February Photos

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Nine-Patch Pinwheels Blocks for Buoyant Blossoms BOM Posted

I have posted the pattern for the nine-patch pinwheel blocks for the Buoyant Blossoms collection:




Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Photos: Tall Phlox, Hollyhocks, and a Tiger

Tall phlox

Tall phlox close-up




Milkweed




Milkweed close-up




Hollyhocks








Tiger, the cat someone dumped or lost


He's pretty sure he belongs here now.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Journal: Mulberries and Dragonflies and Birthdays

Clematis
Last Monday evening, I posted some photos:  Swallowtails and Cats
A friend noticed that I had multiple photos of Teensy, and only one of Tabby, and remarked, “I can tell which one is your favorite!”
“Naaah,” I answered, “I don’t have a favorite kitty; I love them both.  It’s just that Tabby wasn’t doing anything!  One shot was going to look just like the next.”
Proof:  As soon as Teensy lay down and went to sleep, I stopped shooting him and went off looking for other photographic quarry. 
Tuesday I got my last two patterns ready to post, and then started on the final flower.  Or maybe the second-to-last, if I decided to use the pansies for something else and make a different pansy block for the quilt.  They might look better on the front of a fancy little bag.  Up close, they’re fine.  From a distance (i.e., in a quilt), they’re a bit of a mishmash. 
I drew another flower block design, cut the templates, ironed them onto fabric, and trimmed them.  They were ready to be starched and ironed when I quit for the night.
Lydia came visiting that evening, bringing Larry coconut honey cashews, Ferrero Rochers, and a nifty 3D card she’d made.  Open it, and it becomes a grill, complete with fixin’s.  Jacob and Jonathan were with her.
She was telling a story about some difficulty she’d recently had, trying to lug several cumbersome items, adding, “... and I was carrying a baby, too—”
Jonathan, who’d seemingly been playing without listening, looked up at his Mama quickly.  “It was Ian,” he told her in great sincerity.  She evidently hadn’t known!  hee hee
A friend of ours used to run a daycare.  One day she gave the children a serious lecture on sharing.  Satisfied that they had taken it well to heart, she went to the kitchen to fix lunch. 
A ruckus soon ensued in the living room.  She hurried back to see what the trouble was.
There was the chief culprit, a little boy of about four, tugging hard on a toy in a little girl’s arms whilst looking her straight in the eye and crying, ”Share!  Share!”
The first part of the day Wednesday was spent in a bit of vacuuming, bathroom scrubbing, dish washing, and clothes washing.  I finally headed down to my sewing room in midafternoon, with about three hours to sew before the evening church service. 
I got all the little pieces for the next flower block – gladiolus, this time – prepared and glued them onto the background... and then it was time for church.
Afterwards, we went to Wal-Mart for some better weed and grass clippers.  I may not be able to pull weeds so well, but with good clippers, I should be able to cut them.  I chose Fiskars.
Home again, I stitched down the appliqués.
I didn’t like it.  It was less than stellar.  In fact, it looked less like a spray of flowers, and quite a lot more like a muddle. 
I’ll turn the muddle into a little bag for one of the granddaughters someday.  Granddaughters like muddles just fine, when Grandma makes them.  Don’t they?
Why did the jumble of tulips work, while the jumble of gladiolas did not??
Just about the time I think I’ve learned what will look nice and what won’t, I make something that... doesn’t.  I won’t waste it, though.  It’ll turn into... something!
I took pictures of it and went to bed.  Here are the bad glads; do you see what I mean?
Thursday, I started a replacement block.  I drew new flowers, traced new templates, and cut new pieces of fabric.
I headed out to a backyard flower garden with my brand-spankin’-new Fiskars hand clippers early that afternoon, planning to make use of a pretty day by clipping out all the grass and weeds that have grown amongst the hostas and lilies and hollyhocks. 
Problem:  the silly things kept locking into a partially-open position every time I tried to cut anything!  I removed them from the grass and squeezed the handles ---- and they worked perfectly.  I made sure the lock was in the correct position... I leaned down to clip a weed – and the blades locked, half open, again.
As before, as soon as there was no weed in its talons, it opened and closed perfectly. 
Ah.  Perfect excuse to quit with the weeding and trimming and to go right down to my sewing room.  Aye?  My Fiskars spring-loaded shears and snips were working perfectly, after all!
I turned on an audio book, plugged in the lightbox, and collected a Sharpie.  Then, after retracing the pencil sketch with the Sharpie, I numbered the pieces, scanned the drawing, and printed it onto newsprint.  Next, to trace it onto freezer paper, trim the templates, iron them to fabric, and cut out the pieces.  Let the New and Improved glads be re-created!
When I started trimming double-layer freezer-paper templates, I ran into a small snag.
Literally.
I stopped cutting and took a close look at the scissor blades.
Yep, there was a definite nick in them.
I turned to my laptop, conducted a bit of Important Business on Amazon, and then wrote the following Thoughts and Remarks to one of the quilt groups:

Remember those beads I bought last week to put on the lily block?  a) The package had gold, bronze, and silver tube beads, along with round ones, and b) I bought them at Wal-Mart. 

1.            I never dreamed Wal-Mart sold high-quality glass beads.
2.            Wal-Mart sells high-quality glass beads.
3.            I thought they were plastic.
4.            I tried cutting one slightly shorter.  (Why can I never leave well enough alone?!)
5.            I used my Acme Titanium scissors for this purpose – the scissors I use to cut freezer paper.
6.            They were good scissors.
7.            ‘Were’ was the operative word in the previous sentence.
8.            Amazon sells Acme Titanium scissors.  Big ones, little ones; shears, snips; pretty, pretty scissors.
9.            I like scissors.
10.         I bought some. 
11.         I managed to restrict myself to one pair.  [ :-O ]
12.         I’m more than half done cutting gladioli templates.
13.         Soon, I must decide if it was a faulty design or the wrong fabric choices that made the last gladiolus block look like a muddle.
14.         The fabric is pretty.  Therefore, I shall try the same fabric with this new design.
15.         ‘Gladioli’ sounds like ‘ravioli’.
16.         It’s suppertime.
17.         I’m hungry.
18.         (Fill in the blank)

And that’s all, she wrote!

Later that night, I had a dozen or so windows up on my computer.  Two were actually showing, and were side by side:  an audio book, and Outlook.  After reading an email, I pressed ‘Home’ to go back to the top of the post – and promptly returned to the beginning of audio book, since it happened to be the active window, as I had yet to actually click on anything on the email. 

Arrgghh, that's as bad as (or worse than) when someone slams shut the book you are reading!
Take a look at this... thing... that someone posted on a quilting group (of all things) on Facebook.
I promptly sent the pictures to my daughters, mother-in-law, and sister.
Hannah likes to fix funny meals for her family on April Fools’ Day – but she was all squeamish over a bug cake.  “Shiver me timbers!” she wrote back to me.  “I can’t say I’d enjoy eating that.”
“Me neither, me neither!” I answered.  “But... just think how much fun it would be to serve that up to Bobby and the kids.”
“Wonder how those legs are made?” Hannah wondered.
“Small rodent limbs?” I replied, in an evil effort to make her shiver all over again.
She hasn’t answered.  Maybe she won’t speak to me ever again, after offending her sensibilities so? 
Come to think of it, my sister hasn’t responded either.  Hmmmm.
Lydia wrote in agreement with Hannah:  “How could you even eat that?!”
Hester, being Hester, wrote, “Lololol.  Yum!  :( ”
Friday, I started gluing all the little fabric pieces down.  We would soon see if the New and Improved version was indeed New and Improved.
That evening, we went to Jeremy and Lydia’s house for Jacob’s birthday party.  He’s 7 now, and Lydia, whose birthday was the next day, is 25.  Here’s Jeremy holding Ian, talking to Caleb, and Larry and Lydia on the right.  This area will be the new living room.
Late that night, I appliquéd the last little gladiolus petal in place.  Yep, it’s New and Improved:

Now for a bit of product endorsement:
The front and top of the control panel on my stove, which is behind the burners, has been a bit sticky and grungy for a long, long time.  I’ve tried various cleaners and degreasers on it, but nothing worked very well.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of using Barkeeper’s Friend powdered cleanser and polish on it; I use the stuff on the glass stovetop, after all, and it works great.  But the other day, after wiping off the stovetop, I used the same rag with a damp paste of Barkeeper’s Friend on the top and front of the control panel.  Now the control panel is whiter and cleaner than it’s been for many a moon.  I need to have Larry scoot the stove out and unplug it so I can scrub around the switches and dials without getting zapped.  (Yes, it’s happened before.  Highly unpleasant, to say nothing of dangerous.)
The cats are getting along pretty well with Tiger.  They’re sometimes all out on the deck at the same time, lounging around (though looking around suspiciously if anybody moves too suddenly).  Tiger wanders in and out with me as I fill the bird feeders, hang some laundry, and do some things in the kitchen. 
I looked up some information on scam phone calls, since Loren receives some now and then.  A recent caller informed him that there had been a lawsuit filed against him, and it worried him a bit.  I assured him it was a scam.
I found a whole lot of complaints online about this very type of call, including the following comment:  “Someone has been calling my sister (whom of which we don’t live in the same city) to try to get my contact information.”
‘Whom of which we don’t live in the same city.’  ‘Whom of which.’
Chicory
I’ll betcha when foreign scammers and telemarketers call her, they both wind up scratching their heads!  ‘Whom of which.’ 
Saturday I put all the horizontal rows of blocks for the Buoyant Blossoms BOM together, and the sashing, too.  I didn’t make a new pansy block after all.  As I mentioned before, it’s pretty up close... and besides! – I wanted to sew blocks together, not make another flower appliqué!
Sunday morning, there were two downy woodpeckers on the suet feeder at the same time – one on either side of the cage.  I’ve never seen two there at once before.  One was obviously a male, with its red top of the head.  I peered at the other one, trying to decide which it was.  It turned then, and I saw a mottled red topknot – it was a juvenile.  He was pecking away at the suet block, quite like an adult – but then his father flew around to his side of the cage, and the young’n went to acting like a wee babe, flapping its wings and begging.  WHAM-BAM-BAM!—the father pounded food into its gullet.  Looks dangerous.  :-D
Hannah was holding Baby Ian after the morning church service.  I walked over to talk to Lydia and Hannah – and noticed the baby looking intently into my face, eyebrows up a bit... so I laughed and said, “Do you like that story, Baby?” and he beamed at me.  He grinned so big, he wiggled all over.  J  He’s four months old now. 
After church last night, we took a gift to Bobby and Hannah for their 16th anniversary – a bug zapper for their yard.
They weren’t home yet, so Larry looked around for a place to put the gift bag.  He chose the flag pole, draping the ribbon bag handles over one wing of the eagle that topped the pole.
“Now lift the pole,” I suggested.
So up... up... up went the bag.
I then sent them a text, saying that I hoped they got home before a bird built a nest in the gift bag, or carried off bag and present entirely.
Bobby soon wrote, “I hope it’s not edible....it’s hard to eat while climbing a flagpole.”
“Depends on how well-fried you like stuff,” I replied, “whether you’ll consider what it produces edible or not.”
We came home and had a late snack:  fruit salad, with a side of pretzel-flip crackers with extra-crunchy Jif peanut butter, washed down with hazelnut coffee.  Now, there’s a good snack, right there.
Victoria used my camera Saturday and again today to take senior pictures for two of her friends.  She used Lydia’s umbrellas and lighting equipment.  I seldom allow anyone else to use my camera.  And you can just bank on it, if I do, there will be all sorts of things I really need to take pictures of, and I have no camera.  Victoria’s photo shoots both turned out very nice, I think.  She was pleased to make a little money, while saving her friends quite a lot of money.
Last night, she and Kurt went off and used the money from the Saturday shoot to buy Lydia an exercise bike for her birthday.  It didn’t quite cover it all, so Kurt made up the difference.  Lydia has been trying to ride each morning, and Victoria stays with the children while Lydia goes pedaling.  But it doesn’t always work out, what with Victoria’s jobs and unpredictable babies, so an exercise bike is a good alternative.
Lilies
It’s 85° here, so my weather app says; but I went out on the deck to refresh Tiger’s water, and it feels much hotter.  Tiger likes to come in the house – he was somebody’s housecat at one time, I’m sure.  We let him in now and then, and he hasn’t done anything objectionable yet.  Teensy is a little more tolerant than he was.  I didn’t want another cat, but it appears we’ve got one!  And a nice one he is.  He seems to be an older cat, and he’s a wee bit gimpy around the haunches.  He’s big...  well over 15 pounds, I’d guess.
One time Black Kitty was in the garage, and she’d gotten into a bag of garbage.  Only her big bushy tail was sticking out.  Larry came walking through, petted her tail (she always liked that), and said, “Hey, get out of the garbage!” 
She started backing out – and then he realized ... the critter had a white stripe up its back and all the way to the tip of its tail.
He commenced to running in midair, but gravity got the better of him.  Once his feet hit the floor again, he got up the stairs and into the house in record time.
Caleb, who’d watched the entire show from the back door, laughed so hard he was bent double, tears streaming down his face.
I just spotted a tiny house wren hot on the trail of something in the grass.  They got closer, and I could see that the critter being pursued had six legs.  That little wren was hopping lickety split after a big ol’ insect half as big as he is.  Must’ve been a cicada.  They had a fierce fight, and the wren might’ve won, but then he glanced up and spotted me at the door and took off like a shot.  That was quite the rip-snortin’ fight, while it lasted!
Did I mention, Victoria has borrowed my camera?  I had no camera, and a wren was having a boxing match with a cicada!  A Common Whitetail dragonfly was flitting calmly about the old-fashioned roses, and I had no camera!!!
Therefore I must cheat, and take a photo from the Internet.  This striking skimmer eats a whole lot of mosquitoes.
Our big Siberian husky, Aleutia, used to love cicadas.  I think she considered them a delicacy – like escargot, or caviar.  Crunchy, crunchy!
One time Larry and I were taking the children for a bike ride.  I had a child’s bike seat on the back of my bike; he was towing a cart that hauled four or five children.  As we rode along, my necklace of large fat beads thumped against my collarbone, and I thought, Bother; why didn’t I remember to take that thing off?!
I reached up to move it a bit ------- only it wasn’t a beaded necklace.  It was a cicada, hanging on tight to my collarbone!!!!  :-O
Well, I couldn’t capsize or bail, because I had a little kid in the bike seat behind me.  So I vewy, vewy ca’fully plucked that thing off and gave it a fling.
But I’m here to tell you, I shivered for five minutes thereafter, and periodically all over again every time I thought about it.
One of these days – tomorrow, for instance – I need to pick some mulberries.  Both the purple and the white ones are ripening; I ate a handful of them Saturday.  Mmmm, mmm... the purple ones are really sweet.  The white ones aren’t as sweet as they were last year; I think we need to give the tree more water.
Friday is the day I need to take things to the Platte County Fair.  Don’t let me forget!
Tomorrow, I hope to get the quilt put together and start on the borders.  There are three borders, and the middle one has lots of triangles. 

Bedtime! 


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



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016

Journal: Father's Day, Flower Blocks, and Feline Fusses

My hollyhocks are in bloom – and there are more of them, with more colors, than I’ve had for years.  There are pink, fuchsia, and plum-colored blossoms.  When I was little, my mother showed me how to make hollyhock dolls,  with a blossom for the skirt, a bud for the  head, and another blossom for a hat.  Little twigs made the arms.
These days, you don’t have to rely on memories of a mother’s or grandmother’s craftsmanship; you can just look it up online.  I found a youtube video showing how to make them:  Hollyhock Dolls.  Here are written instructions:  Make a Hollyhock Doll (photo from this website below).  And just look at all the cute pictures:  Hollyhock Dolls of Pinterest
P.S.:  If you decide to put together some of these dolls, you might want to first be sure you don’t make some fussy li’l ol’ lady mad by denuding her hollyhocks of all their blossoms.  :-D
You should hear the Baltimore oriole singing his heart out from his perch somewhere amongst our trees!  I need to find a good place to hang the oriole feeder.
Last Monday evening, I worked on the block of Johnny Jump-Ups – and decided to call them ‘pansies’ so everyone will know what in the world I’m selling when I post the pattern.
I was appliquéing away – but had to stop every now and then in order to grab the flyswatter and swat a miller.  Where on earth did the multitudes of moths come from??!
If you’d like to hear a group of young ladies, including Victoria, sing, here is a link:  Where the Roses Never Fade.  Scroll down to the 05-22-16 PM service, and the song is at 18:22 minutes.  Victoria is at the far right, back row, with the white jacket with black polka dots and black trim.
Tuesday I finished the Pansy block – all 71 pieces – and added a bit of embroidery and beading. 
No watering was necessary that day, as it rained early in the morning.  Meanwhile, it was 36° in Alert, Nunavut, Canada – the world’s northernmost settlement.  (I knew you’d want to know.) 
People who live there were probably running around in shirt sleeves, exclaiming over the excellent weather.  The sun will be up for 24 hours, there in the Arctic Circle.  Their ‘midnight sun’ lasts from the first week of April until the first week of September.  They experience ‘polar night’ from the middle of October until the end of February.
It’s a relatively dry place, although it can snow at any time of the year, and sometimes snow from one year stays around until the next year, as it might never melt.
I’ve always enjoyed geography – learning about far-off places, weather phenomena, and suchlike.
Speaking of geography... Hannah sent me a picture of Levi in a clothes basket, legs akimbo, totally engrossed in a book.  She wrote, “The places (and positions) this kid finds to read!”
As I sewed, I listened to the audio book, The Adventures of Kit Carson, narrated by a literary-challenged British woman with a nugged-up ploze (as Caleb would say).
I made it through the Prologue, wondering if I had it in me to abide this slaughtering of perfectly good literature.  I’m not complaining about the accent; I like British and Aussie accents just fine.  It’s the reading ineptitude that offends my sensibilities.
Why do people who cannot read take the privilege of doing so, record it, and then post it on LibriVox or Audio Books or some such?!  Aarrgghh.  Somebody hand me the earwash.
I have some stand-alone speakers that I plug into my laptop that greatly enhances the sound.  Good earbuds really improve sound quality, too, but I can’t use them if I’m trotting around all over the place while something’s playing on my laptop. 
Later that afternoon, I heard the roll of thunder, and scurried upstairs to bring in clothes from the line.  A storm was approaching from the west.  I pulled up AccuWeather and discovered that it was snowing in northern Idaho!  I immediately wanted to be there.
I need a mountain fix!  It’s been too, too long since I’ve seen the mountains.
And it’ll be a while longer before I get to see them again, too, as I’m pretty sure we used up this year’s allotment of gasoline trekking to Florida and back.
That evening, I finished putting the Pansy pattern into pdf form; it’s ready to post when the time comes.  I’m disappointed with it.  It’s too busy.  It looks kinda like I wadded up pieces of fabric and flung them at the background.  I told Larry it looks like a beaver hut made of colored fabric.  The black and white drawing looked fine!  I wish I hadn’t thought I needed to make the size of the pansies in a proper ratio to the other flowers.  Three larger pansies would have been much prettier, to say nothing of easier. 
But... there it is!  On to the next one!  I hunted through my lily pictures for a good one to draw.
((...considering...))  Maybe I’ll save the pansy block for another project – such as the front of a little zippered bag.  Up close, those flowers look fine.  Then I could make another pansy block with fewer but larger flowers.
Maybe I will.  Maybe I won’t.
After a lengthy search, I finally found the Platte County Fair entry schedule at the University of Lincoln’s website.  Last year, the Platte County Fair website didn’t have a link to the schedule until the day before the entries were due.  Or if they did, I certainly didn’t see it until then, and not for lack of looking.  That website needs help.  Open Class Fine Arts entries are to be taken to Ag Park Friday morning, July 1st.  Baked goods, floral displays, photography, and pigs are to be taken Wednesday morning, July 6th.  (Actually, ‘pig’ was in the next section, but I like putting it with ‘baked goods’ just to make matters more interesting.)
Wednesday I worked on the next flower block for the Buoyant Blossoms BOM, a tiger lily design.  After church that night, Larry and I went to Wal-Mart and I got a box of small glass beads, including tube beads for the anthers on the lilies.  When we got home, I finished the embroidery and the beadwork, and another block was done.
The fabric for the petals was cut from RJR Farmers’ Market fabric by Robert Kaufman – specifically, Peppers Multicolor.  The bud fabrics are from an autumn trees print.
Before heading for the feathers, I edited about 100 photos.  I still haven’t put together a music/photo slide show DVD of our trip to Florida; I need to get that done!  Loren’s birthday is coming up (August 9), and he really enjoys those DVDs I put together for him.  I’ve compressed photos for the project; now I need to weed out a couple thousand.  If pictures go flying through at about 20 pictures per second, people will have a hard time seeing them, right?  Right??
Trouble is, when I start going through the shots, I look at each one and think, Gotta keep that one, gotta keep that one, gotta keep that one...  and I wind up with the same problem:  Too many photos.  Gotta delete, delete, delete!  I’ll get it done.  Soon.  (No, I’m not deleting originals; only compressed photos, which are in a different folder.  Once upon a time, about 17 years ago, when digital photos were new, I saved a favorite – but very compressed – photo over the top of the excellent-quality photo.  And that was the end of the excellent-quality photo.  Have you have ever done that??  I take great care not to have that happen again.)
Thursday, I traced and cut templates for the next flower block, ironed them onto fabric, then trimmed and clipped them in preparation to starching and ironing the edges.
It was 93°, with a heat index of 101°.  I always worry about the menfolk working outside in high heat on days like that.  My worry was not misplaced; Kurt got sick from the heat that afternoon.  Victoria picked him up at the jobsite where he was working and took him home.
Friday was even hotter, and Teddy got sick and had severe cramping, too.
Today was much better, with the temperature only getting up to 82°.
In the last week, two or three ladies have asked for opinions about quilting machines versus DSMs (domestic sewing machines), and about FMQ (free motion quilting). 
Opinions?  I have lots of opinions!  Here are a few:
Keep this in mind:  if you practice, practice, practice on your DSM but your quilting just doesn’t turn out nice enough to suit you, that’s no real sign you couldn’t do it on a sit-down midarm or longarm, or a longarm on a frame.  Midarms and longarms are machines made for this job; most DSMs, not so much.  Some DSMs are better equipped for FMQ than others.  It has quite a lot to do with timing precision between feed dogs and presser foot movement, plus presser foot pressure, and not a little to do with desk surface. 
So... never let a perceived lack of skill on one machine stop you from trying a better one.
Motto:  Always blame the machine! 
I quilted on my faithful Bernina 830 Record, purchased new in 1978, up until 2010, when I got a used HQ16.  I was sooo thankful to find that machine at a price we could afford.  The last quilt I’d done on my Bernina was a king-sized Mariner’s Compass, and after finishing it, it took my elbows and shoulders a good six months to recover.
Larry set up the HQ16... I downloaded a nifty pantograph... oiled and threaded the machine... loaded a quilt... and went to work.  I do believe it was the most difficult pantograph on the Internet – but I liked it, and what did I know about complexity – or lack thereof – of such a thing as a pantograph? 
The ships’ wheels wound up looking like notched blocks and the stars looked like five-leafed clovers.  But... the quilt top was red, white, and blue and very busy, and the panto didn’t show all that much.  We won’t talk about how it showed on the back.  :-O  I put a prairie-point binding on it in order to detract attention from the quilting and gave it to a friend whose birthday is on the Fourth of July, telling her it was a picnic quilt.  (The more ketchup that gets spilt on it, the better.)
After a few pantographs, and after drooling over wonderfully quilted quilts other ladies had done, I gave free motion quilting a try.
Here are the books that really helped me:  Custom Curves by Karen McTavish, Feather Adventures by Patsy Thompson, Freemotion Quilting by Judy Woodworth, Mastering the Art of McTavishing by Karen McTavish, and Twirly Whirly Feathers by Kim Brunner.
Some of the books came with DVDs; those were helpful, too.  You can find video clips of some of these techniques by these skilled ladies on youtube.
A friend on an online quilting group offered some good advice to me a few years ago: 
“Practice drawing on paper.  You’ll be surprised how well your feathers look after you draw them 50 times.  I know it may seem silly but that’s what really helped me the most.  Your feathers will be unique to you, like a fingerprint; but you really have to draw them in order to find your fingerprint.  Once you get the basic shape down and want to do a specific block filled with feathers, draw that block and draw the feathers about 10-15 times.  It’s the ol’ muscle memory you’re after.”
I did as she recommended, and it did indeed make a big difference in my abilities with the longarm.
After a little bit of that, I put a quilt on the longarm and commenced to feathering, sans pantograph.  Yes!  I was feathering.  Feathering, and it was fun to do.  Any feathering I had done until then had been accomplished by using my laser light and a pantograph.  Freehand is much more convenient, if one can just do it.  I enjoy doing rulerwork, too.
I’ll never be as good as some with their exquisite custom quilting, but I keep trying, and I can see improvement even in the last year.  It’s such a satisfying feeling to take a quilt off the frame, look at it, and think, Wow, that looks pretty good, even if I do say so myself!
Not many of us (and certainly not me) have the best machine for any given job, since not many of us are as rich as Midas.  My ‘new’ Bernina – the 180 Artista I like so much – has little quallyfobbles, such as stalling out that first instant I press down on the presser foot.  It regroups itself if I wait 5 or 10 seconds, and carries on with aplomb.  I am not often patient enough to wait those few seconds, so I grab the handwheel and give it a fast turn, and that usually causes the computer in the machine to come to life again.  This, I know, won’t get better.  The machine was built in 1999, after all.
Therefore... I drool over the new Bernina 780s.  Yeah, they’re over my budget.  :-\
Friday afternoon, I made vanilla pudding, apple salad, lemon poppyseed muffins, and a couple of different vegetables for Loren for supper.  He came and picked up the food.
Kurt and Victoria went to Jo-Ann’s Fabric in Omaha to get the chiffon she’d ordered for sleeves and sashes to go with the satin for the main part of the dresses for the ladies in the wedding party.  That means... I should get started sewing soon.  Victoria was delighted to find that the fabric matched absolutely perfectly.
Oh! – I just got a notice that the photos I submitted to Google maps have now been viewed over 50,000 times!  How ’bout that.  I think they should pay me... oh, about $2/view.  Don’t you?  I mean, I could really use $100,000.
I was intrigued with the many bridges we traveled over on our trip to Florida.  Those of any great size at all had names – and I discovered Google maps had no labels on a bunch of them.  So... I labeled them and submitted them for review, and now some of those bridges are properly christened.  I’m telling you, I should get paid!  Or at least made famous, or something.
No, never mind fame.  I want fortune!
I looked at my pictures to find a flower for the next block.  Spotting one of my water lilies, I decided that was just the ticket.  Then I looked at the blocks I have done so far... saw that the quilt could use a little more blue... and turned the water lily into a blue lotus.
One of these days, I just must learn to draft paper-pieced patterns with my Electric Quilt program.  I have a big fat manual.  Big fat manuals are good, right?
At 11:00 p.m., I belatedly realized that the water was still on outside – and it was raining.  I went out to turn off the water, making a real fashion statement by tying a plastic Schwan’s bag over my head.  (Don’t worry; I left my nose sticking out.)  The plastic didn’t do much good for my back, however, when I had to lean under a deluge flowing off the roof in order to turn off the front spigot. 
We got half an inch of rain.  Loren, on the other side of town, got an inch and a half.  35 miles to our east, around Fremont, 7” of rain fell!  Many areas flooded.
It was overcast a good part of Saturday, and the yard was still damp, so I didn’t need to water.  Flowers are blooming like everything, and the birds were singing their hearts out.  Robins, brown thrashers, blue jays, starlings, grackles, and red-winged blackbirds played in a puddle in the lawn – and argued over whose turn it was next.  The blue jays dive bomb the others, the robins fly upwards together in a scrabbling fuss, and the red-winged blackbirds make their metallic scolding chirps
Tiger comes into the house every once in a while, and makes himself right at home at the feeding trough.  But Teensy takes exception to this, and if Tiger gets too close, Teensy hisses horribly.  He purrs sooo softly... yet he hisses like a steam engine.  But Tiger trusts us now, so I keep feeding him, and making sure he has fresh water on these hot, hot days.
I washed clothes and hung them on the line, watered the indoor flowers, watered the cats, fed the cats, fed the birds, refereed the cats, hung another load of clothes on the line, — and eventually it occurred to me:  the reason my stomach was growling was because I’d forgotten to eat breakfast.  So I ate some raisin, date, and walnut oatmeal.
I gots Halfzeimers.  That’s better than Allz-heimers, you know.  I only forget HALF of what I need to remember, as opposed to ALL of it.
I wish there was more time in a day, in a week, in a year!  I can remember feeling totally aggravated even when I was a child, upon hearing someone whine, “I’m booooored.”  Ugh, just DO something, then!  I said that to a playmate once, in great vexation.  And to another who moaned, “But I don’t know how!” I retorted, “Well, learn, then!” 
People who run out of things to do should get themselves in gear and do things for others.  That would keep them busy, wouldn’t it?
Okay, the cats were petted and admonished (again) (Teensy talks bad to Tiger, and Tabby the Curious Blunderbuss blunders into the middle of the fracas), another load of clothes was hung on the line, the dishes were – oops.  The dishes still needed to be washed.  Bother!  Why can’t everyone just eat with their hands???
I washed the dishes and finally headed downstairs to work on the Blue Lotus block.
Larry went to Loren’s house that afternoon with his scissor lift, raised it to the Wi-Fi dish two stories up, and refocused it, relying on his smartphone to tell him if he was getting a good signal.  Soon Loren was back online.
I got the Blue Lotus all together – and three of the petals stuck out like sore thumbs.  Lexmark Promarker dyes to the rescue!  I ‘painted’ those petals, and now they match much better.  There are three more I might add some shading to.  ‘Flatness’ in the colors can spoil the effect of the flowers, whereas proper shadowing with hues and tints can give it the 3D appearance I’m trying for.
Sometimes I get carried away with the Promarkers, and wish I’d have stopped about 15 seconds sooner.  I generally labor under the theory that ‘if a little is good, a whole lot is better’ – never mind the fact that I have proven myself wrong innumerable times. 
The first time I saw a picture of one of these flowers was years ago, in a National Geographic photography book someone gave me.  I actually thought for a moment that the colors were inverted (the book was printed almost entirely from Kodachrome slides), until I realized that if that were the case, the water and sky wouldn’t be blue, nor would the lily pad and background trees be green.
Sunlight was playing through the dense trees, and the photographer had caught a beam as it landed directly on the center of the flower, giving it an appearance of being lit from within.  Quite the spectacular image, it was.
I finished the embroidery on the Blue Lotus block late that night.
Sunday was Father's Day.  Victoria made Larry some blueberry cornmeal muffins, and took some to Kurt’s house, too.  Bobby and Hannah gave Larry some banana bread Hannah baked in a pretty little jar, some dark chocolate espresso beans, and a marine air horn.  Caleb and Maria gave him a ThermaCELL mosquito repeller (that should be a word.  Why isn’t that a word?), complete with butane cartridge refills.  Teddy came in shortly after we got home from church, bearing a couple of piping hot T-bone steaks, fresh out of the oven.  Hester had brought a strawberry-peach cobbler the night before.
After the evening church service, we took Lawrence a card to go with the weedeater we gave him a couple of weeks ago.  The outside of the card read, “We’ve had our ups and our downs...” and the inside finishes, “...but you’ve turned out pretty well!”
Norma gave us apple pie, strawberry pie, vanilla bean ice cream, and coffee.
Larry had a mighty tasty Father's Day, didn’t he?
We just finished supper – ancient-grain-encrusted cod, peas, triple-berry (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries) mix, the last two blueberry muffins, and the last of the strawberry-peach cobbler, topped with Sea Salt Caramel Cashew ice cream.
I’ve just posted photos taken May 30thSwallowtail on Lilacs, Teensy and Tabby
Yesterday afternoon, I sent this picture of a strrrrretch Hummer to Teddy, with a subject line of ‘What you should’ve gotten instead’.  Notice the tag axle – that’s for those times the swimming pool is full (I think).
Now, before I start on the next flower block, I shall put together the patterns for the last two. 
Here’s a composite of what the finished quilt might look like.  I put my blocks into the design in EQ7.  The coneflower block is duplicated in order to fill up the still-empty spot:


One more flower block to go!  Or two, if I remake the Pansy block.


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