Power is a wonderful thing

I always wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder, living on the prairie, and making do with very little, but a few days without power starts to make one realize how truly difficult it was living on the frontier. I am very grateful to have a roof over my head, insulation in my walls, and many warm clothes. Laura had sod homes that leaked, no insulation and very few articles of clothing. Just to wash dishes the past few days, I had to boil water twice - once for washing and once for rinsing. How lucky I was to have a gas stove and not have to light a fire in my backyard. The romantic side of Ms. Wilder's books is still in my heart, but reality says I need my power tools - iron, Bernina, washer, vacuum cleaner and coffee maker. I am so happy the power was back on tonight!

Sandy has wreaked havoc in my small town. My yard just had many leaves and twigs blown down, and my neighbors lost a few trees, but there are parts of town where people aren't even allowed to drive yet. Some roads still have trees lying across them, and other roads have been washed away or have three feet of sand lying on top of them. This video by local videographer Chris Walsh shows some of what happened to our beach:

Hurricane Sandy - Misquamicut Beach from Chris Walsh on Vimeo.

These are some aerial photos that the state newspaper took: http://www.flickr.com//photos/ridotnews/sets/72157631891636224/show/

So many places have it much worse than Rhode Island, but we seem to focus on what's right in front of us. New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut are suffering in terrible ways. Let's hope the clean-up goes smoothly for all those affected.


Twisted Tradition - Block 2

The cars are full of gas, cell phones charged, extra water in containers on the counter, generator checked, propane purchased for the grill and all items that could become windblown are safely stowed. Sandy is roaring outside at 35 mph, with expected gusts to 70 mph and my school is closed for two days. The crockpot is filled with pirate stew, and we're hoping the power stays on long enough to cook it without firing up the generator. After painting some trim in a bedroom this morning, I decided to finish handpiecing block 2 of my Twisted Tradition quilt. This is a block-of-the-month that I purchased after seeing the quilt in Sisters, OR, in summer of 2011. My aunt made the same quilt and hers is done; I'm just quite a bit slower! See block 1 here.

It turns out that somehow I received the wrong block in the mail, but only realized it recently. This block actually goes to Let's Twist Again, but I'm not going to pursue having this remedied, since the store is halfway around the world in Australia!

I love how we had to fussy cut the diamonds in the block center to create this pattern. As well, the purple patches and green paisley. Can you find the purple patch that is sewed in the wrong direction? I'm ready to sew block 3, but there's some fabric missing, and I'll need to head to my LQS to see if they have anything that can work. Of course, the LQS is closed along with everything else in my town, so it will be a few days before I can get started. Guess I'll have to get out some other UFOs!

This is my neighbor's beautiful red maple. It's hard to tell, but it's really blowing hard out there. Her oak trees (in the background) have lost almost all of their leaves in the wind from yesterday. Stay safe if you are in Sandy's path!


Have you tried Freecycle?

I started using Freecycle this summer and found it to be a wonderful place to give away items I no longer needed. It's online through Yahoo, and you can post items you no longer want, reply to others' posts for things of theirs you want, and to ask for things you might need. It's all over the USA and perhaps there is something like it in other countries. Reply and let me know. Their motto is "changing the world one gift at a time", so it's probably in other countries.

This first item to go were socket holders - my hubbie decided they needed to go since he has something better to hold all of his various sockets. Within minutes of posting, I had 4 requests for the socket holders. I replied back to the 2nd person who responded (the first had a very nasty email address) and after leaving the sockets outside my house, they were gone by the next day.

The second item to go was an old-style TV. (My set was MUCH newer than the console set below, but I had friends whose families had these when I was younger) We haven't had cable in ten years, but still had a hand-me-down TV with which to watch movies. This summer, we painted a side-of-the-road bureau to use as a TV stand and hidden storage, and found the old TV stuck out over the front of the bureau. So, we had to buy a flat-screen and off the old TV went on Freecycle. At first, no one responded, so I "marketed" it as being good for kid's video games and a young couple picked it up promptly.

The third item to go was a bag of assorted bits and skeins of acrylic yarn that belonged to my mother, who died 7 years ago. I really thought I would finish her projects, but it's never going to happen. I really thought no one would want the yarn, but 6 women responded and I gave the yarn to a woman whose church group will use it for donation afghans and baby hats. My mom would like that group to have the yarn.

I've seen people offer and take clothing, mattresses, fish tanks, kids' toys, spider plants, green tomatoes, garden bulbs, ice-cream from a summer business that was closing, rugs, all kinds of furniture, knick-knacks, bicycles, microwaves, etc. It's a wonderful way of keeping things out of the land-fill and is a cornerstone of recycle, reduce, reuse and rethink. There are no fees involved, no money changes hands, and posts are all monitored by volunteers. Give it a try!


Jack-in-the-Box Quilt


A few weeks ago, I spent the day at a new venue for me- the Lyme, CT, Public Hall, taking an all-day class. The 11 of us who attended had two options for the day, one class in the morning and one in the afternoon. I had chosen, sight unseen, Jack-in-the-Box for the morning, and Grandmother's Bag (blog post to follow) for the afternoon. Both classes were taught by wonderful women.

Mary Juliette-Paonessa taught Jack-in-the-Box, and her goal was for us to finish one each of the two blocks in the quilt. Since then, I've finished the top. My color choices were a bit blendy, but I do love how the top came out. The snowball blocks don't meet up with the sides of the other blocks, but the blendiness probably helps from this error taking over visually.

There were lots of bonus half-square triangles left over from the snowball blocks.

I'll put them together as pinwheels and use them on the back. 

It was a cloudy today when I took this photo, but inside, the colors glow a bit more. I love these fabrics and since I'm mostly a scrap quilter, it was fun to cut into yardage greater than 1/4 of a yard. A member of my guild was selling lots of fabric at bargain prices a year ago, and I took full advantage of her sale. The greens were leftovers from previous projects and I had exactly enough for the blocks and use a different green for the thin border.