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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You'll Be In My Heart

Stacey was about two when I introduced her to this song. It's from the Tarzan Disney movie, written by Phil Collins. David and I were visiting friends who had kids back when it was out in the theaters and although for 10 years of our marriage, we didn't have kids, we still were suckers for a good Disney movie. So, we went with our friends and their kids to see the movie.

Although the circumstances of my life have changed dramatically since then, I will never forget the years we wondered if we would ever have children. I heard the song "You'll Be in My Heart" in the movie and strange lyric rememberer that I am, I tucked it away for another day thinking "this will be a great lullaby song someday".

Fast forward to when the triplets were two. It was then that they each had to have their own song for me to sing to them before bed. There were many for them to choose from at the time but one night I remembered my experience in the theater watching Tarzan. I was a little disappointed with myself for not remembering it sooner since my "babies" were now two.

Stacey loved it from the start. Probably because at that stage she was crying almost every night because she never wanted to go to bed and the opening line to the song is "come stop your crying...". Or, maybe it was because it is the longest of all the songs I had sung to them which works perfect for her since she is the princess of dragging bedtime out as long as possible.

Whatever it is, it was a very fun thing to sit with her tonight at her piano lesson, and play her "night night" song with her as a duet. She was so excited to get it on video tonight with no mistakes, the only problem is that it is too big to post! :(

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Patchwork Quilt of Sorts

The commercial for cotton says that it is "the fabric of our lives". I know that some of these patches are cotton, but not all. No matter what the type, most of these patches are a part of the fabric of my life.

Finding the old pictures of the first quilt I made the other day reminded me of this "unofficial" first quilt that has been years and years in the making. It began as a treasured gift from an elderly woman named Bernice who would have my dad do jobs around her house and yard. It was a Holly Hobby sleeping bag.

I loved that sleeping bag. It was a tragic day when it got its first rip. We were playing in the yard and had it thrown over the end of the clothes line to make a tent. When I pulled on it to get it down, I heard the rip. The rip was shaped like an L so I took some fabric from my mom's leftover stash and hand stitched it over the rip.

From that time on, whenever there was a tear or a worn out spot, I would patch it. It became my "sick day" activity to sew patches on my quilt. My aunt Jo had a patched up blanket when she was a teenager that I thought was so cool. I think
it was her blanket that inspired me to keep patching my own.

At one point the zipper broke so I took it off and hemmed up the edges with strips of fabric. After some time I realized that this blanket told a story since most patches were leftover from some piece of clothing or fabric of interest in my life. Whether it was the stretch panel from Mom's double knit pair of maternity pants, my favorite pair of blue jeans, or the bottom of my boyfriend's (now husband's) many pairs of dress pants that I have hemmed for him through the years; there are patches that represent the many eras of my life.

These days I save swatches from Easter dresses I made for the girls or from worn out clothes that all three of my boys have worn that make me smile. There are 4 or 5 layers in some areas of this blanket and it is the warmest thing I have ever slept under. I love sharing the stories behind the patches with the people I love.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My First Quilt

I read on Jo's Country Junction (http://www.joscountryjunction.com/) this afternoon about first quilts. Jo wrote about Bonnie at Quiltville (http://quiltville.com/) who wanted to see first quilts. I smiled when I read her post because my first quilt was one that I made for my aunt Jeanne (Jo) as a gift for her wedding day. It was a little while after I left the computer when I started wondering if I had any pictures of that quilt stashed away somewhere.

I have been to Jo's house a couple of times to use her quilting machine to quilt three quilts I have worked on in the past 6 months. That is why it was very amusing to me to dig through piles and piles of old pictures because I found some!

This quilt was a 4-H project too so I documented it step by step for my records. Here is how it went back when I was 16. I sewed the top together and ironed it preparing to quilt. I also pieced together
a back for it as well.

After that, my mom and I cleared out all the furniture from the living room and spread out the back of the quilt on the floor right side down, pinning all of the edges down to the carpet. Having extra cushy carpet matting was a plus because the pins went right into the floor and stayed tight.
Once the back was pinned down to the floor and pulled tightly, I laid out the batting and put the top over both layers. At that point, the top was pulled tightly and also pinned to the carpet.

Starting on one side and going across, I pulled all layers up and placed pins every three to four inches across to hold it together.

After getting the whole quilt pinned together I was able to pick it up off of the floor and move the furniture back into the living room!

Pulling the sewing machine out of the sewing room, it was set up on the dining room table where there was enough room to spread out the quilt and sew across each seam line to get keep it all together. To bind the edge, the back was measured a few inches longer on each side of the quilt. I folded up a hem and stitched it. I know I have a picture of my dad helping me guide the large queen sized quilt through the sewing machine on the other side of the table. I couldn't find the picture in my search tonight but I do remember how he helped me. It was a great accomplishment for me. I didn't make another quilt again until I was 24 for my parent's 25th wedding anniversary, once again using the "stretch and pin to the living room floor" technique that my mother taught me. I thank Jo for her blog because it has been fun remembering and inspiring to think of new projects to do as well!

That Time of the Year Again

Well, it is that time of the year again, the time of the year when, if you haven't gotten any "accidental" pictures of your family all together in one place, you need to figure out a plan to get it done. This year I thought I would just stick to getting the kids together and see if it would work out. People don't care what the grown ups look like more than maybe every 5 years or so. It is always a plus if the whole family is in the same picture but you can definitely get by with just the children in the photo to send with the annual letter. I tried a family picture on Thanksgiving that was okay -I only had to clone one kid's "better face" into the picture so who knows what it will be this year when the actual letter goes out!

A Visit to the Museum

I have been looking through recent pictures today and am a little disappointed in myself for the lack of pictures from the second half of the year - especially pictures of the big kids in the house. I did run across some fun pictures that we took when the girls and I went to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Of course, that day we learned a lot about Grant Wood but also got to see Charles Willson Peale's portrait of George Washington which is visiting here in town too.

I do have to say that the most fun picture of the day is the one here of Dawn. She really took a lot of time looking at the paintings and this particular one produced quite a giggle when she went up and stood next to it. I love her eye for art and her way of explaining to me how different works make her feel. We got to enjoy a little bit of culture, even in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Ice Skating Fun

Michelle was here over the Thanksgiving holiday and when David asked her what she wanted to do she told him ICE SKATING! It was in 2008 when she was up for a visit that we took her ice skating for the first time because the triplets wanted to go.

A couple of things surprised me this time we were on the ice. Ryan and Chelle could be seen skating around the rink quite a lot. He said he enjoyed skating with his auntie. The other thing that surprised me was Zachary his first time on the skates.

Once we got the right size skate on his foot, he was determined to skate away from the wall. Within 15 minutes he was venturing out with the rest of them. He liked to find a straight line across the rink and see if he could stay on the line. He loved it even more when Dawn let him borrow her gloves. Dawn was a good help for him giving him all kinds of advice. I love seeing my kids working together to tackle a challenge. It was a fun day!