Friday, October 31, 2008

A Scary Sight for Halloween

I put the quilt top on the batting to measure how big I needed to cut the batting - just an estimate since I was cutting it big. I didn't realize that some of the top had folded under. yikes! Now I'm going to have to find scrap fabric - and the pattern - from this top from years ago. Hopefully I have some.

Stalkers, continued

I have stalkers, bunches of them, all of them wanting to help me decide how to vote on Election Day. Sometimes when the phone rings, and I am downstairs doing laundry, I run up to get it, my heart is pounding and my breath is heavy as I lunge to the phone, only to get some recording. Or I am in the middle of an interesting part in a show, or in the middle of cooking something, etc.

My reaction has to disengage. I no longer answer the phone. My callers know I am screening calls and that once they start talking into the machine, I will pick up the phone if I know it's them. Of course, that also involves having to run to the phone, since I don't want to inconvenience them to have to leave a long message only to find me home.

But there are also other side effects. The volume of paper that needs to be taken to the recycling bin has increased exponentially, not to mention the wear and tear on the shredder since I shred everything that has my name or address on it.

Today I had someone I didn't recognize come to the door. I assumed it was someone wanting to make sure I didn't need any help getting to the polls. These people are relentless, I tell you. It turns out it was the postal carrier with a squishy package. It in't for me, but still, tomorrow I have to go to the post office to pick it up.

I can't wait until Election Day, and my life can resume as normal once again.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cake!

We generally have potlucks at our family gatherings, and I generally get asked to bring a side dish. I'm not good at side dishes, so it is always a search in the recipe books and some last minute concoction that gets to the table. This year I volunteered to make the cake. At first I was really excited. After all, I made all sorts of cakes when we were all living together. Then I got scared. There were things I had learned that I have since forgotten. How I am supposed to double the recipe for the batter, but not for the topping. How I'm supposed to use this batter with that topping. How I need to reduce the butter or the sugar. And besides that, I haven't had the recipe cards since I moved out.

Since any cake I would make would be a research experiment for the family anyway, it was a general search through the internet for the right cake. I decided this time to try to find something vegan to match the needs of one of the birthday people. It has normal ingredients. I made Moosewoods chocolate cake and used coffee instead of water so that it would have a normal flavor. I did well. People even commented that it tasted like normal cake, and they wouldn't have suspected it was vegan if they hadn't been told. There was so much food at the party, you might have suspected that there was a wedding going on, and the people from the other side of the family were going to arrive at any moment.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the fabric shop experience also went well. They were having a big sale, and I bought four fabrics for backings instead of the two I went for, but because of the sale, I thought it was worth it, and wound up paying about the same money. And now I have extra fabric that will hopefully help another couple of quilts to quicker completion. My mother has decided to make a full sized scrappy sampler quilt, so she bought a lot of fabric, which means she bought a lot more than I did. A lot of the fabric we bought wound up being the end of the bolt. More time at the cutting counter, and sticker shock at the cashier. I think the cutting counter lady and the cashier were probably happy when they got to my order since it was relatively smaller.

Hopefully this means that you will soon (maybe this weekend) have a finished quilt or two to look at.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quilty Content

Don't get too excited, but there has been touching of fabric here on the High Road. You probably haven't noticed the lack of quilty content, because there has been a lack of content, period, but I haven't done anything since I finished up the Happy Jacks quilt.

I decided to change that yesterday. I had the option of resuming the Shakespeare in the Park quilt, or to quilt up a top. I entered Finn's challenge a while ago, and was thinking I could use the Happy Jacks quilt as one of my two finishes. Even though it never became a UFO, it was prevented from becoming one, right? I wasn't sure if that was cheating or not, but I figure the other one should at least fit the rules precisely. And who knows, I might get two UFOs finished, and not have to cheat at all.

I wasn't sure why the tops were unfinished. Maybe I was having trouble with free motion quilting. Maybe I had trouble choosing a quilting design. Maybe I didn't have the proper color thread. I have thread now, and batting. And I am going to do a simple meander, cause they are fun and I like how they look on a quilt. What I thought I knew for sure was that there was backing fabric to go with the top. Nope. I moved on to Plan B or is that Plan C with another top. I don't know if I imagined that, or if I stole the backing fabrics for some other quilt, but the reason they are still UFOs today is that there is no backing fabric now.

This means I have to go shopping for backing fabric today. I've been so good about not buying any fabric since June, no temptation even. I'm afraid it might get me started again on a fabric buying binge. I will try to resist.

I did make some quilting progress yesterday though. I haven't cut the fabric yet for the setting triangles, so I cut the 14 squares for SITP. It's not the progress I imagined showing you today, but anything is better than nothing, right? Now I need to cut the remaining triangles, and piece the top together.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Preparing for Winter

I've been meaning to paint the garage door for a while now. I even washed it one day, in preparation, right before it rained and splattered the dirt right back onto the door. I was debating whether it was too late to paint it now. The leaves are already falling and I wasn't sure I wanted to make a leaf collage on my garage door.

The wind was calm and the sky was sunny, so I washed and painted the door (well both the big door and the small one) on the same day.

So now, instead of spending all winter (at least when I use the garage doors) being disappointed that I didn't paint the door, I can simply be disappointed at my imperfect workmanship on my imperfect door.

The photo is from the library, in celebration of Family History Month. It was really interesting, since they had hung the photos in layers in their display room. You really had to be there to see the neat three dimensional effect it made.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm Still Here

I'm still here and thinking about you, but I haven't been able to come up with anything interesting to say on the blog lately. Last week I even got my daughter to take some pictures for you.

I've been having computer problems, I have to go through a couple of blue screens before the system actually works, so it takes me longer than usual to get my day properly started. I think today I might have found and destroyed the culprit. Keep your fingers crossed. That, and work and classes and homework for classes have kept me busy. And let's be honest, new tv shows. And the book shuffling continues. I think it is when I don't have time to read that I wind up borrowing the most books. They all seem much more interesting. I also did some yard work to prepare it for winter. No, not the yard work most people do, mulching, turning beds, planting mums, etc. I just try to trim the hedges and mow the lawn so that it isn't an eyesore all winter.

And since I am busy, I also want to clean out the garage and the basement. Funny how those things don't occur on my to-do list when I have time to do them.

Also I have that dreaded coffee addiction. My body gets used to drinking coffee at hours in the morning I had forgotten even existed. Really, I think they are still part of "night". So on the weekend, when I think I can sleep in a couple of extra hours when it is actually morning, my head screams for coffee. And even when I have had said coffee, it still punishes me the rest of the day for being late with the coffee delivery.

I haven't gotten any quilting done, but I've been thinking about finishing all of them up as well. Since I don't have time to do them, I've got lots of motivation!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Finished!

When I let myself get tempted by the pattern Kim presented at Kim's Big Quilting Adventure, and gave myself permission to do Kim's Happy Jacks quilt, I gave myself severe mandates. "You must get it done, and you must get it done quickly. Kim's done three of these in a week, certainly you can get it done quickly as well." Well I'm nowhere near as quick as Kim, but I did keep my focus on this quilt, even to the point that other things on the to-do list were skipped, and now it is finished! Definitely one of my quickest finishes.

The fabric choices were easy - the first fabric I find that works, is it. No agonizing over choices. The cutting was fine. The sewing was fine as well. Anything that wasn't, was trimmed off! The hardest part about the quilt was stopping. I wanted to make more pumpkins, and I wanted to make more faces. See, here is a photo of some scraps of fabric that fell onto the floor.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Library Shuffle

When you borrow things, there comes a time when you have to return them. I borrow lots of books from the library, and lately it has been a juggle on returning them. The library lets you borrow books for 28 days, and then you have to return them. Sometimes you can renew them, if nobody else wants it. The library lets you renew them online, but if someone else is reserving a book, then you can't renew it. Sometimes though, someone cancels a reservation on a book, or someone else returns theirs earlier, and then all of a sudden, you can renew a book.

I've had lots of books that are coming due soon. And I have been trying to read them in the order they are due, so I can get through them before I have to return them. Lately, there has been a lot of shifting, so that the book I thought was due first is able to be renewed. Or a book I thought I was going to renew when it is due is reserved and suddenly it is higher on the due date list.

I think I shifted between 4 books this month! I read some of it, only to find out something else is due earlier. Which is interesting in a way, because you make connections between topics you might not otherwise make. Bu there is pressure to read something fast, and suddenly the pressure is off on that book and on another one.

I thought I was doing pretty well with my little shuffling act, until my daughter sent me a message that I had an overdue library book. Apparently, I had checked it out on her card, so I hadn't included it in my library shuffle game. Want to know what book it is?

Seems ironic, doesn't it?

Friday, October 3, 2008

It's Kim's Fault

It's been pointed out that I have made a lot of blue quilts. And that's true, sort of. When I was pulling out photos of blue quilts, I found lots of them, and I probably didn't even get all of them. There were only a few other colors that I didn't include in the blue quilts post. I was trying to figure out why that is, because while I like blue, I don't really have a favorite color - or it changes from time to time. I think I've figured it out.

In the summer, I like to work with the coolness of blue. Since I look forward to summer in the spring, I can work with blue in the spring as well. And when autumn comes, I'm almost done with the blue quilt, so I go ahead and finish it off. By that time I am thinking of autumn colors, and start a quilt using those colors. The problem is, winter comes, and then the autumn colors are too dark, and I want to work on something bright and colorful. Since the days are shorter then, I don't get a chance to finish that off before spring is back and I am back to working with blue.

That may be the reason I keep getting tempted to work on something different from my blue stars. The weather is getting colder, and I haven't turned on the heat yet. The tree across the street is starting to turn colors. That, and people like Kim not only show beautiful quilts, but also give directions on how to make them. And since she made two and wrote up the directions in such a short time, surely I can whip something like that out too, right? Couple of hours tops, right? I am trying to make this from my stash only, but may have to buy a border fabric if I can't find a suitable one.

Besides, I have to make more (and finish) quilts in colors other than blue, so I can give you a proper show.

The fabric on the left is in the border of my Celebrate quilt, and will be used in my stack and whack quilt. The one on the right was used in some house blocks I made for a swap, and some other harvest color quilts. The yellow background was used in my daughter's Japanese quilt. The green stars in the sashing was in my summer swap quilt which I showed you recently.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nothing Much

It's Wednesday already, and I haven't told you how my weekend went. I'm sorry for all of you who were holding your breath waiting for the update. You can breathe now. :)

My weekend went well, thank you for asking. We had another laundry weekend, but this time I spent time in CollegeTown doing college things. The professors talked about the economy - and I have come to the conclusion that the reason I don't understand isn't that I am stupid, it is that I don't trust people who just give me the big picture. I want to see the whole picture. They said $700 billion is just the beginning. Not what I wanted to hear, but that I can believe. Also watched some musical performances. My daughter even asked me what I thought of them. Imagine that - her talking to me, instead of me asking her a million questions to get a semblance of a conversation. It was wonderful.

The wonderfulness even overrode the migraine I developed and had much of the weekend.

Since then I have been looking at that to-do list. Since it might rain, I can't put weed killer on the weeds, and can't paint the garage door. There are things I can do - like wax the kitchen floor, but I was thinking I should do outside things while the weather was nice. I have done things, that are not on the list, but needed doing anyway. I do write it on the list so I can cross it off, but the list doesn't seem to be getting any shorter!

I have finished making all the stars. I just have to put them together into a top now. Kim has written a tutorial for a jack-o-lantern quilt that is so adorable. Right now I am thinking that I could quickly throw one of those together after the SITP is a top, since it is going to take a while to manually quilt it.