Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Little Mouse Story

We have a sad little visitor.


He wonders if a little kid could take him home for Christmas.


He stares out the window waiting.  Maybe Blue Bird could take me to my new little friend?


Oh no!  Blue Bird has flown south!


The mailman has already been here, so he can't deliver me... :('s cold even with my super warm red scarf.  Better head back inside...

Snowman says he knows a secret...lean in a little closer...he says my new little friend will be at the Christmas party!  Ooooooh I can't wait to meet them!  I better go pack my blankie and my pillow.




Monday, December 21, 2009 in the cold midwest!

Max decided to try on my hat... cause it's warm, Mom...

And a post could not be complete without the latest Oscar-cuteness.  We do this each morning as Max and I eat breakfast together.  He tucks in under my arm and with big puppy brown eyes looks up at me and patiently waits to see if I will give him a bite of eggs.  Little turkey!  Update:  LOL!  I loved this picture so much, I posted about it twice!  DUH!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Adventures of Oscar Continue..



Mom, you need to go with me on this..I need your sock.

Fine ... you won't give it up...I will yank... and yank...


Now I will bring it up to my spot on the couch and chew away! Haa Haaa HAAAAA!

My mommy cannot resist me!  Each morning I sit by her while she eats breakfast with my wrestle-buddy-Max.  I think I might get a treat if I keep looking this cute...   

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gosh, not blogged in a month! New Quilt Done!

Shame on me!  I see that I have not blogged in over 3 weeks!  Things have been busy around here!  I got a new sewing machine and kitchenaid mixer...gadget girl strikes again!  Both are things I have been wanting for a very long time! 

Kitchenaid Mixer - Made my first pecan pie with homemade pie crust...YUM.  I made homemade pasta and turned that into cheese ravs.  Again, YUM.  I am pretty stinkin' proud of myself! 

Sewing - Here is my first official quilt since I started back quilting...


It was from my class with Annie Smith - Pickle Road Garden.  It's about 60" by 60". 

Here's a little project that I finished up tonight.  It's a little notebook holder.  Found the free pattern from Three Creatives

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I also got done building our Willow RIver Piecemakers Quilt Guild website - go check it out at

I also have a new friend that has similiar vision issues like I do.  Very cool getting to know her!  A fellow guild member got us together.   You just never know what a small world it is!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mommy, why are you so busy in the kitchen?


Well, Oscar-boy, it's like this...There's a big holiday coming and it's also hunting season so I get to do lots and lots of cooking.  So what's a girl to do?  Get some honkin' serious tools that's what!  Drum roll please......


 Ooooh isn't it pretty?!  My refurbished Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer and it's little sister a Kitchenaid 750 Food processor!  And folks - if you roll out anything even once a year - get rid of the stupid rolling pin you have and get this french one on Amazon for like $14 - it rolls like a DREAM!!!!!!

I will never, ever, ever, ever buy whipped cream again cause - holy toledo is fresh just amazing!  That pie is a key lime I made for Scott (his favorite).  All of this is also brought to you by America's Test Kitchen.  I have in the oven right now some home-made corn bread and soon will be going in a deep dish pepperoni pizza with home-made dough. 

The timer just went off, so toodle doo!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

HBin5 Book Giveaway Winner! - Congrats Melanie!

Thanks for everyone's comments! 

Very scientific drawing of the name out of a mixing bowl happened this morning with my little guy - Melanie is the big winner!

Melanie - just send me an email through my blog with your contact info. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Scissors Cramp

Now that I am a full-time SAH Mom, I started volunteering at Max's school once a week.  I work with the 4th grade teachers in the morning and the Art teacher in the afternoon.  This morning I worked on a TOP SECRET project that involved red, yellow and brown felt.  Beaks, gobblers and feet were cut and cut and cut....6 classes worth!  I also got to sort 1400 suckers for this same project...took me a while...but can you start to see feathers?

This afternoon - it was tissue paper cutting time for the 1st graders decoupage lamp shade project - my right hand is a little tired!  The art teacher has promised to set aside a lampshade for me cause I want to make one!  The first graders are so stinkin' cute!

Well water is boiling over on the stove - better go!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Yummy HBin5 Bread: I am a winner - you could be too!


This beautiful photo of gorgeous HBin5 bread is from the very talented, Mark Luinenberg - (ok this post took longer to write cause I fell into the black hole of checking out his portfolio...the puppy on a harley- so cool - this guy has got his eyes open - )

So I am now taking part in a great baking group for the Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  They have signed copies of the book for give-away to members.  Can you believe it?  I am the first winner!  Yeah!

To spread the wonderful yummy breadness around, I am going to give-away my un-signed copy to folks who comment on this post.  Umm, I have opened and read it cover to cover, but it is in like new condition cause I have not spilled anything on it yet..Just sayin'. 

Need to comment by Saturday, Nov.7, 12:00 PM CST.  If you are international, I am on a budget so it will go as economically as possible...Think that covers the fine print!  It's my first giveaway, so patience please!  Don't give me your personal info on the post, just check back when I will announce the winner Sunday, Nov 8th - I'll get the winner's info then. 

Go check out Michelle's blog's - Spend a Buck Farm and Big Black Dog.  Beautiful photography and she's a pretty good writer to boot!  BTW, if you are interested in joining our friendly baking group, Michelle is organizing all of that, so contact her through her blog.  BIG THANKS to Michelle for doing all of that work!

Ok - I am off to put my first batch of 10 Grain bread into the oven...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

First of Many Felted Slippers

They start out as really large, kinda mis-shapen blobs and with a little water and dryer time....


these!  Aren't they fun!  Super comfortable and not too hot, just right!  Kara got the first pair, now I have about 10 more pair to make.  Oscar-boy has a tendency to LOVE my slippers. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall Creative Stuff 'Round Here!


I have finished 2 of the 4 center blocks.  Look at all those points!  I think I did a pretty stinkin' good job - Annie's teaching probably helped a little bit - :)  It's a 12 1/4 inch block, so those little corner blocks are literally only about 3 inches!  Little, little piecing! 


I had a little fun in kaleidscope land today! I also finished up my first felted slipper sock this weeked - hadn't picked up knitting in a while, so that was nice.  Will post pics after they are done!


Finished this little guy and finally got a pic to post - used Neo Color II to "paint" the pumpkin scene.  Had found a free embroidery fall pattern here to follow.  Very fun and relaxing to do!  Plus got a little practice with machine quilting.

Off to finish the other two center blocks for Pickle Road.  (It's named after the fabric line by Mark Lipinski...)


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcome Fall! Halloween Quilt Done!

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I love these little candle holders I got at Target - aren't they cute!  Can't believe it's October 1st already! 

Happy Birthday to Grammie, Papa Butch and our own little Oscar - we won't say how old the adults are, but Oscar is the big 1 today!


My halloween quilt has been done for awhile, but finally got it up today with all the other fall chotchkie's.  No really pattern, just started playing with felt, glittery iron on's from Micheal's and embroidery floss.  First machine quilting I have ever done - let's just say it's a good thing you can't look at the back!  I like it up on my fireplace!

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Monday, September 28, 2009

FOB's and Rasberries!


Grandma's salt and pepper shakers look onto my hard work!  I don't ever remember her putting up raspberry preserves, but I do remember her pillowcases with embroidery.  What I wouldn't give to have a few of those now!  This is my first attempt and lots more practice is needed, but I like it! 

Now let's all cross our fingers that at about 3:00 tomorrow when my 24 hours of set time has completed, that I have honest to goodness for the first time ever made my own JAM! 

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Other notes - We celebrated Grammie's birthday a bit early - I made her a library book bag and a cute little needle point clutch (no pic..duh!)  It was so cute cause I used some swarovski hot fix crystals for the first time on it!  Those can be addicting!  This is the birthday girl, Max and Oscar-boy. 

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On the bag, it's from Alica Paulson's Jane Market Bagpattern - I did my first needle turn applique and then hid all of my mistakes with some embroidery!  Smile - that embroidery is comin' in handy!  When I did the panel, I did not take into account how the flower stem would mostly be on the bottom of the bag....Oh well - another lesson!

And the back...

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Artistic Photo Quilts by Charlotte Ziebarth

While Maxi Fortend is all about unfocused fun, I am finding I do need a bit of focus!  There are just too many fun things to do!  So,  I have seen folks do book reviews and I thought, yeah, that sounds like something I could do!  Hmmm, focus found! 

Here goes! C&T Publishing has many, many wonderful books and I just got this one in yesterday's delivery. 


Artistic Photo Quilts by Charlotte Ziebarth. 

I paged through it last night and as I was updating my blog, it is already giving me lots and lots of ideas on how to use the pics from this summer! I love photoshop and quilting, so how much greater can that get?

So my focus for the next week is to dig into this book and then post my results.  I'm kinda excited! 

Mom, ya better not blog this...


Now, I ask could I not?  Your 9 year old picks you a flower and you have a camera in your would be a crime!


My two cuties got a little play time in at the lodge this past weekend.  Oscar-boy has a tendency to take off wildly if he is not on a leash. (Wouldn't you?) A spur of the moment decision, I let him go and he ran with abandon up and down the field.  Max got into the act and soon, the dog was in the pond up to his chest.  Well, there's water there and I'm thirsty!  No pics of the wet, messy puppy....

My father-in-law put in wildflowers this spring and they are blooming!




Monday, August 17, 2009

Hexagon Piecing Madness!

My grandmother had a quilt that was made out of impossibley small hexagons - from the 30's?  I have seen lots around on the internet and tonight read Alicia's post about how she is having some fun!  I will make one of these someday...cause if Grandma can do it - I can do it!  All fo the quilts on this page are beautiful - but in particular, Cheryl P's and Joyce M's are fabulous!  Happy viewing! 

Yum, Yum, Double Yum!

If you are wondering about wanting a new cookbook for the fall - I must recommend The Lady & Sons, Too! and/or The Lady & Sons-Savannah Country Cookbook.  Both are by Paula Deen from the Food Network.  I have had these now, for probably 2 years and have made several of the recipes.

WARNING - these are not recipes for clean eating!  These are stick to your ribs, use real butter, sour cream, etc! 

I searched Food Network to save me some typing, but these recipes were not in there.  I made them for the first time tonight - thus the Double Yum! 

Easy Herb Rolls - Serves 6-8

One 12 oz package refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

1/2 cup melted butter

2 tbs (or to taste - I think I doubled...we love blue cheese!) blue cheese

2 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp of minced garlic, mined chives dried tarragon

1/2 tsp dried oregano & celery seeds

1 tbs onion flakes

Preheat oven 375 degrees.  Cut the biscuits into quarters.  On a greased baking sheet arrange the biscuit pieces into an 11 in long loaf.  I should resemble a loaf of french bread.  In a small bowl, stir together all of the rest of the ingredients.  Spread the herb ed butter over the loaf and bake for 18 to 20 minutes until golden.

Notes - I used onion powder - 1/2 tsp, cause no flakes and did not have tarragon either - still yummy!  I quartered the biscuits and then just kind of mooshed them together so there was peaks and valleys - the better to grab the great herb and butter sauce!  The outside edges did get done sooner, so I tore those off and popped the rest of it into the oven to finish getting golden.  Each little quarter pulls off into it's own bite.  You could totally have this bread with a great salad and it would be plenty filling! 

Recipe #2 - Chicken Breasts in Sour Cream Sauce - the most TENDER chicken breast I have ever made!!  Serves 4-6

8 slices of dried beef (in a jar)  You can find this in the same aisle as tuna in store,

8 skinless boneless chicken breast (7 oz) each.  I usually get the bags of breasts and they are HUGE - so cut those in 1/2.

4 slices of bacon or 1 slice per piece of chicken...

1 c sour cream

1 10 1/2 oz can of condensed cream of mushroom soup - I would actually get the low sodium, because the dried beef is salty...

2 cups of fresh mushrooms sliced.  (I like to coarsely chop these, so you really get good bites of mushroom)

Preheat the oven 300 degrees.  Lay one piece of dried beef on each chicken breast and wrap with 1/2 slice of bacon.  Place in a 13 x 9 casserole dish, seam side down.  Mix sour cream, soup and mushrooms together.  It will be thick, but the juices from the chicken will thin it down and make a great gravy!

Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours - YEP, you need time with this one.  Serve with rice.

Well that does it for recipe sharing!  Paula Deen rocks!  We are trying to lose a bit of weight around here, but I just need to make a good dinner, especially with school starting in a bit.  Plus, gosh - I think I ate 1/4 of the breast and was totally full. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First Art Quilt - It looks like koolaid spilt all over it.

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Originally uploaded by Maxi Fortend
Yes, those are the words out of my lovely husband. From the Max-boy, mommy it just looks too muddy, not crisp. No offense. LOL - well, who cares! My son, the ART CRITIC. It's done and you have to start somewhere! It was TOTALLY an experiment from start to finish, just took some fabric and started using plain markers, pens and water colors. Stitched it up when I saw a flower theme happening, got some hand quilting practice (it's been a decarde) and then added beading to it - again, to learn some techniques. I am going to make a photo album on facebook here in a bit, so there are more pics to see. It actually looks alot better when it's folded, so I am going to add some elastic and make it a journal cover. Max thought that was a great idea and thougtht I should name it "Kelly's Creative Art Quilts" in bubble letters, no less. Bubble letters are cool since he learned them last year in 3rd grade - that would save it!

Cool Quilt Designer and Great Giveaway!

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Go check out this wonderful blog and her great designs!  Being a fellow blogger, I get that the 200th post is a big deal! 

Sipiweski Quilt Designs Giveaway!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Let's go have a picnic!

When I was growing up, I lived across the street from acres of ponds, fields and forest. It's now a housing development, but I will never forget the sun beating down on me, the smell of the grass and the feel of the paper bag lunch I was carrying on my adventure! There used to be a farm house down by the ponds and it was burned up in a fire, all that remained was a big concrete block with stairs going up to it. Magical place it was! All sorts of imaginary stuff happened there! I would go with friends and sometimes just by myself. Where we are now, we do have some trails to explore, so off we went today Max and I. Max lasted about a 1/2 hour and then his butt fell asleep from sitting on the ground. I guess it's just not the same when your Mom goes with! :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Super-Pitcher Max & Daddy-Coach

JulyAug 09 pics 16825 I posted the pics finally to flickr, but I need to capture the super-cool, adrenaline pumping last inning of the 2009 Pony League Tourney!  Score is 6-4 and it's the last inning.  Max's swing was a bit off, so no hits for the boy.  Kids start to go to their positions and I notice Max is warming up with Scott to pitch.  I am like...uh oh...I want this season to end on a happy note...should he really pitch?  You have to understand that when Max pitches well, he pitches REALLY well.  When he is off, is he REALLY OFF.  So Scott comes in from the warm up and I ask him what's up and he says, I think he'll be ok, he was really throwing well.  I am on the EDGE of my seat.  BAM, strike one, BAM, strike two, BAM - strike 3!  Second hitter is now up, he strikes, second pitch, gets a grounder that Max catches and throws to first.  2 Outs!  Now the 3rd hitter is up!  REPEAT OF HITTER #1 - YEAH!!!!!  Was I ever screaming my head off.  THAT is the way to end the season!  Aren't they cute?  (Dad is a great coach, but can get a little wound up.  They worked almost every night for an hour this spring/summer on pitching, hitting, catching.)

Have you Swaptree'd Yet?

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Yes, I did talk about swaptree recently... (facebook?) Anyway - I have been using it now for a couple of weeks and whew!  Pretty cool!  I am a book-aholic.  Admitted and will not recover.  So, I went downstairs to the bookshelves and snagged some books I knew I would never read again and logged into my account on swaptree.  Right away it said I could swap for over 8000 items.  I scheduled some swaps and now I am routinely sending out 2-3 items a day.  I am starting to get items back and everything is going really well!  No surprises, good quality, fast delivery.  What's so cool is, no need to run to the post office, you can print a postage label right on the site.  I am guessing they make a little profit off that, but jeez - for the cost of one hard cover book, I am getting 11 things swapped.  They have music, video games, DVD's.  Go check it out if you have a pile of books and you never know what you could get! 

Serenity Weekend - July 2009

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Originally uploaded by Maxi Fortend
Doesn't just look peaceful? This is the view walking down to Marilee's dock. What a wonderful place and relaxing weekend. Myself, Marilee, Monique and Ann had some shopping fun at Bargain Bills, lots of great food, lots of great talks and got to hang with the Josie-puppy. Our pontoon rides were awesome too! Can't wait for next year - it's already on my calendar!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rain & Green beans!

What a rainy few days we have had.  You would think then that I have gotten lots of projects done?  Ran out of floss for my first quilt binding, so we will be out and about today and will pick some up.  Did get my living room all moved around.  Max and I like it, Scott not so much, but he does not spend as much time in it as Max and I, so too bad, so sad, it's staying that way!  :)

In the brief time between rain showers, I was out checking on the garden while Oscar joined me and I found 3 cucumbers (1 is a snack for some little guy - little bits being eaten - kind of cute!) 5 little green beans (which I ate right there as I was searching for more) and lots and lots of little green tomatoes.  The plants are very strong and healthy, just need some heat to really get them going!  Note to self, next year you need to rabbit proof and not put the green beans behind the tomatoes - doh-doh bird! 

I have tons of pictures that need to come out of the camera - great girls weekend and I don't know what else is on to get another cup of coffee and make french toast for the boys.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Two Creative Studios Giveaway!

I am already wondering what prize I will win!  *Wink!*   I had seen ads for Two Creative and had meant to go check them out, but not gotten around to it.  I am out on Flickr looking at Convergence Quilt examples and then went to CT Publishing's sets and then saw beautiful work by Sue Bleiweiss.  So I spend a GOOD amount of time on her site and end up seeing that she's apart of Two Creative.  WHEW!  It truly is a small world black hole out there! 

Anyway!  Go check out their website (Monique, yes you - go check it out...Sue is a fellow etsyian.  I see lots of uses for your glasswork in collage! )  and sign up for their newsletter.  Maybe you will win a prize with me!  :) 

Two Creative Studios - go there now! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kelly's gone into a black hole!'s true.  I am taking a brief moment to escape the black hole and well, write about it.

It's the quilting and needlwork black hole on the internet.  Gosh you say - that's just stinkin' boring. 

NOPE - not to this gramma in a 40 year old body!  I actually made my first quilts about 11 years ago and now that I am semi-retired from professional life - I am looking to get back into it. 

Oh my...

Has it grown!  Worried I can't make it to a quilting class cause I don't drive anymore - no worries, just take one online.  Worried that I won't be able to understand a pattern - communities and websites galore to help you.  Can't make it to the store to buy fabric?  HAH!  Just visit your online independent retailer and waaa laaaa - fabric galore!  Can't see quite that well anymore?  Magnifiers and special lamps up the ying yang!  YEAH!!!!!!!!   

There's nothing like going in person to a store, but it can help you research and decide what you really want to work on.  Well, maybe it helps you determine the first 20 projects or so.  Did you know that active quilters start 14 projects a year?  I watched an online show where the guest COMPLETES 20 full-size quilts a year.  Sue Garman is her name. 

So what, you say?  SO THAT"S STINKIN" UNBELIEVABLE!!!!  Amazing..

Well, I need to finsih up this post and LOG off this computer cause, I need to cut the fabric for someone's surprise.  Keep ya posted!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Take time to look up...and down!

Our friends have a wonderful cabin on Lake Vermillion and we just got back from a very relaxing 3 day weekend.  We took the boys to the 1974 spot (it's a secret so no one will know exactly where we were...)


Laying down on the hillside while the boys fished, I turned my head (after taking just a wee bit of a nap) and here's what I saw -


Look up and here's what I saw!


The photo does not capture it, but the clouds were moving very fast, even though where I was laying was fairly protected from the wind.  It was so stinkin' cool to watch the clouds morph and mist and literally it felt like they were descending down on me.  I made the boys come over and lay by me to check it out. 

So lesson here - gosh, take a nap in the sunshine and then look around you cause you never know where you'll see beauty!

Last shot for this post - field of wild flowers at this same spot - so fun to photograph!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yummy Pizza & Best Bread Ever!

So I came upon a book about bread at The Chef's Gallery called Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.

It's like $30 there, so I think, I'll check it out on Amazon.  Ends up being a 2 week wait.  So I am poking around on the author's website and blog and it looks so stinkin' good, I start looking all around for another online place to order.  End up going with B&N, I think - anyway - That's the power of a good blog and when you can't drive anymore - thank the good technological lord that we have e-commerce! 

So I have made the "boule"  and also the "olive oil bread."  We had friends over on Saturday night and I made pizzas.  And I quote "This is the best meal I have ever had here! Like this is even better than some of the fancy pizza places in town..."  Well, that can be taken a variety of ways ;) but, I chose to take it as a supreme compliment! 

I made BBQ Chicken, Quattro Formaggi, and good old Pepperoni for the little guys.  Of course I was so busy making them, I did not take pics.  But they looked great - just like the fancy wood fire grill places!

In the fall, the authors are publishing a "healthy" bread book.  I have pre-ordered (and I never do that...)

Off to volunteer with Max's summer camp tomorrow.  Our bus company is letting me tag along on the bus.  I think Max is still little enough where we can get away with this being "cool."  We are going to the local swimming hole.  Max informs me that he would prefer I do not swim.  HAH!  Like I am puttin' on a bathing suit in front of a bunch of 9 year olds!!  Wish me luck!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Friday!

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Every spring, Jill and I go to Bluefin on the north shore.  It's 4 days of hiking, eating and relaxing that I cannot miss.  This pic was from our last night - it's the view from the Bluefin Grill.  It had been drizzly off and on that day, but we were rewarded with a double rainbow!  

If you want to head up there with a friend - You want 16 - it has a full kitchen, living room and sleeping loft with 2 twin beds.  It's been newly renovated too, so it's nice!  Check their website, we take advantage of their buy 2 nights, get one free. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Got to Lego of it...

Sorry - cute kid stuff will just be apart of my blog, cause I have a cute kid.  I have the right to be's the mom-deal!  Max has had a fascination just like any other kid with LEGOS!!!!  They are EVERYWHERE - only to be sometimes corralled in the ottoman in the living room or storage containers in his bedroom.  Not little storage containers, big those you store your bulky winter sweaters in!  I will never, ever forget the sensation of those little squares digging into my tender instep.  He'll make the big set, but more often than not, it's big-time imagination with just a handful of blocks.  Case in point - this lovely creation...


There's his clay dog he made with Kathi - he's got a kitchen, bedroom, bath, living room with flat screen TV and there's even a computer in the kitchen.  I wanted to capture at least one of these creations to represent the HUNDREDS he does!  He'll sit there for hours, talking out loud with complex scenarios, cast of characters..pretty entertaining listening for a mom!