Monday, October 31, 2011

More Yard Birds of the Piliated Kind

When I got up (the second time) this morning (it's way pitch black when I get the kids up) I looked out my bedroom window to see a bright, blue wonderful Blue Jay sitting right outside.  He was enjoying, or at least tolerating, the company of a Red Bellied Woodpecker.  For the past 2 days, I've had birds on my mind.  I filled several of the feeders, only to have the damn raacccoons empty several of them on the very first night, and have been continually amazed at how fast the critters, welcomed and not welcomed, find the feeders.  This winter I'm going to make a concerted effort to feed my bird friends from my hands.  They'll land on hats-on-heads that are covered with seeds, but bare hand feeding will be new for us.

Anywho, I figured it was a loverly way to start my day.  Blue jays are one of those birds that lots of folks around here consider as dirt birds.  They're big, they're noisy, and they hog lots of space at the feeders.  But they're so cool looking!  And what's not to love about Red bellied Woodpeckers?  Even though their bellies aren't all that red.

It rained a good part of the night, and this morning it was just one of those dreary, sloppy rains. (Did I mention the thunder-snow-lighting thing that happened on Saturday?  Very weird.)  Just plain yucky this morning.

I was in the kitchen standing on my tippie toes watching the titmice and chickadees that found the front feeders.  They zoom in from the trees across the yard and pull up just in time at the feeders. DH was sitting in the family room, doing his crossword puzzle, talking to his bro on the phone, when he starts yelling, "Right in front of you! Right in front of you! Piliated! Piliated!"  I looked out the window and in a couple of seconds I saw it!  PILIATED Woodpecker!  WOOT!  We see them briefly in the yard once or twice a year, but this one was just pounding away, right in plain sight.
DH's view from the crossword puzzle chair......
Where the hell is it???
Think think think..... where's the camera?  Which lens is on it?  Do I bother to put shoes on? (hell no)
Take pics, take pics, take pics! Document that it's really our front yard! Oh crap the card is full!  Where's the phd cameras--swap cards!
Now it's over by the swing set!  Yeah right in our front yard!

I had the feeling that there was more than one bird, but it was only an inking, that funny little feeling birders get sometime. But there was only one.  In the front yard.

Flap flap flap swoop--it's gone!  Flew over the house to the back yard. Run to the bedroom and out on to the deck.  Dang, rain gushing out of our very expensive gutters. . .

Yeah, let all that cold damp air in.
Dang.  Which tree?
Wait a minute.......

There's TWO of them!!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Quilting in West Yell

Last summer, I asked my peep and colleague Dr. D if he knew if any of the ladies at his Church were quilters.  He's a member of the LDS Ward~~Morman Church to you eastern folks~~which is the biggest Church in West Yell.  Some other time I'll delve into the mysteries of Churches and the stories that go around about most of them, but for now it's quiltin' time.

So anywho, Dr. D called his lovely bride and she said Mrs. L is the go-to gal for the quilters.  And I gotta tell ya, I love Mrs. L..  She's been hand quilting for something like 60 of her 80+ years.  Never in a gazillion years would I have tagged her at over 72ish.  Seriously, what a sweetie!  When she and her hubby built their house, I think in the 60s, he told her that he'd be sure there was quilting space.  And there is.  The basement is finished so she can set up 2 king sized quilts down there. Her quilting frame is the darn simplest thing ever--soooo wish I had taken pictures, but I didn't want to invade her world.  She doesn't own a computer and doesn't want to, but her daughter does have an etsy shop called Sweaterheads--ya gotta check it out!

After I finally got around to making the calls she said she'd be more than happy to get some of the girls together and work on FTD's log cabin quilt. And did they ever.  DH and I went over and helped her put the quilt on the frame, since it involves shoving thumb tacks into pine boards, which is something my arthritic thumbs can't do.  Now mind you, I totally understand the hows and whys of quilting, but I've only just started machine quilting.  I've pieced a lot of tops, have tied-off comforters, and sent stuff to the long arm quilter, but real hand quilting is a whole new ballgame for me. 

The sheer simplicity of it is my favorite thing about it.  Mrs. L would just pick up 5 or 6 stitches and pull them through.  Since FTD's quilt is the log cabin quilt, Mrs. L said the best way to quilt it was to just stitch in the ditches. Said she, "It's quick and easy.  Anyone can do it."  Anyone but me.....

Corner details on FTD's Log Cabin Quilt.Yeah, I know you're sick of looking at these pictures.

Mrs. L suggested I start by quilting along an edge of the quilt.  I realize now that the stuff I did likely won't show after I bind it (or in my case, screw up the binding).  I watched and watched how Mrs. L picked up the stitches, itty bitty stitches I must say, and just keep right on going.  I tried it.  I gave up.  I could get maybe 2 stitches on the needle to her 5 or even 6.  I tried the up-with-one-hand, down-with the-other-hand system.  Also sucked at that.  But Mrs. L kept chuckling and saying over and over, "But remember, I've been doing this for a long time--you'll get it after you keep at it."  Such a beautiful optimist.  One of the reasons I'm crazy about her.

I managed to get over to her house a couple of times while she and the girls were working on it.  It's really nice when you work seasonally to get away from work.  Seasonal NPS work is very, very intense so any chance to get my head 'out' of the park was refreshing.  And being in a real home of a real person was super nice. Having friends in the community where you work who are not fellow employees gives the summer gig a more permanent feel somehow.  Hard to explain, too.

After maybe 10 days or so, Mrs. L called and said it was done. She had been worried that it would take a long time and that she'd have to mail it to me when they finished.  Holy cow!! Done!  Just like that!  It takes months to get something back from the LAQ and here she's done in just over a week!

I had discussed with Dr. D the fact that I was worried that she wouldn't take any money so we worked out a game plan.  But alas, there's already a plan in place for this group of quilters.  They keep track of the hours, then charge what amounts to about $3/hour and then say, "But that's so much.  So how about this much amount instead, if that's okay"~~which ends up being about $2/hour.  The money though goes to a charity, usually one of the Ward's interests.  I knew the BS Troop in town is chartered by the Ward, so I was going to suggest that they take a bunch of my money and give it to them.  But Mrs. L beat me to the punch, because a young man from the congregation had just been diagnosed with cancer and was beginning treatments, and would it be okay if they gave my money to that cause....?  Would it be okay?!?  Of course it's okay!!!!!  I also gave them what amounted to just under $4/hour, which is way cheaper than the LAQ.  I think they were also going to give a bit of it to the Troop.  Win win win, win win win.  In case you're wondering, they spent a total of 78 woman hours on it.

That's a lot of woman power.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crafty Corner, Before

I took these pics a long time ago--last winter sometime--and never got around to posting them.  Now I'm going to call them my 'before' pictures, because sometime soonish (here read, sometime in the next month...??) I'm going to have lights installed in the Crafty Corner.  Ooooh, ahhhh.....

DH can't come to grips with what kind of ceiling to put in the basement.  We don't want to use traditional suspended tile, cuz that's so pedestrian and expected.  But our other options suck.  DH also really can't come to grips with the price of said ceiling. (This story might explain why it's so damn expensive.....)

I finally got tired of hearing about what we were going to do, and just stapled up the green ticking fabric that I got for a buck a yard.  And I like it.  A lot.  So much so that I told DH not to wreck it when he puts up the new lights.  (My first choice is corrugated sheet metal.  Yep, you heard me.)

So here's the before pics:

The whole enchilada.

Over to the left. My temporary design wall is over there, too.  It's currently being held up with giant woodworking clamps.  Got the desk from the Goodwill.  I'll show you a pic of the pictures over there sometime.

Over to the right. That pendant lamp is a work light that's just looped over the I-beams and hooked up with scary extension cords. The new one will be similar, but properly wired in.

The Pfaff in all it's glory.  Love love love my sewing table.  Nice cutting table behind it.  What a freakin' luxury to be able to keep it up all the time.          Potentially working treadle machine on the left.  BadAmy found it for me on Craig's List.  A mom and step-daughter bought it, got it stripped down, but gave up, so all I needed to do was varnish it.  We liked the symmetry of 2 mom-step daughter teams working on it.

Treadle base with ironing pad.  DH made a nice top for it, to match the ironing pad I got super cheap. 

More from the right.  That's a white sorta canvas piece of material to cover the shelves when I'm gone.  

This is a portable closet that I got for half price ($50).  I added two bamboo shoe organizers for fat quarters.  The boxes hold all sorts of crap like paints, ribbons, and glitter.  I love glitter.  I hang larger pieces of fabric using skirt and slacks hangers. Got that great idea from Nancy Zieman.  Love her.

My window.  The curtains are Debbie Mumm fabric, the 'garlands' are old tape measures and some pretty holly cut-out ribbon.  The signs were my MILs and they glow all by themselves in the light.  And even when I get new lights, I'm going to keep my Christmas lights up.  They're in off-white tulle, which we used for BadAmy's wedding. Very girlie, and since I'm out-numbered here, I need a few girlie things.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Young Men

One day it just seems to happen.  My baby boys are young men.  I tried and tried to keep it from happening, but it happened anyway.  Okay, it didn't happen the same way as it did for most folks but they are adult size afterall.

So I dropped a bundle on full size mattress sets for each of them.  They've been using twin beds all this time, and if they were in college they'd still be cramming themselves into twin beds, but since they both sleep like the flying Wallendas, full size beds it is.

The mattresses arrived today. We had already purchased a very nice log bed frame for FTD about a year ago, and repainted and carpeted his room.  DD, however, is pickier and changes his mind minute by minute so coming up with something new for his room that doesn't make me wanna puke is going to be tricky.

Currently, it's painted in Amtrak colors--grey on the bottom with a RWB stripe.  The carpet is the original heavy duty very flat industrial strength stuff we put in his room when we built the house.  It's blue with specks, and still looks fine.  It's not traditional BR carpeting though, but it can take a beating.  Since it's flat they could run all their little matchbox cars and other toys all over it. 

Train stuff going on here.
Book cases for valuable treasures.
Desk made by Uncle D for computer and games. It's now shiny black. 
DD's old, old bed.  He jumped on this and broke the frame and box springs, so he got FTD's old bed and FTD got a nice new one.  Old bed, the one that left today, is painted black to match the game desk.  DD's into black.
Since I bought the mattress sets, there's no money for new carpeting, so he'll just have to deal with it. Buying new mattresses also meant getting new sheets and pads, so I got them each one flannel set and one regular cotton.  I caved and got DD black sheets . . . we'll see how this works out.  For FTD, I got dark brown sheets.

At the moment, DD's new set is on the floor, while we search for the perfect and indestructible frame for him. And he's had this store bought quilt for several years, and until I get his Hobo quilt done, this will do nicely.

And I'm still wondering when my little boys got big enough for grown up beds.  Sigh.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quadruple Dose of Autism

Whoa.  Just when I think it's safe to go back.... I've had enough time to cruise my blogroll (which I don't in the summer) and found a couple of interesting articles.  Well, the first is from of my grand-nephews has autism, along with a co-morbid thing called PANDAS.  Holy crap.  My niece is sick and her son's symptoms worsened at the same time.  Been there done that, doing that today.  Fortunately, my son can take care of himself with his demon-o'-the-day, but I had to pick him up early from school.  So since we've been back he's managed to go to school for one whole day and 2 half days.  Sheesh.

The other was an article from a fun crafty blogger (how can you not love a blog called "Crap I've Made"?)  One of her sons has Aspergers, which is one of the forms of autism.  She noted that getting family pictures is a challenge.  I've been able to get pictures, which is a blessing.  The weird thing in our house is that neither of the boys will look in a mirror.  Scares the hell outta me, too, but for entirely different reasons.  At least I have reasons (Okay, it's those crows feet.  Or as I prefer to call them, laugh lines.  I must laugh a lot.....)

So here are some of my fav's of the boys: (And Char, you'll get pics like this, too--hang in there!)
FTD at the zoo.  I managed to get him to uncover his ears.  Still does this today. Oh, and FTD is the one in the shirt, even tho he's hairier than the sloth bear behind of him.

FTD the First Class Scout.  I used this pic to make postage stamps for his Eagle Scout Ceremony invites.

DD the baker.  He used to watch Bobby Flay all the time.  He still tries to cook, but the reading crap gets in the way.

DD's "Senior" Picture.  Unbelievable on so many levels.  First of all, he dressed up for Geezer Day during Spirit Week. Second, that he went through with it.  Third, that he let someone take his picture. Fourth, he was really thrilled that they put this in the year book.  Holy photos, Batman!

And Now a Word from Your Editor

DD, reading a book.  Sorta.
Ack.  This blogging stuff shows how important it is to have some one edit one's work.  Or at least spell check it.  I was checking some links on old posts and found a ton of boo-boos, mostly spelling errors, but a few things that didn't make any sense at all, too.  Did I mention that the writing usually happens late at night when the boys are alseep?

Editor-in-Chief.  Actually doesn't even know I have a blog, much less reads it.
My point here is that I thanks you kindly for not pointing out my ridiculous errors.  I'd also like to say again that when I format pictures into the post, I try really hard to give them a nice, smooth look.  Sadly, blogspot re-arranges almost all of the pics, making the text hard to read in several places.  Ah, well, the price is more than right for this little adventure, so again thanks for keeping your thoughts to yourself about how crappy the posts look sometimes. I be appreciating that.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Messing Around with Online Quilty Stuff.... again

I'm trying this again.  I do so love this quilt, so I thought I'd totally embarrass myself by putting it in the contest.  I don't know if I put this one up before or not.... don't care either.  So if you're bored, click on over to the quilt site and vote for me.  Actually, there are a couple of quilts I like better than mine!  Arg!!!!