Sunday, April 13, 2014

Just Be Done Already

I totally missed the sign up for the first quarter of the 2014 Finish Along so of course I had two complete finishes.  One was my Night Candy quilt and the other has yet to be fully revealed.  I plan to have a least two finishes this quarter as well - or well, at least one, I really really really want to finish my Weekend in the Country Quilt.  It has been with me the longest and it takes up the most space in my UFO pile - and, I just really want to finish it.  It's soooo big and I just want to see it fully realized.  I haven't been able to wrap my head around a design for machine quilting and part of me is leaning toward hand quilting, I think it would really lend to the feel of the quilt that I want.  However, with the size of the quilt and the backing still needing to be pieced this could take every last minute of Q2 of the Finish Along - but it will be worth it.  I'll add a few others to my list just so they are not forgotten but I make no promises about finishing them.

Finish Along 2014

Q2 Finish Along List

1. A Weekend in the Country
This is it.  I have the backing planned, it just needs to be pieced, then quilted and bound.  It is possible.

 

2. A's Quilt
I've decided on a plan to make the quilt larger since A is no longer a baby and thus no longer needs a baby size quilt.  The plan is simple and should make for an easy finish.


 3. Irish Breakfast
Again, I came up with a plan for the border.  I just need to do it.  Should be an easy finish for a future quarter.
 

4. Milk
This little quilt is barely more than an idea but I'm kind of getting motivated to work on it again.  So hey, I might even have a completed block by the end of the quarter.



Lastly, I have two new projects to add to the list.

5. Gypsy Yo-Yo's This is going to be a yo-yo quilt made of Red/Orange/Purple/Rust/Burgundy type colors. I decided this morning that I'm going to vary the sizes of the yo-yo's and make it organic and free form instead of rows upon rows.


6. Flighty Woman's Sampler My own sampler quilt for the woman who can never quite make up her mind. At this point is is just a pile of fabric and a sketch, but hey, it's a start. P.S. Doesn't Leeroy look handsome modeling the fabric?

Truckin' Awesome: Shelly and Eugene Visit Key West

So , you know, it's only been a month and a half since my last post, but it is only because I've been recovering from all of the fun I've been having.

Why have I been having so much fun?  Eugene and Shelly came to visit.  Yes, Eugene and Shelly.  It was super fun.

They rolled into town the afternoon of February 20th in their awesome red rig and we headed downtown for tacos at Amigos to catch up.

 

 Eugene and Shelly were "camping" in their rig in a little campground on Stock Island that came complete with giant iguanas.  Since Mark and I still had to work during a majority of their stay they used our bikes to get around.  They even road several miles in the middle of the night after an evening on Duval St!


The campground didn't allow pets (lucky for us) because Roo (or Roodles) as I like to call her got to stay with us.  Once she and the cats determined their respective corners I put her straight to work modeling my latest quilt.



Saturday morning we headed to our favorite spot, Ft. Zach and had a good old fashioned grill out.

Eugen and Shelly even introduced us to some new non traditional treats - bacon wrapped bananas.  YES.

Eugene roasted a pepper.  Though since it didn't finish until after we ate our meal, we cut it up for dessert.


Mark opted for a Nutty Bar.


Eugene explained to Mark that peppers are better than Nutty Bars.


Eugene's pepper had a small weird baby pepper growing inside of it. So desserty!


After our morning in the sun, we retired back to our place to have some cafe con leche and chips and queso.  Eugene used this time to show me some of Roo's more advanced modeling techniques. In this photo she is modeling my Leaf Peepers quilt.

Sunday morning we headed back to Ft. Zach this time joined by our friend Johnny and his special friend Emi.  Emi whipped up some traditional Japanese style grillin' food.









 While we were waiting for the delicious Asian spread to cook it appears that Eugene heard evil, Shelly smelled evil and Mark, well, Mark saw evil.




 I pretended to be dracula.

 Later that evening as we strolled down by the Bight we stopped at a cigar shop where we picked up a few mini's.  Eugene also picked out a few extras for the next day's big adventure.  Oh, and we also met some random guy and his wife who wanted to be in our picture.  They were very nice.
 

On Monday, while Mark and I were at work, Eug and Shel chartered a fishing boat and went out to catch some grub.  

They were successful!


Don't worry Eugene, someday you will catch a fish as big as Shelly.

Her's was huge!

When Mark and I stopped after work to meet them at the rig I had a little fun being a pretend truck driver.   TOOT TOOT


Later that night we stopped at Dante's where they cooked up some of Eug and Shel's fresh catch for us and we all drank fancy drinks called Teenage Dreams or something. 

We also made several trips to Vino's, a wine shop owend by childhood best friend of a friend.  There may or may not have been a secret note left for when said friend visits the shop of his childhood best friend.

After our few days of fun, Eugene, Shelly and Roo(dles) all hopped back in to the big red rig and headed out of the keys and drove on to new adventures.  Hope they come back soon!

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Middle of Somewhere

It's only taken me 28 days to post about an exciting ocean adventure we had back on the 1st of February!

Mark and I, a co-worker and her husband as well as our boss and two of her friends all headed out to sea on the boss' boat.  We took the boat out to a sweet little uninhabited key about 15-20 off of Key West called Boca Grande.


Boca Grande - toward Key West
Photo credit: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/1798641

  We anchored the boat just off the shore and carried our snacks and towels to the cute little beach.


The winter has been exceptionally warm so it was no problem going for a swim on February 1st.


 

The semi-solid surface of the sea grass did get the best of my coworker and her newly wed hubby as he tried to romantically sweep her away.



Mark and I posed on the rope swing which just a week later was cut down by fish and wildlife officials.
 

After a few hours of fun it was time to head back home and we all settled back on the boat for a peaceful ride home.

But instead this was where the real fun started.

You see, the tide was very low, and many of the channels in the area are relatively shallow even at high tide.  With the guidance of a special GPS we headed back toward the main channel back to Key West but the 1ft. deep water of the channel at low tide got the best of us and just like that we had run a'gound.
 

Now I neither Mark nor I nor my coworker and her hubby had any real boating experience and really the whole situation didn't seem that bad.  The boss suggested we could push it loose and if we didn't succeed the worst case would be we would wait for the tide to come up.  We had plenty of food and water so there was no real need to panic.  Except someone did.  Another passenger, we'll call her "Smashley" immediately went hair-on-fire nuts.


She started begging in a cry like voice to call a tow boat because this was serious and we could never get the boat free and continued to babble about how she needed to let her dog out.

Lady, if you are a few hours late getting home, you dog will have peed on the carpet.  It will be ok.

She continued to babble, cry-whine and generally detract from any helpful thoughts that were being shared.  Luckily for her, while she was hyper ventilating the rest of us had gotten out of the boat, and while standing on the soft bed of sandy sea grass began to wiggle and push the boat free.

We worked for about 30-45 minutes of pushing and wiggling and then getting the boat moving only to get stuck again, but eventually we made it to a deeper channel and headed home trouble free.

It was a bit later than anticipated but the darkening hour meant that the sunset was beautiful behind us.




The peaceful ride home really gave me time to reflect on the best parts of the day.

First, when the boat stopped we were at least a mile or two from the shores of Boca Grande.  As a girl who grew up firmly on the ground in Ohio, my mental image of the ocean is that it slopes down from the beach and just goes deeper until it starts to go up toward another beach.  Now, I know that my adult self knows better, it just wasn't a thought I had ever challenged.  But there we were that day, out in the open, not a shore near by and we were able to hop out of the boat and stand - and push and run on a sandy bed of sea grass.  It was just a few inches of water and if you would have seen us from a distance it would have looked like we were walking on top of the ocean.  I couldn't help but wonder if that was how Jesus did it.  (Sorry if this offends anyone as it is not meant to.)  I wish I could have gotten a picture, but well, we were a bit busy.

Second, at age 31 it is not often that we have a thought, feeling or desire that we have never had before.  Many of our experiences are at least close to something we have come across before.  But on that day, out at sea, I had a new thought.  The exact thought went like this "I really wish I knew how to put someone in a sleeper hold because if I did, I would really, really do it right now and it would be for the best."  Needless to say it was directed at Smashley.  I just wanted to gently put her out of her misery and let the rest of us get to work with a positive attitude.  Then I kept imagining something like this in my head except with the guy from Burn Notice...


And third, my coworker Jen made a comment about how you really learn a lot about people when you put them in a negative situation and it turns out that is in fact true.  The longest I've known anyone on that boat was two months but when it was stuck and the immediate future was uncertain I was glad to know that everyone, except Smashley, of course, was able to tackle the problem with a smile.  So even when we were out pushing, for the most part we were positive and even had a few smiles, laughs and "go team!" moments.

Both Jen and I later decided that being stuck really was the best part of the trip. I mean, this blog post could have read "We got on a boat.  We went to an island.  We came home from the island."  but instead it was filled with fun, adventure and learning on the sea.