Friday, December 28, 2007

I am such a winner!

A little while ago, Vicki celebrated her bloggiversary by drawing names for some hand-dyed fabrics... and I was one of the winners. My fabric arrived today, along with some metallic thread and beads for embellishment -- and it is so wonderful! I asked for jewel colors, and here they are. Vicki added some metallic painting/stamping to a couple of them. I'll have to think long and hard to come up with a worthy project to use these in. Here's a photo of my favorite holiday gift that Al and I received -- it's a clock with no hands. The red ball is magnetic, and travels around the hours (i.e. in the photo it's 2:25 or so). I'm getting used to it, but it's pretty strange for the first few days!
One last gift to show you -- this is a little "purse-nickity" bag that I made for my hairdresser. There's a second, matching one that's just a little pouch for jewelry or other small stuff, without any quilting. She's at the gym all the time and I thought they would be useful. In fact I (finally) joined a gym myself and I'm making one of these for me!
Tomorrow, after my much-needed haircut, Al and I are going to take a drive to a marshy area in Marin that is supposed to be a great place to see migrating birds -- hope to have a few good photos to show you all. Then it's a big cooking and baking push for our annual "chili fest" on Sunday afternoon!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

this one's for me!

If you ever look at my sidebar, you might have noticed that "a Frenchy Bag for me" has been on my list of things to make, ever since Nancy Near Philly blogged about making one a few months ago. Well, I finally did it -- ta dah! It's made mainly from a fab batik I found at a brand-new fabric store nearby, but the contrast and the lining are from stash. It's an Amy Butler pattern. I took it into the store to show it off today and they oohed and aahed over it -- always nice to have that happen. I keep thinking it would be fun to teach some purse classes, so maybe I can create a little interest there.

And, I got up-to-date on the NYB blocks -- here are the 14 so far. I smooshed them all together in sort of a random order and I'm liking the flow!

I have just one more small present to make, but it doesn't have to be done until the 29th. I'm going to try to concentrate on de-cluttering my desk and sewing space tomorrow and Monday.

p.s. people in San Francisco hate to hear it called "Frisco" or "San Fran" -- do people in Philadelphia dislike "Philly"? if so, I apologize!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm getting there...

Blogger is being difficult today... or maybe it's just me. I hit some key or other that caused it to "publish" with just the title and no post! Oh well. It must be the rainy weather.

Here's a picture of my finished "Holly Jolly" table-runner. This is a gift for a friend on the Friends of the Library board who's been an incredible mentor for my terms as president -- I would have been an abject flop without her! I gave it to her yesterday, rolled up and wrapped like a Christmas cracker; she didn't open it because we were with other people. Maybe she's the patient sort who will actually wait to open it on Christmas! For backing, I used a print that looks like leather-bound books, since she's a book fan like me and works at the library. I'm very happy with it, and will probably make the pattern again with other fabrics. It was quick and fun to do.

Speaking of quick, (not), here is current progress on my NYB block of the month. This shows the 12 blocks through November. I have one of December's blocks done, too, but I'll waiting to take another photo until the second one is done.
I wonder if my husband is sneaking looks at my quilt books behind my back. The other day he stopped in front of the design board (can't help it, it lives in the dining room most of the time!) and looked at these blocks for a bit and said "they remind me of the Statue of Liberty". Gee, maybe that's why they call them new York Beauty blocks? He did the same thing a couple of years ago with a quilt I made from a pattern called "super nova".

Monday, December 10, 2007

Robin returns

I recently received my blocks back from a row robin swap that was started here. These are 6-inch blocks -- I provided the green/blue geometric print fabric and asked for variations on log cabins -- my original intent was that I'd slash them at odd angles and insert a narrow strip of black in each block. Now that I have them all back, though, I realize that they're busy enough "as is" and an additional strip would get totally lost! I think I'll mix the arrangement a bit (right now they're in rows arranged according to who made the blocks) and add some very narrow black sashing -- I really like these!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Winter blahs

Maybe it's just that I've been fighting off a cold, but I seem to be having a hard time staying motivated lately. It's so easy to park in front of the tv with my knitting! Al went to London for a week for meetings (after giving me his cold!) , so it's not feeling too festive around here.

Then the cat decided to disappear for 24 hours -- maybe he got locked in someone's garage, or maybe he was paying me back for leaving him alone for a few days at Thanksgiving. He sauntered back in, demanding food, about half an hour after I had created a "missing cat" flyer to post around the neighborhood the next morning. I was starting to have fantasies about getting new furniture in the living room that wouldn't be cat-scratched to death, but I'm happy he came back, instead...

I did manage to make a couple of pot-holders for the gift exchange with Al's relatives -- it's one of those things where everyone gets one name to send a gift to; this year everything is supposed to be handmade or recycled.

And I've made a little progress on the NYB blocks (Al walked by the other day, paused and looked at them, and said "they remind me of the statue of Liberty". Is he sneaking looks at my quilting books behind my back? Yes dear, they're called "New York Beauty" blocks)

And, a couple of friends came over to sew this afternoon and I made good progress on the Holly Jolly table-runner that was posted here. I promise a photo as soon as it's put together. The best part of the day was that I did a little trunk show of my unquilted tops (there are a bunch of them!) for my friends, and decided that there were several I was ready to donate to "Blankies for Grownups" -- this is a local group that makes comfort quilts for seriously ill adults. Bonus: I can bust some stash by making backings for them, too! And I got re-energized about a couple of other tops, and vowed to make a serious effort to get more of them finished next year.

And now a question for those more computer savvy than I: I figured out how to create a signature, and I figured out how to add it to an individual post -- but is there a way to permanently add it to my blogger template so that I don't have to copy/paste every time?

Monday, December 03, 2007

you are what you eat!

I borrowed this meme from Sophie -- please help yourself!

How do you like your eggs? over medium, or poached with the whites cooked solid

How do you take your coffee/tea? strong, with milk!

Favorite breakfast food: depends on if I'm trying to be healthy... old-fashioned oatmeal with dried fruit in it, or bacon & eggs...

Peanut butter: crunchy, and preferably without added sugar or oil

Coke or Pepsi? Coke, but rarely

You’re feeling lazy. What do you make? If I'm alone -- lean cuisine! If DH is there, scrambled eggs with whatever vegetables are around

You’re feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order? We hardly ever have pizza... more likely to run out for shrimp burritos.

You feel like cooking. What do you make? Some kind of stew

Is there a food you refuse to eat? eggplant, okra, oysters and any innards except chicken livers

What was your favorite food as a child? Grilled cheese sandwich

Is there a food that you hated as a child but now love? most kinds of fish

Is there a food that you loved as a child but now hate? fish sticks, and plain Cheerios as a snack food

Favorite fruit & vegetable: Apricots and Asparagus

Favorite junk food: anything served with guacamole

Favorite between meal snack: corn nuts

Do you have any weird food habits? probably, but I don't know what they are!

You’re on a diet. What food(s) do you fill up on? salad & frozen yogurt

You’re off your diet. Now what would you like? really good macaroni & cheese

How spicy do you order Indian/Thai? mild

Can I get you a drink? Campari and soda with a twist

Red wine or white? either, depending on the variety

Favorite dessert? cherry pie; devils food cake

Sunday, December 02, 2007

clarification... or backtracking?

Okay, okay. Some clarification of my previous post about the obnoxious fabric swap: I wasn't really complaining about receiving ugly fabrics. As my faithful readers hastened to point out (LOL) I did ask for the stuff! It was more that I was sort of marveling at the fact that manufacturers would make, and quilters would buy, some of these hideous prints and colors. That's all.

(pause while I whack my computer monitor a few times... it's developed this nasty habit of going black and sort of flashing. After trying a variety of cord-jiggling, and a different power cord, and half an hour on the phone with Dell {your warranty expired in 2005} -- my husband discovered that the way to get it working again was to soundly whack it a few times on the top edge. I sense a a trip to Best Buy in my near future)

Everyone in blogland has been showing their holiday decorations, so I thought I should drag mine out. We usually do a pretty minimal amount of decorating. I do have the rag wreath back on the front door (photo from last year is here) and the trees quilt in the hall. Once in a while we get a real tree, but usually at the last minute! However the Gumby Claus's come out every year and have a place of honor. I think I made them about 20 years ago, when I was involved with the mycological society (i.e. people who study mushrooms) -- note the Amanita muscaria on Mrs. Claus' apron! The bag o' toys was originally filled with mushrooms.

Friday, November 30, 2007

and another thing

Today I took 6 baby/child quilts down to donate to Building Futures with Women and Children. I mentioned them before, I think -- they have women's shelters and also set up women and children in apartments once their "domestic issues" have settled down. Anyway, it was a young man who accepted the quilts and filled out a receipt for me. He looked at the quilts and complimented them, and then said "and they're in such good condition!".

Uh... they're brand new?


what were they thinking?

First, proof that I did actually finish my "Trees All Around" quilt. It's very wonky because I used a leftover square of poly batting -- always a mistake for a wall-hanging, IMHO. But I like it anyway. I have a wall in my entry-way that is perfect for 24" wall-hangings, so I continue to make more of them and rotate them around.

I received my squishy from an obnoxious fabric swap today -- this is a deal where you send in 10" squares of stuff lurking at the bottom of your stash (actually, some participants go out and buy ugly fabric on purpose for these swaps!) . All I can say is "accckkk!" -- homage to Bill the Cat...
I admit to having been in three of these swaps over the last few years, and I now have a (clean) pizza box full of these squares. I put together one set of stack & slash blocks using a few of the squares, to see if the ugliness would magically blend away, but no such luck! Here's the bulk of my new squares:

Here's a few that I actually sort of like:And this is the piece de resistance -- the donor refers to this as "Y2K Baby Butt fabric":This is about the size of a fat quarter, not just 10". She wanted us to get the full effect! Why on earth would anyone manufacture this fabric?

What would YOU do with these squares?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

home again

We got back from Wisconsin at midnight last night. Despite all the chatter about delayed flights -- and the fact that our flights both going and coming left nearly an hour late -- we were pretty much on time all the time!

The Thanksgiving dinner was surprisingly good! I was a little worried about the tendency for my in-laws to make everything from cans and packages... but that didn't seem to be the case. There was a distinct lack of greenery though: my Brussels sprouts were the only non-starchy vegetable besides the obligatory green beans smothered in something from a can and topped with something else from a can.

(Steam the Brussels sprouts until tender but not mushy; toast some hazelnuts in a pan and then remove skins with a towel and chop in half; mix the sprouts and nuts and drizzle on some hazelnut oil; sprinkle with kosher salt; mix it all up and eat!)

We were hoping to have a little snow, just to make it seem like a real Wisconsin experience -- and we did! Just about 2-3 inches, but it was so pretty! Here's a very bizarre photo from our hotel room. It was enough for me to be able to throw a few snowballs at Al (memo to self: put gloves on before making snowballs) Boy, was it cold for a California girl! Most days were around 29-30 degrees F. I wore a lot of clothes, but there were still some frozen bits sticking out. I'm often tempted by Madison because it's such an interesting city, but the weather (summer and winter) would definitely take some getting used to. Here's a photo I took in Mineral Point, a small town about half an hour away -- there are lots of artists and antique stores there. Things iced over like this are seldom seen where I live!
My friend Carol took me to the most amazing yarn store -- it's called Lakeside Fibers, and it is HUGE and friendly, and has a nice cafe looking out over the lake. I don't need any more yarn, but I succumbed to some gorgeous red Berroco "Foliage" to make a scarf out of. Apparently the colors are supposed to resemble New England fall foliage; mine is "Japanese Maple".

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lots of little stuff...

It's been a pretty quiet week here, as we segue into a new season. It's still up in the 60's every day, but the nights are cool now. Al and I are taking off for Madison (Wisconsin) next week to see his family for Thanksgiving so I'm trying to steel myself for the change in climate! I've never been back there after mid-October before -- but we haven't been for a couple of years, and the older folks are getting older... and so it goes. Possibly the worst part is not having my own turkey leftovers to play with, so I already know there's going to be a "mini" Thanksgiving at our house soon after we get home!

The family pressure can get a little overwhelming, especially for such a short visit. Luckily I have one fine friend (my father-in-law's neighbor) who I can sneak off with for an afternoon for my time-out, while Al entertains his mother! Did I mention I have two mothers-in-law? Is that fair?

My biggest quilting success of the week was the decision to hand over my giant batik jewel box top to the long-arm quilter. I had it all pinned, and it sat here for a couple of months while I tried to make myself start quilting... but at 100" square it wouldn't begin to fit on the handiquilter frame, and I just couldn't see pushing it through my machine on the dining room table. So -- it's promised for mid-January and I hope to have it on the bed by the end of that month! (I know I posted this photo before, but here it is again)
Then, I finished up this very-bright baby quilt that had been started last year. I've accumulated a small pile of baby & child quilts that are intended for charitable uses, but I have trouble figure out who to donate them to. The local guild gives a lot of quilts to the children's hospital here, so I'd like to find another outlet. A couple of years ago I gave some to a women's shelter called "Better Futures for Women and Children" -- in addition to the shelter, they help women get set up in new apartments. Maybe I'll get in touch with them again, and create space in my closet for a new stack! I like to do the various mystery quilts in child-size versions, so they seem to add up.

Finally, this is a top that resulted from a mini-group project a few weeks ago. It came from a Sara Nephew pattern, and it's called "cube in the corner" -- my version is called "Fade to Black". It's a little bit wonky -- there are a million bias edges to deal with -- but I think it will quilt out, as they say. And -- the whole thing was made from stash! Of course I haven't decided how to quilt it yet...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

what's on my bed?

This question has been circulating in the blogosphere, so here's a photo of the first quilt I made for my bed. I won some of the blocks in a monthly block raffle that one of the LQS used to have, and then made a few more. Our bed is troublesome because it has huge posts at the foot, so quilts have to have a square cut out at each side -- when I had this long-armed, I had to baste in some muslin squares so that she could load it on the machine properly!
I have a new bed quilt waiting to be quilted, but I'm still nervous about starting in because it's so big. I should probably just suck it up and send it to a professional, so that I can have it on the bed before another year goes by... guess I have to take all the pins out first, though!
The "Winter" round of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap is starting up soon. This is for small quilts (16" - 20" square, I think) and the "Fall" quilts were wonderful! Check out my sidebar and click on the button for more information or to sign up.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

a little something from my garden

I found this big beauty in my garden yesterday -- actually, I've never seen a real live mantis before! She (I think it's a she) is 3 inches long, and has been hanging out in the Mexican Marigold for at least two days now... guess I won't be pruning that overgrown bush anytime soon.

I've managed to get a little sewing done this weekend, but just a little. I finished sewing together the "Trees on my Table" top that I showed last time. I won't add another photo of it until it's quilted.
And, I finished up my oldest UFO -- these were the first blocks I made from actual instructions -- Quilts, Quilts and More Quilts to be exact! I made them about 7 years ago and had assembled them into part of a top a couple of years ago. Not very exciting, but I feel like I've come a long way (baby)! This is the quilt that I did feathers on a couple of weeks ago. They came out better than I expected, but not really even... All the fabrics are either vegetables or bugs.

Monday, October 29, 2007

trees all around

I did it -- or most of it, anyway! Kim issued a challenge to make a table-topper over the weekend from Marcie's free pattern, and here it is. I only need to sew the last border pieces together now. It's so cute -- about 24" square, and all from stash!

I also finished up the Oriental Bookcase wall-hanging that I was making for the retiring treasurer of my local Friends of the Library board -- however, now he says he's not going to retire for another year! A friend suggested that I show him the quilt but tell him he can't have it until next year....

Maybe not a big deal for those of you who livein other places, but we seem to have a distinct shortage of really interesting clouds here... although we do have great sunsets. This was an early (for me) morning view up behind our house at what someone called "sheep clouds". I guess I need to be up at 6 more often!

Friday, October 26, 2007

win a pink Dyson!

check out The Domestic Diva for a chance to win a pink Dyson vacuum cleaner -- there's a link on my sidebar...

photo help -- thanks!

Thanks for the quick responses to my plea for help! It's amazing that there's always someone out there who knows how to do whatever it is that's causing grief.

Wow, I'd never thought about using powerpoint to play with photos! it's a little bit cumbersome, but not too much... here's my NYB set in the order that the designer has designated; once I have a few more done, I'll start playing around with different arrangements!
I wanted to be able to "stand back" and see how the colors are flowing as I go through the months...

photo help needed!

basically -- what software do you use to create a grid of photos? I tried Picasa (hate that program!) but it won't let you put the photos in a grid in the order you want... no "drag and drop" function -- you just have to accept the random arrangement they give you!

I'm trying to set up my own virtual design wall of the NYB blocks I'm making for a BOM project on one of the lists. So, I want to put the blocks in my own particular order. This is how it looks so far, but nothing's in the right place:

I get so mad at myself for letting myself get totally frustrating by the #@!&&%! computer... where's the chocolate, anyway?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

sad sparrows

It's fall and the gold-crowned sparrows are back. They show up in a flock and sing a very sad-but-piercing two or three note song for hours at a time -- it sounds like "oh dear" or "oh dear me". They're big for sparrows, and they'll eat anything, including a 3 year old bag of birdseed that my brother left when he moved out of town! My cat sits under a bush and meows softly at them -- so far he hasn't managed to bring one inside.

On the quilt front, let's see -- I finished and mailed off the QOV quilt I was bitching about recently. I realized after I mailed it that I hadn't taken a photo; must have been a message from my subconscious, since I loved it so much... not!

I bought a DVD called "I Have a Longarm and I'm Not Afraid to Use It" from Angel Threads recently, hoping it would help me figure how to stop doing all the stuff I was doing wrong. It seemed to spend an awfully long time on pinning (I mean, couldn't she have started the pinning and then finished it "off-camera" instead of filming the whole boring process?) but I did learn a lot. I loaded up a practice quilt yesterday, did most of the stuff she said to do -- and it worked SO much better! I even tried some feathers. Should have tried them in thread that didn't contrast so well with the border fabric, but what the heck...

More pictures soon, I promise -- I have a couple of things close to being done!

Saturday, October 13, 2007


I spent most of the day at Pacific International Quilt Festival today -- it's about 30 miles south of San Francisco. I loaded up a bunch of photos in an album on flickr, at

I did get to see Sally Bramald's award winning quilt in person...
And here's a little bit of a rant -- sort of related to what Bonnie's been talking about recently. I ran across this quilt at the show:This is clearly from the Be Colourful pattern called "Circle of Life", and the quilter has pretty much used exactly the colors and type of fabric that were used in the original... however, nowhere in the description of the quilt does she mention the original pattern or the designer!I think this sucks. There were plenty of other quilters who referenced the designers who influenced their quilts (or who out & out wrote the whole pattern!) but this writeup makes it sound like the whole thing was her own idea! I was going to leave the quilter's name in the photo but decided to crop it out...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

more bookishness

here's another one of those book list memes -- feel free to steal it!:

Bold those you’ve read.
Italicize books you have started but couldn’t finish.
Add an asterisk* to those you have read more than once
Underline those on your TBR list.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: A Novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice*
Jane Eyre*
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad*
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World*
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility*
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse (I saw a theatrical production of it, though...)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (I read the motorcycle
parts and skipped the Zen!)
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

In more book news, I'm trying to decide whether to join the 12-prizewinning-books challenge that I keep reading about. Ms. Jan talks about it here. I have at least three "eligible" books on my shelf at the moment, including one that I've gotten stalled halfway through... Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. I got side-tracked reading Karin Slaughter murder mysteries while on vacation, and then Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen, and now Custodian of Paradise by Wayne Johnston. I'm almost done, though, and I promise to go back!

(side note -- Wayne Johnston is a wonderful writer; if you haven't read The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, it's worth looking for!)

I spent a few days in Portland this week, mostly for work... did a little damage at Fabric Depot, which was having one of its "30% off everything" sales. (and no sales tax, 'cause it's Oregon!) Then I wandered around and found a cool yarn shop called "Twisted" and bought yarn for my "toe-up on two circular needles" socks class that starts in a couple of weeks.

Portland was a riot of fall colors, although locals said it was starting later than usual this year. I wish I'd brought my camera along to capture some of it; the blends of green, brown, orange, yellow, red, purple were truly stunning in some places!

Friday, October 05, 2007

round robin, anyone?

Nancy has posted about a wonderful round robin project that she's organizing, which requires 15 committed quilters... although each individual's contribution is pretty small on a monthly basis. Check out her blog for the details, and think about signing up for the project! This is a little bit different from the usual round robin setup and looks like a lot of fun.

Also... PIQF is coming up! Are any of you in blogland planning to attend? (Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, CA -- just a bit south of San Francisco). Send me a comment or an email and let's try to meet up for a few minutes or a coffee.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Pandemania -- isn't that a great word? One of the companies I work with moved some employees across the street to a new (old) bulding recently, and I was talking with the receptionist about it. She commented on the different atmosphere in the new place... "it's so peaceful and spacious over there; when I used to go downstairs, it was just pandemania!"

This quilt is from a wonderful little swap I played in this year. It started out as a Christmas exchange including one block, and then we sent 8 more blocks on the same theme over the next 8 months. The theme I chose was "wind and water", and the blocks made by my "partner", Kendra, are truly wonderful. I think each is a little work of art, so I use a setting that really shows them off. Kendra is a designer of quilts and little quilt cards -- you can see her stuff and subscribe to her monthly fabric greeting card kit at

This fish became one of the monthly cards! And the block below, called "Star at Sea" is my absolute favorite. I was totally blown away by it.

I'm plugging away at a QOV quilt from a kit -- it's fabric and a color combination that I don't like; it's strip-pieced, which I don't like; and it's just not going together very well. I'm trying to decide how much I care whether the corners of the blocks line up (they don't) and whether I should pull apart the two rows I've sewn and trim the blocks like I should have done to begin with! I don't like to do shoddy work even for "charity" quilts... but on the other hand, what are the chances that the recipient is going to notice and/or care about the details that I see as imperfections? Where do you stand on this issue?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Autumn is Here

In today's mail I received my quilt from the Four Seasons Quilt Swap -- this came from Darcie in North Dakota, and it is fabulous! I couldn't get the photograph to show the background color correctly; it's actually darker and a bit more burgundy than the pink you see here. The fabrics are hand-dyed and the leaves are outlined with paintsticks and then quilted. It is just wonderful. I'm already thinking about what "winter" might look like -- can't wait!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

home again; mysteries of (computer) life

This is Akaka Falls, on the east side of the Big Island, just a bit north of Hilo. The falls are something over 400 feet high, and quite hypnotic...

We made it home from Hawaii late last night. Our United flight from Kona to San Francisco was cancelled due to mechanical problems and since the airport is so small, they had a bit of a meltdown trying to deal with everyone. We were lucky enough (after racing around and standing in line for more than an hour) to get seats on an Aloha flight to Oakland, which is actually more convenient for us. So, we had middle seats in a smaller aircraft, and got in at 11:30 pm instead of 8:30. I'm a total zombie today -- feel like I'm hungover, even though I just had one beer on the plane!

I did manage to get out and do a couple of errands; of course I ran into all the traffic for the Cal football game because I never know their schedule. I'll probably start feeling alive right around when it's time to go to bed tonight!

Computer mysteries: can anyone answer these questions?

- on my home desktop, when I download email into Outlook, it shows the date the message was originally received; when I do this on my laptop, it shows the date the message was downloaded to Outlook. Where is the setting to change this?

- on my laptop, when I start to fill in my user name for blogger (for instance) it gives me a couple of options as pre-fill; when I do this on my desktop, it doesn't -- where is the setting that controls this?

- one of the pre-fills is wrong, from when I made a typo one time. How do I delete the pre-fill?

And now for something completely different: socks! I finished my first sock a few days ago, and here's the proof:

I do wish I'd chosen some more interesting yarn; this purple is sort of boring after a while. I did get one of those novice's gaps on one side where all the different angles come together, so I need to work on my technique. I think I remember Jenni from Fairybread talking about this with her first pair...I have started the second sock, and it's about 4 inches along. I was thinking it would be cool if you could knit both at the same time so that you don't run into knitter's ennui when it comes to finishing the second one... actually, I know that Silver has an online class on a way to do this, but it's pretty much over my head at the moment. Has anyone tried it?

I'm dying to get the sewing machine out and SEW SOMETHING for the first time in more than 2 weeks. What to tackle first?

Monday, September 17, 2007

99 bottles of beer...

Blogger says this is my 99th post. It's taken me quite a while to get here... when I started out I thought I might write every day or two or three, but that certainly hasn't happened! Maybe I'll get to 200 in less than another year and a half.

(for those readers not familiar with it, "99 bottles of beer on the wall" is a dumb counting song that people sing when driving to (supposedly) make the time go by faster. )
We've moved from Kauai to the Big Island for a few days. I love Kauai because on the north shore there's almost always a little sea-breeze and it doesn't get very humid. The last couple days on B.I. have been another story... there's been cloud cover and it's been very muggy. I'm spoiled, living in Northern California, and I don't understand how anyone can tolerate the weather east of the Rockies or anywhere with humidity! (no offense to any readers, of course -- maybe you just have to grow up with it!)

Here are a few photos from our last day on Kauai; first the ubiquitous gecko -- I love the smoothness of those big leaves:
These are taro fields in the Hanalei Valley. I think they look quite quilty, and I'm thinking about how to create an actual quilt from this.
This is a detail showing the texture of some of the newer blocks and the reflections on the water.
I really like the layers of light and shadow on these palm fronds. I've been reading Ruth McDowell's book "A Fabric Journey" which explains her process of turning photographic images into her fabulous quilts, and I'm trying to save photos that might inspire me to try some of her technique.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

silly games

Here's a fun game from Nicole -- creating names for all your different personas! I'm not an ordinary drudge, I am a DIVA, and my name is "Anne Hillside" (my middle name and the street I first lived on -- well almost... "Anne 38th Avenue" just doesn't sound right!). She said that Monica (Happy Zombie) started it. Here's how it works:

I). YOUR ROCK STAR NAME (first pet and current car)---Sally Camry

2). YOUR GANSTA NAME (favorite ice cream flavor and fave cookie)--- Coffee Ginger

3). YOUR FLY GUY/GAL NAME (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name) J-Wal

4). YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)---Blue Rhino

5). YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)---Anne San Francisco

6). YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)---Wal-Ju

7). SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)--- The Green Campari

8). NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)--- Myer Harry

9). STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy)--- Sublime Mocha Truffle

10). WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ) --- Kastle Stephen

11). TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)---Hollis Hanover

12). SPY NAME/BOND GIRL: (your favorite season/holiday, flower)--- Autumn Rose

13). CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”) Apricot Shortsie

14) HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)--- Banana Linden

15). YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”) The Quilting Clouds Tour

OK, now it's your turn!

lazy days

Gratuitous art-shot of wild rooster!

Today is laziness to the extreme. Al took off with the car at 5 am to do a 7-hour boat excursion that leaves from the complete other side of the island, about an hour's drive. I don't do boat excursions very well -- especially when the brochure says "if you are prone to sea-sickness, take the necessary precautions". For me, the necessary precaution is to stay on land!

I thought about driving him down there (and picking him up) so I'd have the car for the day, but I decided to hang out, do a tiny bit of work I need to get done, walk up to the post office and ice cream store, sit by the pool.
Yesterday I did a bit of stash enhancement -- first stop was the "'Discount Fabric Warehouse". There are several of these scattered around Hawaii but I'd never really been in before. Al pointed out an ad in the paper showing fabrics for 77-cents a yard. Yeah, right... there was one table of stuff at that price, outside the front door, and it wasn't even worth a glance.
They had a big wall of quilter cotton, and some nice prints, but much of it was obviously second-quality fabric. Designs I'd seen in my LQS were here, but they felt like homespun compared to the LQS stuff! I did buy a couple of pieces that felt nicer.
And then... Kapaia Stitchery! They had a big table of 1/2 price goods, where I managed to find a bunch of good stash-fillers. And their selection of batiks is SO amazing that I was somewhat paralyzed. I picked up two reds that jumped out, but I felt that if I really started pulling bolts off the shelf I would end up doing serious damage! (I think I have a self-regulating system that limits me to about $100 -- even if I'm not consciously adding it up in my head)

The red on the far right reminds me of volcanoes... you always have to find a "souvenir" fabric, right?

Since I'm spending two weeks without a sewing machine, and I don't "do" applique, I decided to learn how to knit socks. Here's where I am so far:

I'm working on the heel. I really have no clue how to turn the heel or how the instep and the heel come together... but it's a "beginner" pattern and I'm confident (hopeful) that if I follow the directions it will all work out! I'm using big (sport-weight) yarn 'cause I thought it would be easier. I've made a couple of tiny glitches, but all-in-all I think they're looking okay.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Greetings from Paradise

Probably not much quilty content for a couple of weeks, as we're on vacation in Hawaii. This week on the north shore of Kauai, the garden isle. We've been here several times before, so there's no need to run around frantically trying to see everything! Short list:
  • Kapaia Stitchery (fab quilt shop with lots of batiks and asian designs that they develop and then have printed in Japan),
  • some great silk-screen t-shirts from a shop on the way to Poipu that I can't remember the name of,
  • a drive up the canyon,
  • a stop or two at Tin Can Mailman (funky used book store),
  • way overpriced drinks on the deck of the Princeville Hotel while awaiting the sunset (and hoping for the green flash!)
  • some snorkeling!
We were kept up last night by a rooster crowing outside our window, starting at 2:15 a.m. The wild chickens are all over this island. At 6:30 he started some other loud activity with a bevy of hens -- I felt like I was hearing a porno film! Luckily they were all in or under a big tree so I didn't have to decide whether to watch...

Having a lazy morning now, enjoying the wi-fi and some Peets Coffee that we found in the local supermarket. I promise more photos when it stops raining.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I did it!

I figured out how to get a photo banner with words on it onto the blog! I'm busy patting myself on the back now...

Bloxorz update: I'm on level 33, the last level. Several people, including 10-year-olds, have crowed about finishing. I'm trying to ignore the humiliation (and the game) but you can tell it's eating at me.

I've finished my Autumn top for the 4 seasons swap -- now I have to get busy and quilt it. I'm going on vacation at the end of next week, so it might be this weekend's project. We're having a bit of a heat-wave here, and the idea of quilting anything is not too appealing, but if I've gotta quilt something it might as well be a mini! Here's a picture -- autumn to me has to include pumpkins. Of course I can't say who's going to receive this one...