Oops, I didn't handle that right

So, last night, after spending 45 minutes in traffic on the way to the game, and two and a half hours in an uncomfortable folding chair at the game, and a long drive home, I got the mail and found a progress report from school.  Unfortunately, it hit me when I was down, when I was tired, when I was discouraged, and when I was feeling hopeless about making a difference.

And, for about 97 seconds, I foamed at the mouth and barked like a rabid dog.  And, then I went to bed. 

I am embarassed and I am upset with myself because I've been doing so good at maintaining control.  I was upset because I did so much bragging on myself yesterday morning, just to have it all go to pot last night. 

And, I know I'm going to lose parenting points with some of you, but it IS all about me.  And, I cannot let grades and school be the only thing my whole family is focused on.  And, for the last few weeks, it has been just that.  Grades, basketball practice, inconvenient rides, uncomfortable seats, learning new skills, reminding the kid to do her homework, following up with teachers, reminding her to wash her face and wash her clothes and take her knee brace and turn in her homework and talk to her teachers and turn in her projects and feed her dog and wake up in the morning and does she have her shoes? 

And, I need it to be about me sometimes, too.

So, last night, I calmly handed her the progress report and advised that I would be contacting her teacher for more information.  And, then I brushed my teeth and came back out and went to hug her.  And, that's where she made her mistake.  She asked "why are you upset about this."  And, in 97 seconds, I summed it up.  For all the world to hear.

After I laid in bed for a few minutes, I apologized to her for yelling and I also apologized to Rob for yelling. 

And, I woke up feeling terrible this morning.  While I would have liked to pull a pillow over my head and just stay in bed for the day, I didn't.  I walked Rob's dog and I gently woke Sydney and I filled all the food and water bowls and I made breakfast, and when we got to table, I said very clearly and plainly that our every conversation as a family could not be about her and that she had to take care of her business and make room for the rest of us to be the focus once in a while.  We talked briefly about her grades and made a plan for some makeup exams and tutoring. 

And, then I got on with life.  Because that's also what parents have to do.  But, I don't have to give over my whole life to parenting.  I get to be important, too, and I know that some parents would disagree with that and say that when you become a parent, that's all you do.  But that's not going to work for me.  And, maybe that makes me selfish.  But, I can tell you at least one thing that is true for me.  If I'm not happy with me, if I'm not the focus of my own life, if I don't take some time for me to be important, then I am not going to be a good parent. 

So, on a lighter note, keeping my own scorebook at the games is going well.  I did much better last night, but I also watched the official scorekeeper and what she was writing down and she is not tracking all the things that I've learned to track.  So, after my official training next week, I should be plenty ready to track what they want me to track as opposed to what the NCAA requires.

And, there was another ball incident last night that I handled much better.  In fact, I was a ball magnet last night.  The first time, it was coming right for me and a coach in front of me caught it and Rob and I had a good laugh and I said "almost a repeat of my embarassing ball moment" and he said "I wouldn't have let that happen again" and we laughed some more.  A few minutes later, here comes the ball again and nobody stopped it but me.  I caught it with my one free hand and it bounced on my hand a few times, but I never lost control and then I tossed it back to the girl that was waiting for it.  And, I looked at Rob and said "what happened to not letting that happen again" and we laughed some more. 

Sydney sprained her ankle.  It's pretty swollen today and I sent her with a handful of OTC pills to help and told her not to participate in practice today.  She's off her foot for at least a couple of days.  But, next game is not until next week and she'll be fine by then. 

Take care and have a great Wednesday.  And, thanks for being my group that I can unburden to.  Sorry nothing quilty.  There is just so little time during the week. 



Dispassionate cop

So, I’m referring back to that book, Yes, your teen is crazy.  The thing I read there that has stuck with me the most is his admonishment to be dispassionate.

He gives the story of two police officers. 

If you get pulled over by a cop for speeding and the cop is all in your face and aggressive and berating you, you end up mad at the cop and taking no responsibility for speeding. 

If you get pulled over by a cop for speeding and the cop talks about how she understands that you’re in a hurry and she apologizes for having to give you a ticket and she manages your embarrassment and any pique you may be feeling toward her, then you end up feeling bad about the speeding (and mostly the fine) and forget about the cop.

There’s less and less room for arguing in my life.  More and more opportunity to be dispassionate.  Maybe I was already working on this before I read the book.  But, the book really gave it a “face” and a name and I can call it what it is and try to do more and more of it. 

And, it’s HARD!  So, very hard.  

But, all I had to say this morning was that she had 7 days to bring her grades up to expectation or we will take action.  I avoided all the nonsense attitude that so made me want to go off last night.  No arguing, no passion, no asking her why her grades have slipped, because she does not know.  She’s just a teenager, filled with hormones and a brain that can’t focus on anything more complex than the shape of a boy’s nose for more than 37 consecutive seconds.  And, she doesn’t know why.  She just knows what has happened, and now, she knows what she has to do about it. 

Oh, but it would have been easy to argue.  To ask why.  To take some measure of responsibility for 1) her mistake, and 2) getting her out of it.  But, I did not.  I just reminded her of the consequence, gave her a deadline, and suggested that she spend a bit more time studying before tests. 

And, then, our morning went on.  I even asked her to make time to empty the dishwasher while she was watching TV before leaving for the bus.  And, she did it. 

So, I am feeling like super dad.  Today. 

Next time, it’s Rob’s turn.

Be well and have a great Tuesday.  Lane


e l e

Sometimes a quilt says keep it simple and when it does, I am glad to listen. 

The pink and brown baby quilt did just that and I did listen.  100_4531

e l e.  It doesn’t get much simpler than that.  but, it fills those half square triangles so perfectly.  From one side, and then from the other.  Like a bunch of little tiaras.

I worked on that as much as I could, but once I had done it for a while and liked it, it got kind of boring and I was ready to be done. 

Now, I have some large corner triangles to fill.  I’m thinking something swirley.

And, I pieced some Christmas tree blocks. 


I ended up taking every single one of them apart.  They had names written on the underside of some of them, like maybe they were made by several people.  The ones I got may have been rejects for bad seam allowances, which is why they had to be taken apart.  I only need 13 for the quilt. 

I’ve been working on my Singer 401 still.  Still skipping stitches.  Just every once in a while, but I cannot figure it out.  The thread loop is getting caught on something in the bobbin assembly.  I’ve adjusted the timing and taken apart the upper tension in case the thread was getting caught on something there and I’ve pulled out the bobbin case and made sure there are no burrs on it or the hook.  Next, I’m going to need to sew and stop mid skip, when it grabs thread from the top and yanks it, and find where that loop is caught.  It’s going to be an interesting problem to find and fix. 

But, I will.

I came home from LD’s house the other day with another project.  She has a small chest that she wants to use as a coffee table and it was covered with fabric and she’s bought some vinyl to put on the outside and I’m working out how to get that to look just right.  I think her Father built it for her Mother.  So, I’m doing my best to make sure I do no harm. 

And, throw in a bit of my own chutzpah.

Be well and have a great Monday.  Gonna try to vote.



That’s a wrap

I finished Sydney’s quilt yesterday morning.


I had to wait until Rob took her to the school for today’s basketball game before I could get a picture.  She was wrapped up in it from the time she got home last night until she dressed and left this morning. 


I’m disappointed that the quilting won’t show up for my photos, but it’s there, great bamboo fronds.


Here’s the back.


The borders are straight lines and squares in the corners. 

I dropped this in the wash and then went to LD’s.  We set up her camera and loaded the software and got her all set up and then we went for some delicious Italian pasta and then back to her place for another go at the camera, this time loading in pictures and then emailing them.

Then, it was back home, where I dried Sydney’s quilt and then started the backing for the baby quilt. 

I tried to make beer can chicken on a can of coca-cola and ran out of gas in the grill long before the chicken was done.  So, the chicken and the zucchini and the potatoes that were all supposed to be cooked on the grill had to come in and go in the oven.  It was okay, but I think I can do better.

This morning is Sydney’s first basketball game.  It’s supposed to be gloomy and cold all day, so hopefully after that, I’ll get the day to quilt. 

I’m taking my practice score book to the game to give it a try and see what questions I end up with.  I’ve read the instructions.  I’ve studied the rules about fouls.  I’m as ready as I can be for a practice session.  Go team!

Be well and have a great Saturday.  Lane


OMG, what have I done?

Hi, my name is Lane.  This is my daughter Sydney.

She’s a freshman.  My personal goal for basketball this year is to do things I’ve never done.  My favorite basketball memory is watching Sydney walk out to the car in her practice uniform and cowboy boots.  She blamed this crime against fashion on Rob, who told her not to wear her new, expensive basketball shoes outside the gym.

Last night was the mandatory parent meeting for girls basketball and that’s the kind of introduction each of the girls had to give about themselves.  If they didn’t want to share a goal or memory, the could share an appropriate quote.  Some did and the quotes were very appropriate. 

I don’t remember much of what Sydney said.  She introduced herself and pointed us out and said “and those are my two Daddies back there.”  and a Mom yelled “where”.  and Sydney pointed again and said “back there” and Rob and I waved.  And, I don’t remember much of what happened after that.

Now, before you get all misty eyed, yes that was a wonderful thing for her to do and I am so proud of her for doing it.  But, I’m from an old school and while I was busting my buttons with pride, not just that she pointed us out, but that she did it so proudly, I was also trying to crawl between two floor tiles because I guess it is always going to be uncomfortable to be “outed” in a crowd of strangers. 

Ya wanna know sumpin?  I’ll live with that, if the next generation can be prouder than my generation was.  That’s progress.

Anyway, after a while, it got to be time for parents to sign up to volunteer.  Before I left the table, I gave Sydney one of my very hard looks and when she said “what?” I replied, I’m just not sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

So, what did I sign up for, you ask?  Not food, that’s for sure.  They were looking for people to volunteer to feed 45 people a main course, a side and a drink.  And, Coach did not describe that as sandwiches and chips.

I volunteered to…

Keep the score sheet, keep the clock, and work the gate.  All on different nights.  Each one on three different occasions. 

That is so much NOT like me.  I guess I got caught up in the fervor.  I don’t think Rob approved, and that’s all right.  He’s the one that’s going to have to hear me moan and gripe about “what did I do?  How did I let myself sign up for this?  I can’t do this.  I’m going to have to talk to people.  What have I done?”

But, you know what?  I signed up for the things that interested me the most out of what was presented.   And, right now, I’m feeling VERY comfortable with what I have volunteered to do. 

Of course, I will be reading up on the game of basketball, because, like I told the coach before I signed up, I’ll volunteer, but I’m going to need training.  I don’t have any idea how to do these things.  And, coach said it didn’t matter.

There were only about 10 of us, signing up for about 60 volunteer opportunities.  So, I don’t feel bad about signing up to work at 9 home games.  Lots of folks didn’t volunteer for anything. 

Another thing that surprised me, and went right along with Sydney not being ashamed that she had two dads, was the fact that so many of these girls were there with a guardian.  Generally a relative.  Half the girls there are being raised by a grandparent or an older sibling.  Unconventional families are all the rage now, I guess, so we’re going to fit right in. 

Keep me in your thoughts.  I don’t always have the confidence I had last night.  I will second guess myself.  I will berate myself.  But, there’s something else about myself.  Even though I’ll be uncomfortable, I’ll be there for every single one of those volunteer opportunities…early.  And, like my Dad taught me, I’ll stay until they don’t need me anymore.

That’s me, too.

Be well and have a great Thursday.  I’m trying to take tomorrow off to do some things that I am not finding time in my regular life for.  Unfortunately, that isn’t just quilting.

And, my Mom told me to tell you all thanks for the good thoughts and prayers during her surgery last week.  She’s doing well and walking on her new knee with little pain. 



The Singer 401

I do not know anymore how many sewing machines I own.  Not gonna count.  Don’t care to know.  Would probably be embarrassed.  If you want to know how many, you’ll have to come for supper some time and count them yourself.  But, don’t tell.

Anyway, there was Alba Tross, the white featherweight that I can’t find a picture of.  She came from Goodwill and had been dropped.  She took months to bring back up to par and after her, I was kind of tired of working on machines. 

But, I had three more that needed work.

One is my Mom’s sewing machine.  I don’t know the model.  It is from the late 70’s.  It needs a lot of cleaning and work.  It wasn’t regularly serviced or oiled and I don’t really know what I’ll be getting into to try to fix it.  So, it sits waiting until I have time.

Another is my Grandmother’s machine and I know what’s wrong with it.  The gears and the motor are gunked with old lubricant and the hand wheel is hard to turn and the motor has trouble turning it.  Sluggish is the word that comes to mind.  It makes a great stitch, but using it is not worth what it does to the motor.  I found the instructions to take all that apart and will get to it.  But, in the meantime, it also waits. 

This machine is my latest acquisition (other than a couple of toys).  A Singer 401.  It has a strong motor and does lots of things and is in a cabinet that’s just the right height for where I keep it.  Great machine.  I bought it from a friend who had lost her parents and they were clearing out the house and she wanted the machine to go to someone that would use it.


I set it up and tried to use it.  It also makes a great stitch and has plenty of power and pulls fabric straight through the foot without pulling to one side or the other. 

But, it would skip stitches and pull thread down into the bobbin compartment and not let it go back up.  I fiddled with it, but was in the middle of a project and couldn’t stop long enough to really work on it. 

The other day, I decided to pull it out again and give it a try.  Same thing.  Skipping stitches.  Not often.  Maybe one stitch for every foot or two of sewing.  But, annoying.  I took the bobbin area apart and put it back together again, to no avail.  Then, I pulled out the attachments, thinking I might have another bobbin case, but no.  The only thing I could think to try was to change to the single hole needle plate. 

And, oddly enough, that fixed it.  Well, didn’t fix it, because if I switch back, I’ll still have skips.  But, it made the machine usable.  So, I’m going to piece the Christmas quilt that I talked about yesterday on it. 

I use my machines.  I know plenty of collectors with a house full of vintage machines and they only sew on their new machine that has all the bells and whistles.  I use my machines.  None of them gets off for very long without being pulled out and put to use on a quilt.  Sometimes, the machine I piece it on is as important to the quilt as the pattern is. 

Nobody will know what machine I used for a quilt, but switching out machines adds to the enjoyment of piecing the quilt.  I have a VERY old National machine and I have the perfect quilt picked out to piece on it, soon as I get around to it. 

But, in the meantime, I’m going to keep working on UFO’s and keep rotating through old machines. 

It apparently doesn’t take much to entertain me.

Hope you are well. Have a great Wednesday.  Find someone and be kind to them.  It’ll only take two minutes and then you can mark that off your to-do list for the day.



The Christmas quilt

Every year, I try to make a Christmas quilt for us to display.  Some quilts might take more than one year, like the year we hung the pieced top and then the next year, we got to hang the finished quilt.  But, that’s life.

Anyway, I had lots of projects going on this year and didn’t start the Christmas quilt early enough. 

I bought this pattern at the quilt show in September, thinking I’d pump it out with two baby quilts and Sydney’s quilt and the other half dozen projects I had in the works. 


Very cute holiday quilt, but I sat down with the pattern the other day and my thought was…NOT!

That’s a lot of piecing. 

Rob said I didn’t have to do a Christmas quilt this year, but that didn’t feel right either. 

As I was cleaning the other day, I came across my UFO’s.  Now, not sure about you, but I have so many UFO’s that I have no business buying UFO’s, but I have.  I’ve bought them from the guild boutiques at many quilt shows.  And, my mentor gave me UFO’s.  And, I’ve picked up UFO’s in quilt shops.  And, I’ve created my own UFO’s.

So, when I found this one that was holiday themed in my bin, I knew it was the quilt for this year.  Except when I pulled it out of the bag and looked at it, I hated it.


There were three completed blocks and enough green pieces for four more blocks and an assortment of off-white pieces that didn’t match enough to make blocks. 

I’m pretty sure that the original maker didn’t like the blocks any better than I did.  So, I started playing with things I could do with the cut fabrics and it didn’t take me long to realize that what I didn’t like was the top section, where the tree gets small again.

So, look what happens if I take the tops off.


I showed them to Rob and Sydney and they both thought the same.  So, we’re going to have a holiday quilt of these trees.  I even pieced  the one in the center of the photo this weekend, adding my own off white and brown.  Took about an hour, including figuring out what size the off white pieces needed to be cut.  It will be a total of 13 blocks, set on point, and setting triangles and some sashing and a border, all very like the pattern, but not exactly. 


It’s a Thimbleberries pattern.  Simple.  So, this should be a piece of cake. That knocks a UFO off the list, and it gives us a holiday quilt for this year and it’s easy enough that I won’t have to worry about it and can likely knock it out over Thanksgiving break.

I got up and finished the quilting on Sydney’s quilt this morning.  It’s going to be cold this weekend, and if I do a fold over binding, I could have it to her by Saturday night.  Fold over isn’t my favorite because I have trouble getting a narrow binding on the front of the quilt.  But, considering that it’s a miracle that this quilt even came together (believe me, I quilted down plenty of unsewn seam) a fold over may be just the thing for it. 

This weekend, I have to figure out what to quilt in the pink and brown baby quilt and get it pin basted.  I’ll be carrying my 501 Quilting Motifs book around with me this week, hoping for some inspiration.

Be well and have a great Tuesday!  Lane


Work, work, work

I did not take my marathon quilting session on Friday.  I was a good boy and, instead, I cleaned and organized.  I had a three pronged approach.

First, was this space.


This used to be where my home office was.  I took all that out and moved it nearer my desk.  It just wasn’t working and it had been so long since I’d cleared it out that I had recovery disks from computers we don’t own anymore and electronic bits and pieces and things I’m not even sure what they went to.  I filled a garbage bag and then filled the space with my yarn crafting; knitting, crochet and tatting.

That freed up space here. 


I know it doesn’t look very organized, but that’s the camera angle.  This space had all it has now, plus all that yarn and stuff.  Not good.

Now, I can see my thread containers and was able to put away a dozen spools of thread that were floating around.

I still have a small pile of stuff to do something with, but that’s going to have to be on another day. 

And, our linen closet had taken on an “odor”.  I don’t know if this happens in all areas, but here, in the heat and humidity, fabric that isn’t washed often takes on a musty smell and the longer it is left, the stronger it gets.  And, it spreads.  Since we haven’t been entertaining, my good linens weren’t getting used at all.

The washer and dryer ran all day on Friday, and there were napkins and table cloths on the line.


Unfortunately, that resulted in this pile of ironing.


Even Mable turned her back on it.  But, if I do it a bit every day, I’ll get through it all.  I want to store some of this differently and I’m going to be storing my quilts differently.  All this work was a lead up to clearing the way for my quilts to be stored rolled, instead of folded. 

I’ll get there.  But, it was also a good chance to wipe down the ceiling fan blades and vacuum under furniture and do a good bit of dusting.  I was stopped up all weekend from the dust…not easy to reach dust, but that deep down kind of dust that nobody knows is there until you start to really clean. 

I know that in other climates, people are closing their houses up for the winter and in spring, they will do a good cleaning as they open the houses back up for summer.  We do exactly the opposite.  We close the house in summer and open it in autumn and winter.  So, a good fall cleaning is always in order. 

Don’t think I was all work and no play.  I also managed to finish the quilting on Sydney’s quilt, except for a few spots that I want to add a few extra leaves to and I did some hand quilting and I picked this year’s Christmas quilt pattern, a UFO I picked up at a quilt show, but more about that later.

My oldest friend is moving to San Antonio.  I am having a lot of trouble with that.  Her reason would not be right for me and my life, and I’m doing my best to remain impartial, at least in action, if not in thought.  But, holding in my thoughts in is a really hard thing, and she wants pep talks and someone to tell her that she’s doing the right thing.  While I can support her and her decision, and I can help her move, I can’t work up to words of encouragement.  And, that has left her disappointed in me. 

A rock and a hard spot.  The balancing act between me and what others need is often difficult and often, nobody wins.

Everybody have a great Monday.  I could really use another day at home, doing my chores.  But, like working homemakers for many years, there just isn’t time for everything.  Hey, it gives me something to dread for another day, eh?

Be well and be kind to one another.



A “me” day

Today, it’s all about me around here.  Syd is at school, Rob is at his company picnic, and I am off work.

Today needs to be equally divided between some organization tasks and some fun quilting, all accompanied by the sound of music.

I started the day with some machine quilting on Sydney’s quilt.


But, I ran out of thread.  Oh, darn.  A trip to JoAnn’s.  The equivalent of having my nails ripped out with pliers.  And, it gives me an excuse to get out, because I really need to go to the post office.

After I ran out of thread, I moved to some hand quilting.


This is so relaxing.  There’s no need to be in a hurry because I can only hand quilt so fast and that’s it and there’s no reason to try to hurry.  So, just enjoy it.  Very peaceful.

And, then Sydney and I had breakfast and I did my first organizing. 


I keep my cookbooks on a very deep shelf.  They can stand two deep.  I’ve recently acquired several new-to-me cookbooks and I needed to make space and put the cookbooks I use in the front and the ones I don’t in the back.  I love to read cookbooks.  I love to read the nutrition facts from all across the years to see how knowledge about weight control and good nutrition changed. 

But, some of the recipes are a bit old fashioned and even those in a good nutrition cookbook from the 50’s have more fat than I generally include in a meal.  And, their ingredient list was different.  Lots of veal and wild game and lamb recipes that I don’t really see so much anymore.  The new equivalent seems to be fish and seafood recipes.

Next, I plan to do some organizing in the sewing room and some quilting, and an errand…

Or, maybe I’ll just get comfortable and settle down for a movie and quilting marathon.


Can’t let that happen.

help me!

Be well and have a great Friday.  Lane


The four freedoms

Nobody says it like Norman Rockwell.


Freedom of Speech.


Freedom to worship.


Freedom from want.


Freedom from fear.

Yesterday, I saw a homeless man give a breakfast burrito to a homeless woman.  These are people I see all the time and it brightens my day when I can reach out the car window with a dollar and more importantly, a smile, and a few kind words.  It’s the words that count the most, I think, because that’s what they respond the most to.  The man could not possibly have more than the woman, but he had enough that he was able to share.  And, he walked away from her with the same big smile that I drive away with, even though his gift was so much greater than mine could be. 

I watched her wolf that burrito down and lick the grease off her fingers while I sat at a red light and I thought about how much starvation and need there is, right here, under our noses.  People that have been left behind by social programs that have been de-funded.  And, so many are disabled veterans.

And, then I thought about how these people are Romney’s 47%, allegedly unwilling to take personal responsibility…

Personal responsibility for what?  To choose food over the medication that might help them fit into a society that only values those that can contribute? 

I hope that my small contributions, a dollar here, a handful of change there, a smile and a handshake and a kind word are doing good.  And, I know that just because I enjoy the four freedoms doesn’t mean I shouldn’t stand up for those that don’t. 

I pray, in my own way, that our country will see that the needs of the few are more important than the priviledge of the few.  I pray that the hearts of mankind will be opened and allow them to help those who are less fortunate, here and everywhere. 

And, if you are doing, if you are helping, if you are contributing in your OWN way, then I want to take this chance to say;

Thank you.  

But, if you are helping, then my thanks is nothing compared to the fulfillment that you already walk away from your contributions with. 

Be well and have a great Thursday.  Lane



I am not going to show you my thread box…es. 

I didn’t really know it while it was happening, but I ended up with enough thread to circle the globe at least once. 

I did this while I was learning about thread.  I started with serger thread.  I was piecing with serger thread.  And, quilting with it, too.  So, I had spools in every color.  Then, I decided I wanted to quilt in cotton thread.  But, somehow, over the years, I had inherited or bought about 60 spools of polyester or poly-cotton.  Didn’t stop me from collecting cotton; 100wt, 80 wt, 60 wt, 40 wt, 35 wt, 20 wt…and then I decided I wanted to use silk. 

Okay, so thread collector.  Freely admit it.  And, proud that I’ve given it up. 

But, it was great for applique, because I ALWAYS had just the right color and shade of thread.


I finally decided that I wanted to use this 30wt coats and clark thread, huge spools, with a coupon, about $3 for 1200 yards.  And, it’s really, really great thread.  I can use it for piecing and quilting and it stores easy and there are several shades and colors…not a lot, but several.  And, when I want it, I can buy specialty thread for a particular project, instead of collecting and hoping a project will come along.

Unfortunately, I haven’t used any of this thread since I made that decision because I am committed to using up all that other thread. 

So, anything that I only have one spool of that is 100% cotton is being used for piecing.  If I have more than one spool, I’ll use it to quilt.  I’ve finished about half my spools and tossed them away.  Spool after spool after spool.  Gone and one of my boxes is half empty after being crammed full. 

It’s a really good feeling.  I’m down to two boxes of small spools and a dozen or so spools of serger thread…though some of my serged edges are really funny because they have three or four different colors of thread. 

I was watching season two of the new Upstairs/Downstairs this morning.  They were reprieved from the start of WWII.  One character said “It’s over.” and another character said “It’s history.  It’s never over.”  That got me in the thought of thread.

Things change.  Life moves on, and like me changing from one spool of thread to the next, it just goes on and really, it will never be over.  There will just be a time when I won’t be part of it anymore. 

In the meantime, I’m being the flexible parent.  Not sure why Sydney and I are getting along so well.  I will enjoy it.  Because it will not last.  Peace is fleeting.  Happiness lasts for a long time. 

Be well and have a great Wednesday.  Lane


Everything’s going good

When people ask me how things are, that’s my “go-to” answer.  Everything’s going good.

Whether it is, or not.

I love it when that’s the truth.  And today, that is the truth. 

Everything’s going good.  Nothing is remarkable.  No crises, no missed communication opportunities, no misunderstood messages, no bills are due.  And, I’ve started asking myself “do I really need that?” because my first car payment in 5 years is coming up next month.

I’m working from home today.  Sydney and I both have dentist’s appts.  Mine is this morning and hers, this afternoon.  School, office and home are all within 3 miles of one another.  I’m so grateful that I can work from home on days like today. 

I have no project updates.  All my projects are at that point where nothing shows any progress.  I’m 3.5/5 or 70% through with quilting the bamboo in Sydney’s quilt (it’s funny what goes through the mind while I’m sitting there at the machine, focused on the needle going up and down).  Nothing to show there.  I haven’t started anything new, or even balled up my newly spun yarn (tho I will likely do that during a very long conference call today.)

Hand quilting is slow and doesn’t show much progress.  As a machine quilter, I sometimes forget that when a handquilter says they finished a project, it’s as much about being able to keep at the same thing for months on end as it is about making good stitches. 

I have real trouble with that and mix my hand quilting and my machine quilting because I love them both. 

I also needed a portable project for family time, now that my gloves are finished, so I picked up this applique again.


I know that this is not the “style” anymore, but I am enjoying it very much.  I pick it up and make a couple of blocks and then put it away for several months. 


This block, which is going to feature a pomegranate, has 50 pieces of applique.  I’ve been working on it for a year.  But, those grapes?  They must have had a hundred pieces and I remember flying through that.  Anyway, it’s very detailed work and I’ll only make one quilt like this, so it’s worth the extra effort…no matter how long it takes.

My Mom’s surgery went well.  Thank you all for your kind thoughts and wishes and prayers. 

Okay, just time to brush my teeth and fix a glass of water before I need to log into work.  Be well and have a great Tuesday!



What’s a man to do?

Okay, so the man was given a weekend when all the stars lined up for crafting.

It was rainy, off and on, and beautifully sunny the rest, but the rain and humidity brought out every mosquito and his brother, three cousins and a maiden aunt.  I would have had to soak myself in chemical repellent to go outside for more than just a short stroll through the garden.  So, I didn’t.

And, I hadn’t made plans because I thought I had a class yesterday.  When that was cancelled, I ended up with the whole day that I would have spent prepping and teaching.

I got up and quilted in the morning, and then I finished spinning my yarn.  I started Friday night, after dinner dishes were done, and finished by lunch on Saturday.  It was very intense and my shoulders were sore for the rest of the day, but it got done. 


I made this hank and it’s been soaked to “set the twist” and is still drying.  Is it perfect?  No, it’s not.  But, it is a very nice “first try”.  It has thick spots and thin spots, but overall, it is a good length of sport weight wool yarn that is going to make a great scarf for a Christmas present for some lucky man, who may or may not read my blog, and may or may not figure out it’s for him.

I also finished piecing the baby girl quilt and it is ready to pin baste next weekend. 


I’m quite happy with the way this little quilt came out, with it’s pieced border and browns and pinks.

This week, I’ll focus on moving Sydney’s quilt toward completion so I can start this one.  I know they’ll be planning her shower soon and I need to get this one moving or I’m going to be wrapping a partially finished quilt and taking it back after the festivities.

I also managed to put quite a few stitches in the dresden plate quilt.  I am seriously considering making that quilt my Jubilee quilt.  At this point, I have to accept that I can only finish one before my next birthday and I don’t think it can be the mariner’s compass.  This, I at least have a chance at finishing.

And, finally, I had a totally “old lady” moment at Sydney’s basketball game last night.  I had to leave the gym for a couple of minutes and when I came back, the game was in play, so I stood off to the side because there were 10 rather large and intimidating girls pelting toward me, not paying attention to anything but the ball.  I heard a sound and looked over my shoulder in time to see the ball from the other court bouncing toward me. 

Not exactly sure what I did, but it involved holding the flats of my hands toward the ball and jumping back from the waist, like an old woman jumping from a snake.  I tried to redeem myself by running after the ball, but I couldn’t get a grasp on it and when I finally did, I threw it back to the girl, knowing it would not get to her, so I bounced it on the floor. 

All in all, an excessively humiliating and emasculating moment.  When I looked in the stands for Rob, he was not looking at me and I thought he hadn’t seen it.  In the car, I thanked him for not saying anything if he had seen it and Sydney said “I got hit in the face with the ball” and Rob said “Lane’s was much worse”. 

Okay, he could have held off for a few more minutes, right?  And, not said anything in front of me? 

We had a good laugh and I told Sydney about it and thankfully, Rob did not add any commentary.  And, it’s over and I’m laughing about it.  Ha, ha.

We’re aiming good thoughts at my Mom today.  She’s having a bit of surgery this morning.  Hoping for a speedy recovery.  Be well, Mom.

Everybody have a great day!  Hi, Ho – Hi, Ho, it’s off to work I go.  Yeah, monday.



This and that for a Friday

Mr. Lincoln is well again.  Look at the beautiful bloom that we picked yesterday. 


Beautiful deep red, velveety color.  I always plant my roses in the sun.  Then, the trees grow and the roses end up in the shade.  That’s what happened to my three roses from a few years ago.  Mr. Lincoln is the only one that survived when I moved them.  He was sickly and his blossoms had taken on an orange tone.  But, now he’s back, after two long years.

I spent all my sewing time this morning learning about LD’s camera.  She got it a couple years ago and didn’t know how to use it.  We all know about that.  It does a hundred different things and she needs 4; 5 on a cloudy day. 

Anyway, I offered to take it, study it, and teach her to do four things.  That was a month ago.  And, a lot has happened.  But, I did learn about it.  I hope to get it back to her soon.

Too many pink squares---

I don’t know what I was thinking.  I need border sections for the baby quilt from yesterday.  I didn’t count how many I needed.  I thought it was a lot.  I just started cutting a pile of smallish pink scraps down into squares.


That doesn’t look like nearly as many as it is.  I have way more than the 64 I need.

I bought this wool. It was advertised as roving and even though it didn’t look like roving, I thought that must just be the seller's artistic photo. 


I got a drop spindle and a bag of lovely brown wool roving a few years ago and have always wanted to learn to spin.  Sam, at Buckingham Road spins, as does Leah Day.  They have inspired me to go ahead and give it a try (and to grow cabbage and cauliflower during winter here…but not ducks).

I decided rather than use my lovely gift to learn, I’d buy some roving that I didn’t care about and learn, using it.  I bought this lovely navy and black.  But, I don’t think it’s roving.  I think roving is combed more and this is still kind of “wooly” and it’s going to take a lot of drafting.  And, it was supposed to be clean, but stuff keeps drifting out of it like dust. 

Anyway, where I wanted the experience of learning to spin, looks like I might be getting a whole lot of other experiences at the same time.  And, if I don’t like it, it’s stuffing for a pillow.

I’ve been watching youtube to learn how.  Gotta love a youtube.

Be well and have a great Friday.  I am most definitely looking forward to the weekend.  It’s supposed to be rainy.  Good quilting weather.  Or, maybe I’ll take that blue wool to the front porch and see what I can do. 



I think I can, I think I can

And, the little train found out, he could.  And, I will.

So, I’m thinking I can pull a baby girl quilt off, here. 


The center is all pieced and the brown is actually kind of nice to tone the pinks down.  There’s some green, too, out in the border.  It’s been waiting.  Bits and pieces, left from Bonnie Hunter’s Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll Mystery quilt.  I pieced a queen and only made a lap, which got auctioned by a church group and raised $700 for a mission trip they were taking.  And, I had enough pieces left to make this quilt and another, still not assembled quilt. 

I also brought quilts home yesterday.




which is being renamed, “It’s prettier from the back”


And, this


which is pretty densely quilted as well, but you can’t really see it.


These have been hanging at the LQS where I was teaching.  I’ve had three classes that no one signed up for and I need to change something.  I need some way to get people in and then to get them to tell their friends.  So, I asked for my quilts and I’m going to try to add some of my own marketing to the advertising that the shop has been doing. 

I’m thinking that I need to go to the shop and just sit and sew, on days when there’s nothing else scheduled.  Just show people what I can do and what I’m teaching.  I’ve asked if I can come in on some sale days when there’s lots of traffic. 

And, I need more examples for the shop walls to show off my work.  And, I just don’t have those right now, so the quilts need to come and go instead of the same ones hanging until they disappear into the background.

So, that’s that for now.  I need to build a “brand”.  I’ve watched companies do that for years.  I think I can do that, too.  I think I can. 

Have a great Thursday.  With two extra days added to October, there’s no telling how much trouble I’ll get into.

I just walked through the empty house.  Sydney had left the Kardashians on in one room and Rob had left the Cleavers on in the other.  I’m feeling slightly schizophrenic.  I think I can?

Be well.  Lane


Marking Sydney’s quilt

Sydney made a batik quilt a couple years ago.  It’s cute, but it’s a real mess, with some seam allowances that I’m having to repair as I find them.  She wanted to hurry and I got tired of trying to slow her down. 

Anyway, the top got finished and it sat because she wouldn’t piece the back.  I finally did that over the summer, and then we pin basted it, and now I’m quilting it.  What better to quilt onto a top that is very organic, with batiks and leaf prints, than bamboo.  But, how to mark it?

Once, I saw a picture of some bamboo and I saved it and printed it and traced what I wanted off of it onto plastic and I ended up with this.


That’s a featherweight bobbin to show size.

But, I’d have been forever trying to quilt a large quilt with a pattern that small and a template that was 8 1/2 x 11.  I needed it bigger.

So, I used my handy overhead projector, just like the one your algebra teacher used, if you’re old enough to remember overheads, with the knob that made the top go up and down for focus.  I can remember one time, half way through a math class, a student asked the teacher if she could focus it.  It was off just enough to be making us all a little queasy.

Anyway, back to the point, I blew it up to this size.


You’ll have to click that for a good look.  The same bobbin is on it to show the difference in size.  This is on the big sheets of paper that they use in conferences for teams to write interminable lists of suggestions for “how we could include more people into our team” or “new ideas for greater profitability”. 

Anyway, I digress again.  I used this one and a blank sheet of paper to make a second copy by free motion quilting the drawing without any thread in the machine.  This needle punching method is a great way to make multiple copies of something.  I wish I’d made more than one copy. The second copy doesn’t have the pencil markings on it, just holes.  Don’t iron your template.  It closes the holes and the chalk can’t get through, hence my need for a second copy.

Next, I laid the paper on top of the quilt and used my pounce, which incidentally, you don’t pounce. 


You lay it on top of the template, tap the center with your pointer finger, good and hard, and then rub the pounce pad around.  As the chalk goes into the holes, the holes disappear and when you remove the paper, you get this.


It is kind of fragile, so this is not the way to mark a whole quilt.  The first section I did, I tried to mark a whole template at once and the marks did not last that long.  But, if I mark just one section at a time, it lasts plenty good for me to see it through all of that section.  So, I’m marking one bamboo stem at a time.

Don’t touch the markings with your hands.  The sweat will remove the chalk, so use gloves or these great grip and stitch pads.  These are my faves now because I don’t have to take them off.  I just let them go and my hands are free to thread a needle or whatever. 


The only time I couldn’t use them, and had to use my gloves, was the very edge of the border of the red silk quilt.  There was nothing for the right hand pad to rest on and I needed my fingertips to control the fabric as it went under the quilting foot.

Also, don’t shake the quilt or brush it with your hand.  Most of the dust will come off as you go over it with the needle.  But, some will get under the quilting thread and stay until the quilt is washed.  They say you can iron it out, but I’ve never tried.  Never needed to.

I only have a white pad, so it only works on medium to dark fabrics.  That’s fine on this quilt, but if I was marking a light quilt, they make a pounce with blue chalk.  As the pounce gets to be a more useful tool, and as I learn what it will do and what it won’t do, I expect to be buying a blue one.

When I was done, I ended up with this.


I like it.  Sydney likes it.  Rob likes it.  I think I hit this one out of the park.

Be well.  Have a great Wednesday. 



Baby boy quilt

Okay, so that’s one down.  At least for piecing.  I’ve still got to quilt it.  But, that’s no problemo.


Autumn puts me in a leafy mood.  Maybe some leaves.  Or, maybe not.  Balloons?  Bicycles?  Okay, that may be a bit overambitious.

Anyway, it will come to me if I look at it long enough.  Every quilt tells me.  I just have to be listening.

I’ll probably see it on one of your blogs and think “that would be perfect…”  And, hopefully, remember to give you credit.

Next?  A little girl quilt.  I remembered a pink and brown quilt top that’s almost finished.  I’m going to pull it and look.  Not sure if it’s the right kind of brown for a baby quilt.  And, I always have the green and black and white quilt fabrics.  But, it sure would be nice to have something that’s already almost finished.

Communication is hard.  I guess that’s why so many people choose not to do it.  Some people are easier to communicate with than others.  I am an “other” trying to be an “easier”.  But, there are some days when, no matter how hard I try; no matter how much effort and thought I put into every word, it just doesn’t hit home and communication is stilted.

That’s the days I try to remind myself that bad communication is better than no communication.  A for effort. 

I’ve tried not bragging about it much, but I love getting 75 miles per gallon.  My average is 49 point something.  But, that’s an average of 7, when pulling onto the freeway in power mode, and 93 when traveling at a consistent speed on a flat spot in the freeway.  I try to hit 75 as often as I can.

Why, with so much good television to choose from, is my daughter drawn to watching women fight over whose daughter is the best dancer?

Yesterday morning, I walked without my audiobook and got to spend some time thinking and listening.  There was someone in the neighborhood whistling a song in the purest whistle.  I could hear them (him?) all over the neighborhood, only losing him when I was at my furthest point away.  We never passed him, but we heard him and Mable looked for him.  Last night, I heard the same song on TV and now I can’t remember what it was.  Hate how the short term memory works.

Be well.  It’s Tuesday.  In two days, the vice presidential candidates debate.  It promises to be the funniest TV of the season.

Only it won’t be funny.



A right and a left

Yesterday, the high temperature was in the 50’s.  What a great day to finish my gloves. 


Okay, so somehow, the one on the left is bigger than the one on the right, but I don’t care.  They fit great and even though 51* probably wasn’t cool enough to need them, I did enjoy wearing them this morning when I walked Mable.  They kept my fingers nice and toasty warm.

I got a lot of gardening done on Saturday in just a few hours.  My plot that I’ve been using for vegetables was not working out the way I was trying to use it, so I planned some changes and I grouped some of the like colored daylilies together and moved a few things that survived this year, but did not thrive, into sunnier spots.  Sunshine is in short order in my yard, which is great for water consumption, but makes some flowers hard to grow.  There are a few that I like well enough to find the spot they will do well in and there are others that I let go and replace with something that likes a bit more shade next time.

The quest from Friday’s fairy tale is basketball.  Practice four days a week.  Two of them until after 7.  Games on the weekend, and then, the season starts.

I made sure everyone knew I wanted to talk about it this weekend, and by last night, when we were having commiseration tacos after a miserable loss, I brought it up.  If I’m giving up stuff and being inconvenienced, there are no acceptable missing assignments in the grade book.  There are no grades that are allowed to be low for more than just a moment, before she has taken care of them.  She is allowed too many attempts to re-do work for any low grades to be acceptable. 

I’m feeling better.  Not sure about them.  This is what has to happen if you’re going to want to change things this much for our family.  Not chores.  No special or new expectations.  But no flexibility in the expectations.

So, that’s me.  Quilting, knitting, gardening, parenting, breathing. Not giving in to self-recrimination has freed up so much time. 

Be well and have a great Monday.  Soon I’ll give updates on my marking for Sydney’s quilt over the weekend.  It went really well, even though I only got one section quilted.



The fable of the crazy parent

Once upon a time, there lived two parents, Adam and Ralph, in a large village called Liberal Island, with their child Cubit.  Adam and Ralph were good parents.  They had given up a lot to be parents, in a society that did not always recognize their parenting possibilities, and to show their appreciation to the universe for the opportunity, they felt like they should do a really good job of parenting, the best way they knew how. 

Adam and Ralph did not start parenting with the same expectations that other parents have and they were not prepared for the changes that parenting would bring to their own lives and personalities.  They turned this experience into a lesson for little Cubit, that anyone can change, if they want to change bad enough.  Over and over again, they exhibited this lesson for Cubit.  And, they learned to listen to Cubit, because the more they showed Cubit how parents are, the more Cubit showed them what Cubit wanted to be. 

Cubit wasn't always the easiest child.  Adam and Ralph had very high expectations of themselves and expected Cubit to live up to similar expectations.  And, over and over, Cubit showed a lack of commitment to achieve even Cubit's goals, which were significantly lower than the expectations of Adam and Ralph. 

Still, Adam and Ralph kept their expectations high and consistently, despite creating a level of anxiety that bordered on insanity in the process, Cubit managed to meet the minimum expectations set forth by Adam and Ralph, usually by pulling some rabbit out of a hat at the last minute, after much crying and gnashing of teeth and removing of priviledge.

And, Cubit survived, growing in height, stature and pleasantness of both countenance and personality.  In short, Cubit developed a sense of humor and a thick skin and learned that the consequences of a failure to meet the expectations set forth for her was not worth the ensuing unpleasantness.  And, that Adam and Ralph will always make a place for Cubit, no matter what.

As Cubit grew, so did the desires of Cubit's heart.  At the age when an adult body does not equal an adult mind, or an adult ability to commit, Cubit became involved in a quest.  The quest was going to take up all Cubit's free time and also remove her from some of the things that were important to Ralph and Adam, like family dinnertime and supervised homework time and family sitting around together enjoying one another time while watching the stage plays of the greats, like Shakespear and Norman Lear.  The family time would be lost and could not be made up, even if schedules were adjusted.  The responsibility for homework would be supervised by some unknown adult, who, based on history, would not take the same care in those activities that Adam and Ralph had taken.  And, ultimately, the responsibility for keeping up with chores and homework would fall upon the shoulders of Cubit, in whose ability to shoulder those responsibilities, Adam and Ralph had little confidence.

Adam and Ralph felt terrible.  Their schedules would be interrupted by the quest.  Their family time would be interrupted.  Things would change.  Responsibilities would shift.  And, Adam and Ralph liked things the way they are and were afraid of the changes.  Ralph tried to prepare Adam, and even though Adam was listening, the full import of the changes did not hit Adam until the leader of the quest sent a proclamation advising that those involved in the quest would be busy every weeknight until at least the calling of "seven bells and all is well".  

Adam was not prepared to read that, and as he read more and more, all the things that had been so important in making little Cubit a part of the family and creating a family structure around Cubit began to flash through his mind, each an event that would be sorely missed during the ensuing months of the winter chill; from the night of the witch, through the bringing in of the evergreen boughs, past the welcoming of the new year and through the birthday of the great man known as "First President".

Adam did not handle the realization well and he began to wail his disappointment and his reticence to commit to supporting Cubit during the time of the quest, including tons of additional transportation.  Oh, the angst suffered by Adam as he realized that soon, a choice must be made between what was important to him, and what was important to Cubit, and he was angry, because he knew that ultimately, the things that gave him joy would be subjugated to not just this one quest, but other quests after that, stretching into the time of adulthood and self sufficiency.

That left Adam in the position to have to apologize to Cubit, not for feeling bad or for hating to see things change, but for blowing up about it, even though he didn't actually blow up at Cubit, but rather at the demands of the quest.  Still, it was crazy behavior and it was important that Cubit understand that, even though Adam is the master of change, Adam still has a long way to go before he lives up to his own expectations of himself.

The only consolation that Adam felt was that in a couple of years, Cubit would be able to transport herself and he would no longer be required to leave his armchair and his warm fire and shawl to retrieve Cubit astride the winged blue horse, Prius.  Oh, and the assurance that one day, Cubit would have a little Cubit of it's own and would be forced to make the same choice.  A choice that Adam would model for her, even if he didn't like it very much.

The end.

Be well.  Happy Friday.  Enjoy the Autumn wherever you are.



For lack of something new

I have pictures of old quilts that are hanging in the living room. 

This quilt is my card trick quilt and I made it in 20008.



I made two of these quilts at the same time and just alike, except one was made from my stash and the other from my Mentor’s stash.  I gave her the one from her stash as a thank you gift for all that she had taught me about quilting.

And, this is an Irish Chain quilt.  I just love the Irish Chain pattern. 




I also got started quilting Sydney’s quilt.


I realized that I had to get the pins out of it before I could mark it the way I wanted to, so I’m putting in some stabilizing quilting in a grid pattern that I’ll then mark through paper, using my pounce.  This is a new technique for me.  I’ve marked with paper and I’ve marked with the pounce, but only using plastic templates.  If I can get this to work, then fast marking of quilts will really expand my possible quilting motifs. 

Okay, so everybody have a great Thursday.  This weekend is going to be a great weekend to work in the yard, so I don’t know how much quilting will get done.

Be well.  Lane