Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

Friday was a work holiday, so after some quality sleeping-in time, I got my house cleaned and my other "chores" done--now I have the rest of the holiday weekend to look forward to.  We're going to some friends' house for a 4th of July barbecue, swimming, and fireworks.  I'm bringing dessert.  Want to see what it is?

Strawberries and cream cake.  This isn't MY photo, but I hope mine turns out looking just as good!  I'm adding blueberries along with the strawberries on top.  The cake was baked and cooled last night.  Now I just need to get off the computer and make the frosting.  I hope you have a fun-filled holiday!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Getting Into Summer . . .

It's been super hot here in Sacramento this past week--over 100 degrees a couple days and not much cooling down at night.  But I think we've settled back to the norm for this time of the year, which means temperatures in the 90s during the day but cooling off a bit with the Delta breeze at night (the breeze comes up the delta from the San Francisco Bay and along the rivers that lead to Sacramento).  And wouldn't you know it?  Just when we're at our hottest, golf's U.S. Senior Open tournament comes to town--welcome golfers!  I haven't been following it, but I gather the final round was today, so I guess the Goodyear Blimp will fly away now.   I just feel sorry for the golfers and spectators who had to endure this heat wave.

Hubby's 60th birthday is tomorrow, and we're having a family party at a friend's house.  I'm bringing the side dishes, so at least part of the weekend was spent at the Farmers' Market, grocery stores, and my own little kitchen.  I have a batch of beans going in the crockpot in the morning before work, and I'll bake up a pan of cornbread, but otherwise I'm ready.

On the quilting front, I've been slowly quilting a chicken quilt.  I made the quilt top several years ago from, if I remember correctly, a Buggy Barn pattern--it's one of those quilts where you stack up the fat quarters, cut, and then swap pieces around.  I made this one using red, black, yellow, and cream, and while I really like it a lot, I'm just not sure where a chicken quilt belongs in my home, so I've delayed quilting it.  But I'm sure I'll find a place for it.  I'm kind of thinking it's summery looking, so maybe I'll hang it in my entryway after the 4th of July quilt comes down--assuming I get it done by then, of course.

I thought I'd let you know that I found someone who was willing to part with their Christmas Memories booklets that I posted about last time--I'm just waiting for them to arrive in my mailbox.  Here's what the quilt looks like--the one I really want to make from the booklets:

I've seen a version posted online where the quilter didn't do the appliqued border (just used a nice striped fabric) and I think it's almost as pretty, but we'll see how it goes once I get to that point. I just love Blackbird Designs books, but for some reason, I don't seem to buy them when they first come out; it's always AFTER they're out of print that I find I need them.  I remember when Women of Grace and Charm came out, I looked at it and thought about getting it but didn't; now it's not really available anymore unless you want to pay a small fortune, and I don't, but maybe I'll come across it someday, somewhere.

I took time out from food shopping and cooking tpday to make a quick trip to a vintage/antique faire, of sorts.  There weren't too many vendors but the event was put on by an antique-mall type of shop that I hadn't been in before, so between one thing and another, I came home with a couple of finds.  Outside in the back of the store, I found a beautiful blue casserole dish made by Halls for Montgomery Wards--I've admired them for some time but I hadn't come across one in my price range until now.  I also found two "project" pieces--an old decorative wooden two shelf unit - the kind that used to be found in bathrooms or other small spaces - and a long glass-fronted cabinet door.  Yes, just the door.  No idea what I'll do with it, but it has promise.  I think I'll probably chalk paint the shelf.

Lately I've been fantasizing about re-doing older small pieces of luggage and perhaps selling some of them at some point, so I've been "collecting" train/cosmetic cases and the smallest size of suitcases.  I told myself I need to stop buying any more until I actually start doing something with them, but I came across one today that I couldn't pass up.  It looks like this one--

It still has the key, and the inside looks almost like new, with an adjustable mirror and a plastic tray that sits in the top part.  Perfect for a sewing case, right?  And just $15.  I didn't even try to negotiate a lower price!  If you look at my Pinterest board called "Train/Cosmetic Case Wizardry" you'll see I've been "collecting" ideas.

I hope you've had a good week and are looking forward to a happy 4th of July.  I'll be back again . . . hopefully soon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In Search Of . . .

I'm looking for this set of four booklets by Blackbird Designs called Christmas Memories to buy or borrow--it takes all four to make the quilt.  Please email me if you know where I can find them.  Thanks!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Where Have You Been?

I was reading a blog the other day--actually I was looking at something on Pinterest and linked over to a blog to see how the woman had repurposed something--and I wondered what she had done more recently.  Nothing, it seems.  Her last post was MONTHS ago, and that post came out of the blue after another absence of months.  And I wondered whether something terrible had happened to her.  And then I thought about the fact that I hadn't posted anything FOREVER either.  It occurred to me that there are some of you who are wondering whether I've had a devastating illness or death even.  Nope!  Just lazy.  Or busy.  Or something.  It's funny how our priorities change over time.

I'm still working out, dieting, and trying to lose weight.  I stopped doing CrossFit in December because our "class" had dwindled down to two and I didn't feel our trainer was all that interested anymore.  I tried another program in January called Kaia Fit--it's similar to CrossFit or boot camp but it's just for women--and I strained my Achilles on the third evening.  So I had to wear a walking boot for seven weeks.  Between the holidays and lack of exercise, I found by spring I had gained a little bit of the weight back, so I started exercising on my own, at home, around April, and I got back to really watching what I eat, so I think I'm about where I was last year at this time.  My Achilles still hurts a bit and I have shoulder problems, so I'm not sure a gym workout is right for me anymore.  I've purchased a FitBit to track my activity and I log my food on My Fitness Pal--I think both are excellent tools for anyone out there trying to do what I'm doing.  There are apps for my smart phone too.

Speaking of which, I was probably the last person in the world to get a cell phone.  I hate being on the phone and I didn't really feel I needed one.  When the Wild Child was pregnant, she thought it might be important to get in touch with me at some point, so she bought me a used cell phone and added me to her plan.  That phone was okay for emergencies, but it was damaged and didn't hold a charge, so she recently upgraded to a new phone and passed on her older phone to me--and it works great.  I still don't like to talk on the phone, but I DO like to message.  A few weeks ago, Hubby and I traveled to Portland (where the Wild Child, significant other, and my grandson now live) and being able to use a GPS/map program made a big difference in traveling.  So I've finally been dragged kicking and screaming into the current century, and I've found it's not so bad after all.

That also brings me to Facebook.  For years I didn't "do" Facebook because I didn't think quick "snips" or brief comments on life were very meaningful--not like writing and reading blogs.  I still believe that but I finally succumbed and started a Facebook page.  I don't write a whole lot on it though but now and then I post something.  You know:  quick "snips" and brief comments.  If you'd like to "friend" me to make sure I'm still alive, leave me a comment here and I'll add you to my friends list--be sure to give me your full name or link to your Facebook page so I can find you.

When Hubby and I were in Portland, we visited Hippo Hardware and I brought home an old window.  Recently I started decorating for the summer patriotic holidays.  I saw this idea on Pinterest, so I can't take credit, but I purchased a cotton flag and coffee dyed it; then I put it behind my "new" window on the fireplace mantle.

Here are a few of my other recent patriotic projects--most copied from or inspired by Pinterest; in fact, you can access my Pinterest boards HERE to see what's inspiring me.

And yes, I'm still quilting.  I finally finished appliqueing the border of my Country Houses quilt--it's what I worked on at the applique retreat I mentioned in my last post.  I don't think I have a photo of it to share though.  But it still needs to be quilted, so maybe I can share that next time I pop up with a post.

Today is Father's Day and we have a couple of new fathers in our family to celebrate, so I'd better get off the computer and get the festivities under way.  It's also the first day of summer--happy summer everyone!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What Am I Doing?

I know, I know--it's been a long time.  And as usual, I can't stay and chat right now, but things are going well, and the grandbabies are great!  In fact, we plan to visit the Wild Child and Grandson #1 in the next month.  In the meantime, though, I'm doing this:

And BOY could I use a retreat!  It's been a long time!  Are any of you going, by any chance?  (If any of you semi-locals didn't know about this applique retreat and are interested in attending, I think there are a couple of spots left; or there were the last I heard--click HERE for Kit-n-Kabodle's Facebook page.)

I'll try to be better and tell you about it after we get home--maybe share some photos too!

I hope you're all doing well.  We'll need to settle in for a longer visit soon.  Happy stitching!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Happy Superbowl Sunday!

I see it's been a few months since I posted.  A friend recently mentioned my blog and so I thought I should check in to see where I'd left off.  Yes, there have been more changes in my life - because that's how life is, right?

In December I quit CrossFit because there were only two of us left in our class group and the trainer seemed less interested in training us.  I really enjoyed CrossFit, but at that point, I decided maybe I could better use that money doing something different.  So in late December, I came across Kaia Fit--kind of like a CrossFit or boot camp exercise program for women but with a diet and nutrition component and a lot of support via several Facebook groups both public and private.  The first session, a six-week session beginning on the first Monday in January, was called BRIK and we were to work out on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, with a flow/yoga session on Friday evenings, and an hour long walk/run at the crack of dawn (7 a.m.) on Saturdays.  The second or third evening of the program, I strained my Achilles tendon doing sprints as part of a beginning physical assessment, and I've been wearing a walking boot ever since.  ARGH!  Needless to say, I haven't been able to participate in Kaia Fit this session, but I think it's a really good program, so I'd like to try it again one of these days--I just need to remember that I don't have the body of a 25 year old anymore so I need to be a little easier on myself.

The Wild Child is getting ready to move to Portland.  She, baby Roman, and I took a few days to travel there to look into renting a place for her little family, but without jobs in place for her and her significant other, we weren't able to find anything.  But we were able to get more familiar with the city, take a look at possible areas for them, and look into the public transit system.  The plan now is that we will keep the Drooling Dog for them for a few months while they move into some type of residential hotel in the Portland area and look for work.  The Wild Child's ultimate career path will hopefully take her into publishing, but for now, she'll probably keep waitressing and/or bartending, an occupation that put her through college and one where she can work evenings while her significant other works days--or vice versa.  Little Roman, who is not quite so little, is now over three months old and is a sweet little guy.  As you can see here, he's all dressed up and ready for Superbowl Sunday.

In early January, Soccer Son and his Lovely Wife had a baby girl, Mia, so now we are the proud grandparents of two new babies!  We haven't had a chance to get to know Miss Mia very well yet as Hubby had a nasty stomach bug during the first few weeks and we wanted to make sure we weren't going to pass anything on to this precious little girl.  She's a real cutie, though!

On the quilting front, I've mostly been working on a few different small projects, along with the larger Grandma's Kitchen applique quilt I talked about before.  Next weekend is a baby shower for my best friend's daughter, and I'm working on something for her too.  Oh, and I made a baby quilt for little Mia, but I haven't downloaded photos from my camera for awhile--I'll share a photo when I do.

I saw someone posted on Facebook that they had taken down the last of their Christmas decorations--I sure wish I could say the same!  This has been such a busy month, I still have a few things left to pack away.  All of the trees are down and most of the Santas and such, but I've barely touched any of the decorative plates and odds and ends in the kitchen, so that remains to be done, and I have no idea when I'll find time to get to that.

What are you doing for Superbowl Sunday?  I don't have any particular interest in either team, but I'll probably turn the game on while I work on the baby quilt--at least the commercials are usually pretty entertaining!  Whatever you spend the remainder of the weekend doing, I wish you joy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Little Update . . .

I've been away for the last week, spending time with the Wild Child in Eureka as she gave birth to my first grandchild, little Roman.  Or not so little, actually--8 pounds 4 ounces.  I made the almost 6 hour drive to Eureka, thinking all the way that I would be too late to witness his birth, but I needn't have worried at all because I was there in the birthing room for 25 hours before that happened!  Poor Wild Child, it was a long, hard labor and delivery, but the doctors, midwives, and nurses were terrific and everyone was fine in the end. So Roman arrived on October 30th, just before 8 p.m., and he was dressed up in his first Halloween costume the next day.

Due to one thing and another, I haven't managed to do very much quilting, but while I was gone, I did manage to get the binding on a Halloween quilt . . . just a couple days after Halloween!  I'll take a photo and show you just as soon as I have a chance.  In the meantime, I can share with you two of the Country Homecoming quilts--unlike me, these ladies have been able to get their borders done, and I know you'll enjoy seeing them.

First is Tina's quilt top--

It's so pretty it makes me doubly anxious to get going on mine!  And I know you'll enjoy Nancie Anne's quilt top too.  Just click on her name and it will take you to her blog post.

I never did get photos of my Halloween decorations to share this year, and now it's time to take them down.  But I'll leave the fall decorations in place for another few weeks, and maybe I can get a photo or two to post soon.  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Are You Going?

I'm taking the day off work tomorrow and heading out in the morning for a couple hour drive to Santa Clara, where I'll be taking a class at the Pacific International Quilt Festival.  Will you be going to the show this weekend, by any chance?  It's been several years since I've been to this one put on by Mancuso, and it's huge, with classes each day, tons of eye candy in the form of quilts, and a whole lot of vendors.

The last time I went to this show, I took an applique class and the only chance I had to visit the main rooms was spent zooming around to the various vendors, looking for materials for the class during our lunch break with almost no time to admire the quilts.  I think, if I remember correctly, our class was a two-day class, too, and we were filmed for Simply Quilts--I think this was near the end of Alex Anderson's TV series.  I've been told I show up in the episode, although I've never seen it!

Anyway, this time I'm taking just a half day class that's directed primarily toward learning a technique--needle felting using wool roving on wool applique.  And we're making sheep.  Here's a photo of the teacher's finished project--

Oh, yeah, and there's embroidery involved too--it looks like quite a bit, right?  I've never done needle felting and always wanted to try it, so this is my chance to learn.  If you'd like to see a little more of this process and the thought behind it, check out Debora Konchinsky's blog--she's the instructor.  Just click HERE.

I've booked myself a room and I'm looking forward to an early evening spent in solitary splendor, with a good book, a stitchery project to work on if I feel like it, and a new pair of jammies.  On Saturday, I'll head back to the show and hopefully I'll get to spend more time viewing the quilts than I did the last time I went.  And, of course, I'll take a little time to check out the vendors--after all, I'll have all day before I hop back in the car and head home.  Maybe I'll see you?

Show and Tell

I've pretty much finished the fall/Halloween decorating, but along the way, I did a little crafting too, and I thought I'd share my ideas and efforts with you--these really are super simple to make, so I hope they will spark a little creative interest in you too.

 Here's a little bling pumpkin for those of you who prefer your decorations to be a little bit elegant.  I came across the adhesive trim in the $1.50 bins at Michael's--it took a little over one roll to decorate a medium-sized pumpkin.  The trim comes with a peel off backing, so I just cut strips to length, and then I peeled and stuck each strip on the pumpkin.  I added a sparkly black ribbon to the stem end.

 My friend Imelda gets credit for this next idea.  Another friend of ours moved last year and asked Imelda if she wanted a small artificial Christmas tree she didn't want to pack across country; Imelda said yes, she would indeed like the tree.  A couple weeks ago, Imelda pulled out a can of matte black spray paint and sprayed her tree black.  And oftentimes, whatever Imelda does, I end up copying.  A trip to Michael's with a 50% off coupon netted me a small Christmas tree, and a rummage through the garage turned up a can of matte black spray paint.  After that, I picked up some of the scrap book type Halloween trims, also at Michael's and on clearance right now, and crafted up a few paper ornaments.  A bracelet of skulls and cross bones was deconstructed and restrung, and then the pieces were tied to the tree branches.  And I found a bat for a tree topper.

I've always wanted to try a gourd project, so when I made a trip out to a country farm stand for this year's pumpkins, I picked up a couple of gourds.  Let me tell you, gourds are NOT the quick and easy project that I mentioned at the beginning of this post because they take some soaking and scrubbing, but it's really not that terrible either.  I gave Imelda a gourd and the two of us got together one evening and did a little painting.  Have you ever tole painted?  I haven't but my friend has, so she helped me out with mine by showing me a couple paint techniques.  I still want to paint a second gourd to look like a pumpkin, but I thought I'd make a black cat for the first one--I found a picture of a similar gourd on the internet and the idea appealed to me.  We used painted wool for the ears.


Remember I told you about my sister-in-law's decorated pumpkins?  At that farm stand I visited, I picked up a couple pumpkins for friends and decorated them.  Imelda (yes, her again!) hostessed our recent stitchery gathering, so I decorated a pumpkin for her as a hostess gift.

I also made one for my other sister-in-law . . .

and my good friend Lisa to thank them both for all they did to help with the Wild Child's baby shower last month--I still need to post some photos from that party and tell you about it, but that's a post for another day.

Finally, I decorated a pumpkin for myself.  All of the pine cones that look like roses that I used in decorating were found on my lunch time walks.

If you'd like to decorate a pumpkin, scroll down a couple posts to the link to Mumzie's blog--there are instructions there about how to prepare the pumpkins and how to add the decorations.

Happy creating!