Jan 21, 2015

Checking in

We have been enjoying some spring-like days here in NE Central Alabama.  Sunshine, high 50's-low 60's but rain is on its way in over the weekend.  However, what a blessing these decent days have been.  I think I see some of the camellias buds perking up again.  Also some little stalks are coming up in the area where the crocuses usually appear.

This will probably be a pictureless post unless you want to see Oscar modeling his new colorful dog paw Belly Band.  Yep, they came yesterday. I don't think he likes my putting it on him, growling at me big time.  Lord help me if I try to pull it up to adjust it too.  More growling showing why he was named Oscar the Grouch by his previous owners, my neighbors.  Here you thought it was because he was a "weiner" dog, didn't you?  I am trying to make him say that if he wears his belly band, then he can have free run of the house.  He doesn't and the gate goes back up.  Good luck, you say??

I have been able to send him outside for the past few days to run and play.  You would think that I would have a bit more sewing done but so far you would be wrong.  I am to the point that I could apply the binding to the first bag if I had the binding pressed.  Both color ways are stitched up and waiting.   Maybe tomorrow.  I am too tired to go in the sewing room and hit it after 8:30 and Oscar is in bed.

I did make a decision about my guild challenge piece. I think I told you about that---buy a children's book and use the theme of the book to make a donation quilt for Children's Hospital in Birmingham.  Both the book and the quilt are donated.  Mine is an animal pop up book and I found an all-over animal print that will work.  I'm going to do that Tipsy Tumbler from the Missouri Star Quilt Co. on you-tube but I probably will not mix up the colors, just make a tw print quilt instead.  Just need to find a little time to cut it out.

So what have I been doing?  Oh, who remembers at this point?  LOL.  The days go by.  Paperwork, housework, walking the dog, reading,  Had an eye doctor appointment.   I have also had to try to get the printer to work.  Tax season is coming and that thing seemed to go on the fritz constantly saying it was offline when it was not.  I tried to update the driver.  Finally, uninstall, re-install seemed to take care of it, thankfully.
I had a visitation to go to on Sunday afternoon.  We car-pooled from my house.  Then went to DQ for ice cream.  The place has not been open long and a lot of other folks had the same idea.  Parking lot was a big traffic jam.  Still it was good to see Jane, Aline and Terri though the occasion for gathering was not so fun.

Today ended up being "Binge Cooking Day". The mail lady arrived in the middle of the kitchen detail and honked her horn signalling that I had a package.  I trotted out with my apron on so she knew I was cooking plus she had asked how I was doing.  Janet told me I should have waited till Friday to binge cook as it was going to be colder then.  She may have been right!  I spent about 4 hours in the kitchen with time out for a quick bowl of soup after I took half of the batch up to share with  my neighbors Glynda and Robert.  I think I'm set for a few days worth of meals with stuff for the freezer. I made the following---

  • Homemade Pimento Cheese spread
  • Baked Oatmeal
  • Cookie Brownies---from a mix though I usually prefer to scratch bake--for those days when you gotta have some chocolate.  Other days, there is just not enough chocolate in the world to make you feel better
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 batch of Double Corn Casserole
  • Chicken Tortilla Soup from a mix but jazzed up with tons more veggies (the corns from the other half of the corn casserole, more beans, chiles and hominy).  I had cooked the chicken up last week in the crockpot and had divided the meat up in two containers for this sort of purpose.  The other half maybe on apple pecan chicken salad like Wendy's
  • 1/2 batch of sausage gravy--part of this is breakfast tomorrow
  • small batch of mashed potatoes---might be part of shepherd's pie with some meat from the freezerr
  • Seafood Pasta Salad
I should probably be dusting and vacuuming but honestly, I do not feel like it. The front door is open and the afternoon sun is really making the dust more noticeable.    I don't think there is any chance that I'll go all nuts and start obsessively cleaning.  Ever!  A nice hot shower sounds more like it.  After Oscar and I go for last "walkie",  that is.  I cannot wait to get these tennis shoes OFF.

And if you were wondering, Lily will be having MRIs next Tuesday.  Maybe some answers soon.  Please keep our little peanut and her parents in your prayers.  THX

Jan 14, 2015

Weds check-in

It has been quite a week and some of it not particularly heartening.  Combine this with another string of colder, wet and/or damp days and one's mood begins to be affected.  First my friend's husband's funeral and visitation which makes me cry because it reminds me so much of my sweetheart's passing. I feel so bad for her.  Second, my little 6 month old great-niece Lily is having some other problems that meant another specialist and consultation yesterday so worrying about my family members.

Then I went to Belles yesterday which was partly fun and partly not.  We met for the first time in a month which has seemed like forever ago.  I even got to sew a bit for also forever ago.  Chatting with my buds, talking quilt and catching up.  More on that in a minute............ BUT I check my phone and find out that I need to pass on word from the Friendship Guild president that one of our long time members and a dear woman had succumbed to her long battle with cancer. (I am the newsletter person, co-webmaster and also responsible for flash emails as I have the email list)  Just two days before, word had been that she was going home and hospice care.  She never made it home except to her heavenly home.  Another memorial service to attend this weekend.   Then one of the gals says that another mutual friend and occasional Belle has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will be beginning treatment.  There were a few other things as well with friends' family members.  Man, the hits just seem to keep coming.  Hard not to feel a bit down.  I need someone in my circle of family, friends and acquaintances to share some GOOD news for a change or have some good news of my own to pass on.  

  This is a quilt that Bev made with her dog Molly testing it out.  She said that someone had given her the road race fabric and the checkerboard stuff was originally a valance that she picked up from a garage sale.  She used a heavy plaid fabric on the back thinking that a young boy with a matchbox collection might like it as a play mat.  Cool, huh?

Elsewhere Lois had a couple of tops to pin but first we had to open the large box of batting and unroll some of it.  We buy a couple boxes of the lowest loft poly batting from Nu-Style Quilting in Stover, Missouri.  The shipping costs way more than the product but these are 48 wide rolls by 66 yards,  it lasts awhile and is wide enough for most of our quilts.  Target range is 40 x 60.  Anyway, when you tear into the box, the stuff starts expanding like a huge marshmallow.  You can't really use a box cutter either as it is wrapped in a huge garbage bag.   I need to use it store the rest of the roll here at home.  There is not enough room in the closet for the entire 66 yards and the other stuff we keep at the church!   Lois and I got that dealt with and by then she had pinning helpers.

Marilyn was cuttting 30's repros for a quilt---Emily's something or other from a magazine.  Two alternating blocks and when joined a circular vibe could be seen.    Not a Tennessee Waltz quilt but that sort of thing.  Donna was using the big board to press fabric for her niece's quilt. Valera was laying out flannel squares for a raggy throw, deciding on an arrangement.  Bev was working on a label for her donation quilt.  I believe she was at the pinning table too along with Jane.  Jane had brought our friend Terri. Also Teresa came to show us some purses she had made recently.  Me?  I had to re-read that zip zip bag pattern to figure out just where I left off with it forever ago.  I've got part of it done but found I should have packed some black thread.  I still need to press the binding for the one I had started (stuff for two of them came in the kit). Valera said I should be sure to bring them once I am done.  I hope I CAN get them done as I want one for my small tablet and the other for a purse, I think.  Between some of the gals coming over to my table to chat and trying to get the pattern figured out, I may not have gotten as much done as I hoped but you know what?  I don't really care.  I was thrilled to have the company and bonus, get to sew.

I know I have to keep explaining why I am not getting much stuff done, even the opthamologist asked me about it this morning.  My elderly Oscar pees in the house.  I have to watch to see if he heads to the utility/laundry room to signal a need to go out.  One door goes out to the carport and the other, the backyard.  Goes to the front, he thinks it is time to walk.  Goes to the back, he needs out to do his business.  Sometimes, I go to the door---he climbs in his crate because he doesn't want to go out in the cold, damp, wet.  I pick him up and make him go.  But still he is either marking things or just has an old bladder.  I cannot trust him to be unsupervised and head to the sewing room though he has been a lot better the past 5 days, for some reason.

When talking to Donna about this yesterday, she said I should try a Belly Band and related that she has problems with her sister's dog when he comes to visit.  She ties a bandana around him with a sanitary napkin.   HMMMM

So today I tried that.   Oscar does not look too happy, does he?   You know how doxies waddle when they walk?  Well, it was worse than that as he was extending his back legs to the point where he could barely move.  Run to get his toy??  No way!  He just looked at it and me, like YOU go get it.   I did order one of the official belly bands and hopefully it will work way better than this makeshift deal.

Also a friend that works with the Humane Society suggested using a black light to see just where they have peed so I can do what I can to clean it up from the carpet.  I can smell something near the couch but see no obvious spots on this dark green carpet.  I probably need to look into a professional carpet cleaning crew at some point. The things I don't know but am learning about dogs!

We are sneaking up on last "walkies" for the day.  Last time we were out it got cut short and he did some yard time as there were three dogs running around loose down at my neighbor's property.  This same bunch was hanging around about two weeks ago---one looks like a doberman but red colored and at first glance I thought it was a small deer.  Then there is a black dog that I have not seen up close enough to guess at the breed. The third looks like a pit bull mix and an older version of my former neighbor'a dog who had said someone stole from the yard.  I hate any dogs running at you since I got bit on my upper thigh in back while delivering my paper route as a teenager.  Oscar and I can tolerate the three chihuahuas down the lane as they  come running at us but they are mostly barkers but I still don't like it.  See if the coast is clear now.

Till next time---------

Jan 8, 2015

Artic blasts and other home matters

 I am not sure what the official overnight temps were but by the time I looked it said -10 celsius on the outside thermometer and inside, 12 in Farhenheit.  I still cannot get it re-set so the two agree on a format, LOL. My friend in BC told me to double the C temp and add 30 degrees for a rough approximation in F.

So whatever the temp was, the condensation on the metal window sashing froze in my bedroom last night.  Not sure if you can tell it or not by that picture but trust me, it was icy.  Tonight will be slightly better by a few degrees.  Still not as bad as what my Illinois familyand friends are dealing with.

Skyler wasn't letting the cold stuff get him down.  That window does not get condensation on the window as a rule.  Maybe it is just because I am from the Midwest but I have never understood how two thin panes of glass with some gas between them negates the need for some glass to cover the screen!!   Screen all the time on the outside lower half.  Don't tell me that it doesn't get cold in NE central Alabama either.

Actually I almost had a little disaster here this morning as the cold water line in the kitchen was not working.  I had done what I was supposed to do---open the kitchen cabinet doors and dripped the faucet.  When I went to feed and water the critters, no cold water.  The hot was running but taking a bit longer than usual to heat up.  The bathroom sinks both have a single faucet and they seemed to be running properly but those are interior walls where the kitchen is not.  I got out the hair dryer, thinking that was what DJ had done once.  Where do I point it??  Near the shut off valves or higher?  I settled Oscar back in his bed and ran to Lowe's for a small space heater.  The fellow that waited on me said to try it on low for 15 minutes or so and close the cabinet doors to keep the heat in.   It didn't work but I think that might have been operator error.  Did it again with the proper fan setting--still no go.  Googled to see what to do with one frozen line.  Called the neighbor to see if there was anything else I could be doing before calling the plumber.  He came down to see, thought maybe the heater needed to go on the water heater source line, an hour or so.  I kept the faucet turned on.  Said that it might be frozen under the flooring, like down in the crawl space.  Oooooh, I did not want to go there!!  Thankfully when I got back from walking the lane with Oscar, it was on!  Catastrophe averted.  I'm still not going to put all the stuff back under the sink though

Here is another Oscar shot.  I had just washed the pillow case and cover yesterday.  Look who thinks that it is his pillow!  He has his old crate pad for his end of the couch so it is not like he doesn't already have a cushy spot.  Last night I had to laugh at him as he knocked it down on the floor along with all his toys and then conked out.  Seemed happy to me, until I told him he had to go to bed.  Growly dog, showing why they called him Oscar the Grouch.

I had mentioned my friend Terri's husband Frank in my last post.  Frank did not recover from his ailments and passed away Tuesday evening.  Please keep Terri and her family in your prayers.  I know only all too well what it is to lose the love of your life.

However, I did get a bit of great news.  My sister called me late yesterday afternoon once Mama, Daddy and Lily saw the surgeon.  Lily will not have to have chemo.  The biopsy report was such that it will not be necessary but she will have to have followup ultrasounds and repeat MRI down the line.  Thank you, Lord!

It is about time for last "walkies" and the sun is getting close to the tree line.  Supposedly it is up to 32  but it won't stay that way long if the sun keeps sinking.  Thank heavens, the wind is not blowing like yesterday.

Till next time----

Jan 5, 2015

maybe I'm back?

So here we are starting another year. Hard to believe that I have been blogging since 2006; it will be 8 years come sometime in February. A family member once asked what I would find to talk about when I started. Well, I guess recently I sort of did run out of much to say and share but hey, it took 8 years.  There is still not a lot going on but I'm done with my break.

I got the Christmas decorations put up, except for a straggler or two.  Seems like something always gets left out.  We had another casualty.  A second decapitation. First, Skyler knocked the Inn Keeper on the floor and that laminate flooring is unforgiving to ceramics.  I handitacked everything in the nativity set down.  Then when I hauled one of the boxes in from the shed, I found that the Linda nurse figure should have been padded in some manner.  Mom made these years ago for DJ and I.  They were lamp bases.  Recently I ditched the lamp part and the figures have been in the living room instead of the night stands.  The glue seems to be holding on both broken items.

It has been quite rainy this past week with higher temps.   When not raining, it was quite overcast and gloomy.  Saturday night we had quite a rain with wind, southern Alabama had tornadoes so it could have been worse. Trust me, I was awake dealing with a whimpering dog and heardnthe storm.  I emptied 3 inches from the gauge the next morning.  The drought situation at least here in this part of the state as I read via the ABC 33-40 weather newsletter that the 1-20 corridor is now 200-300% ahead in the rainfall totals.  Still, depressing.  Now the sun is out but the temps are dropping like a rock with 10's predicted for over night come Thursday morning.   It figures then that camellia bush is starting to gear up to bloom.  This bloom IS open but there are at least a dozen starting to show color.  The bush is loaded with buds.

This past Wednesday Jane, Aline and I made a run over to Pell City to pick up a comfort quilt.  The Friendship Quilt Guild's small group mets midweek and it happened that the past donation quilt chairs were passing off to the incoming one.   Our friend Terri's husband is quite ill and has been in ICU since Christmas Eve.  Today they had some better news but he is not out of the woods yet.

They insisted that this little quilt came home with me as our little Lily had to have surgery the day after Christmas to remove a large egg sized mass removed from her low bowel.  Further treatment may be required depending on the biopsy report.  She is home recovering.  I mailed the quilt to my niece and it should be arriving today or tomorrow.

If you are inclined to pray, please add Frank and Lily to your list?  
My aching back situation seems to have improved.  I could at least dust, vaccum and bend over enough to do laundry.  Still, the only thing I have managed to sew in weeks was a a mending job yesterday.    Those pants had been over my sewing room chair since Dec. 26th.  I am thinking about sewing though---a start anyway.

We have a guild challege to buy a children's book and then make a quilt using a theme or character in the book.  Then the book and the quilt will be passed on to the clown ministry at UAB Children's Hospital.   The husband of the member issuing the challenge is involved in the clown group and Jill has helped with his costumes.  Terry will come to pick up the quilts at the March meeting.  Clever idea, I thought.

To that end, I found a little animal themed book and have a few ideas that requires dragging out the novelty prints out of the tote in the bedroom closet.  Actually I am considering a variation of something I saw posted on Facebook yesterday.  Have you seen the Tipsy Tumbler Tutorial from Jenny Doan of Missouri Quilt Company?  She says it will work for any shape though those tumblers are cute!  It wastes some background fabric but a slick trick.   I may try it but use squares, providing I have the stuff in the stash.  After I shared it with my FAB yesterday in chat, Norma took the idea, ran with it and whipped up HER guild challenge top.

Now, to carve out a little time to sew and cut.   This little guy keeps me busy walking but the weather has not been too conducive to his being outside for a few hours so Doggie Mama can play.  He sure is cute though.  (Skyler was in the bedroom testing out the clean laundry so no picture of him)

Guess that's it for now.  Jane, at least there are some new pictures, LOL.