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Archive for June, 2010

Electric Quilt 7

I was notified this week that my upgrade to EQ7 has been shipped. I should get it next week. Woohoo!

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Batik swap

I’m bored with this swap. I don’t know the people I’m swapping with and as I take my packages to the post office each month, I’m thinking I could have gotten two more fat quarters for the cost of postage. So what is the point?

So here’s my latest (and probably last) package of batiks. The theme for May was “anything goes” but only printed batiks, not blenders like the mistake I made in the first swap.

batik fabrics

They’re all very pretty and I do have a quilt in mind for these. I don’t have enough yet, but I can buy my own until I do.

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As our time off came to a close, we prepared for a visit by my childhood best friend, Janet, and her husband Chuck. They live out in California, about 30-35 miles from where we used to live. The last time I saw her was at our moving-to-Virginia party 14 years ago. We do email and swap Christmas cards/letters so it’s not like we’ve been out of each others’ lives all that time, you know?

Janet and Chuck

They were traveling around Washington DC and Virginia on their vacation and we were happy to see them. Chuck said he was on history overload and was looking forward to a couple of days of rest. Janet was walking his feet off and he needed a nap.

We took them to Bottom’s Up Pizza for Sunday night dinner, where we take all our out-of-town guests. The evening was very nice and we were seated outside. The ambience of this place is a little unusual, especially when a freight train rumbled above us and we had to stop talking until it passed, it was so loud.

On Monday, Memorial Day, we just hung out around the house. The humidity was lower than the day before and it was so pleasant sitting out on the deck. We did run to the grocery store to pick up stuff to grill, because you can’t let Memorial Day, and such a nice one at that, go by without grilling. And we did drive them around Richmond, showing them some of the sights. They went with me to the wild bird store, where I bought a new feeder hoping to attract goldfinches.

John cooked some yummy rib-eyes, with grilled corn-on-the-cob; I baked some potatoes, cut up a wonderful cantaloupe and Janet offered up some sauteed green beans in olive oil with garlic. Oh boy what a feast! We finished it off with a trip to Gelati Celesti for ice cream.

The next morning, Janet got up and cooked us poached eggs on toast with leftover cheese sauce from the baked potatoes. I told her she couldn’t leave, I usually just have a bowl of oatmeal before I go to work.

And then as I left for said office, Janet and Chuck got into their rental car and drove back up to DC where they had a couple more days of sightseeing left to do before they flew back home today. I know they’ll be so happy to be back in their own bed and see their grandkids again.

What a wonderful ending to our week off!

Robin and Janet

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The newest member of the family is a month old now, and I had every intention of having her quilt ready to go once she was here and I knew what her name would be (just in case they decided to change at the last minute). I got it started when she was born but one thing led to another and it wasn’t done as quickly as it should have been.

I was having trouble with my machine, the thread was breaking as I wound the bobbin. I took it in to the dealer and $90 later, I was told it must have been the thread, because they didn’t have any problems with it. I’ve been using Superior Thread’s Alex Anderson’s Masterpiece , which is 50wt, thinner than the Coats and Clark stuff I’ve used for decades. So maybe they’re right, but this was my second spool and I never had any problems winding bobbins with the first one. My machine has two ways to position the spool, horizontally and vertically, and I tried the vertical spool pin this time and got a full bobbin. So I will have to keep my eye on it, I still think something’s wrong. At least they cleaned the machine for my $90, so it wasn’t a complete waste.

But it took a week to get it back.

Because the great-niece and great-nephew were due a month apart and not much more than a month before our granddaughter is due, I decided to make simple quillows for them (a quilt that folds into a pocket, making a pillow) and save a more sophisticated design for Anya.

Sophia's quillow

Sophia's quillow

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A friend of mine from church, Kelly, has horses. 4 horses. I’m not into horses, but I can appreciate that a lot of people are. She had mentioned that she goes to the stables every day and I thought there might be an interesting photo shoot there. So I arranged to meet her one morning.

I thought she was going to be riding, but she was only there to feed them before she made her home healthcare rounds. So my “vision” didn’t really materialize. I didn’t know exactly what to expect but I guess the stables were a little less sophisticated than I imagined. A more seasoned photographer than I might find all kinds of neat angles to shoot. I, however, just came home with snapshots of horses and other things not worthy of this blog. But it was a beautiful morning and it was nice visiting with Kelly for more than an hour. It gave me a perspective I didn’t have before, namely, horses are a lot of work and an expensive “hobby.” But if they’re your babies…


See that wire? I touched it accidentally. Got a shock, didn’t touch it again.


She told me the muzzle on two of her horses was to keep them from eating too much grass. Apparently some horses just don’t know when to quit and they get sick when they overdo it. They can nibble and drink water through the muzzle and she takes them off when they eat real horse food.

I didn’t even get a shot of her other horse. I’ll have to give this more thought and see what I can do differently next time.

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When we weren’t working in the yard, we were running all over town. John and I are really good at running errands. It’s amazing how much time you can waste running around town. This is how I envision that retirement works. Not quilting, or doing genealogy, or taking pictures, or doing anything productive (except maybe yardwork). Just running around. And watching TV. As long as there are reality shows, we’ll waste time watching them. (Except Dancing with the Stars. Not into dancing.)

In downtown Richmond, right behind my office, there is an old pipeline along the river’s edge that you can walk on. Why would you want to? Well, at this time of year, you can get a good view of herons that nest in the trees on small islands in the middle of the river. I had never heard of the pipeline or the herons until last year, after I got into photography. I’d have to check my archives, but I don’t think I got many pictures then. Not enough to blog about, anyway. But John and I went down there during the staycation and spent about an hour shooting.

This guy was standing stock still and didn’t seem to notice that we were close by. Maybe he was in a coma. He never moved.
Heron

This guy has a funny-looking turkey face. At least from this angle.
Heron

Can you see a bird in this nest? I couldn’t tell from the distance if it was an adult or a baby. I kept waiting for one to fly in or out so that I could get a sense of scale. That nest is so big, it must be an adult.
Heron nest

These guys wouldn’t catch any fish for me.

Can you see the nests in these trees? John made the comment that it was a very Jurassic sight, what with the nests and the big birds standing in the treetops.

The James River as it runs through the downtown area is filled with granite boulders and creates rapids, to the delight of kayakers and whitewater rafters. These guys had to turn around and back into this run or whatever they call it. I don’t know why they couldn’t do it going forward, but maybe they would flip or something. Anyone know?

And we weren’t alone.

After we’d had enough of birds, we drove up to Church Hill where I hoped to catch a sunset over the downtown skyline. I wasn’t disappointed.

I’ve since seen better compositions of this angle over on flickr, so maybe I should go back and see if I can replicate them.

John suggested I take this shot. He got a darn nice one with his iPhone. I also applied a special effect to it as a test.

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Antique grinder at Currituck Lighthouse, Corolla, NC

stitched-siggy

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