Too much work, not enough weekend...

Oh, that's how I feel today for sure. What with school errands and cooler weather, my to-do list got shot all to heck. I didn't get to half of the list, but did lots of stuff outside that wasn't on the list. I don't think it was over the mid 90's in our back yard all weekend and we took full advantage of it. I cleaned up the veg garden, getting rid of much of the old stuff to get ready for some fall crops. I plan to dig a trench in the clay and replace it with potting soil and try some carrots again. We got carrots this summer, but they're only about as big as the end of my thumb and we ate them raw in a single sitting.

I did not get back to the cmas quilt last night. One of the errands Sydney and I ran yesterday was to JoAnn's to look for alternate borders. The one I had chosen was a dark red with gold stars. It was nice, but the red was a little overwhelming. I picked up a yard of green and a yard of blue, neither of which worked, so we went back to the red and on second look, it's not too overwhelming.

I'm finally getting caught up on my past issues of quilt magazines. I had 5 that I hadn't read. But, that was a mistake because I found all these great quilts I want to make. I am glad to see the magazines focusing on stash busting. I guess they caught on that money's tight and that stash is getting more important. There's a bears paw on the front of Quilt magazine that I really want for the bed this fall, but with all my UFO's that I'm trying to finish and all the BOM's for this year, I won't get to it until next year, if at all.

And speaking of my BOM's, I didn't make one BOM block in August, and they're all going to issue their Sept patterns tomorrow, so I'll need to devote next weekend just to getting caught up. And, I have the itch to get a quilt sandwich into the machine and get quilting. I have one all set up, but I can't stop piecing long enough to get started. However, I'm expecting a slow week next week and am thinking about taking a day or two off after the holiday. We'll see if I can actually pull that off. It sure would be nice to take two days and just sew and actually get caught up to where I'd like to be on my craft.

Okay, enough griping about what I'm not getting done. It's time to get some paid work done. Y'all have a great Monday. Lane


Before there was beer...

There was a kit. I picked up my annual kits this weekend. I picked up one kit for me (Honey Wheat) and one for holiday gifts (Holiday Brew). I think it's going to be a good year. I can feel it. I'm still drinking last fall's batch, and will probably still have beer from that batch long after this kit is ready. As much as I enjoy making it, I just don't drink that much of it. A big night for me is one while I cook. Last year, I made myself an Amber Ale. It was yummy! My holiday beer was a flop, though. Not sure what I did wrong on that, but it was as bad as my very first batch. It was drinkable, but not very tasty. So, next weekend, I'll pull out the kettle and put 3 gallons of water on to boil and then get started making a tasty brew...I hope!

And, I'm going to tempt you with this picture of a resting Santa. I know exactly how he feels. When I should have been adding his last border, I was outside working in the yard. Sydney and I emptied the potting shed, swept, mopped, washed the walls, washed all the stuff that goes back in and put it back. We're both tired and sore, which explains why we only do this every other year. But, everything is "Ship shape and Bristol fashion" as they say. And, we got to spend 6 hours together, listening to the radio. I even let her choose the stations. Then, a shower, and some shopping. Right now she's doing her nails. This little resting Santa is the last block. The quilt is assembled and the first border is on. One more to go and I'll show you the picture of the whole thing. I'd like to be finished by Friday night. I'm thinking about binding the quilt in a red and white stripe, cut on the bias to look like a candy cane. Yummy!
Y'all take care and have a great Sunday evening. Tomorrow is a workday and if I don't get up, I won't be able to. Lane


Happy Nacho Mama's Birthday!!!!

Okay, Mom. You should have received my card by now, and you know that I mixed up my sister's birthdate and your birth month and ended up not celebrating either one on the right day. But, not being one to back down from a mistake, I deem this to be Nacho Mama's Birthday and I encourage you to celebrate today, too! I'm sorry I missed it (again) and fully expect to receive grief from all my blog friends about it. I'm prepared. It's terrible to mess up you Mother's birthday...I know it (unfortunately, this is not the worst mistake I've made about my Mom's birthday...I missed 70 altogether). But, I've learned something from this. If you want your kids to remember your birthday, make your own birthday as important as everyone else's. Don't downplay the importance of it. It's okay to toot your own horn. So, any of you young Mom's out there, learn from this and wear a funny hat all day long on your birthday so your kids will remember the date when you're older.

Also, Happy Birthday Jason! (son of Vesuviusmama). Erin, enjoy the party! It sounds like you're going to have a blast.


Okay, on a quilty note (notice how effectively I changed the focus away from my mistake) I cut the freezer paper templates for the last cmas block this morning. I have a vision that I can actually finish that quilt top this weekend. At least I hope I can. For a little while I panicked when I couldn't find the border fabrics, but they were located, right where they were supposed to be, in a very safe place that was of course, the last place I looked. A little applique, some embelishment, assemble the blocks, add the borders. Hang it on a hanger because all 300 of my safety pins are currently in another quilt sandwich, waiting for me to finally get around to some quilting.

Okay, back to the daily grind. I'm on my second very large cup of coffee, trying to stay awake after a sleepless night. Not sure what was wrong, but my whole body hurt. Maybe it was the change in weather...we got RAIN! YEAHHHHH! And, it's a good thing because with the current water rationing, things were getting a little wilty in the yard. And, the weather people forecast 7 days under 100*. 97 doesn't sound all that great until you remember that on Tuesday, it was 107 here.

Y'all take care and have a Happy "Nacho Mama's Birthday" with me and my Mom. Lane


Yeah, buddy, just ask me to do one more thing...

I dare ya'.

Whew! I am overloaded at work. In fact, I probably shouldn't be taking time to type this little post, especially since I don't think I have time to eat lunch away from my desk. But, I can't help but post a little something, even if it's just a shout out of HELLO! from Texas, where it's hotter than a firecracker.

Yesterday I was on a call with a lady from Cleveland and a lady from Colorado and they both wanted to know if the stars really shine big and bright deep in the heart of Texas and I was able to proudly say, YES! This morning, when Sydney and I were walking, I told her about that and we talked about how bright it was outside, even though there was no moon. The star shine was enough to illuminate our path. We walked past this one house where the dogs always run right up to the end of the driveway, where there must be one of those electric shock fences because the dogs never go any further than the cattle gap at the road. Today, I was in a smart mood and stuck my thumbs in my ears and made "moose horns" and stuck my tongue out at the dogs and said Na-ahhhhhh. Oh, what a morning to do that. They guy that lives there was in the yard, hidden in the dark and I heard him crack up laughing. Guess it's a good thing he had a sense of humor.

Okay, gotta go. Hope you're all having wonderful Thursdays. I keep chanting, I will not work this weekend, I will not work this weekend, I will not... Lane


A really good book

I wanted to blog about a really good book I just finished. It's not about quilting, and even though it focuses on knitting, it's not really about knitting either. It's about friendships. Friendships that form because of the common love of a craft, between people that have little else in common. The name of the Book is The Friday Night Knitting Club and I think that Erin (Vesuviusmama) was the one that recommended it to me on our previous blogsite. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed it and had trouble putting it down. The cover says it is like Steel Magnolias, set in NY city, and it is reminiscent of Magnolias, where a group of friends, with little else in common, form at a beauty shop. Now, if you knit, you'll understand some of the messages where the author ties life lessons to knitting lessons and if you don't knit, the description of all the wonderful wools and patterns may make you want to pick up a set of needles and get started.

As far as me and knitting, I like it because it's more portable than most of my quilting is, but really, I live in TX...how many sweaters and scarves do I need??? So, I found a great sock pattern, and now I'm making my own socks. And, the pair I showed a couple weeks ago was perfect. As soon as they were finished, I started another pair. I even bought a 25 cent sweater that's made from a very fine cotton yarn that I'm going to take apart and knit into brown socks. I used to be a really good knitter and had gotten into fair isle patterns and lots of cable work, but then I found quilting and my true passion.

On the subject of quilting, I'm on a short break from the Indian Orange Peel quilt to recharge before I start the assembly. All those curved seams are a little daunting. And, I'm down to the last block on the cmas quilt. And, I want to get back to my two UFO tops (a Row Houses quilt from Flavin Glover's pattern and my brown and green Storm at Sea). But at some point, I'm going to have to settle into some actual machine quilting. Unquilted tops are not doing anything but staring back at me, wondering when I'm going to get around to them...and they're starting to stack up. It's either settle into some quilting, or take out a second mortgage for a long arm-er to do it for me. Funny, I got into quilting because I enjoy the quilting part and only pieced to have something to quilt. And, while I wasn't watching, I somehow turned into a piecer.

Y'all take care and have a great day. I have to give a presentation this afternoon that I'm trying not to think about because I'll get nervous and there's no point in spending the whole day with butterflies in my stomach. See ya' round the web. Lane


Took some good advice

We took Shirley's advice from yesterday and didn't ask any questions yesterday afternoon, even though we were both ready to pop wanting information. It only took her about 3 minutes to get wound up and she didn't wind down until bedtime. She talked and she talked and she talked... Finally, while I was cooking, I just said, tell me about one last thing that happened and then go set the table. That gave me about 5 minutes quiet before she started again over dinner. We learned everything...at least I hope that was everything. Of course, the teachers are strict and half a dozen kids cried and everyone got lost at least once. The bus ride home was hot (it was 107* yesterday) and some girl had a loud argument in the hall because a teacher caught her texting and took away her phone. (YEAH! $15 to get it back and the parent has to go get it. you can get it twice from the school, then you have to go to the school board office downtown to pick it up.) The bus driver was nice, the advisor was too. The schedule had a misprint and she bumped into a 7th grader in the hall and they both dropped their schedules and picked up the wrong ones, so Sydney had to go chasing after the girl to change back. And, there's one boy that's really cute and nice and is in two or three of her classes...but he has a folder that has puppies and kittens on it, proving no one is perfect (at this point, Rob had his fingers in his ears).

All in all, a good first day for all three of us, if you can stand the hectic pace.

Of course, no quilting got done, but her hair looked terrific!

Y'all take care and have a great day. See ya on the net. I'll be dreaming of quilting while I'm looking like I'm working. Okay, I will be working. I came back from the conference last week all pumped up about work and ready to do good things...at least for a little while. We'll see how long that lasts. Lane

P.S. Happy Birthday Mom (in a few days). I found your address and am getting that card in the mail today. One step closer to getting everything back together after the computer crash of '09. lw


Oops, maybe I bargained too hard

So, we hit just a few garage sales on Saturday and I found my first box of fabric. I sorted through and pulled out all the cottons. There were 9 pieces of fabric and I thought they were all fat quarters. Yesterday, I serged to wash them and they were NOT fat quarters. When I walked up to the guy at the sale and asked how much, he said a dollar a piece. I gave him a skeptical look and said that fat quarters were only a dollar on sale, new at the store (I didn't point out that new, they come without all the dust) and he returned with $3 for the whole bunch. After washing, I measured the fabric and it came out to just over 5 1/2 yards...for 3 bucks! Boy, was I happy. And, only one of the 9 pieces wasn't a really great print and even that one is okay and will make a great background or receding piece in a quilt. It's just not a standout. And, one piece was these great pink and green asian fans that I'm thinking is going to be the focus fabric for a new bedspread quilt for Sydney's room. Her old comforter is wearing thin (it was very cheap and worked fine when she first came to us and we just needed a whole set of linens that was girlie).

Today was the first day of school. She didn't want me to walk to the bus stop with her. She's getting so independent. We got up early, did our yoga, packed lunches and had breakfast and she got ready for school with no prompting. I followed her out the door like a puppy when she went to the bus stop, but she sent me back long before we got to the corner. I'm sure she got on the bus, but I would have liked to be there the first day. And, after she was gone, I thought of a hundred things I could have done to make her first day a little easier, like labeling all those binders she had to lug in. But, by that time, it was too late. Now, she's a junior high school student and I'm sure that the schedule for today will be a little flexible to give her time to figure all those things out.

Her hair looks good. The lady cut it with much more layering so it doesn't just hang down. And, she cut the front at an angle so Sydney will look more like the girl in the movie twilight (Sydney's wish). Of course, I pointed out how that was going to make it harder to keep it all in a ponytail (my wish). I'll try to get a pic up soon. I spent all my time yesterday avoiding first day of school jitters by scrubbing the house. Hopefully, at around noon, I'll be able to get my mind off what and how she's doing and actually give the company some quality time, too.

Y'all take care and have a great Monday. See ya' round. Lane


Everything old is new again

Well, along with installing all this software on the new hard drive comes learning to use it because none of it looks like it did before...of course. So, this is the first picture I've uploaded.

Here's block 11 in the cmas quilt. The dizzy snowman. So, dizzy, in fact, that his head has fallen off. There are lots of buttons and eyes and details to add, but I've been saving those for last. Not sure why. That just means that I'm going to have to go back and do a lot of embroidery, but, hey, the best projects never end, eh?

Well, today, after the grocery, I'm taking Sydney for a haircut. yippee. My fav way to spend an hour on a Sunday. But, it's a low chore day, so there should be a good bit of fun. I could either start block 12 (which I should do), or I could start cutting up shirts for the box quilt that Nancy-Rose was working on, or I could keep putzing with this stupid computer.

What will my priority be. You'll have to wait until later to find out :-). Take care and we'll see ya round. Lane


gonna get to sewing...

Ughhh! I'm tired of this computer. I've been on it since after dinner last night, getting everything installed. And, I got down to the last thing, my online banking, and I've messed with it for 4 hours only to find out they're down for maintenance until Monday, but their site says they're only down in the overnight of fri and sat. Say what you mean and mean what you say. That's what I say.

So, I'm getting up from the floor and going to the machine. We didn't have much luck garage sale-ing today. I got 9 fq's for $3 and Sydney got a book, but we didn't have much time and Rob wasn't in the mood, so we didn't get to any of the better sale-ing neighborhoods. It was all local and all junk! Well, except an office chair that I got to sit in, but when I asked the price, another sale-er had beaten me to it by minutes...just fractions of minutes. RATSSSSSS.

Okay, enough. Sew, sew, sew. See ya'. Lane


My child has no friends...

And, it was sad to watch. And, I don't know what to do about it. And, I'm afraid that I'm already doing all I can. But, is it enough???

I took her to school yesterday for a getting ready session. I was supposed to be able to meet the teachers, but they were all out leading tours of the school and the teacher we hooked up with for our tour was from a different grade. But, we did get to walk to all her classrooms and practice opening her locker and help the girl next to her learn to open her locker. And Sydney grumbled and used me like her personal pack mule the whole way. That part was normal. All the other tweens whose parents were there with them were grumbling and telling their parents to stand in the background, too. It was very normal. Don't talk, don't embarass me, don't show any interest, don't, don't, don't.

But, the kids that we saw from last year were there, and they didn't talk to her. They didn't look her in the face. They were bunching up in little cliques, with their parents standing on the sidelines watching with that bored parental look on their faces, just like they had been grumbled at to do. But, when Sydney saw other kids, they just walked on by. And, that was the nice kids. The meanest ones looked her in the eye and then turned their heads away...OUCH!

There was one girl that Sydney met at summer camp in June that tried to talk, and Sydney didn't have much to say to her and told me she didn't remember her name. There was one boy that Sydney called out to and the boy didn't hear her so didn't turn around (thank goodness). But, that was all the friendliness I observed in two hours of walking around.

As I'm writing this, I'm remembering the chaos that was going on. And, it was true chaos. It was the school's first time to do this and they were not prepared for the huge turnout. They didn't have things planned and it was 200 kids and their parents, often both parents, milling about with confused looks on their faces. In fact, we were probably some of the most ready because I had a plan to see each classroom and was willing to follow the tour guides and listen. Many of the parents didn't speak english, so they were lost on the tours and lost in the big school buildings, like the girl with the locker next to Sydney. Her parents didn't speak english, but they were very grateful that I helped and I know just enough spanish to be able to say I was glad to help when they thanked me, and the dad gave me a very grateful look and a thumbs up. Thumbs up is multi-lingual, I guess.

Last night, I went in her room with my knitting and watched TV with her. After about a half hour of very pointedly idle chatter, I brought up the whole friends thing and tried to talk about it. I emphasized how important friends are and explained that before she came to us, she changed schools every year and keeping friends wasn't that important cuz there was a new batch every year to choose from. But, here, she's going to be with these kids for a lot more years and she needed to learn to make and keep friends. And, she almost opened up, but then she shut down again. So, I just said I was here to talk about friendships if she needed someone, gave her a kiss on the top of her head and kept knitting.

As I'm writing, I'm seeing a glimmer of hope. Maybe Sydney just didn't want me to get involved. She knew that if she got into a conversation with one of the kids, I would NOT be standing in the shadows. I'd be in the middle of it. I am shameless. I can't stand on the sidelines like all those other parents were doing. I'm right there meeting the kids, which is how I knew so many from last year.

I hope that's the case. I hope that when I'm not there she'll talk to the kids. I hope that when all the parents aren't there, it will be better for her, but I'm afraid it won't be. I'm afraid she doesn't know how to make and keep friends. I'm afraid she triangulates them like she has tried so often to do with me and Rob, playing one against the other. But, we're adults and have been together 10 years and caught on to that early and defended ourselves. The kids are only 11 and don't have those defenses and could easily have fallen into those traps. We'll have to see. All she'd tell me was that there would be a whole new group of kids to choose friends from and I shouldn't worry about it. But, I do worry. I worry a lot. Probably too much. That's what it's like to be man-mom.

Okay, that's a glimpse into my life. I need to go so I can try to get to work a little early. Now that my boss has finished his big presentation, and gotten the feedback from the big guys, he has a list of stuff he wants me to work on as long as my arm. I spent an hour just filling in notes yesterday after he told me about the 9 things that need to be done right away. And, while I need to work on my computer this weekend, and while I want to sew some, too, I know I'm going to have to spend part of the weekend working. Hey, maybe I can work on two computers at once. One installing all the software I lost from the old hard drive and one working on stuff for the job. Can you see me sitting on the floor with a hand on each keyboard? Unfortunately, I can.

See ya'. I didn't get to any blog catching up yesterday, but I'm going to have to get started or I won't ever get caught up on what's going on with you guys. Hope you're all well. Take care. Lane

P.S. is it normal for parents to get the first day of school jitters? :-)


He's ba-ack

I have been sitting on my rear end since Monday. First on planes, then in meetings, then in conferences for a day and a half and again in those little cigar tubes that fly and in between, sitting in cars. My rear end is sore as it can be! I need to stand up all day. But, here I am again, sitting on the floor to work on my computer. For the first time, I was using my own computer on a business trip. The company has made that available and I decided to take advantage of it. And, it was working out sooo nicely until Monday night, when I got the blue screen of death. Now, I just bought a computer about a month ago to replace the one that had a fried mother board and I bought an identical one so that I could just exchange the hard drive. Monday night, the hard drive died so I was without for the rest of the week. And wouldn't you know that I had taken movies with me to Cleveland so I'd have something to do in the evenings in the hotel room and that left me with commercial TV :-(! But, I had my knitting. Except I made a mistake in the heel of the sock I was working on and by the time I took out rows to get it back on that tiny needle, I had taken out the whole heel, so I'm back where I started. And, last night, I dropped my glasses off the bedside table and now I can't get them adjusted back right. Who knew a 2 foot drop would twist them up that way. So, it's been one thing after another...but at least I'm home.

The trip was good and it had exactly the effect it was supposed to. I'm pumped up about work again and raring to go. We heard speaker after speaker talking about what we need to do to compete in the new economy. I work for a large insurance company and between the recession and higher gas prices, we've been hit, but not as hard as some of the others, and the big guys are realizing some of the things us worker bees have known for a long time. It's not about churning through customers. It's about getting them and keeping them. They were even able to explain why I've been having so much trouble with our IT department, which is also going through some pretty significant changes, so that made me feel better (I thought they just didn't like me!)

Rob and Sydney seemed to do fine and I didn't find them living in their own filth when I got back. There wasn't even a sinkful of dirty dishes, but there was a hilarious story about them trying to make tuna salad last night and not knowing how much of anything to use (4 eggs, one small can of tuna???). But, they worked their way through it together and ended up with something they could eat. Today is meet the teacher day at Sydney's new school. I'm not sure why they'd do something like that in the middle of the day, but they did, so I'll be working and coming home and going back to work again. Fun, fun, fun!

Because I was without my computer, it's going to take a few days to catch up on your posts, but I'll be doing that over the next couple of days. Y'all take care and I'll see ya' round. Lane


angel and the nutcracker

No, it's not the name of a Loretta Young movie. That one was Angel and the Badman. I definitely quilted my little fingers to the bone fri and sat. I finished these two cmas quilt blocks. First is the angel. Bottom row, left.

And, this is the famed nutcracker. Notice, no teeth. Just a very gold jutting chin. And, it doesn't bother me at all. I had to make the hsq's to go around him on two long and one short side. That adds to the time it takes to finish the blocks, but at this point, I could assemble the left and center columns, so I'm way ahead.

And, I finished the piecing for the Indian Orange Peel. I had about 8 arcs left when we got home yesterday and I couldn't let them go unpieced, so I knocked them out. There are 120 of the small arcs, 16 diamonds, 20 large arcs, and on the right are the 4 pairs of corner pieces and on the left are the pieced 4 patches. They'll be cut into a diamond and the small arcs sewn to the sides. Can't wait to get that part started.

And, since I'm going to be gone a few days (I think), I'm leaving you this casserole so you don't get hungry. It's chile rellenos casserole and there are fresh tortillas in the breadbox. It has everything else you'll need baked right inside.

Y'all take care. Have a great week. I'll be back on Thursday and we'll see ya round the net. Lane
I'm a leaving' on a jet plane. And, I know when I'll be back again. Oh, Oh, I gotta goooooo.


garage sales

Well, I probably won't be able to post for a few days next week, so I'm going to hit you with all of it over the next two days. And, it's been a busy few days. So, today, I'll do the garage sale thing.

Rob's favorite holiday is Christmas. And, he's been up to the Joys of the holiday. If you followed my blog on the old site, you know that he does a huge Christmas village...multiple time periods, multiple towns and plots and the people move around and celebrate the holidays together. Well, he's stumbled up on three village houses for just a few dollars. The cabinet, welllll, not sure what he's going to do with that yet. It could mean he's started his holiday shopping, or it could be just for him. We'll see. The wreat came from the estate sale I went to a couple weeks ago and is some plaster like stuff. But, the ceramic tree is his new pride and joy. He's been shopping on ebay for one and has come home several times, frustrated that the prices are so high and if he finds one he can afford, he can't afford the shipping on it. But, the lady was only asking a dollar for this one, but he paid her 5 and told her it was because it was worth it.

Sydney, on th eother hand is still a beanie baby collector (I hope not for much longer) and Rob bought her a basket to keep them off the floor. The belt, you can't see so good, but it's a GREAT belt and the little asian style dress, well, we'll see. She thinks it's for play, but I think it's going to fit well enough she could wear it somewhere else, too. And, it's very cute.

These are my shirts that I'm collecting to try the Kaffe Fassett pattern that Nancy Rose is making. If you look in the lower left, see the tea pot fabric? That's a bathrobe I got for a quarter. Yes, it was very hot outside when we got to that sale and the folks were already discussing the quickest way to get to Goodwill.

Okay, this is not all my stuff. Some of it is stuff that Rob bought but forgot to put in his picture. The flag and the rooster and clocks on old fashioned tin ceiling tiles. The rooster is going in the kitchen. I hope I'm not starting a trend here. There's a tin to hold quilting blocks or something and two sweaters, one is a great wool sweater and I'm hoping I can get it on Sydney this winter. She'd look great in it and it fits terrif. If not, maybe I'll take it apart and see if I can remake it for me.. I got a few serving pieces because, well, because I didn't have just what I wanted at dinner the other night when I splurged and used serving dishes (okay, so the moon was blue). And, you can't really see them, but there are 4 little Thanksgiving figurines that I just couldn't walk away without.

Okay, you've seen it all, and we've spent less than $30 on it all. Garage sale-ing in the summer can be fun. I wonder if we can afford to do it when the weather cools off?

Y'all take care. I have a ton of pics of what I've gotten done this weekend quilting. Been busy there, too Guess at some point, I'll need to pack. See ya'. Lane


The neighborhood

My neighborhood has certainly changed in the 10 years I've lived here. When I bought the house, the neighborhood was mostly older people who had bought retirement homes here in the 80's. There were very few people under 60 and those were in the few rental properties scattered around. But, as happens in older neighborhoods, the original owners have aged out and moved to retirement communities or passed on and property values have increased to the point where landlords had to sell to owners. Younger folks have moved in. In those 10 years, property values have almost doubled, but the neighborhood is still a great buy compared to the surrounding areas. The homes around us are newer. This neighborhood was out in the "country" at the edge of the city limits when it was new and now it's considered close in. We're about 5 minutes from one of the small "city centers" that Austin is made up of and about 15 minutes from downtown, thanks to new and bigger roadways.

But, the most intruguing part of watching the neighborhood change for me has been the people that have moved in. It seems that the neighbors, while very diverse, are made up of folks that want to spend money on their hobbies rather than their houses. For example, there are a lot of very expensive cars here (jaguars, lexus', mercedes) and there's lots of remodeling (as evidenced by the large amount of building supplies put out for "big and bulky" trash days) and a lot of gardening. I like that. I'd much rather live in a neighborhood where folks don't spend so much on a house that they can't enjoy their lives. We fit right in.

We're able to pursue hobbies, including my quilting and Rob's lawn, and we were able to afford to bring Sydney to live with us. Sure, we've been hit by the economy just like everyone else, but because we've always lived within our means, the economy isn't making us crazy like it is lots of people. Sure, I had to cut back on buying fabric I don't need and I don't get new clothes as often as I'd like, but my shoes don't have holes and my kid is well dressed and well fed. There's not as much going into savings as I'd like, but we're not exactly broke and we should be able to afford to retire at a reasonable age (barring many more shenanigans on the stock market).

I guess what I'm saying is that life is good for us. And I like our culturally diverse neighborhood, and while there's one set of neighbors I'd like to see move on, for the most part, it's very quiet and comfortable here. Sometimes I just need to focus on that and let the worries of the world pass me by. So, today, working from home, I'm focused on peace and prosperity and the feeling that I'm blessed and comfortable.
I hope you also feel blessed today. And, if you don't, I hope this post will help you see what's around for you.


For Vintage Thingies Thursday, I give you...

The world! Okay, the planet earth can't really be considered vintage since it is prehistoric, but this globe lamp is definitely vintage. I love this globe, but learned early not to send Sydney looking at it to find a country because the world has changed significantly since it was made. I love the fact that it lights up and that it is sooo cool when lit. I found it at a garage sale a long time ago and it took me a while to figure out how to get in it to change the bulb, but I finally got in without breaking it.

And, the next two things are items I picked up at an estate sale last Friday. The first is a water carafe with an inverted cup that sits on top. I love these, but they're so impractical down here where anything with cold water in it will sweat like crazy, but I still love them. This one was at a great price, but there's no maker's stamp on the bottom, so probably not very valuable. But, the light blue is fantastic!

And, this rooster, I fell in love with and felt sorry for. For some reason, the red on the comb and the beard were painted on top of the glazed finish. I guess that was so they wouldn't shine. I've been toying with the idea of repainting them, but haven't decided. The previous owner collected roosters and there was quite a selection spread out on a table. But, this was the one I was attracted to. He was the oldest, and oddly enough, was only marked 10 cents, but when I went to pay, they didn't want to give me 90 cents change, so just gave me the rooster. Who can complain about anything free! Right now, he's sitting on the back of my stove, but I won't let him stay there long. He needs a better (cleaner) place. And, I want to find a small container to put in the hole and fill it with toothpicks. It's too deep if I don't put something in it, but I haven't found anything small enough yet. It's only about an inch across and the whole rooster is maybe 5" tall and 5" from beak to tail.

On a quilty note, I gave up on the teeth for the nutcracker block last night and just gave him a great gold chin. I tried three different things last night and am tired of working on that. I've spent as much time on those teeth as I have any of the other whole blocks for the quilt. Decision made, action taken, and we're moving along.

Vintage Thingies Thursday is hosted by my new friend Suzanne at http://coloradolady.blogspot.com/2009/08/vintage-thingies-thursday-sewing.html. Go over and see the sewing patterns she has posted and see the other vintage items that you can get to through her links at the bottom of the post.

Y'all take care and we'll see ya' round the net. Lane


Sydney's first shooting star

We're getting a good view of the Perseids meteor shower around here. So, this morning, instead of yoga, Sydney and I went walking. We walked yesterday but didn't know the shower was going on and never looked up. But last night was supposed to be the peak, so we were out again at 5:15 and we walked the whole way looking up. It's a wonder we didn't skin a knee as neither of us looked down. She had never seen a shooting star. This morning, she saw about 6. I only saw 3 and we didn't both see the same one. It was great!

Poor city kid. By the time I was 11, I was familiar with shooting stars, but I don't remember knowing they weren't really stars until I was an adult. Surely they told us that in school, but I don't remember it. When I was a kid, we spent a lot more time outside than kids do now. In the neighborhood where I grew up, all the kids had to be at home by dark, but lots of nights, especially when there was company, my family was outside much later.

Now, there's too much to do inside for a kid to be outside at night, and the bugs seem to have gotten worse, but that's probably because we learned we shouldn't be spraying all those harsh chemicals. I remember the mosquito truck going through the neighborhood, spraying a fog of poison and we'd run behind it, playing in the fog...and breathing it in. It's a wonder we survived.

Anyway, I played with the nutcracker's teeth last night. I think I'm just going to have to settle for coloring them in with a pigma. I'm tired of messing with it. I don't do well when I'm working hard, but not making progress, so I'll settle and hope that I learned a little from my first attempt and it's better the second time. (or maybe the third).

Y'all take care and have a great Weds. Today was our day to water (odd addresses on weds/sat, even on thur/sun), so I left the sprinklers going in the beds this morning on their timer. This evening, I'll move it all around and let it run again. It's funny to drive down the street and see all the sprinklers on one side going and the other side not...well, except for those folks that don't understand "mandatory" water rationing. I washed the car this morning and left my windows down, so maybe we'll get some rain today. The weather man says there's a chance, and I'm glad to do my part to increase those odds. Lane


Ahhh, sweet relief.

Yes, the Aleve has made me feel human again.

And, some of that relief is from my boss finally going to the airport so we can all get some rest. He's been working hard on his presentation and subsequently, those of us that support him have been working hard on his presentation. I think he made his last request for a change this morning. But, who knows. He could think of something on the plane and send me an email this afternoon, so I better enjoy the peace while I can.

I still haven't been able to attach the teeth to the nutcracker on my cmas quilt. To use Sydney's new favorite word, they're creepy. I'm gonna have to step back and try something else. They're bumpy and lumpy and he looks like he has an overbite. While they're straight, they're just BIG. I can do better. Tonight's my night in the sewing room, so I'm going to get a chance to try again.

Last night, another mentionable dinner. We had real, old fashioned french toast with ham and potatoe hash using this recipe http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/ham_and_potato_hash/. This is one of my family's favorites and every time I say I'm going to make it, Rob gives me that funny "I can wait" look because he remembers 70's canned hash and forgets how good this one is. But, soon as I put it on the table, he brightens up and makes sure there's enough for seconds. If you like ham and potatoes, this one is worth the time it takes.

It's just so hot around here that I'm feeling the drain (which explains a nice and easy approach to dinner). In fact, everyone I know over 40 is feeling it. So, I'm going to leave you with a picture of a cool quilt. This one just makes me think of cool weather, so when I was looking at pics I'd posted on my old blog but never here, I saw this one and knew it was right for today. I made this last year and it hangs on the living room wall.

It's from a Fons and Porter pattern that I cut in half. Here's a picture of the quilting detail.

Nice straight lines and a celtic knot in the yellow blocks.

Okay, that's enough peaceful thinking. Time to get around to some of that work I didn't get to before my boss left. No rest for the weary, but at least it's inside work. Can you imagine being a roofer right now? At least the guys that blow in insulation bring an air cooler and let it run in the attic for a while before they go up there. But a roofer is out in the full heat of it and frying on the shingles...I shudder to think of it.

Y'all take care and I'll be checking out your blogs in a few. Lane


Shirt quilt

Well, Nancy-Rose has finally given me the bug to make a recycled shirt quilt. So, we went garage sale-ing on Saturday morning after therapy. We don't get the cheap shirts down here at the thrift stores. Down here, almost everybody shops at Goodwill. It's kind of an Austin thing and I'm not sure why. But, the result is that I haven't gotten a men's cotton shirt there for less than $5 in years. So, to make the quilt economical, I'm going to need to do it with garage sale shirts. I picked up three nicely striped shirts on Saturday along with some other stuff. I got a couple of cookbooks and threatened to buy a revereware skillet that was in really bad shape for Sydney to clean ;-). But, then Rob gave out, so we went to lunch and picked up a couple of things that we needed from stores, and tried to convince Sydney that khaki pants would be cooler than jeans (unsuccessfully), and then home.

I made about 10 of the small arcs for the Indian Orange Peel and then switched to an applique nutcracker for the cmas quilt. I got stuck at the teeth. These guys have big mouths and the designer pieced the teeth but also gave instructions for coloring one in with a pigma pen. I colored one and hated it and I machine pieced one that I didn't finish because I hated it, and then I tried to hand piece one...hated it. And then decided to try to applique one. That one turned out okay, but there are lots of lumps and bumps and I'm trying to figure out how to resolve that before I actually attach it to the piece. After that, I cleaned my messy sewing room up and then knitted on a pair of navy socks until time for bed.

Still having trouble moving around today. I thought yoga this morning would work out the stiffness and it did for a while, but then I sat down to eat and it didn't take long for all those muscles to tighten up again. But, I'm at the office for a busy day of helping my boss prepare for his presentation to the big bosses and then therapy and home. I feel an Aleve moment coming on soon. And, he didn't even wait for his laptop to come on before he started asking me to run reports. yippee.

Y'all take care and we'll see ya round the net. Lane


Oh, my aching back...

I think I must have overdone it today in the yard. But, I really got some good clean up work done. I've been doing a little all along to keep the beds from getting too out of hand, but still, there was cutting back to do and my brick stepping stone had drifted away from one another, so when you stepped on one, you were as likely to slip between the bricks and twist an ankle as to actually stay out of the mud...well, if there was such a thing as mud down here anymore. And, I fed the beds and weeded and cut stuff back and cleared the paths... You know. summer clean-up. After that, it was off to the grocery and lunch and then house cleaning and then I made my real mistake and sat down to work on my checkbook for a little while and now I'm just not sure I can get back up :-). I wonder if I could get my little girl to do the aquarium water change???? No, probably not worth it.

Today is our 2 year anniversary. Sydney has been with us 2 years. Boy, there were plenty of times I didn't think we'd make it, but we did. Just 7 more years until high school graduation. yeah. But, we had a nice lunch. I bought a chicken roasted at the grocery and refrigerated mashed potatoes and frozen veggies. It was perfect. I didn't have to cook a thing. That's the best kind of anniversary meal, and now, Sydney's doing dishes.

She just finished polishing the bottoms of my copper bottomed Revere ware. She disrespected one of the camp counselors this week and now I have the shiniest pots and pans in town. Ain't parenthood grand?

Okay, well, I will get up, I will get up, I will try to get up. Y'all take care and I'll see ya round the blogsite. Lane


socks, blocks and some good advice

As promised, here's a pic of my socks. What looks pink here is really an orangey red. Not sure how they came out with the stripes matched. I certainly didn't do that on purpose, but they could not have matched better, could they? I think these are going to require a dark green polo and khaki's. Maybe I'll wear them on the plane in a couple of weeks. They're nice and heavy and will be great for lots of walking around in airports.

And, I just realized that I said blocks, but I only have one to post. I still haven't finished the angel for the cmas quilt. She lacks her stars, and, this one isn't really finished. It needs blanket stitching around the stars and buttons in their centers, but I liked the star shaped buttons she used in the pattern and I don't have any, so I'll have to stop somewhere and pic them up. Don't be surprised if you see this one again when it's really finished. The little flag was a fussy cut from a patriotic print I picked up at an estate sale. That little flag already made the whole yard worth the price.

And, some good basic advice I promised a friend about selecting color for my quilts. Wish I could take credit for it, but it's not mine and I can't remember where I read it. I think it's one of the best pieces of advice I ever got as a quilter.

Fabric designers are pros at matching colors to create those beautiful prints we love. And, they get lots of chances. When they design a line of fabric, they can have it printed in several different color and shade combinations before choosing which to use on the fabric, so it looks just right. If we take a print that we like and choose our fabric colors and shades out of it, and use those in the same proportion the fabric designer did, we're almost guaranteed to end up with a quilt we like. I personally like the flowery chintz prints that are famous in English country decorating. But, I don't use them in decorating or quilting. If I find one I like, I'll buy a small piece to use for color matching. If they use a yellow/gold background, I'll add lots of yellow and or gold to start my fabric pile. And, if they lay green leaves and vines on that, I'll add lots of shades of green, like they did. If they add a red rose, I'll add a red or two to my pile. A lavendar and purple mum and I'll add those colors. A little pink around the rose buds, and I'll find a pink in the same shade and know that I only need a small amount. A blue dot sprinkled here and there and I'll find a small piece of blue for the pile. And, I have all the fabrics I'll need for my quilt right there and I can put that piece of flowery print back in its box, or a donate pile. I won't quilt with it unless I cut it into tiny pieces and add it in a scrap quilt. Other people use the print as their border. Either way, you've let a professional do all the color selection work. You can use your own color combinations, but I've found that doing so means experimenting and learning from mistakes. For me, it's better (and cheaper) to let the designers learn from their mistakes on the prints they make than for me to end up with an ugly quilt that took tons of time. Next, I'll look for a pattern that takes about that many fabrics, has a lot of background color, and doesn't use all the colors in the same amount, or where I can combine two or more small amounts of different colors to represent one, as in using a combination of blue, pink and lavendar to be one of the pattern designer's colors. If I stick to similar shades of those three, they'll probably substitute nicely. Use that plan, make a block and see how it works. I haven't had one turn out bad yet.

Y'all take care. It's Friday. The weekend is nigh and I have stitching in my mind...and gardening, a little furniture repair, and some heavy cleaning on my to do list...hmmm, maybe I should just stay at work. Lane


Vintage Thingies Thursday and teacups

It's Vintage Thingies Thursday again! Sponsored by Suzanne at http://coloradolady.blogspot.com/2009/08/vintage-thingies-thursday-sweet-little.html.

Okay, again I wandered through the house looking at things to post. There is just so much to choose from. So, I decided on my little set of kitchen tools. The mixer came first with it's bakelite handles. I've had it for about 28 years. Then, when we were first redecorating the kitchen, I stumbled up on the other matching tools at an antique shop, at a rediculously low price and I snagged them up! Rob got me the rack for Christmas one year to display them.

This old vase came from my Mother. It is from her parents house. It's pretty beat up and I don't know what it's made of. It's very light weight and the glaze has taken a beating. The story goes that it always sat next to the fireplace in my grandparent's house for them to drop matches in. My grandfather had a thing about fire, but my Mom didn't know if it was because he'd had a housefire when he was younger or what caused it. Anyway, it's gone from the floor at those previous addresses to the top of a table at my house. it's very Egyptian, though my photo doesn't do it justice.

And, these are the teacups that we painted on our vacation. No, not vintage but we're rather proud of them. See how nicely they match the teapot? Sydney's chinese characters are on the left and Rob's fall leaves are on the right. Can you guess who painted the one in the middle?

Y'all take care. I spent a family night in the sewing room messing with the computer, so no sewing room tonight. Tonight I'm going to start a new pair of socks. Finished the last pair last night while waiting on software to install. I'll try to post a pic of them tomorrow. They're going to require just the right shirt and pants.

See ya round the internet. Lane

A little of this and a little of that

Well, I enjoyed my time in the sewing room last night, but I didn't finish any of the blocks I had started. Instead, I made a couple of arcs for the Indian Orange Peel. I have "permission" from my mentor to work on that quilt again as she feels caught up to me (I'm not going to tell her that I'm still really, really far ahead of her. I'm just going to enjoy making sections again.) I sent her two boxes of fabric strips yesterday and she sent me one. Of course, there were fabrics in that one that I hadn't used before, so I had to check it against the strips I'd already picked to see if I wanted to make any substitutions and like any good quilter, of course I did!

Today at lunch, I didn't have plans, so brought my salad to my desk and read a quilt magazine. Now a quilt magazine should last for days, with articles about quilting and about quilters and it should include challenging patterns and fabric eye candy. I finished reading this particular magazine in about 45 minutes. In fact, all 6 of the issues I've received in the last 12 months have been about that good ;-(. I'm not going to say which one it was, but I will say that I did not renew my subscription this year. My biggest complaint? It's all patterns and the patterns are not new. Every pattern in the magazine, except one, was an old pattern made up in new fabrics. Okay, a log cabin block is a log cabin block is a log cabin block and anybody can make one. Don't put one in a magazine just to show off a new fabric line. And, the designers pictures were there under those quilts with smiles on their faces like they'd just published the secret to raising the titanic. (Boy, have I become jaded).

On the other hand, I love Quilters Newsletter Magazine because they do have new patterns and their quilts aren't all just to feature a new line of fabric, but they have a section that does just that. And, they have articles! Articles about quilters and tools that help quilters! I have about 25 years of back issues of QNM and they were just as interesting when I inherited them two years ago as they were when they hit the shelves.

Sydney had a rough day yesterday. First, she brought home three little fish that she caught in the lake yesterday so she could put them in her aquarium. Oh, brother. Rob took them to a river this morning and let them go. Last thing we need is three large mouth bass trying to live in a 10 gallon aquarium. And, she'd ripped off the front of the sole of a brand new tennis shoe from dragging her feet. But, when she told me about taking her shoes off to wander through a stagnant pond, I'd had enough and went to bed. There's just so much eye rolling that even I'm up to.

And, my flower beds were really feeling the heat yesterday. Luckily, today is my water day, so I got started with the sprinkler just after the sun came up and hope to finish with a good watering tonight. 105* is just too much for me and for my beds. But, it does give me something to do and I do love to garden and my beds finally reflect all the hard work I've put into them over the last 10 years.

Today, 105* again. And, tomorrow again. I think I'm starting to suffer from the opposite of sun deprivation. But, just because it's the opposite doesn't mean the effects aren't the same. Crazy!

Y'all take care and I hope your weather is better than ours. See ya' round the net. Lane


four corners

Well, here they are. These are the four corners of the Indian Orange Peel quilt. Just 30 more small arcs and I'll be done with the piecing and ready to start the assembly. I know that sounds like a lot, but those small arcs go quickly. These on the other hand seemed to take forever. And, what a chore if I made a mistake because that was a long string of tiny stitches to rip out without tearing the paper foundation. At some point during the piecing, I realized that between my mentor and I, we had enough strips cut that I wouldn't need to use any fabric more than twice or at most three times. Last week, she sent home three boxes of cut strips, so I sorted through them and looked for fabrics I hadn't used yet and was able to get 32 sets of strips without duplicates. So, there will be a ton of variety in this quilt. I estimate that there are over 200 fabrics, mostly from her stash. I hate what she must have done to her stash to accomplish that, but the outcome for us both is going to be two beautiful quilts with a lot of variety. We still haven't been able to hook up for another sewing day, but hopefully we will soon. I'm about ready to start on those curved seams and hope she has some pointers for me.

Not much else going on. I'm still getting back into the swing at work. Sydney is going on a riverboat ride at summer camp. Rob is swamped with work and watching his beautiful yard get drier and drier. We're on mandatory water rationing and while we do what we can, it's hard to keep everything watered, and the price per gallon has gone up through the roof. It would be nice to get some more rain. Half my work team is gone to Cleveland for a conference, so it's quiet as church around here. I go with the other half in two weeks. (Wow, everything sounds so boring).

Y'all take care and we'll see ya' round the net. Tonight's my night in the sewing room, so maybe I'll get something else finished that i can post a picture of. Lane


Don't ya' just hate the day after vacation?

Well, I'm back at work and my boss is working me hard as I try to catch up and help him prepare for his presentation to the "big bosses" about how the year has been in our states. I'm still basking in the glow of a fun 5 days and am decidedly not ready to apply all my mental powers to numbers and spreadsheets. I didn't get pics posted of the quilt blocks I made over the weekend. I did, however spend several hours working on my personal laptop yesterday trying to get everything updated the way I like it. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get it to play a DVD, and after 3 hours of trying yesterday, I just gave up on that. It would be nice when I travel, but other than that, who wants to watch a movie on that little screen anyway?

And, Sydney went back to summer camp today. She wore her Fiesta Texas t-shirt and carried a bag of crochet. She's decided to make an afghan, and conned me out of my 40% off coupon to use on a huge ball of yarn at JoAnn's the other day. She's not ready for vacation to be over either and it was hard as heck to get her washing dishes after I cooked half the day yesterday. But, she did it, even though she made it seem like I was asking her to dig a ditch instead of wash a few dishes.

We officially ended our vacation with (another) viewing of Nat'l Lampoon's Vacation yesterday. It gave us a chance to reflect on how many things went right for us over our 5 days. I'd say we were lucky, but it was more about us being flexible...and lucky, too.

The therapist recommended a book called Children of the Self-Absorbed to help me work through some of my issues and WOW! Have Rob and I made progress since we first got Sydney. We were all set to repeat a lot of mistakes, but we were lucky enough to see how wrong that was going and start making the changes, even before we could put a name to what we were doing. We both came from families that taught destructive behaviors and were poised to repeat many of those mistakes. The book starts out talking about parents and then they have you repeat the lesson, placing yourself as the parent. I immediately went to talk to Rob and celebrate our success, confirmed in print. We knew we were doing stuff right, but it sure was nice to have that confirmation. After hearing from several people about issues with their parents, I recommend the book. You can read the first two pages online at Amazon.com and tell whether it applies or not.

Okay, enough self help. I'm ready to quilt! Y'all take care and I'll get those pics on here soon. Lane


Why won't this featherweight make a stitch!

Okay, I was very frustrated. I tried everything, one thing at a time and it just wouldn't make a stitch. Every machine I've ever used had the needle situated so that it was threaded from front to back, but this machine is side to side. And, I'm so left handed that my right arm is just for balance and holding things, so it was inevitable that I'd thread from left to right....three times before I finally pulled out the book and figured it out. Now, it's sewing beautifully again and even though I'm not supposed to be, I've been working on Indian Orange Peel blocks. I finished the 4 corners and I finished my Bunny Hill BOM. I'll try to post pics tomorrow, but now I'm off to balance the checkbook :-(, And, tomorrow it's back to work. :-( :-( :-(

Just wanted to check in and see what was going on for everybody. Y'all take care and I'll be bouncing around later. Lane