Saturday, December 31, 2005

Catching Up

I had a wonderful Christmas in Chicago. I visited my sister and her family there. My brother-in-law got us tickets to "Wicked" which I loved. I am going to start reading the book this week, although I am sure the book and musical are different. If you have not heard of "Wicked," it is about the lives of the Witches of Oz before Dorothy so unceremoniously plopped her house down on one of them. I loved it. Did I mention that?

I also got to have dinner at the American Girl Place. What a lovely evening, and a great way to expose young girls to formal dining, but in a friendly setting. Great food. Great time had by all, including Elizabeth and Felicity, the dolls who came with us. They even bring the dolls food and drink. It would be very easy to spend a fortune in that place.

I have decided on a theme for the Journal Quilts Challenge. I am going to do a verb of the month. January's verb will be Live. February's will be Love. That's as far as I've gotten. My plan is to start designing today for January.

I bought my first Quilting Arts magazine yesterday at the grocery. I have never seen it at the grocery before. I feel like a little synchronicity was at work there as I have been avoinding the magazine section recently because magazines are definately a "latte factor" for me. What a cool magazine. I am going to subscribe as a birthday present to myself.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I cannot believe that Christmas is this weekend. Today is the last day of school for the kids. My oldest is going on a field trip to see "A Christmas Carol" and my middlest (as he calls himself) is having his Christmas party. I made both of them wrap their own teacher gifts and write the cards. Most teachers are getting Godiva Chocolate, Nam's Bits (the best little chocolate chip cookies ever) and scented candles in milk glasses. The gifted services teacher is getting the new dinosaur pop-up book. She has had my oldest in class for 5 years now, so we wanted to give her a personal gift that she would love and would remind her of my son for years to come. If you mention dinosaurs to any of my son's teachers (and many other teachers in the school, the vice principal, the principal, the instructional lead teacher, the janitor, the school nurse, etc.) they immediately think of my son. And this teacher collects pop-up books. It was synchronicity that this book was released this fall. Anyway, I love shopping for teachers' gifts, as I think these people are so important to my kids. However, I do try to give gifts that they can use up because I am sure they get a lot of stuff to dust. The dinosaur book is the exception.

Tuesday, we decided that in order to sell this house, our living room had to be a different color. We really didn't like the way it turned out when we painted it. I have since learned that you don't trust the lighting in the paint department at Home Depot. Anyway, I don't like the new living room, either, but at least it is neutral. We started painting about 8 pm and had all the furniture back in place by 2 am. I slept for 2 1/2 hours and got up and walked my four miles. I think I may have overdone things, though, because I just could not get up this morning. Luckily, my husband was kind enough to go into work a little later than usual so I could oversleep. I am feeling much better now. So here is the living room transformation...
Wow, what bad lighting... It is now white. So the downstairs of the house is now white, or at least has white below the chair rail. I guess people want to buy neutral homes. My new one is anything but neutral. It is purple, everywhere. Very purple. Not burgandy, not lavendar, purple. I am working on a warm tones pallet for the new house. There is a lot of wall paper to come down first, though.

Interesting blogs I have read lately... Both Rayna and Amy have great information about Chanukah on their blogs. A friend of mine has been at school making potato pancakes a lot recently. I am ready to try my hand at Rayna's recipe. Debra had some interesting points about men and gift giving which has sparked quite the conversation. JudyL has a fun story about a gift arriving just in time and how to hide it from a man. Gabrielle has an interesting post about Twyla Tharpe's book, which I think I will read when I am done The Artist's Way. Be prepared to be serenaded by Bon Jovi when you go to that site.

Ok, back to wrapping presents. Maybe a quick trip to the Avenue to get some more Nam's Bits. And I am hoping one of my Chicago relatives sends me some Frango Mints soon...

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, or just enjoys the holidays.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Welcome Home

My brother-in-law arrived home safe from Iraq last night. He has been over there for a year. I know my sister and her kids are glad to have him home for Christmas. I said a huge prayer of thanks when my sister called to tell me his plane touched down at 8 pm. My heart will still break at each loss of a soldier. All of those boys are someone's loved one. But mine is at home for now...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Finished Some UFOs

Although you cannot see it well in this picture (it is gorgeous when it is bigger...) we woke up to ice on the trees this morning. No ice on the roads, so school was not cancelled.

As promised yesterday, I finished a quilt up. It is for my son's principal. It was a number of years in the making because I got bored with it. When I saw this apple fabric it looked like a kaliedoscope quilt would work great for it. It was my first attempt at equilateral triangles. I learned you really must be extremely precise when cutting them. However, a lot of quilting has allowed this quilt to look better than it should. I think the principal will be happy with it. I am calling it Carmel Apple.
Here is another quilt I finished for my niece. I did it to practice machine quilting. I drew the pattern on using a Crayola washable marker. It washed right out, even though I left it for a month or so. And it was a black marker. Anyway, in the middle of working on this quilt, I got a new foot pedal for my machine. I had no idea the speed control had deteriorated as much as it had. Needless to say, it was much easier to quilt with the new foot pedal.
Ok, I am off to find another UFO to work on. Thanks for the inspiration Tracey!

P.S. If you want to see the most wonderful quilt of the Christmas Season, even though I know Barbara did not design it to be a Christmas Quilt per se, visit the Madonna Idea Blog. This quilt had me speechless this morning.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

It's That Time of Year

I usually go all out decorating for Christmas. This year, our house is on the market, so I really don't think I can do that. Next year, in our new home, I will have my Christmas village out, all my Nativities, and all my other stuff. This year we have our tree...
and this Santa that I got at a gift exchange on Monday. He just goes perfect in my dining room, which is really a deeper color than this picture shows.

We did have someone come see the house today, so all of my cleaning is not for naught.

Time to get back to stitching down binding on a quilt. I am halfway done, so it should be finished tonight. I'll post a picture tomorrow. (See how I am trying to make myself accountable? Now if I could only do that with my diet. Check out Debra's post on the Quilter's Lounge. The information is towards the bottom of the post.)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Week 6 Check In

Week six was about "Recovering a Sense of Abundance." Essentially, a lot of it was about money. I must admit I have never been broke. I am not rich by a long shot, but I have never had to wonder where my next meal was coming from or if we could turn on the heat. Well, that is since I have been an adult. I believe that money must have been tight when I was young. However, my parents made the best of it. My parents taught me over the years that how you spend your money will show your priorities. I see a lot of that in this chapter. Or maybe that is just what I wanted to see. I did the money madness exercise, but I am not going to share it all here. Suffice it to say that I think I have a healthy attitude about money and I think I learned it from my well grounded parents.

I did my morning pages every day this week. YAHOO! I am going to continue to do them during our hiatus. I like spilling my guts that way. Although my husband has not seen, nor will he ever see my morning pages, I have shared some of my thoughts with him. He thinks they are working pretty well.

For my artist date, I didn't get to do what I wanted to. I wanted to go to a Christmas program at a church this afternoon. I forgot my boys had tickets to the hockey game. So my littlest and I went to historic Marietta Square shopping. I got the teachers' gifts that I needed. My favorite store, The Keeping Room was open on a Sunday for a change. That is where I always find my teachers' gifts, and once again there they were.

Sychronicity--The Keeping Room was open today. My younger sister called and out of the blue said that her husband's favorite restaurant was the one I just got him a gift card to.

About the new house, everything is in place for us to close at the end of January. Here is a picture of the new house.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tasks from Chapter 6

Well, Julia said to do it, so I did it. I baked something. Unlike Hilda, I baked something not so good for me. I made gingerbread cookies from the Raleigh Tavern Bakeshop Cookbook. My parents own a timeshare in Williamsburg, Virginia, so every few years we end up there on vacation, hanging out behind the Raleigh Tavern, drinking cider and eating gingerbread. I went to a Christmas party last evening, and I took the gingerbread as my gift. I had a story all made up about how I worked at the bakeshop one summer and had the secret recipe. I am not that good of a liar, so I went with the truth.
I also went and bought a few luxury items. I went to the Schoolbox, which is the teacher supply store. I was hoping to find giant graph paper, but they did not have it. I did however get a giant newprint pad, a pad of tracing paper, and some watercolor colored pencils. I had fun and spent less than $12.
I found about 12 pieces of clothing to let go. I need to find time to go to the Goodwill drop off. There used to be a Goodwill Store close by. I was going to drop a bunch of stuff off there this summer and found they had built a Super Walmart on top of it. So now I have to go up to the truck in the mall parking lot. Since I don't like the road the mall is on, I don't go up there very often. Hopefully I can find time tomorrow.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

If I were 65 and had money...

I would buy a giant beach house for my family to use for vacations near the small beach house my husband I would live in. These beach houses would be on one of the islands near Charleston, South Carolina. (Does that count as two?) And we would eat fresh seafood all the time.

I would go to a big city once a month to see a show and go shopping. I would meet my friends there and we would have a blast. Anyone want to join me?

I would set aside college funds for my grandkids so my kids would have less to worry about.

I would have a long arm quilting machine and any other sewing machines my heart desired.

I would write an entire science curriculum from kindergarten through high school and publish it.

Week 5 Check In

Here is my week 5 check-in. I am kind of sad that we will be taking a break, but I know it is necessary over Christmas. My first read through of the chapter, I had some of the same thoughts as Tracey. So I reread it and tried to look over that part.

This week I wrote my morning pages 6 out of 7 days. Saturdays are just alluding me because I sleep in. I will try to do them later in the day next Saturday. But the other days I really feel the mind dump in the mornings releases me for the rest of the day. One day this week they turned into a list of pet peeves. I did not realize I let so many little things bother me. I am trying to let them go. Another day I did a page of resolutons for my family. We have all been working on them.

For my artist date this week I took a drive with my music cranked up. I did end up at the quilt shop for a few minutes, but I didn't find anything to buy. Having cleaned up the sewing room and knowing that anything I buy will just have to be moved in February helps. Anyway, I just listened to my guilty pleasures CDs and had a blast. I really relaxed. I think just getting away from the kids is almost enough most weeks. This week I am going to go shopping in the historic square and attend a Christmas program at a church where I don't know anyone. (That way no one can ask me to volunteer for something while I am there!)

Synchronicity... Let's see... I think I need to pay more attention to this aspect. I was having an obsession with Picasso the past couple of weeks for some reason. And, when I went into Borders on Tuesday Christmas shopping, I found a book on Picasso on sale for $4. Does that count? A number of years ago I read the book The Celestine Prophecy and really looked for synchronicity incidences. I think they called them something else in that book. Anyway, I have been having a desire to reread that book during all of this, and I am going to do that this week.

Other issues... Last night my husband asked me if I noticed the parking break light on the dash of my truck was not working all the time. I said, "No, really it isn't?" He said, "You know, you were much more observant of those things when you were an engineer than you are no that you are an artist." I think he is seeing a change in me. The kids are too. I have also been being more productive in my sewing room this week. When we discuss the new house, we discuss my sewing room with the same necessity as the bedrooms. Oh, and we are calling it a studio.

The idea that this chapter is on possiblities was synchronous (is that the word?) in itself this week. As I posted earlier, this was the first time I have ever made money quilting. I didn't realize it was a possiblity until now. We are buying a house that I never thought was a realizable dream with me not working. This week I want to sit down and set more goals and plans. I am finding it amazing what planning can do.

We are having the inspection on the new house tomorrow. Please keep us in your thoughts. We love this house and its location. I just hope it is not falling off its foundation or anything horrible like that.

Friday, December 02, 2005

My First Commission Quilt

About a month before we started The Artist's Way journey, I was asked to make a t-shirt quilt for my friend. I picked up the t-shirts, and they sat there for a long time. I had seen a number of t-shirt quilts at a quilt show I had recently attended, but I was not excited about them. Either all the t-shirts were cut the same size, with no regard for the design on the shirt; or they had been cut different sizes and then fabric strips were added so they were all a uniform block size, based on the largest t-shirt design. Frankly, I thought both ideas took away from the unique designs of each of the t-shirts.

Then I read that you should just experiment and see what happens. So I did. Now, after I got started I thought, "Maybe experimenting with someone else's irreplacable Peachtree Road Race t-shirts is not the wisest idea," but I had already started. So I kept going. I cut all the t-shirts to the size that the design dictated. Then, I laid them out on the floor to make a design that I liked. Most t-shirts are white or gray, so I needed to be careful about the color placement. I then decided that I didn't want the borders to be straight. So I allowed the t-shirts to hang over the borders. Then one t-shirt said, "I really should be a circle" to me, so I made it a circle. And here is the result...

Here is my favorite "block" of the quilt...

When I went to quilt it, I did not want to take anything away from the t-shirts. Afterall, my friend had run a lot of miles to earn all of these. I quilted in the ditch, which was not close enough together. So I picked a motif on each shirt and quilted it. Here are two shirts...

I quilted the outline of Georgia on this one.I quilted around the shoe on this one.

I delivered the quilt today. I got paid more than I asked, which made me very happy. I also had a lot of fun doing this quilt.