Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Financial Bailout

I'm not usually the type of person to get involved in political conversations unless absolutely necessary. However, that being said, I do feel like I need to say something about the proposed financial bailout the US government is proposing.

A part of me says that the bailout should be passed to help out the economy as a whole in the short-term. However, about 95% of me says that the government shouldn't be bailing out the banks nor should it be bailing out individual home-owners. The banks took a risk on giving mortgages to people who shouldn't have gotten mortgages. They gave credit to people in excess of what those people could afford. The banks are largely to blame on our current financial status. They are supposed to be stringent in giving mortgages and credit to people and should only give the credit when the likelihood of them getting their money back is real.

Its not the just the banks, however, who have caused this problem. Too many people across the country spend money beyond their means. When Rich and I were looking for a house, our credit rating was high enough that any bank would have given us any amount of money we asked for. We could have bought a $1 million dollar house if we wanted to, but whether we wanted to or not, it comes down to what you can AFFORD not what you can GET. We couldn't afford a mortgage for a $1 million dollar house even if a bank would willingly give it to us. We consciously made the decision to buy less than our ideal so that we could own a home that we could afford.

I know many people who bought homes beyond their means and now they are really struggling to pay their mortgages. I've read stories about people who bought expensive homes and are now bankrupt. While I do feel badly for them, they should have known better. Its their own fault that they couldn't keep up with their mortgage.

Ultimately, if the government passes a bailout plan, it would mean higher taxes for everyone. I don't want to, and shouldn't have to, pay for someone else's poor decision making. Just because someone else wanted that status symbol of a big house and big expensive car shouldn't mean that I should help them pay for it. It seems like there are an awful lot of people in the US who think that they should just have these things and that they deserve it, but unfortunately they're not working hard enough to deserve it. If you truly work hard and have a good job and spend/save wisely, you can have that expensive house and car, but its not for free.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Quilt

I've finally gotten around to sewing all the rows together for our quilt. I finished it up early this morning. Now all I have to do is put the borders on, which at my current pace will take another month or two. ;-) In case anyone is interested, the center block design is a variation on a Fifty-four Forty or Fight block design that I found on Quilter's Cache. While its not completely identical, it was my inspiration so I thought I'd at least mention it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Teddy Bear 9-Patch

I've finally gotten around to posting pictures of the latest baby quilt to be completed. This is for one of my co-workers whose wife is expecting any day. I finished up the binding on Sunday night, so I timed this one pretty well.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What Bothers You?

Of all the things that bother me, I think the most annoying thing is when you're sitting in a confined, but public, space and all of a sudden you hear "snap....snap...snap". Someone is cutting their fingernails. Yuck! The noise bothers me when I'm in the privacy of my own bathroom trimming my own nails, but why would someone trim their nails in public?

Its almost up there with carrying on complete conversations while you're in a public bathroom.

What are your pet peeves?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 Tribute

It’s really hard to believe it’s already been 7 years since the attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York. So many people’s lives were touched by the tragedy and the camaraderie of our nation after that fateful day.

Personally I still remember that day incredibly vividly. I was at college getting ready for classes. I had a small TV in my room and I usually tuned into Good Morning America to listen to the news topics while getting ready. The news anchors were talking about some random news story when all of a sudden they stopped discussing the topic and they must have gotten word over their earpieces about what was happening. Instantly you could see the confusion on their faces and it took them a minute to figure out what they wanted to say. At first it was very confusing because there were reports of a small plane hitting one of the towers, but there wasn’t anyone on site that had video of what exactly happened. The news agency immediately sent reporters out with cameras to report on what was happening. At the time all you could see was smoke above the city and smoke coming out of one of the towers.

As they were talking and showing live filming of the first tower, you could hear another plane on the video feed. This time the camera panned and saw the jet liner flying towards the building and then smashing into it. It took a few seconds, but then the plane and building erupted in a giant fireball. Everyone was just stunned at what had happened. Even myself watching from 250 miles away couldn’t believe that it was actually happening. Shortly thereafter, reports starting coming in of other planes that had been hijacked and that the country was now on alert. I also remember the film clips they showed of President Bush at an elementary school in Florida. Some children were reading stories and he was sitting there listening when one of his aides came up next to him and whispered something to him. We had no clue at the time what the aide was saying, but you could instantly see the President’s face turn from smiling a children to a very somber and shocked look. He kept himself composed until the children finished, and then excused himself to leave.

At this point, I had to leave my room, despite not wanting to, as I had class to get to. I got to class and I don’t even remember really how I got there, but shortly before class was scheduled to start, we got word that the campus was being put under lockdown and all students were to return to their dorms. One of our engineering buildings on campus had plutonium stored there for testing purposes, so the military wasn’t taking any chances and locked down the entire campus. As I was crossing the footbridge to return to the dormitory side of campus, armed guards with automatic rifles were moving into campus to secure the engineering buildings. It was very surreal.

Many of us watched the news coverage all afternoon and into the evening in stunned silence. It was eerily quiet for the most part considering that the weather was beautiful outside and the sun was shining. Almost no one was outside as everyone was glued to the new coverage on TV. There were a few brainless people who only saw the time as free time to play their computer games. My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) wrote a very good letter to the editor of our school newspaper relating the fact that these few people were content to sit behind their computer screens and play their games of shooting people and not think about what the events of that day were going to do to all of us. Our country would be going to war and we would lose many American lives to the fight that would come in the Middle East. While these students were able to sit at their computers and play their fake shooting games, someone else was going to have to sit behind a sand dune for real and look through a real scope and fire a bullet at another human. Not because they wanted to, but because they had to or they would die.

The rest of that week went by in a blur, but I can’t help but remember the images from that week. First the images of the planes hitting the towers and some of the people inside leaping to their deaths rather than succumbing to the fire within. Then to the few survivors that were able to make it out of the towers and away from Ground Zero. I also remember vividly the images of the fire fighters and police running towards the towers instead of away from them like everyone else was doing. It takes a certain kind of person to put their own life aside to try to help someone else. Many of the fire fighters who perished probably knew how bad things were, but they still went in because they wanted to try and help someone else. These are the people who deserve to be honored forever, along with all those innocent lives that were taken that day.

While we cannot undo the past and prevent this tragedy from happening, I hope that we can look back on it and see how it brought our country together. People put aside their differences to console each other and to help in any way they could. Hopefully, something like this will not happen again so that our own children do not have to live through this.
Let us all remember the people who gave their lives on this day s

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Squaring Blocks??

I've read a few places about squaring up your blocks prior to sewing the blocks together to make a quilt top. I've actually only done it a few times and mostly only on units that had triangles in them since I tend to make those a little "off".

My question to other quilters is how often do you square up your blocks? Do you square up the rows after you've put the blocks together into rows? Do you square up the top before you add borders? Do you square it up again after adding the borders?
I know that if you make a small mistake on every block, it will add up when you have a large quilt. I've only made lap sized quilts so far so the errors don't add up too much on the small quilts. I am however working on the queen sized quilt and now that I almost have all the rows together and I'm contemplating how to make the pieced borders, I'm getting a little concerned that my borders may not fit "just right" onto the quilt if I did make errors and didn't quite square up the blocks.

Any thoughts?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Beautiful Weather

After the torrential rains we had on Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised to wake up Sunday morning to bright sunshine. It was an absolutely gorgeous day! After breakfast I ran upstairs (well, I didn't actually run, but you get the idea) and starting ironing and sewing. I was able to get the baby quilt I've been working on completely quilted. I also pressed all the fabric I had washed for the next two quilts and made the binding for the baby quilt.

Late Sunday morning I spent outside finally taking care of our flowers. We've been neglecting them because the mosquitoes are so bad this year. But with the slightly cooler weather and a good strong breeze, the mosquitoes stayed away for the most part yesterday so I was able to do some much needed house keeping.

Later on in the afternoon, I was able to sew the binding onto the baby quilt and I started stitching it down by hand on the back. It didn't turn out exactly as I had planned, but it still looks nice and I'm sure the baby will love it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lots and Lots of Rain

For the past week I've been looking forward to today because it was going to be a nice rainy day and I was going to be able to get some more quilting/sewing done. Rich and I decided to go to the local outlet mall to do some shopping and while this would normally make me pretty happy, it didn't really seem to do it today. When we left the outlet mall, I was pretty upbeat still about being able to get some quilting done. However, it was a different story by the time we got home.

I think its just the weather, but man am I in a funk! I had all afternoon and evening to get sewing done, but I haven't even touched it. I did wash some of the fat quarters that I showed pictures of in my last post and I got them ironed, but I just didn't even feel like going near the sewing machine. Its weird, too, because I was waiting for some more thread to arrive to finish quilting the baby quilt and the thread arrived today (along with a few other goodies) and I still didn't want to sit down at the sewing machine.

Does anyone else get in these weird funks? I'm hoping to bust out of it tonight and be able to get some sewing done tomorrow. It would be nice to get the quilt done so I can move on to the next one. I think part of the problem is that the last time I was quilting on the baby quilt, it felt like I was fighting the quilt and the machine to get the quilting done. Normally I don't have this much trouble, but this time the quilt just was not happy. Hopefully it was just a bad quilting night.

Friday, September 5, 2008

More Quilts

After a few posts of nothing but text, I figure I better give you a teaser of some pictures. :-) We're all very visual people and while I've been looking at blogs with lots of photos, I sometimes get lazy and don't post any on here.

Anyway, so here's the baby quilt I've been working on. I have the quilting about 60% done and I decided to use red colored thread. The only problem was that the local quilt store only had little small spools of the thread and it ran out pretty quickly. I bought some more online (since I knew the color code of the one I wanted) and hopefully it will arrive this weekend. I tried quilting some diamonds in the middle of the big blocks, but they didn't look right so I had to unquilt them. I think I may just do boxes within the big square to anchor it a little. I'm also debating about whether I should put diagonal lines the opposite way of the ones currently on there. I think I'll decide once I get the other squares quilted a bit.

The next photo is of fabric I bought this past weekend at Joann's. They had some pretty good sales for Labor Day and I got a bunch of fat quarters for different quilts. The first one is going to be titled Garden Pleasures and it uses the Yellow Brick Road pattern from Atkinson's. The person I'm making it for likes purple, so there's definitely a lot of purple in the quilt, but I had to mix it up with some greens, blues and yellows. I have a tendency to go for the really bold colors and just pair them up to get the look I want, but eventually I think I'm going to have to try some medium toned colors.

This last one is a picture of some fat quarters I bought off eBay a while ago. Amazingly, I paid about $0.75 for each fat quarter when all was said and done. This quilt is going to be titled Rainbow 9-Patch and is going to have the multicolored 9-patches set on point bordered by black and white. My husband thought the black was a little much, but I wanted it to look somewhat like a picture in a frame with the black frame really setting off the colors on the interior.

There's no telling when I'll actually get to these as I have to finish up the baby quilt, then finish piecing the border to our queen sized quilt. Then I'm going to start the Garden Pleasures quilt. Hopefully I will get better at posting pictures! In the meantime....

Happy Quilting! ~Sarah