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August 2019

Que Passa?


I feel as though I am being lazy today ... though we have actually done things. :) The weather is glorious on this long Labor Day weekend. Temps in the 80s, low humidity, blue skies ... happy smiles. :)

Skip and I went up to the CarMax in Ellicott City early this afternoon. I was startled as I had driven past the place innumerable times and had no idea it was there. :) I drove the Dart (suitably spiffed up at Atomic Auto) and Skip followed in the Bolt EV. I've never sold a car like this before - always room in life for new experiences, eh? We were there about 1.5 hours - an appraiser looked the car over, took it for a test drive and offered us $2000 for it. Sold! :) That covered our untoward expenses from the breakdown in Indianapolis ... and was plenty for a car with 106+K miles on it (even if it was only six years old:).

As we were leaving, Skip strolled past the Dart, sitting in their service bay, already price stickered and about to be driven into the sales lot. They put an asking price of $16,000 on it! I have no idea how much bargaining room there is in a car's posted price ... but that was a nifty profit margin, if they can get it. :)

Friday I met my friend Barbara for lunch at La Madelaine in Columbia Crossing shopping area. I was late because of two things - I stopped on my way out the front door to fill the bird feeders (five minute delay:) ... and I mistakenly 'remembered' that the restaurant was in the Overlook area when it was not. Add another eight minutes to my driving time (and a tooth grinding aggravation with myself:). I love their salad sampler - I had cranberry/pecan wild green salad, French onion soup and strawberries Romanov. Yum!

I spent my time that afternoon at Barbara's house, mostly doing math and thinking. Barbara is down to the bordering stage with her Ladies of the Sea quilt (the view of those sixteen ships sewn together was awesome!). She was putting up the bits to assess visually the design idea she had for the borders (not wanting to make the abundant floral applique borders on the original design). Her idea was wonderful and I fully approved ... though we did decide on some fabric replacements. :) You can see what we were working on here on her blog.

I took the prairie braid parts along to (hopefully) cut the sashing and borders to size. When I laid out two of the strips on the table with my chosen dusty eggplant purple sashing and the rich red-with-blue-flowers border ... there was a dissonance between the two fabrics that I just could not abide. We took down the Ladies and stuck up my braid strips on Barbara's big design wall to take a second look .... which did not improve my opinion.

I chose that sashing fabric and border when we were out RbRowing recently at Traditions of the White Swan in Hagerstown. I bought them without much reference to the braid strips, because I liked them and thought they would work. As I looked at my choices on that design wall, I kept thinking that the red border print was beautiful but might have to go for another fabric. 

Barbara had a different thought - she didn't like the purple print (which I adore and was clinging to, mentally). It didn't take long for me to agree with her - she thought I should sash and border with the same red print, essentially floating the braid strips on a red background, and saving the purple for another project. So ... that is what I am doing. 

I did a little math and decided that the two yards of red print I bought were _just_ enough to do the job. Whew! I tore my sashing and border strips (a little big, to be pressed and trimmed to size) lengthwise from the two yards. Partly because I can tear straighter than I can rotary cut ... but also because the entire length of each braid stripe's edge is on the bias and the lengthwise grain of my sashing will stabilize them. A productive afternoon, in all. :)

Other than sell our third set of wheels today, I have mostly lazed about ... reading, taking an afternoon nap, puttering at my sewing machine (trimming the edges of my braid strips to be even, preparing to assemble the bits into a quilt top:). I am feeling like a lady of leisure this evening. Grin!

I want to write some letters and do some small household tasks tomorrow. Other than that, I will be at my machine if you need me.

:) Linda

What Week?


Some weeks fly past and this week was one of them. What the heck did I do anyway? Hmm. I know I spent most of two afternoons in Annapolis at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Oh, and driving there and back - twice. That eventually succeeded in getting our new Jeep titled, registered and licensed. :P

I think I remember driving to a bariatric class in northeastern Baltimore ... and realizing as I approached the toll booths for the Fort McHenry tunnel (under the Baltimore Harbor) that the EZPass thing-y was in my Dart. Good thing I had a little cash in my pocket to pay the toll ($4 each way:).

I got together with Barbara to sew on Friday afternoon ... and ironed together another Row by Row project - this one was from Crazy Cousin in VA. A pork barbecue place. Here's a picture of that (from their web site):

Crazy Cousin

What else? Oh, I slept through most of Saturday. It was raining (so was Friday) and gray ... and somehow sleep just seemed the thing to do. :P

Today (Sunday) I spent a couple of hours cleaning out the Dart. Amazing what you accumulate in a car, eh? :) I sorted through all the stuff in the glove box and retained the manual, registration, most recent emissions testing info ... and then moved most of the other things in the car either into the trash or the Jeep. 

Oh, Skip took the Jeep to the fixers on Saturday morning and had the license plates mounted - because Indiana (where we bought the car) only uses plates on the rear bumper, but Maryland uses front and rear, we had to get a front mount installed. I was happy to let him get that errand done since I had spent so much time during the week on car administrivia already. :)

I have been sewing at odd moments. I have pieced three of the four braid rows for my repro Prairie Braid quilt. Also spent a few minutes working out the layout and math for finishing the quilt ... which will likely be sofa/lap sized, from the numbers. That's about how much patience I have for nineteenth century fabric prints. :)

Heigh Ho! Tomorrow starts another new week. Gotta deal with selling the Dart, more bariatric classes, trying to get to my guild meetings ... fun, fun, continuous fun!

:) Linda

Busy Weekend


It was an All Fun, All The Time kind of weekend here. :) Friday I managed to get this Row By Row kit ironed together (still to be stitched). From Artistic Artifacts shop:


Saturday I spent several hours with modern sewing friends at Spring Water Designs, working on my Indah Batiks challenge mini for QuiltCon. I don't have a photo of that, yet, because my machine and stuff is still in my car (way too hot to haul it in that day:). Next time.

Sunday was Sew & Tell meeting at Barbara's house and I managed to get another RbR kit ironed together:


This one is from Crabby Quilter (formerly Cottonseed Glory) in Annapolis. I really like this design ... though cutting all those letters out was tedious. :)

I had intended to do some work and errands today, but my body had other ideas. :P I ended up sleeping late in the morning (despite the hammering and sawing outside). Then I fell asleep after lunch, too. :P

Just to document it - today was day three of our deck replacement crew working. They took down the old deck in two days. Today they put up new footers and framework:



These photos were taken out the big sliding glass door that will open onto the deck (when it is back:). As you can see, they were working on the framing today. To the right in the top picture is the rest of our backyard and our neighbor's house; off to the upper left in the bottom photo is my friend Patty's house. Our lot is actually about 1/4 acre - these photos seem to make it look smaller somehow. :)

I did manage to sew a little bit today. I pieced together the design I've chosen for the next block of the month for Faithful Circle. I'm calling it Crosswalk Square - I decided I needed to check my math calculations before I sent it off to the newsletter editor for publication. :) Luckily, the block finished at the right size so my numbers are right (whew!).


Tomorrow I have a late afternoon bariatric class in northeastern Baltimore county. Not looking forward to the drive - it has been stinking hot here and tomorrow's forecast does not call for any relief. :P

:) Linda

Sewing with Friends


I recently starting reading this blog ... written by Jodi from New South Wales, Australia, whose posts I really enjoy! In a recent issue, she discusses her best tips for sustaining a long-term hand working project. I think her ideas have application to any prolonged endeavor - go read them. :)

While  you are in comfy reading territory, go look at this video about lawns in America and the history of keeping them. This is one of my personal pet peeves (but I live in a community - Columbia - with covenants that prohibit growing wildflowers instead:). We all make compromises in life, eh?

I was not sure what I'd be doing today, Friday, until late yesterday evening. My friend Barbara (with whom I usually sew on Fridays) has been away helping her Mother move apartments. I knew she was coming back yesterday but I did not think she'd want to sew today. Surprise!

We met at Nalley Fresh for lunch - ugh, I crossed a pet-peeve of hers and was late, late. Sigh. I overslept and my iPhone (that I use for my wake-up alarm) was out of charge - so my alarm did not go off, anyway. More sighs! I was a half hour late to meet Barbara and she was justifiably ticked with me. 

Luckily lunch was tasty (I had a sweet potato bowl) ... and we met our friend Patty at Barbara's house afterwards to sew. Since I flew out of the house (being late), I just grabbed up my bag of Row by Row kits and my knitting to take. Out of the three RbR kits, only one had fusible applied to the fabrics already ... so I managed to iron that one into place and then knitted the rest of the time (on my Sleeping with Zucchini scarf).

It is so good to have sewing buddies! I enjoy my time spent with them quite a lot. Tomorrow is the monthly meeting of the Columbia Bee from the modern guild (at Springwater Designs) and Sunday afternoon is the monthly Sew & Tell meeting. Lots of time-with-friends this weekend!

:) Linda


Brief Synopsis


I was really impressed with this knitting pattern when I came across it online ... so impressed that I went to Ravelry and bought it. :) I have some lovely yarn that I think might be fun to make up this design ... we'll see (more news anon on that subject:).

I've been away (and not blogging) for the better part of two weeks ... this post is by way of trying to catch up with myself and life. Sigh. No, nothing difficult or life-altering going on, just ... you know ... life. shrug.

When last I posted, my friend Barbara and I were going out to do some Row By Row quilt shop visiting the next day. I know we _planned_ to go to Traditions at the White Swan in Hagerstown and then  to Scrappy Apple in Winchester, VA. Lucky for us, someone at TWS told us that SA is closed on Mondays - whew! We'd have driven down there in vain. Instead, we visited Wilsons (also in Hagerstown), then came home. Pretty day, pretty goodies to enjoy seeing. :)

I always enjoy Traditions, mostly because I like Dick and Wendy who own the shop so much (nice folks!) ... but also because they have a broad selection of perky, pretty patterns. Their fabrics tend to run toward reproductions though there are plenty of other nice prints there. I did my little bit to support the shop (including buying their RbR kit and the backing for my Pioneer Braid repro quilt). :)

I really got lost (budget-wise) at Wilson's. The shop is heavily aimed toward sewing machine sales ... and there are oodles of great samples on every surface in the place. The 'retired' ones that belong to the shop are housed on a quilt-array-rack near the back room. Barbara and I both got captured by a brown-and-pink repro item there:



I am really fond of pink and brown as a color palette (think strawberries or cherries and chocolate:). This quilt set me off ... interesting design ... and a potential use for the TWO fat quarter collections of pink and brown repro prints I have _somewhere_ in my stash chaos. :) Barbara and I started collecting new double-pink prints right then (go do a search on 'double pink fabric history' if you are interested in quilt history:) 

I also got into a groove looking at this design:


This time it was not the colors (nothing wrong with them but I rarely use red in my work; I prefer hot pink, orange, etc) ... but the patchwork itself that caught my attention. Turned out that this is a quilt from the x-blocks world ... so I had to buy the book and ruler. Have not had time, yet (stay tuned to find out why), to play with this but I am cherishing it for the near future. :) My friend Patty will get a kick out of hearing that because she played with X blocks some time ago (when the whole thing was really new) ... she being a recognized Gadget Girl. :)

Ok, so that was Monday the 30th of July. Tuesday we (my husband, Skip, my son, Hugh, and myself) got up, packed the car and set out westward to attend GenCon. We try to go every August ... the convention is now held in Indianapolis (started in Lake Geneva, WI - hence the name - and has been held many other midwestern places before Indy). Turns out that Indy is a pretty nice town as such places go - lots of great things to visit if, like me (physical limitations) you cannot handle the convention itself. Sadly, I visited almost none of them this year.

We stopped for the night on the west side of Columbus, Ohio ... and arrived in Indy early in the afternoon on Wednesday (August 1st). As we were driving around town to the north side (where our hotel for this year - the Drury Plaza - was situated), the Dart's engine started running roughly. It had been to the repair shop for its regular maintenance recently, so we called the locally-recommended Chrysler dealer repair shop ... and took the Dart there to be diagnosed. After some waiting time, they put it on the computers and decided that what was needed was some kind of computerized regulator for the fuel system ... waiting time from Chrysler parts place, probably three days. Sigh. We need wheels as it is 12 miles from our hotel to the con, each way, twice a day. 

We went to the (conveniently located right at the dealership) Enterprise place ... and discovered that we could not rent a car as Enterprise requires a national credit card for out-of-state rentals. We don't DO credit cards ... so ... can't rent anything from Enterprise (and have no wheels to seek some other rental company). Sigh.

At that point, my husband started looking at cars on the dealership's show floor (unbeknownst to me, who is dealing with the service folks). Bottom line, he decided to buy a Jeep Renegade. Now, the Dart is a 2013 model and has 105,000+ miles on its odometer ... but is a good car. We likely would have kept it for at least 50k more miles. :)

Because we bought the extended warranty when we bought the Dart, all the repairs will be paid for by the warranty ... but that warranty does NOT carry over to the next owner. Soooo, the dealership won't give us any trade-in for the Dart. I looked up its Blue Book value ($3200 - 4800, depending on condition) ... which was way too much for us to just abandon the car. When we bought the Renegade, the Chrysler place was telling me the repairs would be probably finished before we were planning to leave to return to Maryland on the next Monday (August 6th?). I bet you can see already where this story is going, eh?

The Renegade is a joy to drive ... and I drove it to and from on Thursday through Sunday, taking Skip, Hugh and my brother Kevin downtown. Friday and Saturday I spent with my daughter and my two grandsons - YEAH - so much fun (even though exhausting:). Of course, I did not think to take pictures. Sigh. Such cute little guys! :)

I did spent some of Wednesday and most of Thursday sewing. I set up Blue on the desk in our room:


I had plenty of space for sewing, cutting and ironing. Small spaces have the advantage of being pretty efficient, if you try. :) I managed to sew three blocks of my fractured Dresden plate project:




The color rendition is not so great here (ambient light was not very good in my room:) ... but I think you get the idea. Took me a while to go through the fabrics I had packed to find backgrounds that I liked for each block. The cutting part of these designs left a lot of biggish scraps behind, so I used those to create some borders - I want to make separate pillows out of these three blocks, for donations to two different guild Quilt Bingos.




I was pleased to get all that sewing done and the borders attached before I had to retrieve my guys on Thursday evening. :) I knew I would be making the pillows themselves after I got home so I was glad to have this part completed.

After spending Friday and Saturday with BUSY LITTLE BOYS, I was exhausted and mostly laid around on Sunday. :) Still no news from the car place (yes, I did pester them daily with calls - is the part here yet?). Skip and Hugh packed up our stuff (including Blue and my sewing stuff) and set out to return to Maryland on Monday morning, leaving me behind to wait for the Dart and to drive it back home by myself. At that point, the car place thought they might be done on Tuesday.

That went by ... and then I got the news that the part came around noon on Wednesday (the EIGHTH day after they ordered it) and they were working on the car. Thursday morning I called them just before lunch (having heard nothing) and was told they were finished.

All this time I have basically been sitting around, reading books, watching tv and playing games on my iPad. Oh, and moving hotels ... the Drury was sold out starting on Wednesday night, so I had to move down the street to the Holiday Inn Express which did have space. Lyft was useful to get there. :)

Got another Lyft to the dealership on Thursday afternoon, accompanied by luggage, thinking I was on my way out of town. When I got to the service area, they told me - sorry, when we took it out for a test drive, it ran rough again; something else is wrong with it, too. At that point, I was hot and tired and out of patience and I blew a gasket (so to speak). 

I had to exercise all the self-restraint I have learned in 66 years of life to deal with the service manager and detail the sad story of why my blood pressure is sky rocketing on the spot. Sigh. Luckily, he was a good guy and listened carefully. He apologized for how slowly the part came - Chrysler headquarters controls part availability and they (the dealership) have no control over that part of my problem. He did give me a car to use until the Dart was fixed (why no one thought of that BEFORE, I do not know). So ... back to the Holiday Inn I went, to stay yet another night. :P

I did decide to treat myself that afternoon, after calming down (mostly) ... and drove downtown to visit Mass Ave Knits, a big shop with oodles of inspiration, not too far from Crimson Tate (the local modern quilt shop). Part of my problem all this week was that I stupidly had not packed any kind of hand work for myself to do ... and missed it sorely. I hope I remember this lesson! Always pack something to keep my hands busy!!

I ended up buying four small skeins of a nifty yarn (linen, cotton, silk and nylon) to make a scarf I picked off Ravelry (the go-to destination online for yarn people:). The yarn I chose is two colors - deep royal blue with sparks of turquoise, pale blue and green and orange with sparks of hot pink, yellow and pale yellow green. The scarf is called Sleeping with the Zucchini (which made me guffaw right out loud) and is, so far, pretty mindless to knit. :)

The only downside to that adventure was the rush  hour traffic I had to endure to get back to my hotel (and the fact that Crimson Tate was closed by the time I was finished at the knit shop). 

Friday morning I got a call from the Service manager - they FINALLY got the Dart to run well and think they've fixed all its issues, I can come get my car. Whew! I drove there, loaded up my luggage, paid ($100 deductible) for the repairs and hied my way eastward without looking back. I was so eager to get home by this time, I only stopped twice along the way - once to get gas and eat, the next time to eat again. I left Indy at 11 a.m. and arrived in my driveway around 9 p.m. :P

I spent most of Saturday in bed or resting ... and Sunday was the monthly meeting of the Baltimore Modern quilt guild. I'm still tired from the trip today ... but we have fixers coming in the morning to rip the back deck off our house and start building a new one. I have not unpacked my sewing stuff from the trip yet ... and I have a million things going around in my head. 

Ain't life grand? :) I am glad to be home, no matter how humble ... and not looking forward to more car woes. :P

:) Linda