Saturday, April 29, 2006

You Say Tomato...

With optimism that there will be enough Bay Area sun for tomatoes (there wasn't last year, those of us who aren't super gardeners had just mealy red rubber balls in September), I fluffed and amended the square foot soil, built a new trellis and planted three store-boughts (Celebrity, a cherry variety that has an unmemorable name, and Early Girl), some parsley, the five remaining cuke seeds from last year, and a square of onion seeds at the insistence of the Princess.

Last year's (our first with the garden) successes included beans, radishes and lettuce, plus so many cukes we almost got tired of them (not quite). Corn was a complete failure, as was anything needing serious heat (we got one 4 inch eggplant, for instance). I will try the heat-lovers in smaller quantities this year, to see what happens, save corn and the incredibly slow-growing carrots for farmer's market purchases, and try different varieties of what worked in 2005.

It feels good to have soil under my fingernails. I also discovered that a yarn needle is the PERFECT thing for threading twine through holes in a PVC trellis. My hobbies cross-pollinate.

No word on my Bernina yet. I'm trying not to worry, but it's a little like having one of my children spend the night away for the first time. I found myself wanting to know a little bit MORE about this guy it would be staying with.

The children's teams both won their soccer games, and both met up with coaches they'd recently decided to leave, so a little bit of an awkward morning. But there were donut holes and orange wedges, so it wasn't too bad...

Friday, April 28, 2006

AAAAAAAARGH!!!!

That was the sound I let out last night (along with a long string of expletives). The foot control on my Bernina 830 has finally given up the ghost, after almost two years of being nursed along. At least, I THINK it's the foot control, it could be the power cord, but symptoms seem to point to the former.

The machine hasn't been serviced in 4 years (I do my own), and I can't get the light to work, so I'm going to bite the bullet and take it in to our local quilt shop today for servicing and diagnosis. I can buy a foot pedal for about $100 off eBay, rather than pay the over $200 for a new one.

I did manage to get two blocks done before it quit. They are wholly imperfect, as the stopping and starting of the motor really messed with the tension, and you'll see that even with the paper foundation the lines aren't quite straight. I like them nonetheless, and the corners look like they will line up perfectly when I go to join, so there's not much to complain about. I'm also very happy with the color layout, more so than I expected. Quilt shop lady be darned.

In other news, I was called for an open-ended job interview yesterday (they're not sure what job I might work for, but they wanted to talk with me), and that was very gratifying. I also was asked, earlier in the week, to stay on at my current temporary job until the end of June, if I don't get a better offer (they know I'm looking), which, although it doesn't do much for my bottom line, was also gratifying. "They like me, they really like me!"

Today is Big Clean day, as the house has suffered mightily over the last few weeks in that department. Then there's a soccer practice, a Teen Princess performance and two early games tomorrow. After that, my fervent hope is to get some beans, cukes and lettuce planted! I cannot believe Monday will mark the start of May, and I haven't got one seed in the ground. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Chocolate and Easter Eggs


The solids were purchased... what was interesting was that the quilt shop lady said nothing about them while cutting. Pretty much the kiss of death, in terms of her thoughts on my taste. The brown background will be included, and will be the backing.

So it'll be a fun challenge. I'm going to use them in the striped box-within-a-box thing. The colors look nicer together than what I'm getting on my laptop screen...stupid Picasa and its stupid color issues. I was trying to get the blues right, but now the brown is wrong. Lighter than in real life.

Real Life: what happens while you're making other plans. Friday through Sunday included two fun hours fixing other people's sewing machines (seriously, it was fun - Karen has a very cool 1970's Husqvarna!), opening night of the Teen Princess' production, two soccer games (in one of which the aforementioned TP scored a hat trick), three more performances, and my son and I coached our first ever game with our new soccer team, a group of outstanding 5 and 6yo newbies. Balanced checkbook, found $400 missing dollars in wrong account, enabling us to eat for the rest of the month and make the car payment (yay!) Spouse weeded over half the back yard, and now the entrance to my studio is just waiting for some flowers in pots to be perfect. There was a sunburn and minor case of heat exhaustion. There were snacks, and two trips to the ice cream shop. Five loads of laundry were done. The irrigation system was checked and tuned. Tacos were made. The dog was walked. Tea at Stefaneener's. The fun went on and on.

I'm thinking we'll sleep OK tonight.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Blog We Must

My very nice real life friend Karen let on this week that she reads this...it was a shock to find out that people who know my IRL persona have crossed over into my virtual zone. Besides my mom and the Teen Princess and Stefaneener. More importantly, Karen said she never would have figured me for a blogger. I'm still reflecting on that. I must not appear to be as absolutely obsessed with myself as I really am? Or maybe I don't appear bright enough.

Either way, that was impetus to do two entries in two days.

First, since we're all sick of pink, here's one last look at the now-complete Fib hanging. Now it's done, we can forget about it. But I still really like working in Golden Ratio, and hope to keep that up for a while.

Here's a quick computer sketch of the next one (it'll be in color, however):














Now, here's a little something by my son, who is way more creative than he gets credit for. Yes, he really does do stuff like this, all the time. The "garbage" comment yesterday, for instance, was because he wanted to take the contents of the recycling bin and see if he could meet the challenge of turning it ALL into a terrain for his plastic army men. OK, it's not tatting or watercolor, but I still find his creativity impressive. Note that when you put the bread together, there will be peanut butter and jelly everywhere. That's the kind of detail that just thrills me.

Just don't ask if he has his times tables memorized, please.







Here's what happened when I got too excited about photographing the patchwork peanut butter - I got a Sean Penn in-your-face move with the shoulder. Such is life with a creative genius.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Updates as Events Warrant

I wrote a masterpiece blog entry on Sunday...it surely deserved a Pulitzer. Blogger.com ate it up and swallowed it, with no thought to my feelings at all. And I was too lazy to try to recreate it, so you'll just have to trust me.

The Fibonacci piece is finished, I will try to photograph it tomorrow - a banner day in our family, by the way. I have a full day OFF (except for a trip to the gym, a bunch of laundry and needing to pick up a child for a play date), and the Teen Princess has opening night in her first for-the-public theatrical production. She's had a few fits of nerves, but as of this morning is calm, cool and collected. It's going to be fiiiiiiiiiine.

One of the things I'm going to do tomorrow, darn it, is go buy some solids for the stash. I have lately been just disgusted with all my patterned cottons. How dare they find their way into my stash? What I really want are solids, and I used up the only set of solids in different values on the Fibonacci thing. Since I have essentially no money in the bank (less than that, even), I will take a bit from savings and buy just some fat quarters. We have a lovely quilt shop in town, and I haven't patronized it in quite a while. A spree!

The weekend is busy, but I also have a bunch of discharge chemicals that I ordered from Dharma Trading, waiting for me to have some fun. I've been waiting for the weather to clear, so I'm not stuck inside breathing chlorine fumes. And the thought of clearing weather leads me to...

My kind friend Anita graciously gifted me with a lilac bloom, when she saw me get all misty eyed and goofy over her bush. Lilacs are a rarity here in CA, but she's found a good spot for her bush, against a south facing wall.

I took the photo on Sunday, when it felt like the sun would never come out again. The lilacs are still lovely, but the 40 days and nights of rain are over. Tuesday was so beautiful that I took a cable car home part-way home from work, instead of the quicker bus. I hung on the outside like a true local, and told the tourists where to get off and what to see. It felt like all was right with the world.

Today we are even graced with fog, which is a hopeful sign that our weather patterns will be returning to normal. Saturday and Sunday we have soccer games planned. Incredible. I might even be able to ignore the spring allergies, just to enjoy it not being winter!

And finally, tributes to two blogger friends. A tip of the hat to Amy, who reminded me about "things I never thought I'd hear" - this morning my son's first words upon rising were, "Damn, we don't have enough garbage." He apparently had big plans for the day.

And to Stefaneener...what a woman. Check out her story of capturing and taming bees. A lot of bees.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Signore Fibonacci Gets His Due

Progress has been made on my little pink Fibonacci series wall hanging. In fact, except for the beading, it's done. I'm even beading in a Fibonacci series. Fun. Well, fun for a math geek.

It's built to hang on a trimmed branch from our plum tree, so the tabs at the top had to be adjusted over and over to get the thing to hang level. And then I have to get the branch to hang level on a wall. Hmmmm. I could have picked a less-challenging way to do it, couldn't I?

Today was creative on many fronts. The front yard got weeded, thanks to my swell spouse, who had already weeded the vegetable beds in preparation for some spring planting. He's off this week for spring break, and it's been too rainy to fish, so what the hey.

So I added a bit to the pots at the front door...just removing the weeds helped a lot, and putting in a few bright spots helped even more. There are some foxglove that'll pop up, and in the background hydrangeas and rhododendrons. In about 5 or 6 weeks, it should be spectacular!

Found two new jobs to apply for this morning (one from my new work friend, Paola, and another on Craigslist) - either of which would work wonderfully for me. So more paperwork and self-promotion. VERY creative!

And finally, Easter eggs! Best of all, my teen princess organized the whole thing, cooking up the eggs, getting the dyes ready. I love having big kids. :-)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Time Management

Last week was a benchmark one in the "How many things can we pack into every moment?" contest. It was my first fully scheduled week at work (16 hours plus another 7 hours of commute time), my kids had to be driven to their homeschool charter school for state testing 3 days (total of 12 hours of testing, 3 hours of commute), I had 4 Destination Imagination meetings (14 hours, no commute), and 1 state level DI tournament (4 total hours of driving, one overnight in a hotel with no sleep, 11 hours of tournament time). Factor in a stomach bug cycling through the family, a LOT of anxiety on everyone's part as we geared up for the tournament, laundry and house cleaning for the house sitter, and rain, rain, rain...it was a truly crazy week! So I didn't blog, didn't sew, didn't knit. Heck, I didn't even sleep much.

But the DI'ers did a great job - you see them here waiting to go on, props and sets and costume in hand. This is the team I managed, and my son was also on a team - both teams made us proud, and each team came in 5th place in their respective divisions. Excellent placing, and not high enough to send us to the next level of competition. Perfect! I can get back to my regularly scheduled life now.

One of the things I was able to do to distract myself this week was come up with new quilt ideas...they're stored in my brain, waiting to be downloaded to paper, so that's a goal for this week. The other is to buy beads for quilting the Fibonacci top that's done. Further updates as events warrant. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Longest Winter

April 2, and it continues to come down in buckets here in Sunny California. I'm sure that every year I feel as if I will go insane at some point during the rainy winters, but this year feels particularly grim. Add to it another bout of illness (a - fingers crossed - minor intestinal bug), a soupcon of financial desperation and a too-busy schedule, and you have a recipe for the loony bin.

And yet...I'm convinced, somewhere down deep, that summer will eventually be here. Against all odds.

I've avoided blogging because all I seem able to do is whine, but I did manage to make progress on a few things this week. Here's the dull one...it's another of the photo quilts. I've got a second one in contrasting colors almost done.

And here's the plan for a Fibonacci series piece, which I've already pieced in solid pinks with a cool patterned piece for the big square. Once I get it quilted, I'll bead a nautilus-type curve around it. Should look OK.

The math at the upper corner was my attempt to explain Fibonacci to my 9yo son. He was not impressed.