Sunday, February 28, 2010

Send off to the Winter Olympics

We have had a very lazy weekend.

It started off on a high note with Max receiving a trophy for soccer, the Most Improved Player Award. It is a U-10 travel team and at 7 he is the youngest on the team by at least a year. He started off being a little shy with the older kids, but as the months have gone by, he has really become a part of the team and has learned so much. He was thrilled with the trophy and the coach's words and just loves playing soccer! He usually has practice first thing Saturday am, but this weekend we had a break!

So Saturday and Sunday consisted of staying inside and watching the snow, playing board games, watching the Olympics and then playing in the snow! Steve's brother arrived Friday night after spending two weeks in the Everglades and the Keys of Florida with our canoe- so he was dropping it off on his way home to Williamstown. It was great to hear about his trip and the fun he had with his friend Kellie. We are keeping our fingers crossed, we really like Kellie! The kids were thrilled and managed to get him to stay until Sunday afternoon.

Ellie and Sam had never really been sledding before, the last two winters we have walked them around the neighborhood or the state park on a sled, but never taken them down much of a hill. They were ready and had a blast. Sam, aka Danger Boy, has a need for speed. His first run down he went with brother Max, but from then on, he ran up the hill and went on his own! Ellie was a little more timid and doesn't like getting cold. She required an adult with her on the sled and wanted to be carried back up.

Max loves his Zipfy sled and in ode to the Olympics, he took a few skeleton and luge runs. He had everyone pile on the big sled to make a "Night Train" run for the gold.
Trimmed, Starched and Pressed
I did a little sewing. Ironing and starch worked miracles on my hexies.
They are lying flat and look wonderful. I sashed the pillows and made the cording. I hope to tackle a zipper on the back and sew it up tonight once the kids are asleep.

Also made a trial run at a pillow, based on this tutorial. It was really fun and easy to make. I think I will try another one when I get an extra hour to play this week.
PillowDetail of trim
So goodbye Winter Olympics we will miss you! Congrats on the medal count Team USA.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Our Favorite Homemade Playdough

Ready to make some play dough We have been making this recipe at least six times a year for the past five years and we love it! 2 cups flour 1/2 cup salt 2 cups water 2 tsp vegetable oil 2 tsp cream of tarter 2 packages of kool-aide Our favorites are cherry or grape for both color and smell. Dedicated non-stick pot for play dough We bought a lovely el-cheapo non-stick pot that is dedicated to this venture. Mixing in the ingredients All the ingredients are in and now Max is giving it a good mix before it hits the stove top. One minute over the heat This is what the dough looks like after being over medium heat for one minute. The dough is "cooked" on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, but it is really all about the way it looks. Stirring after the mixture goes from straight cake mix looking form to the photo above is key. Almost done cooking This shows the dough almost ready to come out. Perhaps a minute or so more. Scooping it out We then scoop it out and place it on wax paper to set a moment or two (usually Max can't wait to get goey, so he dives right in after it cools enough to hold) Bowl looks like this The reason why a cheap non-stick pot is critical. A good soak and a little scrub and it is good to go for next time. DSCN0449.JPGBig ball of doughHand prints Max's favorite part Max prefers to knead his play dough with his shirt off so he can really show off his muscles . . . The real story is he got dough on a favorite Red Sox shirt a couple of years ago and is careful now. Play dough balls We usually let it cool off more before putting in either a plastic bag or airtight container. Max couldn't wait to get his tutorial on-line and finish the project, so we rushed a bit. The cream of tartar in this really makes the play dough last- if you keep it refrigerated it usually lasts us at least 3 months. We often pitch it, just so we can make more. Short Track Oval in Cherry Play Dough At 7 Max doesn't admit he loves to actually play with the dough. He claims to be making it for Ellie and Sam. Today he let them play for a half-hour, before he took control and made the awesome Short Track Oval with Apollo Ohno skating to victory for the USA, with two Korean competitors crashing just before the finish line. Max with his play dough tribute to Apollo Ohno Max showing off his latest play dough art . . . he is working on a downhill course with a Bode Miller!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Beluga Whales - a fan favorite!

Beluga Love this whale Hello Beluga Chilling with the belugas Penguins Sam walking like a peguin Sam Waliking Like a Peguin Penguin Hello Sea Turle Ellie was in awe of the turtle and stingrays Max and the Sea Lions Max was thrilled to have lots of facts on the Sea Lions and to know the difference between a Sea Lion and Seals. Hanging with the belugas Ellie ran to see her friend Sea Lion Show Our first house in West Simsbury, CT On the way home we thought it would be fun to detour to Simsbury and our old stomping grounds. We wanted to show Max the house he lived in as a baby. The house looked much the same and when we noticed the for sale sign we couldn't wait to get home to check online for photos. We were not disappointed and were also surprised to see the house looked much the same as we left it and their furniture was very similar to how we had the house. (Mom, here is a link so you can look at the photos!)Fox Den Road in West Simsbury One night during our trip we had a lovely and COLD walk in Stonington, CT and had dinner at a wonderful old spot on the water. The kids loved their fish dinner! Stonington CT and Lighthouse Point

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lovely Blog, Friend and Giveaway! Happy Anniversary Heather!

Check out this amazing giveaway from the woman who has helped fuel my crazy fabric addiction!  She has created some wonderful swaps and flickr groups which have changed my life over the last year.  I know that sentence sounds a little crazy and I really do have a real life, but 
the fabric swap group really introduced me to the vibrant online sewing and crafting community.  It has been wonderful to know that others dream about fabric and think of crazy ways to acquire OOP or HTF prints.  Okay enough of my obsessive fabric talk . . . 
Heather is celebrating a year of blogging, at Ala Mode Fabrics, and she is giving away some wonderful Heather Ross fabrics.  A grouping for those with boys in mind and then a set for girls!  It is such a generous giveaway- thanks Heather!
Make sure to check out Heather's giveaway post to see all the flickr groups she (and her blogging BFF and partner in crime) Kerri have started.  They are wonderful groups and they make sure everyone has their expectations met.  Truly wonderful swaps.  The fabric swapping group is a wonderful group of individuals who are always willing to help you out and share when possible.  I am really grateful to all the wonderful people I have met since last spring when I joined my first flickr group.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Isn't she a Beauty?

I LOVE this pitcher and am thrilled to have a chance to win.  If you want a chance too . . . visit my friend Stacy  at Red Door Home is giving away to celebrate her first year of blogging . . . isn't she lovely.  Speaking of lovely, take a peak around Stacy's blog, everything she does is beautiful and fun.  Every time I am lucky enough to spend some time in her home . . . a calm comes over me.  Over the last couple years she has completed a basement remodel and it is stunning.  She shares tips and photos both on her blog and also in a couple features in Better Homes and Gardens various magazines.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dresdan Plate and a little Summer in the City on a Winter Day

Start of pillow swap
okay all the complaining about living in the Southern Adirondacks and facing a winter of really no snow . . . and as I type it is snowing at a fast clip and what am I thinking about? Summer. It might be my very favorite fabric, Summer in the City by Moda. So sad that it is getting harder and harder to find. The weird thing is it is one of my favorites, but it is a favorite that I will actually cut into. Once I start using it, I have a hard time stopping. The Dresdan Plate is so fun in this print that I am not sure I will be able to stop at a pillow and might have to make a whole quilt from it. I guess first things first. The snow today has caused us to reschedule plans, so I can sew when the kids nap! I think I will work on the pillow and make sure I can master the applique portion of the Dresdan Plate. I have called or shopped at all the local stores looking for some varying degree blade templates, but I have a feeling it will be a on-line purchase soon. The blade I found at JoAnn's is a 30 degree which takes 12 blades to make the plate. I think I would love some with more and even some with less. Anyone know of a good source?
I used a tutorial from Amy at Badskirt and also one by Sara of Sewn, both fantastic! My partner in the pillow swap likes things paired with linen, so I am thinking of using linen for the background fabric and also the circle for the applique. I might even go crazy and try a zipper, but that might just be crazy talk. I think they are sleeping, so time to crank up the sewing machine. Enjoy the storm everyone and as I look out at our snow covered swimming pool, I know summer will be here before you know it!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Three by Six Blocks on the way

Hive 4 - Blocks on the way
So excited to ship these off to their new homes. Tiffany had such a wonderful idea with this bee. Each participant selects three colors for their blocks and you are in a hive with six other people, so you make six blocks. Participants sign-up on a quarterly basis so you can come and go into the Bee. I plan on participating in all four quarters, so at the end of the year, I will have received 24 blocks. The blocks are 12 inch blocks, so it will make a great sampler quilt! If you are interested in signing up for future quarters, here is Tiffany's blog.
The two blocks I have received so far are fantastic. I will take photos once all of them arrive. Here is the one I received from the talented Penny from Sewtakeahike and last week received this awesome block from Kim and . I must admit, I wish I would have attempted a little more exciting block, but I think sometimes in a sampler style quilt a little simple might be good. The wonderful part of this bee is seeing all kinds of awesome block ideas. I think the rest of the year the hardest part will be choosing which block to do! I will try some more out at the upcoming Potholder Pass as well.
I actually made four of the six blocks a month ago. I was trying to use the same fabric patterns but in the colors requested. I thought it would be fun to show how the same fabrics and the same block can take on such a different look and I thought Flea Market Fancy seeds would look great as the center block . . . but for two of the blocks the pink and gold seeds just didn't work with the other fabrics. I had to add a little to the stash in a happier shade of chocolate brown and I now LOVE how they came out.
My favorite part of a swap is always the printing the label and sending it out. The pressure of having a deadline and need to get something in the mail is both a great motivator for me and a stress. The great part of a swap is it is pushing me to try new things and keeps me excited and motivated. The deadline always keeps me a little on edge. When the kids napped today, I enjoyed putting some cover button packages together for my swap partners and then packaging up the blocks and sending them on their way!
Blocks ready to sendCover buttons
If you have some time, check out the flickr photo's of all the blocks, they are amazing.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dream Saturday Night - Warm fire, hot cocoa, my peeps and a finished swap and some hexies

Potholder Pass
I love when I finish a swap, I know it is meant to be all good fun but for me it is stressful! As time goes on and I am sewing more and more, I have more confidence in my sewing skills. That being said, it still makes me nervous. Will they like what I made, is it too much, not enough, or just right? This one I LOVE and I am hoping my partner likes it too. I really like the little extra tea towel made with the scraps.
Fun Dish Towel with the Scraps
Made an extra towel for us
Potholder Pass Finished
Front of both, trying to hide the crazy quilting on the wonky star! Sorry partner I tried to be clever, but the quilting got away from me!
We made a fire tonight, Ellie and Sam are really into fire. To be honest we felt left out of the storm here in the Southern Adirondacks! We should be snowed in at least once this winter! So we pretended we were snowed in and without power! (after dinner of course) Steve made a fire, some hot cocoa with the gas burner on the stove (we are lucky whenever the power does go off, the gas always works!) and turned off all other electronics. (which of course made Max a little mad at first, but he got into the book and games and all was forgotten) The kids stood in front of it and warmed their bums and then kept holding their hands up to get them "snugglie warm". It was a great little family night!
Playing around with hexagonsWarm BumsRiding the RodyMax cuddled up with . . . a DSWarming of the bunsTrouble times two
This is what my family was doing, which was perfect for me to get to some hand stitching I needed to get done. I am still having too much fun with hexagons and I even stitched a few together. This chair is comfy, has a light by it and was next to the fire!
My seat by the fire
Off to the waterpark for a birthday party and then to the neighbors for a super bowl gathering! Enjoy the rest of your weekend and if you live in the path of the snow storms, please know in Upstate NY where we should be getting a big storm or two, we are jealous! So tuck in with a good book, sit by the fire and enjoy the view.

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