30 May 2013

Do what you can...

Let's just start this one off with a recap of the ol' baby belly at weeks 16, 18, 20, & 22. That bottom right one was taken this morning on a self-timer. Gosh. This blog couldn't be more current!

You may notice that the bottom left corner- aka "20 Weeks"- is the most flattering of all them. Not only am I wearing make-up, but that one was taken with the fancy schmancy camera. I'm thinking all a woman needs to see is her skin looking like some strange tomato next to a clear, make-upped face, focused version and she could be convinced that a fancy schmancy camera was what she needed.

And now we've done enough talking about these. The bump is bigger!

Do your summer plans include any pinterest projects? Crafts? Travel? "Fun" to-do lists?

It's usually busy and yet not all at once. I'm usually excited at the start of summer regardless of what's to come...

Will you accomplish your plans? Probably some of you will.
Will they be the source of fond memories for your kids? I bet! Grab that camera, fancy schmancy or otherwise.
Will you instagram the success? Please do! (or get your hubs to do it like I do...)
Should you laugh at the fails? Absolutely (then instagram those too)

Now, what happens if it starts out a success, but then, ever so gradually, turns into a fail over several weeks? What do you do?

I'll tell you.

Remember the photos imma bout to show you.
Then, do what you can to revive that bad boy and revel in being able to teach your kids how to make the most of things. (or if it's bad enough, just toss it. Kids can learn from that too.)

My go-to flower choice in my garden is bougainvillea. It's a tough little bugger and grows well in the full-sun of the equator. Hard to kill. Looks great. Can do.  I also found a variety that's like a double bloom, so the "flowers" look like those tissue paper pom-poms on pinterest party boards. They're fat and it makes me wanna squish them when they bloom. Which I do.

You did NOT need to know that about bougainvillea to follow these pictures. I tend to over-detail. (you noticed?)

We set out to start a bougainvillea arch/canopy. With some leftover pallet wood (cut by the hubs prior to these photos), a drill, chicken wire, staple gun, and some 5 foot pieces of pressed wood recycled from the bedroom ikea mirror that fell off the wall, we were good to go!

We built simple wood boxes using zero proper woodshop skills. They were not square nor level. So? Each of us took a turn documenting the progress on camera. Here's Zay catching Isaac and I building one box...(they have no bottoms and are just for show really) 

 And here Isaac captured Isaiah helping me finish up the 2nd box... then we took a break for a day or so...
 Then Isaiah focused in remarkably well for the "screw the wood plank to the inside of the box" step... (repeat with other wood plank on 2nd box)
 Then I went for the close-up on the "roll out the 15ft of chicken wire over the wood plank and staple gun it to the box and the wood plank" step...
 I think Isaiah went inside because he was "setty" (sweaty) or else we'd have documentation of Isaac and I standing the boxes up. But here they are just before that.

But stand the boxes up we did! Just in time for Isaiah to return from his break. I had no clue no clue Superman could get setty too.

 After placing our potted plants inside the boxes, and securing the bougainvillea to the chicken wire, ensuring it's proper growth trajectory over the archway and WAH-LAH!
 See? Pom-pommy flowers that are hard to kill. They almost look like roses! This was April 29th. Hopes for swoon-y, shady, flowery arches and pinterest pride were riding high.

I think maybe I've mentioned on here a time or two about how "dry season" really just means that the daily rain comes in the form of thunderstorms. I haven't?

 After giving it all of the DIY-strength it could muster, here's where things stood this morning May 30th.
Apparently pressed particle board made for framing indoor mirrors, doesn't really hold up well outside its natural environment.  Noted.

See the bamboo? (be sure not to miss the hangers either) Those bamboo poles held political flags for the national election mid-May. There are gazillions of them on every corner nationwide. Afterwards the political parties have to take down their flags quickly or they get fined.  I have no political connections here. I will pick up free bamboo poles laying on the side of the road no matter which flag they supported.

So I did what I could. De-stapled (un-stapled?), unscrewed, and stuck the bamboo poles into their new home where I hope they'll do much better than their predecessors against afternoon thunderstorms...

 Ta da! Hopes are high again y'all.

Everyone helped and as it was a cool morning and we weren't so setty, Isaiah made the declaration as we finished,
"Mama. Dis is a nice day for a picnic."

And it was...
I knew I made chocolate chip cookies last night for a bigger reason than just stuffing my pregnant face. I knew it.

So y'all get to it. Make your summer rock in whichever way you've set out to do.  Leave me a comment and tell me what you're most excited about this coming June, July, and August. And just do what you can to get it done whether its fantastic or fails or fizzles!

(and yes y'all, that's a Dr. Pepper!)

24 May 2013

Crafty Schmafty- Christmas Quilt! (in May, I know)

I get it. I don't post for over a month and then I put up pictures of a Christmas quilt? When there are growing children and growing bellies and what not? That borders on lame-o shame-o, but it's what's going up. 
I'm waiting on the temperature of some milk to go down so I can finish making my first ever homemade yogurt tonight...so this post is keeping me awake! (and hopefully won't put you to sleep!)

These days I find myself thinking in terms of months...

June - Parent visit, vacation
July- Anthony out always with work, Hari Raya starts
August- Hari Raya continues(the biggest holiday every year in Malaysia)
September- School starts, I am big pregnant by then! Baby possibly arrives late Sept
October- Baby arrives if he/she hasn't yet. Parents visit. I try to eek out a 2nd birthday party for Immanuelle. Possible visit from Grandma. And probably school events.
November- Still a new baby around. Lets not underestimate the level of sleepy occurring.
December- Christmas already here! No time to quilt.

See? In terms of months, I was option-less. I handle my everydays and everyweeks fine, but big projects like quilts need planning almost like a big holiday! Lets not forget I've been working on this thing slowly since December. May just required I put things into high-gear...

Lets get into the spirit of the season, shall we then?
The top...

 The Back...
 I bought the fabric back in November in 'merica at JoAnn Fabric. Its several different lines. A few specifically blue Christmas-y/winter-y themed prints with some other grays and blues thrown in. Machine quilted and hand-bound. It's 100 blocks and measures (about) 75" x 75". (Juuuuuuust wide enough to prevent my husband from being able to hold it up for a picture. I thought the on-the-floor reveal was a bit lack-luster too. But...)

I got the idea for the pattern over at Film in the Fridge"Converging Corners" is what she named hers that have this look. I kinda don't wanna put up the link because hers looks so much better than mine! But creative credit is due. I was going for a less-obvious, winter, snow-flakey, snow-y-ish, cheery, vibe. My Christmas decor is mostly blue.  I think it worked!

In pictures the colored corners look much more like T's or crosses or X's than they do in person. And in person you can see more of the sparkle-y in some of the fabric. I just didn't want a poinsetta and Santa covered blanket!

On the bed. (though it'll probably be put on the couch. But lets face it. There's not really a way to make a blue-sharpied couch cushion look inviting.)
We turned the fan on high and pretended we weren't sweating on the equator while taking these. I mean, it COULD be a sunny, crisp morning (if you squint and ignore the green trees out the window). It could!
 The quilting. I followed THIS tutorial on making nice straight lines while quilting. This is only my 3rd quilt, so I need all the tips I can get!

I eventually plan on adding hand-stitched snowflakes to the empty boxes with no quilting. (see the yellow pic below)

Close-ups. My favorite fabric ended up being the little navy blue trees with little red birds on them. They help tie in the red binding and backing and are just too cute!

My mom handed me this quilt back in November. It was made by my great-grandmother. I was hesitant to bring it overseas as I really didn't want to ruin such a treasure, but it's been quite the lovely addition to our bed. As I've been making the Christmas quilt and also staring at this quilt the last few months, I fell in love with the flowers stitched in white spaces. So I got to thinking that I could do something similar in the white spaces on the Christmas quilt. I hope to find some metallic (looking) thread to stitch them with. Festive!

I realize I'm gonna have to make it a habit of giving quilts away if I want to keep making them as, really, how many does one need in the place of eternal summer?! But there were so many times my kids helped to make the Christmas quilt, I'm so glad I did! Whether I sewed in a tank-top or not! and It will hopefully become a sweet memory of Christmas...ahem, of course, Christmas with the air-conditioners on!
To think I never met the woman who made the yellow quilt, and yet, here I am, snuggling under it each night decades later...that's just warm fuzzies all around! Merry Christmas!

I am going to link-up with "Finish it up Friday" over at Crazy Mom Quilts. So glad I have a finish to share!