Sunday, August 31, 2014

More quilts for Napa

 A Dozen of these quilts in the right hand stack are headed to the mobile home park that had homes burned last Sunday in the Napa Earthquake.
The rest of these quilts are headed to the church that is also the Red Cross center for homes that were red and yellow tagged.  We are still working on more big quilts because there were so many homes damaged.  So happy that we can help.

Three day weekend

This is a twin size for Napa.  Finally pulled it off the machine yesterday as it has been quilting all week.  With longer work days and less quilting time, quilts sure do take a long time to get done.  Especially bigger quilts like this one.  I was hoping to get it quilted before Friday so the ladies at quilt day could get it bound and I could have it delivered today, but that just didn't happen.  I will pass it off to my friend Sandy on Tuesday and she will get it done quickly and it will go with the next batch.  There are a lot of families whose homes were either Red Tagged, meaning they can't go back into their houses, or yellow tagged meaning they have limited access to their homes.  We are hoping to get quilts to each one.  I have no idea how many we will need, but we will keep making them and delivering them to the church that is also the Red Cross center because they know who these families are.

My former TA, Sierra and her boyfriend Justin are coming this morning to pick up the next load of quilts to drop off at both the mobile home park and church this morning.  I just love their willing spirit.  They are so eager to help, plus they are young and able to lift heavy things!  And it doesn't hurt that Justin's grandfather has lived in Napa a long time and knows everyone so he is helping to get quilts where they are needed as well.  Love that everyone is pulling together and I can totally trust that the quilts are getting into the hands of people who need them.  Sometimes you just don't know where the quilts will end up, but this time I have total confidence they will go to homes of people who were affected by the earthquake.

They just had another aftershock this morning that was a 3.2.  That isn't a big one, but for people who are still cleaning up, it did wake them up and gave some people a bit of a scare.  The earth moving in one place means it is putting stress on other faults, like the San Andreas or Hayward which go under places with a lot more people, which means we better keep making quilts.

I have a fault line that runs right under my house, the Vaca Kirby Fault and whenever I teach the kids about earthquakes in class I always tell them I knew about it when we bought our house.  As a science teacher, it was kind of exciting knowing there was a fault line running under my house, but don't cry for me if my house falls down.  What idiot buys a house on a fault line?  This one :)  Of course, in California, you really don't have much of a choice.  There are fault lines pretty much everywhere.

The crack in my driveway is now about 3 inches instead of 1 inch and I'm not sure if I should blame it on the earthquake or the drought, but it got bigger in only a week, so I'm going with earthquake.  It's the little things that excite me :)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

my son's job

my son works at Western Railway Museum.  He loves his job.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

work quicker

 After tonight's back to school, I should have more time to get some quilting in, but not enough to have a big stack of quilts ready for Friday's binding party.  I hope they can get some big quilt tops ready because everything I have here are smaller quilt sizes.  But, I'm working as quickly as I can with what I have available.  I'm sure these will go to good homes.

Napa earthquake update

So many have stepped up to help out with quilts for Napa.  I was contacted by another Binky patrol chapter and they will be bringing quilts on Saturday.  Carla has offered her house on Friday for a quilt day and when she put the word out that we needed some quilts bound, we had more than enough people step up to bind all the quilts we had on hand.  We can't keep up quilting tops fast enough.

Friday will be spent making large quilt tops that we hope to get quilted next week.  The Red Cross Center is at a church, so they are actually accepting items instead of just money and are willing to pass out the quilts to the people who lost their homes in the earthquake.

I have a dear friend whose elderly mother has lived in Napa her whole life and who 'knows everyone' and will be making sure everyone who lost their home gets a quilt from us.  My former TA's boyfriend's grandfather lives in the mobile home park where several homes burned and he will make sure those people receive quilts as well.

So, we are working quickly and should have things covered soon.

I have back to school tonight and then hopefully things will slow down for me.  Taking on that extra class has really added an extra layer of work that will take some getting used to.  Not having a break during the day takes extra planning in the morning and after school.  Especially because I have to remember to go to the bathroom during lunch, when 8 other teachers are having to go to the bathroom too!  Plus, eat my lunch and get things for my afternoon class ready.  I have a former student who has been spending her days with me the past three days which has been really nice.  She has been organizing my cupboards and grading papers and even wrote some questions to go with an assignment.  She doesn't start school for a month and is getting bored at home.  She will be going to UC Davis and most of her friends have already started college. I love having her come in and help me out.  Some of the other teachers are a bit jealous :)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

quilts for Napa

 I've received a great response when I asked on Facebook if any of my friends could help me get quilts to Napa.  One of my TA's from a couple of years ago offered her boyfriend who works there and will be dropping off 10 quilts to the hospital where the people who were hurt in the earthquake are staying.
 I found out that his grandfather lives in the mobile home park where several mobile homes burned down and he will be taking quilts to the residents who lost their homes once we get them finished up.  I want to have bigger quilts since these are adults.  I have kid size quilts finished and ready to go.
 Here's the pile of quilts ready to go.  It's so nice to have quilts at the ready when they are needed and it's also nice to have so many friends so willing to help out when the call goes out.
I also was contacted by my former principal who said she has lots of contacts with the schools in Napa and will find out about students who were affected and is willing to get quilts to them for me.

My friend Carla is working on quilting for Binky Patrol this week and is getting them bound and ready for delivery too.

I hope you have time to work on a quilt or two and have something on hand to bring comfort to a friend in need when a crisis hits.  A little fabric, a little time and a warm comforting quilt can really make a difference.

Big Earthquake

Last night at 3:20am, there was a 6.0 earthquake in American Canyon, near Napa, Ca which is about 25 miles away from me.  It woke me up, I yelled NO! and then went right back to sleep.  I was born and raised in Southern California and have been through many earthquakes.

Watching the news this morning, it looks like there was a lot of damage to several cities around the area including American Canyon, Napa and Vallejo.  Many historic buildings were destroyed, several homes were burned and lots of people have minor injuries.  I have several friends who live closer to the epicenter and Facebook is going crazy with stories.

My dogs are sticking close to me this morning.  Maybe they know something!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

shocking results

With school starting up again, I wanted to keep track of my daily activity and become more active.  Every year, the first few weeks feel like I run a marathon every day and I was curious just how many steps I take in a day.

I got a Jawbone Up which tracks your steps and even your sleep patterns.  You can input the food you eat into the application if you have a smartphone or ipad or ipod (which I didn't realize until I purchased it-you can't use it if you only have a computer).

Well, I was very shocked after just two days of using it.  I figured I walked at least 5 miles a day because of how tired I was at the end of the day.  I'm up constantly walking around in my classroom teaching.

But, at the end of the day when I plugged the jawbone into my son's ipad, it says I only walked 1300 steps.  That's less than a mile!  I sit down way more than I realized.  Why on earth am I so tired?

What it does is motivate me to get out and get moving at the end of a very long day.  The goal is 10,000 steps a day and I haven't come close to that yet.  The best I've been able to do is about 6500 steps.

The most interesting thing for me is my sleep.  I know I fall asleep quickly, but in the two nights I've worn it, the first night I fell asleep in 7 minutes and last night it took me 6 minutes.  I never woke up all night long and last night slept over 9 hours!  Yep, I'm tired!

I've now set an alarm on it to get me up and moving if I sit more than 45 minutes at a time.  No, it won't ring or buzz, but it will vibrate, just to make me aware that I'm sitting still too long.

I'm off this morning for a walk, even though every muscle in my body says to rest.

And, if you remember way back when I kicked that stack of magazines in the hall and thought I broke my toe?  Well, it is still hurting so I'm pretty sure I did break it!  Poor baby :(  It only hurts when I touch it or wiggle it and not when I walk on it which is a good thing.  It's at the end knuckle.  Ouch!

Friday, August 22, 2014

School has started

Wow, crazy start to the school year this year and one to remember!  We hired three new teachers again this year and one quit on us on Monday.  He came to work and I guess with all the things going on, couldn't take the insanity!  I'm not sure I could blame him.  Found out that he had actually quilt once before, a week earlier and then decided he wanted back, so it wasn't a surprise for others.  He had been a private school teacher, got a different job offer closer to home, took that one and then decided he didn't want that one either.

You see, last year at the end of the school year, one of the teachers asked at a whole school meeting if we were all getting new computers this year.  The principal said that we weren't.  Well, it turns out that we are all getting new computers.  Somehow one teacher had heard the news even before the principal and let the cat out of the bag.

But, the teachers weren't told.  So, they started switching out the computers over the summer, but they didn't tell anyone.  Now, imagine if someone were to give you a brand new computer.  Great right?  But imagine if they just came into your house in the middle of the night and took your old computer and put in a new computer, but didn't hook it up correctly and didn't take all of your stuff off your old computer.  Not so great.  And, now imagine that you have a presentation to the most important client of your life and you don't get a computer at all.  Yep, that's me.  There were only 6 computers delivered to our building and we have 8 rooms.  They went in random order and my room wasn't picked for a new computer.  Sounds great right?  Yes, except for whatever reason, my computer decides to have the blue screen of death and dumps everything so now I don't have any computer.  We use computers for taking attendance and printing out lesson plans and assignments and pretty much everything teaching related.  Plus, they changed out all of our internet access and printing access and nobody can access the printers with the new computers.  The new computers can't talk to the old printers.  So, normally the first two days before students come are spent planning what we are going to teach.

We spent the first two days trying to get our computers working.  The stress level was really high.  I guess one of the new guys couldn't take it and just quilt.

Well, that left everyone in a bind and the administrators couldn't hire someone the day before school so they asked if some of us would take on an extra class.  That means no prep period.  At first it was going to be just a temporary thing.  Now it may be for the whole year.

In theory it sounds easy.  What's one extra hour of work a day?  After two days of actually doing it and not being able to sit down for 7 hours straight (including lunch because that is when you actually prep for the next round of classes) I can honestly say I have never been so tired.  And today is only the 3rd day of school.

I'm hoping that my body just gets used to it.

And I will have to do more work from home, which means less quilting time.  Good thing I got a lot done this summer.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

5th grade?

My little guy had Back To School last night where he found out who his new teacher will be and got to see some of his classmates and heard all about the class rules.  He got the teacher I wanted, I worked with him (yes, his first male teacher!) when I first started teaching elementary school 24 years ago.  I hope he has a great year and learns a lot.

He gets to do band this year and although the band instructor wasn't there last night to be able to ask questions, he will get to pick an instrument.  He has no idea what he wants to play.

School starts Wednesday.  Ready or not!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I get more done

 I get more quilting done when I have a bad headache.  Isn't that weird?  Today after a week of not taking any pain medicine, I finally broke down and took advil and caffeine and tylenol/codeine.  I feel worse for having taken the medicine.
But doing some quilting distracts me from feeling so icky.  All week I haven't felt much like quilting because I just wasn't feeling well, but having a terrible headache and the only thing that made me feel better was quilting.  How crazy is that?

These quilts were both made with panels.  There are lots of ways to use printed panels when making quilts and they make up quickly.

One more day of summer vacation.  Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow.

another one off the list

So I'm not going to make my list of quilts to finish before school starts, but I have one more almost finished at least.  This is another baby quilt for one of the teachers who had a baby this summer.  I don't think she is coming back on Monday, but if I can get the binding done tomorrow will bring it Monday to give to her friend to give to her.  I'm just not good at holding on to things for a long time.  I really like this quilt pattern.  2 1/2 inch strips sewn into blocks and 6 1/2 inch squares.  In 2 hours you have a pretty good size quilt top.  It's just shy of the width of fabric, so no piecing for the backing.  Then, depending on the quilting design, in 30 minutes or less you can have it quilted up and 30 more minutes and the binding is done.  In 3 hours you have a nice baby shower gift done.

I still have 2 more quilts I am supposed to do, but don't think I will even get started on either.  That's ok.  There's lots of time once school starts.  Sewing is very relaxing.

Friday, August 15, 2014

winding up and winding down

I guess I am ready for my summer to come to and end and my school year to begin.  It's not like I really have a choice in the matter.  I have been in to school 3 days this week, so I must like going there even when I don't have to be there and you can tell from the quilt pictures, things are winding down in that department.

After going in to the doctor and having her tell me that I shouldn't be taking so much headache medicine, I stopped taking any pain meds last Saturday.  It's been 6 days since I've taking anything for the headache and I'm still having them every day.  So, I'm not sure how long they can claim these are rebound headaches from taking too much medicine, but I'm determined to stick it out and see just how long I can go without having to take something.

I find that when I'm out doing stuff, I can distract myself and then get to the point where I just have to come home and sit for a couple of hours before I can get up and get going again.  Not really practical when I have to teach, but for these last few days of summer, it's been working.  That's one of the reasons I haven't been quilting as much.  I just haven't felt as well.  When I'm on medicine, I have more energy to get stuff done.

I'm not sure there is a good solution to the problem.

I watched a 45 minute lecture on chronic headache today on youtube and the doctor talked about all the latest theories about people who have headaches more than 15 days a month.  I'm tempted to try botox again, seems like there are other injection sites besides the forehead that might work better, like the back of the neck and temples.  I'm working with the headache clinic Nurse Practitioner now to figure out if there's anything else I can try.

Going in to school today and seeing all of the incoming freshmen students got me a little excited because they are all so small.  I forget just how little these guys are at the beginning of the year.  By the end of the year, they have grown up so much and have turned into the typical teenagers where they know everything about everything, but at the beginning of the year, they are still cute and funny and a joy to be around.

I'm excited for the new teachers.  Once again, we have a whole crew of new faces this year.  I'm not exactly sure why such a huge turnover at our school, but the past 5 years or so, we've had a large amount of teachers leave and there have been a whole bunch of new names to learn.  They moved our parking spaces because we are getting a new library, and those of us 'old timers' got the best spots.  I'm way up there in seniority and got one of the closest spaces.  It pays to stick around I guess!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

quilting for others

Do you quilt for hire?  When I got my long arm last summer, I had visions of quilting for hire and making millions of dollars, quitting my teaching job and doing what I love all day.  Well, that quickly disappeared when I realized how stressful it was.  Taking someone else's hard work and having the sole responsibility of turning all those hours into a finished quilt was just too much stress.

Taking a donated quilt top and making it a finished quilt is fun and stress free.  If the thread breaks a million times, or the foot makes a hole in the top, there are lots of ways to fix it.  But, what if that happens to some else's quilt top?  What do you do?

A friend brought this quilt top over to me to quilt for her.  She asked how much I charged and I said nothing.  Besides the tax issues of charging someone, there's the unneeded stress that goes into making sure the quilt is perfect.  I love quilting and always want it to be fun.

This is the first of the two quilts she asked me to do (well, I made the offer to quilt something for her and she happened to have two finished and ready to go so I said bring them both!).  Normally she sends them down to a friend to quilt, but rather than pay shipping both ways, makes sense to bring them to me.  More money for more fabric and batting.  I think I will even try and get her to start binding quilts for us.  Win, win, win!

See, you sucker them in with the offer of free quilting, but is anything in life really free?  Hey, I will quilt for you and when you pick up your quilt, oh, wait, here's 10 more quilts that need binding, do you mind?  They are so happy to have their quilts done, they don't notice the extra quilts they are taking home.  Then, they feel guilty and just have to do the binding.

I'm a sneaky one aren't I?  And you thought I was just being nice :)

I wonder how many other 'friends' I can offer FREE quilting to?  That is before they figure out it's all a scam and I lose all my friends.

Do you want to be my friend?  I have a pile of quilts waiting.  Come to think of it, I haven't heard from my binding buddies in a couple of weeks.  I wonder if they went into Witness Protection or something...

when you're having a bad day

A precious baby on a quilt makes everything better!  I gifted this quilt yesterday and got the thank you with picture today.  How beautiful is this baby?  This makes me want to go sew something right now!  Or have another baby.  That would be even better, but since I can't just go do that, I think I better go quilt something.

Monday, August 11, 2014

You never know

(this is for the other twin)

So the sad news of Robin Williams passing today really hit me that you never know what someone is going through.  Here this funny man who seemed to have everything going for him was suffering with depression.  If you've never personally dealt with depression or mental illness, you may not really understand why someone would take their own life when they have money and fame and friends.

I went through a period of depression caused by some medicine the doctors gave me for my migraines.  It was horrible.  The feeling of hopelessness and just not caring about anything was so overwhelming.  Just not having the desire or energy to get up off the couch was so heavy.  Luckily I was able to stop taking the medicine and come out of it pretty quickly, but for someone whose own body is making too many or not enough chemicals and who is fighting against their own brain and to get to a point that death seems like the best option makes me so sad.

I hope that out of this tragedy, some light can be shed on the horrible state of the mental health institution in this country.  Too many people I know who have sought help for mental health issues are either put on a waiting list or told there isn't help available because their problem isn't big enough yet.

It's sad that you can get surgery quicker than you can get in to see a psychiatrist because you are thinking of committing suicide.  And heaven forbid a parent tries to get help for a child who is over 18.  Sorry, but they are now adults and you no longer have a say in their lives.

One of the places I love to donate quilts is A Mother's Hope.  They give quilts and hope to mothers who suffer from Postpartum depression.

If you have a desire to make a difference in the life of someone who needs to know that there are people out there who care, they can use quilts all year.  They don't have to be really big and you can make them as girly as you like.  A note of encouragement is always welcome too.

You never know what someone is going through, so even if you don't have time to make a quilt, just taking the time to smile at someone or buying them a donut or cup of coffee (or tea for me please!) or just a minute to say 'thanks' can mean the world to someone going through a really rough time in their life.

(especially a teacher who has to go back to work soon :)

The heart beats a little faster

 So, there's one week left of summer vacation.  Most parents are excited for their kids to go back.  I find my heart beating a little faster this week.  I wake up several times a night from the back to school nightmares.
 They usually involve my classes throwing things and me yelling about sitting down and doing work.  OH, wait, that's normal every day behaviors :)  No, not really.  I don't yell!
 But, it does seem about this time every year, I remember all of the things I wanted to do over the summer that I had good intentions of doing all summer that I never started.  Like organizing my giant t shirt collection, or exercising and losing weight, or making 100 quilts.  Oh, wait, I did that one :)
 This is the quilt for the Vice Principal/counselor whose wife had the baby 4 weeks early.  Hoping to get the binding on today and gift it tomorrow when I take my son in and pay a zillion dollars for his senior pack.  Why is everything so expensive?  Oh, yeah, they are going to Disneyland for their senior trip.  Really?  We went to Disneyland and it didn't cost $200.  Maybe because I lived in So. Cal and it was only about $30 to get into Disneyland 30 years ago.  Can it be that long since I graduated high school?  (only 29 really, but who's counting?).  Since I'm only 25 it seems impossible that I graduated high school 29 years ago.  Math never really was my strong point!
And this is the first of the quilts for my friends who are having twins.  Can you see my humility block?  Yeah, I didn't see it until I was half way through quilting it.  Hey, gotta have one block turned the wrong way in there somewhere right?  If I don't point it out, I don't think the baby will notice it.  Why flowers and elephants?  Well, when I cut the elephant fabric, I only had 11 blocks, so I cut the flower blocks to make enough.  Then, when I got done sewing, I had 4 leftover elephant blocks.  Again, that stupid math stuff.  And to think I taught first grade for 9 years.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Trying everything

 Most of these were done yesterday, but stuck on the machine because of the large backing fabric.
 I made this quilt top at least 5 years ago and it was quite wonky.  But, it quilted out quite nicely.  This was back in the days before I knew you were supposed to make the blocks flat and relatively the same size.  I'm surprised it turned out as nicely as it did considering just how non rectangular it was.  That's why it has sat so long before getting quilted.  I didn't really have much hope of it coming out well, but look, it actually looks like a quilt :)  See, you really can quilt it out!
 This migraine is really sticking in there and just won't let go.  I wish the doctor had a better solution for getting rid of the tough ones that want to hang on for weeks.  I've tried Aleve, Tylenol/codeine, caffeine, taking a walk and taking a nap.  Even going thrift shopping and quilting aren't helping today.  A quiet house (the kids are all over at a friend's playing board games) and watching a funny show just make me want to cry.  The doctors just say, sorry, there's nothing else we can try.
My friend Nancy really has an eye for color on these tumbler quilts.  She has been making them like crazy lately and I'm happy she has been putting the Accuquilt Studio cutter to good use.  Her daughter has come to live with her now (along with her four kids) and she can sew up a storm too.  Once her kids start school in a couple weeks we will have a new quilter among us and I better pick up the pace.  She will be able to churn out the quilt tops double time and hopefully help us cut through the stash at record pace, at least until she gets a job.  Maybe I should give her the keys to my house and she can quilt while I'm at work.  (hey, maybe she wants to be my housecleaner too :)

If you don't thrift shop don't know what you're missing.  Today was the monthly Goodwill 50% off clothes and shoes.  Of course I got a whole bunch of new t shirts for school and was needing some new shoes as well.  I found these Nike leather shoes that are almost brand new.  $5.50

I got my son some brand new Puma tennis shoes for $5.50 and a pair of shiny black shoes for his band performances for $8.00.

Even at the regular price of $11, these shoes are a steal.  If you are looking for clothes for your kids, try the local thrift shops first.  My daughters are experts at finding great stuff, lots of it still has the price tags on it.  People love to buy clothes they never wear.

Friday, August 8, 2014

can I get a little break?

 I tell you I hope I can have a year off from taking cars in to the shop.  I know that isn't going to happen because we just have too many cars.  Too many people driving and it seems like I'm the designated car repair person.  Yesterday I spent about 4 1/2 hours dealing with my son's car and they still didn't fix it.  I had the appointment today at noon to get the new tire put on.  I figured I'd get the smog check done before getting the tire put on, but little did I know you can't get a smog check done with a spare tire on the front of a car.

Did you know that?  I learn something new every day.

They said that because the tires are different sizes, it makes the wheel wobble and it could possibly fall off (not likely, but they didn't want to take the chance) so I had to come back after getting the tire changed.

So, I went back to get the tire at noon and can you believe that the tire wasn't in yet?  Of course not.  Why would things work according to plan?  So, they put the spare tire on the back, where the new tire was going to go anyways so I could at least go get the smog check done while I was waiting for the new tire to come in.

Got the smog check done and went home to do some quilting while I waited.  At least the repair shop, smog check station and my house are only a couple miles away.  I made two trips to the tire shop today and finally they got the tire changed and hopefully that's the last time I have to go back this year.
I've had a terrible migraine all week and the smell of the tires doesn't help, but at least getting out of the house distracts me.

I've started walking again which hopefully will help with decreasing the migraine days.  I'm sore and tired from walking just a couple of miles.  Why is it so hard to keep doing things that are good for you and so easy to do things that are so bad for you?  Brownie bites are so easy to snack on and walking every day is so hard.  You would think the opposite would be true!

Tomorrow is 50% off at the Goodwill.  Check it out, maybe it's true for you too!  Great for back to school clothes shopping if you need some funny t shirts or nice clothes.  My son begged me not to buy him any more clothes, except a couple of new pair of pants and short sleeved button down shirts.  He's so funny.  My daughter on the other hand and I are very excited about the sale.  We will be there bright and early!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Not a total waste

I did manage to get this one quilt done this morning before chaos happened.  At least the day wasn't a total waste :)  See how I measure my days?  In the number of quilts I complete.  Crazy huh?  Too bad this one isn't just a little bigger or it would be perfect for a Quilt of Valor.  But, as it is, it will make a perfect kid quilt.

I have another quilt on the frame working away and I might even get a second one finished tonight.  I have a big piece of backing fabric on there so won't get pictures taken tonight.  But, since the night is young and my TV show doesn't come on for a bit, there is still some quilting time left in the day.

Today was a car day

I got up this morning to take the trash cans to the curb and noticed my son's back tire was half flat.  I couldn't see a nail, but figured he was sitting on it.  I had my daughter roll the car slowly, but still couldn't see it.  I took him to work and figured it would be a quick fix.  Ha, ha, ha.

I took the car to Sam's Club where they will do a flat repair for free for you if you are a member.  Well, this is a 'sports' car and so has special nuts that hold the wheels on.  They couldn't get the wheel off.  They told me 40 minutes wait, so I figured I'd so a little shopping while I waited and had some groceries.  They said they found the 'nail' in the tire and it was too close to the edge to fix the tire and to take it to Big O where I had purchased the tire and maybe they could get the tire off.

Since I had the groceries, and since Big O said it would be about 1 1/2 hours, I had my husband come get the groceries while I waited for the car.  I should have just gone home with him because it was about 3 1/2 hours before I was finally out of there.  There is a special nut remover for the tires and it was no where to be found in the car.

When our car got broken into a while back, my son found a big bolt in the car on his seat.  Turns out that big bolt is the thing needed to removed the tires from the car.  Who knew?  Certainly none of us.  I guess it was in the glove box and when the guys broke in, they threw everything around from the glove box and maybe they didn't know what it was for either.

Well, I brought it in the house and who knew where that went?  Good thing I never throw everything away.  I found it after looking for about 10 minutes.

And why is it none of my cars have regular tires?  Every time I have to get new tires for any of my cars, they have to be special ordered.  Tomorrow I have to go back to get the tire for the car.  They put the spare on because I didn't want to take the chance that the air would be all the way out of the tire.

Hopefully tomorrow's trip will be quick and painless

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A pat on the back and a kick in the rear

I got a letter in the mail yesterday with $10 enclosed:

The enclosed remittance is small, but may help with overhead.
Dear Ms. Lewis, your letter with pictures and a break down of your, "Vacaville Binky Patrol' program I could not have wished of a better project to support.  My wife Rosie was a quilt maker for all of our 40.5 year marriage.  I'd come home from my job, a 14/15 hour day and Rosie said get cleaned up, we have to get a quilt out tonight.  We had a ball while doing it.  Sincerely Jim
PS You're doing God's Calling.

You see, Jim's wife had recently passed away and he had donated a lot of fabric to us.  I sent a thank you note, but got much more in return.  The encouragement was a much needed pat on the back and kick in the rear.

I've had the crochet blanket finished for a couple of days now, but finally finished sewing the ends in and made a little hat to go with it.  I got two skeins of yarn and one was much bigger than the other.  It's a good thing the second one was the bigger one because I used up one skein, then turned around and started decreasing when I got to the end of the first skein.  If the second skein had been the smaller one, I would have had to go out and buy a 3rd skein to finish off the blanket.  This one is going to my principal's grand daughter.  Is it too much of sucking up go give her a quilt and a crochet blanket and hat?  Probably, but hey, whatever it takes to stay on her good side :)  I get to be a BTSA mentor again this year because she likes me.  My new teacher left from last year and we hired another new one.  It pays about $1800 which is money I spend on quilting and shipping packages.  Without that, my hobby suffers :)

My friend brought over 8 more quilts of valor this morning so I hope to get those finished up before school starts.  I was hoping to get the blanket and quilt delivered this morning, but things got pushed back and I'm not feeling well so decided just to stick around home and work on more quilts.  I'm way behind on the 7 I need to get done.  I have one more quilt top finished and really need to cut out two more today.  Feeling so lazy!

Better get moving...time is running out!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

sometimes it's the thread

 Some days quilting brings me great joy and sometimes it just frustrates me to no end.  Those days I'm thankful I don't quilt for hire.  This quilt made me pull my hair out and cry a little bit.  There is no reason it should have given me such troubles.  It is beautifully sewn and made from the best quilt store fabric.  Normally when I have problems with a quilt, like the one below, where there are skipped stitches or broken thread, I can blame it on the fabric.  I just feel the fabric and know that there is some polyester in there and take a deep breath and know I will have to babysit the quilt while the machine has a little fit.  My machine will sometimes skip stitches if there is polyester or shiny or painted on dots (like the pink dotted fabric) or if it is too tightly woven or on a Tuesday.

But the first quilt didn't have any of those issues.  The thread just kept skipping and breaking every 2 inches.  So, I figured it was time to change the needle.  81 quilts last month and I think I changed the needle once.  I changed the needle twice and still it was giving me fits.  So, I changed the thread and loosened the quilt sandwich.  I changed the bobbin and adjusted the needle.  The thing I hate the most about my machine is the needle is round at the top, so when you change it, you have to play with it a little because there is no 'right' way to put it in.  With the flat top needles, there's only one way it fits.  With the round top needle, it can fit 17,000 different ways and 16,999 aren't right.  You have to adjust the angle of the needle and make sure it is just right or you will get the thread going through not quite right and it pulls funny and breaks.

I was sure there was something wrong with the way I put the needle in so kept messing with it for almost an hour before trying to change the thread again.

Sure enough, when I changed the thread for the third time to Sew Fine in a different color (I had been using the same grey thread from the previous quilts that didn't give me problems) the thread breaking stopped.

Sometimes a quilt just wants the best thread possible.  Most of the time, the less expensive thread does the trick.  But sometimes, only the best will do.

Monday, August 4, 2014

I love this quilt

 I love everything about this quilt.  It's made with the Accuquilt Go! 7 1/2 inch Drunkard's Path die and is bright and cheery.  Someone else is going to love it too I'm sure.  So glad I finally got around to quilting something today.  I had two doctor appointments.  The first one was for women's health.  I got a call last month saying I had to come in to get my 3 year test.  I was pretty sure I had it just last year, but they said I was mistaken so I made the appointment.  When I got there today, my doctor said I had been in last year and didn't need to get tested again today and that the call center had been doing that to lots of people recently, even to her.  So, it was a wasted trip.

Then, I was off to the post office and mailed three boxes, two to Margaret's Hope Chest and one to Gene Black for a homeless shelter for teens in Alabama.  I think that will be my last shipment for the year because it was quite expensive.  I shipped 28 quilts and with the cotton batting they were heavy boxes.  Another reason I like poly batting :)  And another reason to donate locally whenever possible.  There are lots of kids around here needing quilty hugs.

Then, back to the doctor this afternoon because my migraine medicine was refill was rejected.  I have a new doctor and she said that it wasn't her policy but the hospital policy that whenever you switch doctors and are on a prescription narcotic you have to come in and talk about narcotic abuse.

I did learn something new today, that I'm not supposed to drive when I take the Tylenol/Codeine.  If I get pulled over, I could be arrested for a DUI.  I've seen about 10 different doctors since being prescribed this and never been told that before.  It doesn't make me dizzy or impair me and I've always been told just to see how I feel before driving, but knowing this really makes me wary to take it.  I'm supposed to wait 4 hours before driving if I take it.  I don't think they let you have quilting machines in prison.
 I had to share these pictures of my 'daughter' Jenny and her husband and their baby Sherlock.  I've talked about Jenny several times.  She's the daughter we adopted or almost so when she was about 14.  She was in the first class I taught when I switched from 1st grade to high school.  Her husband was also in my class.  How cute is that?  They were dating way back then.  They didn't stay together all that time, but managed to find each other after college again and get married.  I laugh at the above picture because this is the one they picked for the Church directory.  I keep telling her she needs a real baby.  She used to be so afraid of dogs and now Sherlock is in all of their family pictures.

Grapes Galore

 The weather must have been perfect this year for grapes because I have a bumper crop of both the red seedless grapes and the concord grapes.  I got these plants about 5 years ago and up until this year have maybe had two bunches of grapes on these vines.  Well, this year I have thousands of bunches.
 I like grapes alright, but if I eat this many grapes all by myself, I may never leave the bathroom.  The grapes are just about ripe and ready to pick.  How do I know?  I have some friends who know these things.  The other morning I was out early and there was some rustling in the leaves at the bottom of the grapevines.  I wasn't sure what it was and all of a sudden a ground squirrel comes running out from under the vines across the tennis court.  Yep, he was having a breakfast of grapes.  They must be ready.  The birds are enjoying them too.
 These are the concord grapes and from above the vines you can't see a single grape, but when you lift the leaves, there must be 50 pounds of grapes underneath.  When I was a kid, we had several concord grape vines.  The taste brings back memories.  These have several large seeds in each grape, but you don't chew these grapes.  You just squish the grape in your mouth and let the innards squirt down your throat and then swallow the skin whole.  The skin is a bit sour.  It's a weird way to eat a grape I have to admit and of all of the fruits to plant and grow, it seems a weird choice, but since we had it as a child, it seemed a logical choice to pick and plant.  These make great grape jelly and I've offered them to any of my friends on Facebook who want the fun task of making jam or jelly this year.  I don't have any of the necessary tools for making preserves.  You need a really big pot and canning jars and it gets expensive to start out.
My kids did 4H when they were younger and made lots of things in their 4H canning group.  They had a lot of fun learning how to preserve food.  I'm hoping someone will want to take all of the grapes off my hands.  If not, my big, old dog will eat them.  She thought I had picked these for her and tried to eat them when I set the bowl down for a picture.  She doesn't know dogs aren't supposed to eat fruit.  She will pick the apples off the tree too.  I don't know why she hasn't picked the grapes off the vine yet.  Silly dog.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

I found another one

 I tell you when most people clean and organize things get better, but when I do, things always get worse.  This is the Final quilt this round for Margaret's Hope Chest.  When I cleaned out the kitchen, I had put it in a box of quilt tops with backing fabric that I had organized oh, so neatly that were ready to be quilted.  Problem is, out of sight, out of mind.  well, I was looking through it for some reason, and found the quilt top, that I knew was for MHC after I decided I was all finished with all the quilt tops I had for that round.  Good thing I didn't get to the post office on Friday after all.  See, there's a reason for everything.  I wasn't just being lazy!  If I do happen to find another quilt top, it isn't like I can't start another box.  So, if you still have quilt tops and want to send them to me, just let me know and I'd be happy to quilt them up for you and send them along in the next box.
This is the weird, pink mountain fabric I have been talking about and you can see the quick, cute heart quilting design.  It takes about 5 minutes to do a row because there are no sharp corners for the machine to stop and start on.  Just the point on the heart and even that isn't a big deal for the machine.  You get so you can tell from looking at the design if it is going to be a fast or slow one to quilt with how many start and stop places there are.  Some dense designs can go quickly if they are very loopy and some very open designs take a long time if they have a lot of angles where the machine has to stop a lot.  Some quilts I'm willing to wait a long time for too, like the black and gold baby quilt with the feathers.  Some of the feathers were round and some spikey which looked great, but took long time for a whole row.  I loaded it sideways so there were only 4 rows to do, but each row took about 30 minutes to do.  Good thing I don't have to stand there the whole time.  Plus, I am getting better at guessing when it will run out of bobbin thread and pulling the bobbin and starting a new one so it doesn't run out in the middle of a row, or worse, the beginning of a 30 minute row!  Then, it will just stitch happily away, without actually stitching anything.  I wish it had a sensor like my embroidery machine and stop stitching when it runs out of bobbin thread.  There has to be a way to make it do that.  If a $400 embroidery machine can do it why can't a $17,000 quilting machine?  Somebody dropped the ball there.

baby quilt quilted

 I started it last night and finished it up this morning.  I should be able to get the binding on this afternoon after church.  I do love this non traditional baby quilt.  I picked out a feather quilting design to go with the elegant fabric and think it turned out fabulous!
I had to quilt one more small quilt to use up the last of that pink mountain fabric.  I used a quick quilting design.  Sometimes it feels like cheating, but always looks fabulous.

I've got two baby quilts cut this morning and will be ready to get busy as soon as I get home and have lunch this afternoon.  Should be a very productive day today, unless the kids have other plans for me.  I never know where the day will take me!

Ahhh, two weeks left and still so much to get done!