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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

Unplug

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, concertos...you 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!