In a world full of hate...

Good people get out of bed every day and face the day with courage and peace and kindness.  Because if we do anything else, it means hate wins. 

Let us rise and stand tall and proud, wrap grief for a stricken world around us like a shawl.  Blend it with anger and peaceful defiance against those that would harm us to prove their self-importance.  Chin high.  Leaving a trail of kindness behind us like drops of water from a swimmer. 

Wrap that shawl around proud strong shoulders.  Shoulders that hold babies and support crying faces and stand tall and proud.  Shoulders that never stoop to hate, no matter how heavy the burden becomes. 

Be proud to be kind.  More proud than a killer of children can ever be. 

I grieve with Manchester.  I defy terrorism and hatred, bigotry and misogyny, religious zealotry, wherever I find it...and I seem to find it everywhere now.  I will not be cowed by self-importance and judgment.  I will never stop defying those who hate by loving those who are kind. 



Just another manic Monday

I needed a kind of quiet weekend.  While my cold hasn't been able to gain a foothold, we are still doing battle.  And, fortunately, I had several sit on the floor and don't move around a lot projects.  Cleaning and straightening; sorting; putting away the ten thousand things I pull out between putting away days.  And, it was rainy outside, so a good weekend for that kind of projects. 

And, I spent a good bit of time quilting.  There were a couple false starts to the continuous line of feathers in the second border.  Creating a curvy line where the feathers vary in size and aren't exactly reflected on the other side of the spine is hard.  There's a proportion there that has to be respected and I'm just learning about it. 

I have this many borders done.  Except that darker green stripey fabric.  Not sure what to do with that border yet.  Maybe the same thing I did with the dotted fabric. 

Creativity, speak to me!  Speak to me soon!  And, don't make me buy another spool of that expensive silk thread, please.

On Saturday, Rob put in our new microwave.  Our old microwave was old...very old.  When we re-did the kitchen, we researched and bought good appliances.  And, they've lasted well for many years.  We've had the micro repaired once.  But, this time, it was slow degradation, then death. 

And, leftovers wept. 

We bought the exact same micro this time as last time.  Except the last one was off-white, and this time, I'm replacing the appliances with stainless.  The next one to watch is the dishwasher.  It has some issues with the racks and replacement racks are soooo expensive.  And, last night, as if on cue, Rob and Syd couldn't get it to start.  We finally did, which was good because it was full and I would have hated to add that to the pile I created that I had to hand wash yesterday afternoon (I'd had a baking binge).  But, now we're on the watch to see what happens next with it. 

I'm still feeling pretty high from last week.  My boss's reaction wasn't really what I expected.  Or maybe it was.  He didn't seem to share my excitement.  He's always just a step off of where I am...and where I need him to be.  But, we're forging through.  Making the best of a very bad situation that we both inherited and disagree about how to resolve.  Finding one another's strengths and respecting them.  And, we're starting to laugh sometimes.  That's new.  That's improvement. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  I hope it leads to a wonderful week!  I'm going to go see if that silk thread has gotten more expensive. 



It was a good "Lane" week.

Well, the conference went great, just as you predicted.  Well, mostly great.  I picked up some bug either Monday or Tuesday that started to show symptoms on Wednesday.  And, today, it stopped showing symptoms and started kicking my butt.  Congestion, headache, something going on in my gut.  Airborne to the rescue.  They may have had to stop advertising how great they are because they couldn't prove it.  But, I'm still a believer.  Doesn't help with the symptoms.  I have to take something else for that.  But, it helps build the immune system to fight things off. 

Or, it's a sugar pill and the healing is all in my mind.  Personally, doesn't matter which one. 

Monday was good.  Travel was easy and I had one of the smoothest flights ever.  Like riding in a car.  Monday night dinner was German and I'm not a fan, but I went anyway.  Until they started drinking shots, then I walked back to the hotel.  (disappeared like a puff of smoke)

One of the event planners was out sick (he's off the hook for giving this to me, but he's the only one) so the rest of us split his responsibilities.  I ended up introducing all the speakers and playing the icebreaker game.  In the first two rounds of the game, nobody matched.  But, in the third, almost everybody did. 

The first speaker was a company VP.  He's someone I've known remotely for years, but he remembered me.  I introduced him and we played the icebreaker.  As I was talking, my throat started to close up as it does in emotional situations (except when I'm angry, then my throat doesn't have any trouble.)  But, I wasn't discouraged. 

Then, the CEO spoke.  I was very proud.  Walked right up to her, shook her hand, explained that I would intro her and we'd play the icebreaker.  We all got on stage.  It was an interview style session with Q/A and some audience questions.  I introduced the interviewer as if he were the speaker, then pointed to the CEO and said "this lady just wandered in to hear him speak."  I looked around the audience and caught her in the corner of my eye and her eyes were wide open and her mouth was a perfect O of surprise.  Then, I said "of course, we all know (insert name).  I've been following her career longer than either of us would like to admit.".  I think it was perfect.  Everybody needs a good surprise every so often.  Of course, we'll see if there is blowback from that because the rule is, you never surprise the CEO (all questions and rules of the icebreaker had to be submitted in advance).  I'm feeling pretty safe. 

The rest of my intros went well.  I made people laugh and got things off to a good start and helped set the tone of the meeting.  One of the extra jobs I picked up was the closing of day 1.  Administrative announcements and a wish to see everyone back tomorrow.  But, I started with "The only thing separating...you...from...beer.........is...me.  I really drew it out like I was going to keep on like that.  It was a gamble, but it worked.  Mostly because I didn't keep it up.  I got them out of there quick.  Instead of going to the baseball game that was the "team event", three ladies and I went to dinner together as an "alternative event".  That's three more people than attended the alternative event last time. 

Wednesday morning, "Welcome back to the conference, everybody.  Glad to see so many of you survived the night.  If there's good gossip from last night, be sure and tell ME."  And, we played the icebreaker.  The speaker that gave the answer to match said something obscure that nobody was going to guess, so I said "OK, thanks.  We may as well start the meeting now."  That got laughs.  One of my really good friends, and very sweet lady who is very...is ladylike a bad word now?  Because that's the way I'd describe her.  Anyway, from the stage, I heard her say "my only answer would be X-rated".  Boy, did I have some fun with that.  I said something to her later to make sure she wasn't offended and she wasn't, so I guess I didn't overplay that one.  We played the rest of the round and nobody matched.  Til I got to the last guy, who's a really good friend of mine.  He said he matched and I said I'd need proof.  So, I walked over and checked his piece of paper.  I don't know what he wrote on it.  Couldn't read his writing, but it didn't look like a match, but I said he matched.  Then as I walked away, I said "yeah, right" under my breath.  More laughs. 

At the last speaker, I started with "Well, this is my last time on stage.  Who else is excited about that?"  Pause for laughter.  "If you know me, then you know this is not who I usually am.  If you want to see a surprised look on a man's face, tell my boss about this.  It will probably take 25 or 30 of you before he believes it." 

Even though that was my last moment on stage, it wasn't my last moment to shine.  We have a sponsor for our meetings from a higher level of management.  He gave the opening and closing remarks for the conference per tradition.  In the closing, he thanked all the members of the planning committee and asked them to stand.  But, he forgot me.  We got to lunch and I walked up to him and said "love you too" and laughed.  But, the man was almost in tears he felt so bad about it.  I tried everything to make him feel better.  I explained that I had tooted my own horn for two days, and everybody knew I was on the committee.  I'd said it in my intro on day 1.  It didn't matter to me.  But, the one that had real impact on him was when I put my arm around his shoulder and spoke softly and said "you're the only one feeling bad about this and I'd appreciate it if you'd let it go because I'm on a pretty good high right now and I'd like you to feel that too."  It seemed to work. 

The other one was the event planner that does things like this full time.  She takes care of the logistics; reservations, accommodations, transportation, menus, handouts...that kind of stuff.  We had lunch on the hotel's roof.  And, it was way too windy for that.  It was sandwiches and the salad and bread were blowing off the buffet table and onto the floor.  People would pick up food on a spoon and it would fly at them.  If they were lucky, they could duck.  Table cloths blowing all around.  Napkins and plastic glasses all over.  And, the event planner was pissed.  The hotel should have known during setup that this would happen (even though I secretly believe it only started when we got to the roof because there wasn't any food blowing around when we got there.  It started after we got there.)  And, the hotel brought up extra staff and food to handle it.  I put my arm around her and explained that everybody was laughing and having a good time and she should let it go.  Then, after lunch, I could see she was still seething, so I walked over, plopped down next to her and said "we all took a vote.  We decided this was the most memorable conference lunch ever.  We'll never forget it."  And. I finally got her to laugh.  But, honestly, I would not have wanted to be the hotel representative that had to talk to her after it was over.  I'm sure she gave them an earful.  She likes things to be perfect because feedback reflects in her performance evaluation. 

I have a really obnoxious loud inappropriate co-worker.  She kept trying to make a big deal in front of small crowds about how I was only pretending to be shy.  She's always kind of a pain in the ass, so I sluffed her off and wouldn't really talk about it or let her get any traction on it.  But, it did make me think.  Part of what she said was right.  It's not that I'm shy.  I'm afraid of attention.  Attention hasn't always been a good thing in my life.  It's a risky thing that can go good or bad, so I learned to avoid it altogether.  But, I'm older now and I'm a better person with a stronger ego and maybe it's time I got a little attention.  Maybe I should draw a little attention to myself.  It sure wouldn't hurt my career any.  And, I'm kind of enjoying this feeling I'm having right now...not the feeling in my chest and nose, but the feeling in my heart.  I got a TON of private compliments.  I think I could do more of this. 

We'll see.

Have a GREAT Thursday.  I plan to.



Please speak into the microphone, sir

No, it's not a congressional hearing.  It's my conference next week.  You guys know how excited I get about these things.  I'm much better in smaller numbers.  But, these are things I have to do.  And, more and more, I've learned to schmooz and talk...okay, what I should have said is more and more, I have confidence to schmooz and talk.  I'm actually pretty good at it.  And, I'm never alone, so for some reason, people must like to be around me.  And, I'm constantly hugging necks or shaking hands. 

Anyway, each of our meetings is planned by a volunteer planning committee.  I've never done that.  I've always sworn I would never do that.  But, in my effort to be more involved, I knew I needed to do that.  I wanted to do a small meeting, but there were none, and when a nationwide meeting was conceived, I said yes.  If you've never done it, it's a LOT more work than you think.  Do you need a riser?  a podium?  and for how long?  how many tables?  arranged seating?  who sits at what table?  and the list goes on and on.  We were really sweating over a series of ice breakers and introductions for the speakers.  I felt like a fish out of water, so when they came up with an idea that I knew about, Match Game, I jumped in and turned it into a solution for both the ice breakers and the speaker introductions.  I watched MG as a kid when Gene Rayburn was the host.  But, MG doesn't really fit with a conference setting, so I came up with some adjusted rules that let most of the attendees play a round.  And then I wrote about 25 industry relevant fill in the blank questions.  And, last week, the very young co-members of the planning committee were still looking at me like I was speaking ancient Greek when I talked about the game, so I volunteered to run the game at the conference.  Speaking into the mic.  And, introducing the speakers, including the CEO of the company. 

Now, normally, I'd be kicking my own butt and trying to become infected with measles...or ebola.  But, I'm not really that worried about it.  I'm anxious.  I'm going to need to be funny, multiple times during the day, for a couple of days.  That's not my strong suit.  But, I've done it before.  I've taught classes.  I did a presentation at a quilt guild.  I introduce myself and talk about my quilts at guild meeting show and tell.  I can do this.  And, if I'm funny, that's great.  And, if I'm not funny, that's gonna be okay, too.  Because the point of it is, I'm trying, not how it goes.  Because no matter how this one goes, the next one will go better.  Just like the speaking at a quilt guild was better after teaching classes.  And, show and tell is easier after both of those. 

I probably won't get a wink of sleep Monday night.  But, I'm sleeping pretty good now, so if I'm being delusional about this and should be terrified, please don't tell me.

Here's something else I can do.  More TEXture. 

This is one of the borders in the green quilt.  It imitates the feathered star, so I wanted to do the same feather shape in it that I had done in the star.

This quilt is going pretty fast.  The corners of the border I'm working on are triangles that are twice the size of the triangles I've been quilting.  Next project is to draw a design to fill that space and then I can knock that border out.  Still haven't decided what to quilt in that stripey dark green border.  But, my creative process comes in spits and spurts, so I've just got to be patient and wait.

Everybody have a great Friday.  I'm looking forward to work being over for the week.  People at work are being difficult.  I work in a competitive environment.  I'm not competitive at that level.  I'm more of the guy that takes the idea that won the competition and turns it into something useful.  I'm the detail guy.  Everybody hates the detail guy because he's the one that constantly says "that won't work".  I don't get much credit for following that with "but this will".  They've stopped listening by then. 



More garden and sewing

It was another great weekend to work in the yard.  Well, at least until about noon.  Then, it was just hot.  Here is about a 3 minute walkthrough. 


We went to the garden center on Friday for potting plants.  Those annual bursts of color that fill in the bare spots in the garden, and brighten up the front of the house.  We trimmed trees on Sunday.  Our neighbor called me from the other side of the fence to tell me to cut my tree, because it drops leaves on her picnic table (once a year) and is pushing against her fence.  Believe me, we don't let anything touch that precious fence.  Her daughter has been staying there taking care of her and when the neighbor went inside, the daughter called me over to tell me not to pay any attention to her.  But, I know better than to do that.  If I do that, she'll be ringing the doorbell.  And, mad.  So, I cut off the part that hung in her yard.  That was not what she wanted.  And, I got to listen to them discuss it.  But, I did not come back to the fence for further discussion.  I wasn't taking down my little redbud tree that grew from seed. 

It's been a strange few days for interacting with people.  They're being especially difficult.  It's a good thing I have my garden to retreat to. 

This is about 2 minutes of the birds waking up. 


Since Friday, I've continued to add texture to the green quilt, but nothing to show off yet.  And, I've continued to make Sue and Bill blocks.  I sat down Saturday and made up the last kits to get 16 blocks.  I added fabric from stash to replace pieces from the original set that I'm not using.  There were a lot of whites and I'm using a white background, so I discarded them.  I started with 9 Sue and 5 Bill and I discarded one of each that was a white print with little red and green sprigs on it.  Too close to white to go on a white background.  And, I discarded some other pieces and mixed them around.  And, replaced pieces from vintage and new fabrics in my stash. 

Here are the first six.  I started one that I don't like and am going to "re-make".  It's too dark.  For children's blocks, I think they're kind of grown up fabric choices, which I think is perfect.  It's a grown-ups version of a child's quilt. 

Everybody have a great Monday!  It's the start of a new week.  Literally, anything great could happen.  I've just got to be watching for it.  Watching for the great, and trying not to pay attention to the nightmare. 



I wanted the one with the TEXture

Hi, all.  Just an update on the green quilt that I posted about the other day.  When I start a quilt, I don't always have a very clear view of how I want it to end up, just some vague ideas.  When I started this quilt, my idea was to create texture on the surface of the quilt to try to break up some of the green-ness of it and give it another level of interest. 

So, how's that for some texture? 

That section went pretty fast.  Now, I move out into the borders...there are 7 of them.  I haven't decided what to do in all of them, but I have decided this.  Because there are only four fabrics in the quilt, I'm going to quilt each fabric in its own way.  The darkest color in the photo above is only getting outline quilting, wherever it shows up in the quilt.  And, the lightest color is going to get denser filler quilting and feathers.  The apple green with the dots on it is going to get straight line outlining.  There's a stripe fabric too and I haven't decided what to do with it yet.  I'm planning to let that decision be made based on how the rest of the quilting looks.  I could do anything there.  Or nothing at all.



New projects

I love the constant variety of being a quilter.  Always something new.  Always some new inspiration.  Sometimes from unexpected places. 

Rob's birthday was Friday.  I think he had a nice day that day, but we really saved our personal celebration for Saturday when he and I went to Taylor, TX to check out the antique stores.  That was a bit of a bust, but he got a really good deal on a print of a painting by a painter he likes and I got a project.  And, we had a great lunch in Hutto, TX at the Texan CafĂ©, where they have a huge pie case and their motto is "Pie fixes everything".  Lunch was so big and so delicious that the pie had to come home for later.  We all commented that by the time we'd finished the pie, we were in a bit of sugar overload. 

Anyway, before we left, I pin basted this quilt. 

 Yeah, I know.  Lotta green, right?  I thought of the quilt as monochromatic.  I even took it to a class with Joen Wolfrom as an example of a monochromatic quilt and she helped me discover that it was really an analogous quilt, using three shades of green that sit next to one another on the color wheel.  But, you have to be using a really big color wheel for that to happen.  On my color wheel, it was just green.  Or at best, apple green. 

Over Saturday afternoon and Sunday, I got all the ditch work done and started on the filler.  I wanted some Pebbling.  I love pebbling, but it makes my left shoulder hurt, so I have to take a lot of breaks.  I have ideas for some of the looser fill, but will need to draw that and mark the quilt for those.  It all takes time. 

 This is the project I picked up on our antiquing trip.  I've always intended to make a Sunbonnet Sue/Overall Bill quilt.  I didn't know it would be finishing someone else's, tho.  But, why not?  It was pre-packaged inspiration for something I hadn't started yet.  I guess the Universe thought it was time.

But, it sure wasn't as easy as just picking up someone else's project and moving forward with it.  The original maker had cut pieces out of several really cute 70's fabrics.  That was the only draw.  The 70's fabrics are just what I remember my Mom making clothes for my sister out of.  Stiff and that polyester smell when you iron it.  And, that family memory grabbed me and got me to pay all of $6 for the fabrics for 12 blocks. 

Two blocks were pieced, but I suspect this was a child's project...and they didn't enjoy it.  The blanket stitching was a mess.  But, those two blocks were enough for me to draw a pattern.  She hadn't put the arms on the boy yet, so that took some figuring out and trial and error.  I basically traced what she had appliqued onto transparent template plastic, and traced that to paper.  For the boy, I folded the paper copy in half lengthwise to compromise on the lines and create symmetry between the two halves. Then, I cut the pieces out of template plastic so I can trace them onto the fabrics.  And, I trace from the paper copies to the fabric backgrounds.  I'm "re-combining" the fabrics.  She had matched the boys hats and shirts, so you couldn't tell them apart and the girls sleeves matched the dresses, and you couldn't really see them.  So, I'm poking around in stash, looking for fabrics to substitute in to give me a bit more contrast to those blocks. 

But, it's fun and distracting hand work.  And, when my hands aren't busy, I'm reading the news.  And, that's not making me nearly as happy as this sweet little Sue and Bill quilt. 

Everybody have a great Monday!!  Lane


Mixed emotions

A couple years ago, I helped with the guild's raffle quilt; Red, White and Stars. 

I pieced the triple feathered star in the center and the Lemoyne star border around it.  Guild members pieced the feathered stars that are around that and the border.  I even assembled a couple of those stars when the paper piecing overwhelmed the volunteer that had taken it.  A wonderful local quilter did phenomenal custom long arm work on it that really brought the quilt to life. 

The quilt won a ribbon in Dallas before it was awarded in the raffle at last year's show.  Then, there was controversy surrounding the raffle drawing.  (The almost constant controversy is the only thing I'm not fond of at my guild.)  The lady that won it entered it in some shows under the guild's name. 

The quilt has ribboned in Paducah, but we don't know what it has won yet.  The winner is motoring there now for the show and will let us know after the awards ceremony this week. 

(I paper pieced the center of this block while I was guild secretary and the incoming secretary after me pieced the rest of the block, so it was a secretary's block.)

Publicly, my guild made a beautiful quilt that has gone on to win some national ribbons. 



You won't hear me say that outside.  It's the guild's quilt.  But, secretly, I had a lot to do with it.  And, I'm proud as heck!  I've been congratulated and every time, I defer back to the guild's accomplishment.  Or the huge accomplishment of the lady that took all those different blocks and put them together into this quilt.  Or the designer that thought of it. 

But, privately, I couldn't be prouder if I'd made the whole thing myself. 

Everybody have a great Tuesday.  It's yet another work day for me.  I'll get lots done.  But, I'll be waiting to hear the results of the awards ceremony. 



Weekend sewing and yardwork

It was a very cool weekend.  Unusually cool.  Jackets were needed.  Not the coats I saw some people wearing, but jackets.  We took advantage of the nice weather to spend a chunk of it outside.  I got some nice "cleaning up" done in the flowerbed; trimming away dead limbs and rose hips, taking out a couple plants that weren't making it and trying to take care of some aphids.  Rob did the lawn. 

Work.  And, more work.  And, then some work. 

But, there was also play.  It was the Santa block for the "Have a Jolly Little Christmas" sew along. 

This is such a cute sew along.  And this block was complicated, but fun to put together.  You definitely need the correct seam allowance or it doesn't fit together in the end.  I wish I'd had a slightly darker beige for the face so it would stand out from the beard better, but it's still fine.  Eight blocks so far.  Woo-hoo!
The other block I worked on was one for the Jubilee Quilt.  This is block 30 for that quilt.  Just 6 more to go. 

These blocks are so easy to make with freezer paper templates.  I don't know why it's taken me so long.  But, 36 of anything is hard for me.  I sure couldn't do it consecutively.  When I started the quilt, I didn't understand my need to start new things as well as I do now.  Now, I know I need to keep several projects going at once to keep me happy. 

I also put one of Rob's travel trailer blocks together, but it was because I forgot I had one ready that I just needed to blanket stitch.  Oops!  But, I guess it's okay to have a couple of those stacked up waiting. 

And, I finished the quilting on a Linus quilt.  I think this is the last of the race tops I put together last year, using up all my strips.  (that's kind of a cool effect in the picture, like water, but it's just because it's spread across a pile of stuff that needs to be put away in the studio.)

I quilted it in straight lines along the seams.  That makes for a beautiful quilt, but it sure is boring work.  Fortunately, I figured out that if I use the hopping foot, I can work up and down lines continuously without having to turn the quilt. 

Well, that's it for me today.  Time to shower and get ready to go to the office.  For more work. 

Everybody have a great Monday!  Lane



That's not right...

Don't you love it when you finish a quilt top and you're feeling all proud.  I was especially proud because this one took soooo long. 

And, then you look at it and say "That's not right." 

That's what happened on my Simply Delicious quilt. 

This was a kit, so I didn't pick the fabrics.  The fabrics in some of the blocks were...strange (think of the purple sweet pea), but they worked for the most part.  The ones they chose for the border have too much contrast.  The difference is too stark and it's distracting.  The tone of the fabric is different.  This needed a softer blue.  Or, some of those dark fabrics should have been called for in the 1" squares that sash the blocks together.  (I wish I'd thought of that earlier.  that would have been a very easy solution.) 

This is their quilt.  Sorry the pic is blurry.  It came from here where the patterns are available for purchase.  See how the fabrics chosen for their outer border are not so starkly different? They blend in with the quilt.  Mine don't blend.  They create something new.  And, it's not something I care for. 

For now, I'm trying to decide if I can live with it.  But, if it's any indication which direction I'm leaning, I've started cutting light/medium blue squares.  And, since 2.5" squares never go to waste, I'll find a place for that dark blue. 

Yesterday, we took the dogs to the vet for their teeth cleaning.  Vet has been a problem for us for a while.  Our original vet was wonderful.  We loved everybody there.  But, they don't take appointments.  For anything.  First come, first served.  After the second time we had to wait there for four hours to put a dog down, I decided I couldn't do that anymore.  I needed to be able to make an appointment.  So, I switched vets when my cat developed diabetes and was so sick.  Those folks were "not right".  We'd go in for supplies and we NEVER got the exact same thing twice.  (I bought 7 boxes of syringes from them.  The only time I ever got two just alike was when I bought them at the same time.)  And, the vet wouldn't listen.  I hate that.  I'm speaking for my pet who cannot speak.  The least you can do is listen to what I have to say.  I ended up finding the right insulin dosage through trial and error and observation.  He'd have still been telling me to come back in two weeks for more tests. 

Anyway, the dog's teeth were becoming a priority.  We just couldn't wait any longer.  So, we tried another vet.  And, we LOVED her.  She's about 15 years old (the older I get, the younger everybody else seems).  But, she's very thorough and knowledgeable.  And, she listened to what we said and she asked a boatload of questions about things we've observed and how the dogs deal with things.  She recognized that was important.  So, we scheduled the cleaning, which we knew would be expensive. 

I won't tell you how much it cost.  It didn't matter.  Lots of extra "catch-up" work had to be done to make up for not having a vet for so long.  Sydney's little dog Bella had the worst of it.  Poor thing lost several teeth.  Rob's beagle Mable had an easy time of it, but whined and complained and drove everybody crazy as though she were being tortured.  Everybody in the clinic commented on it. 


I am going to be trying to teach Bella to let me brush her teeth...or what's left of them.  I told them yesterday I'd try until I got bit.  And, everybody that heard me laughed out loud.  She's not going to like that. 

But, it's better than what I spent yesterday. 

Everybody have a great Wednesday.  Hug your pets.  They're worth it.  Most of the time. 



The things old men get up to.

I thought it would be funny and whimsical if Rob and I dyed eggs Friday night.  It was neither.  Turns out we are both serious egg dyers.  There were some laughs, but mostly, it was collaboration.  We talked and we kept the eggs moving so they were evenly dyed and we talked some more.  We shared old memories of dyeing eggs and Easters past. 

As Syd gets more and more independent, we do more things like that together.  Getting back to our life.  Remembering how to do things without them being focused on her.  It's good for all of us. 

And, this is the result of our work. 

Cute, eh? 

And, I also took time to get part of my Simply Delicious quilt put together.  This is the layout. 

I had left a LOT of applique to do.  Stuff that hung over the block and into the sashing, and when I attached the sashing, I never went back to finish that little bit of applique. 

Everybody have a great Easter.  Yesterday, I made au gratin potatoes and 4.5 dozen oatmeal cookies. In a little while, I'm going to go bake a ham. But, first, I'm going to see how many more of these blocks I can get sewn together. 



So near...and yet so far away

It's been a strange week.  Restless nights.  Long days.  Everybody has them.  I guess it's my turn.  I've been quilting a Linus quilt during my studio time.  Long straight lines, so nothing exciting. 

But, during my TV time, I've been working on applique.  This is the last block in the Simply Delicious quilt.  I will be soooooooo glad when that is done.  I've been working on it several years.  Once the blocks are done, it's just some sashing and borders and quilting.  And there are the applique pieces that extend past their borders and into another block and can't be done until it's at least partially assembled.  But, I'm not going to think about that, if you don't mind.  And, I'm not going to guarantee that tiny little cantaloupe bloom will find it's way onto the quilt.  Talk about some fiddly applique.

I am three small pieces from done with this block.  Two of them are mis-cuts.  I've done that a few times on long stems that disappear under other pieces and then show up again. 

Unfortunately, I can't find the baggie with the extra fabric.  Now, the rule of Lane is that as soon as I pull other fabric from stash and cut it to fit the pieces, the baggie will show up.  And, by as soon as, I really mean probably within a minute or two.  Because that's how some things work.  And, I can accept it and enjoy life.  Or, I can gripe about it and be unhappy. 

I don't care where the fabric comes from.  I'm just looking so forward to finishing this quilt. 

Could I potentially be assembling this one this weekend?  I surely could. 


Everybody have a great Friday.  I'm going to do a few minutes of cutting little pieces and then it's work, work, work.  Happy Easter if you celebrate it. 



It's all water under the rug

Saturday, we cleaned carpets.  We are both still sore from moving the furniture and the back and forth motion of the cleaner.  We'll survive.  To work out the stiffness, we both worked in the yard part of the day yesterday.  And, no.  It didn't help. 

But, that wasn't the fun part.  A man can only work so much, even if he's enjoying it. 

There has to be some play...

This is the Cardinal block from Have a Jolly Little Christmas at Sew Fresh Quilts.  I am really enjoying these blocks.  They look complicated but the method she uses is not.  I don't follow her method exactly, but I do follow it pretty close (I trim before I sew instead of marking my diagonal seams, sewing and then trimming).  There are lots of little pieces to cut.  But, if you don't get bogged down in that, the assembly is easy. 

Speaking of prep heavy, you may remember my Jubilee Quilt.  Somehow I had it in my head that I was further along than I am.  So, that was a disappointment.  Last week, I was planning a new project and Saturday, just before putting rotary cutter to fabric, I had a V-8 moment and went back to my UFOs.  And, the Jubilee Quilt was the winner of the "what to work on" contest.  Actually, it wasn't the winner, but Rob tossed a monkey wrench (otherwise known as a great idea) into the winner and I'm going to have to think about it some more. 

I decided to prioritize these blocks and I made the one I've been waiting for and looking forward to since I started the project. 

And, I was so excited to get it finished that I made another, tho much simpler one.

I'm surprised the first one went together.  I should have warmed up on the simpler one, then made the one with the pink in it.  But, I didn't.  There was a lot of marking match points involved in putting that block together. 

The spring garden looks wonderful!!  I can't wait for Rob to make another video to share with you.  So many things are leaping up and filling in.  It's early and I'm just hoping we can keep it watered this summer.  I think we're going to have a scorcher. 

Everybody have a great Monday!  Hi-ho.  Off to work I go. 

Hey, it beats cleaning carpets. 



Going walkabout

Last night, we really got the chance to show Syd the good neighbor policy in action. 

We weren't even sure she was still living there.  We hadn't seen her in a couple years.  Once in a while, I'd see her home health nurse and we would see her moving around the house through the front window.  Her grandson is living with her and we aren't that fond of him. 

Yesterday, when Rob got home, a different neighbor asked him if he knew our across the street neighbor.  And, Rob did.  The different neighbor found her wandering and took her to his house.  We believe she'd been out in the heat for a couple hours.  She was convinced that "the kids" were in the car around the corner, waiting for her and she needed to find them. 

By the time I got home, Rob had her settled in her house and Sydney was there, sitting with her and entertaining the dog while Rob talked to her son.  I went over and talked to her and I got the chance to talk to her son.  While this was the first time she'd gotten out of the house, she has advanced Alzheimer's.  He seemed surprised that we wouldn't leave her alone. 

She could not understand that she was at home.  She kept thinking her son was coming to get her to take her home and she "really needed to get home."  And, while she said her things looked familiar, she didn't recognize the house or neighborhood.

I asked her about her daughter and that at least changed the topic and she told us many times about adopting her son and daughter as infants when she and her husband were stationed in Germany right after the war.  She could remember things along the timeline.  She knew her daughter had passed away and why.  But, she couldn't remember whether her grandchildren were her son or daughter's children.  She couldn't remember that she was a teacher.  But, she sure was convinced we were there from the church, so we finally just let that be the truth.  And, we kept reminding her she was home.  And, she'd lived there 30 years and we lived across the street.  Even in her confusion, she was confident.  She seemed to trust that we were there to help. 

We left Syd there and Rob and I came home.  I cut the largest chicken breast in half and made dinner and we walked back across the street with four plates and flatware and napkins.  And, she ate everything we fed her and I think she would have eaten more if I'd brought it.  At one point, she remembered that she hadn't had lunch. 

We visited for a while and then a friend of her grandson came to sit with her until the grandson got off work. 

We don't think she will be able to live there much longer, but while she is, we are committed to checking whether the grandson is home and if not, checking on her.  And, the neighbors are keeping a watch out in case she gets out again.  We assumed this was an isolated bad day for her, but the family made it sound like this is pretty normal.  I sure hope not. 

I'm going to work late today in hopes that I can talk to the home health nurse and get her to check on a sore arm that she was complaining about last night. 

In short, when we need to do, we do all we can do.  And, once again, Sydney got to see us.  And, just like I learned this from watching my parents, I'm hoping Sydney will learn it from watching us (I really, really think she will.  She sure never batted an eye about any of the things we asked her to do while she was there).  And, the circle of life goes on.  One lesson, passed generationally.

It's not just do unto others.  It's do for others, too.

Be well.  Have a great Friday. 


A couple of little things

Today it's about a couple little things and starting to plan what comes next. 

I made this on Saturday.  I was looking at kits on ebay and this one came up for $3.  But, the shipping was $7.  I muttered something rude and moved on.  But, then, it came back for $3 and free shipping.  And, I bought it now!  I knew I was going to be full of nervous energy on Saturday while I waited til it was time to go to the show, so I pulled it out and got started.  I converted the regular paper piecing to freezer paper and I replaced the solid black...what came with the kit was really thin.  I made the whole thing, including ditch quilting and had the border on when we left for the show.  I hand sewed the binding to the back on the drive up. 

It's supposed to say Happiness, so I plan to hang it at my desk, where I could use more Happiness.  But, for all I know, it might really say tomato soup.

This is the next block for the Have a Jolly Little Christmas sew along.  Lots of pieces.  It was a real challenge and I made it a couple weeks ago and am just getting around to posting it.  Life happens. 

And, a partridge in a pear treeeeeeee....

Speaking of Christmas, many of you have asked me about the pattern for this quilt.  This is a rather large applique quilt that I made a few years ago.  My mentor had made it from a kit and shared the patterns with me and we pulled fabrics from both our stashes to make my quilt.  Welllll, there's one available on ebay and it's for a really good price (I almost bought it).  The first block is started, but barely and you could either add to that or start again.  This is how it is listed.  Quilt kit block of the month Christmas applique quackertown quilts yuletide joy.  Sorry, but there's only the one and there's a half dozen people already looking at it, so good luck!!  (I have no affiliation with the seller and am only sharing a pattern I've not been able to share before)

I'm planning my next piecing project.  I don't quite know why.  I'm really committed to working on my UFOs but I guess deciding what to do with my collection of Asian fabrics and my one set of precuts (a jelly roll, a set of 5" squares and some yardage that Rob bought me years ago) IS working on my UFOs. 

I can't find an Asian inspired pattern I like.  I've found lots of elements of quilts I like, but nothing all put together.  And so many of them use a limited number of fabrics and I'd like to basically decimate my small stash and then maybe give away the scraps.  Move those fabrics on. 

My precuts are perfect for another wedding ring.  PERFECT!  Bright colors on a brown background.  But, I've done that, so I'm looking around at patterns specifically designed around precuts. 

Planning is a way of quilting at the office, right?    

Okay, I'm off to start that Linus quilt.  I'm fairly confident that it's not going to quilt itself. 



three for three

Hey, all.  Happy Monday...if there is such a thing.  Personally, I could use some more weekend. 

Saturday was the quilt show.  Rob did a video, and here's a link.  It's about 15 minutes of beautiful quilts.  The venue looks empty but that's just because of when we were there.  The show is about 45 minutes from home and I have to pick up my quilts at the end, so we had to go to the show late.  It picked up again about the time they hung ribbons. 

This was our favorite quilt.  Rob got a much better view.  Beautiful applique!!



Here are my ribbons. 

First place for the two Dresden Plates.

And, second place for this one.  It's a good thing I got this pic because that ribbon didn't get home with us. 

I cannot believe they gave me a second place ribbon.  The nerve!!

Actually, I was cool with it.  This is the quilt that beat me. 

I loved this little quilt and was glad to see it get first place. 

It was one of the few chances to get a full picture of this quilt.  There were two ladies standing in front of it talking about the quilt and speaking of me by name.  So, I walked up and stuck my hand out and introduced myself.  They were surprised. 

This quilt was phenomenal.  It was hand applique and hand quilted.  And, she stippled it...by hand!!  I sure was glad she entered in applique and not hand quilting because she would have gotten my blue ribbon.  And, rightly so!

And, I loved the pattern of this one.  The pattern intrigued me, but so did the variety of color and fabric.  Things I would not have thought to put together, and they worked here. 

It was a very full weekend.  We got to see our friend LD and take her to dinner and to the show.  Always a delight to see LD!  That pastel Dresden Plate quilt came through her, so she was excited to see it win a ribbon. 

More later about my other weekend projects.  I certainly had fun and got a lot accomplished.  But, I could use today to rest. 

Everybody enjoy Monday.  Lane


Four minutes in the garden

Rob made a short video of the garden on Sunday.  I think you'll see why I like it out there so much. 

It's a lot of work, but good work.  Keeps me young and fit...




More work than it sounds like (or five days of quilting is enough!)

I am so glad I took days off to finish my quilts for the show.  The show is next weekend and I need to drop off on Thursday.  I thought my quilts were finished-er than I guess they were.  I probably could have gotten it all done.  Probably.  But, it would have mean being locked in the studio and doing nothing else and I'm very glad I didn't have to do that. 

On Wednesday, I finished quilting the black and brown quilt and I washed and blocked the pastel Dresden Plate quilt. 

On Thursday, I bound the blk/brn quilt and wrote out my labels.  Okay, so first, it's not just a label, it's my name, so I do take some extra time for them.  I used to use my Pfaff to embroider them, but since it's demise, I've been embroidering a bit differently.  First, I write them on paper.  That lets me center and script and erase to get it to look like I want it to.  Then, I trace it to fabric.  Then, I back it with a heavy stabilizer and using my machine and my free motion quilting skills, I sew along the lines with a heavy thread, twice.  The underlining joins the letters so I don't have a knot beginning and ending every letter.  Then, I add embellishment and a frame.  They're not the most professional things ever, but I like them better than just writing them with a sharpie.

On Friday, I made those labels and started making the bags.  Every quilt needs a storage bag and the show requires that they be dropped off in some kind of a bag or pillowcase, so I go ahead and make a nice one.  For the label on the bag, I use the same original to trace from, but those are done with sharpie.  No need to completely over-achieve.

On Saturday, I unfolded the quilt that was completely hand made and found a big black smudge on it.  Something had gotten on it while it was folded up and it left a mark.  I struggled with what to do and did a lot of blotting.  But, in the end, I had to wash and block it as well.  So, we spent Saturday with a queen sized quilt spread across the living room, drying, and threatening animals that wanted to play on it.  I didn't think to take a picture, but here's one from when it was hanging.  Rob pointed out that on a quilt that was made completely by hand, it's ironic that I made the label by machine.  Oh, well. 

And, on Sunday morning, I sewed the label on that quilt and packed everything up into this very nice little pile.  Rob will drop them off for me on Thursday. 

I'm glad I had five days.  I always get nervous showing my quilts.  It's fun to stand nearby and hear what people say about my quilts.  But, it's stressful, like sending my babies out for inspection. 
And, my reward was getting to make a BOM block late Saturday afternoon and I got to do  a considerable amount of work in the yard.  That helped me relax and worked out some stress from quilt shows and the office, so now I'm relaxed and ready to face the world again with a cheerful demeanor. 
Let's see how long it takes somebody to mess that up. 
Everybody have a great Monday!  Lane


Coming to a garden near you...

It's spring. 

Remember that first spring weekend when you go out and do too much and regret it the next day?

Today is my regret day.

But, we really got a lot done and the yard looks GREAT!  We were cleaning out leaves from moldy places, so we are both dealing with allergies today. 

Columbine in bloom. 

Mock Orange just starting to bloom. 

Everything is greening up and growing like weeds.  I can hardly wait til Daylily season. 

This is the intensive care section; a place for plants I've dug up and divided to rest for a while before they find new homes. 

I worked until I could hardly move, but that didn't stop me from quilting.  Of course, all this spring outside has made it hard to work on a black and brown quilt.  I want that bright spring colored Broken Star quilt.  But, this quilt has a deadline.  It has to be washed, blocked and ready to drop off at the quilt show on 03/30.  I can make it, I can make it, I can make it...

I'm just down to the background filler now, and I'm done with all of that except the center block. 

This is what the feathers in the border look like after I put the background quilting in it (for the second time).

I originally did tiny echo work around the feathers and I hated it.  It distorted the print, in that it became a second print laid on the original print of the fabric.  I didn't want that, so Saturday, I started pulling it out.  When Rob caught me pulling thread, he said he wasn't surprised.  Last weekend, I was forcing my quilting (stress quilting); quilting to get something done, whether it was the right something or not.  And, he wasn't surprised that I wanted to replace it.  And, I did. 

What I put in is random.  It's not even micro stippling because I didn't worry about crossing over my lines.  I just filled.  And, it came out exactly like I'd envisioned it.  And it was much faster than that echo work. 

Well, it's Monday again.  yippee.  But, it's only a two day work week for me, and then I'm home to finish the quilts for the show.  All three of them need some level of work before they're "finished".  Maybe it's just another wash and block and a label.  Or maybe it's some final quilting.  But, with those extra days, I shouldn't have any trouble getting finished.  Fingers crossed. 

Everybody have a great week!!  Lane