Sunday, January 31, 2010

Branching out - that's the thing that has been happening for us this weekend. On the one hand, Hubby and I are trying to explore in larger and larger circles from our home. On the other hand, we seem to be constantly looking for the things that are familiar and comfortable.
We hit the jackpot today by driving to Connecticut to go to Costco. Oh sure, there are warehouse stores nearby. But they feature brands we have never heard of, lack basic customer service, and could benefit from a good sweeping.
It felt so good to wander up and down the wide, well-lit aisles. Our basket brimmed with pantry staples and cleaning supplies. Of course, no trip to Costco would be complete without the purchase of a ginormous package of toilet tissue. We even found a Starbucks nearby. Nothing like a nice hot beverage on cold day to perk up the long drive home.
Yesterday I spent the day at the quilt shop in a class with Jackie Paton. Who would have thought that I could do this?
Using Jackie's drawing, we learned how to cut our own stencil from freezer paper. Wielding a palette knife, we learned how to mix colors from oil paint sticks and stencil right on the fabric. After at least one more day of drying, I can heat set the paint on my panel with an iron. It will become the center of a wall hanging. Fun, huh? I would have never believed I could do something like this.
On the kitchen front, we are in a bit of limbo right now. The counter top and new lighting has been installed. The appliances are back in place. But we are not quite satisfied with the finish on the floor. It should be MUCH closer in color to the existing wood floor in the living and dining rooms. While we wait for a resolution (which will most likely be sand and start again) we are waiting to put everything away.Still it is so nice to cook real meals. And clean up is a breeze - no more washing dishes in the little bathroom sink. The first official dinner was Mickey Mouse waffles and bacon. We love breakfast for dinner, how about you?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One of the things I love about quilting is it is a way to keep my hands busy, which in turn keeps my mind busy. This week I have been working hard at keeping my hands and mind busy. First I loaded a quilt for quilting. Not too much quilting was done as the thread broke a couple of times. I have finally learned it is best for me just to walk away when that happens. It keeps the frustration level to a minimum. Sometimes the thread or the machine is just cranky and everything works just fine after a day or two of rest. I'll give it another go today.
In the meantime, I've begun putting together the large hexagon diamonds.
It will take a lot of stitching to get this to a queen-sized quilt. But I don't mind one bit - I just love it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Words are hardly sufficient for the gratitude that Hubby and I have for all the wonderful messages we have received over the last few days. Over one hundred emails have poured in from around the world with words of encouragement and sympathy at the loss of our dear Harper. I don't have the wherewithal to reply to each of you individually, but know that every heartfelt word was read and appreciated.
Our hearts are heavy with sadness for ourselves but still there is solace in the knowledge that there was no suffering. She knew her time to leave us had come and simply went to sleep. The paw print she left on our hearts can never be filled. And we would never trade the joys experienced by having her in our lives to alleviate this pain. The memories of all the joys she brought to us are invaluable. And maybe someday the tightness in our hearts will ease, leaving room for some new paws to leave their imprint.

Friday, January 22, 2010

March 7, 1997 - January 22, 2010
Harper Dorothy Louise

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What's this? Some of you may recall, once upon a time, this blog's focus was mainly on quilting. In the last year there has been precious little quilting to share. This week of floor installation provided the perfect opportunity to spend some time reacquainting myself with my sewing machine.
I packed up my supplies and headed out to the local quilt shop for their new, open sew sessions. You may remember these blocks, pieced for me by a quilting pal, The Little Runner. On my first outing, I was able to piece the blocks into a top. The second trip yielded the four borders (two pieced and 2 plain) for one finished quilt top.
Not only was I thrilled to have a top ready to quilt, but I was nearly giddy as I went out in the yard to find a spot to photograph it. I always loved putting a quilt up on the fence or clothesline and that thrill has not diminished one bit with a new backdrop of snow and bare branches.
Yeah for quilting and yeah for fun, new places to take pictures of the quilts!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Poking my head out from the sawdust for a quick update. The kitchen is coming along quite nicely. Now I say that because at this point we are ahead of our projected schedule. The floor went in this week - a dusty, smelly process that chased us to a hotel.
The call came today that the counter tops are ready - over a week before they were due. They will be here Saturday to get them installed. Monday morning will be all the finishing touches - return the appliances, hook up the plumbing and add new lighting over the island. The final bit will be the hardware for the cabinets which hasn't arrived. I don't mind waiting for that because I'll be busy putting away and clearing the dust that has permeated the entire house.
In the meantime I keep working on those hexagons.
This is my little basting basket of pieces to connect the diamonds together. Soon I hope to have some actual progress of the top to share. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 15, 2010

All's quiet on the kitchen front - for today, anyway. Here's a look at how things looked at the end of Day 4.
The template has been made for the counter tops. Now we wait for that to be made and delivered in about 2 weeks. The flooring was delivered yesterday in the afternoon.
After a weekend of getting used to being with us, they will begin installation on Monday.
I spent the week trying to stay out of the way (and protect myself from the din) by stitching hexagons.
My plan is to now begin assembling them into a top. I have 31 diamonds. I think I'll want around 100 or so. I hope to end up with a queen-sized quilt. With at least another week of kitchen chaos and snow in the forecast, I should make a pretty good run at getting these together.

p.s. Please remember to check your reply status. I try very hard to respond to comments, particularly if a question is posed. If your settings are for 'no-reply' there's nothing I can do.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I think we've passed the point of no return.
Day 1 of kitchen renovation is now in the record books. I still have my sense of humor as I am amused by the paint splotches all around the room.
They are back at it this morning. It's noisy and dusty, but I'm comfortable in my little cave upstairs. Keep your fingers crossed that the cabinets will be delivered this afternoon.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The coming week will find Hubby and I in exile - upstairs. We have taken the last two days making our living room look like this.
All cupboards, drawers and pantry have been emptied in the kitchen to make way for the kitchen remodel which will begin first thing tomorrow morning. Remember this? Before too long, we'll finally be able to unpack the last boxes from our move.
The shelves in the laundry room can be used for things that should be stored there instead of cookware and bake ware that won't fit in the kitchen. The cooking utensils will all be in drawers rather than being carted back and forth in a shipping box.
The peninsula that forms one side of the breakfast area - and the cause of some very interesting body contortions will give way to a new island and breakfast bar.See the tape on the floor? That marks where the island will go. Oh and the floor - well it's going away, too. It will be replaced with wood to match the living and dining room. These cabinets will not go to waste. They are moving to the basement which will soon become quilting central. A pretty good birthday present, don't you think?
While the flurry of activity is going on, I'll be upstairs happily quilting. I'm working on turning these blocks into a quilt. I think I've set myself up with a nice space up there - quilting needs, computer, t.v. Everything a girl could need to pass the day while chaos reigns below.
Last night I took the last stitches in the project that was begun on my California trip last month.
A darling reminder of a fun week.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Somebody is turnin' 50 this week . . . . .
The Princess has started the party early!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

I'm just so darned happy! Why, you ask. Because I have finished my first project in the new year. Perhaps it was not such a feat, but it counts as a finish to be sure.
This little baby languished as blocks in the bottom of a basket for over a year. Finally I got it assembled into a top only to make it wait more than month before some simple hand quilting and a binding. I have to say it was worth the wait.
I also have a finish from the old year that I haven't yet shared.
Just before The Princess arrived, I put the last stitches in Christmas Punch, the quilt that Marcie so generously designed and offered on her website. I took some liberties with the border to make it my own. I love that it doesn't scream HoHoHo. Wouldn't it be darling come spring with a bowl of strawberries? Thank you, Marcie. I've got a complete set of her free Christmas designs. I hope she does another in 2010.
I've been taking pictures of things that strike my fancy as I've been out and about exploring. They don't really seem to fall into any blog-worthy category, still I'd like to share them. I've selected two today that were taken while we were sightseeing with The Princess.
The first if from our day at Old Sturbridge Village. We had a great time. It was snowing lightly and there were so few people there it seemed that we had the place to ourselves. This is a close up of some ice and mossy stuff on a fence railing.
Not half bad for a cell phone picture.
The second random offering came from a stop to take pictures at a water spillway. We parked near a cemetery that I drive by regularly. This was the first time I ever noticed the sign.
Seems a little obvious, don't you think? Well, I'm off to take Harper for a walk. With camera in hand, there's no telling what random pictures I'll have for next time. I'm hoping to spot some icicles.

Monday, January 04, 2010

This is a plea to anyone who reads this blog and lives in the San Diego area. One of the things that has helped make our move bearable has been my ability to listen to my favorite morning radio program via the Internet. Today when I logged on, I discovered that Dave, Shelly and Chainsaw (The DSC) are no longer on the air (no need to list the station call letters as it is now dead to me.) I would appreciate if anyone could tell me if they have simply moved to another station in the area. My days will surely be diminished without the likes of 'Voice in the Head,' 'The Dean of American Sports,' or a dose of The Half-Baked, Crack Pot News. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will pop up on another station real soon. If you know anything, please leave a comment or send an email.

*update* Please go to the Bring back Dave, Shelly and Chainsaw Facebook page for information. If you are still local - please attend the Lash Wednesday Rally.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Three days into the new year already and so far it has all been about snow! Take a look for yourself.
We have always said that Harper is a mix of Australian Shepherd and Golden Retriever. We had no idea that she must have a touch of the Husky in her somewhere.
She is positively invigorated by the snow. No walking on cleared paths for this girl. She only wants to go where she can break a new trail. Thank goodness I now have long johns and snow boots.
Doesn't everything just look clean and serene with a fresh coating of snow?
This is the back of one of the churches on the Common from our walk to the post office yesterday morning.
When we got home, I got my first lesson in using the snow throwing machine.
There's a lot of power in that thing. I think I'll stick with using the shovel. Not nearly as many knobs and doodads to contend with.
We are not the only ones around town enjoying the weather. There is a small lake at the main intersection in town. Ice fishing seems to be quite popular there. But those fellas don't spend all their time trying to land a big catch.
This snowman is out on the lake waving at all the passing traffic. In all my dreams, I would have never thought I'd see a snowman built on a lake!