Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What a Way to Finish Out September...

Oh friends, it has been awhile.

And for that, you have my apologies. Thanks for hanging in there if you're reading this.

Life has been busy! When isn't it, though?

I am trying to get my life in order. Haha. So you'll likely see some organization (or attempts) posts in the coming weeks and months. That's one of the things that's been tying me up.

I do have some new quilts to share. A couple of finishes, a work in progress, a top that's rapidly becoming a hard core UFO.

And some music. ;)

And, of course, being a baseball fangirl.

I am going to attempt a commitment to at least a post a week. That's fair, yes?

I don't want to make any false promises.

But without further ado, I have no quilts or organization to share with you today.

Just lots of Nats.

Nats. Nats. Nats.

You know I love 'em. And it's now officially POSTSEASON!!!

But here's a little peek from the regular season ender. Which was, by the way, a NO HITTER! First in franchise history!

Mr. Gardener and I took the whole family. Naturally, in the one picture of all 5 of us with decent (note that I didn't say good) light, my brother isn't looking at the camera.

Zimmerman...one of the heroes of the game. (It was a team effort.) This was taken during warm-ups; we sat right above the bullpen. Who knew what an incredible season ender this would be? 

And of course, I have a TON of pictures of Span. Denard Span is the man. He ended the season with his 184th hit, a franchise record for a single season.

Harper played left field yesterday versus right, so I got some nice shots of him. I think his slump this season has been really good for him as a player. He's really matured a lot. 

I have some great shots of him from when he was rehabbing with the Potomac Nationals (minor league) that I'll have to share. Wilson Ramos, too.

Nice picture of my mom and Matt. Not sure what my dad is doing.


Who expected the rookies to play so well? I certainly didn't. The Nats have a great farm system, but it was just Zimmerman, Wilson, and the rookies out there after about the 4th/5th inning.

We sat right above the bullpen, so it was fun to watch them watching the game. Storen got up to warm up a few times, but, fortunately, they left Zimmerman in and let him finish attempting the no hitter.

Mark my words. Michael Taylor. Next big thing.


What a way to end such a great season!!!

Screech celebrating the win.

The fans were going wild.

I can't wait for the playoffs to start.

And even if they go no further (although I certainly hope not!), the Nats have a season they should be really proud of.

Man, how many times do you have to get a shot like this?

For you MASN (or former Expos) fans, that's FP Santangelo. For my non-local friends, he is one of the TV announcers for the Nats.

FP was cool - waving to folks who recognized him and giving thumbs ups all around.

Sadly, Fox, not MASN, has the rights to play the playoffs. In my opinion, Fox broadcasts are the worst. Their announcer is no fun and their camera shots are sub par. 

My brother, enjoying his Nats' swag - the Nats' stocking hat. He kind of looks like he could fit in with the gnomes, though, doesn't he?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Spring is Coming...

And you know what that means!

Time to start seeds!

So I got out the grow light that Mr. Gardener made me last year out of PVC pipe.

Put down the insulation for my heat mats.

Set out my heat mats. 

And set up this nifty little Jiffy Greenhouse I got from Lowe's.

I'm not going to lie.

Lowe's seed starting selection was highly disappointing. They hardly had anything out yet.

Yes, I know it snowed today.

But we're starting to get behind starting from seed people. Let's go Lowe's! I don't care if Phil did or did not see his shadow. It's time to get started!

At least they did have these. I didn't order seed starting materials from Burpee thinking Lowe's would have their crap together. 


Now I know for next year.

But look how cool these are! Just add water and you get a little self-contained seed starting mix/pot. 

And you can plant them directly in the ground like this. 

So I'm thinking these will work well for plants that will be a little bigger come transplanting time, like peppers, tomatoes, pumpkins.

You just tear the top open a bit and get started. 

And they have a little lid to help keep the heat and moisture in as they get started. 

So this past weekend, I started Mini Harvest Blend Hybrid Pumpkin (just those little bitty mini guys) and Red Popper Sweet Pepper. They have little bitty fruits, too. About an inch or so wide and tall.

I'm really trying to keep all the planting in check this year. I am not confident in my ability to be successful in this endeavor. Time will tell. 

Next up with be tomatoes and petunias. (I do love me some petunias.)

And, of course, God can teach us in and through anything, so let's take a brief moment to reflect on how our work in the earth mirrors the Lord's work in us.

Luke 8:4-15

"While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable:
'A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the bird ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other see fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.'
When he said this, he called out, 'Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.'
His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, 'The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, 
'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'
This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that feel among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.'"

Let us plant in good soil and produce a crop for the Lord!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WiP Wednesday 8

Got one more block done on my Circle of Geese quilt.

Slowly but surely...

Four down, five to go!

I think this little guy is so darn cute.

I love Riley Blake!

Here are all four all together.

I gotta get my act together. I think the baby shower is soon!

Darn it! I'm going to bring one of these to a baby shower! :)

Join me for WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Valentine Coaster Tutorial Part 2

Alright! Coasters Part 2. 

Hope you enjoy. :)

So, yesterday, we made a bunch of coaster tops. Today, we're going to embroider them and sew them into coasters.

1. First, you actually need to cut out your coaster bottoms. You'll need as many tops as you have bottoms, cut them 4.5" square. You can use whatever fabric you want, but for me, this is where the fabric ink and stencil came in. I used some Kona red (of some variety, not sure which exact one) and used the stencil brush to make gold dots all over. 

Like so:

Disregard the fact that I forgot to take a picture before I sewed it up. Whoops.

If you choose to do this, be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions.

You'll also need as many 4.5" squares of batting.

2. Set those aside for now. 

3. Determine your design. I decided to do some hugs and kisses and some hearts. For the heart, I drew it on a piece of paper and then scanned it into my computer. Then, I flipped the image over and printed. 

If you want to go green, or you're cheap like me, use scrap paper.

For the hugs and kisses, I chose a font I liked in Word and printed it (also in reverse). 

The reason is that when we transfer our image, it's going to be backward, so we want it to be opposite of how we want it from the get-go.

4. Get your handy iron-on transfer pencil and trace your images. A heavy, dark line makes for a better transfer. 

5. Following manufacturer's instructions, transfer your image to the white square in the center of your coaster tops.

(Excuse the quality of these next few photos. Our iron broke while I was making these and so the only photos I could get were in the evening.) 

First, I placed the image where I wanted it. Then, I started ironing. 

I found that the image transferred best when I first pressed down with the tip of the iron onto the various sections of the image. 

Then I pressed down with the whole iron. 

6. Now you should have an image that looks something like this.

7. Now for the fun part. :) Get your embroidery floss, a hand sewing needle, a hoop, and pick your poison. I mean color. 

8. Choose how many strands of the floss you want. I actually used all 6. I wanted my design to stand out.

9. I just did a simple running stitch. There are some fantastic tutorials on YouTube if you don't know how. 

10.  Square up your top so that it's nice and square. No more hangover on any of the ends.

11. Once you're done, gather your tops and backs. Time to make a sandwich!

12. For real though. You're making a sandwich. Put the bottom, right side facing up, on the bottom of the sandwich. Put the top, right side facing down, on top of the bottom. Put your batting on top.

13. Pin.

14. Sew around the sandwich using a 1/4" seam. Leave a hole 1-2" for turning. You'll want to backstitch to prevent ripping your seams when you turn right side out.

15. Clip the corners. This keeps them sharper when you turn right side out. Be sure not to clip your seams!

16. Turn right side out.

You may find that a turning tool or a chopstick helps you in this endeavor. This guy's pointy ends help turn out the corners. 

17. Give it a good pressing. 

18. Now you want to topstitch. Stitch pretty close to the edge, so that you close up the hole. You can just topstitch once around the edge if you'd like or you catch stitch around the coaster as many times as you'd like. I did mine twice. 

If you use metallic thread like me, make sure to lower the tension in your machine.

19. Clip your threads and admire your handiwork.

20. Give to a friend or enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. :)

Happy Valentine's Day!