Painting done

I would love to write a post about some beautiful quilting I did over the weekend.  But, honestly, I didn't.  I put the bubbles in one border of the green quilt, but that was the extent of my quilting.  I was not into it.  I didn't even finish the binding on Simply Delicious.  I hope to get back to it this week, but we will have to see.  I'm distracted right now. 

Instead, I have pictures of the bathroom that I painted. 

Rob built all the cabinet doors for me.  They're solid wood.  The vanity had doors, but these three cabinets were just an open set of shelves when I moved in.  I wasn't much on that because I didn't want to have to keep my shelves neat and organized all the time.  They're solid wood and heavy, made from narrow strips of wood glued together and braced on the inside.  He made new vanity doors to match. 

When I moved into the house, this bathroom was papered with a black and white stripe with brightly colored flowers.  It was very versatile, any color worked in there.  But, it was hideous paper with a flowery border along the ceiling. 

Oops, should have lowered the toilet seat before I took that one.  Oh, well.  We all open the toilet, right?  

We went on Saturday and bought new towels.  We replace our towels a lot because the space is so small that thick fluffy towels don't dry well.  So, of course, we keep buying thick fluffy towels. 

I hate those drop down lights.  They are a pain.  But, they were "da bomb" when the house was built and I'm way too lazy to replace them.  I'm going to need to look for something brown and green to fill that big empty wall.  Maybe a quilt??

The bathroom was green.  Olive and a light pea green.  In 2002, I painted the olive first and then sponged for days and days and days with several lighter shades of paint.  It was beautiful.  Like being in a forest.  And, then something happened and we had to paint a section and I knew I'd never imitate that effect again as a patch and didn't have time to do the whole room, so we painted over it with just the olive.  I can't even remember what happened.   But, I can tell from the below when it happened. 

That's our notes from behind the mirror.  2002, when we'd only been together for 2 years.  Then, in 2006 we went just the olive.  And, now, the khaki color. 

A history of us. 

I also built a scroll frame for my needlepoint.  I studied them and looked at how they are made, but I was too cheap to buy one.  I don't want to spend a lot of money on another hobby.  So, I built one.  $5 at the hardware store and some scrap lumber and dowels from the garage.  And, it's working great!  I just hope it's not too late.  My work was getting pretty pulled out of shape from me thinking I wouldn't need one.  It was becoming a parallelogram instead of a rectangle.

Everybody have a great Monday!  It's a new week.  Anything could happen.  Make it be something good. 



Just words

No beautiful quilt pictures today.  Just thoughts and words and deeds. 

I've been a bachelor all week.  Rob was out of town on a road trip, leaving me, the dogs, the cats and a surly teen to survive without the calming effect that he brings to our lives.  And, as funny as it would be to say it all went to crap in his absence, it didn't. 

I painted the bathroom.  And, walked dogs and paid attention to all the animals and watched a whole season of Doctor Who and did a whole bunch of needlepoint because after a full day of reaching and stretching and painting, I was tired and sore and needed to sit relatively still.  One thing I didn't do was cook.  I bought a frozen lasagna and a frozen Chinese meal and package of sandwich meat and a loaf of bread.  And, that's what we ate.  And, it was good. 

But, boy was Sydney surprised.  I'm not sure whether she thought we weren't going to eat at all or whether she thought she would be on her own, but she wasn't.  There was food at the ready.  It just wasn't what we were used to.

Sometimes it's good to be unpredictable. 

And, speaking of Syd, I'm not sure what was wrong with her, but she was nice and friendly and said please and thank you.  I'm pretty sure it was really her martian substitute and not really her.  I think mostly it was because I didn't ask her to help me paint.  All I needed help with was taking down the mirror and that's all the help I asked for.  The rest of the time I left her to her own, as long as she didn't create a burden for me.  And, she didn't. 

I've been anxious to blog about going to the "sewing with strangers" meeting at guild on Monday.  I went.  And, I'm very glad I did.  There were other men there!  When I went up for my show and tell, I started by saying "I'd like to welcome all the men in attendance tonight.,  I am not alone." and everyone applauded.  It was great! 

When we got there, we signed into the hospitality table and drew a number from a box.  I found my table and dropped my stuff off and was surprised at how many people at the meeting I actually knew.  I know more than the fraction that I said last week.  I don't remember all the names.  I'm terrible at names.  But, I knew the faces and I knew where we knew one another from, so I was able to converse...without using names.  And, I'm pretty sure everyone else was the same.  The event was so popular that they had more people than they had set up tables and had to bring other tables in to accommodate everyone. 

I was at a table of people, most of whom I knew but there were a few unfamiliar faces.  But, I spent most of my time visiting with a man that was there for the first time.  He just showed up for his first meeting, and didn't know what the theme was so didn't bring any hand work.  We spent most of the hour and a half visiting and talking about the quilts we'd made.  He was watching me bind and we talked about how I get such a narrow binding.  He's doing the Bonnie Hunter quilts now, so we laughed about 5000 piece quilts.  And, I shared a story about a mystery of hers I did and how it was ugly so I didn't put the blocks together like Bonnie did and ended up making several Linus quilts out of the sections.  I shared that I have to make quilts in the colors I have in my stash (my favorite colors) rather than trying to match someone else's colors in a mystery quilt.  We laughed a lot and he got the chance to hear the other quilters at the table talk about what they do and enjoy as well. 

On Tuesday, the roofer came.  I'm not real happy with the shingles he used.  "As close as we can match the existing shingles" didn't turn out to be very close.  Like brown is not very close to dark gray.  But, it is what it is.  He was here all day and I couldn't resist the urge to take him out ice water every so often.  The rest of the day, he was on the roof, working in the heat, and I was in the bathroom, working in the cool.  Life ain't fair, is it?

Okay, my hands hurt up to the elbows.  And, I'm not quite sure why I didn't take today off.  There's nothing on my calendar.  But, it will give Rob some time at home alone to re-acclimate.  And, I think I'll try to knock some things out and maybe leave at noon.  Me and my co-worker from my three person team are off this week and my boss has been alone.  I'm hoping that made him appreciate me more. 

Everybody have a great Friday and a great weekend.  I hope to get back to quilting in the morning.  I'm missing it. 



Back and forth

I keep switching between two projects; Simply Delicious, which doesn't have a name and the green quilt, that has a bad name...I've got to do better if it's going to be shown. 

I've been quilting bubbles in the green quilt's outer border, but I need a quilting hand project.  Monday night's guild is bring hand work, get assigned a random table, and get to meet some new people in the guild.  It's a great idea and one I would normally run from like it was on fire.  But, I'm hoping I don't talk myself out of it.  I'd really like to get to meet some more guild members.  I know quite a few, but it's a 500 member guild and about 120 people come to meetings.  And, I know a fraction of them.  So, knowing more members is a good thing for me.  I plan to be hand sewing the binding on Simply Delicious. 

For a short time, I considered adding another border after quilting.  I know...hardly ever done, but do-able.  I've done it.  I thought about adding a narrow dark inner border and then a wider border to finish it off.  But, when the quilting was done and it was laid flat, it didn't need it. 

I got Rob to go out in the back yard with me for pictures last weekend.  It's not been washed and blocked, but most of the blue ink is washed out. 

All that quilting and you can hardly see it, just like I intended. 

But, when it's hung on the wall in the living room, and the lamp shines from below and to the left, all those orange peel curves are going to POP! 

This is the back.  You can't see any quilting there.  The back was in the box I had been keeping the UFO in, neatly folded up.  I've been working on this quilt so long, I thought it came with the kit.  But, I don't think so.  This was a blue and white sheet.  And, when I saw it, I vaguely remembered stumbling up on sheets being sold individually and picking this one up because I thought it would be perfect.  And, I was so right!  I used a pale blue cotton thread on the top and a white thread in the bobbin and got the tension just right so neither shows on the other side. 

I have the binding fabric.  I don't know if it came with the kit or not.  Probably.  But, now I'm off to cut it into strips and sew them back together. 

Everybody have a great Friday!  The weekend is upon us.  I've taken some days off next week to paint the bathroom.  Woo-hoo!  My life is so exciting. 




No, not Bubbles Malone, the famous stripper.  Bubbles in my quilting. 

I know what you're thinking...a very unconventional choice with all those feathers.  But, look two borders above the bubbles at the fabric I used  And, it's in the points below the bubbles, but you can't see it very clearly.  It's sort of bubbles.  I had really been sweating what to do in this border and I was doing some finishing up outlining and looked to my left, and there was that bubble fabric. 

So, I cut a piece of paper the exact size of the borders and I used my Dad's 60ish year old drafting compass to draw circles.  I wanted a variety of sizes and they had to touch one another so that I didn't have starts and stops. 

And, then I needle punched that into four strips of tissue paper that I pinned to the quilt and I quilted along the lines. 


I think it's going to work okay.  We will have to see.  It is an unconventional combination because one implies formality to me (the feathers) and one is whimsical (the bubbles).  There is a wide outer border of that same print and I plan to do the exact same thing out there...except I plan to use bigger bubbles so it doesn't take so long to fill.  From 3" moving down by half inch increments to 1/2" diameter so there is a good variety of size. 

I also caught up on some piecing.  I had this holly block from Have a Jolly Little Christmas  cut and the piecing was started.  So, I finished it up and I made the most recent block, the ribbon wreath. 

The holly is a little abstract for me, but it will be great in the rest of the quilt. 

And, because I don't quite have enough projects going on, I have taken up a new one...needlepoint.  Not that I wanted to learn needlepoint, but I have inherited the most beautiful UFO that needs to be finished.  It's just too pretty not to finish it.  But, I didn't know the first thing about needlepoint, so I decided to learn.  I'm not showing my first project.  Nobody needs to see that.  But, I've started my second project. 

I bought a cheap pre-owned kit off ebay.  That really is the best way to practice, right?  You probly can't see it, but I've finished the house and have moved out into the trees.  I'm trying to master tension.  I'm thinking about watching a video and seeing if I can pick up any tips.  Everything I've tried from the book I have is either too loose or too tight. 
And, this must have come out over the weekend; Paducah winner.  I've been getting a lot of traffic from that.  Thanks so much to KathyS for letting everybody know that not all quilters are women and for mentioning my blog!!!  It is a beautiful quilt and I'm so glad to have been a part of it.  There's a video about it somewhere where the winner of the raffle that entered it in the Paducah show talks about it.  In that video, she mentions me by name.  I'm famous!  Well, sort of. 
Everybody have a great July 3rd.  I have the day off and am headed out to water the flowerpots.  It was too hot yesterday afternoon, when I normally would have watered, so since I had today off, I procrastinated.  Don't tell Syd.  She doesn't need any encouragement or reinforcement about procrastinating.
Later this week, I'll post pics of the Simply Delicious quilt.  It's finished and I've spritzed out the blue marking ink.  Next is attaching the binding.  Woo-hoo!!
BTW, I saw a Simply Delicious kit on ebay a couple days ago.  If you wanted to make that quilt, you might check it out.  I just checked and its still there.  And, there are a few random blocks, too. 
A finish.


Random thoughts on Thursday

It's not the heat, it's the humidity.  92* feels like 101*.  What's up with that???

Rob and I go to a sandwich shop where you fill out your order on one side of a brown bag.  They hang the bag on a line and it moves down the line as they build the sandwich.  When it's done, they wrap it and stuff it into the bag.  It's fun to draw something on your bag so you can keep track of it as it works its way down the line.  The last time we were there, Rob and I were standing with our backs to one another as we filled out our bags.  This is what we drew on the backs of our bags. 

If you're psychically linked to your spouse or partner, clap your hands!

Clap, clap!

Yesterday, I worked from home so a roofer could come give us an estimate on a  repair.  We have an 18" square where water has gotten under the shingles and damaged the underlayer.  I guessed between one exorbitant and ridiculously high number and another.  It came in at the lower of those exorbitant and ridiculously high numbers. 

Rob took the dogs to the veterinarian yesterday for their annual shots.  The bill was half of the cost of the exorbitant and ridiculously high repair on the roof.  Maybe I should just staple a dog over the leak.

Not really.

But, maybe.

Independence Day weekend is nearly here.  I have a four day weekend.  And, it's going to feel like 104*.  I should take all my time off in the winter and work all summer, in an office where I don't pay for the air conditioning.

I'm taking out a flower bed of Aspidistra, commonly known as cast iron plant.  It's very popular here because it's dang near invasive and thrives in drought and poor soil.  I dig up a section about 2'x3' and put the bare root plants in a box and put them out on the street with a sign that says free and tells a little about the plant, and asks the person to leave the sign when they take the plants.  Both boxes have been gone within a few hours.  I love sharing like that. 

We've started to see purple leaf cannas in the neighborhood.  They must have come from us.  I've never seen them anywhere else.  Plants we shared just like this that have sprouted up everywhere.

We don't tell folks this stuff is nearly invasive. 

Surely they realize that's why we're giving it away. 

When I saw both my doctors in May, they both commented on the fact I had gained 10# in a year.  And, 10 more the year before that.  They both said the same thing...don't do it again.  The first 10 was muscle from walking and working out.  But, I stopped doing that a little before the election...too much depression to exercise.  The last 10# was not muscle and was all in one place.  I was eating three big meals a day and three snacks.  And, holding my breath to button my pants.  All I changed was walking a bit more...not like I was before, and not eating the snacks.  And, I've lost 6#.  My only treat is a small handful of nuts in the afternoon.  And, maybe one small cookie before bed.  It's working. 

Everybody have a great Thursday!  Yesterday was busy as all heck.  Today promises more of the same.  Tomorrow, too.  Then four days off!  Woo-hoo!



Nine of Twelve

It was a very quiet quilting weekend here.  That was what I needed after last week.  On Saturday, it was miserably hot and the humidity was high and I stayed inside.  It rained in the afternoon and cooled off some and we went on a thread run and to dinner.  But, other than quilting supplies, there was just no point in going out in that.  I quilted.  A lot.  I enjoyed some really nice working in the yard time yesterday morning and late yesterday afternoon, just cleaning things up and watering.  Summer work.   
I ended up doing the background in 9 of the 12 blocks of the Simply Delicious quilt.  I've been trying to come up with a name and the best I've got so far is Nothing Simple About It.  But, it's not sticking to me like the really good names do. 

I liked the background filler in one block.  But, I'm loving it as a common theme in all the blocks.  I love the texture it's giving the quilt.  And, when you look full on at it, the quilting disappears.  It's only with side lighting and shadow that the quilting really shows. 

It's our 1st second anniversary today.  Two years ago, the Supreme Court announced it's decision and unplanned, we took the afternoon off and went to the county registrar's office and got married.  A marriage with some restrictions, but officially married.  And, a week later, we were fully married in a group ceremony at the state capital.  Not to get too political, but we're still married.  And, the world has not come to a fiery ending, much to the disappointment of so many people.  Now, if we can just stay married. 

I know I have the right man because of a look he gives me when I've just done or said something awful that says it will all be okay in a few minutes.  And, he can wait it out.  That look has caused me to do and say fewer awful somethings. 

Everybody have a wonderful Monday!  It's a new week.  Anything could happen. 



Cowboy quilt

I made this quilt long ago for Rob.  Before I was even keeping good records, and I can't find a picture of it so we don't know quite when.  And, yes, it is extra long.  He asked for that.

Remember that we met c/w dancing and we had the attire for it, so a cowboy quilt was a perfect choice.  And, I had inherited a large stack of cowboy fabric from my mentor, so I had the reason and the resource. 

I found cowboy themed patterns.  And, stars work in a cowboy themed quilt, of course.  When I couldn't find a pattern, I drafted one. 

The boot above was one I drafted, the more traditionally shaped one below came from the internet.  We wore the style of boots above. 

I did a lot of what I think is called broderie perse style applique where I cut an image from one fabric and set it on a different background.  There are at least three blocks in this quilt where I did that, except I used fusible web instead of needle turn. 

And, the perfect backing was this cowboy sketch.  This was way before I started all the background filler, and it was designed to cuddle up with on a cold day for a nap, so it's loose and comfy. 

Mornings before work, I've been quilting the background of the Simply Delicious quilt and finished a block.  I've started drawing the lines on the next block.  It's not the fastest background filler I've ever done.  But, it's surely not the slowest either.  I'd like to get back to the green quilt, but I can't stop on this one yet.  I'm still excited by it.  I figure I'll get bored soon and it will be easy to move to a different project. 

And, I know how quilters are.  What does it look like from the back???

and a lighter picture.  I really do have lights.  But, background filler doesn't show well in the light.  It takes shadow. 

This week has been crazy.  I work in insurance and tropical storm Cindy put us all in a tizzy of gut reaction versus meteorological prediction...and which one is right more often.  And, when they all settled down and realized it was 50/50 and let themselves off the hook and let our best be good enough, the week got easier.  Rob had a huge project at work too, so he and I have both been focused on our own jobs, but still finding time together to talk and share.  I think we're both looking forward to the weekend and being focused on ourselves. 

And, frankly, I'm tired of smiling and telling people it's gonna be okay. 

Everybody have a great weekend!!  Stay cool, stay dry, stay safe. 

Stay calm.



Another weekend in paradise

Oh, my it is hot outside.  99-103*.  Nice nights.  But, hot days.  I spent some early time, like 6:30-9:30 out in the garden.  And, it was nice.  But, then I came in and sat still for a while.  Of course, even when it's a hundred all around, it's never that hot in my back garden.  I went out at 5pm to water yesterday afternoon and it was pleasant.  Of course, I wasn't doing much but standing there with the hose, but it was pleasant. 

We took our friend LD out for lunch yesterday.  That was nice.  It's always good to see her and we go to a cafĂ© that specializes in comfort food, so you know we enjoyed it.  Even Sydney went with us.  I was knitting in the car on the drive home and dozed off midway through a purl stitch.  I woke up with a start.  It was hot and I was tired.  And, that's all the excuse I have. 

I pulled out my applique needle on Saturday and fixed all the spots in Simply Delicious that needed help and even fixed Rob's cowboy quilt and then I did some background quilting.  I finished all the outlining and then started to mark.  And, I was right the other day, it is fast and I do enjoy it.  For now anyway. 

I got bored with all my hand work, so had actually started to lounge and watch TV in the evenings.  No more of that.  I wouldn't let myself start anything til I finished something (I had three projects stacked on the end table that I was avoiding, but don't tell anybody).  So, I knuckled under and finished the scarf that I started in January.  Course, it never got cold enough here to need a scarf.  It goes really good with that green coat I made myself a couple years ago. 

And, to show you how close I was on that one and on this one, I also finished a sock.  Granted, it's just one sock and one sock isn't much good.  But, I finished it. 

Imagine some evil doctor in a spy movie, heels of my hand pressed together, tapping my fingertips together in front of a devious grin as I try to figure out what to start next.  Because what the heck, don't I just need another project? 

That was not actually a question.  Of course, I do.

It keeps me out of the nuthouse.

I did something stupid this weekend.  So, I'll tell everybody, right?  I spilled coffee in the sewing room.  I bumped it with my hand and it toppled to the floor.  And, I thought I'll just bring in the steam cleaner and clean that up lickety split.  NOT!  That just made it bigger.  So, I thought I must have done something wrong and I brought in the steam cleaner again.  And, it got bigger!!!  I ended up pouring water on the stain and then blotting it out with towels.  Which is what I should have done in the first place.  And, thank goodness, it came out and dried.  But, I was worried about it a little bit. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  My boss is back from his week of vacation.  Darn it.  We'll have a fun couple of days bringing him up to speed because a lot happened last week. 

More than would have happened if he had been there. 




There is so little going on here that I hesitate to try to talk about it. 

I'm still quilting away on Simply Delicious.  I get 45 minutes or so a day during the week.  And, about half the blocks have their outlining.  Next, it's the background filler.  I'm looking forward to the background fill on this one.  It's a design I haven't done in a long time, and if I remember correctly, I enjoyed it very much and it was fast. 

And, I got the ornament block together. 

When the designer at Ivory Spring designs her blocks, they're all nice straight seams and easy.  When I added the sixth ornament to the block, I had to shift everything to the left.  And, that caused some partial seam piecing between the blue and yellow ornaments.  That took a little figuring out and trickery. 

A long time ago, long before we were married, Rob and I bought rings.  And, I promptly lost mine.  Like, within a couple years.  I'm sure it's planted under a shrub in the flowerbed.  So, I bought one that was kind of close, thinking that at some point, I'd find my ring.  It didn't fit, and I was constantly taking the ring off and leaving it places.  We even bought little bowls to put places so I could put my ring in it and know where it was.  But, it was uncomfortable and gave me a rash on my finger.  When we married, I asked Rob if he wanted to buy new rings and he said no...he is very, very attached to his ring and it fits him perfect and he never takes it off.  (I practically had to threaten to cut his finger off and take it to get him to surrender it the day we married so I could put it on his finger during the ceremony.)  Anyway, a couple weeks ago, I got on a tear to find a new ring that was as close to his as I could, in a larger size than the one I was wearing.  Titanium rings have gotten much less expensive than when we bought our first ones.  I bought one in what I thought would be a bigger size, and when it got here, I asked Rob if he wanted to put it on my finger and he did.  Unfortunately, it was as small as the one I was replacing.  So, I ordered two more, in half size increments larger.  They got here yesterday and I asked Rob if he wanted to just keep on putting rings on my finger til I found one that fit or if he wanted me to just get on with it.  And, he decided to keep putting them on me.  We tried them both and one was perfect.  We both knew it as soon as it was on my finger.  I haven't had to take it off yet, but it is different enough that I'm having to get used to it.  My ring finger is fine with it, but it's wider, so the two fingers next to it are having to get used to it.  We've been together a long time.  And, we laughed about him putting rings on me in the middle of the kitchen.  It's the little things that keep a relationship alive. 

It's Friday.  I want to finally use some of that compost I've been making to feed the yard.  I'm late at that.  I'm knee deep in my favorite kind of research at work and looking forward to the day, except the part where I get the car serviced.  I could do without that, but it won't be off the to-do list until I get it done.  I was going to say something pithy about how getting shot seems to be the new beanie baby...everybody got to get it, but honestly, I'm just too appalled to be amused by it.  And, while I'm not much of a pray-er, I've been sending some powerful strong thoughts out for the people of London who were lost and who lost loved ones in the fire. 

Everybody have a great weekend. 



Slow and steady wins the race

It was an interesting weekend.  I was very restless and couldn't settle on anything.  Subsequently, everything I worked on felt more difficult than it needed to be.  So, I found some things I could plod away at and tried to let the rest of it go. 

I've gotten through all the ditch work quilting in the blocks of the Simply Delicious quilt, outlining every piece to make it puff up.  Now, two lines of close outlining to help the fruit pop and then I'll fill it with background filler. 

Unfortunately, there are still a few blocks with safety pins in them.  That means there's a problem with the applique.  Something came loose or I pulled a thread and unraveled one of those narrow seam allowances.  One thing or another that I'll need to sit and repair before I can call it finished...but that I haven't had the wherewithal to tackle yet.  Plus, Rob pulled out a favorite quilt of his that we don't use because it has a small bit of applique that came loose, so one evening, I'll be sitting down with a needle and my multi colored set of threads and doing a little "fiddly" work. 

On Saturday, I faced a challenge for guild.  The quilt they've chosen for the raffle quilt for next year's show is Infinity by Jacqueline DeJong.  Holy Cow!!!  I was intimidated before I left the house.  But, I picked a nice section and sat down to work.  They had very specific instructions for us to follow.  I had to read 6 typed pages before I started to sew.  Most of it wasn't relevant to what I was working on, it was the instructions for the whole quilt (and how to build a design wall) so it was very confusing for me.  I kept taking my work to one of the sponsors, and making sure I was doing it right.  I sewed for several hours and got my 8 wedges pieced to form a circle.  Then, it was time to tear off the paper.  My pattern had been traced on freezer paper and I asked before I started whether I was supposed to sew through it or fold it back and I was supposed to sew through it.  And, when I tore it off, all that bias stretched every which-a-way.  I did my best to put it together into a circle, but it was beyond what I could do...given an afternoon.  Yesterday, I thought of all kinds of tricks I know that would have let me put that together and I should have brought it home.  But, I was very frustrated and just wanted to go and leave it behind.  I did provide feedback that they should re-trace the patterns that were printed on freezer paper.

Anyway, a friend took it apart into the wedges and put it back together again and got all the points to match, so together, Cheryl and I made this circle for the quilt.  Woo-hoo!!  Way to go Cheryl (and Lane)

And, yesterday, I worked on the next block for Have a Jolly Little Christmas by Sew Fresh Quilts.  It was the Ornaments block and I decided I wanted to add one extra ornament and in honor of pride weekend, have the colors of the rainbow flag.  Holy Cow!!!  designing blocks is hard work!  I've got it mostly together, but there are two mistakes that I'll have to pick out and fix.  I'm still not entirely sure how I made one of those mistakes.  A rectangular piece is shaped like a V, wider at the top than it is at the bottom.  That ain't right. 

Anyway, still pretty happy with how it's turning out.  That quilt is mostly red and green, and I didn't want to add new fabrics that weren't red or green to the quilt but I also didn't want just red and green ornaments...although just red would have been nice since we hang that swag across the living room every year with just red ornaments...oh well, didn't think of that in time.  Fortunately, all the fabrics above except the purple are already in the quilt.  The blue is Santa's eyes and the orange and yellow are the flames of a candle.    I think this block is going to fit into my quilt just perfect, even though it is more than just red and green.

Okay, so that's my weekend.  I'm hoping to get my head straight this week.  Fortunately, my boss is out of the country for the week, so it should be a nice quiet week to get things done and to focus a little bit on me at the office. 

Everybody have a great Monday and a great week!!



A weekend to feel more than do

It was a weekend to feel stuff, and I was busy while I was feeling, but I don't have much accomplishment to talk about.

We went to a Memorial Service on Saturday.  That didn't take much time, but it took a lot of energy.  We don't go to many services like that.  It was pretty religious.  But, probably the most emotional time for me was during the singing of an old hymn, Blessed Assurance.  At one point, I heard the congregation from my child hood singing.  And, it overcame me for a couple of minutes.  The memory of it.  The feeling of being part of something bigger.  The memory of the voices that helped shape who I became.  And, hearing the sermon, I remembered that assurance that I had when I was a child that what I believed was right and unquestionable. 

I did a lot of different chores over the weekend.  There was gardening and silver polishing and a little cooking.  I quilted on the Simply Delicious quilt.  Nearly all the blocks are outline quilted.  But, honestly, that's just the beginning of it all.  It's the background filler that's going to take the time.  All things in good time, right?

And, I got the binding on this little quilt.  It's all finished now, sleeve and all.  Just needs a label.

I plan to take it to guild tonight to show off. 

May was doctor month.  I saw all my doctors.  I'm certified to live another year.  But, they've added another doctor for me to see.  I need to show some spots on my skin to a dermatologist.  Nothing serious.  Just some psoriasis.  But, it's new.  And, I don't very much like it.  So, it has to go.  And, it will be a good chance to get the rest of the largest organ of my body checked out...my skin.  Maybe they can stop the aging process? 

Wouldn't that be nice. 

It's weird that I stayed so busy for two whole days and have so little to show and so little to talk about.  Sorry.  I'm even boring myself so I'm going to sign off now.  Maybe I can find something interesting to do that I can talk about later. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  It's the first day of the fiscal month.  Much work to be done. 




I needed a do-over

This is the story of the quilt I re-made on Saturday.  The pattern is Josephine's Knot and I didn't like any of the sizes offered, so I decided to change the dimensions.  Piece of cake, right?  Not!  But, I learned a lesson, so it's not a waste and it really wasn't that much work to re-do it.  If I had to re-make a quilt, this was the one to do.

When I made the quilt the first time, I wanted to change the length and the width, but not by the same amount.  I didn't think that through very well and I ended up increasing both dimensions by the larger of the two proportional increases.  I can't remember exactly what I did, but I ended up cutting a whole quilt using 7/8 inch measurements on the ruler.  The width came out perfect.  But, the length looked like it had been grabbed by both ends and stretched out of proportion. 

I don't make many quilts with this much of a "modern" feel.  The white/grey/black combination with the green flowery background was very different for me.  Another expansion of my horizons.  I designed the quilt with these fabrics and stuck with the palette, unlike so many quilts where I use or add what I have and use a lot of different fabrics.  I bought all the fabric on one shopping trip with a gift certificate.  I looked forward to it for a couple years before I made it.  So, I was really disappointed that it didn't come out exactly like I wanted it to. 

I don't know if you can see the difference in this photo because of the perspective, but this is the before.  I took this picture this way on purpose so I could talk about the quilt on the blog without showing the full extent of the mistake.  I didn't take one full on that would have shown how "off" it looked.  Too bad.   

Anyway, all I had to do was take the borders off.  After that, it's a row quilt.  And, I sewed the rows with a 1 3/8" seam allowance and after I had them all sewn and was sure I liked it, I trimmed 7/8" off of that, leaving me with a traditional 1/4" seam allowance.  And, the quilt came out the perfect length.  I took about a foot off the length of the quilt.  And, because I CANNOT follow a pattern, I cut what used to be the black inner border to the dimensions of the rows and added another green border before the outer border.  It gave it one more layer of box in a box.  And, it made me feel like I'd added my own twist to the pattern. 

As if changing the dimensions wasn't enough of a twist for me. 

Anyway, now it's ready to quilt and I've ordered the thread, so you should expect to see this one on the Bernina in the not too distant future.  Two bad I can't quilt with two machines at once.  You know, like those people that can write two different poems at the same time.  Imagine what all I could get done then! 

Everybody have a great Thursday.  Work is busy, so the days pass fast.  But, it's already hot as the devil's whistling teakettle down here and I'm having trouble wanting to do anything except sit very still, in a cool, dry place. 

Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way. 



When projects go on hold

What does a quilter do when a project goes on hold?  Move on to another project! 

It was oppressively humid here this weekend.  The heat was bad, but the humidity was a killer.  And, then it would rain and be okay for about an hour.  And, then it was humid and ready to rain again.  So, not much yard work.  I cleaned out some dead growth from the neighbor across the street's bed, but that knocked me out.  An hours work and I was ready for the shower.  And, I must have looked pretty bad because Rob came to help. 

I ran out of apple green silk thread, so that project is on hold.  I'll order more thread today and in a couple days, I'll be able to switch back.  I was so close to being done with that analogous green quilt. 

On Saturday, I rearranged the sewing room.  There's a line in Torch Song Trilogy where Harvey says that it's easier to re-decorate than to clean.  I'm a believer in that.  So, when it's time to really get down to some dusting and cleaning, I just rearrange the furniture.  I move the sewing machines from one side to the other, a couple times a year.  Rob encourages it because it means I'm not trying to  rearrange the furniture in the rest of the house.  I'd show you pictures, but it still looks pretty crowded in there.  I'm still trying to create "a space for everything" and that means cleaning out the closet, too.  And, I just can't get excited about that.  I also picked all the borders off a quilt and re-pieced it, correcting a proportion error, but that's a blog for another day. 

Then, on Sunday, I quilted this little quilt and made an angel food cake.  I don't make many angel food cakes.  I should make more.  It's not nearly as hard as it usually seems. 

My guild is doing a "mini" quilt exhibit at our next show.  The theme is world of color.  This is my colorful contribution.  Maybe.  I have another one to quilt up and who knows, maybe that one will be my entry.  Or maybe both.  This was a set of Christmas ornaments or coasters from the 80's and instead of making a half dozen little quilts, I added some stash and some other block patterns and made one larger one.  The blocks are 3" and I think it quilted up nicely.  Just needs a binding. 

And, on Monday, I tried to clean out that sewing room closet and I got part way before I lost interest.  I just couldn't get into it.  But, I'm pretty sure I figured out why.  I have so many fabrics in there that I'm not interested in quilting with, but am saving for Linus quilts.  And, while I pull in a Linus quilt now and then (3-6 per year), I'm never going to use up all these fabrics for Linus.  At least not these two stacks and my scraps, which I've also devoted to Linus.  So, I feel some hard decisions coming on.  And, I'll be looking for simple quilt patterns that are good for large scale prints.  And, the free table at guild, because they've stopped throwing things away and started using the leftover scraps for dog bedding, so I don't feel bad about putting stuff there anymore. 

Since I couldn't motivate myself to move forward with the closet, I pulled out my new bag of batting and pin basted the Simply Delicious quilt.  It took a long time to iron the top and the backing but only about an hour to do the actual basting.  And, then I did some stability quilting and started the first block. 

That one is going to take a lot of quilting.  And, I haven't given any thought to what I'll do in the backgrounds.  As I was quilting yesterday, I was thinking about how to fill that in.  It will need to be filled in to make the applique pop the way I want it to.

The other thing that weighed heavy on me was my UFO's.  I'm doing my best to keep that in perspective.  Everything you're seeing is from the UFO pile.  I think I only started two new projects all of last year, except some Linus quilts.  And, this year, I expect to do the same.  There's only one Linus top in there right now, so maybe I'll pull down some of those Linus fabrics and let myself go wild.

Or maybe I'll just keep quilting up UFOs.

Everybody have a great Tuesday!  Lane


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.