Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Signature quilts

 I smell a skunk! I think someone got hit this morning. Thankfully both girls are in the house as I'm not sure either of them would be smart enough to run! 

So there's good news and bad news today. The good news is this.

An empty design wall

Yep - that's where the Long Time Gone quilt was. And I'm happy to report that it's all in one piece! Yahoo!!!! I'm pretty excited. No, actually, it's kind of anti-climatic. I'm just relieved that it's together. I have one more thing to do to it, and then I'll be ready for the weekend. Then it's about the border, but that's the topic of discussion for the weekend. 

Every day (or so it seems), there's another finished top (minus borders) on the Facebook group. I can't wait to assemble the pictures to see how many we have for our show and tell. It's going to be amazing. But the final reveal isn't until June, so there's still time for everyone to get it done. 

I have to laugh when I look at those blocks on the right-hand side. I made two orange and white blocks similar to a log cabin block. That was going to be my pandemic quilt. I would make a quilt with all my free time during the lockdown. HA!!!  What free time? I'm busier than I ever was!!

The bad news is that after spending time with Microsoft to delete that file and I've reinstalled the software that it still doesn't work. Now, why is that? I've got to go to their support group and see what needs to be done. It literally stopped working one day. Now, why? And why me? Thankfully, I have that software on my desktop computer. But here's the weird thing - last week, I took the computer downstairs, and the camera wouldn't work in Zoom. I tried the camera this morning, and it seems to work just fine. So I'll take it downstairs again today, and hopefully, everything works. The show must go on!!!

If only there was an easy way to figure things out, but there are so many things connected to each other that it's next to impossible to figure out. Or it takes a long time!

We went back to the dog park yesterday. But I'm not going every day - I don't get nearly as many steps in as when I walk them separately. They are both well behaved at the park, so that's a good thing. I dare not take Murphy's ball as she is VERY possessive of it and best to keep those emotions out of the dog park. 

BUT - they were deterred by the hot vinegar for one day. And now they are back in the corner. I caught Lexi just lying there and watching. Watching what? I've checked both sides of the fence and didn't see anything. I'll be checking again. Murphy, in particular, will not leave it alone. Although now I have a lot of bricks and stuff blocking the corner, so she's better. 

Investigative Murphy

The June/July issue of Quick + Easy Quilts (Fons and Porter) is all about memories. I was fortunate enough to have a quilt in that issue. I made a memory quilt for my parent's 50th anniversary back in 2004. My brother got people to sign squares of fabric, and I made the quilt top. 

50th Anniversary quilt

For whatever reason, we had people sign more squares at the anniversary party, and I was supposed to make another quilt for them. The squares have been languishing in the UFO pile for years. When I saw the submission request, I jumped and was lucky to be accepted. Hence, I killed two birds with one stone. One more UFO got completed, and I got the quilt published. 

There is a closeup of one of the blocks, and it was my Aunt (my Mom's sister) and Uncle. How cool was that!!! I mean that it wasn't a random person who attended. 

So check it out!!! The first quilt was made in green and yellow as they are colors on the Saskatchewan flag. I don't think my Dad liked the colors, so he asked that this one be made in blue. I had made a note of that when I filed everything away. They haven't seen the quilt or the magazine article. I mailed a copy to them yesterday. The only thing they know is that I asked for a photo of the original quilt a couple of months ago. 

The original quilt was made in 2004 (SEVENTEEN years ago), and these signatures are from that same year. When I was making the quilt, I realized that so many of the people who signed the quilt are no longer around. That's why I LOVE signature quilts - it's a great way to have a small part of many people in one place. I think I've mentioned the quilt I spotted one day, years ago, that had my grandparents' names on it, as well as many of their friends. I'd love to get my hands on that quilt. Perhaps I should offer to buy it from the current owner. 

Then I had a laugh as my cousin sent me a picture that had been posted on a Facebook group about old times in Saskatchewan. And there were my parents!! Perhaps, I shouldn't say OLD. 

Can you spot my parents? 

Oh my --- I don't know what year this was, but I'm guessing that it was the 1980's. God - it could even be in the '70s. That's my Mom in the purple pants - she looks so YOUNG. And my dad in the brown pants behind her. God - he also looks so young. Well, that was many years ago, and I know that I looked much younger myself!!! 

And what's even funnier is that my first boyfriend is also in the picture. OH MY GOD!!!  He's the goofy looking one second from the left in the front row. And his Dad is standing beside my Dad. Well - that photo brings back lots of memories. I was NOT at this event! It was a CB Club event - I think that was what my cousin said. 

CB as in Citizen Band radio - you know, "breaker, breaker," "10-4", "what's your 20?", and all that stuff. Yes -- we all have bizarre things in our past!!

I have to cut more blue squares for my Snail's Trail blocks, so I couldn't sew them this morning as I finished my Long Time Gone quilt, but I grabbed something that was already cut - other parts of my All in a Row quilt, and I worked on that this morning. It was very nice to have a wee change!!!

Components for the All in a Row quilt

So on my virtual walk on the Appalachian Trail, I'm getting close to the New Jersey/New York state line, which we follow for a bit. I always click with the yellow Google guy to see what's been mapped near where I am. Seriously? The Google car went down roads like this?? NO -- the Google car did NOT go down the Appalachian Trail!

The backroads of New Jersey near the Appalachian Trail

I have to say that I'm shocked. I would never have thought they would care about these roads, but I guess when that's all you have in the area for roads, they all get mapped!! 

That's just wild!!! 

One great presentation yesterday and a super interesting class. I hope the students are getting stuff from the class! It's sometimes hard to get feedback on Zoom. Had to do a bit of rearranging as time zones took a toll on my calendar, but all is OK. I hate when that happens, and I didn't catch it. One writing assignment is done (except to add one last picture), and time to work on number two. I'm in good shape workwise, and that feels great. The thing is to try and keep up!!!

Two presentations lined up for today, and the giant quilt is loaded on the long arm for this afternoon. So that's another busy day planned. And it's going to be NICE outside today. It's been cold lately. 

Well - off to get the morning walks done and then onto the day!! I know - I haven't given you a decluttering task in a couple of days. Are you even doing them? Or are you like me and so far behind? If you have a filing cabinet - it's time to tackle that! Grab one or two file folders and go through them. Be ruthless - do you really need those electrical bills from 20 years ago? Think of your kids or whoever will empty your house when you are gone!!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

All in a Row show and tell


It was a pretty intense day - Monday sewing, walking, prepping for a class, and then presenting the class. BUT all is good. Another busy day today, but things are prepped - well, a wee bit more tweaking, but I'm ready!

OK -- I know - you're all waiting to hear how I made out with those darn pineapple blocks. LOOK!!!

The four pineapple blocks

They are DONE!!! And now ALL the blocks for this quilt are done!! I'm shocked - this would never have happened years ago, and it would have become a UFO. It's such a motivating group!!!! I made the coloring in the blocks totally random, and I love that. The paper is removed, and I got one piece of sashing attached to the blocks. I think I have five seams left to sew, and then the quilt top is together minus the borders, which we are discussing this weekend. I did see one more wee spot that I want to tweak, so I'm going to get it done by the weekend. Yeah!!!!  This is good because I'm behind on some of the other projects, and I need to get myself in gear as more classes are coming up. Actually, there is only Long Time Gone and the UFO club this weekend. Hey -- I might just make all my commitments!!!

I decided to change things up a bit yesterday morning. Instead of walking the girls individually, I took them both to the dog park. Now I remember why I don't walk them together often. They are just not compatible together! One wants to go, and I don't need to tell you who that is, and the other one needs to sniff each and every post and tree along the way. But they were not all that bad. I'd do it again. They had no clue where they were going, and Lexi seemed to enjoy it more than Murphy. What's that all about? I think Murphy just wants to play with her ball at the park. 

Dog park friends

They had lots of other big dogs to play with, and Murphy didn't seem like her usual bully self, which was good. Murphy was quite happy to spend some time and get ready to come home. Miss Lexi? Not so much. When I did get my hands on her, I didn't have her harness in my hand, so she tried to twist and turn and get her collar off. Well, two can play this game. 

I picked her up and carried her to the table where her harness was. There were some workers nearby, and they got a chuckle out of that. How humiliating for the dog!!! I don't care! She was NOT escaping from my grasp. Next time, I'll keep the harness with me. It's a nice day this morning, so I might go back. 

So while I sewed and took photos and video all afternoon, you have to be part of my education series to enjoy what I'm doing. The more I do, the more I learn and explore and, well, lots of very creative tools. And there are so many ideas floating in my head that I can't keep track of everything. I'm pretty much done with all the major prep work for those presentations. Now comes the fun part - making more complex samples and inspiration for the groups to enjoy. 

And let's not forget the software which has tons of things to explore as well. 

I don't think I posted the homework from All in a Row. If I did - well, we get to see it twice. 

Here's the book that we're working from. 

All in a Row Again 

 Remember, this quilt is done in rows. There are quite a few rows in the books and then some filler rows. Each of the quilts will be totally different as people pick the rows for their quilts. 

These first two pictures are Cathy's tulips.

Cathy's tulips

The second part of Cathy's tulips

Cathy is also adding the owls to her quilt. These owls are so darn cute!!!!  

Cathy's owl

And this row is also Cathy's. It's one of the filler rows called twigs. 

Cathy's twig row

And here are Kathi's rows to date. She has made the tulips and the butterflies, the cabanas, and the trees. 

Kathi's All in a Row blocks

Both of them are mostly up-to-date but still need to do some of the stitching around the applique shapes. There are others in the class; I just didn't get homework pictures from them. 

I'm making two rows of trees - one row is done, the other is cut and ready to sew. The Snail's Trail blocks are almost done, and I'm NOT making the beach houses. I'm not making the tulips or the butterflies, but I'm making the twig row. It's cut but not sewn. And I'm also making the owls, and they are fused in place, and I need to finish the stitching. Thankfully all of that sewing will NOT take nearly as much time as the Long Time Gone quilt. I hope to rip through all that, but several other projects need some work. 

Progress - that's all we care about - a little bit of progress each day is all we can do. It's the days when you don't make progress that there's an issue. 

I still need to touch base with Microsoft about a couple of things in my software. I think the email thing might be a server issue. I think I got five e-mails this morning. Five? That's not normal. I'd be happy with five. At least the important ones came through, but where are the others? I feel the provider has been playing with the SPAM filters, and that's been an issue with my e-mail. But hopefully, they can get rid of the garbage that is a common thing. 

Today is a bit of a busy day - I'm not even going to go there, and I still have that writing that is staring me in the face and needs to be done. 

But what amazes me is that every day, there's something new to learn. I can't believe how much there is to learn, and sometimes, it's because I get asked questions, and I don't know the answer, but I search out the answer, and then I learn something! It's trying to retain all that information is the key!!!  But if I found it once, I can find it again. 

A couple of notes about dates: it looks like I might have FIVE free days at the end of the month. Yes - we were planning to get away for the weekend, but it appears the lockdown will be extended, so that little side trip isn't going to happen. I am NOT booking anything into those five days - I need it to catch up!! 

And if you're planning on coming to the next virtual retreat - the dates are May 22 (evening) and May 23 (all-day). So mark that on your calendars. I'll be posting the links that week. 

On that note, I'm out of here! 

Have a super day!!!!


Monday, May 10, 2021

Humpty Dumpty cannot be put back together again

OH - it's a GOOD news day!! I'm thrilled to report that there are now only THREE pineapple blocks to complete. Yes -- I managed to get one done this morning. Now that I'm finished fiddling with the Long Time Gone quilt top, there's time to actually do other things! The remaining three blocks have all been started, so if I don't finish them at Monday sewing today - well - they need to be done!

One pineapple block - DONE

I might even get that last section together and into the quilt. Fingers crossed on that!!!

I got the binding on my Spectrum Quilt-a-Long quilt and took the necessary photos. So that project is done - I still want to make a fancy label for it, but for the moment, it's done. I'll be posting all the links soon, but if you want to follow along, it's on the webpage. Here's the link to my Block Two. 

The binding is on the Spectrum Quilt-A-Long quilt

And I got a customer quilt finished as well. 

Customer quilt - DONE

So I've made a big dent in the quilts for May, but this is going to be a busy week, so not sure how much quilting I'll get done. Well, there are two on the list for this week, and I won't be able to do more than those two. 

While some paperwork got done, the essential writing did not. It was Mother's Day, after all, so I just said, "screw it!!" I chatted with my Mom and my Aunt and got caught up on the news. So that was good. 

OK  - so I'm totally amused by small things. When you walk as much as I do - checking up on the happenings in the neighborhood keeps you entertained. So, remember those two eggs on the red plastic lid? Yesterday, the lids were gone, and only one egg remained - intact!

One egg left

The other egg? Well, let's put it this way - Humpty Dumpty cannot be put back together again. I'm still curious why they were there in the first place. Now I have to watch every day to see what happens. BTW - in case you are wondering about that palette from way back? It's gone. It's been gone for a while. So I need to find something else to amuse me! 

Poor Humpty Dumpty

Every afternoon, I take a walk. It clears my mind, gives me a chance to reflect on stuff and just get out and enjoy the neighborhood. I used to take the girls, but I no longer do that. They are quite the handful. 

I also used to take the girls to the leash-free zone. We'd go by car, and they would freak out when they knew we were close. Listening to two frantically barking dogs was more than I could take, plus a wee bit of politics thrown in, and we haven't been to the dog park in over 2 ½ years!!! 

It's only 1 KM to walk to the dog park, so I thought we should check it out again. I only took Murphy, which didn't go over well with Miss Lexi. But she mostly just stands around at the park anyway - so what's the point? It's all about fairness, just like with kids. 

Well, it was an easy walk despite Murphy's excitement at sniffing new territory. I'm happy to report that she is getting better on the leash. Not perfect by a long shot - just better. 

And the dog park? WOW - lots of changes. It's completely mulched (or almost), which is a good thing since it was always a mud pit when it was wet. There's a BRAND NEW fence along the back, which is great as the old one was a joke. 

Murphy uncertain what to do at the dog park

What was crazy is that she, for the most part, clung to me. What? Murphy never does that. She did do some exploring and was a little apprehensive when some other dogs came to visit - OK - they came to sniff! I didn't take her ball, but I will next time. Yep - I think we can make this a regular visit, and I'll take both of them. I walked in the dog park so, by the time I got home, it was a longer walk than if I went by myself. This might just be a good thing for all! 

Murphy checking out the squirrels on the other side of the fence

And I need to take water. There is NO water in this dog park, which is OK. I just need to carry some. Murphy was panting like a mad dog on the way home and happy to have a wee rest in the grass! We don't have grass at our house, and she loves the grass. 

Murphy having a rest in the grass

On the way home, we passed a beautiful front yard with all kinds of tulips. Where are the rabbits in this garden?? 

A beautiful garden filled with tulips

And here's my sad, lonely little tulip which the rabbits have eaten the good stuff from the bud. It will not be blooming this year. 

My sad little tulip

While most consider the dandelion a weed, it's actually a very bright, cheery little flower, and look at the bloom up close. It's gorgeous!!!  Plus, they are good for the bees!!!

The dandelion bloom

As I sat in the gazebo and chatted on the phone, I was entertained by the birds at the feeder. There were lots of them yesterday!!!

Birds at the bird feeder in the backyard

So here are two things for you to contemplate. It appears that the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England is a GO. IN PERSON. It's scheduled for the end of July/August. Would you go? Hmm - I've always wanted to go to this show. And while I'm not afraid of getting COVID, and I know that I'm protected and take precautions, what about the others? It might be the year to go - things might be cheaper as businesses open up and want people to travel. I wonder if there are travel restrictions - the UK isn't exactly my choice of destination at the moment. 

Here's the second thing. I'm reading Mindscan by Robert J. Sawyer. It's the year 2045. Jake (the main character)  has a hereditary disease that could end up with him becoming a vegetable (are we allowed to say that any longer?) Anyway, his father has been in an institution for years, and Jake didn't want that to happen to him. So at the early age of 44, he had his brain scanned and transferred to an artificial body. He no longer needs to eat, drink, or sleep. He doesn't get tired and no aches or pains. 

We're following his story in his new body and his old self in the old body as it goes to the moon to a retirement home. Hmmm - would you be happy with an artificial body? No more chocolate - no more wine - and no more luxuriating in bed just before you fall asleep. 

I'm not sure I could handle that - immortality and no other real pleasures or mortality and guilty pleasures. I love chocolate!!! 

I was chatting with one of the neighbors who is decluttering. He agreed that he's a hoarder and gave away have of his clothes that he never wears any longer. So the job today is to tackle that closet - yes - do it again. If you don't have time to tackle the entire closet, look at ditching at least five things you no longer wear. I'm sure that won't be hard. Just let the emotions go and if it's something that you really liked, take a picture of it, try putting it on, and then put it in a bag!!!

On that note, I'm out of here. Another super busy day and some things HAVE to get done today. So no slacking off. 

Have a super day!!


Sunday, May 9, 2021

Breaking the rules


I'm happy to report that the Long Time Gone is ALMOST done. All the little things I wanted to change are changed! All the sashing pieces that I need for the last section are cut and ready to sew in place. And Section 4 is together as much as it can be. The only thing left is those darn four pineapple blocks! That's going to have to wait until Monday sewing, which is tomorrow. And I see that more and more people are getting their tops together, minus the border as that is the class for next weekend. 

Who knew that I could keep up with this one? It's been a tremendous amount of work. And once that is done, we're taking a break for the summer and will start in the fall with Boho Heart and Gypsy Wife (both by Jen Kingwell). That will give me time to catch up on the other projects. Phew -- I CAN do it!

The more I look at my Long Time Gone, I know how it should be quilted. Oh boy -- well, that can be a job for June. I'd like to get it completely done.  

I've been enjoying the electronic versions of some quilt magazines. I see they will expire soon, and I still have one or two to finish reading. But as I was browsing, I came across some stuff that bugs me. The magazine is called Love Patchwork & Quilting. It's a British publication, and I'll classify it as geared toward the modern vibe. 

I have NOTHING against the modern quilt movement. I think it's refreshing and vibrant, although a bit confused as sometimes, what it called modern is so not modern; however, I digress. 

There are two things that I pulled from the magazine. One - many of the modern fabric collections are hideous. OK -- hideous is a strong word. I'm totally open to using modern fabrics as there are many that I adore. It's the COLLECTIONS that I have an issue with. First - have you noticed that many of them are the SAME color. THE EXACT SAME!! And this spans across various fabric companies. And some designers crank out the same color, just change the prints. How creative is that? 

Second, many of the prints are cutesy prints with little animals or household items or whatever. It doesn't take rocket science to create a repeat with those prints. Again -- I LOVE a lot of this stuff - I have boxes of novelty prints. But some collections just don't fit together. What does one do with all those small cutesy prints in one quilt? They don't even go together sometimes. It's just a print for the sake of a print? And some are so busy - it reminds me of the calico flowers that we had back in the '70s and 80's - just a different color. It just goes to show that there is NOTHING new - just different. 

Now, I did hear somewhere that it doesn't matter what the theme of the print is; it's the color that's important. OK -- I get that, but sometimes, these colors do NOT go together. I've tried in the past to work with ONE collection, and well, it doesn't always work. But that's OK - we don't have to buy collections; we get to buy individual prints, and that suits me just fine. 

I hope people realize that just because the designer thinks it's a good idea to put those fabrics together, you don't have to. Add in some solids, or larger prints or whatever works. The same goes for a project pattern. Some designers are good, and others? Well, not so much!! It's all a matter of personal taste - I get that. But as a maker, if that designer's personal taste doesn't match mine, I can do whatever I want, which happened with the Long Time Gone quilt. You have to wait to see it, and you may hate it, but I love it, and that's all that counts. 

Here's the other thing I take away from that same magazine. Many of the project designers are young, and I'm thrilled to see that. It means the world of sewing and quilting is finding a new audience. I dislike that these designers do NOT know the basic rules of sewing, or they may not know a BETTER way to do something. As a result, the people who do the projects will be totally frustrated and perhaps give up or make a project that looks shoddy. It's a shame. 

What do I mean by that? I saw instructions for a tote bag. Oh - that's cute. When I read the instructions for assembling the handle - I was horrified. Cut the long piece of handle fabric, sew it into a tube, and turn it inside out—no tips for turning the tube. I suppose someone has a hack on YouTube. Then you were supposed to take the long thin strip of foam and work it inside. No tips. Now, how the heck are you going to do that?? And the foam will likely NOT fit exactly inside the tube (too big or too small in some places), and that handle will look shoddy and not feel nice. 

There are so many EASIER ways to make a professional-looking handle. If only the modern designers would take a lesson or two from some of the people who've been around for a while, they can get the basics under their belt and then break the rules!! Sigh..............

However, it's not just the young ones. I was watching a video yesterday about quilting. The advice was to stitch around the outside edges of the quilt before it goes to the long-arm quilter, so the border seams don't pop open. OK -- good advice; HOWEVER, if you sew with the CORRECT stitch length of 2.0, this will NEVER happen. There was no mention of the proper stitch length. Sigh................

I think it's for this reason that I try not to teach a pattern - I teach techniques to become a better sewer, and we sometimes make a quilt when doing that. 

But at least the younger generations are sewing, and for that, I'm thankful. 

I've been pushing to get customer quilts done. Even though my long arm is computerized, it still takes hours to do one quilt top. You have to load the backing, the top, and the batting. Set up the computer. Watch the bobbin, turn the quilt after each row, get it lined up again, and then take the quilt off. I'm not complaining - just explaining that despite the computer, this job takes time! 

But I have one more customer quilt done!!! I had to make the backing for the next one, and it's ready to load later today. 

Customer quilt - DONE

I've got a crazy busy week coming, and not sure how many I can get done, but there are TWO that I want to get done. I'll keep my fingers crossed that I can make that happen. 

Since I have no other sewing to share with you, here are more nature pictures I snapped while out walking the girls. They are getting tired of stopping when I want to stop!!!

Yesterday I showed you a similar picture with pink buds. Why are some pink and some are green? Different types of trees? Different gender?

Green buds

Yes -- that looks like a different type of tree. 

Pink buds

And then you have this type of pine tree. Hmm - are those things called buds? There's a whole about trees and nature that I don't know. 

A different kind of bud

And let's not forget the dandelion. I LOVE when they turn into little puff balls like this. So pretty. I had to practically get on my hands and knees to get this. Murphy was not impressed, and I'm sure the weekend traffic on that busy street had a good chuckle as well. I'm too old to care!!!

Dandelion fluff

And then we passed this. Hmmm - what is the significance of this? It looks like two chicken eggs on a plastic lid. By the entrance to a townhouse complex? I've seen this before. Did someone leave two eggs for someone to pick up later?  The curiosities we get to ponder while walking. 

Eggs for pickup? 

The third house for sale on our street finally got the FOR SALE sign on Friday. I'm sure there'll be a SOLD sign on it today. I saw activity around it, and hopefully, the other house, which never got a sign, will also sell. 

We need to get some things fixed around our house. We've not done much in the last couple of years, and I'm sure it's going to be a nightmare to try and find someone to do some of these jobs. I'd better get a handle on that soon. And NO - we are not selling. We just need to get some repairs done before the place falls down around us!!!

On that note, I'm out of here—another busy day. I managed to get one writing assignment off my plate, but I have another due now, so I'll be working on that this morning. 

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, May 8, 2021

Now about that new car...................


 A day without frustrations is a good day indeed! So I didn't necessarily get as much work done as I needed to do - well as I wanted to do, but progress - it's all about progress!! OH -- I did have one SMALL issue when I couldn't find my presentation for yesterday's class. But it all worked out! It's good to be able to think fast on one's feet. 

I'm happy to report that my Long Time Gone quilt is looking awesome. Sections 5 and 6 (the right-hand side) are now together. It's getting heavy with all those small pieces. I hung it up on the design wall to admire it and realized I still have one small correction to make, but it's right on the edge, so that's easy to fix. All that remains is to get those darn last four pineapple blocks together, sew Section 4 together and add it to the quilt. 

The best news - the end is in sight!! The class is next weekend. The ideal goal would be to have the top done - our final show and tell is in June, so for those not done, there's still time. But I need it done so I can move on - my other stuff is piling up, and I need to get to it. Plus, I need the design wall. 

The problem is that I "work" during the day. And I rarely get to the sewing machine just for fun. So I get up really early in the morning, so I can sew on this stuff. I have TWO entire days with nothing on the schedule, and I'm hoping to make advancements in some sewing projects, but I also have a ton of writing to do and a list of samples to make, so we'll see what happens. 

I have to laugh because often people, including (or especially) me, say that I didn't have time to do something. Well, we all have time - it just a question of prioritizing. The other evening, I received an e-mail about a survey. I love surveys, but this one was especially dear to my heart. How did I like my Toyota Corolla Hatchback? Oh - I will MAKE time for this. 

The survey

It took me over one hour to fill that out yesterday morning, and I was VERY thorough with my likes and dislikes. To be fair to Toyota, the quality of the finishings on the inside and the outside is very well done. I like the look of the car. I bought the car mostly based on fuel economy, and I can't complain about that. But the rest? Oh yes -- I had a few things to say about the car. 

I put some of the blame on myself, as when I purchased the car, I was in a hurry because I needed a new car as my old car had been written off by the insurance. I put my complete trust in Toyota to design and make a car with excellent features (as they have with all my previous cars). I also went wrong because the salesperson that I had was a total idiot, and I should have DEMANDED someone else, and I did not. That was a total mistake!! I try not to regret things in life but that I regret. 

So the moral of that story is - if you're not happy with one person, then DEMAND another. I mean - buying a car is a major purchase and should be thought out. I did NOT do that. 

However, the new Toyota app has made a difference, but over two years for the app to come out? I'm not impressed. Maybe I won't buy another car? Maybe this is my last one? I doubt that - I can see myself having a car. I never thought I would say this, but I can see us becoming a one-car family. OH MY GOD!!!! What's that all about? 

So here's one of the things that I thought about the other day. In our province, we've been in lock-down for quite some time, and frankly (for myself), I haven't really felt many of the repercussions that have affected other people. Our families live very far away (except my MIL), we rarely attend live events, we're not big shoppers, we have a nice house to be locked up in, and the members of our household get along with each other. So we are very, very lucky. And I think, for the most part, we're pretty stable - OK - that might be stretching the truth a wee bit, but our in-house entertainment, AKA Lexi and Murphy, keep us entertained. 

Once the lock-down is lifted, and we can get out, will we? I would very much doubt that I'll go back to teaching in a store. Depending on the situation, it's not worth my time to do that, and most of the stores I teach at will likely NOT go back to hosting in-store classes (that's my take - not the stores). I might need to shop from time to time, but I didn't shop in 2020, so why would I need to shop in 2021? 

I've ordered stuff online and try to buy local. A shop called me yesterday to say that the product I ordered is in. That's going to be my car trip for next week. But do I need to go out? Nope - I'm perfectly happy at home. And I'm not even sewing! 

Here's the other thing that we need to think about. Are people happy to be at home? I know some are going squirrely, but is that because we CANNOT go out or because we really need to get out. You know what happens when you tell your child NO - you can't have that. They will do whatever they can to get that item. The moment you give it to them, they couldn't care less. 

That's what I think is going to happen. When people can get out - some will and some will be perfectly happy to stay at home. It'll be interesting to see the change in lifestyle patterns once the lock-down is over. At this rate, I don't think the lock-down will go away any time soon. 

I did manage to get a quilt quilted, but it was late last night once I finished. It was just that kind of a day with other stuff going on. But I LOVE when a quilt doesn't fight back at me. It makes my life so much easier!! This quilt was a dream to quilt!!! The owner will be very pleased!

Customer quilt - done!!!

I did manage to sneak out for a walk, but I had to cut it short because of my schedule. And I listened to a podcast while I was loading the quilt. Oh my -- that was a lot of fun. So I found a good series of Podcasts to listen to, and I went back to the first one I could find in the app. While She Naps and it was taped during Quiltcon 2017. 

Here's the thing - I could join a quilt guild (or attend as a guest) and endure all the crappy politics and feel guilty because I'm not an active member of the executive. Or I could pay NOTHING and listen to podcasts or Youtube, which is PURE ENTERTAINMENT and/or learning. Which would you choose? Oh, that's so easy - it's silly. I am NOT knocking quilt guilds, but I doubt I'll ever rejoin until the politics go away, which will never happen. Some of the members are so petty, it's mindblowing. I'm too old for pettiness and control issues. Here's what I say to those that think they are better than me - GET A LIFE!!!! And set an example for your children and grandchildren. And now back to Abbey and her podcast!!! God - I'm becoming a hermit, just like my mother!!! I'm OK with that.  

So I've realized how we can live forever. Have you ever read the book by Robert J. Sawyer called Mindscan? I found it on my bookshelf, so I decided to read it. The premise is they scan your brain and transfer it to an artificial body. The great thing about the body? You can be whoever you want. You don't need to eat; you don't have aches or pains. It's just your mind in an artificial and non-organic body! Now imagine how that would be for a quilter. You could actually sew up our stashes!!!

What happens to the old body? It goes to a gorgeous retirement center on the moon!! The main character is JUST getting his mind scanned - I'll let you know what happens. 

Here are a couple of nature pictures I grabbed while out walking yesterday. Isn't this amazing? 

Buds on an evergreen

And here's a gorgeous trillium. There are little groupings of them in the forest, and they are beautiful. 

Trillium in bloom

Here's your task for today. I've been sending this link to everyone, and so if you're having trouble with your  1/4" seam - here's a way to test what is wrong. While I did the test on the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC, the test works for any sewing machine. Get out all your 1/4" feet and test them. If you have some feet that you just can't stand, put them in a Ziploc and get them out of your active sewing supplies. 

And I'm off. I hope to get some fun sewing done today or at least some sewing on my current projects, but the work comes first. I don't want to be late and then get in a panic situation. I'm trying to avoid urgent deadlines. But as you can see - I do work in a lot of personal time each day - over 2 hours of walking every day, reading, listening to podcasts, or watching The Quilt Show. I just wish it could be more, but that's OK. I like the variety!!! And the money doesn't hurt either!

Have a super day!!!  I still have one piece of paper to find. I had better do that, or I might get fired? Oh - that would be great!!!


Friday, May 7, 2021

How would you quilt that?

I don't know that what I did to my Long Time Gone was worth the effort. It's been like a monkey on my back since I started. However, I'm happy that I've done it. And I bet that NO ONE will be able to see what I did. But that's OK. Here's the good news - Sections 1, 2, and 3 are back together. And Section 6 is now completely fixed. Section 5 is almost ready for the final sewing together. That one was easy since I hadn't sewn it completely together. 

I should get Section 5 and 6 together today - maybe - and that leaves Section 4, which contains FOUR pineapple blocks, and they aren't done yet! But I should be good to get that done over the weekend. Phew -- this is a complex quilt and lots of pieces. I think that one of the class participants counted that there were over 3,000 pieces in it.

But I need to get moving on other stuff - it's all piling up. I didn't get a lot of chance to sew yesterday. When I get the long arm running and the embroidery machine, there's no time to sew. It's a lot already just feeding those two machines. I usually sew first thing in the morning while I watch Alex and Ricky. 

I did get another quilt done, but I'm not sharing it with you at this time. It's my quilt, and it was on the list of quilts to be quilted in May; however, I didn't think it needed to be done urgently. Then I got a note that an editor wanted the picture of the finished quilt. By 1:00 PM yesterday. OH - well, that's not going to happen! So it bumped the customer quilt, which I'll do today. And I must get that binding on and try to get a decent picture. All in a fun day!!!

Wait -- the quilt top has been posted to the internet, so follow this link to see the top and how I assembled it. 

As I was quilting it, I was thinking of other quilts that I've done. The big question is when the quilt top is busy or heavily pieced - do you do custom quilting, or do you do an edge to edge? Here's the back of the quilt so you can see the quilt pattern. 

The back of my quilt

As I was quilting it, I think I know the answer, which took me years to figure out. If the quilt is really busy with lots of small pieces, will the quilting show? If the pieces are small, the motifs need to be small and will take MORE time. If the prints are really busy - does it make sense to be custom quilted? It made me think of a quilt meeting years ago; a customer got up for the show and tell with a quilt her long warmer had just completed (not me). The customer was so proud of this custom quilted quilt. From the front, we could see nothing. The quilt was turned around, and the back was equally as busy, except for ONE section. She proudly pointed out - "See the custom quilting!"  Well, I wouldn't have paid for custom quilting when I can really only appreciate it from the back in one small section. That long arm quilter should have DISCOURAGED her from that style of quilting. And maybe she did, as some customers just don't get it. 

There are loads of other reasons - what's the end use of the quilt? What is the quilt made of? Embellishments? Odd fabrics? And a whole lot of other questions. So keep that all in mind the next time you ask for custom versus edge to edge. 

And I can't say enough for picking the correct thread color. That can make or break your quilt, especially when choosing an edge-to-edge pattern. I'll never forget my very first lesson in long-arm quilting. Carol picked this HIDEOUS color off the wall to use on my quilt (that I don't think is finished). I was horrified, and yet - it blended right in. I must dig that quilt out and finish it!

Here's the border of the quilt. And you can see how that thread just blends in. It's sometimes a challenge to pick a thread color when there is a huge contrast in value or color. 

The thread blends into the fabric

As I was reassembling the Long Time Gone quilt, I managed to get ONE more of the Snail's Trail blocks together. I don't have quite enough pieces cut for the remaining nine blocks, so I'll be cutting that later today. And I have to make FIVE more blocks than the ones that are already cut. Why? 

Snail's Trail block

Well, I'm not making all the rows in the book, but I'll make one of each block to show in the class. That means I have this little cabana on the beach with no water. So I need to make five blocks for the bottom, and it'll make a cute little wall hanging. 

My cabana block

I'm marching along on my Virtual Challenges. I see they are going to ramp up the number they release as they have become popular. I'm currently working on the long ones, as I'll be able to rip through those short ones in a month or two per challenge. I'm currently walking the Appalachian Trail, and sometime today, I'll be leaving Pennsylvania and moving into New Jersey. 

Moving into New Jersey today

And on my cross Canada walk that I started on January 1, 2020 (last year), I'm almost in Quebec City. Amazing that I've walked the equivalent of Victoria, BC, to Quebec City in one year and four months. Yikes - that's a lot of walking!!!

Almost in Quebec City

These virtual challenges have been a godsend actually. The daily goals get me out of the house and it has helped enormously with keeping my weight under check. I like to eat and well - I'd be much larger if I didn't walk! And now I'm to the point that if I don't walk? Well, I don't let that happen. It's become a HUGE priority for me. I don't care how busy I am in the studio; I WALK - every day, regardless of the weather. 

In my effort to distract the dogs from digging beside the house, I boiled up a kettle of vinegar and poured it all over the area. They did NOT like the smell, and I got a shiny kettle. However, I notice that Miss Lexi was back there at some point in the day. So I don't think we're quite done with this issue. 

But as I mentioned, there's never a dull moment in the house. Look at Murphy! It's like she's sacrificing her teddy bear on the stone altar!! But she's so cute that how can you stay mad at her? YES - she's in desperate need of a bath and a trim, but the groomer is closed because of the pandemic. Only taking emergency grooming.

Proud Murphy with her teddy bear

And Lexi? Well, she couldn't care what's happening with Murphy. But don't let her fool you. Her eyes are probably open, and those ears are perked up - she's watching and listening to everything going on!!!

Lexi is a bit more laid back

I was asked to find some paperwork last night. UGH - that's just not my thing. However, I had kept one of the groups handy on my desk for some reason, and I found it no problem. The other one, I'm going to have to dig this morning. But that made me do some sorting and filing last night. I still have more to do, perhaps today. 

But here's the thing, and this is your task for today. If you are still getting bills in the mail - STOP!!! Phone up the company and have them forward the bills to you via e-mail. Some of ours are done, and some are not. I need to make a few phone calls or go to their websites and make this happen. Then if you're looking for a bill, you just log in and find the information. It really does make sense. No paper, no filing - no worries about disposing of the stuff later. Don't say that it's safer to get the paper than keeping it on a website because whether you request the bill or not, the information is still on a server somewhere!!!

OH -- I should mention that I have auto-pay, so that's why the bills are all unopened. I'm so bad with this stuff. 

Unopened bills

Gosh -- I need ONE day to get all that paperwork filed and dealt with. OK - even if I had a day, I would NOT spend all day doing that. I have a good filing system, as I found out last night when I filed a few things. My goal is to get it into the files and then go through the files and delete (I mean throw out). Yes - I could do that before I file it, but I'm good with this system. I'll get there!!!!

OK -- so for those who get my blog post via e-mail every day, I'm testing out Bloglovin'.  I haven't liked this in the past and realized that I didn't have all the settings set up properly. So far - it's working. Now I'm going to add in another blog or two and see what happens.  Once everything is to my liking, I'll let you know how to make that happen. 

On that note, I'm out of here. More quilts to quilt, one presentation, and some more embroidery. Lots of stuff to do!!!

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Digging for gold

 Holy -- things seem to take forever to do! At least I took more pictures than I did the previous day, but not much I can share with you. I'm working on my blog posts for the end of the month, and well - you just don't get to see them yet. 

I had two presentations yesterday. And I attempted to use my desktop computer. I lugged the darn thing downstairs, only to find the camera wouldn't work on Zoom. Seriously? I've used Zoom on this computer before, so I don't know what the issue was. I left it and went back to the laptop. Using the old software was better than not being able to see me. 

Why or why does technology not like me? Well, that keeps me on my toes - I never know what's going to happen. I do have to say that overall, I think I've got a good handle on technology - it's just when things change!!!

After my first session in the morning, I logged a call with Microsoft to figure out why I couldn't delete ONE file (from a software program) from my computer. This is what I found when I logged the support call correctly. 

Wait time of 3,140 minutes!!!

How many hours is that??? 3,140 minutes is something like 50 hours. Good grief - that's not good news. However, I had barely sat down to eat my lunch when I got a call. I don't know about you, and I don't want to do any stereotyping here, but I kind of feel how the call will go by the voice on the other end. This time, I felt good! The last time, the person was messing with all my settings, and it was a mess after. Which caused the air to be quite blue for the remainder of the afternoon. 

This person? They figured out how to delete the file fairly quickly - it's all a question of who has control, and while I know how to change the admin settings on a file, I just couldn't get this one to work. Then they were able to change the name and e-mail on the account that I've wanted to happen for a long time. EASY!!!  And it only took about a half-hour. 

I was too afraid to try and reinstall the software that I need. I've rebooted the laptop several times to ensure everything is up-to-date, and the memory is cleared, and all that stuff. 

Today - I get to reinstall the software, and I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that it works. If not - I'll be going to their software support to see what the issue is. 

I asked the service person about my e-mail, and I got the information I needed to log another support call. I see this morning that my e-mails are still going to spam, so I'll be logging another support call later today. Then I need to figure out how to set up the e-mail for the blog, which will be more challenging. 

The big thing is when stuff like this needs to be done - where do you learn? Who do you call? That's the tough part. But I'm learning! 

I got a customer quilt quilted yesterday. 

Customer quilt - done!!!

You do NOT want to see my Long Time Gone. It's in pieces! It looks terrible at the moment, and I can only hope that it looks OK when it goes back together. I am NOT ripping it out again!  Fingers crossed on that! I do have another presentation this afternoon, but I hope to fire up the embroidery machine and the sewing machine, as well as the long arm, so it's going to be another busy day. I need to get Long Time Gone because it's putting me way behind on the other projects!!!

And when you think things are going just fine - what happens? The girls go crazy. I was downstairs, and I could hear them - not barking, not whining, but making crazy noises. I come upstairs, and I get these innocent looks - wasn't us!! We didn't dig a big hole at all. Not us!!!!

Oh yes - Miss Lexi - no digging 

Murphy - definitely NOT digging in the mud

Pool Murphy - her fur gets her into trouble every time! 

I've no idea what they are trying to find - I checked and did NOT see any nests of baby rabbits or other critters. And thankfully, when we had that section of fence installed, they put a wire mesh deep into the ground. 


They would NOT leave the area alone. Wood is totally useless. Murphy just drags that away. I put some bricks into a plastic tub. Murphy pulled it away. Hmm - what do I have that's heavy? I went into the shed and found the HEAVY metal stand for the umbrella. I lugged that into place, and so far, she's not able to move it. But trust me - she's trying to move it, and she's determined! I have a giant rock that I'm going to try and shove into that corner. OK - so it's not a giant rock, but it's just an extra rock that we had at the pond, and now it's behind the gazebo. 

It's all in the crazy world that we call our household. Let's say there is NEVER a dull moment here. These two girls have been a constant source of entertainment since the day we got them. And they get along so well; however, Murphy is a bully. Not intentionally - she just needs to be first, and she just needs to be the one getting the attention. 

Well, it's time to get the day moving! I barely had time to touch any paperwork, and it keeps piling up. I hope to get some done this morning and some writing, and then I'll be downstairs with my nose to the grindstone. But not before I get to the grocery store. I was so focused yesterday that I completely forgot there were no bananas for breakfast. My oatmeal is just not the same without the banana!!!

No decluttering task today -- well, keep deleting those text messages!!!

Have a super day!!!!