Sunday, July 28, 2013


Hubby and I are back on dry land, although we're not home yet--not until Monday evening. I just wanted to say "hi" and remind everyone it's Scrap Basket Sunday! Are Hubby and I "cruise people"? I'm not really sure. Except for the awful cold I came down with on the third day of the cruise, we had a good time, but I think we would have liked to spend more time exploring the places we visited. Still it was a good chance to get a feel for the areas we saw. I should have a few photos to share when we get home--"see" you soon!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Scrap Basket Sunday

Thanks for all the good wishes for our trip.  We're just about ready--all but the last minute stuff that needs to be packed in the morning.  Here's your Scrap Basket Sunday Mister Linky--please sign up when you have a scrappy project to show us!

See you when I get home!

Friday, July 19, 2013

None Too Soon!

I know I've talked about my vacation, but now I need to tell you that we're leaving on Saturday and I won't be able to blog for about ten days.  Well, maybe eight days, depending on whether our hotel in the Seattle area has public computers.  So other than the Scrap Basket Sunday sign-ups I'll be posting tomorrow, this will be my last post for a little bit.

As I was getting on the computer tonight, I saw that our temperatures here in Sacramento are expected to rise above 100 degrees tomorrow and continue rising through Saturday at least.  If that's the coming trend, we're getting out of Sacramento just in time!  A check of the weather forecast for our various ports in Alaska shows we'll have highs around 70 degrees with a chance of showers on several of the days; the exception is our visit to Glacier Bay when temperatures will be about 10 or 15 degrees higher and the sun will come out.  Needless to say, we'll be bringing our umbrellas on the cruise but at least we shouldn't need serious winter clothing.

I'm up WAAAAAY too late tonight yet again, but I wanted to finish prepping the second block I'll take with me from the Sew Spooky BOM.

When I come back from vacation, I'll have about a million bats to applique for the border, but at least I'll have the center blocks done.

Tomorrow night after work--and I sure hope I'm able to leave work at a decent time--Hubby and I will have a casual dinner out followed by an evening of packing.  Otherwise, I think I'm pretty much ready for the trip.

Don't forget me while I'm gone!  I should be back right here by the Tuesday after next.  "See" you then!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Keep Calm, and Carry On

It feels as though I have a million things to do to get ready for vacation, as well as taking care of all the normal things that need routine attention.  I spent much of the evening after work doing some house cleaning so it wouldn't be too horrible for our housesitters.  And as I'm typing this, I have two trays of tomatoes roasting in the oven for some future batch of spaghetti sauce--they had to be cooked before we left or they'd just rot on the vines.  I'll let them cool overnight and then package them for the freezer tomorrow morning--they can stay there until I can make the rest of the sauce some other time.

I thought I'd take a couple applique pieces on vacation with me, which means prepping the blocks before I go.  After some thought, I decided to get the last two Sew Spooky BOM blocks ready, and I finished prepping the first of the two blocks tonight.

I'll try to finish the second one in the next couple evenings along with my other projects.  Besides these projects, I have some embroidery blocks to take and a wool project or two, so there's probably more than enough to keep me busy--I always worry I'll run out of stuff to do though.  Silly, I know!

Since I planned to clean tonight and didn't want to make a mess of the kitchen, Hubby very kindly ran out for some Chinese fast food.  We both had a good laugh at my fortune.

Appropriate, isn't it?!  By the way, thank you all for suggesting a few Seattle-area quilt shops.  I'm going to mark them on the shop hop brochure to take with me.

Last night I unearthed my dressy tops from the bag they were stored away in and found a couple that will be suitable for the more formal dinners on our cruise.  We've decided to compromise with a dressy top for me and a sports jacket and tie for Hubby.  Luckily, I had a couple that are washable, because there's really not much time for dry cleaning.  So I also did laundry tonight too.  I'm kind of surprised it's not later than it is considering how much I've gotten done tonight, but it's still late and I have to get up and go to work tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Your Turn, Again

I'd like to hear from any of you who have lived in and/or traveled around the northwestern part of Washington state and visited quilt shops.  I need to know what shop(s) I absolutely need to visit while I'm there.  Hubby and I will only have about two days in the area so I want to make my time count, because sadly, I doubt Hubby--as nice as he is--will want to spend the entire time in quilt shops.

I thought I'd download the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop brochure--surely that would be the place to find a few good shops, right?  Well, no doubt!  But the problem is that the shop hop brochure has 52 quilt shops!  Yikes!  Even if Hubby DID want to spend all our time in quilt shops, I don't think we could cover 52 of them in the time we have.

So if you have any knowledge of the area, I'm looking for shops that have a good selection of fabrics.  I love going to shops that carry a lot of wool and homespun fabrics and primitive patterns because we don't have much of that here.  Also, I'd like to find a couple shops that are open on Sundays, because we'll be in the area on a Saturday afternoon and Sunday.  For the most part, we'll be in the Seattle/Tacoma/Olympia area.  What do you suggest?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Why does getting ready for vacation take so much time?

Hubby and I will be cruising off toward Alaska soon, and not long after that, we'll be traveling to central California for a niece's wedding.  I ended up spending most of Sunday working out the various travel arrangements, reservations, excursions, etc.  Isn't that crazy?  I've also been making lists and doing a little shopping here and there, with more to follow in the coming days.  Hubby's also been pressed into action with his own list of tasks to take care of.  By the time vacation comes along, we'll be so worn out from making our vacation plans, we'll seriously need a vacation!

I think we were both a little panicked on Sunday when we read the on-line cruise brochure about appropriate attire and the fact that we'd have two FORMAL evenings to dress for.  I work with people who will jump at the opportunity to dress up, but Hubby and I aren't those people.  Happily, I learned from friends who cruise that we aren't REQUIRED to participate--despite the fact that the cruise brochures make it sound mandatory.  Whew!  I was trying to figure out how we could possibly bring that much more luggage to hold dress up clothing and all that goes with it--that's probably a whole suitcase on its own!

And speaking of luggage, that's another quest I've been on.  Years ago, we purchased a set of luggage--or, now that I think about it, I believe it was a gift to us.  Anyway, a couple of the pieces have worn out, so Hubby and I are looking for a new piece or two.  I stopped at a discount department store tonight and found a nice carry-on size piece, but ideally I'd like to get another large-ish piece, so the quest continues.

I think one of the difficulties in packing for a cruise to Alaska is figuring out what to pack for summer time in a normally freezing climate.  Yes, as with most things, layers are a good idea, and luckily, I think, I tend to gravitate toward a lot of black in my wardrobe anyway, so I probably have a little easier time throwing together layers that don't clash.  Normally I pack too much though, and that could be a problem since we'll be gone nine days and airlines can be so darn picky about piles of luggage.  Or I pack too much of one type of thing and not enough of another.  And I think I need to purchase a few things, so I'll be busy with that too in the next day or so.

There's also the "Christmas Effect" to guard against.  That's where you go shopping because you need a lightweight sweater and a couple pairs of socks, for instance.  You don't find the sweater or the socks you need, but you DO find three really cute tops for work.  At that rate, if you shop much more, you won't be able to afford the vacation anyway.

So I don't know what I'll find to blog about in the next several days since I'm anticipating only very limited time in the Sweat Shop, but I'll try to find something to say.  But if I miss a post, just know that I'm shopping or making lists or doing something else really boring, okay?

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Little Something For a Friend

A few months ago, I found some vintage embroidered blocks at a quilt show and purchased a couple.  One of them was of a dog holding a basket, and I thought it would make the basis of a nice gift for a friend who loves animals.  On Saturday, I took the block with me when I got together with my stitchery friends and asked them for suggestions about what I could make.  The friend I was making it for appreciates vintage things but I didn't think she'd want a wall hanging or a table topper, so I wasn't sure what to do.  When Sandy suggested a pillow, I knew that was the perfect idea!  So that's what I made, using some of the leftover French General fabric from Merry Merry Snowmen; the prairie points were made from charm squares from the same line.

There are a few slightly discolored spots on the embroidered block, but I was afraid that if I tried to get them out, the red embroidery thread might bleed, so I left it as is.  I think she'll like it; at least I hope so!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pie in the Sky Blocks

Okay, here are what I think are my last set of four blocks for the Pie in the Sky quilt by Kim Diehl:

I still need to do a final count to make sure, but I think this is it--wooo-hooo!  My basket is still pretty full, but I also need to cut a bunch of plain squares that are used as sashing, so by the time I get that done, I think it will make a pretty good dent in my scrap basket.

Several of you were interested in the Autumn House pattern, and I ended up drawing Laura K's name.  Laura K said "Anne over at Bunny Hill is my absolute favorite quilt pattern designer! Not only are her designs exquisite but she is an absolutely wonderful person as well. I would love to give your pattern a new home. Autumn is my very favorite time of year so I am always looking for new things!"  Laura, it sounds like the pattern will go to a good home.  Please email me your mailing address and I'll get the pattern in the mail to you this week.

Remember, if you post a scrappy project on your blog today, add yourself to the Mister Linky list below.  I'm glad you could stop by!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Behind the 8-Ball, Again!

Heck!  I'm behind again on my scrap blocks--I should have had them made by now and I haven't even started.  Now I'll be scrambling to get them done.  I know--there's really no pressure and the world won't end if I don't make my four blocks, BUT I think these are the last four I need to make!  So I'd better get busy and do that so I'll have something to show tomorrow night.  (Normally a day would be enough time to make blocks, but I'll be spending this Saturday with my stitchery friends, and not much machine work will get done.)

Hopefully YOU'RE doing better than I am.  If you have a scrappy project to show this week, please sign up so we can stop by to visit you.

Friday, July 12, 2013

What Was I Thinking?

That's what I spent a chunk of the evening wondering as I dug through patterns, fabrics, books, buttons, this and that, and all the general detritus of the sewing room.  What was I thinking several months ago when I tucked away a packet of buttons and embellishments for the Bunny Hill Pumpkinville quilt?  Because if I could just remember my thought process at that time, maybe I could recall where I put it.

The Sweat Shop is starting to look like it might explode again.  Although I don't feel I've been buying very much lately to add to the clutter, I must be buying more than I'm using because I suddenly don't seem to have room for what I have.  Or maybe it's just that I haven't really kept up with organizing things as I should; I think it's just about time for another serious clean out.  And I started that a bit tonight, just because I didn't really have any other options.

Here's the first little thing I thought I could do.  Are any of you interested in the Bunny Hill Autumn House pattern?  It's not exactly in pristine condition since it was used when it came to me and then I've made the quilt too, but I'd be happy to pass it on to someone who's interested in making it.  Just as a reminder, here's what my quilt looks like--keep in mind it still needs to be quilted:

The quilt finishes at 49" x 57", so it's a nice medium large wall hanging size.  If you're industrious and start right away, you might have it done by THIS autumn; if you're a little slower, you still have NEXT autumn to shoot for.  If more than one person wants the pattern, I'll have a drawing on Saturday night and post the identity of the victor on Sunday's blog post.

Since I've finished this one and I'm nearly done with Merry, Merry Snowmen, I thought I'd get out the pattern for Pumpkinville and start making plans.  That's when I started wondering where the embellishment kit was.  And after looking in every logical place I thought it could be, I finally decided I'd never purchased it in the first place.  Thinking back, I remembered I bought the pattern hot off the press, and I don't think there WAS an embellishment kit yet.  So I guess I'd better buy that before I forget and go through all of this again.  And as crazy full as the Sweat Shop seems right now, I'm pretty sure I still have room for one little embellishment kit.  All is not lost.  It just seems that way sometimes.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Club

The other day I mentioned I wanted to talk about books soon, and soon is NOW.  Have you thought about what books you've read recently that you'd recommend?  If so, please leave a comment about your recent favorite(s) and why it was good.

I've been using my Kindle more and more, and I just bought one for Hubby for Father's Day so we'll both be able to read while we're on vacation--he's really enjoying it too.  If you don't yet have a Kindle but have been thinking about getting one, Amazon recently reduced the price of the Kindle Fire HD--with the Fire you can access the internet, watch movies and TV shows, listen to books on tape, etc.  I'm not pushing the Kindle by any means--I still enjoy holding a "real" book in my hands occasionally--but since we're talking about books, I thought I'd mention it.

Anyway, since getting the Kindle, I've also subscribed to Amazon Prime, and one of the benefits is that I can "check out" a book each month from the Amazon lending library.  For July, I checked out a book called Opal Fire by Barbra Annino.  It had some pretty good reader reviews and some of the reviewers said it reminded them of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books--that sounded pretty perfect to me!

Having now read Opal Fire--and I think I read it in a day--I'd agree.  There were parts that had me laughing aloud and thinking about how the quirky characters in this book were every bit as quirky as the characters in Stephanie Plum's family.

The main character, Stacy Justice, is a newspaper reporter in a small town.  Her grandmother and her two great aunts own a bed and breakfast and are practicing witches; they think Stacy should take her heritage more seriously and join them.  Stacy has a cousin/best friend named Cinnamon and a Great Dane named Thor.  Besides that, it appears--in this book at least--that she also has two attractive men hanging around.  Oh, there are also some dead bodies--because essentially, the book is a mystery of the cozy type.  So no, Opal Fire isn't deep and thoughtful reading, but it is entertaining, and sometimes that's just what I'm looking for.

Opal Fire is the first of what are four books in the series so far.  It's available as a Kindle book as well as a paperback.  If you want to read the reviews and sample the first few pages, click HERE.  I've downloaded the second book to my Kindle and hope to read it soon.

So, what have you enjoyed recently?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Country Cottages and Other Stuff

I've finally finished the Country Cottages quilt and I wanted to share a photo with you.

Due to a series of mishaps, which I might talk about at some other time, it's taken quite awhile to finish this quilt, but now that it's done, I'm very happy to have it hanging up in my home!  I've added all of the buttons and embellishments now, although I'd like to find some apple buttons to add to September's block; but I can do that later.

When I took down my 4th of July quilt to put up the Country Cottages quilt, I also took down the floral garland that ran across the top.  Miss Spike soon found the garland and wrapped herself in flowers!

She's a funny girl!

My computer difficulties last night turned out to be related to the fact that Blogger no longer supports IE8, which is what I was running.  Actually, they stopped supporting IE8 last fall, so it's a mystery to many of us bloggers why everything worked fine until yesterday.  Because I have Windows XP, though, I couldn't just update to IE9.  My options were Chrome or Firefox; I decided to go with Firefox because I've had a problem with Chrome once before AND it's a Google product--kind of childish, I know, but since I was annoyed by Google/Blogger at the time, I just wasn't in the mood to select Chrome.  So we'll see how this works.  At least I can write my posts for now.

I mentioned before that Hubby and I are going on a cruise to Alaska--in fact, I asked for some input from those of you who have cruised before, and I appreciate all of your help--it made it much easier for us to decide to give it a try.  We will also be staying in or around the Seattle area for a couple days, and I wanted to get more input from those of you familiar with the area.  Hubby and I vacationed for several days in Seattle before, so we've seen most of the highlights.  We've talked a little bit about traveling out of Seattle but we don't know what else in northwestern Washington would be fun to see and do.  Keep in mind that Hubby uses a wheelchair.  Any suggestions?  (We've also stayed on Vancouver Island/Victoria and Vancouver--great places but we'd like to do something different this time.)  Our vacation is coming up in just a couple weeks so there's not much time to plan.  Thanks for any help you can give us!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Not So Great . . .

I don't know if I have a cold or simply allergies, but I'm just not feeling all that great. THEN I've discovered that sometime between yesterday and tonight, Google/Blogger has done something that's making it impossible for IE8 users to write blog posts in "compose" mode, rather than HTML. In other words, the world universe is working against me, so I'm just going to give up and go to bed. I'll be back tomorrow, God and Google willing.

Monday, July 8, 2013


I'm so glad so many of you took the time to recommend your favorite blogs and I'm equally glad that several of you remembered the last time we did this and said you enjoyed it then.  I can see I have many hours of blog reading ahead of me as I did last time.

I randomly selected a winner for the giveaway, and the winner is Doris R., who said:

"Hi Kim, thanks for another fun giveaway! Three of my favorite blogs are:, it belongs to Lori, who features other quilters' work, her quilts and her life adventures, AND, she makes quilts for the Alzheimer Project!, and it belongs to Patti, who shares her quilts and her life events. and it belongs to Marcie, who designs patterns, and shares her work and has free patterns that she offers at times.

These are a few of my favorite quilters because their work speaks to my quilting spirit. I love their colorways and designs! I LOVE eye candy and these three blogs give me plenty of them!  Thanks for the chance to win."

The nice thing about this giveaway is that even if you didn't win the prize, you still ended up with a list of highly recommended blogs to read and be inspired by!

Sometime in the next couple days, I want to talk about book recommendations, so start thinking about what books you've read lately that you'd recommend to the rest of us.

Doris, please email me your mailing address and I'll get your prize out to you this week.  Thanks everyone!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Tisket, a Tasket, Four More Blocks from the Basket . . .

I was almost late to my own party this week!  I just finished my four blocks at around 1 a.m.--normally I have them made the Sunday before or, at the latest, sometime during the week.  But not this time!  Here are my four for this week:

When I tucked these four away in my block binder, I checked how many plastic sleeves were empty and by my calculations, I should just need four more blocks to have enough for the quilt.

Now, why didn't I get busy on my blocks earlier on Saturday?  Well, I got up fairly early so I could make a trip to the farmers' market--our super hot weather finally broke and now we just have plain ordinary hot weather, which means it's pretty nice early in the day and late in the evening, so a Saturday morning trip to the farmers' market is an attractive idea again.  Then I made a quick stop at Trader Joe's for a few other things.

And I don't quite know what got into me, but with all that beautiful fresh produce, I decided I needed to do a complete cleaning of the refrigerator--even going so far as to move it out from the wall and clean under and behind it.

Whew!  That was quite a job!  I kind of thought after that--and after fixing a very, very late breakfast and being comfortably full--that it was time for a nice nap.  So there went most of Saturday.  By the time I did a few other things around the house, fixed dinner, and took care of a couple stitching tasks, it was Saturday evening and way past the time I should have started on my blocks.  But it WAS a very nice way to spend a weekend day.  I hope your was good too!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Scrap Basket Sunday Sign Ups!

My stitchery friends and I went to see the movie The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy this afternoon--it was the funniest movie I've seen in a long time, and I'd definitely recommend it!  I'd read a couple reviews beforehand that were critical of the language used in the movie, which is admitted pretty rough, but I think it was necessary to the the characters and to point up the difference between the personalities of the FBI agent and the Boston street cop.  The movie would not have been nearly as funny without it.  Still, if you are very offended by swearing, this wouldn't be the movie for you.  Personally, I hope they make a sequel--these two actresses were terrific together!  After the movie, we all had dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant; the food was good and so was the company.  All in all, a really nice evening!

Driving home tonight, I started thinking about Scrap Basket Sunday--boy, I need to make my next set of blocks so I have something to show on Sunday!  Once you're ready to show us your scrappy project, please add your name and blog link to the list below.  Hopefully I'll have made by blocks by then!  "See" you on Sunday!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Your Turn

What are your three favorite quilt-related blogs?  The lesser known the better.  Here's the deal:

A year or two ago, I asked people to name their three favorite quilting blogs, and many of us found new, interesting blogs and bloggers as a result.  I'd like to do that again.  Don't name mine, and don't name Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville blog--since we're all HERE, we all know my blog, and I don't know anyone who doesn't know Bonnie Hunter, right?

It would be excellent if you could also say what you like about the blogs; i.e., good quilting tips, beautiful photography, funny writing, lots of giveaways, lots of free patterns, the blogger's tastes are just like yours--whatever it is that draws you back again and again.  And I'd be okay if you list TWO quilt-related blogs and ONE that's not, as long as the one that's not a quilt-related blog would appeal to the average quilter-type person.

And to get you to participate, I'm doing two things:  First, I'm temporarily taking off that thing where you have to decipher and type some random words and numbers to prove you're not a robot when you leave a comment.  Second, if you comment about three blogs, you have a chance to win a prize.

Two charm packs--Papillon by Three Sisters--and a Schnibbles pattern called Paganini.  Sort of "oldies but goodies" from my stash that I picked for you because I think they'll make a cute, summery little quilt.  I'll draw a name from the comments on Sunday night and announce the winner on Monday's blog post.

I'm looking forward to your recommendations.  Thanks!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pulling Off a Bandaid

About quitting smoking--or probably any other type of addiction--a couple people said they, a spouse, or another loved one have been trying to quit, and I wanted to throw a couple thoughts out there.  There are SO many ways to quit these days, that sometimes the hard part is chosing a way that will be successful.  I think maybe the most important thing is to know what type of person you are.  Look at the analogy of the bandaid:  Some people prefer to remove a little bit at a time because it seems less painful; some people prefer to just rip it off and be done with it quickly; and some people would rather have someone else do it for them.  Quitting smoking is a little like that.

In making my own personal decision, I felt that cutting back slowly would take much more willpower than I had.  Whenever I tried to cut back, it felt like all I was thinking about all day was when I could have the next cigarette.  And thinking about smoking constantly make it much harder; soon I'd give up on cutting back at all!

And I had worked with a woman who swore by the nicotine patch; but she'd been using the patch for a couple years.  To me, the point of quitting was to QUIT--not just to change the method of delivery, although changing to the patch meant not inhaling smoke into my lungs, and that definitely was an improvement right there.  But when I thought about it, I didn't want to trade one habit for another.

So for me, it came down to ripping off the bandaid.  I was pretty crazy for those first five days and I tried to sleep away the time as much as possible, but I knew that if I could just wait it out, it would work for me.  Just think--what were you doing five days ago?  That would have been last weekend.  Does it seem that far in the past?  No, probably not.  And I bet all the other important things in your life have taken much, much longer to achieve, right?  So I say go for it, if that's what you want--but you have to really want it and make up your mind that anything else is failure.  But also, decide what the right method is for you--there are many more ways to quit and aids than I've even mentioned, and the right method for you might not be the same as the method I used.

Enough of that though--I know it doesn't really apply to many of you, so here's something different.  One of the ongoing projects I started last year but didn't finish was the Merry, Merry Snowmen pattern by Bunny Hill.  When I set everything aside last fall, I only had the last of the nine blocks left to make, so a couple weeks ago, I prepped the block and then I carried everything back and forth to work with me every day--but I never got around to working on it!  Finally, I'd had enough of carrying my stitching case around, so I made the last block my main project these last couple evenings.  Now I can say that last block is done--woo-hoo!

I have a couple of those corner snowmen left to applique to complete the quilt and I'll need to press the blocks before I put them together.  Then there's the border, of course, but I'm getting very close!  Tomorrow I'd like to get the blocks up on the design wall and see how everything looks.

If this is a quilt you've been working on, you may notice I made one small design change--in the original pattern, the body of the snowman "chef" was sort of straight up and down; I decided with the feminine looking apron, my chef needed some curves, so I made the chef like the traditional "three-ball" snow figure.

My 4th of July will probably be spent mostly in the Sweat Shop with a few breaks for cooking, barbecuing, and hanging out with Hubby.  I hope you have a great day planned too!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Personal Celebration of Freedom

On the 4th of July, Americans celebrate the anniversary of the country's beginning and the freedoms we enjoy.  On July 3rd, however, I celebrate the anniversary of my personal freedom--from smoking and addiction to cigarettes!  Woo-hoo!  It's been four years now, and I have to say that after those first five days, it's been pretty easy so far.  If you're interested in reading about my smoking (and quitting) history, you can find it HERE.

Did you see that this month's Schnibbles pattern (from Sinta's and Sherri's A Year of [Vintage] Schnibbles) is Lincoln?  Sinta's very pretty version can be found HERE.  I thought while I was thinking about it that I'd show you the Lincoln Schnibbles I made a few years ago--

I made it using leftover scraps from my Halloween 1904 quilt.  Here's a photo that shows a bit of both quilts--

I plan to make it again this month, unless I run out of time, but I'm leaning toward making a baby quilt from the pattern this time--just to have on hand in case I need one.  How about you?  Will you join the Schnibbles parade this month?  I hope you do!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I Think a Hampster Died in my Keyboard

I have a Microsoft keyboard that looks like this:

Or maybe I should say it DID look like this when it was new.  Not so much now.  Over the past couple of years, the keys have gotten a little dusty and dirty along the edges and sides, and I'm wondering how to clean the keyboard well without ruining it.  You see, my normal method of cleaning most surfaces is to spray some type of cleaner (more often than not, Windex) onto a surface and wait awhile for it to soak in and loosen the dirt.  That doesn't seem like such a good idea for cleaning a keyboard.  I've gotten these things wet before and they don't like it.

So I was sitting here, pondering the gunk on the sides of my keys when it occurred to me to grab a dental floss pick and see if I could scrape or rub some of the gunk off.  After all, those things get gunk off teeth, right? 

No, I didn't floss between my keys; I tried the pointy end but it didn't scrape anything off.  But it DID pull up a bunch of dust and hair when I ran it between the keys.

Really, it was quite disturbing.  Where did all that hair COME FROM?!  It clearly wasn't my hair--or any other human hair for that matter.  In fact, I wondered whether one of my cats had learned to type and has been surfing the net while I'm at work--I'll have to check the computer's browsing history for kitty porn!

By the time I was done cleaning the spaces between the keys, I probably had enough hair to transplant onto a half-bald hampster.

And my mouse?  Well, I was on such a roll, I had to clean that too, and now I'm pretty sure there's more reason to call it a mouse than just because of its general shape.  Again:  Where did all this hair come from?

Unfortunately, my keyboard cleaning odyssey means two things:  (1) I haven't had time to do anything in the Sweat Shop this evening and (2) I'm going to have to shut down the computer now and get very serious about cleaning those keys.  If you don't hear from me for a few days, it's because I've killed the keyboard.

By the way, what in the heck do THESE dental floss picks do?  I came across them when I was looking for a photo of a dental floss pick to show you.  These guys look like they could crack a nut and then remove the residue from between the teeth, don't they?

Gotta go clean now.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Buy, Buy, Buy!

Sometimes I go a couple months without feeling I need to buy very much quilting stuff.  I've been pretty good the last month or two, in fact.  The mere mention of spring quilt market makes me close my eyes and hum quietly to myself so I'm not tempted by all the new and wonderful fabrics, patterns, and things.  But then there comes a time when I feel I need to buy a lot of stuff, and I think I'm coming into one of those times now!

Remember the scrappy quilt top I mentioned yesterday?  The one I thought I'd get out and quilt soon?  Well, I pulled it out of the quilt-in-waiting basket and laid it out on my bed.  Then I checked my stock of potential backing fabrics and nothing seemed right.  Sure, I could have pieced a bunch of random color blocks for a back, but that seemed like a lot of work; so I let my fingers do the browsing for wide quilt backs on sale and I ordered what I needed--a nice lavender print.  Here's the quilt top I was talking about--it was the result of a scrap basket clean out a couple years ago:

Then, while my fingers were doing that browsing, I thought I might as well order the roll of batting I'd been thinking about ordering, because I only have enough batting for a couple more quilts.  So sometime in the next week or so, a big roll of batting will show up on my porch and a big charge will show up on my Visa statement.  Oh, well, it had to be done, right?  I like to get my batting by the roll--it's less expensive per yard and the rolls last a long time, but it's a big chunk of change to lay out all at once!

I can finally show you the quilting on the last two blocks of the Country Cottages quilt.  For October, I quilted a crescent moon--hard to see but it's near the right side of the sky--along with some wispy clouds and a spider in a web.

And January's block has a background of swirly snow, just like December's block--but they're on opposite ends of the quilt, so it seemed a good balance, somehow.

Now I've gone on to work on the rest of the quilt, and I hope to be able to show you more in the next day or two.

Have a happy Canada Day!