Friday, May 25, 2012

It's been a busy May!

It's been a while since I've posted - we have been busy!

The short update:
  • We are still spending time with our parents and taking care of things - we just sold my FIL's house!
  • I am still grading papers (I've earned enough money so now I am just fulfilling my contract.)
  • I still love my Norwex and even clean once in a while!
  • I am seeing a pedorthotist about the nerve damage in my foot - hope to be able to wear normal shoes soon.
  • The Apple store loves me and I love our new Mac!
  • Preschool Graduation was wonderful.
  • I quilt as often as possible.

Some highlights:

Grandsons Mack and Griffy stopped by on Mother's Day with a stepping stone they made for me.

Grandson Mack just graduated this week.

I pieced two batik table runners in February. I have finally quilted them. This one is fairly large and machine stippled.

I love the colors in this one - of course, it's blue! 
I machine quilted it with an all over stitch that reminds me of petals on a flower. 

Here is a close-up.

 If you look hard enough at the back, you'll see errors but overall it's not bad!

My free-motion quilting has really improved since January. I am really enjoying it and look forward to resuming 'class' in June. (We had the month of May off.) 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Our lives are like quilts

Our lives are like quilts - bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love. 

DH and I each have one surviving parent and they both are in hospice care - different cities, different diseases, but both are dearly loved and near the end of this life. Ray is the power of attorney for his dad - I had no idea how involved that is and the amount of time that it takes. Thank goodness we have the time. I am fortunate - my oldest brother is my mom's POA.

Back in the day, educators did not pay social security. Of course, if you don't qualify for social security (40 quarters), you don't qualify for medicare. If we don't qualify for medicare when we turn 66, our insurance rates are going to triple - yup, triple! You qualify on your spouse's quarters if you have been married at least 10 years - but my DH was also an educator back in the day. When we retired, we both worked on getting quarters - I began the 'race' way ahead since I've held more non-teaching jobs over the years. Anyway I need one quarter and decided this was the year. I am grading papers online - do you remember those standardized tests that you took in high school? Well, now they aren't all multiple choice. Many have problems that you have to show your work and explain. That's what I'm grading. It's going pretty good. As of today, I think I've earned a little over half of what I need. Oh, did you know that x is always zero? That's just one of the many things I'm 'learning'!

In my free time, I've been doing a little cleaning. My DIL is selling Norwex and I love it. It is kind of fun to dust when you know the house will stay dusted! If you want to order anything, just leave a comment and I'll give you her website.

And I try to get into the sewing room a little each day. I'm working on a Quilt of Valor right now. I started it at the retreat last month.

Well time to see if I can learn anything else from those bright young math students...


Monday, May 7, 2012

2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge May Update

This month the guest expert at the 2012 FMQ Challenge is Leah Day. To learn more, check out Insights from SewCalGal. Leah is the author of The Free Motion Quilting Project. I've been following Leah's Free Motion Quilt Along since January and have learned ALOT! The Quit Along is taking the month of May off so it was really nice to have Leah on the FMQ Challenge this month.

The Challenge this month is to practice two foundation designs. First is Double Stippling. This is accomplished by large scale stippling followed by a smaller scale stippling over the first line. It gives an interesting texture.This is the diagram that Leah posted:

My attempts:

The second design is  Railroad Tracks, a variation of Double Stippling. It is also started with large scale stippling but the smaller scale stippling is boxy. It gives another interesting texture! And this is the diagram that Leah posted:

First the large scale stippling:

 then the boxes,
 and a few more.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

QAYG FMQ QAL update - row 6

I fell like all I've been posting are Quilt Along updates. Our life is quite busy at the moment. Ray's dad is in hospice care as is my mom. It keeps us busy. I'm also grading some of those standardized tests that students take at this time of the year so my free time is a limited. There is not enough quilting going on!

It's the last row in the QAYG FMQ QAL with Laura at Quokka Quilts. Row 6 was choose your own adventure. 

I tried some different things. The first two are ones that Quilt Jane did and showed on the Quokka Quilts blog. This is half flowers that are echoed. I am getting some better at echoing!

This is a filler that reminds me of waves and is pretty easy to do.

I did these flowers in opposite corners. I used a marker to help with length spacing on the closer flower and forgot to remove it.

Not being very creative today and not having much time, I did a flower in the sunshine.

Then, just for fun, I made a row of flowers. 
It would be a cute border.

I found a little more time to quilt (sorry no photos). I have shells, a flower that is a spiral made from a wavy line, the letter T over and over, and many loop patterns.

I think this is the end of the Quilt As You Go Free Motion Quilt ALong for me. I don't have blocks to put together and that is what is left.

It has been fun and enjoyable!
 I have learned more about FMQ. 
Thanks Laura!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Free Motion Quilting Project Update - Week 16

Week 16 - Zippling!

Zippling is stippling with straight lines and sharp points. You can read about it here, on Leah Day's website.

I had "pretty good" luck, at least better than sharp stippling! I still have a few curved lines...

I think we are now taking a month break from our free motion quilt along. So during the month of May, I am on my own. I hope to get some projects quilted and finished!

Quilt Square Quilt Along Block 4

I've finished Block 4 for the Quilt Square Quilt Along at Jo's Country Junction. We are making blocks from pattern Quilt Squares #1 by Lori Smith of From my Heart to Your Hands. My 12" X 12" squares are all different. I have made Log CabinBear Paw, and The Star Block.
The April challenge was to do the block of our choice. I    chose the Nine Patch and used some scraps from my stash. I machine stippled the quilt and then decided it needed the red binding.
Next month we are switching to the Quilt Squares #4 pattern by Lori Smith. 


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