Friday, July 31, 2009

Scammed!

A couple of weeks ago I had a call from my credit card company, wanting to verify a few small charges on my account... the largest was only about $5.95 but they had tripped somebody's switch -- and I hadn't made any of the purchases.

Turns out there is a whole online industry that thrives on stolen credit card information and the fact that a lot of people don't pay close attention to their bills. The small charges are "shipping and handling" for free samples of questionable products, but then you're automatically enrolled for a monthly shipment at a much higher price. As I understand it, if you don't catch these things at the very beginning it can take a lot of hassle to deal with them later!

So, my credit card was immediately canceled and reissued with a different number, and the charges were removed from my account. The scammers can send me whatever they want, but they won't get paid, and I don't have to send anything back. Thanks -- Capital One -- for covering my butt!

Anyhow -- since then, I've received four parcels in the mail. One of them was actually express mail from China! My scammer swag is pictured up above -- I will give away any or all of this if anyone wants it.

Acai, Green Tea and caffeine supplement -- no idea what it's supposed to do -- "do not take after 5 pm"

7-hour slumber - sleep enhancement supplement (maybe you need this after the acai?)

Guarana PURE - natural weight loss supplement -- this is the one that was shipped from China; after all the uproar about "stuff" added to food products in China, I definitely want to pass on this one...)

Amino Genesis - face lift in a capsule -- I might actually try this one; I think it's just some kind of moisurizer packaged in little bath-bead things.

I've been feeling very lethargic about quilting for the last few days -- haven't touched the machine since I got back from Long Beach, actually. One of my little groups is meeting tomorrow afternoon, though (and yikes! just remembered I'm supposed to bring a salad!) so I better get back in the game.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

isn't it time for a post?


The best part of Long Beach was the class I took, taught by Karen Eckmeier. It was based on her book "Happy Villages", which I bought at last year's show. I decided it would be a good project to do with others since it's easier to not get obsessive about how things are arranged when you're with 40 other people! So-- above is my (unfinished) village. I still need to add a few more stairs and windows, and then stitch around every little piece... see you in a couple of weeks!

Most of the fabrics are commercial hand-dyes from Starr, but the blue sky is one that Joyce sent as trade for some Japanese fabrics. Isn't it perfect?

My friend and I stayed at the Hyatt right next door to the convention center. Much better than last year, when we were at a somewhat tacky place about 2 miles away on a slow tram! The Hyatt managed to overbook and mess up our reservation, but they compensated by cutting the room rate in half and giving us free rein at the breakfast buffet for two days. More shopping!

There are quite a few photos available at the Quilts.com website -- and a lot of the exhibits were marked "no photography" anyway -- but here are four of my favorite quilts:

First up is probably my absolute favorite. It's "Chickadee Spring" by Cynthia St. Charles. She photographed the birds and printed them on fabric, and then pieced the quilt.
Here's a detail:
Next up is "Three Guinea Fowl" by Pamela Allen. I love the whimsicality of this!
There's a bird theme going on here... this is "Red Owls" by Karin Pierce. It reminds me of Inuit art,
Finally -- no more birds -- this is "Summer Rain" by Ludmila Aristova. The rain effect is done with stitching and it is lovely in person.
Tonight I started a "two at a time" socks class and I have lots of homework (about 8"!) to do for next week, so I think I'll go park in front of the tv for the news and see if I can get another inch done.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bonanza!

First and foremost -- my Spring Fling Round Robin arrived home today -- is it not fabulous? I made the center block, and then Rita, Tami, and Laila did the borders and quilting. It's kind of funny that Rita and Tami both live really close to me in northern California, but then it went all the way to Norway to be finished! Tami did little origami flowers that echo my rose center, and the outer border is quilted with leaves. I love it!Here's something from the "widows and orphans" section. I did a swap recently of these scrappy string blocks, and decided to put them together with an assortment of blocks that had been sitting in a pizza box (a clean pizza box!) for ages. Some of them came from a very old "what a girl wants" block swap, so that's the name of the quilt. The floral border was in my stash for some reason. Very girly -- now would someone please have a baby so I can quilt this up and give it away?
Finally, news on the wildlife front. I have several cheap, old IKEA candle lanterns hanging from the eaves outside, left over from a party years ago. I was idly staring out the kitchen window the other morning and noticed a wasp hovering near one of them, so I watched more closely... the wasps are LIVING in the lantern!
See those three little holes in the bottom? In and out, in and out. There's a space between the place that the candle sits on and the bottom of the lantern, and they've taken up residence. Yikes!



Long Beach?

There should be some more visual quilty content soon, but in the meantime -- who's going to Long Beach? I will be there from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon and I'd love to meet up with any of you in blogland that are going... just leave me a comment and we can figure it out!


Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday

This is a very bright (brighter than the photo would indicate) quilt I just finished up as a high-school graduation gift for one of my nieces. The pattern was adapted from a BOM on the Quiltaholics.com site that I did in 2004 -- I used a very wide assortment of fabrics in this, but I think the sashing and border sort of hold it together. It was beautifully quilted by Darcie Grager -- here's a detail:
I love the way those sprigs look like fireworks!

And, here's a picture of the Spring Fling Round Robin 3 that John has now received. He made the center block; the borders were by Colene and Toni, and I did the quilting. I am waiting anxiously for my quilt to arrive!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's a mystery...

Remind me not to do this again! This lily block was for a birthday block swap I've been in for several years now. Somehow this year a few participants have gone over the edge with their requests. A couple months ago there was an ocean waves block with about 50 little HSTs, and this month it's this lily with NINE set-in seams! It's created a bit of a kerfluffle in the group, as someone might say. Despite all that, I took it as a challenge to make the block. I don't have much trouble with the seams but they do take time. And I think this might have cured me of ever wanting to make a lone-star quilt!

To detox from that block, I decided to make a little quilt for the Alzheimers Quilt Project -- I had donated a few when it first started but I know that Ami Simms is looking for more for Houston. This one has a little yellow "flange" before the border, something I'd been wanting to try. It still needs the binding put on.
And - (spoiler!) - I did most of the Planet Patchwork mystery today. It was more work than any other mystery I've done, but the construction was clever and the instructions were very good! The pressing information allowed the whole thing to go together without any lumps or bumps or heavy thinking. And best of all, I used a lot of bits and pieces from the stash!
It's supposed to have a couple of fairly plain borders with a sawtooth border in between; I think it will end up being donated somewhere.

Now off to tidy up the chaos on the dining room table and settle down with a glass of something cold!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fade to Black

I can finally cross another UFO off my list! This is called Fade to Black and it is based on a pattern from Sara Nephew's Big Book of Building Block Quilts. Five of us in a mini-group started these a couple of years ago and I think I'm the last to finish. I wish I had photos of the rest of them because (of course) they all ended up looking quite different! Here is the top that Kuniyo made -- she upended some of the cubes for an interesting effect.And, my Spring Fling Round Robin 3 is going in the mail tomorrow -- here's a sneak peek:
Not my usual color palette but it was fun to work on. I did a lot of straight-line quilting and I think it worked well. I'll post a whole picture when the recipient receives it.

Is anyone else doing the Planet Patchwork mystery on Sunday? It sounds like it could use up a lot of odds & ends -- 9" squares of mediums and darks in one color family and a bunch of FQs of lights. I'm planning to do a little rooting around tomorrow morning to see if I can find everything I need in the stash.

Friday, July 03, 2009

my day at the fair (Piggies!)

The 4-H animals hadn't arrived in Pleasanton yet but thankfully there was a little farm exhibit set up so I got my piggie experience after all! Here's one of the two moms with her 4-day-old piglets.and this little piggie decided he needed some "space" away from the crowd!
Here's the other litter... aren't these the cutest things? I really wish I could have picked one up to play with.
Okay, enough pigs -- I know you're here to see some quilts!

This is one of Libby's -- the stitching is beautiful up close! You'll notice that it has a "2nd place" sticker on the tag... the judges at this fair seem to be strongly biased towards traditional quilts with hand-quilting.
I'm a big fan of samplers and I thought this one was beautifully done -- it was made by a group at a local hospital. Someone did a lot of work to figure out how to make all these blocks fit together; the little filler blocks were a nice touch!
This quilt was made from 1,840 little tiny bow-tie blocks -- I think they were about 1.5" x 2.5" each.
There was a sunflower-themed display at the entrance to the fiber arts (and canned foods) hall -- this quilt is called "State Fair" and it's in "101 Fabulous Rotary Cut Quilts" by Judy Hopkins and Nancy Martin -- a wonderful classic!
here's Kristi modeling proper roasted-corn-eating posture! I don't think she knew she was gonna get the 10 seconds of fame here on the blog when she posed for this.
and I leave you with this... it is a giant papier-mache jelly donut... just proving that you can find pretty much every possible type of arts & crafts at a county fair!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

nothing much

Nothing to report here except -- yum! -- fresh pineapple sorbet with a sprinkle of coconut on top. What did we all do before the internet and its gazillion recipes available with reviews, hints, photos...? I had most of a cut-up pineapple that needed to be used, and none of my ton of cookbooks had a recipe. I found one at myrecipes.com that was so easy -- pineapple, lemon juice and sugar. My best inheritance from my dad was a nice old gelato machine, so it was all a breeze. Why don't I do this more often?

Tomorrow is a trip to the Alameda County Fair with a couple of friends. Quilts, Corn Dog, Piglets -- in that order! I'm hoping to see Libby's quilts, for sure, and I'll report back. (I secretly love looking at all the home ec stuff like table settings and the giant vegetables, too, but don't tell!)

I'm hoping to actually finish up a few projects this weekend. The Big Pink House is still giving me conniptions in the quilting arena -- I may just give up and take it off the frame to finish it 'cause the thread is breaking again. I have another wall-hanging that's almost done, and the Spring Fling round robin needs to be quilted, too. And maybe I need to clean up the sewing pit again?