Kelli’s Garlic Knots


A post from Kelli–

When Bonnie Hunter’s quilt Garlic Knots was published, I knew it was a quilt that I wanted to make.  At the time though, I was in nursing school with little time for anything but studying and sleeping.  I was also in a bit of a quilting rut.  I hadn’t made anything for a while and knew that I when I was ready, I’d jump back in, but thought that something new and exciting might help me make the plunge back in.

Fast forward a bit and here I am!  Just before one of our local quilt stores closed up, Mom and I stopped by and they just so happened to have a really good sale on fabric.  Mom started picking out a few pretty batiks and before I knew it, I had a pile that was quickly reaching my own height.  I didn’t really know what I was going to do with them, but they all looked really pretty and I figured I’d find something to make with them.

Recently I was going through some things and happened to find them both the pattern and the fabric within a very short period of time, so batik Garlic Knots it is!

Garlic Knots 2 (300x400)

I spent the end of last week getting the blocks cut out.  Then, this weekend during our little mini quilt retreat, I got all of the blocks sewn.

Garlic Knots 1 (400x300)


So far, I’m really liking how the blocks are turning out.  It took a bit for me to realize that mixing the colors up a bit can actually make the quilt more interesting.  I’m learning that stepping out of my matchy poo-poo box is going to be a good thing!

Today, I finished up cutting out the sashing parts.  For a little bit I was contemplating doing a different sashing because this one is sashed in a way that requires the quilt to be laid out before getting sewn together.  After a bit of a push from Mom, I decided to just go for it and put it together with the peiced sashing.

I have a pretty busy rest of the week and weekend, but my goal is to update you with the completed middle by next week’s post–With any luck, I think it’ll be pretty possible!

Happy (Late) Halloween-From Kelli


A post from Kelli–

This past weekend, I worked a few extra shifts and did a little bit of quilt shopping with mom.  It was a wonderful weekend, but I sat down after getting home from work on Sunday night and was exhausted.  Jason was watching a show and there was an advertisement for halloween!  Shoot!

I competely had forgotten about dressing up for work on Halloween.  Previously, I have always had atleast one, but up to four costumes for any given Halloween between the day of and going out the weekends before and after.

I knew that I needed something quick-and preferably cheap.  After a quick search on Pinterest, I had an idea!

I had a work meeting in Decorah on Monday, hit up The Depot to find a few things, and grabbed the rest of the supplies at Walmart.

Can you guess what I was?

Pig in a Blanket-Hanken (225x300)

I was a pig in a blanket!  I found a headband with pink ears on it and added a bit of pink felt behind them.  I made a pig snout out of a toilet paper tube and felt.  I had the shirt and leggings, but picked up a sweatshirt at the Depot and cut the arms off to use as leg warmers.  I also happened to have the Granny Square throw that I made into a cape.  Overall, I probably spent $5.00 so it was a win for me!

I was working at the hospital, so I wasn’t able to wear the cape all day, but I wore the rest of the costume and it worked out pretty well. I was easily able to flip my nose up and down and just wore it around my neck.

I also got quite a few compliments on it.  I didn’t win any prizes, but there were some awesome costumes from other departments.  But the best part was that I was able to make a few patients smile….And that I would consider an accomplishment!

Kelli Makes an Afghan


A post from Kelli–

For a long time, I’ve wanted to make an afghan.  I’ve enjoyed seeing the projects that my sister Kayla makes.  I’ve bought yarn many times with the intention of making a project, have gotten it started, but lost my place or not come back to it.  One night a few weeks ago, I was trying to kill some time while working a night shift and decided that I was going to find a pattern to make an afghan.  I had some yarn that I had bought a while ago that all coordinated that I had planned to make granny squares with, so I wanted something scrappy that I could use rather than have to go buy new.  I also wanted it to have a consistant pattern that I could follow or could just look at and know where I needed to start.

After a bit of searching, I found this pattern.

Lazy Waves Crochet Blanket Pattern

And my decision was officially made.

I dug out the yarn that I had been keeping and got to work.

After a few rows, I started getting super annoyed that I had to lug around all of the yard when I was doing just one row at a time.  I had wanted to do the stripes randomly, but lugging everything around was getting quite old and made me want to quit the project pretty darned quick.

I had wished that I could just have little rolls of yarn that would be enough for a row, and then realized that I could–I would just have to make them myself. So I got to work!

Afghan 2 (300x217)

My plan was to measure how much yarn I would need for one row, wrap it on a ruler, and tie it somehow so I would have a bundle for each row.

Afghan 3 (300x202)

And that’s precisely what I did.  The wrapped segments ended up being long enough to tie in the middle.

Afghan 1 (300x224)

I had no idea how big I was going to make it, so to start off, I just made 4 bundles of each color.  I have used almost all of them up except for three.  This time I ended up making 7 bundles of each color.  I think this will end up giving me a pretty decent size, but if not, I can always make more.

Afghan 5 (225x300)

After looking at it a bit closer, I can see a few spots where I made a small mistake in my numbers, but I decided to just leave it in there as it was about 10 rows until I realized it.  And it makes it a bit fun too!

I even tried to get Puppy to pose for a picture.  I took quite a few, but this is the best I could get–

Afghan 4 (300x225)

She always seems to hate pictures…Unless she’s sleeping!  Speaking of this little lady, today is her 8th Birthday!  When I originally got her, Jason wasn’t too fond of getting a dog, but I had just moved in and realized how often he was gone and hated being alone all of the time.  I pretty much sat down and told him we were getting a dog and he bucked it.  I told him that his other option was to come home more and spend time with me, so we got Puppycat 3 days later.  While I wish he would come home more often, I’d be pretty lost without Puppycat!

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I’d say she’s grown up a bit…and out a bit, but she’s the best dog ever!  Happy Birthday Puppycat!

The Kramer Kids Take on Houston!


A post from Kelli–

When I was in college for teaching, we were required to student teach for atleast 2- 7 week periods.  We obvioulsy had the option to student teach in northeast Iowa, but there was also the option to student teach in Houston.  I couldn’t understand or even fathom picking up and moving to Texas for a few months to student teach.  There were so many ifs and uncertain things I was sure it would drive me about nuts.  I didn’t know who would ever want to do that–I learned who though–Karl!

When he initially told us taht he was going, we all had mixed feelings.  Being gone in a new area, states away was a bit scary, but it was very much of a learning opportunity for him.  Back in August, Kalissa had mentioned going down to see Karl, but I had kind of brushed it off and didn’t really think anything of it, assuming plane tickets would be hundreds of dollars and that we’d need to be gone for a week.

Just a bit later, she messaged me saying that she found flights that would leave Friday, come back Monday, and would be cheap–$120 ish for a round ticket–How could I say no to that?!?!?!  After a bit of extra investigating and removing the “frills” of  a carry on bag, refreshments on the plane, and not able to guarantee we would sit together, we ended up getting tickets pared down to $80.00 for a round ticket!

After pulling a few strings at work and getting those 4 days off, I was ready to head out!  We each were able to bring a personal item–like a backpack or smaller bag.  I also got a medical bag for my sleep machine.

We all met at mom’s on Friday afternoon.

LEAVING (300x225)

We ended up flying through Spirit which is a pretty no frills airline–But we aren’t really frilly people, so it worked out great.  I even impressed myself and drove up to Minneapolis with assistance from my GPS. Kayla knew of a secured parking lot that we parked in and caught a shuttle to our terminal.  Our flight was originally going to leave at 8:30 or so, but ended up getting pushed back to closer to 10:45 which was frustrating, but I’d rather be a bit late and have a functioning plane.

We got in at about 1:30 in the morning and Karl picked us up.  We had a little snafu as the hotel informed me that they didn’t have a room that we could stay in for 3 days and they were going to make us switch on Sunday, but I brought out my Jo Kramer voice that I had packed in my back pocket and the magically got it all sorted out.

On Saturday, we went down to Galveston as I hadn’t seen the beach.  We found an amazing seafood shack and had lunch–and boy was it amazing!  I’ve never been one for too much spicy food, but my cajun seafood platter was quite splendid!

After lunch we headed out to the beach which was pretty spectacular!

BEACH 2 (224x300)

It was so cool to just sit and look out at nothing.  Kayla and I wadded in a ways, but mostly spent the afternoon chatting on the beach.  It’s really great how I feel like my siblings are more my friends rather than just my siblings.  And even though we all have a similar background, I don’t know that I would have picked them all as friends unless they were my siblings, just because of age and location, but I am finally able to get together with them and be friends rather than just siblings.

After a quick stop at the hotel for a shower, we grabbed an Uber and headed down the road a bit for some Mexican.  It ended up being less than a mile, so the Uber was cheap, but it also meant we could walk home.  The guacamole was AMAZING!  I think lots of it has to do with the fact that they are able to get fresh produce more readily, but boy was it good.  I was worried that they were going to have to roll me out of there for a bit, but I managed to get out on my own.  And they had $3.95 margaritas!  We definitely took advantage of those.

On Sunday we vegged out for a bit and headed to the Galleria which is a huge mall!  The boys ended up dropping us off for a bit while they went to a gun show in Pasadena!  We did a bit of shopping and then stopped for sushi in the mall.  The restraunt was super cool because you sat down and then the sushi rotated around on a little belt and you just pulled off what you wanted.  The plates were color coded to know how much money they were.

Sushi 2 (300x225)

It took a bit just to see what things they all had rotating before I picked out a few plates.

Sushi 1 (216x300)

Kalissa was quite intrigued by the concept too!

Sushi 3 (225x300)

Kayla ended up ordering a few things off them menu that weren’t on the belt.  She ordered AMAZING terryaki balsamic grilled brussel sprouts!  Seriously they were probably the best veggies I’ve ever had!

Sushi 4 (225x300)

And of course we had to take a sister selfie after lunch!

Sushi (225x300)

We really liked the sushi, but decided that it seemed a bit strange because we were more focused on grabbing the next plate and felt we weren’t able to have a good conversation, but we still had a good time.  We were also next to the ice skating rink so that was fun to watch too!

We grabbed some gelato while waiting for the boys to come get us and Kalissa to search for a necklace she had lost.

Gelato (225x300)

After looking at this picture, I have decided that I officially have my mom’s hands–minus the thumb ring.

We grabbed burgers for the boys on our way home from this cool little burger shack underneath an overpass.

Hamburger shack (225x300)

We ended up back at the hotel for a quick little nap and refresher before we went out for supper.  The first place we went to was closed, but we definitely found another AWESOME BBQ place!

BBQ (300x225)

I ended up getting a 2 meat platter and chose ribs and Czech sausage.  I also got 2 sides and bread!  Boy was it good!

After heading back to the hotel, we hit the sack a bit earlier as we had to be at the airport at 5:30 the next morning to head home.  Monday seemed to drag between the flight back and drive back home, but isn’t that usually the case?

It was a great trip and I’m glad that I feel like I can talk with my siblings as adults rather than the annoying little brother or sister.  It’s also really great getting so see how their lives are changing and their families are growing.  Karl was a great host and I was amazed with how well his driving skills are.  Without his expertise we would have probably stayed in the hotel and ordered out.

Overall–Would I do it again?  Absolutely!  Kayla and I were talking about maybe planning something next summer for just a few days.  I realized how much you can really fit in a personal item–and that really cuts luggage costs a bunch.  Will I be jumping at the boat to go anywhere soon, maybe not, but traveling is still in my sights!