Archive for the ‘chat’ Category

Letting Go

I did something today that I never thought I’d actually do.

I don’t consider myself a hoarder, but my studio tells me that I’m in denial. So too, probably, would my husband. When you’re into genealogy, you have to document your research and that means paper, lots of paper (until you convert your stuff to digital) and after 25 years of researching, there’s not enough life left in me to scan all that stuff. I’ll have to do something about it sometime, but not now. I don’t have a large fabric stash, but I have more than I’d like to have and I need to make scrap quilts, lots of scrap quilts. I have 10+ years of quilting magazines.

At least I did. Until today.


I always thought these magazines had value to someone out there and I should have a yard sale. I just couldn’t throw them out. But then I saw the multitudes of magazines that had been donated to the group I sew with. I’ll bet nobody looks at them, they’re stored out in the garage. So I realized that the magazines really don’t have much value. Sure, they’ve got quilt patterns, but the fabrics featured and advertised are outdated, techniques and tools are outdated, and who has the time to go through them?

So I saved the ones that had patterns I’d flagged and took the rest (pictured above) to the recycling center. I’m going to review those flagged items to see if they still matter to me. If not, out they go, too.


So I unloaded about half my magazine stash. And a lot of dust LOL.

I divided the remaining mags by title and found that the largest stack was Quilter’s Newsletter, followed by Fons & Porter (which was a surprise as I really dislike their TV shows), McCall’s Quilting and Quiltmaker. The smallest stacks read like a time capsule: Miniature Quilts (those are really old), Quilts with Style. Do you remember that magazine? It was published by a husband and wife (in Virginia as I recall) and it was all about paper-pieced designs. Really complex designs. Beautiful designs. The magazine is no longer published but the couple now runs equiltpatterns.com. There was a Quilter’s Home issue, which went out of print in 2011. That magazine was started by Mark Lipinski, you either loved him or hated him. I don’t know what he’s doing now, didn’t he have a kidney transplant or something?

I love magazines of all kinds and I have to work hard to control the amount I leave laying around the house. I get comped on a number of magazines through work, which I bring home, and if I’m at Barnes & Noble, there is usually a quilting magazine or two that come home with me.

Next up, to go through my photography/Photoshop books.


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Design Wall Monday 09.09.13

No quilts on the design wall this week. I’m making a gift from Burda 9708, a pattern I’ve made a couple of times for my granddaughter.

Two observations about this pattern. One, there are two pattern pieces missing from the cutting layout. No big deal because they are both cut on the fold and there aren’t too many different ways to accomplish that. I don’t know that I’ve ever run into a commercial pattern with a misprint, but then, this is the one and only Burda pattern I’ve ever worked with.

Two, I didn’t pay attention until now that Burda wants me to place my fabric right sides together (wrong sides out), something I’ve never, ever done with a clothing pattern. I’ve turned pattern pieces upside down when it’s called for, but I’ve always positioned my fabric right side out. This is a very symmetrical pattern, so there should be no issues with pieces facing the wrong way, but I went to the Sewing forum for assurances that if I cut it out Burda’s way, the dress wouldn’t have to be worn inside out LOL. There were a variety of opinions on why this would be called for, one of which is the ease of marking on the wrong side of the fabric. Personally, I don’t usually have problems marking notches, darts, etc. but maybe it’s because I’ve always done it one way.

Now one new thing I tried and it’s either brilliant or incredibly stupid. This pattern has facings that will be reinforced with fusible interfacing. Rather than cutting out the facing and interfacing separately, I layered the interfacing on top of the fabric and then pinned on the pattern and cut them out at once. That should give me a better chance of the interfacing exactly matching the facing. Not that it would be off much anyway, but it is a little more efficient, time-wise.


That’s all from Short Pump, here’s what’s going on at Judy L’s page. Check it out!

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Great visit with old/new friends

We had such an enjoyable visit this weekend with an old friend from California and her family, whom I had not met. They are taking an awesome vacation and swung down to Richmond after spending several days in Washington DC. They have been blessed by the weather gods, I can tell you. The first time we visited DC in the summer after moving here, it was like 100 degrees with almost as much humidity. It was miserable to say the least. But we haven’t had typical August weather this year, cool and rainy. However, this weekend was just gorgeous.


As you can see by this picture, they are a great family. The boys had a lot of fun playing with Joey and he’s really going to miss them!

We had a late lunch at Michie Tavern and took the Monticello tour on Saturday. It is so beautiful up on that hill. If you ever have a chance to go, don’t miss it.


I should call the next photo “Cliche” but I couldn’t help taking the opportunity:


That is the back of the building, by the way.

This is an insect that we see very infrequently at home and we don’t know what it is. My friend Susan calls it a humming bumble (she’s got a great way with words) because it acts like a humming bird, but is not a bird. We saw one flitting around and I tried several times to get a picture of it. My apologies if you can’t see it very well.


Our guests spent yesterday at Colonial Williamsburg, ending their day with the Ghost Tour. Today they are continuing on to Gettysburg and eventually back home where the boys will start school next week.

So I felt like I had a mini-vacation this weekend. Sweet!

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Happy Birthday Joey


Eleven years of doggy joy! Happy Birthday old man.


robin purple-magenta siggy

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A trip down Memory Lane

It was 17 years ago today (also on a Friday) that I boarded an airplane with 2 kids and a cat on our way to start our new lives in Virginia. The moving van had packed up our house in a monsoon pouring rain the day before and was on its way east as well.

The trip became more of an adventure than planned when we were stranded during our layover in Chicago because Richmond’s airport was closed due to an ice storm (a very big one). What was I going to do? I had a cat that hadn’t used a litter box all day and the airline was not going to pay for a hotel room.

It was near dinner time and after calling my husband with the bad news, decided to try and reach his cousins who live in one of the northern suburbs. I caught them just as they were making dinner plans with friends and these Angels (capital A) cancelled and came down and got us.

I didn’t realize how much I was imposing on them until Sharon walked into the terminal (you could do that back in those days hahaha) wearing the biggest Eskimo-like down coat I had seen. Seems that from the relative comfort of the inside of the terminal I didn’t know it was minus 60F outside with the wind chill. Or maybe without wind chill. Her husband John was circling the airport because if he’d parked, he wasn’t likely to get the car started again. And here we were with our southern California-weight winter jackets.

I treated them to dinner and they gave us a warm, dry place to stay the night and we were able to get on a plane the next day and fly into RIC. The kids were so jazzed that their first day of school that Monday was a snow day. They’d never had a snow day in their lives (neither had I). Because my car was still en route, I took John to work that morning and was impressed when I heard on the radio that it was 0 degrees. I don’t think it’s been that cold here since.

We have now officially lived in Richmond as long as we lived in our house back in California. Had John not gotten the opportunity to transfer his job, I wonder if we’d still be in that house. Probably so.


robin valentine siggy

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eBay-how does this work?

I want a serger. I can’t afford a new one so I’m looking at used ones on eBay. I’m looking at one specific make/model, the Baby Lock Imagine. New, they currently retail for about $1,800. No can do. I’ve watched many auctions on eBay where they’re going for about $800 with some exceptions. That’s better.

I was looking at the bid history of a current auction the other day and I just don’t get it.

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 3.30.28 PM

Here’s the beginning of the auction, starting price $9.99. What, are you kidding me? So the first bidder bids 50 cents and then rounds it up to $50 in 13 seconds.

Watch what the second bidder does: in all of a minute, makes several small bids to get it up to $99. Let’s skip the next 3 bidders who are just incrementing it in small jumps, probably what I’d do. But then, whoa! bidder #6 jumps it up from $117 to $500? Who does that? And then bidder #7 bids against him/her self several times in 10 minutes and jumps it up to $810? Who does that?

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 3.30.42 PM

In this continuation screenshot of the bid history, bidder #7 is not finished and jumps it up to $1,000. I don’t understand bidder #8’s entry, two days earlier, also at $1,000? and then bidder #7 comes back and at the time of the screenshot, got it up to $1,025. (An important note is that this serger has a special feature called “the Wave” stitch that makes it more expensive than the one I’m looking for.)

So this is what I don’t get: why bid against yourself and drive the price way up? I read the bidding rules and it says shilling is not allowed. But let’s say I’m the seller and I want to start a bidding war. I’m afraid my auction might sell too low so I get a friend to drive up the prices. The rules says your bid commits you to pay for the item, but the friend could “pay” for it and the seller turns around and gives their money back. And then he puts the item back up for another auction. I can see this happening. How does eBay catch it? Or do they?

Am I just being cynical? Or is there more to this that I don’t understand? I don’t have much experience with eBay, but if I’m going to bid on something, I want a bargain. And by bargain, I’m looking for a steal 🙂


robin siggy-dumb3

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2013 FB cover

I’m a little late with my greeting, everyone else posted theirs yesterday or Monday.

My excuse, which I’m sticking to, is that we were out of town for Christmas and I was setting up my new computer over the weekend and haven’t had time to do everything I would have liked to do. You notice I missed the last two Design Wall Mondays? I will remedy that next week. There’s been a heck of a lot of sewing going on at Casa de Kaspar.

I wish you and yours the best year ever!


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Have you heard of Chihuly? Unusual name, what is it?

Dale Chihuly is a blown-glass artist. You may have seen some of his brightly colored work here and there on the internet and not realized what it was.

This month, an exhibit of, I’d say, thousands (tens of thousands?) of pieces of his work are on display at Richmond’s Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VMFA). My agency did the advertising for the exhibit and I worked on the account, too. We went with friends on Black Friday to see it for ourselves.

Can I just say, WOW!

Mr. Chihuly allows non-flash photography, which is very generous. Pictures just don’t do it justice, if you have the chance to see it in person, GO! The Richmond exhibit lasts until February 10th. The Dallas Arboretum is running an outdoor exhibit through 12/31. It looks pretty awesome, too.

These pieces reminded me of undersea creatures:

This “tree” stands almost floor to ceiling:

He dabbled in neon:

He also has an interest in blankets like this, there were probably a hundred of them mounted on a wall:

As I walked around, I couldn’t help wondering how in the world they packed and transported it all, did any of it break, how much does he pay in insurance premiums? He must have a huge warehouse to store it all.

What are you waiting for? If you’re in Richmond, make your reservations now. If you’re in Dallas, go to that one. If an exhibit pops up near you, don’t miss it.


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This woodpecker has mounted an attack on our house.

When he’s not pecking on the window frame (bad!), he’s pecking on the glass or flying into it.

I listened to that all day yesterday so I made this:

He’s a slow learner but I think he’s finally moved away from the family room window. He has moved onto the Florida room and kitchen windows and there are now 3 deflectors on the back of the house. He has mounted a second offensive this morning. He still flies into the glass. I don’t know what his problem is. I hope he doesn’t move to the front windows because I don’t think my husband would be too happy to have deflectors on the front of the house. But the whole point is to keep him from destroying our window frames.

What a pest!

Edited to add: This is not a woodpecker. It’s a yellow-bellied sapsucker. We do have woodpeckers here, and they have done damage to our siding, but that’s not what this one is about. This one has a different vendetta.


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We need some standardization here

I have become a fan of eBooks. Not that I really had any doubts, seeing as how I love books and I love technology. How could a marriage of the two be bad?

Well, if you’re buying Kindle books from Amazon, OMG, they make it way too easy. I could rack up some huge credit card bills doing this.

But if you’re trying to borrow eBooks from the library, it can be a hassle. I’m still trying to understand how it all works. The problem is that there are several variables and those variables can combine to make the user experience confusing.

Let me explain.

The first 3 library books I borrowed were from James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series. I don’t remember the exact sequence of steps but I think it started like this: On my iPad, I started the Overdrive app which I believe is required for ebook borrowing. First you have to set up your library in Overdrive. As part of that process you search or browse for a title. Your search results will tell you if the ebook is available and how many copies the library owns. If the book you want is not available, you can put a hold on it. (Just like physical books, the library can loan out at one time only as many eBooks as they own.) So I set up the Henrico library and searched on the first of the titles at that library and added it to my cart. From there I proceeded to “checkout,” where I was able to select my checkout period of 7, 14 or 21 days, 14 being the default. And then I downloaded the ebook to my device. As I write this, I’m trying to duplicate the process to check the steps and I managed to lock it up. So until I can get back to that, here’s what I remember from the “real” experience: after I clicked download, I was taken to Amazon.com where I downloaded the book from there to my Kindle. What I love about Kindle eBooks is that I’m able to sync back and forth between my iPad’s Kindle app and my Kindle reader (basic model). I don’t usually carry my iPad (1st gen) around because it’s too big for my purse and too heavy. I bought the Kindle a few months ago and it’s delightfully portable. Once I finished reading the book, I “returned” it to Amazon. Now one thing I don’t understand is that these 3 books are still in my book list, marked “Loan Ended.” Does that mean I can’t borrow them again if I should want to for some reason? I can’t imagine.

Fast forward to now. I wanted to borrow Sue Grafton’s T is for Trespass. I’ve been reading the whole series over the years and I’m almost caught up. I checked the Henrico library and they only carry U is for Undertow as an ebook. So I set up the Richmond library on the iPad in Overdrive, browsed for T ( I’d already checked their online catalog and confirmed that they had it), went through what I expected would be the same process and what? It was different. I wasn’t taken to Amazon, I had to download the book and read it in the Overdrive app which doesn’t sync between devices. There’s no way I want to read a book on my iPhone, but since I downloaded to the iPad I couldn’t sync it to the iPhone if I wanted to. The Richmond library apparently doesn’t allow anything but 14 day loans and there are no renewals (I confirmed this with the librarian). I’m not sure what happens if you’re not finished with the book when it expires and is automatically removed from your device. The Overdrive app does show you how many days you have left before that happens but I’d want to make sure I’d written down what page/chapter I was on before I lost it. I would hope that you could go back through the process, download the book again and pick up where you left off (if you wrote that down) but since I haven’t tried it, I don’t know for sure. If there is a waiting list for the book, does it go to the next in line? I think if you’ve borrowed a physical book you could renew even if there was a waiting list. Somebody confirm this. Why the difference?

After I finished that book, I went back to the Henrico library and downloaded U is for Undertow. Apparently how the process works is a “library” thing? Because I got this one from Amazon and can read it on my Kindle.

Henrico=Amazon/Kindle, Richmond=Overdrive only?*

If so, obviously eBooks from Henrico are the way to go for me because they’re more flexible with checkout times and device usage. Am I understanding this correctly? I originally thought the differences were due to ebook format: Kindle/Adobe EPUB/Open EPUB. I know book publishers are trying to figure out this whole thing and some publishers have limitations on library borrowing that others don’t have.

Holy cow, I sure hope that everyone figures this out soon so that users don’t have to have a PHD in ebooks to have a satisfying experience.

Do you read eBooks? If you have a reader and haven’t tried borrowing a book yet, would you try it and report your experience back to me?

* I just looked at a flyer I picked up at the Richmond library and it says the process is “Easy to Use.” Only 3 steps. According to step 3, there is a “Get for Kindle” button that I must have missed when I downloaded T is for Trespass. So I’m going to have to give Richmond another try.

Edited to add: I finished U and wanted to get V is for Vengeance, but neither of my libraries carry it in eBook format. Heaven forbid, I’m going to have to go to  the library and check out an old-fashioned book LOL. So I looked for the next Women’s Murder Club book, 4th of July, and I can get it at Richmond. I don’t have my iPad with me and I didn’t want to go through the process on my iPhone in case there’s no Kindle version and be stuck reading it on that device, so I tried it on my computer. You go to search.overdrive.com and the process is the same: find your library, search for the book, if there’s a Kindle version (there was), add to cart, checkout, go to Amazon.com (it takes you there automatically), download to Kindle device. And there it was, right on my reader.

I think I’m getting the hang of this. If both my libraries have all their eBooks in Kindle format, it’s relatively easy, although there are more steps than I think are necessary.


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