Friday, January 27, 2012

geometry was not my best subject

I did not enjoy geometry very much in high school, especially the theorems. So my husband is often bemused at my quilting because in many ways, it is simple geometry.

 Last week's square (from the link on the left of my blog) which I just finished today.
 The corners didn't match up on part of this making it a little wonky.

 And both squares together...not too bad from a distance!

And this one is from Bernina's (a quilt store in Raleigh) Saturday Sampler. They provided all the fabric (except the green). Curious to see what next month's pattern will be.

And my goal of finishing the twin size quilt...I do hope to work on it today and some tomorrow, and maybe next Tuesday, but I seriously doubt I'll finish it before January 31...although you just never know.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

and back to the grind

Saturday morning we left early for Huntersville (a small suburb of Charlotte). We had a two purpose mini-vacation: for Bobby, visit the church his niece/nephew are starting, for!  Ever since IKEA had its grand opening in Charlotte I've wanted to go. I think the Charlotte area is just a cool place to shop anyway, but other than a trip to Concord Mills with some friends a few years ago I've never had that privilege.

On the way, we started seeing signs for THE Depot...largest antique collection in the south! We joked about how most antique places advertise in a somewhat similar manner, and I made the comment, "Wouldn't it be cool if we could stop?"  Then it hit me: we COULD stop. Normally when we travel, the drive is long and time is short and we only stop for absolute necessities.  This day, our drive was short and time was ours. So stop we did. And I am SO glad we did! We probably spent about 3 hours in this cotton mill converted into an antique consignment shop. At one point Bobby hesitantly said, "If you really want to go to IKEA, we probably ought to head on."  I told him it was okay if we didn't fit IKEA in on that trip. When all was said and done, we did manage to go to IKEA, spent about an hour there, and that was more than enough. not my kind of store. I liked the concept on the showroom floor...displaying how their products can be used in a tiny apartment or space for maximum usage of space (although such spaces are not conducive to wheelchairs, strollers, nor crowds). I think a store like that would do great in a place like China where the apartments are less than 700 sq ft.  If you like avant garde or modern-style furnishings, then this is definitely the place to shop. If you like sturdy, traditional furniture that might one day survive to be in an antique shop, avoid this place like the plague. I will say their kitchenware stuff (utensils, cutting boards) were very decent prices, though there's not multiple choices in types or brands (except in the dishes) and for things like toddler beds and such they seemed sturdy.  The place was crowded; the parking lot reminded me of Christmas. On top of that, they have a MAP with arrows pointed on the floor showing which way the crowd is to walk. That bugged me. Bobby liked it, as with the huge crowd it made it a little easier to all be going the same direction. Except this is America, where people almost never follow directions. All the international customers were following the map; the Americans were going wherever, causing some chaos in the narrow aisles with their strollers and Bobby's wheelchair. So between the crowd, the inability to just browse, and the design of the ceiling and things being stacked up way over your head, I started feeling a little claustrophobic, which has only happened once before in my life. It wasn't a pleasant feeling.  I finally told Bobby we needed to leave the showroom and go downstairs to the market place. That was much better, much less constricting, but still crazy. The craziest part was trying to find a way out. The ONLY way to escape that store is by getting in a LONG line to go through a check-out lane. I guess they expect everyone to buy something. I don't think either one of us have any desire to head back to this store, which is funny, considering that is the one store I really wanted to visit.

But come April, when things hopefully slow down a little bit, if anyone wants to make a day trip to an antique store, I'll gladly go. :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

project 2

I had three goals for this month: conquer the ironing mound, crack ALL the pecans, and finish the quilt I started last August. Numbers one & 2 are done! :)  Number three, well if I finish it by February 1 I will consider myself very, very successful. (And yes, this is the quilt I was going to finish in September, October and December of 2011). 

Pecans... About 15 years ago my father-in-law noticed that there were small trees sprouting throughout the fields, courtesy of Hurricane Fran. He wasn't certain, but he thought they might be pecan trees. So he started mowing around them. At least 7 of those are on our property. The first year we were married, I came home on day and walked straight into a stick! I looked, startled, and we had 6 sticks sticking up in a semi-circle across our back yard. I went aside and called Bobby. He laughed and said his Mom had called him at work, saying his Dad and Uncle were planting pecan trees at our house. I was a little startled. The next time I saw him, he asked me if they had planted them in the right place. I smiled and nodded, thinking "And what would you do if they weren't? Dig them up, which would kill them?"  For the record, they were artistically placed. Not too close to the house for when they are full grown, and also nicely spaced for shade and still giving us a decent yard in the back.

Since then, I've learned several things. There are many types of pecan trees.  Like most fruit or nut trees, there has to be more than one type planted for cross-pollination. Pecan trees take 10-15 years to reach nut-bearing maturity.

Three years ago we had our first "crop" and it was pleasingly a decent sized one. The next year, about 1/3 of that. BUT, we learned that is common with nut trees. Every other year is supposed to be a decent crop year. I had 3/4 a peck bucket, and them Bobby was able to get a grocery bag full from someone at work. I never got around to shelling them. This year, we had 3/4 a peck bucket again. I was determined that ALL of them were going to be shelled before the month was out (and get them out of my laundry room and hallway!)

 I had forgotten when we had to replant some of the trees that died we went with 2 additional variaties. I know that one is supposed to be small, but I hope they do grow to be bigger than the smallest one here! It's only twice the size of my smallest fingernail!  We had some that were wider than the others, the normal size, and then skinny, unusually long one. And no, other than Cape something and one started with a B, I don't remember the names.

And while I shouldn't be thankful for this, the 2011 bucket (the bag on the left) was 70% bad. That made shelling go much faster. Between extra weights at the gym this week and 2-4 hours of shelling a day, my arms are tired!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sanford quilt show

Last Friday my mother-in-law and Bobby's Aunt Doan went to the quilt show in Sanford, NC.  There weren't as many vendors as last year, but we still had a good time. Here is one of the quilts they had on display. The closer I looked, the more impressed I became. Mary Booth is always telling me that cutting is not only the first step, but is also the most important step. Boy does this quilt illustrate that! While Mary means that if you don't cut your pieces out correctly the blocks won't sew up correctly, the way these pieces were cut out and placed totally changes the look of the quilt. Yes, planning HOW to cut is just as important as the actually cutting.
The Quilt. Circular patterns have always intrigued me. Notice every circle is the same pattern.

A close up of a circle. Notice how the flower on the leaf is cut in almost exactly the same spot, creating a design?

Same pattern, same fabric, but by using the tail of the leaf, it creates a totally different look. Love the starburst in the center.

Again...same pattern, same material...totally different look! Not sure if I like this one or the first one the best, but it certainly got me thinking about placement of fabric within a pattern!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Maybe perhaps possibly?

IF I work really hard, I think I can conceivably finish at least one of my current projects by January 18th. That means I can start another one. :)

Starting Wednesday, January 18th, Fresh Lemons Quilts is having a five week quilt along.  Every week she'll introduce a new quilt block, along with instructions and links that help teach you the technique for that block. It's like taking a quilting class, except it's in cyberspace. Even if I only make 5 blocks (which is 1/5 of what you need for a full size quilt), it'll still be five blocks I've made while learning a new technique.  AND, I'm not buying new fabric, but am using what I already have in my stash.

I'm doing something similar with a quilt shop in Raleigh.  They have this program called "Saturday Sampler" (It's the fourth item listed under the NEWS section on their homepage.)  Basically you buy one kit for $5. You choose a class time (from 4-5 time slots) where you sit through an instructional session on how to make the block. You have one month to go home and sew the pieces in your kit into that block, and the next month you take the completed block back and receive the next block kit free. IF you don't finish the block you have, you can pay $5 to get the next one. I'm a little excited by it.

And hopefully my next post will be showing at least one of 2 finished household projects that I'm working on.

Friday, January 13, 2012

it's not helping!

I will not start a new project until I've finished the two I'm currently doing..
I WILL not start a new project until I've finished the two I'm currently doing.
I will NOT start a new project until I've finished the two I'm currently doing.
I will not START (does this mean I can just think about one) a new project until I've finished the two I'm doing.
I will not start a NEW project (but can I work on another unfinished one?) until I've finished the 2 I'm doing.
I will not start a new PROJECT (may I should just say it's an activity) until I've finished the 2 I'm doing.
I will not start a new project until I've FINISHED (define finish) the 2 I'm doing.
I will not start a new project until I've finished the TWO (I've completed one, shouldn't I always have 3 going?)
I will not start a new project until I've finished the two I'm doing....

Sometimes resolutions just stink.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

the runaway bunny

Once there were two rabbits who lived in a cage.
Once a week they got to visit the great outdoors for exercise.
But one Saturday they decided not to return to their place of living. Every time the big bad human moved to catch them, they hopped. Fast. The big bad human would sit very still, tempting them closer. They would come, put their front paws on her jeans, then before she could blink, they would flip 180 and hop away. They spent the night in the big outside world. And the next morning, there was only one rabbit.
The big bad humans surmised that poor little Sally must have been eaten by an owl. There were no holes that she could have crawled out of, and there were no signs of a struggle. It had to have been a bird that swooped down in the night and took her away.
Sunday went by, then Monday.
On Tuesday morning, this what the big bad human saw:

Sally has hopped in the garage. She's hopped up and down the front ramp to the porch. She's hopping all over the front yard. But she will not hop back into her cage.
She is a runaway bunny. :(
Meanwhile, poor little Thumper sits all alone.

my swiss cheese education

I can't say that if my school had it in a book I learned it. Far from it. I hated history, tolerated science, and wasted way too much time writing silly poems and letters to people. But I have realized that much of what I do know comes from books and not real life.

For example, my senior year of high school, my younger sister and I had the glorious (depending on who you ask will determine which adjective is used there) opportunity to work together. After a pay day, while we headed to the bank (in the next town), and my sister who was not yet driving pointed out a car, called it by name, and said "I wouldn't mind getting one of those one day."  I was flabbergasted. My littler sister could recognize a car's name just by seeing it? Then she asked me what kind of car I wanted. Other than wanting one that didn't stall at stop signs and didn't require one foot on the brake and one on the gas to keep it running during such times, I really didn't care. Perhaps that is why I had never really paid attention to cars. But I felt like there was a whole chunk of life I was missing out on that she had caught.

It happened again in college, as kids from more advanced high schools would discuss current literature and newspaper articles. I felt totally lost, as if I were a child in a grown up's world.  When I came home one weekend, my brother wanted to know exactly what I planned to do after college. When I told him I would live overseas and learn about other cultures and how to best tell them about Jesus, he harrumphed and told me I needed to learn my own culture first. That night he introduced me to a world I never knew existed - the race track.

And twice in the last month, it's happened again. I know that I don't see colors the same way other people do, and I never had the advantage of art classes growing up so am ignorant of the art fundamentals others know. But while showing a quilt to someone and while taking a quilting class the other day, both people talking said "Oh, it's in jewel tones." (one talking about the quilt and the other talking about material being used)  I was clueless.  Jewel tones? I understand the "spice colors" in quilting (greys, browns, blacks) and "earth tones" but jewel tones?  I am SO out of the loop! Perhaps that is why I think brown and black match perfectly (but have been informed by a cousin, a niece, and a friend on facebook that they don't). I can simply chalk it up to another hole in my real-life education and go on with living.

I'm just a walking slice of swiss cheese. :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

a thousand years = yesterday

Psalm 90:4
For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

As a child I never understood this verse. The older I get, the more I comprehend how quickly time passes. Just this last week a friend commented that Disney's Arial/mermaid story is not classified as a "classic" or "antique" because it is officially 20 years old. WHAT?  I remember when that came out! I was in college and we watched it in the dorm lounge and laughed because one of the girls had the poster up in her room and the residence hall monitor made a construction paper top and covered Arial's top half during room inspections and that was...20 years ago. Sometimes it still seems like yesterday.

And in the midst of all this reflection, I read Genesis 5 that talks about Enoch/Enos (depending on the translation) who "was not, for God took him."  I've read that many a time, heard several sermons on it (Side Note: my favorite from age ten, hearing Connie Carriker's sermon at the Alabama State FWB meeting, where he was doing high kicks back and forth across the stage and pumping his arm with every point, and never missing a beat while yelling: "The Russians have their cosmonauts, the Americans have their astronauts, but we Christians should want to be the WASnots!"  On the way home I told Dad that man was WAY fatter than him, so why didn't Dad whoop and holler like that while preaching? It would be much more exciting. My Dad just replied "Hhmmpph.") but as a child had always pondered why it was such a big deal to be taken at such an old age. Reading that passage through this time, along with a historical footnote or two about other historical documents (non-biblical) that dealt with the longevity, the flood, and the decreasing life spans, it made me realize that Enoch's life ended 1/3 earlier than most people.  That would be like a 20 year old dying today. 

Years ago when our friend Will died, a senior in college, our church grieved and hurt like nothing I had ever seen. It didn't help any that he was an only child. That pain is still very poignant for those who were very close to him, though nowhere near like it was. I remember the questions, the shaking of heads, the tears...such a fervent,Christ-filled life...suddenly gone...and so young!  And yet, that was the way it was with Enoch. It suddenly gave me a different perspective on Will's death, as well as the death of 7 year old Lydia Byrd. Don't you think Enoch's friends and families felt the same way, even though he had lived many years? But God took him because "he walked with God."  Even if I live to be 100, I hope my name will not be listed with just a date and the fact I had no children, but that my life will be so extra-ordinarily different that people will have to make note of it.  

My mother-in-law made the statement recently that a long obituary really isn't necessary when a person dies, for people who know you will remember greatly how you impacted their lives and won't need to be reminded. I agree with her point. The things I remember about people are usually not what is mentioned in the obituary, but I also remember how important it was for me to have a clipping of my grandparents' obituaries in the paper. It was like learning about a secret life they had that I didn't know existed.

When I look at the time perspective, I'm certain the things I pester God with day in and day out seem like the petty whining of a child: it will all be irrelevant in a few years, which to him is just the blink of an eye. Which makes me wonder: do angels travel through time?



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

off with a bang

What's the next best thing to actually DOING a project?  Making plans for one!
There are TWO quilting events happening this week that I hope to participate in. One of them is a quilt show (where you go and dream and drool and clean most of the cash and cards out of your purse before you go), and the other is actually a lecture/demonstration at a quilt shop. After the lecture, if I decide the quilt pattern is something I like, then I can pay $5 for the pattern. At the end of the month, if I bring the completed quilt block into the store for the next lecture, then I get the next pattern free. At the end of the year, there should be enough quilt blocks pieced to add a border and make a decent-sized quilt. I may get there and decide that it's not something I wish to pursue.
BUT, last month on the way to the church's ladies' Christmas party, I got lost and found a fabric store in Clayton that I did not know existed. Since I was running late, I didn't stop and see if they were still open or what their hours were. And since then, I had forgotten about it.  Today while meeting with old colleagues (two of whom are fellow quilters), one of them mentioned this shop. She had recently discovered it as well, and found out that is 2 years old. While their website isn't overly impressive, I was quite pleased with their pictures and class offerings. Hooray for new places to shop and dream! :)
And speaking of quilts, my latest is now posted on the quilt page.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I am my mother's child.

I am my mother's child.

I like things organized.
I start to clean something, and get sidetracked.
It's very simple.
The Christmas wrapping paper needs to be put away.
The closet where it goes is a mess.
So you stop to clean that closet.
In the process, you have to take out the trash.
While taking out the trash, you stop to feed the chickens.
The chicken house needs a little cleaning, so you stop to do that.
When you finish, you gather the eggs and head to the kitchen.
In the kitchen you realize the Christmas dishes need to be put away.
One of them is dirty in the sink.
So you wash dishes.
And then it's time for lunch.
At lunch you see the bills on table and go to put some of them in the mailbox.
On the way to the front door and the mailbox you see the open closet.
It still needs to be cleaned.

Sometimes I am amazed that I ever finish anything.
And I cannot comprehend why adults do not like Laura Numerhoff's books. They are definitely a reflection of my life.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I'm in a hurry.

Today while running errands, we came out from a store to find a lady had parked 1/2 over into the wheelchair lines beside our parking space. Had it been just 1/4 of the way over, I would have tried to lift Bobby's chair up over the edge of the ramp. My neck and head (which have hurt the last 2 days) were thankful that was not an option today. This place is fairly busy and has a lot of teen drivers, so it's not one of those parking lots where I feel comfortable stooping over and attempting to correctly use the van's hand controls to back the van out and pulling the lift down. I headed inside to Customer Service with the make and tag number and a request to page the owner. Would you believe the girl didn't want to do it?  "We only use the paging system for missing children and elderly."  I responded (a little but huffily) "You have a customer in a wheelchair who cannot leave because someone has illegally parked." The manager came up about that time, and she gladly paged the person. The lady was nice about it, moved her Tahoe without speaking to Bobby, then got out and said "I'm in a hurry." 

I understand being in a hurry.  I really and truly do.  But she obviously has NO CLUE how many times we've been forced to wait (and usually in inclement weather) because people are always in a hurry and park inappropriately. They have NO IDEA what it's like for everything in life, even the simple act of getting in a van, to take longer than normal because of a wheelchair. They are clueless that getting up in the morning, or eating, or shopping, always takes longer with a wheelchair and paralysis. We have even less available time than the average person. So when an able-bodied person tells us "I'm in a hurry", I want to throw something at them.

It's a very good thing that God did not put me in charge of earthly punishments. Being the vindictive person that I am, I would punish every idiot who has ever parked illegally in a handicap spot or zone with two months of paralysis. I'd like for them to see how important and necessary those spots, and especially those striped "wasted spaces" truly are.

And that's my soap box for today.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

a holiday wrap-up

the finished project (my birthday puzzle)

and the cool non-straight borders :)

We got a new surprise this weekend! One of our youngest hens laid an egg! She wasn't supposed to start laying until spring, so we were quite surprised! (it's the tiny one on the left).  Can't wait to see if she lays any more!

Sally and Thumper

We took advantage of the warm weather and put the rabbits out for some exercise. The chickens were most curious, and at one point we had almost all the birds around the old dog pen checking out the new animals.

Thumper taking in all the smells and sounds.