Archive for February, 2008

Beautiful Bento

My Bento Box Quilt

I love this quilt.

I Love the Puckers

I loved making it: a simple and fast pattern. Although I didn’t like the color-coordinating-trying-to-make-it-all-work part, it was still fun.

Flannel Back for Bento Quilt

I loved quilting it: again simple and fast since I followed the squares and “stitched in the ditch” as it’s called. This is really my first real quilt. I’ve sewn blankets/quilts before, but I have never taken the time and quilted so much. I usually just do a couple lines or outline a couple squares. With this quilt, I stitched every square and it really looked much better because of it. I love my walking foot and know that I couldn’t of done this job without it. So if you’re thinking of quilting, seriously, spend the dough (mine was about $35 for my Janome machine) and invest in one.

Ms O Loved It Too

But most of all, I loved giving it away:

Grandpa Augie and His Quilt

After the party as we were pulling into the driveway, I told Chris that I missed my quilt.

Maybe I need to make another…

Hint for Fini- get me your dimensions so I can make your Christmas present before next Christmas!

Now for some quilt details that most may find boring:

1. This is a lap size quilt, a 60′ square. It’s a perfect size for snuggling on the couch.

2. I used 11 different colors: 5 light and 6 dark. I bought ½ yrd for each color, but ended up using less. The pattern calls for 20 fat quarters (10 light and 10 dark) for this size. You won’t use all of it.
3. For the backing, I only used 3½ yards of flannel whereas the pattern calls for 5 yards. Mine was made up of 3 pieces which may be the reason why I didn’t need as much fabric. I also didn’t make my binding as a separate piece. I cut and sewed my backing so that it was about 3 inches bigger all around than the quilt top. Then to bind it, I simply wrapped it around to the front of the quilt and machine stitched it in place. I will never do this again though. It turned out very messy so I will be doing a separate binding from now on.

4. With my colors, I made 8 different 2-color squares. Of these 8, 4 have the dark color in the middle of the square and 4 have the lighter color in the middle of the square.

5. It takes 4 small squares to make up one large square. My quilt had a total of 16 large squares which is made up of 64 small squares.

5. The biggest color mistake I made was that for a couple colors (yellow, sea green and light blue), I used them in two of the 8 color-combo squares. For example, I had one color-comb0 square of yellow and grass green, then I used the same yellow for another combination- yellow and dark blue. I think this was why we had such a hard time trying to lay out the squares so that no two squares with like colors were touching. Next time, I’ll make 8 color-combo squares of totally different colors.

Okay, that it. Those are the boring quilt details I wanted to share. This is the stuff I like to know so I thought I’d pass it on. Let me know if you have any questions.


Happy 6th August Michael!

My oldest turned 6 today. I can’t believe it. I’m sure you’ve all heard it before: the years go fast, I don’t him to grow up, etc… But really, it’s too fast.

Augie's 6!

We had a blast at the pool celebrating with Grandpa Augie. We ate brownies, chips, and grapes. Then swam, slid, and splashed for almost 3 hours. The day ended with some good ol’ Burgerville and Lego Star Wars on the Xbox. What else can a 6 year old ask for?

And yes, I did get the quilt done (I even had time to take a nap before the party! How unheard of is THAT?), but more on that next time.


I’m not good at details. I tend to get rushed and want it to be done. I would love to add a little embroidery, more appliqué, or maybe even some patchwork to many things I sew, but I never take the time. I did a little more than usual with my giveaway wristlet and received some nice comments because of it. I don’t even get my tags added to many things just because it’s another step and I’m too lazy.

Now, take this present I made for Henry who just turned two:

For Henry

I want to add more detail to the crown, but I can’t get myself to do it. I love the way it turned out and was inspired by this mama and this one, who sells amazing ones in her shop (if you don’t want to make you’re own).

There wasn’t a tutorial or anything so I just studied their pictures closely and winged the rest.

Side View

I made my own pattern out of construction paper to figure out the correct size and proportion of things. I used ½” elastic for the back and covered it with a bit of scrap fabric. There is 100% wool felt for the front pieces and a wool blend for the inside piece so it wouldn’t be too itchy.

Back of Crown

I’ve had this ribbon for a long time and was happy to finally have a project to use it. I would like to add more appliques or embroidery like a horse, helicopter, or house…

But I’m done with it. That’s it.

As for the shirt, I’m not sure I like it. The stitching is heavy and the horse is too big. I wanted to be creative and do like two of something that started with H, but again – no go.

Horse Applique detail

Oh well. Baby steps are what I need to focus on. Maybe next time I can take a little more time and do a little more.

It’s the Simple Things

Kids don’t need much do they?

I buy and buy, but really all they need is a little nature:

Ms O in the Fort

Ms O loves the fort daddy made, but loves eating the snow even more.

A little free time:


Just give Eddie a box of crayons and some paper and he’ll go to town. He can’t be disturbed.

And lastly, a little exercise:

New Again

The pure pleasure of jumping! We bought a new mattress last night and temporarily moved our old one into the living room for some fun.

And we are the lucky ones who get to watch it all.


Yep, there’s still a TON of it up here on the Ranch. We arrived Friday night and the boys spent most of the day Saturday working on a bigger and better snow fort than last time.

The new and improved fort was started after a mini one was made for Ms. O:

Ms O's Snow Fort

The best thing about it was that it was close to the house:

I Don't Let Her Go Far

Yes, that’s the door there so I was able to keep a close eye on her without having to brave the cold myself. The snow has been up here a while so it’s pretty hard on top and hurts when you fall. Ms. O actually stayed out there for longer than I thought she would.

Chris and Augie slept in their fort last night and made it all the way through until morning!

THE Snow Fort

It’s Eddie’s turn tonight, but I’m not sure he’ll last. He’s still afraid of the dark so it may be a short night in the fort.

Today we’re also heading to Sisters for some groceries and of course, the Stitchin Post. I CAN”T wait. I’m raking my brain trying to think of what to buy…

Heart Day

When Nana and I picked up lunch the other day, Eddie got a special surprise just in time for Valentines:

Eddie and his Heart Nugget

Augie wanted one too, but no such luck. He did bring home a bag full of treats from school today so I don’t feel so bad.

I haven’t gotten anything together yet for Valentines Day. Chris surprised me with a gift last night A DAY EARLY! Really, THIS IS A BIG DEAL and it deserves all those capitals. He made a special trip to Costco and braved the lines for a case of my favorite: S. Pellegrino mineral water. Man, I love that stuff. I can drink bottles a day. I was so moved that I actually cried. Yikes. Tears for mineral water. How sad is that?

So for my kids, I just got some cute little Jelly Belly heart things at Target and I plan on writing out some cards later. (I also got one for Chris so I’m the loser this year.) I’ll make it up to them next year.

I’ve been too busy lately with that typing job (which is actually going good and I’m really enjoying reading it as I go) and Grandpa’s quilt. It took Chris and I hours, but we finally arranged the squares to where we like it:

Bento Quilt Getting There

The pattern was no help to me when it got to the colors and combinations. Chris and I basically moved things around until we got it to where the similar colored squares were not touching. At that point, we didn’t care if some did not match.

If you didn’t know, Chris is color blind in the reds, greens and browns so this was a true challenge. We finally got the squares to where we liked it and it took about 2 hours to sew the 16 larger squares. (Each of the 16 large squares is made up of 4 smaller squares which is then made up of 5 pieces.) The quilt is going faster than I expected and my seams are matching up pretty well. Tonight I gotta get the whole top sewn together because Grandpa Augie’s and my son Augie’s birthday party is coming up on the 23rd!

I need to plan out my sewing better. I seems like I’m always trying to make a deadline.


Saturday was a great day.

I pick up Nana from Molalla with only Ms O in tow. I get a double tall espresso along with 18 eggs, milk and whole wheat flour while Nana was getting her hair trimmed next door. (Don’t you love the Starbucks cafe IN Safeway?) We then head over to the baby warehouse and I stock up on kiki’s, sippy cups, baby shampoo, (Yes- I still use Johnson’s on my kids so that they still have that baby smell. I love it.) and a cute little flower watering can for the bath. We pick up lunch for everyone and head home. An hour later, I meet with a cool grandpa who is writing his memoires of his world travels and work. I agree to try to decipher his handwriting and type it all up for him. (For a fee, of course. This mama has too much to do to work on 250 pages for free!) The meeting only takes a few minutes so with an hour of free time I head to the fabric store. Aaaaah, I’m revived. I head home to find my laundry put away, dinner on the stove and leftover curry just for me. I tell you, it was a good day.

Then Sunday came and it was a disaster.

It all started at 6:30am which is WAY too early for the weekend. I had to wake Nana, Eddie and Ms O so we could make it down to the train station in time to get Nana on her train to Seattle. (Chris and Augie were already up and out the door to the Duck Club to clean up decoys since the season is over. YIPEE!) So, I get everyone dressed and out the door and we send Nana off on her train. The kids and I then head on over to New Seasons for more groceries and breakfast. We get home at 9am and I put Ms O down for nap and Eddie in front of the TV. I had to sew. We were going to brunch to celebrate Grandma’s birthday in a couple hours and I didn’t have a gift yet. I had great ideas: a zippered wristlet and a heat sack for which I picked up flaxseed and lemongrass essesential oil earlier at the store.

I get to work:

Makings of a Heat Sac

Things are going good and I think I’ll get done in plenty of time.

Then disaster strikes.

First, as I was adding the 3 DROPS of oil, I accidentally spill about a TEASPOON into the flaxseed. I decide to use it anyway because maybe it won’t be as strong since I was using thick minky as the casing, and maybe Dorothy really likes lemongrass. As I’m filling up the bag, I spill flax seed all over my kitchen. If you’ve ever used flaxseed, you know how small the seeds are and that they can get into every crack and crevice. Then, I go to sew the opening closed and I spill the flaxseed AGAIN, but this time all over my sewing machine! Crap. I hate sewing with minky. Anyway, I get the thing closed and it doesn’t look pretty. Oh well. I stick it in the microwave to test it and WHAM- the scent is so strong, it makes me ill.

Forget that gift.

I get to work on the other gift thinking that an hour is plenty of time to get it done especially since this is like the 10th one I’ve made. Nope. It doesn’t work out either. After working on it and already re-doing the zipper once, I turn the bag for the final inspection, but then see that the strap is too long AND the zipper is sticking! At this point, it was too late to do anything else so we head off to brunch with no gift, no card and a bad attitude.

The rest of the day’s not much better, but I get some good food, a good nap and some time with the kids. I even fixed the wristlet, but am keeping the heat sack. When I’m in the need for some major citrus balm, I’ve got the perfect fix!