Patchwork Times: Banker cat does not approve ur loan

Since I don’t want to come roaring in here with a rant at the moment, especially after being absent for a week, this will be a (probably long) newsy, update sort of post. (I’ll save the rant for tomorrow or the next day, when the red mist in front of my eyes may have died down to a calmer color.)

…what the answer really is is that we could be forced to move, but it’s not a quick process…

On the landlord front, Jane Ann reminded me that I’d left you all hanging out over a cliff on the banker issue. I did contact the legal office, and truth, they weren’t much help other than to say that if there turned out to be some big problem, like foreclosure, that we couldn’t be forced to move, and that we’d be instructed to pay our rent to a custodian for the bank. After further questioning on my part, what the answer really is is that we could be forced to move, but it’s not a quick process, and if the house is sold while we’re in it, the new owners have to “show” that they really need to live in the house before we can be asked to move. I wonder who decides whether they’ve “shown” that they need to live in the house satisfactorily?

So the banker came and went, and so did the landlord’s friend, and I think the banker thought it was all pretty strange. I just let the friend handle it, and ignored the whole process. The banker asked me no questions, and when they left, the friend made some weird hand motion to me (when the banker wasn’t looking) like she wanted me to call her on the phone to discuss. Um, no. I decided that if she wanted to chat about what her friends my landlords were up to, she could call me on her dime.

I’ve heard nothing from any of them since. I still don’t have any contact information for the landlords in Canada which they promised to forward to us once they were settled (I only have the phone number of the friend here in our area), the “handyman/yard guy” hasn’t shown up to prune the cherry tree or whatever it is in the backyard like they all told us he would the day we received access to our garage, and yesterday we received yet another strange letter in the mailbox for the landlord, though not from the Finanzamt in Sinsheim this time at least. *shrug* I think the saga isn’t over, but I’m at a complete loss to predict what will happen next.

Fast forward to the last week or so: GuitarGirl’s new job is taking some major getting used to. The job is going great for her, but the Taxi Mom job is a total productivity killer for me, and it makes meal planning for dinner, um, “interesting” is not quite the word I’d choose, but nothing else I can think of is fit for company. ITMan ends up picking her up from work sometime between 7 and 8 p.m., which really blows the usual 6:30 p.m. dinner time out of the water. One evening last week we actually had just finished eating at 8:45. Not my idea of how things should go, but hopefully with better planning things will get more coordinated in time.

I did get the Arts & Crafts Manager and one of the other long-time employees alone and ask them if I could be a mom for a minute and ask how she was handling the job. They both were very complimentary about her, and said she was doing great. All my happy mom buttons got pushed, and I was feeling all warm and fuzzy for her. She seems to like the job and the people she works with, though she’s going through a bit of adjustment as well, of course, and learning to balance school and guitar practice and work and what free time she has left without being a grouch! She’s definitely looking forward to that first paycheck, but if she keeps borrowing money from me in the meantime, she won’t get to keep much of it!

In kitty news, Shadow’s been ill, with some non-specific tummy troubles. Much vomiting since Monday morning (what a way to spend Labor Day, eh?), two trips to the vet, $200+ later, and I’m still not sure he’s getting better, though I have more hope this evening than last. He did eat his special diet food this evening, and managed to keep it down and wants more, so things are looking up, but I’ll not be convinced until I get through a night without waking to the wonderful sounds of, well, … never mind. I’m sure those of you who are owned by one or more cats know exactly what sounds I’m talking about here.

he sniffed once or twice and looked up at me as if to say “Seriously?!?

After Monday’s visit to the vet clinic, we were instructed to feed him a special diet of boiled chicken and rice. Yeah, right. I got up early Tuesday to fix said diet of boiled frozen chicken thigh and white rice, which he sniffed once or twice and looked up at me as if to say “Seriously?!?” After the second trip to the vet clinic Wednesday evening, we came home with a 3 Euro small can of Royal Canin food for sensitive stomachs. 3 Euros!! 8O That’s $4.30 for a can of cat food the same size as a can of Friskies from the Commissary that costs 39 cents! The vet also gave me some matching (coordinating?) dry food in sample bags that were free, thankfully, so we may try him on some of that later tonight or tomorrow. Oh, and we got pills, lots and lots of pills, which I have the dubious pleasure of shoving down his throat. I’m just hoping that this stomach issue doesn’t turn into a sudden and severe allergy to regular cat food, forcing us to purchase “special diet” food for him for the rest of his life at a cost of thousands per year. Then he’ll be even more of a money pit than he’s already been for most of his short life.

All of this rigmarole with the cat has my fun meter pegged, I tell ya. I’m such a nice mommy that I let him sleep on my chest or stomach at night, and I don’t make him move like I usually would after a bit since he feels so rotten and I’m such a sucker. The result of this is that my back is totally unhappy, again. It took me a couple of days to even figure out what I’d done to my back, but then it finally dawned on me that 11 pounds of sleeping cat is probably not a great thing to leave on your stomach or chest for extended periods, like most of the night. And I’m not a back sleeper anyway, so it’s no wonder I’m waking up needing a wheelchair, hot packs and muscle relaxers. And a massage. Is there a masseur is the house?

Quilt days like that are golden, and go a long way toward offsetting the rest of the dreck that life has a habit of tossing at you.

Oh, and I suppose since this is ostensibly a blog about quilting, you’d like to know if I actually do quilt or if I just prattle on (or rant?) about all this other stuff that goes on around here. Yes, I have been quilting, and as a matter of fact last Sunday (before cat/vet drama and in between Taxi Mom duties), I was a maniac. I had the most productive quilting day in months, working on about three different projects throughout the day, and progressing on all of them. A little sewing here, some pressing there, a bit of embellishment in the middle, and everything went as well or better than planned. Quilt days like that are golden, and go a long way toward offsetting the dreck that life has a habit of tossing at you. I wish I could figure out the magic formula for those golden quilt days, but I’m sure it’s just a spontaneous thing, like all nine (or is it eight? ten? I can’t keep up) planets being aligned or something.

Okay, there, you’re all caught up on the minutiae, and I can plan on letting fly with a good rant on the morrow after the redness clears a bit. I’ll give you a hint: IQA and Quilt’s Inc. have just been permanently bumped from my “happy quilt show” list after the return of the last quilt I sent them for exhibit. I won’t promise to be gentle, but I will be accurate in the details.

And about Banker cat? Well, that phrase just popped into my head, and it seemed to fit all the disparate themes in this post. I went looking for the source, and all I found was this LOLcat pic at icanhascheezburger.com. I don’t know whether that’s where this little phrase originated, but I did get a chuckle out of the cat!

funny pictures
more animals

Quilting with K

Look who’s here:

Kimberly

Kimberly came to visit last week, and we had a blast! We quilted (a little), shopped (a bit), ate (lunch and pastries), and gabbed (a lot)! She brought me a pile of goodies:

the Goods

How cool! There’s Kimberly’s Easy Hearts cutting template, a nifty little rotary cutter to go with it, her Easy Star & Geese ruler, and a Simplicity apron pattern. How awesome is it that she has a Simplicity pattern with her name all over it?? And the best part:

More goodies

She brought me my very own copy of her book, Quilt a Travel Souvenir, and signed as well! I’m much more of an armchair traveler than most, and I really enjoyed reading about her European travel experiences that inspired the quilts in the book. It’s truly a beautiful book, with such creative, yummy quilts! I’ve already planned a quilt using the Easy Star & Geese Ruler, and the Easy Hearts template may have inspired something as well.

Kimberly and I have decided to make this quilt/eat/shop/gab thing a regular happening every couple of weeks or so. I don’t expect we’ll run out of things to talk about, that’s for sure! The problem might be actually getting anything quilting-related done while we’re together! Which isn’t really a problem, after all. ;) I’m sure Shadow will be pleased:

Kimberly & Shadow

What is it with this cat?? He totally charmed Kimberly, by only showing his cute, calm, lovable side while she was here. Everyone who visits thinks he’s just precious and such a good kitty! They obviously don’t know the real Shadow, since he’s always on his best behavior for guests. Sheesh. He did steal Kimberly’s chair the moment she got up, of course, but that only endeared him to her even more it seemed. Hmphf. I’m sure his true nature will out eventually! Patches played least in sight, being the big, fat chicken cat that he is. Maybe Kimberly will get to see him at some point after she’s come around a few times. He’s the true cute one, after all.

Kimberly treated me much too grandly while she was here, I must say! “Thank you” just doesn’t quite cover it! We had such a great time, and I can’t wait to do it again in a couple of weeks!

Colorplay as therapy

The carefully chosen palette for my next current project has been sitting there on the cutting table since I took a picture of it to share, over a week ago (it has now entered “current” project status, as you’ll see). It’s not that I don’t want to work on it, I do, other things keep getting in the way, including my own “quilt design block.”

Short “house” update: the heating/hot water system is working about as well as it’s probably ever going to work, after the plumber’s visit last Friday during which he finally figured out that a 5″ section of copper pipe was almost completely blocked by water deposits and cleaned it out. He’s coming back though, with the owner and a service person from Vaillant, the manufacturer, to replace the section of pipe, and figure out why else it’s not performing up to par. And of course, it’s a bit hard to tell if it’s going to heat the house to my satisfaction in winter anyway, since it’s the end of April and it’s not exactly cold here right now.

Other than that, there are various other things, some small, some not, that the owners need to take care of for us before they take off for Canada in mid-May. I’m still making weekly trips to the hardware store for this and that, and yet another trip to Ikea is probably on the schedule for this weekend. I did get a really great office chair for a lot less than I expected to spend there last weekend, so that was an unexpected pleasure.

Back to this project on my cutting table. I’ve been thinking about working on it more than actually working on it, and part of the reason for the delay before actually setting rotary cutter to fabric has been due to a niggling little feeling that something’s not quite right. I did make templates for a couple of pieces, and actually traced one of them onto the border print, but I wasn’t keen on taking that next step, so I kept turning my mind to other things. I finally decided that the lovely border print was the big problem and had to go, because it’s just not fitting in with my (admittedly slightly foggy) vision of the finished product.

After that flash of insight late last night, I was determined to progress today in the studio, and I had all day to do it in since I had nowhere to go. I spent all morning drawing trying to draw appliqué designs for the spaces that I’d planned to use the border print for, only to be soundly defeated by fusible web by early afternoon. I HATE that stuff! I don’t know why I ever bother with it, truly. I didn’t even get past peeling the paper off of it after fusing it to the appliqué piece. I could only get some of the paper off, and the rest stuck terribly and never would come away. Into the trash bin it went.

Still determined to get something done today, I started cutting, and threw eight pieces up on the wall. I looked at it and lost my nerve, or whatever it was I had left at that point. Maybe I just didn’t know what to cut and place next color-wise. I decided to break into the Hoffman Watercolor Wraps that I bought for this project before the move, and play with the colors, since the embellishments that will go on the quilt will be made of these fabrics. This is how I spent a very happy hour or so in the late afternoon:

fabrics from the Watercolor Wraps

There were 160 different bali fabrics in the eight tubes that I bought, and I sorted and played and pared down until I had 128 left. I thought maybe I’d have a better direction in mind if I could visualize more of the whole thing, or at least more of the whole color scheme. The row on the left is winter/spring and/or air/water colors and the row on the right is summer/fall and/or fire/earth colors. I hope. I think it helped the whole design process a bit though I’m not entirely positive, but I do feel better now. It’s possible that I feel better because I played with all these fabrics and colors though, and not necessarily because I’ve made any great design decisions!

The appliqué patterns I spent the morning agonizing over may become quilting designs, though I’ll hit the Arts & Crafts shop tomorrow for a different kind of fusible web and perhaps torture myself some more at a later date if the design really needs the appliqué. Hopefully life will allow me a bit of studio time tomorrow to see if my color play today opened the floodgates to design heaven. At least it’s officially a “current” project now, since I have cut into the fabric. :)

Focused

After a couple of extremely nonconstructive days Thursday and Friday dealing with plans for the Guild Quilt Show that I’ve volunteered to organize for next April (more on that big fun at a later date, when I can be a bit more positive about it all), I spent today tracing quilting designs on the outer border of The Misery Quilt. I think I put in about ten or eleven hours on it, and could probably do the same tomorrow, if my back will let me, before it would be ready for basting.

I can really use the life break that is a Quilt Retreat

I’m beginning to see the light at the end of that tunnel, but I know that if I break to work on something else, I’ll lose that focus. If I lose the focus, I may not make that Christmas completion deadline like I’d like to. So, despite the fact that this is a show quilt and I need to be able to concentrate fully on the machine quilting, I’m considering taking it to the Quilt Retreat next weekend to work on it there. The four solid days of quilting would be a great way to get a lot of it done, but I’m not sure I can do my best machine quilting in a room full of 25-30 other quilters and machines. Hopefully, I can be in sync with my Bernina like I was at the last retreat, but no guarantees. Hmmm. Have to think on that some more.

If I don’t take the show quilt to the Retreat, then I have to spend some time between now and Thursday morning whipping something else into shape to take with me to work on. Not that I don’t have enough projects in progress around to just pick one, but it’s a detour that I’m not sure I want to take at the moment. Continue reading

The quiet, the memories and the quilting

I was a bachelorette this weekend, as ITMan took the girls to Girl Scout Camp (is he a great dad, or what? Good thing he likes that kind of stuff, because nobody will ever get me to do that camping thing ever again. “Roughing it” in my book is a hotel without room service and a spa!). I decided that I wouldn’t go check the mail on Friday to see if my thread was there, since I began to see light at the end of the 11-year-long tunnel that was the Dresden Plate Drama quilt. I started this quilt in 1996 (I might have said ’95 here before, but I really think ’96 now), so it’s long past time to see it finished!

This quilt carries many memories with it; not surprising considering it’s older than my youngest daughter. I spent a lot of time sifting through them as I finished it up. The pattern is from the May, 1994 issue of McCall’s Quilting, the first quilting magazine issue I ever bought, even before I was “a quilter.” I can’t lay my hands on it right at the moment, but I do still have that magazine. I know I have it somewhere, because there’s another quilt in it that I’ve always wanted to make, and beside that you all know I’m a confirmed packrat. The fabric is my absolute favorite fabric of all time, a Christmas print from VIP Fabrics. I had to have my mom search out more of it for me and ship it over, and I ended up with a total of 18 yards of the stuff, 13-14 of which went into this quilt in one place or another. (I still have the rest, wonder where it’ll end up?) This was the first block I made (you can see all these pics bigger if you click, but beware, they’re big files!):

Dresden Drama Block

This wonderful kaleidoscopic effect is just so stunning in this fabric. Every single plate in this quilt is slightly different. I cut a total of 364 (or was it 384?) petals the old fashioned way, by hand with a template. I took my first appliqué stitches on these plates, sad as they were! Too big, too far apart, using the wrong weight and color of thread, Continue reading