February Photos

Monday, September 18, 2017

Journal: Quilts & Butterflies & Lots of Thread

There are still Painted Ladies by the thousands all over and around the Autumn Joy sedum.
The cause of this butterfly explosion, according to the Columbus Telegram and the Lincoln Journal Star is the decent amount of rain that fell in California earlier this year, where Painted Ladies start their migration.  The rain led to more flowering plants for nectar, which boosted butterfly numbers.
The butterflies’ migration can extend 9,000 miles and span six generations.  The butterflies currently found in Nebraska are migrating and preparing to lay eggs for the next cycle.
Larry is afraid that after walking down our front walk to the Jeep, swarmed by Painted Ladies, he’ll sit down in church – and butterflies will start emanating from him in huge fluttering swirls.  haha
A friend just posted a photo of herself on Facebook, then commented on how gray she has become.  I responded, “I like gray and white hair!  It’s always kind of scary when you are following what you imagine to be a teenager because of her swinging blond ponytail, then she turns around and you discover she’s 93 if she’s a day.  Gray is better. 🤣
A teenage boy recently complimented husband Larry and I with, “You both look so young!”  (We are both 56, and both have silver-gray hair.)  We duly thanked him.
After leaving the store, I told Larry, “Don’t get all conceited.  He thinks we’re actually 85.”
By Tuesday, any Friends and Relations (à la Rabbit, of Winnie-the-Pooh fame) I knew who had been in Hurricane Irma’s path had all checked in as safe.  One couple was without power, but their home was all right, and a neighbor was letting them use his generator for a few hours, then using it himself for a while, then letting them use it again, in order to keep both families’ freezers and refrigerators cold.  One friend had a tree come down and punch right through roof and ceiling into their living room – but the tree arched over the husband’s vehicle without harming it; he was glad for that.  My cousin and her husband, who pilots tour boats for Disney World, evacuated ahead of the storm, and managed to snag a hotel room in Chattanooga.  What is normally a 9-hour drive from Winter Haven turned into a 17-hour drive.  After a couple of days in Chattanooga, they went on to Shelbyville, Illinois, where her sister and husband live, and other cousins.  That’s my father’s hometown.
They headed back home in a few days, and found their house still intact.  They hadn’t even lost electricity. 
Early Tuesday afternoon, Teensy came back.  You’ll recall he had a little skirmish with a polecat Monday night?  My nose didn’t complain too awfully much at all when he came in and sat down to have himself a meal.  Those pet wipes I’d used on him the night before did a pretty good job, evidently.  Poor little thing, he was sooo thirsty.  I’d put water outside for him, both on the front porch and on the back deck; but he prefers running water from the tub faucet, pôr fąvör.  He just couldn’t quit drinking!  Maybe he tried cleaning himself off, and got the skunk parfum in his mouth.  That would sure make a guy thirsty.
Hummingbirds were at the feeder that day, and there was a pretty little chickweed geometer moth on the screen.  I grabbed my macro lens and got a few shots of the moth.  I’ve taken numerous photos of them, but have never once gotten one on a pretty background.
That afternoon, I cut my right index finger rather badly while talking to my brother Loren on the phone.  He didn’t know anything happened, as I kept still, and he couldn’t see me grimacing and rushing for a paper towel.
What happened was, I was getting something out of the cupboard when a box of aluminum foil fell out.  I stupidly tried to catch it, and the metal serrated edge of the box sliced a long, deep, jagged slash right through the pad of my index finger, from fingernail to first knuckle.  Since then, things such as bathing, washing my hair, and blow-drying and curling it have been difficult, with the index finger on my right hand out of commission.  I am not ambidextrous.  Amazing how injuring just one small digit can stymie a person.  Or at least it sure slows me down. 
It probably needed stitches, but I’m making do with butterfly bandages, Band-Aids, and triple-antibiotic medicine.  The most aggravating thing is trying to type.
It’s healing, but the tip of my finger might never feel quite normal again.
Once poor Teensy came in the house, ate, and drank his fill, he slept, and slept, and slept.  Getting skunked is an exhausting trauma!
I’ll betcha Teensy tried doing to the skunk what he periodically does to the other cats:  they walk past him (nervously, recognizing that devilish gleam in his eyes), and just as they get far enough to relax and suppose themselves safe, he swats them on the rump, THWACK! 
I’ll betcha the ol’ skunk went a-waddlin’ past, unconcerned about the cat as he sat calmly,  waiting... waiting... waiting...  and then – ka-SLAP!!!  And the skunk, startled, let loose a small bit of stinkum before realizing, Oh, it’s just you, you stupid feline.  Skunks keep their spray as a last resort, as it takes a while for it to replenish, and once it’s gone, they are practically defenseless for a while.  They carry only enough of the chemical for five or six uses – about 15cc – and require some ten days to produce another supply. 
Teensy barely smells bad anymore, thankfully.  Mostly, it’s like a souped-up case of new-puppy breath.  😄😁
A large shoebox full of #60 Bottom Line thread for my quilting machine came that day, containing many colors I need.  I bought it from a lady who posted three lots of the thread on SewItsForSale.  The box arrived with the paper covering it all ripped and torn nearly off – and the whole box was covered with dirt, like it had been out in a dust storm.  But inside, all the thread was fine.
The UPS man apologized, saying it had arrived at their store like that.
Note:  it is never a good idea to cover a box you are sending with paper, never mind which carrier you are using.  It will almost always get ripped, and if the label is only on the paper and nowhere else, your box is going to be lost to the four winds.
The lady from whom I bought it was all apologetic, though it really wasn’t her fault. 
Ah, well.  No harm done, and it gives me the opportunity to make up tall tales about what might have happened to the box and where it might have gone. 
Maybe it got misdirected to the Saudi Peninsula and fell out of the helicopter during a terrible dirt storm.  But nobody in Al Khobar had a longarm machine, so they sent it back!
I bought another big shoebox full of thread from her a week after purchasing the first.  I now have over $500 worth of bobbin thread (it can be used on top, too, though I prefer heavier-weight thread for the top) for either longarm or embroidery machine – and I paid about half that amount.
The lady sent the second box of thread wrapped in paper – and it, too, arrived with the paper nearly ripped off, though not embedded with dirt like the last one was.
The lady called the UPS to report the matter, and they told her not to wrap her boxes with paper.  Do you remember the days of yesteryear, when packages were wrapped in brown paper and tied with string?
If you wonder why I order longarm thread... well, they don’t sell it in this burg – or at least, not the large cones I usually need.  Nor is it sold in any nearby town.  I get cones with 3,000 yards on them.  At Country Traditions in Fremont, they sell smallish spools of Aurifil long-arm thread, and they don’t have a very big selection of colors.  I like to buy from www.sewthankful.com, because it’s run by a Christian family... but it’s a small business, and they often don’t have the color I want on hand.  They have to order it from their supplier, so it can take 5-7 days to get here.  So if I’m in a hurry, I order from Red Rock Threads in Pahrump, Nevada.  Here’s a funny-odd bit of trivia about Pahrump:  it’s unincorporated, even though the population is about 36,500.
The thread I ordered late Thursday night, when I saw I was probably going to run out of top thread before I ran out of quilt, got here early this afternoon.  However, I already finished the quilt Friday evening.
Longarm thread is a lot longer-stapled than regular sewing thread, and thus doesn’t break as easily – a requirement for a machine that goes 1,200 stitches per minute or faster.  Domestic sewing machines are usually under 1,000 spm.  The APQS longarm machine goes about 3,600 spm.  That’s fast!
I like Superior threads.  They have quite a variety of types, colors, and weight.  I generally use #50 So Fine on top, and #60 Bottom Line on the bottom.  (The higher the number, the finer the thread.  There’s an explanation on www.superiorthreads.com, if you’re interested.)
Wednesday, I asked Victoria how she and Baby Carolyn were doing. 
Pretty good,” she responded.  “The baby finally slept most of the night last night and we got some much-needed sleep.”
She suggested I use Larry’s method of gorilla glue for my finger.
“Ah ain’t no gorilla; cain’t use me no gorilla glue-’em!” I protested.
After church, I finished quilting my customer’s quilt called ‘Easy Street’.
Thursday, I began working on the lady’s next quilt, which was called ‘Sidelights’ and was made of Asian fabrics.  The pantograph is called Paisley Park.
That afternoon, Loren brought us a jug of Martinelli’s unfiltered, not-from-concentrate, apple juice.  Mmmm... best apple juice ever.

Sometime later that day, I looked at the calendar and realized that it was exactly 25 years ago that day that my father had died.  Hard to believe it’s been that long.
Friday afternoon, I was quilting away on my customer’s Asian fabric ‘Sidelights’ quilt... looked at the cone of variegated coral thread... and knew it wasn’t going to last.  I hated to think I might be stalled out until my thread from Red Rocks arrived.  I could remove this quilt and put on another... but I’m never very fond of that idea.
On a whim, hoping things might have changed and they would now stock it, I grabbed the phone and called my favorite quilt shop in town, Sew What, which is owned by a lady with whom I went to school. 
“Do you have longarm thread?” I asked when someone answered the phone.
The woman on the other end of the line (or radio wave, as it were) didn’t have a clue.  About anything, I don’t believe.
(No, it wasn’t my friend from school; she knows where every speck of lint is, in her store.)
The lady went for help.  Maybe she’d never heard of a longarm.
Maybe she’d never heard of longarm thread.
Maybe she’d never heard of thread.
Maybe she really worked at the flower shop next door, and had hit the wrong entrance, and nobody, including the woman herself, had noticed her error yet.
Someone else picked up the phone.  “Hello?”
I restated my request.
She didn’t know either, but walked back to the thread rack to take a look.
Then, “No, we don’t carry longarm thread,” she said in a tone of finality.
I waited a moment, wondering if she really knew what she was talking about, and if I should rephrase the question.  I could hear her plunkity-plunking spools of thread around.
Then she muttered, almost to herself... “Machine quilting thread... long-stapled...”  She petered out.  “Nope,” she reaffirmed.
“Well, but that’s it!” I exclaimed, getting all excited.  “Do you have any variegated thread?  In coral?  I’m using King Tut.”
“Oh?” she said doubtfully.  “No, this isn’t King Tut.”  (pause)  Since I hadn’t yet politely taken ‘no’ for an answer, as she seemed to hope I would do, she added discouragingly, “Yes, here’s some variegated coral; but it has many tones in it, all the way from pink to orange.  I doubt if it would match.”
I doubted if it wouldn’t.  “What time do you close?” I asked, and she told me.
I grabbed my dwindling cone of thread, stuck my feet in sandals, snatched up my purse, and trotted out the door.
They had no cones, as she’d said; only spools.  Spools with a measly 500 yards on them.  But the variegated YLI coral thread was very, very close to matching perfectly.  On my customer’s busily flowered fabric, any disparity would never be noticed.
I paid $8.83 (counting tax) for those 500 yards of thread.
A spool holding 400 yards of Coats & Clark Dual Duty general purpose thread, which is what a majority of seamstresses use, costs $1.79.  The 3,000-yard cone I just got today cost $23.95.  I would need six spools of YLI thread to equal the amount of thread on the Superior cone.  And that would come to a total of $52.98!!!  Good grief.
But I really, really needed to finish that quilt.  So I bought the thread.
And finish the quilt I did.  Now I’m ready to quilt Lydia’s cute ‘Lil Ladybug’ quilt.
That day, Victoria sent a picture of Baby Carolyn, asking, “Doesn’t this look like me?”
The sweet little baby was just working on a smile, and a whole bunch of work it is, too.
“Quite a lot!” I answered Victoria’s question.  “New babies’ earliest on-purpose smiles are often a thoughtful job of face-working, aren’t they?  I got so many pictures of first smiles with faces so similar to this.  What they’re doing is working hard to imitate the smiling faces looking down at them.  So very sweet.”
Shortly thereafter, Lydia posted an adorable picture of dear little Baby Malinda.  Being two and a half months older, she’s just about got those smiles down pat.  😍
Isn’t it something to think how these tiny lives have so much potential, and yet, right now, they are totally, absolutely, completely dependent on others to love and care for them?  And they totally trust that they will be cared for, without consciously understanding it.  Precious little babies.
Friday night I finished quilting the ‘Sidelights’ quilt, and Saturday I quilted a sports-themed table runner for Hannah’s children’s piano teacher, the elderly lady who has had a return of cancer, and is trying hard to finish quilts for her family while she still feels well enough to do so. 
I posted some photos:
Sunday morning I barely had time to get ready for church, even though I allowed myself 2 ½ hours.  First, the sweater vest I steamed was too small.  Not much, but enough that I didn’t like it.  Stands to reason, though, since it was one I wore in high school, 40 years ago.  When I went to steam the next one (which happens to be too big, but that’s better than too small), the iron spewed all over it, because I pressed ‘steam’ before the thing was hot again.  On top of all that, this booboo on my right index finger slows me down a lot.  Fortunately, I had yet another sweater to don.
Good thing I’d cut my hair the day before, so it didn’t take so long to dry and curl.
Some friends of ours who had been vacationing in the Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks were home again.  They posted some of their beautiful photos on Instagram, including some of Old Faithful Geyser.
Once upon a time we were at Old Faithful, along with hundreds of people sitting around the geyser, waiting for it to erupt.  We had seven kids with us; it was two months before Caleb was born.  Hester was three.  Everyone was chattering... and then the geyser spluttered loudly, and everyone abruptly quieted in anticipation. 
Into this silence Hester piped, “It’s about to sprout!!!” – and that was the end of the silence.
Bobby and Hannah and family came visiting last night after church, bringing a scrumptious pear dessert Hannah had made, with ice cream to go with it.  The pear filling had cream cheese in it, and there was a streusel topping.  Not too sweet... just right. 
We enjoyed the visit.
The butterflies are still going strong around here. 
On the West Point radio station, the announcer said the butterflies are coming from South Dakota.  Hmmm.  That’s New and Different information.  I wonder who’s right?
Time for a bit more research...
++++++++
Ooooookay.  Here’s The Rest of the Story:
Royce Bitzer, an entomologist at Iowa State University, said there is an abundance of Painted Ladies in areas across the region, including in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.
Larson attributes the butterfly boom to the ample rains earlier this year in California, where the Painted Ladies get their start. The rain produced more flowering plants, providing an abundance of nectar that boosted the Painted Lady population.
The butterflies spend the summer in cooler places like North Dakota and Canada, Larson said, but as fall approaches they head south, passing through Nebraska.  In a week or two, they’ll be heading for warmer climates.
So now we know the whole answer.  The radio and the newspapers didn’t really contradict each other; it was just that neither one told the story in full!
We also have white-lined Sphinxes (aka hummingbird moths) buzzing around the hosta blossoms.  I should try photographing them again, this time with my camera set on ‘sports mode’, and maybe that would speed the shutter up enough that I could catch those wings with a little less motion.
A cousin of mine who lives in Montana just posted a picture of snow in the mountains.  She has snow on one side of her home; wildfires on the other.  They hope the snow and cooler temperatures will put out the fires.
Our neighbors have gone on a cruise to Alaska.  Meanwhile, Larry is carrying for their goats, chickens, guineas, and the garden.  All the eggs and the garden produce is ours to keep.  Now we need a couple heads of lettuce to go with all these delicious tomatoes!  I had a peanut butter/tomato sandwich for supper.  If you haven’t ever had one, and decide to give it a try, for pity’s sake, toast the bread.  Don’t tell me you don’t like it, if you haven’t toasted the bread.  Bleah.
Here’s Teensy, snoozing in my chair.  You’d think the cat would get cramps in his toes, the way he sleeps with them curled up so tightly.

And now, I believe a soft-to-medium-boiled egg fresh from the henhouse would hit the spot.


,,,>^..^<,,,        Sarah Lynn        ,,,>^..^<,,,



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Photos: A Catnap, a Chickweed Geometer, and a White-Lined Sphinx

Teensy




Always the curled toes

Chickweed geometer moth

White-lined Sphinx, aka hummingbird moth, gathering nectar from the hosta blossoms.

Painted Ladies on the Autumn Joy sedum.

White-lined Sphinx moth









Monday, September 11, 2017

Journal: On Wool & Hurricanes, and Teensy Gets Skunked

School has started for our grandchildren, and, so far as I know, they are all happy about it.  More so than Sally, of Peanuts fame, anyway!
Last Tuesday, I was in the kitchen when I heard Larry coming in the back door for lunch.  He seemed to be taking an inordinate amount of time to get in.  Finally he walked into the kitchen, saying, “Boy, it’s hard to get in this house, when all three cats decide to come in with me!  One thinks he needs to drink out of the flowerpot (Tabby)... another rushes to get in front of me and falls over my feet (Tiger)... and the other won’t come in until the first two are out of the way (Teensy).”
I wrote to Hannah, asking if she was feeling better.  She was, though still having trouble with asthma, and trying to stay indoors away from the smoke, although it wasn’t as bad that day.
I no sooner wrote that the air quality had improved than I got such a strong whiff of smoke that my throat and nose burned and my eyes watered.  So strong, it seemed it couldn’t possibly be coming from hundreds of miles away.  But it was. 
Victoria and Baby Carolyn got out of the hospital that day.  They went to Kurt’s parents’ home, and they all managed to have much-needed naps that afternoon.
On one of the online quilting groups, we were discussing the merits of wool versus cotton batting.   People often assume that wool is hot.  Read on:
Wool batting is much lighter-weight and more breathable than most other battings – for instance, cotton.  If you want a softly-draping, luxurious quilt, use wool batting such as Quilters’ Dream Wool.  It’ll be warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Sooo nice.
One lady wrote, “After itching and scratching for most of my childhood because of wool sweaters, I still can’t imagine being comfortable with anything wool.  It was worse than mosquito bites.  So, I’ll leave the wool to you!”   
If wool is itchy, it’s because it’s poor quality.  For those of us who are ‘allergic to wool’ (myself included), the quality of said wool really does make a difference.  Hardly anybody is sensitive to vicuña wool, for instance.  Want some?  It’s only $1,800-$3,000 per yard, depending on density of weave and dye processes.  Too rich for your blood?  Try high-quality cashmere, at a mere $100 per yard.  Not many are sensitive to the softness of cashmere.
Here’s an interesting article on merino and alpaca wool:
Most of the time, when people are allergic to wool, it’s because the wool is inferior.  If the wool is of high enough quality, it won’t bother them in the slightest.  I thought I was extremely allergic to wool – but I have discovered that the better the grade of the fabric or yarn, the less likely I am to be sensitive to it.  I have not the slightest sensitivity to really fine wool.
If you think you are allergic to wool, you should try draping a piece of vicuña wool around your neck.  It’s unbelievably soft – and they (whoever ‘they’ are) guarantee, there’s not a soul in the world who will be allergic to it.  “It’s the finest hair on the planet!” they proclaim.  (What, did they forget about Gene Tierney?)
’Course, a suit will cost you upwards of $40,000, and a nice scarf will start at 4,000 smackeroos.  You’d better not be allergic to it, at that price! 
The following is in regard to wool socks:
Here are a few types of socks that are good for people who are on their feet, and need moisture wicked away:  Cushees-Triple-Thick-Ankle-Socks
These are premium hikers – one of the best:  Premium Hikers   These would be excellent socks to prove my theory about wool allergies, or the lack thereof. 
Here’s some with arch and ankle support:  Arch-Ankle Socks
These are cotton moisture-wicking:  Wicking Socks
My son-in-law and daughter Andrew and Hester brought me back a wool scarf from Ireland when they went there a couple of years ago.  It’s of such fine quality, it feels like excellent silk.  Mmmmm... sooo soft.
The Quilters’ Dream wool batting that I spoke of previously has never, ever bothered my hands when I have sewn and quilted with it.  Not like the wool batting of years gone by, that felt pretty much as if it was made of metal shards and glass insulation!  I used to look like I’d had a run-in with a million chiggers, after wearing wool, when I was little.  Cheap wool, it was.  We were frugal.  heh  Nowadays, I wear wool – good wool – and really like it.  (And yes, cheap wool still bothers me awfully, making my nose and face itch, and causing me to sneeze.)
Moral of the story:
Buy yourself some vicuñas, put them in your back yard, and collect the fibre!  Spin it, weave it, and make yourself some long johns.  Or a dinner jacket.  Sell the rest, and Get Rich Quick!  😃  https://www.loropiana.com/en/our-world-Loro-Piana/product-origin/vicuna
A lady added to the itchy-wool dialog, “Sometimes it is the way the wool was processed also.  If the wool has been treated with a caustic to dissolve the veggie matter that sheep carry on their backs in addition to the wool some of it will stay within the finished fiber and people will react to it.”
Another said, “I raise sheep, llamas, alpacas, and used to have angora bunnies.  Sometimes the allergies can even be a reaction to the dyes that are used.”
I have had angora sweaters that were so soft, I wanted to cuddle up and go to sleep in them ----- and I have had angora sweaters that were so pokey and itchy I wanted to scream.  Couldn’t wear them, even with a cotton shirt underneath.  So yes indeedy, something about the processing was totally different!  I just never knew what.
New methods of making batting are so much better than they used to be.  The new wool breathes better, and is much lighter.
When I wash my quilts, I can barely, barely pull the big all-cotton one from the washer.  It weighs a ton.  The one with wool batting is sooo much lighter when wet, even though it’s a little bigger.  It’s quite a bit lighter when dry, too.
Here’s a way to test this for yourself:  hold up a quilt with cotton batting, run your blow dryer on one side, and see if you can feel airflow on the other side.  Do the same with a quilt with wool batting.  (Make sure it’s the new batting, not the stuff from several decades ago.)  Then you’ll see, it is indeed the wool that breathes best.  (Don’t cheat, and use batik with the wool batting and muslin with the cotton batting, though.)
The longer the fiber, the smoother and softer-feeling the wool.  That’s just like longarm thread – it must be graded ‘long-staple’, or it will very likely shred or break when used in machines with high spm (stitches per minute).  A short-staple thread fiber is up to 1 1/8” long. A long-staple fiber is between 1 1/8” and 1 1/4” long.  (That’s thread; I don’t know about wool fibers.)
Speaking of high-speed machines, here’s some interesting information regarding how many stitches per minute various machines go:

APQS:  3500 spm
Gammill:  2700 spm
JUKI’s new QVP:  2200 spm
Innova:  2000 spm
Avanté HandiQuilter: 1800 spm
JUKI semi-industrial:  1500 spm
Bernina 820:  1100 spm
Bernina Q24:  2200 spm
Janome Horizon:  1000 spm

What this means is, instead of a new Avanté, I need me an APQS!!!
Most domestic sewing machines go just under 1000 stitches per minute. That’s not very fast.  Most threads will run fine in a sewing machine limited to or near the 1000 stitches per minute mark. Even though they have a longer arm, the Bernina 820 and Janome Horizon fall into this group. 
Friends are asking what ribbons I got at the State Fair.  I got 4 blue (1st place), 4 red (2nd place), and 1 yellow (5th place).  The results listed online were wrong – they had it listed that I had 1st place on that Mosaic Sailboat quilt of Bobby’s, but it was only 2nd place. 
The commentary on the items always makes me laugh.  (Well, sometimes it makes me indignant, but ... one should have thick hide, if one is going to enter stuff in fairs, right?  And be willing to take criticism.)  Still, it makes me laugh when the judges write, “Nice effect using the buttonhole stitch so neatly on your appliqué work” – and it’s not even a buttonhole stitch; it’s a blanket stitch.  Most every seamstress knows the difference.
Then on Joanna’s bag with all the zippered pockets, after a series of nice compliments, someone wrote, “Be careful to remove all basting threads.”  Eh?  I never basted a solitary thing on that entire bag!  ha
Ah, well... I suppose I can well do with a little bit o’ humbling! 
Now, for the opposing side of the coin, I got first place on that satin Christmas tree skirt, and they oohed and ahhed over the quilting, the smocking, and blah blah, etc., and then wrote, “There is one tuck in the quilting on one of the star points.”
Haha!  ‘One tuck’, indeed.  I wound up with so much excess fabric in various spots on that thing as I was quilting it, I nearly made a wreck and ruin of it.  I shoved parts of the borders of the appliquéd squares under various star points and quilted on top of it, making the borders all whoppyjaw and uneven... and I crammed wads and clumps of batting into other areas all willy-nilly ... I was nearly in despair over the dumb thing.  But nary a soul noticed any of that.  They saw one tiny tuck.  Just one tiny tuck.  hahaha
I will say truthfully that the quilts the judges chose for Best of Show and first place at the State Fair were beautiful.  It’s just that there are so very many that are gorgeous... I know they must have a hard time deciding!  I met a number of the judges this year, and they were all so friendly and nice.  I imagine they try hard to be fair and impartial.
Since the quilts they chose to award ribbons to were lovely, I don’t feel half as when the Best of Show quilt is some horrendously ugly contemporary-art thing that looks like someone fell down in the middle of a fabric shop with an armload of scraps, and then just glued everything together as they landed. 
Anyway, I really enjoy seeing all the nifty things people make.  Some of the children in 4H make really beautiful things.
A lady on an online quilting group wrote, “I don’t enter things in fairs, because I get hurt feelings easily!”  hee hee 
It does kind of hurt one’s feelings when one works so hard on something, and is all pleased and proud of it, and think it looks so nice – and the judges pick it to shreds.  I figure, Ooookay... I’ll try to do that part better next time.  Meanwhile, Norma loves her Buoyant Blossoms quilt, so despite the fact that it didn’t get a single ribbon, I still think it was my best work ever, and the main thing is that she loves it.
I have no real way of knowing, but I suspect if that quilt had’ve been, oh, say, queen-sized, it would’ve gotten a different response everywhere I entered it.  It did get a blue ribbon at the Platte County Fair.  One of the Best of County quilts that won 2nd place at the State Fair was quite small – but exquisite.  Still, there’s something about a big quilt, if it’s well made and pleasing to the eye, that can really grab the interest and excite viewers.  I’m just guessing, though, and making assumptions based on quilts I see that have won, versus quilts that didn’t win, even though they were quite beautiful.
Maybe size has absolutely nothing to do with it, ever.
One thing is certain:  it’s always, always, a matter of opinion, what is considered most beautiful!  (And some people’s opinions have more sense and logic than others.)  (My opinions, for example, are always sensible and logical and correct.)
Here’s the winning pumpkin at the State Fair – it weighed 676 pounds.
Victoria posted a video she took at 3:00 a.m. Tuesday morning in her dark hospital room – of Kurt pacing the floor with Baby Carolyn, all cuddled up carefully in his arms, rocking her gently as he paced ... and Victoria wrote on the video, “A good Daddy.”  😊
It always makes a parent happy when one’s sons-in-law treat one’s daughters with love, and when one’s daughters-in-law treat one’s sons with love.  We are very thankful.
That evening, Larry smoked Alaska salmon in the Traeger, and I cooked broccoli – and wonder of wonders, they both got done at the same time.
So many times when I fix an extra-fancy meal, you can just depend on it, Larry will have to work late.  Sooo... when I cook a meal, I eat it when it’s done.  Good thing we have a microwave, so poor Larry doesn’t have to eat his cold!  (He doesn’t mind rewarming his food... but sometimes he wishes he’d have gotten home a little quicker!)
I was discussing baby names, and how we pick them, with a friend.  When we were expecting Teddy, I had the name ‘Benjamin LeRoy’ at the top of our list.  Then one day I was at my brother’s house just down the street from us, and the neighbor lady(?) stuck her head out her front door and bellowed for her small son:  “BEN-JA-MMMMMINNNN!!!!!!”
I immediately decided, Oh, eek.  I can’t name my baby ‘Benjamin’!  The neighbor lady will squall and shout for her child, and my little one will think she’s screaming at him!  So I took that name off the list, and we went to name #2:  Theodore Lyle.
Two days later, Benjamin LeRoy was born – to Larry’s cousin and his wife.  😃 So we’d have changed names in any case; but it was already done.
Larry was always so agreeable with all the names I came up with – and I came up with them, long lists of them, the moment I knew I was expecting.  Had to name him/her!  Had to name him/her!  Now!!!  Child never would have gotten a name, had it been left up to Larry, I didn’t think.
Well, I’d write up a long list of names, show them to Larry, hoping he’d help decide... but he was agreeable.  Always agreeable.  Yes, he liked all the names I liked.  Yes, he liked the same one best that I liked best.  Yes, yes, yes.
Aarrgghh!  I wanted him to choose one!
Sooo... one time before one of the babies was born, I wrote up a list of names I didn’t like.  I tried not to pick anything ridiculous that would give my scheme away; just fairly normal names, but nothing I really liked. 
I handed him the list.  “Do you like these?” I asked, same as I always had before.
He took the paper, looked at it.  He got to the bottom... started over.  Then, very politely, “Do you have any others?”
!!!
So he really did have an opinion!  And he really did like the names I chose!  I was really, really glad to find that out.
Wednesday when Larry came home for lunch, he took me outside to take a video of him running his ‘new’ scissor lift.  He was happy, because he’d discovered his lift extends 46 feet, instead of just 41. 
It was a lovely autumn day, 64°.  The smoky haze from the wildfires out west was dissipating, and the sky was looking blue again.
After church that evening, we gave some of the things I’d taken to the fair back to their rightful owners.  Then we went to Wal-Mart and got some 3-6-mth and 6-9-mth baby girl things, since those 0-3-mth things I got a couple of months ago just weren’t going to do for this 9 lb. 5 oz. baby.  We then took them to Kurt and Victoria.  Baby Carolyn had just had a bath, been fed, and wrapped snuggly in a soft pink blanket, and she was fast asleep (and looking totally adorable).  We didn’t stay long, so baby’s parents could sleep whilst baby slept.
As we drove away, Larry commented, “Kurt likes to take care of Victoria.”  Larry doesn’t often make comments like that (he’s more likely to discuss scissor lifts and transmission lines), so when he does, you know he really means it. 
And he’s right.
When we got home, we discovered that our neighbors had left a bag of tomatoes and squash on our front porch.  I wrote to thank them.  We really do appreciate the garden produce.  It’s so good!
Thursday morning, there was a juvenile cardinal on our back deck, chirping loudly for food.  The Papa cardinal was working hard to keep his offspring fed.  Painted Lady butterflies were all over the Autumn Joy sedum that is starting to turn pink.  It was bright and sunny again.
That afternoon, I stayed with Victoria for a few hours to help with the baby.  Not sure how much help I actually was, but I had an enjoyable time, nevertheless.  I changed the baby (I still remembered how!  😲) ... Victoria fed her... and then I walked with her a little bit until she fell asleep. 
Victoria was still feeling not too so very good, perhaps because of the strong medicine she was taking.  She stopped taking it that day, and did start feeling a little better.
In spite of the air quality finally starting to improve, poor little Jonathan had trouble breathing that day.  Lydia sent a picture of him using the nebulizer.  He’s used to the machine, as he’s been using it for a couple of years now, and he will often come and ask for it when he can’t breathe well.  Still, in the photo he looks a bit frightened.  Poor little sweetheart.  It’s scary, when one can’t breathe!  Makes me feel so bad for him.
Smoke in part of the country... hurricanes in others.  Low pressure/high pressure affects people physically, too.  As the hurricane passed over many of the islands as Category 5, a lot of people reported feeling it in their chests.
The central barometric pressure in Irma dropped to 914 millibars.  This can cause a correlating drop in blood pressure, along with dizziness and even blurred vision.  People are more likely to get headaches or migraines.  There can be an increase in joint pain, and diabetics might have more trouble controlling their blood sugar levels. 
Something to be aware of:  decreases in air pressure may cause trapped air in insulin pumps to form small bubbles that affect the delivery of insulin and the amount actually being delivered.  Happens sometimes in air travel.
When Grandma said she knew the weather was going to change because she could ‘feel it in her bones’, she wasn’t just a-spoofin’!
After getting home that evening, I headed downstairs to finish quilting my customer’s Log Cabin Heart quilt.  I got it done at about 3:15 a.m.  I took pictures outside the next day.  More photos here:  Donna’s Log Cabin Heart quilt.
I started loading the next quilt, but had to take a little time out to get some photos of the hundreds and hundreds of Painted Lady butterflies that are migrating through, and swarming the Autumn Joy sedum that is turning pink.
The little Silver-Spotted Skipper butterflies seem a bit nonplused by the huge onslaught of Painted Ladies, skipping about over the blossoms with more nervous energy than usual.  There are so many Ladies and Skippers, it’s hard to even notice the much smaller, pretty little Grey Hairstreaks.
Dorcas sent pictures of Trevor playing – he was putting black beans into egg cartons.

“That’s cute,” I wrote to her.  “You used to do the same with Grandma Swiney’s buttons when we’d go visiting them.  You’d ask to play with the ‘egg buttons.’  😊
“I remember them,” she replied.  “I still love buttons.  I want to get the button jar at Jo-Ann Fabric sometimes because I remember your button box.”   
Dorcas also made Trevor some shakers with rice and beans in them.  She used plastic spoons as handles and plastic eggs to hold the beans, then glued the spoons on either side of the eggs.  Trevor first thought his Mama was making something to eat with, so he stirred the spoons in a bowl and said, “Mmm-mmm.”  He figured it out when Dorcas sang a song and shook the rattles:  they were to make music with, not to eat with!     
There are so many ways to keep those little gears moving in busy little minds!  I liked crafts, but I made more calamities than nifty inventions.
The Schwan lady came Saturday afternoon, so now our freezer is replenished.  But she didn’t have the cod I ordered.  Chicken will have to do.  The lady said that if they ever got all her orders right without shorting her something, she’s going to throw a party.  😏
I didn’t used to like fish much.  I do now, and when it’s smoked in the Traeger grill, I think it’s scrumptious.
One time when we were on vacation, Larry fixed fresh-caught rainbow trout for breakfast, cooking it over a campfire just outside our cabin in Ouray. 
Caleb wound up with an eyeball, along with the trout, on his plate.
He ate no fish after that, for a looong time.
Teddy came that evening, but not for a haircut, as he often does.  This time, the tables were turned, and he cut Larry’s hair.  I guess Larry finally decided that Teddy had had enough practice on all his boys’ hair that he would trust him on his own.  And it turned out just fine.
I was about 75% done with my customer’s ‘Easy Street’ quilt when I quit for the night. 
I’ve posted a few more pictures of our trip last weekend:  Traveling in Kansas
If we had to be stalled out somewhere replacing trailer brake assemblies, River Road in Atchison, Kansas, alongside the Missouri River, was a pretty place to be.
The United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth was the largest maximum-security federal prison in the United States from 1903 until 2005 when it was downgraded to a medium-security facility. 
I should’ve labeled the old cars and trucks I took pictures of, but didn’t take the time.  When Larry’s not around, it sometimes takes me a while to find the exact year and model of a particular old vehicle.  When Larry is around, all that is required is for me to show him the picture and say, “What’s this?”  He tells me, I label the picture, and that’s that.  😃  (Sometimes I look it up, just to be sure he’s right.  He’s almost always right.)
Sunday afternoon after we got home from church, I was watching a live feed on my laptop about Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in Florida Sunday morning.  Why do reporters covering hurricanes have to stand out on the 50th floor deck, where the wind is closer to 200 mph than it is to 100 mph, while they are broadcasting, and they can’t even hear the questions the desk jockeys are asking them???!  They go on talking – but since they don’t know the question, it’s pretty much like a couple of toddlers playing on opposite sides of the room, jabbering away... but they might as well be on separate planets. 
If they’re going to do that, they could at least do a few windblown somersaults or lose their toupees, and stuff, to keep us entertained, fer cryin’ out loud!
Next, there was a reporter standing smack-dab in the middle of Naples, Florida, where the eyewall was bearing down.  (eye roll)  Why don’t they go indoors, and just peer out the windows now and then?  He was right under a tree!!!
Aauuggghhh.
Oh, yikes – I barely finished writing that when a huge tree branch came down immediately behind yet another of those reporters in Naples.  He’d just finished advising everyone to stay indoors, away from windblown projectiles.
CRRRASH!!!!
Down came the branch.
The reporter jumped, scurried forward, then turned around to see what had happened behind him. 
“Like that,” he added, jabbing a thumb back over his shoulder at the branch.
Wind began changing direction as the eye moved over.  Wind speed was a steady 115, with gusts up to 160.  The reporter had to go down on one knee in order to keep from getting blown off to Eureka Roadhouse, Alaska.  One guy was carrying a big ol’ palm frond, and said it weighed about 30-40 pounds.  He explained that he was doing the General Public a favor by preventing it from blowing around in the wind.  He also told us how dangerous it might be if a coconut should hit him on the head.
On the other hand, maybe it would smack some sense into him?  That palm frond worked pretty much like a sail.  Smart guys!  Smart directors! 
Here in Middle Cornland, we head for shelter when the tumbleweeds start a-tumblin’.
I think they should put the directors out there in the breeze.
My father would’ve said, “If their brains were made of rubber, there wouldn’t be enough to make a mosquito a pair of boots!”  😆
The dumbhead nearly got blown halfway down the block, then he got hit with something and injured (and bellowed like a wounded buffalo), but after the cameraman patted his booboo, he went straight back out into the gale.
In addition to the wind, there was flooding.
I once read a story about a man in ... ?  Thailand?  The Philippines?  Anyway, the town where he lived flooded, the levies broke, and the water just stayed there.  He sewed for a living, even had a Bernina – one of the older mechanical ones.
The water in his house was two feet deep.  He simply kept everything on counters, tables, and shelves, and went on living there, splashing from here to there, wading through his house.
He told the reporter who was talking to him, “The hardest part is keeping the fabric I’m sewing from hanging down into the water!”
Good grief.  I’d think the hardest part would be keeping from getting some deathly disease, from having one’s feet in that putrid water all the time!  There was a picture, and the water was dark brown.  😝
I tried not to complain about stuff for a good long while, after reading that.
Here’s one of the lighted miniature towns the model trains traveled through at the Fair.  It says ‘Everywhere West’ on the side of the Burlington Northern.
Kurt, Victoria, and Baby Carolyn all managed to come to church yesterday morning!  Later, Kurt posted a picture of the baby yawning huuuugely, and wrote, “Her first service wore her out!”  Victoria then wrote, “Actually, she slept through the whole thing.”  hee hee
Larry was holding Jeremy and Lydia’s Baby Malinda last night after church, and she was smiling and smiling... and I very much wished I would’ve had my camera.  😍
There are five new babies in our church, and they’re all girls, and four are related to us (two granddaughters, a great-niece, and a great-great-niece), and the fifth is our daughter-in-law Maria’s niece.  Parents and aunts all post photos on Instagram, and these babies look something alike, being related, and sometimes I forget to first look at the name of the person who posted the pictures, and my brain gets all boggled with who’s who.
After we got home, I watched a few more news reports on Hurricane Irma while Larry went on a 30-mile bike ride, which took him an hour and 50 minutes.
I’m telling you, some of those reporters need an LC (Lunacy Certificate)!  I watched a lady reporter trying for all she was worth to keep her balance in the gale-force winds, standing out in the street alongside a bunch of downed palm trees, pointing them out and then gesturing at the ones still standing (right there beside her, swaying fearfully), and saying, “I’m afraid we’ll see a whole lot more of these down before we’re through here!”
Does she even know what happens if a large tree ka-bonks her on the ol’ punkinhead? 
Today I’ve washed the clothes and refilled the hummingbird feeder.  The rubythroats are migrating through, and they are having a heyday between the feeder and the multitudes (and multitudes) of blossoming hostas.  There are still thousands of Painted Lady butterflies all over the Autumn Joy sedum; I’ve never seen so many all in one place in my life.
I got the photos from the Nebraska State Fair edited and posted:  Nebraska State Fair.  If you use Facebook, and like model trains (and sheep and fighting pigs and tractors), and want to see the videos I posted from the State Fair, they are here:  Videos from the Nebraska State Fair
There were a lot of beautiful quilts there; I only took pictures of a small percentage of them.  Someone made a quilt out of the multitudes of ribbons they had won at County and State Fairs.  And... they got a ribbon for it.  😄  I forgot to take a picture of my Carrot-Cake-flavored funnel cake.
Meanwhile, life continues with its Great Excitements:
Here’s the TND (Top News of the Day) – or possibly the TNW (Top News of the Week):
Teensy got sprayed by a skunk.
Mind you, it’s not an all-over spray, and there was only a trickle down his left rear haunch, but... that’s enough. 
Did you know skunks can mist, or spray with a stream, large or small, short or long, as they prefer?  Fortunately, this skunk evidently preferred a small, short stream.  Maybe because I spoke kindly to him, inquired into the health of his mother, and took his photograph the other day. 
I was sitting at the kitchen table typing away, the window beside me open a bit, when that unmistakable scent of Skunk Eau De Toilette wafted through the window.
Anytime that happens, I look for the cats:  Tiger was sleeping on the loveseat... Tabby was snoozing on the back deck.  Didn’t see Teensy.  That’s not unusual; he likes to explore. 
A few minutes later, he came in through the pet door, walked into the kitchen, and flung himself down on the floor.  Something about his movements and attitude was slightly abnormal.
I noticed an odd smell, but didn’t recognize it as ‘skunk’.  I’ve only smelled it from a distance, you see!  This smell had a strong chemical quality to it, and I wondered if the cat had gotten into something on Larry’s scissor lift.  Teensy loves to explore, as previously noted.
The cat got up and turned – and I spotted something on his behinder.  I went to check it out – and as I leaned down toward him, I realized that, whatever that stuff was, it stunk.  In fact, it was toxic. 
Eyes a-water and nose a-run, I went for the pet wipes, which are supposed to be an alternative to giving a pet a bath.  I got several out and wiped the offensive haunch down.
After that, the wipes smelled (and the cat still smelled).
I repeated the procedure.  Twice.  Thrice.  Fource (à la Victoria, age 3).
I went to ask Larry, who was taking a bath, what he might have out in the garage that the cat could’ve gotten into.  But as soon as I opened the door, he began exclaiming, “Peeeuw!!  Skunk!!!”
He was so insistent upon it (not smelling it up close, as I had), I went to my laptop and made inquiry as to the color and make-up of skunk spray.
Yellow.  Check.  Very strong chemical smell.  Check.  From Wikipedia:  Skunk defensive secretion is composed of seven major volatile components.  These can be divided into two major groups of compounds, thiols and acetate derivatives of these thiols.  Two of the thiols are responsible for the strongly repellent odor of the secretion, (E )-2-butene-1-thiol and 3-methyl-1-butanethiol.
Oh.
So now I had to admit to Larry that he was right, and I was wrong.  He’s always so... so... smug when this happens.
I wiped the cat down a couple more times, which did not make him happy.  By the third time, he was complaining loudly, and trying to go.  I didn’t think the wiping did much good, really.
I put him outside, over his objections.  And then, because he had lain down on the floor in a couple of places, I grabbed the Lysol Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner in Sparkling Lemon & Sunflower Essence and mopped all the floors.  Then I sprinkled Arm & Hammer Extra-Strength Carpet Odor Eliminator on the rug where Teensy had lain, and by then Larry was done with his bath, and vacuumed it for me.
He took out the garbage, since I had thrown the pet wipes into the trashcan.  Then he blocked the pet door, and I put food on the front porch and on the deck so our cats wouldn’t fade away and perish from starvation and thirst overnight.
However, Tiger and Tabby came into the house a little later (I found them begging piteously at the door to be let in), ate, and then went to sleep on the loveseat, backs resting against each other.  Teensy came to the front door, squeaking the pads of his paws on the glass asking to get in, as he does, and I tried stepping out to commiserate with him and show him his bowl of food.  I told him to stay outside (he knows those words), but he tried to get in anyway.  I moved to block him – and squished him a bit against the door frame.  Not much, not enough to actually hurt him, and he would normally have chattered to me with his ‘mrrow mrrrow mrrrrOW!’s, but he was already insulted from first the skunk, next the wiping down, and then the ignominious banishment from the house.  He whirled around, dashed off the porch, and lit out across the yard and over the lane, not to be seen again.  Well, humbug!  I was offended, too.  My delicate little schnoz was offended.
This is the most-recommended solution to skunk odor:  1 quart hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon dish-washing liquid.  Mix these together and bathe (shampoo in or rub down) the spray victim thoroughly.  (‘Victim’, ha.  The bather is a victim, too!)  This mixture must be used immediately after it is created, as it is unstable.  Try to store it somewhere, and you’ll re-create Mount Saint Helena. 
After applying, let it sit for five minutes, then rinse with tap water.  Repeat if necessary.
The combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda creates a chemical that actually counteracts and deactivates the chemicals in the skunk spray, allowing them to then be rinsed away (somewhat).
Tomato juice, that old ‘standby’, actually does not break down or wash away skunk spray, but only temporarily masks the scent to our olfactory senses.
I hunted down some hydrogen peroxide and the baking soda and detergent.
Except... by then, the cat was gone.  The thing is, it works best when used immediately after the encounter with the skunk. 
Well, it will have to be ‘immediately’ tomorrow.  If Teensy ever gets over his insult and comes home, that is.
Meanwhile, we opened windows and patio door, and the house seems to be fine.  Hopefully it really is fine, and our noses haven’t just become immune to the scent.  I don’t think that is the case, though, because I definitely catch a slight whiff of skunk now and then.  If I can still smell it, I haven’t become desensitized.
Poor Teensy!  Reckon he’ll leave skunks alone after this?  Reckon he’ll come home??
If he ever does come home again, I’ll try to explain to him (in Cattese) just how sorry I am for him and his misfortune.
This big pink pig at the State Fair absolutely glistened and shone.  She was extra pink from what looked like sparkly blush.  She was also friendly.  Sooo... I petted her ----- and wound up with a hand positively dripping with baby oil.  😜😝
Time to get back to my customer’s quilt.  I have one more from the same customer, then one from Hannah’s children’s piano teacher, and a cute ladybug quilt from Lydia.  The piano teacher is an elderly lady, and she has cancer – it has come back for the fourth time.  While she is still able, she is trying to finish quilts for her family.

Tonight, if you still have a roof over your head (and if the place doesn’t reek of Skunk de Parfum), be thankful.


,,,>^..^<,,,       Sarah Lynn        ,,,>^..^<,,,