My favorite block

My favorite block
Spinning Snowball block

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Somebody Moved My Cheese

I had a principal a few years ago who in an effort to get our faculty to embrace change, read us a book during inservice about mice in a maze trying to find their cheese.  The principal has moved on to bigger and better things but her legacy remains.  Whenever anyone on our campus faces an unanticipated change, we joke about who moved our cheese.  Well this time, my cheese is being moved.

I started my teaching career 23 years ago teaching kindergarten.  After teaching for 3 years, I decided to get my Masters degree in early childhood so I would be a better kindergarten teacher.  I was two classes away from finishing when my then principal decided to move me to 1st grade.

I did not want to change grades, but once there I LOVED teaching first grade.  First graders could already tie their shoes, knew how to go to the bathroom, and were so able to be challenged.  I happily taught first grade for 13 years before beginning to feel burnt out.

Just in time, a new challenge came when I was asked to teach a computer program to both Kg and 1st grade.  It's been a very busy and challenging position, but with no papers to grade or lesson plans to do, I finally had spare time to begin my life-long dream of learning to make quilts.  Then, as the result of budget cuts, my cheese has been moved again.

Next year, my 24th, I will begin a new journey as a Pre-K teacher.  My first reaction, was NO!!!!  I didn't want to have to bend over that far, sit in those itty bitty chairs again, and I gave all my Kg. teaching materials away.  But 10 minutes later, all the positives came flooding to my brain.  I still will have no papers to grade or standardized testing to do, my fellow Pre-K teachers are the sweetest women in the world, I will have a bathroom in my classroom, and four-year olds are still sweet, loving and eager to learn.  And............. I'll still have spare time after school to quilt.

But what really convinced me that this is God's plan for me, was when I looked on the back of the teaching materials that a retiring teacher friend gave to me.  She was the teacher across the hall from me when I started teaching Kg., my next-door neighbor my last year in Kg., and has remained a close friend ever since.  On the back of most of the posters, books, games, etc. that she gave me, is written my name, in my handwriting.  Life really is a circle of love.

So, somebody moved my cheese.  But I'll find it in August, and with it a rediscovery of the joy of teaching.

Boot Scootin' Boogie

I dropped two western baby quilts off for the long-armer two weeks ago.  Boot Scootin' Boogie was a pattern from a 2005 issure of Fons & Porter Love of Quilting.  Quilters Emporium got permission from the original designer to teach it as a class.  I had fun raiding my stash for all the different fabrics.  I added an extra border to the original pattern to make the boot blocks stand out more,  This is one of my favorite boots on the left.  I also had to have an Aggie boot as both mom and dad are Texas A&M graduates.

I had so many piano key strips left from the outer border of the first quilt that I decided to make a second quilt for a boy about to be born.  It was a pain to remove all the pink cowgirl fabrics and Aggie squares, but well worth it in the end.  This quilt is going to a baby from a family who are avid University of Texas Longhorn fans.

Baby Quilt Delivered

Well I finally finished a baby quilt in its entirety and delivered it to the intended baby.  My "ugly" quilt turned out much better than expected and mother and baby loved it.  Little SSJ played on it last night and mom reported that she loved exploring all the different patterns. 

The original pattern was Picture Frames by Cozy Quilt Patterns.  It was a strip club project, but the two different blocks together with the wild fabric was just too busy for me.  So I ended up putting sashing between each type of block and making two different quilts.

The second quilt is waiting for binding and a recipient.  I just have to decide who to give it to. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kindle kills quilting

I haven't sewn much lately or posted to my blog because my Kindle seduces me with another and another and another story to read.  I thought I was addicted to reading before.  But now that I can download in seconds, I'm discovering even more wonderful books and authors.  And renewing my acquaintance with all the different genres I used to enjoy.

I did manage to finish piecing my cowboy boot quilt.  I'll share pictures later.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bright Baby Quilt

Here's the baby quilt I finished last week.  I started it last June while I was in Ohio babysitting my great nephew and niece.  They went to the quilt store and helped me pick out the border and backing.  It turned out really bright!

They may join us (with their parents) in Florida this summer so maybe they'll help me pick out more fabric.  Christopher's mom told me that he has already made his first quilt - one of those you sew together and let the seams fray.  He's in 2nd grade this year and his grandma also sews a lot.

Michael Miller Clubhouse update

I finally got started on my Michael Miller Clubhouse projects this week. I missed the first two meetings because I was teaching Saturday School.  Last month I got all my pieces cut out at the meeting, but didn't have time to sew them as my husband was impatiently waiting to go see a movie. 

This week I cut out the pieces for months 1 and 2.  I chain pieced parts of the bonus for month 1 and the pieces for months 2 and 3.  Then I would take them to school and pin for the next step on my lunch hour.    I finished the Month 1 bonus pillowtop Monday and the center medallian and 4 corner stars from Month 1 on Wednesday.

Today I finished the Month 2 corner squares.  I still need to cut pieces for Months 2 and 3 bonus projects, and quilt the bonus pillow top.  I usually have 15 or 20 minutes before school in the morning too, where I can press a part or chain piece something.  Tonight I sewed the half square triangles for Month 3.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Successes

   It was a beautiful day to drive to Houston for my quilt class.  Max at Quilter's Emporium did a wonderful job introducing the Irish Mist quilt from The Quilt Branch.  I went through my stash yesterday and pulled out all the greens I had at least 1/2 yard of.  I had enough for all my blocks except for the 3 borders and my light fabric.  I thought for once I was going to make a quilt without any purple in it, but it is not to be.  I found a beautiful fabric - "Iridescence" designed by Linda M. Poole for Avlyn.  It had just the faintest lavender hearts in it, so I chose a deeper purple to make the one inch middle border.
    We made the flying geese blocks using Stitching Lines from Marin & Colusa.  You use one big square and 4 small squares and sew on the stitching line paper to make 4 flying geese blocks at a time.  It was incredibly easy and no wasted fabric.   All mine came out nearly perfect.  The class continues next week.  For homework I need to cut out the rest of my fabric, and sew steps 1 through 12.  There are 58 steps in this quilt so I doubt I'll finish next week.
     I've got two more baby quilts to finish this week.  I also need to get started on my strip club project and the first three months of the Michael Miller Clubhouse.  April will be the last Clubhouse and Strip Club I'll be able to attend until July due to school commitments.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Super Saturday

It's been an eventful day!  I started out the morning with Saturday School.  I run the computer lab with a wonderful program called Waterford.  It has both Math and Reading and the students love it.  It teaches the kids and gives them a chance to practice.  The science and Math components have fabulous pictures and information.  We had a pretty full crowd today.

When I got done at noon I ran to the Cedar Chest to see if they had the fabric I needed to complete my quilt back.  Unfortunately, I hadn't bought it there so I ended up going to Plan B and C and D.  Always before I've used just one fabric for my backing.  But I've seen so many fabulous backs at Quilter's Emporium's Strip Club show and tell, that I was inspired to try something different this time.  I used my leftover blocks.  I didn't have enough fabric to do it the way I originally intended so I spent an awful lot of time "thinking". 

After my fruitless trip to the quilt shop, I picked up my hubby and we made a trip to the recycling center with all my shredding and cardboard and plastic bottles collected from school and home.  Then I treated him to some good Texas barbeque at Mikeska's for lunch.  We saw an elderly woman there with her family who had sprung her for the day from the local nursing home.  I hope when I get old(er) and start forgetting things that my friends and family don't talk about me as if I'm not even there, or ask me a question and not give me a chance to answer.  Don't ask me if I know who you are.  I'll feel sad enough already that I don't remember who you are.  Talk to me, not at me or around me.

backing for baby quilt #2
I finished the one backing for my baby quilt after that and got another one up on my design wall ready to sew.  Here's the backing I finished today.  I hope to get the two baby quilts I have done to the long-armer tomorrow.

I'm taking an Irish Mist quilt class from Max at QE tomorrow and next Sunday.  It's from the book Six Halves Make a Whole Lot More from The Quilt Branch.

I'm also excited because I finally have my first follower, my friend/sister Renae from Nebraska.  We became friends back at church camp in our teens.  Our friendship has survived her moving from PA to NB my senior year of high school, my moving to Texas after college, and many years of separation.  We were in each others weddings, then didn't see each other again for 22 years until the summer before last.  She is still the beautiful, bubbly girl with the kindest heart, and deepest faith that I met almost 37 years ago.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bali Rail Fence

I finished my Bali Pops Rail Fence quilt from a class I took over Spring Break at the Cedar Chest quilt class.  I love how it turned out, so colorful!  Purples and blues and pinks and greens, oh my!  I used two sets of Bali Pops.  I had sixteen blocks left over so will make a table runner to practice my machine quilting skills on before I attempt the larger quilt.  My friend, Neta helped me arrange the blocks tonight during a break at Family Literacy. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break Fun

I got a lot of quilting done over Spring Break.  After finishing my two baby quilts, I loaded up my bag full of all the quilting projects I worked on in 2010 and drove to Austin to visit my friend Mary.  I had started a Christmas Cactus pillow for her for Christmas and finally finished the back of it on Tuesday evening.  She loved it and kept holding it the whole day while we caught up on everything since last we visited two years ago.  She is my biggest fan for my quilting.  When I saw this pattern in McCall's online bonuses it just shouted her name.  She moved to near Taos, New Mexico after retirement and is an artist herself.  I really miss her!  She is also my Harry Potter buddy.

Thursday my friend came over and helped to start to organize my quilt room.  My husband also put in another shelf in my closet.  I got a lot of my stash folded  neatly and put away.  I plan to work on it a little each day until I have my whole stash organized.  Then maybe I can find the fabric I'm looking for when I have a project to do.  I bought some new archive quality photo storage boxes to use for my fat quarters too. 

Friday I took a split rail fence class from Taylor Phillips at the Cedar Chest in El Campo.  I took the class so I could try to get to know other local quilters, but unfortunately I was the only one in the class.  I had fun sewing all day and visiting with Taylor and Ginni from the shop.  I got all my strips pieced and cut into blocks at the shop.  Ginni and I made tentative plans to meet at the shop some Saturdays and work on the blocks from The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt book.

Saturday and today I worked on finishing my split rail fence quilt.  I used two sets of Bali Pops.  I have 12 out of 14 rows done.  I'll post a picture when I finish.

2nd quilt done

baby quilt 2
baby quilt 1
I finished my second quilt with my self-titled "ugly" block late Friday night.  Took both quilts to show and tell at Strip Club at Quilter's Emporium.  Now I just have to put together the backing and decide whether to quilt them myself or give to the long-armer.

Two members brought old quilt tops that their grandmothers had pieced.  They were beautiful and unique.  One was a T block the other two were unknown patterns.

This month's strip project looked quite uninteresting when merely viewing the bolts of pale batiks.  But once Max added a textured, interesting black accent fabric and a 6 inch wide outer border, it turned out very interesting.  The accent fabric was directional, so I don't think my skill level is up to that yet.
March strip quilt by Max

But I do have some interesting other black prints that I think will do as well.  I LOVE piecing with black!

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Ugly" quilt done

I sewed all day and finally finished my self-titled "Ugly" quilt.  Now that it's done it's not quite so ugly.  It's still not my favorite quilt that I've worked on.  I unsewed a lot of seams today where my seams didn't match, resulting from prior sewing where I didn't watch my 1/4 inch seam allowance.  I was more careful today.  I added the cornerstones because my side borders were an inch too short.

Tomorrow I will piece the backing and start on the companion quilt with the other set of blocks from the original quilt I started.

LeMoyne Star Class by Paula Barnes

I've begun a very busy month for quilting.  Last Saturday, I took a pajama party class from Paula Barnes on her LeMoyne Star pattern.  Ten of us got together in our pj's to learn her technique.   Some of us had just looked at the picture on Quilter's Emporium's newsletter and assumed it was a large quilt.  NOT!  Each block has 36 little one inch squares.  All but 4 squares are half square triangles.  Fortunately for my eyesight, she recommends using Star Singles by Spinning Star Design.  Using these paper patterns, you can make 8 half square triangles from two 5-inch squares of fabric.  Much easier than sewing all those tiny HSTs.  They come in all different sizes from

Paula's quilt features Civil War fabrics but I elected to use brights and batiks from my stash.  I got one block done that night.  It has taken me the rest of the week to sew, cut, and press the rest of the HSTs.  I sewed two more blocks today.

Here is my first block.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tesselation placemats

My friend Ana got her first apartment last year.  When I told her she needed some placemats for her new dining table, she reminded me that I had bought some fabric to make her some when we had shopped together at a quilt shop in Bay City (now closed).  So I rushed home and looked through my charm packs and picked out the ones that looked like her taste.  I used a Tesselations technique and template I got at a class a few years ago at Quilter's Emporium.  I think they came out nice, but as it turns out, she said that wasn't the fabric she had picked.  She likes them anyway.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sewin' Again

Well I finally got off the couch last week and started sewing again.  I decided to put the blocks together from one of last year's strip club projects.  I've had them on my design wall since Christmas.  Although I like the individual fabrics in the collection, together they are just too busy.  My friend, Ana, came over and agreed that they were just UGLY!  So we separated the blocks into 2 stacks and decided to make 2 different quilts.  I'm trying to tone them down a bit with sashing.  So far I have 3 out of 6 rows done for the first quilt.  Here are a couple of the blocks.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm not heavy....

I just love my newsletters from Quiltin' Heaven in Quitman, Texas.  Especially the jokes they include at the bottom.  Here's the latest one.

NOW YOU KNOW...........

Garfield the cat by Jim Davis"We all get heavier as we get older because there's a lot more information in our heads."
So I'm not fat, I'm just really intelligent and my head couldn't hold anymore so it started filling up the rest of me!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

They have a colorful, well-designed newsletter and web page with the latest in fabrics, quilt patterns, and notions.  To see this wonderful newsletter yourself, go  

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas is Over

My husband and I took down our outside Christmas decorations this afternoon right on schedule.  Our neighbors are probably happy because the last two years due to bad weather and/or illness our decorations have stayed up for months at a time.  But this year, we worked as a team and got everything taken down, labeled and put away neatly ready for next year.  My husband even put up the Valentines yard ornaments.  What a guy!

Tonight we are going out to eat with another couple after my evening class I teach twice a month is over.  We rarely go out with other couples so this will be a special treat. 

I worked on a UFO last night but actually spent time unsewing.  I just didn't like how the borders looked so I took them all off, and I'm going to start over with them.  It took me awhile to unsew.  I repressed two of the borders and can resew them, but one border I'll have to recut.  I just want it to look good as it is a project for a very special friend.

I missed my afternoon exercise session today.  Taking down the Christmas decorations was probably a good substitute.  Now I just need to remember to eat sensibly when we eat out tonight.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to Work

The first day back at work after the holiday went pretty smooth.  I took short little walks and refilled my water cup between classes.  I ate a healthy turkey sub lunch from Subway and didn't even take a taste of the coke my husband brought.  Yes, my wonderful husband brings me lunch nearly every day (if he's not playing golf).  After school I walked for 20 minutes around the halls.

Tonight I had hoped to finish my quilting project.  Unfortunately, I sewed the last 2 sides of the last border on without first sewing the strip to the pieced border.  I know what I'll be doing during lunch tomorrow....... the ever loved task of ripping.

I used up 4 yards of fabric from my stash in this project, but I got in an online order of fabric today.  Does it count tht I ordered it in 2010?

After work I spent a couple hours looking at all the new BOM's for 2011.  I like going to the Golden Thimble newsletter because she has all the BOMs neatl organized in a linked table.  If you haven't seen it, try it out at  

She also has a new BOM herself that will combine piecing, applique, and embroidery.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Just J: Stash Report 2011

Just J: Stash Report 2011

Stash Report 2011

  • Yardage purchased this week - 0 yds
  • Yardage purchased year to date - 0 yds
  • Yardage used this week - 0 yds
  • Yardage used year to date - 0 yds
  • UFOs completed this year (goal 22) - 0
  • Charity quilts completed (goal 12) - 0
I haven't done any quilting yet in 2011 but am on my way to my quilting room now to start working on one UFO.  I spent yesterday in my home office/guest bedroom.  After our summer painting project I have a lot to organize in there before my step-daughter and son-in-law come the end of this month.  They are coming to run in the Houston Marathon.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!  The first day is over and now it's time to get my life back on track to work on healthier goals.
* Eat smaller portions
* Drink more water
* Exercise daily
* Go to bed at a reasonable hour (haven't done that one yet)
* Quilt daily
* Use kind words
* Organize my household and classroom
* Communicate more often with friends and family

Today I need to finish a Christmas present for a very understanding friend.  I took it with me to finish on vacation, but left the border strips home in Texas.  I'll post a picture of this paper pieced project once I finish it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

UFO Challenge 2011

These are the UFO projects I began in 2010 (or before).  I am the queen of all procrastinators but 2011 is the year I vow to get organized and complete projects.  I enjoy piecing quilts more than the quilting process.

1.  black and white quilt - a Swirly Girl pattern that was part of Strip Club at Quilter's Emporium in Stafford, Texas

2.  Hunter's star red and blue wall hanging - a class I took at QE

3.  Fall wall hanging - a class I took at Cedar Chest in El Campo, Texas - to hang over my entertainment center

4.  Blue table runner - another Cedar Chest class

5.  bright baby quilt - baby quilt for teacher at my school who had baby this past summer

6.  sailboat baby quilt - for another teacher - baby born this past fall

7.  strip club baby quilt - another teacher who had her baby last week

8.  Ricebird Rising - modified Drunkard Path from a Cedar Chest class

9.  Leaf applique
10.  Christmas block of week - from QE
11.  Summer Loving block of week - from QE
12.  Vermont Red/blue table runner - a class I took while on vacation in Vermont