4/25/17

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. 

Privately;

I AM PART OF A QUILT THAT RIBBONED IN DALLAS AND AT THE PADUCAH SHOW!!  AND IT'S GOING TO BE AT HOUSTON!!!!!  AND IT'S WINNING AWARDS!!!!!!!

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. 

Lane

4/24/17

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

 
 
 


4/19/17

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. 

Oops!

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. 

Lane

4/16/17

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. 

Lane

4/14/17

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. 

Woo-hoo!!!!

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. 

Lane

4/10/17

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. 

Lane

4/7/17

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. 

4/6/17

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. 

Lane

4/3/17

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

3/28/17

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...

right.

Lane

3/27/17

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

3/20/17

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







3/16/17

Thoughts off the wall

I'm just back from a business trip and haven't really gathered my thoughts, but here are a few things that occurred to me during the week.  Just putting them out there for the universe. 

I traveled from sunny and warm Texas into winter storm Stella.  This was not a good idea.  Fortunately, we were right on the edge of it, so all we really saw was cold and wind.  Cold and wind that cut through me like a knife.  I had layers.  And, I wore some of them, most of the time and all of them some of the time.  I wore my new red and white shirt I made...but nobody got to see it, so I'll give it an official debut at a future meeting.  I was warmer than some of the Clevelanders that for some reason always seem surprised to get somewhere and find that it's actually cold out.  I spent the days referring to myself as Texas, as in Texas is going back in.  Or, Texas is closing the door.  Or Texas is getting back on the bus, when we stood outside for an hour and a half, watching other people test drive cars.  And, I regularly gave them weather updates.  From Texas...sunny and 75 in Texas.  And, more than once, I offered to host them all at the next March meeting...in Texas.

And, I was funny.  Not just a little bit funny.  I took it on myself to be the entertainment; to keep people laughing.  At some point yesterday, when I was in the airport and away from the team, two things dawned on me.  One, I got my Daddy's sense of humor.  He's very funny, and can toss out a comment in response to the most common statements that makes everyone laugh.  I spent three days doing that.  Not starting funny stories, just adding a few words to the normal, common things that people said that suddenly made people laugh.  It felt good to give joy.  And second, I want to be that way more in my real life.  I can.  I want to.  But, I've been so angry for so long and rather than inflict that on anybody, I've gotten quiet.  So quiet that people forget to include me.  I can do something about that.  And, I hope to.

I came home last night and spread myself across the house.  I dropped things everywhere.  After three days of having to keep everything in a pile so I didn't lose anything, it was nice to be home and have room to spread out.  I felt like a dog marking territory.  Unfortunately, now I'll have to round all that stuff up and put it where it really belongs. 

My boss likes to maintain a position above the fray.  He doesn't get involved.  I've never worked for anyone that was so not involved.  And, this week, it bit him in the butt and I enjoyed hell out of it.  He created a crisis that unfolded in front of his boss.  And, there is no amount of tattling on him that would have been more effective than letting things unfold naturally was.  I'm going to try to remember that when he's frustrating me, the universe has a way of making things right. 

We went to the IIHS (something Institute of Highway Safety) headquarters for our meeting.  I work for an auto insurance company.  If you're thinking of buying a vehicle, new or used, please visit their website and check out the safety ratings.  You'd be surprised at what happens to vehicles and people in even a small crash.  We saw videos that are available on U-tube.  It's horrific!  Pick a vehicle for safety, not because it's "pretty".  IIHS is not making this stuff up.  They are very scientific and use controlled experiments to rate vehicles.  I'll never buy again without them. 

We visited Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home.  First, would somebody give them some money so they can fix that beautiful structure up?  There are beautiful modern buildings as tributes to other people on the property, a museum, a theater and a gift shop.  That money should have been spent restoring Monticello.  It was good to see that they are not shying away from the contradiction that was Thomas Jefferson, a man who believed in freedom for all...white men.  A man who saw slavery as the shameful thing it was, but still owned slaves.  It's good to see the contradictions in our founders and not just the shiny textbook pretense of perfection that I was taught in the 70's. 

This week is SXSW in Austin.  The plane last night was filled with millennials.  Millennials apparently were taught to speak by Samuel L Jackson.  I've never heard the F word used that way or that often by ungrateful little privileged white kids that want to be thugs.  Rich people, slap the crap out of your kids please.  They are offensive.  And, if your daughter is complaining that some old man shouldered her in the side of the face and pretended the plane hit turbulence, it was me.  She was drooling on me.  I don't know what drug she was on, but I sure enjoyed that one little bit of getting even for the universe. 

But, as Sheldon says, she was "in my spot". 

Thank God for people in power on both sides of the aisle that are starting to get wise to what we have known since November and are starting to stand up to the orange stain.  Have you looked up who your members of congress are?  Have you written a letter yet?  I have not.  I shall correct that beginning today.  I shall write many letters.  Speak now, or forever be oppressed. 

I am so far behind on reading blogs.  They keep us moving on these business trips so that people don't take too much advantage of being away from spouses and family.  But I will catch up.  I hope your weeks have been more exciting than mine and I can't wait to read about it. 

If I walk away now, I can sew just a little bit before I have to get ready for work.  I love you all, but I'm going to sew.  See ya!

Lane

3/9/17

Yellow

When we went antiquing a couple weeks ago, there was this one vendor that had a lot of sewing stuff, including a vintage machine.  Anyway, that booth is always like that, and every time we go there, I paw around in it, looking at patterns, notions and a large basket of scissors.  And, I generally end up buying something. 

One of the things she's done is to take cellophane bags and fill them with things that only share color in common.  There's a vintage postcard to hold them flat and spools of thread and other things that are similar in color. 

I picked a yellow bag.  I picked it because of the tiny scissors that were in it, knowing they might not work...and being right. 



I was seduced by the cuteness.  The thread is rotted, the thimble is too small, there's one miscellaneous button...like I need another button.  The needles have rusted.  The scissor sharpener might work, we'll have to see...it didn't help the tiny scissors.  And, I don't have any shoes to match that shiny gold sewing kit bag.  The very small embroidery hoop was a separate purchase from the same vendor.  I'm pretty sure it would work, but it's fragile and made for smaller, more delicate hands than I have. 

But, it gave me delight.  And, it's still giving me delight.  And, that's more delight than the three dollar price tag. 

And, they make the perfect addition to my collection of vintage sewing tools. 


Everybody have a great Thursday.  Work is so wrong.  There really ought to be a better way to make money.  My longest lunch hour this week was 20 minutes.  I make sure I get up from my desk at least twice to walk all the way around our very large building.  You guys have heard about those walks.  They add to my steps, but more importantly, they get me out of my bubble and make me interact with people I encounter; make me smile, make me stand a little straighter, have a short chat or a longer catch up, and they just lighten my mood. 

I've started saying things to my boss that I was holding in before.  Telling him how I feel about things.  Explaining that I know he can't do anything about it right now, but that doesn't mean I don't need to let him know how I'm feeling.  I don't know if it's making things better for him, but it's sure as heck making things easier for Rob because I don't come home and say it to him. 

That's a win. 

I was ruining happy hour. 

See ya'!

Lane

3/6/17

Steady progress

Slow and steady wins the race, right? 

It was a strange week, with health scares and weirdness at work.  But, we got through it and made it to the weekend.  As a distraction, I started playing an online game.  That is NOT conducive to quilting and sewing, so I don't know how far I'll actually get.  Probably not far.  It was a great short term distraction, but I'm not willing to put any real time and especially not any money into it.  But, I see how addictive it could be. 

I also decided to switch out the main sewing machine in the studio.  I went from Ken Moore, the Kenmore to Lorene, the Singer 401A.  But, Lorene needs to see a professional.  When I got her, I tried to clean her up and in doing so, I messed up something.  I fiddled and fiddled and fiddled with her yesterday and managed to get a straight seam, but the fabric ripples a little, like the tension is off and just as I started to make progress on that, she started to skip stitches.  So, she went back and my Grandmother's 15-91 came out to play.  This is the machine from the video last week. 

It's been a couple years since I sewed with this machine.  I remember installing a new light kit and I must not have used it again because when I plugged it in, the handwheel started to turn and the needle started to go.  I pulled out the pedal and made sure it wasn't stuck.  And, then I knew I'd made a mistake in the wiring.  But, a quick search of the internet for a diagram and a screwdriver and about a half hour's work and I had corrected that, and from the first piece of fabric I put under her foot, she sewed perfectly.  As always.  This is a very good machine.  When I replaced the light kit, I fixed the bobbin winder.  I wonder what will happen next time I try to wind a bobbin.

I'm making slow and steady progress on the small quilt.  I try to work on it a little bit every day and it's paid off.  I think I'm done with everything except the outer border.  At least I'm going to try not to add any more quilting to the center.  You can see the beginnings of the feathers in that border.  Three lines.  The center one is the feather's spine and the other two are the outer limits.  I need to fill between the lines.  It makes it so much easier to get consistent feathers when I start with these outlines. 


Here it is from the back.  You can really see the texture.  In the picture above, see the border that is made of larger and smaller squares, set on point?  That quilted as the lattice shown below.  You can really see the texture from the two layers of batting from the back.  I won't do that again, but for a one time thing, it's been...well, an experience.  There are plenty of reasons I won't do it again.  I used two layers of wool batting for the texture.  And, I got plenty of texture.  But, that much loft brings its own set of problems in machine quilting. 


And, while my cinnamon rolls were rising, I put the fourth block of Rob's camper quilt together. 


That's cute, but they really get cute when I add the black blanket stitching and outline everything. 

Okay, that's it for me.  Plenty other things to do.  It's another work Monday.  whoopee.  Everybody have a great day and I'm going to do my best to smile my way through it. 

Lane