Sunday, November 25, 2012

Meet Me in Paris, a Look Back

Unfortunately I have never been to Paris, the city.  I'm talking about one of the quilts that is very dear to my heart.  Let's start with the background story.

I started quilting when I was 20, the college I was attending offered a quiltmaking class.  During the course of the semester we had to make a sampler quilt.  It was amazing!  As soon as I finished my second block I was hooked (the first block was a disaster)!  By the end of the semester I finished the top, received an A (when I look at that quilt the professor was pretty lenient with her grading) and had already started another quilt.  After my husband saw how much I enjoyed quilting he gave me a sewing machine for Christmas.  I could say the rest is history but there are many steps in my quilting adventure.  For the next few years I sewed and started different quilts, a few baby quilts for my kids and others, but nothing really made me grow as a quilter.  My father had his quilt business and we would travel with them whenever we could.  My quilting perspective changed when one weekend we went to Henderson, NV.  

You've got to understand quilt shows are fun and exciting, but you have to be there all weekend and sometimes business is slow.  We use that time by visiting other booths and visiting the shop owners.  That weekend I met John'aLee from The Scrappy Appleyard.  She had the most amazing quilt, Meet me in Paris, you can read about it here (she has much better pics than I do).  The quilt just spoke to me and I loved everything about it, the dresden plates, the center on point and the scalloped edge!  She had her original there and also a few kits made up in different color ways.  John'aLee was so nice and easy to talk to, and I could tell how much she loved quilting.  She said she had just started making kits in different colors and was anxious to see how they turned out.  I probably went back to that booth 10 times.  I'm sure she kept thinking, just buy it already I know you are going to.  I was drawn to the green/pink and cream kit, but it was waaay out of my budget since I had just finished school, had student loans and was not in a full time job yet.  I can't remember if I was still pregnant with my second child or if she was a month old, but to say the least money was tight at that moment.  I kept trying to push the thought of this kit out of my mind.  

My mother was with us and she could tell how much I wanted to make that quilt.  She took my dad aside and asked if I could work it off through the store.  Of course he said yes and he went with me, credit card in hand, to grab the kit.  I have to admit I think his eyes bulged a little when she told us how much it was, he wasn't used to seeing the prices for kits and plus it was over 100 inches square so there was a lot of fabric to it.  I walked away, actually floated away, with stars in my eyes and a little apprehensive.  I had never tackled a project that big before, and it was on point!  AHHH!  That was scary to me also, but I was determined to get it finished.  

I was working a little at the school at the time and I knew I wouldn't have any time to start while school was in session so the kit sat for about 2 months.  In that time I would read through the instructions and reread them, look through the fabrics and pet them and then start the whole process over again.  
Finally school was out and I could start.  I had Big L, who was 3 and Little K, who was 3 months old and lots of time on my hands!  I loved every minute of it and before 2 weeks were up I had the top completed!  Big L played at my feet with the little scraps that fell down and Little K slept in her swing or talked to me from the bouncer.  John'aLee was amazing at putting kits together, everything was labeled to where it was supposed to go so there was no guess work when it came time to sew.  It really felt like nothing.  

It was hard to get a great pic in my living room, but this is my Meet Me in Paris quilt.  I still love this quilt, it brings back so many great memories of my life at that time.  Most of all, after I made this quilt my quilting life took a turn for the better.  I was no longer afraid to try patterns that looked complicated.  I figured if I could finish this in two weeks with two little kids around I could accomplish pretty much anything.  

A few weeks after I finished the top I saw John'aLee at another quilt show and I showed her the top.  She was so excited about the way it turned out, and she kept showing everyone at the show.  John'aLee has since moved across the country and I don't see her anymore.  

Thanks John'aLee for inspiring and supporting a young quilter just when I was ready to take my quilting to another level!  I will always consider you a wonderful quilting friend.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November Quiltathon

Well the November Quiltathon with Patchwork Times came a lot faster than I thought it would, it seems like November just barely started!

I am still working on my mystery quilt but I didn't get a lot of time to sew today.  I think I may be coming down with something.  It shouldn't come as a surprise with 26 little bodies around me everyday, with many coughing and not covering their mouth.  Somedays I feel as if I need a sneeze guard!

Well, back to the sewing progress!  I made 20 nine patch blocks tonight.

I love making nine patches!  It was the second block I learned to make and I love how you can press the seam allowances so they lock together.  It is such a great feeling to see a block come together and be pretty square!  There is a lot of satisfaction when something turns out well and right!  

I hope there are more people joining the Quiltathon.  Go quilters!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blocks Finished

I have 12 of the 25 blocks finished for the mystery gift quilt I am working on! Of course I started with the easy block first, now onto he hard one!
I have so many people that I would love to make a quilt for, and many, many deserve one, but this one is very dear to my heart. I need to get it finished because I want to see the reaction on her face! Ooops! Now you know it is a girl! Sorry all my guy friends out there, this one is not for you.

Check back soon for more progress!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Design Wall Monday

Yea Design Wall Monday! Here is what is new. Nothing is sewn, but at least it is cut out. Cutting is my least favorite so I feel like this is a BIG accomplishment!

This is for yet another new project! I just can't stop, it is definitely a sickness! This project is going to be a gift so I don't want to give anything away just in case they read my blog. Hopefully I can find some time to start sewing, even if it is only 30 minutes a day. If you want to see more creations head over to Patchwork Times to see what else is going on!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

In the Works

There is a confession I have to make.  I have not touched my sewing machine for weeks, and withdrawls are setting in!  School has pretty much taken over my life, specifically technology.  I happen to love technology and I can somewhat get along, but the past few weeks have put me and the staff at our school to the test.

A few months ago our school was awarded an amazing grant.  There was money put aside, through the state of Utah, for a pilot program to see what would would happen if a school was immersed with technology.  There was one high school, one middle school and one elementary school chosen in the state.  My school was picked as the elementary school.  We feel very fortunate because there is no way we would ever have this opportunity on our own.

Anyway, onto the basics.  Here is the run down. Each teacher received a new MacBook Pro, a 55" screen with Apple TV and an iPad to use in the classroom.  I have to say I LOVE my laptop!  It is so nice to be able to take my computer home with me and have all my school stuff on one computer.  No more emailing notes to myself to work on at home, it just comes with me.  We also received days and days of training on how to make effective use of it in the classroom.  Our school was also rewired with more wifi stations and enough capability to run many devices at the same time.

The best news of all is the students in the school will also receive an iPad to use during school!  Yea, I have 27 students so I can have 27 iPads running at the same time!  It is an overwhelming thought to me right now, but the kids are over the moon about it!

There were a lot of questions about how this is going to work.  The company we are going through is iSchool in Park City, UT.  They have done a fantastic job implementing this change.  I can tell they really want us to succeed.  They have shown us how it is possible to adapt to every child's needs.  I have a broad range of students, ones who need help learning their letters to some that are reading on a first/second grade level.  With iPads I can adapt to each child and give them the help they need.  It is an amazing thought, and I can't wait to see the results!

Along with this there have been some learning curves, hopefully they are mostly behind us and we can move on.  This is going to be a great adventure!