A few stolen minutes

So, I ate lunch at my desk today and stole a few minutes to scroll through my followers. I already follow many of my followers, but lately, there have been so many new followers that I hadn't gotten the time to check them out and see if they had their own blogs.

I like the regular contact that I get by following my followers. I read your post, you read mine. You comment to me, I comment to you. We build a relationship and quite often a friendship develops.

Sometimes, I need the encouragement that comes from those comments. Sometimes, I need the reassurance that what I think is good work, you also think is good work. Sometimes I need advice, not just about the quilt I'm working on, but gardening, and child raising. And, sometimes, I just need to diary something to get it out there into the universe.

Today was one of those days. I had a post all ready and up and then I decided that I didn't need to leave it out there. I had gotten the benefit of the post just by writing it. And, besides, it didn't make me look very good (my post was about channeling Kate from The Taming of the Shrew last night).

Anyway, I found several new and interesting blogs to follow. I did have to have some guidelines, tho, so if I'm not following you, it's probably because there wasn't a recent post on your blog, or you didn't have a link from your profile page. If you're just on vacation, you might want to comment on one of my posts so I can check you out again later.

I'm sure I didn't catch everybody I would like to follow, but I did catch most of my regular commenters.

Take care and have a great Tuesday. Tonight is back to school night and we'll get to meet all the teachers. And, the volleyball coach scheduled a 45 minute meeting before that with all the parents. Not sure when they expect us to eat, especially since Sydney has a dr's appt scheduled this afternoon. Anyway, better to be too busy than to sit without any invitations, right?

Take care and I'm going to try to be nicer to my family tonight...and tuck a couple of cookies in my pocket to keep everyone's blood sugar up.


Oh, and somebody posted a link to a beautiful applique quilt (baltimore album style) and all I can remember is that the website had something about rabbits in the title. I didn't make a link to it at the time (because I didn't need another project) and now I can't find it (even though I still don't need another project). If it was you, can you let me know? I'd like to find it again (because I can't resist another project).


A good weekend

This was a good quilting weekend. But, I did have to ask Rob last night how he spent his weekend. We were together the whole time, on the same property, that is. But, I spent most of the weekend sewing. YIPPEEEEEE!!

Anyway, I stayed up late Friday night quilting on this one, then got up early Saturday morning, sewed half the day and then we ran all our myriad of errands, including Petsmart to return two dead fish, Lowe's for a new fancy padded toilet seat (it's the little things in life that bring the most pleasure), and Wally'sMart for gym T-shirts, a good feel-up of the phones we want next and a cone of serger thread that gipped me out of a trip to a fabric store. We also dropped a smooth hundred on shorts and knee pads and more t-shirts for school at Academy...and why are gym clothes so expensive? At this point, Sydney was informed that she had just gone from interested in playing volleyball to committed. Then, it was back to quilting in the evening and up late again, and up early again, and then when the family was ready to head to the grocery, I had to tell them that I was so close, we were going to have to delay.

Here it is. This is last year's $5 quilt from my LQS and it's all done, except the binding, which was not part of this weekend's plan.

Here's some detail of a border section. I only quilted in two corners of the border and quilted those nearly to the other corners, but left the actual corners unquilted. I was going for an effect, and won't know if I got it until I wash the quilt. The quilt told me at that point that it was done. No quilting in the sashing was required because each of the blocks is so heavily quilted. The ditch work will be plenty.

I tried a new technique in this border. I wanted to use a stencil and a pounce to mark the feathers. I sprayed the border lightly with hairspray and let it almost dry, then laid the stencil on and pounced away and it did stick better than using no hairspray. My hairspray was bought to get ink out of clothes and is approximately 20 years old and not chloroflorocarbon (spelling???) free. So, I made sure all the blue marks were washed out of the quilt before adding the hairspray. I would have hated for a chemical to have permanently set them.

And, I lost a chair out of the sewing room, moved the furniture around a little and got some more space out of the room. This way, I can have three machines set up at any one time. And there are no machines on the floor. The space under the table in the center has all the UFO piles that were previously in the chair, which meant I wasn't getting anything out of the chair anyway.

But, cleanliness doesn't last long and last night, I was back at it, piecing blocks for my discussion on lights and darks, planned for later this week.

I also finished a border side on my hand quilting project. It was a very recharging weekend for me and I think I'm ready for the second week of school now. Thank you Rob for making sure I got fed all my meals at the right times all weekend.

Take care and have a great Monday. Lane


Last three blocks

The last three blocks are done! Yeah! And, I just finished one side of the border. I decided not to quilt anything in the narrow sashing. The block quilting is sufficient.

So, one more last push. I'd like to get one more border side done before I have to stop and get to my chores.
On a side note, I'm toying with a post about light and dark after my question of last week, I'm toying with an idea for a lights and darks post. I think I have some things to learn and I love to share what I learn.
Y'all take care and have a great Sunday. Lane


Three more blocks

I've finished quilting three more blocks on the batik quilt. Pushing to try to finish this one might be a little more than I can do this weekend. I still have 3 blocks, the sashing and the border. But, I will be making significant progress. And, I know why. I'm pretty bored with looking at this one. So, I've made a deal with myself and am going to finish this before I start anything else. But, I do take short breaks and work on that Triple Irish Chain.

Remember that I'm trying to quilt to fit the blocks and I'm only using feathers and curves.

We've had a freak cool spell and it's 68*, which practically never happens in August around here. So, I'm on my way out to clean up the flower beds. Then, we have shopping errands. whoohoo. gym clothes.
Can you tell they're not for me?


Today will be a good day

It will! IT WILL!! And, anybody that can't get in line with that can...well...get far away. It's been a hard week as a parent. It's been a hard week at work. I fully intend to leave after my last meeting of the day and go home to play with my fabric and make myself happy and get some quilting done. That's that.

The first week of school is always hard. There's the constant paperwork that comes home to be completed and signed and everybody wants money; money for a locker, money for a shirt, money for lunch, money for a yearbook, school photo, pta membership...you name it, they've tapped me out. Poor Sydney has had to pay several of them in quarters because I ran out of cash and was just too darn busy to stop at an ATM.

Last night, after the fourth day of school and the fourth night of arguing, trying to get a straight story out of the child about some crisis she's come home and announced (or created), I ended up with 10 minutes of me time. TEN! That was between finishing the dishes and flossing my teeth and meant I got to bed 10 minutes late. I used it to finish a row in that afghan I showed yesterday.

I know that this will pass. She'll get adjusted to providing the facts, without all the drama. I'll get adjusted to the loss of my alone time. Everything will be fine.

But in the meantime, I'm fantasizing about loading my treadle machine, my fabric stash, the good silver and my china, some clothes, a set of sheets, some warm quilts, a wind up clock, and my oil lamps into the car and driving up a mountain and building a cabin. I'll drop my wallet in a trash bin along the way and live "off the grid". Just me, eating what I can find and grow, selling quilts to make money for sugar and coffee. No homework, no real work, no housework except what I want to do.

Me, a sewing machine, and some fabric.

Oh, and I'll give Rob visitation priviledges because I like him being around. But, he'll have to bring his own food.

Okay, that's the fantasy, but the reality is that I just need some time to wind down.

And, don't you just love my priorities? Silver and china, not hatchets and hammers. Okay, so maybe that fantasy needs some work. But it doesn't have to make sense unless I try to move it from fantasy to reality and I don't see that happening.

On another note, those applique blocks I shared yesterday were not made by my mentor. Someone sent them to her and she sent them to me. So, no guilt about pulling stitches and replacing them and no guilt about turning those yo-yo flower centers over and using the other side.

Take care and have a great weekend. If I don't finish quilting a quilt this weekend, it will be because someone died...not saying how, just that if they get in the way, they might accidentally expire from something horrific. Hammers and hatchets, oh my.



More UFO's

And, I am glad to say they aren't mine. But, I have adopted them.

When I was really into making afghans and quilts for project Linus, my Mom wanted to get in the act and bought 8 skeins of beautiful brown yarn. She got started and crocheted about 8 rows of beautiful, tiny double crochet stitches before her hands gave out. When we were there the other week, she passed the bag of yarn to me. I tried to pick up where she left off and found out that a left hander cannot take over a right handers work. My attempt and my huge, loose stitches actually looked funny against all her beautiful completed rows. Okay, so that meant starting over and while I was at it, I decided to go with a different pattern. I'd never made a ripple before and couldn't find a printed pattern, not that I looked any further than the yarn wrapper, and came up with my own variation. I also decided I wanted to pull all my old balls of leftover yarn and work them in with the beautiful brown. This is the result. I'm pretty proud of it and it's going really well.

Thanks for the yarn, Mom! It's going to make some kid very happy.

And, this one came this week from my mentor. More beautiful work. I suspect it is some of her early applique, but haven't written her yet to find out. It is satin stitched around all the edges, but some of the stitching is really tight and some is very loose. I think I'll buy a couple of cones of serger thread and redo some of it and maybe tea dye the white, add a yellow calico sashing and a darker border on the outside. If I do some simple cross-hatch quilting on it with the walking foot, it should come out perfect. Can't wait to start this one.

But, it has to wait. This weekend, I'm going to try to finish the quilt that is laid across my machine in this post. It's been there so long that it I'm starting not to see it anymore...well, except for when I put away all the junk that piles up in a busy week. Suddenly, there it is again, staring up at me in all its unfinished glory. I'm thinking that a couple of nights quilting after the family is in bed will finish that little project up and I can move on to other things.

QADD, it's a happy way of life.

Take care and have a great Thursday. Just today and tomorrow and we can call this week a winner. Now, back to that pesky work project that's sucking up time like a 1950's era Hoover vacuum. Lane


My love of the classics

This morning, I was walking Bella. It was still dark and quiet in the 'hood. We were just finishing our 1.5 mile daily walk and a man came out of his house, whistling. He had a strong and clear whistle and the tune was Stormy Weather, probably in celebration of the fact that we've had a cold front blow through that might give us some free water for the yard.

While he whistled and we walked, I could envision Lena Horne, sitting on her windowsill, singing her heartache for all the world to hear and I was glad that I had that memory of a great singer, singing a great standard and making me feel the emotion her character was feeling at the time.

I have a lot of memories of classic performances. I love the classics. I hope I will always cry when the sky goes dark in Bette Davis' Dark Victory performance. I know I will always smile when I see Robin Williams, in Mrs Doubtfire drag, throw a lemon at Pierce Brosnan and shout "It's a drive by fruiting." And, when Kathryn Hepburn sheds that one tear in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner as Spencer Tracy explains to Sidney Poitier that he doesn't care about the color of his skin, so long as he has half the love that Spencer felt for Kate, I want to stand up and shout Hurray! Every time. And, I hope I always do.

I remember my first classic movie. It was the early 70's and we had a color television and had just had cablevision installed. No more static and bad pictures. The very first movie that we saw was on Turner Classic Movies and it was the end of The Hurricane, staring Dorothy Lamour. I can remember the footage on the Early American console like it was yesterday; Dorothy clinging to that tree while her island home was destroyed. It would be years before I saw the entire movie and to this day, the part I remember most is the storm. How did they make that happen to get it on film?

Television has taught me a lot. I learned how to act and how not to act by watching actors on the screen. I saw what worked for people and what got them into trouble, jail or killed. I saw couples argue and I saw them make up. And, I imitate a compilation of their actions in my every day life. Okay, so not every moment can be Scarlett swearing that "As God is my witness, I'll never go hungry again" or even Carol Burnett coming down the stairs in the green velvet drapes and announcing "I saw it in the winda' and just had to have it."

But, I did learn how adults can break up and start over from Holly Hunter's performance in Living Out Loud and I learned that I want to be a fiesty old person from Jessica Tandy's performance in Driving Miss Daisy. I saw that sometimes death is messy, even when you're surrounded by love by watching Sally Field in Two Weeks. I'm also inspired by Gena Rowlands in Playing by Heart; an independent adult, in love with her lifetime partner, Sean Connery, and surrounded by her modern adult children while dealing with the complexities of life. And, I want to learn about strength from Jane Darwell as Ma Joad, in The Grapes of Wrath, in two scenes especially; when she has to explain how Grandma died for the family while they were crossing the desert into California and when she tries to feed all the children in the migrant worker's camp from her family's leftovers. Compassion. Strength. Character.

And, when I'm in a crowd and feeling uncomfortable, I just remember Bette looking out from under that hat while disembarking the ship in Now, Voyager and I know that a little class and confidence can get me through any situation. And, speaking of Now, Voyager, I learned a lot about how to parent by contrasting Charlotte's friendship with Tina and Gladys Cooper's performance as Mrs Vale, Charlotte's mother. Children are not there to live for their parents. Parents are there to teach children how to live and then let them get on with it.

Now, not all my favorite performances are women. I'm inspired by the patriotism of Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and the display of courage not to fight shown by John Wayne in The Quiet Man. I'm inspired to be a good dad by Edward G. Robinson's paternal devotion in Our Vines Have Tender Grapes. I love a brave and loyal male character and won't forget that even though Rhett Butler was a scoundrel, he was also the one that got Melanie and Scarlet out of Atlanta, despite the fact that the city was burning and exploding around them.

There's a pattern here: Courage, Loyalty, Blind faith. These are the characters I've most tried to imitate in my life. And, while I haven't mastered the quiet dignity of a Beulah Bondi performance, I'm going to keep trying to imitate the larger than life characters I've seen on the screen. They've taught me so many lessons that real people couldn't teach. These characters were as much a part of the village that raised me as the neighbors and relatives that lived near us, and I'm glad that I picked good characters to imitate.

I'm also thankful that TCM is still around so I can show these same performances to my kid and maybe give her the insight that sometimes a written character can teach us how to handle a situation. After all, they aren't having to think what to say on the spur of the moment, so I can talk to her about the courage they're displaying in the actions they take. And maybe one day, when she's not sure what to do, she'll remember one of these strong characters and how they handled a situation and maybe it will help her know how to act.

So, all this remembering should tell you one thing...it's Way Back Wednesday again! Take care and have a great one. L:et's go watch a movie! Lane


A missing child scare leads to wicked fantasies

We had our first missing child scare yesterday. After school, Sydney goes to a neighbor's house and starts her homework. When we pulled up, the neighbor came out and asked if we had her. No...and that panic that parents feel, but we haven't really been exposed to, kicked in. Gallons of adrenaline were pumping in our house as we tried to come up with a plan. Rob left to go to the school to see if she'd missed her bus and I started calling the bus system to ask if the bus was late. They didn't answer, but the message gave a number for emergencies and like a big parental idiot, I called it and talked to the school district police. The person that answered was reassuring me and explaining that it's the first day of school and things are running late, but she'll also try to follow up with the bus system and call me back. That's when Sydney walks in the door, cool as a cucumber and announces "I'm ho-ome". I apologized to the police and thanked them for everything they'd done, which amounted to helping me be calm.

"Where have you been?!?!?!?!"
"Buses were running late." and the confused look on her face let me know she was telling the truth.

I called Rob and he headed home and about 15 minutes later, we were ready to hear all about her day. And, she talked and talked and talked for over 2 hours. The poor thing got so frustrated because she had so many things to tell us, and scattered in there were things we needed to do. She hated that we kept stopping her to ask questions.

We also found out that volleyball practice is after school, 4 days a week, starting today. TODAY???? And, the coach only allows one excused missed practice. WHAT??? She already has a dr's appt scheduled for after school next week. I'm not rescheduling that to take her out of class. That ain't right. So, we'll see. I told Sydney to tell the coach she already had an appt and I won't reschedule. If the coach has a problem with that...well, we'll see. Not gonna borrow trouble. And, the coach strikes me as a little hellcat, so I don't want to have to cross her unless it's important.


This morning, Sydney came out in a black t-shirt and black jeans. Now, I'm as in favor of letting my kid express herself as the next caring parent, but jeez, black? In the hottest part of summer? When it's 106* outside? When I commented (note I commented and didn't send her back to change) she said she only had two shirts that would satisfy dress code.

At this point, I marched to her room and counted 9 shirts that were not black and fit dress code. There were more that were black and there were more that had school logos on them.

That's when I had my first wicked fantasy of the day. I fantasized about taking my good sharp sewing scissors to that black shirt and making her wear lavender.

Then, when we got back to breakfast preparations, she just leaned against the counter like she was impatiently waiting on a servant.

My second fantasy was shredding some paper, cooking it in water and force feeding it to her.

This is what it must be like to parent a 7th grader. At least I'm finding it less and less necessary to shout. I find myself smiling privately as I fantasize about exactly what I'd like to do to her (if there were no witnesses.)

Have a great Tuesday. Lane


My scrap users system

I used to have a scrap savers system. I took all my scraps from a quilt and all the scraps that I "inherited" from other sewers and quilters and I put them in a bin. Then, in a larger bin. And, finally into two bins, with one for strips and one for chunks. And, I saved them and saved them. Anything larger than one inch, I saved.

They were great for applique. I had a huge source of small pieces to cut applique from. But, I don't do much applique. And, I have two applique kits, ready and waiting. So, no need to use scraps. And, the supply kept growing.

After I read Bonnie Hunter's post on Quiltville, I decided to start a leaders and enders project. I cut scraps into squares until I was thoroughly tired and started a quilt. It was and is going nicely. I'm almost done with the 100 blocks I wanted to make for a scrappy Irish Chain. And, as is typical for me, just at the end, I decided I want to make 21 more blocks...maybe. Or, maybe I'll just add a wide border.

Anyway, I needed a scrap users system and I had this old sewing box that I picked up for a few dollars at an antique store.

It's perfect for sitting under the extension arm of a sewing table. The wheels mean I can easily pull it out whenever I need to.

It holds squares and bricks in a variety of sizes. I save from 1.5" square to 5" square. Anything too big to cut into those squares gets put back in the fabric bins after I cut off any odd size pokey edges left from previous cutting.
We had lunch with friends yesterday and despite the fact that it was about 190*, we dressed in our pretty summer clothes.

It took a while to get her to let me touch her. What's up with kids? All she wants is attention, until she's getting it.
Here are Rob and Sydney

But this is my favorite.
Take care and have a wonderful Monday. School starts today! YEAH!


Two questions

Question one. How do people without hobbies survive? My friend is at home, unable to do anything heavy. And, so she sits and watches TV. She has no hobbies. Over the years, I've tried teaching her sewing, knitting, embroidery. I've even tried puzzles, but nothing has stuck with her. I, on the other hand have to choose which hobby to pursue in every moment. Why, right now, I have at least 6 things going one. Never enough time.

Of course, she has the advantage that she can sit still without falling asleep. So, I guess everyone has a skill.

My next question is whether you're a dark quilter or a light quilter? I pulled out another scrap bin yesterday and started cutting into usable sizes. I had forgotten all about this bin. It's as big as the other and just as full. I wanted to trim them into "scrap user" squares and bricks, and what I've found is that most of my scraps are medium and dark with very few lights and neutrals. I'm having trouble finding enough lights to be able to make anything out of them. I wonder how that happened because all my quilts seem to have had a good balance of lights and darks but I'm starting to think I achieved that by using mediums as lights.

Oh well. The more I quilt, the more I learn.

Hope all is well. I'm finally finished cooking for an extra household. I finished with a hot meal of grilled chops, mash and a tomatoe salad. That was a high note. I'm quitting while I'm ahead.

Have a great weekend. We're knocking out our usual chores and having lunch with friends. No rest for the weary.



Just a stolen moment

I'm about to leave the office and go to my friend's house. She is doing very well and was released from the hospital this afternoon. She's up and walking without support and I might not need to spend the whole day there tomorrow. I'm sure she would like some alone time as she says the nurses were in her room more than once an hour for the whole time she was there.

She has a little glue and a little tape, no stitches, no bandages. Times have certainly changed.

But, the biggest surprise we got was last night when the nurse brought in the room service menu for her to order dinner. Yes, room service. They don't bring up carts of meals anymore. And, you don't have to order a day in advance. You just call, like a hotel and someone brings whatever you want to the room. And, it looked good! Fancy that. I thought bad food was part and parcel of a hospital stay.

See ya'. And, thanks for all your kind words. It's hard not to be good with the good role models I've had.



Giving care

We went to see my friend last night before her surgery and to take the first delivery of food. I made the arrangements to be at the hospital and to be at her house Thursday night or Friday when she gets home. Her son is a good and responsible boy, but he's a boy. And, even though she protests, I can see the little glimmer of happiness that there will be another adult around to help take care of her. This is how our relationship has always been. If I need anything, I turn around and there she is, without me having to ask. But, if she needs help, I have to push to get her to let me. About 20 years of that back and forth.

But, it's Way Back Wednesday and I'm going to try to repeat a story in the same words my Mama used to tell it to me. So, while this is not an exact quote, it is as close as I can get to a story I heard more than once.

When you were born, they didn't tell me what it would be like. Nobody knew about post partum depression. But, I couldn't do anything. Your Nanny (the pet name for my grandmother) came over early one morning, just after your Daddy left for work.

By 10 o'clock, she had you bathed and dressed and fed and back to bed, she'd changed my sheets, cooked lunch, all the laundry was washed, dried, and put away, the floors swept and mopped, dishes done, and supper on the stove.

"What happened after that, Mama?"

She went home to take care of your Papaw and her own chores.

Okay, so that's a lot of caregiving to live up to, but in all my life, that's been the standard.

Just shows that the little stories you tell your kids do affect the rest of their lives. Such a short story, but how many people over the years have received care that I could measure against that standard. I've tended the dying and the sick and the post surgical, all with that same level of quiet efficiency.

And, today, I'll do it again, starting with the hospital waiting room, where I'll sit for hours. Then, to the room, where I'll quietly read. I probably won't go back to the hospital because I loathe hospital time...I've done too much of it and hospital time passes like it's tied to a weight. But, when she's home, there I'll be, quiet and sewing and washing and sweeping and warming up food and washing dishes and I'll be there until I'm sure she can walk well enough to be alone. At that point, I'm sure she'll be absolutely sick of the sight of my face.

And then I'll come home and do my own chores.

So, if you don't hear from me for a couple of days, it will be because I'm busy. But, I'll be back. You know I will. So, until we meet on the web again...where are my dishwashing gloves???




Yesterday, a fellow quilter, friend and co-worker asked me how I quilt for hours at a time without being sore.

I've been thinking about that. I gave her the suggestions I've always heard. Set a time for 50 minutes and when it goes off, stretch for 10 minutes. Then, go back to it. Problem with that is, the timer never goes off at a point when I want to stop, and if I make myself stop, there's little chance that I can make myself stop for the whole 10 minutes before I'm off again, at the excited pace of a 4 year old on an adventure. And, if I do manage to do all the things I'm supposed to do, I will eventually forget to set the timer and suddenly, I'm off my schedule again.

So, what's the real story? What should I have told her?

First, when I quilt for hours and hours, I expect to hurt. Just like I'd expect a hangover after a night of partying (as if I could still party all night anymore). Sore shoulders are part and parcel of quilting for hours and should be enjoyed, just like a hangover is part of the party and should be enjoyed. I revel in how bad my shoulders hurt while I stand in front of my beautiful quilting.

But, the pain is only part of the story. The rest is how I keep that pain to a minimum and how I keep it from including my lower back, posterior region, hips, thighs and feet.

First, I break my quilts into sections. In a single section, I expect to quilt from the time I start to the time I finish. The size of the section is based on how much total time I have to quilt. So, if I'm quilting in the morning before work, the section may be 6"x6". Or, if I'm quilting on a Saturday morning, while everyone else is abed, it might be a whole border section of a quilt.

The secret is that when I cut the thread, marking the end of the section, I get up, walk around, stretch, get a fresh glass of ice water, potty, stir the soup, walk the dog, change the channel, start a new episode, any of dozens of things that I need to do during the course of a day. And, I may or may not be able to get back into that chair right away after this activity. But, the important part is that I get up. Move that chair and no matter how much my creative juices are flowing and screaming out to keep going because I'm on a roll, I get up.

Because if I don't, I can't. If I sit there too long, something will happen to my feet and when I walk around, it will feel like my left heel is coming through my sole. Or, my hips won't want to support my weight. Or, the angle of my back won't completely straighten out for an hour, leaving my belly hanging over my beltline which perpetuates my inability to stand up straight by putting weight where weight doesn't belong.

And, none of that is particular to my sewing chair (or amusing to watch). It's the same in my fancy ergonomic chair at the office. I have to get up and walk.

So, I schedule sections around my need to stretch. Or better said, around my need to move.

I also have to be conscious of hunching over my work. I tend to do that; as if touching my nose to the presser foot would somehow make my curves more curvy or my lines more straight. I catch myself bent over, twisted like a pretzel, one foot raised on the pedal, the other dangling over the floor, right shoulder high, left shoulder low. I have to remind myself to sit up straight when I catch myself doing that. Hunching is a habit, and there's no reason for it with a good chair and a good sewing surface that's the right height for my body. It helps that I keep my chair very high. As high as it will go, plus two cushions. That puts me in a position that's between a sit and a stand, the foot that's not working the pedal resting on a 70's Reader's Digest Condensed Book (because they're the same thickness as my Bernina pedal), my hips at an angle greater than 90*, and it makes it easier to sit with my spine straight because, in that position, it's more comfortable to sit straight than to hunch over the machine bed. It also keeps my arms at an angle greater than 90*, so I can use my shoulders to help me push the quilt around, in addition to the strength in my hands and arms.

And, that position is more comfortable for chair dancing. And, I am a well known chair dancer, especially at work. I'm an artist. Give me music and I will dance! I must! (think those last two sentences in your best Gretta Garbo imitation)

Add to that, regular looks around. That one is good for my eyes. I look up at the TV, or look up to adjust the light, or look off into space waiting for inspiration. About every time the machine stops for me to adjust the fabric, or when some character whose voice I don't recognize speaks, I look up and away from the quilt. Again, I have to. I have quilted until my eyes watered and I could no longer focus. Didn't take me long to break that habit. I'd catch myself unable to focus my eyes and unwilling to stop quilting, and it affected the quality of my work. Made it impossible to travel along a previously quilted line. Impossible to stay in the ditch.

Okay, so I am not an ergonomic expert. And, I probably don't follow the good rules those experts have established. But, these things work for me. I know the experts recommend looking up periodically. And, I know they tell us not to hunch. And, these are ways I've found to remind me to do the right thing, so I feel better and my quilting looks it's best.

Hope that helps someone. Or gives you a good laugh. Have a great Tuesday. Lane


Busy weekend

Yikes! This was the busiest weekend. Any my back and legs are shouting at me. Slow down. Sit down. Stop! But, there's no rest for the weary. Today there's work.

Yesterday, I made two quiche, two small lasagna, a big batch of chicken and dumplings, Suzanne's potato soup. Saturday, I made chicken/noodle/vegetable soup. Easy things to eat for the patient's recovery and stuff that will fill up her 20 year old son.

I sent Rob for burgers for lunch and for dinner, we sampled. A little of this and a little of that. And for dinner Saturday nite, we took my friend out for Mexican food.

I guess I went a little overboard. I tend to do that when I'm worried. Not that I'm worried about my friend. Her procedure is pretty routine with a relatively short recovery time; about 3 weeks. But, this whole sitting at the hospital waiting room and being with her on her first day home is a little wierd for me. I don't really do a lot of that. Haven't done it at all since...

Well, the last person died. Not from anything I did. He was dying when I met him. I'm a really good nurse. I pay attention to the professionals and can imitate most anything they do. I pay attention to the patient, my friends. I keep up with meds. And, I let people rest. And keep them fed.

But it's still wierd. And, a little uncomfortable.

It's odd how life goes around, here to there, life to death. It helps to have a pragmatic attitude on health and to see life as fragile. I mean, it's a wonder the earth stays in orbit around the sun and that we all survive on a daily basis. A miracle in fact. But, then we're just little dots in time, here today, gone tomorrow.

This summer has been full of thoughts about how fragile life is. How fragile our bodies are. How short our time is. First, David died. Then, the dogs. Now my friends surgery.

I always say I'm blessed. Truly blessed. Bad things don't happen to me very often. It comes from good living, a karma account that I make sure keeps a positive balance, and a perspective that lets me see things for what they are; not good, not bad, but just the passing events of life.

So, I'll take my really good Emilie Richards book to the hospital and I'll take my hand quilting to my friends house. And, I'll pass the time while I make sure she's comfortable and has clean sheets and good food and that her pets are distracted and that the TV is always on a good channel. That's how I roll. And, I'll be uncomfortable being in the role of caretaker again. But, I'll do it with a happy heart.

Speaking of happy heart, yesterday, while I was washing that mountain of dishes from all that cooking, Sydney was sent in to help me dry. She gave a really big preteen sigh, like she was really being put out. I wasn't up for that, and said that I was doing this for our friend and that I was feeling really good about it. If she couldn't do a good deed by helping me do a good deed, she needed to leave instead of being grumpy and bringing me down. God, I love that kid. There wasn't another word of complaint about anything. Life's good.

On another note, I'm thinking about writing a piece of quilt fiction and publishing it on my blog in installments. Working my way through it. I know you all have encouraged me to keep writing. This would be a whole new direction. I think it could be fun. Maybe just one day a week. Because I have too much to say the rest of the week, what with way back weds and VTT and the many boring details of life.

Take care and have a great Monday. I'm actually looking forward to getting to sit down for the day. Lane


A commitment fulfilled...

At Christmas, I committed to redo Sydney's bedroom. Granted, it's not what she would have chosen. But, it's what she would have chosen that I could live with...with a lot of me choosing slipped in here and there.

When she came to us, Sydney had the clothes on her back, a nightgown and 6 new pair of undies. So, while creating a space for her to feel comfortable in was important, it still had to be cheap. So, we bought one of those bed in a bag thingies with curtains and sheers and valance and comforter and shams and bedskirt and sheets and cases for about $30 so you can imagine the high quality of it. This year, it was time to get her something better. I had the moda charm pack and she liked it and I bought the layer cake and the blue print for the border and back because it was cheap. I pieced and quilted the whole thing in 3 weeks. That part was done by cmas. The, I made the shams and later the curtains and valance. That just left the bedskirt.

My mentor had given me a whole bolt of the eyelet. I used one of the fancy stitches on my machine for a hem and used paper as a stabilizer. I tore off the paper and cut along the outside of that scalloped edge, then made a strip about 8 miles long and 14.5" wide and then ran it through the ruffler foot from one of the old singers. I was about sick and tired of working on it when I remembered I have a serger and I managed to do all the rest in a couple of hours, serging all the edges. (The part between the matress and spring is a piece of dark brown poly blend that I got at an estate sale. I knew I'd find a use for that 25 cent piece of fabric. I got a bunch of bundles for a dollar each. Each bundle had 4 pieces of fabric and and one or two pieces from each bundle were poly/cotton blend. . The shortest piece was a red that was 4 yards long. YEAH bargain!)

Now I'm off to make a pot of chicken soup. My best friend is having surgery next week and I'm feeding she and her 20 year old son. Tomorrow, I'll make a couple of small lasagnas and a couple of quiche. I'll pick up a roast, but wait until next weekend to make it. And, everything I make, I'll make enough that my family can get half of. I think I can make this work with a minimum of extra work.

See ya' round the web. Lane


The disaster zone

This is not what a man's sewing room is supposed to look like. Of course, when you think of man's sewing room as an oxymoron, then you have to extend it to accomodate a lot of activities. I sew here, and I mend here and I have my home office here and I store all the things that I love that don't fit into the decor of the rest of the house here. I come here to sulk and to read and to mend and to pay bills. I watch television and read quilting magazines and lock myself in when I really wanna kill a pre-teen. I have my collections and my aquarium and my antiques.

This is the sewing side of the room. As you can see, there are too many machines right now. I'm trying to think of a way to arrange them where I can accomodate them all. I'm thinking an arrangement in the middle of the room is best where I can put all four cabinets and use either one whenever I want. Underneath that quilt is the custom cabinet that Rob built me to hold my Bernina 930. In front of the window is a large dropleaf table that I had planned to use to support large quilts, but then I put sewing machines in front of it, which meant I never had to unfold it.

The dollhouse is my version of a mid-life crisis corvette. Seemed like such a good idea when I was collecting, and now I can't even reach it to play.

This end of the room is for quilt storage and my home office. And, it's all about entertainment with the aquarium and the tv. Yes, that is a sewing machine on the floor. There are a couple of them on the floor over there. I would really like to get them up.
When I was growing up, it was considered hillbilly to have a television on top of your broken console tv. Is it the same if you stack a sewing machine on top of a machine in a cabinet? I sure hope not because that's the only way I'm ever going to get all my machines off the floor and up so I can use them.

And, this is the fingerwork and mending area. Love my antique sofa. It belonged to my paternal grandmother's best friend. Of course, you can't see it because of the two hand quilting projects and the pile of mending sitting on top of it. But, I promise it is comfy and a great place to sit and sew.

So, that's a look at my sewing room pre-cleaning. I hope to get in there this weekend and clean. It got into this shape because of vacation...and if you believe that, I've got a bridge for sale. It looks like this more than it looks cleaned up. But, I wish for a clean and organized place where I don't feel the need to keep everything that has ever passed through my hand. One day. Hey, a guy's gotta dream, right? But, in the meantime, it only takes a few feet for me to maneuver my chair in so I can sew. And, it's not a public room for entertaining. It's my own private place where I can go and put my feet up and enjoy myself. And, even crowded and packed full of junk, it is always that safe place to go and get away from it all.
Take care and have a great day. See ya' round the web. Lane


Time for credit to be given

So, my Mom offered me my Grandmother's sewing machine. And, we picked it up while we were there. My parents said it was in really bad shape, but I have to confess that it's in the best shape of about all of my vintage machines. After a great deal of dusting and cleaning and killing spiders, I present to you


Now, Mary is not my grandmother's name. Mary is my Mom's name, and soon, you'll understand why I named this machine after her instead of my grandmother. That's what Way Back Wednesday is for. Telling a story.

This one starts in 1957. My Mom had her first job. She was working for the phone company, and I think she was a switchboard operator. Sorry, I forgot to verify that fact when I heard this story. Anyway, my grandmother convinced my Mom to trade in my grandmother's treadle sewing machine as the downpayment on a new electrified machine. My Mom would make the payments, and when she married and moved out, the machine would be hers.

My parents married and when it was time for my Mom to move to their new home, my grandmother said she couldn't take the machine. And, it was my grandmother's from then on. But, I think my Mom deserves the credit because she made the payments and I'm pretty sure she picked it out. And, she was under the false assumption that it was going to be hers one day. Before she was tricked by my very tricky grandmother.

She's a model 15-91 with all the modern features and the attachments from my 1954 featherweight fit her perfectly. I found an owner's manual on the net and printed it out and disassembled, cleaned and reassembled the tension and the bobbin assembly. Thank goodness the motor just needed routine maintenance and I won't have to replace it.
She's been oiled and lubricated and the loose veneer has all been glued back down. Don't you just love that "modern" cabinet? See the worn spot where my grandmother rested her arm?
The serial number dates to 1956, the year before my Mom bought her. I was worried when I was working on her that there was something wrong with the motor. But, the lubricant was really old and as soon as I cleaned that out and added fresh and cleaned the carbon rods, she worked like a clock. Just a light purring sound. Even the lightbulb still works. She had my grandmother's last bobbin still inside with a lavender thread. I thought about unwinding it and continuing to use it, but hey, I think that's one rusty bobbin I don't really need and I already had others that fit. That bobbin can be saved in my jar of old spools of thread as a memory to the last user of the machine.

We disassembled her and Rob wrapped her in plastic like a mummy and sealed her up with duct tape in case we encountered rain on the way home. No rain, and despite cleaning it up before we sealed it, every piece I unwrapped, spiders crawled out of. Thankfully, I got very few bites and only from tiny spiders. But, a good oiling seems to have taken care of most of that.

I used her to make the gathers in that bedskirt I've been planning for Sydney since Christmas. I have one more section to gather and then I can start putting it all together. Maybe even this weekend. Maybe.

There's still some work on the cabinet. I'd like to lightly sand it and reapply a fresh coat of polyurethane, but not sure when I'll get to that. My next project is finding a place for her in my very crowded sewing room. There are at least 7 other machines in there and I might lose a chair or table to get her in. But, I'll find her a place, even if I have to hang her from the ceiling.

Take care and have a great Wednesday. We'll see ya round the net.


Texas, we have an arrival

Yes, the big red truck made it from LA to Austin in record time. We've already unloaded and I think everything but my suitcase is unpacked. I want a shower. Then, I want to play with this.

Then, I want a shower in my own shower and Mexican food.

Vacation is nice, but coming home is nice too.

Thanks, Mom and Dad for taking us places and pleasant visits and indulging all we packed into this weekend.



Equally disappointed.

Well, I think we've done a pretty good job of making sure everyone we encountered was left equally disappointed. This is actually a good thing. We managed not to really disappoint anyone...well, I managed to disappoint myself pretty good by picking a fight with Rob. And, some of the really mean things I said probably left him feeling pretty disappointed with me. But, I left everybody else with just a general disappointment.

My parents were disappointed they didn't get enough time with me. Our friends were disappointed they didn't get enough time with us. My Aunt was disappointed I didn't let my daughter spend a whole day of our family vacation with her. The auction house and the antique shops were disappointed they didn't get much of my money.

Ya' know. There was one person who wasn't disappointed with me this weekend. The hotel maid got a nice tip. She had two days of cleaning up after us to do, and she deserved it.

There's just not enough time to do more than one thing in a single trip and we tried to pack it in like Chevy Chase in the first vacation movie. But, we didn't end with his level of disaster. I think my little group had a pretty good time.

But, ya know, the dog behaved and the kid behaved and Rob and I took a walk in the park behind the hotel and I did a lot of apologizing. I have a new medicine cabinet, and I have a new sewing machine, and tomorrow we go back to our real lives. I guess I did actually squeeze all the damn fun there was out of this weekend trip.

Y'all take care. If you're back at work tomorrow...well, you won't have to worry about that bright red ford truck passing you at half the speed of light.


Whither thou goest...

There will I go. And, whither thou layest, there will I lay. And thy people shall be my people...

Okay, not sure Ruth knew exactly what she was getting into that day.

This is a real balancing act, having people and people. Relatives people. Relationship people.

Oh, just one little plug here, but who else sees the importance of that judge, whose name I have not even had a chance to learn,working to strike down prop 8 in CA? Will it happen? Not sure about this time, but seems that every time it comes up, it gets a little closer.

Anyway, back to our vacation currently in progress.

Last night's dinner was fabulous!!! One of my favorite meals of the trip. Do you have a McAllister's? Great little soup and sandwich shop. Rob had a baked potatoe stuffed with Roast, potatoes and carrots and gravy. I, however, opted for a half veggie sandwich and a plain baked potatoe with little sour cream or butter. Less than half of what they gave me to use. Yeah, me! I'm sure it was the least fat I've eaten since Friday lunch.

And, then it was the auction. My parents were disappointed. It was the first auction they'd been to where there was NOTHING to bid on. Now, there were a few things I would have bid on. And, I did buy one thing...one thing that is already causing an argument. But, I got the "I don't want to drag home a bunch of junk" speech, so I behaved myself. I did buy a very old medicine cabinet with a mirrored door. Great item and would go terrific in our bathroom that has nothing next to the sink. Would...Will. Those are just words right now. But, soon they'll become actions and someone will have to compromise. I feel like I'm pretty deep in relationship debt right now, so this might go into the garage for a couple months till there's more in my account. Maybe after I make some really terrific dinner, I'll pull it in the house and act surprised that I just found it again. "I completely forgot we had this..."

Anyway, there was really nothing, but I was really into the auction spirit. But, I was sitting next to a long face and behind a 12 year old that was using her nails to write things into her styrofoam cup, so I picked a good time to head out and when the clock got there, we started our good-byes. And, paid for that really fabulouse medicine cabinet. Did I mention how much I love it?

This morning, we're going out for several uninterrupted hours of face to face visiting. And, I hope to get into their shed. My Mom offered me my Grandmother's sewing machine and one time, she mentioned that I could have a vintage fan that was older than one I had bought. I'm thinking the direct approach is best on that. It's as hot as Texas here and the humidity is at least 190% and I'm trying to get into an un-air-conditioned shed. Towels can't soak up enough sweat. You have to shower, then dry, then put on loose clothes so you can dry some more, then it helps to stand naked in front of the a/c unit until your skin dries enough that your clothes will slip over your skin so you can get dressed. In clothes that are absorbent and very loose. Very, very loose. Basically, a shirt shouldn't touch me anywhere by my shoulders and shorts only touch me around the waist.

Okay, so that's it. Off for another day of fun. I'm going to squeeze every damn drop of fun I can out of this vacation. It's the only one I'm going to get this summer and anybody that can't get in line with that can go sit outside until they get their attitude straight.

Oh, and my 12 year old is being sooooo pleasant! No joke. I'm really enjoying being around her. I don't know what's up, but there's been just a little fine-tuning her attitude. But, for the most part, she's showing her greatest flexibility. And, I'm loving it. And, in return, I'm making absolutely sure that she gets the few things she's asking for, like pool time and snowcones and extra sodas. Yeah, FAMILY. Relatives and Relationships.



Dio de los muertes

Yes, we are dead tired. This morning, we took a ride around the old hood. I took them to the church I grew up in and the high school and the old house and the scenic riverside drive along the levee where all the beautiful old river houses still are. But, it all looks so...sad. Lots of run down and rotten and overgrown. An old lady showing her age. Where makeup doesn't cover the cracks anymore. And, paint won't repair rotten floor beams...
Here are Syd and I in front of my high school auditorium. If you click, you'll see the cool old 30's era lettering and architecture.

And, this is the old church.
And, then it was off to the quilt store. Love this little store. It's in an old house that she's added onto for a large classroom.
But, we just weren't in the mood to shop and even tho there were few customers, there was just too much going on between the employees and there was a lady there with a beautiful dresden plate that her mother had pieced. They were going to have it meander quilted with a heavy sheet on the back and then they were trying to pay to have it bound. I nearly chewed a hole in my tongue as I listened to them tell the lady everything she didn't know...and while it was every single bit true, I think I could have made it work cheaper. But, sharing that wouldn't have made me very popular, would it? Sydney had to have the cupcake pincushion pattern, so I told her I expect a cushion before school starts. Anybody wanna bet?
Then, it was to Antique Alley. Now, normally, that's way cool, but we just were not into it this year. All the stores we really enjoyed last time we were here weren't there anymore. And, the ones there wer just so expensive. But, I managed to get a salt shaker to match a pepper shaker that came free with some other things I bought several years ago. And, an apple relish dish. I'd never seen that piece before. And, a random corning lid to fit a pan I have at home. Then, I took them to the locally famous Johnny's pizza, where we ate the greasiest, best tasting, most delicious childhood memory.
I saw this beautiful 6 pointed star, and even though it was 25% off, I still couldn't afford to even bargain with the man over it. And, after this one, i saw a friendship quilt in a simple pattern that had signatures from 1898. I almost had to bargain with them, but then I'd have had to leave Sydney here in payment for the hotel room. Guess I didn't need that antique quilt too bad.
Sydney's still with us.

We swam and showered and next we're going to meet my parents for an early dinner and then off to the Bawcomville Auction House. Now, who knows. Maybe fate kept us from finding anything expensive today so we'd have all our money to spend tonight. Here's hoping.
Take care and hope you're having a wonderful Saturday. We'll see ya' round the net. Lane


The wheels on the truck go round and round

We drove, and we drove, and we drove. And, periodically we had to stop so I could stretch and walk and bend in a different direction. At one stop, a picnic area, we found two old telephone poles with all the ceramic and glass insulators still attached. The tops of them are in the back of the truck now.

Apparently, they had bad storms here before we arrived, but it was all blown over by the time we needed to unload. We ran to the pool to work out my very sore shoulders and sat in the sun and it was so nice and pleasant...high 80's at most, after all those days of hundred degree temps.

Spent about half the day on the laptop, cleaning out music files (listen to a few seconds, assign it a playlist, and if the song wasn't there anymore, which happened in all the moving files around, delete it.) And, the other half I hand quilted. I brought two projects cuz I thought I'd finish the hand quilting on the way up, but if I had spent all the time quilting, I still wouldn't have nearly finished. I forget how slow I go in the bumpy truck.

Okay, now to have dinner with the family. Apparently everybody and their Aunt Charlene is coming. Cool. Haven't seen any of them in two years. Looking forward to breaking some Chili's bread with them.

Tomorrow is a really cool local quilt shop and antique shopping. Whoohoo!


Today, we drive

It's off to North Louisiana for us today. Everything is in place and I have 5 quiet minutes before it's time to make breakfast. Rob is loading the truck and we're being as quiet as we can so we don't wake the monster or the sitter.

By tonight, we hope to be having dinner with at least some portion of my relatives. We haven't been home in two years. It was so hard to travel with the old dogs, and now that they're gone, we're celebrating with a quick trip, combining a visit with family and a family vacation, all mashed together into just a few days that start with a long drive and end with one, too.

The birthday party for the 2 year old isn't looking good. It's turned into a party of 20 strangers, and I think I've established clearly how I am with strangers. But, I also know there's an auction in town on Saturday nights and I'm trying to gently convince Rob that we should go there instead.

The truck did not end up like a clown car, with an apartment setup inside. I managed to restrain us all and make us think about what we really needed (that left room for my box of quilting stuff), and there's a pile of last minute discards in our bedroom that looks like the start of a difficult part of a wagon train movie, you know the part where they went through their treasures one last time and decided what the horses could really pull up the mountain?

Cynthia, those blocks take about an hour and a half each to quilt, but that includes deciding what to do, marking, as well as the quilting. That last one took a little longer. But, it's the most complex so far.

Safe travels to everyone that will be joining us on the road and if you're gonna have to have a wreck, please let us pass you first.



two more blocks...

I finished two more blocks on the batik $5 quilt this morning. Had some time to kill and some anxiety to work through. Anyway, they're still damp from me spritzing out the blue marker.

I'm not going into these with any plan. I finish a block and then decide what to do in the next block. And, this is what I came up with for this one. Sorry about the glare, but it's hard to get the stitching to show up without the light being in the right spot.

So, now it's back to the rest of my day...it's a family business day. I have a pile of paperwork to take to the kid's school and she has a dentist's appt. And, on and on we go in parenthood.
Really, I'd be much happier if I spent the day quilting.
Take care and have a great Thursday. Oh, and I did pack the coffeepot. The big one. In for a penny, in for a pound. Right? But, otherwise, I've kept my luggage to a minimum. I think I'm a stress packer. The more time I spend packing, the less time I have to be anxious.
This afternoon, the house sitter moves in. It's great to know people in apartments that are willing to take care of your cats in exchange for the big TV, 300 channels, privacy and the big flowering yard. I'd have done it in a heartbeat when I lived in an apt. In fact, I did, more than once.


Look who's number 40!


No, it's not a birthday. It's a list of male quilter/bloggers that includes the likes of Joe Cunningham, John Flynn, and Mark Lipinski.


Tuna Casserole

And, here we are, back at Way Back Wednesday. And, I've got Tuna Casserole on the brain. We were in the grocery store the other day and they were offering a "combo loco" (crazy combination) deal of Mac and cheese, a large can of tuna, and cream of mushroom soup. Buy the Mac and cheese and get the other items free.

When I saw the display, my first thought was Tuna Casserole. That's almost all the ingredients. So, I said it out loud and both Rob and Sydney said "I'll eat that" and "I haven't had that in a long time", so we got it and we made it.

Now, here's where the remembering comes from. My first apartment was a garage apartment I rented from an old nurse. She had worked in a detox facility and she rented rooms in her house to people in recovery, where they could come live with a little supervision and a nurse on site in case they suffered physical effects. She'd rent to them for a month or two and then they'd move on and a new person would come in. Sometimes it would be someone that had been there before and needed a little refresher. Well, there was one lady and her daughter and they were both alcoholics, but the mother was in recovery and the daughter was still drinking. Adele let them both live there until the mother was able to move out on her own, but the daughter stayed for a long time, never giving up her vodka and water. YUCK! Anyway, it was the daughter that gave me the recipe for tuna casserole.

At the time, I was working for the Association for Retarded Citizens in Ouachita Parish (ARC/O). I worked Friday evening to Sunday evening in an apartment complex with clients housed all around. If they needed somebody, I was there. And, I organized weekend events for them and made sure they got laundry done and made good choices in the grocery store. But, that left my weeks free to attend school.

One of those years, we had revival at the church with two services per day. There was a day service with a covered dish lunch and an evening service. I brought my tuna casserole to one of the covered dish lunches. My Mom was there and she was MORTIFIED that I would bring Tuna Casserole to a covered dish lunch. Tuna Casserole was certainly not the kind of thing my family would offer at such an event where members of the church would be sampling...and discussing...the food. I know she was embarassed. I'm sure she brought something delicious, but unfortunately, I can't remember what and it isn't really germain to this story.

Anyway, I didn't tell anybody what I'd brought. I don't know if my Mom asked me not to, or if I just knew it would be the wrong thing to do. But, when I went to get my dish, it was empty. And, my Mom shared that when they were doing dishes, everybody wanted to know who's dish had the casserole in it, so they turned it over and there was my name on a piece of masking tape. People told her over and over again how delicious that casserole was, how it was the best tuna casserole they'd ever had.


Anyway, Tuna Casserole has fallen out of style. I doubt many people can even remember it. And, even I can't remember why I thought it was so good. But, here's the recipe in case you want to give it a try.

Tuna Casserole
1 large or 2 small cans of tuna packed in water, drained
the pasta from a box of mac and cheese, cooked (reserve the cheese packet)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
milk to fill the empty soup can
bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the milk and soup and cheese packet and add the pasta and the tuna. Pour into a baking dish. Stir in the tuna and the salt and pepper. Top with bread crumbs and bake at 350* until set.

Okay, so I wrote this memory yesterday. And, last night, we had the casserole. Now, I remember why tuna casserole went out of style. But, Rob said it was like a comfort food for him because they had lots of tuna casserole when he was growing up and Sydney said it was good. But, this is from people who don't like for fish to taste fishy. What can I say. It brought back good memories, but it will be a long time before I make it again.

Take care and have a great Wednesday. And, if you have a good Tuna Casserole recipe, I'd love to make it for my Mom some time. Send it via email. Lane

More pics

Here are some more of the blocks from the batik sampler. This was a quilt I made in a $5 block offering at my local quilt shop. I've done her $5 quilt for the last 3 years, but didn't do this year's. This year, I've been focused on finishing UFO's and honing skills instead of starting new projects. My goal is to do a variation of feathers and curves in each block.

This block still has the blue marker in it. You can see that I needed it to fit in the complex feather arrangement and I also found that my curves get way to "curvy" if I don't mark them in advance.

And, in this one, you can barely see the feathers in the green and purple pieces.

And, I think I'll probably rip out the center of this feathered circle and give myself a little more help to free motion the feathers back in. I only drew on one circle and quilted from it to the outside edge. But, when I got to the inside, I didn't have a guide to moderate the size of the feathers. If I'd drawn a smaller circle in the center, I could have brought my feathers to that and they would be less variable in size.

And, this is the picture I meant to post yesterday of the new layout on the drunkard's path. I realized that even this doesn't have the new fabrics in the center and I've never seen the whole quilt layed out with them. I hope they work. It's the same fabric as the four corners. Moving all the blues to the center made the quilt look less scrappy. There wasn't enough variation to go for a truly scrappy look, but there was too much to go for a matchy-matchy look. This has been a hard quilt to fall in love with because of that. It might make a great holiday gift this year.

Take care and have a great Tuesday. We'll see ya round the net. Now, do we take our own coffeepot on vacation? I was taught, if I take everything I own on every trip, I'll always have everything I need. I've gotten away from that on business travel (the guys I travel with compete to see who can bring the smallest suitcase), but what about travel with the family? Should I? Shouldn't I? What if the pot in the hotel room only makes one cup at a time? Someone's going to be left very grumpy while we wait for that second cup to brew. I'd hate that to be me. Lane


counting and stacking...how boring

This post was supposed to include a picture of the drunkard's path cmas quilt that I'm taking on vacation. But, I forgot to upload it. So, we'll have to let this old one suffice. Needless to say, changes have been made. Like, all the navy and turquoise surrounds the center medallion and the corner sections are all green and red. And, the four corner blocks and the four center quarter circles are all out of the same holiday print fabric that I found with the same colors in it. But, that's neither here nor there as I will post a better picture than this later.
What's important is WHAT WAS I THINKING??? taking this quilt as a finger project in the car?
Okay, so the answer to the last question is because I had a cmas pack of nickel squares that work perfect for cutting a drunkard's path. But, the first question can't be excused so lightly. I spent most of yesterday finalizing the layout because I won't be able to lay it out in the cab of the truck while we drive. And, numbering each square with it's row and column number, taped on the block so that I can tell which direction is up on each square. And, even with that, I won't start sewing rows of blocks together until I can lay it out one more time to check. Assembling this while driving is going to be like putting together a puzzle with a blindfold on.
But, I can tell you that when I finally do get it assembled, it's going to be stunning!
Take care and have a great Monday. Lane


Perfect timing

Yesterday was one of those nearly perfect days.

While we're on vacation next week, we're going to a 2 year old's birthday party. Not planned, but just happens to be going on while we're there, so we're going. But, what to give as a gift. The first thing I thought of was a bag of partially finished fabric books in my UFO pile. I pulled one out, took it apart because I started it a hundred years ago and I can do better. And, I'd never been able to quilt them very well because the backing is another page and is just as important. But, a meander fixed that. Ta-da! I've been toying with trying to piece a doll quilt out of leftover blocks to use as gift wrap, but I haven't done that yet.

Our shopping trip was fruitful. The stores were selling off the last of the previous season's merchandise and their shipments were coming in next week. I don't know how many $5 shirts Sydney got. And, shorts. We did so good, I was even willing to buy her a scarf that she'll never wear...okay, I take that back, she'll wear it, but not like it's supposed to be worn. But, for $2, it was worth it, especially with how cooperative she was being.

We started the day going through all her current clothes, which she hates, but after that, when she saw that she ws going to be participating in picking her clothes more than ever before, she started to get into it, and we had a good time.

Then, she had a friend over to the house to watch a movie. She's never done that before and we were as excited as she was. We so want her to have friends and she has struggled with it so hard. Often we've thought a friend would be visiting, only to find out they'd had a tiff before it could happen. But, this time, it all worked out.

We went out for a great dinner and on the way home, we picked up a chocolate cake for desert. And, when we got home, I had mail!

Myfriend Lisa at Quilt Ramblings sent me a package to cheer me up! Three beautiful patterns and a fat quarter and a sweet card with cookies on it shaped like puppy faces. Very, very sweet and THANKS, Lisa.

So, really, can a day get much better than that??? Well, the cake was heaven and I stayed up late, quilting. I've been working on a hand work project to take with me and I've lost the extra fabric. All the blocks are assembled and now I'm refining the layout. I want to make a couple "replacement" blocks to have a cleaner layout. Hopefully that will turn up with a minimum of digging. But, the sooner started, the sooner finished.

Take care and have a great Sunday. Lane