Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Whale of a Time - Quilt


Ekk!!  Those happy rainbow whales make me so happy.  This quilt is for Baby Siedor, another of the 2015 babies.  Baby Siedor is due right around the same time Abby was due, early September and I knew that my quilting time would quickly evaporate when our #2 arrived so I started on this one pretty early because I wanted to have it finished before our little one was due.  Lauren and Brian decided not to find out the gender of the baby (which I love), so this is the first time I've quilted without knowing the sex.  While I love NOT finding out (we've done it with both our kids) it sure does make picking fabric for the little one extra challenging.  You can't go wrong with rainbow though right??


Onto the details.  I used the Preppy the Whale pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.  Clicking the link you'll see that I didn't venture too far from her own fabric choices for this quilt.  I'm still working on developing my own "eye" for fabric and matching so I often find that I replicate quilts that I love...almost exactly. Elizabeth Hartman has some SUPER cute patterns including this Fancy Fox pattern that was a close second to this whale quilt.  In fact, you may see that one for a baby in the future, maybe even our little one.  Foxes hold a special place in our household since Ryan's company is called Fox River Millwork.  I digress....back to quilting.


Don't you just LOVE the backing I picked?  I've got a little something special planned for it which I'll share in a later post. Here's a quick run down of the fabric I used:
Whales - Robert Kaufman Brights - Layer Cake
Sashing - Essex Yarn Dyed in Denim  **I love the look of this fabric.  You'll see it again in my current WIP.  It's think though so it is interesting to work with in conjunction to normal quilting cotton or even more so to the Liberty of London I'm using in my current WIP.
Backing - Dress Me Playground by Wee Gallery - so perfect for a baby quilt!  I've been dying to use it in something since I first came across it months ago.
Binding - from stash.  I feel so fancy saying that since I don't "stash" much fabric.  I typically buy for specific projects which helps keeps the quantity of fabric I own low AND the amount of money I have invested in the hobby reasonable.  However, it sure is nice to just have something "on hand" and it stashing fabric can lead to scrappier looking quilts...which seems to be the style I lean towards...I just don't have the fabric stash to support it - yet.


This quilt is probably one of the most complexly pieced quilts I've worked on to date.  Each whale is made of up of no fewer than 16 pieces - the smallest of which is 1x1!  These babies took some TIME.  If you were paying attention, you'll notice that all my whales face the same direction, which was TOTALLY not on purpose.  The pattern has them in alternating rows, left then right facing.  I totally wasn't paying attention to the pattern and ended up with 27 of these guys facing the same way.  Nobody would be the wiser if I hadn't just spilled the beans though so it's fine.


I went for a fairly large scale and easy loppy-loop quilting design.  I debated trying something more complicated but after sketching a few things out on paper I just wasn't happy with anything so I went for this look.  It's subtle with blue thread on the top and even more subtle on the bottom with white thread.  The whales are meant to be the main focus of this quilt anyways.


As for the name of this quilt - I couldn't resist.  It just came to me one day and I finally Googled the meaning just before writing this post.  The phrase "a whale of a time" means you really enjoyed something.  This idiom alludes to the fact that whales are so large and impressive.  I think it's a prefect fit for welcoming a little baby into a new family.  They bring so much joy and love with them!!

Lo - I hope you love this quilt as much as I do!!!  Happy baby shower!

Monday, June 1, 2015

What's on my Kindle? - Summer Edition

The best part of these book roundups is that they keep me accountable!!  I have a real hoarding problem when it comes to books.  I want to read. all. the. books. So I end up making lists and lists of to-reads and don't always get around to actually reading them.  There is no end to the list of books I want to read, but these roundups keep me focused and I can look back at them and remember the books I once fell in love with.  Here's what's I've been up to and where I'm going this summer:


1. Boy, Snow, Bird:  I admit it.  I am a sucker for a good "21 books you should read" type list.  A few weeks ago there was a list flying around FaceBook and it's influenced what's on my kindle reading list.  This is one of them.  I'm about 15% into this book as we speak and not totally sure where it's going but I'm going to give it some time....

2. Land of Love and Drowning:  Another one from the "list" I was just referring to....

3. The Goldfinch: Another one that I picked from the list to tackle this summer.

4. The Husband's Secret:  By the same author as Big Little Lies, I've heard great things so I'm adding it to the list.  Big Little Lies was on my last Kindle list and I finally got around to reading it over Memorial Day weekend.  I enjoyed Big Little Lies and would recommend it to others.  It was a quick and easy read and while I could sort of guess where the ending was going it wasn't until I'd finished it that it all finally came together.  Somewhat predictable...but don't be surprised to find a twist or two that you didn't expect.  I'm hoping this second book by Liane doesn't disappoint.

5. Leaving Time:  It's been a LONG time since I picked up a Jodi Picoult book.  I loved her for probably two years straight back during the My Sister's Keeper book/movie.  But, her style is very predictable and I just needed a break.  This was a great one and I'm so glad I gave it a chance.  If you've taken a break from her like me, maybe give this one a try.  It's a good one.

6. All the Light We Cannot See:  This one has recently started popping up on my social media feeds.  Once I see a book on a few peoples lists I consider adding it to my own.  Two of my favorite people to get book recommendations from are currently reading this one...so on the list it goes!!!  This might be the next one I pick up after Boy, Snow, Bird.

7. The Rosie Project: Mom suggested this one to me and I really enjoyed it.  A quick read about a guy who likely has Aspergers.  It's cute and an easy beach read though I found the ending a bit abrupt, I'd recommend this one to others.

8.  The Rosie Effect: The sequel to The Rosie Project.  I figured as long as I was at it, I might as add the followup!  I haven't started this one yet.  I usually need a break for the characters before diving back in.  I expect good things from this one though.

9. The Lifeboat: The final book from the "list" I linked to earlier that I chose to read.  I was surprised how few books I'd heard of when I read through that list so I read the synopsis and reviews on them all and added these 4 to my "to read" list.

What books have you loved lately?  Anything I should add to my list??  I love a good book recommendation so feel free to comment below!!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Camper Updates


I promised to put together a quick post around the updates we made to the camper after our last trip and since we had the camper out last weekend for Memorial Day I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures of the changes we've made so far.  You can see the way it used to look back here in my original post about the camper.


The first update we made was adding a real door to the master bedroom and closing off the half wall behind the couch into the bedroom.  It makes for a tight fit around the end of the bed, especially for this 34 week pregnant Momma but luckily I sleep on the side closest to the door so Ryan gets to do the sideways shuffle to get into bed.  HA!  Poor guy!


The second big change we made was to the back bunk room.  If you remember (or click back to see the original post) the bedroom in the back used to be open to the kitchen area and had a double bed that extended all the way to the wall (under the cabinet there in the picture below).  We cut back that bed making it a twin size and allowing us to add a MUCH NEEDED door to the back bedroom.  The entire goal of trading up into this larger camper was to create a bedroom space for Abby (and eventually both kids) that was closed off to the rest of the camper.  Adding to door made this possible and has worked out perfect.  Now, we can put Abby to bed and still use the rest of the camper without waking her up with every movement we make.


Most importantly we can turn on the lights, go to the bathroom and go to bed all without waking up the kids.  Which, with a little one's due date fast approaching we were in desperate need of.  We've got two pretty large camping trips planned all within 6 weeks of having baby #2 so there will be plenty of times where I'm up feeding a baby in the middle of the night, and waking up the sleeping 3 year old is FAR from ideal.

Most people spend the last month or so of their pregnancy nesting indoors...not us....we're spending it "nesting" in the camper so we're set to vacation with a 3 week old and 3 year old all in a 27 foot camper.  Yes - I'm insane.  I get that :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

1 Family x 12 (May)


Well guys - I have a feeling this is the last monthly family picture of the three of us.  I'm thinking our June picture will include the newest little McGrath.  Which, to this 33 week pregnant Momma is music to my ears!!!

Abby was more interested in the beads on my dress than taking a picture this month...but at least we're all smiling.

Ryan raced the Galena Tri this past weekend.  It feels like it's been forever since we've had a race and Abby loved getting to cheer her Daddy on.  The weather was crazy rainy on Saturday but somehow we managed to have sunshine and clear skies the entire time we were outside.  Thanks Mother Nature!!

I only got one decent race picture this year so instead of doing a full post on the race, I'll just include it here.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

1 Family x 12 (April)


Yes - I realize that it is now mid-May and I'm just now posting April's family photo....and that technically this picture was taken on May 2nd (so not in April) but I hope you'll all give me a break.  :O)

That's our new camper in the background.  No, I didn't remember to take any pictures of the progress on that either.  We'll have it out again next weekend for Memorial Day and I promise to get you some updates then.  Pinky swear!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Randoms of Abby


Every once in a while I have a few cute pics I want to share but no real post to round them all out.  So....that's when I throw out a "randoms of Abby" post because I NEED these pictures in my yearly blog book!  You'd think after 2 full years of weekly/monthly pictures for my quilt project Abby would be a pro at pictures.  But the wiggles of toddlerhood = few pictures where she's actually looking/smiling.  So when I saw this one (above) that Jamie got from the water park I HAD to have it.


April isn't always known for being warm/sunny and summer like but we've had a few days of "summer" thrown into this April and we just couldn't resist a little time in the sun.  


And Easter.  Abby was pretty quick to round up her "beaster eggs" so I didn't get a ton of cute Easter pics.  After our egg hunt we rushed to church and then off to Jan Mary's house for Easter afternoon.  On the car ride their Abby fell asleep.  When she woke up we weren't close enough to a gas station to get her to a potty before she had an accident (boo!...she's been doing so good) so I didn't get a SINGLE shot of her in her cute Easter dress mom made a few weeks back.  Double BOO!



But - here are some cuties of her on Easter morning in her PJ's with candy stuffed in her mouth....you know, the way it should be.  Enjoy!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Abby's First Hair Cut


Two weekends ago when Ryan was in Texas I decided it was finally time to get Abby a hair cut.  Actually, I'd been thinking of doing it for a few weeks before hand but we're always running from one thing to the next on the weekends so I was just waiting to carve out an hour to go have it done.


I don't think that we'll always go to a fancy kids hair cut salon for every hair cut, but her first seemed like we should do something slightly special.  Plus, I was worried if she'd be scared and figured all the bells and whistles of a real kids salon, paired with the expertise of a professional, would = an enjoyable experience for her and a haircut that didn't look like her mom butchered it on the back deck :)



Good lord is it hard to get a toddler to stand still and look at the camera!  The before pictures were a feat in and of themselves but I did get this decent one of the back of her hair so you can see both the length and slight curl to her hair.  When I was little I had stick straight blonde hair until I hit about 6th grade and then the curls started.  I used to blame it on a perm I got around 5th grade but the truth is that my mom has curls so I was probably destined to get them too.  


Abby's hair does have some curl to it (as you can see in the before picture above) but I've usually got her in pig tails during the day so you can't often tell.  Her hair curls the most when its fresh out of the bath and drying.


Kelly at KidSnips did an awesome job.  Abby got to pick out a move (Paw Patrol) and got to pick out the car she wanted to sit in.  She couldn't have cared less what was going on with her hair...she had Zuma and Sky to watch!!  We only cut off a few inches from the back to even it all out, but it looks so much better than the random style it had grown into.  



Plus, who doesn't love a heart shaped braid with sparkles on top??  I'm happy to report there were no tears and she had a great time.  Another first to check off the list and add to the baby book!