07 Aug

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

For any fans of logistics out there, here’s what it takes to move across hemispheres:

Me, two kids and a cat went via airplane — Frankfurt, Germany, across the Arctic Circle to San Francisco, CA USA, then on to Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. Actual flight time: 16 hours.

One and a half crates of stuff we wanted right away flew via cargo plane(s) from Germany to Hawaii. They left Germany 7 June (if I remember correctly) and were waiting for us when we arrived on July 23rd! Travel time: approximately 5 weeks.

Nine crates of Household Goods were taken by truck to a port in Germany, crossed the Atlantic on a ship, then crossed the USA via truck or train, and finished the trip via ship to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where they arrived yesterday. I think the shipment must have broken some sort of land speed record because we were told it would take three to four months and it’s only been a few days over two months. A truck will deliver it to our new home on Tuesday!

Another crate and a hafl of things in storage in Arizona is due to leave there next week and arrive here in about a month. My fingers are crossed it will take less time as our washer and dryer are in that crate.

My car left Germany via truck then ship in mid-July and, according to the tracking website I checked a few days ago, was last seen at the port in Georgia where it will board a truck or train to Los Angeles and then get back on a ship for Pearl Harbor. I’m curious to see if it crosses the USA as quickly as our nine crates.

* Update: As of this morning, the car is in LA!!!!!

Finally, Mr. Incredible may also arrive early as his unit here wants him to join them for some training.

As a side note, technology continues to confound me. I tried the self checkout at the commissary (grocery store) today. I put my cloth bag that I always carry on the bagging table and it completely messed up the sensors. The computer kept telling me that I either needed to remove my personal items, or that my checkout item was of the wrong weight. It’s frustrating to try to do the right thing (not use plastic bags) yet have that thing cancel out the convenience of modern inventions. After a few odd looks from other customers and a bit of help from the guy overseeing the self checkout area, I got my way and convinced the machine that it was OK for me to have my own bag.

04 Aug

Good News

The 12 x 12 website is back up and running and now everyone can see the wonderful variety of “Illumination” quiilts we’ve all made.

My personal technical difficulties got worse before they got better. Just as I found a free wifi spot and prepared to email some photos to family, the laptop died. So, this will continue to be a photo-free blog for a little while longer. We also had some delayed-in-the-mail issues with our one credit card that left me without backup on the very days I needed to extent the rental car and pay for 10 days in the hotel, plus quite a few meals. Normally, having only one credit card keeps us reined in on spending (not that we’re big spenders anyway), but last week I could see the benefit of having a second card. Lastly, we won’t get phone/internet hook-up in the new house until the 19th unless the company can squeeze us in earlier. Bummer — I was looking forward to internet from the house next week.

The good news: I got my Palm Pilot up and running again after remembering the reset button on the back. I can also get power to the laptop (and therefore charge the Palm) when I plug it in, even though the screen is now completely black. This lets me know though, that when my in-house technical support is back in the house, and our desktop computers are unpacked, that we’ll be able to retrieve data from the dead laptop. It did have a verrrrrrry long and happy life, so I’m not complaining. And, my MIL is letting me borrow a cell phone. I was thinking I didn’t need it after all since we’ve got a rental house now and free local calls from the hotel, but that week between when we move out of the hotel and into the house and when the phone tech comes to hook up our service, it will nice to have the cell phone.


Let the adventures in moving across continents continue!!


Creative endeavors will have to wait until I can upload photos…

01 Aug

Third Time’s a Charm

I really liked our last 12 x 12 theme, “Illumination” (not that I didn’t like the previous ones). There were so many directions in which I could go. I thought I had a good direction, but then upon further exploration, an idea I thought was hokey at first, turned out to be the one that captured my attention.

I wanted to convey the idea of reading a book under the covers by flashlight; a concept with illumination both in the act of reading and in the light of the lamp. My first thought was to make two quilts attached at the top — the top one looking like a basic utility quilt and the bottom one with an image of a boy reading by flashlight. But that sounded too gimmicky. With input from faithful blog readers, I considered using a transparent top layer, making the whole thing transparent, making the top quilt permanently pulled up, and various other options. I finally decided on a pretty simple one: quilt on the front, boy on the back. By turning over the quilt, or lifting the “covers,” one automatically finds the boy underneath. Although I had first considered appliquéing the boy, I decided that it would have been better done when I had my full stash of fabrics to choose from so that I could carefully model the face with the right tints, tones and patterns. I then decided to hide the boy in the quilting. Seemed appropriate.
Nope, too dense

But, after quilting a third of the picture, I decided that it was far too dense on the front side and lost the quality of vintage utility quilt that I was after. This test was a good chance to adjust the thread and the tension and make sure I had enough information in my water soluble sketch traced onto the backing fabric. My next attempt was the full 12 x 12 inch piece, quilted first on just the backing and batting, then joined to the front with only an outline of the reading boy.

But something was nagging me.

I didn’t like the unevenness of  my stitching. Part of it is lack of practice, but since this is a two month challenge, I don’t exactly have the luxury of spending two years perfecting thread drawn portraits. Part of it was the many seams I was sewing over; and part was that it was the bobbin thread showing and bobbin stitches are almost never as nice as top stitches.

I pondered my options (pull out the outline stitching and try again); do another and do the outlining with water soluble thread (shopping trip) from the back and then turn it over and do final stitching from the front; make a new one and join the layers with in-the-ditch quilting with invisible monofiliment thread. Or do something I hadn’t yet conceived of. Then I realized it was the whole drawing I wasn’t happy with. It lacked the “hand” of the sketch. Understandable, since I’ve been drawing with a pencil for nearly 40 years, but drawing with a needle for about one. As practice makes perfect, I determined that I just needed to do the whole thing again. I allowed myself a little more leeway  in terms of line versus shape of shadow, and being essentially the third time drawing the face, practice factored in some.

This time , I used more lines in the facial features, and allowed more character in the direction of the stitches. It’s still not as good as the sketch, but I’m pretty happy with it. I also decided to join the layers by tying as many utility quilts were/are tied. It showed up even less on the portrait side than I had anticipated so that was a nice surprise.

So, if you haven’t already done so, go on over to the 12 x 12 blog to see the rest of this quilt and everyone else’s too.