Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I am a Goddess of Multitasking.

It's only Wednesday and my week feels 12 days long already. Monday was scouts, the last meeting before we bridge. I needed to figure out badges and outfits to order in time for the ceremony. Tuesday I had a faculty meeting after school and Anna had a talent show that lasted until 8:30! I'm supposed to order supplies for next year in the next two weeks, but I don't yet know what I'm teaching. I actually graded 38 chemistry tests while talking to my sister on the phone last night! Today was our usual marine science club meeting at lunch which left me nodding off while answering e-mail this afternoon. Thursday is my busy day with ballet gymnastics and chess, and I'm wondering when I can schedule time to breathe. I need to write finals this weekend, and do some curriculum mapping thing for two classes. 4 more days for seniors and 9 more for everyone else before exams start. Is there a light?
My husband hopped on a plane for Denver this morning and couldn't have been out the door for more than half an hour before my daughter she decided her tummy felt sick and needed to stay home. I promptly put her on the bus and got started on the rest of my day, waiting for that call from the school nurse saying she had thrown up all over the playground. It is an unwritten rule in my house that no one is ever sick unless one parent is out of town. My most memorable experience was earlier this year when my son vomited all over me 3 minutes before school bus time on a day I was scheduled to take 20 marine science students on a seining trip to the Indian River Lagoon. Thank goodness for nearby friends who are stay-at-home-moms.
Everyone seems stable and healthy at the moment, and we are going to have an exciting dinner at CiCi's Pizza before early baths and bed.
Amongst all this fun, I should be cleaning and doing laundry because we are dangerously low on underwear and tripping over stuff. Instead I got Carolina Crossroads out for basting and started planning a Girl Scout service project to make quilts for the elderly. I'm really excited about the idea. We all went Christmas caroling last year at a local nursing home. I wanted to go back this year, but bring quilts for the residents in wheelchairs. One of my running partners has a grandparent at the facility, so I'm going to make it a multi-troop activity and try to make a quilt for every resident. I'm thinking that 36 inches by 45 inches (WOF) makes a good wheelchair sized quilt. Now I have to decide whether to let everyone choose their own pattern or pick the same thing for everyone to simplify things. I even thought about doing a quilt as you go strippy quilt which should go really quickly. The girls could all pick their own colors. Then I have to figure out how long it will take an 8 to 12 year old girl to actually make a quilt and structure the workshop. I think my first step will be to make a prototype and send it in to see if it is the right size. After that, I'll pin down a few of the details and do a little planning. If everything goes well in the first phase, we can start working on quilts for beds of residents who are not in wheelchairs. I'll have to find out what size a hospital bed is......

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Just In Time

I finished step 2 of the OC mystery just in time. I logged on to peek at e-mail and bloglines had an update from Bonnie with step number 3 already! I've got 165 of step 2, so that should leave some extras to play around with. We still haven't cut into the yardage for this quilt, but I'm liking the way all my bright scraps are playing together. I am pondering the idea of making two bunk bed sized quilts for my youngest who sadly has a (gasp) store bought comforter on her bed right now.
The pine wood derby was a big hit, and the library book sale was productive as well. We topped off the evening with our usual Sunday pizza night. It's 8:46, and everyone is in bed but me. I did a quick 5 miles with one of my running partners and am now freshly showered and snuggled up in a cozy bathrobe. I have bindings to sew down on two quilts, and sole possession of the remote control. Sometimes life is good.

Working Hard

My husband has started to remodel the bathroom and the destruction of one room, has somehow managed to track stuff all over the house. We spent weeks looking at different tiles and fixtures and planning out exactly where everything will go. Nobody can swing a hammer in the house without everyone getting in on it, so much fun is being had by all.
I ran a 5K yesterday morning, followed by a long shower and lovely nap, but then I finally sat down to finish quilting the pinwheel quilt. The binding is even on, but still needs to be hand sewn. I think I like the back of this quilt more than the front, especially because everything on it was leftover from something else. The Churn dash in the middle is from the baby quilt I made for my first daughter who is almost 9 now.

I got a package of scraps in the mail on Friday, and spent the evening turning them into strips and squares. I find cutting fabric to be so relaxing. Something about taking a big bag of cast offs and turning it into something useful is very pleasing. There were a bunch of pink bits that I can use in the quilt I have planned for my niece, and some bigger pieces I can use for more OC blocks. I think I have enough now, but I wanted a few extras to play around with.
Part of the family has gone to race pine wood derby cars, and I'm taking the rest to a library book sale. Ice cream has some how found its way into our plans, so I'd better get moving. I want to get my Carolina Crossroads quilt basted this evening, but I should plan tomorrows scout meeting and start working on final exams. Summer vacation is so close I can almost taste it!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fabric Goodness in the Mail

They were having a really good sale and Z&S Fabric. I'm a sucker for a really good sale. I was focusing mainly on the greens, because I am pondering a green Irish Chain for the master bedroom. We have a green thing going on in there. The others I got because they were a really good price, or I just thought they were cute. Once you are paying for shipping, it doesn't make sense to order just one or two pieces, right?
We are hosting a tiger cub meeting tonight so I need to go clear my sewing off of the dining room table. We've never hosted the tiger cubs before, so I should try to make the house look presentable. The girl scouts have been to my house enough times that I don't worry as much anymore. I've already cleared a space in the study, so I'm halfway there already. I even dropped a load at goodwill today, so I am feeling very virtuous. I made another batch of OC blocks, and managed to get the new fabric washed and partially ironed and folded. Not bad for a school day.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I've been tagged

Candace has tagged me. (Look how clever I am in figuring out how to do the link )

Here are the rules:

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3 Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Here are Seven Random or Weird Facts About Me:

1. I am a middle child, married to a middle child and therefore swore I would never have three children, thus producing another middle child. Guess how many I have?

2. My left leg is half an inch shorter than my right leg. I found this out when I was training for my third marathon and started having back problems. I saw a sports medicine guy who gave me a lift for my shoe and I never had back trouble again.

3. I have a sticker on my car that says 26.2. It makes me smile whenever I see it. I got it from the for $0.99.

4. I have 9 UFOs in my laundry room, neatly labeled and organized. When I started quilting I thought you could only work on one quilt at a time. Boy have I been corrupted!

5. My birthday is on the same day as my mothers birthday which is the same day as my wedding anniversary. My two daughters were both born in the same month, but not on the same day :(.

6. I have read everything by Janet Evanovich. The first one I read was number 6. The school librarian recommended it as nice light reading for a cruise during spring break. I think they should make a movie and Sandra Bullock should play Stephanie Plum.

7. I think using fusible web is cheating and raw edge appliqué should be outlawed.

If you disagree with number 7, then consider yourself tagged. I don't want to pick on anyone who doesn't want to play along, so participation is strictly voluntary. I'm violating rule number 4, so comment if you want to play and I will link to your blog.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Little Bits of Hapiness

I got a good start on the next step in the O.C. mystery and I think these little squares are just way too cute! The colors make me smile. I think I could make a whole quilt out of just these little bits. Maybe I'll make a few extra while I'm at it and turn it into a little doll quilt for one of the girls. I'm off take take my oldest daughter to a movie with one of her friends, so I'm probably done sewing for the day. I'd love to make a few more, but I've got some tests that I should get graded before tomorrow.

Technical Difficulties

Never sew a test block past 1 a.m. I got the kids to bed at 7:30 and started ironing my new fabric and cutting scraps for the O.C. quilt. I had plenty of dark 2 inch strips, but I was low on lights, and pretty low in the 3.5 inch bin as well. So I took some of the scraps I was able to liberate as a result of recent finishes. I cut the strips for my nieces pink quilt while I was at it, and got quite a bit done. I wanted to get one test block done, just to see how the pieces were going to come together. Now that I've spent a little quality time with my seam ripper, I'm ready to call it a night. I can never resist that urge to go one step too far.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Road Rash

I went out this morning to run the causeway with two of my running partners. The local art festival is next weekend and the 5K that is associated with it goes up over the causeway and back. We are sadly lacking for any hills around here, so that is the most challenging that a race can be. I was doing fine until a HUGE crack in the sidewalk jumped up and tripped me. It must have been huge or I wouldn't have wiped out completely and scraped all the skin off of the left half of my body. I am only thankful that the people I was running with had quick reflexes and managed to avoid tripping over me. I had planned to work on some quilting this afternoon, but it's hard to do that without skin on the palm of your hand. Sigh. The reason I run is that I am lacking all of the coordination and athletic skill that would allow me to do other sports. Still, at least it was only skin, it will all grow back.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Retail Therapy

After being a single mom for most of the week I had an uncontrollable urge to get out of the house tonight. I let my husband feed the kids dinner and made a trek to Joann Fabric. I didn't have a coupon, so I decided I would only buy things if they were on sale. They were having a really good sale :) I got some pink for a quilt I am going to make for my niece. Her two brothers got quilts recently and I don't want her to feel left out. They had some remnants that were really on sale and thread was half off as well. Even the batting was on sale, so I picked up one for the Carolina Crossroads quilt, which is next to be quilted, and one extra for whatever comes next. I started quilting on the pinwheels quilt. I decided to try to do something kind of curved and am drawing a pinwheel shape in each block. I'm not great at machine quilting yet, but I get a little better with each quilt. I is really nice to finally have a machine that will handle the free motion work without throwing a fit! I can still remember wrestling with my old machine as it ate up the quilt top, tangled the thread or made ugly tension knots.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Not much time for quilting this week. I saw that Bonnie had posted clue number 2 for the OC mystery and got some 3.5 " strips cut. Of course that got me sidetracked in organizing my scraps and I spent some time clearing out my scrap basket. Sometimes I think playing with bits and pieces is so much more fun than buying officially coordinating collections.
I didn't have much free time this week because my husband was out of town. He's back now, but I'm worn out. I almost fell asleep sitting up while watching the kids swim before dinner tonight. I think I'm going to go curl up in bed now and pretend to watch TV until I fall asleep. Fortunately tomorrow should be a pretty easy day at school. All of the sophomore class is gone on a field trip to see Macbeth. Since those are most of the people in my chemistry classes, it should be an intimate group.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A little quilting

Today is the last day of spring break and I celebrated by getting one last quilt basted and ready to go. Bernie is back in the shop for some sort of warranty repair on the door. When I took her in last week they said something was broken on the door and they would order a part. I was not aware of any problem with the door, but who am I to argue with the experts? So my dear husband dropped her off while I was away for my weekend with Mom and I can pick her up on Tuesday.

Since I was unable to actually start the quilting, I decided to audition a couple of quilting patterns instead. I tried Glad Press'n Seal and it worked great. It clung to the quilt and let me try out different designs. I was planning to do some sort of swirl in each pinwheel, but was having trouble transitioning from one block to the next. When I had Kurt look at it, he saw the broken dish block instead of the pinwheel and suggested using the same triangle design I have been using recently. He feels that the linear design of the quilt calls for an angular quilting design. I kind of liked the idea of doing a swirl in each of the blocks. I thought the curves contrasted nicely with the straight lines of the quilt blocks. The third option is straight line stitching in the ditch. Any votes?

Weekend with Mom

I had a great weekend with Mom! Her company took care of everything and all the award winners and their guests had the royal treatment all weekend. It was nice to be able to relax and have someone else take care of all of the planning and organization. I can imagine all of the work that went into getting hundreds of people assembled, transported, fed and entertained for three days. It was obvious that no expense was spared, and they made sure everything was top of the line. I met so many wonderful people and they were all friendly and gracious. It is very comforting to know that my Mom is working with such nice people.
One unexpected bonus was that I got all sorts of free gifts! Because the event is associated with a hair styling salon, the vendors participated and brought all sorts of goodies. I am overloaded with bags, mugs, pens, hats, and more hair styling products than a low maintenance girl like me could use in several years!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Another Finish

I finished the quilting on my nephews John Deere Quilt. I did more of the triangles in the border and I am loving them! I used a simple meaner in the middle with a dark green thread, and I was quite happy with the overall effect. I stitched on the binding this afternoon and now just have to do the hand work. Somewhere I have a label that I made for it with cute little tractors. The quilt is called John Deere on the Courthouse Steps and is for my nephew who loves tractors as well as his dad the lawyer. I'm hoping to send it home with my mom who is visiting us this week. She is headed to Orlando to accept an award that she is getting for her job. Her husband was supposed to come with her, but had to cancel at the last minute. I'm going with her instead to be her one plus at the awards banquet. I was supposed to be at a girl scout thing this weekend, but I'm sacrificing for good old mom. It helps of course, that the girl scout thing was a nose bag dinner and platform tent, while the banquet thing is three nights at a super luxury hotel. Am I a great daughter or what?
Hey -- speaking of being proud of myself-- I even edited my sidebar to show my two new finishes. That's four for the year, and three of them were even on the list! Does anyone else ever make a list and then add things to it that are already finished, just to feel a sense of accomplishment? I can't be the only one.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Actual Quilting

I say I'm quilting all the time, but most of the time I may be making quilts, but not actually quilting. I spend more time cutting, piecing, or even pressing than I do quilting. My youngest daughter got a toy ironing board two Christmases ago. She was so excited about her new toy that she set it up immediately, found some doll clothes and got to work. As she stood ironing away, she told us she was using her sewing machine just like mommy. To this day she has trouble knowing the difference between sewing and ironing.
So today I worked on the actual quilting part of the process. Because my pattern was a star, I thought I'd try the obvious and just put a big free form star in the middle of each block. I'm not thrilled with the way it turned out. I think the pattern is too big and spread out. I like fairly dense quilting in the final product. My husband thought that the red thread stood out too much and the stars looked too free form. I'm not sure how else free form stars can look, but it's good to know that he's still willing to give me an honest opinion. I offered to send all my quilt out to be finished, but when he found out the going rate for that, he decided that as long as free form was a design decision and not a mistake that it was fine after all.
I am happy with the borders though. I used free form flying geese pattern that I think gives a nice effect. I also love the fleur-de-lis fabric that I used on the back. I rarely have back sized pieces in my stash, but I bought this a while ago and let it sit until I had the right quilt to use it with. The binding is on, I'll finish the hand stitching in the next few evenings and it will be good to go.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Leaders and Enders

I went ahead and finished up a couple of Irish Chain blocks from my leaders and enders project with extras from my mystery quilt. I wanted to see what the colors looked like together and get an idea of how the pattern was working out. I think I need to pay more attention to value as I put the four patched together, but I'm still seeing the overall pattern as I look at the layout. This isn't a finish now sort of project. I'm happy to keep it going as leaders and enders, and now I have an idea of how many dark, medium and light squares I need to restock my 2 inch basket. I think this quilt could live in the toy room when it eventually gets done. The bright colors would be happy there.
I went to a quilt show this morning put on by our local quilt guild. Both of my running partners came with me, which I thought was incredibly nice of them, as they are not even quilters. There were so many really beautiful quilts there. I saw several in Bonnie's pineapple star pattern, but not any Carolina Crossroads. Asymmetrical log cabins were very popular, as well as at least four prairie braids. I think someone must have offered a class for so many of the same pattern to show up in the same year. Even so, the color choices and designs were completely different and gave each of them a very different look. I love how you can take a traditional pattern and make it your own.

Friday, April 4, 2008


I finished step one of the Orange Crush Mystery. I think I'm going to call mine Sherbet Crush, or maybe Rainbow Sherbet Crush. I'm thinking Rainbow Sherbet and Orange Crush Float is a little too long. Anyway , it's 150 four patches with a two inch base square. I had a "leaders enders" project going which was an Irish Chain with a two inch base, so I pulled that out as well and used some of the leftover two square sub cuts to move a few four patches along to the next step.
Tomorrow is the local quilt guilds semi annual quilt show. I'm not a member because they seem to hold most of their meetings during the day (there are a lot of retired people around here). Apparently there is a waiting list to join, but you can get into some of the smaller circles without being a member of the main guild. Unfortunately their meetings always happen on nights when my husband is off playing volleyball, so I've never been able to try one out. I don't know why the idea of joining a group is so intimidating, but I just never quite manage to do it. I didn't realize that the show was this weekend, but my running partner called to tell me she read about it in the paper. She is not a quilter, but we worked together to make t-shirt quilts after our marathon. She just finished tying the final knot in her quilt and says she isn't ready to start another, but I was thinking of pulling out my running themed fabric to tempt her into starting something new.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Boardering on Insane

After running several different bordering options past my husband (too busy, too patriotic, too complicated). I ended up with 2.5 inch strips of gold and red. I had both on hand, which is a strong selling point at 7 on a Sunday evening. I was almost done, and in for the home stretch when I realized I was two strips short of the red fabric. Still, I could sew the rest and have it all ready to go until I could pick up more red on Monday. At that particular moment, Bernie stopped sounding like a sewing machine and started to imitate a chainsaw! I am now very thankful that I kept my old machine when Bernie moved in. Ken has become my pinch hitter on two occasions recently, and I don't give him the attention he deserves. I ran Bernie into the quilt shop at 2 today, grabbed the kids, and then went to a faculty meeting and to the grocery store. By the time I was home again, I had a message waiting to let me know that they had fixed the problem and my machine was clean, serviced and ready for pick-up. Wow -- that is service. They are always so nice that I feel guilty for not shopping there more often. I try to support local businesses that offer unique services, it's just hard for me to pay $100 for a pair of running shoes or $1o for a yard of fabric when I can find it cheaper somewhere else. I try to overcome my thrifty nature, but it is not an easy task. I do go in whenever I need something special or when I want advice, I just can't make myself go there for random stash enhancement.
Because I was planning on spending most of the weekend on sewing (most being relative in terms of leftover time after regular weekend obligations like kids, husbands and dirty houses), I decided to set up in the formal living/dining room. I have room to spread my quilts out in there and I don't feel closed in. I have a very nice sewing area set up in the laundry room, and another craft area in the study, but I still enjoy the wide open spaces of our under furnished formal rooms. When we built our house four years ago, there was another option in the same model that added an extra room upstairs. I joked with my husband that if we added it to our house I could have a quilting studio! It seems silly to think about moving into a 3800 square foot house and needing more room, but I really do use every room in the house on a regular basis, and would love to have that one more -- even if it is totally unnecessary. So, comfortably sprawled, I started working on the first step of the orange crush mystery. I have miles of strip sets sewn, now I can iron and sub cut in front of the TV tonight. My husband has taken our son to cub scouts, so I can take sole possession of the remote control. Only two days into baseball season and I've been banished to the bedroom television twice!