Jul 26, 2014

Some progress

Today I am making some steps to get chevron quilt for my great-niece started.

I drew my "road map" up in EQ yesterday.  Actually that almost helped more than reading through the tutorial stuff in a way.  I have a clearer picture in my head just how it goes together now which made it a bit easier to put the sections up on the design wall.

The actual pieces are below.  Never mind that light green at the top though it is kind pretty, LOL.  That is just the other side of the table cloth I picked out.  I need the flannel side but paid for both.  There is one more row at the goes at the bottom but I was already skirting the baseboard a bit.  Since I don't need those pieces until the quilt is more than half sewn, I just set them aside for now.

The quilt top is sewn  "on point" or in diagonal rows.  You may be able to see that from my printout.  I find it easier for me to track what each row is supposed to look like if I fold the paper along the row lines I have marked  isolating each individual row as I work on it.  That way I can verify that I have not only the right color in the right order.  Also on this quilt I have to be concerned that I keep them going horizontal, vertical, horizontal, vertical.... and so on. Sew the first 7 or 8 rows and then start working from the opposite end, then join the two halves.

I have also decided that I am going to add quarter square triangles to three sides of the quilt as I believe it will make it easier to trim down the unneeded sections later.  The bottom won't need them but I really like the print for the top row and I don't want to cut it all away!!  I already have had the printout folded where I think it will need trimming.  This idea should also provide some stabilization of straight of grain.  Not entirely but some.  Still need to cut those out but that is no biggie.  However, the more I look at this, the more I think I want to extend the zig zag out a bit on the left hand side.  I have plenty of the fabric leftover so could easily cut those in the colors for that edge.   That would allow me to keep more of the fabric on the right hand side as well.  Yep, doing my own thing.  HMMMM

Since Skyler is a horrid string chewer, I have declared the design wall off limits.  Out of the master bedroom please!  I moved his litter box out of the master bath and back into its original position in the laundry room.  I already have told you that Skyler is constantly in the kitchen regardless of the dog's presence, in or out of his crate.  I think he will be able to get to the box when he needs it since he no longer gives the dog a wide berth.  Heck, he is on the attack, plunking the poor dog on the nose through the gate grate or going right after him.  Never mind that he has no front claws to inflict any real damage.  Oscar, more or less, turns around and walks away with a "whatever, man" attitude.

Oscar is outside most of the day unless it is raining or storming. When inside he roams around the kitchen and laundry room,  Now he gets in the living room with supervision for a few hours in the evening.  They are just a foot or two from each other vying for "most favored nation" status with me if we are all in the same locale.  Put a towel on the couch for the dog to get on and then Skyler wants to sleep on it to make it smell like cat.  Oscar just wants to sniff and track Skyler wherever he goes even if that means tunneling under the kitchen chairs.  Good thing he has short legs, LOL.  These two crack me up!

Okay, sewing decisions made.  Go pull the fabric bin and finish up that cutting that I didn't know that I needed to do.  Email or message Baby R's Nana to show her what I am up to as well.

Jul 24, 2014

Thursday check in

Time marches on.  It has been a busy week.  When am I not busy lately, huh?  I guess I should be reporting about the days when I just sit like a mugwump on the couch, LOL.

We had a good group at Bama Belles on  Tuesday. A few folk of the regulars were missing, one to vacation and one to illness but others that we don't see quite as often were there.  A few picture to share:

 Valera and Donna will working on the Fiddlesticks tops from the donation fabric.  It looks like we will definitely get two tops out of the deal and I know that there was more blocks left though I have not counted up how many towards another.   When I took the picture she had three rows to go.  Donna was well on her way with the 2nd one but she works 2nd shift so always has to leave around lunch time.   My version stayed essentially bagged up while I worked on strip sets for Baby R's Chevron Quilt though I shared how differently these look with the strip color choices, pulling up Lois' blue strip version for them to see as well.  (see the last meeting post)

Bridget had finished her embroidery roll project like mine using the directions I had written up some time back.  I love her fabric choices!  She was also working on one of those Red Hen Fabrics Thread Catcher though I think that the better instructions are posted on their etsy site, if I remember correctly.

This was her bag exterior.  Bridget was also working on a lovely cross stitch piece but I didn't get a picture of it.

I had errands to fun on the way home from the meeting but while I was there, I got the first 6 strip colors sewn.  The other three I did this morning.  The last strip did not photograph well but it is there, a yellow and blue tattersall plaid.  I am using the tutorial Crazy Mom quilts but as I look at some of the pictures I can't help but wonder what it might look like if you filled in with quarter square triangles instead of trimming it all down at the end.  If I can get a handle on how to draw it up in EQ, I might try seeing if it would work.

I had a few errands to run today around lunch time and came home in a rain shower.  Oscar came in and then Skyler was getting a little aggressive and would not vacate the kitchen or if he did, it was not for long.  Turf war with these two, more on Skyler's part than Oscar's.  It was his house; now he has to share parts of it.  The other night, I was just tired of Skyler's insistence about getting in Oscar's space.  I moved the gate back to the hallway and said "you two work it out".    He took the high road, LOL.

Meanwhile, Oscar first grabbed up Skyler's catnip mouse.  I got that away from him only because he latched onto Mz Mouzie.  It sits on the fire place hearth and Skyler occasionally plays a bit with the tail.   No way does he drag it around like he once did because he never did like my making the tail bigger and thicker when he bit through the last two.

Oscar on the other hand tore into that little hat.  Off it came.  Then he was working on the apron strings that also has the arms.    He was flinging it about or dragging it by the tail.  Poor Mouzie doesn't stand a chance.  I took the apron off and also cut the ribbons away from the ears, not wanting him to swallow it. Once the stuffing starts coming out of the sock, I will have to take it away from him but for now he is having a ball with it.    To date, it has lost its beady nose and Oscar is working on the eyes.

AND of course, like all of his toys or wanna be toys, it ends up in his crate.  I toss it, he chases but it always up back in there.

Lately he has taken to running off with my yard work tennis shoes (or my slippers) if I happen to leave them by the laundry room door.    If you hear any clunking around in the laundry room it is him trying to carry off the shoe.  He was gnawing on the pull tab on tennis shoe but so far only one has made the trip in there.  I thought they outgrew that stuff when they were puppies??

And sew it goes.  No finishes, just barely started is more like it.  Little sewing but I'll take whatever time I can lately if the inclination is there.  Would that I could just do like Samantha on "Bewitched" wiggle my nose like a rabbit and have some of those household jobs one!

Jul 18, 2014

Checking in

Before I get the "are you okay?"  inquiry,  just busy, inside and outside the house.

Outside:  I have weeded, hoed, chopped, sprayed all along the edge of the bank in back.  It took me a few hours over two days to get down the row swear that kudzu is like a phoenix rising from the ashes.  You think the roots are dead and then when you start hacking it, you discover that the little sprouts that are coming up are springing off the stuff you thought was dead and gone.  Not only will it trail on top of the ground sometimes at close to a foot a day and attaching to whatever it can find to attach to, it also grows outward underground.   Some of the roots are about 1/2 or more in diameter and it is like hitting rocks with the hoe.  Also you have to be mindful that there are low spots, animal holes, fire ant mounds and where you see the kudzu is generally off the edge of the bank.  You can't get too close and I sure don't want the riding lawn mowers going anywhere that close to it either!

I've swept and I've raked attacking the dead leaves from around the bushes on the front.  Now that the stuff has dried out, I can see where the pieces were left behind when Robert pruned the bushes. The side by the a/c could still use some attention but that is not happening for a few days.

We had some rain (1 inch to be precise) with more due in tonight and tomorrow.  All the rain did is encourage the fire ants to start digging.  I treated a few of the mounds that were in my path to the brush pile and in the backyard where Oscar could get in them, once he was in for the night last night.  To be honest I do not know which of those two awful things I hate worse, fire ants or kudzu.  Maybe the ants as at least kudzu has a few useful purposes.  Very few, to my way of thinking but you can make baskets and wreaths, use it for silage, make jelly out of the blossoms which tastes faintly grape-like I am told.  Fire ants??  I know God made them for a reason but tell me what it might be.

Inside the house:  well, all that yard work makes for more laundry with sweaty clothes.  I am caught up now though, until I decide to out and do something silly like clean up the utility shed or vacuum out the car, LOL.   I've cleaned, cleared and shredded paper stuff from his filing cabinet but mostly I was looking for a misplaced paper that I need for the HHS paperwork I need to file.  Found it!

Tuesday I waited past the time the donation truck was supposed to come pick my stuff up.  They finally showed after a phone call an hour later.  Among the things I parted with was DJ recliner.  No one, including the cat, sat in it.  Remember how he always wanted in there with or without DJ??? It was like he knows that someone is missing.  No fun sitting there if you didn't have to fight with Kitty Daddy for squatters' rights??  Anyway, the handle was a bit hard to operate and it always took up so much room in the living room.  I didn't need to keep it as a shrine to my husband.  Anyway, I was up moving around the remaining pieces of furniture and vacuuming at 9:30 Tuesday evening.  Skyler just wanted to know where the love seat was headed and when the kitty eating machine was going to stop.  There is only so much you can do with a fire place and entertainment center stuck in place.  Still, it looks a bit more spacious in there.   I have since discovered that it must be a position in the room sort of deal rather than the love seat itself, as he has been sleeping on the coach now that I switched the two around.   He can see the kitchen and whatever Oscar is doing or he can see me coming up the hallway.

What else? No sewing this week though I have been thinking about it-----a lot, LOL.   The house is reasonably cleaned after that vacuuming and sweeping binge.  I didn't wait three days to unload the dishwasher.  Cooking has been more of a re-heat thing as I try to get the freezers emptied out a bit but I guess that is the beauty of leftovers.  I did make some spaghetti sauce in the crockpot the other night thinking I would make some lasagna when we  had a couple of cooler days.  Like do it in a couple of loaf pans, maybe??  Didn't happen but only because I had another bit of ground beef something thawed out.  It may morph into something else by the time I decide to use it.

I have made a decision about what I want to do for an upcoming hop and ordered what I need to make that happen---that took care of a few hours this morning but then I had already decided no outside stuff today.   I have a list going in my head of what I need to do sewing-wise.  I doubt that two of them will be completely done in time for my upcoming trip but there is truly no rush on either of the gifties, really. USPS works for me and buys some time.

 I did manage to cut out Lily's baby quilt though after hoeing the other day, it was a little hard on the hands to use that rotary cutter.

What am I doing with these?  Well, the strips should go pretty well with the wall hanging I made her with the aquas.  The #8 strip was one that I used in it while the others are mostly from the two 5 yard quilt packets that I got some Bolines of Indian Creek when I was in Pigeon Forge earlier this year.   AND I am going to make a chevron quilt with them using the tutorial from Crazy Mom quilts.  A white solid will go between the strips.

Would you like to see a few more adorable baby pictures?  Lily is home now with her folks as of Tuesday I think it was.  My sister is an OB nurse but not at the hospital where Lily was born.  Her hospital uses the Bella Baby Photography while the hospital they used is getting the service in August.  I think as a special favor to my sister they arranged to travel down and take some posed, professional pictures of our little peanut.  I put on my own watermark but they get all the credit for these wonderful pictures!  You should not be surprised to see her wrapped in the Pittsburgh towel as Daddy is a big anything Pittsburgh fan (family is from there originally, I believe).   I have Mommy's permission to share these.

AND then we have the critters to contend with:
Case in point, Skyler does not respect boundaries, at all.  Look at him!   I put that gate up to keep YOU out, Mister, when Oscar is IN.

Yeah, like on THAT side looking at Oscar from afar, not right in his face.  I have considered just taking the gate down and letting him chase that nosy thing through the house.  Thing is, Oscar would head right for Sky's food bowl and you don't feed Skyler dry food on demand.   Treat bites, yes but not dry food.  Oscar still goes at the fence every once in awhile barking like crazy but other times they are both walking around the kitchen table sizing each other up.

Oscar meanwhile has the cute thing down to a science.  I still am not sure what his signal is for needing to go out  to do his business so periodically I open the back door and "come on, Oscar, let's go out".  He inevitably lays down on that throw rug, and shows his belly and almost dares me to make him go.  Of course, it almost always works making me one of the most indulgent mamas around.  One look at those big brown eyes even with me being on to him, LOL.

If it has quit sprinkling, I think I'll take my dog for a walk.  If I don't have to referee these two, I might even think about sewing.  Stranger things have happened, LOL.

Jul 13, 2014

before and after

Busy day today and I am afraid that Oscar is getting short shrift in the walking department today.  No trip into the park and he will have to settle for a couple of trips up and down our lane.  I'm tired!  LOL.  I did go out and toss his little tug of war toy around a bit in a semblance of "fetch" so maybe that will help?

That bush I showed the other day that needed some cleaning up around?  Here is "before",  the one dead center in the photo.

After I got the loppers and rake out and wore myself out!

Once I got showered and cooled off then I decided to box up some of my cookbooks for donation.  Center Hope's truck is coming on Tuesday to get some other stuff I had phoned about so I thought now was a good chance to weed them out.  There are two more small boxes in the car as well.  One is going to Friends of the Library and the other, a donation bin.

Essentially I was able to clear out most of this bookshelf but then some of it is shifted to the other one.

I can tell that there is a difference even if you cannot----downsizing.  One whole shelf and half of another were emptied out.  Yes, I shifted more back in.  A few more may be going as well as all those cooking magazines as they sell those at Friends of the Library too.  I just don't feel like sacking them up at the moment,  LOL.

Yesterday was guild day.  It was so neat to walk in and see all the quilts hanging, decorating those walls at the center.  Not that I had one to share but that was my choice.  There is another challenge for the second half of the year that has a Proverbs theme.  Jill passed out envelopes that contained a proverb, mine being "Don't judge a book by its cover".  So I make an object like a quilt, wall hanging, art piece that represents that in some way.  I forget now what the other 3 had but it should be interesting!

We also drew for the opportunity quilt and it went to someone from the Birmingham Quilt Guild.  A couple of our members knew her.  Only takes one ticket!  I am not sure if I had a picture of the quilt finished up but it used that Granny Square pattern from Blue Elephant Stitches' blog.  I have a few blocks made for what will probably be a donation quilt at some point using the same pattern.  It is a fun one to make really.

I stood in for the secretary Irene, returning the favor as she covered for me during my term at one point.  When she told me (because I needed her minutes for the newsletter inclusion) and the President that she would be unable to attend, I volunteered.  After two years in the job, I thought I might be the most logical choice.  

The girls and I had lunch out and then went on to Ashville since the three of them are all doing the quilt shops block of the month.   I elected not to go shopping.  Don't need anything at the moment except some Frixion pens and it can wait.  Still, nice to have a girlfriend day.


My sister told me today that it is okay with my niece if I share a picture of my little great niece.  She did have to have a surgical procedure On Thursday.  As of last night she is recuperating in a transitional room so her parents can tend to her but with staff near by.  Initially they said she might be discharged tomorrow but my sister will confirm that later.

So here is Lily with her daddy.  What a cutie pie, huh?  I'll get to meet her in person next month.  

About time to scare up something for supper.  The idea of cooking has little appeal (What? and I have all those cookbooks to help me do just that???) because it is so blamed hot or I just finally got cooled down, one or the other.  The appetite slacks off when it gets so warm and nothing really even sounds good.  HMMMMM

Jul 10, 2014

a view from the yard

 The baby birds vacated the nest earlier in the week.  I had been watching and first one disappeared and then the last one was sitting on the edge of the nest, like it was too afraid to take off.  A few hours later, I happened to be looking out the kitchen window and spotted it flailing around in the bed at the base of the Rose of Sharon bush.  I sure hope it gets the hang of what to do with those wings or something like my dog is going to get it.

So this morning for about an hour while I still had some cloud cover,  I finished taking some of restof the branches off the gardenia bush.  Two wheel barrels full of brush for the burn pile.  This was all the further I could take it down with the large pair of manual loppers.  It will take the electrical version or a chain saw at this point.  I don't know that anyone should trust me with electrical appliances other than the ones of the kitchen variety like blenders, mixers, panini press, LOL.

This mess at the base of the Rose of Sharon needs to be dealt with.  It is the remains of two types of lilies--angel trumpets and day lilies.  DJ would take all that thatchy stuff out over the winter months and we would start all over again in the spring/summer.  That didn't happen this past year.  Robert did take some of the low lying branches off so he could use the riding mower recently but that is all the attention it has had.

Then  we have the lilac bush that has a big hole in the center of it.  Those are not native to Alabama and this was DJ's pampered princess bush, having to augment the soil and all that.  I don't want it gone but I do need to get that dead part removed.  Robert and I talked about it .  Again, I don't know that I can saw it out of there.

I pulled some weeds along the "fence" row before I called it quits this morning and came in to cool off and shower.  Enough yard work for the day.

Looking back to the south of the lot, you can see the variety of crape myrtles.  That lilac/light pink one needs that weedy stuff cut away from its base too.  That might be were I head next actually as it is near the burn pile.  That little heap you see near the pole.

I was dismayed to see that there is some kudzu vine mixed up in the holly bushes between the white myrtle bush on the left and the myrtle tree.  I pulled some of it out but those bushes are huge and I doubt I will get up on the ladder to get at it.  Years ago this happened and DJ and I reclaimed that myrtle bush from the vines one fall some time back, cutting it back and pulling out the old canes.  This is the best I have ever seen it flower. DJ would be proud of that!  Then too, the dark pink one was just a small, small planting when we moved in and growing quite crookedly at that.  He figured out a way to stake it up without damaging the trunk and it looks great now.

Still no rain.  Dark clouds over head in spots and humid but I think this is one of those rain events where some get it and some don't.   You can probably see how dry the grass is looking in some of these pictures.  Robert ran the mower through that side of the driveway but just to knock the weeds down, more or less.

The happy news I have to report is that Baby Girl R is here, my little great-niece.  My sister the baby's nana was messaging me off and on throughout the day.  When I went to bed, there was a possibility of a c-section and then the phone sounded at about 1:15 in the morning.  She was born with 15 minutes of Wednesday the 9th to spare.  6 lbs and 14 oz. 19 inches long, looks like a lot of dark hair.   There was a pre-natal health concern that showed up on the ultrasounds that will need to be addressed with surgically tomorrow.  Please keep the family in your prayers.  I get to meet her and love on her next month!  Little Girl is the first great-grand so we are all pretty excited!  While I do have a picture of her, I do not have permission to share it at this point.

Think I might sew for a bit if I can remember where I put that little bag I was working on.  I think I know.  Other than maybe boxing up some books for the home pickup I have scheduled next week  I do not want to do anything more labor intensive today.  My arms and shoulder blades are already squawking a bit about the pruners!

THX for stopping by-------maybe one of these days I'll actually have something sewn to share.

Jul 8, 2014

a little of this and that

Well, I took two "holiday" days off, Friday and Saturday, more or less.  By Sunday afternoon, I was back at it.  I finally got DJ's closet emptied and vacuumed out.  Then I had to wonder how in the world that his closet rod had not snapped in two.  Mine certainly did and in a New York minute too!!   I have a ton of stuff on the shelf, and always have only now the closet is no longer stuffed with clothing but quilting supplies, completed tops and some large lengths for backings.   DJ got about 5 support bracket/rod deals and a nice metal rod and those puppies are screwed into the studs.  He did not repair his own, my guess is that he was waiting till HIS rod snapped like a twig and he had to do it, LOL.

Now take a look at this jerry rigged thing.  The bracket is NOT flush with the shelf.  The rod support does not support the rod.  Thankfully, I am basically just putting donation quilts up there and two small boxes of mementoes and banking materials.

What supports the rod and the shelf??  Well, the two ends of this 7 foot wooden pole are attached to shelf and I hope are attached in back to the studs.  Then we have this board propping it up vertically.  This end seems fairly secure but the other end is loose at the top but backs up into the linen closet area in some manner.  I put something on the floor near it to brace it for now.  BUT what a stupid way to do assembly work.

I took a break from the cleaning project and did a recon run out to Lowe's closet section.  They have what I would need if I were to try to fix it properly.  That is provided I can find the studs (they are supposed to be 16 inches apart, right?)  OR I learn how to properly do a hollow wall anchor.  Remember, I still have a hole to patch in the living room from my last effort when I lost one in the wall?  Oopsie!  I got the stuff to do it--on the to-do list.

Anyway-----here is what it looked like in there after I finally was able to log in all the on hand donation quilts on the 2014 document.   That was my Monday afternoon job.  I was taking pictures of the ones that I was not sure I had taken.  DJ is not here to reluctantly help me out with the quilt holding job so the first pictures were taken on the back of the shed where I had left some command hooks.  Then I guess with my fiddling with the rod and the extreme heat, one of the hooks fell off to who knows where.  I know I lost some curtain rings in the weeds under the shed as well.  I came in and hung a few hooks on the master bedroom wall that I want to use in some way as a design wall and finished up the job.

 Hooray!  It is going to be far easier to get at these things from here versus the old spot of the coat closet/out of season clothes in my bedroom.  Even better, they are no longer stacked up and sitting in the bedroom.   PLUS the vacuum cleaner finally has a home, like, NOT in the bathroom.

And speaking of bathrooms, I emptied out his bathroom and cleaned the best I could in there too, and then did my own.  DJ had that surgical procedure in early December and really was still on some activity restrictions when he passed away.  What I am getting at, was that he had not been able to keep up the tub/shower cleaning like he normally would.  I did my best but that soap scum, hard water scale is more challenging that my normal go-to cleaning routine.   A friend had made a suggestion of her home grown recipe that I will try---can't hurt, right?   I think part of the thing is he still has a shower door that makes it hard to physically get in there and clean unless you are naked in the shower itself.  My shower unit was broken when we moved in and I took it off preferring a shower curtain.  Easier to get at mine.  The other thing?  He has a low pressure shower nozzle.  I don't think it got enough oomph to rinse as well as it should.  Just a theory but I don't have near the problem with mine.   I know I'll have to get in there again at some point.

Before I called it quits for the day on Sunday, I swept and mopped the kitchen and utility room and vacuumed most of the house.   Wore myself out!   Yesterday in comparison was more the errand and cooking day, LOL.  Other than getting overheated walking the dog and running in and out in the afternoon heat with those quilts it was a much less physically taxing day.

Today was Bama Belles day.   Just 6 of there.  Family situations and member illnesses are keeping a few away right now.  Still, we had a good day though short breaking up around noon.  A couple of the gals share a ride so when one leaves, they all leave.   Donna was working on personal project, a Snuggle Up. Eventually she will have 3 done up but each in a different color grouping.  Valera and I were both working on the Rail blocks from last time and getting started on the top assembly.   I know she had blocks make for one maybe two quilts  (we didn't count up and I left them at the church).   I made the 4 little blocks that I was needing to reach the 70 we needed for WTIL sized quilts and then started making rows.  Here is what mine looked like by the time I packed it up.  7 more rows to go, LOL but I left it at the church as I have some personal sewing to tend in coming weeks.

Lois had two rail tops done---one in the Fiddlesticks setting and one in the more traditional coloration.  That one is actually a fabric challenge type project.  I had three bits of yardage and said pick the one you want to try to use.  She picked the M & M fabric so the rail block colors are the shades of M & M's.  I think both tops are pretty!  Beverly liked the more traditional brighter one better but they each have their own charms, I think.   I still have a stack of blue strips cut from donation fabric so I see more of these in our future, LOL.  Really it is a nice ongoing project which I why I put my up in the closet till next time.  Beverly and Marilyn were helping Lois pin though Marilyn had pulled out a Dresden Plate project and prepping the background fabric for those too.

Here are a couple of other quilts that Beverly shared with us today.  First, a Block of the Month from the JOY group.  A friend hand quilted it for her.

This Pineapple Blossom is one for the kids.  Beverly said that the blue fabrics in it were fabrics that were given to us from our friend Theramae's estate.  We all knew how much Beverly loved blues so many of them were set aside for her.  I am happy to see them live on in this project. Theramae would love it too!  She and Jane's mom Sarah were both in their early 80's when they died and they were two of our most prolific quilters.  We miss both these dear ladies.

Beverly hand embroidered these cute redwork blocks that she said represent the 4 seasons.  She was getting some ideas on how she might quilt it.  I suggested cross hatching through the whole block as it sort of historically accurate for embroidery blocks.   She may be hand quilting it but I told her she probably should mark it before pinning. no matter what design she might choose.  Another quilt to add to the other 21 on the shelf!

What else?  My great niece (to be named Lily) should be here any day now.  AND, it looks like I will be going to Colorado next month for niece's wedding after all.  A gift from my sisters, the flights are arranged after a bit of back and forth via messaging.  Plans are, I will be heading back to Illinois with my sister and BIL who still live in the area for a few days.  That way I will get to see my folks and visit with any available family.    Meet my great niece in person!   Diane still owes me a Schooner burger and onion rings, LOL or a trip to Avanti's, either one is fine.

I see "baby drag along"quilt and Christmas tree skirts being moved up to a more immediate place on the list.  Neither is cut out but I should have all the fabric for both projects on hand.  Now that I have the Singer back I may try to finish up that little see through bag I had started.  Get one thing finished anyway.  I already gave myself permission not to do the guild challenge quilt as it had to be totally done and turned it.  It was not happening.  I'll make the quilt at some point but it will stay here for WTIL.

Well, I need to walk Oscar one more time before he comes in for the evening.  Poor doggie had to wait for me to get back from my meeting, and back from a little lunch out,  before we headed into the park for our laps.  There were a lot more people at the park including two women walking a female dog.  Between her and the squirrel sightings, he was one dog chomping at the bit so to speak.  It was plenty warm and he was really, really panting.  Now the sun should be below the tree line a bit plus we have some cloud cover moving in as our rain chances increase a bit tomorrow.  The yard is beginning to crisp up a bit and I don't think we really have had a decent rainfall in a couple of weeks.

Skyler meanwhile is in his window perch, napping intermittently.  Or he will until I bring the dog in which case, he has to be sure that he is not being left out of anything.  He needs his rest of he can get me up at 5 in the morning, or earlier!

THX for stopping by-----never know what you might find me doing lately, do you?

Jul 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

It is just a picture perfect day outside, yesterday showed some promise of it, but today, is gorgeous.  Look at the blue sky. breeze blowing, lower dew points and much cooler temps.  58 overnight according to my thermometer.  I had a little struggle getting the flag mounted in that the wind was trying to whip it away from me.   That and I am a little afraid of heights (or falling?), like even as small as getting my own height off the ground.  Silly,  I know.  There is nothing really to hold on to other than to brace my hand on the facing board.  I was not able to use the step stool that DJ used to get up there but we still have my old painting ladder from years ago so I drug it out.  So Happy Birthday, America and happy birthday to my dear friend, Cindy.  In years past I visited her on her bday as they had a little quilt show in the town they were living in at the time, outside Knoxville, TN.  The whole town would get into it with all day activities planned.

Oscar and I went into the park to walk fairly early this morning.  The Ladiga Trail looked to be hopping but we had the park all to ourselves.  Quiet and peaceful, listening to the birds sing, enjoying the great weather.  Then some idiot begins to endear himself to his neighbors by either using his chain saw or weed whacker at 6:30 in the morning.  By 7:30 here in the nearby subdivision someone is bush hogging the vacant lot about 4 houses down and there went the serenity in MY neck of the woods.  Beep, beep, beep and then joined by the lawnmowers and weed whackers at various households.

As we were getting out of the car, Kit Kit came running up to greet us.  She is not at all afraid of the dog, while Oscar is a little afraid of her.  I wish I had had my camera for what came next.  Oscar and I headed to the back yard so he could have his "good boy" biscuit.  Kit Kit again turned her nose up at the dry food but was still hanging around wanting some pets or to play.  The two of the them were having a little standoff near the fence.  Up hops the cat doing a tightrope dance on the horizontal fence post walking almost the length of the shed--about 14 feet.  (I think those extra toes she has are a plus for that.)  Oscar was going nuts, so were the bird parents,  and in the house, Skyler is meowing his fool head off because he knows I am home but not back in the house and he can hear me talking to the critters.  Then down into the yard went the cat, Oscar giving chase.  The bird parents are REALLY squawking at that point as they are both too close to the gardenia bush..  All I could think was please do not go up in there.  Kit Kit jumped back over the fence but continued to taunt Oscar by running under the shed, around the shed and he is running those little legs off and jumping like he is on a pogo stick.  Eventually she tired of the game and the next thing we both knew she was off climbing the large tree between the houses.  That got Oscar to barking at her.  Skyler continues crying and the birds are still not happy.  Oscar and I get back to my tossing that little purple floppy cat toy and him sort of playing fetch with it.  That dogger is going to sleep well tonight!  I thought briefly about loading Skyler up in the carrier and bringing him outside but he might panic more from being in there then he would being in the house all alone.  Don't know, may try it just to see what he does.

Speaking of birds, this one is looking more like one instead of a scrawny fuzzy gaping mouth with legs.  Not like that awful looking thing I had to pick up with the shovel the other day.  I don't know how many more of them remain in the nest but this one looks more robust than a few days ago.  Obviously I was wrong about the nest being abandoned with the protective mocking bird pair this morning.  Oscar is kind of balking about going out in the back yard lately and I have to wonder if he had gotten swooped down on again.  OR he just wants to stay in the house where it is cooler.  Could be either one.

Think I am going to go out and read a bit, enjoy this wonderful weather because it will not last.  Mid 80 is fine if there is shade, a breeze, low humidity.  Give that overworked a/c a break too.   No housework and no yardwork today if I can help it though I might sew a bit later.

Hope you have a safe and happy holiday weekend and thx for stopping by.

Jul 3, 2014

Thursday check-in

I told a friend the other day that I should just quit making plans or goals for the day as it never seems to happen around here lately.  I may lay there in bed as I did this morning and tell myself---"Okay, finish clearing the closet.  Log in those quilts and get them put away in there!"  Day is more than half over and it still isn't a blip on the radar.

Yesterday, same thing.  Same goals really.  Closet, quilts, clean the bathrooms.  Well, the next door neighbor is done recuperating from his eye surgery is back on lawn and weed whacking patrols.  I was out walking Oscar for his afternoon trot up and down the lane and he hollered "I'm heading there next to mow (push mower) and will weed whack after that".  What he meant was for me to take Oscar in the house for awhile till he was finished up.  Since he was taking a break, I got out the rake and got the thatchy clippings removed as best I could from both sides of the fenced in back yard area filling up about half of my old garbage can.  I also hand pulled about half the yard's weeds from that back ledge area while I was out there.  About an hour outside in the sun between 2-3 and it is about 95 out, humid and no air moving at all, or so it felt.   Into the shower immediately after, and another load of wash when I had thought I was done with that job for a few days having done two loads earlier.  I was wrong and the day had gone off on another tangent.   I  cooked something for my lunch, played with both cats and the dog.  I stitched up the abandoned catnip toy that Oscar seemed quite taken with but he tore down the center seam-----and that is all the sewing that happened too. Think I could squeeze in 4 more little rail fence blocks?  Apparently not.

OH, you have to see how Aline's turned out!  Fiddlesticks pattern from Deidre K. Brown and The Teacher's Pet.  She tagged me on facebook so I can copy the link to share here.  Looks great with that chevron fabric.  Lot of movement in the strips.

That is not to say that I can't keep a to-do list.  I know that left to my own devices it is far easier and way more fun to do things like play on the computer, watch TV, sew or do something creative or read.  Who really yearns to do yard work or clean house, for heaven's sake?  Glutton for punishment, I say, LOL.

So far today Oscar and I walked this morning in the park and a bit ago, the lane.  Blessedly, I don't think the weather is near as oppressive.  Oh, it is hot temperature-wise and the a/c though set at 79 seems to be running a good bit and started running as early as 6:30 this morning. However, the humidity does not seem as bad.  There is a little breeze blowing that does not feel like a blast furnace.   I actually set outside on the carport with Oscar and read a bit, a prospect I would not have entertained yesterday.

Mr. Haynes had called to say that my machines were ready to be picked up so we arranged for me to run up to his home to get those.  A pleasant drive through the country.  I have not tried out either of the machines.  Wait till tomorrow.  Since it is a holiday, I am not doing housework or yardwork, other than possibly a little cooking.

 I already made the carrot raisin salad with cooked dressing  (with some variations of my own) I was craving and had just been thinking that I would make a red velvet poke cake and TRY to make the 4th seem a little festive.  Maybe get a couple ears of sweet corn & something to toss on the grill??  I was just about to dress the salad when the doorbell rang.  My sister Diane had messaged me a few days ago to say she had sent something but of course, I didn't remember that till I saw the mail lady holding a package.



A festive container of cookies from Cheryl's!   What a sweet surprise from my sweet sister to let me know she was thinking of me.

Please don't think this is a pity party.  Just saying how I feel, like I do anything else.   I am finding the holidays to be a little rough this year.   DJ and I moved down here away from our family and friends in 1997, 17 years ago this month.  It has practically always been just the two of us.  We didn't travel in the winter, we didn't do holidays with family, he only went back every other year, etc. maybe the last 10.  We didn't have a lot of company drive all this way down to see us.  While I can ordinarily keep busy and have always been good at entertaining myself, without him, the holidays sort of emphasize that being alone thing.  It isn't just the two of us anymore, it is me, by myself, with the critters.  I don't expect others to entertain me either.  They have their own plans.  I get that.  Just get through the day and move on to the next.

Change the subject.

Remember me telling you about the mocking bird's nest in the gardenia bush I encountered?  I think that the parents have more or less abandoned the baby birds. Do they do that??? There were two left the last time I saw the mom feeding them, those wide gaping mouths.  I have barely seen them around and before you could hardly avoid them.  I let Oscar out the back door the other night, he let out one bark and one of them swooped down and tagged him on the back end.  He came back in until I realized that he did not have a rawhide bone anymore and there were two outside. He followed me back out. where he made a beeline for the base of the bush and what he had in his mouth was a baby bird tossed from the nest.   Someone recently pointed out to me that the dog had gotten short changed in the leg department so you know he didn't knock those birds out of the nest. Kit Kit has barely been down here, let alone hop my fence with the dog around.   Anyway, I made Oscar drop the poor little creature and go back in the house.  Then I got the shovel out to dispose of it and not give the dog a chance to grab it again on the next trip out the back door.  Today, I saw another one across the street---actually, Oscar sniffed it out and I pulled him off the body.  I may be back to cutting down more of that bush sooner than I though at this rate.

Feeding time for the dogger.  Skyler hears that refrigerator open and he thinks it is time for HIM to have another treat bite.  It isn't but the yowling/ tangling up in the legs will ensue;  Mr. Spoiled Rotten gets his way.  Because the ants invariably get in the food, I have Oscar come in to eat.  Play a bit too.

Closet?  I think I would rather see how that machine is working and finish up that little bag I started with it.  We'll see, LOL.

Jul 1, 2014

this and that

My plans for Monday were to work on the guild newsletter, it being the last day of the month.  Also Ii planned to get started on the clean/clear the closet and master bathroom.  Didn't happen.  Nope, my morning started off with my computer desk drawer and pull out shelf for the keyboard, more or less, landing on my lap and floor.  Second time it happened too.  As you may recall I assembled this a few months back from one of those knock down pieces of furniture that requires cams and those cam posts.  I copied the picture of it before the computer and all the peripherals came back in.

Same thing happened as last time--- the whole thing pulled out.   Down it tumbled and just as I had started messaging with my friend Cher.  There is a small support arm that attaches to the top with holes countersunk into the desk top.  The support "beam" fits into that and then is tightened with the cams.    It has rollers on both sides, one for the desk drawer and the other for the keyboard pull out.  That drawer front is hinged allowing access for the shelf to be pulled out.   I try not to rest too much of the weight of my body on it. 

It looked like the plastic surrounding the cam post had cracked.  Now what?  I talked to the neighbor about it when I finished getting my hair trimmed.  Two words.  Gorilla Glue. He said he would be coming over to look at it so I went home and finished up with the sewing project from Sunday.  (66 of 70 blocks needed came from one strip set so now I can just piece the 4 extras from the colors I want to accentuate a bit more)

In the meantime, before and after my hair appointment, I decided this was the perfect time to try to de-tangle all that wire mess.  I had already showered and washed the hair but was getting hotter by the minute crawling around under the desk.   UGH, everything has its own space hogging adapter thing (almost all of about 8 or 9 things)  I untangled, I coiled and shortened the excess.  I plugged in another strip plug so the items that are in the more visible plug are the things in the middle of the desk i.e. speakers, desk lamp, vonage power cord and the phone adapter.  It looks a little better now plus big bonus,  I will be less likely to drop the modem or router on the floor or get the stool legs tangled up in strip plug.  If there was some way to mount the strip plug up higher to the back of the desk, I would do it an heart beat but I have not quite figured out how yet.

 (Also seen in the post from March of this year.  I didn't take an "after" view)

I thought that I had plugged every unplugged wire back into its proper receptacle but apparently not as I lost my internet connection though oddly, at first anyway, I still had an active vonage phone line.  I ended up having to get the CD installation out for the router, unplug all the connections from the modem to the router and do a semi-reinstallation.  Finally I was back in business with the computer, tablet and phone.  Whew!  The house phone won't work either with no internet so I am really cut off!  Walking away and coming back with fresh eyes and a better attitude are not an option like some tasks can be.

But, what could be done about the desk? I waited for him till a bit after 12 and then left on my errands.  I planned to by Lowes on the way to lunch and see if I could get a couple more cam posts.  If not,  the Gorilla Glue on the cam post heads, in the countersunk hole was in play.   I must have looked like I was sufficiently lost so a passing store employee came to my aid.  Thank you, Eric!  He dug through all the furniture parts drawers with no success, listened to what I had to say, found some sleeve like anchors that might work and then showed me where the wood glue was.  He had suggested that I put some glue on the post, pop that puppy back up in there but glue the raw wood edge of the shelf to the desk top with wood glue.  I had gorilla glue all over my fingers and spent the rest of the evening chipping bits of it off my hands but that thing surely feels like it is in there securely.  I am letting it set up till mid afternoon, 24 hours, before I put the desk drawer and sliding drawer back in there.  Hopefully, this will take care of that desk situation for good.

I took myself to Zaxby's for a zensation salad lunch and didn't get back home till about 2 from my errands.  Oscar was looking at me with those sad dachshund eyes, like "what about me and my afternoon walk?".  It was clouding up but nothing looked imminent so I loaded him the car so we could to to the park.  There is at least some shade in the park while our lane has very little mid afternoon.   It was rumbling by the time I got to town, then the lightning started the further we got along in the 1st lap.  Get back in the car.  He was pulling that cute act again, the sun was beating on the back of black shirt, I was hot, it was about to storm so I let him get away with my looping the seatbelt through the hand loop on his leash.  Try it once more and see if he will behave.   He was good and stayed in the back----to a point.  Then he managed to get up in the front though on the passenger seat, too close to the gear shifter for me.   Because I travel with a little organizer on the front seat with a bit of everything in there, the next thing I knew he had grabbed the ear muffs and was working them over just like he does his rawhide bone!  A tuft of faux fur was ripped off and he was holding them spiral band with his front yanking for all he was worth with those teeth.  

Once we were back home and in the house with the storm approaching, he was doing his usual house inspection and playing.  He had drug his whole towel out of the crate but something else was in there.  He drug in one of my bedroom slippers that sits by the door if I have my walking shoes on.  No signs of attack that I could see.  I just thought it was funny that he was getting up close and personal with two of my clothing items all in the space of an hour.  Silly boy.

Well, that newsletter is not going to take care of itself.  It is a bit harder to type with the keyboard elevated like this, harder on the wrists mainly but still easier than trying to do it on the tablet with the hunt and poke stylus method.  I still have an idea that I could get something done across the hall yet today barring any other household calamity.  I do know that the dishwasher is not sitting exactly straight and I am not sure that it is attached to the counter.  It has done this before, we had someone out here three times for that very thing.  SIGH.  Another example of what I don't know about home maintenance.