Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday's Orts--July 31, 2012

Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here semi-regularly.
  • A Sunday family dinner at Mom and Dad's included a wonderful visit by some long-ago neighbors who were teenagers when we kids were little.  The brother and sister used to babysit us and we have great memories of Easter Egg hunts in their huge backyard.  The brother, Jerry, recalled that he drove my mom to the hospital when she went into labor with her fifth child, our little brother Ted.  Jerry was a bit dismayed, I think, to learn that little brother is now 46.
  • The Marrieds, Elaine and Chris, are just starting on the exciting and nerve-wracking journey to home ownership--she texted last night that they signed escrow papers.  Her dad and I are pleased they will be moving to our end of town--and I'm sure Chris' mom is too.
  • Traffic Rant:  Summer Tourists in motorhomes who pay no attention to the marked lanes on the narrower streets of downtown while gawking and cruising slowly down the middle, blocking anyone from passing.
  • I filed for unemployment on Saturday.  That was quite a chore.  The online version of the application form required a breakdown of gross earnings by quarter, for the last six quarters, for each employer.  Since I had three employers in the last 18 months it was complex, to say the least.  Curiously, the printed version of the same application form didn't request listing earnings at all. 
  • Sometimes you just gotta wonder "Why?" when you see landscaping efforts like this one next to a business' parking lot:

Looks a bit like the state of Nebraska in artificial grass.  That one lonely Kangaroo Paw just isn't helping much, is it!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Design Wall Monday--July 29, 2012

I've given up all pretense of working on this month's UFO--just isn't gonna happen, unfortunately.  So on my design surface is the Quilts For Kids project that I showed yesterday with my altered design layout.

I got the borders on last night and am pondering what to do about binding.  The shipping list with the kit from my local chapter listed a cut of fabric for binding, but there was none in the kit.  Of course, I didn't realize that until yesterday.  Perhaps I will give another go at bringing the backing to the front for the binding.  I've only done this one time before, badly, on one of my very first quilts, so I hope I can do a much better job now. 

Also on my design surface are two additional fabrics I picked up at JoAnn's for the Giant Shoo Fly Wedding Gift Quilt (needs a new title!).  I liked the Alexander Henry print that looked kind of bamboo-ish to go with my sort of Asian theme, though the label says "Everglades".  And I wanted an almost black print to complete the sextet of blocks so this scroll print worked pretty well.  Almost black is a hard color to find, isn't it?  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

QFK Twist

It seems sewing regularly is impossible these days--not a stitch happened from Wednesday to today.  Aware it was getting close to the requested six week return date for the Quilts for Kids kit I received in June, that project rose to the surface.  Last time I altered the basic quilt design of the kit by adding triangles to the corners of the focus fabric squares to make snowball blocks: shown here. This time I played with pencil and paper to completely change the layout, using only the provided pieces.

As you can see, I placed a focus fabric square in the middle and then lined the rest of the focus squares side by side, filling in with the four patches. 

Pretty purple beach themed focus fabric with coordinating print/solids and then a gingham backing.

After stitching together the provided strips to cut the sections from for the four patches, I saved two sections out and then sewed the top together in columns, placing the two extra sections above and below the center square.  The rest were sewn into four patches as the pattern instructs.  Since this photo I've got the rows all sewn together.  What do you think of my design? 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tuesday's Orts on Thursday

Tuesday's Orts--scraps and bits of thoughts and events that float around and land here semi-regularly.
  • Notes from a waiting room:  No one seems to know how to hem a pair of pants.  I saw them folded up, rolled, dragging, and puddling, on males and females.
  • My mom called me yesterday to tell me she found my favorite cola drink, Pepsi One, which had been discontinued in May, at the Smart & Final store.  She picked up a bunch for me.  Grant said he was sure I'd drink it fast enough to beat the "Best by" dates.
  • Traffic Rant:  Young drivers who tailgate you on a city street when there is another lane, then zoom around you in a show-off, in-your-face way. (This one is from my mom.)
  • The monthly Bunco game is at my house tonight.  Looking forward to lots of laughter and fun when the 12 of us gather together--once I get this disaster area cleaned up!
  • The house is quiet again now that Erica has gone and her friends are not stopping by. I was even able to get some laundry done.
Mini kept the basket warm while I was in the garage starting the machines.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Working Away

Surprisingly, I am still working at Dr. P's, even though he is seeing patients elsewhere.  I'm trying to finish up all the packing, labeling, and various and assorted tasks for closing down the office.  My mom and DD Elaine helped on Monday morning and we piled a lot of disassembled charts into the shred bins.  Elaine volunteered to climb up into the bins and jump up and down, but paper does not compact very well so the pile was not pushed down too far.  We should have gotten a photo!  At any rate, the file room shelves are emptied and the building is lonely.  We also finally started getting payments from Medicare, which we had been trying to do for six months.  This is a big load off our minds! 

On other fronts, DD Erica is leaving for Arizona today so I worked the last two evenings to get the placemats done for her.

We both preferred this asymmetrical setting.  I did all of the quilting with my walking foot.

I guess it's true I like Oriental prints because the backing had the word Geisha in it, which of course I didn't know when I first saw the fabric on the bolt :)  Someday I'll have to make some placemats for my own table--the quilt-as-you-go way sounds good.  Anyone have another favorite way?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Design Wall Monday--July 23, 2012

On my design surface today are three cutting jobs for ongoing projects.  First up, the backing for this month's UFO, Cheddar and Cinnamon--getting a late start, aren't I?

Trying to use up stash and scraps, I pulled this green background berry print Thimbleberries yardage from stash, and will make up the rest of the backing with leftovers from the quilt top.  The cheddar will also be the binding. 

After that, pieces and parts for a couple of placemats for DD Erica, who is here until Wednesday before she heads back to Arizona.  Guess these better be first on the list to sew :)

Last, after Shay's suggestion of a mustard for the giant Shoo Fly quilt, I found this lovely print at JoAnn's.  I like how the white berries break up the mustard and tie in with the other lights in the quilt.  It's a good thing I'm working on this early, given my track record for last minute finishes--the wedding is still a couple of months off so I should be able to get this done in plenty of time (famous last words, right?).  See more design walls on Judy's new and improved Patchwork Times.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sorrows and Joys

The long week finally ended with a very long day on Friday.  I stayed home from work to be with Grant and drive him around.  Our first stop was the towing yard where we had to sign a release to have the car moved to our insurance company's preferred yard.  It was very sobering to see our Acura TL.

Thank goodness this well-made vehicle protected my precious DH!  The tow yard guy echoed our thoughts that this doesn't really look repairable and we might not want to drive it if repaired--it will never be the same.  We await the verdict from the insurance company, but the guy who took Grant's statement told him he probably should start looking for another car right away.  Meanwhile, Grant has a rental.

Following this sorrowful sight of the car we have only owned for six months, Grant had to be seen at the Workers' Comp clinic as arranged by the employer's insurance company.  We arrived shortly before noon and that was extremely poor timing on our part, as Grant did not get called back until the xray tech came back from lunch over an hour later.  They would not let me go back with him at that point so I sat another hour plus in the over-air conditioned room, until Grant texted me that he was done with xrays and was waiting for the doc before they could let me come in.  I left the clinic to grab a very late lunch at home and then returned.  The doc soon fetched me from the waiting room and let me know that there was "nothing bad" to report.  All told, Grant was there for five hours, and left with a bunch of "swag" including a cervical pillow, thumb splint, rib belt, ice pack, and medications.  Good thing we didn't have to pay for all of that!

Luckily our guests were able to delay their departure from town a bit so that we could say goodbye.

Here is darling Alica (pronounced Ah-Lisa) with her bow and arrow from Pixar's new Brave movie--which she got to see here in the U.S. for her 5th birthday in early July.  Earlier in the day she was wearing a red wig like the heroine, Merida, and admiring the curls coming down over her eyes.   

All energetic after her nap, Alica was ready to get on the road but consented to a photo in the car.  She blew lots of kisses from the window as they left our neighborhood, which I made sure to catch and return.  It was marvelous to have a charming 5 year old to be smitten with this past week, and wonderful to see our old friend Mike and his lovely wife Lara.  We were happy they felt comfortable in our home and were able to enjoy some family time before they returned to Arizona and then home again to Russia.  Safe trip, friends!

Some semblance of normalcy finally returned Saturday, though we did have an annual block party going on and then another overnight guest, as Erica's friend was in town to see her.  I did spend a bunch of time burying thread tails on the Caramel Blues I wanted to enter into the County Fair, but there was no way I could get the remaining quilting plus the binding done in time for the deadline today, so I switched to the mini quilt above.  I tied it with embroidery thread and bound it with the same fabric as the narrow border, finishing and heading out the door in the last hour they were accepting entries.  I entered four quilted projects in the Clothing and Textiles department and will be excited to see my quilts on display in early August.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What A Week

We'd been having quite a week here at the Orts Compound, enjoying our guests and trying to keep up with the normal chores and work duties.  Yesterday morning I left the house early to pick up DD Erica at the airport.  Her plane came in early but so was I and we were soon on our way north toward home.  After a stop for breakfast and a visit to JoAnn's fabric store, we were back on the road and nearly home when my cellphone rang.  It was Grant, saying words I have dreaded hearing all our married lives, since he has always had a job where he is constantly on the road:  "I was in a car accident.  I'm in the ambulance."  Luckily he was mostly banged up and dazed from the seatbelt and the airbags going off in the impact, but it took four hours at the ER until he was finally released with some muscle relaxer and anti-inflammatory meds.  I played patient advocate a few times, trying to get us more attention, but it was a really busy Wednesday in that ER.  Meanwhile, Grant continued working--spreading out his laptop on the hospital bed and phone to his ear, taking customer orders.  Unbelievable--son Nick even took a photo of him and sent it to his sisters. 

Suffice it to say, the rest of the world faded into the background for the afternoon and evening.  Very, very thankful he was not badly hurt. The older lady who hit him suffered a broken leg and he is worried about her.  They were taken in the same ambulance to the ER but of course we don't know what happened to her after that.  Hope she is okay.  So now we are on to the exciting next round of insurance claims, workers' comp claims, car rentals, and finding out if the car we bought six months ago is salvageable.  But that is a much better list than doctor's office, surgeon, and physical therapy!

Gratuitous photo of DD Elaine's quilt.  Just because fabric helps soothe my worries!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Design Wall Monday--July 16, 2012

On my design floor today is the newest project in my sewing room.  Not that I don't have lots of other projects ahead of it, but excitement pushed it forward.

The JoAnn's flyer is there for size comparison.  These giant 24" blocks were a blast to put together.  Three more and I'll have a quilt center--a border will make it throw sized.  The wedding they are intended for as a gift is in early October so there is no rush, but I was eager to see how these fabric choices from stash worked together.  I think they do!  Other colors to join these may be a very dark brown print, a multicolor print with some of the same colors, and maybe an orangey yellow, I don't know.  Any other color ideas for these modern shoo fly blocks?  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Finally some sewing time came my way this weekend, in between visiting with our guests, playing with an adorable blue-eyed blonde 5 year old with an equally adorable Russian accent, who calls our dog "Yussell" instead of Russell. She was thrilled to play with our girls' old dollhouse, and happily ride Nick's skateboard while holding onto my hands.  Today they are away at a family BBQ so I devoted some more time to the pile of unfinished work in my sewing area.

The center of the Pinwheel Garden quilt is sewn...auditioning borders now.  Meh for the burgundy print.

The green dot is okay but I don't have enough of it.  A big no to the yellowish print.  I have no other light prints in the stash--no light blue, pink, green, or purple.

This creamy white looks better than I expected.

I believe there are enough lights in the pinwheels to make this the right choice.  With the addition of more green from the vines and leaves to be appliqued, I think it will look great.    There is only a yard of it so I'll have to do MATH to see if there is enough.  If not, I'll find another at the fabric store that will work.

While I had the camera out,  I took pics of the lovely gifts our guests brought: a picture postcard tour of their city, Nizhny Novgorod, a thimble and t-shirt with the city's name, and an adorable set of matryoshka.

The tallest one is only about four inches, and the little bean of a baby about 3/4".  I love these! 

Tonight I hope to complete all the crosshatching on the Caramel Blues quilt.  This needs to be completed by Friday if I want to enter it into the County Fair and there is still stippling, borders, and binding to be done.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Blog Doldrums

Spending all day every day this week packing patient files has left me completely exhausted and therefore no sewing is happening in my world.  My mom has been volunteering at the office, thankfully listing all the chart contents and hefting boxes (even when I tell her not to!).  An out of state worker was even imported one morning--my niece Hannah is here from AZ visiting a friend and was at loose ends while the friend was volunteering at the hospital, so she came and assembled boxes.  Then we went out to lunch at a popular local seafood joint and had a celebrity siting:  Sam Elliott and a familiar looking lady were there eating with family, he of Mask, Tombstone, and Big Lebowski fame.  My mom was making fun of Sam's skinny legs, but gave him proper respect once Hannah googled him.  The familiar looking lady turned out to be his wife, actress Katharine Ross, who was Elaine in The Graduate, and also starred in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.  They apparently have a place in Montecito, just up the coast near Santa Barbara, a popular celebrity enclave (Oprah Winfrey has a house there as well).   Sorry, no photos of the famous couple--I thought they'd rather just enjoy their lunch.

It has been rather overcast, alternately blustery, and very muggy, but not hot here by the ocean.  Many days, the ocean view looks like this for half the day:

Not much definition between sea and sky, though those tiny specks who are surfers don't care, and you'd never know there were four islands 10 miles or so off this coast either.  However, I don't think our guests who are due to arrive tomorrow will mind--they have been baking in Arizona temps over 100 degrees.  Our guests are an old friend who is bringing his second wife and daughter, whom we have never met; the wife and daughter are Russian, and the family spent 30 hours traveling from their home near Moscow to visit our friend's family in the states.  So we have rushed to finish painting the upstairs and get our makeshift guest room ready for them.  I hope to have some quilty content to post at some point in the near future.  But in the meantime, Dr. P has asked me to continue working until everything is ready to go...so my summer vacation will be put off at least another week.  Back soon!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


You know how it is, you see something and have to drop everything when inspiration hijacks you.  A family friend's son is finally getting married in October--we have both known Drew since he was born.  It was through this mutual friend that Grant and I met and Drew was the ring bearer at our wedding, so it's a special event and of course I want to make the happy couple a quilt.

The couple lives in San Francisco and I thought this modern quilt was a perfect choice (AP&Q June August 2012).  Except it was bigger than I wanted to make--each shoo fly is nearly 3 feet square and I don't have a lot of 3/4 to 1 yard pieces in my stash--so I redrafted the pattern to a size that works with what I have on hand.  A flurry of fabric washing and ironing and cutting began...

Kaffe Fausset olive dot, vintage stash Kona teal blue ginkgo leaves, and an Asian inspired red from a "scraps by the pound" quilt store find, along with a couple of neutrals to start.

The red was extremely leaky, the above sinkful was the third rinse, and the fabric required an overnight soaking for a total of five baths before the water was clear.

I cut my squares at 9 inches for the HSTs and 8 5/8 for the plain ones.

This Shoo Fly is over 24 inches square.  Isn't it fun?  Like the pattern, there will be six giant blocks altogether but I couldn't wait for all the fabrics to be gathered.  Can't wait to see how they all turn out.  Also while doodling on the shoo fly I played with an alternate idea of using tri-recs for part of the block.  Some MATH is required and maybe a paper pattern before I cut into any fabric, but I'm excited about working it out.  Stay tuned...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Design Wall Monday--July 9, 2012

Design Wall Monday again--that sure came around quick!   No sewing happened at all this past week for various reasons, including indecision, lack of motivation, and just plain funk, until today.  Some piecing seemed the right thing to do.

Your eyes do not deceive you, this is the same layout as last week, except the blocks are sewn into their rows.  It is almost a top.

The inspiration for this pinwheel quilt came from a free pattern I got in the mail with a subscription request.

I lacked the number of pinwheel blocks for this setting and that's where the half-square triangle idea popped up, followed by wanting to create stripes.  I like this quilt pattern with the appliqued leaves and vines and the sawtooth outer border, but will have to do a mock up.  I fear the strong colors of the stripes on mine may be too jarring with a white/cream border, even with the vines added.  What do you think? 

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Chief

Dr. P gave me permission to post pics of him with the Jollas de la Mar quilt I made him.

Here's "The Chief" pose.

And his more usual state, "Smiling Doctor". 

We are packing up and preparing for our final goodbyes to the beachside office.  We made it through our final luncheon with only tears of laughter, thankfully!  It is hard to think that a journey I started in 1991 with this practice is over; Dr. P joined the practice in 1997 but I didn't work for him until 2007, and was appointed as a manager in 2008.  The last four years have been very full of ups and downs but through it all we have kept our sense of humor and as a staff have enjoyed working together with only a minimum of drama.  I doubt I will ever encounter a group of smart and funny ladies such as these again in my working career, nor a boss as generous and fun.  Thanks for the memories!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Design Wall Monday--July 2, 2012

July is here and it really feels like summer now.  We've been enjoying some unusually sunny weather for SoCalif and there has been no complaining about it. Some years the layer of coastal fog hangs around forever and there are never any good beach days.  Not that I go to the beach, I am too busy sewing :)

On my design surface today are the scrappy pinwheel blocks and large half-square triangle setting squares.  I sewed those HSTs today, ironed and sliver trimmed them.  Next time I will give myself a little more wiggle room for trimming down--I think I had less than 1/8th inch to work with.

I started with the setting squares to keep my stripes straight.

Then filled in with all the pinwheels and played Switcheroo a bit. 

These pinwheels were made of "waste triangles" from the Rick Rack Road quilt.   Borders of some sort will be added since these odd-sized blocks of 7" finished will need some fleshing out to be a usable sized quilt.  I may even get brave and add some appliqued vines and leaves in the border.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Taken out to the Ballgame

We headed to L.A. yesterday afternoon for Grant's Father's Day gift ballgame.  Grant figured this was the first Dodger game he had been to in several decades, but recalled as a kid going with his mom, dad, and brother to many games with a cooler packed with sandwiches and drinks, sitting in the bleachers.

Despite leaving 20 minutes after the kids, we arrived slightly before they did, as they came a different route that turned out to have more traffic troubles. 

The game had already started by the time we got there.  We are looking across the field at our seats on the first base side at field level.

It was pretty toasty in the full sun but we managed to enjoy ourselves, catching a breeze now and then, eating, drinking, and cheering.  A foul ball was hit our way and went right over our heads, bounced off the hand of the guy sitting behind Grant and was knocked into the seat of the lady in front of me, a diehard fan who said it was the first time she ever had a ball hit towards her.  Several kids behind me asked me to "tap the lady" so they could borrow and examine the ball.  Later they asked again, and when handing it back, wanted to know how much she would sell it for.  "Aw, don't say that!", she said.

Grant, son Nick, son-in-law Chris, and daughter Elaine (now sporting red hair) wearing necessary eye protection! We only caught a bit of shade from the stadium lights blocking the setting sun for a few minutes.

Lee DeWyze, 2010 American Idol winner, sang at the 7th inning stretch.  Elaine said he was a favorite of hers and Chris'.  He did a good job of America the Beautiful and received nice applause.

Don't you love this creative use of a cardboard food tray by this young fan?  Lots of other folks simply held up the tray to block the sun.  Though the Dodgers lost (again), it was some good family time and a nice way to spend a lovely summer afternoon.  We were home before full dark and surprisingly not even sunburned.  Thanks for the gift, kids!   

Design Wall Monday--Catching Up

 Design Wall Monday --See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  I disappeared for awhile, due to computer issu...