Friday, August 18, 2017

It's Going to be a Great Year!

The new school year has begun and as I begin what will be my 29th  year of teaching,
for a variety of reasons, I couldn't feel more happy and full of joyful anticipation for the year ahead.

First, I'm Organized.

A major "summer goal" I had was to reorganize the way I manage my calendar, lesson plans and quilty ideas/blog topics. (For my retired teacher readers, you'd be amazed how everything has gone "electronic".....included lesson plans!) Lucky for me, when we do our weekly planning, my teacher partner takes care of that end as I still write my lesson plans like this:
Yes, we have school during the Solar Eclipse and we are in a 100% zone! Kinda exciting!
And thanks to the help of my oldest daughter, I think I have finally found the perfect calendar/lesson book method for me! It's an Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner. It has a Lesson Planner section as pictured above. A Monthly Calendar section as shown below:

And a variety of others sections. Some that I've"customized" to fit my "quilty" needs. 
This page below shows my monthly projects at a glance. 
My husband was very humored as I played with washi tape and all the coordinating stickers that came with the book to put this all together exactly how I wanted it organized. But seriously, with it's resusable sheet protectors and additional folder, I'm able to keep all my "stuff" in one 8 1/2" x 11" book. I've eliminated two desk calendars, a lesson plan book and with the addition of their "monthly bills" tracker insert... my budget book! (Yes, I'm NOT a computer/techy person) I'm also looking forward to resurrecting my ol' "scrapbooking" skills and including pictures each month as pictured  on the monthly page above.

Next, My Teaching Partner.

This will be our second year teaching together and we have grown to realize that we are very  complimentary of each other. Working together is inspiring, fun and easy. I'm grateful for our work relationship and the friendship that has grown over the past year. This is relationship we both value and cherish because it doesn't happen all the time. Ta Da...our First Day of School picture:

Finally, We are SHINING!

Our classroom quilt made by last year's class made it's school debut at our Back to School BBQ this week. The kids were thrilled with all it's ribbons earned: A First Place Blue Ribbon in the Youth Group Category. A BIG Purple "Fair Board's Choice Award" annnddd and an orange "Viewers Choice" ribbon! Need-less to say, a popsicle party is in their near future!
I had planned to use the quilt in our classroom, but many staff members and parents have asked if I'm going to "raffle" the quilt. I honestly, haven't given this much thought. So we'll see.

Anyhoo, I'm just very grateful right now to be at a place in my life's journey that finds me genuinely content. My past few years have been filled with some of life's trials and tribulations that I sometimes worried I wouldn't be able to get through. But as those years have passed and acceptance has evolved, time has begun to heal my heart and without a doubt, the fact I'm not alone in these challenges has made all the difference in my healing. I have to say though, it's honestly just soooo nice to have settled into a new normal that finds me stronger and wiser and ready to shine once again!
My new class enjoyed being greeted with glow sticks as they arrived for Back to School night.
It's going to be a great school year! Please stay tuned.

I specialize in edge to edge pantographs with over 100 designs to choose from.

Check out my Long-Arm Quilting page for details.
I offer FREE Return Shipping on all quilts in the U.S.A.
WIN quilt batting this summer. Click HERE to read how.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday Archives #164 : WORDY Projects!

Welcome to the linky party that rejuvenates your old quilting/sewing posts! 
Please click here to read more about this linky party.  
Val's Quilting Studio
This week's theme is: WORDS!
Words on quilts, words on projects, words on signs. Search your archives for those wordy projects! 
I'm going to rejuvenate my "trunk load of word quilts" but also wanted to share one of my stairways that is happily decorated with many of these quilts. I had a twenty-five dollar coupon and have recently treated myself to Lori Holt's new Spelling Bee book and now have a few more "wordy" quilts in the planning phase that will make a fun addition to this gallery of quilts.
I'm glad to have Tuesday Archives back and as always, look forward to what your have to rejuvenate for your archives for this week's theme!

I specialize in edge to edge pantographs with over 100 designs to choose from.

Check out my Long-Arm Quilting page for details.
I offer FREE Return Shipping on all quilts in the U.S.A.
WIN quilt batting this summer. Click HERE to read how.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Queen Size Finish!!! My Raw Edged Flowers/Nine-Patch Quilt.

YES!!! My Raw Edged Flowers/Nine-Patch beauty is finished!!
It may have taken a year and two retreats...but here she is all quilted and off the frame.
And as you can see I have just enough backing leftover to create the binding. YAH!

I used a verigated, light golden King Tut top thread called Sheaves (#965) and 
it worked beautifully with my scrappy flowers and nine-patches. (No thread changes needed.)

The Nine-Patches

All of the nine-patches were quilted using cross-hatch ruler work. I truly felt my quilting confidence grow as I worked on these. By the second row I had "found" myself a path and was able to complete an entire nine-patch in one run! I was pretty impressed with myself here. HAHAHA!
When my husband got home from work and commented on how all the lines run together, all I could do was smile at him like a school kid and say: "I know!"  You know what they say: Confidence comes from accomplishing something you didn't think you could do!

The Flowers

I quilted the center layer and the third layer from the center of each flower:

I then stitched-in-the-ditch the perimeter of each flower square and used a wiggly whirlwind of smaller stitches to create a dense backing for each flower. I think they are really going to "pop" once this quilt is washed and I can't wait to see how the flowers ravel! Here's a close-up of one:

The Borders:

Honestly, the borders were the hardest part for me to quilt as without the guide of the nine-patches, my ruler "skills" were definitely challenged as I wanted to continue the cross-hatch quilting into the borders. Hey, I only had a few "redos". Again, I'm so proud! My patient husband listened to me brag.

FINALLY! YES! A Quilt for OUR Bed!!!

Though it still needs it's binding and a trip to the washing machine, I couldn't wait to see how it fit on our the bed! And of course, Jackson followed me upstairs, as if he knew what I was going to do.

I don't use pillow shams and love how the quilt covers our pillows as planned. It's also big enough that once I put our down comforter on come Fall/Winter, the quilt is still long enough on all sides. Which means, NO fighting over covers this year! Yes, Jackson there's even enough room for you!
(I'll update this picture once it's washed...cause you know it's 
going to change and I'm anxious to see that!) 

 I'm so happy and okay, yes proud, to have this one done. 
I can't wait to get the binding done.  
Thanks for stopping by.
I specialize in edge to edge pantographs with over 100 designs to choose from.
Check out my Long-Arm Quilting page for details.
I offer FREE Return Shipping on all quilts in the U.S.A.
WIN quilt batting this summer. Click HERE to read how.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Creativity: Remembering my "WHY" as I read: Our Family Quilt

Our Family Quilt
The Fabric of Life
by
Rhonda Cratty

Summary: Join and experience creativity and nostalgia through Grace, a master quilter, -as she shares her creative gifts with her young granddaughter, Audrey. Together their lives unfold around their family quilt.  The love between grandmother and granddaughter keep a family’s generations turning despite minor setbacks, disappointments and celebrations of life. As friends and family of this charming mountain town in Colorado come together for life’s moments. Creating an inspirational, heartwarming story to share with those you love.


Our Family Quilt immerses readers in:
  • Family Life
  • Contemporary Women
  • Quilting ideas
  • Creativity for everyday living
  • The secret world of Grandmothers and Granddaughters and the people they love…
 I was flattered and happy when author Rhonda Cratty, sent me a copy of her book, The Family Quilt for me to read and offer as a give-away here on my blog. I'm enjoying this book in-between quilting my "monster" ragged roses/nine patch quilt. (Which your guys, is almost done!!!) After a few e-mail correspondences between us, it was fun to get to know Rhonda and learn about her path to quilting and how much we have in common. She lives in beautiful Colorado and like me, enjoys walking, hiking, and cross country skiing. And like many of us quilters, when she is not writing, she enjoys traveling, quilting, crocheting, cooking, reading and painting.

Remember our WHY!

As I read, though I don't have family nearby, or any granddaughters, I love the idea how quilting connects people. Like you and I. And lately, it's so wierd, but I have been asked why I quilt. What do I do with all my quilts. Why don't I just sell them. I even been kinda laughed at for having a dozen (okay more) quilts just piled around my house and that even the dogs have a quilt! They gasp...while I'm internally thinking: "Of course they do! LOL!"  

I hate when I don't have a quick answer....I always find myself contemplating others views and comments rather than having a quick response. Hmmm....more often than not, I do ask myself those very questions. Am I evolving into a lonely, old quilt lady? Why do I do what I do? 

While reading Rhonda's book I'm intriqued how writing Our Family Quilt began as a book idea but then moved her into research of quilting as an art form in America. The characters in this book evolved through quilting classes, quilting shows, museums, shops, the Columbine Quilt Guild, inspiring speakers, and encouraging quilters. Each experience inspired the Rhonda to add a different dimension to both her quilting and writing.
Like Rhonda and I'm sure many of you, I find the quilting process moves me forward and inspires my NEED to be creative. It adds that different dimension to my life that I like. I value the quiet time it provides me to recharge. It's a way I take care of myself....a healthy outlet during times I may feel lonely or sad from life's challenges.   But it also allows outlet to my creativity. I love that I can create original gifts for others. I can give to charities. It allows me to continuously grow and learn. Example, while quilting the "monster" I have gained a new confidence in my quilting and with that, took a pile of business cards to my favorite quilt shop for distribution. Out of the blue...while rhythmically quilting those 99 blocks, a brand new idea has been formulating in my mind. Each day I have found myself enthusiastically capturing those ideas in my sketchbook for later reference. I'm learning that confidence comes from doing something you thought you couldn't do. Inspiration comes from sources we don't predict. That's why I quilt. As Rhonda's book so wonderfully interweaves throughout her story it's the value of living a creative life quilting allows. 

How about you? Why do you quilt? Please do comment and share and perhaps an inspiring email conversation will evolve? Annndddd....if you can't wait for my September give-away of Rhonda's The Family Quilt book and want to get a copy of it now, she forwarded this info. for to me to share:
·         ASIN: B01N8WSCV7
·         ISBN-10: 1537796852
·         ISBN-13: 978-1537796857

           Keep an eye out as I continue my series of  "Creativity" posts.
                       Coming up soon: Being Prepared followed by Making Time . 

I specialize in edge to edge pantographs with over 100 designs to choose from.

Check out my Long-Arm Quilting page for details.
I offer FREE Return Shipping on all quilts in the U.S.A.
WIN quilt batting this summer. Click HERE to read how.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Jackson: Pet on Quilts Show!

Every August when the Pets on Quilts Show comes around, I appreciate the opportunity to highlight my quilt buddy and loyal companion: Jackson
When I started blogging in 2013, I never intended for Jackson to be such a personality here. Yet whether it be Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall he earns many belly rubs from your comments, is a wonderful  pal to our grandson, and well, it warms my heart that he can always be caught napping on my quilts and I'm grateful that you enjoy his photo bombing my quilty posts as much as I do.
 With that said, the show's voting begins on August 20th. 
I hope as you enjoy the many posts in the show,
 that you'll vote #10 for Jackson in the DOGS on QUILTS Category.
In the meantime remember to:
Image result for be the person your dog thinks you are quote

Click HERE and join us for this fun show!

Friday, August 4, 2017

"Bloom" QAL Finished!

The Front:
This finish measures 62"x 72". 

The Quilting:
Yes I broke all the rules and did a Daisy on a String pantograph on this applique quilt...and I love it! 
This is a loose pattern that didn't take away from the applique. I think that was the key.

 Annnddd a peek at the Back:
Another happy finish that was a great stash buster.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Classroom Quilt's Fair Win!

I love fair season and my grand-guy and I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon visiting ours.
Our Classroom Quilt won a blue ribbon in the group quilt division.
The kids will be so excited and I hope many of them see it at the fair this week.

With the new school year quickly approaching, it will find it's new "home" hanging outside my 
classroom to greet this year's new class. After which, it will be used by the kids during reading time.
I was thinking as we walked through all the exhibits that I really need to create more entries for the fair. It's so fun to see them all displayed and judged. Do you complete fair entries? If so, curious if they are only quilt entries or what other entries do you have?


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Week of Grammy Camp

Jackson has company this week that has kept him busy!

Yes! His favorite boy!
While Meme here was busy mowing the yard these two were busy "making mud"... 

...and washing cars. LOL! Yes! They got full of mud...but isn't that what little boys are suppose to do?

Anyhoo....not much sewing or stitching this week...as our afternoons are filled with
swim lessons, bubbles and of course ice-cream!
At three and a half, he's also enjoying puzzles, super heros, books and dinosaurs. Such fun!
I've started a new Quilt Novel this week and the County Fair begins tomorrow.
I'm working on a couple posts during their afternoon naps to share this novel as a Give-Away with you and our classroom quilt at the fair. I'm almost finished binding my Bloom Quilt and will have that posted as a Friday finish! Then I'll find myself at the week's end and on my way to return our little guy to his parents. Guess I'll have no excuse to procrastinate any longer quilting my monster quilt that is sitting waiting for me on the long-arm frame.  And like so many of your commented, it will go faster than I anticipate and to just pace myself. Oh and Tuesday Archives will resume soon. I've posted those themes on the sidebar. I'm  just enjoying the dog days of summer (Our daily highs have been between 97-101...yuck!) and admittedly I'm just going a little slower in all areas of life right now.....                 Gotta' love that! As always, thank you for stopping by. I appreciate you following.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Anndd On the Frame This Week...

As I begin this quilting project I'm so very grateful for extra-wide backing!!!

This morning I've been busy getting this queen size pretty on the frame and am anticipating it will take me a good chunk of my last three weeks of summer break to quilt it. I plan to crosshatch the nine-patches and stipple the background of each flower, along with outlining each flower. The song "99 beers " I mean, blocks, is chiming in my head as I prepare for this daunting quilting adventure. 

I'm a little worried as I  haven't even started and I'm already looking forward to having it done. (Hmmmm that might not be a good sign???) But, seriously, after seven years of quilting, I've finally made a quilt for OUR master bed!  I refuse to let this pretty sit and gather dust as a UFO.
 So here we go as I tip-toe through the flowers quilting to the tune of ninty-nine blocks to complete.
Wish me patience and successful ruler skill.

 Click HERE to post and join/rejoin us for this year's 

the Piggy Bank Challenge!

Note: This Linky is open until  August 1st. 
Please feel welcome to grab the code on my sidebar and and help spread the work to all your readers.
Val's Quilting Studio


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Happy Summer Stitching...

The dog days of Summer have arrived for me and I always have to remind myself to enjoy them! Especially since next month at this time, I'll be back in the classroom busy prepping for a new school year. Admittedly, sometimes I just enjoy having nothing to do and  the relaxation is rejuvenating!
 I feel like I've watched a few too many movies as I have found myself binge watching old movies from the 80's. But hey, atleast I've had my Anni Downs BOM stitching to keep me busy as I do:
I especially like that wool stitching is quick to prepare for as much as I like applique, sometimes the prep work takes a while. Our afternoons have been hot as temperatures hit 100 degrees. (Ugh! And to think just five months ago we were buried in snow.)  Anyhoo...my summer mornings have been spent reading, tackling various summer yard projects and my afternoons usually find me, taking life slow as  I enjoy those movies and sew or stitch to escape the heat! I'll finish quilting my Bloom quilt today and am looking forward to binding it as I enjoy some  Slow Sunday Stitching and yes, probably another movie this afternoon. Curious what your favorite "go to" is when life slows down a bit?

 Click HERE to post and join/rejoin us for this year's 

the Piggy Bank Challenge!

Note: This Linky is open until  August 1st. 
Please feel welcome to grab the code on my sidebar and and help spread the work to all your readers.
Val's Quilting Studio

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