Thursday, September 27, 2012

Coming up for air

Oh my goodness, my exuberant confidence that my first year at this new school would be an easy transition has worn off.  Don't get me wrong, with each new day I love my students and coworkers more and more, but I'm leaving the comfortable realm of Ecology and entering Biochemistry.  It's not that I feel unable to learn, lecture, and design activities for's keeping up with the kiddos questions.  These kids ask things like "exactly how much pressure does it take to create a fossil fuel?"  They don't accept answers like "lots of pressure, time, and heat."  So, I'm a bit worried about the level of question they'll come up with as we start chemistry.  I know a few things for sure...I'll learn (or rather, relearn) TONS of chemistry in preparation and during class, it will take lots of work to prepare, it will feel SO good once I have a plan for the unit that gels together, and I may will have to sacrifice quilting time to get my act together!

In conclusion, I'm going to celebrate every little quilting achievement and enjoy all the little bits of quilting time I glean during my breaks.

Most exciting for the week...I did manage to keep up with the Free Motion Quilting Project.  I'm so thankful for Leah's answer to my question last week.  It was about time management and inspired me to keep looking for a way to balance work, excercise, and craft in a way that works for me.  Since then, I've gotten in two nice brisk walks and a few Zumba classes...and...I have some pep in my step again!
 Here's my snake paisley.  I really like Pat's version that looks more like a flame...I'll try less wiggle next time.

Also, the bunny quilt is SLOWLY being quilted one or two blocks at a time...I'm thinking I'll do the outer border in...PAISLEY!

Happy quilting everyone!  I'm going to go quilt some sashing before grading a few papers!
My quizzes must be tough when an 80% gets this much celebration ;)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A charity quilt and lots of papers to grade...

Those are my newest things this week.  Since we're getting into the meat of things now at school, the papers are beginning to flow in, and I'm having to adjust to an A/B block system over a 4x4 block system.  I have more time to grade assignments, but I get a lot of them at once!!!  The kids continue to be great; they're tired just like me, but we're all trying really hard (and trying not to get sick!...anyone else seeing the flu pop up early this year???)

This week I'm really wondering when people do most of their sewing if they work.  Do you mainly quilt on the weekends?  Do you make sure to do a bit each night?  Anyone successfully integrating work, quilting, kids, cooking, etc...and still managing to exercise?

I've been trying to get a bit done each night, but then that turns from "a bit" into "a lot," and I'm up too late still sewing.

Anyway, the mental health break each night is serves me much better than watching TV.

I've started yet ANOTHER work-in-progress.  A second charity quilt for DC Modern's 100 Quilts for Kids. (Now I'm hoping I get them finished!  They may turn into Christmas donations.)

I used the wonky block tutorial links from Sewn by Leila.  That took me to Quilt Dad and I'm doing his basic wonky log cabin and a large bento block for the center.

 I think they'll really pop once they all have white borders...

I've also spent time quilting the bunny quilt.

And working on lava flow for this week's Free Motion Quilt Along.

  Free Motion Quilt Along 

I felt like I had a hard time making lava paisley look like something more than paisley done sloppily.  I think I need to make the first inner loop more wiggly somehow...

So that leaves all the other unfinished projects...
1.) the first charity quilt - needs a little more FMQ and binding
2.) the classroom echo quilting - more FMQ and binding
3.) the Hooterville quilt - a little more applique, then sewing the top...

I'd consider the hexie quilt hibernating :( along with any other quilts I was thinking of starting for myself.  But there's more time to come, and I know I'll be wanting to sew myself through stress and difficult times or just because I'm relaxing after a good day.

Hope everyone has a good day today!  I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday--check out Lee's blog at Freshly Pieced--and QED at Color Me Quilty by Pat.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A successful weekend...

John and I wrapped up our weekend with some dolmas (wrapped grape's a Lebanese dish).  He found a great brand of grape leaves; they were so fresh they tasted a bit grassy.  I'm still working towards the perfect recipe, but I think I'll keep doing at least one thing I tried today--add lemon zest to the filling to increase the tartness!
I started off the weekend at a DC Mod Quilt Guild meeting.  I always have so much fun with the group!  They are such welcoming people; it was only my second time and I feel like I belong.  Plus you learn such great stuff!  Elle shared a great way to make half square triangles.  You trace a big grid on two pieces of fabric, then sew a scant 1/4" seam on either side (follow the arrows), then cut all the triangles apart (on the dotted lines) after setting the seams. 
Here's the note I made to myself:

It was a 100 quilts for kids sewing day so I decided to try a wonky log cabin that would suit a teenager (maybe even a boy?).  I pulled all the brown, cream, tan, orange, and green prints that I could.  I don't have much of a stash yet and was surprised how much I found once I started looking.  Sort of scary to think how much I'll have when I feel like I have a substantial stash. :/  How do you feel about your stash?  What do you stash? (for me it's both fabric AND yarn)

Here's some pictures of the progress...

But now it's back to grading! :)  Hope everyone out there in blog world had a good weekend too!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

I'm Thankful it's Thursday!

I've nearly made it through my first FULL week at my new job!  I celebrated by trying out last week's Free Motion Quilt Along #30.  Thank you Leah for having great timing!  This is one I've really been wanting to try (but of course I needed a nudge...)

It's the paisley design.  

John's comment was "are you going to do a whole quilt like that?" and then " many stitches..." It's the first time he's watched me while I was quilting.  I lured him in with the Season 1 finale of Monk ;)

I'm linking up with the other folks on Leah Day's blog that also tried paisley.  I'm also joining TNT Thursdays at Melissa's Happy Quilting blog since it's a new pattern for me.
Free Motion Quilt Along 
And a big thanks to my hubby!  Roast beef tonight!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WIP--Quilting again!

I feel like celebrating...I've started to earn a place at my new school.  The kids are working hard, I'm working hard, and so far we (mostly) understand each other.  Hearing them debate the importance of science made me smile--no, grin like a silly person.  I'm aware it sounds too good to be true, so I'll add, it's a colossal amount of work.  I worked from 7 am to 11 pm yesterday (with a dinner break) and then went in at 6:30 to finish this morning. I've always enjoyed time with kids in a classroom (it's the other parts of the job that feel like work), and these kids are no different.  8:30 to 2:05 always flies by!

BUT...all that hard work meant I could quilt tonight!!!

The bunny quilt is finally being quilted!!!

Other works in progress:
Animal echo quilting for the classroom

The charity quilt

The owl quilt (Hooterville by Brandywine Design)...I started this in March!  At least the embroidery needs to be finished soon!
There's lots more, and I really want to start the Giant Granny Panties QAL too!  I'm a crazy person for thinking I've got time for this now that school's started.  But my wonderful (smart) hubby keeps encouraging me and helping out around the house so that we both have time for hobbies.  I say smart because I'm a much nicer person when I'm balancing work with craft.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday...make sure you check out the other fabulous projects there!  So much to inspire!  Also linking to Quilty Embellishment Day at Color Me Quilty...she's got a fabulous guest blogger there too!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fresh Sewing UFO Sunday...umm well Tuesday...

As Nemo would say..."first day of school! First day of school!"

Those words (in a Nemo voice and all...) echoed through my head as I woke up today.  It was a smooth first day.  Maybe it's just that my husband has a calming influence on me, maybe this school really is less intense than my last, maybe the kids jive better with me than others have in the past, maybe I'm finally becoming a "veteran," maybe it's all the above.

Lots of hard work to prepare for the day and lots more hard work to go.  It's always a sprint to the end of the year.  But before I go quilt a bit and read lots of's some of what I've been working on in the beautiful, unencumbered month of August:

Curtain to spruce up the table (and hide stuff!)

Finished the bunny quilt top

Began quilting my first 100 quilts for kids quilt

Back of the bunny quilt sandwhich

My favorite...the bunny faces :)

Began some EPP hexagon flowers...another first!
This will be my first month joining Fresh Sewing Day
Lily's Quilts
 Lily's Quilts also has a "Small Blog Meet" for those of us with fewer than 50 followers.  That describes my tiny blog well.  I'm looking forward to checking out the other "small blogs" and you should too!  See the list here:
Lily's Quilts

Also, I FINALLY pulled out a UFO (UnFinished Object) to work on again in honor of UFO Sunday at Leah Day's blog.  I have a surprising amount of quilts in progress and laid aside considering I've only been quilting about a year.  I pulled out a very fitting quilt considering my August theme of "animal" quilts (unintentional I swear!)
UFO Sundays on the Free Motion Quilting Project

It's the Hooterville Quilt!
What made me lay it aside?  I knew my FMQ skills weren't where they needed to be and probably got tired of blanket stitching around all the fused applique pieces.  Luckily, the stitch was still saved in the Janome's memory bank (that poor machine needs a name now that I'm so fond of her...suggestions?)

After an afternoon break from lesson planning yesterday, here's the progress:
Some owls needed eyes and a few pieces of stabilizer torn off.
Lots of stabilizer...this was early in the process...
They made it to the design wall!

I'm in love again...and now I can actually FMQ with some confidence.  By the time this top is finished, I'll have quilted the charity quilt and bunny quilt too!

Progress will be slower during the school year to be sure, but it will be progress!!!  Here's to all of our progress and a big thanks to all the people out there in blog land inspiring me to keep going!