Thursday, December 31, 2009

Final quilts of 2009

Here are the last few quilts from yesterday and today. I had plans to get more quilted today, but the boys' room sucked me and and spit me out. Also, I had threaded the machine funny and had to unstitch a whole row of quilting and that took about 30 minutes. Why is it so much more fun and easier to stitch than unstitch a quilt?

I have one more quilt loaded on the frame and may or may not get to it tonight. Either way, it has been a good year for quilting and busting stash.

And I can finally see the floor in my boys' room. Built them a bookshelf and it is full already. No wonder they had so much stuff on the floor of their room, too much stuff and no place to put things. We will keep working tomorrow, but it is almost time for family game night and maybe a movie. Not sure how long I can play board games :)

I hope you will forgive me for being too lazy to rotate these pictures. The 'new' computer takes forever to rotate them and I'm just feeling lazy. I plan to move the 'old' computer back next week after my daughter leaves to do her internship and then things will be back to normal.
Until then, just tip your head. People will look at you funny, but tell them you are emptying your brains to make room for new information. See what they say.

Out with the old

So, looking back on 2009 brings good memories. Lots of things were accomplished in the quilting world this year. I'm going to work today to finish up as many quilt tops as I can and try to get them to my friend for binding. I hear she has some finished ones for me. I think I have 17 quilt tops hanging on the rack and know I can't get them all done, but I started off the year with 24 quilt tops so I'm ahead so far (unless someone brings me more today!)

The quilting room is looking better than it did this time last year, although there seems to be more fabric in there. Not quite sure how that happened as I really don't remember buying much :) I do think I brought a lot in from the garage and shed and hope this upcomingyear to bring the rest in, which means I have to use up a whole bunch. That shouldn't be too much of a problem at the rate I went through fabric this year. If I figure each quilt takes an average of 5 yards of fabric and I quilted about 175 quilts (counting what I plan to get done today) that's 875 yards of fabric used this year. Give or take a couple of yards. Wow, that's a lot of fabric. And you can't tell I used any.

I'm going to sit today and make some goals for the new year, take down the Christmas tree and start cleaning the boys' room. If you don't hear from me, please send help. I may get burried in there. Don't worry, I probably won't starve to death. I'm sure I will find plenty to eat, although I'm sure it is old and moldy.

Tonight we are having 'family game night' and will jump into the New Year.

Wishing you the best for 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fixed it

With the help of the Stashbuster's group on Yahoo, I was able to fix the sewing machine problems. Seems it was a small burr on the inside of the hole where the needle goes. If your sewing machine or quilting machine is shredding your thread, try this. Stick a pin in the hole of the sewing plate throat cover. Use the pin to feel around inside the hole to see if there is a rough spot. If there is, you most likely have a burr where the thread gets caught. If you are only using the machine for sewing, the needle most likely will never catch on the burr, but with machine quilting, when you move the quilt or the machine, the needle gets distorted a little and the thread touches the sides of the hole. When this happens, the thread catches on the little sharp pieces of metal and tears.

I went to the hardware store and got a very small file set. It is called a needle file set, used for woodworking. I used the one that looks like a skewer and pushed it through the hole and twisted it back and forth a few times.

Then, I used the very fine sandpaper. This is supposed to be used to sand cars. Silly men. It is 2000 grit. I cut a very small strip, maybe 1/8 inch and wrapped it around the end of the file and pushed that through the hole and twisted that around to get the tiniest pieces of metal off. The throat plate metal is pretty soft and you will see bits of it on both the file and the sandpaper.

Then, I did the pin test and I could feel the difference.

Put the thing back together and quilted. No thread breaking. For the whole quilt! And I did feathers, which require twisting and turing and backing up and going every different direction. So, I believe it is fixed :) Yipee!

I also did this to the originial throat plate that came with the machine. When I first got the machine, the thread broke no matter what I did. It didn't fix until I got a new throat plate and boy was the hole rough inside. I think I fixed that one too, but haven't tried it out yet.

I'm just surprised that the company I got the machine from didn't suggest this fix for me. I might write them and let them know how I finally fixed my machine problem. $10 for the tools and I can fix it if it ever happens again.

Happy dancing here!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Scrap Using Strip Quilt

I am working and sorting and cleaning and trying to use up some of the scraps and just started sewing them together. A couple days ago, I made this one and liked it so much that today I sorted more strips and made a second one. I have three more baggies for three more quilt tops like this. Super easy and quick to do. No thinking allowed here. Just take your leftover strips from bindings, other projects, end cuts, or just start cutting pieces of different sizes from 1 1/2 inches up to 10 inches. The bigger the cuts, the faster it goes together, but variety makes it look nice.

I've also been busy quilting. I still am not sure what is going on with the quilting machine. I finally finished up the Quilt of Death! It took me about 3 hours to get it done. I worked on it and the thread kept breaking every 8 inches. I took the machine off, changed the needle, changed the thread, cleaned the machine, tried a different sewing machine on the quilting frame and nothing helped. I was thinking that it was the fabric somehow cutting the thread. I loaded a second quilt onto the frame and the thread only broke once. Same thread, same needle, same batting. Strange.

(quilt #2)

Loaded a third quilt and the thread started breaking again when I tried to do wonky feathers. Decided to do some big loops and the thread stopped breaking. I started thinking that maybe the batting was the issue. Sometimes the poly batting is stiffer than other times. At the end of the quilt I did the wonky feathers again and the thread didn't break. Still not sure what is going on, but I'll keep trying different things until I figure out what is going on or I use up all of this batting and then try something new. Quilting is really fun 99% of the time but the 1% that isn't fun is so frustrating. I just can't give up and do something else, because there is so much fabric and so many kids who need a quilt!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

So frustrated

Not only do I have a migrane and have been laying around all day, but when I finally decided to do something so the day wasn't a total waste, the quilting machine is giving me fits. This goes back to when I first got the machine and the thread broke every 8 inches of quilting. I have no idea what the problem is. I've tried everything, changing the needle, changing the thread, cleaning everything I can find. I'm starting to think it has something to do with the fabric in this quilt top. There is one type of fabric with some gold glittery parts that I don't think the machine likes very much. Problem is, I have miles of quilt top to go before I can take the quilt off the frame and not sure what to do next. Maybe I will have to put an old machine on the frame and use that. Like my old kenmore. That thing had a small throat to quilt with, but didn't give me nearly the troubles the Janome 1600P DB does with thread breaking. When it works, it works great and will quilt 200 quilts with no troubles at all, but when it gets tempermental, boy does it make me want to throw it out the window. Of course, having a migraine doesn't help the situation. There is probably something easy to fix, that I just can't see right now.

Maybe I should go sort quilt books and magazines instead. That won't hurt my brain as much and the quilt will still be there tomorrow. It's just frustrating to not be able to do what you want when you want to.

I HATE migraines

They suck you in, chew you up, spit you out and say have a nice day. Thanks for nothing.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Progress in the sewing room

I am bound and determined to get that room in order before school starts again next week. I am slowly making progress in there, cutting fabric, sorting, giving away two bags and one box of scraps that are too small for me. I know, some people like to use up every little piece, but when you have 5,000 yards of fabric, it is hard to stop and take the time to use the little tiny pieces. I gave the fabric to people who will love it and use it and make something out of it. They have the time, I have the little pieces, everyone was happy.

So, I sorted another box of scraps today and have a pile that still needs ironing and trimming. I also attached the metal shelving unit to the wall with some plumbers tape. It is a strip of metal with holes in it and I just found the studs and drilled screws into them through the metal strip and around the shelves. Not sure it will hold the whole thing together, but it will slow down the collapse in case of an earthquake. That's something we have to think about here in California. I would hate to be underneath the thing if it fell over on top of me.

But, the biggest improvement came today with the addition of the hanging clothes rack. It now holds my quilt tops waiting their turn to be quilted. I got it at Target for $20 and it says it will hold 100 lbs. It fits perfectly in the little space between the shelf and sewing table. Right now there are 25 quilt tops on it and I think that is about all it will hold. That's a good number to have in waiting, so I have something fun to pick from every time I'm ready to work on a quilt. For some people 25 quilt tops would give them the hives, but for me, it isn't very many at all. Some days I can do 3 or 4 (and some days in the summer up to 6) so I can blast through 25 quilt tops quickly. Now that I have a friend who will bind everything for me, I'm ready to go.

I got a quilt quilted today on my new machine set up and it felt good. I got some extra bed risers for the table to make it a little higher. One of the troubles with being 5'11" is that things aren't made for my height. It's ok, I've learned to adapt and make things work for me.

Well, off to do some sewing before I'm needed for the evening. Bellies are full, so I should be good for an hour or so :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

It's Christmas

The children are all squirreled away in their rooms or playing games and it is so nice and peaceful around here. I got some sewing done today. Daughter #2 got a new office chair for her computer and I got her old one for my sewing room so it makes it much nicer to sew for longer periods of time. I have been working on cutting fabric to finish up the 60 or so kits that I plan to pass along to my friend who will sew them and give them back to me to quilt.

The sewing room is almost moved back to somewhat of an order and the quilting frame is back together. I'm hoping to put a quilt on it later and quilt something. I haven't quilted in a long time and I need to feel like I'm being productive on my vacation. I can't believe we have been out of school for a week now.

For my birthday, my husband got me an mp3 player. I didn't really want one, but he insisted that I should have it and now that I have loaded some church sermons on it, I can sit and sew and listen and I am really enjoying having it. I downloaded some sermons from my old church and am looking forward to listening to my old pastor.

We are having ham and turkey today because the kids couldn't decide on one. I figure if I cook both today, I won't have to cook for a while. I made a roast beef last night and so there will be plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week I think. That means more time for sewing :) Ain't I smart?

I hope today finds you all healthy and happy and full of joy.

Christmas blessings to all.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Feeling Clever

Yesterday I decided I wanted to move my quilting machine so I could work from one side of the frame. I now work from both sides, loading it from one side and quilting from the other. I could have a lot more space in the room if I could only work from one side of the machine. So, I started looking online for handles for my machine. I figured I would get them for myself for my birthday. I found a couple of different styles and they were between $200 and $300 just for handles so you can work the machine with your hand, instead of your foot. Well, I have a really hard time spending that much money on a handle or anything else, so I thought about it for a little bit and this is what I came up with.

You see, about 20 years ago, the Velcro company sent me two ginormous boxes of Velcro when I taught 1st grade. These boxes could have fit 8 first graders in them. I gave away most of it to my fellow teachers and friends and random strangers. I have a very small amount left. This is industrial strength Velcro, that will hold forever. I put some on the machine and some on the foot peddle and now I can use the foot peddle with my hand. I just hold the handle with my left hand to move the machine and squish the peddle with my right to control the speed of the machine. Didn't cost a penny! I felt so clever coming up with this idea all by myself :)

Then, I got the grand idea to move the whole sewing room around. I am still in the process of moving the fabric back onto the shelves, but I have moved the table to where the fabric was and the fabric shelf against the wall. I made it 2 shelves higher, more room for more fabric. I found some great new storage bins for fat quarters and they are sort of organized, but at least put away better. It will take all of the rest of vacation to finally finish up this project, but I think it will be for the best. Hubby says this is the 21st time I have re-arranged this room and he is probably right. I hope this is the last time. Because I have much better things to be arguing with my teenage daughters. Oh, that is so much fun.

Sorry, mom if I was such a pain as a teenager. I take back every time I talked back to you. You were always right. If this is payback for all of the times I was a spaz, I'm so sorry. Really, I am. Please, make it stop :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME!

Another year gone by with many wonderful memories. My oldest is home from college and we are enjoying her company again. What more could a mother ask for? Well, maybe for all of her children to behave for a family picture. Is that too much to ask? THIS is why you don't have 4 kids! You can't take a decent family picture with everyone looking normal in a single picture. We sure did have a lot of fun taking these though. Look at little guy. He cracks me up with that cheesy smile. And older son with his interesting personality... Yeah.
So much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to in the new year.
So, what do I want for my birthday? I'm trying to re-arrange the sewing room again. Hubby says it must be the 21st time I've done that. Maybe this time it will work. the problem is I have too much stuff for too small of a space. I can't figure out how to shrink everything down and I don't want to get rid of anything. I think I might go either to Ikea or to a sewing machine dealer in Sacramento. I'm looking for handles for my quilting machine so I can put the machine up against the wall and work from one side. Right now I have to work from both sides. That would free up about 2 feet of extra space. If I could do that, I could move the quilting machine against the wall. I think Ikea might just have some extra storage stuff that would give me more places to hide fabric. I wonder if the girls would come shopping with me. I think they have always wanted to go to Ikea. I hear you can get lost in that store :)
And tonight we are going to Fresh Choice for dinner. I always go there for my birthday dinner. I always over eat too.
Hope your day is happy too!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

So worth it

Here is a link to the pictures of all of the quilts we worked on so hard this summer being passed out to the children at a special needs orphanage in Kazakhstan. Just seeing the faces of these children and young adults as they each get their own quilt makes my heart leap for joy. All of the work that went into each of the quilts is so worth it. Knowing that these kids have something to call their own and to snuggle under each night...oh.

I want to get in the sewing room now more than ever and get to work. This set of pictures couldn't have come at a better time. I start vacation today for 16 days and have great plans for working through a bunch of quilts. Yipee! I'm floating on air!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Last minute Christmas gifts

This is what I am attempting to do before Friday. Nothing like waiting until the last second to get some Christmas gifts done for co-workers! They are Christmas napkins. I'm headed to JoAnn's today for some gold sparkly serger thread and Fray Check. Too bad I didn't think of this on the weekend when I had a zillion 50% off coupons. Oh, well...

Saturday, December 12, 2009


off the face of the earth. That's what it feels like. I have been under so much stress lately with overload at work and trying to help my daughter find housing in NY for her winter term project that I haven't had a chance to breathe. This weekend, I have to clean the house and do 27 loads of laundry and then there's Binky Patrol on Sunday. I hope to have some pictures to share. I am delivering blankets and quilts to church on Sunday for the CASA group to help clean out my house to get ready for my daughter to come home. Right now, they are filling her bedroom and she wouldn't have a place to sleep :)

The weather outside is icky so it is a good day to stay inside and get some work done. Hoping to get the house presentable in a few hours so I can have some time for quilting. I made a couple of fleece blankets last weekend for my daughter's boyfriend's birthday yesterday, but other than that, I haven't had much crafting time. The sewing room is a disaster. It always turns into the dumping ground when I'm not in there working all of the time. That is a top priority this weekend so I can be very productive this coming vacation. One more week of work and then I'm off for 2 weeks. We just had a week's vacation 2 weeks ago...oh, the life of a teacher :)

Well, off to get some donuts this morning...need that extra energy for working all day. Hope to have something interesting to report soon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

15 mintes

I came home feeling beat up again, this time I did it to myself. I have a student that I've been trying to get help for since the 3rd week of school. I believe we are in week 15 now and still nothing for her. I keep going to administration, we had a meeting, and nothing has changed. Every day I ask, when is something going to be done? I feel like I'm hitting my head against a brick wall and wish I could just let it go, but she is making everyone around her miserable because she is so miserable. I don't understand why it is so hard to get help for kids sometimes.

So, I sat at the computer for an hour and then decided I could do something productive for 15 mintes. This is what I got done! I quilted this really big quilt (well, really big for me). It is 60 x 72 and big enough to cover a teenager at a foster home.

I still feel beat up but better that I got something done to make someone else's life a little better. And that is how things get done...15 minutes at a time. Now, to get up and cook dinner in 15 minutes :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

wasted time and energy

The last two days at work have left me frustrated and angry and exhausted. Yesterday, my personal business was shared with everyone in the entire school district. You know, I felt just like a celebrity, having my 'business' all out there and everything. Don't worry, my husband didn't attack me with a golf club or anything that extreme, but it was still a personal item that didn't need to be shared with everyone and I was angry with the person who shared it through the district email. I wasted all of last night and some of today fussing over it. What was done, was done. Nothing could be taken back or changed. Wasted energy and time.

Today things just weren't going the right way either. More wasted time and energy. My shoulders are sore and cramping, like I just got beat up. I just get so frustrated and angry when things aren't right in the world and I know how to fix them, but nobody will listen to my ideas. Then, after everything falls apart and people come along and say, hey, you had a good idea, I start banging my head into the walls and say, I have been saying this all along! More wasted time, more frustrations.

So, no quilting. I have a quilt top ready to go, just no backing for it yet. I started cutting up some nice pieces, but that will take more time and efforts and thought and I just don't have that right now. Maybe tomorrow will be a less stressful day. I need to learn to just let these things that I have no control over go and relax, knowing that God is in control, not me. I'm a slow learner.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New goals

Today I took 62 quilts, blankets and afghans to church to give to Wendy, who is going to give them to the foster agency where she adopted her two little ones from this summer. That's a total of 74 so far. Then, another lady at church, who works for a foster kid support group

asked me if we could work to provide quilts and blankets for the 77 kids who are in the program by Christmas. Do I love a challenge or what? I have 15 quilts that I have done, minus the binding, from this vacation so far. I'm going to take the quilt tops I have here and pick out the ones I think a teenager would like and add borders to them to make them bigger before quilting them up since we will be needing some larger quilts too.

While it is sad that there is always a need for a handmade quilt, I am happy that I have the talents to be there to help meet the needs.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Doing some math

I've never really liked math. I made it all the way through calculus in high school, so I'm not saying I wasn't good at math, but I never enjoyed math. When I got to college, I took Statistics and got my first D ever. I think I dropped the class half way through. The teacher was boring, the class was at 8am and I had no idea what he was talking about. I fell asleep almost every day in class so that is probably why I didn't understand the subject. I tried getting help with the homework, but that wasn't successful either. I retook the class the next quarter and I think I passed with a C, but that pretty much ended my math career.

So, anytime people talk math to me now, my mind shuts down. Hubby talks about how much money we have in the checking account and I nod and smile and hum and think about something else, like chocolate. Then, when I think he is done when his mouth stops moving, I change the subject.

Well, this morning I woke up thinking about math. Scary. I was thinking about how much fabric I have and how long it would take to use it all up.

I have in the house (because we don't want to talk about the garage or shed) 25 crates full of fabric. I figure there is about 50-100 yards of fabric in each of the crates. I am guessing that much because one time a lady gave me boxes of fabric that she had carefully measured. Each box had about 60 yards in it. Each of those boxes would easily fit into one of the crates. Some of the crates are packed full--so more than 60 yards and some are only half full, so less than 60 yards. So, let's say each crate has an average of 75 yards of fabric in it.

Doing some math here, let's say there are 75 yards times 25 crates, that gives me 1875 yards of fabric in the house. The quilts I make are for kids. An average quilt takes 4 yards of fabric, for the front and back and binding. Some take more, some take less. I can get about 468 quilts out of the fabric that is sitting here in the house, assuming that all of the fabrics go together :)

This year, I made almost 200 quilts. I had help from lots of friends, but using up the fabric here in the house, it would take just over 2 years to use up all of this fabric. That isn't very long. However, I made 200 quilts this year. That means I should have used up half of this fabric in the house! But I didn't! I have probably twice what I had last year. How is that possible?

I have a couple of theories. First is the loaves and fishes theory. Remember the story about Jesus and the little boy? Jesus was out talking to the people on the hillside and they got hungry. The disciples said to Jesus to send the people away so they could get something to eat. Jesus said that he would feed the people, but the disciples said they didn't have enough food. Jesus took the small lunch that the little boy offered and broke it. The more he gave away, the more there was to give. The more fabric I use up, the more gets donated to be used.

The second theory is that the fabric is like rabbits. When you turn the lights out, it multiplies in the dark.

Either way, I'm going to keep using up the fabric as fast as I can, making room for more fabric to appear and thanking God that I have the talents and enjoying every minute of this journey. Sometimes I get discouraged that I can't do enough fast enough, but when I look back over the past year and see how many quilts I have made and think that each one of those quilts have been given to someone to warm not only their body, but their heart, it gives me energy to put another quilt on the machine. Just one more, and then another and another.

A video for you to listen to and think about this morning.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday addiction

Today in the US it is Black Friday. What that means is most stores have crazy sales to get people into their stores so they spend money (most people don't have this year due to the recession) and the stores finally start making money for the year (hence the black part). The only thing I could see that could entice me to attempt the crowds was the sale at JoAnn's for flannel. It was on sale for $1.49 a yard, normally $5.99. The trouble is, I still have most of the flannel I got 3 years ago, the last time I went to the big after Thanksgiving sale when I bought about 50 yards. The last time I went it was $.99 a yard. I love flannel. I love to look at it and touch it and buy it. Trouble is, I don't really like to sew with it. It sticks. It shrinks. You are supposed to prewash it because of how much it shrinks and I don't prewash anything. So, I had about 49 yards left from 3 years ago. So, really did I need to go get more if I hadn't used any from three years ago? Really? But it was on sale! Sale I tell you! But is it really a saving you anything if you don't need it?

So, I resisted the temptation until about 8:30. Then, I had to go to the post office and GameStop to pick up a couple things that were on sale for the kids for Christmas. And since both of those things didn't take long, I decided to pop into JoAnn's and see if it wasn't so bad. The cutting line for fabric was going to take about 2 hours. I decided I didn't need to spend 2 hours of my life for something I didn't really need anyways. What I did need was batting at 50% off. I do use a lot of batting. Plus you got another 20% off after they took the 50% off. So, it was really about 60% off the normal price. I spent $45 for 80 yards of batting. I can get about 60 quilts out of that so I should be good for a while, maybe through summer, and hopefully until the next sale.

After coming home, my migraine kicked in again. I'm adjusting my migraine meds and they are kicking my butt. Not fun. So I didn't get as much done as I had hoped today, but at least I'm on vacation so nothing had to be done. I'm hoping to get at least one quilt loaded and quilted tonight after dinner.

My good friend brought over some afghans from another friend so it feels good that even when I can't be productive, I have friends who are still working to get blankets into the hands of kids.

It is good to have many friends with the same goals as me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wendy, don't look

My friend from church was overwhelmed when I brought her 12 quilts for the foster kids. I hope she isn't looking at the blog this week. I just picked up 66 quilts from my friend Carla a couple days ago. I'm not sure how many will be going to Wendy, but I'm thinking about half of them. Plus, I have more that are coming from my friend Betty and some more from my friend Ruth. I hope that Wendy has room in her house and van for all of the quilts and blankets that she will be taking to the kids at CPS (Child Protective Services) and that they are ready to be loaded up for the holidays.

The rest of the quilts are going to the local hospital for the A Baby is Coming program.

Plus, with me being on vacation, I've been working on some sewing and quilting of my own. I'm currently working on using up some flannel scraps and putting them together to make a scrappy top that I hope to finish up today. I'm also cutting out squares for a couple of quilt tops for the local wounded veterans. I live close to Travis Air Force Base and wounded soldiers come through here on their way home. My daughter is working on making quilts for them. I'm also cutting fabric for a quilt for my oldest daughter's tennis coach's wife. I asked what colors she liked last year and am finally getting around to working on a quilt for her. I tend to put gift quilts on the back burner for a long time. I have to think about them for a long time for some strange reason. I don't quite know why. I think they have to be perfect or something. I'm weird like that.

Here are just a few of the many, many quilts I picked up from Carla the other day. Hope you enjoy them. Some are from the last quilting day I went to way back in August and most are from ones she has been busily working on in her free time. She is a very busy woman. I keep telling her she needs to start her own blog, but she keeps resisting. One of these days...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

cast came off

Today my son #1 got his cast off. He 'broke' his wrist about 2 1/2 weeks ago playing basketball at a friend's house. I say 'broke' because the first doctor said he broke it for sure, but the orthopedic specialist said it was just strained ligaments. So, they put the cast on to make him feel better and to let the wrist rest for a couple of weeks. My son plays the trombone so he has been unable to do that and has been out of PE for two weeks as well. He came home today with a splint that he says bothers him more than having the wrist free. Now he can shower and play video games freely again!

We treated ourselves to Cold Stone ice cream. After all, it was a traumatic experience for mom too you know!

Monday, November 23, 2009

last thing on the list

So, I started off the vacation by making a to do chart with a list of about a dozen things to do every day and another dozen or so things to do only once over the vacation. Daily things include things like the dishes, laundry, quilting, sewing and cutting fabric. The once only things include cleaning the air conditioning vent and trying to fix the carpet shampooer. Today is the first day so far that I have accomplished everything on the daily list. Writing on my blog was the last thing on the list of things to do. I'm not a list type person, but it sure feels good to x things off the list. I have work things and fun things and I think there is a nice balance of both to keep me entertained.

And I am even giving away a big box of strange fabrics on Freecycle that were in the sewing room to a lady who is planning on making things for her kids like costumes and purses so it is a win/win. I get more room for more fabrics and she gets new things to play with.

Today I took a dozen quilts to Carla for binding and brought home about 50 finished quilts. I didn't realize I was bringing home quilts, I thought I was just dropping off quilts that needed work so was very surprised to be filling my van with so many finished quilts.

I've quilted 2 quilts today and feel like I have my groove back again and boy does it feel good.

My oldest is on her way to Florida to spend Thanksgiving with her boyfriend's family. Last year I cried when she didn't come home. This year, I'm happy for her. What a difference a year makes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My mom's quilts

Here are the latests quilts my mom sent me over a month ago. I have been so sick that I unpacked them and they sat on the ironing board until today. Today they went to church with me and went home with a sweet friend who is going to take them, along with some others that I had made and some that my friend Carla gave me to the local social workers to pass out to foster kids who are taken from their homes. These kids especially need the hug of a quilt as their lives are turned upside down in an instant. By no fault of their own, they are born into turmoil and strife and they live with stress and worry all the time. When they are taken away from their parents, they will be given a quilt of their very own to take from home to home, something that will be permanent in their temporary situations. Hopefully, they will carry these quilts to their forever homes when they get adopted by a loving family.

My goal this week is to get another dozen quilts finished up for next Sunday's delivery. I have a whole bunch of quilts sitting, waiting for bindings and those are going to Carla, who will give them to my binding buddy, Rhoda and then when they are done will be passed on to the foster kids.

Since the need has been met for now in Kazakhstan and postage is so much, it is nice to find a local destination for the quilts.

I also came home today with two huge bags of new fabrics that were donated for more quilts. I can't give the quilts away fast enough to work through the fabrics because the fabrics just keep coming in so quickly. It is invigorating to get some new fabrics to play with. It's too bad I've had the worst migraine in a long time today. After church I came home, had some lunch and took a really long nap. Nothing seems to help this time and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. I wonder if migraines are just a message to slow down and rest. Yesterday was a busy day and I knew I needed to slow down, but would have probably kept up the pace all week if not for the migraine.

I guess if I had to choose a disorder, migraines aren't so bad. Most of the time, I can work through them. After all, it is just a headache. I'm not going to die from the pain :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

They are driving me crazy

Ah, is it time to go back to school yet? Just kidding, but the kids are already driving me crazy with their arguing and fighting over everything. I guess I need to give each of them jobs to do all day so that when they are finished, they will enjoy their time off too.

Today was a great first day off. I quilted a quilt, cut some fabric into squares, sewed a whole bunch of fabrics together for backings for more quilts, went to the quilt store and picked up a pattern for some super cute Christmas stockings and got a lot of other things done that I had been wanting to do. Of course, I'm worn out, but it feels so good to have the energy back to be able to work again on things that I've been wanting to do.

I'm going to get my daughter working on quilts for the wounded soldiers and the Quilts of Valor this week so I have been cutting out lots of blues. Just 8 1/2 inch squares so the quilt tops should go together quickly. The more I work, the fluffier the fabric gets because I'm not seeing any of the stash going away. But I've decided that I need to get busy and get working on trying to get some of the stash reduced to make room for more :) It is always nice to get some new things to play with.

Off to make dinner.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I'm so looking forward to the 9 days off. I love being a teacher for many reasons and having a nice long vacation for Thanksgiving is one of them :) I have many plans and those include some sewing. I started today by pulling out some fabrics from the piles I have and starting to iron and cut out squares for some quilt kits. My friend says her mother would like to start sewing tops together again and needs some more kits. So, I figured I'd start cutting up some fabirc and get some quilt projects going. I also have plans to do lots of quilting of the tops I have here already and get them over to my binding buddy so they are useful for kids. I finally have my energy back again and it feels so good to be working with fabric again. Stay tuned for progress updates!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

finally finished something

It has been so long since I finished something and it feels so good. I got the quilt bound and in the mail to the wounded Iraq soldier who is the cousin of a long friend. We grew up 2 houses apart. She is younger than me and we used to spend all day together playing Barbies, or house or Land of the Lost when we were kids. It felt sooo good to finish something and didn't take long at all to quilt and bind the quilt today. I really need to get back in the swing of things again. I miss having finishes to share. But, after this quilt, I haven't done much, little shopping, cooked a turkey and sat around on the computer. I got my turkey last weekend (buy $99 worth of groceries and get a free turkey) and put it in the garage fridge. Well, it was thawed out today and I forgot that Thanksgiving isn't for another week and a half so it wouldn't be good by then, so I decided to cook it today. It is done and smells so good. I think I might go back and get another turkey. I spend about $200 a week on groceries so spending the money isn't a problem :) The problem is going to be waiting until dinner time to eat it. I'm hungry now. I think I will sneak a piece and then when dinner comes around, I won't be hungry. Oh, well, then I can eat again before bed. It's a wonder I don't weigh 300 pounds.

Ok, off this computer and hope to get something productive done before bedtime.


Gary's quilt is quilted. Hoping to get it bound and in the mail today!

Friday, November 13, 2009

400th post?

wow, that's a lot of posts.

I finally have something to show. I worked on this quilt on Wednesday and plan to get it quilted this weekend. It is for a friend's cousin who was wounded in the Iraq war.

Tomorrow, son #1 has a lego robotics tournament, so I don't think I will get anything done, but maybe Sunday???

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

so proud

Today was the final day of high school tennis for the season. My daughter #2 plays #6 on the team. She is only a freshman and has had a great season. She won 19 matches and lost only 3. Today she had the toughest match of the season and came out victorious. The girl she played was tough, but her mom was the hardest part. Her mom was the coach and should have known better, but because her daughter was losing, would clap on mistakes my daughter made. It really started to get me angry. I just wish people could let kids play sports without trying to live through them. This lady also said some really mean things to her daughter about my child, in front of my husband because she didn't know that it was his kid! He confronted her and she said, oh, well, I was just trying to get my daughter pumped up. Wow, putting someone down to make your child feel better? And you are the coach? I'm so glad that my daughter isn't on your team!

I'm glad my husband was there, because he had a really cool head and was able to diffuse the situation. I was just going to pop her one (not really, but I could have) and he had everyone laughing when it was all done. It still upsets me that they called my kid names because they lost, but it's really sad that another person is being raised to think that this is an acceptable way to live and treat other people.

I was just so proud of my daughter for keeping her cool under pressure and not letting this girl, her mother and the other team get the best of her. I learned a thing or two from her today.

Friday, November 6, 2009

It's Friday

So many possibilities for the weekend ahead. I am finally starting to feel better and get my energy back. I have been sick for over a month. If this wasn't swine flu, I never want this again! I am hoping to have some fun this weekend to play with fabric, finish a quilt or two and get outside to work in the garden. Today we had a little rain. Fall is here!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

today might be the day

I think I might be feeling better and may get some sewing time today. Woo Hoo. You have no idea how excited that makes me. I have been sick for most of this month. I got sick around the 8th and have been feeling mighty weak and tired since then. The doctor did a whole mess of blood work, chest x-rays and urine test and came back with nothing much. One of the blood tests came back with the results as possibly cancer, pneumonia or pregnant. Yeah, what a combination! So, the x-ray ruled out the pneumonia and I'm not pregnant, so he wants to do a mamogram to rule out the cancer. I'm not worried because I know that breast cancer does not make you cough and run a fever for 2 weeks, but I do not look forward to the test anyways.

So, this morning I'm off to the fabric store to find a pattern and fabric to make a Daphne dress for my #2 daughter. We can't seem to decide on any costume until the last second. She is going to a friend's for a sleepover tonight and everyone is going to be a different Scooby Doo character. Since she already has the red hair, it was a simple choice. Now, just to figure out how to put a zipper in...

Hoping to keep feeling better and be posting more often again!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Goodbye Tiger

My cat

of almost 16 years died yesterday. I found out 3 weeks ago that she had cancer and there wasn't much the vet could do. He wanted to do surgery and remove the tumor, but I'm sure it had already spread because she was losing weight and not moving around much anymore. It was a very sad end to a very bad weekend.

I'm still feeling weak from being sick for so long. I got sick the day I found out she had cancer and can't seem to shake whatever is making me sick. I got tested for the flu/swine flu and the test came back negative. Today the doctor wants to do a chest x-ray, bloodwork and urinalysis to see what else is going on. This weekend, I slept 15 hours on Saturday and then Saturday night slept 12 hours more. I tried to vacuum the hallway upstairs and had to take a nap because I was so tired.

I feel better this morning, maybe the stress of the sick cat was getting to me and I didn't realize it.

Tiger was not the best cat in the world. She would pee on clothes if you left them out and scratched up the couch, but she went through a lot with me. I got her when I had my first miscarriage. I had to drive all over the world to find her because there weren't any kittens around at the time I wanted one. I finally found her at a pet store in Sacramento, near the zoo. She was about 3 or 4 months old at the time. I paid $35 for her for the adoption fee . They put her in a cardboard box for me to take home and on the way home, she got out and was running all around the car when I was driving on the freeway. I almost named her Trickster. The first few months were rough because she wanted to play at night and would keep my daughter awake by jumping on her face in the middle of the night. I had to lock her in the bathroom at night and then she would meow. She has always been 100% indoors and was so afraid to go outside. You could leave the doors wide open and she would never go out. Sometimes, if she wasn't feeling well, she would sneak out and get a bite of grass and come in and throw up in the middle of the floor, but she was always so afraid to be outside.

She didn't like to be held, or petted too much. She would meow and hiss at you if you scratched her in the wrong place, but she never bit anyone. I think she just liked to talk a good talk and scare people.

I will miss you Tiger.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

swine flu is kicking my butt

I have been sick for about 10 days now. I got tested yesterday and hope to have the results sometime this weekend. This thing is not fun, whatever it is.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

happy Saturday

It is Saturday again and a happy day! I have plans to make a quilt today for my pastor. It was his birthday this week and I am hoping to get the quilt done today so I can bring it to church tomorrow. It is supposed to be 105 degrees today so what better to do than stay inside and sew? I also plan to make some brownies and get them in the mail to my daughter. I had better get out to the grocery store early this morning before my tires melt in the heat :)

I sent her some cookies last week. Now that she has a car, she doesn't need me to send anything else because she can just drive to WalMart and pick up whatever she needs, but she doesn't have access to an oven, so home made baked goods still remind her to call home every once in a while.

Hope to be back later with something to show for the day.

Things have been busy with grading papers all week long. I'm still trying to figure out how to get more work done in the same amount of time without going crazy. So far, it isn't working :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

something different

today we did something different. My older son is really into his music. He plays the trombone for the band and is in 7th grade. He loves the trombone and playing music and the high school jazz band was going to be playing at the local outlet stores this afternoon so we decided to go down and listen to them play. I took all of the kids and made a fun afternoon of listening to the band play, watching and playing with my little guy on the playground stuff and getting some Jamba Juice. We also got some Jelly Bellys (a local factory makes them). It was really fun and a great way to take my mind off my headache. Just getting out of the house and playing was fun. I'm hot and tired and could use a nap, so I think I will sleep well tonight.

Here's a link to what my oldest is up to in college. She is back to playing tennis again and having lots of fun. Wish I could be there to watch her. I just found out that she got a job teaching tennis to kids who are home schooled and having fun doing that. She has always been really good with younger kids.

another weekend

wow, what a week. I've had a migraine for 5 days now. I've been working all week with it but it drains the energy out of me and I haven't been able to do anything fun to show here on the blog. Bummer.

We had back to school night this week too. Just more added stress and longer day. But there was a really good turnout of parents and that helps explain why I have such great kids this year.

I'm hoping to get some quality quilting time this weekend and some time to unwind and relax. The weather is very strange. It was over 100 degrees yesterday and this morning looks like it could rain. We had rain las weekend too. Strange!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Quilting progress

Yes, I have been quilting since school started, just not keeping up well with the numbers or posting pictures on the blog. Too many things to do, too little time.

I just finished grading all of the tests the kids took on Friday and now have a few minutes to post the pictures of the quilts I have worked on since school started 3 weeks ago.

I also got a little nap in there. I was trying to watch football with my husband while grading papers. I don't know how people watch football and stay awake. Every time he watches sports, I fall asleep. Doesn't matter which sport it is, football, baseball, golf (that one gets me after 5 minutes) but maybe it is the announcer's voice, or the buzz of the crowd, but something about the sport and I'm in dreamland.

A quick nap and I had the energy to plow through the rest of the tests and now I can play again for the rest of the day. Well, there is laundry to do and dinner to cook, but inbetween doing those things :)

Today I quilted two quilts. I may get a third one in tonight. I started on it, but ran out of bobbin thread and decided to take a break.

I love having lots and lots of the backing fabric already loaded on the frame so all I have to do is throw another quilt top on and pin and away I go. Seriously 20 minutes and I have a quilt quilted. My pile of quilted quilts is getting bigger. I think it is time to call my binding buddy Rhoda and see if she is up for more work. I'll talk to Carla this week and see if she can make the transfer.

This next batch of quilts will go to a local foster organization and into the hands of kids who are taken from their homes by Child Protective Services. Those kids need hugs too. I've tried to get them quilts before, but they asked me how much they cost and were very suspicious of me. Now, I have a contact that knows the people and can bring the quilts and get them where they need to go. (Hear that Wendy--they are coming to you :)