Thursday, December 31, 2009

Catching up

Well, I kinda lost my steam after November but I finally got it in gear for Christmas. The first thing I have to show isn't made by me-one of my staff made it for the Library. She did a really nice job. She actually made two of them and then made ribbons out of old book tape that she spray painted gold. V.v. nice.

Next up I made two Christmas ornmaments for exchanges. In case you can't tell, they are gondolas. One was for the Maud-L exchange and the other was an online crafters exchange. I will try to add a pic of the ornament I received from Melaine also.

I made two little brother waldorf dolls for the boyos-they had clothing by the time Christmas came. I also made two little ticker tape quilts for them.

I also made this Advent Calendar out of a panel I found. The panel wasn't printed straight (big surprise) but DH helped me ease it so that it isn't as noticeable.

I also made a Christmas CD case cover (need to add a pic). And, most importantly of all, after knitting my hands to the bone I finished the two Christmas sweaters for the boyos. They are reversible and Red loved changing his around. The pattern was from Tricoter Calin (Phildar) and I swear that I will translate the pattern in its entirety before I knit another French pattern. Je le jure!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My mentor's son

My dear friend and mentor Elaine lost her son to swine (H1N1) flu in November. I am posting her tribute to him and backdating this post to the day of his funeral.

I was gutted by Elaine's loss. I, also, have two sons and the thought of losing one of them is crippling. I cannot imagine how Elaine finds the strength to wake up each day and carry on. I still have drawings that little Raymond made for me when I worked for Elaine.

I am so terribly sorry that this funny young man has left this earth.

Elaine's Tribute to Raymond

Posted Nov 16, 2009 8:15am

At every rite of passage in Raymond’s life, his family has been right by his side with a few heartfelt remarks and on this occasion, despite our most profound grief, we want to share our feelings with the rabbi‘s assistance.

As many of you know, Raymond had his share of medical challenges since the age of 10, but over the past two years, he was in nearly perfect health. He even managed to graduate from Westbury High School in the top 14 percent of his class, despite missing most of his junior year of high school. Not only that, but to our knowledge, he was the first senior in his class last Fall to receive acceptance into college. He was accepted to ALL the universities he applied to despite his high school transcript and attendance records.

When it came time to decide which college to attend, all it took was a two day trip with Ronnie to Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico for Raymond to decide that this was where he wanted to be. Raymond, quite literally, fell in love with the university, and the people he met in the engineering department made him feel welcome and wanted. Raymond was a nuclear engineering major and aspired to go into either nuclear power or nuclear medicine. He was so excited to be one of only eighteen incoming freshmen engineering students to be accepted into the UNM Learning, Living community (LLC) for engineering. This meant that he would be living with other engineering students in an upper classman dorm and taking classes with them. As a student from out of state, who had to live on campus, we thought that this would be a great opportunity.

Raymond loved living in the LLC and hit if off, right off the bat with his 3 roommates: Esteban, David and Kyle, all from New Mexico. He would tell us that while others had problems with roommates, his roommates were just great and they got along so well. Each was majoring in another area of engineering, but they all had one class together as members of the engineering living/learning community. Even in the short time he knew Esteban, David and Kyle, the Raymond jokester was in full force. His dry sense of humor and quick comic wit was a joy to those around him. You could always count on Raymond to see the humor in any situation.
Before Raymond went off to UNM, we had the usual parent/college child talk about what his job was at college: to do everything that he could to do well in his studies, to get involved in activities that he enjoyed and to have fun. As parents, we couldn’t have been happier because Raymond did all those things. He took 17 hours his first semester at UNM that consisted of two engineering classes, 2 math classes, chemistry…and his EASY class was economics. He was disappointed that he wasn’t pulling all A’s (he was making As and Bs), but he was working very hard by going to the campus tutorial programs and attending study groups. He was doing all the right things to stay focused on learning and we couldn’t be more proud.

He had also begun to get involved in campus groups, but with Raymond, we have come to expect that this involvement would be not the usual. He called us to let us know that he had joined HESA. What’s HESA we asked? He said HISPANIC Engineering Student Association. He said that this was the largest engineering group on campus and they sponsored the best job fairs. He told the sponsors that their group’s mission was to help minority engineering students and he was a minority--He was Jewish. They took his $20 and he was in. He also was helping to charter s new student engineering group at UMN that dealt with nuclear power. He belonged to ANES, which he would joke that he couldn’t just say the acronym, as it sounded so GI tract, It stood for American Nuclear Engineering Society or something along those lines. And finally, he joined the UNM Hillel, the Jewish student organization on campus.

As for having a good time, Raymond was apparently doing so as well, but in moderation and definitely not to the detriment of his grades. He made a carved jack-0-lantern in the dorm, which he named JEW-backa. He was also thrilled to be in his first snow. He called both Ronnie and I at work just recently to tell us that he took a nap and when he woke up, it was snowing outside. He couldn’t believe it---in fact, when his Auntie Phyllis and Cousin Lisa cleaned out his dorm room for the trip back to Houston, they found 3 snowballs in the refrigerator that Raymond had saved! There are pictures of Raymond out in the snow with his roommate, Esteban, and another where he is making, what he referred to as a “snow Jew“ (snow angel). He looked so happy in those pictures.

Many, many times this college semester, Raymond told us how happy he was at UNM. He was so happy, he said that he wanted to get his masters and possibly his PhD in engineering. We told him….finish your first semester first. One step at a time! Knowing how happy Raymond was in his life and how healthy he was (free of the medical issues that had dogged him since the age of 10), we were also happy. It made our empty nest easier to deal with because we weren’t dealing with a young man who was having any trouble adjusting to college. He loved being independent and responsible for himself and being away from home for the first time in his life. Raymond had embraced this newfound independence and was moving full speed ahead.

Raymond was able to put into almost 19 years, what many cannot accomplish in a lifetime. He was always wise beyond his years because of his brother Jason, 7 1/2 years his senior, who Raymond always felt equal to despite the age difference, and having older first cousins around all the time. Raymond was a force to be reckoned with and was always in the middle or leading the charge quite literally. He was an entrepreneur and had a lucrative underground candy/cookie business in high school that helped fund his college education. He was very trusting and if his customers didn’t have the money, he would allow credit until the debt was paid. He also enjoyed playing poker and just this last year, came in first place at an Hadassah father/son tournament here in Houston. He loved to tell humorous stories, mostly about his mother’s cooking, that would have the relatives crying from laughter. Everyone would say--Raymond’s going to be a comedian, not an engineer. Give him an audience, Raymond would perform. We’d have to warn him to watch what he said many times, but that never held him back. On Raymond’s carepages and on his wall on Facebook, the one thing that resonated over and over in the comments was Raymond’s sense of humor. Everyone saw it and everyone enjoyed it.

What would Raymond say now if he could? He would tell us that he is enjoying all the attention, but that he wouldn’t want us to dwell on sadness when we think of him. He always felt bad whenever he was sick and the impact that it had on those he loved.

That is why Raymond would want us to limit our sadness and remember all the good times, all the laughter, and all the fun we had with him in our lives. Though he is no longer with us in person and we miss him more than words can say, he will never be forgotten for the person he was and the happiness that he gave us to those whose lives he was part of.

He is now with his Grandma Raye Plotkin and Great-Grandma Eva Kleinfeld, for whom he was named, …and all the loved ones who have proceeded him. We are sure that they are taking care of him and enjoying all the love and humor he has to share….. As it has been said before and forevermore, EVERYONE LOVES RAYMOND.

(Read by Rabbi Silk at the graveside ceremony for Raymond, Congregation Emanu El Cemetery, Houston, TX 11/15/09)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

My first BOM

Well, it's November. Where's my BOM?? I'm impatiently waiting for my first BOM from the Fat Quarter Shop. They said that it was so popular they are giving everyone in the BOM a gift certificate to the shop! Which is super cool as I need to buy the backing for this quilt and one for my DH.
Then, this morning, I couldn't find my confirmation for the BOM. Did I sign up? One email later confirmed that I had indeed signed up and that the first BOM should be out no later than Monday! I wonder which block we will start with? I hope it isn't the top left one. That looks involved. Actually a lot of those blocks look involved. Curses! What did I sign up for? Ah, well. It will all be worth it. And I really love that dear little house block.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Primitives Quilt Shoppe: It's a Happy Halloween Giveaway!

Pumpkin Patch Primitives Quilt Shoppe: It's a Happy Halloween Giveaway!

Pumpkin Patch Giveaway

Well, I was clicking a long and came across this GiveAway at Pumpkin Patch Primitives. She's giving away fat quarter bundles and even possibly a $100 gift certificate to her store. I had not read this blog before nor seen the store. I'm going to go look now. The fabric is gorgeous!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Magpie's Bag

Magpie finished her bag last weekend:

And the proud quilter and seamstress!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Down the primrose path. . .

Magpie (dear niece #2) spent the day with us yesterday. We went off for Saturday coffee, stopped at JoAnns so I could get some more autumnal decorations, and went to my parents' church for their fall festival that they call HopeFest. It was a little disappointing this year. Very few vendors and they aren't having the children's games until today (and I am working this afternoon). They did have a tearoom so we had a nice lunch. Afterwards we went off to the resale shops. My DM and Magpie were looking for some jeans and I was looking for a costume for Tig. Red is going to be a fireman for Halloween and every fireman needs a dalmatian, right? I scored at the second shop and found a practically new dalmatian costume for $9.99! SCORE! We headed off home afterwards to enjoy hot fudge sundaes.

Magpie helped me get out all of the autumn decorations. (I asked DH if there was enough folk art out. heh heh) Then she was agitating to do a project. I was seriously tired at this point and just sent her off to the nee-nee room. She started pawing through my scraps and decided to make a new bag. She managed to piece one side and I donated a fat q of this adorable tree fabric (I found it at the FIFTH JoAnn's I visited. Note to self: if it catches your eye every time you visit a store buy the damn fabric!). She also made the lining out of some leftovers from the duvet cover we made her recently.We ran out of time to finish and I need to get some webbing for the straps but she's hooked!!!!!!!!! My dear Magpie will be a obsessed quilter any day now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

He liked it!!!

This weekend was my Gma's 85th birthday so the family converged to celebrate. I had additional reason to celebrate: Thing Two was ready for my cousin and cousin-in-law! He really seemed to like it and I was so pleased. The colours are a total departure for me-I'm a folk kinda girl-but he was really happy. His mom is a quilter so he knows the effort that goes into a quilt-and of course his wife is a Crafty Girl herself. I wonder if I'm odd but I think I like the back of the quilt best. Just that single red block. My mom and Gma laughed at me because I said I was still on time with their wedding gift because "it isn't their first anniversary yet." LOL

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shall we call it soft sculpture?

Finished in time for my Gma's 85th birthday this weekend!!!!!!!!!!! Am v. pleased. Was not pleased, however, by DH's comment last night that he really doesn't like folk art.


First I find out he doesn't like Stevie Ray Vaughan and now this??

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I spent the first two days of this week at a conference in Austin. I love Austin and UT is my alma mater. The pic below is the view from my hotel room window. An inspiring sight for any UT alum!
I was able to have dinner with my dear cousin and his bride Bucket Of Joy. I had only gotten to meet her for about two seconds at their wedding so it was a pleasure to spend a few hours in their company. I gave her a crochet hook as she's wanting to make the Babette afghan but we didn't have any time for a lesson.
Below is a pic of the Main Tower at night. If my bed had been on the other side of the room I would have kept the draperies open so I could fall asleep looking at the tower.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Why didn't someone warn me?

Stamp carving is addictive. I made my first one on Wednesday:In case you can't tell, it's a bunny with a book. I had been planning on making one for Red but this guy pushed ahead of that one. It's for my best friend from graduate school. We recently reconnected on facebook and had lunch together and this is the result. I will be mailing him off today. Here's a close up:

Last night I made one for Red who was thrilled. I'm planning on using it to stamp fabric for the backing of the doll quilt I will make him for Christmas. The boyos are going to be getting waldorf dolls and they will need quilts, right?

Monday, September 14, 2009


Latest Project:

An angel doll kit from Plum Creek Collectibles. I bought this last fall the the Quilt Festival in Houston. My boyos love the doll, even though she has no features at all! I'm really glad they did because I am going to be making Waldorf dolls for them for Christmas.

Above is the appliqué for the doll's dress. Or, since she's an angel, raiment. I haven't done any wool appliqué since last December when I finished my Christmas tree skirt (also from Plum Creek). I love doing it. Plum Creek will be at the quilt show again this year and I can't wait to see what new projects she's come up with!

Friday, September 11, 2009


The IBOLGuy was thanking all of the participants today for our efforts. So far he has 1921 bundles-and pallets worth of bundles on the way. This little idea of his becomes more beautiful with each update.

It is a blessing for those in Iraq who are about to receive some heartfelt gifts from us, both for IBOL and Old Mother Hubbard. It is also a blessing to us, to be able to share, to give, to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

Thank you IBOLGuy, for giving us this opportunity to reach out to our fellow quilters, knitters, and crafters in Iraq.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sarah Had a Birthday

My princess niece had a birthday. She is a tiny, tiny little person.

The bunny is a Wee Wonderfuls pattern. The quilt is one I made messing around with my serger. The little bag is reversible to the strawberry stripe.

She wasn't too thrilled when she opened the package but after having cake she was running around the house sticking all her birthday loot into the bag.

Guess she likes it!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

This fabric makes me laugh

It's a fabric line I found at It's stash! It makes me snicker every time I look at it. I may have to get some just for the laugh.

Monday, August 24, 2009

duck, duck, duck. . .

I started working on this quilt for T during my vacation at my sister's.  I've had a heck of a time with this quilt.  I ruined my blade on her cutting mat and even cut most of the original blocks too large because I didn't notice the difference in markings on her ruler.  Then when I got home I couldn't get the 45-degree angles right on the corners and the darn squares were smaller than the expected seven inches.
I kept ripping and re-sewing until I was afraid the fabric would fall apart.  I found a great tutorial on how to make the correct angles at the corners  so I've been using than method successfully.  However, my blocks were still under seven inches. 
Guess why?
My needle is out of alignment! And my quarter inch foot is no longer making a quarter inch seam!  The needle is actually rubbing up against the side of the foot.  I need to finish making all the squares so that they match.  Hopefully I won't ruin my machine by doing so.  I've got eight squares left to make.

La rentrée

Sort of. Red and Tig go year 'round at the Montessori school and DH and I are year 'round employees at our school so la rentrée is more symbolic for us than anything.

However, in celebration of the day I made this table runner. I bought it as a kit at Quakertown Quilts (and 20% off!). I like the little handprints and, of course, the chalkboard fabric is perfect for back to school.

I backed it with fabric handed down from my mom and I used batting remnants as well. Thrifty!

I figure I can use it during the summer with the strawberry side up if I want-it would look nice on a blue or red tablecloth.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Iraqi Bundles of Love

Got fabric? Got needles? Got any sewing paraphenalia? Iraqi Bundles of Love is looking for donations for this short term project.

It's a great way to de-stash. Just follow the bundling instructions on IBOL and head to the post office to send your Flat Rate Box to Art's APO address.

My mom just gave me a TON of supplies that she was going to toss (or worse, put in her garage). I'm going to load up some boxes and get them off.

I like this project because it's short term and something I can do easily when I mail off to Sister!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The socks that didn't want to be knit.

I started these socks last summer using the Yarn Harlot's Earl Grey pattern.  You couldn't really see the pattern so I ripped it out, and ripped it out again, and ripped it out again.  DH suggested this pattern so that's what I went with.
I swear these socks did not want to be knit.  I had to redo the heel on the first sock three times.  When I got to the heel on my second sock I held it up to my sister and announced that I was starting the heel flap.  Then I announced I was turning the heel.  Then I announced I was picking up the gussets.  I figured that was the only way to keep it in proper order.
I finished these socks the day we drove down to Germany and had lunch by the Mosel River.  I finished them right as we got there and was a little  panicked because I hadn't brought a backup project-I didn't want to be tempted you see.  Fortunately we found a souvenir shop that sold yarn!  I bought two balls of Regia and finished the first sock in just a few days.  Let's hear it for NBK!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My first machine quilting

Well, DH got me a darning foot for my birthday and I have been quilting Thing One for him.  Here's  a sample.  It took a LONG while to do but I am proud that I finished it yesterday.  I thought I had already made the binding but I hadn't so now I need to carve out some time to do it so I can finish!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A little sewing

I took my first quilt class in May and I just finished my block last Friday. It's a Jacob's ladder block. The points aren't perfect but as I am still learning I can live with it.

I also made this dress for my Gma. It's not really a dress-it's a clothespin bag! But I made it for her to put her shopping bags in. I hope she likes it! The colored fabric are from some fat quarters I bought-Posh. And the cream damask is some leftover scraps from my mom.

Friday, May 01, 2009

sniff, sniff

Well, Red is turning four on Monday. FOUR. I don't know how that could possibly be right but it is. DH and I just loaded up all of our infant things (bumbo seat, baby clothes, toys) to give to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. I couldn't bear to go with him-I've had at least four crying jags already-but I hope these things will bless someone else as they blessed us.

We've been blessed with two beautiful boyos and DH said that he could not imagine life more full or more empty than what we have now. I know he's right but it's hard not to want just one more little one.

Monday, April 20, 2009

And then I got my serger out. . .

Red's birthday is coming up and he is seriously into firetrucks right now so I wanted to make him a pillowcase. I decided to use my serger, just to try it out, on a pillowcase.

So I made three. ;-)

The alphabet one and number one will be for when we get the loft beds for the boyos. I will give Red the firetruck one on his birthday. I should have cut the fabric so that the trucks ran across the pillowcase but I was trying to do this quickly. I edged this one in some read minkee I bought at JoAnns. It's not the softest minkee but it will do.

The serger made it a very quick construction. I used Mary Quilts' pillowcase instructions again from . Love that pattern!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Have you seen this?

I was reading The Farm Chicks Blog (clicked over from PamKittyMorning) and then saw this give away from Pixie Dust. I had never seen this fabric line before but it sure is nice. Here's the link: I love the Chateau Charlotte and the Aqua pagoda. Actually I like it all! You can enter the give-away on The Farm Chicks blog.

You *must* go look at the poufs and tuffets. Too Cute.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Table Runner for Gma

I quilted the table runner for Gma on Sunday. I had brought all my supplies over to my mother's as my brother was there with his kids and I wanted to see them and let my boyos play with them. It didn't go well. My mom's sewing set up is different than mine and I didnt use enough basting spray so after I quilted two lines I had to rip it out. *sigh*

We made two trips to JoAnns. The first to get some more serger thread-guess who is going to hem her summer dresses? And then DH and my kayak-obsessed brother wanted us to meet them there so they could pick out some nylon. They want me to make a splash skirt, a tonneau cover and an ill-advised sail for the kayak. Does the Coast Guard answer 911? I need to find out before they try out the sail.

After the boyos and I got home I pulled out my machine and quilted the table runner. The boyos are obsessed with the machine so I kept bribing them with cookies to let me finish. I was able to get it quilted and the binding sewn on. Then DH and brother came home and started working on building what they called a flower box and I called a pram. So I was able to finish hand-sewing the binding.

The table runner looked a little bare so I made two yo-yos and sewed them on with buttons. The shape of it makes me think it looks like a baby quilt! The measurements are 22 by 30.5 inches .But it will look nice on Gma's kitchen island. I used polyester batting on this quilt and I will never use it again. It is tooooooo lofty. I'll stick to warm n' natural from here on out. It isn't that expensive, especially with the generous coupons from JoAnns.

I put the runner in the mail Tuesday. I hope Gma gets it before Easter. She's out of the hospital now and I know she's upset that she won't be able to come to visit. I'm hoping she can come this summer. We're kind of in a catch-22: it's getting harder for her to travel and it's harder for me and the boyos to visit her house. Her home is lovely but full of breakable things that fascinate the boyos.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


This is the beginning of a table runner for my Gma. The pattern is available on the Moda Bake shop blog.

I found out last night that Gma was hospitalized for severe bronchitis. I'm worried that it will turn into pneumonia. She's 84 and is not in the best health.

Penguins, penguins

Finished quilt top for Red. I used the pattern (mostly) from Andover. However, it had some serious errors in it. I had extra fabric, thankfully, so I could re-cut the pieces that were wrong. I bought the backing Monday-more penguins-and I will piece that with some of the leftovers from the top. He says he likes it but I don't think he realizes it will be a snuggly quilt for him.

I have another pattern and fabric from the Duck, Duck, Goose line. When I start that one I will sample before I cut all of my fabric up-just in case.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Testing an idea

Recently I have been using my serger a great deal. My mom wanted me to roll hem some of her dresses (I lost count at 20!). Since I am rather new to serging I checked out several books from the library. One of them had a project that was a quilt made by SERGING. I was intrigued by it and then in this issue of Quilts and more there was a giant, wonky log cabin quilt. I wondered if I could do that on my serger. Well, here is my sample. It is not tidy-I didnt iron my fabric before cutting or between logs as Tig was up and v. clingy and I was afraid he'd get burned.

You can see the serging here. To get started you layer the first square (top fabric, batting, backing) and serge all four sides. Then you place the next log of fabric right sides together and the batting and backing against the back. Serge the seam. Then flip the pieces together, iron, trim if needed and move on to the next log.

Here's the back of my sample. I used some minkee scraps-which were hard to serge through because it ends up being six layers thick, some red flannel and some blue gingham flannel. I think I will make this into a little doll quilt for DNiece#3.

I'd like to do another of these but with time (and freedom) to iron and cut accurately.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Still here . . .

Well I *planned* to be better about updating my blog-especially over Christmas break-but I guess I've been too busy with the nee-nees.

Red grabbed a remnant at JoAnns one day and for some reason I kept obsessing over it. So when Spring Break arrived and I was cutting out for Red's penguin quilt I thought I would go ahead and cut it and some red and black out so I would have it ready whenever I got sewing time. Well, the quilt was very demanding and insisted on pushing to the head of the queue. In fact, it held me in a tight grip and pushed me until I made two quilts! Here are Thing One and Thing Two.

Thing One will be for my long suffering DH and Thing Two will be for my dear cousin and his bride. I know DH likes his and I really hope Cousin and CousinInLaw will like theirs. This quilt demanded to go to them-it was really quite insistent.


 It's a top!  My goal for my two week vacation was to get this to a top and here it is!