Wednesday, April 29, 2009

what day is it?

Oh, silly me! I have one more day in April to finish my goals. Good thing because I'm so tired I can't think straight. I think I will finish the back of the quilt tonight because that is about all the energy I have left.

We got a phone call last night and a letter home today about the swine flu. One of the teachers from our school was in Mexico over the Easter break and is now out sick. I am wondering if there is a connection, but nobody is talking! I could use a couple of days off work to get my quilting projects done, that's for sure. And maybe a nap or two.

goal day

Today is the day I set to complete my list of goals
3 quilts quilted--2 so far one planned for this afternoon
3 quilts bound--none so far, one maybe for today--Kristin's birthday quilt needs to get in the mail by tomorrow, so I may be up late tonight :)
3 backs sewn together--1 done, 1 almost done, I think I can do one more today
Kristin's top sewn together--done

So, not too bad. At least I got more done than if I hadn't set the goals

Stay tuned for May's goals. There are a lot of school activities coming up, but I will try to stretch myself with the quilting goals as well. I do better if I have a big goal and have to work at it every day.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

exercise will kill me

My doctor keeps saying I need to exercise. I know in my head that he is right, but every time I do, I almost kill myself and then I think, how can exercise be good for you when you almost die every time you try?

Today I decided it was too nice of a day to spend inside working on quilts so after church and a quick trip to JoAnn's for more batting at 50% off using the coupons, I took the kids to UC Davis to go bike riding. I don't have a bike, so I was going to walk, and take the little dogs. My little guy still has training wheels so I figured I could keep up with him. Yeah, sure, no problem, except for the down hill parts where I had to run to keep him from going into the stream.

After walking/running for an hour, I feel like I'm going to die! And, you will never believe who we ran into at the bike path there! My doctor. It was so weird. You see, his brother is my pastor and the two guys look exactly alike. They aren't twins, but they sure could be. The only difference is Dr. Smith is taller. They talk the same too. So, without the white coat, you can't tell them apart. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out which Smith I was talking to. But when he didn't say he saw me this morning at church, I knew it had to be my doctor.

I am almost done with sewing together the blocks for Kristin's quilt and hope to get that done by tomorrow so I can quilt it by Wed. Then, all I have left to do on my list this week is bind 3 quilts. I need to get Kristin's quilt in the mail by Thursday so it gets to her by her birthday, May 6. She was born the day after my daughter. They have so much in common and are perfect room mates. They even both sleep with night lights!

making progress towards goals

I really do well with goals because I know people are watching and rooting me on! Even if nobody leaves a comment (hint-hint) I know you are out there, reading and wondering if I will be able to reach the goals I set for myself. I wonder too, but since I put them out there for everyone to read, I decided I had better give it my best shot.

Last night I quilted this beauty. After looking at the stitches and slowing down a little when hitting the points on the leaves, I am happy with my quilting. It is not perfect, so that gives me a reason to practice more, but it doesn't look terrible either.

Someone commented on one of my groups that not perfectly same size stitches makes the quilt look like it was done by hand, rather than by a computer, which is something I do like, so I will keep practicing and not be so hard on myself. After all, I'm not going for first place in the next quilting show. These quilts are meant to bring comfort to kids in orphanages in Kazakhstan. I took a look at the pictures of the kids who received the last batch of quilts and I didn't see one kid looking at the stitches on his/her quilt! They were too busy wrapping themselves in them and hiding under them and touching them to care about such sillyness!

This second quilt was started back in January of this year. I know this because I put a tag on the top, Jan 2 when I finished it. I quilted this on this morning because the back from the last quilt was big enough for a second top and this one matched too, so I figured instead of taking the extra backing off, why not stick an extra top on and go to town.

I like these quick stripie quilts from because they are so great for practicing my quilting on. They have these great stripes that are great for my little machine. I can try new things in each of the rows if I want and everyone thinks that I planned to do it that way.

To reach my goal for Wednesday, I need to quilt one more quilt and sew two more backs together. The backs will take all of 10 minutes to do so that part will be easy. I still have Kristin's quilt to sew together--maybe an hour? and three bindings to put on. It is going to be difficult, but if I work this afternoon instead of correcting papers, I think I can do it :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I pinned the quilt for Kristin today, but haven't had time to sew. I had tennis lessons to wait for this morning and Science Fair letters to write and send out and then many, many errands to run this afternoon. I need a longer weekend.

I've been thinking a lot about my future as a quilter. I really, really love quilting and hope one day to move up to a long arm machine. One day, when the kids are grown and I have a room I can devote to the big table and machine. I would like to be able to quilt things for other people. I fell like my meandering is pretty good now and I would feel comfortable doing that on other people's quilts, but some of my other things still need more practice.

I have been thinking a lot about getting a quilter's cruise control for my machine because I have a friend (hi Carla) who has a new quilting machine with a cruise control and her stitches are perfect! But, I can't justify spending $500 on one.

So, today, I was told that with some more practice, I can get my stitches to look like I have a cruise control, without spending the money. I have decided that I am going to practice and practice until my stitches look like Carla's, even around sharp points and corners :) Well, maybe they won't be perfect, but I'm going to learn to make them more even. I think that is a good goal.

I had better get off of this computer and try some quilting tonight before it is too late. If I practice a little every day, I will get better.

And if I start saving my pennies, one day, when the kids are grown, I will have enough to afford a long arm quilting machine...or a new car :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

300th post?

wow, I really have had a lot to say! I'm glad for everyone who has stayed around to read my ramblings--thanks Dad :)

And thanks for the comments yesterday. They are the motivation I need to get working again. Just knowing there are people out there watching me, makes me want to get working again.

Yesterday, I cut and sewed a quilt back.

I also finished sewing the blocks for my daughter's room mate--Kristin's quilt. They are up on the design wall and just need a little moving around so no two colors are touching and they will be ready to sew together.

As a bonus, I had to pin together the quilt that has been hanging out on the design wall for about 3 months. That will get sewn together this weekend as well. It is a string quilt.

I really like the colors and pattern of this quilt for Kristin. The fabrics have a music theme. She is a dance/theater/music something major and I couldn't find any dance fabric, so went with the music fabric I had. I love the rich colors of this quilt. Her favorite color is pink, so I will have to put that somewhere on the back of the quilt, but if she doesn't like it, I will take it back and keep it :) Or, make myself one just like it. The pattern is no longer available on the web, it was one of the links on the left side at the top here, Brickwork I think was the name, but the link is broken now. I learned from that to print the patterns I find or at least save the to my computer so if the author decides to take them down, I will have a copy for myself.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

They don't stand a chance

I'm so sad. First we had temps in the high 90's for a couple of days. My poor iris wilted in the heat. Then, last night and all of today we have had winds in the 30-40mph range. Trees were knocked down in my neighborhood, trash cans knocked over and my poor iris are almost completely wiped out. They are trying so hard to look beautiful and just having the hardest time with the weather. I am really going to have to go back to the Napa Iris Farm to see some more beautiful iris blooms before the season is over (

I'm also still not feeling like getting quilting done. I pinned another quilt to the frame today and am going to make myself work on it some tonight and also work on the quilt for my daughter's room mate since time is running out before her birthday! I know that as soon as I get myself back into the habit of working on quilts every day, I will find the energy again, but it is so much easier to sit at this computer and veg.

I think I also need to set some goals for myself to help motivate me.

Goals by April 30:

Quilt 3 quilts

finish the quilt top for Kristin

Bind 3 quilts

Cut and sew backs for 3 quilts

There, those are big goals, but I have a weekend coming with no plans so far and it is supposed to cool down even more and maybe even rain next week. Nothing better than quilting in the rain. I feel better already.

Ready, set, go!

Just do it

Ok, so I took their advice and didn't buy the shoes, but decided that eventhough I didn't feel like working on a quilt, I would just do it anyways. This quilt was a surprise quilt that was hidden folded in another quilt top. When I went to load the other quilt top, this top fell out and surprised me. People sometimes donated quilt tops to me, but never surprises like this. I decided it needed leaves all over it, so that is what it got. It took two days to finish, but it is done and now is added to the giant pile that needs binding.

A teacher at my school yesterday came up to me after our morning meeting where the principal announced she would be leaving at the end of the year. He starts by saying, "I have a rather strange question for you. Can you take t shirts and make a quilt out of them?"

I said that you could.

He goes on, "How many t shirts would you need?" I had no idea where he was going with this, because he had asked me a couple years ago if I could teach him how to make a quilt--way back when I very first started quilting. He said he wanted to make a t shirt quilt for himself and I thought that now he was asking me to help him again.

Finally, he asks if I could make a t shirt quilt for the principal if he gave me the t shirts. I just laughed at him and said of course I could do that, but I needed as much time as he could give me. I have no idea why he didn't just come out and ask me in the first place. It was a rather strange conversation.

Our principal has been at the school for 11 years, longer than me, and most people at the school love her very much. She is moving on to a different district to do district office work and a lot of people are afraid of who will be replacing her. There was a whole lot of crying going on at the meeting yesterday.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I need motivation

I can't seem to get motivated to do much of anything around here since getting back from vacation. I need something to get me started again. Any suggestions?

I have a quilt I started for my daughter's room mate for her birthday on May 6 and that doesn't leave me much time. I am almost done making the blocks, but don't really feel like doing any piecing.

I have a quilt on the frame, but don't feel like doing any quilting.

I have about 15 quilts that need binding to be called finished, but I don't feel like digging through stash to find fabric to cut and then bind.

I have several quilt tops that need backs pieced or picked out of the stash, but don't really feel like digging through my fabric to look for the backs right now.

I also spent 3 hours this weekend cutting quilt kids and have about 20 of them ready to go, but don't feel like working on those either.

I'm really in a slump.

What do you do when you get in a quilting funk? I know if I just started something I would feel better, but it is the starting that I can't seem to make myself do. Instead, I just sit here at the computer and read about all of the quilts other people are making.

Anybody want to come over here and kick me in the butt to get me started?

the heat

is killing my iris :(

It was 94 yesterday and supposed to be 97 today. The flowers usually last a week and they are wilting within the day. I'm so sad. I guess I will have to go back and visit the iris farm to get my full iris fix for the year since my iris aren't lasting long enough to get pictures of.

It is supposed to cool down by the weekend and maybe even get some rain. For those people who cry "Global Warming" it was hotter in 1949-1950, so this is just a strange April, not the end of the world.

Here are the quilts my mom sent up to me to send off to Kazakhstan.

She is a very busy quilter and the person who inspires me to quilt and crochet and knit and garden (well, dad probably inspires me more in that area).

She got me to start the Binky Patrol chapter in my area after she was so actively involved in her local Binky Patrol in Long Beach, Calif before she moved to Colorado.

There isn't a local chapter near her, so she makes quilts and sends them to me.

Then, I find homes for them.

I think it is a good partnership.

When my mom came up to visit for my oldest's graduation from high school she saw my sewing room and declared that I had too much fabric.

I told her that I would not be showing her my garage or shed then!

She said that she would help me out by taking some of my fabric home so she could sew some of it and now she has sent it back to me!

What a great mom she is :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Busy day--but so fun

Well, I'm trying to squeeze every bit of fun there can be left in this vacation. Today was the Napa Iris Farm ( and Picnic Day at UC Davis.

First, the iris farm. I love to go there and look at all of their iris and dream of one day having that many :)

This year, I went with the intention of adding some yellow iris to my collection. I know I have purchased some yellow iris in the past, but so far only the yellow/other color combo iris have bloomed, so I am not sure if the all yellow ones have died, or just not bloomed yet.

I got 3 yellow, one orange and one varigated leaf iris to add to my collection. It is early in the season and most of the iris haven't bloomed yet, so I think I will go back in a couple of weeks to see more blooms, probably when my iris have finished for the year.
The iris I bought were mostly the rebloomers. I love those kind because they bloom twice a year, which is a nice surprise in November, when things are quieting down for the year.
Then, it was Picnic Day at UC Davis, my alma matter. I love going to Picnic Day, but this year was so crowded! I almost ran over several drunk students trying to find a parking space. Most of the time we go early in the morning so I haven't had this problem before. This time we didn't get there until almost 3pm so I guess the kids had time to be drinking all day. It was crazy!
My kids had a great time riding their bikes around the campus and tie dying shirts which will be ready tomorrow.
We found my daughter's friend who plays in the Band-uh and saw these weird kids playing in the tree. They have a band competition and several schools were there, Stanford, Humbolt State, Berkeley and they all had different costumes on. Stanford was the weirdest, half naked people playing instruments. I'm sure their parents would be proud! :)
Then it was time for crepes for dinner and time to come home.
I'm so very tired, but had such a great time.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My daughter's big win

If the link doesn't work, try

and click on the women's tennis page. That should take you to the story on her big upset win today against the best player she has beat so far in her career. Wish I could have been there to see it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

so good to be home

Well, that was a great trip, but it sure feels good to be back home again. Even after not getting enough sleep last night, I feel so much better having slept in my own bed. The kids are happy again too, just being in familiar surroundings. It is hard to be 'good' all of the time when people are looking at you and to be on your best behavior for days at a time :)

The plane flights yesterday were very smooth and very long. I really liked flying Continental, they had great service, but we did have to go the long way to get there and back, through Houston. This was probably the best service I have had while flying and I would love to fly with them again, just wish they went a more direct route. Maybe in the future, we will try to fly out of San Francisco which will get us there a little faster. I just don't like that airport as much as Sacramento.

I came back to some gorgeous iris in bloom. I was worried that I had missed them all, but most are still in the bud stages. It is supposed to get in the upper 80's by next week so I think I missed Spring, while we were gone!

Here are some pictures from the trip.

The campus is just gorgeous and I would have loved to have gone to a place like this. Sometimes I think back to my college days and wish I could go back, but after this trip, I'm glad I'm all grown up and these days are behind me. I don't miss the lack of sleep and writing papers and learning things I will never use again in my life. I don't miss the hours just sitting around with nothing to do. I like how my life now has things to do all of the time, from taking kids places, to working to my quilting. There is never a time, when I feel like I just sit, waiting for the next thing. I always know what is coming up next.

I also don't miss the dorm laundry facilities. While at college, I helped my daughter out and did some laundry for her. I understand why she hates doing her laundry at school. The laundry room was gross--and I'm not a neat freal--so those of you who hate germs would have been totally freaked out! I remember people leaving clothes in the laundry room for a long time. There were socks and underwear sitting on top of one of the washers for days. And the dryers were full of clothes that nobody came back for. I remember having to take other people's clothes out so you could dry your stuff. Then, they would get mad because you touched their stuff.

The best thing about Oberlin was the daffodils. Everywhere you looked there were flowers blooming. The funny thing is I never did get a picture of the flowers. But I did decide that I want some all white daffodils for my garden next year. I have never seen those before and they sure were different and pretty.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the best time

Well, except for the rain, I would say this is the best vacation ever.

Yesterday I went on a wild goose chase, looking for the Amish. I was sent the LONG way to find them and drove for 4 hours and saw one Amish man walking from a gas station. It was a disappointing trip, but I did get to see a lot of the Ohio countryside. I had no idea they had oil wells out here in the middle of farmland, or that they had so many alpaca farms.

This sure is beautiful country. When we got back, we had a great lunch and then the girls went to the mall, because you know we don't have malls in California! My oldest even bought a t shirt that said Cali on it at Target. I thought that was so funny--to come all the way to Ohio to get a California t shirt. Of course, we had to shop at WalMart, because we don't have those back in California either!!! (insert lots of sarcasm here)

Then we watched some of the men's tennis team play and then the women's practice and took my daughter's friends out to a really late dinner. We got to the restaurant right before they closed at 9pm and they didn't serve us until 10pm. There was one other group there and the cook had a hard time keeping up with 20 orders at once. The food was good and the company was better.

It was another late night, but well worth it.

Today it is raining again. We are thinking of going to a wild animal park where you drive your car through and the animals stick their heads in the windows. Then, tennis practice again and dinner at the dining commons.

This is the best vacation ever.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

We are having such a great time here in Ohio. The weather is great, sunny and COLD! Who ordered that. I think the trouble is, when it looks so nice outside, I am expecting the 70's like back at home, but then you step outside and it is in the 40's and I freeze to death.

My daughter had her last home match yesterday and it was Senior Day and they won. It was fun to watch her play and have fun with the team. She lost in doubles and then won at singles. I got to talk to a recruit for next year and tell her all about how my daughter made her choice about the college she finally picked. The girl was looking at a lot of the same colleges that my daughter looked at.

Meeting my daughter's friends and spending time just talking and hanging out was really fun. We sat and talked for a couple of hours in her dorm room and my little guy fell asleep which made for a long night when we got back to the hotel. He was up until 2am!

We went shopping at the college bookstore and got everyone all decked out in Oberlin wear. Everyone on the team laughed at us, thinking we bought out the whole store from hats to sweatpants to sweatshirts to t-shirts, we were ready to cheer them on to victory. I think it must have worked because they played really well against a really tough team.

Then, after the game, there was a BBQ and all the food you could eat! I was so stuffed and had to be rolled home.

Today's plans include an Easter egg hunt and maybe some shopping and swimming. We went to Walmart and picked up swimsuits for the kids and the plastic eggs. It is a nice, sunny, cold day again. I am taking pictures, but can't upload anything from my camera to the computer until I get home.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

we are here

Long day of flying and travel, but everything went well. Lots of bumps and jumps from California to Houston yesterday so we must have flown over the tornados that were out there. Smooth sailing from Houston to Cleveland though. We got in very late and everyone is still asleep. I wish I could say the same for me, but as soon as the sun comes up, I am awake. I was up at 7, which is 4am my time and couldn't get back to sleep. I can smell the breakfast from downstairs which doesn't help either!

I forgot my son's carseat on the first plane and then forgot to go to baggage claim when we got to the Cleveland airport to file a claim so they could send it to me. I guess I will have to call them today and see if they still have it. I will probably be cheaper just to buy another one when I get home. The guy at the rental place let me borrow one for free while we are here, after I upgraded to a more expensive car. Nice guy :) But, it's all good. At least one of the kids doesn't have to ride on the top. That's the problem with having so many kids! Everything costs more.

Today's plans include brunch, watching a tennis match, tailgate party (it is only supposted to get to 48 degrees--maybe we can tailgate from inside a building! brrr) and then hangning out. The kids want to pick up swimsuits because this place has a nice pool. Don't know why I didn't realize that when I made the reservations, but there are lots of shopping places around here so I think we will stop and pick up swimsuits. They need new ones anyways and we left extra room in the bags for shopping anyways.

Friday, April 10, 2009

away we go!

Today we are leaving for Ohio to visit my oldest in college. I'm so excited to see her in her element. She will be playing tennis on Saturday which should be really fun to watch.

I should be packing, but have to make sure the email is in order first and the blogs are read :) It's going to be a long day of flying so I hope my arms don't get tired...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

quilts talk

My friend Nancy gave me this quilt top months ago made from 6 1/2 inch squares that were cut about a year ago. It has taken this long for the quilt to tell me where it wanted to go.

On Saturday, I read on the Facebook page of a good friend from work that her Aunt had passed away and how much her Aunt had loved Easter. After reading that, I knew this quilt needed to go to my friend to comfort her in her loss. All the quilt needed was binding to be finished. I got it done Sunday night and gave it to her yesterday.

I have to share some more iris pictures. They are really starting to show their colors now. The problem is we are leaving for a week starting Friday and I hope I don't miss the best of the show while I am gone. I am flying out to visit my daughter at college. I might have to leave my camera with the girl who is watching the house and pets so she can take pictures for me when I get back.

These are all in the backyard.

This hill will be covered in color soon.

This is a little tiny flower on a teeny tiny plant.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Practice quilt

I am doing a lot of thinking about something and while I am thinking I decided to practice some of my quilting patterns on this quilt. Each box has a different quilting pattern in it. I thought when it was done, I could use it to show off my different patterns that I know. It was really hard doing this. I had to change patterns each time I went across the quilt and then back again because each box took two passes with the quilting machine.

I had to really think as I was doing each pattern and then think again on the back pass to remember what was in the box because I had rolled the quilt up to where I couldn't see.

Also for some reason, in the middle of the quilt, the thread tension got all funny on me and I had to rip it out twice. That was really frustrating and made me rethink my original thought.

But, for all of the trouble, I'm glad I tried this idea out. This quilt took 6 bobbins where normally a quilt this size takes 4 so I know I put a lot more thread into this quilt than normal.
It is really hard to take a picture of the quilting on the quilt. The light was going down outside so I tried using the flash, but that didn't help either. I think I need morning light coming at an angle. I will figure this out.

I sure am enjoying this new quilting hobby!

Here are some of the patterns I tried

Wonky Feathers

overall flower pattern

loops and hearts

flower echo pattern

different leaves

sunburst baptist fan

square stipple

more rounded baptist fan flowery thingy?


triangular stipple