Saturday, August 25, 2007

Lemonade on the Patio

Oh what a beautiful day!

The temperature was "just right", not too muggy, and lovely blue skies with puffy white clouds. Just great for sitting on the patio with a glass of lemonade and a book.

Went shopping this afternoon and picked up a small cabinet to hold my DVD's. This is a good thing. Not like I don't already have too much furniture, but this will keep the DVD's from looking like a mess in a pile on the end table. Kind of the difference between having books in a bookshelf, or having them stacked up in piles all over the house. Only 23 bucks - not a bad deal. I really hate "Value City", but once in a while, braving it's bad "Zayre" atmosphere for a short time can net one a bargain. I win.

We even went to the "Dysfunctional Denny's" and had a good meal without any obvious "Dysfunctional" episodes - which, I suppose, is dysfunctional in and of itself given the location. *chuckle*

Anyhow - I need to take a few pictures to add to tomorrow's Mystery post, so I'd best get cracking. Have a WONDERFUL day, .... dears!

513 days

Friday, August 24, 2007

Riders on the Storm

or - in my case - drivers.

Whoosh - wild ride last nite. About 3pm, the boss came through and ordered us all out into the plant "NOW". Grabbed my glasses off my desk and went. Apparently there was a tornado warning. Sirens going off and all that.

Eventually when nothing seemed to happen, we all shoogled out into the driveway and looked up at the pitch-dark sky, decided we didn't see any funnel clouds (or funnel cakes either) and went back inside and turned on the radio. LOTS of lightning.

Shortly thereafter, Mother Nature decided to power-wash the entire metro area. Not joking - 60 mph winds in some places. Lots of trees down, and a lot of the already swollen creeks are now white-water rivers. Took me 2 hours almost to get home. Many stoplights out, and only a few of them had cops to direct traffic. The 2nd wave of the storm hit when I was about 4 miles from home, but we were able to creepy-crawly through the drenchpour and the road, while flooded, was still passable. Some others did not fare as well, having over THREE or FOUR FEET of water in the road!!

I was a lucky one, did not lose power, did not get flooded badly - the garden is a bit sad looking, but otherwise no damage.

514 days

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Summer Cold

Without question, the most heinous of all little virii, the "Summer Cold" has struck and is working its wretched way through my upper respiratory system. The previous 2 nights before last were uncomfortable in the extreme, as the sore throat monster had taken grip and was NOT about to let go. Fortunately, with the application of some Chloraseptic and Vicks44 Sore Throat Nightime Remedy (and a couple of leftover pain pills from the neck operation), the throat is now back to a serious semblance of normality - and the nose is now in full throttle mucus production.

Too much 411? *grin*

Its been raining a lot here lately, and the ground is pretty much saturated, I think - seeing as all the retention ponds are at maximum and Salt Creek is so far out of its bounds where I pass it on the way to/from work that it looks more like "Salt River". Another foot or so of rain and the creek will be up to the top of the bridge. Last night was another thunderstorm - quite pretty and very noisy, but I slept well. Well, as well as one can sleep with a snotty nose and a thunderstorm outside.

At least I've found my voice again. Lost it yesterday. Sounded like a whole herd of Kvatch's relatives had taken up refuge in my throat. Went home early and slept it off.

The air was so heavy this morning. Something tells me that this is the end of summer, even though I haven't yet smelled that "crisp autumn" air scent that spells the end. Once that scent hits the morning air, it's only a matter of a week or so before the jackets and sweaters come out of hibernation in the closet. This wasn't THAT smell yet - but something heavy and old and worn out. Summer gasping for air in the heat and humidity and trying to hold on.

I hope the damn weather gets all its "precipitation" done and over with before the winter cold. Better rain than sn*w.

515 days

Monday, August 20, 2007

Oh bah.

So the power went out a few days ago, (actually several times over the last few weeks) and that means my computer turned off, as it isn't hooked up to a ups or a generator or anything, and it's not solar, yet.

So all my "always on" message programs and stuff got turned off, and since I've set everything to "no, do not start unless I TELL you to start" on my computer, they weren't working for like 2 weeks and I didn't notice. I just figured everybody was off doing interesting things that I wasn't.

So I turned them all back on again last night - and VOILA!! People missed me!! People had sent me messages!! Happiness. I tried to respond to all of them - if I missed someone and he/she/they/it read here - I'm sorry - I really did try to get them all.

So now that's all sorted. It appears that the rain gods are in town. My friends from the UK are probably all laughing now. It certainly has given me some insight into what "pissing down rain" really entails. [bill cosby voice] NOAH!! [/bill cosby voice]

Yah, it rained for the picnic. But that was ok, we were at a school, so we all just traipsed inside to the gymnasium which was attached to the lunchroom. We put the food in the lunchroom, set the kids loose in the Gym with a bunch of large bouncy balls, (shaddup, visionary) and had a nice time anyhow. I won a pair of wind-up-to-charge flashlights in the bingo, which is nice, and ate way too much, and got to talk a lot with Mrs. Chris, who is gonna have her first baby and is just SO cute...

Vinnie the waiter - here's the rest of your tip:

If you have a customer, and even if she isn't a 17yr old "hottie" - you'll get more money if you keep the coffee cup full. 8 oz of coffee is NOT a breakfast, you little dago twat.

One last thing:

Starting today, I'm going to remove all the non-quilt/quilt-construction-related comments from the Mystery Quilt posts. If you want to repost them in another post - go for it, but I'd like to keep the Mystery Quilt posts focused solely on construction.

518 days

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mystery Quilt 2007 - Part 2

If you missed Part 1, here it is.

This part is really long. There are a LOT of instructions. I suggest you print out this post and use a hi-liter or something to mark off when you have finished each paragraph.

Ok! The day we've all been waiting for!! Time to mutilate cut some fabric! If you have a rotary cutter and mat, grab that and your pretty ruler and we're set to go. If you have scissors and ruler, grab them and a pencil (or pen, but really, you should do this bit with a pencil).

If you ARE going to use scissors and a pencil, I'm going to ask you to mark the FULL LINE for each cut you are going to make on the BACK side (wrong side) of the fabric. Nobody will see it once it is sewn on, and it will keep you from doing the ~~~~~~~~ wiggly thing between markings. Please do this for me. Mark your cuts. If you are using a rotary cutter and mat, use the see-thru ruler to keep your cuts straight and "squared off" and all.

As Bob Vila would say - "Measure Twice - Cut Once." Be very very certain of your measurements before you hack up the fabric. Its a PITA trying to find just a bit extra from the same color/pattern/bolt if you don't. Trust me on this. I once spent EIGHT YEARS trying to match a fabric that I was only about 3/4 of a yard short. When I finally did find a bolt of it - I bought 7 yards. What? ME? OBSESSIVE????? yes.

Why the obsession with accuracy? Well - it's not all that important for one little square. Heck, if you are off by 1/16th of an inch, who will notice, right? The problem comes from what bankers call "compound interest"... Even though you may be off by only 1/16th of an inch on each part - after 8 parts, you're off by 1/2 an inch. A bit more noticeable. After 24 parts, you're off by an inch and a half... At which point you cry. I don't want you to cry. Measure carefully, please.

Hopefully you have all your fabric at this point, and have clearly decided which piece is the 2 1/2 yards of "Color A", which piece is 2 yards of "Color B" and 1 1/2 yards of"Color C" and which is your backing fabric. Since you have been dilligent and have washed and ironed your fabric, now please carefully cut off any frayed bits and "square up" the fabric on at least one cut side so you have nice straight lines and square corners. We don't need no stinking parallelograms here - or rhombuseses - or trapezoids. Squares and rectangles For The Win!!!

Take the backing fabric and hide it someplace safe where you can't lose it put it to the side in an extremely visible location but away from any scissors or rotary cutters.

For the moment, lay "Color C" on top of it.

Ok, now we have Color A and Color B left. I am now going to stop typing the word "Color" as I'm sure you've figured that bit out by now, and will carry on just using "A, B or C".

Since you have nice long lengths - 2 yards long or better - of each, we'll cut the long bits first.

From A - cut 12 pieces that are 2 1/2 inches wide by the entire length of the fabric. You will have 12 very long, skinny strips.

From B - cut 5 pieces that are 2 inches wide by the entire length of the fabric. You will have 5 pieces very long and even a bit skinnier.

Put the B pieces on top of the backing and C fabric for now.

See? That wasn't all that hard, was it? You have nice, long strips... and...
oh. Yeah. We're not done yet.


Back to the long, skinny A pieces you just cut. Put 6 of them with the B pieces, then cut the other 6 of them in half so they are only 1/2 as long. Now you have 12 (shorter)long skinny pieces. (2 1/2 inches by approx. 45 inches long)

Drape these 12 pieces lovingly over your sewingmachine. You'll use them first.


Still using the "A" fabric, cut 30 pieces (Yes!! 30!!) that are 12 1/2 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide.

Yes, I have a 2 1/2 inch hangup. Deal with it. You'll like the result.

Ok, we are done with Fabric A for now. Fold up any remaining fabric and put it UNDER the backing fabric in that highly-visible-but-out-of-the-way-of-cutting-tools place.


Back to the rest of the uncut chunk of B.

Cut 25 pieces that are 4 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches square. From color B. Please. Make sure they are SQUARE, not trapezoids or rhombuseses or parallelograms. Use your ruler to make sure your corners are nice square 90-degree-angle corners. Measure 3 times - cut once. A slight short-cut can be achieved by cutting strips of fabric exactly precisely 4 1/2 inches wide, then hacking off 4 1/2 inch pieces from the long strips.

You're doing real good.


Now in the same fashion as above, cut 50 pieces that are 4 3/4 x 4 3/4 inches square, also from Color B. Yes 50. Yes, I really do mean 50. You're doing great!

Next take these 50 squares, and cut them in 1/2 on the diagonal from corner to corner ONE time. See the photo below before you Even THINK about cutting, because you don't want to do this all twice.

When you are done, you will have 100 "right triangles". For those who were Geometry or generally Arithmetically challenged in school, all this really means is triangles with one of the "v" parts being 90 degrees, and the 2 sides of that piece are equal in length. Geometry wasn't my strong suit in school, so if it seems like I'm being a bit condescending and simple - it's my fault, not yours. I kind of assume everyone has this much trouble, because I did.

That is all for now for Color B. You may put the remaining fabric under the remainders of Color A under the backing.


Grab Color C.

Since we just cut 100 triangles from color B and did such an AWESOME damn good job of it - do it again, but with Color C. Same thing, 50 of the 4 3/4 inch squares, cut on the diagonal one time to make 100 right triangles. Same size as the B ones.


Now - across the remaining fabric, cut 12 pieces approximately 45 inches long (since that's probably how wide your fabric is) by 2 1/2 inches wide. Drape these also lovingly over your sewingmachine. That's it for color C - treat the leftovers the same as the first 2 sets of leftovers. Believe it or not - you're probably done for now.


As a result of all this hacking-up of fabric, you should have the following:

6 strips of color A 90" x 2 1/2"
12 strips of color A 45" x 2 1/2"
30 strips of color A 12 1/2" x 2 1/2"

25 squares of Color B 4 1/2" x 4 1/2"
100 right-triangles of Color B
5 strips of Color B - 72" x 2"

100 right-triangles of Color C
12 strips of Color C 45" x 2 1/2"

Whew. That was a lot. Put the triangles, squares and strips into that highly-visible spot with the leftovers. Next week we shall begin assembly!