Friday, December 19, 2008

All that rain

It's been raining for 3 or 4 days. It's not a downpour, just a steady rain. But, apparently it was too much rain for my 8 year old house. The roof leaked and it was raining in my living room. Since we work all day, there is no way of knowing how long the rain sat on the new wood floor in my living room. Grrrr. We sopped up the water, laid down a sheet of plastic with a layer of towels on top of that and then a couple of buckets and went to bed. No dripping in the morning, thank goodness and we had blue skies yesterday.

After work, yesterday, the ceiling looked like it was drying. I had been smart enough to mark the spot where it was wet the night before. It looked like the damage was not going to be too bad. So we pulled up the bucket, towels and plastic and that is when I saw the warped flooring. Our house is on a slab so we have engineered wood flooring. It's not laminate. This stuff can be sanded but it is not the solid wood used when you have a crawl space under your house. We waited so long to get wood put in the house. We talked ourselves out of putting it in the kitchen when we did the rest of the house. We were worried about potential water damage if the wood floor got wet. We never thought about the living room floor getting wet. I just want to cry. We're waiting to hear from the insurance company now.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's just a tree

For the first 20 years of marriage we used the same fake tree that I bought on sale at Spiegel catalog. We finally retired it after many years of good service.

I wanted the smell of fresh tree in the house for the holidays. You can smell that wonderful pine as soon as you walk in the house. We did that for 3 years. Watering every day, vacuuming everyday and disposal were less than wonderful. So the warm glow of Christmas wore off pretty quick.

We went to a larger fake tree with the lights already on it. Hmm, that sure eliminates a lot of the burned out bulbs on strings angst that happens every year. We love that tree, set up is easy. It only takes a few minutes to arrange the branchs to cover the bare spots made by laying flat for 11 months in the garage. Then we decorate it with our wonderful decorations. I have decos from our first Christmas together (1976), baby's first Christmas (1980 and 1982), and when the kids were boys in school. Every year Terry has been faithful about buying an ornament that represents that year for us. Some light up, some bubble and some are engraved with names and significant dates.

So we set up the tree. But the ornaments are in Hyloft garage storage that we could not reach thanks to our newest addition to the garage, our son's sand dune buggy (plus trailer). Undaunted, Terry went out and got 3 new ornaments for the tree for this year. We figured that we would get our son to come over and move his dune buggy and grab our decorations stored above it. Great idea.

Jake (son), Dana (wife), and 3 grands came over this week-end looking for their fake Christmas tree stored, where else?, at my house. After moving things (read dune buggy) around, they retrieved our box of decorations from the high storage area and found their tree. They did not find their decorations. Hmmmm.

Yeah, I know, but they need decorations and we do not. So they hesitantly took our box of decorations. My grands need to see our family decos on a tree. I loved that idea. Besides we just bought 3 new decos, right? And where are those new decos....

This really sucks!

Every year we ask our kids (and kids-in-law) for gift ideas for Christmas. I hate returning stuff because it is the wrong size, wrong color, wrong thing entirely. So I ask for specifics. I love my daughter-in-law dearly. She, with a few minutes of of help from my son, has given me the greatest gift possible, grandchildren. So she asked for a Black & Deck Platinum 18-Volt hand vacuum. This is not a gift that I would choose myself, but it is what she wants.

I googled it. I looked all over the internet and found it "backordered" or "not in stock" or "waiting to receive shipment of". After much searching, I found it at boatandrvaccessories.com. $36.99 and ordered it in time to receive it by Christmas.

The box arrived yesterday and it seemed a bit large for a hand vacuum. I turned over the box and saw the photo and stock number. I ordered SPV-1800, they shipped PSV-1800 (a much higher priced item). I checked online and the one I received sells for $66.99. So this is probably much nicer, sucks better, whatever. It is not what I ordered. It is pivotal and cordless but it is not what Dana wanted.



I couldn't call the place I ordered it from, they just forwarded the order to the warehouse in Rialto, CA. Using the invoice, I called the Customer Service number in Rialto, CA and explained that they had sent me a more expensive vac than I ordered and could I please trade it for what I ordered to begin with? yada, yada, "Call this local disctribution center in San Diego". Called that local distribution center and, yada, yada. Grrrrrrr. Who needs this kind of run-around?

So Dana will have a sucky Christmas (pun intended). She'll get this nice vacuum (which she didn't ask for) on Christmas and she'll get an IOU from me for the other. This really sucks.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brenda's Sampler




This is the fourth one of these that I have quilted. It is from a quilting class taught 2 years ago at adult school. The thing is, these sampler blocks are a huge 24 inches. This is the first one that I have done that did not have borders. It is 92" x 92".

I decided to try some of my new stencils and the new Bohin white pencil that I got from Suzanne's quilt and yarn shop in Iowa.

http://shop.knotsandbolts.com/index.php?p=catalog&mode=search&search_str=bohin&search_in=all

I love this pencil. It is perfect for marking on dark fabric. The lead is 9mm so it does not crumble like so many of these markers do but it is still small enough to fit inside the stencil path. It comes with a refill. I started using the pencil and lost the refills somewhere. So I decided to order 2 more Bohin pencils as Christmas gifts and I loaded up on extra lead.

Wanna See My New Ride...?





I attend quilt classes. For me, it is as much about socializing as it is about learning. I do strive to get at least one block pieced in class before I drift off and start visiting with others.





Going to classes is a cardio workout for me.

--You have to run all over the house retrieving this tool or that ruler

--There is all sorts of bending and stooping to get the perfect background fabric

--Of course, you have to take an iron, starch, pins, seam ripper, chocolate, a pin cushion

--Last but certainly not least, you have to take your machine. I mean, no machine means that you are really ot going to a quilt class; you are just using that as an excuse so you can run off to the casino and gamble for a few hours.

I bought a Juki TL-98Q recently and I just love it for strip piecing. It does only one stitch, straight but it goes very, very fast. I call it turbo fast. I get started, get into my zone of strip piecing and kick that baby into turbo.

The Juki also has a "enforcer-style" quarter inch foot so I don't drift off my seam allowance while I am chatting about the neighbors cat. La, la, la, la etc. It has a huge 9" throat and and great extended table. I don't have to pull up my bobbin thread each time I start and I can cut the thread using my foot pedal. Neato, huh? What I don't like this wonderful machine is its weight.

The machine specs state that it weighs 29 pounds. Well, maybe it weighs 29 pounds on Saturn where there is no gravity but here on earth, the Juki feels more like 40 pounds when you are hauling it from your house to your car then again from your car to the quilt shop and then back again. This is not so much a cardio workout as it is a weight-lifting exercise.

Most quilters keep their classroom goodies organized in various bags, carts and carryalls. But my Juki is pretty big and would not fit in the standard tapestry bags from Joann's. When I saw the Tutto bag, I fell in love. It opens at the top and sides. It has bunches of pockets and zippers and slots for all those goodies we have to take to class. It has a handle similar to luggage and 4 roll-in-all directions wheels on the corners. It folds down to be quite flat, though I think that I will keep mine ready to hit the road. And the best part, it's PINK.

A Batik Candy Bar Quilt


Ahhh, the peace of piecing.

I bought a fat jelly roll (4 inch) of batiks at my LQS and decided to take the easy way out. I will use the strips in varying lengths in a horizontal row configuraion. I have heard it called by several names - LaSagna, candy bar, and row quilt. I don't know who designed it so I can't give credit to the pattern designer. I'm not sure what the pattern is even called since you just whack the strips into various lengths and put them together.

It is mindless, really. Maybe that is what I like about it. You just get the peace of the machine purring and get to touch beautiful fabric as you feed it into the machine. No exact measurements required. It is very forgiving of my lack of attention, too. That's always a bonus. No reading and re-reading pattern instructions are necessary for this type of quilt.

So I have about 16 strips in varying lengths (65" -80") hanging vertically on my design wall. I also have a pony wall that separates the main hall in my house from the den 3 steps down. This wall is like a magnet, everything ends up there. So right now, there 3 groups of assembled 70" long strips. There are two 2-strips and a 3-stripper. The point is that the quilt looks so much better when 2 pieces of the same fabrics are NOT next to each other.

So tonight, after I get home from work, I'll tweak them some and see if I can get a few more done.
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My life has changed in the last couple of years - some bumps, I retired from quilting, and then I moved to Texas. I'm anxious to see what new adventures await me in the next phase of my life.

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Ramona, California, United States
I started quilting when a quilt shop opened in our little town in January 2004. I have been hooked ever since.

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Books I"ve read lately

  • The Help (Kindle)
  • The Appeal by John Grisham
  • Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (again) by Harper Lee
  • Bleachers by John Grisham

This is called Fruit Cocktail

This is called Fruit Cocktail
It is all batiks