Thursday, April 23, 2015

Catching Up: Various Things I've Been Working On

First up, I am a member of the Long Beach Modern Quilt Guild! We began last year but didn't formally become a guild until January.  As I live roughly half way between the Los Angeles and Orange County Modern Quilt Guild locations, neither one was particularly easy to get to. 
I'm so happy to be a part of this great group of creative people. 
We participated in the Quilt Con Charity Quilt Challenge and our quilt was sent to QuiltCon in Austin, TX. One of those circles is mine! 

Long Beach Modern Quilt Guild Charity Challenge Quilt
The long term substitute assignment I recently completed was for a gal whom had a beautiful baby girl in January.  I had to make something for the baby so I decided to make two receiving blankets which were inspired by the kits sold by Anna Maria Horner.  I followed the tutorial by Rachel at Stitched Together as it was excellent.  I used Anna Maria Horner voile and Robert Kaufman flannel. These two fabrics together are a light and luxurious combination!  

Voile/Flannel Receiving Blankets
I used two different binding methods: the bottom I created my own bias binding and used a blanket stitch to sew - and it took forever. (hence, the two different biding methods)  The top blanket is done in an easier machine binding style (can't remember what the formal name is!) that I would normally use on a mug rug. 
Voile/Flannel Receiving Blankets
So happy with my front yard!  Love the bulbine and autumn moor grass.  

Eggs...such perfect food.  Especially with vegetables and goat cheese.  


Baby quilt in progress: 

Enjoy your Thursday, 
:)Susan

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Blink: Twelve Weeks In The AP Psychology Classroom


About three weeks ago, I finished a twelve week long term substitute assignment in an AP Psychology classroom.  AP Psychology? You might be wondering why I would be teaching AP Psychology when I am a history teacher.  I have a social science credential and have the ability to teach all of the subject you see below (pretend history is in there too!).

My teaching experience was wonderful!  All consuming: tons of learning every day, mistakes made and lessons learned for the future.  As I had not taught this subject before, everyday I was reading and learning new material to teach the next day.  Here is what my days felt like:
               5:30am Wake up, get ready for school
               7:00am  In the classroom and preparing for the day
               7:50-2:40  Teach
               2:40 - 3:30  Wrap up from the day/get materials ready to take home
               4:00 - 6:00  Get groceries, exercise, clean up a little around the house
               7:00 -8:00  Make dinner and eat
               8:00 - 9:00  Read. Read again, Read yet again until I understood.
               9:00ish  Exhaustion sets in and time for sleep.

Seems boring as I write it all down but I loved it.  Everyday was dynamic and new and I learned so much from my students  Wondering what I taught?  Well I began in January with Psychological Disorders and Treatment - not the most positive of subjects.  Tough material and I had to very sensitive to what my students were thinking/had experienced as I was introducing and discussing this material.  Some great teaching moments were when students would share with the class their own personal experiences with various psychological disorders.  That made me feel like they trusted me.

We moved onto Social Psychology: person perception, attributions, obedience, conformity, social roles, power of the situation, in-groups, etc.  Every day in that unit was fascinating.  One day I was teaching them about person perception (stereotypes we hold for all groups) and I was showing them photographs of yearbook pictures from the 1970's.  After getting into groups, I told them to decide which of the people (in the yearbook photographs) were most popular, smartest, more apt to become successful and those perhaps not so successful.  They thoroughly enjoyed making these assumptions about people that they had no idea about.  The next day I decided to extend the prior day's lesson a bit by showing them my own high school Varsity Soccer team photograph so they could again, make those assumptions and I would be able to tell them if they were correct or not.  It was a good lesson in how we make assumptions about others without knowing anything about them.
1987: Weren't perms awesome? 
I finished up with Language and Thought: how babies learn to understand, form and communicate with the world with language.  Want to see a fascinating TED talk about babies learning to speak? Go here and watch "Birth of a Word" by Deb Roy.  I showed it to my students and along with the other materials we had learned, had a great discussion about the formation of language.  When we discussed Thought, subjects included Heuristics (problem solving) and various decision making models.

My last day was bittersweet. I choked up at the end of both 1st and 2nd periods but then kept it together for the rest of the day. It was a crazy day - I was teaching, coordinating students who needed to makeup various exams and grading.  It wasn't until I got home that day when I pulled out everything that I had received that day from students, that I realized how much of an impact I had on them.  High school students gave me gifts, cards and letters!  

The cards and letters will be cherished forever. 

Those 201 students will be forever my first class.  I loved being their teacher.

Next blog post I'll show you what I've been up to since my assignment ended.  I've been sewing!
Enjoy your Wednesday,
Susan 



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Front Yard Landscaping + Giveaway Day Winner

Happy Sunday everyone! We are enjoying a gorgeous weekend while awaiting another rainstorm here in Southern California tomorrow, and as this blogpost has a landscaping theme, here is a video of my new rainchain in action last week.  I absolutely love the twinkling sound it makes when water is flowing down through the cups.  If you want one yourself, go check out www.rainchains.com
video


I've been extremely busy on the weekends lately with landscaping in my front yard.  As I am participating in the City of Long Beach Lawn to Garden Program, I have a deadline of January 8th, 2015 to finish the entire process of ripping out my existing lawn to planting a new drought tolerant/California native garden. (They give you twelve weeks to get it all done.) Yesterday the planting stage began, which was very exciting.  

November 12, 2014, Veteran's Day. Front yard is a blank canvas. Entire front yard grass, including the parkway had been ripped out and about four inches of soil removed.  
Can you see the rain chain just left of the porch? 
November 29, 2014. Rock has been delivered and work has begun on the dry riverbed that will start at my north side gate and meander toward an Olive tree that will be centered in front section of my yard. 

After laying down landscaping fabric, different sized rocks are being added to the dry riverbed. This is a work in progress as the goal is to make it look natural, not perfect. Various plants will go in along the edges of the dry riverbed.  

Between the garage and the porch is a dead area - with little sunlight the only thing this area grows is moss,etc., as all three roof lines bring water into this area when it rains.  It's an ugly spot now but will be  will be camouflaged once plants are added just in front of it.  

Because of downspout and rain chain, french drains needed to be dug in order to bring the water away from the house.  A ton of work but now it looks presentable with rock and a little fountain.  

December 13, 2014. I've done more work to my dry riverbed and now it's time to plant the Olive tree.  Didn't expect to come home with an Olive tree after a visit to Village Nursery in Huntington Beach, CA yesterday, but it was the perfect tree.  

Have I told you yet how sick of dirt I am?  Especially when it's wet? 

After digging the largest hole ever (many jokes were made about who could be buried in that hole), the Olive tree went in.  
This is what it looks like right now. 
I love my new tree!
This photo is taken on my neighbor's driveway. They are also participating in the Lawn to Garden program and finished yesterday with the delivery of Gorilla Hair mulch (it doesn't stay red for long). Once I am done planting, I will use the same mulch.  


And now for my Giveaway Day Winner - I had the BEST comments this week from those who entered my Giveaway Day post on Monday.  I asked those who entered to tell me where they would go and why if they could travel into the past.  I'll be talking about the comments in my next podcast episode as those who entered had wonderful thoughts as to where they would go and why. 

I couldn't help but choose Barb N's comment for my winner this time.  Not an easy question for me to answer as a Historian, but this time of year has me thinking especially of my own mother.  Barb said: 

Oh, what an easy question! If I could project myself into the past, I think I'd like to be a fly on that wall and see my mother again. Watch her as a child growing up. And falling in love. Having babies. Decorating the Christmas tree. Maybe have her give me a hug again. Yep, easy question.

Congratulations to Barb! 

I'm off to dig in the dirt again, Happy Sunday to all, 
Susan 












Monday, December 8, 2014

SMS Giveaway Day ~ A Black and White Tote

I'm going to make this short and sweet ~ It's Giveaway Day at Sew Mama Sew.  

This year I've decided to participate by giving away a Black and White Noodlehead 241 Tote.   I made one for myself a few years ago and now this one is for you! 

Black and White Noodlehead 241 Tote made especially for Giveaway Day 2014.
Details: 
Win: Black and White Noodlehead 241 Tote (not the pattern).
How: Leave a comment answering this question, "If you could project yourself into the past, where would you go?"  (Please tell me why! Don't be surprised if I talk about your answer on my podcast, so make them good.) 
Giveaway closes: Friday, December 12, 2014 at 5pm  PST.
I'll announce the winner on a blogpost by Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 5pm  PST.

Lastly, as I am a historian and love globes and maps, I will ship internationally. 


Good luck and make sure to go enter more giveaways at Sew Mama Sew
Susan 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fabric Tuesday: The Triton Quilt

Happy Tuesday!
Today's post is all about the evolution of the Triton Quilt I made for my son who is now a Freshman at University of California at San Diego (UCSD).  

Beginning Idea: Saturday, April 5th ~ Triton Day/Preview Day at UCSD. On drive to campus my son asked if I would make him a quilt and the design process began.  

As we walked around campus, I found my inspiration.

Process:  I used the Pictures to Pixels class by Caro Sherridan on Craftsy.com.  Although time consuming, the instructions were very clear.  I highly recommend this class if you wish to make a pixelated quilt.  


Once I finished finding all of the various Kona Color fabrics I needed, I began cutting on 9/3/14.
First stacks of fabric cut and ready.  Squares are 3" x 3".
Block 1 finished. 9/8/14
Blocks are 18" x 15".
Block 2 finished. 9/9/14
Six Blocks done.  9/10/14
9/19/14 ~ I thought I had all 16 done....
9/21/14 All 16 sewn together.  Success! 

9/22/14 Adding more Kona Snow to bring quilt top to 95" x 65".
9/24/14 Quilt backing done ~ hanging over kitchen island.  

9/24/14 Taping down quilt top to ready for basting. 

9/24/14 Batting
9/24/14 Quilt backing - Checkerboard squares of Kona Ocean and Corn Yellow,

9/24/14 Pinning the layers together.  OMG be careful not to scratch the floor with the pins! 
9/25/14 Start of the quilting process.  
Quilting took three days.  I did a straight line quilt pattern approximately 3.5 inches apart all throughout the Kona Snow using Aurifil #2024 White.  On the Triton design itself, I used Auriful #2740 Dark Cobalt, quilted in a stipple pattern meandering around from the bottom, and up and down all three tines.  
Binding:  I bound the quilt with a 2.5 inch strip in Kona Ocean and used Pat Sloan's Machine Binding tutorial.  Highly recommended! 

Ending:  Friday, September 29, 2014 at approximately 11:30pm.  Here is the quilt after it was washed and dried.  I was exhausted but exhilarated to be finished with this project.  Just in time! 
By the way at 10:00pm at night these two boxes, when inside a cabinet look extremely similar....What I thought were 6 (I was paranoid of bleeding) Color Catchers were actually Bounce sheets in the washer after the cycle was finished.  


9/30/14 7:00am A quick morning shot before the quilt is packed and driven to UCSD. 
The best part of the entire process was the text I received from my son after we had said goodbye and driven home. He sent me a picture of the quilt on his bed and a sweet thank you for all of my work.  
9/30/14 Approximately 3:00pm
I'm sharing the Triton Quilt on Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.  

If you want to hear more about the Triton Quilt, please listen to my latest podcast episode, The History Quilter Podcast Episode 42 Quilt Kits of the 1920's, 30's and 40's.  

Hope you are having a wonderful Tuesday! 
Ciao~
Susan 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

History Quilter Podcast Episode 42 Quilt Kits of the 1920's, 30's and 40's


A new History Quilter Podcast Episode is now available on iTunes, Podbean and Stitcher Radio.  

Here is the quilt I made for my son who is now a Freshman at UCSD.  
The Triton Quilt - 95" x 65"

Links talked about in the episode: 

Modern Marvels: Quilts Made From Kits, 1915-1950 now showing at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  

International Quilt Study Center & Museum at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Palette Builder 2.1 from Play Crafts.  This website is genius!  Upload your photo and within seconds Kona Color fabric colors are listed that match the colors in your photo.  Again, absolute genius! 


Pat Sloan's Machine Binding Tutorial from Pat Sloan.  This method creates a very attractive and strong blanket stitch to attach the second side of your binding.  Can't say enough about her tutorial - very helpful and easy to follow.  

Impossible to see with this photo - I'll get a better one when the Triton Quilt comes back at Thanksgiving. 

Go have a great day.  I know I will as I get to go teach!
Ciao~
Susan 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WIP Wednesday: A Pixelated Triton & Landscaping

Today was the start of the school year in the district that I teach in.  With no children attending school in this district anymore it seemed a bit strange but I enjoyed watching all of the neighborhood children setting off for High, Elementary and Middle Schools, in that order.  Of course I wished them all well especially in their History classes.  

First up on my WIP Wednesday List is the Triton Quilt.  This quilt is for my older son who start his Freshman year at UCSD on Saturday, September 27th and I am determined that he will have this quilt on his dorm bed that first evening.  I pixelated a photograph of the UCSD Triton logo and am using that photo as my guide for the squares ~ more on that as the quilt progresses.  
Triton Quilt in progress.  

Concurrently on my WIP Wednesday list is my front yard landscaping.  I've just submitted my landscape plan for the Long Beach Water Department Lawn to Garden Program.  The dead grass and dirt will soon be replaced with beautiful drought tolerant and (mostly) California native plants.  An Olive tree will be the focal point in front of the bench that I love to sit on with a dry riverbed meandering from the right side gate flowing into the Olive tree. 

my neighbors to the right are doing the same program  

ugly parkway will soon be beautiful
concrete steps will soon pop 


After the Triton Quilt is completed and in use at UCSD, I will continue with Roman Holiday (previously called Russian Rubix which I renamed this morning), I'm using a fabric line called Va Bene which has tomatoes, vespas and map of various landmarks of Rome.  


And lastly for today I have a little finish: I don't even have a name for this little cutie made of up Persian Stars made by members of the Modern Blocks Bee I participated in last year.  It's a mix of voile and onsaburg fabrics. 

Parisian Star Quilt
I'm linking up with Lee of Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday today - It is lovely to be back! 
Have a great Wednesday!
Ciao~
Susan