What the well dressed dog is wearing

Bella needed a jacket. Everybody thought I should just crochet or knit one up. Right. Just whip one out.

So, I started thinking how I could design one. First, it wouldn't slip on. It would have to have butttons. And then, I realized the buttons wouldn't be much good if they went down the chest. I made a pattern from a piece of polyester fabric because I didn't think she'd stand for a rattling paper pattern. That worked out well. sI fused two pieces of flannel, right sides together. It originally had a big fold back collar, but she didn't like it very much. Many tries and two times putting the binding around the edge and I finally got it.

It fits over her harness and there are extra button holes so the harness ring can be pulled through. It took me several days of working on it and being stopped by a problem, figuring it out and then working on it some more. But, we have it. And, she doesn't seem to mind it a bit. I guess we'll find out for sure tomorrow when we try to walk.

You know Thanksgiving is over when you go from this...

to this.

All the storage containers are clean and the last dishes are drying. Sydney is already complaining about having to put all these away, plus the dishwasher was full. That must mean that all is right with the world.

I'd give them each a quarter if they'd finish these pies tonight. I'm shaky from the sugar. I love pie, but enough already.



Christmas decorating

Our tradition is to start decorating the day after Thanksgiving. Rob cheated and started on Tuesday. Tuesday! Can you believe it? And, he wasn't first.

Anyway, yesterday, I stayed out of the way, in the sewing room with my patterns and fabrics and I sewed all the live long day. I called it Thanksgiving chef's recovery day. I didn't lift a finger and Rob did this:
and, this;
and, this.
I'll share more detailed pictures about each one later. They are a significant part of our decorating tradition.
So, today, I'm out of the sewing room and this is what I'm doing. We had a delay of decorating to take lights off Sydney's tree so we could put them on this tree. I don't quite understand undecorating a tree and redecorating it again, but go figger. Anyway, this year, I'm putting on a layer of branches and circling it with lights and then the next layer and so on. It's actually much easier. Rob's idea.
Take care and hope you're enjoying your weekend.


Pink Friday...

Only for Bonnie Hunter would I get out of my house on Black Friday. Not for nobody else.

But, her mystery calls for pink and that's the only color...and I do mean the only color, I don't really have in my stash. All I had was leftovers from a baby girl quilt I made a couple of years ago and they went fast. So, this morning, I got out and braved the absolutely terrifyingly bad drivers and the crazy people that were piling carts full of stuff that wasn't really on a very good sale, and went to get pinks. Now, I won't be able to say there's no pink in my stash anymore.

Well, at least it isn't black friday for me, even though I have figured out that the only thing wrong with Christmas is the gift giving. If we just had the tradition of exchanging boiled eggs, dyed red. Or something else as wonderfully inane. Maybe the gift of Chocolate turtles. But, noooo. We're expected to give the perfect gift that will inspire people to speak of it for generations to come. A gift that will be hailed in the annals of time as the most wonderful and appropriate gift, given since the birth of the holiday's namesake.
Grrrrr. If it wasn't for the ham, I'd opt out.


Happy Thanksgiving...updated

Second seating is over and the third bunch of dishes is washed. My best friend was here for a wee bit of leftovers.

I'm thankful that I had an almost perfect day. We all got along. We ate good food. We laughed, we loved, we feel miserable. Together.

Hope yours was perfect, too.



Well, the first seating in our traditional day of feasting is over. Next, my favorite part, dessert and coffee. And, then, my best friend is coming over and we're having LEFTOVERS, which for everyone not celebrating the day is half the fun of this particular holiday. Days of turkey sandwiches, and plates piled high and re-heated.

When I was younger, maybe 15 years ago, there was this big push to not waste any part of the turkey. We'd make turkey pot pies and turkey with bbq sce and sandwiches with stuffing and cranberry sauce...uhh, no, that's a new thing I like. And, when it was all done, we'd boil the carcass and make soup with carrots and potatoes. I don't like to waste, but I'm actually pretty glad that Rob isn't into that. It gives me an excuse not to feel guilty about tossing it when we're tired of it.

Anyway, toodles. Rob is napping in front of the TV and I'm going to work on those other 70 sets for the mystery quilt. lw



Good morning! If you're in the U.S., you're probably preparing for the first big feast of the season. I know I am.

I had planned to post much earlier, but I woke to a bird that was still an ice cube and spent an hour massaging cold water through him to soften him up and by the time I finished that, it was time to start some other things. So, the ovens are busy and I'm taking a short break to with everyone a great day and to celebrate with all of you, this blog. I so much appreciate my followers and really enjoy our conversations and sharing my life with you and reading from you about your lives.

Take care of yourselves, start no fires unless you intend to, may your yams not stick to the pan.

And, everyone else...Happy Thursday!

I leave you with the only holiday quilt I have other than cmas quilts. Sydney and I made these little turkeys a couple years ago and she gave hers to her Grandma.

10:30 am

So, I let them talk me out of cleaning the kitchen yesterday. We wanted to do something family on our first day off together and decided to go antiquing. We found out that all the stores are closed on Weds. Not because of the holiday. That's their normal schedule and because we normally only go on the weekends, we'd never noticed. But, now we know. 50 miles each way for lunch. And, when we got back, I said, all I have left to do is clean the countertops and Rob made a face and Sydney said, "why do you act like the President is coming?" Because.

But, I decided they knew best and instead, I made one hundred of the strip sets for Bonnie Hunter's Roll Roll Cotton Boll mystery.

And, prepped to make the rest.

When I walked into the kitchen this morning and realized I was going to be in there ALL DAY I decided I needed to go ahead and do a little more cleaning. So, that was an hour I could have been relaxing this morning.

And, Sydney looked up pies and decided she wanted to make a last minute entry. But, when I told her she'd have to roll her own crust because I don't roll crust anymore, she wandered back to the computer and looked at dog pictures.

Back to it.



Packing away the yard for winter...

Yes, that's what we spent a good bit of our weekend doing. Well, that and cooking, and cleaning, and pushing the kid along and doing a huge chunk of our Christmas shopping. And, sewing.

First the fun stuff...

My Camelia, Sasanquah "Yuletide", which blooms every year, without fail, just at Christmas. This is just a stray early bloom, but look at how vividly reddish pink. And, that lovely yellow center. I remember that my Grandmother had a Camelia on either side of her walkway to the front of the house and every year at Christmas, they would be covered in red blossoms. I don't have room for 10 ft tall Camelias, tho, so had to go with the shorter Sasanquah. And, all I feed it is coffee grounds. It loves acidic soil.

Rob built me this plastic enclosure at the end of the greenhouse,

so I could keep my sitting area out there this winter. We have a small heater to keep the temp above freezing and I'm looking forward to some lazy days spent out there with some finger sewing.

This is what I used to cover the chemicals. I painted it several years ago, when we redid the greenhouse and was going to use it as a pegboard, but couldn't stand the thought of hanging things on it and scratching it. So, for now, it's been sealed and is leaning against the shelves, covering anything that I don't want to look at out there. Maybe one day it will be a door. That would be sweet!

And, this is the roman shade for the bathroom. I just got started quilting it and am having issues. I'm trying to echo quilt just inside the seam lines, but echo quilting is the hardest thing for me to do. So, I'm going to take out my efforts so far (just a couple of blocks) and try drawing in a few to get used to seeing my line and then try some freehand again.

I also tried my hand at a pair of boxers, just to sew something different. It worked out well, except I picked the wrong pattern size. The pattern was in hip size, but I always hear that men don't have hips, so I used waist size and ended up with a pair of shorts that are so tight I can't bend over...although I can proudly say I was able to get them all the way up, thank you very much. I spent so much time getting the seams in the crotch just right, first making french seams and then sewing them down like flat felling that I'm not willing to throw them away. So, pulled out the waistband and the hems and I'm going to cut the outside edges apart and insert more fabric and then re-hem and redo the waistband. I would love to get rid of some of my stash and am thinking that boxers and maybe some pillow cases to donate would be a good, quick way.
Take care. I'm at work today, trying to will the day to pass fast. Rob's at home and there's just something not fair about that.


All done

All my blocks are done. Now, it's just squaring them up and at least one of them is going to have some seams ripped and put back in where I overlapped the centers too far and the block is just a bit narrow. Now, to pick a border and back and get this quilted and hung. It is going to be a roman shade for our bathroom. Merry Christmas to me! No more miniblind!

Since this is going to lead us kind of into a "country" decorating theme, do you think it's time for me to remind Rob of the antique medicine chest I bought at auction in Louisiana?

Mwahahahaaaa! See how my devious plan begins?

The girls got beat at basketball last night. Not just beat, but kicked, stomped, punched, had balls intentionally thrown in their faces...it was a shame. Even my own husky Syglet got hurt. I just wanted to stop on the way out and call the coach an assh*/# for letting his girls get away with that. We all agreed that if we'd had the ref we had last week, who had eagle eyes and was incidentally deaf, so we learned all the ref hand signals, we would probably have won last night's game. But, these girls were aggressive and way too competitive. Shame.

One day they'll be running our insurance companies and nursing homes.

Take care. I'll try to show the quilt once I get it all together and before I start quilting it. If you stare at it, circles just start to pop out. Or, maybe my blood pressure is a bit high. Either way, I'm enjoying it.



Oil lamps

I have a couple of small collections that my family does not understand. One is vintage clocks (I would have sworn I'd blogged my clocks but can't find them). I also collect oil lamps and they don't understand why...not that they don't love them when the electricity is out, but they don't understand why we'd need more than one. My sewing machine collection they understand. Who can figure?

This is a post I'd planned for a while back. I love oil lamps. My Mom does, too, I think. She used to have a few, although I can't swear that I saw them last time I was there. Anyway, I grew up with a love of them. I keep them full of non-smoking oil and keep the wicks trimmed so that whenever I need one, it's ready for me.

This trio is on top of the book case in my sewing room. The one in the back right was a housewarming gift from a dear family friend when I bought my first house. She sent it with my Mom when they came for their first visit. I love all the cut glass and all those refraction points mean that a very small flame puts out a whole lot of light.

The one in the back left is the first one I bought for myself. A good sturdy and functional lamp. No frills. I like the horizontal lines on it. they give a good solid grip when I need to carry the lamp.

The smaller one in front is one I picked up in an antique store not long ago. I don't know how old it is and it doesn't matter. It just appeals to me. It would be very light and easy to carry around.

Now this is the most recent one I acquired. It's been electrified and therefore serves a legitimate purpose, providing a low light in the dining room. This one belonged to my next door neighbor's parents and we got it at the sale when they downsized and moved. I love it and have my brass cleaner and protectant spray all ready to clean it up...maybe after the holidays, which have sneaked up on me?

Take care and have a great VTT. Lane


Painting Papaw's porch

I have managed to grow up with very few regrets. I regret that I didn't finish college. I regret how long I stayed in a couple of bad relationships. But, there's one regret that comes from way before any of those.

I was a kid, just a year or so out of high school. My paternal grandmother had recently passed away and my grandfather was occupying himself around the old house. I was way too young to realize then that he was just biding time until his turn and he was getting things ready for when that time came. And, I was too young to know how soon that time would come. My Mom knew, tho.

I remember the old porch. It seemed the perfect size. It was wide and screened all around. Vines grew up one side, but up a trellis, never up the screen. It ran the length of the front of the house and on one end, there was an iron porch swing with iron slats that ran end to end. Heavy! Oh, but so pleasant to sit in and swing back and forth and listen to the chains creak overhead. I spent many hours in that swing reading. Then, between the swing and the front door of the house, there was a chair and on the other side of the door, there was a glider with red leather (or naugahyde) cushions and white piping. There was an Adirondack chair that my Uncle Billy made in high school. Just inside the porch screen door, there was a removable shelf that hung on the post and on that shelf there were always a few knicknacks and a big skeleton door key. I have the shelf at my house now and use it to hold our tributes to pets that have passed away.

I can remember that when it would rain and dirt would spatter through the screen and onto the porch and railings, my grandparents would go out there and dust and clean, like it was inside the house. Now, I can barely keep my bedroom dusted and they took time to keep a porch clean enough to eat on.

In the time between my Grandmother's passing and my Grandfather's, he did a lot of projects around the house to make it more sellable. One of those was to paint the front porch. My Mom, knowing how important that time was, pushed me to go help and she pushed and I think she even volunteered me to go, until I had to show up.

Papaw was a contractor. One of the old school contractors that did things right and did them to last. And, that meant sanding. Lots and lots of sanding. Sanding and sanding and sanding and using every bit of rough off every bit of sandpaper as if sandpaper was printed on the back of $5 bills. The one day I went, I sanded until I thought my arm would fall off. And, I asked over and over again for a new piece of sandpaper and had to show the one I was using to show whether it was used up or not. And, over and over again, I was sent back to "Use that paper up."

My cousin Randy was there and I can remember him talking amiably to my Grandfather behind me while I sanded and sanded and grumbled in my mind about how hard this was. And, about how boring it was. I stuck it out all day. But, just that one day. After that, I found excuses to keep me other places so I didn't have to go back.

Within 6 months, Papaw was gone and I had missed that opportunity forever. And, even today, I am jealous of Randy and that last bit of time he got to spend with Papaw.

Now you know the kinds of things I regret. Rarely something I did. Usually something I didn't do.

Take care and have a great Way Back Wednesday! Lane


More blocks and good attitude

Well, the final count is going to be higher than the 12 I was hoping for and fewer than the 24 I was afraid I'd have to make. It's going to take 20 blocks and a border to cover our bathroom window. And, this thing just eats up fabric, it seems like. I can get 3 blocks out of a fat quarter. So, I have introduced some more additional fabrics to the original 4 FQ's I had. I'm up to 4 dark fabrics and 4 lights. And, because I've been using bits and pieces of lights, there are actually going to be more represented than the 4, but they're repeats of a shade and color in different prints.

This morning, I made my first block that came out wonky and will have to be taken partially apart. For some reason, two of the outer corners didn't fit right and I'm worried that I cut the "iron" shapes wrong. If so, it's just two seams to take out and a couple of cuts to make it right again. I've got fingers and toes crossed that's what it turns out to be.

A is for Attitude. So, if you caught yesterday's post, then you know about Sydney's english grade and how hard we're helping her to play basketball this week. Doesn't look like the teacher is going to get around to extra credit work in time, even after I begged for it. But, little Syglet is really being a trooper. She is keeping me up to date and she is participating. She read another chapter to me aloud yesterday, and while I kept having to hit the pause button and she got fed up with that, she didn't stay mad long and after I made her re-read a paragraph for mumbling, we got through the rest of the chapter just fine. Another chapter tonight. But, I've talked to Rob and to make up for the teacher not getting around to the extra credit and to reward her for the excellent attitude she has shown through all this, really participating and trying hard to do everything to bring her grade up, I'm willing to advance her a few points because good Attitude should count for an A.

We really want her to play every game and apparently the school isn't going to prevent her from playing based on what happened to her grade in a single week. And, if I'd had to fight with her all week, I would not be willing to budge a fraction of an inch. But, I haven't had to. I've actually enjoyed the book and it's been over a year since she had to read to me and she's gotten so much better. It's been joyful. Tonight, I hope to get to baste some hexes while she reads chapter 7. And, I so much want to reward what she is doing right.

Take care and have a great Tuesday. Lane


Busy hands...

Like any good quilter, you know I spent every second I could in the sewing room playing with my new toys over the weekend.

I got the featherweight oiled and lubed and made several of my Winding Ways blocks on it. Unfortunately, I spent so much time on it, I didn't get any new pictures made. I also used the serger. I still don't have a manual and still haven't oiled it, but using it a bit seemed to loosen up rubber parts and it got much quieter after I serged three FQ's. And, what a nice serged edge it was. I can't think of a single reason to own two sergers...well, except maybe that one came from my Mom and one was a real steal. But, I still have hopes of selling the babylock...at least I still have hopes.

I also worked on a variety of projects. I repaired the windshield washer hose on my car. After 3 years of driving without a windshield washer, I finally got tired of it and actually repaired it. I felt very manly with engine dirt on my hands. And, turns out that Sydney knows at least as much about under the hood of a car as I do. Very interesting. She posed working her way through law school as a grease monkey. Hey, why not?

I got my screen doors painted. That one weekend project is going to end up taking three after I repaired and primed the first weekend, painted on the second and rehang them on the third.

I also cooked for the week, making a roast, a pot of chicken soup, and pulled pork for sandwiches. And, I got the kitchen cleaned up. I hope to sweep and mop tonight and I won't have to keep the curtains closed to make sure the neighbors can't see in.

And, I moved/redesigned/changed around...whatever, all the electrical plugs in the sewing room. Okay, if you don't have a sewing room or studio, then imagine taking your entertainment center apart and rearranging all the wiring. That's what it's like to change plugs in my sewing room. And, I cleaned up in there. We've been so busy lately and I had slowly built up several piles of stuff that had been taken in and dumped in a place where I could close the door and walk away from it. I'm putting all that away slowly.

And, I cut out 112 red hexagons for the hex quilt. I got started basting them this morning.

And, while all that was going on, Sydney was reading the first 5 chapters of The Outsiders aloud to me. She let her English grade drop to the point where she may not be able to play basketball this Thursday and we're doing everything we can to help her get it back up; including reminding her that we didn't make this problem and we're just trying to help her get out of it whenever she complains about having to do extra work to try to bring the grade up. I wrote the teacher last week and she is supposed to give Sydney some extra credit work that we'll bust our butts getting finished by Weds. Great. Like I don't have enough of my own stuff going on right now.

You can understand why I really needed to come to the office to get some rest. Funny. I work harder when I'm not getting paid than when I am. That ain't rite.

Take care and have a great Monday. Lane


I won x 2

I can tell you now that my items were numbers 93 and 94.

Wow, after standing for an hour, my items finally came up for bidding and it was over in 8 minutes. Okay, I should be surprised it took all of 8 minutes and that was just because of some terrible, terrible, terrible woman that would not give in to my superior desire to possess a white featherweight.
The serger was easy to get and I think I got a steal on it. I don't know anything about it except I've plugged it in and it works and it needs a good oiling. It's very clean and was serviced in 2004, which I estimate, based on the layer of dust inside, to be about the last time it was used. Too bad it doesn't have a manual, but I can get one. I hope to oil it and put it on ebay. And, if it's worth what I think it is, I'm going to be very happy.
But, the Singer was a whole different story. There was a classic machine restorer that wanted it, but he bowed out pretty quickly. Then this lady started to bid and she bid and she bid and I tried to scare her and I tried to intimidate her and I tried to stare us down and we could all see the visible sweat on her forehead, while I remained calm and impassive and just kept my hands in the air and as soon as she would convince herself to bid, I'd wave and bid again, and we'd all wait with bated breath to see if she'd bid again. Seriously, we were on opposite sides of the group and I could see the heads go back and forth like a tennis match. After I won, the crowd applauded me, but I'm afraid that was because of how much I paid, not because of my superior bidding skill.
The reason it's not a bargain is that the case needs repair. There are no attachments. The bobbin case is missing. The belt has discolored and is pinkish and the Singer tag is missing from the front. All of that can be corrected, but it's going to cost and by the time I pay that, I'll have spent about as much as the lowest prices I've seen them for on ebay. The serial number dates it to 1964. And, I've seen people disagree about whether they are white or green and this one is definitely green. It's a very pale green, but it is green nonetheless.
I paid almost twice what I had hoped to pay and when it was over and I had paid and collected them and hauled them to the truck, I was a little nauseous and shaky and my family wanted me to make a lunch decision. They did not understand that I was burning adrenalin like a ship burned coal.
Now, it needs a lot of cleaning. So, I better get to that. Hope you're having as much fun as me today, although I hope it didn't cost you as much.

That funny feeling in the pit of my stomach...

I had it all day. I sat at my desk and worked, but between every short project that I needed to stamp complete, I kept going to ebay and looking at vintage sewing machines. Oh, there are some beauties out there. I put a bunch of very unique machines in my wishlist. I wanted to bid. Now that I've seen the Singer 503 Rocketeer, I want one really bad. But, I was looking at all kinds of vintage machines and saw a JC Penny brand machine that is so shiny and so cheap. I wish I could give it a good home. And, a Bell brand...never heard of it, but a real showstopper; modern and sleek. And, a Vornado that is the most masculine machine I think I've ever seen. And, I figured things out about it that the seller doesn't know, like how it works.

But, I didn't bid. I was very good. I didn't bid on a Rocketeer or a Singer 301 (I want the black one with the long bed because it reminds me of a German Train Engine).

I had this funny feeling that I just needed to go to Goodwill after work. I didn't know why, but I needed to. I just knew there was something there for me. The feeling wouldn't go away. The shopping for a machine and the pull toward Goodwill. Of course, the thing at Goodwill could have been a glass or a saucer or something equally unexciting. But it wasn't.

When I got there, I started in the auction section, and there it was. A white Singer Featherweight. And, the highest bid was $45. And, a babylock Serger that, while I don't really want it, if I can get it cheap, I'll try to resell on ebay and maybe make a teeny bit of profit for the holidays.

So, that's where my family will be at noon today. At the auction. Waiting on item number....okay, I told you about the cool machines on ebay, but I ain't telling you which Goodwill I went to or what the item number was. I'm only so nice. I sure don't want to be bidding against a friend. Especially one that knows the true value of the machine.

Take care and have a great Saturday. I'll try to get back this afternoon to show you how it worked out. Watch, I'll end up with a saucer. Lane


For the challenge of it

Do you have a quilt pattern that you've always wanted to try, but you haven't? Maybe it's too much of a challenge? Mine is the Wheel of Mystery block also known as Winding Ways.

(Be careful of my links. I couldn't get back after I clicked them and don't know why)

This is what I'm trying to reproduce. But, not so big. Because it's so much of a challenge. Because every piece (12 per block) is joined to the next piece with a curve. Every seam is a curve. Every seam takes 6-8 pins. And, each block takes 30-40 minutes. Well, except the one the other day that wouldn't meet in the center and took over an hour...of picking and sewing and swearing and picking...okay, not so much swearing because the blocks were still new and intriguing, but if I had to do that again, there'd be swearing.

I decided that I'd try it as a roman shade over the bathroom window. That way, I only need a few blocks. Fifteen if I'm lucky. Twenty-four if I'm not. But, either way, not so many that I want to toss this one in the bin before I can finish it.

I started with a set of 4 FQ's in the fall colors and when I bought them and realized what a great set they were, I knew I'd keep them together and then I remembered the quilt in the picture above and knew this was a great place to use them. So, I added two FQ's from stash so I'd have 3 darks and 3 lights and started cutting.

The cutting is easy. I have the 1/8th inch thick plastic templates that I bought several years ago, before I became intimidated by curved piecing. I can cut a block in a few short minutes.

But, joining the pieces together is long and tedious.

I bought the templates to make a batik one, like this. I'm still going to do that...one day. But for now, I'm going to make just a few of these 6 inch blocks and hang it with pride.

Because this is a real challenge.

And, one more pic that I probably should have shown yesterday, but our maple tree was green when I left yesterday morning, gold today and the leaves will all be on the ground by end of the weekend. If they stay dry, I'll try to get them up for mulch (they make great mulch). If they get wet, tho, they'll mold and we'll have to get rid of them. And, rain is in the forecast.

So, for a day or two, we'll enjoy the fall color because it's all we're going to get.

Take care and have a great Thursday. Just one more day until the weekend! Lane


This old house

Okay, so if you've followed for a while, then you know these doors are what really drew me to the house we live in now. I LOVE THEM!

I'm a hard house shopper. Both times I've bought a house, the realtor has given up on showing me houses and just made me copies of their book and sent me out alone..."Call me if you find anything you want to see inside..." Yeah, right. Translate that into "the commission I'm going to make on selling you a house is not worth the time I'm spending, trying to sell it to you."

This house had been a rental property, as was the house I owned before it. When I looked at the house, it still had the original kitchen from 1978. And, while the bathrooms had been redone, they were papered in the 90's. Let me reword that. They'd been very well papered in the 90's. It took us forever to get the paper off and plaster the master bath walls, so when it was time to do the guest bath, we just decorated around the paper. There's nothing wrong with it...and now the pink cabbage roses are practically vintage (a classic never dies).
Not all the doors in the house even had locks and knobs. One of the holes in the bedroom doors was just an empty hole to the outside. And, the french door from the living room to the deck had been kicked in at some point and badly repaired. Now, it's a nice door in the greenhouse and there's a new steel door in the living room.
The yard was empty. Mostly grass, but not watered. Huge overgrown trees with lots of dead undergrowth.
The previous owner had come in and painted off white. Flat off-white. Everywhere. Ceilings, walls, doors, molding. Flat off-white. And, what wasn't off white was dark, dark, dark wood. The carpet was new. But, it was the absolute cheapest carpet and pad that could be bought. I remember that when I got the keys and let myself in the house for the first time, I threw myself down and rolled on the new carpets because I hadn't replaced carpets in the previous house either and they were worse than our carpets are now.
The day after I moved in, I bought locks and screen doors for my wonderful bedroom.
Most of the locks have been replaced again over time, as has the paint. Formica counters have been replaced with tile; leaks found and patched; faucets and sinks replaced. The outside has been painted and the cracks in the stone repaired. I've been replacing window screens, and this weekend, I pulled all those old wooden screen doors and am repainting them. They were 11 years old and had never gotten actual paint. I was going to paint them to match the house, but loved the contrast between the white primer and the gold housepaint and just never did anything else with them. They're going to be white again instead of a very weathered gray.
The kitchen needs paint again and after the first of the year, we are getting new carpet. There is always something to do. Always a project that needs to be done, some maintenance to be taken care of.
But, how can you want to do less for a home? A home represents shelter from mayhem and storms. It's the lockbox where all my things are safe while I'm away. It is home for us and for our animals. And, how could I want to do less in return than just keep it up? I don't want to do an expensive remodel like I see on the home improvement channels. I like things pretty much like they are.
We are neither married to a housepayment nor to a remodel project. It feels good to be able to just maintian what we have...a place that is comfortable and pleasant and safe.
So, that's Way Back Wednesday. A review of the house we live in and the things we've done to it. Somehow, it lacks the passion of past WBW posts. But, that's a lot like the house itself. There. Safe. Plain. But good.
Take care and have a great Wednesday.


Birthdays are hard, but I finished a quilt

Birthdays are hard, especially when you're 13, and more especially when the person that birthed you doesn't even send a card. And, all the nice things in the world that other people can do for you don't make up for it.

But, this was the best birthday so far. We only had one little meltdown on Friday night. We're blaming it on the ice cream that Rob ordered at the restaurant. (Yeah, we're sticking with that.) Unfortunately, it's when my Mom called to sing happy birthday. Sorry, Mom. You didn't want us to answer just then. But, the next day, we were both really good and let her start with a fresh slate.

Anyway, a couple of days post birthday, and the parents seem to be back in control of things. There's still some inappropriate mumbling going on, and I swear if she wheels around and says "Oh my God" one more time, I'm gonna pound her into the earth like a nail. But, we'll get through that part, too.

Anyway, around all the birthday buying, I managed to finish the machine binding on the Irish Chain quilt. And, we're sleeping under it. And, it's so nice and cuddly and just warm enough without being too heavy. We'll probably go back to the old quilt with the policy batting for the really cold month, but this one will be nice when it's not quite so cold, but we need more than a sheet.

The white blocks. I realized the other day that I made this exactly opposite of Bonnie Hunter's, without even meaning to. The result is the optical illusion that makes me feel like I'm unable to focus. Bonnie's medium colors went in the middle "chain" and the outer chains are dark. Mine is just the opposite.

Someone asked about the Greek key. It was a stencil that I stamped on with my pounce and then FMQ.

Take care and have a great Tuesday. Lane


A story in pictures

It won't be like this for long...

One day we're gonna look back laughing at;

The months after we brought her home...

This phase is gonna fly by,

If you can just hold on...

It won't be like this for long....

The truth is that he don't mind...

As he kisses her goodnight...

He already knows...

Someday soon she'll be a teenager, and at times we'll think she hates us...

And, just watchin' her it breaks his heart, cause he already knows.
It won't be like this for long.

One day soon that little girl will be all grown up and gone.

This phase is gonna fly by,

so just try to hold on.

Cause it won't be like this for long.


You all told me. But, I didn't listen until today. And, now I know that time is passing fast.

We don't spend time worrying that someone will take her away from us anymore. And we don't worry that we won't be able to be good parents anymore. And, we don't worry that she'll grow up to be a master criminal...well, not very often anymore.

Now we can just enjoy being around her most of the time. And, the rest of the time? Well, we've taught her how to be a good person and we give her the space and hope she remembers. But, just one more time, couldn't we sit on the bed and play UNO and cuddle that stupid gorilla?

That picture is from her first night in Texas. And, today, she's a teenager.

Thanks to Darius Rucker for the lyrics to the song "It won't be like this for long".

Have a great day. I think I'll go weep for a moment. Lane


Someone help me understand

I made the mistake of reading news stories from my homepage yesterday. It seemed that every review of the elections had a segment about how LGBT rights and marriage equality rights affected the vote. I have to ask, have those things become so important that they rank up there with the economy and 10% unemployment in importance? And, if they are, why? And, are they sufficient for a group to spend money getting three Iowa judges voted off the bench, just because they thought marriage rights were bigger than gender.

I mean, why would anyone object to me marrying Rob? Does marriage give us some right that I'm not familiar with?

If it's the right to file joint tax returns, why would anyone care about that? From what I'm hearing, the marriage credit ain't so much to hop up and down about anymore, and more and more married couples are finding the advantage of filing separately.

If it's the right to visit one another in the hospital when a doctor says "family only", neither of our doctors is ever going to do that, such that it would forbid us visitation. We've already taken care of that by working with doctors we trust to understand who we are.

If it's the right for my property to pass to Rob without contest, why would it matter to anyone? I mean, I already took care of that, whether we're married or not, through a will. But, it's not like the people that would object to our marriage stand to inherit my stuff anyway. Is this why somebody would care?

If it's the right to marry in a church, you can forget about that. We feel so mistreated by churches that it's not likely that we're going there to formalize a relationship.

If it's that piece of paper that binds us legally together, why would anyone care about that? Some people have their own piece of paper and some people don't. It's not like the paper actually signifies a lifetime commitment or anything when the divorce rate among the people that get a piece of paper is 50%. If they are of so little value, who cares who has one?

Or is it that someone would object to seeing us as a married couple? I gotta tell you, that ship has sailed. We are the stereotypical old married couple. You wouldn't think we were gay to see us separately, but see us together and there's hardly ever any doubt.

And, anyone that objected to this being a family photo can count that ship as sailed, too. This little girl was tossed away, like a used tissue, by not one, not two, not even three, but four heterosexual families in the two years before she came to us. And, now she's part of a family...FOREVER. And, don't tell me I don't have the right to feed her and make sure she does good in school just because I'm gay, cuz her own heterosexual mother let her go hungry and let her get two years behind in her education. And, now she's an honor roll athlete. Neither hetero nor homo -sexuality did that. It was work and grief and arguing and never giving up. Anybody could have done it. But nobody else did except the gay couple that wanted her to have every chance that any other kid gets.

So, if you understand why this is so important, can you explain it to me? I can't think of anything that the right to marry is going to change for us, so why would anyone object? And, don't use the argument that "if you have all the benefits already, why do you need more?" cause I'll tell you, we've got the benefits, but they were expensive, and there's no reason why I should have to pay extra to have the same rights as anybody else.

I won't be reading any more news for a while. My feelings got a little hurt yesterday and I'm not going to let this affect my day today. Tonight is basketball and tomorrow is the girl's birthday. That's what's really important right now. Not who's going to Washington to do nothing. Maybe in a couple of years we'll be able to find people willing to go to Washington and do something. Til then, I'll spend my time on what's really important; and she's about to be 13.



Ain't she cute

Ain't she cute here, holding that quilt and sewing the binding on sew nicely. That's my Mary. An old girl, but she sure does a good job. I'm afriad I'm going to have to take the cover off the foot control and see if it's dirty or anything. She takes a few minutes to warm up and that doesn't seem right after I've replaced all the lubricant and given her a good oiling. If cleaning up the foot control doesn't solve it, I'll have to think about checking the motor more closely. I'm sure it's a snap to take out and clean up. Fortunately, the repair manual was available on the internet, so I feel like I can do just about anything.

(And, yes, I was just 18 inches from having that binding sewn all the way around. Now, I have to go back and make some "corrections". It was my first all machine binding, after all.)

Ain't she cute? Just look at those big eyes. And, no, she's never going to grow into those ears. They're dachshund size and chihuahua shape. This was when Sydney was trying to put a flower on her as a halloween costume. Didn't work very well. She doesn't like costumes very much. And, everything has to go into her mouth.

Ain't she cute? That's my girl, right there in the middle. She's just tipped off the basketball. She's certainly found her sport. She has the height for it and those long slender fingers are sticky on a basketball. She really enjoyed herself and after the first game, the coaches moved girls from the A team to the B team and Sydney got moved up to A. While I am proud of her for being moved up, I am very disappointed in the A team coach who told the A team, during the middle of the game, that she was going to switch the teams around because they were playing so badly. That didn't go over very well with me. I also didn't much approve of her aggression toward the girls during the game. I guess I got spoiled with the volleyball coach who was unflappable, and that's very high praise, coming from me.

So, that's my cuteness for the day. Can't think of a thing to share for WBW. Maybe something will come to me later. Some old memory. For now, I'm exhausted by work again and last night was a very restless one, and I just can't think of old memories right now.

Take care and have a great Wednesday. We have tonight off. No after school activities. I hope to finally get my kitchen cleaned back up. There has been no time or inclination this week.



An ominous wind...

Two mornings in a row it's been blowing. You know the wind. It's the same wind as the beginning of the Halloween movies.

That cold north wind that cuts through everything and blows a few dry leaves along the pavement. Trees with leaves shiver in the cold northern blast.

And, tension hangs in the air like fog. So thick, it seems you could cut it with a knife.

An ominous wind.

Okay, so I'm a modern man and not usually bent to paranoia, but I couldn't help myself looking around dark shrubs, looking for a man in a hockey mask. And, the dog did too. I'm not sure which of us was scaring one another the most by being skittish.
Now, to the election fiasco.

Who else is sick to death of hearing candidates talk about their opponents? Jeez! Can't they hear that America is calling for a change? I don't think we quite know how to make things change, but it's clear we're ready for it. And, the politicians are frantically sticking with the same. No more same. We need change. And, I'm not talking about a change of political party in power. I'm talking about a change in behavior and willingness to work together. Willingness to find out how alike we are and to behave like adults. Adults who have been given the most important jobs in our nation. Adults who have been hired to shape our today and our tomorrow. Neither party can claim that they've been willing to do much of that recently.

And, I hope that the desperation that I have heard from the politicians this election is a sign that the old ways are ending and that a new way of government is on the way. A new way of government that allows for compromise. I'm still blown away by the way John Stewart expressed it at the end of his rally on Saturday. In summary, politicians say they can't compromise, but that's just not true. We the people do it every day. We compromise with people that are different than us at work, at home, at church. John's example was three lanes of traffic funnelling down to one lane. It doesn't matter what the other person's bumper sticker says and it doesn't matter if their car is better or worse than mine. There has to be an order that everyone has to follow, or none of us will go anyplace. That order requires that drivers compromise and let one another go ahead until it's their own turn.

If people would just stop acting like 4 year olds and understand that nobody gets everything they want. Everybody has to give a little. Me, I give. I continue to live in a state where one of the parties includes illegalizing homosexuality again, as part of their platform. And, that's a big one to compromise on. But, do I move away? Do I carry a gun? No. Because that's not part of compromise. I try to effect change, but I don't pack up my toys and stop playing just because I'm not getting everything I want.


Boy, did I miss my older Americans this morning. My polling place is usually staffed by a very efficient blue haired crowd. They run the station like a well oiled and tuned machine; you might wait for a machine to vote on, but you don't wait to get signed in.

Today, it was staffed by a much younger and much less efficient group of volunteers and while I certainly respect those that can and choose to volunteer so I can execute my civic duty, These 3 guys couldn't hold a conversation and didn't understand the process they were executing. Which is a shame since they'd been open for a couple of hours. I can only imagine what it will be like if they get busy.


Whew! that can only be described as a series of diatribes.

Have a great Tuesday and if you haven't done so already, GO VOTE! It really is important.



A weekend of accomplishments

Oh, how I loved my three days off. Unfortunately, not a spare minute to post or read blogs.

Friday, I worked on the hex quilt a lot and then put a sleeve on this quilt. This is the UFO I finished Friday morning. I named the quilt Apple Pie, but it's from a class called Not Your Mother's Sampler. Okay, so there's always a story to my quilts. This one was made in the first class I ever took and stuck with. (I took one before and only went to one of the meetings.) But, this one I persevered. It was supposed to be an advanced beginners, but most of the quilters were really beginners.

Anyway, this quilt has probably 3000 yards of quilting thread in it. Maybe more. And, you can't see a bit of it. I was too timid to use a slightly different shade of thread and all that beautiful quilting is invisible.

There are apples and baskets and flowers and tree branches, laden with fruit and flowers and leaves. The thing is stiff with quilting. And, you can't see a bit of it. For example, in the picture below, that red triangle has a basket of apples, and flowers and branches and leaves quilted in it. The pattern was specifically designed and drawn to fill this space. But, you can't see it.

And, that's why I hated this UFO and it hung in the closet for over a year, needing just one hour of additional quilting to be finished. Well, that and it needed a sleeve.

On Saturday, I took last year's cmas quilt, you'll see it later, and I fixed the binding and got the sleeve on. When I finished it last year, the binding was a disaster. It was my first attempt to machine bind and it was the biggest mess. I finally just used needle and thread and whipped the binding to the back with long stitches to make it look okay. Saturday, I took that binding off, re-ironed it and put it back on and got all the finger work done on the back and got the sleeve on it. Now, I just need to remove the embellishments and wash and block it to hang during the holidays.

And, yesterday, I did most of the binding on the triple irish chain Leaders and Enders quilt. It is my first successful machine binding. I've sewn the binding to the back and sewn down one side to the front and will be turning the first corner tonight or in the morning. I'm very excited. This will make all the difference in making a bed sized quilt because it will make the binding process much easier.

But, that wasn't even the main event for the weekend. Okay, the main event was resting and relaxing. But, the main job was window screens. When I moved into the house 11 years ago, most of the windows didn't have screens in them. There were 3 and 2 more had frames that the screen had been pulled from. Other than that, we opened the windows at our own peril. So, over the last two weekends, I've been making screens, preparing us for the fall and winter, when we can actually open up the house. I have one window to go and next weekend, need to start taking down the wood screen doors, pull the screens, repaint, and then put them back up.

Chores are apparently never done.

Anyway, I like this whole taking them a little at a time and spreading the work. Not so good for getting anything done, but it makes what I do get done more pleasant.

We only had about 6 treaters last night. I think Sydney was a little disappointed. But, I didn't mind. My job was to sit in the floor with the dog tied to my leg so she couldn't bark at and run after small children. Halloween on a Sunday is always slow at our house; I guess everybody goes to a party.

Take care and have a great Monday. Lane