Friday, February 22, 2008

The Royal Mail

Today I received a soft package in the mail with a postmark from the Royal Mail -- my "pay it forward" gift from Andrea! It is this very cool and useful sewing case -- when you open it
there are a bunch pockets for holding tools and stuff. And, it came equipped with a chocolate bar -- so what else does a quilter need? It's beautifully made and I'm going to start using it immediately.

If you look at my cluttered sidebar, you'll see that I've joined the Spring Fling Round Robin, which was organized by Margaret of 4 Seasons Quilt Swap fame. It's going to be interesting, because it's not the kind of round robin where your own starting block comes back to you at the end, and no one (except Margaret!) knows who will ultimately receive each quilt. Here's my starting block -- it's 8" square, and this photo makes everything a little pinker than it really is:I send it to A, who adds a pieced border of some sort. She sends it to B, who adds another border and sends it along to C. C quilts it, binds it, adds the label, and sends the finished quilt to D. I can't wait to see what comes to me in a few months!

Right after I said a few days ago that I needed to finish some other things before I started playing with the Shakespeare quilt, I immediately went and cut a bunch of fabric and made these two blocks --they're called "Virginia Reel" and the quilt will have a bunch of them. I need to play around in EQ and figure out exactly how big the squares are supposed to be at a couple of places, so that I can measure and trim as I'm going along. I usually cut my triangles a little be large (like 1/8") for wiggle room, but I'm going to end up without enough seam allowance on the outsides of the blocks if I'm not careful. I ordered just a tiny bit more red Civil War fabric from Z & S yesterday, but I swear I'm done buying now!

Finally, on a non-quilty note... I went shopping for a new bathrobe today, because my old one is 15 years old and looking kind of worn out. It is really hard to find a cotton bathrobe that isn't super-plush terry cloth (toweling) which is way too warm and feels like a snow-suit. I finally found a mid-weight cotton knit robe from Ralph Lauren, on sale -- I think the final price was $32! -- but the problem is:It has this huge, shiny, white monogram on the pocket! Those are NOT my initials! (LOL) So, the pocket is coming off and will be replaced with something more tasteful, but I'm not sure what. A little cross-stitch of some sort, I think. This might be one of the very few times where I'd use an embroidery machine if I had one...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

a bloggy meme

This one came from Amy at Calico Cat...

Link to your five favourite posts from your blog.
Link 1 must be about family.
Link 2 must be about friends.
Link 3 must be about yourself, who you are... what you're all about.
Link 4 must be about something you love
Link 5 can be about anything you choose.

So, here we go:
1) what can I say? I still love him!
2) and I love that my groups are willing to try a variety of projects, and that we all come up with such different results!
3) I think this is pretty much the way my mind works...
4) I love looking at the details in my natural environment, and seeing new things!
5) I don't know why, I just liked this post...

Feel free to adopt this meme in your own blog, and let me know if you do!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

look what's on my bed!!

Two pictures of my Batik Jewels quilt (and Bucky checking it out, of course!) all ready to snuggle under tonight. I think it really brightens up the room, compared to what was there before.

inching forward

I think I'm over the jet-lag now, but my allergies have kicked in on top of the cold I had for a couple of weeks, and I'm having a hard time getting motivated to get off my sofa! I did manage to get the second of two QOV tops on the frame to quilt, as I had promised to do, and it's about 3/4 done. And, I got my new bed-quilt back from the long-armer yesterday, and I already have the binding machine-stitched and partly sewn down. I'll definitely post a photo when it's done!

In the meantime, my two orders of Civil War reds and tans showed up -- quick service from both of the online shops I mentioned earlier. Here's my current collection, not including a few other background fabrics I scrounged up yesterday. I am itching to start cutting, but I decided that first I need to finish a couple of the other projects that are "this close" to being done.

Vicki has been posting some wonderful bird photos recently, so I had to try my hand -- these are chestnut-backed chickadees. We have big flocks of them -- they're very quick-moving and thus hard to catch in photos! Also pretty noisy little guys.

I'll be stalking the back yard with my camera to see what else I can find.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

the pleasures of home

I like to travel, but even better is coming home and showering in my own shower and sleeping in my own bed! I got home from London yesterday afternoon and decided I needed to stay awake until at least 8 p.m. I made it to 8:04 and fell asleep the minute I turned out the light -- and stayed asleep for 10 hours with only a few minutes of eyes-open at 4 a.m. I feel just about normal!

I never made it to any fabric stores on my trip; I was on Regent Street in London but couldn't for the life of me find Liberty -- nor anyone else who knew where it was. I didn't want to actually shop, mind you... the exchange rate is the worst it's ever been when I've been in the UK.

I'm feeling slightly less disgusted with my colleague at this point, so I'm not as inclined to trash her as I was a few days ago. However -- since I promised:

1) I'll just start out by saying that I'm sure Sue* is well-meaning. She's not dumb, but she's ignorant and doesn't really care -- she reads (maybe) one book a year. Her newspaper of choice is USA Today. She doesn't know anything about art, classical music, literature, different cultures, or any of the other stuff that my parents made sure I knew about. On the other hand, she knows a lot about sports and clothes, which my parents didn't much care about at all.

2) She insted on referring to the concierge as "con-cee-air" despite the fact that she did study French in college by her own admission, and the fact that everyone around her repeatedly pronounced the word correctly -- including the concierge.

3) Selective anorexia: Sue is very very thin -- I think her thighs are thinner than my knees, in fact. She constantly yaps about healthy eating, and orders low-fat everything... but then has no problem drinking the equivalent of a couple bottles of wine in an evening. And getting pretty blotto, I might add. How can you be so concerned about health and then burn up your liver like that? I've examined the possibility that I might just be envious about her lack of bodyfat (and her tolerance for alcohol!) but I don't really think either of those attributes are attractive.

4) The Tate Modern. Ha ha ha. First, a story: A couple of years ago, on a similar marketing trip, I was dragged to a place in Paris called "Buddha Bar". This was perhaps the most obnoxious place I've ever been; it had all my least favorite things going on -- lots of drunk people crammed very closely in a dark space with cigarette smoke and extremely loud rock music. I lasted about half an hour, then bailed out and caught a cab back to the hotel, leaving my colleagues to obliterate themselves. Sue has told me several times that she LOVED that place.

So we went for a long walk last Saturday, across the London Bridge and through the Bermondsey market, and to the Tate Modern. I hadn't actually been to the "new" Tate before, but I loved the old one. We went up to the top floor and wandered around for half an hour in one gallery and met up again; I suggested that we should spend more time and why didn't we meet up later on after looking at the rest of the exibits. Sue got a terrified expression when I said "at least an hour" and said that was the longest she would be willing to hang around.

Afterwards, she told everyone we saw how much she hated the place. There was not a single piece of art that she appreciated there. I consider it payback!5) We ate dinner one night at a tapas bar called Providores, in the Marylebone area. It was quite good, except: I ordered a plate that was supposed to be sardines on bruschetta. I love sardines. Well maybe not so much -- the plate showed up with two sardines, each was the size of a small trout, I kid you not. For those of you who don't know trout, these were a good 20cm / 8" long, head to tail with all parts still intact. And smelling quite pungent. I managed a couple of bites (Sue is way more squeamish than I am and wouldn't come close to them!) and the waiter looked understanding when he came to clear the dishes.

Okay, back to sewing. I have been doing some more shopping in preparation for Shakespeare in the Park (here's one example) and will post a photo when the parcels arrive. I found some great deals on Civil War reds at This 'N That and Wish Upon a Quilt. I'm trying to decide whether to cut & sew a couple of blocks, or force myself to deal with the items on my "February Goals" list first... Al and I have been trading off travel for the last 6 weeks, and now that I'm back, he's leaving for almost 2 weeks on Monday -- so I'll have few distractions other than work and getting myself back into a gym routine.

photo credit

*name changed to protect the innocent

Saturday, February 02, 2008

a few notes from the road

It's kind of a pain to post from the blackberry; I wrote this once already in an email but I seem to have forgotten how to post to the blog via email...

Anyway, just a few notes after spending two days with the colleague with whom I have nothing in common, to remind myself what to write about when I get home:
- selective anorexia
- how to pronounce "concierge"
- the Tate Modern
- sardines

Anyway, depite all that, I do love London!