Friday, March 8, 2013

A busy weekend

I thought that once the Gala quilt was finished, I would have all kinds of time to spend on quilting. Silly, foolish me! Do you know the theory of the "Dark Sucker"?  Well, electric bulbs suck light. Anyone who goes camping, knows that when you have a portable dark sucker, it is much less dark next to it than elsewhere.

A candle is a primitive dark sucker. You may notice that a new candle has a white wick. You can see that from after the first use, the wick turns black from all the dark that has been sucked into it. Of course one of the disadvantages of a primitive dark sucker is their rather limited range.

Unlike stationary dark suckers, the portable ones cannot handle all the dark by themselves, and need to be aided by dark storage units. That means that when the dark storage unit is full, it needs to be emptied or replaced before the portable dark sucker can work again.

Dark has mass. When dark goes into a dark sucker, friction from the mass creates heat, thus it is not wise to touch an operating dark sucker. This is particularly true with candles, where the dark travels through a solid wick instead of glass, and therefore generates a great amount of heat.

Also, dark is heavier than light. You can observe this when you go swimming in a lake. It is light just below the surface, but the dark which is heavier, sinks to the bottom so it is darker the deeper you go.  The lighter light floats to the top and that is why it is called "light'.

Finally, it can be proved that dark is faster than light. If you stand in a lit room in front of a closed, dark closet, and slowly open the door, you would see the light slowly enter the closet. But, since dark is so fast, you can't see the dark leave the closet.

Of course these things are easy to understand and explain. What I need to understand is the "Time Sucker".
I am certain there is a working theory out there because my time is getting gobbled up right and left. I don't have  whole lot to show for it as yet.

The blue table runner got itself done. I used yukata fabric for the bias binding and I think I like the end result.

Here it is on the table. It doesn't go all the way to the edge but I think that close will probably protect most of the table.

The next time sucker was my first block for the Quilter's Book Club. If you love to read as much as I, go and check out Starwood Quilter. Our first book was The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas. I really enjoyed reading this book and discussing it with my on-line friends. I read all the time but it is rare for me to have any interactivity connected with reading.

I pulled out a bit of paisley ( Persian pickle) fabric from my stash and made a "Prairie Queen" block.
I thought the corn print would go nicely with the Kansas setting. I made my block 12 inches. If we make a block each month, I think I will have a nice cover for my bed by next year. I am thinking of putting a large friendship block in the center because this book club is just as much about friendship as it is reading and quilting.

Another time sucker is this project. My mom made a quilt for each of my six children for their second birthday. This quilt was made for my son, Ken. Now that Ken will have a son of his own, I thought he might like to have his own baby quilt. The problem, however, is that my mother always bought the cheapest thread she could find and very little of her quilting remains. On the other hand, my great grandmother's quilt still has every tiny stitch, so I know they could make strong thread back 40 years ago.

I have done this on other baby quilts and this is the last one. It will need a lot of help and the binding, which was sewed on by heavy fancy machine stitching, is all fallen apart too. Maybe Ken's wife will be horrified to put this old quilt on her brand new baby. Should I ask her first before this sucks up more time? I still have a baby quilt of my own to make.

Meanwhile,  I have finished quilting one edge of the + and x quilt ... four more sides to go.
I have  spent lots of time with Scouting. My pack had a "rough-cut day" for making pinewood derbies. The kids get a block of wood, four nails for axles and four wheels, and they will turn that into a car to race sometime before the end of the month. Since most families do not have the necessary tools, we bring all the stuff to the meeting place and help the kids get that block of wood into the shape they want. It also helps to prevent the dads from taking over the activity and making the kid's car.

We had one rough-cut Sunday night, another Friday night, and another tonight. I hope that will be a chance for everyone to get their cars done.
 We have an open competition for any leaders or dads or siblings who want to join the challenge. My car got roughed out yesterday Luckily, my granddaughter came for the weekend and brought with her Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". I need to find something to use for the antenna, and now that I sanded it during another Scout Staff training meeting this morning, I can look at Leia's book to put on the paint.
This will not be slow because the caterpillar is hungry for all kinds of things (including VICTORY)!

Meanwhile, in case there is any time left to suck, I am singing with a special group from the choir ... meaning extra rehearsals beyond the regular choir practice... And a very early departure Sunday to sing two services.

Each time I go racing out for one more activity, dragging a ton of supplies up and down hundreds of stairs, I wonder when it happens that the old lady gets to slow down and take it easy. Then I see other elderly people who have slowed down so much they are never coming out of their houses. I think about the joy of singing in a group and am thankful my voice is still holding out. I think about the young kids whose life I am touching, the fun we are having, and how I wish I might know them when they are all grown up. "Back off, time sucker, I still have a lot to do"!!!

And, just to let you know that spring is around the corner, here are some flowers in my garden. Have you ever seen this kind of tree? This is the very first time for this tree to bloom. It came as a seedling in a pot five years ago. In Japanese it is called a "Biwa", the Eriobotrya japonica, is called "Loquat" in English. It is a very fast-growing tree with leaves that are 12 - 25 cm in length. The  fruits ripen in the spring and are edible but are not sold in stores as they do not keep well. They can be made into jam or alcoholic drinks.
Like all the other flowering plants around here, this is late in the season because the fruit should be set by now. I don't know if this will actually have fruit. We shall see what is left when that old time-sucker gets through.


  1. The dark sucker boggles my mind and the time sucker takes all that is left. But I love your blue table runner and your hungry caterpillar carving. I find the thought of repairing old quilts daunting. I hope I never decide I need to do that.

  2. Julie, I just LOVE your blue table runner, what a beauty ! How is it that I'm always falling in love with blue quilts I see... and yet I very rarely buy blue fabrics ??? ;>)


  3. Haven't you forgotten another time sucker? Bloggong? In spite of all the activities that has sucked up your time, you still find time for blogging.
    The blue table runner is so beautiful, I understand Nadine has fallen in love with it.
    A lot of work needs to go into repairing old quilts, but isn't it rewarding work?
    I instantly recognised the Hungry Caterpillar, but it will look even nicer with a lick of paint.
    Being active is the best way to stay young, so carry on, please.
    All the best.

  4. You do keep busy and I believe is is good for us, like you said, we don't want to be stuck in the house watching the world go by, but sometimes it is nice to just sit and work on projects and not have to worry about other things. Your runner came out beautifully, love the fabrics.


  5. Thanks, Julie. I was a school teacher once and I had that essay about the "Dark." I have been looking for it for a long time, not knowing where I had stashed it. Now I have it again, thanks to you. It certainly gives one something to think about. Now, to find out I also have a "Time Sucker." I admire your table topper and your Boy Scout car. I remember our days of trying to make a car that actually did what it was supposed to do. Our skills were not great so our sons never won a race.

  6. Your blue table runner is gorgeous!!

    I love pinecar derbies. I participated in a few back in my day. ;)

  7. Gorgeous blue tablerunner and your dog in the corner of the picture is very cute too!

  8. You are one of the busiest people I know - busy doing good things - such an inspiration! I love how your blue table runner turned out. I read Persian Pickle Club years ago and I know I enjoyed it although I can't remember anything about it now!

  9. I love the yukata fabric table runner displayed on the Japanese modern metal door, stunning.

  10. I hope things are normal! the blue table runner is wonderful!! hugs...

  11. The 'Time Sucker' visits me all the time. Oh well. Love that caterpillar. Looking forward to seeing it finished.

  12. Wow, love the loquat, Mom! So, you said 5 years old -- how tall is it? I am looking for a broadleaf evergreen to plant at the SW corner of the house, full sun. Is this a candidate? I was thinking of camellia or maybe an evergreen magnolia shrub, something with dark leaves because I have a (paler leaf) manzanita shrub in front of where it will go.

    1. Oh wow! I just looked it up here:

      Looks perfect! Full sun, drought tolerant, evergreen, winter flowers! I am headed to the nursery as soon as I can find out where to buy it.

    2. I went to buy it today, and it is in the ground already, watered and mulched! Mom, I'm curious about the size of your plant, height and spread....