Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sewing Goals for May

If you want to join in the Stocking Swap it's not too late!!!  You just have to have everything finished and ready to mail by the first week in December.  This is a good thing since I haven't even started on January's mug and mug rug much less anything else.  I am so far behind!!!  I think I will try to make one thing every week or every two weeks if I am being practical, to try and catch up.  Maybe by July I will be caught up and can continue on with making on item a month.  Let's see, besides January's mug and mug rug, I need to make February's pillow cover for a 14" pillow form, March's - 2 matching pillow cases.  Hmmm, I just made two, but I am not sure I could give them up.  (they are Alexander Henry's men of Halloween.  I also recently made the men of Christmas and blogged a picture of them), I think I will make other ones to give away.  Since I don't know who my box will go to, I am not sure they would appreciate my men pillow cases.  Plus, I want to keep them for myself. LOL  Okay, April's  pin cushion and a set of pins will almost get me there - I will also need to add in May's 4 placemats since tomorrow is the beginning of May.  What happened to April?  What??? We only have 5 weeks of school left?  This is crazy!  Really, can someone tell me where April went?  I think it blew out of here with all the dust and wind we have been experiencing lately.  (58 mph on Sunday and 25 - 30 everyday since.  That doesn't include the gusts!)

The good thing is, I think I have two placemats finished and all I need to do to the other two in that set is to hand stitch the binding.  That one can almost be marked off.  Yea!!  That is all I have to concentrate on for now to catch up in the swap, so I guess this weekend I will crank out the easiest thing for me, pillow cases.  I have a few sets made (not just my men) and I could and may give one of those sets, but I have purchased fabric in the past year just to make into  pillow cases so I need to make at least one set and maybe 4 or 5 sets.  Now I have a sewing goal for this weekend.  Okay, I know, the binding thing - I sewed all my black strips and trimmed them, but they are not pressed or ready to be used yet.  That is another thing that needs to be done this weekend.  One thing at a time, but those are at the top of my to do list.  Do you have a to do list? I am going to have to put several things on mine to keep me focused in my studio or else I will go off on a tangent and make fabric or start a new quilt.  I almost did that tonight and didn't get the binding done.  But I did get it sewn and I also went through a ton of mail and threw away and shredded 2/3 of my stack.  That always feels good.  Do you let junk mail and magazines just pile up?  I usually pick my mail up in the morning on the way to school, sift through it quickly when I get back in the car, pull out and read the personal letters and then put the rest in my school bag.  Then when my bag gets heavy, I take it all out and stack it together.  That is what I went through tonight, one of those stacks.  Solicitations from credit card companies and insurance companies, advertisements from local stores and churches for special services or guest speakers, all those political flyers that the majority of the universe doesn't read (what a waste of money) and last but not least and one of my favorites, coupons from local eateries.   Now, those, most of them, I will use.  Well, not all of them, but at least one or two from each of my favorite places.  I will sometimes take the rest up to school and share with my students. 

Spiral Top Done

I added the border around the spiral.  The difference in the two sides/top/bottom is minimal so you can't really tell until you study it that it is not symmetrical. 

Tonight, being Wednesday and my usual night to sew/quilt, I think I will piece together the strips for binding.  Last weekend, I cut about 20 strips of my black Kona fabric and pressed the corners to miter them together, but set them to the side to sew on the border of the color challenge quilt.  (still no completed picture of that one.  We have been busy cooking in class and haven't had time to take any pictures.) Now that I have my most pressing blocks done and these other two tops finished, I need to start putting on binding on at least two quilts that I have gotten back from Abby in the past year.  My goal is to have two quilts ready to present at family reunion at the end of May.  My dogs will like it since I can be downstairs on the couch with them to hand sew the binding down.  I really should push for three, but I am only setting my goal to two. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Current Projects and Questions

Here are two of the projects I worked on this weekend.   I am in a Kaffe Fassett Block exchange and this months person requested this pattern Counterspun by The Quilter's Cache/Marcia Hohn.  It is a paper pieced pattern and she requested that the two outer pieces be the same in each block making it appear that it is the background fabric that the panels are spinning on.  It is an easy fun paper piecing and I can't wait to see this one finished since each of us chose our own fabrics to use in each block so they are all really, really different.  I pieced these Sunday afternoon since they needed to get in the mail ASAP. 
Saturday I worked on this spiral quilt.  I already had the spiral paper pieced and added part of the pink border, but I didn't like it and it wouldn't turn the corners pretty so I picked it all off except for the inside part and started all over.  I was going to put some beads, but the ones I got to use on this quilt, I ended up not liking.  I thought they were way to chunky and heavy for this top.  (which is why I got them to begin with.  I liked the chunkiness)  I am trying to decide if I want to add more of the green on the outside making it look like it is offset.  (small border of green on top and left with larger border of the green on the bottom and right edge.  Then I would bind in the black with maybe a bit of the hot pink piping again.  I am still playing with this idea.  I am also playing with adding some beads after it is quilted.  Which is another dilemma for a later time.  It's not very large - the green background  is about the size of a fat quarter. 
I also added a dark brown border that is the same background fabric for the stars in my color challenge quilt.  That simple border grounds the quilt and gives it a finishing that it needed.  I don't have a picture of it since it is hanging on my fabric shelves and I can't get a clear picture.  If I can remember to bring it to school, I will get some students to hold it up so I can get a good picture.  Then I can post it here and on the 15 minute play website.   
 My mother is trying to work through and finish up UFOs from her quilting room and I decided I would try to do the same.  The color challenge was one of the first, this spiral is a second one and when I finish a third - don't know which one yet - I can start on something new.  I really, really wanted to start a new quilt this weekend, but I had to restrain myself and only work on re-writing the directions and trying to come up with a list of fabrics needed to make the quilt.  I won't tell you which one just yet, but it's a fun one.  So, what are you working on?  Do you have UFOs in your stash or are you one of those that only works on one quilt and finishes it before starting another one?  Do you take a class and finish that quilt before taking another class? 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dogs and What Else is New

Sometimes it's better to just type first and then add the pictures in second. I have the hardest time trying to add type after I have the pictures in place. I wanted to share with you the newest pictures of three of my dogs. I was sitting on the couch downloading pictures from my phone to my e-mail so I could up-load them at school (and here) so I took a few quick snaps of my dogs. Taegan wasn't in the mood so I left him alone.   Below is Mr. Finnagan.  He is my only non-gray Shi Tzu.  He is also a foundling - found running in the streets after a major rain storm a couple of years ago and when we had thunder and rain the other day, he and Taegan (another one afraid of thunder) were my constant companions. 

Next up is Miss Fiona.  (a foundling)  She was found by a neighbor who thought it was one of mine and to tell you the truth, I thought it was mine, also until she turned her head and looked at me.  
Miss Fiona
 I wasn't going to keep either one of these, but after searching for 3 months and no flyers, ads in the paper or anything, I kept them.  Due to the oilfield traffic, we get people who just up and leave the apartments a couple of blocks over and put their dogs out on the street when they can't keep them or don't want to keep them.  It's sad, but unfortunately part of life.  Last, but not least, is Mr. McCallum.  He is my Yorkie and is a handful sometimes.  He is smart and inquisitive and gets into trouble all the time.  (mostly by climbing over the baby gate on the stairs and taking the squeekers and stuffing from Finnagan's toys.)  this was his second picture.  He moved in the first and I told him we had to take it over and he posed so pretty for me. 
 What am I currently working on?  That is a good question.  Last weekend was a semi-quilt-in (only 2 days) for our group and I didn't know what I wanted to work on, so I followed in my mom's footsteps and pulled an unfinished project out and decided to put it together.  The blocks are from a color challenge over at 15 Minutes Play.  I had made 13 of the blocks before I got busy and had planned on coming back to make the other 3 later, but then decided I was finished.  16 didn't go together as well as this 13 did.  I found this fabric in my stash - it's a Terri Mangat fabric - and it is perfect for this quilt.  I plan on adding a small dark brown border (background fabric for the blocks )  and then I am calling it done. 
Color challenge quilt top in progress
 I took a journaling class at the Ogallala and below is my start of the journal.  You take two pieces of muslin and fuse them together.  Then using red and blue thread, you stitch the lines to make your fabric look like a sheet of paper.  I painted the letters and pig and then free-motion stitched around them, added the spider, web and words.  I plan on adding more words and pictures on this one and then I will make several more and put them together in book form.  This was fun and interesting. 

Journaling with the machine

Aquarium Finds

I love this blue crab.  He was so much fun to watch.  He would move his small - I don't know what they were called, antennae, feelers, I really don't know and will have to do some research, but not right now, anyway, he would use those things to "clean" off his face (at least that is what it looked like)  and then he would pose for a picture.  Like he knew I was taking his picture and wanted to look his best.  I have a couple of shots of him and they are the best pictures I took all day.  Below are a couple of pictures of the jellyfish.  They were in a dark room in a black tank with a light source on them.  They swam and looked beautiful.  I have some video of string jellyfish, but it's really hard to see.  So, I didn't post a still of it.  I could have just stood and watched these guys for a whole lot longer than I did.  (I was there about 15 minutes just watching and taking video of these)


Now boarding the USS Enterprise.  Doesn't that lower right one look like it came right out of a Star Trek show?  Look at all the little hairs (they aren't really hairs) on the top left one.  It would reverse itself to propel across the waters.  Totally fascinating.

Sorry this one is blurry, but this fish is tiny.  teeny, teeny tiny.  He was maybe an inch (probably 3/4 of an inch)  He would stay in one spot and I would get ready to take his picture and then would move.  Kind of reminded me of Katty and trying to get a picture of her all weekend. 

Here is another blurry one.  For some reason these fish just had to move around all the time.  Jeesh, you would think they had to swim for their lives!   LOL  This one never stood still or paused or whatever the others would do.  He just swam and swam.  I wanted a picture of him because he was ugly, but now, it looks like he has webbed feet.  I think I took a picture of his placard so I need to check that.
I have video of the dolphins, but don't think I will post them on here.  It will take up way too much of your broadband (or whatever it's called) and who knows if it will even load.  So, I am leaving it off. I may be able to take some stills of them, but we will have to wait on that.

Monday, April 21, 2014

NEW!!! Students to State Competition

I get the hint.  You are ready for something new to read, look at and just maybe enjoy a bit.  So, finally, I am back at it.  Blogging again.  I have missed this.  I really have.  I have just been so, so busy.  I did think about you.  I would do something and think, "I need to blog about this."  Or I would make something and I would think, "take a picture and post this on the blog."  Well, as you have witnessed, it didn't happen.  However, I think I have caught up on my sleep and am ready to jump back in - to both blogging and sewing.  Now to update you on what has kept me so busy for the past month or so. 

Wait, I am going to have to go back and read through to see what I actually posted last time so hang out here for a sec while I go do that. 

(do you hear the Jeopardy music in your head or do you hear other elevator music?  I love Jeopardy and  try to catch it every evening if I can.  Some nights I do really, really well and can answer most of the questions, and then other nights, I can only answer one or two if I am lucky.  I think it is fun and interesting.  Okay, the music is coming to an end.  I finally know what I last blogged about.  Here goes. . . . )
Okay, that is what I thought.  Last time I was here - other than the quick notes - I had told you about my competition teams competing at regionals.  We went to Corpus Christi and one team competed at state.  On Thursday, we toured the USS Lexington and I enjoyed the history of the ship, but found it extremely hard to go up and down those steep stairs.  My knee had been giving me some trouble for a couple of weeks before going on this trip and after one double set of stairs, I elected to just stay on the main deck and enjoy the pictures my students brought back to share with me.  I have a couple of pics on my tablet of the kids being silly and having fun, but forgot to send them here to my laptop and I don't have access to them right now.  I will share these later. 

Then we  - Okay, I have to stop here and say - they have a really, really tall bridge in Corpus that I hate (HATE) going over.  You see, even though I am tall, I have a thing about heights.  I don't like going over more than one story high overpasses (and even then I sometimes get butterflies in my stomach) and I don't like going out over water - either driving or on a pier but, going over that bridge, I get the cold sweats, the butterflies and nausea.  The last time I was in Corpus, my friend drove us over the bridge and I road in the back with my eyes closed.  I do not like it Sam, I am. 

So, we have to ride over the bridge on a shuttle bus to get to the USS Lexington.  Then we ride back to get to the hotel where our bus driver is picking us up.  Then, because the students think it's funny, we go back over the bridge to eat lunch at an interesting place we spotted while on the USS Lexington.  Here we are day one in Corpus and I have already gone over the dreaded bridge 4 times!! 

That evening we ate at Joe's Crab Shack out on the water, cool experience and here are pictures of my students getting ready for their steam pots and eating the seafood.

Beautiful Jassmine

Victor, Valerie and Katty (who did not want her picture taken all weekend and moved or did something to mess up her picture every single time)

chowing down

probably the only clear picture of Katty all weekend and she isn't wearing make-up and is really tired! 
That was because I was being sneaky! she thought I was checking my e-mail!!

Since the first group competed on Thursday while we toured the USS Lexington, (I don't think I am allowed to just call it the Lexington, I think I have to always put USS in front to be official)  they(the girls who competed)  and their sponsor, my friend who wants to torture me,  wanted to go over the bridge after we ate (which by now, was all lit up and beautiful).  That was by far the worst.  I don't know why.  Maybe because it was dark? Or because I had a full stomach? (yummy coconut shrimp) or I don't know why, but going over at night is not a fun time for me.  So, yes, if you are counting - that is 6 times in one day (over and back)  Whew!  I was hoping that would be the end of it, but noooo.  On Saturday, before we left to come home, we went back over the bridge for lunch, some shopping and to tour the aquarium. 

All the student we took with us to State posing outside the aquarium - notice Katty ducking her head
Also, the legs of the bridge in the background

standing under the waterfall at the doorway to the Aquarium (Katty once again, doing something to avoid getting her picture taken)

I have some great pictures from the Aquarium, but it is late and time for me to get to bed.  So, that will have to be another posting.  Oh, yes, we didn't place in the top three - that is all they recognize at state and the first place goes on to compete at nationals - which this year is in Texas.  But, two big trips is enough for me so we will sit that one out!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

welcome newbies!

I can't believe it has been over a month since I blogged.  Life is moving at a fast clip these days.  Thanks to all the ladies that came through the Saturday Sampler.  If you are interested in joining me in the Santa Swap just click on the words or here.  This is a fun swap to do and I hope you join in the merriment.  

I don't have any pictures on my tablet to post of what all I worked on this weekend, but I hope to get some up soon.