Saturday, April 30, 2011

Goodbye April

The end of the month is here, and I see it has been a long time since I posted. April had its good moments (our trip to Minneapolis, getting the fish quilt underway), but it has also had a large number of steep plummets and it has left me mainly at the bottom in a dispirited heap. I find it hard to post at such times. I am hoping May will be better, or at least offer more reprieves.

Perhaps it has something to do with winter refusing to loosen its holds on North Dakota - in fact, the weather report says we may wake to an inch of snow tomorrow.

We have had a few sunny days in the past week, and some temperatures above 50. And before the temperatures rose we had some sunny mornings with beautiful sun streaming in through the big front window. It was a nice spot to sit and color in.

Cora working on a picture - no photos of the artwork are allowed until she's done.
Artwork from a different day. She drew the pteranadons freehand from a coloring page,
and then filled in the skeleton on her own - could I be more proud?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fish Quilt (finally)

I started a new quilt top tonight, even though I have yet to quilt the Circles top. But, things have been knocking around in my brain: blogs I've been reading, a book I bought, a book my mom sent me, and a pile of fabric that I bought in 2002.

Yep. The sales receipt is still in the bag with all the fabric, and it is from November 2002. There are a few fabrics I know I added to the bag later, but the core fabrics were all bought almost ten years ago. And I still love every single one of them. I have always wanted to turn them into a quilt for our bed; I last finished a quilt for our bed in 1997! But, I love the main fabric so much that I have always been reluctant to cut into it.

Or maybe I knew that I hadn't thought of the right project for it yet?

I've sketched out many ideas over the years, but none seemed quite right. I guess I still don't know if I have found the right one. But I do know that on Friday I realized I was ready to start cutting and sewing. I got a chance to start this afternoon, and then this evening I have a couple good hours to do some work.

I am working more improvisationally that I have in the past, and I love the blocks I have created so far. As I was working tonight I was wondering if I should feel a little guilty about getting back into quilting with a project for myself. believe me, Cora has noticed that while she has a couple quilts from Grandma, she does not have one from me. And I have fabric for a quilt for her. Okay, for two quilts for her. But there's something about making something for myself that feels right at this point, that feels almost like a necessary part of the process.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

B-I-N-G-O: a photo essay

Fridays are a good day for art projects at our house. Chris teaches in the morning and Cora and I are home. A good art project can take up that whole stretch of morning between Dinosaur Train and lunch. This past Friday I thought it would be fun to make our own bingo game. I was right.

I found some small pictures on the web and printed them for us to color in.
Then I created a blank card template in Word.

Then we cut apart our grid of pictures and pasted them onto the bingo card templates.
There were 24 squares to fill in on the template and 30 pictures,
so decisions had to be made.

The decisions were often difficult. Cora grouped hers into categories.
All the pictures under the "B" were Bad,
under the "G" were Good,
under the "I" were Items.
The "N" and "O" were a little more random.

One of my bingo cards. I made two so we could have a family game later.

Cora's bingo card. After making it, she also used it to tell a story.
The story included everything on the card.
It was a long story. And I loved it.

Next we needed a box to keep the calling pictures in.

Packing tape is great. I also used packing tape to "laminate" the bingo cards.

We cut squares of colored paper for the markers.

And took turns being the caller.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2011: taking stock of the first quarter

I made some resolutions in January. I made them in keeping with my philosophy that this works best when I resolve to do things I really want to, but need a little extra motivation to do. Here's my new twist: reviewing my progress once a quarter. So, here we go.

Dye sock yarn with Kool-aid and knit socks: I've gathered all the supplies, but the time to do this has been hard to come by. I no longer have any long days without a small hamperer helper. This means I have to plan well for a day when nothing else really needs to be accomplished in the four hours I have in the morning.

One new recipe a week: At least 17 new recipes already made this year. I think it has actually been more, but I've been lax about writing them down. A lot of these have been curries, some breads, and things found on the internet.

Write more. Publish more: I have been writing more, but prose. I've been publishing short pieces on food and cooking online at Simple, Good, and Tasty. I've been sending poems out to magazines and competitions. I've written a couple poems, but not quite enough to be happy with.

Make and send birthday cards: A near total fail. I used to be very good at remembering to send cards to family and friends and I enjoyed doing it. But in the last four years I have had a hard time remembering - or, more accurately, remembering at the right time.

Read more: My goal for 2011 is 60 books, which is a fairly modest goal for me, but I am still losing ground. I find that when my emotions dip, so does my desire to read. I've read eight books this year. (Though, to be honest, I have read a ton of picture books, cover-to-cover browsed several cookbooks and knitting books, and read a lot of magazines...but, the goal is about books.)

Make a quilt, start to finish: Because I have not made a quilt in about five years. In the past three months I have finished a top, a smallish top for a wallhanging, but I think I am going to count it. Next up is to piece together some batting for it.

Finish four unfinished projects, one per season: In February I took an abandoned stub of a knit scarf and turned it into an earwarmer/headband for Cora. It turned out pretty well, and she was thrilled.

Whew. OK. On with the second quarter.