Saturday, February 28, 2009

One thing at a time.

Today I am reminding myself, ONE THING AT A TIME. One of my biggest challenges is keeping my ability to multi-task in check. I would like to get more of my SBS research done, get my fabric notebook in order, research some more names on my signature quilt and start 15 new quilts. Okay I'm exaggerating about the quiltmaking--but not much. As much as I like to start projects and learn lots of things while I am doing them....I like to finish more. And finishing one thing at at time is one of my mantras this year.
So....back to SBS organization this week and working on my ONE project--the dog quilt. One thing in research and one thing in quiltmaking. Just one thing at a time.

Friday, February 27, 2009

No place like home....

My computer died earlier in the week and it is funny how much I enjoy playing on it. I can do without the television easily but I love the sewing ideas and inspiration I get on the world wide web. Anyway, it is back home again and running wonderfully.
The above pic is of an old Vogart cushion pattern. It was colored by crayon and outlined with embroidery. Lately I've been really enjoying patterns focusing on cottages; my favorite have cottage gardens. They just seem so charming, even when the techniques used to complete them are rustic.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Got Treats?

Well here are the three characters! They are (left to right): Seamus our 1 year old big baby, Paddie the 11 year old love of my life, and Teddy who needs all the patience and loving you can give.

Teddy (white dog) loves his ottoman. He was born with a hip defect and doesn't have a ball or a joint on his left rear hip. It's probably one of the reasons he is so insecure (that and the fact that he was seperated from his mama too early). Anyway, it is our job to keep him lean and in shape so that the muscle mass can make up for some of the problem and he doesn't put too much weight on his back. After a long day, he likes to lay on his ottoman and take the weight off his back hip. It must make him feel good somehow.

Poodles are known for how smart they are but I wonder if animal behaviourists realize they even know how to tell time. At 7 pm they all seem to share a mutual signal and line up for their evening treats. You can set your watch by them. It is a weird and amazing thing :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

What are you doing today?

Helena was supposed to come today but there was a change of plans and now she is coming on Friday. I am going to clean up the house and get things in order before DH leaves on another trip this Wednesday. I get a lot of research done when he isn't here and I try to get everything else in beforehand.

It's funny though. Yesterday DH was saying how he would like to have fish for dinner today. Then he stopped and said, are you having the Helena here tomorrow? It's funny, I usually have her from 8 am or so til 5:30 or so and after a day of Helena activities, DH knows how tired I am. I never cook on Helena days :)

So what are you doing today?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ginger Waffle recipe--delish!

Ginger Waffles

Serves: 8 (makes about 11 or 12 waffles, depending on your iron)

2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger

1. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.
2. Seperate eggs. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks, add the milk and then oil. Add the sifted dry ingredients. Do NOT overmix.
3. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites to a thick foam and add them gently to the preparation. Your batter is ready. Cook your waffles following the instructions of appliance.
4. Serve waffles hot, immediately after cooking. A lemon sauce would be wonderful with this although I just used plain old maple syrup today!

Sewing, Snowy Sunday

It's snowing again. It's Sunday. Sounds like a perfect day to stay in with the hubs, make a nice meatloaf and get some sewing done! I'm still working on my dog yeared quilt blocks and hope to get more done today (then comes the fun part, embellishing them). I also need to get my bunny hill baskets done. Its use, use, use up the stash time here!

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's official. She's a fabricholic........

She's five now. She's been begging to go up there. And once up there, she begs, whines, and has tantrums for it. She wants my stash. And she wants it NOW. For months, Helena has been trying to get upstairs to the sewing room. My sewing nest fascinates her and once there, she wants to go rummaging through the stash. The last time we were upstairs, she had a tantrum for 3 yards of pink $7.99/yard fabric. She actually refused to leave the sewing room that time and my back is too bad to pick up her up and carry her downstairs. I've been hesitant to let her upstairs since then because I didn't want a repeat performance.

My friend Barb had a great idea yesterday. Give her a specific part of the stash that is hers and everything else is off limits. This was the best idea of all.
Out came the hat box of scraps and I brought down an old wooden toy sewing machine. Her fascination with this lasted about 20 minutes. Of course this wasn't enough, she wants my Pfaff. We settled on lap sitting and pushing the reverse button for me when I needed it (and sometimes when I just knew she needed it).
We made another doll quilt (her design) and two doll pillows which she also stuffed. She had a blast and when I wanted to take a break and go downstairs for a drink, she wanted no part of it. She wanted to keep going and going and going.
She's one of us now. A true fabricholic like the rest of us.
Heaven help us!

They're here.........the lifted spears........

Temperature: 27 F
Winds: 15-30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph
Real feel temp: 9 Degrees F

Not far from a river,

in the depthof a wood,

amidst gold autumn debris,

snow, ivy and moss,

- snowdrops -

heads hung demurely

in cold, winter light

stand patient and silent

with spring in their sight.

---Sally Plumb

"Every time you push aside the damp, frosty chestnut greet the first snowdrops, the flowers seem to gleam with a purer white; and time cannot wither, nor custom stale, the beauty of Coventry Patmore's line about the snowdrop which always rings in my memory at these times......

'And hails far summer with a lifted spears'"

-------Beverly Nichols, Merry Hall

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Week 3 of SBS project......

This is the third week of trying to get my Sunbonnet Sue collection organized and ...well readable to some extent. That is----the paper part of the collection, I haven't even touched any of the quilts, blocks, tops, aprons, etc.

I like the paper part of quiltmaking. I like patterns. I like books about quiltmaking and I like history books in general. I hope to smash all these things together one day and write something for me to turn to as a resource. Of course it will also be helpful when I can actually think about a particular pattern and not have to rummage around in 5 big boxes to find one piece of paper.

It's hard not to think about a lot of different things while I pull some of these things out. Some old patterns have memories, some remind me of my grandmothers--maternal, paternal and great maternal. Some remind me of the people who gave me "these old scraps". I think about my father who has been gone for over 15 years now and how he enjoyed looking at the old magazines I would find (he like the ads and always noticed something I hadn't).

But I think that I've thought the most about the women I didn't know and never will. They were the pattern collectors: amazing women who collected and preserved quilt patterns during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. When I was younger and would pick up a piece here or there, it was only by chance. The pattern collectors organized swaps which I think were called round robins. They protected our quilting heritage and built bridges for the second quilt revival.

The world is a different place from even 1993 when my father passed away. I wonder these days what the pattern collectors would think of the internet and the amazing (and quick) amounts of (reliable and not) information that a quiltmaker can get with a post on the world wide web.

Well back to work....I have three boxes left to go.......

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Let sleeping dogs lie.....

Especially when they are so cute and snuggley together :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday, Wash Day....

Just doing some cleaning today! I've got to get some things today because it is going to be a busy week! Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

Have a wonderful day full of love!

Be Mine

Friday Journal: I am always exhausted after a Helena day and so is she. People can't believe all that we can fit in a single day. Like today during our Valentine preparations......
There was some baking to be done by a little girl and her little rolling pin.
There were sprinkles to be taste-tested.....

Special cookies to be made for family. Like this one made especially for Pop-pop...his was the second biggest she made. The biggest one she ate after lunch. She told me: "I was born to eat this cookie."
There were valentines to be made (check out the one that is hung to the left of the hutch). And Nanagram came to visit as well.
There were other friends to visit. Katie spent the later part of the afternoon with us and both girls made STACKS of valentines to take home.

All this and the girl manages to look chic and relaxed in the new dress she got for her birthday. Check out the poodles on the dress, the pin from Nanagram, and the Pippi longstocking tights. Helena picks out her outfits these days.

So this was another day and Saturday, I will have energy again. In the meantime, Happy Valentines Day....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Dear Seamus.........

Yesterday I picked up the puppies from Woof World and Melissa told me that Seamus had done a wonderful thing. There has been a very VERY large Great Dane that has been coming to the center but he wouldn't play with others--perhaps he is shy or intimidated. The other dogs leave him alone since he is the size of a small horse (notice I said horse not pony). But yesterday Seamus had enough and he began to perform his magic on the Great Dane and by 4:00, he had the Dane playing with him. Melissa was so excited and I felt that special Seamus glow.

Seamus is my amazing magical dog. Each of our dogs bring something special to our home. Paddie is part of me, like my shadow, we lived together alone for so long. Teddy needs us and he is beautiful so it makes up for his (sometimes incessant) barking and his fearfulness. And Seamus...Seamus is my magical boy.
He has the most interesting countenance. All dogs like him, none ever seem to be intimidated by him and he is the dog you want to have around puppies because he is nice to them. He is sweet to people and he doesn't bark much, although he yowls (only way to put it) when he is excited to see someone or has just been left out to play. He also hops up and down like Tiger which is delightful. He loves kids and even when he was young, he would just sit there and gently lick Helena's hands.
I often wonder if his magic comes from the fact that if it wasn't for us and our vet practice, he would be dead. On the day I found him, I was supposed to be looking for antique quilts but I found a puppy instead. He was from that area of Pennsylvania where there are a lot of puppy mills and when I saw him, he had a weird white stuff on his nose. We thought he had a cold. But within two days, he was unable to move at all. He had bronchial pneumonia and couldn't even stand or hold his head up.
The entire vet practice descended on our puppy and they had us come in to the office twice a day so he could get his IV of fluids, meds and nutrition--he was too sick to even drink water. They even opened up the office on Easter so we could bring him in for his IVs. They saved him and I guess so did we.
And the magical thing is......he knows it. We all thought he would hate the vet after all the needles and work they did. At the time he would cry and he had so many holes in him from the needles that his IV would drip our of them.
So it was amazing to see his reaction when he got better. When we go to the vet, he starts yowling and hopping and breaks free to visit everyone in the office. It's like he's saying, "Honey, I'm home!!!!!" He goes around kissing everyone and whinning with joy. And the staff love him for it. They treat him differently than my other dogs: Seamus is their dog too.
He is my least trained dog and yet one of my easiest. He seem to understand that it isn't important to sweat the small stuff, that life is rich enough if you just let joy come to you, that being kind is its own reward. That is why he is my dear dear Seamus.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The snow has been caught up into the sky---I hope.......

"Very Early Spring"
By Katherine Mansfield
The fields are snowbound no longer;
There are little blue lakes and flags of tenderest green.
The snow has been caught up into the sky—
So many white clouds--and the blue of the sky is cold.
Now the sun walks in the forest,
He touches the bows and stems with his golden fingers;
They shiver, and wake from slumber.
Over the barren branches he shakes his yellow curls.
Yet is the forest full of the sound of tears...
A wind dances over the fields.
Shrill and clear the sound of her waking laughter,
Yet the little blue lakes tremble
And the flags of tenderest green bend and quiver.

Monday, February 9, 2009

20,646 Stitches

This is a column I found over the weekend when I was reading a 1900 issue of Popular Fashions. I've read some articles here and there about the amount of pieces used to piece quilts (like mosaic quilts) but I've never seen this kind of thing before. It begs the question......."is this what people did before tv?" Just joking....well sorta :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Que Sera, Sera...

My mom was a teenager when she got married and my brother and I used to listen to my mom's old records, including Doris Day. I particularly liked her "Love me or Leave Me" Album, which wasn't even really an album, it was a booklet of 45's from the movie. It was probably then that I developed an affinity to torch songs which later would develop into a love of the blues. Anyway, Doris always seemed to be around when we were growing up. I loved her movies and used to watch more of them before I got married (DH will tolerate a lot but sometimes you just can't push it). I love any kitschy or sappy movie, will get me any time.

Who could forget some of the gizmos and doodads in these movies as well? It seemed like "Doris as the Single Girl" set the standard very very high with her apartments, wardrobe and boudoir settings. I mean, if I say to you "Pillow Talk" do you not imagine that luxury telephone of hers and those amazing pillows surrounding her perfectly coiffed hair?

I thought of Doris yesterday. The ride to Chuck E. Cheese was longer than I expected so I stopped at flea market and found a lovely booklet called "Decorating with Needlecraft". Of course I had to invest my $1.00 into this little lovely. This book brought back lots of memories (not all of them good----who remembers sleeping in curlers?) so I thought I would post what every girl's boudoir accessories should be like.........

And here is a lovely pattern to make your own laundry bag! Although I don't really think my jeans will fit in this! Doris we still love you and your world and are proud of the great work you do protecting animals.....Keep well old friend!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Party Day!!!

Today is Helena Grace's birthday party. I can't believe she is going to be 5 years old on Monday! Her party is at Chuckie Cheese today and Lord help us, there will be 16 children attending. Should be a real circus! DH comes home later today and we will be also be going to see her tomorrow so DH can see her before he leaves again on Monday. We'll take her presents to her tomorrow. I'll go to the party today to take pics and make a little scrapbook for her afterwards.
Helena was here again yesterday and inspected the stacks of Sunbonnet Sue information I had deposited around the desk. Of course she already loved Sue and yesterday she officially requested a SBS quilt from Nana. So I best get moving on that too!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thank You Senator Specter!

We've been proud of Senator Specter for a long time. He has often taken the unpopular position because he has believed it is right for the country and right for the great state of Pennsylvania. Democrats are the majority here in Pennsylvania but we love this Senator. He makes us proud and did so again tonight by supporting the stimulus package. He's strong enough to be bipartisan when many Republicans appear to be posturing idealogy. We don't need rhetoric, we need action. Anyway, I just think it is good to affirm what pleases us as a people and not just complain. So--- Thanks Senator. You do us proud!

Half Full

"I don't really care if my glass is half full or half empty--I'm just happy to have a glass."
----Joe Farrell

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"Nothing Ma, we swear...."

"We're just sitting here..." Perhaps it is a mom thing, but I think they were playing poker, smoking cigars, and having a wee bit of drink before I came in.....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

White Dog, White Snow, Midnight Tuesday

A New Tool....

I am fortunate in that I have many antique and vintage quilts, many of which have been given to me as gifts from friends. But my passion is collecting the paper part of quilting and embroidery: patterns, illustrations and articles. Today, in an effort to develop this research into programs, I bought my first all in one printer/scanner/copier. DH is away in Wyoming working, it is snowing and a perfect time to have all my piles of research out and start putting my notes to work (and leave them out, eat in the living room, etc). Obviously, I am working on Sunbonnet Sue---this illustration is from a 1921 Woman's World magazine article featuring the patterns of "John Then". I am hoping to develop a power point program on Sue after the research and notes are organized and set. It's a lot of work but I love it :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's Official........

Punkxy Phil has predicted 6 more weeks of winter.......and just to kick that off we are getting 1-3 inches more tomorrow! See Phil at I guess Phil means more to us because we are from Pennsylvania but also groundhog day is my Mom's birthday! My mother says that through her entire life she has watched Phil: Phil sees his shadow and there are 6 more weeks of winter; Phil doesn't see his shadow and there are 6 more weeks of winter. She needs to become a believer :)
Anyway, Happy Birthday Mama!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Sunday

It's Super Bowl Sunday and congrats to the Steelers who won the game tonight. It was an exciting game but I didn't watch much of it (DH gives me the blow by blow anyway). Today I had to get a lot of things completed that needed to be done. It was a busy weekend for the two of us.

DH took me to the store today so I could get this week's shopping done. I need him to help me with big orders, I just can't lift things these days. Then I took the car to the place down the road and got the upholstery and carpeting clean (from Teddy's fine performance on Thursday). It took the guy almost 2 hours to get the car done but it is more passable.

From there we headed over to Mom's for her birthday dinner which was coordinated by her good grandson Peter :) His girlfriend Jess made an amazing orange cake with a chocolate ganache glaze that was amaaaaazing. I just had to have two slices.

Tonight I worked on the sewing room. Whenever I finish a project, I feel compelled to clean up. It just makes starting the next project easier (especially to focus). I am happy to report that the room is doing better and better. The stash is beginning to slowly dwindle (no purple, brown, grey, or orange except for a few fat quarters). STILL way too much Christmas fabric but I am thinking of making some more placemats for Christmast presents. I'll bug some of my groups for nice present ideas.

Also made a note of my UFOs which aren't as bad as I thought but then I had been picking them off while Brad was recovering and this past year. I also tossed some that had such bad structure that it just wasn't worth it. I'm going to post the list on my blog to keep my momentum moving forward. Tomorrow Helena is coming again and we will have another busy BUSY day with crafts, baking and getting ready for the next snow storm.
Be kind, do good work and be well!