14 April 2012


Top plus pieced (Disappearing 9-Patch Modified) backing.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally got my quilt top and backing sent off to be quilted. My son's girlfriend's Memaw has been quilting for decades and she quilted it together for me at a very reasonable price. I'm so tickled with having it done. I had a binding misstep but redid it and am very happy with it (primarily the miters) now. At the bottom right of image, you'll see the custom label I made from inkjet-printable fabric, scanned fabric, and a Photoshop file. If you'd like to see the BOM journey, click this link: BOM pages.

June 2011
Granny Goose, painted lady...
Okay, well, I've painted Granny Goose. Wait, it dawns on me I've talked about her on Facebook, but have not mentioned her here. She (I am only assuming she is a she) showed up last May, along with three new Canada Goose families. We started feeding them over the summer. Granny Goose grew to trust me more and eats from my hand, and lets me take pictures up close. This tickles me to death. She also eats from Tom's hand. I've taken scores of photos of her over the months. The photo from which this painting was created was an interesting pose from early November 2011.

I got a good start on this painting several weeks ago. I plan to get back to it soon so I can add it to the finished list, too. Fine arts painting isn't something I've tried in decades so I was a little hesitant to take it on. Since January, I've been in a group of other creatives and we are studying the book "The Artist's Way." For some reason, I bought the book in April 1997 but did nothing with it. No doubt, this was during my 'if you buy the book, then by osmosis, you will absorb its contents' phase. When Naomi mentioned it late last year, I told her I would be interested if she knew of a group studying the book. Enter, art group. She's belonged (for months or years?) to one comprised of ladies who've been meeting weekly to explore their creativity.
Under-painting, preliminary work, changing horizon line
In this exploration of reclaiming creativity, I think I gave myself permission to try painting again. I 'had' to paint in painting class in college (c. 1977?) but my heart just wasn't in it. Those close to me were much better at it and I didn't feel I had the 'knack' or wanted to pursue it. As with some other disciplines, I admire this ability in others and avoided taking the plunge/gamble myself. After all, I'm a GRAPHIC artist, not a fine artist. (I guess I can be both!) I would be remiss if I did not mention that animal artist, Morian, inspired my under-painting and color process. LOVE her work and was thinking I'd commission her to do a painting of some of my pets. Because of this attempt, I feel brave enough to try more paintings.

Thermostat in various modes
SmartHours update...
As I mentioned in a recent blog, we've signed up for SmartHours through OG&E, and I relay my experiences on my blog.* Two weeks ago, we had two of the thermostats installed. I really like the features. Not only can you save multiple Setpoints and Schedule when they will run, it also shows how much you're paying for power per kilowatt hour. Right now, it's only $.084/KWH, the 'winter' rate, I believe. Oh, and a correction of my last SmartHours' post—those not enrolling will pay a constant 'summer' rate 24 hours per day, every day of the week which is roughly $.11/KWH. With SmartHours, I will pay $.045/KWH on non-peak hours. Peak hours (2-7 p.m., M-F) will run from $.045–.113–.23–.46/KWH, depending on low, standard, medium, or high (respectively) system usage.

The installation went quickly and the installer helped me create Setpoints and Schedules. The menu on the thermostat is pretty self-explanatory (though I have glanced at the manual once) and, though it's a small thing, I like that it's self-illuminating. If it's nighttime/dark/I'm half asleep and wanted to check or change the settings, I don't have to turn on a hall light to see what I'm doing.

I've also been looking at some of my usage charts and find our usage still exceeds what our neighbors use. Again, I wonder if it's partly due to keeping the hot tub running to one degree or another constantly. I'm toying with the idea of unplugging in for an hour or two to see what that does do our usage for those hours. Maybe I can see about turning down its setting during our peak hours, too. Heck, for summer, I don't know that we even use it much in the summer. Hmm. Something to think about.

So, there are still about six weeks until this all starts being 'for real.' SmartHours pricing runs from June through September. I'm sure to have some additional ideas, thoughts, revelations about it before them and will share them with you when I pull a few together.

*This is a sponsored post. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

13 April 2012

Welcome, Ilsa...

Seventy years old?! Did you know it was 70 years old? No, really? Yep, it was November 1942 and and "Casablanca" opened, just a few weeks after the allied invasion of north Africa during WWII. It's one of those movies that's perfect in B&W and should NEVER be colorized or remade.

I've been working at this post for a little while—mostly since the time I decided to name my 'new' car Ilsa. Ilsa Lund is the Ingrid Bergman character in the movie. Certainly you'll recall Miss Bergman as one of the great exports of Sweden. So, Ilsa it is. I have come to find out that Ilsa Lund is Norwegian. Sigh. As I've heard said: "Don't confuse me with the facts—I've made up my mind!" Ilsa it is, I say! Besides, it is also a Swedish name and is a variant of Elizabeth, my middle name.

In addition to being the 70th anniversary of the movie, there will also be theaterical showings of the movie across the country on 26 April. Locally, that will be at the AMC Quail Springs and Tinseltown off MLK and I-44. Ticket prices are about $12.50. One show time only—7 p.m. Am definitely thinking about seeing it. The idea of viewing such a classic on the big screen sounds enticing. Anybody want to go with?

Okay, back to MY Ilsa. I got her on 23 March, just a week after poor Red threw herself into the cable barriers and kept me from being injured. Tom called me that Friday morning while I was still with my art group in Edmond. He was pre-approved for a certain amount for a used car loan at only 1.99%. All I had to do was find a car that was no more than five years old. The credit union, well, all of the credit unions around Oklahoma City, sell their (mostly repo'd?) cars at one lot in Edmond. He thought I might like a Ford Edge mini-SUV they had. Sure, I'll go look at it. I looked at it and it was okay, but then I saw this pretty little Vovlo wagon parked next to the lot's modest little office building. Really? Could Tom ever stomach buying what he'd call a 'liberalmobile?' He calls to say he plans on leaving work early and we agree to meet at the Carl's, Jr. a mile or so down Broadway. I told him about the Volvo and he chuckles a bit.

We both drove back to the First Rate Autos lot and I showed him the Edge he'd told me about, and then the Volvo. He reacted quite well. We took it for a test drive. Still liked it. But what really sealed the deal is that we went by Swedish Imports and the owner mentioned that he knew the car, its previous owner, and had thought about purchasing the car to resell himself. He told us what it would cost to look it over, get its oil changed, and run a CARFAX® report on it. SOLD. We went back to the lot and within a couple of hours, were driving her off the lot for good! With a little shuffling, we got the rental car returned that evening and my sweet little Volvo was coming home.

How Ilsa looked the day we bought her
Min lilla grå kombi...
My little gray station wagon. Kombi means 'station wagon' in Swedish. What a cute little word! Ilsa's settled in and is getting used to the places I drive and also used to sitting—lots. I don't go all that much so she passes lots of time just sitting in the garage, resting. Sometimes an easy life is not all that exciting. She's decorated with an Apple sticker and even a People's Church graphic. (There's been some discussion in the family about putting THIS 'coexist' sticker on her.) Heretofore, I resisted putting our church's sticker on my car. I didn't want to give other drivers the opportunity to blame my church for my zealousness behind the wheel. I'll try behaving myself better. Also, due to her metallic gray body and luscious light gray leather interior, I'm have a good time adding little splashes of color inside where I can. I even keep one of my IKEA bags in her back cargo area so she'll have some Swedish companionship! Yeah, I really am THIS silly! Thank you, Red, for keeping me safe. Thank you, Tom, for a really lovely safe, speedy and NICE car!