Sunday, October 29, 2006

Psychic Connections

These pictures were taken Friday. We have big fat flakes of fresh snow falling right now. I'm happy to see it, because if we don't get a good covering early, then it usually turns bitter cold, & things freeze & ice. It's much nicer to have a little fluffy white to insulate things.

Our friends Mindy & John came over last night again, for a relaxing meal. It was a last minute thing, so I pulled a big bag of chicken wings out of the freezer & tossed them in the oven. Mindy brought fixings for a pear salad, & Warren went to the Flying Dutchman, & got a Pumpkin Flan. It's the best bakery in Anchorage. The wings were tequila-Lime from Tyson. He got them at Costco, & if you ever see them, get some & try them. We all loved them!

Christie, Mindy & John's middle daughter, won a Regional Irish dance competition in Arizona last weekend. Now we have to make a dress for Nationals. The dresses they use are like very fancy applique & embroidered quilts built into the shape of dresses. Christie borrowed one from a friend, to bring over to show me, so I could see how it's constructed. I've always told them I would make one for them when they needed it. John did a lot of construction on our house, & wouldn't let us pay him, & Mindy & the girls helped insulate & paint, & nail & screw, & sand & strip paint on old furniture, so I feel I owe them. These dresses sell for over $1000.00, so it's not your every day dress. I was amazed at how heavy it was. The skirt has big box pleats, that flash when they dance, & it has a stiff batting, like Timtex, & it feels just like Lutradure in the back side of the pleats. Christie wants snowflakes on her dress, to represent the fact that she's from Alaska, & since I'm the snowflake Queen, it'll be easy for me to include snowflakes on her dress.
Christie & I have an interesting connection. I went on the internet, & did a search for dresses. I printed out 3 that I thought were similar to what she would like. When they got here, they were amazed, because there were 4 she had found on the internet, that she liked the style of, & I had printed out 3 of the 4. That may not sound that amazing to you, but there were hundreds of dresses, on about 30 web pages that I looked at, & Mindy hadn't told me which web pages to look on!
Once when we were in Michigan, for Warren to go to school. I had injured my back when lifting a 450# person at work, & was laying on the floor at home, trying to make the pain ease, Mindy called me to find out if I was ok, because Christie had woke up from her nap (she was 2 years old at the time), & told her mom I had fallen down. She insisted "Debbie is hurt". Now what's really remarkable about this, Christie hardly even knew us at the time, because she wasn't even a year old when we left Alaska, to go back to school.
Another time, we were planning a trip back to Alaska, & we wanted surprise everyone, so we hadn't told them, & as we were getting ready to leave for the airport, the phone rang & it was Mindy. She said Christie had woke up that morning insisting that she should call me. She wanted to know if everything was all right. Mindy nearly fainted the next day when we walked into her office at work. That was a fun surprise!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Just Call me Grace!

Well, I had my first week back to work. I do 12 hour shifts, usually ON my feet! Last night in my 13th hour, I was trying to get out of there. I'd stayed overtime, & was taking an Artline cable to put it away. Walking fast, trying to coil this long wire, I caught it in my left shoe, my foot rolled, & I was flat on my face, before I knew what hit me!I hurt my pride more than anything else, though I feel a bit bruised & battered today. I awoke at 4a.m. with the ankle aching, & worrying about my sister, so I got up & called her. We chatted for a couple of hours. Her Oncologist is still undecided as to the best course of treatment for her, & is awaiting more test results.

On my previous post, there was a comment about me being handy with tools. Yes I have gotten probably more experience with power tools than your average homemaker. I've actually helped to build a few houses, & am well acquainted with a skillsaw, table saw, drills, & nail guns. I LOVE power tools. I've looked at construction as just another form of quilting, using really firm fabric!

This is a picture of what our little house looked like September 2005. We moved out Sept. 2nd, 2005, & didn't get back in until November 30th, 2006. The contractor had said it would take "Three weeks".

They cleared a lot of the trees away from the house, then lifted it, & moved it over. We built a full basement, added on a new bedroom.
During the time of this construction, my DH had to go through radiation therapy,(which left him exhausted, & feeling bad) & later ended up tearing up his knee when he slipped at work, & had to have surgery, so I did a lot of the finishing construction myself to get us back into the house. I guess I have to thank my Ex. for teaching me about house construction.
I ended putting about two-thirds of the tongue & groove cedar on the walls of out new master bedroom.
And I did all of the tile work in the house. This is a shot of the upstairs bathroom that we remodeled. I did all the painting.
& in the Master bath down stairs, I constructed the cedar cabinet behind the vanity, to have a way for the plumbing to be attached, since the 1st idiot plumber our contractor brought in refused to listen to any of my instructions. He had a 'thing' against women.
I also did all the wood wainscoting & trim in this bathroom.

So cutting a ladder in 1/2, & screwing it on the wall, was nothing for me.

We finally had some snow fall. With the global warming our winter has come late. We had just a few inches over the past couple of days. I always love to see winter come here. It's a cozy stay home & quilt time of year. Things usually slow down a bit. Fewer visitors come, & we can settle down & get some work done inside. So I think I'll limp down the stairs, & see if I can get something done. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Home Decorating

Yesterday I got a decorating bug. Too much sitting around watching H&G TV. I went looking through my old quilt & quilt top collection to bring some more color to the living room, & the minute I flipped up the 1st quilts, Broccoli jumped up & held it down for me. Isn't that sweet of him?
I went out to the garage & got the other old ladder that we had. It was too tall to stand up anywhere inthe house, so I cut it in 1/2, & screwed the shorter end up on the wall behind the wood stove.
I covered the rungs with some layers of cheese cloth to protect the quilt tops, then just hung them on the ladder.

THe other thing I did last night, was take some sheets that I've had for 16 years, & never used, & cut off one end, made tie-backs with the extra fabric, & turned them into curtains for the living room. I'm still not satisfied with them, but they're better than what was there before.

Today I head back to work. Resting the shoulder has been a little boring, as I couldn't do a lot of things, (like quilt on a large quilt), but I'm sure I'll be worn out by Friday, since I've gotten used to just relaxing at home. No rest for the wicked I guess.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Next Big Quilt!

Well, here it is. The next BIG quilt! Exciting isn't it? HA!

It took me a couple of hours & much rearranging just to get the paper up on the wall. Now I have to start drawing it out. I have it drawn on a regular sheet of paper, & will start by projecting just the center of the drawing on to the paper, bu I think I'll freehand the rest, once I get the center finished, just because I think it'll be easier that way. I wish I had a real classroom overhead projector for this part, it would be simple with one of those. Oh well, you can't have everything! It will probably take me a year or 2 to get this one done. I have a couple of other projects that I need to get finished first, including my dear Michelle's wedding quilt! Since she was married , what it is now? 2 1/2 years ago? Then there's the baby quilt, for the baby who will be 2 soon! Boy am I behind!Sigh........

Better get back to work. Speaking of work, I have to go back on Tuesday ..bummer.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

October Journal Quilt

Here is my October Journal quilt. It's made with real leaves, that I collected outside. I layed them on a piece of a potato bag (it was a colorless mesh bag), then I used Modge-Pdge on them. It's for decopage. You could probably use white school glue too. After bothe sides were covered & dry, I layed a piece of gold tulle over the top & quilted around the leaves. I put a few bits of painted, & burned dryer sheets for borders, did some hand beading, & a bit of funky yarn for the edges.

It was fun!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Threading a Needle

Today after getting my hair done & running errands, I went downtown to the Anchorage museum to help with a group of 50 Brownies (the Girl Scout kind, not edible), to learn how to quilt. The did a very simple applique', postcard size quilt.
It was fun, & Pat, the gal running the class is a very experienced quilter. She's been quilting since the 70's. She had the girls threading embroidery floss on to their needles, short pieces & tying a knot at just one end. Of course they were having trouble not pulling their needles off the thread with the very 1st stitch. Which is the biggest reason I always hated sewing that way, until I took a little handwork class this past March with a little Korean lady.She taught me a different way to thread my needle, to keep from having the thread slip off. I'd actually learned to thread it this same way for silk ribbon embroidery, but never thought to apply the same method to regular thread. In her class we used very fine, #100 silk thread. I took pictures using a large needle & yarn to show you how it's done.

That's it, just 1,2,3, simple as can be, & you never have to lose your thread again. Even Pat hadn't known about this, so I thought there may be a few of you out there that might like this technique.
Warren took the summer screen door off the front of the house, & I decided to have him put it in the corner of the living room, rather than out in the leaky garage, where it'll get damaged. I went to Michael's today, & got some fall silk leaf bundles. They were all 50% off, then put together a wreath, to decorate the door. We did a little furniture rearranging this week too. Just traded the couch & love seat around & moved an end table to spread the table lamps around a little more evenly. It made a big difference in how the living room feels & looks. It's more open & comfortable.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Is it the Sunspots?

Here's my DGD Darian, with her Papa-Jon. She turned 12 yesterday! Wow! Where did the time go? Happy birthday Darian. Sorry I didn't get it on here yesterday.

The image is a picture taken from C St. near downtown Anchorage. It's a bridge along the bike path (we have over 1000 miles of paths in & around Anchorage), over Campbell Creek.

My reference to the sunspots is because it seems like everything is just a little bit off lately. The fancy dishwasher still isn't working. We are now waiting for parts.
The Sattelite TV comes & goes, but for the most part seems to be working today.
The DSL for my computer has been very iffy the past few days. The little blogging I've managed to do, was done in such a hurry, trying to get it done before the connection is broken again. Probably related to the issues with our phone line. We have terrible static noises, that apparently can't be fixed until we finish the outside wall where the wire is running, & that won't be done until next summer.
Now my nice, Rowenta Steam Generator iron is dying. I rely heavily on it. I really miss it when I can't use it. It makes all the difference in the world when ironing. Even my children all commented on how they wanted it when they were here visiting & used it, so I gave them each one for Christmas a few years ago. So once again I will pack it up & ship it off, & pray it doesn't take much to repair, because I'll miss it when it's gone. I shoudn't lament though, at least I have a back up iron, & things could be a lot worse! At least I have a home!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Another Postquard

Today I made a second Postquard to send to Switzerland. I took pictures of each layer to show you my process. I get teased a lot by friends for using things like this piece of paper towel, that I used for my 1st layer. It was from cleaning up after painting. I even cleaned some of my stamps off on it. I thought it was too pretty to throw away.The dark green on the left is a strip of fabric. I used BoNash to fuse this all down to my Timtex base.

Next is my silk organza, that I painted with Dynaflow fabric paints, & the little green ginko leaf is from a rubbing I did with a Shiva Stick & my toothbrush holder in my bathroom.

After layering the silk on top of the paper layer I quilted it with Holoshimmer thread in a Copper color.

Last I layered on the Ginko piece, fininhed the edges with a dark green holoshimmer, & stamped the word "DREAM" in copper paint. I tried a little embossing powder on it to make stand out a little, but it wasn't very successful. It didn't stick very well to the silk & copper paint.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Hurrier I go The Behinder I get...

I always liked that saying. It's so true for me. As usual I'm always behind. I don't know how I actually get anything done. The shoulder is feeling better all the time. I saw the Dr. today & he wants me to stay off work 1 more week. I feel bad for my co-workers because working short all the time really stinks. But I'm afraid if I aggrivate it again I'll be off even longer, so I'm being good. I don't dare work on anything big, so I've been doing very small things like Quards. The 1st is a belated birthday for my DSIL, Jon. Next is for my DGD, who loves all things Asian. Her birthday is the 18th.
"The Last Leaf of Autumn" is a postquard I made for a donation in Switzerland for the fight against breast cancer.
Lastly is the sunset from my front porch looking toward the Cook Inlet. Our veiw is mostly obscured by trees, but once the leaves have all dropped we can see bits of the inlet & nice sunset colors.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Oxi Clean Saved the Day

Well my fancy dishwasher is down for repair once again. I have to wait until Monday to call Meile, & of course I have company coming for dinner tonight. Mindy & John & the 2 girls. & sunspots are apparently effecting the Dish TV. Maybe that's the problem with the dishwasher too! The good thing about the sunspots were the northern lights last night while we were out in the hot tub. Sorry I didn't have my camera with me.
We got a couple of nice surprises in the mail this week. This fun little bunch of stuff came from my pal Kathy Jolman, in Michigan. A cute little vintage looking Halloween card with some vintage sequins & sparkly gem & shi-sha things, & a neat little leather beaded thimble pouch made by her hubby John, with some sacred cedar, sweet grass, tobacco, & Sage. Also some sage seeds.Most came from a Pow-wow they went to.

Another little surprise we got in the mail was from my sister Em. It's quite a message.

I liked it so much I decided to try doing a rubbing off of it. Maybe I'll use it for the beginning of an auction quilt for my guild.

Here's one of the pieces of fabric I tryed to stop the flow of umber with. I added some orange & yellow to it. & last is my carpet after OXI CLEAN! It only has the faintest pinky tinge left on it. I'll never look at those obnoxious commercials the same way again. I'm sold!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

This was the veiw we woke up to this morning. It looked like this until 11 a.m., then the sun burned the fog all away & it was a beautiful clear blue day. I slept late this morning (something I almost never do). It felt heavenly.
I worked on my October Journal quilt. & I tried QXI CLEAN on my carpet. It actually lightened up the stain! I have hope it might just go away yet! I'm reserving judgement until the morning when it's dry & see how it looks then!

Thanks for your helpful hints! & my right arm is fine! Then left shoulder was the one with a problem, & it's still stiff in one direction, & has a sore spot, but really feels so much better than before I'm not complaining at all!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I'll Never Look at Umber the same way Again

Last night I was bored. A state I seldom find myself in, because I'm always busy. Since I'm still 'resting' the left arm, I decided one thing I can do one handed is paint. I decided to slop some paint on fabrics that I might turn into another purse eventually.
I decided to use colors that I wear, so I could actually carry this purse a lot. So that's what the 1st 2 pieces are. The next piece I decided to play with stamping & painting. One of the things I used to stamp the fabric with was bubble wrap.I'm not sure if it done yet.
The next is more dryer sheets. I seem to use them a lot these days.
& I played with some Angelina fibers, using an antique wood stamp to give it a little design. This may be part of a purse too.

When I started to put the caps on my Dynaflow jars, my hand slipped, & burnt Umber poured out all over the place, & before I could stop it, it dripped on to my carpet. It hasn't even been on the floor for a whole year yet. & why I didn't have plastic covering the floor like I usually do when I play with paints, I don't know. I was sick over it. I scubbed & scrubbed, but this is how it still looks. I'm thinking maybe eventually I'll just paint the whole floor!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Arm rest & Thanks

In Anchorage the public places do 1% for the Arts. This picture is a busy corner by one of the elementary schools. The piece is designed by Kieth Appel, & it shows best when it's dark out. It's one of my favorite public art pieces. It changes color constantly, & can be very mesmerizing. Kieth's wife Darleen is an active member of our quilt guild, & he used to teach art at UAA here in Anchorage. He did a lecture at our guild once. He was a very interesting speaker.

I'm up early this morning even though I'm not working this week, since I must rest the shoulder. Typing one handed is making blogging harder for me. I thought about making a list of all the things I can do with one hand, but it wouldn't be fun to type or read.

I noticed I made a typo on another blog a couple of days ago, wrote pooped instead of popped. Really changed the meaning of what I was trying to say. I hate when that happens!

I'm off to the Gynecologist's today for my PAP & exam. Something exciting to look forward to (not). Then we have to go say happy birthday to Auntie Ethel. She's made it to 93! It looked touch & go there for a bit, but she made it.

I may try to do a littkle right hand only quilting tonight. I want to do something with those leaves. I have decided we'll just eat the pomegranate since I just looked at Dijanne Cevaal's blog, & she's worked the pom to death, so I'll have to find something else to play around with.

Thanks to all who have wished my sister & me both well. My shoulder is feeling quite a bit better than it was, & Em is home & on the road to recovery. She'll know more about what she has to do next when all the path reports come in. So please keep her in your prayers. & thanks again!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Blogging one handed

Here's me & my sister Em, taken in May 2004, when a whole bunch of family & friends came up to surprise me & celebrate my 50th birthday. It was one of the most fun 2 weeks of my life. Even though Em is 6 years older than me, we've always been really close. We slept in the same bed for years, we seldom fought, though Em still has a small scar on her thigh where I bit her once. Mostly we got along well, & got into only a little trouble together. We both love to quilt. Em won awards in High School for Drafting (something only boys did until she took the class), & for sewing a nice peachy suit, with a little hat, very Jackie Kennedy style. She was always my hero. I always looked up to her (no Em, not just because I'm shorter!) She has a wicked wit. Today before the anesthesiologist put her to sleep for her surgery, she told him to tell the Dr. to make the incions for her mastectomies vertical, since vertical lines have a more slimming effect.

She apparently went through surgery well, & will likly go home tomorrow. I called our Dad to find out how she did. I'll call her tomorrow when she feels more awake. I talked to the Recovery Room nurse in Michigan, & she was one of my old friends & coworkers from ICU. It felt good knowing who was taking care of her.

Of course the Dr. won't say much yet, as far as results, but told Dad that he only took 2 nodes & they appeared normal. It didn't look like the cancer had spread anywhere.

I went to my friend the Dr. today, & he says I have very inflammed tendons where they connect to the humerus. He injected my shoulder with steroids & a little Marcaine, which gave me some relief right away. Now he says "REST IT", hence one handed blogging. I felt queezy all weekend. Had to stop & get a few groceries on the way home. We were completely out of fruits & veggies. I felt worse when I got home, so I just warmed up some soup for supper. Warren built a fire, & I passed out on the couch. I vaguely remember him leaving for work. My shoulder & tummy both feel a little better now. I'm off work at least through next Monday, then we'll see how the shoulder is doing. I had to fill out FMLA forms at work. I feel like a jerk for needing to take time off like this, but know it won't get any better if I don't.
I guess I'll have to learn to quilt one handed. Thankfully I'm right handed, & it's the left shoulder that hurts.
I picked these leaves up in the parking lot at the grocery store. I think they may play a part in my October Journal quilt.
& I loved this Pomegranate. I thought it was cute. Now I want to use it somehow in a quilt design.....

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Happy Birthday Warren & Brandon

You all had such nice comments on what a babe my Brandon is. It's funny because the card I made for Warren says," Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art."-M. Breenbie... It seemed appropriate. Brandon is a good genetic blend of his father & my father, who Brandon looks a LOT like.
Inside I wrote "Happy Birthday to my favorite work of Art!" Warren appreciated it. :)
For you who are interested in the technical details of this Quard....I started with a piece of hand-painted cotton Batting (wadding for those of you who use that term), layered on a piece of paper towel. Yes, I said paper towel. It was one of the towels I used for clean up after one of my fabric painting sessions & it was too pretty to throw away! I sprinkled on thread bits (I save everything!), & 3 little pieces of Whisper (that cellophane like stuff Florists use to make bows for plants),a piece of painted Bounce (dryer sheet), the little quote (from my Cryptoquote that I do every day in the newspaper), & a piece of gold Tulle to hold it all down. Quilted with Sulky Holoshimmer Copper color thread, then a few more Bouce bits for frame & stitched right on to a card blank.
I just finished another Reversible Purse. I sent the last to my DDIL in Kwajelain. This one will be a sample for my class at Coupville Arts in the spring. (If you want to check out the classes, go to "workshops", Mine are Threadplay Apr. 28 & 29, then April 30 & May 1st, for free motion quilting & the reversible purses).
I really like the button detail on this side. It is fused glass from my friend Mindy Meyn. It took me almost 4 hours to get the beading done to my satisfaction, to hold it in place.
The reverse side includes a bit of the Calendar Girls Challenge fabric, just like the last, & I used several pieces of my hand painted Sheer silk to layer over the top of commercial prints to make them softer looking.
I used one of my Thread-paint Flowers, that will be part of another class at Coupville in April, for this side of the purse.
This last photo is just a little detail shot of some of the quilting.