Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Beach Zen

As happens in our life the last two years, an event came up at the very last moment that made for some quick plans and a trip to the beach.

Our old stomping grounds. Where Songbird was born.

I was lucky enough to find a condo on Mexico Beach in Florida for Mouse's Spring Break. There's more to the story that makes all this make more sense but its not for public consumption so I'll just have to remain a little mysterious.


The teen was thrilled and Mouse was very excited.

Most people would go for Panama City Beach or Destin....but I prefer Mexico Beach. Its a very small community right on the sugar white sands that caters to families.  They wont even rent to the younger crowds so it is NOT a meat market spring break area.  There is also nothing to do there but go to the beach. No big tourist attractions. Like maybe 4 places to eat. One store that sells groceries -- a very small selection.

So if you want to go to the beach and just hang in the surf and sand with your kids....its beyond perfect. If you want the whole tourist experience.....go to Panama City Beach instead.

Sadly, our trip was just a girls trip. It would have been much better with daddy. But when daddy is gone so much, Spring Break still happens. Summer still happens. Events still happen. So do you not do anything? Many women I know wouldn't. But I don't want my girls to miss out on so much life because we were waiting. Its not what I prefer....but its what life has for me to deal with.

So, I was really in need of some zen time. And here it was.

I packed a bag of books and blankets and headed for the beach. Mouse was IN LOVE. She spent the whole week saying THIS is where we needed to move to...not Texas.
Mouse also was very sick and I thought we would end up spending some quality time at Gulf Coast Hospital with pneumonia ..but the sea air worked wonders and the freezing water (which I could not keep her out of) killed the temperatures. Somehow we managed to avoid the hospital. But I sure didn't win any parenting awards for my handling of this sickness!! Well, Mouse might disagree.
We took long beach walks every day. I took the girls out to Tyndall Beach so we could go for miles and miles without seeing a soul. Definite benefit to being a military dependent on the gulf coast. Mouse did 5 miles on this day. She was a trooper.
Songbird wanted to find sand dollars, but it was sea urchin time instead. I did find a few for her out on a sandbar.

I didn't get to see as many of my old friends as I would have liked, but I did get to spend a little time with the most important one. Made me homesick.
And I did take the girls out to Panama City Beach so they could enjoy the touristy stuff.  Mouse was in love with the tacky beach shops and tourist traps. She is an advertisers dream, that one. Mom! Can we stop at the shark!!!!

I did get my zen time. It was very good. There is something about a beach walk that soothes my soul in a way nothing else does. I think its mostly the sound of the surf...which really appeals to my senses. And the squeaky white sand under foot. The breeze that cools and carries the sounds of the gulls. The unlimited vitamin D beating down on your skin (or at least on the 70 spf barrier coated on my skin).

All too soon it was time to pack up and leave. Mouse bemoaned this fact long and hard. She spent the first few hours in the car trying to hard sell the beach as our next place to live. She does not think its fair at all that the rest of us got to live there and she never did.

The trip home included a stop for lunch with my uncle in Pensacola, and an overnight and retirement party for one of my mother-in-laws in Mississippi. A good way to end the trip.

And each hour on that 9 hour drive home got progressively colder. Soon I was crying with Mouse about how I wanted to go back, and why didn't we rent on the beach while we were in limbo. LOL. I SO hate the cold!

Now we are back in the cold. But we aren't too sad...because daddy will be home soon! Its been a long month and a half without him!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Life From My Lawn Chair

Another 4 day finish! Life is all about putting out fires lately. Yet another event came up that required our presence and a gift. Luckily I bought the material for one of the wedding quilts I was going to make...and due to time constraints had to do something else instead.  That left me with the makings for a quilt...that had no home.

This pattern is called Lawn Chair and is a free Moda pattern which can be found here.  And honestly -- it is so fantastic that I am making a bigger one for myself.
I had an audience when Songbird and I took it out to the beach to photograph. LOL.
It really has a lawn chair look  so I only quilted around the patterned strips to give it that braided look of the old lawn chairs.
I used up the end piece scraps on the back. I hate throwing material away -- even end pieces. I also don't like to buy a single color backing fabric...normally I use up my left over fabric from the front. This time I want to make another quilt just like it so I did buy some fabric for the back.
You can't really see the quilting that I was trying to show in this shot. Only the patterned pieces are outlined.
This shot of the back gives you a better ideal.

I did not have time to have a signature/dedication block made so I just free motioned my name into the side.
I have to say this is probably the easiest quilt I have ever done. There are no seams to match up when you put it all together. Start to finish it took 4 days and that all. If you are a beginner and want to try a cool looking quilt, I recommend this one.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tectonic Plates

Another finish spring. Not being real specific as I have several gifts I am making for several things in the near future.

 This is another pinterest pin on my quilt board. It links to the blog Esch House Quilts where she has blogged about it here.

I liked the color with the gray and orange pop. I'm not usually an orange person but this was striking.

I used the 2 1/2 inch and 4 1/2 inch strip cutters on the Go!Cutter to cut the strips. I used a picture of the quilt to recreate the look. The blog does not have instructions - this is a quilt she made up herself and used as an entry in a show.
For the back I used a city scape fabric in greys and black. With the extra strips I made a few grey stripes and some wonky log cabin blocks to cover side to side.  Then I used left over pieces of the orange to finish it out.  A black/grey was used to bind it so its kind of like a picture frame.

I did not have time to wash it so there is slack showing in the back in the places I did not quilt through -- the orange areas on the front. This will shrink up and have the wrinkle texture when it is washed.

Quilt was boxed and delivered on our Dallas trip. Yet another rush to get it done. Seems to be the only way I know how to do it!!

I did not use a signature block as I was out of time but I did quilt my name and year into it.
 And thats Tectonic Plates!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mouses Dream Comes True

Mouse had a dream. One she talked about ALL. THE. TIME. So much so that it became banned in our house on threat of no more presents ever in her lifetime.  l

It was bad.

And as jobless people it was also a dream out of reach.

See, Mouse just had to have an American Girl Doll. Of course this didn't happen until after we were jobless. There was no way a doll over $100 was in any of our cards for over a year.

But things are a little better now. And Mouse has a birthday coming up.

And we had to take a quick trip to Dallas.

Of course it was a secret that I was going to take her to pick out her birthday gift. But she is too smart. As soon as I told her we were going to Dallas for the weekend, she informed me that they had an American Girl store in Dallas.

So I still had to listen to endless conversation on what she could do to earn a trip there.
And she was besides herself when we went. It was really fun to watch her.

So I have a very happy little girl. I still can't believe I spent that much on a doll. Apparently the $40 knockoff she got for Christmas just wasn't cutting it. LOL!