Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Movies

I don't often see movies but last night my mom and I went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, at our local cheap theater ($3 every show). We endured far too many minutes of ads before the even more lengthy previews but the movie was really good--except that the dialogue was very difficult to hear in many parts. In particular, Cate Blanchet (sp?) as the old dying woman was nearly unintelligble. The tale is of course pure imagination but a good life and love story and fantastic aging effects. Most of the time Brad Pitt was entirely unrecognizable, but when he looked like himself, he was sure pretty! Cate Blanchet was also mesmerizing. The theater was probably 99% unoccupied and we somehow were right under a vent which kept blowing really cold air on us. There was no way the 16-20 people in the theater were putting out enough BTUs to cause cold air to be needed! Mom and I were both freezing on and off and it was not relaxing. Despite that, I would have paid full price to see this flick!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Quilty weekend

Work on The Boy's quilt filled a lot of my weekend. I finished the square in square blocks for the project, called "The Big Easy", from Winter 2006 Quilts and More mag. The pattern called for only 10 of these blocks but I wanted more! So 18 were sewn. Since The Boy only wanted three colors (black, gray and blue) I chose fabrics that had a lot of movement and added white for contrast, mixing them with some smaller scale prints and simple graphics like dots. These will finish at 8" square.


Below are all 18.

I think this one is my favorite but I like them all.

Here are the solid block fabrics that go with the square in square blocks--just randomly arranged in an 11x12 layout.

This quilt is gonna be big! Finished size is 88 1/2 x 96 1/2. The Boy's "wingspan", which we measured last night, is 76 inches. That means he can stretch out both arms under this quilt and still be covered! He helped me lay it all out on the family room floor last night after dinner and play switch-around to get a good composition. E-2 also provided another pair of eyes to keep doubles from touching, etc. I am pleased that this project is this far into progress as I first started buying fabric for it over a year ago! I hope to get a few rows sewn together this week. I also worked on G-man's quilt but still haven't finished hand stitching down the binding to the back. Maybe tonight if my eyes aren't too tired.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Changes

I changed my blog template--I think the former template was making the posts look too long!

This has been another longish week--but some good changes happened workwise as help was hired and tasks shifted to soothe stresses. There were even some small successes that cleaned up some messy loose ends and that was cause for celebration. Though it seems we go two steps forward and one step back, still we are making progress!

Speaking of progress, I got four of the square in square blocks for The Boy's quilt done one evening this week. They have six different fabrics in each block, which is a lot, and are supposed to be 8 1/2" square when sewn. Mine seem to be a little undersized...more like 8 1/4". So there will be some adjustments when I get to sewing the pieced blocks to the solid blocks. I am not too worried, it will all work itself out in the end (fingers crossed!).

I was
thinking of accompanying my parents to see my new nephew tomorrow, a spur of the moment idea of theirs, but it means about 5 hours in a car tomorrow, driving down to Riverside County and back, and I just had too many plans for the weekend. I sent a package with some gifties last weekend to welcome Baby John; that will have to do for now!

Now to the sewing machine and more square in square blocks--watching my seam allowance more carefully from now on.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday

I am NOT used to this time change thingie! I stay up too late and can't wake up in the morning. Not working too well for me right now. Job #1 at least I do in my pajamas so I don't have to look alert, even! One of the cardiologists, who I must say is not a favorite of anyone that I know of, drives me insane at times. This morning in a dictation he spelled b-e-n-d, as if any dolt wouldn't know how to spell that, let alone a professional transcriptionist with 20 years experience. He will also spell the same word multiple times through a report, but then he doesn't spell things like "amaurosis fugax". Go figure. The other per diem transcriptionist and I cringe when he is on rotation! One of the physiology techs even jokingly suggested they wished he would get hit by a bus! The hospital is going through an upgrade of one of their systems and the "Go Live" date is approaching, being met with much trepidation by all the staff and managers. I plan to spend half a day at the hospital on the actual Go Live date but am certainly not going to worry about it. It is beyond my control and my only responsibility is to get the transcription done---everyone else can iron out the wrinkles!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I married a guitar player

So tonight G-man and his bandmates are playing at a place downtown. When they first started playing there, it was a really scary bar to go in, with a big blank wall and a small door that opened outward and it was dark inside, had a pool table smack in the middle of it, and shady looking patrons. Luckily, California was the leader in banning smoking in first eating establishments and then bars so I can actually go in them, even though my alcoholic drink intake average per year is about 2 (one year I got up to 5!). Anyway, the bar got a new owner a couple of years ago and they redid the entire entrance, with pretty green glazed tile and windows on both sides of the inset new door. You can actually see in now and it seems so much friendlier. This is an old part of town, the building is probably 100 years old or more, narrow, brick, with high ceilings. In the past, 25-30 years ago, the downtown was full of junk shops and bars, frequented by the homeless who begged on the sidewalks and in the park, and no one wanted to go down there at night. Over the last 15-20 years the city has spent a lot of money widening the sidewalks and sprucing up the streets, landscaping and general atmosphere--this has resulted in a vibrant nightlife and busy stores during the day, a true success story! Twice a year there is an Art Walk, where local artists display their work in different retail stores and on the sidewalks, there is music, food, and lots of activity. G-man and I dream of one day living closer to downtown. He favors the Spanish-style houses and I the Craftsman cottages. Dream...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Old friends

Went to an annual St. Patrick's Day party complete with Irish dancers and wonderful food, drink and masses of people hanging out at the beach houses. My former boss used to serve as "team physician" to the dancers, from the Claddagh School of Irish Dancing. These girls have won numerous and international competitions, including All Ireland, and sported a World Cup that they hope to win again. My boss was in Ireland with the team in Killarney at competitions when he suffered a pulmonary embolism and died there in March 2005--a tragic, shocking thing that affected us all. His widow has continued the annual party since, as Dr. B would have wanted. As I was waiting for G-man to join me at the party, an old friend came walking down the lane as the guest and we had a great visit while enjoying the party. Years past, our families spent a lot of time together but then there was a separation and divorce and the husband moved away, far away--to Russia! I hope Jean and I will be able to get together and renew our friendship.

Monday, March 16, 2009

She got it!




Susie emailed me that she received the little batik wallhanging and thought it was beautiful--I am so happy she liked it. Finally I can share pics! The first is the sandwich pinned and the second after quilting. I thought I took a shot of the little quilt all finished but apparently not--see the binding clips all around! It finished at about 20 x 28 or so, maybe a little bigger/wider (didn't measure the final result!)
I did get some things on my list accomplished over the weekend--binding was sewn to G-man's quilt and about halfway hand-stitched on the back. Also did a little shopping to pick up some blacks and shirtings for The Boy's quilt. The last two times I have been in my LQS I have been searching for two hard to find fabrics: white/cream with a green print, of which I found one that was truly what I wanted, and this last time for a gray print--preferably reproduction. Don't know why both are so difficult to locate. I did find something suitable though not exactly what I had in mind. I popped over to JoAnn's fabrics too, just looking at the sales, and found a cute print for making a baby quilt for my newest nephew, Baby John. I had in mind a fast baby quilt I had saved a PDF for, minimal cuts so that the majority of the panel would show, from a free pattern on Quiltmaker for a "Super Sized 9 patch". I haven't quite decided if that's the right pattern for this fabric but it is a great idea for some other stash fabric that can be made up in a hurry for charity quilts.
Off to work now==jobs #2 and 3....




Friday, March 13, 2009

G-man's quilt

Close-up of G-man's quilt. Note that there are only two different pieces--a solid square and a triangle square. Each block had eight of each. Rotating the blocks made the diagonal pattern. This is a Sandy Gervais design from AP&Q magazine (April 2004). It is predominantly blue, then red, and caramel, with brown and white/cream for contrast. I collected many many different fabrics for this quilt and a few were leftover scraps, but not many!
This is my tired assistant--that was a lot of pinning! Thanks Mom.


More photos

G-man's quilt after pinning.

Back of Pineapple Blossom--this was a creative scrap search to fit!


Closeup of a few "bonus triangles" I used



I did this years ago and never made the pillow I originally planned. Now it is going to be a little quilted wallhanging .




Another oldie UFO cross-stitch.
And still more photos in the next post!





Thursday, March 12, 2009

All work, no play

This week has turned out to be just that, all work and no play. Well, except for blog reading, that is, and a little shopping. Is anyone else having trouble finding shoes they like? My work wardrobe for shoes is getting worn out and I'm having a terrible time finding anything suitable. Mind you, I wear a 9 1/2 or 10 so shoes that are cute in size 6 look entirely different in my size. I wear low heels most of the time because I really don't need to be nearly six feet tall while I am at work--I sit 90% of the day! So far, three different stores have failed to separate me from my money. There is an outlet mall nearby and I think I'm gonna hit that over the weekend.

My sewing machine has remained untouched all week and I haven't had time to play with my camera either, though I did manage to buy batteries for it. Looking forward to a little quilt action tonight since G-man will be out playing music. Last night we went to a local Inn to watch "The Chopping Block", a chef/restaurant competition show on NBC that featured the company G-man works for, U.S. Foodservice. The contestants got to shop in the trucks for all their food--they only had 15 minutes though, and their restaurant had to open the following night! We watched the show with some of his coworkers and had some free appetizers and drinks on the company, which was a pleasant diversion. Crab cakes were really good, and so were the onion rings.

Plan for the weekend is to get G-man's quilt binding on and shop for some shirtings for The Boy's quilt, do some cutting on E1's blocks, and generally enjoy quilty things in between cleaning out the garage and going to the shoe outlet. Sounds very exciting, doesn't it?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lazy Weekend

I started my weekend with a list of to-do's but my basic, inherent love of lazing won out mostly. Saturday I did get G-man's binding sewn together, pressed and accordion folded ready to apply, but there it sits. Went to E1 for a bang trim--she's my hairstylist as well as my eldest DD--at the salon where she works (Michael Kelley), bringing her lunch as requested. I can see again! Added bonus: she told me my hair is getting really gray. I corrected her because it is NOT gray. It is WHITE. Good thing I have a professional who takes care of that for me.

Visited the mall to return some catalog items--an unusual thing occurred when I tried on the pants I ordered: they were too long. This almost never happens to me, being nearly 5'9". They had other problems or I would have shortened them myself... Clearance rack shopping earned me a pretty green sweater for under 20 bucks and I treated myself to an $8 mall food court meal. I love Rubio's Fish Especial Tacos with guacamole. After that I dropped by my mom and dad's house where my dad interrupted my starting to mention The Boy's (DS) new job to tell me he found out about it by reading my blog!! Good sleuthing dad! E2 also dropped by while I was there, to pick up her birthday card. She stayed approximately 4 minutes and then was off again. Some quilty stuff happened late in the evening when I did some cutting for The Boy's quilt and G-man watched a rented movie, The Changeling.

Sunday I never went anywhere but wasted away my entire morning lazing about, reading the paper, petting the cats, watching mindless TV and thinking of all the things I should be doing. That word almost never motivates me to start something and generally makes it so I can't decide what to do first. Finally I got my rear in gear and cut and cut and cut squares and triangles, interspersed with ironing fabric, watching Harry Potter movies, dilly-dorking in the backyard, and mucking around with the computer trying to hook up a new keyboard and mouse and external USB port thingie. I only succeeded at the external port but my camera battery is dead and I can't upload my photos. I also can't print anything because my printer is out of one color of ink. I did actually do some paying work, too, clearing the dictation from the hospital. Finally, some more sewing got done late in the evening when I put some 4-patches together for the block centers for The Boy's quilt. Not a bad weekend but not much accomplished!

Friday, March 6, 2009

A happy week

A quartet of happy things occurred this week, only one of them quilt related, but pleasant nonetheless. First, I got Susie's little quilt mailed off on Monday. I'll try to post pics tomorrow. On Tuesday, a new nephew arrived via my brother #2's family---their 6th child--fat and healthy except for some low blood sugar that was cured by breastfeeding. Momma and baby John are home with the rest of the bunch now, but probably not getting much rest...

On Wednesday, thanks to the generous help and recommendation of a kindly neighbor, The Boy (DS) got a job after being unemployed for 2-1/2 months. He starts Monday working for a concrete boring company (I think!) and is very grateful to have a job again. He came over and watched "Lost" with me on Wednesday night and it was wonderful to see him smile again.

On a work-related note, Thursday's office mail brought a very large check from Medicare, whom we have been trying to get to recognize our new address for five months, and it was a nightmare of calls and waiting, more info needed, faxing, calls and waiting. Palmetto, who took over California Medicare claims processing, finally updated their files---until they did so, they would "pay" the claims and send them to secondary insurance companies, but would not release the funds to us per their protocol of "do not forward"--i.e., no mail to a forwarded address. Finally, I got word that our address had at last been updated, and in two days the check arrived. We all did a happy dance, but none more than Dr. P!

I'm planning on getting some fabric cutting done this evening so I can sew tomorrow, but may have to wait for better light in the morning for that, and just work on the trimming and binding of G-man's (DH) quilt tonight. My eyes are tired.

Can't believe we'll have Daylight Savings start already this weekend. Sheesh. I really NEED that hour of sleep, darn it!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Birthday girl


Above is a photo of my DD's, E1 and E2. E2 is on the left and today is her birthday--our youngest is 19! When she was little, we called her the Hurricane because she had two speeds, Warp 10 and Stop. She has had personality plus since day 1 as well as a fierce loyalty to her friends and family. She is always coming and going with a contingent of friends and is not afraid to show her intelligence or her heart. We are so proud of all our "kids" (that's part of our DS in the photo too) and what good people they are turning out to be.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Wrestling

My upper body workout of the week occurred for multiple hours yesterday afternoon as I quilted my DH's 72 x 84" quilt through the 5" arm of my Viking sewing machine. Originally I was only going to machine quilt the diagonal lines of the design, which are 12 inches apart, and hand quilt within the blocks. I just wasn't satisfied with the amount of machine quilting even though I knew I was in for a wrestling match to follow the center diamond shape of the blocks. But I listened to my inner voice and dedicated the hours to it. I knew I would always wish I had done it if I had just let it go!

My sewing desk is an old metal desk, vintage 50's, but small--my husband used it as a kid! I often set up a card table to extend surface area beyond the desk to hold the weight of the quilt. For the last several months, however, thanks to Bonnie Hunter's tip-sharing at Quiltville, I have also set up my ironing board to my left. I can't believe I never thought of it myself before, but, DUH. It makes it so much easier to work with instead of throwing it over my shoulder or wadding it in my lap. Of course I did have to get up 40 times and re-roll and rearrange so the quilt would fit through that 5" opening!

Binding will go on next so I don't have quite so much weight and bulk to work with as I add the hand quilting. Pics to come...