Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hello Friends!  I'm still here.  I'm a VERY bad blogger these days, only slightly less so when it comes to quilting - but the days are full and life is great.
Let me start by apologizing to those of you who have tried, in vain, to contact me by leaving a comment on a post.  I have a vague remembrance of setting my comments to 'moderation' but did not realize that I would actually have to check in to see that there were comments pending.  I thought any comments would continue to arrive in my email box where I would see them and publish from there.  I couldn't have been wronger!  So sincere apologies and thanks for checking in on me over these last empty blogging months.  I'm here, I'm good and I do intend to keep this blog alive, though probably not with any sort of regularity that there was in years past.
So what has been happening?  Not much in the way of quilting.  At least nothing that could be considered finished.  Here is the evidence of my shame:
I do not know, nor do I care to count, how many tops are in this basket.  But this represents the last 3 years of my work give or take a couple that actually did ascend to full-fledged quiltdom.  And while I do feel a certain measure of shame at my inability to finish a project, that has NOT stopped me from continuing to start new things.
This one has now reached the stage where it can be folded to join its brethren in the basket of incompletes.
But why stop there?  
With a partner in crime, I have taken on Cheri Payne's Common Threads quilt.  Our stated goal was a block a week.  That has smoothed out to something more like - a week or two of no progress with a burst of two or three blocks completed all at once.  Whatever it takes for us to encourage, drag, cajole or otherwise get the quilt made, it's okay by me.  Who knows, maybe I'll even get it quilted?
So what am I doing with my time instead of making quilts?  Well, I joined a gym.  Scratching your head?  I know I still am as I came to the decision voluntarily.  Initially my plan was to swim laps but the chlorine was making my hair crappy and it was difficult to find a time when the pools was not crowded.  So in an even MORE puzzling and very unlike me move, I started taking yoga classes which then lead to Pilates classes.  Honestly, I'm shaking my head as I just read those words on the screen.  Two classes of each each week.  I'm also doing a lot of walking.  I walk somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 or so miles per week.  Hubby and I are planning on walking a 5k in November to celebrate his successful surgery.  Then in January we are planning on walking a half marathon with The Princess, some sisters-in-law, a few cousins, their families and some friends,  It should be a fun weekend.
We still enjoy frequent and regular visits to The Happiest Place On Earth.  This Hipster Mickey shirt is my most recent acquisition.  I know I border a little on Disney obsession, but Hipster Mickey really appeals to me.
Then just to keep things from getting dull, last weekend Hubby and I joined in a free ukulele lesson offered by a local music shop.  30 minutes of instruction gave us the ability to strum 4 different chords.  It was fun.  Honestly, you cannot be unhappy when a ukulele is being played.
So we bought our very own, along with a bag, a tuner, a book of music.  And suddenly that 'free' class wasn't so free anymore.  Of course, I get more practice time during the day.  We are both able to play Happy Birthday at this point.  There are more (paid) classes in August.  We are definitely signing up.  Who knows, maybe I'll break out that guitar I've had since I was 12 and have never learned to play. 
And then there's Larkin.
Anytime I might have that would feel like 'free time' is  filled by her.  She celebrated her 2nd birthday in June.  She is beginning to mature  . . . just a little, and does not require constant attention and monitoring.  We play and talk a lot.  She is quite the little comedienne.  But she's sweet and snuggly, too.  There was a time we gave her the nickname The Pickle.  She just didn't seem to want to learn what we needed her to learn.  That nickname has morphed in the Sweet Pickle, she's not so vinegary anymore.
If you've stayed with me this long, congratulations.  This has been a long and rambling post.  I don't make promises on when I'll be back, but I will.  Tomorrow marks the beginning of my 9th year with this blog, I've no intention of stopping now  . . . . just maybe slowing down a little.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Today on my design floor.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Thursday, March 06, 2014

California is in a drought.  My dishwasher is on the fritz.  While these two statements appear to have nothing in common on the surface, they certainly clashed in my mind and got me to wondering  . . . .
Would it be better for our state's water situation (and help me to achieve the recommended 20% reduction of water consumption) by continuing to wash dishes by hand?  *hmmm*  Two people, three meals plus a snack or two each day - this usually takes me a day or a little more to fill the dishwasher.  We have ample dishes and utensils to accommodate that.  Still there is always a little something that requires hand washing.  So as long as I'm hand washing, why not just do them all?
But that really didn't answer my question.  So I did what any able-bodied woman of the 21st century would do -  I consulted Google.  It seems that the answer is:  whatever you want it to be.
I found a study conducted in Europe that clearly concludes that hand washing uses gallons and gallons more water per meal than a dishwasher.  That study, however, makes it clear that the participants left water running in the sink the entire time they were washing dishes.  Even while drying and putting away!
I found an article, published by the manufacturer of a major home appliance brand, that showed in no uncertain terms that a dish washing machine is far preferable to the drudgery that is hand washing.  This article was quickly refuted as untrue in a rebuttal because it didn't take into account the cost savings from not buying that appliance in the first place.
The last article I read broke it down into actual cost per load of dishes, including buying the appliance, supplying and heating the water, and the electricity to run the dishwasher for a total cost of $3.80 per hour.  The author concluded that time spent with her family while the dishwasher did the work was far more valuable than that paltry $3.80.
That's when I stopped reading and paused to reflect for just a moment.  I spent time with my mom every day while doing the dishes.  We did so after every meal.  She washed.  I dried.  I could probably count on one hand the number of times I was allowed to wash.  Even into adulthood, I could not be trusted to do a proper cleaning.  So I dried.  And as I dried, I thoroughly inspected every item hoping against hope that I would find a speck of something that would let me send it back to Mom for a re-wash.  Those triumphs were rare, but I revelled each time.
There was a definite hierarchy to the order of things.  Glasses and cups first.  Next silverware went to the bottom of the sink while plates and bowls were cleaned.  Up came the silverware, one piece at a time.  Last but not least pots, pans and bake ware.  As we neared that final round, I was quietly surveying what might take an extra long scrub to remove debris then begin my campaign to soak.  Oh how I hated just standing there while Mom scrubbed and scrubbed with precision and dedication to detail like no other.  Most attempts were futile, but we would both laugh heartily at my perseverance just the same.
I can say with all honesty that washing (or in my case drying) dishes has never been my favorite chore.  I'm sure that for most of my teen years, my part was served up with plenty of eye rolls and heavy sighs.  But now the memories of the time Mom and I spent in the kitchen warm my heart and bring a smile to my face.
I never did find the answer to my original question - will I conserve water with washing by hand or machine?  What I have concluded is that time is our most precious commodity.  Whether we spend it at leisure or in mundane tasks matters not, it's that we spent it together making memories with the ones we love most.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

She quilts!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Freezer Soup

Busy days are ahead, but I don't want to lose sight of good nutrition for Hubby and me. I was pondering how to have a couple of good dinners and a packable lunch without dedicating any time to shopping or the kitchen.
A quick perusal of my freezer brought my attention to some items that have been on hand for a while. I pulled them out, added some chicken, chicken stock, a tablespoon or so of herbs 'd Provence all to the crockpot. I'll throw in some fresh spinach closer to dinner time. A quick squeeze of lemon juice and a grate of parmesan for garnish *voilà*

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sometimes you just have to look for the silver lining
We got home late last evening from a weekend away from home.  The house was a little chilly.  I went and flipped on the furnace to heat us up a little before bed and went about unloading and unpacking only to realize that it never came on.  *grrrr*  I should have called for the annual service a couple of weeks ago when the reminder card came in the mail.   Silver lining - we have lots of quilts to keep us toasty warm until the repair guy can get out here.
I set aside today to take care of an abundance of errands all over town.  My next-to-the-last stop was to see about making an appointment for an oil change later in the week.  They were able to fit me in today.  Mini-silver lining - I walked to Starbucks for an Americano while I waited to get my wheels back.  On the return walk, I got a call from the auto shop  . . . bad news.  The threads on the oil pan came out with the plug when they got ready to drain the oil.  Now I need a new oil pan - cost of parts and two hours labor will make my bill significantly higher than my original estimate.  Due to the late hour, they cannot get the part and complete the work before the end of the day.  I'll get my truck back tomorrow.  Mini-silver lining - I was wearing sensible shoes today, making the unexpected walk home a non-issue. Silver lining - Hubby cannot work late tonight.  He has to pick up Larkin from K-9 camp for me.  I love that we can have dinner together.
In my last post, I promised some quilting.
I am not as far along as I would like.  I had hoped to have the quilting done and be stitching the binding down, but I do have it layered and ready to go.  The quilt is for an extended family member who is expecting their first baby.  Silver lining -  baby is not set to make his arrival until later next month.  So I still have time to put on the finishing touches.
And last but not least, I've succumbed to adding word verification for comments.  The amount of spam I have been getting lately has become burdensome and bothersome.  Silver lining - if you just can't stand word verification, you can still read my posts and just move on without comment.  I will understand.