Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013!!

Goodbye to a great year!  While 2013 wraps up, I think back on all that went on this year.  We stayed busier than ever before which is a trend I see increasing in the next 10-15 years for our little family and that is a good thing I guess.  It means we're living our lives and trying new things and actively using each day here on Earth.

I think I made progress on my word(s) of 2013, which I actually had to look up, so saying I've accomplished Balance would be a lie, but I hopefully get better as I get older, so maybe one day...  And I definitely added More, but I'm not sure how much more was sewing/crafting/creating and how much more was life.  ;)

In 2013, I finished:
  •  7 quilts
  • 2 quilt tops waiting on basting
  • nearly 25 bee blocks or shared projects

  • 10 dresses/skirts/scarves/etc
  • a few projects (zip pouches, pillows, gifts, etc)

left 3 quilts as WIPS, AND ran a half marathon, got a new puppy, attended nearly a half million softball practices and karate and dance lessons (or it felt like it), vacationed, dealt with the never ending broken arm saga of Oren, welcomed my nephew to our family, took over as PTO president, ran a few 5Ks with my family and saw Chris honored as Teacher of the Year and as a Distinguished Educator from the University of Florida.

I'm calling 2013 a success.

Most of all though, I'm just thankful.  Thankful for all of y'all and the friends I've made here in blogland and through flickr and instagram.  Thankful for friends who get why sewing is important--how creative thoughts and acts make us better people.  How making things that serve both artistic and practical purposes can save your sanity.  :)

What are you most proud of in 2013 and what are you taking away from it?

Happy New Years Eve everyone!  May your evening be safe, fun and a great send-off to the last 365 days we've had!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's the most Random Time of the Year??

Wonderful?  Random?  Those two seem to go together sometimes don't they?  Well, let's just say yes and get through this randomness shall we?

Ok--since the giveaway day post I've:
--Slaved away in the Santa Shop.  I'm wondering if there are labor laws for elves...  But really, I worked every day in our shop at school where we sell low-priced items for kids to buy for their families.  We live in a rural area with not much shopping other than Walmart and the Dollar Tree, so while we sell basically the same goods as those stores (as in the same things...) it give the kids a chance to buy gifts for their family members "on their own."  Some of the kids really enjoy the thought of doing their own shopping.  And some kids just buy stuff for themselves...

--Attended UF's graduation (Go Gators!) where Chris was honored as Distinguished Educator in Florida.  There were only 5 teachers in the state recognized.  They had to wear gowns and sit on the stage throughout the graduation.  But before the students were announced, each teacher was given a special plaque and the dean of the college of education read a little thing about each of them.  Chris HATES these kind of things.  He's the kind of person that says just let me do my thing the best I can and leave me alone.  I chose this pixellated photo from the jumbo-tron to show you because you can see where it says cheers and applause.  That's not the prompter telling people to applaud, that's the closed captioning telling you everyone was!  They announced that Chris has a near perfect pass rate on the AP World History class that he teaches and that, my friends, is a really big deal.  I am so proud of him and how hard he works, so to see others recognize him was so special.

Then we had lunch in the President's Suite at the stadium.  You know, no big deal, just lunch in one of the swankiest places at the university...  It was pretty cool.  :)

--Attended multiple karate classes with Oren.  He's learning fast now.  And loving it.  Chris was with Emma at pitching lessons.  Who knew the schedule filled up so quickly??
--Made HUGE progress on the quilt for my Dad.  I've got to have it done by tomorrow night...
--Made lots of Christmas goodies for the kids' teachers--spiced pecans, chocolate crinkles, cranberry-orange-pistachio rollups, thin mint Puppy Chow...and probably gained 5 pounds by sampling.  ;)
--Not run--at all.
--Went on a field trip to a local farm with Oren's class.  Yes, this is his second field trip this year to local farms.  Yes, we do live in a rural area.  Yes, many of our children are already familiar with things on a farm.  It makes me laugh.

Best part of the trip for Oren?  The hay fight.  Seriously...

--Watched Chris be named Teacher of the Year for his school.  Again, he hates this kind of recognition so to get 2 honors in less than a week made all of us giggle at his discomfort.  ;)
--Started quilting Dad's quilt.  I'm 3/4 of the way done.

--Slept like a rock every single night.
--Wondered how important sleep really is??  
--Wondered if I'd bought gifts for my entire family but not sat still long enough to make sure...
--Planned how organized I'm going to be next year when this time of year comes along. 
--Then laughed knowing I won't be organized then either.
--Thanked God for every second of this crazy, busy, full-to-the-brim life.

What have you been up to??

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless WIP

Nearly wordless...I'm making progress!!

This is a little shamrock I embroidered in one of the big navy sections.  I just thought it would add a little something.
 I'm busy baking and packaging up teacher Christmas presents along with our normal schedule of pitching and karate lessons so I've gotta run...

I'll be back tomorrow to show off some of what we've been up to!

OH!!  And congratulations to Jenny and Stephanie, winners of my SMS Giveaway Day Etsy Gift Cards!  They've been contacted, cards have been delivered and spent already!  That's my kind of shopping.  :)  Thanks to all that entered and especially to those who decided to stick around and make friends.  :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Giveaway Day!!!

Its the most wonderful time of the year!  And today is one of the most wonderful days of the year!  It's Sew, Mama Sew's annual Christmas Giveaway Day (Week)!!

Giveaway Day

For years, Sew, Mama Sew has hosted a Giveaway Day that is nothing more than an online get-together of lots of giving, creative people who want to share goods, projects, fabric, etc.  It's become such a big thing that there's no way you could get to all of the giveaways in a day, so they've made it a week-long celebration.

And of course, I'm playing along!  One of the reasons I started my blog was to participate in Giveaway Day.  I love the idea of sharing and giving and it makes me happy to put a smile on others' faces.

So let's get to the sharing, shall we??

Last month I gave away 2 Etsy gift cards for my birthday/blogiversary and one of them was never claimed.  So I'm sweetening the Giveaway Day Jackpot by adding that back in.  :)

So, this year, I'm sharing 2 Etsy gift cards--$25 each!!  I have so many friends that sell fabric online and I hate having to choose only one of them to support so I'm going to let you pick.  But by using an etsy gift card, you're not limited to just fabric.  Are you a knitter--buy yarn or needles!  Are you a crafter in general--go crazy on supplies?  Or could you use a little something special to keep you going this holiday season--spoil yourself with something fun!

I absolutely HATE giveaways that make you jump through hoops.  It wasn't very long ago I was a dial-up girl in a high-speed world, so all you gotta do is leave me a comment answering this question:

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS/HOLIDAY TREAT?  And links to recipes or shops are always appreciated.  We've got some mighty sweet teeth in this house...  :)

You must answer the question though or you can't win.  No "THANKS FOR THE GIVEAWAY" answers here, people.  I want it to be easy, but you at least gotta read the content!!  On Friday, December 13 at 8 p.m. (EST) I'll use Random.org to choose winners.  I'll contact the winners through email (so PLEASE make sure you're not a no-reply blogger) and you'll have one week to respond or I will choose a new winner.

And because I love the feeling that I'm actually starting a conversation and not just putting myself out there, I'll reward followers with a second entry.  Just let me know how you follow and you're that much closer to the prize.

I hope you'll come back after today and find a home here where I talk about my sewing, crafts, and life in general.  And I hope you win lots and lots of goodies this week (except for the goodies I really want!!!) ;)

Good luck to you and remember to share the love this holiday season and every day.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

WIP Wednesday

It’s been awhile since I was actually working on something to show off a work in progress on a Wednesday.  But deadlines will do that to you…

So, I’m busy working on the quilt for my Dad.  I mentioned before that he’s a Chicagoan with largely Irish roots.  So I knew that I wanted to make him an Irish Chain quilt.

Then my friend Dana decided to do a tutorial on a Double Irish Chain quilt and I knew immediately where I was headed with Dad’s quilt.

Dana’s quilt was full of pinks with a navy background but I could imagine swapping those pinks for some golds and greens and making my Dad a “Fighting Irish Chain” to honor both his heritage and his love of Notre Dame football.  J

How’s that for a nifty name?  It should be one of those before and afters on Wheel of Fortune!
Here's a quick mock-up that I made in EQ5.  
 Dana’s tutorial is great for laying out exactly what you’re going to need and how to get started.  I was using scraps instead of new fat quarters, so some of my piecing was a little more complicated but no harder--it just required me to think and count instead of blindly following directions.

And after seemingly forever while I waited for the navy fabric I had to order and cutting strips and sewing and pressing and trimming and sewing and pressing and sewing and pressing I’m finally getting some blocks made!

I’ve got 12 made so far and they come together so quickly that I should have most of the rest done by tonight.

These are Block A for the quilt and will not be set together like I laid them out here just for a quick shot.

They’ll be off-set with Block B which is mostly navy with gold corners.  I haven’t even started cutting them yet—one step at a time.  J

So, that’s what I’m working on today.  I just keep reminding myself that I’ve got to keep working—Christmas isn’t very far away!  Yikes!!

What are you working on today??
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, December 2, 2013

November Wrap Party

Y'all, I don't know where time is going, but I think there might be a hole in my hourglass, because it seems to be getting away faster than I think it should...

Thanksgiving was a wonderful break for us.  We got the whole week off of school so we headed to Disney for a couple of days and then hosted family here.  A holiday that only revolves around eating, family and being thankful for our many blessings--YES!

I hope all of my American friends had wonderful Thanksgivings and that all of my friends are as truly blessed as I am.  :)

I showed off a pic of the block I was working on for Toni a week or so back and then she pointed out to me that I'd sewed all the corner half-square triangles on backwards!  oops...  I'm just glad she said something because I would have made both of them like that and mailed them off to her wrong.

In the end I got them both done right (I think) and mailed off.  This block just didn't set in my brain right and I had to check the diagram for every step.  I still LOVE the colors she picked and think this quilt is going to be fantastic when she gets it all done.

Crown of Thorns blocks for Toni--That Stash Bee November 2013

We took pics of the kids Saturday for our Christmas cards.  The light on Friday night was unbeatable but we weren't ready.  The light on Saturday wasn't near as good but we did the best we could.

These were the two I liked best.

But believe me, there were a whole lot more that looked like this:

Please excuse the lack of editing and the grainy-ness.  Just laugh and enjoy.

This picture perfectly sums up their personalities.  I almost used it for our cards.  But I thought there might be some that didn't appreciate the truth in it...

I've got no school commitments tomorrow so I'm saying no when I get called to sub in the morning (I'm assuming that will happen) and I'm spending the day making progress on my Dad's quilt.  I'm getting there...slowly.  Progress pics tomorrow perhaps.

What are you up to this week?  Do you send out Christmas cards?  Do you take pics of just the kids, the whole family, or not include a pic at all?  I wanted to do a family shot this year, but Chris wasn't convinced that was necessary...maybe next year??