Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey Lurkey wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving. He also wishes he wasn't a cupcake, since cupcakes also get eaten on Thanksgiving Day.

Since dinner for our family is at 5pm, that means I have all morning to sew!! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sneak Peek at the New Baby Quilt

There it is. How cute is that going to be?
If you've been playing around on Pinterest, you may have seen and idea of what this will be by the end of next week. If not, you will just have to wait. I'm planning on using Wednesday and Friday of next week to work on gifts. And boy, do I have gifts to work on.  We just found out last week that another close friend is pregnant. She's 12 weeks along, so I have some time to work, but not much. She has requested that her baby blanket be crocheted, so I have to get to gettin' on it if I want to finish it in time to give at her baby shower.
But I got all that fabric cut last night. I'm so proud of me.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Working Again

I have been cutting fabric for the last two nights. I am so excited. First off, I found another I-Spy swap. Since I started collecting I-spies int 2010 the only swaps I have participated in have been of the 4 inch variety like Obsessively Stitching hosts. She has everyone find quarter yards of 10 fabrics that they cut into 4 inch squares. It has been a while since she hosted one though, and I had been collecting every time I was at a fabric store. I had fat quarters all lined up and ready to go. When I searched for swaps on Google, all I could find were other, random sized swaps. I didn't have enough fabric to participate. And then one day, in my Google Reader, with angels singing acapella in the background, one of my regular bloggers was talking about the swap she had just joined on Hammer & Thread.  I literally did a happy dance on the couch while clicking through to all the correct links to comment and join the swap. (And yes, I am using the word "literally" correctly in this instance. I actually wiggled and danced on the couch.)

Now all the fabrics have been cut and I will be going to the post office either today or tomorrow!! Aren't these just the cutest prints?

I'm not sure which is my favorite. I love the ants and the ladybugs, but the monkeys on the far left are adorable, and the pink cats are just funny. I think the dinosaur skeletons are pretty unique, though. I can't wait to see what everyone else contributes, so I can add to my collection.
Tonight I will begin cutting more fabric for another baby blanket. A close friend is 7 months pregnant with her second, a boy. I am making a cuddle rag quilt for him. I'll post sneak peeks at the fabric next time.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lazy Blogger Apologizes

So, it seems like it's been a while since I posted last. I knew it had, but I was a bit surprised to see it was over 6 months ago. To be honest, I haven't been very inspired lately, so the crafting has dropped off a little. I still have a pile of WIPs and to-dos, but I haven't done much. The most I've worked on was on Election Night, when I crocheted a baby blanket while watching the returns come in. I actually ran out of yarn for the blanket, so to the store I must go today to get more.

And since the blanket is a gift, I can't post pictures yet (not that the recipient would see it, she doesn't follow here, but it's the principle of the thing.). So in an effort to start up again, I found a book meme I will answer for you today.  If you  noticed in my sidebar, I have a Goodreads goal for the year. I am trying to read 80 books by December 31, and while I'm not exactly on target, I feel pretty good about reaching it. Last year, I read 66 total, so to have already read that many by the beginning of November makes me feel good, anyway. So here goes...

1. Do you remember learning to read? How old were you? I do not remember learning to read. But reading has always been a part of my life. My mom tells stories of how during naptime as a toddler, I would keep jumping off her lap to grab more books to read instead of taking said nap. And there's another story from when I was about 5 where my mother fell asleep one Sunday afternoon, and when she woke up, she panicked because she didn't know where I was. She was terrified I had gone outside to play, and our driveway led to a busy street. But when she tore through the house, she found me in the corner of the living room with the bag of library books we had checked out the day before. I had read them all. I do remember our weekly trips to the library, but in m mind, I'm about 7.

2. What do you find most challenging to read? Non-fiction, especially war histories. I love history, and always have a list of books I want to read so I can learn more about particular eras, but so many of those books are dull and dry. I do enjoy biographies, though they can be just as dry.

3. What are your library habits? Right now, DH and I are going once a week. He loves to read as well, but the local library has a decent collection of video games he is working through. I have a paper list that I had created from my Goodreads shelf that is color-coded by what format I can get the book in. If a book is available as an audiobook or for my Kindle, then that's how I'll check it out. I have yet to purchase a book for the Kindle. They have all been library loans.

4. Have your library habits changed since you were younger? It would be more appropriate to say they have cycled. When I was a child, like previously explained, my mom and I would go to the library once a week,  on Saturday. That lasted until I was about 10-12. For a while, I checked books out at our church library, but once I was able to drive and had a job, I mostly purchased my books. We had a great used book store in my hometown, and that was my main source, although I did collect some series new from the store. It wasn't until I had graduated from college and moved to a new town that I rediscovered the library. I was poor. I had a part-time job, and no cable. The library in my new town had a massive collection of books on CD. I listened to books in the car, then brought them in to listen to while I cross-stitched. It's been that way for 8 years now, with a visit to the library at least once a month, although lately once a week.

5. How has blogging changed your reading life? Not at all. As you know by now, I am not the most dedicated of bloggers, so blogging doesn't affect my life much at all. 

6. What percentage of your books do you get from: New book stores, second hand book stores, the library, online exchange sites, online retailers, other? New book stores: 1%. Used book stores: 10%. Online retailers: 1%. Library: 88%. 

7. How often do you read a book and NOT review it? What are your reasons for not reviewing? (okay, this was borrowed from a guy who's entire blog is based on his reading, so I've adapted this question to fit my usage.)  When I first opened my Goodreads account, I occasionally  reviewed them. When I read the difference between my reviews and others, I began to feel like an idiot. So I stopped. But that's not the whole reason I don't review books anymore. With all the attention to protecting our online identities, I Googled myself one day. Since I have seriously curtailed what is visible on my Facebook page, the only thing that showed up in the results was my book reviews. And to be perfectly honest, I don't want potential employers seeing what I have read. They couldn't pull up my lists, but they could see my reviews. So I deleted all the reviews that were left, and that was the end of my reviewing. I give them star ratings, and that's all I need personally anyway.

8. What are your pet peeves about ways people abuse books? Dog-earing pages? Reading in the bath? Since I both dog-ear pages and read in the bath......My biggest pet peeve about books is the covers. When I shop in the used book stores, I always search for the book whose cover looks the best. I hate bent corners and broken spines. 

9. Do you ever read for pleasure at work? Yes. As a substitute, I usually read during planning period. And sometimes, the group of kids I have is good enough that while they are reading after finishing their work, I can pull my book out as well. Although that's not very often. 

10. When you give people books as gifts, how do you decide what to give them? I usually don't. What I will do is buy that person a gift card to purchase their own. My thought behind this is that I don't want someone buying me a book that I may not like. I'd rather have the gift card and choose for myself. 

11. Other book related thoughts or comments? I know I'm not the only one out there who feels this way, but when I collect a series of books, the cover art all needs to match, and they need to be a similar format (hardcover or paperback, e.g.). My husband both laughs at me for this and gets very frustrated when I want to purchase a book I already own in a different format so that the collection will be complete. Two examples: 1)When I started reading Twilight, I bought the book in paperback. But when I went to purchase the others, none were available in paperback yet, so New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn and Bree Tanner are all hardcover. I want desperately to replace Twilight, but every time I try, I am laughed at.  2)I have collected all of the Sword of Truth series. This one bugs me on both levels. They changed the cover art halfway through the series, so now I have to make them match. But the biggest issue with the series is that the final book was published .25in narrower and .5in taller than the rest of the books. Since then, the publisher has not changed the size of any of the books, so the last book will always stand out from the rest. 

For those of you who don't know, Goodreads is an amazing website where you can track all of the books you have read, want to read, and are currently reading. You can read reviews from other readers, rate and review the books yourself, join reading groups, and find other books that match your tastes. You can find your friends from other social networking sites and see what they are reading. Plus, you can get emails each month with new books that match authors you have read, as well as match your reading preferences. I'm not being paid anything to say these things, I just love the site. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Pinterest.....??? Never Again

It has been such a busy last two months of school, and I have worked most of the available days each month, I have not been a creative crafty person at all. But I have spent loads of time on Pinterest, planning on what I would do once I had time to call my own again. (I did enjoy my year of substituting. The kids were great, and even though I worked mainly in 3 schools, those 3 schools kept me busy!)

But now school is out. Time is mine again. So it's time to play. So last night I decided to play. I found a cute pin on rag curls.

(I'm not sure how best to link with Pinterest involved. If you click on the link, it will take you to the original blog post, not to Pinterest. I welcome any suggestions on how to do this in the future, because I am sure I am going to post more on my pinned ideas.)

You see how soft and perfect her curls turned out? That is what I wanted. This is what I got.

The money you see in the mirror is from our Financial Peace University. It's fake, but it reminds us to always have an emergency fund.
Early morning, and my scarf stayed in place all night! I thought it would be odd sleeping in the scarf with the rags all wrapped around my head strangely, but it wasn't.

The tied rags. I thought I'd go for the lower curls, like she did in the picture.

Ummmm....why are my curls not pretty, loose and perfect spirally like hers were?! (BTW, this is not the first time I've tried rag curls. It is also not the first time I've gotten exactly this result with them either. But I thought she was on to something with her method!)  You can see it in my face, this is not what I was expecting.

 All the rags unrolled. From the piece that is not curled, you can see just how long my hair has gotten. It's almost to my natural waist. So the rags did make curls, just TIGHT ones. But this is still not as simple and pretty as hers were. And now what am I supposed to do with them?  Well, I can tell you this....the answer is NOT finger comb them.....


So, I'm not sure what to call this. It's not really a Pinterest Fail, because I did get curls. Just not the curls I wanted. I think it's the start of a whole new category: Pinterest Never Again.

Which now that I write it makes it sound like I'm not going to play on Pinterest again, which is not the case, so maybe it's more a Pinterest Flop. Either way, rag curls and my hair are a no-no.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Once a Month Cooking, part 2

My mom came for a visit last week and we completed all the recipes that I hadn't previously, and added several more. Turns out we love having the lunch options. They defrost by the time it's lunchtime, and it allows my leftovers from dinner to stretch further. I don't know that its actually saving me any money, since we have to buy extra groceries to make the lunch options, but it's great.  So here's the picture of my freezer, nicely packed with lunch and dinner options. (The breakfast options are in the freezer door, so they are not visible in the picture.!)

There were more, but we have eaten three freezer bags worth of food in the last week, since I'm such a slacker when it comes to posting here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Once a Month Cooking

This month I decided to try a new cooking strategy. Playing around on Pinterest, I have seen so many ideas for freezer cooking, and after following numerous links, I finally hit on the best website. Once a Month Cooking allows you to have one big cooking day, freeze everything, and then only have to do minimal cooking the rest of the month. I thought "This is fabulous!" and immediately called a friend and planned a joint cooking day.

Fabulous was not the word I needed. My friend and I make awesome cookies in a two day marathon, so I figured we would do even better cooking full meals. Somehow, we didn't accomplish our entire menu. We had a lot of fun making what we did but only finished about a third of the recipes. Admittedly, we enjoyed a tornado watch in the basement in the middle of cooking, but I think I overestimated what we would be able to accomplish.

Since Friday, I have slowly worked to finish the rest of my meals. I have washed two loads of dishes, and made a mess of my counters three times.  But I have all but three of my meals completed and frozen. Yay me! If I can remember to, I will take a picture of my full freezer to post here when the rest of the meals are frozen.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cat on a Quilt

If you have cats, then you will understand today's post. We all know that kittens generally want to be right in the thick of whatever is going on, even going so far as to jump into our laps to see what it is we're working on that can be so much more important than petting them. My kitten is no different. If I'm crocheting, she is right beside me, batting at the yarn wrapped around my fingers and being hooked. If I'm cross-stitching, she is in my lap, watching the thread go in and out of the material. When the hubs and I want private times, she is.....well, you get the picture.

Which brings me to today's set of pictures.

"This is mine."

"This is mine."

"This is mine, too."

"Oh, I like the blue version, too! This is also mine."

She even has to test them out while I am sewing the bindings on. Every time. Do you know how hard it is to turn the quilt to access the unfinished sections of quilt edge without violating the Prime Directive of Fuzzy Law (which of course is --Do NOT, under any circumstances, move the fuzzy!)?

I will say, I have noticed that neither of my cats knead on the quilts. Which is good, 'cause I might have declawed them myself if they had started that abhorrent practice. They'll knead on the fluffier blankets, but not the quilts. Which leads me to the conclusion that kneading doesn't fluff up the surface they are about to lie down on, it helps squish everything down. Quilts are usually made with low-loft batting, so they need no squishing. They are perfect. Made just for cats. Didn't you know that?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day (and a quilt, too)!

Yes, I know that it's actually the 15th and Valentine's Day was yesterday, but I awoke this am at 5:40 so I could make my hubby the biscuits and chocolate gravy I wanted to make him yesterday (alas, I was without enough Bisquick). The biscuits are done, the chocolate gravy has been thoroughly enjoyed, and he has left for work. So now, I am wide awake at least an hour before I normally would be. Unless substituting, of course.

Sitting and playing around on ye ole Facebook, I saw a post from my cousin about her new babies, and said to myself, "Self, you have not yet showed the completed I-spy quilts for the twins!" Well, I can remedy that!

Two matching quilts, side by side. 88 different I-spy fabrics in each quilt, for a grand total of 176 different I-spy squares! (I have become obsessed with I-spies. That's what happens when you start swapping!)

A little bit closer detail. I used the Disappearing Nine-Patch tutorial from Obsessively Stitching, but I'm sure there are others out there. Be forewarned. If you start following Care on Obsessively Stitching, you may become as obsessed with I-spies as she and some of her followers - like me!- have become!

Here you can see the quilting detail performed by my fabulous machine quilter Jean, as well as the AWESOME striped fabric I found to make the binding with. I loved both of my binding fabrics so much, I went ahead and bought a full yard of each to make binding out of, so we'll be seeing these bindings again soon!

You can't see the quilting detail very easily in the pictures I got of the blue and orange quilt, but it is a cute half moon and stars pattern.

The newly arrived twins live about 7 hours from me, so unfortunately there are no pictures of the twins enjoying the quilts yet. But rest assured, the babies are healthy and adorable!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Liz Cakes, Part Deux

I have had so much fun playing with cupcake design. When I fist began playing out of the Hello, Cupcake series I made them for family and friends, and occasionally for DH to take to work.  It wasn't long before his coworkers began asking if I could make cupcakes for them personally, or for a child's birthday. So I began experimenting. Here are some of my favorites.

Mickey's Clubhouse: I used jumbo cupcakes to make the base of the clubhouse and Toodles, and marshmallows to make the shoe.

A Scooby-Doo party: The Mystery Machine and Scooby-Doo.....

......and Velma, Fred, more Scooby, Shaggy and Daphne. The characters were made with chocolate melt wafers.

Optimus Prime: I borrowed the design basics from Robo-Cup (What's New, Cupcake) and found a first generation toy online that I sketched out. I used silver metallic sugars, chocolate covered mini doughnuts and mentos. The head was a vanilla wafer dipped in chocolate melt wafers, the face hand drawn very carefully.

I think Optimus is my #1 favorite.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Liz Cakes!

One of the neatest things about the new Blogger Dashboard is being able to easily see which pages people are viewing. It seems that people really enjoy the cute cupcake designs, and I realized I still have many cupcakes that I have not posted!  So here are just a few....

DH's birthday cupcakes, from What's New Cupcake

Fat Cats, from Hello Cupcake

Fake-out Backyard Grill, from What's New Cupcake
 I love making all these cupcakes. They can be pretty time consuing the first time or two that you play with the decorating ideas, but as you get the hang of it, things seems to get easier. Word of advice? Wear a large apron and keep a damp washcloth nearby for wiping your fingers off as you get icing and other yummy treats on them. I truly believe that the icing seeps into your bloodstream via your pores, so you'll get a big enough sugar rush without having to eat the cupcakes (unless, of course, you want to!!)

I can't wait to get my hands on the newest book, Cupcakes, Cookies and Pie, Oh My!  But to be honest, I've also been making some of my own designs. I'll post them tomorrow!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I have been sub-ing and cleaning for the last few weeks. In the last 2.5 weeks, I have worked 8 days! I am currently booked for 7 days in February, with dates scheduled in March and May! Things have been looking up in that regard.

As for crafts, I finished and sent quilts to my cousin and her beautiful new twins (boy and girl!!) and have begun crocheting another baby blanket. I have made it through about half of the stash of baby gifts I posted earlier, but have been unable to finish them due to thread issues - as in...I ran out! Must wait until pay day on the 15th to bulk up the stash. Bummer. I have also nearly completed my honeymoon scrapbook. I go to a scrapbooking group once a month, and have been working solely on the honeymoon. I am down to the last 6 two-page layouts. And we have a retreat weekend coming up!! I will be able to finish the book during that weekend hopefully!

Now all I have to do is remember to post here regularly!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Excuses, Excuses!

It's all I have to defend myself today. I have finished about 14 of the burp cloths (only 26 to-go!!), but I subbed Wednesday and yesterday, and will be going in again today. Plus, since the weather in East Tennessee is variable as always (60 one day, 40 the next, swinging back to 55 the following) I am coming down with a sinus infection. For last night, at least, I gave up on the media fast. All I had the energy for was crashing on the couch. Went to bed early as well. Trying to power through this infection with symptom relief only. Prefer not to take drugs unless it affects my asthma. Check back with me tomorrow. Hopefully, I will be better and back to sewing again!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Media Fast

We were challenged in Bible Study on Sunday to "make a change that could change our lives forever." Since I have not been working regularly, I have found the temptation to relax on the couch in front of Netflix hard to pass up. Considering that I am married, I am not allowed cannot keep my sewing machine in the living room in front of said TV, and so most days I get only handwork completed. My challenge to myself is to not watch as much television and to concentrate on completing projects.

Yesterday was awesome! I didn't expect how productive I would become! I washed and folded several loads of laundry, organized the new Snapfish order that arrived in the mail, and I sewed!!  I pieced over 20 burp cloths together...
This is a stack of 45. I have been piecing them for months, but never finished them. That changes this week!

And organized them into the correct stacks with tag blankets and simple blankets according to what color thread I want to accent them with!

I hope tomorrow to be able to show them completed.
Here's to progress!

Friday, January 20, 2012


For the past three days I have been working on the binding on the baby quilts for my cousin (TWINS!!) and yesterday finished them. I have had several ideas running around in my head for other projects to work on and begin, but nothing is really sticking this week. I received word that a close friend had a miscarriage on Wednesday. I had just begun planning the cutest baby blanket for them, and now my creative juices are frozen. Hopefully, she and her husband will heal quickly, and I hope to be crafty this afternoon and evening.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crayon Quilts

About a year ago, I did a "Surprise Swap" with a group from the online quilting board, and received a really neat kit from my partner. I didn't take "in-progress" pics, but it's pretty simple. For this you need:

a large piece of white muslin
any coloring page image of your choice
masking tape
wax paper and iron

Simply tape the coloring page to a hard surface for you to color on, and tape the muslin on top of the coloring page. You should be able to see the coloring page lines through the material. Now, take your crayons to the muslin and have fun coloring it to your hearts content. (The directions I have say to use a high quality muslin and good crayons, Crayola are best).  You will need to press down pretty firmly to color on the fabric, but it's okay because you're going to heat set the crayon when complete. I have the telescoping tower of Crayola crayons, and so I really played with shading and blending to make my image look as close to realistic as it could, but this is your project, so make it look however you want it to!

When you have finished coloring, take your muslin to the ironing board along with the wax paper.  Lay the wax paper on top of your ironing board and the colored image and press with high heat, no steam. Press, do not rub. Lift and press, lift and press, all over your colored image, moving the wax paper as needed to keep the crayon from melting onto your iron. The crayon will melt into the fabric, becoming heat set so that it will not wash out or rub off over time.

Now all that's left is to finish in a quilt. I love my Eeyore, and know that eventually we will be planning a nursery, so I am on the lookout for the Winnie the Pooh large coloring book so I can make 3 more panels: Pooh, Tigger, and Piglet. They will be completed as wall hangings to decorate a nursery.

I find the awesome thing about this project is that it is so personal.  There are literally thousands of coloring designs available through your local superstore and online, and if you are an artistic person, you can draw your own image to color. Plus, everyone has such individual opinions on design and color, 20 people could color this exact image of Eeyore and we would have 20 different Eeyores. 

Have fun creating!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Binding and Finishing

Yesterday's snow day was beautiful but cold. I spent the day inside doing prep work for finishing and working on some UFOs.  I am pulling my crochet yarns out in preparation for making a friend a crocheted baby blanket. I wanted to see what I had, and try to figure out what I could do with them. I made some motifs for a scrap afghan in order to exercise my hand since I haven't crocheted in several years. I also rolled several skeins of yarn into balls for easier storage (and cat toys!)

Have you met the kitten? This fat-rat ball of fluff is Total. She loves eating her cat sister's food, attacking her dog brother's tail and getting in the middle of all of my craft projects.

Today I am going to redeem baby quilts from the quilter. My cousin is having twins in early February, a boy and a girl. Taking advantage of yesterday's cold stay-inside-cold-day, I made the continuous bias binding for both of them. Yes, I went with the cliche, and made a pink and a blue quilt. These beautiful stripes complement the quilt tops perfectly. Pictures of the baby quilts to come after they have been gifted.

(Don't you just love how yummy those stripes are? I love that the bias binding makes barber-poles out of the print!)

Here's to progess!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Snow and Computers

It is a cold somewhat snowy day in East Tennessee and this is all we have to show for it. About an inch of snow on the ground. Boo. But it is pretty while it lasts.

The biggest concern of my day is my computer. I downloaded the new iTunes update last night and when the computer went to restart, it wouldn't. It ran for a few minutes, and then would turn off without doing anything. Over and over again. When I called the Geek Squad this am, suddenly the computer decided to run a system restore. The threat of time in the repair shop apparently scared it into working! But it has made me realize how desperately we need to get a back-up account. I need to know that if it does this again, I won't lose all my pictures, music, and job application documents. Plus, it's time to renew the anti-virus protection. Guess what I'll be doing this afternoon...Yup. Saving my computer, one file at a time.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Nest Effect January Challenge: Creeating Schedules

If you are following along in the hopes of becoming more organized this year, then you are just as much in love with The Nest Effect's January Challenge as I am! I have diligently been charting along with Tiffany as she organizes her new year; have you been doing the same? Yesterday's post was about creating schedules to help run your life more efficiently. I think the most powerful thing (IMHO) she said, though, was that schedules can be guidelines to help, or scaffolds to hang yourself on. Schedules can be flexible, twisting and turning the same way our lives do. As a substitute teacher, I know this quite well. I can have lists of things planned to do for any given day, but once that phone rings to call me in for a teacher, all plans are out the window. And to be quite honest, that puts a kink in my plans. Ok. I'll be even more honest. It derails them.

But if I remember to be flexible with my schedule, I can more easily make adjustments and still accomplish things. So hop on over to her blog and check out the newest printable, a chart to help us create our own schedules. In pencil (at least for me). Flexible schedules that can shift and bend with new events.

On other news, I have printed out and begun using my own organizing charts, and I leave them here so you can see that even if you can't make them as pretty as Tiffany does on The Nest Effect, you can still have functional lists, charts and checklists to help get your life in order!
One chart, two uses. Regular organizing To-Do as well as a Blog topic list. Yes, I marked it in Sharpie rather than  redesign/reprint.

Weekly cleaning. Your basic, mundane cleaning. Clean surfaces in each room, clean microwave in kitchen, take out trash, take trash to curb, clean mirrors, toilet, shower, clean out the car, etc. Tailor this to your own needs.

Monthly and seasonal cleaning checklists. This is for all those things you do on a montly, every-other-month, 2x and 4x a year. Pet meds, vacuum air vents, empty paper shredder (this might be a weekly item for some), flip and rotate mattresses, change air filters and smoke detector batteries, replace baking soda in fridge/freezer. And these are only a few of the things on my checklist.

Heres's to progress!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January Challenge via The Nest Effect

I resolved to become more organized this year and to help with that I am following Tiffany at The Nest Effect in her January Challenge: Assessing & Prioritizing Time. It was embarrassing, to say the least, to see how much time I wasted last week. Granted, school is not in session and therefore I am not getting any sub jobs, but really! There was an awful lot of TV and internet, not to mention the sleeping in.
(Don't look too carefully at the chart!)

But yesterday's post is supposedly the beginning of the answer. It is a printable of how I want to spend my time. I still want to enjoy playing on the internet and watching TV via Netflix, I just need to make sure it stays at the bottom of my priorities list. And exercising myself and the dog is becoming a must. The dog is healthy and in shape (unlike me) but he is bored. He used to go to play camp for dogs when I was working, and he got regular exercise and was wonderfully well behaved. Now that I'm not working, he stays at home with me and has begun chewing on everything in sight again. I've already repaired one set of holes in my duvet cover, and now I have to fix another.  I also want to read more and finish more crafts! (And since finishing the crafts is the point of this blog, it is a high priority.) Number one, of course, is spending  more time with my husband and family.

So while I'm rather embarrassed to have posted the earlier chart, I feel like the sun is beginning to peek through the clouds. There is hope for people like me. Tiffany says to check back on Wednesday for the next installment, so that's where you'll see me!

Here's to progress!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Progress Post

Almost a year ago, my husband's granny went into the hospital for a quadruple by-pass surgery, and I pulled out an old UFO to work on in the waiting room.  I found the best distraction to be my Christmas cross-stitch pattern. When I pulled it out of the bag, it looked like this....
I know the angle is bad on the picture, but I was only a little over a quarter of the way finished with this pattern. In the hospital that day, I worked on the tree beside the house, and slowly made my way to the sky to the left of the completed house. As beautiful as the sky is, all of those half-cross stitches really got to me after a while. And then I moved to the trees. I thought they would be Bob Ross-worthy "happy little trees". He lied.

They were not happy, and neither was I.

Months later, I finished the trees, the house on the right and began working on the lower right quadrant. It was really neat watching everything coming together, seeing the people emerge out of the snowbanks, looking as though they really will finish lacing their ice skates and take off any minute now.

This is the piece as of last night. My original goal for this piece was to have it finished by the end of 2011. Clearly, that did not happen. But I do have less than one-sixth of the pattern to complete.

It's really exciting to see it coming together. At my current pace, I hope to have all the cross stitch completed by the end of the month, with the back-stitch and final details finished by the end of January. And now that DH has begun to cross stitch as well (I KNOW!!) we can each spend the evenings on the couch, enjoying Netflix and working on projects.

Here's to progress!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fingers Crossed

Remember how I said yesterday I was substituting in my local school system so that I was in the system when a job opened up.  Well, a job opened up. I turned in my application, and am now waiting to hear back. I've been working on a sample lesson plan I could take in to an interview. Seven years after graduating, I had completely forgotten all that was involved inwriting lesson plans, not to mention all the new rules relating to lesson basically I'm winging it. It's scary. So sadly, that's what I've been doing this week instead of any crafts. My plan is to be crafty this weekend. Fingers crossed. On both accounts.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

#2 New Year's Resolution

Making sure to blog regularly is only one of my New Year's Resolutions. I have actually made three, and as far as I know, my husband has made two. We completely failing at one each, but doing great at the others. (He is trying to help out with the housework by loading and unloading the dishwasher every day.) I have been blogging (Yay!) and the other one I'm working on is becoming more organized in my mind and my house.

I thought that by not working regularly I would do great at keeping the house clean, the laundry done, and the crafts under control. I quit the nanny job at the end of July in order to  become a substitute for the local school system, getting my foot in the door so that when a teaching position opens up I have a better chance at getting it. So far, the subbing has been going great and I really enjoy it. But not having a regular schedule to keep to has turned me rather lazy. Sleeping in, enjoying our Netflix account, working on crafts occasionally. Cleaning in short, small burst that get thejob done, but don't really take for long. Organization is desperately needed.

Enter Pinterest. I love, love, LOVE Pinterest. Don't you? I have added so many new craft ideas to my list, it's crazy. But one of the best pins I've seen recently was for the Home Management Binder Printables on The Nest Effect. Most of her printables are no longer available for free download, although she sells them in her Etsy store. She is starting a new Organizing/Prioritizing challenge that I am following, and her newly posted items are available for  free. But for the others, they were relatively easy to duplicate in Microsoft Excel (they don't look nearly as cool as hers do, but they will serve the purpose. And that's what matters). I don't believe I will use all of her sections in my own management binder, but that's what is so neat about the binder: it's unique to each "home manager" and her personal needs.

So if organizing is on your list of To-Do's (or if you need ideas on what to put on your To-Do list!) check out Tiffany's prioritizing challenge or her home management binder system. Become a better "home manager" this year!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Completed: Teapot Quilt

A few weeks after I began working on my husband's t-shirt quilt, I finished the hand-quilting on the very first quilt I pieced. Almost 10 years later, the small wall hanging was finally finished. I made my continuous bias binding, sat down in front of Netflix and began sewing. Four hours later, the quilt was finished.

Applique is still not one of my favorite techniques. But I do like this quilt. Looking at this picture, I realize it is not 100% complete. It is lacking 2 things: the hanging sleeve so it can actually hang on the wall, and the 13 buttons I dug out of my mom's sewing box for the knobs on the teapot lids (I didn't want to try to applique the tiny circles for the lids, thought I would make a small substitution.) Dang it! Although it is not Technically complete, I am still marking it as complete. Those two finishing touches will not take long, and now that I see them, I can add them to my weekend to-dos.

One less UFO in my world!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The DH's Christmas Quilt

My husband loves t-shirts. He also hates throwing things away. The end result? Piles of threadbare, hole-y, t-shirts with black armpits. (We also have piles of socks and boxers that fit this description, but that's for another battle, another post!) So two years ago, I began sneaking t-shirts out of the laundry. At first, it was one shirt every month or so, but last February, I amped up the sneaking and soon had a stack of his favorite t-shirts. And I knew just what I was going to do with them!

In July, I began slicing and dicing t-shirts. I also spent hours planning. In August, I began sewing. In September I became good friends with my seam ripper. During the month of October, I took a break. Then in November I panicked! Christmas was right around the corner! I wasn't finished. This realization was followed by a marathon sewing day. Then we were off to a local machine quilter. Have you figured it out yet?

Yup!! A t-shirt quilt was born. In order to get the layout correct, I had to add one of my own t-shirts (the Snoopy/rainbow) and bought one from the local Goodwill to fit the last remaing empty space (the game controller in the lower middle). Aside from that, this is 28 of his favorite t-shirts from his college and high school years. During the whole process, he realized only 3 of them were missing. All other "concerns" about missing t-shirts were smoothly deflected by my DENYING the existence of any missing shirts!

He loves it. It has replaced our tattered couch blanket, and all fuzzies love it. The big cat actually sat in the middle of the quilt the entire 12.5 hours it took me to sew the binding. DH actually had me put it on the bed Christmas evening, and we slept under two blankets that night. I am sitting under it even now. Soon I hope to finish hand-quilting my high school t-shirt quilt and begin planning my college t-shirt quilt. We will have plenty of warm, comforting quilts to remind us of days past, not stacks of t-shirts we can no longer wear cluttering up our closests!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

We all make resolutions, promises to ourselves, each new year. Promises that we will do things differently, in such a way to make ourselves better people. And I know that I have said before that I am going to write here more often. But I'm saying it again. It's not that I am not working on craft projects, quite the contrary. It's more that I get caught up in the day to day activites of life, and frequently "veg" out in front of the TV at the end of the day. It's time to remember that during that quiet time in front of the TV, I can pick up the computer and log a quick post here.

Be aware, I may not always be posting on craft projects. As I look at the title of my blog, I am reminded that it is called "Married with UFOs", and so I may occaisonally post about the married life of this particular "crafter". It's hard to believe this is our 3rd married New Year's celebration, our 5th as a couple. We actually met at a New Year's party, hosted by the friend who would soon be my matron of honor, and who claims credit (or takes responsibility for!) our relationship.

Here's to new years, new resolutions, and married life! Happy New Year!