Monthly Archives: November 2008

Oooo! More Fabric!

There are three things I really love about quilting: the serene, Zen-like experience of hand quilting, the thrill of seeing the finished quilt after weeks of work, and the excitement I feel when I get ideas for quilts. Admittedly I’ve experienced a lot more of the last of those three than of the first two.

I have a two more ideas that I am am definitely going to make. They will both be queen size quilts. I’ve never made one that large before and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed even before I start but I’m also looking forward to the thrill of seeing them finished. One will be for Number One Son. (Hi!) We’ve talked about it before but it’s just recently clicked in my mind how I’m going to make the fabric I want to use work with the pattern he wants. (You can’t change your mind now. It’s settled.) The other will be for me and my other half. I actually have several ideas for us but this morning I just thought of another one that I’m excited about. I’m not going to say anything more about that one now but there might be a hint below.

While looking around for fabrics for the latter of these two quilts I found the following online stores, which are also very exciting.

Bear Paw Quilting has a large selection of novelty prints including music, patriotic, sports, wildlife and licensed prints. (NFL, Star Wars, cartoons, etc.)

Cotton Novelty Fabrics also has a great variety of fabric organized by category. Many are available as fat quarters only. They also have quilt patterns and kits, trims and notions.

Rushin’ Tailor’s Quilt Alaska has many northern wildlife prints, sky, snow and water prints, native Alaskan and Russian themed prints and more, plus books, patterns, musk ox yarn and unusual gifts and notions.

Lyle’s Fabrics, Crafts and Gifts is another site with a huge variety of novelty fabrics (not just for quilting) and lots of notions, including some hard to find stuff.

I am extremely excited about these stores. It’s a good thing I have a lot of self discipline about this sort of thing. I could easily go overboard.

Quotes From Here and There

Admittedly, there’s a little rush I get when I put on the doe-eyed “I don’t quite understand this” bunny voice and innocently ask the question they don’t want to answer.here

Hotlinkers are cut from the same mold as line cutters, rude highway drivers, loud cell phone talkers, non RSVP’s, trolls, spammers and telemarketers at dinnertime.there

On the plane flying home from Portland, I sat next to a guy with salt-and-pepper short hair who evidently was off his meds.here

Thanksgiving

I’ve discovered another one of those Universal Laws. (You know… like Murphy’s Law) Not sure what to call this one – the Holiday Grocery Shopping Law maybe. No matter how carefully you plan ahead you will forget something and have to go back to the store the day before a major holiday.

We’re not having Thanksgiving dinner at our house but I still managed to forget a couple of things. And then of course there’s Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the day on which no one in their right mind would leave the house because everyone else is out shopping. And yet, I’m sure I will think of something I need on Friday that can’t wait one more day. I’ve heard of people who live in remote areas of Alaska and only go shopping every six months. I couldn’t do that. I would return home after a two hundred mile trip by dogsled and just as I was starting to unpack I would remember, “Doh! I forgot toilet paper.”

Anyway, I expect Thanksgiving to be a lot of fun. We’re going to my brother-in-law’s house and there will be relatives there from far away as well as not so far away. Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays. My two favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. The latter would be my favorite because of the weather but I have to give Thanksgiving a slight edge because the food is better and people generally feel more of an imperative to get together so you have these big gatherings of friends and family. A lot of people seem to consider Fourth of July gatherings optional which is kind of sad.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans and happy weekend to everyone else. There might or might not be new posts here between now and Monday.

Size Matters

Hradzka rants about one of my pet peeves: large format paperbacks and a new annoying size, just slightly larger than a normal paperback. I haven’t noticed the latter yet but in the last year or two I’ve seen quite a few books that I must read that are available only in hardback or those cumbersome hardback-sized paperbacks.

I can understand publishers wanting to find ways to make more money, especially on genre novels that won’t sell as many copies as mainstream fiction but it seems to me they could find some way to do it that doesn’t annoy readers and make us buy even fewer books. I’ve been waiting impatiently for over a year for China Mieville’s Iron Council to come out in normal size paperback. (Number One Son didn’t wait so I’ve just started reading it in that annoying, cumbersome, nearly-impossible-to-read-in-bed size.)

You know what I’d like to see? Compact hardbacks – hardback books the exact size of normal paperbacks. That’s something for which I would be willing to shell out a few more dollars.

This ‘n’ That

White House Chef – Qualifications: service and sensitivity, not star power

Another Firefly convert fan (UPDATE: He says in the comments that he is not a recent convert; he’s been a fan for quite a while. Great post anyway.)

Light on Dark Water – a blog; music, literature, religion. And sometimes cats.

All Manner of Thing – another blog; lots of music and literature, a little science, culture, etc.

My Heart’s In Accra – Africa and other places and things in the news

Magic and Mystery found on Flickr

Steampunk cellphone – Nice to look at but I want my screen and keypad.

Blogs as Wunderkammern

Anniversaries, good and bad

Summer Tea and The Trials of Shipwrecked Bees

Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, a musical conversation (via)

10 Things You Didn’t Know About General Motors

East and West – very interesting

Over 100 fascinating plants and animals

Hardanger Fiddle

Pictures at an Exhibition

High Tech Waterproofing

This new hi-tech waterproof coating sounds impressive until you get to this part:

Experiments also showed that the new coating is durable. Unlike some water-resistant coatings, it remains more-or-less intact when the fabric is rubbed vigorously, although it didn’t survive an everyday washing machine cycle.

“Didn’t survive an everyday washing machine cycle”? Well then it is NOT durable; I don’t care how much you rub it and that “more-or-less” isn’t very confidence inspiring either. Supposedly this stuff is “self-cleaning” but you know people are going to toss in the washer either by mistake or because they simply cannot believe that a garment is clean if it never goes through the washer. This is just another case of someone hyping a new product and downplaying the negative characteristics that it shares will other products that do pretty much the same thing.

Via AMCGLTD

Doh!

One of the most annoying things in life is when a moment of carelessness leads to hours or days of inconvenience. I have this bad habit of putting on pullover shirts without removing my glasses first. Putting on glasses is always the first thing I do, often before my feet even hit the floor. It’s always worked out well before but yesterday morning As I was pulling on a sweatshirt my glasses came off and went clattering to the floor. The tiny screw on the the left side pulled out, the frame came apart and the lens fell out.

We found the little screw and my husband and son managed to get the glasses put back together but when I tried to clean them they came apart again. I think the threads on the little screw and/or maybe the frame are stripped. Right now I’m using my last pair of glasses which are not too bad as backup glasses. It’s just a lot harder to read small print.

In comparison, it’s easy to see – even without being able to see – that these old frames are much better quality than the new ones so that’s another reason I’m annoyed at myself – picking poor quality frames in the first place. I hope I can get them fixed today and not have to wait for new frames.

Quotes From Here and There

I am nothing if not inconsistent in my tastes.here

I don’t think you can make a theological case for saying that the marriage of two straight people who committed adultery against their previous spouses, is any more blessed by God than the marriage of two gays or lesbians. Not if you’re taking the Bible as your guide. The difference isn’t theology, it’s the People Like Us factor.there

Unfortunately, we did not evolve a Baloney Detection Network in the brain to distinguish between true and false patterns.here (via)

I think the TARDIS and I need to see other projects for a little bit.there

Fall Photos

Here are a couple of pictures taken with my new camera. (Sony Cybershot DSC W-150)

Leaves on a snowball bush:

Just a stack of firewood. I was hoping there might be a little rustic artsyness there.

I love this new camera. It’s very easy to use. The menus actually make sense and the screen is big enough that you can see them. It’s smaller than the Canon I’ve had for the last five years so I feel a bit awkward using it, like there’s not enough there to hold onto but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. Being smaller means it’s easier to take everywhere so that’s a good thing. I’m not impressed with the “low light” capability, which is one reason I chose this particular camera over another Canon but I think I can blame that on the state of the technology in general rather than this particular camera. I feel that you should be able to take a good, non-fuzzy picture in normal room light without a flash but the technology just isn’t there yet apparently.

Don’t Panic!

I don’t know anything about the stock market other than what I see in the media but lately, every time I see something about it I think what really needs to happen is for several thousand of us ordinary people to march on Wall Street and start slapping wealthy stock traders and tell them, “Don’t panic you fool; this mess is all your fault!”

But of course it’s not all their fault. You can’t blame them for not wanting to keep their money in companies that are about to fail because nobody is buying what they’re trying to sell. From their perspective it’s probably all our fault but you can’t expect people who don’t have jobs or who might not have jobs next week to go out and buy a lot of stuff. Every time I buy groceries I feel like my family is propping up the whole economy almost all by ourselves. It seems like it costs twice as much as it did a year ago to buy the same amount of stuff.

I noticed that President Bush has threatened to veto a bill that would extend unemployment benefits. We can spend $700 billion to save huge investment banks but helping ordinary citizens survive is irresponsible”? Jeez! Oh man, right now it seems like a really long time until January 20th. Not that I expect big change right away. It’s going to take a lot of time but just psychologically it will be a relief to feel that we’re moving in a new direction.

What puzzles me is that some of the very people hurt by Bush’s rich-people-first policies are predicting disaster and preparing their I-told-you-sos. I’ve said it before – the losing side in politics always acts pretty much the same no matter which side it is. That’s not literally everyone of course, just the more politically focused bloggers. I’m not going to link to any of them because I don’t feel like picking a fight with these people but honestly some Republicans are being every bit as ridiculous as Democrats were four years ago. I see people referring to Obama as “The Holy One” and “His O-ness” and other such nonsense, as if that’s the way his supporters think of him, and predicting the final downfall of America. And even when they turn out to be wrong they will never admit it. On the contrary, no matter how good things are going every bump in the road will be interpreted by them as evidence that they were right and that we’re living in the End Times.

Here’s one I will link to. It’s not a blog – a lengthy essay (which I did not bother to read all of) on how to survive a “SHTF situation”. Okay… you know what? This is fine. It’ll keep them occupied. We should probably encourage this. If we can get most of the people who voted for McCain to go out and buy survival gear and stock up on non-perishibles maybe that will boost the economy.

Sorry about the political rant but that’s what was on my mind this morning so that’s what you get. In a little while I’ve gotta go out and boost the economy myself. Then maybe later I’ll post some pictures or something else nice.

Random Linkage (including a few more blogs)

Stairs – a blog devoted to beautiful, unusual and creatively designed stairs

Gigglerific – lots of very cute animals and various other fun stuff

Scream Quietly – a beautiful personal journal type blog

Science A GoGo – science news

The 500 Most Interesting Photos on Flickr – Updated weekly. Also don’t miss the I has all your cats mosaic. Both are from KrazyDad.

Five Centuries of Board Games

Medical conspiracy theories – Viruses don’t exist. They’re just a fairy tale made up by the government, pharmaceutical companies and pesticide manufacturers

Weekend Stubble – a blog; news, culture, ephemera (found at Blue Tea)

Slorker – another blog; art, culture, places, science, etc.

Scenes From Antarctica – really great photos (via Dark Roasted Blend)

Boobah Zone – Pretty toy. Just roll your mouse around. If you’re at work you might want to turn your speakers down. (another one from Dark Roasted Blend. And while I’m on this excellent link site, here’s another weird one. What the…?!)

Russian Street Art

Weird art of Boris Artzybasheff – mostly advertising illustrations; fascinating (via Fed By Birds)

Life Photo Archive – millions of photos from the 1860s thru the 1970s (via Nag on the Lake)

Old Picture of the Day – (via Neatorama)

Bookstore I’d like to visit

Lego geeks rejoice

Creative modern sink designs

Science Fiction and Religion

I just noticed that Claw of the Conciliator has several links in his blogroll which appear to be devoted to the meeting of religion and science fiction. I’ve come across Old Testament Space Opera before. The rest are new to me. I will simply list, without comment, those that look the most interesting to me. (Which, actually, will probably be most of them.) This is as much a reminder to myself to go back and read these as it is sharing them with whoever reads this.

SF Gospel

Islam and Science Fiction

Speculative Faith

Third Order (not a blog)

Possibly Irritating Essays

Aliens In This World

UPDATE: Oops. Fixed the first link.

We Love the Bees

Save The Hives:

SaveTheHives is an organization of beekeepers, citizen scientists and researchers that is trying to establish a national database of honey bee information. We want to encourage the use web-based technology to collect, map and share information about honey bees to further the research of Colony Collapse Disorder and other problems facing the health of the honey bee population.

All of our bees died early this year. (or maybe it was last year) I’ve missed them. All spring and summer I kept on catching myself looking at wild clover blossoms hoping to see some bees.

Whatever

I still have a cold. I don’t feel really bad but I do have a strange lack of energy, especially mental energy. There are all sorts of things that I need to do and want to do that don’t take a lot of physical energy but I just don’t feel motivated to do any of them. You could say I’ve got a bad case of the maybe-laters.

* * *

I notice that Yahoo is looking for a new CEO and shareholders are hoping that it will mean that the way is open for a deal with Microsoft. Every time I read something about the Yahoo and Microsoft thing I always think, “No no no no no! What about my email account? I guess it probably won’t make any difference but I’ve had a Yahoo email account for over 10 years. It’s more reliable and has better spam control than any ISP email account I’ve ever had and it’s the one I use for all my online registrations at Amazon and the like so I worry. And besides, we’re talking about Microsoft. Do they have to take over everything. I think I’m going to write to my congressman.

* * *

Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State? Hmmmm…. I’m not sure what I think about that. I wouldn’t mind seeing her in the Cabinet but Secretary of State doesn’t seem like the right job for her. I can’t say why. It’s just an instinctual reaction.

* * *

I discovered a new flavor of General Foods International Coffee: Dark Mayan Chocolate. I think it’s the best they’ve come up with yet. I don’t drink coffee unless it’s loaded down with so much sugar, creamer and flavoring that you can barely taste the coffee. (which means I’d probably like Starbucks but I don’t want to be one of those people who go to Starbucks) By the way, I tried to go to the General Foods International Coffee website – it’s on the can: www.gfic.com – and it redirects to the Kraft website and I couldn’t even find anything about the coffees. I hate commercial websites. They should hire bloggers, like me, to design their sites.

* * *

What else? The weather. Don’t I always end these things by talking about the weather? Can’t break tradition. It’s cold and sunny. I hate cold. I guess it’s nice that it’s sunny but it seems wrong somehow. Being bright and sunny almost seems to make the cold worse. Cold and gray is not pleasant but cold, gray days seem normal – everything fits and seems right. On the other hand, cold and gray often means winter precipitation which is definitely not good. Can we please skip the ice storms this winter? Anyway, it’s going to be warm tomorrow, for just one day. That’s fine; I’ll take it.

Yesterday’s Future

A great collection of space art, mostly vintage and retro but some as recent as 2001. I’ve seen many of these before but there are a lot that are new to me. My favorites are the illustrations of toroidal and cylindrical space stations. I can almost imagine living in one of those.

The post’s author comments, “Tomorrow as it used to be… It wasn’t that long ago that we had a future.” That’s true. Generally, I think the 21st century is a great time to be living in but sometimes I’m a little sad for the visions we have lost. Back in the 50’s, 60’s and even as recently as the 70’s we could still dream about fantastic space colonies and vacations in space and we were supposed to have been there by now. But what do we have? Robots on Mars.

Somebody Loves My Blog

I got an award. Thanks. I love your blog too.

Now I’m supposed to pass it on to four other people. I always have a bit of a problem with these things. There are something like 500 – well, more like one or two dozen – blogs that I love and most of them never do these award thingies. But that doesn’t matter; I’m just going to link to four blogs that I like and there’s no obligation. Pass it on or not.

Byzantium’s Shores – There are a lot of reasons to love this blog: music, science fiction, movies, sports, photos, personal notes, strange stuff found on the Web and more. There’s always something good.

Incurable Insomniac – Steph is one of the most interesting people in Oklahoma. She and her family are living proof that there are more kinds of people here than just cowboys and evangelists.

Tumbling Blocks – First of all, I love that her blog title is my favorite quilt pattern. Most of all, I love the photos of quilts and of family and country life, like these great chicken photos.

Bioephemera – This blog combines two of my favorite things: art and science.

A Thought For the Week

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position, and be bruised in a new place.

Washington Irving