Friday, September 5, 2014

My Week - Utter Chaos

Okay, I just deleted a long and rambling account of my crazy (or as I like to call it, because it was super crazy, - my cra-crazy day).  I was reading it over and making sure it all made sense and thought, nope!  you don't really want to hear all the nonsense and stuff that went on today - tea spilling all over my desk and floor and papers - students wanting stuff from me right and left - how do mom's do it?  Oh, yes, they only have 3 or 4 kids wanting things all at once, not 15-20.  I swear, I think they all got together and decided to ask questions all at once.  I even threatened to scream at one time and a student told me to do it.  I didn't this time, but I have before.  It gets their attention and makes them realize they are driving me crazy.  I had about 60 work related e-mails all wanting me to send something, fill out something or just post something.  Some even wanted me to do some things next week!!  Then there was a fire drill!  (our second one in two weeks.  Are we going to have one every week?)  How do they expect me to teach these two dual credit courses in the 15 week semester we have before Christmas and get everything else we do in there done?  I only have 13 weeks left and I haven't even started the course work yet.  It's a good thing some of this was taught in last years classes and I can just re-fresh their memory on part of it.  I hope they retained it! 

When a sub walked into my kitchen to get some ice about 2:45 this afternoon, I was talking to a maintenance man about my pilot lights (that is a totally different story from earlier this week), while I was trying to get the tea in my room cleaned up, get the students papers turned in, the video re-wound - the machine kept kicking it back out, the mop washed out, the pantry stuff put away, the food out of the fridge, lids for the coffee/cocoa cups for the kids,  and everything else done in that last few minutes before the students left, because I had to leave within a few minutes after them to go downtown to turn in some paperwork, I just had to laugh. 

Okay, I know I told you I wasn't going to tell you all of what happened and I didn't.  Truly.  This was just a little bit of the chaos that happened today.  I didn't even leave school when I planned, but did make it downtown to turn in the paperwork before the end of the day.  However, leaving the building, the heavens opened up and poured.  Yep, that about sums up the kind of day it was.  Actually that was just a part of how the entire week went.  I hope next week goes much smoother. 

On the bright side, I did manage to make another chicken pin cushion and a little bag from just playing around in the studio.  I hope to spend several hours in there this weekend de-stressing from this past week.  That is after I roast the 25 pounds of Hatch green chili's I got at Bountiful Baskets tonight.  What was I thinking????? Anyone want a pound or 5 of green chili's?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Kaffe Blocks and Angry Birds Pillow cases

I received two more blocks in the mail this weekend and now there are 8 total.  Since my sewing machine is in front of my design wall, it makes it a little hard to put up the blocks so please excuse the wonkiness. 

 
They are looking really good together.  I think I will sash them - at least a small sashing to break them up a bit since there is such a variety of fabrics going on there.  I worked on a couple of things in the studio today.  I couldn't really settle down and get busy in there. The only thing I got finished were these super cute Angry Birds pillow cases.  A friend of mine had to go to Carlsbad to pick up a package she had won in a recent shop hop so another friend and I tagged along.  This cute Angry Birds fabric was calling my name and just had to go home with me.  I pulled fabric from my stash to finish the cuff and flange and I think I may have to put these on my bed tonight.  OR I could save them and give them as a Christmas present for someone special.  (I have no idea right now who that special someone might be, so more than likely they will be making an appearance on my bed in the near future.)  

 
I did get the blocks all sewn from another project I started at our last quilt in and purchased some more fabric in Carlsbad to make a border and back for an almost finished top, so those hopefully will be making an appearance on the blog soon.  Now it's time to get in bed since I have to be up early for school.  Having Labor Day so soon after we start school, really messes with my head and system.  It would be so nice to be able to sleep in tomorrow, also, but alas, that is not to be. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

New Blocks, Quilt Tops and More

I showed a picture of the first block earlier in the month, but here are my two blocks I made for my KFC Block Exchange group. The blocks are starting to trickle in and I thought I had taken a picture of the other two that Pat had made for me, but unfortunately, I didn't have it on my camera.  (might have taken it with my phone or tablet.  I will have to check and see.)  As soon as I have 6 + blocks, I will post another picture.  I might have to sash this quilt so the blocks stand on their own, but  I will think more about that when I get a few blocks up on the wall. 
 
 
One Friday on a Missouri Star tutorial, Jenny showed how to make little chicken pin cushions.  I have seen these pin cushions all over the place for many years, but have never made one myself.  Until now.  Below is my chicken pin cushion (or will be after I stuff it) without her tail feathers.  I totally forgot about that part of the video.  This one is made with leftover made fabric from the blocks I have made in my KFC Block Exchange group.  When I get to a point where I don't know what I want to work on, or am trying to avoid something that I need to do, I pull out some scraps and make some fabric to use in a project.  I had already used some of this made fabric in another project, but had enough to cut out a couple of squares. Check out the Missouri Star tutorial and make one for yourself.  I will definitely be making a few more of these to give as gifts.

 
 
Speaking of Jenny Doan, early in June, I went to Arkansas to visit with family and got to attend a Jenny Doan trunk show with my mother and take one of her quilt classes with my sister.  Paige and I worked really hard and fast and made many blocks in the short time we were in class.  We had a great system going and were cranking out the blocks.  I didn't realize that Jenny would be leaving at noon from this "full day" bring your own lunch class that I had signed up for.  Apparently everyone in the class knew and some had made plans to stay there the rest of the day and sew and some left at noon to go do other things (some even had to go to work).   Since the teacher was leaving, Paige and I decided to leave pretty soon after she did.  So, I packed everything back into my car and went back to my mother's house.  I left all the blocks I made in a tub until yesterday when I decided to get them out and finish putting them together.  I had already started sewing them into rows during the class and had two rows sewn together and another completed and ready to add when I pulled them out of the tub.  30 blocks!!  Can you believe that we made 30 blocks (31 really) in about 3 hours time?  We did!!  Did I mention we had a system going?  It was fun.  Paige said I was the better sewer and kicked me off the cutting detail at one point  That didn't hurt my feelings - I had previously been kicked off another cutting detail many years ago when my mother, a friend and I made my bulls-eye quilt.  (I can't free cut a circle out of a square of fabric to save my life. They were more a fat football shape)  When I put the remaining blocks together, I only had to make one more "dark" block to make the pattern work.  I have two leftover "light" background blocks and they may have to go on the back somewhere.  This is probably a crib size quilt (about 45 X 52 or so) and I wasn't sure what fabric to use for the outer border.  I auditioned about 10 different fabrics and only two of them made the cut and I wasn't totally sold on either one of them.  I am glad I chose and stuck with this one.  It makes the quilt cheery and fun. 
 

 
The only other thing I am going to type about tonight is the little quilt that is to the right of the exploding block quilt.  That is made from trimmings from a company in Australia, Umbrella Prints.  They have a challenge every March - June and they send you (for a small fee) a packet of fabrics and you have to make something out of it.  I didn't learn of the challenge until late and by the time my fabric arrived it was toward the end of school when I got very busy, so I never put anything together until now.  Here again, like making fabric, I just pulled things out of the packet laid it out on the table and started sewing bits together.  Where I thought I might be going with the fabric and design, doesn't even show up here since I cut that up and sewed it all back in.  It looks like I was making a couple of log cabin pieces, but I only made one.  I was crossing my fingers on the border because I wasn't sure I would have enough fabric to go all the way around.  I am really enjoying this little piece and can't decide how I want to quilt it.  Either by hand with pink pearl cotton or by machine with pink or khaki thread.  Oh, yes, these fabrics are linens or have a rough feel to them so hand quilting may be a bit much, but it might just add some fun if I big stitch.  Until I decide, I will enjoy it on my design wall. 
 
 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Kaffe Blck Exchange Blocks

I have been doing a little bit of sewing - FINALLY!!!  It is almost time to go back to school and I am in a bit of a panic mode to get in the studio and sew.    I knew I really had to get going on these paper pieced blocks for my KF Block Exchange Group.  There are 9 - 10 people in a group and we have three groups going on right now.  Each person has a month and must post his/her block pattern choice along with any fabric directions they have by the first.  Then we have one entire month plus a10 days to get the blocks made and in the mail.  (they must be posted by the 10th).  Now we all know that things happen and in the case of the June blocks .  . well,  I made them within a few days of the pattern being posted.  That was good.  I took them to show my quilt group and then I  wanted to show my mother so I took them to Arkansas planning to mail them from there, but I didn't. When I came back home I forgot all about them.  Hey, they were made and done, on to new things.  By the time I remembered them, they were already late.  I finally got around to putting them in the mail - I took the envelope up and weighed it so I could be sure and get the correct amount of postage on there and sent them off.  Well, a few days ago - 7 since I had mailed them off - they came back needing more postage.  WHAT???  That was why I weighed it out in the first place.  They went back in the mail this week with more than enough postage on them so, we will see if they make it there by Monday.  (I am hoping they arrived either today or tomorrow, but Monday at the latest) 
 
Now that June's are taken care of - it's time for July's blocks.  Below are the two blocks I made for the July person.  I should have paid better attention to the orange fabric and made sure the entire star points were from the orangiest part of that fabric and not let those other colors intrude. but that is how it came out and I think it adds some character. 
 
 
This next one has better contrast.  I used some unusual and older KFC fabrics in these blocks so maybe no one else will make the same fabric/color combinations.  They turned out well and I can't wait to see them with all the other blocks to see how they stack up.  I may have to offer to re-make the first one if it clashes too much with her other blocks.  (that gray/green background may be too weird)

 
I am the August person.  I had been thinking about what block I wanted to request and had planned on writing up some instructions, but then I realized it was the first of the month and I needed to post something within the next 30 minutes and I panicked.  I fell back on my second favorite block - Goose in the Pond and just sent everyone directions/access to the tutorial here on my blog.  I told them they could use any fabric combination as long as they used three different fabrics.  I hadn't had time to make an example one - hey, August creeped up on me! 
 
Tonight, I finally got around to making one block using my pattern - someone else has already posted a picture of their block they made and it looks great!  Here is one of mine.  I realized after I made it that I used the same warm/cool placement that I requested from last years Bee group.  I guess I just like that combo.  I have already pulled fabrics for the next one and I am mixing it all up!  Even though in person it looks a bit busier, I like how this one looks in the picture. 
 





Friday, August 8, 2014

Reunion Quilts from this Summer

I finally got around to downloading pictures off my camera and onto my computer.  Toward the last few days of school, I had 15 million things going on and things to do, so I gave my quilts and camera to a small group of students to take pictures of them for me.  I, of course, expected for two of them to hold them up and the other to take the picture.   Quilt picture taking 101, right?  Well, I was surprised later that night when I looked at the pictures and these are the pictures they took.  They set up several tables in the restaurant and laid out the quilts like they would be laying on the bed. 
 
Anyway, here are the three quilts I finished binding and gave away at family reunion.  This first one was for my aunt.  The name of the quilt is "Welcome to the Zoo".  The pattern is a 3, 6, 9, 12 quilt from Fons and Porter and the block pattern is chain link.  I love this quilt pattern and this is my 5th or 6th quilt using this style, but I have used 3 or 4 different block patterns so they all come out differently.  The hardest part about this quilt is making 15 million (my favorite number today) 3 inch blocks, but you gotta do it to make the quilt sparkle!!!  (the block is not hard, it's just tedious! and that makes it hard) (what's really hard is typing today - I think I have had to re-type almost every word) Oh, yes, this quilt is all batiks.  Everything but the green is an animal skin batik.
 
 
 
This next quilt was a long time coming!!  I made the quilt top many, many years ago and was just waiting on a back, but I just wasn't motivated enough to get it made.  Now that I have an awesome quilter, that has all changed.  This quilt is for my cousin's daughter, Chelsea.  Her favorite color used to be orange.  Now, I am not sure it still is or not, but I made this top when that was the color she told me she loved.  Technically this is her high school graduation quilt.  She has since graduated from college, technical schooling and gotten married.  (so, you see, why I said it was a long time coming?)  I named this quilt, "Good Morning Sunshine".  It is so bright and cheery.  The black and white stripe is from some found fabric that was only 36 inches wide!!  That is some old fabric, but it was perfect for this quilt.  Pattern: well that is a good one since I saw a picture of a quilt on a calendar and this quilt was made in honor of that one - not the same pattern, but some of the same colors.

 
Someone at family reunion held it up so we could take pictures.  You can just get a better feel for the quilt when it is like this.
 
 
This third quilt is another one that had to wait to be quilted and is for another cousins daughter for high school graduation.  This one even had the back and binding all ready to go, it was just waiting on me to find a quilter.  This is a flannel quilt that I named, "Firefly Fuzz".   I think it's a yellow brick road pattern, but with more blocks.  The back is a different black and white flannel, but I don't have a picture of that - or I may have one on my camera, but I didn't download it to the computer, sorry.


Alright, there are three of my 20+ quilts I need to bind all done and given away.  Now if I can just get myself motivated to do the others.  (I did finish one that was part way bound, but not included in the 20+ and I am halfway through another) 


Monday, July 28, 2014

Food Pictures

A couple of pictures to share.  First is my Chicken BLT Salad served on fresh romaine lettuce with tomato crunchie almonds and sunflower seeds.  Also, my favorite cracker of all time - or at least one of them - the everything cracker from Market Street in Lubbock.  It's really hard to see the chicken salad, but trust me it's under there.  I just mixed it all up and ate away - yum!!

 
Next is some Broccoli Cheese Soup that I made from some broccoli I forgot I had gotten from the Bountiful Baskets.  I had to do something with it and since I had a good hunk of cheddar cheese, cream, milk and chicken broth - voila - broccoli cheese soup.  I also had a good size carrot that I grated on the box grater and sautéed in some butter before beginning my roux for the soup. 

 
Everything is served in my Fiestaware dishes  (lapis pasta bowl for the salad and marigold chowder bowl for the soup).  I just love my Fiestaware!!  I was so glad I made the decision several years ago to sell my dishes I had gotten when I was in college (great blue and white set my neighbor bought in the garage sale for her daughter in college -  who coincidentally went to ACU, also)  They were really nice dishes and I had used them for about 20 years, but I finally decided to start collecting the new fiesta and I am so glad I did.  They are so bright and colorful. 
 
I have one more thing I made, but apparently it's lost somewhere in cyberspace and I will have to re-send it from my tablet tomorrow.  These were taken with my Acer tablet and even though the lights were on and the windows open, they are still a little dark around the edges away from the flash.   

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chicken BLT Salad

Yesterday, I was really craving a BLT.  Have you ever had cravings for a sandwich like that?  I knew I had some cherry tomatoes I needed to use up and three slices of bacon left in the package; that would make a perfect sandwich.  Yep, it would if the bread hadn't molded a few days ago and I had to throw it out.  It's really hard to have a sandwich with no bread.  So, my mind starts going through what I have here at the house - I really don't want to go out at lunch time here in town - waaaay tooo many people trying to get lunch at the same time.  I go ahead and cook the bacon in the microwave and dice up some tomatoes.  If nothing else, I will have scrambled eggs with tomatoes and bacon.  Sounds pretty good, but just not the same.  What else can I do, hmmm.  I have a can of chicken that the label is half way off, maybe I can mix up a chicken, bacon and tomato salad and serve it over fresh romaine lettuce.  YUM!!!  It was delicious!! Here is what I did, in case you want to make your own. 

Chicken BLT Salad

1 can of chicken, drained and shredded
about 10 cherry tomatoes, diced
3 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and chopped
1/2 - 2/3 c. mayonnaise
1 t. spicy brown mustard
2 T. blue cheese dressing - just because I love it and it adds some flavor

Mix all of the above together along with a little bit of kosher salt and a generous amount of black pepper.  Serve over torn Romaine lettuce and top with a little bit more blue cheese dressing. 

I also sprinkled some tomato crunchy almonds over the top - (get them from naturebox) or you could do some toasted pecans, regular almonds or sunflower seeds.  The bacon is crunchy, but that adds a little bit more crunch. 

It was delicious and I will be making this again.  Matter of fact, I had some leftovers for lunch again today and it was still wonderful.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.  If you don't like the blue cheese dressing you can eliminate it from the salad mixture and use your choice of dressing - ranch, thousand island, etc. over the top when you serve it.  If I had thought about it at the time, I would have chopped up some black olives and put them in there, too  Enjoy!!