Friday, February 26, 2010

It's Always Something - Part 2

I woke up Wednesday morning to find teeny tiny dark brown granules at the head of my bed. Panic set in immediatly as my first guess was termites. I called a termite specialist to have him come and inspect. He confirmed my fears, it is dry wood termites. I live in an old Florida style house that has no attics. It is an open beam ceiling with tongue and groove wood. The ceiling is the roof, the roof is the ceiling and it was dropping termite poop on my head.
We were going to have to tent the house at a cost of $850, which was the least offensive part of the whole thing. We would have to leave the house for 2 1/2 days. With no where else to go, we would have to find a hotel room at the height of tourist season, $$$. We would of course have to eat out , $$$. That satellite dish and antenae would have to be taken down, $$$. We would have to cut down the vine at the front door and the rest of it will most likely die along with all the other landscaping close to the house. We would have to remove all the food from the house as it will be contaminated, but he said I would not have to wash all my dishes later (why wouldn't they be contaminated too?) But the straw that broke the camels back was when he told me that I would have to remove my fish. I could go buy a very large fish tank and filter, $$$ or have some kind of service take them, $$$. Either way, we would also have to remove all the water and rebuild the tank again. Needless to say I was sick all day at the thought of the whole process.
Internet to the rescue. I was searching for a second opinion, when I came across the words Alternative Termite Management. I called them in a flash and the guy was here a few hours later. Wow, what a difference. They will scan the ceiling with some expensive piece of equipment to determine exactly where the termites are. They then drill tiny holes in the ceiling and inject the wood with a bug killer and preventative. The only thing we will have to do is move the bed. The whole process will take about 3 to 4 hours and the cost is less than tenting. Both this method and the tenting have the same warranty, so which would you choose?
We have scheduled them for Monday morning. In the meantime, a large hunk of painters plastic ($2 at Home Depot) stapled to the ceiling will keep the poop from falling on the bed. Look close at the top of the picture. You can see the little dark specks of termite poop. Yah, I know, it's gross.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's Always Something

This is a picture of the entrance of my house.
That lovely vine you see has taken about 5 years to get that size. In the spring it will blossom with tons of tiny white, very fragrant flowers. At Christmas we cover it in tiny white lights attempting to duplicate the look of the flowers.
Between the two large pillars is my koi tank. Last November, we lost our last 5 year old koi. We took two weeks to clean and rebuild the tank. We now have 4 new, healthy, happy fish who will eat from my hand. (Sorry all you cat and dog lovers, but the days of indoor pets is long gone). We really like the constant sound of running water and the fish are relaxing to watch.

Here's a shot of the back of the house. My husband is a big tv fan. We have two satellites dishs and an antennae. He has explained why several times but it's all over my head.
Now you are wondering why I am showing these pictures to you. You'll have to come back tomorrow for the rest of this tale.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Getting Carried Away

I got an email from Bingo Bonnie of Nap Time News. She was advising us that the very large, very popular 5th Annual Fat Quarter Bingo game is fast approaching. It got me thinking about wether I want to purchase fabric or use what I have. It also occurred to me that Bonnie is a member of the HGTV Sunshine Quilters and that I could make a few blocks for her and ship them with the fat quarters. So I made two pink string blocks per her request, which led to three blocks, which led to ten blocks.

So, as long as I'm in a cutting mood, I might as well cut the rest of the foundation fabric and prepare it for string blocks for the Heartstrings Group.

And as long as I'm cutting, I might as well cut 48 matching center strings.

Oh, what the heck, might as well make two or three or a dozen more string blocks.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Be Attitudes Block 12

I'll bet you already guessed that block 12, the final block would have Santa or some other Christmas theme. Although the photo came out lousy, the block itself came out rather nice.

It will be a quite awhile until you see this quilt again. I now have to go to the quilt shop and purchase the borders, backing, binding and batt. Once the borders are on, I am going to have to find a long arm quilter to quilt it. My husband has already called dibbs on this one and wants it quilted exactly like the picture. He can be pretty particular.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Monster Trucks

Just for something a little different to do, we took our son and our grandchildren to a monster truck jam at the Sunlife Stadium. This is the very same stadium that housed the Superbowl just two weeks ago, and was the same stadium where I saw the Police concert and the Rolling Stones. This stadium has changed it's name several times since it was first built, but I'm getting off the subject.
Monster Trucks is not exactly my thing but it sure was fun to see it at least once. It was loud and the large crowd was far more entusiastic then any I have seen at a Marlins baseball game. The kids had a ball and just loved it when the trucks jumped and landed upside down. What fun!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Color FESTival

I made it into another colorful treasury.
To see the treasury click here. By the way, for those who don't know, FEST stands for Florida Etsy Street Team, an Etsy group I belong to.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fat Quarters

Fat quarters to me are like candy, I've got to have at least a little piece of it. If I see a beautiful piece of fabric, usually I don't know what I could possibly do with it, so I buy a fat quarter. I have bunches of them, some I've had for years and years. All these postcards that I have been making lately are being made with some of those little bits of fabrics.

The background fabric on these Easter Egg postcards is one of those fabrics that I have had for so long, that I have no idea when or where I got it. The selvege is blank so I can't even tell you who made it. But it is the most perfect pastel colors, all blending one into the other. I sure wish I had more than a fat quarter of it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Quilts for Kids, Inc

I know I said I would be working on some charity quilts, but there has been another flurry of sales over at my Etsy shop. I've been forced (yes, my arm was twisted) to spend the last few days making more cards.
But yesterday, I received a package from Quilts for Kids. I had forgotten I ordered a kit but so glad it has gotten here. If you have never made one of these quilts, you should get one. They come with everything you need (except the batting) in some of the cutest fabric ever, all pre-cut and ready to go.
This kit is so cute. It has primary colored cats on the top.

It has coordinating colored mice for the backing.

It only took about two hours for me to get the top pieced together.

Now comes the part I'm not too crazy about. I have to layer it, quilt it then bind it. I wish there was someone locally who would do that part. If there was together we could knock these things out in no time at all.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Preemie Quilts

I've been feeling a bit guilty lately. I have been so busy having fun with my Be Attitudes blocks and postcards that I haven't done a thing for charity in months. I bought two yards of pink and two yards of blue somewhere before Christmas and I think it's time to use them. I even still have batting and more fabric that was sent to me by Vicki W.
Two pinks tops done, now all I have to do is quilt them and move on to the blue ones.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I noticed the other day that I have an awful lot of scizzors in my house. There are these in my studio.
Some of these are old, from the days when I did a lot of embroidery. The really big ones were my mother in laws pinking shears, they weigh a ton and hurt your fingers. The long ones are suture scizzors from the doctors office. If you know someone in the medical field, see if they can snag you a set.
Out in my desk are a few pairs of paper scizzors. They must have had a sale at Joanns.

Then there are the household scizzors that cut anything from paper to chicken bones. The itty bitty ones with the rounded tips are mustache scizzors. A few months ago the screw fell out and I could not find another pair like these anywhere. I found a place online that repairs scizzors and they did a great job.

So how many pairs of scizzors are in your home and why do we call them pairs anyway?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

No Rules Dying

There is a lot of wonderful hand dyed fabrics out there and I know what it takes to make it. There are several chemicals and steps, none of which I have the patience for, I need it now. I ran out of sky fabric for my postcards so the easiest way is to make it my way. Now I am warning you, do not do this if you are dying fabric to be used in a quilt or garment as it will most likely bleed, run, fade and who knows what other surprises are in store. But for a postcard, it's no problem.
I start by filling a large jar with hot water and some Rit dye, the stuff you find in the supermarket. How much dye? I can't answer that as I just put in enough to make the water colored yet not see thru. Then I add a piece of white muslin. Let it sit for an hour or two or a day or whenever it suits your conveniene, remember there are no rules.
I dump the whole thing in the washing machine with hot water wash, a cold rinse, no soap and voila.
I love the mottled look as it is going to be used for sky (and maybe water) but I think its a bit too dark. So I tied it into loose knots, throw it back in the washer with hot water and about a quarter cup of bleach.
If you are not happy with the color, you can always dye it again, but I got just what I wanted, mottled pale blue.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Be Attitudes Block 11

Although I am not so crazy about some of my fabric choices (like the ear of corn sort of blends into the background) I still like this block alot.

Have you noticed how all the people have rosy cheeks? Many years ago I got a free sample of an expensive cosmetic blush. It was too dark, too glittery and too oily for me to use on my own face, but has worked out perfectly whenever an appliqued person needs some rosy cheeks.
As for that perfect button hole stitch, it is being done by my Bernina sewing machine. If I did it by hand, not only would it be irregular but I would still be on the first block.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Then and Now

My sister gave me this neat gizmo for Christmas. It allows you to copy slides and negatives directly to your computer.

I have had this set of slides from a trip to Disneyworld in 1972 that I haven't seen in many, many years. They have faded a bit, but were fun to look at. One picture in particular intrigued me. I had to think about it for a while to figure out just what was in the background. Can you guess?

Here's a hint and a picture (copied from Flickr) of the same area today.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Orchid in Bloom

It was late September when we first noticed the spike starting to grow. We know from years past, that we wouldn't see the blossoms until Christmastime. This year it was a bit late. In the beginning of January, South Florida saw some continuous, very cold temperatures. It was as low as 38 on several occasions and this very cold snap lasted for two weeks straight. I suppose I should have taken my orchid plants in the house, but I had read too many horror stories of frog and bug invasions, so out in the cold they stayed along with the goldfish in the pond.
It is remarkable to me that the flowers on this orchid have finally decided to open. I thought for sure they were goners.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fabric Postcards

I was looking through some old quilt books that I have had in storage for several years. Among them I found a lovely selection of applique flower patterns that I thought would make some nice postcards. Here are the first 3. I have been snooping around the internet to check out some prices on other sellers cards. I've decided to raise the price to $7 per card, still lower than many other card makers. I have seen cards as high as $20, but I think that's just wishful thinking.




After listing these three cards, I quickly went to the Time Machine feature at Etsy. I didn't see any of these cards. I then went in the search box and typed in Fabric Postcards. Just a few of my cards showed up and I have to wonder why all my cards didn't show up. I have been reading articles about problems with Etsy's lack of many features (and a few that Etsy is proposing). With this in mind, I have opened up an Artfire shop. So far, I only have two cards listed, but it was more of an exercise in learning about Artfire in advance, in case I decide to switch my shop.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Be Attitudes Block 10

I'm not crazy about my color choices on this block, but it turned out well anyway. I'm in the home stretch now.