Saturday, November 30, 2013

Wonky House Block

For the next Bee Balm block, Janet requested wonky houses.  I knew I needed to get on this sometime this week and since I can't decide on a border for the retreat quilt, I set to making my house.  I pulled scraps from the tub and got to work. 

I wanted the turquoise fabric for my background, but could only find it pieced together with the darker blue fabric either in half square triangles or in a 4 patch so when all the dark blue got cut off the left side of the block it made an appearance on the right side.  So, I say the sun is setting and darkness is creeping in from the west. 
I really like Janet's idea of a wonky house quilt.  I can't wait to see what she does with all her blocks.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Wal-Mart Experience

I went to Wal-Mart earlier today and to tell you the truth it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.   Everyone I encounter was nice and friendly.  People were waiting patiently for others to move over or finish finding the exact item they need.  It was really a pleasant experience.  My basket is full - not Thanksgiving food - shocker, but I am not cooking - just stuff I needed or else I wouldn't have gone in the first place.  I find the only regular line down by the doors I came in and am the 6th person./basket in line. I know that this is going to take forever since most of those baskets are filled to the brim, but I have more than 20 items so I grab a couple of magazines off the shelf and begin reading through them.  The lane next to us is a 20 item lane and one of the people in front bails out and goes over to that one since it is down to it's last person.  Then a nice lady gets in line behind her and she and I chat a bit about shopping so close to Thanksgiving.  She is only there to pick up items for that one dish she has been committed to bring.  Apparently she was told at the last minute and didn't have the ingredients on hand.  Meanwhile I am still in the same spot - actually I have moved almost 3 feet forward and am trying so hard not to bump into the guy and his wife in front of me.  He is making it hard not to do that, but in the end (pun intended) I succeeded and never once bumped or brushed or ran over his heels.  Yea, me!

Now, for the unpleasant part of the day.  While I am standing there - yes, still in my 3 foot area - a new basket pulls into the 20 or less line.  It is pushed by a dad in shorts and t-shirt (hello, it's 40 degrees outside) a pregnant mom in fleece Tweety bird pajama bottoms, striped short sweater and a hoodie jacket - none of the colors worked together, a boy of about 8 or 9 that is on the other side of the basket and doesn't come into the story and a little boy between 2 and 3 that is bouncing a ball between our baskets.  Both boys also have on what appears to be pajamas.  (Hello again - it's 1:30 in the afternoon and you are out in public!  I had to add that last bit about being out in public, because I never got out of my flannel pajamas on Sunday, but I wasn't going anywhere with all that ice on the roads.  I was staying at home.)  Back to my telling of the events.  This little boy is crowding the man in front of me, he keeps losing his ball and it rolls into the mans foot.  The man keeps looking back at the boy and then at me - hey, mister, he isn't mine - and moves forward a bit more - yea! 4 feet - Now, this little boy sees something in my cart that he wants and reaches for it.  I put on my teacher face and tell him "no" and shake my head.  He takes his hand off my cart, but keeps coming over to it and getting on the floor.  At one point I thought I was going to have to run over him to get him to move out of the way.  I considered asking very loudly, "Whose child is this?" just to see if the parents pay attention, because they haven't since they got into the line.  Mom's phone rings and she steps away, Dad - who knows where he went - and their basket is just sitting there.  The clerk is leaning over her counter trying to get some one's attention because they were next.   Thank goodness the little boy wasn't screaming or yelling or being really rowdy - just playing with his ball under the carts, but this non-parenting has got to stop in America.  They are your children and you need to pay attention to them and keep them in line.  Preferably your line. 

Thank you to the new clerk on my right that told me to come over to her lane she was just opening up.  I got away from the boy, his ball and his non-existent parents and I got out of there before the couple in front of me even began checking out. (I was nice and offered to let them go over to the other lane, but they didn't understand what I was saying - not a language barrier problem, just a man and woman that weren't with it) I was grateful to get out of Wal-Mart in a fairly good mood. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Icy Weather, New Project and Irish

WoooHoooo!!  It's warming up outside.  We went from 79/81 degrees to the bottom dropping out and a high of 29 within just a few hours (less than 12!) and have not gotten over the freezing mark since Friday.  It is a balmy 33 degrees right now and warming up, but I still don't want to go out.  Not because it's cold.  Not because the roads may not be clear, but because all the ice that is falling from the trees and power lines.  It sounds like my house, yard and alley are getting bombed by ice!  I looked out the back window awhile ago and - OOOH big bomb just hit  - that was a huge one - anyway, I looked out the window and watched the ice fall off the power lines in huge chunks.  (about 2 inches around and 20 inches long)  That last one fell from the tree next door and hit something.  It was loud.  Those chunks are a lot larger.  They are about 3 inches in diameter and 6 inches long.  Huge chunks!  That last one may have hit the garbage can outside because it sounded like someone throwing away a large bag of trash into an empty container.  BAM!  For those of you that don't live in the Midland/Odessa area - or anywhere in west Texas, it has been cold and icy this past weekend.  We had a major storm hit the area and have been covered in ice for the last 3 days.  Since this area has some of the worst drivers on good weather days, I try to stay inside on bad weather days, because those same drivers become complete idiots.  If driving 55 in a 40 and weaving in and out of traffic is okay on good days, then driving 70 in a 40 with icy conditions is even better!  (they are still trying to weave)  Oh, yes, and let's all try to pass each other on the overpasses because we all know that those don't freeze over!  Within a 30 minute time period Friday morning, 3 overpasses in Midland had major wrecks on them and they had to shut down the loop.  Come on people!  Overpasses are the first things to freeze and ice over.  See what I mean?  Idiots live and drive among us! 

Okay, enough ranting for now.   It's time to actually get dressed in real clothes - not loungy pajama clothes - and get some work done.  No more snuggling on the couch and watching television or playing games on the computer.  I have to come up with a project to teach at my retreat in February.  My mom suggested doing a quilt like this so I made a couple of blocks. 

I like it, it's simple, but I am not completely sold on it.  I will need to cut some more background blocks and find my 5" squares tub (I know where it is - in the garage - I just don't want to walk outside to get it, yet)  I will continue to work on this idea along with several others I have over this week (can you cheer for having the entire Thanksgiving week off from school? YEA)  and see if I can put something together that is easy enough for the newbies and that might have enough of a challenge for the seasoned quilter.  Just haven't hit on the right project yet.  (even though, seeing this picture it's kind of growing on me)

On a sad note, Irish, my oldest Shi Tzu, passed away on Saturday.  He was 15 years old and lived a good and pampered life. He was the best little traveler.  When he was little, we drove to Dallas about 6 times a year to visit my mom and he would get in the car, look out the window - had to keep the baby locks on or he would roll down the window and then sleep most of the way.   My vet called him the miracle dog because he had a stick go through his eye - thank goodness for a fantastic doctor out at the pet emergency hospital, you couldn't even tell which eye - he had testicular cancer at age 5 and had to be neutered,  he was attacked by a pit bull - thank goodness for having a ponytail that everyone made fun of - it saved his life - left a few teeth holes in his head, but he never bled - had a tumor come to the surface of his neck and rupture in April and survived the surgery to bounce back to running around the house - well as well as a blind, deaf 14 year old could run - but he did run around a bit.  Yep, I would say he  definitely was my miracle dog.  He is the one on the left in both of the photos below.   He will definitely be missed.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Borders, Borders, Borders Update

A few months back, my quilt group started a Borders, Borders, Borders project.  In this project, each participant makes a block of their choosing and then in the subsequent months a border is added based on the suggestion pulled from a sack.  It is similar to a round robin, but the quilt top never leaves the original owner.  (we had problems with quilt going missing in a recent round robin so this was our solution to prevent that from happening again)  As I wrote in an earlier posting,  I had seen this quilt block on Facebook and quickly replicated it the day it was due (can you say speed sewing?)  and got it finished in time to show before we left the building that day.  
Then it was home to add the first border.  It had to be something that used triangles.  So, I added semi-large triangles that go all the way around the block in the same black fabric to pull that color out more.  (not that black needs any help in this quilt)

The next assignment was squares.  I tried several different borders this time and just couldn't get the idea in my head to translate into fabric and onto the quilt top.  So, I scrapped that idea and came up with this new one.   


This is such a better idea than the original and I love it.  Now, this month we drew out rectangles.  Hmmm.  This top is not that large and knowing that we only have two more border months - we are done in December - unless you want to add more.  My go to triangle border is piano keys.  But having that luscious border of color, my piano keys would need to be in black and white with maybe some green thrown in.  That is doable, but what I really want to do is put it on point and enlarge the entire quilt.  So, that is what I have done. 
I am really liking this and may have to put some piano keys or bricks around the outside edge to bring back more color, but for now, I can say the black - a similar, but different black fabric - are my rectangles.  Looking at this picture, I may have some work to do on that bottom left quadrant.  It may have stretched a bit on that bias.   That could be the piece that I had to re-do three times to get it to line up the right way.  (the black strips are part of that bias corner piece and not added later because the colored squares go into the black about 1/4 inch)   This has been so much fun to work on and design along the way.  I encourage each one of you to try this yourself.  And, if by chance you don't like it you could always gift it away or cut it up and make something else out of it and chalk it up to a learning experience.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Savings Time Woes

Ahh, Daylight savings time.  I love having an extra hour of sleep.  I love having an extra hour to put off posting my grades in the computer. LOL (and using this posting to put it off even more)   I love that it happens in the fall when it is cool outside and I can snuggle under the covers for that extra hour.  Okay, not a complete hour since my dogs didn't get the fall back one hour memo. They have a built in clock and "know" when it's time for me to be up and "know" when it's time to eat.  HOWEVER. it is going to be a tough time re-teaching them when dinner time is now that we have turned back the clock.  We go through this every year!  Why is it they can't re-set their internal clocks?  They do a great job of it in the spring.  We don't have any problems in the spring, they turn their clock forward one hour, but the fall?  Nope, they don't do anything then.  So, for the next few weeks, it's going to be early "bark-up" calls to get me out of bed and it's going to be early barking and pouncing on top of me and licking me in the face and barking and more barking until I give in and get them some food at dinner time.  I am going to have to work them gently and slowly back to the correct dinner time 15 - 20 minutes a day.  Okay,  I guess it's time to give it up and post my grades and quit griping about daylight savings time.  Why can't we just cut it in half and fall back only 30 minutes and call it quits?  Sounds good to me. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Exchange Blocks and Challenges

I have got to stop making these blocks and wait patiently for my Bee Balm group to send me more blocks!  The one in the bottom middle was made by Elaine.  She was "Johnny-on-the-spot" and made her block for me almost immediately after I posted the directions.  I can't wait to see what everyone else makes.  This is fun.  I now need to post this over on the Bee Balm site.  As soon as I do, I will link it in so you can see what else we have been up to. Edit:  there is a new block posted over there.  Turquoise and orange! That will fit right in with these other ones. 
Another project from a Blog is this next picture, my miniature "Amish" quilt block using made fabric from a challenge by Victoria over on 15 minute play.  I will be posting there soon, also. * Just did.  This was a fast, fun and relatively easy quilt to make.  I just pieced together some scraps from a couple of other recently completed projects and some fabric given to me at a recent retreat and the center and bars are done.  The border was a bit of a challenge in that I wanted an orange, so it couldn't totally overpower the quilt, but instead had to let the made fabric and bars shine.  I thinks this is the perfect combination of fabrics from the middle to the borders.  It all just came together this week.  It was a great challenge and now I need to quilt, bind and label this tomorrow.  

I have a bit of an obsession with orange these days.  I have always enjoyed the color orange and enjoy having it on the side - not the main fabric - in a quilt.  It just adds that little bit of spark that some quilts need and takes it over the top.  However, this little quilt has embraced and adopted the color orange and is bathing in it's glory.  What began as small pieces of orange to zing up the pink and black and whites of the made fabric, has totally taken over the entire quilt top with it's orange-ness.  I may have to give this a Halloween name - not for the orange and black, though that contributes to the reasoning - I finished putting the top together last night - Halloween.