Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why Do I Bother!?

I decided it was time to go thru the closet and see what fits that used to be too small and what is too big. This was a good feeling to have some big things to give away cause - those things are NEVER going to fit me again!

So while I was in the closet I decided to sort thru and make some more space. I brought the pile of winter clothes into the guest room closet figuring the odds of wearing those clothes when its 99F and 50% humidity were pretty slim.

I grabbed the clothes and dropped them on the guest bed. Phone rang. I knew it was going to be someone who wanted me to donate money or change my cable or review my phone service or one of a million "drive me crazy" telemarketers but, on the off chance it was actually a friend I went and answered it. I was gone long enough to say, "Please take this phone number off your list." (my standard answer) and went right back to the guest room.


Somehow Bert has this built in radar that tells him the second I set something on a horizontal surface anywhere in the house. He could be dead to the world in the deepest sleep of his life on the other side of the house and get to the thing I set down quicker than I can turn around. I only wish I could figure out how to make money on this amazing talent.

Why do I bother to try and keep things clean and fur free? Its a losing battle.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Little Backtracking

The past few posts I've talked about some things without pictures well - I finally got the pics out of the camera so its time to do a little backtracking.

First up, a couple pictures of the Road Bowling.As you recall, Road Bowling is a game that comes from Ireland. I don't know where it originally came from but I'm guessing that there was a lot of beer involved. So -

Each team has the spotter down the road while the bowlers are up at the top of the road. This is how the game should look but with us the next pic is how it looked most of the time.

When the cannonballs decided to head off in the weeds it was all hands on deck to go ball hunting. As I said last post - we ended up tagging the road for where 2 balls were still in the weeds. I'm hoping my friend found them. When the game was over we headed back up to the house and sat around looking out over the beautiful viewof his property.

I could be very happy sitting around looking at this every day.

Meanwhile, back at my place, the yellow and blue quilt is coming along. All the 960 little squares have been sewn together into sets of 2x2.

Each of the stacks has 5 sets of 2x2s. Then the 2x2s were sewn into sets of 2x4 (some were kept as 2x2 for the border and edges of the rows.

Some of these were sewn to plain light blue blocks the same size.

Now, I'm in the middle of getting the sets sewn together to create rows that will go up diagonally.

That's where this quilt is so far. But there's other things getting made around here. I made July's Fancy Charity hat- Cloche Divine. The pictures is from the iPad in bad light but - you get the idea. The bow on the side is created by lots of short rows and grabbing stitches from rows below.
 Finally there's still the black out on several projects going on but here's a little peak at one of them...

That's all for now - back to knitting and quilting and ignoring the heat.

Monday, July 9, 2012

First, you take a cannon ball....

With July 4th being the middle of the week, my friends and I got together twice. Wednesday with temperatures at record breaking levels none of us had the heart to "get the grill out" so some of us headed to Old Country Buffet where we could sit and talk and graze on whatever we wanted for a few hours. I rather impressed myself and stayed within my days limit of food intake. Good times and good food are always important for a holiday. Still too hot, I headed for home instead of thinking about fireworks. My neighbors always have to make lots of "boom boom" noises for holidays so I didn't miss out on fireworks completely.

Saturday, the school gang (hard to believe many of us have known each other for over 45 years!) got together at the lovely house of one of us. He lives on 80 acres with views that go on forever. This past year while visiting his daughter at college out east he found a game called Road Bowling. Seems this game came from Ireland originally - County Cork I believe. You bowl in teams of 2 down the lane, gravel road, etc for 1/2 mile - 1 mile - whatever you decide. The team that takes the least number of strokes to get to the end wins. Sounds a bit different but it gets better. You bowl with cannon balls. He had 4 tennis ball sized cannon balls, yup, the real thing! His gravel road is slightly down hill and curvy so much of the time was spent stumping around through the weeds along side the road looking for whichever cannon ball that rolled off the road. After losing 2 of the balls (the weed area was marked so he could cut them down the next day and find the balls) we decided to call it quits. No winners, no losers, just a lot of laughing people with lots of deer fly bites and a few woodticks to show for a fun time. The only suggestion we had was the balls need to be painted something bright, his were the original black.

Before the road bowling we had wonderful food, afterward we had a great time sitting in the side yard with the breeze keeping the flies away and the weather was absolutely perfect. I even got a bit of sock knitting done. What else could you ask for on a holiday week!

One not so good thing, my friend's wife has a tapestry loom that she just got and doesn't quite know how to use it. After finding out I weave (or did a while back) she wants to get together for some lessons. I fear I might be getting sucked back into another of my crafts in a short while. I really have to retire soon so I have enough time to do all these things!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

501 - the making of a quilt

Since several projects will be on blackout from pics for quite a while I decided to talk about making a quilt using the newest project.

First you find a pattern you like. I found one called 501. Sometimes you're lucky to find a kit for half price that has colors you are happy with.

Next you pick out a good audiobook to listen to - its going to be a long haul on this one - lots of little squares.

Then you cut lots of strips. 8 sets of blue colors (6 strips each) - 6 sets of yellow colors (8 strips each).

Sew them together. Press all the groups. To make sure I got all the colors mixed up well I took each yellow color and sewed one of each of the blues to it. So- 48 sets of strip groups.

Next, you get to turn around and cut the long strips into smaller strips. 10 small strips from each strip group. That's 10 times 48 or 480 smaller strips. (960 little squares). Back to the sewing machine.

Those are sewn together into groups of 4. Back to the iron to press all the squares open and nice and flat.

So - right now I'm in the middle of sewing & cutting billions and billions of strips into smaller strips and those into groups of four. All these little groups of 4 need to be kept separate so I can randomly sew them together but not have the same set too close together. Once those are done I'll be sewing 2 groups of 4s together and those will be added to longer light blue rectangles and some day, all will be put together to make a very pretty summer quilt for the guest room.

Oh - the audiobook? One of the Elm Creek Quilters books by Jennifer Chiaverini. Feels like my own little quilt circle with this book playing in the background.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

If you can read.......

Every once in a while I stop doing the everyday mundane things and take time to reflect on life. Scary, I know, but it needs to be done. This past week I've been thinking about the best advice I ever got. I think I heard someone on a TV show ask that question. It was probably to a TV/movie star and I'm guessing the answer was something about becoming a star but, to be honest, I don't remember. I just remember the question. The best advice.......

Actually, the question is pretty easy. My Dad gave me the best advice and I always tried to remember it -

If you can read, you can do anything.

Sounds simple but really, think about it. Almost everything I do or have become is because of reading. Most of my quilting, knitting, cooking, opinions of the world, what I do at my job, most everything is because of reading.

Reading has changed lately with the new technology. I have about 20-30 books on my iPad with the Kindle app right now. I head to the library website and find ebooks and audio books to borrow for 3 weeks. I listen to audio books during my drive to and from work; I read ebooks at lunch. I get a lot of reading in but its light reading.

Learning to do new things? I read quick and easy things on the internet. Find that quick answer by searching the web. I can tell you the real name of a gopher, if you give me a second with my computer. I tell tell you all sorts of things but - with the computer. I've gotten lazy in learning new things.

So, here's the deal. Dad is right - if you can read, you can do anything. But I need to add one other thing to that.

If you can read, you can do anything. If you do what you read, you will become more.

This week I started cutting out a new quilt. It would have been easy to just do it the same way I always had but I took a little time to carefully read the directions the designer created. I read from other designers and I found a better way to make it. I read and then I did what I read. Now I'll be a better quilter.

Small steps but I'll take Dad's advice and remember If I can read I can do anything. Next step, pass on that love of reading to someone else. Time to check into volunteering at the library or somewhere else to help other people learn from my Dad's advice.