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Friday, December 31, 2010

Wait 5 minutes

We have a saying here in Western NY: If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes...
It was 12 a few days ago and will be 20 something on Sunday but today and tomorrow are:

Happy New Year and I'll see y'all next year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 UFO Challenge list

Some people live and learn and change how they do things, others are optimistic...

Tuesday night I finally put together my list of 12 UFOs that I want to tackle for Judy's 2011 UFO Challenge. I planned to take the pictures Wednesday morning when the light was better. Ok, I mean when there would actually be day light because it's dark when I get home from work. The rescue call in the middle of the night and the sleep deprived stupor where I screwed up the alarm clock yesterday morning meant no time for pictures. Last night I worked on quilting a table topper that I am planning for a class and went to bed at a decent hour, planning to photograph the projects this morning. Yup, there was another rescue call in the middle of the night and I just couldn't get my act in gear for fotos this morning. So...here's my boring list for the challenge:

  1. Quilt and bind Michelle's table runner
  2. Complete the top for the Pennsylvania mystery (my LQS in Miami did a monthly mystery quilt based on countries or states - I have all the fabric for this quilt but it sits forgotten in a drawer with some of the blocks done. These were never difficult quilts, big blocks and all, it was just forgotten. It's brown and pink, very pretty)
  3. Design and execute borders for Jared takes an Asian Wife. This is my take on Bonnie's Jared takes a wife quilt - I used asian fabrics.
  4. Orange & Black log cabin wall quilt - pull off the rest of the paper, quilt and bind
  5. Sister's Choice - I have blocks together with the sashing already on two sides of each block, I just need to decide how big I want the top, if I need to make more blocks and then to put the top together.
  6. T-shirt Quilt - I have the tshirts cut already, I THINK I just need to assemble the blocks (this is on point) and put the top together.
  7. Quilt for Kids - I wanted to add an appliqued cat to this, then I just need to quilt and bind
  8. Carolina Christmas - I discovered the borders seem to be almost done, they just need to be sewn to the quilt top.
  9. Batik - again, the borders are almost done, just need to attach them
  10. Wine French Braid - I am not even 50% sure where I am on this. I think all 4 braids are done and then the top needs assembling. All the pieces are in a drawer so it should be easy to pick it up.
  11. Quilt a quilt. I have a stack of tops that need quilting and binding. Sandwhiching is my least fav thing to do so tops tend to pile up. I bet there is a stack of 10 quilt tops that need attention. I didn't pick a specific quilt since I could finish more tops before #11 is chosen.
  12. Same as #11.
Based on what I picked for the Challenge, it appears that I get stuck at borders and then that !@#$ sandwhiching. OK, there are no 'appearances' I knew that already.

I tried to pick some easier projects than others for variety. I'll be happy if tops are completed and then I can put away the bits from the project boxes. I don't plan to purchase fabric to start anything new at this time - but I won't deny myself if something really grabs me. The 3 B's still qualify. Bonnie mysteries don't count for purchases since I don't normally stock the yardage that her quilts usually call for. I do have kits at home that I have prepared with fabric and patterns, I would like to work on those.

If it doesn't happen that way I'd like, oh well. Live and Learn, right? Nah, I'll just be optimistic!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A-Z Reading Challenge

I think maybe I first heard about the A-Z Challenge on Carol’s blog. There was a website to log in all your books for the Challenge, etc, but I decided to go out on my own and just read books that start with each letter of the alphabet.  I’ve searched and searched for an “X” book and finally resorted to a short story, given that I had 4 days to find something, which means that I’ve now completed my alphabet for the year!

Apple Turnover Murder by Fluke, Joanne on 5/30/2010
The Bookwoman's Last Fling by Dunning, John on 2/14/2010
Catering to Nobody by Davidson, Diane Mott on 7/26/2010
A Dilly of a Death by Albert, Susan Wittig on 1/24/2010
Endless Chain by Richards, Emilie on 12/26/10
Farm Hands: on 5/21/2010
Garden Spells by Allen, Sarah Addison on 2/21/2010
The Help by Stockett, Kathryn on 4/18/2010
The Innocent by  Coben, Harlan on 1/10/2010
The Jester by Patterson, James on 12/15/2010
Killer Summer by Pearson, Ridley on 11/20/2010
The Lion by Demille, Nelson on 8/13/2010
The Mercedes Coffin by Kellerman, Faye on 4/3/2010
Nine Dragons by Connelly, Michael on 1/7/2010
One for the Money  by Evanovich, Janet on 8/8/2010
Push  by Sapphire on 2/8/2010
A Quilter's Holiday by Chiaverini, Jennifer on 5/14/2010
The Real Mother by Judith Michael on 11/3/2010
Scarlet Feather by Binchy, Maeve on 2/7/2010
Twisted by Kellerman, Jonathan on 1/18/2010
U is for Undertow by Grafton, Sue on 10/11/2010
The Visitor by Wick, Lori on 3/13/2010
Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Bloom, Amy on 4/6/2010
The X-Ray Detective by Arthur Reeve on 12/28/2010
A Year in the World by Mayes, Frances on 11/15/2010
Zombies versus Unicorns (anthology) on 12/19/2010

In total this year, I’ve read or listened to 64 books and I should get at least one more done before the end of the year. For anyone who has scoffed at audiobooks, I find it the best way to accomplish 2 things at once - "reading" and quilting! Be sure to check out my page on shelfari.com (link on the right) to see what I read and find suggestions for something that you might like. Sehlfari’s an easy way to log the books you read and get other people’s opinions on a book you are considering reading. You can even link to your friend’s “bookshelf” and see what they are reading.

I would like to do another reading challenge in 2011 but I haven’t decided what yet. I could do A-Z authors or try something totally different. Anyone have any suggestions for a project they have seen?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Design Wall Monday - 12/27/10

So, it's the last 2010 DWM and I don't have any real progress to report.

Based on my own observation last week, that John confirmed, I am changing the firemen a little. The fireman fabric now blends in so well with the RWB blocks that it fades into the background. I am in the process of frogging off the top and bottom block sections so I can add a narrow black border. Hopefully it will be worth it.

The 8 foot table (left over from a Christmas party) that I had been using as a design wall for the firemen quilt has now been repurposed as tax central. As Town Clerk I also collect the Town & County taxes, starting in January. I spend the week between Christmas and New Year's pulling escrows, sealing and adding postage to those 7 boxes of bills covering half the table. The other half is pressies I haven't put away yet - the blocks are still on the table tho! It's not a hard job to do escrows but it does take time. As a bonus, I usually get through at least one audiobook while I do this. I tried watching movies but I spend more time watching than working.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Day before the Night Before

How is it I have no pictures? I've wrapped gifts, I've decorated, I'm even still quilting presents (yeh, STILL and that's why I have no pictures of the gifts). Work was busy this morning but not so much now...maybe it will stay that way. There is plenty to be done and the music is always louder when there are no customers :) which means more work gets done and there are no witnesses to the Christmas Cookie munching while I work.

I probably won't post again until next week so have a Merry Christmas in the meantime!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Wonderland pictures

This guy ran past my house Friday morning and then walked back the other direction. I also saw him again over the weekend. I have no idea who he is or if he is training for a specific event or just out for a daily job. The dogs seem to be leashed to a belt around his waist. I hope he never trips and falls...those dogs were moving right along.

This is the view out my front window. I just love those pines and estimate that they are at least 10 stories high. Meaning, if they every fall my direction, we are doomed. The neighbor to the right if this house also has one tall pine and the neighbor around the corner keeps a white star at the top of his...I should get a photo of that as it's a beautiful sign that Christmas is coming when I can see the star out my window.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Design Wall Monday - 12/20/10

As I often do, I over-estimated what I would be able to accomplish on Friday but I had fun sewing and cooking and that was all that mattered.

I was delayed an hour while I waited for the migraine meds to kick in but the cinnamon rolls gave me a nice energy boost. I worked all day on the fireman quilt and actually did accomplish “enough for who it’s for” as my brother would say. This picture was taken yesterday but I almost finished that side section this morning. On Friday I finished the top and bottom sections (15 blocks each). That leaves me with the other side (20 blocks) where some are cut out already but not many and I’ll have to reuse some of the colors because I am NOT buying more fabric for this project. It's bigger than I had originally imagined but I want it big enough to cuddle with on the bed or couch.

The 4 outside corners will be yellow blocks (the picture shows where I was debating outside corners or corners of fireman fabric). I wanted a RWB quilt to match the fireman fabric but here in Castile we have yellow trucks which are more visible. I am thinking of embroidering something on the yellow blocks about our fire department.

Dinner was squash risotto with red wine & cheese sausage and a yummy salad and that pretty much put an end to the sewing since I watched some old Bonanza episodes on DVD while I ate and never got back off the couch.

I did think about the UFO’s I want to finish in 2011 but it never progressed past the thinking stage.

The highlight of the day was the Christmas Caroler’s that came to the front door. They sang two songs and we had a little chat about the quilt I was wrapped in until they sent me back into the warm house. It was such a nice gesture but I was frustrated I couldn’t find the camera.

Saturday was spent with Mom at my SIL’s making candy. We only made 3 kinds of truffles, 2 kinds of nut brittle, 3 kinds of fudge, caramels, a couple other things that I can’t remember. The boys helped a little here and there as mixers and taste testers. And in this example, the boys were of all ages  :)

Yesterday the girls that plan our summer chalk fest got together to make osage orange center pieces. Kim also posed for this graceful shot and didn’t believe that I would actually post it!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Tomorrow I am taking a UIOLI Personal Day so I have decided to treat it as my very own in-house retreat. I will spend the day in my fav PJ’s, will not lift a finger to do any housework and sew all.day.looooong. For lack of anything else to photograph, here is my honey do list…
Priority #1 for the day is to turn these FQs into more fireman blocks. When these are done I am pretty sure I will have enough to lay out the quilt and get the top together. It should be 52 blocks if I did the math correctly.

There are a few xmas gifts to finish up and a class sample to finish as well.

Pick my 12 UFO's for Judy's 2011 challenge. Will try to post pictures of my choices next week.

I really ought to work on my Turning 4-T quilt blocks. I started project this back in November 2009 and here it is with only 31 days left to finish it before the big day. Here at CasaGrande we don’t have EQ7 but I am up to PQ2 (Paper quilt 2.0) while I work out the design. I am leaning towards 10 green blocks where the 4 T’s would then total 40 and the remaining small (or very large, as above) blocks would be neutral on neutral. Still working that part out tho. I have 2 more green blocks to make if I decide to stick with this design.

And if all that gets done … which I doubt it will ... I need to work on my RollRollCottonBoll blocks. I still need to do parts III and IV and I'm sure part V will be posted tomorrow.

I'll post a report of what gets accomplished next week.
I'll also try to post the solution to last week's wazzit.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Iron versus hard water

I like my iron a lot - it's a GE that I picked up at Walmart a couple years ago. The black looks nice, it's got some heft to it, there are a lot of steam vents (yeh, send in the quilt police) and the 6 foot cord is quite helpful at times. It does have auto shutoff but it heats up so quickly that I don't care and it's nice to know that if I get sidetracked elsewhere that it WILL shut off on it's own.

Unfortunately, the water here is very hard. The directions that came with the iron said to alternate distilled and tap water. I did for the longest time but there were some calcium deposits that would come out the steam vents when I shook the iron or pressed the extra steam button. I could deal but decided to just use distilled for a while to see if it helped.

Last night I ran out of distilled, needed my steam and filled it with tap water. It had just turned off so I pressed the power button to reheat it and all the sudden I heard steam while I watched water and brown gunk/calcium dribbling out the bottom steam vents. It made a mess of my iron board cover but it also made a mess of the sole plate. Any ideas how to clean the calcium out? Vinegar works on other items but what about in an iron? Anyone else have problems with hard water? I would love to hear what you do...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby, it's cold out there...

Last Friday, on my way to Christmas shopping, I drove through Honeoye Falls and just had to stop for this picture of the semi-frozen falls. The water was so loud as it rushed over the falls but it was quite soothing.

Do you think this little guy is cold? He keeps showing up on this heating grate.
He looks well loved without his fur and "noisemaker innerds."

Smokey figured out that being in the quilt is even better than being on top of it.

 Tonight is the quilt Guild Xmas party. Lets hope the weather holds because it is been bone chilling cold for days and there are all kinds of weather-related closures north of here...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Design Wall Monday - 12/13/2010

I'm afraid I again have no quilty pictures. I did work on more fireman blocks Saturday and almost have twice as many completed. Friday when I was out Christmas Shopping I also stopped at another quilt store in the city that I don't get to very often for more RWB fabric. I hope to work on them this week and get more posted.

I have not worked a stitch on Bonnie's mystery quilt since I completed Step II. I may not be able to get to it until after Xmas or the New Year. I'm not sure at this point but I do need to finish Xmas presents and since I am Town tax collector, it's about time to start working on that...

Yesterday Mom came over for our third annual Cookie Day. We each make a double batch of cookies and then split them. I also make some other kinds since I give them as gifts. Mom's side of the family is working on a family cookbook and Mom is submitting Candy Lassies, a molasses cookie with crushed candy canes and candy cane glaze/frosting. Here's a close up of the yummieness...

This is most of what we made without some of the frosted sugar cookies. We split the candy lassies and sugar cookies. I also made ginger krinkles, chai tea cookies, chocolate gingerbread and coconut washboards. I hope to make a couple more new recipes for myself but we will see if "we" have time. Won't be making the chocoGingerbread from this recipe again tho.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Can you guess what this is?

You are looking at the trailer end (which has 4 axels, 4 wheels per axel): I didn't have time to catch the cab and how many axels it had as this passed by my office this morning.
They often come by in "sets" so maybe I can get a better picture later today.
For reference, The brick building in the background is an entire block with 5 buildings side by side.

Based on the one guess I received so far, I think I should also tell you that I work and live in a very rural area. It's not a sewer pipe! I took friday off and drove to the "big" city to do some Christmas shopping and saw two more pieces (yes, these are each one-third of the final product) drive buy. I did park to get these but it's hard to focus on a moving object. Traffic was stopped before the first picture below for the semi to go underneath the center of a flashing light.

shows the semi and part of the entourage. I think it travels with at least 4 or 5 support vehicles and a state police vehicle.

hmm...the tail end seems to be closed off rather than a blue tarp. maybe this is the top piece?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A Rising Hockey Star

 #1 nephew, Tyler,is learning to play hockey. He's #84 for Team Timbits! The team is sponsored by Tim Hortons, they have practice Tuesdays and Saturdays and if the kids wear their team shirt to Tim Ho's after practice on Saturday they get a free drink. It even says so inside their shirts: "I just played Hockey and I'm Thirsty." For a five year old who had never skated before October, I would say he's pretty good. He just got his stick last night and while he needs to learn to keep it on the ice, he can shoot a puck and do all kinds of skating tricks as best a 5 year old can. Oh wait - man down!

And on the sidelines, #2 nephew, Ryan, cheers on his big brother!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Gifts under the Christmas Tree

It appears that someone has been watching and learning from her big sis! Does she think she's a gift? She's a sweet one if she is.

No ornaments have been disturbed yet so I think I'll add the rest and maybe raise up some of those branches in that corner. Yet again, the cats don't even knock into them so maybe I will leave their little hidey-hole.

I'm going shopping in the "big" city this weekend so then I can add wrapped gifts too. Am I the only one that hates Christmas Shopping? I really only like to shop at the grocery and quilt stores. LOL. I like to find gifts that are meaningful but the meandering from store to store to find such a gift is just downright annoying sometimes, especially when a lot of other shoppers are so rude this time of year.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Design Wall Monday - 12/6/2010

My actual design wall looks exactly the same as last week so no picture of the wall...

I also worked on RollRollCottonBoll and I've now finished Step II. Step III is going to take me quite some time to complete. I'm not a string person so I'll need to cut some strings. I'll be able to use strips from the strip bins but I don't have any "off" sizes or angled cuts to add interest. No matter, cuz I prefer to enjoy the journey and I know it will be done eventually.

I've cut neutral squares to use on the fireman quilt. I recieved a lot of great suggestions from last week's DWM post. There was even a celebrity siting - Bonnie Hunter posted a comment on my blog!!! When I get back to working on this quilt, I'll add in how I am using reader's suggestions.

I also started decorating for Christmas. The trees and pine boughs were brought down from the attic (don't ask about my fall down the stairs on my last trip) and assembled but I don't have all the ornaments on the trees yet since I am not 100% sure what the cats will do. Pepper doesn't care about the tree or ornaments other than an occasional sniff. Smokey likes to sit under the tree (she also did this at my brother's house) but doesn't seem to bother the ornaments. I have no idea what Cali will do since it's her first Christmas. Today is day three and if everything is still ok when I get home, I'll add some more ornaments.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Roll Roll Cotton Boll - Part II

I'm still working on Part II. I know they will get done so I'm in no rush, altho in reality, I think I only have 10 more sets of 4 to stitch and then to press and trim them all.

I'm a little worried on how much more brown we will be using. Seems I had already used half of my brown FQs on another project and forgot. I can certainly buy more but would rather not.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Team Tabby

It only took about 20 photos to get this...it's a little grainy since I bumped the ISO to catch ADHD kitties. 
Smokey & Pepper

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

It’s beginning to look like…


Last week we got our first measurable snow storm. Of course, by yesterday it was into the 50s, the snow had melted and it was raining. Raining enough to predict 2” by lunch today and lake effect snow starting this afternoon through Friday. At left was the backyard at 8:13 am. It’s "normal" for the backyard to flood like this but the huge puddles by the driveway were unusual.

Less than half an hour later when I left for work, the car was already covered in sleet. When I walked from work to the post office at 10:30 everything was dusted in white as the big flakes drifted down.

I did remember to bring boots today but not a hat. By the time I walked back to work my coat and hair were soaked – there had been no need to dry it or use hairspray this morning as it had become a goopy mess  :)

The plows didn't make an appearance until 1pm, the roads are a sloppy mess and there are reportedly many accidents and power outages. Two areas of the local river are predicted to flood later today – and the river hasn’t flooded since 1972.

I think the snow is beautiful today but wish I had a better view than from my desk in the corner.

PS – today’s high was 55 but it’s been holding at a perfect 32 for hours now…
PPS - I just looked otu the window and the sun is shining from the south while the north is that awful blue gray color. the snow is highlighted and again, I want to be outside... Hah! In the time it took to add this PPS, the sun is gone...go figure.