More fabrics for the Jubilee quilt

Yesterday was a pretty good travel day. Not sure what was up with my mood, but I was in a very good one and made a point of smiling at everyone, whether they smiled back or not. There were a few people that I wanted to grab and shake and say "if your plane goes down today, you're going to spend eternity dressed like that. How happy do you think you'll be???"

But, I didn't.

I also did my good deed. I flew from Denver to Cleveland next to two girls, one about 10 and the other about 12. Very, very polite young ladies and I was sure to compliment them on it. I also swiped my credit card so they could watch animal planet all the way, but they had to share a pair of earbuds. And, I sat next to them and sewed dresden plate blocks. In peace and quiet. But, their Mama packed them really good looking sandwiches and I almost bargained for one.

By the time I got to Cleveland, my meds were wearing off and all the meds I've been taking for this croup or crud or whatever I'm still fighting off were wearing off, plus they're having an adverse action in my gut. And, I hadn't eaten since breakfast. I smelled Cinnabon. Did you know that if you want an unfrosted cinnamon roll from them, they won't sell it? What's up with that? There was a girl standing there frosting hot cinnamon rolls and I wanted one that she hadn't frosted yet because my stomach didn't feel real good. No. So, I picked one from the display case and knowing that I didn't want all the sugary stuff, she filled that box with extra sugar frosting. I should have turned it down and walked away, but instead, I smiled and said thanks.

When I got here, I drove straight to Mentor, OH to go to Quilts and Sew Forth. Last time I was there, they had a whole room of batiks and hand dyes. I should have called first because they are not where they were or are out of business. Sad. But, there was another shop that I didn't go to last time that is nearer the office here, so I decided to try that. I did call them first and they were still there and they were the nicest couple. So, if you're ever in the NE Cleveland area, I strongly suggest that you go to Mara's Fabric and Gifts in Eastlake, OH. It was a little hard to find, squeezed in between two small stores in a small strip center and their sign is pretty small, but I did find them. We chatted a bit and I told where I am from and like everyone that cuts fabrics for me, they wanted to hear about my project, so I told them about the Jubilee project and that I wanted to pick up fabrics for the quilt in any city I was in this year. And, I found these five beautiful batiks in shades I don't have.

They also have an online shop at http://www.marasfabricandgifts.com/. I haven't been there yet, but if it's anything like the actual shop, it will be jam-packed with beautiful fabrics.

After that, it was off to dinner with some co-workers, where I worked the room like a revival preacher, talking to and meeting everyone. I was definitely on top of my game. Dinner was awful and I sent my plate back after eating just the steamed zucchini and a few bites of potatles and two small pieces of the terrible chicken. The waiter spent the rest of the evening chasing me around, trying to get me to take a sandwich or something else "on the house", but I was off food by then.

Then, it was back to the hotel and I crashed and slept all night. I woke once, in a full sweat, so hopefully, that is more evidence of my body fighting off the last remains of this little gift that Sydney gave me from school.

Rob says Mable is more relaxed and is acting more like the puppy she is. She and Bella are playing more and unless Sydney gets in the middle of it, they get along great. I think Bella will always be jealous and aggressive when Sydney is around. I know she'll snap at me if I raise my voice or shake my finger at Sydney and we've all gotten used to that. It's part of who she was when she came to us.

Okay, that's it for me. A quick post on the Jubilee blog and then it's off to the shower and getting ready for the day. yeah. All day meetings and then the standard "team builder" dinner, which for my work group always involves competition. What is it about these folks that they can't get in the same room without competing about something. To me, it's the antithesis of "team building". But, they like it. And, if I don't, I have my own car.

Have a great...what day is today? Wednesday, I think? Anyway, it's a day that doesn't really exist, right? Leap day? So, if I'd been born on leap day, does that mean I'd only be twelve and a half years old, instead of 50?



Starts and stops (and naps)

We saw just the last 8 minutes of The Grapes of Wrath the other day. That's what sums it all up for me. There's the tearful goodbye and then Ma Joad has her new attitude in the last scene...

"Man lives in jerks - baby born, or somebody dies, that's a jerk - gets a farm, or loses one, an' that's a jerk. With a woman it's all one flow, like a stream, little eddies, little waterfalls, but the river it goes right on."

I guess I'm enough in touch with my feminine side that life is like a river for me, too. One thing goes on into the next and the next and the next. And, what's important is the stuff that happens between the "jerks". I haven't always been that way. If I talked about my past, I'd tell you the high points that happened. But, if I tell you about my present, it's about the stuff that's going on between the high points.

I was sick this weekend. I guess I should have expected it when I got so low on Thursday. All day Friday, it was chills and sweats and chills and sweats. Put on three shirts, and in 15 minutes, strip down to my shorts and wipe off the sweat. And, never running an abnormal temperature.

Friday afternoon, I mananged to get this Jubilee block made. It's number 4 and the block name is Talitha. I didn't realize it, but all these blocks are named for stars. Talitha refers to two stars in the Ursa Major constellation; Talitha Australis and Talitha Borealis. Hey, you learn something new every day, eh?

This was one of the easier blocks to piece. It should not have taken 6 hours, except it was piece a bit and rest a bit and piece a bit and rest a bit. While I'm in Cleveland this week, I'm going to try to stop in a quilt store and see what Batiks I can pick up. I'd like to pick up a couple in any cities I visit this year to use in the Jubilee quilt.

Saturday wasn't much better, except that there was time between the chills and sweats for me to get a few things accomplished, like hemming all the curtains in the house.

Now, I could wait until all the "stuff of daily living" is put away and show you pretty, dressed up pictures of the house. But, we might all get really old, waiting for those pics, so I better show you what it really looks like. We're not quite finished yet, but all the furniture is in the house. Rob will get plates in the plate rack soon, too. But, the textbooks and eraser shavings and four pens and a pencil without a point and a half a notebook are apparently permanent parts of the decor.

By Sunday, it was do something and take a nap, do something and take a nap. I started cooking and then had to go take a nap. I woke to the smell of food. I was only asleep about 5 minutes, but I went from a reclining position to full "attention" in a single movement and then ran to the kitchen and stirred everything. I managed to stay awake until it was all ready and then I took a nap before the dishes. All day long, work for 5, sleep for 10, work for 5, sleep for 10. And, apparently I needed it because I slept all night last night, too.

And, the last thing that happened this weekend is our new addition. Right now, her name is Hazel/Mable...at least that's what I'm calling her until Rob decides. She is a pure bred beagle. We know nothing else about her except what she tells us.

Rob's been looking for a female beagle for a couple of years. After my old dogs passed, he started looking for what he wanted. We had Bella; the chihuahua/dachshund mix and she's definitely Sydney's dog.

Hazle/Mable is going to be Rob's dog. She's supposed to be about 8 months old, but I think she's a bit younger. She's quite immature for her size and she's still got big feet.

Fortunately, she doesn't look as sad as she did in this picture anymore. She's doing much better fitting in. You know those first 24 hours are rough as everybody gets to know one another better and figures out the expectations.

So, what has she told me about herself? Well, I'm pretty sure she outgrew being "cute" at her last home. Somebody tried training her, but I'm pretty sure that they weren't persistent enough (a child maybe) and gave up and that she was too big and bumblig to work out without training. That's not a problem for us. We're good at training and are persistent and will show her what it takes to fit in our pack. I think that at the end, a bit more aggressive techniques than were required might have been used to train her. She's afraid to be picked up or lifted in any way and yelps if you try. She's not completely housebroken, but she does understand the principal and we are diligent watchers, so while she's "assumed the position" a couple of times, we've been able to stop her and get her into the yard. And, the one present she gave us on the new carpet was moved to the yard and she went right to it to leave all subsequent presents. Lots and lots of subsequent presents.

She's in heat and we have to take her back this week to get her spayed. And, she's skinny, which worries me a bit, so she needs to see our vet, hopefully this week. She's bonding quite well with Rob. She's so cute trying to get Bella to play. She rolls over on her back and pulls herself along the floor, trying to be more Bella's size. But Bella is neurotic and is having nothing to do with it. If Hazel/Mable gets too close to Sydney, Bella leaps from wherever she is, snapping and growling; a german shepherd guard dog the size of a football. This too shall pass.

Oh, and she got comfortable enough this morning to chase my cat. Now that may be where she and I have a bit of trouble. I'm not gonna have any of that. Otherwise, I think she's going to fit in fine. She's one lucky dog.

Everybody take care and have a great Monday.



Battling the bubble

Thanks everyone for understanding the end of my difficult day yesterday. I woke feeling better physically and mentally.

But, I wanted to take some time to talk about how I'm feeling. I know that depression affects a lot of people and I can't speak to what it is like for them, but I think I can illustrate what it is like for me.

Depression for me is like an inflating bubble that blocks my path of real life.

Sometimes, I can fight the bubble...

And, beat it back into it's box.

But, sometimes I can't.

Sometimes, I have to sit and study it. But, I have to make sure I don't sit and study for too long. Real life awaits my arrival.

The therapist says that depression is anger turned inward. For me, that's generally anger that I hold in because I just don't think expressing it will do any good. Doesn't stop me from feeling it, but it's pointless to express it, and it sometimes ends up turned inward toward me.

What I'm trying to learn is to climb over the bubble, acknowledging that it's there, but refusing to let it further impede my progress.

And, I can get back to my real life, already in progress.

Today, I'm climbing



The end of a long and hard day

I am fast approaching the end of a long and hard day and I have to tell you, I am tempted to go home and go straight to bed so it can end that much faster.

I know it's just because I am exhausted. We wore ourselves out trying to get moved back into the house yesterday afternoon and we got most of it done, but not all. There are still three significant pieces of furniture in the garage and even what has come in is not all "in place" yet.

And, last night was my fear of flying night. I have one before I fly. Every time. And, I don't understand it. Rationally, I am not afraid to fly. I haven't been since I thought about how many hours my boss spends in the air and he hasn't crashed yet, so what are the chances that I will. But, still, this happens every time. I just get dozed off and into that sleepy land and then I sit up straight, sweating and terrified from a falling dream...falling from thirty thousand feet. And, envisioning scenes from the movie Air Force One where people fall out of the back of the plane without parachutes, screaming as they free fall. And, that's my nightmare. And, it took about an hour to talk myself down and get back to sleep. But, I woke this morning, hardly remembering any of it. At least it only happens once anymore, and now it's behind me, so now I can start preparing for the trip instead of dreading the nightmare.

Good thing I'm not always this tired. If you've read me for a while, then you know that I don't do this often. But, it's amazing how much better I feel, just getting it off my chest.

Free therapy!!


p.s. And, now that I'm home, I'm starting to think that maybe I'm coming down with something. That would suck. But, it would explain a lot.



They're gone

It's done and amazingly, the carpet just feels different. It feels tighter and more springy and less mushy. I am so glad we had them back. A couple of hours and they were done.

Even the wall color looks better with it now...tho I'm betting that's psychological.

Wanted to give a link to my first post on the Jubilee Quilt Project. I'll be posting there once in a while, but will always give a link from here.

There are a lot of us making these quilts, so if you get a chance, catch up with all us 50-year-great (as opposed to 50 year old) people.

Later. Lane

They're ba-ack

The installers are here. They were an hour early. We were prepared, but sweaty from the preparations. We asked what they expected to do and they said fix a gap in the pad. But, then we started showing them everything else and they pulled it all up and have taken care of everything. And, when I say all, I mean ALL. They cut every seam and re-taped it. And, glued the pad down and closed all the pad gaps. Now, they're stretching it back in place.

I don't think they knew what was in store, they'd just been told to "make it right." They're not even from the installation company. They've been brought in from Louisiana and work for Lowe's and are helping them get caught up.

We have to stand up for ourselves and thank goodness for Rob. He does this all day, every day and he can be both demanding and polite at the same time. Me? Not so much. I'm a one or the other kind of guy.

So, I haven't done a thing except move out of the house since yesterday and have nothing to show. But, I'm so excited for this to be ending. They're doing the living room first, so Rob can set up his aquarium and then, I have to work from ten til twelve. It's going to be an interesting day...una dia muy interesante!

This time, I'm unpacking the box in the my bedroom and if they have to come back, they can move the furniture.

Hasta Luego!

Oh, and on the book giveaway, I had to go to the post office to see how much postage I'd already spent. Not as much as I thought, so we'll recommence with that soon. Everybody that's won, your package is on the way. Sorry it took so long, but you know, we've been busy.



More progress

I've been making significant progress on my priorities. None of my priorities are things I could finish in a weekend, so I'm just trying to keep making progress...move forward. Else I'd likely just sit down amid the chaos.

This is the third Jubilee quilt block. I'm loving these blocks, even though they do take a long time each. I started this one Friday night, feeling sorry for myself and by the time I finished it on Saturday morning, I was feeling happy for myself again. Hard not to be happy working with such bright fabrics. I made a tutorial while I was doing it, but I've also been reading my Judy Mathieson books on Mariner's Compass blocks and found some tweaks that i want to incorporate into my stars and so I'll do a tute on the next block, using those steps. They're steps I've used before, but it's been so long, I just forgot about her method of using freezer paper foundations. The issue I'm having now is that even though I press the fabrics over after a seam, sometimes, they move and when I assemble the block, I end up with a piece that wrinkles because it's slightly too large for it's position. The freezer paper should help me eliminate that as it will hold the fabrics down. And, because you don't sew through the freezer paper, it's easy to peel off.

All that sounds tempting, huh? I really think those extra steps will make these easier and faster going forward.

I finally finished LD's little pink ribbon quilt. It didn't turn out exactly like I would have liked. If I make another, I'll use different fabrics so that the middle band of the ribbon still contrasts with the background. Anyway, it's postcard size and I oulined all three bands of the ribbon and then stippled the heck out of the background and left the border unquilted. I hand sewed the binding down on the way to have lunch with her yesterday.

She's a very special lady. Her cancer diagnosis wasn't as bad as we all feared. She has a remnant of her slow growing breast cancer in her hip (I keep trying to think of a joke about breast cancer in your butt, but am having no luck making this funny). Anyway, she's doing better and they are controlling her pain now and she is more hopeful, more positive, more upbeat and she didn't need either he cane or her walker to get around yesterday, although she did take advantage of two strong men to hang on to.

We all had fun and then it was back home and back to the business of getting ready to move out of the house again. They're supposed to be there tomorrow at 9am with new padding to pull up the carpet, replace some of the pad and re-lay the carpet. I will be glad. I am tired of living out of boxes. I will have a new respect for people that have to do that long term going forward. It sucks. But, now that they're coming, I have finally started to remember to get my clothes out of the garage BEFORE getting in the shower.

I got started quilting the raffle quilt this weekend, too. I got all the securing ditch work done and started to fill these blocks. I'm using invisible thread, which is working great on straight lines, but I quilted little feathers in the pink triangles (that you can't see because the thread is INVISIBLE...what was I thinking about taking a picture?) the tension is all wrong. If I set the top tension low enough to avoid bobbin pop-ups, I end up with tangles of invisible thread on the back where I change directions. There is likely something I could adjust, if I took the time to do it, but this is something I've struggled with through years of trying to use invisible. Instead, I'm just going to use the same thread as the bobbin for these little feathers. That's a very fine dark red and not only will it eliminate my tension problems, it will make my feathers show up. Imagine trying to freehand, free-motion a small feather that you can't see. I'm not surpirised that I'm having trouble trying to keep the quilt moving under the needle. I keep having to stop and readjust my eyes. But, the invisible is perfect for not showing mistakes and that means fast and that means maybe I'll make the internal deadline I've set for mid march to finish this.

Okay, so that's it for me today. Oh, except for a book giveaway. My random number generated 2, making Lucy, qltmom9 the winner. Lucy, send me an address.

Everybody have a wonderful day! Lane


A little bit of this and a little bit of that and a lot of overwhelmed

I have overcommitted. It's just that simple. Unfortunately, I thrive in an overcommitted situation. But, I don't enjoy it anymore. So, I'm trying to handle it differently, first by trying not to overcommit and second by trying to remain calm when I do.

Priority list:

-finish baby quilt

-quilt and bind church youth group raffle quilt

-finish curtains

-move out of and then into house...again!

-line up details to teach machine quilting class

-get ready for a business trip

-keep the chaos at work down to a minimum and try to enjoy being the expert instead of being annoyed at all the extra questions

-keep making jubilee blocks

But, before I get to work on any of that, I want to thank my friend Suzanne for this gift that came in the mail yesterday. Thanks so much Suzanne!!

Does the machine in that picture look like anybody we know?

I think it's an Eldredge or National, just like my Natalie Scarbrough. Or, maybe it's just a machine, waiting to be collected...aren't all vintage machines either collected or waiting to be collected? Thanks again. I have just the spot to hang it in.


This next picture is the only thing I don't like about paper piecing. The waste. This whole pile is from one of the mariner's compass blocks. I tried and couldn't get even an inch and a half square out of any of it. I don't even know if it would be big enough for crumb piecing.

I am usually so frugal with my stash, but the only thing I can justify about this is that I have cut my waste down to just this. And, of course, there are strips left that will work their way into the scrap user's system. the only thing I could do with this is shred it and use it in pictorial quilting and I am not going there right now.

I wanted to show what was in pocket this morning. Those 8 olive green buttons have been in there since Monday when I cut them off the curtains. They've moved from one pair of pants to the next, until this morning, when I finally took them out. I'm going to miss those buttons. They made me feel like I had a little jingle in my pocket.

Who won yesterday's books??? Well, I had a flaw in my instructions, so I'm not going to get very specific on this one about how many entrants and which number drawn in case I misunderstood anyone's interest. I went with folks that didn't say they didn't want to be included (sorry about the double negative) and the random number selected made the winner Patricia O. in Canada!! Patricia, I know you read my blog every day, so shoot me your snail mail address and I'll get these posted.

And, here are the next three books. I don't hear very much from Nancy Zieman anymore, but when I was learning to quilt, she was very active, writing and teaching. I enjoyed both these quilting books very much. One is about machine quilting and is titled "Quilt it Quick" and the other is vintage patterns and is appropriately called "Very Easy Vintage Quilts".

And, you're laughing at the Complete Idiot's Guide to Quilting. That's fine. But, remember I'm self taught and I had to start somewhere and for a beginner, this book is packed with useful information. A lot of it is the basics, but it's a great resource for the basics. There are some patterns, and lots of instruction. And, I'll leave the bookmarks in it so you can see what the last thing I looked up was. It must have been important for me to bookmark it.

This is a giveaway for my followers, so please don't spread the word. It increases the chances that one of my followers that reads every day will win. This will correct yesterday's mistake; if you're interested, leave a comment and say specifically that you're interested in the books. If you don't say, then I won't consider you. I love comments and want everybody that doesn't need books to still comment without being worried that they'll win. If more than one person is interested, I'll random number generate for a winner again. You have to comment by 10am tomorrow. If you can help with postage, you'll have my return address when you get the books and that will make it easier to give away more books (and then maybe some stash?)

Everybody have a great Friday. My long list of priorities is glad that tomorrow is supposed to be rainy and wet. It limits what I can accomplish, which hopefully will make it easier to focus on what I need to accomplish.



Vintage. Good condition. Gently used. Not for sale.

Today's post was going to be a long description of how things went terribly wrong with the carpet install; how all the carpet has to be pulled up and re-laid because of mistakes in how the pad was laid underneath. Or, how inconvenient it is to still be living out of boxes in the garage because there's no need in pulling furniture in yet. I could even talk about how cold it was in the garage, trying to find a pair of underwear this morning. I could complain that they didn't leave until 9:30 Tuesday night and that we spent all day yesterday waiting for representatives from the company and the installer to show up and confirm that yes, there is a 2 inch wide "void" in the padding that runs the entire width of the living room and that the carpet was never stretched in a closet and there are overlapping chunks of pad in front of the back door to fill in the space and you can see every seam he made. I could even list the excuses we've been given...but that would take all my space for the day.

But, I'd rather focus on some really good stuff that happened this week. Like the title of this post. That's what Rob wrote in a card to me. It made me laugh out loud over breakfast and brought a tear to my eye when I thought about it again this morning. That man loves me and he knows what I think is good. And, that was good. And, a perfect way to tell me that I'm all his.

I wonder how long you'll remember what you did on Valentine's Day 2012? Somehow, I don't think my family will ever forget the year we ate pizza on V Day, huddled in the sewing room, using washcloths for napkins because the carpet installers were nowhere near finished when we got hungry.

The carpet looks great and we are so happy with our choice. It feels good, it looks good. We'd be perfectly happy if we could have moved back into the house yesterday like we had planned. I took this picture as a funny, but it doesn't look funny here. It looks like the carpet and the walls go perfectly together. Just like we thought when we picked it out. But, the afternoon they were installing, Rob came into the sewing room, where I was waiting with the dog, and said I should come out and look at how purple the carpet made the walls look. And, he was right. I looked around, turned and went back to the sewing room and said "we're going to have to paint the living room." He was skeptical. 45 minutes later, he came in the sewing room and said "we're going to have to paint the living room". Our color was a grayish brown. But, against the grayish green carpet, and with any light, it is as purple as it can be. Only in the dark does it still all look gray/brown like we planned. But, we will be picking something that goes with the trim and accent colors because we just repainted all the trim and doors and accent wall.

I spent all afternoon on Tuesday and much of yesterday in the sewing room. Just after they started the carpet, Sydney got home and I was not up to having to chase some young hispanic guy out of my house for gawking at my 14 year old hispanic looking daughter. So, she was locked up with me and made to wear a birka...okay, not a birka, but made to wear long shorts and a shirt that was not a tank top.

We chatted and laughed and she complained about how dramatically inconvenient it was to be locked up with me for hours on end in a hot room. But, I think we still managed to enjoy our Valentine's day afternoon and evening.

Another favorite thing was spending the day with Rob yesterday. After two weeks of working our butts off, we finally rested yesterday, not out of choice, but because there was nothing else to do. That was a good thing. We needed it and we would not have given it to ourselves, but I'm glad we did have the free time and I enjoyed how we spent it.

I made this second Jubilee quilt block. Hours and hours of sewing pleasure. 34 more to go. Daunting!! Good thing I'll only have one jubilee birthday. (Patricia, that blue background that makes the circle is one of your hand dyes. Thank you!! They're going to be perfect in this quilt. I know I planned a bunch of things for them, but this special quilt is where they're going to go.)

And, this week, I've also remade the curtains in the dining room, the living room and the bedroom. I never noticed how badly they were made 10 years ago until I pulled them off the walls for the carpet. They're great fabrics and colors, just needed some "straightening and straight seaming"...things I can do better now. I washed them all and hung them on the line to dry and then took them apart and put them back again. I still have to hem them all because the carpet is a deeper pile now and I have a bit to go on the bedroom curtains, but I'm going to like them all much better. And, it gave me something that I thought was important to do, during what was a stressful time.

My favorite part of the whole experience? Our patience with one another. We have not argued. We have not squabbled and we have not shot hurtful barbs at one another, and no matter how perfect your family is, you have to know how easy it is to do those things during a stressful time. And, we have not. We've worked together and we've arrived at answers and we've respected one another's right to just not think about it right now. And, all those are good things that could have made an unpleasant experience into a downright horrible one. We are not the victims of what happened, but instead, we are active participants in getting it done correctly. Our part is to patiently wait for the corrective wheels turn. We are not blaming the carpet installer that was working in the dark or the helper that spent most of the 6 hours on the phone or the scheduler that scheduled our guy with three big jobs in one day or the manufacturer in case there is actually a flaw in the pad, like the installer said. We're just working with all of them to get it right. And, we're patiently waiting to get our house back.

So, because we are cleaning things out, I have come across a bunch of books to get rid of. These are good books for beginners. My thoughts are that as quilters, we should read as much as we can and absorb as much as we can from as many people as we can. Often, I cite something on this blog, but can't remember where I read it. It could be in any of the myriad books I've read on the subject. But, having read some of those books more than once and absorbed everything I think I can from them, it's time to pass them on. So, today, I'm offering these three books and will try to offer a few more each day until they've found new homes where other quilters can enjoy them.

It's a giveaway for my followers, so please keep it on the down low and don't send hundreds of one timers over. That's a great way to get new followers, but I want to share with my current followers and I know that some of them are beginners or haven't had the chance to read as many books as I have (thank goodness for Half Price Books). Anyway, if you're interested, leave a comment. If more than one person is interested, I'll random number generate for a winner. You have to comment by, let's say, 10am tomorrow. If you can help with postage, you'll have my return address when you get the books and that will make it easier to give away more books (and then maybe some stash????)

Everybody, have a great Thursday. I will show more pics as things develop. In the meantime, send us good wishes as we work through the complaints department.

When I was a kid, a member of our church had a sign in their hardware store that said something along these lines...The head of our complaints department is Helen Waite. If you have a complaint, go to Helen Waite.



Just a couple more days

Tomorrow is the day. They're supposed to be at the house in the afternoon. We've got everything ready for them to come in and replace a bit of tackstrip and lay the carpet. It should go really fast. This weekend, we emptied the bedroom, cleaned the slab, painted the closets and all the trim and doors.

After Rob had painted the closets, he started the trim inside them and asked me to step inside one and asked me how I liked it and I grunted something unintelligible and accomodating and went outside and then came in and kind of screeched "I hate it. It's lavender and yellow." And, it truly was. The gray paint that we were trying to use up by putting it in the closets looked totally lavender against the red bedroom walls and the beige trim. And, it made the trim color look yellow instead of beige. And, when he asked why I was so upset, I had to explain that it was because I knew I was asking him to repaint them and I felt bad about that. But, they had to be repainted.

So, when we went to dinner that night, we stopped and got a gallon of beige trim paint and yesterday, he painted the closets again.

He's such a good man.

Yesterday, while he was painting, I was taking apart and putting back together the dining room curtains. They were just cheap Target tab top curtains that we found in goodwill for $3 a panel. But, they were the perfect color and a great cotton fabric. They may have been square when they were made, but after I washed them the first time, they weren't anymore and they hung very weird, but so long as they stayed open, you couldn't tell. If you tried to close them, there was twice as much fabric as needed on the narrow windown and half as much as needed on the wide window. So, I took them apart, ironed them back to where the warp and welt were square, recut them and this time, I made them all fit the window they needed to. Then, I put them all back together. And, this was important to me. But, I think it was important to Rob because he got to finish all his work without me asking every 15 minutes what I could do next.

After he got finished, I fed him a roast chicken, because you gotta feed a man like that good. And, after that was done, I started on this block and worked on it the rest of the day. Still out of his way.

I guess there never really was any question whether I was going to make that jubilee quilt, huh? On friday, I printed the first 4 of 6 sets of patterns. The camera took some of the contrast out of this. There's really a blue in the points and the background is blue green. The alternating points are purple and the center is pink and red. Next block has lots more colors in it. Paper piecing wastes so much fabric, but I'm not going to worry about it. This is going to be a FABULOUS quilt.

But, this morning, I took the living room curtains apart because they had more issues than the dining room and for some reason, getting that right is important to me. It's like the finishing touch on the house to get it all back together on Wednesday.

Oh, one last thing. Guess who I got an email from? The LQS owner. She wants me to get my materials list together so they can sell "kits" for the class with all the required supplies. I guess I'm closer to being on the calendar than I thought.

Everybody have a great Monday. Don't know if there will be time to blog tomorrow. We have a 55 gallon aquarium to move and the last of the furniture out of the rooms. I think we're down to about 15 pieces of furniture in the house, including 4 dining room chairs. The rest is all in the garage. With all my clothes. It made it interesting to get dressed this morning.



A whole bunch of stuff and CABBAGE!!!

First things first. This jubilee quilt idea. I really like the idea and I'm finding the excitement of the others that are planning one for this year to be infectious. Seems that every time I read about somebody making one, I add a follow link to another blog. A new person that's turning 50 and planning their own jubilee quilt.

But, I'm having issues with the commitment. My resolution was to finish as many quilts as I could this year before starting anything new. Since then, I have started two new quilts. And, finished nothing. Of course, one of the new quilts is a baby quilt, so it gets a special exemption because I don't have any control over when babies are born. The other one is sitting, waiting for me to finish something and get back to it.

Without losing my excitement.

So, the thought of starting something else is daunting. Should I start a new quilt, or should I finish something I have started and call that my jubilee?

Grrrr. Pardon me for a bit of rationalization [So what if I leave 347 unfinished quilts when I die. It ain't about what I leave behind. It's about how much I enjoy life while I'm here. And, I'd rather leave 347 unfinished quilts than 4000 yards of uncut fabric, right? I saw a commercial the other day and the brand and product didn't stick with me, but this line did..."I want to die exhausted." I think that's my new motto.]

So, if you didn't notice, I think I just talked myself into going ahead and starting a jubilee quilt to celebrate my 50th. Of course, I've made that decision about 12 times and then I walk into the sewing room and see the unfinished projects laying around and so I've talked myself out of it about 11 times. But, if I'm going to do it, I need to commit!

Yesterday, I went looking for a pattern. This is what I found when I googled Jubilee quilt pattern.

module 1
module 2
module 3
module 4
module 5
module 6

If that worked right, you can see 36 different paper pieced Mariner's Star blocks. Yesterday, I bought module 1, just to make sure of what I'd get before I spent $24. It's exactly what I expected and looks pretty straightforward. Certainly something I could do.

Last night, I pulled all my batiks and hand dyes down and sorted them by fabrics that would work in these patterns and fabrics that wouldn't; mariner's compass blocks need distinct colors and lots of my hand dyes are multi colored. And, wouldn't you know it, I found a big piece of hand dyed background (and some beautiful hand dyes from my friend Patricia).

So, I've been dancing around this for at least a couple of days. I think that means I'm dragging my feet while at the same time, making a plan. I'm starting to think that the only person I'm fooling by straddling the fence is me.


This morning, it was raining. YEAH!! That meant I couldn't walk. Darn. So, I spent extra time quilting. I got the last stars quilted and I got all the way around the border. And, I started on the sashing. I fully expect to get the quilting finished on this very soon and plan to be sewing the binding down next week in the evenings while we're watching TV.

I sure do hope all the fire I've quilted into this quilt doesn't keep that poor baby up nights.


The new carpet is scheduled to be installed on Valentine's day. Happy Valentine's Day dear! Maybe I'll have the installer hand you your card. I picked Tuesday, not because it's Valentine's, but because it's the only day on the long range forecast next week when there isn't supposed to be rain. They won't install in the rain. And, we are ready. This weekend, we'll move out of the bedroom and do all the same cleaning we did last weekend in the living room and we're going to paint the closets. And, then we wait.


Okay, so the cabbage. There was an episode of the TV show Dinosaurs where the baby yelled CABBAGE! for most of the half hour. Now, anytime I make cabbage, Rob takes the opportunity, about every 30 seconds, to loudly work CABBAGE! into the conversation.

This is my simple recipe for "fried cabbage". I grew up eating boiled cabbage or cabbage cooked in boy scout dinners. I've also had it with sausage and sliced potatoes and carrots, cooked in good beer. All of those are wonderful, but my FAVORITE way to eat cabbage is fried.

I slice up a half of a head of cabbage and toss it in the wok with about a tablespoon of olive oil.

Then, I cut up 4 or 5 slices of turkey bacon and add a handful of chopped onion and a bunch of pepper and a little salt (the bacon has plenty of salt).

And, I let it cook down to something that smells wonderful...not really like cabbage at all, and tastes delicious. It takes about 15 minutes to cook down on medium heat and it's mostly sweating the water out of the crispier leaves. When it's all nice and tender, it's time to eat.

Last night, with baked chops and about half the mac and cheese I originally put on this plate. I didn't realize how much I'd put on until just before I put it on the table.


And, Kathy was interested in the 70's sweater patterns. Thanks, Kathy!! I'll contact you soon for an address.

Okay, so that's it for me. Everybody have a great Friday. If you wanna help paint closets, just let me know. I'll pay you in yarn. Lane


My other crafts and hobbies

I am a quilter. I am a fanatical quilter. I am a quilt fool.

And, I'm a parent and a pretty good cook and a gardener and relatively well read. I am a multi-faceted individual. Well rounded if I may say. Almost a renaissance man. (What happened to the term renaissance man?)

I like to try new challenges. Before I was the quilt fool, I was a knitter. I haven't knit(ted?) a sweater in a long time. I live in Texas. There are nine weeks a year that we can wear a sweater down here. And, that's three more weeks than we need a scarf. I only need mittens to travel. But, socks are something I do need, use and make. I don't know how many pair I've made now; including this one, ten maybe?

this is a pair of ankle socks. I had made one sock and realized I wasn't going to have nearly enough yarn to make the other, so I took the first one apart and made this pair of ankle socks.

Cindy, I know you were interested in making socks. I found a very simple, 72 stitch pattern and I can do lots of things with it to create interest in the stitch pattern, but always using the same basic patter with the same heel and toe. The heel can be hard to understand. I learned to make heels by making Christmas stockings, which use larger needles and yarn, but basically have the same pattern. That gave me the chance to practice heels and toes before I was using something not much thicker than quilting thread and round toothpicks.

Knitting socks can be very relaxing. That said, I put this pair aside in September and haven't pulled them out. I got really discouraged because the dog chewed a hole in two of my handmade socks (not from the same pair) and I picked up filet crochet. I bought a darning egg for myself at Christmas, but I still haven't fixed those socks.

This is my doily. That is so weird to say. Nobody says "I make doilies" anymore. And, I know why. Again, it's about using a tiny hook on thread. Rob has many pleasant memories of his Grandmother crocheting doilies. She kept her crochet in her black leather purse and could pull it out anytime while she was visiting and have something to work on...and be productive at all times. The pattern calls for ten repeats and I have six and a half done. But, I might go longer. I want it to be at least twice as long as it is wide.

A friend has shared a lot of her Mother's crochet thread stash and I'm working my way through it now to see what to keep and what to donate and what to give away...speaking of giving away, anybody interested in a couple of 3 ring binders of 70's sweater patterns? You let me know. I'll pay shipping, just to get them to somebody that would have some interest. And, keep on the lookout as I figure out which patterns I want to keep and which I want to re-home. There are going to be some quilting books, too. If more than one person wants the patterns, I'll random number generate for a "winner???"

Okay, so the next thing is just for pet owners. I LOVE PEDI PAWS. Bella got it for Christmas. Before this, I was having to muzzle her to cut her nails. She was fine with it when we got her and then I left her at the vet one day for some minor surgery and asked them to do it while she was asleep. I don't think they did because from there on out, she would never let me close to her nails without a struggle. I talked about it on here and got several suggestions for things like this, including dremel tools.

This is basically a dremel with a sanding tool and when we wear this out, i will definitely be trying my dremel, but this was a better tool to start because it is almost silent. We did the whole training, just like they suggest in the video about training pets to accept the tool. For a few days, we petted her with it and played with it, before we even put the batteries in it. Then, we started rubbing her with it while it was turned on and letting her sniff it and put it in her mouth (she's a very oral dog). And, then one morning about a week later, after Sydney had left for school, I used it on one nail and then we danced around and I gave her a treat. And, the next day, I did two nails and we danced and she got a treat. And, we kept it up just like that and now I can do both front or both back feet (not all four at once) and she'll sit there and let me. And, when I stop, she runs for the treat jar.

Okay, bribery is an effective training tool.

Everybody have a great Thursday! Lane


A walk in the garden and more stars quilted

I walk in my garden every day. EVERY DAY.

I love to go out there and see the beauty. It still amazes me that I can get things to grow, and I confess that it has taken years and years of practice. Years of overwatering and underwatering and mostly setting plants in places I wanted them to grow, but they weren't meant to be grown.

I had to show a picture of this witch hazel. This is just a crazy, violent bloom of little tiny magenta flowers. I'm not a big fan of magenta, but when it comes to this plant, it's just a frenetic mass of bright color in an otherwise rather bleak setting. Even if you don't care for magenta, you can't help but smile at this plant's brave blooming.

You've heard of the yellow rose of Texas? Well, this is a yellow rose in Texas. These roses start out gold/yellow and lovely. Then, as they age, they fade to white before the petals fall off.

I almost deleted this pic because you can't see much detail. But, it's because it's so brightly colored. And, it's not pink. This is a red, red rose.

This is one of the many blooms on this red rose bush. Just look at all those vibrant greens in the background. Sunshine, water and manure. That's what makes a rose.

And, even though I've only got about 20 minutes a day to quilt right now, I did manage to knock out 4 more star blocks. (that thread that runs to the left is where I didn't break thread between stars).

Okay, so that's it for me today. Nothing exciting happening. Just gardening and quilting and waiting for the new carpet and wondering if there'll be another freeze this year to kill off the fleas.

Oh, and some crochet that I started last year. I'm working on a doily again. Remember, I'll try anything. And, that includes things nobody does anymore. Not likely something I'll be doing a lot of, but if I didn't try it, I wouldn't know whether I enjoy it. If I rate it among all the other crafts I've tried, I'd put it somewhere around knitting socks for excitement. Lots of stitches on tiny needles that don't go anywhere fast. But, I still knit socks.

Have a great Wednesday. Lane


How do you fill a star?

Quilt as desired. Those famous words that appear at the end of soooo many patterns. I love a pattern that gives a suggestion...you know, those black dashed lines that they overlay onto a photo of the quilt in the pattern pictures? But what about the patterns that don't come with instructions?

Or, what if you don't feel like doing what another quilter did? How do you decide what you desire to quilt?

For me, I generally think about the quilt and something will come to me. Wind for pinwheel quilts. Flowers for flowery fabrics. Leaves for autumn themed quilts. For the storytime stars quilt, it was fire. Stars are balls of fire in the heavens, so what better to quilt into a star than fire. But, how?

I put my little noggin' to work and I thought about fire and how I could fit fire into these blocks. First, it had to start from the center and then it had to fill a square and then it had to radiate beyond that into the star points.

I sat down last night with a pencil and started drawing what I was seeing in my mind. I was reading blogs yesterday and I saw where Tammy had drawn a fern frond around 80 times. I was inspired. If I could draw it on paper, I could figure out anything about it that was going to be difficult and I could plan around that. And, worse come to worse, I could use my drawing as a master and mark the quilt with fire if I had to. Fortunately, I didn't have to.

I folded my paper to give me 4 squares that were just a bit larger than the squares in the quilt and I drew. And, when I had drawn 4 on one side, I flipped the paper over and drew 4 more.

I was all ready when I sat down to do the first one this morning and it went really fast,

And, I did another.

While these pictures were uploading, I did two more. So, that's a quarter of them done in just a few minutes.

Okay, that ain't right. I spent way more time thinking about how to do this than it's actually going to take to do it. At this rate, I will have spent two weeks figuring out how to do two hours of quilting. But, never fear. Since this is going so fast, I have time to try something fun in the sashing. Now, what do I desire there?

There's something about having the courage to try something new; to see it, then draw it, then make it come out of the machine. If you've read my ramblings for long, then you know I'm not afraid to try something, hate it, rip it out and then try something else. But, I'm still always surprised when I sweat over something for a long time and then it happens really easy.

It's when I try to force myself to hurry that it all goes wrong.

Everybody have a great Tuesday. Lane




I did not know that it was possible to have this much allergy sinus pressure. But, I'm not sure what I expected, now that we've uncovered all the hidden allergens in our house. All day Saturday, Sydney had a regional choir rehearsal for her concert that night. Her teacher picked her up that morning and after that, Rob and I were on our own. We started the day at Lowe's, signing the contracts for the carpet. We picked a color. We picked a maker. We were in great agreement with a minimum of unhelpful discussion and a maximum of listening to what the other had to say. Should take a week to come in and then we schedule with an installer and hope to have it all finished and be settled back in the house in two weeks (remember The Money Pit with Tom Hanks? Everything was going to take "two weeks". I hope our two weeks is more realistic).

Anyway, after trips to two hardware stores, we came home with gallons of paint and a desire to get started. So, we pulled the carpet out of the dining room and exposed the floor...or more accurately, the quarter of an inch of dirt and disintegrated carpet pad that was on the floor. Fortunately, all the steam cleaning we had done had turned most of this into mud, which had dried on the floor and we scraped it with a paint scraper and swept it up pretty easy. Then, we swept again and vacuumed and I got on my hands and knees and scrubbed with a brush and I mopped three times and THEN it was clean enough for us to live on for a couple of weeks. I knew what to expect and I knew to plan to buckle down and get'er done.

The tile in there is the original Armstrong Solarian put down in 1978 and from what we can tell, the first time it was covered with carpet was just before I bought the house.

The white around the edges is paint overspray. When I bought the house, it had been rental property and they had come in and sprayed the whole interior flat white. Ceilings, walls, baseboards, trim, light switches and cover plates and plugs and curtain rods and miniblind hardware and supposed to be brown window frames. Everything. Flat white.

Quilters anathema!

On Sunday, we rolled back the carpet in half of the living room, cut it away from the baseboards, pulled out the pad, swept and vaccumed and mopped the slab and rolled the carpet back out like a rug and then rolled up the other half and did the same thing. While Sydney and I were cleaning, Rob was painting baseboards and trim. Then, I wanted to paint and they started cleaning.

Syd was a real trooper through most of this. She and I started the day stretching together and then we got down to work. I'd start a chore and then hand it off to her, so that gave her an greater and greater challenges through the day to keep her interested. Seems she always wants to be doing what I'm doing instead of what she's doing, so I'd start something boring, pass it off to her and move to something I though was more exciting. It was very Tom Sawyer like in its manipulation.

Here's another shot of our combined slab and carpet living situation. Bits and pieces here and there. Sydney and I both noticed the difference in how cold the house was last night. just having that little bit of uncovered slab made a huge difference. And, without the pad, I keep feeling like I'm falling out of rooms that still have the carpet and pad in them.

Next weekend, we tackle the master bedroom, including painting all the closets. I had to appreciation for doing an exceptionally good job until recently. Not sure what's come over me. When I was a kid, I can remember calling it "doing it the F. W. way" after my grandfather and he always did a good and thorough job. No half assing anything. Which meant everything was a lot of work. And, that's the way my Dad did it, too, so it was also called "the B. W. way". We said that in a not-such-a-nice-meaning way when I was a kid. Because we didn't want to do all the work that they thought was involved in a good job. No appreciation for it. Just slap some paint on the wall and fah-gedd-aboud it. Who's gonna notice. Now that I'm almost 50, I finally have an appreciation for how it ought to be done. And, I'm the one advocating all the extra work. Fortunately, I can carry my half of the load now, too, so Rob isn't having to do it all alone. But, I can remember when he and I redid the kitchen and the master bath a few years ago and hurling out at him one of those meanly intended "you're making all this as much work as my Dad used to". Now, I get to eat those words.

And, while we were doing all that, we welcomed this beauty into our home. What a beauty. I just barely had time to get started cleaning her up. But, she works smooth and almost silent and does a variety of things. I can't wait to get to know her better.

I think her first job is going to be helping me put the dining room curtains back together. They've never been the right size. Two panels and too narrow and two panels are too wide, so we're going to have a three bears moment and make all four panels just right.

Everybody have a great Monday. As you can imagine, I didn't get much quilting done. The story time stars quilt has all the ditch work done. Now, I need to make a play sandwich and practice what I'm going to quilt in those stars.



Another quirky dresden plate

Okay, so I am impressed with myself and my imagination at putting these plates back together. My rule of thumb is to combine 9 matching wedges with 9 non-matching that are related by a color, in this case, pink. See how there are three of the large plaids and three of the little flowery prints and the last three are completely different. Quirky. But, a more pleasing combination than I found these in.

The 9 green and white striped wedges were spread across multiple blocks and the 4 pink plaids were all in one block, but they were combined with unrelated colors and didn't show in any way. The three flowery pinks were again together, but not related to the other wedges in the block, so they disappeared, too. Now, they all show up and shine.

Now, just to get them sewn back together. But, for today, I'm taking the afternoon off and I'm either going to buy the new carpet (sign the contract to have it ordered) or, I'm going to quilt my little fingers blue.

So, everybody have a great Friday and a great weekend. Tomorrow, we start packing up the house and pulling out the old carpet and cleaning the slab.




Gardening is a lot like quilting

It's all about color and contrast. But, first, can you believe that I have things like this, blooming in my yard at the beginning of February???

I don't know what this is. Somehow, I managed to get the pot that didn't have a tag and I couldn't remember anything except it started with the letter A, but haven't been able to find a plant that starts with A and looks like this in any of my books. Anyway, it reminds me of a turk's cap, so for the last year, that's how I've treated it and it seems to like it. I'll go back to the same nursery this spring and see if they have another so I can at least get the name of it.. It would be nice to be able to tell folks what it is, right?

Like quilting, gardening is about color and contrast. Remember a week or so ago, I talked about using different shades and shapes of leaves? This is an example, albeit a premature example of one. My roses are going nuts, tho, so I can't help but share them. That red just pops from the kitchen window when I look out at my garden.

And, in quilting, we add a bit of light colored or neutral fabric as contrast with darker colors. Later, these greens will take over and overshadow the lighter colored iris and variegated liriopi, but those two lighter colors will still give a glow to the center of the grouping, with the darker greens surrounding and bright pink flox heads to top it all off.

And, here, I planted some of the same variegated liriopi under my dark camelia bush to brighten up an otherwise dark spot.

I do that same thing in my quilting. Light, dark, shade, color, scale. It's the same principle. Color. Combination. That's what makes a quilt. That's what makes a painting. That's what makes a garden. That's even what makes a grouping of objects on the mantle.


Today is the 50th birthday celebration of a co-worker. Okay, so 1961 must have been a very boring year because there are a whole bunch of us that were born in 1962 and we're turning 50 this year.

Except we won't be celebrating my birthday at work. Rob asked me the other day what I wanted him to do special for my 50th birthday and I said nothing and he looked a bit offended and advised me in no uncertain terms that he expects a big deal when it's his turn.

I'm never going to get the birthday thing. If I haven't gotten it by now, I'm never going to get it, right? My experience of birthdays is that most of the celebrating is about the people other than the one having the birthday.

Or, maybe it's because I expect too much from people. I want them to celebrate every success, not just the success of surviving another year. I want to celebrate every day I survive, not just the 365th day.

I don't get why I feel this way and neither does anybody else. So, birthdays continue to be uncomfortable. And, the quietest gestures, from people that really care, are the only acknowledgments I really want. People that care enough to celebrate all 365 days of surviving with me.

My only plan to mark the day is to begin a new quilt. Even though I'm committed not to start anything new, I've given myself permission to bend that rule for this. I've almost picked my pattern and I have it narrowed down to a couple fabric groups. I've been reading about a bunch of folks that are making themselves a special 50th bday quilt. And, I liked that idea. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Okay, so that's it. Quilting, gardening...oh, and cooking. I got real ambitious this morning and got up and made a lasagna. And, it looks so good. It's definitely the night to show up uninvited for supper. But, if you do, you should know that I left all the dishes, rinsed and stacked , ready for you to wash, dry and put away ('cause that's what happens to folks that show up unexpected.)



A very non-quilty post...

for a quilt blog that is.

This one is all about me and what I'm feeling. So, if you're on the hunt for great quilting, come back tomorrow. I'm expecting to feel more like myself.

I had the most negative day yesterday. I guess it's only to be expected after a couple of weeks of manic feelings. And, I couldn't shake it.

First thing that happened was that I opened the newsletter from the LQS that asked me to teach and there was their class schedule. And, no me. There is a beginning quilting class, but nothing about more advanced machine quilting. And, they didn't contact me, even though I gave them at least two ways to contact me. I don't know. But, I feel that even if they decided not to have me teach the class, I should have heard something. It's been a couple of months. Anyway, I knew that there was a chance that they just weren't ready for what I have to offer. I was asking them to come out of their sewing machine store mentality and more into a quilt shop mentality. They've recently been bought out, but the staff stayed on and they're not really changing as much as I think they could. Their focus is really at the beginner level. Introductory classes. Anyway, no matter what, how logical, whatever reason, whether I was justified to feel it or not, my feelings were hurt.

And, then I had a team lunch with my peers and I sat on my side of the table and every time my mouth opened to speak, something negative came out. I felt like I was having an out of body experience and my mouth was saying things I was not in control of.

And, I was angry all afternoon. Fortunately, I was working on a document, so the rest of my afternoon was spent quietly. But when I opened it this morning to keep going, I had a few sentences I had to delete due to their "expressive" language.

When I got home, Sydney didn't even say hello and that was her first mistake. Because even though I was feeling pretty calm, I had gotten a notification of another grade that had fallen to an unacceptable level and when I opened her grades to check it out, there was another one, acceptable by just one point. That would make 4 and that's too many.

I did pretty good at that, tho. I did get angry and I did get a little bit loud, but not too much. And, after that initial outburst, talked to her and explained exactly what I was upset about and how discouraging it is to work as hard as I am right now and then open my personal email and first thing I see is notification of bad grades. She started out pretty begrudging on that and Rob came in and explained to her how I'd gone from being upset and loud to being very "discussing" and explaining and talking about my feelings. After that, she got into the spirit of it and for the rest of the night, there was just talking and laughing and Rob put on some funny TV and we all cheered for the contestants and laughed and had a good time.

So, today, I'm feeling better. Much more positive. Not quite so manic. But, I gotta tell you, I really like myself when I'm singing along with the TV and dancing while I cook supper and chatty and positive. But, that's a hard thing to measure up to every day. Day after damn day.

And, I guess that's why some days are good days and some days are bad days and the real test of which one you had yesterday is how it all ended, right? And, while mine was part bad, it both started and ended good, so I'm going to call it a good day. With a rough spot in the middle.

And, today, I'm working from home because I have an appt. this morning and they're coming to measure the house for carpet this afternoon (whooheeee!) Now if we can just pick a color.

My first home chore, tho was to get the black marks out of Sydney's white shirt. I can either accomplish that or I have to take her to buy another one and I'm just not feeling like clothes shopping after school this week. I found out day before yesterday she needed a dress by saturday for a concert and she tried her dress on and thank goodness, she's outgrown it. Secretly I never liked it. But, she did and that's what counts. So, she's wearing her black skirt and white blouse, which means I did some major stain fighting. I am ashamed of the concoction of chemicals I released down my drain this morning. We are very chemical conscious. But, I got the black marks out. Hah!

Have a great one. Lane