Saturday, January 31, 2009

Di Day, Part Deux !

We had a wonderful day today! Had lunch at a little town cafe, caught up with some news, then we went to see Morgan's drumline competition. She did so well and I was so proud of the woman she has become! Next year Morgan goes to college and it seems like just yesterday that DH and I were putting band-aids on her scrapped knees while we were babysitting her. Aftewards, Di and I went to the mall (first time in years and we don't need to go back for many years again). It was so good to see Di again! I sure do miss her these days!We love you Morgan! Brian, Get your STRESS TEST DONE because we love you too!

Di Day!

My friend Di is coming in to town today and I can't wait to see her! She and I worked together a lifetime ago and have been through divorces, job challenges, remarriages, raising children and stepchildren, and sharing a number of hobbies (gardening, sewing, etc).

She is the only person I know that has her own song :D In the 80s when we were working together, there was maintenance man who used to serenade her. We could hear him coming from quite a distance away: "Diana, my baby, my sweetheart, my darling..." When I call her I don't have to leave a message, I just croon her song into the answering machine and she knows who it is right away. Even my son knows her song (apparently this was a memorable part of his childhood). She and her family now live about an hour away and we don't get to see each other very often (especially with our winter conditions). I just can't wait to give her a big ol' hug!

Friday, January 30, 2009

UFO challenge

I belong to Quilting on a Budget and also the Spicey Strip Quilters and both are challenging us to complete UFOs this year. Good resolution. I allowed Helena to pick what she wanted from the drawers and out these came. Years ago I was making dog quilts and pieced what I thought would be wall hangings with the left over blocks. Since they are such small projects, I am going to do both as one challenge.


We do not allow animals on the furniture. I put the clothes in the dryer and when I returned I caught em! RASCALS!!!!

MORE is not best....

Thursday, January 29, 2009

3 Clean Dogs or....

"If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something."
--Steven Wright

Which is why on the way home from the groomers that Teddy, our white poodle, got sick creating a whole episode which you don't even want to know about. Needless to say, he had to be recleaned when we got home and so did my car.

And just when I thought it was safe to put away the buckets and sponges.........Paddie got sick in the living room (the same one I just got done scrubbing while the pups were getting groomed).

I believe this meets the definition of Murphy's Law.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

For Helena...My Sweet Cupcake

Well Helena's cupcake ensemble is finally done. As you may recall, I had been learning machine applique which is easier on my carpel tunnel. I made so many cupcakes (in the pursuit of figuring out how one does this technique) that I made the original wall hanging and then some pillows, then a placemat. I have two cupcakes left that I will probably make into a tote. One last is on my bulletin board, for Helena's someday quilt.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cleaning Days...

I'm in a cleaning phase right now. I just can't get comfortable in the mess that winter brings. I look outside the window and it is half snow, half ground and looks dirty. The inside of our home is a disaster what with the salt and the dirt the dogs (and we) drag in. And of course, we have a mountain of wash these days, all our bulky clothing that needs to be washed. All this and of course, it is going to snow today--apparently a major snow event.

Seamus is clean too--he went for his grooming and because he is so young, he still doesn't have the drill down. This was his third grooming. The groomer had problems drying his hair and when she plucked his ear hair (a necessity for poodles), he began to yowl. I never talk about his personality and he is one howling boy. I call it a howl although it is a really loud whine, he may be excited, or happy but he always sounds AWFUL--like he is being tortured. He is REALLY loud when he is behind you in the car (did I mention he is 60 lbs or so?). He can howl so loud that when we are driving people a half a block away turn to see who is being beaten.

So he began to howl when poor Jen did his ears. People in the store stopped to see what the groomer was doing, customers in line checking out grimaced and turned to see who was being tortured. All I can say is, Sorry Jen and give her a nice tip.

Well I am off to do more wash and have to shower to get ready for my checkup.
Be well, do good work, and always be kind.....

Sweet Sunday!

I just got finished doing my treadmill and now we are getting ready to go visit the kids. I want to see what Nik and Melanie have done with the house since we were there last and then we are all going to lunch. Helena should be a pip during lunch, I am taking a little strawberry shortcake doll to entertain since Mel said that the restaurant isn't child oriented.
Last night and this morning I was going through my photographs of linens. I have so many and need to get them in order. I don't know about any other collector but my fear is that if something happens to me, my treasures will get tossed or sold for a song. Since some of them have family history, I am trying to document what I can. I sure would love to see how other people do that (maybe a scrapbook?). I also wish I could find a perfect way to organize my sewing paper ephemera. Not sure how to do that besides the binder method I have.
The angel above is from my baby quilt. My mother made it while she was pregnant with me :) Guess she knew then what an angel I would turn out to be (or was it wishful thinking?)! :D
Be well, do good things and be kind....

And now for something completely different......

On Saturday morning we awoke to a balmy 34 degrees F. It has gotten increasingly cold throughout the day (rather odd that the warmest temp was the early morning one). It was a rather uneventful day although I did get some more of Helena's cupcake ensemble completed. DH was smart, he sat here and read most of the day, he needed a relaxing day and he got one.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Here is home....

I've been working on two projects this week. One is the cupcake ensemble for Helena: today I finished embellishing the quilt top wall hanging, pillows, and placemat, tomorrow I hope to do the quilting. Her birthday is on the 9th and I
would like to give her this beforehand so her cupcakes can be in her room for her birthday.
The second project has been to begin to review the mountain of information, photos, patterns, quilt blocks, etc. I 've collected about Sunbonnet Sue quilt patterns. This is a huge project and it has been a little daunting to even assemble the information in some kind of order. It is far from finished and part of the reason is because I just don't know where in the house to set up shop.
The house is a mess. The dogs and their people (us) keep tracking in mud and salt. I haven't cleaned up the salt because it gets so cold at night and freezes the slate path up to our house. I was coping when the days were grey and dreary but today we had full sunshine and the light just vibrated the dullness and dustiness throughout the house. We are only nearing the end of January and I am beginning to wonder if anything will be left in the garden after the dogs are done ripping through the gardens.
I guess I could lament about this, or I could stop my other work and clean for a few weeks but instead, I am thinking of some things I have been reading in magazines lately. One woman said when interviewed about her house said she didn't want it perfect, she just wanted it to be comfortable. Another woman said of her cottage that when people come over, she tells them not to worry about things that get nicked because "that's the look we want." There is something to be said for just actually living in your home.
Don't get me wrong, I still want to declutter the house, but ebay sales are down, yard sales aren't a reality til the spring and it's time to study sunbonnet babies, twins, and sues. Speaking of Sues, I posted pics of one of my quilts. ;)
"Here is home. An old thread, long tangled, comes straight again..." Marjorie Keenan Rawlings

Our new puppy........

She tells me her name is Goddard :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Back to the business of winter.....

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."--Roger Hornsby

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome to our 44th President......

Thoughts today...

When I was a little girl, it amazed society that a Catholic could become President. It seemed unlikely that a woman would ever hold a position of power in the government, and even less likely that an African American would be elected to a significant political office. Today, with the rest of the world, I witnessed history as President Obama became our 44th President.

Good luck and congratulations Mr. President. I woke up at 5 am today and my first thought was a prayer that God keep you and your family safe and secondly, that your vision be realized.

You are the People's President: as evidenced by the millions crowded into D.C. today, the millions more watching you on tv---people of all colors and backgrounds.

Last night my husband expressed skeptism about whether or not you will be to achieve your goal of 3.7 million jobs in the next 4 years. I didn't argue with him. But I couldn't help remember another president--FDR--who was met with skepticism when he made a different prediction. In 1940, the U.S. was woefully unprepared for WW II. FDR stated that the U.S. would build 50,000 airplanes in the next four years. His prediction was also met with skeptism and scorn. And those who ridiculed him were right. For the U.S. did not produce 50,000 airplanes during those 4 years; we built 100,000.

The United States was initiated as an experiment in freedom and democracy. It has evolved throughout history to mean different things not only to its citizens but to the world. Ours is not only an example of democracy but a shining beacon of optimism that has often illuminated the world. I was raised to believe that anything was possible and that as my father often said "you can do anything you wish to in this world." You remind me us of that spirit and work ethic that allowed our country to win two World Wars--preserving freedom not only here, but in the world.
Your gift to me has not been that you are the first African American to become president or that you promise to do this or that. Your gift to me was articulating many of the frustrations I have felt the last 8 years. Your gift has been reminding us the price that our freedom and citizenry requires. As Woodrow Wilson once said: "Liberty had never come from government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it." God bless you President Obama and God bless us all (no exceptions)!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snowfall, Beverly, and me...

It snowed again last night. This morning the puppies got me up at 6 or so to go out and we all went out together to inspect the latest addition. For some reason, all three dogs feel the need to taste the snow after each fresh coat has fallen. It would be interesting to know if they they think the snow tastes different each time. Perhaps if the snow is from a particular area? Does snow coming in from the coast taste salty? What do Canadian storms taste like?
I love certain things about snow: the silence, how ethereal everything looks after the storm, and since I don't drive in the stuff, I like the hibernating: with the dogs, hot chocolate, and Beverly Nichols.
Beverly Nichols is the greatest garden writer I have ever read. Nichols was born at the end of the 19th Century and began writing about his love affair with gardens and gardening in the 1930s. I have 9 of his gardening books plus some of his other works--but the gardening books are really the best. He writes about gardening with the passion of a lover, the clarity of a teacher, and ties everything together with humor; his books are storytelling at its best. I began reading Nichols when I first started gardening. His books sustained me through the impatient months of winter (January, February, March) when I was raring to get out in the garden and start searching for the first signs of spring.
These days I am happy for the calm that winter brings, the time to sew, research, and most of all, the time for silence. I still like to read Beverly Nichols and contemplate spring gardens. Spring is coming--I am beginning to wake up earlier and only a day or two ago I saw the sun rise around 7. But I think I will rest for a while before the real work--and the excitement that Spring always showers--begins.
"....We are now in the depths of first winter at the cottage...and the first winter I went mad.
The average gardener, in the cold dark days of December and January, sits by his fire, turning over the pages of seed catalogues, wondering what he shall sow for the spring. If he goes out in his garden at all it is only for the sake of exercise. He puts on a coat, stamps up and down the frozen paths, hardly deigns to glance at the black empty beds, turns in again. Perhaps, before returning to his fireside, he may go and look into a dark cupboard to see if the hyacinths, in fibre, are beginning to sprout. But that represents the sum total of his activity.
I wrote above that, on this first winter, I went mad. For I suddenly said to myself 'I WILL HAVE FLOWERS IN MY GARDEN IN WINTER....'"
---Beverly Nichols, Down the Garden Path

Friday, January 16, 2009

A busy week.........

I don't even know where this week went. Mostly it went to the cupcakes!!!! I have been playing with quilting techniques I can use that don't irritate the carpel tunnel and machine applique seems to be the best method for me. After numerous trips to my fabric store, chats with online quilt groups and practicing all the methods suggested, I finally came up with a technique that doesn't hurt me and gets the job done. In the meantime, I have a ton of cupcake quilt blocks strewn all over the house that have various degrees of puckering and other problems but I know what I like now and what works and onto the sewing of it all....
It's been a different kind of week here. Helena's schedule is different because I had quilt study group meeting, Melanie's schedule, etc. Today Helena was so cute! I had found another doll for her at the drug store for $2. The doll's name is Cherry Cobbler--kind of follows Helena's love of all Strawberry Shortcake things these days. I just got done with the red and blue doll quilt for "baby Evan" boy doll that Helena had requested and now she has just put in her order for Cherry Cobbler's doll quilt.
I taught Helena the card game "Go Fish". She was thrilled when she won our first game and told me excitedly, "I am really good at this! I am Helena the 'Go Fish' winner!" Katie came over as well and we had crafts and more games of "Go Fish". When I was a young child, I loved playing this game with my Nana Elsie. I guess I have come full circle.
Tomorrow I finish more cupcake blocks and hopefully start the dog yeared quilt!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Well my premie quilt didn't turn out quite as I wanted yesterday and now I have to redo that for my guild. Today I spent at my Mom's--keeping the puppies away from DH while the Eagles were playing (YEHHHHH EAGLES!). When I came home decided to treat myself with some alone time in the sewing room. I started playing with some machine applique. This was an experiment (unsuccessful) but VERY educational. I did okay with the fusing but learned a lot about stabilizers afterwards. Like I should have used a satin stitch to hold the applique down because of the kind of stabilizer I used. I also learned I had a lot more stitches than I thought on my machine (I never use the fancy stuff, why, I don't know).
Anyway, I am going to do some kind of birthday banner for Helena (her birthday is in February) and thought this cupcake would be cute. Not sure about the fabrics but sometimes I have to look through the camera's lense to check on my values. I think I will have fun with this!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Black dog on white snow

...Seamus after spending about 40 minutes gazing soulfully at his girlfriend's house.....

Friday, January 9, 2009

A quiet day today......

This was somewhat a time-out day. Rested my foot and didn't work out. Didn't finish donation quilt as planned because Seamus wanted to visit his girlfriend :D Afterwards, I learned we are getting snow isn't usual that I am behind on weather reports but this storm crept up on me. So I weathered the crowds at the grocery store and farmer's market--if there was any doubt about pending snowstorm, check out the salt section of the grocery, as well the milk, bread and egg aisle.
DH and I are looking forward to a quiet day at home tomorrow, hunkered in to work on our respective projects. Should be fun!
Will post pics tomorrow!

"Where love is, there is God also..." ---Tolstoy

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Funny Face!

"I love your funny face
your sunny, funny face
Though you're a cutie
with more than beauty
you've got a lot
of personal-i-ty for me
You fill the air with smiles
for miles and miles and miles
Though you're no Mona Lisa
for world's I'd not replace
your sunny-- funny face"
A tribute to the girl whose earliest sentences included: "No more pict-chers, Nana, no now."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ice Storms Do That

"When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the line of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that.
Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen
---from Birches by Robert Frost
Well it is another beautiful day in paradise. I thought of this poem this morning because I have a peegee hydrangea tree in my front yard and many of the branches are pointing downward, heavy with ice. I'd like to get a picture of it but it is pouring rain (now 33 degrees). The weather people say that it is going to be a dangerous evening...the temperature tonight will be 26 and surely the roads will ice again.
Meanwhile the kids in the valley are happy, I'm sure. All the valley schools are closed again while the southern regions were on a two hour delay. Even Helena is delayed in getting here today (she should be here by noon). Meanwhile, I am listening for the sound of the branches "click upon themselves".....

Food Glorious Food!

It's icy in the great northeast and tonight we had french onion soup for dinner with roast beef sandwiches for dinner. I like cooking when DH is home and I like not cooking when he is traveling. I am sharing dinner notes with you because I found a nice recipe online for a spread you put on the sandwiches:
3/4 cup good mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon white prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons sour cream

This was actually really good (I'm not big on horseradish normally) and really made the sandwiches special. And while I am sharing is Linda's Spinach Pie recipe. Since spinach is a no no for me (because of kidney stones), I substituted chopped broccoli this week. I prefer a really sharp cheddar as well:

Spinach Pie
Box Frozen Spinach, Thawed and drained
4 eggs
6 T flour
8 oz grated cheddar cheese
2 C Cottage Cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix flour and Eggs.
Add Cottage cheese, cheddar cheese and spinach. Spray a glass pie pan with Pam. Pour mixture into pan and sprinkle with paprika (we like a lot of paprika). Bake 1 hour at 350.

Be kind, do good work and hug each other often!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Nana asks.....Whats with these boys?

The two puppies--Seamus and Teddy are nice boys most of the time. There are just some things that make me scratch my head sometimes. Like why is Teddy always trying to mount Seamus and why does Seamus let him? I mean--they are both neutered, which begs the question: What is with that? The boys love to play together, sleep together, share food and water. They even groom each other.
Today they were playing in the living room while I was working in the kitchen. Then I began to hear a strange sound: gump, gump, gump, kathump. Came out to see Seamus and Teddy sashaying around the living room and dining room together. And Seamus--somehow, someway--is wearing my purse.
Sometimes ya know, it just makes ya think. :)

Are we dieting yet?

"Every time I say the word DIET I wash my mouth out with chocolate."
----------------great quote from one of my mom's catalog :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas is Officially Over!

Christmas 2008 is officially over: packed up and out of sight until November 2009! Today I finished taking the tree down and packing up the ornaments. I later took a walk at the flea market up the street because I just needed to get out. DH was working on a fishing rod rack in the basement and Teddy wouldn't stop barking every time Brad used the saw. So dogs went into the crate for an hour and I walked around the flea market before going for the week's groceries. (see above pics for linens from the flea market). I wasn't looking for anything in particular but I like tinted linens (the parrot) and of course the little Overall Sam sack was too cute to pass up. Things were reasonable too (for my cheapo purchases, 75 cents is so my style).
Tomorrow morning I'll do the cleaning and then start the 2009 work. Right now I am working on a list that I have broken down to two areas: the long list (long term goals) and the short list (broken down by weeks). The problem isn't all that needs to be completed but being realistic in my expectations.

I take Peter to the urologist tomorrow but he was already saying today that he was feeling better enough to drive himself. It is up and down with him right now, he still experiences painful outbreaks from the stones.

Tonight I am just tired so I am just going to work on my list.
Be well, do good work and hug each other often!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

3-2-1...January 3rd continued.....

I ran to the grocery store to get some things for Peter (he was finally hungry.....YEH) and I saw my neighbor there. He looked grim and exhausted. "Everything okay?" I asked him. "It's almost over," he sighed, meaning the holidays. "We just aren't used to all this activity...."
Although I know what he means, I feel particularly bad for my husband. He took the time off between the holidays and has had hardly any time for himself. It was a lot of activity this holiday and a lot of demands were made on him by the family. I wonder: at this point, will it be a relief to him to go back to work?
Tomorrow is Sunday and I told him: you aren't answering the phone, you aren't going to your mom's, you ARE going to go the glenn (archery range), have fun and come home and watch football. I think it is a relief to him when I throw a tantrum on his behalf.
I'll be glad for Monday at this point. Tomorrow I will take the decorations off the tree and Christmas will officially be done for 2008. It's time to think about the future!

January 3...looking to the New Year.......

I think I am going to post a few times today as I clean the house, check on Pete, and finish organizing the sewing room. A New Year is SUCH a cathartic thing, a fresh start, almost as good as Spring (okay maybe not so much).
Today I am working on a number of things: goals for the next year, program ideas for the quilting guild, and of course, research and program development of the antique quilts.

In February, the guild is going to have a program called: "First Quilt-Last Quilt/Best Quilt-Worst Quilt." I am giving the quilters some ideas of awards they can nominate themselves for during the program. People have to nominate themselves for the funny self-depricating awards. Some of the awards I've thought of are:

--Homage to Lisa Boyer: The Dorky Handmade Look :)

--The Elephant Award: Best Trunkated Points

--A Not so Much Study of Contrasts

--MapQuest (for those of us who have experienced challenges following directions)

There will also be special awards including The Bling Award, for quilters who rise to the challenge of embellishing their quilts or projects, The Wise Woman Award for the quilter who has been at it the longest and the Lil Sis Award for the quilter who is the newest to our craft. If you all can think of any other great award ideas, please comment!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Sew this is Christmas...and Tubbies...

Well I spent the week before Peter got sick going through things and getting rid of what I could. My arch nemesis? PAPER. I love to tear patterns, articles, ideas, stories, etc., out of magazines and then store it neatly into binders. The problem? It feels like our cottage is under the attack of the killer binders! After two trips to the recycling center, I have whittled things downs to 8 big binders (not including research and business).
I have enough craft ideas now for the kids and patterns for quilts. One binder alone is called "Sew This is Christmas". I am using up these patterns and the tub of Xmas fabric hidden in the attic (new New Years resolution).
I used to be so smug about my fabric. I always had bought just what I needed for projects and to keep donation quilts going. I remember one fabric shop employee telling me she had tubs of fabric stashed all over her house. I never thought I would be like that.......and then I joined the ranks of "The Tubbies" last spring. I didn't have enough space for my fabric and there went tubs of fabric into the attic storage space. More tubs for batting that was left over and was just big enough for craft projects. Then tubs of craft things for the kids......ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Our doll house was built in 1917 with three (count em) small closets and one slightly larger attic closet. This house was meant for people who used what they had and only bought what they needed. It is time to get back to basics and my original outlook on our old home.
And you can hold me to it............

Pete is sick....

Peter has had a painful start to the New Year. Yesterday morning his girlfriend called me and told me she had to take him to the hospital and that he was passing a kidney stone.
Pete has joined the unfortunate club in our family with kidney calamities. The only good thing is that I already have a urologist who will see him first thing when the practice opens on Monday. In the meantime, Pete is taking perkacet (sp?), drinking water, and taking another medication to keep his plumbing open. As if passing one stone wasn't bad enough....turns out both his kidneys have multiple stones (which is why our doctor is taking him right away). So I haven't been on the blog for a few days but I'll keep everyone posted.
Take care, do good work and hug each other often!