Another busy weekend

Every weekend is busy.  I work myself until I can't think all week, then on the weekend, I work myself until I can't move.  It's how I make a life. 

Let's start with the big news.  It's not sewn together down the middle yet and it hasn't been ironed, but all the borders and corners are attached to the arc quilt.  I'll be the first to admit, there were times I did not think this was going to come together, but it did and I've made sure that all the little glitches will iron out.  Now, I just have to figure out how to quilt it.  I have ideas, but am not ready to say whether they are good ideas or not, so if you have ideas, please, please share them.  The one thing I'm sure is that there won't be any feathers.  (Secret confession, I wish the border was wider.  It recedes just a bit more than I wish it did.  Maybe if I'd used more darks and neutrals.) 
The HVAC install is complete.  A team came back and balanced our duct work so that each room is getting just the right amount of airflow for comfort.  You wouldn't think it, but that made a HUGE difference.  The last HVAC was never balanced correctly and we never got enough air in our bedroom...all that air was blowing directly on the sofa in the living room, so it was always cold or hot there.  This time, they solved all those problems.  That project being done, we were able to move things around in the garage to get them into their new permanent storage spaces.  One of the things I do to take advantage of that is change out the machine I'm sewing on.  I put the Singer 401 back in storage and brought out this Kenmore.  It's a very masculine machine with all those straight planes and hardly any curves to it.  I can see why it didn't catch on, but I love it.  Only forward and reverse, no fancy stitches, but I set it up last night and sewed a little bit and it makes a beautiful stitch and is very quiet...unlike when I bought it.
On Saturday, I cleaned in the greenhouse.  My greenhouse had taken on more of the appearance of a she-shed (that would be a "he-shed" in my case.)  A place I could go to read or do hand work.  Except it wasn't working out for that either because it had so many plants that I couldn't keep it tidy.  So, we gave the lawn furniture away last weekend and this weekend, we moved some shelving in and I scrubbed the walls and existing shelves and floor.  Now, I can actually see and get to the things I'm growing and also all that other stuff I need to store, like pots and trays and tools.  There will be a chair at some point.  I still like to sit out here and read or knit. 

And, I finished my most recent pair of socks.  It was a new yarn and I tried to find the repeat so the socks would match and decided it wasn't there.  Of course, when I was too far in to stop and start again, the repeat showed up.  I have another skein of this in a green and grey.  I'll know the repeat is there for that one.  For now, they're a pair, just not a matching pair and that's alright with me. 

On Saturday, Syd texted to say she was off Sunday and she knew I don't cook on Sunday evening, so she was bringing supper to cook.  My first reaction was to text her that I could cook but if she was going to, she needed to remember who we are and what we eat...but I was smart enough to delete that and just say "Cool!"  I don't need to be giving her feedback on something she hasn't even done yet.  She made us a delicious Thai chicken dish with a spicy sauce and vegetables and noodles.  It was delicious and HOT!  We picked at her about it being ghost pepper Thai food.  But, I could tell she was proud and enjoyed cooking for us.  And, I liked the change.  And, she and Rob cleaned up the kitchen
Everybody seemed to like the last yard sign I posted, so I thought I'd post another.  I'll admit that this one is suspicious because its so far over the top.  You know you can't trust everything you see on the internet, right?  Somehow, I don't think neighbors would really let this one stand, but who knows.  Maybe this is that crackpot neighbor that everyone is afraid of.  Heaven knows there's plenty of trump supporters that we are all afraid of.  There's some messed up people who choose not to believe the obvious truth.
Now this one, I know is real.  Early primary voting is started in Austin and my family has chosen our candidates and are ready to vote.  Please be sure to vote.  That's the only way we will stop the madness. 
That's enough politics.  Everybody have a great week!  Do fun things.  Smile a lot.  And, be well. 


After all that

Saturday was my 58th birthday.  We had a good day.  I wish we'd thought to take pictures. 

We got up and I fought with my computer, trying to do some business, then I just reset the whole thing and reinstalled windows and it and went on with the day.  I was sewing away, adding points to border sections when Rob came in and asked if I'd decided not to go antiquing for my day.  I said no, I had not, but it was only about 7am...we had plenty of time...except it was really 9 am.  I had completely lost track.  We hit a couple of antique stores where we didn't buy much, which was good!!!  We don't need much.  Then, we had a fabulous home cooking restaurant lunch (best chicken and dumplings since my Grandmother's) and went to a huge nursery in Seguin, Texas.  But, they didn't have their plants in for this year yet, so all we bought was a beautiful hanging basket of orange pansies that is hanging in the back yard and a bag of nasturtium seeds.  Then we came home and settled in and picked up Syd and we all went for Mexican food and margaritas for dinner.  It was a truly good day. 

On Sunday, I worked in the yard some and did a lot of chores.  Rob asked me to look in the closet where we keep our pants and pointed out that 80% of the rod held my pants and his pants were in the other 20%.  So, yesterday I went through the lot and only kept what will actually fit my older, wider self and am sending my "aspirational" jeans to the goodwill.  Let's face it, I'm never gonna be that size again.  Then, just so I could talk about how exciting my life is, I rearranged my underwear drawer.  But, I also finished the last border section for the new quilt.  Here it is laid out.  I still have to add some small black pieces to the middle of each side of the border to fill in those small arc spaces, but at least the piecing is done. 

I thought I'd share some garden pics since I've been spending so much time out there.  These are the last two camelia blooms.  They were really late, but a welcome point of bright color in the mostly green garden.

This is the woodfern bed.  I've moved a couple around and given a couple away this year.  I found a great spot for them and they thrive with very little care and maintenance.

When we have a warm winter, like we have this year, the forsythia doesn't put out much of a bloom show.  The blooms come with the leaves, so it's not as vibrant as the years it is covered with little yellow flowers.  But, it's still beautiful. 

We had the new air conditioner installed last week.  Their quality control guy came a couple days after the install.  Let's just say that we had a lot of feedback.  They skipped the step where they balance our output so that every room gets the amount of heat or air that its square footage needs to be comfortable.  So, the studio was so hot I could hardly sit there while the kitchen was getting no air.  I think the QC guy thought he could climb in the attic, make some very unscientific adjustments and we'd be fine.  I gave him a different thought to occupy him and they are sending the crew to make the adjustments, and it needs to be soon.  They've gotten on my last gay nerve about all this and I'm sorry I gave them the second check.  I should have held it until I was happy and the work was complete. 

While the crew was here, I had the dogs in the studio with me.  They were very relaxed, considering what was going on around them and in the rest of the house. 

I had a meeting last week with my young manager.  He wanted to talk about how he could help me develop my career.  First off, I'm 58.  I don't have a developing career.  I just want to be able to do my job for a few more years.  That took him aback.  I know he's managed people my age before, but think he was surprised that I didn't pretend that I was aspiring to something better.  When he asked what he could do to help me develop, I said make sure I have time to work on the nationwide projects that I get asked to help with that bring me attention.  I explained that my career had done just fine waiting for people to ask me to do new things, then learning how to do them, then executing them well and basking in the attention that made someone else want to ask me to be part of their project where I got to do that all over again.  It's my willingness to say "yes" when so many others at my job level are too intimidated that's made my career the job I enjoy now.  He asked the question a little differently and my answer was make sure to keep the variety.  Monotony is my enemy and everything suffers when I'm bored. 

P.S. This was my to me/from me gift.  I have a small (very small) collection of Roseville pottery.  It's so expensive I can't afford much of it. 

This is what Syd wrote in her card. 
Do me a favor, will you?  I couldn't think of anything to write, so please act like you're reading something really touching, maybe even wipe a tear or two, and then look at me and say...I don't know...maybe "that was beautiful.  I didn't know you felt those emotions about me".  Then, if anyone asks to see the card (Rob) refuse and tell him it was just too personal.  Thanks, I owe you one!

I was literally laughing so hard that I couldn't breathe.  I did everything she asked, even wiped a tear, but it was from laughing so hard.  Eventually, I did read the card to Rob.

Everybody have a wonderful day!  It looks like it will be a busy one for me...you know, that variety thing and all. 



Spring turns a young man's thoughts to...

I'm so old I can't even remember.  I'm thinking about air conditioning and cleaning up and yard work and trying to finish a quilt for next fall.  Today, the city comes and inspects our old sieve (house) to make sure we qualify for the rebates that the city gives people that seal their old sieves up and become more energy efficient.  We need it done.  I'm glad to let the city help pay for it.  It will feel a bit like a tax refund.

When I wasn't in the yard, I was sewing points together.  Okay, so getting a little bored with that and normally, I'd set it aside for a while and work on something else until I was ready to tackle this again.  But, I'd rather take a break between piecing and quilting to give me some time to feel refreshed and look at the quilt with new ideas because I haven't come up with anything yet other than quilting all those tiny pointy shapes in the ditch.  And, this is the only thing I have to enter in the quilt show this year.  I haven't finished anything else.  Usually, I'm having to choose between several quilts to decide what to enter.  Talk about putting all my eggs in one basket...

I made an error in redrafting the pattern and messed up the corners, so while I've been piecing the last pair of border lengths, I've also been piecing new corners.  Here are a pair of that I was able to salvage by removing a couple pieces and re-creating the place they join.  If you look real close, you'll see two pieces of orange fabric next to one another.  That's the seam that joins the corner to the border length.  I just replaced one of those with a fabric that matched the other and they went together perfectly.  (why does spell check try to correct all the words I spell correctly but never the ones I misspell?)

Yesterday it rained, and since I couldn't work in the yard, I did inside projects, like clean my leather coat and  work on the antique oak office chair that I sew in.  It had a bad squeak and I was able to oil and tighten and make that go away.  And, I re-covered my small ironing board that I use a lot in paper piecing.  This is what it looked like before.  I had definitely gotten my money's worth out of the last cover. 

And, this is after. 

Much better, right?  And, one day, this cover will look just like the other one.  I use this ironing board a LOT.  It's about 18x14" and is perfect for nearly anything where I don't want to stand at the big ironing board.

And, finally, a quick pic of my leader/ender log cabin blocks, all laid out.  I just needed to see what they were going to look like and they were all sitting next to the machine, so I spread them out and enjoyed them for a couple days. 

Yes, that is a pile of scraps next to them, sorted and ready to become part of a pointy border.  The small scraps are out of control, y'all!  But that's okay.  I'm nearly done with this quilt and then I think I'm going to cut them into squares and bricks and use them in a linus quilt.  They do not need to go back into my scrap bins. 

Everybody have a great Monday and a great week!  Lane


All work and no play...

makes for a dull blog post.  I looked at the pictures in my camera and there are no good ones from this week.  I spent too much time working and too little time photographing the fruits of my labor.

I did get the curtains in the studio finished.  They look exactly like they did before, except I know they're better.  They hang straight, if you close them the plaids line up, the hems don't bunch, and now I know that I need a new curtain rod because the one I'm using isn't quite long enough.  The curtains were so badly made I couldn't tell that the curtain rod sagged in the middle.  Now, I know.

Other than that, we cleaned the attic so they can blow in new insulation when they install the new HVAC unit.  We have our quotes and have made our decision.  Now, it's just getting the house ready.  First we had to move stuff in the attic and what better way than to move it to another building, like Goodwill and the lady that we give stuff to that sells it on ebay.  Rob is taking a truck load to the dumpster this morning.  We found all the bubble wrap that I used to move into this house in 1998.  Because you never know when you're going to need four large bags of bubble wrap, right?  Except it doesn't last forever and like other plastics stored in high heat, it breaks down...to a mess.  We are not hoarders, we're just very forgetful about what we store.  Almost everything I had in that attic is now gone.  There's a section for me and one for Rob and one for things Sydney didn't take when she moved, probably because she forgot it was up there.  Next weekend, we're bringing in dirt to build up the area where the new outside unit will sit on its concrete pad.  I haven't hauled dirt in a LONG time.  It will be interesting to see how long I can hold up to that. 

I took Friday off as a mental health day.  I barked at my boss on Wednesday and realized I needed to spend some time focusing on what is really important...and it's not my job.  I try to always remember that the job pays for my real life, but that it's the real life that's the important thing and I got that mixed up, but now I think it's all straightened out.  Only took 12 hours with a shovel in my hand to work out that stress and get my head back in the game. 

I am digging up and dividing on a large scale.  A friend from the office came on Saturday morning and took a variety of plants, but didn't make a dent in what I had to get rid of, so I started putting it in 20 year old moving boxes and putting it on the street with a sign that said "free" and told what the plants were.  The first three boxes were gone in 20 minutes.  I ended up putting out 8 boxes full, and they all got taken.  The neighbors are back this week and I know they want some, so I've left some in the ground for them to choose from and I let the young couple across the street know in case they want any of it...they're starting from scratch over there.  The friend that took plants on Saturday came back yesterday and shared some of her bounty of St John's Wort and some Poppies and a beautiful head of cabbage.  I could get into this plant swapping thing.  Much easier than buying and I know the plants will thrive in our climate. 

And, finally, Syd came for supper last night.  I don't usually cook on Sunday night.  It's a time for sandwiches or a bowl of cereal, or Rob will go get something quick and bring it back.  But, last night, I made waffles and eggs and hash browns and bacon and we tucked in for a good supper and had a nice visit.  She's so funny now that she doesn't live here anymore and I am enjoying being around her much more.  I'm glad that we ended up with a relationship where we can be friends.  I was not sure she and I would be able to do that after she moved out.  Anyway, I made plenty of waffles to freeze and eat for breakfast this week.  I am truly loving my waffle maker. 

Okay, that's it for me.  Today, my new boss flies in.  He's based out of Ohio and is just joining the team.  He's new to the job, so has lots to learn and I have lots to share.  We had a nice long chat last week about a project I turned in.  I met with him and my other manager to talk about the results of the project and after the call, he and I stayed on the line and did Q/A about what I contribute.  He seems eager and interested and I think we will get along fine.  The team is taking him to dinner Wednesday night so we can spend some time together outside of the office. 

Everybody have a great week!  I hope we all find something interesting to do and conquer a challenge and make a new friend.  And, I hope this guy finds something more interesting to do than harsh on everybody else's fun...this is clearly someone that has no joy if he's prejudiced against this long list of his fellow human beings.  I guess I always thought christians would be too busy worshipping god and doing good deeds to have time to try to make good people feel bad.  Oh, and if you're wondering, I fall into at least four of his groups, probably more.  I got bored before I got to the bottom of the long list.  Prejudice is not christian y'all.  Acceptance is, and clearly this dude didn't read that part of the new testament.  You don't get to shake your bible at me if you're not gonna live by the whole thing.