Sunday, February 16, 2014

So this is Week 7?

Argh. Life moves too fast. We're already on Week 7 and I haven't posted for the past three weeks. Ok, so my "projects" are going to get defined pretty broadly.

Week 5

The end of January was dominated with preparing for an employee's retirement party. I had to finish a resolution for Commissioners Court to read during their Tuesday meeting recognizing Bill for his 14 years of service to the county. Then I had to order food, pick up his plaque, and get a bunch of food to the office the day of the party. As always, so many co-workers brought food, it was an embarrassment of riches. The party was well attended and Bill retired happily on January 31st.
Since the last week of January, we've been having intermittent ice storms--or really projected ice storms. It has taken a toll on my work days and Sam's school days. Here's what shut down central Texas on the Tuesday that Bill's resolution was being read by Court.

Week 6

The threats of ice days continued the first week of February with schools canceling the school day or having late starts. A couple of times I started my commute into town at the same time I normally do and found the roads clear of ice and traffic. It was wonderful.

Jake celebrated his 19th birthday at the end of week 6. It's rough that he's away at college for his birthday, but we had a celebratory dinner at Chuy's Tex Mex with Jake in absentia. Hey, it's the thought that counts. Oh, and the money his Abuela and I deposited in his account by way of birthday greetings.

The only project I finished this week was mending my niece's clothes. Lauren's just about the only person for whom I will do mending, because I absolutely HATE mending clothes. So I sewed a button on a dress and reattached some crystal bling to a jumper for her. This task was a very "annoying" (as Lauren would say) chore. But I did it for her. Now if I could just get my act together to mail the box to her.
This is Lauren being photographed modeling clothes from the boutique where she works in Lubbock. She's a sophomore at Texas Tech University and super beautiful and accomplished. Just had to brag on her.
So that brings us to Week 7.

I got nothin'. Hahahaha.

But I did get to end the week with Sam's first track meet of the season. It was so much fun seeing him run. He ran the third leg of the 4 x 100 meter and 4 x 200 meter relays. His JV team won the 4 x 100 and came in a close second on the 4 x 200 race.
Here he is with his game face on, waiting for his first race. Next Saturday we travel to Fredericksburg for the next track meet. So perhaps, next week I'll get some time in the sewing room. I have two small wall hangings I want to start working on for the Austin Fiber Artists' Member Show at the Wesley Gallery in Dripping Springs on April 5th and 6th. We'll see how far I get in between work and track meets.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Week 4 - Of Commissions and College

I didn't technically finish a project this week, but I did finish piecing the top for the commission quilt. It's a very simple top with the intense fabric colors and patterns doing the work rather than the piecing. Now I have to figure out how I want to quilt it. I don't want to quilt it too densely because I am also going to bead the piece. Most of the beads I have are teeny-tiny (that's as technical as I'm getting since I don't remember how seed beads are sized and I'm feeling too lazy to get up and check). Suffice it to say that my new bifocals are going to come in handy.
Another project that I didn't finish this week, but am very happy that my youngest, Sam, asked to start, is the college search. Sam's a freshman in high school and wants to be a writer. So a web search of good creative writing programs led him to pick four dream schools (New York University, Princeton University, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago). He's like his big brother and wants to get out of Texas to go to school. I'm trying not to take it personally--I kid, I kid. His Dad and I were like him and his brother, Jake. We left town as soon as we could and headed to college. So I guess the old adage, "the nut doesn't fall very far from the tree," is true.

After looking at colleges, we talked about his high school grades and rank, the PSAT and SAT scores he'll need, and the extracurriculars he'll have to add over the next three summers. We also talked about him choosing his "safe" schools. That is, those schools that, while not what he prefers, will admit him and are affordable. Of course, we will push for scholarships and hope we have results similar to Jake's.

Dang, I'm going to need a heck of a lot more commissions in the next few years if I'm going to make a dent in his college bills. This commission isn't even getting set aside for Sam's college, but for a trip to Peru with his Spanish class in the summer of 2015.

And Jake, a sophomore at the University of Arizona, is talking about graduate school already. So I've started researching Fulbright and Rhodes Scholarships for that boy.

My project goal for Week 5 is to pin baste the quilt top and start quilting it. I'd also like to draft the design for a quilt for the Austin Area Quilt Guild 2014 Show, Fiesta. I have two or three competing ideas that I have to winnow down. I'll try to get sketches done and post them for feedback.

Hope everyone has a productive and creative week.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Project a Week?!

I have been working hard lately trying to finish many "works in progress" while also starting new projects. I have accomplished quite a bit. With the new year still fresh I decided to expand my definition of project beyond sewing projects to any project I have on my "to do" list, large or small. I also set a goal of finishing one project--whatever it may be--every week. And it's not considered cheating if it's a joint project or I get help.

Week 1

The first week of January I didn't finish anything in the sewing room, but with my teenaged sons' and husband's brawn and my planning (read, "brains"), we built a fire pit for our yard. Isn't it awesome? We've already had several fires in it and made s'mores. It is wonderful to sit out under the Milky Way on a cold night and be warmed by the fire.

Week 2

The second week in January was hectic at work and getting Jake ready to fly back to Tucson for Spring Semester at the University of Arizona, so I didn't get much done. I did, however, finish a small bolster pillow for Sam that I had started months ago. I didn't finish it because the pillow casing was too long and I loathed the prospect of ripping out a bunch of stitches. But I finally did it. I love the mustache fabric and so does Sam, who has to shave about once a month now. If you look closely, you can see a shadow of a mustache on the boy's upper lip.

Week 3

Last week I had to say good-bye to Jake for the next several months amidst more hecticness at work. Is "hecticness" a word?! Anyways, while I didn't finish a project during the week, I did have a commission request land in my lap last Monday. I told the client that I would need two months to quilt and bead a wall quilt for his ranch house in Corpus Christi. I am so excited by the prospect. Here are the fabrics I'm considering; I will ask for his input too.

Week 4

Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and instead of doing something worthwhile like volunteering on my day off, I made a book bag for myself. I'll try to do better next year.

The rest of Week 4 will be as hectic as ever at work, what with my having to plan a retirement celebration for an employee while reviewing job applications for that soon-to-occur vacancy. Plus, Sam's track practice started today. He is excited about the season and so are his Dad and I. We can't wait for the 11 seconds of the pure adrenaline of the 100 meter dash.

Luckily, it's just Tuesday night, so I have a few days to figure out what project I'm going to complete this weekend - I would really like to make it through at least the first month of the year with my "one project per week" goal intact. Wish me luck.

Until next week...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gearing up for Fall

On Sunday I was working in the studio (I always feel guilty saying that because it's Jake's room) trying to finish piecing some blocks together into quilt tops and quilting a small wallhanging when I looked out the window and saw a family of deer and a squirrel.


I really do love living in the country, even when said deer eat my garden bare and the squirrels empty the bird feeders faster than I can refill them.

I planned on binding the wallhanging last night or at the latest tonight, but instead I've been working on a homecoming mum for Sam's girlfriend. So far, it's looking like this. A friend is giving me more ribbons tomorrow so I can finish it. The flower seems too small now, but I don't want to make it too huge and give the girl back problems (I saw some photos of homecoming mums on Pinterest that the girls were hanging from their necks because the weight would tear holes in their blouses). It's my first homecoming mum since Jake never wanted to get one for any girlfriend. I want it to be better than average and unique but not completely over the top. Hope I can keep that balance. I'll post another photo when it's done.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Log Cabin Redux

Remember the photo I posted yesterday of the log cabin top that was making my eye twitch?

Yeah, that one.

Well, today I went to town with my trusty seam ripper and sewed the blocks back in a different orientation.
Still not the most awe-inspiring quilt top I've ever put together, but much, much better. My right eye has stopped twitching. One twitching eye makes the checkout line at the grocery store kind of interesting, though.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Finishing WIPs

I started making fabric bowls Labor Day weekend to get myself back into the sewing room (aka Jake's bedroom) on  a more routine basis. This past weekend I made another fabric bowl, a small, dark blue and black bowl that's a perfect size for holding paper clips or pennies on your desk. I decided to add a few beads to it to lighten it up a bit.

My photos need work, especially since I took them after dark, inside the house with a pretty puny flash. I guess I'll have to wait until next weekend to photograph it outside.

After using up 50 feet of cotton clothesline to make three bowls, I decided to start working on piecing together tops using blocks I already had in my stash. These log cabin blocks were left over from a quilt I made as a college graduation gift for a co-worker's daughter several years ago. I hadn't used them yet because I only had eight blocks and no more of the flip flop fabric for the center of the block. After trying the 2x4 combo, which looked really bad in either orientation, I decided to use an almost solid light green to make the center block. Each block is 18" square, unfinished. So this top will make a nice play quilt or picnic quilt.
One thing that has become apparent to me as I look at this photo is that I absolutely need to set up a design wall. I really love what the dark logs are doing in the upper right hand corner, but I just couldn't see that the rest of the block placements are a hot mess. The more I look at it, the more I think I may have to play nice with my seam ripper and try again. How annoying.
Even so, I really like this little quilt. I just know my right eye will twitch every time I look at it if I don't fix it. Oh well, such is my life. Sew two seams, rip one out...

Friday, September 6, 2013


Summers are always hectic for me. My job is at its most intense from May to September. Okay, so that's a bit longer than summer, but when you add in Jake and Sam home from school and 100+ degree days, I have little time to think, much less enjoy a creative outlet.

So now that Sam is starting his freshman year of high school, Jake is back in Arizona for his second year of college and it's just a little over two weeks until we adopt the county budget, I can go to my sewing room/older son's bedroom and work on a project rather than just take a nap on his bed.

Working on a project when you are exhausted from the day job is easier said than done. So I decided to start with easy, immediate gratification projects first. Fabric bowls--little thinking required. The other thing I like about making fabric bowls is that I can hit my stash pretty hard. Although I'd have to live to 250 to have enough time to use up all my current stash of fabrics. But I digress.

Back to bowls. I made two bowls on Monday (Labor Day) and made another one tonight. I haven't taken a picture of tonight's creation, so that picture will come later. It was fun making them and I have a few ideas for fabric brooches to make this weekend.

But not tomorrow morning, when I have to be at the Liberty Hill Cross Country Meet at 7:15 am to learn what my job is as Judge #4. Sam's race is the last one at 11 am. Which means that it'll be scorching hot out there by the time he has to run his 3-mile race. Poor kid. I have to admit that I'm very proud of him for doing cross country. Practice starts at 6 am M-Th and on race day he usually has to be at school around 6 am to ride the bus to the meet. And it's likely that he'll never medal in cross country because he's a natural sprinter. He does this only to stay in shape for track season in the spring.

And exciting news from Jake. He's trying out for the University of Arizona's club baseball team. I didn't think he'd ever want to play organized ball after high school he seemed so burned out on it. But a year away from the sport and he's looking forward to playing again. The only bad thing is that we're so far away it'll be almost impossible to catch one of his games. I hope there's online coverage of the games.

Go Panthers! Go Wildcats!