Journal Covers--A curves project

A Blog is a type of journal, a very public view of the thoughts, ideas and feelings that are floating around in your head and through your life.  There is lots of debate among bloggers about the amount of information the writer should openly share.  I'll admit, while I do post quite a bit of personal information, I do consider how much I share.  The internet does make it all to easy for information to get into the wrong hands.

For that reason there is just no replacement for the good ol' fashion journal. While many journals are sold with fancy leather, cloth or decorated covers, some are as simple as a wire bound notebook or an inexpensive composition book.

My latest curves class solved the problem of an inexpensive journal with The Mod Bud Journal. (yes, another curves project.  There are far to many cute projects in this class to even think about leaving one out!)  With the end of the school year coming just 4 weeks away, (how did that happen?) I thought this would be a wonderful gift for the teachers.

I have been making end of the year teacher gifts for at least 4 years now and I think this is a great way to let the teachers know just how much you appreciate them. Nothing says "thank you" like a personally made gift. I made up four journal covers with fabric I already had in my stash.  (Love when that happens!)

I tried to pick fabrics that represented the subjects that the particular teacher taught.  (ie. music for the band teacher, geometry fabric for the math teacher.)  Each flower turned out just slightly different that the others, with makes them look personalized as well.  I am hoping that they will be well used and hold up through the rigors of Middle School teaching.


rolling right along

My wheel quilt is rolling along quite nicely. When I saw this quilt pattern I immediately thought Color Wheel.   Last week I showed you pictures of how I sorted out my fabrics into group. Once I decide upon the colors I knew I wanted to arrange them into a color wheel.

It took several attempts to get the configuration to look like the picture in my head.  Adding, Black, Brown,  Tan and Gray wedges through an unanticipated wrench into my pattern.  Moving the pieces around only added to my frustration.  Eventually, I did settle on an arrangement.

Next I moved onto the background.  The original pattern picture shows the background done with 4 different quarters in blacks and whites. You can view it Here through this link or over at Stitched in Color.  Rachel set the bar pretty high with her design, making it difficult for me.  I thought the black and white were very complementary to her wheel and I wanted to keep with that feeling, without coping it.

I searched for days trying to find the right background color.  Then I remembered the gradating black, tan, brown and turquoise fabric I purchased on clearance months, maybe years ago. BINGO!

This was the perfect background!  I played around again with the configuration of the wedges.  Having black in the wheel and in the background made it a little tricky.  Once I sliced the background into quarters it made the process a lot easier.

Now I just have to decide should it hand this way,

 this way or

 this way?


Lost in thought

This week the school district held school wide state standard testing.  It is not a favorite among the students or the teachers.  Emma has the most difficult time with standard testing.  I assure you this is because there is nothing standard about her.  As a type A personality she fretted and whimpered about the test for days.
When the day of the test finally did arrive she had worried herself into such a state, it's amazing she got through it at all.  These days the standardized testing delivers immediate results.  Within minutes she knew her score and she was not happy.  Not anywhere even close.
 After the tears slowed and self battering stopped she settled down to work on a new plan.  She was ready to improve in the areas she didn't know or understand on the test.  Emma finds comfort in knowing there is a way to "fix" the problem.
 On this test she had problems with vocabulary building.  We have tried various plans to increase her vocabulary.  While her vocab is growing, it is not growing to her satisfaction.  Her newest plan involved these little stickers.

Rather than sign anything, she decided she would use the arrows to point to words in her books that she didn't know.  Thanks to a rather organized friend of mine, Emma just happens to have several packages of these little stickers. ( You know who you ARE!)  She took 5 stickers from one package and she tries to find five new words every time she reads.  Amazingly, it is working.  She really, really enjoys looking for new words.  We will have to see if her comprehension suffers as her vocabulary grows.  Anyway.

Every night after she reads we discuss the new words she has marked.  Last night one of the words was Absentmindedly.
 First I asked her if she recognized any words within the word.  She picked out mind.  She knew what meant.  Then I asked if there were any others.  After a pause she said, "Absent?"  Correct!
Now we were movin'.  I asked what absent meant and she said, "not present"  Then she thought some more and said, "how does that work? Your mind is not present?"
I explained it was like the time she came downstairs and couldn't remember why?  or another example would be when someone cannot find their shoes.
The light bulb went off!  "OH!" she exclaimed, "Like when you cannot find your keys, or your phone or your purse?"
"Exactly!" I replied.
"Hey Mom!  You are Absentminded all the time!"
Ah. yea.  Great lesson.


Quilting Rut

Monday, after recovering from Spring Break, I was noticeably restless.  I wandered from room to room searching, for something.  Unsure of what I wanted, I made a second pot of coffee, did some laundry and arranged my sewing room.  I glanced over a t-shirt quilt project that I have been working on off-and-on for months, then left the room feeling unsatisfied.  It wasn't until after lunch.  While in the midst of cleaning my bathroom floor that it dawned on me.  I am cleaning, rather than quilting!  What is up with that!  I actually preferred to be cleaning, seriously? But why?

After a little soul searching and another clean bathroom, I realized I was stuck.  Stuck in a quilting rut.  I had multiple projects started, but none of them that I wanted to work on.  I had finished up multiple projects for my sister's baby shower just weeks before, and now I needed a new project.  I wanted to start something new not work on the same old projects.  Then it dawned on me, I realized I have UFO (unfinished object) guilt.  For some unknown reason I felt like I couldn't start a new quilt until one of the others projects was finished. I am not sure why I felt quilt guilt?  I don't typically subscribe to that way of thinking.  I am more of a multi-quilt-project type of girl.  Whatever the reason, I realized I so needed to get over it! I packed up the t-shirt quilt and dug out a new pattern and fabric.  What a difference!

Take a look at these beautiful colors I picked out for my wheel quilt.  Yet, another pattern from my curves class.   Putting the t-shirt quilt away and taking out all of these bright and beautiful colors has inspired my creativity!  I am off and running on an new quilt!  Good thing I just cleaned the bathrooms.  I won't be getting back to housework anytime soon! Happy Quilting.


It's over.

With the dawn this morning, Spring Break officially ended.  And If I had any doubts they were dispelled this morning as the back to school routine was in full swing. Here are a few revelations I had this morning.

You know Spring break is over when...

You hit the snooze button for 30 minutes before getting up.

The dog decides to sleep in. Even though she woke you at 5:30 a.m. everyday over break.

Your pre-teen daughter starts fighting with you at 6:50 because she "has nothing to wear." and quite obviously it is your fault.

Your oldest son suddenly has a desire to shower, at length, while his younger brother pounds on the door screaming, "Hurry Up! I need to brush my teeth"

No one is capable of locating their right shoe.

We have no chips, pretzels, cheese crackers, peanut butter crackers or anything "lunch worthy" to pack because it was all consumed while they were home.  Once again my fault.

It is 8:30 am.  I am enjoying this cloud free morning, peace and quite, and one great cup of coffee.


A Break?

This week has been filled with travel, candy, children, candy and spring. (did I mention Candy?)  The Easter bunny was good to the children but their Grandparents were better.  The best gift I think was Easter with their cousins.  They giggled, played, argued, made up and on it went the entire weekend.  They had a blast.

 After a short stop in Ohio last weekend we spent the remainder of spring break her at home.  John had to work so the kids and I were on our own for entertainment. The weather was unexpectedly cool, reaching highs only in the mid-upper 60's, the beach was a no go.

With kids who love the outdoors entertaining them is usually pretty easy.  As they have gotten bigger our outdoor projects have got bigger and bigger.  This year was no exception.  We spent Tue/ Wed at the Hardware Store and the Nursery, collecting supplies and planning.

Tuesday we finished off the day building our raised garden, excuse me "Emma's raised Garden" She is very specific about her garden.  We turned the compost, dug out some of the richest soil in South Carolina to fill out her raised bed with. Wed she meticulously picked out plants for her garden which included tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, basil, rosemary, and beans.  She is very excited.

Wednesday we also edged around all the beds in the backyard, in anticipation for the 9 yards of mulch we received on Thursday. Well, I bet you know what we did Thursday!   Mulch, mulch and more mulch.

Tomorrow is the kids last day of Spring Break, then mom can take her "break."


Another Curves Project

Look at me!  I am just cruising right along. Less than one month after the curves class, only 5 days less than one month, I am finishing up another project.  This was one I was psyched to get started on!  This is the Slices Mat from Stitched in Color.  I love it when quilts can be used as things other than bed coverings.  This mat is just slightly larger than 20 X 30,  the perfect size for Kitchen or Bath.  Mine will have a permanent place in my kitchen, at least for now.

I used the rest of this beautiful fabric that I had left over from my Laundry Bag project.  I wanted the large print pattern to be, some what continuous, so I cut out my fabric length wise instead of across the width.  Even with the seams I didn't loose too much of the pattern.  I added the teal, turquoise sold for the leaf shapes.  Both Kona, though I don't know the exact shades.  Sorry. The border fabric is a stripe I acquired somewhere along the way, but it matches so nicely.  The Olive Green backing again, Kona.

Only the middle leaf gave me trouble.  Don't look to closely. Okay?  I think I pulled just a tad to hard and stretched my fabric beyond its normal limits.  I trimmed it up nicely, but then, sadly my points refused to match.  Sigh.

I quilted this with basic straight lines on my home sewing machine.  Somehow I got it in my head that this would be quicker than quilting it on my long-arm machine.  Unfortunately, it was not. I used the wrap around binding.  I have only used this method once before, with a hand quilted piece.

I couldn't be more pleased with how well this turned out.  I really love this cures class and I am learning lots.  Not only that but that projects are beautiful and the directions are well written.  Stitched in color will be offering the Curves Class again sometime within the next year.  I highly recommend it!  Seasoned Quilter or Beginner, you can learn a less painful way to put curves into your projects.  Here is the link if you would like an email update for the new class time and date.  Happy Piecing.


Tickled Pink

This weekend I realized I had exactly 1 week left until my sister's baby shower!  EEK!  This wouldn't have been such a development had I not already planned on making both of her girls matching dresses.  After purchasing a pattern, cutting out, and ironing it I realized, I did not like that dress.  So, I started over.  I did a  quick Internet search for girls sundresses and turned up a bevy of patterns and tutorials. This one at PrudentBaby was my inspiration. I bookmarked a few ideas and set down to work.  That is right you heard me.  No pattern,  a few measurements and I just started cutting fabric.  I wasn't entirely sure this was a good plan, but I didn't have time to think it through.

I started by shirring a length of fabric.  This was my first experience with shirring and it was a blast!  I love that it hides all and any mistakes.  After this I decided the dress was not "twirl" worthy.  When you are 6 you want your dress to twirl.  I sat down once more and cut off the bottom of the dress and added a ruffle.  Twirls much better now.  A couple of straps and some trim.  TA-DA!  A dress worthy of a big sister. Let me just say that I have had this fabric for about 6 years and it feels great to finally use it!  I am just tickled pink!

Now on to the next dilemma.  Do I give the big sister her dress at the shower and the baby hers at the shower? this way she sees that she will match her baby sister (and have a gift to open).  OR  Do I give her the dress at the shower and not give the baby her's until she has officially arrived?  this way the big sister sees that the baby matches her?  Or does it matter to a 6 year old?