Tuesday, March 21, 2017

An exciting weekend for the Purples!

Last week, my school's basketball team made another trip to the state tournament in Lexington.  On Tuesday, we had a school-wide pep rally to send off our basketball team to the tournament.

We played and won during the day on Wednesday and Friday, so I headed north for the 2 1/2 hour drive to Lexington on Saturday to cheer them on in the semi-final game. Although they didn't play until the evening, I drove up early in order to do a bit of crafty shopping and exploring on my own before meeting the fella.

The game against Scott County (scoreboard pictured here) really shouldn't have been a quarterfinal game. Some of the polls had BGHS as #1 in the state, but other polls had Scott County as #1. I'm not sure why KHSAA doesn't seed the tournament, especially since this 'random' draw could just as easily have been the title game. I didn't get to go to the first or second round games since they occurred during the school day, but I did get to follow along as they were streamed at least. The fella went up to Lexington early on Friday and caught this game in person, so that's why I have the great pic of the scoreboard at the end.

I checked out a cute needlework shop, The Stitch Niche, where I snagged a cross stitch pattern I liked and an adorable needle minder for my works in progress.

JoAnn's, Michael's, and Tuesday Morning were quick stops for me too. I just bought a couple of things at each, but it was nice to check out a different selection than I have at home.

I also visited an independent bookstore, Joseph Beth's Booksellers, and had a great time checking out their selection. Here are a few things that caught my eye, even though I didn't buy anything.

I also stopped in a rather high-end gift store and fell in total love with their hand-painted pillows. Like, seriously, I need to learn how to paint because I am NOT paying $53 a pop for these not matter how cute they are. (They had tea towels too that I think were about $28 each - still too pricey for me!) These pillows were my faves!

I met the fella at the hotel, and we watched some NCAA basketball before driving to Rupp Arena to cheer on our Purples. In a VERY close game, the Purples were able to pull out a win over Scott. Although we'd led the entire game, the Scott team tied it up and even took the lead briefly in the last two  minutes of the game. I still can't believe what was supposed to have been an easy game for us was one that almost cost our kids the chance to play in the championship game. Needless to say, I was a bit belligerent about some of the calls the referees made (or didn't make). I cheered so loudly at the end of that game that my throat hurt the rest of the evening.

After the game, we had dinner at Joe Bologna's, a local pizza place that has been in business for over 30 years. It's located in an old church which was super cool, and their supreme Sicilian pizza was fabulous. We both pigged out a bit!

Since the following day's game wasn't until mid-afternoon, we enjoyed a leisurely morning at the hotel followed by breakfast at a nearby place. Then, the fella squired me around to TJ Maxx and Target so I could look for some cute pajamas for the upcoming retreat. I bought some, but I'm not sure I love them. Since I haven't tried them on yet, the jury is still out.

We wanted to arrive plenty early before the game, so we headed to Rupp more than an hour before start time. It was fun to get in and get settled without being rushed. For some reason, the ticket sellers sold us tickets that were smack dab in the middle of the student section. Even though we sat there briefly before game time, I quickly realized I wasn't 'hype' enough to hang with that crew. We asked an usher about our options and he allowed us to move over a section since most of the kids were in their wrong seats anyway. Had I been stuck in the middle of that painted up, screaming, dancing craziness, I prob wouldn't have been able to enjoy the game at all.

We played Cooper, who had pulled off an upset against Fern Creek during the late game the night before. While they had some talented players and were amazing from 3-point land, they just weren't a match to the relentless Purple players. While our 67-56 win against Cooper sounds like a comfortable margin, I was on the edge of my seat the entire game.  Our boys played consistently and confidently; they shot well and made smart decisions on the court. That's why they've had a 29 game winning streak this season and why they're the new KHSAA state champions in basketball.

And, as a point of pride, we're the only public high school in Kentucky to have ever won state titles in both football and basketball in the same year. 'Round here, the saying goes, "It's always a good day to be a Purple." Well, today is an extra-special, very good day.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sharing a layout - First and Only

Last weekend, I made a traditional 12 X 12 layout for the first time in FOREVER. My daughter's 25th birthday was on March 4th, and I shared some old pics on Instagram. I realized in doing so that I had never told the story of her actual birth. Well, that story kept niggling at the edge of conscience, and I took that as a sign that I needed to go ahead and tell that story on a layout. Here is the resulting page. I'm pleased with the design and glad that this important story has been documented. That's a win-win in my book!

I wasn't thinking about the layout being inside a page protector in my album, so I slid the various journaling cards behind elements on my page. I briefly considered going back and changing it but decided ultimately that anyone who really wanted to know the story could just pull the page out of the protector.

Honestly, it felt weird to make a traditional 12 X 12 page. I've been making pocket pages for my Paris album and December Daily and working in my traveler's notebooks so much that I felt kind of rusty working with that big, blank page. That's a good reminder for me to keep working in multiple formats, so I don't struggle so much the next time.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Planning the week ahead

As usual, there were lots of things I didn't manage to accomplish last week. As such, you may see some repeats from the past. Just go with it...

To go/call
1. Skype podcast with Tracie
2. Staples for copy job samples
3. Lexington this weekend if basketball team makes it to semifinals
4. Scrapbook & needlework shops in/near Lexington (see above)  - anybody have recommendations?
5. Gym x 4
6. Teach 2nd Opp night class x 2
7. Catch up with friends by phone - v + t + t
8. Return item to Hobby Lobby
9. Drop off items to donate (didn't do this last week)
10. Plans with the fella x 2 or 3
11. Confirm that K & J gave transport home from flight
12. Cable company to discuss rate change/plan options

To do
1. Finish grading for 3rd quarter - I'm woefully behind and have only 48 hours to finish.
2. Post 3rd quarter grades
3. Run ESS quarterly report and send to faculty
4. Cheer for boys at bball state tournament - show on Wednesday & hopefully Friday
5. Follow-up re: injection
6. Continue de-clutter/bag project for Lent
7. Take out recycling in time for pickup - it's out of control!
8. Make food bank donation at school
9. Finish watching The Borgias
10. Finish re-reading 1984
11. Begin reading a novel + a travel book
12. Touch-up color my hair

To make/create
1. Finish Pretty Little Italy stitching
2. Start next embroidery project
3. Make a traditional layout
4. Finish retreat class prep
5. Continue work on online class prep
6. Update blog settings + pics + posts (create new calendar?)
7. Make Paris pocket page spread
8. Paint something... (ornament? TN? canvas?)

To eat - get back on th wagon; I've been too lax this weekend! 
Breakfasts - fruit, yogurt, granola bars
Lunches - leftovers, frozen veggies/dinners, mac & cheese
Dinners - shrimp fajitas, out with the fella, zuppa toscana, frozen pizza, takeout

Friday, March 10, 2017

Modern Hand Embroidery - project share + review

After following @sarahkbenning on Instagram for a few months, I finally treated myself to her three month modern hand embroidery pattern subscription. Even though I'm not finished stitching Pretty Little Italy, a cross stitch project, yet, I decided I couldn't wait anymore to try this new hand embroidery project.

Just getting started

Arms of the plant + stripes

Adding in the cactus flowers + plant stand

Here's what I loved about it:
1. It stitched up very quickly. I finished the project in about 36 hours, and I only spent prob 4 hours of total stitching time. I loved the payoff of finishing in a short amount of time; that made me feel successful and motivated to make more.
2. The small size felt good to work with in my hands and made it easy to transport in my school bag.
3. The pattern and instructions guide were easy to follow and left lots of room for choice and creativity.
4. The project cost less than $20 to make. I spent about $12 on the pattern, $2 for the hoop, l than $1 for the fabric remnant, and about $3 for floss. I think that's reasonable for a finished project. I already had scissors, needles, a transfer pencil, and the ribbon scrap I used to hang it.
5. I like that I can use the same pattern with different kinds of fabric and floss and stitches to create very different looking projects. After the initial pattern investment, subsequent projects would be very inexpensive - less than $7 for each.

The back of my hoop isn't neat

It needed to be washed to remove marks

And then I had to iron it

What I didn't like so much:
1.  Tracing the design wasn't as easy as the instructions made it sound. Next time, I'll prob use temporary adhesive to make sure my fabric and pattern don't shift during this process. I might also break out y light box instead of using the window method.
2.  It used a lot of floss. This project used two skeins of the primary color, for example. A large project could be pricey in terms of floss.
3. The needles I had (size 24 tapestry needles) were difficult to thread using the 6-strand floss as instructed. It looks like I need to buy the needles recommended, a size 5 embroidery needle.
4. The fabric I chose, a lightweight 100% cotton, was a bit too thin. I think a duck cloth would be a better choice for next time.
5. My inexperience with the stitch types made me a little stressed during the project. I wasn't sure about my technique or skill level. A YouTube video with stitch demonstration to accompany each project would be a great addition to the program.

Final project back in the hoop + hung

As you can see, the problems I had were due to my own lack of experience and not the quality of the design or pattern I feel sure that I'll continue to feel more confident and improve my skill it's more reactive.