Monday, August 31, 2009

My Feet Hurt

I've spent the summer in flip-flops (or more accurately, Fit Flops, those sandals that are supposed to tone your legs. Still waiting for that to happen.) but today, in honor of the first day of school for my students, I donned a real pair of shoes. Big mistake. I spend a lot of time traveling from classroom to classroom and by mid-morning, I was feeling the hurt. So lesson learned and tomorrow, I'll be back to more comfortable footwear.

Other than that, the day went fine, with only a few tears from children and parents. The other good news today was that the ruling was issued for the hearing I was involved in regarding a student's placement. The ruling was in favor of the school district and the parents were denied all their requests. Good news for us, indeed, but I do worry about the child involved in all of this.

The picture is of the July Bauble by Sam Sarah Designs. I started this during our trip to LA and finished it a week or so ago. I need to add small buttons on each flip-flop but won't do that until I'm ready to make it into a cube-it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Read All About It

This article about Rittenhouse Needlepoint was on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer one day last week. It's an interesting story about a new venture two men have undertaken. I like what they are trying to do with creating a community. Isn't that what all of us who blog about our passion for needlework are trying to do? Sounds like a trip into Philadelphia is in order for me once I'm off the 25-project challenge!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

And There He Goes

The car was loaded last night so that we could start out before 9:00 this morning to take my son back to college. He took charge of both the packing and loading which was nice to see. The trip was smooth and he checked in about the same time as his roommate. We had been anxious to see the new dorm room since we had heard about how much nicer it was than the freshman dorm. We weren't disappointed and I, as a veteran of 20 college tours over the last three years, can say that it is the nicest dorm room I've ever seen, bar none. First of all, it's carpeted, and second, it has at least 12 foot ceilings. And a private bath. The boys could bunk their beds which was an impossibility last year since the one on the top would have had only about 2 feet of head room. The closets are moveable so there are a number of ways the furniture can be arranged and still allow for lots of open space. It's fabulous!
The rooms at either end of the hall are suites consisting of two single rooms, one double and a bath with a double sink on the top floor with a staircase down to a large common room, a kitchenette and another bathroom plus two more rooms on the bottom floor. Sort of a mini-townhouse. Now I really feel like I went to college in the dark ages, but I did love my spacious room with its hardwood floors in the oldest women's dorm on campus. Oh, I guess that dates me again since we actually had "men's" and "women's" dorms. One of the colleges we looked at the summer had rooms on either side of a bathroom. The students sharing the bathroom may or may not be the same sex!
Oh, and about that packing. Seems my son remembered to pack his Wii (again, I went to college in the dark ages) but not his DVD player or his printer. I'll be going to one of his cross country meets in a few weeks and those items plus a few other things will go with me.
Tomorrow's my first day back at work for the school year. It's inservice for four days and then the students come back next Monday. So, am I scurrying around packing up all the things I brought home for the summer and generally getting ready for an earlier morning than I've been accustomed to? Nah, I'm a seasoned professional and have 25 "first days of school" under my belt. I'm going to plant myself on the couch and finish the canvas ornaments I started during the trip to college today.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

100 Blocks Finished

In March and April, I took a class at a local quilt shop to learn how to make a Perkiomen Valley quilt. I should have put some more thought into this for two reasons-- 1) it was advertised as an advanced beginner, but I should have realized from looking at the sample quilt that it involved more skill than that and 2) it's a lot of blocks. 100 to be exact. 92 of the blocks are like this one and believe me, I'm showing you one of my the best ones where all of the triangle points lined up. Trust me, that didn't always happen on the first try and sometimes not even on the third try. Anyway, all of the blocks are done and I need to move on to the next step of doing the layout and trying to align the triangle points when sewing all these blocks together. I've just been a bit distracted by other things, like the super easy quilt with large blocks and no corners to match that I did for my sister and the other super easy quilt I'm doing for my son.

There are a few good things about doing this quilt. It's got one of my favorite fabric lines in it, Wildflower Serenade for Kansas Troubles (Moda), in my favorite dark green. I really did learn some new skills, particularly about accurate cutting. It's meant to be a scrappy quilt and the idea was to dip into the stash to cut no more than 10 blocks from a fabric. Since I didn't have much of a stash, I got to go to the quilt store a lot and my stash has significantly increased. So I have plenty of fabric to do another one of these but just not anytime soon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

He's Back!!

And here's the laundry to prove it!! This is what my son brought back with him from his 10-week stint as a counselor at an overnight camp. We picked him up on Sunday and I've been slowly working my way through the wash. He's home for the rest of this week and then we take him back to college on Sunday so he can do pre-season training with the cross country team. The camp experience was great for him in terms of helping him mature and forcing him to interact continuously with his peers. It seems as if he learned some things about social interactions. As an added bonus, he lost 25 pounds!! He needed to lose the weight and looks great. I think the camp should buy a hot tub and market themselves as a spa part of the year. I'd be one of the first ones to sign up!

Thanks for all of the comments following my post about my son's special needs. We are very proud of him for continuing to try his best every day. And I have to give some credit to my daughter who is very patient with him. She tries to smooth the way for him when she can and has always been his best friend.

Sunday was our 34th wedding anniversary. Yep, it's only three days after my birthday. I blame my mother, both for my birthdate and my wedding date. Seems I was a tiny bit late arriving and my birth was induced so Mom had a little bit of say in choosing which day it would be. I got engaged in March of my senior year in college and in those days, engagements weren't usually as long as they are now. We decided to get married in August (in Nebraska, in an un-airconditioned church no less) and I wanted a date later in the month. But my sister was president of her sorority that year and had to be back at college early. My mother was the school librarian and she had to be back at work at the end of August. So we settled on the 16th. I have great memories of my wedding day. My dad was so nervous walking me down the aisle that I knew I had to look confident or both of us would be in tears. Everyone thought my husband was nervous because he kept shaking his leg. Actually, sweat was running down it and he was trying to cool off. My grandmother had not been feeling well, but she rallied and was able to come to the ceremony. My gown was the most expensive dress I had ever purchased (all of $150) and when I said something about the cost to my mother, she said "It's not just one night. It's 50 years." Only 16 to go!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A New Year, A New Start

Today's my birthday (56--I know I mentioned it awhile back, but thought I would refresh the memories of any readers who, like me, have "senior moments"). When I turned 50, I used the occasion to start a new cross stitch project and I continued that on each of my birthdays thereafter. Here's a photo of Elizabeth Rush which I started when I turned 50:

And one of Spanish Wine that I started on another birthday:

(Sorry about the photo. It's a rainy day here in the Philadelphia area which should relieve some of the heat we've had the past week or so. Perfect for sitting on the couch and stitching.)

And a photo of my progress on Nutmeg Needle's Patchwork Pieces that I started last year:

The Keep Me Sampler was also a birthday start.

Looking at these projects I know two things--where all of my needles go (each of these pieces has at least one stuck in it) and that I have a short attention span. So, on this birthday, my new start isn't a new project, but rather a new challenge. I'm going to begin again on a 25 project challenge. That means no new chart/kit purchases until I've finished 25 of the things already in my stash. I am going to allow myself an exception to buy the Just Cross Stitch ornament issue since I've got the whole collection, and some wiggle room for a limited edition chart/kit that I love or an SAL that my sampler guild might do. I'll be wishing for will power when I blow out my candle tonight!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

As Promised

As promised, here's a photo of the July Baubles project I worked on during our trip to LA. These are great travel projects because of their size and the repetition of the designs. I usually stitch on these while I wait for my daughter to make her way out to the car in the morning during the school year. (None of my children are "morning people.") This and the August Bauble will be finished into a double-sided cube-it. . .someday.

I'm enjoying the last few days of my summer vacation. Yesterday I put the borders on the quilt for my sister's Christmas present and this morning I sewed the backing. I also began the layout for another quilt that I'm hoping to get pieced before I go back to school.

On the non-stitching side of things, my husband was out of town last night so my daughter and I went to see The Ugly Truth. We chose it mainly because my son's college roommate is the assistant to the manager of one of the actors and I had never seen this person in a movie. I would say, don't bother. No chemistry between the main characters, and totally predictable. My daughter and I agreed that we were bored by it. We ended the evening by watching Steel Magnolias on TV which is a far superior film.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hurray For Hollywood

We're back from a trip to the Los Angeles area to visit my son. He actually lives in an apartment complex on the other side of the hill that has the famous Hollywood sign. This was our second trip to the West coast this year. Last time we saw Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Strip, and ate in Mel's Diner. This time we did a lot more exploring and went to visit a college with my daughter as well as going to Manhattan Beach and Huntington Beach.

We also took the Warner Brothers' Studio tour which was terrific. Two hours full of information about movie and television show sets and how things are filmed. For example, we were told how colored leaves were wired onto trees on a set since there isn't a change of seasons in LA. We even got our picture taken in front of a "green screen." I figured there would be an extra charge for this, but it was a gift at the end of the tour and we have a great shot of us standing in front of Hagrid's cottage from the Harry Potter movies. My son was supposed to join us on the tour, but he had a job interview. Warner Brothers was super and issued a gift certificate that he can use to take the tour anytime he wants.

Keep your fingers crossed for my son. He's been working at a part-time job in his field and picking up other part-time jobs to make ends meet (one was in a supermarket and the highlight of that employment stint was having Hilary Duff ask him where the wine was). Because of the economy, he's having trouble getting a second part-time job right now, so we're all hoping that this new, full-time job comes through for him. It's hard having him so far away and trying to help him work through some of the things that all young adults have to do to get established. So it was great to see him and spoil him a little bit. Not to mention getting to enjoy the weather in Southern California!

Even with all the activities we did, I read four books and completed another needlepoint ornament on the trip. I also made a good start on the July Bauble (SamSarah Designs) that I'll show you tomorrow.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Unexpected Pleasures

My final college tour trip with my daughter last week went smoothly. I left my summer school job on time and less than an hour later we were parking at the airport. The flight was on time and the hotel was easy to find. My daughter's interview at the first college went well and she was pleasantly surprised by how much she liked the campus. She admitted to me that she is "a sucker for a quad" (so am I!) and this lovely institution has two of them. After lunch on campus, we wandered up the road to a small shopping center and found these fat halves in a quilt shop. They had more of the Amy Butler fabrics my daughter loves so we got some yardage to make a quilt for her. I does amaze me that she loves bright, bold prints since I fall in love with nearly every piece of fabric in an autumn color and/or a small print.

Day 2 of this trip was a little less successful as neither of us were wowed by the second college we visited. We had high hopes as it sounded great on paper and during the information session we attended near our home last winter, but it just didn't grab us and the fact that it was in an extremely small town didn't help.

Besides learning how to use my I-touch better (see previous post), the other unexpected pleasure on this trip was reading the book Loving Frank by Nancy Hoban. A friend loaned it to me several months ago after her book club read it. I didn't think it was my kind of book, but I gave it a try on the plane and I couldn't put it down. The story is a fictionalized version of the love affair Frank Lloyd Wright had for several years. Beyond that, it's a commentary on what women's lives were like at the beginning of the 20th century. I didn't always agree with the main character's choices, but I did like her and couldn't wait to see what happened.