Adventures in Quilting

I started collecting fabric for an I-spy quilt for Samuel when he was in the womb. I knew that I wanted a big quilt so I figured it would take me years to collect enough fabric. I was really hoping that I would collect enough fabric and get it done before he turned 18. Ha! Then last summer, I threw the idea out at several girlfriends and within a month, we had a fabric swap. The goal was to make the quilt in time for Christmas — I like to give him something handmade at Christmas.  Obviously, that did not pan out. The quilt moved onto my summer project list.  And about two weeks ago, I gathered the fabric and went to work.140709-Quilt01 After several google searches for I-spy quilts, I came across Katie Blakesley’s design.   I fell in love with it immediately and used her tutorial to get me going.  It took me two evenings to lay out the squares – I had to walk away from it for a bit to make sure I liked the placement of the individual pieces. 140709-Layout For each block, I decided to go with alternating light and dark prints.  I spent about two days piecing + pressing the blocks together.  There were moments of elation (when the corners all lined up perfectly — there aren’t that many so please do not look closely) … and many moments of frustration (grrrr …my lines are not always straight even though I use a 1/4″ foot as a guide and the two pieces I sew do not always line up).  But hey, I finished. I chose 10 solid fabrics to border the blocks and strategically placed them so that the colors did not repeat in rows or columns.  140719-Strips 140721-Quilt It took me about a day to sew all the blocks together and then I was ready to quilt.  I quilt using (somewhat) straight lines.  I love the look of sewing several straight lines close together so there’s a lot of that happening on this quilt.140723-Quilting Quilting is challenging on a small machine.  Having a quilting extender and a walking foot made the process just a bit easier.  After a full day of quilting, I was ready to bind. A couple of my friends recommended machine binding for a quicker finish but I love the look of hand binding.  140724-Binding

The finished quilt is approximately 60″ x 80″.  There are 150 squares with about 140 different prints. Here’s a look at the finished product …140727 IspyQuilt-2

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The back.  Rather than just using one print on the back, I love adding a little color to break things up. 140727 IspyQuilt-7Closeups of the quilting + fabrics used.140727 IspyQuilt-17 140727 IspyQuilt-18 140727 IspyQuilt-19

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Close-up of the back.  I found this “I am Sam/Sam I am” print on a recent trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics.  140727 IspyQuilt-27

Playing a game of I-Spy.
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Our games usually involves a lot of jumping + hopping too.140727 IspyQuilt-43

These projects are laborious — as you all know.  But when you see smiles like these, it is so worth it. This boy really has a love for handmade things.140727 IspyQuilt-56140727 IspyQuilt-59

Mother’s Day Weekend

Tulips from my loves.140509 Mother'sDayTea-3 Mother’s Day performance and tea party at his school.140509 Mother'sDayTea-26 He was pretty stoked about giving me the gifts he made at school.140509 Mother'sDayTea-58 New tradition | Friday Family Game Night — all of us at the table, playing games with no technological interruptions.140509 Mother'sDayTea-61 Met some friends at Starbucks on Saturday morning.140510 MeettheMachines-3 Took him to the Meet the Machines event in Rancho Cordova.  He is in love with fire trucks, garbage trucks + monster trucks.140510 MeettheMachines-24 He is really into playing doctor.140510 MeettheMachines-99 On Saturday evening, we went to the Dixon May Fair.  He was pretty thrilled about driving the monster-sized tractors.2014-05-10-17.38 The Dixon May Fair turned out to be a total dud.  No horses.  The most exciting thing there was our shadows.  Ha!2014-05-10-17.44 We waited at the train stop to ride the extremely slow moving train.  Waited.  And waited. We eventually gave up and left.  140510 DixonMayFair-38 Mother’s Day breakfast at Lumberjacks.  My guys love this place.2014-05-11-08.55 He is amusing.2014-05-11-09.32 Made a trip to the store for jam supplies to make mulberry jam.2014-05-11-10.05 Afternoon run – 3 miles of solitude. 2014-05-11-14.53 He is a joy.140511 Mother'sDay-9 Beside him is his pal, Snaky Snake.  Snaky Snake is 3 years old and loves to be petted and enjoys swimming in the water.  He concocted an entire story about this imaginary snake using Jim’s bathrobe tie and had me pet him. 140511 Mother'sDay-31 I am in love with this boy.140511 Mother'sDay-103 And I think he loves me too. Happy Mother’s Day.

Day in the Life | 05.08.14

7:00am | Samuel comes into my room asking for water.  Since the light is still blue on his tot-clock, we go back to bed + snuggle.  He’s an early riser.  I’m not.
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8:02am | up + put on contacts.  Make coffee.140508 DayintheLife-13

8:30am | It is garbage day around here so the making of breakfast is interrupted with trips outside to see the garbage man + truck.
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8:45 am | He keeps me company at the counter while I make breakfast.
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8:54am | Breakfast.  I’m a big fan of turkey bacon.
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9:15am | Dishes.  Samuel pretends to be cowboy Small and rides his horse in a show.  I’m asked to be the announcer.

9:30am | Sword fight.  He is strong.  And he takes it pretty seriously.
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9:51am | And we are finally out the door for a run/walk.
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10:40am | There is a group of men removing a tree in the neighborhood and there is a BIG crane involved so we stopped for the show.
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11:30am | Safeway trip for fruit.
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11:50am | Jamba Juice stop — we love pomegranate pick-me-up.
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1:30pm | stories + snuggles before afternoon nap.140508 DayintheLife-97

2:18pm | While he naps, I eat a late lunch, unpack groceries and pick up around the house. Call Hobby Lobby to locate the new Project Life Aqua Edition.  No luck.
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3:10pm | Check on Samuel.  Call for eye appointment.
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3:30pm | Reading the new copy of Click magazine.
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4:02pm | Wake Samuel up from his nap.  The first thing he asks me, “Mom, where did you put the mints that we bought today?”  He’s a big fan of Andes mints.
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4:20pm | Wash grapes for a snack + head outside for some fresh air.
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4:35pm | Transplant green bean plants.  My goal of keeping the garden green is working out beautifully so far …
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5:15pm | Impromptu family picture.
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5:24pm | Jim and Samuel sent me some flowers for Mother’s Day.  Jim left them at school so we decide to make the drive to Elk Grove to pick up my flowers + have dinner at El Novillero’s.
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7:15pm | My boys sent me tulips for Mother’s Day.
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7:40pm | Evening snack — outshine popsicles.
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8:00pm | Read The Three Little Pigs.  He found the story pretty amusing.
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8:05pm | Give Samuel a shower + get him ready for bed.
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8:50pm | my turn to read to Samuel.  There’s a great collection of books to choose from.140508 DayintheLife-296

9:15pm | I settle on the couch to record notes + watch an episode of CSI.

9:45pm | Late night snack – cucumbers + tajin seasoning.  Gotta stop these late evening snacks if I’m ever going to lose some weight …2014-05-08 22.02.44

10:02pm | Too tired to work.  Decide to watch a second episode of CSI.

11:16pm | Off to read + sleep.

Happy Easter.

As a kid, I remember setting up all the Easter egg hunts for my siblings.  It has been quite awhile since then so I feel a bit out of practice.

There has been a lot of talk about the Easter Bunny lately.  Samuel is curious about how he works — whether he operates like Santa or not.  He woke up this morning forgetting all about Easter and played quietly in his room until about 8 am (so we got to sleep in)!  Shortly after 8, I hear his feet pitter-pattering into our room and he announces, “The light is yellow!  It is time to get up!”  (We use the tot-clock for naps/quiet time and sleep.)

We both tell him that our light is blue and he quickly looks around the room for a tot-clock. He tells us that he doesn’t see a clock but his clock says yellow and it is time to get up.

We slowly make our way out of bed as he returns to his room for some more quiet play.

I walk past his room and say, “Happy Easter.  Today is Easter.”  He stops what he’s doing and quickly says, “Did the Easter Bunny come to our house?”

We make our way to the table for breakfast and he finds this…140420 Easter-2
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We open the egg to find a couple of marshmallows (which he consumed in an instant) and a clue to the next egg.

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After breakfast, we go on a little scavenger hunt for more eggs.

140420 Easter-8He loves marshmallows so I’m surprised he only ate the two at the beginning of the hunt. Perhaps he was more focused on the clues than the treats themselves.

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There was even an egg in the horse trailer!

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The last clue lead him out to the cardboard stable in the backyard.  He went in there to find the last remaining egg … but totally missed the big basket of gifts.

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He made his way back in for the basket.

140420 Easter-24He’s a book lover so he was content looking at the new sticker book in the basket.

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The love affair with Legos has begun.  I got him a Lego Junior kit and he is enjoying his first build.

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140420 Easter-64140420 Easter-69We took a break from Lego building to go to the Farmer’s Market.  When we returned, he settled in his big boy chair to work on a couple new puzzles.  He is now doing 35-piece puzzles with some guidance.  

140420 Easter-36Happy Easter, friends.

Around Here | March 2014

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Around Here is a new addition to my Project Life album this year.  It’s a place where I can add additional photos to tell our story.

140308-Ba74thBday-27Around here, we celebrated my mom’s 74th birthday.  She is beautiful, strong and independent.  I love you, mom.

140305-MSDN-115Around here, I helped organized the 7th Annual Math and Science Discovery Night.  I was thrilled to be able to organize the science portion of the event.  Honestly, I’m good at it and it feels good to be back doing something Jim and I started (and love).

Around here, Samuel and I went to Paradise Beach and enjoyed getting sand between our toes, dipping our toes in the freezing water, trying our best to skip rocks and building a lovely little sand castle equipped with a stick-leaf flag.  Wednesday afternoons are ours – now and for always.

Around here, we were thrilled with the change in daylight savings.  We love the extra hour of light.

Around here, there are lemons and tangerines on our trees.  We are drinking lemonade and fresh tangerine juice daily.

140323-BanhXeoAround here, I am bringing back the Vietnamese dishes (specifically, banh xeo and spring rolls) into our weekly meal rotation.

Around here, spring has sprung and Samuel’s allergies are worse than ever.  We are also noticing a lot of dry spots and bumps on his skin.  We can’t figure out what his skin is allergic too.

Around here, Samuel continues to take riding lessons and music classes.  He decided that soccer isn’t his sport so quit it in the middle of the season.  We are not thrilled that he quit soccer so we continue to have conversations about finishing what we start.  It has not worked yet.

140325-Swing&Birthday-49Around here, Samuel is fascinated by the swing.  It’s about time.  Ha!

Around here, I’m starting an exercise routine (again).  My ankle injury has healed and I am ready to shed some pounds.

Around here, Samuel has been eating a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for breakfast every morning.

Around here, I just booked our Disneyland vacation.  We are also talking about a couple other summer trips.

Around here, Spring Break is just 9 days away!  And summer vacation is 39 days from today.  Yippee!

Around here, I am thinking about my garden but I haven’t put my thoughts into action yet.

Around here, we have many unfinished projects.  We’re hoping to knock a couple of those projects out during Spring Break.

Around here, I am making smarter financial decisions.

Around here, I am reading Catching Fire (second in the Hunger Game series).

Around here, it feels like winter. I’m really enjoying the much needed rain.

140330-FamilyPhoto-15Around here, I am 3 for 3 for monthly family photos.  I’m hoping to get one where we are all looking at the camera.

Around here, we are happy.  We are having fun.  We are thriving.  That’s how it should be.

Project Life 2014 | Weeks 2, 3, 5 & 6

Last night, I went to our monthly Project Life Crop and got caught up on my 2014 album. 140329Crop

Week 02 | Jan 6-122014-Week02

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Week 03 | Jan 13-19
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Week 05 | Jan 27 – Feb 2
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Week 6 | Samuel’s 3rd Birthday Celebration (just the three of us).
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I am experimenting with how to take decent photos of my pages.  This afternoon, I found myself using my iPhone for all of the photos in this post.  It was way faster — and I didn’t have to fight the glare as much!  Interesting, huh?  How do you take photos of your pages? Feel free to share your tips in the comments.

Weeks 9 – 13 will be on the blog later this week.  Thank you for stopping by!

Project Life 2014 | Samuel is THREE!

I remember lying in the hospital bed after giving birth (via C-section after 40 hours of labor — yeah, crazy right?) and the nurse asked me, “Would you like to hold your baby?”  Really, all that and she wanted me to hold my baby?!?

I vividly recall my quick snarky response, “How am I supposed to do that?”

She looked at me and said three words. “With. Your. Arms.”

I was in a fog and was numb all over.  My response at that point was slow and methodical — “Oh, yessssss.  I doooooo have arms.  Ok, I’ll hold my baby.”  Honestly, I didn’t know what to do with him at that point.  He’s here.  So now what?

I struggled as a new mother.  I questioned myself and everything that I did to care for him. I worried all the time.  But he thrived. We thrived.  And just like that, he turned three.

At three, Samuel is an inquisitive, detailed-oriented, happy, energetic cowboy who has a passion for horses, garbage trucks and stories.  He is a problem solver and loves piecing together puzzles.
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We celebrated THREE with a hoe-down at our house.  Here’s a look at what went down …
140301 PLFeb-15I sent out personalized invites.  I spent hours making stick horses and painting cardboard boxes to create an old western town.  My sister made the awesome carrot cake.

140301 PLFeb-25Because of rain, we had the party indoors. Seven toddlers. Seven stick horses. Nobody tripped. Nobody fell. Nobody cried. It was joyful. Jim and I enjoyed watching him interact with everybody.

140301 PLFeb-32I left a basket of blank 3×4 cards out for birthday wishes.

140301 PLFeb-33The stick horses and buildings were a hit.  They didn’t care about the color station or games I had planned.

140301 PLFeb-53He was especially happy because his best friend came for the celebration.

We also had a birthday shindig at my mom’s house the following day for the family.
140302 PLCut&Paste-9Great day for all of us.  

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Products used | Project Life Themed Cards, Celebrate & Coral Edition.  Project Life Cut & Paste kit by Amy Tangerine. Studio Calico wood veneer. Word Stickers from Cosmo Cricket.

Project Life 2014 | Weeks 4, 7 & 8

I’m getting back into the swing of things around here.  And it sure feels good.  The house is a mess (and so is my work space) but all is good.

Since I’m so behind in this year’s Project Life album, I decided to tackle the present and slowly work my way backwards.

Here’s a look at Week 08 | February 17-23
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I went to Portland for a week to help my sister and her husband welcome Bodhi into the world.  Bodhi was born on February 16 at 3:57 pm.  He was 6 pounds, 2 ounces and 18 inches long.  He is little and precious with a fine head of hair.  I am excited about being an aunt and Samuel is excited about having a baby cousin.  Only thing is — I wish we weren’t so far away.

140301 PLFeb-66It was hard to be away from my little guy for a week.  Grateful for my brother’s iPad because we were able to FaceTime every night.  Not the same of course, but it certainly helped.  (For this layout, I used the new Project Life Azure Edition.  Maybe it’s because I’m a teacher, but one of my favorite cards is the T-chart card shown above.  I used it to compare Samuel and Bodhi at this point in their lives.)

Week 07 | February 10-16
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Samuel’s first visit to the dentist was a success.  He climbed up on the chair and sat there with his mouth open without any hesitation — this surprised me (and the hygienist).  Go, Samuel.  Go.  (Project Life, Azure Edition)

There were a lot of snuggles and family time this week as I prepared for my week-long trip to Portland.

Week 04 | Jan 20-26
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Obviously, I’m not doing things in any order at the moment.  Kinda going with what inspires me — and the photos that are speaking to me right now.  I remember being really sick this week.

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I love the “I want to remember” stamp and the cards in the Jade, Midnight and Coral Editions.

Project Life | Week 1

The first two months of the year came and went in a flash.  Seriously.  And just like that I’m behind on my Project Life album for 2014.  I’m on week two folks.

Here’s a take a look at week one of 2014.
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I managed to knock out some layouts for Samuel’s year three album.
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140201 FebProjectLife-5Samuel started drawing stick people on the whiteboard at 35 months.  I love including his artwork in the album.

140201 FebProjectLife-16The Project Life zoo themed cards are pretty awesome — so appropriate for us since we visit the zoo so often.

Things are finally slowing down around here and I am beginning to feel some kind of normalcy.  Stay tuned for more Project Life layouts as I get the ball rolling on playing catch up!

Thanks for visiting, friends!