Monday, March 28, 2011

Lest You Think I'm Just Bragging

I truly love BadAmy's work. Always have. She is a genuinely gifted artist. But we StepMonsters are supposed to say that right? Yep.

So I rest my case HERE. BadAmy so impressed one of her fellow-fiber-holics that said 'holic blogged about BadAmy.

See? I was right all along.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lest You Think I've Been Slacking

Naw. Just to lazy to upload pics is all. (Is there a bulk loader for blogspot that will do more than 3 pics at a time? Sheesh.) (And would it be too much to ask to be able to place the pics where I want them in the text instead of all at the top?)

What have I been up to? Hmmm.. doing the laundry. Nope. Vacccuumming? Pish. Dusting? Yeah right. Messing around in the crafty corner? Uh, yeah.

This was my "do something you've never tried before week." First up, I won a jelly roll of batiks at the retreat last year. I'm not much of a batik girl (yes, I hear several of you gasping) but there it is. And I also had no idea what to do with a jelly roll. I googled all over the place and decided to try a strippy quilt. But alas. After a way too long search, I realized there isn't enough material in a jelly roll for a decent size, use-as-a-quilt quilt. So I searched my stash and found some stuff left over from my Three Bears Quilt. So I cut strip after strip after strip...... I found a pattern for a strippy quilt as you go deal, and that was my original plan. Till I realized how big I really had made this thing. So here's the strips, on my design floor. I'm not quite done messing the the arrangement, but you get the idea. That's a cheapo sheet set that I'll use for backing.

The Enablers at Joanne's sent me a raft of coupons last week, so I used some on fat quarters in springy colors. I'm not much of a pink/purple girl, either, so this was pretty far outside my comfort zone. I already had a fat quarter of a really cute, sorta retro robins/lilacs material so I used that for center blocks. I wanted a lot of blocks, so instead of fussy cutting it, and making myself nuts in the process, I just whacked it up. The rest of the FQs went to strips too. (Ohhh, I can't wait to get my Vagabond cutter..... ) I realized that to make this pattern work, one of the border sections would have to be whacked too, but oh well. From a distance it looks okay. A real quilter would have whacked all the doo dads. Ha. (So I used the word so in each the first four sentences in this paragraph. So ya wanna make something of it?)

So here it is on the design wall. My question is: To sash or not to sash? Please advise. And if you're in the sash it camp, what color??? Oh, and I decided not to give it a pattern. I actually had to work pretty hard not to match too many of the border chunks. I haven't really looked at this, but I will probably futz with the blocks a little.
I also ended up with one extra block, and a good thing too. This will get made into a mug rug for a certain blogger who only manages to get pictures of bird butts. But said blogger needs to send me a snail mail address. You know who you are, Loopy.

As well as not being able to think in colors, I also don't think in numbers, and I had a ton of the border chunks left. Some of them went into this. Again, purely random. But drat, there are those 2 that line up. Too late. I was reeeealy tired by the time I got to this.

I did make a nicer table topper which is machine quilted in little echo stitched clover leaves, and backed with a pretty striped fabric, which I will also use for the bigger one. I also machine bound them. Woot! For some reason I didn't take a pic of the one that is pretty dang good. Later, gator.

Lessee, what else, oh yeah. Last week I decided to take down my big Santa flag and put up something springy. I found a panel of a bunny and figured I'd just back it the easy way--inside out style. I was going to use a white sheet--I buy them every time I see them at garage sales. Then I found an old damask tablecloth, complete with little holes and stuff. Perfect, I thought. Ever try to cut a straight edge on an old damask tablecloth? omg, what a pain. Anywho, I finally got it done, but that turned a 20 minute project into a 90 minute one. Sheesh.

But he's cute and has a spring in his step.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Girls Weekend In! April 15, 16, 17

I've been thinking about this for a long time. It hinged on DH and the boys being gone. They're going to go to the lake so we'll over-run my house with estrogen!!!!! What a pleasant difference!

So. Friday April 15 after 6 p.m. until Sunday April 17 at noon, we get the house all to ourselves. Sa-weet. Stay for the whole weekend or come and go as you please. Bring what ever crafty stuff you like, I'll have a table or two that we can set up for sewing machines, etc., my cutting table is always up, as is my ironing board. Bring a pillow and sleeping bag, junk food, drink, computer, whatever floats your boat. Maybe I'll have FTD show me how to use the Wii so I can kick your butt at the Slice-n-Dice game. We can go for walks, do nothing, make prank phone calls, whatever we want.

This will pretty much be the last time I'll have to play with my sewing stuff, since I have to be packed and ready to go out west just 2 weeks after this. So come on over! Email me at my regular edress to lemme know what your plans are.

Monday, March 21, 2011


We do things the odd way around here. For example, for our First of Spring fun, we torched the Christmas Tree. Not so odd. But then we roasted some Peeps. Yeah, those yellow marshmallow yummies. If you do it right, they're crunchy on the outside (the yellow sugar coating) and gooshie on the inside. DD and DH tried several before they got it right. They both ended up with blisters from grabbing hot Peeps. We've gotta give a shout out to Ranger Carol for sharing the world of Hot Roasted Peeps with us.

Most of the snow is gone, kinda. This is the Duv version of Ice Sculpture. I expect we'll have a clear front porch by tomorrow.
We can get to the grill now. That's pretty exciting. We usually grill all winter, but this year we ended up using our camp grill in the garage.
Not so sure about the pile on the corner of the house.

Lessee, who's in the Non-Contest? Barb and Loopy Dave so far. If you haven't guessed a date for when the snow finally melts, it obviously isn't too late to get in on the non-action.

And Mr. and Mrs. Cooper are back. Dunno which one this is, but I was pretty happy with this pic. They've nested in our neck of the woods for at least three years now.
But Wait! There's More!
And I'm jumping into the quilt-by-bloggy fray. I'm going to play "Pay It Forward." I will get something from Rhonda in the next 365 days. (I'm hoping it comes when I'm out west, wink wink.)

Here's the deal:
  1. I will make a little something for the first 3 people who comment on this post. It will be a surprise and it will arrive when you least expect it.
  2. I will have 365 days to do it in. What's the catch? To get a handmade present from me, you have to play too! This means YOU pledge to send a little handmade something for 3 readers of your blog. It doesn't have to be quilty - just handmade.
  3. You must have a blog. Duh.
  4. Once you comment here, you must post about your Pay It Forward on your blog to keep the fun going - with the Pay It Forward badge.
Lots of folks are posting pics in a Flickr Group, but my Flickr account is all screwed up. I have utterly no idea which e-dress I used, much less my username or login. Sheesh. I'm hoping to get that figured out soonish.

So I'd better get to winding yarn for BadAmy tomorrow so I can dream up something to make for you!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Lazy Sunday and Half Square Triangles

Sunday mornings have become laundry time for us. Since I decided last month that I can't stand doing the boys' laundry anymore, I've been taking them to the laundromat so they can do their own. At home, it takes forever: since we're on a well, we don't have the pressure needed to quickly fill the washer, and since we use a geothermal heat pump we are an all-electric home, so the dryer doesn't get all that hot. Subsequently, it takes forever to get one load of laundry done, start to finish. Both of the boys figured ways to get out of various parts of the routine. I was still doing almost all of the work. New plan: Laundromat. Yeah, it costs twice as much as doing it at home, but I'M not the one doing it!

The first couple of weeks, I would help with the proper settings and folding and stuff. Today, DD did his all by himself. Completely. Whoo hooooooo!!!!!! The big draw for him is that the laundromat is next to the train tracks. So he gets to railfan and do his laundry all at once. While he's doing that, I read or do computer work. (Today it was my new Evening Program on bison. Got quite a bit done. Wish they had wifi at the laundro, though.)

FTD opted to do his here, while I had pesky brother out of the house. DH helped him and they said it's all done. (I haven't checked his closet yet......) DH even did some of his own laundry. He does it sometimes while I 'work' out west, but hasn't done much here, because apparently, I don't 'work' here. Grrrr.....

Grown up time
We spent the afternoon with two other couples, which was a nice change of pace for me. We drove over to Fremont, Indiana to visit a small vineyard. Yes, it is possible to make decent wine in the midwest. We got to taste ten different wines, which was interesting. As usual, I liked the odd ones. Then we went to a nice family style Italian restaurant for dinner.

Half Square Triangles?
Oh, yeah, I found a new blog from the Empress's blog: Quilter in the Gap, who is a Michigander who has transplanted to Cumberland Gap, TN. You'll know this story: a friend of hers was in a swap, and ended up not making the quilt. So Friend One gave Friend Two the triangles. And now Friend Two has decided to pass them along. Pick me! Pick me! I hate cutting triangles, but want to get good at pinwheel blocks. So yeah, I'll take a pile o' triangles off your hands.

Coolest Quilter
And here's some really cool news. My college room mate, Jan-Bob, is an art teacher and quilter. She is in several virtual 'Bees' and starting on January 1 of this year, she has been making a block a day. She's using all solids and she just grabs the material that floats her boat that day and sews them into to all sorts of interesting patterns. Well, now, I knew this, but another blogger for the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild in San Fran CA, found Jan-Bob's blog and said it's genius. Well, I coulda told 'em that. But now I'm telling you.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Six Weeks and Counting

Yesterday, Friday, was on of those days.

We have rescheduled FTD's IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) meeting 3 times--there were big, bad snowstorms canceling the first two dates we picked. That's always a fun time. NOT. He's at the cool new regional vocational HS this year, and we had high hopes. Don't any more.
FTD is definitely not working to capacity. We get that. But who works full tilt cleaning restrooms anyway? Especially since we were told when he was being tested/admitted that he'd likely get to work in the computer/drafting areas for at least part of his day. Unfortunately, his teacher is so fixated on his scruffy beard that she didn't/wouldn't/couldn't get him into any other programs. I'm pretty sure she didn't try. How many times did we need to ask????? Oh, wait. . . . after having FTD in public school for 16 years. . . I know the answer to that. Once again we are frustrated to the point of pulling out our hair. We might just pull him from school altogether and let the chips fall where they may. He will soon be eligible for waiver options, assuming our moron of a governor doesn't cut the funding for that program also. We're currently looking for Certified Waiver Providers, so if you know any, let us know. I have the list of everyone in Lucas County Ohio who is certified, but they are all strangers to us.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .
And in the exciting yet alarming news, I got a note from my boss.

Good news: I can start working on May 8. Good news for my pocketbook, a wee bit tough on the family.

More good news is that we'll have 8 rangers again this year--with NO barricade duty! That means rove time and maybe a second ranger at the WYVIC during the day when we are 15 families deep at the desk. The bad news: Three of our four rockin'est rangers won't be back. Dr. D. is going to do wildlife jams all summer (which surprises me immensely), Carol has decided to retire, and so did Bob. Holy cow, talk about loss of institutional memory! These three folks are truly awesome rangers/naturalists/historians/humans. I shall miss each of them soooooo much! And the Divine Miss M is going to work the gate in the summer, then interp in the winter. (NPS has this wacky rule about a person can't work 2 seasons in a year in the same division/area. When that happens, folks become full-time employees. God forbid. So if you want to work year-round for NPS and you don't have perm-full-time status, you have to work in two different parks or two different divisions. In the case of YNP, you can work in different regions of the park, us being so dang big and all. The up shot is that you can work nearly full-time, but you don't get the bennies. Yeah, it sucks.) So all of our staff changes mean . . . . wait for it . . . . . I'll be the one with the most NPS years at Madison, as well as the most overall environmental education experience or any any other work experience. Hell, I've got more experience in total than the other guys put together. Scary, eh? This will be my 6th NPS season. (Which I think fails to register with a lot of folks.) Any who, Dr. Pi will be back, along with DM.

On the more good news front, B&L, the mostest awesomeest NPS volunteers will be back at Mad. They had talked about working at West, but I'm soooo glad they'll be at Mad. (They woulda been bored silly at West, honestly.) And we'll get last years WYVIC volunteer at Mad. Boy, is he in for a surprise! While we have a short afternoon lull at WYVIC, there are no lulls at Mad. (Bring it on!)

So this presents the annual question: Where will the Duv's live? Last year, 4 of our rangers had their own housing, leaving 4 of us in apartments. This year, all 8 of us need apartments. Our apartment has had two unrelated rangers living there some years. Oh crap. My boss asked if we could scrunch into the one BR place, and the answer is no, there's no way we can. Oh crap. Now what?

Hobo Blocks, Coming Up

Yesterday's Friday Night Sew In produced 4 more finished blocks, two of each of these:
Along with the ones I did the other day. Hmmm, did I already post these? Well, here they are cropped and purty.... And Happy National Quilting Day!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Night Sew In & National Quilt Day

Hey hey hey! It's Friday! And tonight is Sew In Night again. Hmm, should I work on more blocks for DD or wind yarn for BadAmy? Or put the backing on the Wedding Quilt, or or or......

I am going go into town to pick up another batch of GS cookies. And well, whaddoyaknow, the ice cream shop is open now, too........

So I just read on the Empress's blog that Lizabeth is having a give away. It's a stash buster of civil war prints from one of her friends. You know, the 150th commemoration of said war has officially begun, right? So I could use some more fab fabric. Sorry, Empress, move over honey, I'd really like this one! The give-away will happen on National Quilt Day. Who knew?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Springtime Rumors

This morning's pics:

Rumor has it that we will have spring this year. Yeah. Right.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just One Star Done

I got 6 of these stars done today. They took longer than I expected--and of the time it took, I'm guessing I spent 45% of my time cutting, 45% pressing, and 10% sewing. But tomorrow I'll get them in the mail.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just One Star

On Tuesday, March 15, the flags of the United States of America will fly at half-staff in memory of Mr. Frank Buckles, the last of the US Soldiers who fought in the War to End All Wars. How grand that folks of that time thought it would be the last war, not the first World War. As we send more men and women into harms way under new and devastating circumstances, there is something we can do on the home front to attempt to alleviate some of the suffering.

Make just one quilt block.

Moda Fabrics is coordinating an effort to create quilts for soldiers who are wounded in action. Read about it HERE.

Tomorrow, I will make a star. In memory of Mr. Buckles.

I will make one star in memory of Cpl. Frank Britt, WWII US Army. My Daddy.

I will make one star in memory of Lt. Jessie Alice West Britt, WWII US Army. My Mom.

I will make one star in honor of Sgt. Brian Rozick, USAF/180th Fighter Wing. My Friend.

I will make one star in honor of Gen. Mark Bartman, USAF/Ohio Air National Guard. My Friend.

For whom will you make
just one star?

Another Birdy, Quilty, Winding Weekend

We've reached the gray days of March, so we're all running a little on empty here. And I managed to catch FTD's cold, just as he was getting rid of it. How lucky for me. He missed another 4 days of school last week. Drat.

I've been winding, er unwinding yarn for BadAmy. I'm using the warping board, which means it takes me 28 to 32 minutes to get a skein of yarn from the 'normal' length (a loop about 4 feet around) to dying distance loops, nearly 30 feet around. She has several contraptions in her basement for the winding/unwinding/rewinding stuff. I don't have the time (or inclination) to drive to West Toledo every day to help over at BadAmy HQ, so we're trying it here. I can realistically only do 4 skeins a day, max, which only helps a little. We might set up a big, honkin' contraption here like she has there. I'd post pics, but I've been sworn to secrecy so as not to give away any company secrets. Hmmm..... are all indie dyers like this??

I needed some fabric therapy after all the winding, so I hauled out the stuff to make more blocks for DD's Hobo Quilt. I got 10 more blocks done last night--5 new block patterns. I'm finding that I really love thinking up new ways to use machine applique instead of the piecing patterns that came with the book. Seriously, I'll do anything to avoid all those itty bitty triangles.

And I actually got out of the house for a while~~just me and DH, for a nice change. We've had a couple of reports of a Bald Eagle in the neighborhood and we went to check it out. There's a golf course 3 miles north of us, across the street from the northern boundary of the Park, and the pro there said he has seen eagles carrying sticks to trees in the middle of the course. There's a nice oak woods there. We spent a good amount of time looking for eagle evidence, but alas, none. There have also been reports of an eagle in the cemetery next to the golf course. We looked and looked over there, but no luck. Then we parked on an old Park road and walked back along Swan Creek, hoping that maybe the birds were nesting back there. Alas, no luck on that run either. But it is good for DH's soul to get back off the main drag in the Park. Me, too.

I'm off today for my annual "What's wrong with MBD's old, fat body this year" testing. The good news is that my blood work rocks~~again~~and we're not looking for anything weird. Whew.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides! Part 2

99 years ago today, the first meeting of the Girl Guides, soon after to be re-named the Girl Scouts, met in Juliette Gordon Low's home in Savannah, Georgia. Mrs. Low was a friend of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, founders of the Boy Scouts. It occurred to Daisy (her camp name, a tradition that continues to this day) that girls also could use emergency preparedness studies, outdoor skills, and the opportunity to give service back to their communities. Two days prior to this meeting, she called her cousin with this wild idea. A group of 18 girls met that day, forming two patrols~~the Carnation and the White Rose patrols. The idea spread quickly, and ever since that day, girls have been having marvelous experiences as Scouts.

I started in Girl Scouts when I was in second grade in 1962, at Clay Elementary School, in Oregon, Ohio. From the time I put on my first Brownie Beanie, I was hooked. I still cherish my first Brownie pin. From there, our family moved to West Toledo, where I became a Junior Girl Scout, at DeVeaux Elementary School. My Mom was an assistant leader, and very quickly became a leader and neighborhood chairman. It suited her perfectly. We found ways for everything we did as a family or in school to become Scout stuff--way more fun than calling it homework. After 2 years in Toledo, we moved to Perrysburg, where I joined a new and great Junior Troop, and then moved up to Cadettes. How I loved the grown-up look of the Cadette uniform--sleek A-line skirt, crisp white blouse with 'stewardess' cross-tie and a new cockade for my hat. My troop, which was down to about 4 of us, fell apart when we started High School, as do most GS troops. Which brings me to this:

The Girl Scouts have changed. Some for the better, put most of the changes have been to save/make money. Plain and simple. The Scout organization I knew was about service and skill development. The organization today is just for career exploration. A few skills are picked up along the way, but only as they relate to a future paid-job-related employment. Service is a part of Scouts still, but not nearly to the extent it was. And this from a woman who has always known she'd have a career outside of the home. And who loves her chosen career. Passionately.

I hate to be the person who says, "Back when I was a kid, we didn't need video games, we had marbles to play with." True that. I try to keep up with the latest techie stuff, not because I need it, but simply because it's coming~~it's here. I don't want to be left behind just because I didn't have/need something when I was a kid. I get it: Things change.

But there are some basic tenets to which we need to hold. Service above self (thank you, Rotarians for saying it so simply) is one of them. The other is being able to care for yourself and others. Yes, having a career is indeed critical. But there are kinder, gentler ways of getting there than the new GS Program. It lacks continuity, creativity, and fun. It looks good on paper, because the "Journeys" say go be creative and have fun, but it just isn't for most troops and girls. And (and here's the biggie) it's not fun for leaders.

Without fail, if you ask a GS leader now what she thinks about the Journeys program, she'll say, well, it was nice, but the girls got bored with it. They want more variety, short term projects, better 'rewards.' In short, they want to earn badges, which cover particular skills, not a long, drawn out things about what they can/should be as adults.

And now I'm going to say something out loud which I thought I'd never hear me say:

Girl Scouts need to adopt a new membership model much more like the Boy Scouts or 4-H.

You have no idea how hard that was for me. Whew, I'm exhausted just putting that on paper, er plasma, er whatever. So exhausted that I'll have to lay out my idea in a later post. Not to mention that the laundry still isn't doing itself, so I have to.

It's a skill, you know.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Contest time! Vote for me!

I've been spending too much of my off-duty time reading all the quilty blogs and found the Quilting Gallery. She has a weekly contest, and I keep entering quilts for fun. So this week the theme is Nursery Rhyme quilts, so I entered the Three Bears Quilt. I'll keep entering it in all sorts of categories, just for the silliness of it. Anywho, here's where you can go to vote. (I think I'm going to vote for the Three Pigs--a quilt of pig butts is hard to beat!)

Here's the back-link to my post about this quilt.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Done and Done-er

My friend Hattie Kate came over two days ago to personally show me how to do a binding. I've been watching the videos, etc., but a real live human is so much better! I did a mug rug for practice, and tadaaa! It looks just great.

After she left, I cut a binding for my Alpine Wonder quilt. But I didn't have enough courage to try it~~until yesterday. I just sat down and sewed it right on. Hattie Kate loves hand-work, and I don't so I carefully pressed the binding down and stitched in the ditch. The back looks a little wonky, but who's gunna see that? Nosy quilters? I'm soooo happy!! This really does open a whole new thing for me. Not intimidated by binding any more. Yea! This pattern is by Mary Lou Hallenbeck and is available at many quilt shops. The reason this 'works' is the special material and then a very interesting fussy cut. If you can't find it, try Corner Quilts in Wauseon, OH. That's where I had this one quilted, too.

I'm also winding yarn for BadAmy. I'm using the warping board to go from 'factory' skein, to 30 foot loops for dying. I put the yarn on my brand new umbrella swift, then wind to the warping board. Takes me about 32 minutes from very start to very finish. The swift needs a tiny bit of paraffin or something, or just plain use, to make it a bit smoother, but other than that the system works. It's not as fast as we hoped, but I can sit in the crafty corner with the boob tube on and wind away. Speaking of which, she needs to get this batch done, so she can dye it for her next sock club shipment. She hasn't dreamed up a colorway yet, but when she does, it's like magic watching her make it happen!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides!

March 9, 1912: Juliette Gordon Low makes a historic phone call to her cousin, Nina Pape: "Come right over! I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Frank Woodruff Buckles, Last WWII Veteran

I've read about Mr. Buckles before, but now the depth of his sacrifice, honor, courage, and more are just hitting me.

Yes, the national WWI Memorial is in need of repair and respect. Let's all change that.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March~~Lion or Lamb or Polar Bear Non-Contest!

We've had odd winter weather. Yeah, I'm starting to sound like a broken record. My bad.

Anywho, March arrived not like the lion of past years, but as a polar bear. We didn't get any new snow, but on Feb. 28, we got 1.5 inches of rain on top of the snow-soaked-and-covered ground. Several area communities are under water, yet again. The temps were in the upper 40s when we got the torrential rains. Now it's back in the 20s at night, creeping to the mid 30s as of this post.

My friends in communities to the east of us, closer to Lake Erie, are all a-buzz about FOSs, First of Springs. They're seeing buzzards, wood cocks, robins are nesting, long-eared owls are going nuts, all sorts of fun stuff. This is what we're seeing:

So here's my plan--specially for the mommy quilty bloggers who love those contests! Leave a guess when you think the pile of snow in the bottom picture finally disappears and I'll send you an note back. Naw, I don't have any connections with fabric companies, magazine subscribers, mystery quilts, thread makers, BOMs, none of that. Just me and my lousy blog!

Then in May, when I get back out west, we'll have the same contest, with the same lousy prize, to see when those snow piles melt. And out west, we're talking REAL snow piles!