Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm a winner!

Wowie, zowie!  I won something.  And not a little something, a great big, huge something!  I won my pick of a quilt from the Clothworks Great Quilt Giveaway.

Decisions, decisions...

I'm off to pick my quilt...

Monday, November 26, 2012

The perfect t-shirt

I have a crazy huge collection of t-shirts and at least half of them have a dumb or silly saying on them.  My students come in every day and ask what's on my shirt.  I thought this was the perfect shirt for the first day back from Thanksgiving vacation.  Most of the students saw the sarcasm here :)  Half of them were still asleep by lunch.  I asked them how many would still be asleep if they were on vacation and EVERYONE 2nd period raised their hand.  I never could sleep in that late.  Of course a daily nap was in order for me every day after school!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday???

I looked through every ad that came in the paper yesterday and couldn't find a single thing I wanted this year.  Either I have way too much stuff, or I'm tired of chasing things looking for happiness.  I have been to JoAnn's on Black Friday before for the flannel when it was $1 a yard and bought 60 yards that sat for years before finally getting used.  I love the feel of flannel and I love a flannel quilt back, but other than that, I really don't like sewing with flannel much.  How many pairs of pajamas can you own?  I'd rather sit home and clean, quilt, crochet and rest up for the next few weeks of school.  Our semester ends on December 20 and I have way too many things to teach before then.  I also have a huge pile of work needing grading next to me, but that is low priority right now.  My husband is also a teacher (Government and Economics) and has been grading about 10 hours a day since last Saturday.  With the budget cuts, the schools just load up the classrooms with as many bodies as will fit (sometimes more!) and he has about 200 students.  He had this huge election project due right before the break and that's what he's been working on.  He can get about 3 done an hour.  Plus tests, other assignments and having to stop to go to the bathroom every once in a while, the poor guy hasn't seen much of a vacation.

I did order some more Kodel batting from because of the 50% coupon.  So depressing that I could get the exact same thing a month ago for under $40 delivered and now it is $56.  I haven't found batting any cheaper and I've looked everywhere.  With a $30 price jump overnight, the days of cheap batting are gone :(

If anyone has a less expensive place to get batting, please let me know!  I go through a lot around here :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Another Turning Twenty

Between stuffing myself silly today and working on getting the flannel out of here, I quilted another Turning Twenty quilt top.  I think now I will sit down for a little sewing as I sort through some unfinished projects that need just a little attention to get to the next stage.  I have several quilt tops that are blocks right now.  30 minutes of sewing and they will be ready for quilting.  I get so distracted by new projects that I have quite a few unfinished objects (or UFO's) that are asking for attention.  I am hoping I can see my sewing room floor soon!

More way

The big Turkey day is here and it was time to clean off the kitchen table.  If you are a quilter and have a Facebook account, you've seen the cute cartoon with the family sitting at the little foldable kiddie table and the dining room table covered in fabric, patterns and a sewing machine.  Well, that's my house plus kid papers, random things that have no home and other misc junk.  Since I had to clean off the table (only took 5 minutes...why do I procrastinate?) I thought I'd clear out some of my flannel too.  I set up the serger, spent 30 minutes threading it again! and pulled out two buckets of flannel.  The big pieces have been turned into these nice receiving blankets.  I LOVED the ones my mom made my kids because they were bigger than the store bought ones and could wrap up a baby nicely.  They wash up so well too and lasted through all 4 kids. I think I even still have them in a bucket in the garage along with lots of other things the kids had.  I have a terrible time letting go of things that are no longer useful to me.  I keep thinking that some time in the future my kids will want their kids to have their old clothes and toys.  I doubt they will, but still hold on just in case.

I whipped up these 7 receiving blankets in about an hour and found another bucket of large flannel pieces.

I used to go to the JoAnn's Black Friday sale just to get the flannel, but don't really like to sew with it.  I love using the serger and just finishing off the edges like this.

Then, I have a bucket of smaller pieces.  Not one to waste anything, I went searching for what to do with small flannel scraps and came across this pattern for a burp cloth.  I have a lot of batting scraps too, so those are in the works for some afternoon cutting and sewing.

Hope your Thanksgiving plans include a little family, a little fun and a little sewing time!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turning Twenty

Do you have that book?  It takes 20 fat quarters and makes a twin size quilt.  I used 12 blocks for this quilt which measures about 48x60 or so.  Perfect size for a big kid to cuddle under and I made 3 quilt tops in just under an hour from the blocks.  At our sew day last week, one of the ladies sewed a whole bunch of the blocks together but didn't know what to do from there.  I just made sure no two of the same fabrics were touching and sewed them together randomly.

One of the ladies from my Binky Patrol group had cut these last summer.  They have been waiting for their turn long enough!  I have enough backing fabric loaded on the machine to get one more done, most likely in the morning as the turkey is cooking.  I'm trying to clean my sewing room by sewing things together.  Not very quick, but at least I know the fabric will be out of the house soon.  If I just spent the whole time sorting and putting away, I would have a clean sewing room, but the fabric would all still be there.  See the logic behind my warped thinking?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

tip your head

couldn't get the picture to turn the right way!

Today I finally ran out of free storage for my blog and had to start paying.  4 years isn't so bad I guess.  I thought about starting a new blog with a similar name, but for convenience sake decided to pay the $2.49 a month to keep this one.  Maybe one day I will have to make the switch.  But for now, all is good!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas is almost here

My friend Rebecca sewed this cute Christmas quilt top and I figured I had better quilt it up before Christmas comes around this year.  Have to check and see if there are any more Christmas tops waiting their turn and get on those quickly.

wishing for greener grass?

Do you ever focus on what you don't have instead of what you do?  I think most of us at one time or another think about all the things we want, rather than all the things we have.  This week I'm trying to focus on all of the blessings I have.  I'm very thankful for my quilting machine that helps me complete so many quilts to give to kids in such a short amount of time.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oh, Baby!

Baby hats all going down the stairs in my house.  I couldn't figure out a better way to take their picture all at once!  Kinda makes me feel dizzy looking at it upside down like this.  There are 19 owl hats and 47 other baby hats.  Most of the regular baby hats will be dropped off at the Nurse Family Partnership tomorrow.  They called asking for some baby hats and I'm pretty sure they will be surprised at how busy I've been.

I've already given away 7 of the owl hats.

I just love using up my yarn, but there never seems to be any less.  The faster I crochet, the more people bring me!

My daughter and I even cleaned out the game closet today and I was pretty proud that we got rid of so much stuff.  One huge bag of trash from all the old games that don't have their pieces anymore and one big box of games to take to my son's school to see if they want them.  When I taught first grade, the kids would play games during rainy day recess.  I asked my son what they do and he says they play on the computers.  Hopefully someone will get some use out of these games.

Hats anyone?

 I think I have gone a little overboard making hats lately!  These are not even all of them.  After I vacuum the stairs, I'm going to lay them all out to see if I can get a picture of all of them before I take most of them to the local Family Services.  They called last week asking if I could start gathering more hats and I told her I had quite a few done already.   She was so excited!  I love being able to fill a need when it arises.

I've also been giving the owl hats to friends with little ones.  I've also thought about selling them on etsy, but don't want to have to link my bank account to their website.  My daughters opened a shop last summer and when my daughter sold something, the paypal wouldn't go through until I registered my bank account.  Does anyone know how to get around doing that?  I'd love to use the money for postage.  Shipping for things like Superstorm Sandy can get quite expensive.
And here's a watermelon quilt in soft pastel colors.  It is super snuggly too.

scrappy goodness

I just love these quilts my friend Indiana made.  She took 7,000 scraps (give or take a few) and turned them into 11 quilt tops in about 3 weeks.  Such an I spy quilt and great for a boy or girl!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Vacation

My Vacation time is starting off with a very bad cold.  Plans for today are to rest, rest, rest!  We all know that isn't going to happen.  I will be sewing and crocheting and doing some laundry, but hope to spend most of my day on the couch and taking a nap.  I completely lost my voice on Thursday evening and teaching yesterday was interesting.

Luckily my kids are really good this year.  I wrote on the board "I have completely lost my voice, but my hand still works for writing detentions."  They all thought that was really funny and when I would whisper, they would get really quiet.  The funny thing was when I whispered a question to the kids, they would whisper back to me :)

I did a lot of writing to get my teaching across to the kids and at the end of the day I can say that I survived!

This morning I have to take my son to a robotics competition and then this afternoon pick him up and take him to a band review.  He is a leader for the elementary school lego robotics team and has been working with the kids after school twice a week since school started.  He also helps out with the middle school kids two other days after school.  He is one busy kid!  This year he couldn't be in both band and robotics so chose jazz band and can still participate in all of the robotics events after school and on the weekends.  He is so busy that we rarely see him, but at least I know he is doing good things to occupy his time and still keeping straight A's.  When people say teens don't have a good work ethic, they haven't met my kids!

Well, better throw a jacket on and get out the door!  See you later with some pictures of the progress I've made this week on more hats.  Got a phone call from the Nurse Family Partnership asking if I had any hats and when I could deliver them.  I will be dropping them off on Monday.  Want to get a few more made by then.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another binky day

About 20 different kids and 10 of the same kids showed up today.  It was a very full house!
 My son taught the other kids how to tie a tie using fabric scraps.
 The final stocking.  We made 277 complete stockings this year.  So happy to have so many stockings to fill for our returning wounded soldiers who fight for our freedoms in this country.
 Organizing the quilt tops that need quilting.
 Once again using the Studio fabric cutter to roll through the scrap bins.
My son is quite proficient at sewing now.  As the kids said, he 'sews like a man'.

We made the paper

And we are back at it again today!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quilt Day-BInky Patrol Day

 wow, what a day.  20 high school students showed up to help sort, cut and sew fabrics for stockings for our returning wounded soldiers.  We completed 150 and have at least that many in the process of being sewn.

 Of course, snacks were in order for the day and this time the kids worked more than they ate!

 We had a few boys sewing this time around and doing a great job.  These two are my kids, the boy in the striped shirt and the girl behind him.  My daughter organized all of the students and says we should expect twice as many tomorrow!  Yikes!

 The kids had a great time using the Accuquilt Studio fabric cutter to cut out stockings as well as other pieces for more quilts.  Carla always has a huge box or 12 of scraps for the kids to cut through.  By the time they are finished, we have a couple of bags of tiny scraps for dog bedding.  Nothing gets wasted around here.

 My son probably sewed 80-100 stockings by himself.  The kids sewed around the main stocking part, then sewed another piece for the top and I and another lady put the whole thing together.  We had a hard time keeping up with all of our student stocking makers.
 I love to listen to the conversations the kids have.  This teacher is mean, that one gives too much homework.  I"m just waiting for them to forget I'm in the room and to say something about me :)
We even had a couple of ladies working on quilts for Superstorm Sandy kids.  Several quilt kits were donated that were almost complete.  The ladies were trying to figure out what the original owner of the project was thinking and wondering why they gave up on the project.

Tomorrow is another quilt day.

Oh, and the news reporter came out from the local paper, so I expect we will have a story in there tomorrow.  She took a lot of pictures of me trying to thread the needle after I broke one.  My poor eyes aren't what they used to be!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I've been busy

sitting on the couch and crocheting baby hats.  Lots of my friends say they want one or two for baby gifts or have a baby coming.  The owl hats take me about an hour and the other ones take about 30 minutes.  The repetitive nature of crocheting helps my migraines.  I've had a doozy of one this week.  Thursday and today I thought I was going to die from the pain.  Usually I can handle it, but this time it made me nauseous and I had to stop what I was doing (writing questions at school from the book on Thursday and come home from shopping today) because i was afraid I wouldn't make it.

I was really hopeful that the new medicine (Depakote) was going to be the wonder drug, but it isn't looking like that anymore. :(

Friday, November 9, 2012

big people size owl hat

Still making hats in all colors and sizes.

why does it take so long?

I'm home from work today with a migraine and cold.  I'm feeling much better than the last two days where I did go to school.  I finally finished the binding on the quilt for Matt McQuinn's family in the Aurora Colorado shooting.  I'm hoping to get it in the mail today along with two boxes of quilts for New York and Superstorm Sandy.  I have 20 quilts boxed up and lots more to send, but need to get some more boxes.

We have a nice three day weekend and adding in the sick day was a great idea.  Maybe a little nap is in order soon.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

This one's a 10

When you go to the doctor, they ask you what your pain number is on a scale of 1 to 10.  Well, today I'm suffering with a 10 migraine.  I had it yesterday too, but it was only about an 8.  I also woke up with a very sore throat and stuffy nose.

So tomorrow I'm staying home.  After barely making it through the day today, I am going to spend a little me time resting on the couch and getting some things done around the house.  I have a HUGE pile of papers to grade and enter and more owl hats to finish up.

I hope to get the binding finished on my final Aurora Colorado quilt tomorrow and maybe even get it in the mail.  I'm collecting many quilts from my binding buddies and need to find boxes so I can ship those out too.

Sunday and Monday are quilt days at Carla's.  There are about 30 ladies who have RSVP'd and 50 students from my high school who say they want to come.  Not sure how we will fit everyone in Carla's house but we will give it a good try.

It feels good working on baby hats again.  I forgot how much I missed doing that.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

another address and call for quilts

Check out this blog post from a quilter who was at the Houston Quilt Market when Superstorm Sandy struck.  She is putting the call out for quilts, quilts and more quilts for those displaced and who have lost everything.

Our Binky Patrol group will be sending the quilts we collect out as soon as possible.  I'm going to get a box in the mail tomorrow and keep sending them throughout the month of November.

Instead of sending to South Carolina and then to New York, I'm just going to send them directly to where they are needed.

I hope you can help out too.

Help me win for Binky Patrol kids

Clothworks is giving away some of their quilts and I would love to get them to the kids affected by Superstorm Sandy.  If you have pinterest, could you take a minute to repin from my pinterest page the quilts I have put there.  The person with the most repins wins!

Here is my pinterest board

And here are all the rules and instructions.

Monday, November 5, 2012

chevron and baby

 I'm pretty pleased with the quilting I did on this chevron quilt my friend Rebecca sewed this summer.  I'm trying to think about what type of quilting will make the pattern stand out more, but still keep it simple enough that I can finish it quickly.

And how cute is this baby wearing one of my owl hats.  I made different sized ones and this one fit the best.  Now waiting for a picture of the little boy wearing the big one.  Nice to have friends who have tiny ones to model for me :)


Since finding this cute owl hat pattern, I think I have become obsessed!  They are just too cute and I can't wait to see a real baby wearing one :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I'm looking for a sledgehammer today as my migraine is just getting worse.  :(

Quilting (and crocheting) distracts me from the pain.

Superstorm Sandy Sunday

This one got cropped a bit in the picture, there is actually the side fabric on both sides of the quilt.  It is a super soft flannel and makes me want to cuddle up in it.

I love these strip quilts from but sometimes the fabric isn't 42 inches wide and some strips are shorter than others.  When that happens, I can either have a 36x65 inch quilt, or add borders to the sides.  Our group likes to make them longer than the pattern calls for so they can be used by a greater size/age range of kids

This is another one for Superstorm Sandy kids.

too cute owl hat

Great pattern, well written.  Super easy to make!  I made this in about 45 minutes this morning while waiting for the house to wake up so I can quilt.  My machine is pretty noisy and I know if I was sleeping, wouldn't want it going off.

If only I had a cute baby to try this hat on...hmmmm...think a random stranger would let me photograph their baby wearing it?

Saturday, November 3, 2012


This quilt reminds me of the African continent.  I'm sure a little kid is going to love the vibrant prints here. And super quick to finish up!

what stalls your quilting efforts?

What part of the quilting process causes you to stop or stall on a quilt?  Is it the endless choices of fabric, the right pattern, cutting all of those tiny pieces, picking a border, backing or quilting design?  How about putting the binding on the quilt?

One of my quilts can get stalled anywhere along the trip.  I have two patterns I just bought to make quilts for my older daughter.  She picked one and I picked the other, but that's as far as I am on that one.

I have three quilts in the 'started to be cut out' stage and just can't seem to want to work on them now.

I can't even tell you how many quilt tops I have that really could use a border, not only to make them a bit bigger, but to finish off the look of the quilt.

I get stuck picking out backing fabrics and that's why I'm so thankful my younger daughter is still home and still willing to help me whenever I ask.

For me, the quilting part isn't hard.  I have my Janome 1600P DB machine on an original Handi Quilter frame and a small quilt takes about 15 minutes.  Big quilts take maybe 30 minutes.  While my quilts will never win a quilting competition, the quilting I do gets the job done and looks ok to boot.

I don't really enjoy binding a quilt and am so thankful to have TWO binding buddies now.  My friend Judy is bringing me a whole car load of quilts that she recently finished.  I told her yesterday I was really sorry I hadn't done any quilting in a couple weeks since I saw her last.  She said it was ok, but now I'm back at quilting and will have a little surprise for her tomorrow :)

I have two more quilts I need to put bindings on myself.  I did one this morning and it only takes about 30 minutes to bind by machine, so I don't know why I stall out here, but maybe it is wrangling the quilt in the small sewing space I have.

I challenge you to spend 15 minutes tackling the job you hate the most and see just how far it gets you in the project.  You will be 15 minutes closer to finishing up a quilt that you can gift for Christmas or give to a hurting child.

200th quilt this year

 Here she is, the 200th quilt I've quilted this year.  I don't think I will make 300 like last year, but then again my shoulder isn't killing me either :)

My daughter and I spent about an hour picking out backing fabrics for most of the quilt tops I have around here.  She has a great eye for color and isn't afraid to say, Mom, that is ugly!  What am I going to do next year when she goes off to college.  There will be a lot more ugly quilts in this world :)  I will have to make her help me when she comes home for breaks.

I haven't counted yet, but there are enough paired tops and backings to get me through to Christmas I think.

Having a cause

I still have a goal of finishing 100 quilts from the beginning of school (Aug) to the end of the year and for about 3 weeks just haven't felt much like quilting.  I was busy sewing the tops for the Aurora victim's family members and my neighbor's mom.  So, I wasn't doing anything, but I wasn't cranking through the tops like I needed to.

Today will be spent finding backing fabric for my many quilt tops and then quilting some of them.  Next weekend is a Quilt Day at Carla's house and we will be making Christmas stockings for our returning wounded troops that travel through Travis Air Force Base.  But from the response of people who are coming, we will have plenty of workers to help cut fabric and sew more quilt tops.

Having a cause really motivates me to get off the couch and get working.  How about you?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Quilts

When I googled Hurricane Sandy Quilts, I came up with my blog and these two news stories about women who are making quilts to send.

I love how when there is a tragedy, quilters think alike and want to help.

I feel like I got my quilting mojo back today after a break from wanting to do much.  Resting is good, but I always feel better when I'm using my talents to help others.

This quilt is really funny because it is Disney babies and has a copyright date of 1984.  That's the year my husband graduated from high school!  Can you say well aged?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Quilt collection

I am an area coordinator for Binky Patrol

We make and give quilts and blankets to kids in crisis.  Whenever there is an emergency, we pull together from all over the US and ramp up our efforts to comfort kids.  I can only imagine what the kids of NY and NJ are experiencing now.  Many have lost homes and belongings to the floods and fires.  The pictures on TV don't seem real to me.

If you are feeling like I am and want to do something, but sending money to the Red Cross (who takes out a significant portion for their 'overhead' costs) just isn't your thing, maybe you can make and send a quilt or two.

Here's the address to send them to.  Binky Patrol has been around for 16 years.  It is a name you can trust.

Binky Patrol South Carolina
140 Collumwood Circle
West Columbia, SC

I'd love to help every scared and hurting child, but I can only do what I can do.  Of course, when I asked that we collect 300 quilts for Japan after the tsunami, we collected and sent 1144!

Thanks for helping if you can!

What to do about Sandy?

After watching the news for days and feeling my heart go out to the people of the East, the question is, What to do about Sandy?  I know I will make and send quilts, but to whom and where?  We have several Binky Patrol chapters in NJ and NY and as soon as we hear back from them, we will be ready.

I love how our country pulls together when there is a disaster and offers aide to those who are hurting.  We no longer become East and West Coast, we are one.

I'm so glad I have a few vacation days coming up.  Veterans' Day will be spent sewing Christmas stockings for troops.  Thanksgiving will be spent working on more Quilts and then Christmas!  I look forward to my upcoming breaks :)