Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wow! Look at this! Three updates in two days!! (Don’t get used to it, LOL)

Hi, all!

I just wanted to let you know how my quilt project is going. I went to a quilt retreat September 5-7. I was working on a modified (slice and dice twice) nine patch block. Okay, more than one block. ;-) I’ve been working on these at
Girls' Night Out with Roxanne Carter for a while, and making some progress, but it was awesome to be able to work on them for an extended period of time. By the time I left the retreat Sunday afternoon, I had 236 6” blocks trimmed and ready to play with. I had a few (less than a dozen) that the seams didn’t line up (1/4” or greater), but I kept them in case I found out at some point that my pattern would hide such defects.

Once I got home, I laid out a bunch of blocks on the pool table, fussing and mussing to see what configuration I might like to pursue on a larger scale. I decided early that they looked better on point, so at least one decision was made. I waded through a few more flips and flops and got something I thought I was going to like. Well, the pool table is hardly bed-sized (at least not the size of the bed it’s going on), so I decided the best place to play with the blocks was on the spare bed. That’s where it’s going, so why not? ;-) Well, that worked for a while, but then I figured out that blocks don’t hang too well vertically. :-p

My next epiphany was to take a queen-size sheet downstairs and put the blocks on there. The quilt will be about the same size as the sheet (except a little longer). I felt like a real smarty until the sheet kept getting lumps in it, even though I had taped it down. *sigh* So now I’ll be transferring the blocks to the carpet and see if that gets me anywhere.

I have a good handle on size, but I’ll need to get the whole thing laid out and then figure out how well it blends. I didn’t really plan for anything but random as I was making all the nine patches, but I don’t do random well. I’ve already decided what the outermost blocks are going to be, keeping in mind the fabric I’m going to use for the setting triangles and the border (I don’t want to have the same fabric bumping up against the border - I’m retentive that way). As of last night, I had the same number of blocks side to side and end to end, but the corners didn’t want to line up. Okay, the last corner didn’t want to line up. I’ll blame the wrinkles in the sheet which will hopefully go away once the sheet is gone. It also might be the fact that I didn’t do one row at a time - I did the outside blocks first (just like the puzzle that it is), and I might not have hit 90 degree angles on all my blocks. Now that I know what goes where on the outside, I can start row by row and make everything line up (ha). I also noticed in my playing that I missed squaring up a block or two. If I were smart, I’d have my small mat and tools with me so I can trim them on the spot... we’ll see if I end up being that smart.

I’d love to tell you I’ll post a progress picture, but I took a picture to show my mother “where it was going” and it turned out so yucky. :-p With flash, without flash... Blah. Maybe on the floor it will be better (I took that one when it was on the bed). We’ll see. I’m sure the camera won’t do the fabrics justice, but maybe I can show you something half-decent. :-)

Well, tonight is our 10-month wedding anniversary ;-) so Bill and I are going to picnic in the park and enjoy the weather, the water, and the mountains, plus some pizza pizza. ;-) Kind of an unconventional picnic item, but when you have sandwiches for lunch every day, it doesn’t sound to appealing for dinner, no matter what the atmosphere.

Toodles for now!!


You can learn a lot by a walk in the rain

I had an errand take an interesting turn on a certain Wednesday afternoon in August. Please indulge me as I plead a little drama here.

I decided a while ago that I wanted mirrored closet doors for the spare bedroom. I found what I wanted at a reasonable price at Lowe's, but my parents were with us at the time, so I couldn't fold the back seats down. So, smarty little me had some errands to run after a dentist appointment and before meeting a friend, so I went to buy the doors. It's been a while since I've had to do anything on this scale by myself for a while (if ever), so I was a little out of practice. But, I felt victorious (or was that extremely naïve?), so away I went!!

I know from experience that Lowe’s does not put carts inside the store. So on my way into the store, I grabbed a flatbed, soaking wet from the rain. This will become relevant later.

I almost didn’t find what needed... the only doors in the size and color I needed were behind the display. Those display doors don’t stay swung the other (“open”) direction very well. I’ll also have to check the packaging to find out how much the doors weigh... I’m guessing 40-50lbs, but that could be the drama talking. ;-) (Note: The weight was not on the packaging, so I’ll never know if I’m a wimp or an amazon.)

So I get the wet flatbed cart with the door to the cashier, and after a few minutes of not being able to find the barcode :-\ I pay for the doors and she asks if I want help out. I thanked her but declined, telling her that it would probably be counterproductive since I’m a control freak (hey, it probably gave her something to talk about to her coworkers - I get to be the sarcastic snotty woman. :-) What I didn’t tell her is that I have only seen one Lowe’s employee (EVER) that had any sort of brains or customer service savvy, and it’s never been the dud(e)s that help you load heavy stuff into the car. One guy even danced passed me and my flatbed while I was there... no eye contact, no hello, no excuse me, just a little “you’re in my way, fat broad” dance.

Background: Bill went to get a BBQ grill from Home Depot a few months ago. I didn’t go with him on purpose (note the “control freak” comment above), and I have not regretted that decision in the least after hearing about his grill-loading experience. The guy who “helped” Bill load the grill into the trunk was several fries short of a happy meal, including trying to disassemble a factory-sealed part and put two pieces of 3’ long shrink wrap on the back. Hello???? I don’t think they’re hired for their brains, and how much can a person care who’s making minimum wage and helps people cram stuff into cars all day? The most fun they probably get is putting up the gates to close the aisles for the guys who get to drive the forklifts, and maybe they get to cut a piece of pipe once in a while (woooooooooooooooooooooooo!). So, all that to say, I preferred to do it myself, and even though it wasn’t the most convenient thing I’ve done, and would I do it again? I don’t know. But I did it, and now I have that sense of Princess satisfaction. You know, that feeling you get when you “help” your DH by carrying the garbage can in from the curb just to be sweet, and then you expect accolades for two years because you were so wonderful to help? :-p

Lessons learned:

  1. My car does not accommodate 80" long doors without having the trunk open, even if I put the seats as far forward as I can and still be able to (sort of) drive. My ankle was killing me after about 10 minutes because it was at a 40 degree angle to use the gas pedal.
  2. I now know (kind of) how to bungie my truck closed. I'd never done it before, and I called Bill but he couldn't remember how he did it before since I don't have good locations to hook anything (and he’s only bungied my trunk a couple times). After about 5-10 minutes (in a moderate rain), I found a configuration that I was relatively satisfied with. Most of the weight of the doors was in the car, so I wasn't worried about them sliding out, but I was concerned that the trunk lid would bounce on them.
  3. Corrugated cardbard tends to melt when exposed to water. It started on the flatbed and didn’t get much better. I had a blanket with a somewhat water resistant side, but you know, given enough rain, it’s going to soak through. 4) Taking surface streets from Lynnwood to Kirkland is about 11 miles and 30 minutes out of one's way, and the streets are bumpy. Not good with long pieces of glass. If one is not concerned about things sliding out the back, take the freeway.
  4. It is possible to be thankful for heavy traffic. I was driving the freeway at rush hour, and I didn't have to go 60mph until the last part of my journey. Though I have to admit that the tailgaters disturbed me more than usual (HUGE pet peeve of mine) since I had about 6" of closet doors sticking out of my trunk.
  5. I can get 80" mirrored doors from the shelf, through the checkout, into the car, out of the car, and into the garage without breaking a nail or giving myself injury. Who knew?
  6. I have friends who are more understanding than I would have expected about my canceling shopping / dinner engagements due to my errand "taking on a life of its own."
  7. One can find an amazing plethora of lost items when one puts the car seats in the full forward position. I found my compact umbrella I've been looking for for months, plus four plastic water bottles.

To close the story, after I got the doors to the garage, I didn’t even want to know if I’d broken them or not. I didn’t hear breakage nor did I see any breakage exposed (though I didn’t look too diligently because I just plain didn’t want to know). In the FANTASTIC news realm, the doors (in the appropriate number of pieces) are hanging in the spare bedroom and look wonderful. Someone told me it’s bad feng shui to see ones’ self in a mirror when in bed... it’s not like it’s on the ceiling, for goodness sake! ;-) I like the fact that you can see the accent wall at the head of the bed from anywhere in the room now, and it makes the room look a smidge bigger (though there aren’t enough mirrors in the state of Washington to make the room look “big”). I still startle myself when I walk in the room, though.... I’m used to those nasty dark brown closet doors. ;-)

It feels so much better now that I know it had a happy ending. I had my doubts as I was driving around like a drenched rat with my knees in my nose. Thanks for reliving my journey with me.



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another update to tell you why I'm not updating :-)

Hi, all!!
I haven't been updating, mostly because all the "interesting" material has been nothing but drama, and I want to toss up a happy post once in a while. You know, "if you can't say something nice..."

I went to a quilting retreat a couple weeks ago, and I'll tell you about that soon and what I've been working on (YES! WORKING ON!!!! LOL) since then. Other news is that the in-laws are coming to visit in October (YAY), so that will be fun. :-)

Okay, there are the teasers. Back at you later, hopefully in less than a month's time. ;-)