Friday, January 31, 2014

On track to make a big goal

 Here's my collage of quilts I quilted in January.  31 of them.  Yep, that's one a day.  Some days I did three and some days none, but they averaged one a day.  Think I can keep up all year?  It's a lofty goal, but if you don't aim high, you will never reach it right?  I have to admit I wasn't sure I would make it.  I had only 29 done as of this morning and I was just going to be happy with that, but I was so close, I threw the cute little Red, White and Blue one on my manual machine while I had one on the robotic machine and got two done at a time.  That's the way to go.  If only I didn't have a whole list of quilts that needed my attention.
 Like this one for my friend who had surgery for her intestines.  Another friend from work went to visit her this week and came back telling the story of how very sick she really was and how she almost died.  I better get this thing finished up and over to her soon.  She's going to be out at least another month, but it's doing her no good sitting on my design floor.  I should be able to get it finished up tomorrow, God willing.
 It felt good to manually quilt this little guy with some simple loops.  Done in under 15 minutes.  I must load more quilts and get them done.  I got a phone call asking for more baby quilts and these little guys are just perfect.  They are done with the 3 1/2 inch tumbler and are cut in about 5 minutes and sewn together in a couple hours.  If you need a quick and easy baby shower gift, this is it!
And believe it or not, I have about 100 of these quilt tops still waiting to be quilted.  We haven't given any more fabric to the middle school kids because we just couldn't keep up with them last year.  If I could figure out how not to sleep, I might have a chance at getting caught up.  I can get these little guys done in 15 minutes, especially if I have a big roll of backing fabric loaded.  Maybe I will have to do that, after I finish the green quilt and the two memory quilts I must do next.  NO more new projects!

Quilt of Valor Sew Day tomorrow

Sign up here for Quilts of Valor's National Sew Day tomorrow and sew a quilt of Valor top and you have a chance to win some great prizes.  If you've always wanted to sew a quilt for a veteran, here's an incentive to actually do it and be rewarded not only in the joy of giving, but maybe even win a quilting machine.  Of course, you actually have to create a quilt, but it's a great cause.  I'm thinking about joining in myself.  Not that I don't already have enough quilts to be making, or that I don't have enough quilting machines, but I do have some friends who could use a quilting machine to help out Binky Patrol.  I just have to decide if I need to start another project.  Seems like the chances of winning would be pretty good.

I hope someone I know wins!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

2 quick cuties and puppy update

 I took the dog to the SPCA and he wasn't microchipped.  They said they would keep him 2 weeks and the put him up for adoption.  I came home and when my husband came home about an hour later, a neighbor boy came riding up on his bicycle asking if he had seen a little black dog running around.  Funny how he described him.  The neighbor is a friend of our son's and I had noticed his front door open all day, but the car was in the driveway and I didn't remember them having a dog.  Maybe they just got it and maybe they didn't take that car to work today.  I'm guessing someone didn't shut the door very well this morning when they left for school/work and the dog got out.  I feel bad for not waiting longer before taking the dog in and hope they didn't have to pay too much to get the dog back.  But it did make me think about getting my dogs microchipped and making sure they wear their collars.  I take them off when I give them a bath and then forget to put them back on again.  Luckily my dogs haven't run away.  When my big dog got out once, a friendly neighbor brought her back.  I've taken her out for enough walks that people recognize me and know where she belongs.  Lessons learned today.  Don't open your door for strange dogs :) unless you want to spend the day worrying about finding their home and I really need to give my dogs a bath!  That puppy sure smelled better than my dogs.
On the quilting end, here's a couple little quilts that were quick to get done.  I've really got to blast through some of these quilt tops.  I will be counting the number of quilts quilted at the end of each month this year and am hoping to get one quilt done for each day of the month.  A lofty goal, but seems doable with the robotic machine as long as she's working properly.  I got a phone call from Nurse Family Partnership asking for more quilts and I don't have a stash handy.  I have to put a phone call in to my binding buddies to see what they have ready for me and keep Rebecca working overtime this weekend.  I have the fabric, I have the batting, I have the quilt tops and I have the volunteers ready to bind, I just have to organize myself to coordinate everything so it works together.  I need a better system in place to keep all the plates spinning in the same direction.  If only the acupuncture would start working faster so I didn't have to slow down for the migraines.  But, we play with the cards we are dealt.  One more day of work this week and then it's play time :)  I hope you are keeping busy too.  We got about 1/10 of an inch of rain last night and you would think we won the lottery.  The weather people can't stop talking about the rain!  We haven't had any for 50 days and no more is in sight.  The trees are blooming and it feels like spring.  Sorry to all of you having so much winter.  You can send us the water, we will keep the warm weather.

not on the agenda for the day

This quilt is for the group leader of Layers of Hope, Quilting 911.  I was hoping to get it in the mail today, before I had my unexpected visitor.  I hope by the end of the day to at least get it in a box and put the address on the box.  And box up two other packages.  Then, all I have to do is stop at the post office Saturday, or maybe after school tomorrow.  I do make plans, but then sometimes other things get in the way.

Here's a close up of the quilting design.  It's one of my favorites.  I love the circles.  They are made with a figure 8 motion going up one side and around and back down again.  Genius!  And the feathers, so pretty.  I have to make a quilt with this quilting design for myself one day.  When things slow down.  Ha, that's funny.
This morning when I took my son to school, this little guy ran right in front of my van.  He wouldn't move out of the road and I couldn't drive, so I opened the door to yell at him.  Bad me!  He jumped in the car.  Now, what was I going to do?  My son was going to be late for school, so I figured I'd just take him to school and come back and drop off the dog to a worried owner, who was probably chasing me down the street.  Teach them for letting their little dog out on a busy street!

My son likes dogs, but isn't overly excited to have another dog join us on his way to school.  So, I dropped him off and drove so very slowly back down the street where I picked up the little dog.  Nobody is out looking for the dog and I circled around and around several times.  No gate open or door open or person laying on the street with a leash in their hand.  Great, now I have a dog to find a home for.  When I got home, I looked up the times for the SPCA and Animal Shelter with the hope of dropping off the dog on my way to the Acupuncture appointment this morning.  Of course, they don't open until after my appointment.  The little guy got along pretty well with my two little dogs, but there was the general growling when he got too close to the butt sniffing area.  As I sat on the computer to look up phone numbers, he sat right up against me and kept putting his head on the laptop.  He is mighty adorable, for sure!  He is really clean and freshly bathed and you can tell very loved.

So, I locked him in the bathroom with food, water and a potty pad while I went to the acupuncture appointment to be sure there would still be there dogs when I got back.

I told the nurse that the migraines had become more severe since starting treatment.  The good news is I've had 3 1/2 days in a row without migraines, but the ones I've had have been way worse.  I've had nausea again, which I haven't had in a long time.  Her answer is that the acupuncture must be working.  What else is she supposed to say?  It's her job and if it doesn't work, then what?  So now I'm wondering how many more times I should go back before giving up.  I'm taking a day off work for every time I go in.  I've only missed two days for it so far.  I have four more appointments scheduled and one is during our furlough break.  I scheduled two in the afternoons so I could take a half day if necessary.  It's not like I don't have the sick days to take and I can't take the sick days with me when I retire, but taking a sick day as a teacher creates more work than just going in and actually working.  That's why I don't take days off when I have a really bad headache.  I'd rather just be there and suffer through it.

She wants me to add lemon juice to my diet every morning.  I planted a lemon tree about three years ago and it is a stick with about 7 leaves.  I don't know what I do wrong with citrus plants.  I planted a tangerine 9 years ago when we first moved in and for the past 8 years it was a stick with 7 leaves on it.  Last year it finally had 4 fruit.  The guys who came out to fix the roof ate them.  I was so mad.  I'd been waiting 8 years for the tree/stick to make fruit and they ate them all.  They were still green and I come home to 4 guys each munching on a tangerine!  It took everything I had not to start crying in front of them.  This year it has about 50 fruit on it.  Why did it take 9 years to grow?  It now has about 100 leaves on it, but is only 3 feet tall.  I didn't buy a dwarf tree, it just doesn't grow.  Maybe is 6 more years I will have lemons on my stick of a tree.  But until then, I will have to either get another tree and plant it somewhere else, or buy lemons for 38cents each. Supposedly the juice is supposed to help my headaches and clean my gall bladder.  Did you know headaches come from your gall bladder?  And that acupuncture point is in your right 2nd smallest toe?  I'm learning a lot.  I am not sure I believe most of it.  Maybe that's why it isn't working.

I'm also supposed to eat more rice.  And Applesauce.  That will help my liver.

That gives you headaches too.

I think headaches give you sarcasm.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New to me digitized quilt design site

Just discovered this site tonight when I was supposed to be writing a test for class tomorrow.  Funny how easily I get side tracked and one thing leads to another.  She has some great quilting designs and lots of free stuff.  Free is always good.  Even if you don't have a computerized quilting machine, you can print off the ideas and either make up your own pantographs, or practice drawing the designs on a white board until you have muscle memory or you can draw out the designs on your quilts with chalk or erasable pencils and then quilt over them with your sewing machines.  I used to practice the designs on some paper over and over again until I could do them in my sleep and then quilt them from memory before I had my quilting machine.

Off to bed with me.  Today was a terrible migraine day.  Thursday is another acupuncture day.  The migraines are more severe, but I have managed a few days of no migraine in between the horrible days.  Is that an improvement?  I'm not sure.  But it is a change.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

for the mom

Not sure if you can see the quilting detail on this quilt or not, but it's one of my favorite patterns.  Lots of detail and oh, so pretty up close.  This is for the mom of 4 kids, whose husband died over the Christmas break.  He was only 40 years old and had a heart attack.  I'll be passing it on to my friend to finish up and deliver it soon.

I just emailed her to let her know the quilting was done and she let me know her mom passed away yesterday.  She just found out.  So sad.  Her mom was such a nice lady and taught her many of the crafting arts like crochet and sewing.  She was 90 and passed peacefully at home.

Hands and Heart of Binky Patrol

 This year my focus for Binky Patrol is to reach more people.  I work in a high school and hear stories about students who need some extra comfort.  But, I can't be everywhere and hear every story.  So, I've reached out through my local quilt shop and asked the customers to let me know if they hear of anyone who needs some extra love.  I've also asked for help making more quilts.  So far, I haven't received any requests or extra help, but the year is young.
But my dear friend that I've known for about 20 years also works in a school in a different district and she emailed me asking if we could get quilts for one of her students' families.  The little girl's father had a heart attack and died over the Christmas break.  The mother has four children and isn't able to work and afford daycare for the kids.  She doesn't have family living near enough to help out.  The whole school took up a collection for food, car repairs clothes and rent for the family and we are finally able to get some quilts put together.  The quilt for mom is on the machine now, stitching away.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

never enough time in the day it seems

 Here's a quilt headed back to Margaret's Hope Chest.  It was sent to me to quilt.  I have one more to quilt up and then all three, plus a 4th one that is getting the binding put on it will be in the mail.  I will most likely fill the box with some others I have finished up.  Might as well make it a full box.  Again, if you have any quilt tops you would like to donate to the great cause they have and want me to quilt them for you, just click on the link on the right side of the blog for more information.  They donate to kids whose parents are in prison and also so women suffering postpartum depression.
 This is the quilt I'm working on for my friend at work whose intestines exploded last Saturday.  Just like when your appendix ruptures, her colon ruptured.  She had a 12 inch section removed and finally came home yesterday.
 What is this block called?  I just rearranged the pieces from the churn dash and I'm calling it twisted friendship block.  It pretty well describes the friendship with my best friend at work.  We are about the two most opposite people you would ever expect to be friends.  We have opposite views on almost everything you can imagine, religion, child raising issues, politics, 'global warming' :) but we are still best friends at work because we do agree on things like how important children are and the value of education.
 This is the quilt, ready to go back to Margaret's Hope Chest.
 you would think I would move these shoes from the 'picture staging area' :)  but, no, here they are again!

Margaret's Hope Chest

working on a quilt for Margaret's Hope Chest.  Click on the link on the right side to read more about the group and see how you can help out too.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

three and a half good days

 Things were going along so well for three and a half days.  I had acupuncture last week on Tuesday.  Wednesday and Thursday were terrible migraine days.  I wasn't sure what had happened but they were some of the worst days in a while and that's saying a lot because I've had some pretty bad days lately.  Friday wasn't much better.  Then, Saturday got better.  Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I felt great.  No migraine, no medicine.  What?  Three whole days without a headache?  I can't remember the last time that has happened.  Going into Wednesday I thought maybe the acupuncture just took a while to start working and I was really hopeful it had straightened things out.  Then, about noon, BAM, the mac truck of the migraine came back with a vengeance.  So, maybe the acupuncture just focuses the migraine into periods of severe days and good days.
 I have five more treatments scheduled, next week and then skip a week due to high school exit exam testing and then once a week for four weeks.  I know the nurse said it would take a few months to really work and from the video I watched, the guy said his took six weeks to show the full effects, so I'm still hopeful, but still frustrated.  The medicine I'm taking isn't helping either.  There is no pain relief, only suffer through until I can sleep and then wake up knowing the headache will most likely come back when I wake up.  Keeping busy helps keep my mind from focusing on the pain.  That's why I'm glad I have my quilting.  I don't know what I would do without that.  And my high school kids.  They are oblivious to my migraines and they always make me laugh.  They do say the funniest things, even when they aren't trying.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

so happy Rebecca is fixed

While poor Rebecca was having her issues, I couldn't do any quilting, so I had to sew.  I got this quilt top cut out and sewn in under 3 hours.  It's for the leader of the group Layers of Hope, Quilting 911 a charity group that makes quilts for 911 dispatchers and other first responders who need a quilty hug.  I was hoping to get it quilted up this week and in the mail on the weekend.  Now that Rebecca is working better than ever, I'm quilting up the last of the backing fabric and should have it on the machine tomorrow.

 I had this duck quilt already done, but since I do three quilts at a time, it was stuck and I couldn't show it to you.  The quilting pattern is a loon, but since they are both water birds, I figured close enough.  Some little boy is going to love this quilt.
 This is the quilt that was stuck on the machine when she got sick.  Who would have thought putting spiders and dinosaurs together with some red hearts and flowers would be so cute, but it all works.  Again, another cute boy quilt ready for binding.  I took all three quilts to work today and then went home to be bound.  I love that we have so many people working together to make this process so quick.
And finally the third quilt that was on the machine.  I think this is quilt #20 for the year.  And today is day 21.  I have another quilt on the machine now, so I'm one for one so far.  Think I can keep up the pace?

Monday, January 20, 2014

congratulations Sue

you are the winner of Saturday's giveaway.  Be sure to email me your address and I will be sure to get your tumbler blocks in the mail this week.  Let me know what color you want your quilt to be.

Bink-A-Thon 2014 MLK

Meet Susan Finch, the founder of Binky Patrol.  They held a Bink A Thon today and had over 100 people join then as the made lots of Binkies today.  They got corporations to join them in the fun.  I have to figure out how to get Starbucks and Wells Fargo to join us next time around.  But I will have to make sure to get a bigger room!  Looks like they had a great time!

Rebecca is saved, thanks to Quilt E-Z

Through the help of my friend Carla and my yahoo group, I got advice to email the company

 Quilt E-Z

I emailed them and linked to my videos.  I was hopeful they would help me figure out my problem, but thought it might cost hundreds of dollars to fix my troubles.  I got an email saying I would get a phone call today with the solution.  I was a little worried because my son wasn't home today and I wasn't sure I would be able to follow the directions.  I'm not that computer savy and I can't see very well to take things apart and put them back together.

Joe called me and walked me through all the steps to fix my poor Rebecca.  Not only is she fixed, but she is working better than ever!  I'm so happy, I'm literally dancing.  And that's not a pretty sight!  But, my machine is humming away as I type this and THAT is a pretty sight :)  I still have a few hours left in my long Make a Difference Weekend!

I hope you had a chance to make a difference this weekend

Tumbler quilt kit giveaway

Today's the last day to enter the tumbler quilt kit giveaway.  Don't forget to enter if you want a chance to win your choice of color of blocks.  I'll be cutting lots today since my quilting machine is still sick.  Poor Rebecca.  I'll be doing some grading and sewing and 'gasp' even some house cleaning!  What has the world come to!?!  I'll be picking a winner tonight.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rebecca is really sick, please help me

Rebecca my robotic machine is really having troubles and I've tried everything I can think of to get her fixed and I'm running out of ideas.  I've made this second video to show you what I've tried and maybe you will see it and say, oh, here's the issue!  At least my machine has gotten a really good cleaning out of the whole deal.  If nothing else, it reminds me that my other machines need some attention as well.  But if you have any ideas what I should try next, please let me know.  Thanks :)

Make a Difference Day

 How do you make a difference?  We got a bunch of donated fabric, a few people and three hours on a Sunday afternoon.  I brought 5 sewing machines that I picked up at thrift stores.  My friend Nancy brought two and one of our members brought one.  I brought my Accuquilt Studio fabric cutter and we laughed and worked on making quilts for kids.
 Only one of these kids had sewn before.  By the end of the afternoon, we had lots of fabric cut and about 3 quilts in various stages of completion.  We had blocks cut and ready to go home to be made into more quilts.  We had kids excited about helping kids who needed a warm hug.
 We had old, unwanted sewing machines that found new life.
 This guy picked sewing quilts over building robots.  His robotics team was meeting today to work on their team robot.  He said he would rather learn to sew and help other kids.  I'm glad he picked us. :)
 Want to know how you can get teenagers involved in helping?  Contact your local high school and ask for the National Honor Society, Key Club or S Club.  Ask for the advisor and see if they are interested in joining your group.  Contact your local quilt shop and see if they have a room available for a few hours.  Bring lots of fabric, lots of patience and be ready to laugh.  The kids have a great time learning a new skill.  Most schools don't teach home ec anymore.
 Carla even fixed one of the machines I brought.  One of the machines may be beyond repair. I'm going to let it sit with oil for a day and come back to it tomorrow.  It is pretty rusty.  I learned that I should check the machines to make sure they are at least turning before I buy them.  Even at $10 they aren't a deal if they don't work.  Maybe with a little oil and some TLC, the machine will come back to life.
But this Brother machine from the 50's was a great deal for $10.  It is a beauty in blue and sewed so nicely all afternoon.  This guy got a ton of blocks sewn together.  He ran out of blocks before the afternoon was over.

If you are ever in Vacaville, I encourage you to stop by A Quilted Heart.  They are celebrating 10 years in February.  It's a cute little quilt shop with very friendly staff and if they don't have something you need, they will special order whatever you are looking for.  Plus, they've let us meet there every other month.  We'd love to have you join us the 3rd Sunday of the odd months.

Today's Binky Patrol Project

 today we are working on the versatile tumbler quilt.  I have three dies for this quilt for the Accuquilt Studio (and two for the Go! cutter).  I'm having a bunch of teenagers from my high school come out to help cut and sew the blocks together.  I have a plan, but who knows how well that will work out.  I have 5 sewing machines I'm bringing and hoping to get the kids to sew on.  I know three of them work well and am hoping to get there early enough to test out the other two.  I'm hoping to print out some instructions so they can thread the machine by themselves if it has some issues.  It's hard helping 5 people at the same time, plus supervise everything else that is going on, but it's a fun day.  I'm hoping for some other veteran sewers to come along.  I put the word out, but nobody replied they were coming.  That's how it usually is, people just show up if they can make it.  Everything works out.  Here's the different layouts I plan on passing out if people do show up.  Just some ideas I've tried out.  There are so many different ones you can try with the tumbler die.  It's the first die I'd buy with the Accuquilt cutter.  I'm suggesting to Accuquilt to make the multiple die for the 6 1/2 inch for the Go!  The single die is fine, because it cuts the shape and cuts off the corners, but it takes a long time to cut out a quilt.  Yesterday I cut out a whole twin size quilt in under 15 minutes with the multiple die on the studio.  I know you can cut more layers with the studio, but having 4 shapes on the same die really does make a difference.  I hope they take my advice and make that multiple die cutter for the Go! I know it would be a best seller.  I think they should also change the way the 3 1/2 inch multiple die is shaped for the Go!  Right now, it is shaped with each tumbler stacked on top of each other, instead of side by side, like the studio has it.  It wastes too much fabric that way.  They are usually really good about listening to their customers and take suggestions seriously because we are the ones purchasing from them.

Rebecca is very sick

Last night Rebecca, the Robotic quilting machine started giving me some troubles.  In the middle of a quilt, she gave me a 'stitch regulator not present' error code.  Well, of course the stitch regulator was there, I could see it with my own eyes.  But, she insisted it wasn't and there was no convincing her otherwise.  I had to unplug all the wires to the machine and black motor box before she finally agreed the stitch regulator was indeed actually still there.  Of course, that means she lost her place in the middle of the quilt.  No big deal, I would have to rip out a few stitches.  But, then she decides that she's going to have a big fit.  I called my tech guy, my 16 year old son, who helped me build the machine and knows more about computers than anybody I know (except maybe my brother) and he came out to help me fix it.  He says, well mom, you have a whole bunch of threads wrapped around the wheels.  That might be the trouble.  So we cleaned the wheels, but that didn't help.  Poor Rebecca kept making these horrible sounds.  So, we tightened her belts and cleaned her tracks and tried everything we could think of and she just kept complaining.

I made a video this morning so that when and if we do get her fixed, I will remember what we did and hopefully be able to help others in the same situation.

I'm having Binky Patrol today, so that will keep me busy, but I sure can't afford to have a broken machine for very long.  I will get backed up with quilts needing quilting.  Good thing I have my second machine on standby ready to go.  Poor Pierce has been mighty lonely since Rebecca showed up.  He's only been used a couple times and I think he's been a bit jealous.  You don't think he sabotaged her do you? :)

I'll be talking to Carla today to see if she's ever had this trouble with her machine.  The great thing about having Carla who's had her machine a few years longer than me is she's gone through most of the troubles ahead of me and can usually fix my problems.   I've already searched the internet and come up empty.  The manual has like 3 troublshooting tips and none of them are my problems.  Like they don't think your machine is ever going to have an issue.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I'm a guest, want to know about me?

I'm a guest blogger over at Layers of Hope, Quilting 911.  I got to tell the story of how I started the whole charity quilting craze.  If you are new around here, and you have some time, you might want to pop over and read my story.  At Layers of Hope, we make quilts for 911 dispatchers and First Responders who need a little help themselves.

I'm so thankful for the internet which allows me to learn about all the great causes out there and lets me help so many more people.  What did we do before the internet was invented?

Look What I Made! Saturday Giveaway

It's that time again, Saturday.  Seems to come around once a week or so :)  Have you been busy this week?  I'd love to see what you've been up to.  I've been busy around here, even through I've had a rough migraine week.  I had acupuncture on Tuesday, which made Tuesday a pretty good day by the end of it, but Wednesday was a doozie and Thursday and Friday weren't much better.  I emailed the nurse and asked her for advice.  I told her I had taken every medicine I had in my arsenal and she said I should just rest and go to bed early.  I have to laugh, because of all the doctors and nurses I've seen about my migraines I have not met one that has a grasp of reality.  I've been told to rest, work part time or quit working and to decrease my stress.  These people must not understand that I have to work in order to pay bills.  I work with teenagers and other real live people who place demands on me.  Oh, and the funniest one was one doctor who said to make a list of demands and walk into my principal's office.  She said to tell the principal all the things I was not going to do anymore.  I had to laugh right there.  I guess that would decrease my stress level because I would no longer have a job.  Sure, I'm not going to grade papers or make lesson plans or work Thursdays and Fridays or deal with difficult students or parents.  Who are these doctors?  They are funny people.

But I do have to say that working with teenagers is really a good stress buster most days.  Every day I laugh about something.

So, link up here and show off what you've been working on.  I'm giving away some more tumbler blocks to make another quilt top.  We will be having a Binky Patrol meeting tomorrow and will be cutting lots of blocks.  I will even let you choose the color for the quilt this time.  I will be picking the winner on Monday evening so you have lots of time to enter.  Be sure to link to the blog post of picture hosting site so we can see what you've been working on.  Good luck.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Project Linus quilts

I have to post this link here so I can find it later.  It has lots of cute quilts for small cuddle quilts.  It's a project linus page and you know they make lots of quilts for kids.  We have a local Project Linus that has been getting a lot of publicity lately.  I think it's great we have another charity group in our area that is helping meet the needs of kids in crisis.  There can never be too many helping hands making blankets for kids.  It's funny because we had one lady who was very active in our group for years.  She hasn't been coming for about a year now and I hadn't heard from her.  There was a story about Project Linus last week in the paper and there she was in the picture helping to make and fold the blankets.  I'm happy she found a new home with the other group.  I'm really not at all upset that she switched groups because our Binky Patrol group has been taken over by a lot of teenagers. :)  Some 'older' ladies can't handle the energy and enthusiasm of the younger generation.  Some days I can't handle it either!  And I'm only 25 :)  I had a visiting student from the special ed program in my class today.  His teacher wanted him to see what a general education classroom was like and just how much work was expected from a student.  He has been complaining that they are asking him to do too much.  I'm not sure what his disability was because he fit right into my classroom.  But, he made me laugh because he said I reminded him of his grandma.  He says his grandma says she is 30.  Um, was that a compliment?

I told the kids when you get to my age, you can pick any age and just stick with it, but it takes practice doing the math.  Like when they ask me what year I was born, I have to count backwards, because every year it changes.  And, I keep getting younger when I had my first child.  Right now, I was zero when I got married and 2 when I had my first child.  Pretty soon, I will have been married longer than I have been alive.  Not sure how that is possible, but I tell the kids to look me up in the Guiness book of world records!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

keeping Rebecca busy

 as long as I have a quilt on the machine, I just go over, push a button and can keep Rebecca the Robotic machine working.  With a big roll of backing fabric loaded, it's easy to just put one top after another on the machine.  These three just came off the machine and were quilted up over the past couple of days.  I can do three at a time before having to unload the machine.  So nice when I have a bunch that need quilting.  Like I posted before, my friend's mom just gave me about 50 of these quick strippie quilts.  I'm adding a side border so they use up more of the 60 inch backing fabric.

Considering Acupuncture? Watch this video

Thinking about trying acupuncture?  Watch this short youtube video and see how acupuncture works.  Lots of people think it works because you want it to work.  I want evidence that it works.  I think the drugs I take should work, but they haven't.  My mind isn't strong enough to heal me.  The video is of a doctor who didn't believe it would work on him, but tried it anyways.  He used other methods to test it and found out it really did work, even though he didn't think it would.  I'm feeling like he did.  Not sure it will work, but hopeful it will.  I have 5 more treatments scheduled, which means 5 more days off work, which means 5 more days of lesson plans and extra grading, but if it means relief in the long run, it will be worth it.

9 needles, 2 1/2 hours and a little more effective

I always plan my days around how much I can get done.  Today I took the whole day off, even though my acupuncture appointment was at 9:45am thinking I surely could get the house cleaned, a few quilts quilted up and maybe even take a nap.

I did manage to get to the post office this morning between dropping my son off at school and before going to the doctor early.  They got me in a bit early, the nurse stuck me with 9 needles this time instead of three.  She said she had spent all weekend in training about migraines and had learned some new places to stick people.  I don't think she used those words, but she said that she learned about places in the feet to draw your energy to that would help.

I went in with a killer migraine.  I decided this time not to take anything for it and see if only acupuncture would help the migraine go away.  I have to admit I was very skeptical.  On a scale of 1-10, my migraine was about an 8.  It was above and below my left eye and on my left jaw.  The neurologist says that is typical for trigeminal neuralgia.  That's the one in a million people disorder he diagnosed me with a couple years ago.  I'm special.

She put 4 needles in my right foot, one in my left, three in my left hand and one in my right hand.  Then, I laid there for two hours.  I have trouble laying down for thirty minutes and not doing anything.  I read the numbers on the ceiling tiles, closed my eyes and listened to the doctors in the other rooms, counted the ticking sounds from the heater, tried to sleep, but kept thinking I would start snoring or roll over on the needles and how embarrassing that would be.  About every twenty minutes the nurse would come in and check on me.  Almost immediately, the pain went from an 8 to a 6 when she put the first needle in.  I have no idea how acupuncture works.  Maybe it takes the pain from your head and transfers it to your foot or hand.  She says it transfers your energy or chi.  She said she picked a couple spots in my hands that balanced my energy and a couple spots in my feet that were supposed to give me less headaches.

After the two hours, my neck was hurting from laying on my back for so long.  I kept trying to wiggle around to get more comfortable, but it made my hands and feet hurt more.  The one she put in my left hand really hit a nerve.  She moved it once, but every time I moved that hand, it shot pain in my arm.  I didn't want to move that hand much.  So, I just tried to lay really still.

After the 2 1/2 hours were up, she came back and said I need to come back once a week for a month.  That's a lot of days off since the latest appointment is 3:30pm.  But, I'm in this for the long haul.  It's either going to work, or not, but I'm going to try it and see.

She said that since I tried the massage and it really didn't do anything for me, I didn't have to go back for another one.  I think once my husband is over his cold, I will get him to give me a foot massage and see if he can't get the energy out of my feet.  I might check online and see if I can find the acupressure points in your feet for migraines.

I've been trying the Tapping for migraines you can search on youtube.  You look like an idiot doing it, but it helps for about five minutes during and after you hit yourself in the head.  Again, I have no idea how that one works either.  I tell you, people with migraines are in so much pain, we are willing to try just about anything.

Have you seen the 'Prancercise' exercise videos?  I'm almost ready to try that :)  It's a new exercise crazy where a lady in a leotard jumps around like she's a horse.  If nothing else, it will make you laugh.  It reminds me of when I was about 8 and my sister and I used to pretend we were horses. Now why couldn't I have come up with an exercise video and sold it on the internet.  Oh, yeah, the internet wasn't invented back then.  That's probably a good thing because I wouldn't want videos of all the dumb things we used to do.

Well, maybe now, I can rest for the rest of the day.  Back to work tomorrow.  I hope the kids have been behaving for the sub the past two days.  Yesterday I had a teacher training day.  Coming back after a sub can be painful sometimes.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Thinking about getting a business license

I did a bit of research today about getting a business license so I can start quilting for others.  I don't have time to quilt much for others just now, but once summer comes around and I'm not teaching full time, I think I will have some time and enough practice to be able to quilt for hire.  I wanted to see how much it would cost to get a license to start a quilting business.  My husband's funny because he worries about our taxes and how it would make more work for him.  I figure if I made any money, we could pay someone else to do the taxes.  One less thing for him to worry about.  Of course, I have no idea how much that would cost either, so maybe I should look into that first too.  I might end up paying to quilt for others :)  Sort of like I do now.

When I got the long arm machine, I figured one day I could get my investment back by quilting for others.  I just have a real hard time with money and would rather just give away everything for free.  Of course, when it comes time to pay the bills, most companies don't feel the same way.  Especially the colleges, mortgage, heating, gas, grocery, post office, fabric stores...

So, I checked online and it is a $91 one time fee to start a home based business.  There are lots of rules about how many people you can have coming to your house at a time and you can't sell fire arms out of your house and you can only have 20% of your floor space devoted to your business.  Yikes.  I wonder if they inspect and measure how much fabric I have stored in the kitchen, dining room, living room, shed, family room, daughter's bedroom.  Maybe they wouldn't give me a permit!  Then, there is the $65 a year permit fee based on having only one employee.  That would be me.  If I wanted to hire anyone to work for me, the fee goes up.  I guess it would be a one person business for a while.  No hiring my kids to help me clean or organize the above rooms.  I would have to do all the work myself.  Another reason not to start up a business.  I'm tired of thinking about all the work already :)

I guess I'm just not an entrepreneur.  I better keep my day job.  Good thing they balanced the California budget and plan to put some more money back into education again.  Looks like we are getting 4 more days added back to our school year next year.  No promise of a raise yet, but at least they are heading in the right direction.  If only I could figure out a way to quilt and teach at the same time.  I have to get my credential in home economics!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

manually quilting again

 Yesterday I had a large quilt loaded on Rebecca, the Robotic machine and I was feeling the need for speed, so I quickly quilted up these two little guys on Pierece, my manual Janome quilting machine.  I haven't used that guy in several months.  The idea was to have both machines going at the same time so I could really blast through the quilts quickly.  Problem is, I'm usually piecing quilts while Rebecca works away at quilting.  But, I really do need to get some things done around here as my friend at work's mother has been speed sewing for me.  She has an industrial sewing machine and I gave her about 50 quilt kits which she quickly sewed up and returned to me after Christmas break.  That means I have 50 more quilt tops to quilt up.  I can't keep up with how fast she is
 This is the big beauty that was on the machine all day yesterday.  It is going to Margaret's Hope Chest when it is finished.  I called my friend Judy this morning who zipped over quickly to pick up all 21 quilts I had ready for her.  She will get the binding on them and bring them back so they can get into the hands of people needing hugs.  This quilt took all day to quilt up, number one because it is big and number two because I picked a pretty dense quilting pattern.  It is a free one, which I love and a pretty one too.  It is a feather leaf type and worked out beautifully on this quilt.  It came out perfectly on the quilt too.  I love when the math works out perfectly and I don't have to stretch or shrink the pattern on the last row.  I'm learning how to make it fit on that last row so it doesn't look too weird.  After so many quilts, it's good to know I've learned a thing or two about long arm quilting.  I still get a pucker or two in the backing fabric which is frustrating.  I have to always remember to pull on the backing fabric to make sure to get out any folds or wrinkles which tend to happen as you roll the quilt.  Sometimes I forget to check the back as I roll the quilt and then sure enough, there is a fold in the backing fabric.  Sometimes it isn't too bad and sometimes I just want to cry.

I love the colors and pattern of this quilt and I know a new mother who receives it will feel the love that went into it.  If you want me to quilt something for you and send it on to Margaret's Hope Chest, just let me know.  I will send you my home address and we can work together to bless new mothers suffering from Post Partum Depression.  Just click on the banner on the side bar for more information about Margaret's Hope Chest and the projects they support.

My first massage

I've had massages before, but never from a professional.  Yesterday I went in and paid for a 30 minute massage.  My acupuncture lady suggested I try getting a massage as part of the treatment for my migraines.  I wasn't sure what to expect, having someone I didn't know touch me.  Kind of creeps me out.

I'm not into the whole getting naked in front of strangers thing.

She massaged my back and neck and at the end used peppermint on the base of my neck.  I wasn't sure if that would bother me.  Strong odors usually trigger migraines, but she said she has migraines and the smell doesn't bother her.

The massage felt ok and I left feeling better than when I came in.  I had a migraine going in, but then I have a migraine almost every day now.

I felt pretty good for about an hour and then the headache got worse and worse as the day went on.  The smell got to me and I finally had to take a bath and wash the peppermint oil off.  I had to take lots of medicines and still felt horrible most of the day.  By the end of the evening, my back and neck were so sore.  I asked my friends on Facebook what was up with that?  Most posted that I should have been drinking lots of water.  The lady told me to drink water and relax all day.

I was drinking water, every time I took medicine and with lunch and dinner, so about 40 ounces all day, but I guess that wasn't enough.  That's more than I usually drink.  Most people said it was because the massage was releasing toxins that were stored in my muscles.  That just didn't make sense to me.  Why would my body store toxins?  So, I did some research.  I'm a scientist you know :)  Turns out, a massage is like exercise or bumping into a wall and getting a bruise.  It puts stress on the muscles and makes them produce lactic acid.  It causes trauma to the muscles, especially if there is any pain during the massage.  I didn't know that going in and figured that if there was pain, that meant she was working out a sore spot and that it was supposed to hurt.

Will I make massage part of my long term health plan?  Not sure.  I have acupuncture on Tuesday and will talk to her about it.  It certainly didn't make me feel better, but maybe combined with acupuncture and exercise I can find a combination that will work out so I can take less medication.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

See what you can do in a day?

 I loaded this one on Thursday evening and started quilting it Friday morning before school.  I have about an hour after I get the first crew out the door in the morning and before I have to get out the door myself.  I am the first one up in the morning.  I eat breakfast, check email, get myself ready and then wake everyone else up.  That way, I get my me time in before I have to help everyone else out of the house.  I need that hour to figure out what my day will be like before everyone else places demands on me or I'm pretty grumpy the rest of the day.  Then, once everyone else is gone, I have an hour with the little guy to make sure he has breakfast, is dressed, gets the reading from the night before written down for homework and we can head out the door.  In that hour, there is usually about half of it spent waiting to go.  Inbetween getting things ready and making lunches, I have time to roll the quilt and push the buttons.  I got this quilt about half done and then finished it up after school.  I didn't get home until about 5 last night because I'm going to be out several days next week.  It always takes so long to write up sub plans.  It's much easier to just be in school than to take a day off.
 After dinner, I loaded this Quick stippie and quilted it with a simple pattern.  I added borders to it because the backing fabric is 60 inches wide and I didn't want to waste such wide fabric and batting.  Sometimes these quilts come out so long and skinny and adding the side borders evens them out and makes them a little better for the bigger kids.  The quilting pattern looks a bit like dinosaur footprints, but I think it is supposed to be a leaf.  Either way, it was quick and I was able to get two quilts done in a day.  It is nice when there is a long bunch of backing and batting loaded up and you just have to throw one quilt top after another onto the machine.  Not too much thinking involved.  I really do need to call my binding buddies though.  The quilts are starting to stack up around here and I have several places needing quilts.

Look What I Made Link Up

I can't believe it is Saturday already!  This week has flown past so quickly, but dragged on at the same time.  How is it that time can warp like that?  My days are the same way.  Some classes move so slowly and others just zip by.  I try to plan my lessons so that the kids are always busy and I'm not spending all period talking, after all, who wants to listen to an old lady drone on and on about sciency type stuff for an hour?  The kids would much rather get some hands on fun playing with water or cutting up jelly like stuff and lighting things on fire.  They learn better by doing than just by listening.  Even if they are quiet, that doesn't mean their minds are engaged.  At least if they are talking, I know what they are thinking about.  I like a busy, noisy classroom and like to hear what the kids are thinking.  Their brains are trying to make connections and sometimes they say the funniest things.  Every day I am guaranteed to laugh at something someone says.  That's the best part about teaching high school.  Kids say the funniest things!

This week in class we were doing a lab that used sugar cubes to build a model of a cell.  They measured the sides of the cube and calculated how much surface area and volume the 'cell' had.  I gave the kids clean sugar cubes to eat so they wouldn't eat my models.  One of the kids was working and all of a sudden, the leg of his chair just gave way.  The whole chair just collapsed under him.  He went down to the ground with the chair.  He isn't an especially big kid so it was pretty funny that the chair just broke for no reason.  He is a funny kid and says, "I guess I shouldn't eat any more sugar cubes!"  Good thing he had a good sense of humor and didn't feel bad about that old chair.  I have no idea why the chair just decided to break at that moment, but we all had a good laugh about it.  You just never know what is going to happen.

I hope you had some good laughs in your week and I also hope you had some time for working on something fun too.  It's time for Look What I Made!  Link up here to your blog or picture hosting site so others can see what you've been working on too.  I love linky parties so I can visit other blogs and get some inspiration when I'm stuck in a rut and need to get my self into gear for working on more quilts.  Right now I have 4 quilts to make for young kids whose father just died suddenly over the Christmas break.  Their mother is a hairdresser and isn't able to work right now because she has no one to help her take the kids to and from school.  My friend, Nancy is a teacher at the school where the youngest attends.  I will be working on quilts for the kids and mom this weekend.

I also have two memory quilts to work on as well as many other quilts in the que.  I need to call my binding buddies and get the ones out that I have quilted.  I'm taking Monday off for a BTSA (teacher mentor thing), Tuesday is acupuncture and Friday is another BTSA day.  That's three days off next week which means lots of lesson planning.  I was after school for 1 1/2 hours on Friday getting ready for Mon/Tues.  Then next Monday is a holiday (yay) and next Sunday is Binky Sunday.  Lots of things to get ready for so off the computer and back to quilting, cleaning, planning, grading, yikes!  Too much to do.

Link up so others can see what you are doing.  And then get back to work :)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

finding time to quilt

 How do you find time to quilt when you are working, raising a family and keeping the rest of your life going?  I squeeze my quilting time in whenever I can.  I put the borders on these quilts in about 15 minutes, before school, or after I got home, or while dinner was cooking.  Then, the robotic machine does most of the work, I just have to push the button, check it when it gets to the end of the row and make sure it doesn't run out of thread half way down the row.  My biggest trouble is making sure a quilt is loaded at all times.  If I can plan out my next quilt while one is quilting, I can unload and reload quickly and get busy working on one after another.  I like to have a quilt on the machine all the time.  It doesn't always work out that way, but I'm happiest when there is always a quilt waiting its turn.  So many quilts, so many needs, so little time.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Having thread tension issues?

This video from youtube was very informative.  I learned a lot about tension issues with my long arm from this video.  I'm always ready to learn new things and having a computer with the internet makes that so much easier.  Remember when you had to go to the library and check out books?  Remember when you had to take a class and actually get dressed?  Now you can learn in your pajamas any time anywhere, almost any place.

Happy 80th birthday mom

This picture was taken five years ago when my mom was out for the summer visiting and came to a Binky Patrol meeting.  I can't believe how little my daughter was here.  She's all grown up now and off at college!  This was before she entered high school.  Don't blink, the kids grow up when you aren't looking.

My mom turns 80 today and is my inspiration for all my quilting and charity work.  She's the reason I started my Binky Patrol chapter almost 10 years ago.

Happy Birthday mom.  I hope you have a great day and get to enjoy it sewing, reading, playing solitaire and building a picture puzzle.  Maybe even watching some James Bond movies :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

California Mission

My son is in 4th grade this year and is learning about California Missions.  His oldest sister is home right now and helped him make this mission for his school project.  Way back, when my older sister was in 4th grade, about 40 years ago, my dad helped her make a mission, very similar to this.  Her teacher liked the idea so much, she told her teacher friend who told a friend and so on until all kids in 4th grade across the state were making Mission projects.  My son didn't have to make a project (because too many parents complained they didn't have money to make the project anymore--they have money for a cell phone but not a mission-yikes) so it's an extra credit project now.  My daughter had a great time remembering when she had to make hers.  My son is a minimalist and would have been happy just doing the required report.  But he is happy to have the project done and I'm happy for the help.

What do you think dad, does it pass inspection?  Do you think his teacher will realize he got some help? :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cat quilt

How's this for a really cool quilt?  I've added it to my to do list for the year.  Not that I will actually get it done, but hey, it's on the list, so at least there is a chance now :)  I'm supposed to be grading and I've been sitting on the computer for the last hour looking at quilts and checking Facebook.

My husband's brother had heart surgery on Friday and it looks like they didn't fix things.  They will be trying to treat his over excited heart with medicine now.  His heart is enlarged and beats too fast.  They put in a pacemaker/defibrillator which is supposed to shock his heart into slowing down.  That did its job, but kept shocking him and the heart didn't slow down so they went in and killed off a nerve in the heart that was overstimulated.  The problem is there are several nerves that are overstimulated.  They can't destroy the other nerves because they are too close to the blood vessels that are feeding the important parts of the heart.  So they are hoping to fix the trouble with medicines.  He may come home from the hospital on Tuesday.  His name is Rex and prayers are appreciated.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

dropping her off at college

back to school for my daughter which means back to school for me on Monday.  She's excited.  Me not so much.