Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Holidays!

My favorite time of year is here! I love the holiday season: the colors, the snow, the family time, the music :)

This year is a bit different as I am not setting up a tree in my apartment and I did not go home for Thanksgiving to help set up the one at my parents house. Decorating is one of my favorite traditions and my (ever growing) collection of holiday decorations is packed safely away, waiting for me to get a grown up job and have a more permanent living situation. So in the mean time, I am making do with finishing up some holiday projects and gift giving while listening to lots and lots of Christmas music!

My parents came out to visit me a couple of weekends ago, and I had such an amazing time with them! We were tourists for the weekend and it was really fun :)

We found the ducks along the river walk and were the only ones out enjoying it (maybe because it was cold and misty...)

We also stopped to see the lake close to my apartment, just a bit before the tornado sirens went off...

We also went to Discovery World and spent the afternoon avoiding the torrential downpour that was happening outside. I got some more good pictures of the fish and saw a pregnant seahorse which was neat.

One of my many holiday projects is from a McCalls Quilting magazine, I modified the borders and used lots of bright colors :)

Pinned and ready to quilt! Hopefully I will finish it this weekend. I have 5 more gifts to finish (only one is started, but it's the biggest one, so I'm not worried) and 2 things I would like to finish for me before I go home for break.

I had the flu earlier this week (ick!!!) and spent two days doing nothing. And am just now feeling mostly back to normal. Which means I am very behind on my practicing and school work.

To Do this weekend:
Finish 2 gifts
Finish one thing for me
Practice everyday
Memorize first half of Lalo
Memorize one movement of Bach
Finish laying out method book and plan what needs to be printed out
Find more sources for expanding the research paper

To Do next week:
Finish 2 more gifts
Buy other gifts on cyber Monday
Print and assemble method book
Second draft of research paper
Begin to assemble pedagogy portfolio
Finish memorizing Lalo
Finish memorizing Bach

None of this seems unreasonable right now, so hopefully I can get it all done!

Happy Thanksgiving and have a great holiday season! :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Taking stock, and first snow of the season!

This has been a difficult semester for me, at times I have felt like Milwaukee is out to get me. After a particularly rough weekend, I have decided to make one change that will hopefully make my tenure here much better. I have decided to take out a small student loan so that I have a travel allowance to go home and visit my family and friends. I have felt very isolated here and I think this is the best solution. Much better than trying to cram all of my stuff back in my car and start driving south-west...

I am used to being completely self-sufficient, and it was really difficult when I had a major problem this weekend to try and sort through it on my own. I'm really grateful my roommate was so awesome, she helped me not freak out too much, and distracted me when I needed it.

I can't even begin to express how excited I am to see my parents when they come out to visit next weekend! And I go home in 5 weeks :)

Practicing was not productive this weekend, but I have added the excerpts for the NRO festival to my pile of music and I am planning on registering for an audition at the end of February. In other news, I cooked a lot, and I am going to try and finish a quilt top before bed tonight. It shouldn't be too hard, I only have four seams...

And it snowed! Finally! I loved watching the flakes swirl down. Not much stuck, and it will be cold tomorrow, but it snowed! Yay :)


I finished the sparks runner :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Almost there!

The crazy week is halfway done! I am taking a short break this morning to get some "house keeping" done which has been sidelined for over a week now. Progress update:

Violin midterm, done
Pedagogy midterm, done I might even know how I did this afternoon!
Practicing with my accompanist, first one done, second one today (I still have lots to do...)
Recordings paper, turned in
Rough draft, almost done (only one more section to go...)
Presentation, halfway...ish
Method book compiled and layout started (this has sparked two separate ideas that I'm hoping will eventually turn into something that can be presented at an ASTA conference or published in the ASTA journal!)

And just so you don't think I'm not busy enough, I have also made progress on my mini twister quilt :)

And here is a look at my organization of quotes/citations for my research project. Kudos to my roommate for suggesting I take over a wall in our living room to do it. I've been sitting on the floor writing my paper and it has worked rather well!

In other news, I think winter is finally starting to seep in. Almost all of the leaves are down on the trees across the street from my apartment, and it's wet outside...very wet. I'm hoping I don't get soaked on my walk to the bus! And I finally had to replace my backpack :( the one I've had for 11 years. No one can say I don't get my money's worth out of things. The new one is really stiff, and a bit smaller. I'm hoping this encourages me to not bring extraneous things with me which is a tendency I have. I haven't had a chance to spray it with the waterproofing spray yet, but it's a North Face and claims to be water resistant. We will see.

Today's practicing will include Bach, Lalo, orchestra music, and working on my string crossings (they are stiff lately and I need to smooth them out).

I'm listening to the Philip Glass violin concerto as I write this and it has inspired me to leave for school a bit early for some extra time in the practice room!

Monday, October 28, 2013


The semester is going so fast! I have so much I need to accomplish and so much I want to accomplish its crazy. And really starting to pile up...

My research paper is going well, but I'm trying to get my rough draft done by Thursday (a week before it's due) and that's a tad ambitious. If I succeed though I will then have a week to work on my presentation of the paper and the official rough draft is due the day after my presentation. And then 5 entire weeks to finalize the paper :) that is the best part! My topic is the development of the German baroque violin sonata focusing on the violin sonatas composed by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and Heinrich Ignaz Franz Von Biber. It's fantastic! More later on...

I'm super excited to start working with my accompanist this week on the first movement of Lalo's Symphonie Espagnol. It's coming together for me, mostly, and I'm working on memorizing it for juries in December. I have violin midterms next Monday, scales and an étude memorized in front of the class, and a looming possible quiz about general violin/music knowledge that may or may not happen on any given week. So you know...the usual :)

This is where I spend my time. A small room with my stuff sprawled everywhere. I love practice rooms! I can get so much done in them and block out the rest of the world. And there is no one in them on Monday mornings or Friday afternoons...go figure. Guess that officially makes me a music nerd :). And if you look super close at that picture you can see my newly finished violin case snuggy! The one I started back in January...

In other news I'm expanding my craft project list (because I'm crazy) by adding 2 things every time I finish one. Yep, that's just how I do things!

To finish tonight:
Recordings comparison paper rough draft
Notes on 2 more sources for research paper
Write introduction for research paper
Study for pedagogy midterm

To finish this week:
Research paper rough draft
Recordings paper final draft
Memorized scale patterns and étude for midterm
Finish compiling all of the pieces for rep class method book (a crazy fun project!)
Sewing the rows together and borders onto my new twister quilt
Finish tracing the last page for fusible appliqué on the garden quilt block

PS where is the snow? CO has already gotten some and I've yet to see any here :(

Friday, October 4, 2013

Time flies and stands still, how does that work?

Another month has passed and I'm already counting down the days until I go home for Christmas! The weather has been beautiful so far, and I actually heard someone complaining about it the other day :) I'm a bit sad that I'm missing the snow that has already fallen back home.

The fog this morning out of my window.

Fall colors on my walk back from the bus stop.

I'm playing Lalo Symphonie Espagnol and Bach E Major Partita this semester and I'm loving both of them! Also lots of Sevcik and Kreutzer études. The first orchestra concert is next week. Lots to play :)

My sewing has taken a bit of a back burner, but this weekend I'll be doing a bunch of mending that I've been avoiding. Then back to finishing the quilting on the rainbow pinwheel quilt that's already on my bed :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

End of Summer Break

Summer is coming to an end for me. Classes start next week, 6 days! I'm really looking forward to getting going, I have just a bit too much free time on my hands right now. My roommate and I have begun learning to use the bus system which is going to be my primary means of transport to and from campus.

We went to Irish Fest and Discovery World a couple of weekends ago and I got some great pictures from the Reimann Aquarium! I love looking at fish. And we got to pet a sturgeon and manta rays. It was pretty comical as I am not tall enough to reach into the tank without completely leaning on the side, so I got soaked :)

I have really settled in with my stuff in the apartment too. My room is done and I have a permanent sewing table set up in the dining room!

These are the hummingbirds hanging on the cork board, one of several works in progress I already have going...

Not to mention the practicing and prepping for auditions. That's all for now!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New City

Moved at last...when do I get to go home???

The drive out was nice and cool, rain for 3 days, and it was fun spending more time with my mom. We were both very surprised at the lack of bike racks on people's cars once we got out of Nebraska, but come to find out people just don't seem to cart them around, they just ride them. So I'm not a weirdo after all. I definitely had the day long freak out about staying here and not going back to CO, and I didn't go back (I just had to keep telling myself that I no longer could fit everything in my car so I was stuck here). There was a frustration with the furniture from IKEA, ok a major issue, but in the end, building a nightstand, bed, and couch after 6:30pm in one night with your roommate that you met for the first time 3 days before becomes a bonding experience.

This is my room from that first night...a lot of color in a very white space. More pictures of the final set up later, it looks pretty nice :)

Settling into the new city has been interesting. I have yet to find a "regular" grocery store. Right now I'm using the super Walmart and that bothers I'll keep hunting. Otherwise, I have a feeling that my crafting is going to be fueled with Internet purchases. None of the JoAnns stores are anywhere near the caliber of the ones back home which is a major disappointment as is the lack of quilt stores within reasonable driving distance. Oh well.

We did get to see the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts, which was fantastic. Check out their website:

And if you didn't think I was crazy yet, my roommate and I did a 1000 mile road trip last weekend to see the DCI World Finals in Indianapolis and visit her families farm. 10 days after driving 1000 miles for the move I drove another 1000. It's a good thing my car loves me. And gets good gas mileage.

So much fun!

In an effort to explore my new city and get involved, I'm volunteering with Doors Open Milwaukee. This is an event where historical buildings open up to the public for free for one weekend in September. I'll be at a beautiful church in downtown, and the best part is that my volunteer badge lets me jump the lines at any of the other sites I want to see :) I'm really looking forward to that weekend at the end of September.

In other news, visited the art museum today. The architecture was fabulous, as were the exhibits.

It sits right on the lake and has impressive views.

In a more regular vein, I am getting ready for 2 auditions (they are never ending...): one for the sub list of the MSO and the other for chair placements in the university symphony orchestra. And I'm pondering joining a community orchestra. Plus I am studying for the diagnostic tests I will take next week for placement in the correct classes. So not much going on :)

That's all for now, once the light gets better I'll take some pictures of the apartment.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ready, Get Set...MOVE!

Less than one month to go, wait for it... 25 days!  It's official.  I am actually counting down the days until I leave.  We start driving on July 29 and end up in Milwaukee on July 31 with 2 stops in between.  Whew!  I am super excited and extremely terrified at the same time.  I am in the process of pairing down all of my possessions to a few boxes that will be stored here of things and what will fit in my car.  Everything else is going.  I'm selling all of my furniture (except the bed which my parents will hold onto for me, cause its amazing) and everything else I forgot I owned that I no longer have a need for.  Can you say way to much stuff???  So here I am gearing up for a garage sale, trying to sell stuff on Craigslist, and attempting to squeeze as much time in with friends and family here in CO. 

I am also practicing.  Big surprise, I know.  There is an audition to be on the sub list for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra this fall and I intend to take it.  So I am back to learning excerpts, dusting off a Mozart concerto and playing lots of scales.  I am also playing in summer "teacher" orchestra.  A bunch of the orchestra teachers in the school district I taught in get together and play once a week to help non-string playing orchestra teachers get better at playing string instruments, share music ideas and generally laugh a lot.  It's a blast :)

Not to let you think I am getting bored, I am also quilting/crafting a lot.  I have started to try and make clothes, new for me, and the first one turned out ok.  I need to adjust the elastic, but all in all I was pleased.  I am attempting to finish a set of "calendar" quilts I started with my mom a year and a half ago.  She made them all, I got distracted halfway through...typical me.  We are also planning a project that we can both work on together over Facetime(gotta love the iPads) for the next 2 years while I'm in grad school.  I am really excited for it.  Check out McKenna Ryan's In Full Bloom patterns, that is what we're doing!

So how is all of this going you ask?  Well, let me tell you trying to fit everything I need AND everything I want into my Maxima (not a small car but definitely not an SUV) is super stressful.  I mean, I have 3 instruments, music, a stand, a sewing machine, fabric, clothes, and shoes.  And those are the essentials... I love those space saver vacuum bags, they are saving the day!  I will definitely share pictures of the packed car, I'm sure it will be interesting.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Long time coming and a short way to go...

It's almost here!  The first day of summer "break" is FRIDAY!  I have been so busy for the last 5 weeks, that I have not really been able to do much of anything besides teach (full time sub job and lessons) and sleep.  Now I'm gearing up to cram in a lot of stuff before I leave in *yikes* 8 weeks!

Off to UWM for grad school!  I did get in, and after a really long few weeks, everything is settled for school.  I have registered for classes, found a roommate, and we are almost done apartment searching (hopefully) which is not fun when you can drive to and look at potential future homes, but is quite miserable when you and your roommate live in 2 different states, neither of which happen to be the one you are moving to...

All of this is super exciting and a bit overwhelming, especially considering I haven't really had time to process exactly what moving away means yet.  I guess I will panic about that later.  Right now, I am making plans to organize my stuff for a cross-country move, and trying not to think too much.  Its almost 1100 miles...

Well, off to finish up the school year :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stress sewing...

Waiting for the letter for grad school is extremely stressful. And there is absolutely nothing I can do but wait. And check the mailbox obsessively. So I stress. For me the usually means lots of cooking and baking. These both require attention and are good ways to distract myself. Today, it is sewing.

I have two major projects going already, but do I pick one of those to work on? No. I pull out one I have the blocks done for and put the rows together. (The pattern is from a McCalls Quick Quilt magazine, "All a Twitter", june/july 2012). So not only am I stress sewing, I'm not working on the projects I have deadlines for. Stress does weird things to me.

Winter has arrived in full form and the softly falling snow is conducive to practicing and sewing in copious amounts :)

That's it for now, hopefully I won't be stressed for too much longer!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Warm weather is not to be over rated!

After spending a frigid 2 days in Milwaukee, I'm am hopeful about my chances of getting in. I was ok driving around, but the stress that goes with trying to figure out how to navigate a new city in a rental car was extreme. Good thing my car was cute and semi-familiar. Way to go enterprise with a nice car!

I woke up on Saturday to a wonderful pile of snow and had an enjoyable time at the violin shop playing instruments that cost more than I make in 2 years...

Otherwise just trying to finish up the quilts I'm making for friends in between practicing and quartet and orchestra and teaching and subbing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Whirlwind of crazy

There has been so much going on lately, and it's all very exciting! I leave in 2 short days for Milwaukee, WI for an audition at UWM. I'm nervous, almost equal parts for driving around a new city in a rental car (yes I CAN rent a car) and the audition itself (a bit more for the audition...).

After I get back my life will take a drastic shift immediately. I haven't been subbing much this year to leave me time to prepare for auditions, however I am in need of making some extra money. I have car repair costs to keep my car in good running condition and I am very seriously considering buying a new violin this year. Mine has never really adapted to the super dry CO climate and it is not sounding very good anymore. Anyway, I will suck up the nastiness of 5am phone calls and start taking more sub jobs to get some capital.

In other news, it snowed yesterday! I love waking up to a clean white snow, it is refreshing after the brown I get used to seeing everyday.

I should probably go shovel some...

I am also making a new violin case snuggie (not to be confused with the As Seen on TV adds for blankets with sleeves) for my new case. It is going to be nice and frigid in WI and I don't want my violin to get too cold :)

It's not done yet, I can't seem to remember how I made the last one. It's been too long... If I can figure out a great way to do it, maybe I will make a pattern and try to sell it :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Year, New Ideas

It's been awhile since I have posted, but I have made a goal to post more this year.  (Which considering last year's numbers won't be too hard...)  I am also setting up a website!  Crazy fun, and pretty simple so far.

I'm gearing up for an audition at the University of WI, Milwaukee for performance and pedagogy.  I'm nervous and practicing like crazy.  Fingers crossed, but there is no substitute for good old fashioned hard work.  While I'm out there, I am going to try to visit a violin shop and get a new appraisal on my instrument.  It has been having some major issues and I think I need to consider changing to a new one :(  Sad, because I love it however at some point you recognize that open seams every couple of weeks is a really bad sign.

In other news, I have decided to file my own taxes...yikes!  I bought the software and I'm attempting to figure it out.  We'll see how this turns out.  I wish I had enough money to have someone else file them for me, but I just don't this year.  If it all goes well, I will be super excited, but if not I will start putting aside money every month this year so I don't have to do them myself next year :)

Another goal I made for the year is finish some of the plethora of sewing/quilting/crafting projects I have started/want to start/already have the materials for.  I'll be posting pictures as I get them.  The first finished project of the year was a Mystery Quilt that I turned into the new shower curtain for my bathroom!