Friday, August 31, 2007

Quilters' Hollow Retreat

IT'S DONE! WOOO-HOOO! I don't think I've ever had a quilt take me so long to make. This one has had me quilting on it for close to two months, and that's not two months of a little bit of quilting here and there--it's two months of quilting nearly every day. Why? What took so long? Darned if I can figure it out! Of course, I took a break for a couple weeks when I started having the problem with thread breakage, but I'm happy to say that either putting the thread in the freezer or giving the Juki a much needed break seems to have worked, because when I got back to quilting on this project, it went just fine.

I've decided to call it Quilters' Hollow Retreat because Quilters' Hollow is the name of my online Thimbleberries group and the small house blocks in the center portion and the star blocks in the border were all swapped blocks made by the group. And what retreat would be complete without a LARGE quilt shop placed in a central location?

So it's no longer "the Monster." And I'll get to sleep under it tonight. Maybe. With temps in the 100s and the A/C going, I might just lay under it for a couple minutes and then decide that's enough, although I did use a very light cotton batting.

The "vacation" days of my loooooong weekend are over, and where did they go? Other than my AAA/errand running day, I've hung around the house and quilted, which is just the way I like it! Tomorrow my husband and I will take a drive up to Auburn as I mentioned in an earlier post and visit a quilt shop and stop for a late lunch. I have another little project that I'm hoping to post a photo of sometime tomorrow, so I guess I'd better get going on it.

Happy Friday night, and a happy Labor Day weekend to those of you in the U.S.!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Starbucks Kind of Day

AAA finally came yesterday, loaded up the van, and drove off at 10:45 a.m., which meant I managed to get on the road to run my errands around 11 a.m., two hours late, as the thermometer was somewhere in the high 80s and climbing. I picked up the mailbox keys and then headed to the nearest Starbucks for a small attitude adjustment. Refreshment and liquid energy in hand, I hopped back in the car and headed to one of our quilt shops in the area, Stitching Station.

Yes, I found a few things I couldn't leave the store without. I know many of you have been eyeing and buying fabric from the Holly Jolly line, and since I couldn't let all of you get ahead of me, I splurged on a jelly roll and a charm pack as well as a fat quarter from another line. I really like the print in that fat quarter and it looked nice with the Holly Jolly fabrics, so I thought I'd get it. Do I know what I'll do with these? Nope! I have visions of the braid quilts that Sharon has been making as well as an idea for a log cabin top, but whether I'll finally settle on either of the projects is a mystery right now since I have a lot of other projects to work on this weekend. I suspect I'll need to get a bit more of this fabric depending on what I finally decide, but at least this is a start!

When I wandered over to the pattern section in the store, it was quite a treat to see patterns by bloggers I "know." I couldn't pass up Elizabeth/Late Bloomer's cute Halloween applique pattern, although I can't imagine finding the time to get to it this year. But you never know! It was just too cute to not buy! And although I didn't buy any of her patterns, I saw several of Little Miss Primitives' patterns for her Raggedy Old Annie dolls. Cute patterns, but I have to keep stopping myself from wandering into other crafty areas for right now--I have too many quilt projects in progress and it's waaay too easy to get distracted! These are two fairly new designers whose patterns I haven't seen very often in shops, so it's fun to see them getting more exposure.

After the quilt shop, I stopped at Blockbuster for some DVDs to watch while I work on some applique in the next few days. I somehow managed to come home with SIX! I really was only going to rent four, but when I went to the register, I was told I could get two free older movies, so I picked up the second and third Harry Potter movies. I think I'm probably one of the last people on the planet who hasn't been totally immersed in Harry Potter, but believe it or not, I've only seen the first movie and I haven't read any of the books. So now I have plenty of DVDs to entertain me while I do hand work.

After that, the grocery store, which took a long time and cost a lot of money, but I rewarded myself with yet another Starbucks iced latte. If not for me, I'm sure Starbucks would go under. Oddly enough, I was flipping through channels last night and saw that Biography had a story on Starbucks, so I watched that. For some, it's Harry Potter; for me, it's Starbucks! I'm a total groupie! I told my husband, by the way, that after the fiasco with the van and having started the whole thing with the darn mailbox keys, he owes me 27 Starbucks iced lattes. I sure hope he remembers that on his way home from work tonight.

Driving home from the grocery store at 2 p.m., the temperature was about 100 degrees and I thought I just might die until the A/C finally kicked on a couple blocks from home. Then I had all the groceries to put away, and after that, a little nap was in order. One thing led to another, and by the time I finally made it into the Sweat Shop, it was 9:30 p.m. The first day of vacation that wasn't! I hope to do better today--maybe I'll have something to show you all tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Waiting for AAA

So last night my husband went to get sandwiches for dinner (see yesterday's post) and on the way back, his alternator went out. Of course, since I'm "on vacation," I was elected to sit around and wait for AAA this morning. I asked him to call them at 8:30 so they'd be here and tow the darn van off by 9 a.m. and I could be on my way, running all these errands before it gets too hot. (I had to turn on the A/C at 8 a.m.!) Well, things never go smoothly and my husband didn't get to call AAA until a bit after 9 a.m., so here I sit as the clock edges toward 10 a.m.

The tow service called a little bit ago to find out if the van was an all-wheel drive. Do I know? It's green. That's about the extent of my knowledge. I know it's not 4-wheel drive. Deal with it.

So, while I wait, I figured I'd chat with you a bit and show you what I completed last night. I finished quilting my two Halloween placemats and got the binding finished on Monday and then I "made" the napkins last night (see below). Actually the two napkins were purchased at Pier 1 (as were the blue salad dishes). I cut them to the size I wanted and then "fringed" the edges. After that, I sewed a decorative stitch along the edges using my Bernina and a green variegated thread from Valdani. I don't have an embroidery machine, but the Bernina has a few stitches that look kind of cute. Hopefully the stitching will keep the napkins from further fraying!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's Friday Night!

Wooo-hooo! Okay, yes, I DO realize it's not REALLY Friday night, but it is for me since I have the next three days off work, and then the three days after that for the long Labor Day weekend. No, I have no plans to go anywhere, except into the Sweat Shop, of course! And I did tell my husband that maybe we could go for a drive up to Auburn on Saturday. Auburn is an old gold rush town located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. It has all kinds of cute shops, but the main attraction for me is the quilt shop there. It just so happens that it's owned by a husband and wife, and MY husband used to work with the quilt-shop-owner husband. The two men always wander off and talk car stuff, which is a great distraction while I fill up a bag of goodies! I don't know about you gals, but I ALWAYS hate it when my husband's standing next to me at the register of a quilt shop. I can't help but feel guilty!

I DO have to go out tomorrow and run a couple errands, though. My husband called me at work today and suggested that since I'll be off, it will be easier if I'd run over to the post office annex and pick up some new keys to our mailbox kiosk rather than him having to do it. Easier for who? That what I'd like to know! Of course, if he went before work, it would mean getting up 15 minutes earlier. If I go, it means getting up, washing and fixing my hair, and putting on make up! That's at least a 45-minute job, minimum!

Originally I was going to go to the grocery store and run a couple errands tonight on my way home from work so I could just relax tomorrow. But since I have to go to the post office, I figured I might as well run around doing all my errands tomorrow (wouldn't want to waste a good hair and make-up job). Which means we won't be having the large shrimp salads for dinner tonight that I was planning. Which means I was going to feed my husband tuna salad sandwiches for dinner instead. Until I realized I had no tuna. Which means he has to go out and pick up sandwiches and Starbucks iced lattes while I sit here and chat with you. It's all good. I think about now he's wishing he would have just not said anything about the post office and gotten up early to go get the keys himself. Funny how one thing leads to another, isn't it?

The photo up there at the top is of my quilted tabletopper--the one I quilted from the back side. I'm not sure you can really see the quilting all that well, but I'm very pleased at the way it turned out. Under it toward the bottom of the photo is the "Monster"--one of the projects I plan to get finished before I have to go back to work next Tuesday. Besides that, I have a fall leaf quilt that I've been working on for the last year. Actually I started it last year and worked on it a couple times and then haven't touched the darn thing in at least six months. That's another project I'd like to work on. And there are a couple others but maybe I should just wait and surprise you with photos. Check back in with me over the next few days and see what I've been doing with my time off. I have a sneaking suspicion that not only will I have a couple completed quilt tops and/or finished quilts, I just might have a couple photos of wonderful quilt shop finds! You know, I'm not sure that going to just one quilt shop while I'm off will be enough. Since I'll be out running errands tomorrow anyway, maybe I'll find my way to one or two other quilt shops. Sure is easier for me to pick up those new mailbox keys, isn't it?!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Welcome to a New Blogger!

One of my friends from my online group, Kristie, started a blog today, and it just happens to be her birthday too! Go on over there and say "hi."

My online group is a Thimbleberries group, and Kristie is the "go to" gal whenever any of us needs information about Thimbleberries. In fact, Kristie has attended each and every Thimbleberries retreat at the Main Street Cotton Shop for the last several years and will be going again this September. Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries calls Kristie the Thimbleberries historian--I think Kristie knows and remembers more Thimbleberries information and history than Lynette does!

Kristie will be joining in our Hometown Christmas project and is making the quilt half sized. She has a head start on the rest of us but isn't done yet and plans on adding all of the applique--she seems to think we'll catch up to her before too long. And, if you look at her list of all the quilts she's in the process of making or collecting fabric for, she may be right!

Welcome to Blogland, Kristie, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I'm Quilting!

Sorry if my humor yesterday caused you any accidents or any otherwise unanticipated pain. I know it was unexpected since not every single one of my posts is necessarily funny, but you should know by now that I occasionally get a little funny and, as Sharon (Red Geranium Cottage) mentioned yesterday, it WAS a full moon. I think you're safe with today's post. There's just a slightly funny part near the end, but I don't think it will hurt you or cause coffee to splash across your screen or keyboard. Okay?

First of all, the Juki works just fine! I've been quilting away today but don't really have anything completely finished to share with you. I quilted the placemats I made last week but I need to bind them. I'm also quilting the tabletopper I made with the Scaredy Cat fabric. Remember this?

Well, I decided to back it with this fabric I had leftover from the Bonnie Sullivan Happy Halloween/Boo lines:

Have you ever quilted from the BACK side of a quilt? I don't remember doing it before, and had I thought of it ahead of time, I would most definitely have put the pins on the back instead of trying to reach under and unpin! (It's probably due to this new, lighter hair color--you know about blondes, right?) Anyway, when I sat down to quilt the topper and thought about what I wanted to do, I decided to just follow the meandering print on the back and it's turning out great! I'm using a variegated Valdani thread with a large needle since the thread's a little thicker. I'll get a good photo once it's done.

So, now what about the Monster? Well, I'm going to try it again once I finish this Halloween topper. Since the Juki's working just fine, I figure it must be the thread. Have you ever heard of putting thread in the freezer? It's supposed to help put a little moisture back in case it's dried out a bit and breaking--at least that's something I've heard. With that thought in mind, I put a spool of thread in the freezer last night and woke up this morning to find it sitting on the kitchen counter. My husband got up first and made a pot of coffee; when he got the coffee out of the freezer, he saw the thread and thought I put it there accidentally. Honey, the day I get THAT forgetful, please just shoot me, okay?! I seriously wonder what thoughts about me went through his mind this morning, but I figured it was best not to ask.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Day of Beauty

Weekends are a good time to primp and pamper a bit, don't you think? So, when a couple people at work asked me this week whether my hair was darker, I thought maybe it was time to do something. I don't normally color my hair except about once a year, usually sometime in the winter when it starts to seem kind of dull looking and BLAH! Then I just use something a shade or two brighter to liven things up a bit. Well, for whatever reason, that dull and BLAH! thing seems to have happened to my hair this summer instead.

Now you'd think with the occasional gray hair growing in, my hair would look a bit lighter, wouldn't you? And you'd certainly think that with dieting and eating healthy and all, if there was any fairness in this world, I should just magically turn into a radiant, natural blonde. Well, wouldn't you? But no!

I'm not much of a girlie girl. Sure, I appreciate a nice pedicure as well as the next woman, but I really don't spend a lot of time fussing. For instance, I don't go to the hair salon. It would be different if every hair stylist told me I had beautiful hair that was a pleasure to work with, but most of the time, they mutter about how straight and fine it is and what a pain it is to get the tangles out. So I stay out of the salon and my hair is down to my rear end now, but I put most of it into a braid and twist it up on top of my head which makes it fairly easy to care for. But I digress.

So, Friday night I stopped at Long's Drugs on the way home and perused my hair coloring choices. Do you have any idea how many different lines of hair color L'Oreal MAKES now? After awhile and a good deal of comparison, I settled on L'Oreal Superior Preference (because, darn it, I'm WORTH it!). There's another brand I like (but can't remember the name of) that's a two step process: first the hair color and then the hair highlights. I really like that one, but it takes about half a day to use and I just didn't feel like spending that much time. After all, I DID want to get in a little quilting time and blogging time. Not to mention the cleaning time, the cooking time, and the sleeping time.

Every Friday night my husband asks me what I have planned for the weekend, and every Friday night I answer, "Quilting." Is he a slow learner or what? One of these days, I'll have to think up an answer that will shock his socks off, but in the meantime, when he asked me the same old question last night, since I think he gets a little tired of the "quilting" answer, I told him I wasn't sure but that I needed to clean house. So this afternoon, he came in from working in the yard, found me at the computer, and asked, "So are you done cleaning the house yet?" "No," I answered, "Are you done living yet?" "No," he replied. No mention of how radiantly beautiful I looked after my L'Oreal treatment either. But, once again, I digress.

So now my hair is lighter and, by the way, my house is clean. Everything has been beautified here, in fact. And this Beauty Day Saturday thing is becoming a habit now. If you think back, you may remember that last week I shaved my legs. Today I colored my hair. And if I'm feeling particularly ambitious next Saturday, I just might just trim my toenails. I think I'm starting to get pretty good at this beauty thing and still manage to find time to quilt.

Hometown Christmas Project!

Several years ago, I won the Thimbleberries Hometown Christmas books and bought the kit to make the quilt. That same year, while on a vacation my husband and I took up to Oregon, we ventured across the river into Washington, and there in Vancouver we saw the quilt made up and hanging. Boy, was that a thing of beauty, or what?! I wanted nothing more than to drive home and make it! But things happened. For one thing, I got the flu. On vacation. The REAL flu--the kind where you think you'd feel better if you were just dead and figure that might not be too far off because you can't breathe real well anyway. Then there was my local guild's quilt show and several other projects to get finished. Then there was Christmas. And another Christmas. And another. You get the idea!

So, flash forward a few years, and the other day Vicky mentioned that she'd been going through her small, tiny bit of stash and found the Hometown Christmas kit. I don't know if you've been following Vicky lately (no, I don't mean in a stalking sort of way) but she's been getting into the block of the month groove. I think that finding she already had one right there without having to exercise her fingers, poking in an order on her keyboard in the middle of the night, was probably kind of fun! In any event, Vicky decided she was going to start this project, and I asked if I could join in. When I wrote about it on my blog about a week ago, Sharon asked if she could play along too. Well of course you can, Ms. Sharon! So, now there are three of us. Does anyone else want to join us? We'd love to have you!

The books are written so you complete a section at a time, rather than a block. A section is usually a large block with a couple smaller blocks or, in some cases, it might be just a larger, longer block. Our plan is to complete a section by the 15th of each month and another section by the end of the month. We think we should have the quilt done in about six months.

If the quilt interests you and you don't already have a kit and/or books, you might check out eBay. Having the books (there are four) is really key because you can use stash fabric or buy new--you don't have to track down the original kit. Or fake it! If you are good with block design, you may be able to design your own blocks similar to the ones you see us working on with your own twists. I'll post photos of what each section is supposed to look like before we begin that section. The quilt is a queen size, by the way--most of the larger Thimbleberries quilts are. There are appliqued holly leaves around one border, but there are two versions--one with the applique and one without--so you can chose the one that most appeals to you.

I'm going to set up a links area in my sidebar that lists the blogs of the gals working on this project. I also have some other friends who don't have blogs but who want to work on it as well, and I may post some photos of their sections as we go. Please let me know if you want to try this project, so I can add your blog to my sidebar. We'll get started on this at the beginning of September, so the first section will be completed by September 15th. I do hope you'll join us, but even if you can't, please visit us and watch our progess--I know we'll LOVE the encouragement!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Recommended Reading

I have a couple things to share with you because they're just too good to keep to myself, and I wouldn't want you to miss them! Not much of a reader? No time to sit down and read a good book? Then the first suggestion is perfect for you!

Andrea at Under a Blue Moon is taking a self-imposed blogging hiatus but couldn't resist popping back in to post this link to an eBay auction for Pokemon cards. The auction has been concluded, but that doesn't really matter. If you haven't read this, click on over there:

If you want to read more of this gal's writing, she has a blog, Because I Said So. And I KNOW you have time to read blogs, right? You won't be disappointed!

Okay, my second recommendation will require more of your time and attention. If you haven't already read it, pick up a copy of These Is My Words by Nancy Turner. The book is fictional but is based on fact. It chronicles the early years of the life of Sarah Agnes Prine, a pioneer in the Arizona Territories in the late 1800s/early 1900s. I think this is the best work of historical fiction I've read. If you know of anything better, please let me know! Out of 189 "ordinary folk" reviews on Amazon, 170 gave it five stars. If you're interested and want to read a little more about the book, go over to Amazon and read what others have said--just click on the book title earlier in the paragraph.

And what about those of you who HAVE read it already? Well, have you read the second book, Sarah's Quilt? This one covers the span of only one year--or actually part of one year: 1906. It's not quite as good as the original, but it's still an excellent read as far as I'm concerned.

And if you've read BOTH books already? Then I know you'll be as excited as I am to hear that the third book, The Star Garden, will be released on September 4th!

Party Time!

Is it my birthday? No? Yes? I can't decide! But if it IS my birthday, it's the second one in just a month! In fact, my REAL birthday was just a month ago today. But look what I got!

My online group is celebrating its fifth anniversary and we had a birthday/anniversary gift swap. It was a bit like a secret Santa exchange. You may remember a few weeks back, I showed you photos of a purse/tote I had made? That was for this swap, and I got the nicest e-mail from the gal who received it--she seems to like it! So, it's not exactly my birthday--more like the birthday of the internet group, but we're all celebrating!

Unbeknownst to me, Linda Z. was given my name. Linda reads my blog and you may see an occasional comment from her. We actually got to meet in person once, a couple years ago at a Thimbleberries retreat in Minnesota.

Now you all KNOW I'm not a morning person, so all that pretty, bright paper just about blinded me this morning, but once I'd ripped all the paper off the gifts, it made such a nice, festive mess all over the table! Linda also sent me a birthday card that kept opening out and opening out . . . . It ended up being about the size of a forgotten zucchini in an August garden!

First of all, here are the smaller, individually wrapped gifts Linda sent: a pack of quilty note cards, a wrist pin cushion, and a thread cutter that hangs around the neck with a pair of small scissors that are just perfect for trimming bits and pieces, odds and ends.

Then, Linda made me this great tote, using charm squares from the Thimbleberries Garden Graphics line. Don't you just love the prairie points all around the top? I do!

Finally, she made this wonderful table square that will look just great on my kitchen table! My kitchen is mostly blue and green, so the table topper matches perfectly! (Sorry about my photo skills--I have light issues. Believe me, it's much prettier and lighter in person! The borders that look nearly black in the photo are actually green and blue!)

Thank you again Linda! What a great way to begin the day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy Birthday Vicky!

Before I forget, I want to wish Vicky a very happy birthday! Hers was one of the first blogs I read on a regular basis, long before I had my own. I hope you have a wonderful day, Vicky! You deserve it!

And speaking of bloggers whose blogs I've read for a long time, look what came in the mail yesterday! Yes, Judy Laquidara's new book, Nine-Patch Extravaganza. There's a quilt in there made from the same block pattern my online group used for a swap this past year, and Judy's given me a new idea for setting those blocks. Wooo-hooo Judy!

Yesterday I went to one of my local quilt shops to pick up some Scaredy Cat fabric to border two placemats that I was working on using the leftover charm squares. I was a little disappointed in their fabric selection because the shop had not bought the whole line, and what they DID buy didn’t appeal to me quite so much as some of the other prints. I ended up buying the crazy-quilt type border print, but I think the placemats ended up looking a little more “busy” than I would have liked. This got me thinking about what quilt shop owners face in ordering fabric for their shops.

I decided that if I owned a quilt shop, I would DEFINITELY have ordered bolts of the polka dot prints and the almost tone-on-tone prints in the blue, lime, and purple shades along with just a couple of the obviously Halloween prints. Many of these fabrics could be put into the store’s regular stock once the holiday was over. Sure wish I owned a quilt shop!

The other day, I was standing in Trader Joe’s with a package of Tex Mex veggie burgers in hand, pondering whether my husband and I could possibly stand to eat such downright healthy food, when a young woman came up to me and told me how great these particular burgers are. Into my cart they went. Well, can I just say BLECH?! I think I’m going to have to hunt that girl down and shoot her. Now these “burgers” are probably just fine if you like your veggie burgers to taste strongly and overwhelmingly of veggies, but I don’t. If I’m going to make myself eat something this healthy, I want it to taste bad. Bad in a good way, as in “dude, that’s some BAD quilt you’re piecing there!” Or as in naughty bad–like something that tastes that good can’t possibly be good for you. On the up side, though, I guess if you’re on a diet and serve food that’s not good enough to choke down, you’ll lose weight faster. There’s always a bright side.

A couple of you have asked about my new “kids,” so I thought I’d tell you that today’s picture day. They’re all spruced up and ready to go get their school firm photos taken. I’m sure I’ll have an urge to spit on my hand and smooth down any wayward hair, but I’ll resist. I don’t think they’d like it. But they’re coming along fine, both of them.

Finally, I wanted to mention that my post yesterday about Marcie and Sharon–and even Darlene!–was all in good fun. I know I can give these gals a hard time and they can take it. In fact, I think they like it! I’m sure most of you realized that, but I just wanted to be clear. As to “Automaton,” though, that’s still a mystery!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bloggy "Friends"

Did you get the bulletin? Did you know that yesterday was a very special day in Blogland? Unfortunately, I didn't get the news that it was "Pick on Kim Day" until it was nearly over.

Just in case you missed out on the festivities, check out Marcie's blog. Marcie has become--or at least I THOUGHT she had become--one of my good Blogland friends. If you don't already read her blog, I recommend it. She's also an awesome quilt designer, and her dad, the "Arizona Penguin," has his own blog that's worth reading for all his memories of the "good old days." You can click on the link to his blog from hers. But apparently Marcie thinks I'm wound a little too tight. Me? Sheesh, Marcie! But I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt and assuming that by saying I'm wound too tight, what she's really trying to say is that I'm not a loose woman, despite some of the stuff I've told you all about my background. Marcie, on the other hand, . . . . Well, I'll tell you about her later.

Then there's Sharon. Another so-called "friend." Under her photos of that meal that I call "Heart Attack in the Making," she casts aspersions on my cooking. Can you believe that? She's just jealous, I'm sure. She KNOWS my husband's going to live a long, healthy life with the food I'm feeding him. Unless, of course, he catches himself on fire microwaving popcorn first. "Frozen discs," Sharon? And where did your chipped beef come from? 'Cause I'm pretty sure you weren't out butchering a cow and curing the meat, were you? Yes, she probably DID grow those green tomatoes. But you know what? I bet she figured she'd best pick them early before she killed them off by forgetting to water them!

And Darlene! Well, never mind Darlene. She didn't actually post anything to her blog at all, although I know she's back from her weekend getaway. I just know she was THINKING about picking on me, because she usually is.

And speaking of Darlene, I think it all started when, very early on the morning of August 20th, "Automaton" left a comment on my Sunday blog. Who is Automaton? Has he/she visited you? I know Automaton left a comment on Sharon's blog the day before, and I suspected it was really Darlene in disguise! ROFLOL!

Did I miss anyone? Was I the butt of your jokes yesterday and perhaps missed reading your blog? If so, please let me know! After all, I DO want to give credit where credit's due . . . .

By the way, did I mention that "Pick on Kim Day" is an annual event? Just so you know, if you didn't pick on me yesterday, you're going to have to wait now until NEXT August 20th!

ADDENDUM: Oops! Am I going to be stripped of the "Nice Matters" award now?! LOL! And "Automaton" is back! I have a robot fan!

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Husband and the Diet, Part 2

My husband's not doing very well on this diet. He tells me he's doing it for me, because if he's on a diet, it will make it easier for me. I told him, I've been on diets plenty of times without him, and it doesn't really matter, but THIS time, he needs to watch what he eats just as much as I do. Still, I don't think he gets it.

My husband's not fat. At 6 feet 2 inches tall, he can carry a fair amount of weight. But he could stand to lose about 20 pounds, and he'd feel much better. Then there's the health issue part. His doctor told him to cut down on fats but increase his good cholesterol. That worried him quite a bit at the time, but it seems that now he's put that worry out of his mind and is simply dieting for my benefit. Men!

Every night after dinner, just as he's swallowing the last bite, my husband turns to me and says, "I'm still hungry." This is a man who could finish everything piled high on a plate and still go back for seconds, but he doesn't "get" the fact that as he's finishing the last bite, the food still hasn't hit his stomach. He's not supposed to be full yet--give it a few minutes for goodness sake! I, of course, usually look at him and roll my eyes. Hopeless. You'd think I'm starving the guy!

So last night, after the customary eye rolling, I headed back into the Sweat Shop for some quality quilty time. A half hour in, I started smelling something funny, so I came out to see what was going on. There was my husband, in the smoky kitchen with the window open and the exhaust fan going. Apparently he had gone rummaging for food and decided to try a 100-calorie snack bag of microwave popcorn.

According to him, he read the directions which said to microwave the popcorn on high for 1-1/2 minutes and stand by to stop it if it should finish popping early. He told me that at 30 seconds into it, the bag started smoking and burst into flames.

So, he tried it again. Goofy man that he is, this time he set the microwave for 30 seconds. Then 10 more seconds. Then 10 more seconds. Then 10 more seconds. I think we probably all know microwaves and popcorn don't really do very well with the start-stop-start-stop method of cooking, right? Sure enough, this time he had a bag of half-cooked, half burned popcorn.

I finally took pity on him and popped him up a bag. As expected, the popcorn finished cooking just as the timer hit 1-1/2 minutes. A couple over-done kernals, because I don't think you can avoid that with the kettle corn, but pretty much a nicely popped bag.

Good thing he isn't really starving, because with these cooking skills of his, he'd never live! Good thing too that I had the foresight to buy the 10-bag package of microwave popcorn--I think we might need it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Follow-Up

I write this knowing full well I'll probably never hear the end of it from Sharon over at Red Geranium Cottage. Goodness knows I gave her a hard enough time in my comments to this post where she said she and her husband had barbecued frozen hamburger patties. So, of course, I thought about just not saying anything, but then I thought NAH! This is too good to not share! Anyway, last night I barbecued these Chile Lime Chicken Burgers, and boy were they good! These were one of the things I picked up at Trader Joe's the other night. Yes, I'm sure there must be a way to make homemade chile lime chicken burgers, but I don't have a recipe handy and these were convenient. If you're watching calories, fat, or just want to eat reasonably healthy food and have a Trader Joe's nearby, try them! We topped ours with lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, and pepper jack cheese. Sorry I couldn't get a photo of the real thing for you, but we were just too darn hungry! So, all I have to show you is the box!

I got everything done and checked off my "to do" list yesterday, including playing around with the Scaredy Cat charm packs. I decided I just wanted to make a simple tabletopper to put on the low chest of drawers in the kitchen, so snowball blocks seemed right--just big enough to show off the fabric a bit but nothing fancy. I finished making the blocks last night and got the top together today:

The border fabric is a vintage-looking Halloween print, From The Collection of Edelen Wille for Marcus Brothers. I think one of my next projects will be getting it quilted. It will give me a chance to play around with my Juki once more and see if I can get it working--if not, into the shop it will go! I really want to get "the monster" done, but it occurred to me to wonder whether it might just be the thread that was giving me fits, so quilting this little topper will give me a chance to try it out.

I was chatting today with Vicky at LA Quilter who mentioned she had dug out a Thimbleberries kit for the Hometown Christmas quilt that came out a couple of years back. I think I'm going to dig out my kit too and work on it along with her. This is a quilt I really liked a lot when it came out but never felt like I had the time to sit down and do it. I think we'll just do a couple blocks a month and see how it goes. There are some cute blocks in that pattern that I've always wanted to use in other, smaller projects too. So maybe I can whip up a couple tablerunners and such along with making the blocks for the main quilt. Coincidences are funny--I just mentioned this particular quilt to Patti over at Quilting is My Passion yesterday when we were talking about quilt shops up in her area. I had been to one on vacation and they had the Hometown Christmas quilt made and hung just inside the door. So, maybe it's meant to be that the quilt be made now with all these coincidences--it certainly IS about time! I'll post a photo in the next week or two of what the quilt will eventually look like.

Back to work tomorrow. But, in the meantime, back to the Sweat Shop for the rest of the day!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Saturday "Stuff"

I've kicked my husband out. For awhile, at least. I told him I was going to clean house and suggested he might like to go watch some soccer and get the heck out of my way--the girl's competitive team my son coaches has a couple of games today, and this was something my husband had mentioned doing. As he left, he said, "Okay, I'm going, and the house better be spotless when I get home." No, he wasn't really serious, but here I sit, catching up on my blog reading, being perverse about doing what I've been told to do!

To be fair, I have done a little more than read blogs. I took a bath and shaved my legs. Sometimes shaving seems like a big deal because I hate being bothered. I think I need to make myself a task list so I can check at least one thing off--shaving.

Can you tell I'm not real motivated today? It's 11 a.m. and I haven't even had breakfast yet--just a cup of coffee. Time to get busy, I think. I still have about a third of the blogs I read left to go, but I'll have to come back later to finish up. (Memo to self: Add "read blogs" to the "to do" list. That's something I should be able to get accomplished!)

Once I get my chores done, I have some "charming" little bundles of fabric goodness to play with in the Sweat Shop:

Scaredy Cat from Moda. I love the colors in this line, especially the blue. Since I have blue in my kitchen, I think that whatever I make will be intended for that room. I love Halloween--I think I've mentioned that before. In fact, I just love fall when our temps drop below 90 during the day.

So now I think I need to add "sewing" to my "to do" list. "To do" lists can be very self-affirming. I find if I make a big list of fun things and only a few not-so-fun things, at the end of the day, I feel like I've accomplished a lot--even if the stuff I've crossed off wasn't the stuff I was supposed to do to begin with!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Catching Up

I've been a bit of a bad blogger lately--I've fallen behind in reading all your blogs. I thought tonight I'd tell you a bit about the miscellaneous happenings in my world. This weekend, I plan to catch up on my blog reading.

Speaking of the weekend--Hurray! It's Friday and the weekend's here! I stopped on my way home from work at Trader Joe's to pick up some groceries and I still need to head back out tonight to the "regular" grocery store to pick up what I couldn't get at Trader Joe's. With the diet, I find shopping takes at least twice as long because I need to read all the nutritional info as I go. I'm sure we'll fall into a food routine soon, but in the meantime, it's pretty time consuming.

I don't know if I've mentioned, but we have two large outdoor dogs--mixed breed (Chow/Lab/Mystery Canine), brother and sister, Marley (named for Bob Marley because he has long, curly hair) and Ashley (because my husband liked the name). They're about 12 years old, which is getting up there a bit in age for large dogs. Back 12 years ago, my kids wanted a dog and we were looking for something small/medium sized. One of our senior partners had a dog that had just given birth to a litter, and he swore to me that these dogs wouldn't get too big--maybe knee high. Don't believe attorneys. Ashley and Marley soon grew to weigh 70 pounds each. Recently, they both developed some hip/rear quarter stiffness and weakness, and they went to the vet today. My husband was worried there was something seriously wrong and he'd have to have them put to sleep, but as it turned out, Marley was just fine (or at least showing no symptoms today) and Ashley has some arthritis in her back legs (do dogs have KNEES?). Ashley now has to take some medication, which is alright by her as long as it's wrapped up inside my low fat cheese. Another reason why I need to go grocery shopping. Sheesh!

My work "kids" are coming along just fine so far. I had a project to work on for the "boy" today while he was off meeting with an expert/doctor out of town, and when he returned, he brought me an iced latte from Starbucks. Good kid, huh?! The funny thing is that I really can't figure out how these two know what my drink of choice is. I don't know of anyone at work who really even knows what I drink. How'd they figure it out? Here's a scary thought: Maybe they read my blog?! Nah!

I haven't mentioned my mom for awhile, as if by not mentioning the insanity, it will all go away. Ha! Maybe I'm in denial?! So here's what's been happening. (If you're new to my blog, briefly, my dad passed away in April and my mom, after insisting she wanted to stay put for a year, up and sold her mobile home along with all the contents--without a word ahead of time to me or my brother--and announced she was moving down to Salinas, a town in central California, to live with her best-friend-since-kindergarten, Laverne. Salinas also happens to be the same town where my brother lives. Okay, are you with me on the background here?) Moving day was July 29th. My brother drove his BIG truck up to Oroville on the 28th and loaded everything up; they drove back down to Laverne's house on the 29th.

Turns out Laverne never really invited my mom to live with her. What happened is that my mom sold everything and then called Laverne to let her know she was coming. Apparently some years back, Laverne had said in passing that if my dad went first, my mom could come live with her. You have to be careful what you say to my mom. So this living arrangement lasted about a week before Laverne started looking for an apartment my mom could rent. Here it is, only August 17th, and my mom's move can't come soon enough to suit her or Laverne. AND my mom has no furniture because she sold it all with the mobile home. At least it's my brother's turn now to take care of these problems. They've been out this week looking for a suitable place. The semi-assisted living facility they looked at--the one that will cost $3,400 a month--was just fine as far as my mom was concerned. We figure her money will last about three years, which will give us all time to change our identities and seek asylum in a foreign country.

Finally, I just wanted to say again how much I appreciate your visits and enjoy the comments you leave me. It tickles me to hear from some of you who don't even have blogs, although I wish I could write back to you personally and say thanks! Mostly I write for my own pleasure, but without you reading what I have to say, it sure wouldn't be the same.

Enjoy your weekend, whatever you have planned! I'll be doing some sewing, I'm sure. Gotta relax and rest up while I can, because I'm sure the "kids" will keep me hopping next week.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thimbleberries Club Block of the Month--Next Step Done

I finished making three more blocks to fill in the center of my version of the half-sized Thimbleberries block of the month . . .

And then I put all the blocks together for the center tonight . . .

Now what? Well, I need to dress up the house some. I'll add some stitchery and some applique, I think, although that part of the plan is still developing. In the original pattern, the next step would be to add a checkerboard border. I kind of like that border but I'm also thinking about a fence. So maybe a fence and then a checkerboard? Or a checkerboard and then a fence? Or just one or the other? Any opinions?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Kids are Alright

I have two new kids, a boy and a girl. It's my job to raise them up right and teach them the ways of the world. The legal world, that is!

I had been working with the same attorney for the past three and a half years. Recently, someone--and I don't know who, but apparently it was someone in the management end of things--had some kind of brain fart and decided I should instead work with two brand new younguns. I've been here before--it seems that during the course of my 30-some-odd (and some were odder than others) year "career" as a legal secretary, I have had more than my share of fairly new attorneys. So now my assignment is to teach these two kids the ropes.

Usually our firm hires attorneys who have been out in the world, practicing law for a couple years. This time, though, we practically robbed the cradle in hiring two attorneys fresh out of law school. They've both taken the bar exam, but they won't get the results until November--traditionally, the week before Thanksgiving. So, for the next few months, my kids will be in the office, doing all kinds of exciting things like summarizing medical records, doing legal research, and writing legal motions, all under the direction of the partners they're assigned to work with.

When I was first told about this reassignment, I was less than excited. Kind of pissed off, actually. In many ways, I feel like I'm getting a little too old to be teaching attorneys what they're supposed to do. Imagine having twins at the age of 45. It's like that. And you never know what kind of attitude these new attorneys will have; whether they'll see you as someone to help them along the way, or whether they'll figure you can't possibly be as smart as they are--after all, they went to Law School!

Both my kids come from fairly humble backgrounds, which I think is a big plus in their favor. They don't seem to have that snotty air of entitlement. Both have put themselves through law school and will be paying off student loans for the next several years. That's good--I think they'll appreciate what they've accomplished and work harder to achieve their career goals.

I'll tell you one thing, though. My "girl" knows how to win points! Here's an e-mail she sent me today:

"Going to lunch shortly and to Starbucks. Would you like me to bring anything back from Starbucks for you? Not sure if you are a caffeine drinker."

HA! Kiss up! She's obviously done her homework! But I love it. Maybe raising kids isn't so bad after all. I like these two so far.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In the News

Every weekday morning, my husband gets up, fixes his lunch for work, and heads out the door, grabbing the newspaper on his way out. Every weekend morning, I get up, grab a cup of coffee, and head to the Sweat Shop, newspaper forgotten on the front porch.

I like to read my news. It used to be that my husband would only take the sports section to work with him, which was fine by me. I used to skim through the rest of the newspaper with my first cup of coffee; now I read blogs instead, and we generally tend to miss out on news of events and things to do in our community. Keeping an eye out for things to do isn't high on my husband's list of what to read in the newspaper.

Nevertheless, I usually try to at least look through Yahoo News so I don't feel like I'm living under a rock. Quirky stories appeal to me--maybe you guessed that about me?

I've noticed a trend lately. Every couple weeks, there seems to be a story about the oldest person in the world dying. Yesterday it was a 114-year-old lady in Japan, Yone Minagawa, who had held the title of oldest living person since January. If Mrs. Minagawa has held the title since January, who are all these other old folks who have passed away lately, who are supposedly the world's oldest? It's a mystery to me. Also a mystery is who keeps tabs? And why? And why is it news? (That's Mrs. Minagawa up there--looks pretty good for 114, doesn't she? I wouldn't have guessed she was a day over 97.)

According to the story, Mrs. Minagawa enjoyed eating sweets. My kinda gal. If that's the secret to longevity, I'm heading there. Mrs. Minagawa also credited her long life to getting a good night's sleep. Not me, I think. I stay up too late, sometimes eating sweets. I'm striving toward a balance.

On Mrs. Minagawa's last birthday, we're told she enjoyed a lunch of western-style food (bread, stew, salad, and dessert). That's probably where she made her mistake. We all know that kind of thing will kill you.

I wonder who the next title holder will be? I always love the stories where some old fart credits his long life to a daily shot of whiskey and a good cigar. I figure there's hope for the rest of us. I don't know about you, but I have a TON of fabric that I need to use before I move on out of here. I think I need to live to be 150 years old. No time for sleep if I'm to use it all, but I guess I'll stop by the store on the way home and pick up some sweets. It's medicinal. Really. Quit rolling your eyes!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Thimbleberries Club Block of the Month

All those blocks at the bottom of my design wall that I told you to ignore in yesterday's post? Do you wonder what they are? I thought I'd give you a look.

I'm doing this year's Thimbleberries Club block of the month in half size and making a few other changes. To my taste, the original version has waaaaaay too many contrasting sashings, filler pieces, and borders, so I'm trying to simplify it a bit and adding a few more blocks since my version is small. I think this will turn out to be a largish wall hanging. Here's where I'm at so far:

It looks to me like I have three more spaces to fill. In the space to the left of the house, I think I'll make a pine tree block. Down at the bottom border, I'm considering another heart to balance out those up at the top. And I'm not sure what will go in the third small square underneath the door of the house, but it will need to be something simple because that's not a very large area. Then I'll use the background fabric to sash all of the blocks together. I may end up adding a bit of applique if there are spaces to fill. And I still need to "dress up" the house a bit, but thought I'd wait until the rest is done to decide what it needs.

Thanks for stopping in to visit! Have a good Monday! (Or is that an oxymoron? Have a good one anyway!)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

One Weekend, Two Quilt Tops, and a Bunch of Dumb TV Shows

The weekend's nearly over. I can hardly wait until the fall TV season starts. As I've mentioned before, I like to watch TV while I quilt, and I feel like I've watched just about everything worth watching on TV--and a lot that's NOT worth watching.

I spent the weekend mostly working on piecing two Halloween quilt tops using the Bonnie Sullivan/Maywood fabrics. I actually planned to piece one top, but then I had the brilliant idea to make a piano key border for it. As it turned out, that plan was a little less than brilliant. When I put the center up on the design wall with the pieced borders, it was much too busy. Then what? Well, I decided to use the borders in a Chinese coins design top--I just needed to piece another row of strips, the sashing, and the borders. Here are the two tops (ignore all those miscellaneous blocks at the bottom--they're for another project):

Sometimes when I spend so much time quilting, it feels like the weekend's passed me by. I get wrapped up in a project and it's hard to pull myself away to do anything else. Before I know it, the weekend's gone and I didn't do half the things I planned. I wish weekends were longer! Five more days until the next one . . . .

Saturday, August 11, 2007


I used to work with a woman named Diane. Diane was attractive and fun to be around. If she liked you, things were great. If she didn't, things still seemed great, but some of us knew it was all a facade. Diane would often talk behind people's backs and poison relationships. Working with Diane was like being back in high school with the popular girls. Remember what that was like?

Luckily, I rarely had to deal with Diane and kept my distance whenever I could. At one point, though, she and I had to work together on a project for our bosses. Or, more accurately, I was given an assignment I didn't fully understand on a case of hers and had some questions before I could complete what I was asked to do. I asked my questions, and she didn't have the answers. I asked my boss, and he didn't have the answers. Her boss was out of the office for several days. Finally, I just went ahead and did what I could to complete the assignment. A few days later, her boss returned and, rather uncharacteristically, stomped over to my desk and started yelling at me. "Ray," I asked, "What did I do?" "You know what you did!," he shouted. Well, we went back and forth in the same vein a few times before he stomped off to the managing partner's office. To this day, I don't know what Ray thought I had done or not done, but I've never seen him so mad. I felt terrible. I thought back over everything and still could not see what I might have done wrong. Finally it occurred to me that it was likely that Diane had twisted something around somehow and told Ray. Diane was always a little bit of poison in the office. Since I was never asked to talk to the office manager or managing partner, apparently whatever I was supposed to have done wasn't as bad as Ray thought, but the incident sure made for an uncomfortable environment for awhile.

Not too long after that, Diane and Ray left the firm along with a couple other attorneys and their secretaries to start a new firm. I can't tell you how relieved I was, although if you've ever had anyone in your life like Diane, I'm sure you understand. This "incident" happened several years into my working relationship with Diane and was by far the worst, although it was not the only time Diane had tried to undermine me or gossiped behind my back. Mostly I just ignored her and went about my business. After all, I work to live; I don't live to work.

A week or so ago, Vicky mentioned on her blog that her mom had always cautioned her to never wear her slippers to the market. The real meaning behind the warning is obvious--never go out looking less than your best because you never know who you might run into. On one particular day, Vicky needed to run to the grocery store and was glad she heeded her mom's warning, because she ran into her boss's wife. What are the chances? Of course, statisically speaking, the chances weren't very good, but doesn't it always seem to work out that way? Why can't we be so "lucky" when it comes to the lottery?

I don't know if you'll remember, but back around the days of hot pants, circa the mid 1970s, boots were pretty popular, and the higher they went, the better. Back then, when I was in my teens, I always wanted a pair of those boots, but they were pretty impractical and my mom wasn't real inclined to spend money on thigh high boots for her daughter. Go figure!

Then, back around the late 80s/early 90s maybe, tall and thigh high boots made a brief reappearance, generally paired up with leggings and loose sweaters. Do you remember? Maybe not, because their popularity didn't last long. Which is exactly why I was able to get a really good deal on a pair of brown suede thigh high boots through a mail order catalogue clearance sale. The day they arrived, I was terribly excited. Here I was, quite literally a soccer mom in my mid 30s; to me, a pair of suede thigh high boots seemed to capture the essence of sexy youth. But where could I wear them? I knew they weren't something I could wear to the office. In fact, I knew there were very, very few places I could wear them, but now I had my boots just in case the appropriate occasion arose. And actually, it did--they made for great Halloween accessories a few times.

But when they first arrived, fresh out of the box with that new leather smell, I KNEW I just had to wear them somewhere, just once. So I put my leggings on, pulled on a long sweater, and zipped those boot up. And up. And up. Then I headed out to the grocery store. After all, that's what a soccer mom does--goes grocery shopping.

So there I was, wandering around the grocery store, contemplating the produce, lost in my own little fantasy world of complete and utter coolness, and reveling in the slighly naughty click of those high, high heels each time they hit the linoleum floor. As I rounded the aisle at the front of the store, I heard my name called. Of all the people in the world, there was the absolute LAST person I wanted to run into. Diane from work! I coulda died!

So the moral of this little story is not only should you not wear your slippers to the grocery store, but don't wear your thigh high leather boots either. Your enemies don't need the ammunition and it totally spoils the fantasy!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sick Hubby!

Nothing from me tonight really. My husband came home sick from work today, and since the computer is in the bedroom, I think I'll be uncharacteristically kind and leave him be. I forcefed him a little scrambled egg and a couple bites of an English muffin when he got up to sit in his recliner and look at a different ceiling, but he was making noises about coming back to bed, so I'll shut this puppy down and head into the Sweat Shop for a little quilt work.

The weekend is here! Yippeee! I just wish hubby felt the joy! Quilt on, blog buddies! Hopefully I'll have a chance to chat with you a little more tomorrow.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Our Blogging Community

For several years, I've been a member of an online quilting group, and I love those gals! We limit our group to 50 members, and there are maybe about 15 of us who are pretty active. I've come to care as much about them, their lives, and their families as I do the friends I see "in person." Many of us have even met face-to-face. I know my life has been enriched by the experience of joining a group of like-minded women where we can share our quilting ideas and projects and the non-quilting aspects of our lives as well.

More recently, I started my blog, and my world of friends has grown even more! I love to read your comments and will respond to your e-mails if I have anything to add and if your comments come through with an e-mail address to respond to. I love to visit your blogs. I keep your blogs in my "favorites" and visit whenever I can. I've never counted how many blogs I read, but I have a list in my favorites on my home computer and another list in my favorites on my office computer. Yes, some are duplicates but some are not; it just depends on where I was when I first found your blog. And my list continues to grow!

A few days ago, Bren awarded me the "Nice Matters Award." Well, I don't NEED an award, but it sure gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling to know that Bren thinks enough of me and my blog to name me as one of the people who enrich her life in some way. I'm sure many of you know Bren already, but if you don't, pop over there to visit. She's one of the kindest people I know and she has a huge heart. Thank you, Bren!

Now I'm supposed to pass the award on, but I just can't. I wouldn't know who to include and who not to include. There are some of you I visit every day; there are some I visit once or twice a week--not because I don't look forward to reading your blog, but because I know by now how often each of you is likely to post. Some of you I "talk" to and leave comments for; some of you have so many comments already that I know I'm not likely to have anything new to add, but I enjoy what you write anyway, even if I don't say so very often. Or maybe I'm just feeling quiet and have nothing to say. I still enjoy stopping by to visit you and see what you've been doing. Then there are the "friends" who leave me comments but don't have their own blogs--I appreciate all of you too and enjoy your comments!

And, so far, I haven't met any bloggers who aren't nice--you ALL are! My life is enriched by knowing all of you. So, as far as I'm concerned, you ALL deserve the Nice Matters Award! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read the stuff that I write--I love having all of you visit me!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Getting Older

What do you call a person who injures themselves? I was thinking masochist, but that’s not really right because I don’t hurt myself for pleasure, nor am I a willing participant.

I think it all started about eight years ago–something like that anyway. I was getting dressed for work, putting on my pantyhose, when I threw my lower back out. It took a couple doctor visits, some good, strong prescription medications, a lot of ice, and about two weeks of pain before I recovered. To this day, I have an unreasonable fear of pantyhose.

Getting older means we’re not quite as pliant and limber as we once were. I remember a woman I work with talking about taking up Yoga a few years ago, when she was my age. Now I understand.

The other day I pulled a muscle in my mid back when I sneezed. Who knew sneezing could be dangerous? As I felt the sneeze coming on, I turned away from whatever I was doing, and in the act of turning, I felt a tremendous pain in my back. It was so painful in fact that the sneeze never happened–I guess the sneeze was just scared out of me. And here it is, nearly three days later and my back still hurts if I move a certain way.

I was telling the same woman who took up Yoga that maybe if I was in better shape, I wouldn’t be so prone to stupid injuries. She and another woman–who is also older than I am and in fairly good physical shape–just chuckled at my naivety and shook their heads. No, they said, it doesn’t really matter how fit you are, age trumps everything. Darn! Now I’m afraid to exercise.

Once it cools down here a little in another month or so, I think I’ll get back into walking. I’ll probably do some major injury to various body parts, but I think I’ll feel good doing it, so maybe that WILL make me a masochist. In the meantime, my son–a 26-year-old hard body stud muffin–thinks it’s pretty funny that his mom threw out her back putting on her pantyhose. Now he has the saga of the sneeze to add to his "goofy mom stories." At least someone gets some pleasure out of my injuries, even if it’s not me!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Little Something Else

Okay, I think I have my mojo back. Tonight I'm going to make a block for my Thimbleberries Block of the Month. Even if I can't get the "monster" done for tomorrow night's club meeting, I'll have my block done for this month as well as a purse/tote for show and tell. I've been working on the purse the last day or two and finally finished it. This is the first time I've made a purse, although I did make one other simple tote a few years ago.

My online Thimbleberries group is having an anniversary swap--we've been "in business" for five years this month and we're celebrating! So this is the tote I made for my secret someone--I don't know much about her tastes, so I hope she likes it (well, of course I DO know she likes Thimbleberries!):

I don't think she reads my blog, so I think I'm safe in posting these photos. The requirement is that we make something using all Thimbleberries fabric; I used some plaids and some fabric from the Autumn Faire line from a couple years ago--it looks a bit like applique but isn't. There's a pin-tucked pocket on the front, and both side panels are pockets also. This is mostly a pattern by Renee Plains called Patches and Pockets with a few modifications made by me that I thought might make it a little easier.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Little Something

I don't have a whole lot to say today, but I'm feeling a little better mentally and physically. Must have been that box of Godiva chocolates I ate. (Okay, I'm just kidding!) Thanks for all your encouraging comments!

I've switched out my machines and my Bernina is back on the table. For the last month, while quilting the monster, I've been looking at a vintage lace tablerunner that was falling apart. The lace had holes and was unraveling. I knew I wanted to cut out a "good" section and use it to make a pillow, so that's exactly what I did last night. It felt good to get one thing done! (Once again, I admit I'm not the greatest photographer--the chair is actually a lighter wine red.)

Sunday, August 5, 2007


I'm sorry I'm not going to be very amusing or entertaining, but at least I'm also not going to tempt you into buying fabric you don't need today!

I'm feeling BLAH! And I really, really hate feeling that way on a weekend, because it's such a WASTE! I've had some female issues (not to be too indelicate) plaguing me this weekend, contributing to my general blahness, and I can't even eat a bunch of chocolate to console myself because of this dumb diet. Carrots just don't do it for me.

Remember I said I was determined to finish quilting the monster this weekend? Well, I've had nothing but trouble with my sewing machine, and I think I'm going to need to take it into the shop. It's been sounding a little funny lately and I ran into trouble a week or two ago. A good cleaning, oiling, and needle change seemed to solve the problem well enough, but then it started acting up again this weekend. Cleaning, oiling, and needle change did nothing to help. And what's really annoying is that I just have the outside setting triangles on less than two of the borders left to quilt. Grrrr! Tonight I'll set up my Bernina and maybe see if I can do any quilting on it, but I bought the Juki because I was having problems with tension on free motion quilting with the Bernina--which is what I need to do, so I'm not hopeful. In any event, I'm behind schedule now, so even if the Bernina does work out, I won't have the quilt done in time for my Thimbleberries Club meeting on Wednesday. I know it's only a self-imposed deadline, but still . . . .

Then I was going to clean house today and actually DID clean part of it before I pooped out and decided to take a break. That break's now lasted the rest of the day.

And you know what else? I just realized I never took a bath today. How can a person forget something like that? Well, the plan was to clean house and then clean myself, and you know how far I got on that plan! I guess I should at least go take a nice, relaxing bath.

I have a gazillion sewing projects I've been looking forward to working on once I finished quilting the monster, so you'd think that with a little reprieve due to machine failure I'd be making the most of it and pulling out fabrics and patterns willy nilly, but the blahs kind of make it a lot less interesting and make me a lot less motivated. BLAH! Double BLAH!

I thought about not posting to my blog today, but since I post pretty much every day, I didn't want to worry anyone if there wasn't anything new here. Hopefully the blahs will subside and I'll have something entertaining for you to read soon. I know this will pass. And if it doesn't, I'm eating the chocolate anyway and to heck with the diet! In the meantime, I'll go back to contemplating my navel . . . .

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Halloween's Just Around the Corner!

Halloween's one of my favorite holidays. The outside temps are finally starting to cool down--here in Northern California, it still feels like summer all through September and into October--but Halloween seems to mark the start of the winter holiday season.

Last year, Bonnie Sullivan of Maywood Studios came out with a line of fabric that I just fell in love with. I made the tabletopper/wallhanging above using that line. I love the vintage Halloween look of those silly cat heads! This was a quick project to make. I simply made shoo fly blocks and fussy cut the cat heads for the setting squares. I think I used two fat quarters for the setting squares and a couple fat quarters for the sho fly blocks, then I added the borders.

This year, Bonnie's back with a continuation of the same line, and I couldn't be more pleased! I've picked up a few fat quarters of both the old and the new line (above) as well as a length of the striped border print and some of the larger squares featuring the same vintage black cat images (below). Paired with some of my leftover fabric from last year, I have more than enough to make another cute project or two.

Last year, my friend Kairle also made a project from the fabric line, and she found several patterns by All Though The Night using this year's fabrics. Here are two I just might make:

You can see a couple more patterns at Colonial Crafts, or you can search at, enter "Maywood Halloween," and click on thumbnails to see the fabrics and patterns. Better yet, enter "Maywood Halloween Sale" for a few good bargains!

I can hardly wait to play with this fabric again! Have you made anything using this line? I'd love to see!

Author's Note: Not that I want to twist your arm, but I purchased those fat quarters shown above along with a panel of the large squares as a bundle on sale here. If you're interested in making something from this line, this should be enough fabric for a small project. The same shop has yardage from the line on sale. They also have quilt kits using the All Through the Night patterns.