Thursday, December 24, 2009

Seasons Greetings!


Christmas 2009

Greetings all!
My folks decided to let me do the yearly letter again this year. I guess I did pretty good last time, so I get to do it again. Good thing I got the bark translator upgraded!

So, I have to say, nice as they are, I think my folks are a bit whacky. They spent all summer building this thing they call a teardrop cargo trailer. Frankly, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about, some pieces of wood glued together, some aluminiuminuminum… metal… on the outside, and a couple wheels on the bottom. Big deal. Woof (can’t translate that word). If they'd leave the door to the garage open, I could drag a few blankets into it and use it as a nice cave, but they won't let me do that. Too close to the BIG box of dog cookies or something... anyway, they seem really happy with it, and it even follows us when we go camping. I'm not sure how it knew where we were going, but there it was. It certainly gave me more room in the camper, so I'm not going to complain.

Normal daily activities are pretty much the same as always. Dad still does network stuff at Boeing. He keeps talking about things like headcount and stuff I don't understand, but he keeps going to work and I still get dog cookies, so things must be ok for now. Mom keeps busy with all kinds of things: she works on the computers at the church, runs their web site and several things associated with it, and makes quilts for all kinds of programs including quilts for wounded soldiers. One quilt she was really happy with was for a good friend they camp with, a lady in her mid '70's who still goes camping whenever she can. The few times I’ve seen her, I bark at her as much as I can, but she never comes over to say hello; I guess she needs a bark translator too. It was a really neat quilt, although they wouldn't let me sleep on it. I can't help it if I'm covered with fur; I'm a dog! Woof! See?

Ok, so the last item I know you all want to know about, the evil appliance report. Well, that thing they call a toaster is STILL on the counter and they still use it! Unbelievable! So, being the smart dog I am, I figured out that before they use the evil toaster appliance, they almost always get something out of a noisy, crinkly thing called a plastic bag. So now, rather than waiting for them to use the evil appliance, I just hide downstairs whenever I hear a plastic bag. It is MUCH better. One day I'll get the nerve to destroy the evil appliance, but for now, I guess I'm still a little frightened of it. I even get nervous when they stand in that part of the kitchen! What an evil device; why would anyone want one?

Well, I guess I'd better go check on the kitchen again, make sure they haven't dropped any more food for me. Every now and then I find a treat in one of my food bowls; how does that happen?
Arlo the Dalmatian
(for Stephen & Liz)


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Ultimate Price

In memoriam for Lakewood, Washington

And for all of those who put their life on the line everyday to keep us safe --
Thank you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Vertigo, Not the Movie

Our Thanksgiving holiday started quite normally, loading up the bus with Dad and the Spotted One and heading over the mountains to Chelan to spend the holiday with my brother since he has to work on Friday. This morning we're waiting for Dad to come downstairs for breakfast -- no Dad. He can't sit up because he's extremely dizzy. He started wondering if he was having a stroke or heart attack. A call to the local clinic ends up with a trip to the E.R. via ambulance.

Now, keep in mind that my dear brother lives at the end of a 3/4 mile gravel road. The Bearded One had to go out to the main road with the bus so the ambulance could find the place! The poor Spotted One was relegated to his crate in the bathroom, much to his dismay. The medics were followed a few minutes later by the firemen. (I know, missed photo op with the Spotted One and a real, honest to goodness firetruck!)

Two hours later, after ct scan and blood work all came back normal, we have a diagnosis of vertigo. Home to release the Spotted One from doggy jail and to start work on the bird of the day. I'll leave you with a picture of the south end of Lake Chelan from the hospital grounds.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I must be Nuts.....

I've been rather busy lately working on several projects. I wish I could share with you my latest. Alas, it is the QB Christmas Challenge and until the big reveal on December 22nd, it must remain a secret. I can say this, it involves this fabric, the challenge fabric for which I've taken a LOT of GRIEF. Sheesh, you'd think a bunch of ladies who call themselves the Quilting Broads would see the humor in working with the Fruit Ladies for a challenge!

I can say this, I started this project without a specific plan and, for awhile. I was worried that it wasn't going to come together but WOW -- I'm really, really pleased with it. With Janet's help, I overcame my block and worked it all out -- even the quilting worked out.

Besides everything else I'm doing, I've also embarked on two online quilt-alongs -- the Red & White Snowball Challenge is the first one. Naturally I'm going to do it "My Way". Since I like to make actual bed sized quilts, mine will be queen sized. For that I will need 196 -  6" blocks. In those 196 blocks I will need 784 r&w half square triangle blocks! What was I thinking?!?!? It's a good thing I have a large selection of reds, whites & creams. Here's my start:

The fabric in the center of the first block on the left will also be the border fabric. I'm randomly scattering it throughout the centers of some of the red blocks. 

Joseph's Coat is the other quilt-along. This is a portable project and as long as I can stay on top of the prep work for each block, it will be my "watching tv" project. I'm doing my petals a little differently than the method shown in the quilt along and they probably take a little more time my way, but I like the final look better. After Thanksgiving I'll try to take some pictures of my prep method. Meanwhile, here are 3 blocks in various stages -- 1 is complete, 1 is partially complete and one is just pinned.

The actual colors are a little more vibrant than they look in this picture. I'm using mainly purple fabrics with a little bit of pink and blue for sparkle and interest. So far it's still fun. I wonder what I'll think of it after 49 blocks?!?!

I will leave you with a picture of the Spotted One looking oh so cute sprawled on the Christmas Lights Mystery quilt. His eyes are such a beautiful amber color, but they are terrible to photograph as they always turn bright yellow.At least they match the gold in the quilt!

Monday, November 09, 2009

On a Roll....

This was a productive weekend. I managed to load and fully quilt the Moda Bistro (coffee theme) quilt which is to be a Christmas gift. Wooo hoo!

And here's a close up of some of the quilting:

I was aiming for a masculine look since this is for my nephew and I think I managed to achieve it. I didn't want to distract from the border so it got quilted with just a simple piano key. The rest of the quilt is just swirls. I probably could have been more creative in the quilting but a) it's for a 20 year old college kid and b) it's for a guy -- I seriously doubt he will notice the quilting.

I also realize that I neglected to post a picture of the finished Christmas Lights mystery. So, without further ado, here it is:

I know, you really can't see the quilt well laid out on the bed but it will have to do. I simply don't have a good place to hang quilts to take decent pics of them. Hhhhmmm, I think we need to work on that.

Meanwhile, here's a pic of The Spotted One using The Bearded One's knee as a pillow:

We've been having some wild weather and he's not too crazy about it. Downpours, hail and even his favorite, thunder & lightening. The poor boy rings his bell to go out but when he sticks his nose out and sees a downpour he kicks it into reverse faster than you could believe and is standing in the middle of the living room looking all innocent. Does this look like an innocent face to you?

Next up, that darn QB Christmas Challenge. But, I even made some progress on that this weekend so I'm close to finishing that top. And THEN I can start on my red & white snowball challenge. Yes, I caved. I can't believe it. Another new project is the LAST thing I need....Hear that Ms. Shel -- no, no, no! Absolutely NO Jacob's Coat!!! So stop tempting me...I.Have.NO.Willpower. Must not start, must not start, must not....

Sunday, November 01, 2009

When a Plan Comes Together

This afternoon was a baby shower for a young couple at church. They are confessed "nerds" -- she is a math teacher and he is an engineer. 3 of the QB's decided to make a group quilt for our shower gift. So, the hunt was on for nerdy, teacher/math oriented fabric. It took some searching, but I soon found the perfect fabric.

Here's a sneak peak at the completed quilt. The quilting was even numbers. I used a Dave Hudson pantograph which was perfect for a math teacher.  The fabric has been ordered online and arrived on Friday. I passed out the color dots from the selvage to Claudia and Sally. Claudia left on Monday for the QB retreat (I was not going -- long story but it involves a certain Spotted One among other things.) Sally returned from out of town and picked up my two rows and the borders -- inner border all pieced and headed to the retreat first thing Wednesday.

Claudia & Sally complete their rows and assemble the top. Friday afternoon they delivered the top to me for quilting. I loaded it on Bessie (my trusty HQ16) and proceeded to quilt, and quilt, and quilt some more. Then  it was time for the binding. Saturday evening was spent binding accompanied by some Halloween movies. Nothing like Night of the Living Dead to accompany some hand sewing.

And here's the happy Mom-to-Be with the completed baby quilt -- 1 week start to finish.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Some Catching Up

I realize I have been very delinquent about posting lately. I'm putting it down to wasting far too much time on FaceBook -- in particular, Farm Town, Farmville, Farm Pals and Cafe World. These games are very addicting, especially when you also have friends playing them. I admit, I'm a bit competitive and keep trying to best a certain friend -- you know who you are!

Anyway, last weekend I drove across the state to Spokane. It's been 16 years since I've even been on that side of the state. And, I have to admit, I've only ever just driven through Spokane, never had the time to stop and explore. Spokane is a lovely city filled with turn of the century homes. I stayed in an absolutely beautiful bed & breakfast which was designed by Janet's great grandfather. It looks out on a beautiful park which was lined with trees showing off their fall colors.


This also happened to be the weekend of the big Washington State Quilters - Spokane Chapter quilt show. And what a show it was -- 600 quilts and 50+ vendors! Wheeeeee..........

On the quilting front, I've actually accomplished a couple things.

I picked up this wall hanging pattern at the show. She's all ready to be quilted. Since I've got my Christmas Lights mystery quilt loaded on Bessie (HQ16) I'll probably just quilt this on my Pfaff.

Here's a little sneak peek at the quilting. I'm doing a meandering holly leaf all over pattern. I'll probably go back over the meandering loops & line portion and make it a ribbon. 

It's good to actually see some progress on a couple projects. Now to finish that QB challenge! 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Finally! Some Quilting

At long last, some quilting has finally been accomplished. The last few months have been incredibly busy and it's been quite a dry spell as far as quilting is concerned. However, now that that damn has been broken, I'm hoping it takes awhile to contain the "flood". There are several projects that have been "in the works" for far too long. I'd like to see some of the completed.

So, without further ado, here's the first of what I hope will be a long line of completions:

This spring when Quiltmaker came out with Bonnie Hunter's Christmas Lights Mystery quilt the QB's decided we would all make it. I was finally able to do some serious catch up sewing this weekend and here it is.

I also realized that I have yet to post a picture of our little teardrop actually camping. Since The Bearded One wasn't crazy about calling it Honey Bee, Ms. BackPorch Quilter suggested Woodstock -- it fits. So, here's Woodstock actually camping:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Why I quilt

A very special quilt for a very special lady -- We love you BEV!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Cool Factor

At long last.....our little "Honey Bee" trailer is more or less completed and, more importantly, it is inspected and licensed. There is still a list of several little things that need to be completed, like lining the inside, giving it the water test, making hatch props and those darned round fenders.

But, today we took it on it's maiden voyage down to Shelton, 1-1/2 hours away for the inspection by State Patrol. (It was Shelton today or closer by sometime in the middle of September.) We also wanted to stop and get Dad's advise/help on how to install/mount the new fenders. That issue is still being pondered.

Meanwhile, on the way south a commercial van passed us. As they passed, they honked and waved. The passenger also stuck her head out the window and gave us a big thumbs up and a huge grin!

Yup, THAT'S why I wanted a cool trailer. Or, as somebody on our WetWesties list said, something that doesn't look like a Rubbermaid container from Walmart. It's all about the "Cool Factor."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Crunch Time

So, last Friday afternoon, while picking up the new fenders for the trailer I learned from the salesman that I would probably have a long wait with State Patrol to have our trailer inspected. Great, this was NOT in the plan.

Monday morning found me making multiple calls to several of the inspection stations. You can NOT speak to a living, breathing human. You only get a recording and each different location gives you different information. I left countless messages and then sat back to wait and wait and wait some more.

Tuesday afternoon I finally got some return calls. The closest station had no appointments until the week AFTER we need the trailer. We are planning to leave on September 10th for the big WetWestie campout in eastern Oregon. Another somewhat close location could offer me September 8th. I took it, but it's a BAD day for The Bearded One to take off to get this inspected. (The first day back to work after a long weekend is always crazy with too many fires to put out.)

The 3rd closest location, 1-1/2 hours away offered me next Wednesday -- August 26th. I took it too. So now the big crunch to get this trailer finished by Wednesday so that it can be 1) inspected 2)certified weight & 3) licensed.

Here's what we have to show for 5 hours of labor yesterday:

The hatch is FINALLY skinned. What a pain! On Tuesday evening we realized our measurements were a bit off and we had to trim 3/4" off the length. With help from our wonderful friend Charles, that job was made much less painless than anticipated.

The Bearded One has off today and tomorrow as we are heading out camping for the weekend. Hopefully, today, things will go smoother than they have been and the rest of this thing can get skinned. Then it's just lights, latches and the rest of the trim. Why is it that everything takes at least 3 times longer than you had planned on?

Wish us luck!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Not Much To Show

Well, after almost 1-1/2 months, I have FINALLY managed to finish the curtains for the bus! Had to, we're going camping next weekend!

I think they look pretty darn cute. And, there's enough fabric leftover for me to make yet another quilt for the bus. Here's a closeup of the fabric -- note the yellow bus AND the teardrop trailer.

Other than the curtains, the only thing I've been working on is the trailer. It's coming along, slowly. We seem to take two steps forward and one backward. After getting the main portion of the trailer skinned with the masonite and everything worked just perfectly, we thought we were on a role. Skinned the hatch, using about a bazillion clamps. Let it dry for about 22 hours, like the trailer, then unclamped everything. We even took all the clamps back across the street to the neighbor! Came back to find that half the hatch had sprung!

We're hoping that because the weather was cooler and damp, it didn't let the glue dry completely. We will see when we unclamp it again later today.

Meanwhile, we discovered that the trailer will have to be inspected by the Washington State Patrol prior to being able to license it. We've also been told that it could take up to 6 weeks for an appointment. Grrrrrrrr! That is NOT GOOD. We've been working all summer to get this trailer done so we can take it on our 4 day campout to eastern Oregon, the biggest WetWestie campout of the year! I'll know more on Monday when I can actually talk to an inspection officer. They only work Mon-Thurs.

If you are really interested in viewing more pictures of the teardrop build, they can be found here: Teardrop Build Pictures.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


See my nice, clean refrigerator! It needed cleaning but I really didn't want to spend $250 in the process. However, when the defrost timer & thermostat fail you get to spend $250 to get it fixed. What kills me is that the parts were only about $60. The rest is labor and two trips to the house -- one to diagnose and one to fix once he got the parts. On the plus side, the repairman was here within a few hours of my call to him, late Friday afternoon. And he was back by 10:30 Saturday morning with the new parts.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping that the food I was able to stuff into coolers and the bus refrigerator will still be good. According to the repairman this probably failed several months ago. It just took this long for the thing to get so full of ice that it completely stopped circulating air into the refrigerator portion. That might explain why we've noticed our milk going sour after only a couple days.

Anybody want some sour milk?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Global Warming

Please, if you're one of those people (like my brother) who don't believe in Global Warming, come to Seattle, RIGHT NOW!

Here's what we're used to:

Seattle Weather Almanac

Average High: 77°

Average Low: 56°

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Drink Bar

Whoa, Mom, my bowl is dribbling and I didn't do it! Really, I didn't. This thing is defective, there's water flowing down the side. Hey, that's prety cool. I can lick it -- too bad you're not fast enough with the camera!

Sheesh, can't a dog take a drink without a camera always in his face?!?