Sunday, August 31, 2008

Amityville Horror Meets Good Eats

First, let me announce a new giveaway. Well, maybe "new" isn't the right word, since this is a giveaway of a Susan Branch cookbook I picked up at the thrift store. It's in good condition, though, and I already have one--that's why I got this one for you! I knew it had some really good stuff in it and I wanted to share!

This is the Vineyard Seasons book. I'll be cooking a few dishes from it in the next few days and sharing photos with you.

Today I made her recipe for ribs and "juice," and they turned out really nice! The "juice" is made from pineapple juice and other ingredients and the ribs cook in the oven, so they can be made any time of the year. (Besides the ribs, I tossed together some coleslaw and parmesan rice--neither recipe is in the book.)

I also made her lemon roll cake--it's the first time I've ever made a rolled cake, and it came out pretty good! And boy is it lemony! Yum!

The only thing that marred our celebration of food and good eating is that we seem to have been overrun by flies. Is anyone else having a fly problem? I can't figure out why we have so many and what might be attracting them, but when I went out on the patio this afternoon, there were tons! Right after that, I saw one in the kitchen and thought it must have gotten in when I opened the patio sliding door, but by the time Hubby got home from work about 20 minutes later, there were SIX flying around the kitchen! I think they're coming in the drain openings in the window frame in the kitchen but Hubby doesn't think that's possible. Anyone know?

Tonight I went out to the garage to feed our older cat who mostly lives in there now, and there were maggots all over her leftover food--we've never had that happen before. I spared you any photos, but I had to call Hubby to help me deal with it because it was just too darn icky!

Maybe it's punishment for my accidental shoplifting. There's a thought.

Well, I hope this hasn't put you off the idea of doing a little Susan Branch-style cooking. It might have done me! LOL! But leave me a comment saying you'd like to win the Susan Branch cookbook and I'll put you in the drawing. I'll draw a winning name on Tuesday night.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Revelation, A Confession, and A Correction

First the revelation. Vincent Van Gogh didn't wear sunglasses. At least not after he cut off his ear. How do I know this? The other day, I got in my car and grabbed my sunglasses out of the cup holder thingy between the front seats. One of the ear pieces dropped off and fell somewhere between the seats. So, for the last couple days, I've been driving around wearing sunglasses that only have one ear piece. And every time I scratch my nose, hit a bump, or reach under my glasses to rub an eye, the darn things fall off. Sunglasses require two ears and one nose, or they just don't work right. I guess I'll need to get a new pair.

Now the confession. They say that confession is good for the soul, and since I'm feeling kind of guilty, I figured I'd 'fess up, hoping it would help. Today during my lunch hour, I shoplifted from Goodwill. Yes, I can hear you gasp in dismay, because I know you didn't picture me as a shoplifter, right? Well, here's the story.

After I'd been wandering around Goodwill for a good part of my lunch hour, I thought it was high time I checked out and headed back to work. I put my "treasures" on the counter, paid for them, and wheeled my cart away. When I grabbed my bags out of the cart, I realized there was still an item in the cart I forgot to pay for--this leaded glass panel.

I guess because it was mostly see-thru and I had my reading glasses on while checking out--and can't see much at a distance with them--I just didn't see the panel was still in the cart. When I realized my error, I looked back at the checkstand and noted several people in line--I knew I'd never have time to go back through the line and buy the glass panel and still get back to work on time. So, yep, I stole it. I'm a criminal. Next time I go to Goodwill, though, I'll be sure to give them a $3 donation--the price of the panel--so I can feel better about myself. Has anything like this ever happened to you?

Finally, a correction. Remember my story about the near-homicide by golf cart when brother-in-law #1 was nearly murdered by brother-in-law #2? Well, one of my sisters-in-law--the only one who shares DNA with the brothers-in-law involved--requested a retraction. As we learned the day after my story was published, brother-in-law #2 wasn't the one driving the golf cart. His friend was. My sister-in-law didn't want me to make the family look bad.

So, to recap. Brothers-in-law #1 and #2 and the good friend of brother-in-law #2 were playing golf in a YOUTH GROUP FUNDRAISER, under the influence of ALCOHOL, and DRIVING golf carts around. Brother-in-law #1 got run over by a golf cart driven by brother-in-law #2's close friend. That makes it much better, doesn't it? Brother-in-law #1 was an innocent victim, and brother-in-law #2 was simply a passenger. I'm seeing a lawsuit here--for the physical injuries to brother-in-law #1 and the emotional distress inflicted upon brother-in-law #2 when he witnessed his friend run over his brother. Then there's the poor design of the golf course. If you're going to build a golf course, you shouldn't build one with hills you can't see over when driving because you never know who you might run over. And I think there's also a possible problem with the golf cart itself--in either its design or maintenance--that caused the accident to occur.

Too bad my brothers-in-law are now exonerated from criminal stupidity. 'Cause I was thinking that with my shoplifting at Goodwill, I'd fit into the family quite nicely now!

Friday, August 29, 2008

I Didn't Want to Do It . . .

. . . Any of it! But I'm glad I did!

By the time I got off work tonight, I was beat! This is the third week of what's been a somewhat stressful, continuous stream of deadline projects. All I wanted to do was go home and veg out on the couch. Or maybe, if I was feeling energetic, I could hang out in the Sweat Shop and do a little applique. But . . .

Last night, I was looking at the holiday craft magazine I showed you and they had some pretty good directions for crafting paper mache figures and such. I love paper mache figures and have wanted to learn the process for the last couple years. So, this was my chance--all I had to do was stop by Michael's and buy a bag of paper mache medium and a palette knife.

Yep, I didn't really want to go shopping, but I made myself. And it was fun! And I found a few other things--of course! My pile of fall decorating "stuff" has grown a little.

And as I was walking past the aisle with the wooden letters, I thought back to last Christmas and my "Holly Jolly" letters--wouldn't it be fun to make some for Autumn? Yes, I think it would!

So that's one project on the agenda for the weekend. I also saw this Halloween garland. Last year I saw Halloween garlands on the blogs of several talented gals and wished I had time to try to make one myself. Time never materialized. Luckily, Martha Stewart came to my rescue this year. Now I'll have a Halloween garland too!

Good old Martha also had those clever cut outs of mice and mouse holes you see above. They had to come home with me too. Martha had spiders, but nope, I passed those up! ICK! But I found this magazine at Michael's--

Not only did I see an advertisement for Martha's mice in there, but this magazine has patterns you can enlarge to make your own. The mice are something new this year--something cute and unexpected, I think. Check out the magazine for some more fun Halloween ideas--or you may just see a couple projects pop up here in the next couple of weeks!

Oh, but here's the BIG thing I didn't want to do tonight: Clean house! But it's done now, and I'm sure glad I did, because it means the three-day weekend will be filled with playtime!

It's true what they say about exercise giving you MORE energy. Now that I've been running around the house and cleaning all evening, I have all sorts of energy! But don't get me wrong: I'm not advocating exercise. Normal, everyday chores are plenty of exercise. Everyone I know who exercises for sport seems to get injured. Just say NO!

So this weekend--which is waiting for me on the other side of one more day of stress at work--I'll be playing in the Sweat Shop with applique, quite possibly getting icky paper mache goo all over me, and applying paper to wooden letters. Sounds like heaven, doesn't it?!

With temperatures today and tomorrow of 104 degrees, any feeling of Autumn has left, but I know it's coming before too long. I think I'll decorate for fall in a couple weeks. In the meantime, I'll play with Halloween and Autumn crafts and watch these babies grow just a little bit bigger.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Is Autumn in the Air?

No, maybe not, but it sure was in my shopping bag today! (The oak and acorn teapot and acorn salt and pepper shakers remind me of my good friend Kairle, who collects oak and acorn stuff. Have you seen these yet Kairle?!)

I've been sort of half planning a trip to JoAnn's for the last couple weeks, and I decided today was the day. And look what greeted me as I walked into the store! Fall is here!

I love decorating for Fall. Well, you know I love decorating, full stop! It doesn't really matter what time of the year it is, it's always fun to put out seasonal and holiday things around the house. And just about now--back-to-school time, end of August, Labor Day weekend coming up--I start getting tired of Summer and I'm ready to start thinking about Autumn sunflowers, apples, pumpkins, and a few ghosts and goblins to boot. And, of course, that's why I went to JoAnn's in the first place--I was looking for some Halloween trims for the witch quilt. (That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it!)

I found a few things I liked at JoAnn's and then I stopped at another fabric store on the way home from work--Hancock's (not Hancock's of Paducah, but a different store altogether). Hancocks has a pretty good selection of home dec fabrics, specialty/bridal fabrics, and trims. After gathering up what I liked from JoAnn's and Hancocks, here's what I came home with:

Oh, yeah, and a few of these things below found their way into my shopping bag at JoAnn's too!

My Australian friend Lorraine likes Fons & Porter, so when I saw there was a new one out, I had to bring it home. Well, okay, I'll admit I had to bring TWO home, so I can send one off to Lorraine and keep one for moi. Because, you know--it's a Fall edition. And I love Fall, right?!

And, since I have these three luscious new magazines right here on my bed, I can't think of much I'd rather do than get my jammies on and go to bed early and read. The lights in the Sweat Shop will remain off tonight, because I have other plans.

Thanks for coming by for a visit! I wish you happy sewing! And reading! And shopping!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Two-Fifths of the Way There

Tuesday's near its end, and that means we're two-fifths of the way to the weekend. Here in the US, it's a loooong weekend, with Labor Day on Monday. Three more days of work and then three days off. Beyond that, we'll just pull down the shades so we can't see past Monday night, and we'll pretend those three days off work will just go on, and on, and on . . . .

I don't seem anxious or anything, do I?

To tell you the truth, I think I'm kind of boring tonight. As far as I know, none of my family or friends has done anything stupid, funny, or otherwise blog-worthy today. In other words, I don't have any good stories to tell you, and if you're considering eating or drinking something while reading my blog--well, your keyboard and monitor are probably safe.

It's hard to believe that August is nearing its end and so many schools are back in session already. For a couple minutes this morning, I thought I detected a hint of Autumn in the air. We're in for hotter temperatures for the next few days, so whatever Autumn molecules were floating around this morning will be banished to a time in the future. But it's coming. I know it is!

So what have I been doing in the Sweat Shop lately? Nothing that would promise quick results and your corresponding amazement over how much I get done. Nope. I'm still stuck on hand applique, and it's a slooooow process. For the time being, I've abandoned the Halloween witch quilt--it sits quietly on my design wall, rebuking me for my fickleness. I've returned to my other current love, the X-Rated quilt. Do you want a sneak peek? Keep in mind that none of these pieces are actually sewn down yet--they are just basted and/or otherwise prepared to be placed and sewn, and I only have the pieces for one of the four corners prepared up to this point.

I think I want to give that large yellow flower a pink center. Funny how looking at a photo allows you to see things your eyes don't pick up. It will be quite a few days before I'll be able to call this top done. And I think I'll rename it--instead of X-Rated, I think I'll call it Kisses and Flowers. Or Bouquets and Kisses. Or . . . what do you think? Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Caution When Diving . . .

. . . into the gene pool. I know it's not very charitable, but do you ever feel concern for children whose parents seem . . . well, let's just say "less than sharp"? On a larger scale, do you ever worry about the future of humanity when idiots are able to procreate?

During my lunch hour today, I made a quick trip to the grocery store, put my groceries in the car, and headed to the Starbucks next door. A line! A wait! ARGH! With conflicting images of an iced latte on the one hand, and wilting veggies and a package of shrimp in a hot car on the other hand, I tried to wait my turn patiently. And I'm not a patient person. In front of me were two women with their children--one a baby in its mother's arms and one a child few years older. The woman with the older child appeared to be about 11 months pregnant. We waited . . . and waited . . . and when it was their turn to order, it was quickly apparent the pregnant woman had not--in all this time waiting--given a single thought to what she wanted to order.

How do you do that? Go to Starbucks and not know what you want? Stand in line for five minutes and still not know what you want? The future of the human race does not look bright folks. I'm just sayin . . . .

My thoughts on the gene pool were brought home tonight--literally and on a personal level--and well illustrated by the idiocy of two of my brothers in law. Since I'm well past child-bearing age, there's not much I can do about it now but warn my children. Kids, if you're reading this, I'm sorry to tell you, but you have the idiot gene in your DNA. Bummer! I hope it's recessive because I don't want air-head grandchildren. Make sure that whoever you chose to procreate with has an IQ of at least 170--that might help to offset any less fortunate genes passed on through your father's side of the family.

So anyway, here's what happened. Two of my brothers in law and a friend were golfing on Sunday. It was a youth group charity fundraiser. One brother in law had a golf cart, and the other brother in law and his friend had another golf cart. They had been drinking. Alcohol. At a youth group fundraiser. Idiots! But that's not the worst part.

Brother in law #1 hopped in his golf cart and drove himself to the next hole. He parked, got out, and was teeing up when Brother in law #2 came up over a hill, driving his golf cart at full speed, and ran over Brother in law #1.

Brother in law #1 went to the emergency room, where his dislocated shoulder was popped back into place. Other than the shoulder, we gather he's okay, more or less. Of course, there's not much they can do to fix the underlying problem--faulty DNA.

So let this be a lesson. Insist on an IQ test before sex. And don't drink with idiots. You might get pregnant. Or run over.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back from a Brief Blog Break--

I've reached the end of a totally self-indulgent weekend. Friday night after dinner I went to the grocery store, and that's the last time I left the house, and in fact, the last time I did anything I was "supposed to do" all weekend. I didn't clean house. I didn't make a couple phone calls I had planned to make. I didn't fix my hair and make-up and I only grudgingly got dressed. When Hubby asked on Friday if I wanted to get up early Saturday and go to a couple thrift stores, his suggestion was met with a resounding NO! And, as you may have noticed, I missed writing a blog post.

So what did I do? I stayed up late and slept in. I napped when I felt like it. I read. I cooked--what I wanted, when I wanted. I watched TV. I sewed. I sewed some more. And between everything else, I sewed.

When I should have been writing my blog, I was sewing. Saturday night I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. sewing. And then I read for a half hour before turning out the light.

It felt good to do what I wanted and not feel the sense of responsibility that normally forces me to do other--grown up--things. It was a lot like being a kid on summer vacation--and you know it's really rare that we get a chance to feel like that again!

By the wee hours of Saturday night/Sunday morning, I finished the applique for the borders of the Halloween quilt. Here's what it looks like so far--

Of course, that big, BIG green center will have the witch appliqued onto it, but that's something that will have to wait a little longer. I like to put stuff like this up on my design wall and look at it for a bit. Right now, I'm thinking I might like to add twist-and-turn sashing to those border pieces, and that would mean coming up with a little "fill" between the center panel and the border pieces since the sashing will make the borders longer. I'll ponder it for awhile.

In the meantime, I've made the pieced basket corners and added the borders to the X-Rated quilt. There's not a whole lot to show you yet there, but here's a peek at some applique pieces I'm prepping--they're the centers of some appliqued flowers:

And, although as I mentioned, I DIDN'T go thrifting this weekend, I DID go one night after work last week--Thursday, I think. I found a couple things I liked--a bacon press, a candleholder that's a mouse reading a book, and an embroidered table runner--and I thought I'd share a photo.

I also found a clay pig piggybank for Hubby--he can create something fun with it. I would have gotten a photo, but Hubby took it out to his garage/workbench/Frankenstein's laboratory before I had a chance. I think that's what inspired him to want to go thrifting, but there was no way I was giving up a nice lie in on a Saturday morning after a stressful work week!

I wish that instead of going to bed tonight, I could stay up several more hours working on my projects, but it's time to face reality--back to work tomorrow. I hope your weekend was everything you wanted it to be!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

And the Winner is . . .

Drum roll, please! I'm happy to announce that Anne "Quilting Bebbs" Bebbington is the winner of the X-Rated pattern. I'm sad to announce that the other 65 of you who entered did not win. Better luck next time! I DO want you to know that I appreciate you taking the time to leave me comments and enter my little drawings, and I wish I could send a pattern to each and every one of you--and maybe I'll do that someday when I finally win the lottery!

Anne, please email me your mailing address so I can get the pattern out to you next week. Congratulations!

It's always so hard to pick a winning number. I've tried random number generators and they don't seem very random to me--they seem to pick numbers that are close to each other in sequence rather than jumping all over the place as I would expect. The last two giveaways, I asked the Boy Child to pick a number, and he's picked 15 both times I think--somewhat predictable since that's the number that's been blazoned across his soccer jerseys most of his life! This time, since I needed to go to the grocery store tonight, I decided that the winning number would be the two-digit "penny" number in my total bill. Pretty random, huh? The only problem was that there were 66 entries and my total was a hundred and something-something and 81 cents! ARGH! When my son and his friend showed up (funny how boys seem to show up right after the groceries are freshly stocked, isn't it?!), I grabbed the Boy Child's friend, Johnnie, and asked him to pick a number. He had no idea why I was asking nor did he express any curiousity, but he picked "45" which happened to be Quilting Bebbs' number.

Well, my friends, the weekend is here, and there's a lot of quilting to be done! I hope you have some fun plans too! Thanks for stopping by to visit!

Friday, August 22, 2008


If you were around in the 1970's, you probably remember this song:

Gimme a head with hair,
long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair!
Shoulder length, longer (hair!)
Here baby, there mama, Everywhere daddy daddy

Back in the '70s, long hair was the thing--everyone wanted it. The more hair, the better.

So did you see the news story last week about the alleged discovery of a Bigfoot "corpse"? It seemed kind of promising for a short time, with the guys who discovered "it" offering to have it DNA-tested. If the story passed you by and you're curious, you can click HERE.

When I first heard about it, I thought maybe it was just a deceased female human who hadn't bothered to shave her legs for awhile. I could relate.

So last night, in pretty much the middle of the night, after staying up late to watch the Olympics, write my blog post, read a few blog posts, yadda, yadda, yadda, I was sitting in the bathtub thinking about how I really needed to get to bed and sleep when for some inexplicable reason I felt compelled to shave my legs.

Shaving my legs in the middle of the night really isn't a great idea. Safety razors keep me from cutting a major artery, but still . . . . As I thought I was done with my bath and the water was draining out of the tub, I realized I had a virtual mohawk running down the back of my left leg. I soon fixed that, but goodness knows what else I may have missed. Even now I can see quite a few stray long, long hairs here and there. A little touch up is definitely in order. Not tonight though.

And remember how when you were too young to shave your legs but you wanted to do it anyway, your mother told you that shaving would make more hair grow? And if you were anything like me, you probably didn't believe her, because we all know mothers back then didn't know nearly as much as we do now, right? Well, guess what? Mom was right! 'Cause I SWEAR that tonight I had a whole lot of chin hairs that I didn't have last night before I shaved! And you know what else? If it's a choice between chin hair and leg hair? I'm just going to keep wearing pants.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chit Chat

Thank you all for stopping by and leaving a comment on yesterday's post. We have quite a few entries in the drawing for the Schnibbles X-Rated pattern, and there are still a couple days to go, so if you didn't enter yet, make sure you leave a comment on that post.

Work was lo-o-o-o-o-ong and somewhat stressful today; I was glad I got a good night's sleep last night. After working overtime, I came home to read all your comments, and they sure brightened my mood considerably! I was particularly touched by Nancy, who gave me an "I Love Your Blog" award! Thank you bunches, Nancy!

Nancy mentioned my "recycling," and my friend Eileen asked me today why I hadn't been thrifting lately, so I thought I'd mention the subject here. As it turns out, the Goodwill near my office (which I visited last week) seems to have cleaned out their store and doesn't seem to have much on their shelves. Last week I came away empty-handed--which is pretty odd for me! I've been planning to stop at one of the Goodwill stores near my house on the way home from work, but it was awfully hot last week (Goodwill isn't real big on air conditioning!) and work's been so busy this week, I just haven't had the time or inclination to stop and search for treasures. I'm sure I'll get back to thrifting soon, and when I do, I'll let you know what I find.

I also haven't had much time to get back to working on the borders of the X-Rated quilt top this week. I have, though, kept working on the border blocks for the Halloween quilt, and the photos sprinkled through today's post are the blocks I've completed recently. Much of the embellishment that really "makes" this quilt comes in the quilting and after the quilting, so at this point, the blocks look a little plain.

The applique on this quilt is going pretty quickly, though, because of the simplicity of the design. Each block consists of just a couple appliqued pieces.

A few of you have asked how I'm appliqueing these. My preferred method of applique is to use freezer paper templates ironed onto the back of the fabric. I then baste the fabric under (and around the freezer paper), press the piece flat with an iron, and pin it to the background. After that, I hand stitch the applique, remove the basting, and cut out the background fabric from the back of the appliqued piece. After removing the freezer paper through the back, I press the block and trim it to size--I start off with a background piece cut about 1/2" wider and longer than required in the instructions.

(Above is a purse--this is a perfect example of one of the blocks that will be embellished later by the addition of a handle!)

So, yes, I do hand applique and I find this method goes faster for me than needleturn, although I know that many of you who have done needleturn for a long time are probably quicker than I am since there's less prep time involved. Still, when I draw my own patterns, I can draw them directly onto the freezer paper and I like that flexibility.

Since I also have some applique to add to the borders of the X-Rated quilt, I suspect I'll be hanging around the Sweat Shop with thread and needle in hand quite a lot in the next few weeks. It's just too bad the Olympics can't be extended a week or two!

Happy quilting and happy Thursday--the weekend will soon be here!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Moment You've Been Waiting For . . .

Okay, let's have a drawing for the Schnibbles X-Rated pattern! (Just the pattern shown--not the fabric.) You know the drill--leave a comment saying you want it and I'll add you to the drawing. I'll draw a winner's name late Friday night and post the name on Saturday's blog post.

I'm feeling tired and very lazy tonight--no sewing or Olympics for me; just a good book, an inviting bed, and my beauty sleep. Our weather has been wonderful the last two days--highs in the high 70s/low 80s and cooler evenings and mornings that are perfect for sleeping. I have no idea what I'm missing on the Olympics tonight and it's probably best that way--otherwise, I'm sure I'd be tempted to watch!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Wild Child

In my blog, I almost always refer to my daughter as the Wild Child. Why? Mainly because she's such a free spirit. Not long ago, she said, "Mom, I don't know why you call me the Wild Child. I'm really not all that wild anymore." And in some ways, that's true. At the ripe old age of 24, she's settled into a routine of sorts. She has a steady job and a steady boyfriend. She's responsible with her obligations, and has a good head for budgeting her money and making sure her bills get paid. Still, in many ways, she's a Wild Child.

In my world, quilting is about as extreme as it gets. In her world, . . . well, the sky's the limit. She's constantly engaged in one outdoor activity or another, many of which in my mind involve at least some element of risk. Surfing, hiking, kayaking, snowboarding--the list goes on and on. In fact, she and her boyfriend will be spending a week kayaking around Lake Tahoe soon. Last summer they had no formal residence, unless you can call the occasional campsite a "residence"--and that was largely by choice.

She's not bound by conventional thinking, although she is a deep thinker and always has been. Once she's thought something through, there's no wishy-washy-ness about her opinions and she's not afraid to express them, although she is open minded and listens fully to what others have to say about what they believe. If something strikes her as funny, she'll say it or do it no matter how outlandish it might seem, although she's rarely cruel in her humor.

She's a throw back to the hippie era. Make up and hair styles don't occupy much of her time. What she wears isn't all that important to her, and her style of dress is more a matter of comfort and utility than the latest trend. Although her clothes are clean, wrinkles don't bother her much. If she had no mirrors to look at herself in, I doubt she'd miss them.

On Saturday, she called to ask if she could come down and spend the night Sunday because she had a court appearance on a traffic ticket this morning. She told us she and her boyfriend planned to get into town around mid-day. They wanted to drop her stuff off and then leave to run some errands. They would be gone all afternoon, and after that, they planned to go out to dinner, so we needn't worry about feeding them.

Right on schedule they arrived around noon, chatted with us a little bit, and left, promising to return in the early evening. Sure enough, they came home around 8 p.m., bearing leftover Chinese food. And those errands she had to run?

Of course, she knew better than to tell me ahead of time, although Hubby knew what they had planned. I would have been a nervous wreck! The last time I told her not to tell me something was when she planned to hike up Half Dome--I didn't want to know until she was down again. So what did she do? She called me at my office from her cell phone when she was at the top!

And you might appreciate the email she sent me today along with her photos:

"A note from Wild Child:

I, as most people, have been greatly influenced by my parents. They inspire and encourage me constantly. My father's limited mobility has given me an appreciation for the experiences that he cannot share with me. My mother, on the other hand, inspires me with her irrational fears. Yesterday was no exception. For some sick reason I enjoy the disapproving looks and disdain in her voice almost more than the act which causes it.

Love you mom talk to you soon."

I don't know where she gets her wry and twisted sense of humor. Must be her father.

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Quilting Progress

Except for a nice little nap, a shortish reading break, and some not-too-elaborate dinner preparations, I spent the entire day in the Sweat Shop. I started the day with a cup of coffee and the Halloween witch quilt pattern. This bustier block completes the top row of the border:

Yes, the placement of the candy corn amuses me no end! I wish I had another block prepared to take with me to the office to work on during my lunch hour tomorrow, but I'm afraid I didn't leave myself enough time. I kept thinking I should stop and prepare an applique block, but I was anxious to finish the center section of the Schnibbles X-Rated quilt top--which I managed to do just as the evening's broadcast of the Olympics concluded.

Surprise! Are you surprised I used black polka dots as a background fabric? I was! I actually had quite a pile of the white background squares cut when I spotted the black in my stash and thought I'd like it better. This change, though, will alter what I had planned for the borders and it will mean a stop at the quilt shop on my way home from work tomorrow night to see about a different border fabric. Darn! Don't you just hate having to go to the quilt shop? NOT! And if I have my wits about me when I go in, I'll try to remember to get a photo of the brown and pink quilt Elaine made--I've forgotten to get a photo to share with you twice now!

I hope you've had a great weekend too! Thanks for stopping in for a visit!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

And In Quilting News . . .

I promised I'd try to get a few more photos of the quilting on the Thimbleberries Lakeside quilt. Hopefully these will show a little better:

On Friday, I appliqued the first border block of the Halloween witch quilt--one of the shoe blocks--

Much of today was spent cutting strips and squares for the Schnibbles X-Rated quilt.

I started sewing it together, but it's kind of boring and tedious work, so I put it aside this evening and appliqued a second block for the Halloween border--

These applique pieces are simple and go pretty quickly. I just might have this one done in time for Halloween after all!

In between sewing, I managed to clean house--not one of my favorite weekend activities! And, of course, then there were the Olympics to watch. At least I can stay up late watching and not worry about getting up early for work, although the Wild Child and her boyfriend are coming down on Sunday, so I guess I ought to get a little sleep. Happy quilting!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Sound of Music

I'm no Julie Andrews, but lately I keep wanting to burst into tunes from the Sound of Music. Let me tell you why.

Hubby's been off work the last two days, and yesterday afternoon he called me at the office. "I'm back home," he said. "Back from where?," I asked. I didn't remember him saying he was going anywhere--last I heard, he was going to do some yard work and maybe watch the Olympics. Turned out, though, that he had some shopping to do--for clothing.

Now probably 65 percent of you would be startled at the idea of your husband voluntarily shopping, right? Well, yes, I admit I was somewhat surprised. "What did you buy?," I asked. First he told me that Mervyn's (a California department store chain that used to be owned by the same company that owns Target) didn't carry men's cologne--or at least he couldn't find it. So, he said, he may need to go back out to the drug store or WalMart to get some. It's probably a good thing he couldn't see me roll my eyes, although I did mention that if he was going to start buying cologne from the drug store, he might want to look for an apartment to rent too.

My husband is very thrifty--have I mentioned that before? Turned out he also wanted to get a pair of Levi's but was shocked they cost $34. $34? That sounded like a pretty good bargain to me. Of course, I don't think Hubby's been shopping for clothing for about 12 years; still, I don't think they've gone up a whole lot in that time. (I'm telling you, though, that's exactly why he has no idea how much a yard of fabric costs, and I'm happy enough to keep it that way!)

Anyway, he decided to wait for a sale on Levi's and settled on a pair of Wrangler jeans for now--they only cost something like $11 after coupons or something--a couple pairs of shorts, and some new white socks to go with his new shorts. Such a fashion plate, eh?

When I got home from work, he was trying on his new shorts. "Every place had such long shorts! Why would you even bother wearing shorts if they're that long?," he asked. But apparently he finally found a couple pair he liked--they even had a bunch of pockets to keep his stuff in--so he snapped them up. They kind of look like this . . .

. . . but without the bib/suspender part.

Because I believe strongly in looking at the positive side of things, I'm thinking that at least this will keep me in the Sweat Shop, turning out quilt after quilt until colder weather comes and those long, skinny, white legs are covered up again, 'cause we're sure not going out anywhere for now. Except maybe to a store that carries good cologne. Because although I can shut my eyes whenever it's necessary, it's a lot harder to stop breathing. Okay, everybody, join in and sing with me now:

Edelweiss, Edelweiss

Every morning you greet me . . . .

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Plan!

Thank you all for your comments and input on what project I should tackle next. Apparently you think I should do them all, and I kind of agree! So here's my plan--now let's see if I can carry it through.

I'm going to start piecing the Schnibbles X-Rated pattern using the Portugal fabric. I reasoned that I just finished quilting a quilt, so I deserve a little piece(ing). I'll probably start cutting Friday night. Now one thing I hadn't mentioned to you before is that I have a little bit of applique planned for this one, so it won't be just a weekend project, but I'm going to keep it simple, so hopefully I WILL be able to get it done before too long. And, of course, you can look forward to another Schnibbles pattern giveaway soon!

I'm also starting the Halloween applique project. I'm not sure how long it will take, but I'll bring this one to work with me and work on it during my lunch hours. I'll also have it to work on at home when I need a break from the sewing machine. I've sorted out my backgrounds--the lime green on the left of the pattern is the center background; the rest are the backgrounds for the border appliques:

I'm going to try to get the first block prepped tonight and take it to work tomorrow. No time like the present!

Finally, once I get the Schnibbles quilt pieced, I'll switch sewing machines back to the Juki and haul out the Thimbleberries Stars quilt and get that one quilted. My goal is to have it quilted by my next Thimbleberries Club meeting the second Wednesday in September for show and tell. And, of course, I'll do a little tutorial for those of you who asked how it was pieced--I'd like to make a couple pillow covers to match the quilt, so making a few of the blocks to show you how it's done will work into my plans pretty well.

Ambitious plans, yes? Yes! Well, those darn Olympics should give me a good head start since I probably won't be sleeping much for another week! And about those Olympics--I may miss a night or two of blogging. Don't worry about me. I've probably just fallen asleep at the keyboard!

Oh, and tonight I got the hanging sleeve sewn onto the Lakeside quilt and have it hanging--no pesky cats to ruin the photo:

I've been asked how I quilted it, so here are two close ups of a couple sections. I think if you click on them to make them larger, you should be able to see the quilting patterns. (I clicked after I posted this and they don't show up that great. Maybe in a different light, the quilting will show up better. I'll see if I can get better photos in the next couple days during daylight hours.)

Well, I gotta go. I have a lot to get done. I'll be sure to show you my progress, so stop back by when you get a chance!

P.S.: Oops! Almost forgot: I FOUND the American Patchwork and Quilting magazine! Last night I went to bed and was reading; I glanced over at my stack of books and magazines on the desk next to me, and there it was at the bottom of the pile. So, yes, the pink and brown quilt is in my future, but the question now is which pattern do I want to use? One thing is certain: I'll have time to think about it while I work on these other projects!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Quilt Dreams

Now that the Thimbleberries Lakeside quilt is nearly done (needing only a sleeve and to be hung where fat furry pests can't get in the way of a good photo), I've spent part of the evening--once I came home from our monthly Thimbleberries Club meeting--hanging out in the Sweat Shop, dreaming about the quilt possibilities on the horizon.

I really love the pink and brown quilt Elaine of my Jo's Little Women's Club made, and so I've been buying a few fat quarters here and there and gathering what I already have from my shelves. Here's a lovely large pile of what I've sorted:

If you recall, I mentioned a week or so ago that Elaine had made the pink and brown quilt from American Patchwork & Quilting using all 1800s repro fabrics and slightly smaller blocks than what the pattern called for. Unfortunately, I think I cleaned out my magazines and gave that issue away. Last night, I looked through the patterns I had saved and didn't find it, but I DID find this pattern--Civil War Dishes--and I'm thinking about using it for the pink and brown quilt instead. What do you think?

Then there's this yummy, summertime pile of Portugal fabric and the Schnibbles pattern just patiently waiting for me. Should I start this one while I'm still in a summertime mood?

Then there's the next block of the Christmas List quilt--Build a Snowman.

And tonight at Thimbleberries Club, Julia and I were talking a little about the Thimbleberries Hometown Christmas quilt--it's about time I got back to that one and made the last few blocks, don'tcha think?!

And the Bronwyn Hayes stitchery quilt. Don't forget that one! Lorraine and I were considering the possibility of working on it during the Olympics. Well, maybe that can wait a little while because I'll still need the next two magazines anyway.

A couple years ago, I bought this pattern in Salt Lake City and have collected some fabric for it. I'd sure like to make it in time for Halloween this year. Do you know that Halloween is only two and a half months away?

Oh! And that scrappy Thimbleberries star quilt I pinned that needs to be quilted. You remember that one? The one I said I'd do a little tutorial on? Yep, that's the one!

So which project do I work on next?! It's so hard to pick! I think I'll have to sleep on it--I'm trying to ignore the Olympics tonight because I'd really, REALLY like to get a little sleep! Then again, how can I think about sleep when there are all these quilt projects to work on?!! ARGH!

And before I forget--because with all these quilts swirling through my head and lack of sleep, it's a good possibility--someone asked me about the blueberry cobbler I made the other day. Here's a link to a post that contains another photo of the cobbler and a link to the recipe itself. I hope that's not too confusing! (Click HERE.)

And before I forget--I'm going to bed and hope to get a little more sleep tonight than I have lately. I'm glad you had a chance to stop by!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tired Tuesday!

Another late night watching young and hard-bodied athletes compete. I love what Michael Phelps has been able to accomplish so far but I'm getting a little tired of men's swimming being all about him. Are you? I kind of feel bad for the other guys swimming for the US in the relays who win along with Phelps but get very little recognition for the part they play. And it's almost refreshing to see an occasional swimming competition that DOESN'T include Phelps. Still, I hope he continues to do well.

Women's gymnastics was pretty--I really enjoy the uneven bar routines and can't imagine swinging around and around and flinging oneself from one bar to the other. In fact, sometimes I can't imagine getting down on the floor and getting back up again. Unfortunately the US women's team had some serious errors, but the Chinese were a delight to watch doing their floor routines. Congrats to them in winning the gold. I thought Bela Karolyi was refreshingly candid--and opinionated!--in expressing his belief that many of the "women" on the Chinese team were under age. But when did that age rule go into effect anyway and why? It seems like gymnastics has always featured young girls barely out of puberty. And some of the other sports include young competitors, so although yeah, it seems to me that a few of the Chinese girls may be fibbing a bit on their age, so what?

And men's beach volleyball. Why do they need to wear shirts? Wouldn't it be better for them and us if they played bare-chested?

Well, you can see where my mind is going, so it's probably time for me to get to bed. On the quilting front, I've spent the last two evenings stitching bindings, labels, and sleeves. I finished my version of the Thimbleberries Lakeside quilt and took it out of the washer and dryer, spread it on the bed, and got ready to take a photo for you . . .

. . . but within seconds, this happened. The resident quilt-tester decided to be the first one on it, got a good purrrrrrr going, and refused to budge. That's okay, though--I'd rather get a sleeve on it and hang it before I get a "good" photo to show you.

Tomorrow night's my Thimbleberries Club meeting followed closely, no doubt, by further television viewing of Olympic proportions. Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Too Much Stuff, Too Little Time!

ARGH! It's a little past 1 a.m. and I have to get up at 7 a.m. for work. These darn Olympics are completely interfering with my life--particularly my blog life.

Tonight's broadcast just concluded. I thought I might just walk away earlier and come visit with you, but HELLO?! The last couple hours were men's gymnastics, and I'm completely positive that none of you would expect me to walk away from a fine display of rippling male muscles. Would you? No, I thought not. Yes, I will admit I do feel slightly guilty about enjoying rippling male muscles when they're attached to males who are younger than my kids. Still, watching what they can do to stuff like bars, rings, and beams just completely amazes me.

Anyway, sorry I don't have more time to visit with you tonight, but maybe there will be a few less exciting competitions tomorrow night and we can chat a little more and catch up. Maybe it will be women's beach volleyball. Sure, I enjoy watching Kerry Walsh and Misty May-Treanor play volleyball as much as anyone else, but seeing them run all over the sand without the smallest display of jiggling body parts is kind of depressing.

Oh, by the way--hey Laura! Do you know where your husband is?

Monday, August 11, 2008

The World

Have you been watching the Olympics? I have. I wasn't too excited by the opening ceremonies, but then I never am. I think I watched maybe half an hour and then turned it to something else. But I love watching the athletes compete. The men's swimming relay today was pretty darn exciting!

I've noticed that watching the Olympics this time is a little bit different, though. Yes, I get excited when an athlete from the USA wins--that hasn't changed. But now when athletes from other countries do well, it reminds me of my blog friends in those countries--Australia, the Neatherlands, and the UK to name a few. YAY!!! to you and your country!

I had a comment to yesterday's post that was in Spanish, I believe. Have you ever used Babel Fish to translate a paragraph? Sometimes you can get some pretty funny results. I translated the comment and here's what I got:

"Today descubri your blog and I like much, I congratulate this to you very pretty but I cannot read it, I am going to have to learn idioma.pero as I like and I do patchwork, seguire watching your trabajos.te control an affectionate hug."

An affectionate hug back atcha Maria Emilia. And thanks for telling me you like my blog even if you can't read it. I totally understand because I've never been very good at languages other than English. In the spirit of an international exchange of ideas without language, I guess I'd better post a photo or two.

I took two more photos of the Christmas List blocks so far--in the daylight, so you can see them a bit better. I hope you're not tired of seeing them.

Then, just so you know I haven't sunk to the depths of Hamburger Helper as a daily nutrition source, I thought I'd wow you with a photo of the blueberry cobbler I made. And yes, I actually stopped quilting long enough today to go to the grocery store, so there are at least a few good meals in our immediate future.

Tonight I finished quilting the Thimbleberries Lakeside BOM quilt; tomorrow night I'll get the binding on and maybe sewn down, but I suspect that's a little too ambitious since I also have the Christmas List class.

Thanks for stopping by to visit, and a big thank you and "good luck" to my international friends for helping to broaden my world beyond my own country's boundaries!