Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dogs and What Else is New

Sometimes it's better to just type first and then add the pictures in second. I have the hardest time trying to add type after I have the pictures in place. I wanted to share with you the newest pictures of three of my dogs. I was sitting on the couch downloading pictures from my phone to my e-mail so I could up-load them at school (and here) so I took a few quick snaps of my dogs. Taegan wasn't in the mood so I left him alone.   Below is Mr. Finnagan.  He is my only non-gray Shi Tzu.  He is also a foundling - found running in the streets after a major rain storm a couple of years ago and when we had thunder and rain the other day, he and Taegan (another one afraid of thunder) were my constant companions. 

Next up is Miss Fiona.  (a foundling)  She was found by a neighbor who thought it was one of mine and to tell you the truth, I thought it was mine, also until she turned her head and looked at me.  
Miss Fiona
 I wasn't going to keep either one of these, but after searching for 3 months and no flyers, ads in the paper or anything, I kept them.  Due to the oilfield traffic, we get people who just up and leave the apartments a couple of blocks over and put their dogs out on the street when they can't keep them or don't want to keep them.  It's sad, but unfortunately part of life.  Last, but not least, is Mr. McCallum.  He is my Yorkie and is a handful sometimes.  He is smart and inquisitive and gets into trouble all the time.  (mostly by climbing over the baby gate on the stairs and taking the squeekers and stuffing from Finnagan's toys.)  this was his second picture.  He moved in the first and I told him we had to take it over and he posed so pretty for me. 
 What am I currently working on?  That is a good question.  Last weekend was a semi-quilt-in (only 2 days) for our group and I didn't know what I wanted to work on, so I followed in my mom's footsteps and pulled an unfinished project out and decided to put it together.  The blocks are from a color challenge over at 15 Minutes Play.  I had made 13 of the blocks before I got busy and had planned on coming back to make the other 3 later, but then decided I was finished.  16 didn't go together as well as this 13 did.  I found this fabric in my stash - it's a Terri Mangat fabric - and it is perfect for this quilt.  I plan on adding a small dark brown border (background fabric for the blocks )  and then I am calling it done. 
Color challenge quilt top in progress
 I took a journaling class at the Ogallala and below is my start of the journal.  You take two pieces of muslin and fuse them together.  Then using red and blue thread, you stitch the lines to make your fabric look like a sheet of paper.  I painted the letters and pig and then free-motion stitched around them, added the spider, web and words.  I plan on adding more words and pictures on this one and then I will make several more and put them together in book form.  This was fun and interesting. 

Journaling with the machine

Aquarium Finds

I love this blue crab.  He was so much fun to watch.  He would move his small - I don't know what they were called, antennae, feelers, I really don't know and will have to do some research, but not right now, anyway, he would use those things to "clean" off his face (at least that is what it looked like)  and then he would pose for a picture.  Like he knew I was taking his picture and wanted to look his best.  I have a couple of shots of him and they are the best pictures I took all day.  Below are a couple of pictures of the jellyfish.  They were in a dark room in a black tank with a light source on them.  They swam and looked beautiful.  I have some video of string jellyfish, but it's really hard to see.  So, I didn't post a still of it.  I could have just stood and watched these guys for a whole lot longer than I did.  (I was there about 15 minutes just watching and taking video of these)


Now boarding the USS Enterprise.  Doesn't that lower right one look like it came right out of a Star Trek show?  Look at all the little hairs (they aren't really hairs) on the top left one.  It would reverse itself to propel across the waters.  Totally fascinating.

Sorry this one is blurry, but this fish is tiny.  teeny, teeny tiny.  He was maybe an inch (probably 3/4 of an inch)  He would stay in one spot and I would get ready to take his picture and then would move.  Kind of reminded me of Katty and trying to get a picture of her all weekend. 

Here is another blurry one.  For some reason these fish just had to move around all the time.  Jeesh, you would think they had to swim for their lives!   LOL  This one never stood still or paused or whatever the others would do.  He just swam and swam.  I wanted a picture of him because he was ugly, but now, it looks like he has webbed feet.  I think I took a picture of his placard so I need to check that.
I have video of the dolphins, but don't think I will post them on here.  It will take up way too much of your broadband (or whatever it's called) and who knows if it will even load.  So, I am leaving it off. I may be able to take some stills of them, but we will have to wait on that.

Monday, April 21, 2014

NEW!!! Students to State Competition

I get the hint.  You are ready for something new to read, look at and just maybe enjoy a bit.  So, finally, I am back at it.  Blogging again.  I have missed this.  I really have.  I have just been so, so busy.  I did think about you.  I would do something and think, "I need to blog about this."  Or I would make something and I would think, "take a picture and post this on the blog."  Well, as you have witnessed, it didn't happen.  However, I think I have caught up on my sleep and am ready to jump back in - to both blogging and sewing.  Now to update you on what has kept me so busy for the past month or so. 

Wait, I am going to have to go back and read through to see what I actually posted last time so hang out here for a sec while I go do that. 

(do you hear the Jeopardy music in your head or do you hear other elevator music?  I love Jeopardy and  try to catch it every evening if I can.  Some nights I do really, really well and can answer most of the questions, and then other nights, I can only answer one or two if I am lucky.  I think it is fun and interesting.  Okay, the music is coming to an end.  I finally know what I last blogged about.  Here goes. . . . )
Okay, that is what I thought.  Last time I was here - other than the quick notes - I had told you about my competition teams competing at regionals.  We went to Corpus Christi and one team competed at state.  On Thursday, we toured the USS Lexington and I enjoyed the history of the ship, but found it extremely hard to go up and down those steep stairs.  My knee had been giving me some trouble for a couple of weeks before going on this trip and after one double set of stairs, I elected to just stay on the main deck and enjoy the pictures my students brought back to share with me.  I have a couple of pics on my tablet of the kids being silly and having fun, but forgot to send them here to my laptop and I don't have access to them right now.  I will share these later. 

Then we  - Okay, I have to stop here and say - they have a really, really tall bridge in Corpus that I hate (HATE) going over.  You see, even though I am tall, I have a thing about heights.  I don't like going over more than one story high overpasses (and even then I sometimes get butterflies in my stomach) and I don't like going out over water - either driving or on a pier but, going over that bridge, I get the cold sweats, the butterflies and nausea.  The last time I was in Corpus, my friend drove us over the bridge and I road in the back with my eyes closed.  I do not like it Sam, I am. 

So, we have to ride over the bridge on a shuttle bus to get to the USS Lexington.  Then we ride back to get to the hotel where our bus driver is picking us up.  Then, because the students think it's funny, we go back over the bridge to eat lunch at an interesting place we spotted while on the USS Lexington.  Here we are day one in Corpus and I have already gone over the dreaded bridge 4 times!! 

That evening we ate at Joe's Crab Shack out on the water, cool experience and here are pictures of my students getting ready for their steam pots and eating the seafood.

Beautiful Jassmine

Victor, Valerie and Katty (who did not want her picture taken all weekend and moved or did something to mess up her picture every single time)

chowing down

probably the only clear picture of Katty all weekend and she isn't wearing make-up and is really tired! 
That was because I was being sneaky! she thought I was checking my e-mail!!

Since the first group competed on Thursday while we toured the USS Lexington, (I don't think I am allowed to just call it the Lexington, I think I have to always put USS in front to be official)  they(the girls who competed)  and their sponsor, my friend who wants to torture me,  wanted to go over the bridge after we ate (which by now, was all lit up and beautiful).  That was by far the worst.  I don't know why.  Maybe because it was dark? Or because I had a full stomach? (yummy coconut shrimp) or I don't know why, but going over at night is not a fun time for me.  So, yes, if you are counting - that is 6 times in one day (over and back)  Whew!  I was hoping that would be the end of it, but noooo.  On Saturday, before we left to come home, we went back over the bridge for lunch, some shopping and to tour the aquarium. 

All the student we took with us to State posing outside the aquarium - notice Katty ducking her head
Also, the legs of the bridge in the background

standing under the waterfall at the doorway to the Aquarium (Katty once again, doing something to avoid getting her picture taken)

I have some great pictures from the Aquarium, but it is late and time for me to get to bed.  So, that will have to be another posting.  Oh, yes, we didn't place in the top three - that is all they recognize at state and the first place goes on to compete at nationals - which this year is in Texas.  But, two big trips is enough for me so we will sit that one out!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

welcome newbies!

I can't believe it has been over a month since I blogged.  Life is moving at a fast clip these days.  Thanks to all the ladies that came through the Saturday Sampler.  If you are interested in joining me in the Santa Swap just click on the words or here.  This is a fun swap to do and I hope you join in the merriment.  

I don't have any pictures on my tablet to post of what all I worked on this weekend, but I hope to get some up soon.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Competition Time

Being gone 5 out of 9 days is rough!  Especially when you are gone on two separate trips. 

After returning from my quilt retreat, I took 6 students to compete in the FCCLA region I culinary competition in Amarillo (about 5 hours north of here).  This one was rough.  We had practiced a bit, but were having to cook on two electric cook tops.  Let me clarify it for you - a team of three are cooking a three course meal for two on two electric burners) They had to bring all their equipment in two totes (different recipes required different equipment).  Plus, they are in high school.  (16 - 18 years old)  STRESS!!! 

They did an awesome job!  I am so proud of them.  They had a tough row to hoe - team one's electricity kept going off - team two - was put together about 6 days before we left for competition - had only cooked one menu all the way through as a complete team and it wasn't the menu they had to cook that day!  The girl in charge of the sides had never practiced the mash potatoes.  They were so nervous before they went in that I had to keep reminding them that they were my guinea pigs - I had never had a team compete before - and I was proud of them no matter the outcome.   They were just supposed to go in and let me know how things went, so in two years, we could possibly have a very successful competition.  Well. . . let me tell you.. . we had a very successful competition this year!  My B team - the one we put together about 6 days before we left for competition - not only placed in the top three and gets to move on to state - they won first!!!!!!  My A team (with all the electricity troubles) placed 6th!  We got their scores back today and between the highest to lowest scores (three judges) they were only 4 - 10 points away from each other.  That is a close, close competition folks!  They both got marked for their green beans being undercooked.   Which is my fault - I like my green beans to have a little crunch to them when they are shocked and sauted.  One of my girls put some extra sugar in the banana pudding after it was made, because she thought it wasn't sweet enough - which caused it to be a bit grainy.  Little things like that were what caused them to be marked down.  So, overall, they did an awesome job!!  Come to find out, they could have had up to 4 burners to create their dishes.  So, with their hands tied behind their backs, they created two amazing meals on two burners!  AWESOME!!!!

Team A

Team B

Team B with their first place plaque

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pig and Quilts from the Retreat

I have been collecting pigs of all kinds for years and years.  Now, I am pretty particular about the pigs that come into my house.  They have to unusual, wonderful and exude a personality.  Below are pictures of my latest find.  He is completely made of wood and I found him for 12 dollars at Tuesday Morning.  He was a little on the dusty side, but after being wiped down, he looks wonderful.  He is sitting on my ironing board for his picture, but now resides on one of my shelves in my office. 
I love how his ears go forward over his eyes and the way his nose is made.  Too cute!! 

As promised, here is a picture of my jelly roll quilt from last years retreat with the poppies on the bottom and quilted by Abby.  It is not bound yet, I plan on putting a black kona binding on it.  My friend Liz and I are holding it up for everyone at retreat this year to see.   

Below is a picture of Gerrie's blocks at retreat.  I taught the disappearing 4 patch quilt and she was fast and put up her blocks in our little room where we were sewing.  I had mine laid out on the floor in the next room, but failed to take a picture of them or anyone else's blocks that were laid out in there.  

Emily decided that the 4 patch would be too hard (one extra cut) and so decided to make a disappearing 9 patch.  She used two fabrics and made x blocks and o blocks with her squares and then cut them up.  We played around with a layout and came up with this one.  She decided to make it into quadrants and then turned them so they met up in the middle.  I am going to have to make this one myself.  It is wonderful and only her second attempt at making a quilt.  (she made the jelly roll one last year and just needs to add borders for it to be a finished top)

Another newby we had is Frances.  She used a charm pack and a jelly roll to create her quilt top below.  She had only sewn in Junior High Home Economics so it had been a long time since she had sewn anything!  She did an awesome job on this fun, cheery quilt top. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Quilt Retreat

Our quilt retreat was this past weekend at Miter Peak near Alpine and Ft. Davis, Texas.   We had the largest attendance that we have ever had, 17.  That doesn't sound like many, but it is almost at capacity for those facilities.  We could have a larger retreat if we wanted to rough it a bit more, but at our age, who wants to do that?  We all like the convenience of having an indoor restroom in our building and not have to go outside and down the trail a ways.

I taught the disappearing 4 patch made famous by the Missouri Star Quilt Company in both the magazine and YouTube.   My mother had seen the quilt in the magazine and when I was contemplating what to teach at retreat, she told me about this quilt over the phone.  She did such a great job describing it, that I was able to make a couple of blocks that night.  Then I went on YouTube and saw the video and confirmed I was right on track.  My first one was made with only 50 print and 50 background blocks, because that is all the background fabric I had.  The print squares were from my box of 5" squares.   I added about a 10" border to make it much larger.

This smaller one is made with 6" squares and fabric cut off from a couple of quilts I had quilted this summer and some orange I ran across while cleaning out a box. 
The pictures I took this weekend are still on my camera and I haven't been home long enough to get them downloaded.  Hopefully I can do that this evening.  I am not sure how many I have, I was busy, busy, busy at the retreat and don't remember taking a ton of photos.  We  had one person there and I may have to get her to send me some pics for the blog.