Just my musings about life, quilting, my family and my dog.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

That D----d RV.

My philosophy is that everything bad that happens is really a good experience in disguise.  The sooner you figure out the good part, the sooner you get past the bad feelings.

So.  The bad experience is that the RV we rented conked out on day 5 of our 10-day vacation.  We were very fortunately near a Ford dealership at the time.  They were swamped before the holiday but they were kind enough to take a look at the rig.  The diagnosis was fatal - at least as far as our trip was concerned.  Although the RV rental company was very nice and bent over backwards to help us salvage our vacation, they weren't able to come up with a satisfactory solution.  In the end, they agreed to refund all our money in exchange for never hearing from us again if we would agree to find our own way out of the predicament of being 500 miles from home with an RV FULL of food and belongings and two small motorcycles on a rack behind it.  I don't think there are sighs strong enough to properly convey my feelings at the time.

We decided to rent a U-Haul big enough to fit the two bikes and all our "stuff."  We made that arrangement then found a motel for the night.  Getting everything out of the RV into the U-Haul presented yet another challenge: We had loaded the RV at home carrying things from the house to the RV in big rubbermaid containers which were all left at home.  Get the picture? Lots and Lots of stuff (kitchen things, bedding, towels). Lots of stuff and all of it loose.

Luckily (?), I have a son with dumpster-diving experience.  We found lots of flattened boxes in dumpsters behind stores. He dove in and retrieved them and we were able to corral our "stuff."  We packed and packed and packed (OMG, it didn't take this long to get the stuff INTO the rig).  Then we loaded it all into the U-Haul.

We crammed the four of us into the two-seater cab and headed for LuAnn's house - two hours away!  Wish I had a photo -  NOT!  We had two wonderful days there and then took our sons to the Sacramento airport so they could rent a car and continue their vacation into Oregon.  The rest of my vacation is happening now in San Diego in the comfort of my home. 

I started this post off by saying that nothing bad happens without something good coming of it - it's just our job to figure that out.  Here's my DH's theory:  "Chris has now gotten RV vacations out of her system and I never have to do this again."  He might be right.  Overall it was a good idea gone awry.  We tried to cover too much ground.  I think an RV is best enjoyed when it is moved much less frequently and parked in a beautiful spot that can be enjoyed for a longer time.  Moving to a new spot each day was just exhausting to me.

Here is just a little bit of the other good stuff that came from the five days we were on the open road.

Leaving San Diego when our dreams were all still shiny and bright.
Scary view of the back of the RV as we were leaving SD.
Our first breakfast in the RV

DS #2 and I returning to the RV park after a great walk in Carmel.

Big Sur.  Need I say more?

Let me leave you with this thought:
                 It's not the event, it's the meaning we attach to the event that determines how we feel.

Merry Christmas

My family and I just spent the most wonderful Christmas with my good friend, LuAnn and her family in Cameron Park.  I have known Lu since high school where we were lab partners in Advanced Biology.  Her mom and dad were PE teachers at our high school also.  They have been my other parents since forever, even more so after my mom and dad passed away when I was only 32.

 A few weeks ago, when we were trying to figure out this RV extravaganza, I called Lu to see if we could see them at Christmas time.  Her response was, "We'd be mad if you didn't."  As it turns out, the d----d RV broke down in a smallish town two hours from Cameron Park.  We were able to get a U-Haul, transfer all out stuff and beat feet for the welcoming arms of LuAnn.  She wouldn't let us stay in a motel, she let me do a load of laundry and make the cinnamon rolls that are THE traditional Christmas morning breakfast for us.  We had dinner at her parents' home, watched the Laker's game and I'm now cozily tucked in bed.  We're planning to brave the traffic through LA tomorrow.  Is she a good friend or what?

Not-quite-finished cinnamon rolls

More on the RV fiasco later.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My UFO List

Oh the Shame. I'm not sure which is worse - that I have so many UFOs or that I could put my hands on 12 of them and take photos in fewer than 5 minutes!  These are just the ones that I've had hanging in plain sight for the last year few months so that I would be inspired to finish them.  It didn't work.  I am taking the leap with Judy Laquidara and committing to finishing these in the next year.
Here goes.

#1.  These are several BOMs that I won at my guild meeting at LEAST two years ago. They are so adorable, I have no idea why I have not put them together.

 #2.  This is a pattern I fell in love with in Mark Lipinski's Quilter's Home magazine (while he was still editor).  I cut it out, made several blocks, even prepared some of the applique and then it stalled.  It's the applique holding me up.  I hate the A word and I don't know what made me think that I would enjoy making this quilt.  BUT, I shall overcome my prejudices and finish this because I think it is SO DARN ADORABLE.

#3 SIGH.  I saw this YEARS ago in a book.  I spent a considerable amount of time collecting fabrics.  I put together a few blocks and I really don't like it.  So, I will make it into a lap quilt and call it done.

#4.  I hand pieced this center medallion on a fun family vacation about 5 years ago.  I would like to figure out some borders and get it finished.

#5 This is the start of a charity string quilt I made based on the String-X pattern from Quiltville.  It needs borders, backing, quilting, and binding.  Not much.

 #6. I have absolutely NO IDEA where this UFO came from.  I don't know where I got the inspirations, when I made it, nothing!  How scary is that?  I think it only needs to be sandwiched, quilted, and bound to be done.

#7.  I love this little quilt. It is so old that once again I have forgotten its genesis. I think it needs borders and the rest to make it a real quilt.  Maybe by next Christmas....

#8.  This little scrap quilt came to be by a bit of a circuitous route.  The scraps are from a memorial quilt I was commissioned to make (and DID make) a year ago.  I learned the quick block from some Los Angeles quilters I met at a retreat in Temecula, CA.  I want to finish it and give it to the woman who commissioned the original memorial quilts.  It needs to be quilted and bound.

#9.  Blogger wants this to be horizontal.  It doesn't make a lot of difference in either case.  The photo looks more jumbled than the quilt actually is because it is folded over a hanger.  I have the inner border picked out and cut (the black strip) I need to decide on an outer border and backing then get the thing quilted and bound.  Yeah, not too much!!

#10.  This is another charity string quilt.  I abandoned it when I couldn't figure out what to use for borders.  I auditioned EVERYTHING in my stash.  My artist sister came over one day and I explained my problem.  She walked over to my stash, picked up a fabric I would NEVER have considered and, of course, it was perfect. Needs to be bordered, quilted, bound.

#11. I learned the Split nine-patch block in a class I took from Karen Combs many years ago.  It is my go-to Leader and Ender project when I don't have anything else in the works. I have seen this setting online many times.  Some call it Chicklets.  Sorry, it's been so long that I no longer remember the websites.  It is put together in rows.  I need to put the rows together, pick a border and get it quilted and bound.

  #12.  And finally, this gem.  It is one of my favorites and I don't think I'll be able to part with it when it is finished.  Like so many of our quilts, it has a story. In my guild, I have a reputation for liking to make scrap quilts with a special affinity for 1/2-square triangles.  One day, a very elderly quilter brought me a ream-of-paper sized box carefully stacked with completed 1/2-square triangles in every color and pattern imaginable.  Her eyesight no longer allowed her to quilt and she hoped I could use the little blocks.  Heck yeah! I figured I could make something out of them.  Well, I have made lots of little quilts from her box of  treasures.  This is the largest.  I trimmed them up to a uniform size and worked really hard to pull matching squares that would look good as stars.  I sashed it and there it sat waiting for border inspiration.  Audrey passed away a few weeks ago and I am kicking myself that she never got to see this quilt.  I plan to keep it so I will always remember her.

Thanks, Judy, for this fun challenge.  I think it will make 2011 very productive for me.

Ponder this:

              Nothing that we do is so important that it can't wait
               so we can spend time with family and friends.

Monday, December 13, 2010

OH NO!! Another UFO Challenge!

Judy Laquidara, over at Patchwork Times has just posted her "rules" for a 2011 UFO challenge.  I had so much success with Finn's challenge that I am going to sign up and commit to finishing some things in 2011.  Go check it out.

Apparently, we should post photos of our UFOs on our own blogs.  That will be rather humiliating freeing. I love challenges because they keep me much more on task than if I just tell myself I am going to do something.  Accountability is a good thing.

Even though I am busy preparing for the Big RV Adventure, I will take time to root around, find some of my more odious UFOs and post pictures before Friday.

Since I hate a post with no pictures, here's a gratuitous one of Izzy.

Lest you think I am trying to make her look stylish, the scarf is to mop up her slobber.  Sigh.

This week's wise thought is courtesy of Theodore Roosevelt (Smart people those Rs).
                    Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
                           Theodore Roosevelt


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Am I crazy?

I got a wild notion last year to go to Machu Pichu this winter vacation.  But... the economy is sort of iffy for architects (the spousal unit  being one) so I decided a more domestic family vacation made sense.  Then, somehow, I lost all sense when I decided an RV trip up the coast of California and Oregon would be fun for the four of us.  Me, DH, DS1 (25 years old) and DS2 (23 years old).  We are leaving the dog home.

My web searching found me this behemoth:

31 feet of domestic-on-the-road lusciousness.
I've made a huge list of things to bring. 

Tell me, should tranquilizers be one of them?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I met my UFO goal.

Thanks, Finn.  Your challenge gave me the push I needed to finish FIVE projects that have been dogging me.  Today, I finished the last one (although I will keep going, this is very rewarding!).

 Finish #5 is a flannel quilt I made for my nephew's graduation present.  I'm only six months late.  That's WAY better than I'm doing on my niece's graduation quilt.  I think she graduated in 2008. 

This quilt is a full twin size so he can use it as a bedspread.  I love its simple design. Perfect for a male-type who doesn't like anything too "fussy."

The inset fabrics are all sailing related because he is a very talented and very avid sailor.

I got the pattern on Craft Nectar's website.  Here is the exact post for this quilt.  Check out her website.  She has truly stunning modern quilt goodness all over her blog.

I thought I'd also throw in a photo of a quilt I completed quite some time ago - YES, I CAN complete quilts without the bribe of a good challenge.  Sometimes. When I'm really bored, that is. 
This quilt was designed by Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.  It was a mystery called Carolina Crossroads.  I used my own color palette but otherwise, it is all Bonnie's design.  She is currently running another mystery called Roll Roll Cotton Boll.  It's not too late to jump in.  The directions are on her blog.  She has been a HUGE inspiration to me in my quilting career.

 Well, that's it for this weekend.  I've been remaking some old down comforters into new, personal-sized comforters and I am SO covered with down that I have to jump in the shower.
  Let me just leave you with the thought that if nothing changes, nothing changes. Think about it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I don't have much rhythm.  At least not much as far as blog-writing goes.

Our Thanksgiving was very nice.  We went to my brother's home in the dessert where he and my SIL, Mary, orchestrated a lovely, delicious, relaxing day. 

We are such an electronics-crazy family that at one point, all of us were sitting playing with some sort of electronic device or another.  My DH mentioned to my brother that we are going to be buying a new Droid X for him before our vacation at the end of December. DB said, "Oh we have one that Mary didn't like.  You can have it."  After we picked ourselves up off the floor, DH hurried my brother out of his house and into the car before he could realize what he had said.  They whisked off to pick it up at my brother's office.  Before I knew it, they were home and his new Droid X was plugged in and charging itself.
I don't think I've had a conversation with DH since Thursday that hasn't included the words "my droid."  Thanks, Rob.  You made Scott's year.

Monday, November 22, 2010


 That darned dog.  She is so entitled.  She believes if she can reach it, then it must have been put there for her!  My sister emptied a can of Chachi's dog food and left the can in the sink.  IN the sink.  Five minutes later she noticed Izzy walking casually by her.  Seems she might have had something in her mouth.  Hard to tell since Izzy's mouth is so large. Here is what she saw outside.

I dare you to take this from me.
I LOVE this can.  It is all mine.  You hear me MINE!

You can't get me.


There's nothing here to concern you, woman.

Must rest now.  Stealing cans is hard work.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Game On!

First an introduction of the cast of characters:
Sister who lives with us
Chachi - sister's very small dog, a Bichon Frise
Izzy - my (not so) Great Dane

Izzy was only 4 months old here with Chachi

It all started Halloween weekend when my sister was sure she had heard a mouse in her room.  "NONSENSE, we don't have MICE!!"  Later that day I heard shrieking from the laundry room.  OMG, she had seen an actual MOUSE IN MY HOUSE. 

Game on!  We set mouse traps.  We caught nothing but our own fingers. Finally, Sunday morning we very timidly peaked behind the couch.  OH YES!! We caught the little bugger.  The problem was that my DH was in OHIO. WHO was going to remove the offender from the HOUSE??  OKAY, Big Breath.  The last time this happened in the garage DH used his big pliers and work gloves to pick IT up and throw IT in the trash. (I can hear you all laughing about what a Big, Strong, Man my DH is.  I'm OK with that.).  I made my sister hold a bag open while I picked IT up with the BIG pliers and dropped IT in the bag.  SHIVER  But we were happy and safe in the house once again.  Until THIS weekend. 

We found a bag of dog food chewed open.

OH NO.  DH was gone for the day - AGAIN.  Based on the dogs' behavior, we figured the new IT was still in the laundry room.  We commenced, after much shrieking, to trap IT in there.  But, the DOG food was in there and Izzy was hungry.  A hungry Great Dane is a fearsome thing so I pulled on my Big Girl pants and went in.  IT ran across the room right in front of me.  I shrieked but managed to get Izzy her breakfast.  We set a few traps by sliding them in.  Every time we checked, the bait would be gone but there would be no trapped mouse.  Dang, how can a mouse be so smart?  

DH got home and he devised a plan. We would herd the mouse into the small bathroom where we set up about SIX traps. We were gonna get this thing!!  When we finally opened the laundry room door I could see the little thing all curled up behind the door.  He wasn't moving.  DH threw a towel over him, picked him up and dispatched him to a better place.  Did we bore him to death or did our ferocious dogs scare him?  We'll never know.

I'll be danged if we didn't find evidence of a THIRD mouse the next morning.  More traps.  We baited these with cut up hot dogs. Next day -  NO hot dogs and NO mouse.  Time to get tough.  That night he GLUED the bait to the traps.  Oh yeah, baby. We caught IT.  Sadly, we left one trap in the living room and Izzy found it.  Now she's afraid to go near that side of the room.

I double-dare another mouse to show himself here.