Thursday, October 30, 2014

My son's job

My son works at the Western Railway Museum.  They recently finished up their Pumpkin Patch month.  This is their big money making month for the nonprofit organization.  They get more people come through the museum during this month than during the rest of the year.  He loves his job helping people but mostly working with the older volunteers.  They remind him of his grandfather who is a train lover.  I wish my dad lived closer and could come visit the museum.  He would get a kick out of riding the old trains and could make some improvements to their model train set.

This is my son and his girlfriend's brother enjoying a ride on the hay truck to the pumpkin patch.

Looks like we are going to have a rainy Halloween so I think we will just head to the store and buy some candy this year.  My little one can't pick out a costume anyways.  First he wanted to be wheat and then a slice of bread.  I have no idea where this kid gets his crazy ideas.  But I think I'll keep him. :)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Saying Thanks

 There are lots of ways to say Thanks.  Making quilts for our military veterans is one way I enjoy saying Thanks for service.  These quilts will be giving away in March to members of the service who have seen battle.  I'm happy to play my part in doing the quilting.  Some people made the blocks, others put the blocks together, I did the quilting and others will put the binding on them.
Everyone is doing just a little bit to wrap a big hug around those who have given so much.  Do you want to help?  There are lots of ways you can help.  Do you have some fabric you are never going to use?  Find a local quilt guild and donate it.  Or, take an hour or two and make a few blocks.  These blocks are 12 1/2 inch unfinished and you can see that you can make them any design.  You can talk to your quilt guild about starting a block of the month where everyone makes just one block and then someone joins them all together.  Think of how many quilts you could have at the end of the year.  If every quilt guild started doing this, think of how many Veterans we could cover!

Don't know where to send finished blocks or a finished quilt?  Alycia is always collecting blocks and quilts and is constantly giving quilts to Veterans.  She is my inspiration, even though I've never met her in person.

Dinosaur quilts

A friend at work asked me to make a couple of dinosaur quilts for her nephews.  It's only taken me about 4 months to get started on them.  I have the second one about half way done.  I think I will put a larger border on before quilting to make it almost bed size.  They are just pillow panels with some 3 1/2 inch strips added around and around.  They really didn't take long to make, but for some reason, it took a long time to get started on them.  I have no idea why some quilts get done finished quickly and some take a long time to get started on.  I have a baby quilt I made this summer and it's sat for a couple months waiting to have the binding put on.  The baby will still fit in it for quite some time, but I don't feel rushed to finish it up.  Maybe now that's I've put it in writing, I will get it done this week.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Not even what I planned to do today-Elephant quilt

 So I purchased the AccuCut Elephant Die about 6 months ago and never even opened it.  I had no intentions of starting a quilt like this today, but for whatever reason, got the crazy idea to do some embroidery.  I ordered an embroidery design for the Accuquilt Go elephant die and figured they were the same size.  WRONG.  The AccuCut die is slightly bigger.  Well, I had already cut out a bunch of elephants, so what was I going to do, but learn to applique!
 I have no idea why I was so scared of applique.  It takes less than 5 minutes to stitch around the edge of the shapes and is super easy.
 Since I was going to stitch them down with the embroidery machine, I didn't put any fusible onto the back of the fabric.  You just put a couple dabs of glue on and they stay in place no problem at all.
 I plan to add some fabric to the corners of these pieces and make them 12 inches finished.  This will be a really cute quilt when I'm all done.  I have no idea what got into me today, but I just decided I wanted to do something fun and this is what happened.
 If you have an embroidery machine and want to order the design for yourself, here's the link
 There are a lot of other designs for the Accuquilt dies and other things too.  It took longer to stitch out the embroidery designs than to make the applique blocks.  I just felt like playing around with my embroidery machine and my quilting machine was stitching away in the background too.
 Hate to see what the electric bill will be next month :)
 I might send this quilt to my daughter at UCLA because she loves elephants.  She has three quilts already, but she laughs and says you can never have too many quilts.  She makes fun of her friends who don't have any quilts.  She says she doesn't understand people who don't have quilts.
 I think I raised her right.
 I also ordered the dog and cat embroidery design and I actually have those dies for the Go! cutter.  But it would be nice to actually finish one quilt before starting another one.
 I know there are people out there who only buy the fabric they need for one quilt, cut it, sew it and finish the quilt.  Then, if they have leftover fabric, they give it to me.  They don't have a stash of fabric.  They use the fabric store as their stash.  How weird is that/  what if you want to make a quilt when the fabric store is closed?  Or, what if you change your mind in the middle of a project?  Or, what if you are supposed to be working on one project and the desire to make an elephant quilt hits you out of the blue?
 I bet they have clean houses though.  And lots of room in their cars to drive their friends around.
 But I bet they don't have spontaneous elephant quilts half way done either.  Or 487 other spontaneous unfinished projects.

on a Quilt of Valor roll

I guess this is the Quilt of Valor weekend.  My numbers of quilts are down this month and so I'm trying to do something about that.  My husband says I worry about things at work too much and so I'm forgetting everything about school and stress and just focusing on making quilts for others and managing to get a lot done.  It sure feels good and the stress is just melting away.  That's the way it needs to be.  Leave the work stress at work and come home to make quilts!  With my former student Alyssa coming to help me most of the grading gets done at school and what doesn't get done, can be finished pretty quickly right before grades need to be turned in, so why do I need to worry and fret so much?  You'd think at my age I'd have learned a thing or two about having fun.

I love how all of these different blocks come together to make such a great quilt.  I really do need to spend more time quilting.  It makes me oh, so happy.  I'm so glad I was able to fix my machine yesterday.

I have quite a few quilts I need to make for other people as well.  I better get started on two t shirt quilts for a lady at work.  She asked me to make them for her sons for Christmas.  So far, I've brought the bags of shirts home and they are still in my car.  They aren't going to get finished that way.  I have another t shirt quilt for a lady who runs the blood drive at our school every year.  I've been collecting shirts for that for a couple of years.  I keep thinking I need one more shirt, but I think I have enough now.  I should count and see just how many I have and just make it.  If I get more, I can always make another one.  They are really funny shirts.

And there is this crochet afghan I've been working on since the beginning of the year.  It's funny how long something takes when you never work on it.

More Quilts of Valor

Now that my machine is 'fixed' I'm back in business and not wasting time getting these Quilts of Valor quilted.  I have a total of 8 waiting to get done.
The ladies who wanted to put the binding on are hoping to get them all finished before the holidays hit.  I work backwards.  I do most of my work during the holidays.  One day I will be retired and have all the time in the world to quilt.

I just found out that Carla and the lady who is in charge of these Quilts of Valor are off having a great time at a Quilt Retreat, while I am home slaving away :)  One day I will sign up for a quilt retreat too and see what all the fun is about.  Until then, I will have to retreat into my messy sewing room and dig my way out.  I just brought home a whole car load of fabric and I need to sort through it.  I tell you, I get a phone call a couple times a month from someone cleaning out and donating fabric.  I need to work quicker.  But, I justify collecting for now, thinking that in the not so distant future, I will be retired (maybe 15 years from now) and have 10 hours a day to sew, sew, sew!  Hopefully my health holds up and my quilting machines do too.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Future Son in Law

My daughter's boyfriend is studying to be a lawyer.  Well, he is working for a law firm and has taken his LSAT's a couple times.  Recently he got a really good score on them so I sent him an Edible Arrangement to congratulate him.  He will be going to Law School in the fall of next year.  He said it was a nice dessert for after lunch :)  He's so cute :)

Can't keep this quilter down

Well, after stewing over the trouble with the broken power cord, I kept going back to the problem and have it fixed!  Carla isn't home this weekend and offered to have her husband come over and look at the problem.  I hate bothering people, when surely I can solve a simple problem like electrical wiring on a very expensive computer myself right?

My daddy didn't raise a dummy.  So, I just started wiggling and pulling on things and managed to break off another wire and drop it on the floor.  Great, now the problem was even worse!  Found the small wire, but it actually made it easier to fix, because now that it was off the main part of the machine, I could stick it into the hole that it had come out of on the cord.  You would think I would unplug things so I don't get electrocuted, but, hey I live dangerously around here.  I thought I had it turned off, but when I managed to get the cord plugged back into the box, the thing turned back on and I was back in business.  A lot of lime green duct tape to make sure nothing moved and I'm back in business!

Should hold up for another thousand quilts or so.  I'll just try to be more careful pulling on the cord when I get to the edge of the quilt.  You would think with how expensive this thing is, they would make the connection a little more sturdy.

quilts for Weed delivered

 Here's my friend Betty with the second batch of quilts our Binky Patrol group made. She delivered them this week and you can see how happy the ladies are.  Her car was stuffed full!  I love the sign they made.  We Love Weed!
These will be handed out to families who lost everything in the recent fires there.  So happy we can help out.

Sad news is my quilting machine is broken.  The power cord broke off the robot part of the machine and I'm not sure how to fix it.  I put a help call into my friend Carla and will also see if my son who works on robots can take a look at it when he gets home from work.  I'm feeling very sad today.  It's day 5 of a migraine and it was raining this morning so no morning walk.  I have to go out and get some groceries and do the weekly chores and can't distract myself with quilting.  Good thing I have a second quilting machine, plus a fabric cutter or two and several sewing machines to keep me busy.  I guess I can find something to do today.  Ok pity party over!  Get to work!  These quilts won't make themselves.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Quilt of Valor and new migraine treatment
Here's a link to an article about a new migraine treatment my doctor is letting me try.  I read about it on Facebook.  It's for eye drops used to treat glaucoma.  They are beta blockers and reduce blood pressure in the eye/brain which helps some migraine sufferers and work quickly once you get the migraine because you put the drops into the eye where the migraine is (behind the eye) and it goes right to the problem and BAM, blood vessels shrink, problem solved.  The ophthalmologists found it by accident when some of their patients noticed their migraines got better after using the eye drops for their other issues.  My doctor says it can't hurt so why not try it out.  Too bad I didn't have it yesterday when I had a doozy of a migraine!  I ordered it online to be shipped to me in the mail.  Just didn't figure I would get to the pharmacy within the week and I've been having fewer migraines during the week.  Of course yesterday had a lot of stress at school.
I did get this really nice Quilt of Valor quilted a couple days ago.  I had planned to get a couple done this weekend.  The ladies who are doing the binding want to get them done before the holidays are here and I'm just not doing my part.  I think I have 8 to get done.  Slow and steady gets them done.  Not even loading them on the frame really isn't working.  I seem to do better when I have more migraines.  Funny how that works.  Yesterday I got another one loaded and almost finished when I was feeling horrible.  I find distracting myself helps me feel better.  Just sitting around on the couch and I'm wanting to die.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


wow, with all the stuff going on at work this week, I really needed to read this today.  I'm always trying to rescue people and when they don't do things the way I know :) are the best, I judge them.  They complain they are having troubles and I give them the "I told you so" lecture because my way is always the right way because I'm so much older and wiser but sometimes people just need to learn the hard way.  These aren't the teenagers I'm talking about.  These are my co-workers I'm dealing with.  I got in three arguments this week.  It's not fun being in conflict with people.  Especially when you have to work so closely with them and share everything.  But knowing that I don't have to control everything will help me to focus on the things I do have to control.  And keep my nose in my own business.  And give me more time to quilt!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy quilts

 These quilts are happy little things and will really brighten a couple of little kids' day I hope.
While I am not getting as much time to quilt due to 20% extra work load this year, I am trying to quilt as often as I can.  We are still working on quilts for the people of the town of Weed.  Many of the people who lost everything in the fires there are trying to rebuild their homes.  We were told they are no longer accepting items for them, but my friend asked if they would still like handmade quilts and the church there was so excited for the quilts for the families.  We will keep working on them as long as we can.  I'm hoping to be finished with this project by the end of the year.

Monday, October 13, 2014

twin quilts

 I got two quilts quilted this weekend.  That is a miracle in itself.  Things just move slower now that school is in full swing.
 It's cool because they are twins.  Which meant I loaded the backing fabric and was able to just pop them on the frame one after another.  That's most likely why both got done.  Plus, I was procrastinating from grading lab books.  I'm just so lazy!  I have six books done and 23 more to go.  Ugh.  Why do they take so long and why did I wait so long to start them?
I figured they would be a quick grade, but now that I'm reading them, they just don't make any sense.  Maybe I need some warm, home made cookies.  Everything is better with home made cookies.  Surely that would make the grading go faster.  You see how I justify wasting my time on the weekends?  I even cleaned my kitchen counter tops.  You know I'm desperate to not grade something if I choose cleaning over grading!   My helper Alyssa would be so disappointed in me for procrastinating so much.  She is so good at getting things done and I've learned so much from her helping me.  She can grade a stack of papers like nobody's business.  She just starts and in minutes it is done.  She doesn't let anything distract her.  Oh, look, fabric :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dresses in Rwanda

 My friend made some special dresses that were sent over with the quilts to Rwanda last summer.  I just got these pictures of the girls wearing them.  I'm not feeling especially well today, but pictures like these make me want to get off the couch and work on something.  I have a whole list of things to be working on and there are so many more people who need a comforting hug.  I'm not sure why I am getting migraines every weekend.  Maybe because of all of the stress from the week just builds up and I can finally relax on the weekend.  My body finally says, take a break!  But, since school has started, every Saturday and Sunday I've had some pretty bad migraines every Saturday and Sunday.  Luckily, every week day I've felt really good.  I'm counting my blessings because I've been really busy during the week.  Maybe I need to be busier on the weekends too.  Maybe the cure for migraines is to be extra busy?

Solano Winds concert

 The concert was last night and the quilt was a big hit.  It sold for $300.  Wow!  I guess I will have to make my son his own quilt because I couldn't afford to buy it back for him.  The concert was fantastic!
My favorite song was a tribute to our military.  They played a combination of theme songs from every branch of the military and had one member from each branch on stage.  You can barely see them on the front left of the stage.  The guy from the army was about 90 years old and in a wheel chair.  He stood up and saluted during his portion of the song.  It was just so adorable and the whole song made me so proud to be an American I cried during the whole song.  If a member of the audience also served in that branch of the military, they would stand at attention for that part of the song and we would all clap.  It was just so great.  I love living in this area of the country and serving the Air Force kids.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Quilt for community band auction

 I started this quilt on Saturday afternoon.  I got it all cut out and started sewing it together.  I had all the blocks sewn by Saturday night.  It's a Take 5 pattern that I cut with my Accuquilt Studio fabric cutter.  Sunday I had a really bad migraine and managed to get the rest of the sewing done and got the quilt on the machine.  It took a couple of hours to quilt.
I started the binding yesterday morning and finished it up last night after a very long day.  I am a BTSA mentor for a new teacher and we had a meeting last night.  I made this awesome embroidery for the back as a label.  I ordered the custom embroidery design from a lady online who was able to make it for me in just a couple of hours.  I stitched it out on my Brother PE 770 machine.

The quilt will be auctioned off on Friday and I plan to bid on it.  My son really likes it.  If I don't win it back, I will have to make another one.  The backing fabric was a purchased sheet from Savers, the local thrift store.  And the quilting is a music theme.  I love the colors and the quilting the best.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

motivation from a 3 year old

I've created a monster in my adopted daughter Jenny.  She is making quilt tops like crazy now and I'm not doing very well in keeping up with her.  She keeps bringing me fabric to cut and buying more and more and gets so excited to get the JoAnn coupons in the mail.  She brought me this quilt top several weeks ago and I just haven't had the energy to quilt it for her.  It is for the sister of the owl quilt.

Well, she came over yesterday to drop off more fabric to cut and told me that the little three year old was asking about this quilt.  She said, "Jonny, why are you taking so slow on the quilt?"  She told her sister that she would share her owl quilt with her until Jonny got her quilt finished for her.  The little one is just over a year old, so doesn't understand that her quilt is taking a long time to get done or that I'm really tired when I get home from work and that I have really bad migraines on the weekend.

The three year old just knows that her sister needs a quilt and that 'Jonny' is really slow.  I mean, they went to pick out the fabrics together and hers got done really fast.  So, when I'm supposed to be working on a quilt for my son's community band to auction off on Friday, I decided I had better get this one on the machine and get it done so a little 3 year old wouldn't have to wait any longer.  Who knows, maybe she will be a quilter one day too.

Friday, October 3, 2014

the final guinea pig

My oldest daughter started doing 4H when she was about 10.  She is now 24.  We have had guinea pigs that whole time.  There was a time when we had about 40 at once.  She raised the long hair breeds and showed them at lots of different guinea pig shows around the area.  It was really fun watching the babies being born and finding homes for them.

Yesterday our final guinea pig died of old age.  I don't think I will get another to replace her.  My oldest got her when she was in college and passed her on to her sister when she couldn't bring her back to school.  My younger daughter couldn't take her to college last year and she got passed on to me.  My little guy was supposed to take care of her, but you know how those things go.  Mom is usually the one to make sure they get fed and cleaned and given some attention.

Another chapter closes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

school pictures

This is the first year we've been given school pictures in about 10 years.  I'm wearing one of my favorite t shirts given to me by a fellow teacher.  I have a huge funny t shirt collection and don't ever wear the same shirt twice in the same year.

And yes, my hair just grows like that.  I don't do anything to make it curl like that.  The kids say it looks like Top Ramen.  I've had people ask to pet it before.  Weird huh?  I got it from my mom's mom.  I tell the kids I got it from being electrocuted by a pig fence when I was about 5.  They pretty much believe anything I tell them.  Even that I'm 25 :)

September quilts

Only a dozen quilts quilted this month so a little disappointed with my efforts.  The idea of working an extra 20% sounds like a great idea and getting that extra $1,000 at the end of the month also sounds like a time to celebrate, but when you get home at the end of the day and can't pull yourself off the couch, the idea sounds less than perfect.

Monday, I got home early because of the bomb scare and was supposed to go to the post office and to my friend Carla's to pick up quilting supplies and did neither one.  I was just too exhausted to make it off the couch.  It wasn't a physical exhaustion, but rather a mental tiredness.  Yesterday, I got home around 5 and again, didn't get off the couch until almost 7 to make dinner and then, it was just too late to get anything else done.

This is getting serious!

Plus, I have my former student leaving me on Friday.  She says she will be coming back a couple days a week, but I have a feeling once school really gets going for her, that will soon be ending.  She has really been keeping me organized and getting most of my grading done.  I will have a parent email me asking about a missing paper or questing about a grade on something and she really knows what is going on.  I will be totally lost!  I had better increase my vitamins and maybe find a few extra hours in the day somewhere.