Thursday, August 31, 2006

The painting continues. Yesterday I removed everything from the closet -- yes, hubby's chest of drawers, too. Piled it on the bed, on the cedar chest, on the floor ... The newpaper taped to the wall is to protect the mural from paint spatter. We are keeping the mural and will probably purchase an empty frame to hang over it.
I got the interior of the closet completely painted and all the piles of stuff in the first two photos put back in their original spots yesterday. I also got some of the other walls done (partially done) too. The ceiling goes up to 14' and I won't go up that high on the ladder when I'm home alone. It would be hours and hours before I was found should I fall off.
Today will be more of the same. Painting along the remaining walls, up to my height limit. I won't have as much moving to do. I can't move the bed alone, so that will have to wait until tomorrow.
The second photo is the pile of shoes -- mostly mine *s* The couple of pair you see in the foreground are the ones I am willing to part with. It doesn't seem like much, but getting rid of shoes is a huge sacrifice to me.
The third photo shows two stacks of clean quilts. These are quilts that were hanging in the bedroom or stacked in the "ambiance" display on top of our closet. The rocking chairs are part of the ambiance, too. The little rocker on the left was my childhood rocker and the one on the right was my mother's. I think mine was called a Kennedy rocker. President Kennedy used one such as this because it was comfortable for his bad back. I don't know if any or all of that is true, but it's a good sounding story.
Off to paint.
 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Here she is post surgery -- a little dopey, a little swollen and very happy to be home. No toys, no treats and a soft diet for the next two days. Her bandage has cute little puppy paws all over it.When I dropped her off, they told me she would be ready to go home in about 3 hours. After waiting a little more than 4 hours, I called to check on her. She's fine. She's ready to go. Come pick her up. After I settled my bill, it was still another 45 minutes or so before we finally left. We were both frazzled and quite happy to get the heck out of there.My first shopping stop of the day was Rosie's She has such a huge selection of fabric, it can be overwhelming. For me, I do better when I'm shopping for a particular project at her shop or I just lose focus. Such was the case yesterday and I didn't buy any fabric. I did buy a bag of wool batting for a hand-quilting project I want to do. I also got a perle cotton and betweens for that same project.
I replaced the leather thimble that I use for every day sewing, 3 Cheri Payne patterns and Australian Homespun magazine. A pretty good haul.
Next I went to Country Loft One of my most favorite shops. It is in the cutest little house. I just feel so comfortable as soon as I step in the door. I always find something there and yesterday was no exception. I got some brushed cotton fat quarters, another Cheri Payne pattern and a McCall's Country Candle. In the 50% off room I found a Jan Patek book and the little mirrors I plan to use in the freshly painted bathroom (once it is freshly completed this weekend.) The Jan Patek book is 1 of 2 in a series. I happen to know that Fat Quarters has the second installment in their 50% off book bin.
I went here for my lunch. They off the a delicious Rueben sandwich. I read through my new magazine while I was there. A very nice magazine that I may try a subscription. They seem to offer so much more information than their American counterparts. I enjoyed reading the history and little fun facts throughout.
All of that filled my 3 hour window very nicely. With more time to kill, I drove to a Starbucks near the vet's office. I had my trusty hexagons with me. A nice latte and a table near the door and I entertained myself quite nicely watching the people come and go. Maybe people should think a little more carefully on what they talk about in public. Maybe they just don't care.
Today it's back to painting for me. I'm emptying the closet, painting and then putting it all back. We should have just moved out of our bedroom. At this point we are too far into the project to change in mid-stream. Harper can relax on the bed and be my supervisor. Plenty of belly rubs will be the order of the day. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

No quilting today. No painting today, either. This morning Harper, yes Harper, has an appointment to have a root canal. I know it sounds crazy. She broke her tooth on a bone and we didn't know about it until it became infected. The options were to pull or root canal. It is one of the main chewing teeth and we couldn't see her going with the ability to chew properly for the rest of her life. Enter the veterinary dental specialist *cha-ching* This appointment is the second half of the procedure begun back in early July. The improvement in her overall look and demeanor has been well worth it. So while that won't be fun -- especially for Harper, I will get to go here and here while I'm waiting for her procedure to be done.
Both of these shops are about an hour from my home. A manageable distance, but I still don't go very often. Today I will only be about 20 minutes away. Hubby says I can buy whatever I want. He's so sweet, but he knows that when I have that kind of license I become overwhelmed and usually end up with nothing.
While I'm out I will be sporting these * which arrived at my door yesterday. I purchased a pair of Simple clogs back in 1995 and have worn them until there was nothing left. These are by far the most comfortable shoes - EVER. I did use my seam ripper to remove the tags inside that were rubbing uncomfortably.
The quilt in the photo is one I had forgotten I made. It is called Mullberry Bush by Acorn Hill Quilts. I really the pattern and can see it in many different fabric choices -- it would make a great baby quilt. I found this one while we were removing items in the bedroom. Our ceiling raises from 8' to 14', with the area above the closet being the highest. In order to add a little ambiance, we have my mom's childhood rocker and mine displayed up there with an old suitcase and a stack of quilts. This was in among the stack. I washed them all up and then put this one right on the dining room table. It's about time to switch over to our fall decorations and this one will fit right in.
* - I have tried twice to edit the link and it just won't show the photo. If you really want to see, use the link to get to the site then select the Shuf clog, in red *s*Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 28, 2006

Poor Harper. If only someone would take this poor girl out for a romp in the yard. This weekend - and several days forward- was dedicated to home improvement. Repainting master bedroom and bathroom. You should have seen Hubby's face when I suggested we also needed to refinish the vanity. I would like to remodel that bathroom, but lack of ideas and lack of a money tree leave us to freshen paint and get on with life. I will continue to work on this project this week with hopes of completing and putting things back in their proper place over the upcoming long weekend. Trust me when I say nothing is where it belongs right now.
There won't be much quilt action going on for a few days. I have my trusty hexagons to stitch on in the evenings if the spirit moves me. Plenty of time to work out the next project in my head while I'm painting trim. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I want to tell the story about the photo in the previous post. I don't know exactly when the photo was taken, but Mom appears to be somewhere around 4 years old. She remembered the day these portraits were taken vividly.
My grandma and her friend took their children, my mom and a little boy whose name I cannot recall, to have portraits made. They had to go to a neighboring town to find a photographer. Grandma didn't feel like she had clothing worthy of having a portrait taken, so went to a local mercantile and selected a lovely, modern "flapper" outfit. Grandma also didn't have the finacial resources to pay for such an outfit. Somehow she convinced the proprieter of the shop to allow her to take the dress home to try on. She had her portrait made, then returned the outfit. (shame on you, Grandma *s*) I'll post that portrait on her birthday.
Mom hated to have anything on her head - a hat, the huge bow you see ... and was already a little grumpy about the whole day. Then to add insult to injury, the little boy got to have his portrait made while wearing his toy six shooters and badge. Mom felt that would be a terrific prop for her to use as well. Of course, Grandma immediately put the kibosh on that. Mom exacted her revenge in the way only a four-year old can -- she refused to smile or cooperate in any way while having these pictures made. There are 3 or 4 different poses of her on that day, some with flowers, some without -- none with the six shooters she wanted so very badly and certainly not the smiling little girl that Grandma had hoped to immortalize on film.
August 27 is not my best day. Today marks 15 years since I lost my mom. I came along later in her life. She was just shy of her 44th birthday in 1960. Our relationship during my teen years can be described as turbulent - at best. She became a teenager in 1929; me in 1973. There was a lot of change that happened in the intervening years. Our experiences and the world were vastly different. It was hard to see eye-to-eye on anything.
We came through it without too many scars and had a great relationship. Once I became the mother of a daughter it seemed so different. I wanted to hear what she had to say. I needed to hear what she had to say. Suddenly my mom was smart.
It was hard to hear that she was gone but a relief at the same time. I got to be with her on that last day and I'm sure she knew I was there. She fought a good, long time. She deserved to be at rest. I was sad for me, yet happy for her.
I know she was proud of me then and she would be today. She would be bursting with pride over The Princess, an independent young woman, serving her country and travelling around the world.
Living a good life, trying to make a contribution in the world - no matter how small - is the best tribute to her life. I try to do so everyday. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 25, 2006

A couple of days ago, I posted a photo of a block I made for my friendship group exchange. At the time I didn't know the name of the block. Linda directed me to Quilter's Cache. The block is Lady of the Lake 2 and they show it in a 3 color version with a very nice setting that I will be doing shortly.
When I first saw the block about a year ago, it was in an antique quilt. I figured out some cutting and piecing instructions and invited the women from my quilt class over for a couple of evenings of sewing. We were on a break from our weekly class and decided to call our quilts Summer School. The quilt I made then was red and white and was donated to a Quilts for Soldiers group in our area.
While I'm glad I donated the quilt, I just kept thinking about it and decided I needed one of my very own. This summer I pulled some more fabric and began cutting and sewing. I ended up with 13 blocks because that's how much of the green brushed cotton I had.
I set the first 9 blocks into a square quilt that I can use on my dining table and used the other 4 to make a Christmas tree skirt. We haven't even gotten to fall and I'm already anxious to see how it looks under the tree. Nothing like rushing the season. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Favorite Things ... There are so many things that I have that belonged to my mom. Each of them holds a special place in my heart. I have her Bye-Lo baby doll from the mid 1920's, her child's rocking chair lovingly repaired by my grandfather whom I never met, her button box, stacks and stacks of photos, a beautiful pink gold locket. The list goes on and on but my favorite thing is this little cup "The Gravy Shaker".The lid is embossed with "HEMO Thompson's Double Malted Malted Milk with BEEF and IRON". Well that doesn't sound appetizing. I'm guessing this cup came with the product for ease in mixing the magic elixir. It was always in the kitchen cupboard. Mom used it for shaking water and flour together for making lump-free gravy. Trust me when I say a good tasting gravy cannot be made without this little gem.
When I hosted my first holiday dinner, I attempted to make a gravy without the shaker. It was tasteless and lumpy. From that time forward, Mom carried the shaker with her when she came to our house for holidays. It was packed in her suitcase along with all the other essentials required for her to have a good visit. When we spent Christmas with The Princess in her first apartment, I took the shaker along -- our Christmas dinner depended on it.
Here we are in Mom's kitchen getting ready to prepare a meal. I can't be sure of the menu that day. The only clue is an old mayonnaise jar on the counter dedicated to Ranch dressing, the potholders indicate something in the oven, I see nothing on the stovetop. I'm guessing meatloaf, baked potato and green salad. No gravy that day, but guess what's for dinner tonight. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 21, 2006

I want to say thank you to everyone for the kind, supportive messages and hugs sent my way concerning my insurance company debacle. The health insurance company believes me that I don't have any other policies and all claims will be resubmitted for payment. The auto insurance company is working to re-instate our old policy to show no lapse in coverage. We are concerned enough that we will be looking at other companies. It's been easy to just pay premiums and not concern ourselves with how a company is run. This has been a wake up call to start seeing what else is out there.
Dawn asked to see a closer look at the quilting of the LeMoyne star. I am pretty much a one-trick pony and meander on everything. I'm comfortable doing free-motion quilting and I just like the look when it's all done and washed and wrinkly and cozy looking. That wrinkly, cozy look can often hide a multitude of piecing sins.
After my phone calls and morning chores, I got the feathered star top layered, quilted and the binding stitched to the front. Tonight I'll stitch it down by hand -- my favorite part.
This week is my Blockhead meeting. This year we are making friendship blocks each month. The hostess for the month prepares pattern, instructions and specific fabric she wants the month prior to being hostess. Then she receives her blocks from the other members at the meeting. Our August hostess asked that we make a favorite block, using favorite fabrics. This is my block. I don't know what the block is called. I saw an antique quilt about a year ago with this block and fell in love. I came up with some cutting and piecing instructions and had some friends over to make quilts. We called it Summer School. I hope it fits with the others our hostess gets. I tend to be the oddball in this group -- but it certainly reflects me.
Then I made up packets with instructions for my block. Finally it's my turn in September. The block I chose is an Easter egg from a Cheri Payne pattern I have. I am supplying the fabric for the quick-pieced corners and some jelly beans for inspiration and energy. I'm really looking forward to receiving these. I am sorely lacking in spring quilts. This one will help me out come next spring.
Okay, I'm off to stitch binding -- maybe a photo of the complete quilt tomorrow. Posted by Picasa
The dog days of summer .... I always thought that had to do with heat. Since Friday it has so much more to do with trying my patience, I'm almost wishing for the heat to return.
The mail on Friday brought a notice that a medical insurance claim had been denied. I have a regular, periodic appointment with a dermatologist for treatment of rosacea. It has been the exact same appointment since 2003. Why did they deny the claim? Because my insurance company thinks I might be hiding the fact I have medical insurance through someone else. Did they send me a questionairre? Did they give me a call to ask? No! They just denied the claim with a note that I should call them.
Now it's a little difficult to prove a negative. I don't work outside the home, so there's no opportunity for me to have insurance through my employer. When I did work outside the home, I always declined my employer's insurance package in favor of my husband's plan. We pay our premium for coverage with this company, if the service is covered within the guidelines of the plan nothing else should matter. It leaves me shaking my head and I thought everything was back to normal until .....
The mail came on Saturday. There is an envelope for The Princess from the insurance company that provides our auto and homeowner's policies. A little further into the pile, there is an envelope for us and then a second for us. Now it is near the time of year that policies renew and at first I was not concerned.
I opened the first envelope addressed to us and it contained a refund check for our auto policy. We recently purchased a new vehicle which caused a change in premium. When I received the bill, I paid it. I thought perhaps they were sending a refund of premium for the old car. An odd way to do bookkeeping -- but whatever.
I opened the second envelope addressed to us. Another refund check in the exact amount of the premium change. Hmmm, this just doesn't seem right. I began to read the fine print and realized they cancelled our auto insurance "per our request."
A light bulb came on, I opened the envelope addressed to The Princess. A refund check for the balance of premium after her insurance was cancelled. OH NO! Apparently "the good hands" we were supposed to be in were busy picking it's nose and we drove around for 9 days with no auto insurance.
The Princess is now in Germany and our company does not insure autos in Europe. She had to cancel her policy and find a new company. She has had her own policy since 1999. Because of frequent moving, she does use our address from time to time in order to keep track of her mail. Her auto insurance is not connected with ours in anyway, but they just cancelled all of the auto policies at this address.
Since it was the weekend, the agent was not available to straighten this out. I called the customer service number and after several minutes of hearing how important my call was I finally spoke to someone clearly in another country. Finally transferred to someone else, it seems I was not asking for the right thing and transferred again. This fellow stuck it out with a very angry me and did his best to help. He ended up writing a new policy and we'll have to try to straighten it out today when the local agent opens for business.
Okay, so much frustration. I needed to sew. I had completed the top for the LeMoyne stars (note I sacked the alternate blocks, sashing and cornerstones in favor of simply setting on point) and had it layered. I set up the machine for free motion quilting and got ready to go.
The thread broke. I re-threaded, adjusted the tension and the thread broke. Again re-thread, adjust - break. New needle, different bobbin, re-adjust and the thread broke. Okay, I gave up sat in my chair and pouted for the rest of the evening.
Yesterday the sewing machine was in a better mood and I quilted my little heart out. All bound with a sleeve and ready for display. I have another top to quilt today. I will save it for after my insurance company call -- I will need to sew to calm down again.
I know this is a long post, but I just had to vent. If you made it this far, thanks for letting me rant and keep your fingers crossed that I only get junk mail today. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 18, 2006

Have you done your practice today? My mom used to ask me that each and every day when I was taking piano lessons. Why was practicing such torture then? I have been practicing for the last couple of days with such pleasing results. I needed to learn to make a set-in or Y-seam in order to make a LeMoyne star. I did one practice over the weekend using some scraps, but quickly determined I needed more practice. I pulled a couple of fat quarters and a background from my shelves and cut enough fabric to make 20 blocks. I feel pretty darned comfortable with the technique now and have enough blocks to make a top. I ran by the quilt shop this afternoon and picked up fabrics for sashings, setting stones, binding and backing. I've done all of my practice for the feathered star now. I can cut and piece the odd shapes and make set-in seams. Now I have my project for next week all lined up.

Yesterday I also did some practice in baking. I used the King Arthur flour that was recommended by Judy in a post earlier this summer. The difference in this loaf from others I have baked in the past is just amazing. Previous loaves were small, dense and heavy while this rose quite nicely, filling the pan. Of course the aroma in the house was sensational and I had the most delicious toast for my breakfast this morning. I can see it's going to disappear quickly. I don't mind -- who knew practicing could be such fun. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

May Brit recently talked about her Grandma's button box and it brought to mind my mom's button box. It was always in her top dresser drawer with her other sewing supplies. I can easily bring to mind the faint smell when it was opened.

In my little girl eyes, this box was filled with shiny treasures to take out, fiddle with, arrange, and then put back. Now I see that it is really filled with memories. There are buttons from dresses my grandma made that I have long since out grown. There is a lone button from a favorite green suit Mom wore in the 60's. The pale pink yarn holds a lock of my baby hair (a treasure to Mom since I refused to grow a measurable amount of hair until nearly the age of 3) the darker pink yarn holds a lock of hair from The Princess at about the same age. Some buttons are probably just extras to have on hand in the event of a button emergency. There are a couple of baby teeth, even an unexplainable half an eraser.

I loved to through that box when I was young ... and I still do now. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about wanting to be able to bake a good loaf of bread. Finn directed me to Sunshine Quilts where Judy gave a recommendation of the flour she uses in her bread. I know my local supermarket does not carry this brand, so I immediately found the website and placed an order there.
The website just had so much to offer besides flour. I had a lot of fun looking around. My order arrived pretty darned quick considering it had to come all the way across the country. Now I am ready to take a new stab at baking bread. Today and tomorrow are already filled with chores and errands, but Thursday morning I hope to fill the house with the delicious smell of fresh baked bread. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Feather In My Cap. Thanks to the suggestion from Ann I made 3 more practice blocks and came up with this top. I had just enough of the background fabric without a smidgen extra. Now a quick trip to the quilt shop to purchase a piece for the back and I'll be on my way to completing this project.
The top I really want to make has a LeMoyne star in the center. I'm on to practicing that block now. So far so good. The problems I had with my first attempt had much to do with poor cutting and not a problem with the Y-seam. I'm going to cut again - accurately this time- and stitch up a few more before I begin the next feathered star top.
I plan on giving this as a thank-you gift. The Princess is really Ssgt. Princess, USAF and was recently transfered to Germany. She has moved into a townhouse about 20 minutes from her base and has met a gem of a neighbor. She(why do I keep forgetting to ask her name?) has given help in translating the circuit breaker box, directions around the village, where to get fresh flowers. The list goes on.... she has just been a kind and helpful presence and I think she needs presents *s*

My last post showed a photo of my tomato crop. Marcie asked to see the whole quilt. Here it is and the story behind it. I go to a weekly class at my local quilt shop with the dearest teacher anyone could hope for. Each year at Christmas, she gives each of her students a little quilt that she has made. I just love these little quilts and have them about the house. This one stays on the kitchen counter next to the coffee pot with the sugar and creamer sitting on it. (We don't use sugar or cream, but the little containers just look so doggone cute there.) It is small, the squares are 1" finished pieces. Can you imagine, she makes about 40 little quilts as gifts each year. I feel pretty lucky to be the recipient of these little cuties.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Crop Is In! I was just about to settle in for the evening, when I took a peek out to the backyard and saw something red looking back at me from the tomato patch. Could it be? Yes, three of the cutest little grape tomatoes just waiting to be picked. They lasted just long enough to pose for a photo ..... then we ate 'em. Can hardly wait for the other plants to start producing. We have just the one cherry plant, one Early Girl, four Beefsteak, and another one that I can't remember it's variety. Time to start thinking of all the tomato recipes I can use them in. Yummy.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 11, 2006

These are a few of my favorite things .... I got that song from The Sound of Music stuck in my head the other day. It made me begin to think about my own favorite things. The list could grow to be quite lengthy, if I think about it too long. I decided to narrow it down to one favorite that has come to me through someone special in my life.
This is a wooden tulip painted by The Princess at about the age of 6. Decorative and tole painting was quite popular at the time and I was taking my own unskilled stab at it (no classes were available where we lived.) Of course The Princess wanted to have a go at it, too.
She picked her own wood piece at the local craft store and took complete creative control of her work. There was no sanding before painting nor would she allow a sealer to be applied to protect her work. Notice that the "e" in Love has fallen to the second line ... a hallmark of her early creative work.
This flower has found it's home next the kitchen sink in every home we have lived for the last 20 years. Fresh flower bouquets come and go, but this tulip remains. Reminding me of the chubby paint stained hands of a determined little girl and all of the Lov
e she painted into her work. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I have been talking with Darlene about English paper piecing and wanted to post some photos of my projects. I did the first one in 2001 using freezer paper for my templates. I did the basting right through the paper but then all the basting had to be pulled out to complete the quilt. I fell in love with the technique because of its portability. My dad was very ill and I was going back and forth to his home quite often. I could carry the whole project in one baggie. The hexs are 3/4", it's all in brushed cottons and a machine never touched this quilt -- pieced, appliqued, quilted and bound all by hand. Of course, I don't remember which book I found the pattern in.

The next is from a pattern from Paper Pieces called Star Bouquet. It was a class I took at a retreat that I didn't want to lug my sewing machine to. It is also in all brushed cottons. I did free-motion quilting and attatched the binding on the machine.

For my current project, I am using 1/2" hexs also from Paper Pieces. They are die cut from a nice weight of card stock. All of my basting is done on the back and won't have to be removed to finish the quilt. I don't have a pattern for this project. I am trying to recreate an antique quilt from a photo in a book.

I have been basting those little hexs since the beginning of this year -- somewhere between 4500 and 6000 so far. I have a good system going and I enjoy the process very much. I did have to take a break and piece a couple of stars together to get an idea of what it may look like when complete. I'll keep posting photos as I make progress.
I'm going to blame it on the full moon. I had every intention of making big progress on my feathered star blocks yesterday afternoon. I couldn't line up pieces to save my life. After unsewing the same piece multiple times, I just gave up. I put in a dvd and worked on English paper piecing instead. I wasn't even able to get a good photo of the moon. Here's to a more successful quilting day today.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Have you even seen someone have that "Deer in the headlights" look? Yesterday I posted how Andy and I came to meet. I'm sure he didn't remember the date. It's not something I would expect he would. But then I asked him if he knew what day tomorrow (August 8) is?
He gave me the "look" and was probably wondering why is that she remembers every little thing and was he supposed to be out shopping for a gift?
August 8th, 1980 is the day he saw our daughter(The Princess) for the first time. When she was born he was serving in Okinawa Japan and didn't return home until she was just a few days short of 4 months old. In this photo, she was about 3 weeks old. You can see that he really carried it around. It's a little blurry, but that tear at the top edge tells so much about how much he looked at and shared this picture. It's one of my favorites for that reason.
As I said yesterday, he's a great dad. It's a joy to watch their relationship. She has grown in a fine young woman and we are so proud.

This is the project I worked on yesterday. An English paper piecing project. After the points are all on, a round of neutral goes on, followed by a round of black. The stars will be joined by diamonds constructed with the hexagons as well. This will be an ongoing, long time project. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 07, 2006

August 7, 1978 - The Luckiest Day Of My Life. High school was over, I had moved with my mom about 90 miles from my home town, about to start junior college, I needed a job that was flexible in scheduling around school. Enter McDonalds. A new one had opened early in the summer in the next town and they were hiring.
I interviewed, was hired and given the lovely green uniform you see here ( I still have it -- it really is that color) and given a start day of August 7. Because this was not where I grew up, I didn't know a single person. I was pretty nervous about how it was going to go. At one time I knew exactly how many pounds of french fries I cooked that day -- I just know I was tired and greasy when I got home.
I didn't really meet anyone that day, only a couple of people spoke to me, but I was seen. A boy who worked the nightshift, where I would ultimately end up after training, came in to pick up his pay check and saw me toiling at the fry vat. That boy is now my husband. I don't remember seeing him that day, but I remember the first time I did. My heart made a little jump -- I guess I should have just known right then.
We learned a lot working there - how to make proper change, how to work as team, providing good customer service. We love the line, "Time to lean; time to clean." I made friends that I still have today. We just plain had fun working there.
28 years later, I'm still reaping benefits from that job. McMinimum wage has long been spent, the uniform doesn't fit any more, but I have the best husband a girl could as for. He's smart, funny, hard-working, a great dad, cute (he'd say 'ruggedly handsome') my best friend. When I see him walk by, my heart still gives that little jump. Thanks McDonalds, you're my kind of place. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Just checking in with a quick update. With cooler temps, my attention is turning outside to the long neglected flower beds. A little deadheading here and there along with a quick weed removed in strategic places should make it look better in short order. I am pleased to report that I may get tomatoes this year. I had serious doubts for a while. It seems by this time of year usually I am wondering why I put in so many tomato plants. This year, they just got off to a slow growing start, add to that unusually hot days early in the summer and the crop looked doomed. I spotted an little pink dot on the cherry tomato plant and I see green blobs here and there on the other plants. Stayed tuned, I will probably be begging for tomato ideas before you know it.
On the quilting front, I am working on my extra feathered star practice blocks. Those little feathers take a long time when you are making for multiple blocks. Photos should be forthcoming. Hope everyone is having a nice weekend.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Just a little blogkeeping for a Friday morning.

I wanted to answer a couple of questions that have come up. The first quilt I made was in spring of 1997 and a second in winter of 1998-99. I began quilting in earnest and was competely hooked by fall of '99. I was no longer working outside the home, my husband had a major career change and was working long hours, our daughter left home earlier in the year to begin her adult life and I wanted (needed) something to busy my hands. I reluctantly signed up for a class at a local shop, hit the ground running, and haven't looked back.

On baking bread. I want to be able to make a loaf of bread that would be nice for a sandwich or even a piece of toast. Any advice or tips would be appreciated. My bread is tasty, to be sure, but it comes out dense. Really, really dense and heavy. I even took a class for that. Inspired by my success in taking a quilting class, I figured what could it hurt? It didn't hurt, I got some nice recipes, but results are no better than before.
This is a photo of the churn dash quilt that is seen peeking out from behind the feathered star in an earlier post. We have high ceilings, which mean BIG walls, so many of my larger quilts have sleeves and go into rotation as wallhangings as well as going on beds or cuddling on the couch. Because we also have skylights, they rotate fairly often in order to be spared from sunlight damage. My home is ever changing and evolving. It's fun for me to find new ways to display things.

Time to get busy with regular housekeeping so I'll have time to sew later today.

I almost forgot about the TV trays. They just came in so handy for many things besides dining in front of the television. Mom used to load one up with Dippity-Do and pincurls, plop me on the stool and curl my hair to within an inch if it's life while she watched Dodger Game on Saturday afternoon. Then she put me under the hooded drier until my ears were crimson color -- that's how she knew I was done *s* I'm pretty sure if my head were shaved today, you would be able to see the scarring from those pincurls scraping my scalp in the name of fresh curls for Sunday School.

Another thing, does anyone remember Jiffy Pop popcorn, the space-age precursor to microwave popcorn? I love popcorn -- but ....

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I'm a simple girl. I was raised during the time that convenience was all the rage. It seemed like every new product was made to reduce time spent on a chore or task. Women were moving into the work-force and needed to be able to complete their work at home as quickly and efficiently as possible. They were willing to try most anything that would reduce their workload.

Remember TV Dinners? A meal where the four food groups were represented pleasingly in an compartmented aluminum tray. After about 45 minutes in the oven, a each member of the family could enjoy the dinner of his or her choice. My mom served us some of those TV Dinners; I liked to eat all of one compartment before moving on to the next. But a much more delicious and nutritious meal can be made in far less time, right on the stove top.

Whenever a commercial came on television touting Astronuats use (insert product name here). We all wanted to have it. What child of the 60's didn't want to be like the Astronauts? Who were we kidding? Was powdery, clumpy, watery Tang easier or tastier that a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice?

We are so blessed in this day and age to be able to pick and choose the conveniences that are available. I don't want to go back to washing clothes in a tub with washboard. I am thankful for my washing machine each and every time I use it. However, I can bake a cake from scratch with results more pleasing than a cake from a mix. Usually I have all of the ingredients right in the house -- no need to run to the store. I pick up butter from my local dairy case, but it sure is fun to make my own for special occasions. Making butter with children is a fun activity -- they are just amazed. I love my vacuum cleaner (we call it the Gross-i-tron 3000. It is bagless so you can see all the crud being picked up before your very eyes. Gross *s*) I don't want to go back to rolling up the carpets, hanging them on the fence, and beating all the dirt out of them.
I wish I could make a decent loaf of bread. I keep trying and the process is fun, but it's a good thing I can get good bread right in my market.

The picture is of a mural painted above our bed. We live in an area where earthquakes can be of concern. We could have purchased something to hang on that vast expanse of wall, but I didn't want that dangling over my head in the event of a tembler. I found this stitchery pattern by Mulberry Folkart, projected it on the wall, traced it out in chalk and painted away a couple of afternoons.

Simple Pleasures Are Life's Treasures and I am A Simple Girl.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

When I started reading quilt blogs at the beginning of the year, there was a lot of talk about completing UFO's, using up the stash, and scrap management. It got me to thinking about the status of my own work and fabrics on hand. I made a list of UFO's and set about getting them complete in the new year. I finished a couple - then promptly misplaced the list.

I then turned my attention to using up some of the fabrics that I have on hand. While I don't think I have an extensive stash, I have learned that if a fabric sits there long enough I can begin to resent it. Start to think it is not worthy of going into a quilt as my taste is ever evolving. I didn't want my fabrics to end up in the guild donation pile, I want to make quilts. I found the pattern for Prairie Star and made this quilt using only scraps. Even the border is pieced using scraps. It didn't make a dent.
I then took my scrap basket, dumped it on the floor, and sorted all the pieces into piles by color. I found this pattern at Only the border didn't come from the scrap basket, but it was on the shelf.

After making two quilt tops, I was still faced with this. It didn't seem to be getting smaller at all.

So I took it all to the ironing board, pressed it neatly, and cut it into 2 1/2" strips and ended up with this.

I turned once again to my old friend, the internet, and found another free pattern at I did change the light section to use the 2 1/2" squares instead of larger pieces like the pattern called for just so I could use up my strips. (I love how the squares make the photo look pixelated.)
Well, that managed to whittle down my scrap basket to a manageable amount to have on hand for applique projects .... then I remembered the secondary scrap basket that is right under my sewing machine table *sigh* Now the talk has turned to The Great Fabric Depression of August 2006. I should be joining in and I might even make a half-hearted attempt. Heck, I made it through the first day without even breaking a sweat. Good luck to you all.