Friday, January 29, 2010

Crazy week

Oh what a crazy week it's been. I've barely had time to breathe. Between the marking (yes, that again) and all the other commitments, I feel like my head is spinning.

First the marking... I was hired to mark provincial diploma exams for grade 12 social studies. The money is pretty good, but it's hard work, and they're long days. It's much better than marking by myself though. We sit at tables of six and I am working with a great group of people. Still, my brain is numb at the end of the day. I have to keep reminding myself that this is helping me pay for my trip to Paris.

Which it is... I have the plane ticket already!!! Mr. P booked it for me and, although it's not really a birthday present, he put the e-ticket in my birthday card yesterday.

It hardly feels real. But I AM GOING TO PARIS!

I also started Italian lessons on Wednesday night with the students who are going on that trip. And last night I had dance class. So, I've been running, running, running.

Tonight I will be picking up my nephew at the bus station. He is coming to town for the big shin-dig tomorrow night. I haven't seen him for a long time so this is exciting!

Yesterday, I woke up to a disastrous sight in the bathroom. The OnlyChild had decided (at some ungodly hour in the night) that she needed to dye her hair black. Her hair, the shower curtain, the wall, the ceiling, the towels, the sink, the bathtub, the showerhead. All are black. What a mess! She tried to clean it; unfortunately, cleaning is not her forté.

She redeemed herself by doing some other cleaning and by buying me this beautiful bouquet of flowers:

As you can see, she also decorated the dining room with reminders of how old I am - 40s hanging from the chandelier and a long Happy 40th Birthday banner, which fell down this morning so I couldn't photograph it. These decorations came from Cheryl and were used at her 40th birthday party back in November.

Being 40 is weird. That's all I have to say about that!

Right now I'm going to go and read the newspapers from yesterday and today. Then maybe I'll take a short catnap (with a dog or two on my lap). Then a quick trip to Walmart is in order. Finally, I'll head to the bus station to pick up the Boy. I have to back marking tomorrow by 8:00 am and work until 4:30 pm. My friend Sandi is picking me up for the party at 6:15.

I'm tired just thinking about it! I'll be pretty worn out by the time Sunday rolls around... more marking starting at 8:00 am.

Yikes. Can I have a vacation after this?

If you don't hear from me for a couple of days, I'm probably sleeping.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In England... is already after 2:00 in the morning on January 28.

I just did the math.

I was born at 1:30 am on January 28 in Portsmouth, England.

What does that mean?

It means I am, technically, already 40.


I'm having a bit of trouble with this. Ever since I turned 39 a year ago, I haven't been able to stop thinking about turning 40. I thought I had made my peace with it in the past couple of months, but apparently not. I feel like I am at the top of a giant water slide and someone is about to push me from behind.

How's the ride?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I need a nap

but instead I'm doing this

because all day at work, this is all I could think about. I couldn't wait to get home and get my hands on this fabric again.

The cutting is tedious.

But not as tedious as work is these days. Remember the crazy, frenzied days of marking I experienced? (How could you forget; it's all I complained talked about for weeks.) This week has been the exact opposite of that. Boooorrrring!

Guess what, though? For the next five days, starting tomorrow, I get to do more marking! I will be marking essay exams for the provincial government.

Yes, I did volunteer to do this. Why? you ask. First of all, we implemented a new curriculum this year, so this is a good way to see if I'm teaching the writing part of it correctly. Plus, I get paid above and beyond my salary for the marking. They're long days and it's hard work, but the money will pay for most of my ticket to PARIS! Yep, yep, yep!

The only thing I don't like is that we have to mark on the weekend. I'm particularly unhappy with marking on Sunday. Saturday night, Mr. P and the OnlyChild are throwing me a big birthday bash. I will be tired Sunday. I won't say hungover but... well, let's just say I plan to have a good time. I'm bringin' in 40 in style!

But for now... back to that quilt making...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Did you win? Did you win?

It's kind of a slow day here at school today, so I thought I'd do the draw and announce the winner of my giveaway now, instead of waiting until I got home from work.

Are you ready?

Okay... so there were 43 comments. To be fair, I disregarded the extra comments (people who had more to say ☺) and gave everyone one entry, so that made 41 entries.

The Random Number Generator magically said:

And according to my counting (I counted twice to be sure), the winner is:

Congratulations! I'll be emailing you to get your mailing address.

To the rest of the 'contestants', thanks so much for playing along, for visiting, and for commenting. I do hope you'll come back often.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My next project

I bought this fabric about a year ago...

To make this quilt:

The pattern is from the December 2007 issue of McCall's Quilting and is meant to be a Christmas quilt. But when I saw the turquoise, green, brown and gold fabrics I saw potential. This would look soooo good in my living room!

So, what's the problem? I'm scared to cut the fabric in case I ruin it. Or what if the quilt doesn't look as good as I envision. Has that ever happened to you?

I had this project on my 2009 to-do list, which was displayed for all the world to see on my sidebar last year. It made me feel bad to keep bypassing it. Plus, the OnlyChild has asked me numerous times when I'm going to make this quilt - she helped me pick out the fabric.

I guess it's time to suck it up and start cutting.

Wish me luck.

One more peek before I get out the rotary cutter...

Oh no! I think I have now committed myself to this project.

p.s. I added Valentine's candy to my giveaway booty today.

Mmmm... If you haven't already entered, you can go here and leave a comment. Giveaway ends today!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's not easy being green

Good news, Pat. My baggies are all ready to go for the Green-and-White block swap. I put together my test block of Bear Tracks today. It's a bit fiddly, with all those little pieces. As you can see, my centre points didn't meet so I guess I'll be ripping out a couple of seams and giving it another try.
I do like the fabrics, though. I hope my swap buddies approve.

Oh... and a piece of advice for my husband, the famous (or infamous) Mr. P: On a Saturday morning, while I'm cleaning house and you are sitting on your butt watching hockey, do not suggest that the whole experience might be more entertaining for you if I were wearing a French maid's outfit.
Yes, he did. (But I'll forgive him because it's his birthday today.)

p.s. Don't forget to enter my giveaway here! You have until tomorrow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Italian lessons

... that's what I was supposed to be doing last night. I drove all the way to the other side of town, picked up my friend and arrived at the hall to find out that it was cancelled. The lady who was supposed to be teaching us was sick. She tried to get a hold of everyone, but didn't have our phone numbers (just email). There she was, standing outside waiting for everyone so she could apologize. She should have just put a sign on the door and gone home to bed. Poor thing!

We'll try again next week.

In between posting last night and leaving for the lesson, I made this:

It's a tea wallet.

And I'm adding it to the giveaway loot.
I've been wanting to make one of these for a while because I think they're so darned cute. It was so easy, I think I'll make more for gifts. I'm thinking thank-you gifts or stocking stuffers for next Christmas.
I should have been doing other things, I'm sure, but with only an hour to spare I had time to make this and eat supper before I left. Time well spent? I think so!
If you haven't entered the giveaway, go and comment on yesterday's post. You have until Sunday!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's about time

I really didn't mean to be such a tease about this giveaway...

But, man, with all the other "stuff" going on, it seemed to take me forever to get it together... you know what I mean?

I think I'm ready now and, in case you've forgotten what all the hoopla was about, in December I reached 200 posts, January 4 was my one-year blogiversary, and I have that wicked birthday coming up on January 28. So let's celebrate!

Ta-Da! I finished my hearts wall hanging, which will soon become someone else's hearts wall hanging (or table runner, whichever you prefer). The pattern came from here and was easy and fun to make, so if you're not the winner, you have plenty of time to make one.

The giveaway package also includes a Moda L'Amour charm pack (picture stolen from The Fat Quarter Shop because the light is absolutely terrible this time of day and my flash kept whiting out the label. sigh.)

And... a $20 Hobby Lobby/Crafts Etc. gift card. Now, this was given to me and I'm "regifting" it (I hope you don't mind) because we don't have Hobby Lobby in Canada and it's a royal pain in the butt to order from Crafts Etc. If you live in Canada, you actually have to phone them to place the order and I don't do phone calls. Anyway, if the winner of this giveaway lives in Canada, I will substitute another item for this so you don't get ripped off (unless you are willing to go through the telephone rigamarole).

Of course, I will add little bits here and there to make the package worth sending.
Here are the terribly complicated rules for this giveaway. Read carefully:
1. Leave a comment on this post. For fun, tell me what you listen to while you're sewing, quilting, knitting, crafting. I like classical music because it doesn't have words to distract me. But lately I've been enjoying Jeanne's playlist from her blog.
2. There is no #2.
You don't have to follow my blog (although that would be nice). You don't have to blog about my giveaway - two of the the other giveaways I had were won by people who weren't regular visitors and, to my knowledge never came back after winning so it would be nice if this was won by a "friend" rather than a stranger. You don't have to turn around three times and touch your toes.
Nope, just leave a comment.
How about we close this little giveaway on Sunday, January 24? I'll draw and announce the winner on Monday.
Good luck!

Giveaway is now closed. Thanks for entering.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lucky me

2010 is starting off as a lucky and happy year for me... so far.

On Friday afternoon, as I was getting ready to leave work, my sweet friend Erminia dropped by my office with a gift. A "just because" gift. She had been shopping at Costco and had found these calendar sets - one with photos from Italy (for her) and one with photos from France (for me). There is a big calendar, which is hanging on my fridge, a monthly agenda book, which I will use to record my creative endeavours, and this mini calendar that is hanging above my sewing table. It will keep my dream (almost a reality) of going back to Paris this summer at the forefront of my mind.

How very thoughtful of my dear friend.

Yesterday I got a lovely surprise in my mailbox. I won a giveaway a while back (and for the life of me I cannot remember which one) and I received a copy of Found Art by Leeana Tankersley. This is such a beautiful book and the story is told with breathtaking insight. The book was signed by the author and came with a little card and personal note from her.

And today I had another present in my mailbox (the mailman probably thinks I'm lucky too!). Barb did a birthday giveaway and I won this wonderful pattern. It is a quilt-as-you-go project, which I've never attempted so I'm eager to try it out. It was also very cool, as I told Barb, to receive mail from Pago Pago. Doesn't that sound so very exotic?

Anyway... my goal for tonight is to finish sewing the binding on my heart project so that I can finally announce my giveaway. It seems to be dragging on just a bit longer than I intended.... Building anticipation?

Oh, and I'll have to run out in the cold to the mailbox and pop in my ATCs. We're supposed to have them mailed by the 20th of the month and this is honestly the latest I've ever sent them.
Busy busy. But it's a fun type of busy... not like the other type....

Monday, January 18, 2010

Suzanne's Great Big Giveaway and Sale

Have you noticed...? There are lots of good things happening in Blogland lately!

Here's another giveaway worth checking out: Suzanne's Great Big Giveaway and Sale. Suzanne is closing down her brick-and-mortar shop, but keeping her online shop open. She has some wonderful specials in addition to this fantastic giveaway in celebration of one-thousand blog posts. Yes, folks, that's 1000. Wow!

It's so worth a look!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Good Weekend

No marking. Very little cooking. Even less housework.

Those were the ingredients for my good weekend!

I spent some time knitting while watching movies with Mr. P Friday and Saturday night. I have almost finished a scarf that will be a birthday gift... better get it done because it has to be mailed this week!

Today I did a bit of work on my January ATCs - something else that must be mailed this week so I'd better get going on those, too. The theme this month is "You" and I was having a really hard time with it. Once I decided what I should do, it was easy.

I just remembered that I never did show you last month's ATCs. Our theme was "Peace" which brought to mind images of doves... it looks like I'm not the only one who was thinking that way.

These cards were made by (L to R) Jill, Stacy, Cory, Deb and Cheryl. Works of art.

Of course, I tossed my first idea and strayed away from the expected once again:

I used a sketch by John Lennon, printed it onto fabric and then quilted the little tiny cards. The "tie-dye" is watered-down food colouring daubed on to the fabric.
This is what else I did this weekend.

I'll soon be able to show you the finished product. I have to sew the binding down on the back then I'll have the big reveal and my giveaway. (I know... I'm such a tease.)
So... house is still a bit messy (the OnlyChild vacuumed this afternoon, though not willingly), I left a small stack of marking on my desk (you didn't really think it was all over, did you?), and it's doubtful the family will get another home-cooked meal tonight (leftovers rock!), but I spent the best weekend I've had in a long time and I even went to the gym yesterday!
Tell me... what did you do this weekend?

Friday, January 15, 2010

This Weekend...

I plan to do a little of this...

And perhaps some of this...

But absolutely, positively nothing to do with THIS!

I hope I have something to show you in a day or two.

Ahhhh... the weekend.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I am done, I am done, I am done done done.
Finished finished finished. I am done. Done done done done done.

I could not be any happier!
(Well, maybe if I were toasting this victory with a bottle of the finest champagne while sitting in the restaurant at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Maybe then I could be happier.)
(Oh, you do know what I'm talking about, don't you?)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Have you met


Now would be a good time to introduce yourself to her. She is having a wonderful giveaway over at her blog, Ranette's Daily Stitch.

Go over and say 'hi'. She has some beautiful work to show you!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Shhh... don't tell on me.

Yesterday afternoon I took an hour and rooted through my scrap basket and my fabric dresser.

Then I cut lots and lots of little squares.

Then I arranged them on the bed in the spare room.

Hush... it's a secret.
Now back to what I should be doing. (It shall not be named).

Friday, January 08, 2010

Frazzled on Friday

I am delusional.

I had this dream, you see. Not a real dream, more of a daydream. It went like this:

On Friday afternoon (that would be today), I left work at 3:00, got home at 3:10, and proceeded to clean my house so it was all nice and shiny for the weekend. I put away the rest of the Christmas decorations, dusted the shelves and tables, vacuumed and washed the floors, changed the bed linens, did laundry and had supper on the table by 6:30 pm.

I spent the rest of the weekend in my sewing room finishing my Bunny Hill BOM, cutting pieces for a quilt block swap, and starting a nice project for my upcoming giveaway. On Sunday I had coffee with a good friend. We chatted for a couple of hours, catching up, since we hadn't seen each other for quite a while.

It was lovely.

Lovely, but totally deluded.

Hello Reality!
Tonight I stayed at work until after 5:00 pm, trying to finish one pile of tests so I had less to bring home. I figured out that I would probably be there until 9:00 pm if I tried to reach that goal. I brought my 10-lb bag of tests and assignments home with me.
I will not be cleaning my house tonight.
I will not be sewing tomorrow.
I will, however, be meeting my friend for coffee on Sunday. We will both be bringing our marking to Starbuck's. We will chat some, mark some, chat some, complain a lot, then mark some more.
I will go to school on Monday and, by the end of the day, my mailbox will be stuffed full of more marking.
All of it has to be done by Thursday.
I will not be going to work on Tuesday. Tuesday will be spent in my pajamas with a pot of coffee nearby (and a bottle of Bailey's if need be), marking marking marking. I have arranged this with my department head who, I'm sure, is just as tired of hearing about this as you are.
I don't seem to ever talk about anything else or, for that matter, do anything else.
I don't want sympathy. I just needed to vent. Thanks for listening.
Frazzled. On Friday.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

One year

Can you believe it? I missed my own One Year Blogiversary! I thought it was today. I was sure it was today. Turns out I started this blog on January 4, 2009.

Oh well, happy belated blogiversary to me.

That's the second little milestone - the first was back in late December when I reached 200 posts, the next one will be my birthday at the end of this month.

I'm going to have a giveaway to celebrate. I think I may have mentioned that before. But not right now. I'm just too busy right now. I need a few days to get my... ahem... crap together and then I'll do it. The marking continues to pile up daily, my house is a disaster (and I'm usually a fairly tidy person), the Christmas decorations are still out and covering the dining room table, I am running low on clean undies... need I say more?

It's crazy here.

Since I've got nothing new to show you - I haven't had time to sew, knit, think, sleep - I'll leave you with a photo of a neck pillow I made for the OnlyChild. It was intended to be a Christmas present, but as I was making it Christmas Eve, I ran out of fibrefill and the question arose, "How badly do I want to finish this? Badly enough to go out in freezing cold weather to a crowded mall on the day before Christmas?"
The answer, of course, was, "Nope." The OnlyChild, after all, had enough presents for Christmas. Instead, this (along with some shampoo and a calendar) became her New Year's present. Genius!

I got the pattern at Sew4Home.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Good day

Did you see? Did you see?
Anne at Bunny Hill is offering a new Block of the Month for 2010. I just cannot tell you how excited and happy I am about this. It is so cute. Twelve months of snowmen!
And look!

Sharon sent me this for a giveaway I won. It arrived in the mail today. It's beautiful - just the thing to brighten up the drab, beige walls in my sewing room. Thank you Sharon!
And also today, these arrived in the mail:

A kit to make Rudy, and

a kit to make the gorgeous Christmas Rose stocking. These were prizes in a giveaway on Lanie Jane. Thank you, thank you. I love them... and I might even have time to get them done for next Christmas!
So, despite the three new inches of marking I brought home tonight (yep... more coming in), it was a good day!
How was your day?

Monday, January 04, 2010

One Word:


This is my one word of inspiration for 2010.
It has become quite apparent to me that I don't always achieve what I want to do because I lack focus. I try to do too many things at once and be too many things to too many people. I am, in fact, a dilettante.
So, for 2010, I will try to focus. Focus on what is really important to me.
More specifically: focus on family and friends, creativity, and dreams.
What's your one word?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

First "finish" of 2010

I finally finished my last two blocks of the Bunny Hill "A Tisket A Tasket" block of the month. Finally.

I had November's block appliqued a couple of weeks ago, but had no time to do any of the sewing, machine or hand.

Once I had picked out the fabrics for the candy canes in December's block (oh, what a tough decision!), it came together quickly.

And after my very last marathon marking session yesterday afternoon, I did all the hand embroidery on both blocks.

Here are all twelve blocks together. No sashing or borders yet, though. I'd like to do the sashing and outer border in a vibrant red print (perhaps that Rouenneries Turkey Red Josephine?) and the inner border in a narrow red and white stripe. What do you think?

So, not a complete quilt finish (we can't all be as productive as Barb), but a finish nonetheless.

This morning I entered all the marks in the district computer program and this afternoon I am going to go window shopping and to a movie with my friend, Patt.
Tomorrow, of course, is back to work. boo hoo.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Be Still!

Do not even listen, simply wait.
Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you.
~ Franz Kafka

To read a book, one must be still. To watch a concert, a play, a movie, to look at a painting, one must also be still. Religion, too, makes use of stillness, notably with prayer and meditation. Gazing upon a lake in autumnn or a quiet winter scene - that too lulls us into contemplative stillness. Life, it seems, favours moments of stillness to appear on the edges of our perception and whisper to us, "Here I am. What do you think?" Then we become busy and the stillness vanishes, but we hardly notice because we fall so easily for the delusion of busyness, whereby what keeps us busy must be important and the busier we are with it, the more important it must be. And so we work, work, work, rush, rush, rush. On occasion we say to ourselves, panting, "Gosh, life is racing by." But that's not it at all, it's the contrary: life is still. It is we who are racing by.

~ Yann Martel, What is Stephen Harper Reading

I finished my marking today. May I have a day of stillness tomorrow?

Friday, January 01, 2010

Ladies (and Gentlemen)... Start your machines

Victoria over at Bumble Beans posted about the Liberated Quilters: Liberated Challenge today. The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is seeking donations of tiny, unique quilts to be auctioned off in support of Alzheimer's research.

The OnlyChild and I have decided to participate. My husband's grandmother (and the OnlyChild's great-grandmother) was afflicted with Alzheimer's. She lived with the disease for many years, putting tremendous stress and strain on Mr. P's family. It was heartbreaking to see her suffer!

We think this is a great cause. Since the OnlyChild has resolved to learn to sew, this is a wonderful beginning quilt project for her. The maximum size of the quilts is 9" x 11" and they have to be completely original creations. Perfect for my artsy child who never follows directions for anything. And a good lesson in creativity and liberty for me, the ultimate rule-follower.

For more information about the challenge, visit Victoria or click on the picture above. For the "rules" (thank goodness there are some) go here.

For an interesting perspective on New Year's Resolutions, head over to this blog post. It's most definitely a different take on an old tradition. Sarah at Makin' Projiks blogged about it today... it has me thinking (always a dangerous situation).
I hope 2010 started off with a BANG! for you. We actually had a nice New Year's Eve. I did some (very unfocused) marking for a bit while Mr. P watched the hockey game and the OnlyChild practiced her machine sewing on my old Singer. Then the three of us played Phase 10 and Scattergories while having a drink (Mr. P made chocolate martinis for us girls). We opened a bottle of cheap champagne at 11:55 pm, turned on the t.v. and rang in the New Year while watching the fireworks on the tube. Honestly, it was much too cold to go downtown and see them in person.
Okay... back to the marking. I'm having a hard time focusing (again) but I do want to do something else today so I'd better get to it!
Have a wonderful day, friends!