Archive for the ‘Around Town’ Category

How to make a Jeep Quilt

First make a very rough sketch on paper of what you want your quilt to look like.  I don’t actually do this because I can just picture it in my mind.  Some things I design on the fly.

Take a picture of a Jeep. Crop it on your computer and then enlarge it to the size you want. Print it on your printer in full size “tile” format. There is a wide variety of computer apps that you can use to do this.  I use Linux, so I do my cropping with Gwen View, and then enlarge the picture with “PosteRazor.”

Prepare a large block of cloth big enough for the photo.  Cut the photo out and pin it to the cloth.  Cut around the Jeep so that your large block is now Jeep shaped.  Since I did not have a single piece of cloth large enough for the Jeep, I pieced together my large block using smaller pieces.

Tile Printed Photo of Jeep
Cloth cutout of Jeep, before adding detail

To add detail, using your sewing machine with NO thread, sew around all the detail that is on your photo that you want to transfer to the cloth.  This punches holes in the paper.  Lay the photo on top of the cloth being careful to line it up.  Use a “Pounce” powder puff to transfer the pattern of holes to the cloth.  After pouncing you can remove the photo and you should see the patterns on the cloth.  Using various thread colors, stitch all of your patterns.  Remember to put iron-on backer over the entire Jeep backside before you do the pouncing.

Layout your background for the quilt and stitch it all together.  In my case, since most of the pieces were odd shaped, I overlapped the pieces and sewed the edges with an applique stitch.  When the background is done, place the Jeep where you want it and iron it in place using strips of light fusing around the edges.  If you use heavy fusing, it may clog your needle.  Stitch the Jeep into place using an applique stitch all around.

Forming the background
Stitching the Jeep onto the background

All of the small graphics are done the same way only you don’t have to cut them out in order to “pounce” them.  Find a photo, enlarge it, sew punch holes in the pattern, pounce the pattern onto the cloth, cut out the cloth, add fusing, iron it to the background, then sew around it with applique stitch.  I used this method to add the lighthouse, the boats, the dogs, the rocks, the chicken, the squirrel and the Zombie warning.

To make the Jeep logo letters, I cut the letters using a Cricut machine, then ironed them onto the hood of the Jeep and stitched around them using a fine applique stitch.  

When you are all finished sewing the quilt top, the rest is standard quilting procedure.  Add filler, and backing.  Quilt stitch the whole thing on your machine and then add the binder.

Finished queen sized quilt

Got ants? Buy this. It really works. You can buy it from…
It ain’t cheap…about $30 for 4 of these 1 OZ applicators, but if you have a light to medium infestation, that will last you two years.
We have tried every locally available ant trap and poison and none really worked well. We still had ants. A friend who is a retired exterminator told me about this stuff so I tried it. We have been using it now two years. It works. It will keep them away for a long time.
Today I tried an interesting test. For the last week, we have had a sudden sugar ant invasion. They were after a few drops of syrup and a few dabs of sugar that spilled in the cupboard. Last night I left a dime size pool of syrup on the shelf and this morning it was covered with ants I placed a small amount of Advion about an inch away from the syrup to see what would happen. Within two minutes, all the ants left the syrup and moved over to the Advion. They were filling their tanks and taking it back to the nest. They are doomed.
Now if you are one of those people who do not like to be mean to ants, then you can just try to scare them away or just live with them in some form of detente. Me? I squish them when I see them and use Advion for along lasting cure.

Rain Rain Rain

We have been hunkering down from the rain.  I bought a fancy weather station for Christmas.  It mounts on the roof and tracks the wind, rain, and temps, etc and transmits the data to a display in the dining room.  It is pretty neat, especially the rain part.  We had 1.7 inches yesterday measured from Midnight to Midnight.  Our worst day in February recorded 2.26 inches.

I have been making quilts.  I have made 8 since January 1.  I invented a “recliner quilt” that is a personal size, about 46 x 70, that is used whenever one just wants to relax with a book or TV show….OK…book.  I monogram them with the persons initial and also put my initials and date in small letters.  May be they will be kept by the respective family members when I am up enjoying the wonders of heaven.  I got the idea from my grandma who made a family quilt with a family tree on it.  Its been around for about 100 years.  I inherited it and passed it along to my son.  Its actually kind of fun although it doesn’t seem like a very manly thing to do…. unlike rescuing cats.

I bought a small gadget on Amazon that measures the amount of electricity that any given device uses and displays the result in dollars and cents.  You program in the PUD rate per Kwh and it is retained and used for calculations.  To measure something you just plug it into the device and let it operate as normal.  The longer you leave it the more accurate the results.  When you read the display, you get the results in cost per hour, day, week, month, and year.  The results are sometimes shocking.  Oh, its called a “Kill a Watt” by P3 company.

Spring is coming.  We can mow, mow, mow.

The best World Series ever played

It is often called the best World Series ever played. 1960 World Series It was 1960, between the New York Yankees and the Pittsburg Pirates.  The Yankees were highly favored and expected to win.  Indeed, they DID play well, because at the end of the series, the Yankees had scored 55 Runs on 91 hits and the Pirates only scored only 27 runs on 60 hits.  From the totals, it looks like the Yankees ran away with the series and should have won hands down, but they didn’t.  The Pirates won the series 4 games to 3.   I was in the eighth grade at the time and remember some of the surprise and lamenting.  How can you outscore your opponents by more than double and still loose the series?  The lesson for this is: Sometimes it is not how many runs you score but where and when you score them that counts.  You can read about this amazing series here:

1960 World Series.   (

This game reminds me of the Electoral College and the results of this presidential election and a few others.  People who win, tend to like the Electoral College and people who loose sometimes hate it.  We all have probably scratched our heads and puzzled over it at one time or another.  With the Electoral College, it is not how many votes you score, it is where you score them that counts.  In this election, Hillary may have won the popular vote by a small margin, but she grievously lost the Electoral vote by a large margin.  Now she and her cronies are complaining and begging for recounts.  They are looking for fraud and an example that the election was somehow rigged.  They are threatening some electors and trying to get them to vote for Hillary even if it is against the law.  Some Democrats are rioting in the streets behaving lawlessly.  Hillary is looking for someone to blame and is unwilling to admit that it was her own lack of character that caused a large portion of her base to abandon her.  The name calling continues unabated.  Is this what Democrats are about?  It should not be.

I read this article by Bryan Dean Wright, a Democrat, that sums up the way it ought to be.  Its worth reading.

A Democrat Speaks Out   (


Whistle Stop Cafe

We hopped on the scooter the other evening and scooted out Yacolt to eat dinner at the Whistle Stop Cafe.  It was a cool ride out there and a cooler ride back home.  Dinner at the cafe was very nice.  It is a family friendly place that has been in business for about a year I think.  I recommend it!

Bush had Thirteen attacks just like Benghazi??

“What difference does it make…?” That is what Hillary said when questioned on the attacks on Benghazi. The Huffington Post reported that during the Bush administration, there were thirteen attacks “Just like Benghazi.” They even posted a popular graphic banner to that effect. Much research has been done that disproves their outrageous and misleading claim. Simply do a search for “Bush embassy attacks” And you will find many articles on both sides of the claim. There was a difference, a big difference. In a nutshell, here are some of the details in my own words.

1. Depending on what you count, there were from 10 to 13 “embassy” attacks during the Bush years with 60 to 87 people killed. Only 1 diplomat was killed, and from 5 to 9 other Americans were killed who were either bystanders or contractors. The diplomat was killed instantly in a surprise attack. The rest of the people killed were NOT Americans. No ambassadors were killed. No embassies were completely taken over. The Post leaves out those details.

2. For the most part, these attacks happened quickly as a surprise and were very short in duration. The embassies were adequately defended and the attackers were either killed or pursued. The Benghazi attack was well organized, came in three waves and lasted about eight hours. There was time to call for help, but help was denied even though effective military assets were available. In fact, there may have been a “stand down” order telling our people to NOT to render aid. Obama did not even go to the situation room; Hillary did not take effective action and later admitted responsibility over the situation.  The Post does not tell the whole story.

3. After Benghazi, there was a cover up. For many days all the leaders and their left leaning cronies in the press, said the the attack was spontaneous, a mob that was angered by a YouTube video. Eventually the maker of the video was tracked down and put in prison when he clearly was not involved in the attacks. The attackers were well armed and organized. It was NO angry mob. If Hillary had simply reported the incident and what they tried to do to stop it, I think there would be far less outrage about it. The way it was handled makes it appear like little was done, duties were neglected, and a story was concocted to cover their blunders. Emails have come to light that clearly show that Hillary knew it was not an angry mob but an al-Qaeda action.

These are only a few of the differences. Her failure in the Benghazi attack was dismal. She is clearly not qualified to be commander and chief of our military. In two separate incidents this week, Hillary misspoke and said that “we did not lose anybody in Libya.” In the heat of her campaign, she seems to have forgotten about those who died.

Socialized Video Games

What would it be like if the government took over the video game industry and required people to buy only the games approved by the government? They could regulate the pay of all video game workers so that crummy programmers and bad artists were paid the same as those who worked hard to excel?  Companies that make crummy games could continue to make crummy games with guaranteed salaries and their games would have an equal chance at making the government approved list of games.

Suppose the really violent games were recalled and confiscated; games like Halo or Saw. Games about war would definitely be out.  The new regulations could allow you to pick from only a small group of approved games that were more acceptable to all?  Games written by small companies could be given special favor on the government list.

Suppose the government decided it was unfair for a game maker like “Activision” to make billions when my video game, “Peanut Hunt”, wasn’t making anything, so they took away half of their money and distributed it to small game makers like me and put my crummy game on the list of approved games just to be fair.  Eventually the government could stamp out the plethora of game devices and have only one approved device that would play all of the approved games. Forget about having a big screen or a super fast computer.  Everything would be standardized to a lower, more practical standard.chicken

A large bureaucracy could be forged to regulate the game industry.  They would not actually make any games but they would regulate the game industry with all kind of rules.  Every game would have to play in at least 60 languages and not be offensive to anyone for any reason.  Of course the heads of the bureaucracy would make gobs of money and would have a guaranteed government pension and a golden parachute in case the whole business collapsed.  They would need a web site to sign up all of the game players and could hire their bureaucratic buddies to make the web site and spend over a billion dollars to make it.  Then when it failed to work properly they could spend a billion more to fix it.  Security and surveillance would have to be in place to make sure there were no illegal games or cheats.

This may seem bad, but on the upside, ALL people would be able to afford the same video games that are now only available to the middle and upper class.  Low income people and undocumented people could get games and game devices for free.  Rich players would have to bear the cost of everything through higher taxes.  Extra taxes could be put on beer and cigarettes since they are more harmful than video games.  This would help offset the cost of all the free game devices.  Penalties could be laid upon anyone who refuses to play the mandated “Common Core” games that are on the list of approved games.  Really violent games would be gone and minority values could be promoted through careful regulation of the approved list.

Whoa!!!  I just woke up!  What a nightmare.  I dreamed the government took over video games.  Somebody pinch me!  I am so glad this industry is regulated by market forces.  Sure there are some things about it that I don’t like, but I get to play MY favorite games and if I don’t like a game, I don’t have to buy it or play it.

May be tomorrow night I’ll dream about the cosmetic industry.

Bizarre twist of fate

Not even Law and Order would attempt to capture this mess…This is an unbelievable twist of fate!!!

At the 1994 annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science, AAFS President Dr. Don Harper Mills astounded his audience with the legal complications of a bizarre death. Here is the story:

On March 23, 1994 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head. Mr. Opus had jumped from the top of a ten-storey building intending to commit suicide.

He left a note to the effect indicating his despondency. As he fell past the ninth floor his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing through a window, which killed him instantly.

Neither the shooter nor the deceased was aware that a safety net had been installed just below the eighth floor level to protect some building workers and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned.

“Ordinarily,” Dr Mills continued, “Someone who sets out to commit suicide and ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be what he intended, is still defined as committing suicide.” That Mr. Opus was shot on the way to certain death, but probably would not have been successful because of the safety net, caused the medical examiner to feel that he had a homicide on his hands.

In the room on the ninth floor, where the shotgun blast emanated, was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing vigorously and he was threatening her with a shotgun. The man was so upset that when he pulled the trigger he completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the window striking Mr. Opus.

When one intends to kill subject “A” but kills subject “B” in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject “B.”

When confronted with the murder charge the old man and his wife were both adamant and both said that they thought the shotgun was not loaded.

The old man said it was a long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her. Therefore the killing of Mr. Opus appeared to be an accident; that is, assuming the gun had been accidentally loaded.

The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple’s son loading the shotgun about six weeks prior to the fatal accident.

It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son’s financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother.

Since the loader of the gun was aware of this, he was guilty of the murder even though he didn’t actually pull the trigger. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.

Now comes the exquisite twist.
Further investigation revealed that the son was, in fact, Ronald Opus. He had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother’s murder. This led him to jump off the
ten-storey building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun blast passing through the ninth story window. The son had actually murdered himself so the medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.

A true story from Associated Press, Reported by Kurt Westervelt

Tornado in Battle Ground?

What a blast!  It got real noise outside at our house today.  We had an unusual amount of thunder and lightening accompanied by a heavy burst of 3/8″ diameter hail that came on really fast.  The wind was strong and gusty.

About an hour later, after things had calmed down, we heard on the news that a small tornado had struck about 10 blocks South of us.  The police blocked off the roads because too many curious looky loos where trying to drive by with their cells phone waving in the air taking pictures.  The news stations way over hyped the story that prompted emails and phone calls from our friends and relatives.

Don’t worry.  Battle Ground is still here.  Damage was small and we are OK.

What Works Like?

“I can’t find the start button.”  “What happened to Outlook Express.”  “Why can’t I get into my email acccount.”  “Where are my photographs.”  AAACCCKKKK!!!

Calm down.  Xubuntu is new to you and it is a little different, but give it a try and get used to its features and soon you will like it better than Windows.  Here is short list of things that you use instead of what you used to use in Windows.

Start Button – Use the “Whisker Menu.”  Click the tiny mouse that is located in the upper left corner of the screen.

Windows Explorer – I was cripple at first with out this.  Now I dislike it and favor the alternative.  The built in file browser called “Thunar” is awesome.  It is faster, simpler, and just plain better.  Just click on the “Home” icon and you will find it.

Outlook Express – Gee, do people still use that?   Well if you do, you should use “ThunderBird.”  If it is not already installed, install it using the Ubuntu Software Center.  Thunderbird looks and works similar to OEx but it is way better.

Photoshop – and other such like things.  Use “Gwen View” for light weight work, use “Gimp” for all powerful heavy weight work.

Microsoft Word – Use LibreOffice Writer.  You will like it better, its free, and it works with all your old documents.  AbiWord is preinstalled and is a light weight word processor.

Excel – Use Gnumeric for typical spreadsheets, if you need more power use LibreOffice Calc.  Gnumeric is pre-installed.

Windows Movie Maker – I like to use “Shotwell” or “Kden Live.”  Shotwell is a little buggy so save your work often.  Kden is stable but more complicated with way too many features.

Windows Media Player – There are gobs of choices.  I like VLC player.

Itunes – If you are an Itunes lover, then there is no substitute that will make you happy.  “Rhythmbox” works well with the IPod.  “Clementine” is cross platform and very elegant. Either is a good choice.

Internet Explorer – believe me you are better off without it.  “Firefox” comes pre-installed.  Use it, Love it, Don’t turn back.

Screensaver – Sorry, there is not a quick and easy photo screen saver for Linux.  There are plenty of slide shows etc etc, but you have to start them.

Gmail – and such like.  Use Firefox and go to the usual email web site like you usually do.  For example,  Log in with your user name and password.  It should work the same.  Hope you remembered your password.

Picassa – This actually work real well on Linux but setting it up is an advanced technique.  You should first spend some time with “Gwen View” or some other native Linux program and see if that will do…. if not, learn to install Picassa.

If you have some other program that you need to find out about, ask a question in the comments.  I’ll see what I can find out.