Saturday, February 28, 2009

Prairie Schooler Exchange Recieved from Shay

This cute ornament came on Thursday from Shay, as part of the Year-Long Prairie Schooler Exchange. At first, I panicked, because I knew I hadn't sent Shay anything- but a little research led me to remember that this was an uneven exchange - meaning I sent to someone else and Shay sent to me. Whew! I love how she personalized this for me with my initials. It's going to hang in my bedroom and add a little touch of prettiness to the room. Thanks, Shay!

Two More Victory Quilt Blocks

I finished two more blocks for the Victory Quilt that we're working on in my quilting class. The one on the right is called Radio Windmill. Since I'd already learned about partial seaming when I was doing the Washington I Spy, this block was finished in less than half an hour.

The one below is called Sky Rocket, and it was the most difficult one - and the book gives it 3 of 3 stars for difficulty. I had no problem doing the center square - and was really pleased how it turned out. Then I had to add the rockets. What a pain - I had to re-do THREE times. One of them still isn't even, but I'm not unstitching and re-sewing any more. I probably won't be able to use this block in the finished quilt - after all the sewing and re-sewing and my poor seam allowances, it's a good 3/4" smaller than all the other finished squares. I'll figure out something to do with it, though.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Washington I Spy With a Twist

I found this fabric and pattern all kitted up at Undercover Quilts in downtown Seattle. The fabric has pictures of the Space Needle, Mt. Rainier, Pike Place Market, elk, the Kingdome, Mt. St. Helens, a fly fisherman,and all kinds of other images that are representative of Washington. The pattern is "Mini I Spy With a Twist" by Lisa Moore. It was a quick and easy mini-quilt to do, once I figured out the directions for one of the tricky blocks. (It's not tricky any more!). It makes a great souvenir of my trip to Seattle.

Utah Sampler - Shepherd's Bush

Since Utah is another one of our favorite places to camp, I needed another piece for my trailer. I found this one at Shepherd's Bush! I made a bell-pull-type wallhanging from it and will take it to the trailer Wednesday.

"C" Penguin for Doreen's RR

This little guy is for Beatrice, Doreen's daughter. In this RR we spelled out her name, and I got the "C." The Penguin ABC charts are from Cross Stitching magazine.

Presents Under the Tree wallhanging - The Calico Horse

Right after I started quilting, I visited The Calico Horse quilt shop in Redlands. It's owned by Donna Sheridan, whose son Bobby was a student of mine nearly 20 years ago. I told Donna I was looking for easy patterns to continue learning with, and she showed me this one. While it's a Christmas pattern, I changed the colors a little so that it's not so Christmassy and can hang in my house year-round. I'll be quilting it myself since it's small enough to do on my little machine.

Another Snow Story

This is the snow that came right after I got back from Seattle. Yes, I really do live in "sunny southern California," but this winter we're really getting some storms!

Remember this wheelbarrow? Here it is again, almost completely covered.

This is my next door neighbor's house - he hasn't come up this winter so the snow has now piled up as high as his carport!

About a week ago, we took Don's truck down to Yucaipa since it doesn't have 4-wheel drive, and he needed it for the trailer. In the meantime, the only place he was able to put the snow was in his parking place. (Since this photo was taken, he paid a friend with a small bulldozer to move the snow across the street to another friend's driveway. She won't be coming up here so there was room.)

This is out my back window, where he shoveled a path to the shed where we keep the generator. We've had to use it 4 times already due to power outages.

F & S Square for Renee - Flamingos by Prairie Schooler

These flamingoes are from "Two by Two II" by Prairie Schooler. I stitched them for Renee K for Fair and Square Round 11.

F & S Squares from Renee K

I received these the other day from Renee K for Fair and Square Round 11. The top design is a motif from The Victoria Sampler's "Where Stitchers Gather." I just love it! It goes great with my passion for stitching and quilting.

Thanks, Renee!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Home Sweet Home - and 4 more feet of snow

I'm home from a nice trip to Seattle. I had a conference there; went up a day early to play tourist. On Thursday I found Undercover Quilts down near the market and bought two sets of fabric kitted up for a mini-quilt and a table runner. Next, I wandered all around downtown Seattle, "shopping," but I only bought some jasmine tea. Dinner was at a great restaurant called Sazerac. I found it via Open Table, where I'd made a reservation. I was drawn to it because of the description of one of the appetizers: cornmeal-coated and fried chicken livers!I love chicken livers, so I had those - and loved them. For my main dish, I had the grilled scallops- which were served atop some sliced baby fingerling potatoes, collard greens, and a lime cream sauce. These had to be the best scallops I've had in a long time! The green stuff is an herb pistou. If I ever go back to Seattle, I will go back to Sazerac!

I spent Friday driving -took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island, spent more money at Esther's Fabrics, and drove along the northern part of the Olympic Peninsula. I stopped at a bead shop in Port Angeles, and the Visitor's Center at the base of the road to Hurricane Ridge. I was going to go all the way up to Hurricane Ridge, but didn't have chains for the rental car.

The conference ended Sunday, and I flew back in time to be in the middle of yet another monster snowstorm. Last night about 3 am it started snowing, and it hasn't stopped yet. Don has gone out and shoveled off the Jeep 3 times; he's shoveled a path to the Jeep 3 times, and is running out of places to put the snow. His truck is down in Yucaipa, and right now there's no place for him to park it even if he could get it back up here.

I spent today cutting and piecing a mini-quilt - one that I bought in Seattle - and have run into a snag on how to stitch one of the blocks. I'll get Ruthie to teach me how to do it tomorrow night - IF I can get down the mountain in the morning. The picture below was taken last Monday afternoon, when we tried to get home after a snowstorm. The road was closed at the ranger station - at about 3,000 feet! We ended up staying the night in our trailer - we'd just gotten it back from the repair shop - and were able to go home on Tuesday.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hell Week is Finally Over!

It started on Sunday, when the District emailed me the "seniority list." The administration is recommending some major budget cuts Tuesday night, among them the layoffs of up to 55 teachers. I had promised my members that as soon as I had the list, I'd let them know. Obviously there are many teachers worried about losing their jobs - Sunday night I answered 78 emails about seniority and layoff possibilities. That took 4 1/2 hours.

On Monday, after a day of answering more emails and fielding phone calls I joined my negotiations team at the District's "Budget Advisory Committee" (what a sham). There the group of administrators, teachers, classified employees and parents was forced to split up into mixed groups and make budget cuts recommendations. In addition to being horribly awkward, it was frustrating. I hear the mantra "keep the cuts far away from the classroom," and then see how the administration protects its precious non-classroom employees and programs, and moves to eliminate the jobs of 55 teachers.

Tuesday was more of the same at the office, followed by a great evening at my quilting class. That's the class where we're working out of the Victory Quilts book. At least I had a temporary escape from the ugly. We've done these two blocks so far. The one in the middle is from last week; it's called "Brave World." It was my first ever attempt at triangles, and since they came out just fine, there was a great sense of accomplishment. The squares on the ends are from this past Tuesday; they're called Propeller, and again, more triangles but a different method for making them. For those of you who know the Victory Quilts book, you can see that I'm not using the colors Eleanor Burns recommended. I wanted mine more on the dark side - so I'm using cream instead of white, burgundy instead of red, navy instead of blue, pine green instead of green, and gold instead of yellow. It took 2 hours of (fun) fabric fondling at the Calico Horse to get all the fabrics for this quilt.

Wednesday was a huge day, since my Executive Board decided to have a General Membership Meeting in order to talk about the impending layoffs. I was pleased to see almost 200 (almost half) people there, and the feedback is that the meeting went well. All day I was in a great deal of pain, since I have had a condition all my life that causes intense intestinal cramping when I'm under a lot of stress. But when the PowerPoint presentation was over, and I picked up the mic to answer questions, the pain went away. I think it was because I was finally doing something I had control over - giving my people the information they needed to get through this and prepare themselves for whatever happens.

Thursday was a negotiations session with the District, and while I can't share much, I can say that the most progress was made among the members of the team as to where we're going to go and what we're going to agree to in order to best help our members. So while it was a long, tedious, mostly frustrating day, there should be some positive outcomes.

Friday was short. I did my 6 am breakfast, worked in the office until noon, and then took the rest of the day off. I was exhausted and felt like I was getting sick. I have a lot of sniffles - but I think it must be from the change in the weather and the fireplace. But Friday afternoon I slept. Just passed out.

This morning we woke up to this. It had rained Thursday night and much of Friday, but got colder during the night last night and we ended up with about 6 inches.

Each night that I was home I've calmed myself down by stitching. I'm working on Jerry's autumn butterflies for a round robin, and will have to let him know that I'm going to be late on this. I think he'll be okay with that.

Today is my/our anniversary. It's been 28 years. I was telling Don the other night that it was nice to be in a state of contentment. That's such an important word to me. I am content.
It means that I love him unconditionally, that I trust him completely, that I know he loves me, and that after all the years of ups and downs, there's absolutely nothing that could damage this marriage in any way.

These two pictures are from our honeymoon 28 years ago- a cruise to the Bahamas and then a trip to Disney World while we visited his parents in Orlando. Look at those young faces. And those slender, young bodies! But those are just physical changes. He's still my one and only.

I'm going to enjoy my day and my weekend - I'm going to sew and stitch all day, and then we're going to Outback Steakhouse - our favorite place for celebration. Victoria's Filet, here I come!

UPDATE: Soon after I published the above post, our power went out. I was right in the middle of a block on the sewing machine. Soooo, no more sewing, and not enough light to cross stitch. I read, napped, read some more, and 4 hours later the power came back. Whew! Now we can be a bit more comfortable about going down the mountain to dinner. So how's that for adding to Hell Week? I wonder what's next?