Just Figuring Things Out

Sometimes you just need to type/write things out to figure it all out.  A little background - my husband is leaving the teaching profession and going back into Over-The-Road trucking staring this summer.  He is SO looking forward to this and I am happy for him.  I, however, don't know what to do with my life.  I do have a lot of different routes that are possible - all with various outcomes.  Here are the possible choices for next year:
  • I stay at my current position as a teacher here in Whiteriver, but in 4th grade instead of 6th.  However, the school district does things their own way, I am not being paid what I'm worth nor do I like the population.  The administration is also constantly telling me two different solutions for one problem - they just don't agree.  The work required of me is above and WAY beyond what should be required of a teacher and there are only a few bright stars.  I have to be "mean" all the time and be constantly on the kids to get them to do the simplest tasks.  Also, parents are not involved in their childrens' lives so it is hard to get any kind of support.  Teachers are not respected and an education is not valued. 
  • Look for a teaching job in the Pinetop/Show Low area - of which there is only one posted so far but I know of two possible others.  I know that the school districts in Pinetop and Show Low pay less that here in Whiteriver, but they are closer to were I actually live so I'd be saving in gas and being able to sleep in more.  :P
  • I look for a job as a teacher in California and *hope* that I get one.  My mom has been telling me that the Baby Boomers are starting to retire this year and I might be able to find a job pretty close to home.  However, the cost of living is super high and we'd have to go without any extras until my husband is done training and being paid as a regular driver - or a trainer.
  • I attended school (I have been accepted to a Master's Program) full time and substitute part time here, but not in Whiteriver - I would sub in the Show Low and Pinetop area.  The Master's program I have been accepted to is for a Masters in Library Science.  Working as a children's librarian would really be the ideal job for me.  Or maybe something along the lines of curriculum director or something.  I often thought about being a classroom management or a reading specialist too.  I'm not sure.
  • Join my husband as an over-the-road husband and wife trucking team.  For this to work, we'd have to be owner-operators, or leasing the truck so we can take the cats with us.  We would have to sell our cars, put everything in storage and not have a home base for a while.  We *would* be able to bank everything after expenses.  Doing this, I can see us paying off all our debts within a year/year and a half and maybe being able to buy a house after a couple of years.  As team drivers, we would get first choice of routes, we'd get the longer routes and we'd be able to choose whether or not we even want to drive.  So, we could, in a sense, drive somewhere, take a week off then drive somewhere else.  We would get paid to travel!  We both have friends and family all over the country and could finally see them more than once in a blue moon.  With WiFi all over the place and the hotspots that are out through the wireless companies, I could also go to school since my program is all online.  It would be a MAJOR adjustment but would also take away all the little things like dishes, house work, rent and utility bills.  I know we would still have the truck expenses, credit card bills and all the other bills that follow us.  But it might be worth it to come out of trucking debt free and with enough savings to put a down payment on a house.  Also, buy that time, the economy might have turned around and there might be teaching jobs in California for me.
I know this post seems like I'm leaning more toward trucking with my husband, but I just really don't know.  When I try to talk to him about this, I don't get a straight answer and it seems like he doesn't want me to truck with him but can't/won't tell me why he feels this way.  But maybe I'm just reading too much into all this and should just pick the one I feel more excited about - but even that is a hard choice to make since all of a sudden I feel like I should also consider the responsible routes too - none of which excite me that much.

I keep hearing in the back of my head that NOW IS THE TIME to do something if I'm not ready to settle yet.  I don't have any kids, my husband's kids are pre-teens and in the time of their lives where they pull away from their parents and try to start their own lives, we don't own a house or have any sick relatives to take care of *KNOCK ON WOOD* so now really is the time!


Giveaway Report. :)

My blog-friend Judy over at Sew Fun Quilts is having a giveaway!  Hop on over there and check it out.  You could win 200 pre-cut, 2" squares if you enter!  :)

Also, Mariliz's Musing is having an Earth Day celebration over on her blog.  She is giving away some Shaklee Cleaning products:



Projects I'm working on...

Here's a preview for the block I made Jody S. in FL.  She didn't state a block preference and only a few color preferences so I hope she likes this block!  It was really fun to make.  :)

It's pretty scrappy - and I hope she doesn't mind that it came out kind of girly.  It is bright though!  This might not go out until this weekend seeing as how I don't get off work before the post office closes, but it will go out this week!  I will post the full block once I know that Jody received the block.

2. UFO's:

Two and a half inch strips that are eventually going to be two and a half inch squares.  Why?  Not sure yet...

Still not done with this quilt...

Fabric waiting to be washed.  :)
I also have three pillowcases pinned and ready to sew together.  :)  I didn't used to be the type who had UFO's laying around, but I can't seem to ignore the inspiration when it hits these days!


Don't Break The Bank!

Living in our previous house was like living in 70's flash back.  The house was dark, covered in wood paneling and the carpets were thin, indoor/outdoor carpets glued onto the cement slab.  One day we came home and found that my piggy bank that my mom had given me had fallen off the dresser and was in pieces all over the bedroom floor.  I'm sure it had been pushed off accidentally by a kitty and shattered when it hit the floor since the floor was pretty much a cement slab.  We ended up getting another piggy bank at Target to hold the money that fell out of the broken piggy, but I just couldn't throw away this one.  It was just too cute and perfect!

 So, I found all the pieces and went out and bought some super glue that said it would glue together any medium.

 This project was difficult since I couldn't climb into the piggy and hold the pieces from the inside.  I actually had to file down some of the edges with a nail file to get them to fit from the outside.

 Luckily all the pieces pretty much fit and the piggy went back together pretty easily. 

 And here she is all back together!  :)

There are still scars from where she broke, but the glue is super strong and she is still holds money.  The new piggy from Target holds bulk of our change, because I don't trust the glue entirely, but she is holding some change.

 See how cute she is?

 Now you know why I couldn't just throw this piggy away!  :)


Wish List Wednesday

It's Wednesday and you know what that means!  Time for Wishlist Wednesday!  I have been racking my brain with what to put on my wishlist, but then I remembered something I have been wanting for a while now - a KitchenAid stand mixer in RED!  :)

I am not sure why I want one now - I have been avoiding them like the plague for years.  I think I felt that owning one would make me too "domestic" or something.  I guess I'm over that now.  :P  I would also like to venture into more baking and having one of these would GREATLY help.  

Plus it's red!!  :)


Random Thoughts

Good afternoon.  I am home sick for the second time in a row.  I am not sure what's wrong, I feel sort of in the middle of getting horribly sick and not being sick at all.  And, I have given whatever this is to my husband - great.  Anyway, lately I have been wrestling with where I fit as a quilter, sewer, hobbier, etc.  In the past I have gone through so many hobbies, picking up something, being all gung-ho about it then loosing interest in it quickly.  I'm not sure if it's a growing up and discovering yourself thing, lack of inspiration or that it's just the way I am.

Right now, I can count on two fingers the things I am interested in as hobbies.  One is baking.  The other is quilting.  For some reason or another, these two have stuck around to the point where I actually WANT a mixer for baking AND I have taken the time to put together a room for quilting.

Which brings me to my random thoughts.  (Bear with me, the threads that hold these thoughts together are thin and frayed!)  First, I am not attracted to traditional quilts like these - except maybe the double wedding ring, the compass star and the hexie flower.  Don't get me wrong, traditional quilts are beautiful and I always appreciated the work put into them!  Anyway, sewing together blocks that are all the same except for their colorways (btw, if you Google colorways and click images, you get shoes!) doesn't really inspire me.

Also, I can't seem to be able sew a straight line to save my freaking life!  I want that foot for my machine that guides your fabric and helps you sew a straight and even 1/4" seam - but they don't make one for my machine.

So, what does inspire me?  Well, I'm trying to figure that out.  As for quilts and fabrics, I love working with scraps, charms and small pieces.  I love the look of these scrap quilts.  I also love the look of the "wonky" quilts like this one from Blue Elephant Stitches and this one from r0ssie blog.  I came across my first string quilt when I came across a post from Wendy from Sewing in the Wendy City who was guest blogging over at Sew We Quilt @ Stash Manicure.  Then I discovered the work of Crazy Mom Quilts who just makes EVERYTHING seem so simple to make.  Even her "simple" quilts always look so beautiful!

So...I seem to be attracted to quilts that don't NEED to be sewn with straight lines; ones that look scrappy, bright and like a jumble of ideas in fabric.  However, I think I'm stuck.  I feel that if I go in the scrappy, uneven direction then I won't be respecting the traditions of quilting.  Maybe I also feel that if I don't learn the basic, fundamental, traditional blocks of quilting then I won't be seen as a "quilter?" I mean, I can appreciate the beauty in traditional quilts, really I can!  But when I *TRY* the blocks, or look at quilts that are "traditional," my brain gets bored.

Then there is the fabric.  So many of the quilt blocks out there seem to showcase the fabric in beautiful ways.  Like the 9 patch.  9 squares of fabric sewn together that show off the good choices of fabric you made when you picked out fabric for this quilt beautifully!  How can I justify taking a chunk of fabric I payed $7.95 (OR MORE!) a yard for and cutting it up into scraps?!

I don't know.  I feel the inspiration just bubbling at the surface!  What is blocking me?  Am I over thinking here?  And by over thinking, could I be stifling my creativity?!

Handmade Christmas

I know it's April, but I wanted to post the projects I made for my family for Christmas.  This large floor pillow was made for my brother and sister-in-law.  It's made of charm squares for the front and that awesome polka-dot fabric I used for my curtains for the back.  I also added a cute little edging out of the scraps of the charm squares.

 I added a small rosette in the middle to give the pillow some shape, but I don't think it survived in the shipping process.

 Here's a picture of the back and my signature star.  I try to put a star on everything I make.  :)

Then I made them a small decorator pillow with a rosette in the middle.  I hope it's not being used a ton because it's kind of fragile.  :P  If it did fall apart, I can put it back together.

I thought the middle of the rosette needed something, so I put a button in the middle - my sister-in-law loves buttons.  :)

The star on the back of the decorator pillow.

 The two of the pillows together.  I hope they like and use them!  :)

 For my dad, I made a bow-tie pillow - because bow-ties are COOL!  I found the flannel at WalMart and got the pattern from Sew4Home.

I was really impressed with how easy this pillow went together.  I stuffed it kind of full and yet left it squishy.  I'm glad I did because he uses it to support his neck while napping in his chair.  :)  He says it's the perfect amount of squishiness.  :P

 My signature star.  :)  I also made a pillowcase for my dad with the same fabric as this bow-tie pillow but when I went to take a picture of the two together, my camera battery died.

 I made my mom and my mother-in-law pillowcases (tutorial here).  I also found these neat flannel prints for my mom at WalMart.  I was impressed with these flannels so much!  They washed really nicely and came out of the dryer so soft!

I also found the doggy prints for my mother-in-law at WalMart.  She is so hard to make and buy for since her only two interests are dogs and horses.  However, every time we visit I notice that she is using this pillowcase - or she takes time to put it on her pillow when she knows I'm coming.  :P

 For my coworkers I also made pillowcases - Christmas pillowcases from fabric I found for half off.  :)  All the little sashing pieces match on all four pillowcases - but I'm not sure if they noticed.

I love creating gifts for family and friends.  Although, for the past two years, I've done pillows and pillow-related projects for everyone...anyone have any new ideas for gifts for this year?!


Fabric Shoppe Giveaway

Fabric Shoppe is having a giveaway!  I learned about it from Julie over at Jaybird Quilts.  If you hop on over there and leave a comment, you will be entered in the giveaway to win this amazing 1/2 yard bundle of Ty Pennington Impressions:

I am sooooo drooling over this fabric right now!!

Or a beautiful Robert Kaufman Half to Have It Radiance bundle in Oceanic:

So...pop on over to Jaybird Quilts and check it out!

Look What I Made Monday!

When we moved in January, we moved into an awesome condo that has great windows.  I love all the light the windows offer, however, one set of windows in our stairwell looks right out to a kind of busy road.  I knew in January that I wanted to cover these windows but didn't want to block the light coming through them during the day.  While putting together my sewing room, I found this fabric that my mom sent me.
She found this fabric for $1 a yard at a discount store in Solvang, CA and bought yards and YARDS of it.  She made curtains from this fabric for her walls of windows in my parents' master bedroom and the result was bright and airy.

So since this fabric worked so nicely in my parents' room, I thought it would be perfect to use for our windows.  I think the result is beautiful!

  I kind of cheated and didn't sew any seams in the panels.  I just cut two 91" lengths, clipped them with these cool curtain clips and strung them on tension rods since the window casings are wood - and we are renting.  I also kept the selvage edges since the selvages are kind of neat looking.  My husband got into the action and opened and clipped on those those neat clips for me.  They are so hard to open even though they are some kind of fake metal!  The hold on to the fabric really well though.

I might take them down and seam the bottom, but to be honest, I'd rather leave them raw in case I decide to switch them out and use the dot fabric for something else.  I don't see me needing to do that any time soon though since I still have a couple of yards of that dot fabric left!!  :P

I can't believe it took me so long to do this project.  It only took about 20 minutes when I finally got to it and it was fun!  Tell me what you think!  :)


I'm a WINNER! :)

One thing I love about blogging is being able to connect with people of like-mind.  I have gained some wonderful inspiration following the blogs of some very talented people.  One of the blogs I stumbled upon is the blog of Ryan Walsh called Im Just A Guy Who Quilts.  Ryan interviews all kinds of people including fabric designers who sometimes offer samples of their work to giveaway to his blog readers.

Can you see where I'm going here?  :P

That's right, I won one of his giveaways!  Check out the beautiful Tidbits fat quarter bundle designed by Kary Ramsey:

 I just love how the fabrics are soft in color and yet have such bold prints!

 I haven't decided what I'm going to do with these fat quarters yet, but I also won her new book, Tidbits from Triangles.  I haven't ventured into the world of triangles yet but this book might prove to be inspiration.

 I really love the look of this quilt, so maybe I will venture into triangles some day.  :)

Thank you Ryan and Kari!  :)


Go Vote For Meredith's Design!

I follow the blog Sewing in the Wendy City and her sister Meredith has entered a contest to be Spoonflower's next fabric designer.  Her design is for a little boy and is SO adorable!  See?

I don't think I have ever seen a fabric with paper airplanes on it.  I love it!  It actually reminds me of my brother when he was a kid - so much movement!  So, head on over to her blog Peacedonearth and follow the link to vote for her design.  :)  You can vote for the other designs but make sure to vote for hers too!

A Charming Work in Progress

Remember this picture?  That bin Anu is sitting on is full of charm squares.  I love charm squares but I realized about two weeks ago that I had filled up this box that I had specifically designated for charm packs and was quickly running out of room to store anymore.

 So, inspired by this post from crazy mom quilts, I decided to make a raggedy quilt out of my charm packs.  To start the project, I went through my charm packs, picked the packs I liked then went through the packs themselves and picked out the individual charms I liked.  I didn't have any neutral flannel in my stash so I decided to use two of the the rejected charms as the filler.

 I sewed the charms corner to corner making an X and stacked them up for some neat pictures.  I love all the bright colors coming through in this picture!  :)

  Once the charms were all sewn together, I laid them out on the floor of the sewing room to check the size.  At this time, another of my kitty helpers, Quixote decided to put in his two cents.

Apparently he didn't like that charm in that space!  :P

I ended up sewing the charms together randomly and have gotten 6 rows sewn and a few more pinned, so far.  Here are the sewn rows pinned up on my design wall.  I love how it's turning out!

 Every square is different on the front as well as the back.  

 Even after making this quilt, the charm pack bin is still over half full!!  Maybe I should make another one?

I still have to sew some more rows, sew the rows together, snip all the seam allowances and then wash it.  I think it's too heavy for my washer though...  More pictures to follow when it's completed!  Thanks for visiting!  :)