Friday, February 28, 2014

You Should Write A Book...

People always say that. Some people actually think it! I think it sometimes. I SHOULD write a book. If I wrote a book about my life I wonder if people would think it's a complete work of fiction...

But I AM writing a book, of sorts. You all know about baby books, right? I'm afraid I wasn't very good at that when my own kids were little. I guess it was too time consuming when I had actual kids to deal with. It was much more fun to hold them and play with them than it was to write about them. Although I'm so sorry I didn't write down some of the funny stories so I'd remember them later.

When Miss E was born, being the first grand, we took lots of pictures. I tried to put together a scrapbook and for a while I was pretty good at doing the pages. I got up to about 18 months of age, recording the milestones as I saw them...

She's 12 years old now.

When she was about 4 or 5 years old I bought some of that writing paper with the blue solid and dashed lines that kids used to practice their letters. I printed some pictures and started writing The Book of E. I wrote simple stories in language a small child could read and understand. There was one about her favorite stuffed animal, and one about a Halloween costume we made together.

I put ribbon through the holes in the paper and put the book on the bookshelf, and always intended to go back and finish it.

Enter Miss A, now aged six and a half. Curious as all get-out and a good crafter, she's always writing books and drawing pictures to go with them. Last week she discovered that Book of E on the shelf. Reading it one morning, she yelled from the bedroom "Hey Gramma, what's this book?" I told her the story and she went back to reading.

Miss A: "Gramma, why aren't there any stories about me?"

Me: "Well, you weren't born yet."

Miss A: "Oh, OK."

A bit later: "Gramma, here's one about me. Why isn't there a picture of me?"

Me: "Well, I guess I wasn't finished yet."

In a few minutes I could hear her talking to the teddy bears and she was pulling papers together. "Gramma, I need you to make some blue lines on this paper."

To Be Continued...

Sew on!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I'm COLD!!

I am TOO COLD today! I suppose if you live in the Midwest you're in the same boat. Or sled, as the case may be...

This Polar Vortex thing really bites. When I see the kids waiting for school buses in the morning with no gloves on, shivering in the wind, I think to myself this is nuts! Why do people live here?? Or maybe why do we go outside if we live here??

Just kidding about the living here stuff. Where else would I want to be? The west coast is always in danger of sliding into the ocean or burning up from wildfires, the south gets hit with hurricanes, the east coast sometimes has worse winter storms than we do, all we have to deal with is blizzards and the occasional tornado. And the vortex.

Seriously, the spring and fall in the Midwest are glorious. There are so many shades of green in Wisconsin in May and June you can't count them all. For someone like me who loves green there's no place else to be.

But right now it's cold.  So when I leave for work in the morning, the only thing I want to do is get there and get inside.  But sitting at my desk can get chilly.  The ceiling in my part of the office is two floors up, and I'm sure the heat on that side of the office is up at the top.  So it's cool down where people dwell.

I've got extra sweaters in the office and I wear layers, but my legs and bottom get cold.  I have to remember to make myself a chair cushion or pad, because the desk chairs have mesh seats and backs, and they get cool.  I'm usually sitting on one of my sweaters. 

Once I leave the office and get my cold car warmed up, the only thing I want to do is go home to my warm house.  Last night I blew off an errand because I didn't want to get out of the car twice!

At home, I don't want to leave again because it takes me so long to warm up.  And after dinner, sitting on the couch can get chilly due to lack of movement.  So I have a fleece lap robe, and I've been knitting while watching TV.  Usually a good-sized project will pool in the lap and keep the knitter warm.  But here's what I've been working on:

Doll sweaters

Now they're fun to do, and they knit up fast, but they don't cover much of my lap so they're not much good for warmth!

I've been cruising looking for adult sweaters that I could do in a couple of hours but despite the wealth of patterns available there, both for sale and for free, nothing knits up as fast as these little beauties. You'd think someone in the Midwest could come up with a speed knitting class or something!


Or how about one of these?  Hey, maybe I need a hat, and then I'll stay warmer.  They say the most extreme amount of body heat loss is through your head!   

But then I'd have hat hair.  Ugh.  

The only alternative is walking on the treadmill. I bet that would warm me up, for a while anyway.   Or I could consider turning up the heat -- and paying that bill! OK, maybe not.

For now, I'll stick with the lap robe.  Or maybe I can get some quilt tops finished and start sewing on the binding by hand at night. That could take me until spring, with the box of UFOs I have. Hmm, that's a good idea, stay warm and finish some projects! Let's see how long my resolve lasts.

Sew on...

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Blue Screen of Death

My favorite saying from the 1990s always was "To err is human, to really screw up takes a computer".

Don't get me wrong, I love technology, and I really do use computers alot. At work, I'm on it 9-10 hours a day. I can do research with the best of them, and when anyone looks for a phone book or asks how to find something I am the first to say Google it!

In fact, my son was over on Saturday and mentioned wanting to know how to do something and I said "Google for the instruction manual". He said "Oh yeah! Why didn't I think of that?"

So last week I was working on an embroidery project for church. I already embroider the baptismal napkins for the Altar Guild, so they asked me to do some other napkins for communion service with small crosses. Easy-peasy, right?

In 2009 I bought a small notebook computer with the idea that I could store all my embroidery designs on it for transfer to sewing the machine I have. I have a low-end Brother embroidery machine that takes either a custom disk or will attach to a computer with a chunky connection like you have for a printer, but not a USB port and not a computer disk.

I didn't do much computerized embroidery at the time. Long ago I gave up the idea that embroidery had to be done by hand, but I am not a fan of the multi-colored big embroidery designs that some home sewists seem to love. I like a little motif on children's clothing or doll items, and I love tone-on-tone embroidery for myself. But I can live without embroidered clothes for myself. Just add jewelry! But that might be another post...

My oldest granddaughter likes using my embroidery machine. She was going to help me out with the napkins one Sunday afternoon. We cruised the Internet and picked out a few tiny cross designs, which we downloaded to the laptop upstairs. 

I opened up the notebook and logged on to transfer the design.  THAT'S when I got the big surprise... the Blue Screen of Death.

You know this one, right? 

Well, when you get this one, it's bad.  Sometimes Very Bad... but it IS a pretty color.

The error I got was not one with which I am familiar, so I googled it on the laptop.  It said something about reloading your operating system with disks.  Oh my goodness!

I lugged the laptop downstairs to the basement and loaded the design from there.  During my sewing time, my poor hubby was not able to play Solitaire or check his bank statements, things he likes to do at regular intervals.

On Monday, I asked one of our crack IT guys at work what the error was.  He offered to check the notebook on his lunch hour, and came back with this diagnosis:

"The computer has to be rebuilt.  For what that costs, and your operating system is not going to be supported after April, you might as well just grab out the hard drive, and buy a new one."

UGH.  I had PLANS for my tax refund that did NOT include a new notebook! 

I have two tower computers in the basement in various stages of operation or lack thereof.  Maybe I can trade them in toward the purchase of a laptop for my sewing studio.  Keep your fingers crossed!  Because lugging the sewing machine upstairs is not fun and borrowing hubby's favorite toy isn't far behind on the joy-o-meter.

Sew on...

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weekend Projects

The past weekend was spent trying to get some projects finished.  That didn't start too well on Saturday because I had a visit from my son and grandchildren.  They live about an hour away, and I don't see them as often as I see other family members.  So it's a pleasure to see them when they do come, but all other things kind of go on hold when they're here.  After all, I'd much rather visit than clean or work!

Note to son:  If you're reading this blog, let me know a few minutes before Friday night that you're coming on Saturday!

After lunch and fun with kids on Saturday afternoon, and a brief nap, I checked my sewing studio again for what is in progress, to see if there was something I could do in a few hours.

Fabric from the church quilt guild that has to be kitted (pick a pattern, cut and bag).  There must be 30 pieces of fabric in this bag alone... nope, too big a job for Saturday night.

Stuff I started and should finish, there are a couple of table runners that could be bound...  no, maybe another day.

Read some patterns and pick a couple?  Maybe...

Make a couple of doll dresses to match a couple of sweaters I knit?  They're already cut out.

Yeah, maybe this fabric matches more than one sweater.
So I looked around the sewing room and it was SUCH a mess that I decided to go back upstairs and read a book instead.

I read a few pages of the new Louise Penny novel I bought from the used book store.  I must have been too tired to read.  I love these books but I could not stop yawning.  I'm sure it's because I stayed up too late on Friday night.

I picked up the needles and worked a few rows on another doll sweater.  That was tiring too.  So after dinner, I watched some programs I had previously recorded.  I discovered a program called Quilting Arts on PBS and record it daily.  Some of them were very interesting, but most of it is not your traditional quilting with fabric, etc.  There was a lot of painting and dying going on in the ones I watched.  Not bad stuff, just not up my alley.

By this time it was 8:45 p.m.  So I went to bed.

This morning after church and Sunday School, I took another short nap, and spent about two hours on Amazon trying to decide what to get with a gift certificate I was given.  After much transferring things from the cart to the wish list and back, I ended up with Nancy Zieman's biography Seams Unlikely, a book of quilt patterns and one more Louise Penny - A Trick of the Light.

Now it's early evening, and all I've done is give myself more stuff to do!

And my sewing room is just as messy as it was Friday evening.  But luckily no MORE messy than it was then.

Sew on...