2/27/13

WIP Wednesday

I haven't spent a lot of time in the sewing room in the last week, but when I do get a chance to jump in there, I am mainly working on my Easy Street blocks:


 I think I have 10 of the 16 needed for this section done so far.

I also cast on my Color Affection shawl last weekend:

 Yarn is from The Plucky Knitter: Plucky Feet in (l-r): Bashful, Vanity, and Vignette

Other WIPs in the queue:
  • King Spiderweb quilt
  • Magazine submission quilt (yay!!)
  • Maddy's knitted socks
What are you working on this week?

CGM   

I'm linking this post up here:


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

2/25/13

UFO Along Reminder!

So there are only 4 days left in February, can you believe it? We're 1/6 the way through 2013!

Thought I'd take a quick minute to remind you that the UFO Along is always open to new, finished entries! This month's prize is 2 charm packs of the winner's choice from the Missouri Star Quilt Co. 

Here is my finish for February:

 Disappearing 9 Patch Quilt. Fabric line used for top: Ruby by Camile Roskelley

I've been snuggling under this one all month. The pattern, Disappearing 9 Patch, is very easy, so the quilt comes together quickly.

Here is some of the quilting detail where I tried to do some loopy flowers:



Not my best FMQ, but it was fun to try something different than my standard stippling.

So, that's my finished UFO - show me yours HERE!

CGM 

2/22/13

Family Time at Great Wolf Lodge

We recently spent several days at Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA and had a fabulous time.

While promoted mainly as an indoor waterpark, it offers so many things to do for kids of all ages. It is a perfect "long weekend" destination for families. I'd been wanting to visit Great Wolf for awhile, and decided to take 3 days over President's Day week to make the 3 hr trek to Williamsburg. Thank goodness for in-car DVD players, because you "never know" how a road trip longer than an hour will go with a 2 yr old and 6 yr old in tow. Needless to say, both kids did fine with minimal fussing and the movie musical Annie on continuous loop.

The lobby is warm and inviting, and filled with woodland animals to discover. Check-in was easy as you can set it up ahead of time online. Everyone gets waterproof bracelets to wear during your stay. The bracelets also serve as your room "key" and used to pay for anything purchased, including meals and souvenirs. 

We stayed in the Wolf Den Suite which has a queen bed plus a mini "room" for the kiddos that has a bunk bed...big hit! The room was clean and well maintained, something I found to be true of the entire place.

Hands down the biggest attraction is the main one, the indoor waterpark. The girls (especially Sam) had a ball there. Open from 9 am -9 pm, kids can get hours and hours of entertainment all in one area with multiple pools, slides, waterfalls, and games.

Maddy spent all of her time in the kiddie pool where there were little waterfalls and mini geysers to splash in. There were also a few slides for small kids to go on, but she flat-out refused. She is still warming up to the idea of doing more than splashing a little in a pool (she still screams 50% of the time in swim lessons) so she was happy to get her feet wet, look cute in her suit, and wave to other people in the pool as if they were her guests.

This (left) was the most I saw of Sam for the majority of the time we were at the waterpark. She refused to stand still for a picture, there was just too much too do, too many other kids to go make sliding friends with.

In addition to the waterpark, kids can play mini golf, go bowling, play in the arcade, get a mani/pedi in the Scooops Kid Spa, and play MagiQuest. We didn't have time for golf or bowling, but Sam did have fun using her magic wand and solving the first level of the Quest. There are ongoing activities in the lobby for kids of all ages, including face painting, balloon animals, a dance party, and 8 pm storytime in your pj's.

Overall it was a wonderful experience for our family. My husband and I were impressed with all of the things there were to do - too much for our "first timer" eyes and minds to absorb and take advantage of in 2 short days! The food was pretty good in the main restaurant (served buffet style) and everyone, I mean everyone, on the staff was very friendly. You could tell they really wanted to make sure you were having a good time and experience at their resort.

Here are a few tips if you're planning a visit to Great Wolf:

  1. Get a Paw Pass. A Paw Pass is a lanyard your child wears around their neck that is a “ticket” to experience all of the fun little extras Great Wolf offers. It saves you a significant amount of money over paying individually for those activities. It can also act as a bit of a map for first time visitors, letting you know all that’s available to do. It gave us tokens to the arcade- so we went and found the arcade. It gave us a chance to get a glitter tattoo and make a stuffed animal…we found those places. One of my favorites was the chance to decorate a t-shirt at the Cub’s Den. I am quite sure we would have overlooked this little oasis. And it was a lovely chance to sit with my daughters and color a keepsake. The pass also allows you a wand and a chance to play MagicQuest. Bottom line- that pass was the best way to know about and take advantage of what the Lodge offers. 
  2. Pack Smart. All Great Wolf Lodge rooms have a mini fridge, coffeemaker, and microwave. This means you have the option to bring your own snacks, beverages, and meal fixings, should you choose to save some money. I saw some "seasoned" Great Wolf families bringing in crockpots!
  3. Bring adequate pool wear. This means flip flops and/or pool shoes. I know it may just be me, but I have always been "icked" out walking on wet surfaces for more than a few steps. Walking around an entire waterpark without some kind of footwear would have not been a pleasant experience. And since the surfaces of each pool activity can be a bit different, knowing the girls' feet were always protected and non-slip in their pool shoes was peace of mind for me. You'll also want to make sure everyone has a bathing suit cover up, even if it's a t-shirt, as you'll find yourself going in and out of the waterpark area to the lobby or other areas of the lodge frequently (lunch break, going to do another quick activity, back to the room, back again....you know how it is!). Even though you're not covering up from the sun, it's just easier to be able to throw something on vs. walking around all over the place in your bathing suit...this isn't the Bahamas yo! :-)
  4. Get each kid their own wand. Even if you're not getting the Paw Pass or doing the MagicQuest game (ages 5+), Great Wolf brilliantly made their woodland animals and other figures throughout the lodge "come alive" when you wave one of their magic wands at them. Now I know at $17.99 a pop these are not a cheap souvenir, but the kids DO have a wonderful time seeking out and finding all of the places and things that they can "Abracadabra" at
  5. Go down the slides at least once with your kids! It's been a long time since I've been down a waterslide...like 4 or 5 bathing suit sizes ago. And being a Mom doesn't always make you the "fun" parent..heck, neither does being a Dad. But when you're on a family vacation, it's important to not just view this time as another place you have to "damage control" every situation, every minute....unless you have a 2 year old bent on chaos and destruction like I do. My point is, be sure to take it down several notches and remember YOU are on vacation too! This means you can relax a bit, and take an opportunity to have some extra fun and "adventure" with your family. And if your kids wanna slide, then you should slide too! It doesn't have to be on the biggest, baddest slide Great Wolf has either - go down the kiddie slide together if that's more your speed. Even if you're all a little scared, take the opportunity to show your kids you CAN overcome a little fear, squeeze your booty into the tube, and scream bloody-murder all the way down. I went on the slides with Sam 4 times and had a blast each and every time. In fact, I made sure to tell her how impressed I was that SHE was able to go on them by herself over and over and over......and over. Did I mention she stayed on the slides pretty much the whole time? The last time we went up together (me huffing and puffing all 6 flights, holding a double inner tube) she said she was "so happy inside and out Mommy."
Mission accomplished.

CGM  

(non-sponsored review, I've got the bill to prove it!)


2/15/13

CGM Podcast Episode #44: S.W.A.K.

Listen to the episode HERE

Show Notes 


Life Update:
  • Happy Valentine's Day...low-key for us
  •  We're off to Great Wolf Lodge next week!

A little love story: How I met my husband and the marriage proposal  


 WIPs and FOs:
  • Easy Street
  • King Spiderweb quilt
  • Almost finished with the Quick Cable Slouch Hat by AzureKnits (free pattern). I am using KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Bulky in the Hazelnut colorway.
  • Finished! Disappearing 9 Patch Quilt, which is a UFO from Summer 2012.
  • Finished! Valentine Owl mini quilt...see blog post below for details and pics.

Forgot to say this in the podcast but:
 
Don't Forget About the 
2013 CGM UFO-Along!! 
Come one, come all craft UFOs!! All types of craft UFOs welcome (quilting, sewing, knitting, crochet, scrapbooking, jewelry, etc...) 
Join the Flickr group, post your FINISHED UFOs there and be entered for a monthly prize.
Prize for February:  
2 Charm Packs of YOUR CHOICE 
from Missouri Star Quilt Co.!!!


What's Making Me Happy in Crafting: my new cutting table!




 Book Review:

 Arranged by Catherine McKenzie


Thanks for listening!

CGM

2/13/13

Valentine Owl Mini Quilt + Free Pattern

Thought I'd add a little cuteness to the extra-sweet week happening right now.

I made this little Valentine Owl as a mini quilt to sit on my desk...probably year-round. Instead of regular batting I used Timtex interfacing to get a stiffer mini quilt, like a postcard or artist trading card.


This was a very easy little quilt to make using stash scraps, Wonder Under, a little 505 adhesive spray (for basting the layers), and thread. It measures 5.25" x 6.25" with a satin stitch edge finish vs. traditional binding. I purchased an inexpensive wood easel to prop the quilt (and others I have stashed somewhere) up, like a painting or picture frame.



Here's my original sketch of the owl, 

which is easily turned into a fusible applique pattern and cut up like this:


I know it's last minute, but if you'd like to make one yourself, I have posted my sketch pattern on Google Docs here. These would make a great little handmade gift for someone you love year-round!

So that makes 2 owl patterns posted so far (the Fall Owl is here). Hmmmmm, wonder what I'll come up with for Spring and Summer? Watch this space!

Happy Valentine's Day...kiss someone you love, hug someone you like, and shake hands with someone you want to punch in the nose. Just go with it and feel the love!

CGM

I have linked up in the following places around the web this week:

 

2/7/13

Thursday Thoughts

  • I lost 9 pounds in January.
  • Not too shabby
  • For someone who conveniently forgets to count Tootsie Roll points
  • I am even more happy I was able to lose weight in a month with 2 birthday cake and ice cream events
  • And a book club meeting where we drink lots of wine
  • And the hostess is a fabulous cook who also loves to bake.
  • One of those birthdays was my youngest turning 2.
  • Two.
  • To.
  • Too.
  • This is the start of the really tough years for a parent, behavior-wise.
  • Having already been down this "Terrible Two's" road before
  • I kind of know what to expect
  • But of course, every kid is different.
  • But generally with year 2 the "real" tantrums begin.
  • By "real" I mean the difference between a baby crying to be fed right away
  • And a toddler asking for something to eat,
  • Understanding you are getting her something to eat,
  • Seeing you get her something to eat,
  • Following you directly to the pantry as you get her something to eat
  • Sticking to your side like glue as you pour her the something to eat
  • And still screaming her lungs out that she wants something to eat
  • Right.Now.
  • A grudging "please" is given 
  • But only because you reminded her to say it.
  • Then you hand her the something to eat
  • She takes one bite and decides she's not hungry anymore.
  • And 60 seconds later she wants something else to eat.
  • And because I'm a mean mom this request is denied.
  • And then you realize, "Oh shit, she's gonna blow."
  • And while you know you have to "handle" this with a time out 
  • Or ignoring her altogether
  • (my favorite behavior modifier - my kids HATE to be ignored, and I LOVE my earphones)
  • In the back of your mind you're thinking,
  • Crap
  • I've had a long day
  • People at work got on my nerves
  • My eyes are tired from staring at a computer screen for 6 hours straight
  • I still have to make dinner.
  • And help older kid with homework. 
  • Hell, I'd like cookies too.  
  • And to wash them down with a glass of wine.
  • But then you remember you're on Weight Watchers
  • And you only have 6 points left, including dinner.
  • Damn that 10 point Chipotle lunch!
  • And you're supposed to be setting the behavior standards with your new 2 year old early on
  • So she knows what the deal is when she hollers for something she's been told "no" to
  • So you look your 2 year old in the eye 
  • And sweetly say to her scrunched up mad face
  • "Baby, if I have to suffer, then we all have to suffer."
  • "NO COOKIE!"
  • Dammit.       
 CGM
 

2/6/13

WIP Wednesday

Another UFO is almost done! I just need to bury the threads and this Disappearing 9 Patch quilt will be ready for the wash and couch snuggling time.

I used fabric from the Ruby by Bonnie and Camille fabric line (out of print) for the top and border. The backing is a solid pink, and the border is a red-white stripe.





My little helper's arms got tired after only 3 snapshots.....

But that didn't stop her claim on this quilt the minute it comes out of the dryer!

I also picked up a few new magazines the other day to give me a boost of inspiration:


That top magazine, Creative Spaces, fits in to a project my wonderful husband is working on for me now:

I am really excited to see this come together!

Other WIPs in the works this week:
  1. Valentine Owls mug rug/blocks
  2. Easy Street piecing
  3. Knitted hat
  4. Sew 4 more Spiderweb blocks
Hope you're all having a productive week!

CGM

I have linked up with:

  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

2/4/13

What I'm Reading This Month

Just like last February, I plan to infuse a little romance and feel-good stories into my long list of books to read. I have a lot of backlist tiles piled up, but several new or upcoming ones have come across my desk the past few months.

I have had these 2 books in the series (I've read book 1) for awhile. 
I really like Nora Roberts for easy, fun reads and a romantic happy ending.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Knowing she has a follow-up to this book coming in May, 
I really want to read this one since it's been in my pile for a long time now. 
I really enjoy Kristin Hannah's books, she crafts a wonderful feel-good story every time.

Starting Now by Debbie Macomber
on sale 4/2/13, I am reading an advance copy
This is another in the Blossom St. series which I have enjoyed a lot.

What are you reading this month?

CGM

2/3/13

UFO Along: January Winner!!

Thanks to everyone who has participated so far in the 2013 UFO Along! I am so pleased by the response, and the completed UFOs in the Flickr Group are wonderful.

I am pleased to announce that the January winner of the $25 Fat Quarter Shop gift certificate is JaneenK! Janeen, please check your Flickr Mail for a message from me.

The prize for February is 2 charm packs of the winner's choice from the Missouri Star Quilt Co.

Remember, all previous entries still count towards a potential win this month (except for Janeen until March!). Keep adding your UFO finishes to the group for more chances to win all year long!

CGM 

2/1/13

CGM Podcast Episode 43: TMI

Listen to the episode HERE

Show Notes 


Life Update:
  • Sam turns 6 today! We're going bowling - all 19 of us...pray for me people. 
    • As usual, Maddy's just coming for the cake and balloons. 
  • I am doing well with my "One Little Word" for the year: MOVE. I've been moving in a Jazzercise class 2-3 times per week and making small changes in my step count to get it up to an average of 10,000 steps per day.
    • I am using the FitBit "The One" wireless activity tracker.
 WIPs and FOs:
  • Easy Street
  • King Spiderweb quilt
  • Cast on the Quick Cable Slouch Hat by AzureKnits (free pattern). I am using KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Bulky in the Hazelnut colorway.
  • Finished my Knitted Head/Earwarmer. Blogged about it here. 
  • Almost finished with my Disappearing 9 Patch Quilt, which is a UFO from Summer 2012.

Forgot to say this in the podcast but:
 
Don't Forget About the 
2013 CGM UFO-Along!! 
Come one, come all craft UFOs!! All types of craft UFOs welcome (quilting, sewing, knitting, crochet, scrapbooking, jewelry, etc...) 
Join the Flickr group, post your FINISHED UFOs there and be entered for a monthly prize.
Prize for February:  
2 Charm Packs of YOUR CHOICE 
from Missouri Star Quilt Co.!!!
  
 Book Review:

 Off the Menu by Stacey Ballis

 
Thanks for listening!

CGM
 
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