Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Price to Pay for a Sneeze

About 5 years ago I popped out one of my ribs with a hard sneeze and thought I was going to die.  I was at school, siting at my desk during my conference period and AHHCHOOOO.  I almost passed out and started sweating the pain was so intense.  After conferencing with the school nurse - who I called to come to my room since I wasn't sure I could walk across the building without passing out -  I went to see my doctor.  She said that I must have pulled a muscle and to put some heat on it.  Heat felt really great and helped alleviate some of the pain.  I had a chiropractor's appointment later that week I debated about cancelling it, but decided to go anyway and told him about the pain and the pulled muscle - he gently probed my back and side and he told me it wasn't a pulled muscle, I had a rib popped out of place.  He popped it back in (pain) and then - - no pain.  It was amazing.  All the pain went away.   Well, I think I have done it again.  The pain is not as intense as last time, but it hurts to cough, sneeze or bend.  I will be calling the chiropractor in the morning to try and get in tomorrow.  I am hoping he can put me back together again, because I have a lot planned for this week and have got to get moving!! 
Last week, I decided to do something with some 4 patches that have been living on my cutting table for quite some time.  I have moved them out of the way so many times, that I finally decided to "play" with them.  I didn't know exactly what the final results would be, but I dived in anyway.  At first I thought I might put them together in a 16 patch.  Then I decided they needed sashing and cornerstones.  So, I cut up some cream fabric that was waiting to be put away and pulled out my box of 1 1/2" squares.  (HA - everyone that has thought I was crazy for having these little bitty squares - this is why!)  I sewed and sashed those little squares and decided that it needed a really wide border (6 1/2") I originally thought of a dark blue border, but when I auditioned a few fabrics, it wasn't clicking.  Then I moved on to a medium green - it looked better, but I couldn't find the right one - at least not without a bit more digging in the drawers.  So, I put it away for the night and the next morning decided it needed a yellow.  Yep!!  That's just what it needed. 
That looks great, but it needs something else.  I didn't really want to add another border, but couldn't put my finger on what to do.  A couple of days pass and then today, I suffered through the pain, cut into the border and put in a 1 1/2" strip (pieced together from my box of 1 1/2" strips) 

That was it.  Just what it needed.  a little more color carried out in the border without overpowering the entire quilt top.  DONE!!  Now to make a back for it ASAP before it hangs in the closet or lays folded up on the floor for the next 10 years like some of my other tops. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Finished Top - Welcome to the Zoo

I finished the quilt top for my Aunt.  As I stated previously, it's all animal print batiks with a green batik background.  Now I have to figure out what I am going to make the back out of since I don't have enough of the green to make the entire back.  I will have to rummage through my batik stash to see what I can find.  In the pictures below, you can see that I had to take the top up to volleyball and have other people hold it up so I could take a picture.  This first one shows the colors pretty accurately.  That green is a rich deep green.  However, my work table is in the way and doesn't show the entire top.  So, I had them move in front of me.  That just put them in the shadows.  So, I moved in front of the windows and took the second picture. 
As you can see it was a bright sunny day out (the windows are even tinted!) plus the sun is shining and reflecting off the cars so there is a major glare and this one looks washed out.  However, you can see the entire quilt top with the piano key borders.  Thanks to my holders and folders, Coach Eli and one of his girls.   

Eli, a summer volleyball league coach and recent high school grad - not a real high school coach, came in and saw my quilt top laying on the table and just picked it up and started looking at it and oohing and aahing over it.  That is how he got nominated to be a holder and folder.  Thank goodness.  As you all know, I usually have some of my students hold the quilts so I can take a picture, but since we aren't in school, I don't have anyone to hold them for me.  I am sorry to say I don't know the girls name, but she has been watching me work on my EPP quilt all summer and has even been impressed with my tablet cover that I made. She kept telling her teammates and friends about my projects all night. Hmmm, maybe a future quilter in the making?  Or at least a quilt appreciator.    

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Welcome to the Zoo

Here is a sneak peek of the quilt I am making for my Aunt.  I started this many, many years ago; put it in a box and forgot about it - kind of.  I mean I didn't totally forget about it, I just didn't look for it to work on it even though I knew I should.  Anyway, after being in Lubbock last weekend for a shower/luncheon for my cousin's daughter, my mother and my aunt asked me about this quilt.    I was happy to tell them that I had "discovered" the box during the July 4th "vacation" (how can I call it a vacation when I am out of school for the summer?  However, I did have the day off from my summer job so I will leave it at vacation)  I truthfully had come across the box when I was moving some other boxes around over the 4th of July weekend.  When I found it I knew what it was immediately and put it to the side so I could look at it later.  Later didn't come until two nights ago.  I had no idea how much of this quilt was done or how much work it needed to become a finished top.  I did know that I had chosen the 3, 6, 9, 12 pattern by Fons and Porter.  When I opened up the box I counted up the finished blocks and was only 4 - 6 inch and 2 - 3 inch blocks short of what I had written on the paper.  Not bad.  That was close to being complete.   The good thing about this pattern is that it is flexible. It really doesn't matter how many blocks you have of each size.  You determine what you think you need.   I decided to go ahead and start putting this quilt together and if I needed those other blocks, I would make them. 
Yesterday at our Bee Friends Meeting, I worked on this quilt and sewed and sewed and ended up with 20 - 12 1/2 inch blocks ready to be sewn together.  The next decision I needed to make was - do I  live with the 4 X 5 setting?  Or do I finish up the two incomplete blocks by making those that I was missing and go with a 4 X 6 setting?

I am basically lazy and chose to live with the 4 X 5 block setting and not make any more blocks.  I was ready for this quilt to be finished and on to the quilter so I quickly sewed the blocks into rows and the rows together and I have my top.  I added two borders last night and will add the top and bottom borders this morning and then it's time to make another decision.  What other kind of border do I want to add?  I am thinking a piano key (kind of my go to border) or possibly bricks.  The fabrics in this quilt are all batiks.  The background is a green batik I had in my store and the rest are animal prints that I ordered from somewhere (remember - I started this many, many years ago and I am getting older every day so the memory isn't what it used to be) I think I have enough of the animal prints to do a piano key, but am not sure that is exactly what this quilt needs.  I don't want to put it back in the box to think about it, so I laid it out while my mind processes and envisions different borders until it locks on to what this quilt needs.  While it does that, I will add the top and bottom border today and work on a couple of other quilts that are in progress. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Just a little news and a recipe

In June, I traveled to Arkansas to give a trunk show and teach a short class to one of my mother's quilt guilds.  The first part of the morning I gave my trunk show and answered some questions before breaking for a pot luck luncheon.  Which,  by the way, was delicious and the homemade bread was awesome!  After lunch, I set up for a small showing of projects with plans to demo a bit and teach some strip piecing techniques. It didn't go that way, but was really wonderful anyway.  After showing some of my strip piecing projects, they all just wanted to look at my projects and ask questions.  They were not really prepared - most of them - for a "class".  However, one lady, pictured below with me and my sister, Paige, came prepared, but decided not to sew.  She was darling and requested that we take a picture with her.  They asked if I would come back and teach an all day class next time.  So, I am looking forward to returning to Arkansas to teach some more quilting in the future.  Don't know exactly when that will be, but hopefully sometime soon.  
One of my strip piecing projects that I took was this string quilt I have previously blogged about here.  Since returning from Arkansas, I have added a large blue border all around.  I was thinking at first that would be all I would add, now I am thinking about adding some gray and green 4 patches.  I still have some of the gray strips and I have some bright green fabric in the same print as the dark blue.  I think I will work on that tomorrow and see where it leads me.   I am not sure I want them all the way around the quilt or if I want them randomly spaced, clustered on the corners or what.  I will just make up a bunch and then play.  

Earlier this week I tested out one of the recipes I have copied down from the Internet - probably from Facebook - for easy lasagna.  It was fast, easy and tastes wonderful.  Here are the simple directions for making this fantastic lasagna. 
1 jar prepared pasta sauce (I used a jar of Putanesca sauce I got at Big Lots and had in my cabinet - I think this made the dinner since it has great flavor with the olives and capers)
1 package refrigerated ravioli (I used Buttoni cheese ravioli in the smaller shape, but used a large package)
Mozzarella cheese grated
Parmesan cheese grated
frozen spinach, thawed and all the water squeezed out
Now to assemble.  Put a little bit of the pasta sauce in the bottom of  a 9 X 13 pan.  (You could probably use a 9 X 9 pan and make more layers.)  make one layer of the ravioli - do not overlap.  Pour a little of the sauce over the top and cover with half the spinach and mozzarella cheese, do another layer of the ravioli, sauce, spinach and cheese.  End with a layer of the ravioli and sauce. Be sure you have enough sauce to do this top layer because it's important to cover all the ravioli so it will cook and soften in the oven.  Cover the entire dish with the Parmesan cheese and cover with foil. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake about 10 more minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.  Let set for a few minutes on the counter before serving. 
I hope you enjoy this as much as I have enjoyed eating on it.  I have put some in the freezer to see how it likes to freeze.  I figure it will be okay since all the ingredients can be frozen.  You could change it up just by changing your sauces and your ravioli.  I think the next time I make it I will use a vodka sauce and a meat filled ravioli in the large squares.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Rainy Day

It is a beautiful, gorgeous, RAINY day here in Odessa.  I can't tell you how much it has rained in the last couple of days, because I can't find it anywhere on the internet, but we have gotten some MUCH needed rain.  Earlier this summer we were at 7% humidity, 110 degrees and 4 inches below normal rainfall (Normal rainfall also factors in the last couple of years of drought!)

Today, we are at 71 degrees, 84% humidity with off and on again rain falling.  It is wonderful!  I love the rain.  It is calling me to go climb in bed and take a nap - even though it's not raining now. So, I think that is what I am going to do.  I have so much to work on since it's my day off from the summer job, but I am not going to do that.  I am going to give in to my sleepiness and go snooze.  Just wanted to let you know what is happening in my world.  : )

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Checking in on my Blog

Wow!  June went by fast!  I can't believe it's already the 6th of July.  Where has my summer gone?  I have gotten nothing - I repeat, NOTHING done here at home.  I went to Arkansas to visit with my mother and sister - and nephews, too.  While I was there I gave a trunk show and was supposed to teach a short class, but everyone was more interested in seeing my quilts and visiting with me and we never got around to the class part of the day.  It was a lot of fun and I think my mother took some pics with my camera.  I will have to dig it out and post them.  (if I approve of them)  We also did some shop hopping of our own.  A store in the area was having a massive sale - owner had passed away and the family was getting rid of everything - so we hit that one first - about 60 yards later we were ready for lunch and another store.  My sister hit that one pretty hard and we had lunch at a Mexican food place near that store that was one of two the clerk recommended.  I wish I had taken a picture of what my sister and I ended up sharing.  It was large, yes, but not too large, what it was - was delicious!  I am going to have to make something similar here.  If only I could remember everything about it.  I am drawing a blank.  ARGGGG.  Oh well, I will create my own version of something.  LOL.  Well, got a border to put on the previous string quilt.  I finally found the right fabric for it in my collection.