31 Days to Clean: Day 4

Homemakers Challenge - 31 Days to Clean

Day 4 is about having a “Put Your Feet Up” kind of home. What a perfect day for this to fall on for me – Tuesday! For almost three months we have had friends over (Mama’s and babies) for baby yoga time on Tuesday evenings. I have tried to keep it casual and not stressed too much about how clean everything was. Clean guest bath, vacuumed floors, obstacles removed from the path to the family room… They have seen my kitchen in all stages of transformation. This Tuesday evening gathering has inspired my Taco Tuesday idea. I want to continue the Tuesday evening gathering into the future, but include more than just Mamas and babies. I’d like my husband to be able to enjoy the time too! I will make a special effort tonight and bake a chocolate chip skillet cookie for everyone to enjoy for our final yoga evening. Not everyone can join tonight, but these are the core yoga Mamas and babies we’ve been spending time with on Tuesdays (as you can see, the house is clean but certainly not tidied!). (My little one and I are in the bottom row on the left).

Moms and babies

On task for Martha – clean the microwave and oven. Pretty easy considering the oven got installed last weekend! I think it’s still pretty clean! All the microwave needed was a quick wipe down since it’s only been installed a few weeks, and we don’t use it all that much.

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31 Days to Clean: Day 3

Homemakers Challenge - 31 Days to Clean

Day 3 of the challenge focuses on ways to give life to your home. Things like creating a beautiful, pleasing space,planning enjoyable activities for your family, having less clutter to create a better environment and taking time to get away once in awhile too.

For the Mary portion of the challenge I asked my husband what I do for our home that makes him feel most loved. He was not very helpful since he couldn’t come up with anything! He said he appreciates all that I do, but usually feels like things like laundry and dishes are his responsibility too. I will confess – our current home is not beautifully decorated or well organized. I hope I can accomplish that soon. We are in the midst of remodeling the entire thing though, so decor is at the end of the list.

I skipped the Martha portion. I have no cabinet doors to clean and shine for the most part! They are in the garage being painted.

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Echino Fall 2010 is here!

several bolts of echino fall 2010 fabric

I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting and finally, all five of the Echino bolts I ordered have arrived. It takes 8 weeks for an order to arrive from Japan, and four bolts arrived about a month ago. The fifth bolt was backordered. But now it’s here. I am trying to decide what to sew with it.

I think some quick change baby pants from Anna Maria Horner’s book might happen. I also have a quick idea for showcasing one of the prints. I can’t sew too much since most of it is in the shop!

Here are the prints I have –

I’m working on getting it listed in the shop. It will be available for $17.95 per yard. Let me know if you need some!

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31 Days to Clean: Day 2


Homemakers Challenge - 31 Days to Clean

Day 2 of the challenge was easy for the Martha task – cleaning out the fridge and freezer. Our fridge was in need, so I went to work as soon as the baby went down for her nap. Wow, lots of random stuff in there! The freezer is still waiting – the husband is installing a new sink today, so he needed to get to work in the kitchen. The freezer needs organization more than cleaning anyway.

clean fridge photo

For the Mary portion of the day, the job was to figure out the ways you can bring life to your home, your husband, your child(ren) and your sphere of influence. This was a bit harder for me to wrap my head around… maybe because I was doing it while my husband was watching television in the same room? Anyway… I looked at it as a more than just this day question.

To bring life (and joy) to my home I am going to start an idea file. I’ll start tearing pages out of magazines that have decorating ideas or organization ideas that i like. I can easily use the page scanner we have and scan them and save them in Evernote. That way I can add web stuff to the idea file too. That way, as we have time and money I can implement ideas instead of just grabbing something. I can also be on the lookout at thrift stores and on clearance racks for things that will work with the ideas.

To bring life and joy to my husband I’m going to add him to my daily routine. I’m sure that sounds a bit like the opposite of bringing life and joy to him, but, let me explain. I once read a book or a blog post, I honestly can’t remember which, and it said a great way to bless your husband was to, each day, ask yourself what you could do to help him. Raising the children, cooking dinner and the like are not the help it is talking about. Something just for him. Maybe he is dreading mowing the lawn on the weekend but you know how to do it. Do it if you can. Maybe he really wants some time to work on a project but feels like he needs to do too many other things (I’m sure we know how that feels). Do something to help free up his time, or tell him everything else can wait. So, I am going to add that question to my daily routine. What can I do to help my husband today?

Incidentally, I’ve recently started using the Home Routines app on my iPhone to keep those daily tasks moving along. I love it! I read about it on Inspired to Action and it made so much sense, I downloaded the app immediately. So, I will add my husband to my daily routine. Will you?

Breathing life into my child… well, as a six-month old she’s rather time consuming. But, I know sometimes I am just so worn out or so focused on trying to get stuff done that I’m not really in the moment with her. And that is just not right. She will only be a sweet baby once, right? So I want to make sure I have at least two focused, in the moment, all about her playtimes each day, and one reading time.

As for breathing life into my sphere of influence, I think the best thing i can do is to keep up on the 31 days to clean journey so in June I can try out my Taco Tuesday idea. Basically, open house on Tuesday nights. Dinner, fellowship, playtime for kids, just a casual, welcoming fun place to hang out every week or whenever you can. I was drawn to the idea after how much fun we’ve had doing baby itsy bitsy yoga on Tuesday evenings. Most of the Mamas have expressed interest in keeping up the getting together somehow, and I thought it would be fun to include Dads too.

I’m feeling inspired. And looking forward to Day 3! Amazing considering it involves cleaning my house!


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31 Days to Clean

Homemakers Challenge - 31 Days to Clean

I know my biggest complaint at times is that I don’t have enough time to sew and quilt because I am always behind on housework. I’m behind because we moved, we’re remodeling, the baby needs lots of attention, we just got a puppy… oh so many reasons.
But this challenge – Having a Martha House the Mary Way – seriously appeals to me. Working on my heart and my head to figure out why I want a clean house – and while I’m figuring it out, getting the house clean step by step. The steps are short enough I think I can keep up for awhile. I’ll be traveling mid month, and we have a family vacation after that, but, I can make progress until then.
I am starting a day early, so I will have a chance to blog, clean and keep up with the baby and the puppy (I probably should’ve started a week or two early!). I’m pretty excited to get started too. There’s time for you to start too – just click the link above, buy the book and get ready.
The Day 1 challenge is to think about the Why portion of things. Why do you want a clean house? I want a haven, a place of peace and comfort for my husband and my family. I also want to be able to be more open to hospitality – without the need for a day of housecleaning first, it becomes a lot more possible. Finally, I want my daughter to grow up with a mostly good example of a place for everything and everything in it’s place so she can learn to be tidy as she grows up.
So, will you join me on this journey?

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Whoa… Fabric overload!

bolts of fabric

My ages ago order of 5 bolts of Echino Fall 2010 finally all arrived. And the bolts of DS Quilts fabric I ordered have started arriving. I have 14 of the prints with the other 7 ordered. I’ll be selling bundles of the complete line on Etsy once they all arrive.

chocolate lab puppy

Now if I can just get this guy settled in I can get back to sewing!

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DS Quilts (Denyse Schmidt) for Joann’s

Amazing! I went to my local Joann’s and found the entire line of DS Quilts, right in a bin next to the cutting table. Score!
I’m working on cutting them into cute little charm packs – 2 squares of each fabric in the line (21 fabrics = 42 squares). I’ll have them in the shop later this evening, for now, if you’re interested, comment, find me on flickr or email me. I should have several available. $19.95 each. I’ll ship internationally too.

Visit my Etsy shop for this charm pack or FQ bundles. I’m planning another fabric run soon, so do let me know if you’re looking for specific yardage.


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Diamond string block

This block idea came to me in the middle of the night while feeding the baby (think 3am). I didn’t have a free hand, paper, pencil or a light on, so I went to sleep hoping I would remember it in the morning. I did! And I think it will be great for my Lovely Linen Bee April block. Mainly because if I buy fabric to make this AND fabric for my bee month the budget will make grouchy faces at me.

We just made spiderweb blocks for Nikki, so this will be a similar piecing style, on a different shape block. I took a few pictures while making a test block pair, using scraps from another project since they were already in strips.

photo of the finished diamond string quilt block

This is the finished block pair. I have yellow Essex linen/cotton blend for the base and some gray and yellow fabrics for the strings. I will ask group members to add in yellow scraps, and gray if they have them. I plan to keep the center strips gray on all the blocks.

a rectangle of fabric with a triangle drawn on it

These pieces are 6 3/4s by 12 1/2. I used a corner of my 12×12 square ruler to draw the triangle. The fabric is Essex by Robert Kaufman in Sand. The continuing line at the top indicates which strip to overlap at the top.

one half of the quilt block, pieced, before trimming.

Piecing goes quickly, I finger press each seam and do a final press with the iron at the end, before trimming. For this block, we’re always going to have gray as the first strip on each side. You can add an additional gray strip in the piecing, or not.

showing the back of the quilt block and where to trim string pieces

Flip the block over and trim overhanging strips even with the linen base piece. Don’t worry if it’s not exactly perfect, just don’t trim the linen – if a little of the strings show, it’s fine.

adding the first piece to the second portion of the quilt block

This is where the overlap comes in. Line up a gray piece along the line and overlap the already pieced portion at the top. Sew it down, and finger press.

lining up fabric at the sewing machine

Here is the fabric lined up, overlapped and ready to sew.

adding pieces to the second portion of the quilt block

Continue adding pieces until the linen base block is covered. Then press, trim and move on to the next block!

a pair of completed blocks, ready to be sewn together

I think this is going to look really great in yellow and gray. What do you think?

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