Sunday, January 29, 2012

What Passes for Normal

That's what we're back to around here now that most of the excitement has died down.  So, I managed to get some progress on the I Spy Disappearing Nine-Patch done!  That's good, as I need to have it done in 2 weeks.

Here it is at flimsy stage.  I ran into a little roadblock trying to decide what to do in the corners.  I tried a couple of things, like a free-pieced star that took me an hour!  That was too much!  So, I thought "simple is best" and just did 4-patches with more I Spy blocks.  Now, it's time to come up with something for the back.  I have a couple of ideas, so that's a good start.

I've been working on the crumb quilt and am ready to add the final borders.  Sorry, no photos yet.  Next time!

Here's the next project on my design wall.  It's "Spring" and the pattern is from Country Threads.  I'm embarrassed to tell you how many years this one has been lurking in the UFO pile.  

Here is where the hold-up was.  This wagon block really had me stumped.  I couldn't figure out how to do those wheels.  Just could not wrap my brain around it. All the applique on this quilt is done with fusible and then buttonhole stitched by hand.  Those spokes are so small!  I finally ended up doing the wheel in two parts - first the spokes and then the outer round part, and stitched it on the machine.  It took me 10 years to come up with that.  Doh!  Do you ever get that kind of brain fart?  Drives me crazy when something hangs me up like that.

Next up for this is piecing - my comfort zone!  All the applique is done. Whew!  Hopefully the rest won't take me that long!

Remember the Plum tree that I showed in the last post?  It had uprooted and fallen into the pond from the ice.  Well, we had a landscaper come in and he thought it could be saved.  So, now it's re-planted and staked to hold it.  Our fingers are crossed that this will "take".

There was a broken branch too.  This is the recommended fix.  DH wrapped it with clear duct tape, just like you would do for grafting a branch.  More fingers crossed!

I'm off to find a quilt back!  Happy quilting!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Barbecued Soup

What a crazy title, huh?  Well, you'll find out what it's all about if you just keep reading.

As most of you know, the Northwest was hit with one doozie of a storm.  It has been quite a week.  This post is going to have lots of pictures, none of which involve quilts.  The next post will have quilt-y pix, I promise!

Last post, I left you with some snow pictures.  Well, it got better, then it got worse.  On Monday, I had no problem getting out to Physical Therapy.  The roads were wet but clear.  I also took the opportunity to go to the store and stock up, as the weather prediction was for more storm coming our way.  I'm sure glad I did.

Here is what my "snow gauge" looked like on Wed.  We got at least a foot of snow, but it kept melting and then snowing some more, so we never had the whole amount at one time.  It was exciting and pretty.  I love snow when I don't have to go out in it.

Wednesday night the snow stopped, but then about midnight the freezing rain started.  It kept up for 12 hours.  All night long we heard what sounded like rifle shots, but were actually tree branches snapping off.  They made a mighty crashing on their way down.  Our son, who's living with us now, has a dog that is a bit high-strung, to say the least.  She totally freaked out about the noises and barked like a maniac all night long, every time she heard one of these "rifle shots".  No one got much sleep.

This is the Japanese Maple out my front window on Thursday morning.  Totally iced over and beautiful.  I love the lone, stubborn leaf hanging in there!  This poor tree bent over so much that the branches were touching the ground.  We were afraid we were going to lose it.

This is the Japanese Maple by our back deck.  Also totally iced over and beautiful.  

By the end of that day, we were afraid we were going to lose this one too.  Look at the small fir tree in the foreground.  Totally bent over under the weight of the snow and ice.  

So, because of all the ice and the falling branches, we woke up to no power and no cable on Thursday morning.  That meant no heat, no lights, no phone, and very limited water usage as the septic pump is electric too.  We did have hot water though.  We managed to do alright.  Lots of clothes and all the quilts came in quite handy, as well.  LOL   And if I got too cold, I got up and did my exercises or swept the floor, so something to be moving and get warm.  We had flashlights and one old transistor radio that still works.  Our wonderful next-door neighbor ran an extension cord from his generator so that we could keep our refrigerator running.  That was such a life-saver.  We would have lost a lot of food in the fridge and the freezer without that.  Our high temp (outside) on Thursday was 33 degrees, with about 53 degrees inside the house. 

We managed lunch on Thursday with no problem, but dinner was another story.  We had some discussions of what to do.  Most of the meat was frozen, and we knew it would never thaw out without a microwave.  We finally decided to uncover the barbecue and use it to heat up the leftover homemade chicken soup.  Thus, barbecued soup!  I used my Mom's old cast aluminum pot.  It's probably older than I am.  I love that pot!  The BBQ didn't hurt it at all.  It didn't even get black on the bottom.

DH and The Kid chillaxed in the snow with their beers while they tended the barbecue.  That was the best soup ever!  It helped a lot to have some warm food.

Thursday evening we hung a flashlight from the light fixture over the kitchen table and played Yahtzee and cards.  It was getting pretty chilly, but we had a good time.  The poor kitties were really getting cold, so they cuddled up in quilts too.  You'd think, with those fur coats, that they would be fine, but no.  They had to have quilts.  

In the evening, it started warming up outside.  The temps started slowly climbing and the ice was melting.  About 1 am Friday morning we started getting high winds.  We were worried about what that would do to all the trees.

By Friday morning when we got up, the house was down to 48 degrees inside.  It warmed up some when everyone finally got up and got together in one room.  But it was sure getting cold.  I was starting to worry on Friday, because the radio news was saying it could be early next week before everyone got their power back!  So, we were ready to dig in.  We were sure missing our computers and phones.  The cell phones had no signal, so they were pretty useless.  And I was missing being able to sew.  I couldn't even do hand work because it was so dark and gloomy.  

Finally, about 4 pm on Friday afternoon, the power came on!  Yay!  The heat ran for 5 hours solid that evening!  And I really, really enjoyed my hot shower.  It was so nice to be warm again.

Saturday I really needed to go to the store, so I braved the trip.  It was really pretty easy, as most of the snow was melting into slush.  The store was operating on generators, but there were plenty of supplies.  And the store was packed! 

What was amazing was all the damage from the ice and the winds.  This picture is of the birch trees right outside the grocery store.  

This picture and the next show the street just over from us.  On Friday AM so many trees were down that the street was impassable.

This picture and the next show our backyard today.

The Kid and his dog in the yard.

The two Japanese Maples survived just fine, but we lost the plum tree.  The weight of the ice just pulled the whole thing over and uprooted it.  I don't think it can be saved - too many roots were snapped off.

Here's the pile of the biggest branches that DH and The Kid picked up today.  That's a six foot fence!  There is a LOT more work to be done in the yard, but we're very grateful that we survived as well as we did.  We had no damage to us, the house or the cars.

We're all a little surprised at how tired this whole adventure made us.  We all slept about 12 hours both Thursday and Friday nights, and we're still tired.   

But the next time the weather report says a big storm is coming, I think we'll be quicker to stock up on batteries for the flashlights and the radio, and get some food that doesn't need to be thawed or cooked!  And maybe a snow shovel.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Snow Day!

We had our first significant snow this winter in the last 24 hours.  We've gotten about 2 inches so far, with more on the way.

Here's a photo of the backyard this afternoon, with lots of snow coming down.  It did this off and on all day, so I called it a "snow day".  Fortunately, no one had to go anywhere today.  We're far enough out in the boonies that we don't get plowed.  They plow the highway which is about 2 miles from here.  It warmed up enough today that some melted, but now we're below freezing again, so there's ice under all the snow.  I have to go to P.T. tomorrow, but not until early afternoon, so hopefully it will warm up enough to have the ice on the road melt before I get out there.

So, due to a "snow day", I couldn't possible do anything other than sew.  *grin*   Here's what I was working on:

My Crumbs quilt.  I got this put together the other day, and then decided it wasn't long enough.  So I was making more blocks to add one more row.  You can see that Shade was supervising me.  I decided that this final row was a "design opportunity" and made some blocks just for this.  I took some of my Parts Department blocks and leftovers and rejects and used them as the starting point for the blocks.  I added a rejected "S", a wonky star, a little heart and so on.  I also added some fabrics that are favorites or significant to me.  That was fun and it didn't take too long.  I managed to get that row finished and sewn together before dinner, but still have to sew it to the top.  Then it's time for borders.  I think I know what I'll be doing.  I can't wait to get this done - I'm so excited about it!

My guild is doing a Crumb block workshop this coming Friday.  I and another lady did a demo on crumb blocks at the quilt show, and everyone wants to have an intensive lesson on doing these.  Since we have a lot of scraps left from the quilt show (we were selling scraps next to the crumb demo), we'll make those into blocks for charity quilts.  It should be fun.  So I want to get my top mostly done.  I only had 3 rows done at the quilt show.  The other lady does bigger pieces and a more controlled color scheme for her crumbs, and I want to show the other end of the spectrum.  In other words, my usual crazy-ness!

Actually, this crumb quilt is going to be my entry (only one?)  in the Scrap Attack Quilt-Along that Rachel Hauser is hosting over on her blog Stitched in Color.  She's challenging quilters to use up some of their scraps.  Since that's my favorite kind of quilt, of course I've got to do it.  If you interested too, go here.  Fortunately, she's not requiring that the quilts be quilted and bound - whew!  And I already have enough crumb blocks sewn for another 2 (at least!) quilts.  The one above is all for me, so the others may be charity quilts.  I haven't decided yet.

I haven't made any more progress on the D9P I Spy quilt.  I'm still debating what I want to do for the border.  I'm tempted to just sew plain borders on to get it done, but that sounds pretty boring to me.  So, I'm still considering possibilities.  I don't have too long to debate with myself.  The quilt needs to be done in a month, which is when DGD's birthday happens.  Do you have a favorite border technique that you use?  I'm sure open to suggestions if you have some!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Getting There

Thank you to everyone for the well-wishes!  I'm making a good recovery.  No more sling, as of Wednesday.  I can shower and dress by myself again, which is so nice, although I still have to adapt for the left arm as I have some trouble getting it up very high or putting it behind my back.  I'm back to most of my usual activities, which is good and bad.  I had to actually cook the other night, and wash dishes too.  I really didn't miss that!  *grin*  And Monday I "get" to start doing Physical Therapy.  But, on the plus side, I finally got some sewing done!

I started with a few string blocks, while I had the sling on.  Now I have graduated to more precise sewing.  When I did my clean-up of the quilt studio, I finally found the I Spy blocks for DGD's quilt.  Yay!  So, I got those up on the design wall the other day, and now they're all sewn together.

This pattern is actually a Disappearing Nine Patch.  All the I Spy blocks are going every which way.  I think one could go insane trying to figure out how to keep all the images right-side up when you're doing this pattern, so I just didn't even try.  Besides, I think this makes it more interesting.  There's no right or wrong side up to it, so when you're using the quilt, it all works.  That's my theory anyway.

Now I'm auditioning something for the outer border.  I think I've decided on a solid green fabric, which is not what's in the photo.  It was tough.  I auditioned at least 10 or 15 fabrics.  I hadn't planned on an inner border, but it seemed to be needed.  The center is so busy it needs a "stop" before the purple border.

The other project I'm beginning is a "Pet Robin", which my guild is doing for our Block of the Month this year.  This idea is from Nancy Chong.  It's where you do the concept of a Round Robin, but you do your own quilt, not passing it around from person to person.  We each wrote a suggestion for the next step,  put them all in a bag and drew one out.  Our first step will be to add applique.  Each month we'll do the same thing for the next step.  I haven't even got a first block done yet.  I had a hard time deciding whether or not to do this.  Now I'm still trying to decide what to do!  I think I'll be different, and make mine wonky.  It sounds like more fun to me.  And it probably won't be very big.  I may start with a block that's somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 to 10 inches.

Well, off to do more!  Happy quilting!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2012!  I am not sad to see 2011 leave, as it wasn't my best year.

I get to start the new year wearing a sling.  I had surgery on Tuesday last - the 27th - on my formerly broken arm (my fall in Fall 2009) to take out the hardware that was put in to repair the break.  Fortunately, it's my off hand (left arm).  So I can do a few things for myself - like type one-handed!

The surgery went well.  I was home 6 hours after I left the house.  The drugs I got controlled the pain well and I was taking Tylenol in 2 days.  I slept in the recliner for the first few days (with one or the other of the kitties sleeping on my chest keeping me warm), but spent all of last night in my own bed!  Yay! 

I'm doing fine and probably using my arm more than I should.  This is easy compared to having a broken arm!  The only issues I'm having are that my shoulders are getting pretty cramped in spite of the exercises I'm doing, and the tape over the bandages is starting to itch quite a bit.  That doesn't come off until Wed. when I go to the post-op appointment.  So, no real complaints, just some whining.  The best part is no housework or cooking!!  (I really like that part)  DH is a champ at taking care of everything.  Sorry, he's taken!  *smug grin*

Unfortunately, not much sewing will be happening for a few more days.  In good news, I did find the missing blocks for my DGD's quilt!  It was like an archaeological dig in the quilt studio!  But it's 95% clean - just a few bags of projects to find places for - and ready and waiting for me!  I'm anxious to get going on it.

I'd like to thank all my bloggy friends for your friendship, your sweet comments and your wonderful blogs.  Even when I can't sew or blog, you keep me feeling like I'm part of your lives, you make me laugh and I love seeing what you're working on.  I wish each and every one of you a wondeful 2012, filled with what you love the most!