Ooops - I did it I again!

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I've got myself into a nice little routine. Every day is almost the same, but yet it's not. There's always something new going on and yesterday was no exception. I screwed up! Big time!!!

We have a pond in our backyard and the crew was over bright and early to open it up for the season. We have three small waterfalls and we love to hear the sound of the water. That's my sleepy time music when I'm in the backyard.

However, when I went to turn the water on for them, I knew there was a problem. The darn copper pipe UNDER THE DECK was broken AGAIN!!!  It turns out that when I drained the tap in the fall, that I very carefully closed the tap again instead of leaving it open for the condensation to escape. I've done that for years (kept the tap open), but twice now, I've closed it. Why?? I've no idea. I'm making myself a BIG note to not close that silly tap, once it's drained.

Fortunately, they were able to fix it, but I'm going to have to cough up money for that! Let's just say that we're lucky the boards on the deck run parallel to the copper pipe!!!

Some of the deck boards had to be removed to fix the copper pipe that had burst

More boards to be removed to fix the burst pipe

I'm such a dolt - how could I have done that? Well, no matter - it was a mistake. It's now fixed and life goes on.

It was interesting - four of us physical distancing in the backyard and NO ONE mentioned the current situation, although one of the workers was sporting a mask. I LOVE it - it's nice to chat with someone and NOT talk about the virus!!

Getting the pond opened

At least the little shed is all cleaned out and organized so it was easy for the guys to get what they needed. I bet they are happy because it used to be a nightmare to get into that shed.

Some shifting around the pond has occurred over the years so a bit of work had to be done to fix the skimmer. But I got an A+ for keeping the leaves out of the pond! I've just been hand skimming them out with my net. It's kind of therapeutic and I'd be doing more, but this weather is not really conducive for standing there skimming leaves out of the pond.

The pond is open for the season

I see someone else was happy that the pond is open. We have company this morning and of course, Murphy had to alert me. I checked out what her problem was to find this happy couple.

A pair of ducks

I'm not sure where they nest, but they (or a different pair) come by every spring. They use the pond for a couple of days and then they are gone. I've seen them in the little creek in the forest behind the house, but that doesn't stay full so I don't know where they go. But they come by every year to say HI.

This is the second time I've seen them this year.

Lots of stuff happening and I won't have time today to give you all the news.

I thought I would share some information on cutting mats. Here are some tips about cutting mats:

  1. Buy the biggest one you can afford and have room for
  2. Buy GOOD quality - my preference is for the OLFA green mats. Some of the mats (gray ones in particular) are very hard on your rotary cutters. The OLFA brand (as well as others) are self-healing. 
  3. Look at the precautions on the mat - no extreme heat, no extreme cold, store FLAT, no irons.
  4. Keep them clean - I like to use a kitchen scrub brush to wipe off threads and lint
  5. Do NOT use the lines on the mat to cut. You'll wear your mat out prematurely. Use the lines on the ruler instead. If anyone needs a lesson - let me know. 
  6. Try to rotate the mat around so you're not always cutting in the same spot
  7. Flip the mat over once side one is crapped out - yep - a whole new mat. 

Here are some pictures that illustrate the above.

OLFA brand is the BEST - but HEED the warnings on the mat to keep it in good shape

Most mats have a SECOND cutting surface on the reverse side with NO lines. That's OK - it's still a self-healing cutting surface.

The back of the mat is a second cutting surface with no lines

This is what happens when you cut in the same spot all the time. Rotate the mat or move your work to a different area. Cutting on this surface will prematurely dull your rotary blades and you'll get skips in your cutting.

Avoid cutting in the same place all the time to avoid premature wear

I have TWO of the 24" by 36" mats on the cutting table in Studio U and also in Studio B. A bit excessive, I wouldn't be without them. Two of them fit perfectly on my cutting tables, which are tabletops that I purchased from IKEA.

Mat with the lines showing

But the second mat has been flipped over as the front has seen better days.

The backside of a cutting mat

I do need to be careful in Studio U as there is a HUGE window that lets lots of light in and in the summer - lots of heat. So I'll move the mat that is closest to the window on top of the other one when I'm not using it so it doesn't warp. Yep - direct sunlight can warp the mats!!

It's a huge investment to buy these mats - but so worth it when you want to lay something out. Take care of them!!!! And KEEP THEM CLEAR of clutter and junk. It's so inviting to see that cutting mat so clean. It gets me very excited when I walk in and see the mat totally empty.

I did a little bit of digging yesterday and found the quilt in the "to be quilted" pile that used the same backing as I was trying to use for the Night Sky quilt.

The backing fabric on the Pickle Dish quilt

I've made a note on both quilts where the extra backing is and what needs to happen with it so the day that I get to quilting these quilts, I'll be able to finish off that backing for the Night Sky quilt. That might not happen for a while, but that's OK. The note is made!

So now I can cross this project off the UFO list for 2017. AH -- satisfaction!!!  Today is my day to prep my work schedule for the week and I have to choose the next UFO project for our group meeting which is tomorrow (virtually of course). I need to make the decision as to which of the two that remain on that list (2017) that I'll work on next. There were 13 projects on that list - so I'll be doing a bonus when I get these next two done.

Night Sky ready to be moved to the "to be quilted" pile

I'm currently reading Educated by Tara Westover. I'm almost finished so I had to get the next physical novel ready. That was easy - went to my shelf and found something. Oops - it's the second book in a series. I found the first one in the audiobook format so I downloaded it. Since I'm almost finished my audiobook as well, that was a good thing. BUT I also have an audiobook that I had on hold for a couple of weeks and that just came in so that one needs to be read first. No worries - I can read one in a week - easy.

So back to Educated. This is a shocking book. In case you're not familiar with the book - it's a memoir of a girl growing up in rural Idaho. It's shocking for several reasons - how could the family be so backward (mental health issues), how could other family members (who did not live there) have allowed some of the stuff to go on that did - abuse - mental and physical, the refusal to go to doctors despite some horrific accidents, etc.  But what is totally crazy is how DEVOTED the girl is to her parents and that she is torn between walking away and staying loyal to them.

It's that kind of control that is very DANGEROUS. But that kind of control is very evident in a lot of rural settings. I'm sure non-rural as well. We're not talking about physical restraints for control - this is total mind control. There's a HUGE example happening in the US today!! I won't mention any names, but I bet you can guess what and who I'm talking about.

It took me a bit to get into the book as it's a tough read because of the subject matter. It's not my favorite book as it makes me very angry and frustrated but it's a good life lesson. Please - please - please teach your children and grandchildren to NOT be meek and mild. Get out there - shout out issues - get them to take a stance and for gosh sake - if there's a problem inside a home that you know about - get everyone out!!!

Speaking of books, Jane sent me this picture which I just love. Read the book titles carefully. I'm not sure where it came from, but it's cute.

Read the book titles

Let's see - I have time to show you a couple more things. I did get another quilt quilted. This is supposed to be the fifth one this month for Quilts of Valour. It might be a wee bit too small. I'll have to check with the team. I should have put borders on it, but there was already a backing made and it was now loaded on the long arm. Oh well - someone else can use it if they don't want the quilt. Surely there are some small people in the military??

Quilts of Valour quilt - DONE

The binding strips are cut and I'll attempt to get that one bound later today.

Binding strips for the quilt

And I finished the binding on the one I was working on the previous day. That's Number FOUR for the month (of five) that are completely done and ready to be delivered. One more to go.

Another quilt has the binding on

I still have a stack of quilts and other projects to bind on the worktables. There are six of my quilts to finish off. Yikes - I just can't keep ahead of myself. But the next quilt is loaded - or at least the backing is. It's a small one so I'll have time to get something else done. That quilting process eats up a lot of hours in a day! Even with the computer.

As I was doing some more tidy up, I dug into the box with the hourglass blocks made from the border cut-offs. HEY - I found more pieces that could be matched up with that stack I had. So those are now sitting beside the sewing machine to be used as enders and leaders.

More large half-square triangles to sew together

Here's a link for you today. This is the quilt that a lady made after she rode her bike across Canada. The same trip as me, but she did it in 2018. She collected fabric along the way and actually made a quilt. I think I collected fabric but never made a quilt.

I've got more to share, but it's going to have to wait until tomorrow.

OH -- I forgot to mention something that I'm grateful for. So today - it's another person. Today it's all about Diane. Diane has been merrily sewing together quilts from our community quilts project. I got three quilt tops from her the other and in some cases, the binding is also made. She picked up four more kits! She's a super star! And I can barely keep up with her. The stack in the box is getting huge.

Since it's unlikely that we'll be able to get together for another month or so, I'm going to have to start going through the box and get those quilts bound and work on backings. The backings are not a rush, but I should go through what's she provided me and take out the scraps and deal with them. Thanks, Diane -- I appreciate all your help!!!

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day!!!!