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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

There are so many things to be thankful for, beginning with family and friends and going right down the list. I hope everyone out there has a wonderful holiday weekend! I've been baking today, using my own grandmother's recipe for pumpkin pie, which always makes more filling than will fit into the pie shells. The two ramekins are the extra filling, which I'm sure will disappear almost as quickly as the pies. ;)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone — in and out of the U.S.!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend fun

My very good quilting buddy, Phyl, invited me to go with her to attend an event hosted by the Bernina Connection in Phoenix. Coincidentally, one of the owners of that shop, Val, used to be my neighbor when I lived in Arizona, and our children were in school together. As always, Phyl and I had a wonderful time together, made even better by the presence in her home of her two standard poodles, Mollie and Katie, who are adorable and who make it easier not to miss my little Bisou. :)

Over the course of two days we attended *four* classes! We were pretty wiped out by the end of it, but it was a very good state of exhaustion. Such fun! All supplies for the classes, including a variety of Bernina machines, were provided, as well as lunch and a guest speaker each day. There was also a small vendor area, which you can see at the right. The red chair in front, as well as a small Bernina and a Koala cabinet were door prizes! The poster beside the chair was an illustration of a special quilt designed and created by Sarah Vedeler, who was our speaker on the second day.

What did we make? Four different projects! The first was the little blue zippered pouch in the photo to the left. It was the first time I'd ever used a serger/overlocker, and that was fun. Do you see the orange and green curved blocks there? Those are the beginning of a table runner that was the second class on the first day.

On the second day, we made the zippered vinyl project bag in black and white that's shown on the left, followed by the personalized matching double eyeglass case behind it. That case was done almost entirely in the hoop. I just have to finish up the binding on that one, though the table runner still has a lot of work to go. The project bag and zippered pouch are done.

You may also see a pattern called Quilted in Honor behind the curved blocks. That was a gift to all in attendance from Sarah Vedeler, and the black bag in the very back was the zippered tote each of us received from the Bernina Connection. Did I mention how much fun this was? I so appreciate Phyl for letting me attend with her!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What good is a bathtub?

I know that we've all bathed children and maybe pets in bathtubs, but really! After the children get to a certain age, I'd guess that most of us use the shower much more often than the bathtub, right? Why am I pondering this? Because a decent-sized black cloud was hovering over my house this past week. First there were complications when I wiped my hard drive clean of stuff that had accumulated for the past decade or so; the complications stemmed from a hardware conflict with a peripheral that had gone bad, but it took days of troubleshooting to figure that out. Whew!

No sooner was I finished with that and enjoying the fruits of my labors (a trimmed-down hard drive!), than the black cloud chortled and struck again. I have -- or had -- a tall bookcase in my sewing room. The bookcase was pretty much full of books, but what are you supposed to do with a bookcase, after all? At any rate, in the completely innocent process of removing a book for reference, the shelves collapsed. Naturally, my thumbs were caught between shelves, and books went tumbling all over the place. With my husband out of town (when else would something like this happen?*), I was faced with unloading the rest of the shelves alone, which I did. This is what the floor of my sewing room looks like now -- making it impossible to get to the closet where I keep most of my supplies.

So what's the problem, you ask? It isn't all of the books! Enter the bathtubs -- both of them. 


I decided to get the bookcase completely out of the room so I wouldn't have to look at its bare bones, so I started sliding it across the floor. It's taller than the door frame -- but you knew that was coming, didn't you? Okay, push it back into the middle of what's left of the floor and tip it onto its side before resuming the slide. It couldn't make the tight turn through my laundry room into the garage, where I planned to stash it for now, so I slid it out my front door, down the sidewalk, around in front of the garage and inside. Good news: I didn't even ding my car in the process! 

The new bookcase should be delivered in a few days -- delivery was a must, since my husband's truck is out of town with him. ;) 

*Little disasters like this one only occur when my husband isn't home; it's a Law of Nature. To illustrate:

1. There was the time that the doorknob fell off of the back door at 6:00PM and a replacement had a much larger "thing" that had to go through the door. I drilled with a small drill bit (didn't have a gigantic one) for hours. 

2. Oh, and there was the time lightning hit the house and the evaporative cooler wouldn't turn off.  Wearing coats in July does seem a bit odd, but I finally found the right circuit breaker. It only took a few weeks for the ceiling to dry out and be repaired.

3. Then there was the time the plumber forced water through a vent in the roof in order to unplug a sink -- and made it "rain" all over my computer and desk. The insurance adjuster and I ended up on a first-name basis.

Those are just the highlights. Life can really be interesting. Sometimes a sense of humor can help. Eventually. ;)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Progress on two fronts

I've said before that I have a Mac computer. I've had Macs almost from the time they were introduced, and I haven't done a clean installation of a new operating system in at least ten years. As a result, there's lots of extra "stuff" hiding in various places on my hard drive -- stuff I no longer need or use. Given that, I decided it was high time to do a clean installation of Yosemite, the newest OS, on my Mac. Ouch! It's so much easier just to upgrade! I've been moving things, reinstalling things, discovering that data doesn't always just copy easily but must be exported, etc., etc. So far, I've been working on it for a day and a half, and I may have finished the worst of it at this point. I'm waiting for a couple of tech support replies, and I may still reinstall a couple of apps I haven't yet decided are vital, but the majority of the work is past.

While waiting for some things to copy/export/import, I did a little quilting on my current project. Here's what I'm doing at the moment, though of course there's still quite a bit to finish. This is a Drunkard's Path variation, and I'm quilting a lot of my much-loved feathers. I used oriental prints for this, and the quilting so far is with a lovely soft metallic gold thread.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Back from Houston

Gosh! It's been a month since I've written a post — time really does fly sometimes. I returned home last night from a wonderful trip to the Houston Quilt Festival, which was celebrating its 40th anniversary. I know there are photos all over the web of the glorious quilts; I have to admit that I didn't take any myself. I decided this year simply to enjoy the quilts, rather than trying to get good photos.

While I was there, I took a half-day class from Jenny Lyon, whose blog I've been enjoying. The class was very good, and Jenny herself is really upbeat and encouraging. The class was well worth attending. :)

My quilting buddy Phyl and I roomed together, ogled the quilts, and drooled in the vendors' booths. What did I buy, you ask? The first thing was Philippa Naylor's new book, Appliqué Mastery. Philippa is a phenomenal teacher, but she wasn't offering anything I hadn't already taken during the time I was there. The book, though, will serve to remind me of things I'd had in her appliqué class, as well as things I hadn't known.

After that, a few of the things I was specifically looking for weren't available or had sold out by the time I found where they'd been. However, I did "discover" a new-to-me booth, l'Atelier d'Isabelle, where I bought a wool felt kit to make an adorable flower pin cushion. Isn't it cute? I also found some buttons that I may be able to use on a sweater I'm making. In other places I found some threads I needed, refill chalks for my Bohin pencils, and a couple of rulers designed for use in free-motion work on domestic machines. Fun!

My kit
Yesterday, though, I ran across something I'd somehow missed before: a British stand selling a foot specifically made for ruler work on domestic machines, including the Bernina! Eureka! This will be so much easier than the #9 foot I modified with O-rings! The foot came as a "kit" with a slider mat and a ruler, but I already had the slider mat. The very nice vendor added another ruler to the kit instead, and took off a bit from the price. There's a YouTube channel showing how some of the rulers work, too.

Above, you can see the foot, with its #75 shank licensed from Bernina, and the two rulers. The straight line one is included in the kit, and then I chose the curved one for making circles and clamshells. The foot actually fits right into those channels, and then you scoot the ruler along or swivel it around to continue on. On the left you can see how the foot looks on the machine.

I've just finished a tiny amount of "play" with the foot and a "normal" free-motion ruler, as well as with the special rulers that came with the foot, and I think I'm in love. LOL! The lines to the right are made with a normal FM ruler, and the ones to the left are done with the ruler included in the kit.

Now to catch up on the laundry! ;)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Parcel Pullover Sweater

This design by Carol Feller caught my eye some time ago, and I found some yarn I liked for it and went to work. :) The yarn is Malabrigo Rios, in the Solis color. It's a gorgeous yarn!

 I'd only done cables once before, and those were on some rather small fingerless mitts, so this was more of a challenge. There are three cables on the body of the sweater, as well as two more on the sleeves. At the right, you can see the pair of cables on the right side of the front.

And at the left, you can see all three body cables, which are repeated on the back.

Each sleeve has two cables. From these photos, I think you can see that the cables aren't the same style as are usually seen, and they are graduated in length. It's a very interesting pattern!

I actually finished the knitting a couple of weeks ago, but I'd been waiting for my husband to be away so I could block the pullover on the kitchen table without messing up our meals; we have a very small home with little room for spreading out. LOL! However, his plans changed, and he didn't go away as originally planned. I've blocked the sweater on the bed instead, turned on the overhead fan to help things along, and am hoping it will be done before someone wants to sleep there. ;)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Storm!

The sun behind the clouds
We're under a flash flood watch right now as a huge storm rolls in. It hasn't hit our area quite yet, but we have some spectacular skies while we wait. We really need the water, but getting it all at once is always a bit nerve-wracking. Here are a couple more photos:
More clouds
Rain in the distance