Thursday, September 28, 2006

Inspiration: Guest Bedroom

I'm trying to buckle down and work on my book. You know the book, the one about the letters and houses etc... There won't be any patterns, just techniques, ideas and inspirations (such as this one, this one, and this one). Well here is another inspiration. I haven't actually made a quilt along these lines, but I'd like to when we get settled down next year.

I can envision a couple of different ways to do a quilt for the bed in the guestroom. First would be to make a bunch of blocks for the center and do words in the border or inner border such as:
  • You are welcome in our home
  • Sleep well, sweet dreams
  • May all your journeys be safe
  • This quilt is made with all my love - may it keep you warm and safe.
Or, a humorous approach:
  • Guests of guests may not invite guests
  • Guests are like fish - they stink after three days
There are, of course, many other options to include. Think of specific visitors who might use that room. What would you wish for them? Why are you happy to have them visit?
And then of course the name of the maker, the city (possibly the street address), the date... all those usual things that look so marvelous on quilts and really make them personal.
Another way to make this quilt would be with the words as the focal point, just like the bed quilt I made. (Well, the top I pieced.) I think the letters in that one came out to 3.75" finished - if I were doing it again I'd probably make them smaller. I do like small letters and I would have been able to fit in more words that way and still fit them into the area I wanted them in.
Anyway, the words could be a heartfelt welcome or it could be fun. I was thinking something like a pretend B & B (using your own name etc):
Welcome to the Case de Ricardo in lovely downtown Burbank. Your hosts are Ricky and Lucy. Breakfast is served between 8 and 10 am. First one up makes the coffee. No noise after 10pm. Enjoy your stay.
If I'd thought about it I could have made this quilt:
Welcome to Cairo, my friends. Make sure you visit all the sights of our fair city including the Pyramids of Giza, the colossal Sphinx, the river Nile, and the mummy of Ramses II. No vacation is complete unless you spend much money at the Khan al Khallili. Thank you for choosing The Lazy Gal Hotel.
I tried to write that using the patter that you hear in Cairo, like "my friends." If I were actually making it I would start doing letters for the most important words and that way if I ran out of room I could leave out the adjectives like "colossal" and not change the meaning.
I might just make something like this for Paris, where I expect we might actually get some visitors. Now just because you don't live some place exotic doesn't mean you couldn't have lots of fun with this. "See the dining room chair that Tonya fell out of and broke her collarbone." Make it personal and meaningful and that's what counts. Or just pretend that you live somewhere else and have fun with it.
Somebody please make one of these. I need quilt pictures for that imaginary book. (If you want to go that route, please don't use anyone else's copyrighted patterns or blocks.) If you want help brainstorming or fitting it together, or anything, just let me know. Or if you have some fun ideas but don't want to actually make the quilt, I'd still love to hear them.

dull dull dull

Sorry this blog has been so incredibly dull lately. I've been taking care of various stuff that has to be done before we go (which won't be until the end of November) which includes some clothes and shoe shopping. I still need to find a coat. One of these days I will actually do some sightseeing or something photo worthy.

I did make it to G Street Fabrics the other day and only bought thread. I would have bought batting but they only had poly or poly/cotton blends and the whole point of my buying batting was to switch to all cotton. So I didn't buy any fabric, can you believe it? Now I did buy something like 10 yards online, so it's not like I'm not buying any at all, but nothing at the store appealed to me. I'm completely off of novelty fabrics (although a great holiday print would suck me in) and strong multi-colors prints.

I soooo want my sewing machine etc. Not that I would necessarily be sewing, but I'd like to have the option.

Anyway, that's me. Dull girl. Ya'all take care.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Free Pieced Quilting Flickr Group

Force Majeure Farm's Kim has done a bunch of work to get a Flickr group established where we can post images of the Take the Leap Challenge quilts as well as any other quilt done using my tuturials such as letters, houses, etc. Go take a look at her post where she explains how it works. She's even willing to post pics for the technologically challenged. If you actually play with Flickr a bit, I think you will find it fairly easy to use.

I now have a Flickr badge over on my sidebar, so you can zip right into the group that way and check it out. There are probably still a couple of bugs to work out, but it's lots of fun. Come play.

Boy, have I now bought into doing all the cool flashing things on my blog. I used to swear about them because they were so slow to load up while I was on dial-up, but now I'm on high-speed so hahahahahahah. Flash, flash, pictures wheeeeee.

We're now hooked up with the high-speed internet on the laptop in our apartment. The other day I was using one of the computers in the apartment building's business center. Any resident can use those and someone who was smarter than I had fixed it so that several pages were in japanese. Glad I don't have to go through that again.

So thrilled to be back in the U.S. watching Simply Quilts, Clean House, and loads of decorating programs. I've been eating salads like a crazy woman and brushing my teeth with tap water. There are simple things that you take for granted, but once you can't do it.... aiyee.

Something else I'm enjoying? Leaving the apartment in my t-shirt and shorts to walk to the trash room, without having to worry that an Egyptian male will be out in the hallway staring at me. Woohoo.

My sweetie and I are both over the jetlag. Cats are finally themselves again, which is a relief. Pokey and Lily had been swatting at each other and hissing, so it's wonderful to see them sleeping cuddled up together. When they're sleeping. All the cats still seem to have their body clocks set to Cairo time and go wild at 2 in the morning racing around the apartment playing. Maybe they've always done that but the apartment was so much larger we didn't hear it.

Today I have to wait around for the two new recliners we ordered to be delivered. Woohoo. We'll get to use them for awhile before they get shipped off to Paris, where I really hope we have enough room to use them. We will MAKE them fit, gosh darn it. Then, if I have time, it's off on the metro to G Street Fabrics.

Life is good.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Back in the USA

Just a quick note to let you all know that we made it safely back to the U.S. We got Pokey's paperwork before we left and the whole trip went smoothly. I'm not using my own computer and while the high-speed service is great, all the websites are set up in Japanese. It's a good thing that I use blogger so much I just automatically know what all the buttons are for.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Luckier Than I Realize

I'm luckier than I realized to have such a cuddly sweet kitty. I didn't know how many cat owners have cats that won't even sit in their laps, let alone let get belly rubs.

I'm luckier than I realize sometimes to have such incredible friends and to have had the opportunity to live in Cairo, which has it's drawbacks but is certainly exotic and out-of-the-ordinary. Today the mushiness finally hit me. This is the last time I will walk on this street, the last time I will have the opportunity to buy one of these items... Gack, I need to just sit and quilt and not think about it.

The fly in our ointment: still no official paperwork to get Pokey into France. I know we don't need it yet, we won't be there for a couple of months, but I'd still like to have that certificate in my hot little hands before we leave.

Thanks to Force Majeure Farms Kim, I'm getting Flickrized. It turns out to be much easier than expected. I'll let you know when there is more news on that front.

Monday, September 18, 2006

How Am I Supposed to Quilt?

Lately whenever I sit down to quilt, I seem to end up with a little cat sleeping on my lap. Now how am I supposed to get any quilting done like this?

Under any circumstances, Pokey is my sweet baby, but just look how irresistably cute she looks all curled up like that ready for a belly rubbing. Can't boot this sweetie pie off my lap, especially right now when the cats need all the reassurance they can get. Their world has definitely turned upside down with this move.

Yes I generally quilt with my legs resting on the coffee table. Or knees bent and feet on the edge of it. I just prefer to do it that way, but don't have to. I can quilt like a civilized person when I'm at someone else's home.

It's certainly no surprise that I have cat hair all over my quilt. I really love the texture the stitches are adding to Cranky Witch:

There was a while there when I was just going around the border (where you can't see the stitches) and I thought - why did I choose to keep this central fabric so large? What was the point - it's so boring. But I'm back in love with it again.

I had pieced this really quickly so that I could do a tutorial on the freehand quilting (see the link to the tutorial over there on my sidebar). Maybe if I'd thought about it longer I might have put words in it like "Happy Halloween" or "cackle cackle cackle" rather like I did on my Merry Penguins. Or not.

Got more items on my to-do list checked off today. Found someone who would love to have bags and bags of bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts. I can't bring myself to throw those away until it's absolutely necessary, so glad to find someone who will use them. Can't believe what a stockpile I have of cardboard boxes either. sigh. Some things I have a hard time throwing away, even here where garbage isn't necessarily garbage. That is, the zabaleen trash collectors will sort it out of the rubbish and reuse it, rather than all of it ending up in a landfill.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

If You Love It, Use It

I love how this looks. My shiny silver scissors and the beautiful blue and white scissor fob that Siobhan made for me.
For the longest time I didn't use them. The Gingher scissors cost a bundle. They're well worth it, but still not something you want to lose. I poked away using my pink handled childrens' scissors with the blunt tip, because after all, I was just cutting thread. The fob didn't fit onto it and besides, these beads are glass, they'll get broken.

Well how silly is all that. These scissors even cut thread divinely and they are beautiful to look at as well as use. And if a bead gets broken, I know how to replace it. Why save things for best - use what you love.

That's true for fabric too. All that fabric I have that I would have sworn 10 years ago that I would ALWAYS love? Well, turns out that just isn't so.

We did a practise run on packing suitcases last night. Rather, my husband did since he's the good packer. I still think it's going to be a tight squeeze trying to get everything in, but don't think we'll be overweight. Plus I'm getting a couple of boxes ready that friends will mail to us in Paris once we're there.

Speaking of which, we got our orders!!! Woohoo. Now our containers of belongings can start moving and maybe we can even get those plane tickets.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Comments and Challenges

I've got my comments working properly again. I finally realized the box had stopped popping up after I put the Babel-fish translating program into my sidebar. Took it out and the comments are back.

Forgot to answer Giraffe Dreams Carol's question in my last post. She asked if there was a slideshow somewhere of all the pics for the Take the Leap Challenge. There isn't. I'm not Flickr-ized. If someone would like to create one, they are more than welcome, but I think I will cry if I have to learn another computer tool... But do go check out Carol's challenge quilt.

Speaking of the challenge, I can't believe Sassenach Kim at Force Majeure Farm has made another one. She's given me permission to post a pic of her "I Love Corn and Beans":

You can go learn about the inspiration for the colors here. Especially those of you living in farm country will understand.

Aiyee, all of a sudden I can't pull up any blogs. I better try and post this one now. Ya'll take care. A Bientot.

Quilters in DeNile Houses

My quilting buddies in The Quilters in DeNile suprised me on Wednesday with not only a luncheon but a quilt. The latter in particular was completely unexpected. They had scurried around and made it in about two weeks, and that included folks who weren't even back in country yet.

They printed out the house tutorials and went to work. Didn't they do a great job getting wonky?

The upper left block which is from a paper-piecing Halloween project; I know how hard it is for D.H. to do anything besides precision and straight lines so I do very much appreciate how much effort it took for her to make this block.

There are suprises in the Halloween house:

As I'm writing this I realized what an idiot I am for not taking a picture of everybody with this quilt. I was a bit overwhelmed and I hate being the center of attention, so the thought didn't even cross my mind. At least they all signed it. I thank them all for their wondrous generosity and thoughtfulness. I'm going to miss them. I refuse to get mushy. I refuse.

It took some running around on short notice, but Pokey's incorrect rabies blood titer certificate is on it's way to Germany and fingers crossed we may even get a correct copy back today. Just glad the lab realized it was their mistake and are fixing it. We sooo did not want to have to put Pokey through the vampire ordeal again.

We've gotten a necessary bit of paperwork which officially states that our next post is Paris (woohoo). Still waiting for the official orders which are necessary for all sorts of things, such as getting our household good out of storage here in Ma'adi and on their way. It's a beaurocracy - there must be lots of papers.

We're down to less than a week now...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Birds and a Palm Tree, of sorts

This is a friend's place in the States with an older Tentmaker Applique and a new light up Palm Tree that we gave her as a gift a while back. She's loads of fun and loves palm trees, so we thought it was appropriate. I think it's supposed to go out in the yard, but it's way more fun inside.

I got a couple of emails from folks saying they couldn't get blogger to let them post comments in my last two posts. It wouldn't let me either, for what that's worth. Let's hope I have better luck with this entry. [You can make the comments box open by doing a right-mouse click and then choosing open. Glad some of my friends are smarter than I am...]

We've leapt over more of the beaurocratic hurdles in our way with only one glitch. I discovered that the German lab doing the rabies testing on our cats got Pokey's microchip number off by one digit. I'm sure it was just a typo (or an inability to read my sweetie's handwriting) and they'll send us a new certificate. Fingers crossed. This doesn't affect our rentry into the states, just France...

The days are blurring together for me and I'm not quite sure what has happened when. I used to know what day of the week it was at least when we had the tv (if it's Friday, then Medium is on etc). My friends are doing a great job of keeping me entertained so I'm not just rattling around at home.

Turns out our lazy, overweight, sluggish boys aren't as pathetic as we thought. Both Howler and Habibi have managed to leap up to the top of the china cabinet from the buffet, now that the easy access cat tree is gone. Who'da thunk it. My sweetie would never have believed me if he hadn't seen it with his own eyes.

I didn't go back to the bazaar, so I didn't make any more purchases of tiles or evil eye charms. I suspect I'll have more opportunities for badness before we depart....

I'm sorry, but during the last couple of weeks I've done a terrible job of providing links to folks doing the Take the Leap Challenge. I apologise. Here is one tho that really caught my eye. I LOVE Force Majeure Farm Kim's De-funked Xs and Os. It is large, glorious and free, much like the Gee's Bend Quilts. It's a style that I admire so much, but never seem to loosen up enough to do myself.

And a new blog for you to check out. Dianne of California Girl in Oz is going through a huge move, only even more miles are involved and even more cats than my own move entails. Dog lovers in particular will love the blocks she recently showcased.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Palestinian Tiles

I'm madly in love with these Palestinian tiles. That is, I *think* they're made by Palestinians, but I can't be 100% positive. I've only found one seller here in Cairo that carries this particular type and he only shows up at the monthly bazaars held at a local ex-pat center. I took photos today for my poor friends who actually have jobs and are locked in their office while the bazaar is being held. Rather than email them the pics, you guys get to see them now too, even tho I've already posted once today. (thanks for the French lessons)

I can hear my husband whimpering in my head: please don't buy any more, we've already packed out. But if I go back to the bazaar tomorrow, one of those evil eye charms might just come home with me. Forest Jane made me realize that I didn't keep any aside - they all went with the household goods.

This tile has a groovy frame that really makes it eye-catching.

Love the palm trees running along the top and the red good luck hands that have the eye in the middle (hard to see, but there).

I wanted you to see the detail of the girl riding the camel. I love how it looks like there is a chunk missing from the camel and she's standing up inside.

You can see the red hands with eyes much better here:

Beatrice's Alphabet

Since I am rather quilt deprived at the moment, I'm going to show you a wonderful alphabet quilt made by Beatrice Marotte of France. Now usually I badger my quilting correspondents to start a blog, since blogs are wonderful and we should all have one. But this time, I slyly asked to post it in my blog so that I would have something fun for you all to look at instead of another pic of my empty apartment.
She did such a great job. I love the D in particular. The novelty prints look wonderful tucked into the letters, but don't distract from them.
Beatrice explained: "this is my first essay with your tutorial. Le quilt est pour la salle de classe de mon mari, instituteur avec de jeunes enfants. J'en ferai un autre pour moi avec des lettres plus bancales!!!"
She's helping me to learn French. I can actually puzzle most of the first French sentence out. This quilt is for the classroom of her "mari" at the school for young children. And okay, I get lost on the second sentence. Something something for me with the letters plus something.
I think I will get much better at this once I actually have a dictionary.
Anyway, I'm excited to "know" another person living in France. This makes three. (Hi, Clare, hi Paula!) Beatrice, thank you for letting me post this pic and I encourage you to get a blog!
The internet certainly makes moving to a new country a much less frightful experience. For instance, I already know about Le Rouvray, the quilt shop near the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Several people have asked what our timeline is. We expect to be in the Washington DC area for about two months and then travel to Paris around Thanksgiving (November 20-ish). Nothing is written in stone and can certainly change, but this is the guestimation we're working with.
It's certainly been quiet here. On Friday afternoon my sweetie napped and read for four hours laying on the sofa with two sleeping little cats on top of him. He wouldn't move and by the time they got up he was all stiff and sore. We call that "trapped by love" around here.
I pulled out Cranky Witch - my freehand fan quilting project - and worked on it yesterday while my sweetie cleaned and organized. We have another huge load of stuff for the charity shop, including the American tv and vcr that we didn't use the whole time we were here. Expect they'd just take up space in Paris too, since their television operates on yet another system and even our multi-system tv won't work there. (We weren't complete idiots for bringing our tv here in the first place: we thought we'd watch AFN - Armed Forces Network - which broadcasts an American signal, but it came in really lousy so we gave up on it.)
We were worried that we were going to go overweight so we pulled stuff out of the "take" pile and threw it into the charity pile with abandon. I've had that pizza cooking stone for at least seven years and have used it only a handful of times, none of them while we were here. Time to go, deadweight.
Speaking of time to go, I've got errands to run. See ya later.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Packing Up

All of our belongings that we had here in Cairo are now packed up and on their way. We managed to acquire 2,000 lb more stuff while we were here (to be fair, some of that weight is packing material and cardboard boxes!)

Of all our cats, Lily proved to the the most adaptable to the new environment.

This was the first night. Eventually Pokey did come out and join her sister and they had a great time chasing each other all over the boxes, much to my sweetie's chagrin (he was sure one of them was going to fall in a crevice or knock a box over and be horribly crushed).

Habibi had the hardest time with this. Jam him in a cage and stick needles in him, he's a-okay, but disturb his environment and he's all out of sorts. Both he and Howler cried in the middle of the night.

The level of filth we discovered was disturbing. Who knew that much sand/dust had accumulated under the slipcovers? And everywhere else... Yick.

Anyway, that's all over and done with. I'm now sitting in an echoey apartment working at the laptop (which I hate). We'll stay here for the next two weeks. We still have the embassy furniture, plus they provide a "welcome kit" with basic necessities. I'd much rather be at a hotel, but this is how it's done. Oh how I miss my tv and the stereo... It's awfully quiet.