Tuesday, September 23, 2008

UFO Finish and Controled Burn...

OK, The two topics in my title have nothing to do with each other, except that I have pictures to show you. First the UFO Finish. I actually have a table runner and a table topper made out of the stars that I started 3 years ago. Here is a picture of the table runner: And a picture of the table topper:
I'm not sure if I will keep them, or give them away. I do think they are cute. Maybe I'll make a few more in other Christmas fabrics??? I actually have one large red start left, but it is still inside out. I guess that star is still part of a UFO to yet be finished?? LOL
Moving to the next topic: Controlled Burn. Not sure how many of you may be familiar with this practice. The Forest Service has learned that if all fire is prevented in a forest area, the duff (accumulation of pine needles and dead plant materials) on the forest floor will cause an extremely hot fire when the area does burn. It makes a fire very hot, very dangerous, and very hard to control and/or put out. So now they are doing "controlled burns". This consists of waiting until the temperatures are cooler, and there is more humidity in the air. Then they burn the duff/grasses/etc. The pine trees survive (seems like they wouldn't, but they do). This first picture is looking west toward the control burn that was started today. Isn't all the smoke amazing??

And this second picture is looking east at the same burn. It is just 1/2 mile from my house. Thank goodness the wind is blowing the smoke away from us, we can't even tell the burn is going on from home. The fire that you see is a couple of tree stumps that are burning, and other dead wood. These will probably burn for a few days. I hope the winds keep blowing toward the east, so we avoid the smoke this year. When they burned the area west of our house last year, the smoke lasted for over a week. But we feel safer knowing that any fire in the area will be easier to control. And the grasses started growing back in just a few weeks!!

What else have I been doing? Well last week, I drove to Albuquerque to pick up my Mom. She is here for a week or so. Then I will take her home to Alamogordo. We aren't doing anything really special, just having time together.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Post Cards Away!

I have put my postcards into the mail today. I managed to make 6 of them, and they went to the next 6 on my revolving list. So, Brenda, Holly, Valerie, Karen, Debb, and Carol, you should be receiving your cards in what ever time frame it takes to get to you. (It will take some of you longer than others. Please let me know if the packaging I used this time works or does not work.

Also, I made progress on my Christmas Table topper today. I have all the assembly done, and now just need to add a quilt label. Yea! Getting closer to being done.

Well, going to go sew, or clean, or ??? but feel like doing something.


Please Help with my Quilt Block!

Before we get to my help request with my block, I want to show you the two great postcards I received last week. The top card is from Holly, and is so bright and cheerful! The second card is from Brenda and yes, that is all hand work on the pink fabric! Thank you so much ladies - they are wonderful!

I really want your opinion on the quilt block below. I haven't looked for the original fabric to bind the quilt square, but did take the square with me when I went to the quilt shop. If I have to go with new fabric, I picked out the red below. It matches pretty good with the flower color in the print. But here is my thoughts/question... The block was entirely hand pieced and quilted (the only thing I've ever done that way), so I'm planning on doing the finishing by hand. I'm leaning toward making a wall hanging instead of a pillow (dog will lay on the pillow!!) So, What do you think of the red? Would you like to see another color as the binding? Should I really try to find the original fabrics in my stash? (don't know if I have any). Should I look for a blue instead of the red? I know blues are hard to match, but maybe I can find one. Do you have any other ideas? The owner of the quilt shop thought I could frame it in a frame, with a fabric mat around it. I'm thinking of that, but not leaning that way. I need to hear your ideas!! Any and all, crazy or not. I really appreciate it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Quilting Progress

First, let me say that I hope the 4 people who I mailed post cards to last month all got them. Brenda, Holly, Valerie and Rhonda all should have received a post card. Next, I am was struggling with what to make for this month's cards, then I got a great idea. I've gotten 6 cards pieced, and need to do the edges, write on the backs, and want to add some gems to the fronts. So I'm in my sewing room looking for my tool to attached the gems. OK, I really need to finish unpacking my sewing stuff. We've been in the house for over a year. (4 months don't count, because we are away for 2 months each summer). But still, I need to get it finished. And the closet already needs re-arranging! (big sigh). Anyway, I'm looking for the tool, and thinking "I need to get these cards done, because I'm almost to the top of the Queen's list for finishing UFO's, and I need to finish Heather's quilt which does not count for the Queen's list, and hubby thinks I need to work. (DUH!) Deep breath here!

Oh, my! Look at that! The first quilt block I ever made. This project must be about 20 years old. It is totally hand pieced, and hand quilted. I think I was going to make this into a pillow, but I could make a small hanging out of it... and it truly is a UFO. Hmm, I don't think I have any of the left over fabric to bind it with. Not sure I have time to fuss finding the "right" fabric to bind it with. But it would be a quick solution to my Queen time frame problem...

OH, and look what is underneath the block... The stars that I started 3 or 4 years ago to make a table runner. Oh Wow. 2 stars completely done, 2 that need blanket stitching, 4 more that are turned right side out, but need the little star added, and 4 more that are still waiting to be turned. Huh, another UFO. This might be quick, too. OK, keep your mind on what you are doing. Looking for the tool. Out to the garage, look at box tops, no, can't see one labeled as holding the tool... hmmm, stars... I have fusible out for the post cards that I need to stick down the rest of the little stars on the big stars.... where is that tool??? Well, what if I just cut out the little stars I need and fuse them on the big stars? Lets go look. yep, there is the patterns, and the fabric I was using... Oh, cool... this is fun.. yep, got all the little stars stuck on the big stars. (Well not the ones that are still inside out) I'm going to lay them out on the coffee table. Here they are. They are just laid out, and actually the instruction has me putting them together with the long legs in the center. But I think I like it this way. Now I need to do the blanket stitching... (darn tool, where is it!!) OH, MY, Gosh!! Look at the time. It is 3 am. Got to go to bed. (This all happened last night!!)

Today I took a short nap, before going to our first "bells" practice at church (6:30pm). Then as we had not eaten dinner, we stopped at "Pine Country" for a quick meal, then home. I'm still jazzed about the star table topper, and tonight I did the blanket stitching around all 4 of the little green stars. Here is a picture of one of the first red stars. I think the stitching is going nicely. Tomorrow I will stitch the two little red stars that have not been done, then just need to sew the points together, and do a quilt label. I think I will just write on the back of one of the white stars, probably the one on the end with the small green star.

So this will take care of finishing a UFO for another few months, but I still want to do that first block I made. But I need to finish the cards... maybe they will have to go without the gems, or maybe I'll have to add them using an iron. (wonder if that would work!) Yes, Brenda, I know this is a no stress post card swap, and I know I do it to myself... but I get an idea into my head, and just want to make what I can see... (LOL) I really am enjoying making the cards. And Heather, your quilt is next. I think the BOM will wait until your quilt is finished... And hubby is bugging me for his quilt... OK, one thing at a time... I will get them all done, and want to enjoy the process as much as the finished items. (so, where is that dang tool!!!)

You all have a great night. and enjoy doing something creative, what ever that may be!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I know I'm behind in blogging - it's been one of those weeks!!

First let me say that I've had 3 different groups of over night visitors. I still haven't washed the sheets from the last use! And that one would be my eldest son. I really enjoyed his visit, but didn't think to take any pictures. We mostly just hung around, and did our thing. I did fix some holes in the pockets of his pants (yep, did the mom thing!), and I did get a little sewing done. Oh, then my husbands recliner broke, so earlier this week we shopped and bought him a new one. And since my chair is pretty worn out, we splurged and ordered a matching chair for me. It should be here in about 4-6 weeks. I think this is the last furniture purchase that we will make for quite awhile.

In the quilting area, I did get the rows of my BOM quilt put together, and I made the #11 square. Here is a pic of #11:

I will be cutting the pieces for block 12 pretty soon. And I signed up for the next block of the month, which starts Sept 27. I know it will be brights, and that there will be a center panel, with the 12 blocks arranged around it. Can't wait to learn more!!

Now for my RANT!

I have spent about 3-4 hours today fighting with our Internet - talking to customer support. There is something wrong somewhere, and it is getting worse. For TWO hours, I fussed trying to send a 4 meg file to one of our customers. I kept getting "transmission interrupted", so I re-zipped the file into two files (2 megs each) and tried to email those out. My email reported that I was successful, but the emails remained in my outbox, and the client did not receive them. My hubby finally got them to send using his email, and it took about 10 MINUTES to send each file. Now today is not the first time I've talked with Technical Support. But each time, I get different "answers", but never any real help. Our Internet connection keep getting slower and slower.

What system are we using, you ask. HUGHESNET. When we moved into the house, satellite Internet was our only option. [QWEST (phone company) finally got Internet service into our area about 4 months after we moved in.] And we got the BIG 2 Watt Business system from HUGHESNET, because it is our business Internet, and we (and our clients) depend on getting their files on a timely basis. Our clients make changes up to the last minute, and then need the documents immediately so they can get them to the printer, and then to the bidders on the project.

Now today I finally got to talk to advanced technical support, and they directed me to a screen that would run an Upload and Download Speed Test. The young man decided I needed a JAVA update, and directed me to do that, then run the test 3 times, and call back with the response, and we would go from there. Well first off, I did the JAVA thing, and now when I try to run the tests, I get a multiple JAVAs are trying to run, and it shuts down. CRUDDLY!

So aha, says I, "Hubby, can I run the tests on your machine"? Yes, I can. OK, so when the young man was giving me the instructions, he said that the numbers he would be looking for was 1.2 on the download test, and 200 on the upload test. (I think that is 1.2 meg, and 200K) I run my test 3 times as directed, and call back technical support. (I'm thinking OK, my download numbers are 608, 668, and 585, and the upload numbers are 11, 13, and 12 - I'm finally going to get some help)

Not to be. The man I got this time says "I'm not sure why they told you that, but we can't help you until you run the test 3 times a day, morning, afternoon, and evening, running the test twice each time, 15 minutes apart, for 3 consecutive days" Well DOUBLE CRUDDLY CRUD.

SO, I've run the test again. As I suspected, the numbers are getting better at night. (Things always seem to run quicker at night.) BUT WE ARE PAYING FOR A BUSINESS SYSTEM. IT SHOULD WORK BETWEEN 8AM AND 5PM!! MONDAY THRU FRIDAY!! IT IS A BUSINESS SYSTEM FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

So this is my plan. At the bottom of my blog, I'm going to start recording my readings. Then I can direct "Technical" support to my blog to read the numbers. And I'm thinking of starting a new blog - just dealing with DIRECWAY issues. (That way my quilting friends won't have to listen to this stuff!! Also, As our business depends on it, I will be ordering an Internet connection from QWEST. I guess we will run two systems, and maybe one of them will function??? And if you are thinking about ordering HUGHESNET Internet, well, maybe my experience is not typical, but be ready to get a different answer each time you call HUGHESNET Technical support.