Thursday, November 29, 2012

Breakfast is not at 9:30 . . .

. . . It's not at 9:00 either. Thank goodness.


Final report from Quilt Camp . . .

(If I've shown you or your work in this blog and you would like to be named and credited, please email me and it will be added.  Lee)

That's something I learned the first morning at quilt camp. I got up to use the bathroom at 6:30, then comfy in the warm cocoon of my sleeping bag, didn't open my eyes again until 9:17.

I'd clearly heard breakfast announced as at 9:30.

Yikes. I threw on my clothes and raced out the door. No signs of life in the parking lot, no sounds heard from the upstairs sewing room. Everyone must be gone already. I briefly considered taking my car to the dining hall, but the front seats were still littered with the debris of unpacking all my stuff and straightening it up would cause a delay. (Besides, I had a good parking place I didn't want to lose over a breakfast trip.)

My car is stuffed as I set out for camp, with only a tiny spot in the driver's seat for me.

I would make a run for it. It's across the parking lot, down the driveway, down a flight of stairs worth about two storeys, across a street, down two or three more storeys, and a walk in the roadway down a ways more.

I arrived at 9:30, this from a person who normally takes two hours from the time of getting up to leaving the house. Breakfast included, of course. My first clue was that there were no cars parked outside the dining hall. We have several handicapped people who always go to meals by car. The second clue was that chairs were still upside down on the tables. I dragged myself up the reverse of the course, plus the additional flight of stairs to the sewing room. My legs still trembling from the unaccustomed exertion, I accepted a ride to breakfast at 10.

Nine-thirty? Mendacious voices in the air?


Then we cut and stitched and quilted for 3½ more days, and stayed up half the night laughing and talking and stitching and quilting. I was working on a wall or "cot" quilt (per the UK pattern-maker) for auction at our Soroptimist Winter Tea fundraiser. It took me a good part of the week after camp to finish up, which, among a long list of other things, accounts for my silence over the past week or so. That list still isn't finished, but comes a time when I have to pause the frenzy and write down a few things and show a few pictures.

Strong young men carry our heavy equipment upstairs to the sewing room. Heck, they'd carry up a feather boa if we left it in their pathway and even wanted to take our luggage to our rooms. I was on the ground floor, just feet from my car, so I could handle that okay. We must bring our own bedding and towels, soap and shampoo, toothbrush and hairdryers. This is camp, not a hotel.

By our choice, we only take two meals at camp, brunch and dinner, as too much time is otherwise devoted to trekking up and down the hill. The management does provide us with coffee, tea and hot chocolate in the sewing rooms, and we bring snacks to share which make up -- and then some -- for that third meal.

food & beverage tables

There were 42 of us, I think. Close enough, anyway, and we got to work when we arrived Wednesday morning after breakfast and continued until after breakfast on Sunday morning. I've collaged a lot of pictures so this blog won't be an impossible download for those with slower Internet connections -- a problem in my area off in the boonies. (So many pictures, so little space and time.)

one of the big cutting tables


Making three identical quilts using Japanese fabrics for her three Japanese granddaughters

Hand quilting (but mainly because her sewing machine malfunctioned)

As a quilter reaches a milestone stage, she announces a ta-duh, and receives applause from the group.Top quilt was an early ta-duh. The middle one took up to the end, and the bottom one was midway.

(High productivity corner!)

The piece below is by Leslie Carabas, a professional fabric and thread artist. This piece is -- I estimate -- between two and 2½ feet tall. Watching her do this painstaking stitching (see detail below) just amazes me. People often wonder at my patience at hand quilting. It's nothing compared to what Leslie does here.

Somebody did a really fabulous job of tidying up the snack tables.


And a birthday party, for two of our gals who share a birthday and usually celebrate it at Quilt Camp. Cake, candles, and six half-gallons of ice cream in different flavors.

Is there a 49ers fan in the room???

Making scarves for the boutique, finding buyers even before leaving camp

On the wall(s)
These pieces come in sizes from tiny to very large, which this format doesn't really show.


The fall colors of the quilt reflect the fall colors to the right through the window on this foggy day.

Oh, and here's the big reveal, which I was holding back until the time of the auction. It's bright, to say the least. It was fun to make, pulling fabrics from my stash. Sister won out in some lively bidding. She commented that the only way she could get one of my quilts was to buy it. (No, really, I plan to do one for her when I get my new quilting studio.) It's about 35" x 44".

See you soon.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Under Way . . .

It feels official today. The contractor put his sign up out front.

The big shadow in the background is roughly the same footprint as the room addition.

These are early drawings. Here is the front elevation at the front of the shady patch. The addition extends the length (width?) of the house

Here's the view of the shadow/footprint from the back side of the house.

And the rear elevation from the same view.

And here is the floor plan of the addition, incorporating my suggested changes to the original proposal. The room on the top will be my study/office/computer room. A bedroom and my dining room table will be reclaimed for their original purposes.

The bottom room will be my quilting studio and I won't have to hoist a sewing machine up on the dining room table or put quilts together on the living room floor.

So maybe . . . the preliminary target for groundbreaking is December 10 . . .

. . . The fun begins.

See you soon . . .  .


Skyscrapers in Paris?

So much for writing lots of posts from quilt camp! Too much work, too much laughter, too much confusion, too little sleep, and blogging does require some time and concentration. Not only that, I didn't finish my quilt project and it has a deadline, so you can guess what I'll be doing until it's done.

I decided to make a To Do List today (on the computer, so it won't get lost in the stacks of papers) to remind me of things I have to do and set some priorities. I made a long list and all the priorities are 1. I'll be working on the 1s over the next few days.

There's one thing I can't procrastinate writing about because it has a deadline, too.

You might have noticed I really like going to France, and in my heart, Paris is one of the jewels of the world. Even if you haven't been there, I'm sure you have images in your mind of Paris.

What you probably don't think of is a Paris that has the most skyscrapers of any city in the European Union. Many of these are quite beautiful, but they are located for the most part in the arrondissements around the edges of the city. The Eiffel Tour is what we look upward at, and the Montparnasse Tower, which most people would rather not look at.

There are plans underway to build more skyscrapers in Central Paris.

There is also an organized effort to mobilize those who don't want to see this happen to send letters from all over the world to the Mayor of Paris on November 24, this coming Saturday. My letter is on the refrigerator, ready to go, and I'm asking those of you who would like Paris to maintain the character that makes it Paris to send your letter also.

Link to this blog by David Downie, who describes this in detail, and provides sample letters and the address of the mayor.

The mayor's last name is Delanoë, with those two little dots over the final e. I can do this by holding down the Alt key and keying in 0235. (These must be "real" numbers so  this doesn't work with the numbers at the top of the keyboard. Some laptops have a function that changes a part of the keyboard into real numbers. ) The ë pops up when you release the 5.

I'd rather see the Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur as the features I look up to in Paris, and not something lost in a glass jungle.

See you when my priority list gets knocked down some.


Monday, November 12, 2012

A Postcard in the Mail

The sun was out, all the snow melted. I put on a fleece vest over a long-sleeved shirt when I went to town to get the mail, but chill air still soaked through, making me shiver. A thick pall of smoke hung in the air as I entered town. Yep. Another sign of the season's changing: the outdoor ban on burning has been lifted.

I'd forgotten that there probably wasn't mail delivery today, but I hadn't gone in on Saturday, so there was still plenty to pick up. One piece was a lovely fabric postcard one of my fellow travelers on the quilters tour, Claire, had sent, appropriately French-themed.

The trees at the post office, golden just a few days ago,

have lost their glow.

Someone burning over on the hill

Little Kitten welcoming a warm dry spot to spend the morning

Today and Tuesday I must wrap everything up around the house and gather all my stuff together for quilt camp. I made some good progress during the day and was feeling optimistic about getting ready on time, without a middle of the night packing crush. I think I blew that one. I sat down in my comfy recliner this evening to watch TV for a few moments, before working and watching for the rest of the evening. I dozed through The Big Bang Theory.

Jean-Luc came to lie on my lap. I dozed through Bones. Henley came to join Jean-Luc. I dozed through Hawaii Five-O. One can't disturb cats, who so seldom do this. I actually slept through Castle. Castle!  My "don't miss." I wasn't even DVRing in the background!

Now I'm developing panic. Tuesday will not be the leisurely day I'd been hoping for.

If the Internet is working at quilt camp, you will be regaled with more quilts, even as I haven't finished up photos from the most recent show I attended.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Frolicking in Snow

"They" kept telling us there would be rain and there would be snow, down -- maybe -- to 2500 feet. I'm at approximately 2950 feet. Wednesday was a warm day; Thursday turned cold. Maybe there was some drizzle, nothing impressive. Friday started with a few snowflakes and periods of flurries, but nothing stuck. More drizzle. It seemed like the big storm had passed us by. One of those nights I neglected to close the garage door. Raccoons broke into the new bag of expensive cat food, the one for my indoor hothouse flowers, rummaging past the more sturdily-constructed bag of cheap cat food I get for the ferals. (I've just poured the food from the shredded bag into a metal can, which is why I thought to mention it.)

When I opened my bedroom window before going to bed last night, I heard a car drive by. Crunching something. I peered out and icy snow was falling. (Hmmm. I had a Saturday breakfast date with the Sisters-in-Law and had been told it would be cancelled if there was five inches of snow on the driveway.)

I woke up this morning to less than five inches and an uncertain sky. I offered to drive, with my 4WD car.

I was surrounded with little footprints.

Out front, raccoons

Straight down out my bedroom window, to the side of the house;
cats, a loping raccoon, and an exploratory raccoon

Argh! What happened to the usual pristine snow on the back deck?

I felt sorry for the poor ferals, out there in the cold and wet and snow, although they have a shelter under the patio table, and a soft bed on one of the chairs. Extra came up to the door for breakfast. His/her tail was damp. Awww, kitty.  Later, I saw him lying in the middle of the messy deck snow and ran to the other room to get the camera. By the time I got back, here he was . . .

Extra is frolicking in the snow, leaping around, throwing snowballs into the air.

No wonder the "pristine snow" wasn't!
(Hard to focus on a flying cat.)

By the time I picked up the SILs, the snow had melted on their sunny driveway, but there were still  snowy vistas over the golf course where we went to the country club for breakfast.

And deer on the golf course

The sand trap looks like a giant's foot print.

Pretty flowers still hang on in a patch of snow in front of the country club.

By the time I drop off the SILs, snow has melted at their place and quail are swarming all over the ground.

Close-up of quail

Quilt camp starts next Wednesday. It's at a higher elevation than here. Rain is mentioned in the Tuesday forecast. It always snows at quilt camp.

See you soon.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Sitting in the Quiet

I ignored the TV, which comes on as my wake-up call during the week, having no appointments or other rush to get up this morning. I snuggled the short fluffy throw around me. When I went to bed in the wee-small hours this morning, I discovered someone had pee’d on the long down one, the one which covers my feet as well, so it had been a short (!) restless night as I curled up with just the fluffy one.
I came awake to a “beep” (CO monitor notifying me it has just gone on battery – it starts screaming if its battery gets low), and then silence. You don’t realized how many sounds the systems of your house make until they don’t. Except for a gentle “peep-peep-peep . . .” in the distance from the UPS my computer plugs into, also letting me know it was on standby power.

I opened an eyeball and saw snowflakes drifting down outside. Cats from every quarter were informing me it was time for breakfast. Extra, the cat on the deck, was hopping and flicking his/her ears as each snowflake hit them. The Tiny Kitten just hunkers down, fluffed up, looking like a little chinchilla. Chloe paced and meowed. I could hear Henley and Jean-Luc from the kitten room jumping at the door handle, trying to liberate themselves.

I finally got snowflakes to show up in a photo.
(Click to enlarge if you can't see snowflakes.)

Ugh. Well, first I had to figure out how to shut up the UPS in semi-darkness. I fed all the cats, put the Mr. Coffee carafe on the stove to reheat yesterday’s leftover, then called the power company for an ETA on the return to power. It was something like three hours.

So I’m sitting on the loveseat near a window, taking a quiet opportunity to read some newspaper stories I might otherwise have just breezed over, and to write for a while.

Since the election, I’ve thought to make a comment here on the results, but have been uncertain how to respond to some of the reactions.

The first things I heard were that the message had been heard in Washington: the people want the Congress to work together. The Kumbaya moment. Then hedging seemed to begin, with options being ruled out at the get-go.

At about the time I should have been going to bed last night, I followed a link on Facebook to a blog on just this very discussion. The blogger sounded as if her candidate hadn’t prevailed, but talked about putting the rancor of the election behind and working together toward the solution of the serious problems facing the nation. There were over 300 comments.

At first they were supportive of her theme, but then then the vitriol began. I haven’t been political in this blog, but I will say I was pleased with the outcome of the election. To try to make it really short here, I felt that the election of Romney would indeed take us back to the policies that led to the recession in the first place and undo the slower-than-we-wished digging out of the deep trough we have been in.  I believe that starving a recession (austerity) deepens it, that we must invest in building up the nation first and then handle the debt problem. It must be addressed, but addressing it ahead of all else will deepen the recession. Getting out of the recession is requisite to solving the debt problem.

There are lots of other issues where I disagree with the GOP platform, but since its campaign focus was on the economy, that’s what I’m voicing my concerns about here.

What’s scary in the comments to that blog is the apocalyptic paranoia of some on the losing side. What on earth has whipped them into such a frenzy of fear? They’re literate enough to have a computer and the attention span to read through so many comments, yet they seem driven by the kinds of fears that ran rampant in the world’s darker ages. They are convinced we are in the End Times, or, at the very least, about to turn communist.
We’ve managed to pull through several end-of-the-world dates in recent years. I was in Paris for one of them and figured it wasn't a bad place to be if it came to pass. So if we get through December 21st, the so-called Mayan prediction, will they chill out then? It’s really sad that people are living in that much fear and pain.

Oh. And after one false alarm for power restoration, it is obviously back now, an hour ahead of prediction.

See you soon.