So, I had come up with a fun, simple idea for a Signature Quilt with each kinder in little e's class decorating their own strip of fabric, putting them on the bias, building a quilt square around them, and making a lap quilt. (Ya, that might sound a lot like "blah, blah, blah" but bear with me here..) It was easy, simple, kid-arty, quick, and I was really, really not excited about it. I didn't love it. As in, I cleaned instead of making the test square. Three days in a row.
I was having so much fun working on the 3rd grade Under the Sea quilt... and I thought, "It will be easier to make a complicated, time consuming project with the kinders than to make something that I do not love."
See my definition of "easy". I might be just a little bit insane.
Enter the return of the House Quilt.
When Sweetheart G was in kindergarten, I made a twin sized house quilt. Each child drew a house, choose fabric for all the elements, and I pieced that puppy together... as in all enclosed seams, as in a paper pieced pattern for each house. That quilt was made to be used, washed, and loved by little hands.
I have scrapped my Signature Quilt idea. It is gone. Kaput. Like it never was. I am going to make a simplified version of the 2006 house quilt. It will be pieced, but it will be lap sized. I'm a little bit scared of all the stuff I have to get done, but I am also really excited. I have those tickly butterflies you get when that cool guy (or gal) you liked in high school said, "Hey" to you. Oh the possibilities! Excuse me.. I have some sewing to do.
Sweetheart G's third grade class is doing an Under the Sea themed quilted wall hanging for their Class Art Auction project.
Their teacher prepped them about the project the week before, and I procured some books with good illustrations from the school library. This way they had ideas mulling about before I came to class. When my day in class came, I started by having each student draw three creatures.
They were provided with pre-cut paper (recycled from the copy room). I find giving them sized paper and instructing them to fill their space yields a better result than full sheets of paper, plus students are less likely to give me scenes. Ideally, I want one creature per piece of paper.
Afterward, I photocopy the drawings. (Generally, I am able to fit all three images on one sheet of paper.) This gives me a space to make notes without writing on their art.
I have a tub of fabric scraps left over from previous projects of mine. I bring this to school and have each student choose up to three fabrics for each of their drawings. I like to do this one at a time (this year I had a lovely parent helper, so we could do this two at a time). I encourage each student to really touch the fabric, to think of texture and color, and to be aware that only a small portion of each fabric will be seen.
So here is one student's drawing and her fabric choice. This year I tried something new and added some ribbons to the mix. The ribbons will be the tentacles on her jellyfish.
Then there is some tracing onto fusible web, ironing, cutting, layering, tacking down ribbon, and voila!
A jellyfish is born. Once all the drawings have reached this stage, I lay them out on a backing fabric and move them about like puzzle pieces until I find an arrangement I like. Then I fuse and sew them in layers to the backing.
I try to buy organic, but more regularly buy local.
Sometimes I find the organic label to be suspicious (Organic from China? Hmmmm... regulated much?) or more often prohibitively expensive ($12 for a jar of organic almond butter, really?). But when I find the nexus of local, organic, and reasonably price it is a very happy day.
Ah, enter my bag of local organic frozen spinach.. Oh the satisfaction as I pour out the frozen green leaves... wait.. what is that? It's red.. Huh.. it is part (can I emphasize this enough?) part of a ladybug. Specifically it is part of the head and half of the body. Hmmm... further searching reveals two more bits of red polka dotted shell... I can just imagine the bits of beetle I haven't found.. leg, antennae, wing... and decide that my meatballs can be made without spinach this once.
Okay, Valentine's Day is over, there are new dice bags in the shop, and I've had a bit of loafing about. I think I'm ready to buckle down and get into the latest school project. Yep, 3rd grade auction project here I come!
Is it wrong to treat my new sewing machine like a dangerous predator? Is my machine a grizzly or a black bear.. should I make noise or curl into a fetal position? I find myself carefully making eye contact, firm but without challenge..
I can do this. I really can.
It took me thirty minutes to thread the machine, twenty of those minutes were spent figuring out how the heck the auto needle threader worked. Really? I can't thread my own needle? What happens if I don't use it? Does the onboard computer record all my mistakes? Will the machine tattle on me?
It is that time of year again, and I am happy to say that my Wintersweet has blossomed for the second year in a row. The blossoms appear to be forming on new growth, about 3 inches from the main trunk along lateral branches. It is an odd place for blossoms (I expect them to be on the tips of branches), so it took me a bit to spot the blossoms the first time.
In even more exciting news, I found a seedpod, with seeds (!) on my wintersweet.