Dec 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

 It has been quite the week weather-wise anyway since I last posted.  Lots of rain and threats of flash flooding.  Just judging by the creeks (yes, there are two of them in about a half mile), man-made lake and two retention ponds near me there is a ton of water.  I don't know that Calhoun County got the washed out roads that other parts of the state did but it is easy to see that the water could easily get out of its banks at any of those locations.  Including what blew in yesterday, or at least I think it was yesterday,  I have counted a total of 9 inches in my gauge since a little over a week.  The picture shows what I got up to one recent morning.

This is across the main road from me.  (basically they cut through a hill to run the road between my back yard and they have a steep drive way up.)  That water does NOT belong there but both roads on either side of the two houses built are higher ground than this spot.  This sort of puts them in a bit of a basin.  The water had to go somewhere.  The other house didn't get so much directly behind it as near as I can tell but it was puddling back between the two houses.  I live on a hill so it was rolling down the lane.  Still, I stayed off the roads as much as I could.

There were even two tornadoes in AL Christmas Day.  An EF-0 near Tuscaloosa and an EF-2 near Birmingham.  Weird, El Nino weather!! Meanwhile, TX, NM etc--blizzards.  My BIL and his dad got held up in Amarillo for a couple of days while trying to get to Phoenix where his dad will snow-bird from IL.  My sister said they had finally arrived on Tuesday but had driven from about 3 in the morning to 3 or 4 pm to get to their Phoenix destination.

It has been quite warm lately too and the grass/weed patch is greening up.  There is a lot of wild onion out right now.  I don't know what that stuff is in my back yard is but it could stand to be mowed if it were not so gooshy under foot.  Oscar's belly is dragging in it!  Well,  he is pretty low to the ground so it wouldn't take much, I grant you.   The camellia is going nuts!!  This is spite of two below freezing nights while I was gone to Illinois.  Mine is not the only one either.  I spotted a gorgeous mixed color bush up the road from here with bright pinks and almost red flowers.  I even spotted a couple of dandelions in bloom in the yard.

 Now we are headed for a cooling, more seasonal temps.  While it has been nice to shut off the furnace, many of use are ready for it to be cooler especially if it means some sunshine with it!

Trying to think what I've been doing this week, LOL.  Went out to lunch at an area Mexican restaurant mid-week.  Binge watched a bunch of holiday movies in my collection for Christmas and have another stack of rom-coms waiting for tonight/tomorrow viewing.  Watched/listened to a bunch of Celtic Thunder material on YouTube. Love them!  Cleaned out and re-organized the kitchen freezer area and then binge cooked for two days so it is now crammed full again.  The outside chest freezer isn't much better.  I need to start eating the contents or quit baking, LOL.

Today, I took the Christmas decorations down and swapped out the quilts and wall hangings, did my last guild newsletter and some other paperwork, ran some errands, chatted with my neighbor and thus far walked Oscar twice.   The Alabama--Michigan State football playoff game is on tonight but I don't have ESPN and can't watch it.   I told Miss Kathryn I would go with her to her son's house to watch the game if Alabama gets into the championship game.

I am supposed to be sewing with my FAB buddies tomorrow.  Norma said for me to pick a pattern and I decided on Gudrun Erla's Square Dance from her book Strip Your Stash.  It's the one on the cover but  THIS LINK will take you some preview pages on Google Books---look for page 11.  These are big blocks finishing at 14 inches if laid straight horizontally but she shows them tilted and finish at 17 inches.  I should be cutting something for a background since I have a jelly roll to use as well as some charms of the same fabric line Block Party---love this stuff!

It is going to take me loving the fabric and/or really wanting to play with a pattern to get me back at the machine.  I don't think I have the right colored background to want to play with this pattern.  Almost looks like a cream color is more needed than the gray or white I have on hand.  HMMMMM.  Rob that Moda Bella Solida Snow I keep having to replace??  Go a hair darker?  Missouri Star shows the Bella Solid Yellow as their choice of go-withs.  I like yellow.  Fig Tree Cream, Orange and Pistachio were other suggestions.   I AM going with the girls to the quilt shop after the "supposed to sew" day so maybe this will be on hold while I work on something else I have started.  I won't be happy with then results if the background is not what I want.

I promised I would sew---what you do on New Years, you are supposed to do all year--even if I have to sew in the kitchen which I do NOT like to do.  Normally we plan on doing a bit of donation quilt sewing.  The "something else I started" thing would cover that--those neglected blue elephant challenge fabric blocks that have not been touched since the November sew-in.  OR I try a block out with some 2.5 inch strips that I have in my stash.  I still have strips left from the Popsicle Stix quilt, brights and a mix of color.  LOL, not many colors NOT in that quilt (below)

The other thing I need to do tomorrow and most days thereafter is go walk.  I really fell off the walking wagon this month. Between that upper respiratory stuff that lasted over two weeks, being gone for 5 days, the crappy weather my resolve to get out and exercise has really fallen off.  Truthfully, almost non-existent other than dog walks in the lane.  I need to get back in my routine and drop those two lbs. of holiday weight gain.  Cannot start going upwards again!  I can and will do better.

And having said that it is about time for Oscar to go on last walk of the day.  Hope you have a good and safe entrance into 2016.  Got to get used to typing and writing that, right?

Dec 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

 It is a little quiet around here today.  Not that it would be all that lively if DJ were here with me. Christmas music might be playing or some holiday movie on TV.  He loved those formulaic Hallmark Christmas movies!  We always exchanged presents on Christmas Eve, cards on Christmas morning and then I was preparing our holiday meal.  Often it was ham and dishes "opposite" of what we had for Thanksgiving.  Sweet potatoes versus mashed and gravy.  Pecan pie instead of pumpkin.  Corn casserole instead of peas.  And so on.........

A few days ago the down the lane neighbors invited me to come to their dinner later but I passed.  They have a large family and I would feel that I was intruding in some manner.  LOL, Bob did ask if they could share my garbage can this week as theirs was half full before the packages were to be opened.  Of course, I said.

I did purchase a small turkey breast but decided not to mess with it pulling the dressing and sliced turkey that Bev sent home with me at Thanksgiving out of the freezer.  Made some fresh cranberry sauce though!  Two batches of White Trash snack divided up between my two neighbors and me and some baked oatmeal rounded out most of my culinary efforts this week.

I have been playing my Christmas CD's the last few days.  It takes three remote controls to get the job done and I had forgotten just how to operate the VCR/DVD/CD player.  DJ's territory there.  You turn on the TV set with one remote.  You change the format mode with another and the third actually operates the player.   Then I watched several of the rom-com movies with a holiday theme---"While You Were Sleeping", "The Holiday" and "Love, Actually".  And then "Notting Hill", just because.  Today I may pick out a few more old favorites.  My dad had suggested the Purdue choir on PBS but it doesn't look like my PBS market purchased it.  There is a "Call the Midwife" Holiday Special though.  I've already seen the Boys Choir in "Christmas in Harvard Square".  That's how I see the day unfolding.

You see, in some ways I already had Christmas last Saturday. That makes the actual Holiday  "just another day" of the year to my way of thinking and there is no reason to get all mopey.  I had the opportunity to go up to IL for a quick trip leaving on Thursday to drive to my brother's home outside Nashville.  Friday my brother Steve, sister-in-law Jan and niece Beth shared a ride up to another brother's home (Phil)  in central Illinois.  We got there about 3:30.  Jen and her mom had a huge pan of lasagna and a wonderful salad, etc made up for supper.  The plan was for those who wanted to would go to my nephew's basketball game at the local high school.  Teddy had quite a cheering section that night!  My parents came with my sister Janet who had arrived the day before from Colorado.  I stayed with them the two nights we were in the area.

In the picture above, my folks were waiting for some of us to come fill in the gap for group pictures.  It looked sort of funny to see them parked on opposite ends of the couch.  Some one said they should reach out to one another.

I have probably told you this before but I am the oldest of 6 kids.  ALL of us were there though a spouse was missing.  There are 12 grandkids.  7 were there.  We are blessed with three great-grands--one was there.  A crowd and I would not expect you to keep anyone straight in this mob.

This is the more relaxed shot when Teddy's friend just kept clicking the camera.

Janet's family always takes a "piranha family" shot--she's on the floor in the front row showing us how.  That explains the silly look in this picture, LOL.

 The company was the best!  We had a wonderful non-traditional meal of fried fish and ribs with salads, mac and cheese, collards even, corn muffins and desserts.  Jen is" hostess with the mostest", for sure.  She made my favorite rhubarb meringue dessert and sent some back with a road trip back along with some other goodies.  Got some good cooks in the family!

Jen kept getting pictures of me munching but this one and my new profile picture I was not!  Sister-in-law Jan had made a huge batch of her version of White Trash and it is hard to keep out that stuff.

The Big 3---Steve, me and Dave

Part the "little 3" --Janet, Diane and her husband Rick

Phil, our host and fisher person--last of the "little 3"

How wonderful to be back for the holiday!  I think the last time that happened was back in 98.  DJ and I drove back in a big mess in Indiana and decided that we would wait till spring/early summer to go back to visit.  Jan, Steve, Beth and I drove back to TN on Sunday and I completed the trip on Monday morning.  I pulled in my drive about 1 pm after picking up the mail.  A whirlwind trip but worth it.

Here is how it has looked the last few nights.  Skyler has decided to hog Oscar's pad lately.  Oscar then has to fight him for room on the couch.  They were even more "butt to butt" the other night but the picture I took with the phone was a bit dark to share.

Both of them have been quite clingy since I returned.  Skyler is actually sitting on my lap or glued to my thigh. Then Oscar mows him over to get sole occupancy.  So jealous of each other!  Oscar is back to whimpering and whining when he goes to bed.  SIGH  Some of that is probably due to the weather.  We have had a lot of rain and storms the last two nights after bedtime.  I've dumped a total of 4 inches of rain from the gauge.  While we did not seem to get the tornadoes here that MS had, thank heavens, many places are flooded.  This is our secondary tornado season so anything can and will happen.

And so it goes---thx for stopping by and I hope you have/had a happy and safe Christmas!

Dec 14, 2015

what a weekend!

What a weekend! Most of the time there is not a lot going on around here, the usual home chores that make up anyone's daily life.  Yada, yada, yada.  Not this weekend with all the holiday happenings.

Saturday, Friendship Quilters had their luncheon/ short business meeting at the Magnolia Cafe in Lincoln (AL).  Funny thing happened come serving time.  We had all ordered off the menu and I had requested Chicken Parmigiana.  Everybody but me had been served but it turned out my friend Beth forgot what she had ordered and got MY plate.  All that was left was a dish of unclaimed Chicken Eggplant Parmigiana.  I like eggplant so took it.  Beth was embarrassed about it but it was fine.  The portions were large so I had the rest of for lunch yesterday.

The picture shows a machine embroidered ornament that Shelia made.   There were several designs, some were ornaments or other holiday motifs but this was the one in the card she gave me.  The pattern was from the club president who unfortunately could not be with us.  There was a gift bag filled with patterns and this is the one I pulled.  "Piece of Cake" from Thimble Blossoms.  This might give me another idea of what I could do with a "Silk Road" from Bernatex layer cake I got with Christmas money several years back---if I can find something to use for a border, that is.  It is quite elegant looking fabric so deserves a more sophisticated use.   If you want to see how someone used the line, check out her fall quilt made with it HERE.

Jane, Aline and I had a couple hours break and then Saturday evening were off to the Oxford Performing Arts Center for Christmas on Ivory.  Jane's husband Hugh went with us.  Marilyn was supposed to go too but was not feeling well.

They have apparently done this concert at various area churches since 1996.  I loved this!!  There were 3 grand pianos and 6 pianists along with a percussionist.  Two of the women were part of the original group of musicians.  Two were a mother and daughter team, the daughter is 17 yrs old and coincidentally, the daughter and granddaughter of friends of Jane and Hugh.  Another was a daughter of a friend of Aline's from her church.  Some numbers all six were playing, others three pianists.  A couple of selections had vocalists (Let it Go from Frozen and Chestnuts Roasting) and a young violinist (7 or 8 yrs old maybe?) played part of Silent Night quite beautifully in a medley of songs.   It was a good mix of secular and religious holiday music, even some classical music in "Trepak" from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker.  Hallelujah Chorus was quite moving but they also jammed out Mannheim Steamroller style with Chip Davis' arrangment of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen".  I've got about 5 tapes/CD of Mannheim Steamroller so recognized that right off!  Need to get those out to enjoy.  I'm still whistling "Hark, the Herald Angels" days later, LOL.

Yesterday Aline, Jane, a friend of Aline's and I were off to the CAST play "Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!)"    and they do!

Instead of performing Charles Dickens' beloved holiday classic for the umpteenth time, three actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told -- plus Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop-culture, and every carol ever sung. A madcap romp through the holiday season!
The Classic "Christmas Carol"sort of morphs into "It's a Wonderful Life". "The Grinch Stole Christmas" and the "Gift of the Magi" are involved.  The Macy's Thanksgiving parade also figures in as well as a variation of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" (they don't have the copyright so it becomes Gustav, the Green Nosed Reingoat").  Funny and entertaining!  Glad we all got to go.

We were under a wind advisory last night and some possible storms were due to pass through during the night.  The critters and I  must have slept through it.  Other than the garbage can sitting a bit cockeyed and the usual twigs down from the dying trees across the lane it looks like the shingles stayed on the roof.  DJ would always do around the house to look after something like our forecast.  Only a half inch of rain in the gauge.  Still, it is too warm for December and you worry about tornadic activity.   It was sprinkling when Oscar and I were out earlier but has cleared up nicely---high 60's and sunny if a bit gusty at times.

I'm trying to work up some enthusiasm for dusting and vacuuming.  So far it is NOT happening, LOL.  Little got done around here with that upper respiratory deal.  I'm still dealing with the sinuses dripping but otherwise okay.  Yesterday I managed to clean up some suspect carpet spots but no sooner did I think I was done but Skyler lost her breakfast in 4 different spots.  UGH!  How could I live without Resolve Carpet Cleaner around here?  I do need to find a decent sponge mop though.  The head keeps coming off the stick on the one I got.

And just because this guy is so darned cute, here is Oscar.  He threw his pad on the clean couch pad on the floor and proceeded to play and nap there the other day.  Whatever!  We should go walk.

Hope you have a good day.  THX for stopping by------

Dec 11, 2015


LOL, most of the time you can find me sitting on that couch cushion between these two furry friends. No, seriously!

Long time no post, right?  You die hard readers will have noticed the lack of content.  I have been hanging out on Facebook a bit but generally taking a little blogging break.

Thanksgiving came and went since I last updated.  I was invited to join my friend Bev and her husband for dinner but she and I had to promise to keep the tears at bay.  (Her son had passed away a couple months ago and she had lost another about 6 years ago.  Holidays are hard.)  I was asked to bring the pumpkin pies so I did my favorite No Bake kind. When I got there at the appointed arrival time, she said we were going over to their friend/neighbors around the corner from them.  I had heard about this bunch last year as the deep fried turkey was almost incinerated--there were pictures!  Fortunately, they had an oven baked one for back-up.  This year too!  As it turned out Chris, the host deep fried 3 turkeys (one his mom was taking home) and his wife April baked one as well.  So did Bev.  Lots of turkey for later meals!  Bev and April sent me home with leftovers as there was every possible classic holiday casserole/side to be had as well.  Some of the turkey breast I sliced up for the freezer as she sent half of the turkey breast with me.  I love having a sandwich with cranberry mayo when I have real turkey.

I've done a bit of baking while actual meal making has sort of taken a nose dive.  Mom's Zucchini Bread, a couple of loaves.  Another batch of Apricot Cheese Bread went in the freezer for a future Belles meeting.  I also made a batch of the Libby Pumpkin Muffins but halved the recipe in two bowls so I could put nuts and craisins in one part of it and chocolate chips in the other.  I have been thinking about making some cookies but have not quite gotten around to it as I WILL eat them especially if I make my all-time favorite White Chocolate with Macadamia Nuts.  I don't need to eat them!!  Still, it is hard not to be tempted by all the snacks, sweets and goodies I see on my facebook feed.  Like this stuff---White Trash from Chocolate, Chocolate and More.   OOH I want a handful, LOL.


I have been laid low with an upper respiratory situation for over 10 days now.  It always seems to start with a scratchy throat and then spreads to runny nose, cough, etc.  I was thankful I had a doctor's appointment for those followup test results.  Actually the nurse said that a lot of the patients lately have been coming in for something else and saying "oh by the way, can he look at my throat etc while I'm here"  By the time I was seen my throat felt like I had swallowed glass and even my tongue and roof of my mouth were sore.  I could barely swallow nor could I get the secretions up or down.   I've done a week of antibiotics and several nights of Theraflu Max.    Walking fell by the wayside as I was having too much trouble breathing to exert and walk 2.5 miles when the couch sounded better.  I am back to walking Oscar 3 times a day.  I'm better but still blowing my nose, occasionally a cough but thankfully, I turned the corner earlier in the week.  I'm starting to get tired of sitting and laying around so I figure that is a good sign.  However, when changing the bed linens and quilts out or vacuuming the living room exhausts you maybe best not to push it??

I'm still not sure what is going on with those hinky lab tests and clinical picture.  I had a thyroid ultrasound after I saw the doctor last week and he is referring me to another physician in the practice for consultation.  However, I have to wait till mid January to see here.  I feel okay--well, other than the lingering URI--- but maybe there is something to it.  We'll see if it is anything to worry about.

Our quilt group cancelled for the week of Thanksgiving but we met for our usual 2nd Tuesday this week.  No one wanted to really fuss and go out to eat--we do that almost everytime we meet anyway--but we did have a little low key potluck lunch.  Lois had 3 quilts to pin all using the same pattern with varying sizes of strips.  Are you familiar with M'Liss Rae Hawley's More Fat Quarter Quilts? I found an image on pinterest for Island Star.  Lois sashed hers to break up the star points and the background on two of three were the same backgrounds.   You will see them down the line!   We resume meeting after the first of the year. 

No surprise here, but no sewing.  I think the last time I had the machine fired up was the Friendship quilters sew-in in mid November.   I have been considering a future project though.  I've been looking through books in my library and my files for patterns made with pre-cuts. I've been hanging around the Missouri Star videos.  I consulted with Norma who has some ideas from GE Designs perhaps--links flying back and forth.  I ordered a used book that had one I particularly liked from Strip Your Stash, the cover quilt.  

You see, at the retreat I attended this past October we all were invited to participate in a guild challenge and the resultant quilts will be hung/judged etc in October 2016.  To that end, Jennifer with the help of the Ashville House Quilt Shop picked out and ordered charm packs of Good Karma from Moda (we prepaid for one or two packs and some yardage) and we also were given 2 yards of a "Green Stitch" tone on tone from the line.  It is there at the top in the middle.   I love the brights and the colors in this collection!

There are some size limitations but I have been considering what I might like to do with this stuff.   The tone on tone is a directional print though.  I think we have to use a representational piece of every one of the fabrics in the charm pack and at least some of the tone and tone.  It's one of them.  I don't think we have to use it ALL up physically although the instructions are worded that way. Wwe can add two more fabrics to the mix.  I've got a list of ideas but I think I have it sort of narrowed down to two things I've been itching to try.  It has to be quilted, bound, finished, not just a top.  Of course, I'll keep changing my mind if I keep looking.  Today I drew something up in EQ which would be an alternative way of piecing an existing pattern.  No, I can't show you as it is supposed to be kept a secret.  I don't care so much about that though as I KNOW I won't get any sewing done if I don't drag me and my machine some place away from home and get some "work" done!!  Unless Oscar logs some outdoor time on the mild days, it is not happening.

I've got a few things planned with the girl friends in coming days.  A piano concert, a Christmas play, guild luncheon.  I put the Christmas decorations up--dialed back version minus setting up the tree--soon after Thanksgiving.  It looks festive anyway.  I may not feel like sending out cards or wishing everyone a Merry Christmas just yet but it will happen, LOL.  Trying not to get all mopey just because another holiday is rolling around and DJ is not here with me--still, always in my heart.  Does it ever get any easier?

I guess the overview is written.   Hope YOU are staying healthy and happy this holiday season.  

Nov 20, 2015

checking in

It has been a fairly quiet week around here and not a whole lot to report.  6 month check-up with the MD and then some followup tests since one lab test was a bit hinky.  I'm still waiting for some follow-up lab reports.  I feel fine so was surprised to see the results "off" like that.  My doctor will go over the overview in early December.

On Saturday Beverly called to see if she could get some quilts for some neighbors in need.  Sure, I said.  How old are the kids and boy or girl quilts?  I knew I needed to update the quilt document and verify that I had pictures taken and numbers on the quilts.  I found several that should keep the family cozy and ran those over to Beverly for her and Jack to deliver.  While I was at it, I refolded and restacked the present inventory.  I know that Lois has 8 more at home that I will photograph at the December meeting.   This is till I figure out where we will donate them.  Some smaller ones, I will mail to headquarters with my challenge quilt top as the quilters that made them will not care about the destination.  Others prefer to donate them closer to home.  I oblige.

Tuesday evening my friends Jane and Hugh invited me along to a mostly Christmas music program presented by the Oxford Community Chorus at the Oxford Performing Arts Center.   Fun night out.  Two of the selections were from Handel's Messiah  the classic "For Unto Us a Child is Born" and the "Hallelujah Chorus" but they also opened with "The Star-Spangled Banner" and later, "This is My Country".

Wednesday basically it rained.  Another 2 inches in the gauge.  Last year was mild drought in our area.  This year we are about 6 inches over those totals.  Fortunately the last two days have cleared up quite nicely.  My neighbor to the left had part of the half dead large tree cut out and gravel laid over the mud hole the vehicle had left in their "drive" yesterday.   The trees are thinning down, the Bradford Pears are finally changing to red.  Some are bare.  We seemed to have escaped the two recent frost warnings.  It is fall, after all.

I've not made it to the sewing machine this week.  Going to the concert interferred with that sewing time at the church with friends but there is hope for the weekend.  I THINK the weather is going to be clear though cooler overnights.  I see some baking ahead if that comes to pass.   There is some grated zucchini, several batches from the summer surplus,  up in the freezer to use up.  Mom's Zucchini Bread from all recipe is good from past experience.

The only true cooking I did this week was a batch of Italian Wedding Soup.  I used Ina Garten's meatballs but subbed out the ground chicken for some ground turkey I had on hand.  I did not have chicken sausage on hand either but defrosted some pre-cooked pork sausage patties from the freezer and then minced those up in food processor.  Turned out pretty tasty.   Here is the rest of the soup--sort of a take off on a California Wedding Soup.    I used quick cooking barley.

3 14-oz. cans chicken broth
1 tablespoon prepared pesto or 2 T shredded fresh basil leaves
1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced or cut into matchsticks
2 green onions, sliced but I used regular onion
2 cups finely sliced escarole or you can use 1/2 pkg of chopped, frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup orzo (rice shaped pasta) OR quick cooking barley
1/2 can white beans, rinsed and drained

I used quick cooking barley (and frozen spinach) but that was because I was thinking about trying a Greek Orzo Salad--still am, LOL and have the ingredients on hand to do so.  
And that it is how it goes around here.  A binge cooking day is coming, right after I get some groceries tomorrow. 

 I WILL ask you to say a little prayer for my great-nephew Wyatt and his parents Amber and Greg.  He is now up to about 9 lbs and that is a miracle right there since he started life about 3 1/2 months early and at 20 oz.  He had several surgical procedures today (5 hrs worth)  and will remain hospitalized till those lungs get stronger and he recovers from the surgery.

Nov 12, 2015

Escape to Florida

It was raining here--a lot--this past week or so. I know on two successive days I emptied about 2 inches out of the gauge, another two days one inch and another 2 inches on my return from my weekend get-away to Florida.  It is getting a bit depressing, with this gray, gloomy weather so this cartoon kind of works but cross out "Caribbean"

In July of this year DJ's son Tracy and daughter-in-law LuAnn realized a long held dream and moved down to the Cape Coral-Ft. Myers area of Florida, on the Gulf side of the state.  They invited me to come down to visit.  I had never been to Florida so I consulted my calendar and after a few messages back and forth to LuAnn, she said "book it". I did--clear back in the middle of August.

 About this time a week ago on the 5th, I was reaching the off-airport parking place we have always used and heading in on the shuttle to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  My flight was due in about 5 pm at the Southwest Florida International Airport.  LuAnn picked me up after she got off work and got untangled from traffic.  With the time change, it was getting dark already.  Tracy had dinner under control grilling up some burgers and serving a salad along with it.  He gave me a tour of their home and we visited a bit before we all called it a night.

Friday morning
 I headed out to walk in the neighborhood planning on about 25 minutes out and 25 minutes back.  I got a little turned around on the return and realized this when I saw the same guy twice--first hauling his grill out for curbside pickup and then doing some weeding or something in the yard.  He pointed me towards the direction I needed to go--should have turned left and went right and ended up going around the block.  I was back on track until I got a little closer to where I thought I should be.

Stopped a kid apparently taking his siblings to school--he thought I had to cross a busy road that I was just sure I had not been over.  I didn't think so but went "that a way" looking for (___) Terrace.   I was walking into the sun and it had been at my back on the way out.  The canal they live on was on my right--and it was on the left on the return.  Little did I know those sometimes t-intersect and there are a bunch of them!!  I should tell you, I had left my phone on the charger.  No map!  I was the navigator and I seldom got turned around as I paid attention and had the map in my hand for reference.  DJ was probably getting a good giggle out of this one!  A lady on a bike trying to cross that busy road explained the street  numbering system.   There is street, place and terrace and then it repeats---I think that is it anyway.

I found the terrace I was looking for.  Mind you, I did not pay much attention to the house number when I walked out the door. ( Remember it was dark when I arrived.  I've only addressed one thing to their home since the move so the address was not indelibly etched in the recesses of my brain either.)  That was NOT it.  No empty lots and there was new coinstruction.  Two guys about my age were walking down the street.  I told them I was turned around and looking for (___) Terrace which I was on but this was NOT it. They said "we've got a map at the house"  Turns out they were from New Brunswick, Canada and down on holiday for 10 days.  We got in the car to look as I was a sweaty, exhausted mess by then. After going down two or three side streets on the opposite side and my racking my brain to see if I could call either LuAnn or Tracy at work on their phone, I said "can we try the (next number up) Terrace?"  Sure---and that was finally it.   At one point I had told Melvin and the other guy I should buy them a cup of coffee but I had to be reunited with my purse first!  What helpful fellows and they were staying ONE street over from Tracy's, as it turned out.  I was so close all along!  Next time, the phone is going with me if I have to duct tape it to my person.

Tracy's job is rather odd hours right now--goes in quite early but then gets off about 11 a.m so he has the rest of the day ahead of him.  I had time to shower, wash my sweaty clothing and follow up on some phone messages before he came home.  Then we headed out for lunch and some sight seeing.  This map will help explain just where I was the next two days.

Friday afternoon
They live in Cape Coral and we drove over to Pine Island and Matlacha for lunch at the Island Cafe.  He pointed out the bike trail he uses along the way and a preserve area.  Yummy grilled grouper for me and a shrimp wrap for Tracy.  Great view of the water as we ate out on the dock.  It was in the high 80's but there was a nice breeze off the water.  We stopped at the Wild Child Art Gallery just up the road for a bit as well.  There were three artists at work in the back.  One woman was painting, another had been sewing clutch bags but doing some hand embellishing like creating her fabric for another bag.  The third was doing some lovely beading.

From there Tracy wanted to show me the Edison-Ford Winter Estates area on McGregor Blvd in Ft. Myers. The homes were built on the Caloosahatchee River.  Tracy said it was about 45 bucks to tour the place so we didn't go but there was still thing to see across the road in the parking area including this huge banyan tree!    There is a horticultural center on the estate but they also had plants and trees for sale.   I had on gray shorts and a white shirt next to the silver statue so I look pretty washed out on my camera phone, LOL.

We moved along as we still wanted to get to the beach.  On to Ft. Myers Beach!  Get those shoes and sock off and wade in the Gulf of Mexico a bit.  Lovely!  The sand is so white and so fine it was almost like walking on superfine sugar.

Later we went out for pizza at Lelulo's that is not too far from their home.   I am telling you that pizza was steaming hot when it arrived at the table.  Same with the garlic knots they ordered.  Yummo!

Tracy and LuAnn have a membership at a boat club that is on the Cape Harbour Marina.  I think this is the right link as those look the building near there plus the Rum Runners Restaurant is in the area.  So looking at that map above we went down a canal and into the Caloosahatchee River (I think I am telling this correctly!) and then into the Pine Island Sound between Pine Island and Sanibel Island on past Captiva Island and North Captiva Island.  Tracy said Captiva used to be all one island but it was split off by a past hurricane(s).

Some of the pictures that follow I took and some Tracy took on a previous trip in the boat.

Tracy--our captain of a 24 ft Sea Ray that day

LuAnn catching some rays

Bait Shop out on the water near Sanibel Island

Looking toward Captiva Island

There is a big Florida State Park near here called Cayo Costa.   We boated around it a bit but our true destination was Cabbage Key and dining at the restaurant there.  Shrimp Salad plate for me and they both had a black beans and rice dish.   Tracy said that the wait staff stay on the island working like 10 days and then have 4 days off and repeat the cycle.  The restaurant is built on a shell mound so is higher up, above sea level.  They had a good bit of damage in Hurricane Charley in the 90's.  There turtles to feed outside.  In fact, the waitress suggested taking the lettuce we did not eat on our plates out to them but this being the "season" starting up, they had already had enough.  There are cottages for rent.

Then we started back.   We did not see any dolpins on the way over but ran into two schools on the way back.   One was quite close to the boat where you could almost touch it.   We had to slow way down and "no wake" both coming and going as we were in a manatee zone.  Tracy said they call it "the miserable mile" as they want to open it up and can't so the mile drags.   I didn't see any of those either but Tracy spotted one in the canal near the boat club on our return but it quickly went back under so LuAnn and I missed it.

That evening we went over to Ft. Myers for supper and the Pizza Pub Restaurant for pasta.  Apparently this is a popular spot as there were folks lined up outside for the small seating area.  Lot of people were there for carryout pickup as well.  Some people turned in their names and then went and sat in their convertible till it was called--with their drinks from the bar.  It was a nice night though and no one seemed unhappy about the wait.  The drinks may have helped, LOL.

Back to reality and on to the airport.  I had a 9:30 am flight out as I didn't want to be driving back home from Atlanta in the dark.  Let the "kids" have a free, most of the day to themselves before they had to return to work too.  I drove over in the rain and drove back in the rain----sigh.  Including a stop for a quick bite to eat in Villa Rica, GA,  I was home about 1 pm.

I so appreciate my neighbors watching out for Oscar and Skyler so I could go visit Tracy and LuAnn.  I believe that both of them were happy to have me home--lots of doggie kisses and Skyler is being more clingy than usual.  Good to get away and good to be home.

THX for stopping by and reading all this travelogue.

Nov 10, 2015

quilt meeting--edits now in place

Lois called this morning to make sure I brought my camera as she had 8 quilts to turn in.  I later learned that she has 8 MORE at home---and we pinned a couple more today!  I will post those pictures now and tomorrow or the next day update y'all as to where I was last week for a few days.   (Clue:  Florida to see some of my family members!  woohoo.)

I need to look up some quilt names on these so will come back and update this post as I find the pattern source etc.  Meanwhile you can see how pretty this batch of her quilts turned out.

One day I WILL make one of these as I love the pattern.  Great for scraps as you can see and she has done this one several tines but they each end up so differently with a fun backing fabric.  This one happened to be Mr and Mrs. Snowman riding a bicycle built for two with candy cane wheels. Oh, 4 in 9 Patch Zig-Zag from Quilter's World magazine October 2009.

This is one I found this summer and though Lois might like for her 2 1/2 inch strips.  The original pattern was for much narrower ones but we know how to adjust those to suit.  Four Patch Pinwheel from Ellen Pahl's Pinwheel Party-12 Fun and Unique Quilts.

Rolling Fields from Legacy Patterns that uses 2 jelly rolls---Lois went scrappy and I recognize some of MY strips in there!

Traditional Log Cabin---this uses 1 1/2 inch strips.   Very striking!

ED. This is one of the Missouri Star Disappearing Hour Glass 2 (I think).  I think what makes this one look different from the one in the you tube video is that Lois has sashed and cornerstoned her quilt rather than set block to block.  Still a cool quilt either way.

Another Rolling Fields

Lois said this was a Missouri Star Quilt too.  Ed.  You can find this one on their site where Jenny called it "Fence Rail and Nine Patches".

Another Log Cabin but this uses two sizes of strips which makes the blocks curve.  Actually seeing the quilt itself, you do not notice this "curve" effect as much.  The camera seemed to condense it enough and the lights stand out more.  I'm not sure where she found the pattern.  However, I know I saw something that told how to do this in a book I picked up at Jackie C's estate sale called Log Cabin Quilts Unlimited by Patricia Cox and Maggi McCormick Gordon.  They termed it "Thick and Thin"  It IS possible that she used Missouri Star's Curved Log Cabin tutorial.  I didn't watch it to verify that statement though.

We pinned three---Beverly had a cute Mickey Mouse quilt for a new great-grandson.  Then took off to Panera for an early lunch.  Lois had to pick up her computer and I needed to run to Sam's while we were down in Oxford.  Plans were made for a potluck next month.  I'll see Jane in a couple days for something else.

I need to run so I'll finish up the detective work in a bit!  Missouri Star is so prolific so it will take more time than I have at the moment!

Oct 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

This is as spooky as it is going to get around my home!  Really it is just a chance to enjoy the various Halloween themed pieces I have done over the years.

c. October 2013  made for the main entry in the Wicked Blog Hop Hosted by Sew We Quilt.  It is hanging in the master bedroom wall that occasionally is used for a pseudo-design wall.

I love this one so much that I made three of them.  Two of my FAB pals have fall bdays and they each got one and I had to have one for ME too.  Amy Bradley design that was in an old Quilter's World magazine that I clipped.

 This was a Bird Brain Design "Witches Hooray" that is hand embroidered.  Originally designed as a table runner, I decided I wanted it for a wall hanging.  Above my bed at the moment.  While not my original Wicked Blog Hop 2013 entry it did get it done in time to share for the hop.

Happy Halloween  Pattern Source:  Joined at the Hip BU#19   Completed 4-26-13

Nancy Halvorsen's Calendar Quilts & Stitcheries  c. 2010

Okay, now that I've done the nostalgia trail and shown you that I USED to get quite a bit of quilting done.............let's move on!  What has been happening around here?

Tuesday Belles met and I got one more Granny Square block completed for a grand total of 6.  Not touched it since as you may have suspected.  We had planned ahead of time to go to Olive Garden for lunch so we bugged out after Lois, Jane with help from Beverly got three quilts pinned.  Bev was working on hand work but Beverly had gone off without her embroidery hoop so her embroidered pillow cases had to wait.   Bev shared this fun table runner she had been working on.  The Jack o'lantern scare crows needed mouths completed.  Isn't it cute??

I did go to the afternoon quilt bunch but mostly to drop off the Belles' big board for Donna to use to press and king sized pieced quilt top she had completed at the retreat.  Well completed except for the borders, that it.  The whole body of the quilt is pieced neutral toned fabrics, mostly white on whites as I recall.  Once the borders are on she is going to applique on scattered fall leaves.  Her aunt had commissioned her to make the quilt.  I'll go for a bit this coming Tuesday and get another block or two done.  Jane, Aline and I are making plans to attend the guild sew-in one of the three days that they are doing it as well.   That's coming up.

Thursday I spent a big chunk of time in the kitchen again.  Jane had given me a copy of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  that she had picked up on a recent trip there with her husband.  Lots of good recipes in there and I tried the Spicy Apple Cake with Orange Glaze.  It uses apple butter so the "apple pie" type spices are dialed back.  The link is not from the magazine but to an almost exact ingredient list on sugar dish me.  As I was taking some of the fresh baked cake over to the neighbor, Jane was walking into the beauty shop so I sent a plate home with her to try.  I roasted some sweet potatoes at the same time because some of my Pilgrim Turkey Loaf was due to go in the oven next.  (After a couple days of leftovers, I still had enough for three plates for the freezer.)  I finished off the cooking binge with a pan of Quick and Easy Carmelitas that I will taking down to one of the neighbor's this evening as they invited me down to their chili/hotdog cookout once the great-grands are done Trick or Treating.  Hopefully the rain will stay away till afterwards!

Yesterday Jane and I went down to the Monster Quilting Sale.  One of many of area's quilting friends lost her battle to cancer earlier this year and this was her quilter's estate sale.  Her husband and BFF were in charge of it with the help of other friends and family members.  Borrowing an image from Vicky here.  This was not all of it or the table of books and such as they were still getting things organized in this photo.

We ran into three of our quilting friends, two who were back for round two.   This is what came home with me---31 fat quarters, the equivalent of three yards and misc scraps and charms.   All batiks or batik-like.  I'm thinking I might try that Rubix pattern by Stacey Day with some of it.  (Google"rubix quilt pattern stacey day"  as there is a free pdf.  If I link to it, it will just open the file.  The 2nd google link on AQS link is locked for members only.  Use the first one to the pdf.)

 They were charging $4/yd.  Vicky let me have the triangle on a roll which were not opened for 2 bucks each---these were 1 1/2", 2 1/2" and 3 inch finished.   I only have 2 and 4 inch finished on hand--till now.  The other is a product I am not familiar with Sew and Fold on a Roll and I think this one is for Flying Geese and Braid, also unopened.

The books were $5.  These were the ones I chose but I seriously could have done way more damage with books and let's be honest, fabric.  There was one large bin of batik yardage that I spotted after I had checked out.  It would have been nice to have some to try a Hunter's Star but I had set a limit to what I was going to spend.

The Sloppy book Strips and Strings had quilts that looked familar to me BUT I think Jane or Terri might own this one and I had looked through their copy at some point??   I have her 40 Fabulous Quick-Cut Quilts and love it, with several pages flagged for possible choices down the line.  Mom and I got one planned out on one of my trips back to Illinois some years back.  Still love that one!

While it is nice to have something to remember Jackie C. by, I think we all would rather have her back and sewing amongst us than picking through her things, after the fact.  What a dear lady!  Her mother-in-law also quilted so I think she probably had her things augmented from the MI's estate.  It makes me wonder what will happen to my things when I leave this Earth.  If anyone hauls it to the dumpster, I WILL come back and haunt you.

I had not even put away the things I got at the retreat till this morning.  I've got all the fabric put away and the large decorative container cleared out.  I filled it right up again though!   There were enough books, especially with the "new to me additions" of the last two weekends, that were either piled on or under the coffee table to contain them there.  But first, a cleaning out of the old catalogues and cooking mags in the basket on the coffee table----serial cleaning!   Now the reading material/inspiration is nearby for evenings on the couch with the critters.

Other than that, the usual home chores keep me busy---like I have said, I am always washing something around here!  The critters better keep out of my way or they are next, LOL.  If  not that, then errands or walking.  The female dog up the road is in heat and I cannot keep Oscar from wanting to take extra walks lately.  Plus there are a couple other dogs sniffing around too.  Oscar and I have to give them a wide berth.  He is driving me nuts though---put him out and he wants right back in, gets back in and he is whining to go back out upping the lane trips to 5 and 6 times rather than 3 or so.

 I posted some pictures of them on Facebook the other day but here's another view.  Try to get a cat to look at the camera when they are only interested on going up high.

Oscar, meantime, has taken to digging to China again.  I caught him whining and poking his nose through the fence as though he had seen varmits under the shed. He did not even try to disguise that he had been tearing out the grass.  The ground is softer from the three days of rain earlier in the week so he is going to town on making a muddy mess.  The kitchen floor needs mopping badly but it is going to wait till this front has moved through.  

I have thought for three days that I would be getting started on the newsletter but I am still waiting for submissions.  Frankly, I got busy with other things.  Once I come back from walkie #4 I will consider getting started on it since I normally have it out by the first day of the month.  One more after this and I am finally done with this job and the guild gets someone else to do it for a two year term.  Not going to be me is all I know.

And sew it goes, sometimes, LOL------------