Sunday, August 10, 2008

I've Been at the Machine

I've been reading Molly's blog over at The Molly Bawn Chronicles and she made me feel guilty. She is a very prolific quilter and here I am....older than dirt and wasting the little bit of time left to me by playing on the computer, instead of cranking out quilts for my kids and grands. So, I started to clean up some of my backlog (there are lots of quilts in my head and heart) and now I have a couple ready to be quilted. This one has been riding back and forth to Florida for a couple of years. There are eighty blocks altogether, which means 1360 pieces of fabric that needed to be attached to each other. Finally pieced! Those are my hubby's tootsies peeking out at the bottom. Thank you, honey! He is my official quilt holder. Does that make him a model?
This week, I also finish piecing a baby girl quilt, which involved a lot of teeny, tiny applique stitches. I had been doing all the hand work while I watched T.V. Since I was raised before television, but listening to the radio.... I always need to have something to do while "watching" T.V. (actually, I listen more than watch), so applique is a real answer. It's really better than reading, because I keep getting the plot of the book confused with the story on T.V. Knitting works, too, but is not as much fun as having bunches of wonderful fabric in my hands. This one is a "grandmother's fan with white lace gathered along the top of the heart. I have made this one before, but it pays to be ahead with baby quilts....someone is always having a baby!

When we first got home from Florida in June, I finished putting my embroidered boy quilt together. I have finally learned to use some of the features of my expensive Bernina. I cheated and sent this quilt out to a professional long arm quilter, so I would have time to put a few more tops together.
I'm thinking that I quilt better than I take photos, but you get the idea. The quilt store is fifty minutes away and I can't wait to go there again....they have some really nifty wall hanging patterns that I need to make for my Florida home. There was a machine quilting class last Friday and while it was fun, I am not ready to wreck one of my masterpieces with my klutzy machine quilting, yet. (How much does gas cost to go ninety miles? ... this store is worth every penny.)
This was a double Bargello quilt that I made for a nephew's baby while I was in Florida. The obvious movement of color on the larger pieces was okay, but the smaller half inch pieces ran the opposite direction. The reverse movement of color confused the heck out of me and I had no extra fabric to fix the thing, so I let it stand. Someone once told me that " Only Christ is perfect".... this is an example of never making a perfect quilt. God would be happy with me!
This brings me to this king size quilt that has faithfully traveled along with me to hither and yon for lo these last four years. I have quilted the main body (I love hand quilting the blank spaces...double click on the picture to see the quilting) and I stitched in the ditch around all the little squares and colored blocks, but have been unable to mark the dark borders. Nothing works! The water soluble pens don't show, chalk doesn't show, silver pencils don't show. I had just about given up completely, when the owner of the quilt shop in Bettsville said, "I guess you'll be using masking tape to follow the lines."!!!! Of course, I replied that I was doing that as a last resort. The light bulb didn't go off over my head ... it exploded. Looks like I'm finally going to finish that big sucker! My first quilt teacher told me, "Quilts are meant to keep people you love warm." And so it is!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Congressional Recess


I haven't figured out how to add videos, but please, please go to this site and check out how much work our Congress does for us. I'm going to have to look up the perks they get for working all these days! It's going to shock you.... with righteous indignation!
(Uncle Jay explains the congressional news)

The Pure Perks
-An annual salary of $158,000 for U.S. Senate & House of Representatives.
- The Vice President, top leaders in the House and Senate and the chief justice receive $198,600.
-Associate justices of the Supreme Court get $190,600
and the House majority and minority leaders receive $171,900.
- President Bush makes $400,000 in salary a year.
-Free life insurance and a generous retirement plan
- Free office space in Washington and in the home district.
- A staff allowance of $752,400 for each House member and from $400,000 to 2.4 million depending on the population of his or her state and its distance from the Capitol for each senator. Plus more for committee aids.
- An expense account for telephone, stationery, and other office costs.
- Thirty-two fully reimbursed round trips home per year.
- Travel allowance and free travel to foreign lands on Congressional inquires.
-Nearly unlimited franking privileges.
-Access to free Congressionally owned and operated video and film studios to record messages for constituents.
- Discounts in Capitol Hill tax-free shops and restaurants. (the bean soup is $1.40 a cup in the Senate Dining Room)
- $10.00 haircuts at the Congressional barbershop.
- Free reserved parking at Washington National Airport.
- Use of the House gym or Senate Baths for $100. a year.
- Free fresh cut flowers from the Botanic Gardens
- Free assistance in the preparation of income taxes