Monday, June 30, 2008

close up on Houses

Forgot- here's the close up on the Houses.

In Which I HAve Lost My Ever Lovin Mind

I believe in teaching by doing. I do this at work, teaching patients to manage their new medical technology first by showing them, and then by having them try. I do this so much that after the first teaching session I frequently don't need an interpreter for non English speaking patients, although I always have one for the first session to explain what we are doing and the last to answer questions.

Lately I've been trying to do more of this at home. When one of the kids declares that something is to boring or young or outgrown for them, I say, put it in the Goodwill basket, a younger child will like it. I make sure that they check that the game has all it's parts, or the jacket is clean. One of the nicest moments I had with this was when the older one explained to the younger one that "poor people have enough problems- they don't need some old dumb broken thing, they need a game to keep their kids busy so they can get some work done".

Soo, in all the cleaning around here I discovered a bunch of canned dog food from the dear departed Noodle, the standard poodle, one of the nicest, sweetest dogs I've had, even though she was greatly mistreated a s a puppy farm breeder for the first half of her life. A look around revealed some ignored dog toys, as Ginger is not much for playing with things, she is mostly a nap taker, and Annie is the weirdest, most cat like dog I have ever even heard of, and so all was packed up for a quick drop off to the animal shelter.

A puppy. A black, curly, standard poodle puppy named Magic. He comes home tomorrow, after he is neutered. I am evenly divided between thinking I am the biggest idiot in the world, and tap dancing with joy, singing "I'm a grown up, I have a job, I can have a puppy if I want it, nener neener".

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Free Pieced Letters

Things I learned while Free Piecing Tonya Style:

I don't really know which way an "s" points

I should make the most involved letter- such as the "E" first- this is because the letter with more pieces is likely to get out of hand, size- wise.

The width of the strips I start with influences the size of the finished letter ( duh). If I want the letters to be the same size, than I should begin with same sized strips. ( duh, duh)

It's easier for me to make a bunch of the same letter all in a row- I get a rhythm on. Which explains why I have a box of "o"s.

Inversely, I like storing the letters already sewed into words. I don't like digging through a pile of letters, hoping that some are the same size and will spell something.

And, finally, I really really need a sewing machine with a spell checker.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Houses at NIght

Last night, after dinner, I made these twelve houses. Usually, I make the house and then the background all at once. This time I made and pressed the houses and then thought about the background. I'm glad I did. I have been thinking a lot about last weekend. Five people were shot and killed, in five separate instances, in the big city that borders my small town. I kept thinking about my safe little town, with its beautiful parks and historic houses. I can walk my dog at night, go to the store at night, sit on my porch at night, never a fear. The murder rate here was two, last year. Five miles away, mothers and fathers put their children to sleep on the floor, because that is supposed to make it less likely that they will be killed by a stray bullet. I work with some of those mothers and fathers in my big city hospital. They are me, at a different address.

The back ground fabric is little yellow and white stars and moons. (I wanted to put in a close up shot but blogger is uncooperative at the moment.) I have had this fabric for a few years, and never been able to use it well. It always ended up looking like a Halloween quilt. Here it is my beautiful little town, at night, we are all safe, or at least safer, and I am very, very, grateful for that.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Random Thoughts

Did you know, that if you are worried about your chickens overheating, and you sprinkle them with water, they do not appreciate your efforts? I suppose that is where the saying comes from.

I spent some time making a pair of linen pants today. Upside: easy pattern, already altered. Downside: I seem to wear a smaller pants size than when I altered it, which could be an upside, but I have to take off the waistband, alter the pants, and reset the waistband.

I had a solar attic fan installed three days ago. It seems to be making a big difference in the house. ( We have no air conditioning.) Question: why is it called air conditioning, instead of air cooling?

Chickens have personalities. Who knew? I am going to begin to campaign my brother to get chickens. It's the perfect pet- low maintenance, makes eggs ( in theory, at least. We haven't had any yet.) Provides compost ( the fraternal one is a dedicated composter.) Also, no allergies, because they are supposed to live outside and they don't like to be held, much. And now, personalities! More on this when it is not so freaking hot. No, I don't know why I want my brother to have a pet, except they make me happy, and so I think that they make other people happy.

Also, today I had a growth moment. When the pain in my neck and my hands got so bad that I started using ice packs, I actually stepped away from the sewing machine. I didn't knit, either. Really. Nor did I go clean the garage. I sat in a chair and read something. Without doing anything else. I know, amazing.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Chickens

No no, I didn't get more chickens- more pictures of of chickens. Here they are , eating melon rinds. Below is their house. There is a ladder that connects the two levels. The first day, they could not work out the ladder. To teach them to go down, Son One put one chicken on the lower level, and left the other on top. They hate to be apart, so Lucy came down to see Sally. That night, they couldn't work out how to get up the ladder. I remembered what Temple Grandin said about animals hating to go into dark spaces, so I put a flashlight in the upstairs. The chickens climbed up the ladder towards the light, and no, I'm not making any nurse jokes. The next morning and evening, they scrambled up and down on their own. They are easy to get back into the lower level from outside, as well. I think they like it. In the upstairs, there is a roost (perch) and two nest boxes where we will hopefully have eggs. The whole front opens for cleaning purposes. The door to the downstairs is hard to see- it is open and covered with wire. It is too small to work with easily- when I get around to it I will replace it with a bigger door. The odd shadows are from the plum tree.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Drawing Room Quilt Top

Anna Maria Horner is this new to me fabric designer, with some wonderful fabric. I went into the fabric store the other day and discovered that she had the whole line of it. It is a wide, complicated large scale fabric, and I was cogitating on how best to use it in a quilt, other than as a really cool backing. I went down to the bookshelf to do some reading and see what the gurus have to say about large scale prints, but that little voice in my head just whisperd- "cut it up, and then sew it back together" so, of course, I did.
I think one more border on the bottom, and that will be that. I have a really nice blue floral that I want on the back.

Other news is that Chronic Pain has been for a visit. I overdid things while building the hen house. I was desperate to get those birds out of the dog crate in the pantry. A dog crate with itty baby chicks in it is just fine- a cage with two vast pooping hens is something else. Their cuteness has been restored by their removal to the yard. But in the process, I've done some damage and I am hoping that Chronic- or Miss Pain as she prefers to be known- is planning a short visit. One never knows, as she is an ungrateful and tiring guest. Lene is learning the same lesson- it somehow makes me feel better that we all push to do as much as possible, and that hardheadedness seems to be in abundant supply.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

My how you've grown

Well, it seems I got my money's worth out of the chick starter food. They are not growing so much as inflating. It makes me wish I had done time lapse photography. This is Sally. She is gracious about being held. The darker red one is Lucy. She feels that being picked up or held is an affront to her chickenhood, and she will flap her wings until you concede. They are currently eating watermelon, and I have to say it is as entertaining as watching a small child eat cake.