Dec 26, 2016

Long time, no post

I know it has been forever and a day since I last posted.  I thought I kept busy before but my life is  proving to be not only busier but so much better with Charles in my life.  With him, everyday is a surprise or adventure.  How blessed I am!

A good bit has been happening.  Over Veteran's Day weekend Charles and I traveled up to central IL so he could meet my family. As I said previously, between winter weather possibilities in late February and the distance away from family I do not expect them to be here for the nuptials.  I felt they needed to at least see and talk to the fellow who has swept me off my feet.   We arrived on Friday evening and Saturday met my sister Diane at Schooner's for king tenderloin sandwiches and those famous onion rings.  I also took him all over Bloomington-Normal to show him all the places I had lived and worked.  Sunday my brother Phil and wife Jen hosted us all at their home.  All but one sister was there and even a few of the nieces as well along with two of the great-granddaughters.  Charles is still talking about what good cooks we have in our family and raving about Karen's (Jen's mom) cherry pies.  Always good to spend time with my family.

Originally we had planned on stopping on the way back at brother Steve's Tennessee home as he was still recuperating from his double major surgeries in October.  As my parents, Charlie and I were visiting Saturday evening, the family room room door opened and there he stood with wife Jan right behind him saying "I hear there is a party going on".   I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.  We had visited him at Vanderbilt in mid-October right before his discharge home but this was so special to have him with the family after we almost lost him--twice.

Thanksgiving was celebrated twice in one day with my instant, soon to be acquired family.  Charlie's youngest sister Penny hosted his family gathering in Lincoln, AL.  Later in the day we had been invited to join his daughter-in-law's family near Lineville, AL, a county or so away.   Below is a picture of us in Penny's back yard.  The two guys are Charles' sons--Brian on his right with his wife Melissa and her two daughters Raleigh and Graclyn. Missing are the oldest daughter and her two sons.  Jeff is on his left with wife Michelle.  Charles is holding Abby, the twincesses Emma and Araya are in front of me and Michelle while Zeke is standing in front of Gramps.  Jeff has an older boy in high school but Trenton lives in Kentucky with his mom.  I have met him though when he visited last summer.

Abby and I--Charlie's two best girls,  I'm told

Right after Thanksgiving my sister Diane and brother-in-law Rick headed down to Gulf Shores from Illinois.  They had rented a condo at Crystal Shores right on beach till the following Saturday and invited Charlie and I to come down while they were there.  However, we left on Sunday November 27th to go visit his sister and brother-in-law near Destin, FL.  She was the only sibling I had not yet met and Gulf Shores was about a two hour drive to the west of there.  It seemed like a good opportunity to visit with them.  Danny and Ellen both work at the Sandestin Resort and took us over there after supper to look at the lights and stroll around the lagoon and park like area.  This oversized chair, below, reminded me of the old "Edith Ann" skit by Lily Tomlin on Laugh-In.  Ellen is such a stitch and I think I laughed until my sides ached!  Their neighbor had come by and he was kind of egging her on.  I was warned that the situation would be similar if Ellen and Gary their brother who is closest to her in age get together.

We got to Gulf Shores Monday afternoon and started the return trip on Thursday December 1st that week. We strolled along the beach trying to avoid the jelly fish--ugh there! I love the water though it was a bit cool and windy.  There were storms coming in so one day we did have some rain.  Charlie and I went souvenir shopping and out to lunch that day so we avoided most of it.  The four of us did a nature walk at the state park one day as well.  Fun times!  Diane and I worked on the wedding invitation/announcement thing we planned to send out and talked about some of the wedding details.  She is going to be my matron of honor, after all.  Diane took this picture after we left, LOL.

We have had the grandkids take turns staying overnight with us though Abby has been here a bit more than the others because she is not in school yet.  She and Gramps are tight though since she was born after he had retired and his wife and mother-in-law had passed away.  We've also been on grandparent detail as Michelle had Christmas shopping to do.   Brian and his family live just down the road from me about a mile or so.  Charlie had been living with his son Jeff and his family about 33 miles from here in a small apartment in their home.  We are usually back and forth from there once or twice a week, sometimes more, especially now that we are gradually moving his things to the house.

I had two Christmas parties on the same day for my two Tuesday quilt groups but missed the JOY meeting due to the return trip from Gulf Shores.  I've gone to see Trolls, Dr. Strange and Rogue One which is more movies in the theaters than I have done for years.  Because the whole family is into the Star Wars series,  I have now seen 3.5, 4, 7 and parts of others on the marathon on TNT that proceeded the release of Rogue One, LOL.  Not too worry about the ones I've missed as the DVD's are on hand along with lots of "Dr. Who".

As expected I have barely even stepped into my sewing room.  That's okay though.  I will--when things settle down a bit around here.  He is encouraging me to do so as he knows it is something that I enjoy.  Smart man!

He's nursed me through family emergencies, tooth issues and a long run of bronchitis.  Recently I've returned the favor---bout of flu and a miserable toothache and subsequent extraction.  Later this week I'll have to suck it up and drive the van back from Birmingham and the VA hospital and the eye doctor appointment.  I hate driving in Birmingham and on I-20 but I'll do it for him.

We finally got the brush burnt off from the 4 holly bushes we are attempting to remove at the end of the lane. Apparently there is still some drought situation on-going but there had been enough rainfall to allow the State of Alabama finally lift the burning ban. (I've heard 17 inches behind on rainfall totals.)  That burning off two large brush piles was an almost an all-day deal especially since we raked up another 4 or 5 wheel barrels full of leaves, brush and twigs on top of that and I dragged in a bunch of dried up stuff from the kudzu bank too.  I know I sort of smelled like a smoked ham by the time I hit the shower--salty and smoky.   We need some parts for the chain saw but are hopeful that the alligator lopper can deal with at least some of the stubby bits of the bushes that remain.  We'll get back to those later.

Right now we are dealing with some plumbing issues in the master bathroom.  I knew that the stool was leaning to the right and the flooring was suspect. Until recently this bathroom was seldom used and in fact, often had the water shut off in there to prevent the stool from self-flushing.  A couple days ago, before the bathroom flooded, we had talked about the need to get this fixed down the line. He also wanted to replace or upgrade the bathroom lighting---well, he is a master electrician and qualified to do so!  Go for it, I said.  It will be addressed but on the back burner for now.   Water was leaking from somewhere--the sink had water dripping a bit near the P-trap but the main deal was cracked tank on toilet.  The master bath had a curved counter that extended over to the stool with a large mirror above.  With a gap of only about 3 inches above the toilet tank, there was no possible way to pull the stool up without dismantling the vanity, counter top, mirror etc.  We have made a couple of scouting expeditions to Lowe's to decide on what we might want for replacement and to pick up needed supplies.  He cut out about a 2 foot x  2 foot section around the stool and rebuilt the flooring---plywood with particle board is not a good choice as pretty much disintegrated.  As he was removing the rest of the flooring (two courses of vinyl flooring) this morning, we found that more of the crappy floor will need to come out but not as much as we feared.

Add in the wedding details--two months away, after all. We both had written down our list of friends and relations but I needed to track down the addresses.  My Wedding Planning for Dummies said the invitations needed to go out about 8 weeks before the wedding.  They hit the mail box on Saturday!  I am thrilled to know that both my sisters are coming to the wedding along with my niece Randi.  Janet said that Randi will either take pictures or video of the wedding as their wedding gift so we will have a keepsake and family members that cannot come can see it.  The best thing is that Diane has arranged for Mom and Dad to fly with her so they will be here too! Dad will give me away--he officiated at my sisters' wedding and if I remember correctly, my brothers walked them down the aisle. I know that Steve and Jan are planning on coming down from Tennessee--they RSVP'd almost as soon as I said I was getting married, LOL.   I think another of my brothers and his wife are coming too based on something Diane emailed me.   I've gone to expecting just my matron of honor to come to a good many of my family members joining us.   Charlie said just because I didn't have my family here the first time or didn't have an engagement ring, etc doesn't mean I can't have those things THIS time.

Charlie and I will meet with the pastor in early January to discuss the ceremony and get some questions answered about the fellowship hall usage.  His daughter-in-law and I have had some discussion about the cake and food for the reception but will have to put our heads together a bit more. Melissa said maybe like this one below but incorporating teal and silver/gray (color of my dress and his suit)  and possibly a traditional topper.  I assume a rehearsal/rehearsal dinner deal will be needed too especially with family members coming in from out of state.  Trying to keep this low-key!  I didn't have to do any of this stuff first time around so what do I know about flowers, etc?

Christmas Day was low key for us.  I told Charlie that he was to take the day off from doing anything in the bathroom though!  Michelle and the grandkids left on the 17th for Kansas as they await the birth of her first blood niece or nephew any day now.  The kids opened their gifts after school let out for break the day before.  We had invited Jeff to come join us for dinner but he was not feeling well and bowed out.  I had prepared what I could on Saturday tracking down a pecan topped sweet potato casserole that Charlie likes.  We expect Jeff this evening after work so I'll pack some of those leftovers for him.  I mentioned making ham balls or ham salad of some of the leftover ham but he says he doesn't care for either of those choices.  I guess maybe I'll explore some other options!  I'm not used to dealing with picky eaters but I'll learn.

It has gotten so warm this past week that I was able to drag the plants back outside again--low 70's and back to wearing shorts again.  Seems so odd after about 5 nights of dripping water from the faucets and opening the cabinet doors to the exterior water source wall.  Meanwhile, the Midwest seems to be going through ice and snow issues.

Guess that is about all I can think of to pass on at this point other than to wish you all the very best in 2017.  You never know what unexpected things may come your way when you least expect it!  I am living and loving my 2016 surprise, after all.

Nov 4, 2016

I said "YES!"

So, this happened this past Saturday-------

and because my friend Pam said "Ummm...a picture of that ring on your finger, please!"

If you are Facebook friend, you have already seen the pictures but this IS my blog and news this big needs reporting, don't you think?

Now the rest of the story----
A friend asked me if this was a surprise.  I had asked for some time to be sure we were doing this for all the right reasons when I first learned he wanted to take this all to the next level.  Actually I asked him a leading question when we were talking.  Because of an earlier promise to me, he had to answer honestly.  However, it was not at all how he had planned to bring up the subject.  I felt bad about that but told him he could still do it right-- ask me at some special place in a special way, drop to one knee, whatever when we both were ready.  So no, not entirely surprised.

He had asked if we could get sized for rings a couple weeks ago. While we were there, what styles did I like?  "Simple" since I am a no frills kind of girl and I prefer gold to silver.  I didn't need an engagement ring and he said "why not?"  Just because DJ didn't get me one didn't mean I didn't deserve one.  I pointed out a couple I liked but the rest was up to him.  The last I heard, it would be a couple weeks before it was ready. Turns out they called to say it was ready on Friday.  I had tried it on that evening just to see if it fit properly but handed it back to him.  A real proposal please.

We were all dressed up because unfortunately one of the members of our little Bama game watching group had lost her daughter to a long illness just days before and we had a visitation to attend.  After a quick lunch and an errand for a missing meal ingredient, he asked if I had anything planned for us that afternoon.  Bama had an open date so other than getting said ingredient back home and fixing us supper, no plans.  Off we went down the road but I had no clue where---just 21 South heading towards Talladega.  Ahhh, we were going up to Cheeha State Park but the back way.  I'd always taken the route up from the Heflin end.  Cheeha Mountain is the highest point in all of Alabama at 2407 feet above sea level.  Gorgeous views up there from Bald Rock and near the hotel and restaurant up there.  I had wanted to go out on the boardwalk sometime this fall!

We stopped at the CCC tower and walked through the museum area and then he asked if I wanted to walk up to the top of the tower.  I am a bit afraid of heights so "no" and I was in my dressy shoes so not good walking shoes.  He dropped to one knee and did it right!!  But no ring---he had left it at my house,  LOL.    No cameras either.

We had gotten a text from his son about a family matter and planned to go out to see them anyway. Abby his 3 yr old granddaughter had her mama call him as were heading down the mountain so that clinched it.  We would ask Michelle to take some pictures while we still were dressed up and just stage the ring deal borrowing the ring box from son Jeff.  (It had his master mechanic signet ring in it so Michelle said to turn the box so it would not show up in the picture!)  He DID ask me---again--or I would not be smiling so well.

I'm getting married!  Who would have thought this was even possible say, in late July when I was so miserable and questioning my place in this world?  Little stories of how this came to be are coming out.  How Paul was sort of nudging us.  How my flirting with him one Saturday afternoon was missed but he was still looking at me with some realization that it might be worth pursuing.......what do you know!?

I have also been asked "where?"  I live in Alabama and will continue to do so, obviously, since I am marrying a Bama boy!  The answer is:   Charlie's church home near here.  We mentioned it briefly to the pastor at services last Sunday but will meet with him after we go up to Illinois so I can introduce him to my family.  I may be cheating them out of another wedding ceremony, just like with DJ, but they have to have at least met Charlie first!!  He wondered if I wanted to get married up there to begin with or do two ceremonies?   I am leaning to renewing our vows up there late spring or early summer so my family can be there and have my dad do the honors if possible.  We will talk about it when we go visit.

The when?  If the church calendar permits, the date will be February 25th. I thought Valentine's Day maybe but that's a Tuesday.  When looking at the calendar for the Saturday dates, I told him my parent's anniversary is the 25th and it has brought them many good years together.  Let's go for it!  I've asked my sister Diane to be my matron of honor.  Our friend Paul will be the best man.  I want Abby to be the flower girl, the twincesses, his almost 7 year old granddaughters, to be bridesmaids and his going on 9 year old grandson to be a groomsman.   He needs another guy up there with him.  I think maybe his older grandson might be a good choice if he can travel down from Kentucky but that is up to him.  Other than that---the suit is ordered, so is my dress.  Beyond that, I am clueless about invitations, announcements, decorations, flowers and all that.  His oldest son's wife Melissa does cakes and told us she and Brian will do that as their gift to us or help in anyway possible.  I so appreciate that!

After three drive-bys, I finally met his long time friend Bruce on Monday though his wife Cathy was at work.  We have a luncheon date with his brother and his wife on Sunday after church but Charlie thinks more family members will be joining us.  We'll see!  He will have to deal with the mob scene with my group soon enough--only fair, right?

Going to be a busy weekend!  Abby spent the day/overnight with us last night and Zeke is coming tonight after school.  Saturday is the twins birthday with cake, ice cream and a trip to see "Trolls" with the family followed up by Bama-LSU game.  It has already been a busy week since I last posted.  I had the fidget quilt sewing a week ago---still in pieces but what a fun day!  Brenda made three of them and shared at quilt guild yesterday.  Both Carol and Judy's were done.  I did get some sewing done at the Tuesday evening group, more of the framing strips on the one I started at retreat but only got about half through the stack of blocks.  Other than that, the only thing getting done in the sewing room was ironing some pillow cases.  I can't stand those looking like a wrinkled up mess from the dryer.  I still have stuff to put away from the fidget class, for Pete's sake.

Guess that's it for this post.  I've been awake since 3 so at least some of those hours were spent in a useful way!  THX for stopping by------

Oct 26, 2016

Meeting day

Yesterday was my quilt meeting(s) day with Belles leading off.  I've got the Halloween quilts up right now so could not hang my recent completions up on the design wall to get pictures.  The meeting spot would work just fine!

You have seen this one--the guild Charming Boxes quilt. The guild members did about 20 some blocks at the spring retreat.  I completed the top, Wendell quilted it and Margarita completed the binding for me with a promise to help with our donation quilts IF I ever get them quilted!!!

This is the Prairie Sticks I completed earlier this summer.  Jennifer quilted it for me along with the No Bake Jolly Bar from the same fabric line.  I plan on sending this one on to one of my great-grand nieces once it is shown at the next guild meeting.  I would have done so LAST month but I had just had that tooth extraction and couldn't drive, etc.

And finally my version of the Good Karma challenge quilt for the recent fall retreat.  The pattern is a take off of Stacey Day's Rubix which came in a mailer from AQS.  She used a controlled palette and I do like that better BUT I had to use each piece of fabric in the charm pack along with some of the aqua stitch yardage.  Those of you who know me will also know how much I tweak patterns.  I did not want to have 4 little squares of the same fabric meeting.  I changed the piecing methods to be framed squares with sashing around them.  Looks the same, sorta, in the end but did NOT go together as Ms. Day's did.  I call mine "Rubix Redux"

I had to laugh at the retreat though as my friend Linda N. came up to me to say how much she loved the gray background I chose. No one else had used it for the challenge but she had used gray in one of her own quilts recently.  I told her that was as much to contrast with the white pieces in the pack but I do happen to like gray.  I mentioned that my mom would probably hate that part as we lived in parsonages that had gray wall paper.  Linda, a pastor's wife (now widowed like me and maybe even a PK too), that I had just hit on the reason she didn't care for white backgrounds.   Everything white at her parsonages!  LOL

Margarita was my tablemate at the retreat and this Twisted Sister was the 2nd of her two projects.  I got her started with one block, and understanding that partial seaming was no big thing, and she was off and running with most all the blocks done by end of retreat.  Last Tuesday they arranged the blocks at the evening group and the top completed in the interim week.  This will be a birthday gift for a family member.  She just wanted to be sure that she had enough backing before passing this on to Jennifer at our guild meeting.

Brenda also had a "show and tell" piece.  I believe she said that this had been a block of the month project from the defunct Heart to Heart Quilt Shop in Trussville (AL).  The binding is in progress.

Lois had brought 5 quilts to pin and I think she said she had 5 more at home!  Bev had a cute baby top to pin as well so she got first dibs at the table.  We had plenty of hands on deck for pinning though with Marilyn, Jane and her guest Valerie who wanted to learn how we did this.  Margarita was getting caught up with her Ashville House Block of the Month stuff with just a little guidance from me.  I love how confident she is becoming at reading patterns and cutting!  Brenda came along a bit later to help.  I probably only got a few stitches in my ancient embroidery project but I don't care.  Some days friendship, fellowship, going where needed and just visiting is the order of the day.

We were having a potluck lunch and she needed to borrow the church's oven to make her yummy contribution.   I don't know if this has a name but you de-crust and flatten white bread with a rolling pin, spread it with softened cream cheese, roll it up, dip it in melted butter and then roll in cinnamon sugar and then bake.  She said she had done this with her grandkids on Sunday and it was a big hit!  Well, it was a big hit with the quilters too!  We also had some yummy butternut squash soup that Lois had made and I've got to get that recipe.  Bev found one that might be similar on her i-pad so just need to ask for the link.  Ham or turkey and cheese sandwiches, blueberry salad as well as mac and cheese rounded out the meal along with some good Bojangles tea.

I had to leave a bit earlier than I would have liked after lunch to meet the bookmobile but also to rest up between meetings.  Donna is working with a couple of the girls on a sampler quilt to teach them various techniques.  Recently we had found a block on Quilter's Cache called Sarah's Choice that had a pinwheel at center and then flying geese for the star points.  She didn't necessarily want to follow the printed directions but then there all kinds of ways to do flying geese. As it turns out, Donna's preferred method is the No Waste 4 at once version but I still ran home to get my Eleanor Burns book and rulers for the girls to use, just in case.  They were going to do them slightly over-sized and trimmed down.

Another of the girls was prepping her stuff for the Fidget Quilt class we are doing to do at Guild on Friday afternoon.  I still need to get in the sewing room and pull some stuff for this like buttons, zippers, rickrack, ribbon, beads and the like sometime between now and then.  My friend Bev and fellow Belle is going to teach us how to do this for Alzheimer's patients.  This one was one she did for an autistic young boy but you get the idea.  I should have kept some of those jeans jumpers for the fabric or see what I can scrounge up at the thrift store for corduroy/textural fabric.

I tried to leave last night once but Aline's husband had just arrived with a couple pizzas for us.  LOL I felt like I had been eating all day after that potluck but it is hard to say "no" to pepperoni.  All and all, a good quilty kind of day--and I love it!

Charlie and I spent a good bit of the extended weekend together.  Turns out repairs to his van were going to be more than it listed on Blue Book.  The 2017's are coming in though so there were some deals to be made. He wanted me to go look nd weigh in on Thursday and had brought his 3 year old granddaughter along with him.  Abby saw Gramps about to leave and he couldn't leave her home.  She loved Skyler but Oscar not so much even though she has a large dog and even 3 puppies at her house.  I kept Abby entertained (and vice versa) though she wore me out chasing her around one of the cars at the dealership.  They had a truck bed loaded with candy and cookies right by the salesman's desk so some of that might have been sugar overload.  I heard she crashed and burned once she got home!

Friday I drove off to his place as we were off to Bennett Farms Pumpkin Patch for the twin granddaughter's (almost 7) school field trip.  Michelle was going to go with us but had not gotten much sleep as Abby kept her awake a good bit of the night.  We needed to run by the credit union, the insurance place and the dealership plus he had plans to visit with our friend Paul.  I had meal prep to do anyway as I was making Shrimp Pad Thai for our evening meal.

Saturday we went for a drive and thought the kids might want to go as well.  Zeke his 8 (almost 9) yr old grandson had an overnight guest so we didn't.  The kids were all about to watch "Turbo" in 3D.   I had one twin on one leg and one twin on the other as the movie started.  Emma apparently got all settled in as she asked her mama why I had to leave just because Gramps was ready to go.  Michelle said she's his girlfriend and he likes her and started making "kissy faces".  I said "no, He LOVES me"  in a sing-song voice like people do.  Emma looked at me and said "you like him too" We had planned to watch the Bama-Texas A & M game back at my place anyway rather than interrupt their TV viewing.  He even did some of the "honey do" jobs around here and I was free to putter in the kitchen a bit.

Sunday found us trooping through Walmart for groceries etc like an old married couple or something and going for a drive.  Some roads I have been on, some I have not.  He had hoped to introduce me to some long time friends of his but they were not home.  I think he is still missing some phone numbers after his phone accidentally got burnt up while clearing brush this summer.  I guess I meet his brother and sister-in-law a week from Sunday at a local restaurant.  That's set up.

I am truly enjoying our time together.  He does taekwondo with the kids after school during the week so I tend to see him more come the weekend but we keep in touch. Couplehood--gotta love it!  I am oh, so happy, thanks to him in my life.

Okay, I got up with plans to clean the bathroom and maybe mop the kitchen floor today but of course, none of that has happened yet.  I did get a load of wash done but it needs switched over.  I'm dressed, Oscar was walked.  Best get crackin' here as I expect to see my honey this evening!

Oct 19, 2016

What a month so far!

I am going to address this item first and then get to the "real" life part of this post.  I have had several requests recently about a pattern/tutorial for how I do my t-shirt quilts with the shadows added.  It does add a little unusual twist to my version as opposed to the more typical ones you encounter.   I suspect that it is making the rounds on Pinterest???  I could try to email you but you are coming back as "no reply blogger".  One person DID supply her email addy.

There is no real pattern.  My sewing plans always vary with the motif size, once cut and interfaced.  I DO describe my process for centering them in columns and there is a post about that found HERE in "My sort of tutorial for a t-shirt quilt".   I always use my EQ software to, in effect, custom size each and every shirt/shirt section.  The sashing width stays static but the background sizes are cut to whatever the largest block in that column measures with at least an inch on two sides.   That may not mean a whole lot unless you go back and read the post---and even then it may not be totally clear to you.  Drop the shadows down about an inch or two on the right and indent it the same amount on the bottom and fill in the rest with background.  Want it narrower or look mitered do a 45 degree angled seam like you when joining binding strips---I've seen patterns like that too.

I hope that answered your questions!

Yeah, yeah, yeah I know I have not updated for a few weeks but someone has been keeping me a little busy.   I am thankful for that as I've not been this happy in some time. Charlie feels the same way. I've got someone to laugh with, be silly with and it is so fun!  While we may not have been looking for someone--I sure wasn't-- we were both right there and I guess he needed the nudge from Paul to at least consider it.  Once he said "okay, give me her phone number" the ball started rolling though I am finding this out after the fact, LOL.  The best things can happen if can open your heart to the possibilities!

Charlie had wanted a picture of me but I have come to hate having that done as I sort of how forgot how to pose for the camera and smile on command.  He had snapped one on his phone but I was dancing around the living room telling him he couldn't hit a moving target.  Finally I said if his daughter-in-law could take one of us and manage to capture the kinda sappy way we have been looking at each other, smiling and enjoying each other's company I would go along with it.  This was one of my favorites from earlier this month and I think Michelle DID get it right.  She had sent Jeff, Charlie's youngest son in to get a joke book to aid in the "getting me to smile part" but we did just fine on our own.  Sheesh, when she posted them on Facebook, we got comments from family and long time friends like "is Gramps getting married??" and "what's going on?  Are you in need of a maid of honor?"  LOL--slow down y'all!

Unbeknownst to me, my neighbor snapped this one of us heading down the lane walking Oscar and thought we might want it.

I could go on and on about this relationship but I'll spare you most of that gushing and detail I go into my blogging.  Some of those tender moments are private, after all!  He is so good to me and good FOR me.  He took me to my tooth extraction and still felt like kissing me with a long packing string hanging out my mouth. I don't even remember getting in the car to come home. He stocked the fridge with soft foods, tucked me into bed to keep me from toppling over and kept dealing with the ice bags.  He helped me through a family crisis that has spanned about 10 days (more on that in a minute). He's has nursed me through a recent bout of an upper respiratory event, never a pretty event.  I lost my voice and sound a bit like Minnie Mouse and ought to own stock in Kleenex.  He is living dangerously as he still wants to kiss me but is dosing us both with vitamin C and Cold-Eze.   He is enjoying my cooking and I'm having fun having some to cook for.  He's taking me around to meet his other son and siblings-I've got two more local ones to go.   We've been off to Boo at the Zoo with his cutie pie grandkids, up and back to Vanderbilt Hospital on Monday for my family situation and later this week the grand's school event and weekend plans to look forward to.   Suffice to say, we are doing well and I am thoroughly enjoying this.  Isn't happy much better than mourning what we both have lost with our spouses passing?


Okay moving on-----time is sort of blending together here but on Friday evening the 7th we got a call from my mom telling me that my brother Steve has a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm.  There is about a 1% chance of recovery from this and he had already delayed treatment.  Not good.  Thankfully, there was an alert vascular surgeon on hand once 911 was called, the repair was performed.  Charlie offered to take me up to TN right then but my sister-in-law asked me to be the contact person for my side of our large family so she would not have to deal with all the phone calls, texts and emails. I still felt like I should go as I am the one who lives the closest but that is still about 4-4 1/2 hours away.  Sunday evening comes--they moved Steve out of ICU to the floor, not a step down unit and an hour later he had a heart attack, actually his 2nd as it turns out.  Back to ICU.  He's got blockages but if it were to take more than stents to correct, he needs to airlift to Vanderbilt.  Jan insisted he be transferred to deal with any heart issues.  The next Friday, the 14th, he has a triple bypass.  By this past Sunday he is moved to step down and he's walking.

Regardless of what Jan said about staying put things had stabilized, we went up on Monday. She needed the support at that point and I needed to see with my own eyes that Steve was okay.  I remember only too well what it was like to be the one sitting in the waiting room all alone and far away from any family and friends when DJ had heart surgery.  She is overwhelmed with his going home too soon, Steve's a bit wild eyed from the meds and all.  I firmly believe there is a bit of mental disturbance with open heart too.  Charlie and I both thought Steve looked more relaxed and enjoying a little company and Jan was less stressed out by the time we were ready to go.

While on one hand discharge home is a good thing, he IS supposed to go home today whether she is quite ready or not.  He's a big guy and she's a petite girl and she has some justifiable concerns.  The hospital deemed he didn't need home care and she gave them an earful.  I wouldn't be messing with a half Italian-half German woman when she popped the vascular surgeon on the back of the head for transferring out of ICU pre-heart attack and putting him at risk like that.  I'll go back up there if she needs me.  My niece who is a nurse offered to go as well.


I was up at the fall retreat in Attalla during all this stuff going on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday though I left early as that was surgery day.  Gail, the one who is the event coordinator had made sure that me and another person who needed wi-fi access what we needed to maintain internet access or I could not have gone.  Margarita was my table mate.  I helped her with bordering a "Frozen" panel that will be a gift for a grandchild and then helped her get started on her Twisted Sister block in red, white, blacks.  We had started some of this at the Tuesday evening group so she had the cutting done but needed help with the first block.  I think she had 18 of the 25 she needed done by the time I left Friday.  Last night we were laying out the blocks to start her rows.

The challenge quilts on the pews.  Mine is the one with the gray background.  I'll have to have Charlie hold it up for me to get a picture of it opened up.  It is a take off of Stacey Day's Rubix quilt but she used a controlled palette.  The pattern had come as mail insert from AQS but there is a downloadable pdf file if you goggle it.  I had to use all the prints in the charm pack.  Also I did not want 4 little squares where the blocks meet and re-drew it with a large square and pieced elements around it.  My blocks were pre-sashed and minus cornerstones so it all floats.  I'm calling it "Rubix Redux" because it might bear some nodding acquaintance with the original but is NOT the same.

Here are some of the other challenge entries. 19 of us participated.  One even used my Charming Boxes tutorial! (2nd picture down)

The fall blocks from last year---Aline won them and this is the resultant quilt.  Don't know who won the pot this year as I left early.

I worked on my version of "Framed" from Simply Retro using the Dixie line from Moda's Cluck, Cluck Sew at the retreat.  Boring sewing but still enough of  distraction with the family situation.  On day two I decided I wanted the block to be larger by another row.  I had already bumped it up a row longer from 35 to 42 but now it will be 49 blocks square.  Anyway that meant a bit more cutting and sewing on Friday morning so I sort of ended up needing to add just one more strip to a lightly increased pile of blocks--much how it looked at the end of Thursday! 

These are a few of the goodies/door prizes from the retreat--well, minus the Alabama t-shirt that came with the sewing machine cover that Lois won.  She didn't want the shirt but I did providing it will fit me, LOL.  I won the Time to Sew Clock which I need to put up yet.  The black and white print was at my sewing place along with grouping of fat quarters that  have a vintage vibe.  I pulled the two to the left of it in the fat quarter draw---one is definitely a Bonnie and Camille piece and the other a 30's repro.  Amanda made the cricut decal for our cars---I got 73 out of 79 on a music trivia quiz so got to pick in the first group.  I don't know who made the cute pincushion and the little zip bag but they are coordinating prints.  Freda painted the little ornament and also our large button name badge.  Gail used those for the prize drawings--come up when your color is called. ( I was orange, LOL.)  She also did the embroidery for our retreat shirts that said "hanging with my buds" and showed shirts hanging on the line with Quilt in gorgeous multi-colored threads. Mine is in the laundry or I would get a picture of it.  These were hung all around the room like a clothesline with our names above it.  We replaced them with our QOV donation blocks and wore them for a group picture.  


I doubt that I am going to get much more sewing done until Bama Belles day next week.  At home I am still sort of set up to quilt rather than so but I think I'm putting all that up for the time being. This house looks like a wreck! For 5 days I was not supposed to do anything strenuous with the tooth extraction or risk losing the clot and dry socket, then the retreat, then lots of time with my Sweetie.  I plan to get busy dealing with it today since right now I won't see him till Friday!  The laundry was caught up on Sunday but that is always an never-ending job.  Need to walk first.  Walk Oscar too--he's waiting and I'm not dressed yet.  Since I was hanging the Halloween quilts last night, I accidentally bent the heck out of the hanging rod and will need to replace it if the thing is going up.  (I was attempting to mount a wall hanging over one of the beds, the level fell on it back behind the bed, came out bent.)  But the list of things I forgot at the store last night was already growing.  I had borrowed the Belles Big Board for the retreat and will probably ran it back tomorrow as it takes up a big chunk of the car's interior. Besides I will need a couple of items from the better stocked grocery store down that way (Publix) to make Shrimp Pad Thai for us on Friday anyway. Combine errands when you can! 

Best get cracking here--------thanks for stopping by.  Also thanks to all the prayer warriors who stepped up when I asked for prayers for Steve, Jan and their girls on facebook. 

Sep 29, 2016

Goodbye, September

One more day in CDT and the month of  September will be gone with the wind.  We are getting a taste of more fall like weather this weekend but the overnight temps have been a bit lower.  I actually had a quilt pulled up past my feet for the first time in forever last night.  Almost a shock to see the hallway thermostat read 73 degrees this morning.  Bring it on, I say.

Like every other week in my life the week has whizzed on by since I last posted. Earlier in the week Marilyn had asked if I wanted to go with her and a friend to the Lick Skillet Show on Friday morning and then to lunch.  Then I popped that crown and needed to get in to see the dentist.  She was right--he was closed on Fridays but I had told them to go ahead without me and I would probably catch up to them.

Thing is my friend later asked me out to lunch again on Friday.  He lives about 45 minutes away and hoping to spare him the extra 15 minutes to my house, I said I would be in Oxford (it is on the way) at noon at the quilt show.  He could call when he got there and I'd come out.  What ended up happened is the phone rang as I was driving south and he left a voicemail  "I'll be at the front door shortly" an hour and half earlier than I expected him. At my house?? Turned out he was at the quilt show, paid his admission and maybe was walking through looking for me, not sure.  Then he met me at the door, paid my admission and walked through with me!  Oh, atta boy points for that.  I didn't get to the vendors at all but that might have been a good thing after the field trip day and AQS show the previous week.

Of course, we were running into all lot of people I know from Belles, JOY Guild and some from Friendship Guild in Pell City and introducing him.  At one point Wendell our JOY group prez and his wife were in the next group of quilts from us.  He stuck out his hand to shake and says to Charlie "we think a lot of your wife's talents" or something like that.  Charlie didn't say a word, I probably looked like a deer in the headlights briefly till I recovered and said "uh, we aren't married" but left off the part that this was only our 2nd real date!  Oh boy!   I felt embarrassed for Wendell  and I didn't really what Charlie's reaction was.  Charlie and I were laughing about it at lunch.  Later I thought had I wanted to "play" with Wendell for the gaffe I could have said " oh we aren't married---at least not to each other"  but that would have been 1) a lie and 2) mean even if it did strike me as a little funny.  Honestly, I thought he knew I was widowed but perhaps forgot.

Saturday was Bama-Kent State football day so he picked me up to go to Paul's to watch it.  The game was quite early so we all went to supper at Lone Star Steakhouse.  I had hoped we would see the National Anthem performed.   Susan from Patchwork Reflections' granddaughter Madison who is a student at University of Alabama was performing with the Million Dollar Band but doing it sign language.  It was International Sign Language  Week as well as Parents weekend.  I saw video later but not on network.

I saw Charlie again on Sunday afternoon fixing some Cubano sandwiches for supper.  (I scrapped the idea of going to the chamber music concert, LOL.)  Unfortunately right after we finished the meal my missing crown tooth kicked in with shooting pains into temple and jaw and it was bad.  He did what he could to soothe me and it finally let up but not before see me at my worst.  I didn't scare him away, I guess as I saw him Wednesday afternoon (yesterday) for lunch after our mutual doctor appointments.  I think we can assume I am definitely dating and having fun.   Oh, Oscar loves him, jumping all over him and giving doggie kisses.  I almost think he likes him more than he does me.  I rarely get doggie kisses.  Keeps trying to jump up right between us, LOL.  Since we met in Paul's living room last season, I messaged Paul that Cupid must surely come dressed in red Bama boxer shorts (or so I've been told, LOL), a big belly, Bama cap and hunk of chaw.  I don't know if he gave Charlie a nudge or not but suspect possibly.

Donna and Margarita came by Friday evening after the quilt show to pick up the guild donation comfort quilt as Margarita wanted to test out her new thimble and I had gotten the binding on it for her.  Also she wanted to see my sewing room set up.  I waited to set up to quilt the challenge quilt till today since I thought Stacy might come on Tuesday but frankly, I didn't have time to get started on it till today anyway.

I couldn't get in to see the dentist until Tuesday.  It was aching but thankfully, no more bad spells like Sunday evening.  I had to leave the Belles meeting to go and told the girls to go on to lunch without me as I doubted I would be able to chew for a bit.  BUT after talking with the dentist and taking an x-ray, I had a small abscess developing.  If we put the existing crown back on, there was not much bone to attach to and it would slough off and it needed a root canal.  No thanks---I'm getting it pulled this next Monday.  Way back molar anyway.

I had two of my quilts to pin and had left one of them set up on the table half done with Bev's help.  A quick text to say I was on my way back got a response that they were at Olive Garden, come on out and we'll wait to order.  Brenda and Bev were doing hand work at the meeting and I was helping Margarita a bit with a Dandy Quilt block she was making for her QOV retreat block.   Between Belles and the Tuesday evening group she got it all finished up.

I wasn't at Tuesday evening group terribly long but was in full mentor mode I guess, LOL.  Donna wanted go start on a Tree Farm quilt block for the guild Christmas block exchange but was having a little trouble understanding the instructions.  Got her going.  I had brought Stacy the resized idea for the Sweet Life quilt but she was looking through my Simply Retro book and liked the Framed almost as much as I do.  I told her I had one all cut out and that it is one I hoped to work on at the upcoming retreat, LOL.  It certainly will work for her wonkily cut Kaffe Fassett layer cake.   She had a stack of other fabrics and an idea she liked so we all had suggested of what colors to put where from her selections.  Margarita also needed some help with her stack of RWB fabrics for a quilt for a family member, "which color to use where" sort of thing using Ami Simms' Twisted Sister ruler and pattern.  Turned out she was a little short of what she needed for the block center choice.  I told her to just come by and see if I had something she could use as I have quite a bit of red in my stash.  Hopefully the one we pulled out will work--we swapped for some of her black and white.  Janice was doing just fine without me, LOL working on her block of the month that Donna is helping them with.  Her fabric choices are wonderful and she was doing two blocks rather than one.  Donna had wanted a star with a pinwheel center and to have the girls work with flying geese/quarter square triangles.  I found this one called Sarah's Choice on Quilter's Cache that fit the bill but she needed me to print it off for her.  The two guests came again so maybe they are going to be joining in regularly.

Wednesday off to the endocrinologist.  For once I was out of there in a reasonable amount of time.  My thyroid stimulating hormone is finally back in normal limits so I won't have to go back for another 6 months.  However, my scan showed the nodule is a bit larger than it was 6 months prior but still small enough that it does not need to be biopsied yet.  That will be repeated along with the labs.

I managed to get 5 of the 7 rows of my challenge quilt quilted today but have no clue what I want to do on the borders.  I am happy with the progress I did make so I can play a bit tomorrow and not feel so stressed about getting this thing done in time for the retreat.  Charlie is coming with his 3 yr old granddaughter so we'll go to the park and I already told him I was hungry for pancakes so maybe IHOP.  Will see what Abby wants, LOL.  Bama plays at 6 on Saturday and Paul says hamburgers before it starts.

And so it goes------crazy life lately but a happier one in many ways.

Sep 22, 2016

Welcome, Fall!

As usual, I have been keeping busy and another week has flown by.  Now we flip the page to autumn.  We had a cooler morning recently (mid 60's after my thermometer consistently has read 77 for months first thing!).   I had some hope that we were headed to some cooler weather but by afternoon, back up in the low 90's.  I'm ready!  You see some hint of the leaves changing, some are already dropping but I think that is more of a stressed out and drought summer more than anything.  We are about 10 inches behind our annual rainfall totals and it is affecting the lake levels which supply hydro-power.  The yard is all dried out as well.

The yard being dried out and dead might be a good thing after something that happened here in the neighborhood yesterday.  I was not home when this happened, thankfully, but there was a police chase.  Robert was outside working on his deck and saw part of the action and asked the officer he knew at the scene what was going on.   They had to drive right through my yard, around the neighbor's house where they hit a spot they could not get through (tree, shed, trampoline, etc).  There was a foot chase and they apprehended the guy at the end of the lane.  It is amazing that they didn't just go sailing down off the ledge to the road below---it is up at least 10-12 feet, just guessing.

The Police Department explained what happened on their Facebook post this morning.  Quoting the Lt. of our local PD.

"Yesterday a man decided to steal a truck in Anniston. He fled to our humble town of (_______) in this stolen truck, then fled on foot when he was confronted by the truck owner who tracked him on GPS. When PD officers arrived, a search was conducted and we spotted the criminal who decided to play a game of hide and seek.   A foot chase ensued and the suspect was apprehended. The suspect told us that during the foot chase he swallowed a large amount of meth and then began spazzing out. We escorted an ambulance that took him to the hospital for detox, and then we gave him another ride in our cruiser to adult time out at the County Bed & Breakfast facility where he can look forward to some new roomies and a scrumptious oatmeal breakfast."

My other neighbor 2 houses down whose yard was involved said two Police Departments, Sheriff's Deputies and an unmarked car were all down there and then of course, the ambulance too.  Quite the commotion!  Bob also said that there had been a rash of vehicle thefts recently so this may have been another in that string.  Anyway, it won't really hurt the dried up cow pasture I call a yard much to have those vehicles driving on it.

Where was I when all this was going on?  I had one of those sleepless nights but the version where I wake at some early hour and more or less, bail.  I pressed two quilts worth of binding and then started sewing on this block.  Then I had to run into town to have my thyroid tests repeated ahead of my appointment time next week.  From there I went over to our meeting place to pin my challenge quilt since I would already be halfway there.  I was gone from about 11 to 2 by the time I circled back to pick up a script.  Not sure what time this all happened.

This block Circle of Squares is one that I needed to make for the Fall Retreat I will be attending next month.  The hosting guild requested 12 inch finished QOV blocks for donation to be used in their ongoing QOV projects.  I am supposed to be making fall blocks too but they changed the format to a "bring however many, pull out however many".  I don't think I want a fall quilt when I still have a pass around round robin one I could finish.    You can see it HERE---that last border has got to be reworked.  I'm sorry but the super dark poly cotton has got to go along with the things in the corner (is that supposed to be a stylized leaf??) That has explained why this has sat so long in the closet.

Okay, I said my challenge top was done.  I finished that up Monday---one block to make, the joining seams.  I had planned to sew the backing, binding and prep the batting from sections of previously used rolls BUT that night I could not get to sleep in the first place so got up and did all that.  Then because I was so worn out, I did get to sleep.

Friday I had lunch out with a friend and we visited for awhile back at my house till he said he needed to go.  He was supposed to be meeting his daughter-in-law and the grandkids in town and they were all going to the circus being held near here that evening about 4 pm.  I think he was going to catch up with our mutual friend Paul while he was in town and had an errand to run as well.   He had been gone about 45 minutes when he called and asked if I would want to go with them, LOL.  I wasn't doing anything pressing and said "sure" having met the family members a few weeks prior to that.  It was fun though the venue was hotter than the dickens.  Everybody was thirsty especially after eating that salty popcorn.  It was nice to get to know Charlie a bit better than just watching the Bama games.

Saturday I was off early with the pals from the Tuesday evening group heading to the AQS show up in Chattanooga.  This is the last year they are going to have a fall show in TN and are moving it back to Paducah for both spring and fall, I had heard.  Margarita had rented a van so 7 of us could ride up together instead of taking a couple cars. It was a fun day.  We knew we could not keep up with each other and just said "be out front at 12 pm Bama time" and we would go on to lunch.

A vendor from Franklin, TN had this cool Scrap Box Chevron pattern which I did buy but was out of the Puzzled Nine Patch one.  Slick technique.  I also got some Deb Tucker Studio 180 rulers and ran into Lois over there---no surprise, LOL.

Friends of Donna had suggested the Terminal Brewhouse near the Chattanooga Choo-Choo downtown and it was not far from the Convention Center but the Garmin Lady had to straighten us out in getting there as several streets were blockaded.  Food was good and so was the company.  I think I got home around 3??   I only took two pictures as silly me, forgot to put my phone on the charger so it was red lining by the time I took those two.

I had asked Charlie to text me if anything good happened in the Bama game which started at 2:30.   At least 4 of us 7 are Bama fans but I doubted anyone would want to listen to the entire game.   At one point knowing my phone was next thing to dead, I asked Margarita to turn on the radio or Stacy to pull up the score on her phone.  UGH 24-3 late in the 2nd quarter meaning Aline's husband was not going to be a happy camper when he picked us at the rendezvous spot.  As I was driving back to my house, Bama did score a TD so it was 24-10 with like a minute to go.  I didn't dial up the radio figuring it was just going to be the half time yapping.  Charlie texted it was 24-17 as one of the Bama guys had a long punt return TD.  I had something to do here at home so texted back saying I might get brave and go over to watch the game once I was done with that.   When I arrived, I told the gang that they could send me home if I didn't bring them any luck with a win.  Fortunately, that was not needed.

Stacy had asked me to bring one of my portfolio of patterns to the next meeting so she could "pick out her next quilt".  She's working on the borders of her Chevron quilt now and looking for inspiration for her fabric stacks specifically a Kaffe Fassett layer cake.  Sunday I did a bit of re-organizing of the two I planned to take.  These were some of the more recent magazine clippings, internet printouts, purchased patterns or given to me patterns, etc.  Several years back I did a thing where I took everything out of all my notebooks---and there is a bunch from over the years---and separated them all out by categories.  One notebook might be kid/donation quilt ideas, another bags/totes and accessories.  Others were by technique---4 patch, 9 patch, baskets, curved designs, embroidery, applique, Log Cabins, strip piecing, etc etc etc.   The other stuff was just a hodge podge and still kind of is but I know it is the "newer" stuff though some dates back 5 yrs, LOL.

By the time I left I think she might have narrowed things down a bit.  One I had suggested for the large bold Fassett stuff was " Sweet Life" in Simply Retro so those could remain intact but we will have to re-size the block to use her squares.  The pattern in the book calls for fat quarters to make 18 inch finished blocks and layer cakes are not big enough.  13.5 inch finished will work as I was fiddling in EQ that evening when I got home.  It is one I have considered doing myself and she was able to pull it up on the phone to see the block.  Donna had been working with the girls to learn some basic blocks and techniques.  So far they have done a log cabin block and friendship star.  I think she said the next one was flying geese and she planned to do quarter square triangles, applique and foundation piecing as well.  "Sweet Life" has flying geese all right.

We had two guests that evening and at that point no one had their machine going but we were talking quilt and paging through the notebooks.  Actually that worked out well for Donna as I had a foundation pieced star block with a flag at center printed off that I had considered making for the retreat last fall and since I didn't make it, the printouts were just filed.  She said it was exactly what she had been looking for but could not figure out the math for the flag part.  I said to go ahead and take it.  I was going to do something else this year too, LOL.

I set up the sewing machine yesterday afternoon/evening to put the binding on the guild Charming Boxes.  Margarita had gotten a new custom fit to her finger thimble at the quilt show and told me I needed to save her some binding.  She's between projects that require it right now, I guess but took care of that last night.  I just need to hand it off to her at some point and I am happy that I won't have to worry about it especially since I still need to finish my own on Prairie Stix, LOL.

I had considered leaving the forward and side tables up around the sewing table to go ahead and start the quilting on the challenge quilt.  I've got to get started at some point BUT there is a possibility that I will have some visitors in the next few days or so.  A friend from high school who is a Facebook friend messaged me recently to say that he and another classmate were thinking about coming down to Chattanooga and meeting up with a 3rd classmate who lives in Hendersonville, NC.   What was there to do in Alabama?  Depends on what you want to do, said I.  You bike, like music, want to hike?  Like the mountains or the coast better?

They might come down, they might not and I am not sure which day. Frank is supposed to call me.  I've not seen any of these guys since the mid 70's.  Bill went to my dad's church and even dated one of my roommates.  Steve, I don't know as I don't think we had any classes together and I only went to Lexington Community High School my senior year in the first place.   I know they planned on camping a few days anyway at Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA.  BUT we are currently experiencing some gas shortages due to a leak at a major trunk line from Houston through Alabama and on to Jersey.  They are doing a diversionary line but just how soon the work will be done and all stations back up to full delivery schedules is not clear.  He talked to me about this on Sunday or Monday evening as Steve had reported outages in Hendersonville already and it might change their plans.  Turns out we had some as well but we don't get a paper on Monday anymore and I was not aware.  There is a distribution center in Oxford just south of Anniston but they are obligated to deliver to the big vendors first and maybe not all grades of fuel either.

There is also the Lick Skillet Quilt show locally on Friday and Saturday.  Or I could go up to the Collinsville Quilt Walk if I had a mind to.  Bama plays Kent State but really early--not sure if I am going over to Paul's or not.  So far I've not been invited or he just figures I don't need an invite, just show up.  (Last week both he and Charlie asked if I was going.)  Sunday I could go to the Chamber music concert at one of the local churches.  Who knows what I might be doing?  I also lost that same crown that I had to have re-cemented in June.  I've got a call into the dentist and waiting for a call back.  I am not fond of waiting for the phone to ring, I am finding, and having all my plans up in the air!

I changed out the quilts on Monday to the fall variety.  Still need to hang that blind in my bedroom but not happening today.  Today I cleaned up all my thread mess and vacuumed up all the floors and spot mopped in the kitchen.  Did the laundry, ran the dishwasher, etc.   Poor Oscar was despairing if I was ever going to walk him this morning since I was working in my pj's and headed to the shower after I was done cleaning.  We went but it was noon before we did!  This afternoon I am just enjoying my reasonably cleaned up house and trying not to make a mess.   I'll either drag out my binding or read.  The bookmobile is next Tuesday and I am still not done with the first of three books!

And that is how my crazy life is going lately.  Old friends from high school popping up, old roommate going to my parents to get in touch with me on the phone, I may be possibly "dating" somebody but not sure how I feel about that---just nuts!

Sep 14, 2016

Field Trip!

For several months now my quilt group and I have been considering going on a field trip over to the Birmingham area fabric shops.  Brenda knew of two located in Gardendale (AL)--Material Girls and Our Sewing Nook .  Since it was our regular meeting day, we just said "be at the regular meeting spot at 9 a.m. if you want to go. We'll work out how many cars to take then."   Four of us were willing to drive, if need be, even though none of us were crazy about driving on I-20 in and around Birmingham.  LOL, Brenda and Bev were the drivers, as it turned out.

Aline met up with me at my house at an appointed time.  We were about 2 miles down the road when my phone went off and kept going off.  I knew it had to be one of the girls but I really could not pull over at that point.  Aline couldn't reach my purse in the back seat or work my phone once she found it.  I knew we would be at the church in another 5 minutes and I would take care of it then.  Turned out Brenda had a flat that was caused by a screw buried in her tire.  She was right next to an automotive place when this happened.  She was coming but would be a few minutes late.

The first stop was Material Girls. About a week ago Brenda had alerted me that in all her excitement about going on the field trip, she forgotten that the shop was normally not open on Tuesdays.  A phone call to the shop owner was made and she agreed to come in for us to shop.  Turns out she watches her granddaughter on that day and they were both there to greet us.  When we were going further and further out to more of a residential area on Route 31, Bev said "where is this place?"  Turns out in a house next to Great American Tent Rental Company!  The prices were good per yard.  One of the girls found some Gingher scissors and Wonder Clips for a reasonable price too.  The owner was friendly and definitely accommodating!

My main objective was to see if I could find a green similar to the one in these blocks.  One of the guild members in response to a call out for comfort quilts for children had pulled these out.  This much of was made by one of the past guild members who has since passed away.  Others have been completing some of Miss Esther's projects over time.  The only fabric with the blocks is the pink gingham print.  There are three of the smaller framed Bear Paw blocks and one row is complete.  I am not sure where she was headed with the Art Square block (I think that is what is called anyway) that is on top.  So.......... 

First I found a few fat quarters of the print but not knowing how many more blocks or how to use the ones already made it was good that I found it on the bolt and was able to get a bit more in more linear yardage.  It is an Oriental flavored print but should be okay. The gingham has yellow and blues in the little figures on it.  The pink-y red is close but I don't see me making any more of those framed Bear Paws!  Big ones, yes.  Both should work to complete this for a donation quilt.

Then we were off to Our Sewing Nook which turns out is fairly close to I-65 North in a strip mall.  This was a Brother machine dealer who also had fabrics, threads, etc.  As a matter of fact, they were loading up a woman's vehicle with a high end embroidery machine as we pulled up.  I know Margarita found some "Frozen" fabrics along with a panel piece to make a quilt for her three year old granddaughter in the 40% off room.  Aline had some lovely fabrics that could be used for a Christmas quilt but did not "scream Christmas", if you know what I mean?  I found this--4 yards of fabric for 20 bucks in the discount room.  Moda "Folklore" by Lily Asbury.  I believe that this will go with some Sandy Gervais stuff I already have at home though have not pulled out the bin yet to verify.  The colors are similar with the yellow gold, orange, lime greens, aquas that I so love.    I am considering doing another Chevron quilt for my great niece Emily.  Should really finish Lily's first seeing as she is two now and the top has been done for some time!!  The leftovers from that quilt should go with this as well. 

Next stop:  Lunch
Brenda mentioned a couple of choices near our next stop.  The Smokehouse Steaks and Seafood Restaurant seemed like the best choice for 6 different folks to make a choice as it was served up cafeteria style in a "meat and 1, 2 or 3" sides options.  Salad or dessert could be one of the sides even.  Bear in mind that I had no real idea of just where I was all day but this spot is on Finley Avenue in Birmingham near the Farmer's Market. I know this only from googling it now, LOL.   Jackie who had recently re-located to the Birmingham area met up with us at the first quilt shop and had lunch with us.  She used to eat there often and vouch for the food.   I think we all enjoyed our meal.

Brenda had one more stop for us at Cottage Needleworks.  The business is now located in the woman's home when her lease ran out at her bricks and mortar location.  (She was a vendor at the recent Heart of Dixie Quilt Show Jane, Hugh, Aline and I had gone to in late July). I think we were in the Inverness area of Birmingham at this point??  not far from I-459 anyway on the return trip.  Bev and I had to laugh as we were driving and trying to keep up with Brenda's vehicle on that so busy 280.  Her Garmin which did not have the third address plugged in kept trying to direct us somewhere. We guessed back to I-20 but who knows?  She goes "make a u-turn" --we were stopped at a light with vehicles all around us--like "just how do you expect us to do that from the center lane?"  After about the 4th or 5th suggestion to u-turn, I said "we will u-turn when Brenda does and only then."  Wouldn't you know that Brenda overshot the house and did have to turn around in someone's driveway?

The fabrics were 7 dollars a yard and 5/yd if you took what was left on the bolt.  The fat quarter bundles were discounted from the lowest marked price as well.  The ones spread out on the left were in the bundle and I found the other two of the same line in the fat quarter mix.  This is called "Church Ladies Aprons" by Mary Mulari for Penny Rose Fabrics.  All my favorite colors are in here!  I also found this cut little pattern post card and some gray Aurifil thread.

And look!  It even kinda goes with the other stuff I bought earlier depending on what I do with it.   I have been looking at the Sweet Life quilt in Camille Roskelley's Simply Retro for some time now which calls for 16 fat quarters. Maybe that one with the fabrics already on hand, I'm thinking.

I should really head into the sewing room and get back to my challenge quilt especially since I goofed off all day yesterday!  So far all I've done is messed around in the kitchen for a bit---I tried something called  No Bake Avalanche Cookies.  Kinda reminds me more of a Pay Day candy bar, especially since I threw in some dry roasted nuts I had leftover from making Pad Thai recently.  I am looking for something to take to the sewing retreat next month and wanted to see if this will work.  Once they set up, they are headed to the freezer as I don't think I need the temptation around here---peanut butter fudge-like stuff! I also added some more Rice Krispies to it than called for at the end as some of the peanut butter/vanilla coating was more runny in the bowl.  Oh, I'm loving the idea of using scoops for this and the muffins I made recently.  So much easier!

Okay, way past lunch time here and time to get this show on the road since the day is half over already.  Guess you'll never know what I'll be up to when you stop in, LOL.

Sep 12, 2016

Monday check-in

So what have I been up to?  It would seem sewing and cooking or re-purposing leftovers.

Sewing:  Good Karma challenge top is progressing and at this point I am more than half done with two rows to go and the half row for the bottom.  You would have to see the design to see what I mean by "half row" and I can't share just yet.  I have taken a couple days off from it but needed to take a little break from it, creatively.  I got a whole row done while I listened to the Alabama-Western Kentucky football game on Saturday afternoon and laid out the next row yesterday but never quite got around to firing up the machine.  Maybe in a bit.

Friday I loaded up the car and went up to Jacksonville as the guild has a classroom at the FUMC that we are allowed to use for sewing days.  They are trying to get this started up again after taking some time off for the summer.  No one was there when I arrived a little after one but there are two sessions--one 12-4 and the other 4-8 so the after work bunch could participate.  I stayed two hours and then headed back home.  I had to grab another project box though.  A different machine is always in the car at the ready but I had a Layer Cake Lattice cut out with this pretty Riley Blake Summer Song 2 that I had picked up at the Heart of Dixie quilt show back in July.  Easy peasy sewing though not knowing where they tuck the iron I waited to press till I got home and did the sub-cutting here.  It is set aside again but it was fun fabric to play with for a few hours anyway.  Image borrowed from  as I think the line is old enough now to be almost out of stock.

I did some binge cooking on Thursday.  I like to do stacked rice bowls with taco meat so set up two servings of that and made the rest into Tex-Mex type soup.  It went in the freezer for the time being but a small bowl came out for two suppers when I needed the space, LOL.  Mostly it was baking--time to turn the bananas piling up in the freezer into muffins so the old tried and true Pearson House Hummingbird Muffin recipe was pressed into service.  The only thing I do differently is add a small cup of applesauce and ease off on the oil a hair and add a cup of coconut to the mix.  I also decided to make a batch of Libby's Pumpkin Muffins but I was getting low on flour at that point.  I like to divide the recipe so I can put craisins and nuts in half the batter and chocolate chips in the other. It makes for more dishes but that's okay.  I've got a set of big mixing bowls so it is not a problem.  I ended up tagging one bowl "needs another 1/4 cup of flour" and just putting the spice/leavening stuff in the other and buzzed down to Winn Dixie as soon as the oven was done from the Hummingbird Muffins.

I tried a couple of new recipes as well.  I had some pork tenderloin in the freezer and found a recipe for Cheater Pork Carnitas on Slow Roasted Italian, a food blogger I subscribe to.  While the recipe called for a pork loin I figured it would work.  She also used 505 Southwestern Salsa with Tomatillos, Garlic and Lime.  I didn't have that so used a can of green enchilada sauce, a can of chopped chiles, garlic and a fresh lime. (I saw it yesterday at Wal-mart when I got groceries).  I shredded up half of loins this morning for a couple carnita meals adding in a bit of Salsa Verde to moisten it.  Yesterday I had mixed up some Vinegar Slaw to top them with as someone had mentioned in comments, roughly using that recipe but adding some cumin and a pinch or oregano instead of celery seed to pre-packaged slaw mix.   For the rest of the shredded meat, I followed her suggestion of adding cream cheese and cheese to the meat and then rolling them up in 6 inch soft tacos for taquitos for the freezer.  Donna does not give measurements so I just eyeballed.  I cut the other loin up for Cubano sandwiches which call for roasted pork and ham.  The little sample I tasted of the meat was good--as long as it didn't get too spicy!!  I don't "do" hot.

When I got groceries, they had packages of the turkey tenderloins I have been fixing all summer marked down $2.50 a package since they had reached use/sell by.  Even though I was not planning on cooking yesterday, I fired up the oven and took care of those.  All set up for the freezer--some sliced and most of it cubed for salads.  I also decided I wanted some corn muffins with my defrosted Tex-Mex Soup but surely there was a recipe that had creamed corn added to it?   I found one for Creamed Corn Muffins and doubled it to use the whole can of corn and tossed in some green chiles too.  I did jumbo sized and just baked it 5 extra minutes.  They seem a little dry--maybe just a bit of oil added next time?

Let's see--what else?  The town had its annual Heritage Day festivity on Saturday.  This year the fire department was doing a pancake breakfast so I went.  I had woke up at 5:30 and they were serving from 5-9 so I went early.  There was one couple there when I got there and the Mayor came in as I was finishing up in addition to the women selling tickets and the fire department personnel serving.  It was too early for the actual event with folks still setting up their booths so I went home for a bit and then back in later to see what was going on.

If Thursday was cooking day then Friday was cleaning day.  I was tired of looking at the strings I had been tracking, the kitchen floor was a mess etc.  Vacuumed the entire house, mopped the kitchen floor and then spent the rest of the day picking up little lint bits or stuff Oscar and I had tracked in.  Still doing that, LOL.  I try to keep the thread clippings corralled but this time I have more fabric slivers and trimmings than usual with squaring up the blocks with each seam.

I also wanted to share this picture of my dad who at 86 years of age just completed his second trip walking the circumference of the Earth.   Can you imagine walking 49,804 plus miles?  I sure can't but he is to be congratulated on his endeavors.  Most of those are in their little Illinois town.  My niece Randi took his picture when she was down Labor Day weekend.

I only got 3 hours of sleep on Saturday night from like 4 in the morning till 7:15 but made up for it last night.  I was beat!  From about 10:30 to 5:30 and then back to sleep from about 6 to 8:45.  I could hear Skyler meowing at the closed bedroom door. I rarely am in bed after 7 a.m and he knows it!  Now, watch--tonight I'll have problems again but the Belles and I have something planned this week so cannot over sleep!  Tell you about that later.

Oscar is telling me it is time to go walk--he can't tell time but he is kind of on a schedule I guess, thanks to me.  THX for stopping by----