Whistling a Happy Tune

This is the image Mike sent me yesterday morning when he arrived at work. 

That's right 13°F. Intrepid troopers that we are, Sue and I went out for our regular Friday morning walk. Ordinarily we're worrying about flooding on the Fanno Creek Trail this time of year. Yesterday, we figured any flooding would be of the solid variety, if you know what I mean. To keep warm, we both layered up, donned mittens and earmuffs, and had a surprisingly nice walk. The sky was the deepest blue.

The creek had spilled its banks in places, but it was mostly frozen over, as we expected.

As we walked along, we came upon this snowy egret standing just feet from the trail. He kept an eye on us as we passed by, but didn't move.

The leaves are gone from most things, but this Oregon Grape has some iridescent red leaves remaining.

It occurs to me that most colors remaining along the trail are reds...these wild rosehips, for example.

When I got home, I noticed there are icicles forming on the gutter in our breezeway.

These caught my eye, and I probably took way more pictures of them than necessary.

At home, I had just time enough to ice my knee, eat some lunch, take a shower, and then take off again. I was meeting Mike so that we could go look at a truck camper we have our eyes on. We have had a lot of fun in our current truck camper, but we've been dissatisfied with it for several reasons. It's painfully small, and we can't take the kitties with us when we use it. Also, there's no comfortable place to sit when we're inside. The only available seating is at the dinette where the backs are very straight and the cushions are, shall we say, less than plush. Finally, the climb up into the bed is murder for people on the cusp of social security age. With that said, we've been looking at some campers with three slide outs...and thus, the need for the larger dually truck we have on order.

So with that in mind, we took a look at this one. Keep in mind that this is a truck camper...the kind that sits in the bed of the truck. It has a refrigerator as large as the one in our fifth wheel, ample cupboard space, a convection microwave, double molded sink and three-burner cooktop.

On the opposite wall is this theater-style seating. The chairs recline and have foot rests. This is a big selling point for us weak-kneed people. To the right of this image, you can see the dressing room with a nice closet space and four drawers for clothing. The platform to the extreme right is the height of the bed. No climbing required.

At the back is a free-standing table and chairs instead of the usual dinette.

In the front of the camper and over the cab of the truck is a California King size bed, if you can believe that. I didn't take any pictures of the bathroom, but it has an enclosed shower, rather than the "wet bath" we're dealing with now. (A wet bath is essentially a bathroom inside a shower. When you use the shower head, everything in the room gets wet. Great care must be taken to keep towels and TP from getting saturated.) So...that took most of the afternoon, but it sure was fun looking at this.

So now you know why I wrote no blog post yesterday. By the time I got home from looking at the camper, it was time to start dinner. After dinner, I was fairly well exhausted and so it was early to bed for me.

Backing up to Thursday, here's what happened. Since I've already confessed that I know how to play the piano, I might as well tell you that I played the piano for our girls and boys glee clubs when I was in junior high school. That was during the 14th Century, before we started calling it "middle school." One year the girls glee club sang a song from The King and I called, "I Whistle a Happy Tune." For some reason, the lyrics have stuck with me over the centuries, so it's no surprise that I should find myself whistling the song while working on Wind in the Whiskers. One of the stanzas goes like this:

I whistle a happy tune
And every single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I'm not [pissed off].

Yeah, I added that last part. (Sigh.) So here's what happened. First, I sewed the first three completed sections together. That went pretty well.

Then, recall that I only had the background cut for section 4, and the pieces all needed to be fused down. This was because in making the whole quilt, there were pieces of the tree that needed to be substituted for the original pieces. Only...when I started doing this, I realized that I'd made all the original pieces. And this confused me because I was sure I'd followed the instructions to the letter. The instructions have been confusing all along. Here, they got especially confusing because in addition to all the substitutions, there were corrections to the pattern listed on McKenna Ryan's website. Not only that, there were corrections to the corrections. And, let me tell you, even if the pattern had been written perfectly the first time, it was confusing enough. Add in substitutions, corrections, and corrections to the corrections, and you get one hot mess.

Then I realized I wasn't going to have enough of the fabric for the tree, and so I started sewing strips of what I had together. That meant relocating some of the pieces to cover seam lines. Also...things just didn't go together right, and so I started moving around pieces in order to cover areas where branches didn't match up. In the end, it all worked out, and here's what I ended up with for Section 4.

Here's how my tree trunk ended up. There's a little notch there below the house, but that will be where the clothesline appears to be tied around the tree. I figure it makes sense to have that there.

And I did a little patching just where the bluebird is. None of this will matter in the end, but it was a rather exasperating afternoon.

When I finished, I had the upper 2/3 of the quilt sewn together.

Today I'll add the bottom two sections.

After that, just the two borders will be left, and that quilt top will be finished. Yahoo!

Cat Patches

This morning, I finished stitching Ernestine and her little dog. She was a lot of fun.

I used hot fix nailheads for her buttons. If you're doing the stitch-along, know that you can find tiny buttons on the Chickadee Hollow Designs website. I have some of the buttons in my sewing room. They are so tiny that you'll need a beading needle to sew them on. I opted for the hot fix nailheads because they can be applied now, and they won't get in the way of the quilting later. By that I mean that they have a low enough profile that they won't catch on my sewing machine foot as I maneuver the quilt around for quilting. It's certainly your choice what you decide to do. Another option would be to stitch the buttons using either French knots or a Lazy Daisy stitch. Either would work just fine.
The next block I'll work on, beginning February 1st will be Charlotte.

In the meantime, I've readied the next piece for the Wine Country quilt, and I'll get started on that tomorrow morning.

Since I haven't said anything about the bread baking adventure in a while, I wanted to update you by saying that my whole wheat/pineapple juice starter has been a rousing success. After three days, I was beginning to see some fermentation action. If you're curious about why I'm using whole wheat flour and pineapple juice, click on that link I've given you. You'll find another link there to an article that explains the science behind this.

I fed it yesterday morning before leaving to go walking. When I came home a couple of hours later, it was looking mah-velous, by starter standards.

I fed it again three hours ago, and was amazed at how much it had grown when I checked on it just now. It's ready for baking, and so I'm going to try baking a loaf of Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread either today or tomorrow. Also, I haven't given up on my quest to bake every "formula" in the Bread Baker's Apprentice book. Next up is bagels, and I'm awaiting the arrival of some high-gluten flour and some malt powder before I can get started on those. I'm expecting they'll arrive next week some time.

The weather was lovely yesterday and the wind was calm. This morning it's back to blowing a gale force, and we're expecting snow and freezing rain today with temperatures warming into next week. It's a good day to stay inside and sew, and that's exactly what I'm going to do.

14 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lyndsey said...

I thought I could hear frustrated whistling..... The pain looks well worth it Barbara as the finished sections are sensational. I always have to convert the temperature to Celsius to appreciate how cold it is and I'm pleased our temperatures are higher than yours. However if well wrapped up against the cold a walk in the sun with a beautiful blue sky is just fabulous.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

It was bitter here yesterday (and for the whole weekend) and just walking to the car was more than I could handle. I don't think whistling would be what you heard from me if I was working on 'Whiskers'. I have one of her smaller pieces and may pass it on to someone else to enjoy.

DeeDee said...

That camper looks awesome! And I hear you on the knee thing. I've got RA and I had surgery on it in September to remove a large nodule. I have several ice packs and they are always in use. I'll be interested to hear how the next batch of bread comes out and the bagels, too!

WoolenSails said...

Looks like a nice camper and I do like the idea of that type if we get a truck, would be easier to take off in. Love how your quilt is coming out.


claudia said...

That camper is like a mansion! Wow! It's amazing what is being made these days for leisure homes. I'm looking into a little old Toyota Dolphin for my camping adventures. I'll probably use it once a year, to go to California for visits with friends and family. I need a small RV so I can take all my dogs with me and not drive people nuts with my critters while visiting.
That Whiskers quilt is looking good. You have such patience!

Brown Family said...

I am getting close to finishing Ernestine. Waiting on the next one to arrive!It is amazing how much space is in a camper! I remember the first ones that had no frills!

Wendy Tuma said...

I wondered where you were yesterday, but you were having some fun. That camper is amazing! You are making really good progress with that quilt; I'm not sure I'd ever tackle it. Enjoy your day! Wendy at piecefulthoughts@gmail.com

Dana Gaffney said...

Beautiful walk but I felt sorry for the egret, he's probably wondering how he's going to eat.
How do you keep the chairs from moving around when you're driving in that camper, I figure the table could be bolted down.
I kind of miss Smitty in the middle of the quilt, it looks a little empty to me now, :)

Quilter Kathy said...

Just love the bag lady of the month! Every detail of the block is fun... the puppy, the wine in the bag, the sparkly buttons and the pretty patch on the raggedy coat... love it!
The wine stitchery looks like a fun block!
Love the egret photo!

Denise :) said...

The camper is impressive . . . gracious, I'm amazed it fits on the truck! Your quilting bag gal is great! I can almost hear her as she arrives for a stitch-in!! :)

Susan said...

Impressive camper. I admire you tenacity with the quilt. The tree reminds my of the bark on a sycamore tree.

quiltzyx said...

Wow that is a nice camper! I was wondering the same as Dana, about the table & chairs wandering when you're traveling.
You sure finished the Bag lady fast!

Kate said...

That camper fits on the back of a truck? Wow! Hard to imagine that! Glad that you were able to work out your dilemma on Wind in the Whiskers, it's looking great. Hopefully all the horrible wet and cold stuff is done and you are in the warm up phase. They say we'll get an ice storm this weekend. Hopefully the forecast will change, it often does.

Soma @ whimsandfancies.com said...

Brr! That’s cold! Lovely photos and a beautiful quilt. Hope you knee is feeling better now.

Thank you so much for linking up on Wandering Camera!