Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sandy

So, Sandy has come and gone, and she appears to have been erratic in her behavior. In the days leading up to the storm, Joe and I were hopeful that all of the commotion was simply what we refer to as "media hype." We were mistaken. However, we were fortunate. We did not lose our electrical power, and we had no damage. There is a bit of messy yard debris, but that is the extent of it. The storm was whimsical Near Philadelphia; my sister who lives less than a mile away lost her power sometime Monday night and still has no return. Small pockets in our town are dark. As one drives around, there is the occasional uprooted tree. The public schools in our township are closed, today for the third consecutive day.
 
My own school was closed on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday I roasted a butternut squash and made a delicious soup that we had for lunch both days. I also made a huge pot of ham and bean soup. We had had the floor of our guest room refinished, and spent some time on Tuesday wiping down the walls, laundering the curtains and dust ruffle and doing a general purge. We threw away a lot of things that were stored in that room for no particular reason. It looks spiffy and nice.
 
I had been away for the weekend, sewing with eight close friends at White Oak. We had our usual marvelous time with late-night stitching, delicious and abundant food, consultations and critiques everywhere, and lots and lots of laughter.
 
So in addition to the souping and cleaning, I simply continued in retreat mode and machined the binding on several quilts and worked on piecing a quilt for a baby boy.
 
I finished binding one small project and will try to get a photo up tomorrow.
 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Index!

As I mentioned yesterday, Kristy Daum invited me to test her new pattern, Index. Kristy has organized a little blog hop and asked if I would participate. Now, you know this isn't my usual kind of thing at all, but three things made me agree:

1. Kristy is so nice and writes a darned good pattern!
2. The list of participants is short, and all of them were new to me! They are terrific blogs, too, so you'd want to visit them even if there weren't a blog hop going on.
3. Kristy has generously offered me a pdf version of Index to give away!

Now, take a look at that pattern cover. Isn't it interesting? Intriguing? Look like it would be a challenge to do? Yes, yes, and No! Kristy writes very clear instructions, and although I was asked to "make a few blocks," I ended up making a baby quilt.


And here it is! Please click to enlarge it. It took a very short time to make the blocks and put it together. Kristy's pattern is for a larger version and doesn't call for a border, but you know me . . . .

You can visit Kristy here and go to her Etsy shop here, if you need to buy this pattern right away!

Following are those blogs I mentioned above, and the day that they will be sharing Index.



Now, here's the part you're waiting for, i.e., how to win the free pattern! Write a comment telling me what fabrics or colors you would use to make this project. Black with batiks? WOW with 30s? Kaffe on grey? 

I'll draw the winner's name on Friday. Make sure I have your email to give to Kristy, as she'll be sending out the pattern directly.



Monday, October 29, 2012

We Resume Our Normal Programming*

*for awhile, anyway -- Hurricane Sandy is Near Philadelphia and blowing and storming and we don't know if we will lose our electrical power or not!

This has been the longest unplanned blog outage since I began this little venture, and I don't even have a good excuse (like two weeks in Scandinavia, for example!). We've been in an unsettled state at home -- our guest room was the last room in the house to still have the hideous mottled brown shag carpeting that was in the house when we moved here, and in this room it had been further "enhanced" by a cat who thought we shouldn't have acquired a dog. So after a false start or two (don't get me started on contractors who won't return phone calls -- Chris Horst, I'm talking about you!), we finally got a guy who said he would like to do the job and it would take three to four days. We're into the third week now, and it is finally finished and we can move back in. Everything from the guest room has been in the morning room all of this time, and that is where I do my blogging. So that's the short answer.

So, what else have I been doing all this time? Working on a secret project, for one thing, and it is ready to go to the machinist at last.

Do you remember when I made a Mazed quilt a few months back? I can't remember if I ever posted a picture of the finished flimsy (if not, I'll remedy that soon). Anyway, I need a non-gender-specific baby quilt sometime soon for a shower and Mazed came right to mind and the photo above is the flimsy for this little babe. I used assorted scraps in warmish tones and a sweet minty Kona and it went together so quickly and easily!

The pattern designer for Mazed is Kristy Daum, and and after I'd written to tell her how much I liked the pattern, she contacted me to see if I'd be interested in testing her next pattern. Silly girl, would I be interested? Of course I would. And I did. Please come back tomorrow to learn more about that experience!

Then last week I discovered a free pattern for the cutest little table runner right here. Friends, I tell you, this is fun to make and takes -- like -- no time at all! It calls for Moda candy 2-1/2" squares which I didn't have on hand, and besides I was thinking batik and black, so I cut me some squares and used this as a leader-ender project and am very pleased with the outcome. Those pennants are three dimensional, i.e., they lift up at the point. I already have my second table runner in the works. And this one does use those little Moda squares, because someone gave me some.

Finally, for now, here is my project from Lori's Quilt Along! I just loved making it. It is all hand-quilted, and that took many evenings. You can go here to see other versions that people have made.

This was my first Quilt Along, and I am so happy that I did it!

It feels so good to be back. Hurricane Sandy has picked up the pace while I've been writing, and we just might lose our power. If that happens, I'll be back on Wednesday. Whether my next post is tomorrow or Wednesday, know that it will feature "Index," Kristy Daum's new pattern!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

MOOO on You, General Mills!

When Sam was just a wee little fellow and first started at day care, Sherry said to me, "You guys eat Cheerios, don't you? Can you save the box top coupons for me? Sam's school gets money for them." Not a problem. For six or more years, we've saved a boatload of Box Tops for Education and the day care has benefited. I later learned that virtually all schools participate in this program, and I'll be saving box tops "box tops" for ever more.

Which leads me to the point of this COW* post.

At some point the coupons moved from the top of the box to the front of the box. This particular illustration shows the coupon relatively near to the top, but still it requires an extra effort to remove it. It was a simpler process when it really was a box top. 

This morning's box had not one but two "box tops" on the front. But they weren't anywhere near the top. They were down about four inches from the bottom of the box. Requiring more time and effort to remove them. I wish I would have taken a photo, but I was too cranky.

Obviously General Mills wants to be seen as generous and education-minded, providing money in return for "box tops." But they want to make it annoyingly tedious for a person to remove the "box tops" from the boxes.

Hey, General Mills! How about putting the box tops back on the tops of the boxes? Or else changing what they are called to something more accurate? Like "Difficult To Retrieve Coupons for Education"?

Moooooooo!





*Cranky Old Woman

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Show and Tell on Saturday Morning

I'm pretty happy with how this Gone To The Dogs quilt has turned out. True, it isn't babyish baby, but the recipient boy-to-be is coming into a family that is smitten with its dog, and experience has shown that the babyish baby stage is all too fleeting.

The backing is pieced and the binding made, so this quilt is ready for its date with the machinist and there will be no trouble finishing before Whoever shows up!

My little batik stars runner is hanging there as a reminder that I  need to make a sandwich and quilt it.

And here is my project from Lori's Quilt Along! I put the borders on last evening and will make the binding and the sandwich today.

I'd love to be hand-quilting this project tomorrow night in front of "Call The Midwife!" and "Upstairs, Downstairs." You do watch those shows, don't you?



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

All the Mooos That's Fit to Print

It was a few years ago that I last wrote about my discomfort with the headlines. At that time the CNN website was where I was getting my news, and I became fed up with what they considered news. "How the Dalai Lama Fell In Love with Grits" is an example. I had previously walked away from Comcast's news website in favor of CNN, and I found myself on the moooove again, this time ending up at Huffpo. Where I've stayed for a number of years. While the site has worsened.

It's not just the misleading headlines that lead one to a much tamer story than has been suggested, and it's not just the stories that don't add up to the headline. It's the headlines themselves. The tawdriness of the stories. And the fact that they appear on the main news page. If I want The National Enquirer, thank you, I'll go to the supermarket.

Some of today's top stories on The Huffington Post include:
  • The Single Biggest Sign of Impotence (how clever is that phrasing?)
  • Plus Size Model Stuns in Bikini Shoot
  • How I Knew My Boyfriend Wasn't The One (wonder if The Single Biggest Sign is involved here?)
  • I Married a Psychopath
  • Sort Porn Masquerading as Art
  • Nine Natural Cures for Erectile Dysfunction (no comment)
and the one that is finally driving me away from The Huffington Post as my news source:
  • What Olivia Wilde Needs You to Know about Her Vagina
I've no idea who Olivia is or which of her other needs I might be expected to meet. But my own need not to know trumps her vaginal sharing. Big time.

I'm off to try out the BBC site. At least this morning when I heard them on the radio announce "Russian Court Frees Pooo-see RY-ott Member" it sounded civilized. And, yes, I know who Pussy Riot is. Andrew told me.


Monday, October 08, 2012

Monday Check-In

Well, I thought I would post photos to document the last phase of my wonderful three-day weekend.

Here you can see the progress I've made on Lori's Quilt Along. There are still two rounds to go on these little blocks, and I probably will get them done one day this week. This, as you may recall, has been my first QA, and I've enjoyed it so much! Surely it will not be my last.

I also made the sandwich and began machine quilting my second Quilt for Kid. It isn't ready to be shared yet, but it is moving right along.

I did some more on the secret project, too.

Baby Boy quilts' blocks are three-quarters finished and the other four blocks will be made one afternoon this week.

It was fun to take a break mid-day and meet Honna for lunch. SaladWorks may be a chain, but it sure is a good one. Today we each had a half of a salad and a half of a soup, and were totally satisfied. After lunch I went up to Clinique Bonus Week at the mall and while I was there bought some pants for me and shirts for Joe. Then came home and cooked a spaghetti dinner for Sherry and her children. It was great to see them; it felt like a long time since we were last together. Sam is thriving in first grade and they all had a great deal to chatter about.

My three-day weekend concludes with a West Wing episode from Netflix. We started with the first first episode from the first season months and months ago, and now are just a couple of episodes from the end. It is odd to be watching it against the backdrop of the current campaign.


Sunday, October 07, 2012

My wonderful long weekend is two-thirds over, but I'm not complaining! I've been so productive! As planned, I made a list of projects in progress (PIPs?) and determined to work on several of them each of the three days. The Modified Mike F approach (he works on everything each day).

This quilt, that I love, is made out of blocks left over from Pinkish, but with palest blue lattice. I don't have a need for this quilt at the moment, but it is going off to the machinest this week because I want to have it finished. I might just end up keeping it, since Caroline is getting Pinkish for Christmas (she can't read yet, so there is no danger mentioning that here).

 On Tuesday evening, I needed a single 8-3/4" Sawtooth Star -- Turbo had given each of us a batch of same at one point, and I decided that my dozen would make my second Quilt for Kid. Turned out there were only eleven, so I asked Turbo for one more. She brought several, and they were so gorgeous! She let me keep them all, and I've put together this little table runner for me!

It is ready to be sandwiched and quilted, but I'm setting it aside for a bit before doing that.


 A bunch of people are expecting boys, and I have several very girlish baby/child quilts in various stages of progress. It was kind of fun to pick out this doggy fabric (click to enlarge -- you won't be disappointed!) to make a quilt for a little boy.

Not just any little boy. It is for Grandchild Number Six, who is scheduled to put in an appearance close to Christmas. I have worked on this each day and will work on it some more tomorrow.
Okay, Janet, here are my blocks so far for Lori's Quilt Along. I was having fun playing with different ways to lay them out. I'll put in some more time on these tomorrow. I guess I'm some sort of a control freak -- even when the project is supposed to be scrappy, I have to have some definition of the color palate.

I also set all of the Quilt for Kid blocks and bordered it; tomorrow I'm planning to make the sandwich and machine quilt it! Additionally, I pieced the back for the quilt that Julie had sent and hope to sandwich it tomorrow and machine quilt it later in the week. And I've worked on a secret project that I can't reveal for a while yet.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's update!

Friday, October 05, 2012

Hail! Hail! The Gang's All Here!

Some months ago, Lynn did a series of posts on her blog under the label "An Extravagant Welcome." She was creating a wonderful, wonderful quilt made up of boys and girls with outstretched arms. Very generously, she shared detailed instructions for making basic boys and generic girls, and then included some hints on variations. I was smitten and convinced that this project should be the next undertaking for my little on-line swap group.

Seven of us participated, making seven each of ten different people, approximately half of them boys and the other half girls. We got elegantly dressed gals, farmer types, one green-complected witch, an Asian girl in kimono, Olympic athletes, several people who obviously had been in the sun too long, and some with little add-ons either stitched in place or sent along for the recipient to add.

I've been wanting to share them, but until last night my design wall was occupied. Here they are, in all of their resplendent glory!

I'm planning to set mine with lattice and cornerstones, into a twin-size quilt for when Aberdeen outgrows her crib and is ready for a big girl bed. I have some time. I haven't mapped out the design yet, and I may need to make more. If that is the case, I'd be up for another little swap!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

This and That


Oh, dear me, would you take a look at this photo! I lifted it without permission from this blog, a place I just discovered today and a place I'll return to again and again! I pasted the photo on little Turbo's Facebook page (y'know, the gal really oughta get a blog -- and an etsy shop -- she is a very prolific quilter and could be selling her wares easily. Turbo, I mean, not Faith from Fresh Lemons). Anyway, I suspect that by the next time I see the Turbster, she'll have made her own equally gorgeous version of Faith's quilt. But she prolly won't give it to me.

Here's another blog I just discovered, and I wish you'd go and read the "Fabric for Marketing" post that she's got up. She asks some terrific questions. Oh, and be sure to read the multitude of comments, too.

Right now I'm sort of quietly mooing about book tours. You know, where someone has written a book and persuaded a group of bloggers to promote it for her. And for two weeks or so, you see the same picture of the book with the same list of promotional bloggers, until you begin to think you'll gag if anyone happens to present you with said book. I get it that books need to be marketed, and quilting bloggers are fair game for same. But still. Oh, moo.

Even as I moo, I'm conscious that someone recently asked me to test a pattern for her with the promise to give me a copy to give away on my blog. Not sure when this is going to happen, but trust me, it is not going to become a habit of mine. And I'm hoping she doesn't ask me to post a list of other places you can go to see the same pattern!

While I'm mooing, if you are wanting to have a give-away on your blog (and I really, really hope that you are, especially if you pick me!), just do it. Don't make me jump through hoops (as in, earn another chance by reposting about it on my blog, and another chance by tweeting about it [I don't tweet], and still another chance by posting a picture of your blog on Facebook). No, thank you. I'll leave a comment, and I'll try my best to make it a clever one. But that's all.

Enough with the moo. On a much brighter note, Lori, who write a fine blog and is someone I count as a friend and who I've actually had lunch with one time when she came to Lancaster County, has been known to host sweet little Quilt Alongs. A couple of times I've come precipitously close to joining in, and this time I'm actually doing it! Look at this project she's leading and see if you can resist! I'm using purple for my accent squares, so my results will vary, but I'm already up-to-date on the two steps she's posted. At this point, I truly must give credit to Janet as enabler par none! Janet is a sweetheart, and I wish she lived down the block. But prolly it is good that she doesn't, because I'd be running down there all the time and never getting a thing done.

Speaking of getting a thing done, I'm just itching for the weekend because it is a three-day variety for me. And I'm not going away anywhere. A movie with my Sweetie and a lunch with Honna are on the schedule and nothing more! I've made a list of six sewing projects I want to work on, some of which are not Christmas secrets. And I'm hoping Mike F will put in an appearance to keep me on task.

Oh, and I'm so looking forward to our autumnal White Oak getaway which is in 22 days, 4 hours, 6 minutes and 14 seconds!

That's it for now.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Blogmoo


Y'know, I'm having a serious moo here. And it's about Blogger.  Remember the Good Old Days when Word Verification was a high adventure? We'd get a neatly typed word such as FALSTACHE and know immediately that it had to do with artificial ornamental facial hair, and we'd smile as we typed carefully FALSTACHE. Nowadays, Blogger has designed the word to be reproduced with the letters intertwined, even superimposed on each other, and includes a blur factor. And a number to reproduce as well. And the word almost never is anything we can chuckle over. The procedure for leaving a comment has become so complicated that some people simply don't.

In an effort to prevent my readers/commenters from experiencing blinding eyestrain, I tried eliminating the Word Verification. That yielded me lots and lots of really stupid spam. So I tried the option of only "registered users," whatever that may be. That produced complaints from commenters who were rejected from commenting. Another option is users with Google accounts, which is what I think is behind the whole thing -- Google wants everyone to have a Google account and supposedly then everyone could comment without word verification. Which would take us back to the dratted spammers.

I'm back to a setting that Anyone can comment, but must use Word Verification. I wish it weren't so.




Monday, October 01, 2012

Out and About

Joe and I have spent some time on I-95 recently. During two of the past three weekends, we traveled south to visit family.

Tom and Anastasia have found and joined a wonderful church in Richmond, and recently invited us to come visit because Nate and Aberdeen were to be baptized.

We left home in the afternoon that Friday and arrived after dinner. On Saturday Joe helped Tom with some house projects while Anastasia and I entertained the children.

The church is beautiful. The baptism went without a problem, and much too soon we were back on I-95 heading toward home. It is always hard to leave these people; this time, we were cheered by knowing that they will be coming up to spend Thanksgiving with us!
Over the past weekend, we went to Alexandria. We left home in time to be in Chestertown, Maryland, at dinner time. We had a gift certificate for a restaurant that we like a whole lot, and decided to break up our trip with a stop there. By the time we were back on the highway, the traffic had diminished some.

We got to Andrew and Amy's close to our bedtime. Saturday was a full and busy day, with the zoo in the morning and the park in the afternoon and a yummy lunch and generous nap in between. 

Joe and Andrew ran out to pick up a mattress -- Eli is moving into a big boy bed soon; his crib is going to be needed for another occupant in December. Sunday morning we played at home, and when it was once again naptime, we left Alexandria, stopping at a farm stand that we like in Middletown, Delaware, on the way home.

On the weekend in between, Sherry, Chris, et al. came to dinner (no photos available!). Chris has recently introduced us to a terrific new board game that is also available electronically for the iPad. Chris, Sam, and Sherry's two aunts played on Friday night, and we were astounded at Sam's grasp of geography and ability to read the board upsidedown!

The coming weekend holds an extra day for me, and I'm hoping to change the closets, do a wee bit of organizing, and then settle in for some serious sewing!