Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Blue and Yellow WIP

Well, I did it! I left the "random" pieces alone, and actually sewed them in squares. It "went against my better nature," as my Mother used to say, but I was determined:
Here they are, laid with their alternate plain squares:
Mmmm, those blue squares look so...dark. (Bright?) But I certainly don't want the entire quilt to look as light as the patched squares.
The public schools are enjoying their first snow day of the school year. It snowed quite a bit, and Blackeyed Susan is out of town with her sister. Alvin Fernald is calling a friend to tag-team for shoveling. He is eating a hearty oatmeal breakfast now, with the promise of hot cocoa after working. Then to the playing!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Help from a "random" source

After my blue-and-yellow fiasco of last week (see post below), I decided to use a simpler pattern, made of squares and rectangles. I spent some free time Saturday cutting pieces. The 2 1/2-inch squares will be in diagonal chains across the top, and I wanted them to be in Random Order. So, I enlisted the help of Junior Asparagus and Laura Carrot:
They alternated, blue and yellow, giving Grandma squares. It took a while for them to get the hang of "just one square":
Here, Junior has it *DOWN,* baby:

I am not very good at "random." I can take a pile of squares and put them in what *I* consider "random order," meaning that there is not a particular order to them. However, I would not let two of the same item lie next to each other, when, if they are truly "random," that could easily happen. Think of throwing a handful of jacks--clusters could easily happen, as well colors happening together.
I have tried to do "absolute randomness" before--putting squares in a paper bag and pulling them out one by one. But I have never been able to leave well enough alone, and ended up Orchestrating Order. Guess that's the linear thinker in me. I should leave it to Charming the Spatial Thinker Guy, but he wasn't around. So I threw myself on my grandbabies' mercy, to help Grandma out of her dilemma.
Tonight I will work on some squares, and will post pictures of my Random Creations.
If I can leave the darn things alone.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Six Weird Things Meme

I've seen this meme all around, and everyone who does it ends by saying, "I tag anyone who wants to do it." I guess that is because it's a little more difficult to find those "weird" things that we are willing to share. Well, here goes for me...

1. I like the smell of skunk. I would just let the car window stay down when we "come across" one in the summertime, except my family wouldn't let me. Maybe someday I'll find one when I'm alone in the car...

2. I went to funeral homes a lot when I was a child. We had lots of great-aunts and such that died, and my parents thought it was "just a part of life" to take your children. When I was eight, my five-year old sister died, and Mother knew we would be at the funeral home late, so she asked my seven-year old brother and me to take a nap. Several times she came to the bottom of the stairs and yelled at us. Finally, she said, "if you aren't asleep in five minutes, you can't go to the funeral home tonight!" We flipped over to the wall, and that was the last anyone heard of us for an hour...The threat of not being able to go to the funeral home made us shape up pronto! A tad warped, there...

3. All the way through school, I memorized at my fellow (girl) students shoes, so that when I was in the rest room, I could tell who was beside me on either side, by identifying their shoes. This went on clear through high school, by which time you would think I'd have better things to do. For a reference point for my younger readers, I grew up in a time where you had Church Shoes, School Shoes, and Tennis Shoes, so basically you wore the same pair every day.

4. My fingerprints are on file at the FBI. When I was in seventh grade, my brother had a rare disease that was being studied at the National Institutes of Health. The doctors wanted to study the three normal siblings, so we went for a week to be "guinea pigs." Because it was a government facility, they fingerprinted us. While I was there, I found what I wanted to study in college--Medical Technology, by asking questions at the laboratories on every floor of the hospital, where they were doing research. I later learned that the FBI was established for one purpose--to be a repository for fingerprints (the newest technology at the time).

5. I love to mix my food. You know, like mashed potatoes/meat loaf/corn. I mix it all before I start to eat it. Even with steak, I will load a piece of steak, a bite of potato, and a bite of broccoli on my fork before I eat it. I have children who not only don't mix their food, but have to have it completely separated on their plates. I saw them spring from my loins, so I know they are mine, but...

6. I rode on the Wabash Cannonball when I was four years old, before it stopped running. All I remember of the ride was standing up on my seat and seeing the man behind me snoring, and my mother telling me it was rude to stare at people. The seats were velvet and had white antimassacars on them. The trip was twenty-five miles long. To hear a clip from the folksong "Wabash Cannonball," click http://www.emusic.com/album/10591/10591702.html">here.

Well, now you know a few "weird" things about me. Although, if you know me, it's ALL weird, isn't it?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bit off a little more than I could chew...

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

You can see from a post earlier this week that I finished a quilt top. It went together oh-so-easily and oh-so-quickly, I was inspired to get out another project to fiddle with during the Colts/Patriots game last evening.

This project has been sitting around for about five years now. I collected blue and yellow fabrics, and had decided on a two-different-square design. The alternating squares would make a nice secondary design when placed next to each other.

Before you read how it all turned out, check out a former post, found here. You will find out that I am not the neatest crayon in the box. I have always been this way, and have not yet figured out how to correct the situation. That is exactly why my Quilting Motto is:

Finished is Better than Perfect.

My first problem came up when I cut out pieces for Square A, and then followed the instructions for Square B. I could not figure out why I had cut pieces out all the wrong size. I quit this square after two rows:
So I re-drafted the pattern, using colored pencils to indicate which fabrics were which. I then cut out pieces for Square A, and proceeded to put together Square A. (works so much better that way...)
What a disaster! If the pieces don't meet at the corners, they are warped and stretchy. That middle piece is supposed to be a *square*, people, not something that looks like it went through the room with the fun house mirrors. And it doesn't even lie flat--looks more like the Star-Spangled Banner waving in the breeze.
Good grief.
And then I got to thinking, Why in the World did you choose a pattern with squares with forty-two pieces in them? Okay, maybe for a wedding quilt or an heirloom quilt. But this is not the case. This is Obviously a case of "looked good on paper five years ago."
I'm going to look for a pattern with, like, Squares and Rectangles or something.
By the way, this "messy" thing doesn't end with fabric. Maybe someday I'll tell you about how, after 31 years of marriage, I still can't make a decent egg or pancake.
It's not a pretty story....

Sunday, January 21, 2007

It's About Time

We woke up to the first measurable snow of the season. Now, rain we have had up to our ears, and a couple of "dustings" of snow. But never so much as to have to brush off your car:
I'm dreaming of a White Christmas?
By the footprints, about 2 inches so far...
This has been an unusual winter here in Indi*na. For instance, the "blizzard of '78" winter, we had 120 inches. Usually 30-50 inches would be expected. Well, we are up to...Two....
I'm nursing a sore throat, and Charming has to work today, so I am sitting here alone at nine am--everyone else is asleep. Certainly not a "normal" Sunday morning! Isn't it a beautiful thought that I won't "miss" God because I am not going to "His house" today? I can worship Him here, and He is Here with me. What a God we serve!!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cookie Time

It's Girl Scout cookie time! I picked up two boxes the other night. The little girls wanted me to try their New! Lemon! (somethings), but I got some "default" cookies instead--the peanut butter sandwich ones, and the always lovable Thin Mints.

This will not be the last time this season that we will purchase cookies. I didn't get the shortbread kind yet, and I can't let the season pass without those! But purchasing cookies led me to reminisce about past Cookie experiences.

Cookies are three-fifty a box nowadays, and contain about, oh, fourteen cookies. When *I* was selling cookies, they were fifty cents a box, and the thin mints had three rows of cookies, not two. There were only about four kinds, the peanut butter sandwich ones being a *new* variety while I was in Scouts. The shortbread cookies were called "Sugar Shortbread" in my day--of course, these were the days of Post Sugar Crisp and Kellogg's Sugar Pops cereal--now we think that if we don't put "sugar" in the title, people won't know that there is sugar in the product. Later the shortbread cookies were called "trefoils" and now I think they are just called Shortbread. For some reason, Thin Mints has never gone through a name change.

I remember being little and sharing a room with my sister, six years older than I. She had had a good selling season, and when her cookies were delivered, she kept them in our room until she could make her deliveries. I somehow got the idea that if I took just one cookie out of a box, no one would know the difference. About fourteen boxes later, I was found out. I don't know what happened to the cookies; probably my father went with her to explain to neighbors what had happened. Sure seemed like an okay idea at the time....

Girl Scouting has gone through other changes, as well. I picked up two old GS manuals at a used library sale. One was my sister's manual, ca. 1953, and the other was the one I used, ca. 1963. Looking through them, I notice the theme was to develop character in order to be a good citizen. By the time my oldest daughter was in Scouts (mid-80's), the emphasis was on becoming a "global" citizen, and no mention was made about being a good homemaker.

But some things never change. Mmmm, Thin Mints. Gotta be my favorite.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Halfway Down the Long and Winding Road

Well, I have finished the top to my Long and Winding Road quilt. I am really diggin' the colors! I just love when the finished project looks as good as it did in my head!
This quilt is for a gift, and the recipient was a huge Mickey Mouse fan, growing up. I found this fabric for the backing on the $2.00 clearance table:
I have a goal to spend no more than $2.00/yard for backing fabrics for quilts. I have a big rubbermaid bin full of 5-7 yard lengths which I have purchased for $2 or less. Some of them I bought purposefully, with a particular project in mind. Others, like the $1/yard print of allover celery stalks with ladybugs crawling over them, were just too cute to pass up.
I get the love for "novelty" fabrics from my Grandma. She made me a quilt one time, whose backing was the same fabric that was inside my tennis shoes, and said Sneak-ease all over. For Johnny Tremain and Lily's wedding quilt, I got $1/yard that said How Do I Love Thee Let Me Count the Ways all over it. MacGuyver has a quilt with Monopoly Man fabric on the back that I bought for $0.78/yard. It's a fun treasure hunt!
Turning a corner...
Don't you love it when one of your children disappears, then calls you up to see a "secret"? Alvin Fernald was looking in his footlocker for something, and decided to pull out all his soldiers. I let him keep them up for three days (the advantage of having only two children left at home, is that they are able to have their own rooms!), and he took these pictures as a remembrance.
First, the Cowboys and Indians:
Next, Gettysburg is played out here. Alvin just bought a new PS2 game of The History Channel's Civil War:
Finally, one side of WWII. It looks like the green guys in the back have yet to be set up at the time the photo was taken:
I really should have taken a picture after they had been put away. Kudos to Alvin--he is on a neat streak about his room, and Mom is lovin' it.
I will let you know when I decide how I want to quilt my L. & W. R. project. I love hand-quilting, but am not a fancy quilter. You may have read here before about my Quilt Motto--Finished is Better than Perfect...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Well begun...but not half done....yet.

I spent the last few evenings cutting out pieces for a new quilt project:
The squares are made in four quadrants:
Here is the finished square. You may notice that the two green triangles in the upper right quadrant are not correctly placed. That is the one thing I don't like about doing quilts with triangle pieces--I seem to make a lot of those kind of boo-boos, and spend an inordinate amount of time ripping out...
I did fix it, and now have twenty-four more squares to go. The quilt will be called The Long and Winding Road. It just feels good to be doing a new project.

I'm Dreaming of a White Schoolday...

Well, we have only had a couple of "spits" of snow this season. We were talking about the people in Denver, who have been Walloped by three huge storms already. Alvin Fernald wrote this very quickly yesterday:

If I were [homebound] in a blizzard, I would...

Drink A LOT of hot chocolate, play the PS2 I got for Christmas, read a good book, watch some tv, play computer, play some guitar, draw, play G.I. Joes, and sit/lie down.

That's what I would do during a blizzard.

He evidently forgot to insert "shovel the walks."

Friday, January 05, 2007

Look at Me!!!!

You paid attention during 97% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Hey, not a bad score for being out of high school almost 34 years!! By the way, I thought this quiz was very fun, having a well-rounded assortment of questions. Try it!!

Oh, and by the way, I had Blackeyed Susan and Alvin Fernald take the grammar quiz below, and both of them got 100% My mother (who could still diagram a sentence at age 70), would be proud!! I know I am...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Grammar Goody

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

I need to have Alvin Fernald and Blackeyed Susan take this test. Just thirteen questions, but it really shows you if you have a command of apostrophes.

We had a good day yesterday. Alvin and Susan cleaned their rooms up to Grade A condition. A nice way to get ready for back-to-schooltime next week. I spent some time decluttering and organizing. This is Charming's day off--he is already meeting his guitar buddy Greg at Starbucks. Today is also the day the tree goes out the door to the park for recycling. I put decorations away last evening while our dear Notre Dame was getting stomped in the Sugar Bowl...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Scrabble Reigns

Aah, Scrabble. The game of kings. Okay, so that's chess, but it *should* be Scrabble.

I am a third-generation Scrabble player. I played with my grandma when I was young, and with my Mom the rest of her life. Right now I am playing a game or two almost every day with Forget-me-not over coffee. Junior Asparagus takes an old set with a few letters missing, and fills the table with three-letter words. Grooming that fifth generation--it's a "good thing."

I own a number of copies of the game. One year, my family bought one, spray-painted the box and the backside of the board gold, and "autographed" it with Grace Livingston Hill's name. The "GLH" edition. A little poetic license there--Scrabble came out in 1948, and Grace died in 1947. I have noticed that the new games seem "cheaper" (what *new thing* isn't more cheaply made than its predecessor?), so I pick up a vintage game whenever I can. That way, if a letter or two is missing, I take it from the game I give to the grandkids. Now I have my Mother's game, possibly one of the originals. Fer sure the rules are--they say No Slang Allowed--new games have no such rule.

Mom and I played a "relaxed" game. We'd pull out our seven letters, and whoever had a better word would go first. 'Long about the third turn in a row you had all vowels, she'd let you put a couple tiles back in the pool, to try to get consonants. Someone tried to tell me once that you could only use the dictionary to challenge a spelling. What is that? Half of the fun of the game is learning new words you didn't even know existed.

A few high points of my career: I hit one of those "double triples"--hitting two red squares on a single turn. Too bad most of the letters were one-pointers; the score was hardly impressive. Joe Hardy decided that a "good" game is one where you hit 300 points; a 400 point games is excellent. I've done that several times. Forget-me-not had one a couple of weeks ago--her score was 135 after three turns, and kept that up the rest of the game. A few weeks ago, I had a seven-letter word for my first turn AND my final turn.

Need a seven-letter word, but have three "i's" on your plate? I played the word "initials" and accomplished that. I love the fact that "raise" means to build up, and "raze" means to tear down. By the way, you can add an "e" to that word--razee: a ship made smaller by the removal of the top deck. (I loved the definition so much that I memorized it.) Also love the word Quire--twenty-four or twenty-five sheets of paper. 24 OR 25? What, did they have an argument about it with international repercussions, so they compromised? It's in the dictionary, folks--look it up.

I am not a "tournament" player; they look 'way too serious, and not like they have fun. Fun is the number one rule. I will have the "ultimate fun" when I am finally able to play my favorite word--oviposit. Haven't accomplished that one, yet. Have played my second-favorite word--husband. (little lovey hearts floating in air while I think about him)

Finally, for your viewing pleasure, Joe Hardy's biggest coup. He played the word "onyx" for ninety points. NINETY points for a four-letter word. I'm telling you, we are Scrabble fiends here...

Monday, January 01, 2007

A Goodly Beginning

From my One Year Bible, for January 1st:

"The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight;

for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair."

Proverbs 1:1-3, NIV