Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Complete 180

My life is about to take a big turn. I am changing jobs. It will be quite a shock to go from the extremely easy and laid back job (where I actually kept my 2nd sewing machine and was a sewist on the clock) to a busy financial institution with a mandatory 50 hour a week schedule. But lets talk about Thanksgiving and the weekend first.

I remembered to take Before pics of the 2 turkeys, but totally forgot the After pics, so now you don't get to see any. Sorry. The whole dinner turned out really great, and my grandmother, who is 92 and weighs about 80 pounds, cleaned her plate AND ate pie!

Why 2 turkeys? Because I usually cook one big 23 pound or so turkey, but those were not available, so I bought 2 turkeys. One got cooked on the rotisserie and one in the oven. I like lots of leftovers when I go to all the trouble of making dinner for everyone. All day on my feet, chopping, cooking, cleaning, etc and then only enough left for one sandwich? No way. I send leftovers home with the grandparents, and then I expect to have sandwiches, casseroles, and the incredibly delicious Turkey Stew with Dumplings. Make this. You won't be sorry. Just add potatoes in with the carrots at the beginning and use frozen peas instead of green beans. And if you have some leftover gravy, add that at the end. That's my version of it anyway.

Here is Tyler making crumbs for the pie crust out of Ginger Snap cookies. What a good helper! He was so excited to use one of Papa's hammers, and then he was very serious about his work. What kind of pie, you ask? Double Layer Pumpkin Chiffon. The recipe is from a booklet by Bakers, Diamond and Jello brands, but I can't find anything online to link to. Email me if you want the recipe. I'll try to not take too long replying.

So on to Black Friday. I do not celebrate Black Friday the way most do. I refuse to join the frenzied, crazed masses at the mall. I don't care what a deal you can get, who wants to be trampled in the spirit of Christmas? But I did make it to the fabric store and of course THEY were having a sale, and these lovely red, black and whites called to me. These are getting added to the stash leftover from the Plan C quilt I made last year. Aren't they lovely? I'm drooling. I just love scrappy looks. And I poured through my Quilt magazines and came up with a great pattern. Do you find your pattern after you have fabric, like I do? I know that is backwards for most, but fabric is almost always my inspiration.

So, with this new 50 hour job, I do not foresee a lot of sewing in my future. Or blogging. Or blog reading. Or Facebook. This is a bummer because I have found so many wonderful new toddler art related blogs, and decorating blogs,.Some of the art blogs have invited me to link up. Isn't that just the way it always goes? I will try to keep up!

I have been very spoiled at my former job, but it is time to move on. Time to make some serious money while I can, and work where I have potential to move up in the ranks instead of just keeping a chair warm. Those of you who envied me the time to sew can now empathize with me. I'll be dreaming of sewing right along with you! I am a stay-at-home Nana at heart.

As much as possible I will be devoting my free time to family, so if a chance comes up, I will make new blog posts. Just know that they may be a lot fewer than you have seen in recent weeks.  Hang in there with me if you can. I love sharing about my grandson, my quilts, recipes and life in general. If I inspire one person to try something new, or value their time with children just a bit more, my time here has been well spent.

Take care! If I don't get to say it before then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Inside and Out

This weekend was very busy again. As usual. In addition to continuing the bedroom makeover, Tyler was feeling great, so he kept us busy busy!

When I mentioned that I needed to paint some more in the bedroom, that gave Tyler the idea that he needed to do some painting too. Watercolor painting. We worked again on pulling - not pushing - the brush, rinsing it out between color changes, and who the paintings could be given to. He painted holiday related things like trees and pumpkins. He painted a scene from the book The Little Blue Truck. Then he was ready for other things.

I am glad I read about letting little ones make their own shapes and versions of things instead of showing them how to draw our way. Did you ever think that drawing the sun for them, or a person, might keep them from being creative? I didn't, but now when he asks me to make something for him, I ask him to make it for me instead. I don't want to limit how he might portray something as wonderful as a rainbow or sunset.

These days, we are all searching for economical ways to have fun and learn. What do you have at home that you take advantage of for other uses? Do you allow your toddler to see how things work and what outcomes are, in safety of course?  I have these heavy cardboard tubes that we usually put Hot Wheels cars through. Which one comes out fastest and goes the farthest in our tiled hallway? What happens if we elevate the tube to different levels? This weekend Papa (Bryan) and Tyler set up a ramp at the bottom of the tube.  Using ping pong balls and a super bouncy rubber ball, they saw that the balls shot up the ramp and all over the bedroom. Very entertaining! Just wait til that tube becomes a potato cannon or something in few years. I can see rocket launching in our future too. And erupting volcano school projects.

Since you may not know where to find a heavy duty cardboard tube, you can check at a local print shop, like the one we have here called Digital Now. Any shop that prints drawings for architects, engineers and contractors will have these tubes and pretty much give them to you free.

Daylight meant playing in the yard again. Soccer and tee-ball, drawing on the porch with sidewalk chalk.

There is nothing like a toddler to keep you moving! He gets so creative with the chalk drawings I am bursting with pride, and he is so good at pitching, his Papa can see him in the Major Leagues already. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I linked up to Living Life Intentionally's blog party

Last week I was invited to link up to this wonderful blog party  and I am invited back! I have to post more stuff about arts and crafts with my grandson, and this is a good motivation for it. If you click on the link, I am #153. I'm the dork that didn't rename the link to the title of my post, so it just says my name "Wendy P" as in poo. Oh well!

I am enjoying reading the posts others have linked to. I hope you will as well. There is so much possible to do and play in art with kids. There are so many do-it-yourself with-things-around-the-house ideas there, how can you say no?

I am a creative person. You probably already know that from reading here. I can't fall asleep some nights because I think about redecorating, remodeling, making quilts, learning to knit, what I can teach my grandson about art, etc.

When I was a kid, if I saw new crayons, colored pencils, fresh sheets of paper or a box of kiddie paints, I was excited. I wanted to draw all the time. I thought I'd be a fashion designer or interior decorator. I wanted to learn sculpture and watercolor and everything else art-related that I could. I got to take some art classes in high school.

 Sometimes our dreams have to be more reality based. Like using Play Doh instead of modeling clay. It is something you can do without language if necessary. The photo here at table is with my grandmother. Tyler's great-great-gramma. She doesn't hear well at 92, but she and Tyler can sit side by side and make dinosaurs, or eggs, or whatever comes to mind. (This is Tyler below, on the phone telling his grandma about the dinosaurs and what they eat.)

My daughter would like to pretend she's not very creative, but she made Bob and Larry of Veggie Tales. How cute are they? Don't they look like the real thing? That is talent right there. Tyler was so pleased to have Bob and Larry in his room.

Play Doh is also great for impressions. Learning about textures and reverse imaging, whatever you want to call it. It is learning while creating. What do you have laying around the house? A seashell? A beaded necklace? Cookie cutters? A plastic cup with a design on the outside? All of these are fascinating to little hands. We even used tools from the pumpkin carving kit just to see what design came out in the pancaked dough.

Don't have your own Play Doh? Make some! Here is a site that offers a lot of recipes for homemade dough! Oatmeal, Gingerbread, Pumpkin Pie? How about edible playdough for the season? Can't go wrong there when you have someone still in the Put It In the Mouth stage.

Next up? A Gingerbread or Peppermint House building and decorating day after Thanksgiving. I spotted both at Cost Plus World Market recently and must go back for them. (And their unique toy section!)

What is your art project today?


Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Etsy Shop is Open Again!
In a shameless plug for my own Etsy shop, which I just reopened, I am asking you to please look around and pass it on! I would love to sell my handmade things and have a little something for Santa to go shopping with this year. Wink. Wink.

There are more than quilts in my store! Aprons, baby items. If I do well, I will restock with other things.

Here is a picture of the gorgeous pine cone and bough quilting, best seen from the back of the patchwork twin quilt for sale now.

Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Morning at Home Depot

Today was a great day! Tyler had his first experience with building something at the Home Depot Children's tables, which they set up every weekend on Saturday morning, and sometimes on Sunday too. Like tomorrow they will have the Home Depot NASCAR cars and trailers at our store and kids' crafts again.

I used to work at Home Depot part time, and at this store too, but this is not a promo for them. I do appreciate the wonderful thing they are doing for kids/families every weekend though. The little kits are free. There was no age restriction. Tyler is 2 1/2 and with my help and his Mama's we hammered together a picture frame, and then he got to paint it himself! Little foam brushes and plenty of colors to choose from. Hammers and screw drivers to use. No pressure. No one looking over your shoulder. And he gets to keep the little orange apron with his name on it.

Tyler, what is it with the squished up eyes when you say "cheese" lately??? You are hiding those beautiful blue eyes of yours, you silly boy.

I guess that qualifies as a promotion of sorts.It was just so great to finally see Tyler do this crafty thing. I have imagined him going there and making a bird house or wooden car or whatever is offered. I can't wait for next Saturday now. 

Here is Tyler and his lovely Mama, painting the picture frame he made. They added stickers to it later when it was dry. He is so proud!

Look at that little face in the picture frame! Such a cute clown. My son took this pic tonight. Thank you, Chris. Thanks to you and your wife Christy for coming over for dinner and a movie after my crazy day. Tamale Pie is always a winner. Salad made it better still. Next time we'll have more a lot more Cowboy cookies ready to eat for dessert.
You know, we went to Home Depot without any thoughts of this event. We were there for painting supplies. I have wanted to redo my daughter's room for more than a year. I love to repaint a room and make it feel fresh and new. If I could I would replace the carpeting in all 3 bedrooms too, but that is not in the budget. Paint, however, is so inexpensive when your spirit really needs a project to work on and you are a decorator at heart, right?

The paint chosen is supposed to be a light gray. I am trying to understand how painting over very pale yellow resulted in a lilac-ish gray?  When did yellow and gray ever make purple? Oh well. On to the trim and closet doors. Out with the tired, dry, chipped stained wood trim and doors, hello glossy and fresh white!

What? Pictures? Um, not yet. Of course I didn't take before pics! I was so busy getting things done, I did not think of it until I was on the 4th of 6 cans of spray paint in my blustery front yard. Trying to keep the closet doors from falling forward and wondering why I could no longer feel my index finger. Tomorrow I will make more progress and hopefully get some pics of the After at least! Oh, and wish us luck getting those closet doors back into their hardware and installed properly again. Not my forte exactly.


Friday, November 4, 2011

My Favorite Fabric Shops Online

Hello again. Nothing to report on the sewing front today. All those quilts in progress are still in progress. I hope I can call at least 3 of them quilt tops this weekend!

Due to yet another virus, I have not been motivated to do much, so those pics for the giveaway? Still not done. Tomorrow should be a good day for that. Between coughing fits. But enough about me!

I thought I would share some more on the shops I love to look at and occasionally buy from. Quilt fabric shops. Oh, I would buy from them every time I stop by, if I were a rich girl, but usually I am just Windows Shopping and drooling and sighing. You know what I mean, right?

First up is Hawthorne Threads. (Right now they have a $5 flat shipping rate!!!) Not only do Charlie and Lindsay have a fabric bundle giveaway every week, they have a nice newsletter and an awesome blog, and most importantly they stock the coolest, cutest, most adorable and awesome fabrics! Just take a peek at the selections! Their site is wonderful and very easy to use. I have not found a quilt shop site as useful as this one, EVER. You can easily look at individual designer lines, childrens fabrics, home dec, new arrivals and coming soon fabrics, themes, Japanese imports, and the stuff that is on sale. There are patterns and kits too. And that is not all. You can see other colorways and coordinating colors on the same page as the fabric you are looking at. They make it too easy! They restock all the time.If they are out of stock on what you want, input your email address and they will let you know when it is back in stock. And the shipping? So fast, your head will spin! The perk I really like here is that if you've made something with a fabric they carry you can post a pic to share with others. To me, this is very helpful. I can see the scale of the print and get ideas for projects. Purses, totes, kids clothing, etc. And I can share what I've made to help others get ideas too. The guitar jacket and the giraffe print pants on Tyler are all from Hawthorne Threads. Tyler likes them so much he had to wear them at the same time! ha! Here is a link to their blog as well. You will be lost there for hours, so get a yourself cup of tea and enjoy!

Next up is my recommendation of the Fat Quarter Shop. They also have a blog you'll really enjoy, the Jolly Jabber. I love to read interviews with fabric designers! Book reviews are there too, and tons of lovely pictures of projects and fabric lines. The Fat Quarter Shop is where you want to go for all the current big lines of fabrics, like Fig Tree Quilts. And who doesn't love Fig Tree Fabrics? Do you like to do Block of the Month clubs and Quilt clubs? They have tons of them! This shop is where you want to go for the latest, most popular lines of fabrics, and they sell out quickly! Their shipping is also quick.

Last up is a place you can go to find deep discounts and fabrics that are hard to find other places because they were released many months ago. Thousands of Bolts  is just that. Their prices average $5 a yard or less, with quilt back wide widths that are also very low priced. Their site is a little tedious to look around at compared to some, but I like that I can shop by color, and that there are holiday themed sections. Shopping at Thousands of Bolts is more like being in a shop in person, because you have to look around a bit, but you will definitely leave with bargains. About half of the fabrics in this quilt were from stash, and the rest came from Thousands of Bolts after one trip around their black, red and white fabric sections. I was thrilled with the cost and the shipping. You will be too.

Just to be clear, I am not getting any kind of reimbursement or other compensation for telling you about these shops. I am sharing out of the goodness of my heart and love of fabrics.

Don't forget to turn your clocks back this weekend!