Saturday, December 15, 2012

In memoriam

My heart truly goes out to all of the people of Newtown, Connecticut but especially to the children and staff of the school and the families of those that lost their lives. As a parent, I can't imagine how much pain they must be going through. I pray that they will eventually find some peace.


Charlotte Bacon, (age 6)

Daniel Barden, (age 7)

Olivia Engel, (age 6)

Josephine Gay, (age 7)

Ana M. Marquez-Greene, (age 6)

Dylan Hockley, (age 6)

Madeleine F. Hsu, (age 6)

Catherine V. Hubbard, (age 6)

Chase Kowalski, (age 7)

Jesse Lewis, (age 6)

James Mattioli, (age 6)

Grace McDonnell, (age 7)

Emilie Parker, (age 6)

Jack Pinto, (age 6)

Noah Pozner, (age 6)

Caroline Previdi, (age 6)

Jessica Rekos, (age 6)

Avielle Richman, (age 6)

Benjamin Wheeler, (age 6)

Allison N. Wyatt, (age 6)


Rachel Davino, (age 29)

Dawn Hochsprung, (age 47)

Anne Marie Murphy, (age 52)

Lauren Russeau, (age 29)

Mary Sherlach, (age 56)

Victoria Soto, (age 27)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Twisted humor

Ok, those who know me, know that I have a bit of a twisted sense of humor. Growing up, my dad entertained us with endless corny jokes, which helped keep us laughing but also, colored my sense of humor.

Later, when I went back to college to finish my degree, I was introduced to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series during an English lecture. I had heard of it but hadn't seen any since I wasn't terribly impressed with the movie. I'm so glad I decided to give the series a shot. The sarcastic, twisted take on horror and science fiction is definitely my cup of tea. Joss Whedon definitely has a knack for this. Buffy, Firefly, and Angel(especially when James Marsters returned as Spike). Firefly is a great alternate take on the space cowboy idea with actually combining space and westerns. Nathan Fillion is perfect as Captain Mal Reynolds.

Last year, I discovered a few new favorites. A preview for Torchwood: Children of Earth peaked my interest which led me to watch the whole series. (Definitely more "adult" content that Doctor Who) Torchwood, in turn, led me to Doctor Who. I love this show. I've only watched the current series not the ones from the 60's through the 80's. Each new Doctor takes some getting used to but they're all so fun in their own way.

On the horror front, Supernatural is an awesome show. I miss the Bobby character (Jim Beaver) but I like that their including more Cas (Misha Collins).

Haven plays with sci-fi influenced by Stephen King's own twist humor. Don't think of humor when you think of Stephen King? How about in Under the Dome when King tells part of the story from the groundhog's perspective just before it gets sliced in half by the dome?

I have to include Warehouse 13 in the mix. It's not particularly twisted but still fun to watch.

If you, like me, have a twisted sense of humor and watch too much tv, I would suggest you give these shows a shot. And, if you know of any movies, tv shows or books that are similar, let me know. I'm always looking for a good time waster.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Apple pie and serendipity

About a week ago, I had way too many apples that no one was eating. While grocery shopping, I found frozen pie crust that uses vegetable shorting instead of lard. I had my monthly knitting, crocheting, quilting group meeting on Tuesday. Usually there are only a few people there plus kids. I love apple pie so I decided to make 2, one for the group and one for home.
Now, as I've noted before, I'm a huge procrastinator. HUGE! I'm the leader/coordinator/whatever for the group and because people asked, I changed the meeting from Sunday afternoons to Tuesday at 10. We rarely ever get out of the house that early. It takes us at least 15 min. to drive to the meeting which doesn't include the eternity it takes to get everyone ready and in the car. The recipe called for 40 min. cook time. So, keeping these points in mind, when do you think I started the apple pies? Not the night before, like I had planned. Not 7 a.m. after getting up and getting my day going. Nope, I started leisurely peeling, chopping, coring 14 apples sometime after 8 then didn't get the pies in the oven until about 9:00.

As Murphy's Law dictates, the pies actually took almost an hour until they were done. We left the house 5 min. after we were supposed to be at the meeting. My friend even called me when we were a few minutes away to see if I was actually coming. Ooops! You think that would be enough right? Wrong. I get there and they were outside waiting. Odd, they could have just waited for us inside, right? Nope. The doors were locked. They're NEVER locked during the day. And, of course, no one here has a key. We stand around for a few minutes discussing options when another friend pulls up late for the meeting. Does she have a key? Nope.

I suggest my house. Nope too far for one. Chuck E. Cheese is suggested. Nope, another doesn't want to introduce it to her 2 year old just yet. Finally, I suggest the nearby library. They have a community room and maybe, just maybe it's available. All agree and off we go. On the way I think about bring the apple pie into the library. You can eat in the community room but I decide that it would be a bit much especially since when we arrive we find the library parking quite full. What's up with that on a Tuesday morning during school? We all had to park on the far side of the parking lot. No big deal, there are a couple of picnic tables outside and it's a beautiful day in the upper 60's so once everyone parks, I tell them change of plans, we're going to go sit at the picnic tables and eat our pie before going inside. We start the trek across the parking lot to the picnic tables and the kids start to bulk. There's so bird poo and no table clothes to cover it up. Hmm, now what? Oh wait, I think I still have a hospital drape (big, blue water-proof cloth) in the back of my van. We head back to my car, right in front of which is a nice sized grassy area.

So our inside knitting meeting turned into a outside apple pie picnic on one of the most beautiful days of the year. We spent the whole meeting time outside chatting while the kids played.

A whole chain of events came into play to make that such a wonderful morning. Me being late made it so that we didn't miss our friend's arrival. A second friend that hasn't ever come before decided to come and she was the reason for not heading to my house since she lives further away. (Being at my house would have meant we spent the time inside.) The locked doors had us looking for alternative locations. The unusually busy library parking lot had us parking near the grass. An unseasonably warm day plus having the pie to share had us outside. If any of these things had been different, we wouldn't have had nearly such a great day. It still would have been a good day but not nearly so wonderful. And the second pie, it was a big hit with dh. He's asked me for another, which I guess I'll make today or tomorrow. I forgot to take a picture until the second was half gone.
I got the dutch apple pie recipe from Allrecipes here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It figures!

Dh never reads my blog but guess what he did a few days ago! Yup, he knows about the "surprise" quilt but he still hasn't seen it yet and he's not going to until I finish. :P Speaking of finished quilts, how about a peek at the baby quilt I finished in record time. I made another I-Spy backing. I like the I-Spy backs but they do require a good bit of extra work. Oh, well. What are all these great novelty prints for, if not for playing with? This quilt includes a variety of sweet treats as well as newly acquired VW buses and Vespas! I even found Pacman ghosts fabric (not included in this quilt). I really want to add marshmallows, pancakes, waffles and the Jack and Jenny wellies but I promised myself no more new fabrics until a make at least 3 more quilts to bust some stash.
My goofy teenager. The boy's nearly 5'10" now. I'm starting to look tiny next to him and I have to go on tiptoes to give him a kiss on the cheek and I'm not even short.
I was trying to decide between a black or white background, but some people don't like black for baby quilts and white gets dirty faster. My solution-half and half.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Design Wall Monday

This is the quilt I've been working on as a surprise for dh since Aug. 2010 according to a blog post from way back when. I had set it aside because I didn't do some of the corner squares correctly. I had hoped to finish the whole thing before dh had gotten back from his trip but being sick messed up that plan. It's sandwiched, partially machine quilted in the black squares and the grid of the border and the binding is made. I decided I wanted to do some hand quilting, so I'm doing the batiks in variegated threads. It's on the hoop right now, that's why I don't have a current picture. I'm hoping to have it all done by the 26th. It's slow going though, trying to work on it when dh isn't around. I'm a couple of days behind on posting every day but I do have a few posts started so there are likely to be a few days with multiple posts. In the meantime, you can check out other design walls at Judy's blog.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Grand Canyon

While I was in AZ, my sisters, nieces, nephews and I took a day trip to the Grand Canyon. It was most of our first time seeing it and it was truly amazing. We got there in the afternoon and were treated with a rainstorm on the horizon with the sun setting behind it.
My camera's not great so I didn't get the best shot. It's good that I went with my nephews. Being preteen boys, they were far more adventurous than most of us and led us down a steep trail with stunning views.
There was one incident that I'd like to hear other peoples opinion's about. When we were up on one of the observation paths (far from any lower trails), I let one of my nieces (16) and the boys (12) each toss a small rock over the edge. My sisters and other two nieces had walked further on and did know anything was going on. This outraged one older couple and another women with them who were quite vocal in their disapproval. They insisted that they were going to hurt someone down below. Once they realized that I was with them, they proceeded to have an exchange between themselves about "How these people come to this country and don't follow the rules" etc. 1)I would never have allowed them to throw the rocks if I thought there was ANY chance of them hurting someone. 2)My sisters wouldn't have had a problem with it either. My younger sister probably would have thrown a few herself just for spite. 3)There were no signs or warnings about not throwing rocks over the guardrails. 4)I was the only Muslim in the group and our family lines can be traced back to 3 Native American tribes so it's not exactly like I'm new here.
Now, I tend to be non-confrontational, so I didn't engage them at all except to say that they were my nephews, hoping that that would stop their diatribe about foreigners-it didn't work. One of them took it upon herself to have a little chat with one nephew before I could make it back over to him. After she left, I explained to him that he hadn't done anything wrong and that I would never have let him do it if there was a chance of him hurting anyone. Then I let him throw his one rock. The nephew that got the "talking to" hasn't had to deal with prejudiced people too much, my other nephew's father is Mexican and my sister told me they've heard it before and are used to the stares and occasional comments, how ever moronic they are.
So, my question is: What would you have done in that situation? Would you have let the kids toss the rocks down? Would you have confronted the couple? Would you have ignored them?

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


My poor blog has been seriously neglected lately. Sorry for being so lax. Unfortunately, all of my recent pictures are on our laptop which I don't use very much and never when I'm blogging. (Don't ask me why I put them there. I have no idea.) Life as usual is busy. After taking my trip to visit my mom and then my dad and sisters (which was great), dh went to visit his family. While he was gone, I had a never ending cold that kicked my fanny. Usually when he goes on trips I do some big paint project but this time I had planned to do tons of quilting. Didn't happen. :( I got some cutting done and finished piecing and layering a quilt for him but didn't get the quilting finished. It was going to be a surprise so now I'll try and get it finished by our anniversary (16 years on Dec. 26). I had a baby shower to go to last weekend. When the invite went out, I thought it said it was going to be next weekend. Imagine my surprise when I double checked the date and found I had only 4 days to finish the baby quilt. I had only cut out about half the pieces I needed. That would have been ok except I'm a huge procrastinator so Friday morning I cut the rest of the pieces and got the I-Spy back partially finished then went about my day. I ended up staying up all night getting it pieced and quilted. I normally hand stitch the binding to the back but dh suggested I just finish the whole thing by machine. I was reluctant but time was not on my side with just 8 hours left to finish the quilt, sleep some and take care of normal, everyday stuff. I didn't do my best work on the binding and I don't think I'll use that method again since I really wasn't happy with the results but I had not choice but to give it to her as it was. Note to self: Stop procrastinating so much!!! I'm hoping to transfer my pics in the next couple of days so that I won't have boring blog posts. My poor blog only has 9 posts so far this year, which is truly pathetic. Let's see if I can manage a post a day for the rest of the year. In the meantime, here is a pic of dh and me
from 2(ish) years ago.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Design Wall Monday

I'm back from my trip. As usual, I tried to cram way too much stuff into too little time. In 10 days, I took two round trip flights and three road trips (totaling roughly 20 hours of driving). I also cooked 3 pots of chili, 2 crock pots of beef stew, 2 pans of a hamburger veggie mix and about 8 dozen cookies. That doesn't include the extra cooking I did the day before I left. It's all good though. I got to spend lots of time with my mom, aunt, dad, sisters, nieces and nephews. I didn't get all the quilting done that I had hoped to from my last post. I only managed to finish the baby quilt and my dad's quilt top. I also finished the afghan for my mom. Both finished projects were delivered to happy recipients but I completely forgot to take pictures of either one, which stinks because the baby quilt looked really good. The other four quilts only made it to getting part of the cutting done. The above picture is my dad's quilt. The pattern is Strips & Salsa from Desert Stitchin. The original plan was to machine quilt it but I ended up finishing the top at my mom's and didn't have time to quilt it before I left for my dad's, so I got the bright idea that I would try and hand quilt the whole thing while I was in AZ (for all of 4 days). I'm really not sure what I was thinking. It obviously didn't get finished but since I started hand quilting it, I've got to finish it by hand. Can you tell I have a bit of a problem figure out just how long projects will take? I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can finish the quilting in the next week or so. Time to get back to work. Check out the other design walls on Judy's blog. And if you're ever in the Nashville area, check out The Stitcher's Garden (209 S Royal Oaks Blvd. Ste. 223, Franklin, TN 37064). They have just about every kind of fabric you can think of and tons of fat quarters. I had to behave myself in there since I had limited room in my suitcase, but I don't make any promises for next time. The place is truly amazing. And if you're around Phoenix, check out In Stitches!(2403 N PebbleCreek #109 Goodyear, Az) The store's not very big but they have a nice selection and the owner was really friendly even though I popped in less than 15 minutes before closing time.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Design Wall Monday

Long time no see. As usual, life as been super crazy busy but this last few months have had some major curve balls thrown in to keep things WAY too interesting. After my last post- a monster virus infected my computer so badly we gave up trying to get rid of it and got a new computer, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, I moved my sewing stuff into just about every closet in the house so that ds M. could get the sewing room/office for his bedroom, lightening struck a tree right next to our house (no damaged done to the house despite a rather large branch falling on the roof), my freezer threatened to die and required two full days of my attention to get it back up and running (major ice build-up behind a metal panel that couldn't be seen during normal use), I've planned a solo trip to visit my parents (first solo trip since I had kids), dh fell off a ladder and broke his wrist which required surgery (2 hospital visits, 2 dr. visits so far, and me being his chauffeur for the time being) and another part of the lightening struck tree fell which required having a friend come cut off one of the three trunks (it fell 2 days after dh broke his wrist, right before a dr.'s appt. and was threatening to fall the rest of the way on anyone that came too close). I'm SOOO ready for my solo trip. DH should be recovered enough to be on full-time dad duty for a little over a week. The trip has prompted an insane plan in the quilting department. Quilts for my dad, aunt, sister, her son and daughter, as well has 2 for my high school best friend, who is pregnant with her 2nd son. I've almost finish an afghan for my mom as well. All of that has to be finished in the next 5 weeks or so with the month of Ramadan starting this weekend. Ramadan, besides the abstinence from food and drink from dawn to sunset, means nightly trips to the mosque loaded down with cookies, brownies, and/or quick bread as well as the occasionally main course dish to add to the potluck iftar (meal to break the days fast). So, basically 2-3 hours of baking each day will have to happen while I'm working on the quilts and taking care of kids, house and a recuperating dh. Here is the first of the quilts and the one that has any actual sewing done. I wish I could credit the source of the design but I found it while browsing through a magazine waiting to get fabric cut at JoAnn's. I can't even remember which magazine it was in.
I took over the homeschool room for a temporary sewing room. The curtain makes a halfway decent design wall, as long as I don't want to open it. I was hoping to finish the top this afternoon but dh needed to go pick up some papers from work which meant about 4.5 hours of my day gone. Now I have to go make dinner and hope I can squeeze in enough time to finish the top tonight. Sorry about the text being all smooshed together. For some reason, blogger is not recognizing my paragraphing. Check out other design wall on Judy's page.

In case anyone is interested, I figured out the name of the pattern is Split Decision by Sandi Irish and was in McCall's Quick Quilts June/July 2012.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Design Wall Monday

Sorry I haven't posted in so long. I seem to have slacked off because I haven't done much with my sewing since early January and felt guilt about not having projects to show. Sad, I know.

But I got down to work yesterday and pulled out a UFO. This baby quilt has not gone as planned. I had put it aside ages ago because I had sewn an entire strip with the wrong sides facing. I had intended to do a rail fence or basket weave but yesterday wasn't paying enough attention and sewed the strips into 3 groups of 4 rather than 4 groups of 3 then proceeded to cut them all into squares because, hey, I was on a roll. I only realized my mistake when I went to lay out the design. No matter how I laid them out, they didn't look very good. I decided to make them into half square triangles like Bonnie Hunter's Strip Twist design that I used for M's quilt. I don't have enough squares made and had to go hunting for the leftover fabric which took awhile. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that nothing else goes wrong with this quilt and I get at least the top done today.

I have a lot of projects awaiting my attention but right now I have to go do the grocery shopping which I should have left to do two hours ago before H. woke up. Right now, he and M are watching "Flushed Away" for about the 5th time since Thursday night.

M. needed more pj pants since he's grown about 4 inches in the last year and H. wanted another pair just because I was making some for M. (H. 4 years old and M. 13 years old)

Friday, February 03, 2012

Soccer and Muslims

I'm sure a lot of people know about how popular soccer is among Muslim men, but did you know that there are Muslim women who play soccer as well. Many young women who are among the top in their countries are being denied the opportunity to play in qualifying games for this year's Olympics because they wear a headscarf. These women are not new to playing in scarves and haven't suffered because of them, yet the International Football Association is telling them they aren't allowed to compete.

This is a letter I received today.

As elite soccer players compete in the qualifiers for this summer's Olympics, some won't even get a shot to show off their skills: female Muslim players can be automatically disqualified for wearing hijab (or headscarves) on the field.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) -- a governing body that sets the rules for the soccer trials leading up to the Olympics -- has already disqualified the entire women's Iranian national team after they tried to wear headscarves during their qualifying match. Players on the teams from Jordan, Palestine and Bahrain who choose to wear headscarves face the same fate.
For Rahaf Owais, a staffer at the Jordanian Football Association, the headscarf ban means the end of some young players' careers before they even begin. After seeing some of Jordan's players disqualified for expressing their religious beliefs, Rahaf started a petition on urging IFAB to reverse its ban on female soccer players wearing headscarves. Click here to stand up for Rahaf's young players and sign her petition.
IFAB has argued the headscarf ban is about safety, but the Iranian players who were disqualified were wearing wraps fastened with specially designed Velcro closures meant to eliminate any chance of neck injury. For players who choose to wear headscarves for religious reasons, the ban of even the safe, new head coverings is discrimination, plain and simple.
Earlier this week, the President of the Asian Football Confederation, Zhang Jilong, called on IFAB to reconsider the headscarf ban at its upcoming meeting on March 3. And now FIFA -- the international federation that runs the World Cup and is a voting member of IFAB -- has piled on and is urging IFAB to change the rule.
Zhang and the FIFA leadership have a lot of influence in the soccer world, so we know IFAB is paying attention to this issue. If enough people speak out by signing Rahaf's petition, IFAB will be convinced the public wants them to reverse the ban and lift the discriminatory barrier keeping some women from competing in the Olympic trials.
Click here to sign Rahaf's petition urging IFAB to reverse the ban on women soccer players wearing headscarves.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Design Wall Monday-ish

Ok, I know it's not Monday but around here, close enough works.

I didn't get everything I wanted to done last week, so I still have to repair Z.'s quilt, make a few more bags and get the kids pj pants made.

I did, however, finish 5 of these bags and a few crocheted squares for a baby blanket.

I have a tendency to be overly ambitious in my plans and very bad at know how long my projects will take. I'm not the greatest housekeeper but in order to keep this family of 7 going, a certain amount of work has to be done each week. Add to that time cooking and homeschooling and it doesn't leave a lot of time for sewing. I'm so impressed with other moms that get lots done. That's just not me.

I'll try again this week to fix Z's quilt and I'm looking forward to getting some of the blocks for the blocked rainbow quilt done.

We ended up getting a surprise snow fall yesterday. None of the weather sources saw it coming and even when it was falling they kept saying "no accumulation". Our "no accumulation" ended up being over an inch of nice sticky snow perfect for snow ball fights and snow forts. The majority of it fell during our first hour and a half of co-op class so my two little guys kept coming down and giving us updates nearly every 5 minutes. We even ended up canceling the rest of the class day so that no one would be on the untreated road after dark. (We usually do our classes from 3-6:30.) Anyway, the kids had fun while waiting for their parents and enjoyed having a snowball fight with their teacher. (me) The crazy thing is Friday we had a high of 65! I'll take 65 over snowy days unless I don't have to be out in it, which is nearly impossible with small children. H. is only 4 and still has to have me or dh out with him.

When dh retires, I'll happily move to Florida, Arizona or Kish, but my kids keep asking to move to Minnesota- just for the winter!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Better Home Challenge list

Heather at Needles and Pens decided to go off on a tangent with Judy's UFO challenge idea and apply it to her home. There are plenty of projects that I need to get to around here so I'll jump right in to this one as well. I'll use this list as a project list and as deep cleaning list.

1. Laundry room
2. Pantry closet
3. Coat closet
4. Boys' toy cabinet
5. Kitchen cabinets
6. Stash closets
7. Front porch
8. Pantry closet (This gets messy often so it deserves two spots.)
9. Bookshelves
10. Basement/Family Room
11. Boys' Room
12. Kids' bathroom

UFO 2012

Well, I didn't get most of the UFO's finished from the 2011 list so they will just get carried into this next year. I got a lot of quilting done last year and having the UFO list helped spur me on. I'm determined to finish all of them this year!

1. and 2. The twin quilt flimsies. I really need to get these done and out of my sewing space this year.

3. Batik Carpenter's Wheel

4. Fall Leaves

5. 6. and 7. My color blocks quilt which I'll work 3-4 blocks at a time

8. Pink and Brown Basket weave baby quilt (The blues next to it are from a quilt I did last year.)

9. Orange and Cream mini. This little thing has been floating around since 2005ish. Time to get it done.

10. Black and Blue mini. Another that's been here since 2005ish and still no picture.

11. and 12. R.'s hand-made quilt. I started this when he was 1 and he's now 6. It's only partially pieced blocks so there's lots to do.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Design Wall Monday

I hope everyone had a good holiday (both Christmas and New Year's, for those who celebrate).

It's been busy around here the past two weeks. The last couple of years we've gone to visit my mom, aunt, sister and her family but we had to replace our van this year so we couldn't make the trip. The time that would normally be spent traveling was split between baking, sewing and taking various kids to the orthodontist. (By June, we'll have three kids in various stages of braces.)

I baked dozens of cookies and a few batches of brownies to send to my family. Then I decided that I would make a little something for my mom, my sisters and my aunt, which led to these lavender rice bags. I got the pattern at V and

I still have one more to make and then I'm going to make them each a reusable shopping bag with these.

I've made a few simple bags that I use all the time for toting library books or my latest quilting or crochet project. I know there are a ton of tutorials out there for bags and I'm awfully tempted to try my hand at some of them, but I want to get these in the mail tomorrow, so the simple it is.

M. has grown 6 in. in the last year and a half. He's now taller than both DH and I. I've had to replace all of his pants twice this year because it seems that now he's all legs. His pajama bottoms are ridiculously short so I decided to make him a few pairs with an extra wide hem using this pattern. Now I can let them down rather than buy or make new ones .

I got one pair made and have at least two more to go. H. begged me for a pair just like his big brother so who am I to say no to an adorable (and incredibly persistent) 4 year old. R., S. and Z. all want a pair, too.

It was really cold today so I made some hand warmers, also from V and Co. for all the kids to use when they came in from break during our co-op classes. I made these with the little bits of leftover fabric from the pajama pants. The kids all wanted to keep them so I'll be making more of these this week, which is fine since they take less than 10 min., although I think I'll make them an inch bigger on all sides.

If I get through all of this, I'm going to work on repairing Z.'s quilt.

I have several posts I want to do this week as well.

It's going to be a very busy week around here.
If you haven't already, check out the other design walls at Judy's blog.