Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pay it Forward, 2009!

Just taking a few moments to check in, and WOW! In my email was a comment regarding the PIF, 2009.

Grandma Shell (as she calls herself) has decided to be my third person to receive a handmade item from me, and in return will share her talents by making gifts for three individuals who decide to play with her. Grandma Shell is a newcomer to me, so I am looking forward to getting to know her :0)

My day has consisted of quilting, trip to LQS, quilt designing on computer, and then more quilting/piecing. Camera is still downstairs and I'll upload/update my day in a bit more detail later tonight or tomorrow.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Taking things for granted....

HA! Laurel's comment in the last post made me realize that we sometimes takes things we share for granted.....

No Laurel, I am not a size 16W or 20W; I have been fortunate enough to still keep much of my athleticism from my youth and remain to be a runner and volleyball player, and active with my children. Therefore, I remain right around a "proud" size 5-7.

The capris were only seen as CHEAP FABRIC in my eyes.....nothing more.

As for plans with them.....cut 'em up, strip 'em down, and fold into the stash. :0)
I also came across some Plus size christmas shirts that are 100% cotton, also only ONE DOLLAR! There was still a good selection so I grabbed the largest sizes; they are still in the Walmart bag (from a couple of weeks ago). I think they were XXXL! LOTS of fabric!

On another note, also related to the blog title regards a statement President Obama made yesterday when rationalizing to the American people about his proposed budget.... it was close to....'Sometimes you can redecorate your house and sometimes you can't. If they money isn't available, you have to make your priorities....'
Well, at school, I have been writing a Smart Board Purchase request along with our school's Media Specialist. Our Superintendent quoted us a budget amount to use in addition to a few other sources of funds. In the end, she and I submitted our request with a final note of "$200 extra dollars being requested" with the rationale that one more complete setup could be purchased for the Elementary school. When I spoke with him unofficially in the hall with the request, his remark was "when is enough enough??", but then proceeded to grin and nod, being fairly confident the extra funds could be found. BUT, his comment DID get me thinking, and when I heard Obama's comment, I put it all together, and really sat and thought about a DIFFERENT solution that would keep us within the original budget. Outcome: she and I are still trying to be creative by seeking out some used Smart Board stands......but.....the bottom line: we all take things for granted. How many of us take our spouse for granted? I for one KNOW there are too many times when I take DH for granted! I "get on his case" when things don't go my way (part of being the 3rd "spoiled" child & the baby of the family, I think). But yet....he does SO MUCH for me and I don't always give him the recognition he needs.

At school: there are many of my coworkers that belly-ache, but I found myself as one of "those teachers" yesterday with the request of additional funds. My superintendent was right to say: "when is enough enough?"

So, what do YOU take for granted?

(wow---this post went off on a tangent)

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Having a panic moment here-----my complete blog just POOFED! Nothing showed....

let's try this!

Seven Shirts progress

Since Nancy (Life is a Stitch) posted yet another step for the Sevens Shirts mystery, I figured it was time to get downstairs to make the blocks from step 3. Ho-hum, ho-hum, an hour-n-half later, not only were the Snowball blocks finished from step 3, but they were also paired up and pieced into the quilt's center (step 4). THANKS NANCY! This went lickity-split!

However, sorry Nancy, but I just couldn't see those little "trimmed-corners" going into ANYTHING other than some bonus triangles! So, I eye-balled up each corner-to-corner piece on the snowball blocks, then double-sewed in order to get 48 bonus tris! Whether these get used up in the border (???), or if they get saved for some other scrap project, it doesn't matter to me. But, once again, just LOOK at what can be saved and "recycled" instead of simply tossing as scraps.!!! I'll be able to piece 24 pinwheel blocks, finishing at 3" (3.5" unfinished).

Last night, after volleyball, DH and I stopped at Walmart to pick up a few odds-n-ends. While walking down one of the center aisles, I noticed a few racks of clearance items. HOLY BUCKETS! These are Plus-sized capris (size 20W). 98% cotton, 2% spandex....I couldn't resist! They were only ONE DOLLAR! Not only did I pick up these, but there was also a hot-pink pair (size 16W) that I grabbed for $1 as well. AMAZING deal! Sometimes my DH can just be goofy! When we got home, he (for some reason) felt he needed to model the capris for our babysitter! We had a good giggle!

Friday tomorrow!!!! Let's see----goals for the weekend:
BESIDES housework: Depending if Nancy posts anymore clues, I might try piecing the Diamond Strips & Scrappy Baskets together since I THINK I know which avenue I'll head down now. THANKS for all the suggestions, by the way! I thought about the name for the quilt while I was mindlessly piecing the snowball blocks tonight-------I'm thinking: Grandma & Catherine. Catherine was my Aunt who passed on from pancreatic cancer many years ago. My mother is thinking MOST of the "stash" I received from Grandma ACTUALLY belonged to Catherine. And since so much of the scraps that were used in both sets of blocks came from Grandma's (Catherine's) stash, it just seems very fitting to me. I can't help but think about both of them anytime I work with much of the stash/scrap fabric anyway.....

Also, I think DD has been on hold long enough; perhaps I'll dig into step 3 with that as well.

Happy "almost" Friday!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Inspiration!!! And now a road-block :0(

The 2nd step (actually 3rd) of Life's a Stitch's Seven Shirts & Seven Steps was posted. I printed it off and headed downstairs all set on tackling it.......

but......I first needed to unpack everything (including the sewing machine) from last night's class. In the process, I set the 12 Diamond Strings blocks on the ironing board for the time-being. Just as I was getting ready to dive into the SS&SS, I had a moment of "ah-ha!," because in the back of my mind was what I was ultimately going to do with the DS blocks.......

For those of you who have been around my blog for awhile, you may remember these gems???? These are from May (2008); 10 of them have been completed. So.....I played........

I pulled some mauve/pink fabric; cut and sewed some sashing. I pulled a cute flowery (very GRANDMA-ish) black fabric; cut and sewed some corner-stones.......and 9 of my Scrappy Baskets are now a quilt center.....

And after sewing up 4 more complete Diamond String blocks..........

I HIT A ROAD BLOCK! I've been staring at the layout.....I've been sketching and drawing on paper.....and I just am at a loss on how to continue. This is why: the Basket blocks are 8.5" (8" finished).......BUT the Diamond strings are 9" (8.5" finished!).

If I continue with the same sashing fabric, the "lines" won't line up due to the uneven size of the outer blocks vs. the inner. So....maybe a different sashing fabric? Maybe the black that I used as the corners in the center section?

Do I sacrifice nice corners in the Diamond blocks and simply trim them down to 8.5" (8" finished)??? JUST to make it piece nicely?? (I think that's what I'm leaning towards......)

So...I needed to take a break anyway...I figured I'd post to see if anyone had any advice.

Do you?

In the meantime, I'm back off downstairs to actually work on the SS&SS quilt.......
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Two finishes, so why not another NEW project???

I met my goal on Saturday by cutting through all the shirts and piecing the 24 9-blocks. DUH ME though---I didn't have my camera handy to get a pic. When I was done with that, I was fairly tuckered out after having such a late night Friday. I hung out with DH and the girls Saturday night, watching the HULK as a family, and puttered online perusing Bonnie's site. I was getting antsy for yet another NEW project. WHY??? I have no idea, but I went to peek......

Sunday morning brought anew energy, and I was downstairs by 8:30 am. I had been playing with the idea of creating a quilt label for each of the ladies in my Beginning Quilting class, so.....I DID! Now that they have been gifted (at tonight's 4th session class) I can freely blog them without giving away any surprise :0) At the same time, I created some labels for a few quilts that have been labelless for too long.

I needed to prepare the Quilting & BInding tutorial for tonight's class, so I pulled out the Class Act that was quilted Friday night and plugged away at completing the binding. Rather than hand-sewing the binding to the back, I carefully machine-stitched using a very small "seam allowance." There are a few small spots where the sewing lines show up along the border on the front,! Minor! This baby isn't gonna be hanging in any quilt show! :0)

So----binding done......slap on the label......Project #4 of the year complete!

NATURALLLLLLLY, with so many other projects laying around the sewing room, what is one to do but start yet another FUN project?!?!?! I kinda got excited when looking at Bonnie's Diamond Strings pattern. My bin of strings had almost reached the "I-can-no-longer-close" stage, so it was time to do something with them. Her method of piecing these babies was AMAZINGLY no time, I had 14 sheets completely sewn and ready for cutting.

After cutting and taking this lovely shot, I headed upstairs. The girls and I threw in KUNGFU PANDA and they all volunteered to help me tear off the paper backing. What sweathearts!
After the movie, dinner, and some baths, and once they were all tucked in bed, I headed back downstairs to see how far I could get on the blocks. How far did I get??? Finished up 48 corner pieces which would create 12 complete blocks once sewn together. But, it was 10:00, and I was ready for bed........(YES! I DO SLEEP!)

As mentioned, tonight was the 4th night of the Beginning Quilting class which got the ladies quilting & binding. one got as far as binding, but I used this wall-hanging (that was created from their Session 1 practice squares) to show a demonstration of a complete binding. It was nice killing 2 birds with 1 stone here :0) My FIFTH finish of 2009!

Oooooooo, and look! Once all the ladies were comfortably quilting away tonight, I pieced the 12 blocks of the Diamond Strings. At this point, I don't think I'll make any more string blocks; rather I'll play around with some wide sashing OR alternate some plain blocks amongst these to make a twin size. ??? I'll play tomorrow night once the girls are in bed.

A few working shots of tonight's class.....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Who needs only FIFTEEN projects?!?!?

Been out surfing this AM; came across this gem: Uncommon Threads Quilting Guild's Strip Quilt that I've dubbed the "SOM quilt" (Strip of the month).

Ummmmm...........dare I??!!?


Oh yes, besides that......Bonnie is putting the idea out for a green March project. She narrowed the pattern down to her Jared Takes a Wife pattern. BUT, I've actually been eyeing up this quilt from the Fons & Porter 2005 March calendar. I found this calendar in a box of "give-aways" that my mother had given me last summer. Originally, patterns were given with the calendars, but it has obviously been lost. No biggy for this quilt, though! The 4-patches can easily be made from 2" strips (measuring 3" finished), and the HST's from 3.5" strips (measuring 3" finished).

The question now becomes........

WHERE OH WHERE will the time be found to finish all these wonderful projects?!?!??!?

Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 20, 2009

"Class Act" - Night 3 & some homework

Wednesday night was the 3rd session of the Beginning Quilting class I'm teaching. These ladies are the best bunch! I mean, there wasn't ANY complaining at all when I asked them to get crawlin on the floor to start getting those borders on! AND, Janet here had a WONDERFUL night with NO machine problems! Woo-hoo!

The night started with piecing border strips using a 45 degree seam. I used a tutorial from McCall's Quilting: 45 Seam to show the ladies the technique. After a few "unsewing" sessions, all the ladies were able to get the border strips pieced.

I shared Bonnie's method of "measuring borders", which is when the ladies found themselves on the floor. :0)

However, it didn't take too long for all of us to realize that with this quilt being small enough, we could use the counter space that was available in the classroom. Hey---and LOOK! We can see Melissa's face this time!!! :0) *snicker*

Time flew, and it was time to leave before we knew it. The ladies still had the outer border to finish, so they all decided it was okay to have some "homework." They also decided they would be okay piecing the backing together before next Monday's class.

I put a request out via email to my ladies for one more piece of homework, if they are feeling up for it. It should take about 30-60 minutes. Here are some visuals to assist the email.......

Ladies---if you've made it here but haven't checked email, go take a peek. More details are in the email :0)

Layer the backing/batting/quilt top so that 3" of excess remain on all sides.

Baste away using as many pins as humanly possible! *giggle* Okay....don't overkill, but my motto: "You can NEVER have too many basting pins!" It's better to over-baste than not baste enough. You don't want those layers to shift much during quilting, otherwise you'll find that you have tucks and puckers :0( Tip: Pin in the light areas because we will be quilting diagonal lines in the darks. BUT, having said that, I do have some pins in the darks where the quilting lines will not be.

Most people will say to mark the quilting lines BEFORE basting....*shrug*.....yeah, it's good advice, but I've marked after basting in the past, and I did so this time as well. We will be marking on Monday night----OOOOOOO! Bring your rotary rulers to use as a straight edge!!! I didn't think of that until just now. I'll bring the marking supplies.......

Once marked, you'll be ready to quilt away!

From start to finish tonight (BASTING AND QUILTING), it took just about two hours, so Monday night should REALLY bring on some amazing progress, bringing you VERY NEAR completion! Wooo-hooooo!

See you Monday!

Game plan tomorrow: Cut the shirts for the Seven Shirts & Seven Steps. A piecing step was posted last night, so I'm anxious to get started on it. DoubleDelights will just have to wait patiently.

Happy FRIDAY! Ymmm.....Happy "almost Saturday" (just turned 11:30 pm)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Now-n-Forever; DoubleDelight; Seven Shirts & Seven Steps

I added TWO new projects to my WIP list this past weekend.........

The first blocks for the Now-n-Forever that is being shared by Beth Ferrier as a BOM. I am bound to ONLY use my stash without purchasing any fabric.

I started digging through my shirt piles to find the requirements for Nancy's (Life is a Stitch) Seven Shirts & Seven Steps mystery. I'm so glad those shirts are finally finding a project, which is the MAIN reason I'm jumping on board with this mystery! In fact, that "grey" shirt still folded in the pic was just added to the pile last week when DH cleared his closet. I'm excited to see what this mystery will bring.

Finally, I did get Steps 1 & 2 pieced in the DoubleDelight mystery and am planning on taking them to tomorrow night's quilting class in hopes of trimming some of them down while the ladies are sewing on their bindings. I can honestly say I WISH I had some time to work on the DD this week---I would LOVE to have Angela's jaw drop when she returns from her vacation and see a near completed quilt top, but....that just isn't going to happen. I worked the BB game tonight; quilting class tomorrow night, another BB game Thursday night. Friday will be the first chance I have to get back into the sewing room.

Ah well....
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hold me back!!!

I think this is how UFO's come to be......toooo many awesome projects all come in view in such a little amount of time....

Nancy Singer over at Life is a Stitch invited us to join her in a Seven Shirts & Seven Clues mystery, and my interest was captured. *silly sigh*

So, after spending the day sewing away on DoubleDelight and completing Step 2 (no trimming yet), I spent an hour tonight digging into the shirts that have been stacking since last summer. At least they'll finally get into a project instead of just piling and piling.

So, I have pics to upload:
- First blocks of Beth Ferrier's BOM Now -n- Forever (BOM-NnF)
- Step 1 & Step 2 DoubleDelight blocks (DD)
- Fabrics for Nancy Singer's Seven Shirts & Seven Clues (SS&SC)

...but I'm off to bed right now. I'm beat!

Linda's top

Yeah Linda! One of my "students" emailed last night with a pic of her pieced top center. Her colors are beautiful; she purchased her fabrics through Connecting Threads. I can't wait until Wednesday for the next class! Thanks for sharing Linda.

I finally was motivated last night and headed downstairs at 6:00 pm. I dug into the stash for the Now-n-Forever BOM quilt; I'm doing it and have already completed the first block. It SHOULD be easy enough to complete this project since it goes until October, with each block coming out on the 14th.

I also plunged into step 1 of DoubleDelight and completed it by 10:30 pm, with only trimming remaining. I am losing interest in quilting my tops that are stacking up, but my piecing motivation has returned thanks to the DD.

I'm off......
Happy Monday

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dare I?

put yet ANOTHER project on the current list???

Beth Ferrier from Applewood Farm Publications just started a new BOM project: Now -n- Forever. A lady from Quiltville-Chat posted the URL to the group and I got intrigued instantly. It's seems very manageable with having only one block per month. Besides, I agree with her statement from the site.... " is destined to be an Heirloom..."

BOM Page:
Beth Ferriers blog:

Sooooo.......any other takers?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cassie's Gift

About a week ago, Cassie asked with a heavy sigh, "Mom, when can I get my hair cut?" I have always "cut" her hair which basically has consisted of trimming her back and trimming her bangs. So, I figured she was asking for me to actually CUT her bangs away from her eyes and face since they've been "bugging" her lately. But she proceeded to say .... "No, Mom! I mean actually CUT my hair?!?!" I just shrugged and told her to "think about it" and that perhaps on Friday (today) we would cut it.

When she came home on Tuesday with this picture, saying "Dear Mom, I can't wait till Friday. This is what I think I'm going to look like on Tuesday. Love, your #1 Daughter."--- I figured she was actually pretty serious about it and overly excited. So, we searched Locks of Love online to read about the requirements. 10 inches is the requirement, which Cassie easily has, so I called up my hair stylist. Sadly, she was booked for today as well as tomorrow, and she's not working on Monday (we have a vacation day) :0( I knew Cassie would be VERY disappointed if we waited beyond then because I think she's been telling everyone at school that she'll have short hair on Tuesday. So, I figured I would stop in at Cost Cutters and have it done.

This morning, we took the before and after. Caitlyn is old enough to know and understand that Cassie was getting her hair cut today. We banded her hair and measured to the base of her neck: 12 inches. I asked her for about the tenth time if she was sure she wanted to cut it all. She was still VERY gung-ho.

So, after a FRUSTRATING time at the Auto Service Department......(NEVER buy a Ford Escape!!!---seriously!) and after some grocery shopping, Cassie's appointment time finally arrived.

While waiting, we peeked at some Style books, and I asked her ONE LAST TIME, if she was sure. She gave me a goofy giggle, and said "yup!" and off to the chair we went.......

The first cut...................

........and the outcome. Mom's approval? Oh YEAH! It's ADORABLE!!!!!!! AND, I'll save OOOOOODLES on conditioner now!

Sadly, the stylist wasn't up on her "customer service manners." :0( She wasn't downright mean or anything, but just not friendly. No small-talk with Cassie or me, no smile to share, no "way to donate to such a great cause".......nuttin'! :0( Just strictly business for about 20 minutes.

Then, what I thought was kinda weird.....when I was at the counter, she said "why don't you bring a pic to the shop of her before and after and I'll take it to my next Manager's meeting?" That took me aback since she hadn't said two words to me while she was cutting. Sounds like she wants to enter the before/after into some kind of contest.....? I still haven't decided if I'll take the time to do it or not based on the overall experience.

I'm happy Cassie likes it (LOVES IT), but I am still sad that Stacy (my hair stylist) wasn't available. She would have made it more special, she would have posed with Cassie, she would have filled out the Donation Form right there and have Cassie sign her name....*sigh*. Maybe the next time (8 years down the road).

I haven't been downstairs yet and don't know if I will either. I've been picking up and cleaning, doing laundry......the typical house-wife stuff. My Step-Dad "Nub" (short for Norbert) is visiting this weekend to go ice-fishing with Paul, and I also have to work the Basketball game tonight, so I can't foresee any quilting time. 'Tis okay------I'm kinda tired anyway. I'll just put my feet up for the next half hour before heading out to pick up the other two girls from daycare....

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Post 200! "Class Act" - Night 2

Wowsers! Post 200 already! Sorry, but didn't have time to get together a give-away, but will keep it in mind on the "back-burner" and will see what I can do soon!

Tonight brought night 2 of the Beginning Quilting class. We started out with sub-cutting our strip sets from Monday night. And then..........

........a WHOLE lot of power chain-sewing. The end result was 48 identical blocks. Linda here is a coworker at the school, over in the Elementary wing. I'll admit that I went to her classroom yesterday to get her "take" on Monday night's class. I was thankful that she was excited about how the night went!

And POOOOR Janet! She really kept her patience when her machine decided to "act up" on us. She's getting used to a new machine (C'mas present); and she was really being tried tonight. Her thread would break every few blocks, and it seemed that no matter what we "trouble-shot", nothing seemed to be a remedy. New thread, new needle, rethread......nothing seemed to be the magic key. :0(

Hythe (pronounced Hi-eth) is plugging along and has my backup machine over the weekend to complete her "homework." She's such a perfectionist :0) She's trying her hardest to get perfect points, perfect piecing..... She's been a hoot :0)

And then we have Melissa, who seems to avoid the direct view of the camera! Reallly, look at the top cutting pic......EVEN when I crouched down to snap a pic, I couldn't get a nice shot of her face..... hmmmmmmmmmmm. Melissa, are you hiding from me when that camera comes out?!?!?!?!???!?!

Joy has been dubbed the "class over-achiever" since she's been the first to complete most of the tasks at any given time. Joy's layout provided the first "oooohs" & "aaaaahs" of the class. NOW I understand that "cool" feeling that many of you have blogged about after you've taken a class. There is a FUN commradery (sp?) that is created and it's FUN watching the quilts come together!

And see?????? Regarding Melissa "hiding" her face.......Case-n-Point! Here YET AGAIN I wasn't able to get a nice pic of her :0) But her layout brought yet more "ooooohs" & "aaaaaahs" from all of us. That magenta makes the eyes go all googly; such a NEAT illusion is created by her choice of colors.

I feel bad that I needed us to wrap up at such a strict time tonight (since I was playing vball at 9:00). SORRY LADIES!!!! I promise that we can hang-out longer for the next 2 sessions if you want. The room is ours until 10:00 each night!

Tomorrow night is Parent-Teacher conferences for me, so I don't foresee any quilting on the radar tomorrow night. BUT, we have Friday and Monday off of school for a Winter Break. I think I will concentrate on finishing the quilting on the Country Spirit quilt.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Side-tracked; a mini-finish

Tonight, I had all intentions of starting to piece Step 1 of DoubleDelight, but.........well, I got side-tracked! I unpacked a bit from last night's class and organized the 2" squares that I had the ladies practice with while trying to master the 1/4". Just like on Sunday, one thing lead to another, and ...... this fun little wall-hanging resulted. :0) It's about 19x19".

DH suggested making it into a pillow....not too bad of an idea. But, I have a feeling the wall-hanging will win out.

What do YOU think? Pillow? Wall-hanging?

Happy Tuesday!
Night 2 of class is tomorrow night.

Monday, February 9, 2009

"Class Act" - Night 1

Tonight was the first night of my "Beginning Quilting" class, and it was a blast and a hit at the same time! The ladies were a riot and came from a wide mix of sewing backgrounds. However, they all did share one thing: they all were beginners at quilting. So, it was a night of going back to the basics: mastering the 1/4", folding and cutting fabric using a rotary cutter, how to read the markings on the ruler (which they ALL picked up quite easily!), some strip-piecing and chain-sewing.

At one point, one of the ladies said she "felt bad that we are taking you away from your quilting tonight." Golly! Bless her heart, but I didn't mind one bit! I really had a blast! I am very surprised at how much they really were sponges, soaking up whatever tips and advice I shared. And of COURSE, I started by saying......"You can ask five different quilters the same question, and get five different answers and perspectives."

They all understood because one of the ladies used cooking as an example. We've all followed recipes, but after making that recipe enough times, you kinda "make it your own" by tweaking it. PERFECT example!

Wednesday will be the next class, during which time we plan to subcut the pieced strips and sew the cuts into blocks. I also have ambitions for them to piece all of the top, including borders by the end of the night Wednesday. No biggy if we need to push some of that off until the following class though.

I did "bargain" with them about class time Wednesday night since I need to be packed up and out of there by 8:30 to get to Volleyball. They, again, were all understanding, and we decided to move class time 1/2 hour earlier or to simply "show up when you can." I'm SO thankful it was a hit (at least to me).

Happy Monday!

Co-worker update: Blood pressure has been stable to most of the day, only changing when she is repositioned. Other than that, not much news.