Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Apron #2

I started making these aprons (and some other little goodies I will show you later) to give as gifts.  I don't want to show you the specifics until the appropriate people have been gifted and surprised.

These are SO FUN to make!!  I make little quilts to use as pockets. I get to be CreATive in a small way AND finish some projects AND use up stash!!  I am having SO MUCH FUN!!

My Administrative Assistant for my math class is a faithful friend and makes my class run so smoothly. She is also an AMAZING cook.  So I made her a red gingham apron.  I fiddled with my stash and embroidery thread and came up with this:

Psalm 34 is one of my favorite Psalms - and The Lord is sweeter than anything we can cook in the kitchen.  Just a little reminder on an apron.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Three's a Crowd (This is Math?)

For readers not familiar with this feature on my blog, let me explain.  I home schooled my four children and eventually specialized in teaching math.  I found other ways for my kids to learn all the other topics, but I learned the math along with them.  Over and Over again.  (Even up to Calculus!)  I decided math should be FUN and students should know the reason they have to learn stuff, so I try to make math mean something.

This feature is here for Moms with kids from about 4 or 5 years old up to about 7th grade, no matter how you school them.  Math ought to be a topic of conversation in life.  It helps kids not fear math, and (maybe) even enjoy it. There is a tab at the top of my blog that quickly links you to all the past posts in "This is Math?"

Today our adventures in math take us beyond numbers...  Rather than always thinking that you have to get ONE RIGHT ANSWER, sometimes math requires creativity.  Exploration.  Trial and Error.  Divergent thinking.  You start with a math idea - and it takes you somewhere else.

Which is why I'm calling this post "Three's a Crowd".
When we think of THREE maybe we start with math,
but all these other topics seem to crowd in!

You see games, geography, literature, language, culture...

Copy this Tic-Tac-Toe board and paste it to a word processing document so you can print it out. Each student should pick THREE squares and then complete each task in each of those squares.  They might want to try make a tic-tac-toe.

With 3 people, count to 50 (or 100) each saying one number in order. The third person is “It” and says their numbers louder than the rest. 1

Learn to play Rock, Paper, Scissors.  Play three rounds with each member of your family.
Track a Triangle.  Find three-sided figures in your house, on the road, and/or in the store.
Count by threes to 99.

Name items that come in threes. 2
Learn the term “Hat Trick”.  Play a hat tossing game.  Can you toss a hat into a circle three times in a row?

Look at a map of the United States and find places where 3 states meet at one point.

Look in a dictionary and find words that begin with “TRI”.  Make a list of these words that have to do with the number three.

Learn how to tell if a number can be divided evenly by three.

                      1 one two THREE four five SIX seven eight NINE (etc)

                      2 Here are a list of topics to consider:
                      3 colors that go together
                      Games and rules in games
                      Cities with three words in their name
                      Stories or movies with “3” in the title
These are just activities that let you have fun with your kids.  But it makes them think about MATH THINGS - in fairly creative ways. 
Have fun at least three times this week!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Fest

Amy, at Amy's Creative Side, is hosting an online quilt festival.

Amy's Creative Side

Quilters submit quilts they have made - virtually!

I want to enter this Festival with my Gymnastics T-Shirt Quilt.

This quilt is a collection of T-Shirts from my second daughter 
- who was a gymnast until her teen years.  
She grew tall and participating in gymnastics began to stress and injure her back.

Then she became a coach.

Notice the black patch below: 

Notice, also, that I used some of her leotards in the quilt.
With a little bit of hand-quilting...

I machine quilted around all the lattice work.
Then did some custom quilting on each quilt.
With my walking foot.

My daughter is quite fond of rainbows -
and you can see the rainbow-dot fabric I used between the shirts.

The t-shirt above is one she wore at least once a week for a year or two!!  

From her background in gymnastics, my daughter went into spring-board diving,  Even diving in college.  I had this quilt top finished by the 2008 Summer Olympics.  By then she could not longer do gymnastics.  She also soon had to quit diving because she had acquired a chronic illness.  She did not even enjoy watching the Olympics that year. I put the quilt top away for awhile.

This year she asked me when I might finish her quilt - and I pulled it out of the closet and finished it!  

She had attended a gymnastics camp hosted by the legendary coach Bela Karolyi.  He autographed her t-shirt and it holds a position on the quilt.

The back of the quilt is this lovely black background with rainbow dot all-over print.

 She continues to struggle with her chronic illness - so Karolyi's catch-phrase
(With a thick Romanian/Hungarian accent)
graces the back of her quilt.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Roman Numerals (This is Math?)

This is the year of the XXX Olympiad.
And it was the year of the XLVI Super Bowl.

It's not the Extra Extra Extra Large Olympics...
So, what do all these letters mean?

Just trying to build a case for the need to understand Roman Numerals!  Your students can make index cards with one Roman Numeral on each and arrange the cards in correct order to indicate numbers - from one to a thousand - or more!!!
Roman Numerals use uppercase letters to indicate numbers. 

I means one
V means 5
X means 10
L means 50
C means 100
D means 500
M means 1000

You can Google “Roman Numerals” and find all kinds of things.  Clear directions are posted at this web address:

Copy this Tic-Tac-Toe board and paste it to a word processing document so you can print it out. Each student should pick THREE squares and then complete each task in each of those squares.  They might want to try make a tic-tac-toe.

Learn how to write Roman Numerals one to five. Make index cards for each child. 1
Learn how to write Roman Numerals six to ten.  Make index cards for each child. 2

Learn how to write Roman Numerals eleven to twenty.  Make index cards for each child 3
Listen to and learn “There are 18 Wheels on a Big Rig” 4

Learn how to write Roman Numerals twenty one to fifty.  Make index cards for each child. 5

Learn how to write Roman Numerals fifty one to one hundred. Make index cards for each child. 6

Find Roman numerals in books, on DVDs or videos.  What number do they indicate?

Learn how to write Roman numerals for numbers above one hundred and into the thousands. 7
Find out what is the difference between a NUMBER and a NUMERAL.

1 Each child will need 4 cards: I  I  I and V
2 Each child will need 5 cards: I  I  I  V and X
3 Each child will need 6 cards: I  I  I  V  X and another X
4 This is a silly little song!  Here are two child-appropriate versions on the internet:
Trout Fishing in America

5 Each child will need 6 cards: I  I  I  V  X X and another X and a L
6 Each child will need  cards: I  I  I  V X  X  X  X  L and C
7 Each child will need cards: I  I  I  V X  X  X  X  L  C C  C  C  and M

Go forth and COUNT!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Won One!

Quiltmaker is a magazine published every two months.  Additionally they offer issues featuring 100 Blocks from time to time.

Many ladies who blog are quilt designers. Many offered give-aways of the Summer 2012 Volume of 100 Blocks.

I entered.  I won!!

Melissa at Happy Quilting sent me my very own copy!

You can see the block she designed, right there on the cover of the magazine.  It is green and blue and yellow and white - and it is called "Gear Works".

Melissa has a very interesting quilting blog - and offers a lot of give-aways.

I was especially intrigued by her TNT Thursdays feature.  As best I can tell it means Try New Things.  She challenges us to Try New Things and then tell others about it - on Thursdays.

Click here to see what things people Tried last Thursday!

A big THANK YOU to Melissa!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Today I want to show and tell.
Show you some quilts made by my Mother-in-Law.
And tell you what a wonderful lady she is.

Almost eight years ago my In-Laws moved from the west coast to live in the same city where we live.  Six and a half years ago we moved next door to them.  My kids have LOVED this: if they can't get enough chocolate at home, they go next door to Grandpa and Grandma's house!

(Grandma has multiple candy bowls - filled with the favorite candy of each grandkid, son, and daughter-in-law!)

And she carries a legacy of functional creativity.
Her Mother made a quilt for every grandchild as they graduated from high school.  Let's see - there were six siblings, two or more kids each - Grandma made over 15 quilts (hand-pieced and hand-quilted) for high school graduations.

Grandma pieced more quilts than she could quilt!!  Some of the quilts my Mother-in-Law stitched were tops that Grandma never got to quilt.  

This Grandmother's Flower Garden is entirely hand pieced 
by Grandma and hand-quilted by my Mother-in-Law.

I  think a lot of the fabrics were old shirts and scraps. 
I love the red honey-comb effect!

The top of this pinwheel quilt was her mother's handwork, 

and hand-quilted by my Mother-in-Law.

Here is her first full quilt made in a sampler class.  (I need to get a better picture: the colors are badly washed out)  This was a class taught at her church - and is probably the first quilt where she purchased matching fabrics for the quilt!  

The Pink and Blue was VERY much in vogue in the 1980's, 
when I think this quilt was created.

She always spoke of the Wheel of Mystery that she took to college.  Grandma had made it. Red and White.  And then my Mother-in-Law made one for on their bed.  It is a stunning pattern and remarkable work.
Hand Pieced.
Hand Quilted.

I wish you could meet my Mother-in-Law.  
She is a blessing to everyone who knows her.  
Every person who crosses her path is greeted with  cheerful joy and gracious hospitality.  

Proverbs 31:29 goes on to say

"Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all"

Yes, that describes my Mother-in-Law!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Apron #1

We just finished a study in the book of Psalms.  Some dear friends helped write the lessons and delivered lectures over the various passages.  I made some things for some of the ladies who helped.  I had some fabric with verses from the Psalms printed on it.

Here is the first one (in colors that match her kitchen, but not my kitchen, in the photo!!)

"Be still and know that I am God," it says.
I am thinking the apron will help my dear friend remember what she taught. . .
and remember to Be still and Know.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Box #2 - Some More

I showed some of the vintage un-finished projects in Box #2 in this blogpost.

There were a few items that you might NOT classify as vintage.

But there is a word that describes these creations:


Dictionary definition of Kitsch:  "something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste"

Wikipedia adds: "The concept is associated with the deliberate use of elements that may be thought of as cultural icons.  Kitsch also refers to the types of art that are aesthetically deficient (whether or not being sentimental, glamorous, theatrical, or creative) and that make creative gestures which merely imitate the superficial appearances of art through repeated conventions and formulae."
It appears that this word has also taken a more negative connotation. 

I speak of a historical definition of this word.  And I present two pieces that demonstrate this word:

This is a pillow cover - printed onto muslin with embroidery features.  
"Content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste"
as defined above.

This is also worked onto muslin.  With yarn.

You can see the embroidery work on the hat

And here are the eyes.... KITSCH, for sure.

You can see the hard work that went into attaching this pink yarn to the muslin.  
I actually really like the flowers!

And last, but not least today, A lovely lady.

The purpose of this object?  I am not sure.  But someone took the time to make this by hand.

And she ended up in my box.  
I'll hang on to all three of these pieces for a little while!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

UFO #4 April - Finished!

For my April UFO I set the goal of machine quilting a table runner my Mom had created.  It appears that she was practicing a bunch of piecing techniques.  And it has some applique on it.  I think this is the last applique that my Mom did.  It's not as good as her earlier work, but I want to preserve what she was able to do even near the end.

My goal with this piece was to practice machine quilting - and to learn Free Motion quilting on my machine.  I searched and searched for a darning/free motion foot for my Singer.  And found one at our local sewing machine store.

And then I just tried it!  I worked the free motion quilting on the paisley print- so I could not really get very good pictures of the stitching from the right side of the quilt.  So the pictures are of the back side of the piece. (And even that is hard to see because I used the same color thread as the backing!)

I was extremely pleased with what I was able to do.

 I also did some shadow-quilting with my walking foot around the applique.
My daughter liked this.
Here is a close-up.
I hope to keep up the free motion quilting - and get better at it.

The table topper has found its home on our dining room table for now.

Check out the other April UFO projects at Patchwork Times.

Now.  On to the May UFO!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Feet (This is Math?)

Today I want you to explore feet.  The unit-of-measurement kind of feet.  And just to teach a little humor in our language, I'm asking the kids to measure their own feet.

Find a ruler that measures one foot. Find 3 things that are the same length as the ruler.  Find 3 things that are shorter and 3 things that are longer than the ruler.

Does anyone in your family have feet that are a foot long?

How tall is the front door in your house?  How wide is it?  Is it the same size as other doors in your house?
How tall are the ceilings in your house?
How many inches in a foot?  How many feet in a yard?  How many inches in a yard?

How tall is each person in your house?  Give measurement in feet plus inches.
Have a hopping competition.  Hop on one foot.  How many feet can you hop?

Play a throwing game (ideas below).  Guess how far you threw the object, then measure it to see how good you are at guessing feet.

Find out how many feet are in a mile.  Memorize this number.

 INDICATING UNITS: When you have the students measure things - teach them how to indicate the unit of measurement.  For the unit FEET they can write "feet" or "foot" (if there is only one of them) or they can abbreviate with "ft."  Additionally there is the little apostrophe that can actually indicate the unit FEET . . . "My ceilings are 8' tall".  You will probably need to talk about inches, also.  They can write "inches" or "in" or use the double apostrophe (like this: 8" to mean 8 inches).  The apostrophe indication of feet and inches works very well when you have to report in feet AND inches (like in heights of people)  5'4" is 5 feet, 4 inches.

For a THROWING GAME, you might want to NOT use a ball - as it will roll away before you can measure the initial distance it was thrown.  Here are some ideas of objects to throw:
toss pennies
wad up paper
bean bags
roll toy cars until they stop
spit watermelon seeds

FEET PER MILE: Most of my children run long distance races.  They keep their mind busy converting the kilometers to meters, then to quarter miles and to miles.  And sometimes you just need to know how many feet in a mile.  If your students memorize 5,280 feet per mile they may win trivia games and be at an advantage in their physics class years from now. And run faster and jump higher...

Happy Feet!!

Cathy H