Sunday, May 27, 2012

So We Took a Little Trip

This was a trip that we thought about doing and then dismissed as foolish (along with everyone else).  Then we put it on the back burner for a few months and kept thinking about it.  The trip consisted of a drive from Montgomery, Alabama, to Snoqualmie, Washington.  According to Google Maps, it is 2633 miles, but that's the straightest route.  Through states we had already seen and ones that didn't include the Grand Canyon, Nevada, California and the Pacific Coast in Oregon.  One that didn't include a total of 18 states round trip.

We did it, and it's only a memory now.  It's as close to perfect a trip as you could imagine, but we have around 2000 pictures, and it's overwhelming to think about talking about all we did and all we saw, so I just keep putting it off.  Besides the first 800 pictures are on Mike's laptop, and we keep forgetting to transfer them to my computer for some reason. Maybe we don't know how.

My pictures start after we arrived in Snoqualmie and Emily and Ryan's home.

Hello!  Welcome to Washington

Hopefully though the next months, I can recap some of the trip.  But I've wasted so much time trying to figure out how to bring my pictures to my picture file that it's time to leave for church. 

Just one more picture.  This is the first picture in my album, and I have no idea where it is, but it's just one example of the beautiful things we saw.  Mike thinks Northern California in the rain - but we're not sure. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Some Things That Make Me Happy

Darby on lizard patrol.  She is obsessed, and her goal is to make our yard lizard-free.  Which is fine with me.

Mama's bird area outside her window.  She and the cat spend hours watching the birds eat and bathe. 
 A cool front porch.  My front porch is not complete without ferns.  I hope I allow them to live this year.
 The pet path in the back yard always makes us smile.
Mother's Day gifts from Harry and David.   They were for Mama and me, and we divided them up and then shared a little with Mike.  Very little. 
 A new set of office furniture.
For what?

The thing that REALLY makes me happy.
 I've threatened to buy a new sewing machine for months now, maybe years, but could never make a decision or else something came up to steal away my savings.

I had read everything I could find about different brands and people's reviews and what problems they might have and how much they liked certain brands, and I had thought all along I would like a Baby-Lock.  In fact, the Symphony sounded like it was made for me, but I needed to see it.

We were in Columbus a couple of weeks ago, and I called Barbara and asked her if she would like to go with me to look at them.  She has one herself and was my sounding board to pick up any clue this was not a good as it sounded.

I loved what I saw but fretted a little (a lot) about the price because I had seen them cheaper, so I just made a proposal to the dealers about what I felt I could afford, and they came down to meet my budget better. 

I'm very happy with it so far.  I spent 3 hours in the shop learning all about it and have experimented a little.  My favorite things?  Automatic needle threader.  Automatic needle cutter.  Push button presser foot lifter.  (Love this).  Push button sewing but option for using the foot.  Knee lift for the presser foot.  Lots of light and a big work area.  Extra big quilting table.  Lots of extra feet and hundreds of decorative stitches - most of which I will never use - but still good to have just in case.  It's quiet and easy to thread, bobbin too.  I can find no fault with it yet, how that I've gotten the stitch more even (changed the needle!). 

I hate fighting with pictures, so I'm not going to try to change them around but take them as they come.

My poor little Viking is lonely.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this machine, and I'm happy to have a backup that is so dependable.  I got this in Meridian in 2001 or so, and it has been wonderful.  You can see how small it is though, not much work space at all and very little light.  I still love it though and won't let it get too lonely.
 I'm trying to organize everything to be within reach, and I'm sure this will change over time.
My new tables.  We still have a cord problem with the area being so open, but we'll solve that later.  Or not.  If it doesn't bother me.  I love the tables.  We went into Office Depot expecting to buy a sturdy table and came out with this L-shaped group.  Mike was NOT happy putting them together though.
 I already had a glass table in the sun room, so on that is my embroidery machine.  It's also been neglected lately, but now that it's so handy, I'm sure I'll use it more. 
 My favorite part of the office furniture.  I just had to have this little rolling table.  It's perfect for my pressing.  All I have to do is swivel my chair around and press a seam and swivel back to the machine.
 The whole work space with the ironing pad and iron.  And new comfortable chair that doesn't hurt my shoulders.

 Big plus for this machine - a huge work space included.  Next best thing to having it in a cabinet.
 My old rolling case was too small for it, and I knew I had to get something to carry to Birmingham to the quilt symposium in June.  I was not looking forward to spending a fortune on another one but had resigned myself to do it.  Then when I went into Joann Fabrics this morning, this was sitting there on the shelf with a $35.00 price tag.  I'm very quickly learning to love that paisley print. 
So now I'm all set to meet Sherry in Birmingham for another qulting adventure.  She's taking several classes, but I've signed up for only one.  The rest of the time I'll stay in the hotel room and - what else - sew!

Now that I'm so organized, my next post should be pictures of what I've accomplished.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Look

So the Google Blog has a new look and new instructions on how to use it.  I barely have time to say a few words and post a few pictures, so I probably won't figure out how to use it well.

I mentioned my new paper-piecing project last time, and it has been so much fun.  I've never really done much of that except for this class that Sherry and I took with Judy Neimeyer, the results of which are better not dwelt on. This little kit came from Fergus Falls, MN.  On our way back from WA, we had a little more time to kill and ventured off the interstate a few times.  We finally found this little shop behind some highway construction, and I'm glad we were persistent. 
My camera battery died after I took a few pictures, but it's just the kind of cozy shop that makes me happy - just filled to the brim with fabric and patterns and, best of all, lots of samples of the kits for sale.  There are more pictures on the web site. 

I saw this piece and fell in love with it.  Forget I didn't really know how to paper piece.  I just knew I wanted it. 

If I had just looked at the pattern, I might now have liked it so well, but the kit maker Christy (who I think was the one I talked with) had chosen just the right colors.

The pattern looks pink and tan rather than Christmasy.

Anyway, there was a lot of trial and error, but it went together so well and was so satisfying.  I think next time I'll use some backing paper that is easier to tear away.  Also someone was not careful cutting around the borders (who knew how important it was), so when it came time to sew each of the 16 little squares together, I had to do a lot of pinning and pulling and still have a few that aren't perfect.

But I'm happy with it.  I still have the outer border and finishing to do.  Here are some closeups.  I'm just fascinated at how perfect you can make the blocks with paper piecing. 

I give up.  Now everything is centered.  I'm going to have to read those instructions.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Someone Stole My Old Blog

This is a whole new concept to figure out, and I have no time.  I'll work on it later, but here's what I'm playing with today in case I am able to post a picture.
Ok, so it worked kind of like before.  I'll try to do more later.