Monday, November 29, 2010

Ornament Thief

I found my real camera and caught Bandit stealing ornaments off of the tree:

True to his nature, I'm sure I'll find his stash of ornaments after I take the tree down.  He has a stash of bobbins in the back corner behind my quilting bins.  I'll have to check and see if he's put them there.

Sorry Bandit, you don't even come close to blending in but nice try. 

All things considered, he's done really well.  However; I don't think a 38 dollar tree can truly stand up to a 10lb cat climbing on it for very long.


I set out my nativity set and it looks wonderful:

BTW, if you have seen my "real" camera, let me know.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  My parents and two sisters came out for the weekend and we had a wonderful time.

I can't tell you how enough how grateful I am this Thanksgiving for my mom.  She deep cleaned my entire house while here.  When you can't bend down, scrub or get down on your knees my house has needed her care.  It's not that my family doesn't help.  They do great, but there's something about moms that do the trick.

She introduced me to Exedrin Back And Body Pain medication which has saved my sanity.  Don't know what they put in it, but I have been pain free all weekend until it wears off.  I'm still taking it easy as I know I'm not healed and don't want to fall into the "I feel great and can do anything now" trap of feeling better.

She made curtains for my daughter's room with ease.  She wasn't impressed with the Horizon as it starts out slow.  It drove her nuts as her old Bernina takes off when starting.  I despise this feature as well, but most machines do it now.  I wish there was a way to disable it.  Anyone know how to hack a sewing machine program?

She even went with me to Wally World at midnight to see what the fuss is about "Black Friday".  Meh.  I don't see what the fuss is all about.  

We set up the tree to Bandit's great delight.  He's had a great time redoing the decorations.  I keep waiting to hear a crash in the middle of night after he knocks it over.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"No Thru Traffic" Please

Remember the semi truck picture from the other day?  While walking by the other day, my dad noticed the "no thru traffic" sign sitting down the sidewalk and put it on top of the table.  Then we watched the reactions of people when they walked by.  Everyone burst out laughing when they saw the sign.

The Droid takes pretty good pictures.  Now to figure out the zoom in/out function.

BTW, my Droid saved me 60 bucks on a Christmas present today.  I have two bar code readers; one for and another for checking the surrounding areas.  Local Wally World had the item for 179, had it for 159.  Then when I checked the surrounding areas, Best Buy had it for 119.  Sold for 119.  Sorry Wally World, you wouldn't price match and 60 bucks is a lot of money.

The stores have to hate this feature.  I'm surprised I didn't get chased out of the store.  If your smartphone has this feature, use it over the holidays.  This app is invaluable.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nativity Sets

Well, yesterday's post was useless..LOL.

I have always wanted an heirloom nativity set.  I've looked for years, but nothing has ever stood out.  I have a cheap one as an ornament, but not anything gloriously fancy to keep as an heirloom.

I was in the local pharmacy waiting for my lamictal to get filled when I walked by the Christmas displays.  The store also sells beautiful gifts/figurines and always has something wonderful to gaze at.  As I walked by, I saw a nativity set.  It was gorgeous.  Each figurine was gloriously detailed and done with care.  As I held one in my hand I realized the designs were (gasp) quilting blocks!  All of the figurines have different quilting blocks!  Who would do figurines etched with quilting designs?  The set said "Jim Shore".  

Then my heart sank.  Surely something this detailed will cost a fortune or at least several hundred dollars.  It's probably one of those sets that you buy each figurine separately at 50 dollars a piece.    Once again, I'll have to walk away.  But the set called to me.  It was too stunning to look at.  

Stop.  You are manic, idiot.  You came in for meds.  That's all.   I had to at least know the price so I asked. When she told me, I fell over in shock.  It's affordable!  No way!  I could do this!  

Once again, I had to stop and pause.  How badly do you need/want this?  If you buy it, will you regret it a few days from now?  What if I can get this cheaper online?   Probably, but I do believe in supporting small town stores.  I didn't try to justify the purchase, just went over the usual logical questions I know to ask myself.    

Needless to say, I bought it.  It will be treasured forever.  I know that even while manic.  15 years of searching for the perfect nativity set is over.

The tradition at my house while growing up is that each day a piece is laid out with Jesus being the last one done Christmas Eve.  I don't know if I can wait that long..LOL.  I hate to have Christmas done and over with now and have nothing to look forward to during December.  

I checked out his website.  Wow.  Double Wow.  Now, here's where I use self-control despite the mania.  I have what I have always wanted with this nativity set.  His pieces aren't going anywhere nor am I a "must collect" everything a designer makes.  I have his nativity set.  There won't be any crazy spending frenzy on his site despite how beautiful his pieces are.  If I find something that strikes me later, maybe.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mania Sucks

It hit me yesterday that I am going through a manic phase.  If I am also excited about Christmas, something is really up.  Usually I want to crawl into bed and hibernate.

Damage done while manic:

*Bought a new fake Christmas tree.  Not because we needed one, because I wanted it.

*Bought ornanments for it..beautiful ones.

* A Droid phone.  Love it.

* A right hand diamond ring and new wedding band w/o hubby being there to help pick it out.  Feel bad about that one, but love the rings.

* A bluetooth thing for my car and a headset.  Truthfully; it's really helped when talking to my kids, but they aren't cheap.

* Clothing (I hate shopping for clothing)

* Several pairs of boots and tennis shoes

*Gasp..I want to do Black Friday.. *falls over in shock*

On the plus side I haven't:

*purchased a new iPod touch that will allow you to use Face Time

*purchased a video camera

*purchased a wireless mouse and keyboard and various other electronics that I managed to walk away from.

*tried to start up several quilt projects.  My back will protest and knowing that helps.

*and whatever else will come up during the next few days/weeks that I manage to walk away from.

In all seriousness, if you are bipolar like me, make a plan to keep yourself from doing stupid things this season.  You can do this w/o compromising yourself, your finances and your family.  

I'll need to hand over my debit card to DH today. Stay out of stores/sites that tempt me.  Put less gas in the car so I can't really get that far w/o thinking about it.  Really force myself to say, "I don't need it"."It's okay to walk away."  "Once you are over this, will you regret it?"

And, believe in yourself.  This disease sucks. While my back may really hurt, knowing my mind is constantly being attacked on a phsyical and mental level is the worst pain to deal with.  Meds help, but even that ravishes your body.  

Mania is not true happiness.  While I feel absolutely wonderful, on top of the world and feel like I can do anything, I know I will crash.  Reality will sink in and I'd like to make that transistion smoothly and w/o damaging my pocketbook.

Now to tell myself I'm not really able to do some serious cleaning because of my back.    

How Has Your Day Been?

"Frank, do you think they'll notice?"
"Hey Frank, this is Bob.  Is my truck ready?"
"Frank, I think we no long have jobs now"
"Frank, you don't just LOSE a truck nor do they drive off on their own"
"Frank, not again!  This is the 3rd truck this week"
(this complex usually has old people pushing the accelerator instead of the brakes to go through the store)
"Frank, we do have insurance right?"
"Frank, you said to pull the lever, not push it"
"You idiot, I told you to press the black button, NOT the red one.  Everyone knows not to press the red one"
"Frank, I was only joking about what would happen if the truck rolled away.  I didn't expect it to happen"

What actually happened is that there is a tire place across the street.  The truck rolled out of the lot, across the highway, down the grassy embankment, through the parking lot (totaling a car) and hitting the store.  The car was wrapped around the Subway sign when I drove up.  Thankfully no one was in the car nor were there vehicles going down the highway. 
And yes, this complex truly has old people pushing the accelerator instead of the brakes to hit the store.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Smartphone Quilting Apps

If you could have any quilting apps on your iPad, Touch, Droid, iPhone and other smartphones, what would you want?

I'd want:

1.  A library of all my quilting books w/pictures of the cover.

2.  A companion program to the EQ software.  Can you imagine using a touchscreen to do some stuff?

3.  A thread database of all the threads I own

4.  Projects I am working on

I'm sure there are others out there.  But what would make my day is a quilting site like  That way you could store your books and see who else is doing the same projects as you are.  You could see finished projects from the books and read people's blogs.


Have You Seen This Bear?

I found this bear at my local hardware store and had to bring him home:

There are no tags to identify him.  I'm sure he's made to look old, not actually antique.  If you know who made him or where to find out more about identifying him, let me know.

Finished Quilt!

You learn a lot about how well you quilt when you wash it.  I realized that part of my satin stitching hadn't made it and will have to fix it:

Can you see down by the dog's left ear where it's rippled?

Here's the quilt:

And the finished quilted centers now that the blue pen is out:

I'm SO excited to have this done!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Malls Are Torture

Stupid Horizon.  I'm just going to have to take it in for a good check-up since I can't solve the problems of not FMQ.  If you have problems w/your machine that won't reproduce at your dealer, video tape it and show it to him.  Learned that from the CR-Z forum.

The pug quilt is DONE!  I finished the binding today.  I went through "The Last Airbender", WWE wrestling and the first episode of "Being Human"on Blu-ray to finish it.  Once I get the marker washed out and clip the threads I'll post it.

For the most part, I am done quilting for the year.  I really need to strengthen my back and piecing a quilt is torture right now.  I have loved doing the pug quilt and it looks fabulous.  I only put my back out earlier this week from overdoing it at the mall.  Malls do not have seats anymore.  Standing around waiting for my kids has proved torturous to my back.  

I asked my doc sort of jokingly, if I could have a script for a wheelchair just for going to the stores.  Nothing fancy, just one that works.  He said I wasn't that bad and even a walker was pushing it.   I was in Wally World today and had DH push me in one their courtesy chairs as walking using the cart hurts.  Right now there's no way I can put items in/out of a cart.  It's been hard to watch people go by with sympathy looks.  I can walk, I just can't do it for very long right now.  I get weird looks when I stand up and walk out (stiffly) of the store on my own as well.

I'm not sure what to do.  Stores do not have chairs since they don't want people hanging around and carrying around a folding chair won't help my back either.

I'm done whining now.  I feel better.  Sort of.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Straight Pin Covers

I wish I could find the link or post that someone put up about covers that go over straight pins for basting.  I thought I saved the site but I can't find it.  It was a neat idea and I meant to buy the covers.  If you know of the site, please let me know.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shredding Thread Issues

Anyone want to buy a Janome Horizon??  I've been cursing mine for two days now.  I KNOW it works and I KNOW it's user error, but I can't figure out what is messing everything up.

First off, I ran out of bobbin thread and went around 3/4 of the way not realizing it since it's dark thread on dark fabric. *bangs head*  Really; for a 3000 dollar machine, it should have something.  This is the second time it's happened and while I know to check, this is a big flaw if you are doing large quilts.  Then the walking foot started throwing fits and not moving the fabric evenly.

I gave up, went to the Topaz that doesn't need a walking foot to fight and will let me know the bobbin is out and finished up the borders.

Next, the Horizon won't FMQ to save it's life.  I'm using 50wt brown thread and all it does it shred it.  Now, normally that's a needle issue but I've tried different sizes and it's still shredding thread.  I changed the tension.  Same problem.  I switched off the single needle hole to the zigzag.  Nope.  Still shredding.

Okay..test the thread on a different machine to see if it's the thread.  Nope.  The thread works beautifully on the Topaz and finished the design in a couple of minutes.    

I wonder if the Topaz will shred the 40wt thread.  The design almosts look to lightweight with the 50wt and maybe a heavier thread would stand out more.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pre-order Now!

It's not Wordless Wednesday but this left me speechless and laughing really hard

Free Shipping too!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Marking A Quilt Design

Spent part of the day in Wally World getting a refund on my Droid.  Nope..still keeping it.  It turns out the other day the priced dropped and I asked for the difference.  Wally World was great and very helpful.

While going through the apps section on my Droid in B&N I found an Amazon barcode scanner.  You can scan the book and see if it's cheaper via Amazon.  Of course it is.  We all know B&N is incompetent with their prices but it was great to download an e-book from right to my iPad from the store to get the book cheaper.  One book was 50 dollars cheaper via Amazon when I showed DH.  He about fell over as he thought about buying it.  I bet stores HATE these kinds of apps.

I have all of the outline quilting done on my quilt.  I have the first part of the border done and have spent the evening working on a design for the eight plain squares:

Umm..Can the feathers go backwards as I just realized I did that?  Oh..wait, I have the paper backwards.

Making a quilting stencil can be quite easy or a giant pain.  Here's what I do:

First; if I can get lucky like the above, I already had some stencils that fit in an 8x8 inch square.  If not, draw out the size square you need filled on a separate paper(s).  I draw lines diagonally, horizontally and vertically to have a defined area.  You can easily fold over the paper as well to get those lines.

I then draw what I want and refine as I go.  If what I have looks terrible, I draw another square and work with it again.  This is about having fun, not about perfection.  If you do a half design, fold over the paper and trace the other half to keep it symetrical.  You can do this in all four corners or on the diagonal.

This is where I KISS it.  I know there are specialty papers that let you "sew" the design and then pounce the chalk.  Meh.  I'm cheap.  I use regular typing paper, a pin and a water soluble pen.  I push the pin through the paper all around the design making small holes and then mark through the holes.

I put the design on the block, pin in place and where the holes are, put the pen in to mark the design.  I only had a fine pen to demonstrate so it's hard to see, but you'll get the idea:

Here's the corner design w/the dots.  I'll connect the dots with my marker and sew along the line.
If I had my thicker pen that I couldn't find, the dots would be much more visible.  I've never had a problem with a WS pen in the eight years I've used them.  Chalk drives me nuts and makes me sneeze like crazy.  

The last two pics were taking with my Droid camera.  I think it's just easier to use my own but I had to try it.

Then the question becomes, dark thread or light thread for the quilting?  Dark will show up mistakes (shhh..don't tell anyone I make mistakes) and the light will give a softer look to it.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quilting Around The Pugs?

I'm almost done quilting the pug quilt.  I've outlined the pugs:

and SITD most of the stars:
but the pugs need something else.  Do I just do a simple stipple?  I don't want a stiff quilt but I think the open areas need something.

I still need to raid the basement for a stencil to quilt the 8 open brown squares and the border.

To Dumb To Use A Smart Phone?

Ahh..the joys of being manic.  It's a wonderful high but it left me buying a Droid Incredible the other day.  Now the question is, "Did I just kill my phone bill?"  Yeah..but how much? as my account doesn't make any sense.  If you know anything about smartphones, data plan billing and what is a "fee" even though it's included, let me know.

Here's what happened:

Since I've had a car I realized I needed a phone to keep in touch w/my kids.  DH has my old one and we got unlimited calling for 70 bucks a month instead of the basic plan I've been using for about 3 years.   We talk every night while he's on the way home.  He uses the Bluetooth feature on the CR-Z which is amazing.

On Sunday, we are at best buy and I ask about family plans.  The guy told me for the same price DH and I can share 700 minutes.  Cool.  I add him to the plan with his own "dumb" phone. While the BB guy is ineptly trying to set up the phone, I take a look at the other phones and debate whether or not to upgrade to a Droid and choke up 30 extra bucks a month..70+30 is a hundred bucks and figured that was feasible.  It would be more adding in taxes and crap.  I can upgrade any time I want and was tempted.  I figured if I have to have a data plan, I might as well get a real phone that uses it.

Wednesday I had to run to Lincoln to get the oil changed on the Santa Fe and stopped in at Wally World to look at a purse.  My "hooker" bag just was way to big and I couldn't find anything.  My kids and DH call it a hooker bag because it's that shiny cheap leather vinyl and is huge.  I found what I wanted, basic black boring bag and went over to the electronics.

Sigh.  Wally World has a Droid Incredible and I bought it.  After a few days I LOVE the phone but I'm terrified at what is included but is actually an extra fee and what Verizon will do to sneak in billing charges because of it.  DH didn't get mad I bought it and said I could keep it.  Wow..I thought he'd be really upset.

When I checked my account, it said I had used 589 of my 700 minutes.  Huh?  I know I switched over 3 days ago, but did Verizon pull a fast one and had my 700 family plan start from the last billing cycle instead of on Sunday?  I'm glad I checked so I don't call people outside of Verizon right now.

Then of course there are the activation fees.  I thought we paid for DH's fee at BB and the guy at Wally World who had me set up within a few minutes said Verizon would bill me for activating my Droid.  I don't see them on there.  I never thought Wally World would get something done so much faster than BB.

When I looked at the account under "plan details" for my phone it says monthly access charge 60 bucks and under DH's it says 9.99.  So what gives?  Is that the 70 bucks for the family plan?

I'm unclear about the data plan.  If I leave the phone on all day (in sleep mode) am I using data?  Or is it counted when I actually open the web or do stuff?  Unlimited is actually limited to a certain Gigabyte..I think it's like 5.

Since I can't itemize my see where I'm at right now for a number, I don't want a huge surprise when I get my bill other than activation charge(s) and all the tax crap you pay.  The "Oh..I'm sorry, you used this feature and it's 2.99 a minute and you were on for an hour" crap.

My only problem with Verizon is that they are so expensive and nickel/dime you to death.  The problem with the other carriers is that they don't cover where I live.

But..I adore my Droid.  I think it's so much better than an iPhone.  Using the web is so much faster than my home computer.  Until I get my first bill, I'm almost scared to use the data part of it not knowing what is an "extra" and what is included.  I did have to put a passcode on it so my kids don't play with it.

Ohh..I figured out how to get songs on it and made "Jump" by Van Halen my ringtone.  Sweet!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Using the Circle FMQ foot On The Horizon

I put on the FMQ foot with the guide and worked around the star block.  I was impressed as the red marks are accurate and the foot glided over the quilt despite the bulkiness at the corners.

The biggest flaw?  No diagonal lines.  Do I dare use a Sharpie pen and mark the lines in there?  Worst that happens is I have to buy another foot.

I was doing pretty good and then realized something was "off" and the machine was fighting the thread.  This is why I despise Mettler thread:

This stuff is the WORST for FMQ and I should have remembered.  That's what I get for not quilting for while.  I'll just use the walking foot for this quilt now.  I've used too much of the thread to start over. the Janome company..PLEASE make it so the machine knows when the bobbin thread runs out so I don't sew for the entire length of the quilt w/o knowing it.  Maybe Viking has a patent on this as none of the other companies have this feature.

Horizon FMQ Test

I was getting dizzy using my walking foot to get around the star blocks so I thought I'd see how well this baby FMQ through flannel and if I can keep a relatively straight line doing it.

The lines going around the star points are the walking foot.  The horizontal line is mine using the FMQ foot.  Not bad for a first time.  Tension is great and I only had that slight wobble..sort of.

I haven't done any quilting (only piecing) for almost a year now so seeing that the Horizon does really well is inspiring.  I used the APC setting and the open toe foot.  I'm not sure I like the open toe as I don't really have a reference point to guide me.  I should try out the marked foot and see how that goes.

I didn't have to fight the quilt too much for control either and that's a good sign.

The true question is do I use the walking foot and keep turing all the corners or go for the FMQ and get it done sooner.  I still need practice doing FMQ straight lines.    

Beta Tester For Honda?

Betsy (my CR-Z) gave me a scare last night..LOL.  All my cars are named "Betsy".  Don't know why, I just do.  I figured I'd head to Wally World 20 miles away and try the cruise control in economy mode.

I'm cruising along doing 64 mpg about halfway there and all of a sudden the battery level falls down two bars (halfway) and stays there.  Being hybrid retarded I completely panic.  I have visions of the car completely losing battery power leaving me stranded or the car limping along while a semi truck runs me over.  Betsy stayed at that level all the way to Wally World doing a beautiful job of going up/down hills.  If I understand the 4 trip mpg setting (3 previous trips and the one you are doing) I was doing about 45 mpg on this trip.  I drove it in economy all the way home and only managed under the 40 mile bar.

I didn't tell DH about the battery thing.  This morning I went to drive it and the battery was back where it normally sits so I figure all is good.  There are days when I wish I was mechanically inclined and knew what I was doing.  At the same time, given my record, I'd ruin the warranty.

Maybe I should be a beta tester for Honda and see how fast it takes me to"push the limits" of the car battery before the warranty runs out.  I bet Honda pays more than the AccuQuilt company does..LOL.   No..I don't get paid and I'm probably Accuquilt's worst nighmare.  It's a running joke because I'm too hard on stuff and "push the limits" of whatever item I've got in my hands.  My replacement Go! Cutter is still in it's box unopened as I figure they don't need to replace my replacement.  I don't think the new baby Go! cutter would make it past the first day in my hands either.

As it turns out, I have the only black CR-Z in the state of NE when I talked to the dealer.  He bought a silver one, there is still a TOL silver in the lot and it appears none of the other Honda dealers have sold a CR-Z yet when he checked the stats.

Maybe it's a good thing DH thinks the car is his.  That way if I manage to wreck something, I can play dumb and have him think he did it.  I'm not sure I should drive the car in cruise now.  Truthfully; car dealers (and sewing machine dealers) aren't that sympathetic when it comes to warranties.

This car rocks though.  Once I get the hang of how to drive it, I'll be more sure of myself.  

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Almost Ready To Go!

Apparently no one close by does quilt basting so I'm going to disobey doc orders and do it myself.  I'll see if I can get my kids and a couple of friends to help as well.  Once it's basted, it's ready to quilt.

Here's the quilt with borders:

I managed to get the borders done without having to piece them and have enough for binding.  Not bad for guessing my yardage.  LOL.

I found some gorgeous brown flannel the other day.  What I didn't think about was that it was a plaid.  You know you are good when you get the fabric to align up with the design.  If I was awesome, I'd be able to make the backing completely look like one piece, but I'm not that good.

Here's the backing.  I used the flash so the color appears lighter than it is:

Once I get it all pinned/spray basted I'll be ready to go!