Small Accomplishments

Thanks to the horrible utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric, much of Northern CA was without power for a couple of days. We had some wind which makes PG&E nervous because of their antiquated equipment (which was deemed responsible for several of the disastrous fires we have recently experienced.) So when a bit of wind is expected, they shut down the power in case a tree or limb should fall on a line and start a fire. That means no power for the duration of the wind – usually a day or so. Then the next day PG&E flies helicopters really low over all the outage areas to look at the lines (does this not sound terribly inefficient?) to be sure there is no damage. Once they can confirm that we get power back. This just makes me steaming mad. We pay plenty for our electricity and goodness knows we don’t get great results. Yesterday when Julia, Ray and I heard the helicopters flying over, we were shouting , “Yay, they are checking the lines!” It is ridiculous and also sounds kinda like we are in a war zone or something. Yet another reason we look forward to moving out of California at some point. Sooner, rather than later, if we can work it out.

Murphy’s Law came into play during the power outage and Verizon had difficulty with the tower that services our area. So we had no power, no wifi and no cell service. We are fortunate to have a generator and when that was on, we did have wifi. But after about 36 hours, AT&T, our internet provider, decided it was quite tiresome to have to provide service without normal power and we lost that connection as well. Sigh. May as well have been marooned on a desert island. I hate being without power and turn into a whiny pest when it happens. My husband could be happy living off the grid and just playing in the yard for the rest of his life. Me, not so much…

I did get a few things done while enduring these terrible times. (hahaha – I know, I am a bit dramatic about the whole thing.)

Do you have one of these? A pile of batting scraps?

Kind of blurry, but I bet this looks familiar to most of you. I had these stuffed into a little plastic drawer. It was getting to be a challenge to close it without shoving it all down. So I sorted it!

Better, yes?

When power was back on, I took some of the long strips of batting that were the same type and stitched them together with a wide zig zag. This gave me lots of bigger pieces that will be cut to size as needed. I tossed some very tiny bits that I have no idea why I ever saved. The larger rectangles are folded and ready to use.

The largest leftover pieces are now measured and marked. What a difference this makes. Some of these are quite large but since they were shoved into a corner of a closet, I never looked through them when I needed batting. At least now I know what I have.

Love this AccuQuilt!

Moving on…. Quite a while back, just at the start of the pandemic, I posted on my Facebook page that I was looking for an AccuQuilt. I was so fortunate to hear from Emily, of The Darling Dogwood. She had two and would be happy to give me one of them. We bartered for some fabric and I paid for the shipping – what a great deal! I am so happy to have this. I ordered a couple of dies for it – just basic squares so far. Emily also gave me one (I think was a duplicate for her?) I put it to good use this week though!

Barely made a dent in the scraps bins.

Some of these were already cut but many were done this week. I now have quite a large stack of 2.5″, 3″ and 3.5″ squares. I also cut a ton of five inch squares of novelty fabric. When I accumulate enough, I list “I Spy” charm packs in the shop. This is much, much easier to do with the AccuQuilt. I now have quite a large pile of them to be sorted into packs and then listed in the shop.

Last, but of course not least, I made good progress on the hand quilting I am doing for this pretty quilt. I think I am probably 2/3 of the way to complete on this project. I just love it. My stitches are getting more consistent, which makes me happy. This quilt really looks pretty, quite old fashioned. Hopefully I will finish it up soon and share the whole thing with you.

So cute.

Just before the outage, Julia brought home four new chicks – like 1 day old – very teeny, tiny. Chicks need to be kept warm and she has them in the laundry room with a heat lamp. They like to be at about 88 – 90 degrees. Well, this is a challenge without power. She had to rig up a warm environment for her babies. She used pots of hot water around outside of the bin they live in. Also added a deep pile of shavings for them to burrow into and wrapped the bin in an old blanket. She was able to keep her chicks all toasty for the duration. The interesting thing was they wouldn’t eat when it was dark which was much of the time. When the generator was on and they had light, all four of them would rush to the feeder like they were just frantic for their next meal. Considering how big they are just days later, I think they survived just fine!

OK – that is it for now. I have power and need to catch up on all things dependent on electricity! You know, the fun stuff like laundry, vacuuming, etc. Blech.

31 thoughts on “Small Accomplishments

  1. Patricia Cash

    I am going to use your way of storing batting pieces, thank you. I really need to get a handle on my scraps. also.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Patsy – It took almost no time to go through the batting and organize it. Now I have a good stack ready for practice pieces, baby quilts and small projects like placemats or table runners. At least one bit of the sewing area is organized!

      Reply
  2. Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl

    I am so sorry that you had to deal with no power for several days. 2020 is tough enough without throwing additional problems into the mix. I am so glad Julia was able to keep the chicks nice and warm during the duration, they look so cute! My sister-in-law has chickens that are 8 years old and still laying (!!).

    Sorting your batting scraps, combining them, and marking their sizes is very wise. Your hand stitching looks great, and good luck wrapping up your to-dos so you can play with more fabric.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Wow – hens that lay at 8 years old is unusual. Ours usually quit by about five years old. We haven’t had any for about 18 months or so. Julia wanted something different to do so she is getting the coop going again. Fresh eggs in about 4 or 5 months! Yum.

      Reply
  3. Kathleen McCormick

    How frustrating, but those batting scraps are a quite impressive. We have a generator too but it is a crazy thing…glad we have it, maintaining it on an island….not so much. My husband is like yours, content without the internet…at least until the worry sets in.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi – my husband loves the internet but doesn’t require much in the way of electricity. We have a gas stove so that is good. But I missed the coffee maker and the other conveniences. Sigh. I know it isn’t a huge deal, just a bit annoying. 😉

      Reply
  4. Anja @ Anja Quilts

    I can’t believe that they are allowed to just turn off the power. Wow. I’m glad you made it through. I, too, need to use my Accuquilt to tame my scraps.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I know – and the thing is they turn it off for tons of people. This time there were over 360,000 people without power. It is absurd and makes me angry but we have no other choice.
      Good luck with the scraps – it is a never ending challenge to organize them!

      Reply
  5. JanineMarie

    Well, looking at that batting and your other projects, I’d say you made lemonade out of lemons! So sorry for your loss of power AND communications. Interestingly, we have had a whole lot of mini AT&T outages and slow-downs lately. I wonder if there is somehow a connection even though we live far from you. (I always blame it on our country’s current chaos.) Leaving CA sometime? That sounds like an intriguing story unfolding. And, oh my, those chicks! I’m glad they and Julia weathered the outage. I think there will be fun stories in the future as they grow. (I love reading chicken memoirs.)

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I think you are correct – the country is in a state of chaos and maybe it trickles down to our internet providers? Everything is a bit of a mess.
      Julia is loving her chickies – They are growing by the hour and getting regular feathers already. Losing their baby fuzz. But why do they insist on pooping in their feeder? So gross and you would think they wouldn’t do that. Julia thinks she needs to get them some branches to stand on (for roosting instincts) so they will leave the feeder alone. The life of a poultry farmer. Haha.

      Reply
  6. Debbie Miller

    So sorry for all the upheaval but you made good use of your time! Love the chicks! Maybe a treadle machine is in your future?

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I was actually thinking about that and wondering how difficult it is to use a treadle. However I ned another machine like I need a hole in the head. I don’t know where I would even put it. We are having fun with the chicks too. They are so cute and so tiny.

      Reply
  7. Wendy

    Good grief, what a pain to have to go through all that — and AT&T, what? Seriously? Geez. Looks like you made the most of a stinky situation, getting your batting in order and keeping the chicks warm. One of us could live off the grid much easier than the other too (ahem), and yes, there is whining here too. Love the stitching on your quilt; it looks so neat and even!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Ray is always amazed by how much I whine about power outages. Ugh. I am a creature of comfort. I want good coffee and lights on whenever I feel like it. Really, the wind was hardly an issue. Blew a bunch of leaves down and that was about it. So silly and very annoying.

      Reply
  8. Deb

    Yes, we were without power from Sunday afternoon until yesterday late afternoon, too. Luckily we have a generator, but we had no tv, no internet but luckily had phone service, and power we generated thanks to our generator WE bought to keep from losing all food in the freezer & frig . Where is the large credit due back to all of us who were inconvenienced, much less those of us who have solar & earned ZERO during the outage, who had to pony up for generators? Oh yes, the wonderful PG&E. Because of that horrid company my aunt & uncle lost their retirement home in Santa Rosa in 2018 — they got out literally in their pj’s seconds and jumped into the car, with NOTHING else, as the fire was right there and that was only because a neighbor came & banged on their door. It came SO fast. This last fire? They were evacuated from their new home in Santa Rosa (which they were only just able to buy this past April). They were out for 3 days, worrying if they’d lose yet another home due to a fire — all courtesy of PG&E. Personally, I think all the major stockholders need to take a huge hit, as well as senior management and they need to PROVE they are actually doing all the repairs / replacement of equipment & maintenance, brush clearing around lines, etc. I suspect they aren’t doing a damn thing! There isn’t enough being done to make those people who made stupid & greedy decisions fully accountable, so who’s so say this won’t happen again with another utility? Many people lost homes & their lives, and there wasn’t enough punishment for what happened.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Yes, you totally get it. They are not doing enough and it is incredibly frustrating. My cousin and her husband lost their gorgeous home in the first SR fire. They were evacuated in the second one but luckily didn’t lose anything. Really a bad situation all the way around.

      Reply
  9. Carol Westover

    I’ve been cutting up more of my scraps as well. And yes, I have a bag of batting pieces that would probably outweigh your binfull! LOL Feels good to get things organized! Take care and don’t work too hard!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Carol – It always feels nice to get things cleared up. My scrap bins are crazy though and I need to keep going with that project. I have just barely touched the tip of the iceberg on that one!

      Reply
  10. Roseanne

    Hi Bernie! That is just ridiculous. And worst of all – you are PAYING for that crappy service. It’s not like you can choose a different vendor – they have you over a barrel. Whenever it is WINDY??!!! Hello – it’s WINDY all the darn time. Gee whiz. It sounds like a political ploy. You can whine to me any time about this – that is just nuts. What if you had a lot of business orders that you were unable to complete because you couldn’t get on the internet. Good job on sorting and using the batting! ~smile~ Roseanne

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      You are right – it is ridiculous.
      So – yeah, I got some organizing done and that was nice. Tomorrow I am sewing!! Looking forward to an afternoon at the machine! Take care Roseanne.

      Reply
  11. Tracie

    Wow, I think you did very well for yourself while without power. I was impressed by Julia’s work to care for the baby chicks.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Julia is great with animals. That is definitely her happy place in life. Thanks a bunch Tracie. Hoping you are settling in to your new home now. 🙂

      Reply
  12. Linda Rush

    I’m so glad the baby chicks survived! Julia did a great job, but we knew she would, right? 🙂 Will they be egg layers for you? Did she get a rooster?
    That really is a pretty quilt, I can’t wait to see it all. Are you achieving the “rocking” motion of hand quilting? I have not been able to do that, and I don’t practice enough to get my stitches really consistent. But I do love the look of it.
    Great news about your AccuQuilt – that has to be a real time saver.
    And yes, I have a pile of batting scraps just like yours. What a great idea to sew them together and store them as pieces.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Yes – they will be layers in about four to five more months. Not sure if any of the tiny chicks are roosters yet. Hope not but it remains to be discovered.
      As for hand quilting, I cannot do that whole rocking thing. If I do, there is too much space between each stitch and I don’t like the way it looks. I suppose it takes practice – but for this quilt, I am happy with how it is coming together.

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hmmm, that would be lots of fun but I doubt I can convince myself to live that far from my kids. I am thinking we will go north and be closer to our grand daughters (who live in Washington State). It will be a while yet though. We have to maintain residency until Julia finishes college. Couple more years still. 🙂

      Reply
  13. Dorothy

    We lived in the Bay Area for years and then moved to Alta, CA for a year or so before leaving.
    PG&E is the worst — always was unreliable and poorly managed.
    While in Alta — when we lost power they would not always respond because they did not like
    working in the snowy conditions.
    We now live in WA state and experience the total opposite type of service from the power
    company — very reliable, efficient and trustworthy — which we did not have with PG&E.
    I completely understand why you are upset with them — and there is enough stress in our lives
    now — don’t need a incompetent power company to add to the mix.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Oh my gosh Dorothy,
      I totally get it. It is so frustrating. They say they are trying to rectify all of the issues they caused but I don’t see enough progress. Washington is actually one of the places we are seriously considering relocating to. I have a sister in Port Orchard, one in Gig Harbor and my son lives in Samammish. Where are you? Do you have areas you like best? We are thinking rural (which is what we have now) and maybe east a bit. I am curious to hear what you think.
      Take care,
      bernie

      Reply
  14. Dorothy

    You certainly do have some ties to Washington. It really seems like a progressive and well run state.
    We live in southwest WA — on 5 acres in a rural area near La Center. The nearby larger city is Vancouver
    which is across the Columbia from Portland. We have been happy here — have found excellent medical
    facilities (important as my husband has some serious issues and he is 86). That becomes a more
    important issue anymore.
    Don’t know your political leanings — but some eastern areas of the state have more very conservative
    folks (esp. around Spokane). The Seattle area is more like the Bay Area — more liberal minded. That did
    not used to be a consideration — but times have changed and not for the better.
    My sister lives in Sequim — a very nice small town with many retirees. I have a cousin in Port Townsend
    which is also a nice area. If you like a tourist type area — you might check out Leavenworth — sort of
    German/Austrian vibe. Since you have family up here — you have lots of info from them — and also
    a base from which to travel about and check things out in many places.. Running out of space — will end
    by saying — I think you would like Washington — esp. to be closer to those adorable little girls. Dorothy

    Reply
  15. Angela Short

    So sorry to hear you were without power, phone & Wi-Fi. That makes it super difficult, especially with all else going on in 2020. I live in western NC and we got hit with the storm Zeta. We are several hundred miles away from Louisiana where it came ashore, but it was a bad wind/rain storm and we lost electricity for well over 24 hrs. It is so difficult when you don’t know when it will be back on. There are still folks in my county that are without electricity. I’m trying to get things done this evening that I just can’t do without power. Anyway, your hand stitching is very nice. And your daughter did an awesome job keeping the baby chicks alive & well. They are very cute! Your batting is so organized! I like the blocks you cut out as well. I like the “I spy” blocks. Hopefully the weather will stay calm and we can all keep our electricity! Enjoy your day.🌻🦋

    Reply

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