"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Designing When Stoned

This post is gross. My squeamish daughter should skip it, today.

The last few days have been one god awful disaster difficult due to health issues. I have what amounts to second degree burns on both arms and on my face. There have been mornings where I simply could not bend my elbows without wincing. My arms have been grossly swollen, red, broken and tender. Two separate mornings I worried that I should just end it all go to the hospital and be done with it. My face looks like it has been run over by a steam shovel more white than pink from cracked, dead skin. Until recently, I’ve not been able to put salve or lotion or topical analgesic on myself because I’ve been full of oozing sores open wounds where I clawed my skin when the poison ivy was attacking. I took prednisone but it didn’t really help. The mild oatmeal/honey soap that I used joined forces with the poision ivy and counter attacked caused an allergic reaction (can you believe that?) that made things tons worse. To my husband’s horror, I ran scalding water over my skin to kill the pain (like those self mutilators who carve on themselves to release endorphins), resulting in the burns. Repeatedly. I figured it was either scald it off or claw it off. I am paying for that decision, now. I know, all that is gross. But I killed that damned poison ivy rash and would probably do it, again. BTW – I am not a self mutilator, as a rule. This is new and desperate behavior. And I read about it on the internet so it must be okay.

At one point during the worst of it, I launched into a crusade against idiot posters on a message board I frequent and was unchacteristically caustic and rude.   Even for me.   One poster said I was a crazy old woman and he was probably right. It is probably the only thing he has ever been right about so I am not overly impressed with the observation. I am still a bit cranky.  And I hope no one else expresses surprise that I got an exposure since poison ivy is dormant this time of year.  Don't you realize how much that terrifies me???
All that being said, I am feeling better and Husband keeps bringing me lotions to try. I know he wants me to feel better but I suspect part of it is that he wants me to not look so much like something from a horror flick. He has shoved Vitamin E oil at me (he had it when we married, ten years ago), gall salve, Blue Salve ointment (unconditionally guaranteed), leather softener, hemorrhoid cream, and is threatening to hold me down and pour vinegar on me later this afternoon (he read on the internet that it was a good home remedy for itching so it must be true). Although it looks bad, my skin is feeling much better and I’ve been swabbing on “Udderly Smooth,” the lotion so many hand quilters use since yesterday. It has aloe and Vitamin E in it. It is water based, which distresses Husband, but I’m good with it. I think all the medication and histamines in my system have contributed to making me feel pretty awful but that won’t last. I am feeling a lot better and another week will hopefully see me near healed. I just hope I feel better by in the morning because I have my hand appliqué class.

In the midst of all my ugliness, Husband brought me lilies for Valentine’s Day (Lilies were our wedding flower).

What a darling.
They smell beautiful and perked me up.
Have you been watching the weather reports back east? My Virginia neighbors report getting over two feet of snow during the last wave and they are being slammed again, today. The pictures I’ve seen have been amazing. Record setting. Of course, we have a house to sell and this slows down the buyers so it is costing us money. Still, it would be exciting to see it as it happened, so long as you kept power. As for us, we’ve had snow and ice but spring will be knocking in no time at all. I’m ready, baby!

We ordered our new kitchen counter tops. Here is a picture of what we settled on – It is a solid surface – Hi-Mac.
I like the specks.
The name is Cameroon. I think it is really pretty. It will still be about a month before we get the counter tops.

My new Yankee candles also arrived via post. I ordered my standard buttercream but decided to try some new scents.
I thought I would love the lavender vanilla (how could you go wrong with that combination?) but just don’t like it. That only goes to show that when you are buying for smell, you need to check it, first. The baby power flavor is nice, though. “Just” nice.

I love this particular candle holder – even an unscented candle smells good when I use it.
In my last post, I showed my paper piecing round robin and the start of round 4. Round 4 simply required that we restrict our color choices to only two. I went with a metallic cream by Hoffman and the light blue focus fabric. I included some paper pieced corners but most of the piecing was strip piecing to create the beads. I finished that round and here is a photo:
I think it looks weird. 

I kind of wish I had gone with white in the center of the corner arrows on round three (the wider, purple row) but I am not going back at this point and dismantling it.  Well, maybe I will.  I am relatively happy with the design, so far, but am not sure about the colors. I thought the cream would pull it together more than it has but will probably need to add more near the outer border. Unfortunately, I don’t have much left of the cream fabric and haven’t been able to find it online.  I may just yank off that border and use it for something else.  The more I look at it, the more it looks like a mini skirt on a NFL linebacker.

It is a disaster.

If I had to choose my favorite piecing technique, it would be paper piecing. It wastes fabric, is counter intuitive, is frequently tedious and lacks the soft, gentle curves of appliqué. But I love the strong lines, bold points and the miraculous ending you can achieve if you practice steadfast discipline and an almost religious faith that the road to perfection is sometimes a muddy, rutty cowpath.

After I finished round four (the blue and white), and before I came to my senses, I got a wild hair that I would go all out on the paper piecing for round 5 to bring in color and the WOW factor. It was probably the drugs talking. I used a Carol Doak paper pieced pattern for a tulip (number 145 from her 300 Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks – an excellent book I don’t use nearly enough).

I have the patterns on CD and adjusted it to a 4 X 6 inch block.
Each block has 15 pieces. I need 26 blocks. I am out of my mind.

I keep a light under the clear dewing table to use as a light box. Since it is right by the needle, if it is going to slip, it needs to do it in a hurry.
Nothing looks more disciplined or calm than a finished paper pieced block. I mean, look at this:
Geesh.   Don't look at it.  The more I look at that white and blue border, the more I hate it.  I am breaking out in hives, again.   If that thing stays on there, it will be the topic of a "What was I thinking" post at some point.  And probably the topic of a "What was she thinking post?" on someone else's blog. 

But I'll get back to that.  For now, I want to talk about my paper pieced tulips.   I’ve never made sausage but I hear it is messy. So is paper piecing. Here are some partially finished tulip blocks:

They look like a ghastly mess. If you are bothered by clutter (and while I have a tolerance, even I eventually hit a wall and can’t take anymore), paper piecing might not be for you. But once you get to a certain point, it all starts coming together.
Here are the scrap remains that end up in the trash:
But here is the finished block next to an untrimmed one – the finished ones are so pretty.
See the back? 

Not so pretty.  And now, I get to tear the paper off the back of 26 blocks.  What is wrong with me?

This is Evelyn after looking at the blue and white border on round four:
I haven’t completely decided how I am going to complete this round but Plan A was to have the tulips be a large part of it. This was my original thought -something like this (still considering the corners):
Hmm.  That cream in round 3 really was a god awful mistake an ill advised design. 

Maybe I should wait to see what the next round is and if these tulips would fit, use them for a final border, instead. Or maybe I will just do that, anyway and come up with Plan B for round 5. Truth be told, I think round 5 should be wider (the outer row in the previous picture).  What do you think?

Let this be a lesson to us all - do not design under the influence.  I shall now retire to do some frog stitching (rip-it, rip-it).  That blue and white round has got to go. 

Happy Quilting,

Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


BilboWaggins said...

The blue/white border - you are right, it has to come off {smile}. Leave it there and you will hate the top forever and it will be a waste of all your other lovely piecing.

As for poison ivy, sheesh, we don't have that in England, thank goodness. I never knew it could be so bad and as you say, this is meant to be its dormant time. Is there a reason why it has made you so ill this time? Maybe you are taking some other meds which have reacted with it, or something you ate, or some cleaning chemical you used on the barn? Get well soon, will be sending you healing thoughts and hugs.

Linda said...

Oh Penny, I'm so sorry to hear of your "travails"! What a horrible mess! Did you ever go to a doctor or did you just self medicate with the internet?!!! Boiling water, my God!!!!!! I do understand the desire to do that but I've never b een so bad that I'ave actually done it. Ouch! You and Kim of Kim's Big Quilting Advenure are having a hoirrendous time. I shall count my blessings and not whine over my snivels any more! Be good to yourself and take care!
Lurking Linda
PS, I hate the white border but love the tulips!

Anonymous said...

Good grief, Penny - boiling water? I hope you return to your normal, aging sex goddess self soon.

I like your tulips...as for that border, can you quilt it to death with a colored thread?


lesliemy said...

I think you will need some of this cream because of the large cream center. I think I would leave the blue and cream border and add some more blue and cream in the next rows corner blocks. Then quilt it with colored thread and it will all come together for you.

Penny said...

Not boiling water - just scalding hot from the tap. You think I'm NUTS???

Don't answer that.

Lesliemy, I think the blue and cream has to come off, but I may use it on the final border to pull in the cream center. I can see that you understand my thought process to use it in the first place. It wasn't quite so bad until I put a duller fabric in a further row.

Anonymous said...

Penny, I really feel for you regarding the poison ivy. I too am very allergic to it, and I'm in OK also. I end up going to the Dr. and getting a shot and a round of 5 pills, thats the only thing that helps me. For some reason I get mine from the dirt in my flower garden, can't see any poison ivy anywhere, but the dirt is the problem. So I can no longer plant flowers in the flowerbed, my granddaughter does it for me now. Hoping you get relief soon!!

Penny said...

I am going to go that shot route. This is just wrong. Thanks for the idea. Sorry that you can't plant flowers. At least you can enjoy them. How often do you come down with it?

Elaine said...

Penny, since I found out that the dirt was causing my problem, I don't get it as often. We are campers, so I have to be extra careful when there also. I haven't had it for several years now. Knock on wood!! Forgot to tell you, if you find yourself in it again, take a cool shower asap, not warm or hot.


Abile said...

Dear Penny,
I read your blog often. I have a big request to you. I would like to ask you some paper pieced pattern. If you are not too much to ask. Excuse me! I don't speak English well. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one that likes that blue and white border? I think it looks great!

I used to get poison oak bad when I was a kid. I would have to get a shot from the doctor. I am guessing it was benedryl.
Get well soon

Anonymous said...

Penny, in regards to the poison ivy, I've never used hot water, but have often wished for a wire brush to scrub/scratch with. Benadryl cream is decent, but the trip to the doc for a shot of Prednisone, then a dose pack and 3 weeks time is the only thing that makes it not drive me up the wall...any farther than I already am. Hope you're better every day...has it been 3 weeks yet? You can almost mark a calendar with it...really!

The blue and white border does nothing for me other than make me laugh at you ~ that was so much work and it's huge...and I "get" where it matches the colors inside the body of the top...but just doesn't work out there like that. I'll pretend help you rip-it. Surely between the 2 of us we can get it off soon.

The tulips are gorgeous! They would drive me as crazy as the poison ivy, though. I worked on a little block with QuiltenDeb but still am not in love with paper piecing. It's like applique...I'll admire someone else's work.

See you in March in Dallas?

Sherry B (sassy)

OklaTwister said...

Hi, Penny,
One quick "mom" lecture (LOL since I am not one); you should have gone to the doctor!!! You probably have blood poisoning from the poison ivy; scratching gets it under your skin which eventually gets it in your bloodstream, hence the fever, headaches and joint pain. But I hope you are feeling better now.
The blue and cream blocks do scream some, yet they go with the inside block. Have you tried the green and gray together? They seem to be the only combination you haven't used.

MamaT said...

I don't hate the blue and white border. I think you should leave it. But who am I? You don't need to make anyone happy except yourself when it comes to this quilt.
My son gets poison ivy really bad like that, too. His worse case ever was in January some years ago. He gets a shot in the butt from the doctor. It helps but is not instant relief. (we're in OK, too--must be a really bad species of it that we have here!)