Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm so glad to have Jenny as my friend because she's always up for an outdoor adventure! Over on Jenny's blog she's posted pictures of our families enjoying the snow a few weeks ago as we cut Christmas trees. She's a much better photographer than I so hop on over there if you'd like.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Quilt

I finished a simple Christmas quilt last week! Just in time for us all to snuggle under while we read "A Christmas Carol" aloud the past few days. So fun. The snuggling, the reading, and the sewing too.

Using charm squares and machine quilting, it came together very quickly.

I washed it after these photos were taken and it brought out even more of that wonderful quilted texture that I love. I declare, I think I'm really starting to catch the quilting bug which I never thought would happen. :-) The cutting and piecing process always seemed way too fussy, hand quilting took forever (I took a YEAR to finish a baby quilt for a friend!), I didn't know how to machine quilt, and I knew that taking quilts in to be quilted at a shop was way too expensive for my budget. But I've gained some patience over the years AND I've learned some quilting tricks on the Internet this fall.

I thought I'd take a minute and explain the simple "trick" I learned that allows a person to free motion quilt on any sewing machine, even one that doesn't have a way to lower the feed dog. First, you place masking tape over your feed dog, then, attach your embroidery foot or darning foot. (The one I use is an embroidery foot and it is circle shaped.)

Next, decide on the continuous random pattern you want to do and practice drawing it on paper. I looked on line for some ideas. Practice evenly feeding your fabric through your sewing machine -- too fast and you have huge stitches; too slow and your stitches are tiny. It's a matter of getting your hands and your foot in sync. I started out on some small projects I wasn't too emotionally attached to in case I completely made a mess of them. This site was particularly helpful in figuring out the whole process, with pictures to go with it.

One other thing that has helped me is using quilting gloves. It may sound a bit wimpy but it's actually a bit physically demanding to grip the quilt for an hour or two while you make the loopy-dee-loop pattern all over the place. The quilting gloves have grippy stuff on the fingers and they make it a piece of cake to keep control over the material. Some people don't like the gloves but I think they're great. I hate to admit this out loud because it makes me feel old, but I'm pretty sure I've inherited the arthritis gene that runs in my family. Just typing this post I can feel how stiff and creaky my fingers are and while doing handiwork they can get quite sore. Using gloves, I don't have to grip the fabric but just put my hands palm down on the fabric. This really helps with joint fatigue but it makes it all around easier too, no matter what the condition of your joints.

If you haven't tried machine quilting you should give it a whirl! It's addictive and quick. Even Taylor is begging me to let him try and I told him he could as soon as I get done with my projects that are due the 24 of December......

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cutting a Christmas Tree in the South Hills

It was so much fun going to the South Hills to find a Christmas tree-- this year with the Hanson family. The mix of snow and sunshine was just perfect.
Heidi palling around with her best friend Hannah.

First off, we found a little table size tree for Grandma Clayton's house, .....then we found a bigger one for our house. Joel, the hooded, anonymous tree cutter, tying everything down. Joel's so nice to agree to this trip even though snow and cold isn't his favorite weather to gallivant around in. He still has a bit of Phoenix blood, even after all these years. :-)

Then after tramping around in the snow to find trees, and after Taylor's boots dried out from falling in a snow covered creek, we then had a blast sledding in the Diamond Field Jack area until dark! The boys loved the full body trash bag "sleds".
Hank, Taylor and Hagan having a great time doing silly stunts .....
....while Torsten filmed them.
I loved this saucer sled the best even though it always turned me around backwards. I screamed every time. Torsten enjoying some hot chocolate.To top the day off, some snow mobilers came riding up and asked to borrow our 5 dollar sleds in exchange for letting us use their very nice snow machines. Seriously?? Joel and Travis happily took them up on their offer and gave all the kids some 70 mile an hour sled rides.
The kids couldn't get enough of it, though one ride was more than enough for me.

Note Joel's smile-- yes, nice equipment like that warms him right up. :-)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cat food anyone?

Even though Leif has grown very picky about food lately, not wanting anything to do with peaches, applesauce, watermelon, pretzels, cheerios, grapes, cheese sticks, or a host of other foods, he's continued his love of cat food eaten on the sly (it's more fun that way) and we recently discovered he has a taste for pickled beets. I don't know if pickled beets and cat food would be considered a healthy diet for a 14 month old - or any age for that matter......