Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Running Behind

I'm running behind on my first quilt along.

Here's the schedule:

  • april 24: choosing your fabric
  • may 8: making templates and cutting your fabric
  • may 22: laying out your quilt and sewing
  • june 5: quilting
  • june 12: wrapping it all up and then the party begins…linky party that is…
  • june 26: submissions are due for the grand prizes!
Add a week to each date, and that's where I've been in the process. At least I'm consistent!

I think maybe choosing to do a quilt along when I knew we'd be having lots of company wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done.

But I'm going to keep plugging along, even if I'm not far enough along to participate in the "show and tell" segment in mid June. When I finally do get finished, I'll still have a nice wall quilt for our new home.

Yesterday I finished cutting out the last few pieces and tomorrow while my friend Katie is here, I'm going to have her help me lay them out and figure out the best possible design. I've discovered that sometimes I "can't see the forest for the trees" at this point in a project, and it's really helpful to have a fresh set of eyes. To that end I had Ivan set up a second 6' folding table in the dining room. Not sure even two tables will be big enough, but if it's not, then Katie and I can grab a third one. It's times like this when I realize I'm REALLY looking forward to having a design wall in our new house! Even though my craft "room" is going to be pretty small, I'll finally have wall space to put one. Meanwhile the tables will have to do.

If you're interested in seeing what others in the quilt along area creating, you can go to the flickr group page. Lots of beautiful quilts are being made! And it's fun to see how the same pattern can look so different, depending on the colors used. I'm intrigued by the one done mostly in grays with a pop of orange/yellow.

I'm planning to do mine in a rainbow (ROYGBIV) design, starting in the center with red and then moving out to deep purple on the edges. But no guarantees :)  Who knows what I'll end up with once Katie and I are done?!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's the simple pleasures...

Good friends are leading a group of university students on a cross cultural trip through Argentina this month. This past week we met up with them in Sta. Rosa for a few days, and hosted part of the group at our house there. The remaining students stayed at a nearby hostel, run by a woman from South Africa and her Russian husband. How's that for cross cultural?!

Anyway, the students enjoyed the slower pace. With so much to see in Buenos Aires, their first week had been B.U.S.Y! In Sta. Rosa they kicked back a little, visiting La Cumbrecita and Villa General Belgrano, as well as interacting with the folks at a nearby rehabilitation ministry.

Thursday we all headed to Carlos Paz. The group stopped in Alta Gracia on the way, to check out the Jesuit museum. The students were most fascinated with the 400 year old toilet system :)

Friday Ivan took them to nearby San Nicolás for a small town festival, celebrating 25 de Mayo [the Argentine equivalent to our 4th of July]. Today they chartered a bus to travel about 40 km east of Cordoba for a rodeo. This is the real deal, with participants vying for spots in the national competition to be held soon.

This coming week the students will be doing all kinds of things, from touring historical sites to visiting schools to spending an evening in the home of an Argentine family... and a whole lot more!

I get tired just thinking about their schedule.

The group brought us six of our suitcases, which I enjoyed sorting through. Since I had to pack according to weight, each suitcase was a mish-mash of household items, clothing, fabric, tools, and assorted miscellany.

Our friends also brought some special treats in their own luggage. I'd sent Katie a wish list with some grocery items. My favorite was this:

I've been busy today cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and dealing with some computer issues, but in the midst of it all I stopped long enough to brew a pot, and then savored it with a warm-from-the-oven brownie (corner piece, of course).

It's been a nice, quiet day as I steadily worked through my "to do" list. I'm feeling pretty good about what's been accomplished, especially on the computer front. Our son (and I.T. guru) walked me through the problem I've been having recently; for some reason I haven't been able to download Kindle books to my computer. I've done it the same way for two years but suddenly it wasn't working. After trying several things, we finally discovered it was the browser I was using! I'm a Firefox fan, but something must have changed in their most recent update that conflicts with Kindle. Anyway, we figured out I just have to use Safari instead. Problem solved!

That meant I was able to successfully download one of the cozy mysteries I bought with my Mother's Day gift certificate, compliments of our son. [The other one will be auto-delivered when it comes out in July.] 

hazelnut cream coffee
homemade brownies
new cozy mysteries
It's the simple pleasure...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Rave

This week I finished a really fun book!
360 Degrees Longitude: One Family's Journey Around The World was hard to put down, and I found myself reading it every spare minute, even while cooking :)  The writing was clean, concise and beautifully descriptive without being overly so. The author, John Higham, is a "rocket scientist" and pretty organized guy, yet they still found themselves in interesting predicaments time after time. Made for very amusing anecdotes! 

It brought to mind another travel book I read years ago, Hey Mom, Can I Ride My Bike Across America: Five Kids Meet Their Country. Both books shine with details of the good, the bad, and the truly horrible parts of travel without dwelling on them and turning it into a whine fest. These are real people doing real things, and the writing is so engaging you feel as if you're along for the ride.

Just about every leg of their journey had challenges but they always found something positive in each experience. Their stories from each continent made my already itchy feet want to hit the road :)  

I read 360 Degrees while in Sta. Rosa where we don't have internet, but the book is chock full of links to google earth that I look forward to accessing now that we're home, so I can read/see photos, video and stories that couldn't be included in the book.

Summer approaches and if you enjoy reading true adventures, you'll want to add this book to your list.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Making links open in new tabs or windows

Two posts in one night! But I wanted to share this great tip that I came across.

I've noticed that some bloggers are able to make their links pop up in a new tab or window, and wondered "How did they do that?!" I think it's a very helpful feature (prevents a lot of back-and-forthing when there are multiple links I want to check out).

Tonight I finally decided to google the question, and after reading several not-so-helpful posts, I came across this one. I tried it, and it works. Just click on the link and see!

Edited to add: "head" appeared very close to the top of the HTML template page on mine (line six to be exact). 
Okay, not sure why, but I could not do "head" inside the little greater than and less than symbols (< >), like it appears in the how-to-link instructions. It disappeared every time I hit the publish button (3 times, in case you're wondering). What's up with that? Obviously I can follow instructions, but I can't write them. hahaha

Surrounded by fabric...

I'm sitting on my couch, surrounded by fabric. Last night I started cutting out the pieces for the Patchwork Prism quilt-along, and have continued cutting this evening.

But the fabric isn't limited to the couch area. From where I sit on the couch, I can see into the dining room -- which has been temporarily turned into a sewing room. The light bulb on my sewing machine burned out and until I can replace it, I decided it was best to sew in the sunniest room of the house. It really helps when you can see what you're doing!

And what I'm doing is working on the new cushion covers for the rattan chairs. Yes, FINALLY. Not a whole lot of progress though. I started yesterday by making piping. I already had a bunch of strips cut on the bias, left over from when I did the cushions for the rattan loveseat. I also had the cord, so it didn't take long to whip up one very long strip of piping. Nine meters, to be exact.

Which is when I realized I had a problem. Although I could easily buy more cord, I didn't have any more of that fabric, and 9 meters is only enough for one chair :(

I had to go downtown to pay a bill anyway, so I thought it would be easy to just zip into the fabric store and get some more fabric. I hoped I could find something really close in color to what I already had, so I wouldn't have to start all over on the piping. The chairs will be close but not right next to each other, so I thought something similar would be okay.

Well, I forgot to take a piece of fabric to match it. I had it ready and in my hand, but I set it down to get something else I remembered. And then proceeded to walk out the door and drive all the way downtown before I realized I'd forgotten it. *sigh* 

I just didn't feel like making the trip twice last evening so I waited until this morning and went back, making sure I had the fabric this time! Sad to say, our teeny tiny little fabric store didn't have anything close in an appropriate fabric (they had fleece, they had flannel, they even had a slinky polyester in the right shade of pale blue, but nothing I could use for piping). So I ended up buying a meter of navy, knowing I'd have to start all over.

Also had to go buy more cord. At the mercería I ran into a young couple who were buying binding and thread for what was obviously going to end up a baby blanket. I don't know of any other quilters here, but they do make blankets. I'm not sure why, but I was compelled to introduce myself and offer to teach her how to quilt. I gave her my e-mail and I'm not sure if I'll hear from Huara, but if I do, she'll be my first quilt student.

Shopping took the whole morning. Between finding parking, walking, driving, more parking, more walking... and, of course, waiting in line at each place, it was after noon before I got back home. I'm not complaining. I don't mind the slower pace, and it was a beautiful day. Just sharing that things don't move as fast here as they do in the states.

This afternoon I got enough piping done for the two bottom cushion covers and started sewing the first cushion. I'm taking my time and attempting to do a good job. I'm learning to take pleasure in the process and not just rush through it.

I'm also not going to worry about the mess in the dining room -- which is also the room everyone walks into when they enter the front door. I'm trying to keep it as tidy as possible, but since most of the people we know, know I like to sew, I don't think anyone is going to be shocked to find all my paraphernalia on the dining table. And the mess is temporary, because I WILL get these cushion covers done this week!

I have to. We're heading back to Sta. Rosa over the weekend to greet a group from the U.S. who will be staying there next week, and we'll need plenty of seating. So getting those covers done is not just something I WANT to do, it's something I HAVE to do.

But I admit, I am pretty excited to see how they'll look in their new covers, alongside the pretty "new" loveseat!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

News & Links

There just are not enough hours in the day to do everything that should be done, to say nothing of things I WANT to do. Like write on my blog. That's had to take a back seat as work on the house proceeds. But after another insomnious* night, I decided to use the "extra" time to share some of the interesting things I've been reading/seeing online in the past few weeks, as well as catch you up on what's happening here.

A lot of what I find is via links that friends post on facebook. Some people, in particular, always seem to write or ferret out the best articles! Three of the links I'm sharing today are from a missionary friend in Romania, a prolific reader who tends to put thoughtful -- and thought-provoking -- links on his status.

Like this vimeo about a marriage in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Keeping with the theme of marriage, I'd also highly recommend these posts by The Daysman (a.k.a. Dr. Wally Metts) titled "Seeking Sanctuary". and "The Mid-Wife Crisis".

Have you ever articulated why you believe in God? The author of this article about why he believes had me doing a double-take with his first line. But read the whole article and you'll get his point.

My husband, an MK (missionary kid), was in his 30s when he read "Third Culture Kids" and finally understood his unique position. Since then we've seen a few articles on the subject, and just this morning our friend in Romania linked to a great vimeo with some TCKs sharing their thoughts on "So Where's Home?"

And speaking of home... my Pinterest addiction has abated somewhat (mainly due to lack of time) but I did find a great space-saving DIY canned food organizer project there:
It's from the Classy Clutter blog and those girls have other great DIY projects, too. I'm not sure I'll use this idea, but I pinned it just in case.

Another home project which I'm already working on is a quilt. I've joined the Patchwork Prism Quilt-Along hosted by Sweet Diesel Designs, utilizing a new pattern by Anna Maria Horner. That's why you see the pretty new button on the right side of my blog. I've chosen my fabric and hope to start cutting out pieces later this week. This is my first qal (quilt-along) and I'm pretty excited to have suggested deadlines to help motivate me. At this point my plan is to make this a wall quilt, something for the main living space in the new house. We'll see how it goes.

As far as progress on the house, the crew from our home church helped us get the walls up for the garage (as well as some work on the casita) before they left last Thursday. Ivan and Charlie are still working on getting coats of cement on the walls, working away at it as they can. Looks like it will take a couple rough coats and then one smooth one to do the job. Since this is a new-to-us type of construction, we're learning as we go, and you know there's always a learning curve!

Over the weekend we took a few days off from the house project to make a trip to Sta. Rosa to return beds and mattresses, and to visit our trusty mechanic once again. This time he replaced a cracked radiator for us. And we got two new tires at a gomería (tire shop) owned by good friends. It was a productive time, as I cleaned and sorted through bed linens to make sure we're set for some folks who'll be staying there a few days this month (a group of university students from the U.S. is coming for a cross-cultural experience). We fit in a few walks, too, enjoying the peaceful countryside and perfect autumn weather.

Besides continuing to plaster the garage walls, this week work also begins on the fence along once side of our lot and the front (the other side already has a fence, as does the back). Getting the property more secure is a priority.

I've got a dozen must-get-done-very-soon items on my "to do" list... everything from paperwork to sewing to cleaning and organizing. Which is why I'm not online very much any more. It's not for lack of desire! I miss blogging on a more regular basis, and look forward to having more time down the road. But as anyone who has ever built a house knows, this kind of project has a life of it's own :)  Meanwhile I get on when I can, write when I have time, and read blogs during my "breaks" from housework and paperwork.

*Had to look that up... thought it would be "insomniatic" but no, the adjective form of insomnia is insomnious. Your fact for the day!