Friday, February 15, 2008

Worked This Week

Whew! What a week! The last three days, I was in the same high school class. It was a trip...let me tell you.

First, let me back-track. We moved back "home" in March 2004. I am a home-body and am working on a quilt everytime I sit down, but since all my friends are still working, I wasn't having the contact with them that I wanted. I started subbing at our public library and also signed up to sub for the school district. I see quite a few people I know in both places. One of the fringe benefits is that one of my high school classmates now teaches at our old high school. We knew each other "back in the day," but weren't friends. We have developed a friendship. Isn't "growing up" grand?! She's teaching me to knit. This summer I will help her start making a quilt out of her deceased husband's bluejeans.

When I started subbing, my initial thought was - NOT high how! That changed after I had the same fourth grade class two days in a row. LITTLE ANIMALS! I decided I would try high school and if it didn't work out...I would just go home.

I enjoy high school! Believe me when I say that the kids are not like we were back when our parents told us if we got paddled at school we would get another when we got home. Back when we said, "Yes, ma'am" or "Yes, sir" and did exactly what we were told when we were told. We didn't pout and make comments about our "rights." We, ahem, also weren't so blatant about the copying and cheating that I see now.

Which brings me to what happened... the teacher left me a copy of the principal's memo about students and their internet usage. She also taped a copy of the memo to each and every computer monitor in the classroom. The students can use the internet for class work only - no personal business, e-mails, games, music, videos. One young lady told me that they couldn't do that. She had rights. I advised her that the only right a student had was the right to a decent education IF the student put in the effort. A few minutes later as I walked around the room monitoring the computer activity, this young lady's neighbor was looking at prom dresses! I told her to get off the internet. She looks up innocently, "But this is for school." I asked her which class required that she do research on the cost of prom dresses. When she tried to argue and her neighbor once again brought up the rights issue, I offered to let both of them go discuss this with the principal. The rights girl hushed and the prom girl got off the internet.

If I talked like that to any adult at school my parents would have killed me!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Starting the Stitching

I asked if points were going to be counted off for using the fancy stitches on my sewing machine. ;0) On the two "class" blocks, I will try very hard to use a few more hand stitches than machine stitches, and perhaps the evening bag will be all hand stitched. I make no such promises on the other seven blocks! When a person has invested good hard-earned money in an expensive computerized sewing machine, it just makes good sense to utilize the machine.

These first blocks are the "class" blocks. See the nice hand stitches?! NO? I can't either! On the first block, squint at the pink and you'll see a long and short blanket stitch. Then check out apricot and green blades on the fan.

I did a close up of the second block so you can see the stitches better.

The first embroidery work I did was as a teenager. Mama taught me a few stitches so I could make dresser scarves and pillowcases. It's just not my "thing." I did counted cross stitch back in the early 1980s. I did several pieces for my son's nursery. After that...that's all I wanted.
When I have a threaded needle in my hand, I want to spend time at my quilt frame.

Just a few of the machine embroidery stitches...

I sewed the corner of a cutwork napkin on this block. I also decided to "audition" my mother-in-law's cameo brooch.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Crazy Quilt Base Blocks

For the Crazy Quilt Challenge, we needed two blocks. Then, the - ahem - "powers that be" decided to throw in an extra challenge piece - I call it "extra credit" because I'm going to need it when part of my fancy stitching is done on my high priced sewing machine and not by hand.

The first block is just your standard CQ block beginning with a whompy cut hexagon in the center and building upon it log cabin style. I pulled fabrics from the pile as they came and just tried not to put two identical pieces side-by-side. The lace is over a piece of blue tissue lame'. Don't you love the sequins?!

For the second block, the teachers suggested a fan. Mine didn't come out exactly like the directions (because - ahem - I read them... thought I remembered what they said... then did not refer to them again.) BUT it still looks like a fan. I clipped the stitching along the edge and turned the lace back the way it should go. ;o) As you can see in both blocks, I did add a bit of lace and trim as I sewed the blocks. All of this was done before I got the goodies from the shopping trip. I made another seven blocks and intend to make a CQ throw 3 blocks x 3 blocks. We'll see.

My extra credit piece is going to be an evening bag. My husband and I are planning an Alaskan cruise for later this year. It will be our first, but we have decided to "do it up properly" with the two formal nights. I thought a CQ evening bag would be a neat idea. For this, I decided to use all dark fabrics and left the pastels out. Hopefully the red hexagon will be in the center of the back of the bag. Both my sister-in-law, Carol, and my husband, Sam, don't want me to embellish this. But it will happen. What is CQ without embellishment? I feel that I need to get a few pieces of dark lace for, red, navy, etc.

More to come later! Ta-ta! (That's fancy talk for "Bye Ya'll!")

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Going Crazy

For Crazy Quilts that is! I joined the HGTV Quilting & Needlework forum's Crazy Quilt Challenge. We are learning how to make...NO, Fair! You peaked! Crazy quilts!

I did not have a single silky, slinky, velvety, slimy piece of fabric anywhere. As I was lamenting to my mother about it and supposing I'd just use quilter's cotton, she said, "Wait a minute." I followed her and watched as she dug into the recesses of the closet in her guest room. She emerged with her hair a bit wilder than before she ducked under the hanging clothes with two "Piggly Wiggly" paper grocery bags of silky, slinky, slimy fabrics! I was amazed. A friend gave them to her years ago. I don't know what Mama was going to do with them, but as I sorted through, I found where the bodice of a Barbie doll dress had been cut out of one piece. Ah-ha! I remember! I rifled through the same sacks years ago to make Barbie doll dresses for nieces who are now 25 years old and older. One piece is evidently from a dance costumer. It is hot pink solidly covered with sequins. I hit the mother-lode! Literally!

I brought the grocery bags home and dumped the fabrics in my sewing room floor. After sorting, I discovered that about half of the stash were lining fabrics. I folded them and put them back into one of the bags and filed it away in the corner of my room - under my quilt frame. When I pressed the "keepers," I found satins, tissue lame', lace, netting, and even a piece of suede cloth.

I rummaged through my stash closet for my sack of lace. Even though I had a mean ole son I had several nieces. I made soft-sculpture dolls which needed doll clothes when they were little. I don't know where the silver, red, and gold rickrack (left in the photo) came from, but probably something Mama picked up when she was buying and selling antiques. She gave me several sewing related items that she came across in boxes.

Then, went digging around for linens, doilies, hankies, etc. I found some soiled or extremely worn dresser scarves Mama made years ago along with some small crocheted doilies. I even found a long length of crocheted trim that is not in very good shape. The ecru colored trim in the lower right hand corner is tatting that Mama found in a box during her antiquing days. I think I'll divide it and leave part of it as is but try to oxy-clean the other half.

Before it was all said and done, one of the wonderful ladies on the HGTV forum announced that she and another lady would be going on a buying trip for fabrics and laces and we could sign up to share in the booty. After the trip, she cut the fabrics into blocks and the laces into sections or motifs. Once she received each participant's check, she dropped the loot in the mail along with a bonus Victorian print on fabric. It was like Christmas all over again!

I'll have to play with all of these after I "get good" at CQing!