I so did not intend to be gone so long but my husband had several days off so we took advantage to every minute. Beaches, museums and amusement parks were visited, much junk food was consumed, and many belly laughs were had. Today, the kiddos and I are taking it easy.
My log cabin quilt top is complete and I will be posting tips on measuring for the backing, sandwiching a quilt top, basting, quilting and binding as I go.
But first here are some tips on sewing together your log cabin blocks:
1. Before you begin sewing the blocks together, take a minute to make sure they are square and uniform in size. If they are not, use your ruler and rotary cutter to trim them so that they are uniform.
2. Next lay your blocks out onto the floor or a "design board" so that you can arrange them in the pattern that is most pleasing to you. My board is made up of a thick piece of foam core from Home Depot that I covered with quilt batting using a staple gun.
3. Always sew your blocks together in rows first.
4. Iron the seam allowances of the even numbered rows to either the left or the right. Then iron the seam allowances of the odd numbered rows in the opposite direction.
5. When all of the rows are complete, sew the first two rows together, then the next two rows, and so on. Finally sew the pairs of rows together to complete the top. It is much more difficult to sew one row at time onto a growing quilt top.
6. Admire your quilt top, call the kiddos into the room to give you even more compliments, and begin planning the quilt back!
Oh, and remember this pillow top that I pieced using some extra strips. Well it is now a much loved, and much used, pillow.
Stay tuned for a tutorial on improvisational piecing so that you can make one of these for your own kiddos. It's a great project for practicing your free motion quilting before you begin to quilt your large quilt - and who doesn't love a pillow project that you can't mess up because anything goes!
Several days ago I was so moved to be awarded with the Honest Scrap Award by Heather of Shivaya Naturals. I was so honored to receive this from Heather because her blog provides me with such inspiration and insight. I especially enjoy her posts on crafting with and homeschooling her kiddos and her amazing healthy and kid friendly recipes. And don't even get me started on her gorgeous hand dyed yarn. Thank you Heather for the honor.
Now I have to divulge ten honest things about myself. So here goes:
1. I can't follow a recipe if my life depended on it. I always end up throwing in some extra ingredients I have on hand or altering the cooking process in some way. This is also why I don't bake much as my cooking method is only conducive to quick breads such as banana, carrot, craisins, chocolate chip bread - yes, I made this last week.
2. I love that the kiddos are home with me all summer but I really miss exercising at the gym.
3. Scouring the house, especially the kids rooms, for stuff to donate is one of my favorite pass times. I walk around the house with a large bag and toss in anything that isn't getting use. I especially enjoy dropping the bags off at their destination, the thrift store.
4. My favorite time of day is morning. I begin each morning at 6:30 am by walking my dogs down our road. Watching them run and frolic off leash in the cool of the morning reminds me that happiness really is in the little things.
5. I have to knit and sew, or at least plan to knit of sew, something each day in order to be truly happy.
6. My husband is my best friend - and has been for over twenty years.
7. For years I have watched almost no TV. But over the past few weeks I have discovered, and become slightly addicted to, two TV shows - which I Tivo and watch in the evening when I knit. I watch Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and Rate my Space.
8. I didn't speak English until I was five years old. That was when my family emigrated to southern California from Russia. We were able to emigrate because we were not allowed to practice our religion in the former Soviet Union. Both my grandparents were Holocaust survivors and were very proud that they were instrumental in "bringing" their children and grandchildren to America. Growing up, we had very little but I always felt special that I was fortunate enough to grow up in the US.
9. For the last ten years we have lived in the country. Our only non-grocery store is walmart so we drive about 45 minutes to shop at Target, Trader Joe's, and the mall. We also drive the 45 min to go to parks, museums, or the beach. I don't mind all the driving because it gives me the opportunity to talk with, sing songs, and laugh with my kiddos without the distractions (and occasional bickering) present when we are home.
10. I have a masters and a doctorate degree because my family encouraged education (see #8) and because I love school. But despite my degrees and my love for school, I could not be happier with my choice to be a stay-at-home mom.
I leave you with photos of our first cucumber and pickle harvest...
May you find happiness in the little things today.