Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Happy Birthday!

We celebrated Hubby's birthday tonight--Soccer Son, His Lovely Wife to be Someday, the Wild Child, and I took Hubby out to a really good Mexican restaurant for dinner. A full tummy and one margarita later, and all I wanted to do was go to sleep! But I'll tell you about the birthday festivities first.

Last night, Hubby ruined his birthday surprise when he unexpectedly "helped" me unpack groceries and asked, "Where do you want me to put the potato chips and Cracker Jacks?" You see, I had this wonderful idea that the best gift I could give him was to remind him of his childhood and the days before caramel popcorn and nuts got stuck in his bridge work. ARGH!

So, during my lunch hour today, I went to the 99 Cent Only store for a nice replacement gift, but I didn't find anything (except some sunglasses and reading glasses for me and some cheap convenience foods for the Wild Child--for some odd reason, she really LIKES Top Ramen and Hamburger Helper!) On the way back to work, I stopped at the drive thru and picked up a guacamole burger. Back at my desk, I took one bite and despite the fact that the bottom of the burger was well covered with paper, a seemingly gigantic glop of guacamole oozed out the side and landed on my pant leg. And then rolled off and onto my shoe with an audible SPLAT. As I was cleaning that mess up and thinking how much I DIDN'T feel anything like the hot chick in the burger commercials who drips catsup on her, I felt wet guacamole on my cheek. And hair. And then my arm brushed against my side and . . . guacamole!

Good thing we were going out for Mexican food for Hubby's birthday dinner. I fit right in.

Hubby enjoyed the store-bought-frozen-and-defrosted coconut cake we gave him. And we sang the "happy birthday song" so incredibly off key and off tempo, that as the candles were burning down to nubs, we had to try a second time. Luckily that gave me the time I needed to get the Cracker Jacks out of the cupboard and tied with a nice, blue birthday ribbon. Nothing but the best for my sweetie!

The party's over and it's time for me to go take a bath and wash all this guacamole off. Glad you could stop by!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Another Ghastlies Update and a Laugh Link

So I've been working on the Ghastlies quilt top (after pinning the OTHER quilt I changed the border on) and I've realised the Ghastlies is going to be really LARGE--like 7 feet large. Why? Because I love, love, love the border print and I've discovered it needs to be cut so the borders are almost 12" in order to get the entire "scene." Bummer, eh?

What does this mean for you? Well, if you want to make the same quilt, prepare for its largeness--it will be nice on a bed. Seriously. Otherwise, consider using a different fabric for a smaller border. And if you've already bought the border fabric but still don't want a quilt that large? Well, it would look really awesome in a second, companion piece, like a runner or a row-type wall hanging (i.e, a row of the border print, alternating with pieced blocks, like stars, etc.).

What does this mean for me? I think I'm going to soldier on with a large quilt because I DO like it. I think if I wasn't, though, I'd use that black with white polka dot print to make a 6" border all around. Think about it.

Yesterday my sister-in-law sent me a link to a post on the Bloggess's blog because when she read it, it reminded her of me. Yes, I would SO do exactly what Jenny, the blogger, did. Except with Hubby, it would be plates/dishes unlike Victor and his towel issues. If this isn't sounding familiar--and the thing has gone viral so you may well have read it already, but if not--read it HERE. Priceless.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Have WHAT Points?

Back when I was young, the first time I went to Tahoe, I didn't know much of anything about gambling. I was on my honeymoon (the first one) and THAT husband didn't know much about gambling either. Sure, both of us knew how to play Blackjack and we could feed coins into a slot machine, but any of the other games were a mystery to us.

The first evening in the casino we stopped by to watch the play at a Craps table. I've always liked rolling dice, playing Yahtzee or whatever, so it looked kind of fun. I watched for awhile and when a new player had the dice, I put a couple chips in one of the sections that everyone else was putting chips on. Very quickly, my chips were taken away, and I thought I'd lost, until we started to leave and one of the dealers asked if we wanted our money. As it turned out, we'd apparently won SOMETHING because we walked away with more than the few chips we put down. I figured that was pretty cool even if I had no idea what I'd done right!

Today I received an email about Valdani hand dyed variegated perle cotton thread (the balls of embroidery/stitchery thread). I thought it looked like something I certainly NEEDED, even if I hadn't KNOWN I needed it until I read the email--which was from the wholesaler. So I undertook a little online search for a retail source for the designer sets that interested me (a 12-ball assortment of different colors) and eventually I ended up at Amazon.

Now, I need to tell you a little background. I've had an Amazon credit card for several years, but I never use it except for my Amazon purchases, and I keep it paid off. And I guess because I don't use it much and pay it off immediately, I don't really pay much attention to it.

So, anyway, back to the present. I decided to order the assortment of perle cotton thread, and I clicked the "add to cart" button. Just about then, either when I clicked the add to cart button or when I clicked the check out button, this message popped up, telling me the item was something I might be able to use my Amazon reward points on. What? What reward points?! Well, I suspect at some point, Amazon sent me something letting me know I was earning points for my purchases, but it was news to me. As it turned out, I was able to use my points for the entire purchase--and I still have points left. Isn't that excellent?

I love it when good stuff happens out of the blue like that. No expectations and all of a sudden a little gift falls right into your lap. Just like winning at Craps when I had no idea I was winning. Now I guess I should figure out what it was that earned me those points, but if it's anything like that Craps game? I'll probably find out soon enough that it's not likely to happen again any time soon.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Kinda Crabby

Hubby's birthday is coming up this week--for about three or four weeks, he'll be two years older than me, the old fart! I told him and our friend Terry that I was surprised the two of them didn't get fake IDs when they turned 50 so they could qualify sooner for the senior discount. Both of them are ALL about saving a buck. Since our vacation, I've had to listen several times to Hubby's story about how much food he got when he ordered a senior meal at one of the restaurants we ate at! I'm so glad that I'm still just a spring chicken.

Anyway, we went out with Terry and Lisa to celebrate today. We started by going to a matinee performance of a show called Defending the Caveman. Have you ever seen it? It's kind of like a two hour stand up comic routine about men and women, but there's a lot of truth behind the whole premise--which is kind of like Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, except it's more like "men are the hunters, women are the gatherers." If you every have an opportunity, go see the show. See it with your spouse or significant other. Some of the issues in your relationship will suddenly make more sense, and it's cheaper than marriage counseling.

After the show, we went to Joe's Crab Shack. Hubby's choice. You'd think that after spending a week at the beach eating mostly seafood, the guy would be ready for something else, but no, apparently not.

Hubby and I both ordered crab--mine was three different kinds with corn and potatoes. Hubby had two types of crab, shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes.

Lord, I'm full!

We had a table looking out on the river and afterward, we walked down a to a spot overlooking the river where I took that first photo of the Tower Bridge and the photo below of a large party boat. Not ours, I might add. Maybe next year--if there's a senior discount on the rental.

But, anyway, I've been wondering: Can a person overdose from too much crab? Because if you don't hear from me ever again, that's probably what happened to me. ARGH!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Uh, Something's Not Quite Right

Do you remember this quilt, by any chance?

It was a LePetite project from May that I changed a bit by adding sashing and made larger. I thought it would be the perfect gift I wanted to make for someone. But I finished it and it just sat around for awhile, looking sad. I had even pieced a backing for it, but I never took the time to pin it for quilting. You see, there was something wrong. And I knew it.

What was wrong was that I didn't like it. It just didn't look very interesting to me, and it didn't "feel" like it was right for the person I wanted to give it to. I thought maybe a different border would help.

So I searched my stash. I searched quilt shops far and wide (on the little shop hop I went on with my stitchery friends). I bought one fabric I thought might work, but when I brought it home, it just wasn't right.

I gave up. I switched gears and decided to begin all over again with completely different colors. And then, before I could start on something new, I spotted a certain fabric up high on my shelf, tucked away in the 1800's repro fabrics. "Hummmmmm," I thought, "I wonder if that would work?" And I doubted it would--because I was pretty sure I had already tried it. But no, when I got it down and put it next to the quilt top, I thought it just MIGHT transform the quilt into something I liked. Hurrah!

Okay, so here it is, the "new" quilt top:

I think the new border treatment gives it some kind of "spark." Now the quilt top looks happy to me. What do you think? Which version do you like best (not counting the rather handsome cat laying on the first version)? I think if I had added a darker inner border to the first quilt top, it would have looked better, but the repeating pattern in the border fabric I used looked awfully flat to me and I still don't think I would have been happy.

The first back I pieced matched the border in the first version, so I had to piece another back for this one. And tomorrow morning, I'm planning to get out my box of quilt pins and start pinning. I think it's finally right.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Email "Coupons"

Have you tried out Groupon, Living Social, or any other email offers for goods and services at discounted rates? A few months ago, I signed up to receive offers from Living Social, and I'm loving it!

Usually a couple times a week I get an offer for something, and I can see generally what it is from the subject line, so I can open it if I think I might be interested, or delete it if I know I'm not.

The first offer I purchased was a night in a nice room at John Ascuaga's Nugget hotel/casino in Sparks/Reno for around $50. The offer included a $15.99 meal credit. Well, I absolutely love the pan roast (kind of a seafood soup/stew) they prepare at the seafood restaurant in the hotel and I haven't had it for several years now, so I know exactly where the meal credit will be spent. We've booked our room for a Thursday night in July when we can go to the farmer's market outside the hotel early in the evening and then catch Dana Carvey, who's performing there. (Of course, the Dana Carvey tickets were an additional charge, but still . . . how cool is that?)

My next purchase was four car washes at a local touchless car wash that I hadn't been to before. We used the first one to get Hubby's car washed last Sunday--it sure needed it after our vacation travels! They did a really nice job, and we found they have a barber inside the waiting area, so next time, Hubby can get a haircut while he waits for his car to get clean. AND after we had the car washed, we went across the street to one of our favorite Italian restaurants for an early dinner. Perfect!

My most recent purchase was for four hours of a housecleaning service. I'm thinking about having carpal tunnel surgery on my other hand, and I thought that having someone to come clean house for me while I recover would be most welcome, don't you think? But even if I don't use it for THAT occasion, I'm certain that having a cleaning service come in around the holidays would be a real treat!

How about you? Have you tried out Groupon or Living Social yet?If so, what do you think?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ghastlies Update

I've finished the alternate blocks now, and I wanted to show you how it looks. I'm really happy with this so far. On the one hand, it's Halloween, but on the other hand, it's not exactly traditional, is it?

I'm going to post the pattern for this one, so if you're interested, stay tuned--I'll probably have it figured out in about a week, I suspect. Starting tomorrow, I'll be sewing these blocks together and adding an inner border that's a black and white "bramble" print (it looks kind of "scribbly" with criss crossed lines) and an outer border of the new focus fabric in green.

And just in case you think you'd like to make this and want to get the fabric you'll need, I can give you a fabric "estimate" now--and what I mean by that is I can tell you how much fabric I used, but if I was you, I'd get a little bit more just in case. But then I usually do.

For the "portrait print"--that's the black, white, and gray fabric with the "pictures" of the Ghastlies, I started with about 2 yards. I could have started with a little less, but it might have been harder for me to squeeze out the characters in whole pieces the way I wanted.

I used two yards of the green "tree" fabric--and if I had another half yard, I would have continued the chain pattern another row or two, but I don't have enough left--just a few scraps.

I used about a half yard of the black with white polka dot fabric that frames the portraits.

I used about a half yard of the white with black polka dot fabric that makes the chain.

I used about a half yard of the pink fabric that forms the stars.

(Note: The polka dot fabrics and the pink fabric are NOT part of the Ghastlies line--I had the polka dots in my stash and I bought the pink, which I tried to match as well as I could to the pink in the Ghastlies fabric.)

Finally, I'll probably be using about a half yard of the black and white "bramble" fabric for the inner border and about two yards of the new focus fabric for the outer border--it has more/larger family portraits of the Ghastlies.

I have a friend who always buys her backing and binding fabric when she buys fabric for a quilt. That's not me. I have no idea about those fabrics so far. I'll probably just pull whatever I have in my stash that works.

I'll show you what this looks like in another day or two so you can see what I'm talking about for the border fabrics. This is going to be a fun one!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

4th in '11

Since I've had these computer issues, I didn't take a photo of the "Thimbleberries applique basket quilt" when I first finished it just before our vacation, but it occurred to me that with the computer working (for now), I should get a photo to show you and to put in my sidebar under the 11 in '11 category. (Please ignore any lumps you might see--it's just one of the cats under the quilt.)

As the quilt has turned out--and I think I knew it at one time but confused myself--it's a good size for a queen bed or even a double. For some reason, at some point during the quilting, I thought I'd made it king size. Of course, that was probably after I'd been quilting it FOREVER and it seemed larger than it really is! But I actually HAVE a summer quilt for our king size bed, so I think I decided to make this new one to fit the bed in the Wild Child's room--which will be our guest bedroom sometime down the road.

But speaking of the 11 in '11 project, have you checked out the Flickr photo album lately? You can look at the quilts by clicking on the "more in 11 in '11 pool" in the group photo box in the sidebar. The quilters who have challenged themselves this year are doing an excellent job! If you click over to take a look, remember you can leave comments on the photos, letting them know how much you enjoy their quilts.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Crab Tails

Did you know that crabs have tails? I didn't until our first night in Pismo Beach, when I ordered clam chowder and a tempura crab tail appetizer. Yum!

That was the first time we ate at the Cracked Crab--we went back again two nights later. It seems to me that the Cracked Crab and the Splash Cafe vie for the title of best clam chowder in the Pismo Beach area.

The chowder at the Splash Cafe has a stronger seafood taste; I prefer the Cracked Crab. Both are excellent though!

Summer has hit us hard here in Sacramento--today our temperatures rose above the 100 degree mark and they'll do the same again tomorrow. The weather folks say we should get a nice breeze in from the ocean and up through the delta tomorrow night, and that will cool us down a bit. In the meantime, I'll just have to content myself with thinking about our vacation.

That's the view from our little patio at the Sandcastle Inn. See how close we were to the beach? It's just down the stairs there in front of our room. Ahhhhhhhh.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Hubby's playing cards on his laptop, and I didn't have the heart to ask him if I could borrow it to write my blog post, so I grabbed a can of air and gave the old computer a good . . . blow job. Yeah, I know--sorry for the cheap joke, but I just couldn't resist. So right now, it's working, but it's awfully, awfully, terribly SLOW. (I WILL resist another cheap joke in which I would have compared my computer to a man.)

My computer also seems to have been on vacation while it's been non-operational. I don't know where it went, but the toolbar shows that wherever it is, it's raining and 59 degrees. That's not here. Here it's hot and dry and around 80 degrees at midnight. Yep, summer is here in Sacramento!

While I had the computer running, I downloaded some photos, so I'll be sharing those with you over the next couple days--if the computer keeps going. First is that "antique" quilt I mentioned I'd found at a thrift/antique store outside Pismo Beach. The orange in the border is darker--and of a finer texture--than the orange in the main section of the quilt. I took it down to the Fabric Garden the other day, and in looking at it closely, we determined it's all hand pieced as well as hand quilted in a fan pattern.

Cool, huh? I can get it out to enjoy every Halloween and then put it safely away until the next year. Next, I thought I'd show you the sewing area I set up in our hotel room at Pismo. The only trouble was that the chair was too low for the desk, but otherwise, it was a pretty nice place to sew and look at the view.

Now a look at my current project--the one I started at Pismo. This is what I'm doing with the Halloween Ghastlies fabric.

I've fussy cut some of the images in the fabric and bordered them with a black and white polka dot fabric (not from the Ghastlies line). Around that, I've added the green tree fabric from the line to bring each block up to 12-1/2" unfinished. Here's a close up of one of the blocks:

Now I've started making the alternate blocks, and I'll show those to you when I have some made.

Gosh it's nice to finally have some photos to share! I hope to show you more tomorrow. See you then!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Like Cats Much?

I hope you and your family enjoyed Father's Day. Here at our house, we enjoyed a wonderful but long and drawn out dinner followed by a game of Rummy 500, all out on the patio. Early in the day, the Wild Child played for us a YouTube video that purports to be an eHarmony bio by a young lady who loves cats. Have you seen it? I'm doubtful about the whole eHarmony premise, but it's rather entertaining. If you haven't seen it, you probably should:

We later played the video for Soccer Son and his Lovely Wife to be Someday while we played cards. After that, we couldn't help but move on to the Double Rainbow nut case video. Isn't YouTube entertaining?

Before and after our Father's Day celebrations, I spent a little time in the Sweat Shop working on a new project using the Ghastlies line of Halloween fabric. Alexander Henry released the line a year or two ago, but they re-released it this year with a couple more prints added. You can check it out by clicking HERE. As soon as I can get a "new" computer and upload photos, I want to show you what I'm doing. In the meantime, it's back to work again for me tomorrow--but maybe I'll find the office is ready to give us our old computers. It sure will be nice to blog with photos again!

I guess I'd better get to bed--I suspect it will be hard to get up in the morning after being off for a week. I'm glad you stopped by for a visit!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Did You Spell Check That Tat?

I was driving around town today and at one point, while stopped at a red light, I glanced over at the car next to me. I couldn't see the driver very well, but I noticed his arm, which was resting along the edge of the open window, sported a lovely, sentimental, dark black tattoo: "Forever your's."

Wouldn't it be funny if his gal has a tattoo that reads, "Forever hi's"?

People are dumb.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Back to Reality

We woke up to a bright, sunny day in Pismo Beach today. Too bad we had to leave! Most of the time we were there, it was overcast and a bit chilly, but I loved it anyway. We were sad to leave, but still, we're looking forward to sleeping in our own bed tonight.

We made a last quilt shop stop at the Quilter's Cupboard in Atascadero--a favorite shop of mine and several of my friends when traveling in the area. And we stopped for lunch at Harris Ranch, a huge restaurant and hotel in what seems to be the middle of nowhere on I-5--we absolutely LOVE it! They raise their own cattle (they also market their beef in grocery stores here in California) and most of the produce used in their menu items is also grown by them or on farms in the area. They have a specialty foods store/butcher shop on the premises, so we came home with some choice rib eyes to grill on Father's Day. If you ever travel up or down I-5 in the central part of California, stop in for a meal--I don't think you'll be disappointed.

We arrived home around 5 p.m. and unpacked. After that? I cleaned house. Yep, the vacation's over! Seriously, the house desperately needed cleaning before we left, but I didn't think it would be a good idea with my sore shoulder, so I waited until our return. And really? I'm not sorry I did it tonight, because after sitting in a car for five or six hours, being physically active this evening was just what I needed.

I didn't cook dinner though--I'm not THAT good a housewife! No, instead we settled on Chinese takeout. Tomorrow, I need to sort out the good from the bad in the refrigerator, finalize my Father's Day menu plan, and do some grocery shopping.

Oh! And dream of the beach. After all, the hotel gave us a coupon good for $50 off our next stay. I'm thinking late September/early October might be nice . . . .

Friday, June 17, 2011

Live With Regis

Last night we had some rather noisy neighbors. We heard them check in and socialize in the room next to ours--it sounded like several women who had a couple rooms because someone said something about coming down to their room. After a bit, it got quiet and we enjoyed a peaceful evening. Until 3 a.m. when . . . well, I don't know if they had been out and just got back to their room or what. At that time, we also heard a man's voice, along with one woman who kept laughing and talking like it was the middle of the afternoon. A little later, there was another woman's voice. The party continued for about an hour or so, until around 4 a.m. when things settled down and we all went back to sleep.

This morning we got up and just before we left for breakfast, we turned on Live with Regis. Loud. (I should probably mention that our room is at the end of the building, so the only neighbors we have are the noisy ones.) Was that wrong?

I think they've gone, so we should get a good night's sleep tonight. Tomorrow we head home.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Bit of Quiet Time

We never did walk down the boardwalk last night. The sun and surf sure tires a body out, doesn't it? That and a full belly!

The coast has been chilly and overcast today. That's not to say I didn't spend an hour or two laying in the sand--I did. And it was nice and warm there, but once my body rose off the warm sand, it was chilly! And I just couldn't stay there any longer without risking a sunburn, even with SPF 2,000 lotion.

So Hubby and I are spending a bit of time in our room this afternoon, looking out at the beach and ocean. Well, actually Hubby's taking a little nap right now, so I thought I'd quietly write this post.

After breakfast this morning, we visited a few thrift/antique shops. I'd been looking for a sweatshirt to buy since we arrived here, but everything I had seen in the shops was (1) ugly, (2) too heavy, (3) a pull over (I like a front zip), and/or (4) cost an arm and a leg. I came across the perfect thing at Goodwill, and although I was hesitant to buy it since I don't have laundry facilities here, it smelled fresh and clean, so I took a chance. At least I have something to keep me warm, besides the slightly too dressy black sweater I brought on the trip. I sure don't know what I was thinking when I packed! I guess it had been so long since I've been IN the sand, that I forgot what it's like.

The best thing, though? I found an "antique" quilt! I've never bought one before, although I've looked. I just never found one in decent shape that appealed to me and at a reasonable price until now.

I say "antique" because I'm sure it's not 100 years old, but it's hard to date because it's a solid orange and a solid white--I think prints are easier to estimate. The blocks are Drunkard's Path blocks and they're set to form circles, so it looks like a bunch of large white polka dots on an orange background. There's a border of triangular shapes in orange and the edge is scalloped--and the orange in the border is a different fabric; it's a finer weave and has faded less than the orange in the blocks. Overall, it's a child size quilt of around 4' by 5', and it's hand quilted. No stains, tears, or spot-fading. I'll show you a photo when I can.

Tonight Hubby and I are dining at the Cracked Crab again--we ate there the first night. I'm anxious to try one of their crab dinners--I LOVE crab and I just can't go back home again without having me some crab legs. Some of the fishermen from one of the Deadliest Catch boats visited awhile back--I can't remember which boat. Do you ever watch the show? The restaurant serves all the types of crab they catch on the show--funny how the names are familiar now!

Well, it's just about time for me to freshen up for dinner, so you'll have to go; but I'll walk with you down to the lobby--I want to get a nice, hot cup of tea. Soon it will be time to wake Hubby for dinner. I'm glad we could visit!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oh, God, I Ate Too Much!

Do you ever find yourself thinking maybe bulimics may have a point? Okay, I know it's a bad, bad thing, and I wouldn't REALLY want to be bulimic, but wouldn't it maybe be a relief sometimes?

Hubby and I just got home from dinner. Bacon wrapped filet mignon. Onion rings. Salsa. Garlic bread. Skillet fried potatoes. BBQ beans. Oh, and a nice beer from a regional small brewing company. For just $1 more I got the 60 oz. glass. Okay, maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration but it was big. We had to pass on the dessert.

It's a good thing I don't have to worry about how I'll look in a bikini anymore.

Hubby and I started the day, waking up to the sound of the ocean, although it was very overcast--it's just that time of the year here. The hotel's continental breakfast was really excellent--waffles, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, and just about everything else you can think of except meat. We had decided to have a late breakfast and an early dinner. Between the two, there was a lot of relaxing, laying around on the sand, playing dominoes on the patio while looking at the beach and ocean, and rolling up and down the boardwalk. Hubby opted not to get the beach wheelchair because he found he was mobile enough without it and close to the ocean. At one point, I thought about taking a nap, but I found I couldn't sleep--there was just too much relaxing to do!

The day was not, however, quilt-free. Hubby and I took a quick drive to KMart for a few necessities (like a power cord so I could plug everything in that I needed for quilting), and on the way back to our hotel, we passed Quiltin' Cousins--and I had Hubby quickly pull over to the curb. Cute shop and yes, I found several thinks I really, really needed!

Later tonight, we're going to walk/roll down the boardwalk again. Hubby found a yogurt place that's open until 10 p.m. IF we have room for it. Tomorrow? More of the same. Life's tough, isn't it?

Having a lovely time. Wish you were here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I Need a Younger Man . . .

I'm writing from lovely Pismo Beach. Our hotel is FANTASTIC! We have a first floor room with a patio and we're about 15 feet from the sand. The hotel does a continental breakfast on the patio overlooking the beach. Life's tough, huh?

I wasn't sure we'd ever make it here though. Know why? Grandpa driving! Yes, Hubby drives like a grandpa--prematurely. We were heading south on I-5, and when everyone but the semis were passing us, I tried to nonchalantly lean over to look at the speedometer but Hubby caught me and asked what I was doing, so I told him I was wondering how fast we were going. 65 miles an hour. Exactly the speed limit. As Hubby said, "The Highway Patrol isn't going to supplement the state budget by giving us a speeding ticket!" ARGH!

Then we had to listen to Bob Seeger CDs. Hubby's a die hard old rock and roll fan. ARGH!

I don't understand when Hubby got so much older than me!

We had a terrific dinner at a place called the Cracked Crab--the best clam chowder I've had in a long, long time. We're planning to go back in a couple days.

Tomorrow, we'll hit the beach. Later!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Little Bit About Saturday

On Saturday morning, five of our stitchery group met up for a little quilt shop excursion. Sandy planned to drive in her Honda SUV--Sandy and one passenger in the front and three of us in the back. First stop? Peets Coffee just around the corner.

Sitting in the back, waiting for Sandy, thinking about my gimpy shoulder and feeling a little like a sardine, I considered the next ten hours. When Sandy got back to the car, I announced my decision to take a second car, so back around the block we drove. A very slow start to the day's trip! But a good decision, all in all. Three of us went in the SUV and two of us followed in my Maxima.

Our first shop was Sew Many Quilts in Tracy. Sew Many Quilts has a wonderful selection of all kinds of fabrics, including some of the "happy fabrics" I was hoping for. The owners were super friendly and helpful, demonstrating for us a few new notions and helping us with directions to our next stop.

The second stop of the day was in Livermore, at In Between Stitches. I think if you read some of the quilt blogs of Bay Area quilters, you've probably heard of In Between Stitches. And yes, they had lots and lots of the kinds of fabrics I was looking for. When I left, I had a big bag full of lovely fabrics and patterns. Then the five of us gals walked down the street to have lunch on the front patio of the First Street Ale House--YUM!

One we piled back in our cars, we were off to Danville to visit Wooden Gate Quilts, and then we finished our shopping excursion at Thimblecreek in Concord. Again, both shops had exactly the kinds of things I was hoping to find, and the people at both shops were the best! Oddly, perhaps, there were still a few lines I didn't see at any of the four shops--like Sweetwater and Bonnie and Camille--but I found some perfect Riley Blake fabric at Thimblecreek, some Holiday Happy at Wooden Gate, and MoMo and Lecien at In Between Stitches. And so much more than those lines, really! Those are just a few that I haven't seen here in Sacramento.

I wish I had my own computer so I could take photos and show you what I found, but I'm sure I will eventually.

My shoulder feels a little bit better today and I'm able to use it a little more. I know some of you mentioned hauling around the king size quilt to quilt and then bind, but the mystery is that I hadn't been doing any sewing or quilting at all since Tuesday. My friend Lisa and I were talking on the phone today about how sad it is when you get so old and out of shape that you can injure yourself just SLEEPING!

Hubby and I are off on vacation in the morning. We'll bring his laptop with us, but I'm not sure if I'll post to my blog--we'll just have to see how things go. If you don't hear from me, just know I'm relaxing on the sand with a good book, enjoying life. "See" you later!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Is There a Warranty For That?

Saturday morning I woke up and quickly realized something was wrong with my shoulder. I hope I just slept on it "wrong," because I don't think I've done anything lately that could have injured it--except typing maybe, but I don't think that would have suddenly caused it, do you?

So, once again, I can't finish the binding and quilting on my applique quilt--at least, I don't think I can, but I'll give the binding a try and see.

Despite shoulder issues today, I managed to power through the pain and weakness and had a wonderful, wonderful time with my stitchery/quilting pals on our little shop hop. After all, there ARE some things that are more important than pain, right? And guess what? I found happy stuff everywhere we went! But I'll have to tell you more about it later, because this shoulder thing is making it a little hard to type.

And doesn't it just figure that just as soon as my vacation STARTS, my body STOPS? It's just not right!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Five words you don't want to hear: "You need a new compressor."

Four words you DO want to hear: "It's still under warranty."

Seven words that make you want to cry: "The parts won't be here until Monday."

Yes, that's right, our air conditioning is out. It's been unusually cool here in Sacramento all spring, but we've finally hit temps over 80 degrees (which is still pretty mild for us in mid-June), and what happened? I got home from work Thursday night to find Hubby with all the doors and windows open and the temperature in the house, according to the thermostat, 79 degrees. See, Hubby LIKES heat. Hubby doesn't have hot flashes. Hubby doesn't have to BIND A KING SIZE QUILT. So he's just fine.

Me? Not so much. I NEED air conditioning and cooler temperatures. So I closed up the house, turned on the air conditioner, took as many clothes off as I decently could, and laid down on the bed, arms and legs spread out so nothin's touching nothin. And an hour later, when it still felt hot, I looked at the thermostat and it was 78 degrees. And I knew something was wrong. As they say, no flies on me! (Although by Sunday, there probably WILL be--literally)

So you know the rest. On Monday, we leave for nice, cool, coastal beach temperatures; until then, I'll be whining for all I'm worth. And startling my family with my new-found nudist lifestyle.

Friday, June 10, 2011


I suspect this post isn’t at all what you thought it was from the title, but we’ll see. I was driving to work this morning, thinking about heading out to the quilt shop today, and I started thinking about my mental “wish list” for fabrics.

Remember those fabrics I posted awhile back? The ones many of us were drooling over in anticipation of their release in the next couple months? Yep, those.

Okay, so I was thinking about those fabrics–or fabrics of that type, which I kind of lump together in my little ole brain as “happy fabrics”–and it occurred to me that my local shops just don’t usually carry those lines. And it’s kind of frustrating!

I should mention that when I talk about my “local shops,” I’m pretty much just referring to TWO–the two that are most convenient to my work and home, the new Fabric Garden and the older Quilters’ Corner. But I could just as easily be talking about the now-closed Bearpaws & Hollyhocks. (I don’t want my readers to think there are only two shops in the area, though–there are others, but they’re not as close or as convenient for me.)

All of my local shops are heavy on the 1800s/Civil War fabrics. And while I do enjoy a bit of Civil War action from time to time, I use it mostly in small quilts, so I don’t use a lot of it. The two shelves I have in the Sweat Shop are probably enough to last me until the NEXT civil war.

My local shops DO carry other new lines, but they seem kind of unmemorable to me. No Sweetwater. No Bonnie and Camille. No Monica Happy Zombie. So I order those kinds of fabric on line, but I’d sure rather buy them locally. At least I’m lucky enough to have one shop that carries Quilt Soup fabrics, but they tuck them away in the back room (much like racy books and magazines sold in brown paper wrappers, maybe?!).

I wonder if my tastes are just different from other quilters in my area? How about where you live? Does your local shop carry the brighter, happier fabrics? Inquiring minds need to know these things . . . .

Thursday, June 9, 2011

All Work, and Not Nearly Enough Play . . .

means I don't have much to write about. My monthly Thimbleberries Club meeting was this evening, and I think everyone was just as shocked as I was that I had nothing to show! Yes, I'm still plugging along on quilting the Thimbleberries basket applique quilt. I thought I might get it done by tonight, but as I was debating with myself the up side of giving up a couple hours sleep last night to finish the binding, I realized I still hadn't gone back and quilted the pieced floral border. ARGH! So I went to bed.

After Thimbleberries Club tonight, I came back to work. Too much work, right? But tomorrow night our computer network is going down for maintenance, and I'll lose about an hour of work; then there's Friday, and I didn't want to stay half the night getting things done before I left for vacation. So here I am. Literally, here I am: at work!

But it's almost time to leave. Enough is enough!

Hey, but you know what I'm thinking? I'm thinking that if the computers are going down tomorrow night at 5 p.m., it might be a really good opportunity to head over to the new quilt shop, the Fabric Garden! I've told Gran that I thought I would make a shop sample for them while I'm on vacation, and I think I need a piece or two of fabric. Because, really, who doesn't?

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Glad to Hear . . .

you're not bored yet! Give it time. One of the boring things is that I'm not going to be able to upload my photos to show you what I'm up to.

But I do have stuff you can watch. Last Saturday night, Soccer Son told Hubby and I that he was going to be on a local Sunday morning "news" show, Good Day Sacramento. Of course, I got up to watch--Moms are expected to do that kind of thing, aren't they? Dads, though (and sisters!) tend to value sleep over watching family members on TV.

Through the magic of technology, it's possible to both SLEEP in and WATCH. Or watch several days later from afar. Here's the video in case you're interested (click on the "full screen" icon so you can actually SEE it):

The guy in the soccer clothes who's doing all the talking--that's Soccer Son. He's the coach, trainer, chief cook, and bottle washer of the team. The promo is in recognition of the fact that the Scorpions indoor soccer team has their opening game this next Saturday. I was lucky enough to win a ticket as a result of a lucky guess on their Facebook "guess the next soccer game score" contest during pre-season play, but I'm going to be off on a little quilt shop hop with my stitchery gals, so Hubby will get the benefit of my win.

Good thing watching the game won't interfere with Hubby's sleep, don't you think?!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I'm Sorry . . .

if I'm a bit boring while I'm without a computer. Please feel free to take a little vacation from my blog if you're at risk of being bored to death. It should only be a couple weeks before I get a replacement; after that, I guess I won't be able to blame your boredom on my lack of a piece of equipment, right?

I've been typing on Hubby's laptop when necessary, but I hate that thing! In the middle of an email, I'll find that the cursor has jumped somewhere unexpected and is inserting text where it doesn't belong. Seriously, I'm slow enough at typing on a laptop keyboard without having to also chase around a rogue cursor and correct its wayward ramblings.

And if you get multiple emails from me? Same thing. When I click on "send," the laptop will let me know it's "loading" but then nothing. It never tells me it sent the email. To find out, I have to open another mail page and check my sent folder. The other night, I wrote the post about my computer woes and told it to publish, but all it did was save the post in draft. Mouse clicking on "publish" does nothing. I have to click on it and then hit enter.

Well, at least I know now that I don't want a laptop. I was thinking about it for awhile.

On another subject, I wanted to thank Dawn, who left a couple comments on my post about our beach vacation. Dawn told me about beach wheel chairs and gave me a link to where we can get a beach wheel chair at Pismo Beach. I can't tell you how much that will change our vacation plans. I don't know what exactly the Pismo Beach wheel chairs look like, but I did an image search and generally most seem to look similar to this:

And now that I know we can get Hubby down onto the SAND, I've asked him to buy, borrow, or steal (shhh! Don't tell his big brother, the sheriff!) a beach umbrella, and I'm dreaming about kicking back and reading novels, drinking cocktails smuggled onto the beach, and taking naps under the umbrella.

Unfortunately, Dawn's "no-reply," so I can't write back to her, but I think this idea is great for other readers of my blog, so I'm happy to thank her publicly and share her find. I understand they have these available at many beach vacation spots.

I'm writing to you from work--where I have a computer that does what I tell it to do--and it's time to head home, so I'll set this to post a bit later. Thanks for checking in on me.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Vacation Paradise

Because so many of you asked about our vacation choice, I thought I'd tell you a little bit more.

The hotel is the Sandcastle Inn in Pismo Beach. We've stayed in the area a few times before, and we really enjoy it. Pismo is close to San Luis Obispo, the town where CalPoly is located, and they have a great Thursday night street market that we'll surely attend again. Hearst's Castle isn't too far away, and Pismo is within easy driving distance from both Monterey/Carmel and Santa Barbara.

Both of my kids have vacationed in the area--for two years for Christmas, we've given them gift certificates to a quirky motel in nearby Cayucos. They've enjoyed riding bicycles while wine tasting, and there's a great place that has natural hot springs.

When we've stayed in Pismo in the past, though, we haven't been right on the beach the way we will be this time, and I'm thrilled I'll have a chance to just walk outside our hotel and be right on the beach.

And yes, I'll be sure to let you know how the hotel lives up to its promise. One more week of work and then vacation! I can hardly wait.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Computer Woes

We had a great time at the Wedding of the Century, despite the rain. The bride was beautiful, and her gown was gorgeous! Remember the attorney I work with who is in a band? Well the band played, the food and wine were excellent, and the guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

I took several photos I wanted to share, but unfortunately, my computer seems to have died--I think it's the fan. I'm posting from Hubby's laptop, but the thing drives me nuts!

We recently got new computers at work, and we were given the opportunity to purchase our old ones, which I elected to do, because I knew my computer wasn't likely to last. It will be a week or two before I get that computer, though, so I'll post when I can from whatever computers are available to me.

Please be patient with me, and thanks for checking in!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Found It!

After I wrote last night, I decided to try looking for a vacation spot one last time, and I got lucky and found the perfect thing! Unfortunately, by THAT time, Hubby was sound asleep, so I had to wait for him to wake up this morning to discuss it. And he liked it too. Of course, what's not to like?

One of the challenges in going away on vacation is the fact that Hubby's in a wheelchair--and I'm not. Sometimes the things I'd like to do are things he just CAN'T do--like walk on the beach. That's why I liked this place. See that board walk there in the photo above? It looks perfect for a wheelchair, so he can sit and enjoy the view, and I can go down on the sand and take a walk.

This is what our room will look like--or close to it. A king bed with a balcony overlooking the ocean. And see that small table there near the sliding door? I'm definitely bringing my sewing stuff, so I can sit and sew in the evenings while Hubby watches TV. When we last went away, that was the only time I found I was kind of bored with not enough to do. And it's always hard for me to settle down with a book while Hubby's watching TV, so I think this will work nicely!

The room we booked is one of those on the second floor. I wonder which one it is? They have continental breakfasts and mini fridges in each room, so we can hang out on our balcony, enjoying breakfasts and lunches if we aren't out sightseeing. Four night and five days of sand and sea.

The cost was a little higher than we had budgeted, but not by too much. And we think it will be worth it.

I'm writing this on Friday afternoon; we'll be leaving for the Wedding of the Century in a couple hours. Here we are, into the month of June, and rain is expected this afternoon and evening. I'm sorry that the weather isn't nicer for this wedding, but I know it will be a happy occasion anyway. I hope this crazy weather clears up by the time we head to the beach in a couple weeks. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

Friday, June 3, 2011

I Lied

After telling you I was going to go to bed early and read last night, what did I do instead? Really, I could have just kicked myself at having wasted my time! I stayed right here on the computer, looking at vacation "stuff"!

I'm taking a week off work in a couple weeks, and originally I just planned to relax around the house and do a little quilting. After all, the last "vacation" I took was spent re-doing the bathroom--remember? I started thinking, though, that maybe it wasn't very fair to Hubby, who IS HOME ALL THE TIME. Maybe he deserved a little vacation too. So I thought I'd compromise and tell Hubby I'd love to go away to the beach for about four days, as long as he'd make the arrangements and we could stay within a reasonable budget.

So here it is, a couple weeks later, and Hubby hasn't found anything reasonable. You'd think with the economy in the shape it is, hotels and motels might have better rates, but it seems everything has gone up. And up.

But I thought if I looked, maybe I'd find something he'd missed. (Because really, just between you and me, he's not all that experienced at surfing the web yet.)

Anyway, after spending a couple hours on the internet, mostly on the Trip Advisor site, I didn't find much either. At this point, I think maybe we should either just bite the bullet and pay an outrageous amount of money to go away to the beach for a few days, or we should postpone our vacation until late September, when I'll probably be off work again--which will give us more time to plan and rates might be a little lower.

ARGH! I think I'm just going to go to bed and read. Thanks, by the way, for telling me what you're reading. I've checked out some of your books and ordered a couple. Now I'll have something to read on vacation--whether I spend it here at home, or manage to get away some place!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Early to Bed

First day of June, and here in Sacramento we have cool temps, rain, thunder and lightening, and tornado warnings. There's not much on television. It sure seems like an excellent time to go to bed early with a good book.

What are you reading?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Wedding of the Century

The other day, I mentioned the Wedding of the Century and said I'd tell you more about it in another post. This is the other post.

My boss--the woman I've been working for since I returned to work after carpal tunnel surgery in August--became engaged last fall to a man she'd been dating long distance for a couple years. (Her husband-to-be is contracted to a company and is based in China until this coming October.) The wedding is this Friday. Hubby and I are invited. It's an evening wedding and it's kind of fancy.

I've been prodding Hubby for the last 25 years or so to buy a suit. Although his opportunities to wear one are limited, there have always been one or two occasions a year when a suit would have been appropriate--and he has always put off getting one. FINALLY, finally he's broken down and bought a suit!

Me, on the other hand . . . well, I've usually had at least one or two dressier outfits tucked away in my closet, but since we rarely go out, for the last few years I've made do with dressing up my "work clothes" with jewelry and accessories when the need has arisen. But for this occasion, I needed to find something to wear that was a little bit dressier than my work clothes.

I really hate shopping and I kept putting it off. I finally went looking last week and ended up finding an outfit I like well enough. Tonight I went looking for shoes and found a pair. So now Hubby and I are just about ready.

For Mother's Day, the Wild Child gave me a gift certificate to the place I like to go for pedicures, and tomorrow she's going to meet me at my office at lunch time, and we're going to get some pampered feet and some cute toes.

The wedding and reception will be held at a winery in the Napa area. I've copied a couple photos off their website so you can see what it will look like. The first photo is the where the outdoor weddings are held.

And this second photo shows the barrel room where receptions are held.

I'm sure it will be a beautiful wedding. My boss, her mother, and her sister and friends have all been working on the planning since she became engaged. In addition to the wedding, there's a rehersal dinner on Thursday that all the guest have been invited to. It's unusual, I think, but the thought behind having such a large event the day before the wedding was that there were going to be a lot of guests traveling from out of state, so the bride and groom decided to make it a multi-day event. In fact, I understand they are also hosting a breakfast the day after the wedding for the out-of-town guests.

Hubby and I aren't staying for the whole thing--we'll just go for the wedding, since it's only about an hour and a half drive each way. But I know we'll have fun. And I may not post here on Friday night because we'll probably get home pretty late. But I'm sure you understand--after all, it IS the wedding of the century!