Friday, November 21, 2014

So. Many. Words...

It has been so long since I posted, but I have been writing up a storm.  I finished the first draft of a research paper about a week ago, I wrote the "modified" paper from that version for my presentation on it, and now I'm working on the first draft of another, even bigger, research paper.  Whew.  My keyboard and laptop have definitely been getting a work out.

This has been the busiest semester I have ever had by far in terms of school work.  My graduate seminar, which is really interesting, has involved LOTS of reading each week to prepare for discussion as well as working on a research paper, I had a paper and presentation for my studio class (thankfully that is completely done), I have a series of listening logs that I'm not caught up on (oops...), I'm writing the proposal for my recital which is another huge research paper/project, and I'm doing all of the other day to day stuff.  You know, practicing, practicing, practicing, and did I mention practicing?

I'm enjoying the work, but I'll be honest, I'm really ready for break.  Not Thanksgiving break, winter break.  Which is in two and a half weeks!  YES!!!

My poor sewing machine got turned on maybe twice in October, and it hasn't been a whole lot better since then.  I am starting to work on the 3 Christmas gifts I'm making this year, because let's be serious, I'm not sure they will get done if I'm not working on them now...

I also optimistically basted an old UFO from a couple of years ago, Santa's Sleigh and reindeer.  It is super cute and has been sitting, waiting ever so patiently to be finished.  My bright idea was that I didn't need to go out any buy anything to get it ready to quilt, so I should put it together and then just have it sitting on my sewing table for whenever I have a spare minute.  The only problem with that plan is having a spare minute when my brain isn't mushy from all of the focusing I've done throughout the day...Let me tell you that free motion quilting around reindeer antlers with a mushy brain is a really bad idea...

Winter has finally arrived, which means the cold is here.  Gross.  I wish there would at least be snow with the cold, but apparently it doesn't work that way here in November.  The snow comes later.  

Next week I'm super excited to be going to IN to spend Thanksgiving with some extended family and to get out of WI for a while.  It will be a much needed change of pace and scenery!  Then it's just a week and a half until I head home for Christmas!!!! YES!!!

Hopefully I will have some time next week to take some good pictures of what I've been working on and share them, otherwise, I'll see you in December :)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Yay for practicing!!!!

I have a job!  An official, paid, orchestra job!!!  Let the happy dance begin :)  I won my first audition on Tuesday evening and I start playing in January!!!  Sorry for all of the ! but I am really excited :)  This is all part of my plan, and it feels so good knowing that I can actually win an audition and that all of my years of practicing have paid off.  10 years ago, I was fully intending to attend college for a degree in astrophysics and ultimately pursue a I'm 9 months away from having a Masters degree in music performance.  Crazy how life turns out :)

Because I am me, and now that I've secured one job, I'm applying for another :) Yep.  I am sending a resume for another audition later this year.  I would love to make this other orchestra as well.  It would be great to be able to have these two lined up so that I can be making some money right out of school and not have to move back in with my parents.  I know they love me and support me, but let's be honest, if I am able to live on my own I will be more proud of myself and I'm sure they will be relieved that I can take care of myself :)

In the mean time, I am hanging out with friends this evening to break up the marathon study, writing, research, and practice sessions going on.  I'll leave you with some pictures that aptly show my week!

This is my practice room.  And yes, I do consider it mine.  I haven't used any other room yet this semester :)

My glorious new Crockpot! I love it :) Blue dots.  Need I say more???

In my quest to make thank you gifts for everyone I stayed with this summer, I made this little purple mug rug for Em.  She was super sweet and I know she likes to sit and sip her coffee in the morning so I thought this could brighten up her table :)  That, and I love making mini's an affliction...

I saw a peck of wild turkeys on my walk back from campus one day this week, these two were only a few feet away and there were 3 others on the opposite side of the fence.  I love wild life sightings in the middle of the city :)

This picturesque street is one I walk down most days on my way to campus.  It's beautiful and relaxing; not a bad way to start my mornings :)

That's all I've got for now, have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Trying something new :)

It has been a crazy week so far, and since I woke up and it was raining this morning I decided to do crafty things in the apartment this morning instead of schlepping to school to practice and research in the library.  Don't worry, I won't ignore my school work, I'm just going to do it later :)

In that spirit, I have thought about linking up to WIP Wednesday for ages, but it has never worked out for me to do it before now.  Either I didn't have pictures of a WIP from that week or I didn't actually work on anything that week (ah, the joys of grad school...).  

But this week I have a WIP AND pictures!!!  So here goes:

This is the "Twitter" top I have been working on.  I finished it after almost 2 years in progress on Sunday night.  The lighting is really bad during the day in my apartment, but especially so at 10:30 at night.

I saw this quilt in a McCall's magazine pattern and loved the fabric that the designer used, so, of course I ordered it online.  Fast-forward 2 years and I am trying really hard not to buy any fabric as I already have too much to be moving every 9-12 months so I decided to piece the backing with as much of the leftover fabric from the front as possible.  I've never done this before, so I spent a lovely afternoon with my roommate, former roommate, and her current roommate playing with the pieces trying to see how to best fit them together for the back.  I don't have enough, but it is really close!  I'm guessing less than a yard short :)  What you don't see in this picture is all of the leftover strips that I am sewing together into blocks that will also go somewhere on the back.
This is what my sewing corner in my apartment looks like.  The strips and blocks are everywhere on the table... I hope I can finish up the back by next week because I would really love to finish up this project!

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for the first time!

Otherwise, life is pretty normal.  My weeks are crazy on Mondays and Tuesdays, but Wednesdays and Thursdays are pretty tame and I have Fridays off!  You know, for extra practice time and research/writing.  I am also planning my travel to visit family in October, different family for Thanksgiving, and going home for Christmas :)  

And, perhaps my biggest WIP of all, I have a set program for my gradutate violin recital next semester!!! Yes!!! I LOVE all of my pieces and I am really looking forward to working on them for the next several months.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Um, where did August go?

As I was eating my cereal this morning, I realized that it is already September. Now, I knew it was September because classes had started and I mailed a birthday package to my Dad and his birthday is in September, but it didn't hit me until this morning that it is SEPTEMBER! Holy moly... The days in August seemed to blend together in a wash of relaxation and calm. It was nice :)

Now onto real life again. Classes have started and I am really excited about taking my graduate seminar this semester. The topic is Critical Organology and we will be discussing instruments and their development, comparisons, and poking at the question "just what is an instrument". It's going to be a lot of work, but I'm really excited for it! Other than that I'm taking lessons, Masterclass, and orchestra this semester so it won't be too bad.

And, drumroll please, I have a job with the University Community Orchestra playing assistant principle viola and helping out with anything extra behind the scenes that needs to get done. I'm so glad, it will be fun to play viola in orchestra and to have a weekly rehearsal that's just for fun :) not to mention getting paid for it ;)

I was super productive in August, crafty-wise:

I finished this cross stitched hand towel and I'm going to send it to my great-Aunt and Uncle in Indiana. They were so kind to let me stay with them on my way back from Maine and I loved getting to meet more of that side of the family!

I also finished these two floor cushions for my new apartment. My roommate and I have a 2 seat couch and one stuffed chair in the living room, and the folding chairs we have at the kitchen table, while functional are not comfortable for long periods of time when we have people over. I started them one evening, they sat for a couple of days and then I finished them in another evening. Best part, I didn't buy any fabric, just the pillow forms :) I do want to add Velcro to the envelope closure on the back, just for some stability since they get moved on the floor a lot.

I tried a new technique! This is from the Bloomin' Quilt As You Go quilt panel tutorial from Let's Eat Grandpa. ( I am not one for improv. It doesn't usually work out well for me, but I thought I'd give it a try, and it turned out pretty cool :)

I made this block as a test to see what it was all about and because I was thinking about using it for two other thank you gifts. I may do a smaller version for one of them, but this 11.5" by 11.5" block took 2 entire bobbins of thread and almost 2 hours just to sew... Now it is hanging on the wall of minis :) more will be added!

I have a couple of other gifts that I finished and gifted already but didn't get pictures of: a cross stitched lavender sachet and a quilted oven mitt. Plus I have finished a mini quilt depicting my friends beta fish and his castle as another gift that I have not photographed yet either.

My other bout of productivity in August was moving into the new apartment. It took a couple of weeks to get all settled in, but I have been enjoying being in my own space with my own things for a couple of weeks now and it is lovely! I wish there was more natural light here, there are half as many windows in this apartment as I had last year and unfortunately, even on bright sunny days, I need to have at least 2 lights on when I'm sewing. Oh well. I'll post more pictures of my apartment set up soon, but for now, this is my favorite part about the kitchen!

I promise the spice rack is straight and level, it's the phone jack cover that is wonky!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Stationary at last...

It has been a whirlwind of a summer!  I am finally back in Milwaukee and moved into the new apartment.  I'll do a more detailed post about everything (probably in smaller batches) soon, but I do want to share a few memorable moments quickly :)

This is me on top of Gorin Mountain in Acadia National Park on my first day off in Maine

The waves crashing onto Schoodic Point

Whale watching was fabulous, we saw several Finnback whales and this one was really close!

Shannon wanted to learn to, I helped her :)
 These are just some highlights, I will post more later but I wanted to get something up!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

On the road again!

I have completed the first leg of my journey across the country.  I will drive over 5000 miles this summer, which is a lot for my 17 year old car.  It is awesome though, so I'm not overly concerned :)

I am back in WI now with a car load of stuff for my storage unit for next year and I am signing the lease for my new apartment tomorrow!  Yay :)  While I'm here for a couple of days I am staying with a friend and it is so nice to catch up with her!

Before I left home, my mom and I sewed up a storm!  I finished a complete new set of accessories for me: purse, wallet, key chain, check book cover, and coin pouch.  Everything in my everyday purse is now made by me except the card wallet I was given by a friend that is from Italy and amazing.  And, being me, I made sure everything was blue, purple, or white with a vintage feel/incorporated flowers.  I know...I'm crazy :D  I would show you pictures, but I haven't actually taken any yet.  Oops.

I do have a picture of my rainbow pinwheel quilt.  I finally completed the last of the quilting inside each of the blocks and washed it.  I ended up free motion quilting an echo inside each of the sections of the pinwheel.  I originally started the quilting with my walking foot on my old machine, but each block took almost 40 minutes to complete because I had to turn it so much (this is why it sat on my bed for 8 months with no progress).  It is awesome!  This is the first bed sized quilt I have ever made entirely by myself.  I love it so much!  That being said, my next bed sized quilt (which I have already started...) will be in a much softer color pallet.  
I picked out the fabric from my very small stash at the time and from my moms as well as adding to it significantly from the fabric stores.  There are fabrics from at least 10 other projects in this quilt and I love the reminders :)  The only thing I want to add to it is a quilt label.  I started this quilt while I was student teaching in 2011 and finished it June 2014.  

The other quilt I completed was the first quilt I ever started, back in the summer of 2008, with my mom.  I was moving that fall into an apartment with a full size bed and needed a quilt (all of the ones she had made for me were twin size).  She turned me loose with her quilt books and fabric stash and I picked out a pieced block ("Joseph's Coat" I think...) and lots of bright fabrics to go with a white background covered in silver glitter.  20 year old me loved it!  26 year old me still loves most of it, just not in the quantity it ended up being.  Needless to say it was not finished in time to use in that apartment.  Part of the reason for this is I was not given any guidelines for picking out a pattern and I chose a block with 65 separate pieces.  Thats right, 65.  This precipitated naming the quilt "Mom set no boundaries!"  

I decided early on to make 2 identical blocks in each color combination I chose, partly to keep the amount of cutting reasonable and partly because I could only come up with so many different combinations.  Actually, I'm pretty proud that I was able to come up with 10 combinations that look good together.  I then spent the next 2 years piecing the blocks.  There was lots of seam ripping, and many of those seams were not a good 1/4 inch.  When they were finally all done, I had over an inch of difference in the final size between some of we added "window panes" to all of the blocks to make them the same size, and then sashed and corner stoned them.  Now, I would just like to point out that at this point we (my mom and I) were still thinking it would be a full size bed quilt.  However, due to a math error, or quite possibly human error, after everything was done, it was big enough to generously cover my parents king size bed (98x112).  At this point in my quilting journey, I was not at a place to even consider quilting that myself, so my mom did the main blocks and along the sashing.  We added 2 outer borders and I decided to hand quilt them.  Yeah, I do not have the patience to hand quilt anything.  So it was folded and set aside, staring at me every time I passed it.

I made a goal that 2013 would be a year to finish projects, and I was very good about that, but I also started lots of those projects, so for 2014 I made a goal to finish projects that were already started by January 1.  I have done pretty good so far, and when I was home I got on a roll and finished my first ever quilt (those hand quilted borders are about 15% hand quilted and the rest is free motion quilted in the same design).  I'm glad I did, but I'm not sure exactly what to do with it now...I am a much better quilter than I was, and the cut off corners and points and parts of the blocks that don't line up kind of bug me, and it is very pink.  I like pink, but it is VERY pink for me.  So it is back in WI waiting to be photographed and a use found for it.  

I have enjoyed thinking back to all of my past projects and I am still thoroughly enjoying the journey!  I have found I really enjoy smaller projects, placemats and small wall hanging sizes, as well as making beautiful and functional things, napkins, shower curtains, hot pads, and purses.  I also really love piecing.  I like paper piecing, but I'm not very fond of applique, it is too fiddly for my taste.  I think it is very interesting comparing my taste in patterns and fabrics with my mom, we are similar and yet very different :)

In other, music related news, I have been using the book Basics by Simon Fischer in my daily warm ups and practice.  This book has over 300 exercises to work on all aspects of playing the violin and I find myself very mindful when I am playing and practicing which leads to a much more efficient session after I have used the book.  I'll share more about it later on!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Summer Plans

There are so many things I am excited about for this summer that I'm having trouble knowing where to start :)

I'm home right now, which is fantastic, and this is really my summer break.  I am playing in a concert tonight (sold out!) and then I have about 2 more weeks to just hang out with my friends and family.  I was sewing yesterday, trying to finish up the quilting on my bed quilt so I can finally wash it, when all of a sudden I can't sew any more.  I'm not sure what happened and I don't feel like dealing with it today, so that is tomorrow's project.  After I go see my mom's second graders put on a play! They are so cute, I can hardly stand it :)

Otherwise, being home is all about sleeping in and relaxing.  Two words that are a bit foreign to me during the school year and I intend to take full advantage!

On the drive back with my mom, we stopped at a cute quilt store in Le Claire, Iowa and I found a fabric that I simply must own: Glow in the Dark constellations!  So awesome!!!  Unfortunately, the shop was sold out, so I am looking around online; the dangerous part about buying online is that it is easy to talk myself into ordering more than I would buy in a store to justify the shipping...sigh.

The weather has been crazy out here, tornadoes, crazy thunderstorms, sideways rain, and lots of hail.  I'm very glad I haven't been caught out in any of it yet.

Next up on the summer agenda is a massive road trip out to Maine!  I am crazy excited and finalizing my plans now.  First up, back tracking to Milwaukee and a day to recover from that 1,100 mile drive and then 3 more days of driving out to Hancock!  The program I am in is close to Acadia National Park and I am planning on bringing my bike with me so I can ride through the park on my days off :)  I have really missed having a bike to ride after it was stolen from the garage in September so my parents are helping my buy a used one as a birthday present!  I'm going out to see some tomorrow :)

And in the mean time, lots of practicing and listening to the rep I'll be playing this summer.  I just ordered a concerto and a daily violin exercise book to take with me to Maine and they should both arrive soon.  I will be working on the Bach g minor unaccompanied sonata, Tchaikovsky concerto, and Vitali Chaconne this summer as well as orchestra excerpts and the rep for the summer festival.  It will be very busy, but I'm really looking forward to it.

I promise there will be pictures next time!

To Do before leaving for Maine:
get car checked out, tires rotated
new camera battery or charger (don't know which isn't working) for good camera
buy bike and new helmet
finish quilting pinwheels
put garden block together
pack up handwork project for summer

Monday, May 19, 2014

Home at last :)

It is so great to be home! 1,100-ish miles in two days is doable, not crazy fun, but doable. After spending 3 days packing, cleaning, and moving it is a little bit less doable, so I'm really glad I didn't have to drive anywhere yesterday :)

I have just over three weeks in glorious Colorado! So little time, but I'm planning a lot of fun things that just can't be done anywhere else: I'm playing the final concert of the season with the orchestra I played with before leaving for grad school this week, I'm hiking up the Mesa behind my parents house, buying a new-to-me bike with my dad, hanging out with the dog, and spending tons of time with my friends and family here. I'm really looking forward to all of it :)

Then, it's another huge road trip out to Maine. Solo. (My mom came with me on the drive home and it's always easier when there is someone else in the car.) I will back track to Milwaukee with more of my things to use in the new apartment next year and stay with a friend for a day and then drive to northeast Ohio, then southern New Hampshire, and then Maine. I tried really hard to keep the driving each day under 12 hours just in case I run into any construction or other problems. My sense of distance is totally screwed up looking at maps of states out east...they are so small in comparison to what I'm used too. It should be fun, and exhausting all at the same time.

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, and I'm looking forward to a little bit of time off to sew and practice and sleep in!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Just around the corner

Summer is coming! Not here in Wisconsin (at least not anytime soon) but I will be heading towards it in just 10 days! I'm ready to get back home for a while. Before then, there are lots of things to do....

My roommate and I are just now starting to get our things organized to put into the storage unit we're renting for the summer. We check out of our apartment in 9 days. The reason for our procrastination is practical - we have finals. I have one project, one paper, one jury, one concert, and one more final before I'm done. Then I can worry about packing everything. So in snatched moments of time I'm making lists of everything I need to keep out of storage :) I don't know about anyone else, but moving is really hard and I'm very much looking forward to being at a point in my life that I don't have to for a while!

Then once everything is packed away, I'm driving back to glorious Colorado with my mom. Three and a half weeks at home to play more concerts, visit, and hopefully start to get rid of the super white color of my skin before I'm driving back to WI with stuff for my apartment next year. New roommate in a new apartment and we will need more of my stuff. I'm trying not to think of how it will all get back to CO after graduation.

Then, and this is the truly exciting part, I will be driving to Hancock, Maine to play violin and viola at the Pierre Monteux School for orchestra and conducting! I am so excited I can hardly wait!!! 6 weeks on the coast of ME playing music, it doesn't get much better than that. And my family is going to vacation there for a week so I'll get to see them too :) plus I'm planning to visit friends along the drive out and back that I otherwise don't get to see.

So until then, studying, practicing, packing, and lots of time with friends :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Where has April gone?

I had such plans! So many things were going to get accomplished. Alas, life got in the way as usual. I did manage to finish two big projects for school, quilt my table runner and placemats, finish the birthday gift, and this months bee blocks. Other than that, I've been practicing up a storm. I now have 3 pieces for my jury (2 weeks ago I only had one) and they have needed some serious attention. The final orchestra concert is tomorrow night, and it has some crazy hard rep on it, and there is this community orchestra I am subbing in as the concert master. So no stress right :)

In my moments of snatched free time, I did learn how to free motion quilt meandering loops ion the placemats and table runner as well as the surprise birthday gift. I just need to bind the table toppers now :) then I will be done and they look really cute!!!

I did manage to finish up my Stash Bee blocks for this month:

I am heading to the post office to mail them this afternoon.

In the next two weeks I have 4 concerts to play in and 7 or 8 recitals to attend. Then it's just finals and projects and juries. Wish me luck, it's crunch time!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Showers...wash the snow away?

It has been a long and cold winter.  I have never been cold for so long in my life.  And yes, I know I'm a wimp.  I didn't used to be...but moving to WI made me a cold wimp :( 

However, on a happier note, spring is coming!  Slowly but surely :) The birds are singing sometimes, there is way less snow and the temperatures are above freezing!  Yay!!! I'm personally hoping for a rainy season, I love the rain: it is rejuvenating! 

I have been steadily working away on several projects including my huge research paper for this semester on Aaron Copland and his collaboration with Martha Graham that culminated with Appalachian Spring in 1944.  I have always loved this piece and studying its conception and the creative process is fascinating.  There were several hitches along the way, but the final product is stunning.

I am also compiling a comprehensive list of viola literature (concertos, sonatas, solo pieces, and other works for viola) which is interesting and much more difficult than I originally thought it would be.  I am trying to decide the best way to list it right now, as well as still adding too it.  I don't know how I would do it without IMSLP!

I have several goals for April:
Finish Copland Paper (due April 14)
Finish the viola repertoire list
Memorize my de Beriot concerto
Deep clean the apartment
Pack away winter clothes and pull out stuff for donation
Finish the top of Twitter
Finish the Sparks table runner and placemats
Make a surprise birthday gift for a friend
Potholders for the apartment
A Zipper pouch for another friend as a Congrats on a new job gift
Make a new wallet and check book cover for myself

If I finish all of of those things, then there are a few others :)
Write the Lalo comparison paper for my studio class (Due May 5)
Make a wallet for my aunt to match her purse
Finish cutting out the fabric for my next bed quilt
Finish fusing the applique for the garden quilt
Make the background for the garden quilt

Monday, March 31, 2014

Music Monday Beethoven Style

Good morning and happy Monday again!

I thought I would share a wonderful YouTube video with you of David Oistrakh playing the 5th sonata for piano and violin.  It is a beautiful recording.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Music Monday

Happy Monday once again!

The UWM Symphony Orchestra has a concert on Friday night, so I thought I would share the program with you this week.  We are playing the overture to Nabucco by Verdi (super fun and exciting to play and to listen to), the 3rd Symphony by Schumann, and the Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor (the soloist is exquisit!)  It will be a wonderful performance and if you are around, it's Friday night at 7:30 in Bader Hall on the UWM campus. 

(Here is a sneck peak of the symphony)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring wonderfulness

Hello again!  I have been relaxing, enjoying the warmth and catching up on some fun reading and projects.  

I finished one of the two place mats' tops that will match a table runner I'm making and have put the binding on my mom's gorgeous king sized bed quilt.  My Christmas gift to her was doing the binding (she really doesn't like binding...) after the quilting is all done.  I finished it in an hour and 45 minutes.  Not to shabby for my first king sized quilt :)  She just needs to finish up quilting the borders and the pillow shams.  It has been a project 2 years in the making, and is going to be stunning when it's all done and on her bed!

I also spent way too much money on thread in an attempt to match colors for my Twitter quilt top.  I have been working on it slowly but surely for the past month, and my goal is to take home the top completely finished.  So I just need to add the borders and finish securing the applique flowers and flower centers.  It shouldn't take long.  I am planning on setting up the iHome while I'm sewing and listening to the 5th Harry Potter book :D

I am also practicing lots of concertos.  I have 2 Viotti concertos and 2 de Beriot concertos, as well as the 2nd and possibly 3rd movements of the 5th Beethoven sonata and a host of exercises and etudes.  Lots of fun.  I really needed some time away from my instrument, but I am enjoying getting back into the swing of it now.  I think being on break helps with that. 

Next week will be busy again: there is an orchestra concert next Friday, it is going to be really good, and I have volunteered to help create accessible print materials for other students on campus.  I had a violin student a few years ago who had some vision issues and needed enlarged music as well as enlarged everything for school, and she was always frustrated when she couldn't see what was handed out because someone forgot, so this is something I would love to do to help out another student and make their life just a little bit easier.  It's easy to forget sometimes that I really am lucky.

I am experimenting with fonts and sizes and stuff, so don't be shocked if things are different in the next few posts!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Emotional Music

Happy Monday once again!

I thought I would share a thought from my violin professor: "Music is the only time in life you cycle through 25 emotions in 10 minutes.  It is exhausting.  Get used to it."

So true :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Bee Block in record time

I finished packing for my trip home early today, so I thought I would get started on my bee block for March. only took half an hour including choosing my fabrics and cutting them. :) isn't it nice when that happens? This block really pushed me out of my comfort zone too, I'm not comfortable with curves (so I deliberately did two curves on the pink and purple strips) and I REALLY don't like improv sewing, which this kind of is. But, it turned out cute which is all that matters to me :)

Sorry for the dark picture, it's actually quite sunny out, you just can't tell...

Have a wonderful weekend, I'm on vacation to see my family for spring break!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Music Monday

I was pleasantly surprised to find a piece by Anton Webern in my 20th century music history class that I absolutely fell in love with.  Im Sommerwind was composed in 1904 and is a lush and romantic sounding orchestral work.  I love listening to it.  This video is Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Enjoy and Happy Monday!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Happy sewing

I had been wanting something with a clear ID pouch for my bus pass so I don't have to take off my mittens to ride the bus on cold days :) I made one myself, just making up the pattern as I went along. It was interesting. Functional. Not super pretty, but the fabric is cute. All in all, it worked, but I was on the hunt for something better.

This was last November. Yes, I was cold enough in November to not want to take off my gloves for 15 seconds to flash my ID to get on the bus. I have no tolerance for cold. Flash forward to about a month ago and one of my favorite pattern designers, Erin Erickson of Dog Under My Desk (check out her page it is awesome!!!) started posting Instagram pictures of a wallet she was designing. It had a clear ID pouch! Yes! I waited with baited breath for the pattern release, snapped it up and then had absolutely no time for sewing. Sigh.

I decided to make one as a trial run and started on Wednesday evening. It was a long day after a long couple of weeks and I really wanted to see how my new sewing machine handles it. (Really quite well)

I spent about an hour and a half Wednesday night on it, then went to bed, not wanting my sleepiness to interfere with the finished product. After waking up insanely early, I haven't seen 5am in a while, I finished Thursday morning with maybe another hours work! It's cute and functional. I don't plan on stuffing much into it, just my bus pass and the various cards and things I need on campus so it's not really a wallet for me, more of a glorified card holder, but super cute and stylish :)

This is the crazy picture I took right before class started to send to my mom :)

I have another crazy week coming up: midterms! Lots of studying, listening, and practicing to do. I'm playing the first movement of Beethoven's fifth sonata for piano and violin for my repertoire class midterm and I have a take home essay and in class exam with listening example, score identification, and short answer for my 20th century music class.

Then it's spring break! Home to CO, and learning to use the long arm quilter :) and working on the rough draft on my 10 page paper on Aaron Copland, the final draft is due shortly afterwards.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Music Mondays

Happy Monday!

I know there are a lot of people who don't like Mondays, but I am not one of them!  I love the beginning of a new week: lots of new possibilities!

I was listening to the Elgar Cello concerto performed by Yo-Yo Ma this weekend while studying, and thought I would share a great video of it with you from You Tube! Just click on the link and you can hear the first movement with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Yo-Yo Ma in Carnegie Hall in 1997.  It is a lovely performance.  This is currently my favorite cello concerto :) 


Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Waiting Game, and happy news :)

The applications are in, the auditions done (except for the back-up program) and now I'm waiting.  I hate waiting: constantly hoping to get accepted into my first choice, fearing that no one will take me, second guessing my choices on repertoire, remembering things that should have gone onto the resume, and mostly just not knowing where I will be in 3 months.  I'm a planner.  I knew which programs I was applying to by the end of December.  I had everything planned out as to when things were due and what I needed to practice to audition by the end of December.  I finished the first round of applications two weeks ago and the last round last Saturday.  I still haven't heard back from any of them.  Ahhh!!! I am almost tearing my hair out.  I can't plan anything past May 16, the last day of this semester.  I don't know if I will be keeping my apartment for the summer/do I need to put my things into storage?  Where will I be living this summer? Back in the CO mountains or the coast of Maine?  Where will I be living next fall?  I need to look for an apartment, but I don't know when I'll be back to sign a lease.  These are not small questions!  So, if you couldn't tell, I am super impatient and like to plan really far in advance.

While I'm stuck in this waiting game though, I have been listening to a huge amount of music, practicing like crazy, except yesterday (I gave myself a day off...I really needed it too!), doing LOTS of research for my term paper, reading a bunch of things about 20th century music, trying to figure out how to use up all of the food currently sitting in my pantry, and slowly catching up on all of the cleaning that I have been avoiding in the apartment for a while.  (December, I think, was the last time we truly did a deep clean)

I mentioned last time I would like to start a new weekly(ish) post.  I am pondering Music Mondays which would be anything short and sweet and music related: a link to a great performance on You Tube, talking about a new piece I just discovered, a quick composer bio, whatever catches my fancy... We will see how it goes :)

Today was spent avoiding the snow.  Stupid snow.  Stupid WI winters that go on forever.  (Ok, I feel a little bit better now.  Not much, but a little.  Seriously, why would you choose to live somewhere like this???)

I did decided to buy a new sewing machine though!!! So exciting :)  I love it so far: other than user error (I keep forgetting that I need to change the needle position when I turn it on which has led to a couple of broken needles) it is a pleasure to sew on it!  It runs really smoothly and quietly and I have had a lot of fun playing around with the fun stitches programed into it.  I stitched up the top of an adorable couch quilt I have had sitting in a bin for over a year.  Actually, I posted about it last February!  I still need to add the borders, but the rows are pieced and the applique flowers are laid out and pinned to the top.  The next step is stitching them down and then I'll add the borders, baste it (I'm seriously considering spray basting), and quilt it!  There are several new-to-me techniques I want to try on the remainder of this quilt: free motion swirls quilting, spray basting, and a pieced backing that will use up all of the remaining scraps from the fabric I purchased from the top.  The other projects I have lined up to test all of the wonderful new features of this machine are a zipper pouch for a dear friend, pot holders for me and my roommate, finishing the quilting on my bed quilt, stitching down the applique on the garden quilt block, mending my super cute tank top, finishing the quilting on a table runner with free motion stipples, and making an apron.  Yep, those projects pretty much cover the gamut of what I sew: bags/purses, clothes, household stuff, and lots of quilts!  They will probably also take me the rest of the semester to finish :)

Hopefully having Music Mondays will inspire me to post more frequently and have less wordier posts.  That's all for now!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Stressful time of year

What is it about February that is so stressful?  I wish I knew how to make it less stressful.  Turns out unplugging from the iPad was a bad idea.  I didn't realize how much I legitimately use it for school until I started leaving it at home.  I must learn some self control.  Not watching TV didn't go that well either, I needed some mindless entertainment a couple of times.  Alas, it seems I am more plugged in than I thought. 

Auditions are due tomorrow for 2 of the programs I am applying for this summer.  I decided to not apply for one that was originally on my list because I am not ready with one of the excerpts.  Oh well.  One more with a live audition next weekend (and a trip home!) and then the last one is not due until March 15 :)

Opera performances tonight and tomorrow, a new concerto to learn by Wednesday, more excerpts, Lalo, and Bach to practice for next weekend, and a final video recording of things tomorrow when there is better natural light.

I am working on a project for my repertoire class that I am hoping will turn into a published article or something I can present at a conference sometime in the future!  It is super exciting.  I am also pondering a weekly blog post subject, more on that to come later. 

In crafting news, I will be picking up my sewing machine tomorrow and trying to sell it on Craigslist (come on Craigslist!!!) and using my tax refund and the proceeds of said sale to buy a new sewing machine.  I love to sew, and I want a machine that can keep up with me :)

That's all for now, my fingers are sore from the practicing and I want to give them a rest before tonight's performance!

Sunday, February 9, 2014


With so much going on in the next two weeks, I decided to unplug my myriad of devices: no TV/movies, the phone will be for communication only, the laptop for homework only, but mainly, no iPad.  I am terrible at sitting and wasting time on my iPad.  So hopefully this will help keep me focused on what I need to do.  I am allowing for a small concession: I will be continuing to use my Nook, I am reading Jane Austin on it, and because I would read it in paperback form if I had it, I will continue to use the Nook.  I think this will be very good for me.  I may decide to watch The Big Bang Theory on Thursday, since that is really the only show I like to watch. 

Audition recordings are due Saturday and I am planning on a recording session on Tuesday and hopefully having everything submitted by Friday to have a little slush time for just in case.  We have opera this week, so dress rehearsals Wednesday and Thursday and performances this weekend.  Then I am heading home for my live audition in 2 weeks and then things cool off.

I did get something crafty accomplished! And it didn't even involve the sewing machine :)

I made a design board :) it is a 20x30 inch piece of foam board with a layer of batting on top and binding around the edge.  I used the tutorial from the blog Bee In My Bonnet.  It was a hot glue gun fiesta and I'm still picking glue strings off my fingers!  I've been wanting something for the wall, but not a huge investment like a full design wall, so I added Command picture hanging strips to the back, the ones that are like a pseudo-velcro so that I can take it down easily if I want to.

With the unplugged week coming, I hope it's productive, and I'll be back later!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Time Flies

So much has happened since the semester started, its hard for me to believe that I've only been in class for two and a half weeks!  I have auditions coming up in just a few days for the summer programs I am applying for.  Lots of practicing on those orchestral excerpts :) I'm feeling ok, not great, not terrible, just ok (which is fine since I still have a couple of weeks to iron out the kinks).  The opera is next week, fun fun, and then things will settle down in terms of music.  Just the normal stuff for regular semester violin playing.  You know: scales, exercises, etudes, Bach, know!  Can you hear the sarcasm?  I can.

I have some sad news...I think my sewing machine is dying.  My not-even-2-years-old-yet sewing machine.  I haven't confirmed this with the experts yet, but I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon to take it in and get it looked at.  This is quite unfortunate.  I sew a lot.  More now than I used to, so I'm hoping it can be repaired and I can use it again, or sell it and put the money towards a new machine.  Talking with the manufacturer on the phone this morning (40 minutes on hold!) was not very uplifting: apparently my machine is not designed for the amount of sewing I do.  It would have been really nice to know that when I bought it. 

So, I now have no machine to use for the next few days.  Hopefully the repair shop will be able to let me know by the end of the week how long it will take/if it's even possible to fix and I can then decide to ask my mom to ship me my $90 sewing machine from Walmart.  5 years later and it is still going strong! 

I haven't posted yet about my sewing projects for the new year, so I'll let you know what I have been working on since I won't make much progress for an indeterminate amount of time...

I joined an online quilting bee!  Stash Bee, Hive 10 :)  My month is November.  I'm super excited already!  For January, I made this block for the queen:
I also decided to make the block the queen requests each month for myself in my colors.  This way at the end of the year I should end up with 2 finished quilt tops :)

I did decided to change how the four quadrants were sewn together to get a diamond pattern instead of the x.  I really like it!  It is 14 inches square, I had to trim it quite a bit, some weird things happened with my seams...

For February I wrestled with my machine (I almost didn't finish the block, the fabric was just getting eaten!) to make the block for the queen not knowing if I would have a machine to use for the rest of the month.  In the end, you can't tell that my machine was having life issues!
I was really glad I had a color that was requested.  If not, I would have called my mom and asked her to send me some :)  I am trying really hard not to go out and purchase fabric this year.  My stash is extensive (and expansive: there are parts of it in 2 states and 3 different homes...) and I really don't need to hoard fabric.  Right?  My new philosophy is to use what I own and then only buy fabric that is specific for new projects.  We will see how well I can stick to this.  The exceptions are buying fabric to finish a project or if I need something specific for this quilting bee.  Like solid white.  I did buy solid Kona White.  And less than 24 hours later cut into it :) 

I thoroughly enjoyed my winter break from classes and did manage to accomplish quite a bit of sewing: pajama pants for my brother, a quilted purse for my mom, a football quilt for my grandma, 2 bee blocks for other people, 1 bee block for me, finishing the Halloween couch quilt top started 2 Halloweens ago, a paper pieced block, pajama pants, a 20" pillow cover, an infinity scarf for a friend, a mini twister quilt, and progress on my second bed sized quilt.  I also helped my mom floor baste (we usually use a table) her king sized bed quilt.  My knees were not so happy about crawling around on the tile floor for 45 minutes and then sitting on an airplane a few hours later.

I think I'm all caught up now.  Just finding housing for next year, summer auditions and applications, and possibly looking for a job??? left this month.  If I need to craft, I can work on the cross stitch project I started 10 years ago and still haven't finished...whoops!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hey there 2014! How's life?

So much has happened in the last year, I feel like I'm recovering from whiplash! There were several big highlights:

In February I auditioned for graduate school and experienced -20 degree temperatures in the middle of the day for the first time in my life. (I thought everyone living in Milwaukee was crazy for choosing to be somewhere that got so cold...) I also rented a car for the first time :)

Such a cute car! This is before I woke up to almost a foot of snow...

In March I finished a beautiful quilt and gave it to two wonderful friends for their wedding in Las Vegas! My first time in Vegas, and let's just say I can't afford to ever go back :)

In April I accepted my offer of admission to attend the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee (and started to buy cold weather clothes I've never needed before like a down coat) and finished a baby quilt for another close friend.

In May, I turned 25! (eeep!) and the reality that I was moving away in 3 short months began to hit.

In June I crammed as much practicing and quilting with my mom, and hanging out with friends as possible.

In July I sold all of my furniture except the bed frame and green dresser my parents agreed to keep for me, put over half of everything else I owned into storage and packed the rest of it into my car. Then my mom and I did a 3 day, 1000 mile road trip to move me to my new city!

In August, my new roommate and I savored no classes, no job, and sunny weather for a month.

In September I started classes for my Masters! Yes! No more major news happens until December, but it was a busy and stressful semester.

And finally, I returned home midway through December for a month long break!

There will be some changes for this year. I will go home or visit friends and family more often: 5 months felt like a self imposed exile..., make time for fun activities and not let school and practicing consume 100% of my life! read more nonfiction books, and finish up more of the myriad of projects I have started/planned/materials for.

Here's to a wonderful beginning!