Saturday, April 30, 2011

Life is still living... all of you who shared motivational and inspirational comments over my past two weeks of quietness, I very much appreciate you all!

Two weeks ago, Cassie's DI (Destination Imagination) team travelled to their State Competition. Although they did not advance to the Global competition in Tennessee, they still did their leader and parents proud by placing 10th of 17 (4th in their Instant Challenge).
There was a LOT of "down-time" during the day, so we spent quite a bit of time in the Museum of Natural History. The girls LOVED this huge Moose mount!

After the museum, we also spent an hour in a Planetarium and learned about some constellations and what "Bad Astronomy" looks like. After a night in a hotel with 16 youth in grades 4 and 5, we didn't hold anything against the team's coach who enjoyed a little shut-eye during the presentation. :0)

Last week for Easter, we visited the farm for the first time since Christmas! It was VERY nice to just get away and curl up guilt-free on the couch and catch up on some Harry Potter reading. I have read my way to book #6, "The Half-Blood Prince".

Grandma and Grandpa (DH's parents) were also at the farm; the girls really do love their grandparents and enjoy Grandpa's bed in the early snuggly morning hours of Easter morning.

With Memorial Day six weeks away (as of last week), we set up our indoor mini-greenhouse. Three trays have been planted with four different varieties of tomatoes and three (or four?) varieties of peppers. After 7 days, some of the seeds have already germinated and broken ground. These will continue to grow in the refuge of the indoor greenhouse until the 2nd week of June.

So finally, after two weeks of simply "living," I have made my way back downstairs to do some quilting. Raven's Stars had been waiting on my frame; is now finished and awaiting binding.

PILES and piles of laundry await; dishes await; and more quilting awaits. However, I will be picking up my book momentarily to continue book #6.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's been a funk!

I have not been happy nor been very much of a happy person to be around lately. I guess the first step of any intervention is admission of the problem, right?

Yup....sadly, I've been the grumpy teacher everyone complains about.....or at least, that's what my perception is. Working wth struggling students it may be an expected by-product, but even my top academic classes.....I've put on my best lessons, but I still feel like I'm a dentist pulling teeth that don't want to be pulled....and my patience has grown very thin, and OUT pops the 'grump.'


I've done the best I can keeping a smile on, but.....there have been a few times over this past week that I wish I could take back. Snap comments (towards students and coworkers); under-the-breath annoyances towards others......and I feel bad because "I know better." Truly!

There are too many evenings where I come home and it's all I can do to put something (ANYTHING) together for dinner before being toast for the evening. Just pooped ambition to do much of anything except crawl up on the couch and read a book. Still working on the Harry Potter series (I've worked up to Book #5).

With help from the girls, I have been doing a load of clothes each evening. I haven't quilted in a couple of weeks, nor will I over this Easter vacation as we are traveling. However, I hope this vacation will revive my laughter and light-heartedness that is really needed to keep education bearable and fun.

So....I'm merely dropping in to wish you all a FABULOUS Easter vacation, and I wanted to give a shout-out to everyone with some explanation of where I've been.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"I'm never riding my bike again!"

That'd be the quote out of Candace's mouth not more than 10 minutes ago!

Red-faced, teary-eyed, and nursing a teenie-tiny scratch with a bag of ice.....goodness! You'd think her arm had broken with the wailing she was doing! **snickery giggle** I'm actually surprised she showed a smile when I grabbed my camera to take a picture of her. That "huge scrape" must not hurt toooo bad.

She is the youngest of the girls to ride a "big girls bike" (without training wheels), AND she's doing GREAT! She....well.....she just hasn't figured out the stopping part yet :0)

Day #3 in a row of B-EE- UUUU-TEEE-FUL weather! Gaa....I've missed this!!! SADLY....back to 40's and possible SNOW this weekend. Ugh :0(

This running thang is hit-n-miss over the past couple of months. BUT....I AM determined....that once the weather stays a consistent "nice," I WILL get into a training program! In fact.....yeah.....I'm off to look at to set up a training schedule for the spring/summer.

Happy Tuesday :0)

Monday, April 11, 2011

A message to all you quilters out there......


Okay...let's see.....we have:

Subee's Lake Cabin quilt. Can't you see that being made from a jelly roll??

Jill's Split Decision (another perfect pattern to use up a jellyroll)

Candace's Paintbox blocks, which is a great reminder of another way to use up a jellyroll

Hmmm....I suppose I could be a bit biased though.....only listing projects that are jelly-roll friendly.......afterall, my two new jellyrolls just arrived in the mail! I couldn't pass up the sale at Green Fairy's Quilts last week. $19.95/ $36.00 anyday!
{{Gotta love Diet Mt. Dew, too!}} ;0)

SOOOOOOOOO many patterns, and WAYYYYYYYY too LITTLE time!!!

Oh! And do you see the sliver of sunshine on the table? Another BEAUTIFUL spring-teaser today! 89 degrees (in direct sunlight) right now.......but more like 60's (maybe 70's???) as the real temps.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hopscotch; Stash Report; Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Hopscotch....I guess I've determined how large I want the center. It's quite amazing how fate works.....I ran out of 4-patches at the completion of 63 blocks, so a 7x9 layout it is. I have plenty of the copper fabric for sashing and may even have enough left over for a final border. For now, it rests.

A few nights this past week, I started sorting and cutting some purple scraps for April's Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I have not counted any of this into my stash report yet.....

Stash Report: April 4 - 10
Used/week: 16.25 yds (Backing for RRCB & Raven Stars; Hopscotch blocks)
Purch/week: 0.0 yds

Used/year: 62.875 yds
Purch/year: 11.0 yds

Net Used: 51.875 yds

To close this post.....I always enjoy glimpsing through pictures after Candace has had the camera. There is what she snapped over the past two days....

Off to eat some late lunch and then head outside. We broke SEVENTY DEGREES TODAY!!!!! Wooooooo :0)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring is here, BUT still loads of ICE too...

DH took Caitlyn and Cassie fishing this morning. Despite the temperatures hitting 50's today (but SADLY dreary gray) and despite the temps becoming more spring-like.....

...there's still LOADS of ice on the lakes for DH and crew to bring home some DELICIOUS fish to eat.

We've invited friends over for a fresh fish dinner tonight (Brian, pictured here in the background, and his girlfriend, Karen). I didn't realize Brian went along until DH sent these pics via his phone. Men! He was supposed to be helping Karen stain a floor today......Typical! Who's here cleaning away? Surely not DH....

I've been able to get some sewing in too----no pics yet. I prepared a backing for Raven Stars and loaded it into the frame. I prepared another backing for Roll Roll Cottonboll and it now awaits the frame. Then, I cut and prepped units for another 12 Hopscotch blocks.

Hope your Saturday is enjoyable!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Too Much Information

Andra had this on her blog, and I had to steal it......

Age: 35
Bed Size: King
Chore You Hate: Dishes, Laundry, Garbage, Sweeping......OH! It's not plural.....oops....
Dogs: Labs that come trained
Essential Start of Your Day: a shower & coffee with French Vanilla creamer and two packs of sweetener
Favorite Color: Purple
Gold or Silver: Gold
Height: 14 inches shorter than my husband ;0) (kinda happens when he's 6'6" and I'm 5'4")
Instruments You Play: Saxophone, flute, violin, clarinet, clangy-bangy-piano :0)
Job Title: 7-12 Math Teacher, Coach, Webmaster and Mom
Kids: 3 girls (10, 7, 5)
Live: Wisconsin
Mom's Name: Janice Marie
Nicknames: Skatts
Overnight Hospital Stays: appendicitis (age 2), dehydration (age 10), alcohol poisoning (age 21---BAD BAD STUPID night!!!), 3 babies :0)
Pet Peeve(s): People who can't communicate and talk behind backs. Just say it like it is.  And other people who think they know it all and don't know when to zip it.
Quote From a Movie: "Are you talking to me?"
Right- or Left-Handed: Left
Siblings: 1 sister, 1 brother
Time You Wake Up: 5:35 (internal clock); 5:50 (alarm clock); 5:55 (1st snooze); 6:00 (2nd snooze), 6:05 (final snooze) :0)
Underwear: nonvisible
Veggie You Dislike: COOKED broccoli (I LOVE raw broccoli, but can't STAND it cooked!)
What Makes You Run Late: I'm NEVER late! (but if I'm am....hubby and daughters are to blame)
X-Rays You Have Had:  left ring finger, right wrist, right ankle
Yummy Food You Make: Scotcharoos (aka: "Grandpa bars")
Zoo Animal You Like Best: Lions and Tigers

Spring IS in the air...

Two days in a row of Spring Softball (and Baseball pictured in the background here). Nothing like having mounds of snow left while the fields are slowly worked back into playable condition. ;0) So for those of you southern belles out there....the northern states are embarking on some Spring...FINALLY!

Our girl's softball team (many of the girls also in Volleyball) have started their season with two opening wins. Yah Lady Lakers! The boys had a scrimmage tonight...

It's SO nice to have Spring slowly making its way into the air! Classroom windows have been opened for the past two days.....SOOOOO nice!

Now....just to wait for the first "lawn-mowing" smell.... ;0)

(({{of course, it isn't safe to say we're done with snow YET! Last year....May 7th was our last day of snow. Although....we had some frost into June.}}))

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Design Wall - Hopscotch

Progress on Hopscotch. Not much more to show you tonight. 30 blocks done; working on sashing for a change of pace. Will make some more blocks though----thinking of going a bit "large" with this quilt. Heaven knows I have enough 1.5" scraps.


Happy Tuesday.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Roll Roll Cottonboll top done; Hopscotch started

Measuring at 95" x 110", Roll Roll Cottonboll top is complete. It's big. Very big. And will be perfect for my our king-size bed. I'm not sold on the 4.5" blue outer border, but I didn't want to stay-stitch around the edge of the quilt in order to pin it to my frame. One thing for sure...I am GLAD I have a frame that will fit this baby! I actually measured the length of my frame---about 125". So, I'll be able to load this sideways to reduce as much bulk as possible on the take-up bar.

Like I said yesterday....a little bit here and a little bit there....and the top just slowly came together. Once those string blocks and the HSTs were complete, it sped up a bit, but still probably the most time-consuming quilt top I've ever made to date.

With some downtime last night, I pulled out Bonnie's Adventures with Leaders and Enders book to see if there was a perfect pattern for the 4-patches I tidied yesterday. Sure enough....

So, I started pulling scraps from my 1.5" box. {{The pattern calls for 2" strips, but I modified it to fit the smaller 4-patches I had pieced.}} These blocks will finish at 6", and I don't have any preset notion of how large I'll make this quilt. I don't have any yellow/cheddar/orange as suggested in Bonnie's pattern, but I have had this copper fabric in my stash for over a year. I think it may be the ticket; definitely will be ideal for a boy/male/gentleman's quilt.

I haven't included any numbers of these blocks into my stash report yet. I'll wait until I have all the blocks pieced. But, I did add a bit (removed a bit) due to adding the borders to RRCB and the baby quilt I pieced last week.

Stash Report: March 21 - April 3
Used/week: 3.875 yds
Purch/week: 0.0 yds

Used/year: 46.625 yds
Purch/year: 11.0 yds

Net Used: 35.625 yds

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

RRCB and family moments

Bit by bit, I'm amazed at how Roll Roll Cottonboll is coming together! I have one seam remaining in order to have the top center completely pieced, but lunch was past due and then an afternoon nap simply was too irresistible to pass up, so I haven't gotten back down to finish it up.

I actually started the day tidying up the sewing room a little bit; clearing the dust and sorting through my box of 1.5" squares; twosies and 4-patches...

The twosies I had pieced over the past year here-n-there were pressed and set up next to my machine to just "be there" as needed.

As I pieced the RRCB rows together, I was able to add a few more 4-patches to my box. No plans for these so far, but maybe I'll need to look through Bonnie's books to see if there would be a perfect pattern to use them up in.

To all of you who posted suggestions about my struggling student situation, I appreciate it. Through a few different changes, classroom life was quite bearable and enjoyable Thursday and Friday. A newly formed seating chart helped.....and my overall attitude and patience also helped.

I received some shocking and saddening news on Thursday. A classmate passed away unexpectantly while on the operating table earlier this week. I haven't seen her in many years, but we hung around together in a small click of friends while going through high school. She married her high school sweetheart, Andy; also a "bud" of the click of friends.

The news was completely shocking. The news was completely saddening. And as I read over her Facebook page posts Thursday evening, my heart just began aching and the tears started flowing. Life is precious. I have so much empathy for Andy and simply don't like imagining what a life-altering change this week has been for him and their two beautiful young children.

That family was enjoyed! I hugged my children! I kissed my husband. I said "I love you" over and over. We laughed and enjoyed every moment we had together before bed time. And once bedtime came, I hugged them extra tight and said even more "I love you's."

It's so easy to get caught up in the daily grind and allow little things annoy you.....

but I have been reminded in the most saddening way this week what truly is important.