Friday, December 31, 2010

I always wondered about that ...

When my boys were in high school, I had to “send away” for shoes for the oldest one. (There was no “online” back then … it was all done by snail mail.) The regular shoe stores and department stores didn’t carry shoe sizes larger than 12, or 13 at the most. He was a very big boy -- 6’4” with feet to match. When he started wearing size 14, it was an ordeal to get anything that fit.

Yesterday I got a catalog in the mail that reminded me of all that. It was for ladies’ undergarments. They sell bra sizes 32 to 58 with cup sizes A to N. That’s not a typo. It says N. I always wondered what anyone who is larger than a double-D or E did, seeing as how that’s the largest I’ve ever seen in a store … and now I know! Tell me I’m not the only one who ever wondered where people get clothing for sizes like that! I imagined that those ladies had to construct their own, hand-sewn delicates and figured it must have been a real nuisance. That could seriously cut into a person’s quilting time.

In this picture, doesn't it look like she's whispering secrets? Maybe she's telling her friend where to get a bra big enough?

Big fishies swimming in and out of the "windows" in this quilt ... it's a very large print, and very colorful! For someone special in Janet L's family.

And this was the last customer quilt that had to be done before Xmas. It got in just under the wire. It came in late Tuesday night and went out Friday morning. Whew! Shannon said she'd stay up as long "as it takes" to have it ready to give to her grandmother Saturday morning. I hope she met her goal.

(Not sure why the text in this post is landing in such an odd position in the "preview" mode ... can't wait to see what it turns out when I actually hit the "publish" button.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Baaa-aaa-aah, humbug!

... only two more ewes to go, and we'll be all done for the season. Woo-hoo! Only three black lambs this year. If I can get the camera to work, the sheep to cooperate, and the cats to stay out of the picture, I'll have more photos tomorrow.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nothing makes sense ...

Seriously. There's much going on in this world that doesn't make sense, so this probably shouldn't surprise me. But it does. I've been perusing my seed catalogs whenever I get a few minutes, and noticed something odd. BTW: I'm thrilled that the companies have started sending catalogs early. (Oh! Something that DOES make sense to me ... send catalogs early enough to allow people like me time to actually purchase seeds to start indoors on schedule!) Anyway, I spend a lot of time reading seed catalogs. Yeah ... I know ... spellbinding! (If you're thinking of making fun of me for it, you've been beaten to the punch.) So ... tell me this: why does the Vermont Bean Seed Company have a Wisconsin address? A mystery, for sure.

Uh-oh ... I smell raisins. That can't be good ...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Poor Ronald ...

I hate shopping. I’ve stated that enough times that everyone in the world probably knows it by now. I especially hate shopping in a crowd; hence, I rarely go to a store between late Fall and early Spring. When I do force myself to shop, it is usually by telling myself that if I go, I can stop at the book store while I’m out. There’s a Barnes & Noble store en route to everywhere else I usually need to go. I pretend I’m only going to browse, but usually come home with a book purchase. That’s my reward for having to do the other stuff.

I got several email messages recently from B&N, each one offering a deeper discount than the last. I ignored them all. Delete. Delete. Delete. But then, one came with this as the subject line: “You’ve given us no choice …” so I had to see what the ultimatum was about. They offered 70 percent off one item, plus free shipping if I ordered within a week of receipt of the offer. Wow! Now they’re TALKIN’!

During that week, I browsed their web site and found several possible choices. I plugged one in with the code necessary. Aw, rats! It said that order was not eligible for the discount. I read the eligibility restrictions listed, and went back to make a different choice. Again, no good. Hmmm … so, what then? What was it about my second choice that made it ineligible? I tried a third. A fourth. And a fifth item. Always with the same result. Grrrr … I closed down the computer and gave up.

But then … it played on my brain. I decided that I smelled a rat in the woodpile. I went back and tried one more time. Same thing. I decided to call Customer Service. Poor Ronald was the unfortunate soul to take my call. Poor Ronald is such an understanding guy … he must have told me forty-two times that he FULLY understands my frustration; however … there didn’t seem to be a single thing he could do to resolve the problem.

First, I asked if I were doing something wrong in trying to use the magic code provided. He assured me I was not. I hadn't passed the expiration date on the offer. Nothing amiss. In fact, Understanding Ronald “jumped on my bandwagon” (his words) and tried to use it, with my permission, to order it for me. It didn’t work for him either. He said he would check to see if the code was valid, and came back after a few minutes to tell me that it was probably due to the fact that it was “the holidays, and all …” Huh? This was December 15. I told him December 15 is not a holiday. He said, “You know what I mean, tho …” and I said, “No. Actually I do not. It’s not a holiday. And even if it were, what possible difference could that make?”

To prevent this posting from becoming as long as my telephone conversation with Poor Ronald, although I would just LOVE to babble on and on even more about it, suffice it to say I was torqued by the whole thing. First, that they dangled a carrot in front of my face and then their magic code was actually a bogus offer. Second, that I had spent an awful lot of precious time that I really could not spare in trying to MAKE it work, now that they said I could have an item of my choice at such a discount. Then, most of all, that they didn’t make any genuine effort to make it right when I called Customer Service. Poor Ronald tried to appease me with one excuse after another. I continued to respond by telling him I appreciate his efforts to find an answer, but that one just didn't make any sense, and proceeded to explain why. At one point, I asked Poor Ronald to stop understanding me so much because it was making my eyeballs spin, and to put me through to a supervisor or someone who might be able to make it right. Poor Ronald could not do that. So I asked him to provide me with the address of their corporate headquarters. He wanted to know "Why?" I told him that, as understanding as he was about my problem, it wasn't solving the problem. I thought it would be only right on my part to pass along my dissatisfaction to someone who might care to know that I would cease to shop with their company because I feel they are practicing deceitful marketing and I didn’t like it.

He told me that because this IS America, I had every right to do just that. I told him I would, and that I would hold on the line until he could find the address. Poor Ronald could not find a mailing address, but did give me an email address to use. Poor Ronald. He was as pleasant as can be, but very ineffective from my point of view. I was totally polite to him, but persistent. I am nothing if not persistent. Poor, POOR Ronald.

The conversation ended thusly: “Is there anything else I can do for you today?” And then we both howled with laughter and said good-night.

The amount they had to pay Poor Ronald to stay on the phone with me all that time was probably more than the value of the book. They should have written something about THAT into his script -- it would have saved them money to just send me the stinkin' book! Now I even hate online shopping.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Umm … I don’t know if I like this idea.

I just found a yarn advertised to be 10 percent possum. Something about that just says “Eeeew” to me. I think I’d prefer my yarn to say “Ewe.” Think about it. Where would they even GET enough possum hair (it is hair and not wool, right?) to incorporate into yarn on a commercial basis? I doubt it's a by-product of the food industry. I know some people eat possum, but I’m not thinking there’s a large market for it. At least not anywhere I’ve been shopping. So how does one come by all that possum fuzz? It would take a heap of road kill to amount to much, especially seeing as how they often look like Gollum in the wild. Just sayin’ … ugh.

We had a power outage the other day. I called the electric company to report it and was told they believe a helicopter dropped a package on one of the lines. Very feasible. Seismic testing is going on in the area, and they drop big orange bundles of equipment where it is retrieved by the field workers. We have a few out in the pasture right now. I’m glad I wasn’t out and about when they went overhead. Guaranteed, I’d have been blopped on. It’s just the way it is with me.

Here are some pics of what’s been going on in the studio lately. Lots of gals working to finish up projects before their holiday – all producing fun and pretty quilts. Busy, busy ...

Karen M is smiling because she finished her first "real" quilt (it came out great!), and had time to do another in one day.
Three Sisters (Michelle on the left):

You say you count only two? That's because the third sister is represented by the quilt she sent along for these two to quilt for her:

Cathy B brought a quilt to work on:

... and a friend for company (with Cathy and finished product is Marion on the right):

I have more photos, and another story about shopping to post. But that will have to wait till tomorrow. I'm out of time, and this is long enough as it is!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Labor Day, and no picnic ...

Yesterday was labor day here (a different sort of labor day), and was no picnic! First off, these little guys made their landing way down yonder in the pawpaw patch, so to speak. They had to be carried back to the barn -- uphill all the way. My heart was thumping like I don't know what from the exertion by the time I got them inside. The one colored like a dirty ashtray there next to the bucket along the wall had a crooked neck, like the thing you pull out of a frozen turkey. PaPa spent a fair amount of time massaging him, hoping to improve his chances. His neck was so crooked and so stiff he couldn't nurse from the mama ewe. Things are looking better today.

Once we got those little guys settled and thought our day would run smoother, we discovered this:

Not usually a big deal, but this is a first-time heifer and her calf didn't seem to have the strength/sense to get up and find the source of food. Mama tried her best, but wound up needing assistance. Again, PaPa to the rescue! He carried the little gal into the maternity pen in the barn, and Mama followed. They spent the night there. I checked on them before heading off to bed, and was dismayed to find the calf cold in the mouth (an obvious indication that it had not been feeding). I milked out enough for a bottle feeding (no small task with a first-time heifer!) and hoped for the best. At 3 a.m. she seemed to be doing much better, and this morning at 6 it looked as if she'll be okay. Let's hope.

Another set of twins arrived at chore time this morning. (They usually DO have their lambs at feeding time, for some reason I can't figure.) Here they are, at about 4 minutes old:
That was yesterday. Here's what was going on in the studio on Friday -- two ladies came to learn to quilt on the longarm machines. Here are Karen and Michelle, working with the laser light for the first time. A fun pair of sisters ... and they have yet another who is, by their description, a meticulous quilter who is sending THEM back to finish a quilt for her. I think she's going to be in for a nice surprise -- these gals were fast learners.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Superwoman was here again ...

Lynette must be one of the most energetic people I know. She has a whole houseful of kids, and yet makes quilt after quilt ... and we're not talking itty bitty wallhangings here. This is what she did in the studio this week:

A DWR which you can see is very large (you're looking at it folded in half in the photo). She put in many hours getting the quilting just right, and if that weren't enough, she's planning to scallop the edges. I CAN'T be the only one who hates doing binding on a scalloped edge, can I? That's why the quilting took many hours - she wanted the feathered border "just so," in order to make the "humps" center up nicely in the scallops. Whew! A lot of work and a lot of love went into this quilt -- she's making it for a friend. Wow.

All my photos are coming out so fuzzy lately. Either I have the jitters and cannot hold the camera still, or else the camera needs a few sharp swats to straighten it out. Anyway ... yesterday's lamb will be called Dreidel, per KP's suggestion, seeing as he was born on the first day of Hanukkah. (side note: I tried to look up the spelling of those two words and didn't find them in my dictionary. Odd, no?)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

And so it begins again ...

At the center of this fuzzy foto, you'll see the first lamb of the season. Of course! Last night was the coldest we've had so far ... water buckets were all frozen. They're ALWAYS born on the worst day possible. A thought: must be we're NOT going to have a blizzard in the next few days (elsewise, they would have waited for THAT.)
Mom and baby seem to be fine so I haven't yet moved them inside. On the day after Thanksgiving, my granddaughter told me she thought I'd be getting some new lambs soon. Guess she was right!
The gang isn't coming for our traditional visit during the winter break from school this year. I've been making all sorts of plans for how I would amuse myself without their company during that span of time. In reality, I'll probably be spending a lot of time in the barn, checking on my little ones out there.
Anybody got a good name for a new lamb?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Make Up My Mind!

Look at this! One day the flowers start blooming again because the weather is so mild, the next day they're covered with snow. Make up my mind ... is it winter or ISN'T it?

Here's Peggy working on yet another quilt -- she was so busy quilting next to that big window that she hadn't noticed the snow falling. Guess she didn't like the whole idea when we told her to look out ... hah-ha-ha.

I think she said there are over 600 different "pictures" in her I Spy quilt. Whew! Some people just have waaaaay more patience that I have.

Lots of quilters are trying to get their projects finished up for their holiday gift giving. A few smart fellows have called to order gift certificates for the quilters in their lives -- a day in the studio makes a smart gift. I'm not telling who will be the recipients!
I've been busy finishing up customers' quilts, but not so busy I won't take time out for the guild meeting. I expect to see a TON of show and tell -- my favorite part of the meetings.