Monthly Archives: June 2008

Free Pieced Letters


Things I learned while Free Piecing Tonya Style:

I don’t really know which way an “s” points

I should make the most involved letter- such as the “E” first- this is because the letter with more pieces is likely to get out of hand, size- wise.

The width of the strips I start with influences the size of the finished letter ( duh). If I want the letters to be the same size, than I should begin with same sized strips. ( duh, duh)

It’s easier for me to make a bunch of the same letter all in a row- I get a rhythm on. Which explains why I have a box of “o”s.

Inversely, I like storing the letters already sewed into words. I don’t like digging through a pile of letters, hoping that some are the same size and will spell something.

And, finally, I really really need a sewing machine with a spell checker.

Houses at NIght

Last night, after dinner, I made these twelve houses. Usually, I make the house and then the background all at once. This time I made and pressed the houses and then thought about the background. I’m glad I did. I have been thinking a lot about last weekend. Five people were shot and killed, in five separate instances, in the big city that borders my small town. I kept thinking about my safe little town, with its beautiful parks and historic houses. I can walk my dog at night, go to the store at night, sit on my porch at night, never a fear. The murder rate here was two, last year. Five miles away, mothers and fathers put their children to sleep on the floor, because that is supposed to make it less likely that they will be killed by a stray bullet. I work with some of those mothers and fathers in my big city hospital. They are me, at a different address.

The back ground fabric is little yellow and white stars and moons. (I wanted to put in a close up shot but blogger is uncooperative at the moment.) I have had this fabric for a few years, and never been able to use it well. It always ended up looking like a Halloween quilt. Here it is my beautiful little town, at night, we are all safe, or at least safer, and I am very, very, grateful for that.

Random Thoughts

Did you know, that if you are worried about your chickens overheating, and you sprinkle them with water, they do not appreciate your efforts? I suppose that is where the saying comes from.

I spent some time making a pair of linen pants today. Upside: easy pattern, already altered. Downside: I seem to wear a smaller pants size than when I altered it, which could be an upside, but I have to take off the waistband, alter the pants, and reset the waistband.

I had a solar attic fan installed three days ago. It seems to be making a big difference in the house. ( We have no air conditioning.) Question: why is it called air conditioning, instead of air cooling?

Chickens have personalities. Who knew? I am going to begin to campaign my brother to get chickens. It’s the perfect pet- low maintenance, makes eggs ( in theory, at least. We haven’t had any yet.) Provides compost ( the fraternal one is a dedicated composter.) Also, no allergies, because they are supposed to live outside and they don’t like to be held, much. And now, personalities! More on this when it is not so freaking hot. No, I don’t know why I want my brother to have a pet, except they make me happy, and so I think that they make other people happy.

Also, today I had a growth moment. When the pain in my neck and my hands got so bad that I started using ice packs, I actually stepped away from the sewing machine. I didn’t knit, either. Really. Nor did I go clean the garage. I sat in a chair and read something. Without doing anything else. I know, amazing.

More Chickens

No no, I didn’t get more chickens- more pictures of of chickens. Here they are , eating melon rinds. Below is their house. There is a ladder that connects the two levels. The first day, they could not work out the ladder. To teach them to go down, Son One put one chicken on the lower level, and left the other on top. They hate to be apart, so Lucy came down to see Sally. That night, they couldn’t work out how to get up the ladder. I remembered what Temple Grandin said about animals hating to go into dark spaces, so I put a flashlight in the upstairs. The chickens climbed up the ladder towards the light, and no, I’m not making any nurse jokes. The next morning and evening, they scrambled up and down on their own. They are easy to get back into the lower level from outside, as well. I think they like it. In the upstairs, there is a roost (perch) and two nest boxes where we will hopefully have eggs. The whole front opens for cleaning purposes. The door to the downstairs is hard to see- it is open and covered with wire. It is too small to work with easily- when I get around to it I will replace it with a bigger door. The odd shadows are from the plum tree.

Drawing Room Quilt Top

Anna Maria Horner is this new to me fabric designer, with some wonderful fabric. I went into the fabric store the other day and discovered that she had the whole line of it. It is a wide, complicated large scale fabric, and I was cogitating on how best to use it in a quilt, other than as a really cool backing. I went down to the bookshelf to do some reading and see what the gurus have to say about large scale prints, but that little voice in my head just whisperd- “cut it up, and then sew it back together” so, of course, I did.
I think one more border on the bottom, and that will be that. I have a really nice blue floral that I want on the back.

Other news is that Chronic Pain has been for a visit. I overdid things while building the hen house. I was desperate to get those birds out of the dog crate in the pantry. A dog crate with itty baby chicks in it is just fine- a cage with two vast pooping hens is something else. Their cuteness has been restored by their removal to the yard. But in the process, I’ve done some damage and I am hoping that Chronic- or Miss Pain as she prefers to be known- is planning a short visit. One never knows, as she is an ungrateful and tiring guest. Lene is learning the same lesson- it somehow makes me feel better that we all push to do as much as possible, and that hardheadedness seems to be in abundant supply.

My how you’ve grown

Well, it seems I got my money’s worth out of the chick starter food. They are not growing so much as inflating. It makes me wish I had done time lapse photography. This is Sally. She is gracious about being held. The darker red one is Lucy. She feels that being picked up or held is an affront to her chickenhood, and she will flap her wings until you concede. They are currently eating watermelon, and I have to say it is as entertaining as watching a small child eat cake.

Cell Phone Superhero

So I’m driving the son somewhere in our nearby big city, and I hear a car honk. At the light, a dentally challenged, ball cap wearing, extra from Deliverance gets out of his car and begins screaming at the suit and tie wearing man in the car behind him. I leave the actual fighting words used to your imagination, but he used all the ones that their ethnic and class differences allowed for and proved that it is possible to enunciate an F sound without front teeth.

The gist of his rage is that he was cut off. By the car behind him. My son pointed out, in horrified fascination that it’s really hard to be cut off by a car that is now behind you. I was swirling with the rage and sick fear of this-would he draw a gun? Would the man in the suit get out of his car? I could call 911, but it takes forever and we all know that it’s not real 911, it’s cell phone 911. I look at the cell phone, and it comes to me. Take pictures. I lower the passenger window and begin to click away. The perp turns at that familiar sound, gets in his car, and goes away. MMhhmmm, nice to look like I actually did something to the kid, at least. I’m going to try and remember this, as it at least felt like I was doing something, even if I didn’t.