Until my hands hurt

Yesterday, I worked on Easy Street Clue 6 in the morning and when I’d made about 100 squares, I decided I needed a stretch.  So, I went outside to pick up the sticks and to my great surprise, it was a beautiful, but very chilly day.  I picked up sticks and cut down things that had frozen back and then I made myself a sandwich and ate on the deck, sitting in the sun and listening to my book.  When I was done in the yard, I sat in the sun room, in the sunshine, and knitted the afternoon away.  Instead of making dinner, I proposed dinner at a fave local cafe as a special friday night treat.  It was a lovely way to spend a Friday.  (new year’s resolution…more days like that.)

When we got home from Dinner, Rob checked the mail and I had a squishy…and a bill, but let’s just focus on the squishy.  Barb had sent me a baggie full of inch and a half squares for nine patch “niblets”.


These little squares are addictive and I just keep piecing them and piecing them.  I don’t have any idea how many there are.  Probably not enough to make a whole quilt, but a lot.  Thanks, Barb!

Here is Easy Street, all in a basket.  I guess it’s a basket full of Easy Street?  Okay, there’s gotta be a pun in there somewhere.  I’ll think of it about 3 this afternoon and get back to you.


Last night, I put the last stitches in the binding of the baby boy quilt. 


I’m loving the cheerful, unplanned feel of this quilt.  I can see making more of these from my strips bins.  And, it only needs simple quilting. 

This morning, I got up and decided to quilt the stability quilting in one block of my Dresden Plate quilt.  No matter how long it took.  Rob kept me entertained with a marathon of the series Parenthood, from the DVR and I quilted.  Until my hands hurt.  But, I got that block done.  It took four and a half hours.


Yardwork, knitting, hand binding, hand quilting…it’s no wonder my poor hands hurt!  I’d love to give them some cuddle time, but I’m about to go start taking Christmas down.  I love the Christmas decorations.  I love putting them up and enjoying them for a month.  But, every year, I really look forward to taking them down and getting back to normal. 

Who’s with me?  Let’s box this stuff up and go sew!  Where’s the tylenol?  Nevermind, I can work through the pain.



The Men’s Apron

Might I even say the perfect men’s apron? 

If you need the myth busted, you can scroll all the way down and see the finished apron, but the planning and executing the details is half the fun, right?

I found this picture of an apron when I was looking at aprons to finish one for our neighbor. 


I fell in love with the striped fabric and my friend Barb found it for me on fabric.com and sent me a link. 

I ordered a bunch of fabric that day, including a yard and a half of the stripe and a yard of the yellow (or citron) print.  It is a funny yellow and I’m glad I ordered a piece from the same line so it would match.  Nothing in my stash would have worked quite as well, but I did add a great steel gray and a black on black from my stash.


I started looking for men’s apron patterns.  I started with free men’s apron patterns and it didn’t take very long to decide I was willing to pay.  But, I never found what I was looking for.  Something masculine, but not plain.  Definitely not plain.  But not feminine.  Not a ruffle or a sleeve or a big bow on the butt.  It didn’t need criss-crossing suspenders.  And, did I say, no ruffles?  I knew I was going to have to draw my own, and incorporate what I saw and liked from all the pictures and patterns I’d seen.

I started with some preconceptions…a pocket the size of a recipe card in the center of the chest (I just like that)  A wide sash across the middle, but narrow ties (no point in drawing too much attention to that horizontal line).  Instead of the buttonhole and buttons on the neck strap that I usually use, I wanted D rings.  Deep side pockets for big hands, with curved access, like blue jeans (didn’t hit that one so much).  Bound edges instead of turned hems.  When I was reading about aprons, I read about the importance of a lining because food will pass through a single layer of fabric and still stain a shirt, so I wanted it lined with white (yes, I see the irony of lining an apron that will not likely ever be close to anything that would stain… because of the apron, not the shirt). 

I can’t find my first sketches, but this is the last one I made.


An artist I am not.  But it worked.

Next was the general shape of the apron.  I have three aprons, so I tried them all on and picked the one that fit best…the Hannukah apron (and, yes, Sara, I’ve been wearing it all through the holiday season.  Thanks for remembering). 


The yellow apron is my oldest and is a linen baker’s apron, from my Martha Stewart days.  It’s been stained and I slopped a bunch of yellow dye on it, so threw it in the pot that day and it has taken a beating for me and was worth every penny that I thought I overpaid for it when I bought real linen to make it.  The blue one was a plan, but I never really fell in love with it.  It needed to be edged in black, not blue.  Or maybe just not that blue.  The Hannukah apron is one I made several years ago.  I wanted to make one as a gift for a Jewish friend and this was my “tester” to work the kinks out of my own, made up pattern because even then, I couldn’t find one a liked. 

I laid the apron on top of the new fabric and cut around it, knowing I was going to bind all the edges, so I didn’t need hems, except on the bottom.

Pocket the size of a recipe card in the center of the chest…check


Wide sash, narrow ties…check


D rings in the neck strap…check


Deep pockets with curved access…wish I hadn’t made the curved access so deep.  It was supposed to be more like bluejeans…but check, anyway.


Bound edges instead of hemmed…check


And, here it is…ta-da!


Yes, I know I cut my face off, but I’m using my new favorite Christmas present, my mini-tripod and I haven’t quite got it all worked out yet.  It’s that or wake the kiddo and believe me, waking her to ask…no, make her do something for me is NOT A GOOD IDEA!


This is one of those last minute, saw it and grabbed it in Best Buy and handed it to Rob and said “put this in my stocking” and I am so glad he did.  It changes taking pictures for the guy that can’t quite seem to hold the camera still enough to take a good shot anymore.  Believe me, I took all these pictures twice and the difference between those with the tripod and those without is tremendous!

Be well and have a great Friday.  Apron finished, my next task is to start cutting two inch strips for Bonnie’s clue 7. 

At some point, I plan to get out of my pajamas long enough to pick up all the fallen sticks in the yard.  It’s become a danger zone out there.  But, not until it warms up a little bit more. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I did wash the dishes yesterday.  Late.  Like just before Rob got home.  That’s probably when I’ll pick up the sticks, too.



Digging out

WOW!  Two days after Christmas and I’m finally stopping long enough to look at my computer and answer some emails.

The holidays are hard for me.  I was taught to weigh and measure gifts so the season of gift giving is especially difficult.  Will it be enough?  Will they reject it?  Is my gift of like kind and quality to the gift I received?  And Rob, God love him, the giving season is all about the pleasure he gets from giving gifts.  He is much less worried about receiving, so that should make it easy, except I’m plagued by worrying that he’ll be disappointed.  And, plagued by the knowledge that’s not how I want to feel.  And, worried that I should be doing something about it.  But, unlike the past, I’m not this year. 

This year, I recognized what I was feeling and while I couldn’t turn it off, like a lamp, I could keep those feelings in check and, as my motto says, fake it ‘til you feel it.  I did a good job of it, too.  I’d go through exercises like:  If I was feeling peaceful, what would I be doing?  I’d be here, with the family, all together, but each enjoying their own thing.  And, once I knew what it was that I needed to feel peaceful, I was able to make that happen around me.  No stress, no demands, no expectations.  Peace and joy.

Rob enjoyed his new TV.  We’ve watched 3-D movies and regular movies in 3D and action movies on a huge screen and scale.  And, he’s reorganized his media cabinet to include his turn table and has enjoyed going back through some of his old fashioned LP disks, enjoying the early music of Ann Murray and Madonna…he has very varied tastes. 

Sydney got a new laptop and she’s had her head buried in that.  Not as much as I expected, or as much as I’d expect from most 15 year olds, but enough that I’ve gotten to enjoy some time in the sewing room and have had to ask a couple of times why she’s being so nice to me. 

After Rob got his TV, we moved the old family room TV into the sewing room.  I was worried that it was too big, but I’ve gotten used to it.  To do something like that means moving a ton of stuff out of the way and while it was out of the way, I used the time to do some organization that freed up some space.  And, then I cluttered it completely up in a last ditch effort to finish those last minute gifts and UFO’s that I was tired of tripping over. 

I’ll leave you with some images from the day. 

photo (7)



Morning decadent breakfast and coffee.  This was some yummy monkey bread or pull apart break or bubble bread, whatever it’s called where you are.

photo (3)

And, Lane playing with his new toaster oven.

photo (6)

And, about as much of Syd’s face as I’ve seen since.

That’s it for us.  Today is split evenly between starting my new apron (I finally got to open that box from fabric.com) and catching up on blogs and whatever else I can find to get me in trouble without having to leave home.

Brrrrrr, it’s cold outside, even in Texas.

I didn’t really go into it a lot here, but want you guys to know that if you’re feeling low this time of year, if gift receiving is as hard for you as it is for me, know that you aren’t alone and even though we’ve been taught not to talk about it this time of year, when everyone is supposed to be happy and gay…okay, maybe not so gay, but happy anyway…it’s okay to feel a bit outside of what is going on for other people.  It’s okay to let the merry-go-round spin a few times while we watch from the sidelines.  Then, we can decide when we want to get on…and when we want to sit on the sidelines some more.  We don’t all always feel what people expect us to feel, especially at the holidays, and while we don’t have to ruin their fun, it’s okay to just watch it for a while, too.

Be well and have a great Weds…ugh, Thursday…my days are all mixed up.  I’m not used to this lack of structure.  I’m not eating right, I’m sleeping a whole lot and I’m enjoying my days off work. 

But, at some point, I’m going to have to wash dishes.



Eighth day of Christmas

The eighth day of Christmas was Sydney’s last day of school before winter break.  It ended with a basketball game.  The freshman team won and the junior varsity team won and the varsity team lost in the last 40 seconds because they tried to run a fancy play to run down the clock and score at the last second to break a tie and it backfired and they gave the ball to the other team and lost it in the last 2 seconds by one basket and a free-throw from a foul they made during the skirmish.

Whoo-doggies, was my butt sore after sitting in the bleachers for 5 hours.  During the freshman game, the referees were signing in and leaning over the writing part of the desk I was sitting at, selling tickets.  The extra pressure was enough to collapse the front legs of the desk and the lock box crashed to the floor and everyone looked and I was trying to lean back in this desk to keep the writing surface from collapsing onto my knees.  Thank goodness the $3 in quarters somone paid with did not go skittering across the basketball court.

It is always something with me at girl’s basketball. 

Oh, and at one point, I looked up and the ball was headed right for my face and a girl that weighed twice as much as I do was barrelling down on me after it.  Fortunately, I got me and my stuff out of the way, just in the knick of time, before she crashed into the wall at my right side.  No one was injured, but my heart sure did race for a second.  It was like finding myself parked on the tracks while train was coming.

I got Bonnie’s clue and decided to spend half my sewing time this morning working on it and half, trying to learn to hem a women’s skirt.  Seems that should be so easy.  But, the fact that the part I’m folding under is more fabric than what I’m attaching it to is giving me fits.  I will get it, but this is why it’s so important for me to practice now.  One day, she’s going to want me to make her something special and I don’t want to be figuring out hems when that time comes.

During my Easy Street time, I went through my bin of 2” squares and I found…


And, I’d already exhausted my 2” strips.  So this morning, I’m cutting 2” strips from yardage and then sub cutting them into squares. 

I am going to deviate from Bonnie’s instructions just a bit, tho.  I’m not going to mark the diagonal lines on all those purple squares.  I’m trying a technique I saw someone else doing, but I don’t remember who or where, so if it was you, then please speak up and offer feedback. 

Here’s proof that this way does work.  One down, a boatload to go.


I took a sticky note and drew a line on it and lined that up with my sewing machine needle.  (the seam guide is just to make it lay flat because the sticky part is actually on my sewing machine cabinet)


I’ll lay my purple square on my turq square and line one corner up with the needle and line the other corner up with the drawn line. 


As I feed the fabric through, I’ll keep that near corner right on the drawn line, all the way across the diagonal of the purple square.  It worked perfect and all I had to do was trim off the extra fabric, leaving a quarter inch seam allowance.




Unfortunately, I did not get very many purple squares cut and I used both of my 3.5” turq squares that I found in my bin in this test, so all those will have to be cut, too.

In the meantime, I’ll be figuring out hems.  Men’s clothes make so much more sense.

Be well.  Have a great Friday.  After today, I am on Christmas break, too.



On the seventh day of Christmas

Sydney had a big night at the big game.

Rob scored box seats in a suite at the University of Texas’ Frank Erwin Center for a men’s basketball game. 

This is the suite they were in with a dozen or so strangers and a waiter.




The food was apparently pretty darn tasty.


And the place was packed.

By the time they got in, I was already in bed.  That may be a first in my 12 year relationship that we were in the same town and I went to bed first.  Anyway, they didn’t get much chance to tell me all about it, but Sydney did show me her huge tote bag full of pom-poms and other free stuff garnered from the game.  They even brought home the plastic plate that she ate her wings off of with the University logo on it.
Needless to say, Sydney was over the moon. 

Tonight is her last game before the holiday break and I am working ticket sales.  Yeah. 

Oops, did that sound under excited?  Can’t help it.  Scheduling family stuff around her radical basketball schedule has left me pretty over the whole thing.  I’m pretty sure that I see why all the parental support for the team is from the freshman parents.  After one year, you know what you’re getting into and you know to be more careful about what you offer.

This came in the mail.

I know what’s in it.  I ordered it.  But, I didn’t get to feel it or actually see it.  When the box came in, I said “somebody wrap that and put it under the tree for me.”  Herculean self restraint.

Hurry up Christmas, Hurry up Christmas, hurry up, hurry up, hurry up.

Have a great Thursday.  Hi-ho, Hi-ho, it’s off to earn enough to pay that credit card off.


can’t wait for tomorrow,
Clue 5 is a day away…….
(bring up the violins)


On the sixth day of Christmas

Rob celebrated the twelfth day of christmas.

It was the classic story of boy wants b-b-gun, retold about a television.  Every store we went into that sold televisions, Rob would wander over and look and drool and read and study and learn about TV’s.  All year long.  And, it came up in conversation over and over and over again…just like the boy in The Christmas Story

Except it won’t put your eye out.

Fifty inch plasma, this year’s model


Two inches thick


Yes, Mr Obama’s economy has been good to us this year.  And, based on the spending reports for holiday dollars, we’re not the only ones.

He woke at 4am, thinking about it.  It’s so big that it takes adjustments to our TV cabinet to hold it, and he didn’t do that yesterday because the TV needs to be broken in before we use it regularly.  So, for the next few days, it’s sitting in the entry, on my treadle sewing machine, flashing from green screen to blue to red to white.  We’ll be leaving it on all day because it needs to do that for like, a hundred hours.  On Saturday, we’ll start the TV shuffle because a new TV in the family room means the old TV goes to the sewing room and the sewing room TV goes to the bedroom and the bedroom TV, that takes a while to warm up, will go to the garage and replace the small TV that’s out there.  Everybody gets an upgrade.

On a more personal note, it was so much fun to watch Rob in the days since we decided that this was to be his gift this year.  He shopped and he ordered and he scheduled the delivery and the time off work to receive it and he’s playing with it already.  He has been like a big kid and I love, love, love it when I can be part of something like that for him. 

Unfortunately, that means he won’t have so many things to unwrap on Christmas day.  So, instead of a cycle of Sydney unwraps 1, Lane unwraps 1, Rob unwraps 1, we’ll likely cycle Sydney unwraps 1, Lane unwraps 1, and we watch TV for two minutes.

We don’t exchange gifts this big and expensive.  We live very frugal lives.  So, it is nice that we can splurge this year and get Rob exactly what he wanted for the holiday, without worrying about whether we could afford it.


At this time of year, remember that friendship and family are about accepting others for who they are and finding common ground between you.  It is not a time for pontificating or fear mongering as the news would have us believe.  It’s like clapping to bring Tinkerbell back to life; if you just believe in peace and joy, then the Christmas spirit can find its way inside your heart.  It’s not about who can give the best gift.  It’s about what we each can give of ourselves.  If you’re having a hard time with that, believe harder.  Believing harder is called faith.  Faith in our fellow man.  Faith in a peace filled future. Faith that things will get better.  Faith isn’t just something for the church house.  Faith is for every day, every step, every thought.  See the holiday you want to have and make it happen.  See the life you want to have and make it happen.  Don’t base it on things.  Base it on what you can contribute to the common good.  Let go of fear.


Be well and have a great Wednesday.  Two days until Easy Street clue 5.   Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.



On the fifth day of Christmas

Nothing happened.

So, I’ll have to tell you what happened on the fourth day of Christmas.

On the fourth day of Christmas, we went to see our friend LD.  We met her best friend, C, and then C had to leave and we took LD to lunch.  Following all the abbreviations?  Keep up.

While we were up there, we exchanged gifts, and we delivered her sewing chest.  I’m still pretty sure that this sewing chest was made for LD’s mother by LD’s father, when LD was a wee bairn.  It was covered with fabric and at some point, it had not been stored well.

LD had a huge coffeetable and when she started using her walker, the coffeetable was very much in her way.  So, she decided to get rid of the coffeetable and use the sewing chest as a table.  Much smaller.  Oddly, by the time she decided to get rid of the coffeetable, she wasn’t having to use the walker anymore, so that just goes to show you that you’ve got to strike while the iron is hot, or your story doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, she bought many (many…no, really, way too many) yards of vinyl to cover the chest so it could be a good coffeetable.  When I was up there in October (yes, I am ashamed that I didn’t go up there for 6 weeks, but you know, I couldn’t get this bloody table finished, so I just didn’t go) she asked me how I would cover the chest.  And, I said “I don’t know, but if you’ll let me take it home, I’ll figure it out and bring it back to you all done.”  And, we talked about how to finish the trim and I loaded it in the back of the Prius and off I went.

I wish I had taken before pictures.  When I got home, I realized that I had a box with legs and handles that pretty much looked like it was made out of old barn wood.

What was I going to do with that?

Rob and I both loved the lid, so my first decision was not to cover it, but rather to let that rustic wood show off it’s curves and grain.  But, it wasn’t good enough to stain and varnish, so it got painted and antiqued.  We used a gold water based paint and a mahogany water based stain.  That worked, so I did the same with the legs and handles.


Then, I covered the sides with the brownish gray vinyl and hated how that looked against all the antiqued wood.  It was very flat in color and that wasn’t going with all the other movement.  So, I took a tin of brown shoe polish and I rubbed it all over the whole thing, very thick and let it fill all the little crevices in the vinyl and I ended up with something that looked much more like leather. 

Rob built a tray for the inside and we added two runners to hold it, giving her two levels of storage.


The brass hardware was in terrible shape, so I cleaned and polished and cleaned some more so I could reuse it.  Rob found perfect, old fashioned and plain handles, for the tray. 


The vinyl goes all the way down the inside…not sure why, but when I was thinking of it, that was the easiest way to give it a good finish line.  Basically, the edge is hidden, so all mistakes disappear.

We coated all the wood with several coats of polyurethane so it would be water resistant and people could put glasses on it without worry that the antiquing would come off. 


So, that’s how Rob and I turned a box made of raw wood into a lovely chest that she can use as a coffeetable.  It’s small enough that if she needs to go back to the walker, she can still get around the room.

We also gave LD an apron.  Not sure why this has been the year of the apron. 


We found the apron really cheap after breast cancer awareness month and I added the embroidery.  So, the joke about the smoke alarm; Linda and her husband published a small cookbook to help pay for his chemo.  When her son was growing up, they lived in a house and Linda said that every time she cooked, the smoke alarm was so sensitive that just the heat of cooking would set it off.  So, they named the cookbook Dinner’s ready when the smoke alarm goes off.  So, I embroidered “I hear the smoke alarm” on her apron.  It was very hard to find embroidery floss to go with this store bought apron.  Alone, the apron looks pink, but if you put it up against something that’s really pink, it’s really a bit of a salmon color.  But, I found a sewing thread that matched the little swirly leaves in the background and I used three strands of that and pretended it was embroidery floss. 

Hey, it worked.

So, that’s the fourth day of Christmas.  It was a lovely time.  LD had checked with me last week because she wanted to give Sydney earrings.  She asked “stud or dangle” and I said we’re just starting to let Syd wear dangles so a little dangle would be perfect.  When Syd opened the box, she teared up and cried (any my heart grew two sizes that day).  There were two pair of delicate, slightly dangly earrings in there.

And 4 pair of 3 inch hoops that were a gag gift.  Oh, we all got a big laugh out of that.  My eyes probably got as big as those hoops when Syd pulled them out and I looked at LD out of the corner of my eye and she was literally rolling with laughter.

Smiles and laughter enjoyed by all.  That’s what Christmas is all about.  It’s not about measuring or accounting or exchanging equal gift cards.  It’s about sharing a bit of yourself.  When you find someone you can do that with, you can let Christmas into your heart.

Be well and have a wonderful Tuesday.  Lane


Running from the news

I have spent the last three days running from the sad news from Connecticut.  More sad news, stacked on more sad news, killing after killing, guns, guns, guns.

It only took being witness to one murder suicide to remove any thought of guns in our home.  And, now, I can hardly stand the news that I’m hearing about how out of control people with guns have suddenly become.

Before you can say it, no, not all people with guns.  But every gun provides an opportunity, should a person suddenly snap.

So, this morning, I’ve let the news in and I have cried for the people who are so affected. 

Friday, I had the day off.  I took the day to make something for Rob, while he wasn’t at home and it is wonderful, but he reads my blog, so you can’t see it until next week.  Before I started that, I finished my neighbor’s apron.


It’s cute, but incredibly not my style, so I’m having trouble actually loving it, but I know my neighbor will love it. 

I cut all of Bonnie’s clue, but I didn’t sew any of it together, until just before bedtime, and I made two of the new geese. 

Saturday, I got up, with just a bit of sewing for Sydney on my mind.  I’ve wanted to make her a skirt.  Don’t know why.  I went back and forth.  I made her some shirts a couple of years ago, and she never wore them.  So, why would I want to make her any other garments.  But, I did.  I went back and forth and changed my mind and changed it again, and pieced a few of the geese.  I finally pulled out the pattern that she had picked out and I traced it so that I could get her size without cutting the original…in case I need a bigger size later…and then I made a muslin out of white sheet.  She liked it.  I know that’s no guarantee that she’ll wear anything made from that muslin, but it’s worth a try.  Anyway, they went out shopping and I sewed and then they picked me up and we went out for lunch and a few last minute gifts and we came back home and I went to JoAnn’s by myself. 

I was really glad I was alone.  It was coupon commotion and everything in the store that wasn’t on sale, was 40% off.  If it was on sale for less than 40%, then they applied a 40% at the register.  It was a packed madhouse and I waited in line to check out for 35 minutes.  Needless to say, it was my last trip to that store.  They have ceased restocking because they are moving.  But, they aren’t moving for more than a month, so I’m not sure why we need to do without until then, but the powers that be have decided, and so I am left to live off my stash, with no replinishing, until February 4.  Yeah, I make it sound worse than it really is because there’s a quilt shop, right around the corner from the house.

Anyway, I picked up fabric for two skirts and brought it home and during the course of the afternoon, I cut the skirt out and yesterday morning, I put it together.  Now, all I need to do is work on the zipper a bit more (it’s already my second time to put that zipper in…in my own defense, it’s only my second zipper ever and the first one I’ve ever put into a skirt) and then I need to hem it. 


This is not the real color.  It’s a linen, that is the color of new bluejeans, so much more navy than royal.

And, I finished the clue four geese,


including sewing them to the previously made geese.  All that’s left of clue 4 is cutting the green squares.


This morning, it was all about taking care of some business that needs to be taken care of and finding a letter that had been lost in the shuffle of holiday stuff from one place to another, so no sewing today.

We went to our friend LD’s yesterday to do our christmas and take her to lunch.  We also took her the sewing chest I’d been working on.  I’ll give a full rundown of that tomorrow, but today, I need to get up off of it and get moving.  Syd has just left for school and I need to brush my teeth and get moving as well.

Take care and have a great Monday.  It’s exactly one week until Christmas eve.  Happy yet?




I think one of the things that people have the hardest time understanding about me is my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Okay, so my anger can be a bit weird and scary, too.  But, it’s my OCD that makes people look at me funny.
Maybe it’s because it doesn’t always show.  Most of the time, I walk around as happy as a clam.  But, when I get near the end of a project, it’s “Katie, bar the door”…can’t stop, won't stop, you’ll just make me mad if you try to get me to stop.  And, I end up resenting the reason I have to stop.  It’s usually pretty short lived and I get into the next event okay, but sometimes…
not so much.
Anyway, this has been on my mind today, as I’ve made myself late to work, trying to get this stupid pocket to work. 
First, I put a plain pocket, with a dark binding all around, and I hated it.  It’s just a pocket to hold a recipe card, but I hated it.  The simplicity of it actually clashed with the ruffle at the bottom hem of the apron…at least in my mind.  And, I tried to make myself like that square (because it was finished), but I couldn’t.
This morning, I’ve gotten almost finished with the apron for my neighbor, but that pocket just stood out in all it’s horror.
So, I took it off and took it apart, because I have just a few scraps of fabric and needed that little piece, and I started over. 
And, that’s when the OCD kicked in.  I couldn’t walk away from it.  Oh, I did walk away from it, but I kept coming back and working on it more.  Just a bit more.  Just a tiny bit more.  One step, go workout.  Two step, take a shower.  Three step, make breakfast.  Four step, write this blog post. 
But, as you can see, I did get it made and it is ready to be attached…and it is fabulous.
So, now I can actually go to the office and focus on what’s happening there, and not obsess about this stupid pocket.
The apron overall?  All I can say is that it looks terrible on me.  I need a smaller person to try it on.  Someone that looks better in ruffles.
Oh, and while I’m talking about aprons, Remember this one?
Barb found that fabric, at Fabric.com.  I’ve ordered a yard and a half.  It should be here in a few days.  And, then, I’ll start working on a new apron for me.  Maybe I’ll even order enough of that fabric to make new kitchen curtains.  That would be ab-fab in my yellow kitchen!
Be well.  I’ve done all I need to do and can go to work now.



The best laid plans of mice and men gang oft awry.

Last night, Sydney’s basketball game was far away from home, and nearer to Rob’s office.  So, he went to the game and I came home and took care of the dogs.  I think there were only two girls with parents at the game, at least for the freshmen.  Varsity may have had more.

I had great plans.  I was going to come home and let the dogs out and play with the dogs and feed the dogs and work on a sweater and work on an apron and work on another gift and another gift…

Mostly, I ate. 

With them gone, I planned a simple sandwich for dinner.  What I learned is that I need a more structured meal plan than that.  I ate the sandwich.  And, some fudge and some mint chocolate candy and some chips and some other chips with salsa and a piece of cake…


As penance, I made myself get on the scale this morning.  I am abashed.

I did feed the dogs.  And, I did play with the dogs.  And, I did work on the apron.  But, that’s it.

Okay, so my caloric regrets are not the topic of this post.

This is.  And, the only way I can describe it is hysterical bloom.  It is literally covered in flowers, each one screaming to be looked at.


This is a Sasanquah Camelia that I planted in my flowerbed about 8 years ago.  Over the years, it has developed and filled in and is about a 3” diameter ball now.  It won’t get much bigger, which is what attracted me to it, to fill this particular spot.  But, it’s never bloomed this way before.  And, I love that it blooms this time of year.  The freeze doesn’t even seem to have bothered it because it is still out there, pinky-red with flowers. 

It is good through a freeze and always gives flowers at Christmas, and usually, it’s the only thing in bloom that time of year. 

And, all I feed it is coffee grounds.  It loves acidic soil and it doesn’t require much water and it’s okay with my clay, so long as I supplement it, and the rest of the year, it is a green backdrop that I can add color around.  But, this time of year, it really shines.

My Grandmother had two large Camelias in her front yard and I can remember so many Christmases, going to her house and seeing these two tall sentinels in front of the front steps, covered with deep red blooms.  We were always told not to touch the flowers because our hands would cause them to die, so we would play around them and look at them, but not touch them. 

During the hot part of the year, the front of her house was wrapped in Nandina and Hydrangea’s that bloomed clumps of pink and blue flowers as big as my head.  I’ve never been able to grow the Hydrangeas, but I am successful at Nandina and Camelia.

I brought a bit of my childhood into my adulthood.

Okay, more than just a bit, but this is part of the good stuff.

Have a great Wednesday.  Two more days until Bonnie gives us clue 4.  Despite my frustration and injury last week, I’m still looking forward to it. 

Be well.  Lane


silk purses

You know how you go to a quilt show or an antique store and you see someone’s lovely unfinished project for sale and you think, “I could do something with that.”  And, you take it out and look at it close and you realize “That’s not worth it.”  And, then you walk around a bit and you wander back past the unfinished project and it’s not there anymore?  Well, I’m the guy that comes along behind you and sees the project and thinks “I can do something with that.” except I don’t take it out and unfold it and I don’t realize it’s too much work and I bring it home.

And, I do my dead level best to turn that sow’s ear into a silk purse.

Well, this is one of those projects.

The outside of the baggie said “Unfinished Apron”. I didn’t open it. I just picked it up because, at the very least, it would make a good addition to my feedsack stash.


Inside was this apron bottom, three points, and edged with a ruffle that had been gathered with a vintage sewing machine ruffler attachment.


It was cute enough, but there wasn’t a finished seam anywhere except the very bottom hem and both sides.  If I’d washed it as it was, it would have turned into a big ball of thread because the fabric is very loosely woven.  There was a second piece of fabric that was going to make a very short apron tie, I guess.  Not much extra fabric there. 

But, I remembered that my neighbor came over in her vintage style apron on Thanksgiving and I complimented it and she shared the whole story about vintage aprons and how they were used by the original wearers as everything from hot pads to dust rags to baby chin wipes, a story I’d heard on Simply Quilts from Nancy Kirk, who I suspect was involved in designing my neighbor’s store bought, very vintage style apron because the stories were so similar.  But, this is a lower half apron and my neighbor likes a bib apron.  Is there enough extra fabric for a bib?

I knew I needed more fabric, and I couldn’t match the gold, so I picked this very dark green.  I even found a matching spool of thread.   


Next, I took enough of the apron apart to give me access to all those unfinished seams and I serged them all.  And, I let the hems out on the sides so I can bind that edge. 

Next, I needed inspiration, so I went to the internet for vintage style apron pictures.  I found this one.


Okay, first of all, I love the apron.  I love the fabrics, I love the cut, I love everything about it.  Especially the gray and yellow fabric.  Perfect for an apron.  I’d love to find that fabric and make an apron for me…course, it wouldn’t be so girly, but that fabric would make a good apron for anyone.

So far, I’ve cut the new ties out of the green and I’ve cut a new bib from the flowery fabric and have attached a binding on three sides of the bib.  I cut the sides at an angle so they can taper to a nice 10” across the chest, but be almost as wide as the skirt at the hip. 

Okay, so it won’t be exactly like the one in the picture, especially since I don’t plan to gather the skirt part, but add a couple of pockets out of leftover fabric, maybe some green ruffles to set them off and a bit of good old fashioned know how and it should be just as cute. 

Unfortunately, it’s taking much longer than it would have if I’d just taken a flat piece of floursack and a pattern and started from scratch. 

But, that’s the beauty of turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse.  When you’ve spent all the extra time, you’ve turned a bit of fabric, stuffed into a zip top baggie, into something lovely and useful.

So, I’ll keep buying other people’s unfinished projects and using a bit of my own artistry to turn them into something that is finished.

Be well.  Have a great Tuesday.  Lane



It’s time to face the changing seasons here in Texas.  I know, it’s been a long time for most of you…except the Aussie’s among you who have winter at an odd time of year, but we’re expecting our first freeze in the lone star state, and that meant prep work over the weekend.  We Christmas shopped in short pants on a beautiful 80* day on Saturday and worked in the yard in shorts yesterday, and tonight, we’ll freeze.  40* difference in daytime temps from one day to the next.  Sheesh!

But, I didn’t do anything else until after I had finished Bonnie’s Clue 3.  Because really, ya gotta have your priorities in the right place.


Here are some of my blocks.  Yes, I am going to have trouble with one of the purples that isn’t reading right in the left side set.  But, you know what?  I’m having just the least bit of trouble caring about that because all the others look fantastic.

Here they are all nestled in their basket with all the other clues.  I didn’t cut the two green squares yet because I think I want to use four different fabrics and so I’ll wait until I cut into those fabrics for something else. 


i did not enjoy this step.  For some reason, I just had trouble getting it all to go together right with good points.  And, I cut the crap out of my finger…not just any finger, but the finger that would send a clear message, should a message of displeasure need to be sent.  But, like any good quilter, I poured some peroxide on it, wrapped it in a bandaid and went right back to quilting without ever looking to see if it was a really bad cut or not.  If it kept bleeding, I needed to do something else so I didn’t bleed on the quilt.  Otherwise, just keep going.

Some people have talked about giving up the mystery.  Gotta say that I toyed with it, early on Saturday morning, when I realized I had to sliver trim the square and wings before I could add the turquoise triangle.  But, my motto comes from the movies…Never give up, never surrender!  (from Galaxy Quest)

My family likes to eat at a sandwich shop called Which-wich and you order by filling out what you want on the front of your submarine sandwich sized paper bag.  They hang the bags from a wire and make the sandwich to order, sliding the bags from one station to the next in assembly line fashion.  So that we can keep up with our lunches, we write on the backs of the bags…well, and we use it to make a statement about what’s going on sometimes, like the time I said “girls are expensive” after buying Syd new shoes.  The fun is that none of us can look at the backs of the bags to see what the others wrote, until they’re hanging on the wire and everybody can see.  This was my bag.


Course, I think anybody else that read it thought Sydney was Bonnie, but no matter.

We spent almost all day Saturday, braving the thronging crowd to do most of our Christmas shopping.  I have one or two other small gifts to pick up, but the basics for the family are done.  I was just too tired to move Saturday night, but it does feel good to be through.

And, because we are having a freeze, it was time to move plants into the sunroom.  But, first, I had to clean the sunroom and get all the junk I’d pulled out over summer back into its place.  That took hours.  Then, setting up the greenhouse on the back side so that one little space heater can keep both rooms above freezing. 


I’ve really been working on not having so many plants in pots that have to be moved, but I still had this…


My little 6’x6’ greenhouse is packed to the gills with stuff I don’t want to freeze.  All that yellow is lemons and oranges.  We had a very good year this year.  They’ll be ready about Christmas week, but we did knock one off that I’m looking forward to in some cups of tea this week.  This space is packed and the open screen doors between allow air to circulate.  All I have to do is add water a few times over the season.  We get so little cold weather that it’s practical to keep annuals from one year to the next, as well as my fruit trees in pots, all packed into this space for about two and a half months. 

After that, it was time for cooking and I made 2 kinds of candy and a cake and a big pot of stew, but that’s all for another post because I have to get up and get ready to go to the work that pays.  Because, if it wasn’t for the work that pays, there wouldn’t be all this stuff that needs to be done the rest of the time.

Be well, have a wonderful Monday.  If you’re still sewing on Bonnie’s clue 3, be careful with your rotary cutter.  Don’t be the “other one” that’s walking around in a bandaid.