Monday, November 18, 2013

Family Photos

Because I am the worst Mommy ever, I haven't gotten professional photos of my family in two years. Last year I bought a new camera instead of buying new family pics. I love my new camera, but I felt like it was time to get some family pics this year. Plus, my photographer friend Jasmine now lives in Utah which means she could totally take our pictures.

You can check out her photography website here.

Jasmine did an awesome job taking our pics for a totally reasonable price (cuz she was running a holiday special). Check it out.

We took the pics in this really pretty orchard and I love the way they turned out. Jasmine was so good with my kids! Which is not an easy thing with Nicole's anxiety and Dano's need to pull out grass by the handfuls. I am so pleased. She will definitely be my photographer again next year.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I really like quilting. I made my first quilt a few years ago after Matt bought me a sewing machine. I made a quilt for Damon before he was born. You can read about it here. I made another quilt a little later for my niece Morgan. And then I ceased my quilting efforts for a bit. Then, I realized that I wanted a quilt for my own bed and I set about making it... two years later, I have finally finished it. I learned a lot about quilting in those two years.

1. Quilting takes a long time, especially if you are making it for a queen sized bed.
2. Quilting is expensive, especially if you are making it for a queen sized bed.
3. Quilting is tricky, especially if you are making it for a queen sized bed.

I don't think I will make another queen sized quilt. I always wondered why quilts are hundreds of dollars. It seemed like it wasn't that much more fabric for a bigger bed. And then I made one and spent 100 dollars on it in fabric and supplies (like thread and batting and glue and such).

So, it took two years because I kept stopping and starting and because I ran into snags like the quilt not being quite the right size because my math was off and I didn't have quite enough squares to make it the length that I wanted it. I was two squares short to add another row. Not sure how that happened. All the squares ended up smaller than I anticipated. I need to be better at my math skills. So, I had to add a significant border which required more math skills and a lot of cutting, pinning and sewing.

I learned this new technique where I could sew a lot faster and use less thread if I chained my pieces together. It was a lot faster!

So, I sewed triangles into squares, then sewed two strips on each square, then sewed for squares together to make my final square.  Did that make sense? No? Okay, just look at the pics.

Right sides together.

sewing the strips to the half square triangles.

Finished product. 

One complete square in the quilt
Okay, there were a lot of steps that I didn't photograph because it took two years to finish, I think it is obvious that I got lazy along the way. And, I tied the quilt instead of machine quilting it because that thing was massive and it just wasn't going to be an easy thing to feed through my machine with as big as it was. But, Matt had bought me a Quicksnap quilting frame last year, so I used that to tie the quilt. And it is a little more youthful looking with the ties, but I am pleased with the results. Even though it took forever.

Then, after finishing the massive queen bed quilt, I decided to make a quilt for Dano's bed as he had no quilt, just the little baby blankets that he had been using in his crib. I looked up patterns online and decided to go with a chevron quilt. I used this website as my guide.

And, I once again had bad math or something because it ended up being smaller than I anticipated. Seems really to make the whole thing smaller. So, I had to add an extra row on the sides and the end and add a border and I thought it was big enough and somehow it still ends up just covering his bed. It doesn't have the overlap on the bed that I wanted it to have. So, he can still use it and it looks awesome, but I am disappointed with the size.

 These are the fabrics I used for the pattern. I bought them at Fabric Mill. I used white from my stock of fabric and I bought the backing at Joanne's. The quilt cost $40 to make because I used designer fabrics.

I love the way it looks. I think it turned out awesome. But the technique that I used from the website I found I did not like. It stretched the squares a little and it turned out that one side is slightly longer than the other because of the stretch. I wouldn't use that technique again. I would just cut regular triangles like I did for the quilt for my bed. It takes longer in cutting, but a lot less time in ironing. So I think it all works out.

So, I shall stop quilting for a bit now since quilting is expensive. But I love doing it. It is fun to see strips of fabric turn into a beautiful quilt. But, I don't think I will ever quilt to sell because it would end up being a astronomical price to account for the time that goes into it. But, Dano's quilt only took two months to make. Smaller is better. And it was a monumentally easier pattern to piece together. I would definitely do another chevron quilt.

Thursday, November 07, 2013


My parents had a lot of peaches grow on their tree this year and Marie and I took all our peaches and decided to make jam. Because jam is delicious and I thought it wouldn't be too hard... but it was a lot more time consuming than I anticipated. 4 batches and 4 hours later, we had this...

This was only my half of the jam. Marie had her own half as well. It sure is a lot of jam... and it is delicious. I gave away four jars and kept the rest for myself because jam is awesome. Can't give away all the goodness.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Outside Fun

Over the summer, Nicole got really into this show called "Peep and the Big Wide World," which features kids doing various science experiments. Nicole really wanted to try this one where you freeze things in ice and then pour hot water on them to melt the ice.

I put Mr. Potato Head parts in Dixie Cups and froze them. Then I cut off the cups and we took the ice blocks outside.

The kids were interested for a few minutes but when the ice cubes weren't melting fast enough, they gave up and let the sun melt them. It wasn't as entertaining a project as Nicole wanted it to be.

So we started doing other things while waiting for the sun to melt the cubes. Like watering the tree.

And watering our brothers.

Until they finally melted... and Dan was sad.

And then we raced cars down the slide cuz that is the logical thing to do.

And we saw a snake that lives under our porch. It was a big day.