Saturday, November 8, 2008

Be sure to visit the Alzheimer's Priority Quilts slow & silent auction page http://www.alzquilts.org/quiltauction.html. This month's collection of small quilts is the most powerful, emotion-filled & creative I have yet seen. Each one speaks volumes about the effects of Alzheimer's, on both its victims & their caregivers. While you visit the auction, you might want to say a prayer for Ami Simms, the AAQI & auction creator, whose own mom, Beebe, seems to be disappearing fast.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Old Town Temecula's 10th Annual Outdoor Quilt Show!

Well, kids, we survived another one....by the skin of our teeth. Weather forecasters persisted in predicting rain for Saturday, but it held off until the auction was over & nearly all of the quilts had been taken down & safely stowed away. What a fun day we had! It seemed like a huge crowd had turned out to see our quilts, making traffic crawl through Old Town, & keeping the sidewalks full of lookie-lous. It was wonderful. Take a gander at the pictures our fabulous Abi took of the day. http://www.flickr.com/photos/votmq/sets/72157607781008555/show/
If you click on the Animal Rescue button to the left, you will help shelters feed rescued animals all over the country. If you then click on the button of the other charitable organizations whose tabs appear at the top of that page, you will easily & quickly help those causes as well. Sign up for a daily reminder from any one of these sites, & you can make a substantial contribution over time, all at the cost of a few seconds of your time each day. Easy Peasey!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

World Alzheimer's Day

From Ami Simms' blog: "This Sunday, September 21, 2008, is World Alzheimer’s Day. It is a day to remember the 26.6 million people worldwide who have this vile disease that will eventually rob them of the ability to remember and to reason. It will take from them every skill they ever learned and every relationship they ever held dear. And for most, they will watch this thief at work in their own minds."
The virtual patch I've added here is to honor my mother, Jean Tompkins Mahon, who is rapidly slipping from sight and reach.
Please visit Ami's site, www.AlzQuilts.org There you'll find instructions to make your own virtual patch and learn about ways to help fight this pernicious disease.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


It's a happy day here in lovely, lively Ohio: school has started! Check out the local reason for celebration!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Oof. It's ridiculously late, but I wanted to get pictures posted before I forgot....again. I'm in the clutches of my grands & having just a lovely time. Check out my Flickr badge for all the latest.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Book Review

I'm writing this here because I didn't bring my book journal with me, & I don't want to forget about this book. The True Story of Hansel and Gretel; a novel of war and survival by Louise Murphy was a harrowing read about a pair of young siblings dropped from their father's & stepmother's motorcycle while being pursued by Nazis in WWII Poland. Using the fairy tale's structure, the author describes the horror of these children forcing themselves to forget their past to keep them from exposing the fact that they're Jews. They wander through ancient forest until they spy the hut of an old lady believed by the villagers to be a witch. She hangs bread on spikes on the outside walls of her house for the birds, & the starving children take advantage of her largess.
I read a great review of this book & bought it based on that, but nearly didn't finish it because it was so hard to read knowing it to be largely true. Still, I did persevere & I'm glad I did.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's late, but I had to add a postscript to my earlier post. Our horsey visit was a huge success: all the kiddoes got to ride Grady, & I've accepted an invitation to ride him myself in the fall & winter. The bad news? Grady spooked with 2 little ones on his back. One of them was caught by her overalls, but the other face-planted in the well-rotted manure of the paddock. He's fine; confidence a little shaken, but he's already talking about the next time. He's a trouper, that one. I, on the other hand, didn't fare as well. I was holding the lead when ol' Grady shied, & in trying to keep him steady, got a nasty rope-burn....& broke a finger! Not good timing, what with a cross-country trip in 3 days, followed by 3 weeks with the Grands. This summer just isn't turning out the way I'd planned. Ah, well.
We had such a good time yesterday. We went down Escondido to the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park (http://www.sandiegozoo.org/wap/index.html). I logged in over 9,000 steps! It was pretty warm, but there was a nice breeze & shade available nearly everywhere, so we managed. The misters were a big help, too. There was such a variety of viewing experiences, too, from entering the aviary so that we were inside the exhibit, to elevated viewing areas, to lovely walks through the savannah, to the tram ride that took us all around Africa. That last was nifty, in that there were herds of animals intermingling, just as they would in their natural habitats. The rhinos were nearly invisible in their rocky napping places. They looked just like the boulders next to them, until they wiggled their ears. Their heads weigh between 800 & 1,000#, so they don't move them unless they need to.

We stopped at Target on the way home for another Wii controller & a new game, then came home to flop (me) or play (everyone else) until dinnertime. We tried out a new Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood -- wonderful! It's La Cresta & is brand new -- we figured out that the decorating is not quite finished -- but the food & service were excellent. Kind of surprising in a strip mall location, but why not? Josh & I had the Chili Verde pork which was so yummy. I had steamed veggies with mine; Josh had the fire-roasted corn & it was delicious, too. Alan had fajitas & Meg had some taquitos -- both said theirs were really good, too. Nice. We have a new place to go close to home. Oscar, our waiter, was obviously not new to the biz & did a nice job of being attentive without hovering while making sure we had everything we needed. We'll go back.

Today's schedule includes a visit to a friend & her horse, then some swimming. Nice, especially after yesterday's brutal schedule. The pool should help work out some of the achiness from yesterday.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Are we all watching the Olympics? Panting after that little hottie, Michael Phelps? I just can't believe a human being can move through the water that fast. Seeing his joy at each win has been so great -- he takes nothing for granted, I think. And his Mom! What an experience this has been for her. wow. I've loved watching her face -- she holds nothing back, just like her kid. Quite a show.
While all this has been going on, I've had to live my life. In the process, I've learned that my computer has a tuner & that Time Warner surreptitiously includes cable TV with their Internet cable. They just don't mention it. SO....I've been able to both watch and record the Olympics on my 'puter when the dvr is otherwise occupied. What a boon that has been this week. PLUS, I can minimize the picture & do other things until things get exciting, when I can maximize & get every detail right in front of my face. Excellent! I so love technology that I can understand & use, don't you?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Found!

Bear is the black dog's name, & he's back home with his family after last night. It turns out he lives about a 1/2 mile from our house & has a habit of wandering away from home in search of love. I'd say it's time for both neutering & an ID tag for this little doggie! Well, all's well, etc. My dogs are missing him, but I'm just glad his owners found us. That was kinda scary.
DH comes home tomorrow, & Favorite Son & #1 Granddaughter arrive on Saturday. MUST get this house cleaned! Later.......
Oh! Are we watching the Olympics? Could they show the swimming any later? I didn't allow anyone at Grateful Threads to speak of the swimming results today, because I haven't watched my recording from last night yet. Better get on that, huh?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lost Dog!

Has anyone lost a darling young unneutered black Chow? We have one who's looking for his parents. He's wearing a collar, but that's the only distinction. He's very friendly & has obviously been cared for. He's been wandering our neighborhood for several days & my DH brought him home Friday night. And then DH left town for a week this afternoon! Remember what happened the last time he left town? One of the old dogs got sick. Yeah, I'm seeing a pattern here, & I'm not liking it! He smells recently-bathed (the dog, not DH, although DH does bathe pretty regularly).
I should mention that we're in SoCal, so if you live somewhere else & find this describes your lost dog, I'm afraid this one isn't yours. Sorry. I should also mention that if we didn't already have FOUR dogs, we might just keep this one. But really, does anyone need five dogs? No, I didn't think so, either.

On a completely unrelated note, is anyone else out there a member of Facebook? I'm finding it a combination of fun & stupidity, but it's fascinating. And so time-consuming! I'm frantically trying to keep up with tending to my Pokey! dog, Grimace; the Growing Patch, my SeaPatch and Flower Gifts, and then there's the Flair board & those crazy bumper stickers. OY! So much to juggle & so little point to it all! On the other hand, my group of friends continues to grow, & that part's fun. I'm sure my great-nephews think it's hysterical that I'm among their friends. That's OK. They can think I'm keeping an eye on them for their parents if they want. In reality, I am, but I probably won't tell my siblings anything unless something really out of line appears on someone's page. Let me know what your experience has been with Facebook or My Space or any of the other social networking sites. I'm just curious.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Southern Plate blog

Oh, I can't wait until you've visited this blog! I just read the loveliest story about a great grandmother & her sister. Yep, you just never know when or where you'll find good stuff, do you? When you visit the blog, look for the Peanut Butter Icing recipe. The story about Red & her sister Lela is there. Go ahead, look now. I'll wait.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Check out the cool Quilting Bloggers button on the left! How fun that there's an actual list of quilt-related blogs from around the world. It's growing bigger by the minute, so you'll want to check it out regularly for newly-added blogs. Excellent!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

SoCal Quilters' Run!

OK....I procrastinate. I admit it. BUT!

I've been exercising with Linda every other day in her pool. The woman is a hard taskmaster, but I've actually begun looking forward to those sessions & feel so virtuous afterward. Yay us!

AND We did 1/3 of the Quilters' Run over the last 2 weekends, ending with 6 San Diego Co. shops yesterday. I'm whipped! It was a lot of fun, even though I was totally unprepared: no bars, no snacks, no camera -- what was I thinking? So I don't have pictures for you, but I will tell you about our favorite shops. And the adorable charms the shops were giving out -- too cute. Check out the charms at my flickr badge.

Our very favorite of all the stores we visited (13/39) was Cozy Quilts in El Cajon (www.cozyquilt.com) where we laughed till we cried, Elaine got a sweet deal on a new Bernina with bsr, & we were fed chocolate chip cookies, warm from the oven!!! How could we not love this place & these women, I ask you?!? This was the best fun we had at any of the stores, & we did have a lot of fun on this run, I assure you.

There were only a couple of clinkers in the bunch, but I won't bore you with those. I'll just tell you that the best non-machine deals to be had were at Temecula Quilt Co, where sweet Nicolette gently coerced us into buying the darling mini-bundles to make the wonderful little quilts in the booklet. Ten bucks for the booklet, ten bucks for the bundle & the backing muslin was thrown in as a bonus. Of course I came home with several, & I have it on good authority that the owner of another shop actually made a special trip to TQC to collect some of this tiny goodness for herself! True Bill!

There is one San Diego County store that I've now visited twice, & I won't be going back. I just didn't feel the love either time, so too bad, so sad. If ever there was a time for the staff to put themselves out for their customers, it would be during the Run, but no! They just couldn't do it. Ah, well. Their loss. I'm a loyal girl, but there has to be some love first, you know?

The final stop of our personal Run was in Santee, at Memory Lane (http://www.memorylanequiltshop.com/). What a lovely store, & the owner, Chris, is darling. Beautiful skin, too, but I digress. She has designed a number of nifty quilts & her patterns are actually for sale in the store, with some terrific samples to show them off. Her husband was on hand to do lots of the scut work, & he maintained a happy attitude throughout. Mind you, this was LATE on Saturday night, the next-to-last day of the Run. These people were TIRED, but they were a lot of fun, nonetheless. We had a great time there, & when we left, we were content to call it a day. None of that 'feeling like we missed something' for us!

The full list of shops we visited is: Calico Cottage, Quilter's Coop, Temecula Quilt Co., A Time to Sew, Bears Quilts, Stars & Scraps, Quilter's Paradise, Quilter's Cottage, Sowing Sisters, Quilt in a Day, Flying Geese Fabric, Cozy Quilt Shop, and Memory Lane. There were 26 more shops on the Run, but we were out of time & way past out of money, so 13 was darn good, I'd say. whew! Good thing I don't plan to go to Long Beach next week, huh?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Here's the link to Sew Special, the shop I was telling you about that's closing. There are coupons on the website, & it looks like there will be additional reductions as the summer goes on, so keep checking back. http://www.sewspecialfabrics.com/

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I know, I know: nothing at all for a solid month, then 3 posts in a single day. Well, feast or famine, you'll get what you get. I make no promises.
I completely forgot to tell you about my outing today. Friend Linda told me about a quilt store going out of business (ooooohhhh, nooooooo!), so we headed down to Vista (CA) this morning for a little quilty therapy. We managed to assist the ladies at Sew Special in their quest to retire while they're still young...in other words, we bought a boatload of fabric. I found some great dinosaur fabric & coordinates for a quilt for little Charlie; a nice Hawaiian print that will coordinate well with the UM yardage I have for Josh; some pretty border prints for table runners, & a couple of panels that will make cute kid quilts. All in all, a good outing. Lunch at Panera (thank you, Linda) followed, then we headed home. There is still plenty of fabric left at the store: lots of different-patterned chenille, flannel & Hawaiian prints, some kits, & the cutest little dresses & jackets made from cottons & chenilles. It's a nice, small store with a lot of good stuff.
Abi, over at Snippets & Blabbery, is touting the Indigo Girls, & I have to say I'm grateful to her for exposing me to those lovely harmonies & great picking/strumming. Nice work, ladies. OK. Now I have to go do some shopping at iTunes. 'scuse me.

Fun Video

Just finished reading Ami Simms' latest newsletter & found a link to this video: Dancing with Matt -- so fun! You'll like it, too, I'm guessing. While I'm here, I should ask: Do you have your own Priority: Alzheimer's quilt yet? If not, check out the latest auction for some really terrific little quilts that could be yours! I'm a fan of Sue Grafton's alphabet series of books, and she signed a square that has been turned into a nifty little quilt. Go check out that auction, will you? The link is in my list on the left. I'll bet you'll find at least one great quilt that's worth bidding on. Yep, I'm pretty sure. I always find at least one that I really, really want to live with me. Some get some pretty substantial bids, while others seem to languish with few or no bids. I can never predict which ones will go for how much, but this is such a worthy cause that it's easy to bid just a little bit more....go ahead -- you're gonna love this auction deal. I'm in no hurry. I can wait for you. And when you win one (or more!) let me know, OK? That would be fun.

Yippee! A new blog!

Long time gone, eh? Well, it's been a busy, busy month, but I'm back! This morning, while quickly scanning the latest from my favorite online quilt store, Over the Rainbow, I saw a link to what sounded like a fun blog, so of course I went there. Well! I'm so happy to share this link with you. Sugar Shop is intelligently written & of course, Dena is as nutty about fabric as the rest of us -- go figure! But wait! There's more (thanks, Ellen, for permanently imprinting that in my head!): Dena's descripton of her little one's fascination with bugs is enchanting. Just click on the link to the left & go see for yourself. Go on. I'll wait.


Time for me to get my childhood haircolor restored. I'll check back later.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Huck Finn


I apologize for being so delinquent in posting. I've been devoting all my time to getting quilts made for the above: The Huck Finn Jubilee, taking place in just 2 weeks up in Victorville, CA. I'm making 10 of these little beauties to sell at the Valley of the Mist Quilters' booth.

This one is #3, in the process of being hand-quilted. I hope to get the remaining 7 tops pieced today, then I'll get them sandwiched & focus on quilting until they're done done!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

OY. I'm thisclose to getting that 9-patch & snowball top together. Tonight at Sisters I stitched the blocks into rows, then all but one of the rows together. I just had to leave before getting the last one done, but that's OK -- I can do the last row in the morning, then add the borders & move on to the next one: an alternating striped one patch with woven striped fabric -- very quick & very good-looking.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Monday was busy: what was supposed to be a new cycle in the beginning quilting class turned out to be a one-on-one with Diane, who's finishing up her first project. Yay, Diane!! The others didn't show, & the new students hadn't been notified we were starting, so we'll begin that group in 2 weeks (next Monday is Memorial Day). Then, home to finish getting the house ready for my DB's & SIL's visit.
I was able to finish the April applique block & get the May parts traced onto freezer paper. Today I'll get that pressed onto another layer & get the parts cut out.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The sum total of my creativity today? A masterpiece of a salad. To the beautiful greens our neighbor gave us the other day, I added some romaine from the fridge, then sliced up some strawberries & added dried cranberries & some sliced almonds. 15 sprays of Ken's honey mustard, & it was fabulous.
Yeah, it was blistering hot again today -- I'm willing to pass on the 100+ temps for the rest of my life, but I'm guessing this is only the beginning. My DB & SIL arrive tomorrow from Ohio. She wanted to know if the 105 yesterday was a comfortable 105. Um.....no. Not so much.
So tomorrow I'll start a new cycle of beginners' quilting & see what the previous group has accomplished while I was away. Should be exciting, I'm thinking.
DH filled a kiddie pool for the dogs this morning, but the heat just made bathwater of it. The dogs drank out of it after dark, though. I just want to see Mama lying down in it. She splashes in their water bowl; why not in the pretty blue pool?
I gave myself a pedicure tonight -- couldn't stand the godawful mess my naked toes were. Now I have what my sister refers to as a "crack-whore pedicure". feh. If I leave my glasses off, they don't look too bad, I guess.
Oof. Time for sleep. I wonder if I can get Mama to come in & go to bed. Wish me luck.

Wylie

Wylie is our old boy dog -- the prettiest boy I've ever seen. It's hard to prove, though, since he won't sit for a portrait. He has a deep-seated fear of the camera & will turn tail & become smoke whenever he even hears the camera turning on. This morning, I tried to get him to cooperate, but as you can see, he just keeps moving, a very effective way of avoiding capture of his image. I'd swear he's in the Witness Protection Program. Mama had no worries about posing for me, though. Cute, huh?






Creative Everyday

Now I want to return to including some creativity in each day's activities. Yesterday, I was able to make all the snowball blocks for my current red & white effort. I'm liking the way the 9-patches & the dark corners of the snowballs create a star. It took me awhile to see it, but whoomp! There it is. I'm liking it. Later on, I finished hand quilting one of the Glory Be minis & started on the next one. I so love this little quilt.


Friday, May 16, 2008

A last thought before I turn in. It's a little SoCal tidbit I've noticed over the last couple of years: Love starved or sex-crazed, male mockingbirds will sing through the night in the spring, hoping to attract their hearts' desires. It seems that around 11 p.m., they get all excited & start singing until who knows when. All I know is that I'm asleep before it ends. God bless 'em. For some reason, their repetetive songs are much preferable to the screaming inanities of the teenage girl next door, which also seem to begin about this time. Fortunately, the birds outlast the girl & her friends.
Getting light-headed from the scent of the night-blooming jasmine climbing up the trellis outside our neighbors' bedroom window. Heavenly.


I so love this quilt! Patty won the collection of blocks at last year's Sarah's Grove retreat. She had us all sign one, then put it together so nicely, as you can see. I just love looking at it when I'm sewing at Patty's; now I can look at it anytime I want!

Couples Gourmet



These are dear friends, all of whom (including Patty) we met through a Couples Gourmet group. At the top are Patty & Cheryl; bottom are Lynn & Kathy. Our mutual friend, Mary, who couldn't attend this outing, is responsible for introducing DH & me to the group, God bless her! We would take turns hosting the group, with the hosts creating the menu, then assigning recipes for each other couple to bring on the night. Sometimes there were disasters, at other times it was a feast. In recent years, the group has stopped cooking & goes out to a restaurant of the hosts' choice, often returning to their home for dessert & some visiting. That's what we did this time. May used to be our month, & it always fell on the Saturday night before Mother's Day. Since we moved to CA, this has been the night we get to catch up with the group, continuing the tradition of being with the gang even though we don't live there anymore. So nice!

Skeletor!

Scary-looking, isn't it? This is a caseless machine, brought by Lisa & Lori from Stiches 'n Stuffing of Naperville, IL, to the Sarah's Grove Quilters Circle meeting to illustrate some of the finer points of sewing machine maintenance. They also discussed in some detail the various uses & benefits of different needles & threads, too. Very informative & fun -- these are a couple of entertaining ladies. Lisa is the "sewing machine repairman" at S&S, inspiring me to think about looking into getting some training in that field. It actually sounds very interesting to me. I wonder what it would take?

Adieu, old friends


This is Jane, one of the three owners of Calico. She looks happy because she's wanted to retire for a few years & finally can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The flag quilt behind her is one of their original designs, all published by Calico Printworks, which will continue even after the store closes. We'll just have to be happy with that, I expect.

Old friends


Friends for a very long time, here are Patty & Terry before the official start of the retreat. Terry's the one who wears the orange Crocs. She wasn't able to join us on the trip to Racine, while Kathy was only able to be with us for that day. Things work out.

The Fabric Store, Crystal Lake, IL

This is Miss Millie, the owner of The Fabric Store. She'll be 90 this year! She's showing me the hand-puppet drawer, with handmade puppets for the children of her customers to play with while their moms shop. Miss Millie told me about a day at the beach with her 50-ish grandson last summer. She told him she was going to do a cartwheel, & he said, "Grandma! What if you fall?!?" She said, "It's sand!!" This lady is the original & only owner of this incredible store, which includes a wall of home dec fabrics on rolls, more buttons than I've seen under one roof anywhere, fabulous trims, tassels & braids, & a huge range of up-to-the-minute quilt fabrics, all arranged by color. Miss Millie & her 60-ish clerk do everything by hand, including calling in credit card payments. They are inspiring.

Retreat project: Mini-Me's!

This is Patty's nearly-complete retreat project, an MH Designs pattern we called Mini-Me's. We each made 4 copies of ourselves, then swapped so that we each had one copy of each of us. That's me on the left, then Patty, Verna & Terry with her orange crocs! All of us are accomplished paper-piecers, so it was hilarious that each of us had a terrible time getting these right. At this distance, you can't see the awful mis-matches & broken arms, but up close, it looks like a beginner's hot mess. yikes! We've decided this is the last group project we'll do -- we want to make good use of the time together without the frustration of a complicated project.
The boys, along with Matt's fiance, Jill & her sister, Lauren, made dinner for the moms & dads at Jill's parents' house. What a fun day, in spite of the stormy spring weather. Laughter, hugs & kisses more than made up for not being able to walk in the park or visit on the deck.

Mother's Day

Here are my sons & me on Mother's Day: Josh, Ben & Matt. The perfect gift: all of my children with me on the day. SOOOOO satisfying! Even though they make me feel short & stout, I will treasure every picture with them, anytime -- I can't get enough of those faces!

Wildlife


This is the creek where I saw the beaver swimming on the first of my walks. It's dried up quite a bit since then, but supports a wide array of wildlife in the area, primarily birds of all description. There are Canada geese, ducks, cardinals, blue jays, robins, finches of every sort & wrens, red-winged blackbirds, etc. Walking in this park was a lovely way to start my day, even when it was cold & windy.

Last call


Here we are during our last visit at our favorite never-local quilt shop: Calico, Canvas & Colors in Racine, WI. That's Patty on the left, then Verna, Kathy & finally, me. I know: we look happy, but it was a bittersweet pilgrimmage: 30% off everything!/it's really the last time we'll be here!

Retreating with old friends

This is a crabapple tree I watched bloom during my daily morning walks through Patty's neighborhood. These beauties literally explode into bloom, after teasing with tiny buds, then gradually plumper & more colorful buds, then this stunning display of dense color. Fantastic!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Slacker girl here. But I wanted to share this with you before I go unpack, after which I'll get the promised pictures posted. Some friends & I are participating in this WOMAN Challenge sponsored by the US Dept. of Health & Human Services. It's a virtual walk along one of several paths across & around the US. Each day, team members post their day's activities &/or steps, & their progress is shown on a US map. It's a way to get more active & start a daily habit of exercise, something quilters, especially, need more of. Check out the site & see if you & your friends don't want to form a team & join in the fun. Here's the site: www.womenshealth.gov/woman Let me know if you do decide to join & the name of your team. Ours is Sisters of the Cloth!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Only one more day before we officially begin retreating -- can't wait! Tomorrow we'll head up to Crystal Lake to a great OLD quilt shop, the kind with wooden floors & 15 foot ceilings. We'll meet up with our friend Lynn for lunch, then wander the little shops in town for a bit before heading back here to the grocery for supplies for the week's lunches & breakfasts. I'll cook some spicy sesame noodles for Patty's & my dinner (her DH will be playing softball) & then I can get some more cutting done on my balloon quilt. Tuesday morning, Verna arrives! Woo hoo!!! Terry will join us, depending on her MIL's situation, & we'll be off & running. Dinner will be at Cheesecake Factory, then we'll head to guild (our local, Sarah's Grove Quilters Circle) for a program on maintaing our sewing machines. With Verna & me in attendance, the total of people there will jump to about 25!
Wednesday we'll be making a last pilgrimmage to our old favorite, Calico in Racine, WI. It'll be the last time we'll get to wander through that darling old house, visit with Kathy, Jane & Linda, & get some great deals as they close down their store. sigh. We'll stop at the Jelly Belly factory store on the way home. Goodie! We will have started our crockpot salsa chicken before we left home, so it will be waiting for us on our return. Thursday, it will be all sewing, all the time. Ditto for Friday, I'm thinking. Thursday night we'll head over to Lou Malnati's for some of their individual deep dish pizzas & some fabulous Lou's salad with gorgonzola dressing. Friday's dinner will be carried in by Patty's DH from Portillo's -- I'll be having their wonderful fruit & chicken salad with poppyseed dressing. SO yummy! Saturday morning, Verna will head back to IN. That night, my DH & I will join Patty & hers in meeting our couples gourmet group for dinner at the Ram. I expect lots of hugs & laughter all week. Are you jealous yet? Well, why not?!?!? I look forward to this week all year long & we do have a great time. It's exhausting, & sometimes I don't even get much done, but the "fellowship" as my friend, Mary, says, is soul-satisfying & feeds me for the next 12 months.
I promise, I'll start posting pictures on Tuesday. I did quite a bit of sewing today & got the top of my 13 Colonies put together. I'll be looking for a border & back for it tomorrow. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Whew! A whole week -- I know: too long. I've been bizzy! Had to get ready for the retreat, then get myself packed, get to Chicago, get some sleep & get acclimated. Now I'm here & sewing....aaaahhhh!
Pictures will follow pretty soon -- no finished or even nearly finished projects just yet, but I DID find some good Levi's in a size smaller!! wheeeeee!

Friday, April 25, 2008


Success! In about an hour before dinner, I got 2 little pillowcases made from this cute bee fabric that I found in my stash. Fun!
Traffic on the "L" (the block wall between our house & the neighbors') is getting dense! The lizards are abundant this year & they are just bopping back & forth on the wall like crazy. I always wonder: is it safer to be on top of the wall than on the ground? Are dogs on the ground more dangerous than the neighbor's cats who also use this highway, or the hawks & owls? Just wondering. Lizard push-ups continue to amuse me -- there's one now! This one is at least 8" long, too. Big ones seem much more prevalent this year. Who would've thought I'd be so enchanted with these little buggers? I do remember the house chameleon we had in Hawaii -- it was my hero, eating its weight in cockroaches daily. So maybe my fascination with the lizards is a result of that early appreciation? Dunno, but I'm very glad to see them now. This is the spring of the SoCal BUGS!! Some of them are neat, like the "Mosquito Hawks" (our little neighbors' name for them)& some not so much: hordes of flies in all shapes & sizes. I had to scrub, scrub, scrub the bug juice off my windshield last night after the gas station scrubber did nothing but get the glass wet. Then I scrubbed Alan's, too. It was nice to start out this morning with a sparkling clean view, but the bugs are still getting squished as I rock down the highway. sigh.
Applique class was sparsley attended today, & since I spent a lot of time visiting with Theresa, among others, I didn't get a lot done. I'll finish all the prep work on block #4 this weekend, then I can take it & #3 with me for handwork. I ran into Theresa again in Main St, while on my way to the Olive Oil store. She reminded me that Norma was at the Coop, sewing for Quilts of Valor, so I stopped in there on my way. She has a real sweatshop going on -- there were 4 or 5 people sewing & big stacks of blocks waiting to be turned into tops. Very impressive! Norma's such a honey. She's adopted this path & has turned it into a mission: she wants to provide every single serviceman & woman with a handmade quilt. If anyone can achieve that goal it will be our Norma. Rock on, my friend!
Haven't heard from my honey yet, so I'm going to mosey on to my sewing room & make a travel pillowcase for my little pillow. Maybe it will remind me to take it with me when I get off the plane, & when I leave Patty's. I have to find a pretty & striking print for this. I believe I know just where to look.....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday. So much to do; so little ambition. I want to get all my errand-running out of the way so I can enjoy the weekend with Alan & get myself packed & ready to go. If I don't pay for the expired-tag ticket soon, I can see my car getting impounded -- even though I've gotten the new tag (finally). So there's that: a stop at any cop shop, then to any old courthouse to pay the ticket. Why can't I do this online? Then I have to unload the carload of shredding that's been in my truckster for 3 weeks. Time for it to be gone, I'd say. Have to get gas before I can do anything else; the light came on as I drove home last night. Must scrub the bugs off my windshield, too. Apparently, this is not unique to my car; I saw an article in the PE today to the effect that the rainy spring brought out the normal compliment of bugs. It's just that we're not used to normal these days.
Maybe this afternoon I'll plug in the Concert for George dvd & ponder my collection o' kits. Patty gave me an idea for a retreat project, but it won't take very long to do. So many possibilities. Life is good.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Look out, bunnies!!

You won't get a picture with this post. I used to laugh at my husband when he'd say, as he let the dogs out in the morning, "Run, bunnies!" Not anymore. Somehow, a young rabbit managed to still be near the patio this morning after the dogs had run past & started the day with a serious barkfest with the neighboring dogs. I was heading over to the hose to blast them all when I saw the bunny -- running right toward the dogs. It was awful -- there are gaps in the fence in the other corner, & at the gate, but this stupid bunny ran right into the midst of the dogs & tried to get out where there was no gap. I did my best to spray the dogs away from it, but the bunny died. Finally, I had to go find a glove & a bucket & retrieve that poor little body, dumping it in the trash bin. So sad. Mama & Buffy (aka "the murderers") accompanied me to the funeral, but I don't think they were remorseful at all. No, pretty sure there was no regret there. I really don't want Buffy to become any more of a hunter than she already is. She terrifies Blossom at nearly every opportunity as it is, & I'd really like to discourage that behavior if at all possible.
There's a reason they're called dumb bunnies.
No buddy Linda on Tuesday; once again, her family pre-empted her time for fun. sigh.

Mostly I played with my fabric & spent some time getting to know the Easy Angle CD features. Lots of great blocks & components on that one. I'm taking that with me on the retreat next week.

Speaking of the retreat, I need to decide what to take with me to work on. Will it be a BOM? A simple project, or a more complicated one? Should I not take anything at all & plan to find a project while shopping -- maybe at Calico in Racine? Ah, this is the kind of dilemma I like!

I've decided to join the IL guild again this year, even if I don't get to do the retreat. I like hearing about their activities & programs, which are so different from my local guild's. We've been debating about attending the guild meeting that will take place on our first evening together. I'm beginning to think we should -- it doesn't last long, it will be fun, & it's at the Schaumburg Library, right across the parking lot from the Oberweis Dairy Store! Ah, chocolate-marshmallow, here I come! Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.

I so enjoy this retreat & the time beforehand that Patty & I spend together. It's such a time of renewal for me, even though there's so much activity. I'm completely relaxed at Patty's, & we have such a peaceful friendship, that I come away feeling refreshed & inspired. So nice. I also get to see at least 2 of my children -- maybe all 3 this time -- & that's so satisfying. I miss them all mightily. Hearing their voices on the phone is good, but seeing their faces, & getting those fabulous hugs -- these are the things that satisfy my soul. Spending Mothers Day with them is the icing on the retreat cake.



OK! Today I'll spend some time with kits & decide what, if anything, I will work on for the retreat. If I do take something, I want it ready to sew, so the cutting will need to be done this week. LOVE THIS!!

I surrendered to Pillars of the Earth & will return it to John. I just couldn't get into the story, even after 350 pages. I visited the bookshelves & found the 1st 2 of a series & decided to give the first a try. Read 50 pages the first night. Yippee! I like a book that grabs my interest right off the bat. This series is about the partnership of a pair of detectives who meet during the London Blitz. Their partnership lasts 60 years; the series begins with the death of one of them, then flashes back & forth from 1940 to the present. Good stuff. I'll take the second book with me, along with a couple of other titles, just in case. Funny how I can't be without a book, no matter the circumstances.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Monday, Monday...... I actually love Mondays these days. Who'da thunk it? Getting to my class & seeing what my students have accomplished, & what they want to do next is great incentive to get my sleepy, lazy butt out of bed & moving forward. This week's class was terrific, as I've now come to expect. Ramona, that battery-butt girl, has put her rail fence top together & only has to add the outer borders to finish it. It is stunning! I'll take the camera to class next week so I can get a picture of it. Such beautiful fabrics & a great arrangement that makes the rails flow. Diane finished her 9-Patch variation top!!! We did a happy dance & she chose her back & quilt pattern for the quilter. No Linda today -- we missed her.
Diane's going to finish a top she started in my pal Theresa's Rotating 9-Patch class, so I thought I'd do one along with her. I spent an hour or so yesterday trying to decide which charm squares I'd use for mine -- I can't make up my mind!

My buddy Linda is coming over to sew this morning. Good times. You'd think I do nothing that isn't related to quilting.....you might be right!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday was a bust. I started out well, putting things away in my sewing room & getting fired up for the Avo Festival, but after breakfast I started feeling queer. Thought I was going to throw up, so I headed back to bed where Alan was watching the Cubs game. I fell asleep when the score was 13-3 Cubs & woke up about 5:30. Day shot! Ah, well, tomorrow is another day & I'm ready to do the hand stitching on my applique block.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Laundry done! Watching several episodes of "Saving Grace" & loving it, while I work on the March applique block. Progress is a good thing.
DH is off to the races for the day, so I'm on my own. Color me zippy & ecstatic. Stupid, I know, since he goes to work every day during the week -- somehow being alone on a Saturday still makes me feel like it's all-day recess. Go figure. So I'll do laundry & get something finished for the Huck Finn show. Really. Today's the day. More as we progress through the day......

Friday, April 18, 2008

Have to share this with you -- be sure to see the full post at the Breakdown in the Fastlane blog (at left), but here's a bit to tantalize you:

'A brilliant chap, who had recently moved to Wilkes Land to pursue his dream of ice fishing, came up with the winning entry. He devised a system of unipolar and bipolar disorders. Unipolar was to be the term to describe what was formerly known as Depressed as Hell. And Bipolar was to be the new term for Manic Depressive. As we patients, ah, forgive me, old habits die hard . . . as we Individuals know, no one wants to hang out with someone who is Depressed as Hell — but Unipolar sounds like a skill (”my friend is so accomplished — she is even Unipolar”) and everyone likes a buddy with prowess. Unipolar pales, however, in comparison with Bipolar — “Yeah, well my friend is Bipolar! So there!”'

I am a totally Unipolar fan of Ms. Breakdown!
Creativity has taken a hit this week. I've been trying to get something finished, but haven't succeeded so far. Maybe tomorrow......

I did have a creative chat with 2 friends today: Verna via long distance phone from IN; & Ellen right here in my sewing room. How nice to be able to visit with two quilty friends in one day.

Did you hear about the 5.3 earthquake in Southern IL? Verna (in Northern IN) was awakened by it! I'm cracking up. Not once in the 50+ years I lived in the Midwest did I ever experience an earthquake; now that I live in SoCal, the Midwest gets a whopper! Go figure.

Plans for the 8th (?) annual Girlfriends quilting retreat are proceeding nicely. One of our very favorite quilt shops is going out of business, as the 3 darling owners have decided to join their husbands in retirement. sigh. Calico, Colors & Canvas, in Racine, WI, http://www.calicocanvasandcolors.com/index.htm has begun a going-out-of-business sale. I'm just crushed. I have loved this store and its owners since I first made their acquaintance about 15 years ago. So we will make one last pilgrimage as a group when we get together in 2 weeks & head up to Racine for a final visit & shopping spree. I'll have to redeem my 2 full punch cards. big, big sigh.

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Renee to give you 7 Random or Weird facts about me

Here are the RULES:
1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you
2. Post the RULES on your blog
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged

Here are 7 Weird or Random Facts About Me:

1. I'm a Capricorn
2. I was born & raised in IL, but now live in SoCal.
3. I'm 25% Irish, with cousins living just outside Belfast.
4. My mom is a descendant of Daniel D. Tompkins, Vice President of the U.S. under Monroe, while my dad is a relative of Richard M. Nixon.
5. I am a survivor of employment at Mt. Prospect (IL) Public Library.
6. I have no middle name, & my name is not short for anything else.
7. I can belch on demand.

While I'm willing to play this game, I'm only willing to go so far. This is very time-consuming, & like Renee, I don't know enough other bloggers well enough to tag them. So please enjoy the factoids I've presented here; it goes no further with me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Still enjoying those fabulous strawberries, although there's only about a pint & a half left. We are NOT letting these babies rot, that's for sure.
Last night's Sisters of the Cloth was a hoot: Jane brought cupcakes with Superman rings on them for each of us. We all put them on & every now & them someone would do a fist-pump & grunt -- it was awesome! There's nothing like a bunch of grown-up women being silly. Anyone walking in would've thought it was the loony bin, & they wouldn't have been far off. It's probably good there are too many of us to meet in each others' homes, since we are so noisy & obnoxious. But we are productive. Lots & lots of sewing got done last night. I made more X's for my Garden Maze quilt. I'm going to make another template for trimming them, though. I don't think the way I've been doing it is very accurate, & I want them to look good. I'll trace around the template, then use a ruler & rotary cutter to square them up. I really do like this pattern a lot.
The local house finches are a busy lot these days. The girls are gathering up all the ripening millet heads for their nests, & the boys are zipping around supervising & trying to get a little at the same time. So cute & funny. The hawk family does seem to have returned to their next & are sitting on eggs, we think. I sure hope so! We really felt their absence last year.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rather than aggravate the repetetive motion injury damage I did to my shoulder, with all the tiny square trimming I did on Sunday & again yesterday, I decided to get some of the magazine quilt patterns into page protectors. Eventually I'll get them sorted into binders so they'll all be easier to locate when I want a new project. Looking at the patterns as I put them into the page protectors was really satisfying -- almost like going shopping, if you can believe that. So many pretty quilts; so many fun projects ahead! Nice.
As I headed down to Faith's for a haircut this morning, the Plowboys sign jumped out at me: Asparagus 99 cents! Woo hoo! After a quick stop at Ralph's (for which we'll now get 10 cents/gallon off on the next fill-up!), I headed for Plowboys & got some oranges & lemons to go with my asparagus. This is such a season of promise, & the strawberries & asparagus are just the beginning of the wonderful warm-weather bounty of SoCal. It just makes me happy thinking about it!

Monday, April 14, 2008

My students rock! All 3 had accomplishments to show off today: Linda created the back for her snowball quilt & began cutting for her next project, Diane had put together her wonky 9-patches & started on her borders, & Ramona -- well! She had cut & pieced all her rail fence blocks & had designed a layout she's pleased with. She got about 1/3 of her rows put together before it was time to break up. Well done, ladies!
Next week, Linda says she'll be ready to start sewing, Diane will be ready to choose her back & the fabric for her next quilt, & Ramona will be adding borders to her rail fence. They're just zooming along.
I got a few more tiny hst's trimmed while I watched the girls sew. Not a big accomplishment for me, but I wasn't there for me, so I don't feel too badly.

The really big news is that Sheryl gave me several wonderful small quilts for the Huck Finn Jubilee -- wheeeeee! We're on our way! Thanks so much, Sheryl. These will fly out of our booth, I know.
On the way home, I followed directions from Stacy & Nicolette & found the strawberry stand they had both raved about. The strawberries are grown & harvested from the field that surrounds the stand -- talk about shopping locally! They didn't have any of the oranges the girls had told me about, so I'll have to go back again. Can't wait to sample the berries -- they are so beautiful & smell divine. Gotta love SoCal.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

For today's creativity, I spent a couple of hours (at least)trimming & squaring up the 1.75" 1/2 square triangles for the Little Women double X. I'm nearly finished & have also trimmed the extras for the "Leftovers" quilt for next month. That's it. It did seem very tedious, but I watched several recorded shows: Color Splash, Design on a Dime, & Sell This House. It did help with the time.
It was HOT today: 90, & 81 on the porch. It's supposed to cool off some during the week. I sure hope so, since there's another Quilt Show committee sew in on Thursday. I was OK with just a small fan blowing on me, but a room full of women would get awfully hot at that temp. Keep your fingers crossed!

30#

That's THIRTY POUNDS. I've dropped 30# in the last 6 1/2 months, & I won't be looking for them anytime soon. I still have that much more to go, but progress breeds progress, so I'm very encouraged. Cholesterol is down, blood pressure is down, I'm feeling more energetic -- I can do this.
Busy, busy, busy. Friday's Stashbusters was all about Saturday's Little Women: I spent hours cutting all the little pieces for the Double X blocks, only to find out I could've done fewer than 1/2 & had enough for the sample size. ugh. Well, I'll get a couple of little quilts out of this one. It turned out to be pretty tedious to piece, too. It winds up being about 4.25". oof. I like my color choices. Maybe I'll use one or two of each combination in a quilt & be done with it. That should work.


The Garden Maze blocks continue to fascinate me. I did a little more cutting & piecing on that Friday, too. When I get more blocks made, I'll put them on the design wall & post here, but for now you can see what one block looks like.


While I was taking pictures, my DH poked his head above the design wall, so. . . .

The "Red Square" project was itching to progress, so I pulled it out & got it sandwiched & ready to quilt. I'm not ready to do that yet, but at least it's ready to go now.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday: Progress!

Today, I got an entire block of the Garden Maze put together. Then I made another half without paper piecing to see if it was better or worse. The regular piecing is faster, but -- surprise! -- not as precise. I'm probably going to go with faster, though, since time really does matter on this one. I'll need to finish the top & get it to Patty pdq so it can go to Huck Finn in June. So much to do. . . . so little time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hump Day

I actually spent time sewing today. Yes, I did. First, I spent a lot of time sitting here, in front of the computer, but some of that time I was looking at quilt patterns. I found one on About.com for a nice 2 color quilt that looked interesting. After printing the instructions & the paper piecing pattern for part of it, I headed out to the porch, where I rediscovered last year's Thimbleberries Club fabric. Since it was totally untouched (never did like those crazy-big blocks!) I made the decision to sort & use it elsewhere. Found a couple of good candidates & started sewing. Wonderful! I didn't get very far, but now I know what size to cut strips for the paper piecing, & how those parts of the block will look. I'm encouraged. Tomorrow, after the dentist, I'll need to try to focus on blocks for Saturday's Little Women. I pulled out some black prints & some greens, cheddars & reds from the reproduction bin, so I've made a start, at least. Can't remember now if I'm actually supposed to build blocks ahead of time or only do the cutting. I think just the cutting -- for something like 40 blocks. hmmm. I wonder if I can fake it?

Old friend Bob had his annual review today with the sociopath. Last year, he wore his best suit & wrote several pages of replies to the inane questions she had added to his review. This time, he wore jeans & a 2-day growth of beard, & brought a single page in response to her (still inane) questions. He reports that there was no difference with the change in attire or attitude. sigh. I just hope he survives the next 4 years with his sanity intact. And that great sense of humor, God bless him. His reports of goings-on at my former place of employment are a great source of amusement for me, as well as an affirmation that it wasn't all in my imagination. (CZ: say nothing!) I do worry about the boy as he has such a sunny outlook about most things, but it's a dark, dark place to work. Well, he did know what he was getting into when he took that position. I don't doubt he'll beat my tenure & come out not only with a pension but having had the last laugh. And he'll keep me laughing until then.

Quilters U

Guild tonight was so much fun! We had quite a number of demonstrations going on all at once, with Linda acting as Ringmaster. I've always loved Quilters U nights, as we get to sample bite-sizes of several different techniques, which just might encourage us to take a class or learn more about something we haven't yet tried. I didn't get to sample tonight, since I was one of the demo-ers this time. I did hand quilting, something at which I'm no expert, but I do all right. There was a lot of interest & I wound up exhausted but happy.

My Secret Pal did it again: her card said, "Cheddar?" and in the bag were several excellent fat quarters in my new favorite color--cheddar, as well as. . . . a brick of cheddar cheese! Too funny, this one. Alan knows who she is, but I don't want to know -- it's too much fun to spoil the suspense now. I've been so lucky in my Pals thus far. So nice.

As for creativity today, I'll have to count my performance tonight at guild as the creative effort-o-the-day. Tomorrow I plan to sew & do laundry all day in my jammies. I might even cook dinner. Or not. We'll see. For now, it's off to slumberland for me. Ta.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Beginners class

My two beginning quilting students have finished their first tops! It's so exciting to see how thrilled they are, & how eager they are to move on to the next project. Each of them has decided to make bigger quilts this time. Ramona will be making a 3-colorway rail fence lap quilt, while Linda has decided to do the 9-patch variation in a queen size. Diane couldn't make it today -- she's sick with pneumonia again -- but when she comes back, all three of them will be working on a different quilt. That should be fun! Linda also finished her snowball top today, so she'll have two coming back from the quilter soon. Nice.

I have to get moving on this month's Little Women -- I haven't cut a single one yet, & class is Saturday. I also haven't done a bom for guild, which is tomorrow. Excuse me. I have to go sew!

Monday






Saturday's Quilt Show committee sew-in was a lot of fun. Six of us spent several hours together, sewing & laughing & eating. Now what could be better than that? Well, I would've preferred a little more warmth from the sun, & a little less noise from the dogs, but otherwise, it was a great day. At one point, the dogs did settle down, but as I was taking some of the food back to the kitchen, I saw that had been occupying them: they had removed a little quilt I'd been working on from its hoop & shredded one end. They managed this without damaging the hoop, mind you. Notice in the last picture that they very kindly left the needle I was using in the quilt, & chewed on the other end! I've decided I must just smell yummy to these guys, since they never attack my husband's things -- only mine. Not making me feel special, though. I'll be taking this to guild tomorrow as an example of hand quilting for my demonstration. This will be the cautionary tale about leaving one's handwork lying around. sigh.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Progress!

Finally, I have made some progress. Tonight's class at TQC was both lots of fun & very productive. I got my background gridded & all of the squares placed & glued on. Now I need to sandwich the front with the batting & backing, then quilt through all the layers & over each square. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow at the sew-in. For now, that clean bed is calling to me. Hear it? Oh, come on. Try. There it is. And I'm answering, "here I come!!"

Friday, April 4, 2008

The El

I'm so enjoying watching the busy return of the lizards. They zoom across the elevated highway (block wall) across the patio from my window, & occasionally cross the end wall of the house next door. Every now & then, they'll do the "lizard push-ups" which never fail to crack me up. It seems like this year's group is extra large, while last year's were pretty small. I'm not seeing a lot of dark ones, but more medium-hued than light. I find them fascinating. Once, while I was sitting here in front of the computer, a lizard stepped onto the screen on the window right in front of me, then paused so I could get a good long look at his wonderful little feet. They are so cool. I do wish Mama & Buffy weren't so determined to hunt them down & maim them. Pretty disgusting to find a legless lizard, belly-up just outside the door in the morning. yech.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Creativity takes a hit

I was a complete slug today. After getting up early to work on someone else's quilty problem, it went downhill from there. I spent all morning chatting back & forth with Patty & Nanci, then on my way to get dressed, fell asleep with a cat on my chest. At 4:00 I managed to get upright again & head out to the porch to get things organized for the sew-in on Saturday. Fortunately, it didn't take much. I'll vacuum either tomorrow or on Saturday morning. Otherwise, it's ready to go. The rest of the house will take up the day tomorrow. sigh. It's always something.
I'm assigned a salad for tomorrow night's potluck/quilt class at TQC, so I'll have to get to the store sometime, too. Guess that means I'll actually have to get dressed, huh? Wish the dogs would quit shedding for a couple of days -- that would help a lot.
I did manage to get the 4th border of a little Jacob's ladder marked, so I can get that hand quilted & bound before guild next week. I'll need samples for my hand quilting demo. So that's my creativity for the day. Not very creative, but it's what I have. Tomorrow is another day, & I'll have me a very creative evening!

Creating a plan

So this morning, I'm trying to figure out yardage for a queen size quilt so that a student can make a bigger quilt than the 30" square one we started with. This is her FIRST quilt, mind you! I'm using my QuiltCalc & had to go online to find the right size first. Now I'll get cracking on the details. Of course, my student is going shopping in about an hour, so I guess I need to go do that, huh?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

American Idol

Yes, I admit it: I'm an AI fangirl. It's the reality show I love to hate, right along with Dancing with the Stars. So tonight Ramiele was bounced. The tension! The emotion! The death-grip farewell hugs!!! And then they made her sing. Phooey! They need to let these people go with a little bit of dignity, don't you think? Anyhow, I'm glad Brooke & Jason stayed put, at least for another week. You need to know that I expect David Cook & Carly to be the final two. I'm putting myself out there right now. David A is just too darned young to win; Jason is too one-dimensional, although he is darling & pleasant to listen to; Michael's voice gives me the willies; Syesha just wants to BE Whitney; Brooke. . . I don't hate her, but I just think Carly has a much better voice. And David Cook? So versatile, so talented. He has grown on me right from the audition, when I thought: eww. That hair. But his talent comes through every single week.
Comments? Discussion? Bring it!

Creative Every Day: Creative Every Day 2008

Creative Every Day: Creative Every Day 2008
For some reason there's no active link on the icon for this, so I'm adding the link here. I do like the idea of being consciously creative on a daily basis.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Daily creativity

Today, I tried some creative accounting. That didn't go too well! I did finish hand quilting the borders on a birthday gift for my Old Same (see "Snow Flower & the Secret Fan" for that particular reference). I still need to add something to the cornerstones, but then I'll either bind or frame it. I do love it. Once the gift is given, I can reveal the picture of the finished project, so be patient.
On another note, we canceled our Sprint PCS account in February, replacing it with a Verizon phone for me, as Alan got one from work & we get a nice discount for mine, as well. So I keep getting these bills from Sprint for $2.88. After paying it last month, thinking it was the balance due on the canceled account, I saw there was another one this month. After a little investigation, it turns out that the bowling game I downloaded to my cell phone several years ago has been costing me $2.88 a month -- & will continue to do so until I figure out how to cancel it, now that I no longer have a Sprint phone number access to that account on the Sprint website. I talked to a guy at the Sprint store tonight & he told me "good luck!" Oh, thanks, buddy. That was a big help. Yikes! So now I have to figure out how to identify the person/place or website that will allow me to cancel this insidious little bill. I've canceled the payment I'd scheduled for this month, so maybe that will get some kind of response, hopefully from someone other than the decidedly unhelpful Sprint. Any suggestions? hmph.

Another site

Here's another site that sells the fabric. Most of the links to further info don't work, though. Frustrating! http://shweshwe.net/index.asp

Shweshwe fabric

I came across a reference to something I'd never heard of this morning: Shweshwe -- which looks an awful lot like the South African indigos I've been buying for last few years from a vendor at Road2CA. Anybody know whether they're one & the same? The blogger said she'd ordered & received some from the manufacturer. hmm. Not that I need more, mind you, but I've never heard this name before & it looks exactly like the indigos I have. Just curious, you know? I tried to link to the blog I saw this on, but since it was embedded in an APQ newsletter, there was no direct link to the blog. Sorry. Here's the DaGama website for shweshwe: www.dagama.co.za/

Great find!

So while browsing quilty-type sites, as I'm wont to do, I found this amazing new toy that you're all going to want to have for your very own. It's a stupendous innovation, something we all need & just didn't know it. Check out this link to see for yourself: http://www.quilterswarehouse.com/itemdesc.asp?ic=AFE2008

Let me know if you think it's as great a find as I do!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Another favorite

Have I mentioned TipNut? This is such fun thing: each day, I get an email with one or two handy tips or ideas for all sorts of things. Today's was a list of (& links for) 26 needle cases! Sometimes it's a household tip, sometimes it's sewing or knitting or crocheting. Whatever the day's tip, it's always fun to see. Click on the post title to go to TipNut.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Creative Challenge

After following a link on Abi's blog http://moxyideas.com(which I love, btw -- so much content!!), I found this great challenge: to be creative every day, in some way. Silly that I feel the need to be challenged to do this thing that makes me so happy in the doing, but there it is. So! I'm taking up the challenge & I invite you to do the same. I also liked the references to Simple Abundance & The Artist's Way, both of which I heartily endorse. So, whether I sew, paint, knit or write, I will try to do something each day that involves creativity. It really shouldn't be all that hard, now, should it? Click on the title of this post to go to the Creative Challenge site.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I know: twice in one day!

Well, sometimes there's more to tell. For instance, by clicking on this link http://www.truelemon.com/sample.html you can get free samples of some yummy new stuff: True Lemon, True Lime & True Orange. This is good stuff, people. It's all the great citrus flavor, but no sugar or other sweeteners, & no disgusting chemical taste, either. Just good. Give it a try. We've used it in water, but also in hot tea. When Alan was home sick, I put it in hot water with honey to soothe his sore throat. There are recipes for all 3 flavors on the website, too. Go ahead! Give it a shot. What've you got to lose, hmmm? These people also send their product to our troops in Iraq & Afganistan, reason enough to visit their site & see what they're about, eh?

It's time. . . .

I've been away too long, it seems. I'm getting complaints (OK; Pauline complained) that I don't post often enough. Well! There doesn't seem much to tell at the moment. I haven't been all that productive in the past month or so, although I am nearly finished quilting that Cabin in the Woods, & I did actually MITER the corners of a quick 'n easy top that's now ready to be quilted. Guess those do count, huh?



The 2nd applique block has been completed, just in time for tomorrow's 3rd class. That's big: I'm still interested!



Still loving the Jo's Little Women group that meets at Temecula Quilt Co. monthly, & I'm devoted to Stashbusters at Calico monthly, as well.



The big news is that I've started teaching a beginning quilting class at TQC! Starting with 2 students this week, I'm on the road to a new "career" in teaching. So far, so good -- I loved the first class & look forward to round 2 on Monday. There's not much $$ involved -- probably enough to pay for the gas to get there & back -- but it is fun & rewarding, & of course, teaching is a learning experience for all concerned.



After getting blown around in the godawful weather 2 weekends ago at the Bluegrass Festival in Old Town Temecula, a bunch of us are embarking on an exciting & slightly scary new venture: we've been invited to vend at the Huck Finn Jubilee (http://www.huckfinn.com/) in Victorville, CA, over Father's Day weekend this year. As we'll be the only quilty-type vendor, we couldn't pass this up as a way to earn some income for the guild. Time is short, though, so I'm hoping we can get our acts together & produce some great stuff for the booth. If nothing else, we'll have a good time, I think. This is another bluegrass event, apparently very well known, as 15-20K folks are expected to attend. WOW! We'll spend the next couple of months making & soliciting quilts & quilty things to sell. If you're interested in contributing, please contact me here.

It's also time to think about the next Girlfriends Retreat at Patty's in May. I've figured out when to travel, so now I need to decide what I'll work on. Maybe one of the BOMs that are lurking on the shelf? Wouldn't take up much space, & the row-by-row one would certainly occupy me fully. Yikes! I'd forgotten about the group project we decided to do at the last retreat: It's another MH Designs, if I remember correctly -- pp women that we will personalize to resemble ourselves. And we have to make 4 of "ourselves" so that we can swap. Guess I'd better find that & get it done, huh?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cabin in the Woods


This is an MH Designs paper piecing pattern (say that 3 times fast!) I just finished on Saturday. My pal Stacy helped me pick out the border fabric -- the only fabric that didn't come from my stash. It's only about 13" square, but there are a lot of different fabrics in it. I just love it.
Started a "toes-up" knitted socks class yesterday -- yikes! I get the Turkish casting-on just fine, but "making" stitches has me buffaloed. I'll keep trying & ripping until I get it -- but it may take awhile. The socks are so darn cute, though, that I really want to succeed at this.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January projects





















The block below is the first in an applique BOM series. I know: my applique skills leave a lot to be desired, but hey! this is my first attempt. I expect to get better as I get more practice. The top blocks are from a workshop I did with Sandy Bonsib (maybe?) several years ago. The little rail fence is the January project from Jo's Little Women. Love it! It's now ready for binding. Next is a Buggy Barn pattern, "Flag Day", all ready for quilting. Then the little paper pieced stars mini. That's it so far, with the exception of the 7 whole cloth mini's I finished hand quilting & binding, & the 2 little table mats I quilted & bound, & the retreat friendship one that needs binding. Yep, I think that's it for now. Whew! Good start to the new year.
















Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rainy Days & Sundays

Ah, SoCal winter! It's such a treat to wear winter clothes, but when the daytime low is only about 55, I do feel kind of wimpy. Last night it poured rain -- a great lullaby at bedtime, although Wylie (old dog) does hate rain & is frightened of the sound on the skylight. He had to sleep on Gracie's bed last night, so she was on the floor. That's OK. She only sleeps on her bed for an hour or so, then moves to the floor anyway.

It rained enough so that our week's total precip is now more than all of last year's! woo hoo! We're going to have a real spring this year. So nice, since the last 2 springs have been pretty sad. The sun is shining right now, but it's windy & there are big dark clouds blowing in from the SE: more rain on the way. The house feels so cozy when it's raining. No complaints from here.

So, I'll crank up the floor heater & finish a 4-Patch chenille quilt I started about 2 years ago. I'm adding chenille-by-the-inch to the seams of the 4-patches, which is pretty tedious. then I'll be able to put the rows together & get the top finished. I don't know whether I should wash it before or wait until after the quilting is done. I'll have to ask around. Throwing the "F" word around (Finished, that is!) is pretty darn satisfying, I must say.

Happy day.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Applique BOM

Here's the photo of the whole year's BOM. It finishes at 18"x23"! Pretty small, eh? So far, so good. Keep your fingers crossed that I don't get freaked out during the year & quit. That would be too bad, since I really like the way it looks & the technique isn't intimidating at all. . . . . so far!

No more "A" word!

It's true! I seem to have overcome the cursed "A" word, having taken an introductory applique class yesterday & survived it!! Woo hoo! It's a block of the month, with 6.5" applique blocks designed by Lori Smith & taught by Sheryl Johnson at Temecula Quilt Co. I did most of the work in class: tracing the design on freezer paper, making it thicker with another layer of freezer paper. Cutting out the motifs & pressing them onto the wrong side of the fabric, then cutting them out with a scant 1/4" seam allowance. Next was using spray starch brushed onto the seam allowances & folding them over the freezer paper, then drying the starch with the mini iron. Voila! "Needle-turned" motifs before any needle shows up. I finished all the starching-and-pressing after I got home, glue-basted the motifs to the background & after letting it dry overnight, I'm ready to do the actual stitching. I'll post a picture when that part is done. I'm so encouraged!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Here's the link

Forgot to add the darned link. I'll get used to this stuff, & then you'll quickly tire of me, I'm sure. Watch out!

Important Link!

Please visit the Alzheimers Art Quilt Initiative website. This is a grass-roots effort to increase awareness and fund research into this terrible blight. There's a monthly auction of little quilts donated by people to help in the effort, and there's also a link to a webstore where you can buy AAQI clothing. Quilter Ami (that's "aaah-me") Simms is the driving force behind this effort -- if you don't know who she is, go to AmiSimms.com to meet her. You'll love her, as I do. I've won 3 little quilt gems in previous auctions, and bid on many, many more. Go ahead -- take a look. You will be caught up in the wonder and maybe you'll want to donate one (or more!) little quilts yourself.