the strength that Mandisa writes about. She relies on Him for everything and I want to be that way as well. No, she isn't perfect & she writes about doubting God after she got voted off of American Idol. But she also overcame that and her faith was stronger in the end. I have already learned from her that I need to trust God and really follow where I feel he is leading me. It's a wonderful gift when such a small book can make me open my eyes and change my life!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Past wallhangings







I thought it would be fun to post some pictures of the past wallhangings I've made. I just got interested in even doing wallhangings about a year ago. I really like to make actual quilts that we can cover up with - it seems more worthwhile. But once I tried the wallhangings they go so quickly that it is fun! The order they are posted is the order that I made them in. The first one is a Christmas Sampler type quilt. I went to the Quilters Cache site and picked out four blocks I liked and made them into a wall hanging. The next one is for Valentine's Day. I think I can't remember where I got the pattern for the heart blocks but they were pretty easy to do. Next is my Spring wallhanging. I made that one right before we moved into our new house. I've always wanted a house with a picket fence all the way around the yard. This house has that and I just had to have a wallhanging with a picket fence as well. I appliqued all the flowers onto the background. That was a major learning experience as I had never done applique before. The last one is just a general one to hang whenever there isn't a holiday. I did this one with the Disappearing 9 Patch pattern. I love that pattern!!! It's so quick and easy but yet looks like it is difficult!! It was fun to look back at all the wallhangings I've made. It's amazing to me to see how much better I've gotten just in the last year. That is very encouraging!!!
Oh, in case anyone is wondering -- Ashley's basketball game won again today!! They are undefeated right now with a record of 3 - 0!!! YEA!!


Friday, January 18, 2008

1930's?

Gosh, I haven't posted in quite some time! Shame on me!!! I've been busy with work & homeschooling. I have been reading lots of e-mail groups though - especially all the quilting one! I love them! It is so great to hear about what other people are doing & I end up with so many projects I want to do. Right now something I am very interested in making is a throw sized quilt out of 1930's reproduction fabrics. I think that style of fabric is so pretty! Just so girly and pretty! :) I was wondering if any of you have any good sources for 1930s fabrics at a very reasonable price. Unfortunately money is tight so I know I can't pay too much. I'd like to atleast start working on collecting some of this type of fabric to eventually put into a quilt. Also, once I do gather all the fabric what type of pattern would be good to do? I'd like something that will show off the beautiful fabrics but also something that could've been made in that time period. Oh...and something fairly easy because I'm still not too confident in my quilting. I think I'm going to post this on my e-mail groups as well. I'm sure between here and there I'll get lots of great ideas and suggestions! Bye for now!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ranting

Okay, I need to rant for alittle bit. Today was a birthday party for my neice at one of my husband's sister's houses. All of his family don't really go to church or have the same type values that we do. They drink & curse & basically just don't live the way we do. It is so frustrating to me because they all like to make fun of us - really just me & Ashley - that we are so good and don't ever do anything "bad". Instead of seeing it as a good thing they see it as a joke. Something to laugh at and make fun of us over. When Tom was growing up he did alot of the same things they all do but then after we started dating - he was 19 when we got together - he stopped all that stuff. Since then he has grown into a wonderful Christian man. We are trying to raise our daughter with those values & she is so strong in her Christianity as well. I hate that whenever we are at family gatherings with his side of the family it always turns into teasing and making fun of us for being Christians, not drinking or cursing, homeschooling, respecting each other & having a very strong marriage. They also tease Ashley about never leaving home because she is homeschooled and why isn't she more interested in boys or rap music or whatever. It just stinks that they can't support us at all. Or at the very least that they can't keep their opinions to themselves. I am so happy with how our family is. I feel as though my husband treats me better than any other husband that I know. I also feel as though Ashley is the best 14 year old I know - none of the usual teenager drama to deal with. I wish they didn't tease us but I also wish that I didn't let it get to me. I wish that I could just ignore it & not get all worked up. I know we are striving to live the way God wants us to live - that is all that should matter!!

On a happier note Ashley had another basketball game today & they won!!!! It was close but they pulled it out!!! Now they are 2 - 0!!!!! :)

Dad & daughter time



Tom and Ashley had some dad and daughter time tonight. I am so happy that he is willing to spend special time with her! She is very lucky to have such a great dad & he is very lucky to have such a great daughter. They went to the gym to mess around with basketball some & then they went shopping. She had some Christmas money as well as babysitting money. It was burning a hole in her pocket so she wanted to SHOP! I had to work so the two of them went without me. I think it is so great for them to spend time together alone. She is almost 15 and really needs to build a strong relationship with her dad. She's growing up so quickly and will be gone to college before we know it. I love that they are making the effort to spend time together now. She wanted to get a purse while they were shopping. He was playing around and teasing with her. They have so much fun together. And then - I can't really believe he did this but he says it was safe enough - he let her drive the car alittle bit in an empty parking lot!!!! She was scared to death at first and she tells me she didn't go over 10 mph. It sounds like they really had a good time tonight. I am just so thankfully that I have both of them in my life. I can't imagine my life without them!!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Stash storage

My first poll has ended and the results are in. The majority of voters sort their fabric stash by color. I have to admit I'm not really surprised by that. I suppose that makes the most sense.

I don't really feel like I have that big of a stash yet. It surely doesn't even begin to compare to some I've seen pictured on the internet. My stash is growing slowly thanks to some amazingly generous friends I've made through e-mail groups. It is wonderful the way these women have sent me boxes and packages of their "cast-off" fabric. I can't even put into words how much I appreciate that. And the funny thing is that they always tell me that I am doing them a favor by helping them to bust some of their stash! It is so fun to get the packages in the mail & to know that these same fabrics have probably been used in different quilts all throughout the world. So neat!!

Right now I have two ways of sorting my fabric. First, any pieces that are a fat quarter or bigger I fold and put on a bookshelf in my sewing room/computer room/WAHM area. I use the technique that I learned about wrapping the fabric around my ruler and folding it in half. The edges line up so neatly and I can see just what I have by scanning the bookshelf. All of the folded fabrics are going to be sorted by color. They were before we bought this house but in the move they got put on the shelf in random order. I hate to admit it but we have lived here for about 9 1/2 months and I still haven't gotten around to sorting them by color! That is the plan though!!!!

The second way I sort my fabric is by size. Some of the fabric that people have so generously given me have been scraps and strings. I especially love getting these packages!!!! It is so much fun to play with all the scraps! Whenever I receive anything in the mail I work on getting it divided up into the correct tub. I have one tub each for 3.5 inch strips, 2.5 inch strips, strings & crumbs. Then I also have a container that I'm storing my 2.5 inch squares in as I accumulate them. If I can cut any of the scraps into squares or strips then I do that first. After that they get cut into random sized strings for the string blocks. Finally anything else gets put into the crumb tub. My goal is to keep up the cutting and sorting with each set of scraps that I come across.

As far as using my stash I try to use the fabric in the tubs first and go to the shelf after that. Of course sometimes there are pieces on the shelf that I just have to use. And then of course I have to admit that sometimes I can talk Tom into letting me buy some new fabric! I love, love, love the Quiltville site because there are so many easy patterns on there to use my strips with. I'm also hoping to use them up with my new Eleanor Burns book I got for Christmas. The strings I always use for my string blocks that I'm making for the Heartstring quilts (I promise to post some pictures of them soon for all of you that don't know what they are!). Then the crumbs they will come in handy for so many different things. Of course, I can use them in corners for the string blocks. I also want to give some of the techniques I've heard about a try. Like the crumb blocks that Bonnie talks about on her site & also the mile a minute blocks. I'm not real sure on how to do them but hopefully I can learn!

The hardest thing for me in sorting my stash and even quilting is learning about value. It is very, very hard for me to figure out about "lights", "mediums" and "darks". I think I have it figured out and then when I add another scrap to the pile it seems to change everything. I get so confused and then I get frustrated! Since I really love scrap quilts so much I know that I need to learn about color value. From what I have heard on shows like "Simply Quilts" it is what really makes the pattern stand out on a quilt. I just don't know how to get the different values down pat though.

I could go on and on talking about sorting and storing fabric. Tom & Ashley both think I'm crazy but I can't help it! I'm addicted!! :) Bye for now!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Christmas Cardinal



This was a wonderful surprise just a few days after Christmas! There was a beautiful Cardinal right outside my front window. He doesn't show up too good because of the bush he is in. Hopefully you can make him out though. Beautiful!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Some more finishes




I finally uploaded a couple pictures of the baby quilt I made for my very good friend Jessica. She had a beautiful baby girl in November & I got the quilt finished in time! :) This was the hardest quilt I've ever made. I'm pretty proud of how it turned out.

Here is also a picture of the Step One blocks from the Quiltville Mystery. My colors are going to be red, blue & tan like Bonnie. I decided to go with 2.5 inch strips instead of 1.5 because I thought they might be alittle easier to handle. I hope it still turns out alright! Now I need to get working on Step Two!!

I've really enjoyed all the comments from everyone regarding my blog. It's so fun! :) bye!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Two very different New Year's resolutions

I've been thinking alot about New Year's and my resolutions. I've come up with two very different ones. Hopefully I can work on putting them both into action! The first one will be pretty easy but it is the second one I'm worried about.

First, I'm going to work on making Ashley do more things that she doesn't want to do. I know that probably sounds mean but let me explain myself. She is 14 1/2 years old and basically doesn't want to do anything ever. She'd be happy to stay in her room playing on the computer & watching tv all the time. I want to work on pushing her just alittle. I'm very blessed to get to homeschool her but sometimes I think that just adds to the problem. She has very little structure in her life. She's also very shy, like her dad, and finds it tough to reach out & be social. So for part of my New Year's resolution I'm going to work on pushing her to be alittle more outgoing and social. Basically I'm just going to try to convince her to do a few different things that she doesn't think she wants to do just because it is easier to stay home & be with us. She probably isn't going to like it very well but really what does a 14 1/2 year old like most of the time!! :)

Second, I'm going to work on NOT making Tom do things that he doesn't want to do. I have a problem of being controlling in our marriage and always wanting things to be my way. I try to convince or beg Tom do always go along with things the way I want them. I'm going to make a HUGE effort to stop that this year. I am going to work on not trying to manipulate him into doing anything that he doesn't want to do. He is a great husband and I need to just appreciate him the way he is. He should never, ever have to do things he doesn't want to do just because I'm trying to make him. Now, this is going to be very hard for me. I really hate to admit that but it is true! I suppose secretly I'm hoping that it turns out that the things I think I'm "making" him do are actually things he wants to do on his own. But if not then I need to be alright with that too!!

So, I pray that God will help me to keep these two resolutions. I really feel as though the will help make both my husband's and my daughter's lives better in the long run. I hope I can do it!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Quilting plans for 2008!

Okay, I need alittle bit of accountablity for the coming year! I really want to get serious about my quilting!!! I thought if I put some of my goals for this year onto my blog then it will motivate me to actually get to work! :)

One, I started collecting 2.5 inch squares last year for a huge Y2K type quilt. I wasn't really active with my quilting in 1999 & 2000 so I missed out on all the fun. I want to make a Y2K quilt now though! I am working on gathering atleast 2000 different 2.5 inch squares for my quilt. So many of my wonderful internet friends have been very generous in sending me squares. Please keep them coming!!! I need to really get serious on organizing this project though. I have everything in a big plastic tub but haven't gotten much further than that. I am thinking I should sort them by color so I can be sure I don't have any duplicates. That is an overwhelming job though. I want to just start sewing them together. That would be more fun! Either way I really want to devote some time to this project. By the end of the year I would love to have this quilt completely finished!

Two, I have gotten very interested in the Heartstrings Quilting Project. It is such a great charity!! I love making the string blocks - they are so easy and thoughtless!!! Just sit down and sew. Perfect for stressful periods in my life! I've made a few of these blocks and plan on making alot more. Again, there have been very generous people who have sent me packages full of strings. That is so great! I hope to really get working on these blocks and get some quilts put together. I am hoping to donate them to the local children services office for children that are currently in foster care. Tom & I used to be foster parents but it just got too difficult on me to seperate from them when the went home. I'd still like to help those kids though & I thought that Heartstring quilts is the perfect way.

Three, I really want to get working on my Quiltville Mystery quilt. Of course, it isn't going to be much of a myserty to me because I'm still reading along with the e-mail group. Atleast I'll know that my fabric is going to work & have an idea of how it will go together! Anyhow, I've got alot of the strips cut & have actually even sewn a few of step one together. Of course, I think step five is supposed to be posted this week so I'm super far behind. That is alright though because I'll catch up eventually!

Four & five, I really, really want to make nice quilts for both our bed as well as Ashley's. It will be fun to pick out the fabric & pattern for ours. And I really think Ashley would have a ball picking her stuff out. Plus it would be nice years from now to have two really nice & special quilts that I made for each of our beds.

So there you go. I suppose that is not many plans in comparison to some of you. But for me it seems like a ton of stuff to do!!! I'm just going to take one day at a time! :)

Past quilts



I thought it would be good to post some pictures of past quilts I've made. Now please don't judge me too harshly! I just started a few years ago and I'm not very good still. I love doing it though. I don't get too worked up about if the points are matching or whatever. I just love the process of quilting. And it is so awesome for people to look at something I've made & admire it!! That is the best!!!!! :)

The green and maroon one is one of the first quilts I made. It was a simple Irish Chain but so much fun to do. It's on our bed now & has been for quite a few years. I'm hoping to make a new one for both our bed as well as Ashley's this coming year.

The blue quilt is another one of the first ones I made. I don't know the name of the pattern. It was one that I found in a Woman's Day magazine and wanted to make. I think I must have put it together wrong though. The design was supposed to be a diamond shape instead of a "V" shape. Oh well, we'll call it creativity!!!

The scrap quilt is a really fun one that I did. I am lucky enough to homeschool my daughter & we call this one the "Homeschooling Quilt". One of the e-mail groups I belonged to decided to swap squares with each other. We were all homeschoolers and thought it would be fun to make quilts that included fabric from everyone. This is probably one of my favorite quilts that I'll ever make!

The denim & red quilt was a special one I made for my husband. It is the first rag type quilt I made. I knew I wanted to do a denim rag quilt but wanted to add a heart to it as well. I decided to use the red flannel & peice a heart into the center of it. I love the results!! The bag looks so neat also because the heart shows up there as well. This quilt is super heavy & warm. It's a great quilt for outside with picnics and things.

The scarlet & grey quilt is also a rag quilt. I made this one for my brother Nathan for Christmas. He loves Ohio State so I thought he'd like a quilt like this. It was fun trying to figure out how to make the big "O" in the middle out of the black flannel. I love the way it turned out!

The plaid quilt is also a rag quilt. I think I got alittle obsessed with them for awhile! They are so quick to put together. Of course I really do hate clipping all the edges. That part isn't fun at all!! Anyhow, the plaid one was just for us here to cuddle under while watching tv or whatever. It's nice & warm - perfect for reading or watching tv. I also used some of the leftover fabric to make a few throw pillows. You can never have enough of those!!

So, those are the quilts I've made so far. I'll post pictures of my wallhanging another time. Thanks for browsing & I love the comments!!
 
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