Thursday, April 21, 2011

Where does the time go?

It's been a week since my past post? Really!?!

And I don't really have anything quilt-y to show for it! All that stuff I brought with me to work on in Atlanta? The only thing I did was finish the binding on Donald's quilt.

While a finish feels good, I wish I had done more. But it was hard to fit quilting in with the trips to:

  • the zoo

  • Toys R Us shopping with the kids' own money

  • the park

  • the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center

  • catching up with college friends

  • watching episode after episode of Brothers and Sisters (how have I never seen this show? I am now officially HOOKED!)

  • cruising the Atlanta Underground

  • the hotel pool and hot tub EVERY DAY

  • the College Fair and Case Studies (work! ick! but it's got to be done)

We got back on Monday evening, just in time for karate and a marketing meeting. Then work on Tuesday was the typical day after you get back from a long trip - overwhelming chaos. After work, I picked up the kids and we headed to my mom's house to spend the night because my twin sister was in town helping my mom pack up her house - she's moving to New Hampshire this summer. (don't leave me, Mom!!!)

Look what they found - a bedspread made by my Great Aunt Bertha (or Bernice, or some name that I don't remember...I guess I should write the name down next time I talk with my mom). It is pretty threadbare and stained in parts, but I'm taking it apart and gonna use those embroidered blocks in something!

I can start something new because I just finished something, right?

Then came Wednesday - work, karate and a Board Meeting. How is it that I regularly leave the house at 7:30 AM and don't return until after 9:00 PM? No wonder I'm too tired to sew most days!

But then came today. I went to work, but left at 10 AM so I could take my hubby to the hospital for some surgery on his foot. Minor stuff, and he came through just fine, but there was NO WAY I was going to sit in a hospital waiting room with my boys all day long. We dropped off my husband and picked up lunch, ate it in a park, caught a movie, and then spent a couple hours at the skatepark. While they performed acts of derring do (they were the ONLY kids there with protective gear on!!! C'mon parents!), I sat on my Orphan Quilt and did a tiny bit of quilting on my Martini Girl and my 4th of July Table Runner. Finally, some stitching!

Hopefully this weekend will bring much more time with needle and thread!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Full day in Atlanta

What a great day! We arrived at our hotel at about 12:30 AM, slept until 8, had breakfast, 20 minutes to let our food settle and then 2 hours in the hotel pool. For the first hour I just watched the kids swim while I worked on the binding of Donald's Boys Will Be Boys quilt, but then I got in and swam laps and lounged around in the hot tub.

Then it was shower time and a walk to a nearby mall to buy new sneakers for all of us. Lunch in the food court and back to the hotel to find Adam had returned from his appointment. We left him napping and took the car to McDonough, GA to visit my friend, Nancy, who moved away last summer. The boys enjoyed some basketball in the driveway with her husband while she and I caught up,

then we went down to the lake to walk around and watch the fish and geese. Finally, they took us to a fun diner for dinner, and we were back in the car to drive back to the hotel.

The boys are out for a nighttime walk with Adam before bed - remember the magic of being outside in the dark after your bedtime? I do; in fact, I still feel that magic when I am out in public after dark. I'm such a homebody that that is a rarity.

Tomorrow should be another fun-filled day, so I should get some sleep.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

At Rainbow's End

Sometimes, I find that I do so much that I don't do anything well. Today, I was convinced that I was a failure as a mom. My 5 year old has been talking for weeks about his concert/play at school. It's been on the calendar. We changed other plans so we could go see it. It was tonight at 6:30. Or so I thought.

We arrived at 6:20 PM, just as it was ending; apparently, it started at 6:00. When we walked in the door to see the kids getting their final applause and I looked down at my little guy, all dressed up in his finery with a crestfallen look on his face, my heart broke. I held it together until another mom told me, "It's an honest mistake; it could have happened to anyone." But it didn't. Donald said, "Why did you make us late, Mom? No one else was late." and I couldn't help but cry as he walked off to find his teacher. I called my husband to tell him not to bother coming with Jason; we had missed it and it was my fault.

The other mom took pity on me, found the music teacher and got me the CD of music that the kids used so at least Donald could sing the songs to us at home, and we drove home. As I drove, feeling like the worst mom in the world, we came over the last hill before our house, and this is what we saw -

they say that there's gold at the end of the rainbow, but they are wrong - my house is at the end of the rainbow. My family is the gold.

Little did I know. I walked into the house and noticed that the furniture was missing from the kitchen. When I got into the computer room, I saw why. When my 8-year-old, Jason, heard that we had missed the program, he recreated the stage and seating so Donald could perform it for us at home; he didn't want his brother to be sad for missing the program. I couldn't help but to cry once again - how did such a befuddled mother end up with such wonderful children?

We put the CD in the player and Donald sang every song to us as I watched through a veil of tears, holding hands with his thoughtful big brother.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Auction, martini girl, stars and freebies

My husband was out of town for a few days and the weather was wet and cold, so on Friday night, I took my kids to an auction with me. I wasn't really in the market to buy anything, but I was open to suggestion. I set the kids up in a quiet corner with their portable DVD player, pulled out my sewing, and settled down to watch another person's lifetime accumulation of paraphernalia being parcelled off to others piece by piece. There weren't many people there, and things were going pretty inexpensively. I bid on some plant stands, and won them for $2.00. Later, as I was wrapped up in my sewing and not paying very close attention, I heard the magic word - QUILT. There were a few quilts there, but nothing I particularly wanted, but this was something I had missed. A whole barrel full of quilt fabric - or so the auctioneer said. I hadn't had an opportunity to look inside, but no one else was bidding so I said, "What the heck?", made a bid, and won the barrel for $1.00. COOL!

Until I got it home and figured out how to get the top off, that is. The first thing I noticed was the smell. All the fabric was musty or mildewy - stinky. And then I started pulling the fabrics out. I wanted to give that auctioneer an education in quilting, because these WEREN'T what I call quilt fabrics. In fact, I couldn't identify most of these fabrics. Gauzy, stretchy, scratchy ick! I went through it all and found 6 fabrics that I was willing to give a try - 3 cotton prints and 3 flannels.

I popped them in the wash, and put the rest back in the barrel to dispose of. Oh well, it was just a dollar. Besides, while sitting there, I was able to finish embroidering this block:

I am currently in the process of quilting it to make it into a small wallhanging.

I've also finished the rest of my stars for Jason's karate quilt, but I'm waiting for inspiration to strike before I assemble anything. And I'm pretty annoyed at myself because the blue and the purple fabrics are so similar that it is hard to tell which is which!

Prior to the quilt guild meeting on Saturday morning (which I couldn't stay for since I had to work, but I did make a brief appearance) I made another star for the Just One Star project. I have already sent my first star, but I wanted to make another because we had encouraged members of our guild to make a star to contribute so we could send them all in together. I was thrilled to learn that our guild made over 30 stars to send!

I meant to take this book to the guild meeting to see if anyone wanted it - my friend, Nancy, sent it to me since she already had a copy, but it turns out I already had a copy, too. Do any of YOU want it? If so, just leave a comment to let me know - first come, first served.

The same goes for this Vera Bradley travel planner. It was a gift from a student, and while I love the colors and I love the paisley, I know myself and that I will never use it. I would rather it go to a home where it will be put to use. If you want it, leave a comment letting me know - again, first come, first served.

Finally, we are headed to Atlanta as a family later this week, so I've been gathering hand projects to work on. I will take:

  • Donald's quilt off his bed to finish the binding (I've only sewn one side down)

  • Feb, Mar and April Birdie Stitches BOM blocks to embroider

  • My 4th of July Table Runner that I got to within inches of finishing the hand quilting and then just lost all interest

  • And the little yellow gal wallhanging that I've been working on.
I also picked up 4 paperbacks from the library this morning. I envision long hours in the car, and long hours next to the hotel pool while my children wear themselves out swimming. I'm hoping that means lots of progress on my hand sewing projects for me!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Another loss

It has been an emotionally hard year here at work. First, in October, the boy who lost his battle with cancer. Then, in December, the two kids who were so seriously hurt in that car accident. Then yesterday, we lost a boy who took his own life.

I am numb. I love working at such a small university because I feel like I know, or at least know of, everyone. But then, when tragedy strikes, it isn't the anonymous kind that you hear on the news and shake your head and forget about the next day, but rather the paralyzing ache that lingers long after with sharp pangs that resurface from a photo or an event or something someone says. And while these college students think they are grown, to me, they are still children and I hate to see them suffer, hate to see them hurt. My first thought upon waking this morning was that I could go upstairs and hug my children, but that this boy's parents would never be able to do that again. Being a parent is the most frightening thing I have ever done; my children bring me such joy, but there is the potential for such inconceivable heartbreak.

Mark, I hope you are in a happier place. You will be missed.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


A friend stopped by my office yesterday to drop off a bag of men's ties!

They were neatly folded and stacked in shoe boxes, but I had to dump them out and see what what there. Oh what fun I forsee playing with these! Any favorite tie projects out there that you want to share? Let me know - put a link in the comments so I can get really excited about all the possibilities like this quilt from

or this quilt from (I encourage you to read the blog post for the story and to see the wonderful detailing!)

Or this crazy quilt from

Thank you for all the possibilities, Mary Beth!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

2 stars, 1 star

I finished two more stars for Jason's karate quilt - 5 down, 5 to go.

I also finished reading True Love Quilting Club by Lori Wilde. I got the book through Paperback Swap, which I just joined last week. I'm still trying to expand my quilt fiction library. I should have not bothered with this book, though. I was so disappointed. First of all, it could have been 1/3 as long - it was one of those books where it seems like the author tells you the same thing 2 or 3 times as a general rule, and not even in a different way. Makes me wonder if the author thinks the reader is an idiot. Add to that the fact that the characters weren't particularly well developed and that it was as predictable as night following day, and I was sorry to have ordered it. But my disappointment was compounded by the (what I saw as) gratuitous sex in the book. Lots and lots of it. I can deal with the romance, but I can do without the "throbbing member". Oh well, live and learn.

Emilie Richards, Jennifer Chiaverini, Earlene Fowler, Marie Bostwick, Lizbie Brown, Sandra Dallas, Terri Thayer, Clare O'Donohue and Arlene Sachitano - I implore you, PLEASE churn out some more books so I can have some enjoyable quilt fiction to read!

Monday, April 4, 2011

No middle ground

For some reason, I seem to always either be in over-drive, running from one activity to another with no time to sit still, or I'm as lazy as they come, getting nothing done. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground. That's how last week was.

BUSY!!! - Monday, even though I was home sick, I ended up having to go to Cub Scouts that evening because my co-leader had a confirmed case of strep throat and someone needed to be in charge, especially since we had a special guest, an astronomer from the university to teach us all kinds of wonderful things for our Astronomy Belt Loop and Pin. I made it through the evening, and actually felt well enough for work on

BUSY!!! - Tuesday, which is good because I had to run a Phone-a-thon to scholarship winners that evening until 10 PM - LONG day!

BUSY!!! - No rest on Wednesday because we had to go to karate. Our Pre-black belt class is NO JOKE - they have never worked us so hard in the two years we've been going there. They have definitely turned it up a notch or two for us.

LAZY!!! - Then Thursday hit, and I couldn't find the energy to do ANYTHING after work. I grabbed Donald's quilt and worked on his binding a bit while watching the beginning of Season 2 of MONARCH OF THE GLEN in our theater room; eventually, it was just me watching with his quilt on my lap - not much progress.

LAZY!!! - Friday was much of the same - I came home and read until bedtime, with a brief break for dinner.

BUSY!!! - Then Saturday, it was back to the other extreme - I woke up and was off and running

1) filed my taxes

2) errands in town - bank, library, etc

3) went to an auction for about an hour - I LOVE auctions! No good finds this time. There were some quilts, but nothing I just had to have.

4) karate class

5) planetarium with the cub scouts

6) bowling with the cub scouts

7) took Jason and Donald to get their ears pierced (they had a personal hygiene challenge to overcome before I would let them do this - a month straight of showers EVERY DAY. They made it seem easy, and now my reluctant bather is wanting 1/2 hour showers every night - I've created a monster!)

8) volunteering at the Drive In Movies

Whew! Up before 6 AM and not in bed until 1:30 AM! I thought maybe I'd sleep in on Sunday, but nope. But Sunday there was finally a little bit of balance - a little bit of housework, but also some time on the porch with a quilt and a book, and some time sewing a bit on Jason's quilt -

no design yet, but I keep making different elements to throw in there and eventually I'm sure it will come together.

Today after work, I was determined to blog (thanks to those of you who've been checking in on me!) and maybe sew a star or two, but then I'm taking the kids to the skatepark before karate class because it is a BEAUTIFUL day! I hope it is beautiful in your part of the world, too!