Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 2 (and 3)

 7/365  Second day off of school due to the freezing weather calls for a dance party. And a pouting sister, apparently.

 8/365  Last day as a seven year old

 9/365  Happy 8th Birthday, Charles Josef!

10/365  Friday morning, with an extra dose of sass.

11/365  Date night

12/365 The girl has no fear.

13/365  Future scientist at work:)

 14/365  We have blue jays and cardinals all. the. time. Do you think I could catch a picture of them?!? 

15/365  More snow. More puppy paw prints.

16/365  What? You don't wear Halloween socks to dance class in the middle of January?

17/365  Poor CeCe. I do love that girl in her brother's old pajamas, though.

18/365 We haven't made pasta in a long time. I am not even sure we made any last winter. Yikes! Since both kids wanted to help and gobbled up dinner, it's clear we need to make homemade noodles more often!

19/365  He really is such a good brother. Abbie started running a fever (again) after church. Medicine was followed up by a tea party and Charlie joined in to make her feel better. Love that boy.

20/365  I'm home with Abbie today. Thank goodness her fever broke and we both will be going back to school tomorrow. I'm not sure CeCe likes us being home during the week:)

Linking up with Stephanie this week!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Catch the Moment 365

A new year, a new start. It's been a while since I've posted on the little blog. Ahem, a bit of an understatement, no?. Lately I have missed documenting life's beautiful happenings in our little world and was so glad when I saw this on Sarah's Instagram feed. I knew immediately that this would be the perfect way for me to start playing with the camera again and capture all those perfect little life moments that I want to remember. This year one of my goals, besides taking a picture everyday with the DSLR, is to get better at editing. However, I don't want to get too overwhelmed and quit in the first few weeks! So for now, my daily pics will be straight from the camera until I get into a new blogging groove!

1/365  We were taking down the Christmas tree decorations and Charlie was sure to be careful with the ones's mom had given me. He made sure to let his sister know which ones are from Grandma Sue!

2/365 Sigh. Only day 2 and I realized that I have way more to figure out on this camera than I thought! I was getting pretty frustrated and then CeCe girl came and sat next to me. She can cheer you up pretty quickly!

3/365 Fridays are for twirling. Because she doesn't have school on Fridays. And Daddy was staying home with her that day. 

4/365 A few extra snuggles on the couch before we headed out to play in the snow. We spent a good chunk of time sledding at the high school since we knew the Great Freeze of 2014 would hit soon! Really just want to be in North Carolina right now. Not Wisconsin.

5/365 Day One of the Great Freeze. Perler beads for hours.

6/365 Day Two of the Great Freeze. I can't really complain because schools were closed so all three of us got to stay home together. I didn't have to get up crazy early either to do yoga, but I did have company on the mat!

I am really hoping that this project will help me take time and focus on all the small moments that make me smile (or laugh or cry...) during the day. Especially since going back to work last fall, I don't think I have been doing a very good job of being in the moment. I know it is a long ways off, but I am already dreaming up what I will do with the pictures at the end of the year. Maybe those who have completed a Project 365 before will have some ideas?!?!

Linking up to Sarah's blog today:)
Catch the Moment 365

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bean Bags

When I graduated college, a few months away from setting up my very own Kindergarten classroom, I had never used a sewing machine. Nope. Not once. There were many things on my wishlist, but being a recent graduate and first year teacher, money was tight. My cousin graciously sewed up some bean bags for my classroom. After I stopped teaching to stay home with the kiddos, those bean bags came home with me and my own kids played with them. They have held up pretty well in the last ten years -- whoa. wait. it's been that long already??? Anyways, they've held up until recently when I started finding popcorn seeds all around the playroom. Time for Mama to sew some new bean bags! I am obviously not the first person to post about bean bags, but here is what I came up with and you can go here to see what I plan to do with them:)

Besides your general sewing supplies you will need:

*charm squares
*freezer paper
*paint (fabric or craft)
*paint brush
*beans (or other filler in case you run out, ahem)

I used a charm pack of Half Moon Modern and separated it into two piles. I tried to use the squares with more white backgrounds (on the right) for the fronts in order to make the paint easier to see. I chose this fabric line because it has a lot of primary colors in it so it will be easy to add to our bean bag collection later.

I plan on using the bean bags as educational tools and well as a play thing for the kids, so I wanted to add letters and numbers to one side of the bag. I used my trusty ole Silhouette to do the hard part for me. I placed my freezer paper, waxy side down, onto the cutting mat that came with my Silhouette machine and cut out numbers 1-5 and the letters of my kids' names. If you don't have a cutting machine, you can of course trace and cut out letters by hand. Here is what it will look like.

I cut out each number and letter, making sure to leave enough room on all sides so paint won't get on my fabric later on. I placed each number/letter on a charm square and ironed the freezer paper down. It took me a long time to use freezer paper for some reason. It is SO easy to use and gets great results!

Ready to paint! The girl wanted glitter, but it didn't really show up. Once I told her the blue paint was called "Wild Blueberry", she forgot all about the glitter. Yes! We are a family that can be easily swayed by food!

Cover the stencils in two thin coats, waiting an hour between coats.

Let dry completely. Peel off the freezer paper and do a little happy dance! You've got a pretty little charm square to turn into a bean bag! No matter how many times I use freezer paper, I get really excited when a project turns out so nicely!

Sew the front and back together, right sides together, using a generous 1/4 inch seam allowance and leaving about a two inch opening for turning.

Turn right side out and poke corners out. I don't even bother clipping my corners because you are going to fill the bags with beans anyways.

Complete side note: I know I am the last person to get on the red and aqua train, but better late than never, right??!! Now to only convince Ben that these colors do indeed go in our house...

Once I fill the bags with the dry beans (sorry, no photo of this, as I had two small helpers...), I sew the opening shut. I like to topstitch twice across the top for extra security.

Let the kiddos spell their names! Let Abigail show off her number recognition skills!

I know they will never be stacked like this, but they sure do look pretty, hey?

Blog Hopping and Hopping Kids

It's my turn in the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop! I think we all agree that Beth over at Plum and June has been doing a fabulous job organizing this blog hop, from the guest posts to weekly challenges and *everything* in between. Thank you, Beth, and welcome all you hoppers!

So, here's a bit about me! My name is Suzanne and I am a 32 year old teacher-turned-stay-at-home Mama from Wisconsin. I've been married to my college sweetie, Ben, for almost 8 years (our anniversary is next week and I'm actually making him something!!!). We met on our college track team and after a l-o-n-g break, I've started running again and I've recently started training for a half-marathon. Eek! We have two little ones who insist on getting bigger day by day. Charles is 6 and Abigail is 3, lovingly referred to as the boy and the girl:)

I bought myself a sewing machine for Christmas 2010 without ever using one in my life! When my son started school it seemed like I was constantly having to make costumes for one thing or another and I decided it was time to learn how to sew. I have always loved to craft, but we just didn't have a sewing machine in the house growing up. So with the help of my mother-in-law, I figured out how to use my machine and I haven't looked back! Above is a mosaic of all my quilts I have made:)

A bit more about me:

-How long have you been quilting: About two years

      -Favorite quilting tip: Take your time! I have always been the type of person who wants to finish a project ASAP! Quilting (and sewing in general) has taught me to slow down and enjoy the process.

       - Favorite blogging tip: Um. Yeah. I'm still figuring out how I want this blog to work, so I'm probably not the best person to ask! I guess it would be just let your blog be a reflection of you, no one else.

       - Favorite fabric: Soul Blossoms by Amy Butler. It's what started my love affair with fabric! 

       - Favorite quilting tool: Seam ripper, ahem.

       - Favorite music to listen to while quilting: Chris Isaak, Counting Crows, Adele, Bruce Springsteen, Indigo Girls, Otis Redding...I should probably stop there otherwise you will get a complete list of my Pandora stations:)

       - Favorite TV show while hand stitching: Eek! I'm actually in Rachel's Handstitched Camp and I'm loving it. Therefore I've actually had time to craft this summer, otherwise me and the kiddos are outside! My husband and I have recently discovered the Big Bang Theory (don't know why it took us so long!) or we are usually watching some Milwaukee Brewers baseball on TV. Ripping out seems has proven very therapeutic in this lackluster season:)

       - Binding - by hand or by machine? I'm going to make myself hand bind my next quilt...

These above are my current WIPs. I try not to have too many quilts going at once. I currently have three: My Cloudy Skies Rainbow Picnic quilt, my London Baby! quilt (fan of Friends, anyone?), and my Dogwood Medallion quilt for my Handstitched class. My Rainbow quilt actually will go along with the tutorial I have prepared for you today. You can find the tutorial here. Huh, you say? What do picnic quilts and bean bags have in common? When the quilt is finished, I hope you'll pop back in to see! I'll keep you posted!

For now, here is what I plan to use the bean bags for:

*Number recognition for Abigail
*Sorting objects by number
*Teach Abigail how to spell her name:)
*Bean bag toss in the play room when it's too hot to be outside!
*Adding and subtracting practice (using a complete set up to 20)

You could also make this for toddlers to practice stacking. You could make them and give as gifts, too. Such a versatile little project, no??!!

While I was finishing up sewing the bags shut, the boy and the girl stole their 'C' and 'A' bean bags and went outside to play hopscotch. Clever little cookies:)

In case you missed it, here were the two stops earlier in the week.

    Jennifer from Sewlandia
    Nicole from Mama Love Quilts

And now be sure to hop over to Mina from Kindaquilty. I snuck a peak earlier in the week and I can't wait to see what she has to share! Thanks again for stopping by!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dogwood Medallion

I should have been cleaning last night. Really, I should have. Ben's been out of town all week, and even though we spend most of our time outside, the play area and laundry room in the basement are a disaster! I put the kids to bed and went down stairs with the best of intentions to clean up a bit. But you have to walk through my sewing space to get to the laundry...Yep. Cleaning never happened. This little lovely got finished instead! 

The dogwood medallion will be the centerpiece of the quilt I'm making as part of the Handstitched Camp taught by Rachel. The medallion features reverse applique using a blind stitch. I have to say my stitches started to look pretty good towards the end! Next week we will begin new lessons, one of which will be how to embroider the white border of the medallion. There was an option to use HST as part of the white border, but I chose to wait and try my hand at the embroidery. I can use the practice! 

These are the other fabrics that I will use in the quilt. The course fabric requirements call for a few more solids, but I think I am happy with my stack for now for a few reasons. First of all, my budget! I tried to pull as many fabrics as I could from my stash. I was pretty successful at that, only buying a few more prints from the DS Quilts Collection that I thought would look nice. Secondly, I am making this quilt for our master bedroom. Right now, our room is mainly browns and blues. I wanted to add a bit more color into the room, but I know that Ben wouldn't want anything too funky. I wanted to pull more solid colors from that floral/bird print on the bottom right. I held off knowing that I would probably get the "Huh?" look from Ben! We will soon be adding a border of solids around the medallion and I am thinking about using the tan circles as solids when that time comes. We'll see how they all play together...

Okay. Now I really should go clean;)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Do you hear those crickets, too? It's been awful quiet here on the blogfront and if I'm being honest, my sewing machine has been quite quiet, too. It's almost like it's summer vacation or something;) I knew that I'd get less sewing done once summer rolled around, but I never realized just how little time I would get in my little sewing room. It's a good thing I have Rachel's Handstitched Camp to keep me busy while I am away from my machine! 

It's Week 2 of the camp, which means that we have time to work on the projects that we learned in Week 1.  This week we learned the running stitch, blind stitch, and the blanket stitch. I started and finished this little beauty yesterday while the kids were playing outside. It's a needle book to keep organized when I want to craft at home or on the go! It was the first time I ever did reverse applique and I must say that I have a lot of projects dreamed up using this technique. I make a lot of zippered pouches and covered notepads as gifts and I can definitely see trying a bit of reverse applique on those to make them a bit more special. 

Here's the inside of the needle book. I have yet to add the optional scissor pocket because, well, I don't have little scissors! All I own are large pairs so I am now on the hunt for a pair of small embroidery scissors that can fit in my oh-so-portable needle book. Yes, I know I could just go to JoAnns and pick up a pair right away, but I'm looking for something cute! 

And here is a sneak peak at the second project of the camp that I have started. It will be the center medallion for a quilt that will (hopefully) be completed at the end of the camp, which runs all summer long. I whipped these first blind stitches up while the kids played on this awesome tree house at the zoo earlier in the week. I promise my stitches have gotten better since then! Please excuse the photo, too, as I took it on my ipod while the kiddos played. I look forward to keeping you updated on my handstitching progress!

And in case you are worried that my sewing machine will be getting too dusty, I will finish piecing a quilt top today for a tutorial that will be posted over at Plum and June next week during the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop! 

Linking up with Lee's WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

May 2012

May was filled with many celebrations. We celebrated Abigail's third birthday, Mother's Day (Yes, the girl is crying in a Mother's Day picture up there. Just keeping things real!), and Memorial Day. We welcomed a new cousin and helped Auntie Jen move the final things into her new house. We finally made it to Miller Park and under Auntie Jen's influence took those awesome pictures of the kids standing on giant concrete baseballs. It's easy to see why the kids love her, right?!?! But the only thing I can focus on as I sit and look at our month in pictures is that boy up there. He is officially done with Kindergarten. I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that he is old enough to be in first grade now! All I can do is shake my head, sigh, and go snuggle with him. Life is moving too fast.