Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name . . .

Sometimes I wonder whether I even LIKE my name. What name would I have picked for myself if I had the choice? It's hard to say, but I DO know that I'm severely name-tag resistant. Why? Maybe I just don't like wearing my name pinned to me like a five year old.

Doesn't it seem like quilters are always being forced into making name tags for themselves? The quilt guild I used to belong to required us to make and wear name tags to our monthly meetings, but I never did. For the first couple years, I would sneak in the door without my name tag and I never got caught--I'm not sure anyone even checked back then. The last year of my membership, though, wasn't so easy. They had someone checking everyone at the door, and if we weren't wearing one, we were fined 25 cents. I guess I probably spent so much on name tag fines, I couldn't afford the membership fee the following year.

Even my sewing machine has a name tag on it from quilt camp one year. The "camp organizer" made us either wear the name tags or put them on our machines. Obviously, putting it on my machine was the clear choice. (I really don't like it on my machine either but it wouldn't come off easily. Since it's on the back of the machine where I can't see it, though, I don't think about it much.)

In Thimbleberries Club earlier this year, one month's project was to make a name tag. I didn't.

My most recent brush with name tag making came in connection with an upcoming "blog party"--the organizers wanted each of us to wear a name tag. I was a little anxious about making mine, so it was almost a relief--or at least a reprieve--to learn tonight that the "party" was being postponed until spring.

I think I might have a solution though. I've decided to change my name to:

Yeah, I know. Since it's a symbol, it can't really be pronounced, but you can call me the "Quilt Artist Formerly Known As Kim." Or "QAF-KAK" for short. Catchy, eh?!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Okay, kids, the word of the day is "twitterpated." Any idea what it means?

According to the online Urban Dictionary, "twitterpated" is defined as:

(1) to be completely enamored with someone/something;

(2) the flighty exciting feeling you get when you think about/see the object of your affection;

(3) romantically excited (i.e., aroused);

(4) the ever increasing acceleration of heartbeat and body temperature as a result of being engulfed amidst the exhilaration and joy of being/having a romantic entity in someone's life.

Have you found yourself twitterpated lately? And why the heck did I even bring it up?!

Well, it's a funny thing. I was sitting in the living room after work today, chatting with the Wild Child about a guy she's been seeing off and on, and she used the word--correctly.

You see, the Wild Child wants to be an editor when she grows up. She moved back home to go back to college at the age of 26, and she's enrolled in two English classes this semester--which is a pretty heavy load of reading and writing. But what I find so interesting about the whole thing is that her love of the English language must be a DNA thing that she inherited from me.

If you're thinking it might be "nurture" rather than "nature," consider this: When my kids were little, I was working full time. I'd pick them up after work and come home and cook dinner. We'd eat and then I'd clean up. After that, it was time to get them bathed and ready for bed. Then get their things ready for the next day. By the time book-reading time came along, I was done. More than done. Comatose. Very rarely did we spend quality time together with books. So I just don't see "nurture" as the explanation. It's gotta be in the DNA.

All I can say is that it's a really sad thing that both my kids inherited their awful, horrible speller DNA from their dad. I guess I was just too twitterpated back then to realize the man couldn't spell.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What a Lot of Stuff!

I mentioned awhile back that I thought I had too much going on in my life to wing it any longer without keeping track on a calendar. Well, I KNEW I had a calendar around here somewhere, and I stumbled across it a couple weeks ago. The only problem is that I actually need to WRITE STUFF IN IT for it to be effective. Funny how that works. Especially when I'm too busy doing the stuff that should be in the calendar.

Tonight I had an email from the lady who keeps all of us book club members on track, reminding us that our next meeting is this Friday night and that I'd signed up to bring treats. I remember signing up back in the spring, thinking that bringing treats in October for Halloween would be fun, but now that it's here, the dessert-thinking part of my brain is a blank.

I remember that this Saturday is a get together with my quilting/stitching group. I'm really looking forward to it, and that's probably why I remember when it is. There are a couple things I want to do to get ready for it this week--including preparing some wool projects to work on. After Saturday, though, I'm not sure what else is coming up. I wish it was written in my calendar.

I know that we--Gran and I--have a blogger party to attend this month, and I think it's the weekend after this one. And we're supposed to make name tags--gotta find time to do that. Unfortunately, the name tag thinking part of my brain is blank too. And just generally speaking of tags reminds me that I have a semi-private luggage tag making class coming up that I'm taking--I think it's next week or the week after. And I'm teaching a class in October about wool called Baa Baa Black Sheep--it's a repeat of the one I taught in the spring where we dyed wool in class. I need to design some new projects for that class. The only problem is that I designed one and a half of the projects today during my lunch hour--or at least I got some rough drafts started--and I remember having them when I was gathering up my stuff to leave work and that's the last I saw of them. I guess I put them down somewhere because when I got home they weren't in the car with me.

Maybe I need more than a calendar. Maybe I need a minder. And/or a clone. ARGH!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Little Bit Crazy About Chickens

I don't know what it is, but in the fall, my mind seems to turn to chickens--more than at other time of the year, it seems. Today I finished the Schnibbles quilt top, Paganini. It has a chicken border. Of course, I'll show you:

One of the very interesting things about this pattern is that Carrie Nelson has given us four different versions of the quilt, all in the one Schnibbles pattern. I was a little confused when I first saw photos of the Paganini quilts that Sinta and Sherri had made, because they didn't look like the picture on the pattern cover, but now I know why--since I made the same one they did, which is version 4.

The other three versions orient the seam in the initial half square triangles in the opposite direction. As someone mentioned in my Schnibbles class yesterday, one of the versions, done in the right colors, would look like a series of Christmas wreaths and would make a nice holiday quilt--I think I'd add some red "berry" buttons, a couple appliqued bows, and a little rick rack too! Take a look at version 3, and you'll see what I mean:

Anyway, something for another day, when my mind has turned from chickens to Christmas (which is just before it turns to mush).

But back to chickens. I was thinking, as I made the Schnibbles quilt, that it would nicely compliment another chicken quilt I'd made from a Buggy Barn pattern, using much the same colors. When I went to hunt down a photo on my blog (which is much easier to search than my photo albums), I found I'd done the chicken pattern two years ago in October. See? Chickens in fall.

Someday I really need to get these chickens quilted. Maybe next fall.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Excuse Me, But I Gotta Sew

Ah! I taught the Schnibbles class today at Bearpaws & Hollyhocks. It's been awhile!

I was trying to think of the last time I taught a class, and it might just have been the previous Schnibbles class in the Spring. Surgery and other matters have interfered, I guess. But now I'll be teaching regularly again, and I enjoy it.

I didn't take many photos in class today--just one of the food spread--because you know I like to feed my students in both body and mind. That sounds deceptively noble, because of course, my real reason is just that I like a good sewing party.

We were a somewhat small group today with just seven of us, so we could spread out with plenty of room to cut and sew. And because I didn't have quite as many students as I do for some classes, I actually had a little time to do some sewing too. You know what? I realized it had been awhile since I had done any sewing for myself--where I was just working on something fun that wasn't for a class or just finishing something up to get it done and out of the way.

When I got home and put my sewing things back in the Sweat Shop, I looked at my design wall, and this is what I saw:

YIKES! When did THAT happen? How can there be nothing on it?

So tonight I finished piecing the first four of sixteen blocks for the Paganini Schnibbles. The design wall isn't quite as empty now. And tomorrow? I gotta sew.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

If You Build A Better Mouse Trap . . .

Hubby's really gotten involved in the rat hunt these days. Every few days, he repositions the various spring and sticky traps. He found the rat had been living behind our microwave, and after cleaning the area, he placed a new trap back there. He also decided to build a better mouse trap.

Can I just mention that Hubby's not an engineer? When he worked, he answered a telephone for an auto parts retailer and assisted auto mechanics with ordering parts. Okay, so maybe he has a little bit of mechanical know-how. Kind of like a contact high. He probably picked up something.

Here's Hubby's better mouse trap:

Yeah, I'm talking about the box. See that teeny, tiny little door there on the bottom left? Inside the box, he's built a teeny, tiny little bed, and a teeny, tiny little recliner, and a teeny, tiny little TV. Okay, no he hasn't but the idea amused me more than the spring trap that's really inside. On the up side, if the rat ever decides to venture inside to commit suicide, it will be a reasonably clean end.

One draw back, though. Did you happen to notice that Hubby positioned the box next to the cats' scratching post? Do you think any sane rat wants to hang around a place that attracts cats? Yeah you're probably right--with OUR cats, it probably makes no difference. Here's another draw back.

I don't think the box really fits the Halloween theme. Seriously, you're an inventive bunch--what can I do to the box to make it look more Halloween-ish? 'Cause it's really bugging me. Not that my decorations are picture perfect--you wouldn't see that messy bookshelf in a magazine layout. But the box? Geez.

I suspect Hubby finally started thinking about the whole cat scratching post proximity thing. Or maybe it was something else. In any event, when I got home from work a day or two ago, I found he'd repositioned the box mouse trap to a different part of the house. No, it doesn't blend into the Halloween decorations any better than where it WAS. Also? We've noticed one other problem.

Remember the old cartoons where a cat would lay down on the floor REALLY still with its mouth wide open and wait for the mouse to run in?

I think Spike's been watching too many of those cartoons.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Copy Cat!

Remember all those pumpkins I brought home yesterday?

Canned pumpkin! Hubby tried to convince me he'd used one of my "real" pumpkins, but I didn't believe him. First pumpkin pie of the season--yum!

I've been so busy getting ready for Halloween, getting ready for Saturday's Schnibbles class, and working darn hard at work that I've neglected blog hopping visits to my Blogland neighbors, but this morning, I stopped by to visit Brandie at her blog and I found she'd been doing the CUTEST Halloween things! I "borrowed" one of Brandie's ideas and made a few of her pumpkin coasters tonight--

(If you notice any blood on them, it's just a bit a Halloween effect that I decided to add when Stitch tried to claw my hand; I jerked my hand away and sewed my finger instead, which aptly illustrates the meaning of "between a rock and a hard place.")

You can click over to Brandie's blog using the link above so you can see how to make the coasters, and while you're there, scroll down a little and check out her "Tom, Dick, and Harry" idea too--something that's definitely on my list for an upcoming project.

And speaking of upcoming projects--yes, I still have to paint the papier mache head in the first photo and add papier mache to the plastic pumpkin and ghost containers. Maybe this weekend--after the Schnibbles class.

The weekend is almost here--I hope you have something fun planned!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nearly Wordless Thursday

I was planning a "wordless Wednesday" post until I remembered it would actually show up as my Thursday post. Drat! Well, you know . . . I'm doing it anyway, sort of, because I'm a rebel. Gran and I had a wonderful lunch hour (and a half) at the farm market. On Wednesday!

But it took me nearly until Thursday to unload the pumpkins from my trunk!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What a Difference Two Years Makes!

Two years ago, for Halloween, I decorated with these Martha Stewart cut outs--

Now, of course, I don't need Martha--thanks to Stitch, we have the real thing.

Yes, one or two of you may have been wondering about our little mouse big rat, so I thought I'd let you know it's alive and well. These days, we seem to have close encounters of the rodent kind just about every couple of days.

The other day, I went to get something out of our hall pantry and saw movement; when I moved a box full of candles, it was heavier than it should have been, and . . . you guessed it! A rat jumped out and fled down the hall, with our older cat Spike in hot pursuit! Spike chased it into the bathroom, and when I caught up, Spike was peering behind the toilet, so of course I closed the door and stuffed things along the crack so no one and nothing could get out. I figured they could both stay locked in the bathroom until one was dead--after all, we DO have two bathrooms, so the standoff could go on indefinitely. In the meantime, I tracked Stitch down--he was catting around outside--and carried him in the house. Cracking open the bathroom door, I shoved him in too--now the odds were in our favor, right?

Silence reigned in the house for the next half hour or so, until I couldn't resist any longer--I cracked open the bathroom door and looked in. Both cats were bored to death and wanted out. No sign of the rat. No rat carnage. No blood, no rat hair. Darn!

When I got out my Halloween/fall candles a day or two later, I realized why the rat had been in the box--it had EATEN MY CANDLES! Out of a box of about 10 to 15 candles of every variety, I don't think any escaped having a rat tooth mark or two, and most were so completely consumed they had to be thrown out. Thinking I was being clever, though, I "baited" the box with a couple gnawed candles and a spring trap and put it back on the shelf. Several days later--and nothing still.

Hubby saw the rat the other day. First he heard it and then he saw it scurry under the drawers in the kitchen. When he was sitting in his recliner a little while later with Spike in his lap, the rat ran into the living room, paused, and sat up to look at Hubby, taunting him and the cat. Of course, Hubby's not fast enough and the cat didn't really care, so the rat turned around and high tailed it back to the kitchen, daring anyone to follow.

More recently, when I was feeding the cats the other morning, I again saw movement in the hall pantry. Movement with a long, thin tail. Spike and Stitch came wandering up to see why I was taking so long getting their food, so I shoved them both into the closet and shut the door. Let them get their own food! Surely two cats shut into a closet with a rat would do SOMETHING! Nope. When I checked on them a little while later, the cats were waiting to be let out of the closet to eat and the rat was nowhere to be seen. I grabbed my Swiffer duster, extended it as far as it would go, and poked around a bit, while the cats stood by their food bowl in the kitchen and watched. Suddenly, movement! The rat jumped down from the shelf and ran past me down the hall. I turned to the cats and demanded they give pursuit, but again, they were uninterested in anything but me filling their food bowls. Sheesh!

Yes, we have traps. Sticky traps by the thousands and spring traps by the hundreds. In all sizes. As the rat grew, we bought new and larger traps. We've tried all types of bait. We have two completely useless cats. I'm not sure what's next, but I'm kind of resigned to considering the rat a Halloween decoration for now. And if those darn cats didn't make for good Halloween decorations too, they'd be out on the street by now, holding signs proclaiming their homelessness and begging for change.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Well Heck! I Don't Know!

Have you seen this yet?

Yes, I know it's still three months until Christmas, but I saw the magazine when I was in the quilt shop tonight. Since I like to see what the holiday decorating trends are each year, I bought it, brought it home, and browsed though it.

I don't know. I'm not sure whether I like what I see. Of course, there are a few ideas that appeal to me, but the overall LOOK of Christmas this year--at least as this particular publisher sees it--seems to be kind of retro 60's Scandinavian. What do I mean by that? It strikes me as clean lines and bright, clear colors. 1960s lime greens and blues. Some red and white, and that combination appeals to me, but there's a LOT more blue.

I could also tell you my impression is of simple shapes, a lot of glitter, and everything offset by white. Generally speaking, not warm and cozy. But I can do light and bright--I've been doing it in the kitchen for the past couple of years because I get tired of the "gloom" of the winter season. And the "light and bright" color scheme in the kitchen has been spreading into other rooms too, so I think I've been moving in the same general direction, but slower, I guess. I just feel like I'm not quite there yet.

I suspect after I look through the magazine a few more times and examine some of the photos and text a little closer, it may well grow on me. And if not? There's still the red and white I love.

If you've had a chance to look at this magazine, what did you think? And if you haven't yet, but do in the next couple of weeks, I'd like to hear your thoughts too.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Pumpkins Are Coming!

The Pumpkins Are Coming!

I emailed the local farm market on Saturday to find out if their pumpkins were harvested and for sale yet and learned that indeed they were! This is the place I drove out to TWICE last year because they have such a great selection of unusual varieties of pumpkins at decent prices. I ALMOST drove out there today--this place is a bit outside town into the country and about a half hour drive--but I opted to wait until Wednesday when Gran can join me. I can hardly wait!

I didn't so much mind not going today because I had another excursion planned: The Roseville Fall Antique Fair. The weather was a little sprinkly off and on, but it was warm and the sprinkles really didn't last more than a minute or two.

I think the only thing I purchased that wasn't actually NEW was a box of old glass Christmas ornaments. I have a small "collection" of smaller ones, so I decided to add these to the mix. And see that red urn? Couldn't pass that up either. There's kind of a funny story that goes with it.

As the woman was wrapping up the urn for me, I told her the first thing my husband was going to say was, "Why did you buy an URN? Whose ashes are you going to put in it?!" And I would then tell him, of course, that I was planning to put HIS ashes in the urn. I could tell the woman was slightly shocked. When I got home and pulled out the urn, Hubby said, "Why did you buy an URN? Were you planning to put my ashes in it?!" Now how well do I know him? And sadly he knows me too well too--I never got to use the punch line because he beat me to it!

I think I mentioned that I'd bought a styrofoam head at the thrift store a week or so ago, didn't I? I finally got around to doing a little papier mache on her--or him? Now it needs to dry, and I'm sure the nose will take a couple days, because it's pretty built out.

After I cleaned house on Saturday, I decided to set the kitchen table for Halloween--yes, I know I'm early but that's okay. I bought the plates at the Hundred Dollar Store--they're made of a plastic and are very inexpensive but look great; in fact, I saw them in a magazine the other day.

The plastic pumpkin and ghost are only temporary table guests--soon they too will become papier mache creations!

Finally, I thought I'd show you what I've been working on quilt-wise. It doesn't all fit in the photo very well, but I've gotten the center blocks set and sewn together for the Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along. I still have to add borders, but I'm planning to keep them fairly simple. I hope to get a better photo to share once the top is completed.

Another fun weekend has come to an end, but I have a pumpkin collecting excursion to look forward to in a couple days. I hope you've had a wonderful weekend too and are enjoying the beginning of fall!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What Do You Think?

It's pretty rare that Chinese fortune cookies are so very accurate, but when I met a good friend for dinner Friday night, this is what mine said--

It had been a couple weeks since I'd seen this particular friend, and over dinner, she told me about a horrendous experience she had when she went away on a quilting retreat. A great deal had gone wrong, to say the least, but three things she told me about the teacher's (in)ability or "style" stood out in my mind:

(1) The teacher was unable to vary her delivery of information in such a way so as to facilitate learning in each of her students. We all learn in different ways. Some of us are visual learners, some are auditory learners, and some are tactile learners. When a teacher can only teach to one style of learner, several students will never "get it." That's why most of us will explain certain steps, then we'll show how the steps are done, and then we'll have the students do the steps themselves, with our help. And if someone doesn't understand an explanation, a good teacher will try to explain it a different way.

(2) The teacher demanded the students do exactly what she instructed and did not allow any deviation. During my years of quilting, I've found there are many quilters who like to follow a pattern exactly, so their quilts turn out just like the picture on the pattern cover. Some quilters will even want to use the very same fabrics. There's nothing wrong with that. But there are others who use a pattern, or see a class, as a jumping off point, and they then take it a step or two further--because they are artists. They find joy in creating. And there's nothing wrong with that either. When a teacher, and particularly one who is herself a recognized artist, discourages creativity in her students--well, there's something incredibly wrong with THAT.

(3) The teacher not only didn't praise and encourage her students' efforts, but she pointed out errors and criticized the students' work in front of the other students. As a teacher, I find it hard sometimes to even tell a student when she's done something wrong, but I know that's part of the job. I can only hope that I do it in a positive way and without causing embarrassment. After all, it's only fabric--it's not the end of the world if something's cut wrong or sewn crooked. And more often than not, it can be fixed. But hurting someone's feelings isn't acceptable--especially when they're paying ME to help them be better at doing something they enjoy.

So how about you? Have you had a unpleasant experience with a quilting/craft teacher? Or wish something was done differently in classes? Or have you had an extremely positive experience? What do you think makes a good class or a good teacher? As a teacher, I'd love to hear "what not to do" or what works well, because I want my students to enjoy their time with me--unlike the time my friend spent at her retreat.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Schnibbles Through the Year

Today I was thinking about the Schnibbles class I'll be teaching next Saturday (among other things, I was sending letters to the students from my last class), and I remembered I still hadn't posted my personal "Year of Schnibbles Parade"--I thought this might be a good time for it. Although Sherri and Sinta will be hostessing a similar "club" for the upcoming year called Le Petite: A Year of Small Projects (there's still time to join), the Year of Schnibbles is done--except that before October 1st, each of us who participated is supposed to post our projects for the year. So, here it is, from September through August:

A couple of the photos show unquilted tops, but they have all been quilted since I first photographed them. Just out of idle curiousity, which of these patterns would you most like to make, or if you've already made some or all of them, which did you enjoy most?

I think I have three that I really love for slightly different reasons. Because I find the Kate Spain 12 Days of Christmas fabric wonderfully happy, making Reveille was a joy--watching the patterns and colors emerge was fun! I also really loved the softer color palette of the Fig Tree Whimsy fabric--I'm not sure I would have played with that line if not for making the Schnibbles patterns, and now every time I look at it, I want to make something else with that same line--it feels both joyous and tranquil to me. Finally, I had a lot of fun with the Mary Engelbreit fabric I used in State Fair, and the pattern itself seemed to be designed for embellishments--those pinwheels just screamed for button centers.

I'm looking forward to next year's "club"--this has been a lot of fun. And just look at all the quilts we made!

Friday, September 17, 2010

What a Deal!

Can I just say, "WWWVVVWWWVVV"? The reason I say that is because I couldn't before--those keys refused to work on my old keyboard once they were doused with iced tea. But guess what? Yep, the new keyboard is installed and fully functional. Can I hear a "woo" and a "hoo"?

This is what the new keyboard looks like:

It's also what the OLD keyboard looked like. AND the one before that. They're pretty good keyboards--if you don't spill stuff on them! This time I got smart--or lucky. The man at the register of the big office supply place asked me if I'd like to purchase the extended warranty--for a year, they'll replace the keyboard no matter how much I spill on it, and it was only an extra $6. Considering this is the FOURTH keyboard I've had this year, I consider it an extreme bargain! Of course, I purchased the warranty. (Yeah, yeah--I can hear you asking why I keep tempting fate with drinks near the keyboard, and I don't really have an answer for that other than the fact I love to take risks. So I guess it won't surprise you to learn I have a glass of iced tea next to me now, will it? Nah!)

Hubby was off watching Soccer Son coach his boys' varsity soccer team and keeping time for the game, so the Wild Child and I decided to visit this place for dinner--

We both ordered the number 2 meal, which is a cheeseburger, fries, and a small drink. I ordered onions on mine and the Wild Child asked them to hold the onions and the tomato on hers. We got our drinks and sat down to wait. About five minutes later, a young, uniformed gal came over and asked if we were order number five. "Yes, we are," I said. She looked me straight in the eyes and asked, "Which burger did you want the onion on and which burger did you want no onion and no tomato on?" Seriously. I'm not joking. Of course, I asked her "What?!" She repeated the question, and the Wild Child and I looked at each other and looked back at the girl. Then we looked at each other again and looked back and the girl. Finally we looked at each other some more, trying not to laugh, and looked back at the girl. I think I told her I didn't understand the question, and after some back and forth discussion, we learned that the guy who took our order recorded it as one cheeseburger and one REGULAR burger. Ah! The girl told me she was going to have to charge me for a slice of cheese, which is probably a small price to pay for the entertainment value received, but in the end, her manager told her not to charge us. When our burgers came, neither had tomato; one had onion and the other didn't. I told the Wild Child to take it back and tell them they put the onion on the wrong burger, but she refused. Clearly, she's not nearly as much fun to go out with as Gran--I bet Gran would have done it!

Finally, we stopped here (well, not exactly HERE, but it was a reasonable facsimile):

The Hundred Dollar Store. Guess how much it cost to get out of there? $104. It might have been under a hundred if not for the impulse buy at the checkout counter--Martha Stewart's Halloween magazine. But how can one resist?

All in all, a fairly expensive day, but worth every penny!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Program . . .

. . . to spill ice tea on the keyboard. ARGH! I hate it when that happens!

Last night, after I posted to my blog, Spike got up on the desk and in my face, and when I tried to scoop her up, I scooped up my glass of ice tea too. Although it was only slightly sweetened, it was enough to take out a few keys, so I'll need to get a new keyboard. Soon. I'll be back!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Good Stuff, Maynard!

I logged onto Yahoo and saw a link to an article about diet myths. Of course, for those of us salsa-obsessed individuals, diet myths might be of some interest, so I clicked on it. Yep, good stuff there! I remember when I mentioned a little while ago how Hubby and I like ice cream in the evening, someone commented about wanting to be on an ice cream diet too. I thought about explaining a little more in my next post, but in the end, I moved on to something else. Anyway, vindication! Woo-hoo! Check it out HERE--there's stuff there about diets and eating that I think would probably surprise most of us.

Now, about "good stuff, Maynard." When I read the diet myth article, that phrase popped into my head and I wondered where it came from. Do any of you know? I did a Yahoo search and came up with THIS site (and several others) that talks about it. Admittedly, I didn't read through ALL the responses, but many who commented seemed to think it goes back to Dobie Gillis in the 50s. I didn't watch Dobie Gillis, so I know I didn't pick it up there, but maybe I heard it from someone who did. Another popular response was that it came from a Malt-O-Meal commercial. I probably ignored that too. I remember preferring Tony the Tiger and his G-R-R-R-R-E-A-T frosted flakes.

There's one more thing on my mind tonight. Do you ever read the comments people post to news or pseudo-news articles (like the diet one, for instance)? Gosh darn it but they annoy the Malt-O-Meal out of me sometimes! People are SO FREAKIN' OPINIONATED and wrongfully so! Sometimes their "facts" just don't make any sense or aren't grounded in truth. Of course, those of us who live in glass blogs shouldn't throw stones, but still . . . . I just wish they'd get at least a high school diploma before they post. I think I liked it better "in the old days" when you could read an article and silently agree or disagree, or maybe discuss it with a spouse, friend, or family member. Of course, I realize those idiots who now post comments probably USED to discuss their opinions with spouses, friends, and family members "in the old days" and, as a result, no longer HAVE spouses, friends, or family members. ARGH! Anyway, that's all I'm going to say about that because with all the sodium I'm getting from salsa these days, it's more important than ever that I watch my blood pressure. Besides, it's time for my half cup of ice cream.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm an Addict

I don't know how it happened or why, but it seems I'm addicted to salsa. Chips? Not so much. Chips are just an edible, crunchy substitute for a spoon. I'm pretty sure I could eat half a container of salsa using only ten tortilla chips.

I'm not quite to the point where salsa seems like a good breakfast alternative, but salsa for lunch, dinner, and/or dessert--yep, I'm there.

I guess it COULD be worse. After all, salsa is low in calories, low in fat, and high in vitamins. Unfortunately, it's high in sodium too, but I'm not addicted because it's the perfect food. Oh no.

Sometime in the early summer, I "discovered" heirloom tomatoes. I've always enjoyed fresh, homegrown tomatoes when paired with basil, and I found the heirlooms made the dish even better. I think that's when I started to really THINK about tomatoes. A lot. Then there's the whole "healthy eating" thing we've been doing. After all, tomatoes are pretty good for diets. And because I wanted to make sure I was adding more veggies to my diet, I started drinking a small can of V8 as an afternoon "snack" a couple times a week. Who knew that V8 was the "gateway drug" to salsa addiction?

A couple weeks ago, we were at my sister-in-law's house for a barbecue. She put a bowl of salsa and a bowl of tortilla chips on the table for us to snack on while we enjoyed a cold beverage or two and waited for the meat to cook. THAT's when I think it started. If I hadn't thought it would be obvious, I would have taken the chips and salsa with me and locked myself in the bathroom.

In the last couple of weeks, I've "tested" several salsas. Well, I say I'm just "testing" them, but we all know the truth. And as it turns out, I found the Wild Child's a salsa hound too. I'm not sure which one of us is worse. Just think of all the sad stories you've heard and the TV programs you've seen about mom and daughter addicts and picture us. It's not pretty.

I thought maybe I was craving salsa because of some obscure nutritional need. Maybe I had a deficient salsa gland or something. Do you have any idea how many theories there are about tomato cravings? Maybe it's anemia. Maybe it's pica and I'd really like to eat dirt, but I'm settling for salsa. Maybe I'm pregnant (NOT!). Seriously, it could be any number of things, but there's also the theory that it's mental, and I think that's me--mental.

Now that I've identified my addiction, I guess the next step is fighting it. Hey, I quit smoking, right? So how much harder can quitting tomatoes be? I wonder though: Is salsa one of those things that once I quit, I can never have even one bite again without risking a relapse? And do I need to abstain from jalapeno peppers, onions, and cilantro too, or just tomatoes?

Unfortunately, salsa addiction is neither well researched nor well understood, and as far as I know, there are no treatment facilities or 12-step programs. Sometimes I wish I was addicted to sex instead of salsa. Oddly enough, so does Hubby.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Now, If The Leaves Would Just Start to Turn . . .

Fall is HERE! In my house anyway--outside, it's still summer. But we'll just pretend it's fall, okay? With quilt classes to teach the next couple of weekends, if I hadn't taken time this past weekend to decorate, it would have been awhile before I had time again. Probably Christmas.

I wanted to show you the wooden plates I've been painting. They're usually fairly inexpensive and available at thrift stores, so I'd been "collecting" a few. Dianne (of Cacklin' Rosie fame) mentioned to me a few weeks ago that she was waiting to see what I was going to do with mine, so here are a couple Halloween-ish ideas. First, I turned a small divided dish (it looked like it would have held nuts or something like that) into a pair of owlish eyes--

Then a round wooden plate with a raised, scalloped edge became a pumpkin--of course!

I painted each wooden piece with two coats of white acrylic paint as a base and went from there. The white base makes the colors of the other paints clearer and more true. I finished each with a coat of spray varnish. (Painted wooden plates are decorative and shouldn't be washed other than with a damp cloth, so they aren't suitable for serving food on.)

I bought a lantern "kit" a couple years ago and made it into a haunted lampshade. The darn thing gets pretty squashed each year while it's packed away but I hate to get rid of it. Still, I've seen scrolly cut out paper in the scrapbooking section of Michaels and JoAnn's recently and it occurred to me that a piece of black cut out paper with yellow tissue paper behind it would make something quite similar.

I used a heavy but bendable wire for the frame of the shade and taped the wire into place. I bet you could do something similar if you're interested! (And that's our 100 calorie snack basket there on the counter--having that available helps curb temptation.)

The Halloween tree is up! And there on one of the shelves of the hutch are the jars of candy and other "stuff" I decorated last night. I still need to get a better photo of them--I'll try to remember and post it soon. It's another inexpensive but cute decorating idea that I'm happy to share. The Halloween tree, by the way, is made from a dead bush that we spray painted black and stuck into an orange vase. It doesn't get much cheaper than that!

This year's mantle with Cacklin' Rosie sitting next to the fireplace, holding her broom. The "picture" on the mantle is a fabric panel that I've framed for now. A couple years ago I did the same thing with a Thimbleberries Cover Story panel--really a simple idea.

Last year's Buggy Barn witch quilt. I pieced the crazy cat quilt top too, but I haven't quilted it yet. I may try to fit quilting that in somewhere if I have a little time--it's a fun one! I wanted to teach another stack and slice class this fall but I just couldn't figure out when I'd add another class to the schedule, so maybe I'll do one in the spring.

That's it for the tour--here we are at the front door. Mr. Squirrel says he's sad to see you go, but it's time for bed. We hope to see you again soon!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Having a Ball! Wish You Were Here!

I've been having some fun decorating today although it's a lot of work too. And I'm at that in between stage where I've taken down all the summer "stuff" and started putting up the fall "stuff" but it's nowhere near done and much of the house is just a mess. I think the photo below gives you a little idea of what some of the less messy areas look like--

See, it's not bad, but it's sparse and doesn't have much going on yet. But it will!

When I put up the Happy Jacks quilt, it occurred to me to let my newer readers know that there's a tutorial down there in my sidebar to make the quilt if you're interested--it's a pretty simple quilt. I've had a fun time today, getting out my fall quilts again. On the one hand, it seems like I have a TON; but on the other hand, when the Wild Child asked what I had for her bed, I was hard pressed to find one that was bed size. I'll have to work on that this next year, I suppose!

In any event, the quilts are out and mostly in place. Tonight I worked on decorating those candy jars you can see in the photo--I know you can't see them very well, but I'll get better photos later. I enlisted the help of the Wild Child--she went to the store and came home with several bags of colorful, Halloween-appropriate candy. I've also been working this evening painting some wooden "plates"--I should have something to show tomorrow, I hope.

I still have a lot more decorating to do tomorrow, so I'd better get a little rest. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Know I'd Be Excited If I Just Had The Energy

I'm seeing a real pattern developing on Friday nights--I'm just too pooped to do much of anything when I get home from work. I've been enjoying my new assignment at my office, although it's busy and challenging--or maybe I've been enjoying it BECAUSE it's busy and challenging. But no matter--by Friday night, I'm tired. And then there's that staying up too late thing--yes, I tried not to do that when I went back to work, but it seems inevitable, and I find I'm up later and later as the week progresses. Maybe I just need to plan an early night reading and relaxing in bed each Friday (although that might be hard next week because I'll be teaching Friday night AND Saturday day!).

Still, the weekend's here and I'm kind of excited because I plan to do a large chunk of my fall/Halloween decorating this weekend. The weather's cooled down a little, and while I know it's just teasing me and will get hot again, the cooler temps have inspired me. How about you? Have you started to think about Halloween yet?

I want to thank all of you who thought up wonderful names for this gal--

Your creativity always amazes me! I have to say that Cackling Rosie stood out, though, and I know from your comments that several of you agreed. Dianne can always be counted on for her clever imagination. Dianne, email me and I'll get some kind of little thank you gift in the mail to you next week.

I also want to thank you for the compliments on the Halloween "totem." I wish I could take credit for the design but the instructions were in the magazine I showed you. It's really fairly easy to cover styrofoam balls with the papier mache medium and decorate them. In fact, it's so easy that when I came across a styrofoam "head"/hat form at Goodwill today, I thought I'd buy it and see what I can do with a little papier mache. Stay tuned to see what I come up with--I have a couple ideas.

I would never WISH to have carpal tunnel problems, be off work for several months, and then have surgery, but if I could have done something about SCHEDULING the darn thing for the "right" time of the year, it would have been NOW. If I had my "druthers," just about now I would have been about two or three weeks into it, when the worst of the pain had passed and I was just going through the steps to get to the point where they decided surgery was the answer. Then I could have played with Halloween and fall stuff to my heart's content, followed closely by playing with Christmas and winter stuff. And then a return to work around January or February. Yep, that's what I would have done. Of course, that wasn't how it worked out because things like that don't happen to suit our own ideal schedules, do they? So I guess I'd better get to bed now so I can get up in the morning and get started--after all, it's back to work on Monday. But in the meantime, we have the weekend to play!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ah! It All Makes Sense Now!

Remember this?

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning."

Yesterday I woke up feeling like I was in the middle of the movie. I think there was a part, and it may have been at the beginning, where you hear the ever-increasing noise of the helicopters but don't see anything at first until the helicopters clear the tops of the trees. That's what it was like. Weird!

The sky was overcast with low cloud cover, and I didn't see anything out of the windows, but I admit I didn't try too hard. When I got on the computer, though, one of the lead local stories on Yahoo was about the SWAT team trying to subdue a guy at the local McDonald's--apparently he had warrants out of the state of Washington and he was seen to have a gun; hence, the helicopters above--probably both a Sheriff's helicopter and a news helicopter or two.

On my way to work, I was stopped at a light at a major intersection, next to a school bus, when I heard a male teenaged voice, clear as could be, say, "What happened?!" I glanced over at the school bus but didn't see any open windows and my own windows were closed too. What did I hear? How did I hear him so loudly and clearly? And what was he talking about? Weird!

A little further on, traffic slowed to nearly a crawl. Eventually I came upon what looked like it might have been the scene of an accident, but the only real remnants were a single wheel and tire and some chunks of metal strewn across one of two lanes of travel. No cars. No people on the side of the road. No police. Just what looked like the remains of an accident. And an unmarked truck with a flashing light on the roof, helping to direct traffic around the debris. Weird!

We had just picked up speed again, and some of the traffic had separated off, when I saw a small pickup truck with an attached open trailer a little further ahead of me pull over to the side of the road, and three guys jumped out. Before I passed them, I saw the three of them converge on the trailer to try to put out a fire that looked like it had just started among whatever they were carrying. I had to wonder what they had in the trailer and how a fire could have started, but because part of the load was covered with a tarp, I couldn't tell. Still, it seemed weird!

Although my mornings aren't always without incident, to have so many things happen yesterday morning before I even got to work was unusual, to say the least. FINALLY, though, it all became clear.

After all, look who's in town!

You just KNOW weird stuff is going to happen when the clowns are around!