Monthly Archives: February 2008

Pollyanna and Alpacas and Jellyfish and Quilts, Oh My!

It’s been a long week here at Chez Pollyanna Rockies. Last weekend, we had an Alpaca Extravaganza and a birthday party for Mr. B (he’s four now!), and then Mr. R was a jellyfish at his 1st grade concert, and then … the Princes’ Quilts came on Thursday!!

Add to that the fact that it might get as warm as 70°F tomorrow, and things have been damn exciting around here. (I’ve actually been able to take walks at lunchtime without putting on my coat! Twice! Oh frabjous day!!) I am going to ignore the fact that it’s supposed to snow on Sunday. I live in the moment.

What to give you first, quilts or alpacas? Hmmmm. Howzabout the quilts? The kids have bunk beds, and I found it physically impossible to get a good photo of the quilts on the beds, so I present … the princes with their quilts, on the couch!

Mr. B’s quilt   That’s Mr. B there–look how delighted he is. He loves him some froggies.

  dscn0551.jpg  That’s Mr. R. He’s delighted too, but he didn’t really want to smile for me. He thought the planets and faint silver spiderwebs were very cool.

These both had to be folded in half to fit on their twin beds. Mr. R was especially pleased with the fact that he could stretch all the way out and his feet wouldn’t poke out of the bottom! (I know, bad mommy giving him too-small blankets. But I knew these were coming so I didn’t want to buy new big blankets! And I overlapped them so he didn’t really have cold feet. Honest, officer!)

And now for the search engine hits — alpacas! (Although Bruce Willis has been outscoring Alpacas the last few days.)The Alpaca Extravaganza was all alpacas, alpaca products (heh–that’s for my fellow 12 year olds), and stuff you might want if you were to raise alpacas. There were some spinning and weaving demos, which the kidlets and I enjoyed (especially Mr. R), and there was fiber. I was very, very tempted by some really lovely silver/grey/black Suri roving at $8/oz, but I’ve still got some vestige of sanity got a realistic idea of my spinning ability (that would be none), so I passed. Time enough to indulge in the good stuff when I can do it justice. But hey, you want to see the critters, don’t you? That’s all Mr. B was interested in, really.

 Goth Alpaca   That there is what I call the Goth Alpaca.

   Fluffy alpaca   That one is one of the Fabulous Alpaca Sisters …

 The Fabulous Alpaca Sisters  And here’s a shot of both Fab Sisters. The black one with the white face was very shy–this is the only picture I have where she didn’t hide her face just at the wrong moment! Actually, I have no idea as to their gender. They could be brothers, they could be opposite-sex siblings, they could be entirely unrelated. So sue me.

  Jellyfish dance  And that is Mr. R. being a jellyfish. The concert was 75 or so first graders, almost all in fish costumes (the angelfish was dressed like an angel, but with a fin on her back). There were quite a few sharks and a number of mermaids, but Mr. R was happy to be the one and only jellyfish. And I’ll tell you what, you haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed 75 or so oceanographically costumed first graders singing a hip-hop song about the ocean, waving their fists in the air and intoning “We are the sharks! And we’re leaving our marks!”

Yo yo yo, y’all.

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine says “Happy Birthday, Sith Master”

Lyda here. This weekend is the 17th birthday of my son, the Resident Sith Master.

I can’t believe he’s already 17.

I can’t believe he’s only 17.

He has always been ahead of the curve. He walked so early that the doctor did not believe it until he saw it for himself. He talked early, and told his first joke almost right away.

He has great instincts about people, which I learned to respect when he was still a baby. When he takes to someone instantly (which doesn’t happen that often), I know that person is a keeper. When he dislikes someone, I know to watch them like a hawk.

His laugh makes me glad I’m alive. He can be goofy and sarcastic and very funny, and he can be so profound that it stops me in my tracks.

At 17, he is passionately interested in politics and video games. He is extremely knowledgable about both. The quickest way to piss him off is to mess with someone he cares about, or a kid, or an animal, or the planet.

I’m still awestruck that I have been entrusted to be the mother of this amazing human being.

He is my greatest teacher.

He is my joy and my inspiration.

He is my hero.

Happy Birthday, dude. You rock.

Pollyanna and the Random Weirdness of Our Favorite Things

Lyda here. Been bummed out lately, nothing huge, just the usual stuff which I refuse to whine about here. Any more, I mean. At least today. Oh, hush. A sad Pollyanna is a contradiction in terms, right?

So, I was reading through our blog list – which I try to do every day at least once; yes, I keep up with the objects of my stalking  my peeps – and I read this “favorite things” post over at Faith’s blog. It made me smile. I clicked the links and they made me smile. Shiny.

So I thought, how about a Random Weirdness post about favorite things?

We’ll take it as given that we all love our families, our friends, our pets, fiber in all its glorious forms, chocolate, alcohol – the things required for life. Ya’ll know.

Let’s go with Random Weird stuff today. Little things, quirky things. Odd, bizarre, strange things.

Why do we love the weird things we do? Because we’re weird? Because we’re 12? Maybe we were dropped  on our collective heads when we were babies. Whatev. Certain random weird things make us happy. And happy is good enough reason for me.

Feel free to join in! Leave a comment with some of your favorite Random Weird things. If you do this on your blog, leave a comment with a link so we can all enjoy your weirdness  favorites. Please comment! Don’t leave me all alone in my weirdness. Hello? Bueller? Bueller?

Okay here we go. Cue Julie Andrews.

These are a few of My Favorite Weird Things:

1) Dinosaurs.

I’ve always loved them, always will. And when the Resident Sith Master was little, he fell in love with them too. We went to dinosaur exhibits at museums, we read dinosaur books, we drew dinosaurs and played with dinosaur toys. He wanted to be a paleontologist and study dinosaurs when he grew up. He said I could come and help him as he dug up the bones. All together: Awww. It was hard for him to tell me, years later, that he had changed his mind about this career choice. But the point of it wasn’t the dinosaurs – the point was that we were sharing them, and I got to help give his dreams wings.

Last night, we watched a Nova episode about flying dinosaurs. It was awesome. We got to share dinos again.

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Flying dino happiness.

2) Cheesy old horror movies.

Why do I love these? I don’t know. They crack me up. I love it when the monster is clawing someone, and you can see the rubber claws bending. I love that the plots make no sense. The worse they are, the better I like them.

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I love that the woman always goes up to the attic with a candle when she hears weird noises. She is always wearing a long white nightgown, which is not really perfect attire for kicking monster butt. For perfect monster-kicking attire, refer to Buffy.

Do the long white nightgowns come with creepy old houses? I mean, when the realtor hands you the keys, does she hand you a white nightgown too? 

“All of our friends are disappearing one by one. Let’s go skinny dipping in the lake.” 

Cheesy happiness. 

3) Frogs.

I love the little amphibians. No, not because of this movie:

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That would belong in #2 above.

Warning: Cute Kid Story.One day I was driving the then-toddler Sith Master somewhere, and it was very foggy. He said, “It’s very froggy today.”

We decided a frog had made the fog. And my first children’s book, “The Frog Who Created the Fog” was born. Hello, agents and publishers? Hello? I’ve been nuts about frogs ever since.

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Leaping happiness.

4) Goofy sci-fi.

All sci-fi reminds me of watching “Star Trek” with GAAE brother. So I get the fun of sci-fi and the goodness of my bro, all in one.I love good sci-fi, but goofy sci-fi is one of my weird joys.

Captain Kirk buried in tribbles.

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Fuzzy happiness.

5) Random quoting.

Books, movies, video games, conversations – I’ll randomly quote almost anything at almost any time. As ya’ll may have noticed.

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Let’s not go to Camelot. Tis a silly place. 

Watery tart happiness.

6) This video game

I have to be careful not to let it eat up all my time. I mean, I could be knitting! This is a weirdly meditative thing for me. I spent three hours playing it last night.

RSM told me that he got this game because he knew I’d like it.

Shiny happiness.

7) Cleaning.

Ya’ll know I’ve got a cleaning compulsion. Or obsession. Or disease. Whatev. I especially love to clean out and organize a closet (see yesterday’s post), a garage, or a filing cabinet. I actually like to do this for other people, which is truly weird. I also like the really gritty work – scrubbing and such.

One of the worst things for me about fibromyalgia is that I can’t indulge in my cleaning sprees like I used to. At this point I need to hire a cleaning person (which I can’t afford yet) and I think this is ironic as hell. Is hell ironic?

I’d love to hire this cleaning woman:

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But I digress… 

I know, it’s a weird sickness. But it’s a happy-making sickness.

8.) PBS.

I just love it. History, science, how-to shows, and great theater. Nature, Nova, Mystery, Masterpiece Theater, This Old House, Live at the Met – too many great shows to mention. And the silliness of Sesame Street. And they still show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, which is a warm haven in a chaotic world. By all reports he was always that gentle and kind in person too. That makes me happy.

That’s eight. Eight shows mentioned by name. Ahahahaha  (thunder)

Commercial-free happiness.

9) America’s Next Top Model.

I’m embarrassed that I watch this show. It’s a fashion train wreck every time. For some reason, I love seeing the hopefuls struggling with the weird and wonderful tasks each week. I could do with less of the diva drama, but I still hate to miss a show. Next week, the new gals get their haircuts. Drama will inevitably ensue.

Whitney rocks it:

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But Claire’s leg warmers?! So ten minutes ago.

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Crazy happiness.

10) Zombies.

What, ya’ll knew about this one already?

Ever since Second Son indoctrinated me with “Shaun of the Dead“, I’ve been a zombie lover. I am not the only one; here’s a funny review of the book “The Zen of the Zombie.”

Remember this? From when he was famous for his music?

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Zombies have brought me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it, I thank you all. Lots and lots of fortune.

Last night, I stayed up late watching “CSI:NY” because it was a episode with zombies (the episode is titled “Boo”) . I’m a zombie myself today from lack of sleep, but it was worth it.

Zombie happiness.

Heh, I said I’m a zombie lover. Does this mean I’ve been dating zombies?

It would explain a lot…

Pollyanna says “You Look Marvelous, Dahling!”

Lyda here.  

Ya’ll, go check out Teeny Project Runway over at Mason-Dixon Knitting. Hilarious! How to choose just one of these entries to vote for?!

Let these fashion designs inspire your own wardrobe choices. Be fabulous!

Pollyanna West’s Guide to a Fabulous Wardrobe

Part One: Cull the Herd

This is my favorite part. Bwahahaha.

Hard-core Attack:
  • Set aside a day for this. Before the big day, do the laundry and put the clothes away. Hey, I said it was hard-core.
  • Invite a friend or two over to help. They should have great taste, a good sense of humor, and kindness.
  • A full length mirror will help, but isn’t essential. A camera is optional.
  • Be sure you have lots of chocolate, caffeine and alcohol on hand. Ya’ll will need your strength. Stock up on some comedy DVDs to watch after the work.
  • On the day, make the bed. Drag your friends into the bedroom (or wherever the clothes are).
  • Put three big bags on the floor, one for Mend, one for Donate, one for Toss. Paper shopping bags are good, because they stand up on their own. Plastic trash sacks work fine too. You may need extra bags as you go.
  • Pull all of your clothes out of the closet and pile them on the bed. Remove any cats first.
  • Evaluate each item:
    • Do you love it?
    • Does it fit?
    • Does it flatter you?
    • Does it fit your life? There is no point in keeping a blouse that must be ironed if you will never iron it. No matter how beautiful it is. Ditto clothes that need to be dry cleaned if you won’t do it. Which is why I personally have no clothes that require ironing or dry cleaning.
    • Is it in good shape?
  • If the answer is no to any of ONE of these questions, it goes in Donate (if it is in good shape) or Toss. I warned you. Hard. Core.
  • Make a list of what needs replacing as you go.
  • If the answer is yes, and
    • It needs professional attention (dry cleaning, alteration, repair), make a separate bag for that.
    • It needs a button sewn on or the hem mended, it goes in Mend.
    • It is fine as is, put it back in the closet.
  • In order to evaluate them, most items will have to be tried on. I know. This is why your friends are with you. Be strong. Have a glass of wine. Have some chocolate. Have some more wine. Breathe. Make your friends tell you how pretty you are.
  • When in doubt about whether to keep something, trust your friends.
  • Your friends are allowed to plunder the Donate pile at will. Even though it makes you look like a frog, maybe that shade of green will look great on one of them. Or their mom.
  • You may put a very few items in a Maybe pile. But only a few.
  • When you have been through the whole pile on the bed, you will have only the clothes you love and will wear in your closet.
  • You will also have a list of things you need to replace.
  • Go through the Maybe pile again, moving things into the other categories. If you still aren’t sure, there’s probably something wrong with it – maybe the fabric itches, or the color isn’t right for you. Maybe you think you should like it, but probably you don’t. Maybe you just feel meh about it. Life is too short to wear meh clothes. Unless you have to for work – if you deliver for UPS, you have to wear the brown.
  • If you still have a (small!) pile of Maybes, put them in a bag and put it away somewhere out of sight – like the garage or another room. If you need or want one of these items, you will dig it out. Whatever’s still in the bag in two months gets donated (unless one of the special notes below applies). Again: Hard. Core.
  • Optional: As you try on the great clothes, create new outfits. Maybe you always wear that sweater with that skirt because you bought them together, but it also looks fabulous with those slacks. Have a friend take a picture so you remember what looks good together. Try on different shoes with the outfits too. You have your friends there for their advice on all this, and for fun. Play with your clothes!
  • Take the Toss bag(s) out to the trash. No, no waiting until the morning. Do it now. She thunders imperiously.
  • Load the Donate bag(s) into the car. All of them. So let it be written, so let it be done.
  • Load anything that needs to be dry-cleaned or professionally repaired into the car.
  • The point is to get this stuff out of your house right away. If it sits around, it might creep back into the closet.
  • If it’s not too late (and you have a sober person to drive), go on a road trip to drop off the Donations and dry-cleaning. Pick up some food and head back to your place for fun movies and dinner. And more wine.
  • Better yet, order delivery and put in a movie. You can drop off the donations and dry cleaning tomorrow. See, I am not completely heartless.
  • Now you owe your friends the same day of fun with their wardrobes. Hey, it’s a lot easier to do this for someone else.

If you have a really big wardrobe, it might take more than one day. However, I have done this for several friends, and even though one time we completely filled one friend’s truck with bags of clothes to donate, we finished in one day.

That’s right. The whole back of her truck. Filled with bags of clothes.

I am merciless.

Yes, I will come to your house. Yes, there will be a fee. Chocolate will only be the beginning. Bwahahaha!

Soft Core (heh, I said “soft core”) Approach:
  • For one month, keep three bags in the closet or near it, for Donate, Toss, and Mend. Add a bag for Dry Clean / Professionally Alter or Repair if you need it.
  • As you go through the month, put a few things in the bags as you have a few minutes, or as you change clothes.
  • Just before you do laundry, look at what is left in your closet. Why haven’t you worn those clothes? Can some of them go in the bags?
  • Tape up a piece of paper, and make notes on what you need to replace.
  • If a bag gets full, take it out of the closet and put an empty one in its place. If it’s a Toss or Dry Clean bag – well, you know what to do.
  • At the end of the month, take all the Donate bags to a charity.
  • You can repeat this periodically, or just keep it going all the time.

Eventually, the unloved, the ugly, the poorly fitting clothes will all be gone. You will have a usable wardrobe and a cleaner closet.

Notes: 

Donate only usable items. They should also be clean. It is not acceptable to wear a shirt all day and then put it in the the Donate bag. It is also okay to give things to your friends, relatives, whoever – if they really want them. If they don’t it will just become part of their closet clutter.

You can do the same process for the clothes in your dresser. Whether or not you want your friends there while you go through your lingerie is up to you.

If you have a lot of clothes in multiple closets, you can approach it one closet at a time. If you have different wardrobes for different aspects of your life, you can do one at a time. Hmm, today I’ll go through my cat burglar outfits, and tomorrow the Leader of Industry power suits.

Seasonal clothes:

If you live somewhere that necessitates a winter wardrobe and a summer wardrobe, then you can do the Hard-Core Attack twice – once for each season. Maybe when you are moving the clothes to prepare for the new season. Be sure to make a list of what to replace. You might find needed items at end-of-season sales, but if not, you will have a list to work with when it gets cold or hot again.

As an adult, I have never lived anywhere with seasonal extremes, so I’ve never had to do this. I’m not sure why I’m mentioning this. Except maybe to say nanee-nanee-boo-boo.

Special Occasion clothes:

There are clothes that we don’t wear often, yet we want and need. Renaissance Faire outfits. Ritual wear. Costumes. Formal wear. One tasteful modest dress for dress-up work functions, the readings of Wills, and tea with the Queen. As opposed to the trashy trolling-for-guys dresses that one wears all the time. Ya’ll know.

You can include pregnancy clothes in this category, if you think you’ll use them again. And again I say, nanee nanee.

You can of course keep these items. Just move them to the back of the closet or a dresser drawer, or even a closet somewhere else in the house.

Sentimental clothes:

Far be it from me to tell you to get rid of your old Brownie outfit, or the dress you wore in your high school production of “Annie Get Your Gun,” or your collection of bridesmaid dresses. I personally still have the Spanish dancing skirt from my high school dancing group. Keep them, love them, enjoy them. Just not in the closet where your wardrobe lives.

Remember how groggy you are some mornings? Or maybe all mornings?

You do not want to accidentally wear that Brownie outfit to work one day. On purpose would be different. And send me pictures.

I’m just saying.

“It will be fabulous once I…” clothes:

We all have them. The jeans you will be able to get into when you lose or gain five pounds (or ten or twenty…). The dress that will look awesome when your new workout routine pays off. The sweater that you can wear when you go blond. Okay, we don’t all have that last one, but you know what I mean.

This is a hard one. If you truly love these clothes and know they will look fabulous on you at some later date – then keep them. But not with your daily clothes. Put them in the bottom drawer of a dresser or in another closet. If you have to keep them in your closet, put them in a box on the shelf, or at the back. 

When you open your closet, you will now only see clothes you like. Clothes that you can wear right now. Clothes that work for you.

A cluttered crowed closet is just discouraging. You might refuse to get dressed and climb back into bed. While appealing in the short term, this could lead to problems in the long term.

Even Ladies of Negotiable Affection have to get out of bed sometimes.

It’s worth it to clean out your closet. Really. I will actually come and help you. I can be bought. Heh heh. You will be able to dress quicker, and feel good about everything you own.

Next time: Shopping for Clothes.

Scary, kids!

Pollyanna and the F.O. Pictures

Lyda here. Picture heavy post. The colors didn’t come out but I had to share these with ya’ll anyway. Dear Santa, Need new camera. Please! I have extra cookies!

The Dread Cat Tommy with the quilts when they were in-progress (finished pics in yesterday’s post), and the finished GAAE brother scarf:

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Closer view of The Airspeed of an Unladen Wooster Scarf / The Lumberjack of the Lake Scarf for GAAE brother:

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 “Oh, but you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a scarf at you!”

The Twisted Sister Scarf (which looks awful in these photos – the colors are much prettier than this – but still, cute cat!):

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Closer view: 

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No more Twisted Sister!

Tommy contemplates the “Chuck Norris Bites Frost” Scarf:

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Below, the Resident Sith Master models the “Chuck Norris Bites Frost” Scarf, which is black and claret [it’s a terrible pic]. Ya’ll can see this is a long scarf – he’s 5’8″ and he has the scarf wrapped once around his neck and the ends tossed over his shoulders (when you are a Sith Master, you must maintain an air of mystery and not show your face on the Cosmic Innernetting).

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RSM models The Global Warming Scarf (again, the colors came out weird – they are actually lovely mottled blues – but look how wide!):

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Tommy walks across the Global Warming Scarf. 

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Enough pictures! Where’s the tuna?

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine’s Quilt-Finishing Tutorial – Now with 50% More Wine!

Lyda here. Last weekend I finished two quilts. And there was much rejoicing.

Lookee, pictures! Our model today is Tommy the Sith Apprentice Cat. He works for tuna. Have your people call his people. Wait, I’m his people. Sorry the pics aren’t better; I took them with a disposable camera. In a week or so, Anna-Liza has promised to post some pics of the quilts in their new home, and hopefully they’ll be better. Plus we might get a glimpse of the young princes. Extreme Cuteness Warning!

But I digress…

The quilts were almost done; here’s a shot of the last of the tying-off of one of the quilts. All I had left to do was bind the edges. And remove the bathing cat.

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Hey, I’m busy here, lady. It takes work to be this gorgeous.

Here’s the back of the Cosmic Prince Quilt:

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For these quilts, I used the backing – which I made larger than the quilt top – to create the bound edges of the quilts. And I thought, why not write it out as a tutorial, to get extra blog hits  in case anyone needs to know.

Imagine you are making a quilt. You have already pinned the layers together using upty gillion big safety pins. Possibly you have had to unpin and repeat this last step because of feline assistance. You have already either quilted the layers together, or tied the quilt together.

You have NOT removed the safety pins if you tied the quilt. They help keep the layers together while you are finishing the edges. If you quilted the quilt, you probably already removed the pins as you did the quilting. If you quilted an elaborate design, you don’t really need my assistance for the finishing. Also, can you quilt my next quilt for me?

Also, you could use quilting straight pins (which are extra long) to pin the layers together, but you will stab yourself a million billion times. And bleed on the fabric. And your feline assistant will get poked. This is never good for the quilter or the quilt.

Not to mention the cat.

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I used to use straight pins and I have the scars to prove it. Not all scars are from the pins. Safety pins are better.

But I digress again…

Here’s what to do next:

  1. Spread the quilt out, quilt top up, on the floor.
  2. Sigh and think how much you hate this damned thing. Resist the urge to throw it in the oven and hit “broil.” Remind yourself that you are almost done. Try to remember that there was a time when you liked this fabric, this pattern, this quilt. This damned never-ending quilt.
  3. Ignore the vast quantities of cat hair stuck to the fabric. Um, what cat hair?img015.jpg
  4. Drink a large quantity of the caffeinated beverage of your choice. Turn on the TV. Wonder why there is never anything good on.
  5. Now look at the quilt. See the backing fabric sticking out around the edges? Yes, it’s there, under the batting. This is going to be your binding, which will fold over onto the front of the quilt and be sewn down.
  6. Notice that the amount of backing sticking out varies on the different sides of the quilt.
  7. Curse.
  8. Drink some more caffeine and ponder the options. Yes, you could unpin the layers and reposition the fabrics. You could even sew additional fabric around the edge of the quilt top, as a border. Which would involve ironing. Ironing. Shudder.
  9. Sigh. Curse again. Drink more caffeine. Change TV channels and try to find something decent to watch. Wonder if it is too early for wine.
  10. Decide to do the edges with the fabric as is, wide borders be damned.
  11. Find the part of the quilt with the least amount of backing fabric sticking out. Warning – this involves measuring. This is very important. You don’t want to be blipping along and discover, as you round the turn onto the last side of the quilt, that your three-inch border needs to be a two-inch border. Ask me how I know.
  12. Now, at this Depressing Spot of Least Backing Fabric, fold the edge of the backing forward one inch (wrong side to wrong side) and pin with quilting straight pins. You are not folding the fabric over the quilt front at this point. You are creating a one-inch fold-under so the raw edges will not unravel later.
    • You could do this part on the ironing board and press the fabric to hold this crease. 
    • Unless you hate ironing with a passion that sears. In which case, you will just pin. Guess what I did? Yup.
  13. Now, more measuring. Measure the distance from the edge of the quilt top fabric to the fold you just made.
  14. Let’s say it’s six inches. This is good – you will be able to have a three-inch binding all around this quilt without covering up much of the quilt top. 
  15. If you only have two inches, you will have to fold the binding fabric up farther, possibly covering up part of the quilt top. If you don’t like how this looks, you will have to add fabric for a border and/or binding to the quilt top.
  16. Repeat step 9.
  17. Decide that if it means you can be done with the thing today, you love how it looks with the backing covering up part of the quilt top.
  18. Now, measuring six inches from the edge of the quilt top, fold and pin the rest of the side of the quilt you are working on, so that the binding is an even six inches all along that side. The part you have folded over may be more than one inch in places – that’s okay.
  19. Now, in the middle of this side of the quilt, fold the backing fabric in half so that it overlaps onto the quilt top and pin in place. Just do about six inches – don’t do the whole side yet.
  20. Eat a piece of chocolate. Decide if you like how the edging looks.
  21. Realize that there is too much batting, which makes the edge too fat.
  22. Unpin the six inches (now you are glad you didn’t do the whole side).
  23. Trim the batting a bit in this spot, and try it again. Do this until you get a thickness that you like for the edging.
  24. Now measure the width of the batting in this spot, from the quilt top edge.
  25. Trim the batting all along this side to this width. Be very careful to not cut the backing fabric while doing this. Do not cut the carpet either. Or the cat.
  26. Rub your knees and have another piece of chocolate. Vow to never again make a quilt too big to fit on the dining table.
  27. Drink more caffeine. Promise to buy a big cutting table. Ignore the batting fluff that is now everywhere.
  28. Turn the quilt and find the middle of another side. 
  29. Measure six inches from the edge of the quilt top, and fold and pin the backing fabric (wrong side to wrong side).
  30. Trim the batting to the width you trimmed it for the first side of the quilt.
  31. Repeat steps 26 through 28 with the other two sides.
  32. Decide to buy knee pads at least.
  33. Starting in the middle of one of the longest sides, turn the backing fabric up and over onto the quilt top, measuring to make sure it is three inches (or whatever you have determined it should be). Pin in place.
  34. Make sure the batting is not showing. You can tuck the batting into that 1″ fold in the backing fabric that you made way back in step 12.
  35. Working toward one end, continue folding, measuring and pinning. Leave the end unpinned for now. Go back to the middle and do the same until you get to the other end.
  36. Repeat steps 32 & 33 on the other three sides.
  37. Stare at the corners.
  38. Decide you don’t care what the clock says, it’s definitely time for wine.
  39. Find wine and glass. Pour and drink. Repeat as needed.
  40. Fold the corners somehow. Cursing helps. (Also, see #57.)
  41. Drag the whole quilt to the sewing machine.
  42. Detach cat from quilt.
  43. Begin stitching the binding in place, about 1/4″ from where the quilt top and binding meet.
  44. Run out of bobbin thread. Curse. Drink. Wind new bobbin.
  45. New bobbin in place, continue stitching.
  46. Break the needle. Curse. Drink more wine. Replace needle.
  47. Dislodge cat from folds of quilt so you can turn the corner.
  48. Continue stitching, fending off cat as you go.
  49. Break another needle. Curse more. Drink more. Replace needle.
  50. Finally finish stitching the binding once.
  51. Stitch around the binding again, really close to the edge this time.
  52. Dislodge cat again. Wash and dry the quilt.
  53. Repeat process with second quilt the next day.
  54. Resolve to never ever work on two quilts at once again.
  55. Never.
  56. Spread quilts out for photographing. Take lots of pictures, cat model optional.
  57. Fall in love with quilts all over again. Wonder how you can possibly give them up. Force family and friends to admire at length. Decide you want to keep them and pet them and name them George. And Fred.
  58. Ship quilts to worthy receipents anyway. Best friend. Quilts three years in the making. Time to let go.
  59. Be amazed that the box weighs over 12 pounds.
  60. One week later, read an easier way to bind a quilt online, including the way to miter the corners if you prefer. Yes, this site has actual tutorials and free patterns and other stuff. Although the cursing and drinking are somehow missing… Weird.
  61. Pout. Curse. Drink. Knit.
  62. Resolve to never quilt again.
  63. The next day, fall in love with new pattern in quilting book from library.
  64. Begin planning new quilt.
  65. But it will be much much smaller! And only one! It won’t take very long to make… No, really! 

With great pleasure (and even greater relief), I present the quilts. 

The Cosmic Prince Quilt:

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The Frog Prince Quilt:

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Pollyanna Weighs In

Lyda here. Anna-Liza sent me something that got me thinking. I’ve been working on this too long, and I’m just going to post it, whether it is any good or not.

It’s time to shut up about “the Cost of Obesity.”  The article ends with a suggestion that the candidates support a ban on weight discrimination. My favorite part (page 2, second paragraph) is how the cultural stigma about being overweight contributes to negative health effects.

Size-ism affects employment, educationmedical treatment, and self-esteem. The media often portrays fat people as lazy, stupid, crude losers. Peers, teachers, employers, medical professionals often treat the overweight – and those with different body sizes and types and differing physical abilities, anyone who doesn’t seem “normal” whatever the hell that is – with contempt, as if they are less deserving of respect. As if they are, in fact, less than human.

This behavior would be outrageous if directed at any other group. A doctor, a teacher, a fellow student, a boss treating someone unfairly because of their ethnicity or religion? Intolerable!

So why would it be okay to discriminate against someone because of their body?

People who would never attack someone’s religion or ethnicity think nothing of criticizing a person’s weight, food choices, and exercise habits. This happens to people who are “average weight” and those who are “very thin” as well as those perceived as overweight. Ya’ll know how I feel about turkeys who intrude into someone’s personal life and choices without being invited.

People who would never tease someone with a disability think nothing of joking about a person’s height, body type, or athletic ability. People who would never denigrate someone’s heritage or sexual orientation think nothing of putting down a person’s hair style, clothing, or grooming.

Thinking nothing is the problem.

It is exhausting to deal with these attacks – and the more often it happens, the more it impacts self-esteem. This is harmful for children, and it’s no picnic for adults either. It creates fear and hatred.

Read this. And this.

What to do about it?

We can all work together to create an environment where every body is respected. Whatever size, whatever shape, whatever physical abilities, whatever the outer trappings.

Whatever the inner trappings too. It’s important to remember that we really don’t know what another person is dealing with. At USM, it was said over and over again, “Each person is really doing the best they can at the time. If they could do it ‘better,’ they would.”

One does use discernment to choose one’s friends, for example. And actions have consequences, sometimes including incarceration or hospitalization. But discernment is different than judgement. Consequences are different than hatred.

Hey, good news. You really are doing the best you can do in each moment. Give yourself a break.

But I digress…

Together, we can create a climate of respect and tolerance.

We can treat each other as fellow beings worthy of respect and love.

If you have any questions on how to do this, I would suggest you consult the nearest dog or cat. They’ve got this down, ya’ll.

Okay, all together: “I’d like to teach the world to sing…”