Thursday, April 30, 2009

May UFO ; excited and motivated

Nancy (Patchwork Penguin) has set May's UFO Challenge to be #6. #6 on my list: Rolling Rock.

I'm actually quite excited to jump back into this project; it's a first for me when it comes to piecing curved seams. Therefore, this will be a TRUE challenge to finish because of the intermediate/advanced quilting/sewing skills. The pieces are already cut out and have been stored on a shelf safe-n-neat for the day I would pick it up again. MOST of the fabrics I used for the color sections were cut out of my Grandmother's fabric inheritance, so, it'll have all the more specialness to the project.

I have returned Quilter's Apprentice to the library and checked out Round Robin. I have not spent any time in the quilting room this week, but sure have been enjoying some quiet time in the evenings reading after the girls have gone to bed.

The family and I are heading up the the Farm this weekend; it's been months since we've been up North! I plan to take many of my quilts up with me that are still in need of hand-sewing the connector strip on the back. I also have to finish typing up the directions/lessons for Steppin' Out for the advanced beginners course I'm offering in a few weeks.

Enjoy your weekend!
Happy Thursday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jennifer Chiaverini: The Quilter's Apprentice

Last night, after picking the girls up from daycare, I thought it would be enjoyable to visit the Public Library. I made it a "special" visit for Cassie and allowed her to sign up for her OWN Library Card. She was overjoyed! While Caitlyn and Candace were coloring away in the Children's section, and Cassie was browsing over the Children's DVD selection, I actually meandered over to the Adult Fiction (which I RARELY EVER do because I usually have to keep a keen eye on Candace.)
And now I MUST many of you have heard of (even read???) any of Jennifer Chiaverini's novels? I have never heard of her or her books, and there were.........a good DOZEN on the shelf. I didn't have a lot of time to look over the selections, but I wanted to believe that I chose a "Book 1" title out of all that were there (I only assumed this because there weren't any other titles listed in the front pages like some of the other books had.)

A few hours soaking in the hot tub last night, and a couple of hours relaxing in the glider tonight, the book has been read cover-to-cover. And, I was THRILLED to find this link listed at the end of the story: Elm Creek Books....
There are so many novels listed! I find myself wondering if Angela's (SoScrappy) Elm Creek Quilt was inspired by one of the novels???? Angela?

So...who can fill me in? What is the "first" book that I should read and is this a series that needs to be read in order? If so, what is that order?

I will admit that I am a Generation-2000 quilter; machine piecing, machine quilting, and heck, I even have become good at machine sewing the binding on. A few of you have shared comments that you enjoy the "quiet" time of hand-sewing the binding on; a time to reflect before taking on a new project. I wasn't biting though........
However, after finishing this novel tonight, I pulled out some of my Grandmother's Work Basket magazines that have a series of "State Blocks." Some of you may remember the story behind finding these magazines and finding some blocks already created by my Grandmother when we were cleaning out her apartment a couple of summers ago. I can't help but feel inspired to accomplish some more blocks "grandma-fashion"; hand-piecing and the whole nine yards. Who knows...perhaps some day I can happily declare that I have made a "true quilt" completely by hand the way my Grandmother used to.......

Sunday, April 26, 2009

This -n- That day...

FIRST!!! To start the post; we are newly-made proud parents..... I really don't know if I ever informed any of you that my DH acquired yet another "Farmer Paul" animal. Last autumn, Cattle-ine joined our family, a pregnant heffer. This morning started with a new member. The picture is not the greatest, but I'm about 150 yards away,'ll do. Paul woke me up at 6:11 wondering if today was Monday or Sunday--UGH! Once I told him Sunday, he went "potty" and then snuggled back in. ME, on the other hand, shheeeesh---now I was wide awake, so....6:22 I finally rolled out of bed. Figured I might as well make use of the morning. Anyway---I peeked outside, and there she was, licking away. I got all excited and told Paul.....he didn't believe me! Come to find out that when he went to the bathroom, she was laying down with no calf, so she literally JUST calfed. The girls are still sleeping, but we both are up, eating muffins I made, drinking coffee, and are waiting patiently to share the news with the girls.

Okay---now to yesterday. I use this word a lot, was a day of "putzing." It started out by working on the March quilt. All blocks were completed in the morning hours and were pieced into three sections. I think this will sit for a bit now while I decide how I want to quilt. I just purchased a new Machine Quilting book that takes me through the "practice" steps of accomplishing beautiful??? quilting.

After the sections were pieced, I came upstairs for a mid-morning snack and grabbed the book. Practicing my quilting sounded like a good plan, so I tore out a page of phone-book paper and traced a rather intriquite (sp?) design. I used an orphan Scrappy Basket block AND I grabbed the basting spray to finally try it out on a smaller-scale project. It worked rather slick! BUT, if you are going to use the "draw-motif-on-paper-and-sew-over-it-before-tearing-it-off method, I recommend to NOT spray the paper to the fabric. That was a PAIN to remove!!!

In addition to buying the quilting book last week, I also bought a whole bolt (25 yards) of white muslin (very nicely woven!!!) for $1.00 a yard! Couldn't go wrong there. Pictured is also a roll of 10 yards of Warm & Natural batting that was on sale for $5.99/yard. I should be set now for awhile :0)

While waiting for lunch to cook, I browsed over some of my online quilting bookmarks, and came across this Cathedral Windows tutorial from some time ago. I was instantly inspired, so I headed downstairs after lunch to give it a try using the new muslin. SLICK! This is FUN! I can foresee this being a larger-scale project in the future, but I think I want some sort of "controlled scrappiness" with the window colors, so this is just a small wall-hanging as a visual reminder for "someday."

Then...I actually was bored with the quilting room. I didn't know what else to work on and really didn't feel like sewing.

Paul was outside with the girls, working on his own version of "putzing." He was preparing the garden for tilling; covering it with some old leaves and compost that has been "brewing" since last year. I joined in the fun......

And this last picture was a surprise on the camera this morning. Last night, Candace and Caitlyn "borrowed" the camera again. Caitlyn snapped the pic of her and Candace; it turned out amazing.

Happy Sunday

Monday, April 20, 2009

Just call me melted butter,

cuz I'm on a roll.....

Steppin' Out saw it's finish tonight. I still have the connector strip to hand-sew to the back, but binding is sewn, and label is on.

On a more somber note,
I am really trying to stay calm right now, but I am literally emotionally and even physically aggitated........
I'm watching the History Channel, and I am just saddened, sickened and just down right appauled, watching "Zero Hour", a documentary on the Columbine Shooting, marking its 10 year anniversary.
The premeditation involved.....just........well...*sigh*....just makes me ask WHY? WHY? WHY?
*shaking head*

Give your children an extra kiss tonight, and a super-tight hug. Let them know you love them and NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING is ever so bad that they can't talk to you!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Busy day; quick post

DH is allowing me to use the computer for only a few moments here because he has some more searching he wants to do before's the whirlwind....

I made all the labels this morning that I listed off last night. I attached the ones in the picture (and Steppin' Out (not pictured)).

I did some more quilting work on Chloe's Colors once the labels were attached. I have decided to allow Chloe to have the quilt, so I wanted to put some nicer finishing touches to complete the quilting.

Then I pulled out Steppin' Out again and putzed, putzed, putzed with quilting. Bada-bing-bada-boom....this baby is NEARLY finished!!! I have border quilting yet to do, but then it's ready for binding. Yes! It's kinda nice and amazing what can all be accomplished when one actually has almost two full days of time designated mainly to sewing/quilting :0)

The last bit of laundry is in the dryer right now; dinner was ABSOLUTELY delicious! (Pork ribs; Texas style (dry rub and baked uncovered for 3 hours...but then I did throw them into the slow cooker for another hour with some homemade BBQ sauce----YUM!!!)

Night all :0)
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

DD -- Done! [[almost]]

This REALLY did come together quite quickly once I sat down and "just did it!" The last few blocks were pieced last Sunday and Monday; recall it was all basted and partially quilted on Monday as well.

This morning, I pulled it out again with hopes to finish it. Quilting consisted of traveling hearts down the length of the pink vertical 1-inch block "lines"; stippling in the light squares, stitch-in-ditch along the edge of each large block; stippling in the borders.

The binding is already completed. I have gotten quite good at sewing the binding to the front, taking time to press it over&around edge, then stitching in the ditch with machine on the front side (which just catches the edge of the binding on the back (rather than hand-sewing to the back---ugh-ugh-ugh!).
However, I still need to hand-sew the connector-strip on the back (the strip that pieced the two quilted sections together).

I have a few quilts now awaiting labels, so maybe I'll make that a task for tomorrow.
-Chloe's Colors
-Andrea's Garden
-Double Delights
-For Baby
-Oklahoma Backroads
-Sevens Shirt (this isn't quilted yet though)
-Steppin' Out (midst of quilting)
-Country Spirit (midst of quilting)

Happy Saturday!

National (online) Quilt Festival; My Favorite Quilt story

Amy from Park City Girl has organized an online Quilt Festival. Join in the fun!

My Favorite Quilt

As many quilters would probably agree, choosing ONE quilt as a favorite is not easy to do. However, my favorite quilt was actually just posted (again) a couple of days ago; it would have to be Caitlyn's Flowers. This quilt was a quilt of many "Firsts." It was my first applique quilt (thank goodness the directions were easy!); it was my first FMQ (in the borders and around the flowers); it was my first "real" binding (where you hand-sew to the back); and it was the first quilt that was made for any of my girls.

Take a moment to join in the fun. Visit Amy's site and share your story :0)

gonna enjoy the weekend.....

It's Saturday morning, and I'm waiting patiently for the coffee to finish brewing and the muffins to finish baking. I was a determined and motivated lady last night: grading ALL of my tests from the day since I was out of the District for a workshop (14-Web Design quizzes, 25-Math 8 tests, 23-Algebra 8 HW-quizzes), prepped for all my classes next week; folded loads-n-loads of laundry that had been stock-piling over the past couple of days; washed and folded a couple other loads; boxed up some of the girls' clothes for GoodWill; boxed up the "better" of the girls' clothes for a friend's little girl; boxed up the clothes that still have TAGS on them to put up on eBay (oh yeah...gotta remember to find some time today to do that). Sure---it was literally midnight when I finally settled down to read a few pages of Breaking Dawn (the 4th book of the Twilight saga--re-reading) before calling it a night.

But now------*sigh*------I have the rest of the weekend to sew and quilt! Nothing (much) hanging over my head (I do have some more prepping I could do on computer for next week, but that won't take much time).

In between loads of laundry last night, I also was downstairs sewing up 24 more Shades of Green blocks. I now have 44 complete and they are laying out on the floor. No pics yet.....but maybe tonight?
So...what's on the agenda? I really should try to finish up the quilting on DD, then piece the 2 sections together, add the borders, and be DONE with it. I could (should) have that finished by the close of the weekend.
I could also work on finishing up the remaining blocks for Shades of Green, or do some more quilting on Steppin' Out. many fun projects all awaiting.....

Okay---muffins just buzzed.
Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another rose; better?

Today, I sat for a few moments, watching Beth's applique tutorial video. Not only did I learn quite a bit from watching it, I also found myself chuckling at some of her humor!

Anyway, tonight, after shipping the girls off to bed, I dashed into town to pick up some washable glue sticks. Then from 8:00 until about 9:30, I cut, glued, sewed (and probably made up some of my own rules on Beth's process) ((**looking around for applique police**)), and completed another rose. It definitely looks different because I didn't use a satin stitch with white thread. Instead, I used a blanket stitch with transparent (nylon) thread.

The left rose is from tonight; the right is from last night. I like the non-stiffness of the left one (my altered Beth-version) versus the fusible-web one on the right. I chose to make the outer petals all light pink to try to eliminate the "see-through" problem (The light pink is VERY light fabric) I had from last night.

When I came upstairs to blog, I asked DH's opinion on my first two roses. And, believe it or not, he gave me some other ideas to try next. One idea: if I stay with the colors tonight (left), he suggested cutting ONE light piece based on the "outer petals" (cutting out the "inside" of it); then cutting a dark pink petal-layer (again cutting out the inside of it), and then layering the top three small petals. This actually sounds like a great idea; it would eliminate quite a bit of cutting & piecing. I could do my altered-Beth-version with that OR use the fusible web. I may have to try both.

This has been a nice learning experience so far for me. I won't make a final decision on whether I like applique until I've tried a few different ways to applique. It's been kinda fun trying/learning something new.

Happy Wednesday

he needed me to add that his suggestion was INGENIOUS!! (and time saving so that I can spend more time with him in the evening instead of hibernating downstairs in the quilting room.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A WIP brought to surface...

Amazingly, I pulled out the DD bits-n-pieces Sunday night and started putzing on some blocks again. After a couple of hours Sunday night, and most of the day off-n-on yesterday, I have the top completed, basted into 2 sections, and about 70% completed with the actual quilting. WOW! That came together fast!

Tonight, rather than quilting on the DD, I printed out the April step of Beth Ferrier's BOM. The first two blocks were easy-piecing! This month-----oh dear-----involves applique. I am NOT an applique'r! I've made one applique quilt (you may remember Caitlyn's Flowers ??? ((pictured below))) Anyway---here is the first attempt at the April Rose block. Ummm.....I defintely have to rethink the placement of the darker/lighter fabrics. (You see the darker pink through the lighter pink?) 28 of these bad boys need to be made. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. This one took me two hours!!!!!

The weather was once again GLORIOUSLY SPRING today! I headed out for my longest run yet.....3 whopping miles. (of course, I walked probably about half of a mile, though---up those lovely hills :0) )

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter, 2009; God's Creatures

The Easter Bunny was organized this year, and choose an individual color for each girl. Candace had blue, and all of her 10 eggs were in plain view.....

Caitlyn's color was green. Most of her eggs were partially hidden.

And Cassie's 10 eggs were yellow; definitely in locations that made her "work" a little for them.....

I had to giggle though! Each girl had one "final" egg that stumped them and couldn't find. Cassie's was hiding in a plant on the stairwell; Caitlyn's was hiding in a little cup on the end-table, and Candace's....well.........can YOU see it???? I played "hot-n-cold" with ALL the girls to help them find it......they stood around this little cart for over a minute until Caitlyn was the first to see it.....

Here is a shot of the baby quilt I whipped out this morning. An appropriate name for this time of year, God's Creatures is finished, and tonight, I hope to attach a label and it'll be shipped off to its new owner tomorrow.

I feel good---having run a bit over 2 miles with little walking today (maybe 300 total meters???; 100 meters at the top of one climb, and then 200 meters for the duration of the last slow climb.)

Okay---girls are hungry, and so am I. I've had a pork roast in the slow-cooker since 11:00 am and it smells Da-lish! I just checked on it before I sat, and it's already falling off the bone. yes!!

Happy Sunday!

Mama bought some new shoes....

I don't know what's more motivating for my running; the beautiful weather outside, or the new pair of shoes for the season ahead! This year, I'm sticking with Asics (bought the Gel-1140's in the color pictured). Tried 'em out with a VERY easy 2 miles yesterday; needing to walk a good half-mile. Whew! I'm actually gearing up to head out again shortly for another easy 2 miles. I think I'll give myself a week of "easy" miles in order to build up my mileage again. But, starting next Sunday, I reallllllly need to get back to some solid (and DEDICATED) training. Julie (running buddy) and I are planning on running a 10K & 5K back-to-back (called the Ultra) coming up in early June, so.....gotta get going!

I finished up a very (VERY) simple baby quilt this morning; I used a baby animal panel, so it went together lickity-split!

Anyway---off to get dressed for a run.....

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Beautiful Saturday!!!

Morning everyone! The day is going to be GLORIOUS! mid 60's, sunny!!!! A perfect day to get outside for some Spring cleaning, which I think is on my hubby's agenda; and I think his plan is to drag everyone out with him. I might go with a small fight, though, because I'm definitely interested in relaxing with some sewing....what else is new, right???

Again, I apologize for the infrequent blogging lately, but I'm sure you all understand how life goes sometimes... Seriously, 4th quarter has come roaring in and I haven't had a moment to breathe!

Caitlyn's birthday last Sunday was much of the same; whirlwind of waking up, eating breakfast and hittin the road for the inlaws (three hours away) to celebrate a Surprise 60th Bday for MIL. Caitlyn's only gift was this fun-looking "bouncy-castle" (oh! and a new armoire from my family). Amazingly, that thing didn't come out of its box until YESTERDAY!!!! at 3:30 PM, no less. I was standing by my words of: "the loft and bedrooms get cleaned before it makes an appearance." Well, mom finally had to intervene yesterday morning at 10:00, otherwise, it never would have gotten done. I delegated; they all picked up; we CLEANED!! And I mean CLEANED! I should get a pic of ALL THE TOYS that we removed; they are all waiting in the entry-way right now to be loaded into my parent's truck to head down to my uncle's house for a garage sale he'll be having in May. The loft is so uncluttered now! Heaven!

I did manage to get two UFO's finished this week! (See, if we all took a week off of blogging, imagine what could be accomplished!!!) :0) The Lake-n-Lodge wall-hanging is already in its new location, above/behind the piano in our living room.

Almost a year from when it started, Oklahoma Backroads has also been finished. I find that I'm a very symmetrical quilter, so I still make an "eh..." face when I look at it. That extra row of blocks just doesn't look quite right,'s done, and colorful, and full of lots of good scraps that remind me of Grandma. I have no plans for it at this point; perhaps I'll donate it to my mother's church???

My parents are up for the holiday weekend, and they brought a basket full of goodies for the girls, including the movie, "Bedtime Stories" with Adam Sandler and Courtney Cox-Arquette (sp?). It brought on a couple moments of giggles from all of us; well worth watching with as a family.

At one point, my mom, DH and myself caught a glimpse of Grandpa, and giggled to ourselves. How can THIS be comfortable?!??!!?

Enjoy your day!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Saturday before a Birthday....

Carol (Cornfield Quilter) is working on some hexagons (I have NO patience to do them!), and she emailed me saying....

I am one of those people that cannot just sit and watch TV. I always have to have something to work on. Life is so short and there are so many different things I want to make so my hands are never idle. Would you call that weird?

Nah...not weird at all Carol!!! I am also one who can't just sit and watch TV, but rather than sew, I usually have the laptop up-n-running.

Today started off well---downstairs for a couple of hours trying to finish off a UFO (Lake-n-Lodge--the March UFO Challenge). yeah....I'm a bit behind-----oh well!

10:00 rolled around, so I headed up to make some brunch for the girls; the next thing I know, I'm cleaning the house!!!!!!!!!! started with a simple tidying of the counter while the toast was baking?.....OH! TOASTING!.....

anyway........ then threw some wet towels into the wash, then threw a couple more loads together, which forced me to gather loose articles from the bathroom, which brought me to scrubbing the toilet (EEEE-WWWWWWWW! it needed it!!!!) cleaning the mirror and counter...sweeping the floor....mopping the floor......headed back to the laundry room/entry way.....shook out the rug cuz I was tired of the loose dirt always clingy to my socks (ya know....where you always need to wipe them off on your pants legs or on the carpet to get them soft again....) then....organized the shoes/boots/sandles.....tidied the counter in there....swept....mopped......headed to the living room, where I made the BIG mistake of sitting for a moment.

Yup---I was done...enough cleaning for a day, but it sure needed it....

I babysat for a couple of hours this afternoon for a friend who had some errands to do; she has a 11month old boy; my girls had fun with a baby around again.

About an hour ago, I headed back downstairs to try to finish up the UFO; all done now except sewing the binding on. Maybe later tonight once the girls are in bed.!!!

Right now, I'm relaxing, waiting for DH to clean up from a day's work. We're off to Pizza Hut and Birthday shopping; Caitlyn (our middle) is 5 tomorrow. She wants a "bouncy castle"----so I've "bribed" her (and the other girls too) to clean up the loft in order for the "Birthday Fairy" to bring a Bouncy Castle. They're upstairs still....but I don't really think much picking-up is occurring; I think it's more like playing.....

okay---shower just turned off.....time to GIT!

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Chloe's Colors with Designer

Here she is; the designer herself. My 8th grade Algebra student, Chloe. She and her mother are dying to know what my plans are with the quilt; fact be known: I have NO idea! I'm toying with the idea of holding it until graduation...... I've thought about raffling it off for some school sponsored event..... I really don't know!

So, I put it out on you......
If you were in my shoes, what would you do???

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My weekly check in...

Hey---I've accepted that if I check in at least once a week, that's okay! So hopefully, you can accept that as well?!?!?!!?? *wink*

Tonight, at LEAST I still have a lick of energy and my day went well and I'm still motivated to do SOMETHING! Quilting is not the "something" I can do, however, because tonight is the FINALS for our Volleyball tournament; we are playing for 1st/2nd at 8:00 pm.

To give you a not-so-detailed run-down since Wednesday......

Thursday----ummm...I THINK I did some sewing/quitling!?!?! Yeah, yeah.....I think I basted up the two sections of Steppin' Out in hopes of accomplishing some quilting Friday night and Saturday morning before heading down to my parent's Saturday evening.

HOWEVER, once Saturday morning rolled around, I worked solely on Chloe's Colors because I really wanted to get that finished by Monday. Monday was the start of a new quarter at school (the LAST quarter----ohhhhh, the end is nearing!!!!)......which meant I got the 8th graders back in my classroom. Recall, my 8th grade students' Quarter 2 Final Project was to design a quilt. Chloe's Colors was the #1 vote-getter by the class, so my goal for the 3rd quarter was to bring it to life. Aside from the struggle of finding the various shades of colors, the quilt was rather simple to piece (obviously??).

The quilting ended up being a loopy-meander in the center "bright" section, with my favorite "swirly-gig" in the 16-blocks. The quilt is currently hanging up in my classroom---it sure brightens up the room!

Sunday was Cassie's 1st Communion, and afterwards, my mother finally coaxed us all into putting the smiles on for a family picture. (It's only been 2 years, after all!) So, here we all are.

Last night, after checking in with some blogs, I HAD to head downstairs as a stress-reliever! Rough day at work, and it was a hard (humbling???) day that I couldn't let go of....

.....Heading down, I had many possibilities in my mind, and I needed to make a decision....
a) Continue working on Steppin' Out and begin quilting now that it's basted ???
b) Work on March quilt ???
c) Tackle one of my "overdue" UFO Challenge quilts??? (Scrappy Baskets (UGH! That one is my achilles heel right now!), Lake -n- Lodge which is already basted up and just needs quilting....or, the newest April Challenge: Oklahoma Backroads, which is completed but needs basting and quilting......

I was SO wanting to see another finish for the month of March, so I decided.....Lake-n-Lodge in hopes that with three hours of working time, I would be able to check it off for a March finish.

Well------nope----not a finish, but it saw some progress. No pics yet, but maybe Saturday????

Shortly, we'll be on our way to Volleyball. Tomorrow night, I have volunteered my athleticism towards our School Staff's Dodgeball team (the PTA has an annual fundraiser during March: March Madnesss: Dodgeball Dellerium). Usually, there is a School Staff team, a team comprised of School students, a team from the Hospital, a Police Team, ......, it's a fun night.

Friday night is open, with the hopes of having some quilting time. Now that I have my Advanced Beginner's Description/Directions written and into the Community Education Coordinator for brochure printing, I am breathing a bit easier. (So, YES LOCAL LADIES!!! There will be a class; Starting May 18th, and every Monday for 5 weeks (not meeting memorial day, rather that Tuesday (26th) is scheduled.))

Happy April Fools Day!
Happy Wednesday