Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday's Orts--8/31/10

Tuesday rolls around again and out I toss this week's orts from my brain:
  • Turn signals, people!  'Nuf said?
  • My son Nick turned 25 years old the other day.  How is it that I still look so young and beautiful?  HA HA HA HA  hee hee, hoo--boy, I crack myself up!  Lucky man, he spent his birthday in the Adirondacks with his girlfriend at Great Camp Sagamore.  I looked up the camp online and on their event calendar was a Quilter's Weekend.  Poor guy can't get away from quilters even on his vacation!  Correction: I wuz wrong!  He stayed somewhere else entirely, Pine Tree Point on Lake Saranac.  My bad!
  • I don't mind doing my own laundry (Grant does his, Erica's, and the household linens--I know, I know!).  I probably should appreciate the exercise I get going up and down the stairs 85 times while doing the laundry.  But I don't.
  • My new sewing area is already overwhelmed with stuff.  It's only been two weeks!
  • Fall is the best time to come to Southern California.  The days are warm, the nights cool, and most of the travelers have returned to their regular programming.  Even Disneyland is not overrun.
  • Jimmy Fallon was hilarious as host of the Emmy's.  I was sorry that my favorite show, Lost, did not win any awards.  Question: why does Conan O'Brien comb that giant wave in his hair?  He's already well over six feet and doesn't need to look any taller. 
  • Do you ever see a beautiful woman and think to yourself, "YES, way to Represent us!"   I do.
  • Yesterday at Michael's Arts/Crafts store they were starting to put up Christmas displays.  I choked back a moan before it escaped and sped by that aisle without looking.  Last year about this time I was in a big home improvement store and they already had artificial Christmas trees up.  I felt really sorry for the employees who then had to listen to Christmas carols FOR THE NEXT THREE MONTHS.   That's torture!
Nick on Mother's Day 2010--obligatory photo with a tree coming out of the top of his head!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Design Wall Monday--Aug 30, 2010

Layout of all the Bowtie quilt pieces commenced late this evening so no Switcheroo portion of the process happened.  Here's the first go:
I can already tell a lot of Switcheroo will be happening: too dark at one end and I don't like the disappearing bowtie in the center which is of too low contrast.  Overall I am liking my plan and trying to imagine how I am going to quilt it.  Go to Judy's blog to see all the other Design Walls!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nine Patch progress

A while ago I joined Julie's 9 patch block exchange.  What with all the moving and shaking going on here at Casa de Orts, I haven't made much progress on my 78 blocks.  Luckily they are not due for another three weeks!
The colors are not reading well but the two lower stacks are purples.  It has been fun to pull fabrics and make up different batches.  I feel like I'm doing "serial sevens" because each fat quarter and background I have cut up has produced about seven 9-patches. 

Combos waiting in the wings...not sure about that Thimbleberries one on the left--it might be too bright for Civil War repros, but I do like the print a lot.  See Julie's blog for the great variety of yummy blocks we swappers will enjoy at the end!  I picked up the McCall's Quilting mag for September/October and there is a great pattern combining 9 patches, churn dash, and basket blocks with a star printed fabric that I just love, called  Cocoa Baskets.  I can see using some of my swap blocks for this!   I also finished construction on all the Bowtie block pieces and will show that tomorrow on Design Wall Monday.

This morning we had brunch with my MIL Frances at "her place", the senior home she lives in, which has a lovely dining/meeting room on the 7th floor. Frances is 91 and very independent, in generally good health and humor. She keeps very busy at her place and is even an "ambassador", showing new folks around.
 Erica liked the desserts best!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Finding Beauty

A heartfelt thank you for all the comforting comments on my last post.  The family has made arrangements for a memorial next weekend and has requested that no one wear black; as Aaron was a happy kid who loved sports, they have even suggested wearing sports jerseys.  Rest in peace, little guy!

I took this photo of some gorgeous gladiolus stems the evening we heard about Aaron.  
The sunset was making them glow in my kitchen's garden window.

I always wish flowers like this had a wonderful smell to go along with their beauty, but I am enjoying them just the same.  I have been sewing a bit and plan to do even more today.  I sure would like a finish this month and only have a few days to do it!  Happy Saturday, everyone.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hug Ur Babies

That was our neighbor's post on Facebook this morning, a reminder that life is short.  Last evening just after 6 PM Grant noticed there were some police officers walking up the street, not a common occurrence on our cul de sac.  They went up to several doors and then up to the end of the cul de sac.  After about 20 minutes, I saw that three of the neighbor ladies that I play Bunco with were standing across the street talking so I went out to find out what was going on.  They told me that someone, still unindentified, called 911 when they heard a woman hysterically screaming for help outside on the lawn of a house at the end of our cul de sac.  Another neighbor, a police detective, immediately ran to her aid.  She had just gotten a phone call with the horrific news that her 4 year old grandson had drowned in a swimming pool at a BBQ party.  Shivers ran all over me at this awful news.  This darling little blonde boy spent much of his time at his grandparent's house while his parents worked, and he played with all the kids on our street all the time, most of whom are under 10 years old. 

We haven't learned all the details of what happened, but apparently this occurred at a private home during a late afternoon BBQ attended by lots of people.  The little boy climbed out of the big pool and went to climb into the little pool, possibly a jacuzzi.  He was found a very short time later unresponsive in the little pool.  Paramedics were called and performed resuscitative efforts but it was too late.  This was a terrible reminder that no child is safe around a pool unless someone specific is watching them at all times.

This morning, mothers on our block had to let their children know that they lost a friend to a tragic accident.  The grandparents are beside themselves.  Neighbors are bringing food and offering what help and comfort they can.    There are no words to express how heartbroken we are for the family. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday's Orts--8/23/10

How is it that suddenly the end of August is nearly here?  Time for another edition of Tuesday's Orts, things that float around my head all week and land here.
  • As a Medical Transcriptionist typing for the hospital's physiology department, a lot of the patients are elderly.  But last week was the oldest yet--I typed an echocardiogram on a patient who was 104!  Astounding to imagine that she was my age in 1953, 57 years ago!  As a quilter, I am picturing the kinds of fabrics she would see by the bolt in the stores, to make her dresses and household goods.
  • Today the patient worklist included, one above the other, an O'Hara and a Butler.  I often quote dear Scarlett, "I can't think about that today, I'll go crazy if I do.  I'll think about that tomorrow!"  I have read Gone With the Wind about 10 times.  Love that book.
  • The ladies at work are trying to turn me into a Chica.  In high school there was a club called MECHA that the Mexican-Americans joined.  I started to joke that they would induct me into that club but couldn't think of the name MECHA.  All I could come up with was La Leche League, but knew that wasn't right!  We all got a laugh.  I shared my favorite story about the only La Leche League meeting I went to, when Nick was about 5 months old and I was having trouble getting him to nurse.  Another new mom was expressing her difficulties with having all of her attention on her new baby and how guilty it made her feel that her husband now came second.  One of the group leaders, a mom of three, laughed and said, "Wait till he's 5th!".  When I came home from the meeting and told that story to Grant, somehow he did not find it as funny as I did!
  • I have a new cousin I just learned about but have not yet seen.  He was born at 24 weeks gestation and underwent heart surgery at 4 days old, stayed in the hospital for four months and just got to come home a week ago, slightly after his due date of August 8th, now weighing almost 7 lbs.  Modern medicine can work miracles, even on babies born at 1 lb 9 oz.  Welcome, Baby C!  May you grow fast and stay healthy.
  • I sewed on the new desk last night for the first time!  What a pleasure that was, to be able to rest both my arms on the surface and not have them hunched at the shoulder, and even have lots of room to spread out my project on the same surface.  I also had a friend to sew with.  Tanya brought her machine and this time there was an extra desk for her to use.  What a fun time we had!  Tanya worked on a 9 patch while I finished the last of the bowtie blocks for my brother's quilt--50 bowties for his 50th birthday.
Next, finish all the double four patch blocks and then it will be time to play Layout and Switcheroo, one of my favorite games. 

Happy Tuesday all!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Sewing Desk Complete!

My young man, Nick, the guy with the tools, helped me out for an additional hour and a quarter.  We attached the air lift, the sewing machine platform, put on the casters, both doors, both support wings for the top, and the extension table.

Adjusting the air lift for the machine to sit at the right height level with the table required some fiddling.

About to attach the final hardware--the doorknobs.  See how large the chair area is with the doors open?  My kneecaps should remain unbruised from now on.

The quilt extension leaf folds out with support legs.

And it slides over to wherever it is needed.  A very cool feature.

Thank you, Tall Young Man with Tools! 

Here she is, all closed up and purty.  Bertha will get a new name and also some new doorknobs--I am not fond either of those that she came with.  Any name suggestions? 

Crash!

So Russell the dog and I are just chillin this morning, me with my Earl Grey tea and a new quilting mag, when there is a loud, crunchy, rustling kind of crash.  Having no directional hearing, I rely on Russell to tell me where it is coming from.  He runs to the screen door to the backyard and I follow.  He zooms over to the side fence and then glances down the side of the yard, starts to run over but then hesitates.  I think, oh no, is there some animal in the yard?  So I go look--it's not animal, it is vegetable.  And then I go get my camera.

The crunchy crash was this thing, from the palm tree in our neighbor's yard.

My hand for scale--really big fruit/seed pods.

You may be able to make out two more of these hanging seed structures in the Queen palms.  While I was snapping pictures of the palms, I heard another crunchy crash and realized the neighbor was using a pole saw to cut them off.  He came over to say he thought it would fall on his side.  No matter, nothing was hurt.
But dang those things are heavy!  The whole thing probably weighed more than 50 lbs by my estimate from trying to pull it a bit. It knocked over the old BBQ into some other junk  (Note Russell behind the BBQ poking his nose into the fence gap).

I tried to do a soft focus thingie so you could see the spike that it was cut from.  These Queen palms are about 20 feet high at the point where the spike juts off, and the fronds about 10-12 feet above that.  No wonder it crashed!  Well, my tea is gone and I've got sewing to do and a desk to make.  See ya!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Adventures in Assembly

Coming home from work Thursday evening, I drove up our block to find several of the men in the neighborhood gathered around the open hood of  van belonging to one of the neighbor's daughters, who earlier in the day had needed to borrow my jumper cables as her vehicle would not start.  Beyond the gaggle of men and vehicles was a large brown truck.  As in UPS, stopped in front of our house.  A set of boxes was being delivered.  Yay!  My desk had arrived.
Stacks and stacks of pieces got unpacked from these boxes...along with piles of hardware and a thick instruction book.  I like putting together furniture and have done it many times.  My muffin tins always come in handy for all the cam locks, screws, etc.

However, starting a project like this at 9:00 PM on a weeknight was not my best choice.  After two hours and putting the same piece in wrong twice and having to take the desk apart twice, my assistants and I quit at a pretty good stopping point.


Unfortunately, I needed help with the rest of the assembly and the two men of the house left on Friday so nothing else has been done.
So much remains to be attached yet!  Hopefully when Nick returns today he can help me get the rest of this together.  In the meantime I will be putting on hinges, doorknobs and plastic drawers so all those pieces will be ready to go.  I can't say I think much of the instruction manual.  Like most manuals, the pictures are small and dark and there is a lot of 'splaining without step by step photos.  Even the website they directed me to does not have any assembly photos that might be enlarged and studied.  The hard part apparently is leveling the platform for the air lift, which has you using pieces of cardboard and foam from the boxes and extra tools and a second person to assist.  They offer help by phone but better pictures would really be an advantage.  Maybe there is a suggestion box on the website...

Look how large the opening is for the machine.  I could buy a really big one now!  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday's Orts--8/17/10

I nearly forgot about Tuesday's Orts!  Luckily my brain is full of stuff to share :)
  • County Fair favorites:  Indian Fry Bread with powdered sugar and associated shower of dust coating my face and shirt with each bite; little kids sunburnt in strollers; people watching--and the gawking at totally inappropriately dressed girls and women; The Children's Barnyard with baby animals.  This year there was a miniature donkey named Annie!  And of course all the lights, music, rides, and exhibits. We haven't missed a Fair in 25 years and hope to keep up the streak.
  • I forgot how easy it is to change a room with paint.  We put two coats of primer over the blue/gray/black stripe Nick had painted his room at the rental house.  Then a final coat of eggshell finish paint and it looked all brand new--and boring white! 
  • The rental agent's remark on seeing a bright blue wall in the garage: "It makes the garage look short".  What?  So we peeled the gloss paint off like skin off a sunburn.  Kinda fun, actually.
  • It turns out moving my sewing room downstairs was perfect timing with warmer weather now hitting us.  Nick says it is "a billion degrees" in that south facing room.  He exaggerates, it is only a MILLION degrees.
  • I ordered my sewing desk.  It has been five days since I placed my order and that seems soooo long ago.  Now that it is nearly here I'm imagining how I'll have to relearn a sewing posture that doesn't involve raising my shoulders and arms! 
  • Next week school starts again.  It still seems wrong to me that it isn't September after Labor Day for the first day of school. 
  • Can't have a post without a pic or two.  Here are the last of the Fair photos:
Are these diaper towers popular in your area for baby showers?  Start with a tub of baby wipes and make cake layers from rolled up disposable diapers, adding toys, teethers, etc.  This one has bunny-eared slippers on top, pretty cute! 

This painted box was so pretty, but difficult to get a photo of because it was in a glass case with lots of other painted treasures.  The box was about 12 x 18 inches in size.  Delicate beauty!


This crocheted shawl won one of the Best of Show awards,  The maker had lots of other Halloween-themed entries and did pretty well for herself in the sweepstakes.
This muted, more modern looking quilt caught my eye too.

Pretty nice freehand feathers!  I thought it was a 1st place quilt but since I am not a judge I guess I was overruled!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Design Wall Monday--8/16/10

A BIG BLANK

I got nothin'--my design wall was taken down and folded up during the big move-back this weekend.  Nick has returned, along with his stuff.  Thank goodness he doesn't have much more than when he left three years ago!  However, there was a lot more furniture shuffle here as well as painting and cleaning at his rental. We are all tired of moving!  So instead, enjoy some photos from the Ventura County Fair:
A very exciting event--Grant's band playing at the Fair!
They played two shows sandwiching a hypnotist.

I only got two shots of the performance before my camera battery died and the other is not worth uploading!  You can just see the drummer in the background, whose wife is a professional photographer and got a lot better shots than I did.  The band sounded great and despite freezing in the seats because of the wind and low 50's temps, a good time was had by all.  I, uh, mostly used my camera's battery power to take pics of quilts before the band's show.  Sorry, honey!

Very cute miniature quilts lined up in front of the forest scene.

Wish I could have gotten up closer to see whether the seaweed was thread work or applique. I love the Hawaiian Islands in red!

Every-kind-of-basket quilt.

Repros scrappy in indigo and red, very striking.

I think this may have been strip pieced and the leftovers used for the border.  I loved the colors.

Very cool Asian looking design, totally not my normal colors but intriguing.  Hopefully next Monday I will actually have some quilty content of my own to show.  My new sewing desk should be here in a day or two.  so excited!  Tonight is another meeting of The Orts, my quilting circle of three.  Looking forward to it!
Edited to add: See other Design Walls here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Go see Karen

Karen of Sew Many Ways is a lucky woman!  She got an Accuquilt GO cutter and is giving away one here.  Check out her tutorials coming up tomorrow for her many cute ideas.  The candy corns are yummy! 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sewing Room Shuffle

I took Wednesday off work to do the sewing room shuffle with Grant, Nick, and of course, Russell the dog, who had to be in the middle of everything and finally got banned to the backyard for a while.
Finally got the last of these bins in the drawers and all the fat quarters sorted by color.

My sewing room was not roomy to begin with...

Hoosier cabinet--my central workplace for cutting and lots of storage--here in the middle of the fabric folding episode!

This dresser is stuffed, absolutely full, of my quilting fabric.  The dresser has yet to be relocated but that has to happen TODAY, as once Nick gets his bed in, there will be no room to get the dresser out.

My half of our former family room....

...and Grant's half.  Oh, lordy, how are we gonna share this again?  I had a lot of exercise after this photo was taken, making about 50 trips up and down the stairs to bring down all my stuff.  Nothing like moving to make you realize how many unfinished projects you have--OMG!  Also, I have 4 boot-sized boxes full of scraps to cut down.  There needs to be some UFO and scrap busting projects on my horizon, and quickly!  After the day spent in the Sewing Room Shuffle, we celebrated a birthday:

Elaine is 23!  Happy Birthday sweetie.  XXOOXX. And two extra Os.  Mwah!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday's Orts

This is the second edition of my new feature, wherein I list some of the little things that accumulate in my head! 
  • I love seeing The Boy so often!  Nick's been around a lot since he is getting ready to move back in very soon.  I didn't realize how much I was missing him--he didn't come around much the past year and especially since he got a steady girlfriend about six months ago. 
  • Also I enjoy a personal concert.  My husband Grant's band is practicing downstairs for an upcoming gig at the Ventura County Fair this Friday night (Backtrack: Seabreeze Stage, 8 and 10 PM).  So far I have heard "Rock and Roll Fantasy", "American Band", "Born on the Bayou", and "Summer of 69".  They sound great as usual!
  • On the subject of the fair, Job #2's location is within a quarter mile from the fairgrounds, which charges $10 to park there.  Naturally all the nearby street spots are coveted to avoid that fee.  Tomorrow is another "Dollar Day" entry so I fully expect it to be horrendous to park.  We have scheduled patients only for the mornings during the 10 days of the fair.  It's kind of nice break not to have afternoon patients despite the parking hassle.  This morning our little lot was stuffed with cars! 
  • Remember those cheap plastic puzzles where you slide tile squares up, down, and sideways to make them align into a pattern or spell something?  Grant and I played that game for a great deal of Saturday, trying to rearrange the downstairs so we can go back to sharing the family room for our hobbies.  We decided the piano had to move to the living room and we had to move two couches, two tables, two chairs, three lamps, a huge rug, a lawyer's bookcase and a desk to make room.  When did we get all this furniture?  Here's what we found underneath the desk, which has not moved for _____ number of years: 
That would be a couple dozen cat toys--our cats love foil balls.  And, ew, the grout looks pretty hideously dirty in this picture! There was a lot of cleaning going on at the same time of the furniture shuffle, believe me.  The vacuum and dustrag and broom were out in force.
  • I told Grant I wanted to order a sewing desk, one of those portable ones like this but he wanted me to order something lots nicer and more permanent.  He shared with me that a few years ago several of my siblings and my parents gave him money to help get me a desk at Christmas but they could never find quite the right one to surprise me with!  Wow, I was surprised.  It is exciting to give up Grant's childhood metal desk I have used for about 20 years for one actually made for a sewing machine!  I am thinking of this one.  I will feel spoiled indeed when I finally get it here.
  • When your kids move out, you miss their friends, you ever notice that?  When Elaine moved in with boyfriend Chris last year, even my vicarious knowledge of Caitie, her best-friend-since-elementary-school pretty much ceased.  We were happy to have her to dinner Sunday night at my invitation.  Elaine remarked about how nice it was to have "just the family" there, meaning the immediate family with no grandparents or uncles, etc.  Caitie said, "Um, wait, you invited me here! Awkward."  Of course she IS family, we quickly assured her, especially because she lists Elaine as her sibling on her Facebook page!   
  • Last night at the meeting of The Orts, my quilting circle of three, I taught my friend Tanya to make "a 9 square" from a "fat pocket".  This was Debbie's malaprop when she was trying to remember the names of things at the beginning of the night. Too funny! 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Design Wall Monday--8/9/10

Did you all notice the once-in-a-century date today?  Pretty cool birthdate that would be.  But I digress, it is actually Design Wall Monday.  It's already Tuesday in a bunch of places but due to circumstances beyond my control, I could not post until tonight. 
I managed only this much progress on Erica's quilt in a week!  There are two other strip sets cut and ready to be sewn but it has been chaos around here trying to get ready for our son to move back in--which means emptying the sewing room.  I hope all you other ladies had a much better rate of progress than I did!  See all the other Design Walls here on Judy's blog

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Russell the Rug Molester

This is Russell, our 10 year old Aussie (with Scully the Grandpuppy barking at him).

This is my Grandma's rag rug.   It came to me last year after she died and her things were displayed for any family member to take what meant something to them. I remember seeing it next to her bed on the hardwood floor for many years. It is very thick and cushy and great for standing on while ironing or cutting.

It looks like this after Russell has been at it--he sleeps by the door to the sewing room (soon to again be Nick's room, sob!). 

And this is what I must remember to do every night to prevent molestation.

Oh, pets!