Monday, May 30, 2011

4 hours - 2 finishes (RRCB & RS)

Roll Roll Cottonboll
Resting at its new location - my bed

Raven Stars
In time for the Awards ceremony on Tuesday.

Change of plans; it's raining.

We headed up to the Farm for part of the weekend in order for DH to till up his parent's garden.  The 1.75 hour drive was gloriously beneficial Saturday morning because I was able to grade all of my Math 8 projects!  Which meant--the entire weekend was OPEN FOR BUSINESS in all other areas :0)

I plowed through two romance novels and am now beginning one of the latest Stephen King books:  Duma Key. At one time (end of high-school/early college years), I had nearly the complete collection of all Stephen King books. Huge fan here! And then, one summer after my first few years of teaching, I sold the whole lot at a garage sale. I was ready to pass them along.


we arrived home yesterday afternoon and I dutifully started laundry; cooking dinner and cleaning up the kitchen. We had all intentions of tilling our garden spots one final time before planting it today (Monday).....


The thunder boomers have detoured our plans.


Ya know what that means?!?!?!!?

Roll, Roll, Cottonboll, Here I come! You WILL see a finish today.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Almost done!

Almost done with School!
Almost done with RRCB!
Almost done with Harry Potter!

Not a bad list! And once completed.....then.......***I hope*** watch out quilting world! Amy will be back! :0)

School countdown: 8 days (4 this week; 4 next week).

RRCB count-down: ALMOST there! This has been the LONGEST a quilt has ever been on my frame! :0( But a little bit more time devoted to it this past weekend and the end is in sight---literally :0) See that lil' bit left hanging. I just couldn't do anymore over the weekend with Graduation parties scattered here-n-there. I'm thinking one more "good" hour, though, and I can check off the quilting and MAYBE the binding :0)

But clearly....this "slump" from quilting and other things has come from....

Harry Potter!

It's Harry Potter's fault! I suppose, actually, it's J. K. Rowling's fault! Back on March 4th, I started the series for one reason or another. It was time, I guess. I moved through the first few books rather quickly, then.....they got BIG! And time-consuming!!! Reading those books take easily hours and hours each (umm....20 hours running-time for the Deathly Hallows audiobook, to give you an idea).....that's a lot of time! I've been reading all of them with much of my free evening hours and some weekend hours which doesn't leave a super-lot of time extra.

Well folks...I'm ALMOST done with that too! I simply could not keep my eyes open anymore last night, and I was sooooooo close!! Less than 20 pages left....UGH!  However, TONIGHT I will know Harry's conclusion. I can't wait ;0)

With summer nearing....I took a gander around to see what some of the "Summer To-Do List" tasks were going to be.

Ugh!!! I can't STAND clutter! I HOPE to pull myself away from gardening and quilting long enough to De-Clutter and CLEAN/ORGANIZE the basement (since much of it is designated 'quilting area').
Also, along those lines.... 
ONE FOR-SURE Summer-project: Complete the basement bathroom. Nothing has been started other than a little bit of plumbing.  No flooring.  No fixtures.  No walls.  Kinda like my quilting space last summer.

Ahhh.....a much nicer "non-clutter" picture! I HOPE to make it a daily goal this summer to have the dishes and counter clean and tidy. I am SO bad at doing dishes daily! There are some nights where I simply don't care if they are cleaned or not. **pointing to self** Lazy!

Another FOR-SURE Summer-project (and most likely the FIRST-to-be-done project) is to paint the girls' bedrooms according to their choices. I can foresee next weekend already being when we start and maybe finish this project.

And, of course, we have our ever-growing garden(s) to stay on top of all summer. We have the "main" upper garden that will house most of our veggies. However, my lovely DH has tilled up two additional spots for "extension gardens"; loads of sweet-corn being planned; loads of potatoes; loads of tomatoes for canning. This weekend is Memorial weekend, which is "planting weekend" for many northern Wisconsin and Minnesotan folk :0) However, we will be heading to the farm to help DH's parents with their garden.  BUT,  I have requested to be home Sunday evening so we can work on our own garden on Monday.

So....with 8 days of school left.....summer plans are already on my mind.  I will make it.  I will make it. :0)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Instead of doing what I SHOULD be doing...

...I'm playing around with downloading the Kindle App to my iTouch and browsing through all the free-books at

So, yah......

Blame it on Bonnie's post today.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The reality of it all...

Alrighty then. Reading through blogland, I've noticed many posts saying one of two things....

a) I'm accomplishing TONS


b) I'm on a quilting slump and not completing anything. BUT, have loads of goals...

Yup, Yup. I'm definitely in the latter category.

The sad reality (for me)....
I've finished FOUR quilts this year so far. That's averaging LESS than one a month. HOW can that be???? Oh dear, oh dear. Simply not acceptable.

So, my current reality....I have become less obsessed with my quilting because other life priorities have simply been moved ahead of others. This doesn't mean that I won't EVER get back to my 24-7 quilting mentality. But lately....
  • woodwork (splitting, stacking) has taken my weekends. The good news: it's finished.
  • Harry Potter remains to be my evening past time. With book #7 on my nightstand, he will be leaving me soon.
  • Exhaustion from the rigor of the final weeks of the school year keeps me fairly drained in the evenings.

    And "thinking reality" I took a closer look at my right-side bar listing my WIPs, UFOs, Tops.....
    Hopscotch blocks are done; sashing has already begun
    Buckeye Beauty units are my Leaders-Enders project and are nearing block-completion.
    Maltese Star top is done. Just needs a backing and quilting.
    Roll Roll Cottonboll is on the frame and half completed. (YES, I did spend about 2 hours with it this morning!!!) ;0)
    Raven Stars IS quilted and awaits binding.
    In Flight top is done and has a backing ready. Needs to be quilted.
    Transitions top is done and I recall having set aside a backing for it. Needs quilting.
    Seven Shirts top is done; needs a back and quilting.
    Wafer Cookies top is done; needs a back and quilting.
    Snuggler top is done, needs a back and quilting.

    The  potential future reality.....ONCE I get back into quilting-mode, I ideally could whip out a finish nearly everyday with 8 hours of daily devotion :0)

  • Quilting Pantographs for a Juki98

    The historical day: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 -- IT arrived! ("IT" being my quilting frame.) By Friday, April 23, 2010, I had my first completed quilt with my Juki 98/Grace GMQ-PRO combo.

    I recall my first frustration that week was that the upgraded carriage did NOT come with a stylus of any sort. NOT that I was going to be stopped. I grabbed a pothole looming hook-thingy from Cassie's worktable (she had not used it in MONTHS!), whipped some blue painter's tape around it, and I was set. From what I can tell so far.....the long awaited $50 Laser Style I purchased last week was much overdue. The nicest component of the Grace laser stylus is that I merely have to move the stylus to line up the pantographs RATHER than move the pantograph paper to line up for the next pass. Definitely a good investment to make life easier :0)

    Through my year of quilting with my frame, 96% of my quilts have been quilted with a pantograph rather than free-hand. (Okay, being a math teacher, I MUST inform you that the 96% quote is a rough estimate---there were no calculations done to share an accurate percentage----but I didn't think you'd mind or care) :0)

    Prior to having the frame, I had purchased Golden Thread's Dot-to-Dot quilting book to use with some quilting on the domestic setup. It was manageable but.....well....duh.....the frame makes life SOOO much easier!

    The picture above (showing the jimmied-up stylus) also shows a copy of one of the 4" pantographs in the book. For my first month, I merely made copies of the pantographs available in the book, taped them together after lining them up, and quilted away. Most of my first quilts were smaller crib-sized; the take-up bar never really ended up getting too thick, so even a 5-6" pantograph was possible. However, the larger the quilt, the thicker all the layers become on the take-up bar, which truly reduces the allowable pantograph size.

    My true test of "allowable" pantograph space is actually happening right now. The Roll Roll Cottonboll is HUGE! And I am using a 7" feather pattern on it.


    Yes! Seven! Ya see, this pantograph has a 'top' and a 'bottom' part to it that actually works very nicely from side-to-side. Therefore, each "half" is only 3.5". I should have NO problem completing this quilting with my selection. Smart cookie, huh?

    BUT, for those of you with a smaller harp (8.9" on a Juki98), depending on the size of your quilt, a 6" pantograph will be the maximum. Your safest best is to use a <5" pantograph.

    I have ordered a couple of other pantographs; my favorite being 6" Feather Me. I chose to use this once on a larger quilt (roughly 80x85), SO.......before starting, KNOWING that it may just be too large, I took it to school and made a small reduction to it with the copy machine which brought it to 5". Admitting, it was a putzy process but I love this pantograph for the feminine quilts!

    Most of the pantographs I have acquired were designs I had seen in quilter's blogs. I (try to) include all pantograph information on my completed projects for this reason. I have also spent my fair share of time googling "small quilting pantographs." ;0)

    Naturally, the thought has crossed my mind about upgrading. However, for the hobbiest, I can't see the investment at this time. Instead, I'll play around with the new laser stylus to see how much easier pantographing can become. ;0)

    12:22 pm comment......
    Having a few moments of down-time before taking Cassie to a friend's for a birthday party, I jumped online to see if anyone had updated this AM. Not seeing much to read, I took a moment to re-read my blog post.....

    ".....I grabbed a pothole looming hook-thingy from Cassie's worktable....."

    Hmmm......I wonder exactly what a pothole thingy looks like! LOL.... wonder if it may ruin the wheels on my carriage the way typical potholes ruin wheels on cars....

    OBVIOUSLY I meant....."potholder"

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    A lil' quilting and a whole lotta family

    I read over some blogs this AM, but definitely have not caught myself up completely. I don't know exactly what has been keeping me away; ... "life priorities" (??) I guess??

    So to start, for those of you mainly curious in my quilting's the quilting update.

    Sorry :0(

    Nothing much new to share.

    However, I finally broke down and coughed up $50 to buy a laser stylus for the frame instead of using the jimmy-rigged device I had taped together for the past year. RRCB still awaits on the frame, and I did quilt one more pass to try out the stylus when it arrived this week. I MAY spend some time with it this weekend to finish it up. Dunno.

    Most of my time over the past two weeks (weekends) has been splitting and stacking wood. Recall the "before" pictures from two (COLD and WINDY!) weekends ago (left). Last weekend, Sunday, Cassie and I finished up MOST of the splitting and stacking, minus a few TOO-BIG trunk cuts. By the time we were wrapping up, I didn't have enough energy left to lift these heavy stumps (pictured right), so they'll (hopefully) get finished today with DH's help. The wood pile is 4-stacks deep; I am VERY thankful for Cassie's help last weekend. Oh....and the weather was MUCH nicer :0) Enough to get "some sun" on my face :0)

    Since we had finished up by 4:00, we still had some time (in my mind) to get some work done before completely closing up the weekend workshop. Therefore, Cassie and I transplanted some of the house plants and some of the flowers we had purchased from the FFA Mother's Day sale.

    After Grandma's funeral service last week, the family (with a little push from myself and my sister) stayed in their "good clothes" a bit longer than originally planned in order to get family pictures.

    So, TODAY and this weekend:

    1) Call Brielle to see if she can come over for a play-date with Candace. Goal: one hour of transplanting seedlings to larger containers and then they can play.

    2) Act as DH's assistant as he "putzes" outside with a) fencing blueberry bushes and the strawberry patch; b) cutting more wood logs down to splitting size; c) other.....

    3) Quilt RRCB????? I still dunno. I'm in a bit of a quilting slump as Spring duties are beginning to take precedence. BUT.....THREE MORE WEEKS until Summer vacation. AND, I'd like to have you know....I had NOT started counting until Angela (soscrappy) emailed me the other day to say she was down to "8 days, but not that I (she) was counting....".

    Officially; 14 days left for Shell Lake, WI. NOW, my countdown has begun.

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    In memory...

    Last week, my mother called to let me know that Grandma had passed away. For those of you who have been followers since my blog beginning, you've already heard me talk about Grandma from time to time. She was my last living Grandma and was the one who moved out of her apartment and into a nursing home in 2007; at which time I was gifted all of her quilting supplies and fabric. This was also the time when my quilting moved into a state of obsession, much to do with all the fabric inheritance.

    In 2009, I finished Grandma and Me and gifted it to my parents. My mother brought it out for the wake and funeral and asked me to type up a dedication printout to show along side the quilt.

    In memory...

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    RRCB and more family moments

    This is the LARGEST quilt I've had loaded on my frame to date. Yesterday morning, Roll Roll Cottonboll took an hour to load onto the frame, and I'm not left with much "wiggle room" on the ends.

    I finished up a few passes before heading upstairs to replenish my coffee, and I never made my way back down. It was 11:00 and DH commented that he was going to head outside to cut some logs that had been sitting for a few months (in the way). And for some crazy wacky reason, I thought that sounded like a GREAT way to spend my Sunday afternoon.

    As you can tell by the pictures...we were having LOVELY Spring weather (cough-cough). Cold, Rainy, and Windy! The girls were set up with a small job of picking up wood scraps and placing them into the bucket of the tractor.

    DH was cutting the load of smaller branches into sizable pieces to be given to his father.

    And with Buster, our dog looking on...

    ...I had the station of wood splitting with the hydraulic splitter. Can you see my bunny-ear hat sticking out of my hoodie sweatshirt? Yeah, quite miserable outside, BUT when dressed for the weather AND working on a task, the weather truly wasn't that terrible.

    I wanted to blog all of this last night, but quite honestly.....after five hours of splitting, hauling and stacking.....and a warm dinner of chili....and a cleansing bubble bath......after sitting in the glider, I was OUT COLD in a few moments! POOOOPED out!


    Slight aches and pains today....but all worthwhile.