Sunday, November 30, 2014

An 11th Hour Finish for the 11th Month of A Year of Lovely Finishes

When I fled the house with cats, all their stuff, all my stuff, etc., friends suggested I be sure to take some hand work.

Stitching down the BindingI'm sure I sounded like a whiny baby when I explained that I couldn't stand the physical pain of carrying one more bag or the process of putting together a project to bring to the hotel.

Yesterday, I did manage to trim a quilt, make binding, sew it on, and pack up everything I needed to stitch it down in the hotel last night.  The electric heater that the heating service guy loaned me made it possible ... until I turned on the iron and blew the circuit in the studio ...

I have a bit more stitching until I'm completely done (and I'll finish today for my Slow Stitch Sunday project).  Last night I noticed that the colors of the quilt worked well with the decor of my hotel room and couldn't resist spreading it out over the king-size bed for a photo.

The lighting isn't great, but ... good enough for me to share this Lovely Finish.

Almost King-sized

I'll have more details to share later, but I couldn't wait to share my November Finish (and the first EVER Block Lotto sampler quilt I've finished in the same year as we made the blocks that are in it.)

Update - here's the finished quilt hanging in my VERY COLD studio.

It's a Mod Mod Sampler Quilt - Finished

This one was also long arm quilted by Lynn Horpedahl. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Why me?

You'd think that being run down by the cell phone menace would be enough to bear ...

I woke up genuinely feeling thankful to be alive and even though my plans for the holiday weekend were anything but normal, I was prepared to make the best and enjoy it ...  and even try to work on a couple projects I had hoped to finish at the end of the month.

I really just wanted (and needed!) a couple days of rest at home.

I planned to cook a couple of my personal Thanksgiving favorites for a simple meal at home, including a black and blue berry crumble using this recipe

I knew that my real desert at the end of the day today is going to be this Mochacino Smoothie ... that is likely going to taste anything but good, but is a necessary preparation for a CT Scan tomorrow. 

While others are scurrying about shopping Black Friday sales or happily avoiding the rush and staying home and quilting or enjoying other pursuits, I will be likely sitting in another waiting room for what seems like forever until  ultimately getting scanned to make sure everything is OK inside.  Because, unfortunately,  it really doesn't feel like everything is OK and when I went to urgent care on Monday, they were concerned about my spleen. 

Still, I was looking forward to a restful weekend and enjoying the prospect of waking up slowly this morning–I still wake up too early–whenever the pain meds wear off which is usually 2 or 3AM, but I stayed in bed a while and slowly faced the challenge of getting out of bed.  I made coffee and was enjoying it upstairs while reading email and blogs and then ...

Beep beep beep beep ... I heard an alarm that I hoped was one of the smoke detectors downstairs telling me it needed a new battery, but kind of knew was the Carbon Monoxide alarm in the studio.

It was a familiar sound because I'd heard it about a month ago and the owner of house called the company that services the heating and plumbing who, a couple days later came out, replaced some parts and supposedly FIXED it.

I contacted the owner of the house, turned down all the thermostats and opened all the doors and windows to air things out.  Now it's freezing.

My plans for a restful 4 days, with some healthy meals and a little time spent in the studio are dashed.  The owner of the house suggests I spend the next 4 days–or as long as it takes the Keystone Cops of plumbing and heating to show up–in a hotel.  Because of my allergies and sensitivity to chemicals, hotel stays are always hard for me. My plans–small as they were–are ruined, my hopes for a restful weekend are ruined and now I have to face the painful prospect of packing and collecting the cats (that I haven't even been able to pick up because of my injuries) and their paraphernalia and getting everyone settled into a hotel.  I don't know if I can do it.

I could scream ... but that would hurt too much.  (So, I suppose, I am whining on my blog instead :-)

Whatever the long weekend NOW holds in store for me, I AM thankful to be alive and thankful that there is a CO alarm ... to survive the cell phone menace and be killed by carbon monoxide would have just been too sad.

I hope your Thanksgiving is so much better than mine. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

When you can't quilt ... PLAN

Over the weekend, I was shocked to find that simply pushing a rotary cutter was painful and the up and down of working on blocks on a design wall and sewing and pressing seams wore me out.  I'm frustrated that a couple of projects I hoped to plan this month ... may not happen.

In the meantime, I'm PLANNING for the future.

Just about the last thing I did before getting hit by the cell phone menace early Tuesday morning was attend the guild meeting.  Myrna (on the left) shared a variation of the slice quilt that she will be organizing in 2015. Each person in a group of six, buys a poster, slices it into 6 pieces (in any way she wants) and hands them out to the other members. This is Myrna's quilt and the poster she used for her piece (held by guild president Cindy).

A Great Challenge Idea

I have ALWAYS wanted to work on a slice quilt.  I signed up immediately and hope that enough other members who need to meet in the evening or on the weekend will join me. 

Julie has announced that she'll be leading the Cotton Robin one more time and I can't wait. This year, she is asking us to challenge ourselves with a color theme that's new to us and ... I have an idea.  Click over to the cotton robin to check out the dates for this year (and also look at all the quilts we made last year–it was big fun and I am ready for more of the same.) 

I may start my Cotton Robin quilt with a little hand appliqué ... I'm thinking I might be able to handle that while I'm mending. 

I took paper and colored pencils to the urgent care today and sketched an idea for a modern quilter's code ... as it turned out, I waited for more than 2 hours before I was seen and spent another 2 hours mostly waiting once I made it to the back of the house, so I was glad to have something with which to entertain myself. 

For those that are following my saga, the consensus continues to be that I'm bruised but not broken, which is good news, if a little unbelievable because everything still hurts so much ... 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Life Happens

Put a cup of coffee in that guy's hand and bundle him up in a winter coat and you have a visual of me, early Tuesday morning.

I got to work early, parked in the garage and decided to go pick up a breakfast burrito and a latté.  The coffee shop is across the street and around the corner from the office.  On my way back, even though there wasn't much traffic, I waited for the pedestrian signal to turn to WALK.  It didn't matter ... a young woman came zipping around the corner so fast that I didn't see her until just before her fender crashed into me. 

A man driving on the other side of the street stopped and helped me get up off the pavement–I was hurting so much, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to move.  I watched the driver who hit me start to leave the scene, then after the witness stopped to help me, decided to stop ... and plead with me not to call the police.  She said she was illegally in the country ... though later, I realized that probably isn't true, since she works for a large Santa Fe business. There's no doubt that she turned her big puppy dog eyes on the Santa Fe policeman who made the report and gave her a ticket for nothing more than something like, "distracted driving." 

As fate would happen, she works in the same office building as I do–for the company that manages the building.  I was too dazed and in pain to recognize her at first, but I see her every day. At work she is ALWAYS talking on her cell-phone. I really do mean ALWAYS.  When she is working (she cleans the public areas), she is ALWAYS loudly talking and laughing on her phone.  When she is supposed to be working, she is often sitting on the bench in the elevator lobby, still ALWAYS talking and laughing to someone on her cell phone–loud enough that you can hear her on the other side of the wall, behind closed doors. 

As the story of my accident spread through the office, I found she has had several near misses with others (in their cars) ... and she was ALWAYS ON HER CELLPHONE.  Even if I didn't see her face before she sent me flying, I have no doubt that it wasn't the sun in her eyes as she claimed, but that SHE WAS ON HER CELLPHONE when she didn't stop and turned on red and hit me.

I was not-exactly treated by EMTs on the scene--they said something submissive, like "if you have broken ribs, there's nothing that you can do about them, " stuck a piece of gauze on my now skinless knee (without even cleaning it!) and sent me on my way.  I wanted to believe they were right and I was only feeling muscle soreness, but my ribs are so tender now that I can feel every breath and I live in fear of a cough or a sneeze.  

Getting into and out of bed, a chair or the car is an excruciating experience ... I walk at a snail's pace, because it is as fast as I can go now. Everything from the neck down hurts ... and the cell-phone twit continues to happily laugh and talk on her cell phone, completely unaffected by the havoc she's caused in my life. 

Today I looked at the blocks on my design wall and realized that I cannot raise my arm high enough to take down the blocks in the top two rows, even if I thought I could sit down and sew them together.  On Monday, I brought home a quilt that has been long-arm quilted, but I haven't done anything with it, because I can't even pick it up and carry it into the studio.   I made some sample blocks for the December Block Lotto last weekend–the sneak peek should go out on Sunday–but I don't know if I can sit at the desk long enough to put together the block directions.   I had plans to go big with holiday decorations this year, but it seems unlikely that I will be able to make that happen. 

I am glad to be alive, but so frustrated by all the pain and all the limitations ... and the knowledge that the older I am the longer it takes to recover from any injury.

Monday, November 17, 2014

More Dice-y Log Cabin Blocks

It started with thisI didn't know how large this quilt would become ... so I decided I would continue to throw the dice and make as many of the randomly colored Steps blocks as I could from the package of eight fat eighths of challenge fabric. I ended with 49 blocks for a 7 by 7 arrangement.

Now, they are living on my design wall, and I am considering and reconsidering and arranging and re-arranging before putting the blocks together and thinking about how to quilt it.

At some point in time on Sunday, it looked like this:

Random Steps blocks on my design wall

I am sharing my design wall with others over at Judy's Patchwork Times today.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Good Morning

My cat Johnny insists it's not yet too cold to go out on the roof deck and surveil the neighborhood while the sun rises.   After he woke me up to remind me it was time to go out this morning, I joined him.

Sunrise 11/15/14

If weather forecasts are right, tomorrow morning, the mountains in the distance will be covered with snow and we may have a few inches here, too ... maybe enough for Johnny to decide he doesn't need to go outside in the morning? 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Santa Fe Plaza - Then and Now

I happened to have my camera with me when I saw this photo, captioned, "People Sitting on the Plaza, Santa Fe - 1912." It was decorating the hallway of an office building.

Santa Fe Plaza, circa 1912

I love the hats that some of the ladies (and men) were wearing.

Detail from 1912 Photo Detail from 1912 Photo

These days, it looks much the same, though it's clear that Fall is here and most of the tourists have gone home.

Santa Fe Plaza November, 2014

Along with the leaves, most of the tourists, musicians, artists and food vendors have gone ... though not all. Even on a cool day (Monday, before it was really cold), the sun was shining and some people (including me) were out and about and enjoying it.

The last food vendor of the season     Music and Dancing

The Plaza     The Plaza

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Something Old, Something New

Throw the DiceI've been making blocks for a new project using an idea I've had almost as long as I've been quilting.

It's one of those What if questions.  What if I made log cabin blocks with a random number of colored logs with a random placement ... determined by a throw of the dice.

I used the pattern for the rectangular log cabin variation we made for the Block Lotto last year, called Steps (you can find the block pattern on the Free Block Patterns Page.) The blocks are 6 by 9 inches (finished size).

I need to make more blocks before I decide if I can work with the result, but here are the first sixteen, parked on the design wall.

Some New Blocks

That's what's in-progress for me this Wednesday.

I'll be joining the WIP-Wednesday list on Freshly Pieced later today. What have you been up to? Starting something new or racing to finish an existing project? 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Life Goes On ...

In the past couple weeks, I've thought to blog about Halloween (and the Day of the Dead), the end of daylight savings time, voting, late fall on the Plaza and the passing of a birthday milestone in my life and whether or not 60 really is the new 40, but none of that has happened  ... yet.  In the meantime, here is my design wall, showing my efforts to catchup with the Mod-Mod Quilt-Along.

Updated Design Wall

I have sewn together the 21-inch modules that are complete ... only three left to go. 

Saturday, November 01, 2014

My S-T-R-E-T-C-H Goal for a Lovely Finish in November

I have fallen a couple months behind on the Mod-Mod QAL ... and it's my design and my quilt-along. Life has taken some crazy turns lately (new job, a carbon monoxide leak at my house) and slowed down my creative life, but it's still a little embarrassing.

Mod-Mod QAL in Progress

These are the blocks for January through August for my full/queen-sized quilt.  

My goal for a Lovely Finish in November is to redeem myself and finish ALL the blogs for the year so I can share it on the Block Lotto blog on December 1.

The sad truth is that when I choose a set of block designs each year for the Block Lotto, I always have some sort of design for a sampler quilt using those block patterns and usually start a sampler project ... though most remain in the WIP stage.  I am determined to finish THIS one.

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