Oct 26, 2007

Checking in on a Friday

Well, another week has just about come and gone. Next thing you know we will be changing the clocks back to standard time and it will be Thanksgiving here in the States and Christmas soon to follow and on to '08.

Finn asked in a recent post if we "loved the stitches" Oh, I do--whether I am machine quilting or hand quilting but I love hand quilting the best. Always have. I guess Ms. Pippi doesn't care one way or the other just as long as she can test out the quilts. I was nearing the finish of the quilt and she was bound and determined to get up on the quilt hoop---twice that evening, as a matter of fact. Finally I just gave up for the night and once she left, folded it up with the backing facing out and let her have it for her night time sleep spot. BIG mistake. For the first time in months she had pukers. Naturally it hit the quilt--"Murphy's Law". I removed the solid matter and rubbed a laundry stain product all over it. It was on the back of one of the pieced blocks and nothing showed through to the front side so I hoped for the best as I had one more blocks to quilt. Naturally the block I needed to do was located right near the "anointed" spot. BUT I took the last stitch in it just before supper yesterday and it hit the laundry. Thank heavens it all came out. DJ said that if it didn't, I might have another quilt for my own (or Pippi's own) I did put a bit a time into the process but that was NOT the intended purpose when Nancy sent the BOM on to my quilt group to use for our donation quilts. You have seen it in previous posts but I'll get its official portrait next week at the fall sew-in.

Other than that, the only other quilty thing that got done this week is removing the lone strip I had sewn on my 4 patch stacked posie blocks. The color I used just was not "doing it" for me so I ordered a Moda Marble in "Pine" that I like much, much better even with the blocks that have a lot of green from the floral print. I know I will be much happier for having done this as I believe this one IS staying at my house or possibly one of my nieces at some point.

I am about ready to start my row robin blocks---it is not due to be sent out till the middle of November and I am determined not to leave it all till the last minute this time. I decided to go with a foundation pieced block and need 6 of them. Kim may read my blog so I can't say which block I ultimately chose but I am looking forward to some sewing time.

We have had a cold snap the last few days again--it is almost November so that should be expected. Last night for some reason I just could not get warmed up--getting sick or something?? More like a case of role reversal as he was warm enough and I was cold. I put two quilts on the bed and had on my winter pjs but was still cold. We had not turned the heat on yet as the indoor temp was about where we would set the furnace anyway. When I turned on the heat, the thermostat started smoking!! DJ checked it and vacuumed out the dust and darned if it didn't do the same thing again! The a/c side of the thermostat was okay but the heat side, smokin'. A third quilt on the bed finally did the trick and of course, by morning I was down to one, LOL.

But what to do about getting this fixed? DJ could replace the thermostat himself but didn't know if that was a good idea if it was just going to act like it shorted out again if the problem was further down the line. Since he was not sure which direction to proceed with repairs, he stopped by the a/c-heating guy's office to see what they thought might be the problem. They came out soon after and golf was out for the day. Varmits (their word) had chewed through the wire outside. Sheesh, first the fire ants shorted out the a/c this summer and now varmits did in a wire and caused the short. Always something when you are a home owner.

We just had a new Lowe's store open in what used to be Fort McClellan property about 5 miles from our home. DJ and I ran over to check into siding for our shed which I knew needed some repairs and kitchen flooring which I didn't know he was considering but would heartily approve. I am not sure what style of architecture they have at the Fort (Spanish hacienda-like) but this Lowe's is made to look like the rest of the buildings on post. Even a new building near there is similiar in feel. Maybe that was a requirement to build there but who knows? I believe they said that this was the first one with an different exterior. Anyway, I got some more walking in trooping all over the store with him.

There has been a stray dog hanging around the neighborhood for about two weeks now--probably dumped. I'm thinking part husky (blue eyes) and lab maybe, female. It seems the whole lane had been feeding her intermittently and in comparing notes, all but one household had called animal control. Well, now she has adopted us, more or less. DJ called animal control as well but we could not just let the poor thing starve or not get any water till they get out here. There are only two of them for the whole county and last time we had to call them it took like 3 days---we have passed that now. Sweet dog, good disposition, doesn't bark but has a bad skin condition. We just cannot keep her and pay out big bucks to get her treated. Pippi has been an expensive enough kitty this year to take on any more vet bills. The neighbors are not willing to take her either though one might if they didn't have 7 dogs and 2 cats already. We have a fenced back yard but no place to keep her when the weather gets too cold. It is just sad and irresponsible when someone abandons an animal like that. Looks like she (I call her Gigi for "Good Girl") will be here at least through the weekend anyway. At least Pippi doesn't seem too freaked out that the dog is hanging around either of the doors.

There is a quilt show up in Gadsden at Noccalula Falls so I'm headed up there tomorrow morning. I was going to run up today but DJ needed me to stay home in case they came for the dog as he was headed to the golf course--that changed but I decided I could wait. The quilts are going anywhere till tomorrow night, after all. I doubt that there is any water going over the Falls though with this drought. It is a little strange to see a water fall like this right smack dab in the middle of a residential area anyway. BUT I digress---Gary told me that he had 80 some quilts entered this year which is good. Normally he is begging for entries and is lucky to get 40 some and has to fill in with their donation quilts. Last year even some of the Belles were hung. I sure as heck don't have anything done to enter though he told me to get my round robin done so it can be hung with the group of them NEXT year. Yeah, right--first of all, I have to do something with that last row (ugh, brown poly and what is what those corners?) and I want it bigger plus have you ever met me?? My own stuff doesn't get done in a timely manner. I think only 5 of the 14 are done at this point so I am in good company. I should get some pictures for blog fodder anyway since I'm not being very productive and/or can't show what I am going to work on this next week.

But first the fall sew-in on Monday and Tuesday. Simple scrappy rail fence blocks for the group block or work on your own stuff. Have strip baskets, will travel.

Guess that's it for now-----hope you all have a good weekend in whatever you chose to do.

Oct 21, 2007

lazy Sunday

Another day of not a lot going on---I guess with both of us "retired" and homebodies it just isn't going to be a thrill a minute in the first place. I shouldn't expect it to be otherwise, LOL. Our weather turned fall like again for a few days with mornings in the mid 40's and afternoons up to the mid 70's. Lovely weather really. They think we are in for some rain tomorrow though--cross your fingers that it materializes. This morning I was dressed in a sweatshirt and long pants trying to keep warm. Tomorrow morning, it is supposed to be in the 60's again at 6 a.m.--I'll be back in my summer walking outfit trying not to get overheated. Make up your mind--which season is it? *VBG*

Thursday I did go on the trip to the Collinsville (AL) quilt shop taking a couple of the Belles along with me as part of the carpool trip. Three other vehicles left from Calhoun County but we took a slightly different route up. By the time we arrived the others were already standing in line with bolts in their hands waiting to be cut.

Here is what followed me home. A couple of flat folds yards--the soft green, pink chopsticks and two yellows. Actually I had bought the calico yellow before and used most all of it on a quilt back--and wanted some more. The black and white gingham was needed for the commissioned t-shirt quilt I will be making at some point. And lastly, I love that blue and yellow print and took the 6.5 yards left on the bolt. It is on the back of the quilt I am handquilting and is so soft and quilts like a dream. I think my purchases totalled about 17 yards and I didn't find that Christmas fabric I have been drooling over in the shop so that's all the stash enhancement for this trip.
Our group of 16 had a yummy lunch at Nessa's. Because the menu is always set by Nessa (no ordering off a menu) I was a little indulgent but ditched the croissant on the sandwich since I knew I was eating dessert regardless--Italian Cream Cake.

Because the room had cleared out a bit once lunch was done, several of the girls stopped to see if there was anything they may have missed. Actually, earlier the group was at the point that once something was cut, the one standing around the large cutting table held up the bolt and asked if anyone wanted some yardage off it before it was put back on the display tables---like shopping from someone else's stack.

We took an unintentional scenic route on the way back. Some fall colors emerging though it is a little early for that here and the weather persons have told us not to expect much of it with the very dry year we are having. The road out of Centre looked sort of familiar but I apparently went too far back to the west but figured we would hit the route we needed if I turned back to the south eventually. I didn't have my Alabama map with me and unlike the other vehicle, no GPS either. Jane called her husband to see if we were on the right track--we were not lost. Soon we were in the county just north of us and then hit a little map dot with a service station. Jane ran in and got directions. Turns out we were about a quarter mile away from a road that took us further south and to the route we needed. I think we all 3 breathed a sigh of relief when we were back in our own county though. Oddly, we got back 30 minutes before the other vehicle did and they left BEFORE us. It would not have mattered but Jane's mom was in the other one and Jane was her ride home.

This is what was waiting for me when I got home. My mom had been to the Bloomington (IL) Hancock's looking around and some of the fabrics were marked down to $1/yd. She got some more fabrics for quilt backs or sewing purposes for the Belles. Nice and bright and pretty kid friendly, right? As I was taking pictures for this post, guess who could not resist the emptied out shopping bag? She stayed in there for well over an hour!

Friday I did get some sewing done---I was able to get 32 more 4 patch posie blocks made for a total of 64-5 inch unfinished blocks. What fun those are! Looking at for cut squares and seeing a different little mirror image emerge is like a little mystery is solved as you work. Yesterday I started on the narrow sashing though I take turns like and then not liking the color I selected. While I love the technique and the pattern idea ( a simple variation of a stack and whack), I do not particularly like looking at the pattern itself. So much verbiage that it about makes my eyes roll back in my head wading through it. Being more a visual learner I probably would be better off with some pictures than all those words. You know, I don't think that I ever did see how wide to cut the narrow sashing---I asked Norma and looked back on her September blog archives. The link will take you back to her first one--she also has one in pumpkin fabrics later in the month.
Saturday morning we were off to a pancake/sausage breakfast after I got my walking in. Jane's husband's was involved in it as a fund raiser for his lodge and she gave me two tickets. I sewed through one side of that sashing on all the blocks between chatting, hands of solitaire and watching a bunch of programs I had recorded on the DVR for later viewing.
Today, I was toying with the idea of handquilting a bit again---I said that I could finish it in a month of Sunday's and this is Sunday after all. Didn't happen but that's okay. Researching a few things on the computer, more hands of solitaire, read for awhile, just generally taking it easy. Doesn't make for an exciting, thrill a minute post but that's how life goes at least around here.....................

Oct 17, 2007

not much going on

Really not a whole lot happening here. I have been mainly hand quilting this past week. Here is what the quilt looks like so far BUT I am only doing the heart motifs in the alternating blocks by hand; the rest was quilted on the machine and I already did the binding once that crosshatching was done. Two more blocks to go but my arthritic-y wrists and my "poked too many times fingers " are begging me to set this aside for a few days. After I finished some of the accent lines on block number 5 a little bit ago, I listened. BUT as soon as this is done and its picture is taken, it can be delivered down to the Presbyterian Children's Home In Talledega along with 15 others that are piled up in the bedroom and closet. A little reduction in clutter would help.

Other than turning on the machine this morning to fix the worn out in seam on a pair of pants I wanted to wear, I have not had the sewing machine for a week or more. Now that is a slump. Here is what I intended to work on---and truth be told, most of this was done last fall except for adding a couple more blocks on the left side of the row. As I said in my last post, I am piecing friendship stars into the sashing that are the same size as the signed blocks. I think it will be a nice remembrance quilt of the people who made the blocks if I ever get it done. Also I am using bits of fabrics that were gifts from quilting friends and/or using my stash fabrics in the sashing so it will be more scrappy. BUT and you know there had to be a "but", I really do not feel like working on it, ancient UFO and on my long neglected personal project Top 10 or not. Not gonna happen right now. Too much pin matching and having to pay attention to what is going on all around the block. Some days I would be up for that but when I need to get my sewing mojo back, this is not the project that will do the trick. I'm putting it up as well.

So how about getting back to something fun? 4 patch posie, it is. I started working with this pattern along with Norma in September but then got stalled out because I needed something for sashing in two contrasting colors. Actually. the piece of fabric I used to trial the technique was too short and I could only get 7 cuts made--eight would have been better. I found some more of the floral fabric at the Quilter's Yard Sale last month so I will be able to make some more blocks. Also got lucky and found the darker of the two sashing fabrics. My mom sent something that I can use for the lighter color sashing so it looks like I am "good to go".

I got a notice in the mail that A Time 2 Sew is having another Quilter's Yard Sale tomorrow. (Yard cuts for $2.50 and I assume that they are cutting yardage for the same price for one yard and more as they have done in the past.) One of the Belles called me about something else and asked if I planned on going. I was toying with it at that point and said so. Turns out the JOY quilt group is car pooling up there and were asking for volunteer drivers. I'm not a member anymore but would have room in the car after I pick up Fleeta so why not? I don't really need anything but if I find some of the fabric I used on the back on the quilt above, then I am getting some. Also Nessa is serving a quilter's luncheon for us. Girls Day Out, what's bad about that?

Pippi hairing up DJ's desk chair--her "new" old spot for napping and sometimes lately, nightly sleeping. Always something different with her.

Other than that I am making a more concerted effort to improve my health situation. I have been walking at least 5 days out of 7 since March but my triglycerides are still up even though the rest of my lab work is in normal limits with the current medication regime. I do NOT want to take an additional expensive statin if I can help it and the MD gave me 3 months to see if there is any improvement with what I am committed to doing. I do NOT want to say that I am on a "diet" but I am trying to be more aware of what I am consuming and cutting back a bit more than I had been doing. After all, I have a husband who needs to gain some weight--yeah, we look like Jack Sprat and his chubby wife---so I cannot make things too low cal as he doesn't get that he is supposed to eat MORE of it. Forget suggesting that the serving size for something is anything remotely what he IS eating. Anyway, currently I am walking 2.5 miles or 2.8 if I get really ambitious at about a 3, 3.5 mph rate and shooting for 6 days out of 7. On days like tomorrow where I have to be somewhere early, I take off but otherwise, I'm going. DJ says I am overdoing it and is afraid that I am going to booger up my feet or legs. Not trying to sabotage me, just concerned plus he thinks if they say 30 minutes minimum that is all that you need to do. Maybe some muscle strengthening should be added but I'm walking, honey.

Additionally, I am keeping a food and exercise journal so that means writing up the recipes in my cooking software to have some idea of the nutritional analysis for what I prepare so that it can be added to the software journal. It is a bit time consuming but makes it easier to see where improvements should be made. I have lost 26 lbs in the last 7 months and know that this is a long process---the weight didn't go on overnight and it sure as heck is NOT coming off any way but slow and hopefully, steady.

Guess that's it for today---our evening meal is a bit labor intensive so I'm headed out to the kitchen. DJ wanted me to give him a haircut but he always bathes at 4:30 and I'm busy with meal prep---I told him it can wait till later in the week or earlier this afternoon. As hide bound as he is to a schedule, that didn't happen, LOL, not that I thought it would............

Oct 11, 2007

still in a sewing slump

My sewing slump continues though I did piece one day this week on my ancient friendship star top once I decided to make it two blocks wider. That meant some redrawing in EQ since I am piecing in 6 inch stars in the sashing. Some of these blocks were signed and dated 99-00 so that gives you some idea just how old a UFO I've got here. BUT there are some that are even older.........all personal projects. Yeah, I seldom work on those so no wonder. I am ashamed to say how many hours I spent playing cards yesterday and today for that matter. Other than taking care of few things around the house I am just wasting time. Maybe that is only natural after keeping my nose to the grindstone for months but I need to find some direction or set some goals in order not feel like a "slug"

Since I have nothing completed to share with you, here are a couple of the finished up donation quilts instead. All the ones that I quilted in a big hurry last month coming back with the binding done. Deja vu on a couple of them but I'll just pick a few of them. Above, Cross Roads to Jericho--the other half of Nancy's donated blocks. I did the assembly and quilting on this one.

The string quilt is one that Theramae made and quilted. She cut the squares to finish at 6 inches. I really like these smaller ones better, I think. Fun to see bits and pieces from our previous projects in there. That ubiquitous blue cobblestone kit fabric for one but backing cut aways and such too.

Simple Snuggle Up type quilt that Marilyn whipped up and I quilted.

There were not many of us at the meeting and one of the members became ill. I did not think she should drive home after an episode she had so I drove her home in her car and got a ride back. Sarah pitched in a sewed the binding bits together while Jane, Judy and I got a total of 8 tops pinned. The fall sew-in is scheduled for the last Monday and Tuesday of the month so I hope we have more participants. I am thinking we will gang piece some rail blocks for some group quilts this time. Easy enough to do.

This last one will be headed your way, Pam, with some of the others that Mom pieced and I am going to quilt up for the Mexico project. Jane pieced and quilted it. Judy and I were complimenting her on the curved corners--suitably impressed--but she said it was out of necessity. We said that next time just let us go on thinking she planned it that way, LOL. I love the warm colors in this one and I bet a young man will too.

Pippi must have known she had to go into the vets for lab tests this week and stayed under the bed till I gave up on her---I swear she did not see the cat carrier awaiting her but who knows? Yesterday she stayed where I could get at her but her reports show she is holding her own. The numbers, while elevated, show no real change in the last 3 months reading so she has apparently adapted to the renal insufficiency and that is just what those lab values are going to be. Her weight is the same as well. Unless she starts acting funky, not eating, not drinking again like she did back in June, we don't have to go back till after the first of the year.

Think I will do a little hand quilting. The weather has cooled off considerably so I won't mind having the quilt on my lap. I think it was 46 when I left to walk this morning . I did several laps pretty fast just trying to keep warm. I don't think it has hit 70 yet but I love it. The house has finally cooled down to something reasonable for a change and is down from the 78 to 82 that it often is in our extended summers. (The a/c is set at 77 when it does run so it is never what I would call cool in here---same old story there) I think DJ is a little chilled though. There is a bit of a breeze blowing and he shut the living room door. The only reason a window is open out that way is that he had to take it in to have the glass replaced.

Hope you are enjoying your day in whatever you chose to do-------

Oct 4, 2007

no motivation

It is one of those week's where I am just not motivated to sew but I guess that is what happens when there is no deadline staring me in the face. I did stitch up a pile of Puss in the Corner blocks but it took me three days to get a simple strip pieced 35 blocks done. Not stitched together but the picture clipped to the basket is the EQ version of what it might look like when complete. The fabric was in a box of challenge scraps from Ellen which also included several pieces of yardage to make WTIL quilts--Michael Miller cats on scooters.

The turkey? Well, that is one that occured to me earlier in the week long AFTER I posted all the fall/Thankgiving quilt block ideas HERE. However, it is NOT one in the public domain but rather included in Country Threads Quilt Shop series copyright 1992 from Connie Tesene and Mary Tendall. I drew it up in EQ since it can be foundation pieced if I eliminated a few lines, should I decide to use it for the row quilt I will work on sometime in this next time 6 week timespan. (The color is not right in the photo though. I think it is the fluorescent bulbs in here). Not saying I will use it-- just letting it "grow" on me. I've already made the fall wall hanging this was included in year's ago (so did Patti) and posted it somewhere here in my archives too. Only one of the 3 turkeys in the wallhanging have bottom feathers going the right direction, LOL. I would have to do better on the 2nd go, LOL, if I do decide to use it.

In this picture at right, Miss Pippi is on her "usual" spot on my bed but sitting at attention when I snapped this shot. She had just heard a noisy truck going by on our little lane and considered leaving in case he was coming to see her. You see, the neighbor up and across the lane had dug out a big hole in the earth around his foundation some months back. He also knocked out part of the foundation blocks leaving a giant gaping hole under the old farm house. DJ and I were guessing that perhaps they planned on using it as a garage or moving his wife's beauty shop into that area but who knew? Things must have slowed down in his professional work (self employed concrete finisher) that he could finally get some work done at home. He has put in a door, window and is filling in the rest of the space with concrete blocks. The big truck was dropping off a load of gravel so the concrete mixer may be next. He's out driving around on an endloader(?) now. Whatever happened to that quiet neighborhood we used to live in?

I spent most of the morning today walking and then sitting in the doctor's office. They don't make appointments so it is "first come, first served" I waited about an hour to get called to check in and get my lab drawn. The another hour or so to see first the nurse practioner and then the MD. By the time I dropped off my scripts there went the morning. I read about 150 pages of my library book in that time span. Next week I get to do the same thing with Miss Pippi when she goes for repeat lab workup only then, I won't be fasting for almost 18 hours by the time I get the heck out of there. Get the picture about not liking to just sit and be patient???

I just got an email from someone who would like me to make her a t-shirt quilt. She saw the one I did for the Donoho raffle last spring and one of the Belles gave her my contact information. I may do it---mulling it over. The girl who quilted the others just moved up to Tennessee though----hmmmmm. I'll email her to get the particulars and then decide. The donation quilt work has slowed down so it is more a matter of do I want to take it on.

We had a few tantalizing nights of cooler weather but it is feeling more like summer again---mid 60's at 6 a.m. instead of high 40's or low 50's. It has been quite overcast and very muggy the last two days but only sprinkles of rain have come of it at our house. Yesterday DJ took my car to the car wash and then waxed it so if that doesn't bring on the rain, then I don't know what will. Oh, it is race weekend at Talledega that might do it. Or the little country fair (more like what we call a carnival in Illinois) is going on this weekend too. That might bring it on. Know any rain dances?? DJ said he would like to have rain fill up our lakes and reserviors but he doesn't want to have to mow anymore this year. LOL, don't think you can have it both ways. I have heard this called a "100 years drought" where the farmers have not been able to grow enough hay to feed their livestock and have to purchase it or sell the livestock earlier than planned or take a loss on feeding them. The farm ponds are drying up and apparently there is not necessarily a system in place to irrigate like the western states HAVE to do. Made me wonder how Walmart could just set hay bales out to decorate for fall on the store exterior when the livestock needed it for survival, not esthetics.

Guess that's it for now----ah, here comes a bit of rain after all! If it will last........