Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Party Time

Today is Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras.  There's a Mardi Gras parade today in my little town, but I think I'm going to stay home and enjoy my day off.  Mardi Gras surely wasn't a paid holiday in the other LA!


Mardi Gras is the last day of feasting and celebration before the clock strikes midnight and Lent begins.  I suspect some of those folks in New Orleans and at other celebrations around the state will need those 40 days to sober up!

Other than a purple, green and gold wreath on the front door, I didn't decorate at all.  I guess next year I should do that. And make a Mardi Gras quilt.  This picture caught my eye this morning. It looks like it would be simple enough to make, or even just squares in the three colors of the day.  We'll see what I can come up with for next year....



Wishing everyone a happy day.  As we say down here ... laissez les bon temps rouller!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Perils of UFOs

I decided this morning to go out to the Cottage and select two UFOs to work on - to get them ready to go to the quilter.

First up was the Moda Modern Building Blocks. I started this quilt in September of 2014.  I thought I just needed to find the backing, get it pieced, and it would be ready to send off.

Wrong.

I pulled it out of its tub and was immediately stuck in the finger by a pin.  Apparently I had pinned the top and bottom halves together and had never sewn the seam.  How dumb is that?  (sigh)  So that's first up on the agenda.

The next one I pulled out was the Metro Scope blocks that I made using the Quick Curve Ruler.  I started this one in July of 2014.  Apparently I started a lot of things in 2014 .......


I needed to fix this block.  Right before I moved, my friend, Mary Ann, and I went to the Quilt Loft in Upland CA, and I brought these blocks with me so I could get the backing.  I told Mary Ann something seemed off and I couldn't figure it out.  She took one look at it and saw that I had flipped a corner.  It's the top right, and you can see that I sewed it backwards.  I will get that one fixed, the blocks sewn together, backing pieced, and find someone to quilt it for me.

This isn't much on the sewing front, but it's a move forward in my little world.  Hooray!

My handy man came over yesterday and we measured where I want to put the design wall.  Next weekend I'll pick up the supplies and hopefully that will be done soon.  I have two or three sets of quilt blocks that I need to get up on a wall so I can get them arranged.  I've given up on doing it on the floor -- I can't get up and down easily, and Penny loves to run through the blocks and scatter them!

I didn't do squat this week as far as quilting.  Not even an appliqued basket.  Before I get back to those, though, I need to finish a binding.

No more starting something and not finishing!

Remind me I said that!

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Cold and Dreary

I stitched on New Year's Day and finished up another Ziploc bag of baskets this morning.  There are 20 in each bag.  I have now completed 240 baskets with 51 more to go!  It's always exciting when I can see the end of a long-term project!


This is the Trick or Treat quilt from When the Cold Wind Blows by Blackbird Designs.  Even though I haven't finished the baskets, I might spend a little time today making a plan for appliqueing the 48 setting triangles. 

I just took a stroll around the yard and it's awfully cold out there.  Okay, "cold" is a relative term in the South but I guess it seems colder because it's dreary and damp.

The white camellias are blooming.  The reds will open in a few weeks.  This particular bush has stunning pure white blooms, and another bush has white blooms with yellow centers.  The solid white is my favorite.


Penny spent a lazy day yesterday, New Year's Day.  I felt bad because Santa only gave her recycled toys for Christmas, so I picked up a squeaky toy for her.  She won't let it out of her sight!


I heart my dog!

Friday, January 01, 2016

Welcome 2016



I am so glad 2015 is over!  It was a really stressful year what with being immobile for a large part of the year, knee surgery, unpacking, and there was some housecleaning that occurred, literally and figuratively.  I think I'm all set.

Today is a new year and I have another opportunity to "get it right."  No resolutions.  I just want to quilt more.  That's it.  Simple.

My 2016 word of the year is HAPPINESS.  While I understand that not everything that happens will bring happiness this year, I can control a lot of the things going on in my life.  When faced with a decision on things I can control, I will ask myself, "Will this make me happy?"  If the answer is yes, then I'll go for it!

And I would be remiss here not to remind everyone to take some stitches today.  To, once again, quote my dear late mother .... whatever you do on New Year's Day, you do for the rest of the year!

Happy quilting and Happy New Year from Penny and me!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Twas the Week Before Christmas

And LA Quilter hasn't gotten the first present wrapped -- nor purchased.  Today's the day.  I'm going to make it as simple as possible this year, but I still have to go to a mall in a strange town that I've only been to once before.

If you don't hear from me in a couple of days, send out Search and Rescue!

I did get a tree up this year, the first in probably 12 years.  I wanted a live tree but had no way to get one here.  My cleaning lady was coming last Friday and her boyfriend was also coming to do some yard work, so they picked one up for me.  I had purchased what I thought was a Vicky-proof tree stand and then couldn't figure out how to get it together.  They rescued me and installed it in the stand and in the den, hauled down boxes and boxes of decorations from the "holiday closet" upstairs, and the rest was up to me.


I had gotten four new strings of lights as mine were so old.  Penny and I managed to get those on last weekend, and whatever ornaments were in the first two boxes I opened were what ended up on the tree.  There was a box of little red bows and those filled in the gaps.  Didn't do so great getting those lights on that blasted tree!


Don't laugh!  I am SO not a decorator!

I plugged it in for about an hour or two last weekend, and then didn't plug it in until Wednesday this week.  The lights died on the top half of the tree.  I was so disgusted and was ready to just take the whole thing down.  Then it got funny.  And the more I looked at that ugly tree, the funnier it got!  I didn't take a nighttime picture but even in this daytime shot I think you can see the problem!  Hilarious!


Oh, well, at least it smells good!  I did manage to put a little Christmas cheer on the front porch.  I wanted to get lights up outside but, again, no way I could do that myself.  Maybe next year I should just concentrate on that and forget about a tree!



Work is going great.  One week into it, I'm so glad I made the decision to work again.  It's busy and  interesting - and I'm happy.  I make the five-minute commute home every day to let Penny out and grab a bite.  I've been appliqueing a little on a basket block every day while I'm home for lunch, and am happy to report that 230 blocks are done out of 291.

I probably won't be posting again before the 25th, so I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas.  May the joy of the season fill your hearts!


Saturday, December 05, 2015

Changes

I absolutely cannot believe how busy a "retired" person can be.  My calendar has something on it every single day. 

Some quilting has happened but it's mostly finishing up stuff and appliqueing baskets.  I made two Route 66 placemats for a friend's motor home.  There were issues with my Bernina 750 on the quilting.  I was so frustrated.  I actually sat down and removed the cross hatching on the first placemat.  The 750 was in the shop when it was unpacked because of "moving" issues and has been sitting in the Cottage fixed but unused for almost the whole year.  The fabric was bunching up.  I was about to pull out another Bernina when the light bulb came on.  While the machine was in the shop, the repairman lifted the dual feed mechanism.  Once I realized that and dropped it back down into position, the cross hatch quilting worked perfectly.  Those placemats were delivered around Thanksgiving and are checked off the to-do list.

I sewed the bindings on two quilts (with the dual feed working perfectly), did the hand stitching, and those are going out in the mail on Monday for the grandchildren of two friends.  Check.  I have one more binding to get machine stitched on this weekend, and I'll get it finished next week.  It's a Christmas quilt for my quilt rack display this year.  All three of these quilts were back from the quilter this summer but I'm just now getting around to finishing them.


Baskets -- 225 done out of 291.  I'm really getting a little tired of these but am plugging away.  I hadn't worked on them for a week, so I sat down last night and did one.  It's the old "how do you eat an elephant" thing.  My goal now to get these done is two months.  There will be some appliqued setting blocks to do, but not too many, and those will get done in due time.  This long-term project will definitely be a 2016 finish.


Shopping -- There was an estate sale that began on Thanksgiving Day in a little town near me.  I went with my nephew and his wife, and we had a ball going through this gorgeous turn of the century home.  I wanted so many things, but settled on this old secretary.  It hasn't been cleaned here yet, and there are a few scratches that I can handle, but I love it!  I also picked up a beautiful crystal bowl for $25 that will hold a nice flower arrangement on the dining room table, and some beautiful doilies and mantle scarves.  Don't know how much I'll use those but I couldn't pass them up for just a couple of dollars.  I quickly scanned the books in the library and found two books on antique furniture for next to nothing.  What a fun afternoon!

 
Health -- I think Monday will be my last PT visit because of a life change that is happening.  I had an orthopedic appointment today.  I love that guy.  He's a hoot.  He examined my knees, and said I should go next door and talk to the therapist about a good regimen of home exercises to do, and "We'll give it a shot."  Okay, great, we'll give the home exercise program a shot. Uh, no.  The look on my face I'm sure was priceless when the nurse walked in with a small ultrasound machine and a syringe.  I really need to pay closer attention!  Anyway, all is well; the knee is feeling a lot better and I'm off and running.  No, wait, no running.  Sheesh.  No pictures on that one.  Can I hear a "Thank You!"?

The change -- I am going back to work.  It's a governmental administrative support position. I think I'll be much happier getting out of the house every day, meeting people, and having more structure in my life.  Frankly, I missed working.  But the beauty of this position -- it's about a mile from my house!  I left home 15 minutes before my interview this week, and then had to sit in the car and kill 10 minutes so I wouldn't show up too early.  I'll work four and a half days a week.  Win/win.

So back to sewing at nights and on the weekends.  There's the structure.  No more being exhausted after an hour to hour and a half commute.  I can walk Penny, eat, and dive in.  Wait, no diving ...

This weekend is busy.  A facial, a two year-old birthday party, and the Christmas parade and lighting ceremony in the evening.  I'm loving life in my tiny town!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Today's the Day

Yep, today's the day I get back in the cottage and turn on the 750.  I've been putting it off and really don't know why except that I wanted everything finished back there first.  It's going to be a while before that happens, so I might as well just do it.  Of course, I'm already procrastinating this morning, doing laundry in my pajamas instead of showering and making the trek.  Okay, okay, I'm going just as soon as I finish this post.

I have so many UFOs that are near finished, but I need to concentrate on a couple of things before Christmas.  I promised a friend I would make two Route 66 placemats for her sister's motor home.  I have the fabrics but just need to sit down and do the boring cross hatch quilting on those.  I have three quilts that need bindings, so those need to get sewn on.  And I have two quilts for Brenda Riddle's Quilted Comfort project that were lost in the move.  I've found the tops but only one of the backings.  I need to make those a priority.  Once these items are off my plate, I can turn my attention to other things.

I'm having the worst time finding my pictures on Picasa.  It makes no sense because I've been using that program for years.  I downloaded several pictures and this is the only one I could find, so this is it for today.




Zapp's is a Louisiana company founded in 1985.  They started out with kettle cooked potato chips with a bit of Cajun seasoning, and their menu has expanded to include these pretzels in the shapes of footballs and fleur de lis.  For everyone who doesn't know, the fleur de lis is the logo of the New Orleans Saints, and "Who Dat?" is the official saying, I guess.  LOL.  Louisianians certainly take their football seriously.  (But we won't talk about LSU's loss to Bama last week, will we?)

I need to figure out computer things.  I need a new blog site and somewhere else to download and edit pictures.  I just don't have the knowledge or the desire to deal with those things right now. 

I've finished 208 out of 291 of the baskets.  My goal is a minimum of one a day, and that's all I've gotten accomplished for the last eight days.  I'm back at physical therapy when I thought I was done.  Turns out my "good" knee is now my "bad" knee.  I have developed chondromalacia in that knee, probably from overcompensating the past year.  It'll get well but I have to back off on exercising for now and can only do certain things with that knee.  It has certainly messed up my nice little exercise routine.  I was dropping a pound a week exercising, a slow and steady progress, and was feeling good.  I'll try to keep that up but it will be harder now.  I read something someone posted a couple of weeks ago, "My goal is to lose 10 pounds.  Only 15 more to go."  That cracked me up.

It has been so wet here for the past month.  This week has been sunny but the yard is saturated and the mosquitoes are horrendous.  I had totally forgotten about those as we didn't have any where I lived in SoCal.  I took Penny out yesterday afternoon when I got back from therapy, and she was coated by mosquitoes in about two minutes.  She was trying to pee and I was swatting at her back.  The look she gave me ..... "Really, Mom?"  I finally had to just leave her alone for a couple of minutes to take care of business.  She's on heartworm preventative medicine, but it still disturbs me to see them on her.

All of this rambling - yes, procrastination.   So off to the cottage.  Wish me luck!