Sunday, August 30, 2009

taking time

It is important to take time for the important things in life. This morning I took some time to clean up the sewing room. After my son took pictures of the quilts yesterday I really saw how messy that room was. I walk through there every day and step over the piles on the floor, but never saw them until the pictures.

It is also important for me to keep up with the progress of the quilting ministry. Not only for me, but for all of the other people involved. I have had people who read this blog send me quilts from Florida and Alaska and Washington and I owe it to them to keep them informed as to how things are going. I need to remember to take the time to update.

I need to take time for family. Yesterday I took my kids to WalMart where the Lego people were having a free giveaway. The catch was you had to sit down and make the lego crab before you could take it home. We sat down across from a dad with two small kids. You could tell it had been awhile since he had built anything with legos and he was having a really hard time. His son, who was about 6 wanted to help and the dad kept slapping his hand away and saying, no, we have to hurry. I will do this so we can go home. The daughter, who was about 4 had to go to the bathroom, NOW and that only added to the stress. My daughter had hers built in less than 5 minutes and helped my little guy build his. My son helped me and the guy across the table too. They left in the middle of building to take the little girl to the bathroom and we helped by finishing up their crab. For them, it wasn't the process or the memories, it was the end product that they wanted.

I am not pointing a finger, because all too often, I have been that dad, in a hurry to get somewhere instead of taking the time to just be with my kids, but he was a good reminder that all too soon, they will be grown and gone and then were will I be? Building legos by myself isn't as much fun and I would have been there for HOURS! (they really don't make the directions clear for us written instruction people)

Today is Sunday. Church is important. Not only hearing the Word of God today from my pastor's mouth, but being around the people of God as well. My pastor is going through a very difficult time. His mother is dying of cancer. They moved her and her husband (his dad) to live with my pastor's brother (who is also my doctor) on Friday. She only has a short amount of time left on this earth and is suffering greatly. To hear the words of a man who is going through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and still trusts in the Lord brings me comfort.

What do you need to take time for today?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

new routines

This year has brought many changes to my life. My oldest is in her 2nd year of college and just informed me she has a new boyfriend. Can't wait to meet him. He is from Florida. Could she have picked a further away place? At least it is warm there!

My #2 daughter just started high school. She is on the tennis team and had her first high school match. She did very well and won. I was so excited for her. She is loving everything about high school, including having lunch with me every day. So far at least it is cool to have your mom work where you go to school. I wonder how long that will last.

My #1 son started jr. high. He was so excited for a year where he got to change classes. He plays trombone and just auditioned for Jazz band and made it. He gets to be on the robotics team which meets after school a couple days a week at the high school and will be in the marching band after school on the other days as well. He is going to be one busy guy this year, which means I will have to learn how to program the planner in my phone to remind me to pick him up at the right places on time.
My younger son just started kindergarten. Wow, so many firsts and starts and new things. I'm having trouble getting into a routine. I start school earlier this year so I am not getting my computer time in the morning. That was when I used to update my blog every morning. Now, I am lucky to get 15 minutes to read through my emails and post the Freecycle things (I run that group in my city) and eat breakfast. Then, it's get the kids going, make lunches (trying to save money--we were spending about $75 a week for everyone to eat lunch at school) and get us out the door.

Last week I got 7 quilts quilted and this week, only 1. That's ok because I will have more time other weeks as I get things figured out.

I am working on the huge pile of quilts that we worked on during our 2nd quilt day. I have 12 more ready to take to church tomorrow.

I also have a box of 6 that arrived from Washington. I will save those for another post, because they are just too gorgeous. I think I will also take them by themselves next Sunday so they get the attention they deserve at church.

So for now, enjoy some of the quilts we finished at Quilt Day #2

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back to work

No, I haven't died or fallen off the face of the earth, but boy am I tired!

Starting school again is so exhausting. I had to come home yesterday and take a 15 minute nap because I just couldn't keep my eyes open. The talking and the standing and the moving around, you would think I was running a marathon or something!

I am very excited for this school year. There are big changes going on. We have a new principal and class sizes have increased by 20%, the teachers are talking strike because the district wants to cut our pay by 8% and I have to share a room with someone I don't get along with, but I'm excited for the challenges and looking forward to the blessings that will come from having to stretch myself in places that I would not normally go on my own. So far, my classes are great, even with the extra kids. The kids laugh at my jokes and sit in their seats at the end of the period. Nobody has thrown anything or cursed at me :) So, it has only been 2 days, but hey, I've had bad years too!!!

Quilting will slow down now that I have to work during the day, but I will keep working to improve my feathers and keep trying new things. I have a huge stash of fabric to work through that calls to me in the middle of the night.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Quilt Day #2

I had a great time yesterday at Quilt Day! Not as many people showed up, but we still got a lot done. I had taken over 27 quilts from the past month for binding.

The ladies there got 23 quilts bound while I was there and one of the ladies was still going when I left at 5:30pm. She had been working since 10am and had bound 12 quilts by herself. I told her she was my new best friend!

Everyone needs a binding friend like this :)

I also got 3 quilts quilted on my friend Carla's quilting frame. It was fun getting to try a new machine. She has it set up so you can use a pantograph. Boy, is that hard. I am so used to watching the needle and freemotioning everything that following a little line with a lazer was really difficult. I had to learn how to look away for a second to see if I had broken the thread or run out of bobbin. I had lots of trouble at the beginning, but once I got going, things went well.

I did one quilt with the pantograph and two freehand. The pantograph quilt took me about an hour and the others took about 30 minutes each :)

I'm pretty sure we passed the 150 mark with this quilt day. There is no way I could have done this without my friend Carla's help. She really rallied behind this goal and got all of her friends from Stampin' Up and Square Dancing to come out and help. Even people who had never sewed before were learning to put bindings on quilts. Carla has a way of encouraging and helping and making everyone feel so welcome. I aspire to be more like her.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My mom's quilts

My mom sent 8 quilts home with me.

She likes to work on different patterns based on the fabric she has.

I like to pick a pattern and then pick fabrics that go with the pattern.

When she heard I was driving out in the van, she said, 'bring me some fabric.' I was happy to help her out and brought her a whole bucket of new fabrics for her to play with.

I'm sure the next time I see her she will have more quilts for me :) It is a win/win situation.

She gets new fabrics to enjoy and I get beautiful quilts to give to kids.

My mom used to be very active in her local Binky Patrol in Long Beach, Ca but when she moved, she hasn't found another group in her area to donate blankets to so everything she makes she gives to me.

We had a great time at the quilt shops looking at the finished quilts hanging on the walls.

We tried to figure out the patterns so we didnt' have to buy them. My mom did buy me a pattern book and the same book for herself, Happy Hour, by Terry Atkinson. Let's see who makes the first quilt from the book. I bet my mom wins :)

Colorado Vacation

What a great week away from home, away from the computer and time spent with family. It was my parent's 45th wedding aniversary this summer and a great time to celebrate. Everyone was there except my husband and daughter. He had to work and she had tennis. She is going to play on the high school team and had practice and a tournament, which she won.

Lots of driving. I saw where our tax dollars are going, that's for sure. 100,000 orange cones all along I-80 and I-70 and every other road from here to Colorado and it also paid for 4 workers, 3 of which stood and watched the other guy actually doing something. On the way home, I got so sick of seeing the 'cone zones' that I would actually cheer when another one came in sight! I was hoping to see the elusive worker. There were plenty of buldozers sitting on the side of the road. I was traveling during the middle of the week, so maybe they take Thursdays off?

I got some quilting done while on vacation too. My mom and I took a day and went quilt shop hopping, hitting two quilt shops in the Denver area. At the first quilt shop, I picked up a DVD on feather quilting and we watched part of it while there. Then, my mom put together a quick stripie quilt so we could practice on our feathers. I did three rows of feathers on the quilt and left the other three rows for her to finish up. I got a little fabric too for a surprise quilt I'm going to make for my mom.

I also picked up 8 quilts from my mom for the kids in Kazakhstan. She has been busy this past year working on cleaning up her scraps and turning them into something useful.

She has the same sewing machine that I do and I learned a couple of things about the sewing machine from her. She is able to use any type of thread on her machine, mine is really fickle and I can only use three different types of thread. We both have the Janome 1600DB P. I can only use Signature, King Tut and YLI. The difference is she goes the middle speed (bunny) and I go full speed ahead (jackrabbit). When I tried to speed up her machine, the thread kept breaking too. She also uses a size 14 needle and I use an 18. Same idea. Speed of machine. Slow down and you can use a wider variety of threads and needles. For me, I have a need for speed. 20 minutes to quilt a top :)

When I got home, my friend had brought over 25 quilt tops that she had finished up this week, so I have a big backlog of quilting to catch up with. That makes me happy. I will have plenty to work on when school gets started and a great way to destress after a long day of talking and talking and talking.

I'm a bit in panic mode before school starts for me on Tuesday. The kids come back on Thursday so there are lots of things to prepare before then. I always feel like I have to get everything done before the first day, but never get it all done and the world has not come to an end just yet. This year will be very different. We have a new principal, much bigger class sizes and smaller staff. We have teachers who were laid off and teachers who have come up from the middle school and elementary school to teach at the high school who don't want to be there. It is going to be an exciting year to say the least.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Last minute details

Road trip tomorrow for a week so don't worry if you don't hear from me. I will be taking my daughter half way back to school, leaving her with my parents so she can finish the rest of the trip with her tennis doubles partner in a week or so.

I'm looking forward to visiting with my parents and my brother's family is coming out from So. Cal too so this will be a nice family reunion. We haven't all been together in years, I'm thinking the last time was when my brother got married like 7 or 8 years ago. It will be nice to update the family portrait!

We will also be celebrating my parents 45th wedding anniversary. Wow, that is a long time to be married to someone, even if they are really nice and wonderful :)

So today is panic mode, trying to get everything done before leaving for a trip. Loads and loads of laundry have been done already and there are so many more to do still before I have clean clothes to take on the trip. I could probably take dirty clothes and wash them at my mom's house :) But that would make the car stink :(
This first picture is from the quilt I did yesterday. I took the sunburst pattern I have been doing and turned it into a flower. Simple and pretty and easy to repeat. Definately a keeper.

Plus, I have quilts to finish. I got three done so far today and it is only 10am. I've loaded another long backing piece and hope to get it all quilted today, inbetween washing and folding laundry and getting the kitchen clean (so that it can get dirty again while I am gone--hubby and daughter #2 are staying home--he has to work and she has tennis stuff) and packing and watering the garden and lawn.

I'm trying new quilting ideas. This one came from this book.

I liked the heart shaped look and it was easy to do. When I am quilting a new design, I just repeat the steps to myself. On this one I said, big bump, little bump all the way across the quilt and then back again until the quilt was done. This book is really great because you can trace the patterns onto paper and make your own pantographs. They come in all sizes from 3 inches up to 7 inches. If you have one of the bigger ones you like, you can just decrease it on a copy machine and if you like the smaller one and want to make it bigger, just increase it. Since I don't do pantographs, I just freehanded this one and it turned out pretty good for a first try.

Here is another from the book. It is butterflies. Again, not every butterfly is perfect, but they all look like butterflies so I am happy. I talked to myself again, starting at the top of the butterfly, loop, down, bottom wing, top wing, top wing, bottom wing, up, loop and onto the next butterfly. It was easier to make the butterflies going from left to right on the quilt because I could see what I had already done, but I see potential for these with some flowers and leaves in the future.

Finally, this quilt just asked for simple meander. The quilt is so pretty that I didn't want the quilting to distract from the colors and pattern of the quilt. Since I can only do about 5-6 inches of quilting and the blocks are 10 inches tall, I can't do a whole block pattern in each block, so meander with a neutral thread did the trick.

Well, off this computer and better get to work. The dishes are calling to me next.

I hope to have many stories to share the next time I have access to a computer. My daughter may share her laptop, or I may be having too much fun to care :)

Isa 40:31: but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Can it be Tuesday?

Wow, really? I have been busy, but the days are zipping by quickly now. Only two more days until my trip to take my oldest back to college and to visit my parents. I'm looking forward to both. She is like a caged animal who longs for the wild where she belongs. All she can talk and think about are going back to college so I think she picked the right school. Even if it is 3,000 miles away :( But as my dad always said, "If you love something, set it free. If it was truly yours, it will return to you." I tried that with a white dove we found that was hurt. We nursed it back to health and then I let it go, thinking it would be so grateful for the help I gave it that it would just come right back. Well, it flew off and never even looked back at me. I it flew up to the power lines above our house and when my dad got home from work I was in the backyard crying. He tried to catch it for me, knowing this dove did not belong in the wild and that it would probably get eaten later that day. Since then, I've held onto things a little too tightly perhaps.

But onto quilts.
These first two quilts came from Rebecca in Alaska. She sent me two quilts to quilt for her and also sent along these two finished quilts for Kazakhstan. I was surprised that these were already done and so happy with them. They are just so cute! I love getting to look at what other quilters are doing since I'm not in a quilting guild. I want to join one soon, but they meet at strange times, like evenings, when I'm ready to go to sleep :) or during the day, when I have to work :(

more of the 63 squares. Can you tell I like this one?

and another...

Easy quilt for infants to teens--see the link on the side bar. Just 8 1/2 x 10 1/2 and 5 1/2 x 10 1/2 rectangles sewn together. What could be easier? Well, maybe a whole cloth quilt?
Baptist fan quilting--my daughter's favorite

Here is a stripie with penguins. I love the deep blue colors on this quilt.
These last pictures are of the quilts I quilted for Rebecca in Alaska. I didn't want to show the whole quilt since they are hers to show off. I will have to look up her blog and post that later, I'm not very technical at these things. She did a great job with these quilts and my favorite part of quilting them was getting to really look at each fabric. Since you have to pay attention when quilting, you get to spend time admiring each of the fabrics used in a scrappy quilt. I didn't realize until the one on the right was finished that it is a rail fence quilt. When you look at it closely, some of the blocks have smaller blocks in them, but when you step back, you can't see that and the rail fence pattern comes out. So neat. And so many different fabrics. I recognized a couple of them from fabrics I have but most were new to me. It amazes me how many different fabrics there are out there.
and finally a close up of the quilting on the rail fence quilt. I did one of my favorites, the sunburst quilting. I love it because it is easy, and looks really good. It could be masculine as well, but doesn't have to be. My daughter and son both love this one, so I think it is good for a girl or boy and since I didn't know who the quilt was for, I figured it would work.