2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for my blog.  Thank you for visiting my blog this year!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,400 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Project 365 Week 51

Project 365 Week 51

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

My 100th post!

12/19/11 (Monday) – The boys have been spending time with me in my sewing room while I sew.  I have a hard time concentrating while they are down there with me.  I made many mistakes on a few of my projects which caused some delays and a lot of frustration.

Tonight was when I was able to focus on what they wanted to sew.  We didn’t finish the items for Christmas or for a photo this week.  Henry won’t mind when he opens his gift.

12/20/11 (Tuesday) – I went to the feed mill today and was pleased to find out that they know me by name, and weren’t calling me “the chicken lady.”  Except they had the wrong name and were calling me Patsy.  (Remember my post Small Towns?)  While I was there waiting for my feed to be ground up and bagged I met another customer who was looking to purchase laying hens.  We exchanged numbers and set up a day for him to come look at my chickens.  When I called him to arrange a time his wife said, “It’s the chicken lady.”  I am okay with being called the chicken lady, not Patsy.

I finished this dolphin apron for a friend.

And this cardinal for a bag.

12/21/11 (Wednesday) –  I rested a lot today after a few busy days.  I didn’t really want to rest but my body was telling me I needed to.   I felt better by evening and was able to finish sewing a few of my Christmas gifts.


12/22/11 (Thursday) –  I tried taking it easy today wrapping gifts, getting ready for Santa’s arrival, and packing for the weekend.  We left for the Owen/Loyal area after the boys got home from school.

We spent the evening with the Eloranta family eating great food, visiting, eating more yummy food and taking the annual group photo.

12/23/11 (Friday) –  We spent the day with the Vaters.

12/24/11 (Saturday) – While we waited for my brother and his family to arrive at my Mom’s house we walked down to the pond to play on the ice.  Grandpa Jerry surprised us with sled rides behind the 4-wheeler.

Four of the seven grandsons in our family were together today.  We missed our other cousins this weekend!

12/25/11 (Sunday) – We were home Christmas morning.  The boys surprised me by sleeping until 6:45am!  After breakfast we opened gifts and both big boys got right to work at putting their new Legos together.  These were the largest pieced sets they have ever done.  Both with minimal help from us.  Charlie used his new container from Granny that has different sections to sort his parts.

Their new Star Wars ships.

Henry’s baby quilt was finished just in time for me to give it to him for Christmas.

Surprise!  Surprise!  My Candy Loving Boy was busy eating all the candy in his stocking and sneaking candy from other people’s stockings.

Graduation Quilt – Broken Star

Graduation Quilt – Broken Star

When I was in college and struggling my mom told me that I could pick out any quilt design and she would make it for me as a graduation present.  That was just the motivation I needed.  I looked through all her quilting books and found a Broken Star pattern with solids and in rainbow like colors and loved it.

After 18 years almost to the day I received my gift.  I get teary-eyed every time I look at this quilt.  I graduated from UW-Stout on December 18, 1993 and received my graduation quilt on December 17, 2011.


 Quilt Broken Star

As you can see it is beautiful! My mom did an amazing job.

In 1993, my mom had three 5-year-old girls to take care of, farm chores to do and very little sewing and quilting was done during this time in her life.

Once the triplets were older and she got back into sewing she has made many quilts and finished quilts that she started before the triplets.  In the past couple years, since my triplet sisters have been in college, my mom has made some very beautiful quilts for others and I have forgotten about this quilt.  This Broken Star Quilt was very difficult to piece and I remember her telling me that she was struggling with it.  I have always imagined us tackling this quilt together or that one day after she died I would find this unfinished quilt and have to finish it alone.

This is my mom’s story:

“I had a little trouble finishing your graduation quilt on time. I didn’t get much quilting done for years after the triplets were born. Once I did get back into making quilts, yours got put aside while I made others; even some for you.

“In 2009, I joined the Curtiss Corners Quilt Club, and someone suggested a “Pizza Box” project for 2010. Each participant was to put a pattern, directions, and fabric in a pizza box.  At the monthly meetings a person would take someone’s box home, make a block and return the box the next meeting. By January 2011 a person would have 12 completed blocks.

“You know how I procrastinate. Well, the night before the meeting I still hadn’t decided on what I would put in my box.  I thought an easy way to do this would be to put the fabric strips for the diamond in the box.  I had 11 of the 32 diamonds completed.  I put a finished diamond in the box as a sample for people to follow, and 12 baggies – each with the fabric for one diamond… I would only need to make 9 more.

“The very next weekend my friend invited me on a weekend quilt retreat because someone in her family had cancelled at the last-minute. I was so anxious to work on the Broken Star, and suddenly it seemed possible that I might actually finish it! That weekend I got all 9 diamonds finished and I started to put it together. It was a very difficult pattern and I’ll never make another like it, but it was very fun to quilt. I finished it in June 2011 and it was shown at the August Quilt Club show. It took 3rd place in the Pizza Box Category and 1st place for all Hand Quilted entries.”

Thank you, Mom! It was worth the wait!!!

Project 365 Week 50

Project 365 Week 50

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

12/12/11 (Monday) –  In last week’s post I mentioned that I lost one of the bags that I made.  I did a little bit of cleaning and rearranging to get the house ready for our Christmas tree and found my rooster bag.

12/13/11 (Tuesday) – Last weekend we had our “sign-up” day for the youth ski program that I do at Iola Winter Sports Club on Saturday mornings for kids that are 10 years old and younger.  I was pleased with the numbers of new families that will join us this winter.  In order to outfit the majority of the kids in more modern cross-country ski equipment (and warmer boots) I figured out that 14 pairs of skis with 3-pin bindings needed to be converted to Salomon bindings.  Phil did all the work!  Now, we are waiting for the snow to arrive!

My friend, Kat, came over after our kids were in bed to make a tool belt for her son for Christmas.  This is the first thing she has ever made!

The tool belt is adorable!

12/14/11 (Wednesday) –  Kat and I stayed up too late last night sewing and then visiting.  My day was shot, nothing was done around here except the bare minimum and no photos were taken!

12/15/11 (Thursday) –   I seemed to have forgotten that I am growing a baby in my belly because I am still tired from my late night on Tuesday night.

I did have a little energy to go to school for the boys’ Christmas program, make dinner and test more embroidery designs that I have on my sewing machine.  So I have been turning the “tests” into bags.


12/16/11 (Friday) –  I have shared photos of this quilt in progress.  I have titled this quilt “Grandma’s Garden”.  It is getting closer to completion.  I have filled in the spacer squares with flowers that my sewing machine does, pieced it together and put the boarders on the quilt.  The next steps will be deciding on the backing, basting it together, deciding on what quilting design to use and finally quilting it.

A couple of my favorite flowers on the quilt…

12/17/11 (Saturday) – My sister, Kayla, graduated from UW-Oshkosh and is now a Registered Nurse with a full-time job!  She has decided to work in oncology.  I am very proud of her!

I graduated from college 18 years ago this weekend.  My mom gave me my graduation quilt.  It was worth the wait!  Click here to read the story on this quilt.

Quilt Broken Star


12/18/11 (Sunday) – Jack spent the afternoon in the garage forging some projects with the older boys.  Charlie and Robbie made fire pokers for themselves.

Robbie’s fire poker is the shorter one and Charlie’s is the longer one.

Project 365 Week 49

Project 365 Week 49

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

12/5/11(Monday) – I did a test pattern on my embroidery machine of a poppy. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go or even how long it would take. My machine told me that this pattern was for 64,000 stitches and failed to mention that it would take almost five hours. Thankfully, I don’t have to sit there for all of those five hours. My only requirement once the machine is set up and started is to change the color of thread at the designated times.

The threads for the poppy design.

My machine in action.

The flower turned out much prettier than I expected so I decided to make a bag with it.

I also made a small zipper bag with an awesome rooster embroidered on it.  I don’t have a photo because I lost the bag!

I finally cut my last batch of soap.  I hope it will be dry for Christmas gifts.

12/6/11 (Tuesday) –   A friend wanted aprons for her daughters and daughter-in-law.  The daugther aprons match the granddaughter aprons I made in July.


This week I had my bible study on Monday night and came home to this on the table.   (This is an Origami Christmas Tree design.  Robbie used that design to make a sign for me to notice the note that he left me.)

Tuesday night I had a board meeting at the ski hill and came home to find this note.

12/7/11 (Wednesday) –  A friend asked me to make tooth pillows for her two girls.


12/8/11 (Thursday) –  While walking out to the barn to take care of the chickens, collect eggs and insulate the chicken coop window Henry said, “Wind in my face!  Is winter time?”

 You can see that huge gap where the snow blows in, what you can’t see is all the little holes all around the window.

Before insulation.

  While fixing the chicken coop window Henry told me, “My face needs gloves!”

I stuffed straw in the window and covered it with plastic.  I was almost done and we were both freezing and Henry was crying, “ME DONE!”

He was happier once we got into the house and needed to put the eggs away.

12/9/11 (Friday) –  Jack’s early Christmas present arrived today.  It is a TV with a built in DVD player for his exercise area.  He was using an old laptop for his exercise videos.  We have always used our computers to watch movies since we don’t have a TV in our house, until now, I think we will refer to it as a DVD player.

12/10/11 (Saturday) – Robbie and Charlie had their piano recital today.  Henry thought he should be able to go up on the stage to play piano too.

We took a family photo since everyone was in nice clothes this afternoon.

12/11/11 (Sunday) –  We cut down our Christmas tree from behind the garage.  These were some of the first spruce trees I planted during our first couple years here.  It is amazing how fast they have grown.  This one was slightly bent/damaged from the heavy snow we had in November.

Each boy got a turn to trim the trunk for easy sawing.

This is our smallest Christmas tree. I think it is my favorite mainly because I love Colorado blue spruce trees!

Project 365 Week 48

Project 365 Week 48

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

11/28/11 (Monday) – Henry has math skills!  He was watching and helping me fry eggs for breakfast.  We counted the three eggs and he told me, “Two eggs for me. One for Mama.”

11/29/11 (Tuesday) – I finished my zipper bag that matches my big sewing bag.

11/30/11 (Wednesday) – Henry and I met my friend Phil at the ski hill to peel potatoes, 100 pounds of potatoes, for Phil’s Lefse Making Party!  I am an experienced potato peeler because I peeled potatoes almost every night after school from 7th to 12th grade.

12/1/11 (Thursday) – I love how my little zipper bag turned out, so I made three more.  I am getting better at this and will try to make more in different sizes.

12/2/11 (Friday) – I met my friend and her son at the Stevens Point Library.   This was my first time in the children’s section.  It was wonderful!

12/3/11 (Saturday) – Jack took all three boys to Aunt Vlasty’s house for her annual St. Nick’s party.  This was the first time all three boys left me at the same time.

I stayed home.  I was gearing up to get a lot of sewing done while the house was quiet.  Guess what I did?  The most unusual things…cleaned the kitchen, swept and mopped, cleaned the living room, vacuumed the stairs, tons of laundry, fed the dogs and took care of the chickens.  I spent about 15 minutes on the computer (very unusual!), baked two pans of apple crisp, prepared a Quinoa and Black Bean Salad and then got ready for the lefse party.  By the time I got everything done I was so tired and my belly muscles were aching, I didn’t go down to my sewing room.  I took it easy at the lefse party, washed a few dishes and sampled all the food that was brought for the potluck meal.

In the morning Jack asked what kind of sewing I did while they were gone.  I told him I didn’t sew. I cleaned instead.  He looked around and said “What did you clean?”  Not because he isn’t an observant and appreciative husband, because the cleaning I did was only that “surface” cleaning that gets messed up once children are present for an hour.

It felt good to have that cleaning done.  I don’t regret spending valuable sewing time to do it.  I kept telling myself there are women out there in this world that sacrifice fun times for a clean house all the time and I am not one of them!

12/4/11 (Sunday) – Aunt Susie took the older boys to a donkey basketball game.  When she arrived the boys hid behind the door waiting to surprise her.