Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween, Daylight Savings, etc.

Hope this finds everyone well today, whether you celebrate Halloween or not. Lately, as the kids have grown older, it isn't much of a celebration anymore. DS11 is at a spend the night party tonight. DS13 and hubby are watching Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (with Spencer Tracy) on t.v.

It just isn't the fun, carefree, harmless fun that I remember as a kid. It's so much harder to be trusting in the world today. Bummer.

So far, the best part of the holiday is that I get to set my clocks back by 1 hour tonight and I will surely enjoy the extra sleep! This is also the weekend to change the batteries in your smoke alarms.

Overall a pretty down weekend around here. I am working on my quilt as time allows and I have brought home lots of grading also. Need to get started on the planning for the Boy Scout stuff that I have gotten myself into. Sigh.

DS13 has had a particularly rough weekend. His emotions are all over the place. He is depressed. He is upset. He is taking it out on everyone. Not a lot of fun.

Oh well. Life goes on, I guess.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Some Days Aren't Worth Chewing Through the Restraints

Today is one of them. DS13 went on a field trip and ended up with stomach problems. I had to leave school to bring him home. He is nauseous and has the runs. Lovely.

I hope it is just that the food at the field trip didn't agree with him and not (another) full blown stomach bug.

I did score some old pvc pipe and a bag of connectors from my parent's house, so maybe a homemade quilt frame is in the foreseeable future. I love it when a plan comes together. I love it more when the cost keeps dropping due to finding or receiving materials free!

Can't wait to see if I have enough stuff to finish this project.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Making a little progress

Okay, the hoop and stand idea may have been a good one, but I am sure that whoever came up with it used a much more durable stand. The hoop is fine, but the stand is a rickety mess. Hubby laughed at me trying to chase it and still stitch at the same time.

So, I reverted back to the small lap stand that I used when I took my class, many, many moons ago. It works really well and it is comfortable to use, even though the weight of the quilt is cumbersome at times. But, I think my stitches are improving a bit where my foundation isn't so wobbly.

Last night, I pulled off loads of the painter's tape so I could really see the completed stitches (I left the tape on where I haven't stitched yet). With the tape out of the way, it didn't seem as jarring to the eye when I looked at my stitches. I could see that I was really making progress and that felt pretty good, especially when I am used to working on quick machine based projects. Maybe this won't be too bad after all. When I am done quilting all of these lines, I will re-mark and do the hatch marks in the other direction.

Right now, I am using 1 inch painters tape to mark off diagonal lines in around 3 inch intervals. I will do the intersecting lines at the same intervals. I hope that this will give some visual interest and not be too boring a configuration. We'll see. If I hate it, I can always keep adding more lines, I guess.

I just hope I won't be still quilting it on December 23rd!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Slowly limping along

After the quilt show, I was inspired to try a little hand quilting. A few years back, I went with my mom to a class to learn how to handquilt, so I have the basic know-how, just not the dexterity.

I enjoy the process and I can only hope that in time I will improve, but past experience has taught me that anything which involves manual dexterity may or not improve in time. Sometimes, my hands just reach the point that they have improved all that they can and then my progress stalls.
I will just have to wait and see what happens. But, I do find it relaxing to sit in front of the t.v. and put a few stitches in place.

Although, the thought has occurred to me that if I had machine quilted the piece, it would be completely finished and technically perfect by now. Sigh. It's a catch-22 for sure.

But, it is easy to get in a hurry when there are so many ideas floating around my head and at least one project ready to begin! Looks like a quilted Christmas to some degree. Definitely homemade in many respects, even if not always quilted.

So many ideas. Limited $ and time!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A little hand work...

Well, I must admit that I have looked at quilting a little bit differently since I went to the quilt show. Ideas are just coming into my head--good ideas (well, good if I can pull them off).

I have started a hand quilting project. My quilting hoop is so large (30 inches, maybe) that my pudgy, little Barney-esque arms can't comfortably reach across it. So, my mom loaned me her oval hoop on a stand. It's a little odd feeling to work at that height and not in my lap, but I am slowly getting used to it. I don't know that I will ever have the consistent stitch that I would love to have, but at least I will have given it a good shot.

But, I don't see machine quilting going bye-bye at all. There are too many projects that I want to make and I can't complete nearly as many of them if I am limited to only one style. I will probably hand quilt smaller and sentimental projects (the potentially heirloom-y stuff) and machine quilt the rest.

I have also been pondering doing a pictoral quilt. On Facebook (yes, I finally succumbed, but I have some friends and family members that I can't keep up with any other way) there is a group about Jekyll Island, Georgia, one of my very favorite places--full of happy memories. They held a sunrise/sunset photo contest and some of the images are compelling. If I keep the lines clean, I can see some gorgeous batik work and fusible applique capturing a summer sky. If I can pull it off, that is. But, I am actually thinking that I could be game to try. That's a first.

Maybe a little inspiration can help me to expand my skills a bit.

I discovered Conn-Kerr Cancer of Georgia!

At the quilt store yesterday, I picked up a flyer for a charity called Conn-Kerr Cancer of Georgia. It is a group of volunteers who make wild and crazy pillowcases for cancer patients and other sick kids in Georgia.

I love the idea. It is a small expense (especially if you catch sales and use the clearance racks) to make the pillowcases and a small time commitment, too! It's also a chance to use all of the crazy kid fabrics that my kids are getting too old for. Love that!

Can't wait to see what I have in my stash to use!

A Lovely Day

Had a truly lovely day yesterday. Mom, Bev, and I went to a quilt show sponsored by the Tara Quilt Guild. I thought that this was my first quilt show in 20+ years of making quilty things, but Bev reminded me that I had gone with her to one in Indian Springs, many years ago. However, this time, I had a much better idea what I was looking at!

We met some wonderful ladies and one in particular taught us oodles about hand quilting and answered questions. She was working on a quilt in a small frame right inside the door. What a wealth of information!

I have made quilts since 1988 (yikes!), but as I have worked alone, I haven't increased my skill level much. Bev and Mom help me and we bounce ideas off of each other, but I still have never made many technical improvements to my skill level. It might be time to learn how to do a bit more.

I made a fun discovery! A lady at church is a member of the guild. Can't wait to see her and tell her that I saw her displayed quilt!

All in all, a fun day. Good friends, good food (lunch at Mellow Mushroom), good times. I learned lots and hopefully will be able to work out joining the guild. Hope I can talk Mom and Bev into it too!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here is the photo!

My first Crazy Shortcut Quilt.

I have absolutely loved the process. I finished the whole thing (sans binding) in 6 days. Of course, it is completely machine stitched, but it turned out cute, despite the many imperfections. As soon as I apply the patchwork binding, it will amply cover my double bed and be a snuggly addition to cooler nights that are starting to arrive.

The book, Crazy Shortcut Quilts, is total eye candy. The photos are large and wonderful. The directions are clearly written and easy to follow. The quilts finish up quickly. I suspect that it could be a great way to use up complementary, but mismatched, stash fabrics for Project Linus quilts.

As a bonus, there are videos on YouTube that show how to perform many of the steps in the process. Between the book and the videos, it is practically foolproof. Love that.

The following photo is my first fusible applique quilt. I have shown this before, but this is a better photo. The "sticks" on the front are clothes pins that are holding the quilt onto a plastic hanger until I can get a proper hanger with clips. Anyway, it is based on a free project on and it was a fun little project to complete. It would work for Christmas display also, but I have the dark reds, wines, and greens in my living room, so it could really be a year round thing as well. I will definitely do another one of these!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Guess what I did...

I finished a quilt over my Fall Break from school!!! Well, almost finished. I have to put binding on it tomorrow night, but the quilt itsself is complete. I got the idea from a You Tube video that supports the book Crazy Shortcut Quilts. Anyway, I mentioned the book and received it as a birthday gift from my boys. Yay!

Anyway, I had some fabric that I had purchased years ago and never used. It was part of a quilt kit that I had long lost the instructions to (possibly when we moved 3 years ago). So, it was time to liberate it and let it become a quilt. Using already owned fabrics kept the costs way down!

I took pics, but they are on my phone and I will have to find out how to get them out of there and into here!

Now, I have to go to bed and get ready for going back to school tomorrow. Sigh.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


What a week! In addition to being one of the more stressful weeks that I can remember, I drove on a field trip to Warner Robbins to see the Air Force History of Flight museum. That was a wild ride!

Okay, let me rephrase that. The field trip was great. The kids behaved and many asked great questions. Love that! But, on the drive home I had a scare (with a car full of kids) of a lifetime.

I was on I-75 heading Northbound toward 475 to avoid the Macon traffic. I guess I am just over an hour or so away from home. All of a sudden, I feel sick to my stomach, hot, dizzy, and my vision fails--at highway speeds. I said a quick prayer and changed lanes until I was eventually on the right shoulder and we were all safe. I am not kidding when I say that it was the single scariest moment in my entire life. It even trumps having the emergency cesarean with DS11 so that he wouldn't undergo more stress.

Fortunately, I was able to call a colleague at the school who was able to spring into action and get in touch with other drivers and get most of the kids home safely. As I began to feel better, the other driver (a former colleague and wonderful lady) helped me to get my car off of the exit and to a safe place to stay parked. My son and a friend opted to stay with me (with parental permission of course) until my parents could come down and drive my car home. Those kids were fantastic and kept each other distracted (and me to some extent).

Doctor's offices were closed by the time I got back into town. Both of my parents have high blood pressure, so they have a machine to measure blood pressure. Since I have high blood pressure as well, we went to their house and checked mine a couple of times in the next half hour or so in order to make sure that I was okay before I went home. It was borderline high (even on my meds) so it is possible that I had a blood pressure spike due to accumulated stress. I also have had very mild opthalmic migranes and from my internet research, it seems entirely likely that a severe opthalmic migrane at the same time as a high blood pressure spike (or triggered by it) could have produced exactly the symptoms that I experienced.

Regardless, I am thrilled to report that I am feeling so much better now. I am willing to drive short distances as long as I have another driver with me (just in case). However, I am not comfortable going highway speeds right now at all. I am also not driving car loads of children around either.

Just in case.