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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy new year!

What a year 2011 has been. I survived (quite well I must say) my first year divorced, got back into the crazy world of dating, took a solo road trip to the far reaches of Montana (literally. I was 12 miles from Canada!), had my first major car wreck thanks to a suicidal deer, quilted some for myself and more for others, baked tons of heavenly bread, dropped those last 3 pesky pounds (I know, those two statements don't go together, and I love it!), started this blog to try my hand at something new and to dabble in writing, and in general had a great year. Yes, there were some disappointments. I didn't create a powerhouse swim team (if only the boys liked to swim more than play soccer), there hasn't been a real romantic spark yet, being department chair is difficult with the deep seated negativity in my department (and these people teach special ed!), and I did not win the lottery.

Out with the old, in with the new I say! 

So long 2011, along with its crazy ride.

Here's to 2012! Its going to be another great year with its share of ups and downs. I'm going to turn 40 this year, it only happens once so we'll do it up big (after this I'm going to turn 39 for several years to come).
I don't make New Year's resolutions, just suggestions of things to come.

So without further adu...

1. I will travel more (already on it! going to Phoenix next month!)

2. I will go to Italy (I know that really goes with #1, but its so big it has to be on its own)

3. I will try to make at least one quilt every month (ok, I've tried this every year for the past 6 years and haven't made it yet, but there is hope that this is the year!)

4. I will get grass to grow in my front yard

5. I will earn tenure (ok, so thats a given, will happen in August, but still!)

6. I will take my camera everywere and snap more photos

7. I will paint at least 2 rooms in the house

8. I will get rid of more junk in the garage and basement

9. I will get more readers and followers of my blog

10. I will get more comments on my postings (thats really up to you to make this one happen!)

I think thats it for now. I hope you have hopes and dreams and aspirations for the coming year that are fullfilling and fulfilled in their own ways.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tuesday's Truth

The great thing about Christmas is it only comes once a year; that keeps it special, and helps you get through it. I hope everyone got something they wanted for Christmas (maybe next year I'll get a white Christmas).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Randomness

In case you think I short changed you with my brief Tuesday posting, here's a bit of randomness from the past two days....

Remember that fun fabic I got at my last Modern Quilt meeting for our charity project? In the paper bags? Well, I made my pillow cases yesterday.
The top two are the pillowcases I made with the donated fabric. The bottom two are extras I made, just because. Pillowcases are really easy to make. Check out this link (it has several easy peasy patterns, I used the Roll Up pattern) and join the Million Pillowcase Challenge!

Make a pillowcase, or a dozen, register your numbers with the challenge and then give them to your favorite charity. You'll have fun and do some good!


Made this incredible tomato soup for lunch today. Really fast and easy and yummy. I even used basil that I grew and dried myself.
Check out the recipe here:
http://www.muirglen.com/recipes/RecipeView.aspx?RecipeId=42520&CategoryId=45

And now you know my horrible secret (ok, just one of many, but who's telling?).
 I drink ice water from coffee mugs, because
I am not a coffee drinker.
I know, its horrible. But I did drink coffee last night at a friend's corporate Christmas party.
Those of you who know me can pick yourselves up off the floor now. I survived the coffee experience, mostly because we had a decadent chocolate desert and a lot of wine with a fabulous dinner.
AND the Bob Cuban Band was playing Christmas music (for those of you not from St. Louis, the Bob Cuban Band is a St. Louis staple, something you have to see once in your life in St. Louis, like Chuck Berry or Grant's Farm (both checked off my list!)).

No dancing, unfortunately, but lots of fun anyway. And check out the HUGE pointsetta I got to bring home...

To give you an idea how big it is, that clock is 2 feet tall, and the plant is pulled out from the wall so I don't break any more branches off of it.
Word to the wise, big plants like that don't fit well in a little Audi. I could not see over or around it the whole way home!


It was raining and the wine bars were shutting down (it was Monday night afterall), so what's a gal to do but shoot a little stick in her basement in a cocktail dress and heels!

Wish I had taken my camera on the 12 mile hike I went on Sunday, there was a really neat little waterfall that spilled into a rock pool. Really pretty.
 
If you know of any really fun hikes in or around the St. Louis area, post a comment for me. I'm always on the lookout for new hikes.
 
Think I'll go work on my Lemon Squares quilt for a while, the blocks are trimmed and ready to be sewn into a quilt top. Its my goal to get the whole thing finished by Sunday (lofty goal? maybe).

Enjoy your random Tuesday, hopefully its not raining where you are.

Tuesday's Truth

Vacation is wonderful.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Inspiration takes us in fun directions

I just have to share with you how fun my Modern Quilt Guild is!! We had a Chinese Auction this month and
it was a blast with lots of auction items to drool over.
If you have never participated in a chinese auction, it goes like this:
auction items are donated to the cause, with a paper bag in front of the item.
You buy tickets (or get some free in exchange for your donation, like we did) and
place the tickets with your name on them in the bags for the items you wish to win. There was a lot
of "strategy" played out, putting tickets in early, in the middle, just before the drawing, elbowing others out of the way, attempts at convincing others to not bid on certain items. It really was a hoot!

So this begs the question: did I win anything?
Well of course!

Prize #1: is this fabulous fat quarter tulip of Westminister Fabrics in my favorite color - blues!


Then I won Prize #2: these wonderful bits of grays and black and whites. I think they will look great
in my Single Girl quilt (when I eventually get it started!).



And finally Prize #3: a great Amy Butler purse pattern. Will I ever make it?? Who knows,
but I liked it enough to toss a ticket in the bag and win it!


We also picked up surprise bags with fabric in them to make pillow cases for the Million Pillowcase Challenge, a national challenge to make one million pillowcases for charity. So I picked up two!
Hmmm, what's inside?


Pretty! It will be fun to make these; I can even practice my French Seams! 


Normally the quilt meeting sends me rushing home inspired to quilt all day. Well, I did leave inspired, but I didn't quilt......
Instead I painted my fireplace mantle and the wet bar cabinet. The wet bar was contractors ugly oak and the mantle was unfinished wood. I had been meaning to paint it for a long time but my former lesser half didn't want anything to do with it (it was work, you know, to paint it). I love being the one calling all the shots, even if it means a bit of work. And those of you who know me know I'm not afraid of a little bit of work!

I think it turned out quite nice, and it shows off my minimalist holiday decor. Even makes the brick pop a bit.
The wet bar has some issues, I may have to strip off all the paint I put on, sand it down really good, and start over. But I'm not doing that much work until spring when its warmer out. Just can't use paint stripper in the house, stinks too bad.

It's raining out today. If it was 30 degrees colder we would have 2 feet of snow.
I can only dream...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday's Truth

Baseball is a very simple game. You throw the ball. You catch the ball. You hit the ball. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.
                                                                                                         - "Bull Durham"

Good luck to Albert Pujols in Anaheim. The St Louis Cardinals will continue to be the best baseball team in America. I suspect he will miss us more than we will him.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday's Truth

Sometimes its possible to think too much. Slow down. Breathe. Let your brain take a rest and just enyoy life as it happens. You'll be surprised at how much happiness it can bring you.

Just a week and a half until winter vacation (but who's counting)!

Friday, December 2, 2011

I still remember how to quilt!

For those of you wondering if I remember how to quilt, I do. I have been busy with work and life and quilting for others. Unfortunately I can't show you the quilts I have been quilting for customers, it wouldn't be right. However, I can show you the quilt I made for my sister-in-law's nephew:


It was a fun and easy pattern to put together, just strip pieced rail fences:


with the corners lopped off and green triangles sewn in place:


Like this:

Whalla! One down and only 79 more to go! 

 Here's what it looked like early on.

And the finished product:

I kinda like the idea of photographing a kids quilt at the playground. If only the sun would cooperate!

Beyond that I put together a couple of jelly roll bundles for myself and my mother. Mom's is her christmas present, so I couldn't post it until she got hers. She's really happy she's allowed to open presents early!
Here's mine (identical to hers):


I'm such a sucker for black and whites!

I'll be busy the next few weekends with quilts for customers, but starting December 16 its all me baby! Winter break will be prime time for me to work on a few WIP's of my own. I hope to get at least my Lemon Squares quilt done as well as start on Single Girl (yep, I broke down and bought the pattern finally). Now if Mother Nature would cooperate and bring a little white stuff flying over break, I'll be a happy camper!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Trying something new

So I went with a friend to his parents for Thanksgiving for moral support (his first Thanksgiving home since his divorce, been then done that and have the T-shirt) and because he bribed me with the carrot that we would get to shoot guns in the backyard. Now, I've never been very fond of guns, never really handled them, and am quite intimidated by them. But this offer intrigued me. Try something new I said to myself. So.....

The scope was very helpful, as was the stick stand. 

Oh Yeah! It really is fun to shoot the .22.

Notice all of the cans are split wide open. Set 'em up for round two of picking 'em off. By the way, I only missed one of the four cans on the first try. Not bad for a first timer!

See all those holes? Yep, I made 'em, even the one touching the bottom of the bullseye. This was all with the .22.

What you can't see is that I then moved on to a 30-30, a couple of .358s, a 12 guage shotgun, and a 7mm magnum rifle. AND HIT THE BULLSEYE WITH EVERY ONE!!!  I've got the targets to prove it too! Didn't know I was a crack shot, did ya? It really was fun, but I would never do that without the guidance of experienced people behind me (safety first!).
Thanksgiving was a lot of fun. My friend really didn't need me, but I was happy to be there anyway. There's nothing like spending holidays with good food, family and friends (even if the family isn't yours, thats how they become friends).
Oh, and I got an offer to learn to shoot the crossbow the next time I'm in town.

And so you don't think I'm going all redneck on you, I talked quilts and gardening with my friend's mother who is also a quilter, discussed the merits of master's degrees, and finished the binding on a quilt my sister-in-law asked me to make. I'll try to get a photo tomorrow and post it for you to see.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Food for Thought

I am thankful for small mercies. I compared notes with one of my friends who expects everything of the universe, and is disappointed when anything is less than the best, and I found that I begin at the other extreme, expecting nothing, and am always full of thanks for moderate goods...
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Experience"

Food for thought on a day of over indulgence, friends and family, and giving thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ring Triumphs over Stupidity... Twice!

I have to admit, sometimes I'm stupid. I know, we all are a little stupid everyonce in a while. But this takes the cake for me, at least in recent memory.  I lost my ring. My FAVORITE ring. The one I bought myself after 6 months of looking so I wouldn't feel naked without a ring on A finger. And then I found it. And lost it again. And found it again. All in one week. How did this happen you ask? Pure stupidity.


Friday I left work and headed out to Sams where I bought a great fall coat for next to nothing, then headed home. I futzed around a bit then noticed my ring was not on my hand where it should be. So I checked the bathroom counter and the kitchen counter where I would likely put it if I was going to wash my hands (I hate it when my finger stays wet under my ring). No ring. I looked again. Finally after a bit of panic, I hoped back in the car and fought rush hour traffic (of course there was an accident) and hurried (at 14 mph) back to school. Checked the staff bathroom, no ring. Contemplated digging in the trash can, but fortunately decided against it. Instead, brokenhearted, I went back to my classroom and put out an embarrasing heartfelt plea for anyone who had been in the staff bathroom that might have picked up my ring to please return it to me. Saturday I spent time trying to find an exact replacement for it (yep, thats how much I love my ring). No luck. Sunday I drove to Lake of the Ozarks in the rain to shop to try and feel better about my missing ring. It didn't work, but I was becoming resigned to the fact that it was gone.

Monday morning after not sleeping most of the night (laundry at 3:30am? it was something to do...), I got ready for work and was ready to head out the door when I noticed I still had my lunch bag in my school bag. I reached in and guess what fell out? MY RING!!!! Happy happy, Joy joy!! Snoopy Dance all over! Put that sucker on a finger that it barely would go on so it wouldn't come off (maybe not the best idea). Smiles all around!

But wait. Didn't I say I lost it again? Yeah, well I was baking today and I always take my ring off when I'm working with dough. Usually I put it in my wine bottle coaster, but there was a bottle in it already, so back pocket it went. Forgot to take it out when I decided to wash my jeans (I really should start to wear an apron). Didn't realize I had lost it again until I moved the laundry into the dryer and it clanked around in the bottom of the washing maching. Duhhhhh.
 My ring is now back where it belongs. Hopefully there will be no more adventures for my ring, although I'm sure this was mildly entertaining to you (looking back, it was for me).

Happy Thanksgiving to you. I have baked 4 dozen dinner rolls (can never have enough bread!).  I found a great quick recipe on the King Arthur Flour bakers banter site. I will warn you, the dough is powerful strong- it lifted my 5 quart mixing bowl that I was using as a proofing box right off the counter.



Here's the link: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2011/11/18/big-batch-yeast-rolls-baking-buns-for-a-crowd/
If you make them, send me a comment about how your's turned out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday's Truth

Quilting is as much, if not more, about the process as it is the final quilt. Slow down and enjoy the process, you will get to enjoy the finished quilt for a lifetime.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday"s Truth

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Take the time while its there

You have to take the time while its there. Fall is quickly fading away, my best friend in Cleveland has already made the official snow call, beats me to it every year. One of these years I'll get to make the first snow call... it might have to wait until I retire and move to Colorado, but one day it will be me (shake my fist!).
So I went road tripping with my girlfriend, her boyfriend, and her kids to Shawnee National Forest for some hiking.
It was a pretty day, if not gray and overcast. We did two trails, the Little Grand Canyon and the Paunnee Natural Bridge.
Thats me, near the bottom of the canyon. It was a pretty long and steep climb down, and I was one of the few who did not get wet (thanks Bobby at Cabelas for the hiking shoe advice last summer!!!).  The spring was not very active, but there were some pretty good pools of water along the way down.


Wild ivy growing on the canyon floor.


Thats me and my girlfriend at the top of the canyon, about 2 miles into the hike. It was only 3 a 3 mile loop, but climbing in and out of the canyon made it seem a lot longer.

Along the climb out of the canyon. You can see how slick it was with the water and wet leaves.


The natural bridge, from under it. It was a good 50-75 feet long, and a good 15-30 feet off the ground. Really cool. My friend has a photo of me on top of it, hope she emails it to me.
 We ended up checking out some wineries in southern Illinois, similar to the sweet stuff made in Missouri. Thank you, but I'll take Californian, French, or Italian any day. And because it wasn't a full day yet we headed into Carbondale for pizza at a little local pizza joint. All in all a fun day and what a way to make the most of the tailing end of fall.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm still here

So I got an earfull from my mother because I haven't been posting much lately. So I'll catch you up to speed and make her happy at eh same time. No great photos, I REALLY want a new camera that shoots better than my current point and shoot. But here's the synopsis... Swim season has finally ended, and I must say I am glad. to be able to go home after working only 8-10 hours is NICE, really nice. The boys did well at Confernce finals, with one fellow winning a second in the 200 yd Freestyle (8 laps), and fourth in the 50 freestyle sprint (although I wanted him to swim the 500 where he also would have placed second). All of the boys save one won at least one medal.
In the quilting world, I finally finished a monster quilt for a client. It was HUGE, took me 9 hours to quilt it (partially becasue my machine had fits, including breaking my bobbin casing and causing me to use my old one, thank goodness I held onto it). I haven't started any new projects for myself, although I would like to. I'm tossing around the idea of heading into Webseter Groves to the new fabric shop called Fabric Nosherie to look for something with birds on it. I have this desire to make something with a bird theme, quilt or pillow or scarf, who knows.
I'm loath to believe we still change our clocks back and forth every year. It really is cutting into my time hiking. A friend and I have discovered the great trails in the Weldon Springs Conservation Area and have enjoyed hiking there. Even had a doe cross our path this Sunday. I'm hoing it stops raining soon so I can get out again this weekend to hike (mud is not fun), I'm really enjoying the time on the trail. I need to get some pants better suited to cooler weather hiking, thank goodness for Sierra Trading Post emails!!
I think that catches you up on all that is happening in my life. I promise to try and snap more pics to include in the future. Unfortunately late fall is rather dreary, not making for great photo opportunities, but I'll see what I can do.

Tuesday's Truth

Seven days without laughter makes one weak.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tuesday's Truth

It's a good thing life isn't always fair- too much cotton candy and ferris wheel riding will make you sick.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday's Truth

Life is too short to sweat the small stuff, too long to have regrets. Enjoy the ride.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Whad ya git, whad ya git??

Due to popular demand (not necessarily from blog comments), here's what I found at the hardware store fabric sale (I know, it just doesn't seem like it makes sense, but there was the fabric, just upstairs from fertilizer, nails and hammers).
About four yards of Brown Bear, Brown Bear for the back of a baby quilt I was commissioned to do for my sister-in-law. And a smidge of a cat fabric for my mother. Neither are what I would normally buy, but it is what it is.

This was the real find. A hunk of Rainy Days and Mondays by Riley Blake, a yard of the minerets from 1001 Peeps by Lizzy House, and six yards of the candle fabric from 1001 Peeps. It will make a great backing for something. 


And speaking of backing, these Beatles fabrics will end up being the backing for a quilt my mother is making for my nephew, who thinks the only good music is Beatles music. And he's 8.
 Can't beat it at $2.99 a yard. There was some designer fabric, including Mark Lipinski and Riley Blake, some batiks, lots of Civil War, Timeless Treasure, Andover, FreeSpirit, and Westminister. I was on a budget, and I had been about a month ago and really spent my money then. Overall, worth the hour long drive from St Chuck on a pretty day. Back to my baking, got cookies in the oven and bread dough rising in the fridge.

Friday, October 21, 2011

In the vein of Not Normal.....

....Finally took a minute this morning from bread and pool and laundry (still haven't raked those pine needles...) and put together this cute little pillow.  The top was pieced courtesy of Kristy and *GASP* abandoned on the free table at the last Sew In.  After repeated confirmation that she really didn't want it (a bit not normal maybe? I keep good company ; ) ), I brought the lonely sucker home and have finally put a back on it. While it is quite at home in my living room, I do wonder if it may eventually find its way into Kristy's bag at a Modern Quilt Guild Meeting.


Oh, and YEA!!! I have a three day weekend!!!!!! And the hardware store in St. Claire Mo is having their annual fabric sale - $2.99 a yard and there's usually some good finds if you're willing to dig.

Normal People

Most normal people don't get up at 5:38 am on their bonus day off.

Most normal people don't shoot pool at 6:22 am.

It needs to be cleaned up a bit, but it plays even and the bumpers are true. Check out the carpert! A sweet friend (translation: friend with skills who can fix anything) helped (translation: did most of the work) lay the carpet tiles. An art teacher friend and I exchanged services: she painted the stone wall and I made her a quilt.  My pool/bar room is almost finished and open for business!
 Most normal people don't take a picture of their wood pile, dreaming of the evening they can light the first fire of the season.

 Most normal people don't lament the fact that they had to turn on the furnace before November 1.
 Most normal people don't spend time thinking about how many quilts they have to quilt to pay themselves back for buying a pool table on craigslist (2), and then how many to pay for the move (3).
Thank goodness I'm not normal!
Gotta go get baking, quilting and pine needle picking uping. And probably shoot some more pool, because I'm a bit rusty after not touching a cue stick in over a year.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday's Truth

The question isn't who is going to let me: its who is going to stop me.

-Ayn Rand

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Habitat Challenge Unveiled

So here it is, done in a week.

So why did I take a photo at the pool? Because I finished the binding while coaching swim practice. There is no connection to to natatorium, I just thought it would be funny to take the photo in front of the no life guard on duty. (But there was one in the pool, so we were covered.)


At Laumeier Sculpture Park near Kirkwood.

Overall I'm pleased with how it turned out. I think some of my fellow Modern quilters are amazing with what they did, and we all find it funny that most of us were ready to be done with this fabric by the time we unveiled all of them today. I was actually hoping I would NOT win the door prize today because it was more of the challenge fabrics.

One thing I learned is that I need a better camera. My little point and shoot is nice to carry around, but it really doesn't take great photos.  I need to invest in a professional camera or at least a SLR type digital and really learn how to use it. I want to take better photos, I just need better equipment and some instruction.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday's Truth

There's nothing better in the world of sports than post season baseball. Nothing. Go Cards!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weekends were made for this

I love October. The nip in the air, the leaves changing colors, the smell of fires in fire pits and fire places, clear skies in the morning to look at stars.

I was my usual busy self this weekend. Watched the Cardinals get whupped (it was ugly, higher hopes for today) on TV, went to an open house at a quilt shop (wahoo, won a door prize!), grilled burgers, visited with lots of different friends, and took care of a few things I've been meaning to do for a while.



Picked all of my basil before the frost could get it this year.


I dried it in the oven and was able to put up 3 jars of my basil (gave one to a friend).


Baked a tasty apple pie and used every last smear of butter in the butter dish because I didn't realize I was out of butter.. Hence a Dutch Apple Pie instead of a two cruster. Almost didn't have enough butter for the crumb topping. Bet you can guess what's on the top of my grocery list today!
 And I finally made progress on my challenge quilt for St Louis Modern Quilt Guild. A lot of progress. It's actually already on the long arm, ready to be quilted, with the binding set to go on at the same time. Want a sneak peak?


I said just a peak! Now to get it quilted and bound in time for the big reveal at the meeting next week. I'll post a real picture of it when I finish it. I'm off to hike a bit today, its too beautiful to stay inside. Just ask this squirrel!
  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday Sew-In Fun

Gotta love a Saturday devoted to sewing with friends! This is the second Sew-In I've gone to with my Modern Quilt buddies in St Louis, and I have to say it is a ton of fun- great group of diverse gals with the same desire to quilt, always funny stories and helpful advise, and the sound of sewing machings going at mach speed. The moving in/out is always fun (did I remember to pack my foot pedal? oh gosh, does anyone have a spare pair of scizzors?), and the methods of packing in interesting (gotta love a baby stroller!).
  

My suitcase comes in handy. Who needs one of those fancy sewing machine cases when you have one of these sitting around gathering dust in the basement!

We had tons of work space... four big tables pushed together for two people to share. Here is my project for the day, although I brought three different projects to work on in case I finished one or got bored with it.
 

I finished all 72 blocks in one day! It helped that I had cut them out a few weeks ago. Now to find time to sew them together and add a wide white border to pump up the size. Quilt it? Well, lets just say it might be a while, I've got a few customer quilts to do first.



I won a door prize!



A pretty orphan block that was on the free table... I don't know what that girl was thinking abandoning this block. Oh well, one girl's trash is another's new pillow!


If you are keeping tabs on my progress on the latest (started in August) SLMQG challenge, here is the update.
No progress! I have two weeks to get this sucker done, and its my own private little challenge to do so without coming down with a case of "gotta sew fever".  Technically, I have made a bit of progress, I've pulled out that Kona Coal to possibly go with the Habitat fabrics, and I think I know which one I'm not going to use on the front of the quilt.  And I do have an idea for a pattern, so actually, the quilt is as good as done.... now I just have to cut it out, piece it together, quilt it, and bind it in two weeks. NO PROBLEM!!