Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Word .... Inspiration Occurs!

 Don't you hate it when you have a project that you HAVE to work on when another project is whispering in your ear, Work on me, Work on me? I have 3 or 4 projects that must be completed by May. One of these projects is the blocks with author signatures that our fourth graders from last year sent to their favorite authors. They are now fifth graders. I want them to see their quilt before they finish the school year in May.  The blocks are six inch squares. We have 23 blocks to include in the project. My first plan was to just make 5 rows of 5 blocks each with sashing and cornerstones between the blocks. Our art teacher is extremely artistic and gifted in design. I spoke to her about illustrating two blocks so I would have 25 blocks that I needed for this arrangement. In our discussion, she mentioned adding more color. Inspiration finally occured! With that one word, color, I knew immediately what to do with this project. At home that evening, I dug through my fabric stash to find more fabric to coordinate with my library border fabric. 

 This cheddar insisted on coming home with me in December from Sweet Home. It is absolutely perfect for the background to arrange the blocks. Even though these aren't t-shirts, I decided to use the arrangement from Sharon's T-shirt pattern. See this past blog entry.  I whittled it down to four fabrics for the sashing around the blocks. I used the black and green that I purchased from Sweet Home for this project plus some red from my Christmas Toile scraps and blue that I found in my stash for the  strips to sew around the blocks. I worked on the blocks this weekend. 

Yesterday, I brought the background piece and the blocks to school. We pushed two library tables together. My art teacher worked her magic on the arrangement of the 

blocks after we were finished with students for the day. The quilt top is ready for me to machine stitch the blocks down. I even have the matching thread for each of the four colors. The project is sitting next to my sewing machine. It is patiently waiting to become a Real quilt top.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A bit of Progress

I actually made some progress on a couple of my sewing projects this weekend. I finished putting the sashing strips around the blocks on  one of the T-shirt quilts I need to make this Spring. I measured and assembled the background section. Drat! I cut the borders wrong - well that's not quite right. I cut them the size the pattern said to cut them, but decided I'd like the borders wider. I thought I had enough fabric, but was short just a bit. I check with our friend Melisa at Sweet Home Quilt Shop , but
 she didn't have that particular fabric. I called Intown Quilters where my friend purchased the fabric. They had what I needed and put it aside for me. Here are some of the blocks on this project.

 I haven't taken a picture of the background yet. I still have two borders to sew on. My friend will then pick up the blocks and background and arrange the blocks (sort of like scrapbooking) This step is not my strength so I'll let her fight with it. After that I'll just have to sew down the blocks. Easy! Then bring it to our friend, PJ, to be quilted.

Gretchen worked on a Valentine's Day project on our last sewing day. I had a project with the same fabric, same charm pack, but a different pattern in my UFO dungeon. I took my Valentine's project  out and worked on it a bit. I had to trim some of the snowball blocks. I put the blocks up on my felt design wall. Not bad. I'm liking this project. The blocks are not sewn together. Borders need to be added, too. 

I have another project to report on, but Blogger is being difficult with uploading pictures. I'll post that project tomorrow. 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Our Baby is 18

Gosh, I can't believe it's been over a week since I've posted.  This is just not my Winter to be organized and motivated.  Oh well......   

Last week marked a milestone for my husband and me. Our baby celebrated his eigtheenth birthday last Wednesday. He wanted to eat-out that evening. We had some gift cards that we had received as gifts so he choose Outback Steakhouse which was one of our gift cards. Our oldest son,  Jason,  joined the celebration. Jason lived with us this past year while getting settled financially and emotionally from his divorce. He is now in an apartment so it was great visiting with him, too. 

On Friday, Michael and a group of friends went to one of our malls for dinner and a movie. They returned to our house for an all-nighter with video games and lots of food. I spent the better part of the week picking up snacks, drinks etc. for their celebration. The fellas were great. They didn't sleep, but kept the noise down so that we could. The ate almost everything in sight including an entire cookie cake our friend Kathy baked for the occasion.  After cooking breakfast for the crew, they returned home to sleep. 

It's so hard to believe that our little one has grown-up. He has been a blessing in our life. Our years have been enriched with his presence. Happy Birthday, dear Michael!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sweet Home Field Trip

Ok. I know I'm almost a week late giving my report/confession on my trip with Karin to Sweet Home last Saturday. It all began with missing the pre-inventory sale, a gift certificate for Christmas and Karin announcing a trip on her blog. I HAD to have my fix. I started my list of "things I needed" so I would resist some of the temptation. I committed last year to a project with our fourth grade students. They wrote to authors requesting their autograph. Each author was given a six inch square of muslin to autograph and illustrate if they choose. I found some library looking fabric earlier in the year from another online shop. I needed coordinating fabric for the sashing, cornerstones and borders. Karin helped me in the decision-making process. Two or more quilters adding input to a project always improves the final project. The white square have the autographs, the blue is for the shashing around the blocks, the black with white ABC letters is for the cornerstones, the green is the inner border and the book fabric is for the outer border. The muslin blocks are really dull. These bright colors will help greatly.

One of my goals for this year is to try new things. I've wanted to do more hand applique (sorry Karin, I know it's the A word for you) and stitchery. I don't do either enough to improve.  When I discovered the Mystery Block of the Month by Anne Sutton (Bunny Hill designs) on the Bunny Tale blog, I knew I had found the right project. I can also mix cotton and wool which I've wanted to do since seeing BOM project Kristie and Gretchen worked on in the past. I found a small piece of white wool to use in the first block. I wanted to try the Roxanne's glue and needed some ecru pearl cotton. Sweet Home had all three items for this project. I also picked up the last month of the Ring in the New stitchery BOM from last year. Let's not talk about how many of those I still need to complete.

Sweet Home has begun a new program with special incentives called Sweet Card. I am now a card carrying member. There was a new pattern perfect for jelly rolls. Melisa had just received the fabric. I did resist on that one or at least for now I have resisted. 

In the Stack

 Our public library system is fantastic. I depend on the PL for most of my personal reading matter and some professional (children's literature) too. It seemed everything I placed on Hold in the last month, several hundred other folks remembered to reserve a copy before I did. Yesterday, everything was available all at the same time. This is a picture of the stack of books my son picked up for me. There is no way that I can get all of these read in three weeks. Problem. What do I begin reading first? What a great problem to have on a long holiday weekend :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dragons, Vampires, and Bears - Oh My!

I've decided that I must be part bear, Momma Bear, that is. After an extended period (October, November, December) of eating or foraging, all I want to do is retreat to my cave and hibernate (read and sleep).  Absolutely, no sewing going on here in my cave. I have great intentions each morning, but after a day of school, mywork,  I can just manage to lay on the couch and read with the help of my personal lap warmer, Rusty. 

So, I'm reading. Professionally, I am a librarian after all, I decided it was time to do my own research. It was time to read the "Twilight" books by Stephenie Meyer.  The series is not appropriate for my elementary students, but this is personal, professional development after all. After months of waiting for a copy at our outstanding county public library system, I received an e-mail that a copy was waiting for me. I was prepared not to like the book. I'm not into horror  stories or vampire tales. Imagine my surprise when I found myself liking Twilight, the first book in the series. It is a wonderfully, creative fantasy. I've  quite enjoyed the characteristics and talents that Ms. Meyer has graced upon her vampires. I do find Edward, the romantic-hero vampire a bit boring and "cold."  I found his "family"   more interesting. I finished the first book in the series last weekend. My co-worker had book two, New Moon so I borrowed her copy.Ms. Meyer's young werewolves in New Moon entertained and amused me. They were so like a normal pack of teenage boys (don't let my sons read this:)  I'm waiting to read the third book in the series. I must be thorough in my research. I actually think a copy is on hold at the Public Library. Great reading, ah I mean research, during our long holiday weekend.

My son is a huge fan of the Eragon book series by Christopher Paolini. I've started the first book, Eragon, three times, but wandered to other books. Michael insisted that I need to read the series so I decided to give it another try. This time I'm listening to the audio-book not reading the print version. The many invented names, places, and words in the fantasy world are what discouraged me from reading the actual book. Listening to the audio-book has actually been a delight. My drive home is about 45 minutes each day. I've begun to look forward to discovering what peril awaits Eragon and his dragon Saphira each afternoon. I'm not sure of the name of the actor who is doing the vocals, but he has done a wonderful job with adapting his voice to fit different characters. 

I'm just in the middle of book one, Eragaon, but will continue my "research" with book two, Eldest and book three, Brisingr.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Whirl Into Winter Blog Give-aways

  I've just had a great time visiting the 60+ blogs listed on  Whirl Into Winter Quilt Blog Give-away.    These wonderful, generous bloggers all have give-aways to help celebrate winter. The give-away period is from January 1st to January 15th in most cases. It was fun discovering the items that folks had chosen for their give-away. I liked studying the blog designs and looking at the other links on many of the blogs. Many of the give-away had a special question or topic to comment on. I love surfing the net anyway so this was a great relaxing time. Many of the ladies have responded to my comments and visited my blog. What a bonus! There is still lots of time to visit the blogs and enter the give-aways. Enjoy!

Calendars for the New Year

One of my best memories of New Year's Day was buying a new calendar or weekly planner and transfering the important dates from one year to the next. It was a chance to reflect on the past year, to think about the people and happenings of that year. Well, I still do love calendars. Every year I request calendars from my family on my Christmas list. This year, my friend Brenda at Quilting Cowgirl gave me a beautiful calendar from That Patchwork Place. It is living in my sewing room. It's already open to January with a stunning winter quilt.

 My boys gave me Dachshund calendars. Two different Dachshund calendars to be exact. One is now living in our master bathroom. Each day has pictures of different Doxies. Michael, my son, has a January birthday. The doxie on his date, January 21st looks lots like our Rusty. The second Doxie calendar will live in my office at school. It has big numbers that I can see from my computer.

I also like to have a calendar on our refrigerator. Everyone in the family adds their schedule to the dates so we can keep up with each other. The Chick-Fil-A cow calendar has become our favorite for this job. The coupons on the calendar come in handy, too.
  I also have a PDA that I carry in my purse. It's great for scheduling appointments without having to carry a big planner around. The planner exists, too. It lives in my school bookbag.

Guess, I have a calendar obsession, too.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year...

"Create each day anew." - Morihel Ueshiba

I thought I would begin the year with a new look on my blog. One of my goals, not resolutions, is to try new things on my blog, my quilting, my reading, relationships... in all of life.  Today is the one year anniversay of my journey in blogging. I'm so glad that I accepted the challenge and began a blog. It has truly improved my writing skills. It has helped in reflecting on my day and life in general. Thank you friends for taking the time to visit my blog! Thanks especially to those who take the time to comment. It's one of my favorite things about blogging.

We are taking it easy and quiet here today. We were invited for lunch with friends and begged off. I needed a bit of down time especially since I have to return to work tomorrow. My "boys" don't return until Monday. 

Marion and I stayed up to watch the Chick Fil-A Bowl last night. Geaux Tigers! Our LSU tigers played an awesome game against Georgia Tech. It's been a painful football season for us with some disastrous losses so last night was balm to our football souls. We do live in Atlanta with many Tech fans so winning is sweet. I plan to wear my LSU hoodie to work tomorrow : )