Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Barbie Bungee [now with pictures]

So, what do a class full of AP-Statistics teachers do during these workshops, you may wonder.....

We turn Barbie into a thrill-ride seeker! Statistical (and Algebraic) methods were used to determine the relationship between the number of rubberbands used in relation to the distance Barbie bungee'd; all initial data was collected in the classroom, using a maximum of 5 rubberbands, and of course....a Barbie. Some "statistics-magic" was performed to find the optimal relationship (equation) in order to predict for the ULTIMATE THRILL RIDE EVENT: The BIG plunge of 199 inches (the distance measured in the hall's stairwell).

My team did not kill Barbie, (yay!) and had her come within a foot of the floor. However, one team had their Barbie's hair actually brush the floor, but never hitting her head, and therefore were deemed Most Thrilling by Barbie.

To wrap up the project, we held a Barbie-n-Friends Bungee Party :0)

Yeah...I can see this being a definite lesson to use with my AP-Stats kids; I THINK they'd be mature enough to play with Barbie for a day :0)

Okay....onward to Day 3.
Happy Wednesday.

{{pictures from phone; hence the poor quality}}

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

From my hotel room - Day 2

I have a few minutes to drop a quick line....

I don't know how Bonnie does this week after week, penned up in hotels.....BLAH!

But at least there's a coffee pot (CUTEST little single-cup machine) :0)

A few of us staying at the same hotel ventured out last night once we realized how close the college was to our hotel. We wanted to walk the route and gauge the time it took so that we could walk back/forth everyday instead of drive or take the shuttle. 1.6 miles on way; DUH! Great opportunity to walk, right??? On the way back, we slowed our pace, strolling along to take in the atmosphere of the University of Minnesota and found this amazing Italian Pizza joint---AMAZING flavor!

Naturally I brought a couple of quilty projects along to pass my time in the evenings. Pictured already neat-n-tidy here is my stack of Smith Mountain Morning units that I'm cutting out and also preparing strips for the Quiltville Swap exchange. I've tackled quite of bit of putzy scrap cutting for this quilt (the fabs NOT being swapped because I have NO idea where they came from).

Anyhoo----nothing too exciting so far in my AP-Statistics workshop; much of day one was a review of the "easier" statistic ideas, BUT still worthwhile just to get a list of other Stats teachers in the kinda-sorta vicinity (we have teachers from ALL over MN, WI and even Iowa.)

Happy Tuesday everyone.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

First long run [2011 Running]

Yeah, I started my day off right and laced up the shoes. After sipping my coffee while posting earlier, I gained enough "awake-ness" to mentally be ready for my first long-run of the season; mind you, it was only (just shy of) 5 miles, which 'back-in-the-day' was an EZ Thursday mileage run.

Weather was really quite picture-perfect; 66/69 (begin/end) temperatures, slightly cloudy, and a 12 mph NW wind. I hit every direction with this run because I have two intersecting roads 200M from my house; one is a 3.0 mile out-n-back hilly course, and the other is a 1.8 mile out-n-back..also hilly course. I can't really run near my house and NOT run hills, kinda good and kinda bad. There are times (like today) where I was to just run a simple, easy long run, but those hills poop me out and I end up walking more than I'd like. The PRO is that my legs will eventually be trained to handle them, so a flat race-course will be EZ-peasy.

Our closest neighbor, who is the gentleman we purchased our land from, was out with his mower, so I stopped to give Buster, the BEST dog in the WHOLE WORLD, a little pat before continuing on my way. At the first turnaround, there is a LONG hill that is great on the way out; NOT so great on the way back as it's the climb. So, I walked. Right before connecting with the 2nd road's course, there is a loooonnnnng, steady climb where I walked quite a bit again. And then....FULL head wind once I turned onto my other road, there was quite a bit of walking on that segment (9:09 "lap" time), so there were NO excuses after that turn around; I needed to run with the wind at my back, except for a little walk at Wabrowetz's hill. The running made the return "lap" time hit 8:18...much better.

My final 200 M back to the house, I really listened to my body; here's what it said:
after a full week of being back to training......
My legs felt really good; no lactic acid burn--they didn't feel 'heavy'--add some weights to my off-days, and my legs will shape up nicely to carry my body along. Mind you, losing a few more "excess" pounds will also make my legs' job easier.
My heart, on the other hand, still needs quite a bit of training. I'd like to run a flat training run to see how my heart would do, but I'm hitting too high of heartrate percentages for my EZ and Long runs. My long runs really need to be in the 80%'s, but as the graph shows, when running, I was in the 90's quite a walking brought the heartrate back down, but.....that's not the point. My heart needs training and LOTS of it to get back in shape and ready for this half-marathon in 7 weeks.

OH! And my run today put me past my TOTAL mileage from last year; definitely happy 'bout that! In another month, I should surpass my total from the last two years TOGETHER! :0)

If you are walking or running or exercising in your own way, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!! Your body will thank you eventually :0)

Pictureless catch-up post

Good morning and Happy BEAUTIFUL Sunday morning to all of you.

It's been a bit quiet around the Amy's Passions blog the last few days; I've been intermixing some traveling with cleaning, but am now back home for a day before needing to travel out again.

Last Thursday, I needed to drive to my parent's house (135-ish miles away) so that I could "deliver" my girls. I have an AP-Statistics class scheduled this next week and will be staying at a hotel, so I needed to work out the summer-bargain with my mom and sister to watch the girls (just like they've done in summers passed.) The girls LOVE these weeks and I'm very thankful my mom and sister are willing and able to take them on for these workshop weeks I have scattered here-n-there. This summer, I ONLY have this one on the definite calendar; however, there is another that I may be guilted into come August. We'll see....

I digressed.

So, while waiting for the few loads of laundry on Thursday in order to pack the girls for their week outing, I found myself cleaning out/organizing my closet, Candace and Caitlyn's sock drawers, ...... By the time all the packing/cleaning/organizing was complete, my closet now has a visible floor, I can now see all of my sweatshirts and t-shirts (my staple summer shirt of choice) since they are neatly folded/stacked, the girls' sock drawers now only consist of socks and underpants that fit (and have no holes), and I had about 15 boxes/bags of donations stacked in the entry-way that Paul (thankfully) volunteered to deliver to the local "goodwill-like" store.

When Cassie came to peer into my closet and I showed her my stack of all of my race t-shirts, she said "wow, that's a lot." {{LOL}}. Yup. It was the biggest stack by far! And then, when Paul came to see the stack, he (of course) had to comment....."now, assume that each of those was a minimum of $10.00.......hmm......{{I don't like where you're going here Paul}}.....BUT, also, think of all the mileage racked up from that stack. {{That's a better thought!}}"

BUT, all packed up, we were on the road with a quick Library stop to renew some books and to check out a book-on-CD for me for the drive. Friday consisted of an all-day garage sale and shopping spree day. I stopped at Hancock fabrics and the local quilt shop to pick up some Browns and Blues for the QuiltvilleSwap (yahoo group) swap being planned to make Bonnie's Smith Mountain Morning quilt from her newest book. There's plenty of time in case you want to join! I have DEEPLY fallen in love with this quilt!!!! Just follow the link to join the group. We are swapping half-strips (5 browns/5 blues to a set) in sizes 4 1/4" (for those using Triangulations?), and 1 1/2". There is also another signup for the 2" (unfinished) blue/brown HSTs (2 to a set). Deadline is August (15th, I think?). Plenty of time since they are only strips!!!! No sewing to do for the swap, unless you're making the HSTs.

Again, I digressed.

I came away with four great men's shirts from one moving sale; each $0.50, and they match! mom saw me placing the shirts next to each other as I made my way around the rack, and she commented...."quilt idea?" She's getting to know me better now :0) (HI MOM! She's been keeping up with my life by reading my blog lately) The colors were reds and whites. I plan to cut them up this week during my down-time in the hotel.

My visit to my parent's was short; After hugs-n-kissed to the girls {{and all the reminders of 'stranger-safety' (pushed by Paul after having a bad dream)}} I arrived back home yesterday afternoon and immediately (after unpacking) headed to the garden to do some weeding around the tomato plants. It's been SUCH a cold June; EVERYTHING is behind up here in Wisconsin; crops and gardens alike. BUT, the tomato plants are finally taking off; everything else we seed-planted is slowly coming out of the ground (beans, cucumbers, onions, peas, peppers, dill, basil, mint, pak choy, lettuce, potatoes, squash, watermelon, carrots, kolorabi (sp?), corn) and the purchased broccoli and cabbage plants are also doing real well!

Now that I've caught up on emails and blogs, I'm not sure exactly what I'll do today. I need to take time to organize a project or two to work on for the hotel-evening downtime; the garden needs more attention today, and then I also have to pack up for my week; verify driving directions and final alternate routes since I received an email that construction is heavy near the college right now.

Anyway....happy Sunday!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rolling Star

The Rolling Star pattern is in the September 2005 Quilter's Newsletter. I searched and searched and can't find any back issue links to share with you for those interested in having the pattern/magazine :0( I have no problem scanning in the few pages I have and sharing them, but.....I don't want to hinder and violate any copyright laws.

Through my googling, I came across Lee Fowler's website; she is the quilt maker and she has an email link. Maybe that is a place to start????

When I worked on the blocks this morning, I grabbed the camera to give a step-by-step of how I have been appliqueing these onto the foundation fabric (NOT following the pattern's suggested method)

When I traced these pieces out back in 2007, I marked the 1/4 sewing line because (at the time) I wasn't sure if I was going to hand-piece the blocks as suggested by the pattern. OMGoodness! It's already nearing FOUR years; I can't imagine how long this would have taken me if I was to HAND-piece.

Using the washable (purple-fade-away) Elmer's gluestick, I just dab-dab-dab away along the seam.

And then fold over the seam allowance. My hands get a bit goo'd up, but I keep a small damp rag nearby to clean off my hands as needed.

I usually take my glued-folded-seams block to the ironing board and press from the right side. And once I center it onto the foundation fabric, I put a dab of glue onto it as well, to keep the pieces together. NO PINNING FOR ME.

My PRIZED possession since the summer of 2008 (HEY, I should check out when my machine arrived! I must be nearing the 3rd anniversary!).....anyway......since the summer of 2008, I have been piecing solely with my Bernina 440, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. When I took a machine for a test-drive before buying, the shop owner walked me through some different tricks-n-tips. Here is one she shared using Foot #20 and the Blanket stitch (#45). Move the needle all the way to the right; the inner-right-edge of the foot then becomes a guide for the applique unit. The programmed stitch-width for the blanket stitch is a bit too small for me, so I increased it to 2.9; FYI.

ALLLLL thirteen blocks have now been appliqued. DUH! Didn't even think of taking a picture of them. I think that's because I jumped right into the next step, which is making the sashing units and the 9-patch corner stones.

I dug through my 1.5" scrap bin to see what I may still have hiding in there of Grandma's ol' vintage 80's fabrics.

When those run out, this is what I have remaining of her fabrics; plenty to finish the sashing and outer border.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hill workout [2011 Running]

I haven't filled all of ya in about my latest motivational kick in the keester!
On Saturday, my sister-in-law Bethann sent me a text wondering if I was serious about running the Paavo Nurmi Marathon Relay. We spoke about this a few weeks ago, shortly after she finished her FIRST HALF-MARATHON! Yeah Bethann! She's picked up running this year and is hooked, but needs some "push" herself to stay running through the summer. I understand COMPLETELY! Soooo....we committed to running the Marathon-relay, set for August 13th, eight weeks away. PLENTY (??) of time for me to get my butt back in running shape ((literally!))

Some of you may recall the last time I ran this with my previous running partner, Julie. (2008 Paavo Nurmi Marathon-relay recap)

I ran (more like run/walk/walk/run/walk/jog/run/walk/walk) ;0) Saturday evening and again Sunday evening. Cassie joined me on Sunday and handled the first 1.5 miles really well, but then was pretty much done, so I ran some "loops" away from her and back, working on some intervals. It worked; I can improvise AND still keep Cassie motivated to run.

Yesterday, took the day off of running, but did get an upper-body workout in (remember the 2-hour paint-off-carpet scrubbing???) ;0).

At 5:00 today, I headed outside with intentions of doing my first real miles in YEARS!! Goal: 5 miles.
Hmpf! It was WINDY! A strong, gusty, easterly wind. Therefore, I ran my north/south out-n-back road, which is only 1.8 miles, but has a great 200M hill smack-dab in the middle of it. Hence, today's run turned into a hill workout. A bit over a mile warmup, then 4 x 200M hill climb/jog down, and finished with the final half mile back to the house.

If you are a graph person, here's my run today. Those hills sure took my heart-rate up (and OVER) its max. Good thing I wore my Runner-ID bracelet in the event I keeled over on the side of the road! (Legend: Purple = Heartrate %; Gray = Elevation)

As usual, it's sheer will-power and discipline to get my butt going, but once I do....I feel wonderful once finished. More's crazy, really!

Eating healthier is important too. The fridge is stocked with some low-fat yogurts and cottage cheese for those mid-morning snacks; plenty of eggs from the chickens, so we'll always have some hard-boiled ready for a quick snack too (great protein!).

Today's menu:
Breakfast: Bagel with strawberry jam, coffee (need to layoff that French Vanilla creamer, though)
Morning Snack: Toast using the last bit of strawberry jam (time to make more!). Water.
Lunch: BIG salad with chopped ham, turkey and egg (hardboiled, yolk removed). Half a grilled ham-n-cheese and some tomato soup. Water.
Dinner: Maple-Orange glazed pork chops (new recipe), corn, rice with some scrambled eggs (4-2 ratio; 4 eggwhites to 2 yolks). Lemonade.

Regarding the new recipe for the pork chops----YUM! But next time, I'm going to make a bit more glaze and use it as a dipping sauce while eating the chops. Also, I didn't use orange juice, but rather 2 tablespoons of the OJ concentrate from the freezer. Quite de-lish.

Patchwork of a new kind (again)

Know what this is? {{Well, yeah....THAT's a wine rack, but that's not what I'm referring to}}.

It's one of my goals for the summer---the basement bathroom project!

Sitting at lunch today, a push hit me to clean up the room and get working on it. It seems like it wasn't that long ago when I was tiling the sewing room in the basement. I can't believe that it's almost a year ago already!

It didn't take long to empty the room. I have at LEAST 12 boxes that need to be taken to Goodwill. {{Don't worry! That wine rack will be staying at our house, specially since Paul has two new batches brewing away!!!!!}} :0)

As I was cleaning out the room, I also took the time to tidy and organize the "tile stash" that was donated to us when we built in 2004. There's a little bit of everything in there!

But THESE tiles caught my eye - I was really liking how the pieces played so well together....and even the little square tiles were present!

About an hour later-----DRAT! I didn't have QUITE enough to reach the walls.

I played a bit with some of the other tile stash to act as a border and you can barely see it pictured here in the lower right....but....EH! Didn't like it!

However, I'm a SCRAP QUILTER. I can make this work, specially when I have these in the stash too!

So, a little of this....a little of that....moving here-n-there.....

Here's what I have on the floor currently. What'd'ya think?

Paul just got home and took a peek. He said he likes the design, but doesn't think the 12" tile color "works." He thinks we should go check out tiles and buy some blue 12" tiles. ???? Hmmm.....any thoughts?

My "scrap" mind is screaming......"Well, we HAVE these. Why not use them??" And the other part of my quilting mind is saying...."And if we put blue tiles there, they'll be next to the blue HST tiles...ummmm.......CONTRAST?"

But really now! I don't want my thoughts to bias you.......what do you think? Change the color? Keep these tiles? Try a different "light" tile?

Hmmm.....what would Bonnie do in this situation?

Hmmm....well, I'm off to run and think some more.
Happy Tuesday.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The painting that almost wasn't & What's on the frame

Cassie took her time yet again today unloading her room, but after lunch, we were doing the final preparations to paint her room. Outlet covers off; final wall hangings removed.....all set.

Once again, the "little ones" wanted to help out, MUCH to my dislike because the room was crowded since we kept Cassie's bed in the center.....and besides; there weren't a lot of "small stuff" that Caitlyn or Candace could do. BUT, I remember hearing Paul in my head...."They want to help, honey..."

With brush in hand, Caitlyn was on her third and final outlet border with Candace waiting patiently to paint her three, when.....


Here is the aftermath after TWO HOURS of scrubbing the 1/4 gallon spill of paint that dear ol' Candace graced us with. the heat of the moment, I was rather upset and Candace fought off the tears, albeit her lip was trembling something fierce. I didn't take any "before" shots of this because I was FUMING......there was SOOOOOO MUCH paint, just a'soaking up into the carpet.

I literally scraped up as much as I could and squeegied it into a small container.......ohhhhh....what a MESS!!! And YES, I had down a cloth, BUT, she tipped over the painting pan, which then overflowed over the edge of the cloth. ((**sigh**))

About an hour-n-half into the scrubbing, I called up Cassie to help me with the final rinsing and scrubbing, and I simply told her that the painting may be put on hold......I was pooped from constant scrubbing for TWO HOURS......

AND.....being the trooper that she is, she said..."It's alright Mom."

But, after a drink of Diet Orange Crush and a deep breath, I picked up a brush to at least use up the paint I was able to "rescue" from the carpet spill just to get it used up....and suddenly, the room started turning from this yellow girly flower room..... this Laker blue room! (Our school mascot is a Laker---picture to come someday soon). Cassie pictured here alphabetizing her books.....did you ever do that as a kid? Boy, it takes me back because I did. :0)

The first time we painted her room when we built in 2004, we had her hand-stamp by her light switch.

We saved it, and have intentions of stamping a new hand once we break open the yellow to paint a Laker symbol above her bed.

I think a Laker symbol above her bed is a great idea and it'll be a great spot! I'll have to see about borrowing a projector from the school to draw the symbol on her wall.

The Blue-n-Gold quilt that I just started as a leader-ender will be hers once finished. It'll match so nicely :0)

Cassie is 10 years old and has become SUCH a worker for both Paul and I. She is ALWAYS wanting and willing to help Dad outside with his odd jobs; she's been a GREAT help this past week with painting, and yesterday when I was mowing, she asked if she could learn how to ride the Riding Lawnmower. She really is a GREAT kid!!! :0)

Finally, before lunchtime and after I completed the first Rolling Star applique block, I pieced together the backing I purchased for Transitions and got it all loaded on the frame. I haven't chosen a pantograph yet, but I cleaned and oiled the machine and wound 8 bobbins so I'll be set the next time I head downstairs.

For those of you asking about Rolling Star pattern, hang tight. It's downstairs and I'm simply too lazy to go get the paperwork right now to let you all know. Soon though.....PROMISE!

Time for some rhubarb slush!

Design wall - UFO! and Stash Report

Oh BOY! This UFO hasn't seen the light of day for awhile, but for whatever reason, I thought I'd bring it out to FINISH over the next couple of days weeks now that I've learned a thing or two about applique. I don't know what happened where I had one "weird" block (placed in the center)----this has been an on-n-off project for the past 4 years, so I'm sure I miscounted/misplaced the original white units, so I just grabbed whatever "light" scraps I had to finish up the final block the last time I worked on this last year.

Most of the fabrics (I dare say 90%) are fabrics that I inherited from my Grandmother in 2007 (when I started this baby). I'll have to see what I have left of her fabrics because the blocks will be connected with strips of sashing.

I learned a trick using a glue-stick to turn over the seam allowance and it's how I applique now, unless I simply cut to size and applique with a raw edge. Applique is NOT my cup of tea, but I WILL finish this UFO!

Block #1 of 13. A block a day? That'd be 2 weeks, and then the EASY part of piecing everything together. ;0) End of July goal?......SURE!

OH! The designer suggests to cut away the extra fabric underneath after appliqueing..... I'm actually thinking of leaving it there; giving the finished quilt some more weight. Thoughts?????

I didn't post a Stash Report yesterday, so I'm doubling up this Judy post :0)

Stash Report: June 13-19
Used/wk: 23.292 yds {{I'll have to look, but I think this is the new record!}}
Purch/wk: 14.167 yds

Used/yr: 109.625 yds
Purch/yr: 47.167 yds

Net Used: 62.458 yds

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In Flight finished

In Flight (67" x 79")

Cassie chose to stall the day away, so in the meantime, I kept doing some quilting with In Flight that was on the frame.

The backing was the same as the border fabric and part of the blocks. I was wise and purchased it at the same time as all the top fabrics.

Now.....on to some mowing.

Frost 25 revealed; Chicks final count

Frost 25 (67"x67")

Despite making a mistake with clue #4's blocks, the colors were light enough that the blocks fit without causing a hiccup in the layout. As usual, I will be adding some form of border(s) to this quilt; it's just a wee bit too small for my taste; besides, a final "frame" is always most pleasing to my eye.

Eleven is the final count out of the 24 eggs that were incubated. They all huddled together when Cass and I lifted the fenced cover to snap some pictures. At first glance, they all look identical, but there are differences....

Meet CHIP, my claimed favorite. She's (He?) the lightest of all the chicks although there is another that is also quite light (that one was named SPECK since s/he has a speckled head). Can you guess why this lil' guy is called CHIP? That could be a chipmunk in my hand for all we knew :0)

Here is Cassie's claimed favorite, named NIGHT FUDGE. S/he's the darkest of the bunch.
If you look at the two chicks pictured in the background, you'll see CHIP (more center) and SPECK (along the edge).

Painting Cassie's room is on the agenda today, but I'm allowing her to set the schedule. She knows her room needs to be cleared before we can start, so we'll see what time that may be :0)

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A "MOM" post...Cassie's softball game

First game of the tournament tonight, and the girls come away with a 0-5 loss, but still love to play.

Many of the other girls have played for a couple of years; this is Cassie's first year and learning fast.

She's a lefty, just like me :0)