Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas

 Another Christmas has come and gone.  My oldest didn't come home this year and she said it didn't feel like Christmas to her.  She's living in Florida and teaching and just couldn't afford the time or money to fly home.  My little guy isn't so little anymore, but still has fun passing out the presents and making sure everyone opens them in the right order.  He got enough video games to keep him busy for the rest of the break.
 I made a hooded Ninja Turtle towel for my son's girlfriend.  I made a hooded towel for my oldest when she was about 2 and I still have it around.  She loved it as a little kid and it's funny to see these making a comeback again.
 I purchased quite a few different embroidery designs and hope to sell some of these to make some money to buy quilt batting.  I haven't purchased any in over a year since my quilting machine hasn't been working.  I haven't needed to buy any more and have been slowly using up what I bought a long time ago.  I went online to and wondered if they had any on sale.  The batting I normally buy (Kodel) was on sale for 40% off with an additional 20% off total purchase, which was good, but the price used to be $60 and has jumped to $103 for 50 yards.  The other kind I buy (Soft N Crafty) used to be $12 for 10 yards and is now $35.  I guess with the price of oil increasing, it costs more to make the polyester batting.  Normally I wouldn't notice such a drastic change in the price because I would watch the price change a little at a time.  It was quite a shock.  I used to buy batting about once a month because I was quilting so much.
 I've been feeling a bit lost lately and needing to get my sense of direction back.  My focus has been all over the place and jumping from one project to another.  I took some time these last two days and cleaned up the sewing rooms a bit and now I can get to the quilting machine again.  I almost forgot how much I love to make quilts.  My binding buddies have been busy with other things too so it's been hard having stacks of quilts in various stages and feeling stuck.
 Tomorrow I will be delivering about 50 quilts to Nurse Family Partnership, one of the biggest places we donate to, along with about 60 crochet baby hats that I made over the summer when I was 'babysitting' my dad.  Just seeing that big bag of hats again, brought back good memories and made me want to start crocheting some more.  Again, I'm jumping from project to project, but trying to get a focus for the New Year and plan for my crafting time.
 I'm hoping to have a little more time this semester and hopefully be a little better steward of my time at school.  I am hoping I won't have to bring as much work home with me and when I am at home, to stay off the internet, which is a huge timesuck.  I go on just to check one thing and then next thing I notice is it is an hour later and I've forgotten what it is I wanted to check.
My adopted daughter and I will be reading through the Bible this year.  We both purchased the One Year Bible NIV version and hope to keep each other accountable.  In 2016 I turn 50 and I'm realizing that time marches on, despite my best efforts to keep things the same.  Kids grow up and move out, wrinkles show up where there were none before and I don't have as much energy as I used to.

But having a plan for the day helps me keep focused and get more done than if I just let things happen.  Here's to looking forward to a great year in 2016.

Monday, December 14, 2015

puppets and sweaters

 I'm making a set of Dr. Who finger puppets for my TA for Christmas.  He loves the show and I know he's going to love this set of puppets.  He wanted a an Easy Bake Oven, but this will just have to do.  Who says teenage boys are too old to play with toys?  He's a pretty funny kid!
 This is also my first attempt at a dog sweater for my daughter's dog for Christmas.  It's way too big.  The yarn is really soft and stretchy and lasted on my dog for about 2 minutes before he managed to wriggle out of it.  At least I learned a few things about knitting dog sweaters, so it isn't a total loss.
I'm hoping I can find someone with a dog a little bigger who is a little calmer who might be able to keep it on to give it to.  I also hope to get another one done and sent off before Christmas, but if not, her dog won't know what day it is.  Maybe I need smaller needles for the next one to make the stitching a little tighter.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

New washer and dryer

 I've never been so excited to do the laundry!  My new washer and dryer are finally here!
 I got the biggest top load washer (Maytag) and it's energy efficient and water saving.  When the guy hooked it up, he forgot to hook up the drain.  He said I had to let one cycle run before I could use it, so he started it and then left.  My son and I were checking out the dryer and looking at how he had hooked up the vent.  There was a dog leg in the hose and so we moved it so the vent was straight.  I'm sure it will be easier for the lint to escape if the vent is straight, even though the dryer is further from the wall.
when we started to look at the washer, I noticed that the drain was just hanging down by the floor.  I guess the guy just forgot to hook it up.  That would have been a big mess!  The first load is washing now.  It has a see through top on both the washer and dryer and everyone was entertained for a few minutes while the wash started.  I'm sure the novelty will wear off quickly, but for now, I'm enjoying my new toy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Penguin obsessed

 I'm having way too much fun with my embroidery machine and making little stuffed toys for the dogs and my son.  I've been finding penguin patterns (seems they are a popular pattern) and making them when I get a few minutes.
 You can see just how much Spot loves his squeaky toy.  He get so excited when anyone will throw the toy for him.  My son was trying to see if Spot could pick out his toy.  He was pretty good at choosing the one with the squeaker in it.  Probably because it smelled like slobber.
 I made these two little cuties this morning.  I like them because they don't have the extra wings and feet attached and I was able to get both in one hooping.
 Of course Spot loved his toy.
Star was excited to get a chance to play with a toy too.  Usually Spot takes the toy and runs, but since there were two, Star actually got to chase a toy.  He usually runs away when he hears the squeak, but maybe from watching how much fun Spot has with the toys, he decided to take a chance and see what all the fuss was about.  He played with this one for a couple minutes and actually played fetch too!  Maybe Spot taught Star how to fetch.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pet bed day

Yesterday 14 students and I got together and made pet beds and squeaky toys and donated them to the local animal shelter.  We worked for 4 hours and made a huge mess.  We watched two Christmas movies, ate pizza and donuts and had a lot of fun.  The kids put their sewing skills to work hand sewing the seam on the toys and talked about boys, their favorite teachers, upcoming finals and world religions.  It's amazing what you can learn from a bunch of teens!

We were supposed to meet at a different quilt shop than we normally meet for our Binky meetings, but I think I scared them a little with how enthusiastic my students are.  I got more volunteers than they had room for so I moved the venue to my classroom.  I was the only one using the sewing machine and these kids kept me busy sewing up the pillows.

We made 55 squeaky bones, 24 finished pillows, 41 unstuffed pillows for next time, and at least 30 cut pillows that didn't get sewn.  There are bags and bags of stuffing that need to be processed.  I found out that the leftover strips and bits of fabric need to be cut small enough that if a dog eats it after ripping a pillow apart, it won't get tangled in their gut.  Good to know.  So, we used the Accuquilt Studio cutters to slice and dice those leftover bits into small pieces.  Worked like a charm!

The kids are already looking forward to the next pet bed day!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Guinea pigs

 I had some fun today making these little guinea pigs on my embroidery machine.  When my kids were little, we raised guinea pigs and showed them through 4H.  We had a lot because once you get 2, they turn into 50 before you know it.
 I put a squeaker inside this one and my dog, Spot, claimed it almost before I had it finished.  He sure loves his toys.
 Good thing these guys are quick and easy to make and don't cost much.  The squeakers cost $.10 each when you buy them 50 at a time.  Tomorrow a bunch of students and I will be working on pet beds and some bone toys with squeakers to donate to the animal shelter.
 This dog is just so much fun.  He loves to play with toys and fetch.  Of all of the dogs I've ever had, this is the first one who has liked to fetch.  I remember when I was little I tried to teach my dog to fetch.  I would throw the ball and then crawl over and pick it up in my mouth and crawl back.  She would sit there and just look at me.  I would do it over and over at least 1,000 times.  I wonder what she was thinking?
 I made the bigger one for my daughter's dog.  He loves his toys too.  Spot thought I should let him check it out first, just to make sure it worked.  He kept trying to sneak it when I was taking the picture.  Then, when I put it on the couch, he kept trying to slink closer and closer and finally reached out and grabbed it by the ear.  I guess it passed his inspection.
These little guys only take 30 minutes to make and I have a feeling I will be making many more in the future.  Like I said, 2 guinea pigs will very quickly turn into 50.