Friday, December 29, 2006


My husband and I have been married for 16+ years. We get along remarkably well, considering how different we are... I joke about it being due to the fact that he travels so much, but that's probably not really a joke! Since we were both in our late-30's when we got together, and it was the first marriage for both of us, we had a lot of time to get things out of our systems and learn how to be independent. We both work, keep separate bank and credit accounts, have no children, and he's really even-tempered -- all those things help, too.

BUT (and you knew there was a but coming!) he is an absolute clueless fool sometimes. He's kind of the absent minded scientist type -- can go for weeks without looking at his mail; if I didn't pay the bills we'd be in big trouble. And what did he do this time?

He took my quilt to the post office on Tuesday to mail it to Road to California. I packaged it up and gave him instructions about delivery confirmation, insurance, and when it needed to be there. I had priced it online and figured that "Priority" would be just fine.

He came back later that day and said he'd sent it "Express" at twice the price because the PO couldn't guarantee that "Priority" would get the 400 miles from here to there by January 5. Okay, cool. But... he has no idea what he did with the receipt! So I have no way to see if it arrived, and no insurance recourse if it gets lost or damaged! I know that he probably just mindlessly crumpled up the receipt and threw it in the trash on the way out of the post office, but he has no recollection at all.

(I did send an email to the Road2CA office to see if they would tell me if it had shown up -- my past dealings with them haven't been very satisfying, so I don't know whether to expect an answer or not; their office seems to be understaffed with surly people!)

I'm sure I'll calm down any minute now! We're having a big Chili Fest tomorrow, so I've got to go get started by chopping a ton of onions. After that, I'll be in a really good mood!

Postscript: 3 hours later... I've been very good about all this, really! No yelling at all, just a calm suggestion that he look in his jacket/pants/shirt pockets for whatever he was wearing that day -- which he assured me he had done several times! Just now, he came in and handed me the receipt. pause. where was it? pants pocket. gotta love this guy!

Monday, December 25, 2006

December 25

Happy Holidays!

Blogger is being a PITA this morning. If I sign in to beta-blogger, it won't let me add pictures -- just keep saying "sorry, we couldn't complete your request." After scrolling through a couple pages of their help board, I found a suggestion to sign in under "old" blogger instead of "new" blogger... and the photos worked!

Anyway, after that little rant... Merry Christmas! The photo is a scrap wreath I made this year, f0llowing an idea at Mine looks a little more scraggly that their example, but at least it's not dropping needles all over the porch.

This is what I did yesterday -- it's the annual Christmas mystery from A Pocket Full of Mysteries, except that I turned the blocks arouhd to form a diamond instead of an "X" in the middle. The focus fabric is splotches of paint, and I think this will be a baby gift for one of my sisters-in-law later in 2007; one's expecting her first at the age of 43(!) and the other's expecting her fourth (equally !)

Friday, December 15, 2006

I did it!

switched to Beta, that is... so far it's been easy, although their "drag and drop" formatting isn't doing what I want, so I guess I'll need to wade back in and mess with the html. I'm used to having my posts on the left and the sidebar on the right, but blogger doesn't want me to drag those things around -- or maybe I'm just dragging them in the wrong order! **

I also noticed that my date & title stuff was disappearing intermittently when I tried to change the font and color. And yes -- I realize it's a bit of a rainbow at the moment, but I had to go a little crazy after all that black type for all these months.

And, I don't quite get the whole labels thing: I think I might have about 3 categories: blogger rants, quilting, and travel. Hopefully not in that order!

** Update: fixing the template was SO easy! all I had to do was change "right" to "left" and then "left" to "right" -- thanks again to Linda J who taught me to not be (quite so) scared of html!

Monday, December 11, 2006

the gift parade .. and my braggie!

I'm moving right along on the gift thing... finished up the last 3 "Sassy Bags" today, for a sister-in-law and a friend and her daughter -- hope they like them! Yesterday I found out that I drew another sister-in-law's name for the gift exhange on my husband's side of the family, so I'm thinking about whipping up some placemats of some sort.

This next photo is the row robin I just sent off -- I did the row of Darting Birds at the top. It was one of those blocks I had looked at for years but hadn't ever made one -- I think they're pretty cute! I keep thinking that one day I'll go through my copies of all the "Around the Block" books and make one of each... ha ha ha.

And finally -- my Braggie! After two of my local friends submitted quilts to PIQF without telling me -- and got accepted -- I was really jealous. So, I submitted my Nearly Insane quilt to Road to California at the last minute, and just received my acceptance notice a couple of days ago! I'm totally jazzed, of course, since it's the first time I've tried to put something in a juried show. And, it's a good excuse to go to the show for the first time. Any of you out there in blog-land planning to attend? I'll probably go down on Saturday and come back Sunday afternoon, late enough that I can pick up my quilt and avoid the extra mailing charges.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

One Word, please -- and robin comes home

I stole this from Nancy's blog and thought it was very interesting and scary and fun:

Describe me in ONE WORD...just one word! Send it to me only, and then send this message to your friends and family and see how many strange things people say about you!. . . .This is really fun! Just hit "Reply" and send me my one word back. Then forward this message on to your friends (including me) and see what they say about you!. . . .GAME ON!! This will make you laugh out loud.

So, I sent an email out to a bunch of friends & colleagues and a couple of siblings (who didn't respond) and my husband (who didn't respond -- said he needed to know "what context"!) and received a list of words...
- cautious
- wise
- feisty
- precise (twice!)
- logical
- efficient
- fun
- generous
- renaissance (woman)
- ubiquitous
- multi-dimensional
- kind

At first I was sort of bummed out because there seemed to be too many left-brain words. I know I'm logical and efficient and all that, and I do sort of pride myself on those attributes -- but it bothered me that that's what people were seeing! I'm an artist, dammit! Or at least a crafter! But then some of the other words showed up and rounded out my personality a bit!

I'm not sure what Celeste meant by "ubiquitous" -- but the rest of them shoes do fit...

In other news -- if you use spell-check in Blogger, it tries to change "blog" to something else.

And finally, some good Round Robin news -- here's a photo of my robin that came home today. I started out with some fabrics from the American Tinware line by Andover a couple-three years ago, which I'd been hoarding for no particular reason. Three others worked on this, and I really like the way it came out! It's about 30" square right now. I'm going to do one or two more borders, including some more of the center fabric -- after I finish up the rest of the stuff I need to do this month.

Friday, December 01, 2006

purse update

Here's a quick update on a previous post... the pattern I mentioned for a bag similar to the one I showed (the Borsa Bag) is at: Bali Bag My version didn't have knitted squares, though -- they were all fabric. My top was quilted with batting, and then the lining was attached separately, and the handles were a little different, too... I think you could probably get the Borsa Bag pattern from the designer, at: -- I know that some of the stores sell it, too.

a new month

How did December get here so fast? Is that just another one of those things, like my doctor keeps telling me, that just happen "when you get to a certain age"? All I can say is "slow down!"

I finished up a couple of my November projects at the last minute, but am happy to be able to cross them off my list. First is a baby quilt from Dorothy Young's "Spring Breeze" mystery earlier this year . Opinions, please: do you think the colors are okay for a baby boy? I'm not sure about the amount of purple, and the border has some pinky stuff -- maybe I'll save this one for the next girl that comes along.
Next up is the final row on a row robin -- I love doing braids, and I felt that it was a good way to get a little more color and spark into this one. I still have a row robin in process, but I have a couple of weeks to get the current row done... Everyone's starting to talk about goals for 2007. I don't think I have goals for specific quilts -- other than to continue trying to finish some UFOs -- but I keep thinking I need to be less of a quilty dilletante. By that I mean that pretty much every quilt I make is different; I don't have a a "style" of my own. I'd like to try working on a series of some sort, or at least a process where I can see some continuity from one project to the next. I'm not sure how to do this, really, but it's what I'm going to be pondering in the next month or so...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Back from Portland -- we had a great time. I spent an hour in Fabric Depot and managed to get out for a lot less than I could have... what a great collection of batiks and marbles and other "textures" -- it's cool to see "krystal" and "crush" and "marble" and some of the other lines all together so that you can really tell what the differences are! Plus -- they sell chocolate at the checkout line!

We drove out about 100 miles along the Columbia Gorge on Sunday, in miserable weather, so that my husband could show me where he's been doing some work recently -- of course when we got to the site, the visibility was so bad it was pointless. So, we drove back partway and went to the Discovery Center in The Dalles and had lunch in Hood River in the middle of an amazing snowfall. There were the biggest snowflakes I'd ever seen -- many were an inch wide or more! Watching from inside the cafe, it looked like someone shaking out a feather pillow... just beautiful!

Now for something a little quilty -- a picture of the "Borsa" bag I mentioned in my last post. This one's for one of my sisters-in-law. Coincidentally, after I posted about the poor-ish instructions, someone on one of the lists posted a link to a very similar pattern -- except that a few of the squares were knitted instead of just fabric. I've been trying to find the link to this,but it's eluding me today.
I am now going to go finish the border for a round robin, and dig out my boxes of already-cut strips for a little minigroup exchange this weekend: I'm supposed to have a little baggie of strips for each of the other 4 in the group -- the theory being that it's more fun using other people's scraps!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Not too much quilty news to report -- just feeling like a slug because of not posting for so long! I've got lots of little things half-done. I spent Sunday afternoon working on blocks for a row-by-row and thought they were done until I went to tidy them up and discovered that half of them were hopelessly wonky. I was using the "mill wheel" block from Judy Hopkins' "Around the Block" (one of my favorite series!) and since everything in the block is "on point" I find it impossible to figure out what size to square the components to -- the end result being that if I squared the block to 6.5" I would cut off most of the points.

I drafted it up in EQ5 and decided to paper-piece three of them in hopes they'll come out better this time. If not, I'll find another block to do!

Finished another purse -- photo to follow. I used a different designer's pattern for this one, and the instructions were no comparison to Lazy Girl's. The illustrations were poor, and one part of the instructions was completely wrong! I sent an email to the designer and got a nice reply -- sounds like she's making some corrections.

And, an update on the Thanksgiving dinner front... the ex-husband and two kids are coming; the ex-wife has decided to go elsewhere. So it'll still be a little wierd, but at least it won't be a hostile environment! Whew!

We're leaving to go up to Portland (OR) the day after, for a long weekend. Excellent planning, since it will probably be raining the whole time. We've got a little wine-tasting on the agenda, along with a drive up the gorge and a trip to Fabric Depot! If any locals have great restaurant recommendations, or other things to do when it's raining besides hang out at Powells -- be sure to let me know!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

weekend update

I finished up my Japanese Puzzle quilt last night and figured out how to hang it -- it's got a triangular frame made of dowels and flexible tubing. Thank goodness for old-fashioned hardware stores!

I don't usually show close-ups of my quilting, since I usually don't do anything very interesting... but I do sort of like the way this came out. Each of the diamonds has one of those loopy things in it; the beige border has stipples, and the red border has a border-ish design. I've discovered that the stencils I've been collecting do work pretty well with a chalk pounce, if I don't try to mark too much at once. For the red border I just marked the arcs with a white pencil and did the rest freehand, so I could mark the whole border at one time.

I'm continuing to plug away at my round robin and row robin, although the group seems to have agreed to extend the deadlines by two weeks for November and December -- so I'm not feeling too rushed.

My more immediate concerns center around Thanksgiving dinner... who's bringing what, and will our good friends (now divorced and in mediation over financial issues but still both planning to show up with their two kids) behave themselves? It's just a little too stressful for my taste. After a long phone conversation with the (ex) husband, my hubby came in and said "could we please never get divorced?" -- gotta love that guy!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

let's get metaphysical

Thanks to Average Jane for this one --

You are The Wheel of Fortune

Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of
intoxication with success

The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

I'm recovering from election day today. Overall, the results nationwide made me very, very happy... but my local library bond measure, which needed a 2/3 majority to pass, fell about 2,100 votes short at 63.5%. Very disappointing! I've been on the campaign committee and we've worked really hard for the last two months.

Our local newspaper, which is really pretty awful, came out against the measure without even talking to anyone on "our" side -- they printed an editorial with a ton of mis-information provided by the local coalition-to-oppose-everything. I bought a subscription not too long ago, thinking I should support them -- but it's going to get cancelled as soon as I remember to call them up!

Friday, November 03, 2006


There's been an old poem running through my head, but I could only remember the concept and not the poem itself.... it's about November, so I Googled "poem november" and up it came! November - the miracle of modern technology. Now, if I could just find that old song (late 60's, early 70's) about a jazz combo that included "wild man of Borneo on drums".

It's definitely November here -- we had our first rain this week, the leaves are finally turning, and oh! it gets dark before I leave the office, which is really depressing.

I've been sewing bits and bobs of things. One of my plans for this month is to make purses for the various female relatives & a few friends. Here are a couple of the new ones I've finished. So far, they're all from Lazy Girl Designs, although I might just branch out a little... These tropical bags are part of the "Pursenickities" pattern, and they're for my step-mother-in-law, who like to take cruises. These were insanely easy to make!

This is a "Summer Tote" for my mother-in-law, who's a professional cellist. You might notice that I have TWO (count 'em 2) mothers-in law -- which would be much less amusing if they didn't both live 2,000 miles away! Actually, they're both perfectly nice, but...

The Summer Tote would have been easy except that my sewing machines didn't like it. You fuse two pieces of cotton together with a product of your choice, and I chose the wrong one. I used the heavy-duty Heat & Bond -- which turned this into something like awning canvas. I kept switching to larger needles, and tried two different machines, but I still had a lot of trouble with skipped stitches. If I make another one of these, I'll use something much lighter, like Stitch Witchery. Also, the handles seem a bit floppy and insubstantial compared to the heavy body of the bag, so I may take them apart and try to beef them up somehow.

Finally, since everyone's been showing off their cats lately, here's a picture of Bucky, hard at work. He's usually pretty good about not sleeping in my fabric (and I'm pretty good about keeping the door closed!) but he does like to hang out on the desk and explore underneath among the tangle of wires.

Tomorrow is a quilt day with one of my mini groups. I think I'm going to take a break from the things on my to-do list and play with a smaller version of Judy's Leaf Season hour-a-day quilt from last month.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I'm showing in Houston!

That got your attnetion, didn't it? It's true, actually -- I have four little quilts in Ami Simm's Priority: Alzheimers sale. If you check out the link, mine are #453, 454, 466, and 467. I think I had posted a photo of one or two of them here before.

Elsewhere on her site are pictures of all the quilts sold so far -- and she's already collected quite a bit for the cause of research for a cure for this horrible disease. It was fun to have a reason to use some blocks that were lounging around here, and I'm proud to be part of her campaign!

Monday, October 23, 2006

time for my close-up

I think I've figured out that Blogger is more likely to upload my photos if I do that first, instead of trying after I've already written whatever I want to say. Maybe I'm just deluding myself...

Anyway, I'm adding a closeup of the Japanese Puzzle, so that you can see what the "puzzle" is. If you just look at the red& white pieces, it's hard to figure out how the thing was assembled -- that's the puzzle! Actually, you cut a diamond shape of each fabric, cut each into 4 (uneven) pieces, and then reassemble in a different order. There's a very good pattern in the April 2001 issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, and you can buy templates from Come Quilt With Me or -- although I had my template made from the magazine article at Tap Plastics.

And, I finished up the first of my holday gift purses. This one is for a 15-year-old niece -- it has a pocket on the back and another inside; the inside is lime-green swirls

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I keep meaning to mention a couple of non-quilty blogs that I read regularly. The first is called I can't remember where I found out about this, and I have no idea who "runs" it -- but it's a treasure-trove of links to interesting, amusing, and/or thought-provoking short videos, art exhibits, games, and so on. Today, among other things, there's a little video narrated by David Attenborough, about some crows in Japan that have developed a new way to get their walnuts cracked for them.

The second blog is Three Beautiful Things. This is written by a British woman who wants to record three things that give her pleasure each day. I found this because it was listed as a "blog of note" one day on BlogSpot recently. It's such a simple premise and most days' postings are short -- but I find it such a treat to read. It could be treacle-sweet, but it's not!

On a quilty note, I'm pushing through my list of things to accomplish this month and you'll note a few items crossed out already. I took a break from the list last night to start a Sassy Bag for one of my nieces -- I think all the female relatives are going to get purses for the holidays this year. I'm having fun picking out fabric to suit each of them -- generally I've been buying one focus fabric (a FQ or half-yard) and the rest is coming from stash. I'll follow up with some photos as soon as I get a couple of them done.

Today I'm off to quilt with a couple of friends for the afternoon. I have a "block party" block from a local store to do, and then I'll continue with the first purse, after I stop by Joann's for some new elastic and a couple of other notions.

I'm leaving you with a photo of my just-finished Japanese Puzzle top -- this is a project I started several years ago, and it's been clinging tenuously to a flannel board all that time, with occasional lapses where half the pieces fell on the floor. Since it's one of those patterns where every piece needs to be marked with numbered masking tape, and masking tape loses its "stick" after a while -- I don't recommend letting this one sit as long as I did. It ended up being something of an IQ test to get everything back in the right place! It also requires a certain amount of sewing accuracy that I didn't always achieve... but oh well. I'm thinking that I can attach a triangle of fabric on the back at each of the corners, and have two thin slats of wood to hold it into a diamond shape. Has anyone tried this technique?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

enough about you, let's talk about me!

Copied and pasted from Force Majeure Farm -- I don't know why I'm fascinated by these silly lists!

All you have to do is to copy and paste and highlight in bold the things you have done.

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
2. Swam with dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said "I love you" and meant it
9. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped (not in a million years)
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa (no, but I've walked up the Eiffel Tower!)
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow (tried, anyway!)
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice -- no but I have been in Venice and I've ridden in a Venetian gondola on Lake Merritt in Oakland!
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an expert
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Eaten fugu (pufferfish)
89. Had a one-night stand
90. Gone to Thailand
91. Bought a house
92. Been in a combat zone
93. Buried one/both of your parents
94. Been on a cruise ship
95. Spoken more than one language fluently
96. Performed in Rocky Horror Picture Show
97. Raised children
98. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Ridden a bike
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one important author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday morning

note: edited later the same day to include the photos that blogger wouldn't let me add earlier!

I spent the weekend at Pacific International Quilt Festival. There were some lovely quilts, and for better or worse I wasn't as tempted by the vendors this year -- although I did manage to spend a little here and there...

I might set up an album of PIQF 2006 photos on my Yahoo site (link on the sidebar) but in the meantime here are pictures of just a couple of my favorites:

Well, actually, blogger doesn't seem to be interested in uploading photos this morning. Didn't they just say they had improved their service? Does anyone use a different blog service that actually works consistently? (I know I can use Picassa to do photos, but I found that system to be really un-intuitive and didn't want to spend the time figuring out how to coordinate it with how I usually store my pictures)

I also finished up the Crazy Cats quilt, and I'll post a picture as soon as blogger finds its server again, or whatever the problem is.
Now I need to get to work on my round robin stuff, and this month's UFO commitments for a couple of challenges I signed up for when I was young and optimistic -- a few months ago!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

a tiny update

Well, you'll be happy to know that I've chosen my new divider for the sidebar... ta dah! And, I've added some little updates about my progress on this month's to-do list.

I'm going to sew the binding on my Crazy Cats quilt tonight and then take it with me to PIQF to do the hand-sewing and add the button eyes and a label. I talked to Susan Gray from "Blankies for Grownups" last weekend, and she suggested a price of $175-225 -- I'll try to get some input from the Humane Society, too.

Are any of you going to PIQF this weekend? (Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, CA) I actually have two friends with quilts in the show -- I'm so jealous!

Well, back to work... I'll write more when I get something done!

Friday, October 06, 2006

still learning new tricks

I'm tweaking the blog again... decided to have some fun with the (purple) lines in the sidebar, so I'm auditioning some different ones here:

That last one is supposed to look like rust, but yecch!

various & sundry

First of all, I've realized that the crazy cat quilt is not for an auction after all -- it's a "cat-themed art show and sale" for the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society. What this means is that I have to set a price for it! Yikes! I need help from all of you -- what should I price it at? (it measures about 37"x43" -- photo posted a couple of days ago)

What else... I did finish round 1 of the Ostrich Round Robin. I tried to get my husband to design a "boxed in" border for me, but he really only likes to get involved with arranging blocks once they're all made. So I took the minimalist approach and did a simple log-cabin border. I promise to spice this up a bit on the next round. The instructions are supposed to come out on the 15th, and I think we have three whole months for that round.

We had a few days of fall weather here -- a whole inch of rain in one day. Every year my cat has to re-learn about rain, and he always acts a) like it's some personal affront to him and b) like I should be able to do something about it! It's pretty pathetic listening to him sit by the cat-door and whine; and after a while it stops being pathetic and just gets annoying... then he starts the crazy-cat routine and runs around the house chasing invisible moths. I don't know which is worse! Might be time for kitty Prozac.

Monday, October 02, 2006

crazy, man!

Here it is -- my crazy cats top for the Humane Society auction. Now all I have to do is baste, quilt, bind, and add buttons for the eyes. I'm loving this one -- and I think I'm going to have to make at least a few more cats for myself! I was worried about doing the applique, because I've hardly ever done any -- but my Pfaff worked the buttonhole stitch like a charm. I used a wool-blend felt for the leaves, stems, and swirly flower centers.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bad Blogger

Here it is October 1 and I've been so bad about writing! I think i've been spending all my free time reading other people's Blogs -- and I need to find a better balance.

I did get some of my projects completed for September -- the three round robin things for other people, the borders on my jewel box quilt, and the blocks for my "press for success" class. However, I didn't touch Al's shirt, didn't finish the Crazy Cat quilt, and didn't do the "boxed in" border for my ostrich round robin. So, here are my new goals for October:

  • finish Crazy Cats quilt
  • border for Janet's row robin
  • blocks for Enelda's round robin
  • first border for ostrich Round Robin
  • two birthday blocks
  • finish Press for Success class top
  • fix the miters on Batik table-topper border and finish it

This is way too much stuff, I know! The Crazy Cats have to get done, though, since they're for a charity auction at the beginning of November. I am machine-appliqueing some leaves and stems on the 5 big flowers, and then it will be all set to assemble the top and quilt it. It seemed like I had so much time when I started this project but it's really drifted away!

Just to prove I haven't been a total slug, here's a picture of my row (top) added to Lynn's row robin. It will go in the mail tomorrow morning along with 350 letters for the Library Bond Campaign that I stuffed and sealed this weekend -- no wonder my tongue is tired!

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I'm feeling better, intermittently, and have actually gotten some sewing done. For instance, I finished up two of this month's round robin chores. One person really didn't want to see photos of her project, though... so if you're reading this, Michelle -- stop now!
I'll put the photo at the bottom of my post...

And, I finished the borders on my Batik Jewels quilt. I spread it out on the bed while my husband was still in it this morning -- he likes it! (good thing... since it's going on the bed!) I said "stay there, I need a photo of it" but he jumped out before I could get the camera. So you get a picture of Bucky instead, with Al's head trying not to be caught on "film".

Our bed has big posts at the bottom corners, so I have to do cut-out corners in my bed quilts. Al made the bed sometime in his crazy past, from cedar fence posts he scavenged somewhere. It's a lovely bed, even though I practically need a stepstool to get into it. And, I complain about the end posts be a hassle with respect to quilting, but they're so handy for tossing clothes on when I'm too lazy to put them away... (the dirty secrets come out!)

Here's the photo of the round robin, as promised. I think I showed the center block a while back; I added the print border and then the diamonds. The orange-y fabric is actually the same batik that she used in the center.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

wasted days

What a week! Monday I had a jury notice and for the first time I actually had to go in. Usually I just call up the night before and the message says I'm not needed and I'm off the hook for a year.
I set off the security alarm going into the courthouse -- it must have been my underwire bra because I didn't have any other metal on me...

Then I sat from 8:30-11:30; they gave us 2 hours for lunch and then I sat for another 3+ hours. I wasn't in the first group they interviewed and they told everyone to come back on Tuesday morning. It was going to be a short misdemeanor trial.

Tuesday morning I woke up with sinuses so bad the room was spinning before I even got out of bed. I've had a little vertigo before but never this persistant. After calling the HMO advice nurse to make sure I wasn't dying, I called the court and left a message that I wasn't going to show up because I couldn't see straight, let alone drive! So then I spent the day watching bad daytime television and popping Sudafed and Advil and drinking water. I felt a lot betting today but decided to stay home anyway!

It was wasted time, though, because I really didn't feel like doing any sewing until this evening. I finished the piano key borders on my jewel box quilt, and once I get the final (plain) borders on, I'll post a photo. I have to decide if I'm going to quilt this puppy myself or not -- I'm envious of all of you who can just pop their tops on the longarm! I do have a Brother 1500 with an extended throat, but it's still going to be an operation to maneuver a queensize quilt in there.

The one cool thing that came from jury duty was this:There were guys outside the courthouse handing these out -- when I got the second one, after lunch, I told him "I'm really hoping I don't this information!" He replied "that's what they all say..."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

who do they think they're fooling?

I have a love-hate relationship with many of the quilt magazines on the market today. I know everyone else has strong opinions about them, too.

What prompted this post was a renewal solicitation I got in the mail yesterday. "One Time Only Offer; offer will not be repeated!", it says. "Lock in the lowest renewal prices you'll ever see!" It's 1 year for $21.98; 2 years for just $38.98.

So, I went and pulled out my most recent issue of the magazine and found the subscription card: 1 year for $21.98 and two years for $36.98. That's less than the special one-time-only offer for current subscribers! Don't you think someone would raise their hand in one of those marketing meetings and point this out?

Just to confuse matters even more, if you renew online, it's $19.98 for 1 year and $36.98 for 2 years... this one's Quiltmaker, by the way.

I have problems with a sister publication, Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, too. I just don't understand why so many of the cover quilts and the "gallery" articles show these fab, modern, arty pieces and yet so many of the patterns they publish are traditional, even old-fashioned quilts with drab colors. It's not that I dislike all their patterns -- I just don't understand the split personality!

I used to read Miniature Quilts before it folded, and made a number of quilts from their patterns. With that one, I always got annoyed by one designer who had a "wow-- look at this -- it's a nine-patch" kind of pattern in almost every issue. I think she made the same two quilts over and over in different 30's reproductions and every one of them was published in the magazine! Am I too harsh?

I'm opening up my comments section to your own personal pet peeve about the quilt magazine world -- or a pitch for your favorite!

Friday, September 15, 2006

thanks are in order

A big thank you to Linda J, who gave me a little tutorial on html -- I think I've now figured out how to get the side-bar lists where I want them and how to cross out things I've finished (not much, actually!)

Now if I can just remember to get the symbols in the right places... putting the slash after the "s" instead of in front of the "s" makes a big difference! (when I put the actual code into this post it crossed everything out -- good thing I previewed before publishing!)

Not much quilty to report, though. I'm working on several little things simultaneously so none of them are getting done. Hope to have progress and photos this weekend.

On the side, my city has a library bond measure on the ballot in November and I've been spending a lot of time at meetings (I'm president of the Friends of the Library at the moment) and there's going to be a lot of knocking on doors and phone-banks for the next couple of months. Phone banks -- don't you just hate those calls? So it's cutting into my quilting time, big time.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

winding ways

It always amazes me where I end up when I start following links in other people's blogs -- and how much time I can spend doing it! Today I was reading Nancy's confession about coming out as a Democrat, which led me to Ms. Jan, who had a link to this cool map of the states you've visited:

(create your own visited states map )

I'm not sure exactly how to define "visit", but in my case it's states where I've actually been on the ground for a couple of days, as opposed to just sitting in an airport. This map will come in handy when I eventually find that old airstream trailer and embark on my road trip!

I've finished my "Chain Event" top -- this was Dorothy Young's most recent mystery from her Yahoo group "A Pocket Full of Mysteries". Now I need to figure out what to quilt in the empty blocks... I really like the icy quality of these batiks.

And, I've been finishing a bunch of little tiny quilts for Ami Simms' Priority Alzheimers project; she has online auctions to raise money for research, and will also have quilts for sale at Houston and elsewhere. All the quilts have to be small enough to fit in a Priority Mail envelope without being folded. So, it's fun to take random blocks or try out some wild & crazy techniques. These are called "The Big Apple" and "Rhino Dreams".

Friday, September 08, 2006

a couple more pictures

Blogger is happy this morning, and so I was able to load two more photos from my mini-group round robin project that used the "required" fabric. The first one is Enelda's -- it had some beagles in the center and the corners, I think.

This second one is my sister's -- she had just moved to Tasmania and we mailed these things back and forth 8000 miles! You can tell we all had a lot of fun with this one... I did the border with the red eucalyptus fabric and the largest of the New York Beauty blocks.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Hurrah! Blogger is letting me add photos tonight!

A few people have commented on my willingness and even enthusiasm to do "Robins". It's true there are a lot of horror stories floating around, and I've witnessed some ugliness myself! In one group, one participant just buried two or three sets of round-robin projects in a drawer and it took a mail-fraud charge against her to get her to dig them out and return them. Luckily, I was one of the ones whose project she worked on before other events overtook her.

Another row robin I was in was billed as "all batiks" -- but the swap hostess had a little freakout along the way and her rows all got done in cheapo marble stuff instead of batiks. You know, it would have been perfectly okay if she had just communicated with us -- a mix up, just can't afford it right now, whatever -- instead of pretending that we wouldn't notice the difference. But, I ended up re-doing her row in my own batiks and it's pretty much one of my favorite quilts! These blocks are all 6".

This is the first row robin that my local mini-group did. I picked out one fabric (it's a small brown & blue geometric print) and gave everyone a FQ -- the rule was that some of it had to be used in their center block. They all came out SO different. I was going to add a couple more photos of others from this group, but now Blogger isn't cooperating.

As a side note, BlogLines was looking for users in the San Francisco area to come to a focus-group thing next week and talk about service. Of course I signed up to go (and collect $75) but I haven't heard back.

Here's one more round robin to entice you...
another of my favorites. I made the center star using a packet of hand-dyes that I bought in Australia (in the middle of nowhere!) several years ago. I just love how bright it is and how the colors flow.

So, are you convinced yet? I've decided to sponsor a round robin for "virgins" one of these days -- watch this space, and if you've never done one it just might be time for you to take the plunge.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'm a gold star winner!

I made it through August without buying any fabric, (the great fabric depression of August 2006) so I've won one of the gold stars that Vicki is handing out. It was easier than I thought -- I just didn't go into any fabric stores and I didn't look at any of the online shops.

In fact, now I'm thinking about making this an every-other-month kinda thing, or a 2-months-out-of-3 thing. Since PIQF is coming up in October, I have to arrange it so that October is an "okay to buy" month!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

my m&m obsession

okay, no quilts in this post; it's time to reveal my m&m thing. possibly obsessive-compulsive, but I swear it's the only time I get this way (except for having to clean the house before going on vacation-- but everyone does that, right?)

Anyway, here goes. I've never told anyone before: I have this thing about the right way to eat m&ms. They have to be eaten in a certain order. First I eat all the brown ones -- just 'cause they're brown.

Then I figure out which color has the fewest and line the rest of them up so there are equal numbers of red, blue, yellow, green and orange. In this package, red had the fewest.

Then whatever's left gets "bundled" in little groups of 4, 3, or 2.And then I eat them, starting with the smallest groups.

I've tried to figure out why I developed this little peculiarity and I think originally it was a means of not cramming them all in my mouth at once... i.e. making them last longer than 60 seconds. By the way, I only eat one small package a week!

so now you know... will you still read my blog?