my "old" life

Last weekend the church bulletin listed the time and date for the next alter server class.  For those of you who  might not know, alter servers within the catholic church are usually school age boys and girls, members of the church, who assist the clergy during the mass or service. For years this was a duty only performed by boys and men.  When I was a girl I found this incredibly unfair and always thought it would be fun to be an alter server. I digress.

After I read the posting of the time and date for the next class, I approached my kids with the news.  Mark and Jack have both attended this type of training before,  Mark twice before. Regardless of previous training both boys are required by this church to attend their training.  Now that Emma has been through enough of her sacraments she is also allowed to perform the alter serving duties.  I thought Emma would be happy, excited even, to learn that she could finally do something the boys could.  I am forever hearing about how, "it's not fair...."  for what ever reason, that she isn't included in their boys' club.

With great enthusiasm I announced the next meeting time. My announcement was met with some resistance from the boys.  They failed to see why it was necessary that they attend yet another alter serving training.  I can understand and sympathize with their annoyance.  Yet, I can see both sides of the issue.

If the boys' reaction was not what I expected, Emma's was even less so.  She gave me a stern look and stated, "I do not want to serve.  When you serve you have to sit up on the alter and be good.  You cannot sit with your family.  And everyone in church is staring at you."  I was shocked at this response.  I have to admit it gave me pause for a moment.  Perhaps, I thought, she doesn't understand the honor associated with this position.  I thought I would let her know some of my feelings towards alter serving from when I was a girl.  Clearly then she would understand.  I turned around in the front seat and said to her, "Emma, when I was a girl, I always thought it would be a great honor to serve up on the alter and participate in mass.  But back when I was in school girls could not be alter servers.  I always thought that was unfair." Now she would see, wouldn't she?

She looked at me with complete sincerity and said, "Mom!  I am not you.  I cannot live your old life for you.  This is my life and I need to live it my way." Ah, okay.  That would be a No.



This week came in went in pieces, at least those that I remember.  I know I cut fabric into many, many pieces.  I also picked up lots of pieces.  (Most of these being pieces of other people's clothing.) I even sewed together a few pieces.  Thankfully, I am not falling to pieces, yet.  It does appear as though this week will remain in pieces (That's what I get when I brag about getting sewing done on the weekend).  Apparently these projects can only be completed next week.  Here are a few of the pieces I have laying around my sewing room.

rainbow road strips

Pieces of my Rainbow Road Quilt for the Stitched in Color online course.

Pieces of my Drunkards Path trivet (also a Stitched in Color project)

Pieces of my Irish Chain Quilt laid out to admire.  Ah well, maybe next week I'll be picking up the pieces and making completed objects.


Weekend sewing and other projects

I am proud to say that I did manage to get a little bit of sewing done this weekend, even with the kids home for four days.  The wonderful thing about bigger kids is that they are usually pretty good at entertaining themselves, usually.  I'll admit I didn't get in as much sewing as I would have liked, but I don't know if that would ever be possible.

I finished binding and sewing on the flower centers on my baby quilt.  I made all of the centers out of a yellow print, added a small circle of batting and then hand stitched the onto the quilt.  I have to say, finishing this has only added to my desire to make more baby things.  I have been browsing through Anna Marie Horner's book Handmade Beginnings and I believe I want to make ever project!  I am going to start with the baby booties.  Too Cute.

I also managed to sneak in a few of these blocks for a Double Irish Chain Quilt.  A friend of mine, a really Great Friend, embroidered these shamrock centers for me.  They are perfect.  I have never been a big fan of the busy floral background print you sometimes see on the Irish Chain quilts.  These shamrocks are going to make this quilt.  Yeah! I only sewed up a few strips of the second block for this quilt.  It has many more pieces and will take more pinning.

Not only were the kids home for an extended weekend, but they all had projects due or tests to study for when they returned.  Jack had a poem about Giant Stingrays that needed to be finished up.  Mark had work due in AP Human Geography.  Emma had her revolutionary war hero project.  As per standard daughter protocol, Emma and I had to have an argument, which slowed things down.  (I do not know why I get drawn into arguments with a 10 year old! ) Emma did end up needing assistance with the hot glue gun, assistance I gladly gave.  Her project entailed decorating a canister as a revolutionary hero and adding items to the can to represent the character. Emma's revolutionary war hero was Molly Pitcher.  Her is her can.

 I will say this, she did manage to get several things out of the way herself, which was a miracle, while I brainstormed with Jack.  (ever tried to rhyme the word stingray?)  Painful, very painful.  After a quick email and phone conversation with dad, who thankfully has a better grasp of the English language than I(or is it me?)  Here is his final draft.

Giant stingrays are usually gray,
They live in the oceans, rivers and bays.
Close to the bottom they live and they stay.
On mollusks, worms and crustaceans they prey.

Large flat bodies with eyes high on their head.
Not made of bones but of cartilage instead.
Their long whip like tale is something to dread.
Almost as poisonous as snakebite, it’s said.

The eggs that are laid, hatched in the mother.
3 to 5 babies, sisters and brothers.
They must fight for themselves, not another.
Baby and dad, deadly as each other.

A mouth and 2 eyes are common features,
But because of its size, it’s a new creature,
14 feet long it’s bigger than teacher,
Hiding on bottom where you can’t reach her.

Endangered and hunted because of its size,
You better not hunt them if you are wise,
Future uncertain because they’re a prize,
Save them all before, we run out of tries .

 I don't know about you, but I am exhausted just reliving it all here! I am off to finally get a shower (shh don't tell. wink. wink;) 


Curvy Cards

Another project from my curves class.  I am absolutely enjoying this class!  This was the only project I had time to get underway this week. Perhaps this weekend I can get to one of the others. HA!  Hey, a girl can dream right?

This was a wonderfully simple, fast and freeing project.  I love just randomly, well sort of randomly, picking out fabrics, drawing improv curves and sewing.  Very little planning, which is great when you have very little time.

I picked a bright and cheery color, yellow, as the primary theme.  It has been overcast here for a few days and the grey is getting tedious.  I needed a POP of color to help me through the dull.  This was just the ticket.

This project turned out so well I think I am going to have to whip up a bunch more.  Just think how handy it will be to have packages of cards made up for gift giving. I am sure this will make a great end of the year teacher gift!


Caution Curves Ahead

Typically, I don't subscribe to the notion of coincidence.  Things happen for a reason.  The older I get the clearer that pattern becomes. I'll admit, here are occasions where the pattern doesn't reveille itself until I am well into the pattern.  By then usually something smacks me upside the head so severely that I am aware of the pattern instantly.  "Okay, okay I get it!"

As I have posted I have been taking a curves class online from Stitched in Color.  Curves are not something new to me.  I have sewn them in the past and find them enjoyable.  I love to learn new ways of seeing the world and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity.

As I work with curves I am finding myself drawn to other ways I could use them.  I did settle on rounding the corners for the baby flower quilt.  Boy does It look ADORABLE!  I cannot wait to get the flower centers sewn on.
Flower Baby Quilt

But wait!  The curves keep coming.  Here is a flower quilt I am quilting for a USC student. She is making this quilt for her Senior Honor's Thesis. (impressed?) She embroidered the names of women who she felt help change the mold for women in the last century.(eg.  Rosa Parks, Madonna, Mother Teresa  and others)  She mentioned something about choosing women who were non-tradional and placing them on a quilt,( traditionally thought of as for women only) thereby merging the 2 halves. (Ah.  The young collegiate mind.)  Look More Curves!  How could that be?
Flower quilt

I tried to make the quilting subtle.  She really wants her flower to stand out.  I left the petals unquilted. Not sure if this was a wise move however, I think it does make the petals look more three dimensional.  I used a matching thread on the background to quilt leaves and vines.
Back of Flower quilt

Vine and Leaf design

Today the biggest curve of all hit me full force at 6:50 am.  I was driving my oldest to school when I realized that the reason I was taking him this early was so he could take the written portion of the drivers test.  When did that happen?  Wasn't he just a toddler?  How can he be driving?  He certainly isn't old enough to get his license because I cannot be old enough to be his mother!

Curves. Watch out!  The are everywhere.


Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy, Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope where ever you are you are having better weather than we are in South Carolina!  After months of calm cool spring like temperatures, this week started out with a morning of 22 degrees.  I was quite surprised to walk out yesterday morning to find that my sprinklers had gone off and everything was covered in a coating of ice.  I fear today will be no better.  The sky is overcast and gray.  While temperatures are hovering around 44 degrees it is hardly spring-like.  I guess it is a good day to cuddle up with the ones you love and nibble on some comfort food.

This weekend I worked a little more on this flower quilt.  After a week long debate with myself over adding a border verses not adding a border,  I went ahead and added this green border.  My reasons for doing so were 2 fold.  One, I thought the green added a 'stem' like appearance to the flowers.  Two, a much more practical reason, was that I need the fabric for sewing the centers onto the edge flowers.

The border is 6 inches wide making the quilt just over 40 inches in circumference. Can one use circumference in reference to a hexagon?    

Saturday I received this yummy Robert Kaufman flannel in the mail.  That was the only  motivation I needed to get this quilt done!  I quilted an all over flower and leaf pattern that I felt complimented the quilt beautifully. Now I cannot decide if I should round the points a little.  There is something about the points that make the quilt a bit rougher than I would like.  I think rounding the corners would give it a softer look.  After that it is on to...... Bias Binding.

This weekend I also finished up this contemporary Christmas Pillow, yet another gorgeous project from  the Curves Class I am taking this month.  I have had these Christmas prints for the last 2 or 3 years.  I like the fact that they are Christmas themed but not overly so.  

I couldn't decide what background to use for my curves so I did what ever I do when I am confronted with a problem that needs a new perspective..I asked my kids. On occasion, I get confined by my preconceived ideas and I need someone who is willing to think outside of the box.  My kids are great at that.  (well a couple of them are)  Usually when I bring them a project that I am stuck with, they are the ones who are inspiring me to change it up.  That was the case in this project.  My kids said, "Mom, it looks like snow is falling over those hills!"  An indeed it did!  After that they started asking me really, really good questions.  And together we came up with this great final project!  I think they were tickled that I had asked them for help with my homework! LOL.

I decided to change up the pillow even further by adding a four button closure instead of a zipper.  I think the back turned out just as pretty as the front.  


Flowers, Spring and Little Girls

Spring is definitely here in the south.  I am excited to see all of the beautiful bushes bursting with flowers. The birds are back.  Let me just say they are LOUD!  However, not as loud as the squirrels!  We have some very, very vocal squirrels.  Yesterday, I saw the redheaded woodpeckers who live behind us move back into their tree.

Warmer weather means all of the spring babies will be back!  I have seen at least 5 adult rabbits in the backyard.  Let's just hope they are smart enough to built their burrows far from Ginger's reach.  Dead baby bunnies, never fun.

This spring,  I learned that I will also be getting a new niece!  Yea!  It is always so much fun to have access to them yet, not be fully responsible for them.  Heehee.:)  With that said, I have been sewing up a few little gifts for my niece.  Since my sister's youngest is now 6 and her baby things are long gone.  I thought a few handmade gifts from Aunt Kristin was an absolute necessity.

Inspired by the flowers, spring and little girls, I sewed up this little pink sundress.  I think I have just enough fabric to make her sister a matching sundress.  How Cute would that be?  The pattern calls for a little lace and possibly ribbon, nothing that cannot be machine washed.   I am holding  back on that decision until I sew up her sister's dress.

I mentioned that this week I started taking an online curves class with Stitched In Color, yesterday's project fit right in with my baby sewing obsession,...BIBS.

These 2 little purple cuties were sewn up in a hurry.  Trying to keep my ever growing stash at bay I used up some princess flannel I had.  All little girls need princess bibs.  Just in case she doesn't like princesses, I thought I'd add a pretty purple flower bib to her collection.

  The curves were easy.  Honestly, the worst part was sewing on the snaps!  How I can manage to poke myself 5 times using a needle and thread I'll never know.  Next stop.  JoAnn's for some thimbles.  Do they make steel tipped thimbles for your thumbs?


Getting my Groove Back.

This week I have been busy, busy, busy.   I went through January wanting only the comfort of sitting and knitting.  Just the thought of sewing gave me a headache.  All I wanted to do was knit.  I don't know if it was the cooler weather or just a much needed hiatus but I absolutely needed a break from quilting.

I posted some of  my finished projects just recently.  Besides those I am working on a felted bag and a toy hedgehog (second attempt). The first hedgehog toy was seriously mangled in a dog attack. Okay, Mr. Hedgehog wasn't actually harmed in the making of this toy. Ginger has however, declared the toy hers.

This week I got my quilting groove back.  After a month long hiatus, when I did sit down to sew this week I was full of vigor.  Ideas were pouring out of me.  It's amazing!  I pulled out a few pieces left over from this quilt....

You may remember I made this quilt for Emma's bed.  After swearing off set-in-seams for the rest of 2010-2011 I am finally ready to jump back in.  I sewed together these 'flowers' this week.

 Now the question is, do I make a quilt that is in the shape of a hexagon, a square or a rectangle?  It might even make a nice circular quilt...hmm?

I also have a custom quilting job I have been working on.

This Penn State quilt stumped me for a few days.  I just wasn't sure what to quilt on it.  I thought of all the usual patterns but nothing said, "Quilt Me"  I started searching the quilting sites for continuous line designs that would give me inspiration.  I ran across a pattern that was called 'popcorn'  and I knew it was the one.  I don't know if my quilting looks more like popcorn or cauliflower.

Regardless I am happy with the results.   I left the fabric strips with the Penn State applique white quilting them with a basic meandering in white thread.  I thought this would help the wording to stand out.

Next week starts the online Curves Class I am taking over at Stitched in Color.  I am looking forward to learning some new tricks and making some great projects!


Ego boost or Misery?

Let me just preface this by explaining a little fact.  My daughter is in 4th grade.  During 4th grade at her school they start to transition the kids into changing classes.  Many schools do it differently and I am not sure what is 'better' or 'worse'.  I know the children at the elementary school seem to enjoy it and the teachers can focus on teaching one specific lesson rather than an entire book.

With that said, My daughter's class has been changing classes for science.  Every unit is done with a different teacher.  Every school has a teacher who kids dread, our elementary school is no exception.  For privacy sake and so this post doesn't come back to bite me in the @$$ I will call her Mrs. X

Mrs. X has a history of being Mean.  The students say she yells a lot and gives out lots of "unfair" punishments. These types of rumors circulate, they always do.  I am sure if I searched hard enough I would find rumors that Mrs. X isn't even human. She probably prowls around during a full moon looking for children and figuring out ways to torture them.

My daughter has been dreading this Science Unit.  All I have heard for the past month is worry for the next science unit and horrible stories of the unjust practices of Mrs. X.  Like most parents I tend to take everything my daughter says with a grain of salt.  I know if I were locked up with 22 nine and ten year olds for 8 hours I would probably also yell.

The week finally arrived, and I was time to have Mrs. X.  My daughter came home surprisingly peppy.  She said Mrs. X explained to them that she only yells when the children don't listen.  She told them her rules and how she expects them to behave.  She explained her 'rules' to them in a way, that I believe is much like brainwashing.  She felt the need to justify her behavior to 10 y.o.   She stated she HAS to do these things to punish the children who don't follow the rules.  While the kids seemed to take this all in stride I found the wording slightly disturbing.   It started to sound more like the scene from Misery, where Kathy Bates breaks James Caan's ankles stating, "Trust me it's for the best."

I took a step back, took a breath and thought, "Remember she is paraphrasing what the teacher said.  Maybe she misunderstood.  Maybe she is using her own dislike color her wording."  I vowed to keep an eye out for more red flags from Mrs. X.

Then last week my daughter and son (who had Mrs. X 2 years ago) told me of one of Mrs. X practices.  Once a class she asks the children, "Who knows Everything class?"  To which they, the class full of CHILDREN is to reply, "Mrs. X does."  Okay, now I am very unnerved.  This has been going on for 2 years maybe longer and not one parent has felt the need to contact the school?!  What type of head case is teaching my child and what exactly is she teaching them.  It ain't only science, I can tell you that.  This is one parent who won't be quiet.


My Awww. Moment

This weekend I, being a temporary single parent,  made it clear to my children that it was necessary to mom's sanity that they have other options of entertainment.  Jack and Emma completely understood, a miracle in itself.  They both made arrangements to hang out with their friends.  Saturday rolled around and Mark and I were left together for a couple of hours.  During this alone time we decided to take the dog for her evening walk.

I love those alone moments with my kids.  As any mother of more than 2 can tell you, they are few and far between, which makes them all the more precious. At that moment that child becomes the sole focus of my attention.  I feel as though I can get a sense of the person they are becoming.  I love that!   I don't feel rushed and we have time just to enjoy being together.  This particular evening Mark and I took the time to discuss High School.  A topic which can be highly sensitive at times.

Mark started a new semester 2 weeks ago.  I am still trying to learn the names of the teachers and the time frame of his new schedule.  We spent some of the walk talking about the teachers, how they teach, whether he likes them, what he is learning etc.  I had heard quite a bit  about P.E. mostly because his teacher is the Varsity Soccer Coach.  I had gotten a little information about his introduction to Architecture class and his Geography class.  What I hadn't heard much about was Algebra II, not much of a surprise since he claims to be "terrible" at Math.  A claim, I might add, that he cannot back up with his grades.

I started asking him about his Math teacher.  He gave me a description and said she was "about 50ish, maybe upper 50's".  Then he proceeded to regurgitate the facts as he could remember them.  About half way through his reenactment he said, "she started teaching right after she graduated in 1990."  This gave me pause,  to be upper 50's she must not have gone to college right after high school.   After further probing I determined that she did indeed go to college right after high school.  Hmm.  50ish my butt.

After a couple of quick calculations I said to Mark, "She can't be in her upper 50's she is only 3 or 4 years older than I am."  He looked at me and said, "No, that is not right."  I gave him the dates of my graduations, both high school and college, gave him my calculations.  He replied, "You graduated in 1989?  WoW, I didn't realize that.  That was a long time ago."    Thanks.

After a few minutes of quiet I said, "You don't think of me as old, do you?"   He looked at me and said, "No, Mom.  I don't." Aww..... He is my new favorite.