Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Score a Loss for March UFO Finish

I just never got around to finishing the quilt I designated as my March project for A Lovely Year of Finishes at Sew BitterSweet Designs. I didn't know I could just name a part of the quilt to finish, not that it would have made any difference. I just had too many things going on. So it will be my April UFO project as well. At least it's sandwiched now.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Design Wall Week 13

I wasn't going to post today because I didn't think anything had changed this week. But then I remembered that I ripped out the applique stitches on the one butterfly block I did, and did it over. This time I put the block on point and appliqued using variegated thread. I changed the butterfly body style from the plain rectangle in the pattern to more of a popsicle stick shape. I'm not happy with the size of the feelers though and will make them bigger.



Linking to Design Wall Monday #66 at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Quilting Fabrics Stash Report, Week 13

Hard to believe it's already thirteen weeks into 2015. But the weather is approaching hot and winter is definitely behind us. I am finally showing negative numbers across the board in my stash report. It is a little misleading because it's not all fabric used; some of it is fabric just moved to another location. But I'll take it. I'm pleased that I have stuck with keep up with a report this long too.



Linking to Fabric Report #28 at Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Chasing Butterflies

While working in the yard this morning, I saw the first butterfly of the season. Since my shoes were muddy, I asked Hubby to get my camera from the house, and he did, but the card was still plugged into my computer. So I grabbed my phone and started following the butterfly around the yard. I'm sure the neighbors shook their heads and said "what is that crazy woman doing now?" because every time I pressed the button, it flitted to another flower. It never did land, so out of twenty blurry pictures, this is the only one that shows a butterfly, and it isn't a good picture.



While out, I took pictures of flowers in bloom, but most of them were too blurry to post also. A few were halfway decent.


First iris blooms. The pink creeping phlox and daffodils are at their peak right now.


A few new blooms on the Golden Delicious; I think we are going to have a good crop this year.


First bluebonnets too.

After lunch I worked the quilt guild booth at the home and garden show.  We sold raffle tickets like hotcakes.  Then a quick trip to a big box store and I worked on the top for my cutting table.  I thought building it out of plywood would make it easier, but it is proving more problematic than the top for the sewing table.  Should have it finished tomorrow and then have to make a spray booth in the garage for the base.  I don't understand how so many people manage to spray paint outside without any problems and I have nothing but problems outside.  Maybe they don't have the bug population we do.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sometimes Men Make No Sense at All

We were supposed to have thunderstorms and hail last night, so I spent yesterday cleaning out the garage so we could get the cars in. After work, Hubby helped me and we got it done just as the dark clouds started moving in. And then... nothing. Not a drop of rain and no hail. Nothing but wind. But in the course of cleaning, rearranging, and putting up stuff, Hubby mentioned that he wanted to have a man sale. Not a garage sale, a man sale. A sale for men only. I told him he couldn't keep women from coming to a sale and if he posted an ad for men only, it would only make women curious and they would come anyway. And what about couples who go to garage sales together? And, most importantly, what about women who enjoy using tools?

You would think after being married to me for forty years, he would know better than to say women can't do something. Who was it who bought a sewing machine at a garage sale? It was him. And who was it who found the planer at a garage sale? It was me. I told him he would miss out on sales if he discriminated against women; plus, he would have to live with me and that might be worse! I advised him to post it as a tool and equipment sale instead, but he insists he will have a man sale.

What brought about this argument discussion was when he asked when I was going to be finished with the three banquet tables I bought to sandwich quilts. They are currently set up in the living room my sewing room. I told him I planned on pinning the quilt today. What I didn't tell him is that he has to help me. I hate closing those pins, even with a spoon, especially in the middle of the table.



Then he thinks he is going to set up all his stuff on the tables and pull them out on weekends when the weather is nice and he doesn't have something to do. Again, I silently sighed and rolled my eyes because I know you can't decide to have a garage man sale at 7 a.m. on Saturday and expect anyone to see your last minute ad on craig's list or sign at the corner - especially since we are on a dead end street. And again, you'd think after having garage sales many times in the last forty years that he would know that. But then, he was never in charge of the advertising, sign making, or change collecting. He just put out the signs where I told him.

I'll let you know how his big man sale goes if he does it this weekend.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Card Trick

Began and Finished 2015

Design Wall Monday

Not much has changed on the design wall, but I've been working on the Sweet Sixteen, and have the length I want now. I've spent more time working on preemie gowns than quilting, and sad to say, but all those are in the trash. If it wasn't poor pattern design, it was my sewing machine jamming up on the embroidery stitching. But I think I have it figured out now.




You can also see part of my cutting table, also a WIP, on the right.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Stash Report 12

I am finally showing a reduction in the stash, but it's mainly because I pulled out some polyester fabrics which somehow found their way into my shelves. I have a separate stash for clothing fabrics.

I have done some sewing this week, but I've also done some buying. A woman from the church stitching group told me the hospital was badly in need of gowns for premature stillborn babies. I thought it would be easy, so agreed to make some, but then I found that a pattern for the size she said doesn't exist online. But I did find quite a few burial gown patterns and I downloaded a couple in various sizes. I thought I'd make them up and let the hospital tell me which size they need most. I never even knew there was a need for these and found quite a bit on the internet. A lot of people use old wedding dresses to make them, and I just donated my wedding dress to the thrift store last year. Bummer. But I found some pretty white on white cottons and thought I'd start with that. It's probably a good thing I didn't try to start with satin because sewing some of these tiny pieces is hard enough with cotton.

I've been working on the Sweet Sixteen quilt, which has also used some fabric this week, and hope to get a backing on the Around the World next week. I'd better hurry though, that was my March UFO and it's still just hanging there.

While the report looks pretty good for a change, I looked back at my first Stash Busting post of the year and saw that I way behind my goal of using five yards per month. I started the year with an inventory of 265.09 yards of fabric, and with this report I am at 256.50. (At some time I started rounding to the nearest quarter yard.)

I know that looks like I am only 6.5 yards short of my goal, but April through July are gardening months, and December is just a crazy month. So that really just leaves four months to make a dent in the stash. I hope to keep quilting this summer, but I know in the past that the garden and yard work have been consuming and exhausting.

I'm linking to Fabric Report #22 at Patchwork Times.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Design Wall 11

Not much change on the wall. I thought I was going to finish the Double Irish Chain top yesterday, but then realized I need one more row. Tomorrow maybe. Today's schedule doesn't have any quilting in it. It's going to be a beautiful day and I need to get the yard mowed and get some hoeing done in the garden if it has dried enough. More rain in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.



Linked to Design Wall Monday #1 at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

My Stash Busting is More Like Stash Building - Report 11

If it weren't for that fabric I left in the car last time, I would finally have shown a dent in the stash. But no, I had to start a new quilt and didn't have enough fabric for it. If I had worked on that quilt after buying the fabric, I might have been able to show a reduction in my original stash, but I didn't.

What I did do this week was work on projects I already had on hand. I sent the Card Trick Quilt out to be quilted after our group decided it would make a nice quilt to donate to an fund raising auction held by Campfire Creek Therapeutic Riding Center. And I went to the Dallas Quilt Show. Some gorgeous quilts there and also some quilts that won ribbons that didn't look ribbon worthy to my untrained eye. I would show pictures, but I didn't think to get the maker's names or permission. But I'm sure there are people who didn't read the rules in the quilt show guide book who will post pictures. But I just had to read every word in the guide book so now I can't show them.

I will tell you about some of the quilts though. There was a category called Show Chair Theme, and the theme was "Funny Quilts". One quilt was titled "Shades of Gray" and it had gray lamp shades in various gray hues scattered about on a solid background. Another was a quilt that looked like a painting of a dog and the bottom border had tiny tennis balls hanging from the trim, because the dog loved tennis balls. And one was a pieced red quilt (at least I think it was pieced) with an appliqued cat in the center. The cat's claws were stretched up and at the tip of the paws, the quilter had shredded the quilt top. So funny for those of us with cats.

And now on to my very disappointing stash report.




Linked to Patchwork Times.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sorry for the Confusion

I discovered how to import posts without messing up the existing blog. So to Tonia and anyone else who was confused about the recent posts, I have decided that with all its warts, blogspot is still a better blog host for me. I have changed the name, in case you didn't notice. That is one thing I did like about the changes I made on January 1. The title The Next Fifty Years just didn't fit any longer.

It will probably be confusing again as I settle back into posting on this blog, but I promise, no more switching around. Nancy said she figured out how to post comments on Blogger/Blogspot without having the email notification bounce back to her. I will try that tomorrow and if it works, great, and if it doesn't, I'll just get into the habit of checking comments to see who has made a comment here and not worry about bloggers who don't get an email notification from me.

Wordpress vs Blogspot Pt 2

I started making notes for this post when I first started blogging on Wordpress in January.  These are some of the differences that seemed major to me at the time, but aren't important anymore, and other things that are still a struggle.

Of course, the main reason I switched from Blogger/Blogspot to Wordpress was because of the comment notification emails being rejected at other blogs, even Blogspot blogs.  Overall, I think Blogger/Blogspot is easier to use and has more built-in features.  There are many things available to Wordpress as plug ins - some free and some not.

So here are the differences I've noticed so far, and not in any particular order.

1.  Blog roll, easier and better at Blogger/Blogspot.  In Blogger, you just add the Blogroll Widget to the sidebar, and add blogs to it by clicking the edit icon under the roll.  In Wordpress, you add the Blogroll Widget to the sidebar with just a few more steps than Blogger, but to add blogs to the roll, you have to go through the dashboard which adds a few more steps.  Also, the name comes up automatically in Blogger once you copy and paste the URL into the widget, but you have to type the name into Wordpress.  The edit icon under the roll in Blogger also makes it easier to make spelling or other small changes.

Once the rolls are up, this is Wordpress, with just the name of the blog:  (And the first one was inserted by Wordpress and can't be removed)

WPBlogRoll1

And this is Blogger/Blogspot, with title of the last blog post, how long ago it was posted, and a snapshot of a photo from that post:

WPBSBlogRoll1

These are the options on Blogspot:  (Wordpress has no options)

WPBSBlogRoll3

p.s.  I could have made a test blog in wordpress, and would if I intended to stay on wordpress, but I needed to try out something quickly and knew how to do it in blogger.  I learned the hard way on blogger that it's better to make changes on a test blog before making changes to the real one.

2.  Scheduled posts, again easier in Blogger/Blogspot.  When making a post in Blogger, the schedule icon is on the right and the post can be scheduled in about three clicks.  There is an easy way to do it in Wordpress, by simply clicking the new post icon in the top right corner of the blog page (looks like a pencil), and then the Schedule post option is on the right and can be done with a single click.  HOWEVER, I did that once and my post disappeared completely.  I consulted the Wordpress support forum and was told that that method (also called the beep beep boop) has a lot of problems and is not recommended for making scheduled posts.  It even has problems with immediate posts but I haven't had any problem with that so far.  Some people have reported that they can't edit a post after using that.  Without going through the new post icon, you have to go through the dashboard to make a new post and then it takes two more clicks to edit publish immediately to another date.  If you use the Add button in the dropdown under My Site on the right side of the blog page, it is the same beep beep boop and the posts have the same problems as using the New Post icon.

Another thing with the scheduled posts, according to the support forum, is that scheduled posts don't appear until someone looks at the blog page.  That causes a problem for people who use readers like Bloglovin because the post doesn't show up at the scheduled time.  I don't go to a reader first, so I've never noticed the lag time.

Edited to add:  I finished this post about 12:30 a.m. on March 10, 2015 and clicked the publish button.  Then I went to bed, and when I got up this morning and checked my blog, it had posted it as if it posted on March 8, buried behind two other posts.  Now I've rescheduled it to post in two minutes, so we'll see what happens.

3.  Editing a published post, much easier in Blogger/Blogspot.  With Blogger, there is an edit button under every post (if you are logged in.  With Wordpress, you have to go through the dropdown under My Site, click on Posts, and then find the post and click edit.  Kind of the long way around for this and most things on Wordpress.

4.  Changing the template, not only much easier on Blogger, but impossible on Wordpress.  On Wordpress, you have to change to a template that has the options you want.  I didn't change my Blogger template often, but I did make changes to it, simple changes like changing the banner size, or the font.  Can't do that on Wordpress.  You can download apps to make some changes I think, but all the ones I wanted had a fee, a small fee, but a fee nonetheless.

5.  Search box.  Automatic on Blogger, but added as a widget on Wordpress.  You can also add it as a widget on Blogger.

6.  Photo storage, a big advantage on Blogger.  At first glance, it would appear that Wordpress is better because it allows 3.0 gb photo storage and Blogger only allows 1.0 gb.  But there is a big but here, so I'll capitalize and bold it.  BUT, blogger uses Picasa Web Albums and doesn't count any photos below 800 x 800 pixels and videos under 15 minutes.   So after being on Wordpress for 68 days, I have used 9 mb of my 3.0 gb storage.  After being on Blogger for seven years and four months posting over 2000 photos and a few videos, I've used 0 mb and 0 gb.  In all fairness, since there is 1000 mb in 1 gb, it would take many years to use that storage, especially if photo size is kept small.

7.  Photo size, another plus for Blogger and negative for Wordpress.  Sometimes I want to make a picture a certain size, even if it distorts it a little.  In Blogger you can do that.  In Wordpress, you can only change a photo by keeping the ratios the same.

8.  Like Button, better on Wordpress, mainly because Blogger doesn't have it.  I think it can be added to Blogger with an outside link like a Pinterest button though.  I don't really know the purpose of the Like button, but people seem to use it.

9.  Comment Emails, a definite plus for Wordpress and not only because of the annoying undelivered emails to Blogger/Blogspot blogs, but because it eliminates a step in replying to comments.  There are some comments, especially those with a question, that need a reply under the comment.  And blog etiquette asks that comments receive an email reply.  Wordpress comment notification emails let you reply to both with a single reply.  Or you can just reply to the blog, or just reply to the person who commented.   The only downside of Wordpress email notifications is that you can't tell who the email is from without opening it.

This is the way the email to a Wordpress blog looks in the inbox:

WPBlogEmails

You can see what post they are commenting on, but not their name.

This is what emails to a Blogger/Blogspot blog look like:

WPBSEmail



I do prefer being able to see who the email is from, but I've gotten used to the Wordpress way and it doesn't bother me anymore.

10.  Backlinks.  I think backlinks are easier in Wordpress, though that is something I've never really cared enough about to learn how it really works on either format.

11.  Stats.  I prefer Google stats over Wordpress stats.   I like being able to see the total number of views for each post.  Here is the admin page for posts in Blogger/Blogspot, which shows the total views for each post and the total number of comments:

WPBSPostPage



And here is the admin page for posts in Wordpress which shows the number of comments and the number of likes for each post:

WPPostPg

(I hope these screen shots aren't as blurry when this is posted as they are in the draft version.)

On the stats page, I think Wordpress is ahead in that it tells all the pages that were visited today and how many unique visitors.  Blogger tells how many page views, but doesn't tell which pages were visited.  But, it shows which posts are most popular and that is a plus also.

12.  HTML codes.  I prefer Blogger/Blogspot here too.  When writing a post in Blogger, you have the choice of "Compose" or "Html".  Compose creates the post as if it were written on an internet forum or Microsoft Word, which is great for people who want to see what the post will look like as they write it.  Html lets you use code to create the page, which gives you more options than the Compose tab. When writing a post in Wordpress, you have the choice of "Visual" or "Text".  Visual is like Compose; it looks like the finished post.  Text is a lot like Html except not all html will work in it.  Font color and size, for example, has to be written with span tags, not just the regular font color html.  Also, when you write the post in Visual and then switch to Text, it will add so much code that it's hard to read - at least for me.

13.  Logging in is also much easier in Blogger/Blogspot.  With a Wordpress blog, you have to leave you blog page and go to wordpress.com to sign in.  With Blogger, the sign in link is in the top corner of every page.  The downside of that is that Google owns so many websites now and wants everyone to use just one log in name on everything.  I had a Youtube account with a different email before it was Google owned and now it seems that the videos I loaded with that account are gone or at least not accessible.  It's also kind of a hassle to have separate blog accounts with Google too since they push that One Account thing.

Another big downside to Blogger/Blogspot is Google+.  I really, really, really don't like Google+ but I keep finding myself part of it.   I've deleted my Google+ profile three times this week.  I don't know if I am automatically added to it when I read an email from a Google+ member or if it's from logging onto Youtube.  But it's annoying.

............

That's all I can think of at this time.  If you know of other differences that new bloggers to either format might want to know before they make the switch, please post in the comments.

............

I had intended to give Wordpress a full three months before making up my mind whether I liked it or not.  And I do like it, but not enough to leave Blogger/Blogspot behind.  For one thing, I have so much content on my Blogspot blog that it comes up in most searches.  Call me shallow, but I like searching for an image and seeing my stuff near the top.

I know blog content can be migrated  to other blogs, but I'm afraid migrating my Wordpress posts over to my old Blogspot blog will mess up my Blogspot blog.  So what I'm going to do is repost the Wordpress posts over there.  When that is finished, I will change the blog name (another thing I really like about my Wordpress blog - that has nothing to do with Wordpress), and end this blog.  I'll just have to visit the Comment section of the Dashboard to see who is commenting.  I won't be able to send an email reply, but I can reply on my blog and comment on your blogs, which I like to do anyway.  I think anyone who takes the time to comment should get a comment from me too.

So while it's been fun, I'm going to bid Wordpress adieu.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rainy Day Monday

Doesn't look like I will get the Around the World quilt basted. My tables are in the garage and I would have to carry them through the rain into the house. It's been a nice, steady, light rain all day. The pond has been topped off and the dry creek at the end of our acre is full too.

For the last hour I've been watching a squirrel bury acorns all over the backyard. The rain doesn't seem to bother him at all. He (or she) runs over to the oak tree and gathers up some acorns and then scampers over the yard burying them here and there. It's fun to watch through the binoculars to see him dig, plant, and then carefully cover and rearrange the grass so no one can see that it was disturbed. It's going to break his little heart when I mow down all the seedlings if they sprout.

Design Wall Monday

I had to look back at last week's design wall to see what has changed, it's been that slow.  I've worked on butterflies and have only five more to finish before appliqueing to blocks.  I'm joining finished rows with the Double Irish Chain, and still making blocks with the Sweet Sixteen.  I also added some QAYG star blocks for a baby quilt.  It's partially paper pieced, so that has been good practice for me too.  The Around the World hasn't been touched even though I had good intentions of getting out the tables to baste it yesterday.  That is my project for today since I have my sewing machine pushed against the wall already.










I'm linking to Design Wall Monday #48 at Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Stash Report Week 10

The report actually looks a little better than it should. I bought some fabric the other day but haven't got it out of the car yet. I can't remember exactly how much it is, so it will be added in next report.


I'll link to Patchwork Times when she puts up her post.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March UFO and Design Wall Monday

I've decided on the Around the World quilt as my March UFO. I put it on hold when I was trying to decide on a border and now I've decided not to put a border on it at all, so all it needs is quilting. Surely I can get that done in a month, and start prepping the next quilt for a finish.





I finally got up my nerve to start appliqueing the butterflies onto blocks. It was easier than I thought, but I am going to have to watch the tips as the threads seem to pile up there.





On the wall is the postage stamp Double Irish Chain, which is just a few blocks shy; the Butterflies, which I'm basting to a lightweight muslin and turning. Probably not the best choice, but it seems more durable for a quilt that will be used, and I'm still not confident enough to do turned needle. And last on the wall is the Sweet Sixteen, which I hope to make into a twin size, so I have quite a way to go yet.





Linking to A Year of Lovely Finishes #28 at Sew BitterSweet Designs, Sweet Sixteen Quilt Along #5 (check out the speed method for this block) at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Design Wall #1 at Patchwork Times.

Stash Report Week 9

I had another good week, at least there was some going out and none coming in.  It helps that we had a week of ice and snow so it was easy to stay home and sew.  But while I was sewing, I was also thinking of the summer garden, knowing that my sewing usually comes to an end when the garden needs so much work.  But for now, I'll enjoy our chilly days and getting some work done inside.



Linking to Patchwork Times #18.