Thursday, May 31, 2012

back from a long trip

My daughter graduated on Monday and my little guy and I made a trip that took us on a long adventure.

 We first flew to Washington DC and then to North Carolina to watch her play in her final National Tennis tournament.  Our bags got left behind in DC, but brought to us around midnight at the hotel.  We were tired from the trip, but enjoyed getting to watch her final match.  She lost, but what an accomplishment to make it into the tournament of 32 of the best women from across the country.
 Then, since we had a couple of days until graduation on Monday, little guy and I decided to rent a car and drive up to Ohio where the graduation was.  We stopped overnight in Washington DC and toured the city.  We got to see lots of sights in the 24 hours we were there.  It was a crazy, busy 24 hours, but we had a ton of fun and walked about 12 miles!
The next day, we drove the 7 hours to Oberlin and saw some pretty countryside in Pennsylvania.  Boy was it hot all throughout the east coast!

Here is a picture of my daughter on the weight room wall.  The president of her college says she is the best tennis player the college has ever had and they have been around since 1833.  That's older than me!

You can see her feet in this picture.  She is up on the basketball gym wall under the heading of DESIRE.  There are a few of the star athletes on the wall and it's pretty cool to think she will be remembered for a long time like this!

It was so hot and humid in North Carolina, Washington DC and Ohio that Ice Cream was a must have treat!

You can't tell here, but I'm about to die from the heat.  I have lots more pictures to share, but I'm sure glad to be home in my nice air conditioned house :) We had a great trip and I even found a couple of quilt shops along the way!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

finished the flower garden quilt

Washed it last night and put the stems on it this morning.  Normally I don't wash a quilt before gifting it, but this one had a funny smell to it from the backing fabric so it needed to be washed.  I decided to add the stems after quilting because I just needed more time to think about how to do it.  If you click on the picture to get a close up, you can see that what I ended up doing was cut a 2 inch strip of fabric and folded it in half.  I folded the end over itself and then stitched along the left side, along the raw edges of the folded fabric, down the middle.  Then, folded the folded side of the fabric over the raw edge and top stitched that in place.  I think it came out pretty good.  I was thinking of getting some giant ric-rac, or pre made binding, but when you don't have something and don't have the time to go shopping, you just have to use your thinking cap and come up with something.  This is a very long quilt because each of the blocks is 42 inches tall by only 24 inches wide.  I added the thicker strip in the middle to try and even things out, but it still makes for a skinny but long quilt.  That's ok, it will keep my friend's mom's feet warm :)

I love it and hope she does too!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A walk through the garden quilt

My friend Pam is a counselor at my high school.  When she saw the quilts I was bringing around the last couple of weeks to show off, she called me into her office and broke down crying because her mom is going in on Wednesday for heart surgery.  Her brother died of a heart attack at a very young age (like 29 or something) and it is bringing back all of those memories.  She asked if I could make a quilt for her mom.  It isn't finished yet, but I hope to have time tonight to get it quilted and bound.  I had originally made 6 blocks, but my machine can't quilt something that wide.  This one is at the limit of what my machine can do, about 60 inches wide and about 95 inches long!  Yikes!  I guess I should do some math when designing my quilts :)  I still need to put the stems on the flowers and haven't decided if I will do that before or after quilting.

But, I have two blocks ready for the next quilt :)

Life has been crazy and it isn't slowing down

I'm leaving in two days to see my daughter play tennis in her last tournament and then graduate from college.  It's weird, since she was just born two weeks ago.  She must be a prodegy or something.  I have no idea how the time went so quickly.  My baby just turned 8 and she is 22, but I'm only 25.  It's weird how time warps like that.

I'm in such a crunch here at the end, I wonder if it will feel like that when my 'end' comes around.  As I brought the retirement quilts to school to show off, people have been asking me if I could make a quilt for this person or that person.  Oh, I will pay you!  I always tell them I don't take money for my quilting.  It is my joy and ministry and talent from the Lord and a gift I give freely.  My payment is the happiness I see on their faces when they get the quilt.  Even if that happiness comes from the back of the quilt.  :)

Did I tell you that story?

The retirement quilt I made for the counselor, the one with the kids and pinwheels?  Well, on the back, I put a piece of Raiders fabric because I heard that she liked the Raiders football team.  Well, she took one look at the front, said, oh, how nice, I turned it over to show her the back and she never looked at the front again.  She has the quilt on her chair at work, draped over so you can only see the back of the quilt :)

All that work that went into piecing all of those people and she just loves that piece of Raiders fabric.  If only I had known, I could have sewn two pieces of Raiders fabrics together and called it done.

I guess she had been a teacher long ago and one of her students went on to play for the Raiders and she got hooked.  She has 6 season passes and watches every game.  He played back in the 70's.

I'm working on finishing up this quilt for another counselor whose mother is having surgery on Wed.  She asked if I could make her a quilt and I said I would try to get it done before I left.  I have to finish it up today.  I was laughing yesterday when I was at Binky Patrol working on this when a lady came in bragging about how quickly she had finished up a quilt.  She said she got it done in 3 weeks.  I cut this out Sunday morning and should have it done Monday night. 

I have three more quilts to finish up before school is over and another one to get done by June 4.  3 weeks?  I could get 10 quilts done :)  But then I'm crazy like that!

Robovikes in the news again

My son's robotics team made the news again.  When they were at the May Fair last week, they got a spot on the morning news and were asked to come in to the studio to get a longer bit of coverage.  My son didn't go because he twisted his ankle at a marching band event on Saturday.  But, the news team did a great job of giving the kids their kudos and the kids did a great job of showing off and once again making our school proud.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I got a pedometer a week ago to try and see if walking would help my migraines.  It hasn't so far, but then, my doctor has changed my medication twice in the last week as well.  Any good science teacher knows you change one variable at a time.  This is changing three at the same time and hoping for one result.  But, I'm using the pedometer to motivate myself to take a few more steps a day.  At first, I was really pushing myself to walk.  And I got shin splints!  Ouch. 

But after those went away, I just try to get a few more steps in before I go to bed.

I got a pedometer for a friend at work that I compete with on practically everything.  We always compare stupid things like how young we look or how beautiful we are, in a joking way and tease each other constantly with the students to try and have them guess who is younger.  (she is by a year)

She comes up to me about 27 times a day and asks for my number or texts me hers.  Most of the time she is beating me unless I can sneak in a quick walk in the morning.  I am late start, so have an extra hour in the morning before I start the day.  She is a very active person who loves to run, so it doesn't surprise me that she beats me almost every day, but it helps to get me out of my chair and moving more.

I just wish it helped with the migraines.

I haven't noticed a difference in number or severity :(

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My daughter's interview

when my daughter chose to go to college 3,000 miles away, it was really hard, but over the 4 years I have learned that any chance to see her is a special treat.  Here she is getting interviewed with her tennis coach in his weekly tennis update.  When you click on the link, you need to look on the right side of the screen and then click on the picture of the interview under OC TV. 

Do you get excited?

I'm excited, but maybe not this excited.  See the guy on the left in this picture in the white shirt?  Now, he's excited!  This is my daughter's boyfriend!  He's cheering for my daughter who is being awarded some well deserved awards for her athletics.  The President of her school said she is probably the best tennis player the school has EVER had.  And that school has been around since like 1833.  That's a long time!

I'm excited that I get to go watch her play in her final college tennis tournament next week.  In one week, my little guy and I will be on a plane, headed out to see her play tennis and watch her graduate from college.  How is that even possible?  She was just born last week and then two weeks later she is graduating?  Freak of nature if you ask me!

My advice to new parents...Don't Blink.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

another best in show

When I picked up my daughter's things from the May Fair yesterday afternoon, I found out she had won Two best in shows.  One for her picture, and one for this quilt she had made.  What a nice surprise :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Best of Show

My daughter has many talents.  One she didn't know about was her talent for photography.  She took this picture and entered it in the Dixon May Fair.  She won Best of Show.  Pretty Cool!  (it was in black and white)

seeing stars

This is the next quilt I'm working on.  It is for my student teacher.  I sure wish I could do math :)  Each block finishes at 16 inches, not 12 like I thought.  But, that's ok because it will just make a bigger quilt than I had figured.  I LOVE working with my Accuquilt Go! half square dies and having traingles come out just right.  Before having the Go! cutter, I NEVER sewed triangles.  Now, they are one of my favorite shapes to sew.  Four blocks done, 8 more to go.  I can make one block in 10 minutes or two in 15.  I hope to have the blocks done today because I have so many more quilts to make before school is out!  And I am leaving for North Carolina and Ohio in a week and a half.  Yikes!

When do I get to retire?

I hope my friends are all secretly learning to quilt and have started working on my retirement quilt :)  I doubt it, so maybe I should start working on my retirement quilt myself.  This is the second retirement quilt I've made this year.  I'm happy for my friends and wish them the best.  This will be gifted today.  I hope she likes it!  I know I do.  I just hope I make time this summer to make some blocks for myself.  I love the pinwheel blocks with the small black border.  I love how it sets them out from the other blocks.  Sometimes having to do something like this and not making the choice really does work out for the best.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Final awards ceremony

My daughter and her tennis coach.  He was the reason I felt comfortable sending her 3,000 miles from home to go to college.  He is just like my husband...weird :)
They just won the best team and you can tell he is very proud!
For some reason blogger won't let me turn this picture the right way, but this is the table of awards my daughter came away with at the awards ceremony tonight.  Wish I could have been there.

Getting on TV

My son's Robotics team was on TV this morning as they showed off at the Dixon May Fair.  We just happened to be there at the right time and are in the background of this TV shot.  If you know what you are looking for, you can see me, my #2 daughter and younger son.  My daughter said, 'mom are you trying to get on TV?' and of course I said no, but really I was.  I know just where to stand so I get in the shot :)

My son was at a band review, so couldn't be there.  He always misses out on the picture in the newspaper too.  The kids did a great job of showing off the cool things their robotic chair and tshirt shooting cannon can do.

Friday, May 11, 2012

check these out

great resource for walking sites.  Thanks blogging friends!

Let's go for a walk

I bought a pedometer yesterday.  Ok, truth be told, I bought another pedometer yesterday.  I think this is about my 5th pedometer.  I've tried walking before and made it about 3 days in a row before giving up.  Too many excuses.  I'm too tired.  It is too hot/cold/windy/sunny/rainy/(insert favorite weather term here).  I have given up more times than I can count.

But, I am thinking that with the increase in the nortryptiline and the side effect being an increase in weight, I might need to start walking more.  So, I bought a pedometer as a way to motivate myself to walk more.  I found myself getting out of my chair at work more so I could add a few more steps to my day.  I think it helped.  As of 5pm I have 5101 steps.  The pedometer says it is 2.41 miles.  Not sure that is exactly accurate, but I'll take it.  You are supposed to get 10,000 steps a day, or 5 miles.  I'm half way there.  And I didn't really try hard.  I should go for a walk.  But, with the way my head is feeling today, that isn't going to happen.  I think I need to walk in the morning.  But today I woke up with a bad headache :(

Does anyone know of a good, online, free step tracker?  I want to walk all the way across the US in a year.  That would be pretty cool.  A girl can dream right?

EDIT: I found a website: and it is connected to Facebook and you can keep track of your miles.  I'm going to try this one out.

I walked 3 miles today :)  Wow!  I impressed myself.

Do you get volunteered?

Do any of your non quilting friends volunteer you to make quilts?

I'm just wondering if I'm the only person this happens to and how do you politely say, I'd love to, but if I take on one more project, I think I just might explode.

Bloom where you are planted

Last night I went out to water the front yard because it has been HOT here lately (like in the 90's) and saw these cactus blooming.  They aren't even in a pot.  My neighbor gave them to me about 3 years ago and I set them right here, on top of this plastic lid, meaning to get a pot and plant them up right away.  Well, 3 years later, they are still sitting right here and they must like their location, or think they are going to die because they are blooming.

They remind me that I need to do more than just survive, I need to thrive no matter my situation.

My doctor has increased my medication and so far I haven't seen any relief from my month long migraine.  Yesterday was one of the worst days yet.  I did some research last night and everyone who is on the same medication raves about how great it is and what a wonder drug it is.  The only side effects are dry mouth and weight gain.  Most people say they will take that over the debilitating headaches.  But I also read it can take up to 3 months for it to work fully. 

There are also 100 different medicines for migraines and it is just a shot in the dark when the doctors start trying them on you.  I'm not sure I will live long enough to try them all :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's nice when the President knows your name

My oldest daughter keeps making news.  She is finishing up her last week of college and is heading on to bigger and different things.  She will be coming home for a couple of weeks and then off again for more adventures.

She has one last tennis hurrah and I'm looking forward to getting to watch her last match or two before she closes the book on this adventure.  It has been a fun ride and it seems like yesterday when she played her first match and there were a lot of moon balls and missed shots.  Time sure goes by quickly.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Too cute for words!

The blocks look harder than they are and once you get the hang of it, they are quick to sew.  The first two blocks took 45 minutes to put together and the last 4 took about 10 minutes each.  I already had the pinwheel blocks made, but they needed a 1.5 inch border around each one.  The kid blocks finished at 15 inches.  I'm loving this quilt!  I know my councelor friend will love it too.  I can't wait to get it quilted up and gift it.  That's my favorite part of the quilt away.

What's your favorite part about quilting?  Picking the pattern, picking the fabrics, designing the quilt (I'm loving that too!) binding the quilt--you are almost done!

bring on the crazy pills

I went back to the doctor yesterday for my month long migraine and we talked about a lot of different options.  He said the pain management clinic was really into pushing more drugs and they are mostly narcotic drugs.  I don't really want to go that route, especially since I can't just stop working.  We talked about accupuncture-hey, I have some pins and needles around here :0 and botox (make me look 25 again).

But, for now, he had me increase the crazy pills I take already.  They are really anti-depressants that supposedly work on migraines.  I'm not so sure.  I think they are just another way of appeasing me until I can't take it anymore and come back for another appointment.   I will give almost anything a try.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I'm in love

Remember this quilt I found this morning?

Well, I need a quilt for my friend who is a councilor and is retiring.  She is almost 80 years old and has been working with children her whole life.  I have searched and searched and looked in magazines, books and on the internet for the perfect quilt pattern.  When I found that quilt online, I knew it was the one.  But, those blocks are so small and I have so little time to get the quilt done.  So, I doubled the sizes of everything and came up with these blocks.

They finish out at 10 1/2 inches by 14 inches.  I added strips to the sides to make them 14 inches square.  I'm going to alternate them with some pinwheel blocks I have already finished, putting borders around those because they are 12 1/2 inches and come up with a quilt that is doable by the time school gets out.  I'm so excited!  I know she is going to love this quilt, I hope as much as I do. 

I'm already trying to figure out which Accuquilt Go! or Studio dies will cut the pieces for me so I don't have to cut my own quilt out by hand.  That is the tedious part let me tell you.  I timed myself sewing and these two blocks took 45 minutes, but I didn't know what I was doing and had to take part of it apart and re-sew.

I have another 3 blocks cut and plan to make a total of 4 more.  I will see how big that makes the quilt.  My friend is a very small woman and I only need it to be a lap quilt so I think I will call it done with 6 children and  6 pinwheel blocks.  Usually a quilt tells me when it is finished.

But, I'm happy to have another one in the works.

Might as well make two!

So what do you do when you need to make a bunch of quilts quickly?  Pull out the Accuquilt Go! fabric cutter, the 6 1/2 inch tumbler die and Go! to town!  My TA said she loved pink and I pulled a bunch of pink fabrics and started cutting.  Of course, I always cut more fabric than I need when I cut for a quilt.  Why not when it takes less than 10 minutes to cut out a quilt.  And it is so easy?  I'm not getting paid to advertise for Accuquilt, I just love their product that much!  I could never cut out the pieces for a quilt like this by hand or rotary cutter and trust me, I've tried before.  My pieces came out all different sizes and with the Go! cutter and die, the corners are cut off so the pieces line up perfectly when you sew and there are no dog ears to cut off later. 

She said she loved pink!

the back of the quilt for my TA.  I know she will love this!

Baby quilt for a co-worker who just became a grandma this week.
Since I had some leftover pieces left and my co-worker became a grandma, it seemed perfect to throw this little quilt together in about 2 hours with sewing and quilting and binding so I can gift it tomorrow.  I asked her how long it would take before she flew out to 'see the baby' (can you hear the Seinfield voice?) and she said she had a plane ticket for early June to spend two weeks.  Well, the baby was born on Wednesday night and by Friday she had bought new plane tickets to go out next weekend.  I knew she couldn't last when she had shown me 437 pictures of the baby!  And we are not bestest friends :)

Two quilts down, 4 more to go...but I keep adding to the list!  19 school days left!  Yikes.  Better get busy.  Now if only my migraine would go away.

check out this quilt of children

Wow, just wish I had more time to get this quilt done for my friend who is retiring.  She is a counsilor and I know she would appreciate a quilt like this.  She has helped hundreds of kids over the years.  But, I only have a couple of weeks and know that isn't enough time to finish up a quilt like this.  I may take an idea from this quilt and use it for her quilt though.  Isn't that what quitling is all about?  Taking bits and pieces from here and there and making something new?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

So many more quilts to make

I just found out on Thursday that a lady I work with is now a grandma.  New babies mean new quilts to make!  We only have 19 days of school left and I have quilts to make for:

-My student teacher
-My teaching assistant
-A councilor who has been at our school for 35 years (she is almost 80 years old!) and is finally retiring
-A former student from my first year of teaching at the high school (11 years ago) who is almost like an adopted daughter who is getting married in a month

but what's one more quilt?

Especially when cutting it out only takes 10 minutes?  I already had all of my pink fabrics out for my teaching assistant's quilt and had the tumbler die out so figured I could whip this thing out quickly and sure enough it was put on the design wall last night, ready to be sewn this morning.

I should have this one and the one for the teaching assistant done by Monday.  I need to pick a pattern for my student teacher.  I have her fabrics.  I'm leaning towards a star pattern.  I got the quarter square triangle for the Go! this week and am wanting to try it out so may be some star blocks (cuz she teaches about stars :)

The one for the councilor is harder.  I'm getting so many ideas from everyone that it is going to be hard to put them all together into one quilt.  She graduated from UCLA, loves the Raiders and basketball and fitness and taught PE.  I will have to think on it for a little bit.  Good thing I have a couple other quilts to work on first :)

I am also planning on a 5 day trip in here too.  My oldest graduates from college on Memorial day in Ohio.  She also finds out if she gets to play in the National Tennis tournament again this year on May 9.  If so, my husband, little guy and I will be traveling out to North Carolina to watch her play and having the almost adopted daughter come to stay with the two middle kids so they can stay in school those 4 days we will be missing.  It is a crazy thing to do, miss school for 4 days right before finals, but my daughter only graduates once and this will be her last time playing college tennis.  Not something to miss.  Plus, the students will live.  I've learned that.  Especially after having to miss 6 days of school at the beginning of the year.  They lived then, they will live now.  I just wish I could find a good sub for them.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Retirement quilt for a friend

He loves to fish.  I even catch him checking out fishing blogs on his prep period, so I knew I had to make him a fishing quilt for his retirement gift.  I couldn't find a pattern I liked so I came up with this one.  I cut it with my Accuquilt Go! cutter, the big triangles are 6 1/2 inches and the small ones are 3 1/2 inches.  The squares are 6 1/2 inches.  I used a tshirt as the center panel and had to do some creative sewing to get the quilt to fit around the tshirt.  I added a 3 1/2 inch strip along the sides between the fish to make it long enough to fit the tshirt in the middle.

Of course I had to back it with jumping fish.  I know he is going to love it.  I just hope he isn't afraid to use it!

There are even two fish that have golf fabric, which is another one of his favorite hobbies.  Click on the picture to make it larger so you can see them.  This quilt was fun, but definately one of a kind.  It took way too much brain power to make again.  I have lots of fish left over, so they will go into another quilt for Binky Patrol for a little boy, but nothing this complex.  This was the first quilt I've made that was set on point too.  That wasn't easy either.  The setting triangles were harder than the looked.  Everything wanted to stretch just a little bit, when added up over the whole quilt meant a lot.  But quilting really did help stabilize it all and in the end, I'm really happy with the whole thing!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Join me this morning in a walk through my garden.  In the backyard I have some white iris blooming.  They are so heavy, they are falling over!

 My geraniums are in constant, year round bloom.  They are so bright and brilliant.
 These orange ones were in a dark shadowy place and the flash went off, but they almost glow in the dark.
 This yellow and lavendar iris greets me by the front door.  It is one of the largest flowers I have.  I got it at Raley's Grocery store about 3 years ago and it is ready to divide this summer.
Normally I'm not drawn to the pastel colors, but this apricot one is beautiful.

Two shades of lavendar on a varigated plant.

delicate yellow

another white one in the front yard.  This is a young plant with small flowers still.

Love the contrast of yellow and burgandy

I'm always drawn to the deep purple ones

Such a delicate lavendar and smells so good too!

 Lots of different shades of purple.

This is one of my favorite iris.  Such a bright yellow contrasted with the speckled throat.  Gorgeous!