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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Another Desert update

It's a little blurry, but I have been working on part 3 of Desert Landscapes Mandala. I still have a little ways to go before I finish this part, but I thought I'd share what I've been working on this week while we watch television.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A non-stitchy post

I have a new optometrist, and he is awesome.

Over the last few years I have become more and more dissatisfied with my now-former optometrist. He had become very impatient with me, tried to force some lenses on me that just *didn't* work, and the last straw came last April with my annual appointment. I think I mentioned back in 2011 that I had begun wearing my then-computer glasses for driving, walking around, etc. I had continued to do that last year, and when I went in for my appointment, the optometrist swore that my prescription had changed a lot. Thing is, he did not listen to me. And he didn't spend a lot of time with me. And I ended up with a prescription that was almost identical to the one from 2009. It didn't work. And then I compared my prescriptions and realized what he had done. I paid nearly $300 for new lenses that were virtually identical to the ones that were in those frames in the first place! I was so upset when I discovered what they had done, but that wasn't the half of it.

When I called them to complain and to tell them I wanted my money back, they said that I could have my refund if I gave them back the lenses. I told them, fine - just put my original lenses back in the glasses. First they told me that they gave me back my original lenses. I told them they didn't return them to me. Then they told me that the lab didn't return the original lenses back to them, and they would contact the lab and see what happened to them. Then when I talked to them again, they said that the lab didn't have them and they specifically remembered giving them back to me (they did not). I got tired of the run-around by phone and went to see them in person. That didn't do much good except that I got my money back, and they got their new lenses back, but I still did not get my original lenses. They refused to admit their mistake (or the lab's mistake), and I could hear the optometrist yelling at his staff that he needed to get the lenses back so he could get *his* money back from the lab.

Needless to say, this left an extremely bad taste in my mouth. Yes, I got my money back, but I now had a pair of frames with NO lenses. Oh, and did I mention that when I said I would just continue to wear my computer glasses for driving / distance vision, they told me that was really "dangerous!" I had been doing it for over a year, and had no problems. The prescription was a little stronger than the one I had previously (that I no longer had the lenses for), but I felt that I actually could see better. My only problem with them has been that the temples of the frames are too wide and in a bad position so that they interfere with my peripheral vision. Honestly, I don't see how people wear even wider ones. It's like you have blinders on. But otherwise they've been just fine.

Fast-forward to today. A friend recommended her new optometrist because she had been through some similar experiences (with the same former optometrist). She said the new one was very patient and worked with her to figure out what worked for her. I got to experience that for myself. He listened and was patient. He took his time with the eye exam, making sure that I was comfortable, and that I had enough time to analyze which was better - 1 or 2, 3 or 4, 5 or 6, and so on.

And you know what he concluded? That the prescription that I've been wearing - my former computer glasses - is almost exactly what I should be wearing for distance. I'm going to get some new frames where the temples don't obscure my peripheral vision. They were not concerned with selling me "cool" or "hip" expensive frames. They were concerned with putting me in frames that actually do what I need them to do, let me see properly.

Oh, and everyone in the office was so nice. I don't carry vision insurance because I haven't gotten anything out of it (the former optometrist didn't accept the insurance my work offers). When I mentioned this to the staff, they asked me about my health insurance, and offered to check on something for me. It turns out that my health insurance offers these "perks" that reduced my exam payment and gave a pretty decent discount on glasses. They didn't have to do that, put forth the extra effort to find out - but it helped out a LOT. I am looking forward to getting my new glasses in a couple of weeks. And I am very grateful for people like the new eye doctor and his staff.

Thanks for listening - back to your regularly scheduled crafty-updates next time!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bear Chasin' and Rail Fence Rockin'

I finished 4 more Bear Chase blocks today.

And then I moved on to piecing those Rail Fence strips - I need 28 sets each of light and dark, and I have 15 so far of the light, 5 more of those in progress.

Tonight I'm going to work a little on Desert Landscapes Mandala - the first stitches in the octagon border are complete (so at least I know I counted correctly), and now I get to add the rest of the cross stitches, dense rhodes stitches, and algerian eyelets. I SO do not want my vacation to be over!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Paper piecing wedding star arcs

Today I focused entirely on paper piecing my arcs for the Bali Wedding Star quilt. I finished the B arcs for set 1 (A arcs were completed just before Christmas), and then I stitched another two sets of A arcs and another set of B arcs. Here are the arcs so far. The B arcs do not have the final pieces stitched yet, because the instructions say to wait until after I complete a different step to do those. Since I have to wait on those, the B arcs are not trimmed, but the A arcs are.

I was really pleased at how many I completed, because I expected it to take me a lot longer per each set of arcs (there are 8 in each set, 11 sets total). The colors are yummy fun too!

Tomorrow I plan on focusing on Clifford's Bear Chase blocks.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Relaxing Sunday afternoon

This morning while watching CBS Sunday Morning (which has become a ritual at our house), I finished all of the backstitching on Part 2 of Desert Landscapes Mandala. I'm looking forward to moving on to Part 3, maybe this evening.

This afternoon I played in my sewing room for several hours, totally forgetting about the laundry, oops. :) I finished putting the borders on all of my 2012 SSS Block of the Month blocks. Here is one of the blocks - the border will measure approximately ¾ inches when finished.

And I just had to share - quiltmaking supervision is hard work. Exhausting actually.

Roughy sleeping on the job

Okay - those clothes refuse to fold themselves, so I'd better get on that!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Welcome 4-day weekend!

Phase 1 of the work project is over, and phase 2 doesn't begin for a couple of weeks. This week we had to work on some post-launch items, but at least I didn't have the overtime schedule like I did prior to launch. And now I get to start taking some of that comp time I've earned, so I coupled a day with Monday's holiday, and I'm planning a quilt-and-stitch fest!

I just printed off Part 9 for 80 Stitches, but before I get to that, I really want to finish up Part 2 of Desert Landscapes Mandala. That project has languished on the shelf for about a year because I got to a point where there was a lot of backstitching (one reason I don't like to save backstitching for last on any project), and just put it down and hadn't picked it back up again. I finished the first of 4 sections, the second is nearly complete, so hopefully I can get the other two done very soon, then I can move on to Part 3!

I received my fabrics for Block D and 2 of Block M on Fall Frolic, so those are fused down, ready to appliqué.

And I finally took a picture of the latest set of High Cotton blocks I've been working on over the past month - they seem to be color-coordinated this time.

I plan to work on Bali Wedding Star this weekend, along with Clifford's Bear Chase, and I'll prep some more High Cotton blocks to sew. Looking forward to a very relaxing 3 more days, especially since it's supposed to be cold here on Monday and Tuesday - I'm planning to stay in and sew, sew, sew!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Just in time for part 9

Part 8 of Around the World in 80 Stitches is completed, yay! First pic is a closeup, second pic is the entire design so far. Color is a bit off, but that's because of the flash.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Catching up with 80 Stitches

I finally finished Part 7 tonight, took my photo, then promptly started Part 8. Here is part 7.

Still loving my colors - not loving my stitching as much on this one - stitches that are laid on top of the fabric or that cross over large areas tend to pull one way or another for me (unless I am working on needlepoint canvas), even when using a q-snap, which I did for this part. I'm back to not using a q-snap for part 8. It is coming along rather nicely, and I hope to have it finished up in the next couple of days, just in time for the release of Part 9! :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Start of another quilt

Here are my first four blocks for the Super Second Saturdays 2013 Block of the Month - Anything Goes (aka Bonnie Hunter's Chunky Churn Dash).

And I picked out fabric for finishing my SSS 2012 quilt. Here is the basic idea (I haven't yet cut out the fabrics except for the "shadow" for each block.

Now I just need to cut and sew, sew, sew!

Still working on part 7 of 80 Stitches also. I'm nearly finished - just have a little whitework and beads to add.

Friday, January 11, 2013

In the garden

It doesn't look much like a fantasy garden yet, but I love this design. I have finished pages 3 & 4, so this is 25% complete.

Now I think I will try to catch up a little on 80 Stitches.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tuesday night's fun

I worked on the other side of the first part of the Cotton Theory blocks.

I also finished two blocks for my Blocks From the Past quilt. Here is Carrie Nation.

And here is Friendship Baskets. The handles are appliquéd.

Wednesday I accomplished nothing except work, but I'm hoping to do a little cross stitching tonight. I've almost finished another page on In the Garden.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

An enjoyable weekend

I got to play in my sewing room some this weekend, and here are the results. I had hoped to get just a little more done, but I'm happy with what I've accomplished.

A second block on Clifford's Bear Chase

I re-worked a part of the original Anniversary Stars block I had done when I realized that the upper left corner piece was supposed to be a dark, not a light square. Then I put three more together.

I finished the bottom half of the May Country Baskets block. I have also fused the top half, but I didn't take a picture of that yet.

And I started another quilt that I've been wanting to start for a while - my Cotton Theory quilt. Because it is reversible, this is just the start of side one - corner squares pieced to the larger squares on the diagonal, then trimmed. 36 of them - half pieced to one corner, half to the other.

I need to do the same thing for the alternate side pieces, and then I will cut the batting squares and begin the quilting.

I still want to go ahead and make the next couple of blocks for my Blocks From the Past quilt. Maybe I'll have a chance to do that this week, if not this weekend.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Fun with paper piecing

I seem to spend quite a lot of time lately getting things ready to sew but not as much time actually sewing. There is a lot of preparation to do for many of the projects I am currently working on or recently started. Thursday night was Game Night for DH, and I got to spend some quality time in the sewing room.

I cut some 2 inch squares so that I could begin to assemble more Bear Chase blocks.

I cut some more pieces for the Anniversary Stars quilt.

I traced onto fusible the pieces for the appliqué of my May calendar quilt block, and then I got so caught up in the paper piecing portion that was almost all I did the rest of the evening.

Here is the result - very accurate itty bitty paper pieced log cabin basket bottom. It was a lot of fun to do this one, though really time consuming because of all of the starting, stopping, finger pressing, trimming, finding the right scrap of fabric for the next piece, lather, rinse, repeat. :)

I finally got back to the fusible, found the right scraps for that, and fused the appliqué to the scraps. I started cutting them out to fuse to the background and looked at the clock - after 9:30 p.m. already! Looks like I'll be fusing the rest of them this weekend.

I'm also anxious to get my new Sizzix dies. I ordered a couple of strip dies, plus a hexagon one and one for triangles, from another local quilt shop, The Quilters Path. Hopefully they will come in to the shop next week and I can pick them up. I need to cut more hexagons for my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt, but I want to wait until I have my die (if I can!).

I should also be receiving my next block of the month for Fall Frolic next week.

And I'm planning on doing another quilt block for Blocks From the Past - at least one pieced, and preparing one with appliqué so I can have a couple of take-along projects to work on next weekend. I've been invited to a quilt group get-together (Dear Janes), and I'm excited to meet some new quilting friends.

Oh, and next weekend will start the 2013 Super Second Saturdays block of the month! I have the idea of how I want to piece together the 2012 blocks, I just haven't gone rummaging through my stash to see if I have the proper fabrics, or if I'll have to do a little shopping for that one. I'm thinking something similar to the t-shirt quilt I did several years ago, I just want to make sure I pick a good background fabric.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

January 2013: Getting It Done

I haven't done extremely well in the past with setting monthly goals and keeping up with them, but I thought I'd try the Getting It Done Challenge for 2013. Since the work project is still ongoing (another week and a half 'til launch), I'm going to keep it simple for January.

1. Start and complete all January blocks for the SSS 2013 Block of the Month quilt.

2. Complete the B arcs for the first set of Bali Wedding Star colors (A arcs are done).

3. Complete 4 star blocks On the Anniversary Stars quilt.

4. Complete 4 bear paw blocks for Clifford's Bear Chase quilt.

High Cotton is turning out to be my Leaders and Enders project while I'm working on all of these projects. It is easy enough and just the right size of a project to work on in between all of the others. I need to cut out some more colors and get them ready to have on hand while working on everything else. I have several more blocks already pieced, and can share a photo of them soon.

Rockin' Rail Fence can also function in the leader/ender capacity, since those strips are already cut and ready to go.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!

Lest you think that I've given up cross stitching - here's proof that I haven't! My latest progress on the Pumpkin Patch Pillow.

I had expected to be much farther along on all sorts of projects because of the holidays giving me lots of wonderful stitching time, but alas, some sort of bug bit me and I was down much of the time, including this weekend. And unfortunately, it appears I had a nasty reaction to the antibiotics prescribed late last week, which really put me under. I'm finally coming up from the effects of that today, and imagine I won't be full strength again until the weekend. Thankful for modern medicine, but it can be a blessing and a curse.

I do have two other photos to share - one more start before the end of 2012 (and the antibiotic mess), Clifford's Bear Chase has one block completed.

And this morning I was finally able to put the finishing touches on block one of Hop To It. My photo is a little dark - the stems are brown, though the look almost black in this picture.

Okay, I'm going to rest up some more, because I have lots I want to accomplish this year!