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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


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

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Puppy Love

Yesterday I finished the hand work I was doing the other day when I posted. :) Remember these blocks, begun during a visit from my quilting buddy? The quilt is now finished, though it ended up being too wide (23" x 37") for the wall I'd hoped to hang it on. Drat. Oh well.

The "problem" was that the cocker puppy, which I simply had to use, of course, because of our own cocker, Bisou, was a horizontal block instead of the vertical blocks of the schnauzer and lab puppies.

That lab was in memory of Dexter, a lab/chow mix we used to have and who was the sweetest guy you could imagine.

I used the schnauzer in order to have more than two dogs on the quilt; my sister had a schnauzer, and we also had friends with schnauzers, so that was logical choice.  Once I had all of the blocks finished, they seemed to need a border, so I used the embroidered paw prints for that; they were in the pattern set.

All of the quilting, including the straight lines, was done free motion to facilitate the frequent switching of directions that was necessary. Naturally, I also added the corded piping I like so much next to the binding.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hand work

Gosh, I hadn't realized how much time had slipped by since my last post! I've had a few distractions to keep me busy, though, the most important of which was getting ready for my husband's surgery to mend his torn meniscus. Ouch! But he's doing well at this point, thank goodness.

Another "distraction" has been the installation of our solar panels. Now we're just waiting for everything to be activated.

However, I have been doing some quilting in all of that. :) In fact, I'm now starting the hand work on a machine appliquéd/embroidered quilt begun almost two months ago. Once the binding and hanging sleeve are finished, I'll make a label and go on to the next project on the list. LOL! Doing the hand work is very relaxing, especially with a little pot of tea to enjoy at the same time. :)