Empty Elizabeth

In front of something, yet still behind...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Over Herd

SE love dinosaurs. Fueling the habit was dinosaurs from Auntie Abbey and Grandpa P for Christmas. It's ok, we don't mind. It's amazing how much he knows. He know all their names.. and when you get it wrong, he says "no, Mommy, that's a Dilophosaurus."
Actually, I think I started his habit. I took him to our museum on free-Mondays. They don't have a spectacular dinosaur exhibit. I don't think it has changed since I was there in the 4th grade (about 17 years ago). But they do have an actual Torosaur skeleton. Also, there are large replicas of a Stegosaurus and a T-Rex eating a Triceratops (appetizing).
Both SE and SM love to set up the dinosaurs. Usually they are all facing the same direction on the "grass" that Grandpa made for their little table. Other times they are eating leaves off of some artificial plants (I tend to kill plants). It's nice to see them both play quietly together once in a while.
Today we got a couple of new dinosaur books from the bookstore. We have already read them once in the short time we were home between shopping and me leaving for work. Even if they're the ones with lots of words, SE is usually happy if I name the dinosaurs after he points and says "that one", "and that one", "and that one, Mommy", "what's that one". Sometimes I have him tell me the names of dinosaurs.

That's all I can think of about that. Sorry that the paragraph structure is crap, I'm tired.

In quilt news.... I machine quilted the whole thing over the weekend. That was scary and fun. Scary because I just decided to do a random looping over the entire thing (sort of like stippling, but with loops) and once you start, it's a little hard to start over. I was going to do a "regular" pattern where I'd draw what I wanted with chalk pencil and then stitch over it, but I tested that on a sample and I didn't like the way it looked. After testing the tension on the sample I made, I decided to just go for it. Some parts are a little shaky and the stitch length is very inconsistent, but I think it turned out nice. There are only a couple of places where the fabric got puckered. I can live with that. I even made a couple of hearts and the word "love" twice. Now I'm working on stitching the binding around to the back by hand. Then I will be done! I'll try to take some close-ups of the stitching and post them soon.

Might I just add: the spell check on this thing is lame. It doesn't highlight the word it's checking so you have no idea if you should replace it or not!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

In Which Pictures Appear

I finally took a picture of quilt top! I am slow. {Also, our old computer died (or something), and my husband, being the computer geek that he is, had to buy parts and build a new one.} Voila! Quilt top:


Stack-n-wack: after some intricate stacking of many layers of fabric, you cut it up and get 8-9 stacks of 8 identical triangles. Then you fan them out and sew them together for the blocks. I have 5 yet to sew together (I started this one in November).

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Stitch in Time

Rachel wanted to know "how long does a quilt take to make from start to finish". This is a tricky question, so I thought I'd do a post about it.
The time it takes to make a quilt varies greatly. It depends on many things : size, intricacy of the pattern, special cutting ("fussy" cutting), how fast you can sew, and of course, how much time you have! Some people can finish one in a weekend. That is especially easy if you go on a retreat (yes, they have retreats for quilts, my mom is going on one soon).
That being said, my quilts take a while to do. I have 2 kids and only one of them takes naps. And today, I actually did 3 loads of wash, remade the bed, vacuumed and worked on cleaning up the general mess that is our house. So squeeking in an hour and a half to do a little quilting (with a break to set up train tracks) was quite nice.
Here's how mine went:
My first quilt took me about 5 months to complete. That included hauling my 18 month old to the quilt store, while pregnant. Oh, and the baby was born a month before I finished it. I think that if you have a deadline, you pace yourself more to get it done on time. With this one, my mother-in-law was staying with us after the baby was born, so I did a lot of it then.
I have a second one in the works. It is all sandwiched and pinned. I decided that I was going to quilt it by hand with needle and thread. For a while, I had a good clip going, but I haven't touched in quite a while. I think it's in the dining room. Lately I haven't had much time to just sit. Every time I do sit, there is a kid who immediately clamors on top of me.
The one I'm working on now I had started during the summer (2005) sometime. I did one row, because you had to cut the pieces as you went. That's what gives it the "scrappy" look. (Lucky for me, I bought all my fabric to complete it back in September because they don't carry my fabrics anymore.) So just last week I started working on it again. Today I finished the borders, that means the top is complete. I cut the binding strips and I cut some more strips and sewed pieces of all my fabrics together for a strip detail on the back. My mom has done this sort of thing before (put some blocks or stripping on the back instead of an entire piece of fabric) and I like the little bit of interest it adds. Normally, you would just have to cut the back fabric to fit your quilt, but I have a little bit of piecing to do. It shouldn't take long. So far, this quilt has taken me about 6 months.
So there you have it: a long winded answer that not really an answer at all!
Let's just say: it varies.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Quilt Update

One good thing today: I have a quilt update. I finished piecing the top of my "Aunt Mae's Scrappy Quilt"(name edited). Though I had to trim quite a bit because my measuring skills were quite off on Sunday. It looks good. I already put on the first of bottom and top borders. I'm excited to finish.
That is all.


Today is not going so well. SE is being very difficult. It's really wearing on me. Grinding me to a halt. I don't know what to do with myself.
I tried to add my yahoo avatar to my blog. That didn't work. I tried 7 different ways. I thought, hey! I'll actually get to use it for something, since I never chat. But nevermind.

Friday, January 20, 2006


I have always mostly liked my job. I like my hours. I like my coworkers. I like what I do. Those people that I don't really like work on first shift. And basically they all, even the ones I don't particularly like, are pretty nice.
The first change was a good one: we went from 1 in 3 weekends to 1 in 4, and then to 1 in 5. Even doing 1 in 3 wasn't so bad because it was only Saturday from 8-1:00 and every fifth one you worked was 8:30-5:00. I could handle that. It was even better with 1 in 5, though every 4th Saturday, you had to work long. That still wasn't very often.
Well, out of the blue, the woman that worked Saturday and Sunday (which was the reason for the sweet weekend schedule) quit. No reasons. No two week notice. Since then, our whole schedule was moved around to include Sunday.
Now, every other month, we have to work the entire weekend. That's 8-5 on Saturday and 8-5 on Sunday. That's quite a cramp from what we were used to.
It can only get better. Right?
One girl I work with is pregnant. She's due in February. This is wonderful. Except that fact that rumor has it her husband got a job in Florida. Soon, she will be gone.
There is another coworker who has been on FMLA since mid-December. Rumor on him is that if he doesn't come back by February 1st, he's not coming back at all.
These two people throw quite a big monkey wrench into the work environment here. Not only does it make our first shift have to work short and use pool employees (that get paid more per hour than a regular tech), it really makes the weekend schedule feel the pinch.

I can only hope that all goes well and nothing worse than our current situation will come to pass. If it does, I might have to make some changes of my own. Job changes, that is.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Your Two Cents

Today is that last day (or maybe you have tomorrow, too) of International De-Lurking Week. Just drop a comment to say "hi".
That's all.
No pressure.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Plain Jane

I came across this article while reading MUBAR today. Like Jen, I would like to comment. If I only had some time to think about it a bit! Yea it has been a twelvemonth since I had the pleasure to pass the time thinking of such issues.
Which reminds me, I am almost done with "Pride and Predjudice". I saw the commercial for the movie a while back and decided I must read the book. Rachel gives a thoughtful and educated deconstruction/comparison of the book to the movie... I have yet to finish reading all her posts on the subject (look under 11-6, 11-12, & 11-16).
I will post my thoughts on the book later, but I have one observation to post now, since I have been thinking it today and if I don't post it, it will be long gone when I need it:

I am currently reading "Pride and Predjudice" by Jane Austen. The last book I read was "Marker" by Robin Cook. The later was an excellent book: gripping, fast-reading, and could possible have been non-fiction. He's also one of my favorite writers in the medical-thriller genre. Now that I'm reading "P&P", I am reflecting on how this novel is also so gripping, I would love nolthing more than to sit down and read it cover to cover. This book has no dead bodies, morgues, killer nurses and corrupt insurance companies. It has women, men, dancing and lots of conversation. How is it that a book written almost 200 years ago has more appeal to me than most novels written this past year?

..more to come.

Maybe say maybe

It's been a long day.

Despite medication, I'm feeling not quite right. I don't have enough energy. I'd rather sit around in my pajamas and read than play with the kids. It's hard to get off the couch to make lunch... let alone decide what to make. The odd thing is: I've been exercising! Last week, I did three days, plus something on a fourth, and we walked around the home expo on Sunday. Monday, I did four miles on our recumbent bike and little arm lifting. I thought exercising was supposed to make you feel good, give you energy, endorphins, ward of the depression. Maybe there's a break-in period. Who's to say? Well, I'm still slouchy and indifferent. Hopefully I can keep up the exercising, as it was part of my "New Year's Resolutions".

I think this is the first year in a long time that I've made "resoultions"... but I think they should be goals. Especially things that you can actually accomplish without a TON of extra effort. When people set their goals too high, the whole process can backfire and cause distress when the goals aren't met. Anyhow, here's my list:
  1. Exercise 3-5 times a week (biking, stretching, weights and yoga)
  2. Eat more healthy foods (e.g. limit sugar, eat more whole fruits and vegetables)
  3. Organize clothes and house-- and keep them that-a-way!
  4. Add dishwasher and pantry to kitchen

I think they are pretty attainable goals:

The exercising should be good, as long as I can keep up the motivation. My husband helps with that, even though I usually tell him to "stuff it" when he does try to get me to exercise. Gotta work and that too, I suppose. Maybe next year!

Based upon analysis of my horrible diet of blizzards and cheesburgers, and most recently chocolates and all manner of christmas cookies, I thought that I could try to eat better this year. Once all those cookies are gone, we should be ok. As long as I keep good fruits and vegetables in the house, I'm more apt to eat them.

Organizing the clothes shouldn't be too hard. I started some of that last year (a couple of months ago now), but once it's done, it will be heaven. Heaven! Also, I organized the kids "crafty cupboard" in the dining room. With labels and everything. I also tried to make a dent in my box of photos and empty photo albums. I started moving our wedding proofs to an album that was a wedding gift. It has space to write about the picture. So that project has been dented. Hopefully it will be completed this year. Maybe I should just do one at a time, that way it will be like accomplishing something each time. Wheras lumping them all together will take a long time, it will become disheartening.

The last one, about the kitchen, is on there so we actually do it. Not just talk about it! We don't have a dishwasher, so we seem to have a big problem actually doing the dishes. I told my in-laws to let us know if they were coming to visit so we could quarantine the kitchen, since it's been declared a disaster and we're still waiting on FEMA. Periodically, my husband goes nuts (in a good way) and cleans the whole thing. Sadly, it is short-lived. Putting in a dishwasher, which my dad suggested, and said he could do himself, would make our lives easierd. The pantry, which my mom suggested during the same conversation, would be awesome. I would have all my extra items and food items easily accessible. Plus, it would have a door. So as to keep out little children who like to empty out cabinets and recylcing bins. SM would say "but mo-om! The weatlth of treasure they may hold is to great to keep from modern society! I MUST pull everything out until I am sure there is nothing left of value."... if he could talk, that is.

Maybe I've come up with a good plan, an "attainable" one, anexecutable one. Maybe it will all wait until next year.


This week is National De-Lurking Week. Where-in all those people who visit this site just to read, but don't comment, should! It is also where I am trying hard to comment on all the blogs that I read pretty much daily (and the list is a lot longer than what I've had time to post along the sidebar).
Good thing it's a whole week this year.
For a little history, De-Lurking Day was started last year by Sheryl over at Paper Napkin.