Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

And here's a blast from the past--our first New Year's Eve together.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! I'll be back after the new year. Going to spend time with family and friends, take time off work, work on some quilting projects, and work on our house.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday Tip #1 - Quilter's Light Box App

BabcoUnlimited.blogspot.com - Quilting Hack, Quilt Light Box App

There are times a quilter needs a light box. I've only just recently needed one to work on my Old Italian quilt project. But does this one time justify the need to go out and purchase a light box? For me, my answer is 'No.' I know several quilters will use a window in lieu of a light box. That doesn't always work for me since I do a lot of quilting after the kidlets go to bed--no sunshine outside after bedtime.

I was grumbling about this one evening when my hubby spoke up and said "There's an app for that." Well, of course there is. There just seems to be an app for everything. 

Heard of SoftBox? 
It turns your iPad or android device into a professional studio lighting system. But how does that solve my problem of needing a light box?  

This app is used by photographers for lighting areas while photographing. You can change the color from bright white to any other color in the rainbow. It also has different screen shapes like rectangle, hexagon, oval, circle, etc. There are several textures to choose from, but we don't need any of those.

For our purposes, you choose bright white color, no texture, and full screen shape. 
Voilà! Instant Light Box!

Is this this a perfect fix to replace a light box? No. 
My biggest complaint about this option is that it doesn't always hold still. Once you choose your setting, it supposedly locks into place. You can unlock it by tapping twice on the screen. However, many times the app thinks I've tapped twice while I'm working on my project and will either go back to the app's main menu or close it out completely. Annoying! But in all honestly, this app wasn't designed for how I'm using it. It was meant to just sit there and be pretty. Whereas, I'm basically drawing and pressing all over the screen.

Despite my one big annoyance with this, I'd still rather only pay $1.99 or $2.99 for an app than pay $35.00+ for a bulky light box I would very rarely use. 

You can purchase the app at these links

What have you used in lieu of a light box? Do you do the window trick? Have you found another app that works better? I'd love to hear your thoughts, tricks, and tips. Because if there is something out there that works better, I'd love to hear it. It would save me some grief. 

Linked up with Quilt Story here.
Linked up with Free Motion by the River here.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Books that Keep Me Up All Night

I stayed up WAY late last night to finish a book. Technically, it was early this morning when I finally turned off my light to sleep. But I just HAD to know how it all ended. I was so close to finishing. If I had stopped and tried to sleep, I would have just laid there while my brain still tried to figure out how it ended. Instead, I just kept reading. 

It has been a while since I found a book that pulled me that much.
The Harry Potter books did it.
Every time Ilona Andrews releases a new book, I've learned to just block out the day (and night.) 

Last night, it was the final book in the Healer series by Maria V. Snyder to be released Dec 31.

find them here
The first book starts with Avry of Kazan, a healer, the LAST healer. She is hunted and despised for her gift even by those she heals. Healers are accused of spreading the plague that decimated millions, leaving the survivors in complete chaos with no clear leadership or laws. Tired of running and hiding for three years, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who actually value her gift and want her to heal a plague-stricken prince—the very man who led the campaign against her people making him responsible for the decimation of all the healers! The leader of the band of rogues, Kerrick, won’t take no for an answer. Avry learns more about the politics involved while she is chased by mercenaries, magical dangers, and more. Now she needs to decide what side she will choose and if it’s worth dying for, because one thing is certain—healing the plague is a death sentence for her. The plague cannot be cured. And every time Avry heals someone, she assumes their injuries.

The series continues with Avry and friends trying to stop the wars and bring peace and health back to their realm. I love the banter between Avry and band of merry friends. The storyline is engaging, the writing smooth, the magic defined, and the danger real. 

Now I'm having a book hangover.

I have a rather large TBR (To Be Read) pile, yet I can't settle on anything yet. I am so tempted to just pick up book 1 again and start it all over again. I'm not ready to say goodbye to it.

What books keep you up at night?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WIP Wednesday #26

I feel like I haven't done a WIP post in forever, but it's only been three weeks since my last one. Between Thanksgiving and working I haven't gotten a whole lot done.

I have been steadily working on my Old Italian project. It is very time consuming. My mom and I took the class together, and she has decided to not do it. She didn't like the process. I've already invested a lot of time and money into this project--so I'm pushing forward with it. I've got a pile of about 20 blocks halfway done plus all these:
BabcoUnlimited.blogspot.com - Old Italian Quilt, Blue & White Quilt
Old Italian Quilt in Progress

Isn't it fun to lay out what you've accomplished? I can visualize what the final project will look like. Plus, it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

The day after Thanksgiving, I didn't go shopping. Instead, I sat at my sewing machine and did all these for my Pocket Full of Pinwheels:
BabcoUnlimited.blogspot.com - Pinwheel Quilt

I don't like the layout in the picture above, although it was fun to see all the different pinwheels I've made. This picture does give me an idea of what I've got and what I still need to make to fill holes. It's also helping me think of different layouts I want to try.

One of the pinwheels I made was this 3D pinwheel. It was surprisingly easy to make as well as fun, so I made quite a few. It was crazy how many layers of fabric I had to sew through...I was afraid I would break my needle. There are 12 layers of fabric at the center of the pinwheel. 
BabcoUnlimited.blogspot.com - Pinwheel Quilt
3D Pinwheel

My favorite pinwheel block is this one:
BabcoUnlimited.blogspot.com - Pinwheel Quilt

This has been an interesting project. This is basically an Orphan Block type quilt--Taking a bunch of different blocks and throwing them together to make a quilt. 

I've always done quilts from a set pattern. Yes, I've made my own little adjustments here and there. But this is the first one I've done where so much is left to me and my own devices. It is a lot of fun to create so much.

Linked up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced here.
Linked up to Show Off  Saturday here.
Linked up with Quilt Story here.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chess Tournament

Saturday, the boys and I spent the day at a chess tournament. 

S before a game

The boys had a real good time. The last game C played, I could see him laughing and smiling throughout the entire game. He was still laughing and chatting with his opponent as he left the table even though he lost. 

Both boys did well winning some and losing some. The best part is that they had a lot of fun. One of the greatest chess players ever, Capablanca, said, "You may learn much more from a game you lose than from a game you win. You will have to lose hundreds of games before becoming a good player." 

S earned a medal

C narrowly missed out on a trophy by one place.

I've started to volunteer at the school's after-school 4H program teaching chess. It has been a lot of fun. Half of the club came to the chess tournament. I loved seeing my kids there, meeting their parents, and watching them play. I'm not a grandmaster by any means, but it is so fun to teach the basics to these kids and see them play. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

I'm a Winner!

Look what I won at my company's Christmas Party! 
New TV
It's been 2 days, but I'm still in shock.

Wednesday night was the yearly Nu Skin Employee party. They always put on a big bash and a lot of prizes. I go every year hoping my name is called, but never hear my name. I almost didn't even go to the party. S had a wrestling match that night, it is FREEZING cold outside, and my name is never called anyways! The family all went to the wrestling match together--S did really good. After the match, R took the kids home and I drove to the party by myself. The entire drive there I thought to myself "Why am I even going? I'm cold. I'm tired. I don't really care about the entertainment this year. My name is never called. But I know if I don't go it will be the year my name is called.  But by going, I'm sure my name won't be called." 

This year, they brought in LeAnn Rimes. I got there for the last three songs she performed. Then, the prizes started. They gave out all sorts of fun and awesome things. (They always do!) The very last prize they had was a 60" TV. I sat there thinking "That is huge!" They pulled a name from the basket and said "If your name has the initials of A and B this might be you." I still didn't think it would be me as it never is. Then they said MY name! MY NAME! I was shocked.

I couldn't believe it! I won a 60" TV! Me! I was shaking the whole time I was on the stage and a good 30 minutes after.
They asked how long I've worked there: 14 years next month
I was asked how many times I've been on stage: First time
What department did I work in: The call center
Then, they wanted me to sing for my prize: Wait. What?
Steve told me it would be the gracious thing to do.
I sang the first line of "Il est né le devin enfant," and Truman answered by singing the second line. 

This TV is so big, I couldn't get it home that night. The HR lady running the show said she'd take it to her office and I could get it from her the next day. I had to take out the back seats of my minivan and then even lift the middle seats up to fit the box in my van! 

R set up the TV last night. He is so excited, I can't even tell you. Just two weeks ago he was talking about getting a new and bigger TV. We had a 42" TV, which I thought just the right size for our small home. He wanted bigger. Well, he got his wish.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's snowing!

We woke up to snow today. I don't want to go anywhere on the icy roads.
That's okay, I have things to do. 

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