A hard working weekend

Remember that pile of fabric I left Syd on Friday?

This is what I got back.


Is she good, or what?

I only had to re-fold a couple pieces.  It was wonderful. 

She wanted a trip to half price books on Saturday and she spent her whole week’s pay on books.  Old fashioned paper printed books.  I love it! 

I spent the weekend on a cleaning jag.  I cleaned in the sewing room and put things away and switched the machines around and turned furniture and vacuumed and picked up a thousand pins. 

And, then I went to the kitchen cabinets; I needed a Goodwill box by this point, and I organized everything and told Sydney I expected it to be kept this way, at least for a while.  And, I understand it won’t last forever…we do live in that kitchen after all.  But, at least try to keep it this way. 

We’ll see.  I’m probably the worst offender, pulling everything out because I need that thing that I only use once a year and keep in the back of the cabinet.

Anyway.  Goodwill will profit from the experience.

I also found time to make a Civil War block by Barbara Brackman.  It’s the one in the lower right.  I’m trying to find a balance of color and not end up with a solid brown quilt.  Not sure I hit that with the purple and gold.  But, it is what it is for now.  I think the purple is too close to the browns and that it would be better if I replaced it with an actual brown.  But, I’ll give it some time and see if it grows on me.


That’s six of twelve.

And, I laundered and blocked the Hawaiian style quilt that I made on vacation.  When I realized I’d get the quilting finished before I got home, I started thinking about how to attach the binding.  I did it just like I normally would, except I marked it with a school ruler and a pencil and cut it with scissors and sewed it on by hand on the front and then the back.  Unusual experience.  Likely explains the foldover binding on most of the hand pieced and hand quilted quilts I’ve collected.


100_7023 .

I enjoyed this and plan to use some of the fabric I bought on vacation 2014 to make another one. 

Okay, everybody have a great Monday. 



Pick one

One of these piles of fabric cost me $10 for the whole pile.  The other pile cost considerably more.


Can you tell which is which?  I’ll give you a hint.  I wouldn’t be asking if the answer was logical.

When we were on vacation, I picked up a couple pieces of fabric in a thrift shop.  Then, a couple more.  Then, I found bags of fat quarters, some uncut, some with just a square cut out of the corner.  Those bags also had half yard cuts, and small scraps.  One bag was yellow and one bag was brown, and I passed on several other bags because I wasn’t smart enough to recognize what was inside them.  And apparently neither was the antique shop owner, or she’d have charged more than $4 per bag.  There were probably five yards of fabric in each bag and it was all new…like quilt shop quality, new prints and new fabric.  It wasn’t even dusty and had never been laundered.  WHAT A BARGAIN!

One of Syd’s chores is to wash all this, now that I have serged all the raw edges.  Wash, dry and fold.  I’m paying by the load.  Plus, there’s a bonus because so many of the fabrics are small pieces and they have to be folded in a certain way so they fit my storage system.

She says she’s up to that.  Personally, I’d have demanded a higher price for all that folding. 

She probably will, too, next time.

It’s Friday.  I have a long list of things I’d like to accomplish this weekend.  Tons of stuff.  With these piles of fabric out, there is finally room in the sewing room to start putting things away.  This morning, I started unpacking and making piles of stuff; one for the closet, one for my backpack, one for the office and on and on.  And, we have to start taking photos of my machines for a speech I’m giving at a local quilt guild in July about how I use my vintage machines in my quilting.

And, with all that, I need to get back to quilting my quilts for the show. 

If a busy boy is a happy boy, then why is an overwhelmed boy so…well, overwhelmed?

Be well.  Have a great Friday.  As I clean, I’ll try to share so that everyone can realize that we all have the same problem in our sewing rooms…at least most of us.  I know, I know, there’s one in every crowd that can keep a work area neat.  I see you there, in the back and to the right of the crowd.  No need to brag. 

I’m not that one.



Sydney's recipe for roast beef

I kind of like this posting without pictures thing.  I feel like I've been very honest about stuff, and those are the posts I enjoy the most; the ones about family and about growth and harmony and feelings and oooey-goooey (heartfelt) stuff like that.  Too often, I get bogged down in what I'm quilting and forget the I need the blog to express other stuff, too.

This morning, I had my Individual Development meeting with my boss.  It's an annual, mid-year look at what I'm doing and what I'd like to do next and how I get there.  I didn't take the normal approach.  I have a new boss and I really like her, so I decided to put a whole bunch of honesty out there and see what she did with it.  And, she said the right stuff.  I think she can help me keep my career going.  I'm looking forward to finding out.

Anyway, Sydney made her first Roast Beef last night.  I actually came up with the recipe, but it was just an idea and she took it and worked it out.  If you've followed for a while, you know that we have a goal to not use the big oven during the summer.  It heats up the house and then the air conditioning has to compensate and we try to keep all our baking and roasting in small quantities that can be baked in the countertop convection oven, which releases much less heat into the house.  We could have put it in the convection oven, but I thought, hey, why?  She was skeptical about cooking something new anyway, so why not take a risk and see what happened. 

Her roast was 2 1/2 lbs
Potatoes and carrots , cut into bite sized chunks
Onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Worcestershire sauce, a couple tablespoons. 

She laid out aluminum foil and laid parchment on top of that (I don't like to cook directly on aluminum) and then laid her vegetables on that and salted and peppered them.  Then, she salted and peppered the roast and laid it on top.  She sealed all this up in the foil so it wouldn't leak.  Cut a small steam vent in the top.

She pre-heated the grill and then put the roast on with a low flame and let it cook for 2 hours. 


Juicy.  Tender. 

Everybody have a great Thursday.  Thanks for all the kind words on yesterday's post.I really want to brag about her when she's doing good things.  Those are the days it's easy to be a parent. 



The working Girl

Okay, so at some point of this post, I will likely offend someone.  But, I hope I also inspire someone. 

Sydney is in her second week of working for me.  She's doing general housekeeping and some gardening.  She's doing good work.  I don't overload her, but I do give her all the jobs that need doing, broken down into small, bite sized chunks so she doesn't spend her summer with dish pan hands.  And, I pay her. 

The first time I paid her, she was so excited.  It wasn't a lot.  But, she nearly danced to her room with her cash.  She doesn't make minimum wage, but she doesn't pay taxes or benefits either, and I still cover her room and board.  I explained all that when I gave her the job for the summer.  Yesterday, she was complaining about her hourly wage and the First Lady happened to be in an interview on the news, where she talked about minimum wage earners going to jobs they hate, just to put food on the table.  I backed that up and played it again.  Real loud. 

And, she complains that there have to be laws to protect her from child labor (washing dishes and mopping floors and dusting don't count as child labor...I hope.  When I was a kid, they were the weekly chores.)   But most of her complaining is in jest and I don't take the challenge on any of it.  I just laugh or dispense good parental advice.

Every morning, she starts by making me breakfast.  If she forgets, I go wake her up.  That's how it is when you have a job.  And, while I eat, we sit at the table, her with her cup of coffee (Jeez, I hope that's not a mistake) and me with my breakfast, and we lay out the day's tasks.  Some are easy.  Some are crappy jobs that I hate and don't do very often.  She writes it all down on a piece of paper.  She writes down the time she spends on each job and at the end of the week, we add it up and figure out her pay.  When I get home, she sends me around to see her work.  I don't have to go check it out to evaluate whether she did a good job. I assume she did a good job and that I don't need to check it.  She's doing good work and she knows it and she's proud of it.  When she had to clean the fridge the other day, she explained how she scrubbed some stains out, and we laughed about what she had to do to clean under the vegetable bins.  And, I said "Looks good".  She beamed. 

I have to keep my jobs of "boss" and "parent" seperate because, like all teens on a job, she needs to come home and complain about the boss and say things like "I'm not doing that anymore".  As her parent, I can empathize that cleaning out the space under the sink where we keep the trashcan is a crap job, but, she does get paid for it.  And, she doesn't have another job, so she needs to keep the one she has.  And, as her boss, I have to insist that the job can't be done without taking everything out of that cabinet.  And, sometimes, I have to ask her to do something again...not fussing at her over doing a half done job, but explaining that my expectations were higher and it's okay, she can do it again tomorrow, but focus on the part she missed. 

Last night, while we were doing dishes after dinner (there are still some chores I won't pay her to do) she asked me to fire her.  That was pretty funny.  We were laughing and having a great time.  She said not to call her "housekeeping" anymore and I explained that I wanted her to know exactly what it was like for thousands of women in Austin, who get up every morning and go to underchallenging jobs, where they are underpaid for the work they do, mostly because they are undereducated.  Most of them didn't get the chances that Syd gets, and she chooses to do the minimum in school, studying just to pass the test and doing her best not to embrace the material.  What she is experiencing this summer is the extreme end of what can happen if she chooses to be undereducated. 

She pretended not to listen and near the end of my speech, she was trying to speak louder than me, calling me a racist (okay, I kind of deserve that one for calling her Lupe (pronounced in Texas as Loo-pay) after a badly treated Maid in a local play from a few years ago (i.e. telling Rob, "don't worry about it.  I'll get Loo-pay to do it tomorrow")), but she was also listening.  And, she's learning.  And, she's showing off the things she's learned over the years that she's been with us (believe me, when she got here, that girl didn't know clean from anything). And, she's got pride in her work.  And, we saw how she guarded over her wages when we were on vacation last week, stretching her pennies until Mr. Lincoln squealed. 

And, I'm proud of her.  She's really growing up.  And, most of the time, she's fun to be with, even if she does still make me a little crazy and I have to pretend to be listening when she's gone on for 15 minutes about her hair. 

Every day, I'm amazed at where we started and where we are.  There were a lot of bad days.  We were making a person out of a lump and that's hard work.  And, unless something terrible happens between now and then, I can see myself being proud to send her out into the workforce.  Maybe this little lesson about taking pride in her work will carry over into her school work, too. 

This morning, I saw a news segment about parental stress.  People studied said they had stressful jobs and enjoyed being at home and relaxed.  But, when their chemical levels were checked (I think it was cortisol levels), the blood chemicals indicated they were more stressed at home.  The reporter speculated that it was because parents want to get it right at home and trying to make sure they do is stressful.  I think it's because we know what we're doing at work.  We've been educated and trained to do our jobs.  At home, there is no manual or step by step instructions on how to do the job, and a mistake could affect a child for a lifetime. 

I've spent a lot of time, wondering if we are doing the right things with Sydney.  The answer is always the same.  When I look at a single day, we make a boatload of mistakes.  But, when I look at my daughter overall, I see that we get a shipload of stuff right. 

Have a good Wednesday.  I'm still unpacking from vacation.  I haven't downloaded pictures.  I just got caught up reading blogs in a marathon that didn't leave time to comment.  Slowly, but steadily, I'm getting caught up. 


And, they all arrived home safely

At some point of Thursday, when Syd was feeling angry at me in the museum again, and I was trying desperately not to scratch at my chigger bites in public, I realized that I was fully saturated with vacation.  Anytime anyone would say “what are we going to do today?”, I’d cringe. 

It seemed we had done it all, but still, we found things to fill the time.  At the end, we ended up together at the pool and the Innkeeper and Stableman came out for a chat.  That was very nice.  Clouds rolled in and a few spats of raindrop, but very cool and breezy and enjoyable.  And, then it blew over and we dressed for our last dinner. 

On Friday night, we went for “Fine Dining”, which we try to do once every trip.  We tried someplace new and the service was fantastic, but there was a big plop of bird poop on the window right next to us and the flatware wasn’t shiny and I scraped something off my knife.  And, the food wasn’t very good.  Oh, well.  The Innkeeper loves the place, so maybe we were just there on a bad night.  I know they were hosting a wedding reception later that evening, so maybe that’s where the best chef was focused…cuz mine was good, but they poured a sauce over it that tasted like dirty socks.

We shopped for antiques and we shopped for jewelry and we shopped for fabric and every afternoon, at least some of us ended up at the pool.  Sydney got to ride horses every day, except museum day, so she was happy. 

And, after 9 hours in the truck yesterday, I think we were all very glad to get out and stretch our legs.  Unpacking can take as long as it takes as far as I’m concerned.  We had stressful traffic from Dallas, nearly all the way to Austin, and I did my best to joke with Rob and give him the chance to vent, while he dealt with large transport trucks and road construction and terrified drivers trapped in it with us. 

Today, I’m off to work.  I spent my quilting time serging about 8 miles of fabric that I bought…most of it used and dusty, so I can wash it.  And, last night, I ordered the piece that the quilt shop didn’t have to finish the Christmas kit we bought in Branson.  We went out for Chinese so we wouldn’t have to wash dishes.  Before we left, Rob said “Hey, let’s go out to dinner.  We haven’t done that in a while.”  My funny man.

I want to write the instructions for how to avoid chiggers down on paper and store it with the stuff we take because the things I always believed about chiggers are not true.  I got them from walking in the freshly mown grass, 5 feet back and forth to the grill.  Next year, we pull over in town and spray with repellant before we get into any grass, and we will apply fresh repellant every 4 hours until we leave for home. 

Have a great Monday.  I’m off to the job.  Pictures to follow.  Hopefully. 

Oh, Rob showed us the video he took on vacation.  Lots of Mable and me, and for some reason, Sydney hiding in the background.  Go figure.



The day we did what SHE wanted to do

Which turned out not to be what she said she wanted to do.  Somebody along the line undid all my good work and taught her how to shop.  And, shop we did.  I didn't take any pictures.  The plan was for her to take pictures, but she didn't.  She shopped for purses and bought a dress.  And, she touched every piece of jewelry in Eureka Springs Arkansas.

I had fun watching.  And, Rob had fun carrying our bags.

He and I took turns shopping with her, so we both got to talk to her and listen to her evaluate a price and decide if it's worth it, or complain about how expensive things are.  So, when she found this dress, and she liked it, and it fit, and the price was right, well, that's like the direct alignment of the planets, right? 


I didn't know she was planning to wear it today.  I thought to dinner one night, maybe, but she figured out that if she wore a cover up during the day, it could work for both day and night.

Who taught her that? 

Okay, I guess we did. 

Anyway, we're getting an equal number of complaints and smiles from a 16 year old, so I'm calling it a win.  A big win!

And, in between, I take pictures of people's gardens.


This one is terraced up the hillside.  There's a house to the left and one to the right, then up a set of stairs, there's another to the left that you can barely see peeking through the trees directly above the car, and higher than that, you could see another one on the left that was accessed from another street.  All straight up a mountainside.  Fall off one porch and hit the rest of the roofs on the way down. 

Everybody have a great Thursday.  We are off to the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, AR.  We went there last year, but Syd didn't want to be there, so I ran as fast as I could through it.  This year, going through it with me, using her developing photographer's eye, and talking to me about the art are her price of admission to the vacation.  I made it clear from the start of planning.  And, she's up and smiling and having fun getting ready for the day, so she must have been listening. 

Vacation is half over.  But, the fun rolls on.



Quilts & Quilts and more quilts

I'm so lucky to have a partner that's into quilting.  Okay, so he doesn't sew, but he is definitely part of my design process and he has a way of saying he likes something that makes me want to make it for him.

Yesterday, we drove to Branson.  Branson, MO is the Las Vegas of the Ozark Mountains; shows, museums, shopping...but spread out and not walkable.

We had never checked Branson out because we thought it was all shows and theme parks, but there was a commercial on TV the other night about the Butterfly Palace, a tropical rainforest you can walk through and see the butterflies and tropical reptiles and birds.  Syd did all the research and found out how much tickets were and where it was.  Well, dang, you gotta encourage that kind of grown up behavior, but the reviews Rob read said it was great for little kids, but adults soon felt trapped by bugs landing and crawling on them.  We had lunch and I saw a huge quilt store, so we dropped Sydney off at the Butterfly Palace and we went to the quilt store.  She had a ball and was supposed to leave me pictures when she went to the stable this morning and didn't, so I'll try to show them tomorrow. 


I know.  Looks like the world's largest ball of twine, right?  But, it's a project made of painted sticks and each stick has a message of hope painted on it.  It spins around and was very cool, so we had to have a picture.  There's lots of art around here, this being an artist community.

We stopped at a couple of thrift stores and bought a box full of useful junk, like knives for the cabin (can you believe there was only one knife???)  Anyway, I got a couple Better Homes and Gardens vintage books and a Singer Monogrammer and a box of attachments and other assorted $1 and $2 junk that I actually have a purpose for or have shopped for and not found at the right price.  Things I'd like to have, have a way of finding me. 

I almost bought a sewing machine, but was afraid Sydney would bust a gut, abusing me for how many I have...but it was $10...who can resist a $10 machine.  For that, I can use it as a lawn ornament if it won't work. 

But, this is where I got into trouble.


Huge, grocery store sized quilt shop.  And, the ladies that worked there were so nice and so fun and wanted to see pictures of my work. 

I needed a blue marking pencil, which I found.  And, I found some tools I wanted and got to buy some different brands of machine and hand needles to try.  It will be nice to try some different brands that I can't get at home.  I wanted one piece of off white fabric to use in the Hawaiian quilt I'm considering, and I found one piece of sale fabric.  But, Rob saw this quilt and after I pulled out a tissue and wiped the drool off his chin, I bought the kit.  I haven't bought a kit in years, so even that was an adventure.  They didn't have one cut, so we waited while a lady cut me one.

100_6885 100_6881

The little sticker tags are where she wrote the fabric description to match what was on the pattern.  Men in quilt shops get the best service.

If I had brought a machine and rotary cutting supplies, I'd likely have started this already.  Best I didn't.

I also bought the pattern for this double card trick quilt made in a log cabin strip design, but don't tell the ladies I took a picture.  I found out later that I'm not supposed to, unless I buy all the fabrics to make the quilt, and I didn't buy a kit for this pattern.



I wanted to close with one of my favorite parts of the lodge.  This is in the main house and down this hall are individual rooms, most with attached sitting rooms (which were originally adjoining bedrooms that had doors added).  The innkeeper has decorated the lodge with family antiques.  This hallway is decorated with quilts made by her Aunt and she has added similar themed artwork for display.  Unfortunately, the hallway is so narrow, it's hard to get a picture.

The Dogwood quilt.


The Daffodil Quilt.


The Iris Quilt.


And, the Pond Mountain quilt, made by a friend of the innkeeper.


She appliqued the inn logo on the quilt.


Someone clearly likes applique.

Here's my project.


It's going very fast.  I quilt while we drive.  The scenery is beautiful, so I look up every time we crest a hill and whenever Rob says "Look at that!", which is pretty often.  I can stack a few stitches on the needle and then look around while I'm pulling it through.  Lovely small towns and stone houses and buildings.  We saw a house built into a hill yesterday.  That was cool.  Reminded me of a Hobbit house, except the front door wasn't round.

Today, we are going to walk through downtown Eureka Springs with Syd so she can shop and take pictures.  I told her I'd walk up and down those hilly streets until my knees gave out, however long that was, and then we were done.  It's hard walking, but it's fun and she'll have a blast.  She's already trying to arrange a savings withdrawal from the bank of Lane.  And, who knows, maybe I'll find something made by a local artist to bring home.

Have a great Wednesday.  Halfway through our vacation and still having fun.  Last night's dinner was scout dinners, which are stacked and wrapped in foil and grilled for about an hour and a half; layers of potato, carrot, cabbage, seasoned ground beef, and an onion slice.  Yum!  What I spent in the grocery will feed us 12 of our 18 vacation meals.  For the same price, we could have eaten three and a half meals in restaurants. Uggghhhh. 

I remain, the frugal vacationer, who would rather spend money on fabric.



First day, work day

I’ve come to think of the first day of vacation as a work day for me.  We go to the grocery, and we go to the Wal-Mart and then I come home and cook for the week.

Not so much fun.  But, after all that is done, I get to start enjoying the week. 

We rent a cabin, so we never know what is going to be in it.  That means a trip to Wal-Mart for cheap supplies.  And, we did fit in a couple stops at thrift shops and antique shops.

I got a barometer at the same shop I bought a barometer last year.  It’s Hansel and Gretl themed, with a house and a fireplace scene in the background, complete with black cat.  When the children come out, it’s going to be a pretty day and when the witch comes out, it’s going to rain.  I set it this morning, and within an hour, the old witch came out.  And, the weatherman on one of the three TV channels we get here said chances of rain were increasing throughout the day and throughout the week.  I will be perfectly happy sitting on the front porch of this cabin and quilting in the rain.  Yay, old witch!


I picked up a couple little things at the St. Vincent’s.  Some napkins made from a vintage fabric and then a couple little bits and pieces of fabric.  That yellow piece is likely going to be a future Hawaiian style quilt.  I was going to buy a pattern, but Pam reminded me yesterday that Hawaiian quilters draw their own patterns, so I’ve been thinking of something with the themes out of my yard; a daylily and some aspidistra.  I don’t know, we’ll see if I can actually draw it out, but it’s definitely a thought. 


One of the things I enjoy is cooking.  I especially enjoy making a great meal out of what I can pull together at the cabin.  Groceries here are sky high, so I bring what I can and focus on perishables here.  Last night, we had grilled chicken and home made potato salad and baked beans and coleslaw, with leftover cabbage and carrots from the Scout Dinners that are cooked and waiting in the fridge.  For dessert, fresh baked (from frozen) peach pie and ice cream.  This morning’s pancake breakfast didn’t work well.  My tools and the cheap pancake mix did not go together.  So, I scrapped that and made toast to go with the eggs and potatoes and bacon.  “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. 

Syd is at the stable, preparing horses for the day’s ride.  And, this is my time.  Time to blog and quilt and enjoy the scenery.  Later, it will be time to go do something.  But for now, I just get to sit back and enjoy the “nothing going on” time that makes vacation for me.  Rob and I have made the perfect plan for today's adventure.  We're going Northeast.  That's all we know.  If we get to Branson, MO, we'll turn around and come back on another road.  Some people wait for vacation to come to them.  Other people go out and get it.

There are people in the cabins and at the lodge now.  There are teen girls.  Uh-oh.

Okay, so that’s it for today.  Vacation is freedom from making decisions. 



A great day to drive

Yesterday was a wonderful day to drive.  And, drive, we did.  After the 9th hour, I was pretty tired of being in the truck, but as soon as we parked at the lodge and the innkeeper came out to greet us and give us each a hug, my mood turned right around. 

Skies were overcast, which is the perfect driving weather.  No rain, but partly cloudy skies.


The sky cleared as we drove into the mountains.


That’s another good omen for a vacation, right?



And, then, we got to our little red cabin in the woods. 


We went to our traditional first night dinner at a restaurant called Myrtie Mae’s, where the specialty is “fried”.  I had baked chicken, but it wasn’t any better for me than the fried chicken would have been.  The unlimited salad bar is always welcome and I made a pig of myself. 


Our drive was quiet.  Syd played games on the tablet and Rob played music and drove and I worked on this.  We were each in our own little world, but packed into a small space. 


I bought this kit last year, when we were here, so it was the perfect vacation project for this year.  It was basted when we left, and I did all the applique in the truck.  Now, I’m quilting.  I’ve been kind of disappointed in the kit I bought.  But, the point of this was to see if I enjoyed Hawaiian Style quilting and I do.  I especially love the whole cloth applique, where you’re not appliqueing a million little different colored pieces.  This was just load the needle with thread and go. 

The kit was designed to result in a small pillow.  I cut a new background fabric, because the solid white felt flat and cut it larger than the back and batting.  Now, I wish I’d cut new back and batting to that same size.  And, the batting was super high loft, so I pulled it apart into two pieces half as thick and am using one.  But, it’s all good.  The die-cut applique piece was kind of wonky too, so I definitely plan to cut my own next time.  Something larger.  And, I want to do a buttery yellow on off-white.  Maybe something with a bigger leaf.  I’ll get back into the store that I bought this from later this week and will try to find a pattern.  He has a huge selection of Hawaiian Style patterns and lots of solids and Asian prints.  Definitely the place I want to buy my supplies for this type quilt from. 

So, that’s our first day.  We plan to go to the grocery this morning and then we need to head to Wal-Mart to pick up some things we didn’t bring.  And, we will be antiquing.  So, dealers, put out your best reduced price signs because we are on our way. 

Just found out we are the only people at the lodge right now, so pack your overnight bag and come join us.  We have the run of the place.  There are two more cabins (not as cute as ours) and two guest houses and the rooms in the lodge are all empty.  It was a big biker weekend around here and there were no empty rooms, and I bet it doesn’t stay empty long.

Everybody have a great Monday.  Lane


Thanks, Mr UPS man

The tablet came last night.  And, everyone was so excited.  Sydney didn’t even know what I’d bought, but she could feel the excitement.  Before I even opened the box, I told her it was a tablet.

And, then she nearly ruined it for me.  “What?  Why does he get a tablet when I’m using dinosaurs?  He doesn’t even know how to use his iphone.”  Rob just shook his head.

I kept unpacking and she stomped off to the kitchen.  When I was done, I calmly followed her and closed her book with my hand and said “I make money.  I get to use my money to give myself presents once in a while.  Now that you have a job, you can buy yourself presents once in a while.  And, I give you plenty of stuff, so I don’t really want to hear that again.”  And, I walked off and that was it.  (Whoowhooooo.  no screaming, no yelling, no swearing…parenting at it’s best)  But, she hasn’t been excited again about it.  Maybe if I let her use it in the truck on Sunday while we are on the perpetual drive to Arkansas.

Maybe not.

Anyway, it’s a Microsoft Surface RT.  Not built to replace my laptop, and not intended to.  I spent all last night installing the software updates…even got up at 3 am and kicked off the next step before returning to bed.  Hopefully, now I can play with it.  I’ve installed my first app and my next steps are to work my way through the 93 page owner’s manual, one step at a time.  Because it sure would be nice to actually understand the electronic device instead of knowing just enough to do one or two things. 

Anyway, it’s tiny and it only weighs 3 lbs. 


I won’t be moving my life to it, but can’t wait to learn to blog on it. 

Everybody have a great Friday.  One more workday and one packing day and we’re off.



Time for something new

I admit it, I am about the most un-tech savvy person in the whole world.  I’m not ashamed of it.  I get stuff set up like I want it, and I want it to stay that way until I get ready for something else. 

But, the world doesn’t work that way.

Nor should it.

Recently, ATT/Yahoo made changes to their platforms.  I hate the changes.  Really.  It’s ruining my whole internet experience to use their software for email and for my homepage.  And, when I sent feedback, they responded and told me to stop complaining and start submitting valuable feedback.  I kid you not.  So, I’m looking around.  Right now, I’m testing Google.  Google and I have a similarly bad relationship, for a platform update they did not long ago, so they’re on probation.  And, if at any time I don’t like it, I’ll move on.

And, my laptop battery is shot.  How many people are going to have to tell me to unplug my laptop before I actually listen and learn.  It’s bad for the battery to leave the laptop plugged in all the time.  The battery needs to run down and recharge.

Obviously more people will have to say it than have said it already.

Without a battery, a laptop is only a bit more portable than a desktop.  That was creating a problem.  I love my laptop and don’t want to replace it.  My life is on it.  But, a battery is an expensive investment.  Especially with the portability of my iphone.  So, last night, I bought a tablet.  I’ve been studying them for over a year, knew what I wanted and when the salesmen tried to get me what I asked for, neither of them had it in stock.  Their loss.  Amazon to the rescue.  My new tablet will be here tonight and I’ll have more portability than my laptop provides with the convenience of a keyboard.

Probly would have been cheaper to try to find a keyboard for my iphone, but really, I can only move forward technologically so fast at one time or I’ll get overwhelmed and frustrated.  I’m not going there.  Buying a new electronic device should be a fun experience.  But, for me it’s stressful as all get out.  I can remember sitting and cussing and cussing and sitting and sitting and cussing when I was trying to set Sydney’s up a couple years ago.  That made me want to scream!  But, this time is for me and I have all of vacation to get used to it and am not going to let myself stress about it.  I want it to be fun, for the first time.  I’ve never had the luxury of having working devices that I could fall back on when I run into trouble setting a new device up and I’m hoping that will make all the difference..  I’ll be taking the laptop (with a cord), the tablet, and the iphone.  Just call me Johnny-tech-savvy. 

Now, this tech is much more my speed.


This is my Kenmore 117, aptly named Ken Moore.  Because he had to be.  I bought him the year before our first vacation to Arkansas from a guy that lived there, and negotiated with the seller that he keep the cabinet until we came and could pick it up.  So, he’s in his original cabinet. 

Ken and I had a huge fight the other night when we were trying to sew a binding to a quilt.  Oh, we argued and fussed.  We finally got the binding on, but not before we broke three needles. 

A couple days later, I figured out what was wrong.  When I started to tell Rob, who had heard all the fussing on Sunday, he asked if Ken was “set to stupid”.  And, I confessed that no, he wasn’t, but I was.  I opened Ken up to oil him on Sunday.  He’d been stored a while.  He doesn’t just have a cover on the left end, above the needle.  The whole end of the machine comes off, and I removed it and oiled all the moving parts.  And, somehow, when I was putting it back on, I managed to leave a screw loose.  Subsequently, the whole end of the machine was able to move just a fraction, so when the thread got in a bind, the end of the machine would tilt backward, without me noticing, and when the needle came down, it did not hit the hole. 

It’s very embarrassing to know that I was that upset at Ken when I was the real cause. 

Ughhh.  And, I’m going to put a new electronic in my hands.  Isn’t that just asking for trouble?

Everybody have a great Thursday.  We’re counting down the days to vacay.  Rob brought in the tubs for us to load our stuff into.  My clothes are ironed and I could be on the road tomorrow, if I needed to.  I really could.  Just somebody tempt me.  I can do it.



And, then nothing happened.

That was my yesterday.  Nothing much happened.  It was frustrating.

Sydney did good work.  She cleaned my sunroom and left it “sit-able”.  I know, it’s late in the year to be cleaning up from storing plants over the winter.  So.

But, it’s done now and I am looking forward to having time to sit out there.

She also cleaned one of the refrigerators…the soda fridge.  My parents and grandparents always had an extra fridge.  And, so do I.  It can’t be hereditary, but it sure is convenient.

Today, she’s cleaning the main fridge, which will be much easier…I keep it better than the extra.  And, she’s dusting and getting ready to bake cookies to take on vacation. 

This seems to be working out.  She’s doing good work (that I don’t want to do) and she’s making a little pocket money.  She baked bread on Monday.  Who’da thunk it?

And, I’m sitting back, ticking off a list of things I’ve been needing to do for a while. 

Yay, me!

Everybody have a great day.  Today’s new daylily is Charlene’s Patio.


The picture doesn’t do them justice.  They’re very red.  And, white shasta daisies in the background.

I love my garden. 



Where did that day go?

Yesterday just flew by.  I was ahead of schedule, then behind, then ahead again, and then the day was over and I was wondering how I spent it.

Last night was Guild Board Meeting.  Working with the board is truly different than I expected.  I thought it would be like one of the meetings at work, where everyone is required to be polite and professional.

The board I observed is the outgoing board, not the board I will be serving on, so I did not feel free to say anything.  But, I would not want to be the one that speaks to me like I heard them speak to one another last night.  Fortunately, as secretary, I won’t likely be involved in controversy. 

Anyway, the only quilting stuff that happened was some binding got sewn on by hand.  But, there is something new in the garden.


This daylily is called Majestic Pink.

And, I realized this morning that I’ve never shown my gnome garden that I started this year.


I’ve had the gnomes for years and they’ve hung in my kitchen windowsill on flower pots.  But, now they have their own little place to look like they’re busy.  Mistakes were made and this is not the final form that it will take.  But, for a first try, it looks pretty cool.  Some things didn’t like the new arrangement and promptly died and I’m not buying any plants until after vacation.  I stress about how my plants are surviving for the week without me and I don’t need more of that. 

Sydney started her job yesterday.  She’s working for me, doing all the things I don’t want to do around the place.  I leave her a list in the morning and she knocks it out during the day.  She starts by cooking me breakfast and cleaning up after that.  This morning, she overslept, but when I woke her, she jumped right to it.

She handed me her time card last night where she kept up with when she started and stopped each task.  I said I didn’t need that much detail, just a total of the hours, but she said this was the only way she could do it, so that’s fine.  The work isn’t hard, and I’m building up to harder and more complex tasks as I figure out what she’s capable of doing and understands.  And, at the same time, I hope I’m being professional enough and teaching her what it is to be responsible and earn money. 

I keep telling myself, be a good boss.  My first boss was kind of belittling and I definitely want to avoid that. 

Everybody have a great day.  It’s Tuesday.  Just a few days til vacation.  The house sitter is excited.  She will close her apartment and move into our little house for the week.  She really looks forward to that and thinks of it as a bit of a vacation, too.



Out of the ballpark

You guys know that I do not mind singing my own song, right?  Telling you about how proud I am of some accomplishment?

My friend LD asked me to finish a quilt for her.  She was working in a craft shop in the early 90’s and the owner decided to change to a quilt shop, so she made everyone learn to quilt.  LD stuck around long enough to get some really good bargains on needlepoint supplies and decided she didn’t care for quilting. 


Which is a shame, because her hand stitches are phenomenal!  It was hard to imitate the precisely spaced hand quilting stitches. 

I quilted in the blocks, following the piecing and using the templates she had with the quilt. 

I tried to applique some pink on the lower right, but ended up removing and re-cutting and hand piecing the block.


And, then putting it back in…not a trick for the impatient!


And, then, it was finished and washed, and I pinned it to the floor to dry.  





It was a fun little project.  Now, when I decide I want to hand quilt something for myself, why do I only pick queen sized projects?  This was really easy to knock out, in almost exactly a month.  Of course, it was already pieced and a good part of the border quilting had been done. 

I also got started on my project for vacation.  I’m doing that Hawaiian quilt I bought the kit for last year on vacation.  No need to rush on anything, right?  Anyway, it’s “pre-basted”, which was enough to get all the pins out for travel.  Next, it will get basted, and then appliqued.  That’s a project for the drive into the mountains.

And, the binding is on my red/white/blue quilt and I’m hand sewing that down. 

I muslin-ed the union suit that I showed last week.  I tried to use a light weight cotton sheeting, but it was pretty dry-rotted and as I was assembling, it split from the crotch as I tried to ease two seams together.  So, I picked a newer sheet and tried again.  I fitted the muslin to him, and then I added some pieces to the side seams…for me :-(  and I’ve cut the pattern from tissue and used that to cut Rob’s suit.  It’s actually more comfortable than I thought it would be.  We won’t be wearing them every day, so I’m not that worried about the backside, but it does give me a new appreciation for what people had to put up with before elastic. 

Everybody have a great day.  It’s Monday.  Countdown to vacation.  I’ve started putting food away and making lists of things that need to go.  I can hardly wait. 



Oops! You missed it.

I wrote the most wonderful blog post yesterday.  It was a long one and all about me and what I accepted about myself while I was at my conference this week, especially stuff about me being burned out and needing an attitude shift at work and about feeling more self confident and willing to put “me” into the things I do.  Unfortunately, just as I was finishing, my laptop battery wend dead and without a warning, it was all lost.  All I could do was close the laptop and walk away, thinking about the things I was  not saying and doing.

Last night, I got a wakeup call because I let that self confidence come across as aggression, so I’m feeling a bit more tempered this morning.  A bit more willing to accept that some times, you need to think about what the other person is feeling.  Anyway, it happens sometimes that I need to see both the good and the bad of a new feeling to figure out how I should act. 

The trip was good.  Most of the conference was the same old, same old.  But, there were some great moments that I really enjoyed (okay, so secretly, the best moment was watching two of the most masculine men I know walk up to one another and do that handshake, shoulder crash, single pat on the back thing that really masculine men do with one another when they say hello…whooooeeee!)

Another great moment was in the Atlanta Airport on the way home and finding a restaurant called Paschal’s that sold soul food…okay, so soul food gets it’s name because it is food that is good for the soul and those black eyed peas and candied yams and mac and cheese and fried okra did wonders for my tired soul that night.  I asked the server if the cornbread was sweet cornbread or real cornbread and she looked me straight in the eye and smiled…she knew what I meant…and she said, “it’s not sweet.  It’s just like the cornbread my Mama used to make.”  We definitely shared a moment there. 

But, as all conferences go, that one went. 

I came home and couldn’t wait to sit down at the silk quilt and express myself with thread. 


I did the same this morning, but I had a bobbin tension problem and all today’s work had to be picked out.  Dooo-dooo.

The yard was smiling for me.




And, I came home to squishy mail.  Dang Peter.  It’s his fault.  He bought a union suit and when I saw it, I thought, hey, I might be able to rock that.  So, I went in search of a pattern. 


I paid more for this pattern than I’ve ever paid for a vintage pattern before.  When I showed the picture to Rob, he was quite confused about why I’d want it…and then I saw it dawn on him that he might rock this garment, too.

I agreed.  Not for every day.  But for once in a while.

Everybody have a great Friday.  Work is ever so busy as I try to catch up from my days away.  That’s the trouble with travel.  It’s all waiting for you when you get back.



A weekend of quilting

Saturday, Sydney’s choir went to a local retirement home to sing and visit and after that, they took a bus/boat tour of the lake downtown. 


For the singing part, they needed to dress casual/nice.  She pulled it off and even got to wear a pair of summer heels.  First time.  She’s growing up.  It’s so fun to watch.

I spent several hours marking and then quilting on the silk quilt.  That’s definitely one that has to wait for inspiration, but when I get it, it comes all in a rush. 

You might have to click this picture to see where I added the feathers above and below the oval with the picture of the house in it. 


Here’s a close up, including some of the background work.


And, Barbara Brackman released the next Civil War quilt block.  This one was hard. 


It’s the one on bottom.  It has a lot of set in triangles and I haven’t done much of that.  But, once I remembered to mark everything with a ruler and then sew along the marked lines and drop pins in to match the points, it got better and went faster. 

I need to start piecing my sashing so I can be ready.  She offered a really complex pieced sashing that I’m thinking of using to join the blocks.  It would be nice if it was done when the blocks are. 

And, I spent some relaxing time in the garden.


This is a really cool triangular shaped bud on a daylily.  This is the second one of these that’s opened.  This one might be called Alabama. 


These next two are orange, but different.

100_6831 100_6832

The top one might be Yabba Dabba Doo and the other is a common orange called Ditch Orange.

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Tomorrow, it’s off to Cleveland.

Be well.  Lane