Thursday, November 20, 2008

I've been away for so long....

It's been a busy time lately!

This always happens around this time of the year. It's close to the holidays, the first trimester is coming to an end so there's lots of grading and paperwork to be done at school. And yet I find myself coming home and attempting to do something creative.

Like this

and this

or this!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Cool Fabric Giveaway! Yippee!

Katie, from See Katie Sew, is celebrating her two year blogoversary with a fabric giveaway! And not just any fabric, but some of her favorite prints from people like Amy Butler, Sandi Henderson, and Erin McMorris. She's filling a flat rate box with as much fabric will fit! Wohoo!

There might even be some vintage fabric in there too. - Gasp!

These are just a few samplings of what is already making it into the box.

So how do you win? Well first by leaving a comment mentioning a new blog that you think she might like. If you'd like to "earn" more entries into the contest, post about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to it in your comment, and you'll receive 5 extra entries. Plus, you'll receive an extra entry for every person that you refer that mentions that they came here through your blog.

She'll pick a winner on Wed Nov 5.

Good luck and be sure to mention that you heard about this giveaway from Shannon at Crafty Turtle!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stinky's on a diet

She may not like it, but as you can see here.. she's gettin' pretty big. And I can't brush it off as "she's just big boned" anymore!

We've cut her down to one feeding a day instead of two, so she's been sortof whiny at night, but she seems to be taking it much better than we thought she would.

Here she is by the nasturtiums out back... isn't she just the cutest?! (even though she's bigger than that blue flower pot!)

Friday, October 24, 2008

My new favorite flower

I have fallen in love again...

with water lilies. They are just so georgeous!

When my mom was up visiting, we visited the Chicago Botanic Gardens. I always forget until I see them, that I love these flowers so much! And I was surprised to see them still blooming in October.

These pictures were taken in the late afternoon, but I think it makes them more vivid with all the colors and shadows.

Just thought I'd share!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Visit to the Farmers Market

My mom & her friend Judy drove up to Chicago this past weekend to pay a visit. One of the fun things we did was to visit the Evanston Farmer's Market. I love farmer's markets! Just seeing all the pretty seasonal yummies was great. So many colors and shapes.

We ended up getting some delicious raspberries and a few types of apples. My mom likes Cortland and hubby & I got some Mutsu? which were like the green ones in the red basket in the forefront of the picture here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Some Time to Sew

I've been busy with life and haven't had much time to sew lately. So today being the Columbus Day holiday from school, I have some time to sit down and sew - hooray!

The projects have been piling up... I finished and sent out my Sept. mini quilt last week (late!) to Upstatelisa (here's the super-cute owl quilt and mushroom pouch she sent me), I'm now planning and working on my October mini quilt for Calamity Kim, I'm also working on a lap quilt for the Bend the Rules Sewing Swap as well as DollQuilt Swap 5. I had also started sewing a birthday gift for my sister... AND if that weren't enough, I'm so ADD I had to throw in a holiday-themed quilt that was a challenge for the Collaborative Quilting group from Krom mama. Whew! So what have I done today?

Yep. Sat on the couch with the cat and watched all my Tivo'ed shows.

So now it's time to get down to business.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

playing with blog layout


I'm trying to play with my blog layout and managed to somehow revert back to my old template from when I first started a blog.

Please pardon my dust.... it's a work in progress

Getting more organized

I'm a closet organizer

No, I don't organize closets for a living. What I mean is, I secretly love to organize things. But don't tell my husband.

I worked on getting my sewing space more organized last weekend, and one of the things I'm most excited about is this thread organizer. I had my thread in about three different places, so getting it all together is a great feeling. I can actually see what colors I have now! And it's so colorful, that when I sit down at my sewing table, It makes me happy to look at it!

I also straightened up my closet storage space. There used to be a huge pile of fabric waiting to be ironed on the floor in front of the closet, so that I could neither close the door nor reach anything in the closet!

And here's something that I've been working on recently. The September miniquilt swap. The theme was mushrooms and/or owls. My swap partner, Upstatelisa, hasn't yet received this mini quilt, so I can only show some sneaky peaks. More later when she actually receives it! I only have the binding to finish and then will mail it off to her.

(oh, and I went to the gym this morning!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fit Friday

So I saw another blogger who's in the crafty & fit group create a "Fit Friday" post to keep herself motivated and to keep track of how much she's been walking. I thought, "what a great idea!" If only I had something "fit" to blog about!

I did go to the gym once this week. In fact, I was so focused on rushing to the gym after work that I completely forgot that I had made an eye doctor appt. for that afternoon and of course, missed the doctor's appointment.

Luckily, it was just a yearly exam and I can still see. for the time being. And at least I got in an hour at the gym. I've been getting into a rut when I go to the gym, though. I jump on the first empty elliptical machine and pedal for about 30 - 40 minutes. Then I'm so jello-legged that I can barely walk to the mat area to stretch. I do feel that it's a great workout and I sweat a lot. But I need to start incorporating other activities besides just cardio.

I had my hubby show me some arm machines and I did those last time, too. I just feel torn sometimes between wanting someone to show me what to do, and being so fiercely independent that I get mad if someone tries to give me directions. I must be bipolar.

Anyway, the goal is to go again on Sunday and maybe fit in a workout video as well sometime during the week. I think I'll keep doing (as best I can) the "Fit Friday" posts to keep myself in line. We'll see if I can keep it up!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My New Classroom

I have a new classroom this year, which is good for me, since I have so much stuff! I'm also teaching two grade levels of science this year, so I need two whole different curriculum's worth of stuff as well.

I have several "mascots" around my room. Here is the Beaker my mom sent me. He sits on my book display case.

We also got new fancy lab tables this year. Our old tables were at least 30 yrs old and had many wads of gum, carvings, and stains as well as holes in them.

Here are some views of my room from the front and from the back.

I'm feeling like I'm finally getting back into the swing of things in the classroom. It's always such a hard transition for me from summer to school time. And I'm always frightened of change and I had several this year - new room, new curriculum, new team, new students. All is going well, though.

And my other mascot is Mr. Bufo, the toad. He sits on the lab table by my desk at the front of the classroom. He's wonderfully squishy and the kids love him.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Liberated Monkey in the Middle

I've recently read the book: Collaborative Quilting by Gwen Marston & Freddy Moran

I like the liberated methods they use in their quilts, so I decided to play around with those ideas some. I typically do liberated quilting, only because I'm lazy, but in this case, I was actually attempting to achieve an end result. The liberated log cabin.

I had some thin strips of monkey fabric left over from Toni's baby bag, so I used that for my middle squares. I then used only small bits of fabric from my scrap bin to add to the sides. I was quite happy with the results, but I then ran out of large enough monkey scraps and couldn't make any more. I may bite the bullet and use the larger piece of monkey fabric I have left to get some more middle pieces. I was trying to only use scraps, however. I liked the idea of using up all those bits that I keep meaning to use, but just haven't yet. My scrap bin was overflowing!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Rain rain, go away?

So of course, right after I make that pledge to walk to school, we get the remnants of Hurricane Gustav and it rains for two - three days straight. Is this me making more excuses? Maybe, but I didn't want to walk to school in the rain, especially when yesterday was picture day!

There's always next week....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gettin' fit! Maybe...?

So I've made a commitment to get fit. I found this great online group of people who are crafters who are also dedicated to staying fit. Look at that cute little icon in my sidebar! Now every time I come to my blog, I will be reminded of what I signed up for!

Generally, crafting & fitness are two things that don't go hand-in-hand. Especially since most crafts like sewing & quilting are very sedentary hobbies.

But getting fit is something I've been thinking about working on for a while now. I've made very halfassed attempts in the past to improve my fitness level and get healthy. And for many reasons. First and foremost, of course, is for a better body image and to feel better about myself. Secondly, I have a family history of heart attacks, stroke, & LOTS of diabetes. I do NOT want to develop diabetes like my grandmothers, one grandfather, an aunt, and a cousin have. And my dad was borderline diabetic until his doctor put him on a strict(er) diet.

Now that I'm back in school, I usually find it easier to stick to a more structured schedule. That will now hopefully include some sort of exercise each day. I actually live close enough that I could walk to work. It would only be about a 20 or 25 minute walk. That's a good amount of walking if done two times a day. Of course that depends on how much stuff I have to carry to and from school. There I go... trying to make excuses again....

Ok.. here it is. I commit to walking to school or at least exercising at least 3 times a week. That will be a good starting goal. I may whine loudly about it, but bear with me please! It's for my own good!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to School

My last few moments are quickly dwindling... my time has come to head back to school. No more carefree days of summer... no more sleeping in. No more lounging on the couch watching whatever cheezy movie I wanted to that day. No more spending weekday hours in the garden with Stinky, my cat. No more "sure, honey. Let's go to that late night movie and get to bed at 1am." No more wearing my pj's all day long.

But it's really not that bad, right? Why did I pick a profession that has such traumatic transitions??? I need to switch to a year-round school.



Sunday, August 31, 2008

Visiting North Georgia (part 2)

We did so much, I had to break it up into several blog entries....

Mom & I went down to Dahlonega and visited Consolidated Mines which is the site of one of the largest gold deposits in the US. Dahlonega was the first gold rush town in the US as well.

We panned for gold and then took a tour of the mine. There's mom with her hard hat on!

We also took a day trip to Vogel State Park and hiked to a waterfall. There's lots of iron in the water and it leaves this reddish smelly deposit where the water flows down.

Mom & I also took a day trip to Amicalola falls. It's a great place to hike - there are 604 steps up to the top of the falls. And I walked them all! Mom drove it up to meet me.

Here's my self portrait in front of part of the falls. You can't tell, but I'm pretty hot & sweaty by this point. It was a fun day trip, though.

On a side note, when we were kids, my sister and a friend made up a song to the tune of Copacabana by Barry Manilow about Amicalola falls. I wish I remembered all the words so I could sing it to you now... Maybe my sis can remember them for me...

Georgia Critters II

More critters I saw on my vacation down south...

A cool Red Velvet Ant (actually, they're a type of flightless wasp!)

Another Georgia Mountain Kitty

Moo cows on the Rankin's farm. They loved watching dad work with the bees.

A tiger swallowtail butterfly.
We saw lots of these.

And a female ruby-throated hummingbird.
Look to the left of the feeder. They
fought with the wasps & hornets for
the feeder openings.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Georgia Critters I

So it seems, looking at all my photos from my Georgia vacation,
that I like to take pictures of critters. And lots of them.

So here are some pictures from my Georgia trip...

A fruit stand kitty

A skink on a rock.

A teensy garter snake

A crawdad/crayfish in the stream

a butterfly

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Eating our Way Across Georgia

It always seems that when I head back down south for a vacation, I seek out my favorite southern foods. And since there are a LOT of favorite southern foods for me, I tend to eat eat eat all vacation long. And this one was no different....

Mom & I had some fabulous smoked pork sandwiches in Hiawassee at a place called Smoke Rings.

I also found my mostest favoritest drink of all time..... the elusive PEACH NEHI! Hooray! I got some extra to bring back home with me but realized that since they were glass bottles, they wouldn't fly well.

So mom agreed to bring them up to me in October when she'll be driving up.

We also cooked quite a bit.. There's dad eating freshly picked sweet corn.

And on the last night I was there, we had a weenie roast around the fire
with marshmellows, of course.

Who doesn't like a good roasted marshmellow??

And not pictured, but definitely enjoyed, was some good fried catfish, homemade peach preserves and some fresh cut peaches, and mom's "ozark pudding" with local tart apples. So good!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Visiting North Georgia (part 1)

Just got back from a vacation to the North Georgia Mountains to visit with my folks. We stayed up near Ellijay at the cabin of a family friend. It's a georgous location on several acres of land right near where a stream meets a river.

During the time I was there, I spent a lot of quality time outside communing with nature, I guess. It's just so peaceful there & it's so good to get away from the "big city".

I also got to spend some quality time with my parents. Dad was working on various projects - but never the ones he planned to work on.

I dragged my mom to several quilt shops in the area. Some I had found online, and others we found by mistake. Either way, I found some fabulous fabrics. I also became a fan of the super inexpensive fabric section of the many local Walmart stores we visited. We don't really have Walmarts in my area and I have mixed feelings about that chain of stores, but down in Georgia, that was frequently the only option. And when you have to drive 30 minutes for the only shopping option, you take what you can get.

I took lots of pictures and have lots to share, but not all at once, so expect more from me about my trip! I've been distracted lately 'cause I'm getting geared up to get back into the classroom again. I've been putting my classroom back in order and tomorrow have to attend the beginning of the schoolyear "pep rally" for the school district. Not really looking forward to all that just because it seems like the official END to my summer.

Oh well. It had to end sometime, right?