Wednesday, October 1, 2014

school pictures

This is the first year we've been given school pictures in about 10 years.  I'm wearing one of my favorite t shirts given to me by a fellow teacher.  I have a huge funny t shirt collection and don't ever wear the same shirt twice in the same year.

And yes, my hair just grows like that.  I don't do anything to make it curl like that.  The kids say it looks like Top Ramen.  I've had people ask to pet it before.  Weird huh?  I got it from my mom's mom.  I tell the kids I got it from being electrocuted by a pig fence when I was about 5.  They pretty much believe anything I tell them.  Even that I'm 25 :)

September quilts

Only a dozen quilts quilted this month so a little disappointed with my efforts.  The idea of working an extra 20% sounds like a great idea and getting that extra $1,000 at the end of the month also sounds like a time to celebrate, but when you get home at the end of the day and can't pull yourself off the couch, the idea sounds less than perfect.

Monday, I got home early because of the bomb scare and was supposed to go to the post office and to my friend Carla's to pick up quilting supplies and did neither one.  I was just too exhausted to make it off the couch.  It wasn't a physical exhaustion, but rather a mental tiredness.  Yesterday, I got home around 5 and again, didn't get off the couch until almost 7 to make dinner and then, it was just too late to get anything else done.

This is getting serious!

Plus, I have my former student leaving me on Friday.  She says she will be coming back a couple days a week, but I have a feeling once school really gets going for her, that will soon be ending.  She has really been keeping me organized and getting most of my grading done.  I will have a parent email me asking about a missing paper or questing about a grade on something and she really knows what is going on.  I will be totally lost!  I had better increase my vitamins and maybe find a few extra hours in the day somewhere.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bomb threat at my school

Well, today was fun.  The last 5 minutes of my 5th period class, we got an announcement saying that this wasn't a drill and to evacuate immediately.  I told my students to grab their stuff and get out quickly.  From the tone of voice of the Vice Principal, I knew it was serious.

Too bad I didn't grab my purse, because it is still at school.  We stayed outside on the field for about 45 minutes and they finally told us to evacuate to the middle school which is close by.  Only about 10 of our 80 teachers escorted the kids.  I have no idea what happened to the rest of the teachers.  After making sure the kids got on the bus, called their parents or walked home, I tried getting back into my classroom, but was told that I couldn't.

Good thing I had my keys and phone.  Some teachers had to leave their cars there because they could not get back in to get them out.  The police officer said it would take all night to search the school.

Oh, the exciting life I lead.

hand made

My friend at school made this quilt top all by hand.  I have no idea how long she worked on it, but I'm sure it took a long time.  I'm sure she made it before she had her three kids.  She recently donated it to me to give to the Boles fire victims.  What she doesn't know is that I'm finishing it up to give back to her to give to her daughter.  This is the only quilt she's ever made and I think she needs to keep it in her family.  She cannot sew to save her life and this quilt is quite the accomplishment.  Her daughter is in Girl Scouts and my friend has brought me her sewing machine to teach her how to sew patches on her uniform.  After several lessons, she just can't get the hang of sewing.  Something I take for granted, just doesn't come naturally for other people.

I hope her daughter holds onto this quilt as a family heirloom.

Youngest's Tennis Lessons

 My youngest is 10 and started playing tennis when he was about 4.  He hasn't played in a long time, but has started up with lessons again a few weeks ago.  He has picked up right where he left off.
 He had a private lesson on Saturday and he is getting really good.  He can rally the ball and keep it on the court.  He can serve and get the ball in most of the time.  The coach thinks he is ready for playing matches.  He's not so sure.
Taking him to lessons transports me back 20 years when I was taking my oldest daughter.  There are some little girls who remind me of my daughter.  They are totally uncoordinated and can't remember which foot to move.  They run into the ball and trip over their own feet.  It was hard to remember when my daughter was that little, but seeing these little ones makes those memories come back like it was yesterday.  It's crazy how things work like that!  I'm afraid to blink, or my little guy will be grown and gone!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

close to the end

 The end of the month is coming and my numbers are really sad.  Today I was hoping to get lots of fabric cut and more kits made.  I had a lot of helpers show up at our last quilt day and everyone took home quilt kits and has brought them back already.  The problem is, I just haven't been able to keep up with them in the quilting department!  even with the extra help from my former student every day, I am still feeling so overwhelmed.

I'm in a battle with the new Tech guy who has blocked our access to youtube, where I get lots of great, short videos that I use to teach with.  I've really tried to be patient and wait for him to unblock them, but there just is no communication as to why he did that.  He's making decisions that affect my teaching ability and I'm frustrated.  So, I wrote an email to the Superintendent, School board president and several other high up district office people explaining why I'm so frustrated and then forwarded that to my principal so when I no longer have a job, she will understand :)

She wrote me back and explained that our infrastructure was about to collapse and the new Tech guy has been busy with lots of other things, but I think it is common courtesy to answer emails and let teachers make decisions about how they teach curriculum in the classroom.  If the school board wants to tell me what to teach, and it goes along with what the State tells me what to teach, fine, but let me decide the best method of presenting the material.  I'm using books that were published in 2001 and we have no money to buy new ones.  These kids were raised on technology.  We recently purchased new computers and now I don't have access to the programs and videos for those computers.  So, our laptops have now become giant paperweights.

No wonder I have a massive migraine today.

But tomorrow will come and go and I will either get a response from one of the higher ups, or be ignored as in the past.  Most likely, they will get a good chuckle out of my dilemma and think, 'there she goes again, Tilting at Windmills.'

This quilt is very beautiful and I know someone will ask for the pattern.  The lady who made it just took a random size center square and used strips of different widths around the outside.  It is very beautiful, but it was a bit tricky to quilt since it wasn't sewn to foundation fabric so it stretched a bit and has some puckers.  She agreed that if she were to do it again, to start with a foundation fabric and sew to that, which would make it a bit thicker, but provide stability.  A great way to use up all of those leftover strips and strings.

Here's hoping you had a better day than I did.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

More quilts for the Boles Fire victims

 Here's a couple more quilts finished over the weekend for the victims.  It's so hard to gt quilting done during the week with all of the 'stuff' going on with school and home and getting my little guy to his activities this year.  But I quilt when I can and they are getting done.  I'm considering hiring a helper so the house gets cleaned at least once a month.  That will take some of the stress off me and give me some more time for fun.  Fun is important!  And after the day I had yesterday, it sure would have been nice to come home to a clean, organized house :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Go! BIG or go home

Have you heard the BIG news about the Accuquilt Go! Big fabric cutter?  Here's your chance to enter to win a free electric die cutting machine.  I gain nothing by telling you about the contest other than hoping that someone I know wins.  I LOVE my Accuquilt cutting machines.  Especially my Accuquilt Studio.  I have no idea how I could get so much done without them.

If you enter and win, I hope you make lots of quilts for charity.

Today was a rough day.  I had a student share some very personal things with me today.  Being a teacher at a public high school is a rough job.  I have 30 students in a class.  I have 6 classes this year.  Each student is an individual with a separate life outside of my class.  This student is having some very difficult life events happening and I really felt honored that he shared them with me, but then I had to stop everything to try and get him the help he needed while trying to manage the rest of the classes for the rest of the day.  It's really tough to compartmentalize life like that.  How do you think about something super serious while trying to entertain a class of teenagers and keep things organized and not lose papers and take attendance and...

It's a good thing most days aren't like this and I can come home to make quilts.  It's also a good thing Taco Bell cooked dinner tonight!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What teamwork looks like

 Great day at Binky Sunday.  Had about 20 people show up to help cut out lots of quilt kits.
 I'm not sure how many kits we got cut out because most of them were taken home to be sewn and will be returned in the next couple of weeks to be quilted and donated to the familes affected by the Boles fire near Weed, Ca.
 We had three Accuquilt Studio fabric cutters going for almost 3 hours!
 These three girls cut an entire bucket of Christmas fabric for stockings for out Veterans and military members who are currently serving.  They will be sewn together another day and will be filled with goodies to say thanks for your service!
 Great teamwork here rolling and cutting.  Look at that huge pile of perfectly cut stockings!
 I love that I can trust kids to not cut off a finger and get shapes that are perfect every single time.
 Lots of scraps were created that were then cut into 4 1/2 inch squares and 2 1/2 inch strips that will be made into quilts as well.  Nothing goes to waste around here.
 Everyone was working and 4 buckets of fabric got sorted and cut.  That sounds like a lot, but I have another 100 buckets in the shed that need some work.  I should have one of these work days every week :)
 Everyone was impressed with how easy the Accuquilt Studio cutter is to use.
 And everyone was looking forward to the next work day.
 We take helpers from the very young to the very young at heart.  A little bit of time, a little bit of fabric and wanting to help other people and lots can get done.

Binky Sunday

This beautiful quilt top was donated recently and is the perfect size for the Boles Fire in Weed California.  I quilted it up yesterday, it will get bound this week and will be on its way by the weekend to bring comfort to a family that lost everything.  I love how so many people are working together to help bring comfort.

I picked up a bunch of sheets at a recent 50% off sale at the thrift store and am loving having those as backing fabrics.  No piecing required before throwing them on the machine.  I will have to remember to check them out the next time the thrift store has a sale.  Goodwill doesn't put theirs on sale, just clothes so I have to watch when Savers or the Opporturnity Thrift store has their.  For $3 I can get a king size sheet which will fit any size quilt I need  to make.  You can't get fabric for that price!  And the leftovers go into the scrap bin.

Today at Binky Sunday we will be cutting up lots of scraps to make quilt kits.  I've had several calls from people wanting to help.  For every call I get, I'm sure there are many more who will just be showing up to help out, plus the teens from my high school will be there with eager hands.  I just hope I bring enough fabric for them to cut.  I never know how much they will be able to work through.  I would hate to run out!

I just loaded a roll of 15 yards of backing fabric onto the machine and am now trying to find enough quilt tops to match.  I got that at the thrift store for $10 a few months ago.  It's a pirate print in red and is perfect for boys.