Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A little bit of progress

Well, if my computer and blogger could agree how to proceed with a photo, this is where I would show you some vintage sheet charm squares (from my swap) that I hand pieced into pairs last night.

I have to admit that it went better than expected.  I am still trying to figure out which of my thimbles work best for this.  My good thimble (Roxanne) doesn't seem to work well for this, but it is a dream when I am hand quilting.

I pinned up a bunch more squares to practice on.  I will start joining them into 4 patches when I get them all done.  I figure that I can't do much of anything yet on a "real" project until a) payday comes  (I need straw needles and maybe some 1/4 inch tape) and b) I know if I can pull this off well enough to even bother with something that is for a gift.

So, I will keep on with it.  It isn't difficult so far and I enjoy having some hand work to do when I am just sitting.  At best, I will eventually have a vintage sheet quilt for summertime.  Love that idea.  At worst, I will have a wall hanging for spring and summer for view when you enter my front door.

If I can get photos to post later, I will.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I see stars....

Sawtooth stars, actually. Somewhere, I have seen a tutorial or pattern for a Sawtooth Star pattern in around 14 to 15 inches square. I think that 4 of these blocks would be lovely for my baby quilt that I am working on. The mom-to-be wanted navy blue, primarily, but said I could add lighter blues and beige/cream/tan. So...

After much searching and gnashing of teeth, I decided that I could do a Sawtooth Star quilt that would look very planned and nice using a nice, light tan for the block background, light blue for the block centers and navy for the star points, and borders. Maybe a thin, tan background around the blocks before the navy. I wouldn't want the star points to get lost. I also have enough fabric from thrifted shirts to make this an economical project, even if I did have to pick up another shirt or two in the right colors. Right now, economics is playing a very heavy handed role in my decision making. Since we turned the satellite dish off, we are watching movies of an evening (we watched Henry V with Kenneth Brannaugh last night) or listening to the radio. Either way, some handwork makes me happy while I watch or listen.

Anyway, I figure that the whole thing could finish out at round 36 inches square, which isn't a bad baby size quilt.

I am also planning to make a real quilt label this time and not just write on the backing with a permanent pigma pen! Ha! I am so fancy--he! This baby will come into the world in style. I don't know that this baby has any members of his family with "Granny" skills, so I came to the rescue.

Actually, the mom-to-be is a former student who I dearly love! Even if she would have received quilts from every person in her family, I still would have made one.

Gotta finish up the logistics, since I may be piecing this one by hand--yikes! Not my first choice, but I think I can pull it off. Wednesday (payday) I am off to The Gardener's Quilts in Jackson to get some 1/4 inch quilters tape and some straw needles so that I can begin.

I love having a project that is ongoing, so I am pleased to have made a decision on this one. Of course, I still have my brown log cabin to hand quilt and I will start that one right after.

But, first priority is that I really can't wait to get my hands on that baby! How am I ever going to wait until late December??? Good grief. If I can't wait, how must she and her Mom feel?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Off the Deep End?

Maybe. This idea just might be totally off the deep end...

When my mom had surgery recently, she asked family members to be my FaceBook friends so that I could update them from my phone and get information out quickly without making a bazillion phone calls. So, many of them did. And they were updated.

Today, I mentioned quilting in a message and I got a reply from a family member. Not anyone I am close to, but a great aunt that I have met one or two times. She is a quilter.

Who knew??? Well, actually my mom knew but forgot to mention it. But, I love that! She and her hubby travel lots in a motor home and she takes projects along to work on. Love that, too!

By hand. Now, I like to quilt by hand. I am still a beginner but the process is awesome and relaxing. But, piecing by hand? I don't know about that one! I don't have great manual dexterity at all. Mom was thrilled when I learned to type and quilt by hand--I never could embroider or anything else. But, a rocking stitch slowly came to me. Somehow.

So, now I am almost tempted to hand piece a little something. You know, just to see if I could. Maybe my hand stitching would be less cantankerous than my slowly dying machine. It would be frugal. It would be slow. It might be fun. It might be harder than it looks. It might fall apart the first time I wash it.

Hubby thinks it is a swell idea.

Of course, I think that he wants off the hook to buy a new machine-LOL! Truth be told, he really isn't, but money is surely tight around here lately and we have other things that need to be replaced also.

Things are a bit better today...

Homeschool is running much more smoothly today. Whatever abducted my kid and left me to deal with a horrible mess seems to have returned to the mother ship.

I even got him to write his first 5 paragraph essay and it ain't half bad! I typed it for him, but it is all his work.

Maybe venting about it made the worst of it go away. I sure hope so.

You might not, because that likely means far more venting in my future-LOL!

After school, I have to make a few work phone calls and then I hope to sew for an hour or so. I decided to start sewing on the quilt that I am giving my Dad for Christmas (glad he doesn't read the blog). The top is all cut out and it will feel productive to get it pulled together. My Mom's Christmas quilt is all done except for binding, so I am ahead of the game on that one (glad she isn't a blog reader, too). Still mulling over a nice (frugal) crafty gift idea (matching hand towels and dish cloths maybe?)for others this Christmas. But, I have time. I have to get the baby quilt together first.

Amanda Jean's filmstrip quilt on crazymomquilts.blogspot.com is looking pretty good too. I could just alternate shirting fabbies with some white or unbleached muslin. Hmmm. Too many choices. But, it is fun to ponder!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No Fair!

Between helping to take care of my Mom, homeschool for 3 boys, and starting a new business venture (slowly....s l o w l y....), I feel like I am hardly able to get anything done (including laundry) well or even at all, sometimes.

You would think that with the economy and how tight money is for us, that since we are home more that we would be able to get so much more done!

Lately, I am so spent from our homeschool time that I take a nap when I get home. I need the break--dealing with my oldest is totally emotional! But, it eats into my productive time, if you could even call it that.

I guess I need to be more regimented. I am expecting the boys to help more around the house with chores, etc. I think that maybe this place will look relatively presentable in the near future. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

But, I am absolutely itching to quilt. Something fabulous. Really fabulous. Now!

I need to make a baby quilt for a friend who is having her first baby. She wants navy blue. She liked my suggestion to add lighter blues, and maybe some white or cream. But, even though I have pored over the internet looking for ideas, I can't settle on anything. My mind is just so addled lately that I am taking way too long to just focus.

I am thinking with that color scheme, that thrifted men's shirts could look fun and very "little man" for the quilt. I've even got a few shirts, just no inspiration that I can claim. My stash fabrics look a little too floral and cutesy for this quilt. The mom is not wanting anything feminine at all, so my swirly little scraps are out this time. I do love the idea of creating an heirloom for my friend's new baby without breaking the bank! This economy does keep us being creative, doesn't it?

It's crazy. I even have a bed sized quilt basted and ready for hand quilting and I just can't seem to get started. It's like I am too tired to pick it up, even though I love to sit and quilt of an evening while the kids and hubby watch a movie, etc.

I have got to get past this little slump I am in so I don't lose my mind. I need my quilt therapy (I can't afford the other kind--LOL)!

Whew! It's a Wild Ride...

Life, it seems, has me over a barrel right now. At least it seems like it. Returning to homeschooling with my two boys (one gifted, one Aspie that is LD math) and a hearing impaired child of a friend (with cochlear implants, amazing technology) is keeping me busy and worried. I feel like I have been on a roller coaster until I am ready to lose the proverbial lunch!

My oldest (the Aspie) just turned 14 (how did that happen???) and suddenly his behavior and attitudes have taken a turn for the worse. He has never liked to be pushed academically (or physically, for that matter) but he will comply if pressed. Now, it is getting much more difficult to direct him and he is balking at doing even the things he is very good at. I know that it may be just part of the "teenage" thing, but it has pushed me way beyond my limits for the last two weeks (let's just say that I am not going to be eligible for "mommy of the year" any time soon). I can honestly say that I don't anticipate surviving 4 more years of this.

It's heartbreaking that just overnight, I can't seem to reach him. I'm really bummed about this.

My mom had a huge cancer scare and had major surgery. Turns out that she did have a growth in her abdomen, but it was benign (praise God!). We've been checking on her and helping out where we can, but that has messed with our schedules--and my oldest loves counting on the schedule.

Actually, Mom's surgery coincides with the beginning of this two week period where my Aspie began losing all control (minor exaggeration). It also was just before the 14th birthday. I wonder if he is upset and more volatile than usual because of him being aware that Granny is not 100% just yet and he hasn't been going over for his usual sleep overs with Granny and Grandpa.

Sure wish I could figure this one out.

Younger son is doing well. He loves the curriculum we are using (Sonlight), especially the historical fiction. This curriculum is full of amazing books! He wrote his first essay draft today and I am pretty impressed. He doesn't need me as much for a teacher, but just to keep him focused on getting the work done. He likes to learn.

Any homeschool Moms out there who can share some insight? I'm open to suggestions!