Tuesday, June 28, 2011

{Virtual Coffee}

   Good morning!!  It's 7:44am and I am sipping my 3rd cup of coffee right now.  (Don't worry, it's half-decaf.)  What are you having today?
   My new pattern is to (naturally) arise between 4:00 and 4:30am -- so I've already put away dishes, washed the pots and pans while listening to a Tara Brach podcast (my morning therapy-- it grounds me), checked e-mails, facebook and quilting blogs.  I tried to do laundry, but our washer which was just fixed 2 weeks ago (for about $300) is breaking down again, and I have to call the appliance repair man.  Bummer!
   Now the kids are up and my stubborn little man is already in time-out.  He wants to paint NOW.  There simply is not enough time to paint before camp.  I offered coloring, play doh, puzzles...   But since he could not get his way, he began tearing books and toys off the shelves-- so he was put into time out.  Let the power struggle begin!  In an hour, I will be dropping him off at camp-- it's going to be a loooong hour!
   What's summer like where you are?  Here in CT, it is partly cloudy and it cooled off nicely overnight.  The windows are open, so fresh air is coming in and I can hear the birds calling outside and the morning commuters driving by.
   Do you have a garden?  We do-- not an elaborate one, but it needs some attention.  I need to replace some of the plants that have not come back.  I bought 2 little tomato plants- oh, about 3 weeks ago- and just yesterday put them into larger pots.  I picked these 2 plastic pots up at Target on clearance for $2.49 each.  They don't really match the color scheme of our house (and will clash very nicely with the bright red tomatoes)-- but a bargain is a bargain, I say!
These are 3 purple butterfly bushes that I am going to plant where I used to have delphiniums:
They will be planted along the front walkway behind these lilies as a nice backdrop.
Have you been up to any fun activities this week?
   My daughter had her dance performance.  Her group (Modern 1 & 2, ages 8-9) came up with a number called The Ants vs. The Cupcakes.  It was very clever.  Here are the "ants" below:
   Below: My son, getting up close on stage, during the announcements after the show.  He lasted all of 15 minutes during the performance.  Luckily my daughter's segment was near the beginning, after which he and I went for a walk outside. 

my daughter and stepson (looking a little tired)
   Another little highlight of my week:  I returned all the soda cans that had been accumulating in the garage for the last month or so (several soda addicts reside at our house-- not me)-- and earned $15 dollars!! (at 5 cents a can, you do the math-- there were A LOT-- and that didn't even include the beer bottles!  I'll do those next.)  Can you tell it was a very exciting week around here?
   Anyway, I look forward to visiting your Virtual Coffee posts and reading all about your week(s).   Please feel free to link up!  And thanks again to our host,  Amy at Lucky Number 13 blogspot.
   Thanks for visiting, and I hope you have a productive day/week!  {I now have less than 2 hours to be productive before I pick up the kids-- the pressure's on!}

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kindle Cover Do-Over

     Last week I shared this [unfinished] kindle cover that I made for my Dad for Father's Day:

     I didn't know how to finish the two ends of the binding (note the clips in the photo), but I learned that it was as simple as just leaving a little extra fabric at the each end and folding it under!  After ripping out the entire binding and re-doing it, I somehow just lost all enthusiasm for the thing.  Does that ever happen to you?  Maybe its a beginner thing.  Or being a perfectionist?  Who knows.
   So I chalked it up to a practice piece, and proceeded to make a completely different cover using this tutorial by Kari on the handmade mommy blogspot.  My father has a first generation Kindle from Amazon that came with its own hard cover, so I opted for a book-jacket style cover this time.
front cover
back cover
open inside view
detail of machine blanket stitch
   I feel better about this version :0)  I loved using various Asian fabrics from my stash.  I especially love the metallic gold and black swirls above, and just ordered more from Blue Bamboo (a great source for Asian fabrics).
   So I am happy to report that I am satisfied with my do-over!

   And now, on to the next project...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

{Virtual Coffee}

   It's Tuesday and I so look forward to {Virtual Coffee}.  Thanks, Amy (over at Lucky Number 13 blogspot) for conceiving the idea and hosting!

   Another week has flown by and I have managed to get so little done... 
But its been a good week and a fun week!

   As I write this, there is a mob going on outside.  I can't actually see the details because its kind of far away and the trees in our back woods are dense with leaves, but I can hear the crows mobbing something, and now the blue jays are chiming in.  Just figured out that the "something" is our resident red-shouldered hawk because I heard it call.  I don't have a recent photo of our resident guy (or gal-- they look the same except for a difference in size), but here is a picture I took over the winter...

I'm feeling a little indecisive this morning, so I included 2 photos.

   In other nature notes around the house, I had this visitor at my honeysuckle:

Again, indecisive... 1st one is better exposure, but 2nd photo shows dragonfly better.

 I hope everyone had a wonderful Father's Day!  My kids made some art for Dad:

From my daughter;
It says: "I look up to you Dad"
My daughter's current obsession: the Power Puff Girls
She watches the shows, she draws pages and pages of them,
and creates her own new characters that she names

My 3 yr old son HAS to do everything my 8 yr old daughter does;
these are his drawings for Dad
   I hope everyone was able to enjoy some outdoor fun!  We did a little of this..

And an outdoor photo shoot of my daughter's other current obsession:  Littlest Pet Shop toys (LPS)

   If we were really meeting for coffee, I'd have to tell you that my son's new favorite word is "Never!"
   MOMMY:  "It's time to wash your hands."
   SON:  "Never!"

   MOMMY:  "Let's clean up your toys."
   SON:  "Never!"
   He has to be the most stubborn 3 year old I've ever met!  He also refuses to potty train.  We've tried all the recommendations: bribery (lollipops), superhero underwear, books, videos, pull ups (controversial for some), trying to go every half hour, a rewards chart... At this point he is most influenced by his peers, who are all trained, so I think he's just going to decide one day that he doesn't want to be different.  But we'll see.  I make suggestions to him, without pushing him, because then he'll just dig in his heels.  I really should have invested in Pampers and Huggies stock-- I'd be rich!

   Well, I've finished my coffee.   Its a beautiful day and I have a million things to do; the kids have been dropped off at school and camp, so I now have 4 hours to get things done!  Time to get to it!
   Have a great day and a great week! 


Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day UFOs

   Happy Monday morning to you!  I hope everyone had a nice weekend and Father's Day.   We celebrated a lovely day with the kids, the Hubster and myself and had an evening BBQ with the grandparents. 
   In true Elisa forn, I attempted to create homemade items both for my husband and father, neither of which reached full completion.  (My family is used to my perpetual tardiness on gift-giving by now).
   For my Dad (a.k.a. "Papa"), I made a kindle cover using this tutorial from Moda Bake Shop.

   It was a fun project to work on.  I used some Asian prints from my stash, and tried out some new decorative stitches on my machine.  You might, or might not, have noticed the binder clips at the two edges of the binding.  The binding only went around three edges, and since I'm not that experienced,  and it was not specified in the tutorial, I could not figure out how to "finish" the ends.  I looked in my quilting reference books and watched some on-line How-to videos on You Tube, but was unable to find the answer.  Next I will bring it with me to my favorite local quilt shop and seek some help from them.  

  I've already shown you my collage for the Hubster, and although I spent a number of hours on it, the progress is minimal.  Still in the embellishment phase-- it's slow going, but I'm enjoying the process.
Adding all these little beads along the edges takes HOURS for me!
I attempted some beading and decorative stitching around the moon,
 and tried to create a "halo" effect of radiating 
moonlight with some mesh (forget the exact word right now-- 
you use it in a bridal veil).

I was inspired by this ATC in one of my books, Embellishing with Anything;
I would like to achieve a similar effect by adding more beads and stars.
And I will scatter multi-colored stars throughout the sky.
   I'm open to any suggestions anyone might have to help bring it alive-- please leave a comment!
I've shared this collage a number of times, so you've all seen enough "process" by now-- my next sharing will be the completed project (whenever that may be!)
   Happy quilting and enjoy your day!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

{Virtual Coffee} 4

    Coffee time!!  (A day late, I hope you don't mind.)
   It's a rainy morning and everyone in the house is asleep- Shhhhh!  I savor this quiet time with my coffee and my laptop (and, of course, YOU!)
   If we were really meeting for coffee, I'd tell you that the week has been busy with activities to keep my 3 yr old son busy now that he is out of preschool.

    Strawberry fields forever...

   After dropping my daughter off at school, we met some other preschool friends at the orchard at 9:15 am in an attempt to beat the heat.  Too late!  We were dripping sweat the entire time and the kids were done by 10am.  But we are still enjoying the delicious strawberries a week later!

Friday night fun...
   My son was due for a haircut (he has tons of cowlicks), so Hubster decided he would give it a try...  He did a great job!  Hubster is now officially our new family barber.

Now we all just want to rub his head!
My daughter wanted to get in on the action, so she got a little trim on the ends...

Washing machine repaired!!
   You might note in the above photo, the mounds of wash waiting to be folded in the background.  Our washer was broken from Saturday through Friday (an eon for us)-- we had to wait for a part.  But I'm very happy to report that my beloved washer is back in working order and I am thrilled.  I don't mind doing wash, and I LOVE to fold.  And it has to be folded really neat or I'll have to do it over.  I think the reason I love to fold is because its just about the only thing in my life where things are neat and orderly.  Interesting observation, don't you think?

Blogger strangeness...
   If we were really meeting for coffee, I'd have to tell you about this BIZARRE thing that is going on with my Blogger stats...  
   Since the end of last week, I have been getting several hundred hits a day (as compared to my average of 5-10) referred from two blogs that I follow and that follow me.  And the posts that are allegedly being viewed are older posts.  I don't think anyone is actually reading them, as there are no new comments.  I think the stats counter is somehow linked to the number of visits at these 2 other blogs.  I went on the Blogger Help forum and there are a bunch of other people who are experiencing the same issue, so I don't feel so alone, but I do hope it gets resolved soon.
   6/16/11 Update: the Blogger issue has been resolved!  (Something to do with favicons-- no idea what those are-- in blogrolls were being recorded as hits.  Yay! :0)

First week pick-up at the farm
   Our family has a share at the local CSA (community supported agriculture), and this week was our first pick-up.  I love going to the farm-- great place and great people.  LOTS of greens (some of which I've already forgotten the name of and will have to look up!) and we got to hand-pick the sugar snap peas (Yum! But no photos, sorry).  New to the farm this year are chickens!  Meet the gals...

I just LOVE summertime!  What is your favorite season?

Sewing project
   We've had a few days of rain, which is nice, too.  It cooled things down a bit and its good for the plants.  And I was able to get things done around the house (which I'm perpetually behind on).  I also got to spend some time on my sewing machine!  No completed projects to share (other than more gifts for teachers), but I've been working on a quilt collage for Hubster for Father's Day.  Here's my progress on that:
c. 12"x12"

experimenting with different stitches on my machine
a little charm to add
   And now I'm at my favorite part: embelishing with beads, et al.  I am a very detail-oriented person and I can be as anal retentive as I want.  Thank goodness for my new cheater glasses!!

   And those are the highlights of my week.  I hope you had a great week, too! 

   And now for a refill of my coffee and time to empty the dishwasher...  See ya next week!