Monday, June 30, 2008

As Seen in the Bathroom

Back to work today. That pesky job sure gets in the way of my "real" life! But I guess it keeps me stocked with fabric, quilting goodies, and thrifted treasures, not to mention food, gas, and the roof over my head, so I suppose I shouldn't grumble too much. And, after all, Friday's the 4th of July holiday, so it's only a four-day work week followed by a three-day weekend. Yeah, I suppose I'll survive this week.

I haven't shown you much in the way of quilting lately, so I figured it's time for an update. Sometime last week, I decided I really ought to try to get caught up a bit on the Christmas List quilt. That thought was probably prompted by the realization that I had only done about half of the first block and July will bring our seventh block of the quilt. Yikes! So here's what I've done:

The first block--you've already seen this one, I think, but just in case you missed it--

I think I still want to add some black embroidery around that blue ribbon--the blue kind of fades into the green of the tree. The second block--I finished this one on Sunday--

The third "block" was actually some pieced pinwheels, some pieced checkerboard squares, and a few appliqued stars. I've skipped that one for the moment. I'd rather wait until later so I can use some of the leftover fabrics from the appliqued blocks. The fourth block--I finished this one tonight--

Now I have the fifth one cut out and about half prepped. Maybe by the end of the week, I'll have that one done too!

Another project I need to get caught up on is the Hometown Christmas Thimbleberries quilt. Maybe I'll get back to that one after I finish this next block. By the way, I saw a Hometown Christmas quilt kit on eBay yesterday--if any of you still want to get one, pop on over there and check it out. There's also a set of just the Hometown Christmas books, if you'd rather use your own fabrics. I removed the list of bloggers working on the quilt from my sidebar because I think seeing that list all the time was just putting way too much pressure on Red Geranium Sharon. Or maybe it was the constant reminder of my own flakiness. Or maybe it was the fact that those who were going to do the quilt probably HAVE and those who haven't probably WON'T! But I'd sure like to hear if you end up winning either of those auctions so I know I've sucked someone else into encouraged another talented quilter to make this most beauteous quilt!

Last night I was taking a bath and noticed this stuff on the counter--

It seems the Boy Child may use more beauty products than I do! The hair gel? Not too surprised. The Grape Seed Extract Peel Off Masque? Yeah, I was a bit startled! Maybe one of these days, I'll ask him to write a "Day of Beauty" guest post--I'm guessing he may have a lot more beauty tips than I do! In the meantime, if you have any specific beauty questions, let me know and I'll pass them on. Thanks for checking in on me!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

New Kid on the Block

On Saturday, I ventured out to the new quilt shop in town, Runs with Scissors. This is the one that's right next to a Goodwill store--heaven!

Unfortunately, I wasn't overly impressed with the new shop. It was a little sparse on stock, but I think that's to be expected with a new shop. Still, what she had didn't tempt me very much. That's not to say, though, that there aren't plenty of quilters out there who wouldn't love it; it's just not "me"--at least not what she has so far. She had plenty of batiks and a good variety of styles of fabrics, but not a whole lot of Moda. Of the Moda she had, she didn't have any charm packs but did have a few jelly rolls and layer cakes. I was slightly tempted by Sandy Gervais' new Christmas line--I can't remember the name of it--but I keep looking at it and thinking how much it looks like the Holly Jolly line--the one I still have plenty of!

And I was really trying hard to find something to buy, because it seemed like that was the only way I was going to get to talk to the shop owner or the gal helping her. The whole time I was in the shop, no one greeted me and they barely glaced my way. I wanted to get a couple photos to share with you because the displays were pretty cute, but it seemed rude to start taking photos without asking first; so I hung around and hung around, looking at everything several times and thinking maybe someone would notice me, but it never happened, so I finally left the shop. I DID take a couple photos of the window displays--I think somebody did TOO GOOD a job washing those windows, though, because mostly I got reflections! LOL!

And to be fair, I'll go back. I'll give her a month or so to get her stock in and settle into running a retail business. One of the things I like about the shop is that she stays open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, so if I need to get something after work, I can go there and do my shopping--none of the other local shops stay open past 6 p.m. Another thing I like? Besides the fact that it's next door to Goodwill? There's a Starbucks just on the other corner! It would be nice to head out on a Saturday to hunt for treasures at Goodwill, pick up a little new fabric and a quilting magazine, and then go over to Starbucks to dream and plan what I'm going to do with my new purchases while sipping on an iced latte. And hopefully next time I go in, I won't be quite so invisible and I can ask if it's okay to take some photos to share with you!

Well, the weekend's over and work is just a few hours away. Time to get my beauty sleep! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Elephant in the Room and Other Stuff

Remember I mentioned I had ordered a roll of batting? Well, it arrived!

When I found out this past week it would be delivered on Friday, I thought maybe I should break it to Hubby ahead of time, so we had THE TALK on Wednesday evening. "Uh, honey? Just so you know, you'll probably come home on Friday from work to find a large box of batting on the front porch." "How large?," he asked. "Uh, you know, the size of a roll of batting. I don't know exactly. 30 yards. UPS says it's 50 pounds." He actually took it surprisingly well, although he was slightly concerned I may want to store the batting in the garage. No way! There's icky stuff out there that would probably be happy to take up residence in a roll of batting!

Actually, he laughed for quite awhile, making jokes about stuff like "parking" the box in the driveway and having the Boy Child spray paint it to look like a car.

Anyway, it's here. It's in the Boy Child's former bedroom. I still don't know where I'll put it, but it's not going in the garage, nor will it be painted to look like a car. And oddly enough, Hubby was a little disappointed it wasn't LARGER. I think he was making up stories in his head to tell the guys at work about his crazy wife and what he has to put up with!

Tomorrow--Sunday--is Hubby's birthday. Poor guy's getting kinda old! I made him a paperweight using, in part, a photo of him and his older brother when they were kids. His older brother is a cop, so I couldn't resist a donut joke. Hubby loves it! I've taken a couple photos to share but none of them turned out that well--the light and/or flash seems to distort the photo more than it does in "real life," but here's one of the photos anyway:

(I've put one of the other photos in the sidebar--that one's darker; the real life one is somewhere in between.) To celebrate Hubby's birthday, we went out to dinner with his sister Kathy and our friends, Terry and Lisa, to a fabulous Chinese restaurant where we dined on the patio. The weather was wonderful except for the less-than-clear skies--the smoke from the fires wasn't as bad today as it has been, but it will be awhile before we see blue skies again.

Lisa brought birthday napkins, candles, and noisemakers (good thing we were sitting outside!) as well as a gift of yummie cookies! Kathy gave Hubby a photo of himself and Ashley, one of our dogs that had to be put to sleep last fall. At the end of our meal, the restaurant brought the birthday boy a large piece of banana cream pie, and I realized that although I had my camera with me, I had forgotten to take any photos! I kept yelling, "WAIT! WAIT!," so I could take a photo, but everyone was trying so hard not to stab each other in the hand with their forks that I don't think they paid any attention to me. But I DID manage to get a photo of a half-eaten piece of banana cream pie.

Of course we went to Starbucks after dinner. No get together would be complete without a trip to Starbucks. And since Starbucks is next to Borders, we eventually wandered into the bookstore, where I bought this:

And this:

And I also picked up these from the grocery store and the thrift store earlier today:

The thrift store one looks a little racey, doesn't it? Nothing like a hip-cocked cowboy standing over a woman on the ground, huh? Actually, the guy looks a little gay, doesn't he? Brokeback Mountain maybe?! Hubby's been reading the Dean Koontz Odd Thomas series, so I bought him the newest book, Odd Hours, for his birthday.

Thanks for all your reading recommendations! I think I'm set for awhile now, but if you think of anything else I need to read, please DO let me know! And thanks for stopping in to visit!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mental Hospital Answering Machine

It's Friday night, and this seemed kind of funny! Yeah, I know I have a skewed sense of humor, but I thought you might enjoy it.

"Hello, and welcome to the mental health hotline...

If you are obsessive-compulsive press 1 repeatedly.

If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2 for you.

If you have multiple personalities, press 3, 4, 5, and 6.

If you are paranoid, we know who you are and what you want. Stay on the line so we can trace your call.

If you are delusional, press 7 and your call will be transferred to the mother ship.

If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a small voice will tell you which number to press.

If you are a manic-depressive, it doesn't matter which number you press, no one will answer.

If you are dyslexic, press 9696969696969696.

If you have a nervous disorder, please fidget with the pound key until a representative comes on the line.

If you have amnesia, press 8 and state your name, address, telephone number, date of birth, social security number, and your mother's maiden name.

If you have post-traumatic stress disorder, s-l-o-w-l-y & c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y press 0 0 0.

If you have bi-polar disorder, please leave a message after the beep or before the beep or after the beep. Please wait for the beep.

If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

If you have low self-esteem, please hang up. All operators are too busy to talk to you.

If you are menopausal, please hang up, turn on the fan, lay down & cry. You won't be crazy forever.

If you are blonde, don't press any buttons, you'll just mess it up."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Need a Little Romance

Sometime back around 1975, when I was married to my first husband and the marriage was starting to fall apart, I discovered Rosemary Rogers. Sweet Savage Love. OMG!

I remember I was taking a few college classes and I found the book in the college bookstore one day when I was wandering around, killing time between classes. Over the next couple days, I could barely put the book down! That was the first time I ever read anything like it! And I wasn't alone. Here's what Wikipedia has to say: "Rogers is considered to be one of the founders of the modern historical romance, and many of today's writers cite her writing as one of their biggest influences."

Over the next few years, I devoured books by Rogers and several other writers of historical romance. Then there came a time when I lost interest. All the romance writers, it seemed, were starting to sound like all the other romance writers. Until Diana Gabaldon came along.

I don't remember how it happened, but somewhere, somehow, I got my hands on Outlander. OMG!

For years I've spent a whole lot of time looking forward to Gabaldon's next installment in the Outlander series. I think Gabaldon ruined me. After reading her books, nothing else was anywhere near as good. I'm still waiting for more.

In the meantime, I found Sara Donati and her Wilderness series. According to some of the material I've read, Gabaldon is Donati's mentor, and a few of their characters have made an appearance in the other author's books. The first book of the series is Into the Wilderness. OMG!

If I can't have Gabaldon, then I want Donati's Wilderness books--and I'm waiting for another one of those too. Donati has recently written more modern romances under her real name, Rosina Lippi. I tried one; not quite as wonderful as the historical romances.

Nora Roberts? Well, I've enjoyed a few of her trilogies quite a lot and one or two of her single books, but some of them have felt like a waste of time. Too predictable, or not enough character development, or nothing to hold my interest. So, for my tastes, Nora Roberts is a crap shoot.

Most of the time, I read mysteries. But every now and then, I feel I need something different. Over the years, I've read a fair number of romances, and most of them disappointed me. I know many of you enjoy reading as much as I do. So here's my question to you: Can any of you recommend a really good romance? A thinking-woman's romance? 'Cause Friday night's coming, and based on your comments from last weekend's post, I think we could all use a little romance in our lives!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pattern Winner and the Honey Pot Excursion

I didn't mention in yesterday's post because it didn't quite fit in with my subject for the day--my son's (not so) tidy habits, but yesterday morning I called in to the office and told them I was taking a mental health day. So, instead of heading off to work, I spent a nice day just puttering around.

In the morning, I got dressed, more or less as usual, and headed out to two thrift stores, both Goodwill. Of course, I found a few good things. I was chatting with Lorraine (Granny Loz) today and found out she collects honey pots, so I thought I'd show you (and her!) a photo of one I found while I was engaged in recovering my sanity--I thought its goldenrod yellow glaze would look great in the kitchen hutch for fall:

Can you see the little lady bug that found its way into the Sweat Shop? I thought I'd capture her in the photo. I've since taken her out to the patio and set her free to eat all the bad bugs in the garden--or at least all the aphids.

You may have heard about all the fires in California. Although none of the fires are very close to us in Sacramento, we ARE getting quite a lot of the smoke, and its been settling in our valley, making our air quality horrible! That's what I was driving around in yesterday, so I didn't stay out too long. The best thing I found at Goodwill, though, was a new quilt shop! Actually, it was right next door to the Goodwill store. It sure looked cute but unfortunately their grand opening was TODAY, I think--darn! I guess I took the wrong day off! As I plastered my nose up against the glass, I could see several women working, filling the shelves with fabric in preparation for the opening. I may just need to go back on Saturday and get some photos to share with you!

I got home from my shopping trip just before the Wild Child and her boyfriend stopped in on their way back home from surfing, so we had a nice but short visit. After they got back on the road, I spent the rest of the day cleaning house and rearranging "stuff." Seriously, if you had suggested that I might take a day off work to clean house, I would have laughed and said you were nuts, but that's what I did, and I enjoyed it! Which only goes to show you how much I needed a mental health day, right?! Still, not only does it mean that I'll get more play time this weekend instead of cleaning, but I can come home to a nice, clean house after work this week, which is guaranteed to make me happier. Mindful, of course, of the old "all work and no play" axiom, I DID take a few breaks to do a little reading, so it wasn't all hard work. Sadly, though, there was no quilting done--hard to believe!

And speaking of quilting, I bet you're all wondering who won the Hat Trick quilt pattern, right? I had 36 entries, so when the Boy Child came home from coaching his girls' soccer practice, I asked him to pick a number between 1 and 36--and he picked 15: Tracey in CT! Congratulations, Tracey! Please email me your snail mail address and I'll get the pattern in the mail to you this week.

Thank you all for entering the pattern giveaway--sorry you all couldn't win, but I'll have more giveaways in the future. In fact, a friend of mine just sent me another Schnibbles pattern--I'm sure I'll show you that pattern soon. I'm glad you could stop in and visit!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Do You Want the Bad News First?

Remember how, oh, about a month or two ago, I fixed up my daughter's former bedroom? Here's a photographic reminder:

And here's the same view, more or less, now:

And again--before:


And the good news? I think the Boy Child has found a new place to live. It sounds like he'll be moving out again around July 1st. I just hope his new roommate doesn't read my blog because I'm not so sure he'd be impressed with my photographic "reference"!

Actually, it hasn't been bad having him around, just as long as I keep the bedroom door shut and don't expect to find leftovers in the fridge or anything other than crumbs left from snack food. Still, I anticipate I'll have my work cut out for me the first week or so after he leaves, getting that room back in shape. There's no telling what it looks like under all those clothes!

Oh! And another "good news" item? The Wild Child stopped in on her way back from her mini-surfing vacation and took two boxes of her things that were stored in her former bedroom. I asked if she had any trouble getting to the boxes, and she said no, she just walked over all the Boy Child's "stuff"--just like old times!

Monday, June 23, 2008

What is it?

Having behaved myself and stayed away from all thrift stores for the past three days, I couldn't resist popping over to Goodwill during my lunch hour. And, in what seems to be a recurring feature on my blog, I thought I'd post a "what is it?" tonight.

This seems to be developing into a pattern of behavior--me buying stuff and then trying to figure out what I've bought. And I'm sure glad I have all of you to help me! I think this is a tablerunner of sorts. It's either a linen or a looser weave cotton. I don't know how old it is, but it's in pretty good shape. What fascinates me, though, is the silhouette images dyed in blue on the white fabric. How did they do that? I've shown it to a few people and all of us are puzzled by the fact that the dye didn't bleed into the fabric. Two people suggested it may have been done using a stencil. There's no difference in texture between the dyed and non-dyed parts of the fabric, and the dye goes through to the other side--it's actually pretty well reversible. Whatever it is, it's really interesting. Have you seen anything like it before? Here's a close up of one of the images:

When I got to the thrift store, I saw a woman I recognized from quilting, so I just made a cursory inspection of the glassware and hurried to the textiles before she got there. Am I bad or what?! I found that runner together with a few other wonderful things--a white pillowcase with a scalloped and blue-crocheted edge, another white pillowcase with cutwork and blue embroidery, and a small round embroidered linen tabletopper. I just can't resist the lacy, embroidered handwork on these things!

I wish I had my camera with me, though, because I would have liked to show you a photo of what I DID resist: A quilt or afghan made up of polyester double knit squares (approximately 4" squares) crocheted together with off-white yarn. Boy was that thing UGLY! And heavy! But it was SO completely representative of handcrafts in the 1960's that I was really tempted to take it home as a piece of history; still, I knew there was no way I'd ever display it, and my drawers are quite full enough as it is, so I left it on the rack.

After finishing the Hat Trick quilt top, I'm really starting to think about the blue and white color scheme for my summertime kitchen. Probably because of that, my eye was caught by a small bowl and matching teacup--no saucer, but I have other blue and white saucers, and these things often mix and match pretty well. Then I saw a Mikasa blue and white serving bowl--I'm thinking it just might make a pretty fruit bowl for my hutch. Oh, and a white Butter Bell--that one's not for me though. I have a Christmas gift basket idea, so I'll put that away for later.

Don't forget--if you'd like a chance to win the Hat Trick pattern, leave a comment HERE. The drawing will be late Wednesday night. I'm glad you could stop in to visit!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Productive Sunday!

I finished the Hat Trick quilt top this afternoon--yippee! Now I just need to get it quilted--along with about 20 other quilt tops! Leave a comment on the post below this one if you'd like to be entered into the raffle to win the Schnibbles pattern--I'll draw a winner on Wednesday night. The only real change I made to this pattern was to separate the sections into four squares with sashing in between. I've had the border fabric in my stash for years and was happy to be able to use it in a project finally.

My friend Patty megged me into ordering a HUGE roll of batting, which should motivate me to get some of my quilt tops quilted. I have no idea where I'm going to store a roll of batting but I'm thinking I may need to gently nudge the Boy Child into finding his own place so I have room for batting. A quilter DOES need to set priorities, after all!

And speaking of my offspring, the other one, the Wild Child and her boyfriend, made a brief appearance here today on her way westward to the ocean for a few days of camping and surfing. We had no idea she was coming through, so it was a complete surprise! You know the kind--where you're still in your nightgown sewing and your spouse is sitting in the recliner in his underwear, reading the Sunday paper?! Luckily the Boy Child was able to alert us to her arrival in time for us to scurry off to get dressed, so no one was embarrassed.

Once I finished the Hat Trick top today, I pulled out the first block of the Christmas List BOM ("Find the Perfect Tree") and finished that one up too. I'm really going to like this quilt when it's done! I have a substantial stash of Thimbleberries fabrics, and that's what I'm using in this quilt--quite a few of them will be my "vintage" ones.

Then, while watching PBS Masterpiece Theater tonight, I got started on Block Two ("Take it Home"). I'll be able to take this to work on during my lunch hours this week--if I can manage to stay out of the thrift stores!

Did you watch Inspector Lewis on Masterpiece Theater tonight? I miss Inspector Morse but I'm glad to see the characters continuing on--particularly since there's not much else to watch during the summer.

Besides playing in the Sweat Shop today, I managed to cook up a bunch of food for the week which will, in theory anyway, help keep me out of the kitchen and in the Sweat Shop. I cooked a rack of pork ribs that can be put on the BBQ tomorrow night, a big bowl of pasta salad, hamburgers for tonight's dinner, and--YUM!--mocha cupcakes!

Nothing too fancy, but they sure taste good!

I hope you had an enjoyable weekend too! Thanks for stopping by!

Hat Trick Raffle!

Leave a comment on this post to be entered into the raffle for this Schnibbles pattern:

I'll draw a winner Wednesday night.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Silent Saturday

Almost, anyway! But you know I can't be completely silent! I'm hard at work on the Hat Trick quilt top and have nothing to show you yet. I was up at some abnormally crazy-for-a-Saturday time (7:30ish) and out of the house practically before sun-up (8:45 a.m.) so I could get my grocery shopping done before it got too hot (it was over 80 degrees already when I left the house). After that, my day wasn't very noteworthy, so I won't bore you with the details. I DID, though, pick up this magazine at the grocery store and it's got some good ideas. Sections on flea market (thrift store?!) finds, country cottage decor, patriotic crafts, outdoor/patio projects, etc. The only section that didn't get my creative juices flowing was the seemingly neverending one on card-making/stamping since that's one of the few things I haven't gotten involved in, but for those of you who enjoy it, I bet you'll get tingly all over. Check it out if you see it at the store.

I'll be back tomorrow with a photo of the Hat Trick quilt top. See you then!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Horoscope Round-Up and Friday Night Fun

Many of you said your horoscope was chillingly accurate or at least pretty darn close. Most of you who thought your horoscope didn't quite fit, thought so because no, you don't actually finish every project you start. But then who does? I think the horoscope writer was a little too optimistic with that one! Sure, there are rare saints quilters who actually DO finish what they start but I don't think there are many. Then there were a few horoscopes that talked about being meticulous in quilting and/or conservative in purchasing, and a few of you didn't see yourselves in those descriptions. Sure can't blame you there! I think it was fun to read though!

If you were wondering about my progress on the Hat Trick quilt, I've done nothing. Well, I did tweek the fabric selections last night--here they are now with more lighter blue fabrics added to the mix (the blue/white/yellow plaid you see on the far right are napkins--I thought I'd get them out to see how the other fabrics would look if I made a tabletopper):

And that pile has not been touched since. I came home from work tonight, checked my emails and took a big fat NAP! From around 7 p.m. to around 9 p.m. Hubby then spent the next hour driving around town, looking for an open fast food restaurant so we could have semi-warm burgers and fries at 10 p.m. The only productive thing I've done tonight is clean out the refrigerator.

The boy child left for Los Angeles this afternoon--he has an indoor soccer game tomorrow morning, so he'll be gone until tomorrow night. Hubby and I have the house to ourselves for a change. You can tell we're getting old: Friday night, hours of uninterrupted privacy, and he spends it napping in his recliner while I spend it napping on the bed. Then we treat ourselves to fast food. Will the romance never die?!

Something for Quilters

You may have seen The Quilters' Horoscope by Pauline Rogers before, but if you haven't, you might enjoy reading what she says about YOUR sign:

"A humorous compilation of character traits of quilters according to their zodiac signs. Compiled by a quilting tutor with over twenty years experience teaching patchwork and quilting and zero years writing horoscopes.

Aries - March 21 to April 20 Aries are adventurous and energetic quilters. They are forever looking for new ideas. The whole world to them is a palette of endless possibilities. Always confident, they use colour schemes that others wouldn't dare consider. Their enthusiasm can cause them to lose track of time when working on a project and they have been known to go days without sleep. Being impulsive by nature, they generally don't bother reading the instructions for designs. Of course, as far as they are concerned the patterns are just to give them more ideas. Aries have a talent for the arts and make excellent designers. They don't follow techniques; they invent them. Their quilt designs are the envy of many.

Taurus - April 21 to May 20 Taurus is the quilter who always finishes a project, as they are persistent and determined. When attending workshops or using a pattern they will follow every instruction to the letter. They can be greedy when it comes to their stash, as they know the value of material. They save every bit of scrap. However, they are warmhearted and loving to such a degree that they have given away nearly every quilt they have ever made. They are gifted artists, excelling at sewing, patchwork and quilting. The stitching in their quilts is of such high quality that their quilts will endure for eons.

Gemini - May 21 to June 21 If Gemini has been fortunate enough to discover a tutor that has guided their enthusiasm, their quilts will be imaginative and versatile. If they are self-taught quilters they will have a treasure trove of books, magazines, quilting supplies and every innovation related to quilting but they probably do not have a single finished quilt. This won't bother them though as they will convince everyone, including themselves, that this was always their plan. Being youthful they love funky projects that use bright fabrics and dazzling threads; being romantic they love traditional quilts made with soft pastels and florals; being whimsical they love the country theme and flannels; being Gemini they love it all! Being very good with words, they will likely go on to author books as experts on patchwork and quilting - having never finished a single project.

Cancer - June 22 to July 22 Cancer makes quilts to please themselves not to showcase. They do appreciate compliments on their work but being timid they aren't likely to enter a quilt in a competition. They want their quilts to be practical and comfortable and aren't likely to hang one on the wall, but actually use them on beds. Being cautious they are most likely to stick to the traditional designs. They are not likely to add decorative touches, such as trims or whatnots. They believe that quilts are naturally beautiful and do not need embellishments. They love to use dark rich colours in their quilts considering these as more practical. When they discover a quilt shop they like, they become lifetime, loyal customers.

Leo - July 23 to August 23 Being one of the most creative signs Leo quilters make wonderful masterpieces. As they are generous and warmhearted their friends and family are usually lucky recipients of their beautiful creations. They love to read all the patchwork and quilting magazines looking for ideas that they can use. They are always up-to-date on the latest crazes. Although they know quite a bit about their chosen craft and can usually discover straight away where a quilter has run into problems in their projects, they tend to be too bossy when attempting to help fellow quilters. They are great as companions to go fabric shopping with, as they know where the best deals are to be found. They are also great help in selecting coordinating material but be prepared to go along with their decisions or suffer the wrath. They don't like to waste their precious time providing opinions that get ignored.

Virgo - August 24 to September 22 Virgo is meticulous and fussy when it comes to patchwork and quilting. They never rush any project but pay scrupulous attention to every detail from cutting, to piecing, to quilting. The downside to their fastidiousness is that they always notice mistakes in other quilter's creations no matter how minor. If you want to know the exact amount of fabric required for any size quilt, ask a Virgo. They have an uncanny knack for making such calculations. Virgos tend to take up quilting at a younger age then other women. They don't have a problem balancing their lives and making time for career, partner, children and quilting.

Libra - September 23 to October 23 Easygoing and sociable Libra's are great fun to have in patchwork and quilting classes and workshops. They enjoy helping others and never turn down a request to lend a hand to pin a quilt top. Friends are very important to Libra, and they don't mind sharing their stash or tools. Unfortunately helpful Libra rarely will ask for help. They think that if they wait long enough for a problem to go away it will. Thus they end up with unfinished quilts when they do run into difficulty. Instead of finding a solution for the glitch they put it aside and move on to another project. They believe that they will be able to return to the project later and the predicament will have fixed itself. Funnily this sometimes works. You will find that a quilt designed by a Libra is always perfectly balanced.

Scorpio - October 24 to November 22 Being passionate Scorpios can be excellent quilters. When they rely on their natural intuition, they excel at choosing colour and pattern combinations. Sometimes their compulsive nature can cause problems, as they leave projects unfinished in their quest to have the latest and greatest. When they stick with a project they produce supreme work. They always must have the most up-to-minute supplies or tools and tend to be jealous of others who may possess anything more recent. They have been known to sulk if they get frustrated in their aim to be unsurpassed. Nevertheless, their desire to have the best is what drives them to produce exceptional quality work. As they possess abundant energy they can do a large amount of quilting without even needing a break for a cuppa.

Sagittarius - November 23 to December 21 Sagittarius love challenges of all kinds and will pick the most difficult quilt design to pursue. Ever optimistic they will not be deterred by complex patterns even as beginners. Their ability to tackle complicated projects with ease sometimes leads them to be tactless when faced with what they view as a simple project. However, people tend to admire Sagittarius and thus forgive their indiscretions. As it is extremely important to a Sagittarius to complete everything they start, the only unfinished project they will have is the one they are currently working on. They prefer to quilt with friends and family as a shared activity rather then as a solitary pastime.

Capricorn - December 22 and January 20 When shopping for fabric it is always wise to take a Capricorn, as they are very good at calculating the required amount needed for patterns. Being prudent and practical they will not over estimate the quantity needed and therefore are cost effective to have along, especially if you are on a budget. They are also extremely organized and disciplined. They take as much care in the storage of their stash as they do in the quality of their work. They see themselves as sensible and perform a regular clear out of supplies and materials. They are not the type to horde anything and do not own more than one type of any tool. Of course their restraint is what causes them to take an inordinate amount of time in the planning stage of a project, which they feel is of vital importance to the outcome of the finished product.

Aquarius - January 21 to February 18 Aquarius is very gifted and produce exceptionally original quilts. They are known to invent new techniques that enhance the art form. They are friendly but their independent nature leads them to prefer to spend time quilting by themselves. Although you can find them in a quilting class, they are the most likely of all signs to choose to learn from books or a video. However if you ever have a patchwork or quilting dilemma they are the kind of person that you can turn to for help and advice. They are nice and will be thoughtful when making a quilt for friends or family. They will create the quilt with careful consideration of what the individual would like.

Pisces - February 19 and March 20 Pisces are dreamers. When they quilt they usually are creating poetry. Although they are kind and make projects to bestow on friends and family they are most likely envisioning themselves snuggled beneath the very quilt they are working on. Although they can lack self-confidence their imagination and intuition makes them artistic quilters. There sensitivity can lead them to shy away from displaying their creations. Generally you will find that a Pisces has more then one project on the go and can easily manage both. Whatever they choose to work on they need a project that requires plenty of variety. Patchwork that includes embroidery or other needlework is well liked by them."

* * * * *

How accurate is yours? I'm a Leo and it's kind of scary how close it is!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Two out of three ain't bad, is it? This thrifting stuff sure helps reuse and recycle but I can't claim to be doing a whole lot of reducing unless you're talking about my bank balance! Still, we all need to do our part to stimulate the economy, right? Right!

I'm tickled to hear from several of you who have said you've been inspired to venture into a thrift store or two after reading my blog. And I'm not too surprised to hear from a few of you who have said your thrifting trips weren't very successful and/or you just don't seem to have the quality stores we have here. Over the years, I've ventured into thrift stores on rare occasions and I've been disappointed too. I've walked in, my eyes have scanned the store shelves, and I've seen nothing but a whole lot of discarded junk. I guess for those of you who have been disappointed, the advice I'd give you is to look closer and use your imagination. There are times now when I'll walk down all the aisles and find very little because I'm on the hunt for the BIG treasure. Usually, if I have time, I'll revisit some of the aisles and look a little closer--on bottom shelves, behind things, under things. Invariably I'll come across a few smaller treasures I missed on the first pass.

Then there are the things that require a little imagination. Say, for instance, a wooden bench. I may see a small, painted wooden bench and think it's not very attractive, but when I look closer, I may decide I like the shape of the bench, just not the colors or quality of the paint job. Simple enough to fix, really, with a little sanding and a coat of paint or some type of paint treatment. You get the idea.

And although they don't always catch the eye right away, one of my favorite finds are the hand crafts. Here's a little VERY poorly framed cross stitch I found for 99 cents--

It's just taped onto cardboard using masking tape and the frame was coming apart at one corner. I took it all apart, painted an old picture frame, used a mat I had, and reframed the cross stitch. I think it turned out pretty nice, and it only took about an hour or two--nowhere near as long as it took the person to do the cross stitch!

And, of course, I still have the frame the cross stitch came in. Hubby will glue it back together for me, and I'll probably use it for another project.

I came across this relish dish the other day. It really didn't look like much, but I don't have enough of these types of serving pieces for holiday meals, so for 49 cents, I brought it home and washed it. Once all the grime was off it, it really turned out pretty!

I've also picked up a couple pieces of silver-plated serving pieces that weren't anything to get too excited about at the thrift store, but when I brought them home and got all the tarnish off, they came out pretty nice! I'm not much into silver, but I think they add some nice class and sparkle to holiday meals. Hubby, by the way, said we're going to have to come up with some new holidays so we can use what I've found. Hey, I've got one! How about Send Your Husband Away Day?!

Stuck between old polyester double knit fabrics which were wedged into racks of ugly sheets, old pillow cases, cheap towels, and other miscellaneous textiles, I found this piece of yellow checked fabric with embroidered lollipops. I'm not sure if it's cotton or cotton/poly and I can't imagine making a lollipop quilt anyway, but after thinking about it for a few minutes, I realized the fabric's a nice weight for a pair of cheerful summer PJ bottoms. Two yards or so for something like $1.35.

Another tip? If you live in or near a city that's large enough to have more than one thrift store, check out stores in different parts of town. I've visited, now, about six different Goodwill stores in the Sacramento area and they all seem to be a bit different--they all have their own "character." You may find that one store seems to get more vintage items while another may get more items that are new and/or haven't even been used. One store may have better quality textiles than another. One store may have some designer purses--I just saw a Louis Vuitton purse the other day. And sometimes you'll be surprised at what you find in areas of town you wouldn't expect. So don't give up if you don't find anything that excites you the first couple times you go thrifting. Keep trying. After all, treasure, by its very definition, is illusive but well worth the hunt when you find it!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Here's What I've Been Doing . . .

Today was the girl boss's last day at work before taking time off to get married and then study for and take a bar examination in a neighboring state. She planned to work until 1 p.m. but told me at around 11:25 that she thought she'd leave in a little while. She came back to my desk at around 11:27, purse and whatever else gathered into her arms and said she was leaving--she was like a kid on the last day of school! She's gone now until August.

Remember that question I had a few weeks back about what was the right thing to do as far as getting her a wedding gift and/or organizing an office bridal shower? As it turned out, the "office" gave her a little party last Friday with cake and beverages and a few nice gifts, and we all signed a card. Based on the majority of your responses, that seemed to be all that was really "required" of me. Thanks for your input!

I decided last night that I was going to cut back on the thrift store shopping. Sure, I only spend maybe around $10 when I go, but when you go once--sometimes twice--a day, the cost can add up! At work this morning, I started thinking about what I was going to do during my lunch hour and I realized I hadn't brought my applique with me or any books or magazines to read. So what did I do? Yeah, I hit the thrift store for old times sake! Well, I thought about going over to Borders to buy a book or magazine but I have plenty here at home that I haven't read yet, so I decided if I was going to spend money, it might as well be on something I don't already have, right? Like all the junk treasures waiting for me at Goodwill! Hubby, by the way, has advised me that our treasure chest is full to overflowing, so I thought it best to leave my bags in the trunk of my car for now. And don't tell me YOU haven't done the same thing once or twice! ROFLOL!

Tonight when we came home from work, we had a message on our answering machine from a woman who identified herself as Mrs. Purannial (or something like that) with a phone number in the 570 area code. She was calling to advise us that "as promised, Don's employer has been contacted as to his immoral behavior." We don't know anyone named Don, but we're awfully curious now! Do any of you know a naughty man named Don who presumably lives in Pennsylvania? Or maybe Don lives in New York--our area code is 916, but there's 716, 914, and 917 in New York. Well, at least it was entertaining. Poor Don, though--she didn't sound like a very nice person. I'm very tempted to call her back and get her correct name and tell her I've written about her call in my blog. Do you think she'd just die, or what?!

I think a couple of you were hoping I'd make the Schnibbles Hat Trick quilt soon because you'd like to win the pattern. I think that's what I've decided to make next with blue and white fabrics. I also picked out a blue, white, and yellow fabric to use for the setting triangles and squares. I may tweek the fabric selection some, but here's what I pulled out of my stash:

Those blues look awfully dark in the photo. They ARE on the darkish side, but in the photo they look nearly black! I actually thought I might pick out a few lighter blues, but there was absolutely nothing on TV I was interested in watching, so I called it a night and turned out the lights in the Sweat Shop. Now the day's nearly over and I'm ready to go to bed and read for a little bit. (Mental note to self: Bring something to do during the lunch hour tomorrow.) I'm glad you could stop by for a visit!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What Next?

Do you ever get to a place where you've finished up your immediate goals and aren't sure what to do next? Having finished the 4th of July quilt and that little Americana panel to hang in the kitchen, I'm at that place. I have a couple of applique projects "in progress" (including the cherries quilt) and uncounted quilt tops wanting to grow up to become "real" quilts. I have fabrics and patterns galore! I have tiny shrunken wool sweaters and thrifted purse handles waiting to become purses. Goodness knows I have plenty of non-quilting crafty projects, not to mention my new ambition of learning to crochet! So what's next?

To tell you the truth, I'm kind of drawn to the Schnibbles patterns, but then there's a quilt top I want to quilt too. What should I do?

How do YOU decide which project to start next? In my world, the choice is often determined by what I "need" to give away, show to a group, or decorate with. With that criteria in mind, I my next two projects SHOULD be a Schnibbles pattern made in blue and white fabrics and quilting that quilt top I mentioned. I "need" a blue and white quilt because once 4th of July is past, I'll probably want to put away the patriotic stuff and get out my blue and white plates and things.

And that quilt top? My Thimbleberries group will get together for a "camp" in August or September and swap a simple block--I used the same blocks in my quilt top and I'd like to show the other gals what can be done with them when the next Thimbleberries meeting rolls around in July.

I also have the Christmas List BOM--I think I'll continue to take that project with me to work on during my lunch hours. Of course, in order to get anywhere with that plan, I'll probably have to stop going to Goodwill nearly every day--my new addiction! But if I don't get some sewing done soon and stay out of the thrift store, I'll have to change the name of my blog to Kim's Big Thrifting Adventure. Or, quite possibly, Kim's Big Poor House Adventure!

I thought I'd show you this thrifted find, though, since it's sewing-related.

Won't this make a dandy box for all my sewing notions? Since I began quilting, I've kept all kinds of odds and ends in a yellow plastic tool box I bought at Home Depot. I like this much better, don't you?

There are a couple problems with it though. See that piece of wood that sticks up higher than the "drawer"? Someone's quick fix at some point in its life.

Then there's the missing corner piece.

For $3.99, I decided to buy it and bring it home to ask the boy child if he could/would fix it for me. Since he's a fully-qualified cabinet refacer (is that a word?), I think he has the skills and tools he'll need to at least make it better than it is now. He looked it over tonight and said he thought he could do something. My birthday's coming up on July 23rd--that's over a month away. I think I'll tell him that's what I'd like for my birthday!

Tomorrow night, I'll probably hang out in the Sweat Shop, pulling blue and white fabrics from my stash and deciding which Schnibbles pattern to use. You know what that means, right? Once I finish piecing it, I'll have a giveaway of the pattern, so look for that in about a week! In the next couple days, I'll let you know which pattern I decide to make. Thanks for stopping in to visit!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Drawer/Shelf Thing and the Thrift Store

In yesterday's post, I mentioned moving the drawer/shelf thing around the corner and into the kitchen--that's it below, the green thing with the drawers--

When I first moved this old dresser into the kitchen, I planned to have one of the men in my life build me an upper cabinet that consisted of a plate rack, a cupboard, and an open shelf. I'm still waiting. I think I have the wrong men in my life! The idea was that once that upper cabinet was built, I'd do some kind of paint treatment to both--that's why this goofy dresser is painted blue with unfinished feet and knobs (the dresser WAS my son's at one time and he decided everything in his room should be blue; I came home from work one day to find it painted). Anyway, putting the drawer/shelf piece on the wall above the dresser kind of gave me a little bit of the look I wanted, more or less--good enough for now until I find some handy men to share my life and cupboard-building dreams with.

Remember that rolling pin/massager thing I found at the thrift store? It's there in the upper left side of the photo with the small Americana quilt hung from it. One of the cherry plates is on the shelf too. Then there's that rooster plate holder--one of my finds at the Memorial Day sale. The two red plates? Tracey Porter from Goodwill for 49 cents each. The patriotic-painted angel? Goodwill. Then, of course, there's that thrifted lamp that I told you about not too long ago. The wooden apples (in the white wooden bowl) were another Goodwill discovery. The toaster oven? Target. Hey, you can't get EVERYTHING at Goodwill!

(BTW, see the cupcakes on the counter? Father's Day cupcakes! The boy child will probably have finished them by tomorrow. Unless I put them in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator.)

Today I headed to Goodwill on my lunch hour, looking for cheap but handy men and other treasures. I've been admiring some of the crochet projects all of you crafty blogging gals have been doing, so I couldn't pass up the Learn to Crochet book.

"Kcenya1950" (sorry, no blog site and the comment was "noreply") commented a few weeks back about thrifting. She said her favorite part is the "crafts gone bad" section--that cracked me up and I think about it every time I'm in the "crafts gone bad" aisle! Today I found this white crochet thread as well as this blue. The blue is a wool/nylon blend, and "vintage" from the looks of it. Goodwill had a TON of it for 49 cent each. Does anyone NEED this stuff? I bought four for myself in the hopes that I might actually use it some day, but I'd be happy to go back and get more if anyone needs it--just reimburse me the cost and postage. If you're interested, please email me to work something out or I can give you more info if you need it.

When I was in the thrift store today, I heard a man talking to a woman about what kinds of things to look for that can be sold for a profit on eBay. As I was looking through the textiles, the pair came my way and the woman reached up into a pile of pillows and pulled out a silver pitcher--apparently she had stashed it there until she could do a little research and get the man's opinion. Then they excitedly peered through the doors into the back "sorting and pricing" area, pointing out potentially good stuff to one another. They pounced on the first employee to walk out, asking when more things would be coming out to be put on the shelves. The employee told the pair they were a little short-handed today and backed up, so it wouldn't be until much later in the day. I'm thinking maybe I need to go back again tomorrow. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

As the Weekend Draws to a Close . . .

A person shouldn't be this tired at the end of a weekend--unless they've been out having fun 20 hours a day! I swear it seems like this has been the least relaxing weekend I've had in a long time.

Saturday morning I spent ironing mostly. I remember summer mornings when I was young, and my mom would do the same thing. The difference was that we didn't have air conditioning and she'd do her ironing in her underwear. Not me! I burn myself with the iron enough as it is--I sure wouldn't want any saggy body parts hanging around to get between the iron and whatever I'm pressing!

Anyway, I've been lucky enough to find a fair amount of Battenberg lace items during my thrifting excursions, and that's mostly what I was ironing. Here's a photo of my new-to-me bedroom curtains:

Much of Saturday I puttered around the house, doing some rearranging, putting away, and cooking. I tried out both of Vallen's recipes I mentioned the other day, and they were yummy!

Today, I spent nearly all day cleaning and cooking. I didn't PLAN to shampoo the livingroom carpet, but this morning Hubby was waiving his arms around, enthusiastically describing a soccer play, and knocked over a whole glass of lemonade, all over the wall, the carpet, and the table. So the carpet cleaner made an appearance. I don't think you're allowed to kill husbands on Fathers' Day, are you?

For dinner tonight I made Thimbleanna's German potato salad, coleslaw, and BBQ'd chicken. Hubby loved it all; so did the boy child. (I had to make the boy's potato salad without onions. Aren't I a saint?!) Lemon cupcakes with homemade buttercream frosting was dessert. All of it was delicious!

Between cooking, cleaning, arranging, moving, serving, and shampooing, I snuck in a few quilting breaks and finished up the patriotic quilt. Barbie Jo left me a comment the other day telling me she's expecting me to get a bunch of quilts done while she's on vacation--I'd hate to disappoint her! I have it up on the wall, but I'm still waiting for the quilt rod hubby's making for me. The rod's not done yet because Fathers' Day apparently exempts a man from doing anything more strenuous than waiving his arms around and knocking over lemonade. But I thought you'd like to see it--

Until this afternoon, we had a shelf/drawer thing hanging on this wall, but the boy child helped me take it down and move it around the corner to the kitchen. I still need to remove this ugly wallpaper and do something to this wall, but I'm holding off until I re-do the kitchen. In the meantime, I'll just try to hide it with quilts. And I'm liking the new location of the shelf/drawer thing quite a lot--I'll get a photo to show you in a few days after I finish arranging "stuff."

I need another day of weekend to relax now, but that's not gonna happen. Back to work tomorrow. I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why My Eyebrows Are Turning White

The Boy Child.

The Wild (Girl) Child.

Why do they show me these photos? I don't like heights!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Humor, Freedom, Play

How does one wild and crazy Sacramento couple celebrate the start of the weekend? They go out to the thrift store, of course!

Driving home from work tonight, I found the roads populated by crazy drivers--and non-drivers! I knew I was in trouble when about two blocks from the office, the woman in front of me, on a green left turn light, pulled into the intersection and stopped. Just stopped, in the middle of her left turn, for no apparent reason. Then there was the homeless guy, standing in the median strip on a busy street, four lanes of traffic in either direction, apparently preaching to the passing drivers from the looks of it. Finally, after several minor annoyances, I was nearing the home stretch when traffic suddenly stopped for a train. This train was dropping off a couple of rail cars at a lumber yard and was using the side spur that crosses the road. I see this happen maybe once or twice a year, and of course it happened tonight. Friday the 13th. As I was stopped at an idle, waiting for the train and watching my temperature gauge climb, I contemplated turning off the air conditioning (after noting that the outside temperature was 103 degrees!) and/or pounding my head against the steering wheel. As an alternative, I wondered whether the next turn off was before or after the railroad track. I thought about the fact that the next turn off led to a Goodwill store. Just about then, traffic finally began to move, but by that time, the idea of going thrifting was deeply impressed upon my tired brain, and I had convinced myself that this magical thought came to me because there were treasures out there calling my name. It's been a long week, okay? Quit snickering!

When I got home and walked in the door, Hubby was doing dishes. Needless to say, he was reasonably enthusiastic about dropping (not literally!) what he was doing and heading out for something a little more exciting.

Sadly, my treasure radar must have been a little off tonight, because we didn't find much in the way of true treasures, although we didn't leave empty handed. I thought a couple cherry-rimmed plates I came across (49 cents each) would make a nice place setting for a summer meal. What do you think?

I found a bag of Hearthstones, those heart-shaped tiles up at the top. The idea of the Hearthstones, apparently, is that you go into a happy, meditative state in your mind, reach deep into the Hearthstone bag, and pull out a tile. You then carry it around with you all day long and think about whatever the word is on the tile. Yeah, right! No, my Hearthstones will likely decorate some arty collage thingy someday. Or I'll pass them out to homeless guys standing in the median strips of busy roads. Either way, 99 cents will buy me a lot of fun! But I thought I'd pull these three tiles out now, since they represent my hopes and plans for the weekend.

So, anyway, we spent about $13 at the thrift store, brought home a few goodies, and had a couple hours of fun. After that, we went to Chili's for dinner and picked up iced lattes from Starbucks on the way home. Probably not everyone's idea of a wild Friday night out on the town, but we had a good time!

Oh, and we have BIG plans for the 4th of July too. Check it out!

And let me leave you with this image:

That's the boy child. It has nothing to do with anything else in this post, except possibly the title. I have no idea what he's doing or when this was taken, but I found it downloaded on my computer with the photos I downloaded yesterday, so I figure it's fair game, right? Whatever he's doing, though, I'm sure he'll be hungry, 'cause I know my boy! I gotta go hide that ice cream I bought last night!