Thursday, October 28, 2010


I have a lot of time to think at work right now as I finish up some gigantic constituent imports.  I’m at the stage now where I only have to push a button occasionally while the computer does the heavy lifting, but since my database is hard at work, I can’t use it to do any other tasks.  Thus, extensive article-reading, dreaming, and blog-stalking.

I’ve been following Elizabeth Hartman’s book The Practical Guide to Patchwork on its blog tour, entering a giveaway every day hoping to win a copy (if not, it will sit atop my Christmas list).  Today, I read a brief interview in which she talked about inspiration for quilt patterns and I thought about what inspires me when I design a quilt.  Most quilts I’ve made have been as gifts and the inspiration for them comes from the person I make them for.  I’m especially proud of my patchy Texas Flag quilt I made for Brian and the bright yet warm exotic floral quilt I made for Crystal.

However, such inspiration mostly affects fabric choices while I rely on books or blogs for actual block layouts.  As I read, I found myself wishing I were better at creativity.  I often feel that way.  I perform well when given guidelines, but I struggle in making up my own guidelines.  This applies to quilting and other types of sewing, but also to music and to cooking, and even how I enact my faith.

I recently read Shane Claiborne’s Jesus for President (again) and was reminded that Jesus lived his life finding unexpected solutions to the many problems humanity faces living in a broken system.  How many times did He say, “You have heard it said…but I say to you”?  And when was anyone with Him and say, "I totally saw that coming"?  I want to be more creative as I discover solutions to life’s big questions that stem from the values of the Kingdom.  Yes, I’m sure it will be difficult and probably uncomfortable, but I am motivated, and by no means do I think that all answers and options have been established yet.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What's Over There? Oh, The President

On my way to work yesterday, I heard that President Obama would be at the Convention Center in Portland and because of that my evening train would be delayed.  Well, the Convention Center is just one short block away from where I catch the Max, so I thought I'd go check it out after work.
But then I read that people had been lining up since dawn and that not everyone there would get in when the doors opened at 4.  I don't get off till 6, but when I got off my bus at the station, I wanted to see what the deal was anyway.
I walked over to the Convention Center and saw a bunch of policemen guarding the back door because the President hadn't arrived yet.  I thought, "Well maybe I'll catch a glimpse as he's rushed inside," but I stood there for a long time and nothing was happening.  So I went around to the doors just to see what else there was.  As I walked up, there was a small group to whom a secret serviceman gestured and said, "All right, you're the last group in."  I made myself a part of that group and went on inside!
I had to wait through a lot of other political speakers, but eventually President Obama came in and spoke for a good half hour.  It wasn't terribly crowded so I got pretty close - probably the closest I'll ever get to a president.  However, like in side mirrors on a car, objects in an iPhone camera are closer than they appear, so this picture is misleading about my proximity:

Really, I could see his face clearly enough to see his varying expressions, which is saying something because I'm approaching blindness faster than I would prefer. (My eyesight takes after my mom's who, without contacts, says, "I can still see light and color" - oh, good)

Now I've seen a president in person, and rather spontaneously too!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I have my first Portland Modern Quilters' Guild meeting tomorrow night, and we are having a pincushion exchange.  Nike lent me her pincushion pattern book and I picked a cute little cactus to make.  Well, the pattern was a lot bigger than I thought it was, and I ended up making a bigger cactus than I thought, and I think mine looks more like a monster:

I love him, but I don't know that others will find him lovable.  He is a little dweeby looking.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Night Float

Josh and I have opposite schedules this week and next week.  He leaves for work at 5 pm while I'm on my way home and gets home after 8 am while I'm on my way to work.  We are exactly opposite.  I've been leaving a little late so I can see him for 10 minutes in the morning.  Yep, that's it.  It only lasts for one more week though, and the more night float is worked into the residency schedule, the fewer nights of random call the residents have during the year.  It's an investment, really.

I fully intended to get tons of sewing done on these empty evenings, but I've been wholly unmotivated.  All I've done so far is choose patterns for my next two and stare at the fabric for a while from the comfiest chair in the world - which happens to be in my mom's sewing room.  So I may not have a project to post for a little bit.

I do, however, have to make a pin cushion for an exchange at my first ever Portland Modern Quilters' Guild meeting next week.  I've never made one before, but how hard can it be, right?  And today I started my Italian-souvenir-yarn hat.  I found a pattern I like and crocheted about 6 rounds before pulling it all out.  I think I got the hang of the "front post double crochet" stitch, but now I think I can do better than the chunk I made trying to figure it out.  I'll post it when it's done.  I'm secretly hoping I'll have enough yarn for two hats, but as I've never made a hat before, I don't know how much I'll need.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Halfway There

I've finished 5 of the 10 quilts I had planned when we first moved to Oregon.  It's been extra nice having my mom's sewing room and fabrics and machine to help me knock all these out!  I finally finished the grey and yellow one that I posted about almost two months ago.  It's for our niece who is due to be born at any moment!  I put it in the mail for her yesterday:

In this one you can see the butterflies that it's quilted all over with:

And not to leave out our first niece Abi, who is so excited to be a big sister, I made a purse for her because she's pretty much a grown-up now:

We bought tickets to go visit over Thanksgiving and we're so excited to see everybody.  Since all of the quilts I have left belong in Oklahoma, I'll try to get as many of them as I can done by then so we can deliver them in person.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cave Canem

It's another Europe post!

One of the coolest things we did while abroad was visit Pompeii.  It wasn't what I expected after visiting other ruins because it still looked like a city.  We walked around on streets that had ruts worn in the stone from cart travel.  We went into houses built 2000 years ago and admired the murals on the wall and the mosaics on the floor.  We saw the bars, brothels, and temples and could still tell what they were.  There were vases, sculptures and pieces of furniture on display.  All of which had been suddenly buried under ash and thus preserved since AD 70.  (There were also plaster casts made from the actual inhabitants frozen in place, covering their faces as they were covered in ash from Vesuvius - it was eerie)

One of the most famous mosaics is this one found at the entrance of one of the homes:

"Cave Canem" means "Beware of Dog."  Awesome, right?!

Also awesome is that it kind of looks like my dog:

Also also awesome is that there are still dogs living in Pompeii.  They just have free reign of the city.  They're kept there under protection and are up for adoption.  You can adopt a dog from Pompeii.  Tell me that's not cool!