Garden Update

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Have I mentioned how much I love being married to a construction manager? I can be pretty crafty with a sewing machine and a glue gun. My husband can be pretty amazing with a nail gun and power tools. Together I think we make the perfect DIY match made in heaven!

Last Saturday we decided to start on a fence to separate the garden from the rest of the yard. We really need to keep the chickens out of the garden before the girls eat all of our hard work!


Backyard Chickens

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The last time we lived in this home we had chickens. Unfortunately we never got a single egg! Right as our chickens were about to start laying we were forced to look for employment elsewhere. We had to sell our girls chicken tractor and all. As soon as we decided to move back to our home, the Mister got the kids all riled up about ordering chicks again.
I was the meany one voice of reason and wanted to hold off on ordering chicks until after we moved. I was completely outnumbered and we placed a chick order in March. March!! We weren’t even sure when we would be moving just that it would be sometime during the summer. Thankfully the chicks we really wanted were sold out until the very end of April, this bought me a little bit of time.
Little Red

The Garden of Eatin’

Friday, August 9, 2013

Last weekend we got a great start on the garden. It took all day but it was fun to work side by side with my husband and kids. A little rain gave us plenty of breaks as it would come and go.

As I mentioned before, we are using the Square Foot Gardening method. First my husband and son rolled out some super heavy duty commercial weed barrier which we bought here. Then they built some grow boxes.

My little garden

The $10 CL Find

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Once I found out that we would be moving back into our home I got a little crazy and started to get rid of furniture that I had had enough of. I just didn’t want to have to move something that I really hated. It was functional but did not bring any beauty to our home.

Of course that meant that I had to replace some of those things, like a futon that had been our couch for the last 6 years, with nicer versions. Having already lived in this home before I already had a list of things that I knew I had to change. At the top of my list were the super ugly light fixtures that are in the kitchen and dining room.

Old light fixture

Beadboard Backsplash

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I finished up my first DIY project the second week after moving in. The nice thing about moving into a house you’ve already lived in is that you already kind of know where everything goes. The bad thing about moving into a house you already lived in is that you already know everything that you want to change!

This brings me to the kitchen. We have done so many things to the kitchen with the biggest improvement being the painted cabinets. This is what the kitchen looked like when we moved back in:
kitchen (before)


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The big move has come and gone. We have been in our new (old) house for 3 weeks now. I say “old” house because it is the same home we lived in 5 years ago. If you are a recent follower of my blog you wouldn’t know this, so I’ll fill you in:

In May of 2009 when the economy tanked we were forced to look for new employment, as I know many had to do. We were lucky enough to find a job in Alabama a mere 3.5 hours away. For the first 3 years that we were gone we had some good friends renting our house. After they moved out in December of 2011 we tried our very hardest  to find a job anywhere in the Nashville area. We tried for 4 months. The whole time I was living in a mostly empty house and home schooling the kids while fixing up the house for… us? the next renters? to put it on the market? At the time we had no idea what would happen.

Finally the very last weekend in April of 2012 we decided, on a whim, to list it for rent on Craig's List. We had 7 families come and look at the house and all of them wanted to rent it! That very same weekend we rented it out to a very nice family. We made our peace with living in Alabama for another 2-3 years. That very same week the Mister got a phone call, Memorial Day weekend he had an interview, and a few weeks later he had a job offer to work in downtown Nashville. Really?! Sometimes Heavenly Father has a really good sense of humor!

By the end of June we were packed up and moved to Hendersonville TN. We couldn’t move back into our home because we had just rented it out. We really enjoyed our time in Hendersonville. When the time was nearing the end of our renter’s lease we thought about it long and hard. We prayed about it, and asked the kids for their input. We really felt like it would be best for our family to move back into our home even though the Mister would have a 45min to an hour commute each way.  (Side Note: I am am totally blown away by the willingness of my husband to endure a long commute for our family. – Love that man!)

So now we are Home. It feels so good! The house fits like a favorite shirt. It’s just so comfy, so peaceful, so us. The main living area is all unpacked and we are settled in. I still need to put up pictures and stuff like that. We have plans to finish out the upstairs which is all unfinished space. We also want to convert the attached 2 car garage into a mud room/sewing space. Last time we were in this home we only had two little kids. They used to share a room so I had the spare bedroom as my sewing room/office. Now we have 3 not so little kids. If they were all boys I would make them share a room. So for now I don’t have a sewing space.

I think I might set up my small sewing machine in my bedroom for now. But my poor long arm is going to have to sit out in the garage until we figure out what we are going to do with that space. I’m starting to feel the itch to sew something, anything! I really don’t want to have to dig through 20 boxes every time I’m looking for something though so I’m not planning on quilting anytime soon. *gasp* For now I’m pretty sure my efforts are going to focus on home DIY projects. At the top of my list is getting our garden started by this weekend so we can enjoy a fall harvest.

~ Norma

More destash!

Saturday, May 25, 2013
More fabric has been listed. The first round went pretty quick. Remember that I will combine shipping and refund the excess if you buy multiple items.
Tula pink, flutter by

Packages for the first round already went out and should be arriving soon. Thank you for saving my scraps from Goodwill, where they would probably just be tossed into the trash!

Go to the "destash" page to see what is available.
~ Norma


Wednesday, May 22, 2013
I'm moving. Yes, again. Story of my life! Rather than packing up everything in my craft room or sending it to the thrift store (gasp) I've decided to offer my readers the chance to snatch up some of my goodies.

Pink scraps

Oh Yeah...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Google's blog reader is going away soon. I'm sure you've heard that by now. I've started using bloglovin and so far I like it. I needed to write this post in order to stick some code in here and "claim" my blog. Yeah, I don't really know what that means but my blog has been claimed!!

~ Norma
 Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Next time I'll tell you all about the fun vi$it I had to the animal ER last weekend.

Carpenter’s Star

Carpenter's Star

Jingle: Block 1

Monday, February 11, 2013

I joined Erin’s FREE (yes free!!) 2013 Block of the Month. Every year this very talented lady does a BOM and shares all of the patterns for free throughout the year. The only thing you have to buy is the center block for the quilt and it is a very reasonable $10. This year’s BOM is a Christmas themed quilt with appliqué and pieced blocks.

Jingle Block 1: finished


Friday, February 1, 2013

I was making good progress on quilting the DQS 13 top when I got hit with the dreaded flu. I haven’t had the energy to do anything other than be a lump on the couch or a lump on the bed for the last 2 days. So here is a picture of my progress so far:

FMQ - Starburst top

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of my family makes it through unscathed. I made sure the kiddos got their flu shot but my husband and I did not. Now I’m wishing I had.

~ Norma


Tuesday, January 29, 2013
warm up feathers

I started quilting my DQS 13 last night. Before I could start I always have to warm-up first. It helps me get the jitters and helps my hands and body remember what they are supposed to be doing. I always have a practice quilt sandwich lying around (about 18” x 18”) for warm-ups. I just reuse the same sandwich in different thread colors until it’s pretty stiff. Then I grab a new one. Those batting cut offs come in handy for practice sandwiches.


Monday, January 28, 2013
I’ve started quilting the little doll quilt for my swap partner. I always like to do a little “quilt-storming” on my computer. Usually I use photosop and a wacom tablet. Using a wacom tablet is hard! you have to draw while looking at the computer screen instead of looking down at your tablet.
This time I played around with my Kindle Fire and was able to make it work. There are limitations because the screen is so small. I’m going to have to try it out on my husband’s iPad sometime.
On the Kindle I used an app called Sketchbook Mobile ($1.99) There is also a free version (Sketchbook Mobile Express) and a pro version that wasn’t available when I bought the “mobile” version (Sketchbook Pro $1.99)
In order to use any app for drawing on your quilts, you first need to get your image on the kindle. There are a couple of ways to do this. Since I already had the image I wanted on my Flickr account, I simply opened up my web browser within the Kindle and downloaded the image from Flickr. I was then able to find it in the default “Gallery app” that came on the Kindle Fire. After that it was a matter of opening up the Sketchbook App and opening the image from within the app. Once I had it open I was able to draw on it to my heart’s content. I highly recommend getting a tablet pen because it just works 100 times better than trying to use your finger!
So I came up with a few ideas:

quilt-stormingquilt-storming 2
On the first one I drew in black but it was hard to see so I switched the color to white for the second one, which made it much easier to see. I decided I like the direction of the second drawing. I was trying out different designs so they won’t all make it onto the quilt. I really like that “frame” around the center star and I really like the feathers in the corners from the top drawing. The nice thing about drawing on your quilt is you get to see which elements you like without having to rip things out.
Do you “plan” your quilting?
~ Norma

Linking up to "Design Wall Monday"


Thursday, January 17, 2013

I decided to name my DQS 13 pattern Starburst because it looks like a fabric explosion :)  I’m almost done with piecing the top together and then it’s ready for quilting.

DQS 13

Monday, January 14, 2013

If you have followed my blog for a while you know that my all time favorite online swap is the Doll Quilt Swap (DQS) over on Flickr. Round 13 is underway and quilts are due to be sent out by mid February. I think I have participated in 6 rounds so far. I love the challenge of creating something unique for my partner. As I have pointed out to my husband before, just because it’s small (must measure between 9”x9” and 20”x20”) it doesn’t mean it’s any easier.

I’ve decided to finally make a design that has been in my EQ folder for a couple of years. I drafted this design when I was playing around with designs made up entirely of HST’s.

DQS13 - game plan


Saturday, January 12, 2013
I finished up my Sparkle Plenty quilt top yesterday. I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Once I was done I stuck it up on the design wall for a picture. I was admiring my work when it hit me how far I have come in quilting when compared with the first quilt top I ever pieced.
a finish
I was excited to see that my boring work of squaring up the each and every one of those 108 HST blocks paid off. 95% of my corners and points match up perfectly. The quilt top actually looks nice and square (there is a slight distortion from the camera.) On the back my seams are laying nice and flat. The seams are also 1/4” like they are supposed to be. I share this not to show off and say “hey look at me, I’m an awesome quilter, neener neener!” I share it to show you what you can accomplish if you stick with quilting.
I started quilting/sewing 7 years ago and my first quilt top has much to be desired. It is so wonky, not square and full of mistakes. I had no idea what bias meant. I had no clue that fabric needs to be cut a certain way in order to minimize stretch. Or that once cut it needs to be handled with care to avoid distortion. I didn’t know that you had to be careful with the iron as well. A 1/4” seam allowance? HA! some of the seams on my first quilt were non existent in some places. I literally had to go back and repair the quilt top (a few years ago) so that it could be quilted.
Still I have loved learning without restraint. The only quilting class I have ever taken was a free motion quilting class for beginners and I took it after I had been quilting for about 4 years. If I had started my quilting journey with proper “training” I think I would have held myself back from trying things that sound too difficult.
If you are just starting out on your quilting journey, DON’T give up! Don’t compare yourself to other quilters. Just give your project your best effort and as you practice, practice, practice – as with all things, you’ll get better. Learn those little tips and tricks from fellow quilters that will help your quilting become awesome. Be willing to try different tips, but also be willing to discard those that don’t work for YOU. There are many ways of achieving the same result and no one way is the right way to do things.
ok, that was a long winded post.

Have a great weekend!
~ Norma
 Linking up to Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday

Design Wall Monday

Monday, January 7, 2013

You’ve probably noticed that I have been missing since early December. At that time I was busy with seasonal orders for my shop. I was also busy with my own family and our Christmas traditions. This year we spent Christmas in Houston with my in-laws. It’s a 13 hour drive from middle TN according to Google. But Google doesn’t travel with 3 little kids!

Right before leaving I started having computer troubles. Somehow we got infected with malware, something our antivirus didn’t catch. Once we got back from our vacation it was time to really attack the problem. We tried 5 or 6 different programs and scans to fix the computer and nothing worked. Finally we backed up all the files and did a complete wipe and re-install.

It worked and now I have clean slate to work with! Unfortunately I can’t find my software cd’s for Adobe Illustrator from our recent move. I use it for all of my portrait silhouettes and use it often for designing applique and some of my quilts. grrr!

To drown out my sorrows I decided to start a new project on New Year’s Eve. I don’t like staying up late anymore so I need to be actively doing something so I don’t fall asleep. I’ve been working on this fun project for the New Year:

sparkle plenty

I got a kit from Connecting Threads (no longer available) for around $25! I thought it was a steal and so did lots of people because they sold out quickly. The pattern is called “Sparkle Plenty” by Loft Creations.

~ Norma
PS make sure you go see what every one else is working on at Judy’s

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