Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival, Fall 2010: Angie's Garden

(Angie's Garden)

This is one of my favorite quilts.  Why?  Because it was the result of a round robin conducted through the Internet back when so many of us were new to it in the mid-90's, and the Internet still seemed like a little bit of magic.  I'd become involved in a block exchange through the World Wide Quilting Page.  The page is defunct now, but then it was a good way to meet quilters.

After the block exchange was done a few of us decided to do a round robin.  We each made our own medallions.  I'd always loved the Dresden Plate pattern and was excited to try it as a medallion.  Then we put our medallions in the mail to the next person on the list.  The quilter added one border and shipped the top on to the next quilter.  In this way the borders were added.  We kept to a schedule, insuring that everyone was forwarding the projects to the next person close to the same time.  It was such a blast, because we had no idea what the top was going to look like when it came back to us.

I couldn't believe the beauty I unwrapped when the top finally came home.

Originally, there was another border on the outside of the top.  It was as lovely as the others.  You can imagine how sick I felt when I discovered the quilter had inadvertently snipped a block. Unfortunately, by the time I discovered the cut, the quilter had moved and we'd lost contact, so I couldn't ask her for replacement fabric.  I had no fabric like she'd used, and at that time I wasn't aware of quilters giving a shout out to other quilters in search of fabric. I had no idea how to fix it.

Ultimately, I decided to remove the last border.  I donated the blocks to an organization who made quilts for battered women.

The quilt is mostly hand-quilted.  By the time I got to the last border, I simply wanted it done, so I machine quilted it.  I've discovered that I get a sense of satisfaction quilting blocks that are all the same size.  You get one done, and move on.  However, on a quilt with increasingly large borders, I found it frustrating.  I won't hand-quilt a medallion quilt again for this reason.

I named the quilt Angie's Garden after my friend Angie.  Angie did the applique on the quilt.  She was one of my first Internet friends.  She lived in Oakland, California and I lived in Independence, Kansas.  She was an older lady, and I was in my early 30's.  However, our love of quilting and the Internet made us fast friends.  We never met in person.  About five years after we got acquainted, Angie passed away.  I was still working on the quilt then, but I knew what I would name it when it was finished.

I almost didn't enter the Blogger's Quilter Festival this fall.  Tomorrow, I will be packing up my computer in preparation for making a 1200 mile move on Monday.  I'll have to delay looking at everybody's wonderful quilts, and I won't be able to respond to comments for a week.  However, Sarah at Confessions of Fabric Addict convinced me to enter anyway.  After careful consideration, I realized she was right.  The Blogger's Quilt Festival will give me something to look forward to when I arrive and again have Internet service.

So if I can manage this entry under these circumstances, you can certainly manage to enter something too.  The Blogger's Quilt Festival is open to entry for a week.  Click on the link below and show off your some of your quilty loveliness.  :-)

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Miscellaneous

The Weather:
For most days of the year, Pahrump skies are sunny, cloudless, and beautiful.  After all, we get only about 4 inches of rain per year.

However, for the last week or so, our skies have been gloomy as in the picture below.  What's up with this?  The moving truck is arriving in a week, and I could really use some of the lovely, sunny Nevada weather that we're used to.  There will be plenty of cloudy days back in Kansas.  I don't need them now.

I bought new fabric yesterday morning, and it is all Mrs. P.'s fault.  ;-)  She asked me via email if I was having quilting withdrawal.  Yes, I am!  I'm missing rummaging through my fabrics that are all packed, and I'm missing my sewing machine.  The one saving grace is my hand-pieced New York Beauty project.  But Mrs. P.'s question got me to thinking....  I counted the NYB blocks I have left to do, and at the rate that I'm finishing them, I'm going to be done with them BEFORE we get to Kansas.  Ack!  I can't be without any quilting to do at all.

Since I have the colored pieces of a new Drunkard's Path cut, that project is all ready to go if I cut the off-white as I go along.

Naturally, the off-white tone on tone that I bought for the project is packed with some glassware somewhere.  So I had to buy more.  This fabric isn't exactly the same as the original but it will do.

But feeling as deprived as I do, I couldn't stop there.  Oh no, I had to have 4 yards of the this bit of loveliness.  I do have a recipient in mind for the quilt I will eventually make from this.  Until today, I didn't even know I was making a quilt for this couple. 

So thanks Mrs. P.!

New York Beauties:
Speaking of New York Beauties, here are the latest:

I've got only 24 left to do--about twelve days work.

A Giveaway:
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict is having a giveaway to celebrate her birthday.  How awesome is that?  She's got a couple of great prizes.  Be sure to check it out here.

Bloggers Quilt Festival:
The 2010 Autumn edition of the Blogger's Quilt Festival begins October 29th.  It's open to all manner of blogger quilty-ness.  Check out the guidelines at Amy's Creative Side and join in the fun!

Monday Miscellaneous Suspended Briefly:
There will be no further posts to this blog after Saturday, October 30th, until we have arrived in Kansas and have phone/DSL service--sometime around November 8th.  It's a long time for me to be without access to my email buddies and bloggy friends.  So I'm trying to prepare myself for the lack.

On November 2nd, we'll head down this road to Las Vegas and points east.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bought a House Online: Part One

I can hear you now.  They bought a house online?  Are they crazy or what?  (I suppose the crazy part IS debatable....)

Under most circumstances, I wouldn't consider buying a house sight unseen.  However being able to do so made life so much easier.  First off, my mother and I are the primary caretakers of my 87 and 88 year old grandparents.  They are doing well, but we would never leave them alone for the time it would take for us to go the 1200 miles to Kansas and house shop.  And, neither one of us wanted to take on the responsibility of house shopping alone.  We'd resigned ourselves to renting and then house shopping after we were there--a process that would require finding the right rental property, then the right house, and moving twice.  Moving once is no fun, but twice?

At the same time we were mulling over how to get this complicated move done, we were looking at houses online.  We told ourselves we just needed to get a feel for what was available so we could hit the ground running after we arrived. Then we came across a house that would be perfect for the four of us.  It was nice to know something like we wanted was available.  After that we began to worry that it would be snatched up before we got there.  Hmmmm.

So the conversations went something like this:

"It would be so much easier to move only once...."

"Yes, but wouldn't it be dumb to buy a house without seeing it in the flesh?"

And we'd agree that it was, and then try to ignore that beautiful house and the 30 pictures of it on the real estate agent's website.

However, it wasn't long before we asked ourselves what we would need to know in order to feel comfortable purchasing a house sight unseen--except through cyberspace.  Here's what we decided:

1.  We'd need to know about the neighborhood.  Fortunately, we weren't totally disadvantaged.  Newton is a town of only 20,000 people.  My mom and I were somewhat familiar having passed through Newton on our way to somewhere else, but my grandparents had been there many times, and in fact they had friends who lived there.  Upon further investigation we discovered that their friends lived only 3 blocks from the house we were considering.  Okay, we had confirmation that the house was in a nice neighborhood.

2.  Is the house as pretty in person as it is the pictures?  Maybe the photographer is only showing the best stuff?  I doubted it because 30 pictures is a lot, and it would seem unlikely that with that many photos they could be hiding much.  Still....  So we asked one of those trusted family members we're moving 1200 miles to be near if she would go look.  Bless her, she had no problem at all doing that.  We got a wonderful report back.  The house was beautiful and she wouldn't hesitate to buy it.

3.  So is the beauty only skin deep?  We hired a home inspector to check out the things that aren't cosmetic.  He did indeed find a wiring problem in the basement, and an issue with the sprinkler system.  We brought these to the sellers' attention and those issues were fixed.

Those were the three major questions, and for two out of the three, we relied on friends and family to determine the answers.  Without the help of trusted friends and family, this wouldn't have happened. It was a perfect set of circumstances that made this doable.

Here's where we are~the closing was done as of today.  We are now the new owners of a house in which we know what a lot of the rooms look like due to the pictures, and we know the size of the rooms, but don't have a clear picture of the layout of the house.   So while I feel comfortable that the house is in good shape, and will suit our needs, there's still some mystery about the place.  Needless to say, there is a sense of adventure about the day we roll up in front of our new house.

I'll do "Bought a House Online: Part Two" after we get there.  Then we'll find out if there is anything else we should have considered.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Favorite Things Friday--Green Lights

It's time for another Favorite Things Friday hosted by Mrs. P at Quilting in my Pyjamas.  Link up and join in the fun!

Today, I've decided that one of my very most favorite things are green lights across the board on my DSL modem.

(My apologies for the blurry picture.  It turns out that green lights are rather hard to photograph--at least for me.)

You see, yesterday I didn't have green lights across the board and I had no internet access.  A storm came through during the night.  It wasn't bad.  We live in Nevada after all; not the Midwest (at least for a little bit longer).  Nevertheless, it affected my service.  I cannot tell you what 24 hours without my blog friends, email, access to banking, and the news can do to a person.  When I know I'm going to be without service, I prepare.  However, when it's imposed by external events..., well let's just say it's ugly.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Miscellaneous, and a Question

The Garage Sale:

The garage sale was more successful than I'd imagined. I had visions of sitting bored out of my mind, and ending up with darn near as much stuff as we started with. Boy was I surprised! On Friday morning, people started arriving before our advertised start time. That was okay because we had done most of the organizing beforehand. We had customers all day long. By the end of the day, we'd sold the majority of what we'd had. Ironically, on Saturday we had a only a handful of people by noon, and had done less that fifteen dollars worth of business. So, we picked up our signs and closed up shop. We'll donate the remainder of the items to a local church that does a lot of good work in the community.

We met some interesting characters during the sale.  Pahrump, Nevada is probably about as close to the wild west as you can get and still live within 75 miles of civilization.  Case in point, Pahrump is home to Ray the Flagman.  Ray is a 2nd Amendment activist.  Many days you can see him standing on Pahrump's main street, wearing his 6 shooter on his hip, holding the American flag, and handing out copies of the 2nd Amendment to anyone who passes his way.  I kid you not.  No, Ray didn't come to the garage sale, but that's okay because we've talked to Ray a few times since we've lived here--but not about the 2nd Amendment.  Ray will talk about the weather too.  One of the last times we saw him was standing at the pharmacy counter at Wal-mart.  And yes, he had his gun on his hip.  You see, there's no law against it here, although you cannot bring your gun into the casinos.  (Casinos hold the real power here in Nevada.)

(Since I know some of you will think I'm exaggerating, check out this blog.  Yep, Ray the Flagman is mentioned in it along with some of Pahrump's other characters.)

But I digress.  I used Ray just so you could get the "flavor" of Pahrump.  We met some chatty people just about as unique as Ray, however they were not quite as focused on a cause as he is.  Interestingly enough, the chattiest people proved to be men.  I got the whole behind the scenes good ol' boy political history from one guy.  It was so detailed with so many factions of whom I wasn't aware, after the first 10 minutes I was lost. That was okay, because he found a customer who was more well-informed than me, and the two of them talked for another twenty minutes. I did get the picture that these good ol' boy politics in Pahrump are pretty darn ruthless though.


Given all the strange people in the garage, Charley felt the vulture perch was the best place to be during the garage sale hullabaloo.

The Question:

Seems odd that when I started this blog, I couldn't conceive a situation in which I might no longer be quilting in the desert.  What's that old John Lennon quote?  "Life's what's happening when you're making plans."  There's another quote that the internet source attributed to Jewish wisdom that goes something like this:  "We make plans and God laughs."  No matter.  The point is I named my blog The Desert Quilter back in February and less than a year later, I'm moving.  Need to change the blog name to something like The Prairie Quilter or The Midwest Quilter.  Anyway, herein lies the problem.  What is the best way to do that?

Here are the options that I've come up with:
1.  Leave the URL the same, and just change the header.  I think that might be a bit confusing though.  The upside is that I wouldn't lose any parts of my blog, or my followers.
2.  Supposedly blogger allows an option to set up a new blog and import an old blog.  This sounds like it has possibilities, but how does it work?  How well does it work?  And I think there's a good chance it won't import my followers.
3.  I don't really have a number three, but I hope maybe some of you will.  I'm open to all manner of knowledge, suggestions, and opinions.  In short:  HELP!

A Beg and a Giveaway:

Suzanne, the Colorado Lady, is needing small pieces of scraps for a quilt she is making.  She is using 2" squares to make a quilt, and if I understand correctly, it's necessary for each square to be from different fabric.  (Not sure if that's 2" finished or unfinished.)  Hence the small scraps.  Let me be clear, she's asking for scraps and will cut the squares herself.  Oh, and the quilt is going to be king-sized.

Anyone who sends some scraps is entered in the giveaway.  I've got 60 in an envelope that will go out in today's mail.  While the giveaway is generous, I must admit, I'm really just curious to see this quilt completed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Favorite Things Friday: Quilters

Another Friday has rolled around (at least in Australia), and so that means it's time for Favorite Things Friday hosted by Mrs. Pyjamas at Quilting in My Pyjamas.  Come on and join in the fun!

So with no further ado~one of my very most favorite things are quilters.  As a group, quilters tend to be the friendliest, most generous, caring group of people I've ever had the pleasure and honor with which to be associated.  (I was going to say deal with, but I didn't want to end my sentence with a preposition.)

As most of you know, I've been going through a tough time, but I've had so much support both on the blog and through personal emails, that I never feel completely alone.  You can't imagine what a blessing that is. 

I'm surprised I didn't think of putting quilters as my favorite thing sooner, but it was a gift from Elizabeth at Such a Sew and Sew, which arrived today, that brought it home to me like a thwack upside the head.  Bless her.  She'd read my blog article about the Dark and Stormy Night quilt in which I'd stated that I was still collecting purples.  Look what she sent to me:

Eight glorious purple pieces of fabric.  (My camera made some look more blue than they are.)  How wonderful is that?  One of them even looks like a Dark and Stormy Night.  Elizabeth's gift is the perfect example of what I mean by friendly and generous.  Thank you so much Elizabeth!

And thank you so much quilty friends!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Miscellaneous

A Fabulous Giveaway:

Carla at Sew It Up Baby is generously giving away this lovely wall-hanging.

The giveaway lasts through October 14th.  Each person can earn up to 4 chances to win.  Be sure to get on over there and enter.  (Although really, it would be better for me if you didn't, because then my competition wouldn't be so fierce.)  ;-)

Packing the Odd Items:

Have you ever tried to pack an electric guitar and electric bass--neither of which have cases?  It's not easy.

(Charley is supervising)

We got this box at the recycle bin when we were dropping off our recyclables.  A bit of luck there, finding a box that would fit both guitars.  I've tied the guitars to the back of the box.  Padding them proved to be a challenge.  As you can see there are bath mats in the mix.  I used a couple of sheets too.  Then my mom remembered the 1 1/2"  thick piece of foam rubber we'd been saving because it was "just too good to throw away".  For once, saving something like that turned out to be a good thing.  It was just the ticket for padding the guitars.  As long as the movers don't sling the box around too much, they should be okay, I think--I hope.

As for all the other crap we've saved because it was "just too good to throw away", it's either in the trash or will be in next weekend's garage sale.  I don't know how we've accumulated so much stuff in the eight years since we moved to Nevada with nothing but what we could fit in a covered pick-up truck.

Quilting Withdrawal:

Yes, I'm still working on the New York Beauties.   If I've counted right, I have 159 done.  Here's the latest batch: 

Currently, they are my only quilting outlet.  As much as I enjoy doing them, I find that I enjoyed them more after some FMQ on the Juki.  I guess, I need to have my quilting activities mixed up for maximum satisfaction.  The sad thing is, I'm afraid I'm going to get all the blocks done BEFORE I get settled again.  Then what I am going to do?  Kind of ironic considering that back when I started, 196 blocks seemed rather daunting.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Favorite Things Friday--Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks are one of my favorite things, although I am partial to flowers in general. It's funny to consider how some things become favorites. In the case of the hollyhocks, I think it was osmosis.

My dad always associated hollyhocks with his grandmother. Apparently, they were a constant staple in her flower beds. By the time I knew my great grandmother, she was still doing some gardening, but not much. Since her gardening stamina was limited, she preferred to invest her energy in tomatoes rather than flowers. Despite the fact I never never saw her grow hollyhocks, the association my dad had with hollyhocks and his grandma somehow became my association too. I always feel her love when I see them.

When I lived in Kansas, hollyhocks were a staple in my flower beds too. You can't imagine my delight when I discovered they would grow in southern Nevada. Not only could I continue to grow the flower that has such happy associations for me, but considering the fact that so many plants just aren't hardy enough for the desert, it was a double blessing. (While trying to learn to garden in the desert, I think my kill rate was about 50%.) Not only do they tolerate the dry, hot weather, they self-seed. The two hollyhocks in the picture are volunteers. You know, it just doesn't get much better than that.

Dakota Star

Although I do have one hand-pieced quilt project (the New York Beauty blocks) I'm continuing to work on during this busy time, there isn't much other quilting I can do while packing up for our move. We're in a bit of frenzy trying to get everything done before the moving date. Packing is exhausting work. At the end of the day, I'm too tired to do much quilting, and at this point a lot of our supplies are in boxes anyway.

Fortunately, I can still get my quilting fix with the Electric Quilt program.  The pattern is called Dakota Star.  The illusion of curved lines fascinates me.  I created this quilt to get outside of my usual color scheme--blue, purple, green with maybe one warm color added.  I wanted the oranges and reds to predominate.  I don't know if I've succeeded in them being the predominate colors, however, it's a stretch over my usual color scheme where the warm colors are a distinct minority. 

I'm very pleased with the result.  Now if it just looks this good when I actually try to make it.  This quilt is on my bucket list.  I'm looking forward to working with these colors, and collecting the orange and red fabrics, for which my stash is definitely lacking.  Oh darn, more fabric shopping!  ;-)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Miscellaneous

My Dad's Memorial Celebration:

My dad's memorial celebration was held this weekend.  It was an immediate family event, so there were just twelve of us.   They all stayed at the house because there was a couple of events going on in town that had all the hotel rooms booked.  It was crowded, and some of the accommodations weren't ideal, but I'm glad it happened that way.  It was wonderful having everyone to support one another during the entire weekend.

The actual memorial was Friday evening.  It wasn't formal, just various family members sharing their thoughts and memories, and finishing with the Miller Lite toast (my dad's beer of choice).  A lot of remembering went on all weekend, and I think it was good for us all to be together for more than just the scheduled time for the memorial.  We laughed and we cried.  Before my dad's death, we'd had this group to the house for semi-yearly family reunions, which were basically big parties--quite a few beer connoisseurs in the family, my dad included.  So the party tradition had to continue for the memorial too.  Beer and guitar playing.  The group really got going, belting out the words to "Cover of the Rolling Stone".  Dr. Hook didn't have anything on us.  My dad would have loved it.

Back to the Move:
This morning, we'll turn all of our energies once again toward the move.  Packing will begin in earnest, and we'll make preparations for the garage sale scheduled for weekend after next.  Although I enjoy visiting garage sales, I'm really not a fan of having them.  But how else do you get rid of all the miscellaneous crap you've gathered through the years?  The moving truck is coming November 1st, and time really seems short now.