Monday, September 21, 2020

retreat report and more!

Has it really only been a week?  I feel like a lot has happened since my post a week ago, but really most of it happened in the past few days!

The biggest thing was the Retreat from Home I did this past weekend.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but went in with an open mind and attitude that if all else failed, I had the weekend off from work and the hubby primed to let me sew.

Since it was online, and I knew there would be video chatting on some level, and the wall behind me when I sew was a slight mess...

Thursday evening, I decided to clean and tidy this all up!  There is a level of "stuff" that has to be in our lives, but it doesn't have to look untidy, right?

Not a huge difference, but many things were FINALLY put away.  Other areas were tidied some, too, but none were quite the catch-all that this area had become.

Late Thursday, the second obstacle to my unimpeded sewing came.  (The first to make an appearance was a meeting the boss scheduled for Sunday morning at 8am, but we're going to ignore that obstacle because it was early and not pleasant.  The meeting itself was of the corporate housekeeping-type and we did get paid for our time!)

Meet Toby.

Technically, this glitch didn't come until early Friday morning, but the call came Thursday night.  This cat was adopted by the OTHER brother-in-law, and we knew with this one, he would become ours in time.  About a month ago, the brother-in-law came over and asked if we wanted a cat.  This little guy (he is just shy of 6 months right now) was annoying him.  He cried and was hungry and wanted to play.  I wanted to throw my whole closet full of shoes at him.  That is the DEFINITION of a kitten.  So I knew it was just a matter of time until his girls let him abandon him to us.

The call, initially, was to have us keep him for the weekend while they went camping.  No.  If you bring that cat here, he is staying.  We will go over and feed and play with him, but if he comes here, this will be his forever home.  So the girls (who live with him part-time) decided he could live here.  At 7:30am Friday, Toby came to his forever home.  Not without leaving a poopy present on the way here, though...poor 15-year-old niece!

Since then, he has settled in quite well and is more afraid of the humans than his new siblings.

By day two he had made it upstairs and found the sewing room.  He has some cool markings!

By day three, he was already training as a quilt room inspector!

(Look at that tidy cutting area!  It wasn't awful, but was part of that extra cleaning effort...)

The other cats are doing okay with him.  They are all semi-stalking each other, with Freddie and Finn hissing when he gets too close, but fairly friendly hissing.  No flattening ears, no snorting.  Gabby, however, is not adjusting quite as easily.  Funny, though, that she has been the most friendly to other cats all along!  But she is coming around and this is only day four.

He goes to the vet tomorrow mid-day for his first exam and shots and we will get him scheduled to be neutered as soon as possible.  But he is a sweetie, if not a little crazy (he attacked my leg yesterday as I was walking away from him!).  He loves to snuggle the hubby, but is a bit more wary of me.  That makes sense considering he was living alone with the brother-in-law for a few months.

And the brother-in-law has been told the condition of our adoption is he do not adopt ANY MORE PETS!  (He is no better with dogs, though those end up with his parents.)  He agreed, but we'll see how long it lasts.  Kittens are fun, right?  And Aunt Katie will take them when they become boring...

Anyways, back to the retreat!

Friday morning, after accepting Toby and loaning my niece some clean pants, I headed up to the sewing room to get the tablet set up for the retreat and get busy sewing!

My friend Colette was virtually retreating, too, and we found a video chat room and joined in.  We were able to see what others were doing and hear them, too!  If your machine was loud, you could mute yourself, which was a good thing since my little machine, just inches away from the tablet, is fairly loud.

BUT!  My internet here is slow.  At first I thought it was the tablet, which is old.  So I tried things on my phone, which is much newer, but a less user-friendly interface with the hosting company.  That was no better.  So I turned off the wi-fi and used the data on my phone, only to find that didn't speed things up much either.

So, if more than about three other people were in a "room" (10 were allowed), I ended up freezing and having lots of icky connection issues.  There was no way for me to know ahead this was a problem (no warnings and since I can stream Netflix and Spotify and the hubby does Skype calls, we thought we would be fine!), but as the retreat progressed, it sounded like I was not alone.  Worse things could have happened.

There were classes where the instructors did live video feed teaching and I could view those in real time.  There were a few housekeeping sessions with a few coordinators doing live video feeds and I could view those.  There were games, again with a few on live feed, and I could view those.  What I struggled with was when I actually WON BINGO and could not connect in (they let winners join the feed).  I had to rush and log in with my phone with the data plan and that was NOT anything I anticipated.  (Honestly, I never anticipated winning, so didn't even really think about what would happen if I did!)  But we all had a good laugh and I got there and now I have a prize coming!  (Something from Moda, but not sure what.)

In all, it was fun.  It was nice to have a dedicated weekend to sew...mostly...  Ebony, the head coordinator, is a giggly, wonderful person and when watching her do housekeeping video, you couldn't help but start giggling yourself.  I'm not sure if I will do another (need to check up on my internet, but also they are looking at another platform, though the current one is a very new company and still tweaking things for slow people like me!), but I would definitely say it was worth my money and effort.

What did I work on?

First, I finished the cars that go in the Bringing Home the Christmas Tree quilt!

That green car, though...I must have cut one piece just a little off because there are some bodywork issues going on there.  Not terribly obvious, but enough that I was like "WHAT?!" a few times.

They will be added to the four 3-tree blocks I finished earlier in the week!

I was working on them while waiting for the septic sucker to arrive.  Only to find out "next week" actually meant week after next!  (He just called and is on the way here now.)

But since I gave up puttering while waiting and set up on the table side of my longarm (downstairs, in view of the driveway, so no way was he getting here without me knowing!), I had company...

Yeah, I added the bed.  There is not usually a cat bed on the longarm table.  But he was being kinda antsy, so I tried this.  He climbed in immediately, turned around once and fell asleep!

(Remind me to show you what else I sewed last Monday!

So the cars and trees have some fairly large background pieces to make things all end up rectangular, but those long seams (and uncut pieces) were not calling to me.  Also, my design floor was in the middle of the room where the hubby was "sheltering" (if you call watching Game of Thrones in the living room while eating snacks "sheltering"!) and I figured I had asked enough of him that laying out a quilt in the middle of his room wasn't fair.

I moved on to the Nova Star blocks!  I had 12 done, so there were 13 to go, but somehow I only have photos of 12 of them.  I promise there are now 25.  I went up and counted after transferring the photos, praying that I did not have to cut another set of fabrics!  Whew!

Let's see them!

I can't believe they're all done!  They seem to take forever to get going, and then all of a sudden you're sewing the final seams.

Now I have to sew the dreaded long seams on these as well, but first need to select a sashing and cornerstone fabric and get those cut.  And, of course, layout on the design floor.  I'm sure Toby will be excited to learn that new task!

Between pieces that were not chain-sewable, I worked on a leader-ender project...

These are "lost" corners from the bear paw quilt I did earlier this year.  I tried to throw them away, but I couldn't do it.  I pulled them back out of the trash and started sewing.  I have no idea what they will become, but I think they'll trim to about 1.5" easily.  There are a lot more, so I have time to consider what they will become.

And because it is kinda pretty and bucket of cutting trimmings...

This hangs from the side of my cutting table, as there is no room for a trash there on the floor.  And I can, for the most part, just brush bits off the end of the table!

The kitties helped all weekend...

Freddie, not to be outdone by the new cat, wiggled his way behind my machine to inspect the thread.  (And I say wiggled because there is a LOT of stuff to the right of my machine, including a tablet this weekend, and he chose THAT route to helping.)  He also stole my chair about 43 times.  I sewed with two chairs most of the weekend.  At one point I threatened to go get a third because Finn joined the party.

Gabby, of course, only sits still when I'm taking photos of things that are NOT her...

She kept adjusting her position.  I took this one and said "okay, you're done, got it" and she walked a circle around it and sat down in a different spot.  Four times.  As you saw above, I did finally get one without her, but sheesh!  For a kitty who thinks herself wild, she sure is a friendly goof!

So the retreat was fun and good.

But there was one additional distraction.  My hubby arrived home shortly after Toby on Friday, reporting he was having trouble seeing smaller things to read.  An all-of-a-sudden change.  But our eye doc is not open for a few hours yet.  So I was tasked with getting an appointment compatible with his sleep schedule.  When I called, they had one for 3pm that day.  Or wait about two weeks.  Well.  Who isn't going to take the 3pm appointment?  He had to get up a bit earlier than he might have otherwise, but eyes are nothing to fool around with.  The bad part?  Since we had no idea what torture the doc might have up his sleeve, I needed to take him.  That chewed through quite a few hours (because we have to add in a trip to the pharmacy!), but since I went into the retreat with the attitude I did, this was not nearly as upsetting as it could have been.  I even managed to join the video chatting with Colette while waiting in the parking lot!

And his eyes?  Probably a weird allergic thing.  He got some steroid drops, we need to find some sort of wipes and he will go back more frequently now to keep an eye on things. eye!  He says they are feeling better and working better already, so that is the best news.

And finally...what else I sewed last week while waiting for the poop sucker (he is here now!):

Two new masks with fall themes!

But WAIT!  While I was sewing that fang fabric, I noticed it looked a little fuzzy over printed.


Why yes, yes it does.

(And yes, I stuffed myself inside a coat closet (where I did NOT fit) to get this full-dark photo for you.  You're very welcome.)

The inside of this one is fun, too!

(The inside of the other one is much less interesting, so no photos.)

But the more I think about this fang mask, the more I wonder if I will offend any customers if I wear it at work?  What do you think?  Would you be offended if your cashier at a farm store was wearing a mask at Halloween with vampire fangs on it?  If you didn't know she was a little bit crazy to begin with, of course...  Answer honestly!  I've got my big girl panties on today!

And there you have the better parts (and a few not-so-better parts) of my last week.  I think in the coming weeks, I need to tackle the Rack of Shame.  I've been getting lax about the longarming part of quilting and have quite a few recently finished tops I'd like to see done and useable.  We'll see how the next week goes!

Happy quilting!


Rebecca said...

Such a busy weekend!!!!
Glad the eye problem is not a large problem
On the fang mask I think to many people are too easily offended and you should wear it if it tickles and pleases you.

Rose Prairie Quilts and Farm said...

You sure got a lot done, even with all the added four paw help. You shelf look very organized and nice now.

Barbara said...

Well, your little kitty is adorable. I keep a bed on my work table (which was a ping pong table in a previous life). Sadie likes to nap in there on sewing marathon days. Your blocks are gorgeous. I’d seen a few of your projects on Instagram, but wow...I love that finished set. Beautiful.

Canuck Quilter said...

OK, I am officially in love with Toby. He is so much like my college cat , except mine was a she-cat. Thanks for the review of the retreat. I've heard great things about Ebony. Maybe I'll give her next retreat a try. I miss people now that I'm not working at the shop. We are in the queue to get connected to the new, faster internet service being installed in town so it could work. Right now, four people trying to access the internet for school and work is making things painfully slow. Love the masks. I think I just watched the tutorial for that style today and was thinking of trying it. Hubby is having trouble with fogging glasses with his current style. And I don't think anyone would get offended by fangs in October. It is Halloween month, after all!

a good yarn said...

Absolutely wear the fang mask! Pity your customers won’t get get to see it glow in the dark. Glad hubby’s eyes have improved and definitely something to monitor. Nova Stars - just wow! So striking and they are going to make a stunning quilt. Glad you enjoyed virtual retreat despite internet issues and made good progress on your Christmas tree cars. That Toby - what a gorgeous face and he’s a lucky boy to have found his forever home.

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Glad you enjoyed the retreat - and that hubby's eyes are doing better. Love your trees and cars and star blocks and especially LOVE Toby - what a cutie!! And your mask? - Wear it - it's YOU!! - LOL - ;))

Preeti said...

Toby is so handsome...totally melted my heart. I looked and I searched but could not find anything amiss with the green car. Such a fun idea!!! But the stars are so yummy and the colors just sing together. It is just a mask not a loaded gun. Most folks are too self-absorbed to even notice. Besides there is only way to find out :-p do it.

Ruth said...

No, I sure wouldn't be offended. So why not wear it. I bet a lot of people won't notice what is on it. You had your hands full what with a new cat, on line retreat and your DH. You are such a good kitty Mama!! I have only had experience with Zoom and Facebook for church and they don't always work. My sister teaches piano via her phone - maybe using FaceTime and some of her students families have to use other platforms. There are a lot of them out there and they all don't have good results for everyone. It is convenient in lots of ways, but kind of a pain as well. My book club is using Zoom, but I haven't participated in it yet, but I think I will in October. Zoom usually works well for me.