Okay, so I planned on bragging about the puppy and how much better she's doing. There's still some crying when Sydney is out of the room, but for the most part, she's being content with Rob or me, when she can't have the girl.

The puppy doesn't understand posing for a picture yet. These were actually the best two pics of the dozen or so I took this morning. She wiggles too much and is in constant motion.
Speaking of the girl, she's doing so well in school that she's earned another priviledge. She's now getting to wear her hair down. When she first came to live with us, she would lower her hair like a curtain during class and tune the teachers out. So, she had to wear her hair in a ponytail with the threat that if we caught her with it down, she'd lose it entirely. Now, that girl does love her hair, so she'd always been good about keeping it up. Well, she got caught the other day with it down and we found out she's been taking it down soon as the bus turns the corner. So, we talked about how that was a lie, but also that her hair wasn't hurting her grades anymore, so it was okay to wear it down. But, she should have talked to us first.

And, I'm gonna brag about my quilt pounce. The stencil is cut from freezer paper and I just lay it on the fabric, center the pounce on top, tap it once in the center with the tip of my finger, swipe the pounce over it to pick up the extra chalk, and voila! And, that will stay, just that clear through the quilting. I'm going tomorrow to see if they have one with blue chalk that I can use on that blue and white baby quilt that's up next for quilting. I can do so much more complex quilting on it if I can mark it as easy as at tap and a rub. And, the chalk comes off with a gentle rub with a damp cloth. (Thanks, Tammy. I forgot to mention that.)
Down another pound. That's 7 in 9 weeks. Doesn't sound like all that much, but they've been pretty stressful weeks, so I'm very happy and my goal was a pound a week, so not all that agressive. Now, can I lose one this week with my short trip to Minneapolis? Whenever I get together with the group from there, we always eat big and heavy. Guess I'll have to work out extra hard when I get back.
I am at least 40% through quilting the storm at sea quilt. I spent most of this week learning to make stencils and use the pounce, but I'm back on track and expect to get a lot done this weekend. The rest is all curves and lots of free hand, so it should go quick.
Take care. Have a great Friday. Enjoy the weekend. I have lots of quilting planned, but it looks like the weather is going to be nice, so I might choose gardening over quilting. In Texas, 'tis the season between the rain and the heat, which makes it the perfect time to be outside.


Quilter's World magazine

Hey, does anybody subscribe to Quilter's World magazine? I'm looking for a review. I signed up for a subscription based on the terrific flyer I got in the mail without asking any questions. Today, I got my first issue (february) and I am pretty disappointed. If you've subscribed for a while, please tell me whether this is a bad issue or if this is indicative of their work.

It's a kind of a knock-off of F/P Love of Quilting. The articles are even in a similar order.

And, what's up with quilt magazine editors??? You can't just take an old pattern and remake it in a new colorway or a different designer's fabric and call it NEW and EXCITING. That is not what it takes to be new and exciting.

My favorite magazine is QNM, but I recently found out they've been taken over by the same folks that produce F/P, so when it was time to renew, I only renewed for one year in case they change their format.

Now, I have back issues of QNM that were handed down to me from the 80's and 90's when that magazine was changing what was happening in quilting. It might get so bad that I have to pull one of those old issues out every month and pretend they're new. After all, I've only read them once.

Thanks for any input you can provide, even if you disagree with me. I'm always open to have my mind changed by the thoughts of others.


If this isn't your first time to read this post, you'll notice it changed a lot. I guess I let a little more emotion out than this really warranted...;-b

VTT - Better Homes and Gardens

Welcome to VTT sponsored by my friend Suzanne at Coloradolady.

Today, I'm featuring part of my set of Better Homes and Gardens Books. I say part of my set because in addition to the cookbook, sewing book and gardening book, I have the decorating book could not find it anywhere this morning. That shouldn't surprise me because it's the only one that I don't use regularly.

These old books are all from around the same time period, 50's-70's, and although they are vintage today, they are just chock full of good ideas. The cookbook is my most frequently used cookbook not just for the recipes but for the instructions like how to cook turkeys and hams and other things that I make infrequently enough that a short instruction is very useful. My first copy came from my Mom and I nearly wore it out, so the first time I found one in an antique shop, I snatched it up so I could stop putting wear on my Mom's, which was probably a wedding gift.

I also use the sewing book for some basics, especially when making clothes. And, the garden book is an indispensible resource for those old fashioned flowers that I remember from my grandmother's garden and from the gardens of that generation. And, it doesn't have as much use of poison as some of the other old gardening books. Even then, they were looking toward natural methods of pest control. It also has great instructions for how to grow plants and how to design a garden.

The decorating book? Not so much. I don't really want to go back to decorating from the 70's, but it's an interesting book nonetheless, if for no other reason than to see that vintage look from my childhood again.

Okay, so that's it for me on this VTT.

Take care and have a great Thursday. Lane


Red Shoes

No, not The Red Shoes. No dancing. But, it is when I learned the consequences of conformism. And, it was the first time I made a choice that brought me trouble but I had to live with.

Welcome to Way Back Wednesday.

When I was in 7th grade, way back in 1975, everyone either wore blue or white tennis shoes. Oh, there was the occassional day when you needed dress shoes or penny loafers (you were really "cool" if you got to wear quarters in your penny loafers). But, for the most part it was white. Or it was blue. Or it was blue and white. And that was it. Teen conformism at it's best.

When it was time for me to get new shoes, we went to the shoe store and they had a pair of red tennis shoes. I'd never seen anything I wanted so much since the last time I wanted something that much. I had to have them. I remember that my Mom tried to talk me into blue or white, but I had to have red. It was nearly the bicentennial and everyone was into "early american" and honeyed maple and red/white/blue everything. Red was the perfect color for tennis shoes.

Or so I thought.

But, just because I thought they were the bee's knees doesn't mean that everyone else thought so. I took so much grief at school about those red shoes. Kids picked on me, bullys called me names. It was the first time I can remember being called "queer". But, I had those great red shoes and it made me feel different and good and I didn't understand why everybody else was so upset.

And, of course, I couldn't go home and complain about them. After all, I'd gotten exactly what I had asked for and even though I tried not to wear them to school, I knew I was stuck with them until they wore out. It was that or dress shoes.

So, I put miles on those shoes. I did not treat them nicely. I roughed them up and walked in the mud and water. And, I wore them out in what was probably record time for me. And, I hated it. I wanted to put them on a shelf and have them to wear only when I wanted to. But, we couldn't afford shoes to look at and never wear any more than I can afford shoes for Sydney to look at and never wear.

After that, I only asked for white tennis shoes. In fact, until I was 40, I only had 4 pair of shoes at a time; brown dress, black dress, white tennis, and cowboy boots.

Now, I have more shoes than I'd care to tell you about. Why, just in tennis shoes, I have white and a pair of blue and tan and a pair of really nice brown leather ones. Screw conformism.

Color is just color. Where there is terrorism and global warming and crazy people trying to take us all back to a romanticized time that wasn't really that great in the first place, how would I dare to be afraid of a color. So, I wear pink and orange (not together, but just because I don't like them together. not because people tell me not to wear them together) and any other color that I see that appeals to me.

And you know what? Those same bullys that called me names? I've seen them on facebook and they're fat. And, they have fat wives and fat children. And, they live in falling down dumps and post pictures of animals they've killed. And they have jobs they hate.

As far as I can tell, their best days were when they taught me to be a man that can wear pink.

Nietzsche said "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."



The great stencil search

Well, it's snowing and all the Austinites at my office have walked away from their very important work and gone outside to frolic. Hmmm, what's wrong with me that I'm still....oh, wait, in line with TX weather, the snow has now turned to rain.

If you've been following, you know that super el cheapo (that's me) is trying to learn to make quilt stencils. Searching and reading and practicing and searching and reading and more practicing. Most of my attempts have not warranted a blog post as they have resulted in the waste of a whole lot of very expensive ceramic lead and template plastic.

What have I learned? The heated carving tool to cut template plastic did not work for me. It left sharp rough edges that were breaking the points off every pencil and snagging everything. And, I couldn't get smooth lines.

So, I tried a craft knife and the template plastic. Still didn't work. Still rough edges that snagged and didn't give a straight line and ate up the ends of both water erasable pens and pencils.

Next, I bought a quilt pounce. And, I tried it on the template plastic stencils I had already cut and the result was that the plastic snagged the loosely woven threads of the pounce. So, I took a machine needle and poked holes in the template plastic along the drawn lines and that didn't work either. The chalk wouldn't go through the small holes and onto the fabric, whether I rubbed the pounce or patted it (a pounce is meant to rub, not to pat).

Last try this morning was to cut the shape out of paper with the craft knife and rub over it with the pounce and guess what??? It worked perfectly. And, that was with a plain piece of copy paper. But, copy paper is fragile. I only need to print my current design 16 times, so it's going to be fine for that, but I will probably use freezer paper next time. The plastic coating should add a good amount of stability.

And, I'm going to try one more thing on the template plastic. I found a quilter who uses a dremel to drill holes into the plastic, which would solve the problems I had where the plastic puckered around the needle hole, which prevented the plastic from laying flat on the quilt and gave a rounded edge to the holes instead of a flat edge like a purchased stencil has. Anyway, one more thing to try. That would make a very durable stencil, but might be overkill. I don't know that I'd need a stencil to last for more than one project, so paper might fit the bill quite nicely.

Ok, update, now it's snowing again...no, I'm pretty sure that's sleet, but hey, the Austinites don't seem to know the difference.

No, it's rain.



Rain again.

Oh, for Pete's sake, is the weather going to be bad enough to go home or not???????




Life is a series of abrupt changes in direction. And, it applies to everything from pie to potatoes and kids to quilts.

Saturday, we went into Hancock fabrics for two spools of coats and clark, new leaf, polyester thread. That's all. But they were having a 50% off sale. And, $30 later (the thread was the only thing not on sale) and I was having a happy, smiley quilting day. Suddenly


We took my best friend out for dinner. Everyone was happy and laughing over our Italian food. It was like an Olive Garden commercial, but we weren't at Olive Garden. And by bedtime, Rob was running a fever and sick with a cold. Still sick today. Suddenly.


Yesterday it was beautiful. Way too beautiful to stay in and do the work I'd brought home. I spent several hours starting to clean out the flower beds to get rid of all that froze this year. 80*. Sunshine. Breeze. And, tomorrow, it's supposed to snow. Suddenly.


I had the 16 square within a square within a square blocks for my storm at sea quilt finished and as I was drawing the shape into the diamonds, realized that the quilting did not compliment the piecing and that I liked the top too much to quilt it with something that wasn't working.

So, I started pulling that out and putting in fantastic straight lines that actually draw the eye through the blocks and around the quilt. Now I have to find something that will work like a bullseye to pull the eye into the center of those double square w/in a square blocks.

I was headed in a different direction. Suddenly.

Wonder what will happen today to cause me to choose a different path...change direction.




An update, on all things Lane

Well, here it is Friday again. Don't tell my boss, but I do NOT want to be here. It took a lot of willpower to walk away from my sewing machine and this quilt this morning. The more I quilt this, the more I like it. This is my non-traditional Storm at Sea. I just love the greens and browns. I love the circles and ribbons that are formed in it (although you have to squint your eyes just right to see the ribbons that run diagonally through the pattern).

This is not a simple pattern. So, if you make it, be prepared to have frustrating times. Just making all the sections left me so frustrated that I put it in the closet for a year before I could bring myself to put it together. But, now that it's done and I've figured out some of the secrets of the pattern, I might make another in the traditional blue and white...Rob has even suggested three shades of blue, which I think would work nicely. And, if I make it again, I think I'll quilt it to accent the diamonds that are formed when four of the diamond in a rectangle blocks intersect with a square within a square block.

And, the puppy is doing great. We made one mistake and let her bond too much with Sydney and not enough with us during that first weekend. That happened because one of the old dogs got sick and I was spending all my time with him (even staying up on the couch all night with him on my chest). So, Rob and I have our work cut out for us getting her to make better friends with us so we can handle her when the kid is not at home. Right now, I'm dealing with a lot of puppy crying after Sydney leaves and that is just breakin' my big ole heart!

I haven't lost any more weight, but better than that, I haven't gained any either. I was really worried about getting on that scale this morning after sympathy eating milkshakes and pie with Rob after he had his teeth pulled. Oh, and of course I didn't work out when he was home either.

Not going to keep updating the spending more time with the family and less time in the sewing room. You get the picture on that in all my blogs. We did pick out Sydney's classes for next year last night and looks like she's going to be taking spanish, which makes me very happy because I'll have somebody to practice with at home. I've already taught her several words and the kids at school have taught her several more, although their's is mostly colloquial and won't help with what she's learning in the classroom (and she hasn't told me if they're teaching her bad words).

And, the picture above is my current UFO, so that's meeting my goal to finish those up before I start anything new. I have quite a few and am working on at least two all the time. Right now, I'm hand quilting a little top that my mentor started as well as machine quilting the above. I can hand quilt in the living room while we watch TV and in the truck when we take roadtrips. I shudder to think about how many other UFO's there are just waiting for me to get in there and dig them out.

Take care and have a great Friday. I'm looking forward to several hours of quilting over the weekend. Who knows, I might even be able to finish this little quilt and pull out something else. Lane


Vintage Thingies Thursday, Chips anyone?

Welcome to VTT sponsored by my friend Suzanne (who always knows when you need a card and exactly what to say in it) at Coloradolady. This week, I'm featuring one of the finds from our antiquing jaunt a couple weeks back. I think my Mom had one of these. It's a "Modern Tri-Top Chip and Dip bowl" from Indiana Glass.

The thing we like best is the way the hanger for the small bowl works. It actually clips onto both bowls, making the dip bowl very secure, so....

We can use it for Rob's famous Guacamole without worrying that the dip will crash into the chips.

Or, we can use it for some of my favorite fabulous Peach Salsa.

The box is as much a find as the bowl. It has all the cardboard inserts that secured the bowls for shipping. And, it has the original K-Mart Price tag with all but the last digit still there. The bowl cost $2.90 something new. I think we paid about $12 for it and I found one on ebay that started at $15 + $16 shipping, so I'm proud of our bargain. But, as much as we like it, it would have been worth it even if we'd overpaid a little.

Take care and have a great VTT and wander over to Suzanne's and see her husband's pocket watch collection. But whisper, Steve doesn't know he's a collector yet.



The Cuckoo clock mystery

No, this is not a picture of the solution to the mystery. The mystery remains unsolved. But, this is my substitute and it comes with its own story. Welcome to way back Wednesday.

When I was a kid we spent considerable time at my Aunt Lucille (in southern, that's pronounced Aint Seal) and Uncle Roy's house. We went to their house during the summer to gather vegetables and freeze them and we went in the winter so my Dad could hunt in their woods. There are even Cmas pictures of my family at their house, though I don't remember it because I was so young. I remember always being admonished not to take too long in the shower and always to make sure the toilet didn't stick so we wouldn't run the well dry. And, I remember that her dishwater ran through a pipe and out the wall and watered her flowerbeds. They lived on a hill made of red dirt and iron ore rocks and the water had a very iron taste to it.

Anyway, Uncle Roy's mother's house was across the highway and it had not been maintained and was falling down. My Mom took us over there to look around a couple of times, but normally, we were never to go there. The road wasn't busy, but people drove on it fast and sometimes Uncle Roy kept feral hogs in a pen behind the house and they always told me that if I fell in, they'd eat me up!

Now, we all know that the fastest way to get a kid to go into a falling down house is to tell them not to go there. So, of course I went. I wandered around the old house, but not for long. I knew I'd be in trouble if I got caught. When I walked through the front room, I looked in the fireplace and nestled in a bed of leaves was a cuckoo clock. I remember this as if it was yesterday. The clock had blue detail painting on it and the cuckoo was sticking out of the door and it was blue, too. I can see the clock, the fireplace the oak leaves and the sun streaming through the boarded up windows and shining in stripes on the floor. I wanted that clock, but was too afraid of snakes to reach in and take it out. Besides, how would I explain where I got it? But, I didn't forget it.

Later...years later...I screwed up the courage to admit that I'd been in the house. And, I got the courage to ask if I could have the clock. My Aunt and Uncle had no idea what I was talking about. I can remember that they and my Mom talked about it and no one could figure it out. My Mom walked me over there and we looked in the fireplace and dug around in it with a stick. But, no clock. No sign of it or that it had been burned or taken.

Was there ever a clock in that old fireplace? Was it a vivid dream that I've remembered all this time? I mean, I can't remember what I dreamed last night. Could I remember a dream about a clock for some 37 years?

Only the shadow knows.

But, now I have my own cuckoo clock. We went antiquing last week (to take Rob's teeth for a test drive in a place where no one would recognize us). Way in the back, and down the steps and around the corner and back in a vault of a little antique shop, we found this box that said "Cuckoo clock $6.95 As-is". Now "as-is" usually means "it's broke". But, it looked like all the external pieces were there so at the worst, I could take out the broken clockworks and replace it with a battery operated one from Hobby Lobby. But, when we got home and I opened it up, the works looked great! I checked the internet and found out how it worked and within 15 minutes, I had it hanging on the wall and running. Took a couple of days for us to get it regulated to keep correct time, but it does now. And, the cuckoo comes out and bobs up and down and his beak opens and he says "Cook-cooo" once for every hour and once on the half hour, and there's a tiny chime. Drives the cats nuts.

This is no rare antique, but hey, for seven bucks, I'm happy. And it isn't brand new either. According to what I later found on the internet, probably 50's-60's and it is stamped as made in Germany. It's all solid wood, although a cheap wood, but not pressboard or plastic. The only drawback I can find is that it has to be wound every day :-b.

Take care and have a great Wednesday. I've only been back at work one day and I already feel more rested. Lane


Puppy pictures

When we met her, her name was Janice. Now, I couldn't see myself going to the back door and shouting "JAN-ISS" and expecting a dog to come. So, while Rob and I were headed to the bank and Sydney was at Petsmart, holding this pup in a death grip to make sure nobody else fell in love with her, we started thinking about names. Sydney had already suggested Peanut Butter. Food names have played big in her naming of beanie babies, so we thought we needed to head that off. We decided we could live with Bella, which we knew Sydney would like (Bella from the Twilight books loves both a vampire and a werewolf...some things never change).

The poor thing has spent the last three days in Sydney's lap, so this morning, when Sydney left for school, we had puppy anxiety and then when I confined her, we had more puppy anxiety. I'll be glad when she's housebroken and I don't have to lock her up anymore.
Her tail has finally stopped being locked down to her back leg and this morning, she started playing like a puppy, which was really cute. All we know about her is that she's 6 months old and was dumped off in a dog park in a nearby county with a brother that looked just like her, but was slightly larger. She's a cross between a chijuajua and a dachshund and she's cute as heck. I'll be glad when that worried look goes away and her face starts to relax, but I know she had a hectic week before she got to us. She was only with the rescue agency for that long and was living with a foster family that obviously fed her canned food based on how fast she comes running anytime I open anything. Yes, we are nuts, but she met all our requirements; size, hair length, and gender.

Y'all take care and have a great day. I'm back at the office and certainly hope things don't get any more hectic. I've been nursing "those in need" for 6 days. I need some rest. Lane


48 and counting...

It's my birthday, but please don't wish me happy birthday. Don't know why. When I was a kid and anyone sang happy birthday to me, I would cover my face and cry. I grew up and still feel the same way. Not because it means I'm older. No, believe it or not, it's hard work to live to be 48, so I'm not ashamed of my age at all.

No, it's the occassion of my birthday that I don't like. It's just another day I wish I could ignore.

Of course, this year is better than when I turned 30 and threw myself a party and no one came except my two best friends.

And, it's not quite as good as my 40th birthday when Rob threw me the sweetest surprise party and then we drove half way home to meet my parents for the day.

So, it's an in between day.

I was up all night with a sick dog. But, he's better today. Rob slept without his new teeth for the first time last night and was able to get them back in this morning. He gave me a Norman Rockwell plate of a man threading a needle. How appropriate, huh?

We got Sydney a puppy on Saturday and she hasn't let go of the poor thing since. Can't wait until the new smell wears off and I get to play with the puppy some.

In between nursing stints, I put together that green and brown storm at sea quilt and got started quilting it.

Ohhh, this is like my worst blog post ever. I just can't get all my thoughts together to write. So, you get a discombobulated series of updates and the promise of better writing soon as I get some dad-gummed rest! Oh, and some pictures. We have some really cute puppy pics to share.

I'm gonna take a nap. Lane


All is well.

Rob is doing fine. Very little pain, some swelling, but he looks great with the new front teeth and he's eating...and eating. So, today, I'm going to try to not eat every time he says he's hungry. For something like a milkshake or a piece of pie. He's slept a lot and I"ve been sewing. I got this baby quilt together.
Sydney went to her first school dance last night. The Valentine's dance. Ughhhhh
Okay, well, I just got word that potatoes are needed. So, time to go eat again. See ya'. Lane


Miss Genevieve Castles

Welcome to way back Wednesday. We've been doing so much 6th grade work that it's made me nostalgic for when I was in 6th grade.

Miss Castles was my favorite teacher. She taught me in 6th grade. She also taught my Dad in school, so she'd been teaching for a very long time. She didn't follow the normal textbook curriculum. She exposed us to classical music and art as well as english and social studies. Her class was the first time I heard the famous duet from Madame Butterfly and she taught us to contrast the heavy music of Bach with the happy piano of Chopin. She exposed us to classical paintings. Each classroom in the school had a print of a classic painting hanging over the chalkboard. She had us research a painting and then do a presentation to that class about it. Mine was The Gleaners and I still have a special place in my heart for that painting.

And, she taught us about social conscience. I can remember working on a project that she sponsored to collect comic books and pecans to send to soldiers in Viet Nam. I was one of the two students chosen to help deliver these. I don't remember anything about us taking them except getting to ride, with my friend Denise in Miss Castles' big black Oldsmobile. On the return, we drove along the street that runs along the river and is lined with the biggest and nicest houses in my home town. One is like a castle and at the driveway to the house, there was a Gingko tree. When we went by, it was spring, but she explained how the leaves turned in the fall and for extra credit, I wrote a short story about a horse named "The Golden Gingko" who went to work in the circus when he was only 3 years old. Oh, how innocent that sounds now.

Miss Castles had connections to my family, other than teaching my Dad and all my aunts and uncle. I don't know exactly what the connection was, but my grandfather built some simple furniture and Miss Castles ended up with a china cabinet he had made. I made an appointment many years later to see it, but when I got there, she wasn't home and I never got to.

Miss Castles never knew she was my favorite teacher. Because she was old fashioned and wanted to expose us to things that were not popular at the time, my classmates made fun of her and the peer pressure was more than I could resist and I participated. But, secretly, I always loved her and remember her fondly.

I remember the white shirtwaists she always wore with a dark mid-calf wool skirt, the klunky mannish practical shoes, and her gray hair with it's perfect permanent waive. For Christmas, she gave every child in the class a gift. For the boys, she gave us a handkerchief with our first initial embroidered on it and for the girls, a flower that had been made into either a pin or a hair clip, I can't remember which.

I had a friend named Marcus who probably should have been in special education classes, but his mom insisted that he be in the class with the rest of us. I can remember Miss Castles trying to teach him to write legibly, over and over and tirelessly she worked with him. In fact, she taught us all penmanship and how to write beautiful cursive.

Miss Castles never married. She fell in love with a WWII soldier who didn't return from the war and as far as I know, never found love again. She lived with and took care of her mother until her mother's passing. When the government put the freeway through town, their home was condemned to make way and they moved into a little house down the street from several of my friends. During the city's first attempt at de-segregation, she chose to move with her class to a school that had traditionally been an all African-American school, but when that attempt to desegregate didn't work, she came back to Minnie Ruffin Elementary School where she taught until she retired.

I am grateful for all the extra effort Miss Castles put in as a teacher. And, tho she is long passed from this world, I know that she lives in the hearts of many of us who did not know how to appreciate her. Now, I've passed that knowledge along to you and hope that it will remind you of a special teacher from your life.

Take care and have a great Wednesday. BTW, the dentist gave Rob enough Valium to give him the giggles before we went to sleep last night and today he is very calm and relaxed. Thank you all for your kind words of support. They have helped me immensely and your good thoughts have passed through me to him.




Not having much luck focusing today. I've tried to work and have found several little odds and ends that need to be tidied up before I take 3 days off, but other than that, I'm having a real hard time caring about anything but home.

I know it sounds wierd...or maybe it just sounds wierd to the young people I work with, but all my energy is focused on Rob right now. I know he's anxious and afraid and that makes me anxious. But, we're really close right now and I know he's leaning on me for support and I know he's depending on me to take care of everything he'll need over the next few days so he can rest and heal.

That's hard for him. In fact, we speculate that's hard for most gay men of our age. When we came out, many of us became separate from families and we had to be very independent. There's a line I love from Torch Song Trilogy that goes something like "I taught myself to cook and clean and build stairs and even to pat myself on the back when necessary". It's hard, after a lifetime spent being that independent, to lean on someone else for any kind of support. I think that's one of the big reasons that so many gay relationships are so short lived...gay men don't know how to ask for help from a partner and it ends up driving a wedge between a couple during a crisis. And, we didn't have the traditional support of others, both people and institutions, to help us work through that. So, relationships used to have a shorter half life. But, I happily see much of the changing as we gain more acceptance from our friends and families.

The young people I work with don't think this is any big deal. They've known grandparents who have lost teeth and gone to dentures. And grandparents probably don't show their vulnerability and fear about the process. Or, maybe they accept it as part of getting older. But, Rob is young for this procedure. Not the youngest person I've known who had it, but young none the less. And his feelings that this means he's crossed a bridge into being older are really weighing heavily on him. That and the fear of the unknown...what will this be like? will he be able to eat? how bad will it hurt?... At least he's joined an internet forum of folks of similar age who are going through the same thing, so he's been able to read about their experiences and read their cautions about what to do and not to do. We aren't going into this blind. But, we are going into it with caution.

On Sydney's project, we found that she'd "misunderstood" the instructions and had to re-create a whole section. And, when I reviewed the blueprint last night, I found that they'd included all the low flow toilets and low energy use light bulbs and appliances, but the project was about renewable energy sources and they hadn't included any...not a windmill or a solar panel or even a hydroelectric dam. So, we're trying to figure out how to0 add some of those with a minimum of effort. But, I'm still sure that what she's going to turn in will exceed the teacher's expectations (fingers crossed).

Okay, that's it for today. Take care and have a great Tuesday. I'll try to keep posting the rest of the week. I'm hoping to get lots of quilting done while Rob rests. Lane


It's that week

For a month, we've been building up to this week. Sydney found out about a science project and Rob made the decision on his teeth 4 weeks ago and everything since then has been building up to this week.

We've gently pushed Sydney on the project, reminding her of what we would expect. And, she waited. And, she sat at the dining table with it spread out in front of her...and waited. I swear, I think she was waiting for the light of divine inspiration to shine down upon her. So, last Friday night, she worked on it and most of Saturday, except when we were at the movies, she worked on it. And, all day yesterday she worked on it. Yesterday afternoon, she kept wandering into the kitchen and I'd give her a few minutes for a break and then I'd ask "is it ready for me to read? is it going to meet my expectations?" and she'd say "kinda" or "sorta" and I'd say how long is it going to take to meet my expectations and she'd say "I dunno". So, I gave her a deadline of 4:30 and at 4:30 I told her she had until I finished my shower, so she needed to finish up. Then, we found out we couldn't print it from her computer or save it to a disk to print it from mine, so I had to retype it into my laptop while she ate supper. And she'd done a really good job. As I typed, I inserted some questions in all caps and then she got the chance to answer them and I took out some questions and asked a few more, but overall, I think she's going to get it finished and earn a really good grade. She has to design a building that uses renewable energy for most of its power and she picked a house. She has the blueprint drawn and while I think she should have spent a little less time on closets and closet doors (Rob's input) and a little more time on where to place the solar panels, it's a well thought out project that includes a windmill and a cistern along with solar panels and trees to shade part of the roof and a yard of native plants that won't need water. Hmmm.

And, after a month of denial and sleepless nights and bad dreams, Rob has finally developed a good attitude about transitioning to the denture. He was even able to laugh at a couple of old man jokes (when I was cutting his hair, I asked if he wanted me to leave a comb-over to go with his store bought teeth ;-b) As far as I can tell, we've thought of everything from bags of peas to use as ice packs to protein powder. He'll be able to drink milkshakes or soups. I'm even making a big batch of potato soup from my friend Suzanne's recipe (sorry, tried to add a link and can't get to it) Wednesday morning. Potatoes are his favorite food and we can run that through the blender and he can drink it. I even made a pumpkin pie and a buttermilk pie and put them in the freezer. Everything soft. And tonight, we're having brisket cooked slow most of yesterday and tomorrow night, steak. He wants to eat all the tough stuff he can while he can still chew it.

How is all this affecting me? Well, all my perfectionist tendencies are tingly, so instead of taking a picture to show you of the cute blue and white pinwheel quilt, I started taking it apart because I wasn't happy with the way I turned my seam allowances. Sheesh! But, hey, better to do something like that with my OCD than to take it out on anybody else. Oh, and I indulged myself in a little ebay shopping. I want to make a Letha's electric fan quilt, and stumbled up on a set of 30's repro FQ's at a terrific price and snapped them up late yesterday and I found a good copy of a pattern I've been trying to get my hands on for a couple of years and snapped that up, too. It's Ruby McKim's pattern for the flower garden applique newspaper series. Soon as it gets here, I'll try to share a pic of it. Yes, all those are distractions, but hey, I'm not gonna let that bother me. bother me. bother me. bother

Have a great Monday. Take care. Lane



Go see it if you like sci-fi and/or romance because they're served up in equal measure along with a good courageous hero story. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to cheer.

But, it did take most of the day.

6 pinwheels to go. Will post pictures soon. The weather outside looks frightful for some of you out there. Stay warm or keep your feet out of the mud, whichever applies for you right now.

Had a really good family day, doing fun stuff and spending a lot of time working on a neglected science project. We let her manager her own time and she's seeing that. Won't admit it...instead, says she hates science, and we know that's not true. But, she's trudging along. She was happy that she got to type it on her computer in her room as she's getting priviledges back for good behavior.



392 Half square triangles

make 196 half triangle squares, make 49 pinwheels....ummm, sorry. Just doing the math one more time. Over the last two days, I've squared up all 196 of those HTS's and as soon as I get back to my machine, I can make them into pinwheels.

Pictures to follow at 11.

Not really. But, maybe Monday.

First some unfinished business. From Wednesday: I'm not sure I know how to give a child self worth. I know what we've had to do and it's been very hard. We've had to show her what people with self worth look like to model the behavior while at the same time not destroy any value she places in herself by freaking out when she does something really bad. And, sometimes we are more successful than others...

From Thursday, I'm not sure if the pictures will stick together in the train case (that's the favorite name that a commentor called it, so I'm adopting it. i did not like calling it a make-up case) but, they were stored in a cardboard box before and I don't think this will be any worse for them than that was.

NY resolution update:
I did not lose any pounds this week. In fact, I gained one. But, I did not gain it in my middle. It went to my shoulders, and I'm good with that. I wish that instead of setting a goal to lose pounds, I'd set a goal to lose inches in my middle, which I can proudly say is still on the decline, but I didn't measure that at NY. Don't be surprised if I modify the goal, tho.

Finish projects. I did finish that log cabin quilt and then I had to start a new quilt for a baby gift. But, soon as I'm ready to take a break from this one, I'll get back to a UFO. I'm thinking that storm at sea. And, very soon, I'm going to need to get back to the indian orange peel.

Spend time with the family. So, we've been stuck together like glue lately. Next Wednesday, Rob is having his upper teeth pulled and going to a denture. He's been VERY stressed about it and that means the whole family's been stressed by it. I'll be off a couple of days to baby him (and quilt while he naps!)

As for the Minneapolis trip, my boss has assured me that I could do it in my shirtsleeves. That I'll only go outside to get into the hotel shuttle and then from the shuttle to the hotel and back again. But, I ain't buyin it. I'm having the big green coat with the fuzzy lining cleaned.

I help with MN now, so there will be other opportunities to come to Minneapolis in the near future. I'll probably try to do some quilt shopping then. I love to shop in other parts of the country. Seems to me that the shops stock different things and that some of the highest priced things down here are on sale somewhere else.

Okay, I'm off to read the second most boring document we produce in my department. 25 pages of rules and regulations. whopee



Vintage Thingies Thursday

Good morning and welcome to Vintage Thingies Thursday sponsored by my friend Suzanne at Coloradolady.

Today, I'm featuring a make-up case. Now, it's not the make-up case that's the big deal, tho. It's what I'm using it for. I wish this had been my idea, but many years ago, a friend of mine thought of buying a vintage make-up case and using it to store old photos in a very organized way. I've held that idea and looked at many a case in varying condition and price, but a couple of weeks ago, I found one that was in great condition and at a terrific price; $6.50. There's some wear on the handle where a ring wore off the leather cover, but other than that, it's in great shape. I got it home and over a couple of weeks, pulled out all my boxes of pictures and consolidated them into the case.

These are a couple of old hoots! Me with Santa and my first grade class photo.

And, this is how they fit in. The case is just tall enough to accomodate the 8x10's in the back. Now, I just need to find something to fit between the two straps inside the cover, but it's too big for a 5x7 and too small for an 8x10.
That's how I'm storing my photos now. And, I really like the idea. Hope you enjoyed it. Now head on over to Suzanne's and see the other posts...
Oh, Brother! My boss just asked me to go to Minneapolis in early March. Just the thought makes me shiver!
Take care and have a great day! Lane


A cautionary tale

So, I've been thinking about my blog and one of the things I think I want to do is tell a story on Wednesday. Some old story from way back...making it Way Back Wednesday!

I've been going through old photographs around here. If you want to know why, you'll have to check out my blog tomorrow for Vintage Thingies Thursday. Anyway, we were all sitting in the sewing room floor the other night as I flipped through all these pictures. We started at the newest pictures. Pictures of me and Rob and the places we've gone and the things we've done. Remodeling adventures and vacations, you know, the stuff of a good relationship. And, just below those pictures were my baby pictures that my Mom gave me a few years ago. Certainly lots of good laughs there as I was the first child and apparently my parents had a camera glued to their arm until I was two. But, then, we came to the old stuff from my adulthood and the mood took a decided down turn. I even asked Rob and Sydney to leave because I needed a little alone time to go through these pictures. These are the pictures from the sad part of my life.

When I became an adult and moved out on my own, I had no self worth. What I had was the rock solid, good old southern values to save and make a good and responsible life for myself. Now, if you ask me, that's a terrible combination to give a child. The responsibility means I always had money saved up and a house and a car. The lack of self worth meant I was always so desperate for someone to love me that I'd gladly give all I had to keep them around. And, the people that make a lifestyle out of using others (the users) could smell me. And they found me.

Now, if you've lived a totally sheltered life, then I'm here to tell you that there are people out there that are able to string others along. They gave just enough to make me think they loved me. They spent just enough time with me to keep me from finding someone that really would love me. And, they were many. In my life, I was caught by three.

It's hard to imagine where I'd be if I had all the money I spent on other people's rent and car repairs, groceries and nights on the town. And, the money I've spent on therapists would have given me a beach house.

Then came that moment about 13 years ago when I found myself. I found my self worth. Yes, I went a little crazy and had a lot of fun, but then the responsible side of me kicked in and I settled down into a new life. And, in that new life, I could smell the users, which allowed me to protect myself from them. I was no longer afraid to be alone, which meant I could wait until I found the right one.

And, when I was finally open to that, I did find the right one. But, that's another story for another Wednesday.

If you're raising a child, then learn from me. Give them self worth. Tell them they're pretty and smart. Build their self-confidence. Don't protect them from the ugly things in life. Prepare them for the users that are out there. I'll promise you that all the education and responsibility in the world won't protect them or give them any peace if they don't have the self worth to go along with it.

And, yes, now that I'm a parent, I know that building a good self image is the hardest thing to do. Math is just memorization. Self confidence is learned from observation and from what you say when you aren't talking about anything in particular at all.

Okay, enough of that. Time to get out there and live this Wednesday instead of thinking about the ones in the past. Lane


A new rotary cutter blade

Okay, really, is there anything better than a new rotary cutter blade? Okay, maybe new underwear...or jeans that fit just right...or chocolate, but discounting clothes and food, is there anything better?

Sliding the rotary cutter over the fabric without having to push down. The hiss as the blade slices through the fabric.

I am terrible with rotary cutter blades. If I don't hit a pin and nick my blade, I'll use a blade for a year, applying more and more pressure to get it to cut. Eventually, laying all my considerable weight on it, just to cut that last couple of pieces of fabric without having to go to the effort of finding a blade and messing with the screw and then finding a way to dispose of the old blade. (can you tell I got a new blade last night?)

So, long about November of this year, when you're whizzing through all your cuts with that new blade, think of dumb old me, leaning on my cutter and praying that it will make that last cut cuz I'm just too dang lazy to change the blade.

Today's pet peeve: People with "Baby on Board" stickers that speed through school zones. What the @#%%!

Oh, and people that talk on the cellphone in the bathroom and give you a cross wise look because they can't hear when you flush. Listen people, bathrooms are intended for flushing. They are not intended for making cooing noises to your sweetheart or conducting business. And, if you have to use them as a phone booth, don't look at me funny because I'm using the bathroom for its intended purpose. In fact, don't look at me at all...it's a bathroom. I'm never at my best in there!

Okay, so that's enough fun. Time to get back to work. Quilt a lot and pretend I was there. Goodness knows I'm pretending I was anywhere right about now. Lane


We have a finish

Remember that one of my NY resolutions is to finish projects? During January, most of my time was spent making curtains and pillow shams and adding labels and sleeves to quilts, but in the last week of the month, I managed to pull off an FFO (finally finished object)!

This is that 11 block square log cabin quilt I've been teasing you with. The feathers are free motion but on stems that were drawn with stencils that I made myself. Now, in retrospect, those stencils were a big waste of time and template plastic because I could have traced all those curves around the same dessert plates I traced around to make the stencils. But they were good experience.

I have thoroughly enjoyed giving myself permission to free motion feathers. I was always so worried about my ability to space the curves and do all that backtracking that I wouldn't try, but I can say that with a little practice, they get pretty easy. When you don't have the drawn lines to follow, nothing looks like a mistake. Following my goal to completely finish projects, I even got the sleeve and the label on before we hung it.

In addition to finishing this, I managed to get a bunch of HST's cut for that baby quilt I'm making. It's going to be 49 four inch pinwheels, using white and 7 different blues. The pattern I'm following used 7 different pastel batiks, so I can't wait to see if my little adaptation looks as good as the original.
I'd like to say we keep a perfect house, but we don't. What we do manage to keep the level of dust to a minimum since both Rob and I are very allergic to it. We always know it's time when we find ourselves sneezing at the same moment and we look at one another with that sad, red eyed look. While we both struggle with allergies, dust is the only thing that affects us both, so if it's just one of us sneezing, no need to clean, but when it's both, pull out the dust rags.
Take care and have a great Monday. I'm already feeling it. It's gonna be a good week. Must be a good night's sleep from being able to breathe. Lane