A Blog Makeover

posted by Diana | Saturday, May 11, 2013, 8:38 PM | comments: 0

I've been wanting to update my blog for quite some time now. When I first casually commented "maybe I'll start a blog" my husband jumped all over that and secured me my very own domain name and with a basic blog layout. Since this site isn't a traditional blogging site, I couldn't just click on an edit button somewhere and change my color scheme, titles, or tabs on my own. I don't know coding or html or whatever you need to know to do that. I would need Jeff to do it for me and with all the websites and other things he has going on, I didn't think it would be fair to ask him to always be at my beck and call to change things at whim. And let's face it, I like to change things. I would rearrange the living room furniture monthly if the room layout would allow it. (And if I wasn't so afraid to touch all the hi-tech gadgets that make up our entertainment center!)

So, I've created a new blog on blogger called Red Delicious Life. We still need to figure out if I can import my posts from this blog and point this blog to that one, but that will come.

Full of Inspiration!

posted by Diana | Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 10:30 AM | comments: 0

There is a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE giveaway week of prizes happening courtesy of Sew, Mama, Sew! and it has me so inspired! Over 300 bloggers around the world are giving away fabrics, sewing notions, craft supplies, you name it! I've been going to all these sites in the evenings and I have so many great ideas of things I want to make. If you like quilting, sewing, or crafting definitely check it out. The link above goes to the sewing & craft supplies giveaways but if you click on her blog tab you'll find the giveaway pages for home decor items, baby & kid items, and handmade bags!

Royal Squares - Completed

posted by Diana | Sunday, April 28, 2013, 6:22 PM | comments: 0

When someone asked to see my latest finished quilt, I realized that I'd never posted a picture of it! Here is the finished "Royal Squares" quilt. It would fit a twin sized bed but I'm using it as a lap quilt for now. Maybe Simon will get to use it (if he doesn't think it's too girly or something) when he graduates to a larger bed. A shout out needs to go to my friend Jenny for quilting it for me. She did a beautiful job!

Howlin' Good Deal for Great Wolf Lodge!

posted by Diana | Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 5:11 PM | comments: 0

Hey Everyone,
Right now there are some great deals for stays at all of the Great Wolf Lodges through Groupon! Be sure to check them out while they're still available. And in case anyone was wondering, the Wolf Den rooms are our favorites.  Laughing

~ Diana
Ask-a-Mom Panelist for Great Wolf Lodge, Sandusky

Weekend Sewing Projects

posted by Diana | Sunday, April 14, 2013, 6:19 PM | comments: 0

Since the weather was suboptimal this weekend, I decided to tackle some sewing projects that I had wanted to do.  Both were accessories for my Kindle and are patterns by designer Gail Seymour of Gaila Designs..  The first was a free pattern for a stand that I'd gotten from Craftsy.  I'm not sure how often I'll use it which is why I just used some fabric scraps to try it out.

It was her pattern for an eReader case that I really wanted to try. I went with the Madison pattern given the size of my Kindle when it's in is leather case. Even though her patterns are instructions only (and they're very detailed too!), what I love about them are her choice of fabrics. They really help to sell the look of the finished product. 

Here is what my new Kindle carrying case looks like:

I took my Kindle out of its leather case for the picture but it still fits inside when it's on, just a bit more snugly.  I love how this turned out!

Free, at a cost

posted by Diana | Monday, April 1, 2013, 8:29 PM | comments: 0

I'm a firm believer in the adage "you get what you pay for" but I never thought it mattered when it came to quilting or knitting patterns. In the case of the free quilted placemat pattern that I'm working on, I've learned that free = pattern mistakes.

I wanted to make some projects that I could use to practice various free motion quilting techniques and a set of placemats fits the bill perfectly. After finding a cute free pattern on the web, I selected fabrics and cut out everything according to the pattern. As I began piecing, I started noticing that things weren't always matching up. When I reviewed the cutting instructions and got out my calculator, it became apparent that some of the cutout dimensions accounted for the 1/4-inch seam allowance and some of them didn't. And because I cut out ALL of my fabric ahead of time, I don't have enough of some fabrics to go back and cut out another set. 

I've learned a valuable lesson today - if I don't know the source of a free pattern (one that might not be tested first), check the math. Otherwise a free pattern could end up costing me a 1/2 yard's worth of fabric. 

The Great Wolf Lodge Ask-a-Mom Panel

posted by Diana | Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 3:30 PM | comments: 0

I mentioned in my last post that I had been selected by Great Wolf Lodge to be the Ask-a-Mom panelist for their Sandusky location. I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to the other panelists! They are a great group of moms and dads just waiting to help you plan your perfect Great Wolf vacation.

If you have a question about Great Wolf Lodge please feel free to visit the Great Wolf Lodge Ask-a-Mom page. I and my fellow panelists are all excited to help you plan your stay or answer any questions that you might have!

A Great Wolf Birthday

posted by Diana | Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:55 PM | comments: 0

It's no secret that my family loves to go on mini-vacations. We'd much rather forego lots of Christmas gifts in favor of a little extra spending money to make memories doing fun things together throughout the year. Last week our little man turned 3 and what better way to celebrate than a mid-week getaway to Great Wolf Lodge! The one closest to us is in Sandusky and it's one of the first in the chain. It was originally called Great Bear Lodge back when the company considered naming each lodge after a different animal. It is also the smallest of the lodges but I think it's perfect for our little family. Simon is still very unsure of himself around water and it wasn't too overwhelming for him. By the time our 2 day stay was over he didn't want to leave and he's still asking to go back to Great Wolf!

Lucky for him, I've been selected to be the Ask-a-Mom for the Sandusky lodge so there are more trips to the waterpark in our future and more posts on this blog!  I'll also get to help other parents plan fun vacations at Great Wolf. What's not to love about that!

Teacher's gift - crayon planter

posted by Diana | Sunday, March 3, 2013, 7:31 PM | comments: 0

My son's last day of early intervention preschool is this week, on his 3rd birthday. I wanted to give his teachers a little something for the classroom as a thank you. I found the cute idea of a crayon bowl on pinterest and decided that it would be perfect. A trip to the dollar store to pick up a ceramic pot and some crayons and this project only cost $4. All you do is hot glue all the crayons around the pot and voila! A cute gift that's perfect for a teacher. What you put into it is up to you.

Just a tip that I learned the hard way: my pot flares out at the top so I couldn't glue all the crayons flush against one another. My crayons quickly started slanting so I had to pull them off and start over, this time leaving a slight gap toward the top of the crayons. Luckily the pattern on the pot was orange & red vertical lines so they blended in behind the crayons. I hope his teachers like it!

Work in Progress Wednesday

posted by Diana | Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 8:31 PM | comments: 0

I've started quilting my latest project, a spinning stars table topper:

I'm also continuing to knit my francoise sweater, but that picture is rather boring and not nearly as pretty as the quilt top above.  :)

No school today. :(

posted by Diana | Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 9:05 AM | comments: 0

Today was a first. It will be the first day of school that Simon has missed because of illness. The other times he's been absent was due to vacations and traveling. I was hoping he'd be over his cold so that he could go today but it's not in the cards. He still had a very slight fever (99) yesterday after his nap and he had a very rough night last night due to coughing. I sat with him in  the rocking chair from 4-5am in the hopes that being more elevated would calm his cough and around 5am I brought him into the spare bed with me. 

I'm thankful that there is are tylenol, ibuprofen, and benadryl formulas that are safe for toddlers but I wish there was something more effective when it comes to coughs and congestion. I use the Hyland homeopathic remedies but I'm not sure how much they help. Their cough formula is basically watered down honey and Simon doesn't really like the taste of it. Still, it's much easier than trying to give him an actual spoonful of honey. Last time I tried that, I had to wash all the bedding. 

Here's hoping he gets some good rest at naptime and that his cough lessens.

I am going CG!

posted by Diana | Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 1:07 PM | comments: 0

I'm sure your first question is "what is CG?" It's short for the Curly Girl Method, a way of caring for wavy or curly hair (here's the book that started it all). I've not been happy with my hair for quite some time. Actually, it's been since we've moved from Seattle. The girl who used to cut my hair understood wavy hair and I'd always gotten a great cut from her. I have yet to find someone in the Cleveland area who's really understood my hair texture. It sounds ridiculous, but it's true. I've been doing a lot of research in the last few weeks and I've learned that wavy/curly hair is very different than straight hair and most salons only train stylists to deal with straighter hair. There's actually a science to it but it boils down to eliminating sulfates and silicones from your hair products. Here's a blogger that I recently discovered that does a great job at summing up the curly girl method. There are also many web communities dedicated to CG. One of the most popular is NaturallyCurly.com but so far I've found the information too overwhelming and not easy to decipher. 

I have several friends who have naturally curly hair and yet I'd never heard of the Curly Girl Method. Today is Day 1 in my quest to reclaim my wavy hair and it sounds crazy but I can already feel a difference in how much softer my hair is. They say that the first 3 weeks of transition can be the hardest so let's see how it goes.

Kid's Calendar

posted by Diana | Saturday, February 2, 2013, 9:27 AM | comments: 0

Over the Christmas break it became very apparent to me that Simon had little understanding of the passage of time when it comes to daily activities. Every day he would ask me if it was a school day and be disappointed when I told him no. It was the longest 2 weeks of his life!

That's when I decided to make him a weekly calendar so that he could see what would be happening each day.  I bought a medium sized poster board and drew a calendar grid.  I printed out the days of the week and a few pictures to glue onto the board.  For the different activities, I found clip art on the web, printed it out on paper and laminated them.  I made a few blank laminates so that I can put random activities that might come up. An example is the little airplane in the picture below. We were talking grandma back to the airport that morning so I just drew a little plane on a piece of paper and taped it to the blank laminate piece.  I also laminated a red star with the word "today" on it that we would move each morning so Simon would know what we were doing that day. I had some sticky velcro in my stash of supplies so I used three pieces for each day - one dot would be where the "today" star would go and that would allow for 2 activities to be listed for any given day.  

Here's what the finished product looks like:

Now every morning we move the star to the correct day of the week and see what activities we'll be doing. In the picture above, it was a Tuesday so we were going to library storytime in the morning and Simon had school in the afternoon.

I mounted it in his bedroom using a 3M plastic hanger and it's right by his door, underneath the light switch.  Every evening after we read books, we go look at his calendar to see what we'll be doing tomorrow before we turn off the lights.  Simon's really enjoying it and I often find the activities all jumbled around because he likes to move them. Simon already has a better understanding of when things happen and he's even learning the days of the week!  Plus 1 for mom's creativity!

Pretty Star!

posted by Diana | Friday, February 1, 2013, 4:05 PM | comments: 0

Puppy Patchwork - my first quilt!

posted by Diana | Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 9:21 PM | comments: 0

I'm so excited! I finally finished my very first quilt that I made 100% from start to finish. It's a quilt to fit Simon's toddler bed. It gave me a great opportunity to use my new sewing machine and I practiced some free motion stitches. Here is a close-up of some stippling and swirls:

I also did some hand embroidering for the quilt label on the back.  

And here is the finished project. Hooray!

A Girl Can Dream

posted by Diana | Friday, January 25, 2013, 12:25 PM | comments: 0

The more involved I get in quilting and the more I browse pinterest for inspiration, the more I dream of a beautiful craft room. I'm slowly building up a stash of beautiful fabrics. Right now they're neatly folded into a large utility tote by Thirty-One. Someday, though, I'd love to have something like what I found on Craftaholics Anonymous


fabric storage

It's just so pretty and organized and I LOVE how you can see at a glance all the different fabrics. Someday... :)

There should be a warning label

posted by Diana | Wednesday, January 23, 2013, 9:23 PM | comments: 0

When one decides to take up a new hobby, such as quilting, and gets a fancy new sewing machine with which to do said quilting, it should have the following warning label:

"Warning: May lose track of large quantities of time. May forget to get dinner ready, clean the kitchen, or feed the cats. May also stop blogging and checking email regularly. Use at your own risk."

Just saying...

For the love of quilting

posted by Diana | Monday, January 14, 2013, 7:31 PM | comments: 0

I've always wanted a beautiful quilt for my bed for as long as I can remember but the really nice ones are always way too expensive. I think the craftsmanship of quilts is always so precise and it just appeals to my orderly nature. I learned to sew years ago and even had to do quite a bit of costume construction when I was in grad school for theatre. It just never occurred to me to make my own quilts until this past summer when I saw some of the beautiful quilts that my friend Jenny made.

Next thing I knew, I was buying fabric and using my 20 year old machine to piece together a quilt top for Simon and a larger one for our bed. When it came time to do the actual quilting, I was stuck. Not only did I not know how to do it, but my old machine wasn't up to the tast.  That's why Jeff got me a sewing machine specifically for quilting as a Christmas/birthday/Mother's Day gift (he's off the hook for gifts for quite some time!). Jenny is going to quilt the larger one for me on her long arm quilting machine but I want to quilt Simon's so I needed to practice on some other things first.  Here is my first completed quilting project using just the walking foot attachment.  

Now I need to learn how to free motion quilt. I'll be making some kitchen placements next!

Teacher gifts

posted by Diana | Monday, January 14, 2013, 7:27 PM | comments: 0

I just realized that I never posted the gift cardigans that I made for Simon's teachers! Simon decorated snowflake ornaments that we attached to them as well.  They were well received.

Just Call Me MacGyver!

posted by Diana | Friday, January 4, 2013, 7:55 PM | comments: 0

Last April I knitted this beaded scarf but it ended up being much longer than I wanted. I wore it a few weeks ago and since the length still bothered me I decided to rip half of it out so that I can reknit it. For those of you who don't knit, yarn that has been knit up and sits awhile becomes very kinky and you need to straighten it out before you try to reknit it.  The easiest way to unkink the yarn is to soak it in water and allow it to air dry.  That's where a Niddy Noddy comes in handy. It's a tool used to wind yarn into a hank so that it doesn't get tangled up.

Well, I didn't have one so I needed to improvise.  2 toilet paper rolls, a letter opener, and 2 sippy cup straws and voila!

It's not pretty but it got the job done. After I'd used my makeshift one I got to thinking that it would be pretty easy to make one out of PVC pipe.  $3.55 for a length of pipe, $0.96 for 4 connectors and I made 2 niddy noddies for a whopping $4.51.  I still have enough pipe to make several more. Of course the Amish wooden ones are much prettier to look at but it works well and it's portable!  Look at the big brain on Diana.  Tongue Out