Wednesday, January 28, 2009

edited to add...

I did a google search for "computer typing backwards" and found that it turned up on a bunch of tech-help sites over the last few years -- who knew? -- but there didn't seem to be any answers other than the usual "run a bunch of scans, then reboot". I thought about calling Dell's help desk (ha ha ha) just to listen to them babble, but then I decided I didn't really want to listen. Oh well.

Look! I finished something else! This is my little pair of "crazy cats" that I've been wanting for a long time. It's Bucky (my orange guy) and Fiona (his dear-departed tortoise-shell stepsister). I'm really pleased with this.
And, I made a quick birthday present for the mother of a good friend, who has also been a friend for many years. She's turning 70, and she definitely appreciates crafts. This is from a pattern I got at Kapaia Stitchery in Kauai a couple of years ago, for two types of casserole carriers. Since everyone I know is into pot-luck gatherings, I thought it would be fun. I quilted together two batiks, and the rest was really easy.
And, two more ATCs for February. I've used up the doily now, so I need to veer off in another direction for the next set. I might be done with the leaves, too -- although I have a ton of them left... maybe I'll save them for fall. My birthday is coming up in February, so I'll have lots of cards to show off before you know it!

what's up with this?

I'm always feeling smug when I read about other people's computer problems, because mine have been pretty well-behaved... until now! I'm beginning to think my laptop is possessed and it's not a comfortable situation.

A few days ago, it suddenly started typing backwards! I tried to put my password in for my "work" email, and it kept getting rejected. So I started from scratch with my user name, and as I typed, it reversed my letters so that "janedoe" came out "eodenaj". When I typed my password backwards it worked fine. I ended up shutting down and rebooting and then it was okay again.

Today, I was happily working along, and suddenly it decided to hibernate -- and then it wouldn't restart. I finally got it going again by taking out the battery and putting it back in.

Has this happened to you? Maybe it's time for me to call the IT guru?


Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday update

I've been playing around with the next set of ATCs for the birthday swap -- I have five to make for February. The pressed paper leaves are turning up again, but I've added some other stuff -- seed and bugle beeds and a bit of an old lace doily that I made a million years ago. I still need to finish the edges of these two. I'm enjoying the process of these things and wonder how they'll evolve during the year...And, since Helen has now received her birthday block, I can reveal it here. Here theme was African, and her suggestions included masks and wild fabrics -- so be careful what you wish for:
My inspiration was this photo of a Bedu Plank Mask, from Ivory Coast. I loved the patchwork effect, and the fact that it was relatively two-dimensional to start with.I have guys here installing DVR for our satellite TV service, and it sounds like they're drilling a hole through my head even though it's really on the other side of the house! I guess I'd better go see what's really going on...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday

HB gave me this cool award today -- it's my first award. Being the grammar wonk that I am, I really wish it said "knew" instead of "know"... but I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth! The rules are that I'm supposed to pass the award on to 10 more bloggers. My list is pretty long but I thought I'd mention just a few that may not have anything to do with quilting but they crack me up on a regular basis:
Dollar Store Crafts -- lots of fun weird projects
Bye Bye Pie -- I don't know where I found June, but she knocks my socks off
Cake Wrecks -- when professional cakes go horribly wrong...
Kent Kapers -- I want to be just like this when I'm 81!

And -- I actually finished a quilt last night:
This is a little square in a square project from a class years ago. There were lots of little paper-pieced bits, that bored me to death and sat for a long time. I finally finished the top last year, and got it quilted up for my first finish of 2009. The quilting is marginal, so don't look too closely!

Exciting project in the house today -- we had two Sola-tubes installed in our long, dark hallway, and now there is sunlight streaming in! The walls are a light blue and the quilt photo above was taken with no flash. I highly recommend these things; we have one in the master bath, too.
And, a knitty finish to report as well. This is another never-ending project that I finally forced myself to get done with. It's a lace scarf knit out of hemp yarn -- which is kind of like knitting with twine, and I didn't really enjoy it. After you're done, you was the scarf in warm soapy water, and the texture changes to a soft-but-firm and no longer scratchy feel.
Here's a detail. It's not really as pink as this looks; the color above is more "true".

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

sounds good, but... not so much

Everyone's been blogging about the 5-minute-chocolate-cake-in-a-mug, so against my better judgment I tried it. I know that cooking any kind of pastry thing in a microwave is asking for trouble -- heaven knows I've seen bagels turn into cement in a matter of seconds!

So, I'm sorry to report that this was definitely a flop for me. I did follow the recipe, including the chocolate chips. All the chips ended up in a sticky mass at the bottom of the cup (which is evidenced by the gloppy mess on the front of the plate and the spoon!) The rest of it had a reasonably cakey texture, but only if "cake" and "dish sponge" are synonymous to you. And -- if you don't eat this really fast it only gets worse!

The biggest disappointment was that even though I used really good quality cocoa powder, the chocolate flavor was -- disappointing.

If you really want to try, just google "chocolate cake in mug" and you'll find the recipe and lots of reviews. Ignore them at your own risk!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

a few little things

I finally figured out that I need to add photos in the reverse of the order that I want them to appear on the blog. Now that I've memorized this, they'll probably change it again...

Here is my Friday Block Party block for week #2 -- it's called Footstool. I'm not sure why!

And this is my very first ATC! I used these interesting little pressed paper leaves that I found in Hobart (Tasmania) a couple of months ago. I guess it's sort of minimalist, but that's me...Today I got together with a few quilty friends and showed them how to make wrapped baskets -- not that I'm the expert. This is only my second attempt, and I haven't quite worked out how to get a smooth finish on them.
Here are the projects that the four of us made. It was a fun few hours and I'm pretty sure there will be a bunch more of these in our futures!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy Days!

About 14 months ago, a group of 15 of us started up a different kind of round robin, following a technique that MayBritt had blogged about. The process went exceptionally well, with just a little bit to do most months, and very few delays. And today my quilt came home!
My original block was the orphan in the upper left corner; the quilt includes some applique, some embroidery, writing and buttons, and lovely quilting. You can see another quilt from the group here, and more should be popping up in blogland soon!

In other news, after making all those hats before Christmas, I decided I needed one, too -- I've never really worn wool caps before, but the cold (and my cold, which lingers) has been making my ears hurt. So, out came the stash and this little ribbed cap was made in just two nights:

I decided to join in on Quilt Pixie's Friday Block Party, to try to use up my bin of batik scraps. She's compiled a list of interesting blocks from Quilters' Cache, and will pull one out of the hat every Friday and post it to the group. It's not too late to join in...And last but not least -- it's Rhino season! I finished the little embroidery that had been languishing in my knitting basket for some reason. I have a bunch of rhino-esque textile things around that will end up in a quilt one of these days, I think.

Friday, January 02, 2009

One thing leads to another...

More cross-stitch stuff -- Kate recently posted about some patterns she had finished with and wanted to give away, so I did a little swap with her for a couple of mine. I just love getting packages that say "Royal Mail" on them! But, I still have some more little patterns that I'd like to give away because I know I'll never stitch the same project twice. So, in no particular order, they are:

a tiny apple picture:
a lovely nasturtium bookmark
a sunflower
and two very old (i.e. 30-40 years!) Danish patterns for a thistle, and an owl bell-pull that I made up into a pillow for my motherLeave a comment if you'd like any of these.

Now onto something new! I woke up the other morning thinking about the mess in our hall closet, for some reason -- on the shelf is a big jumble of scarves, hats, knapsacks and other "stuff" that all falls on me when I try to pull out the one item I want. Inspiration: get three boxes or baskets to separate the categories and make better use of the space.
Then when I went to measure this morning, it suddenly turned into a bigger project:
- take everything out of the closet
- CLEAN IT, for heaven's sake! Do you see those cobwebs in the corner?
- and slap a coat of fresh paint in there. It probably still has the original paint from 1940!
- then weed out about half the stuff before putting things away

Progress reports to follow... in the meantime, isn't this the cutest? The inside of the closet door has a little shelf to put your bag on while you apply that last touch of lipstick before leaving the house!