Monday, December 29, 2008

Stash Busting

Here it is December 29 and I am going to join a group of other quilters who are pledging to try to use up some of the fabric we own. I have lots of fabric, lots of UFO's and hopefully this coming year a plan to turn the fabric and UFO's into finished projects.

I don't buy much fabric anymore, but I still have fabric from when I owned a LQS 6 years ago. Some of it will be used only on backs of quilts, or as ironing board covers, but I also have enough to make some nice quilts.

My UFO's were mostly created when I was teaching quilting. I would start a project so I could teach a technique. When I learned how to use EQ4 I started some more projects just so I could be sure the program was was, but then they became UFO's. I also took classes or would try everything new, rulers, methods, covered boxes, fabric boxes and so on. I have many projects that just need to be quilted, labeled and bound. Some are queen size, but most are smaller. Some are just 2 feet square! So these are my goals for the year 2009.

Finish one UFO each month. Now that is only 12 UFO's! I can do that.

I also need to please my dear husband and whittle down my stash, so I plan to use 100 yards of fabric. This does not include any fabrics sent to me to do special orders or to create samples for fabric companies.

Along this same line I am creating a goal to have 5 quilt new patterns at each quilt market. Quilt Women. com will be publishing most of these patterns. That means I have deadlines to meet. The first one if February 1, 2009. I have the patterns pretty well written, and most tested. One sample is completed except for the special label. Two are to the quilting stage and two are cut out. Making quilts to create new pattern are also using up some of my stash, so I can count them two ways!

So I guess I better get busy!



Subtitle: Donut Hole

Now I know all about donut holes, I can make them, I can eat them and I know how guilty one can feel if donut holes are a regular part of a diet. The donut hole I want to talk about today is the one that those on Medicare Part D can fall into. Well this isn't a real hole, but it can feel like it when one experiences it when not prepared to be there.

My Dad asked me to order and pick up some medicine for him today. He knows about the donut hole and thought he had enough information to know that he would not be a victim of the hole that requires the purchaser to pay for the entire amount of the medicine. Wrong! He became a victim today of this "loop hole" The reason it is called a hole is because you drop into the hole at a certain point with the total costs of your medicine (insurance and the price you pay) reaches a certain point for the year. This year it is $2510. The nice thing is you can also work you way out of the hole by spending more money on medicines and some other things. The bad part about this was he bought medicine today that he didn't really need until after the first when a new "donut hole" starts. So today he paid $96.69 for medicines when he normally pays $37.00.

The lesson learned here is beginning Jan 1, 2009 when the medicines are bought I will record not only how much he is paying out of his pocket, but how much the insurance company is paying. That way maybe we can avoid this mistake next year.

What is sad about all of this is that as we age things should become simpler, but NO, they are more complicated! Those who care for the elderly or must deal with the elderly on a daily basis must be able to explain why things if we don't have enough to worry about in just dealing with the other everyday things.

Well that is my complaint for today!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Shoes

Tonight, Christmas Eve, I watched the movie "Christmas Shoes". I wanted to watch it because Kimberly Williams-Paisley was in the movie. Bill knows how much I like her as an actress and also as the wife of one of my favorite country music stars Brad Paisley. I actually liked her the first time I saw her act in "According to Jim". Well back to the movie. It is not a new movie, but it was new to me. I was glad Bill went to sleep as I cried for almost an hour watching what she and her movie "family" had to endure during what should have been a time of Christmas Joy. I won't tell you what happened in the movie, but it touched me making me sad and happy at the same time. I am an emotional person, so for me to cry while watching a movie is not unusual.

I do want to share something about the movie. It took place in a small town. The size of the town really isn't that important, but what is in my mind is the way every person has an affect on those that we meet in our daily lives.

I know that I have hurt people in my life, but that usually happened when I could no longer tolerate how I or others were being treated by that person or I am just tired and frustrated. I am sure I have hurt others and had not idea that I inflicted any pain. That sometimes is just a part of life. I also know that I have helped many people. Some people I have helped it was very obvious to me that I was helping them, by teaching them a skill, doing something for them or giving them something they needed or I thought they would like to own. Some ways everyone can help others is to give a helping hand, a thank you, an I'm thinking of you, a "if you need me give me a call" and really mean it or just listening.

I remember when a friend of mine husband passed away. I really didn't have the means to send flowers or any of the usual things people do for others at a death. What I did was a few days after the funeral I sent her a personal note and just expressed how sorry I was for her, but I also included in the note "if you want to talk just call me or stop by to see me". She has told me over and over how much she appreciated my offer and she did take me up on that offer on more then one occasion. Our lives have both changed, so we don't see much of each other now, but we always give each other a hug and a warm greeting when our paths cross.

Recently Bill and I have made several new friends. The sad part of these new friendships, and maybe our age in general, is they or someone they love are ill and some near death.

We met a man who was in his 90's and he was sharp as a tack. He looked like a picture of health. As we talked more and more with him he shared with us that his health was not as good as he looked. He had multiple heart attacks, the type that the only help was medication. The medication and age lead to kidney failure and soon after that death. He shared with us things about living so many years and answered many questions we had about the depression and how our nation has changed.

Others we have met recently shared the changes in our local area. Since the town we shop in has a university and has been named several times as a good place to live we meet people from everywhere. Bill and I do not judge people by the way they look, color, how much money they have or don't have, education or where they are from originally. Basically we like people and give most everyone a chance. The one thing we don't tolerate are those who don't accept others as equals. We try our best to give everyone a chance. Some become friends, others we tolerate and a few we just try to avoid. I'm sure the reverse is also true about us to others.

We heard a story today about a lady I have known for years. She was a quilter, teacher and used to have a memory that always amazed me. We were talking with her husband and now caretaker. She is suffering from Alzheimer's. She seems to be very active at night. Last night she was wanting to go home. She told her husband that she had a job and needed to get home. He could not convince her that she was at home. She packed a small bag and went to the door using her wheel chair. He was near her, but did not try to stop her. I thought he did a really smart thing by opening the garage door. It was a cold, rainy night last night. She got a feel of the out door conditions and decided to leave some other time. At 5:00am she went to sleep. I hope it helps him that Bill and I listen to his adventures with his wife.

I want to thank my friends who have been here for me. Some who are relatives, some live close and others live a long way from us. Others I have never met in person, but still have shared much of my life, feelings and thoughts.

Merry Christmas and love to all,

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dad's 82nd Birthday

Today my Dad celebrated his 82nd birthday. He has decided to grow a beard because it is too hard for him to see in the mirror to shave and he also has a bit of a balance problem. Bill and I have both said we would shave him if he wanted to be shaved, but thank goodness he said "No". He is sporting about 6 weeks of growth and has passed the itching stage, so I think it is there to stay. I like beards, so his is fine with me.

I made Dad his favorite Date Nut Cake. I wish I had bought the dates before yesterday, but I didn't. So I was up early this morning making the cake. I wanted it to sit as long as it could, because it gets better with age. I had a half piece at dinner. It was not as good as it will be tomorrow, but it was good. This recipe was a favorite of my Grandmother's and it is really easy to make. (Today the dates are already pitted and dusted with flour so they are not sticky. I hated pitting the dates when I was little as my hands would get sooooooo sticky.)

Here is the recipe.

Grandma Smith's Datenut Cake

1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped dates
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1 t vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place dates in a small bowl. Sprinkle with baking soda and pour boiling water over the dates and soda. Set aside to cool. In mixing bowl cream sugar and shortening, I mix by hand, but you can use a mixer. Add eggs then alternate flour and baking powder with the date mixture stirring after each addition. Add vanilla and chopped nuts. This is a very thick mixture.

Grease and flour two loaf pans then put half of the mixture into each pan. Place in oven and bake about 45 minute. Check to see if each loaf is done by sticking a wooden toothpick into the center. The loaf is done if toothpick come out clean. Turn each loaf out onto cooling rack and cool for at least 1/2 hour. Wrap each loaf well or place in plastic bag and seal. I freeze one for later and we eat one.

Dad likes his with whipping cream. I like mine plain or with cream cheese. I also enjoy just butter. A sandwich made with date nut cake and cream cheese served with a cup of hot tea is one of my favorites this time of year!


Friday, December 12, 2008

I Feel Special!

Today Bill gave me a beautiful arrangement of roses. He took me into town today and I went to visit a friend. When he came to pick me up in the restaurant we were eating at he was carrying a dozen roses. They are at the perfect stage of opening. My camera doesn't take the best pictures...or maybe it is just me who doesn't take good pictures, but aren't they pretty! I tried to take a closeup of one of the flowers so you can see the variation in color in each petal, so excuse the blurriness. My friend JoAnn and I did some sewing at her home before we went out to eat. Seams like we always have something to talk about. We were both doing the blanket stitch and I was glad to see she had a book out with instructions. I forget how to start the blanket stitch because I only work on this project when I am away from home. So it was nice to have a guide.

We are just having pizza for dinner this evening, so I don't need to rush around cooking today. I think I will get out a pie I made earlier this year and put it in the oven. That way the oven will be nice and warm when it is time to put in the pizza. A pie will make Dad happy. Better go get the pie in the oven, or it will not be done in time for dinner.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Still not done!

The house being in total disarray is driving me crazy. We thought we would get all the trim down last week, but that did not happen. I had a DR's appointment, which meant going into town another day for blood test.(Everything is OK.) Then we changed our mind about how and what trim we were going to put down. The weather also was not nice enough to paint outside and still isn't so we decided to get drop clothes and paint inside. That said, everything must be cut first, then the room cleaned so we can paint. If it was not one thing it was another. Today I am taking Mom and Dad both to the DR for their exams. I don't expect anything unusual, but that will still take up the whole day.

Here it is 3:30 am and I am awake. I really want to sew, but I don't know where I can sew. I think I will just stack some stuff a little higher so I can sew. No I need to go back to sleep.

This coming year I am going to keep track of how many yards of fabric I sew into something. My goal is to lower my stash. I have been using mainly from my stash, except for what I make for the fabric company, but I have also added to my stash.
My goal is to use more fabric then I bring into the house. I will be posting my results.

As I look back this year I know I have things I have not finished. I still need a purse, a baby quilt still needs to be quilted and several other projects started need to be finished. I am going to have a special place to keep these projects so they will be in full view each time I am in the sewing studio. They must be finished early in the year.

I am getting off the computer now, because the cat is making too much noise playing. I don't want him to wake up if that will happen. Bill is a sound sleeper.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Floors all down

Friday we worked hard putting down the flooring in the bedroom. It is a small room, but it had a few area that needed to have some fancy cuts done to them. I did most of the cutting with my dad helping a bit when he didn't think I could do something. I guess he doesn't realize some of the complicated cuts I do with quilting and upholstery work I do at times. I know it is different with a saw, but it is not as if this was the first time for me to saw something.

JR, Bill's son did most of the laying of the floor, but Bill did help him when he needed the help. JR also did all the measuring. The floor looks nice. We still have that pesky trim to cut, paint and put up. I did at least put it in the smaller of the two rooms. Bill and I decided to not paint the paneling in the bedroom. It is a light almost white paneling and it would have been difficult painting around the built in shelving. If we change our mind we will just need to be careful to not make a mess on the new flooring.

That's all for tonight. The Bears are on TV now...may watch them for a while.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Love the shelving!

Bill and I put up one of the shelves that we bought. I love it. The shelves can be adjusted in multiple ways. The system has a groove every inch or so in the support legs. A two piece clip fits over a groove and one corner of a shelf fits over the clips compressing them more into the groove. If the clips are put in the same place on each leg and the groove is hit properly with the clip the shelf will hold up to 200lbs. I added some felt floor savers to the bottom of the level adjustments so we can easily move the shelf.

As you can see the trim is not attached to the wall. In fact it has not been painted, because it is still too cold outside to paint. Maybe when we get the rug out of the other room we will be able to paint them in there.

Our cat Gordo likes to help. He is about 9 months old and my constant companion. He lays on
the rug in front of the kitchen sink while I do the dishes or am cooking. Sometimes he wants to play with my feet as they are moving about. When I am napping he is on my lap, unless he is in the bed. He is a really good cat and except for the occasional nip when he is tired or wants to play he doesn't bother anything.......except the paper garbage containers near the computer and near our living room chairs. He likes to tip them over to find little goodies he can hide under the rug. He doesn't do that as much as he used to, but he still likes to hide things. I am surprised he doesn't get into my sewing stuff, but so far he leaves that alone.

Bill has a "fishing pole with fish" cat toy that he used to play with Gordo. The cat will chase the fish and even jump high and do topsy turvy move in the air. He also has multiple small toys that he bats from from to room. When we clean we find balls and little do-dad's he has hidden or got wedged into places he can't reach.

Usually about now Gordo is wanting to go to bed. He will come to the computer chair where I am sitting and want me to hold him. If I am just reading I pick him up and he lays curled up on his back on my left arm, sleeping. After a while he gets heavy.....maybe that is why I am having trouble with my left shoulder!

I now must see if I can get something done around the house before I go to bed!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday was busy!

Today Bill and I went to town to meet a friend of ours. I had made Shrimp Creole last night and wanted to share some with him. We met for coffee at a local restaurant. When he left we walked over to say hello to some other friends of ours at another table. About an hour later they asked us if we would like to join them for lunch at yet another restaurant in another town. Since we were still sore and tired from what we had been doing we said yes. The restaurant is actually in TN, but not too far away from where we live. We had a nice visit, good meal and lots of leftovers. I ordered the chef salad, because I wasn't real hungry, but knew I needed to eat. It came to me on a 10" plate, filled edge to edge and it was about 6" high in the center. It had lettuce, mushrooms, celery, onions, peppers, hard cooked eggs, ham, bacon and grated cheese on top. I brought at least 2/3rd's of it home along with part of a steak and a chicken plank other had leftover. My salad cost $5.50. There is enough left over for Bill and I to share for lunch tomorrow if we desire.

When we got home we put more of the flooring down. We have a partial plank to put down to get to the door. I am not sure we will actually put it down, or leave it for Bill's son when he comes down. We (mostly I) need to clean out the other room, remove the carpet, wash the walls down, prim and paint. Unfortunately we still need to paint the trim, but the weather is windy, cold and a bit damp. Maybe we can get the other room cleaned out and paint them in there.

I really won't get my sewing room set up until after the Thanksgiving. Extra stuff will need to be stored in the sewing room until the new bedroom is done.

I did a bit of sewing tonight. I hemmed a pair of my Dad's sleep pants and made a velcro opening in the front of a T-shirt. He has problems putting clothing over his head, so he wanted to try a velcro opening down the front. I hope it works for him, because he needs the extra warmth now that the weather has changed.

Catch you later!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Today's Progress

To catch up with what has been happening here I need to go back to Saturday. Bill, Dad and I went to Paducah to return some items and do a little shopping. After returning the items at Home Depot we were going to look at shelving for my Sewing Studio. Would you believe all of their free standing shelving was in storage....nothing on display! So we moved on down the road to Lowes. The one we had picked out in Murray, but they didn't have it in stock, were not available in Paducah. I had also been looking at some chrome shelves, but was not sure I wanted to pay $89. each for shelving I am not sure will work the way I want it to work. So we decided to just go on to Aldi's to do some grocery shopping.

While at Aldi's we picked up some fresh vegetables and a few other items. We didn't need much, but on the way out Bill spotted some chrome shelves that looked like the ones I wanted. The specs were exactly the same and they were on closeout sale for $30. each. I was able to get two silver and one black.

We decided to put a wall paper border at the top of the wall so I didn't need to try to paint the wall without getting paint on the ceiling tile. I can't put it up until we put up the corner trim. That won't happen until the flooring is down and the trim is painted. Wouldn't you know the weather was damp and windy so we could not work outside painting the trim. We have no place to paint it inside. I did get a second coat of paint on the walls "early Monday" morning. Then I went to bed.

Monday again the weather was windy and damp working on being cold, so Bill and I went to town to get new fluorescent tubes and a new shop light. We thought we would start the flooring in the afternoon, but that did not happen. We were both exhausted plus I was making lasagna for dinner. So now you are caught up.

Today we laid enough of the flooring so the bed could be moved on top of the new flooring. It looks nice. We only worked about 2 1/2 hours, but we were cutting in the upper part of the garage. So Dad and I did the cutting. Bill leg has been bothering him, so he just snapped the flooring in place. Here is what the flooring looks like. Not really much different in color from the plywood under it, but much easier to clean.
Notice my Quilting Square up Ruler at the side by the wall. I use it to mark the line for cutting. It is difficult to see, but there are 1/4" spacers along the wall. This flooring floats. It locks together with a tongue and groove system and is held in place with the trim.

Oh I also changed the fluorescent tube in the light that was already in the room. We still need to put the new light in, but I want to decide where every thing will be placed so the light will be in the correct place.


Friday, November 14, 2008

The Making of a Sewing Studio

After much delay Bill and I are making progress with creating a Sewing Studio for me. This involves the transformation of the largest of the bedrooms in our area of the house. It had a carpet on the floor, but that has been removed and we are now down to the subfloor of plywood.

Exciting right! Well eventually that will be covered with a light wood laminate. But before we can lay that the walls had to be painted. The original walls were a medium color wood paneling. This is a basement room with no windows. At best it is dark and the paneling in the picture makes it even darker.
So the next step was to paint the paneling. We both hate painting. Plus painting over paneling is tricky. It is easy to not get the paint into the grooves or have the paint slid right off the panel, because of it's slick finish. So the first step was to put on a primer that is designed to use on paneling and in areas that could harbor moisture. Believe it or not that went rather quickly. I did the edges and Bill rolled on the rest of the wall. We didn't need to worry about trim, because other then the door trim that is already attached the rest will be added after the floor is in place.
So this is the results of the primer.

We painted this first thing this morning. Just that little bit of light color paint on the walls made a big difference in the room. We have overhead lights in this room, which has two 4 foot fluorescent tubes. The tubes are the soft white, so they don't offer much light. We are going to have Bill's son (He is coming Thanksgiving weekend to help.) add another light the same size plus we will change the tubes so they are the brighter, day light type tubes.

The next step for us today was to paint the walls with the main color. We bought this paint at least two years ago and it is an aqua color. I tried to stir the paint, but I must not have done a good job. When I started to so the trimming at the top of the wall the paint ran like water. I had a new roller, but was using the same brush I had used this morning. I don't think it was completely dry , but I really don't think that was the total problem. I think I just didn't get the paint mixed well. If I do something in the afternoon and things don't go well I get frustrated. I had more paint on the floor and me then on the walls. So I put my paint back in the can and stirred some more. Bill didn't seem to have trouble, but I basically was done for the day. He has his part done, but I still need to paint the top of the wall and the trim around the door. At least I have the whole weekend to get this done as Bill is taking the weekend off. Here is a picture of Bill after he was finished and had come in for being outside. The aqua color don't show up well, but it is a pretty and light color. Perfect for a background for the Sewing Studio.

Keep watching the blog for updates. It will take a long time, because we are also doing the other small room that will become our bedroom. I will be happy if we get it all done and I get the stuff sorted and in place by the end of the year.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back from our Quick Trip

We are now home!
Well actually we have been back for a while, but it seems like we just returned. I guess it was because we were tired when we returned and then we had to deal with time change. I was discussing with a friend today that I was having a difficult time adjusting to the time change this fall. Normally I don't have a problem, but I did feel better when she told me she and her husband had discussed the same problem

This year I became more aware of my need to eat at a certain time. When time changed my body started giving me singles about needing something to eat, but it wasn't meal time. I can just ignore hunger, but when I start to get the feeling of relaxing from the head down, I know I am in trouble. I know it will only be about 15 minutes and I will have the shakes in my hands and my brain won't allow me to think logically. I also become very sensitive to temperatures or lack of circulation. I have a Dr's appointment next month, so this is on my list of things to discuss with her. I have thought for years I am Hypoglycemic, but she doesn't think that is the problem. She did find a thyroid problem and I am on medications for that situation.

Our trip to MO and AR was nice, but much too short. You would not believe the number of Quilt Shops we went by, but they were closed. Most of them were closed due to the day of our passing by, but also because of the hour we passed them. I don't understand why they were not open at 7am. I didn't open my shop until 10am, so I know why they were not open. Next year I hope to plan better so I can at least go to one shop.

The leaves this year are showing wonderful colors. They were trying their best to hang onto the limbs and let us enjoy their grander, but yesterday many trees just let them drift to the ground. Today is was like a shower of leaves as we were driving into town. I noticed tonight we have little piles of leaves on the deck. We will need to start pushing the lovely leaves over the hill before too much of the woods decides to land near the house. It is a pain to go out nearly everyday to remove the leaves, but if we don't they can get so deep it is difficult to even pick them up.

This is the quilt that I made for Quilting Treasure's to show off there new line of Currier & Ives Sailing fabric.
The pattern will be available soon on this
web site with the fabric being delivered to
your local quilt shop in Dec. This quilt is not hard to make and would make a prefect gift for the favorite man in your life. The first pieced border from the center panel is a variation of a block called Attic Window. I thought of the women who might be looking out to sea waiting for their husbands return home from a long voyage. I combined many of the small squares that would normally be in the blocks into rectangles. So the piecing of that border is minimal. I also used an easy to piece flying geese instead of using two half square triangles to make the points.

Get out and enjoy what is left of fall. Winter will be here before we know some places have already had snow. I wonder if they were snowing leaves at the same time as they were snowing the white stuff?????? Maybe someone will let us know.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Taking a short trip

In the morning Bill and I will be leaving for Branson, MO. We have two free nights there thanks to a local promotion. This is actually not a pleasure trip, but a visit to our, for now, neurologist. Dr. Gus, as we call him, moved his practice last year to Ft. Smith Ark. When he move it left Murray with no neurologist, now we have two. They both moved in after we had our appointment. Since they are specialist we need a referrals to be able to see the new DR. So since we will be in Branson we will continue on to Ft. Smith to see Dr Gus.

We noticed today that the leaves are really changing colors, so it should be a pretty trip.

I will post again when we get back


Monday, September 29, 2008

Vacation was great!

Bill and I went on vacation for 10 days. We went to Wisconsin hoping for cool weather. In fact we both took sweatshirts and insulated shirts that never made it out of the suit case or off the hangers.

We were very busy the whole time we were gone, yet because it was a change of pace it was relaxing. I think Friday was the only day we were not with relatives of Bill's. We were with Bill's son, daughter-in-law and grandson the most. We also saw a niece, nephew and girlfriend, great nephew, sisters, brother-in-law, boy friend of a sister, cousins and a lot of good friends. We played cards, watched 10 year old's play football, talked, ate meals together and just enjoyed our time in WI.

We were staying in a Condo Vacation Community in Wisconsin Dells. We took Devin our 10 year old grandson fishing at the small lake on the grounds. He caught lots of little bluegill and was perfectly happy until I stopped taking them off the hook for him. He has learned how to put the worm on the hook, catch the fish but he doesn't want to take the fish off the hook. Well that is all part of fishing, just like us quilters sometimes need to frog stitch (take out stitches) even if we don't like the process.

Bill and I also went to the casino once.....for about 10 minutes. We had set a limit of spending $20.00. Bill spent and lost his ten in nothing flat. I changed $5.00 into $12. on one machine and my other $5.00 into $80.00 on another machine. I told Bill let's cash in and go back to the Condo to watch the ball game. It took us longer to walk from the parking lot to the casino and back then we were actually in the casino. I thought we might go back again, but we just didn't have time.

While Bill was watching Devin's football team play I was playing also. I did manage to go to three quilt shops (one twice) and get some supplies I needed for making samples for my new patterns.
I bought some black and white fabric's, mostly from Mark Lipinski's Califon collection, and some 1800's reproductions to fill out my collection. It was difficult to decide what collections I wanted use, but my stash at home needs to be reduced so I tried to get fabric that could be used as focal fabrics.

On the last Saturday we were there I call Trish P, a gal from the Pickle Road yahoo group I belong to and she was available to meet me at The Mill House Quilt Shop in Waunakee. Prior to her arriving I asked a clerk to cut 12 of the Califon black and whites . When Trish arrived we started talking quilts, fabric, health and many other things and the next thing I knew she asked if I wanted to go to the quilt shop in her town. Naturally I said yes and out the door we went. Guess who forgot her fabric. The bad part was I had not paid for it! So one of the clerks managed to catch me before I started my van to ask me if I still wanted my fabric. I was embarrassed, but they saved me a trip back to their shop as I really wanted the Califon black and white collection. So I paid for my fabric and we went to Village Creek, LLC in Lodi. The shop was about the size of my former shop with most of the fabric being reproductions. Their was also some Bali's, but I was not interested in them. It was a fun time looking and it is time for the making.

First I need to make a quilt for Quilting Treasures. The fabric arrived from them while we were gone. It is very nice, but I must keep the style, designer and pattern I designed a secret until Quilt Market opens at the end of October. I love the pattern I designed as it is simple, but has lots of movement. Look for my quilt if you go to market.

One thing I forgot to tell you is we now have two new lazy boy chairs for our living room. Bill's sister Donna gave them to us. One is leather and the other is plush in deep red and deep rose. We are waiting until Thursday to bring them into the house, because our kitten has an appointment that day to be fixed and claws removed.

We also brought back some meats that we can not buy in KY, potatoes that were at least $3.00 cheaper per bag and some good northern apples. Our van was loaded when we left WI.

We stopped to see out friends Beverly and Len in IL and they gave us 6 dozen farm fresh eggs. Oh and I forgot the breads I bought at the bakery in Bloomington, WI. They make a wonderful multigrain bread that I just love toasted. After visiting with Beverly and Len and enjoying a nice cup of coffee and a piece of delicious chocolate cake we looked for a motel room so we could rest for the night. We had already checked Tuscola, Arcola and then we checked a couple of other small towns on our way down the road. One clerk told us they have been booked since May. Later we found a room in Effingham and discovered it was Parents Weekend at Eastern IL University. I think every parent of students attending EIU were visiting.

Bill and I slept in late and took out time making our last day of vacation last as long as we could. Mom and Dad cried when we arrived home, because they were so happy to see us. We had friends and neighbors check on them while we were gone, but they had to do their own cooking etc.

Now it is back to normal, cooking, cleaning, figuring out bills and yes sewing those quilts.

Have a good one!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Me again

Wow! Being without electric yesterday and today I had not seen the pictures of what happen when hurricane Ike hit Texas and other areas of the south. What devastation. I was familiar with many of the areas due to a trip to Houston and the surrounding areas last year. I'm sure some of the restaurants we ate at and places we shopped at are now just sticks. So sad.

Go down and read about our experiences with "Ike"!

"Ike" and I and other radom ideas

Hurricane "Ike" and I were not on great terms over the weekend. I am sure others all over our nation felt the same way. We rarely have company at meals these days in our home. There are many reasons for this, but when we do entertain it is good ole home cooking. Nothing special to us, but maybe something our guest have never had or tasted only at our home. This weekend was just one of those times, but then "Ike" arrived. Remember we live in western Kentucky!!!

We do not live near the coast and have felt some affects of hurricanes in the past with a little rain or a slight wind, but "Ike" decided we needed to feel his fury. "Ike" did bring us some humidity on Saturday when our guest, my Brother, Sister-in-law, and their two adult children from CA arrived. "Ike" also brought a breeze, which is unusual at our house due to our location in a valley. Being from southern California humidity is not something they tolerate well....and neither do I. Saturday went well with Bill and my Dad starting to smoke a turkey early in the morning. When it was almost done we added two pork roasts. I wish I had taken pictures of the smoked roasts and turkey, because they did turn out picture perfect. When my brother arrive he helped my dad finish the main dish. We just added a cranberry relish, corn we froze from our garden and tomatoes from a friend's garden. All was good, but the house did get humid with the in and out checking on dinner.

Sunday morning my parents, Bill and I had breakfast, but the dishes did not get washed when "Ike" decided to show he was still something to fear. His wind was very strong and the trees in our area of KY were snapping like toothpicks. We were rather fortunate to live in the woods, but only had a small branch or two hit the ground. Most of the area north of us suffered much damage from trees breaking or being uprooted. This caused a huge power outage like I have never seen. Our power was out from 8:15am Sunday until sometime near 2:30pm Monday.

Thank goodness we have a gas grill and fish cooker and I have a wonderful husband who understood when I was frustrated and was being nasty to him when I was just upset with the circumstances. We did change our menu from Fried fish, Red Beans and Rice and Cole Slaw to Fried Fish, Potatoes and Onions in foil cooked on the grill and Green Beans we canned from our garden heated on the side burner of the grill and Cole Slaw. Sounds simple enough, but the fish would not thaw (this is fish we caught and froze in water) . Plus we had limited water in jugs so to speed the process I had Bill put the fish in the "electric cooler/warmer" we have in the car. He was able to heat the fish enough to start the thawing process and I used some water and my hands to finish the process. By this time I was tired and I knew the fish no longer looked like fish, but little pieces of a mess.

Now it was time to bread the fish which is a mess to do under the best circumstances, but I had little clean room in either kitchen and less water to clean my hands when I was taking the fish out of the milk wash into the coating. What a mess!

Then it was time to coordinate everything so it was all done at the same time. Fortunately I had help with the vegetables. All I did was frying of the fish.......lots of fish. Remember I was feeding 8 hungry adults! "Ike" was now not only blowing his wind all around, but now it was also raining a bit. Rain and oil do not mix, so the fish cooker had to be moved closer to the house under the eves. This made me very uncomfortable, but we managed. The meal was very goodwith very few left overs.

Again we had dishes from 8 people, cooking utensils and a small kitchen with no water. So everything was stacked and forgotten. We actually we couldn't see them shortly after dinner due to no lights. Our company left for their cabin and we all went to sleep.

Company arrived this morning to coffee, bacon, blueberry bran muffins, biscuits and scrambled eggs. All cooked on the gas grill. I must admit some of the muffins burnt, because I could not coordinate everything correctly. The plus side was it all tasted good, except the last batch of coffee was toooooooo strong, and we had very few leftovers. Again.......lots of dishes, nasty pans with black soot on them and still no water.

After all the good byes were said our company left. Bill and I went to town to pick up some batteries for the portable lights and some chicken.......already cooked for a meal today. We had heard that our electric may be out for a while.

We stopped to have coffee at our favorite dive. While there we learned that people north and east of us had more damage then we had. So again we counted our blessing.

While waiting in line for the chicken I met out magistrate. He is the man we call when we have a problem with the roads and other things our district. I had never met him, but after talking with him I learned about some tobacco barn fires, grass fires and home fires that happened Sunday, so again I was thankful. While taking to him some of the county road crew came in for lunch and we learned that some areas of the county may be without power for 36 hours more. So I was very thankful when our electric came on.

My mom managed to get one load of dishes done before dinner. I just used leftovers to make a hash and then we worked on the dishes again. I had to leave, so I don't know if they are all done, but you know what?????? They can be washed tomorrow.

I am just thankful we survived "Ike" with no damage and my brother and family were able to visit with my parents. They will really have a story to tell when they get home! Who would have thought a hurricane could cause so much trouble in KY!

Glad you have moved on "Ike"


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Color Spectrum Test

In one of the on line groups that I belong to the following link to a color spectrum test was posted. It is an easy test to take, but be sure you look at the entire width of the page or you might get a score you do not deserve.

My score was zero which means I have perfect color spectrum. This is good and bad. It means to me that I can be very picky when choosing colors. I always knew that I had a color sense that others didn't have. I guess that is why when I owned a quilt shop the customers wanted me to pick out the fabrics for them. I didn't mind helping, but I never liked totally picking out the fabric for a quilt. I wanted my customers to have a say in what fabrics they liked and in what order they should appear in a quilt. The most challenging for me to pick out was always a log cabin

The bad part about the color spectrum test is that all the colors were of the same value. When we shop for fabric the values are sometimes bright and other times dull. There is much more then spectrum to picking out fabrics for a quilt. Oh and then the patterns printed on the color can totally change an opinion about a fabric working in a quilt. For instance, I have a very bright pink fabric with yellow ducks printed on it. The fabric works well with the coordinating fabrics from this line to make a child's quilt, but it would not work in a pink quilt due to the yellow duck.

One other thing I think everyone needs to remember about color is lighting makes a difference. Some quilt shops have full spectrum lights that are to show the true color of a fabric, but do you light your home with full spectrum lights? Most likely no! So my advice is if you really need something to match something else in your home either take samples of colors with you to the quilt shop or buy just small amounts of a fabric and take it home to test. If you have a favorite fabric you want to have as a focus in your quilt take it with you to pick out fabrics to coordinate with your favorite fabric. Sometimes you can just take the color dots from the selvage of the fabric, but I would rather have the entire piece of fabric.

Sometimes I don't have my fabric samples with me, but end up in a shop with fabric. Now this doesn't happen too often for me now, because I am trying to just use from my stash. It did happen with my latest quilt. I knew I needed a bright, a little darker then a true blue fabric. It needed to coordinate with a pale blue and also mix well with a dull dark yellow green, a pale green and a bright red. I didn't need to worry about patterns on these fabrics as they are mostly color on color patterns. I did not take any samples with me when I ended up in a place with fabric. So I just guessed which fabric would work. I guessed correctly and that might have to do with my color spectrum abilities and having the type of memory which allows me to visualize.

The quilt I am working on now will be published soon by I will post a picture when it is done. The thing I like about this quilt is that the colors is what makes the pattern move. The quilt is actually made using two simple blocks, but the changing of the colors in the block makes the quilt look complicated, but it is not. Speaking of that quilt I need to get the last three blocks sewn so I can start the final assembly.


Friday, August 29, 2008

New Fabric Pictures Arrived

Yesterday I received a disk with the pictures of the new fabrics I will be using to make a pattern and quilt for Quilting Treasures. I wish I could share them with you, but The fabrics are a big secret until Fall Quilt Market. I will tell you that one piece is a large panel, but it is not just one image. It has several imagines so it is really interesting. Some of the images are large and others are small in comparison.

The colors of this collection are calmer then the last two collections for which I made patterns and quilts. It is also based on the work of a couple very famous names in past art.

I was so excited about the collection I designed the quilt using the panel last night. The problem with designing quilts just from the images can be a surprise of slight differences in what the actual size of the print. In this case I took the side of safety and bordered the panel in a like fabric to the background so I can make adjustments if needed. It was also taking an ordinary block for the boarder and flipping and rotating it to make an interesting border.

This weekend I will design another quilt with out the panel using 8 to 10 of the other fabrics. I have a few things stirring around in my head. I want the quilt to be interesting, but would like it to be a rotary cut quilt.

I have sent my first design into Donna at Quilting Treasures and will send the other design in as soon as I finish it this weekend. Once she reviews the designs and they pick the one they like it will be time for me to do any editing they would like done on my design. Then it is time to wait for the fabric to arrive. During the wait I can start writing the pattern and do the drawings, but until I actually have the fabric I can not really finish the pattern.

I will post a picture of the finished quilt as soon as quilt market opens in October.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Testing Marian's Magic Quilting Thimble

I was asked by the owner of Marian's Magic Quilting Thimble if I would write a review of the under Thimble invented by his late mother. I agreed to test the thimble, but also told him that if I didn't like the thimble I would not put a post in my blog about the thimble. All that being said I did test Marian's Magic Quilting Thimble. The following is my review.

Marian's Magic Quilting Thimble is used on a finger under the quilt to aid in controlling the size of quilting stitches and it also keeps the needle from injuring the underfinger. The Thimble is cone shaped and will fit on most finger sizes. The cone part of Marian's Magic Quilting Thimble is flexible to fit to the shape of the choosen finger. If you go to the web site you can see that the shape of the thimble has a point at the end with a ridge to encourage the needle to change direction.

I first stitched a sample of my normal quilting stitch (row 1), then I started testing Marian's Magic Quilting Thimble(row 2). As with anything new it does take practice and a little work to think about how to use that object that is now on my under the quilt finger. Even with all that going on I immediately notice an improvement in my stitch. I don't hand quilt often now, but felt like my stitching would have been acceptable to me today. As I continued stitching my stitching improved. I did try curves, stitching right to left, stitching top to bottom an also stitching with my frame secure on a holder. I never have been able to stitch away from myself, so I didn't try to figure out how to use the under thimble stitching away.

I will use the thimble again. I liked not having to worry about the skin on my underfinger being hit with th e point of the needle. I believe also that with a little practice and using a stationary frame I would be able to actually increase the amount of stitches I could do per sitting. That will be a bonus to the stitches looking nicer on the top and bottom of the project. Sorry my picture is not better, but I am not a photographer.


Friday, August 15, 2008


Today we discovered what is wrong with our washing machine. To back up a bit it was working just fine last week. Wednesday I did a small load of clothes after Bill and I were working outside, because I didn't want any bugs to be let loose while sitting a week in the laundry basket. When the machine reached the point where the water should drain, nothing happened. First thing I thought it was the pump, but if it was the pump I thought the spin cycle should at least make a effort to start.......nothing. We were busy yesterday, so this morning it was time to make a decision on what to do about the washer.

I talked to my Dad and he thought it might be the switch that keeps the basket from spinning when the lid is up. I agreed with him and in fact had tested that switch to see if that was the problem. He is not able to help with fixing things at this point due to a fall, so I was running up and down the stairs following his instructions. We thought about calling a repair person, but decided that we could take that money and put it towards a new machine. I would rather put the money towards a dryer which we really do need.
So Bill and I decided to check a little more into the situation. I took one look at the back of the washer and said "I don't know how to get into this washer. It is not like any of the other washers we worked on in the past. There was just two screws back there and the rest was plastic inserted through the metal. We didn't know what held the back cover on. So we looked at the inside of the washer again at the switch. We saw two screws there and Bill removed those while I held the switch...yes the washer was unplugged. Sure enough I was able to get the switch out enough to see that it was attached to a long wire that didn't want to give at all. I looked in the parts catalog and it is called a switch harness. In terms everyone would understand the switch can not be bought by itself. You must buy the wire it is connected to and be able to plug that wire into something....someplace inside the washer area we could not get into. So I went again to talk to my Dad. He said to test the switch to see if it was bad we must plug in the washer and short out the switch with the washer on in the position where it stopped working. I won't tell you how to do this, because I don't want anyone to get hurt. I had seen my Dad do this many times and understood when he told me how to do the process. Sure enough the washer started to work.
Well now we knew what was wrong, but still had no way of replacing the part. I noticed in the directions one could order a book on self repair. So I could order the part and the book and wait a week or so for it to be delivered. I went upstairs again to talk to my Dad. We decided since this was just a safety switch and I am the one who does the wash most of the time....and we do not have small children in the houe it would be safe to bypass this switch. Again I unplugged the washer and did what my Dad told me to do with Bill's help. We again have a working washer. The best part is it didn't cost a thing. Our washer isn't that old...just barely beyond the warrantee period. I am happy it is working again.
Last night I said I needed to make a new purse. So I went to the see what I had that I could use to make the purse. I found many blocks, but most of them were pieced or appliques with a light background. I don't need anything with a light background!!!! It know it would look dirty in no time. I did find these blocks all sewn together in a row.

I really like the two in the middle. Here is one so you can see it better.
I made these blocks as a sample when I owned my store to try to sell some stencil kits I bought. The samples must be about 8 years old. I think it is time that I use at least some of them. They are dark enough and also have enough color to be interesting. I think I will place one on point on each side. I hope to work on this project tomorrow.
I slept much of the day today....right through lunch and then again through dinner. Good thing Bill can take care of himself and I took a chef salad up to my parents earlier for their dinner. I woke up during the night last night and could not go back to sleep until about 5 am this morning. Then I woke up just before 7 to fix breakfast for everyone. We did that repair job after breakfast and I fell asleep in my chair. When I woke up I found out it was after lunch time. You would think the smell of the polish sausage Bill had for lunch would have woke me up. I got up and checked to see if there was a condo available in WI for a trip. It was and I called to make the reservations....through a friend. After that I made my lunch and made the salads for dinner. Sat in my chair again. Had a cup of coffee and fell asleep again. When I woke up Bill had eaten his salad and already returned his bowl to the kitchen. So I got up. Finished my salad and ate my dinner, did the dishes and watched a bit of TV.
I love this time of year because we watch the Little League World Series. It is wonderful to see these youth playing a baseball game with such pride, skill and energy. I also love the fact that all the officials, coaches, workers etc at the park volunteer their time to make this world series inexpensive to attend. If you get a chance watch a game. Bill and I want to go to PA some day to actually experience the excitement in person.
Believe it or not I am sleepy again. Hopefully tonight I will sleep the whole night and not be so tired tomorrow.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Purses and other random thoughts

Hi All,
I have a thing about carrying a purse until it must be replaced. The one I am carrying right now was made from a book cover that a friend had pieced and quilted for me many, many years ago.

I have a love hate relationship with my current purse. I love it because it was originally made by my friend Peggy and since I was no longer using it as a book cover I made it into a purse. When I look at it I see my friend and love her choice of colors. I have received many compliments on this purse and I can thank Peggy for that fact.

My hate relationship is kind of two fold or maybe three. I never added a handle to the purse, so I carry it under my arm. Funny thing about that is I have received several calls from my brother-in-law David. Apparently sometimes the phone when in the purse under my arm automatically calls David's phone. We have a nice conversation and go on with the day. The other thing I dislike about this purse is the inability to organize the inside. There are no pockets in the purse. I made it in a hurry, because prior to this purse I was not carrying a purse. I had a wallet that would fit into my jean's pocket and that was all I needed. Then I started wearing clothes with shallow pockets, or no pockets, plus I needed to carry more when traveling without my dh Bill. The third thing about the hate relationship with this purse is that I need to replace it....soon. The fabric is showing signs of wear.

So now I think I am going to make a variation of the tote I designed for Quilting Treasures. I loved the way the pockets were made on the tote, because they were easy to add, but I need to make it smaller, with handles and I don't think I want it to gather with a boot tie at the top. So basically I guess I only like the pockets on the tote and need to design a new purse. So I am off to do that now. One of the most difficult parts of this project will be deciding on the fabric. I need something that will go with many colors with out being flashy. I also need it to not be seasonal, because I know I will use it for several seasons. I will post a picture later. It may not be until this weekend, because I know that going to sew will lead to other projects for me.

Bye for now,

Friday, August 8, 2008

My Quilt on front cover of catalog

I was busy making dinner when my husband came to the kitchen all excited. He said I had a high priority e-mail from our friend Beverly in IL stating that my quilt I designed for Quilting Treasures is on the front cover of Hancock's of Paduch's newest catalog. I could not believe it. Do you know how many people look at that catalog and my quilt is on the cover! My name is on page 72 as the designer of the quilt. I know this is a method of selling the fabric, but I am happy to have my quilt on the cover.

I don't get the catalog, because we live just 65 miles from the store and if I want something from the store I just go there. Well you guessed it, today I signed up for the catalog! So DH and I are going to the store tomorrow to pick up a copy of the catalog. I would hate to miss out on having my quilt featured someplace and not be able to see the actual catalog. I was also happy to see that they have kits for the quilt.

The quilt is the Reflections of a Sunset Safari that I featured in a previous posting. I recently made a tote of the same material.

Back down to earth now. Dishes are waiting!


Thursday, July 31, 2008

New EQ Mystery Clue Posted

If you have been reading this blog lately you know that I am doing the new EQ Mystery. A new clue was posted at just recently and here is my results.

I did change some colors from lesson 2 and know that I am looking at a smaller picture of lesson 3 and have had a couple of days since I last looked at the project I will most likely change some colors in lesson 3. The colors are to show seasons, which I think mine does, but I do not like the way some of the fabrics are not blending. This is something that is nice about working with EQ, because you can test the fabrics first without cutting one piece of fabric.

I am happy to know that I am learning something new to me about the program with each lesson. I also learned this time that when I was originally coloring my piece that my "seasons" are not in the same place as instructed. I think this is because I put the heavier colors towards the bottom. This represents winter for me, because we don't have much snow in our area so my lights are limited. If I lived up north when they had a record breaking snow this past winter I would have used more whites, greys and crisp cold blues. I think it is interesting to see the way others color their designs.

Lately I have been going through my collection of things I have copied off the internet and organizing them into catagories. I am making sure all patterns have all their pieces and like things such as applique, mysteries, advice columns are all separated into like folders. I have one notebook nearly full with applique items.

Last night I played a bit with a new idea for a magazine article, but it may actually contain too much information for an article and need to be a book or booklet. This is something some friends have been encouraging me to do, but it is still in my mind and not on paper.

We just had a thunder storm. The weather is really strange here lately. The temperature indicates that it should not be really uncomfortable outside, but the humidity is so high that being outside is not pleasant at all. We have been having some type of rain usually about 4 or 5 in the afternoon, but today it happen between 5 and 6 am. The rains have been hard, but don't last long, so our overall accumulation is little. The house is warm even with the air conditioner.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

New Pattern at Quilting Treasures

I had lots of left over fabrics when I made my last quilt for Quilting Treasures, so I asked if it would be OK for me to make a tote bag for them. This is the results.

If I were making another one I would add some handles before adding the pockets, but I didn't think of that until after I had it all put together. I didn't want to sew handles over the pocket design, plus my fabric availability was low.

Next week I should be getting pictures of the new fabric line for the fall market design. I will then create several sample designs on EQ and send them in for a review. Once everything is OK then it is the wait for the fabric. Sometimes it is difficult to actually plan a quilt from just a picture of fabrics. The pattern on the fabric may not be the size I thought it was or it could be printed on the fabric lengthwise instead of crosswise which actually changed the design of the last quilt.

Today is kind of a lazy day. We have been so busy all week we just need to rest. A few things have been moved from the bedroom into the former guest bedroom. This is in preparation for the painting and new flooring. Then the bedroom will become the sewing room. The former guest room will become the bedroom after it is painted and a new floor put down. All in all it will be a mess for a while. This afternoon I am going to pack up some of my stash so it can be stored for a while.

The garden is almost finished. I am still canning tomatoes and a little okra comes in about twice a week. This week I used the okra when making Shrimp Creole. Each time I make Creole it taste different, because I will add new things I have on hand. Yesterday's batch was a little pale, (not red) , because I used fresh tomatoes in it instead of sauce. It still tasted fine and that is all that counts.

Tomorrow will be Bill and my 6th anniversary. A lot has happened in those 6 years, health wise mostly, but it has been a wonderful 6 years. Bill is my best friend and the person I hope to spend many future years with him. Happy Anniversary Babe!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Con't thoughts and playing

Last night I wrote about my thoughts and leanings towards creating a folk art block. I went to pull some fabric and a project container caught my eye. It had folk art project in it that I had worked on while taking trips with my parents to FL many years ago. It is a baby quilt with I think 12 applique blocks by Little Quilts. I was turning under the edges of the applique and basted it to the background, then did a buttonhole stitch by hand in black to hold the applique in place I have several block finished, so that project is again my take along work.
I took it with me today and work on it while Bill had his stress test on his heart. I was able to baste 4 stars and was ready to add the circles to the center of each star when I discovered that the circle templates were missing. It didn't matter, because Bill arrived and I had to stop working.
Tonight I started the mystery offer on the Electric Quilt web site. It at this point is just going to be a practice project on the computer to learn more about the program. If I like the results I may someday actually make the quilt, but I don't need to start one right now.
This is how the center block started. This block would be nice set
block to block. The pattern would have curves and diagonals that would keep the eye jumping, but that is not what the mystery writer had in mind.

This is after lesson 2 and I changed colors to reflect seasonal sunsets. The instructions encouraged a scrap look changing the colors slightly on each side. I ended up changing the center colors also.
I also learned how to place blocks in a black and white coloring instead of the using the colors in the block library. This made it easier to visualize ways to change the color in the block and the way blocks work with the block next door.
I did several things on this block I would not normally do. for one thing the coloring is not symmetrical, but I did try to do some balancing. Also I would not have thought to use this type of border without a break from the center block. I really like the look of the lower section. I think if I actually make the quilt I will need to add a little blueish purple to the let hand side outer edge. The next clue may actually take care of that problem, so I will not change anything right now.
If you have EQ be sure to take advantage of all the EQ folks offer in the way of lessons, support and just fun stuff.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Thoughts Today (How I develop new patterns)

I am in the process of thinking of a new project. I need something to carry with me to work on when waiting. It seems like I want to do something folk art that combines stitching, applique and piecing. I figure I can do the applique and stitching while waiting and the piecing at home. I think I am leaning towards folk art, because it is so free. A mistake in placement is never a mistake, but a new way to look at the piece of art.

I also want to use a soft fabric. I may even check out my limited flannel collection. I wish I had a nice selection of wool that I could felt and not have to worry about turning under, just do some interesting stitching around the edge.

I guess I need to really work on the pattern so I can pick the fabric. I do have some homespun plaids that would make nice backgrounds. Then I can add old fashion style of prints for a basket and some flowers.

A nice quote for what is going on in my mind right now....said by an artist I love, but many people I know have not idea I like this artist.

" If you know exactly what you are going to do, then what is the point of doing it?" Pablo Picasso

I find that many times the best laid plans on paper are changed as I actually work with the fabric. Sometimes fabrics just don't give the look I want when combined together. That is not to say the original idea was not a good idea, but maybe just not the right idea at the time.

I will post the progress with this project. Right now I am going to pick out a few fabrics.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Quilting Treasures Patterns

I design patterns and make quilts for Quilting Treasures. My latest project was made with the Sunset Safari fabric I had left over from the the quilt in the picture. I made a tote that features the lower panel on the quilt creating pockets on the outside. As you can see Bill is modeling the new tote. The pattern will soon be available at the Quilting Treasures web site Keep looking under projects to see what is new. They have a much nicer picture of the tote, but they don't have the model I have!
The garden is winding down. Bill and I set some "Kosher" dill pickles today. I have never been much of a pickle maker or eater, but we have so many pickles we just hate to see them not be used. I have left over brine, but need to find more hot peppers before making another batch.
Since my last post we have canned pickle relish, spaghetti sauce and froze corn. Notice I said "we". Many of the projects at our house are family projects, so one person doesn't have to work so hard. By sharing the work we can all take pride in what gets done.
We finally had a bit of rain today. So maybe the potatoes will be able to be dug, as the ground where they were growing was like concrete the last time we tried. WOW! I just went to the door and it is pouring rain out there. We won't get into the garden tomorrow, as it will be one big mud hole.
Other home front news. Dad has fallen several times since his stroke. So far he has been lucky to just have bruises and minor cuts. The DR told him to stay out of the garden, because that is where he has fallen the most, but Friday he fell at the edge of the driveway. The part of the drive that "falls off" down a hill. The hill is steep and natural with trees, bushes, tall grasses and most likely some junk. He was fortunate to fall and stay on the drive and not go over the hill. He was lucky that Bill and I had decided to marinade the ribs before we left to check out the holiday happenings in town. We were able to help him get up, wash his wounds and made sure he made it upstairs.
Sometimes I think Dad is doing better, then he decides to do something he should not do like this afternoon picking blackberries. He told me about them yesterday and asked me to keep an eye on them and pick them. It was raining this morning, so Bill and I went to get some dill and vinegar for the pickles. I had planned to check them this evening after dinner hoping it would be cooler. I don't know why he thought they had to be picked immediately, as when Bill and I "caught" him there was less then a cup of berries ready!
Bill also received bad news about his application for disability. He was turned down, but was told he can only do one job. Now tell me with the job situation as it is today and us living in a rather rural area, where is that job? We are now reevaluating and trying to figure out what we need to do so we can keep an eye on Mom and Dad yet one of us work. This involves getting them to DR appointments or to the ER, taking Dad shopping, taking care of the vegetables from a huge garden we did not need, making most of the meals, doing laundry and most of the cleaning, picking Dad up off the ground at least 2 or 3 times a week, finding the things that Mom can't remember where she has it now stored and the most frustrating answering the same question we answered yesterday. I can go on and on, but that only leads to more frustration.
We need to look beyond today and keep our goals and plans for our future in the limelight, not moved to the back burner.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Frustrations of "Old Age"

Just recently my father spend a few days in the hospital. He had a TIA or mini stroke. Unfortunately my mother and him did not tell Bill or I that he was not feeling well until it was too late for the DR to really help him So when we took him to the ER they could only do tests and put him in the hospital for observation. At least while in the hospital he was safe from himself. We can see the left side of his face droops a little and at times he still can't talk clearly enough for most to understand what he is saying. The worst is the drooling and his teeth falling out while he is trying to talk.

Almost as soon as he arrived home he was on his golf cart (electric and quiet) to survey his garden. (Now I need to tell you that "His" garden would not be growing at all if Bill and I had not tilled, fertilized, planted, cared for and harvested that lovely plot of land.) Surveying the garden from the cart would have been OK, but he got off to harvest some of the vegetables. When he decided to do this yesterday he fell twice in the bean patch. No one was there to help him get up, but he did manage to get to the cart. Most would know to come home, but no he went to see if Bill was catching any fish and see what else was going on in the neighborhood. When he arrived home his blood glucose was low (I think)(he is diabetic) and he could not get to his part of the house without help. Fortunately I was in our living room and was available to help him. At dinner several hours later, he admitted that he has not fully recovered from his "adventure".

Bill and I are doing our best to not take away any of Dad's feedoms, but it is getting to be more and more frustrating. (Dad did decide to not drive a car except to go to the local store that is very close. He only drives there when he needs the gas can filled, which isn't too often.) We talk with him one day about out concerns for his safety and we think he will at least use some common sense. Then he leaves home, forgetting to take his medicine, tries to pick beans, falls twice and goes to other parts of the neighborhood while his blood glucose is going down. It is getting very close for the roles to be totally reversed and I will become the parent of my elderly parents. At least Mom stays home and for the most part stays out of trouble. She is very forgetful and has trouble getting around, but we know where she is and for the most part what she is doing.

My advice to everyone is to think before you do something. Every action has a reaction. Some reactions are difficult when you are the one who has to make the decision to limit what actions someone else may take as they age. This is all so FRUSTRATING!

I have seen my friends and some relatives deal with one aging parent. Some parents live with the child only to be moved to another facility like a retirement home or assisted living. This usually happens when one or the other is unhappy. Others keep the parent in their home and have help come into the home. So far Bill and I are dealing with my parents by our self. I was working, but that has ended. We do get away once in a while, but this is rare now and for short periods of time.

Now I must get some sleep as another day will be starting soon.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

The party's over!

Yesterday was a long day on the road (678miles round trip), but for a good reason. Bill and I took my parents to my cousin, Shirley Jean and her husband Wayne's house for her mother's 90th birthday party. My Aunt Shirley looked good and seemed to enjoy the visitors for the day. We had an enjoyable time visiting with people we knew and didn't know. I had met everyone in the past, but I can honestly say I didn't remember several people.

It was a beautiful day for traveling considering how much rain has been falling in the mid-west. It was sad to see the corn fields in IL with ponds where the corn should be growing.

Just before we turned off the interstate in IL to go into IN we stopped to give our friend Beverly some fresh vegetables from our garden. It was so nice to see her again. I wished we could have stayed to visit with her, but due to the fact we were not yet at our destination we didn't stay with her too long.

Today Shirley Jean called with some bad news. My Uncle Orv in FL passed away today. It has been a few years since we saw him and my Aunt Alma, but we thought of both of them often.

Some of my memories of Uncle Orv include the first time I met him. He won me over instantly with his winning smile and the spark in his eyes. I also saw that my Aunt was again happy. When Aunt Alma and Orv married, during their middle years, Orv became and instant father to two grown children and a grand father also. He seemed to take great pleasure in that new job.

Orv would tell stories about going hunting or fishing with my cousin Larry. Some of these stories were funny, others were serious and some were sad, but the thing I saw as important was that Orv enjoyed being with Larry. Orv and Aunt Alma made the trip to the Atlanta area to visit Alma's daughter Linda and her family. Whenever we saw them Orv would talk as much about Linda's family as my Aunt Alma. He would talk with pride about both children as if they were his own.

I would say Uncle Orv never meet a stranger. He could carry on a conversation with anyone and usually found some common ground with that person. He was a great story teller, kidder and a total gentleman. He will be missed.

Here's a hug for you Uncle Orv, I will forever miss getting a hug from you and I am so glad you were a part of our family.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Beans,beans and more beans

As all of you know who raise a garden when the vegetables are ready they must be taken care of at that moment. Not when one has the time to spend hours picking and canning, but right now. This year has been a good year so far for us being able to plant the garden, getting needed rain with out too much and the bugs have not been too bad. Right now we need rain for the tomatoes and corn that are just setting, but it is an abundant year for the green beans. So for the past few days and also today we have been picking, snapping, washing and canning green beans.
So far I have canned 35 pints and 4 quarts of beans. I think I may get another 6 or 7 pints once the pressure canner has cooled enough to do another batch.
We will have many more pickings of beans, but other then a few for table use I am finished with the beans. We have already started giving beans away. I wish my friend Beverly still lived close, because I would be sure we would get some to her. May need to think about this and do some talking to family about maybe taking some to her. We will be fairly close to her on Saturday celebrating my Aunt Shirley's 90th birthday.
Just think, I have an Aunt whom will be 90 years old soon. Only 2 of her sisters have already passed. That leaves 3 sisters and 4 brothers still alive. They all have some health problems, but to the best of my knowledge they are all still at home either being taken care of by their children or fully independant and on their own. Their father passed what I consider young at 63 or 64, but their mother lived a long active life as did their maternal grandfather.
I used to love to go visit my Great Grandfather McGraw. He lived in a tiny house in the front yard of his landlord's home. I remember the yard at least to me was large with lots of trees. It was a "long" trip. All of about 25 miles, but we were gone all day. He would make us a nice meal. As far as I am concerned he was famous for his meat loaf that had hard cooked eggs right down the middle of the loaf. He knew that I was intrigued with those eggs baked right in the loaf and kept it a secret from me about how he made it so it looked so perfect.
A few other things I remember about his house was he didn't have "running" water. Well actually he did, but it was by a hand pump at the kitchen sink. As I am sure you have figured out by now that also meant that he had an out house. I HATE OUT HOUSES! I am very sensative to smells. It doesn't matter if it is perfume that if overly applied or the "smell of money" as you travel the back roads and go by a farm too close to the road, but an out house is sometimes smelly, but in the summer too hot and enclosed. He knew I had this problem and would allow me to use his chair in the bedroom. The seat would lift up and there was a hole with a little champer pot below. I hope someone in the family still has that chair, because it was a life saver for me.
I also had another connection to my Great Grandpa. I was born the same month and year that he lost his wife, my Great Grandmother. She passed at the end of the month of March 1950 and I was born a week or two earlier.
The beans are now finished. A grand total of 41 1/2 pints and 4 quarts. Whew! Glad that is done. Now I can get some other work done.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

One Busy Day

This has been one busy day. We are in the process of installing a new, larger window air conditioner in the basement area. The problem is we don't have a window to just set it in like the instructions suggest. So we needed to enlarge the hole we had put into a wooden door that we used to fill in the space of one of the opened sliding glass door that leads to the "patio". Enlarging the hole was not a problem, but we didn't think about having to consider the shape changes from an open window to a flat square opening. We now have all that figured out, extra support in place, but were just too tired today to finish up the job. It is cool right now, so not having AC in not a problem. We know that shortly we will not only have heat, but more importantly we will have humidity. That in a nutshell is why we used some of the money I received from making a quilt and pattern for Quilting Treasures for a newer, larger AC. here is a picture of the quilt that will be a free pattern download in the near future at Look under projects. The last quilt I made for them is now also on their website. Look in More QT Products, then scroll down to the Paddington Counts Quilt Tin. They are selling the Tin with my pattern and fabric to make the same quilt.
While working on the quilt for Quilting Treasures I learned how to transfer large pattern pieces from my EQ6 program to a pdf file. I downloaded a free program pdf 995. I went to the block in EQ6 that I needed to have templates to use on the web or it could also be used for just printing. I then clicked file and click on printer set-up. I then changed the printer from my default printer to the pdf995 option. Close that window and again click on file and then print. The menu brought up options and I click on templates. At this point I checked and changed if needed the block size, seam allowance and line thickness. I then clicked on preview. In the preview area In I then deleted patterns I did not need and moved the rest so they were closer to the left. (This helped to keep the regular printer from printing pages not needed.) When I was happy with everything I clicked on print. The computer will then print the file to a pdf file that you can look at with a free adobe reader download. Fast, simple and easy. I know someday I will need to invest in another program that will allow editing of these pdf's, but for now this works.

I also received an interesting e-mail today with an opportunity to work a booth at a quilt show. The owner's of the booth would have it all set up and would take it down. They would pay $150.00 and 2 meals for each day worked at their booth. I am not able to work during the show due to other obligations at that time, but may in the future.
The garden is doing really well. We are already eating green onions, lettuce and spinach. The green beans are about ready to bloom, so it won't be long to canning season. The tomatoes are blooming a setting fruit. The corn is growing by leaps and bounds.

Tonight we had fresh blue gil filets for dinner. They were so good. Bill has gone to the lake to see if he can catch some more. We want to be sure we have enough fish froze to have plenty for winter.
Catch everyone on a less busy day.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Enjoyable day

Today I was with my friend JoAnn. While at her house an electrician was also there finishing up some things that needed to be done on her new home. He and his helper were working in the craft room that we were in as well as other places in the house. She was not happy with the light on the ceiling fan and just explained to him what she wanted. They went to get some supplies and picked out a new light for the craft room. When they came back they showed us what they bought and we both said at the same time......that is perfect!

I was working on a quilt binding and JoAnn worked on a quilt she is making for her Granddaughter out of the GD childhood clothing. We kind of bounced some ideas off of each other about the quilt she was making and a quilt block I need to applique for a mutual friend. I confirmed that she could do what she wanted to do with her quilt and she helped me solidify my idea for the quilt block I need to make. She even had a pictures to help me with my idea. Now I just need to draw it and pick out the fabric to get it made.

Our kitten, Gordo, is growing my leaps and bounds. He is able to leap to places that gets him into trouble being there and he bounds under feet so he sometimes goes sailing across the floor. He is learning our rules, but sometimes I think he is very hard headed and must learn the hard way. So far Gordo has been a very good kitten. Thank goodness he doesn't whine like his namesake. He is still in the chewing stage, and I will be glad when that ends. All in all he has adjusted well.

Bill caught a good mess of fish. We ate them night before last. Unfortunately it took a few days to have enough to bring home. He again went fishing today, but didn't have enough to bring home. We still have plenty, but like to share with others. It has been tough fishing this year due to the cooler wetter then normal weather. I am not complaining, because I would rather have cool weather then the heat and humidity of the summer in this part of KY.

I will post a picture soon of a quilt that is almost finished.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

First Day Home

Today is our first day home from a quick trip to the Talladega NASCAR race that were held over the weekend. We were with many relatives during the trip and we had lots of fun. I did not go to the two races. I stayed with Bill's Nephew Bryon, his wife Leann and Great Nephew Bradley. We chatted and watched TV including the races. Bill stayed home from the race on Saturday so Bradley could attend. Bradley was happy, because his favorite driver Tony Stewart won.

Bill's son, JR and grandson Devin and another nephew Eric and his girlfriend Melisa were in Alabama for the races also. It is fun for all of us to get together once or twice a year. Sunday I was fortunate to see Bill's great niece Cassie and her two little ones. The came back for a few minutes on Monday prior to us leaving so everyone could see Cassie, Cheyenne and Calley.

Today JR and Devin left here for their home in WI and Bill and I went to town so we could have a little "Our" time together. While we were in town we found a new kitten. He has not received a name yet, but I think by the picture you can see that Bill and him are going to be best buddies. I told Bill he can not name the new kitten Buddy, because we had a cat in the past named Buddy.

I think we will need to put a bell on the kitten. Bill woke up enough to put the kitten in the kitty bed. I saw it sleeping there, but now it is gone. It may be under the quilt again with Bill, but I don't know. Hopefully Bill will realize the kitten is there, if it is there, when I wake him up for dinner. I will post later.

Peggy........worried about the safety of the new kitten!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Parting of Ways

Things change in life daily, but sometimes changes are dramatic. For instance births, deaths, marriages, new jobs or having to leave a job. No matter what the dramatic change is in one's life each of us need to look at the good that comes from that change. The good in my most recent change in life allows me time to help my family with the out door work.

Most recently I parted from a job that I truly enjoyed. I was a two way parting. By that I mean I needed to not do part of the job so the gal I was working for decided she no longer needed my help on the other part of the job. So I call this a mutual departure. I am not mad or even sad about no longer having this job. What does sadden me is I am not sure the person I worked for understands that the stress she was dealing with (not directly related to the job we were doing) at the time of the departure was the cause of the departure. Sometimes we need to delay projects, ideas or plans to be able to do one job well before starting another job.

I work under the rule that when one door closes another one opens. Sometimes people need to look a bit to find that open door but doors are open for each and every one of us. For me a door opened last night. It is not a big, long term project, but I have a small job. I also have a pattern and quilt to make for Quilting Treasures in the next week or so and a baby quilt to finish. My step son and grandson will be visiting next week and we are all going on a trip to Talladega to go to the NASCAR races.

The weather has changed so the past couple of days we have been working outside planting the garden. I think we will finish with the most of the seed planting tomorrow and will wait a week or two until we plant the tomatoes and peppers. The local co-ops have not received their bare root cabbage plants, so we may not plant them this year. We have a few cabbage plants, but not as many as my Dad thinks we need.

Today is Bill's Birthday. We went out to eat lunch and since Bill usually doesn't eat desert Pam, the waitress, put his birthday candle on his hamburger. I thought it was so funny to see the candle right there in the hamburger meat.

Tonight I need to open my EQ6 Quilt Design Program and check the design I have drawn for the Quilting Treasures project. It includes a setting sun, but that is all I am going to tell you until I can post a link to the fabric and pattern.

So don't forget to value all your experiences and always look for the good in situation instead of dwelling on the bad.