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The long road to an idea

For my readers, this was a draft I saved with the intention of posting later with a picture of the mini quilt for swapping. I never did complete it which is probably why I never posted this, however it is reminiscent of the nonsense that is the Lawrence household and because I mentioned my cat (of whom is no longer with us) I thought I would post this for my husband and all of those who have/had quilt loving cats that think everyone you make is theirs.

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Draft Date 6-16-2012

I was just about to sleep last night when I heard a rustling sound. It was faint at first and barely audible over the sound of the fan on high speed. It got a little bit louder and more frequent as the seconds passed. I thought of dismissing it when I remembered I had left a plastic shopping bag on the floor. As much as I wanted to roll my eyes in disgust; having been well on my way to the land of nod, my mind took over and was imagining this plastic bag gracefully being swept a little here and  moving slightly there due to the amount of air being pushed around the room. It was kind of a peaceful thought really and I was enjoying the sweeping motions until I heard something else. It became a little more frequent and not more than a foot away from where I was trying to sleep. It got a little louder or maybe it was just getting closer and you better believe it was freaking me out, right up to the point where I fully recognized what “IT” was.  That oh so familiar ring of the tiny little bell that hangs from the collar on my cat. I don’t know how many of you have cats but mine is not allowed in our room at night because is a down right disturber of the peace. Knowing full well that I am not going to get to sleep now until I investigate, I get out of bed, trying to decide which was more annoying, the dancing bag or the bell.  I couldn’t see anything at first. My dark vision hadn’t kicked in yet and the glow from the clock wasn’t really at the right angle to make out anything. Of course the hunt for the bag has now become a challenge and since I’m wide awake now I am making quite the game out of it.  I  meander in the direction of the dancing bag and bend over to  pick it up. After feeling around and finding the bag I go to snatch  it up and found that I couldn’t. It took  me a minute but I soon realized this was no mere plastic bag, as it had been transformed into a tent, complete with occupant. Ollie had climbed in all the way, turned about in it and was using it as a windbreaker. You know I don’t normally like to spoil one’s fun but the mere thought of hearing the bag crinkle every time he moved was already driving me out of my tree. I threw him out of the room, bag and all.  I climbed back into bed where Michael and I proceeded to discuss what a big weirdo our cat is and waited for sleep to come.

I thought about my clothes in the dryer, birthday cards I hadn’t sent, my UFO’s, my 5 minute project I hadn’t managed to get to in the last 5 days, etc….I was lying there disgusted at myself because I had been uninspired enough to come up with a mini quilt to swap. But today, I did. And though today is full of starts and stops, my mini will consist of a back drop scene of tea time. Complete with wallpaper and wood  wall, with a window to the outside (adorned with curtains) a winged back chair in front of a table set for two. I have 9 days for it to be together, quilted and bound.

As I said, I never did finish but I did root around for it in the nooks and cranny’s of my sewing room. I am having quite the time getting the picture from my phone to my computer so I guess its going to be a little while longer and I will try again when its finished.  As for Ollie… we miss him and hope that if there is a cat heaven; it’s filled with warm, soft quilts.

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A 4 month hiatus…what have I been doing?

First let me start out by saying Happy New Year to everyone and apologize for dropping off the face for five months without warning. It was quite unexpected (my leave of absence) though in my defense, Christmas was rapidly approaching. I was finishing projects and I was trying out this thing called going to the gym? Last summer I was making an attempt to lose some weight and get into shape that wasn’t round. I hit my first milestone in the month of September.  On the 11th (my birthday) I decided I was going to run my first 5k and I did without dropping dead at the end like I was so sure I would. Since then, I’ve been running 2 to 3 5k’s a week, depending on how many visits to the gym I make. Of course I can never do anything without an accomplice and since I became my husbands partner on his Weight Watchers endeavor, he too goes to the gym. Our cardio/weight lifting regimen has taken the place of our free time after work and making healthy breakfast & lunches at night to take to work the next day consumes the very last of our efforts before passing out. I’d like to say that we are starting to balance out free time with getting healthy and doing all that it takes to stay that way but to be honest it is work and we are still trying to find a happy medium that will allow us to get back to the other things we enjoy so much. On the brighter side of things, I have lost 28 pounds and my husband has lost about 30. So for not having had time to make a few quilts and mini’s I would say that was a fair trade off. Not to mention, all those projects we were trying to finish by the end of the year came to a grand total of 7 quilts and $800 in long arm fees (which isn’t bad at all for the custom work) Thanks Linda, you’re wonderful! We have a few quilts that are waiting to go out but since I haven’t gotten around to taking any pictures of them, I will have to make an effort to post those later.

Michael came across a few quilts that he decided our home couldn’t do without and one of them is in the piecing process. It’s a maroon and white Ohio Star that is coming along beautifully. But since its Michael’s project, I wont steal his thunder by posting a pic. You will all have to visit his site to get a look at it sometime soon. Like me though he took  a little break and they are awaiting to be finished along with his Persian Plum. I’m told he is going to be starting it back up and have it finished by next weekend, so…I’m thinking that along with my latest nine-patch project for my son Justin, I will be helping out my handsome husband to complete a few his.

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Letters to friends

About eight years ago, my husband introduced me to Sendsomething.net. A place online in which you can preview the profiles of others; where they come from, their likes and dislikes etc…and you can choose to send something to a person (a post card, a letter, maybe something artistic or homemade.)  Its been a wonderful place over the years to send something to someone at random and though everyone there would agree that receiving something at random is 100 times better than anything else a person usually gets in the mail except for maybe frequent random receipts from someone who has become a familiar pen.

I believe I have been sending/receiving post from fellow Sendsomething.net participants for about 8 years now. Over the years I have made quite a few regular pen friends which I may have mentioned previously. I have one pen friend in particular who lives in New Brunswick, Canada of whom I have gotten to know pretty well. I often imagine her in her favorite coffee shop, writing to me as she has in the past. Telling me all about the latest in her life, the natural going on of things and people she has mentioned and have come to grow familiar.  Once she wrote to me on the back of eight post cards and numbered them for me. Much to my shock and surprise, I received all eight on the same day. The post office employees went to a great deal of trouble I’m sure, to get all of them to me at once. Thanks postal workers! Speaking of the United States postal workers, one of my favorite pen friends is a postal worker who wrote to me after having found out about Sendsomething.net by carrying the mail. Hows that for influence, huh?

Anyway, even after 8 years of unique, homemade, hard-to-find and holiday letters and care packages, I still feel the need to send them all  something I haven’t yet. Last Wednesday, my husband and I took a vacation day off from work and headed to Moda for a warehouse sale. After the fact I regretted not having taken more pictures with all its neat and wonderful’s of the fabric world. But now that I really think about it, the one thing I really wanted to share were these beautifully stitched, fabric cards I mean to send to my pen pals before my post goes all holiday decor again.  So here you are, stitched cards so pretty it inspired me to make one of my own. I’m not a cross stitch person and I am just learning how to use the embroidery functions on my machine but it doesn’t take but a little imagination and know how to create a beautiful card from fabric and stock. Not too bad for my first time.

For the love of Moleskines

When I was a kid, I never kept a diary. I tried once but with an older brother who constantly made it his mission in life to know any secret or tidbit of information that he might use to get something over on me; let me just say that it was not in my best interest. My husband, when we first got together had journals of all types, sizes and thicknesses and the timeline between his first journals to the last spanned for years. I have to admit it was a little intimidating but the concept of capturing time and even freezing it between pages turned walking down memory lane into a time capsule opening event.

A page about special things and moments to remember. The pocket on the right page holds a hand made envelope sealed with ticket stubs, ribbon left over from Christmas and a secret wish known only unto me.

Another writer that I follow who indelibly epitomizes any good parent in the struggle of getting their child to eat something new; posts mealtime reruns in reel time fashion to give the reader more scope for the imagination. This parent/author who celebrates the triumphs of successful food introduction can be found here on wordpress under 17 Bites. Incidentally, it is called 17 Bites because that is the magic number supposedly, that it takes to get someone used to the idea of eating a new food. Like 17 bites, it takes 14 to form a habit. 14 days that is.  I have to admit that I still to this day, do not write consistently but I do carry my journal with me everywhere and have the ability to write or doodle it in whenever it pleases me.

A small collection of finished moleskines

My husband introduced me to Moleskine journals because they are perfectly sized, bound in leather, stays shut with a built in rubber band and wears really well. Moleskine  also makes  bound journals with graph paper for doodle bugs,  blank pages for the artists and journals with maps for the traveler. There is quite a history about the moleskine and for a time my favorite was no longer being produced. But in recent years moleskines, like so many other things have made a popular resurgence. There is quite a following or fan club if you will, of moleskine users and unlike the days of old when a person would never dare share anything from their personal diary or journal, moleskines are put on internet display by their owners to share their unique work and artistic talent.

Covered in a photocopy picture of architecture from a coffee table art book by Leonardo da Vinci.

What I love about mine is that I found a way to better protect them from the elements. As a paper crafter with a black belt in pasting anything together at any angle, I have been waterproofing my journals with decorative paper stock and deco podge. This glue like lacquer repels water, coffee, coolaide or anything else in liquid form that could possibly be spilled on, splattered or accidentally placed into. You simply use a glue stick to place each piece of paper where you want it on the outside cover and allow it to dry for an hour or two.  Afterwards apply a coat of deco podge with a paint brush (try not to go over the same areas repeatedly before it has a chance to dry or the paper will eventually tear.) I usually apply one coat, allow it to dry then apply a second coat and call it done. Shampoo, rinse, repeat…just kidding. After a day or two of drying and hardening, you have a journal that can really stand the test of time.

Japanese paper piecing copied from an artist off Deviantart.

Creating a fun time out

So my confession is, I didn’t go to the gym last night so that I could stay home and get down to the business of sewing Block 6 which was an applique’ to my Natures Garden quilt. You know the one…the one I said I was going to have finished a  few weeks ago. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I was GOING to do it and then Michael happened. He asked me to beg off my projects to help him finish the applique on his Arbor lane that he was trying to finish so that he might actually get it sent off to the quilter. So I did and while I was already off track, I made another quilt. Anyway he finally finished and is now in the stage of binding. Can I get an Amen? So tonight I’m on block 8 (another applique’, big surprise right?) which is going to take all night, I might be able to dig out the fabric I had in mind for a project I’ve been carrying around in my head for the past couple days.  24 hours is quite a long time and depending on your activities, it can make for a very long day but most of the time I find myself saying “their just aren’t enough hours.” So in light of the fact that I have to get my butt to the gym after work and pick up where I left off last night, I will have to shelve putting the project together til Friday. In the meantime, here is a few other things I wanted to share the other day when last I posted, but didn’t quite have it all together. This is what happens when you post while at work. Shhhh…don’t tell anyone. So, while I’m stalling for more time…check this out.

I don’t know how many of my readers live in Texas and how many of those live near the metroplex but Dallas really is a one stop shop for food and fun. And the one thing that I have learned over the years is that:

  • People will travel to spend time in a worth while place.
  • The best time a person has anywhere, is usually recommended by someone else.
  • The well informed negotiates map directions, parking, ticket buying etc…better than the average person who flies by the seat of their pants. In short, be prepared and you will enjoy your outing a hundred fold.

Dallas Museum of Art 1717 North Harwood St. Dallas, TX    

Hours of Operation

Tues-Wed     11-5     Thurs             11-9     Fri, Sat-Sun     11-5

Closed on Monday

The third Friday of the Month (excluding December) the Museum is open until Midnight and there is a site dedicated to activities for Late Nights.

Admission: Adults-$10     Seniors & Military Personnel-$7     Students-$5     Children under 12-Free

Last year, every first Saturday used to be free admission, I don’t know if this is still the case. I do know you can get a $1 discount with your Dart ticket and there are free days for students and educators, please refer to the link for details –Admission

Admission to the Museum for late night is half price I believe and if you are looking to do and see more, you can purchase tickets for the Nasher Sculpture Center along with your Museum of Art tickets. It brings the cost for general admission for adults to $16 and $12 for Military & Seniors but you save yourself $2 to $4 bucks if you were going to buy both anyway.

To Parents  – Every Wednesday in June and July the  Museum of Art offers activities geared around children. Their site talks about exploring the world of art through sketching, family tours and story time. See their website for more details.

Nasher Sculpture Center2001 Flora Street   Dallas, TX     214-242-5100

Hours of Operation

Tues-Sun     11-5

Admission – Mirrors the ticket price to the Museum of Art

Again, the third Friday just like the Museum, there is late night festivities that’s free of admission. There are live concerts, movie screens in the gardens and opportunities for much fun and socializing. Some people say that nothing worth having is free…I disagree.

Dallas World Aquarium – 1801 North Griffin St.   Dallas, TX     214-720-2224

Hours of Operation – Mon-Sun     10-5     

Admission

Adult – $20.95     Children – $12.95

I recommend this place over the zoo (for now) only because this is an indoor activity that is more parent friendly to take kids. Just as a warning, it is an aquarium…with wide open space,waterfalls and tanks of all kinds, so there is a level of warmth and humidity in here.

This is what I have for now. I wont bore you with anymore text but before I go, I will leave you with one final link for your dining experience while your in the Dallas area – Dallas Dines Out

Have fun everyone and Bon Appetite!

Got Kids? Beat the boredom!

Many years ago I remarried and my husband and I blended my three children with his four and we had kids ranging in the ages of 10 on down to 2. Needless to say that trying to work and keep children on their summer break happy can be a struggle at times but when you don’t have much time or money to spend, it forces you to get real inventive. Summer can be a little more brutal in some places than others. Popsicle pass down among the children was always a popular event but once snack time is over what do you do with them the rest of the daylight hours? Here is a list of fun projects you can do with kids of almost every age that takes little time out of your day and the least amount of money from your pocket.

10 COOL THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS

  1. Create a sidewalk Muriel
  2. Custom tie-dye shirts for summer
  3. Build a homemade kite
  4. Construct a blanket fort
  5. Design a flower garden in a baby pool
  6. Turn something old into something new
  7. Introduce cooking to your kids
  8. Start a summer book club
  9. Scrap book your memories
  10. Make treasure boxes for keepsakes
The “how to’s” for everything on this list can be found in a Google search. For some of these there are more than a few sites to choose from and I leave it to you to pick the one that’s best for you. The following site has very fun and age appropriate ideas for those with small children – http://freestuff4kids.net/101-things-to-do-with-kids/ and if you have kids ranging from 6 to teens, this site has awesome, creative projects that cost $5 and under – http://dollarstorecrafts.com/
My kids are all grown and gone now. Michael and I have been empty nester’s for the last 4 years already. But I love crafts (in case you hadn’t noticed) and regardless of my childless state, I am still going to do a few things this summer from this list. Probably starting with the blanket fort then onward to making the homemade kite, cause that’s how I roll!

I’ll do “Nothing” when I’m dead.

Bundled Fabric & Paper Peonies

Today is Saturday the 23rd and over a bowl of Pozole with a side a cornbread, I got to thinking about a great many things, most of which concerned my life and how I’ve spent my time. As far back as I can remember which is about the age of two or three which is farther than I needed to remember that I was never really bored as a child. I rarely sat around to watch TV or play video games and I’m struggling to remember a time when I lazed about and did nothing. I was fairly active and spent most of my time outdoors. My fondest memories though are the one’s spent inside, making something. Coloring and drawing on my bedroom floor is one everlasting memory but finger painting, spin art, clay, tri chem pens and shrink art were favorite past times of mine. One of the things I can say about my mother is that she instilled the love of crafts within me and to this day we share DIY crafts from afar. We have spent years now, sending each other homemade cards and letters filled with scrap papers, stickers and other ready to use stuff.

I don’t know if my hand at crafts this weekend is prompted by my nostalgic mood but so far, since yesterday, I have delved into making paper Poppies & Peonies. I finished Pillows A La Mode’s 5-minute project; which sadly, took me a few weeks to get around to doing and I still have yet to find the one pattern that will make the bundled fabric above come to life but I’m certain to remedy that by dinner time. I couldn’t very well post this without showing you my tape dispensers new home. I used some fat quarters purchased at the Dallas quilt show to make this very cushy, happy fabric basket. I thought the fabric was darling though I was at a loss (at the time) as to what to do with them. Just goes to show how handy it is to have a ready stash!

My cute, cushy fabric basket & decorated tape dispensers