Friday, February 28, 2014

Competition Time

Being gone 5 out of 9 days is rough!  Especially when you are gone on two separate trips. 

After returning from my quilt retreat, I took 6 students to compete in the FCCLA region I culinary competition in Amarillo (about 5 hours north of here).  This one was rough.  We had practiced a bit, but were having to cook on two electric cook tops.  Let me clarify it for you - a team of three are cooking a three course meal for two on two electric burners) They had to bring all their equipment in two totes (different recipes required different equipment).  Plus, they are in high school.  (16 - 18 years old)  STRESS!!! 

They did an awesome job!  I am so proud of them.  They had a tough row to hoe - team one's electricity kept going off - team two - was put together about 6 days before we left for competition - had only cooked one menu all the way through as a complete team and it wasn't the menu they had to cook that day!  The girl in charge of the sides had never practiced the mash potatoes.  They were so nervous before they went in that I had to keep reminding them that they were my guinea pigs - I had never had a team compete before - and I was proud of them no matter the outcome.   They were just supposed to go in and let me know how things went, so in two years, we could possibly have a very successful competition.  Well. . . let me tell you.. . we had a very successful competition this year!  My B team - the one we put together about 6 days before we left for competition - not only placed in the top three and gets to move on to state - they won first!!!!!!  My A team (with all the electricity troubles) placed 6th!  We got their scores back today and between the highest to lowest scores (three judges) they were only 4 - 10 points away from each other.  That is a close, close competition folks!  They both got marked for their green beans being undercooked.   Which is my fault - I like my green beans to have a little crunch to them when they are shocked and sauted.  One of my girls put some extra sugar in the banana pudding after it was made, because she thought it wasn't sweet enough - which caused it to be a bit grainy.  Little things like that were what caused them to be marked down.  So, overall, they did an awesome job!!  Come to find out, they could have had up to 4 burners to create their dishes.  So, with their hands tied behind their backs, they created two amazing meals on two burners!  AWESOME!!!!

Team A

Team B

Team B with their first place plaque

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pig and Quilts from the Retreat

I have been collecting pigs of all kinds for years and years.  Now, I am pretty particular about the pigs that come into my house.  They have to unusual, wonderful and exude a personality.  Below are pictures of my latest find.  He is completely made of wood and I found him for 12 dollars at Tuesday Morning.  He was a little on the dusty side, but after being wiped down, he looks wonderful.  He is sitting on my ironing board for his picture, but now resides on one of my shelves in my office. 
I love how his ears go forward over his eyes and the way his nose is made.  Too cute!! 

As promised, here is a picture of my jelly roll quilt from last years retreat with the poppies on the bottom and quilted by Abby.  It is not bound yet, I plan on putting a black kona binding on it.  My friend Liz and I are holding it up for everyone at retreat this year to see.   

Below is a picture of Gerrie's blocks at retreat.  I taught the disappearing 4 patch quilt and she was fast and put up her blocks in our little room where we were sewing.  I had mine laid out on the floor in the next room, but failed to take a picture of them or anyone else's blocks that were laid out in there.  

Emily decided that the 4 patch would be too hard (one extra cut) and so decided to make a disappearing 9 patch.  She used two fabrics and made x blocks and o blocks with her squares and then cut them up.  We played around with a layout and came up with this one.  She decided to make it into quadrants and then turned them so they met up in the middle.  I am going to have to make this one myself.  It is wonderful and only her second attempt at making a quilt.  (she made the jelly roll one last year and just needs to add borders for it to be a finished top)

Another newby we had is Frances.  She used a charm pack and a jelly roll to create her quilt top below.  She had only sewn in Junior High Home Economics so it had been a long time since she had sewn anything!  She did an awesome job on this fun, cheery quilt top. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Quilt Retreat

Our quilt retreat was this past weekend at Miter Peak near Alpine and Ft. Davis, Texas.   We had the largest attendance that we have ever had, 17.  That doesn't sound like many, but it is almost at capacity for those facilities.  We could have a larger retreat if we wanted to rough it a bit more, but at our age, who wants to do that?  We all like the convenience of having an indoor restroom in our building and not have to go outside and down the trail a ways.

I taught the disappearing 4 patch made famous by the Missouri Star Quilt Company in both the magazine and YouTube.   My mother had seen the quilt in the magazine and when I was contemplating what to teach at retreat, she told me about this quilt over the phone.  She did such a great job describing it, that I was able to make a couple of blocks that night.  Then I went on YouTube and saw the video and confirmed I was right on track.  My first one was made with only 50 print and 50 background blocks, because that is all the background fabric I had.  The print squares were from my box of 5" squares.   I added about a 10" border to make it much larger.

This smaller one is made with 6" squares and fabric cut off from a couple of quilts I had quilted this summer and some orange I ran across while cleaning out a box. 
The pictures I took this weekend are still on my camera and I haven't been home long enough to get them downloaded.  Hopefully I can do that this evening.  I am not sure how many I have, I was busy, busy, busy at the retreat and don't remember taking a ton of photos.  We  had one person there and I may have to get her to send me some pics for the blog.  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stocking Swap and a Bit More

What little time I have been spending in the studio lately has been spent on just playing around and finishing up some finds, re-arranging things to make it more user friendly and getting finished projects out of the room and somewhere else.  It hasn't helped that I still have sick brain that can't stay on task or think of the next thing I need to do (or say) However, I do want to share with you a couple of finishes.  Below is a mug I found at Tuesday morning a couple of months ago and just fell in love.  I couldn't wait to make a mug rug to go along with it.  The background on the mug is that lilac color (can't really tell in this picture) so I knew I needed to make my house block about that same color.  Then I just used scraps from the scrap pile to make the house. The mug rug is a little on the large side, but that way the lucky receiver will have room for a cookie or muffin to go along with her coffee/hot chocolate/tea.  Unfortunately this is the only mug rug I got finished for the month of January in the Stocking Swap.  Hopefully you got more done for Christmas gifts than I did.  However, the beauty of this swap is that I have all year to get everything finished (at least 11 months) and I have picked up 4 more mugs that I want to make rugs for to have on hand to give as gifts this year.  So, stay tuned for that.
The February Swap item is a pillow cover for a 14" pillow.  I will have to just show previously made pictures here because we all know how busy I have been since school started back January 7th.  We have had at least 3 restaurants, 2 caterings - one large, out sick for almost a week, preparing for competition plus regular teaching - I know I have had more going on than this - oh, yes, recruiting for 2 of the 6 Junior highs, one snow day, I have been out at least 7 1/2 days and we have only been in school 21 days.  My calendar has something written on it for every day in January and almost every day in February!!  I have stacks of work my students have done when I have been out that I have to grade and I don't know when I will have the chance to even sit down to grade.  I was at Sam's and HEB about 6 times just last week and by tomorrow morning, I will have been at HEB 3 times this week!!  You would think I could have only made one trip, but no.   Some things have to be purchased the day of or they spoil too fast and that is a waste of money.   Okay, I will quit rambling about that.  I am not griping.  I love my job and what I am doing right now, but it sure is hectic.    Okay, pictures of pillow covers:  Here are a few I have made in the last year or two.  This first one is not a finished picture, but trust me, this one is completely done.  All of these have envelope backs on them so I can easily slide in a pillow form and switch them out if I want. 

The one below with all the triangles is a slightly larger than 14 inches, but I wanted to include it in the show to give you some ideas.

What I finished up tonight is this little beauty.  I am teaching the disappearing 4 patch quilt at my retreat in a few weeks and one of the ladies texted me that she accidentally cut her squares 6" instead of 5" and wanted to know if she needed to cut them all down.  Of course I said no, leave them.  Then I cut some 6" squares and put them together so I could see if it needed slightly larger cuts to make them disappear.  Yes, I did cut them 1 1/2" away from the center seams and then I added a couple of borders and you get this little gem. 

The blue background fabric is leftovers from a quilt I had quilted.  The same with the top left orange.  The lighter two oranges and the border were fabrics I uncovered when I unpacked a box that has been sitting in my little alcove at the top of the stairs.  And, just because, I added in the darker orange fabric in the lower right corner that I pulled from the gray/orange/green wonky log cabin box of fabrics.  That was pretty quick and easy to put together. 
Now, I need to just finish projects that are due this weekend (actually last month, but it didn't get done) and get my room back together again.