Thursday, March 31, 2011

Katie in the Water

I signed Katie up for an aquatics class with the city of Lancaster. I had looked all over for classes to get her in the water. I call it a swimming class but they do not actually teach them swimming yet, its more of a water familiarity class. They get them comfortable in the water and moving in it. Katie's first class was Tuesday. Due to my schedule she is taking classes with her Uncle as her adult. Tonight she had her second class.

At her first class she was very reluctant to go in the water. The class is 30 minutes and it took until about the last five till she actually got in the water. Tonight they said it only took her about five minutes till she got in, it was her instructor that convinced her to go.

After he got her in the water she began playing chase the duck with her Uncle, as in she would throw the duck and Uncle would take her to get it and she would throw it again.

She was having fun.

The instructor (I forgot his name) is really good with the kids. During the class he goes around and works with each of them, checking their progress and giving suggestions. 

Katie was really excited tonight when she came home, I think this swimming thing may work out just fine.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Current Quilting Projects

Since I have finished my last quilts I am picking up with two projects that I last worked on over a year and a half ago. I started them but then went back to work, moved, put my stuff in storage, etc and so I am now getting back to them.

The first is a blanket for Katie. It is being made from her receiving blankets. I wanted to put them to another use after she had outgrown them. It will be a combination of 7 inch squares and two by two squares. It will be interesting to see how it will come out. 

These are what has been cut so far.

These are waiting to be cut.

My second project is a quilt for my bed. It is being made from Moda's Sent with Love print. I selected it because I liked the red but it actually has a lot of hearts which usually is not my thing but I think it will turn out ok.  So far I just have strips that need to be sewn together, it should come together fairly quickly.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Rain Delay

Work outside has been delayed by all of the rain in the last week. Even walking in the tilled dirt can be slightly hazardous in the rain. Basically its more than a little muddy. Plants have been planted though. There is also a soaker hose for when we start watering again.

The dirt is settling down a little.

Since some plants are now outside and many others are ready to go outside my brother has planted more seeds keeping the plant stand full. Katie of course keeps a close eye on her "babies".

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My First Quilt (from start to finish)

Last year I began my first quilt that I was going to make from start to finish and make like a regular quilt. I selected a Stacked Coin Quilt pattern and used Moda's Giddy charms packs. I made my quilt top slightly larger than the pattern and used an off white fabric with it.

Once the top was completed I made the quilt sandwich with batting and backing. At times like this having a large tile floor is very useful.

The quilt is pinned so that it can be quilted.

Quilting is the scary part that I had never done before. This quilt was to be my practice. Everything I read said to just do it and thats how you will learn. In my previous quilting I always used the technique of layering the quilt, sewing the edges and turning it right side out then sewing in the ditch (along the lines of the quilt). Free motion quilting uses a darning foot and basically you move the quilt to control the stitch length and pattern.  It took awhile to get the technique down and get the settings on my machine right. However once I did it only took me a few hours to do this stipple type pattern on the quilt.

Here is a look at the back. I put and extra strip of stacked coins on the back as well. I was pretty happy with how the quilting came out.

Next I trimmed the excess batting and fabric from the quilt and squared it up.

Binding is something else I have never done before. The fabric for the binding is cut into 2 1/2 inch strips and sewn into a continuous strip. The strip is folded and ironed in half. This strip is then pinned to the border of the  quilt.

The binding is then sewn on using the walking foot all the way around the quilt. Then the binding is hand sewn to the back of the quilt. I finished the binding today and planned to take some nice lighted pictures outside but was too excited. Here is the completed quilt.

A closer look at the finished binding.

I also washed it so that it would get that nice crinkly quilt look.

Yeah! I finished my first quilt.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Just One Star

Last week while reading the blogs I follow I saw an entry on p.s. i quilt for a program called Just One Star. It is a collaboration between Moda fabrics and the Semper Fi Fund with Quilts of Valor. They are asking for 1800 stars to make 100 quilts in 100 days. They provided a pattern and asked that the quilted star be red or blue with a light background. I went through my fabric stash and pulled a blue fabric with small white dots and a red print with small blue flowers. My Mom came over to help and Katie assisted by telling us which shapes were squares, triangles and rectangles. I cut enough fabric to make two of each star.

The color in the pictures look a little different, the blue stars have a white background and the red is a cream color.

I will be mailing these stars off and they will be made into quilts for wounded military members. Hopefully they will provide comfort and warmth.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Grapes, Blackberries and Strawberries

In addition to the garden I have been working on planting a few other things around the yard as well. Against the back fence I planted two grape plants.

Along the side fence of the back yard I planted two blackberry bushes.

The soil in the backyard was very hard to dig. It took a few days to get the holes dug and I still need to get some sort of edging around them. Katie likes to help water them.

In the front yard I have been working on getting more plants in. I have added another tulip plant and a daffodil  that my Mom gave us.

Between the exiting rosebushes I have planted eleven strawberry plants. You can not see them yet but hopefully they will show up soon.

In the other planter there are another eleven strawberry plants and two bleeding heart plants. You can not see any of these yet either but they are there and soon will be growing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Peas in the ground

With the soil tilled and composted its time to get some plants in the ground. The peas have been growing like crazy and were very ready to move outside. Katie was willing to assist and you can see how long the plants have grown.

When Kevin started digging holes for the peas he discovered some pvc pipe. Turns out that when previous owners put the pool in they capped off the pipes for the sprinkler system and left all the sprinkler pipe and sprinklers in the ground. There was a short delay while Kevin dug it all up.

Soon it was back to planting, just watch out for the trench.

There are five pea plants ready to go in.

Kevin tore the newspaper off the bottom of the plants but left it at the top in hopes it will keep some of the bugs away. They need a net to climb on but hopefully soon we will be able to enjoy some fresh peas.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Compost in my driveway

One day last week there was a delivery in my driveway. We had compost delivered to assist the soil in my backyard. Unfortunately they came a little early and blocked my car in the garage but I still made it to work thanks to my Mom.

When Katie and I went out to look at it she kept saying "Its dirt!"

My brother had already tilled the yard in preparation for the compost.

Katie and Kevin got to work, first they shoveled the compost into the cart.

Then they started wheeling the cart to the backyard.

They went down the side of the house to get there, Olive helped too.

Then they dumped the cart in the garden area.

They worked on it all day, Katie changed clothes and eventually the pile of compost was worked down.

But they continued to move it.

Until it was all in the backyard and a fresh layer of compost was ready to be tilled into the soil.

You might notice in the corner the compost bin and a new structure.

My compost bin has been very full. I looked into getting another bin or building one but the cost was a little excessive. My brother came up with making one with chicken wire, did you know it comes in plastic now? He used some posts from my parents house and zip ties. Now there is plenty of space for the composting to expand.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hunting for Goldfish

My parents belong to the Antelope Valley Treasure Hunters Society and have once a month outings. This month they went to a park in California City. Katie went along with them and had a great time. When discussing the upcoming trip we asked Katie if she was going to find some gold, her response was she was going to find some goldfish. She didn't come home with goldfish this time but had a pocket full of change.

Katie followed her Grandfather around, he would metal detect and then she would dig. She is sleeping well tonight.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Katie Art

The front half of the living room is Katie's space. It contains her toys, easel and table. In order to finish the space I wanted to put something on the walls. Having a supply of Katie Art on hand I knew this would be a fun thing to include in her space. I selected three works of art, scanned and printed them on photo paper and framed them. They are now on the wall above her shelves. I also moved the lamp from the library room here so she could have some direct light.

I selected a finger painting, a ladybug with finger print dots and the Katie hand print fish. Please excuse the poor lighting in the photo.

To look around the room, here is the other side of the room near the front door.

This view is the newly covered window and toy box.