Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Actual content!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've recently started volunteering for Butte Humane Society, where we got Wrench and Molly! Hooray for kittens, right? Definitely! Anyway, what better way to help out than to volunteer my sewing services, huh? Of course!

The catteries, or rooms the cats that are able to be in groups live in (some can't live in the catteries, either because they're not friendly, too little, or can't handle free feeding) have modular plastic cat tree things, kind of like this:

Image taken from here

In order to spruce up the trees and make the vinyl a little more comfortable, they usually put towels in them...

Which is fine and dandy, except that the towels have to be cleaned, and a load of just bath towels takes FOR-EV-ER to dry. Solution? Little quilts, of course!

One of the seat-parts of the cat trees, and a stack of cut-up batting scraps
There's always scrap batting left after making a quilt, especially when you're as terrible new at it as I am, so why not put those batting scraps to good use? I was able to cut out enough to make 21 cat mats! I have already talked to the volunteer coordinator, who directed me to another volunteer, who told me last Saturday that they have all kinds of fleece pieces and both flannel and regular sheets that I could use, she just has to get them out of the warehouse.

They also have bigger quilts and blankets that I told her I could probably cut down into smaller pieces that they can use in the cat center!

How exciting - and what a great use for scraps that were otherwise just going to keep hanging out in my sewing closet! :)


I'm quite possibly the worst blogger on the planet - I think every post starts with an apology on how I don't blog very much!

I haven't been getting very much sewing done. Work has been stressful, and my computer at home has been acting up, so I don't get to relax when I get home because I've been trying to figure out how to fix it.

We have, however, been making some progress on the house - at least theoretically. We've gotten approved for a 0% credit card (for 21 months!) that we're going to use to buy the new shed, which will replace this:

Ugh. Don't even get me started! The whole thing leans, there are holes in it... it needs to go. We've also gotten some plastic bins to put my husband's bone collection in (another "don't get me started!" topic!!) and have figured out how we're going to dispose of the garage, too - apparently Waste Management makes things called "Bagsters," which are like disposable, portable dumpsters. You buy one at Lowe's, then fill it at your leisure and call WM to get it when you're done. I think this will be WAY better than getting a real dumpster again, because we won't have as much and because we don't have an actual time table for taking down the garage.

In other news, after all this talk of spending money, here's some about savings: This past week, I managed to spend only 18 CENTS for two POUNDS of angel hair pasta! Safeway's having a sale where you buy eight specially-marked items and get an additional 50 cents off per item - plus I had their special "just for u" pricing on the pasta - AND I found a $1 off two packages coupon in the aisle - bringing the price down to nine cents a package! Hooray! :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011


So one of the gift quilts I'm working on was supposed to come out like this:

Tutorial available here

a bunch of chevrons. Pretty cool, right? Well, it would be, if, um, I hadn't completely screwed it up.

Instead of being a nice set of chevrons like that, mine's about 1/3 chevrons, 2/3 squares-on-point. I'm not sure what exactly I screwed up, and I'd rather not think about it *too* much, LOL. The whole top is done now, though, so that's how it will stay.

Right now my WIPs are include:

-Queen-ish sized quilt for Jeff and I, about 75% quilted
-One gift quilt, basted about maybe 15% quilted
-Two gift quilts, top finished and backings prepared, but not yet basted
-One gift quilt, top finished, backing not yet acquired/prepared
-One gift quilt, pieces sort of cut into triangles
-One gift quilt, still just a bunch of fabrics in a heap
-Nine patch squares and charm squares bounded in white; nine-patches sewn into rows, so far. Not sure what the plans are for this one.
-Tetris quilt - fabric acquired, still uncut
-Sylvia's Bridal Sampler Elk Creek quilt, fabric chosen, book acquired, but that's about it.

Um, I think tha'ts about it, other than fabric combinations I've vaguely put together.

Anyone wanna go to work for me so I can catch up a little??!? Hopefully the weather will stay cooler so that ironing or quilting doesn't seem like such torture!

Books 37, 38 and 39

Book 37: Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time, by Michael Perry

This book is part memoir, part "this is what it's like being a volunteer firefighter in small town America," part eulogy for those small towns themselves. The book started out well, but went downhill as Perry became more introspective and reflective. The vocabulary was actually relatively challenging, though, which was interesting for me since I don't usually find myself unsure of what words mean! Not particularly recommended.

Book 38: The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing, by Melissa Bank 

I enjoyed Bank's writing style in this book. The sections work almost as short stories, but were connected very well in the end. I found myself able to relate to the struggles of the protagonist, and appreciated her eventual use of a self-help book to try to fix her life, comedically. This falls into the "I can see why this was a popular book" category, and was a quick, easy read.

Book 39: Room, by Emma Donoghue

I'm really, really torn about this book. The premise is very interesting: a boy, named Jack, is raised inside one single room, with no access to the outside world other than what his mother tells him and what he sees on TV. I was fascinated with the first half...and yet the second half was lacking. I appreciated that it was told from Jack's point of view...and yet at the same time, it didn't seem to work for the whole book as well as the author may have intended. The model of writing and building action and all that generally takes the reader up a slope, with a sudden drop towards the resolution near the end of the book. This one went more like this: / \. Up, peaking at the halfway point, and then right down. I've shared the book with my pal Tamera so that I could get her opinion on it to see if it was just me!


I'm still on track to hit 52 books read this year! Hooray! My hope is that, by the time my husband and I move out of our house, my "to be read" pile will be minimal - this means I have two years of reading probably 75 books a year to catch up. Yikes!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happy Saturday

This Saturday was pretty eventful - another shift at Butte Humane - three hours of washing and drying a TON of laundry, cleaning litter pans, and, since unfortunately their dishwasher is broken, doing dishes by hand, too. I was so busy that even though I was at the cat center, I didn't see a single cat! LOL! This guy's really cute though, so here's a gratuitous cat photo:

I've never SEEN a cat like this before! Amazing? Yes.

Before that, though, one of my coworkers - the same one who laid our kitchen tile floor - which looks like this:

Wrench wasn't sure about this new floor at first - but she definitely loves sleeping on it, now!

It's a black and white checkerboard floor with lovely black grout - so it doesn't look dirty! Hah! Love this floor. The tile store actually didn't have solid black and white tiles, but it's close enough. :)

Anyway, our bedroom used to have a terrible sliding glass door in it. We think that the people were originally planning on building a deck off the bedroom...but never did, so it was just a big single-pane stupid waste of heat. Hah.

No more sliding glass a normal, new construction, dual pane window is there, instead!

I don't have that many great "before" pictures of our house...probably because the house was SO terrible. Seriously, who does something like this:

That's right. Tile, EVERYWHERE, except on the floor where it belongs. The window to the left, as well as the window facing the same direction in the living room, were surrounded by that terrible green and gray checkerboard style tile. The tile served as baseboard around the bottom of hte dining room (I'd forgotten about that!).

Oh wait, and there's more tile - around the pass-through from the kitchen to the dining room. And that red stuff, to the right of the stove (let's not get into the terrible placement of THAT!) - that's more of hte same tile, SPRAY PAINTED.

Okay now I've gotten completely off track remembering how terrible the tile was! There's MORE of the tile, in a different pattern, on the wall facing the dining room. There are also beams that run across the living room and dining room ceilings (one in each room) - each was also covered in the tile, which had been half-spray painted white, too...but only the green squares? I don't know.

Anyway, enough with the terrible tile. Ralph came, the door's mostly replaced with a window, and in a month or so, provided it isn't raining yet, he will replace the other window in the room with a proper dual-pane window, too.

I got a bunch of sewing done - a little quilting on a gift quilt, and yes, started ANOTHER project? Oye. I'm never going to finish anything. Oh, and I sewed two really big pieces of flannel together that will serve as the back for a top I've already made. Oh, ANDDDDD I also went to Joann, again, with Dianna, because she dragged me out of the house to look at yarn.

Tomorrow? Visiting with a friend, perhaps, and probably finishing this season of True Blood, so no spoilers, people! :P

Hopefully your weekend's just as productively busy as mine!! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

To - Dos

My to-do list never seems to turn into a to-done list quite like I plan. Is yours the same way? I have some definite goals for this evening, though, like getting the stuff for my side job done, and talking to hubs about moving forward with tearing down our garage.

Much more interestingly, though, would you like the chance to win this:

Don't lie - you know you would! Head over to 1 Choice 4 Quiltings' blog to find out how - and to read through other quilters' tips for beginners! :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I volunteered at my local Humane Society for the first time this morning, and when I got home, my kitties were pretty jealous. Mostly it was hot today, though, so Wrench just chilled all day. :)

Anyway...I love getting mail - I belong to, so I get books pretty often. I do a bunch of shopping online, through Amazon or wherever else, so the mail's not the boring stack of bills my parents always receive.

This past week I decided to join up with the fall colors swap being hosted over at Bolo Heads. I drew tan as my color, so off to Joann I went today to acquire these:

I think I stretched the definition of tan a little bit - and the tan remnant I got actually has ducks all over it - I think I might fussy cut it so that the ducks are actually in the squares I send.

Of course, no trip is complete without a stop at the remnant rack - I love the aqua-and-pink and the Celtic-feeling pattern, too. And basic black-and-white check, which I think I might make into something for our kitchen, which has a black-and-white checkerboard floor. :)

Okay, really, I promise I won't go to Joann again for a while. (Yeah, right.)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lazy sewing

Linking up for Fabric Tuesday! 

I did some lazy sewing today - another jelly roll race-style quilt, though this one started with 2" strips, so now they're all 1 1/2 inches wide. I think I may finish this one for my 10 year-old niece. I love this style of quilt because I can just grab things from my stash and have a relatively quick finish.

Nothing is particularly special about any of the fabric - mostly I just like the way it goes together and feels so bright and happy, even though there's a lot of black in it. The purple swirlies that feature prominently in the second photo are the same that I used to make curtains and pillowcases for my office (which of course I have no photos of on my blog - bad Stephanie!)
Now I just have to wait for batting to go on sale at Joann's. :)

Also, I love this feature on my camera, called "Photobooth," where it takes four photos and combines them into one long photobooth-style strip all by itself.

How are your projects coming along?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Books 35 and 36

Still doing well with my reading, despite all the sewing I've been getting done - hooray!

Book 35: Her Last Death, by Susanna Sonnenberg

Books like this make me marvel - at the resilience of children, the addled minds of addicts, and just the things people can overcome. In this memoir, Sonnenberg tells of her chaotic childhood, growing up with a very drug addicted mother, who started introducing very sexual topics into conversation before Susanna hit double-digit-ages and who gave her daughter coke for the first time at 12. The retelling is centered around the author's attempt to deal with making a big decision - whether or not to go to her dying mother's bedside.

I had trouble putting this one down - definitely recommend it.

Book 36: In Fifty Years, We'll All Be Chicks...And Other Complaints form an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy, by Adam Carolla

I love me some Carolla. My husband got me into listening to his radio show before he was taken off the air, we've watched his movie, The Hammer (do NOT let its R-rating deter you!), and I have, um, 40+ DAYS worth of old Loveline episodes on my computer. The book is basically a compilation of all his great rants over the years, from "Do yourself a favor..." hints (including "spray paint your wallet red so you can find it if you drop it between the seat of your car and the transmission hump") to comments on how we as a society have given minimum wage-level employees all kinds of power over us in way too many situations, there were chapters of the book that left me thinking "Man, I wish he'd run for office, I'd definitely vote for him!"

Another highly recommended book, assuming you have enjoyed other things he's worked on - not sure it's a great intro to Carolla, though. I laughed out loud, and this book is definitely a keeper! Can't wait to see him perform in Sacramento on December 9!!!