Jul 3, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Birthday, America!

Yes, I know tomorrow is the 4th but I bet a good many working folks have the day off anyway since it lands on Saturday.  I am borrowing an earlier posted image as tt is pouring down rain here.  Any plans I had of draggin out and climbing up the ladder to put our US Flag up are NOT happening today.  It started in about 6:30 with distant thunder rumbling and has been pouring intermittently with a hair less than 1.25 in the gauge at this writing.  It seems a bit unusual to be having morning rain and storms as our weather patterns in NE Central Alabama tend towards heat and humidity percolating to the point of afternoon and evening happenings more often.

Oh speaking of 4th of July.  FYI:  The Winn Dixie, Hi-LO and Harveys stores will be donating 100% of their July 4th profits to the Wounded Warrior Project.  Strikes me as a good cause so I have a little list started.  You can read the press release HERE as to which states are participating.

Needless to say, I am not walking if thunder and lightning are part of the occasion.  Gentle rain, maybe but I walk in the park and there are tons of tall, tall pine trees.  Even on the Chief Ladiga Trail, our Rails to Trails walking/biking path, there are lots of trees on either side that you have to walk through to get to the parts where there are fewer ones.  Us fair haired folks with warning labels on their meds need to avoid too much sun exposure.  Get enough for vitamin D but not too much, LOL.

  After all,
The National Weather Service recommends taking cover if the time between the lightning flash and the rumble of thunder is 30 seconds or less, which indicates the lightning is about 6 miles away or closer.  "Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing the thunder.  Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder."    
(See this LINK)

Now I am not entirely sure how you know which IS the last but maybe when you take note that the storm is petering out and then start timing it??

So here is the view this morning as I am writing this post.  I guess they both want to be near me.  Skyler is not upset about rain but will high tail it under the bed if it begins blowing and raining hard enough to make noise on the chimney stuff up above.  As you can see. he is still stealing Oscar's spot on the couch, not playing with the toys of course but not letting Oscar on it either.  Oscar took my spot near the light source.  Well, you know Skyler is not vacating until he is good and ready or treat bites are offered.  He sure isn't going to let Oscar lay that close to him.  Pics like the one I took of the two of them giving me a moment of Christmas peace are rare.   I'm allowed the middle of the couch.

I took this one a couple of nights ago.  Skyler gave up the coveted spot.  Oscar and I were playing with his frog.  It was close to his bedtime.   I say "Oscar, time for bed." He runs to the back door as if he needs to take care of business.  Sometimes he does but most often he just barks to let the neighborhood know he is still on the job (I guess!).   When he comes back in, he hops right in his bed and he settles in till morning.  Occasionally we get the whiny bit, and I repeat the going out part, just in case.

What else has been going on?  No sewing though I had hopes of getting back in there the window slammed shut for whatever reasons.  I'll get in there when I can.  If I thought it were pressing, I would drag the table back in here, pain in the butt or not.

Jane and I went over to Pell City on Wednesday to drop off our finished pillowcases.  We thought Aline might go with us and we would take a side trip to the quilt shop in Ashville as her machine (purchased at the shop) needs servicing.  Her schedule would not permit it.  To our surprise, they were not sewing and finishing up with the pillowcase project as I thought was planned. They were having a quilt show organizational meeting and wanted us to sit down and participate.  Jane had to get home as she and her husband had something planned that afternoon and we had about an hour's drive back.   Also I am not re-joining next year.  My opinions and suggestions do not matter as I will only be a spectator/attendee.   Truly, we went to deliver the goods. There were a few things that needed to be changed/included in the newsletter I needed to get out.  Usually takes me 3-4 hours time to get it all together and I'm always waiting for one last thing.

Without DJ here as a backup, I worry about the house being unattended but mostly, I worry about the critters.  It is too hard to be gone a big chunk of the day several times a month and know Oscar is stuck outside in the blazing sun (or crap weather) or stuck in his crate all day.  Bama Belles are my first priority.  Lately we break up after lunch though we have the building till mid afternoon if we want.  Sometimes I stay and sew but that's no fun by myself.  I can, in theory, do that at home any other day of the week.

However, I can do something about the Pell City trips.  I love the ladies in the guild but not the running back and forth part when home responsibilities fall solely on me.  I'm tired of committee work too as all but the first year, I have had a job.  1st, secretary for two years, then website and I'm 1 1/2 years into newsletter person.   Frankly, I don't feel like going through another quilt show set up.  It is time to step back when this year ends and my obligations can be passed on. I have done my part.  Don't worry---I'm not going to become a hermit or anything.   DJ never wanted me to join an other guild anyway.  "You are always gone"  "Who gave you all these jobs?"   As much I loved the man, at that point I needed a little time away with the girls.  Now, I still do but not for the same reasons.

Anyway, the newsletter shot the rest of Wednesday once we got back and a chunk of yesterday.  I got my hair cut, ran errands, the usual household stuff.  I took Wednesday off from walking as we were going out of town and then got rained out today.  I did tally up my totals  45.3 miles walking in circles at the park, kind of alternating 1.68 or 6 laps with 1.96 or 7 laps though one day I quit after 4 laps as my shoe was rubbing a blister.  Another day I simply lost count and did 2.2 miles.  Then add the Oscar trips up and down the lane, mostly 3 times a day, for another 25-30 miles.  Weight is about the same as it was a month ago.  I keep gaining and losing the same two pounds, it would seem but 1 pound is often sweated out.  I wonder how much will drop with the colonscopy prep in a few days??  Oh yummo, plain jello--- but no red or purple.  I'm stocked up with clear liquids and gatorade which I never use to mix with my laxative overdose.

After a bit of phone tag,  Tuesday I did have a good talk with DJ's son Tracy after months of no contact.  At the time he was driving the moving truck through Macon, GA on the way to their new home in south Florida.  His wife was driving one of their vehicles and their son Josh, the other.  Josh will have to get back up to IL though once he helps his parents unload. I assume he is flying back to the STL area where he and his fiance live.  They were to close on the house yesterday so this will be anything BUT a typical 4th of July holidays for them.  I see LuAnn on Facebook occasionally and she messaged that they had not gotten in til 4 in the morning Wednesday.

The neighbors and I were revved up about the conjunction of Mars and Jupiter on the 30th.  I had seen them earlier in the month but didn't know what I was looking at, thinking it was airplane lights, LOL.  Unfortunately on the day in question, we could see them but not as brightly as the previous night when they had tried to call me to tell me to come see (phone was off)  What we did have was a orange red sun and a orangey golden full moon!  Not only the clouds of the evening but the effect of smoke from the wildfires in Alberta and Saskatchewan.  BUT we could see them close together with the naked eye, if faintly.  I had taken my binoculars out but trying to stay focused on the night sky and looking at them whirl around started giving the same headache and woozy feeling that riding and looking at Christmas lights does.  (The way my eyes track or something).  I went out an hour later and I could still see them.  Then they disappeared behind the clouds so I never did see them right on top of each other.

My mind is going blank.  Seems like I had something else I was going to post but it flew right out of my head. As I close this up, it  is now a little after noon and I believe Oscar and I might be able to go do walkies---cue the dog running to get a bit of food before I get the leash on him, LOL.

Have a safe and relaxing if possible 4th of July weekend.  Happy Birthday to my pal Cindy and the good ol USA

Jun 29, 2015

Monday, Monday

I have been a busy girl today!  But obviously Oscar and Skyler have been anything but, LOL.

This was the view this morning as I ate my oatmeal.  His blanket is clean so earlier he was completely covered up with just his snout sticking out.  Such a cutie!

I woke early to temps of 59 and got my laps in early.  Oscar and I had already did a lap in the lane too.  I wore him out already.

Meanwhile,  that  little booger Skyler climbed up on Oscar's play spot/pad on the couch.  I know why he might do this as it was freshly laundered and Sky loves clean laundry.   Kind of reminds me a video I was looking at yesterday of dogs reacting to the cat stealing their beds on you tube.  I half expected Oscar to come in and grab a corner of his fleecy covered pad with his teeth and drag Skyler off getting a paw thumping on his nose for his troubles!  But no, see picture above.  Sky pulled that again when Oscar went out for a bit while I ran out for some groceries.

So breakfast.  Load and unload the dishwasher.  Shower going with the blow dried, flat ironed straighter look and then had to head into town to one of the local hospitals for my annual mammogram.   Arrive a half hour ahead, they said.  It takes about 15 minutes to get there.  I will say they didn't take long to get me through there once the paperwork was complete.  Next week I am off to the OTHER hospital for another test---oh goodie!

While I was in town I ran by the auto dealership that has GMC cars as our Pontiac G6 has three recall items tended to.  One I have been waiting for them to take care of for a year.   Parts were apparently scarce and I was on a waiting list.  Recently when I got yet another card reminding that I had not done the work to date, I saw there were two more things added to the list.  Their not calling me in for the first thing was partially my fault as I kept forgetting to give them my updated phone number.  The other part, I think I got lost in the cracks or the prior management team dropped the ball.    They are "under new manangement", the signs proclaimed, and the guy I talked to was most helpful.  The work is scheduled-- they'll have the car all day--for next week.  They will run me home and pick me back up if needed and I believe I will use that service rather than pester the neighbors at least for the a.m. run.

I grabbed lunch while I was out and came home to check emails and such, returned a call to my mom and then ran out for groceries after Oscar and I walked in the lane.  Once home the groceries were put up and then I got busy in the kitchen:

  • prepped raw veggies for the tray I keep on hand
  • set up two plates of Asian chopped salad, one for tonight's meal and one for tomorrow.  I had made some dressing similar to the Wendy's old Mandarin Chicken Salad a few days ago.
  • made a half sized batch of Health nut spread for bagels, grated carrots being one of the main ingredients
  • while I had the grater out, dealt with some zukes my neighbor had brought over--enough for zucchini bread as the recipe I like from all recipe Mom's Zucchini Bread uses 2 cups.  It is now in the freezer though as it is not a good idea to bake when it is 80's, 90's out and sky high humidity.  Not today so much but boy howdy, last week was horrid.
  • She had given me some yellow squash too so I sliced that up with some carrots to stir fry but that plan came to a screeching halt when I discovered that all the yellow onions I had on hand, like a whole unopened bag of them, had gone bad.  Time was when every evening meal I fixed almost took an onion.  Now I barely cook, thanks to the summer heat.  I'll get one tomorrow
  • Put some eggs on to hard boil for a quick protein source.  
  • I had considered making some tuna mac salad like my mom's but there is no room for a bowl in the fridge.  Having learned to cook for a family of 8 and helping mom, I always make too much but I could always share with the neighbors.  Maybe later in the week.
  • And, now I am enjoying an iced coffee.  Senior priced coffee from Jack's that I had chilled, reduced fat milk and sugar free hazelnut syrup from Torani.  Yummo!  DJ always raved about Jack's decaf Royal Cup and even though we had coffee at home, he would split a cup with me though I like coffee better iced.  Not a connoisseur, by any means.  I do love coffee ice cream though and that is sorta what this reminds me of.
I think now I am going to veg out here on the couch and wait for Major Crimes to come on later on TNT.  Finish this post and have supper too.  Of course, I will walk Oscar one more time but that will hopefully happen once the sun gets a bit more below the tree line.  He doesn't always let me do that.  In fact, he is barking at something out in the front yard.

What else?  Saturday afternoon Jane and Hugh invited me to come to Hugh's ham radio operators field day as they were having a cookout.  They were set up so three operators could be using the equipment, rotating in and out.  Buddy helped me make a contact with someone in North Texas before we ate, telling me when to give the club's identifier W3K "whiskey 3 kilo" .  They were having the event in the city park where I walk 6 days out of 7 and some were staying overnight.  The club president and her husband had their camper set up and Eddie, the guy sitting across from me at supper said he had a hammock.  He was eyeing the side poles of the pavilion.  I asked "you mean when I come in to walk tomorrow some of you will be on the radios?" Actually I saw him the next morning eating some breakfast, hammock empty.  We waved, LOL.

Word came over Facebook that DJ's grandson Josh and his long time girlfriend Lauren are now engaged.  Both graduated from SIU-Edwardsvile this spring.  Josh has more school ahead though as he is going on for his masters.  Meanwhile his parents just recently celebrated their 25th anniversary and are going to realize a long held dream and move down to the Fort Myers, FL area this week.  So many things DJ is missing out on.  I'm happy for all of them and I know how proud he would be of his family.

I got stung by something on the right side of my head.  Saturday after he mowed, Robert had asked me if I had any weed killer on hand to spray around the chain link fence, hopefully to avoid weed whacking so near it.  I did but the pump did not seem to be working so I asked him if he could take a look at it and see if he could get it to work.  He did and even sprayed the area himself and gave the thing back to me to put up.  As we were standing on the carport that whatever bug it was swooped into my hair and got sort of tangled up in hair and my hair clip.  Stinging and burning ensued immediately and even tagged my thumb a bit trying to get it out of there and off of me.   I'm guessing a wasp since they are always trying to build a nest in the carport but it sort of felt round and firm like one of those bees I see out there.  Between the fire ant bite on my big toe and the wasp bite from cutting volunteers out of the gardenia is it any wonder I prefer staying IN the house??   Basically I was done for the day---the pain pills and Benadryl combo made me drowsy and icing my head for 20 minutes each hour for a couple hours meant forget about sewing with Norma and Cher. Thankfully today it is just a little tender right where the bite is/was.

On Saturday I did get some sewing done though--those pillowcases.  The fabric for this was stuff I had gotten in Pigeon Forge as possibles for Lily's quilt.  It is from a 5-1 yard packet of coordinated fabrics sold to make a twin sized quilt.  This is Vintage Vibe by Faye Burgos for Marcus Brothers.   The green does not show up too well in this photo.   I always have to watch a you-tube video to review how to make these as the written directions I have just confuses me.   I like the one from Vanessa from Crafty Gemini.   It still took me longer to get it done than it should have as I am a presser from way back.  One thing I did to try to keep the accent band together was glue baste and heat set.  This one came out really well with that!

The 2nd one took about 35 minutes and that is the purported time the handout said you whip one up.  The body of the pillowcase was a coordinate to the gray paisley above.  The aqua was leftover from Lily's quilt and I think from Hobby Lobby.  The cuff was a piece in my stash from who knows who.   I'm a thread or two off on the accent piece but not too noticeable.  You know how critical we are of our own work!

And I'm giving this one away.  I made this one sometime back from a kit from a quilt shop that I got somewhere.  In a sew-in bag, I think.  It has never been used so the cute fabrics will surely work for one of the girls at Big Oak Ranch.  The accent piece on this is off by a good 3/8 of an inch.  That's why I was experimenting to with good old Elmer to see if I could get a better outcome.

As far as the D4P Norma was having a hard time remembering on her first few blocks so I told her I was sticking a note right in my cutting area to remind me, LOL.  I only got as far as seaming three of the blocks to squeeze out three more 6 1/2 inch squares from leftover from a previous blue project and I have 2/3rds of one block done and a couple halves of the giant 4 patches.  I had to get my pjs on and lay down.

I moved the sewing table back into the sewing room though.  I banged the heck out of my right knee trying to climb over the dog gate in such cramped quarters in the kitchen doorway.  Also Skyler would not get out from under the table and then Oscar would try to climb under their as well---a little crowded under the feet, thanks to the critters.  Mostly though it was sort of a pain to have to run back and forth over the dog gate to press and keep my thread eating kitty at bay.  I'll try to squeeze in an hour or two tomorrow afternoon once the sun goes to the front of the house and Oscar won't bake in the back yard.   Maybe I'll have a block or two to share next post.

And so it goes---

Jun 25, 2015

Ready to sew?

 Well, I did it.  I thought about it since the idea came to me last evening as I posted.  I had often said that if it was just me, I wouldn't need a living room.  I just need a big enough space to sew and store my sewing stuff.  I'm not quite ready to ditch the couch or loveseat for one comfortable chair, LOL.

But I could move my portable sewing table up into the living room.  Doesn't look good but who cares?  Maybe, just maybe, I can get a pillowcase or two done by next week and get started on the D4P with my friends.

I vacuumed first as you know there will be strings on the carpet.  Oscar barks at it and is in protector mode when it is running, lunging at it.  Skyler knows it is a kitty eating machine and leaves the room.

Skyler was immediately crawling up on the chair and now he is seated under the table.  Uh, I CAN see you under there, you know!   Since I'm at the kitchen table, Oscar is in his bed rather than hanging on the couch with his toys.  These two!

I pulled one of the bins from the closet last night that has some of the five yard bundle kit fabric I got at Mtn. Quiltfest last year.  Some I had used on Lily's Chevron quilt.  (need to get that back prepped and quilted as she is coming up on her first birthday before long!)  Anyway, I am pretty sure I can come up with a pillowcase or two from there.  Just need to head in to cut.

Oh, I couldn't get to sleep again last night and about 1245 I bailed. Once more, I started going through my notebooks looking for my copy of Donna Poster's Texas Trellis to go with my other hexagon-half hexie book.  I laid hands on it, in a notebook that I did NOT go through before apparently as I was just sure it only contained one particular pattern collection.  Woohoo!  I had even tried to re-order it a month ago but so far she has neither sent it or got the money from paypal.  I can cancel the order.

That led to a little minor reorganization though. With the sewing table out of the way I could get at the sleeves behind it a bit better.   I have/had one 3 inch binder that rings would not close tightly enough and it was difficult to turn the sleeves and things were attached by the top and middle rings but not the bottom one.  After struggling with it yet again last night, I decided to pick up a replacement at Dollar General before I came home from walking.  They didn't have 3 inch ones so I got 2- 2 inch ones  I loaded one of them up really full as I emptied out two smaller ones into it.  I still needed some shelf space.  I emptied out two open fabric storage containers that were a bit of a space hog.  It crammed into two 20 qt. snap lid containers that I like and had picked up last week.  I'd need them eventually as I organize by project, no doubt.  Mission accomplished.  The things that side track me!

I've got some ground beef thawed out that needs to be cooked up so I'm off to fix a little lunch.  Stay cool!

Jun 24, 2015

Dog Day Afternoon

Look at these two live wires, LOL.  As I start to write this post it is 91 degrees at 6:15 pm and the heat indices factoring in humidity, it feels like 99 degrees.  Blamed hot!   Oscar had insisted on going out around 4 and was panting like crazy on our return from the stroll on the lane.  He flopped on the kitchen floor right in front of his bed for awhile.  This is the current view.

Skyler has abandoned both of his window perches AND the kitchen chair I could not keep him off of for days on end.  If the front door is open, he sits there or near my shoes by the entertainment center.  The other main spot is the foot of the master bed and specifically, on a quilt I have folded there. ( My antique bowtie that I sometimes use on my bed in the summer.)  I like it because it is light weight and the sunny yellow background.  Not sure why Skyler is so attached to it all the sudden.   Next week it will be something different!

My Bama Belles group met yesterday.  I left a little early and because of the heat, let Oscar loose in the kitchen while I was away.  He would not get up, eat or go out before I left which was a little odd.  I figured he needed access to his food and water and I'd clean up any puddles but he was a good boy!

 Usually Bev and I arrive first as we are the ones with the key and keep each other company but she was out of town.  Shawnee and Linda arrived shortly after I did and hit the pinning table pinning a top towards Shawnee's "quilt a month" goal.  Jane, Lois and Beverly came along later.  Beverly is working on a quilt with some of her mother's hankies that will be passed on to family members.  Jane was helping at the pinning table and Lois had a pretty log cabin quilt arranged in my favorite medallion set.  I was cutting!

I got all the blue 6 1/2 inch squares cut before I left.  I messed up on my counting method at some point and over-cut BUT I have enough if I decide to make an 9 x 10 set instead of 9 x 9.  The quilt below "Cheese and Crackers" measures 92 x 99 and fits the master bed well but minus a pillow tuck.  An extra row might be good.

Later in the evening after I got Oscar in bed I went into the sewing room and cut my way through the whites and creams.  There were less to play with than the blues--10 fabrics and a bit of a leftover fat quarter that yielded about 7 squares.  A couple pieces were just half yards so a little short for cutting 18 from each one.   I have enough even if I do go with the extra row.

Norma, Cher and I plan to sew this weekend and since we are doing a Disappearing 4 patch, we had talked about cutting ahead of time and maybe even starting on the huge four patches.  I'm thinking that I might drag my little sewing table into the living room as I hate sewing at the kitchen table.  It is just too blamed hot for me to have Oscar stay outside while I sew.  Just a temporary measure.   Move the couch down towards the fireplace wall and move the lamp and it might work.   And I might actually get some sewing done.

The only thing I've sewn since the Monday sew-in on the 15th is sew a casing in an old outfit and insert new elastic--and I did THAT yesterday morning before I fed the critters and left for quilting.   Here is said outfit with shorts that match the kitty top.  Back in 2001 or so.  DJ was teasing me about something or another,  he thought it was funny anyway though I'm smiling too.  I said the outfit was old but I can wear it again!

I also need to whip up a pillowcase or two for a guild project.  Jane asked me to go with her next Wednesday to deliver them when small group meets.  I've got one on the shelf they can have as it has never been used with cute fabric, it being a quilt shop kit.  I am trying to think of what yardage I have enough of for the body of a standard pillow case that would be appropriate for girls.  I might be cutting again in about 30-45 minutes,  Oscar's in about 8 pm.

And sew it goes-----stay cool!