More about that bird…

If you get my newsletter you will have seen the Hexy Bird block I’m working on now. I still have to add a pupil to the eye, stitch the blue hexies into flowers, and stitch the yellow and orange hexies together to make the larger hex that surrounds the bird—and then applique them to the block—but you can see where it’s going. I think this will be the center of a terrific baby quilt!

Below is Linda’s Hexy Bird, which is also very cute. Isn’t it surprising to see how different a block can look in a different colorway?!

Hexy Bird Block

It may be a while before I have borders around my block, but when I get it together, I’ll share the photo. Click to see the Hexy Bird ePattern if you missed it when I showed it before.

Books in harmony…

My oldest son, Chris, loves books. He has quite a collection on shelves that line one wall in his and Lorna’s bedroom. The recently rearranged and the books looked overwhelming in the room.

Bookshelves-1

There were cute parts, but even they were hard to see unless you were right in front of them…

Bookshelves-3

Chris and Lorna have both been seriously tidying their house and they decided that embrace the KonMarie technique and de-clutter the shelves, without letting go of many books. They took everything off the shelves and rearranged by color.

What was a jumble is now really nice to look at! The clutter is gone, and amazingly enough the books are more engaging. I want to stop and browse where before I just walked on by. It almost makes me wish I had a whole bunch of books to do this with!

From polished to honed…

I have a marble-topped coffee table. It came to me a year or so ago with water-rings etched into its polished surface. I did the DIY thing, and ordered the stuff to polish the marble. It wasn’t easy but it mostly worked and I was happy. Then, over the holidays, I spilled a whiskey-honey-lemon juice concoction* on it. Deep sigh. It left a big, white mark.

I’ve come to realize that we are too hard on polished marble so why not just embrace the un-polished/honed look. Since water appears to cause most rings, I decided to soak the marble top with water. I applied very wet towels let them sit for several hours.

Water did not make the polished finish go away. I thought that perhaps it was the whiskey that had taken off the polish so I decided to try vodka (my husband’s whiskey is too expensive to pour on the table).

After a few hours it was obvious that vodka wasn’t working either so I decided to consult google. It turns out that acidic liquids are the main culprit when it comes to ‘etching’ the polish off of marble. Vinegar was mentioned and I have a gallon of it. Yay! I soaked paper towels with vinegar and left it to sit.

Later I took off the paper towels and just poured on more vinegar. Yes, vinegar will take most of the polish off of a marble surface!

The surface is a little blotchy which only shows in some light, from the side. I sanded the top with fine grain sandpaper. It knocked back some of the shinier areas and I like the feel of it but I decided to once again consult google. I found out that you can, indeed, use fine wet/dry sandpaper and an orbital sander to get an even better honed surface.

I have an orbital sander but don’t want to use it in the house—too much dust. When Steve comes home he can help me take the marble to the garage and I’m going to sand it like crazy and then seal it. If any of you have scarred marble that’s bothering you, I offer this as one possible solution.

*The whiskey-honey-lemon juice concoction is what we refer to as ‘granny’s elixir’ and it is my favorite cold remedy. It doesn’t make the cold go away faster, but it does help you to feel better.

Did you see the new pattern?

If you get the Piece O’ Cake newsletter, you’ve seen Linda’s Hexy Bird quilt, but if you don’t get the newsletter, here it is. Isn’t it cute?!

Hexy Bird

Click here for more information on the Hexy Bird pattern. I have to say that I love this 15″ bird block and plan to offer it as a class. It combines applique, hexes, and a little embroidery. What’s not to love!

BirdBlock

The setting blocks are all 1/2″-hexes sewn together and then appliqued to a block:

SettingBlock

As I said earlier, what’s not to love! Click here for more information on the Hexy Bird pattern.

 

The cord has been cut!

Cableone made me mad and I have had enough. If you are like me, you’ve heard about the television cord-cutting trend but are not sure how it works, so I’m going to tell you what I’ve found out.

The biggest change when you cut the cable cord is that you have to decide what to watch. There’s nothing playing on the TV until you decide what to put on. As near as I can tell, DVRs don’t work with an internet only setup but that’s OK with me. I quickly realized that the shows I was recording can be found online if you are willing to subscribe to a few services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.)

There is a huge amount of content online and it is really easy to find something to watch. I can already tell that I am never going to run out of interesting shows. I like being able to watch a season of shows at whatever pace feels good.

netflix

For this to work, you need to be able to connect the internet to your TV. I have an Apple TV device connected to the TV in the living room. Apple TV can connect to the internet via wifi or with an ethernet cable. I use the cable because I think it might be a better/faster connection, and because I had the cable already in place.

The TV in the kitchen has a wireless Roku stick. This is a little thing that looks a lot like a flash drive that plugs into an HDMI port on the TV. It has a cord that plugs into a power outlet. Neither of these devices was that hard to set up. It took a little time to enter passwords and set up channels (Netflix, etc.) on each device, but it was easy to do.

Both of these devices work well and allow you to watch a variety of things. I am currently watching subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access, but there and I’ve found  a variety of free channels as well. Additionally, you can connect both Apple TV and the Roku to your computer or other smart device and stream from them.

My cable bill is about 1/3 of what it was before. The combined monthly Netflix/Hulu/CBS/HBO fees will be a little more than what I was paying Tivo (my DVR provider). I’m saving money—that hardly ever happens!

The one downside is that we don’t get local/live news. I solved that problem with the WFAA app on my ipad. (WFAA is the ABC channel in Dallas that we watched until Cableone took it away.) We usually watch evening news and this app works for us. I suspect I’ll be able to get more news using other apps… in fact, Nowhere TV might work very well.

I hope this has answered questions for those of you who might have been thinking about doing this yourself.