Monday, April 30, 2007


Okay, folks. I need big-time help here. This is the round robin block I am going to be working on this month. It's got a few problems. Notice the notch in the lower left corner and its mate in the upper right corner? Those are fixable, I think, with a scrap or two of left-over fabric that came in the box with the quilt. But, what about the next border????

Here is what I am thinking about doing. It is a border pattern from Quilter's Cache. I think I can make it without all those little triangles because it is basically just a four patch variation. I am thinking about using some of the Depression solids: greens, yellows, oranges, yellows, and maybe some more of the red so that there would be more contrast and that red and white part there in the middle wouldn't stand out quite so much. What do you think? Should it go all the way around? Just frame two sides?

Got a better idea? I'd love to hear it. All suggestions will be eagerly read and considered!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday Stuff

From time to time, every few months or so, I suffer from insomnia. I try not to panic when this happens, I guess because I'm afraid I'll turn it into something more serious than it really is. It usually passes after a night or two, but it makes the following days uncomfortable because I do not function well without sleep. Napping is not really an option during these times because it seems to lead to more problems sleeping at night, and, well, there really isn't a lot of time to nap during most days anyway.

So this week I didn't get much done except put one foot in front of the other and plod on. Luckily the spell was broken on Friday night; today I woke up feeling just wonderful.

My husband and I ran some errands this morning together. We stopped by the post office to pick up a package from that I ordered last week. The Annotated Pride and Prejudice is one I ordered just on the strength of the book review. I love Jane Austen, but I know that I miss a lot of references she makes, not to mention the historical background of what she writes about. This book has the text on the left hand page, and the annotation on the right side, saving the flipping back and forth to the end notes. It looks pretty good.

The two Margery Allingham's are Albert Campion mysteries, just reissued. I've read them before--I am a huge fan of the so-called golden age of British mysteries. Give me the dark and brooding manor house, the weekend shooting party, Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick, and I'm in heaven.

Our next stop was my in-law's house where I got this picture of an azalea bush in her front yard. It seems to be late in blooming, but it was absolutely beautiful. After seeing that all was well there, we headed out for the main objective: food!

Once a month or so we travel over to the big city to visit our favorite deli and our favorite grocery store, Wild Oats. It might be fortunate that our little town doesn't have either of these places, otherwise we'd be seriously in debt. Wild Oats is the only place around here that still carries wild caught salmon. This time of year it has been frozen, but it is still delicious. My husband cooks it on the grill with just a sprinkling of herbs and a little lemon juice.

Wild Oats also carries Greek style yoghurt and kefir. Greek style yoghurt is a thicker, creamier, and much richer than regular yoghurt (it has the fat grams to prove it, too) and is a real treat with fresh berries.

Kefir is a yoghurt-like product that I have grown to love. When we visited Sweden last summer, our hosts served what they called "sour milk" each morning for breakfast with their cereal. It was like yoghurt, but thicker and the taste is a little tarter. The only similar thing that I could find around here is kefir. It contains cultures like yoghurt, just different ones, I imagine. The flavored kinds taste like a smoothie.

The deli is a fun place to visit. They have a lot of prepared salads, about 20 varieties of olives, all kinds of cheeses, fresh bread, and they make their own pasta and humus. You never know what you'll find there, but it's fun to poke around and see what they have. We usually split up here, me with the shopping basket on my arm, and my husband dropping things in from time to time until the basket is too heavy to carry any more.

So tonight we had a great dinner of grilled salmon, brown rice, cucumber salad, grilled red and yellow peppers, steamed broccoli, and strawberries with Greek yoghurt. A lovely finish for a not-so-great week.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Blogger Ate My Pictures, Part Deux

I just checked yesterday's post and discovered that my pictures had disappeared again. They are on there now; I just reloaded (or whatever the term is) them. When I check the HTML code in the blogger "edit html box", the code was right where it needed to be, but the pictures were not displayed on the blog. Does anyone have any idea why this happens?

I took this picture this afternoon when I came home from work. The bird house is supposed to be for bluebirds, I think, but there won't be any takers with this little guy using it as a resting spot. A couple of years ago a very over-achieving house wren started a nest in this box and another nest somewhere in my neighbor's yard. She (he?) decided on the neighbor's yard for residence that year and this box has been empty ever since.

The squirrel may be contemplating the eighty quadrillion maple whirlybirds which are covering our yard and our driveway right now. There is feasting aplenty here.

BTW, Wendy asked what yarn I used for the socks. It is Lorna's Laces and the color is Baltic Sea.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

One Sock Done

I haven't felt much like blogging this week. The news from Virginia was awful. My heart goes out to the relatives of the killed and wounded. What is wrong with our country when a mentally unbalanced young man can purchase guns legally and wreak such havoc on innocent lives?

I have managed to finish one sock and begin another. Samantha asked in the comments about the pattern. I got it from the website. The pattern is called "Mock My Socks Off." Oops! I think I said the other day that the pattern was from Sorry about that! The pattern looks complicated, but it is only a four row repeat so it's relatively easy to do.
Very satisfying too. I love a chunky, textured sock.

I also took the plunge and decided to join the Dear Jane group at my LQS. The "plan" is to complete seven to eight blocks a month and have a finished top in two years. Well, I can tell you right now THAT'S not going to happen.

I joined in because I felt like challenging myself. As I paged through the book I saw all kinds of blocks I would normally take a pass on because I don't have the skills to make them. But I'm never going to get the skills unless I push myself to learn them.

Take applique. I admire applique. I admire the people who do applique. But my one foray into applique last summer was not, shall we say, a happy experience. I'm willing to give it another try, though, because I would love to be able to do it.

This is Maria's square in round two of the guild round robin. I've never tried a checkerboard border before. Once I got started it went along pretty easily. I hope Maria likes it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Morning Sounds

Morning Sound I Hate:

loud, obnoxious, stupid, blaring alarm clock

Morning Sounds I Love:

ground coffee pouring into the new, dry coffee filter
hissing and spitting of coffee brewing
slap of newspaper hitting the kitchen table
the dog's contented sigh as she begins her 6 a.m. nap under the kitchen table
rustle of newspaper pages turning
bare feet on a wooden floor
"good morning" from someone who is glad you're there
shaking up of orange juice container
jingle of keys in purse
Mozart's 40th symphony on car radio
"Acuna Matata" blaring over school's P.A. system
"good morning" from someone else who is glad you're there

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Trip to the Big City

We drove up to Indianapolis on Friday afternoon so that we could be there for the start of our daughter's race early Saturday morning. She was running a 15K. The picture above shows what downtown Indy looked like at mid-morning. Gray, rainy, and generally yucky!

I need to explain that runners like my daughter find racing conditions like these pretty good, although I imagine they could have done without the rain. Her times were pretty good, so she was fairly pleased with herself. We were able to watch the start of the race from our warm, dry hotel across the street--so mom and dad were also fairly pleased with themselves!

We spent the rest of the day visiting the Indiana State Museum, which was pretty interesting. You start in the basement looking at rocks and fossils and end up on the third floor looking at artifacts from the recent past. We were accompanied by seemingly thousands of boy scouts who enthusiastically toured all the exhibits with many harried looking scout leaders and moms in tow. They really got into the rocks and fossils and the interactive exhibits.

We walked just a few blocks downtown for dinner and then checked out a blues club called the Slippery Noodle, an Indianapolis landmark. The building dates from 1850 (really, really ancient in Indiana), and it is the oldest bar continually in operation in the state. If you are interested, you can read more about it here. My husband and I both love listening to the blues, but we don't have much opportunity to see live music so we had a great time.

Um, yes, I do realize that this is supposed to be a QUILT blog, so there will be a little bit of quilting content.

I looked all over, but I couldn't find any explanation of this quilt other than a tag calling it a baby quilt. It looked to be in excellent condition, so it couldn't have been used too much. I was struck by the vibrant colors--pink, orange, and red. They wouldn't have been my first choice (and I wonder if the lady who sewed it back in the 1800's even had a choice), but they really work, don't they? The stuff in front is pottery shards from a dig somewhere in the state.

This last picture is of a stained glass window hanging in the restaurant of the museum. I seem to take a lot of pictures like this--call it inspiration. I wouldn't think of copying this design (there was no sign or explanation of the artist), but I like the way the colors work and I like the graphics.

I find myself taking lots of pictures of doorways, woodwork, and wall friezes, looking for quilting ideas. It's the geometry, I guess.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Five Great Things About This Friday

1. The creeping crud I had all week seems to have gone on its merry way. I'm feeling good--and with all the rest I've had this week I'm positively energetic.

2. The sock above is half-way done. It's made from Lorna's Laces, which is expensive, so I wanted to do something more special than my usual K2, P2 stuff. The lace sock pattern I got from my yarn lady was IMPOSSIBLE. Maybe I'm not cut out for the really fancy stuff yet. Anyway, after knitting and frogging, knitting and frogging, and so on, I found this simpler pattern on and I'm down to the heel flap and haven't had to pull it back once.

3. I'm off from school today! Our school district builds three snow make-up days into the school calendar. Since we had only one snow day this year, we have two Fridays off this month. So here I am, feeling good, with the day off. (The irony, if that's what I may call it, is that snow is predicted for tomorrow. What is up with that? Snow in April?)

4. Although I haven't really done much quilting this week (see creeping crud above) the quilting has been going really well. I'm using Quilter's Dream batting for the first time and I am loving it. The needle just glides through the fabric so I can really get a good rhythm going.

5. And last, but definitely the best--we're going up to visit our daughter today!

I appreciate all the nice comments and well-wishes. It makes me feel good that so many of you took the time to show your concern.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

And So It Goes...

Rest in peace, Mr. Vonnegut.

Kurt Vonnegut
November 11, 1922-April 11, 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Just a quick post to say that I'm still here--but not feeling too good this week. Spring fever? A little virus? Who's to say? I'm just hunkered down until it goes away.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Back to Work

It is back to work for me this week. The lovely warm spring weather lasted through Monday. Tuesday we had big storms and now we are back to the cool, gray weather we expect in April. The storms yesterday made everyone kind of jittery because April 3 is the anniversary of one of the worst tornado outbreaks ever. You can read more about it here.

I was in college up north of the storms, but I came through southern Indiana on a weekend visit to my then boyfriend. In those days you could take a Greyhound bus from my college town to southern Indiana pretty cheaply. I came through the devastated area a day or two after the storms. It is something that I will never forget. In one area, there was a beautiful old Victorian farmhouse on a hill above the road. A tornado had come through there, and the house was just gone. There was shredded lumber, insulation, roof shingles, parts of machinery, bits of furniture, clothes, just anything you could name all over the countryside. The little house trailers that lined the road below the house were ripped apart, and sheet metal from their sidings were wrapped around the trees off in the distance.

The devastation in Louisville, Kentucky, was awful. One tornado ripped through a park, taking all the trees with it. Another, or maybe the same one, came through part of the east side of the city, tearing up buildings, houses, whatever was in its path.

It is difficult to describe the incredible destruction, never mind the aftermath of injuries and death.

Needless to say, most people who can remember that day get a little antsy when they see big, black thunderclouds on the horizon in the spring.

Fortunately, yesterday's storm went through with little destruction other than some trees and power lines.

There is very little quilty stuff going on around here this week while I adjust to the routine of getting up and going to work again. (I know, poor, poor me!) The mystery quilt is in the hoop. I am quilting in the ditch, just to get everything kind of set, then I plan to do some kind of design in the open patches and the border. No pictures yet--I still want to wait until the guild members have their big reveal.

I started back in on the Brave New World blocks because I really, really want to get this thing together before I get distracted with another project. It's a great work-in-front-of-the-TV project because it is so mindless. Comfort piecing. I'm going to keep going until I just get tired of piecing the individual blocks, because I CAN'T seem to get to the bottom of the bin I keep all the scraps in. I actually thought I was beginning to run low on the light background fabrics--then I discovered a whole grocery sack stuffed with MORE scraps, all lights.

Sunday, April 1, 2007


Thank you for all the comments on my last post. Many of you were curious to know how the marble under the backing worked. I couldn't actually find a marble--I used a golf ball instead. It worked great, except for close to the edges, where it pushed the material up too far. As I crawled around on the floor I was thinking that the perfect size would be a glass eyeball, but I didn't have one of those either. Ewww, on second thought, not!

It just goes to show what a different household this is without kids around. Ten years ago I could have found any number of suitable sized objects just by raiding the top bureau drawers of either of my kids. There they kept all the little stuff that kids seem to accumulate--wiffle balls, lego pieces, Happy Meal toys, and other kid junk.

Actually, even a small spool would have worked--just something to push up the material enough to be able to get the needle through all three layers of the quilt without it pushing through and scratching the floor. It's definitely worth trying.

I am not showing off the quilt just yet because it is the mystery quilt for my guild and there is just a chance that someone may see it. I'll wait until we have our big reveal sometime this summer.

We had a lovely weekend here, a perfect ending for spring break. My daughter and her boyfriend came down to run yet another race. She is training for a marathon and she uses these weekend races as training runs. We're not sure just where her athletic ability came from; neither one of us has the slightest athletic ability. Running makes her happy, though. And that makes me happy, too.