Friday, July 29, 2016

Five Things Friday (County Fair Edition)

Happy Friday!  It's County Fair Week, here, so I have a special Edition of Five Things to Be Happy About for you!

I love the fair!  It's been a crazy busy week, with a lot of running around and rescheduling of regular activities, but it is the best week of the summer for me.  I absolutely adore watching my girls talk to the judges about their projects and take on the responsibilities of volunteering in the food stand and action and promotion booth.  I love the music and the vendors and the food, the exhibits of flowers and quilts and decorated cakes.  I love running into people we know. Even the vendors building where you could spend all day entering drawings for free stuff (and spend the next month dodging phone calls from sales representatives) provides a nice break from the sun and humidity. I remember all of these things from the county fairs of my childhood, and I am so glad that my girls are getting to experience them too.

And, even though my parents told me (and I tell my girls) that it's not about the ribbons, it's pretty cool to see my girls earn blue ribbons, and even better, merit awards and state fair entries!  They outdid themselves this year!  And the best part was that their projects were really and truly theirs.  I did a bit of prodding here and there to make sure they remembered the deadlines, and I helped solve a few problems along the way, but I was pretty hands- off on the actual construction and completion of the projects.

Emily had help from her dad in building her state-fair bound checker board, but, the judge was very impressed with how well she explained the process, used the correct terms for hte tools they used and described the problems and solutions they encountered.  He told her that working with her dad was one of the best things she'd ever do in  4-H, and they they should be very proud of themselves for BOTH surviving!  (He also asked her who needed more patience, her or dad...which leads me to beleive that the man has daughters!  LOL!) Before this week, she wasn't sure she wanted to continue in the woodworking project, but the positive outcome just might have changed her mind.

We are heading back to the fairgrounds in a bit so the girls can enjoy midway rides with their friends.  We have not ventured down there yet, so I don't have pictures.  It I get a good one, I'll come back tonight and edit my happy pictures.

But for now, here are 5 Fair Things That Make Me Happy:

SNEARY picture in picture action.  So proud of them, both!

Not my quilt, but I just love it.  It's Moda Building Blocks. Made me smile every time I saw it this week.

Stop by Gypsy Moon Quilt Co. to see what everyone else is happy about this week! 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Two Finishes!

It's county fair week here!  My absolute favorite week of the summer.  So far, we've been to the fairgrounds for the judging of the girls' projects, to work an early morning shift in the 4-H Food Stand, and to watch my oldest daugther model her outfit in the Fashion Revue (no judging this time, just a chance for the girls to show off their hard work).  There might have been some ice cream, lemonade and other treats thrown in there too!  We'll be back later today to volunteer in the 4-H Action and Promotion booth and to enjoy the rides on Friday.  Maybe, just maybe, my husband and I will go to listen to some music for a Friday night date.

Even with all this Fair Frenzy, I'm happy to have two finishes to report!

This is my lovely daughter modeling, not the owner of the quilt.

My first T-Shirt Quilt is finished!  This has been a true labor of love for me.  The owner of these shirts is a young lady that I've had the pleasure of watching grow her entire life.  She is near and dear to my heart, and my girls think of her as an older cousin.  My daughter has shared the stage in many of the shows that these t-shirts represent, so I had a lot of memories and smiles as I stitched.

Since this was the first t-shrit quilt I've completed, it wasn't without its struggles.  It was quite a challenge getting all the blocks to fit nicely together,  You can read a post about that, here.

This quilt is larger and heavier than I'm used to.  This presented some challenges in quilting.  I had decided to go with straight diagonal lines in both directions after seeing a t-shirt quilt done this way, somewhere on the internet.  I taped off my lines, adjusted them a time or two, and hoped for the best!

The center sections puckered a bit.   It was just really hard to keep everything flat and pulled tight when half of the quilt had to be fed through the throat on my small machine.

 I did some ripping and re-stitiching and got those sections to a place I could live with, I admit, debated ripping everything and starting over. But, there was a deadline to meet.  And, I asked myself if a quilt that lies perfectly flat was really the goal.

The answer was no.  This quilt is going to spend much of its existence crumpled up at the foot of a dorm bed.  It's going to be spread out on the lawn for campus picnics and study sessions.  It's going to go to football games and fireworks displays.  It's going to a part of college memories, forever.   It already holds so many memories and so much love that it's (not literally!) near to bursting at the perfection isn't necessary.

I had the pleasure of attending the recipient's graduation party, where the quilt was hung up along with pictures of the young lady.  What a joy it was to watch her grandmothers and aunts ooooh and ahhhh over it and to hear the kids from the perfoming troupe reminisce over the shirts. They didn't see mistakes or puckers or imperfections.  They saw love, hard work and happy memories.  That's as close to perfect as I need to get!

Here's a shot of the quilt label.  Doesn't the design on the label look fantastic with the backing fabric?  I even like the way the colors show through.  It's kind of a neat effect.   I used StoryPatches for the first time.  If you aren't familiar with this fun way to add a modern, techy touch to your quilts, I suggest that you check them out.  I also plan to do a post very soon explaining how easy it was to use technology to add a very special message to the quilt.

And now for my second finish.  I made a skirt!

I've mentioned before that my daughter is becoming a better garment sewer that I am.  It's just not my favorite thing to do. She, on the other hand, likes the process and patiently completed a skirt and a blouse for the fair this year.  For her skirt, she followed an on-line tutorial with the promising title "Twenty Minute Skirt".  Now, I think we all know that the darn skirt is going to take most of us longer than 20 minutes!  But, she did manage to have it done in just over an hour. Still pretty good!

 This week, I was inspired to follow the same process to finally sew up a skirt for myself from this cute knit I'd found a while ago.

This had to be done in several short sessions as time allowed this week, but, I think I probably spent just over an hour total.  I was careful to match those chevron stripes at the side seams, and I am just tickled with how they turned out! Hard to spot the seam, isn't it??

Its very basic construction.  Just a hemmed rectangle made into a tube, zig zagged to waist band elastic which is left exposed.  They make really cute elastic for that purpose, now.  Did you know that? There's not much work here, hence the 20 minute claim!

My skirt is comfortable, easy to wear, and just a bit longer than the rest of my knit skirts, which was the goal.  I'm going to be on the lookout for cute knits, now, so I can make a few more of these!  I'd forgotten how fun it is to wear homemade!

I'm linking up this week to Let's Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, Can I Get A Whoop-Whoop? and Finish It Up Friday.

Be sure to stop back tomorrow for a County Fair edition of Five Things to be Happy About Friday!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Five Things To Be Happy About - A Day Late

I am not at all surprised that I'm a day late posting my Five Things to be Happy About post this week.  It's just the kind of week that it was!  All week I felt like I was in some kind of a mental fog.  I had the tension in my shoulders and pressure in my ears that usually signal the start of a migraine...but the headache never fully materialized.  It was just a crappy, tired, can't quite do what I need to get done kind of week.  Honestly, the thing that made me happiest this week was the moment when the ibuprofen and peppermint oil started to work  I love that feeling of the pain and pressure and anxiety floating away.

All that being said, there were still beautiful and happy moments.  I might have had to look a little harder for them, but thank goodness I had a reason to!  I might have missed them, otherwise!  Here's a peek at some smiles from the week.

I LOVE binding all rolled up!  I use old ribbon spools to wind the folded binding.  Then, the spool goes in a box on the floor, and it unrolls easily as I sew the binding on the quilt.  I had my bonus happy moment this week when I got the joining of the ends right ON THE FIRST TRY!!!  (That usually doesn't happen.)  The blade of my scissors is reflecting a piece of Mexican embroidery that hangs on the wall.  I love that!

And, of course, a roll of binding means THIS is coming next.  I debated machine stitching the binding on both the front and the back, because the quilt had a deadline.  But, I also knew that some time on the couch, with a cup of tea (not pictured) and Gilmore Girls on the TV might be just what I needed this week.  It felt really good to slow down and hand stitch.

We had some severe thunder storms on Thursday.  We were fortunate to not have any damage close by, but we sure got some amazing skies as the sun went down that evening!  My camera didn't do a great job of capturing it, but we all agreed we'd never seen skies quite like them!

Next week is fair week.  If you grew up in 4-H or have kid in 4-H, you know that THIS week, then, is finish fair project week!  These adorable Christmas light cupcakes were made by Emily for her cake decorating project.  They were a trial run so she could perfect her technique and figure out how it all goes together.  She will make the real ones on Sunday night.  She has done an awesome job with her projects this year.  This is the same kiddo who made the jello cup and the cheesecake in previous Friday Happy lists.  I think she had a future in the culinary arts!!  (By the way, seconds after this picture was taken, the "wires" fell off the yellow bulb.  Back to the drawing board!

And this.  This is the junior chef herself.  She has taken to wearing these big bows in her pony tail lately, and it makes me smile every time.  She's growing into such a beautiful young lady.  She is my heart.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend.  We have a weekend full of performances for my oldest daughter, a graduation party (and T-shirt quilt gifting!),a sleepover,  and of course, final, final touches to put on fair projects on the agenda.  I hope there's also time to clean up the sewing room and prep the next project.  Oh!  And a post about the finished quilt will be coming soon.

Even though I missed the Friday party, I'm going to share my post over at Gypsy Moon Quilt Co. Amanda has some beautiful pictures of her week, and some others have linked up to share their happy lists, too.  Be sure to check out the comments on her post to find out who to visit!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Five Things To Be Happy About Friday (#5)

Wow.  We've been celebrating our happy moments for five weeks, already.  It's a joy, certainly, but it sure makes the weeks fly by!  Oh, well, they'd do that anyway.  Might as well take a few moments to notice and talk about the good things in them!

I am really happy today because this afternoon we will pick my oldest daughter up from band camp!! I am sure she's had a fabulous time, but I am so ready to have her home.  We have missed her smiles and hugs and witty comments.   And, she does the dishes.   I've missed that!

We did find lots to smile about this week, though.  Here's my list, in pictures.

This "quilt" was found in the stairwell of the Studio Arts Building on the college campus where my daughter has spent her week.  We were both feeling a bit frazzled by the drive two hours-check in-audition- find our way around-process (not to mention a problem with a lock which meant she couldn't get into her room until hours after I left...).  We rounded the corner, saw this and shared a smile.  Quilts bring comfort, no matter what.

My younger daughter and I have taken some time to linger over some rather indulgent breakfasts this week.  She made her own oatmeal and smoothie.  Doesn't it look yummy?  And yes, sometimes last night's dessert becomes this mornings breakfast.  No shame.

Love the colors in this rhubarb.  Quilt inspiration, perhaps.

Giraffes.  My favorite.  They are so graceful and communal.  We are blessed to have 6 of them at our zoo.  The young ones are fun to watch, especially the new baby.

And the reason for our quick visit to the zoo.  My black belt ndaughter performed with her demonstration team for Kids Night.  She hung out with the team and her instructors while I got in my 10,000 steps, visited my favorite animals, enjoyed a gourmet grilled cheese, and read a few chapters while sipping an iced coffee. It was a beautiful evening. And, of course I watched her perform, too.

What has you smiling this week?  Why not make a quick list (no pictures required) and link it up at Amanda's blog, Gypsy Moon Quilt Co.   We could all use a little extra happiness these days, don't you think?

I'm also going to share this at Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? This week.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Book Share - Vinegar Girl

What a great week this has been here at Sew Much For Free Time!  This was my week on the New Quilt Blogger's Blog Hop. It has been so much fun to have new visitors and to get sweet comments from many of them.  I've been trying to keep up with my replies to comments, but if I missed your's, I apologize.

The comments I received on my introductory post, and yesterday's post about the 70,273 Project have reinforced what I already knew:  As quilt bloggers, we belong to an incredibly supportive, caring community.  As I begin to read a wider range of blogs and dabble in Instagram, I am finding that we are more than this.  We are also FUN and FUNNY!  And though we are diverse, we also share so much in common.

Bernie, who blogs at Needle and Foot is one of the bloggers I've met this year with whom I feel a strong connection.  As I read her posts, I often have a sense that she and I are very much alike, and that if we lived close to each other, we'd have frequent sewing days and coffee get-togethers.

Bernie recently started a very fun Book Share on her blog. I am very happy to be a part of it!  Here's how it works.  Bernie read Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler.  She gave a short review of the book in a blog post, as asked it any of us would like to read it.  She compiled a list of interested readers - I believe there are six of us.  I was lucky to get the book first!  Bernie sent the book to me, along with 3 Fat Quarters that represented some aspect of the book for her.  She chose florals (and a coordinating stripe) because Kate, the main character, tends to her flower garden.  As Bernie says, "Anything is more fun if fabric is involved!"

Look at those yummy colors!!
The top two are Kaffe Fassett and the bottom is Tula Pink!

The book arrived at my house on Saturday.  Now, I have four weeks to read the book, write a quick comment inside the front cover, select three Fat Quarters that tie into the story some how, and send it all along to the next person on Bernie's list.

I am only 70 pages in to the book, but I am already thinking about my fabric selections!  It's so fun!  I think I will probably associate characters and events in books with fabric from now on!  What a fresh approach to literature!  Great idea, Bernie!!

I think Bernie plans to host another book share this fall.  If you are interested in joining in the fun, be sure you are following her at Needle & Foot so you'll be in the know!

Linking up with Can I Get A Whoop Whoop this week.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The 70273 Project

I believe that sometimes the universe sends me messages.  When a topic or an idea keeps coming up, in multiple and unrelated places, there's a reason. I have learned to pay attention!  I also tend to believe that on the nights I can't sleep, and I click randomly from one blog to another, my destination sometimes isn't really random.  It's something I'm meant to see.

One night, sometime in the last two months or so, I was having one of those nights.  I had read everything in my Bloglovin' feed, Instagram hadn't given me anything new for hours, and Facebook...meh.  So, I started just clicking on blogs I'd never heard of in some blogger's sidebar list. Somehow, I ended up reading about The 70273 Project.

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers is the force behind this project.  I don't know Jeanne personally, but I can tell you that she is an amazing woman.  She is kind, generous, driven and charming.  She has a tendency to call people "Sugar," and I imagine that when she meets someone for the first time, they are greeted with a huge hug.  She is a writer, storyteller, artist and quilter.

Jeanne, apparently. believes that the universe sends her messages, too.  She was led to launch an amazingly ambitious quilting project after watching a documentary.  Through the documentary, Jeanne learned that between January 1940 and August 1941, 70,273 physically and mentally disabled people were murdered by the Nazis.  The Nazi doctors who "evaluated" the medical records of the disabled individuals were instructed to place a red X on the file if the person was deemed "unfit" or "a burden to society." Three doctors read each file, and when two of them made a red X, the person's fate was sealed.  They were murdered almost immediately.

I'm going to encourage you to visit Jeanne's blog and the website for The 70273 Project to learn more about the atrocities carried out on the most vulnerable members of society before the Holocaust even began.  But, I want to tell you about the way Jeanne has felt called to do something to honor the memory of those who died.  Because, I think you will be moved to help her.  I am.

Jeanne has set out to commemorate each of the 70,273 people who died needlessly with a quilt block.  Each block will feature two red X's (representing the marks that designated their fate) on a white background (representing innocence and the paper on which the reports were written).  That means, she is making, collecting, and cataloging seventy-thousand-two-hundred-seventy-three blocks!  The blocks are being pieced into tops, and eventually, quilted.  When all the quilts are complete, they will be exhibited wherever and whenever they can be.  I believe Jeanne intends to not only honor the memory of those who died, but also to change the hearts of those who will see the quilts.

Now.  I said at the top of this post that the universe sent me a message, right?  So, the day after I read about The 70273 Project, my girls and I were at the library.  My youngest had placed a hold on a book that some of her classmates had read called "The War That Saved My Life."  I knew nothing of the book, but was happy when she announced that she wanted me to read the book with her.  I think that you are NEVER too old to have a book read to you, and my girls and I have spent some very hours reading out loud together.

This is a beautiful book.  An amazing example of how children's literature is NOT just for children.  It is set just before World War II, in England.  The heroine, Ada, is a ten year old girl with a deformed foot.  She has been cruelly mistreated by her mother for her entire life because of that foot.  But, when the children of London are evacuated to the country side in anticipation of the war, Ada manages to join her brother, Jamie, on a evacuee train.  They escape their mother and find a new life. Again, I want you to read this book for yourself, so I'm not going to reveal more of the wonderful, suspenseful, hopeful, heart-raising story.

But, can you imagine my goosebumps as I realized that this story had come into my life immediately after learning about Jeanne's project?  Now, I know the connection is not direct.  Ada is a fictional character who wouldn't have been one of the 70,273 victims in Nazi Germany, had she been real.  But surely, one of the files with two red X's could have belonged to a girl with the same spunk and grit, marked by an accident of birth.  The universe speaks!

Wait!  There's more.  I had just finished reading "Wonder", another Young Adult novel that focuses on the power of the human spirit to overcome disability and disfigurement.  It's another book you simply must read.  As my older daughter and I were discussing "The War That Saved My Life", and how it connected to The 70273 project, she said, "Oh Mom, wait until you get to the Julian Chapter!"  She was referring to a companion story to "Wonder" which is told from the bully's point of view.  I couldn't wait to find out what her cryptic comment meant, so I sat down to read right away.

Well.  Universe, you did it again!  In "The Julian Chapter," Julian's grandmother tells him a story about her childhood in Nazi-occupied France during World War II.  She was hidden for two years by the family of a boy who had physical deformities and had been teased and tortured by his classmates prior to the war.  The grandmother tells about how she learned to accept and love him, and, about the day that he, and all the other "cripples" in the village were rounded up by the Nazi soldiers and led away, never to be seen again.

I read this chapter through tears.  It was clear to me that   these stories my daughters were reading were placed into my hands at this moment in time to lead me to act.  There is a precept mentioned in Wonder and The Julian Chapter that says:  If we do not examine the past, we do not learn from it.

I think that's what this is all about. My responsibility right now, is to learn, talk and teach about this period of history in order to move hearts so that something like this can never happen again.  I don't know yet, exactly what direction this will take in my life.  But, little by little, I see pieces coming together.  I work with children with disabilities.  I see the degree to which they are accepted...and our school.  I see good kids, swayed by the power of one, loud and ill-intent voice, make choices to exclude rather than include. I have already volunteered to work with our 5th graders (my daughter will be one of them) on a quilt making project as part of a Civil War unit.  Perhaps, this is the follow up project.  Perhaps those 75, 5th graders will be learning about red X's on white quilt squares, too.  I don't know yet.  But I am Led. To. Do. Something.  For now, I am making blocks.  It's a start.

Whew.  Are you still there?  This has been a long and rambling post.  I apologize. I feel strongly, though, that I needed to tell you about these books and about this project, so that you too, might be moved to help.

Imagine, for just a second, what 70,000 quilt blocks will look like.  How on earth will one woman pull this off?  The truth is, she won't.  Not alone.  Jeanne has enlisted a small army to get the job done.  She is inviting anyone and everyone to make a block, several blocks, a quilt top's worth of blocks. The blocks  need to be three specific sizes.  Details can be found here.  Jeanne also needs piecers and quilters, and people who can help with other aspects of the project. You can find the details and all the ways you can help here.

Will you help?  Will you make a few blocks and send them to Jeanne?  They are simple, and you can use any method you want, as long as the x's are red and the background is white.  There is a form you need to fill out and send with your blocks.  You can find that here.  Also, please tell others about The 70273 project.  Tell those who might make blocks (your quilting friends, you guild, your family) . but also those who won't.  It's about cultivating acceptance and sharing love.

Quilters know how to do both.

Linking up,with Let's Bee Social  and Can I Get A Whoop Whoop to help spread the word!

Monday, July 11, 2016

New Blogger's Blog Hop

2016 Advice and Tech Helpfor New Quilt Bloggers

Hello and welcome to my stop on the 2016 New Quilt Blogger's Blog Hop!  Thanks for stopping by! This Hop has been a fabulous experience for me.  I've made some changes to the layout and the look of my blog, and, I think I've finally started to get into a blogging rhythm, thanks to my participation.

Most importantly, though, I've discovered some fantastic blogs and bloggers, and I look forward to following them from now on.   Joining me on the Hop today are Shannon, Suzi, Kathy and Olusuyi, from my group, Hive Society.  Take a few moments and visit them, won't you?  Links to other great reads can be found by visiting the hostesses' sites, below.

I certainly do want to thank Yvonne, Cheryl and Stephanie, our hostesses and mentors for the time they've devoted to this  Blog Hop.  They are so dedicated!  Also, don't forget, there are fabulous prizes that you can enter to win if you visit one of our mentors' sites.

Now for the introductions!  My name is Tami and I've been sewing, quilting and crafting since I was a kid in 4-H.  My mom was a quilter, and also my 4-H leader! I have many happy memories of her quilting and teaching others to quilt.  Throughout high school and college, I sewed, embroidered, cross stitched and quilted, to some degree.  Even as a new bride, I kept up with sewing habits.  But, it all came to a halt when my oldest daughter was born.
These quilts were made years apart, but ended up going to sisters.  

As my girls got older, I began to realize how much I was missing by NOT having some creative endeavors in my life, but I wasn't very successful in making time to peruse my former hobbies. When a job change a few years ago resulted in an extensive schedule change, I was SURE I'd finally have time to do all the things I'd once loved!  I started this blog to keep track of all the wonderful quilts and sewn projects I thought I'd make.
Probably the most fun I've ever had making a quilt.
The letters were a Quilt Along from Temecula Quilt Company.
I didn't quilt along, instead I made them all a few at a time,
 long after the QAL had ended.  

If you check  my blog archives, you'll see that my first attempt at quilt blogging resulted in 11 measly posts.  I struggled to find a flow with both sewing and blogging, and the "Free Time" I thought I'd have, well, "Sew Much" for that!  (See that?  A reference to my blog title!  Get it?  Hahaha)
This is an OLD quilt.  Older than my oldest child!
This is the one quilt I made back in those days that wasn't given away.
 I spent many happy, child-free hours piecing and appliqueing.  

At the beginning of 2016, I decided I needed to try again.  I was spending a lot of time reading quilt blogs and drooling over pictures of quilts on Facebook and Pinterest.  I knew that lots of bloggers had close relationships with each other, and shared in the quilting and blogging process.  I wanted in!!!  So, here we are! I've been a pretty consistent blogger for the first half of this year, and I am getting better at managing my time to allow for sewing and blogging, both.
A quick, fun, and almost modern quilt.

It helps that my girls and now 10 and 13.  They are busy girls, involved in all sorts of wonderful stuff, but they are also self sufficient, and I can usually find an hour a day to spend in my sewing room, if I set a schedule and stick to it!

The pictures between paragraphs above are of some the quilts I've completed over the years.  Looking at them,  you'd get the impression that I am a traditional. not a "modern" quilter, wouldn't you?  I guess that's mostly accurate, but the truth is, I love it all!  The quilts I've been drawn to make have been more traditional, yes, but that doesn't mean I don't love the more modern patterns as well!  I just really love it all!

For me, it's not so much about what the final product looks like, its the creativity involved in the process.  It's the problem solving required when things don't go quite as planned.  It's the peaceful state of mind that comes over me when I sit down at the machine.  It's knowing I am part of a centuries old tradition of MAKING.  And, it's being part of an incredibly generous, knowledgeable and caring community.

This week, I will be sharing posts about three fabulous things happening in our on-line quilting community.  I am going to tell you about The 70273 Project, the Needle & Foot Book Share, and as I've been doing for a few weeks now, I'll link up my list of Five Things To Be Happy About on Friday with Gypsy Moon Quilt Co.  I hope you'll join me to learn about these things.  I have so much respect and admiration for the ladies behind these projects.  They are excellent examples of why I want to be part of this quilt blogging world.  Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin' or Feedly so you don't miss these posts!  There are links to both in my sidebar.

Now, it was suggested that we wrap up our posts with a quilting/blogging tip, a question for our fellow bloggers, and some random, fun facts about ourselves.  So, you go...

Blogging Tip:
Everyone, I know, finds what works for them, with regard to writing and posting.  It's a matter of trying different schedules and routines to find what feels right.  One thing that has worked well for me is to write a post in its entirety, in kind of a stream of consciousness way.  I just type, keeping in mind the pictures I want to post, but not putting them in.  Then, I try to walk away for a bit.  I find that when I read with "fresh eyes" I find quite a few things that I need or want to change.  I often decide to change wording, or I find a misspelling that wasn't caught.  Sometimes, I even decide to remove some content and save it for a different post.  After I'm happy with the post, I read through one more time, add pictures in the appropriate spots, and add links where necessary.  I find that I'm more efficient at these things if I do them all at once, than I am when I stop the flow of my writing to add an element.  Again, you need to find what works for you, but maybe there's an idea here you can try!

Question for YOU!:
So, how do you do it?  How do you manage to sew, blog, and do all the other things you have to do?  No matter what I try, I never seem to be able to quite find the balance that makes it all work the way I want it to.  Do you set a sewing schedule?  Do you finish one project to completion or have several things in the works?  Do you sew first thing in the morning?  Do you multi-task and blog while doing other things?  Is that even possible?  Give me all your best productivity tips, please!

Five Random Facts:
1.  I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin.  No farm for me now (although I'm very grateful for that upbringing) but still a Wisconsin girl.
2.  My youngest daughter recently earned her black belt in karate.  It seems unreal to me that I have a black belt living in my house.  She's one of the most amazing people I know.
3. My oldest daughter is currently away at band camp, on a college campus, 100 miles away from home.  I just dropped her off today, and am missing her already.  She has gone to camp every summer since she was 8, but this seems different, somehow.  Keep your fingers crossed for a great week for her!
4.  My beverage of choice is usually ice water.  The more ice the better.  I also enjoy iced tea, peppermint tea, a good Bloody Mary or mojito and coffee, but ice water is the best.
5.  After being a second grade teacher for many, many years, I am now a Special Education aide.  I adore the kiddos I work with, and I am loving the more relaxed schedule that comes with NOT being a full time classroom teacher.  I am still a licensed teacher, and I tutor several kids in the summer.  I always have this nagging feeling I should go back to my "real job," but for now, I am enjoying life, just as it is.

Thanks for taking the time to read and get to know me! I hope you'll check back this week!  I'm so glad to be sharing this quilt filled world with all of you!

Friday, July 08, 2016

Five Things To Be Happy About Friday (#4 The Road Episode)

My daughter and I are on a short jaunt to the Mall of America with some friends!  So, this is a picture free list for me.  I'm grabbing a few minutes to post before we shop til we drop...again!

Here's my Five Things Friday list for the week...

1.  Road trips (with kids) that go off with out a hitch!
2.  Poolside mojitos (in plastic cups) while the kids swim in the hotel pool.
3.  Big fluffy hotel pillows and comforter...and a bed to myself!
4.  Friends that don't bat an eye when it's time to do respiratory treatments in the hotel and hop on the bed with you to feel the shakiness of your vest.  (My daughter has cystic fibrosis and treatments and meds are a must no matter where we are. We are (learning to) take it in stride).
5.  Knowing that there's a quilt near completion waiting for me at home, and having a plan for the next one swimming happily in my brain.

What's making you happy this week?  Link up with Amanda at Gypsy Moon Quilt Co and share in the fun!  Be sure to visit some of the other participants to see what they're smiling about, too!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Hearts, Plans and a Package

Oh my.  Here it is, July 7 already.  Our 4th of July weekend spilled over until Tuesday as my oldest daughter had another day of performances at Summerfest, and we made a family affair of it.  Yesterday was a catch up/get ahead day, filled with stuff that didn't get done on the weekend,  and today is busy, because in just a few hours, youngest and I set off tomorrow for a couple days at the Mall of America with a friend of hers! Oh, and then I drop the oldest off at band camp, 150 miles away, on Sunday!  Busy, busy!  So, today's post is a bit of a catch-all. Between trips this weekend, I will prepare a post for my stop on the New Blogger's Hop.  My day is Monday!   (Good Lord, now I feel completely overwhelmed!)

OK.  Deep breath, one step at a time!

Above are the hearts that my daughter and I have made to contribute to the #QuiltsforPulse block drive.  These blocks, and TONS of others, sent from across the world, will be made into quilts by the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild and given to those affected by the nightclub shooting there, last month.  I am planning to bring our couny to 12 by making more hearts from the rainbow fabric and the great "love" text print below.  The text print was given out to 100 sewists interested in making blocks for this great cause by Marcus Fabrics.  It just arrived, so as soon as I have a free half hour, I will make my last blocks, and send them off!

I would have loved to contribute a finished top, or even a completed quilt.  But, this is what I can do right now, and giving something is always better than doing nothing.  If you want to have your heart lifted AND revel in some quilty goodness check out #quiltsforpulse on Instagram.  Ahhh.Mazing!

Are you a fan of Quilt Alongs?  I have never participated in one, but that's about to change.  While working with Bernie on our SewAlong with the 241Bag pattern, I found that I really liked having a partner in the process.  It's great for accountability, it's motivating to have someone to share the process with, and it's just really fun!

So, I've decided to try my first Quilt Along!  Amanda at This Mom Quilts has just started a Quilt Along with her pattern,  Facet + Plus.  It's such an elegant modern design, and it really appealed to me.  I think the timing will work well for me. too, so it's time to jump in!

So far, Amanda has shared the fabric requirements for baby and lap sized quilt layouts.  I need to do a little thinking and planning.   My stash is lacking "large" cuts  - most of my stash fat quarters or smaller, unless I purchased something for a particular project.  I really don't want to buy anything new, as I will be reorganizing my sewing room soon, and just don't want MORE fabric to deal with....right now.  So, I am going to print Amanda's coloring page and get a bit creative with color placement.

These colors are speaking to me, but I have some thinking to do before the next step of the QAL.  Check out Amanda's first post, and let me know if you plan to join in!  I look forward to seeing how all these quilts come out!

And lastly, but Oh-so-not-least...  I got quilty mail!!  My fantastic pen pal Rose sent me a parcel packed with SO much fun and love!  Just look at all this!!!

The most anticipated item in this box was my block for the round robin exchange that Rose and I are doing together.

I made the center, up to the first navy border, and Rose added on the beautiful outer borders.  Aren't those little birds just adorable?  Now, of course, I have some serious work to do, designing my next round.  I hope to have it back in the mail on its way to Rose by mid-August.  But, she and I are both busy moms, and since it's just the two of us, we can afford each other some grace when setting our "due dates".

I hope to get in a quick Five Things To Be Happy About post from the road on Friday, because, truely, there is SO much to celebrate in this summer time life.  Be sure to check back on Monday for my BIG post on the New  Bloggers Hop.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Five Things to Be Happy About Friday (#3)

Thank Goodness It's Friday!  There were summers, when my kids were small, when I barely noticed the weekends.  The days all had the same feel to them and everything ran together.  As the girls have gotten older an involved in more things, and as I've started to become involved in some week day happenings, myself, the summer weekends have become more noticeable.  And more cherished.  This year, I am not taking any tutoring students on Fridays (I'm working with 7 kids this summer, some for 2 or 3 hours a week, totaling about 20 hours a week of tutoring, prep and follow up correspondence with parents.  It started a few years ago as something easy to earn some cash and turned into a part time summer job!).  

So, this summer, by the time Friday rolls around, I am tired, and ready for a day to relax and have fun!  A whole day with no obligations outside of our home.  TGIF, indeed!  

Again this week, I've been so grateful for Five Things To Be Happy About Friday hosted by Amanda at Gypsy Moon Quilt Co.  When life gets a bit crazy and I'm feeling a bit unbalanced, it really helps to look for the good, you know?  So, here are my Five Things for the week, with a bit of an explanation, and a glimpse into our crazy, busy, fun week.

Aren't they so fun, stacked up like that?  These are my heart blocks for #Quiltsforpulse.  I will do a post on these next week, but but it sure made me happy to carve out some time to work on these this week.  And I am over the moon happy to see all quilts, blocks and support for this project pouring in on Instagram.  I'm sure you've seen it too, but you can check out the information page for the project, organized by the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, here.

Books!  A good book never fails to make me happy.  And the best books make me a bit sad, too.  Here's the stack that's being read in my house this week.  I LOVE having three Readers-with-a-capital-R in the house.  While this stack in all YA, two of them are actually my reads for the week.  Have you read Wonder?  Oh, my.  If you haven't please do.  It's a quick read, and everyone should get to know Auggie, the hero.  I'm almost done with Auggie&Me, the companion stories.  The gem on the top of the stack is shared read out loud that my daughter and I are doing.  It's getting its own post, soon.  There's a quilting connection, I promise.  What are you reading?

These girls. Happiness. I just love them, so.  I was minding my own business on the deck (reading!) and suddenly realized they were doing a hand-clap rhyme I haven't heard them do for years.  They were just so sweet together.  I snuck some pictures and *almost* got away without them catching me.  A bit later, they were in their childhood sandbox together.  Just look at their faces in the top pictures.  You can see how much they love each other.  And that is the happiest thing of all for this mama.

Our little local swimming hole.  Like the Library I posted last week, it's not much to look at, but it's a hub of social life in our little town.  It's a man made pond, with a sandy bottom,  It's clean, well maintained, and only costs $3 to get in.  You can stay all day, even get a hand stamp to come back later in the day.  It's a deal!  We took advantage of a near 90 degree day and cooled off at our little beach.

And this girl.  That's my oldest, Isabelle, whom I have referred to as SingAndDance, sometimes, on my blog.  She was so excited to get to perform with her show-choir type group at Summerfest.  Summerfest is a big deal here in southeastern Wisconsin.  A really big deal.  Her group perfoms a few shows on the children's stage every year,  Usually, its the older kids in the group that perform, and this year...she is one of the older kids.  She looks so grown up here, that it makes me a little sad.  Where's my little girl?  She just shines on that stage.  I smile like a crazy person watching her.  She makes me so proud, in so many ways.

Thanks for checking out my smiles this week.  What's got you grinning and grateful?  Join in the fun and link your post to Five Things To Be Happy About Friday.  Be sure to visit the others who are participating and leave them some comments!  Enjoy your weekend, and to those in the US, Happy 4th!