Wednesday, 29 May 2013

End of a Class

This evening marks the end of the Beginner's Quilting Class that I've been teaching for the last 6-weeks.  The ladies taking the class have all been excellent, and I have truly enjoyed getting to know them a bit.  I hope to run a similar class again in the fall, probably with a slightly different pattern so that if anyone who took the class this spring wants to take it again, maybe with a friend, they aren't making the exact same project and can still learn something new.

It has been a very hectic few weeks, and at times my organizational skills have not been what they should be--or even anywhere near where they usually are!  However, it is still full-steam ahead for the SS Desirae.  Balanced Needles Knitting and Quilting will be at the Caswell Arts Festival "Art in the Park" on June 9, and there are a few projects that need to be finished up before so they will be ready before the day of the sale.  One of which is finding someone to watch the wee munchkin for the day as R is studying up for final exams he's writing during the week after.  Any takers?  He's really cute, and loves to play in the dirt :)

We've also been planning out our yard.  It is currently a dirt farm, which is great for the above mentioned munchkin but not so great for relaxing outside.  We seem to get so few months (or weeks) of summer, but if there is one thing people from Saskatchewan like to do it's enjoy the outdoors!  I'm not much of a gardener, but I'd like to put together a rock/perennial garden space.  I've got a few things growing in pots on the front porch, and should probably take the time to get them into the ground sooner rather than later.  If not into the ground, then at least transplant some of them into bigger pots.  The landscaper who came by last evening recommended not putting the garden in this year if we're putting new turf in as it will likely be flooded with the amount of watering that new grass needs to get established.  Anyone have any experience with this?  Good advice, bad advice??  The garden space is around the fire hydrant on the front corner of our lot, which is also where the lawn should theoretically "drain" to.

I think that's everything I have time to share right now... I really should be working in my studio, but it is so nice out!  I'm off for now.

Dez



Friday, 24 May 2013

Happy Friday

We're helping some friends move this afternoon, so a big shout out THANK YOU! To my mom for picking up the kiddo at the end of the day today.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Mistakes Made...Tutorial in the Works!

In a world full of great online tutorials on paper piecing, I couldn't find one that fit well with the Lemoyne Star that is part of the quilt class I'm currently teaching.  So I thought I'd just do written instructions on paper piecing and demo the method to the class.

Mistake Number 1:  I didn't follow my own cutting instructions for the pattern, and therefore was giving a set of confusing "corrections" to the handout as I was doing the demo.

Lesson:  RTFQx2!  (Read the full question twice)  Or in this case, read the cutting instructions, read them again, then cut the fabric, organize the work space and then start to sew.  Better yet, do the step-by-step demo pieces the night/weekend before so you're not on the spot!

Mistake Number 2:  Once we sorted out that the only actual error in the pattern instructions was indeed my beautifully hand-written fabric key had two of the fabrics switched, I promptly sewed my first two pieces together "backwards" (meanign that once they were flipped the seam was on the opposite side of the shape than intended).  Fortunately, I am great at frog stitching (rrrrip-it, rrrip-it...).

Lesson:  Build at least one demo block according to the instructions BEFORE photocopying and teaching the method.  This one has been a hard lesson to learn as almost every week there have been some "modifications," aka corrections, that have needed to be done to the fabric cutting instructions.  GRRR...

On the plus side, I smartened up and started to take pictures of the steps for the block while the students were working on theirs.  I'm putting together my own little tutorial, and should have it posted by the end of the month :)

Until next time,
Dez

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

This Week's Inspiration

I have been reading Carrie Green and the rest of the Female Entrepreneur Association and was truly inspired by the quote of the month for May (sorry, uncropped screen shot):


May is a month of change for me.  Which also means a work in progress.

I'm transitioning from teaching at the business college to being a Financial Advisor with Sun Life.  The career change decision came after a lot of thought and prayer for what would be best for our family.  I am moving into a role that allows the total control and flexibility I've dreamed of having for a while and should allow me to be more involved with Ian during the week.

Tomorrow night also marks the half-way point for the "Intro to Quilting" class I'm teaching, which is going very well.  I spoke a bit last week about the upcoming saskatoonquilts 2013 quilt show in October, and encouraged everyone to enter their finished quilts.  I think most of the class is at least considering my "challenge" to them. 

This weekend is the SQG Spring Retreat, and I'm looking forward to taking Saturday to finish up some projects on my "free days."  There were not enough registrants for the "Bargello for Everyone" class I was offering to teach, but that's okay too because it has been a very busy few weeks and I think I need this as a true retreat.

Until next time,
Dez

Friday, 26 April 2013

New Starts

The "Intro to Quilting" class I've been looking forward to started this week, and I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm glad the first few hours are over. Not that the ladies taking the class aren't amazing, but there's always something a little nerve wracking about the first day of class.

No matter how well I know the material, how passionate I am about the subject, or how many students there are, I get tense and start talking way too fast. I think back to the very first class I can remember teaching: I was in my 5th year of Air Cadets and had to teach a class on (ironically enough) Instructional Techniques. I think I scripted every sentence down to when I should breathe, in fact there were side notes on the lesson plan that read "breathe" and "smile." I remember holding the page with both hands shaking so much I couldn't even read what I had written. Somehow we got through the 20-minutes, and I swore off teaching as a profession.

Somewhere over the next four years my mind was changed and I moved to Edmonton to complete my Bacc. en Education at Campus Saint-Jean (the Francophone campus of the University of Alberta).  With lofty ideas of changing the world one class at a time.  Statistically speaking, I shouldn't really be surprised that after a year of teaching High School I was looking for something else, but it was a bit dissapointing. 

I've been teaching at a private business college for the last three years, and have really enjoyed it.  But it's time to move on again to a career that better suits my family's changing needs.  I'll have more details to share next week about that--what I can say is that it will allow me the flexibility to be the kind of mom I want to be, and to take my role in Balanced Needles Knitting & Quilting to the next level while still offering challenging work with a lot of reward.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

What if...

I was having a very geeky moment this morning, so I apologise in advance to any readers who are not Doctor Who fans, you might not get some of what I'm talking about today.

"Oh the weather outside is frightful..." indeed, it is April 11 and this is the road report for the highway I drive every morning:

Typically by this time of year we're expecting high in the low teens (Celsius), and this year we've been lucky if we're above zero.

Then I had a thought:  What if I've had an encounter with The Silence, and the Doctor has rescued me but we've gone back in time and it actually is November.  The calendar is wrong because the crack in Amy Pond's wall has gotten bigger and the relationship between space and time is even more fragile than before? 

If you're still reading, you've probably caught up to where my next thought went:  Impossible, if I had an encounter with The Silence, I wouldn't remember.  And there would be a lot more weirdness going on, and probably some creepy background music.  So instead of searching around calling out "Doctor?  Doctor?" I finished getting ready for work, bundled Ian up and ventured out into the snow.

Maybe it's because I'm "getting old," or because it seems my memory has been somehow distorted after having Ian, but I don't really remember having a lot of imaginary friends growing up.  Yet somehow this morning I almost wanted to be living in the fantasy world of one of my favourite TV shows.  I think it has to do with this lingering winter weather.  Next week marks our 6th month with snow on the ground!  But never fear, I have a lot of spring inspired fabrics in my stash, and even if the weather is not cooperating I can add some colour to our home.

Until next time...
Dez

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Today's Project

Just a quick note today. I'm about half-way through this Bargello style top. First it will be a sample for my class, then it will be going to one of Ian's girlfriends. The working title is "Norah's Quilt." I know, not very creative, but I'm open to suggestions.
Until we meet again,
Dez