Signs of Spring

on Saturday, March 28, 2009


Jackie's Quilt

on Friday, March 27, 2009

Here it is in all it's glory...My sister-in-law took it to her mother Jackie today. Jackie lives in sunny Florida. I think she liked it but not feeling on top of her game to say the least. I spoke to Jackie just briefly and she did her best to sound chipper.

Try with all your might to NOT click on any of these pics to see my quilting. I'm just getting the hang of it and not near good quality quilting as I would like.

But hey, you know my motto,.it's not about how perfect the gift may be, it's all about the heart.

I soooo enjoyed making this had special meaning. The back even has a few "blocks" on it. I debated whether or not to add these to the front and make it a little larger quilt, but, nooooooooooo, I didn't have enough backing material to make it that big. And, since all the quilt stores are closed at 6:00 (how rude) I couldn't get more! Just call me last minute, Lucy.

Note the scrappy binding...invention is the mother of necessity....right? Yep, you're right...not enough backing and of course no pieced together the scraps and made a binding. But....I like it!

Note the scrappy label! I thought that part was a tad cute. I love to do the labels with WonderUnder which makes them easier to write on and then just iron and applique on.

Very happy with how it turned out and of course, even happier now that it's with Jackie. She is such a dear lady. I love this photo of my sister-in-law and her mother, Jackie in Montreat last summer. Such a happy time. Jackie had just had a mastectomy, about the same time I was doing the Life Flight thing. I came home from Montreat and bagged out for the next week. Jackie....she didn't bag out...she went to California. She's 40 years OLDER than I am.

Mother and's all about the heart.

Sneak Peak - Quilt A Long

on Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Here's a little sneak peak at my quilt-a-long. I have to have it finished by Thursday....Why? Because I found a home for it....It's going to go to my sister-in-law's mother, Jackie. Jackie is 86, I believe. We call her Jet Ski Jackie because last summer she was riding on a jet 85. She can run circles around anyone 1/3 her age. That is some serious energy.

Jackie got some sad news 3 weeks ago. Brain tumors and cancer. Weeks to live. This is a blow to us all and especially to my sister-in-law. My SIL will go see Jackie this weekend and I want to give this quilt to her. I'm not even sure she'll know me at that point but it doesn't matter. I just want her to know that someone thinks enough of her to do something special for her. Or just to look at something pretty.

She's a bright, sunny disposition sort of a gal and I think she'll be cheered by the fresh colors in this beauty.

Quilting is a great past time to bring folks together and Jackie is a quilter as well. She just went on a cruise last year with her good friend, Marilyn Dorwart. Marilyn is a published quilter (still teaches in Delray Beach, FL) and has a book called Tropical Punch which they just gave to me for my birthday.

Baby Girl loves Jackie and so we talk a lot about her as we "quilt" together. It makes for great fellowship with my little one and I love for her to know and remember what a life well lived looks like.

After all, it's so nice to have an "assistant".

Bees - A Unit Study

on Monday, March 23, 2009

Yesterday a fascinating thing happened. We were shocked and amazed at God's handiwork. And as home schoolers, it was a dream come're definitely not going to get this in a traditional school.

Here's the story: While sitting on our back deck, my middle school daughter and her friend saw a swarm of bees fly by. No big deal...they didn't even it happens everyday, right? My high school son saw them as well, as they came around to the side of the house. There, they swarmed for about an hour, around a bush outside my window.

It was like something out of Alfred Hitchcock. We watched and watched this chaos eventually become perfect order. Can you see a unit study in the making?

After a good long swarm, which we so bravely watched from inside the house, they collected themselves. You see....the queen attached herself to a branch and then everyone else hung on to her and each other. They were not using any other branch to hold onto, just her. All these little workers were dependent on that one bee...the queen.

After much discussion about who's property they were actually on...ours or the neighbors...the neighbor called the Atlanta Bee Society. They said they would send some one first thing in the morning to get them. Also, telling us there would be 200-300 "guard" bees that would remain near the site. Their job is to fly all night long guarding the hive from so far away that we don't see them at all. These bees will eventually die without a queen.

As it was getting cooler, around 6:00 in the evening....they settled in for the night and made their "nest", a nice tight shape and hunkered in. These little creatures are sooooooo valuable to our everyday life. There was never a thought of fuming them out. We've had such a shortage of honey bees in the past few years due to a virus that has killed up to 80% of the bees in some parts of the world.

This is the 6:00 a.m. photo. They're still all nestled in their beds.

But this little beauty....will be their new home.

But not before they have their morning "coffee" or should I say..."smoke".

This kindly bee keeper fellow suited up and

began smoking himself so they would not "smell" him. I wouldn't want to be mistaken for a human while facing thousands of bees protecting their "mama".

He bravely cut the branch and slid them into the box. It took them a few minutes to reorganize around the beloved queen....they're so loyal to her ! But they made a new home and made the best of the transition. We said good-bye to our short lived friendship and thought that was the end of a once in a lifetime opportunity. But.....

This is what appeared when the sun came up....are these the guard bees clinging to the last scent of the queen the queen still here....? It's all a mystery....
If you've ever questioned the presence of God...this would rest all your questions....who could think this up and then make it happen? and then make it happen for thousands of years? Who? That's a whole unit study in and of itself.

Side note: While these unit studies are a ton of fun for the student, it wears me out....I went from doing one a month to one a year.....and in the last 2 years...none. But..., I swear!!! I want to!!!! Don't I have good excuses ;) It does get me excited about the education process and not just go through the routine of shoving information in and having the child vomit it back out.
Lovely...Lindsey...thank you for that. Anyway, here goes:

Here's a few ideas for unit studies beginning with bees, notice it's not just about science; it's everything from poetry and art to political science and chemistry. All this from a little bee:

1-Build a bee and hive out of household items, build a "mini" book (see Dina Zeke's books for ideas on how wild and creative she gets with these).

2-Label and color a bee, then "teach" it to the family at the dinner table

3-Learning all the bee jobs, names, sizes etc. Seasons of bees etc., Pollination studies, what happens when there's not enough pollination?

4-Give an oral presentation to "hone in" (pun intended) on those public speaking skills, include comedy into your routing like: 'Put that in your pipe and "smoke" it!'

5-Write a poem or haiku about bees, use alliterations etc. or write a song!

6-Study migration patterns and climate affects, weather patterns etc., effects of pesticides on bees,

7-Research origins of bee keeping, economics of bee keeping, country of origin etc. Any kings or "Queens" interested in bee keeping?

8-Study the importance of order and authority involving large groups of anything. This could lead to study of the military (for older boys)....or ballet, or any team sport depending on what your child is interested in. What happens when the authority figure dies or is impaired or changes....This could lead to a political science discussion....what happens when we get a new president (a lot of chaos and disorganization at first???)

9-Obedience studies...the importance of everyone having a job and no matter how big or small a job's still important to the whole "hive". What happens with anarchy? Research examples of anarchy in history on several continents and discuss the affects of it on society as a whole.

10- All of these ideas could be used to write essays of any length. Or have students make up word problems using bees or finding the "area" of a typical hive....

I could go on and on...unit studies are so much fun and they are great for getting students to use their brain creatively to solve problems. Think about that concept for a second...creative thinking...and solving problems is every thing to an adult... It's everything from solving the problems at AIG to getting a toddler potty trained.

Digest that for a moment and ask yourself if you're investing "that" into your child....or are you just concerned they turn their homework in on time or what they got on the last test? Hey, I'm not throwing stones here ...I'm just as guilty...but it does make me think about the bigger picture of their lives. What am I doing here to shape their heart...their mind? What will He say to me on THAT day? "Well done, good and faithful servant"? Gosh....I hope so.

Enjoy and let your mind run free with the meantime...I've got to... "buzz" off.

Paris with Kids

on Sunday, March 22, 2009

We're still reliving our adventure from last year when we went to Paris, France for Spring Break. It was rather cold but we pretended otherwise! Our apartment was quirky and wonderful and the same time. The owner lived in another apartment in the same building. The building had been in his family since the 17th century. I guess it's paid for, huh?

This is how cold it was...very windy at times. Baby Girl would snuggle up in her stroller (used just for the trip...she had long been out of one but it came in handy) with the wind shield on and be toasty while we froze to death!

The weather did not keep us from playing in the Tuilleries.....

Hide and go seek.....

And Ring A Round the Rosie:

Here's the origin of that playground game:
It is based on the Great Plague of London (1665), as witness the rash ("roses"), herbs and spices to sweeten the air ("posies"), sneezing, and implicit dying ("all fall down"). But the time-lapse between the plague and the appearance of the game, diminishes that theory. Satires are almost always written about then-current events. Also heard is the theory that children sang this during the catastrophic European Black Death (1347), the "ring" supposedly referring to the red spot that marked the onset of the disease, and the rest following the same allegations heard for the plague theory, which is the one most often repeated.

All of that is very interesting (as the tour guide was telling us) but we really just wanted the street vendor food. It's very good! Our favorite was the waffles! Mmmmm.

I ran out of camera battery on the day we went to Luxumborg Gardens, but I must tell you about the old fashioned carousel. The ponies hung from the ceiling and the operator gave every child a wooden stick about 10" long. Near the operator, is a small wooden box the size of large bird house with "rings" in it....once you get going on the carousel, you pass the box, and try to "grab" a ring with your stick. It's soooooo much fun! Can't you just see the picture in your head? It really looked like children from the 17th century. When we first saw the carousel, it was so old that we thought it was man powered. Oddly enough, I think it use to be but converted to electricity.

Either way, it's a long way to go for a field trip but hey, I like to think outside the box!
Hope you've enjoyed another little piece of our trip...we sure did.

Another Tea Towel Apron

on Saturday, March 21, 2009

I can't resist! I have to make another one....this tea towel apron is for Baby Girl.

The fabric suits her to a T. These old fashioned beggin' dogs are right up her alley.

Here's a sneak peak...

She's so excited about it that she brought me a pansy!

For a look at my first tea towel apron, page down a little or click here.
Hope you enjoy...they make a very fun gift and I'm saying it's less than an hour to make...Here's the procedure:

1 tea towel
1 fat quarter
Cute coordinating thread

1- Shop for a tea towel...I think this one came from K-mart, the Martha Stewart Collection...not great quality but good enough. The first tea towel apron I did was a really nice large, thick suggestion is to search for a nice one, especially if you're giving it as a gift.

2-Make 3 strips...2 for sashing and 1 for the neck piece, I make mine 4" wide, stitch long sides together for a finished 2" strip. Then turn inside out. How long? Well, I just hold it up and guess...not very scientific but it works for usually depends on how big my fat quarter is.

3- Make a pocket with whatever left over fabric you have from the fat quarter. I lay it on the tea towel and stitch it in 2 vertical spots to create 3 pockets (if it's a long, rectangular piece). You can add stabilizer to the inside of the pocket before this step but you don't have to. You can also get fancy by adding little pleats and sew your verticals spots inside the pleats.

4-Attach the sashing and neck piece, cut the tea towel from the neck piece to the sashing to "fit" the arm hole...does that make sense? Then finish that edge by turning under 1/2" and top stitch with your cute coordinating thread.


I can go into more depth if there's interest but this is really easier than I've posed here.
I can promise you...whoever you're a more experienced crafty, sewer, quiltey person than I am.

Go knock one out!

A Year Ago

on Thursday, March 19, 2009

A year ago, I was living my dream life...traveling the world with my family and putting new things into my brain...inspiration stuff...nothing creepy mind you! This is one of my favorite spots in Europe. I've been several times, at various ages of my life. I want to teach my children to be world travelers, open their minds to the fact that people live and are productive in lots of different ways.

I wanted them to see that the sky is the same beautiful blue, no matter what country you're in.

That our country is relatively a "baby" compared to the rest of the world.

That Spring is a beautiful no matter what language you're speaking.

And that hundreds of years ago...the wealthy lived in some fairly nice cribs!

Yep...we were in Paris. Of course, we did all of the home school stuff like making parisian books to document the trip, practice the language at every ice cream or waffle stand, and of course had a field day with the architecture and art. They came home a little wiser and more aware of life outside of our little compound.

We came away with knowing that most folks live their whole life in a space 1/16th the size of the spaces we live in, that most folks do not consume the amount of food and clothing we do and a simple life that is actually a lot of fun. More orderly. A sense of contentment.

It was a great trip.

Enlightenment is a wonderful thing!

Au revoir ma cherie!

Faaaaaggeeetttabout It!

on Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What would Michael Corleone say? Faaaaggeetabout it!!! I love this tea towel apron! It's a little more trouble with the pocket but worth it I think. I put fairly stiff stabilizer in the pockets to make them "stand".

It also helps to have a model that weighs 86 pounds :-)
Happy Quilting!