Saturday, April 30, 2011


I love to buy fabric! 

The best part about buying fabric is that it is beautiful, it is creative and you can pretend that by buying the fabric and promising to make something, you are a champion of economy and resourcefulness.  The sad truth is that buying fabric is like an addiction.

Let's say that you purchase the materials that you need to make a baby blanket.  Sweet right?

Well inevitably in the course of the project you have to go to the fabric store three times to pick up one more spool of thread or one more yard of fabric which means that you have enough to finish the project, but now instead of having enough for the project, you have more than enough but not enough for anything else.  Sooooo, you have to buy more fabric in order to use the old fabric.....  Plus, by the time you've finished your project you have sworn off ever looking at baby blue ANYTHING ever again because you just about went cross eyed trying to create your masterpiece in the first place. 

Let's not even mention the fact that if you are going to make something as a gift, you have to actually obtain the skill to make a gift worthy of giving.   Some of the work we produce when we try something new is just not any good.....YET!

Have you ever worked on a baby blanket for 4 months and then realized when it was time to assemble the thing that it was all wrong?  I have!  At this point you are left with a dilemma.  You can either go ahead and give the cattywhompus gift that you spent hours on and worked on with all of your love and prayers and good intentions, rip out all the seams and start over completely, OR you can go out and spend all that money again buying a gift.....  It's just no good, but it is however, a well known fact that before you can be good at something you have to be less than good at it first. 

I'm currently shopping for fabric.  I'm trying to match some fabric that I purchased to make curtains for my classroom.  My classroom shelves are ALL open and it's been my experience that the old "out of sight, out of mind" policy is the best course of action if I want my students to leave things alone.  So I have already made one set of curtains, but I didn't have enough fabric for all of my shelves.  Also, I found to my disappointment that not all fabric I purchased looks as good as curtains as it did on the bolt.    A few of the curtains I made as just WAY too busy.....

So - I have given myself permission to shop for fabric :) :) :)    which leads me to the inspiration for today's blog.  As I was searching for a fabric that will look nice with what I already have, I found something that just begged to be shared on my blog.... but first......

In order for you to understand the coolness of what I found you have to have a tiny bit of background information.  For those who don't know it, traditional quilt patterns have developed names over time.  One of the most recognizable, distinctive and challenging quilts to make is the "Double Wedding Ring" which wasn't seen in it's current form until the 1920s. 

I found a picture of a double wedding ring on the website.  To quote their website.

"Double Wedding Ring quilt owned by Sylvia Johnson of Blackburn Nth, Vic. The arcs have been ditch stitched. A custom design was created to fit the centre of the "rings" and the "melons" have been stipple meandered."

The Double Wedding Ring quilt pattern has always been a personal favorite of mine.  I especially like the fact that when this pattern became so popular it was made primarily out of flour sacks.  I wonder how much bread you had to bake to get enough flower sacks to make a quilt?  Since most of the Double Wedding Ring quilts that I have seen were given as wedding gifts and intended for a double, queen, or king size bed.... that is A LOT! of flour!

....anyway.... I digress.....

Imagine my delight as I was perusing the fabric websites and I came across a quilt pattern that you could purchase for a "Single Girl" quilt...... before I saw the picture I was immediately  interested because of course, I'm single, so I thought.... I've got to see this........

This is a patten by Denyse Schmidt, a couture quilt designer.  Did you know there were such people???  I didn't either.  Here are my thoughts about this quilt.  I think it's a beautiful quilt and I like the single ring pattern and I find the name fitting  because with the "ring" quilting on top of the pieced single ring, it suggests that there is no ring.....:) 

Although I might make this for myself (when I'm an old maid of 80 years of age) , I hope that if I ever decided to give this quilt to anyone as a gift, I would have to figure out a way to include "color by number" Velcro ring overlays or something.  Then the Single Girl quilt could become a Double Wedding Ring quilt.... as the opportunity presented itself.  I mean, I don't know any single girls who would refuse to marry if the right person came along.  I'm also glad that by the time this pattern was developed we buy most of our fabric at the store because as a single girl I don't believe it would be humanly possible for me to use enough flour to make a quilt of any size.    Either way - I had fun writing this blog!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

30 day picture challenge - Day 12

A picture of someone you love -

I love lots of people so this is tough, but I'm happy to say that even though I don't have a sister of my own, I have a sister of the heart, who is letting me pretend that I am an aunt to her precious little boy Jason.  I love spending time with him and I love the fact that since Pam and I are so close, when I go to see them, I'm not really company.  I just show up and when I walk in the door, Pam let's me hold Jason while she gets stuff done that she can't do when he wants to be held.  Maybe one of these days I'll have children of my own, or maybe not, but in the meantime I totally enjoy the business of being an aunt.

Jason (3 days old)

Jason approx 6 weeks old

Jason 6 months old 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

30 day picture challenge Day 11

Picture of someone you hate.

OK - I refuse to do this one!  I don't want to hate anyone and if there is hate in my heart it has no place on a blog or anywhere else.

I will however post a picture that reminds us that our government is an attempt at representation.  If we want representation then we must practice educating our representatives about how to represent us whether or not they belong to our "party" of preference. We must pray for them because by being elected, they have been placed in positions of power and authority and that power and authority should never be misused or misguided.  When was the last time you spoke with your elected officials?

Texas State Capitol at night

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

30 day picture challenge 10

Picture of someone who you do the most crazy things with....

That would defiantly be my friends whose names start with the letter P.

My 1st  friend with whom I have a tendency to do crazy things is my best sister friend Pam.  

We had adventures in college and have over the years become like sisters.  However the craziest thing we've ever done was the time that we nearly died of stupidity.  

Did you know you could die of stupidity?  Neither did I until Pam and I tried it.  

We went to Enchanted Rock and after going up to the top of the rock bubble and back down we decided to hike around it.  We left our water, our maps, and our cell phones in the car and took off.  We got lost and our ideas about how to get unlost didn't exactly line up.  

Pam's way was to go straight up and over the moon scape and back to the car.  My way to wander around sticking to the brush and cactus.....We only ended up hiking about 4-5 hours longer than we intended, but mercy!  I was glad to see my car.... we went back to the motel and watched movies which was much safer.  

Pam and I at her rehearsal dinner for her wedding a few years ago

My 2nd friend with whom I tend to do crazy things is Pablo.  However, with Pablo the definition of crazy changes from slightly stupid to improbably inspired.
 The craziest thing we ever did was work together for 7 years.  During our second year of teaching together one of our students while speaking of their homeroom teacher exclaimed, "That MAN!", he make me work!".  That's how I feel about Mr. O - he made me work much harder than I would have if left to my own devices.

Before I worked with Pablo I didn't know that you could stay late at school, I thought that if it couldn't get done by 4:00 it wasn't going to happen..... Especially during the first 3 years of the fine arts grant we both regularly worked until 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. for weeks at a time.  It seemed crazy..... I've never worked on anything that hard..... ever...

I also didn't know that you could spend a month arguing over variant definitions of words that all mean the same thing...just to get a grant application just right......  but you can.  And although it sounds crazy, that word haggling is one of the reasons that the grant we authored and then executed was something we could accomplish.

Before I worked with Pablo I didn't know that you could actually provide costumes for each student in a grade level, or expect parents to participate in the preparations for a show.  It made things crazy, but we did just that... and we had the best parent help I've ever had before or since.  Then during the year when I lost my mind and decided that not only do all of our students need costumes but I need to sew them, well guess who learned how to cut out patterns?  Pablo !  That was CRAZY!

Pablo taught me to invest in the families at our school to the point that it became somewhat common place for us to provide music for funerals for families who attended our school.  That kind of "crazy" service really brought our community together.

Everything I've mentioned is what Pablo regularly does outside of the classroom most would call crazy but that I called a challenge.  In the classroom with students, he is not crazy at all, he is just brilliant.
We started a choir that met on FRIDAYS after school without buses
We would wait for FOREVER for parents to pick up their kids....
we had better ideas later that didn't involve organizing transportation :) 

Monday, April 4, 2011

30 day picture challenge - Day 9

A picture of someone who has helped you through the most

Well I don't know about ya'll, but I've had a LOT of help in my life!  In addition to all of the emotional support I've always been able to rely on from my good friends and family, I've had people go above and beyond to help me with all of the crazy projects I take on.  I could go on and on.  However, I've been most recently blessed by a group of ladies at my school.
Ya'll all know that  I was already spoiled from being on a truly awesome team at PSE for so many years.  In fact, my awesome team at PSE was the Number 1 reason why leaving PSE was difficult. Needless to say, they were a VERY hard act to follow.

When I arrived at SSE the first thing that I noticed was that my new team mostly consisted of newbies like me (Sam & Wendy)  or ladies who all reminded me of my mother (Karen, Jane, Carol) .  Seeing as my mother is always a great help to me and I to her, I saw this as a great thing.  These ladies are full of wisdom, elbow grease, creativity and a positive attitude! Sure enough, I wasn't on this team for 5 minutes before we all jumped in and they helped me sell school supplies (which by the way was the yuckiest thing I've ever done and hope never to do it again).  

This year we worked together on the 5th grade show.  They helped me out by painting the backdrop for the 5th grade show and by teaching the choreography and sewing a few costumes.  Here are some pictures of us working on the backdrop together.... the funny thing is that all we really did was paint the middle and bottom and then we assisted Karen as she was the primary executor of all things involving a ladder.  It's such a blessing to feel a part of a great team again! I was literally broken hearted when I left my old school and these ladies made it possible for me to find a soft place to land at my new favorite school SSE.  SSE is blessed to have such fine dedicated teachers as you.

This is Karen up high on a ladder

This is Wendy and Me trying to pretend to be useful to Karen
while she was up high on the ladder

This is the blackmail picture of Sam, me, Wendy and Karen
Jane was the great organizer of children backstage which is a thankless job
And Carol taught all of the dances - what an Awesome team! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

30 day picture challenge - Day 8

A picture of something that always makes you laugh....

I found these pictures the other day.... my screen saver is set to "random pictures" which means that periodically  I get the wonderful surprise of seeing pictures that I haven't seen in a while.  I've often been surprised into laughter by what pictures pop up.

My last year at Pine Shadows the faculty participated in a pumpkin decorating contest.  Where the each team made a pumpkin and the student body voted.... imagine me going about my business in my apartment.... suddenly my screen saver comes up and I'm face to face with a vomiting's funny....not hilarious, but certainly chuckle worthy.

Here are all of the entries that I took pictures of....there might have been others but I can't remember....  

The black hole! 

And the winner is.... Miss PSE!

A good mummy

nothing goes to waste

Colorful :) 

My personal favorite... Picasso Pumpkin... my team made this because we  wanted to be artsy

Captain Underpants! 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

30 day picture challenge - Day 7

A picture of your favorite thing.....

As usual I had a hard time with this one.... this whole picture challenge is not as easy as it looks and if I can't get faster at it, then I'll be working on this until Christmas :)

I thought and thought and thought because at the end of the day as much as I like "stuff" I like people so much more and would happily just repost all of the people pictures I've posted and be done, but I don't think that would be very interesting....

So here I've been sitting in front of a blank blog screen trying to think of something cool and then I got a little chilly...., I rushed over to my couch and grabbed one of my favorite things.....  viola! Inspiration!

On of my favorite things is a blanket my great-grand mother Maw made.  I use the word blanket instead of quilt because although it is pieced, it is only tacked.  Maw pieced it and assembled it while my mom actually did all of the tacking and embroidery during one of her annual visits with Maw.

I love this blanket because it was made out of wool pants.  Maw had been saving the wool in old pants for who knows how long, and even more amazing to me is that everyone wore enough wool for Maw to collect enough for a blanket..... I bet that was a challenge. Like any good Great Depression era lady, she was a pioneer of the "reuse and recycle" movement who because of her frugality and creativity was able to make something beautiful. utilitarian and quite bold.

To me this blanket represents time spent with people that we love.  When I think of the time my mom got to spend with Maw ripping out crooked seams, or gathering a ruffle, I know they discussed the technical details of their task, but more importantly, they shared their hearts.    What a gift work is to our relationships when they are deepened over countless hours of making dresses, piecing quilts and canning vegetables.  When our hands are busy our hearts are available to the people we work beside.  :)

Picture of my mom wrapped up in my favorite blanket during a visit a couple of years ago.
Who wears bright yellow, salmon and baby blue wool pants?  They made a much better blanket!