Apr 29, 2014

low motivation again

First of all, if anyone is wondering how my area fared with the round of storms hitting the Southwest, there was a tornado near Birmingham (Bessemer) and some fatalilties reported though nothing like what OK and AK have been going through.  While it is cleared out now and the sun is peeking through the clouds, another round is due in by mid afternoon till after midnight.  As before flash flooding, hail, straight line winds, thunderstorms are a possibility.  The alarm sounded once, for a tornado watch.  One lightning strike sounded entirely too close and scared the bejeebers out of me to say nothing of the two critters. I don't know that it was terribly windy out and I have emptied out 1.5 inches of rain from the gauge for the 48 hour hour period.  We'll see what happens.  I'm prepared to head to my safe place, with hard hat, radio, batteries, chargers etc.

Yesterday would have been DJ's birthday. Bear with me or skip over this part.   It was not a good day emotionally for that reason.  I could only think of how we might have celebrated the day.  Sunday I would have been baking a cake of his choice and preparing his favorite meal.  He loved my turkey breast dinner so that might have been it.  Or he might have asked me to fix pizza.  "Poor guy" suffered through a lot of pizza crust recipes till I finally settled on one that I like.  We should have been off to Golden Corral, not me sitting alone at the table with Oscar hopping at my lap wanting a bite of my hamburger.  I miss him so much.  I try to tell myself that I should be grateful for the years I did have DJ in my life---and I am---but I am greedy enough to have wanted that to last a bit longer.  I did appreciate the call from his son and daughter-in-law as well as my mom.  One of my sisters sent a thinking of you card to bolster me up too.  I know grief has no timetable but I also know he lives in my heart as he did for the 35  years we did have.  Some days are just harder to get through.  Easter and his birthday were two of them, I guess.  This was taken this past winter.  My two boy all snuggled up.

I was off to the guild sew-in at Friendship Quilters with Jane on Friday and Saturday.  Terri was able to go with us on Saturday.  Mom asked me what I ended up doing----and I thought she meant as a sewing project when in actuality, she wondered what I ended up making as my food contribution, LOL.  I'll answer both queries, the one she wanted to know and the one I volunteered.

I made both the Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars and the Cinnamon Roll Bread.  The leftover bars I handed to Robert when I went down to get my hair cut.  I had made him some oatmeal scotchies when he had put the flooring down so I knew he would enjoy them from the comments about the cookies at the time.  The cinnamon bread (I made two loaves, one to share and one for coffee break time) is good.  Just don't expect it to be the texture of a real roll as it is more dense like a pound cake.  The only other tip is grease the tar out of the pan. I think I swirled one loaf too much and the cinnamon/sugar mix sunk to the bottom and was like welded to the pan.  The other pan stuck in just one corner.   I sliced it and quick flash froze it so it reheated nicely in the microwave for a little nosh with a cup of iced coffee a little bit ago.

2nd, I did what I consider "boring" sewing.  Friday really it was more like un-sewing.  I am re-doing the dust ruffle on the bed in the master bedroom.  Since I gave away the bed frame and substituted it with a basic metal frame minus head and foot board, the previous one I made umpteen years ago will not work as it is 4 inches too short.  I needed to selvage the base unit and also use the skirting as my prototype.  It has inverted pleats at intervals and I need a total of 356 inches cut 16 inches the width of the fabric.  It is that pretty blue scroll fabric you see on the unpacked bag to the left with the spools of thread on it.  I only got as far as cutting out the sections I need.

Saturday, I did said cutting and seamed a quilt back for the Brioche and Baguette top.  I also cut a bit more binding and seamed all that.  When I got home, I essentially unpacked the car and that is as far as it got.   Sunday I had laundry to do, cooking to do, groceries to get, etc  or in other words, the things that did not get done when I was sewing away from home and running between St. Clair and Calhoun County.

On the critter front, I got a baby gate the other day so Oscar can at least have more room to roam in the kitchen rather than go straight into his crate but with a degree of separation between him and Skyler.  10 bucks at Walmart and worth it.  Skyler climbs up on the back of the couch and gets on the pass through looking down on the proceedings.  He can get to the other side if he needs to.  This morning that sort of backfired.  Oscar was in the back yard hopefully taking care of his potties and Mamacita came up when she saw me ready to be fed.  Skyler was back in the bedrooms or so I thought.  I was letting Oscar back IN when I saw the panicked cat.  Oscar apparently did not spot Skyler even though they came within a foot of each other but Skyler quickly hunkered down under the kitchen table/chair.  The next thing I know Skyler is leaping over the baby gate like he was at horse doing one of those Olympic events.  What do they call that anyway---steeplechase, dressage???  I need not have worried about picking him up bodily and putting him on the other side as he can do it quite handily.  Oscar, on the other hand, can get his paws at the top of the gate, hop a bit but I don't think he can leap over with those short little legs.  He has a good vertical jump on those muscular legs but horizontal, not so much.  Oscar seems to get tired of doing laps in the kitchen and then crawls in through the open door of the crate to nap or gnaws on his rawhide bone that is in there.

I cannot help but wonder what DJ would think of all this.  He always knew I wanted another cat but a dog??   Okay, the other cat is outside and shared with the neighborhood.   Oscar has been good for me though.  We walk which I needed to get back to so even if we are not gone for 30 minutes roaming the neighborhood I am getting out there. 3 or 4 times a days worth so it has to count.   Up and down the incline is getting easier and I have lost a bit of weight because of this.  I do need something or someone to care for and boy, I've got that in spades.   Susan said she had to wonder if they were sent to me from above.   Could be.

Well, since my neighbor Michael mowed and weed whacked on Saturday and with two days of rain and more on the way, I really need to go sweep up the kitchen floor before thinking about lunch. I don't care how much I wipe me feet between me and Oscar, we are dragging stuff in like crazy.  I vacuumed yesterday which was not a fun job with the awful humidity that was yesterday.  Mopping is futile till after the rains are done and little doggie footprints can be dealt with.  In spite of my low motivation the past two days, I hope to get back to the dust ruffle and get that cleared out.  I have plans to replace the valence I had made that matched the dust ruffle but there is the picnic challenge and a baby shower gift to do first.   Set goals, meet goals, right?

Apr 24, 2014

Loop the Loop

The picture is a little bit fuzzy but my dad was able to upload a picture of the quilt that my mom made for my youngest nephew Ted using the Loop the Loop pattern.  Isn't it neat!?  Ted's color requests were for blues, orange, yellows, etc so I believe this fills the bill quite nicely.

Dad is on the right and it looks like they recruited someone at Peace Meals to hold up the other end as this was taken at the Community Center.  Maybe Mom was taking the picture then.  I guess I have a few people reading my blog anyway, LOL.   I said something about wishing I had a picture and a few hours later I got one.

I still have not settled on what I want to work on at the sew-in days and should be packing up the car.  I cannot decide what I want to fix to take as a snack type food either.  I am not usually this indecisive and waffling like this.   HMMM  I have the stuff on hand to make either of them.  I guess since my appetite went the way of my desire to cook I just can't too revved up about it but I am one of the few people who brings home made stuff to these deals.  It is too convenient to just run to Wal-mart or Publix.  I have a couple of interesting recipes that I can try---but I can't decide.

 This one is Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars and I am borrowing their image from the post.  Yummo butterscotch and something redeeming in oatmeal???


And this morning this one was on one the facebook feeds I follow----Cinnamon Roll Bread from Center Cut Cook.    Again their image I am borrowing.  This doesn't need any yeast;  it uses a combo of baking powder, egg and sour cream or yogurt for the leavening action plus there is no oil, butter or shortening in it.

Think I'll go walk Oscar and give this some more pondering.  OR could make both. How is that for making NO decision?  I bet I can find someone to eat either one.

Apr 22, 2014

some progress

Well, I drug one of my machines to Bama Belles today and actually got some sewing done.  I could have gone to lunch with two different groups but elected to stay till I got the top to this point.  (Julie had brought some leftover cake from their Easter meal so I was not hungry in the first place.)   It seemed like everyone had somewhere else to be today or going out to lunch is the natural cut off point.    

All the vertical sashing and/or side bordering is in place though I know it is blending in with the doors.  I had left the sections for the top and bottom borders at home since I didn't think I would get that far anyway.  It will measure 57 x 75 when complete.  I'll get that done in a bit.  It won't take long to set the machine back up.

A friend of Lois' daughter who is soon to be a grandmother will be getting this quilt.  Lois did the embroidery motifs on her machine as apparently Mickey and Minnie Mouse is the nursery theme.  She also made the top up but her daughter will be quilting and finishing it up.  The girls did the honors pinning it.

Next I will need to figure out where I want to focus my energies come sew-in time later in the week.  Pull out something I have started and make myself work on it or pick something new???   There are a lot of options in the started column, that's for sure!   Usually the "make yourself" thing works better when I am sewing in the first place.  That is not the case lately.  I have decided to join in the picnic hop next month but I am waiting for some fabrics to arrive there.  

Maybe my guild challenge piece?    They have apparently pushed the deadline back for the "first letter, first name" challenge thing though I believe they are calling it something else. 

 I am planning on doing a version of that Loop the Loop deal I had explored back in January.  http://catsnqlts2.blogspot.com/2014/01/adapted-loop-loop-aka-adapting-patterns.html    See the picture below.  Just as background, this is the one I re-designed in EQ to ditch a bunch of extra lines.  You know what?  My mom has actually made a few sized bed quilt for my youngest nephew.  I wish she would get a picture of it because I saw what she had started when I was back in IL in February.  I believe she said it was at the long arm quilters or about to be, LOL.  The multi colored rings had an Olympics vibe.

BUT I like this one too from an earlier post    Lacy Lattice Work #2583

I have some fabrics set aside for the Loop the Loop thing so maybe I'll cut and kit that one tomorrow.  We'll see.

Meanwhile I don't think it is raining anymore.  Oscar and I need to stretch our legs.  Him being a dachshund his don't stretch too far, LOL.  I had wondered why my right arm was aching so today other than the wet weather and dragging sewing machines around.  Of course, it is from trying to hold him back when he is going at break neck speed and trying to get at the squirrels.

Till next time------

Apr 21, 2014

I promised you quilts from the last meeting...........

............and tomorrow it is time for us to meet again. Boy I dropped the ball on that one but we'll go "better late, than never".  These were ones that Lois turned in.  Some I know what the pattern is and others, not.  Lois cracks me up because if you ask HER  what it might be she just says she "had too many scraps"   They are still stacked up waiting for me to enter them in a document and number them.   I was busy with other things and am not sure what closet I am going to put them in.  If someone asked for quilts because there was a need in the community for us to fill right away, it might light a fire under me.  It has just been one less thing to worry about at this point.

Eleanor Burns' Twin Sister.  I like the mixed blue sashing that she used for this.  This is one of those "two blocks at once" deals so you usually see the opposite coloration pinwheel and background pairs somewhere in the quilt.  A child could play a matching game with it.

I really like the fall toned hour glass blocks on this one and the yellow is so vibrant.  It had a fall backing too---I think.  It is down on the bottom of the stack so I am not toppling it to verify, LOL.

This is one of those 2 1/2 inch strip patterns from G. E. Designs  Strip Stack I believe this one is called

Hunter's Star using Deb Tucker's Rapid Fire Ruler.  See THIS VIDEO on you-tube for the technique.  I bought one recently but turns out I should have gotten the slightly smaller one and then we could have shared them.

She has made several quilts like this in the past.  I think I could call it Squares and Rails and that would work

This is probably a form of Broken Dishes but a scrappy version it and dressed up with the consistent pieced sashing and plain cornerstones.  Very effective and a good way to use half square triangle units perhaps left over  from another quilt.  Who knows?  It might be something Bonnie Hunter did in one of her Quiltmaker columns.

I would call this one 9 in 4 patch or something like that.  Good use of some of those scraps!

The girls pinned another bunch of quilts at the last meeting so there will be more coming.  Thankfully, I remembered to take the other half of the batting roll with me.  We get it by the 60 some yard roll 48 wide but when open the package there is no enough room in the closet (behind where the quilt is hanging) to store that much of it.   We roll off about half of it onto a cardboard tube and I take the rest back home to store in the utility shed till needed.

 Speaking of no room in the closet, when Bev and I first got there and were getting stuff out of the closet for our use at the meeting, I was greeted by a replacement window.  How they even got that in there past the library cart and such I do not know.  We had to get at the table risers, pins, tape, scissors, etc.  Before we moved it though we asked the church secretary about it so someone would know where it went, LOL.    It IS their building to use as they see fit but it was a little surprising is all!   I know they had a Easter Sunrise service with a breakfast right after this past Sunday so we'll see what configuration the room is in tomorrow.  Regardless, we work around it and try to leave things as we found them.

I could take my Brioche and Baguette sections with me tomorrow and sew but probably won't.  Friendship Quilters have their sew-in later in the week but I am not sure which day/days Jane and maybe Terri will want to go over but I will need something to work on then.  Handwork or knitting,  it is.   I got as far as all three columns being stitched as well as the vertical sashing and borders.  I might take those with me to cut to size as it would be easier to do that at the meeting place.   We normally set up the cutting mats in the pass through from the kitchen to the fellowship hall or I could use the pinning table if it measures 6 foot as my strips measure about 70 inches.

 I sewed a bit yesterday just to keep busy but honestly, my heart was not it.  It was not a good day emotionally.  I suppose that is to be expected.  Any holiday is rough when you have lost a loved one.  Try as I might to focus on the religious implications of the day, determination was not enough and I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.  His birthday would be next Monday and I don't expect that is going to be any easier.  I ended up just doing a lot of reading more than anything else.  Nothing wrong with that.   Glynda did invite me to join them for dinner when I talked to her while out walking Oscar but honestly, I would not have been good company and passed.  Emily, Robbie's wife came down later to see if I wanted them to give Oscar a bath as they were doing the other 4 dogs.  Yes, thank you! He smells so much better, LOL.

I've been busy with other things here at home though.  The blog hop, writing emails on Thursday. Oh and I went to a small quilt show at a nearby church where they were exhibiting some Hawaiian quilts.  I'll post about that later as I have the owner's permission to share that on my blog.  I had posted some of it on Facebook but that was mostly so the local folks could go over that afternoon or Saturday.   Friday, I joined some of the girls for lunch up in Jacksonville.

 Of course, the critters keep me hopping too.  Oscar and I walk 3 or 4 times a day even though he is in a fenced in yard.   Today I loaded him up in the cat carrier which he hated and we did a lap and half around the local park which he loved.  I had in the car once before NOT contained and that was NOT a good idea.  He can whimper and all that but he is not staying loose.

 Mamacita comes charging over to be fed usually about the time I am out with Oscar. She watches for the door to open from the neighbor's yard up the street.  I don't always see her but sometimes she is visible from my house and comes running.  Of course, Skyler HAS to know what is going on outside with those others when he is supposed to be the center of the universe.  Then I have to keep him from trying to get out and her from coming in plus fill up that food bowl.  I don't know that anyone has figured out where her babies are.  

The yard seems to be proofed against Oscar digging out and I got a few heavy, heavy brick like things from Lowe's to be sure he doesn't get any bright ideas back in that corner he had been using as an escape route.  That, and he comes in at night to sleep.  He is good as gold in his crate in the evening.  I don't think he was really ready to go out this morning because he wanted right back in the house once he did his business and ate, LOL.   I think he does spend a little time in his dog house too especially if it is a bit drippy outside.  I was very quiet in leaving the house and going around the fence to check a bit ago.  He spotted me and came running just as I was about even with the opening.

 Skyler is so funny though.  He tried to sneak up on Oscar the other night to see what was going on in that crate.  Oscar looked like he was sleeping and here is Skyler in stealth mode till Oscar let out one bark.  He could not get any traction on that laminate floor and those back claws were just skittering.  He also sneaks into the open door of the crate to nose around when Oscar is outside.  Sniff, sniff, sniff.  He will follow me into the kitchen for food but stays close to me in the evenings, giving him a wide berth.

Well, I plan on making some chicken enchiladas for supper so best close this up and head out to the kitchen.  Oscar is barking and that often means that Mamacita is here for a nosh.  Next time, pics of the Hawaiian quilts.  +

Apr 16, 2014

Day 5 What is Your Superpower Stitching Hop

It's here!  It is my featured day along with some other talented blog hop participants. But first, a big thank you to DMC who is sponsoring this round, a good tie in since they make such lovely floss, perle cotton and all those good things we stitchers love.  Did you see their cross stitch pattern for Super Emma on Tuesday?  What fun!  Of course, Mdm Samm of sew we quilt is the one who comes up with these great ideas.  This round  Pauline of The Quilting Queen is our head cheerleader.

Once you get done looking at my attempts at photography, then I hope you will pop on over to see what the others have done today.


So what is my Superpower?  Like the others before me, none of us seems to want to brag about ourselves or maybe imply perfection at any given task.  There are things that I enjoy doing like cooking and baking, though I have found that is more fun when you can share the results.   I always try to do my best on any stitchery,  sewing project or knitting project that I undertake. However, I find there is always something that needs tweaking, improving, more practice.  Well, you get the idea.  Not going to brag or claim to be an expert.  You think that is a woman thing or just how we were raised??

I didn't struggle long finding something I wanted to stitch up.  Good old Google and an image search led me to this design from Verna Mosquera of the Vintage Spool of the We Love French Knots blog.  I decided to do mine in representational colors rather than the lovely pink Ms. Mosquera used.  Here is a closeup shot of the roses and a bit of the spool done up in variegated floss.  I also used a mix of floss strands to work the parts that were to be metallic.  (Sorry about the shadow marks)

So I stitched the motif all up adding my super power which is stitching, of any kind really.  I love to do "redwork" embroidery but I also love to sew and quilt, even if production has dropped off dramatically in recent months.   I won't get into the why though faithful readers know already.   I chose not to narrow my options and just said "stitcher"

I intended to turn this into a wall hanging but at the last minute decided to make a tote bag instead.    I did not have enough of the red fabric because it was originally to be the  outside border!  I did a search through quiltshops.com for sewing related fabric which led me to the Henry Glass "And Sew On" fabric line and placed an order through Sauder's Fabric.  However, I had bought plenty of the scissors fabric since it was supposed to be the backing with a little leftover for the stash.  It became the interior and accent color instead.  I had a black scroll like print for binding but elected to go with a separation of colors with jumbo rick rack instead.  I have a small stash of black and white fabrics for a sometime down the line project so this will not go to waste.   If anyone wants some of this black jumbo rick rack, let me know as I have a ton of it!  Why did I think I needed three rolls????

I looked at several patterns, took suggestions from my pal Norma via Skype and then ended up with this two tone fabric tote from Make It & Love It  .  I believe she suggested using some fusible interfacing or some such thing to give it a bit more body.  I did not have any nor did I feel like chasing around the county to get any either so I elected to quilt the top layer only.  I did not use their methods for the straps either and by that time I had to piece them to even squeeze them out.  Also it made more sense to me to leave the opening for turning the lining at the very bottom of the bag interior than up along the top edge where errant stitching would show.  The side would have worked too, like you would do with a vest.  Some days those old sewing lessons from Mom come in mighty handy!  BTW, the camera angle is making this look un-square.  It is evenly cut!  You can see the stitchery a bit better in this shot though the pictures is a bit dark.

 long beauty shot on the neighbor's fence

Closer in

Now, did you see what I did wrong??  When I boxed in the bottom of the bag the prescribed two inches, the word "Stitcher" disappeared about right where you see that crease.  What did I say about bragging on yourself? Those words will reach up and bite you right in the backside every blessed time, LOL.   It looks good from the back side!

No complaints about the pattern as written.  The things I tweaked were personal choices.   Had I used this pattern before I would have known to shorten the top cuff and got more of a red print frame around the stitchery. My first thought was to use it as a pocket on the bag but that was before colors were switched up.  I am a bit mathematically challenged at times so I may have still had a misstep along the way.  Let's call this a "prototype"  because I can see trying this again for a knitting bag.  Think I can find a motif to embroidery with yarn, knitting needles and all that???

No matter, I still like the bag and will use it to cart my bag of stitchery around.  Right now I have three different projects in there----a Bird Brain Easter piece that is marked but not started, a basket block from Bee Tree Designs in greens and a Bird Brain Designs "Snow Happens" in blue.  This is large enough to hold my entry in last years stitchery blog hop that I posted about HERE.   I like things to be used in a practical manner, after all!  I'll post the two main pictures of the stitchery organizer from March 2013

opened up but the camera angle is making it look "un-square"   errr un- rectangular

 Folded up in my embroidery kit with all the stitching goodies inside

So why are you hanging around here, LOL?  Hop on to see what the others have in store for you!  Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you enjoy the remainder of the hop.

Apr 15, 2014

another day

 Look who is in the house---and in jail.  Doesn't Oscar look like he knows he is in trouble?   We had a repeat of doggie missing and back up at his old house, under the fence, although not bothering the other dogs.  Glynda says he is acting like a different dog since he has been down at my house.  Not on the attack as he had done before when they threw their hands up in frustration.

Because of the rain, and now rain and cold blustery winds, Robert did not get the hole in the corner of the fence tended to.  Oscar apparently had no trouble moving that brick I tried to wedge into the opening.  He also had problem squeezing past the milk crate either though I didn't know that right away.  I took the leash up, walked him home, went in the shed to get the cat carrier for just temporary. Poor little thing was shivering in the cold.   Those few moments of inattention gave him time to get out of the yard again, run up the street and meander around in their back yard trying to get back UNDER their fence.  I walked him home again but this time he went in the cat carrier till I could go get him the dog crate.  It is going to be down in the 20's tonight possibly.  It appears that he won't stay in the yard or the dog house at night if he has an escape route.  He seems fine in the day time but must just get lonely at night.  I would only use the crate at night or if there is bad weather and he needs to come in.

I hate having to contain him but I honestly do not know another way.  He can see me, less whimpering, and I can get him out for feeding, walks and romps in the backyard but you better believe he is not going to have access to that hole unattended.  I parked myself on the milk crate and took him off the leash to romp around twice since I got him back home.  He does not seem to "get" that he is supposed to do his business while we were walking though and I was hoping he would .

 I've got to keep him separated from Skyler obviously.  I moved his food bowl into the master bedroom and the litter box into the master bathroom for now.  There was a bit of growling, Skyler humping up and staring and not venturing too far into the kitchen.  Guess we'll see what happens tonight and tomorrow.  Weather is supposed to be warming up to the 60's tomorrow whereas today, 40's (but feels like 30's) and now that it is getting later in the day, the sun is coming out.  Weather dude says that will give the cold front a chance to drop the temps like a rock.

Other than pet related activities. I have not done a whole lot today.  I had barely started the blog hop yesterday--looking at the first two blogs---so I got caught up with the girls today.  It occurs to me that I have to prepare my blog post for late, late Wednesday "go live"  and all I have are the crappy pictures I took last week.  After two days and about 2.5 inches of rain it is pretty soggy out in the yard.  You would not believe what I have tracked in on my shoes, or maybe you would.  I seriously need to dust up (ugh, yellow pollen) the house, sweep, vacuum and mop!!  But will I procrastinate?  oh, I think you know the answer to that one, LOL.

BUT I would rather sew, of course.  2nd column is now done.  Third one is pinned but not stitched.  Maybe tonight?

Apr 14, 2014

this and that

And another Monday rolls around.  It has been raining off and on, but nothing torrential, only about an inch in our rain gauge.  Yesterday they had issued flash flood warning for a period of time from this morning clear into tomorrow for a big chunk of Alabama.  For the sake of those still dealing with the aftermath of that last flooding, I hope it does not come to pass.   Then I guess we are plummeting down to the 30's overnight.   Considering it was 61 when I got up this morning, that is quite a drop.

My day started off around 6.  I woke up, Skyler appeared from wherever had been and looking for his treat bite and crunchies.  Next I loaded up Oscar's bowl and took it out to him.  No Oscar to be found.  I traded in the jammies, robe and slippers for some clothes and walking shoes  I suspected that he had gone back to the neighbors but I did not hear the other dogs barking or spot him outside the fencing.  I kept watching and looking for him.

About that time Robbie (the neighbor's adult son who lives in a double wide on the property with his lovely bride) calls out to me---
Robbie: Mrs. J, are you looking for Oscar?
Me:  Yes, I am.  How did you know?  (I was carrying Oscar's leash)
Robbie:  He's in the back yard with the others.  I went to put Rocky up and there he was. (Rocky stays indoors overnight but when he and Emily head to work he goes in the backyard with the other two dachshunds and a poodle mix)

So let me get this straight.  The dog escaped from one back yard only to crawl under the fence at a different back yard!  When I took him walking after that episode, this time from a different direction, I spotted where he had gotten his little happy butt out.  I tried to ram a brick into the hole and placed a milk crate in front of it till Robert can add some more deterrent, more bricks, a dirt pile or a combination therein.  Robert said with it raining, Oscar would stay in the dog house.  We have gotten two walks in in spite of the dripping.

The Calico that I started calling "Mamacita" had her babies on Saturday sometime.  When Miss Kathryn put out some cat food for her early on, she was still expecting.  When next spotted much later in the day, she had had the babies somewhere but no one knows just where.  Glynda said she had come from the direction of the nearby subdivision.   She is back to making her rounds in the neighborhood.  In fact, I had barely gotten Oscar put back in the backyard before the rain came and there she suddenly appeared.   Skyler of course, is always trying to see what is going on and I have to keep him from trying to go out and Mamacita from getting in, LOL.   Both of them intermittently meowing at me to get my attention.   ......... And that is how the day began, so different than it once was.

I got started, finally, on the Fiesta fabric quilt kit Sunday afternoon.  This is column 1 completed while column 2 is partially sewn and pinned for joining the sections, into sort of like 4 blocks.  I'll get back to it this afternoon.  Pretty simple quilt, really but fun to play with these bright and cheerful fabrics on a gloomy, damp day.

You like my "design wall"? A blank section of wall about 76 inches across, floor to ceiling, with no furniture in front of it. Nothing on the wall---yet.  I will probably hang some flannel on a rod with some command strip hooks or get a vinyl flannel backed table cloth up there or some such thing. For now, the painter tape will work  especially since I have been far from prolific in the creative department.

Other than the early morning excitement it has been a quiet day. Hope it stays that way.

Apr 10, 2014

what a day!

I started out the day determined to finish up with the state tax forms after working through all the medical/dental bill stuff to itemize those deductions until almost 9 last night. Even Skyler was getting tired of that routine and just wanting a cuddle. When I finally flopped on the bed on my belly with the cell phone in hand, he was trying terribly hard to get me to roll to my side. He wanted me to lay down next to me and I just was NOT getting the message at first! The circling and head butting finally convinced me.

I just now finished with the filing, ready to mail it out in the morning. I kept on goofing up the forms when I was trying to copy the data over. Then I started doubting my math.  On  re-examination I decided that "yes, my taxable income was minus 300 some dollars". I could have done fillable forms but there was just too much stuff to add on and write in.  You know how stinky java script can be sometimes! At least this year I did not start printing several copies and then find that page 2 was upside down. Then when you try to reprint said java script  would make me start all over on the fillable part. GRRRRRR.

About 9 this morning I got a phone call from one of the quilting pals.  I expected the call as I had offered to print off some foundation sections for a block she is working on with small flying geese and a square in a square center.    That's it below, called "Illinois" block.  (The JOY Quilt Guild is working out of the Eleanor Burns' Pioneer Sampler book with a series of classes and a chance for the more seasoned quilters to mentor the beginning or less confident ones.)  We had discussed this at Belles on Tuesday. Donna said it would Thursday morning before she could get over and we did not set up a time then.

 At the meeting we had talked about her attempts to use the Eleanor Burns flying geese ruler---she had not offset the centers enough and was going to try it again since the ruler will be needed on other blocks in the book.  Turns out she was using the smaller ruler that makes 1 x 3 or 3 x 6 geese sections.  I was like, wait a minute!  Take a look at the block that is supposed to finish at 12 inches.  The math is off.

Basically it is a souped up 9 patch or a 3 x 3 grid.  That means that each section of a 12 inch block should measure 4 inches when sewn into the block.  She needed the ruler that has 2 x 4 inch geese in combination with the 4 x 8 one.  I found a duplicate ruler in my quilt supplies so was happy for that to find a new home with Donna!

While I was waiting for her to come, I was outside looking for the expectant neighborhood calico cat to come on over for breakfast.  No sign of her at that point but I had a suspicion she was hanging around up at Glynda and Robert's since that is where I normally see her come from.   Lately when she sees me come out the door, she comes running.  Occasionally I have to call "kitty, kitty" but then Skyler comes running too, LOL.  I heard Glynda hollering at one of the dogs, a lot of barking and one of them in distress.  She turned the hose on them, got Robert to come help.  I'll get back to that in just a minute but Oscar was really in the dog house!

In the meantime I started up the road because I needed Robert to help me with a problem I had with the front door when he had time.  He was just getting into his truck so I flagged him down as he got to my driveway and explained the situation.  I had gone in through the front door yesterday using the key on both the deadbolt lock and the regular lock.  Something happened that evening that deadbolt would not line up and the bottom lock seemed to be jammed.  I could not get the door open from inside the house--at all.  What's more, I didn't know if it was locked or not.  Since the storm door was snap locked inside, I could not try keying it from the outside without causing possible damage to the storm door.  He got it popped up from inside with a screw driver. If it does it again, I will know what to try first before I panic.   A little WD-40 all around and I am back in business.  I had visions of having to replace the locks, the door and whatever.  Easy fix, great!

 He said he was off to get some work boots.  I asked what size, same as DJ it turned out, so it was worth looking to see if he had any out in the shed.  I had given away any shoes he had to the Baptist Service Center last month so I knew there was none in the house.  No work boots outside but he could use the overboots and galoshes in his concrete work.  There was also a metal cutter of some sort that I passed on.  We discussed a few other yard work issues and he went on his merry way with my thanks.

Donna came over and while we were talking quilt in my sewing/computer room she asked me who had put in my laminate flooring.  Robert, I said and you can ask him if he would be interested.  Here is his number.  By that time he had returned from his errand and was out unloading his stuff from the vehicle.  I called him over so they could discuss what she needed etc.

Robert asked if I wanted a dog for backyard protection.  Turns out Oscar had attacked the younger of the three dachshunds for the 2nd time in as many days.  They were going to have to find him a new home or take him to the pound.  If he did not do well in his own backyard with 4 other little dogs, then he would not do well at the pound.  Glynda said it was like a case of two against 1 and he was the odd dog out.  So I inherited a dog but he has to stay outside for now.  Robert brought over his dog house and filled in a spot near the gate that he could have gotten out perhaps.  (We have a fenced in back yard.)   I put a rug and blanket in the bottom of the dog house and drug out the water bowl we had gotten when some strays adopted us temporarily.  What does he eat and how much?  I went off to get the food, a collar and leash.  We'll see how it goes.  I mean, I like dogs and all but I am more a cat person.

But how can you resist this sweet little face?   He has yet to bark at me but I did hear him this afternoon.  He has a sweet deposition.  Already got some doggy kisses.  He and Skyler met through the front door when I was walking him around the yard on the leash.  No snarly or hissing ensued.

While I was out in the back yard,  Skyler was overseeing the proceedings.  I could hear him in the house meowing and crying like he does when he knows I am outside.

And, the oldest of the three azaleas is in bloom.  I spotted the lilac first from the kitchen window yesterday.  Little did I know but the azalea was also flowering.  It got a bit cool like in the upper 30s last night so I hope the plants are okay.  I cannot see the azalea from the house as the big old gardenia bush blocks it from view.  That bush looks dead but it is a bit early for it.  If it is gone, then Robert will get it yanked up like he did with one of the ones in the side yard.  Parts of the lilac might have to be trimmed out a bit too.

DJ had babied this lilac for years, supplementing the soil as they are not native to Alabama.  All I could think of yesterday when I first saw it is how excited he would be to see it come to life.  The azalea too.  He might have hated it when I called him Farmer Alfalfa but he did enjoy tending his plants, watering them daily.  Much better green thumb than I have.  I might have said something about the hanging plant in the kitchen will be lucky to survive my lack of attention and he has had that thing since the early 80's.  LOL, he would be amazed to see me pulling weeds out of his rock garden area in front as I never did any of that to help him.  He was the outside guy.

Well, I need to go see if Miss Calico is ready for supper.  Maybe walk Oscar again, make sure he didn't dump over his water or something.  Skyler is stretched out on the bed as he got too hot in his window seat.

Tomorrow I AM going to sew on that quilt kit.  I deserve to do something fun, just for me, after all that tax mess.  Sheesh.   I'll probably post again tomorrow as Belles did meet on Tuesday and Lois had some quilts to turn in.  Always fun to share those!

Coming soon to a computer near you---"What's Your Superpower" Blog Hop

I'm still slogging through the tax stuff.  Federal ones are done and ready to mail out but I am still slogging through the state details.  I commented yesterday on FB that there is not enough chocolate in the world to compensate for those forms.  Obviously I am not getting to play with that pretty fabric I cut out on Sunday but I am determined to get this done----today!

But on to more pleasant topics-----The Superpower Stitching Hop will be here before you know it! In fact, it starts Friday and resumes after the weekend.You'll find my blog listed on Thursday the 17th near the end. I'm ready to share except for getting some decent pictures and writing up the post, LOL.  DMC is sponsoring this round, a good tie in since they make such lovely floss, perle cotton and all those good things we stitchers love.  Of course, Mdm Samm of sew we quilt is the one who comes up with these great ideas.This round  Pauline of The Quilting Queen is our head cheerleader.

I hope you will follow along as the girls "strut their stuff".  You can find the full schedule below the icon.



Apr 6, 2014

a reward project

How long has it been that I even used the words "reward" project for when I am slogging through the end of one project and aching to start on something new since I am a little bored with what I am working on?  Don't try to answer that one but suffice it to say, if you are not sewing or whatever it HAS been awhile.

I cut this one out this afternoon.  Aren't those bright colors a breath of fresh air for a gloomy, damp day?  I am going to make the Brioche & Baguette couch throw as shown on Connecting Threads who kitted up all this lovely stuff.   Click on the "view more images" button and you will see the quilt full open rather than arty catalog view.

BUT I have to get the taxes ready before I can play. I have the forms printed off and a few questions I had were answered by a read of the manual online.  Obviously he is not going to be signing any forms but we were married the entire year of 2013.   I may have mentioned that DJ normally would have had this stuff spread out on the kitchen table and started on it by the 3rd week of January.  Not this year as we were busy with the flooring project.  I always checked the form over to verify the math or ask "how did you come up with this number?"  so I hope that this will be no big deal.   Hope springs eternal?  I think I will need a bigger reward than sewing something I want to sew once I am done, don't you?

 I DID finish up my blog hop project yesterday and tried to get some pictures of it.  However, the light was not good so I will either use Glynda's fencing or get the morning light rather than afternoon in that location.  I am pleased with the embroidery but made a small sewing goof.  You'll see soon enough as it is staying that way.  Too late to start over, after all.

The only other "big" thing I have done today is put some bed risers under my pressing/cutting table legs.  The ones that DJ and I had rigged up with PVC pipe and end caps had worked well for years---as long as there was carpet on the floor.   I was finding the table a bit less than stable since we put the laminate down.  I sure didn't need it wiggling with a rotary cutter in my hand.  While it was not a barrel of fun to move all that stuff I had stacked up under it, it did not take too long.  I don't think it is up quite as high and for now, I am keeping the present skirting on the table though it could be dropped down about 2 inches.  It doesn't annoy me THAT much, LOL.   Cat perch covers and a dust ruffle on the other bed are more pressing.  Oh, if anyone wants my old set, let me know and I would happy to pass them on if you need about 5-6 inches of height on a fairly slender table leg.  I use a banquet table that does not fold.

Apr 4, 2014

at long last

I can finally put my Atkinson Designs Popsicle Sticks AKA PopStix quilt on the bed.  I think I had the top all finished at least a year ago.  The backing fabric hung in the closet for months till it broke the hanger, LOL.  Denise had it quilted by August 2013.  I had it bound in time for the Gadsden quilt show last fall but I wanted to keep it free of cat hair, dust, etc.  By that time it was fall and time for the fall themed quilts, not this spring/summer one.

I kept it bagged up in a pillowcase for Friendship Quilters show in early March knowing that one day spring might possible show up, LOL.  Off came the two quilts that have been on the bed with a lowered thermostat.  It has been staying up in the mid 70's the last couple nights and I have even had the ceiling fan on.  Cool, dark and quiet is the recipe for sleep after all.

Of course, you see who had to come hop on the bed as soon as the camera came out.  Actually it was an adventure to even get the newly laundered bedding on there as he wanted to play, roll around and attack me.  I practically had to drag him out from under the fitted sheet or he would still be in there!

You know it will probably turn colder again now that I have dialed back the covers.  We already have a cold front anyway as some rain came in.  This being the starts of tornado season there is always a concern that thunderstorms may morph into severe weather.  I guess there was tornadic activity in TX, maybe OK and AR too yesterday.  My step-DIL said her son had already had two tornado warnings at college, down near St. Louis.   I spotted about a quarter inch of rain in my gauge as we had some wind and rain about 8 or so.  Still cloudy and dampish with temps about 10-12 degrees lower than the past two days.

I started to swap out machines so I can quilt my hop project several hours ago but that is about as far as it got.  One is packed up and the other is waiting to be unpacked.  Other than marking the piece for quilting and pressing another component that is all that got done with it yesterday. Well, that was AFTER I got past the fact that I sprayed a whole section of batting with the rubberized stuff that I put on the back of my rulers to keep them from sliding rather than quilt basting spray.   That will teach me to look at the cans  more carefully in the future.  Just not my day, I guess.  Mostly, I was putting some apps on my phone.  I need a SIM card for one of them and don't think it has one.  A mystery for another day.

Here's hoping I can be a bit more productive this afternoon and now that the needed trim is here, get this puppy finished up.

Apr 2, 2014

nothing much happening

When I last posted I was about to go off and make the house a bit more presentable as I expected DJ's longtime golfing friend Herb and his wife Phyllis.  I don't know if I ever told you this before, but DJ had gone to an old country grade school with her.  Double connection.   As expected they arrived about 8 and off we went to Jack's for breakfast.

On our return we loaded up every golf ball, golf club, the bag, the cart you use when you walk with your clubs etc. I could NOT let the head covers go though as I had made them for him.  I don't need them, of course but like his clothes, I guess I am just not quite ready to let some things go.   Unfortunately in trying to remove the rolling cart from its storage place, some part of it had gotten grease of some sort.  I could even be motor oil as he one of my old 13 x 9  cake pans in that area at one time for changing oil in some thing.  Herb managed to keep it off him or was able to wipe it off some paper towels.  I got it on one of my favorite pair of jeans and what's worse, the couch.  Herb said to clean it off with paint thinner first and then a spot cleaner.  Paint thinner, I had though it was kinda chunked up like soured milk gets.  Spot cleaner, I had to go get.  The pants were goners made worse by actually removing them and trying to avoid getting it all over me again. I tossed them.   I sure didn't want my couch to have that smear on the cushion or the gob on the frame.  The Zout product worked well.  I see a smudge on the frame part but it is faint or faint enough.  A reminder, I guess.

They did not stick around long but I knew that was part of their schedule--down through Columbus, Georgia and then Florida to see various friends along the way.

I've been busy but I am not entirely sure doing what.  Mostly paperwork and emails, sorting through the mail stuff and getting packages ready to mail out to various family and friends.  After a weekend, you can almost bet that there will be a run to the bank, post office and maybe the store.  My grocery shopping day was almost always Saturday or Sunday but all that flew out the window with so many leftovers and packing the freezer with half containers of this and that.  I think I need to get a meal sealer deal as I am still wasting food.  OR maybe more like learning how to cook smaller portions or need to set portions aside from the start??

The weather was good  this weekend and the purple nettle was high again.  Sunday evening I heard a noise and Michael was out there weed whacking all along the house and the fence.  He is the neighbor/homeowner to the left.  Weird situation there as the former owner's ex wife and daughter wound up with the house.  Daughter is currently in jail but they tend the property.  Michael is a good guy and hard worker.  Their tenant does nothing and the less I see of him, the better.  DJ often lent Michael tools and such as he didn't always have what he needed on hand to tend to the property maintenance.  It is a little hard to communicate with him however as he lost his hearing while serving on a naval vessel years ago.   He does not read lips or sign so you have to write notes.  I was trying to tell him that I could mow the back yard but he insisted on doing it with his own push mower.   He told me he would be back to mow my left side yard on Monday.  Really it just a few more laps on the rider than he was previously making.  He said "I'm not going to charge you.  Your man helped me and I want to help you.  Help out the other guy".  He meant Robert.  Robert is the neighbor that I gave our riding mower to in exchange for keeping me mowed this year.  He was out mowing the right side yard and back behind the fence on Monday mid morning.   I am thinking that the guys have worked out a system to take care of it for me.  That's fine!  Now if the guy across the lane will just mow the part that is his on the other side of his fence it is all good.  The neighbors have been so helpful and I so appreciate it.

Believe it or not, I did get a bit of sewing done yesterday.  I finished up my embroidery piece for the blog hop on Monday evening and now I need to turn it into something functional.   Norma and I had spent a bit of time on Sunday brainstorming and tossing pattern suggestions back and forth.  While I did not necessarily use what we had discussed, I made a start Tuesday afternoon.  Other than that basic 9 patch for the foundation piecing hop in mid February that is the only sewing I have done in two months.  Looking back it is probably even longer than that as I wasn't doing much before that what with putting down the laminate floor in mid January and definitely not since DJ's passing.

The black scroll print piece may not make it into the mix but that remains to be seen.  You may recognize this as bits from the Henry Glass And Sew On line.  It fits the theme and what I am making.  No, I cannot show you but my feature day is in about two weeks.  I am waiting for some trim I ordered so may not get too much further with my project unless it happens to show up today.  I have altered the pattern I am using a bit though and plan on machine quilting part of it---today's project.

 The desire to sew is coming back and that is a good thing though some household responsibilities will still take precedence.  I've got a list around here somewhere and just need to give myself permission to play with some fabric.  I have had a quilt kit for Brioche and Baguette that uses the Connecting Thread's Fiesta Line on hand for months now and that might be a fun one to do next.  Bright, happy colors.   Then there is always the dust ruffle of the queen bed frame and replacement covers for both of Skyler's perches to think about in addition to the other promised items.  I've got a great baby to sew for, a niece getting married this summer, purses, sewing items----got to get back in the swing of things one of these days.

Some days though it is hard to want to get up, get dressed, eat let alone cook anything. Some days I'm down, I'm tearful but Skyler makes me get past some of that.  He needs me.  I have to occasionally have a talk with myself to get a grip and put one foot in front of the other and do the best I can for that day.   Moments of strength and determination and moments of sadness.  I guess that is to be expected.    Sorry.