Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sarah's Quilt

My friend Carrie asked me to make a T-shirt for her daughter Sarah (also one of my former students).  I have had the shirts for at least two months now, but have not had the time to start it.

I have a long weekend off school, let's see what I can accomplish.

It is 12:00 on Saturday.  I am just now cutting the shirts apart.

 3:05 on Saturday, with a one hour break for lunch prep, consumption and clean up, I am pressing interfacing to the shirts and cutting squares.
4:15 on Saturday, squares are all cut, I have laid out the design on my studio floor.  I like to take a photo once I have the design finished, then I can follow the photo when I sew the rows together.  I found it is much easier this way!
This photo shows the upper right corner, that is not visible in the above photo!

5:06 on Saturday, rows are completed.  Getting there! 

8:40 on Saturday,  top is finished.  (Yes, I did stop to make and eat dinner!  Dinner prep, cook, consumption and clean up was 2 hours.)

I spent another hour working on piecing the back for the quilt.  I am using the backs of Sarah's T-shirts to create the backing piece.  I cut the backs into large rectangles and stitched them into rows. Tomorrow, I will stitch the rows together and get this quilt basted!

All together, I spent 7.5 hours working on this quilt today.  I  still need to finish the backing, baste, quilt and bind the quilt.  Many people have no idea how much work is required to make a quilt of this nature, or any quilt for that matter.   When people ask me to make a quilt and I quote them a price, they often decide that the price is too much. 

Consider this.  At $10 per hour, I have $75 of labor invested in this quilt.  That does not account for the electricity to run my machine and iron, the wear and tear on my machine, iron, rotary cutters and mats, or the price of batting, thread and interfacing.

A little internet research and here are the figures for materials:  Fusible interfacing is $33.00 a bolt (10 yards) which is then $3.30 per yard.  I used 5 yards for this quilt.  Total cost:  $16.50.  With tax:  $18.11

I will probably use up one entire spool of thread on this quilt; I use threads from Connecting Threads.  Cost is $2.79.  With tax:  $3.06

I buy my cotton batting on sale, by the roll.  I will need 6 yards for this quilt, for a cost of $30.  Cost with tax:  32.93. 

Total cost of materials:  $54.10

At this time, I have $129.10 invested in this quilt. 


Thursday, January 2, 2014


The house is still in a state of flux.

As usual, new projects cropped up occasionally.  We had a septic tank backup that required us to remove the carpeting in the downstairs bathroom.  Who puts carpet in a bathroom??  Around the same time, the drain in that bathtub failed.

I did go out in June to purchase a new tub drain, new tile and all that was needed to install it, however, Vince did not want me to tackle that job.  I never seem to do major tasks to his satisfaction...he is such a perfectionist!  So, they sat.

Unfinished projects:
  1. pantry is still unfinished --just needs trim.   
  2. Master bedroom closet
  3. master bedroom shower
  4. Mom's kitchen
  5. Front walkway
  6. Mustang repaired so it is drivable
  7. Great room walls--paint?  panel with wood?  undecided yet, but must be done
  8. Remove carpet and put wood floors in the Great Room
  9. Clearing out of ALL stored items in the garage
  10. Organizing Vince's workshop
  11. Front Walkway--stone?  concrete?  decking?  undecided yet.  
  12. WoodShed needs doors and half a roof.  Weird that the roof is half done, right?
What was completed in 2013?
  1. Vince completed Mom's bedroom and living room on the extension.  
  2. He completed the wrap around portion of the deck. 
  3. Vince finished tiling the floor in the downstairs bathroom. The bathtub drain is replaced and working well.  Yesterday, I installed the hand towel hook and declared it finished.  Now when Rob and Izzy come to visit, they will not be creeped out by the bathroom.  
  4. We moved the beige living room set into Mom's living room and found the couch was too big.  
  5. we sold the beige living room set
  6. Mom purchased a sleeper loveseat and table, so her living room furniture is completed. 
  7. I finally repaired the ceiling in the master Bedroom.  Now the pieces of sheetrock tape are not hanging down!  

On New Year's Eve, we did our last shopping of 2013.  I purchased a new bathroom faucet and shower head for the upstairs bathroom.

Since I have been off on Christmas Break from school:
  1.  I have quilted half of the Bunny Run T-shirt quilt--I made a great stencil of the Bunny Run Bunny and that is the quilt design!  I have quilted 12 bunnies so far. 
  2. I replaced the bathroom faucet with A LOT of help from my friend Whitney.  It was harder to remove the old faucet than to install the new one.  I had to go out to buy plumber's tape and found that my car battery was dead.  So, that was hooked to the charger while we went to the hardware store!
  3. I hung a shelf unit up in my studio
  4. I hung two curtain tie-back hooks in the bathrooms to use as hand towel holders. They work great!
  5. I hung a blind in my MIL living room
  6. I caught 6 mice!  5 in the ceiling of my studio, one in my car!
  7. I had two helpers paint mouldings for my MIL's apartment. 
  8. I cleaned out the garage, hung posters and other framed prints on the walls (sounds weird, but they have been sitting out there for 7 years!)  I also sold 5 boxes of stuff from the garage.  It is neater now, but still rather full.  
  9. I laid some excess tile pieces at the end of our walkway ramp to keep us out of the mud a little bit more.
  10. I started a new quilt top using my Jelly Roll books.  Janice came over for the day and we sat and stitched together.. She also started a Jelly Roll quilt.  We had great fun. 
  11. I taught my friend Whitney to sew recently.  Over the break she finished her curtains and made a bed for the dog!
  12. I replaced a pocket on Vince's flight suit.  The zipper on the original one was broken and it was easier to replace the pocket with one from a damaged suit than it was to replace the zipper!
  13. I raked leaves for over 4 hours!  Amazing how many of them get under, in and around the bushes!
  14. I repotted a house plant.  This is one I have not managed to kill in over a year!  So, I figured it needed a nicer ceramic pot.  
  15. I cleaned out my car--it needed it after the mouse incident...could not stand the thought of mouse turds in my car!
  16. I have baked, cooked and cleaned several times.  
  17. I had two overnight guests (young friends of mine) who helped my MIL and I with painting.  They also moved concrete blocks from under the decks. 
  18. I have my lesson plans for Dateline: Troy outlined, and have been fine tuning them over the past two days. Tomorrow I go back to school, and will hopefully have the afternoon to finish these lesson plans. 
  19. I participated in two Secret Santa Exchanges...that was fun! 
  20. The house has been decorated for Christmas and since Robert and Izzy have not come to visit yet, I plan to leave the decorations up for a while longer!  

I guess that is about it...all in all, I had a very busy break and cannot wait to get back to school and a normal routine!  I have been productive and have accomplished a number of small tasks that were waiting around for a long time.  It feels good to finish these tasks.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, New You?

What about that resolution? 

Yesterday, my young friend Dakota asked me what 'resolution' meant. 

I explained that it was a custom (or tradition, need, feeling, want, dream, get the idea) that some people follow on New Years Eve every year. 

A resolution can be anything that you want to change about yourself. 

Now, we all have made resolutions in the past, some we have kept, some we have not.  The best ones became habits. 

Oftentimes, people bite off more than they can chew when making resolutions. 

(I told Dakota I was going to stop biting my nails.  Mom C stated "You do not bite your nails!"  So, apparently, I have managed to achieve that resolution.)

Change takes time.  A resolution made on New Years Eve may help some people get started, but I know from my own personal experience that I will start off well and then get caught up in my 'normal' lifestyle and neglect to follow through.  Instead of creating yet one more stressor for myself, I am not going to make any resolutions this year, I plan to continue living my life one day at a time, enjoying the moments I can and not bothering much with those I do not enjoy. 

What are you doing with your life? 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Jennifer's Quilt--At Long Last

I am not really sure when my friend Jennifer gave me the clothing to make this quilt.  I am fairly certain it was more than a year ago. 

Jennifer wanted me to make a quilt out of her sons' baby clothes.  She had two large storage containers and a black trash bag filled with clothes, blankets, sheets, bibs, booties, etc. 

It was very overwheming at first. 

Once I started looking at the clothes, I had a hard time cutting them up.  They were perfectly serviceable clothes and I was just going to cut them up to use a small piece in a quilt.  SIGH. 

I started with the clothes that had bigger designs.  Those I cut into big squares.  Then the smaller clothes with decals/single designs/appliques were cut out.  I worked out a design of large squares and patchwork squares, then cut the clothes with overall designs to fill in the patchwork squares.

Then came tough part. 

Putting all of these squares together into a quilt. 

I would lay them on the floor in my studio, rearrange them, walk away, look again, rearrange them, walk away....finally I settled on a basic pattern and started the rows.

Next I was ready for borders.  However, I still had a lot of 4" squares left over.  And a bunch of bibs!
So, One solid border and a pieced border later:

 Jennifer wanted these really cute Winnie The Pooh curtains as part of the quilt, so they became the outer borders. 

I then quilted it and here is the finished quilt! 

Now, remember those bibs?  I stitched them onto the back of the quilt.  The backing is made from the boys' blankets.  I also stitched on booties, their infant hats, and the hoods from their towels!


Jennifer saw the almost finished project earlier this week, before I finished the binding.  She LOVES it! 
Today, at church, she will get to take it home as it is officially finished! 


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Random Thoughts on this Sunday Morning

I did not get up for church today.

I stayed in bed, sleeping and alternately reading until about 11:30 this morning.  I did not want to get up. 

I am tired all the time, my joints ache, my back and shoulder are sore and I get numbness in my fingers.  I cannot sit for a long period of time without having pain upon arising. 

The holidays are almost here and I find myself wishing for bygone times, when my father was still alive and Christmas meant time spent with him. 

I am working through my piles of ungraded papers, mostly writing assignments (one of the banes of teaching reading and English).  I am making progress, but it is hard to read something a student wrote in pencil and then colored over in purple crayon! 

Time for a little reflection to improve my emotional mood. 

Yesterday was a wonderful day, spent with friends in Memphis.  The original intention was to return a Fitbit Flex that I purchased and found was incompatible with my computer operating system AND my iPad.:(
We each added a return or need before we even reached the Wolfchase Mall. 

We had a great time, laughing and sharing stories, talking about all types of incidents and events in our recent lives.  We all managed to make our returns or visit the stores outside the mall for various needs.  I had the most fun in Target, where I purchased items for the 4 children I am sponsoring from our High School Angel Tree.  These are children in our own little community who need a little help at the holidays.  I love picking out clothing and a toy or book for a child. 

Upon hitting the mall, we split up and Whitney and I wandered to pick out presents for my mother, who needs a few more warmer clothes.  We had a great time at the clearance rack at Penney's!  Since Mom does best with short sleeved tops, we found several at rock bottom prices!  Thanks Whitney. 

We also played in the toy store for a while, where I did pick up a new travel journal for the 'Trip Around the World" planned for next summer.  It is a simple black journal, but one that will work nicely for all the countries we will visit. 

So, other than a few items I plan to purchase through On-line stores, my holiday shopping is finished.  That brings a sense of completion.  The joy of wrapping and giving is yet to come. 

Holidays often make me melancholy, as I remember holidays of the past.  Our celebrations have changed, and I love that our family still gathers, even though the gathering includes different people.  I wish those who are missing from our celebration would concede to join us once in a while. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer Vacation??

Yeah, I know, I have not posted in a while. 

I have been busy. 

Very busy. 

School will begin in just a few short weeks.  I have been in the classroom setting up, preparing lesson plans, organizing my materials, attending training sessions, attending meetings, sharing my knowledge with fellow teachers, setting up DonorsChoose projects and Adopt a Classroom know how it goes.

So, here we are, another summer is over for us teachers.  Everyone always thinks that teachers have it from 8-3, weekends and summers off.

Hardee har har

Those of you who know me know that I spend many extra hours at school each week, preparing and tweaking lessons, grading papers, cleaning up and staying on top of matters.  Recycling is also part of what I do. 

I spend weekends looking for ways to spice up the next week's lessons, or reviewing what has to be repeated because the students need some additional help. 

I spend ONE month...June, doing what I like in the summer, then it is back to the books.  This year I have new standards and a new reading series to keep me occupied. 

So, I currently have 3 DonorsChoose projects set up, they are available if anyone wants to check them out here:

I also discovered that Adopt a Classroom has a project page now.  I set up my first project:

So, if you are interested in making a donation to education, or know someone (or a big organization!!), pass the word along.  Or as we said a few years ago:  Can you spare the cost of a cup of coffee? 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Vacation Days 26 through 45

Yes, it has been too long since I updated my life here.  I have no truly good reason, other than a bit of laziness and a lot of busyness!!!

Every day I have managed to accomplish a much needed task here at home.  So, this blog will be a simple rundown of what has occurred as opposed to a day by day description.

On Tuesday, Marilyn, Janice and I typically meet to quilt and talk.  It is always great fun and followed by lunch and other errands. We have met twice since I last wrote.  I managed to finish all of the Car Club placemats that will be used as door prizes next year.  I also finished two sets of placemats that will stay here, one set for myself and one for my mother in law. Here are mine on the dining room table.

I have also finished a number of clothing repairs and some left over bibs from last year's craft show.  It is nice to cross items off of my quilt 'to do' list!  (it is very long!!!)  I have also spent some time cutting out rectangles for a really nice log cabin quilt variation.  I bought the quilt kit at least 3 years ago at the Paducah Quilt show.

During the week of the 18th, Whitney and I attended Energy Camp!  It is sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Energy and Conservation.  It cost us nothing to attend!  (free is always good).  We went to Pickwick Landing State Park and stayed at the Inn there. 
During Energy Camp, we learned all about how to teach and present energy science to classes.  Since I teach Reading, I was interested in locating reading resources and discovering ways to 'spark' their interest in their reading.  Since Energy is part of everyone's life, it is a 'real world' experience for the students to read about.  We spent 4 days conducting experiments, playing  energy games, sharing ideas and learning.  I was pleased that I was able to answer a number of energy related questions, even though I do not actually teach the subject!  I guess the wizard did give me a brain! 
Thursday of that week, we had our field trip, we went to the natural gas powered plant in Brownsville TN. 

We had the opportunity to tour the facility, learn how the natural gas is used to create electricity that is used throughout this region.  We also visited the Cowan House in Atwood, TN.  It is a house that was built to be completely Solar Powered.  They actually 'sell' electricity back to the TVA every year.  They have no electric bills at all as their panels create enough electricity to power everything they need.
 There are two houses, one is larger than the other and a bit more elaborate.  It is amazing that their homes  can be completely sustained by the sun!
Our last day was spent watching a fun skit performed by other teachers and then using our $400 mini grant to purchase supplies for our classrooms.  Whitney and I combined our money; we managed to purchase a number of magazines and books as well as some fantastic Science supplies, experiments and models.  This will be a fun lesson to teach!

Since my return from Energy Camp, I have spent one day each week tackling a cleaning project here in the house.  Since Vince and I tend to clutter up any flat surface, our countertop, desk, couches and chairs tend to gather items.  The wooden countertop was the first surface to be attacked and I am pleased to report that even now, over a week later, it is still clear!
The Kitchen has clear counters every night and after each meal as well.  

I tackled the desk area as well, I had a pile of papers to file that dated back 6 months!  YIKES!!  So, now that area is clear, the desk is clear (Except for the new teachers books I just brought home this week) I can actually work at my desk without having to move a pile to the floor.  

The upstairs couches and chairs are also clear.  They tend to gather items that are going somewhere else, like the garage or to my vehicle.  Also, we tend to put our bags down when we come home and they stay there.  
In fact, when Vince returned from his work shift, he put his bags on the clean wooden counter and I told him he needed to empty it out and put it away!  He did!  

I have taken out the recycling, moved items to the garage and sorted out those items, and I have managed to sell a number of unwanted items from the house.   I finished my Thank you notes to my friends and family who attended Rob and Isabel's party in NJ. 

I have also repaired the bathroom ceiling (water leak several years ago left the joint tape hanging down in two places).  Vince wanted to leave it alone as he plans to sand the texture off the ceiling and repaint it, after he finishes the master bedroom closet and bathroom renovations.  sigh.  I did not want to live with that mess any longer, so I repaired the mess and painted it over with Kilz.  It looks so much better and I feel GREAT! 

My new quilt hanger as arrived and Whitney will be over the end of this week to help me hang it.  It will cover the unsightly window area in the great room.  (another project yet started and unfinished).  

Vince has completed the next stage of the extension, we are waiting on the Airconditioning/Heating technicians to install that unit and the duct work, then he can have the sheetrock hung.  YAY!  

Did I mention we finally purchased new living room furniture?  YES!  The old blue couches that were sagging and had no support (Sort of like sitting in a hole) are gone, gifted away to a young mother to be.  I now am the proud owner of a lovely chocolate brown sectional, with a chaise on one side for Vince to lie on and another extended area for me.  It is soft yet supportive and wonderful!  
I have not truly tackled the bathroom floor yet.  I laid the tiles down to see if I liked it and I DO!  Next is finding center and getting them glued down.  

I have visited my classroom a few times (I know, it is too early!!), just to think.  I asked my principal if I could move my recycling station out of my classroom and into the workroom to make more room in my classroom and he agreed.  Monday, I moved my shelving units into the workroom and set up some collection boxes.  I made a sign to provide some instruction to others as the last issue I need is a mess in there!  

Monday, I also had the opportunity to play with some of my new reading series components!  What fun!  I am excited about beginning the lesson plans.  Since it is now officially July, I can begin working on school matters.  

Today, however, I am having lunch with my dear Graduate School Chum, Cherie.  We have an annual luncheon to catch up on our lives.  Having spent nearly every day together during our Master program, it is amazing we can only manage to get together once a year!

Luckily, we are both attending next week's Common Core training in Savannah.  More learning, more fun!