Saturday, November 21, 2009

This was bound to happen...

It's Saturday.
No plans.
The house is quite.
I'm all alone.


Oh no.
I have the itch.


These fabrics have been calling my name for a while now.
I can't resist any longer.

I'm excited.
Lot's of white.

Maybe this design

or

this design.


But I'm really leaning towards this design.

(Thanks Nettie.)

I'm just using up scraps!
I know.
You see, I have this thing...
I really have finished up a couple projects.
(Kind of.)
I'll show you soon.
I promise.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Possibilities

O.K. So I was suppose to be wrapping up an exercise video right now and just hopping in the shower, but here I sit still in my pj's - just a little distracted. Don't you hate when you stop in at the computer for "one quick check of email" and then before you know it your whole morning is gone!?! Well, this is how it started. I got this link from my wonderful sister Cassie showing me this absolutely gorgeous garland. Cassie wants to make one for Christmas. I want one for both (Halloween and Christmas!) So cute huh? Look at her Fleur-de-lis stocking hangers. I love how much that adds to the whole look.



So then I started browsing Candice's blog just for fun. Lots of cute stuff, but then I fell in love! I found it. Oh my gosh. Look at this:


HER CRAFT ROOM! Agh! Oh my gosh. I'm in heaven right now.


You can go here for the rest of her pictures and a list of resources for where she got most of her cute stuff. Ohh...


**O.K. bring yourself back down to earth, Amber.**


So, I am sitting about about 12 feet from a doorway that leads to this empty room.



With this closet, with these built-ins.

This room measures about 15'x14'. It's pretty good size. Especially for a craft room. All it's waiting for is some paint and some tables (o.k. the list could go on and on here, but I could definitely have a good start if I just had some paint and a table.) It's just sitting here empty, except for the occasional mess that the kids make when they decide to play in the basement when both Mommy and Daddy are working on the computer. Oh, the possibilities...

You may remember that I made-over my upstairs laundry room into my craft room less than a year ago.
But, it's tiny! If there is a laundry basket in there, then I can hardly walk through! That make-over was when we had family living in our basement, but they moved on to bigger and better, so now the basement is empty and the master bedroom is calling my name!
It's a blank canvas. The color options are endless. Where do I begin? Hmmm....I'll be thinking about that. What about you? Any big projects now that winter is coming and a lot of us will be trapped indoors for 3 months?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Joy in the New Year Challenge - Works in Progress

I just needed a little visual reminder of what I want to accomplish for Jacquie's challenge. All of these projects below, are quilts that I want to get quilted and bound before the New Year. The only one M.I.A. is my Fig Tree quilt, which is on display over at Just Sew. So that's 6 - total. 4 of them are all ready to be quilted. I think I want to make some more blocks for the big star quilt (the tutorial for that can be found here. It's a great stash buster or would be darling in pre-planned fabrics as well.) And I think I want to add some borders to my snowball quilt. I'm looking for some border ideas for that so if you want to share any pictures of your snowball quilts, I would love for you to send me a link. I've done it in Christmas colors, so I'm thinking of incorporating some snowflakes somehow, but any ideas for borders on that would be greatly appreciated.

It's always good for me to pull my projects out of the cupboards & out from behind the curtains to take inventory of what I want to accomplish. Making a goal or a deadline helps me too. I'm not sure if this is feasible to get all of these done before Christmas, but I'll give it my best try. If you want to join in on the challenge, head on over to Tallgrass Prarie Studio to sign up!

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blogs - a format for everything.

Wow. I'm kind of blown away right now. I was just stealing a few minutes to check a couple of my creative inspiration blogs and as soon as one of them opened up I got to read a nice little quote that used not one but two pretty bad cuss words. I know I'm pretty conservative. And I know I'm not perfect, but these were words that I've never been a fan of. I don't usually surround myself with that kind of language. It was just surprising to have it thrown in my face by someone's blog that is the format for mostly crafty projects and so forth. I know a lot of people aren't offended by that kind of language and I also know that it's her blog and she's allowed to do and say whatever she wants on it, but I am definitely taking her off my blogroll. There were 6 comments. All of which were affirming how awesome the quote was. I wondered whether I should be the one and only person to stand up to such language. I got nervous. Wondered about future hate mail and comments, so I guess I'll refrain. But I am definitely taking her off my blogroll. She won't care and I guess I'm not meant for her artistic view, but that's just me.

So would you say something? Maybe others will leave a negative comment back and then I will wish that I stood with them. As for now, I'm not one to like a lot of controversy, but I really don't need to read the "F-word" while I'm looking for creative inspiration. Maybe I will say something that gets my point across without being too over the top. I was still debating when I started this post...

* Just so you know, right after I posted this I decided to not say anything. She's welcome to post whatever she wants and like one of my commentor's said, that's the beauty of blogs - I don't have to read it if I don't want to! I'm glad I didn't say anything - I don't want to cause any drama.

While "The children were nestled all snug in their beds"

It's late. It's dark. I'm tired. But I don't know if I will be able to fall asleep quite yet. I've been thinking about doing this post today and this project I just finished had something to do with it.

(Sorry, bad picture!)
I was thinking about how I have done quite a bit of trading in the last few years. I enjoy a lot of nice things in my life, but I am definitely a girl on a strict budget. It's a little hard when you have an addiction that is somewhat expensive. I go without a lot of new, trendy clothes, the high-tech electronics, we don't eat out and go on dates every weekend because quite honestly I would rather spend my money on fabric and quilting (for some reason it makes me feel better, because I know my quilts will LAST and well, I just love doing it!) So, it's nice to take advantage of people's services when money is tight for a lot of people. A lot of times you end up getting some extra pleasures in life that you normally might have to go without. So thinking back... I've traded scrapbooking for a haircut and color. I've traded babysitting for yoga classes. Babysitting for make-up. The most recent thing I've traded is "piecing" for machine quilting. I was so excited when I told my quilter that I was having withdrawals because I wasn't working as often and therefore didn't have much money to spend in the quilting department. She told me she'd be willing to trade. I said what do you trade for? She said, "sewing for quilting." I said, "I can sew!" So this is the second project I've done for her lately. Isn't it fun? I love all the fabrics she purchased. Most of the line is Whimsy by Michael Miller. There is a little bit of Mezzanine by Michael Miller and a little bit of All-Star by Riley Blake. In return I will be having her quilt my Fig Tree quilt (I'll post pictures as soon as I get it back) and maybe another project or two. It's a good way to "make do with what you've got." Doing this for someone else was mostly fun, but a little bit nerve racking too. You want to make sure it's perfect! It was very satisfying at the end to know that everything came out swell (gosh, I'm in the Annie mode still) and that I figured out all of the measurements by myself to ensure that the entire quilt would lay flat. I had to make the quilt bigger than the pattern gave instructions for, so figuring out the 3 outside border lengths was a little daunting at first, but I feel like a pro now :) I hope that those of you that are interested in quilting (but are a little scared to try it) will just give it a whirl. It will give you a great sense of accomplishment when you are done. I guess trying anything new will do that. But anyways. Trading can be a really good thing sometimes.

So, do you trade?


Well, it's late. It's dark. I'm tired. I'm starting to ramble and not make any sense. So - I'm going to bed. Goodnight.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How can this video NOT put a smile on your face?

First, let me just add one more reason to the list of why I love my husband. Last night we (as in me, RJ, Thing 1 and Thing 2) had about a half an hour drive to a friends house ahead of us. We decided we should sing songs to make the time pass faster. [My kids don't know what a REAL road trip is. A half an hour is a long time to the 4 year old, who has absolutely no patience whatsoever.] Anyways, we're big fans of the movie Annie. We tried to sing a bunch of the songs as best we could, but they were all really choppy because we only know the key words. We had fun with them anyways. But I mentioned in passing that we should have that soundtrack in the car. Came downstairs this morning and (bam!) there was a CD he had copied for me sitting on the counter! He often does things like that. If I just mention something (I don't even have to ask him specifically) he is so good to remember and to do it. I usually don't have to remind him a bunch of times to do something and I know that he is usually listening to what I say even if I'm just thinking out loud...now me on the other hand? I wish I could say I had that quality in me. I'm a little more scatter-brained. But, I love that he's a good listener and do-er (is that a word?) It's just one more little reason...

Anyways, as I was listening to my "new" soundtrack on the way to taking my daughter to Pre-school today, I got so excited about it! Can I just say that I LOVE this movie? Whenever there is a list that you're suppose to fill out about favorite movies, books, etc. I always have to leave it blank because how could you narrow down your favorite movies and books into just one or two picks? I surely cannot. I'm not in love with anything that much to call it a "favorite". But this time - I am sure of it. Annie is my all-time favorite movie. I grew up watching it and I still (20 years later) can't get enough of it!

Now I've got the music on my Ipod so that we can all have fun in the kitchen when I'm making dinner and I've got the soundtrack in the car so we can further enhance our Annie sing-a-long talents. The movie and soundtrack are classic. The songs are catchy. They make you want to attempt to keep up with Aileen Quinn (Annie) in her rendition of "Tomorrow" (when you know you don't have a chance). The girls' voices are incredible. The group dance performances (like in "It's a Hard Knock Life") are so fun (why didn't we do an Annie theme for Dance Team one year? That would have been awesome!) And Carol Burnett? She is perfect in this movie. Who else could pull off that role during her performance in "Little Girls" like she did? And, I will admit that the last time I watched it I got a little choked up at the end, when Annie and Daddy Warbucks were dancing at the carnival. What a special, timeless movie. I could watch it over and over.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cinnamon, Cloves, Molasses - Oh my!!!

O.K. I've posted this recipe before, but it's that time again. Kids playing in the leaves. Crisp, sunny days and pumpkins all around. I love this recipe and it is a perfect fall treat. It had been a little while since I had made any treats around here (maybe because of all the Halloween candy we had goin' on and still do) so I was in the mood today to put my cooking skills to good use. Last time I posted this, I had no pictures so here you are ~

Gingersnap Cookies with Pumpkin Butter Sauce
(Thanks Misty and Keri for sharing this recipe with me - it's a favorite!)

Cream together:
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses

Add:
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 & 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves

Mix together.

*** Feel free to lick the spoon here ***

Make yourself a pretty little package and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll into walnut size balls and roll in sugar to coat.

*** Suddenly the kids wanted to start helping. Even though I couldn't pay them enough to make cookies with me earlier ;) Geez. ***

*** I wonder why they wanted to help?***

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes. Do not over cook.

And you're definitely gonna want some of this to go with it:

Pumpkin Butter Sauce
(1) 15 oz. can pumpkin pie filling
2 cups powdered sugar
(1) 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sugar

Blend all ingredients together. Serve sauce in a bowl, next to the plate of cookies. To eat, spread on one side of cookie and enjoy.

Now, all that talk got me hungry. I think I need to go get another one...
(I wrote that last night. I'm not getting "another one" at 8 o'clock in the morning.)
** Yields approximately 2 dozen cookies and enough pumpkin butter to last a lifetime. You could definitely quadruple the recipe for the cookies and still have pumpkin butter left over.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Joy in the New Year Challenge

A few months ago, I joined in Jacquie's "Spring to Finish" challenge and got about 5 projects finished up. It was a great motivator, even though I didn't win anything :) Well, she's at it again, motivating everyone to finish UFO's, except this time the deadline is January 1st. I've got about 5 quilts in the works, so I am hoping this will at least motivate me to get most of them done, not to mention hopefully win one of the cool prizes that have been donated. Are you needing a little motivation? Go on over and join in on the fun!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trick-or-Treating - 1981

I tried so desperately to post these pictures this weekend, but I think one of the kids unplugged something on the computer and left me internetless for two days! So I know it's a day late and a dollar short, but here are our pictures from Halloween.

First, the kids just wanted to wish you all a happy Halloween.
Did any of you feel like Halloween was a two-day event this year because of all the school parties on Friday and then Trick-or-Treating on Saturday? Not my favorite... But, here is B at his school costume parade. He was Zorro [Spanish for Fox - my husband explains as he had to look up the spelling for me]. It's hard to tell he was Zorro since I didn't photograph the whole costume and they weren't allowed hats, masks and weapons at school. That basically made up his whole costume :) Oh well.


A lot of people wondered what M was, especially when she left her pom poms in the car or with dad. When I was buying the fabric for the skirt, a lady said, "Oh that is so pretty! Is that for a Christmas dress?" I had to answer, "No, it's for my daughters Halloween cheerleader costume." Followed with strange looks from the lady.


But the reason why I had to do it that way was because of this photograph:

(Me & my two brothers)

1981 baby! You can thank Connie D. for that look :) (just kidding Mom!)

Anyways, all in all it was good times.


Hope yours was safe and Spooktacular!
Love, the Johnsons