Sunday, July 31, 2011

George--Le Petite Project for July

Saturday was my only real "play day" this week. I started the morning by doing a little more quilting on the Ghastlies (more instructions to follow soon for those of you waiting). Around noon, the Wild Child and I went to a matinee showing of Bridesmaids--have you seen it? Pretty funny at times! A late lunch was enjoyed at California Pizza Kitchen, just before the Wild Child and I went our separate ways--she had to go to work and I stopped by the Fabric Garden quilt shop on my way home.

At the Fabric Garden, Gran tempted me with a new magazine--Primitive Quilts and Projects. Have you seen it yet? It's a quarterly publication that began with Summer; Gran forced me to buy the Fall issue. (She might claim she didn't FORCE me, but she knows exactly what it takes to make me buy!)

Back home again, I worked on cleaning up the Sweat Shop and tried to take care of a couple little projects--one of which was to change out the half square triangle corners on George:

You might remember that I had used a red fabric, and then when I added the red stripe border, the red was too much. And, yes, changing out these pieces with the mitered border wasn't easy, but I'm happy I did it--it looks much better to me.

Well, it's back to work tomorrow--literally. I'll write when I can, and yes, I'll make sure to let everyone know how my son's surgery goes on Monday. Thanks for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Scraps Anyone?

Today I did a little cleaning up in the Sweat Shop, tidying away the leftovers from past projects, and I realize I have more scraps than will fit in my two scrap drawers. If you love scraps, live in the U.S., and are interested in giving some of my leftovers a good home, leave a comment saying you want to be entered. I'll draw a winner Monday night and announce the winner on my Tuesday post.


Friday, July 29, 2011

So Busy I'm Boring

I'm just checking in to let you know I'm okay, but life is triple-hectic right now, and I don't even have time to figure out what "triple-hectic" really means--but it feels about right.

Today (Friday) was supposed to be my boss's last day before she leaves for a three-month leave of absence to live in China with her new husband, and we're trying to get a LOT done so all of her cases can be handled by other people in her absence. Last night I worked late and ran errands after that--I didn't even get home until 10:15 and then I had to put groceries away. When the time came to write a blog post, I had nothing to say and was too tired to say even that!

Tonight I was at work until after 8:30 and now I've taken a break in my housecleaning to say "hi."

And my boss isn't leaving just yet--her travel plans were delayed several days, so she'll be around off and on next week while she continues to get things done, and in the meantime, I've been assigned to work the desk of another secretary who is going to be out all of August. So there's double-hectic right there, working for my boss who's supposed to be gone and another attorney as well. Sheesh!

And I'm working several hours on Sunday.

I wish I could write a blog about all the fun things I'm doing and the creative ideas I've come up with, but I don't think I've even opened the door to the Sweat Shop for two days now. Maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, if I don't get a chance to post, you'll know I've chosen to sleep instead.

Please go ahead, though, and have a truly excellent weekend. Somebody has to, even if it's not looking very promising for poor old me.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Toes Are Still Ugly, Darn It!

Thank you all for the prayers and good wishes for Soccer Son. His surgery will take place at a hospital that's about two and a half hours away from us, and I've debated with myself whether to go or stay put. I keep coming back to the decision to stay home, but I could still change my mind. His Lovely Wife to be Someday will be with him, and her mom will be with HER, and they'll all be traveling there the day before and traveling back the day after. Soccer Son and I have talked about it a couple times, and his feeling is that I should do whatever I think would be best for me; he tends to draw within himself and focus a bit in times of stress, and I get the impression from him that he's happy with as little fuss as possible. So . . . . Well, right now I think I'm going to go to work as usual on Monday and just wait to get the phone call letting me know surgery is over and everything went well. It's hard though, and it's only likely to get harder until I get that call on Monday afternoon. And we all know that a week from now I'll wonder why I worried, right?

Today Soccer Son and I planned to meet up at the nail place, and I suggested I pick up sandwiches for us on my way there. When I arrived about ten minutes before he did, I found the salon jam packed with 20-something women, all getting their toes and fingers done. I've never seen more than two or three customers in the shop at that time of day, so I'm pretty sure it was a bachelorette/wedding party thing. I quickly realized there was no way Soccer Son and I would get pedicures today.

When Soccer Son pulled up in his truck and I gave him the disappointing news, we quickly decided to go to a nearby park and have a little picnic lunch instead. After all, I already had our sandwiches and drinks. And, as it turned out, we had a really nice time, eating and talking. Better, maybe, than getting pedicures, even if I don't have cute toes and soft heels to show for it!

The funny thing is that yesterday evening, the Wild Child asked me if I wanted to meet her for a pedicure on Friday and I had to turn her down. Now, though, I think I see that pedicure in my future after all. And a chance to have a little quality salon time with the Wild Child, who will be leaving on Tuesday to spend two weeks in New York. This time, though, I think we'll call ahead and make our pedicure appointments.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Soccer Son

As I mentioned before, one of the things I did on my birthday was to go watch Soccer Son's last regular season indoor soccer game. During the game, he scored a rather showy bicycle kick goal. Here's a photo I took of him not long after the game.

Soccer Son is an excellent soccer player. He coaches Sacramento's semi-pro adult men's team, and they're in first place in their league--the league championship games take place this weekend, and I suspect Hubby and I will go watch them play. Besides playing on this team and an outdoor soccer team, he coaches a boy's competitive team (under 10 age group, I think) and a girl's competitive team (under 11 age group, if I recall correctly). He's also in demand for private and group training sessions.

Soccer Son called me at work today. Remember I told you he'd found a vintage wrought iron chair for me for my birthday? I finally took a photo to show you:

Cool, eh? Well, when he called, he said he'd found a second one that he's pretty sure matches this one, so he'll refinish both of them for me.

The other thing he called about was to tell me he was thinking about getting a spa pedicure tomorrow and wondered whether I wanted to get one too. You might recall that for his 30th birthday in February, I took him to get his first pedicure, and apparently he liked it!

I wondered why, in particular, he wanted to get a pedicure now, and it turns out it's mainly because he wants his legs and feet massaged and pampered in preparation for the soccer tournament this weekend. Sure, that makes sense. But aside from that, I'm glad to have a chance to sit with him and talk for awhile while we get our pedicures. It's not often we have that kind of time to spend together without one of us having to run off and do something.

A few months back, Soccer Son had a bit of a health scare. Because he didn't have a job with medical benefits, he had no health coverage. The thought of having to pay medical expenses out of his pocket as well as the fact that he had just turned 30 finally gave him the incentive he needed to obtain private medical insurance. The health scare turned out to be nothing--simply a cyst, which is what he had suspected. But right around that time, he noticed that every now and then, his heart would beat irregularly, so he thought he'd have it checked out.

After several tests, he was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia. He was told the condition could be controlled with medication, but the medication would limit his ability to participate in sports--as you can imagine, that just wasn't an option for him. So on Monday, he'll have a cardiac ablation which should cure the defect, and given his age and health, it's a reasonably safe alternative. This is one of those heart procedures that can be done by going up to the heart through a vein, so recovery should be pretty quick. In fact, the whole procedure is done on an outpatient basis, and Soccer Son should be back playing soccer again in about a week.

But, of course, it still worries me. I'm a mom--that's my job. So tomorrow I'll go have a pedicure with my son, and we'll enjoy spending time together. And I'll try not to worry too much.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Still Celebrating

(From left to right: Prickly Pear Margarita, Standard Margarita, and Strawberry Margarita.)

A couple of my office friends and I hit Chevy's for lunch about once a week--we have a thing for the chips and salsa. We don't have margaritas very often, especially not on Mondays, but hey! It was (close enough to) my birthday!

For my birthday, my friends gave me a basket filled with chips-and-salsa themed goodies including a Chevy's gift card. I'm thinkin' "Margarita Mondays" might be a new thing, just like chips and salsa.

Party on, Wayne. Party on, Garth. Party on, Sancho.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Really Good Weekend

We went to see the Q-Balls perform tonight and one of my friends from work asked what I'd done yesterday (Saturday). I think I said something like, "Uh, I'm not sure." Thinking over the weekend, I realize I've been busy all weekend but it hasn't been what I expected at all!

At the beginning of the weekend, I thought I was going to have a lot of time to sew, but it just didn't happen. I think I probably spent a cumulative total of about two hours in the Sweat Shop all weekend! So what did I do?

Well, Saturday was my birthday, so I figured I'd do whatever I wanted, and that started with sleeping in followed by running a couple errands. First I went to JoAnn's for some zippers and bought myself a couple little things--just because. Then I went to Starbucks and had a free birthday drink--a Venti Java Chip Frappucino that I enjoyed while reading a book--it was a nice break from running errands in the summer heat. Then I went on to Trader Joe's to pick up a few things for our Sunday concert/picnic in the park, and on the way back home, I stopped at Pollo Loco for a grilled chicken to add to the picnic menu. Once I got home, I made a couple salads for Sunday. Heck, I'd barely finished that before it was time to leave again to go to dinner and then watch my son's final regular season indoor soccer game--where he made a bicycle kick goal for ME! Yay! And they won! Double-yay!

Back home again, it was time for birthday cake with Hubby and the Wild Child and opening gifts from my far-away friends whose gifts had arrived by mail last week.

And today? Again, I started the day being rather lazy. Then I made the last salad and prepped the rest of the food for our picnic. Gran called after church and came over with a gift, and we had a nice visit for a couple hours before it was time to get ready to leave for the concert.

We had an excellent time! There were friends from the office, stitchery friends, family, and just plain friend-friends, all gathered to watch, listen, and dance. The weather was lovely--we were shaded by large trees with a nice, steady breeze. The music couldn't have been better (except for a couple early glitches in the sound system), and our picnic was fabulous. My stitchery friends thought I was genius to invite different groups of people to the concert and then go around collecting gifts from everyone. And yep, I thought that was pretty awesome too! After the concert, our family and close friends went to a local ice cream parlor to round out the birthday celebrations, where the obligatory birthday song was performed and I managed to blow out the candle without lighting my eyebrows on fire. (I guess I'm not QUITE old enough yet to have grown Andy Rooney eyebrows!)

When we got home, I found Soccer Son had brought over the beginnings of my birthday gift--a vintage/antique wrought iron chair that he plans to sand down, repair, and repaint for me. I'd like to get a photo of it to show you, but he had placed it on our front patio, and by the time we got home, it was dark and I didn't think the photo would turn out as well. But I'll try to post a photo soon.

And did I mention? The Wild Child was in charge of the birthday cake and she picked out a luscious chocolate mousse cake at my favorite bakery on Friday. She then had to keep it refrigerated at her work and had to do the same thing when she took it with her to Soccer Son's house after work. And the cake survived in fine shape too!

And just so you know he's not a slacker, I should tell you that Hubby bought me several fat quarter bundles (they were bundled by color groupings) of Annie's Farm Stand fabric by Lakehouse. (He didn't know he was buying the fabric for me at the time, but I complimented him for having such excellent taste after I ordered it.)

I'm a very lucky gal to have such fine family and friends, aren't I? They sure made my weekend terrific!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

And Another One Bites the Dust . . .

I was saddened, but not surprised, when I logged onto the internet this morning and learned that Amy Winehouse had been found dead. The cause of her death is not officially known as yet, but most believe she died as a result of her addiction to alcohol and drugs.

27 years old. The same age as my daughter, The Wild Child--that kind of makes it hit home for me. What an absolute waste of tremendous talent and promise.

I WAS surprised, though, to learn that the most famous dead rockers all died at age 27: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain. And, of course, all of their deaths were linked to alcohol and drugs.

It's hard for me to understand the attraction to drugs and alcohol. Why would a person choose to live a chaotic and totally ungrounded life with such unpleasant immediate side effects, even at the best of times? I don't get it. But that's me. And the fact that I don't understand is probably exactly the reason I've never gotten caught up in drugs and alcohol. Because I DO have an addictive personality.

It's been just over two years since I quit smoking--for the second time. Food, fabric, books--I tend to "collect" more than I really need. Addictions? Maybe not, but I'm sure it's some kind of compulsive behavior.

How about you? What's your "addiction"?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It Won't Be Too Long Now . . .

I want to thank everyone who voted and/or commented to help me pick a border for the George quilt. Most of you advised me to go with the red, and I did. I thought the yellow would have worked better for directing the attention to the center of the quilt, but I think those of you who mentioned scale were probably right. I think the width of the stripes on that one were just too large.

I also liked the suggestions to use the yellow for the binding, but I couldn't bear to cut into that yellow stripe just for binding, especially since I like to use bias binding. I found another yellow in my stash and I've pinned it to the design wall--I'm not sure there's enough there, but I'll figure it out when I get close to binding it.

Looking at this photo, though, makes me think those larger red half square triangles should be a different color. Maybe yellow. Do I want to mess with the mitered corners of the borders to take those out? Well, I'll have to give it some thought, that's for sure!

I took a photo of the Ghastlies when I was pinning it last night. I should be able to put together the pattern directions in the next several days--maybe sooner, but no promises.

I know there are several of you who have purchased fabric and are patiently waiting. If you feel you are a reasonably competent quilter and want to get a head start, I can give you a few directions. I'll repeat this part later when I have the whole thing written, so if you're not ready to start yet, don't worry--just wait a little longer.

To get started on this, first decide if you want it as large as mine--which is a good size for a double or queen size bed, I think. My size uses 13 fussy cut Ghastlies "portraits" for the center and 4 more for the corners. Making a quilt that's not as wide but just as long would likely fit a twin bed. For that size, you'd need 8 fussy cut Ghastlies for the center and 4 more for the corners. A smaller wallhanging might use 5 Ghastlies for the center and 4 for the corners. (In deciding how large you want to make yours, be aware that each block in the center is 12" finished and each border is 12" finished, so my quilt is 7' square. The next smaller size would be 5' wide and 7' long. And a wallhanging (or tabletopper) would be 5' square.)

Next, you'll want to fussy cut your Ghastlies to whatever size makes sense given each image. Some images are large and some are not. I find a good way to decide what size to cut a particular image is to use a large, square, clear ruler and place it over the image to check before cutting. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Remember to leave at least 1/4" around the image for the seam allowance.

If possible, cut these to the half inch measure. In other words, try not to fussy cut an image that measures 5-7/8" x 7-1/4"; instead cut it 6" x 7-1/2". It's not a terrible thing to not stick to the half inch measures, but it will make it a little harder to do the math later when we add more fabric to the blocks to make them all the same size.

Do not cut any blocks larger than 10-1/2" in width or height, and try, if possible, to cut them no larger than 9-1/2". Don't cut off feet or hats to keep them under 9-1/2", but don't leave a lot of background in either if your measurement would otherwise exceed 9-1/2". (Leaving background for the smaller images is just fine.)

Finally, for this part, cut strips of fabric (mine is the black with white polka dots) 1-1/2" wide to sew around the fussy cut Ghastlies. This will make the "frame" for each image. To figure out how long to cut these pieces, measure the longest length of the block. For instance, if your cut measurement is 5-1/2" x 8", the longest length is 8". Cut two strips 8" long. Now add 2" to the shorter length. For 5-1/2", that would be 7-1/2". Cut two strips at 7-1/2".

Next, sew the first set of strips you cut to the longer edges and press (seam allowance to the darker fabric). Then sew the next two strips to the remaining sides.

Once your Ghastlies are cut out and framed, you can stop and wait for the next step.

Let me know if you have any questions or if something doesn't work out right. Be forewarned that the early birds among you are "testing" these directions for the others, and that's why I suggest you should be reasonable competent to take this on now. Please try out a block before you cut for ALL the blocks, just to make sure my calculations and directions are clear. And thanks for playing with me and the Ghastlies!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Are You Hot?

I've been watching the news the past several days and of course I've seen how awfully HOT it is all across the United States. Although it's not any hotter here than it is every summer (so far!), it's not cool either. Of course, we're used to the heat and better equipped to deal with it since just about everyone in Sacramento has air conditioning in their homes and cars. Many are lucky enough to have built in swimming pools too. We don't--I sure wish we did sometimes!

I was reminded again this evening of just how hot it is when I set up my quilt pinning tables in the garage to pin The Ghastlies. Yes, I'm still pinning the way I always have--but only because I haven't had a chance to buy any spray baste (or, more accurately, haven't been THINKING about buying spray baste when I've been in a quilt shop) and I have a hard time finding a place to set up very quickly to try the heavy starch and iron method. So maybe next time. In the meantime, it was the garage and tables for me tonight.

At 9 p.m., I think it was still about 80 degrees outside and probably 5 to 10 degrees hotter in the garage. Even with two fans blowing on me (Hubby kindly set them up) it was a bit uncomfortable, although it cooled some over the next couple hours. I hate being hot! But, three hours later, the Ghastlies is pinned. Yay!

It's supposed to stay hot here for the next five days, which is a bit disappointing because Hubby and I--and many people we know--will be going to an outdoor concert in a local park on Sunday evening. Remember the attorney I work with who is in a band? Ted? Yep, the band is playing, and it should be fun. We'll bring some picnic food and sit and enjoy the music. And sweat. Because it's going to be in the high 90s this weekend and the concert starts at 6 p.m.

I think I need to get one of those water spray bottles that has a portable fan attached. Do you know what I'm talking about? Do you know of any stores that sell them?

How are you coping with the heat? Do you have any tips to share?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On Our Way Home . . .

Remember the Beatles song The Two of Us?

Two of us riding nowhere
Spending someone's
Hard earned pay
You and me Sunday Friday driving
Not arriving
On our way back home
We're on our way home
We're on our way home
We're going home

Well, this story is sort of like that!

Coming home from Reno, we opted to take a couple back road highways that would eventually lead us to the OTHER side of Sacramento so we could stop and visit a friend in Folsom who had surgery a couple days before. Luckily the route took us right by one of my favorite Nevada quilt shops, The Quilt House! (Isn't it funny how that worked out?!)

I don't know why I didn't take a photo of the outside of the shop, but it's in a small shopping strip right on Highway 395 in Gardnerville. If you're ever anywhere near Lake Tahoe or Reno, plan to stop by the shop--it's well worth whatever detour you make to include it in your travels.

From the outside, the building doesn't look tall, but inside, the ceilings soar and the space is somewhat industrial looking, although it doesn't feel that way. One of the particular geniuses of the owners is their ability to display the shop's wares in warm, fun, and imaginative ways. The high ceilings also give them plenty of space to showcase quilts high up on the walls. The Quilt House is pretty well known in the quilting community for always having several interesting quilt kits in stock at any given time, and Lake Tahoe quilt retreaters often make a mid-week run to The Quilt House to add a kit to their week's projects.

Take a look at this photo:

Once you mentally remove the fabric, what do you see? Hubby was amazed to realize there was a HUGE sled in the shop! The story is that the sled originally belonged to the grandfather of one of the owners and was brought from the family's Minnesota farm. Wonderful, isn't it?

The part of the Beatles song that talks about spending someone's hard earned pay? Well, I'm afraid on this trip, it was my own hard earned pay I spent! I really loved the raw edged rose applique quilt you can see in the center of the wall below, and they had kits in several fabric lines. In fact, I carried one of those kits around the shop with me for quite awhile before convincing myself I had plenty of stash fabric at home I could use instead.

I actually did okay as far as restraining myself went--considering, of course, how much temptation surrounded me. I ended up checking out with a few patterns and notions and a couple pieces of fabric, and the grand total was under $100. [And, by the way, the shop owner assured me they don't announce the purchase total in front of spouses--YES!]

As I was carrying my purchases toward the door, I asked Hubby whether any of the many quilts on display particularly appealed to him. The funny thing was, he led me to a separate room and pointed out a quilt hanging on the wall. And can you believe it was the same pattern I'd been seriously considering buying when my stitchery friends and I went on our last little shop hop? Kismet, right? That's what I thought too! So while Hubby took my purchases out to the car, I grabbed the other quilt pattern and headed back to the register. On the way there, I found another pattern I'd missed the first time. Isn't that always the way it goes? And then, while I was standing in line, the quilter in front of me was buying the very same raw edge rose applique quilt I'd been coveting. BUT I didn't buy it. Nope! Since I'd already decided to be strong and resist, I gave in and bought the OTHER kit she was buying. Can I help it if the lady had good taste?

Totally HER fault, right? At least that's what I told Hubby. And although The Quilt House cost me a lot more money in the end than the casino did, I ended up with a lot more to show for the time I spent there!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hello Reno!

I've finally downloaded my photos from last week's little trip and gathered up a few to share. You may remember I mentioned purchasing an overnight stay at the Nugget through Living Social. For $50 we had a pretty nice room (even if it was kind of bland in coloring and faced toward the freeway) and we received $15 of that back in food credits. Here's a picture of part of our room.

There was a big flat screen TV (although we weren't in our room to watch it much) and desk, and the bathroom was spacious too. Isn't that a weird looking light fixture hanging over the table though? I kept thinking someone had made it with bits and pieces leftover from other projects that didn't really go together.

We arrived in our room around 3 p.m. or so and unpacked our things. Then we headed down to the John's Oyster Bar for the Pan Roast I was looking forward to. (Pan Roast is basically a rich seafood soup.)

On Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., there's a weekly farmer's market in the square right outside the hotel, so that's where we headed to walk off a little of our meal afterward. As you can see, the day was beautiful. That's the Nugget in the background.

In talking with some of the farmers, we found many of them had come from the farm areas not far outside Sacramento! We couldn't really buy too much because we didn't have any refrigeration, but we purchased a few goodies. The dried flowers will last a long time, as will the handmade soaps in the lower right hand corner.

We actually ate those artichokes for dinner tonight! Yum!

The fifth floor of the Nugget boasts an indoor swimming pool. I had to check it out while Hubby went down to explore the casino a bit.

They also have an exercise room and a salon/spa on the fifth floor. Maybe next time we'll need to arrange for massages and a little pool time.

We had tickets to see Dana Carvey, and although I took a few photos, he came out kind of blurry in all of them. One of the photos I took before the show came out okay, so you can at least see what the room was like.

Our seats were great. We sat at a long bar/table that faced the stage and we could see and hear everything.

While we were at the Nugget, there was a convention for the blind going on--apparently a national association and a state association were holding conferences. It amazed us a bit, I think, to see how well the blind were able to negotiate their way around the casino--they seemed completely fearless and self-assured. Some had service dogs with them. Hubby, in his excursion to the casino while I was checking out the pool, noticed a Black Jack table had been set up for a group of blind players, and several of them had dogs sprawled out on the floor close by, sleeping while their people played cards. All those sleeping dogs were kind of a funny sight! The only difficulty we had was in the fact that Hubby's wheelchair isn't quickly maneuverable, so now and then he'd be unable to get out of the way of someone, or he'd be run into from behind when he was parked, although no one was ever injured in these small collisions.

The last time I visited a casino, there were people playing the slots and holding onto coin-filled cups; now it's virtually coinless. We signed up for the casino's club, and we were each issued a magnetic card we could use to load funds onto for play and then later cash out. The other slight surprise was how many different slot machine games they have now and how difficult it is to figure out how to play some of them! The one thing that remained the same though? I still can't seem to win anything in a casino! I used to enjoy playing craps, but this time, playing a slot machine for an hour or so was the most excitement I could stand.

It was nice to get away to Reno for a day or so, but we were happy to get home again too. Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Let Me Ask You This . . .

Okay, I'm back and I brought a new poll with me.

I need some advice on which border fabric looks best with this month's Le Petite project, George (a Schnibbles pattern). Here's what George looks like so far (I haven't sewn the outer teal border yet, but it's in place, so I think you can see what it will look like):

Now that's as far as the pattern goes, but I think I want to add a final border. I've searched through my stash and selected two possibilities. First is a red stripe:

Second is a yellow stripe:

I should mention that the border yellow looks deeper than it does in person--it actually looks like just about the same shade as is in the center of the quilt. And you should also know that there are two blues in the center fabric--a teal blue and a medium/light blue. There's also a red and a deep, hot pink. It's kind of a different combination of colors, but I think they work well together.

I know it's kind of hard to decide between the two fabrics based on the separate photos, so here are both possibilities with the center of the quilt top, all in the same photo, so you might be able to compare them a bit easier:

So far, I haven't been able to decide between the two fabrics because I can see the positive aspects of both. And although I can't promise to go with the one that gets the most votes, your vote will factor into my decision. Please also feel free to leave comments if you'd like.

I suspect a couple of you might want information about the fabric I've used so far. The center of the quilt top is made from a line called Rose Parade by Moda, and I bought charm packs from the Fabric Shack. It looks like they might be out of the charm packs now but they do have layer cakes listed. I particularly wanted to mention the Fabric Shack because they were very helpful when I was looking for fabric to piece for a backing for the Ghastlies quilt. I placed an order for 6 yards of a fabric they had on sale, and they emailed me to let me know they only had 2+ yards. I asked them to pick something else for me, I told them I was looking for a sale fabric and what I was willing to pay per yard, and I sent them a photo of the Ghastlies so they knew what I had in mind. They found 6 yards of fabric on sale for about a dollar less per yard than I had specified and I couldn't have been happier with the selection. It's certainly nice to find good customer service, particularly when it's from an online source.

So what do you think about my border dilemma? Don't forget to vote, and thanks for your input!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Did You Miss Me?

Okay, I'm joking with that title because I haven't missed a post despite having been to Reno and back.

We had a wonderful time; I'll have to upload my photos and see what turned out and then tell you about our little excursion, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. In the meantime . . . .

The quilt I just finished called Pinwheels and Roses--I think it's okay to tell you a little more about it now. It was a wedding gift for my boss who got married at the beginning of June. I was obviously a bit late getting it done! As I mentioned before, I made the quilt top and was unhappy with the way it turned out--it just didn't have any spark. After thinking for a bit, and having decided I had to make something completely different, I suddenly realized the borders were the problem, so I found different fabric and finished it.

I'm not posting another photo here because I'm on Hubby's laptop and don't have access to the photos, but there's one in my sidebar or you can scroll down a bit and find it in a recent blog post--I think it was Wednesday's.

Someone left a comment yesterday asking me about the pattern. It was originally a Moda Bakeshop pattern called Candy Bar Pinwheels that Sinta and Sherri chose for the Le Petite project in May. If you click on the name, it will take you to the pattern. I made the following changes in mine: I switched color placement. Where the pattern shows white fabric, I used reds, and where the pattern shows darker colors, I used creams. I made mine quite a bit larger: 25 blocks instead of 6. Finally, I used cream colored sashing--I think I cut the sashing at 2"--and red cornerstones. If any of you are thinking about making one similar, I hope this explanation helps.

Someone also asked if my boss liked the quilt. Well, I had it all wrapped and ready to give to her on Wednesday night when she was supposed to come back to the office after a meeting, but just as she got to our parking lot, she got a call about a family emergency and had to leave. So I left the gift for her on her desk, and I went off on vacation. I guess I'll find out on Monday, but I'm sure she liked it--who doesn't like quilts?!!

Now I have two more days left of vacation, and I've given myself permission to be lazy, so if I don't post, don't worry--I'm just playing and enjoying my holiday. I hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Living the High Life

By the time you read this, Hubby and I will be in Reno, enjoying a little time away. We have tickets to see Dana Carvey--remember the Church Lady from Saturday Night Live? I've also been dreaming about the Pan Roast they serve at the Nugget's Oyster Bar. Yum!

If I don't post for a day or two, it's just because I'm taking a couple vacation days. If I don't post for a week or two, it's because we won big money in Reno and I can't count my money AND type too. So I'll probably be back here tomorrow or the next day. But a person can still dream, right?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Planning for Quilted Comfort

I noticed that the poll for mayo versus Miracle Whip will end by tomorrow night, so if you haven't voted and would like to, now is the time! I've checked every now and then and it's been pretty consistent at mayo 60 percent, Miracle Whip 40 percent. Interesting.

I wrapped up the Pinwheels and Roses quilt today in pretty gift wrap and left it for the recipient to find--probably in the morning. I wish I had about ten quilts to give away, because it seems there are many people in my life that I'd love to gift with a quilt right now.

Hubby found out the wife of a long time friend of his had passed away a month or so ago--not unexpectedly as it was a long illness, but she wasn't all that old. I bet a quilt would be a comfort to Hubby's friend.

My friend Lisa and my mother-in-law are both having surgery. Lisa had hers today--and everything went well--and my mother-in-law will be having hers tomorrow. I'd like to give quilts to both of them to snuggle with as they recover.

Another friend of mine lost her mom last week. My friend quilts and probably doesn't need one from me, but giving a quilt to someone is a tangible sign of caring. What I'd really like to give her is a warm hug and a little time to talk together; but it will have to wait because she's in Canada right now with her family.

I think I would like to try to find time to quilt a couple of my "orphan" quilt tops so I can set them aside to give to the people I care about when comfort is needed. I think I should also try to find time to make a few baby quilts to keep on hand. How about you? Do you have quilts you've set aside to give when the need arises?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Take the Fifth

Okay, I'll admit that's a silly title, particularly since I'm GIVING the fifth, but I couldn't pass it up. Of course, I'm talking about the fifth quilt I've completed this year--remember the 11 in '11 challenge?

This quilt is a gift, and although I don't think the recipient reads my blog, I don't want to spoil any surprises. I'll tell you when I can, but you don't know her anyway, so it probably doesn't matter much. I've named it Pinwheels and Roses (there are roses quilted into the border).

It occurs to me that I'm a bit behind on my 11 quilts. I started the year out so well too; how did I fall so far behind? I guess I'd better get busy. Next up? The Ghastlies--I need to write up directions, pin, and quilt it.

How are you doing on your quilting goals this year?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hey! You're Back!

I don't really notice my followers very much because I have the follower thingy down at the bottom of the blog page. But for some reason, after I posted last night, I noticed all of you had disappeared! Yikes!

Now and then--or probably more often than we ever realize--Blogger does maintenance and improvement "stuff"; and occasionally things go wrong. Like the two times in the last few months when we couldn't post to our blogs. One of those times, after the main problem was fixed, there were still complaints of missing followers, so I remembered that last night and when I checked the Blogger Help Group, I saw I wasn't the only one. Anyway, I'm glad you were found--wherever you strayed to. I have no idea how long it wasn't working but I guess it's recovered now.

So that's it. That's the best I can do for content tonight. I've been sick since Sunday with a stomach bug and maybe allergies. Although my stomach seems to have recovered, my head is taking a turn at trying to get my attention. I stayed home from work and laid around and read, slept, and did a little hand stitching while watching TV. It sure felt like a complete waste of a good day! I hope a good night's sleep will banish any lingering symptoms. So I'll see you back here tomorrow. Unless you disappear again.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Actually, I'm not really going to write about ketchup (or catsup). Tonight I thought I'd write a bit of a catch up post, but with the recent mayo/Miracle Whip discussions, I couldn't resist hauling in another condiment!

On Saturday, my stitchery/quilting group got together at Imelda's home. I always love her seasonal decorations, and this was no exception--she had her home wonderfully decorated for summer and the 4th of July. We even enjoyed some fireworks--sort of. Her husband barbecued for us, and while we were eating, Julie had a view of the patio and noticed that a spark from the barbecue had lit a large bag of charcoal briquets on fire! Yikes! After a lot of running to and fro and messing about with hoses, the fire was out and we were back at our meal--with only a soggy bag of charcoal to show for it. Sadly, I had forgotten to bring my camera--and you KNOW that's the first thing I thought of, right?!

One of the things our little group does best during our gatherings--besides eating--is talking. Saturday we talked about some of the recent topics on my blog, like the Casey Anthony trial. I think we were all dismayed by the verdict, although we agreed that we weren't there and didn't hear what the jury heard. On Friday night I had watched a TV show that aired a segment about the trial, and they talked to two of the alternate jurors about their impressions of the evidence. I thought that the one young man who had been an alternate had a fairly skewed impression of Anthony and the law, but again, I wasn't there. It's just all so heart wrenching though.

I've been enjoying reading your comments about mayo, Miracle Whip, and the good old days over the course of the weekend. If you're someone who comments--or reads comments--early on, take the time to go back and read these. They're so fun! Amy commented about grilled cheese and Miracle Whip sandwiches--which sounds strange enough to try someday, I think! Now and then, I like grilled tuna and cheese sandwiches, and the tuna has to have sweet pickle relish--I'm guessing the grilled cheese and Miracle Whip sandwiches have a bit of that flavor without the fish taste. If I try it, I'll let you know. I don't think I mentioned it before, but mostly I like mayo, although I NEED to use half Miracle Whip, half mayo for macaroni salad--the Miracle Whip just gives it a bit of zing.

On the subject of nostaligia, when Hubby and I were on vacation, heading down to Pismo Beach, we stopped at a coffee shop for lunch. There we found vintage lunch boxes displayed along the wooden beams all over the restaurant. I took a couple photos to share.

I asked Hubby what lunch boxes he'd had as a kid. He had one with a rounded top that looked like a treasure chest, and that's the only one he had (the same "model" is shown in the photo below). He told me he wanted that one because the shape was just like his dad's. I'll admit to being a bit spoiled, because my parents bought me a new one every year, and I can't even remember now which ones I had! How about you? Do you remember yours?

In response to my post about pinning quilts, a couple of you commented that you use spray baste. Someone else asked where you spray and how do you keep it from getting on everything you don't want it on? I wondered the same. I think I might try the starch method--where you starch the heck out of the quilt back so nothing moves. Tonight I repinned the border section of the quilt I'm working on and thought again that there has to be a better way, although I don't mind the repinning so much, just as long as I don't end up with folds and puckers.

The weekend is over and it's back to work for me. I hope you had a lovely summer weekend with family and friends!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Zip It!

I've been a little sidetracked lately. Remember I'm supposed to be quilting a quilt? And then after that, I have the Ghastlies quilt to quilt? Well, I've been taking a little break.

On one of the little shop hops I did with my stitching group, I bought two Atkinson Design patterns for little zippered bags that are oh so cute! When I realized I had several things coming up this week that I needed little gifts for--a couple birthdays, my stitchery group get together, and a "just because" gift--I thought the zippered bags would be perfect. After all, I think most of us could use another zippered bag to keep our stuff in, whether it's coupons, cosmetics, or stitching supplies, right?

Want to see what I made? Other than the last cherry zip, these are all around 8" long by around 4" tall.

I'll have to tell you a little more about the Saturday spent with my stitching friends this month, but that can wait until tomorrow. What couldn't wait, though, was showing you these little pincusions made by two of our members--we each received these.

No matter whether we're on the giving end or the receiving end, gifts between friends are the best, aren't they?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mayo or Miracle Whip?

Barb, Judy, and I were sitting in the kitchen at work the other day, in the aftermath of a belated Fourth of July barbecue, reminicing about how we used to have to walk ten miles to school and back each day, barefoot in the snow, uphill in both directions, . . . well, you know how you get to talking with your contemporaries about the old days, right?

Before long, the discussion turned to food. And we learned that two of us had been raised with Miracle Whip and one of us had mayonnaise. And all of us, by the time we hit our teens, stumbled upon whichever one we had not had growing up, and thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. And speaking of sliced bread, two of us hardly EVER had soft commercial white bread, so a loaf of Wonder Bread was a real treat. With bologna. And Miracle Whip . . . or mayonnaise.

Barb and her husband Richard, before he passed away last year, took a lot of road trips, visiting family on vacations and seeing the country. She remembered that sometimes they'd just CRAVE bologna on soft white bread with mayo--or Miracle Whip, I can't recall which. So they'd stop at a little grocery store along the way and buy what they needed in order to slap together several sandwiches before they pulled back onto the road.

With that conversation in mind, last night I added a poll to my sidebar--you may or may not have noticed. The question is: mayonnaise or Miracle Whip? I'm just curious. And maybe thinking about it will get you thinking about some of the good childhood memories. Like walking ten miles uphill to school in the snow each day.

I gotta think the stuff our kids remember of their childhoods can't be nearly as good as ours, don't you think? Maybe the next time we get together, I'll have to ask them. What do you remember fondly of your growing years?

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Information Two Lane Roadway

The internet is a wonderful thing where we can share all kinds of information. Sometimes people ask me questions, and I'd really LIKE to help, but their comments come through as "no reply" so I can't answer them directly. Or I'll decide to write a public response, but a couple days will go by and I'll have really exciting stuff to write about, like shaving my legs, and then I'll forget about answering questions. So I just want to say I'm sorry if I'm not always very helpful.

Sometimes I'm asked questions and I don't really know the answer, but I'll give the person my opinion anyway. That's what I thought I'd do tonight.

Ruby asked about pinning quilts and how to get a quilt back nice and tight so it doesn't wrinkle when quilting. Truthfully, I struggle with the same problem.

It seems like back in the good old days, when I'd haul my quilting stuff down to the quilt shop and use their tables to pin, my quilt backs ended up being stretched out nicer than they seem to be now, when I pin my quilts at home. Why? I'm still using tables, still clamping down the layers, still doing just about everything the same. My only guess is that I might be using fewer clamps since my tables are thicker, they're harder to clamp, and I only have eight clamps.

The quilt I'm working on now? Here's a photo showing the back looking like it's in danger of me quilting folds into it:

Of course, in looking at it, you might say there aren't enough pins--and that's true. I've found that no matter now many pins I put into a quilt, by the time I get to the outer borders, I need to un-pin, smooth out and adjust the layers again, and re-pin. So I just use a few pins in the outside border--less to remove that way.

When I finish the center part all around--which is pretty much where I'm at in the section shown above--I'll smooth and re-pin the remaining areas, pinning more heavily.

Please, if any of you have tips to share about successful pinning, leave a comment because my normal wealth of information is suffering a bout of poverty on this subject.

I've started a new e-mail folder called "questions" where I can better keep track of the stuff you might want to talk about--whether I actually have an answer or just want to make something up. That way, when I run out of stories about the dumb things people do and I've already told you all about ME, I can check the folder and pick a topic YOU want to discuss. Because you know it's all about YOU, right? Okay, you're right--it's not. But I'm still happy you stopped by to visit.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Remember that noise Scooby Doo would make when he was surprised, puzzled, and just couldn't figure something out? I think that's pretty much what I said when the Casey Anthony verdict was announced the other day.

It kind of reminded me of the O.J. verdict--and it seemed like the people I talked to experienced the same kind of shocked disbelief. I've heard the media speculate that juries now hold the prosecution to a higher standard as far as forensic evidence goes, and that might account for the acquittal. Still, Scott Peterson was convicted on less evidence.

I just read that officials have prepared a secret exit for Casey Anthony so she can leave after the sentencing hearing and bypass the media and the public. But where will she go? She can't go home.

Really, I didn't pay much attention to the trial because I didn't believe there could possibly be any outcome other than a finding of guilty, so I'm not completely familiar with the details. Still, I can't help but wonder what the jury thinks happened to that little girl. I'm just puzzled by the whole thing. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dirty Little Secret

In response to my blog the other night, Anonymous Melinda asked whether I've shown you my purse. I'm sure I must have because I show and tell just about everything creative I do unless it's a surprise for someone and I don't manage to take any photos before I give whatever it is away.

My purse tends to be a hold all for everything I need to carry around. And it's kind of a mess right now. Thank goodness there are pockets lining the inside of it--otherwise, I'm sure I'd never be able to find anything! Just to take this photo, I had to pull out two Tupperware containers and a Schnibbles pattern. (And yes, as a matter of fact, that IS a 2010 day planner shoved in there. Nostalgia.)

Originally, I purchased the Desk Deli tote pattern to make a tote for Girl Boss 1 for Christmas. I modified the pattern a little bit and made myself a tote to use as a purse--the one above. People seem to love the "cat fabrics" I used and the black and white colors, but most of all, the trim I added gets a lot of compliments. Here's a close up:

I've been using this purse for a couple years now. It really needs to be washed, but I also noticed a couple worn spots on the bottom corners. Maybe I'll wash it and make some kind of decorative patches--I'll probably wash it and then decide if it's worth the effort. More likely, I'll just make a new one. Make a fresh start. Because I have purse issues I've never told you about before.

That's a photo of my old purse, sitting in a corner of my bedroom on the floor near my shoes I kick off at night. Still filled with junk. Yes, that's a golf ball you see. And a partially filled bottle of water. And some allergy tablets. And whatever else fills the inside--that apparently I've not needed for the last year or so.

I like to think of it as my bedroom-based emergency survival kit. After all, isn't that REALLY what our purses are? Survival kits?

Sometimes I really wish I had a personal assistant to do all the stuff I never seem to get around to doing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Better Late Than Never

So did I find time to "play" on the 4th of July? I guess the answer to that question depends on the definition of "play," and even I'm not sure at this point. What I ended up spending a good chunk of the day doing is decorating for summer. Yep, red, white, and blue. Normally I would have decorated the house for summer around the end of May but it sure seemed like more work than I wanted to do at that time, so I put it off, and kept putting it off until today.

I hung last year's cherries quilt in the hallway. Remember this one? I like it hanging there--it brightens up the hallway considerably.

Besides the decorating, I cooked our holiday meal. BBQ spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, and garlic bread. Yum! (I think we're going to have to load up on the green veggies the rest of the week because they sure were lacking in tonight's dinner.)

Oh, and I can't forget the lemon meringue pie--although the flash from the camera made the meringue look like it's radioactive!

Whenever I needed a little rest during the day, I did a little quilting. And a little reading. And now? Now I think it's time to go cut that pie! I bet I worked off the calories already. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Just Peachy!

Sunday was filled with domestic activity. I sure am glad we have an "extra" day off this weekend, because it's gone by waaaay too fast with not enough play time so far!

Our cool spring has turned into a raging hot summer with temperatures up above 100 degrees. I set my alarm this morning to wake up reasonably early so I could run errands and get back home before it got too hot--the weather forecast called for temperatures nearing 90 degrees by 11 a.m. I was lucky enough to find a parking spot in the shade at Trader Joe's. Have you tried Trader Joe's vanilla ice cream? Oh YUM! But keeping the car as cool as possible gives me a much better chance of getting it home before it's melted!

What could be more summery than homemade peach jam? Trader Joe's also has small boxes of peaches, and whatever gets a little too soft for eating makes perfect jam. And that's what I did today once I got the groceries home and put away.

This jam was made with the peaches I bought a week or so ago; I bought another box today and much of this one may well be destined for a pie, I suspect.

After making jam, I quilted a little bit and then I cleaned house, cooked dinner, and quilted some more. And then cleaned house some more--I wanted to do a pretty thorough job of getting the dust out of all the nooks and crannies.

Now the chores are done, a cool bath awaits, and I'm dreaming of homemade peach jam on biscuits for our 4th of July breakfast. I hope you have a wonderful holiday planned!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How Ghastlie!

I finished the quilt top. Woo-hoo! And yes, folks, it's a big one. Not quite big enough for my king size bed, but it will certainly fit my daughter's double--or even a queen, I think.

I ordered some fabric online today that I want to use for the backing, so hopefully I'll be getting the Ghastlies pinned for quilting by the end of the week. I'll try to get a better photo once I have it all laid out on the tables. In the meantime, I've begun quilting this one:

I've decided to outline the red pinwheels and then I'll go back and meander in the cream colored sections.

I was a little distracted today by this book:

I finished it by early afternoon, which meant I could finally get something done! I highly recommend it. I'm not sure whether the book ended a little too quickly because I honestly feel a bit more time should have been devoted to telling us what happened after the central events or whether I just didn't want it to end. But the ending DID feel a little bit rushed. Still, an excellent story. What books have you enjoyed during the past month or two?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Feeling a Little Crafty

What do you have planned for the holiday weekend? Most of my plans involve quality time in the Sweat Shop interspersed with occasional bouts of barbecuing. [Did I tell you Hubby bought himself a new BBQ for Father's Day? Infrared technology--apparently it's the next big thing although I feel like everything we've cooked on it so far has been just slightly underdone. Continued experimentation is obviously in order!]

Besides the couple of quilt projects I'm working on, I have an urge to do a little crafting, although I'm not sure what I want to do. I stopped at JoAnn's and Michael's on the way home from work and gathered up a few supplies.

I've been intrigued by Valen's recent project HERE, and I was hoping to find the supplies at JoAnn's, but I didn't have any luck. However, I DID find what I needed HERE and placed an order--if you're interested, browse some of their many categories--they have some cool stuff and yes, I bought a few "extra toys" just in case. (Just don't ask me, "In case of WHAT?," because I haven't even a remote clue what disaster could strike that would require me to have little amber jars, labels, charms, etc.)

And at JoAnn's I was tempted by the metal clasp purse frames, so I bought four--two each in two sizes. Why? Who can possibly question the creative soul when inspiration strikes? (How does that sound? Think Hubby will buy it?) Have you made clutch purses using these kinds of frames yet? (If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can see them sitting on the magazines on the lower left side.) If so, what was your experience? Did you enjoy it?

Finally, one of these days--and maybe it WILL be this weekend--I need to make myself a new purse. The one I made about a year and a half ago--that I still get compliments on all the time--is starting to show its age, sadly enough.

I know I can't get ALL this stuff done this weekend, and somewhere in there, I need to clean house too, but I'm sure going to TRY to enjoy myself. And first up? I'm heading to bed with those three magazines to see what additional inspiration I can find. I hope you have a fun weekend ahead too!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Blogger Wasn't My Friend

Maybe you missed me yesterday? If so, you can blame it on Blogger.

Did you get a chance to read my Hubby's birthday post yet? When we concluded the celebrating, I was sleepy and didn't feel much like writing a post. But I did. I wrote it, I revised it, I revised it again a time or two and added more. Finally, satisfied and ready to wash the guacamole away in a Calgon bubble bath, I clicked the "publish post" button. And got an error message. And couldn't get back into my blog.

A bit of internet research later, and I learned that bloggers worldwide were getting the same error messages. I shut down, soaked the guacamole off, and went to bed. Dejected, deflated, depressed, and de-blogged, knowing that a couple of you might miss me come morning. Bummer.

I forgot to tell you something about the birthday festivities. While we were waiting for everyone to gather, Soccer Son's Lovely Wife to be Someday told me about a site that has many, many open letters on a bunch of subjects. Some are funny, some are mad, some are sad, but whatever they are, they make for some interesting reading. So next time Blogger decides to be difficult and you have nothing to read (or even before that if you'd like), read McSweeney's "Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond."

This morning I tried to recreate the birthday post--because I found Blogger had only saved two paragraphs of a very early draft. If you haven't read it yet, it's there below. It's not as good as it was last night, but the moment has passed. The party's over.

But, of course, the next one's just about to begin--The Fourth of July holiday is almost here and the three day weekend is in sight. Woo-hoo!