Monday, March 31, 2008

Miniature Booty Swap -- I'm In!

I saw the logo on Jan's blog and wanted to know more. I've not participated in any of the doll quilt swaps that have occurred in the past year, partly because of lack of time and partly because they filled up so fast.

Decided to take the plunge -- won't you join in? Here's where you go to sign up:

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Doing My Part

Well, friends, the economy of Lancaster County is intact, thanks to me and many others of our ilk. I drove out on Friday morning, leaving home at 6:30 so I wouldn't get caught in the dreadful rush hour traffic at Valley Forge. The day before I had phoned Carol at White Oak to ask what time breakfast was being served on Friday. Bonnie and two of her friends had reserved the four-bed room for Thursday and Friday nights and I was scheduled to take the trundle bed on Friday night. I knew that by leaving home early I'd arrive at the show way before it opened, and with no coffee. So I went directly to White Oak and joined Bonnie and her friends and the other B&B guests for Carol's yummy food. And then it was time to go to the show!

I started at the Renegade Vendors across the street, and found some absolutely wonderful items. I bought fabric to make a Christmas gift and won't say more about that until late in December. I bought a spectacular kit at the Cottonseed Glory (second best quilt shop I've ever been in, down in Annapolis, Maryland) stand -- it is a wall hanging for Caroline's room. Then I took the shuttle over to the show and bought my pass. Started in the Lampeter gallery with just 45 minutes before I was scheduled to meet Sherron and Eileen for lunch. Saw the various challenge quilts and from the Pinwheels stand I bought some darling fabric to make another quilt for Sam. I was quite ready to sit down when I met Sherron and Eileen at the buffet. After lunch I saw the rest of the show and did a little more shopping, finding lots of the double pinks I was looking for. And suddenly it was nearly two o'clock and I was dog tired.

I drove back to White Oak where Carol welcomed me for the second time that day and said that the people who had been staying in the room I usually use had checked out and it was all ready for me to occupy -- no need to join the others in the crowded room. I crawled into bed and slept so soundly for an hour. When I woke, there was still lots of time before I was to meet Bonnie, et al., and Susan and Amy for dinner, so off to Intercourse I went, where I did my part to keep The Old Country Store in business. I picked up two batiks for borders for my batik baskets on black quilt. I got a few yards of Kona white and Kona black. I got another batik to go with some FQs I already had. I did FINE.

After dinner, though some of the shops were staying open very late in honor of the show, we all went back to White Oak where we sat and chatted until bedtime. This morning after breakfast I headed home, resisting the temptation to stop at Sauder's. Picture of some of my purchases will be available by my next post, I would imagine. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What Was I Thinking? -- An Update

My decision to take a more streamlined approach to What Was I Thinking? was a good one. I've sorted the 76 units by big triangle color, and stacked them with the fabric needed to match the big triangles for the claws. Each day I do one set (usually there are four) and press the fabric for the next day's set. As you can see, I'm moving right along, relatively painlessly.

Of course, every now and again, especially at night if I'm tired, I sew a strip or two wrong, and that necessitates frog stitching, which I do upstairs in front of the TV with whatever Joe is watching. What Was I Thinking? is no longer intimidating me; in fact, it seems actually possible that it will someday be finished. This has been a good learning experience.

I have another begun project, this one not quite so old, that got way too complicated and it, too, has been relegated to the WISPs cupboard. Perhaps, just perhaps . . . . (Uh-oh, I think it just got named!)

Meanwhile, all of the stopping and starting has been so good for my Leader-Ender project, the Jewel Box. My plan had been sixteen blocks, but at the rate the blocks are coming together, it just might stretch to twenty-five!

Most of the medium and dark colored fabric in this project are CW repros and all of the lights are CW shirtings. Among the mediums and darks are some contemporary bits, just to liven it up. I'm thinking that it is working pretty well.

I'm off from school today and tomorrow; it is Spring Break still, and I got enough done earlier in the week that I can take these vacation days. Today is laundry and picking up and sewing, sewing, sewing. Tomorrow morning, as early as possible, I'm off to the show (vendors) in Lancaster. Bonnie and two of her friends have taken a four-bed room at White Oak, so I have the option of staying over tomorrow night, if I like, and returning to the show on Saturday morning before heading home.

What's that thing that Mrs. Goodneedle says? Right: "Life is good."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Church Ladies' Quilt

My friend at Kent Kapers II is doing some research for her church and needs some help. She writes:

I am helping with an upcoming exhibit at the Kent Historical Society Museum of a church signature quilt dated 1890 made by the ladies of the Universalist Unitarian Church here in Kent. It looks as if was made as a fund raiser and that they sold signatures to raise money, since there are many men's signatures on it. What I am trying to find out is what the pattern is called. It is composed of red and white brick shaped rectangles, alternating in diagonal rows longitudally. The rectangles are small, around 2" high by 4" wide.The signatures are written and embroidered in the white rows. The bricks are staggered; that is, they are not in a straight line. I tried googling 19th century brick pattern quilts but nothing matched or even came anywhere near what this looks like. Since you are part of a vast quilt conspiracy, someone must know what this thing is called.

The pastor of the church was a woman named Abby Danforth. I love that name. The museum has three late 19th century bodices which will be displayed with the quilt - black broadcloth, silk, one with leg o' mutton sleeves, one trimmed with lace and one with jet beading. We're going to pretend that the plainest one could have belonged to the minister. The fancier ones are from a well-known local family. This is probably TMI, but I get carried away by history.

Now we think the quilt is connected to a suffrage rally which the UU church held on Nov. 4, 1890 (the 1890 is written on the quilt), and was probably used to raise money for the rally to rent the Opera House and bring in a couple of prominent suffragettes. I'm guessing that they sold name squares because just about every prominent name in 1890s Kent is in there, both men and women. I have spent a couple of hours at the microfiche machine in the Ravenna library trying to find some news about it with no luck. The UU archives are at the KSU Library Special Collections and I'm trying that next. I love to do research, fortunately.

Anyone out there have any info about the pattern? Or anything else?

Monday, March 24, 2008

You Just Never Know

I mean, really, you just never know.

Our trip last summer aboard Star Flyer was a magical experience. One we hoped to repeat perhaps more than one time. We looked over the possible itineraries; the one we like the most happens only once a year, in October, and involves Casablanca and Spain and, I believe, Portugal. An October vacation is out of the question for this particular Quaker school employee. We thought that perhaps in the summer of '09 or '10 we might try to do an Italy itinerary, but that seemed a long time away.

I receive emails from Star Clippers from time to time and last week came one that announced that their 08-09 schedules had been posted and they were offering a significant discount for early booking. Just out of curiosity, I checked the school calendar for spring break next year and looked to see what was happening with Star Clippers during that time. They are doing a couple of nice things, nothing I ever thought I'd want or need to do. But the memory of Star Flyer is so wonderful, the desire for another similar experience so strong, that I gave them a call. And, as it happens, the significant discount for early booking that was quoted in the email doesn't apply to previous passengers. Those people get an even more generous discount!

Reader, I see that once again you have beat me to the finish line. But have you figured out the destination? Precisely one year from three days ago, we fly to Barbados and one year from two days ago we board Royal Clipper and spend the next week visiting the Windward Islands: St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts, Ilse des Saintes, and Martinique.

Truly, you just never know.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What Was I Thinking?

I don't usually think up names for my quilts. As I'm working on them, they are "Guenveur's William Morris Quilt," or "Sherry's Whackie Girl" or "Joe's Quilt." If the intended recipient hasn't been determined, and the blocks came from a swap, then I call the quilt by the name of the swap, i.e., "Coffee and Cream," "Hot Summer Hearts"; you get the idea. Presently I've got "Ruth's Blocks" on the wall, "Jill's Hot Summer Hearts" on the floor, "Swap Hand Dye Baskets" on a flap of the wall, not to mention the "Leader-Ender Jewel Box." I think I said before that I like to move around from project to project and not stay on any one thing for a long time.

Years ago the Fat Quarters group made a comfort quilt for a member who was dealing with breast cancer. Her friend suggested the pattern, and everyone made four units, the equivalent of a whole block, and someone put them together. We used Japanese fabrics, and the result was stunning. It was such a knock-out that I decided nothing would do but I should make one for myself. The name of the pattern was "Indian [Something]" and I had a FQ CW pack that would be just the thing. There are 20 blocks, four units each, to the quilt. I quickly acquired background and borders fabrics, and busily appliqued the circles and then cut them into quarters. I was going to White Oak and took the project along. With considerable stress and more bad words than I usually utter, one block got finished. It took for ever. The whole kit and kaboodle got stuffed into a sack and put away. "What was I thinking when I started this?" I wondered. No answer available.

When Turbo was over this week, we got to talking about UFOs and I mentioned this long-banished quilt and again wondered what I had been thinking when I started it. After she left, I dug it out of the cabinet and reconsidered. It's been at least five years, but I knew exactly where it was. My mistake, I think, was undertaking to make one full block at a time. I should have worked one step at a time for each component. I've started it up again; there are 76 remaining quarter-blocks to do, and I'm presently preparing and attaching the "claws" to the triangles. Takes a while. But at least I know what I'm doing and I have a plan. And, like Tanya's infamous "When-oh-when" quilt, this one has a name: "What Was I Thinking?"

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wonderful Surprise!

She's been hanging out with the quilters at church for a few years now, but I really only have got to know her in the last year or so. We're amazed and delighted and honored that she wants to spend time with us. Of the two coteries of quilters at the church -- the official Elisabeth Quilting Circle and the Renegades (guess which one I'm part of) -- the youngest member other than this gal is in her fifties. Golly, some of the Elisabeths are 90! She's 24 and an amazing quilter. She has an incredible eye for color, a passion for production, a fabulous sense of design, and a first-year teacher's salary. We call her "Turbo" because of the vast quantity of tops she puts out. Most of us wish we still had an unmarried son we could introduce her to.

Because of the first-year teacher's salary, she makes lots of scrappy quilts. The last Saturday we were all together, she was putting the borders on the one in the picture. I was dazzled by it, and when she offered to trade me her left-over blocks for the opportunity to raid my bin of batik scraps, of course I accepted.

One night this week the phone rang. It was Turbo and she wanted to come over. When she did, she brought the bright scrappy quilt and gave it to me! I was incredulous! You know, when Sam was a muffin in the oven, Sherron gave me a grandmother's quilt and my dear Fat Quarters friends also made me a baby quilt. Sam has enjoyed using both of them when he has been here, and certainly Caroline will, too. The last time someone made me a quilt was when Bonnie pieced a Christmas rail fence tablecloth, and the last time someone made me a quilt to actually sleep under, was my mother-in-law back in 1965 before we were even married.

Turbo's quilt has a place of honor on the back of my recliner in the morning room. Yesterday after I got home, I was feeling a bit poorly, and settled in under it for a bit of a nap.

I had the most wonderful dreams.

Thank you, little friend.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sunbeams from the Ground

Once again, many folks are sporting pictures of daffodils on their blogs, and once again, we don't have them yet Near Philadelphia. We do have crocuses, however, so I'm posting a picture of them. They are definitely helping us to get through these last few weeks of winter-into-spring.

Spring break for the school begins tomorrow and lasts for seven school days. I'll be taking off both of the Fridays, the first one to get ready for Easter (the whole family will be at our house on Sunday -- Hallelujah!) and the second one to attend the quilt show in Lancaster. The rest of the days I'll be working just from 8 until 1, leaving me nice long afternoons to sew and play and perhaps actually get to some of the spring cleaning-out.

In the sewing studio, I'm working on the Hot Summer Hearts; the blocks are all sewn together in rows now and my first piano keys border is in process. I've finished 9 of my Leader-Ender project blocks and have the remaining 7 in the works and in the mind as well as a recipient in the mind Then there are the Festival of Trees blocks that I'm working on in the living room; I am not sure how many are finished now, but they are moving right along. I had subscribed to a BOM that involved various kinds of houses with Scripture about homes; I thought that I would make it for Joe but once it came and I had the first block finished, I knew he would not like the primitive style one bit. So I set it aside; now I have a possible recipient in mind and I'd like to spend some of the spring break time cutting and bonding so that I can work on the blocks through the spring. I'll post pictures of some of these projects in a day or so.

I'll also post a picture of a Wonderful Surprise that happened last night.

All of this to come, but first let us get through today!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Almost Experienced Withdrawal!

It happened shortly before the Great Comcast Fiasco (which, incidentally, seems to be resolved at this point, at least for me. Karen Dianne is having her own issues and I hope Comcast gets them resolved very soon, but I digress). And it took me totally by surprise. I came home after spending a long day at Sherry's, helping her with the new baby, and there were two voice mails waiting for me. They both claimed to be from a banking security agency -- the name of which escapes me at the moment and probably for all time -- and asked me to call them, at any hour of the day or night, to discuss a problem involving my bank account. Cautious and ever suspicious, I decided these were some sort of a scam to get my personal information. After about fifteen minutes, I thought that perhaps I should give them a call -- what if it were on the up-and-up?

I phoned, resolving not to give anyone any numbers. The person who answered the phone said that my bank had contacted them early in the morning to report atypical activity from my account, and asked them to look into it. He then asked me if I'd made a purchase at 8:21 that morning involving more than $900 worth of software. I said that I had not. He asked about another purchase at 8:23 for more software, about $250 worth this time. Again, I said I had not. Finally at 8:26 there was one more for $78 -- more software. I said I had had nothing to do with any of these. He said that he was going to deactivate my debit card and that I should go to the bank the next morning. He never asked for any account numbers or anything else. He did ask if I had handed my card to anyone lately, such as a waiter. I had not.

When I got to the bank, I was referred to Christine, the head teller at the Abington branch of Abington Bank. Calmly, courteously, professionally, Christine confirmed that, indeed, the bank had declined the transactions and reported the suspicious activity to the security company. She asked me for a written statement. She printed out all recent activity on my account and I confirmed that it was all accurate. Christine advised me to keep a watch on my account through the on-line service. She confirmed the deactivation of my card and said it would be a week or so before I would have a replacement. It all took about ten minutes.

The next morning when the phone rang a little after nine, it was Christine. She said that the $78 charge had somehow gone through and would I be able to come over to the bank to sign some more papers. When I got there, she referred me to the branch manager, Josie. Again, calm, professional, friendly. Everything was all prepared; all I had to do was sign. She said that the $78 would be back in my account within 3 business days. We talked about how this could have happened, and again the "waiter" possibility came up. No waiter, but the print-out showed that the last time I'd used my card before the fraudulent transactions was when I'd bought gas. I'd handed my card to the attendant and, in thinking back, I realized that he had had it for a much longer time than usual.

With so many disappointments in dealings with companies and corporations, it was refreshing and reassuring to have had what could have been a horrendous experience all be handled in a proactive, protective, professional and helpful manner.

Reader, if you are Near Philadelphia and looking for a bank, I urge you to consider Abington Bank. They looked out for me. And I bet they will look out for you, too.

Monday, March 17, 2008 -- An Update

Look at this great building! It's command central -- the brand new Comcast tower in (not near) Philadelphia!

Okay, friends, you've asked how it's going. Here's the update.

1. It has been six days since I emailed Comcast to say that my good email was mostly going into my spam folder. The respondent emailed me back to click each message and indicate "This is not spam" and it would go into my inbox. I wrote back and told her that I knew that, but I would like this to stop; that I would like my good email to go into my inbox. I never head from her again.

2. It has been five days since I discovered that my outgoing email is not being received. Seven days since I had this chat-room conversation (in part):

Renato.25414> I have forwarded the issue to our engineers. They will test your email to check the problem with the server.
Renato.25414> Please wait for the call from our engineers.
Nancy_> That sounds good. Please give me a telephone number that I can call directly to talk to them if I need to do that.
Renato.25414> I apologize but I do not have the phone number of that department. You can chat back to us. Just give the ticket number to the next agent to check the development of the issue.
Renato.25414> I understand how inconvenient this is for you.
Nancy_> You write: Just give the ticket number to the next agent to check the development of the issue. I don't understand what you mean.
Renato.25414> When you chat back to us, just give this ticket number, 118237888, to the next agent.
Renato.25414> He will then check the status of your ticket.
Nancy_> Do you mean it is up to me to come back into this chat room and go through all of this again? I thought you said someone was going to phone me.
Renato.25414> They will call you, Nancy, but if you want to check the status, you can chat back to us.

That was the day that the engineers did not phone as Renato.25414 had offered.

3. It has been four days since I had this chat-room conversation where Cuong told me that Renato.25414 had not told me the truth.

Cuong(Thu Mar 13 09:41:32 EDT 2008)> they are still working on it. it can take up to 3 days. sorry.
Nancy_(Thu Mar 13 09:42:16 EDT 2008)> Renato.25414 promised me that someone would phone me yesterday. No one is receiving email I send. Most of my incoming mail goes into my spam folder. I'm angry. I don't have three more days.
Nancy_(Thu Mar 13 09:42:44 EDT 2008)> I don't like it that no one phoned when I was told someone would phone. I like people to do what they say they are going to do.
Cuong(Thu Mar 13 09:43:56 EDT 2008)> they only call if they need more info. all necessary info is already written into the ticket.
Nancy_(Thu Mar 13 09:44:19 EDT 2008)> That is not what Renato.25414 said. I am angry at the delay.
Cuong(Thu Mar 13 09:46:06 EDT 2008)> sorry that he said that but it's not completely true. they will work on it and only call if extra info is needed.
. . .
Nancy_(Thu Mar 13 09:47:25 EDT 2008)> Please give me a telephone number to call to talk to a supervisor about this.
Cuong(Thu Mar 13 09:47:38 EDT 2008)> 1-888-266-2278

4. It has been four days since I phoned 1-888-266-2278 and spoke with the individual who told me that I should call every day, once a day, in order to get my problem resolved. That was the day I began investigating other internet and cable television providers. My position is this: At my job, if someone asks me to do something, I do it. I have never told someone, "Call me back every day, once a day, and that will make me do it faster." I'd like to keep my job! And, frankly, I like to deal with companies that have the same ethic I do. It isn't my responsibility to nag a company after I've reported a problem; it's the company's responsibility to resolve the problem.

5. It has been three days since day I received (in my spam folder) the email from Mark C. who wanted me to either email him (from my account where no one receives my mail) or phone him. Again, I didn't think it was really my responsibility to stay on top of this; after all, already had two telephone numbers they could call if they really wanted to talk to me.

6. It was about an hour after I posted this that I began receiving a flurry of phone calls from important people and technicians at Yesterday morning Joe received a call from either Mark C. or someone like him who wanted us to be assured that it was absolutely not true that I should have to call every day, once a day, to get the problem resolved. and that they were working on the problem With each successive contact discrediting the previous one, it's a little bit difficult to have confidence in the current speaker. However, shortly after that, I received a phone call from George who said he was working on the problem and he wanted to give me a phone number to call him on. He asked me to write it down, and I did, but assured him that I had no plans to phone him. I told him I was going out at eleven o'clock and hoped he would be successful in solving the problem. There was a voice mail from him later in the day and one at my office as well.

7. Today I received a phone call from Carl from Security. He went over the problem as he understood it -- noting the problem to be inability to receive the Comcast mail at my school account (actually, as far as I know, no one at any account has received email sent from me at my Comcast account for a week). There are two email addresses on the Comcast account; he understood that the problem was at the other one, the one I never use, not the one that I had reported was causing the problem (drat that English-as-a-fourth-language guy!). He also uttered those words that always fill my heart with dread, "I've never heard of this problem before."

8. But, actually, reader, I'm pleased to report that we are making a little progress. After 20 minutes on the phone with Carl, doing some tests together, he's come up with the hypothesis that it is the signature line in my email that is causing the problem! He is going to research further, but we discovered together that if I delete the signature line, my outgoing email actually does get received. Carl is going to look into finding a way that I can continue to use the signature line and still have my emails received. For the first time in a week, I'm actually optimistic!Reader, if I were you, reading this, I'm sure I'd wonder, "Just why is she so attached to the signature line?" And I'm here to tell you why. Pure and simple, because it says, See my Blog at:

Sunday, March 16, 2008 -- A Progress Report

Yup. That's right. A blank post.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

See You Tomorrow!

'cuz y'all know what I'm doing today!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Comcast Cares!

Lo and behold! Look what showed up in my comments from my recent post, Cranky, Near Philadelphia! Just in case the sender has subsequently seen fit to delete it, I'll go ahead and quote it for you here:

"I am sorry to learn about the email problem you are experiencing. On behalf of Comcast, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

I am hoping that we could at least alleviate your "week of Mondays" by resolving the email issue. I will be happy to reach out to my executive contacts to resolve this issue for you. If it is okay with you, will you please send me an email with your contact information?

I know you will be reluctant to provide this information via email considering the rampant fraud problems on the internet. If you'd prefer, you may also call me at 215 286 1700. My extension is 8966.

Thank you in advance for giving us the opportunity to assist!


Mark C.
Comcast Executive Offices
215 286 1700

Mark C's blogger name is ComcastCares1 and you can read all the exciting details about him here.

Look at that! Comcast Cares!

The guy I spoke with on the phone yesterday couldn't make my email stop going into the spam folder and he couldn't make my sent mail really get sent, but he did provide helpful information. He said that the English-as-a-fourth-language fellow had not told me the truth! In fact, this guy said, no one would call me unless they needed more information. When I asked how I would know when the problem was fixed, when I would be able to send email that was actually received, he was stuck for an answer. He did volunteer, however, that I could escalate the solving of the problem by calling more often! He urged me to phone every day until it is better, but only one time each day. He said that each time I called, it would escalate the solving to a higher and higher level. Wow!

So, as I understand it, Comcast will fix the problem that I have incurred through no fault of my own by using their product. Someday. But if I spend 20 minutes of my time each day on the phone, first listening to endless "happy" music and advertisements and then giving all of the details once again to a person of varying English capability, that will help.

According to Mark C, Comcast Cares. Do you think there's something of an oxymoron at work here? I would too, except it seems Comcast really does care about having this situation on the world wide web. Obviously that is what motivated Mark C to drop me a line (of course, his email went into my spam folder since the problem still isn't resolved). And doncha just love the part about his asking me to email him? From the account where the issue I'm complaining about is that emails I send aren't ever received? Like -- d'oh?

I decided not to spend 20 minutes today phoning Comcast again. Producing this post was much better use of the time. Tomorrow I'll spend that 20 minutes investigating on-line services from another provider in the area -- one that also has television cable that I understand is less expensive than Comcast's. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the problem to get fixed without my daily prompts.

I went hunting about for a picture to put at the top and came up with the one that is there. It was generously provided here with the suggestion that I help myself with just a click of my mouse. But just in case their offer is rescinded (I suppose that, too, could show up in the spam folder with a request for a reply!), I found another image that I could put up in its place. You can view it here.

No Pleasure, None at All

Once I received my new William Morris fabrics, I felt like it would be okay to use up some of the Bills in my stash. I'd been wanting to make a quilt for my long-time friend at Kent Kapers to help her get through this seemingly unending winter and when she wrote a few weeks ago that she, too, was an aficianado of his work, I put two and two together. The pattern is my third Whackie Girl. You may remember the others from here and here. My friend received it a couple of days ago, before all of the two feet of snow out there had melted.

She wrote the dearest note of appreciation, and it put me in mind of the day so many years ago that I had lunch at Honna's. She'd made a really good tuna melt and we'd had a great time together and as I was leaving, I thanked her. "Thank you, Honna," I said. Always quick to reply, she began "No . . . " before remembering that I think "No problem" is a terrible response to "Thank you." So mid-phrase she switched to "My pleasure," but, of course, it came out "No pleasure." And thus that marvelous hybrid entered our lingo. Our entire family uses it and so do a couple of close friends and, by gum, I bet you'll give it a try after reading this.

The pattern is called "Whackie Girl" and is the only way I know to get one is to buy it from the designer. She's trying to get a website up, but so far I've not heard that this has happened. If you wanna buy one, email me, and I'll put you in touch with her. It will be no pleasure whatsoever.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cranky, Near Philadelphia

It's been a bad day in a bad week Near Philadelphia, partly but not entirely due to a relative of the guy pictured to the left. It started on Monday when I came in to find the cork top on the glass jar of animal crackers that I keep on my desk chewed up. There were bits of cork all over that corner of the desk and in the jar. There were bits of other stuff on the desk too (eeewwwww!).

Monday was the day I discovered that most of my incoming email was going straight into the spam folder rather than my inbox. I contacted Comcast and was told, "Click on the 'this is not spam' button for each email." Sheesh: I knew that. Clicking moved that email into my inbox. So I have been doing that for each email. All week.

Tuesday was the day I discovered that any email I send out from my Comcast account shows itself as "Sent" but it is never "Received" by anyone. Apparently this had been the case since sometime on Sunday evening. I hoped it would be better by morning. Tuesday was also the day Joe came home late for a nice dinner, and the evening I spent working on a "duty" quilt for someone I am not fond of at all, but whose family I am indebted to for other kindnesses.

Wednesday was the day I participated in an on-line chat with an English-as-at-least-a-fourth language "technician" at who spent more than 20 minutes obtaining information from me in his fractured on-line English, only to tell me that he was incapable of solving my problems and he was passing my case on to "the engineers" and promised they would call me during the day. Ha! Wednesday was also the day I set up a G-mail account (and I hope soon it will stop making me think of G-Men and G-Spots) which has the amazing feature of being able to apprehend mail from Comcast and bring said mail into its own inbox. Email I send from there is, wonder of wonders, received by the intended people. I still have to go into the Comcast spam box and click each one, however, before that can happen. Wednesday was also the day that I moved all of my sent mail from the previous three days over to G-Mail so that I could resend them.

Which brings us to Thursday, the day the mouse ran into under my office door, through my office and under my closet door. Which started my day in a terrible fluster and it's been downhill from there. I made a calendar mistake. I spent 20 minutes on the phone with expressing my outrage that "the engineers" never phoned as promised and my email situation was still horrendous. I found out my dear friend Honna was in an auto accident (she's shaken but uninjured).

I'm so ready for Spring Break. It starts a week from today. I'll settle for a weekend. That starts tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Wunnerful Surprise!

When I got home yesterday, the mail was still outside. Usually Joe brings it in when he comes home for lunch, but apparently he had something else going on yesterday. There were all the usual circulars and bills and two packages!

The first package was the third installment of a new BOM that I've not even begun installment one for yet. The second package was a large, thick puffy, addressed with gorgeous hand calligraphy, and postmarked Australia! It was from Little Mysteries! This lovely lady had been my recipient in the International Secret Santa Swap that Chooky Blue had organized. Over the months between the name assignments and the sending of gifts, I had the opportunity to get to know Little Mysteries without her knowing -- I felt a bit like a stalker! I knew that owls were important to her (and violets) and over time became pretty smitten with her hand-made owlies. Later I got the idea that once Biscuit was born, I might actually buy one from her Etsy shop. And now I have one! And look -- it is made from William Morris fabric! Is this fantastic, or what? I can't wait to give it to Caroline!

Thank you so much, dear friend from Oz!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What's Happening Here

It is my turn to receive blocks from one of my on-line groups, and they've begun to roll in. I had posted my own block earlier here and it's been up on the outside flap of my design wall for about a month now. But as you can see, three more beauties have joined it, with about ten more to come! I am absolutely delighted so far. I know that these blocks will not languish about waiting to be set.

I probably will need to make a few more in order to have a quilt of a usable size (I have a recipient in mind, someone who claims to like "contemporary") and getting them made is the only thing that I can foresee holding me up once all of them have come in.

I would get started now, but, you see, we sent out different fabric pairings to each participant, and didn't keep track, so I will need to wait because I don't want to duplicate any of the combinations.

I mentioned awhile back that I'd undertaken my first leader-ender project, a Jewel Box made from shirtings and mostly CW repros. Three or four of the blocks are completely put together at this point, and I'm liking the look of them quite a bit. I am a bit remorse that I never did a leader-ender project before; really, this quilt is making itself. Except for the times that I can't resist putting a couple of the units together. Otherwise, the components are still in the big plastic pretzel jar for me to pull out at the start and finish of every other joining. I have enough for nine blocks made (they are sixteen inch blocks) and am thinking that sixteen blocks would make a very nice quilt. So I'll be leader-endering for a while yet. I've already begun to think a bit about what my next leader-ender might be!

I posted this dozen appliqued hearts blocks earlier and have finally started working on the simple alternate blocks, which should really take no time whatsoever. Once the blocks are all joined I am going to make a scrappy sunset colors border, then a narrow white border, and finally a wide solid batik border to get it up to a size that will fit nicely at the end of a college dorm bed.

I like to have a variety of projects in progress and move around from one to another.

The only other thing, really, has to do with statistics (who, me?). I'm coming up on my 40,000th visitor and my 400th post and in the grand tradition of blogging quilters or quilting bloggers, I feel a give-away coming on. Do stay tuned!

Coffee with Cream

The blocks have been perking for a long time now. A Coffee with Cream Churn Dash swap was held about three or four years ago. It was a simple swap, really: We made 9" churn dash blocks using brown for the CD and cream for the background. I loved the blocks when the swap-out was completed but -- as so often is the case -- they ended up on the shelf and languished there.

Until this autumn when Sherron took some cream fabrics and appliqued coffee cups and used them to help set the CDs. Golly, did it turn out nice! (No pic -- Sherron hasn't entered blogland and I despair she ever will.) But her finished project got me to thinking about my perking blocks. The LQS had the perfect fabric for the lattice and I got to work. Didn't take long at all to put it together. I don't hold with light-colored fabrics, but this time, cream was what the quilt wanted, and there was a fabric from the same line as the lattice that was just right. Coffee with Cream came back from the machine quilter a couple of weeks ago and was bound almost quicker than you can say "latte." It doesn't have a home other than my home. Which is fine. Except I drink mine black!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Want to Meet Up at the Show?

I'll be at the Lancaster Show on Friday, March 28 and part of Saturday, March 29. Any of y'all quilting bloggers going to be there too? Would it be fun to have lunch together on Friday?

Here's a possible plan: Let me know if you are interested to meet for lunch. We'll plan to gather at the big fireplace at the host around 11:30 (before everyone else gets to thinking about food), and eat our lunch at the restaurant that is just a few steps from there. I've lunched there before and found it a good meal, and no need to get in the car(s) and go to another crowded spot. Enjoy each others' company for an hour or so and then off to the vendors!

Whaddya think?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Day for Joe

I may not have all of the details accurately, but I think I understand the general principles. In New Jersey, there is a law that protects regular people from being shut out of communities that are primarily for the wealthy. The way I understand it, every time there is new construction of any size, the developer is required to provide a certain amount of what is called "affordable" housing; this can be either rented or sold to individuals whose income is below a certain level. Joe has worked with a number of developers in northern New Jersey, designing single family homes and other types of residential architecture. A couple of the developers have retained his services to do the "affordable" components, too.

One township is very protective of its historic buildings and charm, and they worked with the developer on a recent large housing project to assure that the "affordable" housing blended in with the tone of the town. Joe was hired by this town/developer team several years ago to produce the first phase of affordables and today was the ribbon-cutting for the final phase. The units he designed are similar in style to the large homes in the area. What looks like a McMansion is actually two or four homes. One building type holds two three-bedroom townhomes and the other building type holds three two-bedroom and one one-bedroom unit. The picture above is one of the latter types.

The congresswoman that Andrew works for down in D.C. serves on a committee that is concerned with housing for the poor on a national level and Joe thought Andrew might find this project interesting. So Andrew and Amy drove up from D.C. today to tour the town, see the various phases, explore the model units, and have dinner with us before driving back home.

I'd spent much of the past week with Sherry, Chris, et al., and it was so nice to spend a large portion of today with A&A, enjoying their pride in Joe's accomplishment and hearing what they have been up to.

A different sort of a day, and a really good one, too.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Baby Shower for Jaime

Jaime and Dennis, who married last February are expecting a little one in June. They don't know the gender; like Sherry and Chris, they prefer to be surprised. I must say that I approve!

There's a baby shower for this little one tomorrow afternoon, and I'm unable to attend because of a commitment with Joe, Andrew and Amy. I waited too long to get an outside picture of the gift for Jaime's baby and now today it is rainy. So I spread the quilt on the loveseat to get a photo. It isn't ideal, but it will do. It is made with Laurel Burch Jungle Songs fabrics; the nine blocks were the partial result of a swap we had about five years ago. I had used some of the blocks to make a little quilt for Sam last spring and there are still enough for one more baby quilt.

I did a dumb thing when I was sandwiching it. You may remember that life has been a bit hectic around here for the past several weeks. I've been distracted as well as overcommitted (though that is starting to settle down some). When I made the sandwich for Jaime's baby's quilt, I wasn't thinking, and lay the back down wrong side out instead of in. Didn't discover this until I had the binding all machined on! Did not want that seam showing on the back, so I cut a 1.5 inch strip of the snakes fabric and folded the edges in and hand stitched in in place over the seam. Sherry is confident that people will think it is just a wonderful little detail I chose to add, and have no idea that it is covering up a mistake. I hope she's right!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Away for a Bit

It is a crazy-busy time at school, and I need to go be a grandmother. Sherry and Caroline came home from hospital on Monday and Chris was able to be with them on Monday and Tuesday, so I came to work. He's back to work now, and I'm needed Further From Philadelphia.

I made an arrangement with my Head of School that I'd work this week from 7:30 until 9:30 each morning and then head out for grandmother duty.

Today we have to take Caroline to the pediatrician as soon as I get there; her bilirubin is getting better but needs to be checked again. After that, I'll start in on laundry and food things. I have some evening commitments as well this week.

All of which is to say: I'm going to be away from da blog until the weekend, at least. For the best of all possible reasons.

Grandmotherly love*,

n, np

*with gratitude to Karen Dianne

Monday, March 03, 2008

Big Bruddah

Caroline doesn't open her eyes wide enough or frequently enough for us to have an idea of what color they are going to be. She has pretty much hair, though, and it seems to be golden at this point.

Mother and baby are doing just fine, thank you.

On Friday night, just in time, I finished putting the binding on Sam's Yellow Brick Road. It isn't fancy, but his room is small and there is a lot going on in there already. We though just nice blocks of color were in order. Used a sheet to match those on his bed for the back,

And here's Sam himself, the Big Bruddah.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Who'd Have Believed You'd Come Along

Good Times Never Seemed So Good

It was a little bit after one o'clock this morning when the phone rang. Sherry was in labor, and Chris thought it was time for us to come up and be with Sam. The lights and traffic were cooperative, for once; but at the one red light we encountered, I said to Joe, "It's a girl. I just know." Last weekend all of us had been convinced that Biscuit was another wonderful boy. Sherry and Chris left for the hospital with contractions at about four minutes. We didn't think we would be able to go back to sleep, but we did.

At 6:30, Sam awoke and was confused and a little bit anxious. He sat with us for a bit and then wanted to get back in his bed. Joe went in and lay down on the trundle and I tried to go back to sleep. But -- out of the blue (or the pink) -- I started hearing in my head an old Neil Diamond song. We didn't get back to sleep, and a little bit later the phone rang again.

Caroline Maria had been born at a little bit before four o'clock, weighing 5 pounds and 15 ounces. We're going to go meet her very soon.

Sing it, Neil, sing it:

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I've been inclined
To believe they never would