Monthly Archives: August 2008

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It’s the Weekend!

WooHoo! In the states we have a holiday on Monday and I have today off — so it’s a four-day weekend for me. Yipee!!! As Gail says, “Breathe In, Breathe Out”!

There. At last, some excitement around here — ’cause this week has been pretty darn Sa-Low. Fortunately, Sharon saved me from myself and opened the cupcake swap package that I sent her. She waited until she had the package to me in the mail — and now I’ll have something to look forward to receiving next week. Anyway, here’s what I sent her:

Cupcake Swap

A jumbo cupcake cake pan, sprinkles, cupcake papers, tips and bag for frosting, an apron (which I thought maybe she could use to hold her tools when she’s machine quilting), and a little cupcake tiara.

Cupcake Swap

I was sitting at my computer one Saturday morning getting ready to descend into the dungeon to make Sharon’s apron and I got an e-mail from Nan. She suggested that maybe Sharon might like a Cupcake Queen tiara. That Nan is BRILLIANT! I loved the idea, thus the Cupcake Queen on the apron and the tiara. After all, as the swap organizer, Sharon is definitely the Queen!!! Thanks Nan for the great idea! (And btw, you should go check out the FABULOUS cupcake hat Sharon got from her other swap partner — I’m So Not Worthy!!! That hat is awesome — we must know who it’s from!)

Cupcake Swap

So…off to the weekend. What do YOU have planned? I’ve got a little cleaning (does it ever end?), a get-away tomorrow, and then hopefully, finally, some sewing time on Sunday and Monday. I’ve missed my sewing room!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and manage to soak up the waning days of summer!

XOXO,
Anna

Cupcake Swap

P.S. Some of you have asked for more information about the soldered pendants. I found a bit of a tutorial HERE and a good video HERE. (Skip through the collage stuff if you’re in a hurry to get to the soldering — she also gives some good supply tips.)

P.P.S.S. Have you seen THESE adorable cupcakes??? They’re bakerella-on-a-stick!

One Fine Weekend

Did you all have a wonderful weekend?  It was hot and muggy here but I was busy running errands and catching up from my week away so I didn’t really notice.

We went to a beautiful wedding reception on Saturday night.  The couple got married earlier in the month in a small, private ceremony in the Colorado mountains and had a very posh reception under a big pavillion in a local park.  Everything was perfect.  Well, except for the heat, but you can’t have everything be perfect.

Before we went to the reception, I made a little package tie-on using the skills that Beckie taught me last winter.

Wedding Ornament

My skills (or lack thereof) are clearly rusty and it turned out a bit rough, but I still thought it was cute.  I discovered that I need three things:  a better glass cutter, a better soldering iron, and Beckie by my side to tell me where I made my mistakes.

Wedding Ornament

I put their names and wedding dates on the back.  I thought it would make a cute little ornament to remember their wedding.  I wish I’d taken my camera to the reception.  They had the most beautiful tower of cupcakes.  There were 7 or 8 tiers, each with a different frosting flower which indicated the type of cupcake.  A pink rose was the most delicious raspberry, white for vanilla, a yellow flower for lemon, orange for carrot cake, purple for chocolate, and there were a few more that I can’t remember.  They all had a sheen to them like they’d been sprayed with something.  Very yummy!

Wedding Ornament

On Sunday we had MeMum and BigDaddy over for a belated birthday dinner for MeMum.  I spent all day making a cake that should have taken only a few hours.  It was a Lucious Lemon Cake and it tasted pretty good, but in the end, it completely fell apart and became a big pile of goo.  So sad.  And that was after trying to figure out the lemon curd.  The first batch had a very distinct metallic taste to it.  We debated about what caused it and thought it might be the lemons so I sent TheManoftheHouse to the store for more.  While he was gone I did an internet search and decided that it was the pan I used.  I have a favorite calphalon pan for making sauces because they don’t burn while cooking.  I knew not to use aluminum with lemons amd I just don’t think of my pan as being aluminum.  It is though — it’s anodized aluminum.  Whatever that is.  Anyway, it “metalized” my lemon curd and I wasn’t a happy camper.  Just in case you have a calphalon pan…don’t make the same mistake I did!

So.  On to a new week.  I’m anxiously looking forward to next weekend — it will be a four day break.  Yipee!

XOXO,
Anna

Second Grade Quilts

Since a new school year starts in many areas of the northern hemisphere this month, I thought I’d show you a project that I did with my boys when they were in second grade.  You know, just in case any of you young mothers are all distraught with so much extra time on your hands and you need a new project LOL!

I had seen quilts where each child in a class would make a block and then the quilts were hung in the classroom or school lobby or given to a teacher. But for some reason, I wanted my child and all the other children to each have their very own quilt, so when TheFirstChild was in second grade, I approached his teacher with a quilt plan.

Second Grade Quilts

Fortunately, she was an awesome teacher and she was all for it. During the school year, the second graders covered a lot of different units — things like whales, penguins, Alaska, syrup making, and for TheFirstChild’s year, the presidential election (it was 1992 and I could show you his block showing who he’d vote for, but then I’d have to terminate you.)  The teacher incorporated this year-long project into those units.

Second Grade Quilts

We started by having each child pick the fabric that they wanted for their sashing and I prepared 12 blocks (with freezer paper on the back to stabilize them) and a little sewing kit for each child. At the end of each unit, the teacher would have the children draw something about that unit on their blocks. Up to this point, the teacher did all the classroom work herself.  I think there were 17 or 18 children in the class.

Second Grade Quilts

Each time they completed three blocks, I would come into the classroom and we would have an hour or two of sewing. They hand-sewed two middle sashing strips between the three blocks to complete one row. Oh, how I loved watching those little hands work!  As each row was completed, I would take the rows home and sew the horizontal sashing to connect two rows. This was done by machine so that all the horizontal rows (where the pressure would be if the quilt were to be hung) would be stable. I confess, while sewing those horizontal rows, I occasionally stitched over some of the hand stitching in the vertical rows. For the most part I left the hand stitching just as the child had completed it, but some of those little big stitches just weren’t going to be in it for the long haul.

Second Grade Quilts

By the end of the year, each child had enough completed blocks for a quilt. I put the borders on each quilt and we had an afternoon quilting bee. Each child brought in a parent or friend helper and we tied all the quilts. First, all the muslin backs were laid out on the tables and the kids rotated in a big circle so that everyone signed the back of everyone else’s quilt.

Second Grade Quilts

Then, we all sat down and went to work. If someone got done early, they helped someone else, until we were all done.  Surprisingly, I think the boys enjoyed the project more than the girls and many of them were better sewers than the girls! I took all the quilts home and serged the edges. For my own boys, after the school year was over (and after the “quilt show” where the quilts were hung for a week) I put normal bindings on the quilts (I did, as a working mother, have my limits and there was no way I had the time to bind all those quilts!) In the picture below, you can see a few of the girls in one lucky class that had a grandma who put prairie points on all of the quilts for that class. I was thrilled when I saw that! Most classes aren’t that lucky though (a few have had a mother who was willing to bind them all) and the serged edge has worked out just fine.  (I did send binding instructions home with the kids in case their own mothers wanted to bind them.)

Second Grade Quilts

The quilt project turned out to be a big hit and the following year, all three of the second grade teachers wanted to participate. Each class had a volunteer mother, so I wrote out explicit instructions (’cause they were non-quilters) and they were off — with no other help from me. The third year, TheSecondChild was in second grade, so I again participated.  MyDadLovesMeBestSister was the volunteer for all three of her kids, too. The last time I checked, the project was in its 15th year and still going.  Maybe someday I’ll have a grandchild in that school and I can be the grandma who does the prairie points!

This was a VERY fun project and it was really just an excuse for me to be at school more with my kids — I loved it there!  So, if you feel the same way…here’s your excuse — they’ll never catch on!  ;-)

XOXO,
Anna

Maybe WordPress Will Like Chocolate

Well, apparently my WordPress and my Webhost don’t know how to play nice together and I can’t get any more comments on the last post. My Webhost says its WordPress’s fault. Any guesses on what WordPress will say? I’m hoping to scare the darn thing into submission by having another post just one day after the last one. We’ll see. If you can’t comment on this post either, we’ll know it didn’t work and I’ll just talk to myself!

A few very funny things that might be of interest:

Poor Molly was horrified that I would actually make a chocolate cake in the microwave, so she’s written a very funny post aimed at saving me from myself. She’s included a GREAT looking recipe for a chocolate cake that you might want to check out. I’m definitely going to try this one!

I think sweet Vallen also took pity on my desperate attempts for chocolate and she’s posted a YUMMY looking chocolate pudding with raspberry sauce. Holy Cow — I LOVE chocolate and raspberry! Can you feel your hips expanding???

And then there’s Brigette. My clown friend extraordinaire! When I wrote the post about my Aunt Annie’s Sweet Rolls, Brigette fell in love with my Patisserie Dome and has been, well, shall we say obsessed with it? Her efforts to obtain one have, so far, been in vain, so she has resorted to making one of her own until she can get a real one.

Now, the funniest part about that (only I’m crying while I’m laughing) is that almost at the same time she was posting about her new dome, I broke my dome while washing it. Oh, the anguish! So, Brigette’s temporary solution was perfect for me and I hurried and made my own temporary dome last night.

Patisserie Dome

Of course, mine had to be made in Brigette’s honor. And mine really isn’t a dome and doesn’t have apple strudels in it — only my oatmeal cookies. But it will have to do for awhile. And, notice how all the words on mine are all frenchy sounding. That totally wouldn’t work if Brigette’s name had been oh, Mabel or something.

So, thank you for the laughs and recipes Ladies!  Blog friends are pretty cool!

XOXO,
Anna

Oh, and last, but certainly not least! Happy Birthday MeMum! I hope you’ve had a wonderful day! I’d show everyone another of your beautiful quilts in your honor, but {ahem}*someone* hasn’t looked into recovering the pictures from the crashed hard drive yet!

Whistle While You Work…

Well hello there!  Did you all have a mighty fine weekend???

It was all work here in Thimbleannaland.  I decided I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I rolled up my sleeves and started cleaning on Friday and cleaned all weekend.  Sadly, there are still a few rooms that need attention, most notably the sewing room.  I think I had sewing stuff in almost every other room so all that junk got dumped into the sewing room.  That will be another weekend down the drain of productivity.

The motivator that got me cleaning was the departure of the kids last week.  I started with their rooms and now that they’ve taken all of their stuff I have my guest room back.  When SweetiePie came to stay a year ago, I packed away my quilts, so I put them back on the beds this weekend.

Boys Quilts

I made these quilts for the boys when they were very young and shared a room.  The colors matched a cute little toy soldier wallpaper that covered the walls.  (Thank goodness we moved before they got older and I had to remove all that wallpaper!)  I’ve always loved the pinwheel block so I knew I wanted to incorporate it into their quilts.  I also wanted to use the same fabrics on each quilt, but make them each a little bit different because they boys are both different.

Boys Quilts

This block above, was made for TheSecondChild’s quilt.  He was a little wilder as a little boy (and funny, that’s still true!) so I wanted a pinwheel with a little more “movement”.  The block below is the block that I chose for TheFirstChild who was a little more calm and reserved.

Boys Quilts

Both quilts are hand quilted, but not by me.  I’m still working on a wall hanging that was started around the time I pieced these quilts, so it was a very good decision to have someone else quilt them.  Sadly, in spite of a window blind that is constantly drawn, TheFirstChild’s quilt is fading badly.  I now keep that quilt covered all the time with extra sheets, even with the blinds closed.

I’m off to NJ for my monthly trip tomorrow, so I won’t be around to enjoy my almost clean house.  But maybe I’ll be able to catch up on some blogs!

XOXO,
Anna