Wednesday, September 22, 2021

UFO homework

What a difference life is without a monkey on your back! Knowing that I didn't have to deal with that package changed my whole perspective on the day. Now here's the thing - I will have future shipments, and I will continue to use UPS. Why? The logistic part of UPS has worked like a charm. Even when other shipments, including those through the postal service, were delayed by huge amounts of time due to the pandemic, UPS NEVER once screwed up on the delivery date. 

No -- I will continue to work with UPS. The "boys in brown" do a great job. It's easy to do the paperwork online; they pick packages up at the door for no additional charge than if I took the package to the store. 

The issue this time was that I supposedly FORGOT (and it's probably true) to include the commercial invoice, which is a NO-NO when shipping stuff across the border. Where UPS failed is in resolving that issue. It took FOUR business days before that issue came to my attention. Then it took FIVE business days for me to get the invoice to the correct location, and lastly, another FIVE days to get the brokerage to release the package. 

So while I caused the problem, UPS had no clue how to fix it. However, the package is well on its way, and let's just put that one to bed, and I doubt that I'll ever forget to include the commercial invoice in the future! Lesson learned!

Yesterday was a silly day. I had two presentations, one in English, one in French. OK -- so I still stumble over words, but my vocabulary and confidence increase with every presentation. I'm going to have to keep this up! I need French-speaking friends, and I need hiking friends. 

It was hilarious -- the first group were from the Vancouver area, and of course, I think everyone hikes there. I must move to Vancouver. Apparently, my SIL, who lives there, is quite an avid hiker! Anyway, we got to chatting about trails, and it appears that there is the West Coast Trail. It's tough, you need a permit, and it sounds like the kind of hiking trail for me! Hey -- if you're going to do something, push and push hard! That's my motto! Anyway, we shared many hiking stories, and many on that call had done that trail or other hiking. 

And while I was presenting to the Vancouver group, M, her boyfriend, and BEAR were on their way here. 

He is such a cutie. Look at him. He came to visit in the studio and plopped himself in the basket of fabric for Wanderers Wife. He didn't ask, just clambered up and plopped his butt down. 

"Hey Grandma -- this is for me, right?"

Then while I did my Frech presentation, I lulled him to sleep on my lap. He was quite content. When he was here the last time, I had him on a pillow on the table beside the computer, and he was happy as a clam. I don't let him steal the show -- no one needs to know he is there!

Bear sleeping during the presentation

And he's found the perfect perch to play with Murphy. He sits on the couch, and they taunt and tease each other. It's hilarious! And Murphy isn't shy about trying to initiate a "fight" with him. He was lying there nice and quiet, and she poked him. Then he barks back. Then he tried to provoke her. So cute together. 

Bear and Murphy

To give you some quilting pictures to admire, let's look at the UFO work that the group has been working on. I swear, we are super productive and all for the sake of $10 and PEER pressure. No one wants to not get their work done. Me included! I've already made great headway on this month's assignment, and I hope to do more than I assigned myself. Now that my brain is clear again and I only have one French presentation later tonight, I'll have some time for chatting and sewing. 

Colleen loves hand applique. She is working on this pattern called Fleur. All the alternate blocks are done, and she has started the main blocks. 


'Dede is working on her Dear Jane quilt and has four more blocks done. This year she's made great progress - four blocks per month, which is way better than no blocks per month! I believe these are paper pieced.


Diane had this Christmas tree skirt cut out, and now it's totally finished! I expect nothing less from Diane than a completed project! She never goes for advancing a project - she goes for finishing, regardless of its state at the beginning of the month!


Elaine completed one of the rows from the Row by Row several years back. All hand stitching and hand applique. 


Katheleen was madly quilting this giant quilt and got her required blocks done. I bet she'll be glad when it's completely finished! This is the back, and it's hard to see the quilting, but it's pretty dense.


Linda G quilted this giant quilt. It's now quilted, bound, and has a label, and it's been gifted!!

Linda G

Linda W got the border on her Vintage Christmas quilt. 

Linda W

Liz had moved a while back and also took the summer off. Her goal was to get her sewing room in order. Here's one photo. That chair looks like a super cozy place to sit and stitch. 


Lynne is using up stash as she doesn't have UFOs. Here are the placemats and table toppers that she made this month. 


Morgan is quilting her Christmas Fig quilt and got eight blocks (of 20) done. That's HUGE. It's a large quilt, and she's doing it on her domestic sewing machine. KUDOS!!! I'll just share one of the photos with you.


Nancy is working on a flannel quilt and got the bottom row completed. It's super cute, and since it's got an autumn theme, it's perfect to be working on it this time of year. 


Rose completed her One Block Wonder quilt. Gosh -- that one has been around for a while as she laid it all out on my design wall several years ago! So nice to see these projects DONE!


Sharon got one more Hawaiian block appliqued. 


Sheila finished the binding on her Halloween quilt. 


Susan made progress on her Chic Picnic (Sew Kind of Wonderful) quilt.


Suzi got the sashing on her Aunt Millie's Garden quilt top. 


Jane made progress on her Auntie's Two basket, made with the same strips that you use in a jelly roll. 


OH -- I forgot about me. I completed 18 autumn leaves for Autumn Splendor. 


Everyone sets their own goal based on the amount of time that they have that month. Some people push past the goal and do extra work (I didn't include the extra stuff today), and this past month, several people did more than they said they would. It's all good. Any advancement is positive, and it's all about positivity! 

What I love about our once a month Zoom session is that we get to hear the stories of the project, how long it's been hanging on, why it got abandoned, and issues that arise during the completion, as well as the success stories of how the maker overcame the issue. It's a very motivating hour, to say the least!!! 

I'm hooked on the UFO club, and it will definitely continue next year. Our current sessions go to December, and it is FULL unless someone drops out (GASP!). However, if there were enough people, we could perhaps start a second group. My current group thinks that I need to do TWO UFO projects each month if I do that. Silly girls! I'll just split one into two commitments!

Well, I'm off to spin class this morning, and it is POURING rain. But I'll still park far from the door - I need those steps. I'm "in training" to go hiking! Just kidding -- I just need those steps every day! I'm a bit obsessed, to say the least. 

And I promise to leave a bit earlier than Monday. I had plenty of time, but then I puttered and did one extra thing, and then I was running like mad. I got to the spin class and set up my reserved bike, only to find it didn't work properly. So off to another bike, which I also had to set up, and well -- I was a mess! But I managed to crank out that 30K. That's my goal for each class -- 30 K. Which unfortunately doesn't count towards my virtual walks, but that's OK. I'll be setting some cycle goals for 2022. 

Speaking of rain, I started reading "The Art of Racing in the Rain." Yep -- I've cried already! But I LOVE the dog. He's pretty funny - I can just hear Murphy say the same things. 

On that note, I'd better grab an umbrella and rain boots. 

Have a super day!!


Tuesday, September 21, 2021



I've been talking about positivity in our lives and how important it is. And it is  --  we need that little glimmer of hope to get us through the bad days. 

Well, this UPS business has put my positivity to the test. BIG TIME. I don't how many people I've spoken to. I was switched from department to department. Case numbers were created and then never referred to. I tried to escalate the issue and failed. My calls were transferred, and phones rang and rang with no one to answer them. Some of the agents were downright rude; some of them tried to help but had no authority. 

At last, the stars aligned, and guess what??? 

I noticed that they did NOT send the package overnight. At this point, I don't care. I'm just relieved that it's on the way. And I'm sure the editor is, as well. I don't know if they can hold off their deadline. If not, the quilt will go into another issue. 

Never mind that it took me several days to realize there was a problem, then almost a week to figure out how to get the documents to the right department, and now they have had the requested information for close to a week. A total SNAFU, if I may say so. The package was picked up on September 3 -- it will take THREE WEEKS to arrive. Thanks, UPS. 

At this point, I seem to have that tracking number memorized! I wonder why? 

I tried to be positive, and if someone said, YES, this should be resolved and sent tomorrow, I believed them. Then I started to get suspicious and downright untrusting. However, the agent I spoke to yesterday appeared to actually care about my package. He put me on hold while attempting to transfer me to his supervisor, and he kept coming back to explain what was happening. Then he said that he would have the supervisor call me back. Well, you can imagine that I didn't believe him at all. Well, believe it or not, the supervisor did call me back. It took him about 20 minutes, not the 5 promised, but I can live with that. 

Then he promised to send me an e-mail with an update before his shift ended at 9 PM. I was losing faith as the hours ticked by, but at 8:30, he sent me a note and said he thought it should be OK, but no guarantee. Hey -- this is a shift supervisor in a call center (I think in Mexico), and the brokerage house is in Canada. But he followed up, which is more than I can say for anyone else at UPS. 

And at 11:00 PM, I received the notes you saw above. I'll be sending this supervisor a nice e-mail this morning. As for UPS itself? Well, they are going to get a piece of my mind. But here's the thing --- try to find an address of the company or find a place to log a complaint. Yep -- I looked yesterday and NOTHING. I can find a UPS store address, but that's not what I want. 

I was on the phone for at least three hours in total yesterday regarding this issue, and who knows how many hours before that! I'm sure that it will take a bit of research to get an address. But I'm asking (no DEMANDING) compensation for the amount of time I wasted on this issue. I don't want money - I want FREE shipping for ONE YEAR. I have no qualms to ask for that - let's see how they respond. 

Yep-- there will be more boxes going to the US. I'm working on getting fabric from a fabric company right now for the next quilt, which is due in November. Oh my -- a gorgeous collection, but that's all I can say!

Let's keep our fingers crossed that this never happens again. The most frustrating part -- OK -- the ENTIRE episode has been downright frustrating, but I never received a response as to why it took so long to clear customs. 

Speaking of frustrating, I watched a news clip last night about the people who lived in Lytton, BC. The small town burned to the ground with barely any notice. Most residents have not been able to go back to look for anything in their properties. Now my delivery issue pales in comparison to that level of frustration. I'd be beyond hope at this point if I were one of the residents. I'm so sick of "officials" who have to ensure that everything is 100% safe. Good grief -- we are NOT children. 

And while I tried to maintain a positive outlook, I know that it weighed heavily on my mind, and I haven't been nearly as productive as I should have been. Now with a super busy week looming, I'm way behind. So it's going to be a challenge, but we will make it all happen. That's one thing where I do differ from a lot of people. If something happens, well, instead of saying, I can't do this because of that -- I just forge ahead, intending to get BOTH this AND that done. 

But I will say that even I am looking forward to a quiet moment, which won't happen for two weeks. That little oasis of calm on my calendar will keep me going for the next two weeks. Then I have two completely free weekends. 

Oh, that worked out, but my FitBit didn't update to the Virtual Challenges last night. Sigh.......

OK -- let's get some exciting pictures in here for your entertainment. 

We had our Tula Pink class last Friday. I assigned the second to last set of 10 blocks. Here are my blocks - I'm still working backward with some of the colors to make the Color Grid setting to my liking. 

My set of ten blocks for the Tula Pink sampler quilt

Here's what my quilt currently looks like. I have some of the black sashing sewn to the blocks. I think I might need one more green block in the fifth row from the bottom. There are TEN blocks left to sew, and then I can get this thing together. As much as this has been a cheery sight all year, I would really like the use of that design wall!

My Tula Pink City Sampler quilt

Let's have a look at what the class is doing.

Barb is also working on the Color Grid version of the quilt, and here are her blocks. It's looking awesome!!! 


Carol has the next set of 10 blocks done. She's sewing the sashing as she sews the blocks, which is a good thing. It will not be fun if you wait until the end. I love that middle block -- it reminds me of a funky piano keyboard. 


Here are two sets of blocks from Corrie. She's also doing the Color Grid setting. We haven't seen her blocks set out yet, but I love the nice saturated colors. 


And then comes the issue of what color of sashing to put between the blocks. Should she go with dark grey? 
Dark grey for sashing?

How about the white? 

White for sashing?

Or what about the medium grey?

Or medium grey?

We eliminated the medium grey, and it's a toss-up between the dark grey and the white. It's a big challenge since it will affect the final look of the quilt. We learned a LOT about that this past weekend with Boho Heart, Wanderers Wife, and Long Time Gone. 

Liz has another set of gorgeous blocks. I believe she also wants to make the Color Grid setting, so she will have to lay this out to see what colors she needs to make. 


Monica is making the Sliding Scale quilt, so she needed fewer than 100 blocks. She is using a pink solid for the sashing, and it's looking awesome. 



And some more of her blocks that are not sewn into rows yet. 


Sharon is working on the Sky Line version of the quilt and is madly sewing her blocks in columns, not rows. 


We have many more people in the class, but some of them haven't sent in new pictures in a while. This is a super simple quilt (other than choosing colors for the blocks), so I hope that everyone will get up-to-date and we'll have a big show and tell in November when we hold our last class. 

Isn't that super exciting????  WAIT -- anything today is going to be exciting. Even sweeping the kitchen floor -- that's going to be exciting. It's raining outside -- I'm excited! It's amazing how getting this delivery issue off my head has changed my entire outlook on the day! No frustrating phone call. WOW!!!!

Oh, I do have to say that something good did happen during the day. I had to take my MIL to the hospital for a follow-up appointment. It was the second time in two weeks. I drop her off at the door and then park the car. Hmmm -- people must not like parking beside the posts because BOTH times, I snagged this parking spot. 

A nice little parking spot

See how much room there is for my little car. But look at this -- it was literally right in front of the exit and the pay station. Now, how cool was that? I could have parked further away to get more steps, but I didn't. I still walked close to 14 KM yesterday, so I didn't need extra steps!

Right in front of the pay station and the exit

Well, on that HAPPY note, it's time to get the day started. There are two small accessories for one of the sewing machines that I NEED today, but I can't find them. What the heck have I done with them? But you know what? I'm use something else -- I don't care! Today is a GLORIOUS day!!!

Have a super day!!!


Monday, September 20, 2021

A positive mindset

 I love the comments. Someone's Mother used to poke her between the shoulder blades if she was slouching! "Hey, Mom -- why didn't you do that for me?" But it's true -- our society as a whole is slipping into only doing things the easy way! We've lost our ability to cope with any kind of hardship (I'm grossly exaggerating there and generalizing), but you know what I mean. 

I talked to my Dad yesterday, and he was telling me about my brother. Their microwave died. So he took it apart. He found one issue and fixed that, but it still didn't work. So he looked again and found a fuse that didn't work. He changed that, and VOILA -- the microwave still works. Now he does wiring stuff for a living, and like my Dad is a tinkerer, but what if we had a repair shop that could do that. 

Think how many working microwaves have been tossed in the landfill because someone couldn't or didn't know how to change the fuse? I put myself in that category. If someone isn't going to fix electrical stuff for me, I have no choice but to buy new. So why does my brother live across the country from me? 

I also think we tend to complicate our lives - we overthink things, we pack too much into our houses, into our suitcases when we travel, and into our agendas (OK - I'm guilty of that last one). Why do we do that? Because it's expected of us - to have china, crystal, and silverware (well, thankfully not anymore), but people did that because that's what their parents did. Not me! You won't find a piece of china or silver at my house, and any crystal has been cobbled together as needed over the years. 

And it's easy to come up with excuses - I couldn't exercise because of the lockdowns, I couldn't visit because of the lockdowns, I'm too tired, or whatever the excuse is. I just don't buy that. What our world needs is a POSITIVE MINDSET. We can do anything we want - some ideas may need to be adapted, but we can do ANYTHING. 

WOW  -- while Rosyquilter's mom used to poke her between the shoulder blades to get her to stand up straight, my parents taught me that you don't give up, you don't give in, and you DO - all day and every day! Now, if you could just have poked me a bit between the shoulder blades - I'd be darn near perfect! Just kidding! Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Speaking of a positive mindset, hopefully, I'll get a call from UPS this morning. But I'm not holding my breath, so I'll call them around 11 AM. I know why I've had bad luck with this. The darn paperwork was still on the scanner this morning -- I had sent the document but left it on the scanner. It's now in the pending pile. And look at my sweatshirt. It's a darn UPS sweatshirt! That's in the laundry now! The dad of one of M's friends from way back worked there, and I got a sweatshirt. Well, that may just have to be tossed after this debacle. 

The logo on my UPS sweatshirt

You know the saying, "when a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear?" Well, how about when something falls in the studio? Do you hear? I found this in the corner the other day. This is the last of the scraps that I have to sort through for pet mats or other goodies. Those upholstery samples, which are heavy, must have slipped behind the bags and pushed them off the stack! All is back in good order. And one day, hopefully before the end of the year, I'll be able to get through at least two more of the bags. Hey -- it's way better than it was and nicely contained, so I'm Ok with it for the moment. 

Bags of scraps to sort through

I managed to get a quilt quilted yesterday. Not a very large one, but that's OK. One done is better than none! I need to be at the machine every day this week. That's going to be tough because we have a knee replacement (not mine) happening this week, all the preamble to that, appointments for MIL, two different sets of company coming, plus both DH and I are burning the candle at both ends (or so it seems). Ah -- it's going to be a fun week. 

Customer quilt - DONE

I mentioned that we have company coming. Who could that be? A mystery man, and that's all I'll say. 

A mystery guest

We had our handwork group yesterday. It was a nice day, although I thought it was COLD, so many people were outside. I was going to be quilting but decided that I had some handwork and I would do that. I'm glad I did. We got to chat, and it was great to visit with some people we hadn't seen in a while. 

OK -- I confess, I need to be less opinionated! If you don't agree with something, say nothing! That should be a sticky note I leave on my computer screen! So I openly apologize to those on the call for being opinionated about certain topics! 

But this is what I got done. I had these narrow strips of fabric that required hand ruching. I could have probably done this with the sewing machine and in a lot less time, but you know what? Sometimes, you just want to do something with your hands. 

Hand ruched strips

Look at that lovely hand stitching. 

Relaxing hand stitching

And the best part? I finished all the pieces - there were six of them. Yeah!!!! These were the last embellishment for my Hello Sunshine (Kimberbell) machine embroidered quilt. So that has now been moved to the "to be quilted" pile. 

One more quilt moved to the "to be quilted" pile

I swear this bear, or what's left of it, is Murphy's stress release. She's gets wound up, and then that bear gets dragged around the backyard. It's totally disgusting, and I won't touch it. The eyes were long gone, and I'm surprised that she hasn't totally wrecked it before now. It appears that there's a hole in the back, and Murphy discovered that yesterday. Only a little bit of stuffing came out, so I let her continue to drag it around. 

Murphy and her stress stuffie

She has other stuffies that stay in the house, but I'm sure the moment this one disappears, that one of those will become the outdoor stress toy!

Does anyone have a black silk tie - similar in shape to the one in this photo. I have no idea who this guy is -- I just asked for a picture of the tie style. M's friend is getting married this weekend, and apparently, there are no black silk ties to be found. A lot of weddings are happening right now. So I need your help; if anyone has a tie that I could borrow, I'll do a porch pick up. My silly girl thinks we can make one. Not happening!

Is this the mystery guest?

Well, it's time to head to the gym for that spin class. Proper breathing is supposed to increase your output! That's a reason to learn to breathe better! While I haven't pushed myself like the author of that book did, I think I'm in pretty decent shape. Always room for improvement, but I've come a long way with breathing issues in my life. 

On that note, have a super day!!!


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Zoom, zoom, zoom

 It was a bit of an intense day. Lots of Zoom and more frustration with UPS. 

I'm beyond frustrated with UPS. After another lengthy conversation and being on hold several times, the conclusion is that customs is sitting on the package. Of course, they are off for the weekend, so nothing will happen until Monday morning at the earliest. I've spoken to a supervisor who wasn't really any more helpful than the CSRs. I'm supposed to get a call from the brokers on Monday morning. Let's pray - a LOT. 

Yep -- I could definitely have walked that package to Colorado! 

Well, let's talk about beer today! I've decided to splurge and get a full body massage once a month as part of my personal improvement. That happened on Friday. And I must confess that I think I had a few wee catnaps while I was laying there! 

Here's the thing about massages. In the past, they have mostly been painful -- lots of muscle tightness in the neck, shoulders, and legs. Everything hurts - well, it hurt. Since I've been trying to do more stretching and being more mindful of my posture, I have to say that things don't hurt. My legs, which were causing some issues a while back, have been feeling STRONG. I now feel like I could walk many more KM in a day, but I'm limited by time at the moment, but I still get in at least 11.5 KM (I slipped yesterday and did 11.3 KM), but that's OK. 

I'm focusing on my breathing - well, trying to! It's hard to remember all these things -- nose breathing, stand up straight, shoulders back, head up! It'll start to be natural one day but still requires focusing. And I'm really of the mindset that our health, our outlook on life, and our longevity can be (to a certain extent) controlled by conscious decisions that we make. 

All of that to say that when I now get a massage, it can actually be relaxing, which is good. I'm sure it depends on what I was doing the day before. If I was strapped to my computer, well, my shoulders might be tense. 

Thanks to Miss Murphy, I had a darn dog hair in my mask, so I had to dig that out during the massage as it was tickling my nose. 

Anyway, when I got out of the massage and went to pay, they had a beer tasting in the spa's lobby.  Would I like some? Well, of course! 

I tried a Stiegl Radler -- I love Radler beer. It's grapefruity but tastes excellent. I actually hadn't had some in a while, so that was nice. 

Siegl Radler

Then, I tried a Fruli strawberry beer. That was awesome too. 

Fuli Strawberry beer

Sorry -- lousy photo. The last beer I tried was this one.  It's called Duchesse de Bourgogne. It's a beer with a strong flavor of wine in it. While it tasted OK, I'm not a big wine drinker, so I wouldn't see myself drinking it regularly. 

Duchess of Burgundy

And we got a full sample of a non-alcoholic beer. That's in the fridge - I didn't even look at the name. That little beer tasting was a pleasant little diversion in the crazy day that is my life these days.

It was a crazy day with four Zoom sessions. Two were for our new ongoing classes that will last until June. Three quilts -- Boho Heart, Wanderers Wife, and Long Time Gone. And then two sessions on the Saturday Sewing with the topic of Borders. It was a bit crazy as some people didn't get the links -- totally my fault with the number of people I had to sign up; I missed a few. Sigh...................

There is still some space in this class (Long Time Gone), but the other two are full. 

You can find the sign-up at the Thimbles and Things website. Check out the classes tab.  

As I realized someone didn't have the link, I had to run upstairs to send them the invitation since their e-mail addresses, and the links were not on the same computer. Long story. 

Now there are more quilts to get working on. Thankfully, the other ones are winding down. One more month of sewing on those four. Yeah!!! None of them are done yet, but all are getting close. Except for one quilt, I'm up to date! That has NEVER happened, and my workload is probably the heaviest it's been in years!

I have to share this photo with you. This is from my virtual walk across Canada. I'm on the ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland. In case you think we get to "take the ferry," we do not. We technically have to walk the distance! I'll be on this "ferry" for a couple of days; it's a long ride from Sydney to Port aux Basques. 

Riding the ferry to Newfoundland

I finished reading I Promise Not to Suffer by Gail D. Storey. She and her husband walked the Pacific Crest Trail for real. Well, Gail made it 900 miles, but her husband made the entire trip. Hmm -- I think I'll stick with the Virtual Walk of this one, but I still want to walk one of these trails in person. I think I think I know what I want to do. Now the thing is --choose dates, block it off and start planning. If I don't, it'll never happen. 

Of course, with Covid -- it's been hard to plan. But time to just get moving!!! 

Oh - my keyboard has gone totally wonky. Not sure what is happening, but hopefully, grammar and spell check will fix these significant mistakes!

During the day, with all the Zoom chaos, the doorbell rang. There was this sweet lady with flowers for ME!!!  Thanks so much, Pauline -- totally appreciated!!!  It pays to answer the door sometimes. 

On that note, I'm out of here! We have UFO, and I need to get some quilts quilted, and well -- there are a few other things that need to be done.

Have a great day!!!