Monday, January 31, 2011

Bits and Pieces…

Well we have the Internet back!!! For how long I don’t know and certainly know enough to not count on it…. NOW. Actually we do have Internet when the ADSL is down, but it is slow, very slow. Any one that has used 3G air-card knows just how slow, (not on a phone, but on a computer).
I have been playing with the new camera and lenses… and here are some birds. All have a bit of color.
First is the Red Headed Finch. These guys were coming to the feeder, but I haven’t seen them in a few weeks. Mostly because we have had lots of rain; gray and cloudy for nearly 2 weeks... Nothing too remarkable about the birds… they are finches… eat and chatter.

Next is another shot of a Southern Masked Weaver. They are so bright I think the camera has trouble focusing on them. I’ll keep trying to get a shot I like…
and last is a bird called a Southern Red Bishop, and yes they are really that bright. Just as bright as the Weaver. Both the Weaver and the Bishop make some interesting nests. The Weaver make a bell shaped nest that hangs from the end of a branch with the opening at the bottom. The Bishop, builds his nest in the reeds, hanging off at the junction of a leaf and the stalk…. not sure where the entrance to the nest is. Didn’t think to look.

My husband signed me up for a Digital Class…which was last Saturday. There were about 30 attending the class with cameras from point and shoot to sophisticated DSLR’s. The fellow giving the presentation is a published award winning photographer. I enjoyed his talk about his work. Although I did learn a few things while listening, but so far I’m doing most things right.
One thing I do want to share and it’s a bit of a RANT. I ordered a memory card for my new camera from Ritz Camera. Got an email…. that said congrats order is processing. I wait and wait and wait for the card to arrive. I go and check my order online after 3 weeks of waiting, and they cancelled it, because they couldn’t confirm my details. Hello, didn’t anyone consider calling the number I left with the order, or even send an email. NOPE. So let me just say… if you are considering purchasing from Ritz Camera, please choose another retailer, the customer service is non-existent and unrepentant.
I got another 4x4 in the mail. I am still waiting on one more I think, and then I’ll have them all. Gracie didn’t think she was good enough… and sat on these …. what a great surprise this was. Between hand embroidery, machine embroidery and the beading; they are awesome! What do you think?
I have also been  in the sewing room, made a block to swap, but I can’t share it yet. Don’t want to spoil her surprise.
Stay tuned there’ll be more later-  Beth

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The First UFO is Finished!!!

UFO #6 is done!!!  Well there is one more small thing to accomplish… make and apply the label. I spent the morning looking through computers, hard drives and cd’s to find the meanings for the Kanji symbols on the quilt. I’m on my 4th computer since I made the quilt… so finding some information is not as easy as it used to be –before the information age!!! I will prepare the label today and hand stitch it down after dinner.

East meets Narnia

The official name of the quilt is ‘EAST meets Narnia’. I made the quilt when some of the L Rossi “Oriental” themed prints were just hitting the market. Once I had the top done, I saw it could use some embellishments, so I added a few Japanese Crests, symbols and Kanji. I was assembling this top close to New Years and I was looking for words that expressed hope. The Kanji symbolizes ‘peace’, ‘harmony’, ‘truth’ and ‘benevolence’, which I thought were good words to see us from 2004 into 2005. I think that is when I made this top. The title came about because I listened to 'The Chronicles of Narnia' while quilting... hours and hours.

I used wool batting and it really puffed up. And if there is a nice drape, I’m not seeing it. Although I bet it will be warm in the winter somewhere. It will be a bit too warm for here, summer or winter.

I’m looking forward to the next UFO number to be drawn… but I wish I could use this next week to get started on the next one… If I only know which number it will be. I did think about one of the unfinished tops on the list… I am thinking of just making it a duvet… to cover one of my down lap blankets. I have 6 or so of them and the colors are awful on all of them. So UFO #7 might just become a duvet cover, but it would nice as a wall hanging too.

So stick around… the next UFO is just about a week away… what to do with the leftover time????

More later- Beth

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An Award???

I got an Award!!!

My friend (both in the 3D world and the blog world) has given me a ‘Blog Award’. This is the Award!

My Friend, Karen, she blogs here, and I love to see what she is up to. She is incredibly talented with both fabric and paint (dye, ink, pencil, etc.) and really makes her visions come to life. I especially liked the Pelican quilt she did here and is currently on display at the Overture Center in Madison, Wisconsin and the dog portraits she did; Jasmine (3 or 4 parts) and Nikko & Princess  . I am lucky enough to have a couple of pieces of her hand dyed fabrics, (which I treasure and even have a plan for).

The Award is bestowed upon blogs that could use a boost in followers… (should have less than 300 followers), I definitely qualify there!!! The awarded blog then nominates 3-5 other blogs… that could use the boost…. And well deserve to be noticed. So I am going to direct your attention from me…


Luann Kessi’s blog “May Your Bobbin Always Be Full"… . Right up there with Karens blog as far as inspiration and motivation… I am hoping it will help me going on turning my photos into quilts… (large or small). She also teaches… and like me she throws some of her real life into the mix… so it’s not all just the quilting .

Becky of “Beckys Blabber” . Becky used to live in Michigan… while in Michigan she took up quilting… and well hasn’t turned back. As a matter of fact her current project is kinda ‘ARTY’ too and very interesting… Becky is busy raising 2 boys and trying to be a stay at home mom as well. I have to admire that, it’s not easy being a one income family in this day and age; but I’ll bet the rewards will be worth twice the effort!!! Again, Becky also tosses some real life into her narrative… just to keep it real. To add interest Becky just opened an Etsy Shop.... so stop in and say hello.

“The Artful Dreamer” and friend Anne Marie is my last nominee. She is pure ART with a needle, although she is not strictly fiber…. She will use anything that strikes her fancy… (beads, paper, thread, cord, etc). She has been known to add a little paint and even burn or melt her surface…. Once in a while she will use the sewing machine. Anne Marie also tosses a little of her real life into her blog and even takes a few pictures too.

I hope you enjoy visiting my friends and inspirational blogs. I visit many more and have started to use the Google Blog Reader… there is even gadget, so that all the new entries show up on your iGoogle page… right with the email, weather and news!

On an entirely different note…. We are again without High Speed Internet… so no pictures. But I do have a question… The one thing I am finding that I don’t like about Windows 7 is how it wants to handle files (save and keep). It wants me to change the way I catalog and keep track of my photos. Quite frankly I have found a system that works for me and I DON’T want to change it. Does anyone have any help or fixes… for this problem. I have some pictures I want to share… but getting them from the old computer to the new one is proving VERY difficult.

Anyway… Thanks for reading and as always….. MORE later.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Who Loves Me?

My friend Pegg loves me… well cares at any rate. On Thursday DH came home with a box that I wasn’t expecting, didn’t know was coming and it was a total surprise.

What was you ask… a CARE PACKAGE full of wonderful small things. It’s the only care package we’ve received since leaving the States that I didn’t specifically request the items.

See Pegg has lived overseas also…. and she raised her family overseas as well, so she knows what is missed. The goodies are great and lets just say the Snicker’s Nutcrackers didn’t last long past dinner!!!
While we can get things that look the same they don’t taste the same and sometimes don’t even come close to home. So all these things are most welcomed because they are from HOME.
 (picture taken with the iPhone)

Can’t wait to make some toast with the peanut butter on it, well and Peanut Butter cookies sound good too. The Chocolate Chips are destined for a pan of Blondies, DH’s favorite homemade cookie. Of course the dogs have been bugging me for a rawhide treats…. and thye will remain treats given out on special occasions The Wet Ones would have been particularly wonderful on our trip to Kruger. I tried to find a car size pack… but nope not here. Lets not leave out the sponges, all of them are so needed. I am going to learn to make the balloon  animals and take them to the next ‘family Embassy party’ and keep lots of kids happy, but only if they want dogs!!! The crossword puzzles, I may have to fight the DH to do. And lastly the Fat Quarters in Red, Black and White. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a stack of fresh new FQ’s to play with!!! Also in the box was of course a nice note with a picture of her family and 2 candy canes to go with the season!!! There was also a box of Christmas Gobstoppers, but they didn’t make it 24 hours…

So Thank YOU Pegg it was a wonderful Surprise!!!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

UFO Challenge

Number 6 was the number drawn for the January UFO Challenge to finish. See the info about the UFO Challenge project here at Judy Laquidara Patchwork Times.

UFO-#6#6  is my Red Japanese Quilt. I started it in 2006 or so... not really too sure on the date, but I do know I was living in Nebraska at the time. It was when all the cool Japanese prints were hitting the quilt shops and I thought I'd like to make something oriental too. I knew I was going to want to use some Japanese Crests and Kanji to add more interest to the top. The large floral was from Joanns Fabric Center, as were the solids I'm sure. The rest of the prints I picked up at Material Girl, in Grand Island, before they moved to the newer bigger store.
I spent the weekend planning and preparing the quilting designs, actually I knew all along how I wanted to quilt it ... I just didn't follow through on getting the designs... to size. Now I have a printer, that can scan and reduce/enlarge and print on 11x17 paper. So that is what I did.... enlarged the designs until they were the correct size. They will all be traditional Sashiko designs for the quilt center. Not sure what I am going to do with the borders.... yet. I hope it will come to me while I quilt the center section.
To get the designs on the quilt I am using Golden Threads paper. I have used it in the past and it is fairly reliable. I will use 8 different designs... in large rectangular blocks.

For the batting I am using a wool that I picked up at a Hancock's Fabrics a few years ago. It's H Hargrave product and is 100% wool. When I first took it out of the packaging... I was really disappointed, but since it has been all scrunched for several years I decided to  rinse it before I used it. What a huge difference a little water and air make. The batt has relaxed and puffed up beautifully. The quilt will really have a lot of texture once it's quilted. I plan to quilt it with a black 35 wt cotton thread.
I have set up the machine and gotten the tension right. Made up a practice sandwich and tested the thread and the tensions. Now to just screw up the courage.... and get going.

A Side NOTE…. or two
Back in October we ordered a new laptop for me, which has finally arrived. The new shipping rules regarding Lithium Batteries held my laptop in limbo… for 12 weeks! Wow!!! it’s really fast, Windows 7 is really pretty, but man is there a learning curve. I skipped Vista and was still using XP on my old laptop. I decided to try Windows Live Writer to write and post this blog entry…. LOVE IT! One of the things I detested in Google blogger was getting the pictures where I wanted them… with the text where I wanted it. I was able to write, and edit (spell checker) and place the pictures and hyperlinks way faster than with blogger! And even better is the preview. WOW WoW, just so easy!!!
So until later!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


It's a new year and I have a new LOGO for my photos. Every year my sister (a Photoshop wiz, Published Digial Artist and Scrapbooker), makes me a new logo with my name, Copyright or symbol and the year. I love them. I can adjust the size of the logo, the color to either match or contrast with the picture... and it is as easy as using a stamp. What really makes them nice is the simplicity of use and consistency. I don't have to pick a font and then decide where to type, remember the code for the symbol, etc.... it's literally one click.

I have folks always asking me how I do my logo... on my pictures and when I tell them they get a disappointed look. So I asked her if she would want to make them for others and she said sure, (for a small fee via paypal) . Most years she makes a couple and I pick the one I like best. But this year she sent me 6 and they are all so cool! So if you like these and want to put your copyright, name and date in one click on your posted art... and want one of your own... contact her and you can negotiate the deal.

I haven't taken too many pictures this week. The weather has been wet so no cameras outside. I did take a picture of my new things with the iPhone just to show you... the one of the new Logos!!! I am such a lucky girl.
The camera in the back is the new D90 and the Sigma 150-500 lens. The smaller one in the front is my old D70 with the new Nikkor 70-300 lens. Both lenses are in the extended position. Now I just need a pony to carry all the stuff!!!
More later....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Because I procrastinated so long on getting my UFO... stuff posted... I didn't have the time or room to post a New Year's Blog!!!

So for all you readers, friends and family (lurkers)... that know what I'm doing ... because you drop in... Happy New Year! May it begin bright and beautifully, bring you wealth, health, vitality and prosperity all year long; and all the laughter and love you can stand each day!!!

I have a few small things to finish up with the last few months of 2010... and a picture or two...

What kind of Big Cat is this?
Last week at the Lion Park, they also allow you to play with the cubs.  Only one enclosure was open when we got in line... I was torn between which one to go into... one had lions that were 4 or 5 months old and the other had cubs that were maybe 1-2 months old. I didn't ask... because it was not a fun experience... It is high tourist time... which means crowds of ill mannered people thinking they are just a bit more important than the next guy!!! But there was another cat in the pen with the larger lion cubs... can you tell me what kind of cat this guy is?

You looking at ME?

Just before we left the park... we found the meercat display and this fellow was looking for danger... Looked right at me... so I took his picture. Kinda cute... I can't watch the TV show... it would make me sad.

Linzy is growing, but not really fast. She weighs in at about 40-45 pounds, 1/2 of Axels weight. She hurt her hip a few weeks ago, so we tried to keep her quiet... We had an xray done... and the good news was no permanent damage... and the really good news was her hips look really good dysplasia -wise. Axel on the other hand is having some enviromental allergie issues.. well and maybe some food too. He got some of Linz's food, so it set off a whole string... so his feet are bothering him big time... so  he is on anitbiotics and Prednisone... it will be a few more weeks until we get it under control again.

I have been in the sewing room a little since the days of Kruger... I had 2 gifts to make and postcard or two... one of the ladies in one of the South Africa Quilt groups... was moving back to Germany after living here for 30 years!!! I'll bet she will miss the weather here really soon!!! Any way in the confusion of starting work, Axels surgery and the problems with the house... the rest of November and most of December slipped away. So I missed 2 quilters dates. Hannas going away luncheon and the Christmas party. So for Hanna I had made

some very South African trees... in several different sizes to sprinkle among her other blocks the others made to remind her of South Africa. I will mail them to her via snail mail. I also have a gift for my exchange partner... and missing the Christmas lunch... I missed my opportunity to give it to her. I have apologized and we will meet later this month. I don't think either read my blog... so I think I can show them here. They were taken with the iphone also.... so the colors may not be quite true...

I'm not big on making 'resolutions' so I haven't made any... I'm not usually big on setting goals either... because... I prefer to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves... and if you have mapped out the year with things TO DO, you might miss a chance to DO something else. But- I always try to be a good person... and of course I slip up ... I always try to do better and sometimes I don't, I always try to get the things I need to get done finished... and again sometimes I don't... but I don't let it derail me... so however you have planned or not planned out this next year.... I hope it goes just the way you want it to!!!

To 2011 and beyond- more later