Thursday, September 30, 2010

Highway Bling

Saturday, on the way to the High Country we encountered an unusual sight - Highway Bling.

Cruising down the highway in front of us, the pickup was shimmering, emitting bursts of light. As we grew closer, it intrigued us: what could this man be hauling in the bed of the pickup that glittered so much.

We passed the vehicle and our mouths gaped. Surely we did not see a blinged-out pickup. The vehicle pulled over at the Red Rocks, so we turned around and asked the driver if we could photograph his truck.

The guy obviously spent a lot of time adding some personality to his truck - even the wheel wells were blinged out.  Look at the size of those tires!

Needless to say, this truck started our day with lots of laughs, and we were glad that he pulled over so we could turn around to get some pictures.

Have you ever seen so much bling on the highway?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

High Country Color

Saturday, I went to the High Country with two friends to see the Aspens' color, and we were almost too late. Many of the trees had already shown color, and their leaves were scattered on the forest floor. As we drove higher and higher, we were rewarded with pockets of gold.

At the end of the road we walked to the shallow but swift waters of Horse Creek. The day was warm (in the high 70s and not a cloud in the sky). It was the perfect day to get into the High Country.

On the return trip, the trees were back-lit and shimmered in the sun, making them even more gorgeous than the first time we saw them. 

While the road was good, albeit rough and steep in many areas, the trip could have been made in a car, but we took a pickup. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Operation Santa

Operation Santa filled and distributed 42,400 stockings to deployed Armed Forces in 2009. Volunteers in 2009 crafted 50,00 stockings.

I used some scraps and some smaller pieces of yardage to make 11 stockings in an assembly line.

The pattern is easy to print and use: one simple seam, a quick hem at the top, and an optional hanging loop. Nothing can be easier to make. Cuffs are also optional. November 1, 2010 is the deadline.

You can watch a video of Santa's elves on the Citizen Sam website that may make motivate you to make a stocking or two from some of your scraps.

Please note that Citizen Sam has other projects listed on their site, too.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hidden but Obvious

I had enough backing fabric for In the Wind to make sure the words and stripes matched. Can you see the seam?

The presentation case was made from the same fabric and the blue and red that were used in the blocks. The binding will be the navy starred fabric.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

In the Wind

In the Wind was finished yesterday. To meet the Quilt of Valor requirements, I increased the border sizes: the white one was cut 3.5 inches; the red, 5.5 inches. In the Wind measures 56.5 x 72.5.

Now, I'll prepare the backing, binding, label, and presentation case.

This has been such a fun quilt to make. Mary, thank you for the pattern.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kitchen Set

These two kitchen sets are for an up-coming charity bazaar.

The pattern I used as well as other versions are available here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

While the Iron is Hot

After finishing Sand Boxes, I decided to keep my momentum and "strike while the iron is hot."

In May, I purchased the fabric, featured above, specifically for a Quilt of Valor, but I could not decide on a pattern. Then Mary Johnson posted a new pattern that I knew would be perfect. I have three more blocks to make and then the top can be assembled.

Mary calls this pattern Tessellating Pinwheels, and the blocks are a dream to make. After working with 2.5 inch half-square triangles of Sand Boxes for over a year, I'm in love with the large pieces in this pattern and how easy it is to make the blocks. Mary has several patterns listed in the left column of Mary Quilts: check them out.

I've named this quilt, In the Wind.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Crossing It Off

I can cross one more thing off of my "To Do" list - six additional scrubbies for Christmas neighbor gifts.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sand Boxes

Finally after 384 days, the Sand Boxes quilt is finished and ready for its journey to a machine quilter. The project was stalled for months on end, but came together nicely. I added two borders to meet the size requirements for a Quilt of Valor.

The backing fabric was tucked away in my sewing room. I remember buying it two or three years ago for another project, but it works perfectly for this quilt top.

Using a similar blue, and the backing fabric, I made a presentation case for the quilt, using this video tutorial on the Quilt of Valor site.

Now, I need to prepare a label and binding, and the quilt is good to go.

Update: October 13, 2010

Sand Boxes has been quilted by Alycia and will soon be given to a soldier. Thank you Alycia for quilting this top for me and for sending these photos for my record.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Climate Change

It's difficult for me to determine just when I first felt the change. Did it start several years ago when the increasing negative political ads were so popular during the election flurry? Was it the frequent scandals (affairs, corruption, lies, incompetence) of our elected officials? Was it Hurricane Katrina? Despite its origin, the political climate of this country has become a cesspool, and even more sadly, it is contagious. 

Have you noticed the atmosphere of hate that is enveloping the country? Some may say it is more visible because of the media, the internet, the wide use of technology, yet paranoia and hatred are running rampant throughout the country not just in the cities but also in the smallest communities and even in the classroom. The country is imploding, and sadly many don't even see it because they are too caught up in the movement.

We must stop this trend. Every citizen from the youngest to the oldest has a role to play in this challenge. It is virtually impossible to agree all of the time; however, it is time to stop shouting at each other, time to stop pointing fingers, time to take responsibility, time to listen, time to compromise, and  time to look past personal gain and seek the greater good because the alternative is not very pleasant.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Scrubbed Mission

It's Christmas-knitting time! When I cleaned off the cutting table last week, I found a roll of tulle that I've been meaning to cut in half to make scrubbies. After a few nights of knitting while watching television, I finished 12 tulle scrubbies - all from one large roll of tulle.

Using odd bits of cotton yarn remaining from other projects, I knit 6 cotton scrubbies, which will be paired with a tulle one for a simple gift for friends and neighbors. Eventually, I'll knit six more cotton scrubbies.

The scrubbies were made using this pattern, called Dish Cloth Duo. I used a size 11 needle for the tulle scrubbies and followed the pattern; however, for the cotton ones, I used a 9 needle and cast on 22 stitches instead the 18 suggested in the pattern.

More information on where to find tulle, how to cut it, and how to create the scrubbies can be found on this earlier post.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Home Stretch

What began as a jumble of scraps on August 28, 2009 is definitely showing promise.

It feels good to be nearly finished with this quilt. Blog readers have seen the complete process on previous posts.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Another Cocoon

I finished another scrappy Baby Cocoon on Tuesday. This one used some of the same colors as the first cocoon, but the color order is different. Between the two cocoons I used nearly all of the odd bits and scraps of Caron Simply Soft that I had saved.

It's time to move on to another project to create some more scraps.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Carrying On

I can't begin to count all of the purses I've own or carried over the years. As a child, I remember playing with old pocket books, the perfect container for precious toys and play money.

An ugly, white wicker purse with a adjustable chain handle accompanied me through my junior year in high school. It was so large that it would not fit into my locker, so I dragged it everywhere. I snagged many pairs of nylons on that bag. I must have thought it was stylish; now I think it was pretty ugly.

I've carried bags made of cloth, nylon, string, leather, and vinyl. Shoulder bags are by far my favorite, but I've used clutches, and purses with handles of leather, chain, or cloth. I even owned black and white beaded evening purses, but I only remember using one of them at a prom I was chaperoning and then I put it in the closet. I wonder if it is still there.

I've never owned a designer purse, and I don't bother matching my purse to my shoes. My purse is always a neutral color (beige, black, or gray - pretty boring, huh?) and usually lasts about five years. My most expensive purse was leather, and I used it for over eight years. I think I still have it somewhere.

My handbag usually contains a camera, checkbook, cash, credit cards, lip balm, pens, phone, tooth picks, address labels, emergency cash tucked in a hard-to-get area, extra car key, medication, handkerchief, license, antacids, sanitizer, and some other odd bits. Of course, I could probably pare this down to one wallet, but it is hard to break a habit.

When I was using oxygen, my purse was retired because I simply could not manage a purse and oxygen tank. I purchased an elongated wallet and rigged my oxygen bag with a strap to accommodate the wallet. I used that for nearly five years.

Large purses with rhinestones are very popular now; however, they remind me of the clunky, white wicker bag from my youth. These days, I prefer to carry a compact purse, a shoulder bag, which can convert into a fanny pack.

What do you call the bag that you carry?
•  pocketbook
•  purse
•  handbag
•  tote
•  other

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Global Warming

This pair of wool socks will eventually find its way to Afghanistan and will warm the feet and soul of a child. This summer hundreds socks have found their way into the hands of Afghans through a campaign by afghans for Afghans. The campaign runs through September. Please knit a pair of wool socks for a child or woman and mail them before the end of the month. Your gift will make a positive impact on the life of a child.

To see the need for these small comforts, I recommend reading Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, a book illustrating how one person can make a huge difference in the lives of others. Greg has helped build schools in Pakistan in the most rural and isolated corners of the country for several years and formed a non-profit organization, Central Asia Institute. Three Cups of Tea will inspire you and will help you understand the struggles of the common people and to understand the political situation in the region a bit better.

By supporting the efforts of the Central Asia Institute and afghans for Afghans, you can make a real difference.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

What Were They Thinking?

When I purchased my new computer, I also purchased the 2010 version of Hoyle Card Games. I had earlier versions and loved playing all the game varieties. This version's box states it is "New & Improved" with large, easy-to-read cards. This "improved" version is a nightmare, and the cards are anything but large and easy-to-read. Check out the screen for Spider Solitaire below. Now, I may be senile, but those cards don't look very large to me, but my don't they look cute on that beach towel. The designers must have thought people buy a computer card game for eye candy.

You can select different "tables" on which to play, but note how small the cards are and how much of the screen is wasted. This is the "Beach," but I can also play cards

in the Garage or 

in the Mansion,

in the Kid's Room, or six other fabulous locations. 

It is impossible to turn off this feature and to make the cards larger. In the lower left corner, the game has a running commentary (probably for the hearing impaired), but again this feature cannot be turned off to make the playing area larger. 

I have always liked Hoyle Card Games (this is the third version I've owned), but in my opinion, the designers forgot that users purchase the game to play CARDS, not to be impressed with eye candy. The 2010 version of Hoyle Card Games has definitely missed the mark: save your money.

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