Quilting Under Pressure

I spent much of today working to finish the quilt my mom is giving my dad for his birthday at the end of October. She originally pieced it to give one of her nephew's stepsons for his 13th birthday, but my dad fell in love with the quilt. So, she started another one for the soon-to-be-teenager and sent the original one to me for quilting, with the caveat that it had to be done by the end of September.

Like the State of Michigan lej (as of this writing, the state is about three hours from a shutdown of all non-essential services, due to continued budget wrangling on the eve of their fiscal year), I apparently function best under pressure! I started quilting it last weekend, and finished today (well before midnight, I might add). It's got a good deal of big, boring meander, but anything fancy wouldn't have shown up on the beautiful animal print focus fabric. There are three rows of 5" dark brown squares set on point, so I quilted animal tracks in them -- thank heaven for Google Images! Since mom is actually going to knot off and bury all the threads, I didn't bother taking pics -- there are a TON of thread tales from the various footprints! I just have to stuff it in a box and pop it in the mail. I LOVE FINISHING!



OK, I'm *still* excited, but as it turns out, "The Ties That Bind" is not going to Houston. Instead, it's up for auction in October!

The auction runs from October 1-10. Bid early and often for #1550 -- or any other little quilt that catches your eye! ;)


Houston Bound!

The Ties That Bind - 8.5" square

The Ties That Bind
is going to Houston! (Probably the only time I'll ever have a quilt shown there, too!) It moved from "Quilts Waiting Assignment" to "Quilts Going to IQF." There are some fabulous quilts in both categories -- take a look the next time you need a little inspiration. I'm loving 1634-1637 this morning, in the waiting category.

I read that Ami Simms has approximately 700 of these Priority: Alzheimer's quilts going to Houston -- a little short of her 1000 quilt goal, but frankly, amazing to me nonetheless!


Inbox: 25!

Amazing, isn't it? I made a concerted effort today to file and delete email, and delete old contacts. My inbox is actually at 25 messages. Hallelujah!

You see, I'm not much of a deleter when it comes to email -- I've got lots of file folders (MS Outlook at work), and I file email like I would file paper documents, in the appropriate folder by event, project, sender, etc. Due to the HUGE amount of email I store, I'm required to store less than 1GB on the email server, and the balance has to be archived to my partition on the main server. (I send and receive a lot of large PDF files, so my requirements definitely exceed the average users.)



We all love compliments, right? Gee, what a pretty skirt, your hair looks nice today, great job on that proposal... But some compliments are more meaningful than others, right? After all, the sales rep who walks in every week and compliments the receptionist on her sweater is kind of "cheap thrill" -- he's giving the compliment to built rapport, it's easy and doesn't cost anything -- part of his regular "patter."

But some people are more stingy with compliments -- it's not that they're not nice people, but they just don't exude compliments through their pores like garlic from lunch. When you get a compliment from one of those people, it means a lot more, right?

Well, I got one of those really sincere compliments today. Not effusive, not over the top, because that's not his style. But it was a much-needed "up" in a very long day, and I had to share.

What's got me all excited? My consultant said four simple words: "You've got good instincts."
Why is this so great? He doesn't pass out compliments like candy bars on Halloween -- one has to do more than is expected to earn them.

I don't think for a minute that he'll cut me any slack on managing the related situation, but given the topsy-turvey nature of my work right now, this is a VERY meaningful, and much appreciated, compliment. Thanks, Chris.


Because I find it amusing, I have my daily horoscope (or as Sophie calls it -- horror-scope!) on my homepage. Most of the time, it's just kind of funny -- although I *am* a Leo, I don't have all of the typical traits.

Today's outlook, though, is REALLY on target:
It may be very challenging now to keep it all together, for there is so much happening that your ability to maintain your cool is being tested. Your schedule may get so full that you think about sleeping less just to fit everything in. The pace of life will be hectic throughout this week, so make sure you get your much-needed rest so you can do your best. By Rick Levine Tuesday, September 18, 2007
And that scares me just a little! (After all, I love sleeping... ) The pace of change at work is almost unimaginable right now, let alone manageable. Good times...


Decision Made!

I saw the dentist this morning (exactly what you were hoping to read about, I'm sure). I was able to chat with him after my now thrice-yearly cleaning. After reading what the orthodontists had to say, he had basically come to the same conclusion I had -- that this isn't the right time to pursue more aggressive treatment. I'd have to be in a lot more chronic pain than I am at this time to really make it worthwhile.

So for now -- continue the treatment I'm doing (which is the 24-hour splint deal) and monitor progress. It's easier to appreciate this plan when I know exactly what the other options are!


Inbox: 136

I have no discipline at all... my inbox is at 136 messages and counting. I don't think I'm excelling at "Inbox Zero."


Teeth -- Update

I know you all find this incredibly fascinating, so I'll keep telling you about it! (If you need a refresher, I last posted about my teeth on August 13.)

I realized I might have missed an important point -- I have TMJD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. Say that three times fast -- I dare you! I've been in treatment for about six years, with varying degrees of success. The key is that the pain (usually significant muscular headaches) is WAY better than it has been. That gives me the luxury of time right now to explore options.

So, I detailed the first consult six weeks ago. I saw orthodontist #2 yesterday, who did offer a slightly different option than ortho #1. The relationship between my teeth hasn't really changed, but I found it interesting that more of my teeth touched when I bit down. Maybe three or four of them actually made contact, instead of just one lonely molar. And no, I haven't done anything differently in the intervening six weeks.

Doc #1 recommended braces, which would include screws inserted into the bone above the teeth. Rubber bands would be used to try to torque that bone down into place, bringing the teeth with it. Call me crazy, but that sounds painful! And it's expensive, for 27 months of treatment.

Doc #2 recommended the surgical option -- braces first to bring the teeth into the right relationship with their neighbors, then either or both of the arches (teeth and the bone that holds them) are surgically separated from the jaw. Metal plates are installed to hold everything together properly. Again, major pain from the surgery, although less time consuming and less expensive.

The key in all of this is that either approach can bring the teeth in line correctly and fix the bite. There's no guarantee that there will be pain reduction -- 85% of surgical patients report at least some pain improvement, 10% have no change and 5% have more pain. Pain reduction does not mean that pain goes away, of course.

So, I think, for now, that that neither of these options is the right one for me right now. I'm going to talk with my regular dentist next week to review, but I honestly think the pain would have to be WAY worse than it is to purposefully bring on more pain with no promise of resolution!



First, I loved reading about all of your projects in process, and it made me feel better about some of mine ;)

My co-worker Sara randomly drew three names from the box top (a hat wasn't handy), and the winners of the postcards are (in alphabetical order):

Congrats to all -- and to everyone who's working on and finishing a WIP!



Bread originally uploaded by Charles Haynes

Upside down I may take shape
I may become resilient.
Kneaded, turned on end
I will become less
And somehow more myself.

--from Becoming Bread by Gunilla Norris, as quoted in Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks


I *love* this stuff!

OK, so I am a grammar and punctuation nerd. I'll admit, I'm not perfect, but I have a deep and sincere appreciation for both, and I like it that way.

That's why the "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks has me in stitches tonight! (Photo thanks to the site, of course.)

This is one of my (many) pet peeves... What about the world please, or new, or special compels people to put it in quotes? Has sarcasm been lost? (That would be a sad day!)

What's your grammar or punctuation pet peeve? We've been talking about this elsewhere, and there are a LOT of opportunities for improvement in this world!

With thanks to mental_floss for sharing this "great" site ;)


That's my number, and I'm sticking with it ;)

#1550 is the registration number for my Priority: Alzheimer's quilt, "The Ties That Bind." I dropped it in the mail to Ami Simms today, and will be watching my USPS confirmation number to be sure it arrives safely! (Funny thing -- there weren't any Priority FREs out at PO, so I had to ask the clerk when my turn came. She didn't know what the acronym stood for -- is that more an online shorthand for those handy envelopes? Or was she having a blonde moment?)

Anywho, I'm going to miss that little quilt, but I'm proud to be part of something bigger and better.


More birthday blocks -- lucky me!

I must say, I'm so pleased with myself for picking the perfect theme for my birthday blocks ;) As I mentioned to someone else today, I've been carrying around the idea for a while, and this swap was the perfect opportunity to bring it to reality.

Today's mail brought TWO more great blocks, from Sophie (l) and Christine.

My birthday block from Sophie My birthday block from Christine

Sophie was definitely right -- more stripes were needed, especially when they're used in just the right way, like she did in her block. And Christine picked one of my all-time favorite fabrics for the center of her block (you can't really see it in the photo, so you'll have to trust me on that). Plus, I needed another block that's intensely red to balance Diane's from the other day.

Lucky, lucky me!

Quick Update on "WIP and WIN"

So far, I've heard about a variety of works in progress, from Denise, Sophie, Dorothy, Sandy, Karen and Christine. That's 6 so far, registered to win. I can't imagine there are too many of you out there without a WIP, but if you're in that crowd, tell me that, too! You've got six more days... heck, you could start at least one project and abandon it to the WIP pile in that time ;)

Edited because I can't add...


Blast From the Past

This just popped up onto my iGoogle homepage, courtesy of WikiHow... This was a big treat when I was a kid, something I always wanted to take to school on my birthday celebration day. (Given I have an August birthday, I usually celebrated at school at another time.) I think my mom wishes she had never discovered this idea -- although they're absolutely darling cupcakes, they're a real pain to make, and more importantly, transport to school! If you choose NOT to share this idea with any kids in your life, I'll never tell ;)


The Ties That Bind

The Ties That Bind - 8.5" square

Here it is -- The Ties That Bind. This little quilt was made for Ami Simms' Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI). One of the gals at quilting.about.com challenged the members to make a quilt this fall, as Ami is trying to collect 1000 quilts to take to International Quilt Festival in Houston and sell. I'm thrilled to be able to participate, and would be honored if my contribution went to Houston.

The parameters for the little quilts are pretty straightforward -- each donation must fit in a 9x12 USPS priority mail envelope. Ami auctions off a bunch of quilts each month and gives the money to the Alzheimer's Association. This is a great opportunity to try something new AND make a difference.

A little more about the quilt... anyone who's read anything I've had to say in the last 24 hours or so will recognize the components of this piece. When I trimmed the center panel of my beach quilt, I had some leftovers. Three of the pieces became postcards (those are done, too, waiting for you to tell me about your WIPs), and the rest became this little quilt. Each unit is about 3x4.5, and the total size is about 8.5" square. I put in what felt like 8 million eyelets, then tied the pieces together with a darker brown, nubby yarn.

This piece is made in honor of Laurel G., who has early onset Alzheimer's.


Tell Me About Your WIP -- and Win!

You saw I finished the top of the art quilt I've been working on... I had some pieces of the center panel left over after trimming it to fit the outer border, and those pieces were almost exactly postcard sized! So, in honor of my ONE MONTH (!) blog-aversary, I'm giving away these:

I just have to finish the edges, probably just overcasting with blue. A couple of the couched yarns fray a lot, so I dabbed on a little fray check first. Once it's dry, I'll finish these off before moving on to the next thing on my "to-do" list.

Want to win? Comment on this post and tell me a little about a "work-in-progress" in your life (quilting or otherwise) by September 10. Assuming more than three of you care, I'll randomly draw names for the winners.

Sensuous Lines & Curves

At LONG last (I think this class was last fall -- it's been long enough that I can't remember!)... here's MY finished top from Carol Taylor's Sensuous Lines & Curves class. I had to do a little fudging when I cut the length of the center panel too short, but it's barely noticable, so I'm pleased. My "big idea" was the beach, like at home on Lake Michigan -- water, sand, dune grass and sparkles of sunshine.

There's a LOT of work still to do before this piece is finished. The center panel has all the yarns and trims couched onto a "full" quilt already (top fabric, batting and muslin). The entire piece now gets layered with batting and backing, then that panel needs to be quilted to outline each of the couched yarns. In my mind, that was overkill, but I tried it on a sample (I'll show you that in a minute), and it's definitely worth it. Boring, though! I'll do that in invisible thread, I think, and then add in a few strands of copper hologram thread as accents (and to help balance the left, which is a little pale). I'm not sure what I'll do in the outer blocks yet... I guess take it one step at a time!
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