Jun 30, 2011

finished to flimsy

I knew when I last posted that I probably would NOT get my current top done that day or even the next. And I didn't. Between running a few errands and doing some meal prep work ahead my time was spoken for. I would sew intermittently and play on the computer in between----same as always, LOL.

Hot off the press----or rather after Quilt Holder got up from his nap. The Belles Scrappy Challenge Puss in the Corner flimsy is done. See who is looking for some dangling string down there?? I had put a couple more squares into the mix when I was cutting up the blue fabric recently. I found if I made two more blocks I could add an extra row for length. Kids come in all sizes, after all. We shoot for 40 x 60 and this is probably closer to 43 x 68 ish.

And speaking of the Skyler kitty, some of the fabric was cleared out with what WAS the dark to medium blue bin. He can get up on the shelf and "hide" if he wants and keep me company in the sewing room. Mostly he was at loose ends and didn't seem to know WHAT he wanted.

The electrician guys and the power company person were here this morning to fix the mast pole. He could hear unfamilar voices and that had him spooked for a bit----back under the bed. Poor kitty doesn't get any rest from the real and imaginary perils he faces lately.

And remember my saying that we are starting think we have been bit by a run of bad luck lately? The "what next?" phenomena? Well, we didn't have to wait long for the latest snafu. I had just finished preparing our lunch and about to sit down to eat when the postal person pulled into the drive and honked, handing me the mail. Janet said " I supposed you know that the mailbox is down" Ah, no, I/we didn't. I explained about the workers being here this morning and one of them probably backed into it. Odd that no one bothered to tell us that they hit it though. The nails holding it were about 4 inches long and completely pulled out so it had to have been hit pretty hard, DJ said. They will have to hold our mail at the post office if we don't get it fixed. Husband was NOT happy but will not call the guy(s) back. DJ is pretty sure it was the electrician because of how and where they were parked.

He had hopes that he could repair the thing but two things have occured over the years. 1) Termites got into the pole. 2) Screws holding down the metal box are rusted down and you cannot insert a screw driver. Off he went to Lowe's for a replacement deal. 38 bucks later, we have a new mail box that he will put in once the sun gets below the tree line. I did go out and help him get the post out of the ground though.

Here is to better days------------

Jun 28, 2011

unintended net break

 It is one thing to take some planned time off from blogging or your computer. That is not what happened in my case. I've got the pictures to show you why I was offline. First let me say, I know that this is so minor compared to what others went thru with the tornadoes two months ago. I am not complaining---it could have been worse---but relaying the story. 

DJ and I had just sat down to a bowl of homemade vegetable beef soup on Friday evening. As has happened fairly often this month, our area was under a severe thunderstorm watch/warning situation. It was getting darker and windy-er by the minute. A few bites in and off went the power and out came the candles. I don't know that I have ever eaten soup by candle light so I was just hoping that I didn't end up wearing more than I was ingesting, LOL.

About twenty minutes later our power came back on but the neighbor woman was knocking on the door. There is a tree limb from her tree in the back yard on our power line, cable etc. I don't know if you can see it or not, with the picture being so dark but that upright line in the middle of the picture above is the pole that is situated right on the property line. The other pole you see in the extreme right is across the road at the house you see in the distance. Back to the story..........

She had no power, no phone to call in the outage, etc. DJ's mind automatically leapt to the last time this happened, 5 years ago. (I probably even have a picture of it on here.) Why the tree assassin people did not cut half of this tree off, I do not know! They sure annilated many others around here. DJ said it was because it was in someone's back easement and they didn't want to drive their trucks back there. He may be right but there are a couple more limbs that come down and do this again---at 250 a pop and a 500 deductible on our house insurance so that is no help with the expenses. Again, he asks "what next?"

So anyway, the weight of the tree limb was pulling on our stand pipe. DJ was worried that it would break it off, tear up our roof and all that. We have cable internet and use Vonage for our phone---that is, when it is intact we do, LOL. The cable is broken off in all this mess you see in the picture to the right.

I was able to use my cell phone to get through to the power company on Stacy's behalf. I also got thru to the cable company but the out of state office. Typically, all bad repair things always happen on the weekend or when offices are closed, right?? We helped her out by stashing her things from the freezer into our chest freezer and found some refrigerator space so her food would be salvaged as well. She called her family to come get her so she didn't have to stay in a dark, hot house overnight.

Here you see the stand pipe bending over. The power company came in the wee small hours of Saturday morning to cut the limb free from the wire and get the neighbor powered up. This relieved a lot of the pressure on the line and kept this from bending clear over or snapping off.

Fast forward to Monday----still no cable guy, so still no phone, no internet. I was waiting and keeping the cell phone on my person at all times and charged up. I was promised that I was still "on the list" by the cable company. I was back up and running about 5 p.m., almost 72 hours without service. (and a 20 buck credit off my bill after the 3rd phone call reaching the local office, finally. ) Thank you, Mr. Cable Guy! He pulled out and the electrician guy pulls in to give us an estimate on what he will charge to fix the stand pipe.

Again, this is so minor compared to others without power, running water, no phone etc, no roof over their head. I did have a cell to use even if I missed being online. One more day and I would have gone into town to use the computers at the library. My biggest problem might have been my husband's impatience to have the phone back in service. I knew that I had done everything I could to get the cable guy out here. I was not the only one with this problem. The power company said they had about 35,000 people without power in a multi county area with that round of tstorms. Cable and the phone company, probably the same thing. We were guessing straight line winds, this time around?

Monday morning DJ used the cell to schedule the Power Company to be here on Thursday morning along with the electrician to repair the stand pipe. It does not appear that the shingles were damaged from down the ground anyway The neighbor's step-dad came and cut the tree limb into more manageable pieces but it is still on the ground on our property. We are still under a burning ban so I don't know if they will haul it away or what. DJ noticed last evening that there is another limb split on another of their trees but that one is actually planted right on the property line. We know it is theirs as the deceased home owner told us she planted all three of them from volunteers and nurtured them over the years. I am not even sure what kind of trees they are but none of them is in good shape.

The weather this year has been quite unusual for us. Something I read in the Sunday Anniston Star from Shane Harris, one of the extension agents for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System probably described this best in his gardening column. (He was talking about how it is hurting home grown tomatoes). He wrote "The first half of 2011 will be remembered as a time of crazy and weird weather. First was snow and ice in January. Then there was a very early spring in March, followed by record deadly tornados in late April. In late May, we had several days of very cool coat weather and frosts. Suddenly, the pendulum swung the other way, and June brought very dry conditions and extreme heat as if it was already August. Who knows what the next six months will be like?"

Got me but let's just say, La Nina was not a very nice girl!

The next day's round of storms brought quarter sized hail. This morning's, just a little rain. Skyler is spending a good bit of time hiding under the bed with the alert radio goes off and the thunder boomers start. One bright spot, is that we are catching up with our rainfall totals a bit more. The grass is back and green from its earlier frying.

In the meantime, I did a little embroidery and read a couple of books. Sunday afternoon, parts of Monday, this morning, I worked on this Puss in the Corner or 4=9 uneven nine patch, as Billie Lauder would call it. (I am using her technique from her Quick Quilt Tricks booklet. )

I have a pile of blocks ready to add the last cut strip to them stacked by the machine. To keep from getting the sequence "messed up" and to keep my interest up, I did one row of blocks at a time and attached them. It is conceivable that I could have the top done or near done by days end if I wanted to push it. This one counts toward another Belles Scrap challenge tops for 2011. So does the diagonal 4 patch chain you see in the printout by the machine but I only have 2 rows of it completed (hanging under the PIC)

But in some ways, I really do not feel like doing much. You see, I have been having some balance issues again for the last two weeks almost. BPPV to use the medical name for it--benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. I wish it would go away like it has before but I guess that is the "paroxysmal" part of the deal. This time just turning my head or bending over is enough to set me off, rolling over in bed---ugh. I can't be driving and riding in the car is not any better, in fact maybe worse. Hills, curves and light strobing between the trees----not good. This has kept me pretty close to hearth and home especially if I have to take some meds for it.

I missed going out to the sewing date last Friday. Betsy said that the plans had changed for Ben's QOV anyway---he has one from another source apparently. We will make him one once he is home from the rehab facility, I guess. I can hang on to the blocks or use them in one of the veteran's quilts or the next QOV. I am also missing our field trip today to a quilt shop in Mableton, GA. :-(

We all have physical problems and such. I try not to dwell on this. If this is how life is going to be, I best adjust and get on with it. Thanks for hanging in---------

Jun 23, 2011

What I have been up to...........

for the last couple days. Just in time for the deadline tomorrow. We were to make 12 inch finished Sawtooth type stars for Ben's QOV quilt. I used EQ for my patterns but some are available online so I will share the links if you want them.

no pattern, I just drew up the variation

If you are looking for a whole pile of 12 inch finished sawtooth star variations for a sampler or whatever, try this page at Quilter's Cache


What's next?? Probably back to one or the other of my scrappy challenge quilts but first, the floor in here needs some attention. Threads and bits of paper are scattered everywhere and I have been dragging a path to the bathroom and bedroom. Good to feel productive again.

Jun 20, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Saturday I managed to get the sections sewn together for the Summer "In Seasons" wall hanging but so far, it remains up on the design wall with the pile of motif fabrics stacked up and waiting. I still need to mark the word "welcome" to the top and bottom border if I am going to stitch that on. You can find a picture of where I am headed HERE .

Since tomorrow is the official start of summer and I am not ready with the replacement wall hanging, I may shift a few of the wall hangings around as a temporary measure. I notice too that I still have a little rabbit hanging on the sewing room door that should be replaced with something more seasonal----like the flag motif maybe?? Flag Day, 4th of July coming up, after all.

After I took this picture, I finished cutting my way thru the smaller pieces of blue fabrics that I had pulled, doing it in sections for both pressing and cutting. I have squares cut for 3d bowties, enough to get started on a project anyway. Maybe red knots would be good?

I also cut for the
Skinny Strips
project for my August bday party sewing date but I cut them wider at 3 inches. That way the leftovers can be used for another purpose later. Same thing with the 3 1/2 inch strips. I still plan on trying my hand at the Disappearing 4 patch but probably need more background strips cut than I currently have on hand. I may whip one of those up in a bit to try out the technique. Tomorrow though I plan to work on the star blocks for Ben's quilt since they need to be done by Friday, come to think of it. Better get my rear in gear here! I have a sewing goal it appears.

And so it goes----the only sewing I have done today is a mending job I needed to do. This being Monday, I had a few errands to run and some cooking chores to tend to. Two meals today rather than one, Sunday's stuff leaving us with no leftovers. The neighbor came over with some cukes and yellow squash so I need to figure out some way of working them into this week's menu plans. I am not crazy about the casserole recipe I have used before but am not sure which one to try next. Stir fry would be easier! Add in a few things to take care of for the quilt group today and the day is whipping by fairly quickly.

I hope you have had a good day in whatever you chose to do---------

Jun 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day! I love you--------

My dad, my brother Steve and me in 1954

Jun 17, 2011

reveal of a formerly top secret project

The FABS were finally able to gather in one spot long enough for our pal Cher to open her birthday presents.

Between a family illness, lagging participants, various people taking trips hither and yon we just could not get our schedules, particularly on a weekend to align. We had hoped initially that we would have a sewing project to do---like we did with the Jelly Roll 1600 for Pam's bday. Finally we just opted for an evening and even then one of the girls had just an hour window. Cher does have something sewing in mind (at least we think it is sewing) for us but it might be mid September before we can make it happen. She won't tell us what though!

Anyway, this is what I made for her. Gordian Knot VI. You may recall when I made Gordian Knot 1 shown HERE . The patterns were all designed Mary Whitehead. Our teacher Nancy Allain said Mrs. Whitehead had drawn up the designs before her passing but died before she could include the assembly instructions. The teacher spent 4 years figuring out how THAT part was done for the 9 designs.

I chose the pattern for Cher as it reminds me a jigsaw puzzle and I know how she and her sister love doing puzzles together. Also there are 5 "rings", one for each of the FABS and used her favorite bright clear colors to make it. I hope she likes it.

It was not an easy for me to piece since the black edging is so narrow. It would have been far more simple to have made the double sized quilt rather than the half sized one, let me tell you. However, I was shooting for a small wall hanging or table topper. At one point I was drawing up sections in EQ so I could foundation piece them more reliably.

So there you have it---one secret revealed.

Jun 15, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I don't know if I am really doing what you would call "work" today, LOL. I did go thru one of my dark blue storage bins and pulled most of the fabric, organizing it a bit for cutting.

The pile on the left is smaller pieces so I am just going whack up the whole thing into 2 1/2 inch strips. I want to do a staggered Skinny Strips quilt for the veteran's home project that I spotted in Quilts and More for my FAB bday party in August. There is a free pattern online at the APQ website under the patriotic quilts---- click HERE if you would rather not go hunting. If I can get some 3 1/2 inch squares out of the deal, fine. Those are always good for 3-D bowties.

The pile that you see on the right is bigger pieces so I am shooting for 6 1/2 inches squares for a Disappearing 4 patch like the one my pal Pat has made shown HERE. Well, that or a Carrie Nelson "True Blue". Jan has a wonderful multicolored version on her blog post HERE . Another idea that I keep coming back to is "Fall Frolic" from one of Evelyn Sloppy's books. HERE is one that I found on a google search. I like the plaid, homespuns idea though so maybe not in blues. ARGH! I hate when they tell you to work in something as limiting as patriotic colors, like every service person wants to be draped in a flag. I can make plenty of masculine looking quilts and never limit myself to RWB or "flaggy" fabric. I rebel!

Having said that, I also need to do a couple blocks for a comfort quilt for a quilting friend's grandson who was injured in Afghanistan and still in critical condition though they hope to begin his rehab in Tampa, Florida soon. Without my getting into specifics about the type and extent of his injuries, please keep young Ben Tomlinson in your prayers if you would. The organizer and fellow Bama Belle Betsy wants 12 inch completed Sawtooth Stars--the "rules" are pretty loose other than that. We are meeting later in the month to assemble the top. I selected a couple of blocks in the variable star section of EQ and printed them off to foundation piece them, just to produce the size needed more than anything.

These plans by no means deplete my supplies of blue fabric---there is the "started years ago" Massachusetts Cross and Crown project after all. Some fabrics are set aside with that one. Some these could go in with it but it's fine that it moves on for something else.

I think I told you that my quilt group was being displaced from our regular meeting place again this summer. The church fellowship hall we use is being used by the ARC camp thru our dates for June and July. Linda C had us to her home yesterday---relaxing day, good food and company. Even better, leftovers so I don't have to cook today unless I want to ----and I don't, LOL. It is up in the 90's again today for the umpteenth day in a row.

Oh, I also said I would make a couple of Overall Bill blocks that will go in a friendship quilt for a friend who will be relocating this fall for another quilt group. I know her so I am happy to help out. She has two grandsons so I said I would do two boy blocks. The organizers will be using the patterns from the Eleanor Burns Sunbonnet Sue book and I had some leftover marked interfacing stuff that they could use.

I was looking thru my quilt library for a trip around the world book that I thought for another quilting friend this morning. I have two books, one the more old fashioned way of assembly and Burns' strip piecing one. I found some other ideas and things to look thru at bedtime reading time. I was also on the lookout for a recent pattern from the June APQ---what size yo yo did Terry Atkinson use in her cover quilt? Nancy has an accu-quilt and was wondering about a die for circles. Answer was extra large clover yo yo circle or use the circle template in the magazine pull out section if you want to do the more conventional method to finish at 2 1/4 inch diameter. They look bigger than that in the picture, I think.

And so it goes---maybe I'll fire up the machine after supper and get back to giant 4 patches, non-mind taxing sewing. Stranger things have happened. Have a good evening in whatever you chose to do.

Jun 13, 2011

checking in

Deb had commented about the recently finished up sewing machine cover I showed her on the blog. I told her that she could have the pattern if she wished as I am done with it. We ended up working out a swap. I suggested that a couple of 30's fats would be good but only if she insisted on doing something in return for the pattern. I think she outdid herself! Thanks again, Deb!

Shown with it is the set aside Two of Kind/Cheap Trick quilt. The top is roughly half done at this point. SIGH. Maybe some new to me fabrics will help push it forward??

I still don't really feel like sewing but I am tired of looking at the little piles of stuff in this room. It seems like it is mocking me and making me feel guilty for NOT sewing and worse, wasting time doing a whole lot of nothing important. Maybe it is this prolonged heat----zero ambition.

Shown at right is the program materials from the Friendship Quilter's group this past Saturday. They were showing us how to make a hexagon shape from a circle using a wide mouth canning lid as a template. Apparently some ladies in an area quilt group (area being St. Clair County, AL and surrounding counties) use this method when asked to make some Grandmother's Flower Garden shapes. It makes sense as you can draw a hexagon from a circle easily enough. HERE is one such tutorial--you just need a compass and a ruler to connect the dots and you can draw them up any size that will fit your paper.The technique, more or less, makes like a lining to the hex itself. No papers to remove and no basting required. You still have to whip them together or blind hem or whatever.

Well, I failed miserably on the completion part as you can see. It sort of looks hexagon-like but it is not done. Actually I was too busy passing out needles and thread to share with some of the 5 ladies in my seat row and then helping to thread said needle in one instance---not that my eyes are any better than hers at this point. Readers have become my friend this year. Anyway, I got two of the folds in and stitched but no further----they moved on without me. I think I just need to play with it a bit. Of course the over achievers got the whole floret done.

Skyler woke me at 0445 today---bad kitty! I did not get back to sleep and by 0600 I bailed. I had things to do in the kitchen this morning anyway. I just got an earlier start than I originally planned. With this continued 90's weather I am definitely not in the mood to turn on the oven anymore than necessary. I got a recipe for a layered ground beef, potato and vegetables in the crockpot for our lunch---we called something like this "Shipwreck". I also finished prepping and Oriental Spiral Chicken Salad since the Belles have a potluck tomorrow. I had cooked the chicken yesterday so it would chilled enough to cube up. I'll share that recipe with you in a minute. Also did up a batch of marinated vegetables to go with some quesadillas for supper though I went with a sort of Mexican type vegetables this time out and prepped the stuff I need for tonight's meal while I was at it. Counting cleanup details and breakfast, I was in the kitchen for about 2 1/2 hours and getting hotter by the minute. Dealing with a load of laundry and unloading the dishwasher didn't help the overheating thing either. A/c went on just before lunch and a shower sure helped!

Oriental Spiral Chicken Salad
Great in the summer heat!

Recipe By : unknown---possibly clipped from The Pantagraph or woman's magazine
Serving Size : 8-10 Preparation Time :0:30
Categories : Main dishes Salad
Side dishes

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 12 oz. package spiral noodles, cooked al dente
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/3 cup salad oil -- divided use
1/3 cup lower sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup white wine vinegar (I usually use seasoned rice wine vinegar)
1/4 cup sugar or equal amount of sweetener like Splenda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups cooked chicken, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley but rehydrated dry works fine too
8 cups lightly packed torn spinach, well drained and dried

To make the dressing: in a small pan, combine the sesame seeds and a tablespoon or two of the salad oill, stirring constantly over medium-low hearuntil the seeds are golden, about 1-2 minute. Don't get the heat too hot or they will burn or hop out of the pan---ask me how I know this! Cool and then stir in remaining 4-5 tablespoons of oil (to equal 1/3 cup total for recipe), soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions-about 6-8 minutes for al dente. Drain well and place in a large bowl. Pour dressing mixture over the pasta. Add cooked chicken and toss gently until well coated. Cover and chill thoroughly at least 2 hours.

Just before serving, add in the parsley, green onions and spinach. Toss lightly. Enjoy!

Now, I am going to go cut or sew something, anything!

Jun 9, 2011

home happenings

Skyler shown visiting with the neighborhood cat, Chico. Yeah, the spoiled baby gets a chair moved over to the door way so he can see his buddy. If we could just entice Chico over the front door where the visible area goes all the way down, we would not do this. Chico likes the cool shaded concret though.

First thing this morning, DJ opens his blind and the thing comes crashing down. Skyler runs off like he had been shot and bright morning sun comes streaming in. It turns out the header on the blind has cracked from the constant of the pull cord on it. It came with the house so who knows how many years old it is as I can only count the almost 14 years we have been here.

What to do?? He doesn't want a light colored one but that is all that the stores carry nor does he want to pay a lot to replace them. Might be able to get a black one from Penney's or order it but the price range was 10-60 bucks. BUT we have some old blinds out in the storage shed but are they the right size? Maybe, maybe not since they were for the kitchen or the ones we took down for my two rooms. AH! He hit pay dirt with one I had purchased for our home in IL to go with a quilt I still have not finished. Heck, I even have the navy dust ruffle, curtains, table skirt and throw rug to go with it. Anyway, it is dark blue but is just a tad too wide.

Let me tell you, he has really worked hard to save himself some money and get the dark color he wants. It is technically my blind but I told him to do it. I would get aluminum ones if I ever do need it. The holder had to be replaced on one side which is not an easy task either. Out came the miter box and he cut the eeny bit off the header. Scissors were needed to trim off the slats on both sides but he is still adjusting that part as some are dragging a bit when he tries to raise it. A coping saw took care of the bottom finish bit. Eventually he will probably take off the extra slats to reduce the weight on the bottom but I have a feeling that will wait a good bit since he is usually "Mr. Git 'er Dun" and move on. Where there is a will, there is a way. Let the internal argument about which way to flip the blinds blocks out more light begin, LOL. (I still say he is wrong but he will not come around to my way of thinking. It is minor, pick your battles)

The whole state of Alabama is now under a burning ban due to the continued drought conditions. We are about 4-5 inches behind on our rainfall totals and it is dry, dry, dry out there. There is no likely rainfall totals coming either as this front is stalled out all over most of the area east of the Mississippi and has been for weeks. UGH! I will restate again---we did NOT move south for the summers but it is this hot in IL too. DJ does say that this dry stuff does tend to keep the fire ant mounds down; it is easier for them to dig when we have had some rain or something.

And so it goes at our little home this morning---what will not be working right tomorrow?

Jun 8, 2011

a start

It is a start! I pulled some possible fabrics for "Summer" from Nancy Halvorsen's In Season yesterday. Today I winnowed it down and cut.

I knew from digging around in the storage container over stuffed with neutrals and lights that there was no way on God's green earth I would get it back in there again. I separated things out by shades or types but picked up two smaller 20 qt. containers when I was out today. This should make it easier to see what I have for a scrappy background quilt in the future. I left the white on whites out since I know that I will be needing them for the flag Button Up and/or veterans quilts---they don't really belong where I had them anyway. Think I might get some sewing done if I ever got myself organized to my satisfaction??

The stuff you see piled on the table is the applique motif stuff. The left pile is possibles for the borders and binding.

To the right, is where I am heading. It should look something like this. (Scanned from the book cover.) I can't match the fabrics and in some cases, I would not want to as it looks too dark in spots. I am not sure about my"so far" selections for the angel's dress or the sunrise (sunset?) motif colors.

Still, I am closer than I was a few days ago.

Jun 7, 2011

a little progress?

In the past days I have gotten a little bit more done in several areas.

I almost have 4 blocks completely hand quilted on the Bird Brain Santa. I am still looking for a cable idea for the sashing and have a few on order that MIGHT work. I think it needs something more than in the ditch. I did check in my inventory at home and have one that may be more in keeping with what I am visualizing though. I have NOT looked in any of my quilting motif books yet either.

Next we have most of the flower stems hand appliqued down on this project---the one on the extreme left is only partially stitched. Note: this is April's quilt of the month of the Joined at the Hip Button Up. I am so far behind since I elected to go with hand work. Oh well, that is why the" Welcome" one is done and hanging. I am considering jumping ahead to July since I so far behind and catch finish this up more at my leisure. Actually if you leave off the July wording, this one would work for any of the patriotic US holidays. HMMMM

I am also thinking that I should pull the stuff for the "In Seasons" Summer wall hanging. DJ even was commenting on the fact that the one hanging says "Spring" but it sure feels like Summer is here with a vengeance. Not by the calendar of course but tell that to the jet stream, LOL. I am drawn more to THAT than what I was working on yesterday though. Maybe it will get me out of my doldrums a bit?? I can hope.

This was what I was piddling with yesterday but did not get too far. I am using the Puss in the Corner method from Billie Lauder's Quick Quilt Tricks book #2 for this. This is not what she calls it, however; "Four = Nine Uneven Nine Patch " is its name in the book. Anyway, you start with a big 4 patch to make the finished block. This is part of my scrap bag challenge for the quilt group. One of many kits and a few started projects in that area.

I was going to cut some 6 1/2 inch blue blocks and try the disappearing 4 patch blocks that my pal Pat had featured on her blog but have not done it yet. I was thinking that they might work for a veteran's home quilt. Just two colors like hers shown HERE --classic look, don't you think? So striking in the green fabric she chose making me wonder why they all insist on RWB or service related colors. Shades of blue might work for the Air Force folks though. HMMM again.

I took this bit of embroidery with me on my trip last month but barely touched it. It was a fast trip and I really did not have a lot of time to just sit and stitch plus we were sharing driving duties in order to get up there and back in one day. It is the Button basket block from Bee Tree Designs. Scroll back to previous post to find the link from the Flickr page if you want it. (Being lazy, LOL) There is a ton of stitching on this thing and I think the next one, honey and biscuits, is a similar situation! But I am liking how the green floss looks. This will be my meeting project. I have quilt guild coming up this Saturday and a Belle's gathering on Tuesday.

And here is the other thing I have been doing---reading. Some days, it is all I can do to look at the local newspaper but I enjoy reading. It reminds me of when I was a kid and we used to head up to the town library almost daily in the sumer to check out some books, read them and head back to get another stack. Some of these, my mom just sent back with me and a couple I had on my shelves. I finished up the Kristin Hannah book last evening and started on 3 Nights in August right after that. The next thing I knew it was almost midnight and Skyler has been waking me up around 5:30 in the morning. Short nights!

Normally I prefer fictional works but this book written by Buzz Bissinger, the same guy who wrote Friday Night Lights is an interesting account of Tony LaRussa and managing the St. Louis Cardinals. Since I often wonder why they make the moves they do in the course of the game, it ia enlightening. Actually I remember the 3 games the title refers to--classic Cubs/Cardinal series played in STL. Since it was written back in 2005 and the events took place in August of 2003, you see the turnover in position players and pitchers. I would have to visit the MLB site to even know if some of these guys are still in baseball or when others began their time with the team. Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols might be the only holdovers that spring to mind.

And so it goes----not getting much done but doing what I want to do even if I still feel like I am in a slump. Hope you are having a good day and thanks for stopping by

Jun 1, 2011

what a week!

A week ago I was packing to leave for Illinois for a few days. DJ's grandson Josh, seen at left, was graduating from high school so this time DJ had to make the trip too. Ordinarily he goes every other or every third year. He is happy if I can get a ride up with friends from round here. Or he can drop me off and/or pick me up at the Atlanta airport. If my brother and his family are going to the same deal, I can meet up with them in their home near Nashville and ride up the rest of the way too. Options!

My friend Jane had offered to come in and tend to Skyler's needs while we were gone. We took her up on it so he would not have to be boarded at the vet's office. The private place we had used before had closed since we needed it last. This seemed to be our best option. We could leave earlier in the day and he would be happier in his own surroundings.

We usually have to wait to leave after 8 and then stop overnight in southern IL leaving about 3 hours to go the next morning. Coming home, we do straight back. This time we left at 6 a.m. and drove all the way up, switching off drivers every few hours. It still is about a 12 hour day of driving (about 650-675 miles) counting rest stops and meals, barring no traffic delays. Going up, we lost an hour outside of Paducah but coming home on Sunday, smooth sailing. I do some of Southern IL, all of KY and Alabama from the welcome center on.

Once we hit McLean County we split up for two nights. I went to my parents and DJ, to his son's house. That might seem a little strange but it works for us---each of us get to spend a little more concentrated time with our own branch of the family. Thursday was pretty well shot by the time we got there and early to bed after that long day. Friday, a lot of talking. Mom showed me her recent quilt tops and we looked at quilt patterns. I came home with a grocery bag full of novelties and some quilt backing, batting plus a box of books to read and quilt magazines to look thru. We had lunch at the Peace Meal center---my dad is filling in for the site director while she is out. Later, my sister Diane dropped by so we could visit a bit too. Then I drove to Downs for supper with DJ's family and then off to graduation.

Oh, not without mishap either. I was driving my mom's slightly unfamilar car and couldn't get the key out of the ignition. I am forever turning on the wipers thinking it is the gear shift knob---what does that tell you??? I went up to the house to have DJ come help me with it and somehow managed to lock the car behind me. I don't think I even knew where the door locks necessarily were! Yep, keys in the ignition and the thing is not in park. Josh spotted the problem right away but we could not get in the car to do anything about it. I had to call my folks to come bail me out. Josh's girlfriend Lauren said she used to do that when she drove a Malibu but what an introduction to me. Ditzy step-grandma.

There were 75 kids in Josh's class but they got thru the proceedings in pretty good order. It was a dampish, cool night which was a blessing with that packed gymnasium. Josh plans on going to SIU-Edwardsville to major in pre-med or pre-dentistry this fall.

Saturday I met my niece/godchild Allison for breakfast at a Norma restaurant. She had plans in Springfield that afternoon so that worked out best. Good to see her, if only for and hour or two. The waitress was a good sport about letting us just sit and talk since there were enough open tables. I picked up a gondola from Avanti's for lunch and headed back home. Two things we miss from "home" are gondolas (it's the bread!) and Steak and Shake so we almost always stop at one or both places when we are back.

My sister Janet, her husband Rich and daughter Randi were due in from Colorado sometime Saturday evening. Their other daughter Amber is enrolled at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and they are moving her back home for the summer. I didn't get to see her as she was gone on choir tour and not due back till Tuesday.

We kept in touch as to their ETA so Mom knew when to put the casserole in the oven. They arrived right around 6. Woohoo, they are here. Hugs all around! Not without mishap here either. Before we could stop them, Randi had pulled the car into the usual parking spot, right in front of the house. She only did what her parents told her to do. The problem was, unbeknownst to them, that was not solid ground. You see, the whole town has been going thru a year long (or more) sewer line replacement and there are dirt piles and gravel everywhere. The streets are all broken up from all the digging, etc. My folks' pile of dirt was just leveled off to ground level just a few days before; there is gravel mixed in with it but it was not packed down and firm, by any means.

Well, the car's drive wheel was stuck a good 9 inches or more. Rich couldn't get it moved forward or backward. Fortunately the "across the street" neighbors were home and came out to help. They unhooked the trailer they were pulling and manually moved it away to the yard. Then Adam was able to pull the car out with a pull cord thing by using his truck hitch and the trailer hitch on the car. Dad and Janet got the worst of the mud and gravel off with a spade and putty knife and Rich hit it with the hose. A lot of excitement before supper even commenced!

DJ had spent his day by going out to breakfast with his son and grandson inviting his golfing friend and his wife along. He also stopped to see another old friend from work for a visit and decorated his family graves while he was in town. Tracy, Luann and Josh had a bunch of graduation partiesto attend all weekend so it was good that he had joined us in Lexington for supper. The plan was to pick me up and I would spend the night at their house there since we were leaving bright and early Sunday morning.

What a good time we had visiting with the Colorado contigent! I think my sides still heart from laughing. My dad had gotten so tickled and Janet has a great laugh so you cannot help but laugh right along with them. I don't know if they were just a little punch from lack of sleep or what, LOL. Or if getting stuck in the mud brings that out in you.

Janet has been a busy girl, scanning all my dad's slides into digital images. I had not noticed that the boxes that contained them were missing from the bookshelves in the family room. She said that Dad and Mom's discs had more photos on them since they included more of the travel slides whereas the rest of us had the family pictures on them.

What a fantastic gift! All the old classic family shots are included. Some are also in our individual photo albums as prints but some I only recall seeing as slides. Here I am at 10 months standing in the stroller. At least I think it was a stroller. It saw service with at least three of us kids. The old square baby tenda made it thru the first 4 of us. I loaded mine on my screen saver once I got home and spent a good chunk of yesterday watching the pictures roll on by. Still, not the same as Dad loading up the trays and one of the 3 younger kids asking "when am I going to get borned?"
But it will do!!

The family will be meeting this coming Saturday to finally celebrate my parent's 60th wedding anniversary. It is in February but the weather was so awful with lots and lots of snow that they postponed the gathering till THIS weekend when the Colorado bunch would be back to IL. Too bad we could not have graduation be the same weekend as this event but we had to get home. What is that thing about "fish and company" and three days time?

So after a 4 day whirlwind weekend we were home by 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Skyler seemed happy to see us, though surprisingly did not meet us at the door. He is more vocal than usual and wants to play more too. Lots of running trips up and down the hallway since we have been home. Snuggling more too. I am grateful to Jane for tending to his needs while we were away.

One bad thing though upon our return: DJ had shut off the water supply to the house and the water heater. The pilot light went out and he could not get it re-lit even with guidance from Whirlpool on the phone. It being a holiday weekend we had to wait till yesterday for a plumber to come out so we would have hot water. The stuff in the tank was hot for awhile but not enough to wash dishes, do 3 loads of laundry or do more than sponge bath. The thermal coupling hose, tube whatever had to be replaced as a part of the ignitor had burned out.

Also DJ's lawnmower battery had completely run down. He was able to charge it up and run it last night but likely, it will need to be replaced. Just not today. They say we are probably going to have record highs this week. It is hot! Mid to high 90's with little cloud cover to filter out the sun's intense rays. This is more what you expect in August than in late May, early June. Our paper says our rainfall totals are still about 4 inches behind though we emptied an inch out of the gauge when we got home. It looks like most of the eastern US is in this type of weather pattern right now and it is not expected to move on any too quickly-----ugh!

Well, now that I can totally immerse myself I am getting in the shower and then I am going to blow hot air at my head. Silly girl, growing out that hair a bit! Thanks for stopping by--------