Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Winter Season Has Arrived!

I was so excited to receive my 4 Seasons quilt from Gwen this evening! I admired it when she posted the photo in Flickr last week, and it is even nicer "in person"! Since I don't do any hand-quilting, it's always a treat to receive a gift with that kind of detail -- and Gwen's quilting is really lovely.
Plus, she included a skein of Trekking sock yarn (since I won't have time to do any yarn shopping when I'm in Munich next week...) and a wonderful bar of lavender soap!
This has been such a wonderful swap experience -- now I can't wait for "Spring".

Sunday, January 27, 2008

home for a few minutes

Contrary to what I was expecting, my first round of travel went pretty well -- all the flights were on time and the weather was tolerable. In fact, the worst weather was right here at home! I wasn't thrilled to find a few cockroaches in my hotel room in Bermuda, but at least they were little ones and none of them seem to have come home in my suitcase...

Very little crafty stuff going on, except for some knitting. Here's a picture of a "baby alligator" scarf I'm making for my 5-year-old niece, Ivy. It comes only as a kit from Morehouse Farm and it's not very difficult once you figure out how the "scales" work. I have to say that I don't really like the yarn, though -- for a child's scarf, it's not very soft. If I make any more of these, I'll definitely use comething different. (they have some other cool kits, too; I got one for me called "rat race" but I haven't started it yet)

I have a local friend who's going to start making a Civil War Diary quilt -- and I'm sort of tempted to play along with her. On the other hand, I really want to do a Shakespeare in the Park quilt, too. I'm thinking I might do the Shakespeare quilt using Civil War reds and tans, and to that end I did a little shopping at Longs fabric department today. Longs is a big drugstore chain in California, and they have one store nearby with a fabric department that is the go-to spot for a lot of quilters. Lots of high quality flat-folds of last season's fabric at $3.27 per yard, and current yardage on the bolt from about $6-8. I found a bunch of Windham reds on the flat table, and they also had several of Marcus Bros. Civil War prints on the bolt. 4.5 yards = $21!

I've heard that my Four Seasons swap quilt is in the mail and should be arriving soon -- hope it shows up before I leave town again on Thursday! There have been some really nice photos on the Flickr site, and I can't wait to see which one comes my way...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

On a Blue Theme...

I finished two quilts this week -- although they're both small ones. First is "Wind and Water" -- this has those fabulous 6" blocks that Kendra Maclean made for me in a swap last year. The photo really doesn't do them justice! And this is "Ice Crystals" -- it's my quilt for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap (Winter Edition) and it's going to be mailed far away tomorrow morning! I was inspired by Karen Combs' projects for EQ6, and adapted her Celtic design for my own purposes.
Next up -- a bit of travel, mostly for work. For the last few years I've done a horrendous 4-countries-in-5-days "dog and pony show" trip every winter for one of my clients. This year they decided to break it up into two trips. Next week is Boston and Bermuda... quite the contrast!

Then I'm home for most of a week and after that I'm off to London, Munich and Zurich. I have arranged to have 2 days to play in London. I've spent quite a bit of time there, so I don't feel like I need to do the seriously touristy stuff. But -- I'd be happy to have any recommendations for quilty or knitty things, favorite teashops, etc. Part of the time I'll be with a colleague who has zero interest in fabric, crafts, "culture" or anything but clothes shopping and her kids' sports activities. In other words, we have absolutely nothing in common except that we work together a couple of days a week! I am going to make sure I get to escape for a day, though, to do the things I want to do.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


my favorite this week:
oh my godness.. yourPenis is BELOW average size, ...

I've gotten the same spam, with the same typos, about 37 times. Along with the dozens of "replica watches", re-finance offers, and drugs. And, can anyone tell me what this means?

honestly, does anyone ever respond to these things?

at the office, we have a service that filters most of the spam into a daily "junk box", which needs to be checked periodically for "real" mail gone astray. There's a statistic each day -- today's says:
Messages received by your organization in the past 24 hours -
97605 Junk
7076 Good

and that's a good day -- sometimes the ratio is 96000/1500!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

the many, many banes of my existence

They may be a little bit difficult to discern in these photos, but I'll give you a few hints:
- it's winter, we had a big rainstorm last week, and the ground is wet
- we live in a nearly-70-year-old house so there are lots of ways in, especially if you're very, very small
- they are absolutely f-ing EVERYWHERE!

They are not on my desk, yet, but I came home to find the entry, living room, dining room and kitchen awash in the buggers. I started seeing them a few days ago, and Al very kindly wiped up a bunch of them and put (more) caulk along the baseboard in the living room which seems to be their current favorite access point. He kindly (ha ha ha) left the caulk gun there for me to use while he went out of town for a few days.

The one thing that works is to create a moat around anything you want to protect -- such as the catfood dish, which sits on a dry tray inside a tray full of water:

There's really nothing more pathetic than Bucky crying when he discovers that his food dish is swarming with ants! And it's a lovely thing to have to clean up first thing in the morning... I need to figure out how to build a moat around my sewing space.

Finally, here's the real reason why I haven't gotten any sewing done for several days -- I re-discovered the stash of un-done jigsaw puzzles in the basement. This one is a Magritte painting with 1,000 small pieces that all look very much alike. I've done the "easy" parts and I might have to go back to sewing now!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

a sneak peek at Winter, and I resolve (not)

I've finished the top for the Winter portion of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap, and here's a sneak peek ... keep in mind that it hadn't been pressed when the photo was made! Of course I can't tell you who it's going to, but here's a hint: it's leaving the USA. I'll post another photo when it's been quilted and is ready to go in the mail.
Chili Fest was a success -- lots of people, some leftover chili for the freezer, cool and crisp weather. I love the way we can invite friends from several different "circles" and they mingle and talk and discover their own connections. That whole "6 degrees of separation" thing really happens!
I do a lot of prep work for parties, but then I'm sort of a space-case hostess once things get going. I had extra plates, utensils, etc in the back room but never checked to see whether things were running out. Forgot to have trash and recycling containers around. Put candles on the table but never lit them... and Al isn't any more attentive than I am. Luckily a lot of our friends know us well enough to know that they can find things, take the garbage out, and raid the refrigerator without us getting upset!
By contrast, last night we went to a NYE party at the home of some old neighbors; they have a party every year, and it's only a mile away, and they make incredible jambalaya and bread pudding! And -- they are professional caterers, so they're always running around making sure that there's food, silverware, champagne... and still manage to talk to everyone. Quite an achievement!
I'm not much for resolutions, but I do have a few things on my mind for 2008:
- quiltwise, I'd like to finish up some of the many unquilted tops in my closet, and improve my free-motion skills in the process.
- I finally joined a local gym recently, and I'd like to get there at least 3 times a week.
- I'd like to entertain more than once a year! Al and I talked a few months ago about trying to have a small dinner party once each quarter... we had one, and it was a lot of fun. So we need to keep that momentum going.