Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I don't have any pictures to post today. I have been working. My students are suppose to work 9 hours per week on ALEKS. I check their hours on Wednesday mornings and send them an email update on their progress. At noon I meet with which ever of my students happens to show up in the computer lab for assistance. Today that was nobody, but usually I have 2 or 3.

Next semester I will most likely be teaching two classes using ALEKS. My Wednesdays will be even busier. And I may have to work another day a week too. We'll see.

My sister's quilt is still on the basting table. I got as far as winding several bobbins and threading my machine with the thread I will use for the quilting. I hope that tomorrow I will actually be able to start quilting it. However, I have chores to do tomorrow too - grocery store and laundry.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I made this quilt a little over a year ago, but I am thinking about Fall today so I thought I'd post a photo of my "Fall" quilt. The name of the quilt is "The Leaves are Turning." The pattern was in an issue of Quiltmaker magazine. My mom appliqued all the leaves and gave them to me along with the backing fabric, binding fabric, the pattern and all the left over fabrics from her making the blocks. I finished the quilt adding my own border. It hangs in our dining room at this time of year. Parker likes it because each block has a match. He likes to find the matches. Can you find the matches?

Monday, September 28, 2009

This Mornings Work

This is what I've been doing this morning, basting. This is my sister's quilt. She won the fabrics used to make the center about 10 years ago - about the time kid number 2 was born. She now has 5 kids. When she got the top made, I told her that I would quilt it for her as a gift. She provided the backing fabric, a nice blue flannel, and the binding fabric. After I quilt it I will make the binding and attach it to the front for her. She wants to whip stitch the binding to the back herself. I had to piece the backing. I decided to iron the fabric before piecing it and it's a good thing I did. There was a small hole in the fabric so I had to cut that out and piece in another section. Luckily my sister bought plenty of backing fabric.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Farmer's Market Goodies

Yesterday, like most Saturday mornings lately, we went to the local Farmer's Market. Here is a sample of what we bought. Not pictured is a tomato the we had already eaten before I thought to take a picture. The yellow melon in the background is a canary melon. It is a cross between a cantaloupe and a honeydew melon. When you cut it open it is orange and green inside and very sweet. YUM! The lady said that the yellowness of the outside it the ripeness indicator. So the yellower the better. Parker bought the apple to take to his teacher tomorrow. We sampled some and if I hadn't already spent all but a dollar of my cash we would have bought more - next week.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tote Bags

I'm going to be teaching my guild how to make these bags at our October meeting. I just love tote bags! These are roughly the same size as the grocery store bags you can buy. I use them for my groceries and Wal-mart purchases and many other things. They are certainly more stylish than the store versions and they are washable. The blue one below was made by my 9 year old niece, so they are easy to make as well. The original pattern is from Valori Wells' blog.

I have not deviated from her pattern much. However, for the blue bag below we used regular cotton quilting fabric instead of home decorator fabric so I had to adjust the cutting instructions. We also used Craft-Fuse to add stiffness to the lining since regular quilting cotton fabric is not as heavy as home decorator weight fabric. I like the pattern best made with home decorator fabrics but these are more expensive and harder to find in my area. I got all my home dec. fabrics from the clearance icon at eQuilter.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Textures 1

I finished my textures experiment yesterday. It's okay, but I don't really like it. I think this is because I didn't have a clear picture of what I wanted before I started. I just started. The first two sections I did are more free-form while the last two are more organized sashiko designs. It has served it's purpose though. I learned that I prefer to do the more free-form stitches that don't require marking. BUT I like the finished look of the more organized, geometric sashiko designs. (I shouldn't be surprised. It's the mathematician in me that likes the geometry) I titled this "Textures 1" thinking I may like to experiment with this idea further. I have several other projects that require my attention now though so it will be a while before I get back to this.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Applique Kitchen Towels

I have a whole stack of these plaid kitchen towels. I think my mom gave them to me some time ago. I wanted them to applique on and I'm finally getting around to actually doing it. This is a sample of what I've done so far. I am giving these as gifts to friends.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Navajo Stocking Ornaments

I'm halfway done, sort of. I've got 6 of the twelve cross-stitch stockings done. I will do 6 more the same as these. Well, maybe I'll switch up some of the colors. I still have not decided how I will turn these into ornaments. I've got a couple more months to think about it though.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wedding Photo

Here's a photo of me and the blushing bride. All the bridesmaids wore "their favorite little black dress." I don't know that this is my favorite little black dress, but it is a formal black dress that fits me.

Home Again

I've been in Nashville since Thursday for a wedding. One of my oldest friends, Liesel Wellman, got married to a really neat guy on Saturday. I had hoped to have some pictures, but didn't take my camera and haven't gotten any photos from others yet. I'll post a few when I do.

Parker and Tony did a good job keeping up with the dishes this trip and the house is in pretty good condition but cluttered with mail, newspapers and some toys. Nothing too bad, it has been worse. I've got mountains of laundry to do today though. I'll skip hanging clothes on the line today, even though the weather is nice, just to be able to get it all done today. I think my art group is meeting tomorrow so I don't want to be doing laundry tomorrow.

My job seems to be going well. I've been offered the opportunity to teach the same course again next semester. That's not a surprise since the department chair wanted to give it a year to see how it works. The surprise is that he has asked if I would be willing to offer another class using ALEKS too. I need to think about that. It would be so nice to have the extra income, but I need to consider how it will affect our family, if at all. After getting home at 10 pm last night, I am in no condition to be making that decision today though. But I am giving it some serious thought.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Engine 169

Yesterday afternoon the train at the south end of Cole Park in town was open for visitors. We have lived here 5 years and have always been interested in looking at the train up close. Parker had a blast! He got to climb all over the train. He brought a rag because the train looked dirty so he spent about 45 minutes climbing on the train and cleaning it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Still Playing

I'm still playing with my little handwork experiment. A friend lent me a sashiko book so I did two of those designs and two of my own. Mine are the two upper right "messy" ones. I have learned that I prefer the look of the more orderly sashiko stitching, but I don't like marking. So I like to do the "messier," no mark designs better. * sigh* The top fabric is probably going to be the binding.

I have Grandma's button tin out auditioning buttons as possible embellishments for this piece. I don't know how much time I'll have to play today since I am leaving on Thursday for the weekend. Going to be a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding in Nashville, TN. Got to go to the post office, Wal-mart and maybe Safeway too. Tomorrow is another early release day for Parker and I have to work so I've got to do my errands today.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Good-bye Old Friend

My first car, a 1987 Volkswagon Golf GT. I purchased her new in 1988. We recently purchased a "new" truck for my husband. My boys go camping a good bit in the summer and they needed a four wheel drive vehicle. It is also nice to be able to haul stuff. The truck saved us about $200 in delivery fees this past June when we redid our front walkway. So today we had to say good-bye to Gretchen after 21 good years together. It's not good for her to just sit indefinitely. Living in a small town we don't drive much. My husband and I both walk to work and the grocery store is just a block away. I take my little red wagon and go shopping. She went to a good home. Hopefully she and her new family will be happy together for many more years. Good-bye Gretchen and thanks for all the rides!

Geometry in a Box

We got this box of colored shapes for Parker several years ago. (It is really called Geometry in a Box.) I think it came from the local thrift shop. Anyway, he has had lots of fun with it lately making all kinds of things. It came with several cards depicting shapes to copy (boat, car, hot air balloon, ...). I think he has made them all several times. So lately he has been making his own creations. This is a flower and the little cream diamonds are suppose to be bees pollinating the flower. Mostly I try to just let him play. However with this one we discussed how many different ways there are to make hexagons with the shapes in the box. Also, I pointed out how this could be made with fabric and turned into a quilt.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Play Time

I purchased a charm on a recent trip with the intention of making a pin for a friend. I started by cutting two 7 1/2" squares of fabric and a square of batting. I put them together with spray baste, sandwiching the batting in between the two fabrics. Then I just stitched all over it with various colors of thread. I used variegated thread, metallic thread and polyester thread. I used free-motion stitching and some of the stitches from my machine. Although you can't tell from the picture, I even threaded orange polyester and silver metallic through the same needle and sewed using a pre-programed machine stitch. Here's what it looked like at this point.

Then I added some lime green fun fur (or eyelash yarn). I just laid it down and zig-zag stitched over the top.
Then I divided my big square up into a grid of one inch squares. I sewed along my grid lines and cut it apart. Well, actually I just cut off one end and picked a one inch square from that strip. Then I satin stitched around the edges with lime green thread, sewed the charm on the front and then sewed a pin to the back. Voila!

I've seen this idea called an "inchie." There are probably lots of ways of making inchies and people use them to make jewelry, ornaments, art quilts and more.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Quilts of Valor

I've read several posts today about remembering 9/11. One of the blogs mentioned Quilts of Valor. I thought I would share the quilt I made for Quilts of Valor earlier this year. This is a photo of just the top, before I quilted it. It was a fun pattern to make and I have thought about making another and possibly resizing the blocks.

An Idea and Silhowitches

I was reading someone's blog yesterday and they mentioned an interesting idea. A friend of theirs started blogging several years ago. After the first year she had all her blog entries printed out and bound into a book. I think she has done that every year since. Something to keep in mind for later.

This is what I have been working on lately. Last night I finished the binding. It may be done, but then again, it may need some embellishing. It's going to hang on my design wall for a few days until we decide. Then it will go to a friend's house to live. The center is just a panel. I made the pieced border from the companion fabrics.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Button Flowers

Here's a pair of art quilts I made recently (March 2009). We learned about fabric weaving in my art group around that time so the backgrounds are woven. The buttons are from my grandmothers button tin which my mom brought me in December 2008. What a treat that was!

I haven't been able to do much sewing recently. My job is getting in the way - such is life.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hamburger Buns

I've been baking all the bread my family consumes for almost two years now. We buy hamburger buns and hotdog buns though ... until now. Last Friday I decided to try making hamburger buns. I just used my regular whole wheat sandwich bread recipe in my bread machine, on the dough cycle. Instead of putting the dough in loaf pans, I made buns. I let them rise a little longer than I do for loaves, then brushed them with egg and sprinkled sesame seeds on top before baking. They turned out great! I made nine buns because I had nine hamburger patties in the freezer - you can't buy nine buns in a package.

Now I just need to figure out how to do hotdog buns.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mom, I'm skateboarding!

Parker got a skateboard for his birthday in May. He has finally learned how to use it yesterday. The joy and pride on his face say all that needs to be said.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lazy Saturday

This is one of my recent "beginner and ender" projects. I got the idea from Bonnie Hunter. It's a simple pattern, one of the first patterns I made when I started quilting. It goes together quickly. Every block is the same. The pattern is created by turning the blocks. I usually just quilt these with a large stipple or loops or stars. This one went to a local hospital for a charity auction. I wonder how much it went for? It doesn't really matter. I am just trying to use up some fabric that I know I will never use for anything else. Got to make room for more fabric!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Parker's Quilt

Parker and I made this quilt yesterday afternoon. He wanted a Christmas quilt to hang in his room so that Santa would feel welcome. He didn't have patience yesterday for doing more than picking the fabric squares, arranging them and then helping me sew them together. He has taken it to school today for Show and Tell. His plan is to put snowflakes on it but it wasn't clear to me if he wants to applique snowflakes or if he wants me to quilt snowflakes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I finished these napkins on Monday but am just getting around to posting photos. It's so nice to have new napkins and placemats!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Play Time

This is what I've been doing this morning. Yesterday I pieced the background and marked the portion I have stitched. I'm just playing with stitching patterns to see what kind of texture they create.

I need some hand work because I am mad at our school district. For the past two years the district has been doing an early release or late start for the children on the first Wednesday of each month so that the teachers can do their PLCs (professional learning community). They are doing them again this year, doing an early release. In the past this has meant the children are in school 2 hours less on these days, so for early release they should get out at 1 pm. However, this year it is going to be 3 hours, so the children get out at noon. The reason I am angry is that the notice that early release was going to be 3 hours early instead of 2 came home yesterday afternoon. That is not even 24 hours notice! I arranged my work schedule so that Parker would be in school while I am at work so I wouldn't need to arrange child care. I am not making enough to make it worth my while to work if I have to pay for child care. But yesterday I found out that on early release Wednesdays he will get out of school at the same time my class starts!!!! And my husband also has a class at noon on Wednesdays. I have made alternate arrangements with a friend for today but I am going to have to change my class schedule for the rest of the semester. I do not understand why the school district does not feel it is necessary to inform parents of these decisions when they are made. They could have easily let everyone know about this in early August at registration. But no ... they wait until the day before to send home a note that many parents may not even get.

So I was stitching this morning thinking about how best to channel my anger towards positive change. Unfortunately, this is not the first time in the 2+ years Parker has been in the district that parents have received short notice of major events. Don't get me started!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Four Tree

In August we visited friends who live in Eugene, OR. While there we hiked up Spencer's Butte. Off the side of the trail I spied this strange tree. This is one tree. The only thing I did to the image was resize it for posting. There may be a quilt in this picture some where. Here it is from another angle.