Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Your Thrift Store Is Your Friend!

I know that some of you have told me you don't have any thrift stores where you live. And some of you have told me you don't have any GOOD thrift stores where you live. Well, I've been envious of other bloggers too--like Dear Daisy Cottage! And apparently it's not even enough that she should live somewhere that has all the VERY BEST thrift stores--I also have to share a NAME with her! Anyway, the link will take you to her thrifting posts, so go ahead and drool. I was reading a magazine the other day--and it might have been that Flea Market Style one--and who should show up but Kim and her Dear Daisy Cottage! If you take a peek at the sidebar of her blog, you'll see she's been in tons of magazines. I'm still waiting for the first one to call me.

Anyway, if you're lucky enough to live in a city large enough to support a couple thrift stores, visit them. And if you don't live in a large-ish city? Visit a large-ish city every so often and make sure you visit at least two or three thrift stores while you're there.

See, here's the thing. I bet most of you know when you're looking for something whether you're likely to find it at Macy's or Home Depot, right? Thrift stores are the same--each thrift store has its own personality, and two stores--even two of the same stores, like Goodwill--can be as different as Macy's and WalMart--and you just have to know what to look for in each store.

Goodwill happens to be my favorite, and the Goodwill stores in our region tend to price similar items the same--the people who price things attend seminars and many of them know what's collectible and what's not. But because I visit several stores, I know which ones tend to price items a little lower and which tend to price a little higher when pricing is semi-discretionary. I also know that one of the Goodwill stores near my office tends to have more textiles and linens that will appeal to me, while a Goodwill store closer to home has a better selection of wool blazers and nicer "office wear." I also know which stores are more likely to have quilting and crafting books. And because items donated at each location usually STAY at that location for sale, I can usually guess a little about each store based on the neighborhoods where they're located. Interesting, huh?

I like Goodwill stores because they have a good variety of everything from junk to true collectibles, but there are other thrift stores that only seem to carry clothing. Or stores that don't carry any miscellaneous sporting equipment or "guy stuff." And then there are stores where everything is neatly arranged and easy to browse--which can be kind of nice, but I've found I enjoy digging through the mountains of "trash" at Goodwill to find things no one else has noticed. Somehow that kind of hunt also fires up my creative imagination.

So get to know your local stores and shop often--I bet you'll be surprised at how much you're able to find! And develop your own opinion of a store--don't take your friend's word for it. For instance, stores where I never seem to find anything are sometimes the same ones friends rave about. Remember, tastes are different, and that applies to thrift stores too.

Enough of that though--I hope this advice is helpful to some of you, but I suspect others just want to know who won THIS book, right?

Drum roll, please! The winner is Marilyn, who said: "I was at my GW yesterday and didn't find anything good. You are such a great shopper! I would love to win the book (love cats and love quilts, so it's a winning combination)." Congrats, Marilyn! Please email me your mailing address and I'll get the book out to you this week.

Thrift on, Sisters!

Monday, August 30, 2010


I ended up staying home today instead of going to the flea market. What did I do instead? I "played" with the class sample of the Wool Crazy project. I had to watch an awful lot of TV to do it, but I'm pleased to say I finally finished all of the decorative stitching along the seams and created a snow family for the first appliqued block--

That animal to the left? It's a dog. I realize there may be some confusion because Hubby pretty much insisted it was a duck, but I'm not sure how to make it look more like a dog, considering it's supposed to be made out of balls of snow. Carrot ears, maybe? I think I'm going to have a winter theme for this crazy block--per the book, we're supposed to make four blocks, so dividing them into seasons makes sense.

I'll probably just do another section or two and then send it off to the quilt shop to hang as a sample of the quilt in progress, so potential students get the general idea of what the class is about.

I'd like to add some hearts--maybe to that blue section above the snowpeople's heads. And pine trees should go somewhere too. This actually is quite a fun and creative project to work on. If you haven't already looked into the Wool Crazy craze, check out THIS blog and THIS blog. Of course, I could link you to many others because a lot of people have been working on this quilt, but these two will get you into the spirit of the project quickly. And, of course, if you're anywhere near the Sacramento area, you might consider signing up for the class Gran and I are teaching--it should be fun, I think!

The weekend is drawing to a close, as it always does, much too quickly. It's time for me to shift gears and think about getting to bed--tomorrow is a work day! Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

More Inspiration

Because I LOVE fall and Halloween, I'm always on the look out around this time of year for craft magazines with good ideas, and this one--

Well, there's just SO MUCH in there, it's hard to know where to start. BUT start I did--at two more thrift stores and then Michaels to hunt for supplies.

Yes, I thought about going out to the flea market this morning, but I decided I'd rather sleep in and have a lazy day. I might go to the flea market tomorrow morning, but then again, I might just stay home and "play" instead.

I found a TON of good stuff at the thrift stores today--especially the first one I stopped at (both were Goodwill stores). I can't really show you much of what I bought because some of the things are surprises/gifts for people and some are "supplies" to be made into other things and aren't too exciting to look at yet, but I CAN show you a couple things I bought. First, another teapot (with the tape still holding the lid on).

I have no idea if this one is old or not, but it's much the shape of the teapots made for Lipton except larger, and it's much the same color glaze as was used on some of my other vintage wares, so old or new, it fits in well with my collection--AND it was only $1.99. Score!

Then there's a hodge podge of Halloween-y things in the next photo:

One of the stores had a ton of owl figurines, and since I enjoy putting owls out for fall and Halloween, I picked a couple of small ones I liked--they're easy to tuck into small places. (I also found an owl soap dish, but I didn't get a photo of it.) Then there are two black metal things--those WERE some kind of candleholders, I think, but I'm going to use them as stands for pumpkins. By the way, candleholders make awesome pumpkin stands--just make sure you don't use the ones with the spikes to hold the candles in place--pumpkins don't do so well for long with spikes stuck in them! And, of course, there's the tray itself. It needs a little work because the wood veneer is coming loose in one place, but I can fix that with some glue and clamps. I'm not sure about the painted haunted house, but I can always do something else to it--there's plenty of Halloween "art" out there to decoupage.

Check out these plates:

These are "new" goods at Goodwill. I love chickens, gingham checks, and red and white, so I was very tempted but I resisted. But I thought you'd like to see what cute things can be found new at Goodwill along with all the second hand stuff.

Finally, remember I mentioned a giveaway? I like the old Red Wagon books because they contain a lot of folk art/primitive patterns for applique. At one time, there were three designers who were a part of the Red Wagon design team and you'll probably recognize the names--Gerry Kimmel Carr, Linda Brannock, and Jan Patek. I found this Red Wagon book at the thrift store, Red Wagon Originals (1992)--

I already have this book so I though I'd give one away. (I also found the other books in the photo at the thrift store, but I'm keeping those--sorry!) The designers of the projects in this book are Gerry Kimmel Carr and Linda Brannock; it contains patterns for 16 projects and most involve folk art applique. (There's a full-size quilt with the cats from that placemat you can see on the cover that would make a terrific Halloween quilt!) If this book sounds like something you'd enjoy, leave a comment and I'll draw a winner on Monday night and post the name of the winner in Tuesday's post--you need to come back on Tuesday to see if you've won and email me to claim your prize.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I came across this magazine at Borders last weekend and finally took the time to read it on Tuesday evening. I was quickly inspired to hit the thrift shop during my lunch hour on Wednesday. It's funny, but I find my enthusiasm for thrifting waxes and wanes--which is probably a good thing, given the space limitations we have here at Casa de Kim.

Have you ever watched the TV show Horders? I don't think I ever have, but I've seen plenty of commercials and there's one where the "horder" claims to be a "collector" rather than a "horder." It's a fine line between "collector" and "horder"; I don't think I've crossed it yet, but it COULD happen if I didn't occasionally lose interest in thrifting!

Do you have a little princess dog? (Or prince dog, for that matter?) Get the magazine. There's a really excellent idea for a dog bed. In fact, I'd like to make one for myself!

Anyway, back to ME. Yep, I went to the thrift store during my lunch hour on Wednesday and again today. Then I went to another one on the way home from work tonight. And DON'T TELL HUBBY but I'm thinking about ditching him and making a run to the flea market this weekend. Shhhhhhh!

My name is Kim, and I'm hooked on thrifting. Yes, my interest is definitely waxing right now. (My upper lip probably should be too, now that I think about it.) I'll show you a couple things I've found--because at least I can then claim that I HAD to thrift for the good of the blog, right? Maybe it's even a tax write-off or something.

One of my most exciting (to me) purchases: a pair of crocheted king-size pillow covers ($3 each)--these will look terrific with our beige sheets and autumn quilt. I'll take a photo when I get that stuff out to show you.

Autumn's definitely on my mind--I really NEEDED to bring home this cat and pumpkin, even if it IS a little goofy looking. I'm all about goofy. I like the fact that it's not too wide and will sit on just about any shelf.

A green majolica (Bordallo Pinheiro) teapot--I have a couple Bordallo Pinheiro things in the same color, which means I have a "collection." And when you have a "collection," you're forced to collect more. Law of nature.

And speaking of "collections," I found these candy cane cups--the photo seems fuzzy, but I decided to throw it in anyway.

Ah, yes, I found many more delights during the course of my thrifting spree, including a few wool blazers. It's after 12:30 a.m. and when I last passed by the living room, Hubby had one out along with his seam ripper. He actually seems to ENJOY taking them apart! Oh, well, it's a cheap way to keep him amused.

I also found a quilt book for a little giveaway, but I'll show you that and more tomorrow night--and maybe things from the flea market if I make it out there. Bedtime now though--I need to rest up for the flea market dash!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Karma Will Get You Every Time!

I was driving home from work tonight behind what appeared to be an overweight woman eating sunflower seeds non-stop and throwing the shells out of the window of her small pick-up truck. I'll admit I was thinking rather unkind thoughts about her--her weight, her eating, her littering. At the next red light, I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror and had to do a bit of a double take. Yep, I really DID see what I thought--I was wearing little red stains on either side of my mouth from the glass of cranberry Crystal Light I had been drinking this afternoon.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Love/Hate Relationship

How can something so WONDERFUL be SO DARN FRUSTRATING? I'm talking about the computer, of course! I've continued to have problems with mine and decided to devote my evening to running scans and troubleshooting. The last couple times I've run scans, I haven't found any problems, so it was a mystery to me until I did some Internet searches on "slow computer problems." Those searches revealed many other people with similar issues, and the "fix" for quite a few seemed to be running a registery cleaning program, so I figured that's what I'd do.

The Five Best FREE Registry Cleaning Programs sounded like a promising link to check out. Except my virus protector didn't much like any of the programs I wanted to try. More searches, and finally I found a program that I downloaded and used on my computer--only to find out I'd actually need to BUY a one year subscription to get the full benefits. Upon consideration, I figured it was cheaper than buying a new computer, and that didn't even take into consideration the cost of repairing the window I was ready to throw the old computer through.

So that's done now, and the computer seems to be running faster so far. The only problem? Before tonight, the computer ran fine at times, and at other times, it ran as slow as Bo Derick if she'd been running through quicksand in the movie 10. In slow mo.

Bed time now. If I'm back tomorrow, you'll know I haven't done anything to make the computer worse, at least. And if I'm not? Then I'm probably drop kicking the computer all the way to Best Buy. Say a little prayer, okay?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Need a Secretary

Do you ever wish you had a secretary? Or maybe you DO have a secretary? Lucky dog! I'm envious! I've come to the realization lately that I truly need to get a little better organized when it comes to keeping track of dates and things. Maybe it's a little like the shoemaker's children always going barefoot--since I'm someone else's secretary all day long, I just don't have the energy or inclination to be my own.

Sometime this evening, I started thinking about tomorrow and I just KNEW there was somewhere I was supposed to be. After all, the season premier of Ghost Hunters is tomorrow, so I have good reason to remember thinking I was going to miss it! So I thought, and I thought, and I went over in my mind all of my normal evening engagements, such as quilting classes, outings with friends or family, etc., and nothing "fit." I finally figured it out--it was a plan that had been mentioned but never firmed up. Isn't that funny?

Generally, I'm pretty good at simply remembering stuff like this and I haven't kept a calendar for years. I think I'm going to have to break down and get a calendar, though. There are just too many things going on over the next several months, and I can't afford to forget any of them.

While I'm thinking of dates and calendars and such, tell me this: when can one decorate the house for fall? Just about this time of the year, I start thinking about pulling out the fall stuff, even though it's 100 degrees out. So when can I? Labor Day? Does one pack up one's white shoes and decorate for fall at the same time? Because I'm sure if it looks like fall indoors, I'll feel much cooler. But maybe Labor Day is too early? Certainly before the end of September, in any event! I NEED at least a month of Halloween decorations!

Yep, I need a secretary. And a planner. And probably a decorator, or an assistant to help me decorate--that would be nice. Oh! And can I have a house cleaner too, please? Clearly I need staff. That's the first thing I'm putting on the calendar when I get one: "Hire staff." There! I'm glad THAT's settled!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Re-establishing Mother/Daughter Bonds

The Wild Child came home from her Hawaiian vacation today and is settling back into living at home again. In fact, we had a bit of a mother/daughter bonding experience this evening. She brought me souvenirs from Hawaii . . .

And I took her to the grocery store to buy non-diet foods (something we don't have much of in this house!). Of course, I told her to make sure she keeps her snacks away from her dad, because he'll cheat every chance he gets! I think she's hidden cookies, crackers, and granola in her room. The other benefit? Maybe that darn mouse will be lured out of hiding and she can catch it!

(By the way, Sunday morning I stopped in the kitchen when I heard a rustling behind the china hutch and Hubby joined me but neither of us could see that mouse--still, at least now we know he's around! We hadn't heard or seen any sign of him for about a week.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Woolie Crazy

I suspect a fair number of you have either worked on or at least seen the Wool Crazy quilt project designed by Joann Mullaly, and you may well have seen my earlier posts referring to it. To recap, though, Gran and I will be teaching the quilt at Bearpaws & Hollyhocks this fall in two sessions. We'll be teaching techniques for making the background/base of the quilt and embroidery for the seams during the first class, and then we'll teach the applique and additional decorative embroidery during the second class about two months later. And I've chosen to make a class sample using flannel from the Woolies line as the background, just to show a possible variation to using wool, although I'll most definitely use "real" wool for the applique. So that's what I've been working on lately.

At this point, I have the background fabrics all stitched down onto batting and I'm adding the decorative embroidery to the seams. I've probably gotten about two-thirds of that done. Want to see?

You might be able to see it a little better if you click on it, but I'm not sure how much it will enlarge. Anyway, I brought it with me to work on Saturday when I got together with some of my quilting friends, and I think they all liked the way it looked so far. It's also been kind of fun coming up with different embroidery stitches for the various seams--sometimes I've referred to books and sometimes I've just started in with my needle and perle cotton and made stitches up as I went along--very liberating!

I plan to add a little bit of the applique before I stop, just so any potential students can get an idea of how the quilt will look if they decide to take our class. I think it will take me a few more evenings to finish the embroidered seams and another few to add a little applique, but I think I'll be done with this project--at least as far as I plan to go at this point--within a week or so.

When I was cleaning house today, I went into the Sweat Shop to put some things away and clean a little bit in there, and it felt kind of odd. I realized then that most of the time I've spent sewing lately has been spent on the couch in the living room stitching, and I'm starting to miss the Sweat Shop. I DO have a couple more wool projects to work on for classes, but I also have a Schnibbles-type quilt to make for another class. I think that will be my next project because I sure miss sitting in front of a sewing machine! How about you? Do you have withdrawals if you've been away from a sewing machine for long?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saturdays Just Don't Get Much Better

Oh, it was a wonderful Saturday! The weather was beautiful--deep blue skies with temperatures that maxed out at 80 with a breeze. First thing in the morning, I spent an hour or two in the kitchen, making peach jam and bruchetta while sipping coffee--the bruchetta was my contribution to our quilting friends' get together today and the jam was a little gift for everyone.

Although I've gotten together with these friends before, we've decided to formalize things a bit and meet every month--if we're able--at the home of one of our members. The hostess makes the main lunch dish and the rest of us bring something to contribute--hence the bruchetta.

This month's hostess made a delicious potato and leek soup.

I had never been to her home before, and I immediately fell in love with it. She lives in an older, downtown residential area, in what I would have thought was one BIG, BIG 75-year-old home, but as it turned out, it was a four-plex and she lives in one of the units. I've always loved the old architectural styles where the ceilings are rounded to meet the walls and the doorways are arched, and that's exactly what she has. She even has a cupboard in the kitchen that hides a fold-down ironing board. I couldn't resist taking a couple photos. The one below is taken from the formal dining room (where we all gathered for the afternoon) looking into her sewing room (a small room separated from the dining room by a wall of leaded glass doors and windows) and past that into the cheerful yellow breakfast nook.

And here's a view looking from the hallway into her small kitchen. See that cupboard above and just to the right of the sink in the corner? It's full of old refrigerator containers.

One shelf has tons of old colored Pyrex containers and the top two or three shelves have a lot of old Halls pieces. If I could have figured out how to smuggle those out with me, you'd better believe that cupboard would be bare!

As the dinner hour approached, I really hated to leave my friends, but Hubby had called earlier in the afternoon and asked if I'd like to meet him and our friends Terry and Lisa at Starbucks and go from there to see a movie. Well, of course I did! Due to some unfortunate circumstances, we hadn't been able to get together with Terry and Lisa for a few months and I really missed spending time with them. (Hubby and Lisa decided the three of them would go out to dinner first, but I didn't think I could eat another bite for at least a month--that's why I met them at Starbucks afterward.)

The movie we saw, The Other Guys with Will Ferrell, was kind of dumb but there were a few good laughs, and really it was more about spending time with friends than anything else anyway. Hubby and I ended up getting home around 11 p.m. How could a day possibly be any better?

Tomorrow I really DO need to clean house, but I also want to relax a little, visit some Blogland friends, and stitch a bit. Not quite as good as a day like today, spent with friends, but not a bad plan either. AND I can enjoy some fresh peach jam on my toast in the morning while I sip my coffee and procrastinate on the housecleaning. I love weekends!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Out of Touch But Planning to Change

I've been feeling very out of touch with Blogland lately. I don't think I've had much time to visit my blog buds since I've gone back to work, but I hope to find a little time this weekend to "make the rounds." Heck, I don't even feel like I've had time to devote much attention to my own blog! I was thinking the other day that it's about time I posted a tutorial or a pattern or something fun, but I'm not really working on anything like that right now. Maybe before too long though--I'll think about what I can do. I have a Schnibbles class coming up in September and I wanted to give my students one of my own charm pack patterns, so maybe that would be a good one to share here too.

This was my first week working for my new boss, and I think it went pretty well. Of course, things usually DO for the first couple months; it's after the bloom is off the rose that you can really tell if things will work in the long run. So we'll see. But so far, I've felt good about it, and part of that feeling is just being back in a responsible position with varied duties--unlike when I was just pounding a keyboard as fast as I could for Boy Boss and Girl Boss 2, going from one high stress rush to the next. GAH! No wonder my hands wore out!

I don't know if you've noticed, but I've added a new little "badge" to my sidebar. I was surprised to get an email the other day telling me I'd ranked in Wikio's top 500 craft blogs, especially since I haven't felt very craftly lately. Seriously, I don't really know what the ranking means, but I had two thoughts: First, there are an awful lot of craft blogs out there, so cracking 500 is pretty darn good, I think, and I'm kinda proud of it. Second, by putting that badge in my sidebar, apparently it gets updated every month, so we'll see if I go up or down. And, if you're wondering, I have no idea how they rank blogs--I would think it would have something to do with traffic to the site, but who knows? If any of you have any insight about this, please comment so we'll all know.

The bathroom remodel is FINALLY done! AND Hubby kept his word and did a little house cleaning today--specifically he cleaned the "new" bathroom. He'll probably do a little more for me tomorrow during the day and then I'll take over and do the rest sometime this weekend. No cleaning for me tomorrow during the day though, because tomorrow, from about 11 a.m. until late afternoon, I'll be spending time with a group of quilting friends. I guess you might even call us a "quilting circle." There are six of us, and the plan is to get together at a different person's house each month and sew. Doesn't that sound like fun? And yes, now that I'm back at work, I've been feeling like I've been out of touch with all of THEM too. So this will be a marvelous treat!

I'm really looking forward to the weekend, because I hope to spend time connecting with the people and things I value most. I hope you have a good weekend ahead too, and if you have a little time, think about calling or seeing someone you haven't connected with for awhile, or take an hour or so to do something you enjoy but haven't done lately. I bet you'll feel richer for it.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Have you seen Gordon Ramsey's newest series on Fox, MasterChef? I'm not sure if it's been on for awhile or if it just started, but Hubby and I saw it last night. In this food competition show, a group of "home chefs" are pitted against one another in various competitions and the losers are eliminated one by one. Yes, as a matter of fact, I DO realize this probably describes about 27 current "reality" cooking shows. And, yes, it's much like all the others except THIS one has Gordon Ramsey, and I kinda like him.

Anyway, last night the first challenge was that the chefs had to create a dish using only the ingredients found in their "mystery box"--they could use as many or as few as they wanted. (Yes, as a matter of fact, I DO realize this probably describes the competitions on about 27 current "reality" cooking shows. But again, Gordon Ramsey.)

So let me backtrack a little. Now that I'm back at work, Hubby's back in the kitchen, cooking dinner on week nights. And because we're watching what and how much we eat, I've been planning and selecting recipes for him and he does the actual cooking. This morning, though, Hubby asked me what he was supposed to cook for dinner, and I told him to pretend he's on MasterChef and create a meal from whatever he could find in a particular kitchen cupboard--it's one that has cans of different "stuff," seasonings, etc. BUT he had to make sure that whatever he served was around 400 calories or so.

You may be wondering what he decided to cook; I know I was! And that's why when he called me at work late this afternoon, I asked. "Tri-tip steaks," he replied. Yeah, you'd be correct in thinking I don't keep tri-tip steaks in the cupboard. Turns out he claimed to have forgotten his assignment. Mysteriously, he seemed to believe his mission was to rummage around in the freezer and find prime cuts of beef to grill. Men!

So now what? I can't exactly "fire" him from cooking dinner because that would mean the job would once again be mine. But maybe I managed to make him feel a little guilty, because he DID offer to do a bit of house cleaning tomorrow while I'm at work--at least he can get the construction dust off the shelves and things that are too tall for me to reach easily.

I bet Gordon Ramsey could make a healthy meal from what's in my cupboard, but I don't suppose he's very handy around the house with a duster. What do you think?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday?

I suspect some of my early morning readers wondered where I was this morning. Well, I've been having intermittent computer problems, and last night my computer was SOOOOO SLOOOOOW that I finally gave up, started running a scan, and went to bed. Unfortunately, scans never seem to turn up anything, nor does disk cleaning or defraging. And, at least in theory, I should have plenty of memory. So I have no idea what the problem is, but it seems to run faster again after I've run a scan, even if no problems are found. Any ideas? I hate to take it in and shell out a couple hundred dollars if the computer guys aren't going to find anything. Maybe it's just getting close to the time to buy a new computer?

The workmen are still here, working on the bathroom. They were supposed to finish up by yesterday, but the tile guys have taken twice the time that was estimated, and it's a small shower! We're happy with the way it looks, though--want to see a couple photos?

Tomorrow they'll be sealing it and doing the rest of the finish work, and by Friday, Hubby will be able to take a shower in "our" bathroom again.

Since I've been working, I haven't been around to be inconvenienced by the workmen, but I'm looking forward to having a clean house again someday. Besides the dust and grime generated by the construction, there's the "normal" dust and grime of two weeks of not cleaning, and then Hubby's kept the workmen supplied with coffee and lemonade, which means the kitchen floor is pretty well trashed. He outdid himself this morning though--he even made them a loaf of homemade bread. No wonder they keep wanting to come back!

Anyway, if you didn't see it, I did eventually write a blog post this morning, so scroll down to the next entry. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tex the Tapester

I thought I'd tell you a funny story about the attorney I work with who is the lead singer of the Q-Balls. Let's call him "Tex"--that's the nickname a friend of mine gave him many years ago.

Not only is Tex a nice looking guy, but he's really friendly and he can be hilarious at times. He does great impressions, and with his singing and acting abilities, I have to think he would have been successful in show business had he chosen to follow that route.

When Tex first came to our firm from another firm about 16 years ago, I was assigned to work for him. As I said, he's a really nice guy and was easy to work for, but there was one little habit of his I tried hard to break. Tex would use Scotch tape to tape dictation tapes to the fronts of case files. As you may imagine, removing the tape would tear the files and, on occasion, stick to and tear the dictation tape. Of course, I pointed out the problem to him, and when asking him not to do it didn't work, I resorted to removing all tape from his office whenever he wasn't looking. Still, he'd always manage to find some somewhere and I'd come into the office in the morning and find files on my chair with dictation tapes taped to the fronts.

Eventually it got to be too much. One night I had a dream that I was nearly naked but for the fact that Scotch tape was wound and wound around my body. I knew then that it was time to give up and ask management to transfer me to another attorney.

Since that time, and most particularly in the past year, I've helped Tex out when his secretary was out sick or on vacation, and he no longer seems to use Scotch tape as he did when I worked for him. He's had a couple of long-term secretaries in the interim--sharp gals--and I'm sure one of them managed to do what I never could and break him of his tape addiction.

Isn't it funny how sometimes it's not the big things that get to us, but the little things that niggle at us until we just can't take any more? And isn't it funny how sometimes those things find their way into our dreams?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Event

Thank you all for the sympathy and suggestions about my sinus pain/pressure. I was dreading having to go back to work today with that kind of pain, but happily, I woke up feeling a LOT better. And it may have been all the time spent outdoors Saturday evening that triggered it, although I'd had a headache off and on for a couple days. Whatever it is I'm allergic to, though, seems to have let up. And spending Saturday evening outdoors was worth it anyway.

So back to my firm's annual "mystery event" on Saturday evening. As I guessed, the event took place at the Sacramento Zoo, and because it was held after hours, we had the place to ourselves. Oddly enough, though, we didn't get a tour of the zoo or get to visit any of the animals while we were there, although the kids who attended were led off on their own up-close-and-personal reptile adventure. Fine with me--I didn't mind missing THAT one!

Most of our time was spent in one area--you'll see a bit of it in the photos below.

It seemed like there was so much going on all evening that I didn't get to take many photos, and what I did take were mostly taken at about the same time. When we first arrived, though, we all lined up at the bar--of course! You can kind of see the bar set up at the back part of this photo where those African masks or shields are hanging. See the big green frog blow up? Yep, over there.

While we enjoyed our cocktails, wait staff came around to serve us from trays of yummy finger foods. And once we were adequately lubricated and no longer starving to death, we divided up into "tribes" for a Survivor-style challenge which was held in an open area just to the right of this photo below. (See those orange markers at the back of the white building? There.)

The challenge consisted of four parts: (1) Having three tribe members each get three beanie monkeys in a Nerf-ball hoop; (2) Having two tribe members maneuver a large rubber ball down a course using only a billiard ball inside the toe of a pair of pantyhose tied around the waist (no hands but a lot of hip action); (3) Having two tribe members blindfolded and tied together with a rope 3 feet apart and guided down a course by the third tribe member using only voice commands; then finding and untying a dangling bag of puzzle pieces at the end of the course; and (4) putting a large puzzle together (bags of puzzle pieces were also awarded for completing each of the first two challenges). Neither Hubby's team nor my team won. Bummer! Especially since each of the winning tribe members received a $50 gift card.

After the game, it was time for dinner and more drinks. That photo above? See the guy standing behind the tables draped in black cloths? There were three of those stations set up around the perimeter, each serving small portions of a complete meal. For instance, that guy you see served coconut fried prawns, stir-fried veggies, and poppyseed rice but only enough to fill a salad plate, and that meant we were able to sample several different dishes from each of the three stations. And just about all of them were really good--especially the prawns--and the cook/server was really enthusiastic about what he was serving, so that made it fun! (Dessert was a chocolate fountain and "dipables" in the white tent in the first photo.)

When my firm began around 20 years ago, the attorneys made a commitment to put money each year into trust funds for the education of the staff's and attorneys' minor children; both of my kids were able to begin college with money set aside for them, and that helped quite a lot. Each year at the "mystery event" certificates are given to the parents of the qualifying children, and that's one of the topics addressed by one of our senior partners when he spoke to us in the photo below--he's the guy with the white/gray hair and beard standing up to the right of the tree.

And, after dinner, the Q-Balls entertained us with great old tunes from the 60s--their specialty.

I mentioned the other evening that we had two guests who performed with the Q-Balls. Our office contracts with Pitney-Bowes to provide copy and mail services, and the manager at our site, Chris Fields, is also a gospel/Christian vocalist with at least one album to his credit so far. Anyway, Chris performed "My Girl" (by the Temptations) with the Q-Balls and it was excellent!

The real star of the evening, though, was "AJ," the four-year-old son of one of the secretaries, who asked the band if he could sing too. AJ's rendition of Big Green Tractor had everyone rolling! And the funniest thing was this kid was so shy at the beginning of the evening that he wouldn't let go of his mom and kept his face buried in her neck for the first half hour! Who knew?

At the end of the evening, prizes were awarded to the winning tribe members and additional prizes were raffled off. In fact, Hubby ended up winning one of those gift cards after all. (And, of course, I promptly told him I thought I needed to get some new fabric with it!) No one left empty handed though. We each received a memento of the evening--a blown glass animal. I traded the purple elephant I found in my bag with someone who collects elephants, and I ended up with this wooly mammoth, which I thought was pretty neat!

Now I have a whole year to wait for the next mystery event. Darn!

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Does Your Face Hurt?

Well it's killing ME!" Remember that old joke? I don't know why, but it runs through my mind every time my face hurts--like it does now. You know that horrible sinus pain and pressure you get from allergies or head colds? I've had it, off and on, for the last few days, and today it's really been a monster. I'm pretty sure it's allergies, but I've felt so bad that it seems more like a head cold, and I haven't felt like doing anything--including blog. So I'm taking my bath and heading to bed. Or maybe I should say "back to bed," because it seems like I've been there on and off all day. See you tomorrow--when, hopefully, I'll feel much better.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The "Event" . . .

was a lot of fun! Kind of like Survivor at the Zoo with plenty of high end food, music, and dancing. I took a few photos but I don't know if they turned out well. It's getting a bit late, and I'm getting a bit tired, so I think I'll wait until tomorrow to tell you more.

By the way, the Wild Child--she actually spent her first night sleeping at home last night and Hubby took her to the airport this a.m. to catch a plane to Kauai--one of her friends lives there, so she has a place to stay. She flies back a week from Monday in the late morning and her first class is that afternoon. She called this evening to let us know she'd arrived safe and sound and was sitting at Duke's Barefoot Bar, enjoying a cocktail. Kind of makes my office's yearly "event" pale in comparison, but still, I can't complain! Like I said, our evening was fun too. I'll give you a little "taste" of the evening with a YouTube video of the band, the Q-Balls (they were performing in the video at a run to feed the hungry, just in case you were wondering)--

The lead singer? He's one of our attorneys. AND there were two guest performances at tonight's event that I'll tell you about--more to follow later.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday Fatigue

It's Friday night and I'm whipped! My hand/wrist held up better this week than last, so I know I'm making progress, but after the week's work, I'm tired. Today my friend Teri and I switched desks, and getting everything cleared out and cleaned up was a fair amount of work. On Monday morning, I'll still need to get my own things unpacked, but at least I'll be fresh then--hopefully!

At the office, we had a meeting in the mid-afternoon to get our shirts and instructions for the mystery event, and it's still not completely clear what we're going to be doing. The shirts this year are green drab safari shirts with this logo on the sleeves:

"SZ&D" refers to the name of the firm but the rest of it--well, I have at least one guess. We're all to meet at 4:30 p.m. at a local park's "overflow parking lot." I believe that lot is across the street from the Sacramento Zoo. See those animals on the decal? Yep, I'm thinking zoo. I don't know what the jigsaw puzzle piece represents though. I guess it will all be revealed in time. We've been told to wear comfortable, casual clothing including tennis shoes, but we're to bring our "dancing shoes" too, so I suspect dinner and dancing to a band may well be involved. I'll have to let you know exactly what it turns out to be after the event. I hope I remember to bring my camera!

Can you believe I'm too tired tonight to want to sew? I just came home and melted into the couch, where I sat in front of the TV for the past two hours, and now it's time to move along to the bedroom and melt into the bed. I'm bringing my book with me, but I suspect this is one night when I won't read very much before my eyes start to close against my will.

Remember when Friday night meant the parties could begin? I MUST be getting old!

Friday, August 13, 2010

What's New?

I FINALLY made it back into the Sweat Shop tonight after being absent for several days of "chores." I was amazed to find that I'd left all the fabric for the Jelly Roll Quilt Along/Halloween blocks in a disorganized pile on the table, so I had to clean that mess up before anything else. Then I had every intention of starting to work on my class sample Wool Crazy blocks, but I thought before I got caught up in that project, perhaps I should make this month's Thimbleberries blocks. Well, I managed to get those made but that's as far as I was able to get, so the wool project will need to wait until tomorrow night.

Our Thimbleberries Club met last night, and I know if I don't get the blocks made right away, there's a good chance I'll totally forget until I'm getting ready for the next meeting. This month's blocks are three fence and flower blocks, and I think they're pretty cute, don't you?

Since they're each a little different, I had to make the fence sections of the blocks one at a time, and that meant that piecing the blocks took a little longer than normal.

Aside from quilting, I have something else kind of new to share: I've been assigned to work with Girl Boss 3 starting next week. Well, maybe I shouldn't call this one "girl boss," although she's really not that old either; still, she's in her 30's, I think, whereas the other girl bosses were in their mid-20's--pretty much the ages of my kids. I'll think about it--as I get to know her, maybe I'll come up with a name that better suits her.

My quilting friend Teri was working as this attorney's secretary, but "the powers that be" thought maybe I'd be better suited to that desk for now, and so Teri and I will flip-flop jobs. She's happy because it will mean a little less pressure on her, and her vacation's coming up in a few weeks anyway; for me, it will give me some kind of direction and I WON'T have to do all the typing for two new-ish attorneys like I did before the carpal tunnel flare-up. So we'll try this out and see how it goes. I think Teri and I are both a little excited about the change.

If you were reading my blog last year, you might remember that my firm has a "mystery event" sometime in the late summer or fall. Last year it was go cart racing followed by a winery tour and dinner at the winery with cooking demonstrations. This year's "mystery event" will be held this Saturday evening, and so far we don't have any idea what it will be, although entire families--including kids--are invited this time. At work tomorrow, we'll at least get some clues, so I'll let you know what I find out. Whatever it is, I'm certain it will be fun!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Wild Child, The Drooling Dog, and a Well Deserved Rest

You'll probably recall that the Wild Child is moving back home this week, right? And I mentioned that I'd been storing a lot of my seasonal decorations and other "stuff" in her room, and that they needed to be boxed up and moved out, right? And you'll probably recall that over the weekend, I worked on sorting things in the garage to make room for the boxes of very valuable treasures that would soon be displaced from her room, right? Well, after that, on Monday night and Tuesday night, I spent time in her room doing the boxing and cleaning. She was planning to rent a U-Haul truck and bring most of her things on Thursday, so I had until then to finish the job. Until I found out Tuesday night that her plans had changed and she, the truck, and her stuff would arrive on WEDNESDAY. So I was up packing things until around 1 a.m. last night.

Promptly at 8:20 a.m., as I was getting dressed for work, I heard our side gate open and I saw someone put a LARGE houseplant down on our patio--The Wild Child had arrived. Of course, the Drooling Dog had arrived too.

The Drooling Dog has been the Wild Child's "baby" since he was a pup. He's a very, very nice dog and has been her constant companion, but now he's going to have to get used to living outside and in our garage because (1) he's very large and our house is very small and (2) there's a reason he's called the Drooling Dog. In fact, every time I hear his collar and tags jingle, I kind of cringe a little, because I know he's shaking slobber far and wide. But at least it's not in the house.

For our two cats, it's been a very traumatic day. Despite the fact that the Drooling Dog is on the patio and they're in the house, they're very leery of him and I'm sure they expect to be eaten at any moment. I KNOW they're waiting for him to leave. I wonder how long it will take them to figure out that's not going to happen?

And since I got the packing done and stayed up late last night to do it, I promised myself an early evening in bed tonight with a good book. I'm really itching to get back into the Sweat Shop because I've had to give it up the last few days, but it will wait another evening, I think! So I'm off, now, to keep my promise to myself--my bed and book await. Good night!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Where's a Gun When You Need One?

I know I've said it before--I work with a bunch of turkeys.

Yeah, yeah, I know--cheap and obvious joke, but I never get tired of it for some reason! Seriously, though, it seems like our area has been overrun with wild turkeys the last couple years. Even in my own neighborhood we've seen a few turkeys, and we live nowhere near any rivers or other natural turkey habitat. I'm sure there's some law about not shooting the darn things in residential and commercial neighborhoods, but gosh darn it!

As I pulled into the parking lot this morning, I spotted these guys up on the roof. At first I only saw the coloring and thought it was an owl, but nope--when I actually looked, I saw it was a pair of turkeys. On the roof. Funny, eh?!!

On a different subject, I thought you might like to know about the status of our bathroom remodel. (Really, if you DON'T want to know, well, I got nothing for you--turkeys and remodeling are my life right now.)

First, I should tell you that each of our two bathrooms is about the size of a normal public handicap restroom stall and they're both interior bathrooms. So, small with no natural light.

The master bathroom had a shower stall with a glass door. Because of Hubby's handicapped status and his unsteadiness on his feet, he wanted something he could sit down in, and he was always worried he'd fall and go through the glass door. So here's a photo of the shower stall after it had been demo'd and then reframed--you can see the bench they've framed in at the back of the stall, and they've actually managed to claim several "extra" inches of space to help make the stall a little bit larger. The tile guy comes on Thursday, so I guess they have more prep to do tomorrow to give him a surface to tile.

Rather than the glass door, we'll have a rod with a curtain. And seriously? I'm not sure if that's any better because NOW if Hubby falls, he'll just fall right out and crack his head open on the toilet. Six of one; half dozen of the other. I just gotta make sure to keep up the premiums on the life insurance policy, I guess.

The other change in the bathroom is the installation of a pocket door. The contractor also moved the door opening over a few inches. These changes will allow Hubby to get through the door in his wheelchair if/when it becomes necessary again--that was one of the problems he had when he broke his leg a few months ago.

Not a very exciting photo, I know, but that's the framing for the pocket door. And in order to do that, they had to move the electrical off that wall and onto the wall to the left.

Well, I gotta go practice with my sling shot now. Thanksgiving will be here before we know it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sugar Daddy Wanted

This working full time thing--well, it's hard. I think I've solved the problem though: I need a sugar daddy. Too bad I didn't think of THAT when I was young, cute, and didn't have all these stray chin hairs.

The other option? I figured that if everyone who reads my blog would be kind enough to send me between $5 and $15 a month (amount to be based on a sliding scale that takes into account the reader's income and his/her enjoyment of my blog)--well, that would work too.

Or there's one more option: Several of you (about a dozen would be good) could sign up for the hostess plan. All you'd need to do is agree to feed and house me for one month a year and then pay my travel expenses to the next destination. I'm reasonably tidy, I don't drink alcohol (very often), and other than the hum of my sewing machine, I'm pretty quiet.

I mean really--aren't these ideas completely reasonable? I'll post a sign-up list soon. Watch for it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Lotta Nada

I had a really busy Sunday, and I was looking forward to kicking back and watching some TV and sewing but I find there's absolutely NOTHING on TV that I'm even remotely interested in watching. This is really odd for me because I can usually find SOMETHING--I have fairly eclectic tastes. I guess it's just the dog days of the television rerun season. I'll be happy when the new season begins.

Today was the monthly local antique faire and Hubby and I hadn't been for several months. On top of that, our weather was really nice--cooler than normal with highs in the mid-80's. So we decided to set our chores aside for the morning and get out for a little bit.

We made it through about half of the "faire" before we got hot and tired. I found this vintage tablecloth . . .

. . . and this vintage embroidered tea tablecloth . . .

The printed tablecloth is pretty, although as you can see, parts of the blue print are faded. A few yellow spots washed out well though. And the embroidered cloth--I love all those French knots. Would it be considered candlewicking even though it's not white on white, or is there some other name for it? There are a couple of small spots on the cloth, and I haven't tried to get them out yet, but really both purchases are in pretty good condition.

After the "faire," Hubby and I drove down to the river and passed that little burger place Gran and I ate at in early July. I was hoping to stop because it would have been a nice day to sit and eat by the river, but we found that it's closed on Sundays, so we just took a little drive instead and then headed home.

The rest of the afternoon was spent organizing things to be put in the storage unit and clearing out the Wild Child's room. I didn't get all my work in there done, but I've made a pretty good dent in it; the rest can be done over the next few evenings. And about the time my hand started aching, it was time to stop for dinner anyway.

I had planned to barbecue some salmon filets but opted instead to send Hubby for fast food--the filets will be just as nice tomorrow night, I'm certain!

Since my evening television plans have come to naught, I think I'll take a nice cool bath and go to bed and read--not a bad way, after all, to finish the weekend before what promises to be an extremely busy work week.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Something to Show Y'All

I don't know where I picked up that southern accent. Maybe it's the Paula Deen commercials for Smithfield hams--because hams aren't just for the holidays. And good Lord, speaking of ham, why do I want to cram fattening food in my mouth today? I'm not sure if it's because I'm feeling a need for high calorie comfort and stress relief or if it's just because I deserve a guilty little break from the healthy eating. So far, I've resisted, but I might need to do something crazy before too long.

Anyway, that's not what I planned to talk about at all. What I wanted to do was show you what I did today.

You know that Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along I've been working on? I know several of you have been doing it too. Well, I made the last of the 12 blocks.

No fancy embroidery on this one, but I like it. THEN, because I want to make my quilt square and use a four column by four row setting (rather than 12 blocks set three by four), I needed to make three more blocks. (Earlier on, there was a block I liked and I ended up making two, so by the time I finished the "12th block" today, I actually had 13.)

I like stars and there weren't any star blocks in the quilt so far, so I figured I'd start with that.

Then I decided I wanted another pumpkin (I already had one small pumpkin and a larger Jack O'Lantern, so this makes three.)

Finally, I had some vague notion of making something like a star but I thought the star points might look like legs and if I made it black, it might look like a spider. Nope! It just looked like a black star. So then I cut it apart, trimmed a little off, and added the center "+" part. Yep, that'll do fine!

And here are all 16 blocks stuck up on the design wall.

I'm planning on using a Twist N'Turn setting like I did on this quilt:

And, by the way, that quilt above? I also finished that one. I quilted it over the past several days and finished up the binding this afternoon.

Here's a close up of the quilting on one of the blocks--I figured I'd carry through the general floral theme from the fabric, and that was pretty simple to quilt freehand. I just traced the center circle and freehanded the petals until they filled the space.

Of course, I really wasn't supposed to be doing very much sewing today with so much to be done about clearing out the Wild Child's room, but I made progress on that too. Most of today's chores involved sorting through things I'd been storing in the garage and deciding what to keep, what to throw away, what to send off to Goodwill, and what could be put into a separate storage unit we've rented for the Wild Child's furniture she'll be bringing with her. With that work just about done, tomorrow I can start to pack my things up in her bedroom and move them onto the garage shelves I emptied today. So progress is being made, AND I've managed to have a little quilting fun too. Yep, life was much better today!

Weekends! Don't you just love them?

Saturday, August 7, 2010


After I wrote a particularly meandering and pointless blog post last night (most of which I deleted before publishing), I realized it's going to take me awhile to adjust to going back to work AND having a life at the same time. How did I ever do it before? I'm as puzzled now as some of my readers have been in the past when they asked whether I ever got any sleep and how in the world did I ever get so much accomplished?

Going back to work this week has really been tough, mentally and physically. You know about much of the mental stuff--the computer problems, the rush jobs, etc. Then, last night, I woke up several times with pain and cramping in my "bad" hand, and I haven't decided yet whether it's a real problem or whether it's just part of the healing process; I thought I'd rest up this weekend and see what happens at the beginning of the next work week. Then there's just the stuff like neck and back aches--it's funny what sitting all day will do to a body when it's not used to it.

Hubby's been good about taking over the dinner preparation again, but I've been coming home and helping out a little too, because eating healthier seems to require a lot more chopping and general food prep. Then, after dinner, I only have a limited amount of "play time" until it's time to get ready for bed. And you know what? I realized, while I was off work, that I really DO feel and perform better when I get a little more sleep, so I'm trying to get to bed a little earlier, but I'm still not managing more than about six hours of sleep a night.

And when I think about the adjustments I need to make to reincorporate a full-time job into my routine, and add to that the upcoming bathroom remodel and the adult-child-moving-back-home (with LARGE Drooling Dog) drama, well, I could just sit down and cry. Or pack my most precious belongings into a large bandana and hang it from a stick carried over my shoulder and run away from home.

So, I don't know what the solution is, but for the time being, I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't feel every night that there's a blog post inside my head waiting to get out. Oftentimes, writing a post can take up to an hour, and that's an hour I kind of feel I don't have these days--until I can slide back into a routine and take control over my life again. I guess what I'm saying is that if I have something to say, I'll post; but if it's a struggle or if it's not a high priority in that day's events, you might not hear from me--just don't worry that something's wrong. It's just me trying to cope with adjustments. Either that, or my head exploded. And if it's the head thing? I suspect one of my local blog friends will let everyone know.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Really Good Thing About My Job . . .

is that it SURE makes me appreciate the weekends!

And, of course, the weekend is almost here. I wish I could say I had some really fun events coming up or even just a restful and relaxing couple of days planned, but unfortunately, a lot of our time will be spent moving MY crafty and seasonal decorating things out of the Wild Child's room in preparation for her move IN next week. Also next week? The bathroom remodel begins. I'm pretty sure my head will explode at some point.

I'm pleased to say that today went a little better at work. There was still a lot of time wasted with computer people fixing things they messed up yesterday, but at least I started to feel like I knew what was going on at the desk of the vacationing secretary I'm covering. That always helps lessen the stress a little.

Nevertheless, my brain feels like it's been sucked dry, which means I can't think of anything interesting to talk about, and my hand is achy tonight, so it's probably best I not type much anyway. At least tomorrow's Friday, and if nothing else, I can at look forward to a different set of challenges for the weekend!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Zero to 60 in No Time!

Driving to work yesterday, my first day back, I was thinking I was probably the calmest, least stressed driver on the road. Work was lovely--I was so happy to see everyone again and everyone seemed pleased to have me back. In the six months I was away, some of the secretaries had been moved around and reassigned, and desks had been switched, and so I found I had a new area to work in, and I was told that for the time being--this week and maybe longer--they'd like me to just do some overflow typing and help out with the work loads of those secretaries who were on vacation. You know--just ease my way back into things to let me and my hand slowly adjust. And to give me a break from non-stop typing, they wanted me to cover the phones on the front desk during the lunch hour and the last half hour of the day.

At 3 o'clock, everyone gathered in the kitchen and celebrated my return with a really yummy carrot cake. I felt so missed and appreciated, I emailed everyone to thank them and to say I thought I'd return again today--well, of course there was leftover carrot cake to eat!

When I finally logged into my email program in the afternoon, I found nearly 1,000 emails had accumulated over the six-month period--not including the three pages of emails in my spam quarantine program and 70 or so emails in my junk mail folder. I spent much of the afternoon weeding through emails and settling in.

Also in the afternoon, I was asked to take care of a couple fairly quick projects today for a secretary who was going to be out. Then I was asked to cover the desk of another secretary who was on vacation for the week. And then--just before I left the office for the evening--I found I'd been locked out of my email program. Because our in-house computer person comes in early, once I got home, I emailed her about the problem so she could look into it before I got into the office this morning.

This morning I arrived at work a little early so I'd have time to fix myself some breakfast, but before I'd even gotten to my desk, one of our outside computer support techs was on the telephone, requiring my help so he could try to fix my email program. And the problem with THAT was that the office manager came by to let me know there were a couple pieces of RUSH dictation that had been emailed to me--and, of course, I couldn't GET to those emails, nor did I have a computer to type them on because the computer people had taken it over in their troubleshooting efforts. About an hour and a half into the morning, I was temporarily installed on another computer so I could get started. And before too long, my email program was fixed, and I was back at my own desk.

I had about an hour and a half to work before I had to stop the rushes and go answer phones; then it was my own lunch hour. The office manager found me in the kitchen, nervously tapping my fingers on the counter, mentally trying to hurry the microwave; she wanted to know how things were going. As far as I can recall, I didn't scream or swear, so I guess I was still doing okay.

Around mid-afternoon, I had finished the morning rushes and had begun doing some "priority" stuff for the other attorney I was helping. It didn't help much that since I'd been gone, the firm had upgraded our document management program--the one that interfaces with our word processing program--and it didn't quite work the way it used to. And when the computer people "fixed" my email program, all the other programs seemed to have reverted to incorrect default settings. And if you're not following any of this exactly--well, it all just means that I was expected to turn out work product despite the fact that nothing was working the way it should. And, again, before I'd gotten finished with what I needed to do, it was time to go answer phones for the last half hour of the day. Probably just as well, because my word processing program mysteriously closed without saving a document I was in the process of making edits to. I might have sworn a little bit then, but I don't think I screamed.

And that whole "calmest, least stressed driver on the road" thing? I'm not sure where SHE went, but she was replaced by a crazed, tail-gating, swearing, steering-wheel-pounding maniac on the drive home from work tonight.

You'll have to excuse me now while wrap my legs like pretzels, close my eyes, slow my breathing, and repetitively hum "om" over and over again. I don't think it will work while I'm driving to work tomorrow though.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Well Wouldn't You Know . . .

A funny thing happened when I went thrifting a couple weeks ago. I never, ever fail to take a look at the books, paying particularly close attention to the section that houses quilting books--there's nearly always a "craft" section somewhere. As I mentioned, on those trips I found a couple of Mary Engelbreit books that I snapped right up, but I rarely, rarely find real quilting gems. Most of the time, if I find quilting books at all, they're books printed about 30 years ago, with black and white illustrations of quilts, and I can't tell you how many copies of Lap Quilting With Georgia Bonesteel I could own by now. Every now and then, though, I get really lucky. This time, I struck gold.

In two days, I came across two of my favorite quilting books, Snowfolk Friends and Candy Cane Lane. Unfortunately, I already own both of them!

I think it was the year before last that I first saw the main quilt project from the Snowfolk Friends book--it was made by NancyNoBlog (before she had a blog) and shown on Red Geranium Sharon's blog. I thought about linking you to that post, but there's no search function on Typepad blogs (as far as I can tell), and I thought it would take much too long to find it by looking through all the posts. Instead, I'll just show you a photo of the quilt from the book--

Cute quilt, isn't it? Eventually I found out from Sharon what pattern it was and did an extensive internet search to find the book. And no, I haven't made the quilt YET, but I thought it was really odd to find a second copy of the book now. Of course, I couldn't leave it sitting there on the thrift store shelf. (I've found that duplicates of items I already own make nice gifts for friends or blog giveaways or can be sold on Etsy or elsewhere, so I don't usually pass them by!)

The next day, I came across Candy Cane Lane by Melinda Bula.

The story behind this book is that back around May or June, I'd seen the quilt made up and hanging at one of my local shops. (It's the quilt on the front cover.) I didn't pay that much attention to it at the time, but for some reason, the quilt haunted me until I returned to the shop in July and found out it was from the Candy Cane Lane book. So in mid-July I bought the book and then came across the same book at the thrift store about a week or so later. Odd, huh?! Again, I couldn't leave the book on the thrift store shelf.

When I talk about my thrifting finds, some of you have commented that I seem to find awfully good stuff, and your local thrift stores never carry anything but junk. There are days when it seems I have that same luck--nothing but junk and bookshelves filled with books on tole painting and Lap Quilting with Georgia Bonesteel. But I think the real keys to finding good stuff at the thrift stores are (1) go shopping with an open and creative mind because quite often, the items you see can be repurposed or recycled into something quite different (i.e., one man's trash is another man's treasure); and (2) go shopping often--new items are being donated or acquired and placed on the shelves daily. Our local Goodwill stores include on the price tags the date each item is processed, and quite often, my best finds have only been put out a day or two before.

Now that I'm back at work, I suspect I'll resume my habit of regularly visiting the two Goodwill stores near my office during my lunch hour. I'm sure that I won't find much most of the time, but I just might find a few treasures here and there, not to mention the benefits of getting up from my desk and out of the office for a bit. If you haven't gone thrifting for awhile, try it--and go back a few times before you give up. And if you ARE in the habit of thrifting, I'd love to hear about any treasures you've found lately!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hi Ho, Hi Ho . . .

First thing this morning, I sprang out of bed, pulled out my cleaning supplies, and got down to the fun stuff--house cleaning. Of course, I whistled while I worked, and the birds in the trees sang along with me.

Yep, that's a lie. If you know me at all by now, you know that me springing out of bed in the morning? Not gonna happen. And if it DID? I'd hurt stuff. Still, it sounds better than, "I dragged my sleepy [bleep] out of bed and, with eye lids still at half mast, rather grumpily got out the cleaning stuff, trying not to mistake the Scrubbing Bubbles for my coffee."

But you get the general idea--I cleaned house this morning before doing anything else but microwaving a cup of coffee and taping my eyelids open with Scotch tape. Why? Because today was my doctor appointment and I figured he'd tell me I could go back to work.

He did. Tomorrow. And I knew I'd feel much better about going back to work, knowing my house was clean. Do you do that? Have stuff you like to get done so you are deluded into thinking you're actually in control?

After I got home from the doctor's appointment around mid-afternoon, I thought about what else I'd like to get done today before returning to work tomorrow, and since this is "wool month" around here, I figured I'd get a start by pre-washing flannel. No, you're right--that doesn't make much sense, so I'll explain.

Gran and I are going to teach a class this fall based on the Wool Crazy book by Joann Mullaly. I've been playing with the idea of using flannel as the background/base for the project rather than wool as an option for our students, particularly since I'd seen the Woolies flannel line. I hadn't prewashed the flannel yet, so that's what I decided to work on. Once it was all washed, the strings trimmed off, and the flannel pressed, I stacked up what I had and took a photo--

So that's done.

I also had a visit today from that really nice guy in the brown shirt and shorts who drives a brown delivery truck. And guess what? It turned out to be a rather exciting Mary Engelbreit delivery! Woo-hoo! Boy was I surprised! Which really seems funny because it hasn't been that long since I ordered it.

Lovely ME tins--I think these will end up either in the Sweat Shop to hold trims and such or they'll make their way into the office (gotta think up a better name for this room) to hold arty stuff.

But isn't this cool? This is the main reason I placed the order--I wanted some ME papers for decoupage and creative play, and all that stuff came packed in this box that looks like a giant crayon box!

It's such a coincidence because when I was driving home from the doctor's office, I was thinking about going back to work tomorrow, and that led me to remember the days when I'd get excited--just about this same time of year--about going back to school. Then I started thinking that maybe I should go buy some new paper, pencils, and crayons for going back to work--you know, just to build the excitement. I think the "crayon box" of ME stuff is just as good if not better.

On a slightly different subject, I said awhile back that I'd pass on a few "diet" tips and ideas when I thought of them, and although it's not quite a tip, I wanted to share this dessert idea with you--Hubby and I are hooked on this stuff! I don't know why, exactly, but maybe because it tastes like summer.

Our favorite ice cream for this is the Wild Mountain Blackberry in the photo, but vanilla or frozen yogurt would work well too. Besides ice cream, you'll need "chunky blueberry sauce" (recipe HERE), and toasted oats and nuts.

To make the toasted oats and nuts, I spray a nonstick pan with a little canola oil spray and add maybe about a half teaspoon of butter or margarine, and then heat the pan over medium heat. I add about 1/3 c. of regular oats (not quick oats) and about half that amount of sliced almonds (I think any nut will probably do just as well and my measurements aren't all that exact). I toast the oats and almonds over medium heat and stir them until they become fragrant and slightly brown.

To assemble the dessert, we use about 1/2 cup of ice cream and roll it into a ball. We then roll each ball in 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of the toasted oats and nuts, and spoon about 1-1/2 tablespoons of warm blueberry sauce over the top.

Yummy blue (purple?) heaven! And best of all? For some reason, even though it's a fairly small portion (with somewhere around 200 calories a serving depending on the ice cream), it always seems to satisfy us.

Monday, August 2, 2010

August--Bring It On!

NOW I'm ready for August--I've managed to get all my little "pending" projects done--at least all the ones I could think of. I finished the decorated wooden box I've been working on for awhile.

Here's a little better view of the top of the box--

And what will I keep in it? I'm not sure, but it will probably be something quilting-related, I suspect.

Not only did I get two quilts pinned for quilting today, but I actually got one of them quilted! I used a simple meandering stitch and the whole thing only took a couple hours but, still, it's more than I expected I'd accomplish and it's good to have it done.

This Halloween quilt is just a good utility quilt--meant to be used (and possibly even abused). You may remember I cut all the pieces just before the carpal tunnel surgery so I'd have something simple to sew afterward, and that worked out well. At least it kept me out of trouble for a few days. I still have the binding to finish, but I've been working on it tonight while watching TV and it should be done in a day or two.

For the next couple of weeks, I expect there will be a lot going on here, so if I miss a blog post, it's probably just because there's too much to do. The bathroom remodel should start this week; I'll find out from my surgeon on Monday whether he feels I'm ready to go back to work; and the Wild Child will be moving back home in a week or two. Besides that, there's all the usual stuff that needs doing--like house cleaning, errands, and cooking.

Just thinking about all that's worn me out. Probably just as well that it's my bedtime. Thanks for visiting!