Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The big 4-0

Yeah, I turned 40 over the weekend. I have to say, it's good to turn 40 on the last Saturday in September. It falls on the day of my friends' big Oktoberfest party. Given the number of cards and birthday wishes I received, I have a feeling the hostess sent an additional email reminding everyone I was turning old. (She still has a few years to go before she hits this age). :) We had a good time, and the rain even stopped for it.

There was fancy cake and fancy cookies (thanks again, Cindi!!)

And fire:

What is it about fire that draws men like moths??

In addition to all that goodness, there were even gifts - jewelry (thanks, KB) and lottery tix ($5 in winnings, Molly).

I got nice gifts at home, too - geeky stuff, like a new SD card to replace the one I fried, and a USB hub to put on my embroidery machine so I can read cards and use the mouse at the same time. I also got some Harmony Wood straight knitting needles in sizes that don't come in the set. Which leaves the set as fair game, come Christmas. ;-)

Sunday we went to my parents' house for my traditional birthday dinner - Mom's lasagna. YUM!! Good gifts there, too - books, DVDs and the now-traditional kitten calendar. :)

Thanks to everyone for such a great weekend!

As a bonus, I'm on vacation this week, so I should get a bunch of bloggable stuff done. So far, I finished knitting the Booga Bag i-cord handle and knit up a little bag to go with it. They need to be felted but I might wait till I get my felted clogs started/done. We'll see if I have that much patience. Probably not.

Doesn't the yarn match my new knitting needles well?? :)

I have the green washcloth about half done (no picture). I also made a pink and yellow flannel receiving blanket, and a small fleece blanket out of some bigger bits of leftover fleece (the top layer is actually lime green, not yellow):

Blue thinks that blanket looks comfy....

I started a couple of fleece/flannel blankets that need satin binding. Max and Emma tested them for me.

The blue one has the yellow flannel from the receiving blanket on the front. The pink one has the pink flannel on the front. I'm not going to bother quilting them. I stitched the edges together and I'll add the binding when I get some more. That finishes up the last of the flannel I had for the minkee/flannel blankets. Later this week I'll sort out all the blankets and plan to take a bunch of them to Providence House soon.

I also sorted through my fleece scraps while I was at it. I threw out a few of the really small bits. The pieces that are big enough will go (along with the extra pieces of flannel) to a teacher in my guild who has her (home ec?) classes make comfort pillows for cancer patients. I might be able to do something with the other pieces. I'll let them age in the closet a little while longer.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Finishing up and falling down

Finishing up

The last two minkee/flannel blankets:

The bag part of my Booga Bag, which apparently makes an excellent kitty bed:

The i-cord needs another 3-4 feet in length.

Falling down

Clockwise from top left, Winter White and Cadet Blue Lion Wool; Fiber Trends' Leaf Lace pattern with Cherry Tree Hill Supersock DK yarn in a blue/green potluck color; Berroco Comfort in Ivory; Knitting Pure & Simple's Beginner Socks pattern with Knitcol yarn in color number 44.

And there might be more on the way. Ahem......

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ahoy, landlubbers...

Avast ye mateys, Friday was Talk Like a Pirate Day, but didn't get around to posting. Ah well. Better late than never.

Once again, I have good news, and not so good news.

Good news - they repaved my street on Thursday:

Not so good news - they left a pile of broken concrete that was once part of the driveway apron in the tree lawn:

Based on the ends of the street, it looks like they might be planning to put another layer down soon. If not, I'll be calling the city to find out if/when they plan to pick up the rubble and fix the apron. I had a new driveway put in back in 2001, when there was a huge hump in the street. Now that the hump is gone, the apron looks pretty bad. [The lawn has been mowed since the pictures were taken, btw.]

More good news - I finished another fleece/flannel baby quilt:

And two more minkee/flannel blankets (sorry, those are kind of dark - I'll try to fix them later):

That leaves 2 more to go. I've decided to donate some of the recent baby blankets to a local charity - Providence House. They take in children in crisis, ages newborn to 5 years old, and counsel their families about how to better take care of them. They have a 93% reunion rate, meaning almost all of the kids get to go back to their families. The woman from Providence House who spoke at my women's club meeting Thursday night had us all in tears with some of the stories she was telling - little kids who slept with their shoes on because they'd never had new shoes before. I figure some of those kids would love to have a nice soft blanket to snuggle up with. So as soon as I finish all of them, I'll decide which ones to keep for future baby gifts, and which ones will find a home with special kids at Providence House.

I'm almost done with my Booga Bag, which I started Wednesday night:

I have 12 more rows to knit, along with the I-cord ties, then the magic of felting it. I'll show before and after pictures when I have them. That's Noro Kureyon, color #182, btw.

Finally, I was cleaning pictures off my old cell phone and found these of Ripley:

"Why has it taken you this long to post pictures of me, Mama? You know I'm the prettiest...."

Monday, September 15, 2008

A long weekend's results

I had another three day weekend, to make up for the extra hours I'd put in over the last month or so. You'd think I'd have accomplished more, but not really.

Saturday was errand day. Among other things, I went to embroidery club at the local sewing machine store and got a sneak peak at this. It's got some really nice features, and even though they're offering 3 years same as cash, it still retails for nine thousand dollars. That's a bit much. Especially considering that I just bought this last year, then upgraded it to be the same as this. I'm still paying it off. And I haven't used it enough to justify even considering buying a new one. It was fun to look, though.

Sunday we cleaned the house, since my friend Ann was supposed to come up and sew and/or knit today. During breaks from that I did some knitting on the next washcloth. No pictures of that yet. I also put the binding on this:

Which was no small feat, since I used some polyester embroidery thread that kept breaking on me, despite changing needles and loosening the upper tension. I won't name the brand because I haven't had that problem with their thread before. Must be a bad spool. The colors in it were perfect with the fabric, though.

Hurricane Ike rolled through Sunday. We got a lot of wind and a little rain. I can't complain at all, since my power never went out and my trees didn't lose any big branches. The schools that Ann's kids go to weren't so lucky, and they were closed today. Ann thought it was best to not leave her kids unsupervised all day, so she stayed home with them. :-(

So I was home alone watching this:

They're *FINALLY* resurfacing my street! There's been a big hump perpendicular to the telephone pole at the end of the driveway for years, and it kept getting worse. Fortunately, the water would build up on the side of the hump away from my driveway, or it would have made getting in and out a real adventure in the winter. Today they ground about 3-4" off the road, from end to end. No idea when they'll get around to actually repaving it.

Meanwhile, I put the binding on these minkee/flannel blankies (the centers of these two are the same color, believe it or not):

And I quilted and bound these:

The pink and purple one is just backed with fleece. The pink and plaid one actually has batting and a flannel backing. Those tops are ones I put together at quilt camp.

I still have one more fleece-backed top to quilt and bind, and four more minkee/flannel blankies to bind. Plus several receiving blankets to make from what's left of the flannel. Then I don't know what I'll work on. Probably some more knitting.....

Max update: he's on another week of antibiotics to help calm down the gums where one of his teeth came out. That means another week of tuna juice "treats" for him. He's a happy boy. :)

There was a question about the "Magic Door" I mentioned a couple of posts back. The Magic Door is the pocket door between the kitchen and the living room. Four of the five cats spend the night on the living room side of the Magic Door. Ripley, the 16 year-old, is the only one who gets to stay on the kitchen side (with access to my bedroom) at night. The rest spend their time trying to get on "the other side" of the Magic Door, especially when I'm not on the side they're on. We don't know why for sure. It might have something to do with the fact that Ripley is a nibbler and there's almost always more food on her side of the door. Nah, that can't be it.... :-)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I have a rule

My rule says no rotary cutting after 11 pm. Apparently, that rule needs to apply to sewing handles on tote bags. And if I hadn't just COMPLETELY toasted my SD card, I could show you what I mean. However, everything that was on that card is gone, and I can't even re-format the thing. It is now a useless chip of plastic. I'm sure I didn't downloaded everything to my computer before I lost it. I had my only pictures of Stealth Project 2, which I already sent,but forgot to post. So I guess you won't get to see that, unless/until the recipients can send me a picture of it. I am NOT amused.

So all you get to see is the corrected tote bag:

You'll have to use your imagination to see that the right side of the front handle was originally aligned not with the edge of the blue and white square, but with the edge of the green square next to it. In other words, right in the middle of the tote. Nice, eh?

The pattern I used is here. The finished product is bigger than I imagined it would be, mostly because I never really thought about it. I had to make some modifications to the pattern, since I only had 35 charms in my pack. I had half yards of the blue and pink fabrics so I used the pink for the bottom and the straps, instead of charms. Also, I added the white background fabric in the center. The embroidery design is from a pack called Dazzling Doodles by Helga Wilkins, blown up to huge proportions in my embroidery software. I'm not sure I'd do that again, since there are some long stitches in there that I'm sure to catch on something. I suppose I could stitch a piece of vinyl over it to protect it.

Since I only had an 18" length of fabric and I needed an 18" square for the lining, I pieced that, and added a pocket from the bits left over.

I think I had a piece that was 2" x 6" when I was done. Maybe. Not too bad. The pattern was easy to follow and went together easily, not counting the handle incident.

I had those grand plans to put binding on a boatload of baby quilts tonight, but it just didn't happen. I fixed the tote bag, so this evening wasn't a total waste of time. Tomorrow night is quilt night with the girls from work, but I don't think I'll be sewing. I don't feel like hauling my machine with me, and I don't know what quilt project I want to start next, so there's no cutting to do. I'll take my Dear Jane project bag with me, but I'll probably work on some knitting instead. I have some more washcloths to make before the end of the month, and there are a couple (or six) felted projects I want to do, too.

Since I lost my pictures, I can't show you my friend Beth's quilt, either. It's very pretty, with big pieced pansies on it. However, because of the fabric placement, if you look at it from a different angle, it looks like a whole flock of angry purple penguins. :-) We probably spent too much time giggling over that one, so I probably deserved to lose my pictures. Or maybe it was that chain email that I deleted right before that happened..... Spooky!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another busy week (or so)

Well, it's been over a week since my last post. I've been busy. Labor Day was John's birthday, then I had two reasonably normal days in the office. Thursday I did a "Day in the Life" gig where we cube-dwellers work in a local retail store for a day to see how the other half lives. It was a nice change, and even though I had to get there earlier than normal, it was a shorter drive, and I was done by 2 pm. Woohoo!

Friday I left for another round of quilt camp. I got a good bit accomplished, but no Dear Jane blocks. I had planned to spend maybe half the time there playing with flannel for baby quilts then switch to Dear Jane. I was hoping to at least re-do the square and triangle that I made in the "wrong" fabrics. I did spend about half the time playing with baby quilts, and considered plowing through the rest of the flannel, just to be Done, but I couldn't take it anymore so I switched gears completely and worked on (and screwed up) my charm pack tote bag. More about that after I fix it.

Since my last post, I finished both the "Neapolitan" and "Vanilla" washcloths:

And I've reduced this flannel:

To this:

Well, the top right pile is still mostly intact, since I only reduced it by one receiving blanket:

The rest of the flannel went into 4 quilt tops and a quilt back. One top is quilted to fleece and waiting for binding, two are basted to fleece, waiting for quilting and binding. The last one will go with the back I pieced, and I'm trying to decide if I should put batting in it or not.

Tomorrow (probably) I'll do some quilting and binding of some the tops I pieced, and bind some of the minkee/flannel blankies. I also have to fix that tote bag. When I have completed projects, I'll post pictures.

One parting (kinda crappy) shot -

Nothing brings a family together like a plate full of tuna! Clockwise from the far left, that's Max, Emma, Blue and Runt. Ripley was on the other side of the "Magic Door" eating her canned food with a bit of tuna mixed in.

Max update: he had three teeth removed a week ago, including one where the crown was gone, leaving just some abscessed roots. OUCH!! Poor little guy. He's still getting tuna juice treats (aka antibiotics) twice a day, and he's not allowed to eat crunchy food for another week. He goes back for his checkup on Saturday. The vet said she's not really worried about his creatinine level being a little high, because A) it's not *that* high; B) his BUN levels are fine; and C) his urine is nice and concentrated, like it's supposed to be. She thinks that creat. level might just be normal for him. I'm still going to switch him to the prescription food, once he can eat dry again, just to be safe. If he doesn't really have kidney problems, this food isn't going to hurt him, and if he does, it will help his kidneys to not work as hard.

Bedtime!! More later this week.