Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spring Snow

Yup, I know I should have put my car in the garage last night. It snowed all day yesterday but it didn't really stick. Obviously overnight that changed. It is a very wet heavy snow. It was reported that about 20,000 in the area are without power this morning.

We still had power and while the tree branches are a bit low everything so far is fine at our house.

As with all our spring snow storms they are short lived, they are forecasting 79 degrees for Saturday.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Quilt Decision Making Process

Getting ready to put together another quilt top. I have made several 12 1/2 inch blocks, but there is a ridiculous number of options for putting them together. So this morning I set up the portable design wall and laid out some options. For your viewing pleasure here are the top candidates and my thoughts on them.

Option #1 is a center square made of 4 blocks with blocks radiating out from the center. This would be a 6' X 6' quilt with just the blocks. To make a 6' X 6' I would need to make 6 more blocks. I couldn't lay it out as a 5' X 6' because it would be lop-sided. But I do like the way it features the corner colors in each block. I could add bottom and top borders to make it a bit longer than wide - which would be better for fitting a twin-sized bed.

Option #2 is off-set squares. I initially liked the look, but to make the top I would have to add either solid 6 1/2 inch strips or more pieced strip to fill in the gaps at the top and bottom. For this layout I would need to make 1 more block. As with Option #1 it doesn't really look right laid out 5 X 6.

Option #3 was suggested by my friend Becky at the Wadhams quilting retreat where I started making these blocks. This would be a 5 X 6 layout and I would likely add borders. I have lined up the corner blocks so they make diagonal rows. For this layout I would need to make 3 more blocks. This layout has visual impact for its zig-zag pattern across the quilt.

Option #4 is to put the blocks on point. This layout would take the most additional work because I would have to cut and sew all the side triangles. If I really loved the look of it on point it would be worth doing, but I don't think this layout is the best to feature the blocks anyway.

Option #5 is the most straight forward - just lining up the squares with the corner squares in all the same corner. I would only need to make 1 more block for this layout. I would also likely put a border on it. Using the block in the order laid out also gives it a secondary pattern with the corner colors lining up.
I plan on taking a break and then coming back to look at these variations and deciding on one later today. Right now I am thinking that Options 3 and 5 are the front runners because of their visual impact the small amount of work it will take to finish them.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Why Home Brewers Need 2nd Bathrooms

We are in the throws of brew-making. And be 'we' I mean Damon. Instead of featuring my quilting or gardening I figured I would focus on Damon's projects. He made a batch in March while I was at my quilt retreat. And he made a batch last Wednesday when I had a late meeting. The brewing process is a bit smelly, especially when the hops goes in. So he kindly does this while I am out of the house.
The first thing you are looking at is a bottle tree. It is what is used to dry bottles that have been washed. Having any sort of dirt or debris in the bottle will ruin your beer. It actually looks sort of decorative.

The second picture is a shot of all the beer sitting in their carboys in the downstairs bathroom shower. The one on the right is the secondary, so this is the beer from March. The bottles in the bottle tree are for this batch of beer. The back, left carboy is the new batch, the hose from the top going into the bucket is letting out the gas being generated by the fermentation.

You definitely want someplace like a shower stall or bathtub for this stage of the process because it can make a bit of a mess. It also isn't a bad idea to store the bottled beer in the shower either.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I'm Back

It is the day before Easter, so I am doing what all good Polish families do – I am sitting in the kitchen and watching kielbasa boil. Mind you, this is not chain grocery store kielbasa (its crap and nothing like real kielbasa). We have ours imported from Stanley’s in Toledo, Ohio - the folks usually drop it off when they come to visit in the fall. We freeze and usually pull it out for New Years and Easter. Freezing is OK, but you do miss out on the smell of fresh kielbasa stinking up the fridge and overwhelming you when you open the fridge door.

The lull in the blog posts I will blame on work. Pretty much weeks 3-10 of the semester are the most hectic. Long days, and grading on the weekends leaves me burnt out and with no time for blogging. I usually try to fight this, but as I have been sick since Feb 19th (cold, then sinus infection) I decided to take it easy. The end of my course (still grading final projects but the end is in sight) and the ridiculously fabulous weather has brought back some of my energy.

I have been quilting a bit. I am participating in the quilt guild’s Brown Bag Challenge again this year. If you saw my posts last year about this you will recall I went overboard with my project. It is still my favorite quilting creation, but this year I know I needed to keep it smaller. This year I used an appliqué pattern from Piece O’ Cake designs to make this wall hanging. I am still in the process of finishing the machine quilting – I am doing free-motion on my domestic machine. Barring any catastrophe it will be done on time for the April 14th meeting.