Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

It's the last day of the month, and I figured I would throw in another post, so my Blogtoberfest month doesn't look quite so empty. And no, this is not the same picture I showed you yesterday. I doublechecked. Let's see, do I have anything interesting to tell you?

You'll be happy to know I raked up all my leaves. The city doesn't pick up yard waste anymore, so I have to dump my big trash can full of leaves into the big dumpster of trash. This is not an easy feat, since it requires me to pick up the trash can over my head and shake it into the container. And if I squished the leaves into the trash can, then I have to do a shaking and banging dance right there by the dumpster to empty out the leaves. I didn't do the squishing so I could avoid the dance with the dumpster, so I had to make many trips.

Then I was done, and another neighbor came by. Yes, my neighbors were all out in the middle of the day in a work week. Some have flexible schedules, some are retired, some are unemployed, some are on disability. And it was a gorgeous 80 degree day, so maybe some were playing hooky from work. Anyway, he said "you know, we picked a bad day for doing this." And he was right, because a big gust of wind came and now it doesn't look like we raked at all. I knew it was a risk I was taking, raking the leaves before they had all fallen, but it is easier to do midway, and I thought there would be at least a minute where I could admire my handywork.

You probably want more interesting news, don't you? Well, I'm finished with the last slideshow. It turned out great! I broke it into three different segments, one for friends, one for family, and a special montage about her smile. The poor girl kept saying it should be short, well hers didn't turn out to be quite so short. The other two I was able to keep at about five minutes or so. Hers will be significantly longer. I had plenty of good pictures I wanted to show off. And lots of people had lots of things to say about her.

Did you know, that there really isn't a song that says you have a beautiful smile? There are songs that tell you to smile, and songs that say I miss your smile, and songs that talk about smiling during gloomy times, and others that talk about a beautiful smile turn into love songs between lovers. Remember that invention idea I gave you before about the LCD price tags? Add a simple song saying "You have a beautiful smile" to the list. Make it with a nice peppy beat, so people won't fall asleep or let their thoughts wander during my slide show. And make it kinda long, so I can fit lots of pictures in that one song!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Traveling Quilt Exhibit

I didn't rake the leaves yesterday, because I thought they would help the ambiance for Beggar's Night. It was pretty dark outside, because most of my neighbors chose not to participate, so they didn't turn on their porch lights until after it was over.

I went outside to rake the leaves today, and decided they would serve as a good backdrop for my fall quilts.






Then I spied my neighbor sitting on the porch having a cigarette. Her leaves are redder than mine. I figured I could be brave enough to ask if I could use her leaves as a backdrop since I didn't have to knock on the door.





Yes, my quilts have ventured into the great outdoors and survived.


Then I read Tanya's post, and wondered what kind of bugs I've brought into my house.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Birthday Celebration




The birthday celebration went really well. The house was decorated to the hilt for the big birthdays.
Tanya had sent several hangings which I put throughout the house. This one is the Happy Family one.

My sister had some Japanese lanterns, with lights. And I found some bigger lanterns without lights. My sister also made banners for each of the birthday celebrants. Everything was beautiful - people even took pictures of the decorations. The shelf in the corner has miniature dollhouse furniture.

Tanya even sent presents for my daughter. She loved everything. I especially liked being able to nonchalantly say that I hada friend in Japan. Doesn't everyone? There were pretty papers, these great socks, and even fabric for me, among other things. Thank you Tanya, for everything. I am going to use photos of these things for her slide show.

Slide Show Rant

Sorry I haven't been around lately. It was the October birthday celebration time again, and it was held at my house again. And, as usual, I got the bright idea to make a slide show for all three of the birthday celebrants.

I asked friends and family members to give me a description of the celebrant. So many times we say nice things about someone at their eulogy, but they never find out what you like about them while they are alive. I thought this would give a chance for the celebrant to find out what people think about them, and have something that makes them feel good about themselves that they can watch later when they are feeling down. Making the slides of the descriptions was fun and easy. I managed to keep them simple and standard.

Making a slide show is really a simple process. Just take the slides of the descriptions, and drag photos around them of the person who did the saying, hopefully with the celebrant, or a photo of the celebrant that seems applicable to the description. Feel free to skip the rest of this post, because the rant is about to start.

Anything that could go wrong, did. It took a while to get the information and photos from others. (I didn't give them much time, so that was more my fault than theirs.) I had this wonderful new program that makes scrapbook pages, Scrapbook Factory. It also has slide show capability, although I came to find out that it was a separate program (PicturetoTV) that didn't work well with each other. Not a big deal, but I did a test run to see if it would work from start to finish, and it didn't. It kept giving me error messages when I tried to burn it to the disk.

I switched to a different program (Windows Movie Maker) - which meant I had to start all over again arranging the slides. Since the other program took the photos directly from where they were (in many different folders arranged by date), I had to search for all of my pictures all over again. This program wasn't very user-friendly, and if you made a mistake, you pretty much had to start over again.

Then I found out that my DVD burner wasn't installed on the computer. It wasn't working earlier, and my daughter had switched out the drives, so I only had a player, and not a burner. I was going to buy one, but I decided to try installing it again, and it worked just fine. Finding music was also hard. I'll spare you the music rant.

I finally got two finished. I was working on burning the second one when I got an error message. There are two software programs at work here too - one that makes the movie, and one that burns it (Windows DVD Maker). I forgot to save it before I tried to burn it, and yes, the entire thing disappeared. I am sure I saved it sometime in the middle of the project, but when I remembered I hadn't saved, I saved over the file, and apparently it I saved the disappeared project over the half done project. I had to start all over again, although this time I had been smart enough to save everything I wanted to use in one folder. I had to rearrange the stuff all over again.

I was up until 3 in the morning (and I don't function well after 9), and I only managed to finish 2 of the slide shows. And they certainly weren't the quality project I was hoping for, especially for having worked on it for three weeks. I tried to work on the last one in the morning, but I had to finish getting ready for the party. My nephew and brother-in-law came over and helped decorate and wrap presents, which was a tremendous help, but my daughter's slide show did not get done.

Sorry about all this whining, but I have to document this for that the next time I think about a slide show. I still have the word "fun" attached to the word "slide show", but I really don't know why.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initative Submission


Ami Simms has been asking for little quilts about the size of a sheet of paper for a couple of years now, for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. She uses them to raise funds for Alzheimer's Research. I've been meaning to make one - well actually more than one - of these little quilts - for this cause. When World Alzheimer's Day came, I decided it was time for me to start.

I kept procrastinating over the years because of the decision making - trying to make something pretty by someone else's standards that someone would want to buy it. But I joined the Liberated Quilters yahoo group, and they suggested using free pieced letters. That took the decision-making dilemma out of it. I wasn't trying to make something pretty - I was just following the rules of making something with a word on it.

The fabric I choose was one with lots of things scattered on it - hats, lipstick, shoes, purses, eyeglasses. It seemed like a good choice. Sometimes I have an idea in my mind, and I either choose the wrong word, or I am reaching in my bag of words for the word, and the fabric just seemed to depict that kind of situation really well.

For the top part, I wanted to show something that was a little off. Just enough to say "something's not right" without actually knowing what's wrong. The size of the strips used to make the pieces aren't exactly the same, and the block was then trimmed at a slight angle. I think it worked, my mother said, "Is that supposed to be that way?"

The bottom part has a word on it - I used a low contrast so it wouldn't be easy to see unless you tried. It says Mind. My nephew said "Sometimes I can see it and then I lose it and have to look for it again." Exactly what I was going for!

The quilting is a wonky grid. I'll make a couple other ones, and then ship them off to Ami.

I am presenting this quilt for Park City Girl's Fall Quilt Festival, because it is the last quilt I completed and I haven't shown it yet. It keeps decision-making to a minimum. I hope it encourages others to contribute a little quilt as well.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blogtoberfest


There is a Blogtoberfest going on. Lots of bloggers are committing to having a blog post everyday. I thought about doing it, but I decided it was too much pressure. I had a hard time coming up with blog fodder last month, and I am hoping to be busy this month. But I will try to blog more frequently. The problem is, that with so many people posting everyday, people will be busy and may not get around to reading my posts. So I will be talking (typing) to myself all month for the most part.

So, let's see, what do I want to tell myself? Happenings on the High Road - my mother was so inspired by the bed she cleaned for me, that she decided to do some more. I really appreciate all the work she is doing for me, and the yard is looking really nice and clean, but I am worried that she is expecting me to keep these beds clean - she says things like "You are going to have to dig these trees by the roots to keep them from coming back" and "You should have taken these weeds out before they seeded." Also, some of my time is being spent helping her, and I would rather be spending that time quilting.

I still haven't finished the Alzheimer quilts I started. I want to finish the Bridal Wishes quilt, or whatever I called it. See, it's been so long, I don't even remember the name. Luckily, I can look at my older posts. Plus, I have some ATCs to make for the birthday ATC swap. I haven't sent anything to the September birthday ladies yet, and already it is time for October. I was sick, and when I wasn't sick, I couldn't think of any artistic ideas. I do have an idea now, don't know if it is a good one, but there will be some ATCs made out of that idea. Hopefully for both September and October.

There are many birthdays in my family for October, and my sister thought we should do something special, since it is a special birthday number for all of them! How often does that happen? Surprisingly, this is the first time I noticed, probably because my sister pointed it out. The ages will be 21, 45 and 50. She wanted to rent a park shelter and invite friends and family of all of the birthday people, making it a potluck to keep expenses down. After my own initial objections, I got really excited about it. After the wishy-washiness, and hearing everyone's objections, she decided to scrap the whole project. We'll have our normal gathering, with just the immediate family, and since it will be at my house, it will be up to me to make it special. Any ideas would be appreciated.

She did mention a slideshow again. But since the photos I have been scanning are from the early 80's, the 21 year old's pictures weren't included, and there is a big gap in time for the other two. I finished two boxes, but I was tagging the pictures from the second box, making sure all the information on the back of each photo is properly incorporated onto the photo. Trying to do it right instead of doing it fast, but that does have it's drawbacks sometimes.

I asked Tanya for ideas, and she sent me a huge package of decorations and gifts. I'll show them to you when it is time for the party. Thank you so much Tanya.

Boy, I sure do like to talk to myself! The photo is from May. I'm desperate, I've shown you all the ones I've taken in between times, and my camera battery is dead. I need to take some more backup pictures. All of my hybrid roses have gone back to their original selves. When I went to the store this summer, I found out, they are calling these "knock out roses." So here's my arched knock out roses, and a glimpse of my flower beds. No, my mother hasn't started on the ones you see yet.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What I Want - LCD Price Tag

Once in a while, I get an invention idea. I don't have the skills or resources to implement them, but I thought I would share this one with you, so that someone out there who has the skills, can follow through. You don't have to give me any credit, but make sure that you bring it to a grocery store near me.

Remember in the good old days when everything you bought had a price tag on it? You could pick it up, and know exactly how much you were going to spend on it. This takes a lot of manual labor for the store to price things, and to reprice as prices change. But I really like the idea of knowing how much something is. There have been times when something was on a rack, and I wasn't sure if the whole rack, or just that side of the rack was on sale. Or when something was on sale, I would have liked to know if that other flavor without the sale tag was also on sale. There have been times I went to the cashier, and if I had known that that item was that low a price, I would have bought more than one.

My idea is an LCD price tag. You attach one of these skinny labels onto the package, and it electronically records the price. You change the price on the computer, the LCD will automatically update the price. You buy it, and the price changes to 0. Then your electronic security device at the door knows that I paid for everything I am taking through the door. You don't have to use LCD, it is just what I know, but you get the idea.

LCD price tags aren't a new idea, according to the image search, but the ones I found are on the shelf and not on the product. I am guessing that these are remotely controlled via computer, and someone doesn't have to update the price on these.

I can see other uses for this as well, like putting due dates on library books. That way, when I lend or borrow a library book from my sister, we both know when we need to return it.

Edited to add: It would also help with gift-giving. The gift recipient wouldn't know how much I paid for something, but if they wanted to return it, they wouldn't need a receipt, the store would know how much I paid for it.

Blogger News

I have been reading blogs, as I do generally, and I thought I would just post some news updates for those of you who haven't had time to get around.

Many bloggers have gotten addicted to games, particularly on facebook. So many in fact, that facebook and the games regularly have system problems, probably due to the volume. Doesn't that photo remind you of Farmville? Put a plant in each of those boxes.

I have found that many of our fellow bloggers are sick, mostly with various types of flu. I hope you feel better soon. I'm still having allergy problems, and sometimes I have that whoosh sinus pressure behind my eyes that makes my eyes water and words and pictures dance, so I feel your pain. Yes, I know the flu is much worse than allergies. I hope you feel better soon, after you have built up your immunity.

A couple of bloggers, including Robin have been sneaking around their neighbor's property to get a good backdrop for their quilts. I think this is a wonderful idea, and I have challenged myself to do something like this to try to enhance my quilt photography skills. By the end of the year, I will go abroad (out of my own property) and photograph some quilts. If I get too chicken to use a stranger's, I might opt for some friends, or public property, but I will take my quilts on travels. How about it, want to join the "Traveling Quilt Exhibit"?

Oh, if you wanted to use my wood fence, it has been taken down. My sister and brother-in-law came over to borrow a bike, and I asked him if he would be willing to tear down the fence sometime. He started right away! He was probably thinking it would take my sister and I a long time to get finished talking. We didn't talk much and she decided to clean my garage! while she was waiting for him (I had already started in the morning.) She finished the entire side of the garage.

I am getting new (hopefully nice) neighbors, and now without the fence, they are going to be able to see my yard. Then later my mother came over and saw all that progress, and she decided to tackle one of my flower beds. She came over the next day with my nephew and completely cleaned out the bed. This is where I get my perfectionist tendencies. Both of them had a lot more energy than I did, partially due to the timing of when they ate, and partially due to my Flylady 15 minutes at a time cleaning habits, and partially due to my lower lung capacity due to my allergies. The good news is that none of the fence and garage and flower bed activity (yes I helped) aggravated my allergies.

Many bloggers are also readying up their house with fall decorations. Since I recently took down my pumpkin quilt, I am still trying to decide what to do. I guess it isn't too early, since they already have Christmas things on sale at the store, but I might have to find another fall-appropriate quilt for the wall.