Sunday, November 30, 2008

random thoughts at home

Home at last -- the 20 hours of airports and airplanes yesterday was no fun! The good part was that one of my business partners has a SIL who's a senior flight attendant on the run we were on, and she arranged to bump us up to "economy plus" and alerted one of her colleagues to bring us a glass of "good" wine from the front of the plane as a supplement (or antidote) to the cheap swill they offer in economy.

I thought I'd include just a few random photos from the trip, in no particular order. I'll do more later on. First, up above, is the first patchwork I ever did, in 1968 -- I was 16 and I made this for my sister as a wedding shower gift. All the fabric was from other clothes I'd made; the ivory textured stripe was from my sister's wedding dress, and the orange floral (top center) was from my 7th grade home-ec apron! Pretty eclectic selection of styles and colors there...You may remember this from earlier this year... or maybe late last year. It's a Baby Crocodile scarf, finally finished, for my youngest niece.
My sister has a huge number of animals, including a bunch of birds in the house. This one is called "Redbird". I spent way too much time trying to teach him to say "I'm Green!". He's a Superb Parrot, and a real cutie.

And below are just a few of the outdoor birds -- a flock of old turkeys who are apparently too tough to eat. They gobble in unison, about every thirty seconds or whenever something startles them, whichever comes first. Very amusing... thank goodness their coop is on the other side of the house from where guests sleep!
I think I mentioned walking across a swing bridge with my eyes closed half the time -- well, here it is. I do NOT like heights! Too bad you can't see how deep the gorge is here. This was is Abel Tasman park on the north edge of the south island of NZ.
Next up -- this was on a trail to "the center of NZ", in Nelson. There's a small monument at the top of a very steep hill. I paused at this sign, trying to catch my breath, about halfway up. For some reason it just struck me as worth a photo.
Nelson seems to be the peony capital of NZ -- these were in the entry hall of the B&B we stayed at, but they were everywhere else, too. I've never seen such beautiful flowers, and I'm jealous because they just don't grow well in my part of California.
That's probably enough for now, right? I notice that this is post #200 -- which certainly merits a give-away of some sort. So, watch this space for an announcement in the very near future!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

More T-day wishes

Here we are on our last full vacation day in Hobart; it's Friday here but still Thanksgiving back home. I miss the leftovers more than the big dinner, so I'm planning to rustle up a turkey and some of the trimmings next weekend!

Tomorrow is a million hours on airplanes and sitting in airports. The fun part is that we arrive home before we've left here, due to the date-line. It would be great if I could sit and crochet, but the Aussies haven't figured out that my ballpoint pen is actually more dangerous than a bamboo crochet hook, and I haven't figured out how to crochet with my pen!

I miss my sewing machine a lot, and can't wait to get home and finish up a couple of little projects that need to be mailed off. See you soon!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, November 21, 2008

NZ -- day 9

Is that right? I've lost track... We are leaving the south island today for a few days in and around Auckland, including the big guild quilt show tomorrow.

Things to remember to tell you about: blue penguins in Oamuru, the WOW museum, and the wonderfulness of Kaikura!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, November 17, 2008

NZ -- day 6

Had a long, pretty but ultimately monotonous drive South yesterday and ended up at Whataroa. It's the place to go for jet-boat tours into a lagoon where white herons nest and it's the only place in NZ where they do! It was raining buckets from 4pm on, but the weather was a bit nicer this morning; the ride was exhilarating and the birds were beautiful. Too bad most of my photos are out of focus... Don't know what I'm doing wrong with the camera. Maybe I should read the manual?

Today, a lovely drive trough mountains and lakes to Queenstown. Al is out riding on an old steamboat, but I decided that two boatrides in a week is enough for me!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Zealand -- day 3

We arrived in Nelson slightly bedraggled after 3 flights, including a 1k sprint from one terminal to another to catch our connection in Auckland! Here's the quick version, withdetails and photos to follow:
- really friendly people everywhere
- swinging bridge over a gorge in Abel Tasman park (with my eyes closed half the time)
- great salmon!
- driving on the left -- it's SO wrong!

Cheers -- we're off to the market.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, November 10, 2008

Up and Away

I've been trying to get in a little quality time with my sewing machine, since I'll be leaving town tomorrow and won't get my "fix" for nearly three weeks! I'm taking some yarn-y projects to work on, but it's just not the same.

The photo above is my six "Amish Houses" for this months block lotto. I really hope I win this month -- if I keep saying that, maybe it will happen. I think these are so cute!

And the photo below is my finished "Black and White..." quilt, which I've renamed "Nine Puzzles" because each block has "puzzle" in its name. I quilted this up and finished it quickly when I found out that an old friend had separated from her husband and was trying to set up a new apartment. I was totally surprised when I went to a house-warming, post-election celebration and brought the quilt -- and discovered that her kitchen floor was big black & white tiles, and one wall was painted red! It's a perfect fit. (It's also a sad thing to have happen after they've been together for 20 years... not made much more palatable by knowing that it was her decision rather than his)
Life goes on. We're heading for Auckland tomorrow. Someone told me today that it's pronounced "Oakland" -- which is a funny thing since Oakland is my home town. I guess I'd better finish up the laundry and the packing!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

this is a test

Since I'm getting ready to go on vacation for the rest of the month, I thought I'd try out the "email to blog" thing to see how it works. So -- this is only a test; if it were a real blog post, there might be some amusing anecdote or quilty news. Alas, no.   I will try to post a photo or two before I leave town, though!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

building a new house... and pattern rant!

When I arrived at PIQF a couple of weeks ago, one of the first quilts that caught my eye was in the booth run by Laura Nownes' and Diana McClun's pattern company, "From Me to You" -- they're the famous duo who wrote "Quilts, Quilts, Quilts" and several other books, and their books were among the first I bought when I got bitten by the bug.

Anyway, they had this super-adorable house quilt, that I instantly knew I HAD to make for my youngest niece. Bought the pattern, came home, started sewing... pretty soon discovered that there were a couple of errors in the pattern that weren't insurmountable, but definitely required some ripping and re-calculating and rummaging in the stash for more fabric -- all of which would make this a frustrating project for someone who wasn't too experienced and was expecting "clear instructions"! So, I wrote a pleasant email to the "contact" address, pointing out the two errors I'd found up to that point.

The response I got back was quick but less than satisfying. Laura said: "I did have the patterns checked out but will double-check and get back to you later today. The bricks make more than needed so you should be fine. thanks for letting me know." That was a few days ago; haven't heard anything more, but I've since run into another less-than-clear part of the pattern.

So. Yes, the bricks make more than needed, but only of you rip apart some of them and re-sew them back together in a different configuration. The other part of it was telling you to have enough fabric to make 8 strips when in fact you need 13 of them. I would expect that two quilters of this caliber who are charging $10 for each pattern would have had a couple of qualified testers actually make the quilt from the pattern before it goes to print! And I would have expected something along the lines of "sorry for the hassle"!

Anyway, I notice that they don't have this pattern on their website -- have they taken it down or was it never there? So you'll have to just believe me about the adorable-ness! And here is my progress to date -- I've got half of the leaves & sky done, too but I can't attach them until the roof is on. Isn't that flower-garden fabric the best? I had actually bought a yard of it to make my niece a skirt, but then when they used it on the quilt, the skirt idea went right out the window!