List the 3 most important things in your life, and why they are important to you.
My family, because they remind me of who I was, help me to be who I am, and encourage me to be who I am striving to be. That may be ridiculously optimistic, but at the end of the day, I’m grateful for my family, each member, in their diversity and the strength they give me.
The option to have a creative outlet, because life can’t be all work and no play. I really like being productive, but homework isn’t always fun. So when I need to relax, I can sit on the couch and embroider or knit while watching TV, and get the best of both worlds. Creative outlets also give me a chance to use a different part of my brain than other activities I engage in.
Change. Knowing that my life isn’t always going to be exactly as it is now is really… hopeful and important to my well-being. It’s not that I’m unhappy with my life as it is, but that there are aspects that I wish were different, many of which I’m actively working to change (like my job). The idea that the future will be different, even if it’s not different in the way I have planned, is awesome, because it means unlimited possibilities. I love that I live in a day and age when there are so many options available to me.
Well, my partner Tom and I have both received our quilts, so I can post pictures and talk about them now. I received this lovely work of art on Monday:
Mini Quilt in a Bag Swap Received
Isn’t it lovely? If you look closely, you can see the little ladybug who’s left tracks all across the surface. Such marvelous hand-quilting! In person, the colors look better together than they do here – some of them seem a little off in this picture. I know Tom had a hard time with that ric rac, but doesn’t it look adorable? I sent some baby ric rac, which isn’t exactly fun to work with (I also sent some yellow ribbon, so he could choose). The red bandana fabric is left over from my Christmas Star Wall Hanging. The others were fat quarters I picked up “just because,” and the black Tom threw in from his own stash.
He included these with it:
(Sorry the picture is so bad - it was dark and this was the best I could do.)
Aren’t they just wonderful? If you’ve peeked at his blog, you know that Tom spends his time doing creative things in his retirement – mainly quilting and carving. I love that these darlings can now live at my house!
Additionally, I can now rave on about the quilt I made for him. I have to admit, I was quite smitten with it. I adored the fabrics he sent, especially the vintage floursack reprint (the red with blue flowers), which I featured prominently.
Mini Quilt in a Bag Swap Sent
I used Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match, which is a great book. The instructions aren’t terribly detailed (photograph, diagram, some arrows), but I managed to figure them out with minimal ripping (those checkerboard squares were the worst). You can tell how enamored I am with this quilt by the volume of pictures I took of it. Ridiculous, really. The funny thing is that I don’t really like red and blue together. This really worked, though. The only fabric I added was the light blue, which was a fat quarter I received for free with a purchase from an Etsy vendor, and is linen-like in texture (also, it’s a Japanese print, which seemed appropriate). The only thing I didn’t like was how the corners on the binding turned out. I sewed it on wrong, and then had to cut some off, but there was no way to compensate for the corners…. It’s very hard to notice unless you look for it though, or maybe if it’s hung up on a stark white wall. I did have fun trying to figure out how to quilt each square, since they all called for something different. In the end, I used three different colors of thread on top to get it right. Whew!
I think it’s time to figure out the best way to hang these on the wall, since I now have 3 doll or wall-sized quilts. I’m currently accepting suggestions….
- Unwanted :: attention
- You’d better :: watch out, you’d better not cry….
- Woman :: on a mission
- Weighed :: Down
- Upright :: Man
- I feel :: pretty, oh so pretty~
- Ill :: behaved
- It’s like :: mad crazy out there.
- Poor man :: rich man
- Great :: Expectations
- Oh, I am so glad it’s Friday!
- Weather changes, big and little.
- During class last night, I talked a lot, without blushing, which is totally not my style.
- Facebook; are you kidding me???
- Right now I’d like to be warmer, and snuggly (which is totally not appropriate at work).
- My iPod is my favorite gadget.
- And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to buying new pants?, tomorrow my plans include homework, as always and Sunday, I want to bake something!
It became apparent last in class that I was the person in attendance who knew the most about the US Constitution (click the link to view the complete text). This is sad, since I don’t really know that much. We got to the point last night where the teacher would ask the questions looking directly at me, and I didn’t answer a lot of them, hoping to not be the only person talking in class. I probably answered the most questions, though. It should be noted that there is at least one current Social Studies teacher in my class, and several people who are recent citizens (don’t they have to know at least some of that stuff to pass some sort of test?). Of course, there are also some people who are not citizens and are planning on returning to their home countries, so it’s understandable that they don’t know that much about our constitution (except that it was the subject of the second chapter we had to read for class, and the full text is in our textbook).
I tried to find you a good quiz to test your knowledge, but none of the ones I took really stood out. As a general rule, however, I got one wrong out of 15 (in the handful that I took).
During small group work last night, I said something about the Declaration of Independence being more interesting than the Constitution to read; it’s more emotional, more inspiring, more engaging. Plus, there’s some airing of dirty laundry that’s good stuff. The Constitution, on the other hand, is not set up to inspire, but to provide the guidelines for running a country. One of my classmates said, “you think the Constitution is interesting?” But, if you think about it, while it is a pretty dry read, parts of it are quite interesting if you think about how those rules affect the world around you, or in the case of the Amendments, what situations arose that motivated the changes. I also added that, as a future Social Studies teacher, I kind of have to find the Constitution interesting. Not that I’m obligated to, but it is my personal belief that history is actually quite interesting, despite how it’s often taught in school. I never had a teacher who made me want to learn history, but I’d like to be that kind of teacher. Part of that is finding the subject matter interesting or otherwise important myself, and part of that is finding the ways to communicate the importance and inspire interest in my students. Not that I’ve figured out how to do that yet, but I know I did a fairly good job of making the Old Testament interesting to quite a few junior highers, and it doesn’t seem that much different.
requested embroidered pillowcases for her birthday. She’s always been jealous of my collection, which I would gladly share if they hadn’t been made by my Grandma, Great-Aunt, and other assorted women of my family. I really should take a picture of them one of these days, because I don’t think I can adequately describe the squirrel one.
Well, the designs they sell these days are not nearly as… retro. Bucilla, one of the main brands of stamped embroidery and cross-stitch linens, leans towards the “beautiful” these days, which isn’t a bad thing. I picked out the “Tall Flowers” design, because it was both modern and I wanted it for myself (but I have such a large collection of pillowcases that I can’t justify them for myself). I changed the colors slightly from what was recommended, going a bit bolder and brighter. I really like how it turned out (as of Sunday night, I have completed one, which is slightly more than I had finished when she got to see them on Saturday).
Amanda's birthday present in progress
The problem I ran into is that the second pillowcase has the design printed about five inches lower on the pillow (towards the end) than this one. Obviously, I didn’t want to start the second one, but instead contacted the manufacturer (Bucilla is owned by Plaid), who has gotten back to me via email already. They seem to be willing to fix the problem, but I’m not entirely sure about what they suggested (shipping it back to them so they could determine the problem and fix it – does that mean I have to send both? will I get the one I already embroidered back? they’ll gladly send me a replacement or refund my money, but I want the one I’ve already completed), so I’m going to call customer service later this week and figure out the details.
All in all, it actually came together pretty quickly. The stems took the longest, but that was about a week of embroidering on the bus and while watching television (the latter being a bit rarer now), and the flowers took another week or so. The second one should go a bit faster, just because I won’t have to decipher the color chart. I should have checked both pillowcases before getting started – that’s my fault for assuming they’d match. Oh well. It’ll get straightened out soon enough. In the meantime, I need to come up with another embroidery project to work on. I have plenty of transfers and designs, but need a project (pillows? some clothing? I’d do the band on our flat sheets, but that’s not exactly the portable project I’m looking for to keep me occupied on my commute). Ideas? I have lots and lots of cloth napkins in solid colors – maybe I should start embellishing them.
Some things I’ve bookmarked recently:
via Google Reader (Shared Items)
This weekend, , and I got together to celebrate Christmas. It’s often the last Christmas celebration of the season for me, which works out especially well when I’m crafting gifts and run out of time. renewed my Real Simple magazine subscription, which I always appreciate. gave me Artisian Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which I had previously checked out from the library and loved (also, has the book and made some when we were over this fall, and it is indeed yummy and -approved).
She also gave me these cute earrings.
I’m not sure I’ll have time to make bread before May, but if I do I will definitely be using this book. I will have time for the earrings, though, and for reading my magazine (it makes for great reading on the bus).
My gifts went over well too, I think. I gave a wooden elephant to build, some embroidered napkins (with elephants), and potholders to match her new kitchen.
got a set of placemats, napkins, and coasters made with an owl print I found on Etsy.
Placemats, napkins, and coasters
I’m really pleased with how all of them turn out. There’s more commentary (and more pictures) in Flickr, so click on the pictures to get to my photostream.
If you remember from last week when I posted about what I made, I was in a swap based on the song “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music. I received from my partner late last week, and was pleasantly surprised. My partner chose “raindrops on roses,” so all of the items she included were rose-based.
Favorite thing - "roses"
She made me this lovely tote bag that is quite large, so I won’t have to leave anything at home, and it has a great Velcro strip at the top so my pens won’t continually fall out when I drop my purse. She also included these cute socks, handkerchiefs, and a tube vase that I’m going to bring in to work. Quite lovely. She wasn’t very confident in her sewing, but honestly she did an excellent job. Some day it will be spring-y enough to wear those cute socks, and in the meantime I have the darling handkerchiefs to look at. They washed up quite well and soft, and are sitting on my dresser waiting for me to find a home for them.
This was probably my last major swap for a while (other than the mini quilt-in-a-bag that I’m wrapping up), because I just don’t have time to work on things while classes are going on. I’ll still do some small ones (I love the charm square swaps, or the music swaps), but anything bigger will have to wait until May. So sad.
I had a lovely day off on Monday in honor of MLK Jr, which I would have told you about yesterday if I hadn’t spend the whole work day sorting through hundreds of forms in what can only be considered slightly organized madness. Usually, when I have a day off, I feel obligated to still make a meaningful contribution to our household, by way of cleaning or other chores. Over the weekend, and told me they thought this was crazy. So, I tried to not spend the day that way. I avoided feeling the need to clean on Monday by cleaning on Sunday, and I did extra homework all weekend so I wouldn’t have to do any on Monday. I don’t know if that really counts, then, but it all had to be done sometime, right?
I slept in, and spent most of the day working on the Mini Quilt-in-a-Bag for Tom. I had already narrowed down my choices and had a rough plan, and so I did all my cutting before taking a trip over to JoAnn (I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t have to make a second trip after I started on the project, which I almost had to do because it took almost an entire spool of thread to make one 20″ square quilt – I have got to start buying the bigger spools!). I am getting close to my $50 budget for fabric for the month, but I won’t go over. I found a remnant I liked (they were very picked over, so it was surprising to find anything at all), a brown check to try chicken scratch embroidery on for Pin Tangle’s January Stitch Explorer, and a brown and cream butterfly print by Alexander Henry that I’d been coveting for nearly 6 months (I bought the rest of the bolt, which was a measly 1 yard, and used my 40% off coupon).
I also went to the co-op because I was nearly out of Teeccino (again!), and it’s just easier to start the day with my fake coffee (excuse me, herbal coffee) than it is with hot cocoa or water. Back at home, I started piecing together the quilt top, and made it about 75% of the way before came home. After dinner, I finished piecing the top, and then dove into quilting, and got that about 75% of the way done before it was time to go to bed. I can’t show you much now, but after Tom receives it, I’ll tell you all about it, because I’m quite pleased with how it all came together. I used a new book and some new methods, and had fun too. (This picture is from Monday night.)
Mini Quilt in a Bag Sneak Peek
“Best Looking Blog” Spork Award (They're too sexy for this blog.)
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What do you do to make yourself feel better when you are sick? Lots of sleep, whining, and chicken noodle soup with fresh crushed garlic and cayenne pepper. Also, I’ve taken a recent liking to Emergen-C. I’m not sure that it’s actually doing much, but even the placebo effect is worth it. I don’t get truly sick very often (as evidenced by my large build-up of sick leave here at work: 276 hours at the moment, and I take a decent amount off for doctor’s appointments), so whining often occurs.
What is the most amazing weather you’ve ever seen? The weather in Arizona was simply beautiful, much more… majestic than anywhere else I’ve lived. I’m not sure if it was the elevation or the humidity or what, but lightening and storms were so much more beautiful. Plus, since we were much more “in the middle of nowhere,” it seemed a bit more raw. Arizona is one of those places that isn’t really beautiful until you’ve had some sort of bonding experience with it, but once you have, it carves out a little place in your heart.
Do you listen to music or talk radio in the car? Music, definitely. Right now, mostly KTIS, the local Christian radio station, which is a relatively recent change for me, but I like the positive nature of all the DJs and the music is definitely encouraging. Also, it seems less soccer-mom these days, but maybe that’s just me getting older. Truly, though, I think that Christian music has continued to branch out and include a wider variety of genres, and so there’s more rock and alternative (of a good quality) available.
This weekend, while reading History: A Very Short Introduction by John Arnold for my Historical Interpretation class (a book a highly recommend – it’s quite short, 120 pages but the book is only 4×6 inches; the first part is good, but the second half is quite inspiring, and I’ve got a few quotes from this book to share with you in the next few days), I came across the story of Sojourner Truth (pictured above). Actually, it was the story of her “Aren’t I A Woman?” speech, of which the exact wording is slightly disputed (like most things from the late 1800s). I found the speech quite inspiring in it’s “original dialect” version, though it’s argued to be the least accurate. I think it’s a matter similar to versions of the Bible though – they all pretty much say the same thing, and if one version speaks to you more than another, go with it. At any rate, if you haven’t read anything about her, here’s her biography on Wikipedia, and in the opening paragraph her “Aren’t I A Woman” speech is referenced. If you click on that link, it will bring you to a page with multiple versions of the speech, and you can read whichever one you want.
I meant to bring this to you yesterday in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr day, but I had the day off of work and was enjoying myself too much to blog. To make up for it, here’s a link to MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which if you’ve never listened to in its entirety, you’re missing out. At the bottom of the page are links to the full text, full video, and full audio versions, which I invite you to experience at least one of.
Some things I’ve bookmarked recently:
- Add Lasting Shine to Your Winter Hair with Vodka : Planet Green – Well, I’m pretty sure we don’t have vodka in the house, so this wouldn’t be a “without having to buy anything” fix, but I’ve heard it a few times and I wonder if it would work for my hair. Definitely not shiny these days.
- Craftzine.com blog: HOW TO – LED Light Grow Box – I’m loving this idea! Maybe Prince Charming will want to build one for us to start our seeds a bit early this year? Of course, gardening is difficult when you don’t know if you’re going to have to continue in containers on the concrete slab you call a porch, or if you’ll have a real backyard. Details, details.
- Plush & Stuffed : Indie Fixx Shop – Saw these cute owls and thought of A – do you need one? I’ve already got all gift-giving opportunities for you covered, so maybe someone else will buy one for you, or you can buy one for yourself?For the rest of you, Indie Fixx is closing in March, and everything is on sale, so you might want to hop on over there and see if there’s anything you want.
via Google Reader (Shared Items)
If, at some point during the next 15 weeks, you ask yourself, I wonder what’s happened to Kelly. I wonder how she’s doing, what’s going on. Rest assured, I’m fine. I’m holed up at my house, sitting in my chair reading, or possibly writing a paper. I now have all three syllabi for my classes, and have scheduled out my homework. Because I like to do that. Because it makes me feel like I’m in control and might possibly get it all done.
This just in: 11 credits is a lot, especially while working full-time. There won’t be time for anything else. (For the record, is taking a full course load, and will have even more homework than I will, so I probably shouldn’t complain too much.)
So, if you find yourself thinking you haven’t heard from me in a while, haven’t seen my shining face, just know that I’m trapped in homework land. This too shall pass, however. I’m taking the summer off, so I’ll have almost four glorious months homework-free, when it’s sunny and daylight hours are long and we can go camping and take vacations and do things we enjoy. I can deal with 15 weeks of being super-busy and bogged down with homework as a trade-off.
However, until I get notice that they’re actually ready to do the website overhaul here at work, posting here shouldn’t change much. There’s not much schoolwork that I can do here, other than type up notes from class (which won’t be happening come February when I buy my new netbook), and the occasional reflection paper (which there aren’t any of past this first week of classes). So, no need to worry about not having something trivial to read. Pictures might be slim, as it’s still dark here when I’m not at work, and I won’t have that much time for crafting or fun, but I’ll try to be as entertaining as possible.