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.