Friday, September 26, 2008

Project Abandonment

Though I feel guilty about it, I am abandoning the tree project. I have completed 3 blocks already, and they look like a 12 year old's school project to me. Ick. So I give up. I hate doing it, but I will find another way to use all those half square triangles (I hope) at some point. Maybe I'll revisit this one with some different fabrics and a different block.

Oh well. Onto the next....


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One Down

12 to go

Jeezus, these things are a lot of work.

Unfortunately, I'm not in love with this block right now. I hate that. Usually I put the block together, I love it and then I'm completely motivated to do more. But this one isn't speaking to me that way. I'm hoping that when there are more done, I'll change my mind. I've got to keep going, I have too much done to stop now.

In the meantime, I finished another block for that toile quilt:

This one has a bit of beading on it, which is fun (because it means less stitching!). Two more of these to go. I like the way they are coming along.

****Don't forget the yard sale here on October 1st! It'll be a big one!********

Sunday, September 21, 2008

364 Half Square Triangles

Is that what you thought that would look like? I thought 364 half square triangles would look like more. It just seemed like a lot of triangles. I thought I'd be looking at something like this:

But no. There are fewer than I had thought there would be.

That part is done. Now onto sewing them together!

I did get a bit bored, but not too badly. When I was not sewing the triangles together, I planned another 2 quilts in my head, and I did this piece at night:
It's part of this quilt:
Isn't that a terrible picture? When I saw the pattern at a quilt show, I said ick. The picture is terrible! But then another vendor had made the quilt up and hung it in their booth, and it just changed my mind totally. The quilt is really beautiful when it's done. I bought the pattern and fabric right then and there. And it's been sitting in my studio ever since. No more! It's Stash Only September, so out it came, and I'm making progress!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yard Sale Coming October 1st

Hey everyone,

I think one of the inevitabilities about going through your stash and working with it is that you realize just how much stuff you have. Coming along with that is the fact that some of the stuff you have that's no longer your taste, or probably won't work with because at the time you had in mind some project that you forgot about, or decided not to do. Usually I go by the rule that if I haven't looked for it in a year (or more), I probably don't need it anymore. That's a hard rule to follow with stash, but it's time for me to do it.

So, I am having a yard sale here on October 1st. I have been going through my stuff, and there are many projects I am not going to do and supplies I'm not going to use, so it's silly to hang on to all of it. There are some quilt patterns, some clothing patterns, and a lot of cross stitch supplies. There are charts, beads, and probably some fabric (I have to go through it all again). If you are a cross-stitcher, or know a cross stitcher, be here! There will be plenty! If you are a quilter or sewer, there will be things here for you too! Come and join us on the 1st!
PS--Because I haven't thought of a better way, I have started responding to your comments within the comments themselves. A few people I know do it this way, and it seems to work pretty well, so I thought I'd try it. I always enjoy any comments I get, but was not able to write back most of the time, so this fixes that problem. So if you commented, check back. I probably wrote you back!!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

SOS #4

Another little quilt:

This one is not my pattern. It's the "Everyday Table Topper" from Heather Mulder Petersen's book, Charmed and Dangerous. Luckily, though I never have any ideas for those charm packs, Heather does. Yeay! I borrowed this one. I think it's cute and bright and fun. It uses the charm pack from the It's Snowing line by Moda.

My new project is to make a quilt similar to this:

You can click on the picture for the website. It will give you a much better view of the quilt.

I am intrigued by this quilt. I have been wanting to do a tree of life quilt for a while, but I was never happy with any border option I came up with. I like this one because it has no border but still ends well. I have chosen my fabrics, which will be more vibrant than the original, and I have changed the tree block a little. I will also not be making the quilt as big. This one is 84x88 inches, which is pretty large. I have mine at about 68x68, which is still large for a lap quilt, but the size will also make it very snuggly. The block size of the tree I drafted is 14x14, so I will need 13 blocks. That means 364 half square triangles to make those leaves! I will be busy for a while.

These are some of the fabrics I've chosen, primarily they are the leaf colors. The browns for the trunks are not shown here, and neither is the background fabric, which is like a warm tan that looks like parchment. The background fabric really makes these colors shine, so I'm very happy with it.

The challenge here will be to get through making 364 half square triangles without drifting off into another project. When things get repetitive like that, my mind tends to wander, and off I go onto something else-or many something elses (just ask the crazy quilt I've been working on since February). So I'll try to stay on course. I'll keep you posted!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

So Not Alone

Hey y'all!

Well, I'm not alone in my disbelief of the stupidity of the corn syrup-pusher industry. So not alone. Check this out:

She shares my outrage, and backs it up with the facts. It's definitely worth your time to read, if you find those ads to be full of crap-o. Many thanks to Lee for the link.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Submission for a New Ad Campaign

Hey everyone!

I do have another little quilt to show you, but I can't stop myself from mentioning what I think is the funniest commercial ever. And not funny in a good way, like that La-Z-Boy commercial where the guy comes in wearing this horrific suit, and wants a couch to match it. They find the fabric and put it behind him, and his eyes kind of roll up in his head and he sighs and says, "Bingo". That commercial cracks me up. That's a funny commercial.

This is not that kind of funny. It's the kind of funny where you see an ad that explains that smoking is really ok for small children, cause hell, they're young and will heal and all that. The kind of funny that makes you realize that the world really is as insane as you thought, so maybe you're not so crazy after all. And it's funny because seeing this ad makes you wonder how stupid people will have to be to believe it. So, funny in a bad way.

I hope you have seen this ad. If you have not, here's a link for it:

This is the "corn syrup is good for you" ad. You've probably seen it. They've been bombarding everyone with it for a couple of days now. No matter what channel I watch (and I don't watch much TV, let me tell you that), this ad is on. There is another one, with a woman and a popsicle and a man, but it's pretty much the same. The feel good ad of the year. The one where they tell you all those "crazy health concious" people out there who are worried are worried for no good reason at all.

They do neglect to tell you, however, that the "fruit punch" that woman is pouring to give her kids is nothing BUT high fructose corn syrup, water, red dye #5, and some chemical crap that probably not only preserves the pretty color, but also keeps it from eating through the container it's in. I wonder why they left that out?

No matter. In light of the "new advertising" we have here, I'd like to propose my own ad campaign to help bolster the sagging fresh imported tomato and pepper industry. It's entitled Salmonella-Shmalmonella. Enjoy!


The scene opens: It is a sunny day somewhere in America. In a backyard of green luxurious grass, a woman is sitting in a chair, enjoying her lunch of a fresh salad, topped with tomatoes. This is woman #1, she is a happy woman, who just seems to be a lot of fun. Her neighbor is woman #2, a "worrywart". Constantly concerned about things like the environment and "global warming", she just needs to get a life.

Woman #2 pops up behind Woman #1's fence: Hey Jill. What'cha up to?

Woman #1: Not much, just having some lunch.

Woman #2: Oh, a salad! That's so healthy. But wait....are those tomatoes?

Woman #1: Yeah, why?

Woman #2: Did you grow them yourself? (She looks around the yard to find a garden)

Woman #1: (laughing) No! Who has time for all that? I bought them.

Woman #2: Are they locally grown? (looks worried)

Woman #1: (kind of brushing woman #2 off, because she's such a downer sometimes)I don't know. I doubt it. I got them at the supermarket. Don't most tomatoes come from Mexico or something nowadays?

Woman #2: Don't you know about Salmonella? (really worried now)

Woman #1: (laughing a little at her worried neighbor) What about Salmonella? (big smile)

Woman #2: Well, that it's..... (voice trails off as she tries to think of anything she may have heard about Salmonella)..... um.....well.....

Woman #1: You mean, that it's a NATURALLY occuring bacteria, and that's it only harmful in larger doses, and that it probably won't kill me unless I'm elderly or sick to begin with?

Woman #2: (smiling, as she is hugely relieved at how wrong she was to be concerned in the first place) Yeah, I guess that is it. Mind if I join you?

Woman #1: Not at all! Come on over!

Big smiles all around by both women as the neighbor comes through the adjoining gate to join her for lunch. The website ( flashes on the bottom of the screen, accompanied by the picture of a smiling tomato with friendly eyes. Fade out. Commercial end.

What do you think? I think it's a winner. If I can only find someone to film it, it'll be a hit, I just know it, and I think it'll be having everyone feeling better about imported tomatoes in no time.


Friday, September 12, 2008

SOS # 3

One more down! This is another table runner made with a charm pack. This pack is Candyland Christmas, another Moda line.

I really like this line. It is (to me) 50's in the color and the way that the things were drawn. To that end, I made the setting very simple and used the solid deep green to sash the blocks with. I originally had quilted it with the in the ditch method, because I thought it would be true to the style. I think it was, but I have discovered this year that I really like things QUILTED, so I requilted it with a meandering design. I really like the texture it produces.

Sorry about the not great pics of this one and the last. It's been raining here, and I can't take pictures outside, like I'd prefer. When the sun comes back out, I will do that!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

SOS -#2

You might remember me mentioning this fabric here. It's named after me!! Woo hoo! Thrilled as I was, the fabric is TOO cheerful for me, and I'm not that cheerful. I did want to own some of it, just because it has my name on it, but I wasn't sure how much or really what I would do with it. So I bought a charm pack. I like charm packs because you get the whole line in little snippets, so if you want to try the line out it's a great way to do so. Or if you like the whole line (that gets into big $$), the charm pack is an inexpensive way to get it.

But I also don't like charm packs because they are hard to work with (for me). I never have any ideas on what to do with them, so they usually sit on the shelf where I fondle them occasionally and put them back.

That is, until Stash-Only September, baby!! Now I've got to dig deep, stop the fondling, and use up that fabric! So out came the Jocelyn charm pack. ...And it's still too cheerful. Every time I put it together, no matter what I did, it just looked like spring threw up on the floor. Too many flowers, too much happy color. Then it occured to me that maybe the fabrics would behave better if I separated them a bit by something neutral. That worked. So I present to you this:

I call it "Jocelyn's Bloomers"! Many thanks to Blogger for putting the picture sideways. :( Grrrr. I don't know why it does that.

The white keeps the flowers in check, so it doesn't look like there's a cacophony of spring jumping into your retinas. That's a good thing. Yeay! I used the happy fabric! Kudos to me!

So that's project number 2 for Stash-Only September. I was going to make a blog tag (like those awards that go around), but I don't know how. If I figure it out though, I will.

Have a great day, everyone!


Friday, September 5, 2008

Stash-Only September

The following is proof that I do things other than can food, raise children, garden, rant, and cook.

Taaaa Daaaa!!

I'm back in the studio again! Yee haw!

This here, pardners (now I'm all on a cowboy tangent--sorry--I will self-correct), is a quilt I made up with the 12 Days of Christmas panel by Nancy Halvosen for Bernatex. I have a confession: I love these damn panels. I don't buy them (usually) because I never know what to do with them, but I always like them. Actually, I lie. I don't like things like this, and I have no desire to own this, but there are a few panels I have looked at and thought hmmm.....

Usually I don't buy them because they are hard to work with. You either have a panel that's hard to cut apart without ruining it (right? that one you'd destroy if you took scissors to it--I mean, where do you cut?), or it's a panel that's like a whole quilt, and that's just cheating (hence the name cheater panel). But sometimes I've been tempted, and this one tempted me. I succumbed to it without actually knowing what to do with it. In order to NOT have it hang around the studio for months (or years), I tried to figure out what to do with it. The above is what I came up with. Basically I used the panel as the centers of a log cabin block, put in some sashing, and made the border with extra strips from the blocks. Nicest thing was, I used my stash to do it. Yeay! So anyway, making this quilt from my stash leads me to Stash-Only September, when I will spend this month making things only from what I have. And I'm not even going to cheat by not sewing--I will, in fact, sew a lot, and hopefully get a lot done.

So there you have it. A challenge for myself. I have a lot of fabric stashed away, so I should be pretty busy. In fact, I have this fabric to get to next, since I was going to make it for my kids for the winter time. I'm still thinking on that one. And no, I did not get the panel. I wasn't loving it. But I did get a bunch of other fabrics from that line, and I'm stymied. Oh well. It'll come to me.

I will keep you posted! Expect to see more!


Oh, and as an aside, my daughter did finally open up about school. Yesterday at dinner, she sat and told us about her whole day. I mean, her. whole. day. For 45 minutes, and that was mostly because she kept telling the story and then saying "wait, wait, I forgot something", and then would go back over everything she just said, adding tiny details here or there. I just sat there with a huge doofy grin on my face because I was thrilled to hear it. I didn't even know what part of the day she was talking about sometimes, but it didn't matter. I was thrilled to hear every "wait, wait, I forgot something". It was good. So, Cathey, turns out you were right. She had too much to process that first day. The second must have done enough for her that she felt ready to tell.

Either that, or she just kept talking so that her brother wouldn't get a chance to talk about HIS day.....


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Welcome to the 21st Century

Or the 20th, depending on when you want to think they were invented (1973, people, just so you know, but most think they are a more recent invention).

I got a cell phone. I have been resisting it until now. But with two children in school, and being the only parent local in case of emergencies, I needed one in case I wasn't home (gasp) if something happened. You know, in case I grow a life or something. Could happen.

I hate cell phones, but not because I'm a technophobe, which is what people usually think when I say that. I'm actually quite technologically literate, and in fact used to teach people how to use computers in my other life (ie: before children). So, I know my way around. But I hate cell phones, because I believe they contribute to the "rudening" (that's a new word, hope you like it) of society. For instance, why do you need to talk on the cell phone when you are:

1. In the supermarket, shopping in the aisles. Do you need help figuring out what to buy?

2. On line at a store. Pick a store, any store. There's someone on the phone on line. Or pick a food place. Trying to get coffee at Dunkin' Donuts? There'll be someone on the phone on line.

3. Driving. Do you NOT need to pay attention? We should all be looking out for you, is that what it is?

4. At the gym. No, you're not here to work out. You're here to talk to your friends, but not anyone who is actually at the gym.

5. On the train or plane. Yeah, we all want to hear what you're talking about.

6. In a restaurant. Again, we all want to hear about whatever it is you're talking about. Please don't let us enjoy our meal.

7. In a movie or concert or some other entertainment venue. You paid money to go to this thing and then talk to someone about something else?

8. A a child's Open School House or some other school function. This is my favorite. Your kid is that boring? Are you that non-involved? Does it only count if you say you've been there, but not that you participated?

Ok, I'm sure there are a million more you all can fill in for me. We see people everywhere doing this, and the message they clearly send is "whatever is going on on this phone is more important/interesting than whatever I'm doing right now". Really, people? You can't just live in the moment? Participate in your life? It's that dull? Sad, really, sad.

You know what else gets me about cell phones? Kids who have them. Why? I can sort of understand a teenager having one (calling you to let you know they are going out with so and so after school, using them to talk to friends so they don't tie up your home phone), but a second grader? What the hell could they possibly need one for? The kid's 7 years old. I don't get it.

I also don't understand texting. Why? You have a phone, but you don't want to call? So you text? It's bizarre, really. And don't even start me on the camera thing. I don't understand that at all.

All this aside, I do understand having a cell phone for emergencies. They really can be a good technology, if we use it right, which most of us do not. In fact, I'm sure we all have a cell phone story we can relate, or a pet peeve about them. Do you? I'd love to know it. I don't think I'm alone in this feeling. Feel free to vent, folks. I'd love to hear what you have to say, whether you agree with me or not.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'd Like To

tell you about my daughter's first day of school, however, when I asked her what she did today, she told me there was "too much to tell" and left it at that. I have gotten no information from her.

I can tell you that when she came home she looked pretty tired. Probably because this was her first full day of school, 8:50 to 3:15, and she was in the structured setting of first grade. But that is all I know. I also think she had music at some point, but I can't commit...

Instead, I guess I will have to tell you about my first day of my daughter's school. I am proud to say I cried much less. In fact, I didn't cry at all until I thought about taking the kids to the farmer's market Friday morning, and realized one of my children would not be there. Then I cried. But other than that, I was brave.

What's hardest for me is always how much I DON'T know about her days. And before you label me a control freak, let me explain. I stay at home. I raise my children. Pretty much that means that I know what they're up to during the day, even when I can't see them. When Little Girl was in Kindergarten, it was a half day, and I wasn't missing much, even when she had "too much to tell". Now she's got a full day, and at the end of it, I'm left to piece together what happened either by what little information she gives me, or what was sent home in her folder. Who was she talking to? What friends did she make? What did she learn? Those things I can't answer. I don't even know what the teacher looks like or who she is. This is what I find so hard--I can't choose who it is who is influencing my daughter. What is she teaching? How does she act? Is she supportive or not?

I know this is part of letting go. I know this is a part of growing up. I can accept that, ....but it doesn't make it easier.

My daughter, a study in contrasts: pretty dress, shiny new shoes....and a Wall-E backpack.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Making Yucky

Brought about by either having withdrawal from my kitchen (with no canning projects to speak of), or by the ridiculous sale on potatoes at the local market (5 lbs for .99--how can you beat that?), I decided today to make gnocchi.

I have never done this before. I know I like it, I have seen it done, but I've never done it. When I looked for a recipe, it seemed like a piece of cake. A nice, pretty quick way to make a bunch of gnocchi all at once, and I could freeze it and we could have it whenever we would like. Because it seemed so easy to do, I figured why not do it big? So I boiled up 9 pounds of potatoes. The recipe needed 3 at a clip, and I figured I'd pretty much make triple that and have a WHOLE LOT. Good deal.

The cooking of the potatoes was a piece of cake. Boil them, no big deal. Peel them, no big deal. Smush them, no big deal. I smushed them as best I could, then I threw them in the mixer to smush them further. Then I added the egg, the salt, and the flour. Then I mixed them but good and went to knead it.

This is where I had trouble. This stuff is STICKY!! No sooner would the outside get dry, then the inside would be a sticky, mushy mess. I was struggling with this, adding flour and kneading and kneading, when Little Boy came over.

"What're you doing, mommy-o?" he said. (We are beatnik parents, I have to warn you now. Mommy-o and Daddy-o. Funny enough, it was Little Boy who started to call us that when he turned 2--I don't know why-and it just stuck. So that's us. The beatniks.)

"I am making gnocchi", I said as I added MORE flour.
"Making Yucky?"

"No, making GNOCCHI."

"Why are you making Yucky?"

"Nee-yo-kee", I said, sounding it out as best I could for him. "I am making it because it's good."

"Why is Yoke-y good?"

"Because it is" (aren't I full of helpful information?)

"Why? Is it bread?"

"It's not bread, it's like macaroni. You can have some if you want."

" thanks. It's not macaroni!"

"Why isn't it macaroni?"

"Cause that's dough, and macaroni's not dough! It's hard and it grows on trees!"

Ok, that's my husband's fault. We were in the car one day and he kept asking and asking where things came from Most of what he asked about grew on trees or bushes. He asked where oranges came from, where lemons came from, where pears came from, etc. Just on and on and on. He finally asked where macaroni came from, and my husband, who is as demented as I am, says "a macaroni bush". Well, to a 4 year old a bush=a tree, so macaroni grows on trees. I am partly to blame for this. When my husband said it, my son got so excited about macaroni growing on trees (and therefore maybe he could plant one), that I just couldn't stop laughing enough to correct the situation.

So this was my chance for redemption.

"No, macaroni is made from dough. Then it's dried. That's why it's hard. It doesn't grow on trees" I said.

He looked pretty disappointed, but didn't push the issue.
"So that's yucky macaroni?"

"Yes", I said, because now it was kind of a yucky thing. I could NOT get it to dry up and be workable. I think that at this point I had added 3cups of flour, and I know the recipe only called for 2. Most recipes called for less than that, so man, I was off. I decided to just cut my losses and roll it out the way I was supposed to, boil it up, and hope for the best.

At this point, Little Boy had moved on, convinced that the yucky macaroni was just another project of mine, and he needn't worry because I wasn't feeding it to him tonight, and all was right with the world.

I did get the dough to sort of behave, and got it rolled out and cut up, but the gnocchi are not pretty. The second batch I made behaved slightly better, but still was really sticky, and not pretty at all. I did taste them after they came out of the water, and they taste fine, but they're not as coherent as I would have liked. They're also not so smooth, despite the fact that I beat the potatoes to a pulp.
And I shall call them "Rustic"

So I don't know what I'm missing here. They are passable, but ugly. I think they could be better. I did make two batches, but I froze the last three pounds of cooked potatoes instead of using them because I was a bit discouraged, and didn't want to make 3 batches of ugly gnocchi. Are there any gnocchi makers out there? Got any tips to help me change my "yucky macaroni" into pretty delicious macaroni? I'd be glad for the help!