Sunday, November 29, 2015

Why Did I Say That?

Have you ever volunteered to do something that you had absolutely no intention of doing, and in fact had already told yourself you would not do? So why on earth did I open my mouth and actually volunteer to do it? Even while my lips were saying I would do it, half my brain (the smart half) was saying "No, no, no, I want no part of that!" But I guess the other half of my brain (the masochistic, stupid half) won, and here I am putting together quilt blocks that aren't square, aren't the same size, and some aren't even stitched together in places.

Well, I guess I do know why the masochistic, stupid half of my brain said yes. Making this quilt-as-you-go quilt was my idea. And it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. The other ladies in our group became frustrated and wanted us to start meeting twice monthly to get it done. I didn't want to meet twice a month and thought I could get it done faster by myself, and that's when my mouth opened and those words tumbled out. So now I'm stuck with it.

I worked on it all day Friday and finally decided that some of the blocks were squared up so badly that the points wouldn't line up and wouldn't look okay even from the back of a speeding motorcycle, much less a galloping horse. So I made four more blocks and called it a day.

I'm not looking forward to putting the rows together either. And when I have finished this quilt, I will NEVER, EVER volunteer for anything else again!

******* In other news, Thanksgiving Day was pretty low key around here. Neither of the girls could come here and we had just been to see them, so we stayed home and so did they. We were going to go to a state park in the Texas panhandle and drive over to mom's house on Thanksgiving Day, but then a nasty three-letter word started appearing in the forecast: ice. The closer it got, the worse the forecast looked, so we cancelled. I cooked a small turkey and made a couple of pies and called it good. I actually enjoyed Thanksgiving without cooking and cleaning up all day.

It started raining Thursday evening, and that's when we had the first clue that something was amiss. If you have, or have ever had, a septic system, you know that bad things happen on holidays, birthdays, weekends, and rainy days. The only thing missing for us this weekend was a birthday.

Thursday evening, I turned on the dishwasher as Hubby went in for a shower. Afterward, when I was getting ready for a shower, I noticed that the toilet sounded funny when it flushed. So after my shower, I flushed it again just to see what would happen. What happened is that the water in the bowl got higher and higher, and just as I was about to grab the cut-off knob, it started going down. Whew! So I left a note for Hubby not to flush because the pump wasn't working. But in the middle of the night, I heard a flush. He forgot.

It rained all night, and when I woke up Friday morning, it was still raining. Hubby had already gotten up and when I searched for him, I finally saw him out in the yard digging up the septic tank. Now this isn't your normal septic tank with a little round lid on the cover. No, this is the one that the previous owner's broke by driving over it and now it had a solid concrete cover on it with no opening. To get to the pump inside, the whole cover has to be removed, usually with a winch on the back of the pickup. But after four inches of rain, there is no way the pickup is driving through the yard without getting stuck or causing more damage.

So there he was, kneeling in the mud in a pouring rain digging out the cover with a shovel so coated with mud that it looked more like a bowling ball on a stick than a shovel. Then he had to rig a block and tackle to get off the lid. He said it was so redneck that it even embarrassed him. But it was enough to see if it was the pump or the float and get it working enough to get us by until the rain stops on Sunday afternoon. At least we'll get by as long as we don't flush more than a two or three times a day.

Did you know that if you don't think about going to the bathroom, you don't need to go, but the minute you start thinking about it, you really need to go? And if you think about trying not to think about it, you end up thinking about it more and that makes it worse. So today we went on a day trip to Jacksboro to check out Fort Richardson State Park. There were quite a few people there, or at least there were quite a few RV's there. The people must have been holed up inside because of the rain. Fun times there.

Like it's so much more fun to dig up a septic tank in the rain.

Stash Report Sunday Week 48

I finally found time for some sewing and succumbed to the call from some pretty fabrics so I thought I'd update my stash report.

I bought a few yards of muslin to make a new shower curtain and while at the store, I bought some fabrics to start a quilt for my guest room. It was my consolation prize for making a boring shower curtain and putting together quilt blocks for someone else. I bought eight yards of pastel prints and added them to some that I already had. The colors in this quilt are going to be primarily green and pink.

I started the year with a stash total of 441.75 and am now at 445.25. Next year I need a weekly or monthly goal to keep me on track.

Linked to Stash Report at Patchwork Times.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Weekend Camping With A Little Quilt Retreat Thrown In

Last weekend, we took a long weekend camping trip with friends. They were long-time campers and share similar interests so we thought it would be fun to spend the weekend camping with our hobbies. We went to Lake Whitney State Park, and since we got there before the weekend crowd, we got some great spots. We had a nice, wide, concrete parking pad that was fairly level. There was a nice picnic table, also on a nice concrete pad and under cover too. On one side of us was a big wooded area and our friends were about twenty feet away on the other side. And on their other side was another wooded area. Not all the pads there were concrete or this far apart so we felt really lucky.

When we arrived Thursday afternoon, there were lots of deer in the trees beyond our campsite. And later, a big flock of turkeys came by. I didn't have my camera handy, of course, but thought I'd be able to take some good close-up photos later in the evening or the next morning. But once other campers started arriving, the deer and turkey disappeared.

After setting up the trailer, our friends came over to help us put up a ham radio antenna. Hubby met this couple at a ham radio club meeting. Mr.W. just got his license and Mrs.W. was just about to take her test. So when they talked radio, I was fairly clueless. Turns out Mrs.W. is a member of my quilt guild, but she said she hasn't been going in awhile.

The guys were pretty excited that the antenna worked. This was the first time it had been set up, and they talked to quite a few countries on a fairly short antenna.  It is a dipole and the actual antenna part are wires extending from the pole to tree limbs in front and back of the trailer.  Since Mrs.W. couldn't talk on the radio (no license yet), she set up her sewing machine on her picnic table, and I joined her the first day. On Friday, Hubby set up our screened room. Since it was a little misty, I put my sewing machine on a little table in there. We thought we were going to have to put the side flaps down and turn on the heater, but then the sun came out and it was pretty nice.

We showed them our little trailer and they showed us theirs. Hubby looked at their trailer and all the big trailers around us and said he was getting an inferiority complex. Their trailer is really nice with a big slide out, big dinette, sofa, and a couple of chairs. What I liked best were all the windows, especially the bay at the back. Most campsites have other trailers parked fairly close together, so windows on the sides usually have a view of another trailer. They had a view of the woods from their chairs. Nice!

Later that morning, Mrs.W. and I drove to Waco to visit Magnolia Market, the new store of Joanna Gaines (of HGTV's show Fixer Upper).

It was a nice store, but I didn't see anything worth standing in line. Mrs.W. had driven by the store a week or two before and she said the lines on that Saturday were out the door, and that was just to get in. We didn't have to wait to get into the store, but it was fairly crowded inside.

I don't have cable tv and have never seen their show, but I've heard it's good. The store is fairly new and I was hoping to find some information about it online but didn't find it. It looks like they bought a block that used to have something to do with grain. There are some grain silos on the property, and the store itself is in a building that was either a warehouse or feedstore. Since the silos were not removed, we wondered if they are going to remodel them for some commercial purpose too. Beyond the silos was a garden and pumpkin patch area. The sign said something about World Hunger Relief but I didn't get close enough to read it.

Across from the garden was a food truck food court. It looked good, but we wanted to wash our hands before we ate, so we went somewhere else.

Saturday morning was gray but Mrs.W. set up her sewing machine on her picnic table and I set up on mine. We both needed a little more room but we could still talk though we found that we were both making a lot of silly mistakes when we were sewing and chatting on Thursday. It got a little chilly and a light rain began, but with a view like this, I just couldn't leave.

The rain got heavier and the temperature dropped, so I did have to stop sewing and pack it up. The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent reading (me), napping (Hubby), and watching movies (both of us). It rained all night but luckily stopped Sunday morning so we could load up and leave. We were surprised to see that we didn't get a drop of rain at our house while we were gone.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Never a Dull Moment in the Big City

I met a friend for lunch today in Arlington. As we were getting ready to leave the restaurant, the tv showed a police standoff with an alleged bank robber just a few blocks from us. We weren't in any danger and couldn't see the standoff, but we did see the S.W.A.T. truck and police cars zoom by. Said in my best Gomer voice: "Well, Gollly!" We just don't see that out here in the sticks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dusting Off the Cobwebs to Post a Few Updates

I know it's been awhile since I posted. I've been trying to stay off the internet and get more done around the house. The internet is a siren, luring me to look at one more website, one more picture, one more post, until I have wasted hours doing nothing. Is it just me, or is it that way with you too?

I noticed that my phone's photo storage is almost full so thought I'd delete some pictures. Some were taken for the blog, so even though they're old, I thought I'd share them anyway.

A couple of weeks ago we went to the Texas Country Reporter Festival in Waxahachie. Earlier in the week, we made plans to go, but Saturday began cold and rainy. The rain lasted most of the day, finally easing to a misty drizzle around 4 p.m. and Hubby decided he still wanted to go. I've never been to the festival before, and it probably wasn't the best weekend for a first time experience, but that's life. Hubby wanted to go because the band America was playing. If you are a child of the '70's you probably know some of their songs. Hubby was a big fan. I knew their name but that was about it. I always got them mixed up with The Eagles.

I checked the festival website and facebook before we left and saw that America was going on stage (open air) at 6 p.m. As we drove to Waxahachie, I asked Hubby what song of theirs I might know and he started singing A Horse With No Name and then I remembered them. When we got to town, I was hoping the rain kept enough people away that we could find a good parking place. Nope. We had to park a few blocks away and got near the stage a few minutes after 6 p.m. They had already started playing but I don't remember what song because I had to get a picture for my blog. Priorities, you know.

See those little heads above the umbrellas? That's them. I had to take several pictures before I got one that wasn't all umbrellas. Then I zoomed all the way and handed my phone to Hubby because he can hold it higher than I could standing on a chair, and he finally got this next blurry picture. (He also took a lot of pictures of umbrellas before he pointed the camera in the right direction - it's hard when you are holding the phone as high as you as you can reach and can't see the screen.)

Right after we finished taking pictures, the song ended, and the lead singer of that song thanked the audience for coming and standing in the rain, and then they left the stage. We thought they were taking a water break or something, but then the audience started clapping and calling for an encore and the band came out and sang one last song: A Horse With No Name. So at least Hubby got to hear them sing his favorite song.

On the way back to the car, I asked someone when the band started playing and she said they moved up to the 5 p.m. slot because of the rain.  That explains why we were at the back of the crowd.  It would have been nice if they had thought to update their website or facebook page with that info sometime during the day. Oh well. At least we didn't have to stand in the rain a long time.

That's about as exciting as our lives have been lately.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Funnies

I set the ice chest in the sun to dry.

Can't get him to get inside a cat carrier and it's time for a vaccination. Think I should just take him in the ice chest?

Linked to Feline Friday hosted by the Burnt Food Dude.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Another Blog Change Coming

I'm going to change my url. I think. I found Google instructions that tell how to do it. I didn't change the url when I changed my blog name because I thought it might break all the links to my blog. The instructions I found don't mention that. So on Monday, if you can't find my blog, that's the reason. And if that happens, I'll see if I can change it back.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sewing Room Sunday

Before we went to Missouri, I bought a used Grace Machine Quilter frame. I finally put it together this weekend and tried it out. It's definitely not as smooth as a long arm but much cheaper. Much, much cheaper. It came with the basic frame, a queen/king extension kit, and a pattern perfect setup.

With the basic frame, free motion quilting is done by standing on the far side and holding the handles like with a long arm. But the sewing machine's foot pedal is mounted on top of the sewing machine and the handle to press the pedal is at the top of those grips, and I find it very uncomfortable. But it can also be used from the other side when using a printed design. There is a wood stylus that can be attached to the side of the sewing machine carriage to trace the design. This is my first attempt using the stylus. Not to bad with a wandering pattern, but would look pretty bad if it was something with a recognizable pattern, like circles.

This is one of the wood pattern perfect pieces. They attach outside the frame but I want to enlarge the slots that are used to adjust side to side for a better offset.

The instructions on assembling the table were good, but really lacking in everything else. I found a video that showed the frame with the pieces on it, so between that and the instructions, I managed to get it on. I used the previous owner's leader cloths, but I need to make some that work better.

Now the bad part. I don't have anywhere to put it. It's in the living room now, which is also my sewing room, but it can't stay out except when it's being used. So now I have to figure out how to take the legs off to store it, or something else besides taking it completely apart every time. It took hours to put it together this time and it already had some of the pieces together. I'm sure it would get easier with time, but spending the better part of a day assembling is just not something I want to do every time I want to use it.

See the towels on the floor under the frame?  I need to get a rug to protect the floor from scratches before I trip over a towel.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Back from Our First Big Trip in the Camper

The last couple of weeks have been really busy as we worked like crazy people to get ready for a ten day trip to Missouri. Four days before we left, we had new tires put on the pickup. The new water pump arrived that afternoon and Hubby cracked it when he put it on. So I ordered another one (cha ching). Luckily, we just signed up for Amazon Prime so didn't have to pay extra for the two day delivery. Three days before we left, Hubby picked up the new axle and put it on. The next evening the water pump arrived and he put it on the day before we left. Talk about bringing it down to the wire!