Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fab Shop Hop, again

I got a little addicted to the FabShopHop and hopped around in March, qualifying for the first prize contest. And, OMG, I won a promotional prize! I got a $10 gift certificate to one of the shops, and coincidentally, it's a shop I visited in person last November, in Albuquerque!

So, check it out: Southwest Decoratives and Kokopelli Quilt Company

If you want anything for your quilts that is:

  • Native American in theme
  • Mexican culture
  • Dia de los Muertos
  • Catholic themes (our lady of Guadalupe, crosses, saints, etc.)

This is the shop for you. I have never seen such a selection chili pepper fabrics. Need tortilla chip fabric? They've got it. They have patterns for southwestern themed quilts, too.

I don't win Internet stuff very often. I'm kinda excited!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Once again, real life interferes with my sewing

Darn this real life. These things get in the way of my crafting.

Which is intended to be light hearted and humorous...life sometimes tosses in some difficult situations.  Here I am, in the middle of one.

My father, a widower less than a year, has deteriorating health. He has some neurological dysfunction and I am steeling myself for a disappointing diagnosis. The fact is we don't have a clear diagnosis, and this is common for neurological problems ("Parkinsonian symptoms and possibly early dementia"). There is another test to be done and this tests may show that a (relatively) simple surgery can help his situation, maybe even reverse some of the symptoms! On the other hand, the test may show that surgery would not help. In that case, we will have to get through one day at a time.

My Dad lives in Virginia. There is no family nearby. His neurological dysfunction is physical and mental - he is increasingly forgetful and I question his judgment at times. He is stiff, slow, arthritic. The neurologist said he shouldn't drive, but of course, he lives alone in a house at the end of a long semi-country street. Not being able to drive would almost completely isolate him, and as an introvert with neurological dysfunction, he is not gregarious. That means, few friends (yes, a few good ones), and he wouldn't dream of asking anyone to help. In his mind, there is no need to ask for help, anyway.

So....what to do?

I am here in Virginia for the weekend. Two days ago, I went to the neurologist with Dad - to hear the results from some recent testing was the motivation for coming here. I am also working on the house and yard. It's in decent shape but there are signs of neglect here and there. Dad does not like to do yard work, so the yard is rather sloppy. Thankfully, he has a yard service to mow the lawn, trim, and edge. The house is fairly clean, and thankfully, he has a maid service to come in and clean up.  There is (mostly) fresh food in the house and Dad's eating well.

It is not a crisis yet. Now is the time to set a direction and some goals, including selling the house, moving Dad to a retirement community, and reducing the driving. Hence, I'm here to clean out part of the house, clean up the yard and look for home maintenance things that will prep the house for sale.

Getting Dad to understand and agree will be the harder challenge.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Baby Birds

One by one the baby Robins are hatching! Right on schedule!

There are two in the photo - they're wrapped around each other, undoubtedly conserving their body heat. The first one emerged on Easter, yesterday, and the second one must have come out today.

Just as I started shooting, Mama, who was procuring insects from the front yard below, saw movement in the window. She made a beeline for the sill - funny to see a bird aimed straight for your head - right between the eyes!

"Just what do you think you're doing??"

Now, waiting on the last two.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Blocks of the Month: I forget which months

I promised some pictures....and I'm good for it!  Here's one of the Starry Night Blocks of the Month. (See my previous post about the BOM from last year.)

The upheaval in my personal life last summer, when my mom died, put everything on hold for a while, including this BOM. I collected the block kits as they arrived in the mail and completed a couple of them by the end of the year. I found I had 3 left to do when I was packing up for the retreat last weekend.  I brought them along. I hoped to get all three done, but only managed to finish 2 of them.

Here they are:

I also received the instructions for setting the blocks to complete the top. I tell you what - I just don't like the setting at all. Boring. The blocks are traditional in a contemporary fabric, and I would like to do a more modern setting. Ideas are coming...here are three thoughts: a wonky setting on a black background so the "stars" are floating in the night sky; vertical rows of 6 with black sashing and background fabric; something with solids in the predominant color of the block.

The thing that puzzles me is that the instructions said to keep the extra fabric for the top completion, but the setting they sent didn't use very much of that extra fabric. Weird.

In all, I'm glad I did a block of the month, but I'm not sure I'll do it again. Maybe it's a control thing - I didn't like not having control and when I didn't like the end result, it was really unsatisfying.

All is not lost - I have approximately 24 pieces of Kaffe Fassett in my stash now! Woo!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Inspiration comes from everywhere

First, let me say Wow! I got a few comments on my last post! What a real treat!

And, just to follow up the previous post (for posterity). The Jayhawks won on Saturday, and three of us quilters went down to Mass St (the main college street in Lawrence, home of KU) to check out the revelry. It was a phenomenon to see!

So, the KU men's basketball team played in the final game on Monday (last night), but lost to University of Kentucky. Still, it was a great run for the Jayhawks. I'm so proud to be associated with KU, however tangientially (I work for the University of Kansas Hospital).

At the retreat...

I finished my Whimsy quilt top and it turned out so very nice. Again, I gotta take a picture for my blog, here!  I did not finish all of the Starry Night block of the month blocks, but cut out the pieces for the last block. I kept getting distracted with making improvisational blocks from my scraps and snippings, for the block give-away. And, since I contributed the most blocks (only 4!) I won the prize: a sample pack of Oakshott cottons from the UK. Oakshott is not widely available in the US. I have not tried shott cotton fabric yet, so I'm eager to see for myself what all the excitement is about.

After the retreat I was so energized and inspired! I subscribed to at least 4 more blogs by my fellow guild members. Now I'm catching up on all of these creative blogs. I chatted with several people about what blogs they liked, but I didn't write any of them down, darnit. I also found out one of the guild members is planning to offer a photography class later in the summer. I could sure use tips and instruction on being a better photographer.

Now, onto today's topic: Inspiration in the Every Day

A robin has chosen our windowsill for a nest. It's just beautiful. Over the last week, a new egg would appear every other day or so. Sometimes I see mama sitting on the eggs, and this morning, she let me peek at her. She fits snugly in the nest and looks serious about her work.

The color: four perfectly formed, brilliant blue eggs. The nest: made with care using grasses, sticks, and a bit of polyester fiber fill procured from the neighborhood. Smooth inside. Rough outside.

Ah, spring! The earth is ready for renewal.