Saturday, March 28, 2009

keeping busy

I have been keeping busy this last week. After taking Monday off and cleaning the house and getting some gardening done, I have been working on my feathers and quilting. I did another practice quilt, just two pieces of fabric with lots of different feather patterns on it. My daughter #2 loves this one, so when it is done, I am going to surprise her with it.
Then, a teacher at my school has been in the hospital since right before Christmas and is not doing well. I quilted this happy and bright quilt for his wife to give her some encouragent. I need to bind it tonight or tomorrow because the school is getting a basket of things together for her on Monday.
This is the back of the quilt.
And finally, this last quilt is for my friend whose dad has heart failure and is in the hospital. Again, more feathers and other leaves and swirls as I am learning new things. I love being able to hear the quilt tell me what it wants where.
Now, to start feeling better so I have more energy again. I have some kind of bug that is going around school and am really tired and have a stuffy head. My ears are plugged up and when I take medicine for that, it makes me feel sick to my stomach and not feel like doing anything.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Happy dogs

Well, Lily is happy to be home from the vet and I think learned a little lesson because she won't go near the garden! I stayed home from work today to keep an eye on her and because I had to get up at 4:30 this morning to pick her up. Since I had some time today I took Harper in to the groomer and she likes being able to see again. Having dogs that have to go to the groomer is a new experience for me and a big learning curve as well. I don't know how long I can go before having to take them back in again and waited too long again because this time her back hair was too matted and they had to cut it short. I will get this figured out eventually.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

stupid, expensive mistake

I finished planting my garden today and put out snail bait because I know there are lots of snails out there waiting to eat everything I just put out. I didn't think about it, but this time around, I have two little dogs. I wasn't paying attention to them after putting the snail bait out and the younger of the two got into the snail bait that I had just put out and ate some. She started shaking and panting and I had to rush her to the emergency vet. Of course, on a Sunday evening, traffic was crazy and what should have taken 20 minutes took almost an hour. Poor little girl. It is going to cost $942 for my stupidity!

I'm glad the older of the two little dogs is a little smarter and didn't get into the snail bait as well. My big dog has never shown an interest in the stuff, so I didn't even think that it would be a problem, but this little girl gets into everything, so I should have thought more about it and kept her inside and away from the garden.

She is at the vet still, I have to pick her up in the morning. The vet said it looked like she didn't get too much of the poison.

I certainly learned a life lesson today.

feeling miserable

I woke up this morning around 4am with a terrible ear ache. I've never had my ear hurt like this and had the worst time getting back to sleep. So, I went to urgent care at 9 and the doctor thinks I have strep throat. She did a quick test which came back negative and the longer version which will take until Wednesday to get the results. By that time, I will either be cured or dead. Ok, so maybe not dead, but sicker. They don't give out antibiotics anymore like they used to so she sent me home to take a decongestant for the fluid that was behind my ear and now I feel worse. I hate taking medicine that makes me feel spacey. It is a gorgeous spring day outside, although we are having a bit of wind, and I am stuck inside feeling sorry for myself. Maybe when the medicine wears off I will feel like quilting or cleaning the sewing room, or getting some grading done at least. Grades are due on Tuesday, so I hope I feel at least well enough to get a little work done today.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Quilt Show today

I went to the local quilt show today and I looked at quilts differently than I ever have before. First, I topped at the sales table to check out the fabrics and books/magazines. I was disappointed with the scrap fabrics. Last time I remember them having tables of scrap fabrics for every cheap. This year, they had some fat quarters and some bigger pieces but the prices were nothing to write about. And I don't need more fabric. I checked out the books and picked out 6 I didn't have and 1 I did, but love so much that I can give this one to a friend because the patterns are really easy and the quilts turn out nice. Then, I picked out a bunch of magazines for 50 cents each. I spent $14 so far. I put all of those things in the car and then started the quilt exploration.

This year, I was most interested in the quilting on the quilts, so I examined each quilt carefully, looking for interesting quilting patterns. There were lots of quilts with simple meandering which made me feel pretty good about my own machine quilting. Hey, I could do that! I picked up some good ideas for new things to try. I found that I wasn't impressed with the obvious pantographs. There were several quilts that had the same pantograph used on them and although the quilting was nice and uniform, when you have so many quilts side by side with the same overall design, it loses its specialness. I like quilts that have been freemotion quilted with all of their mistakes and unique drawings. There was one quilt that had animals quilted into it. You couldn't see the animals unless you stared at the quilt for a while because the thread color blended in with the background, but I thought it was really neat that they did that with the quilting.
This quilt won best in show. It is a One Block Wonder or Stack and Whack quilt and there were several of those there. I am going to make one of these sooner or later, because I just bought a book a couple weeks ago and have to justify the purchase. I think what the judges liked about this quilt was the ovement of color across the quilt with the different blocks making a wave of color.
This quilt was the favorite of everyone at the quilt show. Everyone who stopped stood to admire this one for a long time. It has animal prints as the focus and is also a stack and whack quilt. I like the different color background and wonder if that was planned or happy accident :)
This is another of my favorites, with red being my favorite color.
When I look at this quilt all I can think of is the amount of time it must have taken to coplete. I love the stained glass look of it with the black sashing and the wide borders with the patchwork outer border.
I told you there were quite a few of these type of quilts there.
and another one.
This one is my style. Small, simple, but makes a nice statement. I also love the colors in this quilt, very relaxing and restful. I could take a nap right now...
There were quite a few of these quilts too. I think the pattern is called Pick Up Sticks. I think I have this pattern around somewhere. What a great way to use up some scraps.
another great scrap user, this one takes more work, but WOW!
And finally, my all time favorite. Love the bold colors and did I mention, my favorite color is RED?
After walking through the quilt show the first time, I realized I hadn't looked at any of the quilts. I couldn't remember what any of them looked like since I was standing up so close to see the quilting on them all. So, I had to make a second trip around the whole show to actually see the quilts this time. It is strange when you look at quilts from two different perspectives how you get a whole new view of them.
I stopped by and picked up 20 more magazines, mostly Fons and Porter the second time around because for 50 cents each even if there is only one pattern in the whole bunch, I think I did well for myself. I will be keeping busy with ideas for a while now.
And when I got home, the mailman was waiting with a quilting DVD for me! What a happy quilty day!

Friday, March 20, 2009

You Tube Videos

See the new links list on the left side? I'm looking for good quilting demo videos to add to this list. Let me know if you have any, or know of any that I can add. I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve my quilting skills and want to share what I learn with all of you. Take a look at these videos from You Tube and see if you can pick up a thing or two to help you out.

It's Friday! Yipee!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wonky feather success

Ok, so I forgot the most important thing Dawn Ramirez teaches on her video when it comes to machine quilting. Chocolate! If you haven't purchased her DVD yet, you need to get a copy of this video and watch it over and over. You will feel liberated and free to try new things with your machine quilting. I promise.

Look what I did today after a whole row of Thin Mints! Oh, yeah, and some personal advice from Dawn herself. She's the best. I sent an email to her after having troubles. She came over (via the internet) and looked at what I was doing wrong and gave me some personal advice and I tried again and LOOK AT WHAT I DID! I'm so proud! Not perfect wonky feathers, but so much better. I give myself a B+. Or, maybe it is the chocolate speaking :)

And the very best thing? My 13 year old daughter came in and said, wow, mom that looks really good! You are really getting good at your quilting. I'm doing the super happy Irish JiG right now. Can you see me? NO? That's probably a good thing. I sure hope these cookies don't wear off too quickly and give me a sugar low.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

comfort zone

So I really want to get good at

wonky feathers, but when it comes to quilting them, I feel so much comfort going back to quilting patterns that are easy for me. This quilt I did some flowers, leaves and swirls. I feel good about those, eventhough at first they were hard to do. I know that if I keep practicing the feathers, I will one day get good at them, but it is so hard to try something I don't feel good about doing. I think I will bribe myself to do one comfort quilting pattern for every difficult pattern I try. I also need to watch the DVD again to see what I'm doing wrong with those feathers. I want to see improvement quickly! I am not a patient person :( Grump.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

trying new things with quilting


So, I am trying new quilting things today and not feeling too, too successful. This first one is supposed to be wonky feathers. Sorry Dawn Ramirez. They really don't look like feathers, more like wonky flowers. Dawn is the author and star of the Pajama Quilter Reloaded DVD and workbook that I have been studying. I would give myself a D. But, I won't give up, so I give myself an A for effort. The problem with being a teacher is I am always judging myself because it is part of my job to judge. I wish I could take off my teacher hat on the weekends and just learn to let go. I will one day. But today, I earned a D. At least a D is passing and I am not going to rip this out. I have no idea why I used black on the bobbin thread for this quilt, but you can see the stitches really well.

The other quilt I did loops and hearts. I like this one. It was really fast and 99% of the hearts look like hearts. The one heart that looks like a blob isn't that noticible. Now that I've told you there is a blob there, I dare you to find it. Go ahead. If you have nothing better to do, or if you have dishes that need washing. I do that all the time and hope the dish fairy comes. She never does.

sending you spring

The fish are happy that the water has warmed up. I put the in the pond when they were about 1/2 inch long and now the biggest is about 10 inches long! That was 3 years ago. Wow, they must be finding something good to eat.

Crab apple tree

Not sure what this is. It blooms, but no fruit ever sets.

It was so windy, this flower would not hold still for its picture to be taken.

In case you live in a part of the country where it is still winter, I thought I would share some Spring with you. It has been so nice this week and I got my garden planted today. Well, a little bit of it. I worked until my body said STOP! and I Mean IT! I planted two rows of peas, three spots of zucchini, four different types of tomato plants (don't ask me what kinds please) and three rows of carrots. I used up about 1/3 of the garden so far. I will plant more this week after it rains tomorrow or when my back lets me bend again. I bought 60 bricks to hold down the garden quilt and put 20 stakes around the edges of the garden to help me keep track of where things are in the garden. I also used some yarn to help me try to make straight rows. Boy, do I need help making things straight! But, I'm not entering a garden contest, so I guess it will be ok.
Don't look at the weeds in the background! I know, I have a lot of work still to be done. I tend to jump right in and plant before I finish getting ready. Oh, well...
I still want to plant more tomatoes. I will see if any of these seeds come up first before planting more in the garden. I may need to start them indoors first and then transplant them outside, or just buy already planted plants. I also want more zucchini plants and may buy those too. I didn't have any luck with my zucchini last time around. I had big bushy plants but didn't get one fruit to set. Have no idea what I did wrong, but the first year I had more fruit than I could eat or give away! I'm learning and it is a good thing I don't rely on the garden to keep me and the kids alive :)

Here is the quilt I did this week too. Another quick stipie from You really have to check out her great patterns if you need something quick for a gift, or have some fabric you need to use up. They are quick, look great and everyone loves them.

These are the crochet squares ready to go. I had 129 done and only 100 fit in the box. So, I have a head start on the next box. I need to save a bigger box for next time. These have been finished since Dec 1 of 2008. Just a few minutes here and there watching TV can add up to a lot of warm squares. All of them are 7 inches.
I really need to work on grades and do some more quilting or put bindings on the 6 quilts I did these last two weeks, but it is supposed to rain tomorrow so maybe I will go back outside and get some vitamin D going...

Friday, March 13, 2009


This has been one of the worst weeks for me. I was backstabbed by a co-worker and have had a terrible time getting over the pain of betrayal. I am just now able to talk about it without crying so I know that I am starting to heal. I won't share details, but pray for me to be able to forgive this lady and be able to go on working with her.
I came across this website today and all I can think of is wow. Could I ever get this good at quilting? I highly doubt it. But, would I ever want to put that much time into learning how to get this good, even if I had the talent? This must have taken years to perfect, and boy is is beautiful! I'm happy that my quilted flowers actually look like flowers and my leaves don't look like marajuana any more :)

This lady lives about 1 hour from me and says she teaches classes. Maybe I could take one this summer and learn a couple things to improve my quilting. I love learning new things and expanding my skills even if I could never get as good as the teacher. I drove an hour each way for a month to take a machine knitting class a couple of years ago. It was so much fun to get together with other ladies and learn how to use my knitting machine. Then, after the class, I put the machine away and haven't used it since. I wonder if I remember anything I had learned. Maybe this summer I will get that out and work on things again. I really love how quickly you can make a baby sweater, hat and booties on it. I don't like sewing up the seams though. Oh, well, can't have everything I guess. And I do have a lot of yarn to go through too.

I did manage to get one quilt quilted this week, in the mornings before school and I will post a picture tomorrow. The weather has just been so nice here and I have also been working in the garden getting it ready for planting tomorrow.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Real quilts

Sudoku top by Nancy

Cheater black and white

Cheater panel farm

Quick stripie Noah's Ark from one of the ladies at AC4C (Marge in Canada I think?)

Ok, so I haven't just been messing around with garden quilts. Yesterday I stayed home from work with a sick little one. He was up half the night with an ear ache, but felt fine during the day so I got busy making quilts. I got one full quilt completed and 2 more quilted. Then, today because I'm stressed over things I have no control over I quilted 3 more quilts. I'm afraid I will run out of quilt tops here soon! I have 22 more tops and backs waiting to get finished and haven't done any piecing for a while. At this rate, I will finish within a month :) Won't that feel good? I'm also working on cleaning up the sewing room so I feel more creative again. It is a horrible mess with piles everywhere.

But, here is what I got done so far this weekend.
And this is the one for my son's head custodian's grand daughter.

Ultimate Garden Quilt

Ok, so in the spirit of reduce/reuse/recycle and stashbusting, I came up with the idea to use my ugliest, non quilty fabrics to make a garden quilt. I was told to use weed cloth in the vegetable garden and thought, why not use my ugly fabrics to make my own? This is what I came up with in about 15 minutes of sewing today. I still have some work to do underneath to make the ground flatter, and the mind is willing, but the body is oh, so weak! It measures 8 feet by 35 feet!

I'm hoping that with 15 minutes a day all this coming week, I can have the garden ready for planting next weekend. I will have to keep the dog on the side yard from now on, or she will see this as a giant dog bed and make a mess of it. I plan to get some bricks for around the edges and buy some snail bait for under and around the edges as well. I will also put straw over it, so you really won't see the quilt for very long, but it turned out pretty nice, for ugly fabrics. Some of the fabrics look pretty, but are poly blends, or are thin, or faded or stained or otherwise not good for making quilts for kids. This way, they will have a purpose instead of sitting in the sewing room taking up space.

Can you imagine if I put this in the front yard, what the grouchy neighbor lady would say? It makes me laugh just to think about it :) I'm so bad.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm tired

Last night little guy was up half the night with an ear ache. He is fine today, but was crying and hurting and I couldn't do much for him. I finally gave him some Benedryl and got the trusty rice bag and heated that and he went right back to sleep. Me, not so much. We both stayed home today. I can hear him as he watches Dora. "Swiper! Backpack!" He hasn't watched that in a long time. It is really cute. He fell asleep when we took the other two to school this morning. I should take a nap, but probably won't. I feel like I have been given a free day and there is so much to get done that I can't waste it on sleep.

I got two quilts quilted already, but am too tired to hang them up for pictures. I will take pictures of them soon because one is going to be given away this afternoon. My son's head custodian became a grandpa last week and my son wanted me to make a baby quilt for the grandbaby. I had the quilt top since last March and today it finally got quilted. It took me a whole 20 minutes to quilt from pinning to unpinning. Wow, 20 minutes. Really, it took me a year and 20 minutes to quilt.

Why do I put the quilting off for so long when it only takes such a short amount of time to complete? The binding will only take another 20 minutes to get done and I will have a perfectly good baby gift in 40 minutes. I bet the piecing only took 20 minutes as well. If you think about it, you couldn't go out and buy a baby gift in under an hour if you really tried. And this cost me nothing. The batting was leftover from one of the other quilts since this is such a small quilt and the fabric was scraps from another project.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

week beginnings

Or is that Weak beginnings. I've noticed over the last few weeks that I don't post during the first few days of the week. Is that because I'm so drained from the weekend? Or is it because the first few days of the school week are so stressful and trying that I just don't have the energy to get things done that anyone would find interesting? I think it might be a combination of both.

On Mondays especially I find myself sitting at the computer after school reading what everyone else got accomplished over the weekend and then just sitting. Not wanting to get up to make dinner. Not wanting to get up to tackle sewing or crafting. Just listening to the kids play with their endless energy. Just sitting.

I tell you, 140 kids takes it out of me. If I'm this tired at my age, what will it be like when I am 60? And with the stock market going the way it is, will I be able to retire at 60? I can't imagine teaching at 70. I will be such a crabby old lady!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

plans and hobbies

Ok, so I had grand plans for today and then I got puked on. I must have lost my cat like reflexes sometime in the last year or so. My 4 year old got me today and let me tell you it was not pleasant. Enough on that topic. He is feeling better now. Thank you LORD!

I had planned on going to church and taking the 12 quilts that are finished and waiting here to be delivered. I guess they will have to wait until next week to go. I had put the binding on the last one this morning and little guy says he doesn't feel well. I handed him a bucket and went to check on him and...
I counted and have 12 more quilts that have backs ready to quilt. This morning I had pinned one more quilt back to the frame while the computer turned on. I figure instead of wasting time, sitting at the computer while it does its thing, I will spend that time being productive. So, I pinned the back for the quilt and was hoping to get that quilt done today. No such luck so far. I have spent the entire day on the couch with little guy crocheting squares. I have 110 ready to ship out since Dec 1. I have used up a grocery size bag of yarn--about 10 skeins of odds and ends to make those squares--some squares had been started and just needed an extra round or two to finish up to 7 inches to be useful for the blankets for the group All Crafts for Charity that I belong to. I've talked about that group before. Each month, they pick a different charity and each month is a different focus, but each month afghans are needed, so when I have some TV time, I sit and crochet squares because I can do that without thinking about what I'm doing and it uses up the yarn that is sitting around here.

My other plan for the day was to try and match up the quilt tops that are sitting around with some backing fabric and hang them in the closet that my daughter left empty when she went to college. I saw on several blogs that people hang their quilt tops and backings on hangers in closets and just realized that I have this nice, big closet with lots of empty hangers just sitting here waiting for me to use. I may or may not get around to doing that project, but at least I'm thinking about doing it. When it gets done, I will have more space in my sewing room because right now, the quilt tops are in a big pile in the middle of the sewing room, on top of a bucket of I don't know what. More scraps I think. I have to get in there one of these days and organize it so I know what is where.

Oh, well, another day maybe.

It is raining again today. I was watching the weather channel and the guy says rain today, tomorrow, Tuesday, Wed, Thursday, Friday, Saturday...Sounds like a wet week. Maybe it will rain enough that they can't get the busses out and they will cancel school and I will have to stay home and clean the sewing room. Oh, bummer :)

On the subject of hobbies. Do you know people who don't have hobbies? I was talking to a friend yesterday and she was saying that she doesn't have any hobbies. We were trying to find a hobby for her. I have several friends like that. I couldn't live without my hobbies. Actually my hobbies are more of obsessions for me. She was so funny. She came over today all excited and announced that she found a hobby! She likes making puzzles! She was so proud that she has a hobby now. I just laughed.