Sunday, March 28, 2010

American Flag Quilt

I have FINALLY finished my quilt top for my American Flag Quilt. I talked about my inspiration process a little over here.
 Excuse the child crawling across the quilt top. I don't know who she is!

I am really happy to have this thing finished! Piecing by hand is very time consuming, so this took several hours over several days. The quilt top takes up ALL of my living room's open space, so it's huge. I am happy it turned out so large. This was the first quilt that I actually calculated measurements. I sketched it out on a piece of paper and everything! A first! Normally I just jump in head first and sometimes my quilts look o.k. and sometimes they don't. So on this quilt, I wanted things to be pretty exact.

american flag quilt
All of my planning was pretty much for nothing because I had to tweak a few things. I ended up adding a few blocks to the long stripes. As I was piecing, I was really never sure what I was going to do with the blue area and stars. I had this fabric,
it's dark blue with off-white stars. So what I think I am going to do is quilt 50 stars in this portion. That's a lot of stars, so we'll see what I end up doing.
Let me know what you all think! I am pretty proud!

Work Hard

No one who can rise before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich.
- Chinese Proverb


Hard work is not always fun or always the "cool" thing to do. Give your best shot at everything you do and you will always be a success.

Love, Momma

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Dear Riley,

Raising you is a privilege, loving you is a joy. I love you!

Love, Momma

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Diaper Bassinet

I love baby showers. I love babies. They are squishy, smell good, are good cuddlers, and if you breast feed, make you lose weight. Wait... what am I talking about? They don't sleep, they eat all the time, they take up all your time, and they like to be held... a lot. Ok, so I may or may not have baby fever.

Anyway, a girl from my church had her baby shower today. I couldn't attend, but still wanted to get her something anyway. I saw this idea several months ago, and have been waiting patiently for the next shower so I could make it.


Burp rag
Hot glue gun
Tissue paper or tulle

I didn't have any kind of directions to make this, so I just sort of jumped in. I used a rubber band to secure the diapers on the bottom and then glued a piece of ribbon around. Then, I hot glued the diapers that make the roof of the bassinet. I then hot glued a piece of ribbon around those diapers, too. I placed a burp rag on top of the diapers on the bottom and curly ribbons on top of the bassinet, secured with hot glue. As a finishing touch, I stuffed pink tulle in the opening of the bassinet.

I think it turned out cute. And, I forgot to mention, those diapers I used, yeah I had those left over from when Riley was little. They were a really cheap brand that I can't imagine anyone wanting to put their sweet, new baby in. I used them in this project since these diapers can't be used again with all the hot glue and such.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

4th of July Quilt

About 5 years ago I was the girl who dreamed of having her own family and sitting beneath the fireworks on 4th of July. I wanted the husband and the child. I had these things last year on 4th of July, but Riley wasn't really big enough to stay up that late or watch fireworks. Now that my dream will come to fruition this year, I want the perfect blanket/quilt to sit on. I have been combing the Internet and so far these quilts will serve as my inspiration:

1. A patriotic Union quilt from Patterns From History. This is a very simple quilt, but very beautiful. Of course, my great-great-great Grandfather fought with the Confederates, so he probably wouldn't appreciate me making this exact quilt. It is inspirational, still.

2. If you are interested, check this link out. I never really thought about how to construct a star, but this site lays it out so easily. I can't wait to make a star using this template!

3. A rail fence patriotic quilt. Love this! Rail fences are time consuming, but so pretty on the eye! This pattern is from

4. This quilt is from a Quilter's Guild in Austin, Texas. I love this quilt and love that these ladies donate finished quilts to soldiers. This is definitely my favorite patriotic quilt. It's so beautiful and uses many different fabrics.

5. This quilt is so cute! I love the little girls. My Grandmother made a quilt for me with 24 of these little girls in different and coordinating fabrics. This patriotic quilt reminds me of my Grandmom. This quilt pattern can be found here.

6. Lastly, this is my true inspiration. I really love this flag and this county. I feel blessed to wake up each day under this flag. She provides me with freedom.

I plan on starting my 4th of July patriotic quilt this week. I may have to round up a few extra fabrics, mainly whites. I hope to use old sheets and vintage fabrics as well as a few new yards of modern fabric. As always, cutting the pieces out takes the absolute longest, but I will endeavor to persevere. I can't wait to post pictures of my finished quilt!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pink and Chocolate Brown

So, I quilt. Not always very well, but nonetheless I quilt. I am really bad about piecing a quilt top together and then forgetting about it for several weeks or months. Anyway, this is a little quilt I just finished last night after it laid around for well over a month.
 This is a small quilt, maybe for a baby. It measures 30 inches by 24 inches. I hand pieced and hand quilted this whole quilt, hearts included. The solid pink is an old pillow case and the other fabrics I had left over from other projects (Quilts for Riley!). I'm not sure what the name of the batting is called, something I picked up from Hobby lobby. Binding is definitely the worst part about quilting. I put it off as long as I can. It makes my fingers hurt so bad! The backing is a solid white cotton that has been around for a while too. I think I will start buying plain white sheets to back with. That's what my Grandmother always uses, so we'll see!

I'm really happy with how this turned out. I thought it was going to be a little bigger, but oh well. Not sweating the small stuff today!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pear and Pecan Salad

Just wanted to share this awesome recipe! I searched all over the internet for a recipe and never really found anything I thought I would just love. So, I created my own.

Pear and Pecan Salad

Two cans of sliced pears, drained and chopped
1 bag of spring mix salad
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/4 cup Italian dressing
Cheese, lots and lots of cheese*
Salt and crushed black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

Cheese - I love cheese. I. Really. Love. Cheese. Be creative with the type of cheese you choose. I bought some goat cheese and loved how it tasted. Gorgonzola, mozzarella, brie, pepper jack, anything would taste great! I love cheese!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Riley Claire - 18 Month Newsletter

Dear Riley,

You are practically grown! I can't believe you are halfway to being 2 years old! How time flies! You are an angel, no doubt.

Let's talk about your eye color. You have blue eyes. Very blue. They aren't gray and they aren't hazel. Your Daddy and I both have brown eyes. Very brown. I know most babies are born with blue eyes and then they change, and I have always said your eyes would change. They haven't. Your eyes are as blue as ever. Secretly, I think they will still change. Sometimes I have a hard time accepting things.

You have a temper. I tell everyone you take after your Daddy's temperment, but really, you get it from me. (Your Daddy hardly ever gets mad. NEVER! It's amazing. I can get hot tempered about the least little thing, but not Henry. We balance each other out pretty well in that department.) You get FURIOUS if we change the channel from your cartoons. Changing the channel is no longer an option. And you will not ignore turning the volume down, just a little. Also, you love to "write." If you have a pen, marker, or crayon in your hand all is well in the world. But, if we have to put the writing utensil away, hell hath no furry like Riley scorned. Rarely will a distraction work to get you back to your normal, sweet self.

Riley, you are an outside girl. You LOVE to be outside. The weather is just starting to turn warm-ish. Living in Texas, weather is subject to change hourly, but for now it's pretty beautiful outside. We have been on several walks and played at the park. At the park where you try to steal the other kids' balls, but that is another story. You really love to play outside at Grandmom and Grandad's house. You love when I shoot that basketball into the hoop. Sometimes I wish I would have never showed you that trick because that's ALL you want me to do. You really wear me out! I need your energy.

You love to explore and play with other kids. You give the best "sugars." You love to drink out of a straw. You love your Daddy. You capture my heart with your giggles. You have been the pleasure of my life.

I love you, Riley!



Books to read


I have always loved reading. My Dad always loved to read and I can remember him taking me and your Aunt Morgan to the library with him. I would check out a book and usually have it read the next day. Morgan never liked to read. EVER. Then the Twilight Saga came out and Morgan read that and hasn't stopped since. She reads quite a bit now.

While I was working on my Bachelor's degree I didn't feel like I had time to read. I always said, "If I have time to read for pleasure, I have time to study." So I never read. Well, rarely. For about six months now I have been consumed with two things: creating and reading.

It's no secret I want you to be a reader too. I have been reading to you since you were about six months old.
The Tyler Public Library has a reading program that I like to take you to also. You can read about that here.

I want to expose you to all kinds of books. There are several books I think you just have to read. This will be a work in progress as I gather the books I want you to read one day, but I do hope you will one day read some of them. I don't want to force you to be a reader, but I cross my fingers you are! I also want to start a section on this blog about prudent advice. Growing up without a mom, there were life-lessons I had to learn the hard way. I want to write down somethings I wished someone would have told me. I don't expect you to listen to every bit of advice I give you, but I do hope you realize I have been there and was not always successful in making my own way in the world. Here is the first installment on books I think you will enjoy.

Recently, I have read two books YOU MUST READ. They are:
For some reason I waited until I was 25 to read this book, but I loved it! I hope you read this and love it too. Scarlett O'Hara is someone you can learn from. The biggest lesson I took from this book was: Don't realize too late what you have. Always be thankful.

I just finished reading this book today. I  thought this book was ironically romantic and emotional. You will not be disappointed. Understand that love can last longer than a lifetime.

Monday, March 8, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Wreath

I made a Valentine's Day wreath earlier this year. It was really easy to do and only took me a couple of hours spread over a day to complete. I am going to a Pokeno party tonight and needed a little something extra to go along with me "As seen on T.V." gift so I decided to make a St. Patrick's Day wreath. I hope the lucky winner likes this! I just loved it!
Easy, simple, fast, and green! Doesn't get much better than that in craft-world!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Dear Riley,

Handedness is a big deal in our family. Most everyone is right-handed. But, there are three people I can think of who are left-handed: Your great-uncle Scott, your second cousin Brennan, and your Momma. When I was growing up not many people were left-handed. Nowadays it seems like there are more and more left-handed people around. Years ago if someone was born and tended to use their left hand more than the right, adults would force them to use their right hand. There were many negative connotations to using your left hand back then. Some cultures thought the left hand represented the devil and other evil related things.

Today, being left-handed doesn't come with the same social stigmas. However, there are still difficulties in being left-handed even today. Growing up left-handed gave me this special insight. When I use a pen to right on a piece of paper I drag the ink across the paper. Ink also gets on the inside of my hand and only comes off with soap. I can't see what I am writing without leaning a certain way. Some left-handed people actually curve their hand around when they are writing to be able to see what they are writing. I don't do this so that might explain the slant of my letters when I write. Scissors were also a big problem growing up. I would have to turn the scissors upside down and backward to get them to work properly, and even then they weren't comfortable in my hand and certainly didn't cut normally. I played basketball a lot growing up and every coach tried to teach me a different way to shoot. Of course all my coaches were right-handed so they had a lot of business teaching a left-handed girl how to shoot. My biggest problem was using a ruler. If I wanted to use a ruler like everyone else all the numbers were on the wrong side. This is still a problem today since all rulers are made for right-handed people.  My Grandmom bought me a left-handed ruler one time and I loved it! I don't know what happened to this ruler but I know I would use it over a different ruler if I had it today. My ruler was similar to this one:
My ruler also said "Lefties will Rule the World." Cute huh? Anyway, being left-hand also means learning to use everyday items that are made for a right-handed person: a camera, a gun (not really an everyday item and I hope you never use one!), a guitar, a can opener, a computer mouse, a vegetable peeler, pencil sharpeners, the list goes on and on. Every day I encounter an object that I have to use backward or that feels uncomfortable in my hands. 
I say all this to say,

it looks like you are left-handed! I am probably happier about this fact than I was when you slept through the night the first time or took your first steps. I am so happy! I love being left-handed. People always notice and I enjoy the jokes people like to tell about being left-handed. 

One of your favorite activities is to write. You are so happy with a pen and a piece of paper in your hands, or left hand I should say. Last week, your Daddy tried to put the marker in your right hand and you immediately switched it back to your left hand. See, you are a smart girl! And, come to find out many of the brightest scientists, politicians, and artists are/were left-handed: Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Leonardo da Vinci, Buzz Aldrin, Michelangelo, and Albert Einstein. What a great group of humans to be associated with! 

If you continue to use your left hand throughout your life, be proud! I know I am! 

Love you sweet girl!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spring in Tyler, Texas

I have always loved Tyler year-round. But, Spring is the greatest time to be a Tylerite. My calendar is packed with festivals, art shows, flower markets and other events. And the best part about most of these events: I live in walking distance to many of them! How great it that? Riley loves riding in her stroller...

and my pregnancy weight won't mind a bit! If you live in or around Tyler you should definitely get out and enjoy the fun!

Here's a few of our planned events!

  • March 7 - Chili cook-off at Gander Mountain. The fun starts at 11:00 and believe me, I will show up with my appetite. 
  • March 7 - Music and Arts festival at The Tyler Library. The library is only about three blocks from where we live, so we will definitely walk off our calories from the chili cook-off. And who knows, we may even check out a few books too. This event starts at 2:00. 
  • March 12 - Ok, so probably my most favorite event of all: The Tyler Public Library's Spring book sale. The books here will be one sale for $.50, $1.00, $2.00. That's not a typ-o. I almost don't want to share this event with anyone because I am so stingy about books. But, I'm being generous and I hope to pick up books for Riley and my growing collection. 
  • March 18 - Tyler State Park walking tour. You can either ride in your vehicle for the self-guided tour, or walk on one of the many walking trails. Again, Riley will be cruising in her stroller! 
  • March 20 - Azalea Arts and Crafts Fair. This event kicks off the Azalea Trail which lasts from March 19 - April 4. If you have never driven or walked through my neighborhood during this time of year you are truly missing out on a great experience! It's so beautiful! and I imagine the arts and crafts festival will be great too! 
  • March 25 - Another book sale! This one is hosted by the Smith County Medical Alliance. 4410 DC Drive in Tyler. That's really about all the information I have, but it's enough for me to be in attendance! 
  • March 26 - Main Street Flower Market. Oh man, this is the big one. Bedding plants, fresh-cut flowers and landscape plants abound at this scenic outdoor flower market on the Goodman Museum grounds, 624 N. Broadway. FREE Admission, oh yeah, free admission. I have several flower vases that I can't wait to put to use again! 
  • March 26 - Quilter's Guild of East Texas Annual Quilt Show at Harvey Hall. With over 200 quilts, skill demonstrations, new product introductions, a SCAVENGER HUNT, silent auction, quilt sales, and a country store, what else do you need? Hopefully my Grandparents will get to accompany me and Riley! This event lasts two days and is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and children under 12. I wish I would have made the February deadline and entered one of my quilts:
  • March 27-28 - Camp Ford Civil War re-enactment. My Dad is very interested in the Civil War and Camp Ford isn't too far from our house, so we plan on being there too!
  • March 28 - Central East Texas Orchid Society Orchid Show and Sale. Another great way to use my vases! Located in the Discovery Science Place Annex, it's free too! 
Add in my sometime-substitute teaching job and student teaching, and we should have a great March! 

Monday, March 1, 2010


Dear Riley,

Before I had you I always knew what kind of parent I would be: a bath every night, baby lotion rubbed into your skin everyday, no sweets, I would read a book to you everyday, I would have a clean house all the time, you would always have cute outfits, and ABSOLUTELY NO T.V. What was I thinking?
Recently, and I mean in the past month, you have developed a strong preference for the T.V. The only channel anyone in this apartment is allowed to watch is NickJr. And don't dare turn the volume down. As you can see in this picture, the toddler chair I labored over is being put to great use. 

I've come to appreciate the HOURS you can sit and watch your cartoons. The kitchen has never been cleaner and I am able to craft a lot more. Sometimes you will get the remote and start pushing buttons. You will then bring the remote to me so I can put your cartoons back on. You even re-programmed the remote last month and the cable company had to make a house call to give us a new remote. Yeah, you did that. 
As I took these three pictures, you never even knew I was on the planet. You were completely caught up in your cartoon. Grandmom used to tell me my eyes would go bad if I sat that close to the T.V. Well Riley, I think your neck will break. 
Love you sweet girl!