Wednesday, January 31, 2007

dinnertime!

I don't usually post about food, but last night I made these baby back ribs from a recipe in Parade magazine (from the Sunday paper) and they are sooooo good! Scroll all the way down to the last recipe, called "first down ribs". I used extra-meaty ribs from my local butcher -- he calls them "gormet baby back ribs", but the regular ones would be fine. I usually just open Parade to read the hokey celebrity interview, but this time those ribs just jumped off the page at me!

If I weren't so lazy, I'd go to the store for a cabbage to make some slaw... but instead I'm just eating a handful of baby carrots.

In other news, I made a rash decision a couple of weeks ago to buy a Handiquilter frame with all the bells & whistles from someone fairly local who had upgraded -- she couldn't set up her new system until she got rid of the old one. It's not like I really have a place to put it.. from now on I think any houseguests will sleep on the living room floor, or in a local hotel. Right now, it's in a big pile on the floor behind the sofa because I don't have a table for it, and I won't have time to get to Costco for a couple more weeks. I'm a bit intimidated about assembling it all -- seems a little more complicated than the Ikea furniture I'm used to.

Do any of you hordes of readers (LOL) use one of these things? I know that the Brother 1500 list has a bunch of users, and there's probably a separate list for HQ. Was I crazy to buy this?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I had an interesting ride today... I drove out east through the tunnel towards Walnut Creek, to visit my favorite shopping experience -- Target. Cruising along in the second-fastest lane of a 4-lane section of freeway, and all of a sudden there are these alien creatures standing in the fast lane. Luckily there were no cars in the fast lane at that point, 'cause these fellows didn't seem to be inclined to budge! How on earth they managed to get there without getting killed, I do not know. I couldn't believe how tall they were -- I think my jaw hung open for a good ten minutes after that.

And then I remembered that I'd been reading about an Iraq war protest/memorial right near the Lafayette BART station, but somehow hadn't managed to see it even though I've driven out that way a number of times in the last few months. This is a photo from a while ago when there were only 300 crosses; it's meant to commemorate the U.S. military men and women who've died in Iraq -- over 2800 at the time this photo was made. Today there are many more crosses and the sight is pretty overwhelming. There's been a lot of controversy about this, including individuals going up and knocking down the crosses and/or sign and the town of Lafayette flip-flopping about whether the sign is legal -- but so far it's still there as a reminder of our losses.
And to end on a quiltier note, here's a picture of my first journal quilt for the 12x12x4 challenge -- it's for a series called "looking out my kitchen window" and it's my first attempt at designing my own paper-piecing pattern. It needs some embellishment, I think, so I'm planning on a collage of leaves of some sort -- I'd be happy to entertain any suggestions!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

it's really me!

You Are An INTP
The Thinker
You are analytical and logical - and on a quest to learn everything you can. Smart and complex, you always love a new intellectual challenge. Your biggest pet peeve is people who slow you down with trivial chit chat. A quiet maverick, you tend to ignore rules and authority whenever you feel like it.
You would make an excellent mathematician, programmer, or professor.



The good news -- or maybe the bad news? -- is that this is exactly how I tested the first time I did this about 25-30 years ago!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

road trip

Well, I've been pathetically lazy about posting this month... my excuses are a) working too much and b) going down to Road to California. Not very convincing, right?

I had not been to "Road" before. The first thing one notices upon exiting the Ontario airport is the smell of manure. Where are those stupid cows, anyway? I didn't see a single one but I know they had to be there...

Then, there's the fact that all the hotels advertise that they're "across the street from convention center" even if they're 3 blocks away. No biggie, but I wouldn't recommend the one we stayed at -- very worn out looking and a hideous breakfast spread.

I was a bit cynical about Road's slogan - "largest quilt show in California" -- because it seemed pretty obvious that PIQF is bigger. At least it has more quilts to look at. But, I did enjoy a lot of what I saw at Road2CA, so I should just quit whining. I didn't win any ribbons, but then I didn't really expect to. My quilt was nicely displayed right next to a very pretty prize-winner, so I think it got plenty of attention.

As always, I've signed up for too many UFO challenges and I'm going to be hard-pressed to meet them. I am just about to become "queen" on the Stashbusters list, so the pressure is on! Last night I started to quilt my small Hidden Wells top, but the thread kept breaking -- I think I need to use a bigger needle, since it's 30-weight thread and I currently have a 90/12 in the machine. (don't be so damn lazy, she says!)

More to follow...

Friday, January 12, 2007

new bag, and the continuation of the story

First, here's the latest bag -- this one's for me, and it's the X-Bag pattern from Four Corners Designs. Again, the instructions/illustrations aren't the best... but it makes a nice purse in the end. The fabric is a new line from RJR/Jinny Beyer, called "Mariposa". There are some beautiful colors, and I especially like this because it has some body to it, unlike a lot of the Jinny Beyer stuff. I was asked about my quilt-mailing saga from a little while back. The funny thing is that once I had the tracking number, I immediately started tracking... and it kept saying "it's arrived at the unit in Upland, CA" and we can't tell you anything else. Hmm. Gee, guys, that really makes the $42 shipping charge worthwhile, when you can't even tell me if you delivered it! After a few days I called the quilt-show office, thinking perhaps they had asked the post office to just hold all the packages until the day of the deadline -- but no. She told me they HAD received it. So that ticked me off even more about the post office's tracking system. Now, two weeks later, they still can't tell me they've delivered it! I thought about calling and making a fuss, but their phone system is just too daunting to deal with.

This other photo speaks to how I've been the last few days... oversleeping like crazy! This was a little mystery block from Paper Panache a while back. I call it "cranky alarm clock". This morning I slept through the clock radio playing NPR loudly for almost two hours! That's what happens when my husband is out of town... I tend to stay up later and oversleep every day. I'm very good at taking a shower and getting out of the house in 20 minutes, though.

It's very cold here in the SF Bay Area this week. They were even talking about snow, but since there aren't any clouds, I don't think that's going to happen. I'm thankful that my back yard is very sheltered, though, since the orange and lemon trees are loaded with fruit.

Monday, January 08, 2007

small steps

I see that Blogger finally fixed the bug that wouldn't allow me to add photos if I signed in on the "beta" page...

This is round two of the Ostrich Round Robin -- the instructions were "Binary" -- a border using only two colors. My husband thought it was going to be awful -- the colors don't go! -- but I assured him that I was trying to pick up the fruit colors from the original tree, and that I needed to spice it up a bit after the first, boring border. I'm really quite pleased with it! I can't wait to see what the next round is going to be.

I'm plugging away at my first journal quilt. It's also my first attempt at designing my own paper-piecing pattern, so it's a bit crude. I should have a photo by the end of the week!

Friday, January 05, 2007

not another meme...

Debra tagged all of us, and since many of Teri's answers were similar to mine, I was inspired to cut and paste...

THE ABC'S OF MY QUILTING STYLE

A- Artist? I loved Katie Pasquini Masopast's quilts at Houston last year; lots of designers who do interesting things with a block format -- Margaret Miller, Judy Martin, Beth Ferrier; and I'm blown away by what I see on the blogs every day!

B- Best Blogging Buddies? I read a ton of blogs -- quilting ones along with a few local columnists, some knitting, some wordy stuff... and I do feel like I "know" some of these people even though I haven't met them in person (yet)

C- Crazy or Sane Quilting? I haven't gotten into the crazy quilt thing, although I love the way they look! I did, however, make the "Nearly Insane" quilt (see prior blog posts) -- which was pretty crazy.

D- Dyeing or Stamping? Dyeing -- althought I haven't tried it yet

E- Essential Item? a great sewing machine and a sharp rotary blade!

F- Favorite Fabrics? batiks -- although I certainly have a lot of other stuff, too! I'm attracted to bright colored geometric prints, but have a hard time finding ways to use them

G- Great Quilt Design? I love storm-at-sea, and patterns like Judy Martin's Shakespeare in the Park that flow so beautifully

H- Hand or Machine Quilt? Machine only

I- Indispensable Notion? a good seam ripper

J- Janome or Bernina? No -- Pfaff and Brother

K- Kits or Original Designs? No kits -- picking fabrics is my favorite part of quilting!

L- Life in the Studio is? Better than almost anything (and messy!)

M- Most Projects Made in One Year? I haven't really counted, but I'm reasonably productive

N- Number of Gadgets? I have no idea... I'm not a huge notions junkie, but I do have quite a number of rulers.

O- OH, I wish I hadn’t. . . . .? Bought all of this novelty fabric!!

P- Pet Peeves about Quilting? I'm sure I have some, but they're escaping me at the moment -- oh here's one: commercial patterns that are poorly written or have obvious mistakes. I think if you're going to charge $8-10 for a pattern, it should be well-proofed! (this has been an issue with some purse patterns I've used)

Q- Quilt Show? I like PIQF (my closest"big show") and Voices in Cloth, which is a show put on by my local guild every other year

R- Reason to Rip Out? paper-piecing mistakes where the fabric doesn't quite cover the space; obviously mis-matched seams -- I'm not an obsessive perfectionist but my style is more precise than some of my friends!

S- Sewing or Knitting? I do a little knitting, too...

T- Tag, You're It! consider yourself tagged

U- UFOs? I have about 25 UFO's. Many are completed tops that just need to be quilted someday

V- Vexing Quilt Pattern? I like challenging patterns, but there are limits -- I don't do much of anything that has to be done by hand, for instance.

W- Wishlist Item? If I had the room, I might like a long arm

X- Xtra Fabric you will never use? Novelty prints; large pieces of ugly stuff I bought for backings.

Y- Your Biggest Goof? can't think of one...

Z- Zip! I don't have a clue what this means! But yes, I do know how to insert a zipper.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

resolving to resolve...

I was thinking about New Year's resolutions yesterday afternoon while my husband and I were walking our usual walk to the local coffeehouse about a mile from our home. I decided that the problem with resolutions was that people tend to start out with a list of them, and it's just too overwhelming and pretty much doomed to fail...

So, I decided that I would start with one resolution, and then add a new one at the beginning of each month -- that way, I'll have a whole month to get used to each one, and make it a habit, without worrying about a whole bunch of things I'm "supposed" to be doing all at once. Here's my resolution for January: eat at least two pieces of fruit every day. That's not so hard, is it?

I have ideas swirling around for next month's resolution, but I'm going to try to squelch them until it's time to put it in writing!

I didn't finish much of the stuff on my December "to do" list, so January's looks somewhat daunting. I definitely need to do the blocks for the row robin, and the ostrich is due on the 15th; I have the ostrich figured out, but was having trouble getting my border pieces to work out to the right size, so I finally printed off a bunch of paper foundations last night. I also have a concept in mind for my first journal quilt for the 12x12x4 challenge -- but since it's "art" I'm scared to start it!