Sunday, April 27, 2008

A loaf tin of yo-yos on date night...

Tonight, me and my man are going to a concert...I don't even remember the last time we went to a concert...the late 90's??? No, wait a minute we LOVE to go see Pink Martini whenever they are available. BUT, we usually see them in the park for free, so then it maybe isn't so datey, and then the kids are usually along so.... But tonight we are going to dinner with 2 other couples (I don't remember the last time that this happened...DEFINITELY pre 2003.) and then to the show. We are seeing the Swell Season...from Once, my favorite movie of the moment (I really liked Juno too...sorry Tonya.) I will tell you how wonderful they are later this week!!! I will leave you with just the fun loaf tin of yo-yos that I un-earthed in the old craft studio....I have been having fun thinking of ways to use them.

Also--- a peekie-peekie of my swap quilt---The back-- I was trying to piece a basket, but I am afraid that my piecing skills are not as exciting to me as making wonky things, so the basket is for the back. Once I decided that I just needed to make something that I liked, it all came together and I am SO very pleased. :)
Later tater,

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


"Nice doing business with you Momma."

He said it with a smile, as he paid the exorbitant rent in the slummy hotels on Oriental Avenue. His brother brought in the heavy equipment to make way for more accommodations whose rent would fill my own smarmy pockets.

What a fun afternoon lesson in commerce.

No, really it was fun.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Revelations, of the quilting sort...

Things that I have been realizing about myself and/or quilting whilst making this baby quilt:

1) I like to just get started... i.e. get to the cuttin' and the piecing of the smaller parts of the quilt first.

1.5) I need to make a better with size of the blocks (perhaps?!!) that way my mommy-adled brain doesn't have to keep figuring it out

2) I like the whole process of the wonky quilt making better, as it is more conducive to my LOVE of stopping and starting (having a zillion WIPs)...these more regimented ones are just not as pleasurable as I once thought. I think matching all the seams REALLY gets me in to the whole O.C.D. aspect of my personality.

3)Some times a different venue for sewing is in order for progress to occur. Today, I moved out to the dining room table so that my son and I could work on our projects together. He with his "biggest sticker book ever" and me with my extra pieces (there were supposed to be 12 of the big rectangles and I only made 10...and then I ran out of the right size of hot pink for the 1/2 square triangles...the minutiae is too dull to even share.) (snooze) OK...does any one else get SO tired of making the same blasted block...OVER and OVER?? Has my attention span just gotten really small? (this quilt is not that big, but I am a big whiner.) BUT all that said, it was WAY easier to finish the extra blocks and then sew it all together, out among the chaos than in my sewing room. The chipper banter about friendly aliens probably helped ease my way.

4)I also am not so hot on the sewing the rows together...too many seams to match. I like doing smaller squares in to larger squares in to HUGE squares until I am done.

5)For myself, right now (it always ebbs and flows, doesn't it?), I like the unexpected nature of old fashioned quilts and improvised quilts. I like when something looks like it was hand-done, maybe something is put in backwards... 6)All that said, I am liking the colors here and the cuteness (I do think that it is cute-pretty, and not ugly-pretty, which has been my taste of late) I am proud of my rockin' seam matching, my crisp corners, and the matchy-matchy colors. I only hope that I don't get too crazy and start quilting chemical formulas in to the stars, just to weird it up. I think that the little girl that is going to receive this will like it too. (I am going to be an Auntie!!!)

I have some of the fabric still left over and all those weird little 1/2 square triangles that I saved...maybe I can make myself some thing off-kilter with these colors to satisfy my ugly-pretty desires...maybe!

Funny thing from dinner last night:

Eldest son: I think that I just have a case of the gillies, Momma! (chuckle, wheeze, spit food on the table)

Me: What did you just say?

Him: The GILLIES, you know like when fisch (he has a lisp, bless him!) get the sillies... (then he can't control himself because he is loving how funny his little self is)

Me: (HA HA HA) I sure like the way your brain works!

The Gillies!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Before and after...


Snow on April 18th and 19th, is not OK with me. I have a new pear tree, all in bloom...thank you very much. I am just trying to deal with the 85 degree weather LAST SATURDAY that caused all of my kale plants to bolt, and now this??!! Snow!

There are worse things than a bit of snow in April right now in the world, but for me at this moment, it is the most immediate. I guess I am lucky.

On another note, I have been catching up on my podcasts and I have found some new ones...

Within a Quarter Inch-- a podcast for quilter's by Alison Rosen...funny, funny gal...has toddler twins, a penchant for gadgets and a wonderful "Canadian in California" outlook on life.

Craftcast-- Allison Lee... I have tried this one out a few times, sometimes her brashness has been grating to my delicate sensibilities-- but I have chalked it up to a East Coast/West Coast feud and I have moved on. She is a practicing artist and does interviews based on seeking creativity in your life and the like. She gets a really good mix of people that work in different types of media. Quite a bit of flav.

Stitch it-- A spinning and knitting mommy with an infectious laugh...I really like a good laugh, so that might be why I continue to listen to this one!

The latest This American life (OK, just the last one, really the last two were just great...who am I kidding, they are all pretty great!)
166: Nobody's Family Is Going to Change and
353: The Audacity of Government.

The Audacity of Government was a really powerful episode, politically...I recommend a listen.

The kids beckon...I really don't like toys with batteries, the boys do...but I find them very high on the annoying list. (Enjoy them now boys, for they won't last long...)
Until the next thaw...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Maybe you should just write a letter...

I love the town that I live in. I realized the other day that I have lived here for 20 years! 2 decades!

So, while I love living here because of the location and climate, watching our city political machine trying to effect change is like stabbing myself in the gut with a dry piece of spaghetti-- irritating and totally ineffectual. My town has these slogans "We're the whole enchilada" and the "Best of this and that IN THE WORLD". The city council has these meetings and meetings and meetings and by the time the $75,000 consultant has been paid, the point is moot, because there is a budget crisis. Sorry citizens, maybe the pits downtown will be filled in the fiscal year 2050.

OK, so I am a bit dramatic, the spaghetti thing was WAY over the top-- lo siento!

The hot topic of the last few years has been the demise of our downtown. There are a lot of reasons that it has happened, but if you raze all your historic buildings and rebuild in the seventies... your downtown is going to be filled with a whole lot of ugly. Anyway my own theory is...if people have a reason to go some place, they will go, there will be commerce, investors will want to know, my usual pie in the sky idea.

One late night in February I wrote the mayor an email (amazing, everyone is on the net these days....hee hee) about moving our Thursday afternoon/evening Farmer's Market downtown?? Like it is on Tuesday mornings and Saturdays....not a big stretch conceptually, I just assumed that someone else had thought of it.

The mayor didn't write back. I waited.

A few weeks later I was civically irritated again and so I wrote a new letter to her and added my old one as an attachment. This time she wrote back and said that she would pursue the idea.
Let's just say there was an article in the paper today about the "New" Thursday market...yep, it is going to be downtown. It is going to be great, people are going to go, there is going to be commerce...who knows what could happen?

Maybe it wasn't my letter...but what a coincidence!!

My marvelous notion for the day is this... is there some thing that bugs you?
1)Think of a positive solution.
2)Write a letter/email/make a call.
3)Let someone know what you are thinking.
4)Tell them again, if you think they didn't understand you.
Change can happen.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Maybe it is the gym...

I went back to the gym this morning.... after being gone for over a month. There was no heckling, no laughing, not even a bit of was all just OK. It was OK, that I have been having issues getting to workout, with a husband traveling and being sick with a cough for weeks. It was OK, that I just got on the elliptical trainer with the expectation that I would tough it out for 30 minutes. It was OK, that after the 30 minutes I just did my back exercises and stretched. It was just GREAT to return home and know that I had taken care of my body and that I had energy to take care of myself, my family, and my home. What a MARVELous way to start out a week!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Time...keeps ticking away~!

Here I am again talking inside of my head... there has been a lot of it lately, to me it is much more productive to write it down here. This blog tends to get me out of the constant brain idea cycle. You know to help the ol' thinker weed out the chaff from the grain. I have been feeling that, though I have been doing a whole mess of creative work, that the idea chaff has been holding me back and gumming up the works.

I had a burst of inspiration last week and I basted 2 quilt tops that have been hanging out for about 6 months. These are the two most recent tops and so don't think that a 6 month turnaround is my style AT ALL. There are many that are still working on their high notes...curing they might say, if they were salami. Anyway, I forget the work, physically, that goes in to quilting a larger quilt. Maneuvering the fabric, deciding on designs, basting with the pins, removing the pins...I need to have some warm-up exercises next time, just for the fingers! I feel like it is going well, and as the quilt is a gift, I will reveal it after it is gifted.

I also participated in the FIRST EVER! Craftsanity Fabric Postcard Swap, it was really fun. I have never made a little quilt on that really thick Peltex stabilizer before. It was really easy and fun. Jennifer A.-H. suggested the double sided fusible type, but I am not good with irons and gluey stuff, so I just used the plain and basted it like a quilt.
Here is the one that I received from a nice Kathy in Michigan. It was very exciting to get quilty things in the mail!!! I will definitely make more card and send more cards. Here are some instructions on the Craftsanity site. (Actually it is her newspaper blog, that girl is so all over the net.) I also got an old quilt at a garage sale the other day and I am so happy that I purchased it. When I first saw it, I was attracted to the wild flower print that is actually the back, and it has this lovely sueded patchwork on the front. It is very soft and works perfectly on the back on the couch in our sunroom. (the one where I just hate the print, but who wants to go through the process of fixing that?).
As an odd aside...this shot of my son "mopping" floor reminds me of this amazing painting that saw in Paris ....I just found it here , it is called "The Floor Scrapers" by Gustave Caillebotte. The richness of the wood in the painting and the depiction of the mundane made beautiful, of my whole trip it was the piece I remember still now, a decade later. I like when art is like that. It was at the Musee d'Orsay, if you are ever in the neighborhood.

The garden is shaping up nicely, my husband and the boys have put in another 2 yards (volume not length) of pathway rock and I am just so happy.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A finished quilt and some veggies!

My snuggle quilt for my youngest boy is finished! Hooray--I am so happy mostly because he is now 2 and I bought the fabric *especially* for a quilt for him when I was pregnant. He likes snuggling with a flannel receiving blanket, so I did not use any batting in this little quilt. I love it.... that said, if I were to do it again (I am not going to) I would maybe put a batting of flannel. I think that the quilting would look nicer...blah blah blah. The other exciting thing that happened when I was making this quilt was (drum roll...) I bought myself a new sewing machine....I think that I might be willing to dress in rags for the rest of my life because I can sew on this machine. It is a Bernina and I feel so ritzy....

So, I guess I really like it...I like the variable speed A LOT. My old machine was a Viking and I totally loved it....BUT can you say BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator)? I started playing with this machine when the BSR foot first came out and I have been coveting it ever since. I am glad that I decided that I was deserving of such a great treat and it is nice that my husband thought so too!

This picture is a bit weird, but it is a little sea horse that I drew out first and then quilted it...I haven't ever drawn out a design before---I am more a "by the seat of my pants" type of girl. It totally has merit...I even tried the old trick of tracing over the picture first and then quilting and it went very smoothly. (I just think that it would look better with a bit of loft behind it, but I have to practice where I can...)

I just finished basting up on of my mystery WIP (Works In Progress--for those out of the loop--like myself, it took me a bit to figure out why everyone was spelling "whip" wrong on their blogs--and maybe I wasn't so interested in a blog "like that"....but you live and learn.) I am excited to get started on quilting it, because it needs to be finished and I need to get rolling on the may other UFOs (Un-Finished Objectionables, in my book.) Remember we have to move out the fabric to move in yet more, right?? *Note: I did read the other day about QuIPs--for Quilts In Progress and I think that sounds WAY more positive.

I have also been working on a Summer class with Lazy Gal Tonya, here are my latest endeavors, it is turning into quite the neighborhood...really fun to do.

Lastly, I feel the need to toot my own green horn (?!)--I have actually been EATING the greens that I have grown over the winter!!! What we have here in this basket is mostly just Swiss chard, but there is some kale in there as well as these crazy Bright lights chard leaves from a plant that is almost a year old. I planted it near my dahlias, so I think that when it got really hot last summer the plant was really shaded and so there was no bolting. Bright lights--not a prettier vegetable out there.

I have not always eaten greens, but the last few years I have been trying them out in soups (cut into ribbons they are rather noodley.) and sauteed. I am partial to the soups because I tend to over cook them and I haven't found a recipe that I like a lot. One of my friend really likes to cook hers with bacon (how could you go wrong with a little pig fat?) but bacon is like crack to me, and I really don't need to eat more of it. I will try some more ideas and report back.

Here's to more quilting!!!