Friday, November 6, 2015

The Apartment War

I would like to think I am an easy-going person most of the time.  Yes, I get stressed out and sometimes have mild panic attacks, but I feel comfortable saying I can work with pretty much anything.  That being said, this apartment is testing my limits...

When I was looking at places 2 and a half months ago, I was overwhelmed by the cost and condition of what I was seeing.  I knew what I wanted, but couldn't seem to find anything in a good location with my wants/needs that fit my budget.  Until I saw this one.  It had everything: the views, the location, the 2 bedrooms, the swimming pool in the clubhouse, 2 parking spaces, lots of natural light, and a washer and dryer in the unit!  It met every criteria.  Granted I saw it when it was full of someone else's things (and I do mean full) but I could see the potential and loved it.  Plus it was below my target rent!  So I signed the lease.

That simple action that brought relief to my anxiety 10 weeks ago has caused me to second guess myself for the last 6.  It started with some repairs when I moved in.  Things didn't work, but they were soon fixed and everything was ok.  Or at least I thought so. 

I began to fill up my schedule with work and lessons.  And I unpacked.  Everything.  I broke down the boxes and recycled them, because my plan was to stay for at least 2 years and those boxes were old and dusty.  They needed to go, right? I even got as far as putting things up on the walls.  And not with tape, with hooks and nails people.  Like an adult and not a college student.

Then I got sick.  I'm lying on my couch feeling sorry for myself while a guy is fixing the sink that isn't draining and all of a sudden, out of the air vents comes piles of dust, debris, and cat dander!!!  Now, remember my easy going nature?  I'm trying to hold on to it because I am severely allergic to cats.  This is not helped when the plumber comes out of the bathroom with a 4.5 inch plug from the sink drain comprised of cat hair.  EEWW!  So I packed a bag and went to hide out at my parents house.  Yes, I was hiding from my apartment at my parent's place.  Very adult of me.

After starting to recover I begin to realize that probably most of the "seasonal" allergies I was having the previous few weeks were probably due to a contaminated apartment and not pollen from outside.  So I decided to officially declare war on my apartment.  I borrowed my parent's vacuum and carpet shampooer and went on a cleaning supply buying frenzy (I literally had nothing after my move).

My arsenal of supplies.

I then proceeded to deep clean.  This included shampooing the carpets twice (3 bottles of shampoo were required), scrubbing the walls, baseboards, doors and trim in every room and hallway with hot water and baking soda, washing the hard floors, scrubbing the interior and exterior of every cabinet and drawer, and cleaning the ceiling fans, light fixtures and windows.  No surface (except the popcorn ceiling which is uncleanable, I swear) was left untouched.  This is the cleanest this apartment has been in years, I'm sure.  The amount of dirt and cat hair/dander was staggering.  I went through 12 pounds(!) of baking soda...

This is what it looked like after the first round of shampoo.  The water came up black.  Gross.

Now, as you read that, you may not think that sounds riduculous.  A touch over zealous maybe, but nothing totally crazy (yeah, right).  Understand that between each carpet shampoo I had to let it dry and then vacuum again.  I almost killed my mom's vacuum.  It's a good thing the repair man is amazing.  And I moved every piece of furniture out of a room before I did the carpet so I could be sure to get everything.  Remember how I mentioned that I had unpacked everything??? Yeah.  I took everything back off the walls and emptied out a couple of rooms at a time to make this happen.  I was tired, and sore, and cranky for a week and a half.  I missed days of work, and felt like a dork wearing a mask over my face in my own apartment for hours at a time trying not to breath in the dust, dirt, and cat dander I was stirring up while cleaning.

This is my living room full of the furniture from my studio and bedroom.  The dining room has everything else in it.
It was disgusting work.  I don't mind cleaning in general, but usually it's my own dirt and I am not a dirty person so it's not really a big deal.  This was someone else's (and their cat's) dirt which is a whole other story.  I don't ever want to do that again...ever.

Now, everything is back where it goes and I feel like I have won that major battle.

Unfortunately, the war isn't over yet...

Sunday, November 1, 2015

I'm just trying to figure it all out...

3 months ago I was totally lost.  Like wandering through the Arctic in a white-out blizzard lost.  I had no idea what direction I wanted or needed to go in, or really any idea on how to figure that out. 

Now I'm working (I even made enough money to pay my rent!!!) and starting to figure it all out.  I am not sure I'll ever have it completely figured out, but hey, that's what life is all about right???

In the mean time, I have started several exciting new endeavors and continued with several others.  The most fun has been cross stitching, the longest standing have been a couple of multiple-year-old quilting/sewing projects, the most disruptive of my daily life has been the war with my apartment, and the most drawn out/frustrating is trying to figure out (8 months of trying) what is wrong with my wrist.  The most exciting is creating my own business!  I promise to explain these, but I can't do everything right now, so I'll just leave you with a couple of quilty pictures :)

This is my Halloween quilt.  I started it with fat quarters from JoAnn's several years ago and finished the top before I left for grad school.  I finished the backing over winter break, then two weeks ago finally got it basted and quilted it up last night.  Now I just need to find the binding...

There are 2 bathrooms in my apartment and I only own one shower curtain.  So, since I don't have any extra money right now but I do have lots of pretty fabric, I decided to make a second shower curtain!  I have had a maple leaf quilt on my list for a while and this seemed like the perfect project for them.  I need a total of 36 12" blocks and I have completed 17.  I have 14 more cut and ready to finish and I am waiting to get those done before I decide what fabrics to use for the final three (my theory is I can balance out any colors this way...)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Home at last and taking a risk

I'm back!  It took 2 years and an almost move to Tennessee, but I'm home again in Colorado :)

This summer I focused so much on getting a job (because that's what you do after grad school right?) that I temporarily lost sight of the reasons I went back for my Master's in the first place.  After a tearful phone call with my grandfather (he knows me so well) I knew I needed to take the risk and stop looking for a job.  I know what you're thinking...what??? that's crazy! why would you do something so ridiculous? 

I have a simple answer: this is the best possible way for me to achieve my goals.  Now, I know, that is not very specific, but trust me when I say that it was definitely the right choice for me.  How, you ask, is not looking for a job the right choice?  Well, I want to teach and perform, but not at a level that either of those options comes with a full time/salaried job.  I don't have any aspiration to play with a full time/high level professional orchestra or teach at the college level.  The competition to get those jobs is fierce because there are so many qualified candidates, and it isn't what I love to do.

Way back before I decided to pursue a graduate degree I knew that I wanted to play with a regional orchestra and teach kids how to play the violin.  Those are still my goals.  I love the camaraderie of a regional professional orchestra and I absolutely love teaching kids (it doesn't hurt that I'm good at teaching) so it never made sense for me to be trying to find a job that doesn't align with my goals.  All I was doing was making myself sick trying to imagine myself in these various jobs in places I had no desire to live.

So, I packed up my stuff, shipped it back to a storage facility in CO and temporarily moved back in with my parents.  I have been looking for students as well as gigs, and I have made progress on both fronts :)  I am teaching 2 days a week with a local music store, and have 3 auditions for orchestras coming up in the next month as well as several possible wedding gigs with a friend of a friend who just happens to be a wedding planner.  I am so excited and happy!

Plus, the move really is temporary, I have a new apartment on September 1!!!!  I think that is the most exciting part about all of this, I will have my own place for the first time and all of my stuff will be there instead of spread out in various locations like it has been since 2008...

So, I don't have much to share in the way of sewing projects or pictures really, but I'm doing great and looking forward to the next adventure :)

Because I couldn't have no pictures...This is from one of 2 gorgeous hibiscus bushes at my parent's new house!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Catching up and catching my breath!

It has been so long since I posted...I meant to, but as usual life just kept getting in the way.  Since March 1, I have given my graduate violin recital, passed my final comprehensive exam, had my proposal passed by the graduate committee, graduated with my Master's Degree, started looking for jobs and taken an audition!  I'm sure everyone who has graduated without having a specific job lined up understands my stress, but I'll just tell you that it is making me anxious.  All I want is to know where I'm going so I can get started and dive into my work.  Being able to play and teach and not be in school is what I have been looking forward to most this year so I am very excited to get a job lined up :)

I was terribly pleased with my recital and my professor got some good clips of my playing which was fun to see pop up on Facebook!  I was also really happy that I was able to broadcast my recital live so my family and friends who were not able to come could watch me play.  There were more people watching the live stream and the saved video afterwards than were there live.  I do have to admit that my desire to practice severely dropped off after the recital, but I have found it again.  It didn't help that I have been dealing with a persistent wrist injury since February either.  I think it is finally starting to get back to normal, but I'm still being extra cautious with it.

I have been getting some quilting and sewing done, mainly mending and other non-interesting projects, but I did finish my candy corner quilt.  This is my second full size bed quilt and it finished approximately 80"x90".  I quilted it rather densely which took a long time, but I really like the final appearance so I think it was worth it!

I have started working on several other projects and hopefully will finish them up soon and share them, but for the most part my time is spent filling out job applications.  I keep searching for more in the hopes that one of them will work out :)

I did get out this morning to ride my bike along a path near my apartment.  I really enjoy riding there  because for just a little while I can convince myself I am not in the middle of a city, I just get to enjoy being outside without all of the car/city noises.  It has been a bit rainy so I haven't gotten out as much as I would like, but I'm hopeful that the rain will lighten up soon!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

It's March! Yay! (Yikes!)

Holy moly, it's already March!  I was totally not expecting that...I mean I was, but I wasn't...  So many things to do and so little time.  

My recital is this month!  *happy (but horrible) dancing*  I am so excited to play for my friends and family.  I'm looking into streaming it live for my grandparents who don't (understandably) want to travel to WI for just one afternoon.  It has been a long journey and I've loved most of it.  Some of it, not so much, but thats life for you.  I have just a few logistical things left to do, like proof reading and submitting my program notes and creating a recital poster, neither of which is going to be a big deal.  I also need to print of a clean copy of my giant paper and have it signed by my committee to be filed away (for posterity???who knows...).  But the biggest thing left to do is find somewhere to take my dress to get it altered!!! I am not a garment sewer.  I am not willing to "give it a try" on my beautiful recital dress.  Therefore an expert needs to be found!  I have a list of places to call tomorrow, hopefully one of them can help me :)

Before the recital though is SPRING BREAK!!! I started counting down Feb. 12... Um, yeah.  That is how much I've needed the time off.  In anticipation of 5 days with no classes, I took my sewing machine in for a tune up.  I dropped it off, then went home for the weekend (where I got snowed in and my flight was canceled making my return to school 2 days after I needed to be back) and picked it up this week.  It is sewing great and just in time for the crazy amount of things I want to accomplish on it this month!

My March goals for sewing are to make a new purse for myself.  The one I'm using now is in the best shape of all of mine, but the strap is fraying and there are wear spots on the sides and bottom...

I also really, really, really want to catch up on the Harry Potter Project of Doom blocks that keep getting posted every Wednesday.  I have made 3 so far, but I think one of them will end up somewhere else because I tried something and I'm not loving it now.  Oh well. 
My idea was to replace one of the books only blocks by doing a reverse of the block next to it so that the two leaning books would frame two objects...But seeing them next to each other I'm not sold...

In an effort to attempt to catch up, I did pick out all of my fabric for the blocks that have been released so far (including one to replace one of the leaning blocks above).  I am using only scraps for every block except the background.  It is going to be really colorful!
Having the stack ready to go also makes it convenient when I'm procrastinating to just whip out one book :)
My other big project right now is quilting up my candy corner bed sized quilt.  The top (before I basted it) measured about 80x90 inches.  I love how it turned out, but it has been sitting on my floor since I got back from winter break...
Sitting under my happy snowman, patiently waiting to be quilted.

I have the thread, the binding is made, but every time I look at it I am crippled with indecision and fear about how to quilt it...So I decided to see if my local library has any books on quilting motifs or free motion quilting.  I was amazed to discover all of Angela Walter's books :) so I have requested them (as well as about 10 others) and I'm hoping that they will arrive before break so I can go through them, get some ideas and tips and then dive in!  I usually like to go through books before I decide to buy them, so this way I can add to my ever growing quilt book wish list :)
This top is the one I am most proud of.  I worked really hard on it and it is my best work so far.  I want the quilting to be amazing, and I think that is what was holding me back.  Then I watched Angela's video on things quilters should not do and she said that the best quilt top in the world is not a quilt and a completed quilt is much more meaningful than an unfinished top.  I think this was the kick in the pants I needed to get going with this!

I also bought some new fabric.  Surprise, surprise.  I have been wanting the Horizon line by Kate Spain for Moda since I first laid eyes on it.  I didn't buy any because I knew I didn't need any new fabric.  But then I got sucked in.  The charm packs were on sale.  So I bought 2.  And a batik charm pack may have jumped into the cart too (also on sale), along with a magazine.  I have plans for all of the fabric, so I wasn't just buying to buy (which is what I'm trying to avoid in an effort to keep my stash under control).
I love this line and I am planning to make the HST sampler quilt from Jeni B. at In Color Order! It will be super cute.  I'm debating on using a bright white for the background or a light gray...
These batiks are stunning!  I love batiks, but my mom loves them even more.  I'm planning on using these to make a patchwork purse for her :)
I have also been cross stitching.  When I was home for 4 days, I stayed with my parents in their new house.  They literally moved the day before I arrived so there was no TV or Internet.  We played board games, read books and I cross stitched.  I made some great progress on my lily :)
I also borrowed a few cross stitch pattern books from my friend, and there are 2 that I want to make most of the charts in them!  This could be a dangerous new hobby.

That is all I have for now, hopefully the weather starts to warm up just a tad and break comes quickly!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Catching up and Sunday Stash

The last two weeks have been absolutely unbelievably stressful and busy and all-around mind-numbingly wild.  Let's start with the happy news, I passed my recital hearing (I play all of my music for a committee who decides if I'm ready or not to play my recital)!!!! and my proposal paper (19 pages and almost 3900 words when submitted) also passed! YES!!!  Those were two of the biggest hurdles I needed to pass in order to graduate in May.  So, I am superfluously excited about that.  I also got my first paycheck for my first "real" orchestra job.  I won the audition last September and started playing in January.  It felt really good to deposit that check :)  The sad news, not unexpected but sudden, is that my grandfather passed away.  He has been sick for a long time and I am so glad I got to spend time with him when I was home for the holidays and say goodbye.  I won't lie, it has been terribly difficult being 1200 miles away this past week...I'm going home for the service next weekend, and I will be glad to spend that time with my family.  My coping mechanism has been copious amounts of crafting.

I may have ventured to a JoAnn store 50 miles from my apartment... I may also have ordered a ruler from Amazon...maybe.
Last weekend, I played a concert (for my "real" orchestra job) and decided I would go the the JoAnn store in that town since all of them near my apartment are lamentably awful.  It was retail therapy and I got some good stuff!  That teal print is actually two 33 inch pieces that were folded on the bolt so I got them both as remnants (score!) and will be making pillowcases out of them probably tonight.  I made a set of pillow cases over break and love them and I'm running low on pillowcases because I haven't bought any since I moved to college (undergrad, not grad school) and let's be honest, they are looking kind of old and ratty 8 years later.  It is a text print with French phrases.  I found the tan/cream colorway of it a few months ago and bought it for the background on an upcoming project.  The cute tile prints were a bundle and I have absolutely no idea what I'll do with the colors, but the gray and the other gray fat quarter will be part of the wavelength quilt by Freshly Pieced I want to make.  Plus, who doesn't love those colors???  I am making a new purse for myself, the mini Daytripper from Dog Under My Desk and I needed some zippers.  I bought these, but I am not sure if they will work.  I wasn't able to find 'purse' zippers, these are 'sport'.  We shall see.  I have had a bundle of 5 single yard cuts for ages (at least 4 years) and have never found the perfect project for them so I decided to make a matching set of accessories.  I have plenty of fabric and plenty of patterns :)  And lastly I finally purchased the Sidekick ruler from JayBird Quilts.  I have the Rock Candy pattern from last summer's road trip and I want to make it this year!

I have also worked on and finished a few things!!!
This is a close up of the free motion quilting I did on my Twitter quilt.  The border was really fun and I just did swirly loops in the other blocks and traced around the flowers.

My first pieced back!  It was nice to use up with large chunks left over from the front.

Completed quilt!  Yay!!
This quilt was one I decided to make in the "alternate" colorway of the original fabric almost as soon as I saw it in a McCall's magazine.  I raced online, ordered the fabric, and worked on it here and there.  I also enlarged the pattern to use all of the fabric I had purchased since I had minimum cuts buying online that were much larger than necessary.  It is very cute and whimsical.  I'm not sure I'll keep it, but for now it is sitting on my couch.  I haven't washed it yet, I don't trust the washers in my building's laundry room not to mess it up. 

I decided to use up some old  fabric and try to make a rag rug.  It is nice to work on at night watching TV, but my stitches are really uneven.  I am tempted to tear it out and start over...once I find the crochet hook...
My roommate last year is an avid cross stitcher.  I started doing it again this summer when I had no sewing machine and I like it :) So I bought a magazine with pretty flower charts in December and just started working on a stargazer lily.  It is nice to have something small and simple (it looks complicated but is really easy) to work on after a long day.
I am also working on Harry Potter blocks for the Project of Doom QAL 2015.  So far I've finished 2.
And last night I decided to try and make a  tiny lined drawstring bag.  It was supposed to be for my new Nikon Coolpix camera, but my machine's free arm is to big to finish it.  Sigh.
Thats all I have for now.  Lots of pictures and words.  Hopefully your weeks are full of fun projects!  Linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Focus and Determination

I have been digging deep to find focus to practice and it came in the form of my determination to pass my hearing and graduate.  I am so ready to be done, so I decided that the best thing for me to do is create a new routine that would set me up for success.  This involves actually getting out of bed when my alarm goes off (instead of pressing snooze) because I am way more productive practicing in the mornings.  Then I have the afternoons and evenings for extra practice, taking care of stuff around the apartment and sewing.  It worked great for two days.  Then I got a migraine and spent 12 hours I need to get back into the flow.  At least it happened before classes started, right?  I was able to finish 3 long languishing projects yesterday before the headache hit: I now have 2 pretty holiday placemats and one holiday coaster.  The second coaster is almost done and I hope to finish it today :)  So, hopefully I'm back on track tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New year, new projects, old music

Oh. My. Goodness.  I am in a funk universe.  Why???  This is possibly the worst possible time to be in a funk!!!  There are deadlines and important events coming up that need preparation and all I want to do is sleep in, read a book, maybe take a walk...not accomplish anything productive.  No.  That would be crazy...  I think part of my problem is I've been playing the same music for over a year.  I am ready to move on, but I can't change my rep so I'm stuck trying to figure out a way to get motivated.

So I made some lists.  Lists help me focus and give me something to work towards.  I LOVE crossing things off lists.  I feel productive.  (Sometimes I have to stop myself from putting silly things on the list that I do everyday like eat breakfast just to cross something off...)  I made a school list, a recital list, a January list, and a sewing list.  Yep.  4 lists.  Gross and satisfying all at the same time.  Here they are:

1. Finish the final draft of my recital proposal paper.  I have sent the rough draft out for editing and am waiting for it to come back for final edits before submission.
2. Pass my recital hearing.  
3. Play an awesome recital.
4. Take (and pass) the second half of the music history comprehensive exam.
5. Take (and pass) the music theory comprehensive exam.

1. schedule the time and room for my hearing
2. pay the fee to use the recital hall
3. write program notes
4. create the program and submit for printing
5. create posters, print, and cover the music building hallways with them!

1. Get an emissions test for my car and mail it back home so my car is legal...
2. Get #1 in the School list and #1 and 2 in the recital list done.
3. Pay tuition.  This one is painful and necessary...
4. Deep clean my apartment.  It's clean-ish now, but I'm pretty sure I won't have any time to clean this semester so I want to start with it sparkling!
5. As many sewing projects as possible.

Sewing (otherwise known as the fun list!)
1. Candy Corner, quilting and binding
2. Twitter, quilting and binding
3. Winter Stars, 2 more blocks, finish the top, quilt and bind
4. HP book case (check out the button on the right!) QAL running for 30 weeks
5. Blue diamonds, keep making blocks
6. Maple leaves, this is an idea with fabric in mind
7. Wave Length, this is a pattern with fabric in mind
8. Plus quilt, this is a pattern and specific fabric waiting to be started
9. Rose window, the applique is done and it needs to be quilted and finished
10. Christmas quilt, fabric is picked out but I don't have a pattern yet
11. Halloween quilt, top and back are done and binding is made, needs to be basted, quilted and bound
12. ABC Animals, applique is done, embroidery needs to be finished and the quilt finished
13. Double Wedding Ring, this is just an idea floating in my mind, but the more I think about it the more I love it!
14. 100 Blocks sampler, I have 4 or 5 of the 100 block magazines and I have so many favorite blocks that I want to make a sampler quilt.  Or 2.  Or 3...
15. Rock Candy mini quilt, ruler is on its way!
16. Mini Swoon, no immediate plans, but it will be amazing!
Other projects:
1. Lined Drawstring Bags for both of my cameras
2. New everyday purse, I'm thinking the smaller version of the Daytripper by Dog Under my Desk
3. Tunic top
4. Hexi pillow
5. Placemats for E & Z wedding gift
6. Peppermint holiday coasters
7. Holiday twister placemats and coasters
8. Apron
9. Velcro on the floor cushion covers
(That's 25 projects, but only 10 have been started, so it's really not that bad...right?)

I used a new quilt last night...loved being under a king sized quilt on my tiny coach :) it was extra cozy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Quilty Adventures!

This past year I participated in my first online quilting bee.  There
were ups and downs, but I have no desire to do it again.  I was amazed by
some of the blocks that were sent to me, and completely
underwhelmed/dissapointed in others.  I was very excited to participate,
but I've been turned off of participating in these types of massive online
groups, I'll just stick to me, myself, and I.

I also bought a new sewing machine (which I absolutely love!!!) and taught
myself to free motion quilt!  So far I can do meandering loops and swirls
and I'm really good at tracing the edges of really fussy applique.  I have
one quilt top basted and another one waiting to get basted that I will attempt to
free motion quilt all over :)


Candy Corner

I have finished/almost finished most of the quilts on my list of things that
need to be completed!  All of the small ones are done :) and the bigger
ones are almost there!  Three of the four left on the list have completed tops, one of those is basted, one has a back pieced and the last one's back is almost finished.  That leaves only 1, yes 1, that is still not a top!

I want to quilt Candy Corner and Twitter this spring, it will be nice to have a warm quilt on my lap while it's super cold in WI... and I'm am really hoping to finish the Halloween quilt before I leave.  Lofty goal, but since I only want to do straight line quilting in the ditch and it's a pretty small couch quilt, I'm not overly concerned about that :)  The last WIP, while really beautiful, is one I have lost interest in making.  Don't get me wrong, I still love the pattern, but it is very intense to make just one block and I just don't have that kind of sewing time coming up for a while.  So I think I'll put its fabric back in the mix with everything else and just make the test block into a pillow cover or something.  

Two years after I decided to spend the year
finishing up projects I have almost gotten there.  It has definitely been
a learning process: I find that once I'm no longer working on a project it is
hard to get the motivation up to keep going on it, but if I let it sit, when I
come back I see all of these things I want to change and make better. 
Lesson: start and finish something quickly so I don't keep wanting to start
over!  I also discovered that I don't particularly like having several
projects going at once.  I may have slight quilters ADD, but I tend not to
finish things if I keep having to change the feet on my machine when switching
between projects or need to pause for a lot of extra "prep" work
(cutting, pulling more fabric, ironing know).  Lesson: prep
EVERYTHING for the project before I sew even one stitch.  I have also
discovered that the fabric I picked out 3-4 years ago may not be fabric I'm in
love with any more.  Lesson: don't just buy fabric to buy fabric. 
Buy it for a project and then use it for the project.

This being said, I have yet another list of quilts I want to make that is
ever growing!  I am really looking for patterns I love and fabric I
already own that I really want to use.  One of my bee mates requested modern maple blocks this year and I loved that block so much that I decided to make a quilt of it just for myself :) I have a box of red, pink, orange yellow fabrics that are just begging to be included!  I also picked up the perfect background fabric for it, a French text print in tan/cream.  I can see it in my head already and I love it!!!  Another quilt I am dying to make is a plus quilt with my gorgeous bundle of Dreamin' Vintage fabrics. 

As soon as I got them I knew I wanted a pattern that would showcase the prints and a plus quilt was the perfect solution :)  This one may be a bit difficult for me to piece (not because they are all squares) because I don't have a design wall in my apartment.  I'm not quite sure how to deal with that yet.  

Another long term project I want to work on is a Harry Potter bookcase.  My mom made one this summer and it is fantastic! 

This one is not hers, I can't seem to find the picture, but it is the one from the FandomInStitches Flickr page

I love the idea of a bookcase quilt since I am such a bookworm and making it HP themed is even better :D  I am planning to join along with FandomInStitches QAL using the Project of Doom paper piecing patterns.  It will by the first time I participate in a QAL and I'm looking forward to see how that goes.  I also have a bundle of fabrics that have been sitting around for 3 years... It is a set of 5 one yard cuts and 4 different patterns that use all of the fabric.  I need to sit down and pick a pattern and make it.  Before I decide I don't like the fabric anymore.  I also bought a pattern on a whim from Freshly Pieced, Wavelength.  I definitely have the rainbow colors in my stash, but I have no idea what I want to do with the background so for now it is still just an idea roaming around in the back of my head.  And lastly, I have the blocks my bee mates sent to me for my month in the Stash Bee.  Several of them will not be included.  I don't want to be the perfectionist, but several of them had cuts along the edges that are deeper than 1/4 inch or used selvedges or were not 12.5 inches square.  It was fun making the blocks for the most part, I really tried to push myself and make beautiful blocks for other people using their visions/ideas while learning some new techniques.  In the end though, I felt like some of the blocks I got back just weren't ones I want to use.  I haven't fully decided what I'm going to do with them yet, its up in the air.  Maybe I'll finally make a quilt and donate it!

It's not even a week into the new year and already I have a giant pile of WIP's :)

Linking to Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Looking Back and Moving Forward

It was a crazy year of ups and downs and feeling like I've been running a million miles an hour for months.  I'm sure many people can relate!  I'm home for the holidays now (and loving it!!!) and have started to catch my breath a bit :)

The year started cold.  REALLY, REALLY COLD.  Enough said.  I spent quality time panicking about my lack of definitive summer plans and practicing like a crazy person. 

I packed up my apartment and moved it into a storage unit (in the rain) and left on "The Great Adventure" which was a huge solo road trip from CO to Maine and then back to Milwaukee.  It was long, but I really enjoyed myself and I finished listening to all of the Harry Potter books on CD which was fun :) Spending the summer playing in Maine was amazing!!! I had an fantastic time, took lots of pictures, did lots of hiking and bike riding, and left a much better player than I arrived.  All in all, one of my favorite summers ever!

After arriving back in WI, I joined the world of social media and set up an Instagram account! Eeep! I've been having a lot of fun connecting with friends and generally enjoying myself :)

Then the crazy hit after Labor Day.  This past semester has by far been the busiest I've ever been in school and I don't think I've ever worked harder.  I knew it would be crazy, but I still wasn't fully prepared for the madness.  Oh well.  I survived, mostly in tact.  I have one more giant paper, my recital hearing, and one more comprehensive exam to successfully pass/complete and then just one class and orchestra rehearsals and then I will be done! Yay!!!  I'm so looking forward to graduation in May :)

2015 is shaping up to be just as busy as the second half of did that happen???  I'm home for another 10 days and then I'm back to school for my new job (YAY!!!!) and final work on my recital proposal and practicing for my hearing.  Then, once I successfully pass the hearing its time for the job search.  I'm so nervous that I won't find anything that is what I really want to do in a place I actually want to live.  Is this how everyone feels???  Plus, I am a planner so not knowing is already starting to drive me kind of crazy.  Sigh.

Then, in March, is what all of the hard work and practicing is for!  My graduate recital :)  I am really looking forward to it and ridiculously nervous all at the same time and it is still 2 months away...  My rep list is amazing: Bach E Major Partita, Beethoven Spring Sonata, Bolcom Graceful Ghost Rag and the Sonate Posthume by Ravel.  Fabulous :)

The other bit of crazy for the first part of the year is my parents are moving!  I'm so happy for them that they found a house they both like, and I hope they don't go crazy packing up this one.  

Best Wishes for 2015!