Thursday, September 26, 2013

Random Notions – Got Guilt?

Okay, so I am feeling a tad guilty today.  “Why?” you may ask, if you are really interested.  Well, I know that I should be working on the fish quilt I want to make for Harry.  I had already planned on giving Layla the quilt I am making in the Block of the Month group on Craftsy, and I had planned all along to make him a fish quilt.  In fact, I had let him help pick out fish materials, which I think I now have about 25 different ones.  I just hadn’t made up my mind on how to approach it yet – at this point, the only thing I am sure about is the border.

So yesterday, Mom started cleaning out some tubs we have stacked in the backyard and Casey and I helped her.  They have been there for over 2 years, and they are full of stuff we packed up long ago.  We had gone through a couple earlier this year when it was cooler outside and found they had cracked from the heat, and even though they were covered with tarps, they had gotten wet and some of the stuff inside was not worth anything anymore.  A lot of the boxes had books in them, and some of them were just black logs from mold now.  One of the ones we looked through back then had material in it, that quite a bit of it was wet and moldy and had to be thrown out.  I did manage to salvage a couple of pieces but not much.  So when we started looking yesterday, I was kind of not looking forward to some of what I knew we would find.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple of tubs that were filled with fabric that were still okay.  In the past, I have admitted how much of a color freak I am, I love all colors, but you put red, orange, or yellow in front of me and I can go nuts.  You can imagine my reaction to this-
I absolutely love this – it practically screamed my name.  It’s one of those African batiks that became popular in the early 90’s.  The solid gold color on the flowers is some sort of metallic paint and very stiff.  Mom had bought it to make a jacket out of, but she never got around to it.  She told me I could have it.  There was about 3 yards of it and perfectly fine, but I washed it anyway and it is just gorgeous.

So even though I know that I should be working on that fish quilt, I started working on this. (No worries, though – the guilt is quickly fading!)   I knew just what I wanted to do with it – a couple of months ago I was talking with a fellow quilter who asked what I liked to work on and I told him I was just crazy about the kaleidoscope blocks.  He started telling me about a kaleidoscope block that is made from only four pieces, so ever since then I have wanted to try it.  I only needed four repeats in the pattern, and I had that, so I started tearing and cutting!

The repeats were pretty good size, about 14”, so I decided that after trimming them down to 13”, I would cut it into 6 ½” blocks. This was really hard material to match up all the repeats – everything was off just a fraction, so my blocks are coming out a bit off, but I’m okay with it – I think they still look pretty good.  From this 6 ½” block-
which I cut like this-
I got these-
I decided to also cut half the blocks up and down and across just to get some variety, and this is a mix of them-
I have been squaring them all down to 5 ½” and I really like how they are coming out.  From my four repeats, I got 12 6 ½” squares, so as long as I don’t screw something up too bad, I should get 48 finished blocks. (Can you see why my guilt is rapidly fading?) I can’t wait to get the other 32 finished!

In the tubs, we also found this-
It is the most luscious variegated blue velour you could dream of!  The really wonderful part – there is about 7 yards of the stuff!
I have no idea what to do with it, especially since I am usually a 100% cotton quilter!  However, I am determined to figure it out!  I washed and dried it, and it almost killed me to fold it back up – my arms were killing me by the time I got it all neatly together – this stuff is really heavy!

Good news – I got the Blue Moves and Ecstasy quilts back from the longarmer.  She had sad news, so I totally understood her delay.  When I picked the quilts up, I took her the green kaleidoscope quilt and told her no rush on it.  Now I just need to get some binding for the two.

And that is what is going on with me.  I am feeling better because I quit playing games through Facebook and picked up the material and rotary cutter again.  Wonderful therapy for depression – highly recommended!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Random Notions – Sad News, Bees, and a Block

On Sunday, my favorite aunt passed away.  Had she made it to this Friday, the 20th, she would have turned 88 years old.  She was a very special person, a crusty old bird who could hold her own with anyone and anything – she could throw around the F-word as well as any 17 year old boy.  She will be missed.

One of the last times I was here, I mentioned that I had a bee problem on my hummingbird feeders.  It turns out they were dripping and the bees figured out how to drink from it-
This was just a few, but at one point, I saw about 30 bees lined up all around the rim.  That was quite amazing to see.  I hated to take the feeders down, but until I get something they aren’t attracted to or can drink from, I will have to leave them down.  I know people recommend feeders to be taken down in the fall so the hummers will fly south for the winter, but the hummers around here don’t seem to leave because of the cold – maybe because it doesn’t get as cold here.  I have seen them around all winter before, so I will try to find some better feeders to put up soon to help them out.

I played catch up with the Block of the Month class – I was behind August and September, but it was actually one block; the basket for August and the flowers for September-
The block did not originally call for the purple I put at the bottom; instead it had a lot of white space at the top, which I did not like at all.  I thought it would be better if it looked like it was sitting on a table cloth and trimmed the top off.  I am considering putting a bow at the top of the basket, just to give it some more visual interest.

That’s been it.  The two quilts I had taken to the longarmer are still not ready – the blue one has been there for over a month, and the other for 3 months.  I am anxious.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Random Notions – Hummingbirds in the rain

When I got the pictures off my camera Sunday, I saw a bunch of hummingbird pictures I had taken a week or so ago in the rain.  My bedroom, on the second floor, looks over where the feeders hang.  I found it to be a great place to take pictures of them!  At first I didn’t think they would be out in the rain, but no, they seemed to really enjoy it.
Then, one little guy surprised me by taking a bath in the rain- he put on quite a show!
He turned out to be quite a contortionist!  He reminded of my parrot, Cosmo that I had for many years.  Cosmo always enjoyed the spray bottle.

I really love these little guys.  However, for the past couple of days I have had dozens of bees hanging on the feeders.  Not really sure what to do about them.  I think I will take the feeders down for a couple of days, maybe move them, to see if the bees will go away.  Anyone else ever have this problem?

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Random Notions – The end of summer, please?

I am so glad August is over!  It was the worst month I have experienced in a long time.  It couldn’t just be really hot outside.  First, my phone died- the display burned out but the carrier replaced it free of charge.  Then my computer, which was ONLY seven years old, died.  And I mean really died.  The repair shop I took it to could not recover any of my stuff.  I just had them take the hard drive out and toss the rest – they suggested I try sending the drive to one of those specialty labs as they could probably recover it.  (This is on top of the external hard drive I already need to try to recover.)  A specialty lab will only charge about $350.  That’s not going to happen anytime soon.  What is really sad is in addition to all pictures from the last two years, I lost all of my programs – Adobe Creative Suite, Dreamweaver and other stuff I used all the time.  I no longer have the discs that I had gotten, well, about 7 seven years ago. Replacing them is going to take a while.

A couple of days after the computer died, I broke my replaced phone – I somehow cracked the screen.  This time, the carrier would not replace it as breaking the screen voided the warranty.  I went three days without a phone – that was absolute hell. I found myself constantly reaching for it and it wasn’t there.

It’s not like I am an important person who expects a lot of phone calls or emails. Why are we so dependent on technology?  What do I use my phone for?  Well, to be honest, I’m pretty sure I burned out the display myself playing games on it constantly- I frequently can’t sleep at night, so rather than get on the computer, I grabbed the phone.  I am so easily distracted by just about anything.  Yesterday, Saturday, I had plans to get so much done, but the first thing I did was a huge mistake – I moved my stereo receiver into my room out of the old computer/sewing room so I could hook up the iPod to listen to while I did my stuff.  The big mistake was deciding to hook it up to the TV.  I turned on the TV to check that I had it hooked up right, and what do I find- an Indiana Jones marathon on the USA network – and it was just starting.  I thought, heck, I can listen to it while I work. WRONG!  I lost the entire day.

This was one of the reasons I didn’t like MTV from the very start.  I am okay listening to music while I work – I am listening now as I write and got my toes tapping.  Music is an audio thing, not a visual thing, unless of course you are talking about maybe ballet or opera, which I enjoy both.  I knew right from the start that if I started watching music I would never get anything done.  MTV first came on the air around the time my daughter was two.  After witnessing my friends’ kids who just sat and watched MTV all the time, I swore Alexis would not be one of those.  I hid it well from her- as she got older she would ask why we didn’t have that channel other kids watched the videos on – I told her we didn’t have it because we weren’t paying for it.  I don’t think she caught on til she was about 10 or 11.  I like to think that Lex is an avid reader now because she didn’t waste those young years on music videos.

Okay, so what have I been doing?  I had to get another phone and I am NOT playing any games on it except for Words with Friends and Dice with Buddies.  Those take me just a few seconds and then I have to wait for my opponent.  However, I am still playing the other games on the new PC I had to get - I had to get it so I could finish getting my degrees online!  (Good thing for that international online computer retailer that is still willing to give me credit and only expects $20 a month!)  On the games, I play them for the highest amount of credits to a game that I can, so the credits are gone within a matter of a minute of two.  I did manage to pick up Photoshop Elements pretty cheap with a gift card from that same international retailer, which is the only reason I have gotten back here.

I have been moving into the master bedroom of the house since Alexis and family moved out into their own house.  The house has been very quiet in the evenings and on weekends, so you would think I would get a lot done.  Nope.  Haven’t gotten much done at all.  In fact, I am procrastinating right now as I write this – I have homework for my class, but I find this a bit more enjoyable to work on. 

Something I did get done – if you saw my post on August 1, I gave a sneak preview of a quilt I was working on for a gift.  Well, I finished the top-
And, then because I was too broke to buy backing material, I decided to piece the back from the leftovers-
It is with Janet the longarm quilter right now and I hope to have it back soon to finish the edges to have in time for the upcoming birthday.  The person it is for loves blue, so I hope she likes it.

As I was moving my stuff into the bigger room, I came across a remnant of brocade fabric that I absolutely love and I wondered what I could with it.  It has dragons and phoenixes on it-

Not wanting to cut up the brocade into small pieces, on the spur of the moment, I did this-
From hanging a few days, the brocade stretched down a bit.  I don’t like it, even though in the right light, all the fabrics, even the cottons seem to glow, which is kind of neat.  I’m going to have to try something else.  I have enough of the brocade to make another effort.  It will have to wait, though, as I have a new project in mind I hope to start soon and I have August and September to catch up on the block of the month I have been doing.

That’s about it.  I do have one more photo to share.  As I was moving stuff, I heard this terrible racket and something shot past my leg–
I keep the plastic bags from stores and use them to line my wastebaskets.  I just put them all inside one when storing them, and the girls have been tearing them apart, and then I have to put them all together again.  Well, this time, Sheme got stuck in the handle of one that still had many inside it. Not surprising considering how fat she has gotten. She was completely freaked out.  I let her suffer a minute while I took her picture.  Hope that teaches her a lesson.

Here’s to a wonderful Fall – I just know it’s going to be better than summer!