Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fire and Ice?

What is it with men and fire? Hey You piles up leaves, brush, logs and other miscellaneous wood item throughout the year, waiting for Burn Season.
Burn Season begins on December 1st when men gather at the local fire station to get their permits. But, they can't necessarily start burning on December 1st. The Powers-That-Be evaluate each day to determine if backyard burning will be safe. Burners must call an 800 number to find out if it's a burn day. Sunday was a burn day. I must admit, the fire is kinda cool.

And today we had snow on the tops of the nearby hills. The morning was cold and rainy but the afternoon was clear and sunny. Still very cold though.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

AAQ Retreat

Last month I attended the 8th annual Alex Anderson Quilt Retreat in Livermore, CA. Due to such high demand, she actually has two sessions now. I attend both session as I am the "official" photographer.

Session 2

Session 1

Session 1 "gift" night. It has become somewhat of a Session 1 tradition for people to make little gifts for everyone. They are placed on the tables for dinner on our last night. What a haul!

The next two pictures are a couple of things I worked on while I was there.

The first one (drunkards path) was some FQ's I've had for a few years. Alex had an Accuquilt die cut machine there for us to try. Jim got pretty good at it and cut these pieces out for me. I finally got the borders on it the other day.

The second one is a kit I got at PIQF in October. Purchased in October and completely pieced by December. That's pretty good for me.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Scott, Leah, Me, Hey You, Krystle, and Becky

We had are Thanksgiving meal the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Leah and her boyfriend Scott and a couple of Leah's friends, Krystle and Becky came up to the house. I made the turkey (breast) and the kids did the rest. We also had a fire in the firepit and roasted marsh mellows. It was a pretty fun day.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Organizing the Stash, cont.

I am such a slacker. It's been more than a week since my last blog post. Sounds like confession doesn't it? Okay, five Hail Mary's and onto the next post.

I'm s l o w l y working through the stash drawers. The latest one is the black and white drawer.

This is the before. Doesn't look too terrible. There is that mysterious pink bag and a roll of yellow batik peeking out from under the black & white stuff.

This is the after. Notice the pinwheel block. I actually found enough blocks and pieces of blocks to make a little wall hanging or perhaps a baby quilt. Those blocks were made at either the first or second AAQ Retreat. Next week is the 8th annual and I'm sooooo ready for some uninterrupted quilting time with a room full of other quilters!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pacific International Quilt Festival

Last Saturday I drove to Santa Clara and met Deb at the convention center for PIQF. We planned to meet at 10:00am and wound up driving up the ramp of the parking garage right behind one another. Talk about great timing! After wandering around for a few hours and filling up my bag, we had lunch and took the first load out to the car. I should have brought a bigger bag!

Lots of thread from Superior.

A couple of kits and some additional hand dyed fabrics
that match the kit on the left.
Hey You likes the one on the right from Bonnie Blue.
That kinda surprises me.

Marking pen, needles, glue bottle, scissor fob, dental pick (for picking out stitches).

Somewhere there are two more patterns that I couldn't find to take pictures of.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Things to come

It's been over a week since my last post. When I started this thing I told myself I mustn't let that much time go by without posting something. So here it is, a list of the things I plan to post about.

My day at PIQF
Our trip to Reno
The latest Stash Organizing accomplishment

I know you're all on the edge of your seats, but sit back, relax and I'll get to it this weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Patio

For the past week and a half, we've had a new patio installed in the back yard.

This is the back yard before we began. A small, adequate concrete patio with some built in benches and a large grassy area that required lots of water and mowing.

This was the end of the first day. They removed the old patio and the lawn.

At the end of the second day the base was down.

Day 3. About 1/3 of the pavers are down.

Day 4. The "field" is complete.

Day 6, all done. That's a fire pit in the center of the circle.

It's huge! We'll eventually do some planting around the edge but first we need to get some patio furniture. I'm hoping to find something on sale at the end of the season. We're planning a barbecue on Sunday so we'll have our first fire in the fire pit and roast marshmallows.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stash Enhancement

This is what 18 yards of fabric looks like. Doesn't seem like that much does it. They are 2 yard cuts. Hey You & I went to Reno to visit his Mom for the weekend. On Saturday morning we went to Mill End Fabrics to get a bolt of muslin. Quilting fabric was only $4.00 a yard! That's at least half price so I figured I could get twice as much, hence 2 yards each instead of 1.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

After the Rain

We had a rain last night and the sky was cloudy and misty all day. Then, a little while ago, the sun peaked out just before it was ready to set. I love the way the light shines on the leaves in the distance.

And the mountains across the valley.

Water, Glorious Water

I had a real shower this morning. A shower with hot water, water that didn't come out of a jug. It was wonderful. Then I did laundry, four loads, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I gave each of the puppies a bath. Okay, they weren't so excited about the water as I was.

Life is back to normal on the hill. Until the next thing happens.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Alas, it's not over yet.

By 10:00pm last night we had water flowing into and out of our new beautiful water tank. There was still more work to be done (requiring the tank to be drained again) but it could wait for morning. So we only let it fill for a couple of hours, no sense filling it completely.

After Hey You got out of the shower this morning, I went in to start getting ready. Suddenly the water heater began making a terrible, loud noise. Kind of like when you try to get the very last of the milkshake up a straw, only worse.

Okay, I thought, this isn't terrible because 1) our house is equipped with two water heaters and the bathroom at the other end of the house is serviced by the 2nd one, and 2) in anticipation of our old water heaters giving up the ghost, we have two brand new ones still in their boxes in the garage.

I turned the faucet in the sink to brush my teeth. . . . . NOTHING. Not good. Hey You went out to check the tank, I went back to bed.

The good news is that the new tank is fine. The bad news is that the pump that pumps water from the storage tank to the pressure tank wasn't working. Hey You brought me a gallon jug of water and sheepishly suggested I could wet a wash cloth and clean up. Easy for him to say, he had a nice hot shower.

I can't wait to get home to see what today will bring.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Water Woes - The End

At least I hope it's the end of our water woes.

This is the new tank, waiting to be rolled into place and hooked up. Paul brought it up last night. It was suppose to be a little taller and a little smaller around. It was riding on the trailer in the same position it's in now. Up on the trailer, it was over 14 feet tall. Paul was a bit worried when he had to drive under a 15 foot over pass. He took out a few branches on the way up our drive. Hey You had trimmed for 12 feet, not 14.

Speaking of Hey You, after I left for work this morning he finished draining the water out of the old tank. He said all the birds in the neighborhood were really happy to have a pool of water to bathe in. We haven't had rain for a long time.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Hey You

Saturday was Hey You's birthday. Last week we went to Lowes and I got him this. Kinda like a sewing machine for men wouldn't you say? He's already been putting it to good use replacing the trim around the outside of the windows.

Yesterday I took him out to dinner at our favorite fish place in Moss Landing. It's right on the water in the harbor and there's always plenty of wildlife to see. I thought the camera wasn't working so I didn't bother taking pictures of the cute sea otters but here's some photos I did take.
Blue Heron

Sea Lions on the dock.
It's amazing how many of them can squeeze on there.


Organizing the Stash, cont.

Last weekend I sorted, pressed, and folded the red and green drawers. Today I worked on the blue drawer for an hour and a half.


Folded and sorted by value

All done.

There's certainly a lot more room in the drawers when everything is folded neatly. I may even be able to put some of the "overflow" into the proper drawer when I'm done. :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Iron

Last week while I was preparing for Sew Day with Deb and Mar, my old iron started slowing losing it's heat, until finally it was only luke warm. I found another iron in the garage, dusted it off and used it when the girls were here.

<==== Old Black & Decker Classic (RIP)

On Sunday, Hey You and I went to Lowes in Gilroy and, among other things, I looked for a new iron. I was going to get the same thing I had before, Black & Decker Classic. Then I saw this one, a Shark. Normally I would have overlooked this iron but in August when we all gathered at Pam's, she had a Shark and I liked it. My ironing station is back in business.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

On the Frame

This is my APQS Millennium longarm quilting machine. Isn't she beautiful?

Right now I have an Ebay "rescue" top on the machine. It's not the greatest of tops but it's good for practice. At some point the top was washed which caused some of the seams to fray and the edges have been cut off. I presume because they frayed really badly. I still think it's pretty and worth quilting. That's the "rescue" part.

I'm putting Victorian feathers in the melons and centers of the rings. It's a technique I learned in a class with Karen McTavish. I'm doing continuous curves on all the little pieces in the rings and Terry Twists in the 4 patches where the rings over lap. All the rings are now quilted and I have the first row of melons/centers done.

Terry Twists on a Quilt Pink top I quilted last year.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Organizing the Stash

Before Mar and Deb came up on Saturday for Sew Day, I decided I had to straighten up my stash (at least the red and green) because it was, you know, messy. And I couldn't let them see it that way. I didn't get a before picture but the next two photos are pretty representative.

I got up early and started pressing and folding and pressing and folding. And here are the results. Two drawers down 10+ to go.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Water Woes

This big ugly green thing is our 5000 gallon water tank. Just behind it is what I call the pump house. It covers the well and the pressure tank. The way this works is, the water is pumped from the well into the large holding tank. From there another pump fills the pressure tank which in turn feeds water to the house.

A few weeks ago, Hey You came home to no water. Of course there were a number of things to check. It wasn't the pressure tank or the pump that fills it. When he check the big ugly green tank, he found that it was almost empty. That meant the well pump was out or the well had run dry. I guess the good news is, it was the pump, but we had to wait until the next day to get it replaced and Hey You had to pull the roof off the pump house to provide access to the well.

I was not too happy with the prospect of having no water to flush toilets but there was a little light in the gloom. The big ugly green tank has two output valves, the Upper valve and the Lower valve. Normally we pull water from the Upper valve, so there was still 3 feet or so of water in the tank. Hey You switched us over to the Lower valve and we were back in business, so to speak.

It took the well guys 11 hours the next day to pull 500+ feet of pipe out of the well, replace the pump and put all that pipe back. Sounds easy but apparently there's wiring and stuff that makes it more difficult.

About 9:00pm we were pumping water from the well again. Yeah!!! Unfortunately it was cloudy, yucky water. It took almost 3 weeks for the water to clear up. In fact, I just noticed it the other day. But that's never the end of the story when you live in the country.

Saturday Hey You started working on repairing/replacing the roof he had been force to destroy. While wandering around the pump house and the tank, he noticed a problem.

This isn't good.

The problem with living in the country is there isn't a utility company that just "takes care" of this kind of stuff. Sometimes I wonder why we live out here. Then I look out my front window and. . .

This is why I live in the country.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why "Hey You"

My husband and I don't go for all those cutsie (as I wrinkle my nose) pet names couples have for one another. Darling, Sweety, Honey, Babe, Snookums, blah, blah, blah. So, we just call each other Hey You. It's not sickly sweet and you don't have to worry about using the wrong name.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The price of gas

Last Friday after work I just wanted be home. The thought had crossed my mind that I should fill up the tank with gas before the prices went up due to Ike. But, I just wanted to be home, so I didn't do it. Yesterday, Hey You called before I left the house and said they were working on the road near my exit and I should take an alternate route, one that bypasses my favorite gas station. So I didn't get gas yesterday either. This morning figured I had to do it, even if it meant kicking myself for not filling up on Friday. The price per gallon went DOWN from last week, by 4 cents!

Check out your keyboard. Do you have a cent sign anywhere? You know, that little c with a line through it? I can't find one on my keyboard. Alas, I suppose it's just not important anymore.

Oh, that reminds me. Did you watch the 60 Minute interview with Supreme Court Justice Scalia? Lesley Stahl dug up his PERMANENT RECORD from grade school!

Monday, September 15, 2008

How I became a quilter - Part II

The AAQ message board was unlike any message board I had ever seen. The technical boards I had been to were . . . slow. Someone would post a question and maybe in a month or two they would get a reply. Most questions went unanswered. I guess they were frequented more by people with problems than by people with solutions.

Alex's board, on the other hand, was busy. The first page contained posts from that day, maybe the day before, but no older than that. The posts weren't all questions and they weren't all about quilting either. And they all had replies, most of them had multiple replies. They were conversations, conversations about quilting, conversations about children & family, conversations about pets, conversations about vacations, conversations about life.

I began reading these conversations every day and I quickly got to know these people. After a couple of weeks I realized that they didn't even know I existed. So I gathered up the courage to join in the conversation and introduced myself. It was great to have a group of new friends with quilting in common and over time we discovered we had more things in common.

One day there was a post announcing that there was an opening for the first ever Alex Anderson Quilt Retreat being held in Livermore, CA. Livermore is only an hour and a half away, I could drive. I quickly emailed Suji and I was in! I was going to meet some of my new found friends in real life!

It was August 2001. Little did I know that soon, all our lives would be changed in an instant. . . .

Bath Day

I gave the puppies a bath yesterday. They're not too crazy about water, but at least they no longer throw a fit. Instead, they try to make me feel guilty and it sort of works. I tried to give Charlie a treat but he would have nothing to do with it.

Once they're all dried off I think they are happy to be fresh and clean. They run and run and run. They seem to be having a good time.

No puppies were harmed during this bath.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I've been quilting away with my new favorite tool, the Baptist Fan template from Quilt-EZ. I've used it on three quilts over the past week or so.

This is Mar's quilt.

A close up.

Here's Deb's quilt.

A close up.

And this one is an EBay rescue.

And a close up.

Note to self: Load photos from the bottom up!