Friday, September 23, 2011

A couple of recent projects...

Oh, poor, neglected little blog... there are so many things to post - great summer adventures never shared, new schools, and the beginning of fall fun.  In time, it will find it's way here.

But today is just a fun little sharing post.  While I haven't been sewing as much as I would like lately, there have been a couple of projects that make me happy.  But, oddly enough, they make me happy for very different reasons. One was a quick, one-hour project that I used nearly every day this summer.  The other was a project that began a year ago - and finally decided it was time to power through.

Project #1 - A Clothespin Apron
For mother's day, what I wanted more than anything was a clothes line.  I has dreamed of one all last summer, and made do with a small drying rack.  It was time for the real thing, so Dan and the boys kindly got me all the supplies, and when the rain went away, they put it up.  After about two loads of laundry, I realized that I had a serous need for an easy place to keep my clothespins.  A long time ago I purchased the book One Yard Wonders, and had seen the perfect solution. With fabric from the stash and an hour of the boys playing legos, it was done.

 Simple, easy, practical.  I use it more than just about anything I have ever made.  Love it.

Project #2. Bed Quilt
About a year ago, while in one of my favorite quilt shops, I saw a sample quilt that I fell in love with.  Girly, but not over-the-top, colors I love, linear and straight-forward. I bought it on the spot, sure it would be quick, easy quilt that would be done withing a month.  Um, yeah.  It was simple.  But honestly?  Once I got started, I kept finding reasons to put it away and work on other stuff. That many long, straight seams?  Not very exciting. After two or three months, I got the top finished.  Then it took another 2-3 months to get the fabric for the back and binding.  And the big stall?  That came in the machine quilting step.  My poor little machine was just not meant to tackle a king-sized quilt.  The minor tension issues my machine had been having became bigger, unkind words were said, and the whole thing very nearly found it's way to a basket in the crawl space where I could just forget about it. But I guess that this is where my stubborn nature kicks in.  I decided in July that I was not sewing ANYTHING else until this quilt was done.  Within a few weeks it was quilted and binding was attached.  Over the last two weeks, the binding was hand-sewn in the evenings.  And just this Tuesday, the final stitches were sewn.  It is done.  Finally.

To be honest, I'm having a hard time seeing past the mistakes right now.  I don't love it the way I hoped.  It's about 10 inches more narrow that I wish it were.  And  maybe I just need some distance from it before I love it again.  Right now, all that matters is that it is done.

SO, there they are.  I just got a new sewing book in the mail, and can't wait to get started on so many little projects.  I've also got pillows I want to make and dreams of a "sea and sky" themed log cabin couch quilt.  And the best thing?  Last weekend I bought myself a new machine. 

Now I just have to make time to use it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Getting started...

It's that time again.  Our facebook feeds are filled with grinning children next to the front door as they prepare to begin the school year. The school supply aisles are filled with those of us who refused to believe that the start was quite so close. And as a teacher, my world also undergoes a large shift with the return to work.

But this year, the shift is smaller.  Last spring, our family decided that I would return to work only halftime.  Yes, it's quite a pay and benefits cut, but we are hoping that the shift brings more of that all-important balance to our home. The boys will be at two different schools again, my husband's work load has grown by large amounts, and we will now have two children involved in activities, rather than just one.  With me home in the afternoons, the little one has a much shorter school day, we don't have to arrange after-school care or create a crazy pick-up schedule, and trying to fit in a healthy dinner feels so much simpler.

One week in, and I'm already feeling the benefits of the lighter load.  I still have time to hang laundry on the line in afternoons.  An errand or two can be run before we pick the oldest one up from school. I even got to sit and paint with the little one - at 2:00! And while the weather is still nice, we can even have a popcorn and reading picnic on the lawn without having to wait until the weekend to do it.

The goal?  To feel like we are living the life we want seven days a week - not just two. And with this move?  We're a whole lot closer.  Getting started has never been easier...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Character is taught at home...

Today I read this wonderful post over at Simple Mom. Boy, did it touch that part of my heart where truth and good and hope live.  As a mama, I often find myself rushing through the day, and thinking, "I'd love to help that person, but my hands are full with the boys." But what the boys see is that we are too busy to help others.  That isn't the message I want to be sending.

I remember being out with my mom and seeing her pick up random litter.  I saw her mom do it, too.  Do I remember times when they didn't?  Nope.  But it certainly made in impression when they went out of their way to take care of a problem that didn't "belong" to them.

So, it's time.  Time to offer that hand, that listening ear, that comfort that someone may need.  Even when my hands are full.  Because someone else's hands are invariably more full. And because, as Shaun said, character is learned on aisle nine.