Monday, February 13, 2012

Various and Sundry Monday: Vol. 23

Nothing is so common as the wish to be remarkable.
–William Shakespeare

A Stitch in Time
Just a reminder that the February Finishes Linky Party is open all month long, so head on over and check it out. If you've finished a project that involves stitching of some sort {appliqué, crochet, cross-stitch, embroidery, knitting, practical sewing, quilting} link up and not only will you get at least one extra comment on your post from me, you'll be entered to win this month's giveaway, a Reunion by Sweetwater Jelly Roll, sponsored by The Fat Quarter Shop.

A Bird in the Furnace Intake Flu is, well . . . Just Plain Embarrassing
Early Wednesday morning, while all was quiet and I was sneaking around gathering up lunch boxes, I heard a sort of high-pitched chirping noise. I nearly jumped out of my skin. I was in LadyBug's doorway and didn't know where it came from. I stopped and listened, but didn't hear anything else, so I went about my business and forgot all about it.

Thursday afternoon, I heard that chirping noise again. I still couldn't decide where it was coming from, but it seemed to be in the general vicinity of the hall. I heard it again several times later that day. Friday came and the chirp persisted, becoming more and more frequent. I listened for the source and it sounded to me like it was coming from the utility closet in the hall where the furnace and water heater reside. Mr. Bug thought that perhaps it was a belt or something in the furnace that was squeaking. But there was no consistent interval between the chirps and by Saturday evening I was convinced that somehow a bird had gotten into the furnace.

Sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning the heater quit working and there was still chirping that sounded like it was coming from the utility closet. Mr. Bug turned off the breaker that the furnace is on and the chirp noise continued. He was now on board with the bird theory. He figured that it was stuck somewhere in the flu because if the bird had gotten all the way in the heater, there would be no more chirping. His supposed that the bird was blocking the flu, and there wasn't enough air getting to the furnace, which is why it wasn't working.

As snow was falling outside and the temperature was falling inside, we decided that we'd better see about getting the bird out of the flu. There is a man who attends our church who is a handy-man, so I asked if he's be able to come over after church and have a look. He said that critters get in furnaces pretty often and that he could do it no problem. As a matter of fact, he'd already done five this year. He came over later that afternoon and after assessing the situation, he said that we could stop the chirping with a couple of 9-volt batteries :bug eyes: to replace the dead ones in the smoke detectors in the hallway and in LadyBug's room, which is just off the hall :rofl:. The furnace had stopped working with very coincidental timing but was completely unrelated to the chirp.

February FMQ Challenge: Back to the Drawing Board
I was going to be all on top of the Free-Motion Quilting Challenge this month and get it done early. But Diane's Echo Feather exercise scared the starch out of me. I had to think about it for a whole week before I even dared to sketch it out. Diane has you do the bottom of the individual feathers and then curve around to the top for a minimum of traveling over previous stitching in the spine. I do my feather plumes the opposite way, so it was kind of like learning to write with your non-dominant hand. I erased and re-drew a lot on the rounded ends but my drawings are still “meh.”

I put it aside for a few more days, planning to draw a few more feathers out on test paper and then do a final drawing in my quilt journal before I started quilting. But I am an impatient soul. And as a general rule, my actual quilting looks better than my drawings, so I decided to give it a go on a practice quilt. I tried a branched feather for a little bit of interest, which came out at even less than “meh.” As you can see, I got bored and practiced a couple of things I want to quilt on the Polka-Dot quilt. I did a swirl inside of a circle {bottom right} and then some linked coils {left}. I can't remember whose blog I saw those on, but I left a comment and told that quilter I was totally going to copy. I think they are neat.

Then I decided I'd better focus. I tried a single feather. Still just “meh.” The shapes aren't very pretty. I know that thread choice has something to do with it. Diane said to work with a thread that didn't stand out too much. I used dark thread for my practice so I could see the stitching. I'm kind of a rebel because wanted to use this same dark thread on my sampler quilt because I want the quilting to show. With these craptastic results, I'm probably going to have to resign myself to a tan thread on the ivory fabric in the sampler quilt. But first, I'm going to sketch a few more feathers and then quilt a few more on a practice sandwich before I call this exercise “done.”

Storage Tins
While I was avoiding practicing echo feathers, I put these cute little fabric covered tins together for holding different quilting and sewing supplies. I used just about every last scrap of Metro Blue fabric I had left and I love how they came out. I keep my basting pins in one, my buttons in another and the third one is to keep the miscellaneous things on my quilting table organized. I have extra cutting blades, pens, pencils, an eraser, a seam ripper {not not the gorgeous new one}, a seam gauge, scissors and other assorted stuff in there. Cute and functional.

Monday Music Spot: I Want Candy
I like to think of Valentine's Day as a “love thy neighbor” kind of day, rather than the traditional “romantic love” kind of day. I try to do something nice for the people I love. Sometimes I make raspberry muffins and take them to the neighbors. Sometimes I make up little chocolate filled goodie bags for a few special girlfriends. Tomorrow I'll put an extra special treat and little pink paper hearts with love notes on them in the Little Bugs' lunches. And, I'm making homemade heart-shaped mini-pizzas for dinner. Each person gets the toppings they want on their very own pizza.

Tonight we had fun making a preparations for the Little Bugs' class parties tomorrow. Grasshopper finished up the Valentines for his classmates. LadyBug, who had her Valentine's ready yesterday, decorated a box to take to school tomorrow to receive Valentines from her friends. We had a white box with red dots on it left from Christmas we thought would to the trick. She cut out hearts, wrote the things she loves on them and taped them to the side of the box. We cut a slot in the top to slide the Valentines in and LadyBug drew an arrow pointing to the slot and wrote, “put candy here.” Then she wrote “candy” on all the red dots on the top of the box. That girl has her priorities straight.


QuiltNut Creations said...

shut up; those feathers rock. shall I show my feeble feather attempts? let's pretend I did lol. your's are fabulous!

we have birds dropping nuts and seeds down our chimney. soon they will build a nest and the cats will go insane. poor little birdie.

elizabeth said...

Those feathers look great! I am still drawing on paper, and that's not going well. I don't think it is fair to drop feathers on someone who has only done FMQ for one month, but I'm up for a challenge.

Jennifer Lovell said...

I am so impressed by your sketches. I didn't know that quilting could bring out such skilled drawings from someone! I love your decorative sewing supply tins. Those fabrics are very attractive and I love your little details on the ribbons. You're sure adding a lot of beautiful things to this world : ).

Oh, and I thought your bird chirping story was hilarious. We heard that chirp all the time in our last place, ha ha : ).

Shay said...

Oh my gosh E ...that bird story is too funny.

I cant see anything whatsoever wrong with those feathers....really.

mom said...

I laughed my head off at the bird chirping! so funny! the feathers are great but then you are such a perfectionist that I can see where you think they are not good enough. the tins are darling! and so useful.

Jill said...

Funny, when you said you heard a chirping, I immediately thought of a smoke detector. Until I believed you about the bird.
Hope you got your furnace fixed!

Paulette said...

If ever, in a million years, my feathers turn out like yours, I'd be dancing on the ceiling! Seriously, they rock.

We HAVE had a bird in our furnace pipe twice at a former house. Hubby would have to take a part off and I would stand there with a pillowcase underneath to catch it. Glad you figured it out though!

Do you read Bye-Bye Pie? About a month ago, she had a high-pitched squealing noise and figured it was her smoke detectors, but it wouldn't stop even after they were removed. Long story short, the fire department showed up and took a couple seconds to figure out it was an alarm mat under her couch cushions that she'd put there to stop the dogs from climbing up (which she'd totally forgotten about). How embarrassing, huh? But it made for a funny post.

Michelle said...

Your FMQ skills are just blossoming like crazy! Those feathers are gorgeous!