Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When it's time to change...'ve got to rearrange.  I used to rearrange my living room all of the time.  I love moving furniture. When I was a kid, my mom rearranged all of the time.  My sister does it, my sister-in-law does it, my MIL does it and I used to.  My current living room is big, has a fireplace, a built-in bookshelf and has too many through-ways.  I also have a big, nasty, ugly, semi-circle, hand-me-down, sectional sofa. There's no changing the room.  There's really only one way to have it. I rearrange the shelf sometimes, but that's all I can do. 

So, what should I change?  I feel the need.  How about I change blog homes AGAIN?  I've been thinking about it for a while.  I moved to blogger for the ability to make $$ on the amazon affiliate program.  If I had a lot of readers that wanted to buy lots of stuff, it might work.  But, since I probably only have 3 or 4 readers, it's not worth it. I miss word press. I miss the ease of adding photos to posts. I miss the stats built into the dashboard. I also know that blogger is difficult to comment on posts without a blogger account, your driver's licence and registration, and a passport. So, just in case I have more than 3 or 4 readers that would like to comment, I thought it would be nice to move back. Back I go. I won't be posting here anymore.  You'll find future posts here.

Now, every blog post must have a photo. I'm sure I can find something to add. Hmmm. How about the big, awkward living room with the nasty, ugly sofa? If you have any ideas on covering that beast, let me know. It's so comfy and perfect for our family. I would rather make it work than replace it. However, it's not often that you find semi-circle slipcovers at Target.

If you're wondering why we have a room full of teens, Hilltopdad is a youth pastor. Lots of fun.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween & Hurry

Happy Halloween from the Hilltop Clan.  Hope you get lots of good candy.  Save the snickers for me.

The Matspeaks give-away at MaryJanes and Galoshes ends tomorrow.  Run over there and sign up to win.  I'm giving away 1 free mat to 2 lucky winners.   I've created many new mats including the Halloween mat above.  Browse through the store, I know you'll find something you love.  Everyone loves gifts that are personalized.  You could do a little Christmas shopping.

Hope you have a great day.
Love, the Geico Caveman, Flo from Progressive, Queen Guinevere, 2 cheerleaders and Tinkerbell

Monday, October 25, 2010

Good News and Reviews

Good News:
I finally have a real website and online store for Matspeaks.  My wonderfully talented brother flipped the switch in the wee hours of the morning. 

Matspeaks is my custom photo mat business.  I create unique and personalized photo mats for all sorts of occasions.  You can see them in the store.  Many of them can be customized with color choices and text. 

I am so thrilled to have my mats reviewed by Taylor of MaryJanes and Galoshes.  Run on over and check it out.  In fact, Taylor is hosting a give-away for me.  I'm giving away 1 custom mat of choice to 2 lucky winners.  You better scurry.

I hope you all have a great week.  Hilltopdad is on vacation, it's 70something degrees here and we're planning some good times.  Maybe even camping.  We'll see!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Don't ya love the sound of things being crossed off the list.  I'm a list maker.  I really accomplish more with lists.  I am more productive and I gotta say, I feel so good about myself when I look at a list with lots of check marks on it.

Things are getting checked off around here.  I finished this.
Simple block construction with straight line quilting.  This is the largest quilt I've ever made.  It's a pretty good sized lap quilt.  I was struggling so much with the quilting that I was beginning to think that it would be the last quilt I ever made.  I was so frustrated.  I discovered, after ripping out so many stitches, that my new Janome's presser foot pressure is just too much for quilting.  I used a walking foot and it still pulled the bottom layer until it was gathered.  The pressure is not adjustable on my model.  So, I moved over to my old singer, added more safety pins for security, and things went so much better.  I was at least able to finish and feel mostly good about it.

I finished the birthday gifts for my niece.  I made a fabric covered binder and a wallet that matches a bag I made for her a couple of years ago.  Convic is a nickname hilltopdad gave to her one day when she was wearing an orange and white striped shirt that made her look like a prisoner.  We usually just call her Vic, but Convic has caught on.

I finished the tutorial for the re-usable, washable feminine pads.  It will be in the shop later today.  The wallet pdf is being written and the binder cover pdf will be coming soon.

I have to say, even though the leaves are changing, school is in full swing, and we're watching our beloved Colts every Sunday, it still feels like summer.  Today will be the third day in a row above 85.  It should be 65.  I went to a wedding Saturday night.  Outside.  In October.  It was so beautiful.  It was a perfect night for such a special occasion.

Not only is it unseasonably warm, but it's been super dry.  We really haven't had much measurable rain for months.  We haven't had to mow our lawn since the beginning of August.  This dryness is starting to affect some of our usual fall activities.  Our county has been under a burn-ban for a few weeks now.

We had to have a "non"fire instead of our annual youth group bonfire.  There was not roasting of hotdogs or making of smores, not that we minded because it was too darn hot to want to eat.  Bizarre.

On to the next list.  Costumes?  Our church fall fun is planned for this Sunday, so this is costume week.  We have 2 cheerleaders, one Tinkerbell and a Queen Guinevere to make.  I was thinking of something for myself too.  Maybe I'll decorate myself like a bonfire.  It might be the only one we have.  Pray for rain!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Oh Yeah! I have a blog.

I guess I've been a little distracted. 

We've started school here...

...that takes up about 1/2 of my day.  With the start of school comes dance lessons and music lessons and with 4 girls, that's a lot of runnin'.  We've become the parents we said we'd never become.  We live on the road.  Good thing ballet is only 3 minutes away.

I've been working on getting a few more things on the walls.  We have so many big, blank walls and I have very few ideas for them.  I tend to like things simple.  One evening while I was playing around with some more mat ideas, this happened.  I finally got them printed and cut and on the wall.  I'm very happy with them.

Here's a close-up.  Each mat has the respective girl's name on it.

I've been working on this candy corn quilt inspired by crazymom's candy corn quilt.  Mine is not quite as elaborate (I like simple). I can't wait until it's finished.  I'm struggling with the quilting part.  I got a new machine for Christmas last year and still haven't found the right settings/tension for quilting.  It makes me say bad words. Sometimes out loud.

 It's going on that match this.

I've been working on a template/tutorial for reusable/washable sanitary pads.  The ladies from our church had a big sewing night to whip up a batch.  We're sending them to Ethiopia.  The cost of disposable pads there is so high that the poorest women and girls can't afford them.  Their cycle keeps them from work and school when they don't have proper protection.  We live in paradise, don't we?

To do?  Finish the candy corn quilt before another October passes my by, sew a couple of gifts for my niece who's turning 11, clean up this mess...

...and make at least one item from the "mommy-do-list"....

 neatly organized in this book...

by a 7 year old who claims I NEVER make anything for her.  Yeah right.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I miss it already.  I love summer.  I love lazy days, eating outside, sleeping in, family cook-outs, and little trips.  This summer was particularly care-free.  We had fewer obligations than usual.  It was ideal.

However, the end of summer is inevitable and the beginning of school makes me want to organize and whip these little students of mine (we are a homeschooling fam) back into shape.  Must return to schedule.  Must learn.  Must get dressed before lunch.  Must get back to doing chores regularly. 

Chores? Oh yeah, chores.  I've struggled through the years with chores.  How much do we give them? How hard should they be?  Should they be paid?  How do I keep it all straight?

I've learned that "keeping it straight" for me means charts and lists.  I accomplish more with lists and I feel more control with charts.  I don't have to decide everyday who does what.  The chart guides me.  The chart is my friend.  That's our chore chart up there.  I looked high and low for a chart that met our needs.  They were either too complicated, too expensive, or too ugly.  We can't have ugly now.  I finally made my own based on our particular style and needs.  It's simple.  Simple is goooood.  I divided the tasks that I wanted the girls to do into morning, evening, and weekly categories.  I made labels with their names on them and stuck them to magnets so each week, we slide everyone to a new row.  All I have to do is remember which way to slide the names.  Not so tricky, usually. :)

I'd like to share my 50's diner style chore chart with you.  I made a blank one that you can fill out for yourselves.  I also created a sheet of chore labels that you can cut out and tape to your chart.  Print them, share them, stick 'em on your blog, whatever.  They're yours.  I hope they bring you peace.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Free Pattern...well, it's almost Friday

Business first, there was no winner of the Melly & Me patterns. I'll save them for another time.

It's been months since I've linked up some free patterns. (See the sidebar for previous free patterns featured on one of my old blogs.) I finally had an opportunity to use a couple that I discovered and am loving them both. They're both for my sister and her new baby boy.

I found the blanket tutorial at You Can Make This. The tutorial gives you 3 options for trimming the blanket, ric rac, piping, or ribbon. I used the ric rac and I love it. I used a baseball print flannel on one side and some plush minky on the other. I gotta say, I'm not crazy about sewing with the minky stuff. I may have uttered a bad word or two. Probaby "crap". We've recently lifted the ban on using the word "crap". Beezer is taking full advantage of her new freedom, using it 2 or 3 times a day. Anyway, the minky tends to stretch and I found myself having to make some pleats to make up for it, even when using my walking foot. Probably won't use it again.

The other tutorial I used was from Noodlehead's Diaper Pouch. Her instructions were super clear and it came together just like she said it would. One think I love about the pouch is the mock binding on the top. The lining piece was 1/2 inch longer than the pouch itself. After you sew the two layers together, you push the lining into the pouch leaving 1/2 inch of it resting over the top, topstitching it into place. I love it. Anna has many more tutes on her blog. I can't wait to try more.

This is a little tote that I threw together for my aunt who is getting married next week, on her 60th birthday. What kind of wedding gift do you give to a woman who's lived in the same house for 40 years and can buy whatever she wants? I found a Moda charm pack called "Objects of Desire" which features shoes. Auntie loves shoes, so I grabbed 2 packs. The tote bag was the most useful thing I could think of. I like to make things that will be used.

Hope you have a good weekend. I'm off for a weekend in Amish country with my hubby to celebrate our 17th anniversary. Yeah!