Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Filed Under: Things That Make Me Happy

It is difficult not to wonder whether that combination of elements which produces a machine for labor does not create also a soul of sorts, a dull resentful metallic will, which can rebel at times. –Pearl S. Buck

It got a delivery at work today: a brand spanking new Epson LQ-590 Dot Matrix Printer. Straight from 1989. It was completely awesome!

You see, the accounting manager and I share a printer. There has been more and more overlap of times when we both need the printer. She also works at a different location, so when I need it, I have to haul it back and forth. When she told me to order a new printer, I did a little happy dance, submitted the order at the speed of light and couldn't wait for it to arrive.

I knew that today was the day. I'd been watching for the delivery man all morning and into the afternoon, with no sign of him. I practically assaulted a FedEx guy walking through the complex. As the work day was just about over and I thought that perhaps the delivery truck had been knocked over by a gang of printer stealing hooligans, I noticed a big box sitting on a table in the front hall of our offices. This box was big enough to hold a printer. I don't know when it was delivered, how long it had been sitting there, or if anyone even signed for it, but there it was. I practically giggled as I took it into my office and pulled it out of the box. It is beautiful. My favorite part is the Energy Star Logo on the front of it.

I'm going give my new baby a serious test drive over the next few days. I have to wonder if it will be quieter than the other printer? And if it will take me way too long to get it all put together and installed and printing like it is supposed to? I suppose that is all part of the fun of getting a new toy. I hope the IT guy is in early tomorrow, in case I run into any trouble.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baby Steps

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another. –Walter Elliott, The Spiritual Life

It might be baby steps I'm taking with the Pinwheel Sampler, but at least I'm moving forward :wink:. Which leads me to say that what I'd like most for Christmas is about six more hours in a day to spend quilting. If only I didn't have to sleep. Anyway, I'm quilting this quilt one color of thread at a time. I've finished with the light pink and the tan and some blocks only have the ditch-work done and others are finished. I thought this was a fun start to the quilting in this block.

Here's another block in progress. I like the way the tan thread stands out against the ivory background. The swirls are a little wonky because I had to stretch them a little to get them to fit evenly around the pinwheels. Still, they're pretty cute.

You've seen this block before. I love the colors in it. This block is finished, unless I decided to spend some time with Mr. S. Ripper. I used the tan thread for the accent quilting around the star points and also in the star points. It matches the brown fabric perfectly, so you can't see the quilting. I haven't decided if I'm going to pull the quilting out and do the star points with chocolate brown thread and the flourishes in off-white. I'm not quite sure how I feel about my wonky stitching in the flourishes being so visible. I like the idea of the quilting, just, perhaps not the color of thread. Then again, I may just leave it as-is.

This is another block you've seen and another favorite among the blocks. Last time I showed it to you, it was missing the swirls in the brown frame. Love how this one came out, but the curlicues in the pinwheel are invisible because the thread matches the fabric. I'm thinking about pulling those out and doing them in dark pink thread so they will show up better.

This block was scary and fun all at the same time. The leaves are something I haven't tried before. Some are pretty OK and others are, well, not-so-great. It depended on the direction I was going how nice they came out and going certain directions required me back-tracking to get the vines right and others didn't. That is kind of noticeable, again, because of the tan thread.

I'm read to start quilting with the dark pink thread, followed by the chocolate brown. After that, I'll put the ivory back on and stitch filler patterns into several blocks and do the design in the sashings. Still lots of work ahead, which also means lots of fun quilting time.

Today's post brought to you by:

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Italian Delight

After the chills and fever of love, how nice is the 98.6º of marriage!
–Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

Ingredients for the perfect date night:
Cream Cheese
Marinara Sauce

Mr. Bug and I went out to dinner tonight. It was a pleasant, unexpected, impromptu sort of evening as Mr. Bug is usually sleeping during the dinner hour {his work schedule is completely upside-down from the rest of the world}. He called me just as I was getting home from work and when I told him where I was, he opened the front door for me and welcomed me home. Then he asked if I wanted to go to dinner. I have a menu all worked out ahead of time so I was planning on fixing something, but I would have been a fool to say no to a night off from cooking, and even more so to a date night. We got the Little Bugs a pizza from Little Caesar's and we headed to a nice little sandwich shop that is specific to Utah County. There are five locations between American Fork and Spanish Fork {a distance of about 25 miles} in this chain. The name of these resturants is The Italian Place and their sandwiches are super tasty. If you ever come to visit, I'll take you there for lunch. My favorite is called The Italian Delight and the ingredients are listed above. A curious combination to be sure; pickles and mushrooms? Marinara and Mustard? But it is really one of the best sandwiches I've ever had.

Certainly, the food was really great, but the company and conversation were even better. We talked about nothing in particular; our jobs, the interesting combination of music playing {SuperTramp & Van Halen, among others}, the sandwiches, freeway construction. Pretty much whatever was on our minds, we talked about it. It was fun to spend a few minutes together not worrying about anything, enjoying each other's company and a nice meal. It is moments like that which give you something to go on when the going gets tough.

Thanks for a lovely evening . . . looking forward to our next date night, Mr. Bug.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sabbath Songs: Faith in Every Footstep

And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. Alma 32:21

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Spooky Quilt Top

Halloween is huge in my house and we really get into the "spirits" of things. –Dee Snider

I'm doing a little happy dance. I got the Boo to You! quilt top finished and I really like how it came together. I was worried that the row of Jack-O-Lanterns might not fit in with the rest of the quilt since I added it to the pattern, but I think the scrappy border brings it all together nicely.

I've also got the scrappy borders on one of the place mats, but my batteries ran out before I got a picture, so I'll just have to show you it later. It is kind of big :lol:, but I suppose that doesn't matter too much since no one will ever eat off the place mats. They are for decoration only.

Read more about this project:
About this quilt and blocks in progress
Small Witch in progress
Witch place mat and quilt top in progress
Happy Jacks
Ghost and Black Cat place mats in progress
Pumpkins and Bats place mats in progress
Candy Corn place mat in progress

Friday, August 26, 2011

Favourite Things Friday: School Supplies

As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools. –Unknown

The Little Bugs went back to school this week and it has me in a school supplies frame of mind. Of course, the displays of pencil boxes and the bins of scissors and glue and erasers and the stacks of notebooks and binders in the middle of the main aisle at just about every store in town for the last month have helped too. I love school supplies all year round, but this time of year school supplies are on sale and that makes them even better.

Notebooks are at the top of my 'cool school supplies' list. I especially like composition notebooks.

And I love mechanical pencils. I went a little nuts with the mechanical pencils this year. I have two at my desk and three on my sewing table and one in my purse and six in the kitchen.

But my very favorite are the pens. I like pens that are retractable {instead of having a lid that may or may not get lost}, have a fine tip and write smoothly. And I love them in every color.

I'm not sure why, but it is just one of those little pleasures in life to buy new school supplies!

Today's post brought to you by:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Must Ask . . . What's Your Favorite Dessert?

Chocolate is an antidepressant, which is especially useful as you start to gain weight. –Jason Love

I was worried there, for a minute, that appetizers were going to win, but desserts pulled it off at the last minute. Which is good, because this week's poll wouldn't be as much fun if more people didn't like dessert, because today, I must ask . . . what's your favorite dessert? This is kind of a broad topic and a bit hard to nail down in a poll, but I'm going to give it a shot.

To be honest, I'm not sure what my favorite dessert is :confused:. This one is kind of like picking a favorite color. Each different dessert has its merits. I always love ice cream. It just makes me happy. But then again, I love a good piece of chocolate cake. And cheesecake is delicious. I really love flan {or pudim de leite} because it reminds me of Brasil. But who can say no to a good slice of pie. Or a cobbler. Or a cookie. Or two. I suppose that if I had to narrow it down any further, I'd pick anything with chocolate in it, as long as it doesn't have nuts in it. I'm not a big fan of nuts {or raisins} in my dessert. But I also love fruity desserts and would definitely pick cobbler or pie over chocolate mousse or chocolate cream pie. I think it is no use trying to pick a favorite. I'm a hopeless dessert-a-holic {recipe index here}.

On a completely unrelated subject, thank you all for putting up with my little whine. Whoever sent the cheese basket, it was perfect! Shay, I always love your comments and it was very sweet of you to wave at my mum. Michelle, that is not TMI; hormones are definitely a migraine trigger. P., I tried your technique when I went to bed last night. It probably would have helped if I'd have been more patient with it. I couldn't get comfortable, so I gave up. Ann Marie, I've never tried Aleve for a migraine before. Excedrin has always been my go-to drug. I'll remember that for next time. Mom, I did try a Coke. I've had it work before, but not this time. And when you ask if I've seen a doctor about this, do you mean recently?

I feel kind of at loose ends, like I've forgotten to do something really important today, like pay the electric bill or put on pants. I keep wondering what is missing. I think it just might be the headache.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Anatomy of A Migraine

It just wouldn't be a picnic without the ants. –Unknown

Yes. I still have a migraine. I can't be absolutely certain if I've had three different ones since Friday, or if it is just the same one that won't go away.

No. I'm not going to give you the run-down of what is and is not a migraine. And, no. I'm not going to give you my complete medical history. I just thought that The Anatomy of A Migraine was a sort of compelling post title :lol:. I'm really trying not to be whiney about this, although I know I'm not succeeding. Blogging is about what's on your mind, and a migraine is what's on my mind lately. I have to say this much, though. My mom gets migraines too. And she just goes on doing whatever it is she has to do; work, kids, grandkids, dinner, chores, whatever. She just keeps on. I used to wonder how she could do it because my migraines used to be the kind that made me want to curl up into a ball in the dark, under my covers, with an ice pack on my head until it went away. As time has passed, the headache part of it has devolved from a nauseatingly intense and debilitating pain to ranging in sensation from an almost intolerable and still quite nauseating pain to a dull ache in one side of my head that I can almost — but not quite — forget is there. I can still go to work and do laundry and cook dinner, but I move at a snail's pace, coherent thought is elusive, and there's not much left over for anything creative.

So, I'm asking nicely. Migraine, please go away, because I really want to get back to quilting the Pinwheel Sampler. I haven't worked on it since last Thursday.

In the meantime, I got the sixth Halloween placemat together and ready for borders. Scrappy piecing and sewing in straight lines doesn't take much brain power, although this one is ¼" shorter in the width than the other five. We'll blame it on the non-coherency, rather than the fact that I really just forgot how to do math for a few minutes.

I'm going to work on cutting fabric for the scrappy borders now. The potential for goof-ups is minimal and at least I'll have something to keep my hands busy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's A Toss-Up

Q: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by it's diameter?
A: Pumpkin Pi.

:rofl: Hilarious! I know!

I had a difficult time deciding what to post about today. My first thought was to complain about the migraine I've had since Friday and to tell you all that a migraine is not just a really bad headache and in fact the opposite of what causes a headache is what causes a migraine. I was going to explain in detail the four stages of a migraine and the ways that migraines bother me and tell you my whole history with migraines.

But I decided to go with the other option, which is to post pictures of more Halloween place mats in progress. As you can see, no matter which way I posted, there's nothing very exciting going on around here, but aren't you glad I chose the less whiney option?

First up, pumpkins {hence the most awesome pumpkin/math joke ever}. I like how this one came out.

And bats! I think this one is fun too.

Only one more to go and then on to scrappy borders.

As a side note, does anyone else have trouble with Blogger/Picasa flipping their photos when you upload them? It flips about half of mine and then I have to go in and edit them in Picnik, which sometimes flips them back for me automatically when I go into the editing tool, as if to say, sorry for having caused you to waste time editing photos you've already edited because we flipped them for you.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sabbath Songs: Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel

Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

D&C 58:27-28

Friday, August 19, 2011

Favourite Things Friday: Zucchini

Zucchini's terrific!
Like bunnies, prolific!

I love this time of year. All the home-grown produce is ripening up and everything just tastes better when it is fresh from the garden. Although I'm not a huge fan of vegetables, for some strange reason I have adopted zucchini as a summer cooking staple. I just think it adds something delicious to any dish. Lately, we've been enjoying lots of really yummy zucchini dishes and we'll continue enjoying them as long as I can get my hands on zucchini fresh from the garden. Tonight, we had Two-Bean Chicken Chili. It was so good. I dug through the archives and here are links to all my favorite zucchini recipes, so if you like zucchini {or even if you don't; you might if you try these recipes} you can try a new dish or two.

Italian Chicken Pasta Toss
Two-Bean Chicken Chili
Zucchini and Cheese Soup
Zucchini and Chicken Bake
Zucchini, Chicken and Rice Casserole

Today's post brought to you by:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Must Ask . . . Do You Prefer Appetizers or Desserts?

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity. –Voltaire

It looks like the morning people are in the majority. And since I asked about it last week, I've been working on my morning skills by trying to get to bed earlier and by getting up when the alarm goes off. I managed one 6:30 morning, but the rest of my mornings have been less than stellar because I really love to sleep when I'm sleeping. Still, I'm going to keep plugging away at becoming a morning person. Mrs. P sent me a link on how to be a morning person, which I found very interesting and helpful.

Today, we're talking food. Going out to dinner {and a movie} is one of the favorite things Mr. Bug and I like to do on a date. Mr. Bug likes to order an appetizer and I like to order dessert. You see, I have a sweet tooth and by the time you eat the appetizer and your meal, there's no room left over for dessert. Mr. Bug is all about the savory foods and could take dessert or leave it. When Mr. Bug orders an appetizer I, of course, will help him eat it {unless it is seafood of some sort}. And that usually means no dessert for me, which is probably OK because it goes straight to my hips anyway. But given a choice, I can live without the appetizer and would definitely choose to have dessert instead. I even like to eat dessert first {just last night, as a matter of fact}. After all, what's life without a little sweetness in it? How about you? I must ask . . . would you rather have an appetizer or dessert?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

There Is Beauty All Around

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful. –Abram L. Urban

I love my gardens. They are such a lovely place to be. All my flower beds are filled with perennials, which are the workhorse of the garden. Most years, in the spring-time, I fill my beds in with annuals, which keep the gardens alive with color all season long. Most perennials have a limited bloom time and most of the perennials I have are spring bloomers, so when summer comes around those annuals keep things interesting. This year and last, it just hasn't been in the budget. While I really miss the extra color, I don't miss all the extra dead-heading. Still, I'm thinking about dropping in at a favorite nursery or two to see if they've got any annuals left on clearance.

Most of my gardens are just foliage right now. And while the green-ness of it all is very pretty, there is one bright spot of color in the garden by the front walk {also known as the birdbath garden because of the birdbath sitting in the middle of it} which brightens my day each time I go by. I wanted to share that with you today.
{Valerian, Yarrow, Black-Eyed Susans & Shasta Daisies}

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I Forgot . . .

One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.
–Emily Dickinson

I was so excited about showing you the Jack-O-Lanterns yesterday, that I forgot to show you two more place mats that are close to finished. They still need their scrappy borders and the Boo's need their blanket stitching, but I'm happy with how these two came out. First, a little ghostie.

And a cute black cat.

Do you think this year will be my year to get this project done?

More about this quilt:
By way of introduction & blocks in progress
Small Witch in progress
One place mat and quilt top in progress
Happy Jacks

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Jacks

Halloween wraps fear in innocence,
As though it were a slightly sour sweet.
Let terror, then, be turned into a treat...
–Nicholas Gordon, Poems for Free

I made some Jack-O-Lanterns for my Boo to You! quilt. The appliqué faces still need their blanket stitch, but I was in the mood for a little sew and tell today. It's only been oh, four± years since I started working on this quilt. I get excited about it mid-summer every year and pull it out and work on it, but don't get it finished in time for Halloween. And at the snail's pace I've been working lately, I figured that if I want this quilt done in time for Halloween this year, I'd better get it together.

After I bought the Boo to You! kit, I saw a patchy Jack-O-Lantern wall-hanging and fell in love. I decided to find a way to add some Happy Jacks to this quilt. They don't exactly match the rest of the quilt. They are scrappy and boxy and bright, while the rest of the quilt blocks are strictly appliqué, with rounder, softer lines and sort of muted, earthy tones.

I made the shapes in the appliqué faces as round as I could and I'm hoping that once I get the quilt top assembled and add the scrappy borders it will all come together. Because these Happy Jacks are just too cute not to use!

Read more about this quilt:
About this quilt, with blocks in progress here
Small Witch in progress
Quilt Top Mostly Together

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Sermons: Good, Better, Best

As we consider various choices, we should remember that is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best. Even though a particular choice is more costly, its far greater value may make it the best choice of all. –Dahlin H. Oaks

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ding Dong! The Ditch Work's Done!

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before. –Jacob A. Riis

When I started working on the machine quilting for this quilt, I planned to only stitch-in-the-ditch the main seams and maybe a few spots in the blocks where it was obvious that it was needed and fill in anything else as I worked on the individual blocks. But while I was stitching I decided that pretty much the whole quilt could use it and since I was going to do it anyway, I might as well do it all at once. I think I've been working on it for about three weeks now. I had interruptions and distractions but it is finally done and I've moved on to the fun stuff. Here's a peek at what I've been working on. I love how the center turned out on this block.

Can't even tell I stitched-in-the-ditch, can you :lol:? All that work for something that doesn't show . . . but it makes a nice frame for the free-motion and I really like how stable it keeps the quilt, while you push and pull and fold and roll it to fit through the tiny throat of the machine. After I finished the SID, I started with my light pink thread and did everything that needs that color, so none of the blocks are finished yet. This is one of my favorite blocks and I wanted to do something really fun with the quilting.

I really like how this block is coming out too.

I'm going to change thread colors and see if I can get a few more stitches in before bed.

Today's post brought to you by:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Favourite Things Friday: AURIfil Makò 50-weight Thread

Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it. –Fyodor Dostoevsky

It's official. I've become a thread snob. My order of AURIfil Makò 50-weight thread came on Wednesday. I'm in love. And I want every color.

Yesterday I dropped in at the shop where I got my machine and got enough bobbins to have one for every color of thread. And I'm highly motivated to get the ditch-work done on the Pinwheel Sampler so I can stop using the off-white thread and start playing with the pretty colored threads. Only a few more ditches to stitch . . .

Today's post brought to you by:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Must Ask . . . Are You A Morning Person or a Night Owl?

Every body persists in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed. –Newton's First Law

Last week's poll results are in. The votes are divided almost exactly down the middle and there wasn't much middle ground. It looks like for most people, either you do make the bed or you don't.

This week I thought I'd continue with a related topic about sleep. More specifically, whether you're bright-eyed and bushy tailed and ready to go at the crack of dawn and in bed promptly at 10:00 pm, or if mornings are just not your thing and you like to stay up late. Me? I'm a night owl. I kind of, sort of want to be a morning person. It sounds good in theory, but actually dragging my sorry hide out of the bed any earlier than, say, noon, is really not appealing to me.

I think that I have an inertia problem. According to Sir Isaac Newton {and who are we to argue with somebody who is titled?}, a body in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Conversely, a body at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. Once I get going for the day, I don't stop until I'm so tired that I drop. I am much, much better at staying up late to finish something than getting up early to get it done, because once I am at rest, I like to stay that way. See? Physics do come in handy in real life.

You've heard the little couplet, early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise. On the rare morning I do manage to get out of bed when the alarm goes off, I really enjoy that feeling of accomplishment first thing off the bat. I aspire to be a morning person. But any early morning, no matter how successful I feel at being up early, I find myself thinking how nice it would be to climb back into bed. I guess I have a hard time getting going in the morning. I usually feel the most alert in the evenings and so I usually stay up late, even though I know I'll pay for it the next morning. I tell myself that staying up late is going to make getting up harder. But I like to stay up late and I promise myself that I will promptly get up when the alarm goes off the next morning. And every morning, I hit the snooze button at least six times because it feels so good to be still and quiet in my bed. I lie awake at night so often trying to fall asleep that I've just formed the habit of staying up till I'm so sleepy I can't think straight. This helps to minimize the lying awake. But it also creates a desire for 5 more minutes in the morning.

School is starting soon for the Little Bugs, which means that the snooze button will no longer be an option. I'll have Little Bugs that have to make it to school on time. By default, I'll have to be a morning person. I think that this year I'm going to pack their lunches the night before.

Now that I've told you all about me and my upside-down sleep schedule, I must ask . . . are you a morning person or a night owl?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hexie Notebook Giveaway Winner

For disappearing acts, it's hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work. –Doug Larson

I love hosting giveaways! The anticipation of picking a winner is always so much fun. So without any further ado, congratulations to:

:partytime: Peach Rainbow :partytime:

who said, Congrats on your 500+ posts and thanks for the CUTE giveaway :biggrin:.

Miss Peach, check your e-mail and let me know which notebook style you'd like.

Thank you to everyone who commented. I really wish I had a notebook for each of you :hug:.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lagoon . . . It's What Fun Is!: Bounceback Edition

In childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking out. In memories of childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking in.Robert Brault

We had such a fun time at Lagoon earlier this summer that we decided to do it again. Well, maybe not so much “we” as “I.” And maybe not so much “decided” as “forced.” It's been a couple of weeks, but we bounced back and had another fun day on the park {whether “we” wanted to or not}.

This time we met some cousins there. The kids took turns riding with each other, depending on who wanted to do what. We split up for some of the time and played together for some of the time and pretty much had a really great time together doing pretty much everything we wanted.

We found lots of ways to stay cool. LadyBug and Grasshopper splashed in the fountains

And we rode the rapids.

And I really enjoyed the gardens. I'm seriously considering a career as a grounds keeper at an amusement park. Getting paid to do my equivalent of meditation sounds like a pretty dreamy job to me.