Sunday, November 30, 2008


Not quite the 2 hours flat that I was hoping for, but the half marathon went very well. I chose the my goal time based on the fact that I thought my PR was 2:03 at last years OUC half. Miesje corrected my though, and after Googling myself, I realized my previous PR was 2:07:31, so I feel much better now about the 2:03:55 than I did at first. In fact, 2:03:55 is a new PR, so yea for me!
The first half of the run was perfect. Slight tail wind, good even pace, beautiful views, I was feeling great. Miesje, one of my running partners met me at the turnaround and we headed back down. A true friend is one that will wake up before dawn to come and keep you company for a race she isn't even running. Thanks Meisje for the run, it was much more fun with company. We were hit almost immediately with a HUGE headwind which followed us almost to the finish. I could see the time slipping away, but there wasn't much I could do to make it up. I came in for a strong finish and took a short break to enjoy the post-race food and festivities before heading off on the south loop for the full marathon. Meisje and I were planning to run down to meet Tom who was gunning for a Boston qualifying time. He's much faster than us, obviously. We met up with him somewhere between mile 16 and 17 for us, which would have been about 23 for him. I kept up for as long as I could, but the miles had taken their toll at that point and Meisje was left to run him in to the finish. Unfortunately he had the same issues with slowing down at the end that have plagued him in the past, and missed his mark by just a few minutes. It was so painful to watch him work so hard and get so close while still coming up short. He started cramping up just after crossing the finish line and had to have help from the medics to try to get past it. Luckily, his vitals were good, so we avoided another trip to the ER. Meisje had heard a trick about eating mustard to get past cramps, so we got some of that on the way home. I don't know if it helped, but the cramping seemed to get better after that.
Tom's wife Sheila was there with a camera, so I'll add some pictures when she sends them them to me. Except for the part with the paramedics, it was a lovely day, good weather, 20 miles logged and the company of good friends. I don't know how anyone could need more than that.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. We had a relaxing time staying at home. We went to share the Thanksgiving meal with our neighbor, but otherwise spent time as a family. I managed to burn the pies by moving them to the bottom rack to make room for the back-up turkey, but I guess there are worse things than burnt pie. Sydney had a ball playing in someone else's toy room and had be drug out at the end of the evening. Pirates and star wars are the little boy versions of princesses and ballerinas for dress up clothes.

The kids decided to have a swim after dinner even though it was really too cold. They all warmed up afterwards with hot chocolate and lots of whipped cream. (I'm not sure why the picture is sideways, we got a new camera and I'm still figuring it out)
I did a bit of shopping with the same neighbor yesterday, starting bright and early at 4 a.m. For those people outside the US who are unfamiliar with Black Friday, it is the traditional begining of the shopping season. Retailers try to lure people out of their toasty warm houses in the wee hours of the morning with promises of ridiculously good deals on various consumer goods. We weren't up quite early enough to nab one of the $348 laptops, but managed to find a few bargains and still be home again by the time everyone else was awake.
I'm off tonight to the pre-race pasta dinner. It will be an early night before tomorrow's 6 am race start! They move it up earlier every year, trying to get the finish in before the heat is too bad. I hope it is cooler than last year, a lot of people only did the first half because they were too warm at the turnaround to finish the whole marathon.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

32 Marks the End of my OC Orphans

I'm not quite sure why I had so many extra Orange Crush Blocks. I think it was supposed to make a bigger quilt. Mine was twin sized to fit on Sydney's bunk bed. Having only 7 blocks to work with, I stretched them a bit with four patches from the leaders and enders basket. One of the blocks was sewn wrong, so I put it in the middle to make it look less like a mistake. It's not pressed yet, but I need to head in for the night. I'm getting up obscenely early to to go shopping with my neighbor Barbara.
I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. This year I am thankful that my kind neighbor invited us to her house so that I didn't have to cook. We won't see our families again until Christmas this year which is very unusual for us. It might be the first year that we haven't either been either traveling or having company. It was really lovely to just be able to walk down the street carrying a few side dishes and visit with people instead of rushing around the kitchen.

31 was a Gift from Afar

One of the Girl Scouts wasn't able to make our quilting bee and asked to have kit sent home to finish later. Her mom was kind enough to send pictures of her working on the quilt. Look at what a great job she's doing!
I hope everyone is having a happy and relaxing Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Number 30 was a Stack of Orphans

I had some orphan blocks from orange crush, some were extras from the actual quilt, and some were failed attempts at a combination of yellow and green that I decided against using. They are a little bit random I must admit, but they are all together now to make up quilt top number 30. I'm going running now, but I should be able to get it quilted up when I get home. Maybe some loopy flowers this time?

Binding Tutorial Part 3 Option B

This is option number 2 for joining the ends fo the binding. It is more work because you have to remove the quilt from the machine to sew the ends together, but offers the advantage of a sewn edge rather than the other method which leaves a couple of layers to hand stitch at the end. I still haven't mastered the advanced version that gives you a sewn seam AND an angle, but I'll work on that again for my next quilt.

1. Sew almost all the way around, leaving a gap of at least 6 inches for so. Back stitch and remove the quilt from the machine.
2. Lay the quilt nice and flat and line the raw edges of the binding up along the edge of the quilt. Where the begining meets the end, fold one straight up and the other straight down so that the folded edges just kiss. Crease well, using an iron if it happens to still be warm from preparing the binding. Trim the two ends so they are roughly the same length.
4. Open the binding up and arrange it right sides together so that the two cut ends line up nicely. Finagle the bulk of the quilt out of the way so that you can get the ends to meet up and get it back to the machine. Using the creased line as your guide, sew the ends together.
5. Open the binding up and peek to make sure it will fit properly along the edge of the quilt. If it is too long, you can sew another seam slightly in from the last seam, no need to take out the first seam. If it is too short, take another seam closer to the cut ends and remove the first seam. Make sure everything fits properly and then trim the ends to about a quarter of an inch and press or finger press the seam open. Go ahead and sew the binding down, using the same quarter inch seam you used earlier.
6. Now fold the binding over and use a whip or blind hem stitch to do the finishing along the folded edge on the back of the quilts. I've tried to do this part by machine, but never been happy with the results. Still, a little hand sewing in front of a good TV show is a nice way to spend an evening. Don't forget to sew a label on at the same time. Your grandchildren will thank you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Long Weekend Preparations

Ryan was supposed to bring a dish to a Thanksgiving feast at school today. I volunteered to make cranberries, because I had already volunteered to bring them to our neighbors house for Thanksgiving dinner along with some pies. I really object to the "Jello" cranberry sauce that comes out of the cans and ends up slapped on a plate vibrating with the can ridges still plainly visible. Instead, I make a pineapple cranberry chutney that is really simple and quite tasty. Best of all, it does not at all resemble a can of any kind. I whipped up a batch last night after I got home from the academic team competition, before writing the binding tutorial. I like recipes with nice even number because they are easier to remember. I saw this book that had all quilt patterns using one layer cake, one charm pack and 1 jelly roll. Easy to shop for and easy to remember. I;m not one to stand in a fabric store with a list saying, "I'll have 3/8 of a yard of the blue floral and 1/3 of a yard on the yellow stripe."

Recipe for Cranberry Pineapple Chutney:
1 bag of fresh cranberries (12 oz)
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
1 can of crushed pineapple (14 oz)
a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and or pumpkin pie spice to taste.

1. Dissolve sugar in water and bring to a boil.
2. Add cranberries and reduce to simmer for 5-10 minutes
3. Add pineapple with juice and sprinkle in spices
4. Continue to simmer and stir until well mixed
5. Allow to cool and then chill for up to 2 weeks before serving

I also got my race packet for Sunday's half marathon. My running partner was nice enough to pick it up for me from the running store. He's doing the whole marathon, so I'm going to stick around to see the end, even though I'm only running the first half. I am feeling like such a slacker, but I'm also supposed to be doing a 20 mile training run for the February marathon, so I'll see how that goes.
I just finished up the quilting on number 29. I used random loops and even got the binding sewn on! I used another method of joining the ends, so if I have time tonight, I'll put together another quick tutorial. There is a third method that I have yet to master, but maybe I'll give it a try again. I think math is required. We just got back from a department meeting at school and the kids have already scattered on various play dates. I should go hunt up something for dinner, I cooked last night for everyone else, but never got a chance to eat. I'm supposed to run tonight, but I'm not feeling horribly motivated. I need to put all the grades into the computer that I finished up on Friday. I've been giving a quiz every day just to try to keep the kids doing something before the long weekend. I don't know why I try so hard to keep making more work for myself.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Binding Tutorial Part 3

1. Sew the binding on all four sides, until you get ALMOST back to where you started.
2. Leaving a few inches of space, take the begining and fold it straight out from the edge, leaving a triangle fold at the top edge. Keep everything on the machine so that you don't have to start and stop your threads.
3. Now take the end of the binding strip and cross over the triangle you formed from the begining edge.
4. After crossing over the begining of the binding, fold the top edge out, forming another triangle, but facing the other directions. the two triangles now form a little flying geese shape, pointing to the inside of the quilt.

5. Keeping your fingers there to hold everything in place, sew straight down through all the folded layers.

6. Trim the hanging tails off even with the raw edges of the binding.

7. Take the folded edge and fold it to the back of the quilt. Using a blind hem stitch, sew the binding down. The corners and the spot where you joined the begining and end will have little "pockets" from the multiple layers, you can put an extra stitch in each of these spots to hold all of the layers together and prevent shifting.

Binding Tutorial Part 2

After you have made yards and yards of binding, you are ready to put it on the quilt.

1. Leaving a few inches hanging loose, line up the raw edges of the binding and the quilt. I use a walking foot because it is usually on the machine at this point. It has an etched line to mark the quarter inch seam. Stitch down the edge, using a quarter inch seam ALMOST to the corner.
2. When you get within a quarter inch of the end of the side, stop and needle down. My walking foot has another etched line to mark the quarter inch spot from this direction, if yours doesn't, just eyeball it, a little more is better than a little less at this point.
4. With the needle down, pivot your quilt and sew diagonally off the corner of the quilt. Lift the presser foot, but don't cut the threads.
5. Rotate the quilt 45 degrees, so that the next side is ready to be sewn. Take the binding strip, and using the diagonal seam as a guide, pick up the binding and fold it away from you. Put your thumb on the bottom of the triangle to hold it in place. Notice everything is still attached to the machine. I hate to break the threads and would rather just keep going around and around.
6. Keeping that little triangle underneath, fold the binding strip straight back down so the raw edges line up on the side of the quilt you are ready to sew. Slide the quilt back under the foot and sew down the second side. You can peek underneath at this point and make sure you have a folded triangle under there, ready to form the corner.

Binding Tutorial Part 1

I've been doing bindings assembly line style lately on the nursing home quilts. After doing the same thing a few hundred times, I've streamlined things a bit. It's not that I'm trying to be lazy, just efficient. So here is how I do it, step by step:

1. Quilt as desired and trim edges nice and straight. Make sure you save the edges for string quilts in the future.

2. Cut binding to desired width. I used to cut it to 2 1/4 inches until I realized I could pull strips out of the 2.5 inch bin. This seems to work well for a double fold binding. I never worry about cutting on the bias because I don't do scallops or curves.

3. Join binding end to end by sewing on a diagonal with right sides together end to end. You can chain piece these without having to take the strips off of the sewing machine. Rotate the strips at right angles and peek to make sure your seam is going to open the right way.
4. Trim the triangles off the corner, you can save these for cute little HST units later if you want to make yourself a little crazy.
4. Press the seams open and press binding in half. If you are going to make lots of this ahead of time, it is easy to store on an empty paper towel roll until you are ready to use it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And then came 29

I didn't want to change the thread on my machine until I had finished this quilt that I cut out yesterday. More of the Dresden Plate wedges, but with pink this time instead of the white. I had a mental moment when cutting the strips and made them too short. Instead of piecing them together or starting again, I just added a top and bottom border to make the size right. I guess it doesn't really matter, but I am trying to make them all about the same size. Kurt thinks it looks like a big Roman Numeral 3. I'll switch to my quilting foot tomorrow and get both of these quilted up. I'll do a quick binding tutorial at the same time, 'cause Amy is having trouble turning corners. I am now quite adept after about 116 corners on these little guys alone! I also have a nifty new shortcut for joining the ends. I'm sure someone else has done it before, but it is new to me. Tune in tomorrow for all this and more!

28, But Who's Counting?

This is Lap Quilt number 28! I stitched the binding down on number 27 last night while we corrupted the children with Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The black and taupe four patches are from Goodwill shirts, and the gold print is something I had in the donation box. Kurt suggested the gold border to brighten it up a bit. It is spray basted, maybe I'll be able to get it quilted and bound while the kids have their baths and showers tonight. I have a variegated gold thread from Connecting Threads that should do the trick nicely.
We had Odyssey of the Mind this afternoon, and since we have it at our house, I spent some time clearing the dining room out again and moving my sewing things back into the guest bedroom. My parent-in-laws are coming through in a couple of weeks on the way home from a cruise, so I'll have to find out if they are staying over night to find out if I need to move everything out of the guest room and into the laundry room where it is supposed to live. There was an option to build our house with an extra room upstairs next to the toy room. Sometimes I think about how nice it would be to have a Studio where I could leave everything on a permanent basis. Maybe I can turn the toy room into that when the kids have outgrown toys. (It could happen;-))
Today was a lovely and relaxing Sunday. I didn't run this morning, and so relaxed with the Sunday paper. We spent a good bit of time outside playing, the weather was just about perfect. The kids cleaned the toy room with a minimum of fuss and then I took Anna out to buy a couple of new pairs of jeans. It's been so cold for almost two weeks now, that they have needed long pants every day! Very unusual for us, and we just didn't have that many pairs of long pants. I went for a run right after OM ended (just 6 miles), and got back just in time to shower before dinner. We're watching Kung Fu panda again now, getting ready for baths and bed. Not a bad weekend at all.
DARN, I just looked at the quilt picture and realized one of the four patches is rotated! Oh well, it is too late now to do anything about it. I'll call it a humility patch and move on with my life. I've always found it funny that anyone would feel the need to deliberately make mistakes in a quilt. Mine have enough naturally occurring mishaps.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Getting Closer Every Day

I'm not sure yet what the magic number is for lap quilts to take to the nursing home next month. But we are getting pretty close I think. This is a stack of 26 quilts almost ready to go. the 10 on the top still need their bindings stitched down, but the 16 on the bottom are done and ready to be delivered. Now I need to decide if I'm going to find something good on TV so I can sit and do hand stitching or go finish off the next two that I have in the works. I might compromise and cut out some men's shirts blocks. I cut two shirts apart on Thursday while watching the kids play outside. Now I need to turn them into strips and squares. I've also got another pile of edge trimmings to sort through, looking for usable scraps. I'm having so much fun playing with all this fabric. Maybe it's my short attention span, but it is so much fun to be looking at a new color combination every few minutes.

Fall Festival

Today was our annual fall festival at the kids school. It is the big fund raiser for the year for PTA and everyone puts in an appearance. We gave the kids $5 each in tickets and told them we could stay until they were gone. They chose the dunk booth, hair and face painting, a couple of bounce houses, crafts and carnival games. We did all of that and managed to make it home in just 2 hours. Not bad at all. Usually it in hot and sweaty, but this year is was almost chilly, with a brisk fall feel to the air.
I managed to stay late at work yesterday and get caught up on all of my grading. I love the satisfaction of empty "in" folders! I'm not sure how I managed to fill them all up so quickly after interims, but at least I'm up to date again. Then we visited the video store and all snuggled up on the couch with the movie Kung Fu Panda.

I managed to get in some serious machine time after all of that and am just about ready to finish up my parts on the last of the lap quilts. Some of the girls' work needed some minor cosmetic surgery to seal missed seams and flatten out bubbles, so I took care of those odds and ends while I put on the bindings. Miss Sheila is still doing the hand stitching, so that leaves me to make a few more quilts I hope. I also quilted the Dresden stripes using a meander in the stripes and some flowers and vines in the white stripes. I think we are getting close to our goal. I have to find out exactly how many residents are currently in our section of the nursing home so I know what the magic number is.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Loose Ends

I finally finished the last bit of binding on Dad's Plaids and got it washed, dried and on the bed. It has been really cold here lately, and I have had two quilts on the bed at night. I thought they should at least be big enough to actually fit on the bed. Since most of my quilts aren't king sized, finishing this one seemed like the best option.
Ryan has plans for a new quilt. He was practicing continuous line quilting patterns with me during Tuesday's SUM meeting and really took to the idea. He love mazes, so this was right up his alley. After looking at a few of my designs, he started branching out and coming up with his own ideas. He wants to use white and light blue and dark blue in stripes (hamburger, not hot dog) to make a trail and then quilt snails into the the trial that are traveling to the center of the earth. I showed him a rail fence pattern and he thought that might work well for his idea. The quilt is going to be about the same size as his last Pokemon quilt. It warms my heart to know that I am developing a whole new generation of quilters. Kurt has them hooked on Queen songs and Zucker Brother's movies, so I guess we all warp them in our own ways.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dresden Stripes

I peeled the first 15 feet off of the Dresden plates strip and pieced together this stripy lap quilt. Kurt declared it "rather subdued" compared to my recent creations and said he actually liked this one. I guess you can follow the logic about what he thinks of my recent lap quilts. Maybe I'll do something decorative with the quilting. If I keep using the same basic pattern, I should be able make about 3 or 4 more of these, maybe I'll switch up the colors a little on the others.
Today was a Daisy Day for Sydney and she decided that she needed me to be there with her, so we all sat through another meeting this afternoon. It's not my turn for chess club chaperoning tomorrow, so I might make it through a few days in a row without a meeting to which I have to drag unwilling children.
It is still cold here, but I put on lots of layers and got in 5 miles with my running partner Tom tonight. I have a half marathon on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, so I should start to think about that. Hopefully it will stay cold for a while, the last three years have been unseasonably warm. It's much easier to run a marathon in the cold than in the heat.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Slow and Steady

Sydney learned a new song in music class. It starts, "Slow and steady, always ready, I will get there some day soon." Then the second verse starts, "I'm the fastest bunny rabbit, running is my happy habit." I like to think I'm the slow and steady, but lately I've been more like the rabid rabbit.
Last night was the second quilting session for our Girl Scout Troop. We are making good progress on the quilts. I always have a bell ringer to keep the girls busy while everyone is showing up. Last night I had them work on hand sewing the bindings on the quilts we had already finished. They are all still seriously lacking the fine motor skills to handle a blind hem stitch, but they gave it a good try. It was so busy that I forgot to take pictures, but when the quilts are finished, I'll get a picture of all of the girls with their quilts. They are all pretty proud of themselves.
Tonight was the leader meeting and training for cookie sales. We don't start selling cookies until January, but there won't be any more of the service unit meetings until after then. Kurt has clients in from out of town, so he's been out with them for the past two evenings. Sydney and Ryan entertained themselves in front of the TV last night during scouts, and all three of the kids came with me to tonight's meeting. I'll have to spend some quality time with them tomorrow to make up for it, because they were all very good.
Obviously there hasn't been a lot of progress on a personal quilting front. I finished chaining together the rest of my leftover Dresden plate blades. The plan was to turn them into a couple of lap quilts, but when I finished putting them together, I stretched them up and down the stairs and there were 6 flights! I Wrapped them up around a 12 inch ruler and counted 53 feet. I guess that is a little more than a couple of lap quilts. It does demonstrate the power of leaders and enders though, all of that was "free" sewing.
I finished gathering up the trimmings from the finished lap quilts and threw everything into my scrap basket. It is overflowing with lots of good stuff. Maybe my weekend project will be sorting through and cutting some more bits and pieces. It is like meditating for me, but with pretty colors. I also ordered a couple of scrap bags from Homestead Hearth, which I had seen linked in someones blog. They had some great sale fabric and I got several cuts along with the scraps. They have been washed, and are waiting to be ironed now, so I can get them put away.
I hope you are all having a good week, there is a cold snap here, and if it doesn't end soon we may have to turn on the heat! It made me think of the snow flurries I've seen mentioned already in other people's blogs and give thanks for living in Florida where our high near 69, low in the middle 40s seems like a hardship. The kids have had to find long pants and jackets! Happy quilting to you all, and stay warm and safe.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


It was a long and painful week. I thought I might be too tired and grumpy to quilt this weekend. I was wrong. All the kids and the husband were dead asleep by 9:00 so I thought I'd just putter on the lap quilts for a bit. I had a pile of trimmings to sort through for scraps and a couple of bindings to sew down.
One thing led to another and I decided to do a little work on the teal slice and dice squares I sewed together last weekend. I think the only way to get better at free motion is just to keep practicing. I was going for a pointy kind of swirl on this one. Some of the points ended up a little round, but I'm happy with the overall effect. I am a much happier and calmer person after a good dose of quilting therapy.

Ryan had a chess tournament today, so most of the day for me was spent sitting and waiting. He had a good day, and ended up with a first place trophy in the "under" division which is for the lower ranked players. He didn't care what division it was, he got a trophy and was a happy kid.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shuttle Launch

I had a very quick evening run tonight, but wanted to rush back in time to see the shuttle launch. It is getting near the end now and nobody knows exactly how many more there will be. Occasionally we'll go out to the beach or up to jetty park to see a launch, but usually we just head out to the front yard. Most of the neighborhood is usually out doing the same thing, so it's kind of festive. The week has been a long one, and I spent a good bit of the afternoon comatose on the couch watching TV with the kids and sewing the binding down on Dad's Plaids. I'd love to call in DONE DONE, and get it settled on the bed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One Day at a Time

Today was a little calmer than yesterday I think. It was my turn to chaperone chess club, so I got to come home for long enough to eat lunch before heading out again. Ryan is really enjoying chess these days, and Anna and Sydney helped out a little, showing the moves to two new members. Kurt is going to be late for dinner so I'm stalling the kids now as I sit and type. I was doing really great on getting caught up on all of my grading, but gave a test in Chemistry today and so need to start over again on that. If I were smarter, I'd come up with some way of creating less work for myself. I always feel like I'm cheating the kids though when I take shortcuts. Like everything else in life, it is a matter of finding the right balance. I usually stay late on Friday's and try to catch up on everything so I don't have it hanging over my head all weekend.
I think we have the usual ice skating and OM this weekend, and Ryan wants to go to a chess tournament. It is less than last weekend though, so by comparison it should be relaxing. I've gotten 4 of the lap quilts bound and the labels prepped during odd moments this week, maybe I'll get the rest finished up this weekend. My own troop will be quilting on Monday, so I'll have another batch ready to go I hope. I know there is another quilting marathon going on this weekend, but I won't be able to indulge. We aren't traveling on Thanksgiving this year, so maybe I can do a mini marathon on Black Friday. I have a half marathon on that Sunday and a 5 K on Thanksgiving day, but I think it will be pretty calm otherwise. I don't even have to cook this year. Our families are all otherwise occupied this year and we have been invited to a friends house for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm going to make my traditional cranberry pineapple chutney and a couple of pies. That should be easy compared to making the whole thing. Even though it is fun to go all out, it is more relaxing to let someone else do most of the work.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday Part 2

So much happened yesterday that I wasn't able to fit it all into one post. I forgot to give the details on the VERY LONG 17 mile run that started the day. My running partner Tom went with me, even though he had done a 15 K race the day before, he is a real trooper. I have decided that it doesn't matter how far I have to go on a long run, the last 3 miles are always painful. I did 15 miles two weeks ago and was happy for the first 12. Yesterday I had 14 good miles and then hated every step of rest of the run. So I guess if I want to have a happy marathon in February I'd better make sure I train up to 29 miles ahead of time!? Well, I was pretty tired for the rest of the day and would have loved to have curled up in bed for a power nap. Instead, I took a whirlpool bath and then took Sydney out for a special mommy-daughter lunch.
That got us back in time for quilting, which I told y'all about yesterday, it ended at 4. Girl Scout roller skating started at 4:30 and so I drove 4 singing 9 year olds and Sydney down to the roller-rink and did the usual girl scout leader supervision thing. I was mostly just hoping I didn't have to put on skates myself, because my calf muscles were still protesting the last three miles of my morning run. Miss Sheila brought her own skates, which let me off the hook for actually having to skate.
This is the first year that Sydney has been old enough to go, and she had a blast! Her daisy troop didn't want to go because they thought the girls weren't old enough to roller skate. Sydney obviously disagreed. She put on her little helmet, and borrowed a pair of my socks, and she just went to town! Whatever she does, she does it with enthusiasm. I have to give her credit for that. I was surprised that she didn't fall asleep in the car, but she was mostly passed out on her chair at the dinner table. She did wake up long enough to tell us that it was the best night of her life.
Today was a normal day at school. We are talking about hair in forensic science and valence shell repulsion theory in chemistry. Academic team met at lunch and then I came home to try to get nuts and candy sales figured out before the 5 p.m. deadline. The kids got home with reports about then ins and outs of their days, and after homework they let me have a few minutes at the sewing machine. I got three of the completed quilts trimmed down and the bindings attached. They are all looking great! Miss Sheila is going to hand stitch the bindings for me. I don't know how I'd survive all of this without her.
We had a Service Unit Team meeting for Girl Scouts tonight, and it was a potluck for which you were supposed to bring baked goods to share. Not being able to fit any baking into my recent schedule, Sheila did the baking for both of us. I've just gotten back now, and am wondering if I'll pull out some papers to grade or just collapse. Collapsing might win out, I can always power through some lab reports in the morning because Pascal, another of my running partners wants to run in the evenings this week because her mornings are too hectic. I guess I can understand how that could happen.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Girl Scout Quilting Extravaganza!!!

Today was finally the day! I had done two quilting sessions with my own girls, and we have a stack of quilts ready to go, but today was the day that I hosted another troop for a quilt making session. So, to all the Girl Scouts who gave up their Sunday afternoon to make quilts that they don't even get to keep, thank you so much for all your hard work and amazing effort! I promise, if you want to make another quilt to keep for yourselves, I'll be happy to help you do that as well.

For anyone who hasn't been with me from the begining, it all started with Christmas caroling last year. One of the moms from our troop worked at a nursing home, and made arrangements for our girls to go caroling during one of our regular meetings.

Sheila, my co-leader is always so thoughtful, and brought along a board game as a gift to leave for the residents. The girls enjoyed the experience, and we planned to return again this year. In talking to Ashlyn, one of the ladies I run with, about our caroling, we realized that we had both gone to the same nursing home to sing. Her grandmother is a resident there. And so things simmered in my head.

Trying as I do, to bring quilting into every aspect of my life, I thought about how nice it would be to bring quilts as gifts instead of a board game. I made a couple of prototypes to test patterns and sizes, which Ashyln brought to her grandmother for a "test drive".

Given that there are about 30 residents within one specific section of the facility, I thought we could try to make a quilt for each person. After bouncing the idea off of Sheila, she decided it was a great idea, and started soliciting fabric donations from ladies in her church.
The fabric began to flow in, bags and stacks at a time! I sent out word as well, and soon we had plenty of fabric to work with. I kitted it up into pre-cut strips ready to be sewn together in a quilt as you go fashion. There was a practice session this summer where we worked out the kinks and made about 5 quilts.

I've been adding to the stack with my own experiments and creations for the past few months as well. And then today, Ashlyn brought over her troop, along with her mother and co-leader, and we sewed and sewed and sewed. The girls all did such a phenomenal job! They picked up on the procedure right away, and with only a little reverse sewing, we managed to produce 7 finished quilts in just 3 hours! It was amazing. I've just got to trim off the edges and sew on the binding and labels and we will have a LOT of quilts ready to add to the stack.

Now we just need to find a date so that we can all go caroling together this year and present the quilts to the residents around Christmas time.
Look at all the amazing work the girls did! They planned out the strip placement and immediately figured out how to make the machines work. Not a single girl sewed through her fingers or stuck herself with a pin. Each of them produced and entire quilt in just 3 hours!!
So to all the girls and to all the leaders and co-leaders. Thank you so much for all your help in making this idea into something real. Check out the pride on those faces! And look at how beautiful those quilts are!! You are all amazing!!!
Tomorrow I'll update you on the Girl Scout roller skating party and the 17 mile long run I also managed to fit in today. Needless to say, I am so tired that I am in actual pain, but I am going to go now and sleep it all off.