Monday, September 30, 2013

September finish.

Back at the beginning of the month, I let it slip in my goal post for A Lovely Year of Finishes, hosted by Fiber of All Sorts and Sew Bitter Sweet Designs, that I was considering making a push to finish Master W.'s quilt in time for his fourth birthday at the end of October. To be honest, with all those blocks to quilt I just wasn't sure I could do it.

But then Lucy left me the perfect encouraging note in the comments and it gave me the motivation I needed to challenge myself to finish it in time for the big day.
So, instead of just reaching my goal of getting 3/4 of the top finish (quilting and assembly included), I managed to finish the top, choose and order the backing and binding, and pin-baste the quilt sandwich!

Don't you just love this backing fabric? It's Out N' About Green Highway Signs by Caleb Gray. I knew as soon as I spotted it at Fat Quarter Shop that I'd found the perfect complement to my traffic cone blocks.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Apple picking.

Today I watched my kids run through an apple orchard.

I relished the sounds of their laughter, the soft grass crunching underfoot, and the gentle rustling of the leaves on the apple trees. I could smell the spicy scent of apple pies baking in the ovens of the bakeshop just down the hill from where we stood. And there wasn't another soul in sight. Just our little group of friends gathering apples in our buckets.
It wasn't until I got home that I realized just how much I miss rural life. I've been away too long. How I wish I could snap my fingers and transport my little family to life in the country and experience that sense of freedom once again.

These are the days that I keep close in my heart. I have a feeling I'll be dreaming about that little wish for good long while. And maybe someday we'll find a way to make that dream come true.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Keeping the Lego horde at bay.

Anyone whose has a child who loves Legos*, knows where this post is going.

What started out as a few of Hubby's old sets has in a few short years morphed into an entire cupboard of Lego sets. Space ships. Planes. Trucks. Houses. We have a lot of Legos.

Believe it or not, the photo you see below represents what used to be a really good Lego organization system. I know it looks messy, but when we first introduced Miss C. to the magic of Legos, she was about four years old and all she wanted to do was assemble the sets using the instructions over and over again. So we bagged up each set and stored it in its original box. Everything stayed nice and neat (or at least organized).
And then Master W. grew out of toddlerhood and wanted to play with Legos too. His first Lego love was the green garbage truck. He played with it non-stop and for a long time was content to play with the assembled cars, trucks and space ships as-is. 

But in the last few months something has changed. Master W.'s love of the Lego is still going strong, only now he likes to smash disassemble them and leave the little pieces everywhere. Putting all of those loose pieces back with their original sets was becoming impossible... they all started to look the same. And there were so many of them!

Something had to change. I knew we needed a new system, but I couldn't bring myself to simple throw all of the pieces into a big bin. That would only lead to dumping... and really, who wants to clean that up?

So I start combing the web for Lego storage ideas. My favorite was the lady who used a metal tool chest to sort the pieces by color and type. We checked the prices on metal tool chests... let's just say they were way beyond my tiny budget. Yikes!

I switched to Plan B: If all else fails, check JoAnn's. 
Score! Using my trusty 40% off coupons, I was able to pick up three ArtBin storage containers with moveable dividers for $12 each. My budget was $43 (all proceeds from selling some toys and clothes the kids had outgrown).


I spent a few nights sorting our Legos out by color and I'm in love with the results. Amazingly, the kids have kept it very well organized. They can find the pieces they need, which I think has led to more creative creations, and everything is much easier to put away.

And while I still find some Legos on the floor (ouch!), it's much better than it used to be.

*Yes, yes, I know they're technically called Lego Bricks and one should never, ever refer to the as Legos. But I grew up with three brothers who loved Legos... and that's what we called them... and darn it, old habits die hard. I just can't bring myself to call them Lego Bricks. Sorry, Lego.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes: September goal

Talk about waiting until the last minute! There's just over an hour left in the link-up for this month's goal setting party for A Lovely Year of Finishes over at Fiber of All Sorts and Sew Bitter Sweet Designs, and I'm just barely sneaking in with my post.

I'm almost halfway finished with Master W.'s traffic cone quilt top. Normally, I'd tell myself that I could finish the rest of the top in a month, but I've got a birthday gift to make as well so I'm going to keep this month's goal modest and work toward getting the top 3/4 of the way finished (that includes quilting and assembling the blocks into rows).
Of course, I'll be crossing my fingers that I can actually finish the rest of the top by the end of the month. Master W.'s birthday is coming up at the end of October and I'm thinking the quilt would make an awesome birthday present from Mommy.

We'll see!