Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vacation with littles was almost the death of me.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you already know that the family and I spent the last few weeks in beautiful Montana/Wyoming/Idaho/Utah. The scenery - gorgeous. Family vacation - NEVER AGAIN. I'm going to show you some pretty pictures, and then I'm going to tell you how the trip REALLY went.

Most of this vacation got documented by my cell phone camera, so the photo quality here isn't super high, so you'll have to forgive me. 

Cliff Lake, Montana

Mama and baby bison parading down the road (and stopping traffic!) in Yellowstone.

Driving up the Beartooth Highway. Could it get more gorgeous? Answer: NO.

 Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. 

Crazy boiling thermal pool in Yellowstone, trying it's hardest to kill this poor tree. 

Buffalo crossing!

Boys ready to hike (aka the ONE moment of the trip when they weren't acting like heathens). 

Kayaking on Quake Lake.

Sawyer exploring our back yard on our first Montana morning. 

Northwest park boundary.

Waiting for Old Faithful to erupt. 

So, the trip highlights were: GORGEOUS scenery, a trip to Cooke City, Montana with Riley and Sawyer, lots of great wildlife spottings (grizzly bear, black bear with cubs, moose, tons of elk and bison, antelope, coyotes, etc.), hanging out with Char.

BUT.

Most of the trip involved children screaming and fighting, Bryan and I screaming and fight because the children were screaming and fighting, lots of time outs, kids trying to beat the crap out of each other, and tons of time trying to keep children in the midst of a tantrum from destroying the cabin. NOT. FUN.

This was the first time we've ever taken all three of the kiddos on vacation at once. So, where did we go wrong? Are all family vacations like that? Is two weeks too long? Did we go too far from home? How do you manage littles on a vacation  and still maintain your sanity?

Or, is the key just to leave them at home?

Discuss. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

My very own hand quilting lesson!

*Whoa - you guys have some awesome laundry suggestions! I'm still trying to figure out what is going to work best for us, but if you're interested in the topic, I STRONGLY suggest checking out the comments on this post. So many amazing, detailed comments on how you guys make laundry work in your homes! I'm so appreciative of the time everyone took to help me figure out a solution!*

A few weekends ago, I got my very own hand quilting lesson from the AMAZING Mary Dugan. If you ready quilty blogs, you might know her from Molly Flanders. Her quilts are absolutely DROOL WORTHY. She is really, truly an artist - from her fabric choices, to her piecing, and her AMAZING hand quilting, basically everything she does makes me want to be a quilter, and that's really saying something, because have you ever seen a quilt on this blog? (Hint: NO. Although I have finished exactly one, and have a few others in various stages of unfinishedness -and yes I did just make that word up - and two quilt patterns in progress.)

I am positively DROOLING over this Point Me quilt she did. I mean, AMAZING. She also has a great tutorial over on her blog with an alternative (read: easier and better) way of piecing the triangles. I have (delusional) fantasies of making a king size version of this baby for my bedroom, but Mary informed that that might be a little bit insane. :)

My cell phone photos totally don't do her work justice - head over her her blog for better images!



Anywho, my favorite fabric store held a lovely little event a few weekends ago (the same day I ended up jousting in a dress) to share quilt market photos, and Mary was in the shop giving hand quilting lessons! 


Fabric Heaven. 




Mary gave us a demonstration of her quilting, and then gave me a chance to try it. I've read about hand quilting on other blogs, and they all describe using a "rocking motion" to do the stitches, but honestly in my head I was just picturing a running stitch. Turns out, it's not at all like a running stitch! I don't think I would have ever understood how to do the stitch without someone showing me in person. 

These are my sample stitches. Mary swears that, with some practice, and in the context of a quilt, no one will notice that my stitches are a little wonky. :)


Do you do any quilting? I'm working on one right now inspired by this quilt, and am working on a couple of quilting designs of my own. 

Thank you Mary, for the fantastic quilting lesson!
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