Saturday, May 30, 2009

What day is it???

I figured I had better at least stop in for a quick hello out to the blogging world!

Volleyball is all finally at ease---and I'm looking forward to the first couple of practices to prepare for the summer HS league.

School is on the wind-down stage with reviews planned on Monday, Reward Day of roller-skating on Tuesday, finals on Wednesday, and a wrap-up movie on Thursday. Friday is the last day for kids with dismissal at noon, and staff check-out begins at 1:00. I have no intentions of being able to leave much before I need to pick up the girls from daycare by 4:00---in fact, I expect to come back to the classroom after picking them up. My room needs to be completely spotless and picked up because it is scheduled for new carpeting right away the following Monday. Yah and ugh at the same time.

Quilting has been completely NOT in my life for the past three weeks! Any and all free-time has been taken over by the garden; planting it, prepping it, watering it, etc.

Yesterday at 4:15 pm, I recieved a call from my MIL which then prompted me into a last-minute decision of taking the girls up to the farm. By 8:00, we were rolling into the driveway. BOTH sets of grandparents are up here right now since my parents were taking a some vacation time to travel in the northern parts of the state. So...MIL and I are actually tracing and cutting out pieces for the Double Wedding Ring we are teaming up to make for the family friend getting married at the beginning of August. This is the first my hands have touched fabric in weeks!!!

So---there ya go folks. I am predicting you won't hear much from me again over the next week; but I know you will all be okay with that.

The end is near, but to be honest, I really am not counting the days. Sadly, I sat and looked at the calendar for the summer schedule, and THIS SUMMER is truly almost, gone before it starts! So much on the calendar this summer! Summer school, VBS, Volleyball league, races, time with family, three weeks of professional development, and "school-mode" starts back up for me by the 2nd week of August!


all is good though...
the sun is shining
family is healthy

Happy Saturday

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What is sanity, after all?

Sanity considered as a legal term denotes that an individual is of sound mind and therefore can bear legal responsibility for his or her actions. A theory of sanity was proposed by Alfred Korzybski : he believed that sanity was tied to the structural fit or lack of it between our reactions to the world and what is actually going on in the world. (definitions courtesy of Wikipedia)

So, as I sit here, trying to get a grasp on everything that has been happening over the past couple of weeks, and all that needs to happen within the next two weeks, I must ask myself "Have I met Korzybski's definition?"

As I ramble on tonight, feel free to tune me out at anytime. There will be no quilting discussed, unless it comes as a by-product of attempting to bring myself back to some solid structure of sanity. The ramblings tonight serve one purpose: to get my mind structured and organized and feeling a bit more confident that things really aren't as bad as what my mind is perceiving things to be.

I have found myself sitting lately, frozen by the feeling of being overwhelmed, and unable to be productive because of these stressful feelings. I know I have a mounting pile of tasks; but I truly am feeling that the mountain is about ready to erupt.
I have had moments of accomplishments, only to find that things have been half-finished; or I've become busy with some other task and left other things sitting, left to be forgotten. ONLY to come back to those "forgotten" things minutes/hours later, and then I am right back to the overwhelmingness feelings. A spiral that is frustratingly NOT coming to an end.

So.....first, my list......WHAT must be done within the next day?
**a moment of panic, because my brain has shut down! It can't prioritize!! Ahhhhhhhhh!**
Okay....breathe, breathe......
Okay----something small and simple: Must have coaches meeting at 7:45 to help Marching Band instructor plan rehearsals in August. Okay...check.
Next, teach 1st hour Web Design (students working on projects, so I should have some time to work on grading their projects). Okay...check. 2nd and 3rd hour bring Algebra and Math 8; both classes will have daily tasks that are already set and established. okay...check. Then....PREP time! Holy buckets---what to do first?!?!??!?! (((***no, no...don't panic---**)))
  • Professional Development Team minutes must be finalized and given to Chair person.
  • JV Volleyball summer league information needs to be typed up and copies before the 2:50 meeting
  • Math 8 assessments need to be graded (holy cow! That'll take close to three hours!!! Must find Nikki (student aid) to help me out)
  • Awards for JH Awards Program need to be made. Okay...well....the program isn't until next Tuesday, so this may need to wait until Thursday's PREP time.
  • ah of the most dreaded...make a decision regarding Varsity Badger State tournament: do I support this or not? This has been my most dreaded decision as of lately. I have two girls really pushing the others into signing the "team" up, but.....well, to be matter of fact, there isn't a team yet. Yeah.....there's another "con" about not signing up. (I have been typing up a Pros vs. Cons list of why to or not to sign the "not-really-existent" varsity team up for Badger State Volleyball Tournament at the end of June. Only a handful of solid, varsity players are returning; we lost quite a few athletes to graduation. Of the girls that are potential, no one has stepped foot on a varsity level court, and I bottom-line don't want any ugliness to happen prior to season starting.)) We all know what can happen to a "squad" of girls, that have never played together before, and when two of them feel they "run the show." Ummm....UGH! I just don't like it! By my ramblings here, it seems that I've made my decision already; I do not support the choice of the "team" to compete at Badger State. In addition to any "cat-fights" that could go on, rumors have already been started that some girls have some "not-so-good-for-the-team" intentions (ie: alcoholic drinking). Ugh! JUST NOT what is needed going into a season where every girl has an important part on the court; however, every girl can also be replaceable.

    On a somewhat related, but not related note......much needed decision-making and communication is not being handled positively by some staff at the JH level (and even HS level). We are struggling in a few areas simply because communication hasn't been so straight-forward by the administration and/or other parties involved at the school. Summer school is right around the corner; staff have had their student-recommendations in for over a month, but today was the first that we've heard that any action is being taken. I've kind of lost track of other concerns I had in regards to commmunication (lack of communication) because I've simply gone to the mind-set "to each their own" and "fend for yourself." This 2nd attitude has quite possibly put me at the brunt of much "hallway gossip" because I think I've been sticking my nose in to some places it doesn't belong, BUT......Well......THEN COMMUNICATE WITH US ALREADY! (calm....calm....calm down.......)

    And then...there's the not-so-prioritized tasks that are so remotely listed at items #29 and #30 that I wonder if I'll ever get to them........the School's website is in need of updates-----tsha! Let's find THAT time, shall we??? And who needs supplies for next school year? I must not because finding time to get some lists together via catalogs isn't even on the radar screen yet. I suppose I could also try to clone myself 5 different times, but sadly I fear that my life would get even crazier (you've all seen Multiplicity right???) does this post leave me?

    1) Vented
    2) At least a bit more decisive regarding the Badger State Vball tournament
    3) confirmed that in order to things to happen, we need the "movers and shakers" of this world.

    Well folks, Watch me shake......

    final note: no sympathy comments needed---really. I just needed to journal tonight and get some of my thoughts in writing. Tomorrow, I'm sure I'll come back and have some different view-points on things I shared tonight; and I may decide to delete this post altogether for fear that it could be misinterpretted in the wrong hands.....

    Happy Tuesday going out to you!
  • Thursday, May 14, 2009

    MId-May; quiet on completions!

    I was just sifting through my WIP and UFO list, and realized.......holy buckets! It's the middle of May, and I can't foresee any finishes anytime soon! **shrug**

    Oh well.....

    School and spring weather are keeping me busy

    On Sunday, I did manage to sort through a bag of scraps I purchased at the little Quilt Shop I stopped at on the way home from the Math Convention last week. I also started rummaging through the boxes I obtained from my mother. (She and Dad went to an auction where she purchased 10 boxes of fabric for $6.00!) As I was sorting through all the scraps, I started cutting them into logs for a scrappy (NO CONTROL!) log cabin. That actually was a fun day! There were lots of reproductions in the boxes and the scrap bag. There were also some glorious "antiques" in the boxes! I shouldn't need to buy any fabric for a LONG time now! *chuckle*.......yeah....sure.......

    Happy Thursday

    Saturday, May 9, 2009

    Double Wedding Ring attempt

    Hey everyone---back in blog land after a SUPERB Math Convention Wednesday-Thursday! On the trip down, I spent most of it on the phone! Seriously----I don't think I've put that many minutes on my phone in an entire MONTH before; I talked to Julie (running buddy), Jen (sis), Mom, MIL, SIL/BIL. The most exciting conversation was with my MIL, by far! She threw the idea my way of making a quilt for a couple that are friends of the family (my husband's namesake's son---if you can follow that one). Anyway---so for the rest of the trip (there was about half an hour remaining), I started going through popular "wedding" patterns in my mind. I kept coming back to the Double Wedding Ring; at least until I would be able to sit and search the web for some ideas.

    Well, on the way back from my convention yesterday, I stopped by this adorable little quilt shop that I uncovered LAST year at the convention. I chit-chatted with the lady for a while, and I brought up the Double Wedding Ring idea. She pulled out a small wall-hanging that she had created, using her own technique which involved appliqueing the "ring" onto the backing. Golly! That seemed much easier than sewing so many curved, I purchased a wall-hanging kit in the "earthy" colors that would look great in MY bedroom! I arrived home a bit too late to really get down to my sewing room for a long amount of time, but it was enough to open up the kit, organize pieces, and sew the "rings" together.

    Then, this morning, by 7:30, I was back downstairs sewing away. Her method asked for turning under the seams and basting them with a running stitch before appliqueing to the backing fabric. Well----I tried that.....and stopped after about 1/4 of one ring seam. Ummm....NOT having much success with THAT method! So, I scuffled through some of grandma's "goodies" and came across this "Quilter's tape," which is 1/4" wide Heat-n-Bond strips. Cool! I gave it a try. I did up two rings, and wasn't having TOO bad of a time, but was putzy, and the strips weren't fusing the seams under in all spots. :0(
    THEN---I eyed my glue stick in the corner of the room (still waiting patiently for me to take up the April BOM roses again...) So, I ran a swipe of glue along one edge and started "gluing" the seam under. WORKED LIKE A CHARM!!! In no time, I was getting the hang of working the seams and glue together, and they were ready for appliqueing.

    Then came the "which stitch do I use" debate. I finally decided on a Blind-Hem stitch, set at 1.4 length.
    So, after lunch, my day consisted of:
  • appliqueing all the rings
  • sewing on the corner triangles (which create the "square" at the end of the rings)
  • sewing the rows
  • pin-basting the sandwich
  • and I even quilted an outline stitch in all of the rings and the "squares."

    Here is the current state. I will need to quilt some motif or another tomorrow in the backgrounds, but haven't found exactly what I want yet....
    It's not a "true and genuine" Double Wedding Ring, but it still represents the interlocking rings that represent the original historical purpose intended: joining together.

    Hmpf....I just took a quick moment to google "history of Double Wedding Ring," and read this....
    Originally, the DWR was not only pieced, but the rings were appliqued in place on a background fabric. Many of today's DWR designer use techniques like strip-piecing and paper foundation piecing, as well as see-through templates and fusibles, to minimize the tedium of cutting out all those little wedges.

    found here (History of the Double Wedding Ring)

    So....*shrug*. I like that many of us just "accept" design variations and are okay with them. I like this method. HOWEVER, I don't know IF this will be the design I make for the wedding quilt, after all. It was fun, and I will love seeing this completed and hanging in our bedroom. (OR, I may even gift it as a wall-hanging to them???). BUT, I didn't need to cut all those pieces; they came precut in the kit! Cutting all those pieces alone would take a month! The wedding is the first weekend in August.

    Instead......I want to play around with this quilt idea too....A Lover's Knot quilt. I can see going "scrappy" with lights and greens, and/or lights and browns. They are earth-nature-dwelling individuals, so rich hunter greens and browns would "fit" them. I can't wait to play tomorrow with that idea.....

    On a different note, these lovely flannels were hauled out of my hidden stash cabinet two weekends ago, and I started cutting up 4.5" strips, into 4.5" inch blocks, into 3.5" finished rag blocks for some Baby Rag Quilts to be donated to my mother's church. TIP: DON'T CUT BLOCKS THIS SMALL! Just my opinion right now---the quilt seems so stiff because of all the seams. The next one I make, I will cut to 6.5" (5.5" finished). I think that size will make the quilt a bit more flexible. to relax in the tub. A good soak sounds so relaxing right now, doesn't it? Turning the jets on, lay back with the latest book (still reading "Round Robin" by Jennifer Chiaverini). Yeah....that's the ticket!
    Happy Saturday
  • Monday, May 4, 2009

    No title fits this post :0)

    First, I need to forewarn those of you who ONLY think this is a quilting blog (due to comment left a few days ago)----
    Yes, this is primarily a quilting blog, but the title is called "Amy's PassionS" (plural). Running and my family are also important passions in my life, so beware as you read........

    The weekend at the Farm was relaxing; a little bit of grading accomplished, three quilts completely checked off the list by sewing on the Back connnector-strip (Double Delight for Nikki's Graduation, Chloe's Colors to be gifted to Chloe at the end of the month, Steppin' Out just for me for now and to be used as a class demo.) I also started clipping seam allowances on two baby rag quilts that I whipped out last weekend-----oh yeah, I haven't blogged about them yet. Pics to come once I finish them up. They will be given to my mother's church as donations to the Baptismal chests. (Cute adorable cedar chests that are given to families when babies are baptised----ADORABLE! We have three; one for each of the girls; PERFECT way to collect memorabilia through the years).

    I sewed up another Rolling Rock block last night; 2 down, 11 more to go. Then (Yes, Angela--to answer your question:) somehow they get appliqued to backing fabric, add some sashing, borders...and just like that (**snapping fingers**), you have a finished quilt. PSHT! Yea, if only it were that easy! IF it was, then it wouldn't currently be considered a UFO, huh?????

    It's going to be quiet from me for a while; I have Parent-Teacher conferences tomorrow evening, then will be heading out of town for a Math Convention Wednesday - Friday.

    We (family) have ambitions of working on prepping the garden this weekend and planting a few things. The "big" weekend for planting this far North is Memorial Weekend, BUT there are a few things that are safe to plant since they are cooler-weather plants (ie: potatoes, onions, sweet corn, to name a few). Calidore had asked how big our garden was since DH used a tractor to till it up.....'s big enough to bring in the heavy machinery in the Spring rather than hand-tilling for hours and hours and hours. Does that satisfy your question Calidore? **chuckle** Golly, I don't know. Estimating........ 30 meters x 10 meters (Americans, guesstimate the equivalency by substituting a yard for a meter -- ALMOST the same size). Then we (DH) also tilled up a new "plot" this past week so we can plant LOTS and LOTS of sweet corn. That section is currently about the same size as our entire garden, and it's solely going to be corn. (I don't know if DH plans to make it bigger.) We live on 10 acres (4 wooded), so we have the land to play around with. Rather than having a HUGE lawn, it's nice to have some produce being produced by our own sweat (cheesy grin at the 'ol timers talk). Yup---it's official, I now talk like my father when it comes to taking pride in what we can create with a little bit of blood, sweat, and tears.....

    Okay folks---DH wants my assistance at the kitchen table cutting up some potatoes.......
    Happy Monday and have a great week!