Sunday, October 31, 2010

Don't Wait!

One of the best things about pinning a quilt is that it's good thinking time. When I'm pinning a quilt, I'm usually away from all the normal distractions, and the task itself is rather mindless. Of course, pinning quilts is probably most fun when done with a friend to help, but when it's done alone, I find my mind wanders around and ponders all the little things that often pass by unnoticed.

Today I pinned a quilt and thought about a few things. Like not postponing fun, joy, and happiness.

People tell me I get a lot done, and I guess I do. But all of us are busy doing things all the time, unless we're sleeping, so I'm sure we all get things done--it's just a matter of deciding what we want to spend our time doing, right? Not everything we chose to do results in something tangible. For instance, besides pinning a quilt, I spent quite a lot of the day today cleaning out kitchen cupboards, tossing out anything too long past the "best by" date, and reorganizing what remained. I COULD show you photos, but I think you'd be largely unimpressed. We all do these kinds of tasks all the time. When you think about what you get done, don't forget to count all the day-to-day chores!

Really, I think part of the reason it seems I get a lot done is because much of my time is spent MAKING things, so there's something tangible to show at the end. I also manage to use ALL of my time--I try to cram as much as I can into the time I have. If I have to leave the house in ten minutes, I'll usually spend eleven minutes working on SOMETHING rather than sit and wait for the time to pass or leave early. And it's amazing how much I can get done in those little chunks of time.

As I was pinning my quilt, I thought about a friend of mine. She isn't a quilter but she sews and enjoys crafts. When I told her about the Vintage Notions class I was taking at the quilt shop, she was interested in the class but said she couldn't start until January. When I asked her why, she explained that she was going to be gone in December. Upon further inquiry, I learned she'd be gone only about a week, and I don't think her vacation falls at the same time as the class; still, I dropped the subject at that point. It made little sense to me that she didn't feel she had time to take the class until after her December trip, but it was clearly something she didn't think she could take on right now.

A few days later, I was in the quilt shop and asked Lindy, the owner, whether my friend might be able to join the class later if she was interested. That led to a discussion about how different people are about their schedules and their commitments--what for some people is a normal schedule, other people are overwhelmed by. Lindy said she sees the same thing all the time.

As I continued pinning my quilt, I thought about another friend. I had just learned this morning that her husband passed away a few days ago. Of course, that reminded me that life is short--and the older we get, the shorter it seems. I just can't imagine not packing everything I can into the time I have, especially when it comes to the things I enjoy. When there's a choice between doing something NOW or waiting until later, I almost always pick the NOW option because what if there IS no "later"?

Something to think about.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reeling in the Fun!

Oh, Friday was SUCH a fun day, and I'm sure I can't even convey half of it to you. Probably not even a quarter.

First of all, it was my office's Halloween celebration, and the theme this year was "Hangin' in Hollywood." And wouldn't you know it? On the way to work, I realized I had left my camera at home! But let's see if I can cover a couple of the highlights--you'll need to use your imagination to visualize.

We had three Charlie's Angels dressed in metallic-looking neon spandex pants and silver high heeled shoes. Our Pitney-Bowes copy guy was Bosley. Cher arrived from the 60s, but Sonny didn't make it. Former Boy Boss came as the Octomom. With three kids at home, he was able to round up eight "babies" to hang around his neck. Wearing one of his wife's maternity tops, a long black wig, and lipstick, he was an interesting sight! Former Girl Boss 1 wore a pink suit and was the character played by Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde--she even brought her chihuahua/Italian greyhound dressed in a pink "coat," and then she played loops of video from the movie on her office computer in case anyone was in doubt about her identity.

A slide show ran continuously in the lunch room in which photos of real people from the office were superimposed on photos of film stars and famous people. For instance, the attorney who sings in a band? His photo replaced one of the Rolling Stones--probably Keith Richards, I suspect. Lunch was served and consisted of movie theater snack bar food--nachos, chili, hot dogs, etc. And we each received a plastic popcorn container filled with movie snacks, like Coke and boxes of candy.

And after lunch . . . . Well, I'm not sure what happened after lunch because I left the office around 2:30 to go to Bearpaws & Hollyhocks and hang out with all the stitching ladies, talking, eating, and drinking tea. Now I know that may SOUND a little boring, but believe me, it truly wasn't. Some of those ladies can get off onto the funniest subjects!

After everyone had a little something to eat and finished their first cup or so of tea and settled in, we went around the table and introduced ourselves and said a few words about what we were working on or whatever else we wanted to say. I think there were probably about 12 of us today, so it was a pretty good sized crowd. And I swear we couldn't get more than two people along before someone would sidetrack us onto some hilarious subject or another--like the woman who told us she thought she should be able to collect money for her husband when he dies by rendering the remains and selling the result. Hummmm. I have no idea what got her on THAT subject, but now that I think about it, this was the same lady who told us about her fondness for gardening and problems with seasonal depression during winter months. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?!

Yes, spending time at the quilt shop was a nice way to end the work week, especially when they had all their Halloween fabric and Halloween "gifts" at 50% off--and, of course, I needed some Halloween fabric for a couple quilt backs, so it was perfect!

After that, I swung by one of my favorite Chinese restaurants and got take out so I could come home and sew. What a perfect day! And maybe best of all? It's time for bed, and I don't have to set the alarm to get up for work. Woo-hoooooo!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Week's Flown By . . .

It's hard to believe, but Halloween's nearly here and October's almost over. And for me, this week has really gone quickly.

On Monday, Hubby flew to Florida to visit a friend for a week. It seemed like I'd have a long, lovely week to myself--something I haven't had for a long, long time. Not that I don't enjoy Hubby's company, but I really DO crave a little alone time now and then, and since Hubby stopped working nearly two years ago, the house is rarely empty longer than about ten minutes.

So, on Tuesday, I took the day off work and just relaxed, sewed, and soaked in the peace and quiet. (The Wild Child was at school and work almost all day and evening.)

On Wednesday, I spent the first of two long days working on a big, rush project at work. I didn't get home until 9 p.m.

On Thursday, I spent another busy day at work and finally got the project out the door by closing time. Afterward, I met a friend for dinner and a little shopping--the people at Home Goods practically pushed us out the door so they could close!

Friday? Another day at work, but we'll be celebrating Halloween with costumes, games, and food. Still, I hope to get off work early enough to make it to the quilt shop for a little tea and stitchery in the afternoon.

Before Hubby left for Florida, he asked me if I'd miss him. Of course I figured I would, but so far I haven't spent enough time at home to hardly notice, aside from that first day he was gone. I DO hope things will slow down a little now that the weekend's nearly here. I think his homecoming will be a lot more fun if I can just find the time to miss him before he comes back.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Please Allow 4 to 6 Weeks for Delivery

Remember those days? How in the world did we ever wait so long between ordering something and having it delivered? Of course, there are still catalogue and internet companies that caution us about long waits, but it's not at all unusual anymore to order something online and have it arrive just a couple days later.

I was trying to think back to when the time for delivery got so much shorter, and I tend to think that for me, it was when I started buying things through eBay. And then, a few years after that, along came the Fat Quarter Shop and spoiled me even more. Since they almost always ship Priority Mail the day an order is placed, there's barely any wait. And, of course, there quite a lot of other shops out there that provide the same quick service.

A couple weeks ago, I placed an order with an eBay store--of course, this was a late night finger poking session--and by the next morning, the seller had sent me a Priority Mail tracking number. I anticipated my order would arrive in a couple days, but it seemed that I waited and I waited, and just as I was starting to think my order must have gotten lost in delivery, it showed up in my mailbox--a WEEK after the date printed on the Priority Mail postage label.

My first reaction was annoyance, because I suspect the package was prepared for mailing and the seller just never made it to the post office until several days later. But then I checked myself--what was the hurry? After all, it wasn't like I was going to rush that fabric into the Sweat Shop and have at it. Nope, it will simmer on the shelf for a little while like most of my textile purchases, so there was really no rush at all.

You know what still bugs me though? I paid a premium price to get this fabric because it was over a year old and hard to find. On top of that, I paid a small fortune for postage and handling, only to wait over a week for it to arrive. Overall, I guess I'd have to admit I'm not all that pleased with this seller and will probably avoid him or her in the future. But then again, how spoiled am I to complain about having to wait a week to get some fabric I really wanted? I'm sure I wouldn't have found it at all if not for the convenience of the internet.

What are your thoughts? Do we expect too much, or is it reasonable to demand superior customer service from merchants vying for our business?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Time Off

Thank you all for your input on sewing the letters on the pennant. The kind of funny thing is that Soccer Son called me tonight to see if I'd started yet. Well, no, I hadn't, but why did he want to know? Turns out he's decided to look into having someone make a duplicate using better quality materials. Something tells me he's pretty proud of "his boys," don't you agree?! He didn't ask me whether I could make it, but I'll probably talk to him later and find out what he has in mind and the cost involved. I think it just hasn't occurred to him yet that it's something I could probably do, or maybe he just has a good source he's worked with before.

I took the day off work today to play in the Sweat Shop, and I don't have much to write about what I worked played on or show you just yet, but I hope I will in the next day or two. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coach of the Year

I was giddy with excitement to learn tonight that Soccer Son had been voted Coach of the Year by his fellow high school soccer coaches. I gather, though, the award tends to be somewhat automatically given to the coach of the winning team--and Soccer Son's team won this year. Still, I think his training and leadership had a lot to do with it--he's really good with those kids.

What did the team get? Well, they got this pennant, for one thing. And that's where having a blog comes in handy, because I need your advice.

Soccer Son showed up tonight with the pennant in hand and asked me if I could sew the letters down. You see, he expects the pennant to hang in the gymnasium for "15 to 20 years," and he's worried the glue will dry out and the letters will fall off if they're not sewn down. Well, of course I said I'd do it, but I wonder how it should be done. Have you ever done anything similar? Would you hand stitch it using a blanket stitch or machine stitch it using a straight stitch? Or something else?

Thanks for your input! I appreciate the help.

Monday, October 25, 2010


The wool class on Saturday was a lot of fun for me, and I hope my students enjoyed it too. This was a smaller class, so I had time to show the students my technique for using a sort of quilt-as-you-go technique with free motion settings to sew one of these little wallhangings fairly quickly by machine. And while I didn't get it all done in class, by the end of Saturday evening, I had finished a Santa wallhanging--

Did you notice Santa's cheeks and nose are a better pink now? More healthy and not so wino-ish?

So you're probably wondering who won the virtual student contest, right? Well, I decided to pick two winners this time.

First of all, Tiffaney at Tiffaney is Sew Busy. If you pop over to her blog, you'll see her version of the Happy Jacks quilt she made from the tutorial in my sidebar. It really turned out cute!

Second, Nancy who blogs near Philadelphia. I think Nancy may have won a giveaway of mine sometime ago, because I vaguely recall finding out what was near Philadelphia, but I don't remember anymore!

So, Nancy and Tiffaney, please email me your mailing addresses and tell me whether you'd like a Santa kit, a Snowman kit, or a Pumpkin/Crow kit, and I'll get your packets in the mail to you this week. Congratulations, ladies!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Um, Um, Good!

Okay, you asked for my recipes I served today, and here they are. Sadly, although I brought my camera to class, I forgot to take photos. You'll have to make these yourself to see how they look. Look fast though--they'll disappear before you know it!


2 large baking potatoes (about 8 ounces each)
6 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion (3)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups milk
1-1/4 cups shredded (diced) American cheese (5 ounces)
4 slices bacon, crisp-cooked, drained, and crumbled

Scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush; pat dry. Prick potatoes with a fork. Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 40 to 60 minutes or until tender; cool. Cut each potato lengthwise. Scoop out white portion of each potato. Break up any large pieces of potato. Discard potato skins. (Or eat them filled with yummy stuff. Your choice. They just aren't needed for the soup.)

In a large saucepan cook 3 tablespoons of the green onion in butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir for 12 to 15 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Add the potato and 1 cup of the cheese; stir until cheese melts.

Top each serving with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese, remaining 3 tablespoons green onion, and the bacon. (NOTE: Since I was serving this in a crockpot as a "serve yourself" food, I just put it all in at the same time and didn't mess around with "toppings.")

Makes 5 to 6 servings (5-1/2 cups)


2 c. white granulated sugar
1/2 c. oil
2 eggs
4 c. peeled, diced apples
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. baking soda

Mix together in bowl the sugar, oil, eggs, and apples; blend well. Add flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix well again. (Batter will seem dry and hard to mix–this is the way it should be.) Transfer mix to greased 9 x 13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, warm or cold. Yum!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wool Class Virtual Student

Okay, so in reference to yesterday's post, I admit I don't like to shave my legs much. And yes, I'm married, but he doesn't shave his either. Ever. So we're even, sort of!

Saturday is my wool class, Baa Baa Black Sheep . . . Have You Any Wool, and as I often have a "virtual student" contest in connection with my classes, I didn't want to disappoint the masses this time.

Here's a copy of the photo on the front of the pattern. Yes, Santa looks like he's been hitting the wine bottle a little too hard, but I have since dyed some lighter pink wool, and that's what's been added to the Santa kits. I also tea stained some better wool for his beard and designed the beard a little fuller--I just haven't had a chance to make up a new and improved Santa yet.

My students will have an opportunity to pick one of the three kits--pumpkins, snowman, or Santa--and assuming I still have a full selection left after the class on Saturday, the winner of the virtual student contest will also get a choice of one of these. The pattern, which will also go out to the student in the packet, contains instructions for all three.

I'm serving my "real" students baked potato soup and Apple Hill cake; unfortunately, the food is one thing my "virtual" student will not receive. Bummer, huh?!

The other thing I wanted to mention is that I have room for a couple more students in class, so if you're within driving distance of the Sacramento area and want to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon doing something fun, call Bearpaws & Hollyhocks when they open at 10 a.m. Their number is (916) 971-9392. Class starts at 1 p.m. And there's no need to bring any supplies--it will all be provided, although a pair of scissors might come in handy.

So if you're around the area, join me in class; if you're not, leave a comment telling me you'd like to be entered for a chance to win. I'll draw a winner on Sunday night to be posted on Monday's blog. Also? I might not post on Saturday night/Sunday because I expect I might be just a tad tired. Good luck on the contest and thanks for visiting!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Beauty Tips

You all know that sometimes I share with you some of my beauty tips, right? I haven't blogged on that subject for awhile, but I was doing a little beauty preparation in anticipation of the class I'm teaching on Saturday, and I thought it might be a good time to pass on a couple suggestions.

First, October's a good month to shave your legs. Soon the holiday season will be here, and most of us will be waaaaaaay too busy to think about frivolous beauty details such as this. Consider first, though, your Halloween costume: Would smooth legs add or detract from the effect you're striving to achieve? In some instances, it may be best to delay that final shave of the year until the beginning of November. Remember, ladies, for most of us, it takes less than an hour to shave it all off but months to grow it back, so don't be too hasty!

Second, and this is, of course, related: Don't forget to tidy up your yard by giving your grass that last mow of the season. And no, I'm not speaking euphamistically here. I'm telling you to get the lawn mower out of the garage (or your husband off the recliner) and mow the REAL lawn.

I think you'll find that the time we take now to spruce up ourselves and our surroundings will pay off in the long run.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Excellent New Class!

A couple weeks ago, Gran told me about a class she had signed up for at Bearpaws & Hollyhocks called Vintage Notions and I thought it sounded fun. It was a little more costly than most classes I've taken, but then I found out it's a year-long monthly class and the cost of the class included a really cool book, so I figured it was worth it. Of course, I signed up, and tonight was the first class--and it WAS worth it!

The class is based on Amy Barickman's book Vintage Notions--

Barickman had come across old papers by and about Mary Brooks Picken, founder of The Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences in Scranton, PA, and many of the writings and articles associated with the Women's Institute from the 1920s are reproduced in the book. The book is broken down into seasons, and each chapter corresponds with a month--and that makes it easy for our class to meet each month and read from and discuss the corresponding month in the book. And, although it's October, we started with November, because of course we're all used to looking ahead and planning, so this is perfect.

Most of us had parents or grandparents who grew up in the 1920s, and that means that at least some of our time will be spent each month reminiscing about the "good old days"--or the "bad old days," depending on the specific topic and point of view. And what's more fun than getting together with a bunch of women and chatting about "women stuff" and memories? We had a great time tonight!

If you're a shop owner, teacher, or potential student, you might want to check out the book or look into taking a class based on the book at a quilt shop near you. And if you're already taking the class? Well, what do you think? I'd love to know!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Want to Thank the Academy . . .

Have you ever visited Yosemite? If you did, and if you approached the park from the southwest end, then you've been to Oakhurst. I haven't been to Yosemite for quite a few years, and the last time I visited was, I think, just before I started quilting, so I've never visited Bear Paw Quilts & More in Oakhurst, but I'd like to someday.

Bear Paw Quilts has been one of this year's sponsors of the Year of Schnibbles Sherri and Sinta have worked hard to organize, and because I finished all 12 projects, my name was entered in the final drawing. Sadly, I didn't win anything. Not at first, anyway. Darlene of Quilting Daze was picked to win a table runner kit from Bear Paw Quilts. But she's one of those lucky people who wins everything, and she was kind enough to suggest Sinta draw another name--see, that's where she and I are different. She's kind; I'm . . . well, let just say I wouldn't have given the kit back for someone else to win. And, of course, that's probably why she wins--all that good karma stuff.

So, anyway, eventually Sinta picked my name, and the kit arrived a couple days ago. I wanted to show you what I won, even though the photo's slightly blurry--it a pattern called Maple Mambo together with all the beautiful fall fabric to make it.

I happened to click over to Sinta's blog today, and guess what? She's posted a photographic tour of Bear Paw Quilts! What a coincidence! Are you thinking about planning a trip to Yosemite at some point? Go on over to visit Sinta and see what's waiting for you at Bear Paw Quilts. Yosemite's a lovely place to visit in the fall.

Thank you Bear Paw Quilts, Sinta, Sherri, and Darlene! I had fun with the Year of Schnibbles, I can hardly wait to make up the table runner kit, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming year of Le Petite projects.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We Seem to Be Experiencing Technical Difficulties . . .

You know those times when everything seems to be somewhat wrong? Not major bad news/catastrophic events but just where there's one little annoyance after another? I've got that. And for once, I'm not talking about Hubby.

A couple little disturbances WERE caused by a male though--that darn Stitch! I got in the car to go to work this morning, only to find that while he was in my car Saturday night, Stitch took liberties with the rear view mirror, the high beams, and the air vents. If there's anything else he messed around with, I haven't found it yet, but it won't surprise me.

Tonight while I was watching TV, the dish receiver froze up for a bit. Not that I really mind seeing Jay Leno paralyzed with his mouth open, but it wouldn't even let me change the channel. And on top of that, a little while later, all the color faded from all the channels, and I was watching black and white TV for about five minutes before the color came back. Annoying.

And Yahoo wouldn't let me open some of my email messages. Sometimes I think Yahoo just likes to mess with us. I suspect the same thing of Windows. Have you ever noticed Windows will give us an update and then nothing works quite right for a couple days until they push out another one?

Earlier today, I sent Hubby off to Kinkos to make copies of some of my quilt patterns for my class on Saturday and somehow--through my lack of attention to detail and just not thinking things through--copy costs were crazy high. And yesterday? I sent digital photos off for one-hour developing, only to learn when Hubby went to pick them up that the photo printer was broken.

I don't know. Maybe I just got up this morning on the wrong side of the bed. But getting up on the other side would have meant climbing across Hubby, and he was already annoyed enough this a.m. when the Wild Child and I were talking and inadvertently woke him from his beauty sleep. Not that we were talking very much or very loudly, but the Wild Child was kind of grossed out when she got out of the shower and stepped on a little bit of invisible cat poo-poo that migrated outside the litter box. I really can't blame her for being a bit upset. In fact, now that I think about it, I guess I don't have it that bad after all.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm Late, I'm Late!

I'm running waaaaay late tonight and should be in bed, so I'll make this brief--just so you don't wonder if something terrible happened to me.

I've spent a good part of the weekend getting things ready for the wool class I'm teaching at Bear Paws & Hollyhocks next Saturday and I'm nearly ready--which is pretty nice, considering that I'm usually still stuffing patterns the night before! But I have all my kits made up, pattern covers and backs printed, and Hubby's getting copies of the patterns made and picking up pattern photos tomorrow, so we should be about done by tomorrow night--yay!

We were surprised with cooler temperatures and a bit of rain today, so I thought it would be the perfect day to get the crockpot out and make 9-Can Soup. Here's the recipe so you can make it too:

2 cans of Hormel tamales--slice the tamales 1/4"
2 cans of no-bean chili
1 can of beans (here's where I change things and make 10-Can Soup--I add two cans of beans, different types)
1 can of corn
1 can of hominy
1 can of green chiles
1 can of diced tomatoes (I used the kind that has chiles too for a little more heat)

Dump all of it into the crock pot and cook on high for about four hours or on low for about six to eight hours. I like to serve it with diced onion and shredded cheese. Yum!

Besides making soup, I made a last batch of peach jam, which only yielded a couple small jars, but that's enough for us!

Back to work tomorrow, so I guess I'd better get to bed. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Funny Boy

Our younger cat, Stitch, is just a few months over a year old, and he's quite a character! He loves to cuddle at bedtime and will climb up and lay in my arms while I'm reading, just before I turn out the light. On the other hand, he can be very arrogant and demanding, meowing at us until we let him outside. And other than a mid-day cat nap, he spends much of the day outside, prowling his domain.

Lately when I come home from work, it's been his habit to greet me as I open the car door and, if I'm not careful, climb into or on top of the car--I'm always afraid I'm going to shut the door on a paw or a tail.

Stitch tends to come in and out of the house throughout the day, but mostly he spends his time outdoors, and it's not unusual for us to not see him until it's time to bring him in for the night. And when that time rolls around, I step out onto the front patio and whistle for him, and usually he comes running--if not right away, then just as long as it takes him to run home from wherever he's gone off to explore.

I spent a busy day today, cleaning house, grocery shopping, and cooking; Hubby ran a couple errands and visited his brother, and he arrived home for dinner, about an hour after I returned from doing the grocery shopping. We ate dinner together with the Wild Child and then we all separated to do whatever we had planned for the evening--for me, that was doing a little sewing in the Sweat Shop.

Throughout the evening, I heard loud "party noises" from the house behind ours; the later it got, the louder it got, until yelling and loud banging erupted around 11 p.m. I don't know if the police were called, but soon afterward, the party dispersed and the neighborhood quieted down.

I started thinking about Stitch and wondering where he'd been all evening. I admit I was a little worried he'd wandered over to the party and been hurt or scared. I went out to the front patio and whistled. No response. I whistled a few more times and again got no response, so I returned to the house. I went back outside about 15 minutes later and whistled again. Still no Stitch. Hubby came out and stood next to me on the patio, looking around.

In a minute or so, Hubby said, "He's in your car."

"What?," I asked.

"He's in your car. Stitch is sitting in your car," Hubby replied.

Sure enough, there he was, sitting on top of the center console, looking at us and meowing to be set free. The silly cat must have snuck into my car when I got home from grocery shopping six hours earlier! And believe me, after he developed this tendency a few weeks ago to try to get in my car, I've become pretty careful, but I never even saw him tonight, and neither did Hubby when he got home an hour later and parked right next to my car.

Needless to say, we're glad it wasn't a hot, hot day, because that darn cat would not have survived. And all things considered? With that crazy party going on, maybe he was safer in my car anyway. But one thing's certain, I'm going to have to start doublechecking the car whenever I leave or arrive home.

And as I'm writing this, Stitch just jumped up on the desk to let me know it's time to go to bed and cuddle. After all, he's had a rather stressful evening.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October Friday Night Sew In

My Friday Night Sew In accomplishment:

It seems a little meager, doesn't it? No, I wouldn't even be offended if you described it as somewhat pathetic.

I had great plans of getting off work at 5:30 (or maybe even sneaking out a little earlier--shhhhh! Don't tell the boss!), driving home on an empty freeway at a speed Mario Andretti would have approved, changing into my jammies, fixing myself some tea or hot chocolate (or having Brad Pitt show up with a Starbucks iced latte for me), and being ready to begin the sew in by 6 p.m. Didn't happen.

Instead I worked late. Driving home, I deftly avoided a few of what I suspect were drinking drivers who considered lane lines a mere suggestion. I got home at 8:03 p.m. and changed into my jammies. (At least ONE thing went according to plan.) Hubby was cooking dinner, which was a pretty good deal, but a slow start on heating up the oven meant we didn't eat until almost 9 p.m. Brad Pitt? No, just Hubby wearing a tie dyed Sierra Nevada Brewery T-shirt and no Starbucks iced latte anywhere in evidence.

I started doing some basting of the stars while dinner was heating and then I got going on the applique. Around 12:30-ish, I had progressed to pressing the four star squares and sewing them together. So that's it, the center of one more block of Hallowe'en 1904 is done, and now it's bed time. Maybe when I retire to the bedroom, I'll find Brad Pitt with that iced latte. I forgot to look there earlier. One can only dream.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Couple Tips For You

Tip 1: If you visit the thrift store looking for wool garments to use in projects, don't forget to check the plus size aisle. Today I was the beneficiary of a large woman's wool wardrobe--skirts and blazers that will be easy to deconstruct and will yield a good deal of wool. There's nothing more frustrating than deconstructing a size 6 fitted blazer and ending up with only small strips of wool.

Tip 2: If you're not otherwise occupied tonight (Friday, October 15th), consider joining the Friday Night Sew-In--just click on the button on my side bar, read the "rules," and sign up. I'm planning an evening of fun, and I hope you'll join us. You deserve some fun, don't you?

Tip 3: If you're a cat, stay away from the rim of a full bathtub. While I was writing this, I heard splashing and soon realized it was our older cat, Spike. I have no idea what she was doing, but she somehow fell into the bath that's waiting for me to finish with the computer. Once she got herself out, she came running in here and dripped all over the desk and keyboard. Funny how much thinner cats look when they're wet.

Tip 4: If you have a clumsy cat, buy the extended warranty for your keyboard--just in case she gets wet and drips into it.

I think I'll go take my bath now and see if I look thinner when I'm wet too.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The One That Got Away

Tonight I somehow made my way onto eBay. If there's anything that can suck me in for hours at a time, it's eBay. A long, long time ago, I registered with eBay through my office email address, because I didn't have a home computer at that time. And when my office cracked down on employee use of the office email, I drastically curtailed my eBay excursions--even though I could, by then, access it from my home computer. But every so often, to this day, I get dragged down into the quicksand that is eBay.

Like tonight. I started out looking for a particular line of semi-older fabric which, for me, is the gateway drug of auction shopping. From there, I moved onto pottery and glass, reminiscing about the auctions in the past that I let slip by or lost to another buyer. Like the covered pedestal cake dish that looked like a lovely red and white wrapped gift. Or the seductively curved chocolate pot. I have, though, managed to score several cherished pieces. Like the coin dot pitcher that resides in our hutch and which human hands are not allowed to touch; especially not clumsy male human hands. You can see it in the photo below--that white pitcher on the middle shelf behind glass.

It's a bit more "frou-frou" than my normal tastes, but there's something about it I love. I think it might be because it reminds me of agates a little bit, and I also love agates. One of my bosses gave me a Christmas gift in the form of lovely green cash, and I used part of it to buy myself that pitcher one year.

Every now and then, I'll get on eBay and search for the things I didn't win the first time I saw them, but rarely have I gotten lucky that way. I think the key is to make up your mind and try to buy them when you see them, don't you think? There are also a few things I look for to add to what I already have. For instance, awhile ago, I found a plate just like this one at Goodwill:

It's a line called Wild Poppy by Poppytrail which was manufactured by California Pottery. The colors are brilliant and the plate looks like a handpainted work of art. The one I found at Goodwill cost 49 cents. The ones I find on eBay cost more--particularly when you add on shipping and handling, which can often be a killer when it comes to heavy dishes and pottery.

Each piece in the line is a little different. For instance, here's what the dinner plate looks like:

I don't know why, but most of the sellers don't realize there's an "up" and "down" to this pattern--the poppy stems should point down. Duh! Anyway, all of the Wild Poppy pieces on eBay tonight were a little more than I wanted to spend, so I finally pulled myself away. But the day was not without its good deals. A lunch time trip to Goodwill netted me these treasures:

An oldish Pyrex pie dish (we're getting rid of all of our metal bakeware because we hate the rust that inevitably develops at some point, and I've got apple pies to bake!) and two Ball canning jars with the old screw on lids. I don't think I've EVER seen those types of canning jars at Goodwill; usually I come across them at antique stores or fairs, and the sellers want WAAAAY more than Goodwill's price of 99 cents and 49 cents--I'm still amazed that they had them priced so low!

And now that I think about it, I think that's what got me to log onto eBay tonight--after the excellent thrift store results, I probably felt it was my lucky day. But at eBay tonight, that wasn't the case, so I'll just keep dreaming about the ones that got away.

Do you shop eBay? If you do, what do you regret not "winning" and still think about?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pretty Scary!

Have you ever seen anyone after cosmetic surgery? I was off on Monday for Columbus Day, so Hubby and I made our annual trek up to Apple Hill. On our way back home, we stopped to visit our "married couple best friends" because (1) we like them and (2) the husband half of the couple had surgery last week to lift his eyes/eye lids. This wasn't one of those vanity things--he was starting to look a little bit like a sharpei (you know those wrinkly dogs?!). Okay, seriously he wasn't looking THAT wrinkly to me but the skin was saggy enough to interfere a little with his vision, so he had the procedure done. He greeted us at the door looking like he was all ready to go trick or treating--the skin all around both eyes was several shades of black and purple and still a bit swollen, poor guy! I took a photo, but it wouldn't mean much to anyone who doesn't know him, so I won't post it. Still, it was enough to make me think twice--or thrice--about ever having cosmetic surgery!

The weather was beautiful for Apple Hill although we didn't really spend much time up there. Part of the reason for going was so I could have a test ride in Hubby's new car, a Honda Element. It's a pretty excellent choice for a person who is handicapped because the suicide doors make getting the wheelchair in and out easier, and the wheelchair fits right behind the driver's seat. My Hubby is also rather tall, and the Element has plenty of head room. The ride was decent, and all in all, I think it's a car he'll be happy with for a long time.

Our only Apple Hill stop was at Boa Vista Orchards, where they had a nice selection of everything I could possibly need--which is the reason we didn't need to go anywhere else.

See those big boxes under the table in the photo below?

I brought home a box like that filled with golden delicious apples. And I was kind of excited about some last-of-the-season peaches--I'd like to make another batch of peach preserves because the last batch was really awesome! Anyway, you probably don't want to hear about all the fruits and veggies I bought, but they fit nicely in the new car.

After we got home, I worked on the last of the wool projects for the class I'm teaching, so that's done. Here's a photo showing all three--

Santa looks like he's been hitting the wine bottle a little too hard, so I'll need to find some lighter pink for the kits I make the students. As far as what remains to be done for class, I still have to write the pattern directions and put together kits and student goodie bags and handouts, but I should be able to get back to the Hallowe'en 1904 quilt before too long.

Time for bed--I've still been battling that stomach bug a little bit, so I need to get a good night's sleep. I'm glad you could stop by to visit.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Good Stuff

We drew a winner of the Halloween panel and it's Laurie! Woo-hoo! Laurie, please email me your mailing address and I'll get the panel in the mail to you asap so you can actually make something with it THIS year.

And now, here's more Halloween good stuff:

Thanks for coming by to visit.

Monday, October 11, 2010

True Confessions

I feel I need to confess. I cheated this weekend. On myself!

A week or two ago, I sat myself down and gave myself a strict lecture about buckling down and getting things ready for the wool class. I wasn't allowed to get sidetracked by any other projects until I had the three projects I needed designed and made up as samples. Only THEN could I work on something else.

But I lusted. Yes, it's the same old, sad story. I saw something I wanted and I took it, abandoning my duties and responsibilities.

You've probably seen this beauty around, haven't you?

I purchased the pattern, assembled the fabrics, and made half the blocks last year. I was doing a pretty good job of ignoring it this year, until it kept popping up on blogs all over the place. So I got mine out and took a look. Just one look couldn't hurt, right?

And then I thought maybe I could just work on it Friday night. You know, do a little applique while hanging out on the couch after a long work week. And maybe I could work on it Saturday morning before I really got started on the day--just to finish up the applique I'd started. Then, because I had a three day weekend (Monday is Columbus Day and my office is closed), it occurred to me that I could probably make three or four blocks between doing everything else, and surely I'd work on the wool project too. That way I wouldn't get bored.

Yeah, like all THAT was going to happen!

Of course, the dirty, rotten truth is that I worked on this quilt and this quilt only, ignoring the wool project altogether. But I was able to add three more blocks to the eight I'd made last year, and now I only have five blocks left. The whole left side of the quilt is made, in fact. Want to see?

And three blocks of the right side of the quilt are made. But I have to stop now and play with wool. I have one more day off before I go back to work, and there are several things planned for that day, but in between the plans, I need to do the wool thing. Because the sooner I can get it done, the sooner I can get back to those last five blocks.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hey, Thank You!

I got on the computer tonight to check emails and write my blog and I was reminded, once again, of how much I enjoy hearing from you. "Talking" with those of you who read my blog enriches my life, and I appreciate it when you take the time to leave me a comment.

Thursday night I finished the second wool project for my class--despite the stomach pains I was experiencing. Really, doing the stitching and seeing my project ever closer to being finished took my mind off feeling ill. Do you find the same thing to be true when you're not feeling well but quilt anyway? I think it's just about the best medicine!

With the snowman, I wanted to offer a winter project that didn't scream "Christmas," and I think this works. I dug into my stash of vintage Thimbleberries fabric for the border, but the project only requires a little, so I decided I could make the sacrifice. I think this really is my favorite Thimbleberries fabric of all time.

Did you know that today's 10-10-10? Kind of cool, huh? It's also Thanksgiving in Canada--also cool, right? So in honor of a couple cool things and just because I like you, I thought I'd have a little giveaway. I ordered a couple of these Halloween panels which would make a pair of vintage-looking Halloween pillows or serve as the inspiration for any number of other ideas, and I thought I'd share by giving one of the panels away. Each of the two squares in the panel measures around 18" to 20"--I haven't measured them but that's my estimate. Here's the first one:

And the second:

If you'd like a chance to win the panel, please leave me a comment on this post telling me you want to be entered and I'll draw a winner Monday night--the winner will be posted on my Tuesday blog post, and you'll need to come back to see if you've won.

Good luck!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ah! That's Better!

I don't know what it was last night, but it hit me when I was at the grocery store, buying ingredients for four dozen muffins (two dozen of each of two kinds of muffins) that I'd committed to baking for the office today. Really, NOT a good time to get ill! All I can think is that something I ate for dinner didn't agree with me--no one else in my family was sick so it must have just been something that affected me. Or maybe Hubby's trying to poison me. (I'm just sayin' if you hear I've suddenly moved on to that big quilting bee in the sky, tell the coroner to check for toxic substances, okay?)

And while a good night's sleep didn't completely wipe out whatever was ailing me, I felt well enough when I got up this morning to make the muffins--with frequent hand washing and other precautions to make sure that in the event I actually had some kind of bug, I wouldn't pass it on to anyone else. And, as the day went on, my stomach started to feel better and better, and by tonight--well, I wouldn't want to test it with anything too hard to digest, but I'm feeling a lot better than I did. So, of course, my friend Patty was right when she left a comment saying she'd checked Sacramento news and there was no news story about a woman blowing up.

Also in her comment, Patty asked a question about quilt kits and I thought I'd ask you tonight--

"Question.. do you find yourself hanging onto old 'kits' years later, or do you disassemble them and use the fabric in something else. I still love quite a few of them. But, once I've bought it and put it away... the desire to actually MAKE the quilt keeps taking a back seat. Just wonderin'????"

I've known Patty for years--ever since she had an online shop selling Thimbleberries fabric. She's the person who first told me about a Yahoo Thimbleberries group we both belong to. If you're familiar with Thimbleberries, you probably know they've designed with an eye toward quilt kits forever, and have done yearly block of the month projects probably longer than anyone else. Personally, I rarely buy kits because I have such a habit of changing things in other designers' patterns, but I think I'm a little unusual in that regard--particularly when it comes to Thimbleberries. So what do you think? How would you respond to Patty?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Writing In Sick

I'm not sure what's wrong exactly, but I know it's my stomach. And I really don't have much interesting to "talk" about tonight because the stuff that interests me at the moment . . . well, let's just say it would be WAAAAAY too much information for you to read about with your corn flakes in the morning. So hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with something a little more fascinating. And if not? Check the news stories about the Sacramento woman whose stomach exploded. That would be me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Use It Up or Save It?

What type of personality are you? Do you like to use things up, or do you save things in case you just might need them some day?

Most of the time, I tend to save things. My pantry and freezer are well stocked with things I may need someday. My fabric stash is abundant--including my scrap drawers. My craft closet is full of this and that. And I don't discard shoes or clothing until I'm absolutely certain I'm never going to wear them again, no matter how nicely they pair up with other items in my wardrobe.

Hubby is a user-upper. If he sees some kind of food item in the cupboard or freezer (like the tri tip he defrosts and grills at every opportunity he can), and he knows it's been there for a little while, he thinks it needs to be used up. And sometimes he's right. But sometimes he isn't, and I'll find he's used up whatever the key ingredient is in some special recipe I've planned.

The other night, when I'd decided to make Sandy Gervais' sister's apple dumpling recipe, I was giddy to find we actually had a can of Mountain Dew in the refrigerator. I'm not sure how it came to be there because none of us--me, Hubby, or the Wild Child--drinks Mountain Dew, but there it was. I'm surprised Hubby didn't throw it out or feed it to the dog just so he could use it up and get it out of the fridge! But the story has a happy ending because it was there when I needed it--and I didn't have to send HIM to the store for a can of Mountain Dew.

On the other hand, we trade roles when it comes to our bank accounts (yes, we each maintain separate accounts). Hubby's the one who saves. I'm more inclined to use up any "extra" cash that might be in my account. All in all, I guess that makes Hubby a frugal person and me a hording spendthrift. But it works for us--maybe we just balance each other out.

How about you? If you have a tendency to buy fabric just because you like it, does that tendency carry through the rest of your life--for instance, do you do the same thing with food, clothing, etc? Or, if you only buy fabric you need for a specific project, are you also that way with food, clothing, etc.? I'd love to hear about your "use it up" or "save it" habits!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wool Project #1

I'm teaching my wool class (where to find it, what to do with it, and how to dye it) again in a few weeks--this is the one I taught last spring. I had a full class with a few students on the waiting list and unable to get in, and so I was asked to teach it again. Last spring, I gave my students a choice of three different kits, but they were all spring-themed, so I wanted to design a few new fall and winter projects for this class. That's what I've been working on the past week, and I thought I'd show you the first one--the one for fall. (Please ignore the white lines on the smaller pumpkins--I haven't washed them out yet!)

I'm trying to keep the projects reasonably simple with not too many pieces, since the purpose of the kits is to give the students an opportunity to work with wool and learn a couple basic stitches; not necessarily to create an heirloom masterpiece the first time out. The next sample I'll work on is a snowman for winter; the third--which I haven't even drawn out yet--will be more of a Christmas project, I think.

I started working on this one with my stitchery group on Saturday, but I did so much talking and so little stitching that I barely got the pumpkins done. I think, too, that my friends might be a little surprised to see this project finished because the drawing I had with me looked somewhat different--sometimes what I start out thinking I'm going to make turns into something better. In any event, I guess I'd better be a little more diligent at stitching if I want something to show the students.

If you haven't tried working with wool yet, give it a try--it's a lot of fun!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Couple Other Things to Think About

Have you been following the Fall-oween Blog Hop? Sometimes I wonder how I miss these big Blogland events. Why don't you all TELL me about them? Sheesh! Anyway, sometime this past weekend, I stumbled upon the hop--I think I was over visiting Carrie Nelson. If there was a Miss Congeniality award for quilt designers, she'd win hands down! Heck, if there was a Nobel Peace Prize for kindness in quilting, she'd get that too. (AND she's not just another pretty face--she's even TALENTED! Just check out the two pillows she designed for the hop!) Anyway, I finally figured out there was a blog hop going on, so I hopped around and checked it out.

And there went my diet. Sandy Gervais posted an apple dumpling recipe of her sister's in THIS post. Yes, I made it Sunday night. Here's what it looked like when it came out of the oven.

You don't want to see what it looked like ten minutes later. If there is such a thing as apple dumpling-eating locusts, then I'm pretty sure a swarm of them flew through my kitchen.

I also made Gudrun's Creamy Harvest Soup. Quite excellent too, although I decided to add about a cup of shredded cheese--because EVERYTHING tastes better with cheese. (Or chocolate. Fact.)

Now, about the Halloween bag tutorial. I wanted to show you a couple other options, but the tutorial was so long, I thought I'd wait and show you today. Here are the bags I made last year for my students in one of my classes:

As you can see it's much the same, but I added a simple embroidered front panel. The difference with this bag is that it doesn't have the corner things at the bottom, so it's not flat on the bottom and doesn't stand up very well.

And here's one I made for a few friends for Christmas. I added a couple wool embellishments to the front of these. These DO have the wider base at the bottom, but I didn't use batting inside, so they don't stand up very well either.

Of course, when they're filled with goodies, they're less "floppy." With these, I also ran the ribbon through both channels and tied it on just one side.

So, if you're inclined to make Halloween or Christmas bags, have fun playing around and adapting the pattern to your own needs. It's pretty versatile. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Little Tutorial for You

I'd really LOVE to send all of you a treat bag, but I'm not Santa Claus. Or the Great Pumpkin. Whatever. Sadly, I just can't manage it.

But I thought some of you might be interested in making one for yourself or someone else. Or maybe you'd like to make several. I'll tell you how I made mine so you can make some too.

For the center part, I bought a digital download from Etsy and printed it (four images to a "sheet") onto fabric by ironing a 8-1/2" x 11" piece of freezer paper onto the back of the fabric (kind of a nubby muslin or fine burlappy stuff) and feeding it through my printer. If you want to try this, experiment a little. I ended up with some ink smudges around the edges of my fabric, but I think that's because I used a heavier fabric. You can find instructions online--just do a search for "printing on fabric."

Besides the center graphic (which could be a preprinted piece of fabric instead), here's what you'll need to make the basic bag:

Two pieces of outside fabric cut 10-1/2" x 12-1/2"

Two pieces of inside fabric (lining) cut 10-1/2" x 12-1/2"

Two pieces of batting (regular loft, cotton or cotton/poly) cut 10-1/2" x 12-1/2"

Two pieces of black bias tape cut 10" long (single fold or double fold--doesn't matter; it needs to be wider than the ribbon)

Two pieces of ribbon cut 18" long (or longer)

Here's a photo of what I used:

Make sure whatever you want in the center of the bag is at least 2-1/2" from the bottom edge. Here I was lining up the bottom of the image I sewed into the front of the bag--I'll tell you a little more about that in a second.

Then I positioned the top of the bias tape 1-1/2" from the top edge of the bag.

I then pinned down the bias tape, turning the raw ends under (you can see that in the next photo). And because I was adding the image (with the black background) to the front of the bag, I pinned that in place too, so I could sew it on along the turned under edges. That stitching holds the fabric and batting layers together; if you're making a plain bag, at this point you might want to add some simple quilting to keep the layers together. I also pinned the fabric to the batting at each corner and in the center of the two longer side edges--this keeps the layers from slipping during stitching.

Stitching through these layers works best with a walking foot. You may also need to adjust the foot pressure for the thickness of the fabric, batting, and bias tape.

Sew along each edge of the bias tape, using top and bobbin thread to match the tape. This will form the channel for the ribbon ties. Make sure the bias tape does not extend into the seam allowance.

Also, at this point, sew down the center graphic or add a few "quilting" lines to secure the layers. Next, right sides together and batting side out, stitch together the back and front of the bag along the side seams and bottom. I didn't take photos of this part, because I'm sure you've sewn a million seams!

Next, we'll form the bottom base of the bag. On the batting side of either the front or back, measure and draw squares at both bottom corners--the squares should measure 1-1/2". (I drew these lines before stitching the seams--either way works.)

Cut along the drawn lines of the square.

At the cut-away square, match up the bottom seam with the side seam. The cut away square will form a straight line. (Magic!)

Stitch along the raw edges; repeat on the other corner of the bag.

There! You've finished the outside of the bag. Leave it wrong side out for now and set it aside. Next we'll make the lining.

Place the lining pieces right sides together and sew along the sides and bottom seam, leaving a 3" to 4" opening along one edge of a side seam for turning. As with the outside of the bag, draw 1-1/2" squares at the bottom corners and cut away. Sew the corner seams as you did for the outside of the bag.

Turn the lining right side out and push it down inside the outer bag.

With top edges matched up, wrong side out, right sides together, pin along the edges and sew a 1/4" seam. Turn outside of bag right side out by pulling it through the opening in the side seam lining.

At this point, your bag should look like this:

Finger press the opening in the lining seam and sew closed--on the machine or by hand, whichever you prefer. Tuck the lining down into the outer bag and pin along the upper edge of the bag. Topstitch 1/4" from top to hold layers in place.

Run ribbon through casings (I like to attach a safety pin to one end of the ribbon to help me push it through). Gather and tie on sides. Done!

Now fill it with goodies and mail it to me. Make another for yourself. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Just a Little Something I Whipped Up . . .

I had a wonderful time with my stitching friends today. Everyone brought some kind of food to contribute and our hostess made a really yummy chicken and rice salad--you can find it HERE--photo and recipe. Heavenly!

The six of us friends started talking about sewing spaces and I mentioned that mine is small, and over the last several weeks, it's become EXTREMELY messy--you know how sometimes spaces become catch-all spots and nothing ever gets put away? That's how mine was feeling. My plan was to do what I could to clean it up this evening.

I came home from our day together and I decided that what I needed most was a little nap; an hour later, though, I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the job.

It's amazing what a little time spent organizing and cleaning up can do! Somewhere along the way, I came across the "makings" for a small quilt. It occurred to me that if I could finish putting it together, I could put all the leftover pieces away and that would be one less thing cluttering up the room--so that's what I did!

Last spring when I made the picnic quilt, I used some leftover Fig Tree fabric to demonstrate disappearing 9-patch blocks in the class I taught, and that's where these pieces came from. I had everything except the outer borders cut, and the disappearing 9-patch blocks and some of the sashing were already pieced. Easy peasy! Within about two hours (while watching MI-5 on PBS), I had the quilt top finished, and it was a nice break from the cleaning.

Someone--I think it was Cara--mentioned that having participated in the Year of Schnibbles meant having a lot of small quilts made up in case she needed one for a gift, and that's what I think this one will be. I'll need to quilt it, but I think an all-over quilting design would be appropriate and quick for this little quilt. But that will have to wait for another day. I nearly have the Sweat Shop cleaned up, but there's one more project I want to finish and put away before I go back to the other things I've been working on. But that will have to wait for tomorrow because it's my bedtime. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Bag is Packed . . .

and I'm ready to go! Well, almost. There are still a couple things to do before I can leave for a day of stitching with my friends.

Like sleep. Yep, it's Friday night, after 1 a.m., and I just emerged from the Sweat Shop to find the house quiet and the fam already in bed.

You may have noticed a distinct lack of quilt content in this blog over the past couple of days, and here's why:

I've been 'sperimenting. I've never printed onto fabric before, and I wanted to give it a try, so I bought a digital download on Etsy and printed it onto fabric. Then I added color with my colored pencils. And stitched it onto other fabric. And stitched THAT onto other fabric. And made a Halloween treat bag.

And tomorrow I'm going to give it to my stitchery hostess. Shhhhh! Don't tell! I think she'll be so busy getting things ready for us that she won't have time to read my blog. And I guess I'll need to make another Halloween treat bag soon for myself, but my next project is to start working on a couple of projects for the wool class I'll be teaching in a couple weeks. In fact, the supplies for that are in the bag--I'll be working on it with my friends tomorrow.

I guess I'd better go get that sleeping thing out of the way so I can go have fun in a little while. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, October 1, 2010

What's Too Early?

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Someone in a group of women I was with asked the question the other day and I laughed. Christmas shopping in SEPTEMBER?! Don't be silly! But then a few days ago, I stumbled across something I thought would make the perfect gift for someone, so I bought it. I guess I've started my Christmas shopping.

Have you had your flu shot yet? September seemed a little early for that too, but I got mine today. They offer them at my office each year and this was the scheduled day--about a month earlier than normal. But then one year Hubby and I were on vacation in late September, traveling around Oregon, and I came down with the flu. I was so sick that once my vacation was over, I was STILL off work another week. So I guess September's not too early after all.

Have you decorated your home for Halloween? Or for fall? Well, you KNOW I have. I was looking around the house the other day, admiring the decorations but thinking about the fact that it was somewhere in the 90 to 100 degree range outside with the air conditioning running indoors and I wondered: Did I decorate too early? Well, maybe, but I also know that the weekend I decorated was the only chunk of time I had until sometime well into October. AND it's supposed to cool down by the weekend. So maybe it wasn't too early after all.

As quilters, we HAVE to think ahead. We can't decide to make a Christmas quilt the first weekend in December and hope to USE the quilt the same year. And quilts are one of the best ways I know to decorate for a season or a holiday. So is it too early to work on a Christmas quilt in July? No, probably not. In fact, many of us would finish that quilt top by August and set it aside for quilting the NEXT July--if we even got THAT far. Quilting is a slow process, so it's a good thing most of us are patient.

But sometimes I think we get so caught up in ANTICIPATING the seasons that we don't really enjoy them when they arrive. Besides Christmas, fall is my favorite time of the year, so I have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy it. This year, I've scheduled a week's vacation from work right after Thanksgiving--that's when I'll start to really think about Christmas and begin my decorating and planning. In the meantime, from now until Thanksgiving, other than a couple class projects, I'm just going to enjoy fall and try to NOT think too far ahead. October's here, so that means it's fall in my book. Happy fall!