Monday, November 29, 2010

Time for a Break

Another blogger I follow faithfully knows what she needs, and it is a break from blogging.  I didn't realize until I read her post that this is what I need right now, too. 

There's nothing bad going on, Joe and I are both well (except for my usual lingering cough), and the family is great. 

But looking at the lists and at the calendar for the next few weeks, it is obvious that there is way too much on both the lists and the calendar.

I always feel resentful when I look at the calendar and discover that something I'd looked forward to with delight has turned into something else that I have to do.  I surely don't want that to happen with blogging.

So I'm going to take a break for a week.  Or two.  Or three.  We'll see.  I just know that right now I'm on the verge of becoming a member of the Overextenders Society, where membership is by conscription and resignations are not accepted.  I'll return when things settle down.

Meanwhile, Keep Calm.  And Quilt On.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Huehuetenango Trails

Shortly before Thanksgiving, I finished my Mocha Trails quilt.  While the quilt is nicely made, it really just does not sing to me.  I think that there is too much of the same color in it; it would have been better to have more contrast in the "X" blocks.

Since the quilt never had a designated recipient, and since a group from church is going to be going on a construction mission trip to Huehuetenango, Guatemala this summer, I've offered the quilt to them to raffle as a fundraiser for the project.

So it should be renamed "Huehuetenango Trails." 

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Quick Visit to Colonial Beach, Virginia

On the way down to Richmond, we stopped at a little town called Colonial Beach, on the Potomac River.  We had the idea that it could possibly be a place to take a vacation.  Joe could bring Windspirit and sail on the Potomac. 

It was a nice enough little burg, if on the sleepy side.  But, then again, it was the end of November in a summer place.

We had a surprisingly good lunch at Fat Freda's Restaurant "where the locals eat," according to Peggy, the very helpful proprietress of the Chamber of Commerce office.  It was a folksy kind of place, a lunch or supper spot, with a full page of sandwiches and three or four kinds of soup to choose from.

We split a roast beef on ciabatta and had some rather spicy tomato soup and "sweet tea."

For a little bitty town, it seemed a bit overchurched, especially in the Baptist division.  There were at least six of those, two Episcopalian (of which this is one), a Methodist, and a kind of run down Roman Catholic.  This church seemed to be a happening sort of place with an adjacent thrift shop and a rector with a last name that looked a bit like an eye chart. 

Interestingly, Colonial Beach was a self-proclaimed "golf cart community" and here and there we saw someone driving rather crazily in one of them.  There were at least three places to buy a golf cart.  It didn't appear that seatbelts were required in them, either!

The architecture was varied -- this motel caught my eye, though the reviews on one of the travel sites were just dreadful!

In addition to the picturesque motel, there were a couple of bed and breakfasts in town.  This one was pretty close to the river and had a tiny gourmet take-out place on the back side.

We had a pleasant time on this little visit, but probably won't be returning any time soon.

About an hour and a quarter later, we'd arrived at Tom and Anastasia's, where they had the most wonderful centerpiece on the table!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

We left Philadelphia a little before six o'clock in the morning on Wednesday to head South.  The traffic on the Blue Route and I-95 was tolerable at that hour, and soon we were in Middletown, Delaware, where we stopped at Denny's for a breakfast.

We stopped again, a few hours later, in Colonia Beach, Virginia (more about which later) and arrived at Tom and Anastasia's house just before naptime.  Our favorite redhead was there to greet us.

Tom has a great many enormous oak trees on his property and this morning Joe, Tom, Nate and Blackberry went outside to rake.  All were exhausted at the end.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Whole Lotta Knottin' Goin' On

When I was away at White Oak a couple of weeks ago, my main project was piecing this top.  It is a baby quilt for friends of Andrew and Amy who are expecting -- yup -- a little girl later this winter.  I had a lot of pink and brown CWs left from when I made Neapolitan and have not yet had my fill of pink and brown together.

I looked at the Second Hand Clothes pattern and thought it would be very cute with stars instead of just plain squares.  There are twenty-five six-inch star blocks and sixteen nine patch blocks in the top and I'm liking it as much as I thought I would.  Got me to thinking that when I do make Second Hand Clothes (which is going to have to have a name change as far as I'm concerned), I might intersperse some stars with the plain square blocks.  You know, here and there.

Meanwhile, this quilt is going to be tied.  With brown perle.  And then bound in various double pinks.  And then put aside until Little What's Her Name arrives.  In February, I believe.  Actually, now that I think more about it, this little quilt has a decidedly February look about it.  February Fancy, I believe she'll be called.

The Shadow Side of Facebook

Something peculiar happened.

I usually keep several home page tabs open on my browser, and one of them is Facebook.  I confess to enjoying Facebook:  I like to put the Wordies and definitions up, I like to read the silly things my friends share, I like some of the links they put up.  I love the admiring comments when I post a quilt photo. It was through Facebook posts that I learned of the death of my friend's husband and the sudden  hospitalization of a coworker.

I have nothing whatsoever to do with Farmville and its clones.  I rarely join a group.  I seldom go to pages that people "like," and I almost never respond to an Instant Message.

It happened out of the blue.  An Instant Message popped up at a peculiar time from someone I know at church.  "Hey, Nancy," it began.  "Got a second?"  This man had been unable to attend a meeting I'd been at, and I thought perhaps he was wanting to know what had happened.  So I replied, "Just about a second."  After a bit of a wait, the reply came, "I want you to try something real quick." 

Something did not feel right.  This did not at all seem like something my church friend would do.  I signed off Facebook immediately. 

Of course I don't know what would have happened if I'd stayed on.  My hunch is that I would have received a link to some scantily clad women.  Or worse.

So now I'm rethinking whether or not to remain a Facebooker.  The fun part is very much fun.  The informative part is, well, informative.  But the shadow side makes me uncomfortable.  Like the identity thief who caught and inconvenienced someone I know, causing her to eschew Ebay; like the other friend whose email helped her to download a virus that caused problems; and like the agitator who leaves nasty comments on blog posts, there seem to be sinister aspects to the Facebook experience.

It is sad, I think, that some people have to taint things that are basically good.  But I suppose it has always been that way, and always will.  Meanwhile, I've got some thinking to do.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Quilt With No Name

I'm very happy with how this quilt turned out.  The blocks were from a swap that we did quite some time ago.  Some of the blocks came from quilters in England, and most of them came from people in other states.  I love brown and aqua together.  I'm delighted with Mary Ellen's quilting -- I'm hoping that if you click on the photo you can enlarge it and see the meander interspersed with perfect stars that she quilted; they show up best on the border.

This quilt goes to Tom and Anastasia.  They need a gift for some special friends of theirs and they picked this top before it was quilted.

I think that Blackberry likes it, too, even though brown and aqua are not really his colors.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Layin' Low

My colleague Alison is a great advocate of The Sleep Cure.  And she stays pretty healthy.  So I slept for nine hours last night.  And another hour and a half this afternoon (Sunday afternoon naps, IMNSHO, are nothing short of bliss).  And, at least, I feel no worse.

Made it to church where the special music today was glorious and stopped on the way home to pick up a couple of things at the grocery store (including two boxes of kleenex).  Fresh sheets on the bed and an essential load or two of laundry.  And that's about it for today, friends.  For the past hour I've been chasing links from Karen's blog.  Golly, she knows some talented people!

We're engrossed in an old Masterpiece Theatre series that comes from Netflix.  It's called "House of Elliott," and last night we watched two episodes while I bound a side and a half of the brown and aqua quilt.  Tonight will be another two episodes and, if all goes well, another side and a half. 

Earlier in the week I finished the binding on a secret Christmas project.

Apart from this binding marathon, there's been precious little sewing.  Which is okay.

Time to go blow my nose . . . .

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Most Welcome Surprise

Did you ever wonder what Julie in the Barn actually does in the barn?  Friends, I'm here to tell you that she's  not just milking cows and rolling in the hay and whatever else people generally do in the barn.  She making mini-quilts.  Like this one.

I had to work today, which is most unusual.  Our school is doing a special project, and I needed to be there today from 8:30 until 5:00.  That's the downside.  The upside is that I'll get all of Wednesday off in compensation. 

I was a little bit gruntled as I set out, though. For one thing, I had to stop at the store first for head cold medicine -- the early warning signs began yesterday afternoon and by bedtime I was snarfy and schnucky and, of course, we were totally out of remedies.  And for another thing, someone deliberately did some damage to my car yesterday, a deep jaggedy scrape in the side of the door made with some sharp thing or another.  Right under the handle on the driver's side door.  So I'll see it every single time I get into the car.  Until I can get it repaired.  Sheesh.

The project at school went okay.  The work was interesting and people were enthusiastic and all went well.  Up to a point.  Two points, actually; the first when the computer Regina was using refused to save her file but didn't tell her, and the second when the huge newsprint sheets we were working with somehow got scrambled and we couldn't sort out the categories.  But it all worked out and I came home . . .

. . . to find that Julie's swap blocks had come and along with them was this absolutely wonderful mini-quilt. So it is true, then, as they say:  All's well that ends well, and that's my day today, here, Near Philadelphia.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In a Bind?

A few years ago I noticed Marsha was using these clips to hold her binding in place while she sewed it down.  They looked exactly like something I used back in the pincurl days of high school.  A long time ago.  Actually, I think they are the same thing, just repurposed.  This summer I broke down and bought a pack of them for myself.

By golly!  They are a dream to use!  And make a satisfying little PONK sound when snapped in place.  I'm just delighted with 'em.

Got a lot of binding ready to start.  There's a super secret Christmas project for an international swap that has to be done first.  Bought some terrific plain black out in Amish country, no less, for that binding.

Last night I picked up two quilts I'd left with a new [to me] longarmer in our area.  Oh, my!  She did a gorgeous job.  I was absolutely delighted with her work.  One is the brown and aqua stars quilt that Tom wants for a Christmas gift for his good friends.  Mary Ellen quilted it in a meander with interspersed stars pattern and I'm so pleased with the way the quilting shows up in the border.  I promise to post a photo before it leaves home.

The second quilt is made from the Mocha Trails pattern but isn't anywhere near as gorgeous as the one Nicole is making.  When it is bound, I'm donating it to a group from church to raffle off for their upcoming mission trip to Guatemala.  Too bad the quilt doesn't have anything to do with Guatemala -- it is all Civil War re-enactors.  Again, as soon as it is bound, I'll post a photo.

And while you wait, go out and get some of these clips.  I'm telling you, they're fantastic.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Eat. Sew. Laugh.

Home tonight from another weekend at White Oak.  The weather was gorgeous and we were able to have some of our meals outside.  There were eleven present, which is about the maximum for comfort and floor space availability.  It was lovely to see dear Cecelia again and to get to know Pat and Bobbi even better.  Those two are the  newest members of our group and already it is difficult to remember not having them. 

Such talent was present in the room!

Saturday evening seven of us had an interesting experience of attending a turkey dinner at the local firehouse.  The meal was so-so, but watching the interactions of the Amish people who were present made the experience well worth the ten dollars we'd paid.  I especially enjoyed a table of teen-age girls in their solid color dresses (some pinned and a few with buttons) with white prayer cap strings trailing over their shoulders; they were as giggly and silly as any group of "English" teens. 

I didn't take a lot of photographs; I was focused on making my brown and pink baby quilt for friends of Andrew and Amy who are expecting a daughter in February. 

I did take a picture of The Farmer's Whatever, however, and then gave her away.  The whole time I'd been making this quilt, I knew it was for Turbo, who has made and given away more quilts, I think, that anyone I know.  She liked it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

White Oak Lists

I've been a list-maker for a long time.  Right now I have the pleasure of working on a couple of wonderful lists:

1.  Projects to take to White Oak:  Pink and brown stars baby quilt; four remaining blocks from a BOM project Sherron and I subscribed to (she's prolly totally up to date and working on the center by now); my box of CW fabrics and my Around the Block.  This latter is because it turns out that the Farmer's Wife swapper that was having such a tough time persevered and has eight widdle biddy bwocks to give me -- so it looks as though I'll be starting a new CW sampler project!  Could it be that the farmer became a polygamist?  Oh, the scandal of it!

2.  Fabric to buy:  brown or aqua batik to bind the stars quilt, more brown for the side triangles on Second Hand Clothes, dark muslin for same, and something to bind a super secret project.  I've got an idea that involves a bunch of 9" squares -- I was thinking of buying a layer cake and modifying the idea, but really, really don't want to spend the money a layer cake costs.  And thread.  I need thread.  These are just the things on my list of "to buy."  Sometimes I buy something that is not on the list !

3.  Girlfriends:  There will be eleven of us this time, a pretty big group.  There are some of us who have been coming for ten years.  There are a couple who have only come a couple of times but already have been assimilated.  Some ladies I'm very, very close to and others are people I see only at these getaways.  All are creative, funny women, whose company I enjoy so much.

Oh, I'm so eager!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Callin' My Name

Oh, friends, would you look at this quilt!  This exclaimed by she who prefers not to make quilts from just one line of fabric.  That same she who is not about to buy new fabric for a new project until more of the WISPs and PIGS are under control.

This is so gorgeous.

I'm weakening.

Day after tomorrow is the start of a wonderful White Oak Quilting Getaway Weekend. 

So I'm not doing anything about this kit right away. 

We'll see where my will power is come Monday!

Thanks to all who wrote about my leg injury (and the other, less visible pain).  The knee is healing. 


But healing.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Without A Leg to Stand On (Ha Ha)

Well, nobody's going to make a lamp that looks like my leg.  Thassfershure.  It is way too ugly!

I saw the school nurse last week on the day of the accident, and she dressed the main injury and recommended a treatment plan.  Which I followed.  I wrote earlier of my struggles with trying to get a decent scab to form because both injuries are over bendy places.  I alternated putting healing cream and a dressing with exposure to the air.  I spent the better part of the weekend in the recliner with the bloomin' thing exposed to the air.  I rested.  I did what I should have done.  For once.

But this morning it was no better.  In fact, the area to the northwest of the main injury had become red, puffy, and kind of hard.  Strange.  So I went back to see the school nurse today.  She said that it has become infected and the hard red area is where the body is trying to contain the infection.  She prescribed no more air exposure for now but to clean it and apply antibiotic ointment and a clean pad twice a day.  I'm to see her again on Wednesday.  She told me what to watch out for, i.e., streaks of red radiating from the wound would indicate the infection had spread into the blood.  If that happens, I  need to see the doctor.  And get oral antibiotics.  And godknowswhatelse.  She spoke direly of cellulitis as a possible consequence.  I promised to be a good patient.

So now I'm going to go clean both wounds and apply the antibiotic gunk and put fresh dressings on and get in bed with my book. 

No quilty content once again.  It's killin' me.


Saturday, November 06, 2010


Thank you to those who wrote asking, "Are you okay?"  I'm not.  Not quite.  I hurt.  On the outside and on the inside.

I had an accident with my treadmill.  It was early in the morning, six o'clock, and without my glasses I must have pushed the wrong button, or some other inexplicable thing happened, for the treadmill leaped from the respectable 2.5 mph range I favor to a sudden 5 and even higher.  I was knocked down, and dragged along, scraping the entire outer layer of skin from about a four-inch diameter circle over my right knee and a lesser version of the same wound on that ankle. 

It hurts.  It hurts a lot.

And it is difficult to heal -- being on a bendy place, it seeps when I move around.  The seepage tends to stick to the bandage and when the bandage is removed, it pulls off the start of the scab that is forming.  Applying gunk before the bandage keeps it from sticking but prevents the scab from forming.  Air is what it needs, but brushing against clothing is what it doesn't need.  So it is complicated. 

A long-term relationship appears to have come to an end.  During a discussion where there were opposing points of view, my friend, like the treadmill somehow, inexplicably leaped from a difference of opinion to a screaming tirade, becoming irrational, mocking, and threatening.  It went on and on and there was nothing I could do.  There was no reasoning with her.  The next day I received a one-sentence, perfunctory apology by email.

It hurts.  It hurts a lot.

And it is difficult to heal -- being as the episode touched me at a deep, deep place that I have not visited in many years.  Bringing back memories of abuse at the hand -- and voice -- of another woman.  And being powerless to reason, powerless to make it better.  A different friend has been a rock for me this week, a friend who has been struggling with far more difficult and painful issues of her own, has made the time to listen and to care for me. 

I hurt. 

I'll get better.  A decent scab will form on the knee and ankle and eventually will come off.  I'll put on my glasses and trust the treadmill again at some point.  And someday I won't feel so raw from the hurt that came from that terrible episode with the irrational and abusive woman.  Perhaps someday I'll be able to trust her again.

Healing takes time.  Whether it is on the outside or on the inside.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Ready to Swap: Laurie, Who Are You?

Fourteen of us are set to swap the colored Civil War repro fabrics to make this wonderful quilt.

If anyone else wants to participate, you must let me know today.

Someone named Laurie left a comment that she wants to swap, but did not leave me an email address.  Laurie, if you are out there and still want to play, please send me an email with a return email address so I can add you to the group!

Ladies, sharpen your cutters!