Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Donald's Coming Home!!, &tc.

I'm a bundle of nerves, today, mainly because Donald's flying home from Sweden, and I just can't make myself really believe that he's safer in those planes than behind the wheel of a car. He's still on the transatlantic leg of his journey-- by far the worst part of the trip, at over ten hours of tedium. I'll breathe a little easier when that flight's safely landed, but then there's still one more flight to go. My stomach gets tied up in knots over airplanes...

I've been able to track Donald's flights on the airline's website-- whether they've been delayed and why, exactly when they depart and arrive-- that sort of thing. Thanks to that nifty feature, I saw that his transatlantic flight (the other way over) was "delayed due to accommodating passengers", though I wasn't exactly certain what that meant. It sounded a little ominous to me, but fortunately it wasn't a very long delay, and they actually landed in Amsterdam a bit ahead of schedule.

When I spoke to him the next day (after he finally reached his parents' home), he explained that, as he understood it, a few people had smuggled alcohol aboard the plane and were kicked off the flight, and the delay was due to finding and removing their luggage. Pretty weird! On that same flight, someone came in over the intercom asking for anyone with medical knowledge to go to the back of the plane! (I'm glad I wasn't on that flight!)

Over the weekend (and yesterday), I gave my parents and maternal grandparents a little help planting pine seedlings (saplings? not sure what the difference is...) on the property where they'll eventually be building. The trees are tiny, but this type (slash pine) usually grow amazingly fast.

Trixie is systematically attacking every bit of "decor" around the yard. She finds things that I haven't noticed in months (if not years)-- and then proceeds to destroy them. Her latest acquisitions: a plastic, bird-shaped garden stake (the type with the wings that twirl in the wind) and a metal, dolphin-shaped medallion attached to some wind chimes (the weight/wind-catcher part). I'm thinking she focused on these because it's been so windy the past few days, but she's previously directed her attentions toward harmless, non-moving, non-noise-making items. She's a terror to lawn ornaments, that dog.

One of my parents' Shelties, Mandy, had a run-in with a skunk, last night. (The crazy thing-- the skunk, not the dog ;o)-- even chased her right up to the steps of the house!) Before anyone knew that she'd been sprayed, she was taken to a bathroom, and though she was only inside for a few minutes, Mom's had a job getting the smell out of the house. And of course poor Mandy will have to undergo some destinkification processes, too. In the meantime, she has to stay in an out-building (shed/barn). What a lot of trouble from a chance encounter with the dreaded "polecat"!

I started cutting squares for a denim rag quilt back in November 2007. Rag quilts are just about the simplest quilt you can make, I guess, and yet it has taken me a bit over a year to finally finish my first one! (And it's still not technically finished, since I have lots of snipping to do-- not to mention putting it through the wash a couple of times to get it really raggedy.)

In my defense, once I started sewing at it in earnest, it didn't take me long to do. I ran into a problem-- a broken needle on my sewing machine-- early in the project (probably back in 2007). After that, I set it aside and was hesitant to pick it back up again, wondering if my machine (and I) could handle all those layers of fabric. It turns out I needn't have worried, though. I went through the rest of the project without breaking any needles.

All in all, the process went very smoothly. It's certainly not the work of an expert. There are many places where the blocks don't line up perfectly-- and I got careless (tired?) at the end, so the final seam around the whole quilt is not a uniform distance from the edge of the fabric-- but I told myself at the time that it's supposed to look somewhat haphazard-- and it'll definitely work as a lap quilt, despite cosmetic flaws. I'm satisfied, and since I'm the one who'll be using it, that's good enough.

Here's the quilt, pre-snipping and not yet thoroughly "ragged":

I'll have to photograph the back, too. I went to a fair deal of trouble making sure my three colors of flannel backing fell into a specific pattern. It's nothing fancy-- just diagonal lines-- but still, after putting in the effort, I want people to notice it. ;o) I thought it would show more from the front (in the exposed seams), and maybe it will, once it's ragged out. Right now, though, it looks pretty random.

Anyway-- that's one craft project nearly completed! Soon I can move on to another sewing project, and with the knowledge that I can finish sewing a quilt, even if it takes me more than a year.