Once in a blue moon

Last night was a blue moon.  Not that the moon cares.  Nor, is it actually blue.  It’s just two full moons in the same calendar month.  Which really has nothing to do with the color blue.  In fact, “once in a blue moon” seems to refer to something that is so rare that it only occurs once in the cycle between two blue moons.  And, even though it makes so little sense, somehow, it became a popular saying. 

I got to see the blue moon this morning.  It was so close, it felt like I could reach out and touch it and bright enough to light our way on our morning walk.  It was low when we walked, so it would be obscured by the trees and then, I’d turn a corner, and there it would be again.  The sky was just overcast enough that the moon had a halo around it, that reflected the light and made it seem even brighter and closer and more familiar.

I can say that what is going on with me is definitely a blue moon experience; working this hard and finishing so little.  It seems right now that everything has to be done twice and that’s frustrating in itself.  It’s rare that I feel this way, but I keep remembering something I say to Sydney about working hard and seeing nothing and then, all of a sudden, things start to fall into place and instead of a steady stream of work and reward, you work really hard for a frustratingly long time and get lots of reward, all at once.  You just have to stick it out.

That Jubilee block that just will not go together and has required me to redo and redo and redo is one of those things.  And, other things that are very close to completion just need long periods of time to work on them.  Just two or three hours in a row.  But, really, how often do I get that kind of time on a weekday.  So, I wait for my reward.  Impatient. 

People are so frustrating.  One person asked for help.  Told me to pick the day.  I picked the day and now, she won’t let me know if it’s okay or if I should pick another day.  I sit on pins and needles because tomorrow was the day and I asked her three days ago.  One person means a lot to me and won’t answer my emails.  Am I no longer important to her?  Do I have the wrong email?  She only writes to me when I write to her.  If her email changed and she didn’t tell me…  

The diary that I talked about in my last post is not a published work.  It is actually the hand written diary of the young lady herself.  Rob picked it up at a yard sale.  What an unusual and interesting find.  He is drawn to things that many would overlook but turn out to be fascinating.  He can also find anything.  Lose your keys, call Rob.  He’s even found my keys over the phone.  Lose your phone, call Rob.  Drop a needle, call Rob.  Don’t let him step on it. 

Favorite iPhone app.  Rob found an app where you can aim the camera of your phone and see the star pattern in that direction.  You can even overlay it on the actual picture, so we looked through my kitchen cabinets last night and saw the sunset.  You can also aim it between your feet and see what the stars are doing on the other side of the world.  And, I got to see the boy that lives inside the man for a little while as he played with obvious delight and laughter and giggles and fascination. 

Be well.  Enjoy the day.  Be kind.  Oh, and I’m calling for another universal pat yourself on the back day, okay?  You pick what you did good.  Pat yourself on the back.

Mine is helping with homework, not backing down, not overreacting.  Being a good parent.

Almost all week.



Good days and bad

Uggh.  This allergy headache just won't be beaten down for long.  And, I'm so anti-medication that I take something over the counter and enjoy it while it lasts and then wait until the last minute before I'll take more. 

And, even though we haven't had much rain and there's no standing water anywhere near our place, the mosquitoes are so bad that you can't go outside and stand still.  You do okay so long as you're moving and until recently, you were okay if you were in the sunshine, but I noticed this morning that I was standing in a breeze and in the sunshine and they were swarming me and the dogs. 

But, it's not all allergies and mosquitoes. 

I'm trying to piece a mariner's compass block, number 21 in my series of 36 and that puppy has well over a hundred tiny pieces in it and it's kind of making me a little bit crazy.  Tiny pieces don't like to stick to the freezer paper templates and they keep falling off and that means folding the template and trying to realign it back to where it was before.  Tedium.

And, there's just not much sewing time right now.  Each day begins with a few minutes of sewing, but then, there's getting breakfast for me and Syd and then work and after that, there's homework and dinner and dishes.  According to Ms Romney's speech last night, all you women out there must understand how difficult all that is and because I'm not a woman, I was not prepared for the amount of work involved in being a "mother", which I am, even though I'm not. 

But, days pass and life is good and things change and I get to read the exciting things that you guys are doing and while work isn't fun (hey, if they didn't pay me, I would not choose to do THIS every day) it's very challenging right now and that challenge makes the days pass quickly, and lets me get back home to the family quicker.

All this doesn't sound very exciting, and yet, my heart is about to burst with pleasure and with pride and that contradiction is a very hard thing to explain.  So, these words, while not exciting, are still part of my online diary and a record of the humdrum days should be just as important as the days where great things happen. 

I read a diary not long ago, written by a lady that spent a year with friends in the 1930's.  She got the diary for Christmas and was challenged to write in it every day for a year, which she did.  Some days were exciting.  Some were just lists of people she wrote letters to.  And one day, she described, in detail, doing her laundry by hand and hanging it on the line.  Such everyday activities for her then.  But, so interesting to read today, after she is gone, when life has changed and what was humdrum to her is non-existent now and because of that, it is fascinating to me. 

So, here's hoping that in 80 years, someone will read this entry and think that my life was more exciting than it feels like it is today.  Hey, at least I'm not telling you how much blue-ing I used to whiten my delicates.

Be well my friends and remember that every day is important, whether something great happens or not.  Waste not one.


Oh, and what do you call a psychic midget that's escaped from jail?

A small medium, at large.

I got that one from a one-legged homeless man that is stuck on the worst corner for panhandling in town.  I see him regularly but never see him smile.  His corner is in a "y" intersection and he has to stand on the island because he's not fast enough to avoid moving traffic, so only the first three cars at the stop light can help him.  So, when I shared my abundance with him yesterday and he told me the joke and gave me the biggest, shyest grin I may ever have seen, through a big wooly beard and with kind blue eyes, it touched my heart and I'm still basking in the pleasure of that one moment of contact.  Contact with a man that I'll never know by name. 

Abundance can come in many forms.  That was my abundance for the day. 



Pictures and stuff

Well, yesterday seems to have gone swimmingly.  And, just to prove that it was all a success, we’ve had our first altercation about homework.  That just means that school is in and homework was brought home, because homework is almost always an altercation.  Headstrong little pain in the you know what.  But, I’m just as headstrong, so that was disposed of quickly and the rest of the evening proceeded, filled with stories about just anything and everything interesting to a 14 year old girl. 

Life is good.

Anyway, I owe you pictures from the weekend. 


This is the dress.  Still not sure where we’ll wear it, but an occasion will present itself and we will be prepared. 

And, this is what she wore to school yesterday. 


Awww, no wonder boys walked past and said things like “hey, how YOU doin’?”

Or today’s equivalent thereof.

And, this is my nervous nellie in the car on the way.


Today, she takes the bus.  Her choice, even though I’m not sure why, but am also relieved that I can leave whenever I want and don’t have to sit in school traffic.  Today, she’s wearing that purple tank top thing that I didn’t like, but paid $5 for and a very cute white sweater that’s also shot through with gold threads.  And, cowgirl boots.  Hmmmmm.  Dad is nervous.

I also took pictures of the two quilts that were pinned to the floor for blocking over the last couple of days.


This morning, I unpinned this quilt and somehow, I managed to block it not square.  So, that’s going to have to be done again.  Good thing I gave myself plenty of time.  And, it is noticeable, too.  I hung it on the wall this morning and the quilt definitely tilts to the left.

And, I blocked this one and Rob already has it on the wall.


I also stopped by the quilt shop and picked up my Drunkard’s Path quilt…unnamed.


Now that it’s home, I can get a sleeve on it and hang and enjoy it.  This one is hand pieced and hand quilted and I’m rather proud of it and could have entered it in the show. 

I just wasn’t thinking.  I entered my two most complex quilts and didn’t enter some of my other favorites.  I got too focused on showing off.

Anyway, it’s not like this is the only quilt show I’ll ever be in. 

Hope everyone is well.  Be kind.  Be rowdy.



First day jitters

I don't have any pictures.  We were running late this morning and I didn't get to post.  So, I'm stealing a few minutes to drop out a few thoughts about the day.

You know about our wonderful day on Friday; just me and the kid.  We ended with our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner...like I said, after the girl day we had, I was not cooking.  Saturday, Rob took us on an antiquing trip.  This is one of our favorite passtimes for special days.  Unfortunately, Rob and I must not have been holding our mouths right because we didn't find anything we wanted.  But, Sydney made out like a bandit and had stuff all over the table that evening that she had picked up.  Things that she thought were cute and she had a little coin in her pocket, so she picked them up.  A couple of vases, a cup and saucer (which I hope turns into a collection), a leaf shaped plate, just some little things that she liked.  Nothing with a tiger, leopard, or wolf on it.  That was very unusual, her being the one with the bags.  I was very disappointed that at my favorite quilt shop, I spent all of $3, but the lady said it had been that way all week, so I guess it wasn't just me.

Yesterday, we did our regular Sunday grocery run and then we needed....the backpack.  Who knew that this accessory would be so hard to find.  Of course, we've seen a hundred of them, when we didn't need them.  But, when you need one, and when it's the day before school starts, backpacks are hard to come by.  We went to Penney's to get one she had seen and liked and I approved of, but no luck. 

But, while we were there, we got the dress.  Can't wait to show you a pic of her in the dress.  Remember that she didn't get it when we were there on Friday because she just didn't know where she would wear it.  My thought; when you find a dress that great, you buy it because it's better to have the dress and no where to go than to have somewhere to go and can't find a dress. 

Like I know anything about that.  But, that's my instinctive feeling about it.

We finally found the backpack and we spent the rest of the day relaxing and preparing for the first day of school.  She and Rob were both very nervous about the day and I had to remind them that everyone was feeling nervous and everyone should cut one another some slack and things seemed to get better after that. 

Rob even wrote a song for her and posted it on facebook.  This excited her beyond belief.  Cute little ditty about being a freshman.

She complained about having to surrender her electronics last night.  I had the talk about it on Friday, when it was just she and I, and I took a bunch of her attitude about it "you're treating me like a child", "I don't even use them at night, I just read my book", "you're acting like you don't trust me."  Rob took some more last night.  But, at the end, even she knew it was what it was and it wasn't going to change and we acknowledged her feelings, without giving in.  It was the absolute best we could do to give her space to be upset and still do something that we feel is important.  Parents that I've told about it today have looked at me like my head suddenly turned purple and shaken their heads in disbelief.  They can do it their way.  We're doing it ours. 

She had me wake her up at 6am so she'd have plenty of time to do her hair and makeup...and do it again in case she messed it up.  She looked cute, but a bit too dressy for the first day of school.  No problem.  Gym class should take care of that.  No need to spend an hour on your hair if gym is the first class of the day. 

I teased her and took several pictures.  She wore red.  Red and blue were considered gang colors at the middle school and they were the only two colors she couldn't wear, so it's her first time to wear red to school in three years.  And, she was determined to wear it. 

I don't know who was more nervous; her or Rob.  I reminded her twice not to get her phone confiscated.  If she does, they keep it two days and a parent has to go get it and pay a $15 fine.  I told her if she got it confiscated, she had to pay the fine.  She said "but you have to go pick it up."  I assured her that she wouldn't enjoy me picking it up any more than she'd enjoy paying the fine. 

Her makeup was perfect.  Her nails looked great.  Her new clothes were cute.  She had her new dayplanner and her new backpack and her new sandals.  Everything she needed to have a perfect first day of high school. 

I can hardly wait to get home and see how the day went. 

As her parents, we spent a lot of time trying to make sure it was the perfect day.  Trying to celebrate the specialness because we all know it's going to be a hard year of transition and accepting responsibility and growing up.  I like that we try to think like that.  She is lucky. 

But, so are we.

Hope you are well.  Hope all our silliness has prompted a memory of what it was like when you were a teen or a happy memory of raising a teen or a happy memory about a first day at a new school.  Sydney was nervous as a cat all morning and kept getting the little girl giggles.  It was cute; her grown up hair and clothes and giggling with her hand over her mouth.



What a fun day!

Well, this day is over and I need a nap. 

First, we tried to get a library card, but all the libraries were closed on Friday…what the heck is up with that.  Budget, smudget.  Get the rich to pay their fair share and the library can be open every day.

Then, we did my errands.  And then, we went to the mall…da-da-da-dum….

This was the first hour and I was already out of focus.
There was lots of shopping.  There was one dress that I wish we had bought because it was perfect on her…her response, “where would i wear it”.  and I didn’t have an answer because I’m not sure the question was relevant, but we left it there.

This was the only thing I had to buy that I didn’t like and it was only $5, so no harm, no foul.
We had lunch; a panini for me and a fruit smoothie for her.  And, then we shopped some more.  I actually got a shirt for $7, so yay, me.  I got something, too.

I did an awful lot of this. 

It was early and this was the first of several bags I ended up hauling like a donkey.

And, I signed my name a bunch of times.

Then, we did a makeover at her request.

And, we hit the clinique booth for acne treatment.  It’s what I used to use, so I feel good about it.  Hope it works as well for her.  Course, they don’t sell the same stuff they had when I had acne.  But, we managed to spend a small fortune, in hopes that the first day of school will be a “clear” day.

And, then I surprised her with a manicure.  Was supposed to be a mani/pedi, but she was ashamed for them to see her feet???  What’s up with that.  She’s 14.  What could be wrong with her feet.  But, if she didn’t want to show them to the lady we were paying, I’m not asking to see them.  We went to the salon that’s owned by on of Syd’s friend’s parents (did I punctuate that right?), so I felt good about it, but heavens, a mani is expensive for what it covers.

And, now, I’m going to take a nap, because this old man is plum tuckered out!

Lots of sale clothes.  Girl knows the value of a dollar. 

My feet and legs ache, like all get out.  I refuse to cook supper.

Checkbook empty.  Girl happy.  Special day with dad.



Doomed to the mall

Last night, I called her in.

“Sydney!  Get in here!”

I love doing that.

“what did I do now?”

“I have the day off tomorrow.  We can do anything you’d like to do.  What would you like to do?”


“We could go to a movie or we could go to the mall or a bookstore or anywhere you want to go.”

“The mall?  Really??”


So, we’re off to the drugstore to pick up a script and then 5 minutes to renew my vehicle registration and then we’ll be at the mall.

yay, me.

Oh, and what did she post on facebook? 

getting 2 hang out with my dad 2morrow at the mall :) that means im getting money spent on me ;) love u daddy ♥

Awwww.  I just hate her to pieces.




Grumpy, grumpy, grump, grump, grumpalot.

That's me today. 

I'm grumpy at work because I know what needs to be done and can't get anybody to do it.  I'm doing my best to let it go, but really, if I'm not accomplishing anything here, why don't I just go home.  Except, I'm off tomorrow and leaving today would be bad form. 

Sydney is having her last day of unsupervised summer vacation today.  I'll be with her tomorrow and I'm trying to think up a fun event.  Believe me, it will not include sewing.  She's already stated on many occasions that she doesn't want me to stay home, because all I ever want to do is sew. 

Well, all she wants to do is spend money.  So there.

I want to go to the quilt shop.  They have a big sale that starts tomorrow.  But, I can wait until Saturday and give Rob some "alone" time with her...I'm sure that by the end of Friday, I will have had my fill of alone time with her.

She wants a library card.  We'll do that. 

We'll go out for lunch. 

Maybe we'll do some clothes shopping.

Maybe we'll buy a new fish. 

Maybe we'll buy a new car...no, not gonna do that.  She'll have me in a zebra stripe, convertible, sports car, with a V8 engine that gets 6 miles per gallon and an angry looking front end and lots of speakers. 

Not going to spend the day on facebook...her restriction is lifted tonight...her week in purgatory is over.  Updating her status will have to wait until I've had my time with her.

What is fun for a teenage girl?  Oh, I know.  We'll do something we NEVER do.  We'll go to the mall! 

She'll hate that.  The mall with Dad.  What a great torture for the last day of summer.

Tonight, I'll ask what she'd like to do.  She won't know.  She'll say something like "sleep".  She'll beg me to go to work and not ruin her last day.  In short, she'll be a teenager about it.  And, we'll find something that we can both enjoy.  We won't be able to plan it.  We have the most fun on the spur of the moment, after she wakes up without any prompting.  Because I am an understanding dad, after all, and can remember what it was like to see the summer end.  And, can understand that spending the day with dad won't sound like any fun at all, but will likely end up being a blast.  So long as dad doesn't go into it with any expectations.  Because if I expect to have fun, she will sense that like sharks sense blood in the water and make sure it does not happen.

She is a teenager.

And, maybe when we get back from whatever we do, we'll pin baste her quilt so I can get started on the quilting of it.  Mwahaahaaaa.  More torture.

Now, I've just got to get through today, without letting anybody see what a grumpy mood I'm in. 

Grump, grump, grumpalot.  Hey, I'm 50.  I've only got so many years between now and being a grandparent to enjoy being grumpy.  Because all grandparents are cheerful, right?



Eek! A crease!

I found this while I was sewing the knife edge closed on First, Inspired the other day and was quite disappointed. 


Yeah, sure, it’s small.  About two and a half inches long and in a corner.  But, despite all my wishing, it didn’t go a way on its own. 

So, this morning, I picked out the stitches along the straight line that ran down one side of the crease, and pulled the fabric into that un-quilted section next to it and quilted the straight line in again.


Yes, the extra fabric is still there…but you can’t see it as easily and it doesn’t cast a shadow. 

There’s another crease down the front of the quilt, top to bottom, center that is from the fold line on the bolt of silk.  I washed the fabric and air dried it and ironed it before I started and the crease was gone.  But, as time has passed, it has come back, proving fabric has memory.  I tried to get a picture of it and the camera doesn’t capture it, so you know it’s not that bad, but I can see it running through the feathers and the borders and can only hope that it will go away after the quilt is washed and blocked.  Nothing else can be done about it now.  I’ll share pics next week, after I’ve got it all ready to go.

I promised a story about the meatballs.


Like I said, I got meatballs in my head and I couldn’t let it go.  Two dishes are italian seasoned meatballs in Spaghetti sauce.  That’s what we had for dinner last night and I am having for lunch today.  They were delish!  The other two are “porcupine meatballs” which are made with uncooked rice in the meatball  that pokes out when it’s cooked like porcupine quills and a sweet tomato sauce with cinnamon and cloves and a bit of sugar.  Those were Monday night and were just as delish.  One container of each kind went into the freezer with a meatloaf from cooking the Sunday before. 

I think my sudden compulsion to freeze food is because school is starting and I remember all those nights that we had a rushed sandwich, trying to get somewhere on time.  If I have stuff stored, we won’t have to do that…because it usually leads to late night tacos and that is bad.

Oooh.  Bad again.  I warned ya’.

Poor Sydney.  I see her grieving over the end of summer.  Right now, she’s in the denial stage, but I know it won’t be long until we get to angry.  Especially when we tell her that she has to take the tempting electronics out of her room for the school year and can only use them in the family room before bedtime and at night on weekends.  I’ve heard two different studies cited in a week about how 85% of dropouts have an electronic device in their bedroom and that while the parents are asleep, the kids are falling behind in their sleep and study habits and are zombies in class.  So, we will be the bad parents that do something about it and it will not seem fair and I will not argue about that with her, this time.  But, it will be the way that it is.  I know my little Syglet and she will not be able to stare down the temptation of an all night text party or video game without my help. 

And, help is not always wanted.

Be well and be kind.  Be firm.  And, pat yourself on the back for something today.  Anything.  You get to pick.  And, if you can’t reach your own back, then just walk up to some random stranger and tell them to pat you on the back.  They don’t need to know why.  Their look of surprise will be enough.



Inspiration to be bad

I don't know what possessed me to try to pick up something different this morning than the three projects I've been focused on.  Maybe it was getting the shirt finished and the pattern packed away that made me think I should pick up some other project and try to move it forward, along with the rest. 

So, I picked up my Jubilee quilt, because I'm feeling a tinge of guilt that I made a commitment to myself and now, my progress on that project is stopped.  It's a few days more than half way through my Jubilee year and 20 of the 36 blocks I'd planned are finished.  And, it will need quilting after that.  And, I need to make two more baby quilts before year's end.  Will I make that Jubilee deadline that is only being imposed by me?

So, I'm having a stern talking to myself and since I share just about everything else with you guys, there's no reason why I shouldn't share this conversation, too.

First thought is that this is my process (not sure whether to emphasize the "is" or the "my" there).  I get into something all gung-ho, and then other things come up and I put it down and it might sit for a couple of years or more and then I get back in the mood and pick it back up and work on it some more and maybe I finish it and maybe I don't, and if I don't, then I put it back down again for a while, maybe more than a year, and eventually, by working on it when I want to and when I can, I finish it, just like I'm about to finish this incredibly long run-on sentence that any English teacher worth their salt would fail this blog post for.

But, I claim poetic license because that run-on sentence is the best way I know to illustrate why my quilts take years to be complete and why you might see a picture of one started and then not see the finish for a very long time.  Maybe not until after the colors and fabrics have gone out of style.

It makes me very glad that I'm not one of the bloggers that will only post their finished work.  If I did that, I'd never have anything to talk about.  It's the process, not the finish, that I enjoy.  I'll only finish so many quilts in my lifetime, but because I fit quilting in with working and parenting and keeping house and having a beautiful garden and all the other things that comprise a very full life, I can't afford to only celebrate the finishes.  I have to celebrate each step in the race, just as much as crossing the finish line.

So, when I hear from someone that doesn't have unfinished projects, I celebrate that they are the kind of person that can do that.  And, when I hear from someone that is beating themselves up because of their unfinished projects, I try to encourage them with empathy, while discouraging them from the self-beating. 

Everybody does it different. 

Diane Gaudynski said in her blog post yesterday that she doesn't have unfinished projects.  That's her process.  If you read her books, she plans out every step of the process and works them in order from start to finish.  And, she's a famous quilter.  It works for her.  I celebrate that fact with her.

Bonnie Hunter seems to have a hundred different quilts in the works at any given time, and still has time to stop and make blocks from a quilt she saw in an antique store.  And, she's a famous quilter.  It works for her.  I celebrate that fact with her.

And, just like there's room in the community for art quilters and modern quilters and traditional quilters and machine piecers and hand piecers and long arm quilters and domestic sewing machine quilters, and quilters from every race and country and size and shape, there's also room for quilters that can work a project from start to finish without getting distracted by something shiny they saw in a quilt magazine and for quilters that start every quilt they like and leave a trail of scraps behind them in every color of the rainbow. 

As I write this, it occurs to me that the only kind of quilters that I don't want to celebrate quilting with are the quilters that want to be somebody other than who they are; the quilters that love to start a hundred quilts and never finish one and then talk about themselves as though they were somehow bad because of it.  You guys all have heard me talk about how I'm changing.  I'm an absolute believer that if you want to change, you can. 

But, you know what?  If you don't want to, you don't have to.  It's a hobby.  It's supposed to make you happy.  It's not supposed to give you an(other) opportunity to beat yourself up.

Some of my quilts hang in the closet for years at a time, waiting until I have that perfect inspiration to finish them.  So what?  It's who I am.  And, I'm quite happy with it.  And, those "projects in waiting" aren't hurting anybody in the world.  And, I know I can manage a project to completion because I do it at work, all the time.

But, I bet Rob wishes I'd hurry up and finish re-doing our kitchen.  I'm not sure he gets as excited as I do about projects that last forever, waiting for me to be inspired.  But, does the fact that I haven't finished make me a bad person?

Why, yes, it does.  It makes me a very bad person, though Rob has never said so.  And, you can see how much I regret all my bad behavior.

I'm so bad. 

Bad, bad, really, really bad.

Wanna celebrate being bad with me?

Bad.  Really bad. 

Smack yourself on the nose with a rolled up newspaper bad?

Maybe.  If you're into that. 

Or, not, depending on what you like.



snipping threads

There is very little of interest happening.  Can't help it.  Sometimes, life's just like that. 

It's the week before school starts and Rob and I are both thinking of taking a day off to spend with the kid before they lock her back in prison and misery and bad food...her description.

I don't know what we'll do on my day.  Something more fun than buying underwear, which was our last outing together and less exciting than, say, a trip to the Empire State Building.

One thing I think we will do, is get her a library card.  I can't afford to keep the kid in books to read.  Funny that she's such a reader; always with her nose in a book.  And, Rob and I don't hesitate to reminisce about those long and hard evenings, right after she came to us, when I was teaching her to read.  About how she thought I was magic because I could tell her what the word was that she was stumped on, from across the room, without her even having to spell it.  Now, I think she realizes that some words just come in context and so you only need to know the first letter to guess what the word is.  But, I let her think I was magic, because I missed out on most of those opportunities when kids are really little and think the things their parents can do are magical. 

She's growing up so fast.  When I was at the doctor's the other day, she was commenting on how grown up Sydney was at her last appt.  And, I bragged that we are so proud.  Almost all the time.

Rob said he asked Sydney to do dishes for me on Saturday while I was still getting back up and around and last night, miracle of all miracles, she came in and asked me if I'd like bacon and eggs for supper...she was going to cook and thought I might be hungry.  Then, I heard her go ask Rob, so we all had breakfast for supper and I didn't even go rushing in there when I heard the clatter of a skillet, crashing to the floor...though I gotta tell you, I was crouched for a leap in that direction if I'd been needed.  But, since she didn't call for help, I didn't run to the rescue. 

I spent a good bit of the day tying, burying, and snipping the hundreds of thread pairs from the red silk quilt, First, Inspired.  It's almost ready for the quilt show.  The knife edge binding is all sewn down with tiny, invisible stitches...thousands of tiny, invisible stitches.  Now, I just need to make the hanging sleeve and attach it and then I can wash it and block it.  The show coordinators are requiring all quilts be delivered in fabric bags or pillowcases, labeled with the entrant's name so they can be stacked on the floor before hanging.  I was hoping to delivery my quilts rolled, so we will see if they'll let me make a tube, instead of a bag, for delivery. 

And, I'm going to play over the weekend with quilt labels made with my Pfaff Creative embrodery module.  It's not a really fancy embroidery machine but my friend Tammy suggested I try and I've decided these quilts will be perfect for really nice and fancy labels.  But, that's also another skill to learn, and is going to take some time, so it had to come after the quilts were finished. 

The sleeve on the other quilt I'm entering is not regulation, so it's got to be taken off and redone and hand sewn back on.  Yay, me!  But, the rules are there for a reason; they level the field among the competitors for judging and since I'm a real rule follower from way back, I intend to follow the rules to a letter of exactness not seen in my sewing room before. 

I would be extremely disappointed if I got disqualified in my first quilt show for something as silly as a broken rule; a narrow sleeve or the wrong kind of bag or an incorrect label.

Today, I feel really good again for the first time in a few days.  It rained over the weekend and the sky was bright and clear blue and the air was cooler than it's been in a month.  I was excited to take the dog for a walk and I spent the afternoon yesterday making meatballs.  Two different kinds.  I'll try to blog about that soon.  Funny how I get stuck on something and can't get enough.  This week, it's meatballs.  Oh, and the carrot cake was delish!  One of the best I've ever made, except it tried to stick to the pan.  But, if you prefer taste over appearance, then this was another cake baking success; right down to the orange rind in the frosting.

Be well and take care and stay in as much trouble as you can afford.


p.s.  Random thought.  Reading is FUNdamental.



Three X’s down

Hello, all.  I am risen from my couch.  Oh, boy, I hate feeling bad.  And, I try not to do it any more often than is just absolutely necessary. 

According to the doctor, I likely had a stomach virus, which she says goes around in all forms, all the time; the migraine, just a symptom.  She sent me home to rest in a dark, quiet place, which I did, and as the afternoon passed, so did the headache. 

Yesterday, about 10am, I got up and showered and changed clothes and announced where I wanted to go for lunch, and I ate my first big meal in a couple of days.  And, did the same for dinner, so I am clearly on the mend. 

During the afternoon, I put my shirt together and while it is still a bit tight, that was because I had to cut the sides down to accommodate the sleeves, which were surprising small for a 3XL shirt; not as wide as my sleeve pattern that I wanted to cut it down to. 


Anyway, other than snuggling about my belly a bit more than I’d like it to, it fits very well, especially in the shoulders. 


(you think it’s hard to take a picture of your own front, try your own back.)

One last thought.  I want to apologize to the people at Entenmann’s.  The first slice of that walnut brown sugar cake was indeed dry and tasteless, but the second slice…and all the slices since then, have been very, very good.  I guess it was the end of the cake that was dry because the rest of it certainly was not.  And, in honor of the bakers at Entenmann’s, today, I’m baking a carrot cake. 

Be well and have a great Sunday.  After I wash the dishes, I’m into the sewing room to try to shovel through some of the collected detritus. 



This and that

Let’s start with the promised post about the walnut brown sugar cake.  This is from a recipe in the entenmann’s book of baking. 

Looks delicious.  The batter was wonderful (even though I know I’m not supposed to eat raw batter). 


Looks kind of elongated because I baked it in a wider pan than the loaf pan it called for so I could bake it in the toaster oven.


The cake is dry and flavorless.  Won’t be baking this one again.

But, all the other recipes from that cookbook that I’ve made have been delicious.  This is my second try for this cake.  In my kitchen, two strikes and you’re out.  One try and a fail could be the baker’s fault.  Two fails and we’re done.

I have a doctor’s appt today for a physical.  Unfortunately, not sure how much of that we’ll get to because I was a bit ill yesterday and woke up this morning feeling like boiled death. 

I don’t get many migraine’s…one every couple of years.  This morning, I have a killer.  I’m even worried about going to the doctor’s office because the bright lights are hurting my eyes and I don’t think they have dimmers in the exam rooms.  And, I’m sore all over, like I was pulling a plow in my sleep last night. 

I’ve taken two aleve, which usually work for any pain I have, including an allergy headache, which most OTC pain relievers don’t touch.  But, it’s not doing much today.  My neck and shoulders feel a bit less stiff, but that’s about it.  So, it’s going to be a very quiet day.  My boss won’t be excited because I took the last two friday’s off and am planning to take next friday off and I may have to take today off.  That’s starting to sound like a trend.  And if kinda is. 

Last few weeks before school starts and I wanna spend some time with the kid…even though she was a royal pain the patootie last night and has been grounded from facebook for a week because of some posts that we thought were inappropriate for a 14 year old girl.  I didn’t even ask why, because the one thing I’ve learned about teens, and the principal of the school just reinforced it yesterday in that meeting I attended, they don’t know why they do stupid stuff.  So, no need to frustrate myself by asking.  Take it down and suffer the consequences and move on.

Hope everyone is well.  We’re expecting rain this weekend.  That’s almost unheard of in Texas in August without a hurricane.  It will be a nice change as temperatures will be cooler and the sky is overcast, so the sun’s not so bright. 



In just 40 minutes a day

Every weekday morning, I get 40 minutes in the sewing room.  That’s the time while Rob is walking the dog and taking his shower and before I need to start my own exercise and stretching. 

Every morning, in the few minutes between awake and alarm, I think about what I want to do that day.  On Monday, I worked on a quilt and on Tuesday, I worked on a different quilt and on Wednesday, I worked on my shirt muslin, making that last adjustment. 

I needed an extra half inch in the sleeve at the shirt front.  It took me a very long time to figure out what I needed and how I was going to accomplish it and then when it was done, I looked at the sleeve cap and thought “duh!”  That should have been much easier to figure out.


This morning, I took the muslin apart and will use the pieces to transfer all my adjustments to the paper pattern and then, I can cut the actual shirt.  I’m taking a size 3XL shirt that I got for five bucks and cutting it down to a size L…and replacing the label with my own.

Now that the fitting is done, I’ll have my very own shirt pattern, fit to my very own body and I’ll be able to take large shirts or fresh fabric and make me a shirt out of it that fits me.  This particular pattern is mostly for resizing bought shirts because it’s a very common style that I readily find huge shirts made in.  This way I can use the existing front and sleeve button plackets, in case there’s not enough fabric to cut new ones.

So, watch for a new green and white plaid shirt in the next few days…but tomorrow, I have to work on a quilt again.  It’s for a show and the deadline looms.

This morning, I’m going to a parent orientation at the high school with Sydney.  She was at a camp there yesterday and today to prep for the new school and learn her way around.  This morning, there’s something for parents…not sure what. 

It’s not like it was in my day, when they just dropped you at the new school and you learned your way around, or you wandered, lost.  Or, if you were me, you had an Aunt Nita that worked at the high school and would fuss at any teacher that gave you a tardy and could escort you if you needed it…in case of bullies.

So, wish me luck.  I think we all know how I love rooms full of strangers.



Class cancelled

Bummer.  Nobody signed up for my hand piecing/quilting class this month, so it got cancelled. 


Well, that’s disheartening. 

The LQS says it’s hard to get a class in August because school’s about to start and people are getting in their last time with kids and grandkids, so it’s not that surprising. 

But, I was in the shop yesterday and picked up my class sample, above, and there was a lady that just gushed about how cute it was and asked if I was going to teach it as a class and I said yes and that it was a hand piecing, hand quilting class and she got downright rude and got loud enough for the whole store to hear her…

“yuck.  I won’t be doing that.  And, you wouldn’t want me in a hand class anyway.  You wouldn’t want me in your class.”

You know, it is sometimes very lucky that I am slow to the draw.  Oh, sure, it means I make a ton of mistakes and have trouble getting the most out of my interactions with people, but it also saved me from telling her that she was probably right, I wouldn’t want her in my class.

We’re trying to teach Sydney the lesson that just because you think something, doesn’t mean you have to say it.  If only that lady’s parents had taken a bit more time teaching that lesson to her. 

(Random thought:  My 8th grade English teacher used to call it “bad breeding”.  My, how the world has changed.  I would never think to say something like that anymore.  Though, as I remember it, it wasn’t an uncommon saying in…let’s say, around 1975-ish???)

Instead of responding to the lady, I just smiled at the LQS owner that was getting me the sample and moved on out of the store.  I plan to hand quilt it soon and then piece another in 30’s repro and use them together as class samples…and get my good hand pieced and quilted quilt back home.  I was caught off guard when I let them take that one as a class sample, just after it was finished.

See, there’s where being dull witted worked against me.  I guess it’s true; to every thing there is both good and bad.

Be well.  Lane


always busy

Yesterday, it was cool in the morning until about 9:30 and I took full advantage of the time, working in the flowerbeds. 

I did a lot of cleaning here.


There was lots of dieback from the heat and it’s all cleaned out. 

And, I just love this combination of the red roses and the blue plumbago.


Those markers that are sticking here and there are marking daylily color so I can move and group the lilies this winter.

And, speaking of daylilies…


I have several that are putting out late bloom.

This is the butterfly bush that draws more hummingbirds than butterflies.


And, this is a plant hanger that we bought on vacation.  It holds four pots. 

So, that’s what I’ve been up to while I challenged the ragweed pollen to a grudgematch, because, I will not be beaten by an allergy.  Or a cake recipe.  Later this week, I’ll blog about the walnut brown sugar cakes and how I’ve finally learned to bake cakes in the toaster oven.

And, I’ve also been diligently quilting.  I finished the border on First, Inspired, heretofore known as the red silk quilt.  Now, I’m doing some repairs to the knife edge.  There were a few spots where you could see the backing fabric from the front and, of course, that won’t do.  Probably wouldn’t have noticed except the backing has some white designs on it and you could see them peeking around the edges. 


Oh, and yes, that’s the dresden plate quilt in the background, which I’m feverishly working on in hopes of taking it to hand piecing class this weekend as an example of how NOT to let your hand work get too big and out of control. 

Right.  Like I won’t do something like this again.

Be well and hope you had a great weekend.  Lane


An extremely electronic week

As if the iphone were not enough of an electronic challenge for the week, I started the week by breaking the screen on my laptop on Monday and having to replace it. 


sNow, I am in no way computer savvy, but this isn’t my first laptop screen…

Anyway, in just three tries, I got back to this.


Thank goodness for well written instructions on the internet.

Okay, so now that’s done and the iphone is going well, Sydney and I are off to buy new “ladies foundation garments” for school.  I asked her what she wanted to do today and that was it, so I can pretty much guarantee that she must be in desperate need.

Everyone have a great Friday. 



Welcome to the 21st, Lane

I came home from a really crappy day yesterday, where I wanted to hang that cartoon where the kid is saying “I see stupid people”…only I wanted mine to say “I work with stupid people” and I knew that wouldn’t go over very well if I hung it in public, so I just hung that one on the wall in my mind.

Rob and Sydney followed me into the kitchen where I was pulling out stuff for supper and handed me a wrapped box.


Inside was an iphone 4s. 

Now, Rob and Sydney are excited as heck, but I gotta tell you that this is one of the most high pressure gifts I think I’ve ever received.  Whether the whole family goes to iphone depends on whether I can get this to work for us; for me. 

We have phone difficulties with cell coverage at home, and even last night, I had to walk up the hill to get a sufficient signal to activate the phone.  We have an in-home tower, but the phone wanted a real tower to activate me and the closest real signal is a quarter mile away.  Up the street.  In my lounging gym shorts and crocs.  I looked down at myself after about the hundredth car had driven past and realized that I looked a mess.  And, all my neighbors had seen me.

Anyway, Rob is anxious because he did the studying about the phone and is anxious that it should work properly…and after the horror stories he read about people that had bad experiences, I can understand why he felt that way.  Every time I get it to do something, he gives a big sigh and tells me what could have happened.  Even I’m starting to cringe a bit.

Sydney can’t wait to get her hands on it and having played with her friend’s iphones, she knows all about it.  At one point last night, I couldn’t do something and said, “here, Sydney.  Do this.”  and she did and she gave me that look that made me feel a hundred and fifty years old instead of in the prime of my life.

Rob told me about the learning curve and I’m anxious that I will get frustrated and stop trying to learn about it.  But, I’ve gotten it to do a whole bunch of things in just a few hours of playing with it.  And, if this all works, and it looks like it is, then I’m going to have this phone for a long time.  And, I have plenty of time to play with it.

My greatest fear about the phone is that we will pay for it and I won’t use it.  That would be bad.  When I said that to Rob last night, he said, “that’s why we just bought one this time.”  More pressure.

Okay, so despite the pressure, I’ve actually done pretty good and there was only one short burst of bad words strung together that I later had to apologize for saying.  Oops!  Then, I put it down.  And, that’s been my lesson for learning to use the iphone.  If it ain’t workin’, then put it down and try again later.  Don’t sit there, hunched over it, frantically pressing the same buttons over and over again and expecting a different result.

There lies fury.

Be well and what’s your favorite app?




Called this one sewing because it’s about both quilting and garment making. 
Here is a finish.  This is the quilt I quilted for my last FMQ class as a sample.  Now, it’s bound and soon as I get a sleeve made, it will go on the wall…oh, and a label.  Gotta keep up that habit.
I really like how this little quilt came out.  It hung in the closet for years as a pieced top and I just did not know what to do with it.  I’m glad I didn’t over quilt it, which is what I had in mind when I made it.  I like the simplicity of the quilting to go with the complexity of the star.

A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to learn to make shirts.  I made several.  And, they all had their problems.  But, one of the biggest problems was that I couldn’t get good shirt weight fabric and didn’t really know where to look.  So, I kind of gave up because I was using quilt weight fabric and that is a heavier fabric and never felt as comfortable as a good, cotton, store bought shirt. 

I’m cheap.  I don’t make any bones about it.  Part of why I couldn’t find good fabrics is I wouldn’t pay the price.  As I shopped the clearance racks, which is where my clothes come from…unless they come from goodwill…if you’ve never shopped for men’s clothes in a goodwill, then you’re missing out because down here, several of the chain stores donate their brand new, end of line merchandise to goodwill…and I’m easy to please with a good plaid.  I kept finding shirts that were really cool looking shirts for about $5, but the size was double or triple extra large.  I would have looked like a 5 year old in a basketball players jersey.  But, I bought one that was really cool.  And, then another one.  And, another.

And, one day, when I was in JoAnn’s, with a 50% off coupon burning a hole in my hand, I found this book.
And, while there is not a picture of a man in the book…not even one, it is very informative about how to start with a pattern and make that commercial pattern fit the volume and shape of the body. 

So, I got brave and I dug out one of my Simplicity patterns for a very basic shirt, and cut one of those size 3XL shirts apart.  I’m making a muslin of the pattern from an old cotton sheet
I haven’t gotten real far.  I know I need to adjust the arm holes, so I’ve drawn a new line.

And, I’ve had to redraw the yoke…BTW, this may be the first shirt I ever owned where the yoke hung straight across my shoulders and shoulderblades.
And, I’ve adjusted the back to take out some length so that the add/reduce line from the paper pattern is horizontal all the way around me. 

okay, that was a bad picture, so no need to share.  Profile is not a good thing.

Anyway, once I finish, I hope to use my modified pattern and the fabric I harvested from that humongous five dollar shirt and turn it into a fantastic shirt for me.

We will see.  If I can figure this out, I can stop having that  fabric roll thing in the shoulders of the shirts I make for Rob.  He doesn’t say anything and he wears them.  But, I know it’s there and it bothers me.

Sydney didn’t make the volleyball team.  I was so proud of her last night when she found out.  She worked through all the emotions of that disappointment in a very mature and appropriate way.  There were a few tears and there was a family hug and neither one of us mentioned that the summer practices that were available might have made a difference.  At that point, there was no point to say that again.  We both said it when she could have done something about it. 

I had planned to work from home today, but have decided to go to the office and give her the day here, by herself.  She’s growing up so fast. 

Rob, who’d’a thought it, huh?  From where we were, to where we are?   

Today’s thought, “the best days are not always good days.”  Lane


Change is good

Change is hard. 

No two truer sentences were ever expressed. 

This is a time of change for me.  Again.  Change for me comes in sudden bursts of significant change and then a rest period to enjoy what I have done.

And, while it doesn’t matter what change I’m making, the process is still the same; envision my life with the change made, understand how it is better, begin to change. 

Unfortunately, when you’re afraid of confrontation, because you don’t do confrontation well, change can be extremely difficult because no matter how small the change I’m envisioning and trying to make, it will affect someone else. 

Maybe it’s my boss.  Maybe it’s Rob.  Maybe it’s Sydney or my Mom or a co-worker, but change in me tends to affect others. 

Change is always about making things better for me and that does not mean making things worse for someone else, even though they may perceive it to be. 

So, change is hard.  And, change is necessary as air for me because, even at 50, I am still becoming.  I am not fully developed yet.  And, it’s not looking like I will be any time soon. 

I like that about me.


Okay, last thoughts about chick filet…and yes, I insist on misspelling it.  Jon Stewart said it best and I’ll have to summarize his statement.  Gay marriage is coming.  Like a drive through line, it doesn’t go backward.  I predict that in 10 years, you’ll have gay marriage and the folks that ate at chick filet will have…type 2 diabetes.

So, everyone have a great day!  I’m taking Sydney to volleyball tryouts, day 2.  She said things didn’t go very well yesterday.  Let’s all cross our fingers that all the other girls peaked yesterday so that my little Syglet can shine today. 



Allergy season

ARGH!  It’s got us all.  Constantly stuffy and can’t blow our noses.  But, the headache!


It’s Ragweed!

And, it’s just getting started.  So, we’re spending time indoors when we can, and knowing we’ll suffer when we can’t. 

I took Friday off to sew.  I was feeling some pressure to take the time and get some quilting done on the red silk quilt.  I have plenty of time.  PLENTY.  But, no need to wait.  What if something went wrong.  It hasn’t, but anything could happen.  Be prepared.  Scout’s motto.


I have about two and a half sides done.  I’m feeling pretty good about myself. 

And, I still managed to make time to hang a hat rack because all my hats had been in a box since February and to a bald man, hats are a necessity.


And, I wouldn’t be ashamed to have company because the house is nice and clean and the yard is looking good and the flowerbeds have all been weeded…okay, all but one.  But, that’s still pretty good. 

And, yesterday, I bought some glasses in Goodwill that went with a set and when I pulled one down to make sure it was a match, I realized that the ones in goodwill were cleaner than mine…mine were pretty gross!

So, I washed all the good glasses and towel dried them and put them all away again


Now, don’t be shy…all of them…


There.  Confession is good for the soul.  Now, mind you that if I used these glasses, they would not have been grungy, so I’m not sure why I felt that I needed MORE of them…we’re not actually going there.  I’m blaming it on the pill I took for the headache (see notes about ragweed above).

Oh, and I also got my book case dusted, which you can imagine, with all my little collections, is no mean feat. 


And, I still have today.  I’ve done all the paperwork for Sydney to start school and replaced the hems in a sheet and……

Caffeine is good for a headache (see notes about ragweed above).

Be well.  We’re off to the grocery and then, I plan to spend time quilting some more of those greek keys.  Each one takes about 20 minutes.  Slow and steady wins the race.



I rock these women’s glasses

I picked up my new glasses the other day.  When I bought them, the girl that sold them…a new girl…made a big deal about them being technically women’s glasses, but if you ask me, all those men’s frames with the wide side arms and flash are much more feminine than what I picked out. 

These are my old glasses.


These are my new glasses.


As far as I can tell, the only thing feminine about my new glasses is the case.


Because, apparently, a men’s glasses case is supposed to look like this.


But, when I tried to take a picture, I got this.


And, then, this.


Taking pictures of one’s self can be very dangerous to the ego.  I promise you that when I look in the mirror, this is not what I see.

Too many people ate chicken yesterday.  Lines around the block.  Some eating, some only ordering water in protest. 

I ate at my desk.  Quietly.  Passively.  Angrily. 

Honestly, I was pissed all day long and this is the only reason I can think of.  I want to hit somebody.  But, my beliefs are that I give everyone leeway to be themselves.  Unfortunately, those are not the beliefs of so many that think they need to inflict their beliefs on everyone. 

Everyone be well.  Lane