Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Another Quilt for Another Baby

I remember back in 2014, I nicknamed it "the year of the baby".  For some reason we had SO many friends having babies and I was making/quilting/knitting like crazy to keep up.  Well, it seems like 2018 might be the rival year for the "year of the baby".  Luckily, so far, I'm keeping up.

This sweet baby quilt is for my dear friend's Lauren and Brian who are welcoming their second little one in just a few weeks here.  They didn't find out the sex, so I went gender neutral (which is always a little harder for me!).  I came across this cute little fabric panel and I knew it would be perfect for this new little addition.

You'll remember earlier this year I shared that I tried hand quilting for the first time and absolutely loved it.  It seems so much faster than piecing and entire quilt top, then doing the quilting on top of it.   These are simple, low stress projects for me, which, these days, is just how I like it.

I don't know, sometimes I get in a funk where I rarely make anything at all, then other times I pumping stuff out like it's my day job (trust me, it is not!).  Right now, I'm sort of in one of those funks but these hand quilting projects are helping me along.  Who knows, maybe my next one will be a hand quilting panel too!  We'll see.  What I do know, is there are more babies in the hopper for there will be more quilts coming!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

1 Family x 12 (May)

A few weeks ago we had our annul spring camping trip with the Brackemyer's.  This year we went to Devils Lake, Wisconsin and let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint.  The weather was great, the camping was great and the hiking was great.  I'll do a full blog post on it later once I can get the photos from Jamie, but for now, I wanted to share our family picture for May (before May turns to June and I'm behind *smile).

Friday, April 13, 2018


Oh gosh...somehow I forgot to post these pictures from Easter. 

We hosted Easter at our house this year which was fun, and also a lot of work.  We had a total of 14 people here including Joey/Andy and the kids, my parents, Dan/Ellyn and Erin and her new BF, Will.  It was wild and crazy but oh SO much fun!!

We ate lots of food, drank many drinks, played cards, laughed and generally had a great time.  It was so fun to have everyone out here to spend the holidays with us.  We have such a good space for entertaining (though...we DO need a new dining room set to fit everyone).  We're so thankful for a full house and family that loves us.

Maybe the best part of hosting Easter was that we did it on Saturday instead of Sunday meaning I decided we were going out to breakfast on Easter Sunday and a nap was mandatory for me, and the kiddos, a perfect Sunday, right?

A New Baby, A New Quilt

There are quite a few babies lined up for 2018 so I started early to try and get a head start.  This quilt is for my very best friend Dan's new baby daughter.  She's due in April and I was slow getting her big brother's knit blanket done a few years back so I knew I needed to do better this time around.

I have been wanting to give hand quilting a try, so when I saw this super fun panel from Cotton and Steel, I knew it was finally time to figure out how it worked and give it a try.  It's hard to see in these two pictures but at the end, there is a closeup of the quilting.  The nice part about this quilt is that it came together pretty quickly.  Since I wasn't piecing the blocks together the process started with quilting the three layers together (top, batting and back).

I used embroidery thread and a pretty big needle to just and stitch around each of the little characters on the front.  I used a sewing hoop and did this almost completely from the couch while watching TV.  I could watch all of my guilty pleasure crap TV and be productive at the same time, win win!

After finishing the quilting I made the binding and machine quilted it to the front...then hand stitched it to the back.  This is how I bind all of my quilts and I've been really happy with the results.  I added a little label to the back so she'll always know where it came from, grabbed a few pictures and packed it up to be mailed.  I can't wait to meet this sweet baby girl when she gets here!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

1 Family x 12 (April)

It's rare that I get TWO good photos in a month, so I'm posting them both.  The goofy one is just too good to pass up.  Happy Easter from the McGraths!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Wisconsin Dells (round 4)

Wisconsin Dells, it's where dreams are made (if you are between the ages for 2-6).  We've been going to the Dells annually now since Abby was about 1.5 years old.  It started with just us and the Stadermann family, but we quickly added the Brackemyer's to the mix and this year, we've hit our stride!!

We took half day's on Friday (and pulled Abby out of school early which hasn't happened before, so she was excited) and we headed up to the Dells early afternoon on Friday.  Let me tell you, that is the ticket!  We got there around 3pm on Friday afternoon which meant the kids had plenty of time to swim and run and play while the adults sat pool side, eating pizza and having a few adult beverages.  The six kids, ranging from Connor who just turned 6 a few weeks ago, to Hazel (2.5) all had the best time.  Lucy was there too, but at just 1.5, she wasn't overall impressed by the whole thing.  It's loud, a little cool, and the bottom of the pools are scratchy, so, I'm guessing by next year, she'll be all in all day!

My kids get so excited for this trip.  I think it has to do with the cold, dark, short days of winter and a glimmer of hope that putting on a swimming suit gives you.  Like, someday soon, we'll be back to pool side/lake side living...but for these two days in March, we can pretend its warmer than it is and that summer is closer than it actually is.

We let the kids be wild and stay up a little late on Friday night, knowing we still had all day Saturday to play and explore.  Since we've been going there for 4 years now, you'd think we'd have our routine all set and we'd remember which areas were best and for what reasons, but I think it took up until this year to finally get the routine down.  We started on Friday night at Wild West (easily the kids favorite area this year).  Then Saturday morning we went over to the Wilderness on the Lake and Cubby Cove.  The Cove area is much smaller (with no large slides) but the water is much warmer and it's usually less crowded in those early hours when everyone just wants to be at the pool.

We headed back to the condo for lunch and naps (for those who needed them, me included) and then made our way to Klondike Kavern with the lazy river and the biggest of the slides.  Unfortunately, that area was the most crowded, the lazy river was more like a CRAZY river (it was packed and moving very quickly) and the slides were all too big for our littles to go on.  So, we let the dad's get a few slides in and then hiked back to Wild West where we finished out the day.

All in all, that was the ticket!  That and the Friday afternoon arrival.  In fact, we were so happy with that that I think next year we may plan to stay on Thursday and Friday night's coming home Saturday so that we can avoid the crazy crowds.  It was so much more fun when it wasn't as busy...and I have a feeling the week nights are the ticket to that.

Since I've got more pictures than stories, I suppose I'll share a bad parent moment we had.  On Friday when we got there, the kids were so excited to just run and play that we had a hard time keeping them all together.  I forced everyone to take a few pictures before they ran in 100 directions but once they got inside the play area they were hard to keep track of.  Abby, Stella and Hazel all took off with Ryan following closely behind, so Jamie and I set to getting our tables all set and unpacking our stuff.

I sat down figuring Ryan had the kids and just started chatting and taking it all in.  A few minutes later I spotted Hazel walking towards us, tears in her eyes, but walking straight for us.  I figured she'd fallen or something and Ryan had sent her over to me.  I popped up to give him a wave, that I saw her and would take care of it, but I didn't see him.  I figured we was somewhere close and he could see me, so I grabbed her and started talking to her to see what was wrong.  A few seconds later a sweet life guard walked over asking "Is she with you? She was just walking around crying so I figured I'd follow her until she found someone she knew". Mommy moment for sure!  I had no idea where she'd come from, or where Ryan was.  I figured he was worried about her too, so we set off to then find him and Abby.

Well, turns out the big kids ditched her inside the maze of tunnels and steps so she figured out how to get down (alone?  EKK!) and came to find me.  Ryan said that once they got inside it was trying to chase a herd of wild cats, which, I get it!  It is!  But still, I felt terrible for not keeping a closer eye.  But, luckily it turned out ok, thankfully!  And, kudos to that life guard who knew enough to watch her until she found us.  For her, I'm so thankful!  (I promise we did a better job of watching them....and teaching the bigger kids to stay together, after that point).

All in all, another great weekend in the books.  I've got tons more pictures to share, so keep reading if you want to see what else we were up to this weekend.