Sunday, July 31, 2016

trying to get some bigger quilts done

 With the robotics not working, I decided to load some bigger quilts on the machine and crank them out today.  These two took me about 45 minutes each to quilt with some meanders across the quilt.  It's a good thing I was manually quilting them because each quilt had some seams that weren't sewn all the way and if I wasn't watching, the foot would have gotten stuck and could have made a hole in the quilt.  Because I was right there, I could fix the holes in the quilt as I was quilting.
I do love these 'everything' types of quilts because it doesn't really matter what fabrics you use, when you have so many different fabrics, they all go together.  Hopefully I will get one more quilt done today.  Once school starts up again, I won't have time for much quilting so it's important to get a lot done on days like this when I don't have any place I have to be.  I even found time this morning to piece two quilt tops.  They were partly finished and I had to sew a few blocks together and then put the rows together, but hey, I found time to sew for about an hour.  I haven't done that for a long time.  It was a reward for cleaning.  I have so many unfinished quilt projects that only need a few minutes to finish and I'm not sure why each one has stalled out.  It will be nice to attack each one and get them finished and added to the 'to be quilted' pile.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

manually quilting is getting my steps up

 I got these two quilts done in an hour today and in making them, I added about 1,000 steps to my count for the day and put me over my 5,000 goal.  I went for a walk this morning, so that helped.  When I get in a funk, like I was this morning, walking helps lift my mood.  Who knew quilting was good exercise?

a request for quilts

I got a phone call today from a friend who was wondering if my group could help out with quilts for those affected by the flooding in West Virginia.  I had heard about flooding, but didn't know too much about it.  She said a lady had come into the quilt shop where she works and will be in town for a couple weeks and asked if they could help her collect a few quilts to take back with her.  She is from Rainelle, West Virginia which is one of the hardest hit areas and many in the town of 1500 have lost everything.

Since we are in the middle of making and collecting 100 quilts for the foster youth locally, I told her that if she gave us some time, we would be happy to help, but not until after August 27.  She said she would be back in December, so that will be our next big goal.

I also have a former student who just got a job working with kids who have autism and I let her know I would be getting quilts for her to give to the kids.

If you like to make quilts, there is always a need, always.

If you are on Facebook, you have probably seen the picture of a woman's funeral with quilts draped over the backs of the pews and everyone makes comments about what a wonderful tribute to this woman and how great she was for making so many beautiful quilts.  There must be 50 or more quilts in the picture.  I just think how sad it is that these quilts were stored in her house and not being used by people.  Nobody can use 50 quilts at one time.  Of course, people will say this about me with my 500 t shirt collection!

If you have a God given talent and you hide it away, it isn't a great thing.  If you have a beautiful singing voice and you only sing in the shower, it's a shame.  If you can draw amazing pictures and your walls are covered with fantastic drawings that nobody else can see, what good have you done?

People may talk about you at your funeral and say what a wonderful artist or singer you were, but why not let people enjoy your talents when you are still alive?  That's why you were given the talents in the first place!  To share with others.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Fried the Motherboard, but this could be a good thing

 So I have two weeks left before school starts up again and really only one week of actually nothing going on.  The week before school I have three days of workshops.  That means with 64 quilts left to reach my goal, I had better work really hard and get 4-5 quilts done a day for the next 10 days if I have any hope of reaching my goal.
 Today I did the blue quilt and then one of the cords got stuck on a bucket under the quilting machine. I moved the bucket and it pulled out the cord, which was the power cord to the black box which is the power supply to the robotic part of the quilting machine.  No big deal, just plug it back in and we should be good to go.  No such luck.  I kept getting an error code.  Well, what do you do when your computer gives you an error code?  You turn it off and let it rest, right?  Or you hit it.  At least that's what I do.  Those are the extent of my computer skills anyways.  My computer son isn't home right now, so I couldn't ask him.  Neither tactic worked so I called Carla and she told me hers had done the same thing and she found out it was a fried motherboard and had to send in the black box for repair.  Not too expensive, but would take a couple of weeks.
 Well, since the sewing machine part of the quilting machine is still working, I can still do quilting as long as I'm standing there running the machine.  It's just the robotic part that isn't working.  So, in one hour this afternoon, I quilted all three of these pink quilts.  Nothing fancy, but some swirls and meanders and they are done quilted and ready to be bound.  I think I will be able to still reach my goal after all.  Of course, I can't get anything else done while the quilting is going on.
Normally I can cut fabric or sew backings together, but normally a large quilt will take 3-5 hours to quilt and a small one will take a minimum of an hour.  These little ones took about 10 minutes and the big one took about 30 minutes.  Maybe my freemotion quilting will get some good practice in over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

It's not my job, feeling relief

 So the whole adoption has been weighing very heavily on me lately.  I've been cleaning the house like crazy all summer and feeling pretty rotten that it's taken so long to get it somewhat presentable.  The summer is winding down and there is still so much to do.  I've given away and thrown away so much stuff and yet, there is enough here to fill several houses and still have stuff left over.
 I made a new friend last week and her neighbor has 4 great grandkids who are in foster care.  Somehow I decided that it was my responsibility to save these kids (I've never met them) and every other kid out there in the foster system.  I got myself all worked up because there are four kids (3 girls and a boy) ages 2-11 and I've spent hours trying to figure out how I was going to be able to fit all of these kids into my house.  I wrote to my social worker (who is out on vacation until August 22) and another worker wrote back and said there was no way we could handle all of these kids because of the age of our boys living at home and the age and gender of these kids.
 I have to admit I was pretty devastated.  I felt like it was my responsibility to take care of these kids I've never met and I'm not exactly sure why I felt this way.  I look at homeless pets the same way.  I need to save every one and give them a good home.  But the truth is, that's not my job.  I can't save every dog or cat that doesn't have a home and I can't take in every child whose parents can't take care of them.  The truth is my husband isn't quite ready to go ahead and bring a child or two (probably not 4 at once) into our home yet and probably won't be ready for some time.  He says next summer.  We will see about that.
I need to give myself a little break from the cleaning and the madness and stop feeling like I need to make everything happen.  It will happen in God's timing and I need to do my part, but not make myself and everyone else around me crazy in the process.  I still have a ways to go with the house and getting stuff out to make room for another child.  Just like having a baby, these things can't be rushed.  I need to get used to having my older son back at home again (he thinks he is an adult and can make his own life choices now! Ugh) and let things happen instead of making them happen.

I might even give myself a day off!

Monday, July 25, 2016

3 weeks left

 It's official!  In 3 weeks, I will be sitting in meetings listening to how this is going to be the best year yet.  I will be wishing I could be setting up my classroom and planning how to get everything done and how to stay organized and vowing not to get behind in grading work, but knowing that by the end of the year, I will be piling papers into the recycling bin one more time.
 21 days before lessons must be planned and class lists of students will be poured over, wondering how the new year will compare to years past.
 3 more Saturdays and 3 more Sundays before I have to squeeze into my jeans again (I really shouldn't be eating that chocolate cake, but it is oh, so good) and putting on a fake smile and pretending that I'm happy to be out of the house and sitting in uncomfortable chairs.
 I better use these three weeks wisely.  I still have 70 quilts to get done for the Birthday Bash for the foster youth and rooms to clean.  It is like fighting the never ending battle of too much stuff.  I get one room done and turn around and the next room is full again.  I'm hoping the botox will help with the frequent migraines that slow the work down.  I go in on Wednesday to get the shots again and should be feeling better by next week, just in time for back to school :)
So far I've been able to resist buying new school supplies.  From all of my cleaning, I've found lots of supplies around the house and hopefully I'm set for the year.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

It's hot here

 So when the weather heats up, I think I will just stay inside and do some quilting.
 I'm also done organizing the kitchen and am now moving on to the quilting room.  That's almost done too and the next room is the sewing room.  It is a huge disaster that will take a week or so to get sorted out.  I still have to go through all of my tshirts and my youngest son's room and then I'm done!
The struggle will be to keep up with things once school starts again.  Daily attention to the clutter will be a must!  I have to make sure not to let things pile up and get out of control again.

Friday, July 22, 2016

trying to make plans isn't working

 Every day I keep telling myself I'm going to finish cleaning the kitchen and then I get a really bad migraine.
Every day I wake up with a new determination to really get things done because summer is almost over and every day my plans go off track.  Oh, well, at least I don't have to go to work yet and can rest on the couch when I'm not feeling well.
These 9 bags of fabric were donated yesterday.  Think of all the great quilts that will be made from all of these great prints.  This summer has been really great for donations.  Too bad summer has to end and time will be much shorter in the quilting department.  I better recruit more teens to help sew.


My kids are always embarrassed by my excitement when they get in the newspaper.  I always go out and buy a dozen papers and tell everyone I know.  Yesterday the newspaper came out and did a story on the robot camp my son is attending and took lots of pictures and my son got his picture and name in the paper.  I think it's pretty cool, he just wanted to hide behind me and not talk to the reporter.  We couldn't be more different!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

more robotics camp

 This morning I spent a couple of hours working in the garage while waiting for the lady who called yesterday to bring the fabric.  I finished sorting the last batch of fabric that was donated and sorted through fabric that has been sitting in the car for a couple of months.  I think if I can sort and put away fabric as it comes in instead of just piling it up, I can keep on top of the donations.  It is so much nicer to be able to grab a bucket of fabric and cut it up when I know what is in each one.  I have a new Accuquilt die coming that will cut 10 1/2 inch squares which will go perfectly with the 5 1/2 inch squares and make for some quick quilts.  Those quilts will be great for beginners to sew and will make quick work of lots of the bigger pieces of fabric.  It should be here soon and hopefully before school starts I can get a few kits made up and some tops finished for quilting for the Birthday Bash for the Heart 2 Heart group that is throwing a party for the kids who have aged out of foster care. I'm trying to get 100 quilts done and this one above is quilt #20.  The party is August 27, so I better hurry up!
 Today was day 3 of robotics camp and the kids got the robots to drive around.  There are three teens as teachers with 4 boys in the camp.  Pretty good ratio of teacher to student.
 Here's a video of the robots in action.  The robot is supposed to go forward across to the finish line, but my son's had a little trouble following directions.  The newspaper was there today taking pictures to write up a story for tomorrow's paper.  How exciting!
My son was a little grumpy because his partner didn't put in his fair share of the work and then wanted to hold the remote for the picture.  I was the mean mom who made him share.  There are other things to learn besides how a robot works.  Social skills are just as important.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

phone call

 I got a phone call this morning as I was sewing borders to the bottom quilt from a lady who will be bringing me 'a lot' of fabric next week.  Normally I get a call about once a month or so from someone who wants to donate fabric but this summer has been over the top.  I've received about ten large donations of fabric.  This lady was the second one to say that she tried contacting the local Project Linus and they didn't want her donation.  Even though we have a lot of fabric, I could never imagine telling someone to thanks.
 Several years ago, we got a donation from another Binky Patrol chapter that closed down.  The lady who ran that group had to be the most organized person alive.  Every piece of fabric was measured, folded and sorted into boxes by size and color.  They gave us 1,500 yards of fabric and it took us just about 2 years to work through all of that fabric.  So, when someone says they have a lot of fabric, I let them know we make a lot of quilts.  It may take us a couple of years to work through all that we have now, but if we stopped taking donations, we would run out and then couldn't make and give away so many quilts.  Have you ever been to a quilt shop and purchased fabric for one quilt?  When my mother in law got cancer, I bought fabric just for her quilt.  It was over $80 just for the fabric for the quilt top and that was a lap size quilt.  I'm thankful there are people out there willing to share in their wealth with kids who are hurting.

I've been working through the fabric donations this summer and as long as I can put some time in when the fabric comes in and don't just let it pile up in bags in the garage, I can get it out to people to sew into tops and then hopefully get at least 5 quilts done a week once school gets started again.  The road work is supposed to be finished August 4, which means my commute will be 20 minutes shorter each way this year.  Those 40 extra minutes can be spent quilting :) (or cleaning or grading or something more productive than driving to and from work!)
My little guy is enjoying Robotics Camp.  He says it is confusing (which means he is having to think!) because it requires everything to be perfect for the program to work just right. You have to have the right angle and distance and direction in the program for the robot to go where you want it to go.  It will only follow the direction you give it.  While waiting for me to pick him up, he was learning how to play chess.  The teachers (friends of my son from his robotics class at high school) made the chess pieces with the 3D printer at the shop.

Lake Isabella quilts

 My friend Carla took the 105 quilts we got done down to Lake Isabella this weekend.  She met in Bakersfield with a realtor from Lake Isabella who took the quilts to be given out.  The realtor, Rita D'Angelo, had to drive about an hour each way to pick up and deliver the quilts on the last leg of the trip.  How nice is that?
I think she is dropping them off at the First Baptist Church of Lake Isabella which is still distributing food to the fire victims.

I wish the news was filled with these types of happy stories instead of the hate and anger.  Maybe people would be inspired to help each other if they thought they could get on the news that way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Feeling Blue?

 It is so nice when I have lots of quilts that are all about the same size and I have a really long piece of backing fabric.  I can load them all one after another.  The only limit is the number of quilts that can fit on the machine at one time.
 It is nice too because I don't have to change thread for the top or bobbin and just keep going and going and going.  Sometimes I don't even change the quilt design.  It's not like all of the quilts will be going to the same person, so nobody will know if every quilt gets the same quilt design or not.  Usually what makes me change design is how bored I get with the design of the pattern, or what seems to suit the quilt.  Each of these has a different pattern, because I did three of them yesterday and one today and I just couldn't seem to stick with the same thing over and over.  I was working in the quilting room cutting fabric while quilting so got a lot done.
 I love these 3 1/2 inch square block quilts because they are so scrappy, yet so coordinated at the same time.  I'm not sure who made them, but there is one more that is just a bit bigger so needs a different backing that is wider.  I have some 60 inch backing that will go on the machine today.  I have several quilts that will fit that.  Yesterday I spent an hour or so organizing the quilt tops, but forgot to count how many there are.  If I have time today I will do that.
My little guy has a robotics camp that starts today and then a tennis lesson later this evening.  After a summer of not doing much, this week will be a busy one for him.  The robotics camp looks like it should be fun.  It is taught by my older son's friends from high school and is held at the new store that opened downtown where I am dropping off more fabric and some quilting books.  I'm still finishing up cleaning out the garage and can almost declare it done.  The kitchen is almost finished as well.  I just have a lot of stuff and need to work faster through what I have to make room for all of the new stuff coming in.  I'm trying to recruit a couple of new people to sew quilt tops, but have to quilt faster to keep up with that as well.  Less than a month before school starts, so every day must be used wisely!

Monday, July 18, 2016

time for botox again

 I had another really bad migraine again yesterday so it must be time for botox injections again.  They worked really well this last time and I've enjoyed not having to deal with laying around most of the day not getting much done.  These past couple of migraines have come on really hard and quick.  It's weird how they morph as I get older.  The one yesterday came with nausea and even throwing up, which also hasn't happened in a very long time.
I have an appointment on July 27 so at least I don't have to wait very long and hopefully won't have one every day until the shots.  Hopefully this round lasts another five months like the last batch.  It's a pain to have to take time off work to get the shots and they are some of the most painful shots out there.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pokemon Go

 Are you playing the new video game?  I have to admit that I don't play video games but I do enjoy this new one that you play on your smart phone.  It is really encouraging me to get out and walk because when you walk, it causes the eggs you find to hatch.  My son and I are playing together so I have no idea how to do most of the things that the game does, like taking over a gym or battling other pokemon, but I do like trying to catch the Pokemon.  I didn't realize you only get so many of the little balls to throw and I was using 30 of them to catch one Pokemon.  You have to walk past a Pokestop to get more balls (encourages walking again) and my son told me we were down to only 5 balls.
Now, every time I go out shopping, I have to make a couple of stops on the way home to pick up more balls.  With all of the crazy things going on in the world, it's nice to have a silly distraction that gets me moving.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Getting some more work done

Yesterday was another work day around here.  I had the garage door fixed.  It hasn't been working for about 6 months and I've had to lift it manually.  The rats ate through the wire that connected it to the opener.  Supposedly it is only supposed to last 15 years and it is as old as the house, so I guess we've gotten our money's worth out of it.  I don't use it very much so maybe that's why it has lasted so long.  

 I also had guys out to fix the front and back door.  The front door handle would only work if you lifted up, not down and the door got stuck in the winter when it swelled up.  They pounded it back straight and added a couple of screws in and now it works great.

 The back door took Hulk-like strength to open and I was sure it needed new wheels.  Turns out the wheels just needed grease and a good cleaning.  It's surprising how much junk can build up in there.  They cleaned out the screen and now that closes too.  They also installed three new smoke detectors to replace the old, yellow ones that were falling off the ceiling.

Now to spend the last 30 days of summer break cleaning up and putting everything away to get ready for the new school year.  They still haven't hired a new science teacher and there may be overage positions again this year.  The last time I did that (took on one extra class for the whole year) it almost did me in!  I had a student teacher that year, which saved me and a former student came back for the year and graded most of my papers which also saved me.  The extra money was nice, but at what expense?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Horrible migraine

 My migraines have been doing really well this summer.  I'm drinking enough water to keep the titanic afloat every day and I think that has really helped, but for some reason today, out of the blue, BAM a really bad one hit around 11:30.  I drank my normal water and even went out for a walk and to WalMart for some groceries.  I came home, sat on the couch and had a little snack of cottage cheese and fruit and then just felt so horrible.  I've taken my medicine, taken a hot bath, rested, moved around, quilted, eaten and nothing is helping.  I guess I should be happy that I really haven't had too many this summer.  I've just had too many things to do.
 I even cut some more fabric today.  I really need to spend a little time every day cutting fabric if I ever hope to get through all of this in my lifetime.  I have to quilt a little and cut a little and get a few more people to sew some more.  I spent some more time yesterday cleaning in the sewing room and moved the embroidery machine and like the setup of the room.  Now to find spots for all of the rest of the stuff I pulled out of there.  I have 4 weeks left this summer and the time is speeding by.
What a goofy picture!  My little guy took the quilt pictures for me and just had to capture one of me as I was folding up the quilts.  Even with a terrible migraine I can still fake a smile :) Maybe the botox wore off all of a sudden.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

stuff comes in, stuff goes out

 The only way I'm going to get ahead in this game of organization is to get rid of more stuff than I bring in.  Yesterday I brought home a whole truck full of yarn, today I took a whole truck full of fabric and craft stuff and donated it to a new shop that opened up downtown called Creative on Main.  They will have classes on everything from yoga to sewing to robotics.  The lady was excited about the first load I brought and wasn't there today for this load.  Let's see how she feels after load 27 :)  Just kidding, but seriously, if there is any hope of getting this house looking presentable, I have to either work through this stuff faster, get some more volunteers to help me, or donate faster.
My goal of three quilts a day isn't quite happening.  I got 2 3/4 done yesterday and so far am on quilt 2 1/3.  Hopefully I will get this one done and at least get the next one on the machine.  I picked really big quilts instead of the smaller ones which means they go a little slower, plus I took a walk this morning, trying to catch some pokemon, playing the new Pokemon Go game.  It's really fun when it is working, which is about 50% of the time.  Hopefully they get the bugs worked out of it and it starts to work better.  It encourages me to walk a little further than I would if I wasn't playing it.  I walked 2 miles today because I needed some more rewards at the Pokestop and had to wait 5 minutes before going back to the same one, so walked around while waiting.  I know, for those of you who don't play, my language is foreign, but it's a fun game that gets you outside and even though you are still staring at your phone and you look stupid, everyone else is doing the same thing, so you all look stupid together, and as you pass someone else, you smile and nod or tell them the latest pokemon you just caught and then laugh because as a grownup, you aren't supposed to know about such childish things.  But any excuse to laugh in a day is a good one, especially with all of the bad things going on in the world today.  We all need a reason to laugh a little more.