Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Quiet but Productive Saturday . . .

I've spent much of the day today working on writing the Fireworks! pattern and making little "gifties" for my students.

For some reason, I'm always a bit surprised at how long it takes to write a pattern. I had notes. I had a nice diagram already prepared. I'd calculated the fabric requirements and written them all out in connection with the class. All this was already done. So why does it take so long to write the pattern?! Sheesh! Hours and hours!

Tomorrow I'll copy and package it up and get it on Etsy. Tomorrow I'll make more little "gifties" for my students. (I thought I might do a little house cleaning, but I don't think I'll have time. Tsk, Tsk! Isn't that a shame?! NOT!)

The pressure's on, though, because I'm teaching the Fireworks! class at Bearpaws & Hollyhocks next Saturday and I still have a lot to do. It really doesn't seem like it's been a month since the last class I taught, but it has! If you're in the area, haven't signed up yet, and would like to attend, give the shop a call. I haven't checked to see how many students were signed up, but I suspect there may be a spot or two available. (By the way, the class is called Patriotic Patchwork in case you want to enroll.) And if you're already signed up? Well, I wanted to let you know that I'll be bringing some all-American food for a late lunch, so don't worry about fainting during class from too much excitement and an empty stomach! Not gonna happen!

Oh, and were you wondering about last night's poker game, by any chance? Hubby lost his shirt, figuratively speaking. The big winner? The YOUNG guy! And really, if you knew these guys, you'd be dying laughing because they all think they're pretty hot poker players, and the young guy tends to be fairly quiet and unassuming--I think he kind of flies under the radar most of the time. Everyone left by around 12:30 a.m., and Hubby did a pretty good job of cleaning up after himself and his friends.

Next time there's a poker game, though, I think Pam and Gran have some ideas about getting together so I won't have to hang around the house and watch old guys going back and forth from the patio to the bathroom. Hanging out with the hot quilter chicks sounds like a lot more fun, don't you think?!

Well, it's time for this hot quilter chick to get to bed--the resident old guy is already there, snoring away. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday Night Fun

It's Friday night and I'm sitting in the "office" in front of the computer while a bunch of old guys are sitting on my patio, playing poker. (Well, actually there are FOUR old guys and ONE young guy, but the young guy came with one of the old guys, and I think he's just letting the old guy think they're buddies because he might marry his daughter some day.)

I don't help Hubby with his poker parties: I don't fix the food; I don't serve the food; and I don't even shop for food. In fact, most of the time, I go out with my friends, but tonight my gal pals are busy. Lisa's in SoCal doing something for work and I think my sister-in-law, Kathy, is playing bunko. So it's just me with some old guys drinking beer. (No, I'M not drinking the beer, but maybe I should be!)

I tried to delay coming home from work. First I stopped and wandered around Goodwill until they were getting ready to close. I found a couple cool things. Besides two more books on tape, I brought home an oval embroidery hoop,

a splatter blue trivet,

and some silver plated serving utensils.

They obviously need some polishing, but the shapes and decorations interested me. I don't know if I'll use them for the purpose they were intended for or incorporate them into some altered art projects, but I'm sure they'll be fun.

See that short little spoon? You probably can't really tell it's short because the photo cuts off where the handle ends. Anyway, it reminds me of the time I'd gotten a couple teeny, tiny silver spoons along with something I purchased on eBay--much, much smaller than this spoon. I used them at Thanksgiving as a joke to serve jam, and my son's friend, Jim, tried for the longest time to spoon jam onto his croissant using a spoon no larger than your little fingernail. Ah, memories!

After Goodwill, I did some grocery shopping. I finally got home around 9 p.m., and by that time, the poker game was in full swing.

Want to see the old-guy poker game on the patio? Here's the food table.

Notice the fine ice tub there on the left? It's holding beer, hot links, and potato salad. What more could a man ask for? More beer, maybe? Well, that's there too! I also see a glass canister of oatmeal cookies--those'll keep them "regular"! Unfortunately, though, I see my "good" vintage glass salt and pepper shakers. Someone will have to pay for that transgression, and here I have photographic proof! At this point, I don't think any of these guys will notice if I sneak out there and bring them in before someone knocks them down and breaks them on the brick patio, do you?

When I came out with the camera, Hubby said, "Uh oh, I think we're going to be on the blog!," and a couple of the guys ducked under the tablecloth. (By the way, where did Hubby get that tablecloth, anyway? I'm sure it's not one of my "good" ones because I doubt he knows where I keep them, but still . . . .) I told them all to relax; that I would only photograph the table, and no identities would be disclosed. My brother-in-law said, "I don't care! You can plaster photos of me all over the Internet if you want!" (I think maybe he's looking for a wife. Well, maybe not a real wife--just a temporary, one-night wife, if you know what I mean!)

See the large sums of cash being played? These guys are nothing but high stakes gamblers! What really makes me laugh is the cardboard nut cannister with the writing on the top that says, "Don't Eat Dad's Poker." That's our friend Terry's quarter stash. How hungry would you have to be to accidentally eat quarters but for the warning on the top?! And the Budweiser playing cards? Well, what can I say except that knowing these guys, the cards were probably given away free with each case of beer purchased.

Well, I gotta go snag those salt and pepper shakers and put them safely away. The fun never ends here, I'm tellin' ya! Thanks for stopping in for a visit!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Because I'm Feeling Fairly Lazy . . .

There are nights lately when I haven't been sleeping especially well. Sometimes I can't get to sleep, but more often than not, it's just that I keep waking up and don't get into that deep, refreshing sleep. I think it's probably menopause. So every now and then, I try to get to bed early with a good book and a bottle of Tylenol PM. I think tonight's one of those nights.

And the other thing? Sometimes when I'm feeling lazy and not all into writing an entertaining blog post, and I don't have anything I've made to show you, I'll have a giveaway. That way, you won't feel like you wasted a mouse click to get here. But not tonight. Tonight I'm going to give you something that's easier for me and better for you--blog giveaway INFORMATION. Information on oodles and oodles of giveaways!

Yes, some of you may already know about this, and I apologize for needlessly making you click that mouse button--and, of course, I always appreciate your visit!--but for those of you who don't know, this is a real BONANZA! Sew, Mama, Sew has organized about a gazillion blogs into doing giveaways with most drawings on the 31st. She's even categorized the giveaway blogs into three different "types" and noted whether the blogger will ship internationally or not. All you have to do is click on the links, read what each blogger is offering, and enter or not, as you like.

But, before you click away from here, since I'm thinking about giveaways and all, I wanted to let you know--especially the three winners of the Fireworks! pattern--that I most definitely plan to have the pattern published this weekend and up for sale on my Etsy site before the weekend ends. By Monday, I'll get the patterns in the mail to my winners. Oh, and if you're not interested in making a Fourth of July quilt but think you might like the way the pattern looks? Stay tuned because I'm going to make my class sample using Halloween fabric.

So anyway, enough about me--I know you're anxious to click over to some potential prize winnings and, along the way, expand your blog reading list. So go ahead--click HERE!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sometimes My Husband Drives Me Nuts

Is it him? Or is it just me? Sometimes I wonder.

Tonight I came home from quilt class at around 8:30 p.m. It was a HOT day out, in the high 90s. At home, the air conditioning was on, but the aimed-for temperature setting was much lower than the actual temperature reading. Why? Because Hubby forgot to turn the air conditioner on until 5:30 p.m., and by then it was so hot in the house, it was nearly impossible to cool it down. ARGH! Of course, the warmer temperature really doesn't bother him much, but maybe that's because we don't always enjoy the same leisure time activities. For instance, I DON'T SIT IN MY RECLINER ALL EVENING LONG, WITH THE MOST STRENUOUS ACTIVITY OCCURRING WHEN I PUSH THE FREAKIN CHANNEL CHANGER ON THE REMOTE!!!!

So, is it me? Is it PMS, maybe? Or menopause?

On our weekend trip, I knew I was in trouble when I got back in the car after running into Starbucks for a couple iced lattes, and Hubby said, "Boy, my back was really hurting, but now I've adjusted everything and it feels much better." What that REALLY meant is that because he was driving MY car, it will probably take me months before I can readjust everything to suit me. You see, for one thing, Hubby is about two feet taller than me. (No, not quite--more like 10"--but it SEEMS like two feet!)

Tuesday morning I got into my car to drive to work. By then, I'd forgotten all about Hubby's "adjustments," but it didn't take long before I remembered. First of all, I found myself reclining like a low rider, with my nose level with the bottom of the windshield. My legs were raised because the front of the seat was tilted up and pressing into the backs of my knees, cutting off circulation, and my feet barely reached the floor. When I tried to grab the door handle to shut the door, I couldn't reach it without unlatching my seat belt. The shoulder harness was keeping my chin nicely strapped to the head rest. And the steering wheel? Well, I'm not sure. It didn't exactly feel right, but when I tried to find the tilt adjustment, I ended up turning on the windshield wipers and spraying window cleaner fluid all over the windshield. After our long trip, all that did was smear up the windshield so I could barely see out of it--once I figured out how to fix the seat so I could see over the steering wheel. But at least the blurred windshield distracted me from the other "adjustments." Oh! The rearview and side mirrors? Freakishly, they needed no adjusting whatsoever. Weird, huh?

On the bright side, the radio station I listen to went off the air last Friday, so the only thing I've been listening to on my drives to and from work is the hum of the air conditioner--at least I didn't have to try to find "my" station after Hubby played around with the radio all weekend. And you know what's funny about not listening to the radio while driving? When you swear at other drivers, it seems MUCH louder!

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just bad tempered.

By the way, Hubby's having a bunch of his friends over Friday night to play poker. I'll be here. You may want to pray for his safety. Or you may want to send me the name of a good criminal attorney.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tis the Season to Kill Spiders, Fa La La La La,

La La La La!

I DO NOT like spiders, and spring brings out the monsters. Do spiders do anything good for us? I know they eat other pests, but really--I don't mind those other pests nearly as much as I mind the spiders!

Today at work I kept feeling something on the back of my neck. Because I wear my hair up, there are always little wisps of hair tickling me, and I worry. Today was a false alarm, but you never know!

Last week, I stopped to chat about quilting with a friend at work, and I felt something tickle the back of my neck. I figured it must be a slight breeze blowing the wisps of hair, but I brushed at the back of my neck anyway. Nothing there. Then I thought I felt something around the neckline of my shirt in the front. Again I brushed at myself, and a spider jumped onto my friend's desk! Ick! My kind and gentle friend scooped up the spider on a piece of paper, conveyed it to the floor, and stepped on it. Yay! My hero!

If that wasn't enough to give me the heebiegeebies, I learned that just a bit earlier that day, the same friend had rescued Girl Boss 2 when a spider JUMPED on her. Double ick!

The central area of our office has a high, high ceiling and is quite cavernous. Not even the best janitorial service can clean away the spider webs that accumulate up near the top. Huge! In order to maintain my sanity, I try not to look up. I don't want to know.

The worst spiders, though, are the furry black ones. They're in my garden, plotting to take over our home. Since they usually make their appearance in spring and summer, presumably they love the heat. Why, then, do they try so hard to get into an air conditioned house?

A couple weeks ago, on a hot afternoon, I was taking the garbage out when I noticed one of these guys on the sliding glass door, looking in. The really creepy thing? This particular variety of spider is waaaay intelligent! They watch us and calculate. Swear to God!

So, thinking that I might scare it away, I tapped on the glass. No deal. It sat there, still as could be, looking in at me. Slowly I slid the door open, thinking that if I moved slowly, I could get out of the house and close the door again before it got in. Good plan, I thought. Once I got through the door, I closed it quickly and turned to see what the spider was doing. Gone! Good!

Coming back from the garbage, I saw him again. He was INSIDE THE HOUSE on the sliding glass door! Okay, that's it! War had been declared! I opened the door, went inside, and grabbed a can of bug spray. Of course, because these darn things are intelligent, by the time I got back to the door, it was gone. Still, I figured if I sprayed everywhere within 5 feet of the door, I was bound to get him, right? Half a can of bug spray later, I thought that wherever he was, he wasn't feeling too good. I went to empty some more waste baskets.

Back at the door again, I looked around. Still no spider. Another trip to the garbage and back in the house with the door safely shut behind me, I turned to look around again. NOW the spider was OUTSIDE! Looking kind of curled up and ill, but outside! Houdini had nothing on these bugs! And, of course, when I looked a little later, he was gone. Probably recovered from the bug spray and building up immunity to the toxins, no doubt!

I've heard there are people out there who don't believe in killing; people who will gently escort a stray pest back outside and set it free. Really? I don't think they've ever dealt with the same spiders we have. These are NOT Buddist spiders!

I don't know what they are. I've heard people call them Wolf Spiders, but I've looked at Wolf Spiders on the internet and these aren't them. I've also checked BIG black hairy icky California spiders on the internet and these look a little like the ones I've battled wits with.

I think they called them California trap door spiders. Seriously, I can't look at spider pictures long enough to figure it out, because just looking gives me the creeps. Mini black tarantulas is what they look like except they're faster and smarter. All I can say is thank goodness they aren't so large that I can't kill them. Because although they might be smarter than me, I'm still bigger!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend--The Sequel

Our Memorial Day barbecue turned into a Memorial Day bake when the propane ran out about a minute after I put the chicken on the grill today. Still, our baked "barbecued" chicken, corn on the cob, salad, and garlic bread turned out pretty good, even if it DID take longer to cook than I'd originally planned. And coffee ice cream sundaes made a wonderful end to the day! Summer's nearly here and it's time to start enjoying the longer days, fresher and more abundant foods, and nicer weather.

All in all, I spent a reasonably lazy day, and I had a nice little nap in the afternoon. The morning was spent cleaning up and organizing the Sweat Shop again--it always amazes me how disorganized that room can get after only a week or two--and I generally try to pick up after myself as I go! I think my big downfall is bringing in new purchases that aren't put away and generally accumulating "stuff" that doesn't really belong in the Sweat Shop to begin with.

When Gran and I went on our little road trip a couple weeks ago, I found the cutest little "travel bag" sample in one of the quilt shops, but they didn't have the pattern in yet, so I searched online and ordered it. THAT pattern, along with some of my road trip purchases, were among the "stuff" that had covered the surfaces in the Sweat Shop since the last cleaning, so I thought I'd try making the smaller of the two "travel bags" tonight. Here's a photo of the pattern and the outside of the little "bag" I made.

This smaller bag will hold a 6" x 8" cutting mat and a few quilt class supplies, although I don't think that's what I'll use mine for. I think it might make a better holder for embroidery supplies--something to toss in my tote to have on hand for a little stitchery when time allows. It would certainly hold needles, floss, and a small pair of scissors rather well. Here's a photo of the inside of the bag:

I'm also planning to make the larger version, which will hold a 12" x 18" cutting mat and supplies--THAT I do think I'd use for quilt class. Now that I've made the smaller version, I can see what I'd like to do a little differently for the large bag. For one thing, I'll use about half the amount of interfacing called for in the pattern, because I think it makes the pockets and flap a little stiff, although I might use a heavier interfacing for the body of the bag.

The weekend's finally come to an end now, and it's time for my beauty sleep. At least it will be a short work week! Thanks for checking in on me!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend--So Far

On Saturday morning, we were up and out of the house by around 9:30 to head south to Salinas. On the drive, I was busily stitching the binding of the quilt I made for my brother and his wife. In fact, we stopped a mile before reaching their home for about ten minutes so I could stitch the last few inches of binding!

Jon and Debbie have a cabin theme going on, and I thought this quilt would go well with what they have. I've been working on it on and off for the past year and a half--more "off" than "on." Unfortunately, this isn't a great photo, but it's the best out of three I took, and the quilt holders were getting tired.

Hubby had decided on a different route than I had in mind, so we were able to stop at only one quilt shop, Homespun Harbor, in Hollister, California. What a cute shop, and the people were so friendly too! I really liked the way they packaged their FQ bundles and decided I really NEEDED to take one home with me. They had a nice selection of "man" prints, and since my son works in kitchen cabinet refacing, I found a bundle that seemed just perfect for making him a small quilt--

And then, because I don't want it to be TOO small, I found a few more FQs to go with the bundle.

We enjoyed a nice visit with my mom when we arrived. As little old ladies seem to do, she's lost a lot of weight and seems tiny and fragile, but other than recovering from the hip fracture, she's in pretty good health and is looking forward to returning home to her own apartment soon.

I really SHOULD have taken more photos at my brother's house. We hadn't seen Debbie's son, Nick, for a few years, and in that time, he's gone from being a teenager to a young man. My brother and his first wife divorced about 15 years ago, and we hadn't seen any of my brother's three kids in that time, so it was a real treat to see his oldest boy, Mark, who is living with them and going to college now. Both boys are great--very friendly and helpful.

Jon and Debbie LOVE animals and they've always had quite a menagerie. At current count--if I haven't forgotten anyone--they have four cats, a dog, four birds, and a tortoise, as well as a koi pond, a few bullfrogs, and an aquarium where they're raising tadpoles who will eventually turn into more bullfrogs.

After our afternoon visit, my brother took my mom back to the nursing home for her dinner, while Hubby and I checked into our hotel. After freshening up, we met up with my brother's family for a nice dinner out.

Stuffed to the gils, we returned to Jon's house and sorted through old photographs my mom had given him to divide up. Most were from our "growing up" years, but I found these old photos in the bunch--

The black and white photos were taken in the 1950s of my mom and dad as well as the "bathing beauty" one of my mom on the beach at Santa Cruz. The colored photo on the bottom is of my mom's mom taken in 1970 at Monterey. I want to have copies of these made for my kids.

After a good night's sleep, we had a fantastic breakfast buffet at the Courtyard Marriott and headed north again to Sacramento. I persuaded Hubby to divert from the freeway briefly for a stop at a Morgan Hill quilt shop, but the shop was closed. Morgan Hill was having their Mushroom Mardigras, and it was tempting to stop for some mushroom treats, but we were still stuffed from breakfast and ready to head home, so we settled on a quick stop at Starbucks instead.

We arrived home around 2 p.m. Hubby thought he might take a nap when we got home, but for some reason, he changed his mind, so I took the nap for him! Later, since there wasn't anything on TV I cared to watch, I cleaned house and read a little bit. I MEANT to post before going to bed, but by the time the house was clean, I was too tired to write anything that made much sense.

Today I plan to work and play in the Sweat Shop. It's time, again, to get the room under control, because it's starting to look like a fabric bomb exploded in there again. I hope you're having a great weekend too!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Feels Like Christmas

Do you remember when I made 394 applesauce cakes at Christmas time? No? What do you mean it wasn't 394 cakes? It was only about 18? Well, it sure seemed like 394! Anyway, we're back at it. Hubby actually did the baking tonight and assembled a few other food gifts in a basket.

While he did that, I was busy with something else.

This weekend, we'll be getting together with my brother and his wife, and visiting with my mom--who, by the way, is still in a nursing home following her hip surgery, but my brother's going to spring her from the home for a few hours for a little quality family time.

Why the Christmas preparations? Well, for the last two Christmases, my brother and I have been trying to get together, but something always intervenes and it hasn't worked out. And I've had gifts for his family--or partly completed gifts--that never were given. Now they're ready--or nearly so! And my grandmother's applesauce cake? His favorite! And, if you'll recall, we thought the recipe was lost forever until some reseach and tinkering brought it back to life--and won't HE be surprised?!

So, arrangements have been made to have someone stay at our house and take care of Spike while we're gone, although we won't be gone long--just overnight. What little packing we'll do will be done in the morning before we leave. Maps have been printed, and quilt shops along the route have been researched--just in case. After all, everyone needs to stop now and then and stretch their legs-- what better place to stop than at a quilt shop?

Oh, and do you know what else makes it feel like Christmas? The weather where my brother lives! Here in Sacramento, the temperatures will be in the high 80's; there, we'll be lucky to get into the mid 60's. We've had some pretty warm temperatures over the last few weeks, so this will be a nice little break!

So we're off to celebrate Christmas in May, and we'll still be back home again in plenty of time to celebrate the rest of the Memorial Day weekend with a couple barbecues in the backyard. I hope you have some fun planned for your weekend!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Approach of the Memorial Day Weekend

Here in the United States, we're coming up on a big three-day weekend celebrating Memorial Day. And as many of us have to work on Friday before the three-day weekend, I thought you'd want to be mindful of this Centers for Disease Control warning I received today.

* * * * *

The Center for Disease Control has issued a medical alert about a highly contagious, potentially dangerous virus that is transmitted orally, by hand, and even electronically. This virus is called Weekly Overload Recreational Killer (WORK). If you receive WORK from your boss, any of your colleagues or anyone else via any means whatsoever - DO NOT TOUCH IT!!! This virus will wipe out your private life entirely.

If you should come into contact with WORK you should immediately leave the premises. Take two good friends to the nearest liquor store and purchase one or both of the antidotes - Work Isolating Neutralizer Extract (WINE) and Bothersome Employer Elimination Rebooter (BEER). Take the antidote repeatedly until WORK has been completely eliminated from your system.

* * * * *

And on another Memorial Day-related issue, does anyone have any recommendations for must-see quilt shops in the Gilroy/Hollister/Salinas area of California? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

And finally, here's a little treat for you: Click on over to Eileen's Quilting Porch and leave her a comment--it's her 200th blog post and she's having a giveaway!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Don't Be a Slinky!


I came across this on the internet today and thought it was worth sharing. The internet is a wonderful thing, isn't it?!

Tonight when I got home from work and quilt class, my friend Lisa called to ask about Hubby's colonoscopy. The funny thing is that she found out about it because her administrative assistant reads my blog and mentioned it to her!

Oh, and for those of you who were kind enough to ask about Hubby--everything came out okay! (Well yes, it's a terrible joke, I know, but I'm sure it's what you've come to expect from me!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Not Much Tonight . . .

Hubby has a date with a colon scope tomorrow afternoon, and I'm sure you know what that means: Lots of fun "prep" this afternoon and evening. Besides that, I haven't felt very well today either--I'm calling it "sympathy pains." Sheesh! It almost makes me wonder if Hubby "spiked" my dinner last night, thinking it would be pretty funny if I had to experience the same thing he did! But no, I doubt it. Suffice it to say, though, that I'm happy this is a two bathroom house! Too much information, I suspect, but I wanted to let you know why I'm not very entertaining tonight. In fact, the sooner I can get myself to bed, the better.

I CAN show you one thing though. Remember the hat pincushions I made for the students who took my Hat Party class? Well, I used the same general idea and made these pincushions last weekend for my Hey Ghoul Friend students--

I think I gave you some directions for making the other hat pincushions. If you're interested in making these pincushions for friends for Halloween, here's what I did differently.

First, for each hat, I cut a triangle from fabric with a 12" long base and height of 8" from the center of the base to the top point of the triangle (imagine an upside down "T"). From the top center point of the triangle, I drew an 8" arc--in other words, I measured from the top point down 8" toward the base and marked several different points that were 8" from the point. I connected those "dots" to get curved line. I then trimmed the excess fabric away. After that, right sides together, I sewed a seam from the base up to the center point of the triangle and turned the resulting "cone" right side out. I stuffed the top of the hat with fiberfill and sewed a line half way across the stuffed hat, a couple inches down from the point, to make it bend a little bit. I then stuck a half of a 3" styrofoam ball in the bottom portion of the "cone" and glued the fabric to the bottom of the ball. The rest was the same as the other hat pincushions--covering a cardboard circle with fabric for the brim and using a glue gun to secure the fabric to the cardboard circle and attaching it to the "cone" part of the hat. And, of course, adding embellishments.

I wish I had taken photos of the process, but I just didn't think about it--shame on me! I really should know better by now.

I hope this makes some sense--I'm tired and barely able to stay awake tonight. My bed is calling. 1-800-lay-onme. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Miscellaneous Bag of Banter

I have various bits and pieces of stuff I wanted to mention, none of which makes a very cohesive blog subject, but here it is anyway.

It's been REALLY HOT here the last several days--our Delta breeze finally blew in this evening, and it's much nicer now. But on Friday, when I got off work and started thinking about what I was going to cook over the weekend, stuff like BBQ, corn on the cobb, and guacamole came to mind, so I stopped in at Trader Joe's and loaded up a shopping cart with yummy summer food. Don't you just love the foods available this time of the year? It almost makes up for the horrible heat! Well, almost. Anyway, blackberries are readily available, so I stocked up and baked blackberry cobbler on Saturday.

I just had to take a photo of the "before" cobbler--look at those HUGE, luscious blackberries!

With the heat being what it was--over 100 degrees both days--I pretty much stayed inside our air conditioned house and did quilty and crafty stuff. Nothing much to show you just yet, but hopefully I'll have a couple photos soon. Well, you DID see the Jo's quilt top--that took up a good chunk of the weekend.

Remember the Christmas quilt top I found at Goodwill last week? Well, having no Greased Lightening on hand, I tried the hairspray suggestion--I think it may have been Nancy who mentioned that one--and it took out the ink quite nicely! Now I just have to find time to quilt it someday!

Yesterday's "Entertainment" topic elicited a lot of comments. Thank you all for the good book suggestions! If you're looking for a good book to read, take a look at the comments--there are quite a few listed there. I was chatting with Gran tonight after the embroidery class she teaches and she mentioned she'd just put in an order at the library for the Outlander book by Diana Gabaldon. I'm sure those of you who have read the books so far will agree that it's one of the best series of books you've read! She has a real treat to look forward to!

Soccer Son and I were briefly discussing reality "game" shows the other day and he told me he knows a woman who does casting for Amazing Race. Like Survivor JT's mom, I think my son would win if he was on one of those shows, but then I suspect most of us moms think our kids are just about irresistible! Still, it would be awfully nice if he won $1 million and decided to pay his dear old mom back for everything she's ever done for him, wouldn't it?

About blogging, Cyn left a comment asking about moving margins in the blog layout. Well, I've done it before, and to do it, I found a website with directions to change my blog to a three column blog. I wouldn't say it was HARD, exactly, but I sure worried about making changes I wasn't happy with. And yes, they tell you to save your "old" blog code so you can restore it, but I still worried. I checked to see if I'd saved that site in my favorites, and I didn't find it. Do any of you know where to point Cyn if she wants to make changes?

Someone also emailed me to ask about backgrounds. I get mine from Cutest Blog on the Block--they have a bunch of free backgrounds. To add a background to my blog in Blogger, I go into "Layout" and then I click to add a gadget at the very bottom of the layout. I select HTML/Java Script for the gadget type and then I copy the code to the gadget from the background I've selected. If you'd like to check out the free backgrounds available, click HERE.

Well, I think that pretty much covers all the little thoughts floating around in my brain tonight. Happy to see you stop by, but it's my bedtime now. Goodnight bloggers!

Monday, May 18, 2009

That's Entertainment

Survivor. Did you watch the final episode? What did you think? Are you glad JT won, or should it have been someone else? And how much did you hate Coach?

I've watched Survivor since the first season, although as time goes on, I've found myself less and less interested. The "characters" in the first season stand out in my mind, but only a few since then have been very memorable. I liked Ethan Zohn, the former soccer player who won in season 3. And Boston Rob and Amber. What's happened to them, anyway? I don't think we've seen them for a couple years--not after two seasons on Survivor and a stint on the Amazing Race, followed by a couple other media circuses, like their wedding. You'd think they'd at least have a blog, but I just did a couple searches for news on the pair, and nothing much came up.

But enough about that. On to other entertainment. Have you read any good books lately? I recently read these two--the first two of the series.

Pretty good books--I'd recommend them to anyone who likes mysteries and quilts. The only criticisms I had: (1) Explanations of quilting "stuff" was a little boring, but maybe readers who don't quilt need the explanations. (2) It seemed like there were some inconsistencies in minor details, but then maybe it was just me--I didn't hunt back through the books to see. The second book took place at a quilt camp, and coincidentally, some of my friends are going to quilt camp this week--but not me. I'm envious!

I just finished Quilter's Knot today, so I'll have to pick out another book to read tonight. This might be it--seems I'm into "knotty" stuff lately!:

(You can click HERE to read the description.)

I was browsing on Amazon yesterday and came across this one as "recommended" to me. It sounded good, so I ordered it. Have you read it? If so, what did you think?

(For a description, click HERE.)

Have you come across any new books you've enjoyed and can recommend? I'm always looking for a good book. Speaking of which, it's time for me to grab my latest and head to bed. I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Couple More Things I Know . . .

Tonight I'll tell you a little bit about HTML and blog formatting. I don't know a lot, and I mostly only use a few things, but maybe it will help someone.

First, though, I thought I'd share with you a photo of the Jo's Club quilt I've been working on, Holiday Inn. Last night I added a brown border with mitered corners and hated it, so I took it back off and added the floral--I'm MUCH happier with the new outside border. (Sorry the photo's a bit crooked--my bad! It's my photography and not the quilt!)

And, besides wanting to show you what I've been doing, I also wanted to write something so I could take a couple photos to show you the difference between compose mode and edit HTML mode. After I wrote the bit above, I clicked on the edit HTML tab, and this is what the screen looked like (again, sorry for the crookedness of the photo!):

Some of you mentioned that to move photos, you cut and paste the code for the photo you uploaded to the place you want the photo to appear. For those of you not familiar with what photo code looks like, that third paragraph in the screen above IS the photo of the Jo's quilt.

When typing HTML commands, carets are used to bracket the command like this: < >. One command we often like to use is the strike out. You can see in the photo below that I've stricken out "MUCH happier" and written "tickled to death" instead. To get the strike out, when you're in the HTML screen, just before the material you want stricken, type "strike" surrounded by the carets mentioned above. At the end of the stricken material, again surrounded by carets, type "/strike"--you can see those commands in the last photo where I've put it into edit HTML. Fun, huh?!

I also like to format my blog so the right hand margin is justified--in other words, the words line up along both the right and left margins. To get that effect, in compose mode I click on the icon on the toolbar near the middle, just before the icon with the numbered paragraphs--you can see the icon in the photo above, just above the word "and" in the first sentence.

As I mentioned last night, once I'm done composing a post, I go into edit HTML mode and make adjustments. One of the main things I look for is to make sure each paragraph begins with HTML code, surrounded by carets, that reads div align="justify" and ends with /div--you can see that in the photo above. I make sure that each paragraph begins and ends with these commands. I also make sure that it hasn't thrown too many of these commands in, and that the paragraphs haven't wrapped onto the same lines. Where they have, I hit the enter key so the text moves down to the next line, and I remove extra, unneeded code. I also take out any blank lines. Once everything looks properly formatted as it does in the above photo, I go back to the compose screen and take a look.

Easy as pie?

Now, before I go to bed, it's time to announce the winner of the Fabulous Ideas for Flea Market Finds book. As Hubby stumbled by the office on his way to bed, I asked him to pick a number and it turns out the number he picked corresponded with Ratherbquilting's comment, "That book looks cool! I'm in!!"

Congratulations, Ratherb! Please email me your mailing address, and I'll get the book mailed out to you early next week. Woo-hoo!

Thank you for stopping by to visit!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What Little I Know . . .

. . . about blogging and uploading photos, I'm happy to share. Several of my newer blogging friends seem to be having trouble, so I thought I'd explain how I do it.

First of all, I'm a PC. I have a feeling my friend Gran is a Mac, so I'm not sure this will be of much help, but for what it's worth . . . .

The first step is to download photos from my camera into the photo files and folders on my computer. Then I can begin my post. Here's a picture of what the screen looks like when I start composing a blog post:

There are two folder tabs up near the top right that say "Edit HTML" and "Compose." I write most of my post in the "compose" screen. And I'll write much of the body of my post before I start uploading photos.

Once I'm ready to upload photos, I click the icon that's third from the right on the toolbar--it looks like a photo (yeah, imagine that!). I'll then get a screen that looks like this:

Up near the top left in blue it says "Add another image"--I click on that to add as many browse boxes as I have photos to upload--it will let me add up to five photos at a time. I usually leave my photo settings on "none" for layout and "large" for image size unless I have something particular in mind.

I click the browse button and that takes me to my computer--I then navigate my way to my photo files and find the photo I want to upload and click on it. The photo I select in the first box will be the last photo in line when they're uploaded to my blog post, so I try to plan accordingly. Once I've chosen photos to upload, I click the orange "upload image" button. (If I want to add more than five photos, I just repeat these steps until I've uploaded what I want.)

When the photos are uploaded to my post, I can click on each one with my mouse, holding down the right mouse button while dragging the photos to wherever I want in the text. When I've dragged a photo to the proper place in the text, I release the mouse button. Then I'll go get the next photo and drag it into position.

Once I have my text and photos where I want them, I'll edit my post--sometimes once the photos are in place, I might have more to say about them.

And once I have the text and the photos done, then I click on the "Edit HTML" tab to refine justification and paragraph spacing. In my next post, I'll talk a little about HTML codes--a VERY little because I don't know much and everything I know has been picked up through blogging trial and error!

Perhaps if you have a Mac and a blog, you can leave a comment about how uploading and moving photos is different from the way I do it. Or, if you have a different method of uploading photos, please explain in a comment. I'm sure there are lots of bloggers who would appreciate your help!

Friday, May 15, 2009

I'm Such a Thrift Store Junkie!

It seems like I'll go a couple weeks without any desire to hit a thrift store and then WHAM! All of a sudden, I'm Jonesing for a fix! This week, I've visited five, I think! Truth to tell, I had a vague idea of something I was looking for, and that's really never a good idea. In my experience, when you're looking for something, you never find it, and that's been true of my latest hunt.

Oh, that's not to say that I haven't found anything, though. Sheesh! I've found plenty--and then some! I'll show you a couple things.

The other night, I stopped by the Goodwill closest to my house, and in the "crafts gone wrong" aisle, I found a bunch of plastic bags, each containing five boxes of "Tri-Chem Liquid Embroidery Paint." And since I've renewed my interest in embroidery, I thought I'd buy a couple bags and see just what this stuff was. I examined the boxes and each contained a paint "pen."

I also did a little internet research, and discovered that these things are supposed to be pretty neat if I can get them working. Apparently it may take a little fussing with the tips and possibly the paint inside, but I'm game. So the next night, I went back and bought more, so I'd have a decent range of colors, and I also bought a bag that included a tin of solvent--solvent is necessary to get the tips working correctly. Now I just need to find time to play around with them! Have you ever tried these?

Tonight I went to another Goodwill store. I never really thought about it before, but do you know they have books on tape? With the television season coming to an end, I thought books on tape might be a great "noise" substitute while I quilt, so I picked up a few.

The Smoke Jumper? The book's been sitting on my bookshelf for years, waiting for me to read it, ever since I read The Horse Whisperer. Now I can! Well, sort of!

And while I was browsing the books, I found two quilt books--Gerry Kimmel Carr. Pretty cool, huh? The cashier asked me if I knew they were $2--I guess she didn't want me to get home, look at my receipt, and think I'd paid too much. Silly girl!

And here's the really exciting news: I read in the newspaper today that another Goodwill is going to go into a shopping center that has a large, vacant store about a half mile from Bearpaws and Hollyhocks quilt shop--right on my drive to and from Bearpaws, in fact! AND it's right near a Starbucks. AND it's kitty corner to a Michael's store. Heaven on Earth is what I'm thinking!

Anyway, I thought I'd celebrate by another little giveaway so you can share the joy too. Do you remember when I mentioned I'd gotten a book (at the thrift store) that had some great ideas for using vintage tablecloths as curtains? Click HERE if you'd like to refresh your memory, and then scroll down a bit. Well, I found another copy of the same book at the Goodwill this week. It was published in 1996, so some of the ideas are a little old, but it's still a terrific source for inspiration.

If you think this might be something you'd be interested in, please leave me a comment telling me you'd like a chance to win the book. I'll draw a name on Saturday night, so if you ask to be put in the drawing, check back on Sunday to see who won.

Bedtime for me--time to go to bed and dream thrifty fantasies!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spike and the New Office

Spike's loving the new desk.

She can keep an eye on me while I "work."

She can watch for surprise attacks--from the ground and from the air.

It's a very convenient place to wait for any leftovers that may be abandoned.

She can explore "new" baskets--AHHHH! She just loves that thrift store smell!

And when I'm bugging her? She can get all up-close-and-personal. "Hey! You lookin at me?!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Do you have them? Local lore says that if you didn't have allergies before you moved to California's Central Valley, you will undoubtedly develop them. And for me, that's been quite true! I grew up in San Jose, which is closer to the coast, and I never had allergies until we moved to Sacramento. Over the years, they've gotten progressively worse, and some days I feel just like I have a cold. Ick!

It seems I suffer from them much of the year, but certainly some seasons--like spring--are much worse than others. And it's hard to take anything for them: non-drowsy allergy medications will keep me awake at night if I take them too late in the day, and "regular" allergy medications will put me to sleep if I take them at work. No win. Mostly, though, I just try to ignore them as best I can.

This news story from San Jose caught my eye tonight--

* * * * *


SAN JOSE, Calif. – An office worker cleaning a fridge full of rotten food created a smell so noxious that it sent seven co-workers to the hospital and made many others ill. Firefighters had to evacuate the AT&T building in downtown San Jose on Tuesday, after the flagrant fumes prompted someone to call 911. A hazmat team was called in.

What they found was an unplugged refrigerator that had been crammed with moldy food.

Authorities said an enterprising office worker had decided to clean it out, placing the food in a conference room while using two cleaning chemicals to scrub down the mess. The mixture of old lunches and disinfectant caused 28 people to need treatment for vomiting and nausea.

Authorities said the worker who cleaned the fridge didn't need treatment — she can't smell because of allergies.

* * * * *

Coincidentally, on Monday it was my turn to clean out the office refrigerator. I guess what I'm saying is that maybe allergies aren't always such a bad thing to have!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Show and Tell

I had a couple quilt tops I wanted to share tonight, so get the popcorn and sit back and enjoy the show. Okay, maybe not, since it won't be a very LONG show, but you know . . . maybe a donut would work. That's what I'm planning for breakfast!

It was back to work for me today, and I was a little restless and feeling penned up when the lunch hour came around--and besides, I always like to bring my Hey Ghoul Friends class a little "treat" each week, so of course I decided to go browse the thrift store and see what might turn up. And today I got lucky! I'll probably have a couple other things to show you later, but for now, I'll show you the quilt top I found:

Isn't it kind of cute? Nothing too special but whoever did the piecing did a nice job, and with a fairly quick all-over quilting design, it will make a cheerful tablecovering or small quilt for the holiday season. The only drawback? Someone who obviously had absolutely no clue wrote in what looks like ink "$3.00" on the sashing. I'll try getting it damp to see if it will wash out, but if not, I may need to add some quick applique to cover it. (If you click into the photo, you may be able to see a black splotch near the top center in the red sashing.)

Here's a close up of one of the sections--the quilt maker fussy cut many of the squares.

I've been working on the Jo's Little Women Club quilt called Holiday Inn--I mentioned the other day that I'd started appliqueing the center. Here it is so far, completed up through Part 3 with one more part to go:

Next I have to make 80 flying geese blocks and finish it with a plain outside border (I think the last border will be brown and the geese will be multi-colored).

Oh, I forgot to say! That thrift store quilt top? $2. There was another quilt top there, but I didn't like it as well and I already have plenty of quilt tops in my "to be quilted" basket, so I just came home with this one. (If anyone in the Sacramento area wants to go look and see what I may have missed, the Goodwill in question was the store on Arden.) I think I might just quilt this one and donate it to a children's hospital--wouldn't that be fun for the kids?

Happy quilting and keep on hunting for treasures! You never know when they may turn up!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Royal Treatment

I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day! I enjoyed sleeping in, quilting, napping, and reading. I talked to the Wild Child on the phone--she had to work and couldn't come down to Sacramento. Soccer Son arrived bearing the ingredients for a special dinner.

BBQ'd chicken tacos--YUM!

My vacation's over, and it's back to work in the morning, but I can't complain much after being treated to such a wonderful day!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Remember that iced latte in yesterday's post? I sure could use that now! I've just finished organizing the home office and I'm tired! I'd invite you all over to see it, but it's an awfully small house and I haven't baked a cake or anything, so I'll share a few photos instead.

A year or two ago, I was able to get two office chairs from my office. The upholstery was pretty tattered, but they were in otherwise great condition. I made reversible covers for one and have been using it in the Sweat Shop; the other lived in the garage until now. The other night, I cut up Hubby's old denim jeans and made a seat cover and a cover for the back rest. Boy were they tough! Just sewing the casing for the seat cover and running the elastic through it took three or four hours--no joke! I'm just glad I didn't know how hard it was going to be before I started! It turned out well, though, and I think it will be awhile before Hubby can wear through these covers.

Here's a view of where the computer and printer will go. I've opted to move those in the morning, because I really didn't want to try to take it down and put it up in iffy lighting conditions. As it is, I'm not sure I can promise I'll be back online tomorrow night! (Check out the pockets on the back of the chair cover.)

This photo looks kind of wonky. I was trying to get back far enough to take the photo and it's distorted the dimensions, but I think you get the idea. This is the other end of the desk, which runs the length of the room. The cutting mat isn't necessarily there for cutting although I'll use it for cutting kits for sale. Mostly, though, it's a nice surface to work on--soft but not too soft for writing.

This is the ugly corner of the room. That corner there ends up getting stuff stuck in it that doesn't belong anywhere else. The desk that spans the length of the room would be to the left of this photo, then there's the dresser and another small desk to the right--I think it makes a fairly decent work area with everything just about in reach.

And I took this last photo mostly for Gran--I wanted to show her that I have a bunch of stitchery and embroidery reference books. On a related subject, when I was cleaning everything out and reorganizing, I found a BUNCH of skeins of perle cotton. I had bought them for a non-stitchery project and forgot I had them!

Okay, now the name of the new pattern and the announcement of the winner. It really was hard to pick and I changed my mind a couple times. In the end, though, I decided to go with Quilting Fitzy's suggestion, "Fireworks!" I loved Nancy's suggestion of Betsy Gets Bold!--it was really the most clever and original suggestion, but I didn't know if everyone would "get" it. Cathy T's "Liberty Star" kept floating through my mind too. But in the end, I thought it looked most like a big burst of fireworks. I'd like to send each of you three ladies a copy of the pattern when it's published--please email me your mailing address, and I should get it in the mail in the next week or so. Thank you ALL for your suggestions--you really helped me to chose a name.