Saturday, November 17, 2012

Crazy, Busy Days... and More to Come!

Busy lives are not a foreign idea to anyone, I'm sure.  But in the interest of hopefully entertaining you, I'm taking time out of NanoWriting time to bring you the following update from the Beehive.

This week started out with the usual Monday routines.  My Dad, whose birthday is was on Thursday, celebrated it Monday, because of being in the hospital for a routine hip replacement surgery the rest of the week.  He opened up a gift that I have be D Y I N G to blog about.  A while ago, my sister-in-law, brother, stepmother, and my Dh were talking about what to get for my Dad for his 70th birthday.  After much brainstorming (Okay, I wanted to go for the tie that sang "Let it Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" but no one else thought that was good for my Florida-Fleeing-Escape-The-New-England-Weather Father for some reason.  Really people, where IS your sense of Humah??)  we came up with a memory quilt.  This quilt has scanned pictures from my father's life onto fabric and made into a quilt.

My stepmother was trying to surreptitiously hijack personal photos out of the house to have scanned.  The first problem came when my father asked where all the photos were.  My stepmother, a clever lady who thinks very well on her feet told him that the realtor said that having too many personal photos up wasn't good for selling their house (which they were just getting on the market at the time).  I greatly admired the verbal parlay, and readily admitted to myself that her response was better than mine (A Seagull Ate It).

The second problem was the process of scanning the pictures.  My stepmother diligently sought high and low for someone who could do that for her.   After numerous calls, visits to little quilt shops and even a JoAnn's I think, we agreed it would be better for her to send the whole kit and kaboodle to me.  I received the pictures in the mail in due time, and called my local Quilt Shop feeling quite confident I could delegate this chore out and have it done while I worked on designing the quilt top.

Nothing doing.  I cannot believe, even now, that no one, not even Staples, had a clue on how to do this.  So I developed a Plan B.  I researched online about what to use for scanning the pictures and bought a packet of special muslin backed with stabilizer that you can just peel off after you print the pictures on it.  It worked brilliantly!  Dale was enlisted to help.  I am pretty helpless with technology, but over the course of a few evenings, he had all the pictures scanned and printed up, safe and sound.  They are amazing!  There was even some things that were bare visible to the eye in the pictures that came out more clearly on the scanned copy.  It was just breathtaking.

Now, remember, I said this whole process started a long time ago.  It began before we knew we would be moving.  Fast Forward to last June/July.  After an atrocious winter and early spring, I finally got back to the quilt.  Things had changed- a lot!  First off, we were moving in the first few days of August.  Secondly, my sister in law (Hi Melinda! ) and the family were coming out in July, and I wanted to hand it all over to her for quilting.  My job was to design and piece the top (after printing up the pictures).  I used a nice Batik jelly roll to frame the pictures.  I also bought yardage to use for the back and binding and wherever else it was needed.  So, I was packing to move, and trying to get the top done.

I took the all the photos, printed up and waiting my magic touch... except I suddenly realized , as I was laying them all out that there was no way I would be able to use the original design I had been thinking and planning on.  The pictures were all different sizes, so instead of a tidy, symmetrical layout, I went with an eclectic look.  Personally, I think it turned out very artsy, and I loved it once I was done.

I was able to piece the top and hand it, the batting, the extra fabric, and the hand prints over to her when they came to visit.  The hand prints were a little brain storm we had later.  All of our hand prints, done in fabric paint, on the back of the quilt.  She finalized how to attach them to the back, and did a fantastic job!

Oh, another change that happened was that my sister in law is expecting again!  Yay!  But I know from experience that hand quilting with a frame around a pregnant tummy in the summer can be a bit of a challenge.  Come to think of it I was very pregnant with Josiah, and believe it or not it was for my Dad and stepmother's anniversary.  It was a GIGANTIC Trip Around the World Quilt.  We didn't have AC.  So, Dad and Les, if you read this, just remember how much I love you.  :P

What trials and mishaps my sister in law may have had, you'll have to ask her.  At any rate, she hand quilted the quilt, and got the had prints on, and got it labeled, wrapped and sent, bless her heart.

Oh, one more little glitch was that when my stepmother was doing her hand print my dad caught her in the act.  I don't know what she said to him, but according to Melinda, as soon as the word "craft" came out of her mouth my father glazed over and mumbled something about "whatever" and walked off.

In the end, my dad was surprised, and it worked out very well for this to be the year for such a gift.  My Florida Fleeing Father can't leave for the South just yet.  He has to actually spend the first part of the winter up north, as he had his routine hip surgery, and it will be at least 8 weeks before he can run for it.  No pun intended.

The "routine" surgery wasn't so routine, and there were some complications, but I have to say, after talking to him today, it seems like he is pretty much back to his old self again.  I hear he has been teasing and giving the nurses a hard time... a sure sign he is feeling better, and that he has been doing very well with the physical and occupational therapies.

The rest of the week has been the usual craziness plus NanoWriMo.  I've also been planning Dale's birthday dinner and a small family celebration.  His birthday is next Wednesday, but seeing how that is the day before Thanksgiving, and a Wednesday, which is the busiest day for us with ASL class and Teen Quiz team practice, and then getting over to our church for prayer meeting and doing up the bulletins... you get the idea, we decided that we would celebrate today.

Yesterday, however was our monthly shopping day.  It wasn't JUST monthly shopping.  I had Thanksgiving to buy for, and Dale's birthday.  And for mercy's sake, please don't even mention Christmas to me just yet!
When we got home, we unloaded, put away, then Dale and everyone except Elizabeth and I, went to the church around the corner from us where the kids go for Teen Recreation and Bible study on Friday nights.  They had a nice Turkey dinner for the teens and their families as a thank you for going to the Teen Bible Study.

Let's see... sit around and eat fattening foods, or stay home and write in my PJ's?  Kind of a no brainer, in my book.  Elizabeth agreed.  It was so very quiet after everyone left we hardly knew what to do with ourselves.  Funny thing is, she made us a nice healthy dinner, and then we sat and watched some TV together until the tribe came home.  Once the noise, er, family, was back in the house, I went upstairs to write.

Today was yet another busy day.  I bet you are all tired of reading that!  My plans were to get up bright and early, make the cake, organize for cleaning while Dale was gone for his Saturday visitation, wrap his presents, and have a nice lasagna dinner ready around 1pm.

Okay, what really happened was that we overslept, then just as we had all the eggs cracked for breakfast the power went out.  Dale was upstairs (I served him coffee in bed while he read his Bible) and was unaware when it went off.  But believe me, I was very aware!  I had lasagna to make!  A cake to make!  Laundry to do!  Vacuuming to do!  No power?

Well, at least I had had coffee!

So, we all went with Dale over to church.  Thankfully they had power.  We cleaned at church while Dale and Elizabeth did the Saturday calling.  I was able to do a little "office work" while there, as well.  Right before Dale and Elizabeth got back, I called our house.  I figured if I got the answering machine then the power was back on.  I did, and it was.

So, when we got home, we had a quick lunch, then I made the cake, put the lasagna together for supper, and then went upstairs to wrap presents.  Easy, right?

Not so much.  Seriously, I never, in a hundred years, would have expected to have so much trouble wrapping a few presents!

I had gotten this sparkly blue wrapping paper.  I took the plastic off and immediately couldn't help but notice that it was thick, almost like a fabric.  Great!  Not that cheap stuff that rips at the corners of a box after you wrap it.  Don't you hate having to reinforce those corners with tape?  Then I noticed that the glittery stuff that made it sparkle festively was coming off like little grains of sand.

No problem, I thought.  I haven't vacuumed in here yet.  (I had given the kids assigned chores for cleaning at our house, which they were TICKLED to do after helping at church.  Yeah.  Right.)

I got out the first gift, which was a new fleece bathrobe for Dale.  Boring present, right?  Well, it needed to be done as his old one is tattered and threadbare.  The man actually wore out an LLBean robe, believe it or not.  I'm not sure how, as he doesn't like to lounge around in it.  I did borrow it on occasion, but not that often.  No matter, a new robe he needed so a new robe he got.

He also needed new sneakers, but bought those himself yesterday.  I was going to get them for him, but it is a good thing I didn't, as he found he took a half a size smaller than he used to.  Good thing he was there to try them on!

However, I used the box for the bathrobe.  Not an easy feat, I assure you.  Picture this:  Me rolling that sucker up as tightly as it could go then cramming it into the shoe box.  Jerusha, who wanted to help wrap, was sitting there handing me tape.  I held that top down as best as I could, then quickly put tape on it to hold it shut.  It popped open, no matter how much tape I put on it.

"Jerusha, go ask Daddy for the packing tape, but don't tell him what it is for," I ordered her. I decided to wrap one of the other, smaller gifts: a new shirt and tie.  I cut the paper to the proper size and then folded it around the back.  I had it all lined up nice and neatly, then put the tape on.

It slid off.

I put another piece on.

It slid off.

The saying is that doing something the same way more than once and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity.  Guess what.

I put a third piece of tape on.

Guess what:  Yup.  It slid off.

The tape simply would not adhere to the paper!  That stupid glittery stuff... like sand... would shift and fall off and there was no where for the tape to grip.

Jerusha reappeared with the tape.  I decided to go back to the shoebox full of fleecy bathrobe.  I held the lid down with both hands.  Ah, that was tight enough.  Nice and snug... but now how do I get the tape?  It was packing tape, and after Jerusha fumbled with it and made a nice little packing tape ball, I told her to hold the lid down.  She wasn't quite big enough to have enough "toomph" to hold it down snugly.  Now what?  Okay... well, now don't laugh, but I ended up sitting on the top of the stupid box while taping one end, then turning it to tape the other.  I put several more rounds of tape just for good measure.  I surveyed the box with satisfaction.  No way that thing was opening up unless I wanted it to be.

Then came the problem with the wrapping paper.  Now, when we moved, I ditched all our old wrapping paper.  It was cheap stuff we had bought at the dollar store, and not worth the cost to move it.  What I had was ALL I had.  Remember what I said about the definition of insanity.

Yup, I tried it again.  I figured I was wrapping a box this time, and maybe that would make a difference.

It didn't.

I finally looked at Jerusha and she had a strange look on her face.  I suspect she was trying not to laugh at me.  I told her "I have to go to the store."

Dale found out that I was about to use $8 worth of gas to buy a $2.50 roll of cheap birthday wrap and put a halt to it.  (Ah, such is the life with a "numbers" type of guy).  He said, just use what you have.

I didn't have anything!  That was the problem.  Well, I had some baby wrap from when I made that quilt for the neighbor here after she had the baby.  It was all in pastels and said "Welcome Baby Boy" all over it with pictures of storks.  I protested.  Dale said "It's fine.  I was a baby boy, after all!"

No, I didn't use it.  I remembered I had gotten some Christmas wrap yesterday and used some of that.  I chose a plaid that was a little less "Christmassy" than the others.

I sat down in my room, door closed.  I don't know why I closed the door.  Dale obviously knew what I was doing.  Anyway, Jerusha started wrapping some of the smaller things, and I tackled that shirt and tie.

Now, when I say tackle, I do mean tackle.  Have you ever tried to catch a slippery, wet, bar of soap in the shower?  That is what this wrapping paper was like.  Seriously.  It was the most slippery stuff I have ever felt in my life.  Silk couldn't be any more slippery.  And guess what... the tape didn't like sticking to it.  I use a lot of tape normally anyway, but this was bordering on ridiculous.  What is it with wrapping paper these days anyway?  And that is THE last time I use that awful, cheap, non-sticky tape! You really do get what you pay for sometimes!

Eventually we got the presents wrapped.  We had a nice dinner, and the kids did some entertaining by doing some singing and a couple of skits for Dale.  I couldn't help but notice that some of the tape on the gifts were already peeling off while he was unwrapping.  Ah well, at least the gifts were a hit!

Back to the Land of NanoWri for me!  Have a blessed evening everyone!

33,620 words and counting,


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear from the Land of Post! LOOOOVE the photo quilt! Now that you're an expert, I may have to be in touch......... ;)

Love and miss you!

Mr. G's Mrs. G said...

Oh my goodness! What a hoot! Tell Dale "Happy Birthday!" for us. We'll see you, God willing, on the 18th. :)

You are so inspirational and imaginative! :) I love the quilt! :)