Thursday, February 25, 2021

Really Random Thursday, 2/25/21

While most of the rest of the country is under snow, spring is in the air here in the central valley. 
And we are also in a severe drought situation at this point.

It was so nice the other day, so Mark and the three older kids played a favorite game outdoors. I'd love to tell you the name, but it's a German word and I have no clue how to spell it, spulke (or something close to that I think). It involves one person holding a lid and throwing dice, and the others having a spool on a string. If the person with the lid throws a 5 or a 7, the other people have to pull their spool out before the lid slams down. If the person with the lid mistakenly slams the lid, he owes all the players a token. If any of the players mistakenly pull their spool out, they owe the person with the lid a token. It's loud and raucous. And loads of fun.  Side note: Mark and I were playing it in a hotel with friends years ago and security had to knock on our door and tell us to please STOP!

The kids have done a lot of rock painting during the pandemic. I showed a good friend some of their creations and she said they needed larger rocks! And then a few days later she brought me a bag of them. Don't you love friends who can fill a need you didn't even know you had? :)

I have always wanted to paint a rock that looks like a little travel trailer I think I will put it by the front door. Gabe's rock that looks like an egg cracking, with some eyes peering out, is so clever. Ella painted the watermelon with the extremely happy face. 

Now I need more paint pens and some more large rocks. 

This picture popped up in my Facebook "memories" on the 19th, two years since I completed radiation. It's weird how at the time you think it is a date that will live infamy, but yet if Facebook had not reminded me, the day would have come and gone without me even thinking about it.
We attended Charlotte's first high school academic awards ceremony via zoom the other evening. The nice thing--it took a fraction of time as the names just scrolled up on the screen, and when it was over we continued with our dinner. So very proud of her accomplishment, the first of many.
Both of these are true.

Especially when I see people refusing to wear a mask...

And that's it for another week.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

WIP Wednesday: Broken Engagement

Most of the time spent in my sewing room recently has been working on my double wedding ring quilt, aka "Broken Engagement." 

I sewed and sewed arcs--a total of 72, each with eight pieces. My color palette is inspired by an old quilt top that I've cut apart, and then decided those pieces would go on the back as they were way too busy for the front. 

For no apparent reason that I can identify, this is my most favorite arc--the one my eye keeps going back to.
Placing the arcs in some kind of random order.
Cutting out and placing the corner pieces.
Semi-final layout, subject to changes as I go along.
I was hoping to really make a dent in my solids scrap bin. But I cut most of the quilt top from fat quarters, so I probably ended up putting more back into the scrap bin than I took out. Go figure...
Putting everything on the design wall was the fun part. Now the work begins--all that curved sewing...

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Really Random Thursday, 2/18/21

 Thursday at Wienskler Academy, West Campus, we celebrated an early Valentine's Day with our students. We rarely have dessert at lunchtime, but it was nice to have a special treat. I love donuts. If they weren't so bad for me, I would eat them every single day.

Pickles always makes us laugh.

Every Valentine's Day for at least the last five years, we have celebrated at Big Mama's. We bring our little jar candle and order burger and fries. We were able to sit outdoors, as outdoor dining is back on in California. At Big Mama's, that is the only option as there is no indoor dining. The burgers never disappoint.

Speaking of burgers...
And I mention the above cartoon because in 2017 Mark and I decided to do the thing. We were quite sure we knew what the outcome would be, as we both come from the same German background. In fact, we briefly considered only profiling one of us because we were so sure we would have nearly identical profiles.  And sure enough, Mark's profile showed him to be 84% Germans from  Russia. Mine, however, was a total surprise, enough so that I thought they must have made a mistake. My profile estimate was 61% Great Britain (what??), 19% eastern European, 12% Scandinavian and 7% western European. Over the years, I get periodic updates, and gradually my profile has shifted. 

Here is my latest profile. 

I have always adored all things British, so I was quite giddy with the original 61% British estimate. I'm assuming over the past few years they have been able to tweak their algorithms to more accurate estimates and I have finally arrived to where I thought I would be to start out...

*sigh* But I did enjoy briefly thinking I was British... So I'll just keep reading British literature and watching BritBox. :)

Isn't this funny? I bet he was a great and creative teacher.
My friend, Maggie, stopped by Sunday morning for some much-needed social-distanced girl time. On the way here, she passed this vehicle. Um, what???

Mark and I received our first Covid-19 vaccinations on Tuesday. After stalking all the websites I could think of (and I highly recommend registering for updates through, including the pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS, we received a call from Fresno County to schedule our shots. I can't remark enough how organized the whole process was, from the initial check-in through scheduling our second appointment and checking out. We arrived at 12:10, 30 minutes (as requested) before our scheduled appointment. We walked back to our car at 12:55, which included the required 15-minute observation period and scheduling the second appointment. 

We feel we have made the first steps back to something that will resemble life before COVID. I know our new "normal" will not be like it was a year ago. But I'm looking forward to a little more freedom, a little more adventure, and hopefully a lot more real contact with friends and family. I can hardly wait. For the time being, wear a mask, social distance and stay safe.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Really Random Thursday, 2/11/21

 Not much going on this week. How about you? 

If you watched the Super  Bowl, and you were a Chiefs fans, it was kind of brutal. Mark and I tried to make it more interesting by choosing the right answers for some Super Bowl prop bets. Prop bets are bets outside of the standard odds for the game, and graded on game occurrences, team and player performances, etc. Lots of them are over/under. 

There were 20 on our list. We didn't even try to answer some of them, like #16, what song will  The Weeknd close with. We weren't familiar enough with his music to even guess on that one.

 Lots of them were a total guesses for me, because I don't keep track of football stats. But they were fun: winner of the game, will the coin land on heads or tails (it was heads), total points scored by both teams--over/under 56.5 (so you have to determine whether you think it will be a high scoring game or not), duration of the national anthem--over/under 120 seconds (it was over 2 minutes, by the way), interceptions by Patrick Mahomes--over/under 0.5, passes caught by Rob Gronkowski--over/under 4.5, what brand will run the first commercial of the 2nd half, after play has resumed--we decided to go with a "type" rather than specific. I said "beverage." It was Verizon. How many State Farm commercials will feature Patrick Mahomes--over/under 4 (I counted two).There were a lot more like that. And finally, color of the Gatorade dumped on winning coach at the end of the game. I said red. It was green. I think. 

Anyway, these are for-real bets that people actually make. Isn't that crazy? And until the end of the third quarter, it kept me more interested in the game. Of the bets we answered, I got 11 right. Not too bad.

Mark's brother Pete, and his wife, Jane, looking kind of Bernie-esque. Trying to keep warm in Idaho.

Some creativity in Minnesota.

I don't remember where I saw this. I have no words...

And finally...

Like I said. Not much going on. Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Really Random Thursday, 2/4/21

 Hello, February. 

First of all, I want to thank our friend, Candy, an avid wildlife photographer from southern Minnesota, for supplying the name of the bird in our yard--a Eurasian Collared Dove. 

Last Thursday, Mark checked our rain guage and we had received 4+ inches of rain in a week, 3 inches of that in two days. It was crazy. Not quite forty days and forty nights, but still a lot of rain for us in the central valley of California. And now there is no rain to be seen anywhere in the forecast. Again.

On Monday, it was feeling decidedly more spring-like, so it was time for Mark and Levi to fertilize the roses.

My friend, Erika (@hello.erikabea), posted some of her favorite things in her sewing room. I was happy to see that cute sewing machine ornament I sent made the cut. :)

Just an idea to file for future use. If/when we are allowed to visit friends again, that is...

Do you do handwork around the house? I do most of mine while sitting in a corner of the couch. I try to keep an eye on my needle at all times, but sometimes you better watch where you sit and/or put your feet.

Haha. So true. Back in the day, I used my dad's reel-to-reel to make my playlist! 

Are you planning to watch Super Bowl on Sunday? 

Does this mean Bernie won't be watching?

For our beer-loving son...

Balance. The name of the game.
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Also Known As...

 I know what you are thinking. Whaaaaat? Why so many blog posts lately? I told you--I'm trying to do more than just Really Random. :)

So, as promised, here is the latest WIP (work in progress) update. 

For the last two Monday afternoons, I have been taking a zoom class from the oh so fabulous Tara Faughnan. It is an updated version of the classic Double Wedding Ring quilt pattern. 

Before I launch into the update, along with the newly chosen name for this particular project, let me give you the back story. Hmmm. I seem to be big on "back stories" lately, as evidenced by my two recent posts about the Quilts and Classics calendar.

But I digress. 

Years ago (maybe over 15?), I took a class called Hidden Wells, a pattern written by Mary Ellen Hopkins. I chose a focus fabric by Paula Nadelstern and built the rest of the color story from there. 

My original thought was that the quilt top would be for my brother and sister-in-law. My sister-in-law is from Taiwan and for some reason I thought she would like a purple and red quilt. Who wouldn't, right??

The fabric choice went in a weird direction and the blocks ended up looking like this. Way different than I had originally visualized in my head, and because of that, I hated this quilt top. (Sorry for the poor quality photo--it's the only one I have.)

It sat in a drawer for years because I planned on making a braided border on all four sides. Have you ever made a braided border? They take forEVER. I made enough for one side and called it quits. But at this point, I'll still convinced that I can finish it.

I never got it out again except to shoot a cute picture of snapdragons.

After Victoria Findlay Wolfe published her book on double wedding ring quilts, I woke up one day with the brainiac idea of chopping the whole thing apart. It seemed like a fantastic idea at the time. I had long ago given up the idea of giving it to my brother and sister-in-law. I had never told them about it in the first place, so they didn't know what they were missing. Haha...

Chop, chop, chop...

(Please tell me your design wall is covered with random threads, too....)

Then came the Humpty Dumpty part of the process--putting it back together again. 

I tried multiple things.

Pinks and purples.


Purple gradient.


I called in creative help.

Gabe got this far, and then even he gave up.

Back in the bin it went.

I have come so close to tossing the whole thing every time I do a sewing room cleanup, but I've just never been able to give up on it, hoping that someday there would be a lightbulb moment. 

And then I signed up for the class with Tara. 

At first I got out my bin of solid fabrics and was going to mimic her phenomenal double wedding ring. But then a light did indeed go off in my head and I thought maybe I should pull out that bin of "parts" and see if they could be salvaged into something.

This was my inspiration, both in terms of design and colors. (Side note: I highly recommend following Tara, and also following this tag if you are interested in double wedding ring quilts based on her designs.)

I began cutting up fabric for the pieced "arcs."

My first idea was to use some of the chopped up fabric in the "melon" portion.

I soon realized that wasn't a good idea. For one thing, curved piecing, which is tricky enough. For another thing, the melons had seams going all different directions. So here I was, trying to sew curves together, working with bias edges, and then having the seams from the pieced fabric fighting me at every intersection. 

So where am I at this point?

The quilt top will be made using all solids. I love the colors I'm putting together so far.

These four intact blocks, which were left over when making the original quilt top, will go on the back.

I will square up some of these units and sew them together, and they will be part of the back as well.
So maybe, as they say, the third time's a charm. Tara has commended me for trying so hard to make this work, so there's that. :)

And in the midst of class the other day, I came up with the name for this double wedding ring quilt: Broken Engagement.