Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

This is how I spent New Year's Eve. It's a crappy iPad picture, but let's focus on the quilt and not the photo quality, mkay? Thanks.

Here's to wishing everyone a fantabulous 2012!! Cheers!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Oh Yea, Did I mention....

I GOT THE JUKI!!! Merry Christmas to me!!!

The last two weeks have been fabulous! I managed to maintain a somewhat clean house, I got all of my Christmas baking done, I managed to find time to sew most days and I actually got some sleep.

I'm looking forward to continuing on this path, but I'm nervous because I have to fit two more items into my life ~ homeschool & the gym. I know I can fit it all in, I just have to get myself super organized. If there's one thing I learned this summer with my testing is that I thrive on structure. My personality doesn't lend itself well to this, but my brain requires it.

I'm making myself little binders ~ one for quilting, one for workouts, one for chores & I already have one for homeschool. I have to learn to let go of perfection. Often times when I set out to get organized, I'm immediately paralyzed because I'm not sure exactly how I want everything. My brain doesn't seem to think I can start a project until I can see it completely finished in my mind's eye. Life isn't so cut and dry and I have to remember that.

When it comes to organization, evolution is the key. Just start. Eventually a system will evolve that works. I just have to repeat to myself (constantly) to just get started. The details will work themselves out.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2012 UFO List

~*~ This post is linked up at Judy's Patchwork Times UFO 2012 List Linky Party ~*~

This is my little shelf that holds my current projects. Should I be embarrassed to tell you that it hasn't changed in two years? And there are more WIPS/UFOs that this shelf can handle?

After taking about an 18 month hiatus from quilting, I'm so ready to jump back in full monty. Unfortunately all of the things that took me away from quilting (namely: LIFE) are still ever so present in my life. I'm learning to pace myself. BALANCE. BALANCE. BALANCE. If I say it often enough will it seep into my brain and actually stay there? Let's hope so!

Here's my current list of UFOs that I plan to work on in 2012. I have no delusions about finishing all of them this year. I plan to prioritize them and work on them accordingly ~ while throwing in a new project here and there ~ but 2012 is going to all about working through the WIPs and the stash. Wish me luck!

~*~ Edited to strike through first three ~*~
After actually reading the info on the UFO Challenge, (from last year) I realized I needed a list of 12 quilts. The first three are actually WIPs and have a deadline. So, okay, now I'm actually playing by the rules. Phew....I'm a rule follower.

Boys' Bed Quilts (one needs border, one is in blocks)
Irish Chain Quilt (still working on blocks)
Parker's Quilt (needs quilting)

1. Molly's Quilt (basted, needs quilting)
2. Barney's Blocks (partially quilted)
3. Christmas Lights (not even sure I'm going to keep going with this one....)
4. Ainsley's Quilt (in blocks, poor girl.....)
5. Bee Blocks from my Flickr Quilt Bee (collection of blocks, not even sure how many)
6. Mom's Quilt (blocks are done)
7. Figgy Pudding Charm Quilt (charms are sewn into rows)
8. Old Red Barn Quilt A long (this was from a few years ago, blocks are done)
9. Tranquiltity Charm Quilt (needs borders)
10. Asian Coins (top done, needs to be quilted)
11. RWB Strings Quilt (a swap I was in, need to sort through the blocks)
12. 30s Strings Quilt (same as above)

And then I have a box of UFOs that aren't quilts, just other projects that I'd worked on off and be honest, most of them I don't even care about. I need to pull the box out and see what's in there and decide what to do with all of it.

Phew....that list made me tired just typing it out!! Let's keep our fingers crossed that I get that Juki just so I can get to work on this list!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Design Wall Monday

~*~ This post is linked to Judy's Design Wall Monday ~*~
Well, I still don't have a design wall, but I'm working on that. Hubby and I are in charge of stuffing our own stockings this year and I think I'm going to put a twin sized flannel flat sheet in my stocking to hang on my bedroom wall. A design wall that can be taken down, washed and folded when it's not in use. Perfect.

For now, though, we'll have to deal with my kitchen table! This is the last quilt in my challenge, and it's pretty slow going. I have all of the units cut, 2/3 of them sewn and about half of them pressed. Now it's time to start building the blocks. I have until Jan 1 to make this a queen sized flimsy. Yowsers!!

As for progress on the other two ~ one is in a stack of blocks, will put them into rows tonight. One is in rows, needs to be pressed and sewn into a center. I have the borders purchased, but not cut yet.

Hubby leaves town Christmas night and is gone for five days. I'm praying that the new toys keep the kids occupied that week and I get to go into a sewing storm so I can get these finished by Jan 1. Pray for me!!! LOL!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Baby Bento

I used the leftovers from this quilt project to make a baby Bento quilt. It measures only 36" x 36"; I started getting sick of playing with these fabrics and having to keep a good variety in each block. That's why it's so small. My cousin is having a baby boy next month, so I think I'll do some simple straight line quilting and send this to her little bundle once he's born.

I haven't been to the quilt shop yet, so a lot of my sewing has come to a halt. I cut up some 2" squares yesterday ~ I need 600+ and I'm at about 450, so I still have plenty to keep me busy! I decided to tidy up my fabric space yesterday. I desperately need a new system for my scraps (and I really really need to start using them!). How do you handle your scraps? How do you organize them? What actually constitutes a scrap in your mind? I grab anything smaller than a FQ & separate them by color. How about you?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Show & Tell

I've been working hard to meet my goal. All of the blocks for the boys' beds are finished. I decided to play around with some of them tonight. This is about half a quilt's worth of blocks. These will be twin sized quilts, so the blocks will be 7 x 9, then borders (don't have the pattern in front of me, not sure of the border size). I'm loving these quilts! How fun!! But I'm seriously ready to work with some grown up fabric! HA!
**ETA, this post is linked up to Judy's Design Wall Monday**

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Quilt Progress....

Look at me now! Blogging from a computer again! Whoot!! Ok, just to update you on my Juki challenge:

Quilt 1 ~ all blocks are done and should be stitched into a flimsy this evening (using a pattern from the book above)

Quilt 2 ~ all cut and ready to be stitched (same fabric/pattern as quilt 1). It'll go quick. My goal is to have two flimsies by bed time tomorrow.

Quilt 3 ~ I'm stuck until I get to the quilt shop (I also need borders for the first two quilts)

Quilt 4 ~ well, it's partially quilted and I've convinced DH that finishing the quilting would actually be much easier and simpler if I did it AFTER I have the Juki! LOL!! So, I'm going to try to add in a few more WIPs to this challenge....I gotta go through my stack and see what speaks to me!!

Monday, assuming everyone is healthy (boy 1 is sick), the boys go to PAL (our once a week "school" that our local public school offers to homeschool kids so that they can technically count them as public students), and I get to go to the quilt shop. ALONE. Pure Bliss!

Ok.....enough for now. I'm going to post some ideas that will hopefully keep me quilting (and blogging) throughout 2012.....stay tuned!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A new Juki

My computer died. New one should be here today, but until then I'm blogging from my iPad - please pardon the crudeness.
Anyway, I've figured it's high time I dusted off this blog. I'm quilting again. Yay!! So I'll have some eye candy soon, too (with my new computer!)

My husband challenged me that if I can get four (specific) quilts finished by the end of the year, he'd buy me a new Juki. Um, yes please!!
I think I negotiated him down to three quilt tops and one finished quilt...three of them I'll take to the long arm and rent time, and she's pretty much booked until after Christmas.
So, the four quilts are:
- boys' beds (they are cut, need to be pieced) Pattern: Snapshots from the Happy Hour book

- our bed quilt. (Partially pieced, mor fabric to purchase) Pattern: Scrappy Irish Chain from Bonnie Hunter's Leaders & Enters book

- "Barney's Quilt" (partially quilted, needs to be frogged and quilting started over). This was a Christmas gift to my husband in 2007. Whoops!!

So, anyway. That's where I am. I hope there are still some readers around here!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of School

Today officially marked the first day of our third year of homeschooling. After breakfast and chores we headed outside to take a few pictures to mark this momentous day. It was, afterall, Carter's first day of Kindergarten! What kind of mother would I be if I didn't have a camera full of pictures as he embarked on his educational journey? The only thing missing was the gut wrenching tears and extreme seperation anxiety I experienced on Ben's first day of Kindergarten. Today was much more enjoyable!

*My New Kindergartener*

*Smile boys, Mom wants a good picture for the scrapbooks!*

*No seriously, I need you to smile. Mom had a very clear idea of how this morning was going to go and you are RUINING IT!* (hubby was pretty sure I was going to lose it at this point!)

*Ahhhh, thank you. Mom's blood pressure just went back down*

*You can always count on Dad for a good startle to start the day!*

This morning's photo shoot did not go exactly as I had envisioned. I have an entire folder full of goofy, fuzzy pictures to show that my boys were simply out of control this morning. They got their wiggles out, at the expense of Mom's nice relaxing morning. Such is life.

We made a lot of curriculum changes this year and I'm very excited to dig into everything. The curriculum I've been using in the past was causing so much frustration and anxiety and I was under the assumption that I was failing as a teacher. I know enough now, to know that a child and a curriculum will just click. It will fit like a glove and what works for one child will not automatically work with the next.

Carter is starting off well over half way through K and is doing almost all 1st grade work. Ben and I had to take a small step back as we adjusted to some new ways of doing things and some new philosophies we're working under. This year, after just a few hours, already feels so much better than the last two years combined.

We only worked for about two hours this morning, and I'm going to have to tweak our schedule a bit here and there to accomodate both boys, but as one of my friends stated this morning "If they learn more than where their seats are and how to stand in line today, you are ahead of the public schools!" Now THAT's putting my first day jitters into perspective!

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's been a looooong time

It's been a long time since I've been around here. This place could use some dusting! To catch you all up (because I can't remember where we left off and I'm too lazy busy to go check), I'll rehash some of what I've been going through concerning my TBI:

I spent about 9 hours back in June at the University of Washington Medical Center with a neuropsychologist and his technichian going over my initial injury, my life (in a nutshell) since the injury, the symptoms I exhibit, etc. They tested my intelligence level, they logged my education history, they tested my attention span, my memory, my grip strength, my cognition levels and they may have even tested which direction my pee flowed out when I wasn't looking. I'm not sure... (I jest).

My husband and I went back two weeks later eager to hear my results and to work with my doctor on forming a game plan. Guess what: I'm highly functional. Not only do I not exhibit any residual effects from my injury, but based on my age, gender & education level I tested in the 90th-98th percentile in every. fucking. test (except math ~ he never did tell me that score).

I broke down in tears right there in his office. My doctor was speechless. He kept repeating that this is good news. I get that. In his line of work, he doesn't see these kinds of test scores very often. In fact, he said when my scores landed on his desk, all he could say was "Really???"

It is good news. I'm grateful that my brain is highly functional. I'm grateful that I have above average intelligence and I'm grateful that my problem solving skills can leave the rest of my demographic in the dust. But why is my life so hard? Why do I get caught up in the details? Why do I start projects incessantly without finishing them? He didn't have these answers. He acknowledged that the tests were taken in a sterile environment with little to no distractions, but he said they typically account for that in the test scores. He basically said the doctor equivalent of "I got nuthin'"

He suggested I see a speech therapist (???), but of course, I haven't called yet. He wants me to see a shrink, but again, I haven't researched and found one in my area...why? Because this is WHAT I DO!!!

My husband and I did a lot of soul searching and I spent a lot evenings in tears, but this is what we've come up with: My entire life everything came easy to me. Everything. Growing up I never had to work hard for anything. I never had to learn how to apply myself.

Well, when you're a grown up, easy street doesn't exist. The issue is that basically I don't know what to do when things get hard. I don't know how to dig deep and find that self motivation & self discipline inside myself. Essentially, I have to regrow up. I never learned this life skill as an adolescent, so I'm learning it now.

I invite you to learn it with me. I've never been a main stream, status quo kind of girl. I've always danced to the beat of my own drum and I've been obscenely unapologetic for it. I live my life out side of the box and well, sometimes that makes things a little harder than normal.

This blog will become my journal of my life outside the box.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Last night I went to a support group for survivors of Traumatic Brain Injury. I cried in the car on the way there. I walked in and sat down and immediately started crying again. I sobbed throughout the entire discussion. Two guys actually got up and got me napkins and the facilitator came over to give me a hug part way through. Nothing like making a spectacle of yourself the very first time, huh?

March is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. I had no idea. Last night's meeting was more of a party than a meeting, but I was able to get some great information and some phone numbers of therapists that may be able to help.

I've been crying off and on since I left the meeting. It was such a relief to be in a room full of people that get it. They understand me. They know my life. But it also made me realize just how much work I have in front of me. It's going to be a tough journey, but I'm up for it.

You may have noticed, I've changed the name of this blog. I hope to be around here a little more often. I may or may not be. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

That whole balance thing...

That whole balance thing is proving to be harder than I first thought. My house is back to being a mess, and I'm starting to get that overwhelming feeling of I can't breath again. I make lists, but a simple "to do" list doesn't cut it for me. Unlike most people, I cannot simply put "clean kitchen" on my list. My list looks more like this:
  • Unload dishwasher
  • Reload dishwasher
  • Hand wash dishes
  • Wipe down counters
  • Wipe off stove top
  • Sweep Floor


In December 1976 my brother's elementary school hosted a Lunch with Santa. My mother, being a chronic volunteer, had signed up to work it. I was two years old. My brother was just shy of his eighth birthday. My mother dressed us up in our pretty clothes and off we went to whisper all of our special wants into Santa's ear.

Hosting an entire elementary school to share a meal with the jolly old fella can be quite an undertaking. My mom was ever the busy bee and she left my brother to keep an eye on me. I found my way out of the cafeteria and out to the steps at the end of corridor. I had mastered the steps in our home almost a full year prior so as long as my brother was right next to me to steady me if I wobbled, what harm there be, right?

No one would expect me to fit between the rungs on the banister. I mean really, what eight year old would think of that? In all honesty, not many parents would even think of that. That wouldn't even be a flicker on even the most helpicopterish parent's radar. Except that's exactly what happened next.

My brother and I were two and a half flights above the ground floor of the school and before he could even register what happened, my little patent leather Mary Jane was dangling through the gap in the banister and my small body slipped through right behind it.

I was free falling and all my big brother could do was watch me fall. And then he screamed. I hit the banister of the flight beneath us and then I slid through those and kept falling. I landed on the ground floor face down. Blood began to pool around my tiny little body.

Everyone came running out to the stairs and somehow my mother made it down to where I lay, motionless. An ambulance was called and we were on our way to the hospital. I regained consciousness as we pulled up to the ER. I tried to stir and was crying out for my Mommy.

The doctors cleaned me up and everyone was astonished to realize that I didn't have a single cut on my body. I had lots of bruises, however. The blood had come from that small piece of skin that attaches your upper lip to your gums. I had severed it. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, I was held in the hospital for a few days of observation and then I was sent home with a clean bill of health.

My guradian angel was truly with me that day.


Not much thought has been given to my accident over the last 30+ years. It comes up occasionally as we're telling family stories, like my brother's state track meet or the fact that my dad had to repack the car five times in order to fit all of my stuff in when I left for college. My accident is just a part of our history.

A few months ago, some research was brought to my attention concerning traumatic brain injury. In reading this, it was like a lightbulb exploded in my head. In 1976 very little was known about the lasting effects of a head injury. I had only lost consciousness for a short while and I wasn't showing any immediate signs of brain damage so it was assumed all was well.

It's since been shown that brain injury survivors often live lives of complete disarray. Inabilitly to organize, attention deficits, short term memory loss, depression, obesity, frequent headaches, mood swings and other cognitive impairments are just a few of the symptoms associated with TBI.

It was if someone had written an entire book on my life. I'm still reeling from all of this information. When I was first confronted with it I spent several days grieving the life that I could have had. My life dream was to be a lawyer but I couldn't stay organized enough to even graduate from college. I'd always pictured myself having five kids but I could barely manage life with just two. I love homeschooling my children but it takes nearly all of the energy and focus that I can muster to simply write out a lesson plan for one week.

My entire life I've been known as the "loud friend." I've always been a littl "kooky" and my brother often introduces me as his "crazy sister" (I'm his only sister). It's always been a part of who I am and I can't help but wonder now, if it's more a part of what happened.

I'll never know these answers for sure, but I'm finding that at least having this knowledge has eased some of the pressure I put on myself. I always berated myself in my head. "Why are you so lazy?" "Just clean the freakin' kitchen already." "Why is life so hard for me?" "Why do all of these things come so naturally to everyone else except me?" "What's wrong with me?"

Has this information made my life any easier? Has it made organization and time management come more naturally to me? Of course not, but it's given me hope that there is, actually, something physicall wrong with me and that given the right tools, it's a disability that I can overcome.

My doctor referred me to a therapist that specializes in TBI survivors. I've had this person's phone number for about two months now have I called her yet? Of course not, because I lost the phone number for about a month, then I hung it on my fridge and vowed to "call her tomorrow" and tomorrow just never comes. Maybe for this type of appointment the patient's number should be given to the doctor instead of the other way around? I wonder how many of us are out there with all of the information we need to get help, but we just never get around to it.

Never get around to it. That seems to be the story of my life. This is where that changes. This is the year that I find balance. I just didn't realize it would be so hard.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Some Quilty Pictures!!

I posted a while back that I'd actually sewn some things. I promised pictures and then I promptly disappeared again.....well, here they are! I participated in another string block exchange over the summer and here are the blocks I made (you should be able to click on the picture to make them bigger).

**Also, if you are reading this and you are owed something from me from an exchange ~ you will get it. I'm not sure exactly when, I'll be sorting through my WIPS and my committments in the coming weeks and plan to get everything sorted out. Thank you for your patience**

Finding Balance

Hello out there????

Wow, it's pretty dusty around here. I think it's time to knock down the cobwebs and spruce this place up a bit.

The last 12-18 months have been doozies. It's as if a great big wrecking ball swung through my life and left a path of distruction in its wake.

I completely let the house go, I fell (way) behind in homeschooling, I've fincked out on some quilting committments and I just plain checked out of life for a while.

Then I joined a gym and started working out. The cobwebs in my brain started to clear and I was seeing life through new eyes. I hated what I saw. I used the month of December and pretty much did nothing but clean and tidy and purge. I'm not even done yet, but I have such a feeling of relief already.

My new challenge and my goal for 2011 is going to be finding a balance. Making time for me and the things I enjoy, while still being available to care for my family. My whole life I've lived in an "all or nothing" state. Quilting? It consumes everything until....Homeschooling? That's got my full focus.....joining the gym? I'm there, everyday, for hours.....

Welcome to 2011. The year of balance. I hope to be around here a bit more often. Look for more sewing projects, more homeschool info and just basically, some more of ME :)