I’m still alive

I’m still here… things have been busy around here. I’ve been preparing for Mom’s memorial, trying to play nice with my sister (for now), and doing my best to keep things together. It’s hard, though, you know?

So, either way, DH and I went for a jog today. My first since the half marathon. That was pretty tough even though it was only a minute of jogging at a time. Exercise helps with depression, and I need to start training for the next half marathon anyway, right?

Then my brother came over to cook for us. It was delicious. And I worked on the scrapbook for the memorial. And I bought new eyeglasses. And I finally put away the Christmas tree/decorations (yes, I know it’s February). I still have Christmas presents to give out too. And my car’s transmission is going, which makes me a bit sad and scared.

I just feel like I need a week off with nothing to do but quilt and center myself. I want to be alone in my quiet house so that I can just relax without anyone or anything needing attention. Maybe that’ll come sometime in March. A gal can hope, right?

I think I’ll feel better once I have the scrapbook done for the memorial because then I won’t have such a messy dining room table. I’ll be able to put all the scrapbooking stuff away and just focus on scanning all the old photos I came across on my nifty new scanner. Of course the photos are all being labelled and filed on my computer like any good librarian would do. 🙂

But for now my days are filled with scrapbooking, scanning and trying to keep a good balance. Wish me luck.

Update

Believe it or not, I have been quilting.  I’ve just been too lazy to post the pictures I took of the quilts and quilt tops.

The other day I finished my first 100% Minky quilt.  Man, was that a challenge.  It turned out cute, but I doubt I’ll ever make one again.

I also planned out a scrap quilt made up of over 4,000 2.5″ half square triangles.  Yep.  Insane, right?  Even crazier? I started it. 

My brother unearthed the 3rd and 4th quilt tops I ever finished.  One is a bento box pattern done entirely in John Deere colored solids.  I’d forgotten how bright that yellow and green were – whew!  I’d also forgotten how HUGE that top is.  I think it’ll fit a full-sized bed.  I worry that I won’t be able to quilt it properly on my little Singer machine.

The other is a Hawaiian sampler quilt.  My in-laws brought back some Hawaiian quilt patterns for me in the early 2000s.  I picked out my 9 favorite patterns and experimented with applique.  It’s another bright top, done with hot pink, teal blue, bright yellow and bright green. I’d originally planned on making it into a duvet cover, but now I think it’ll just end up being another quilt. 

I finished a top that I’m calling the “guy quilt”.  It’s all done in brown, blue, and gray stripes and plaids.  I found a guitar fabric on sale that I was able to buy with my gift card, so I’ll probably use that on the back and give it to my father in law.

I completed my first patriotic quilt top.  The sample had a white background, with blue and red 2.5″ strips.  I decided to go with a light gray background, since several of the strips had white in them already.  It turned out pretty cute.  I found more of one of the red fabrics from the top to use on the back, and the binding will be blue fabric with red stars.

One of my coworkers is getting a black, white and eggplant quilt.  She’s so excited – especially since her backing fabric came in.  She knows it won’t be too much longer before she has a quilt to snuggle under in this rainy weather.

Another coworker gave me some black, white and red fabric from another friend who was giving up quilting.  I used some of that to complete another top.  That’ll be backed in a red flannel – cozy!

I also have another wall quilt top almost completed.  It’s all done in Asian fabrics.  I just need to applique some flowers into the corners and then quilt it all together.

So…  that’s what I’ve been up to on the quilting front.  Sorry – no pictures.  I’m just not feeling motivated to deal with the photo uploader on wordpress right now.

We also started the house buying process.  We’re pre-approved for a loan and even made an offer on a house.  We were outbid by all cash offers and people who were waiving the appraisal contingency. 😦  It’s a hot market for sellers right now in our area.  There are tons of offers on every house – even the ones that say “cash only.”  Many are going for $50k or more over asking price.  Oh well.  We’ll just keep saving and keep looking, right?

That’s it for now…

Small Change

Remember how at the beginning of the year, I posted that one of my goals was to complete 1 quilting or sewing project each month? I’ve been doing really well with that, right? Well, I’m going to have to amend that goal.

I’d defined “complete” as being completely ready to use or gift… all the way down to the label and binding being attached. But here’s the thing: DH and I are planning to buy a house within the next few months. We know that whatever home we buy will need some kind of work, even if it’s just paint and floors. So, to afford these future costs, we’re cutting expenses now and putting that money aside.

I’m still planning on finishing quilt tops. I have a lot of fabric that’s set aside for specific projects. I just don’t have enough fabric for backing so that I can actually complete the quilts.

So that’s it… just a little change to the terms of my goals… 🙂

My DMV Visit

I went to the DMV today.  I had to do an in person renewal of my driver’s license.  Don’t worry though – I made an appointment.  I wasn’t one of those poor people who didn’t know about this trick or simply forgot to make an appointment.

Even with an appointment, I spent almost 45 minutes in line.  That’s right.  The line for people with an appointment was 45 minutes.  People were kind enough to “hold a spot” for those who were also in line, but needed to use the restroom.  People really can be kind sometimes.

When I was about 5 people from the front of the line, a lady who obviously worked there went around telling everyone to be quiet and listen because she was going to make an announcement.  Apparently, people were angry because they thought that other people were somehow being moved to the front of the line, while they had to sit and wait.  The lady pointed to the line I was in and said “See all those people?  They were smart enough to make an appointment.  Their time in line has been saved.  We will help them as quickly as possible, kind of like a fast food drive thru.  You are all like the emergency room.  You didn’t make an appointment, so you have to sit and wait until we can get to you.  It will be at least an hour’s wait for most of you.  If you can’t wait, I suggest you go to window #3 and make an appointment for another day.  And maybe you’ll remember to make an appointment the next time you need to visit the DMV.”

I about died laughing.  Her attitude was hilarious to me.  I know I never would have had the guts to get up in front of all of those angry people and tell them that it’s their own damn fault that they’re sitting there for so long.

It turns out she’s also the lady who does the picture taking.  There was a super pushy guy near the front of the line who kept butting in and trying to ask questions.  She finally told him to get back in line and shut his mouth.  She goes “You’re like one of those nervous little dogs that yips and yaps at everything that moves.  You’re in line.  You’re not next.  I’m helping this guy right now.  It’s his time.  Be quiet.”  The guy just didn’t get it.  Everyone in line was laughing at him and her reaction.  Finally someone in line said “SHUT UP MAN!  You’re holding up the line!.  If you want her number, you can ask for it later.”  The poor guy turned bright red, laughed… but didn’t stop!

Oh well.  It was an entertaining visit at the DMV at least.  Nobody got “stabby”.  The DMV clerk I was working with didn’t cry from the stress of all the angry people she’d been helping that day (that happened on my last visit).  I got my renewal and went on with my day.

Quilting websites

I’m participating in an online shop hop called “Fab Shop Hop”.  With a regular shop hop, you get into your car and drive to a bunch of different participating shops.  Each shop will stamp your passport, you go shopping, and you can win prizes.  The online shop hop is a similar idea, except you do it from the comfort of your own home.

So far I’ve visited 49 of the 120 quilting shop websites that I have to visit.  I’ve seen a huge difference in the production value of many of the sites.  Some are visually cluttered with lots of photos, moving fonts, weird colors and a (really) long first page.  It’s hard to tell where to look, let alone where to click.  With those sites, I usually want to find the bunny for the shop hop and get the heck out.

Then there are others that are clean with pleasing colors and simple design.  Their search toolbar works well, there’s a FAQ… in short it all makes sense.  It tends to be easy to see where to go and where to look.  It’s nice.  Those are the ones I usually dive into and explore.  If their products tickle my fancy, I’ll even bookmark them to come back to later.

I wonder how many of these shops understand how important production value and simple design matter to potential online customers.  I wonder how many online shoppers understand why they like one site over another.  It would be interesting to see a study of some kind on how much online sales at quilting websites are affected by production value. 

Have we forgotten “stranger danger”?

I’m sure you’re all familiar with those stick people family stickers that people put on the back of their cars. You know the ones – they have a mom, dad, 3 smiling kids and sometimes a pet. Sometimes there’s even a last name attached. This lets everyone know that this car belongs to the “Garcia Family”.

Although these stickers annoy me for some reason (I’m not exactly sure why), the ones that actually concern me are the ones that include first names. Why? Because of stranger danger.

I work with the public so I think I have at least a basic understanding of how many weirdos are out there. And I know I sure as heck wouldn’t advertise my children’s names to them if I could help it.

Every time I see those little names, I’m reminded of that episode of “Dexter” where the villain successfully kidnaps a boy simply because he got the boy’s name from the little stick figure family on the family car. It’s like parents are so excited to advertise they have a family that they forget basic safety. It’s ridiculous and stupid.

So consider this your PSA about modern stranger danger. Don’t advertise your kids names or they could be used by icky people who want to do them harm.

Last night’s thematic dreams

I’ve been having a lot of weird dreams lately.  And of course, this means that I wake up in the night a lot.  Last night was no exception.

I don’t remember all of my dreams, but I remember different parts of each dream:

  • My mom stopped breathing in one dream.  She was on her knees with her forehead on the ground.  The attendant next to her said “Just make sure her airway is clear. She’ll start breathing again.”  She started back up again but didn’t wake up.  Afterwards I was shaking and crying in the dream and freaking out about the DNR on file for her.
  • I had another where there were bad people in the library and I was trying to protect the public from them.  I set up some kind of an obstacle course that ended with them falling into a pit.  But I had to stop little kids from falling into the pit too.
  • There was another where I was at my mom’s house, pre-remodel.  Someone had a baby, but they died and nobody knew what to do.  I took the baby and decided that I would take care of it.  I wrapped it in a blanket and searched through the fridge for something to feed it.  I found mashed potatoes and decided that the baby could suck them off my finger until I could find some formula.  People kept trying to take the baby away but I just held it tighter.  I said “He’s beautiful and he’s mine.”
  • In another dream I was at a friend’s house.  They had a few cats.  I somehow ended up on my back on the floor with a pregnant cat laying on my stomach.  She started giving birth.  I was grossed out but excited too.  I remember thinking that I was glad my jeans hadn’t just come out of the wash because then I’d be really upset that they were so dirty.  My friend wanted to move the cat but I told her not to because it might hurt the mama and the babies.  I said that she’d move when she was ready.
  • In the last dream my old dog Duncan was there, but he was a lot younger.  Not quite a puppy, but not quite an adult.  He rolled onto his back and I scratched his belly.  I was so glad to see him.  I don’t know what we talked about, but I remember talking to him and he answered.

OK…  So what am I really dreaming about here?  Family, the life cycle, creation, innocence, protection, responsibility, and love.  DH says they’re all maternal/caregiving dreams.  I thought they were all just weird, but at least there’s a theme to the dreams.

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