Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I'm Ba-a-a-ack!!! (I think)

OK – guys! I just spent 2 hours typing up this posting, then chose NOT to save the changes to the file – so-o-o- you are going to get a shorter version.

First off – Angie has requested a correction to the blog about unloading the trailer in New York. She says the “big strong teenagers” didn’t do the work – she and Amanda did it – or nearly all of it anyway. (She just doesn’t get “Poetic License”)

She wants me to hurry up and write more on the blog so she can monitor it and make me post corrections. Ha! I just won’t write about her and her’s.

I want to post photos of Luv and her soft topper cause I’ve been asked about it by more than one person. So, here goes! (And, it worked - took nearly 10 minutes per photo to upload, but here at last are the photos!)

Luv at first sight!

The prep work

The framework – Stephanie and Janet, engineers

Upsy Daisy

Which way is up?

Here we go!

99% finished. All that is left at this point is to snap the last two snaps on each side, and drill two small holes in the cross brace.

For those interested, it is made of the same material as convertible tops - made by Soft Toppers in Boulder CO - cost about $700 for the long bed, including postage, and was here in about 4-5 days. It took roughly 2 hours to install - including the committee discussions about the instructions. When not in use, it can be folded back against the cab - or removed in about 5 minutes and stored, as it is while I'm here in New York.

Luv is weathering NY fairly well - she is plugged in each night to keep her engine warm, but she has a little trouble getting in and out of the parking space. We are on a dead-end street so the road's don't get cleared much. She doesn't have 4-wheel drive or snow tires. (She is a southern gal, after all) One of the first things she did was crash into the side of Amanda's jeep while trying to back out of the spot. It was dark and raining, and I really didn't see the jeep. Luv is a big girl - 3/4 ton - over 20' long, and needs a lot of maneuvering room. Then, after our first real snow, a neighbor had to tow her out of the parking space. She fishtailed into the flower garden, and there is a rather steep, but short incline down to the house. At that time, I had 150# of ice melt in the back of the truck. I added 650# of sand bags after that point. JT suggests I add about 400# more, but I think I'd best just keep off the streets.

Well, here it is - very early in the morning after I started this post. I'm now awake and might as well just keep chattering away.

Part of the reason I haven't been blogging much is that I've been "under the weather" one way or the other nearly since I arrived here. I've also taken very few photos, actually none at Christmas which is very unusual - but I blame it on my lack of energy

The reason I am spending the winter here is to complete my part of a quilts for charity project - my part is 40 twin sized quilts - two friends are doing 10 each for a total of 60. I'm leaving here no later than the end of March, so I'm basically "holed up" in this little apartment until I finish them. The apartment is in the basement under Angie and Amanda's home. It consists of 1 bedroom, a living room, bath, and country sized kitchen! Also an enclosed entry and the laundry room is in the unfinished part of the basement.

I've been "buttoning" it up since I got here. Drapes across each door way, plastic on the windows. - that sort of thing.

The other night, as I headed for bed, I noticed the temperature in the living room was a "cozy" 35 degrees. I'm heating it with one of those oil filled, radiator type space heaters. I have a different type heater in the kitchen - and for the bedroom - well, it has no direct heat - just what flows in from the living room when I open the drapes - which is not a problem cause once I'm under that down comforter, it's like I'm in a nest - warm and comfortable.

There is a defunct wall furnace in the living room. A lot of air was coming through the wall around the exhaust outlet. After the 35 degree night, Amanda came down with some spray foam insulation and sealed around the outlet - Wow! within about 15-20 minutes, the temperature went up about 10 degrees, and right now - it is at 53 degrees and has been all night. I'm looking forward to see how warm it gets today - outside will be in the teens.

We're starting into a severe cold snap - with two days of mid 30's weather right in the middle of it. This will be the coldest it's been since I got here.

I've been asked many times why on earth I'm spending the WINTER in Upstate NY. I grew up in Montana, and miss the snow to a certain extent. The difference between here and Montana, is that here the wind rarely blows. No howling blizzards to contend with! I see the comments of friends and relatives on Facebook and I'm so happy I don't have to contend with that. I think this may be the last winter I spend in the North. From now on I plan to spend it in the south - however, judging from last years weather and this year's winter storms, it doesn't really matter much.

We had a bit of snow at Christmas - but missed the big Nor'easter. Brooke didn't! She popped in for Christmas and had to drive home through that madness. Luckily she has a 4-wheel drive SUV, but at any rate, it was a long, long drive home to Maryland.

I mentioned the large kitchen here. I have set up 5' and 6' tables - one for my machine, and one for layouts, cutting, etc. There is also a 6' country kitchen table here and my ironing board is set up all the time, and there is still plenty of room to move around. In addition to the quilts It looks like I have about 40 other sewing projects for friends and family. I think I need to go through the list again to see what can wait - I'm due to leave in about 60 days. If I buckle down, I should be able to get more than one project done a day.

Of the 40 quilts, I have completed 14, and have about six pinned and ready to finish. I'm starting to take serious shortcuts! For instance, I'm now putting fleece on the back of them - batting and backing all in one. And, I've also purchased some fleece kits to help speed the project along. OK, so I'm not a dyed in the wool traditional quilter.

Right now, I'm taking a week off the quilt making to work on some other stuff. Angie just got hired as a counselor (see, her degree is paying off already!!!) (I must say again that I am extremely proud of her!!!!) at a nursing home where her wardrobe calls for a step up from jeans and pull-overs. So, from my stash of fabric, I have enough to make her 4 blouses and 4 pair black trousers. We've done the mock-up of the blouse so I hope I can get a couple done today.

Brooke and her friend have also ordered some shirts from me, and I finally found the correct pattern yesterday - that will probably be about 10 shirts in all.

Then there is finishing up blankets for Cody and Raven (mostly done, just have to pin together and sew, PJ's for the 3 year old, back-packs for the toddlers, OMG - the list just goes on and on. Granny's work is never done! I'd better brew up a cup of tea and get busy!!!

By the way, I have a new cell phone # - If I haven't given it to you yet - drop me an e-mail. I finally have a real, honest to goodness cell phone plan.

Once I have finished the quilts and as many projects as I can, I will be donating most of the rest of my fabric to a local group who makes quilts for charity. I also realize I must go through everything else I brought with me and get rid of at least half of it. And, I thought I brought only the bare necessities. Wrong!!!

By the way, if anyone has any good ideas on how to use scraps of colored garment weight leather - I'm all ears. I plan to do Farmer's Markets in Montana this summer, and need some ideas! I'm not ready to get rid of the leather until I've explored all options.

Well, that's it for now. I'm not looking for myself just now - I'm just too darn tired!!!

Bear Hugs

Luv 'n Boots