Saturday, April 16, 2016

Solano County Science/STEM Fair

So another year has passed and another Science Fair is in the books. This one was the best one yet and I hope that it indicates an upward trend for years to come.

There were two high schools entered, mine and another rival that we used to compete with years ago.  The quality of projects far surpassed my expectations.

There were kids from three local middle schools because the event is open to kids from 6-12th grade.  We had a decent turnout last night; less than expected probably due to the road construction which makes the 7 minute trip take almost 30 each way.  The date of completion is August 2016 and I'm not holding my breath that they will actually be done on time.  It's been a long year with greater than average absenteeism for students, probably due to kids missing the bus and parents not wanting to make the hour long trip to get them to school.  I can't say I blame them too much.

The newspaper reporter came out and made it sound like President Obama and I are besties.  He was funny because he said he only had a little time to stay and then ended up staying almost 2 hours interviewing me, the other teacher who helped me run the event and numerous students.  I guess he got caught up in the excitement.  He told a story about when he was in 9th grade, living in Turkey, and about the science fair project he did with algae and a microscope.  He had some vivid details from almost 50 years ago about his project and we talked about how something like this, even though kids complain about how much they hate it, can really leave an impression on someone for a very long time.

My youngest son entered the fair for the first time this year and was excited to win 3rd place in the Physical science division for middle school.  His project was right next to the 1st and 2nd place winners on the table.

He had a good time handing out all of the other prizes as the students came up.

Afterwards we spent an hour cleaning up all 270 projects and I had no trouble falling asleep last night.  It's too bad my UP band activity tracker's battery died on me, because I think I got at least a million steps in yesterday.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

memory quilt

This is a memory quilt made for a lady from New York.  She contacted me in November and sent me some clothing from her mom and I was finally able to finish up this quilt and it will go in the mail today.  Memory quilts are a great way to hold onto a few treasured items from a loved one who has passed on.  I had better start on memory quilts for my kids since I have over 500 t shirts and they don't quilt!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Binky Day

 We skipped our Binky meeting in March because the weather was really bad.  That hasn't happened in a few years, but this year we've had some pretty good storms come through.  Carla was nice enough to host us at her house today since the kids are off for Spring break.  No school means I'm off too!  Yipee.
 We had a nice turnout of ladies and got a lot done, from sorting fabric scraps to sewing some things together.  There were some ladies who came from Lodi (about an hour away) who brought lots of finished rag quilts.  We had given them quite a bit of flannel fabric and they cut it and sewed it back together and brought us back the finished quilts.  It's so nice to have friends from far away who have the same mindset and enjoy working on projects like this.  I went home and dug out 5 buckets of flannel fabric and gave them more to work on.
 I'm sure I have more flannel in my garage, but didn't have the time to go through all of it today.  I'm motivated to sort through it this week though since our next meeting is April 10 and they will be back.  If I can give away another 5 buckets of fabric and have finished quilts returned to me, it's like I'm working at super human speed.
 There were only three teens who showed up today but they sorted baskets of scraps and cut a whole basket full of the smaller scraps into tumbler blocks.  Many of us sewed them together and almost had a whole quilt top finished in about an hour.  It always amazes me how so little can become something beautiful when we all work together.
The local newspaper came out to do a story on our group.  I always enjoy talking to them and sharing how we can take some donated fabric and turn it into hugs for kids.

Around 3pm a lady showed up at the door asking for Brooke.  She said she had come to buy something.  Turns out she was at the wrong house, but when she saw that we were all busy sewing, she asked if we could help her fix her sewing machine.  She found the right house and came back about 30 minutes later with her sewing machine.  Carla helped her fix it and she was happy to have found us.  She said she had been struggling with her machine for a while and was going to come back in April to help us make quilts.  It was a little like dialing the wrong number and winning the lottery.  Or maybe accidentally getting hooked on a drug that you will never recover from, depending on your perspective!  She has no idea what she just got herself into :)  We are a crazy bunch of ladies who do love cutting up perfectly good fabric and sewing it back together.  I sure hope there is no cure for what we have going.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Show some love

 Who do you love in this election?  You certainly have your choice of interesting candidates.
 If anything, there's lots to talk about and more people are interested in the election than ever before.
 I've decided to jump into the election hoopla and made some candidate key fobs.  I purchased the embroidery designs and stitched them out on vinyl.  I've got them all attached to my keys, which makes for an interesting conversation starter!  Just who am I supporting anyways?
I'm hoping to raise some money to fund my quilting (50% of the money raised will purchase batting) and to support my daughter's high school, Miami Arts Charter School.  As many of you know, teachers use a lot of our own money to purchase school supplies.  I've been teaching a long time, but she is in her first year of teaching and doesn't have as much money to spend.

Plus, I'm having fun.

If you want to show your support, head on over to my Etsy shop and check out the key fobs.  You might find something else you need while you are there.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

final February quilt and flooding

This quilt was finished in February, but with another long, crazy week, today is the first chance I've had to post a picture of it.  I don't understand how a whole week can get away from me like that.  Between school things life in general, time is gone and the day is done.

We have had a long drought here in Northern California for the past 4 years and I've forgotten what a pain this house can be when it really does rain.  The weathermen forcasted El Nino this winter and we had a bit of rain in December, but nothing really to write home about.  February was dry and sunny and felt more like May.  Then, yesterday came.  60 mile an hour winds and 1 1/2 inches of rain in a couple of hours.

Oh, yeah, this house leaks.  Big time!

My son came home for the weekend.  He's still having troubles from his concussion from the bike accident and I think just needed a couple good nights' sleep in his bed.  Well, last night that wasn't going to happen because his window leaks when the rain blows on it from the South.  It was pouring in the window and filling bowls every couple of hours.

We know we need to get the windows replaced and that whole wall torn out, but when it is sunny and dry, the urgency just isn't there.

This morning I got to thinking that maybe I could fix the leak.  My dad always made us kids feel like there wasn't anything we couldn't fix with a bit of duct tape, some wire and a bit of thinking.  So, thanks to my dad and Youtube, I figured out the best way to tackle the problem, headed out to Lowe's at 7 when they opened and got some caulk and a putty knife.  I dug out a couple of weak spots in the seal around the window, especially the spot that had the biggest leak and applied plenty of caulk.  I don't think I would get the award for the prettiest job.  After about 2 hours (stuff says needs 30 minutes to dry) my son suggested I test it with the hose.  Sure enough, spraying water on it and nothing came through.  Looks like I may just have fixed the leak.  Fingers crossed that when the next storm rolls through, the rain won't be rolling in through the cracks around the window!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day

 These are the last quilts for the month.  No, they weren't all quilted today, but over the last couple of weeks and since I haven't posted much due to my super migraine, here they are.
 We are still having beautiful weather around here.  So much for our El Nino prediction of lots of rain.  We sure could use a little more to help us through the coming summer, but I really can't complain too much about days in the 70's.  I know many of my friends are stuck in the snow and cold.
 Last week in Biology, we did a fun activity where we used a DNA message to make Rice Krispies.  The kids had to follow the DNA code, change the message into mRNA and then into tRNA and finally into the protein (the final product-the treat).  If they do it wrong, they end up adding things like ketchup or soy sauce.  The kids had a great time practicing what they have learned about DNA.  Today when they had to summarize the activity, most students really had a grasp of how proteins are made in cells.  When I went shopping on Saturday, I picked up some marshmallows and Rice Krispies for my son and showed him how to make the treats.
I never realized that we've never made them before.  He loves to cook (if you call heating marshmallows in the microwave cooking!) and we've made two batches so far.  He also loves helping make pork chops too, so we don't only make junk food.  It's nice to have a helper in the kitchen and I know he will appreciate having the life skills when he is off on his own.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

some quilting getting done

A little bit of quilting is getting done around here despite the really bad migraine.  I got this one stitched out last weekend.  You may be able to see the quilting design if you click on the picture.  It is two cats with a heart in between.  I do love having the robotic quilting machine and all the designs to choose from.  I try to pick up a new design here and there when they go on sale or at at their daily deal.  I have a hard time paying $15 for a quilting pattern so will only do that if there is something I just have to have for a special quilt.  I have quite a variety of designs from animals to flowers to geometric designs that pretty much match any quilt I have.

Today I need to finish up some more hooded towels for the kids in New Mexico in the homeless shelter.  I had planned to get the box mailed off, but it wasn't full and I hate wasting space in a half full box.

I also have a ton of grading to do.  I sure wish someone would invent a grading computer where you put lab books and reports in and they could be scanned and analyzed with the push of a button.  I know once I get started it won't be as bad as I imagine.  I should just set up a chair in the quilting room, then I wouldn't have to walk from the couch to the quilting machine, but then, I wouldn't get as much exercise either.  But the first thing to do is get off this computer!  Hope your day is full of fun too!

Friday, February 26, 2016

my Etsy shop

 So I've been quiet on the blog lately because I've had a killer migraine since last Thursday.  I've finally started feeling better today.  The last time I got botox was October 12 and I really didn't think it was doing much this time around.  I had the doctor skip the temple shots last time because #1 they hurt really badly and #2 they made it hard to move my jaw to chew.  I thought maybe that was what made the botox less effective or maybe it just gets less effective over time?
 And then after the fourth day in a row of a killer migraine, I realized I hadn't had one like that since getting the botox in October.  I emailed the doctor on Monday and his office called me around noon saying they would try to fit me into the schedule that day.  They asked if I could come right then and I might have to wait a little.  I explained that I am a teacher and can't just leave work.  So, the nurse asked if I could be there at 2.  No, you see I'm a teacher and can't just leave work.  So, she said, can you be here at 3?
 One more time, I'm a teacher...I figured she'd just hang up on me, but instead, she said, well, what time can you get here?  I said 3:45 was the earliest and knew she would just tell me to come in a month, but said she would ask the doctor (since the latest I've ever been able to schedule an appointment was 2) and she came back to say, come in at 3:45.  I didn't get there until 4 because of traffic and parking and he got to me right away.
 18 shots in the head later and I was out by 4:15.  I do have to say I love Kaiser sometimes!  I'm finally starting to feel some relief today so I do believe the botox is working on the migraines and I don't think I will wait as long before getting it again.  I'm supposed to go back every 3 months, but it is so painful.  All of those shots into the forehead, temples (those are the worst) and back of the skull are some of the worst pain ever.  I wish the doctor could numb the area first.
 There is a fundraising event tomorrow for some of the local dog rescue groups and the local animal shelter where I got two of my dogs and I'm donating a bunch of stuff.  Some dog hats, a couple of handmade dog sweaters, the butterfly wings for dogs and the leftover cat keychains I made for my son's Egypt study.  I was hoping to get a quilt done too, but this migraine has really kept me from doing much at the end of each day.
 Plus, I had basketball duty this week on Wednesday.  It was a playoff game and I guess a big deal.  I'm not into sports so I didn't realize the significance of the game.  Our kids were winning for most of the game and then the other team pulled ahead.  We were losing until the last 2 seconds of the game when we got the last basket and won by 1 point.  You should have seen the crowd.  Our fans ran onto the court like it was the national championship or something.  The other guys were not happy and the coach from the other team punched the door to the locker room and had a few choice words that should not be said in front of children.  I had to open the door for their team and was not impressed with the sportsmanship shown by the coach.
I don't think the focus should be on the winning or losing, but on if you played well or tried your best.  I gave the coach a 'I'm not happy with you' teacher look as he walked past me.  I doubt he cared very much. :)

I hope my donations help raise some money for the homeless animals.  Since I'm not allowed to bring any more dogs home, it's the least I can do to help out.  Now, if a stray puppy happens to follow me home, I can't help that and my husband might not even notice.  The neighbors behind me got another puppy this week.  He's a little cutie!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

hooded towels

I read this article online about kids at a homeless shelter being given hooded towels and thought, hey, I have been making these towels with no real purpose, other than to make them because they are cute.  I contacted the lady in charge and she said she had some who couldn't send some towels she had promised because she didn't have the money and so now I know what to do with all of these towels!  They will have a good home at the shelter and I hope the kids like them.
 I'm learning new skills with each towel and maybe one day I will be ready to sell them in my etsy store.  You have to be very careful to cut closely to the outline stitch so the satin stitch covers over exactly and that's the hardest part about the whole thing.  They go together pretty quickly once you have the applique picture done on them.
They aren't just for kids either.  I made one for my son's girlfriend for Christmas.  The towels are pretty big and I make the hoods big enough for a grown up to fit.  

When my oldest was a little girl, I made her one without anything on it.  That was her favorite towel.  She loved being able to keep it on her head when she got out of the bath.  I still have it 25 years later, holes and all.  You would think I might get rid of it since I own about 50 towels, but for some reason it sticks around here, along with the kitchen towels with cows on them I got as a wedding gift.  I guess I'm a bit sentimental or just a packrat.

Monday, February 15, 2016

not quite 10

 Well, having a goal is great, because there is something to aim for, but I don't beat myself up if I don't reach it.  I managed to get 7 quilts done this weekend.  Today I decided to finally take in the recycling which I had put off for the past year.  $115 later and you can figure how much of a job that was!  I made quite a bit of room in the garage and made a promise not to put it off so long next time.
My son wanted to come home from college again this weekend, which meant two trips there and back and while school is only 30 minutes away, that's 2 hours out of the weekend.  He's having a bit of a struggle this quarter.  He joined the Crew team this year and found out that most of the guys on the team think drinking and partying is the way to go.  The team wants all the guys to participate and they have mandatory parties (you don't have to drink, but you do have to contribute to the booze fund) and my son wasn't too happy having to hang out around that.  He crashed on his bike a couple weeks ago and got a concussion.  The doctor said he needed to rest for a week and so couldn't exercise or participate in the last rowing event.  He got a couple nasty emails from some of the guys on the team strongly suggesting he quit and after some careful thought, he decided that he could find people who he had more in common with him elsewhere.

He really enjoyed the sport and made a few good friends and loved pushing himself physically.  He's in much better shape because of the experience and I hope he is able to keep up with all of the things he learned.  He's looking forward to new experiences now and I think this weekend gave him some grounding he needed.  I'm glad he picked a college close to home.
If you haven't checked out my Etsy page yet, take a look.  I'm having fun making clothes and supplies for dogs.  I swore I would never be one of 'those people' who dressed their dog, but now I've jumped in with both feet and have to admit it is really fun.  I'm not sure I will ever have grandkids, so little dogs are the next best thing.