Thursday, October 15

Progress Report


This is really just to let you know I haven’t fallen off the planet. I’m still here. There hasn’t been a lot to share; life has been borrrring around the Rancho. Well, except for the omnipresent political crap, but I don’t go there. Not that I don’t have strong convictions, I definitely do. But...I’m sure you do, too.

So! Moving right along, on my way home from the dentist I spied a big new Michael’s, much closer to my house. Big yay. My first score: Silk flowers to brighten up my table for Autumn. Not that we’ve eaten at the table in months, COVID changed all that, but I like to change it up with the seasons. (The table runner I made this summer.) I don’t put a lot of Halloween stuff around. 

But THESE people do! Every time we go down the hill to the grocery store—still only once a week—this yard is festooned yet further. What fun! There will be a big-ass full moon (a blue moon) at Halloween this year, in case you wanted to know.
This is just a small piece, there is more. 

Our community college announced its Fall emeritus lineup and I wanted to take a watercolor class, but it’s already booked full and it’s all online anyway, so...not this year. They have a watercolor class here on the Rancho but it’s on Wednesdays, which is my golf day. Golf trumps art (and everything else). So I got the stuff, and a book, and I’ll tackle it solo. I have an extensive art background so—no expectations, no pressure, just dabbling—but it’s something I have always wanted to try. I’m such a dilettante. 

I discovered that if I turn my sewing table around it becomes a great art workspace and it folds down in two seconds. We are going to start playing bridge regularly (yay). We’ll play in here, much easier than moving the living room furniture and the light is good.

Hope y’all are staying healthy and safe. 

Friday, September 18

Karma Chameleon

Finished. Finally. All images copyrighted...and clickable. 

Sunday, September 13

The Home Stretch

 You getting tired of looking at this yet? Yeah, me too. Almost finished.

I have begun quilting the background. Walking a tightrope here, I may run out of thread. 
It’ll be close. Why not add a little drama to the endgame.

I “pebbled” the white streak. The picture doesn’t capture the silky sheen. 

I saved the legs for last because I honestly could not decide what thread to use. 

So I made a scrap and auditioned a few threads. I love thread.

Man that is tedious work! One more leg to go. 
People always ask how long it takes to make one of my quilts. There is no real answer. I usually say it depends on what else is going on in my life, my interest level, and if there is a deadline. A piece like this could take me one month or six. In some cases, like Autumn’s Glory II, two years.

Spotted on my morning walk.

Wednesday, September 9

Labor Day

And Labor I did. I spent the entire weekend working on the “Green Monstah.” In between watching golf and trying to not snack out of boredom. I made progress. It’s slow going because I must take frequent breaks for the sake of my neck (degenerative disc disease—it’s age). I figured I might get good at this if I can just keep going. 

Yes, I will Pebble-quilt that white stripe...eventually. I did get a little better at Pebbles. 

It looks better from a distance. I still have a lot to do. I’m not in a hurry. 

In other news: Weather. We had some extremely hot days (triple digits) and we were worried about blackouts. But we have San Diego G&E instead of Pacific, which has the problems. We have friends up north who are sitting in the dark. But I never discuss political issues here, and it’s political. Everything is. 

Then one day the cloud (and smoke) cover was so thick it did not get over 72°. Vicious winds and high temperatures were forecasted. JJ suggested I not play golf. I said we’ll see. Maybe.  

It was fairly cool in the morning, and I had an early tee time, so I went for it. I can always bail out if it gets bad or there is a fire. The sky was smoky, but it was up high and we could not smell it and it didn’t burn our eyes or lungs, so we pressed on. This smoke is from a fire far to the east of us in Yucaipa. 

The smoke actually blocked out the sun and kept temperatures down. The temperature was quite pleasant but the course was in terrible shape—I played here two weeks ago and it was great, but today it was muddy and even swampy. I played terribly. I just couldn’t find my swing. 
Just about the time the winds kicked up and the heat was on, we were on 17 and we were able to finish.

Monday, August 31

September Tomorrow?

Can you believe summer has come and gone already? Well, officially anyway. We still have months of hot weather ahead in So Cal. 

The nights have been balmy and warm (a rarity here) and we planned a little outside dinner party. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the hot spell broke and it turned chilly. But I broke out the “wraps” and we soldiered on. The men beat a hasty retreat to a more sheltered area to discuss things that interest them.

I took several pictures of the guys, but only this one turned out. Tom. It’s so much fun to hang out with friends—and very special because it has been a lonely year. 

My next-door neighbor Barbara brought me these. I have the best neighbors! 

I reupholstered the second chair (left). It was much more difficult than the first one because the cushions are very shaped, so they’re definitely amateur-level, but I’m happy. I love the fabric. 

The chameleon is still under the needle, but I decided new thread was in order, so it waits. I don't love the intricate quilting part nearly as much as I love the working with fabric part. I practically have to drag myself to it and my neck protesteth loudly if I spend much time doing it.

Spotted this on my morning walk. Can you just imagine the joy this brought Grampy?

Here’s a closer look. I just love this! 

Well, I guess I’ll see you next month! 

Sunday, August 23

Dog Days of Summer

I usually say something about the “Dog Days” every August because I’m pretty interested in sky-stuff. The term Dog Days is not about dogs lying around, tongues hanging out panting in the heat, but about Sirius rising (i.e. appearing in the eastern sky just before dawn). Except this year. 

This year, this old dog has been lying around panting in the heat. I’ve managed to keep my tongue from dragging on the ground, but I have been lazy. I am not usually lazy, but it has been too hot to do much of anything. It is too hot for golf, and too hot to go for morning walks. I have not accomplished much. 

Some friends celebrated their anniversary and had a sort of “rolling party.” They rode their golf cart through the neighborhood, stopping to visit and share some bubbly. It was so clever and so much fun. 

I went to lunch with friends a couple of times and we met friends for dinner at the golf course. It’s so good to get out and see people.

I did accomplish one thing, I reupholstered one of my studio chairs. The seat was easy, but I couldn’t get the back to come apart so I slipcovered it.

Well, that’s all the news. 

Wednesday, August 19

Around Here

 Not a lot, lemme tell ya. The days and weeks pass in a blur. The only thing that varies is whether the TV is turned to news or golf. 

I have been reading this. The first chapter on the founding of this great nation and the Constitution is very interesting (the rest is more current) and well-researched. When I grew up we studied American History, Civics, and we pledged allegiance to the flag. The curriculum today is very different, I think. 

I got this cool puzzle. It’s an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery that you must solve while piecing the puzzle, and the image on the box is not the same as the puzzle! I’m looking forward to it. 

I decided it was time to recover these hideous chairs. I never paid much attention to them until my friend Debra redid some chairs—her whole house, actually, and these sad old chairs finally caught my eye. The new fabric is on its way. 

Karma Chameleon is under the needle, but I confess I haven’t put my shoulder to the grindstone yet. The quilt design I chose is pebbles, which I am not very good at and it is tough on my neck. That’s what is great about being retired—it will still be where I left it when I get around to it again. 

We finally kicked this six-year-old Samsung fridge to the curb. It has been a hated thing since day one—a real lemon. It leaked all the way to the street. Goodbye and good riddance!

Sunday, August 9

Life in the Slow Lane

I am sure y’all can relate! 

We have been getting together with friends for ‘virtual happy hour’ via FaceTime et al. “What’s new? Not much. Whatcha been up to! Not a lot...” You get the idea. 

We did a Zoom with our longtime friends Mike &Marty. Neither of us had ever done Zoom before and we couldn’t quite get it right. But it was still fun.

I suited up to go for my daily power walk but it was too cold. This is August, people! Unbelievable. I prefer the cold, but wow. I had to wear a fleece vest.

Behold, the fog has rolled in. It was clear an hour ago when the sun was blasting me awake. These tall fences are meant to keep the coyotes out, but I’ve seen some pretty skinny coyotes around here—at least that’s what they told us, I think a coyote could fit.

These are a few of the masks I made for the kidfolk. They are reversible and I made different sizes. 

Michelle came to get the masks and we had a nice little visit. She had just come from horseback riding. She’s such a lovely woman—strong, capable, and fun to be around. 

The thread I got to replace the almost-empty one didn’t work as hoped. It wasn't the same, not even close—I was disappointed. I decided to put areas of one color and areas of the other. I don’t know if you can see it here, but I think it’s going to be fine. I kind of like it! 

Thursday, August 6

Back in Business

 ...the mask-making business, that is. I saw a bunch of family at the memorial and most of them have lost the masks I made for them in the spring. They were wearing those blue disposables. We can’t have that, right? So, before I return to my quilting projects, I’ll churn out a few glam-masks for the kidfolk. 

I recovered some pillows. I couldn’t stand to look at the coral seahorses one more day. I change the pillow covers in summer, but the seahorses had to go. I spent an afternoon browsing and I spied a nice Tommy Bahama fabric...hey! I bought that exact fabric a decade ago to redo the valances in the desert house and then we moved and I forgot about it. But I knew where I had put it—Score! 

We still go to the grocery only once a week, which requires careful planning, but I’ve gotten used to it now. The most perishable items get used first, and I have learned that asparagus stays super-fresh if you put them in water, like flowers. These will stay fresh for six days, that’s as long as I have kept them so far. 

This is the planning app I use—AnyList. It’s indispensable. And it’s free. Over time I have built a database of dishes in my repertoire. I cook differently in summer than I do in winter, so I have two menu lists. The 80-item menu lives in the background. The small print is the ingredients I need to buy. Those items go over to the grocery list, which is organized according to the store layout. Makes it all a no-brainer.

This display caught my eye this morning. 

This color absolutely made me swoon. Eye candy. 

Wednesday, August 5

Life’s a Journey

We finally celebrated the life of Michelle’s mother Mary-Anne, who passed in March but the virus complicated matters on several fronts. Mary-Anne planned every detail of her “going away party,” and she did a beautiful job. It was a lovely memorial. 

That’s all, folks! See y’all next time!

Saturday, July 25

Trials and Tribulations

I had a wee setback with the table runner. Last year when we had the house repaired, when the painter fell and sloshed paint over most of my clothes (stay with me, it comes together), they painted every room. Which meant my felt design “wall” had to be ripped down. I hadn’t needed it until now. I found a piece of polyester and pinned it up. I didn’t think it would work but it did. Until I turned on the fan.
Oh well.
Looks like I’ll be starting over. Always something! 

Amazon delivered the felt the next morning and I was back in business. I have enjoyed piecing this, it seems totally random, but if you look you can see that each section is built like a log cabin block. Yet still ad lib, which I like. Traditional piecing bores me to death.

Done. Sized perfectly for my table at 13 x 54. 

Next I fiddled with quilting designs. I like to draw them first, I get the size and logistics down and then it becomes muscle memory. Kind of like a golf swing—that’s all muscle memory. Try to change your swing and, well...
It’s actually easier to quilt the design than draw it.
I like. I chose a variegated thread with blue and tan. I was up and running and all was well until I realized I might not have enough thread to finish, so I’d better get some now. I went to the Red Rock Threads website. But I couldn’t find Superior Rainbows. Anywhere. I sent them an email and got a reply in minutes: Superior stopped making Rainbows years ago. What!? Why in the world... I ordered something else, I hope it’s okay, it’s really hard to tell from a computer screen. Sigh.

Here’s a tip I learned. Teflon on your sewing surface. I use Teflon from time to time so I had it on hand. I taped a big sheet to my sewing table. Wow, huge improvement! It’s so slidey-glidey! Happiness! So I must share. For the confused, there is a little hole for the needle and thread to go through. 

In other news, we got new light fixtures in the kitchen. We only had two working lights, the others had gone south. They were too yellow for my sensibilities (I was golfing when they were installed). Handy Randy came back to adjust the hue from “sunset” to “midday.” I kid you not.

Finally, this. This Samsung is six years old. It leaks inside and the ice maker jams up (and squeaks). We have to “fix” both of those problems regularly. I cleaned it out but the new fridge never came. We don’t know if we’ll ever get the new one. No one knows what happened or if they have another one. No one knows anything. 
Fortunately the wine was cold. Silver linings. 

Progress Report

 NONE!   This is really just to let you know I haven’t fallen off the planet. I’m still here. There hasn’t been a lot to share; life has bee...