"...for we put the thought of all that we love into all that we make" ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just Peachy :)

Vicki is a person who know how to get things! One of the things she acquires every year are Georgia peaches. This year I got a 1/2 bushel box of them from her, and made them into jam- a LOT of jam!

I started at 8 this morning, and ended at 3 this afternoon. 7 straight hours of jam making! I'm pretty tired just now... jam making is not hard, but it is intense, and once you start you have to keep going until you're done.

There are 15 pint jars, 16 half-pint jars, and 6 quarter-pint jars of jam. It took 7 batches to get these- 28 cups of chopped peaches, 38.5 cups of sugar, 7 lemons and 7 boxes of pectin! I made a total of 376 ounces of peach jam- that's just short of 3 gallons!

Nearly all the jars have sealed- there are two that don't look like they are going to, so we'll have to eat them first, and quickly! Oh, darn... :) Peach jam is so yummy on peanut butter sandwiches, pancakes and ice cream!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Organic Soapbox

So normally, I don't get that upset about stuff. But...


This article has made me so mad!!! What a load of ****!

First off, I do not buy (and grow) organic food because I think it is more nutritious. I buy it for what it DOESN'T have- hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, homicides... oh, wait, that last one is what happens when you EAT these chemical laden products.

Second- organic farming is SO much better for the environment. It is sustainable, renewable, and doesn't produce chemical runoff to pollute streams and lakes.

Third- this study refers to chemically "enhanced" processed food products as ORDINARY FOOD!!! How scary is that?!?

I firmly believe that it is no coincidence that the rise in obesity and heart disease and diabetes can be traced back almost directly to when society started eating processed foods stuffed with chemicals, instead of whole grains and veggies.

And for me, personally? Eating organic, whole foods is making the weight practically fall off me- something that was NOT happening when I was eating special "diet" foods!

Off the soapbox now. I need to return it to my neighbor :)

Super Cute Dessert

Super Cute Dessert
Originally uploaded by sunflowerquilt

My sister and I went to Chicago yesterday, to see the sights, go to the Chicago History Museum, and continue our tradition of finding independent restaurants to eat at when we are in the city!

We found one! It's called Dinotto Ristorante, and it's on North Ave. between Sedgwick and La Salle. And it is THE BEST!! So good!

This was my dessert- lemon sorbet, served in a frozen, hollowed out lemon! It was very yummy :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Love Mark Lipinski!!!

I had SUCH a fun day today at the Mark Lipinski workshop!!! He is a total scream! He is exactly like he is in his magazine and blog and stuff. SO cool! I just love him. He is so funny, and so personable- I really liked that he spent 5-10 minutes per person, talking to everyone in the class! And he told funny stories about his partner and son and his quilting career :)

The class worked like this: before the class, we had a list of stuff to precut and put into numbered ziplock bags. At the class, we were given "clues", telling us which baggie of fabric to pull out and what to do with it! Once all your blocks are done, you are given a layout sheet. But that's not the quilt you make...

This was my quilt laid out according to the handout. It's kinda ugly, actually! The point of this class was to teach us a) how to makes curved units, and b) to play with our quilts before we put them together!

After Mark and I played around for a bit, this was born! My quilt was one of the examples used for the whole class, since I finished my blocks first. It was a little intimidating being in front of the whole class with Mark, arranging the blocks! This is just the center, I will play with border options too, once I have some time. I really like it! And it's SO different from what we started out with :)

Mark gave away a Sidewinder to the first person who completed all their blocks. Vicki and Jan predicted it would be me, and sure enough, it was! They call me the "overachiever" and have called me that for a long time, since I usually get done first, or get a lot done at retreats. I'm not sure if it's meant as a compliment or not... :)

Mark signed magazines for people too! YAY!!! This issue came in the mail yesterday and I haven't even had a chance to read it yet. I swiped it off the table this morning in the hopes that he would sign it, and he did!

I also have a picture of Mark and I, but it is currently living on Vicki's camera. When she e-mails it to me I'll post about it!

If Mark comes to your town, you HAVE to go to meet him and take a class! This one cost $95, which was the whole day (9am-4pm) with Mark, and it included lunch, beverages and snacks. It was an amazing class, and I came home feeling like I got my $95 worth!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Today's Harvest :)

Today's Harvest :)
Originally uploaded by sunflowerquilt
Yum-O!! Peas, lettuce, tomatoes and my very first carrot ever!

Hubby is going out of town again this weekend. MUAHAHAHA!!! I get to eat it ALL by myself!


Dear DQS7 Partner,

Hi! I am so excited to see what you make for me- it's going to be so much fun to watch the Flickr group, and wait for the mail carrier to bring me a package from you :)

My Flickr profile has a list of all the fabrics I like and don't like. My photostream is full of pictures, and I hope my blog is helpful as well! I don't have any particular pattern or design in mind- I will love whatever you make for me!

My tastes in fabric have changed a lot over the last year! This mosaic is a good representation of the colors I love :)

I hope you have fun making something for me! I know I am already excited to make something for my secret partner!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Feelin' Groovy...

For the past couple weeks I have been in consultation with my doctor regarding some alarming symptoms, including severe tiredness, more asthma attacks than usual ("usual" is none at all...) and a constantly upset stomach. Several possible diagnoses were presented, some more severe than others.

The final diagnosis is a fairly trivial matter though: I have developed an allergy to milk. Since I drank a lot of milk and ate a lot of yogurt and cheese, I was constantly having an allergic reaction. Hence the tiredness and stomach problems. The asthma attacks were also being triggered by the reaction to milk.

It seems that cheese and yogurt do not bother me as much as plain milk, but I am cutting back on all consumption of milk products. And I have been feeling so much better! Today I have more energy than I have had in many weeks, and have been cleaning and doing laundry and sewing and cutting fabric without feeling like I am going to die any second :)

I have also been delving deep into my sewing room and gathering items to sell at my quilt guild's annual "garage sale" tomorrow night. Anything quilt related is welcome for sale, and I have rounded up quite a lot of fabric and kits that I know I won't use. I sincerely hope that people in my guild will want them- the money would be a nice addition to my vacation fund!

Monday, July 20, 2009


On Friday night, I had a dream. I dreamed I made a lovely, summery, cute little quilt. I spent all day Saturday making this quilt- and it turned out *exactly* like the one in my dream!

Incidentally, the one in my dream was being used by my daughter. Which is interesting, because I don't have a daughter... :)
Here it is, in full!

I outlined the flowers in black- that's the way they are in the print I used.

The Michael Miller print the colors are based on...

The 4-patch on point border- I love this border :)

And finally, the super fast method for getting all those flowers!! I put fusible web on the back of the fabric, ran the fabric through my Sizzix Big Shot with the flower die, and voila! Instant applique pieces!

So, there is the quilt from my dreams... now, to go talk to someone about the daughter who was using it... :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


This past weekend I took advantage of the fact that Hubby was out of the country on business, and took some classes!!

First up: Cathedral Windows at Quilt In Joy! I've always wanted to learn how to make these! They are so easy, too! This was just the little sample I made in class. I think I'll turn it into a pincushion :) I highly recommend the book- it has great diagrams, and gorgeous project ideas!

Next up was "Snippet Stew" at Pieceful Gatherings! I don't go to this shop much- it's too far from my house, and they only carry Civil War and 1930's repros- my two least favorite fabrics!! But they had come to my guild to speak, and I was intrigued by the pattern, and the method used to make it.

I used a Swanky layer cake and solid white. I think my color choices threw the teacher for a bit of a loop- they were decidedly different than anything anyone else was using :) I am using a different method to make my blocks, too. Her way is the raw-bias-edge way: I don't do raw bias unless it's absolutely necessary, and in this case it's not! I plan to work on it today.

And lastly I went to Vicki's "Lock-in and Unload" UFO night at Tammy Tadd Designs! These are always SO much fun!! I put together this little top. It's made from "Wildwood" by Erin McMorris, along with a Moda solid white. I think I'm going to make some more triangles to make it bigger, though. It's about 45" square right now.

I have my i-Tunes set up to just play through my music by artist in alphabetical order. It just went from Rachmoninov to Shakira, then from Shakira to Simon and Garfunkel. I guess I like all kinds of music!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Doll Quilt Swap 7

My resolve to cut down on the number of swaps I do was crumbled today! Sign ups for Doll Quilt Swap 7 have started over on the Flickr group! It's the coolest swap on the Internet!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Does anyone else have this problem? I came out of my 3 day sewing haze and took a look around the house today.

The dishes are piled in the sink.

The junk mail is piled on the table.

The laundry is piled on the floor under the laundry chute.

Fabric is piled on my cutting table.

UGH!!! It seems like no matter how hard I try, no matter how much time I spend cleaning, everything always ends up in piles everwhere!

Guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Swap Swap Swap!

Some more swapping has been happening! First up- June's Swap Till U Drop (STUD). I only did the Anything Goes category. I swapped with Cathie....

She sent me a lovely springy mini with daisies as the centerpiece! Isn't is so bright and happy? I just love it! She also sent some lovely little "extras" :)
And this is what I sent her, along with some extras... I was afraid it looked Christmas-y, but she says it goes well with her house!

And in the first ever Placemat Swap over on Flickr, I was paired up with AmandaJean! I am sure most of you read her blog... and if you don't, you should- she's insanely talented! I was actually a little intimidated by the thought of making something for her :)

This is the lovely placemat she sent me! It's too pretty to actually use. Hubby and I both agreed that it belongs on the mini wall. She also sent some lovely little "extras"!

And this is the placemat I sent her, along with some extras! She asked me to work with red and aqua. I thought nice clean lines was the way to go, and this placemat was born!

Hubby made it safely to Edmonton- and called me at 1am to tell me :) It's OK, I'm glad he called to let me know... but it scared the you-know-what out of me when he called, since I was sound asleep!

The cat doesn't seem to be able to grasp the idea that he's out of town... she refused to sleep with me last night, and instead spent the night on the rug in front of the garage door, waiting for him to come home! Today she is clingy and needy, wanting to be held and petted all the time. Poor kitty... she really is too attached to Hubby.

I am taking some exciting classes at a couple different local shops this weekend... more on that tomorrow :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Hubby is on an airplane right now, headed to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I am bored, and I *HATE* knowing that he's on a plane! I hate planes. I hate flying. And I am very unhappy that Hubby is on a plane, flying right now.

So I've been putting in the time waiting to know he's safely on terra firma again doing a few things... I washed the dishes... I sewed a little... I cut some fabric... and then, I sat down and got on Facebook for a little while.

Facebook has a LOT of different quizzes you can take, about all sorts of topics. The two I chose to take tonight were "Which Harry Potter Character are you most like", and "which NCIS character are you".

I answered all the questions honestly. And I got the results "Luna Lovegood" and "Jethro Gibbs"!!

If you know anything about Harry Potter and NCIS, you know that there could not be two characters that are more different.

So which one is right? I don't know... maybe I have multiple personalities? :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Just Playing!

So, I'm laying here on the couch typing this post on my new phone- this is SO cool!

Something New... And Pink!

Hubby and I have been looking to change our cell phone plan for a while, so I went to U.S. Cellular (our carrier) yesterday- and came out very, very happy!!

I came out with a national plan (instead of the local plan we had), more minutes for us to share (yay!), and unlimited texting, picture messaging and Internet access on my phone (Hubby didn't want it)- for LESS money than we were paying before!!

We also got credit on our account because we were switching from Motorola Razr phones to something else. U.S. Cellular has this battery switch thing where you can take your old or dead battery in and they'll switch it with a new one for free. What they didn't anticipate was how many people had Razrs- they can't keep batteries for it in stock!! So they are letting people with that phone upgrade at any time (even if you're not eligible for a new phone yet), AND you get a $20 credit on your bill- per phone! So we both got really nice new phones and $40 off our next bill!

Here's my phone- isn't it super cute? I just love it! It kinda reminds me of a makeup compact, and that's about the size it is, too.

It's got a nice screen, and a QWERTY keyboard, which makes it SO much easier to text and do stuff on the Internet. It also has a pretty nice camera. I can play music with it, too, once I get a mini SD card.

Not too much else. It's raining today, so I'll be inside. I have to finish one thing for my FRIENDS swap package- it's taking longer than I thought to make!! I should be able to finish it today, though, and mail the box tomorrow. Everything else is all ready for it! I also plan to work on my Round Robin quilts. I'm the "hold-up" in the group right now, and I really need to get cracking!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Garden Rehabilitation

Well, it's been a LOT of work (and a lot of composted manure and straw!), but I am slowly getting the garden back on track. I was out of town, and sick, and the garden just went haywire. I think I've managed to rescue most of what was in it, and it's early enough to plant fall crops of almost everything, so that's what I've been doing. I've also been laying newspapers and mulch in the walkways to discourage weeds.

As a whole...

This was the broccoli and radishes. We ate a lot of radishes, but I didn't care for the broccoli properly, and all I got were "buttons". I have seed, though, and the beginning of August is the time to plant again for a fall crop! Now this bed has carrots, lettuce, spinach, radishes, a fast growing "Patio" mini tomato variety, sugar snap peas, celery and cucumbers planted in it.

A new bed... I took out the strawberries, and their box, and made two in-ground beds. This one has corn, lettuce and radishes planted in it. The other one will be a fall crop of peas, once I figure out what to use for a trellis!

The pumpkins have been growing like weeds! Here is one of the hills... with a couple of potential pumpkins!

One of the apples on one of the new apple trees!

The peppers are doing VERY well! There are lots of little "babies" on all the plants! I usually pick 5 of the plants green, and let the other three go red. I'm looking forward to eating some of these soon!

I hope to be eating some tomatoes soon, too!

I have learned a lot about gardening and gardens while I was so sick- the Internet is a wonderful resource! One thing I learned is that I was not using the raised beds to their fullest- you can plant stuff so much closer in a raised bed than you can in rows, because the soil is deeper! That's why the fall-crop bed has so much planted in it.

I also learned that most vegetables will germinate and grow faster in warmer weather- which is why I have planted things like cucumbers and corn now. The warm weather will accelerate growth, and they should ripen and be ready to eat before fall!

And lastly I learned (from experience) that it's really, really easy to let a garden get away from you! But now that I am back to my normal healthy self I can get out every day and work in it. When I was sick I could hardly get out of bed, let alone go weed and hoe and water a garden!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Clothesline of Happiness

Yesterday was such a nice day I decided to get some quilts out on the line and air them. Then they looked so pretty I couldn't stop looking at them!!

The colors in this picture aren't terribly great, but this is my latest finish- the one I was quilting in my last blog post pictures! It's made with "Dandelion Girl" by Moda, and the pattern is an Anka's Treasures pattern. The binding isn't sewn to the back yet, but I thought I would air it anyway! I'll get a better shot when it's really all the way done :)

This is the one that was on the GrandQuilter when I "unearthed" it... there was only about 2 hours worth of work to get it finished- I have NO idea why I just left it! Probably because the room was a mess and not pleasant to work in. Anyhow, it's also not quite done, I still need to hand sew the binding. This one is made with "Urban Indigo" by Moda, and the pattern is in the book "Strip Happy".

About 30 minutes after I took these pictures we had a surprise pop-up thunderstorm- I was running to get the quilts off the line before it started raining! I got them all in the house just as the first raindrops fell :) A pile of 6 quilts is surprisingly heavy, when you're trying to run with it...