Waiting and waiting

I’m not a good waiter…as in, I don’t wait well.  I get anxious.  And, that’s never good.

Today, Nirti has an appointment with the vet.  We had to carefully time her insulin today, so he can check her blood sugar.  She’s putting on weight and her backend is stronger.  These are all good things.  And, her eyes are doing better.  So, everything is positive. 

The only problem we’re having is food.  The two cats get different prescription diets.  And, of course, the prescriptions are the exact opposite of one another.  I thought I could get my cat to be a diva, and refuse dry food, so I started feeding her 4 times a day.  But, she still goes after his food, which is down all the time.  We’ve tried scheduled feedings with him, but he has a way of finding the food and spreading it everywhere when he gets hungry, and my cat feels like it’s polite to help him clean up the mess by eating it.

But, we’ll get that worked out, too.  It doesn’t help that the two cats go to different veterinarians, so the food comes from different places and nobody wants to give up their concession to the competition.  But, that’s just an inconvenience.  We work through those all the time.

Friday is the Apple Core class.  I am excited, and apprehensive.  This will be my first time to go to the guild’s Gift of Quilting event, where guild members teach classes.  The prices are very low, and the event is an expression of gratitude for volunteering at the quilt show last year.  Volunteers got to sign up first, then other members who didn’t volunteer, then non-members were invited to participate.  When they found out I was teaching the class to my bee as a practice run, the committee was worried that my class wouldn’t fill up for the actual event.  The normal class size is 8.  I have 13 registered.  So, with the dozen or so that were at my bee, and the 13 registered for this event, that’s a pretty good group of folks to have taught this method to.  I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see a quilt made out of the block I drafted in the next show…okay, maybe that’s a bit ambitious.

I finalized my fabric selections for the Apple Core and refuse to keep thinking about it. 


Honestly, I don’t use many pastels, or florals, or cutesy little puppy/kitten prints.  So, a class project seemed PERFECT to move these repros on.  But, look at what I selected…barely a pastel, only one large floral and no puppy or kitten prints at all, though there is a yellow chick on the dark red fabric.  (I think that fabric is my narrow inner border before the floral.)  As I dug through the stash, I could tell the ones I bought from the ones I inherited, or bought in larger bundles. 

This week, I did something I’ve never done before.  I pre-ordered a new computer.  I’ve always been of the opinion that I should wait and let the rush be over, and then I’ll see a lower price.  But, this time, I decided not to wait.  I bought a surface RT not too long ago, and I love it.  I only found a couple of things it wouldn’t do.  So, when I heard about the Surface 3, I began patiently waiting.  And, when I saw the commercial that we could pre-order for shipment on or before May 5, I did it.  Rob and I tend to use our laptops until they get out of date and hard to use.  And, my current laptop is just that.  Rather than buy a new laptop, I’m going with the tablet that theoretically can replace a laptop. 

And, while it’s still returnable, I’ll try those couple of things that the old one wouldn’t do.  If the new one will, then I think we’re going to get along very well.

But, I’m waiting…and waiting…and waiting. 

It’s good to anticipate. 

Anticipation.  Anticipay-ay-tion, it’s making me wait.  It’s keeping me way-ay-ay-ay-aiting.

There should be a little Carly Simon in every day. 

See ya’.  Lane


Weekend classes

I am both taking a class and teaching a class this weekend. 

On Friday night, I’m taking a class called “Eve’s Delight” by Martha Thompson.  Yes, that Martha Thompson, who wrote Square Dance and Magical Hexagons, both of which I’ve made quilts from.


I love the concept of sewing fabric together, then cutting it apart again to make a different shape.  That’s the concept upon which a lot of my mini-piecing is built. 

I didn’t even know she was a member of our Guild.  I first saw Martha on Simply Quilts when these books came out.  Now, I’m going to get to take a class from her.  Whoo-ee!

I know there are a ton of quilts being made out there by newer designers.  You have to pick through them to figure out which ones are just cutting old patterns from new fabric, and which ones are actually blazing new trails and creating new concepts.  Martha’s concepts were, for me, new trails to take my piecing to a new level.

Eve’s Delight is the apple core pattern.  I’ve always wanted to make an apple core quilt, but I’ve never tried.  The curves are a bit daunting.  Hopefully, the three hour class will make me feel better about it, and who knows, there might be a very nice apple core quilt in my future. 


I had a really hard time picking fabrics for this.  I just wasn’t in the mood for anything, it seems.  So, I went to my 30’s reproductions and pulled fabrics from there.  But, they’re not turning me on.  So, later, I’ll be back at the drawing board.  I like the idea of piecing this quilt out of my small collection of repros.  I collected a lot, but I’ve kind of grown bored with them over time.  So, what better way to move them on than in a class?

I only need five fat quarters, and there’s way more than that here.  I wanted to have my basic fabrics, that go with the pink/green/yellow floral on top.  I’ll use that floral as a border.  I want to take lots of small pieces of fabric so that I can choose what I want to work with, after I’ve seen the class sample again, and based on what my mood is that day.  Don’t you just hate to get to class with a bundle of fabrics that you were excited about when you picked them, but on the day of the class don’t excite?

If I don’t do something about it now, I’ll be in the floor on Friday afternoon, trying to choose again.  And, I am not going to have time for that.

On Saturday, I’m teaching freezer paper piecing as a full day class.  I’m so glad I got to practice that class.  I am not at all worried about this weekend. 

Course, when I don’t worry, that’s usually when I have a disaster, so this whole thing can still go either way.

But, if my main goal is to have fun, and teach something I know very well, then I don’t think it can help but be a fun day.

Everybody have a great Wednesday.  The week is flying by.  So much to do, so much to do, so much to do.  I’m loving it.  I’m taking up space.  And, being an active participant in my life. 

Some of it is fun and easy.  Some is hard and painful. 

But, I find myself waking with a smile on my face more than I did last year.  That’s gotta say something, right?



Happy Birthday, Rob!!

It’s not another year older.  It’s another year of fun with me and Sydney. 

Yeah, that’s how we want you to think of it.  Just like that.

Remember this one?  Our surprise to see her on stage?


How about this one?  The day we all got new boots.

May your loved ones give you just enough ribbing to know how much they love you.  And, may your enemies take a break for the day.

Love you.  I am so glad to be celebrating with you.

Lane and Sydney

And, Mable, Bella, Sugarfoot and Nirti…

And, the fish.


Back to the sewing machines

Okay, so maybe I could have spent more family time over the weekend.  But, really, I just needed to re-charge and the best place for me to do that is at the sewing machine. 

On Saturday, we kitted up blocks for the raffle quilt.  It’s always nice to be around the group, all working as hard as we can to pull off a wonderful quilt.  And, it’s really shaping up.

I took this block center, but no star points.  The idea is for me to take the star points assembled by another guild member and use this center to put the block together. 


I think the co-chair handed it to me as a joke, but it was assembled by bedtime.  It was a good way to work out some frustrations. 

The center looks wonky.  I had to sew the final seam by hand to get the points to meet, and while they don’t look like they do in this photo, they really do.  There are 16 pieces of fabric coming together, each doubled for a seam allowance, so 32 layers.  Yowza.  My sewing machine looked up at me and laughed.  It would sew them, but only if it could disregard the points.  A good old hand needle and thimble did the rest.

I also wanted to get to one of my own feathered stars. 

This is the February block.  In Feb, I was working on my Stargazer quilt.  So, what better fabrics to use than the fabrics from Stargazer.


Okay, so maybe it didn’t come out exactly like I thought it would, but it’s still exactly what I designed.

That makes the first three month blocks.


January, on the left, I shopped at my LQS with a giftcard from my boss.  February, I already explained.  March was fabrics picked up at a quilt show.  And, the April fabrics from my trip to Indiana are washed and pressed and ready to cut. 

I’m going to lay it out like a calendar, and at the bottom, I think I’m going to applique 2015 in some nice script like you’d have seen on an old kitchen towel calendar.  At least that’s the idea that’s percolating right now.

And, a shot from the garden.  I spent as much time as I could out there this weekend.

There’s been plenty of deadheading to do and a crop of little trees.  But, I loved the way all these textures in this picture are playing against one another.  Large, small, pointy, round, purple, green, and a tree limb.  Sydney would call that a good combination.

We’ve had storms.  Lots of rain, which is always welcome and wonderful.  But, last night, the power went out and it was out about half the night.  Just as I struck flame to candle this morning, the lights came on…it was like something out of a movie, it was so coincidental.

A couple weeks ago, I got stopped by someone that reads my blog who said they didn’t know what I believe in except gay rights.  That surprised me as much as it made me feel one sided.  And, it got me thinking about exactly what it is that I believe in.  I mean, I’m very involved in what’s going on and keep up with the news and vote my conscience, but what does it all mean to me?  And, I pulled lots of things together that I believe in.  As I thought about each thing, I realized that they all rise up into something bigger.  And, then those ideas condensed into something even bigger.  And, I was finally able to summarize it all into one statement. 

It’s not a right.  It’s not a responsibility.  I have an obligation to make the world a better place in every way that I can; for those less fortunate, for those that will lead later, for everyone that needs a helping hand.  I’m obligated by the fact that we live a good life.  I’m not obligated to move mountains.  I can’t solve poverty or hunger.  But, like the starfish thrower, “I can help that one”.

And, I try to do exactly that. 

But, sometimes, its so overwhelming.

Everybody have a great Monday.  I get quite philosophical at the sewing machine.



Favorite stories

So, these are my favorite stories of the week.

I was last on the plane.  I only made it because 6 gates from my gate, a man heard them announce last call for the flight, and he started to run.  And, I ran behind him, like those people that pull out behind an ambulance when there’s heavy traffic, using the emergency vehicle sirens to clear the way. I ran behind him, and when we got to the gate, he wasn’t a confirmed seat, so even though he got me there just in the nick of time…and believe me, I would not have made it without him, he didn’t get onto the flight.  But, I did.  DFW had been closed for weather.  DFW should still have been closed for weather.  That was one of the scariest flights I’ve ever been on.

Thanks, man…I don’t know who you were.  But, thanks for getting me on my flight because there were 82 people on standby for that flight.  Seriously.  I rode the shuttle to my car with a bunch of them.

There was a bachelor party group on the plane from Dallas to Austin yesterday…they weren’t partying yet.  They had the center seats, lined up, one in front of the other, of four rows, including mine.  They were all VERY young (and VERY attractive…ever notice how those guys travel in packs?)  Anyway, the guy next to me was so friendly.  As I stumbled onto the plane, sweat pouring off me, I got to my row, smiled, and pointed and  mouthed “that’s me”…a window seat.  As the two men got up, I fell into my seat, handkerchief in hand, wiping away…and the kid said “good to see you.  we didn’t think you were going to make it.”  And, I looked up for what should have been sarcasm, and it wasn’t.  He looked very genuine.  And, he was that way through the whole flight.  He pulled out a delicious smelling blueberry muffin and I commented that it smelled good and he said, “yeah, I didn’t get lunch.  Would you like some?”  Thanks, guy.  But, no.  I had a good lunch.  And, it was that way, off and on, through the whole flight.  When the plane dropped a couple hundred feet and threw everyone to the right, I fell into him, just like he fell into the guy on his right.  And, then we looked at one another, wide eyed, for long enough that we realized it was uncomfortable, and then we both looked down.  But, I could tell he was as scared as I was.  And, when the flight was over, he said “exciting trip” and I laughed and couldn’t say anything back.  And, then he said “it was nice flying with you.” 

Honestly people.  I wanna meet this kid’s parents.  They definitely got it right.  I wanna take pointers from them. 


What draws the elderly to casinos?  I have never seen so many people over the age of 80 at one place in my life.  The restaurant we met at was open to a hall that connected two gaming rooms.  (not a good idea if you’re ever scheduling a presentation.)  As I was listening to our presentation for about the 3rd time, I noticed two ladies going by and one of them had her knee go out on her and she stumbled to the wall to keep from falling.  Instinctively (plus a little I don’t need the EMT’s outside my presentation room thrown in for good measure), I walked out and asked “would you like to hold onto my arm while we get you where you’re going?”  She said I didn’t have to help and I replied that my Mama would be very proud.  So, she took my arm and we walked a bit, chatting.  And, her friend turned and said “that’s the neatest way I’ve ever seen to pick up a man, having your knee go out.” and we all had a good laugh.  And, when we got to the gaming room, it was closed, so we had to turn around and head back, twice as far as we’d already gone, and that was just the beginning of their trek to their rooms.  They had twice as far as that to go.  She was very nice and we walked very slowly and we had a nice chat and when we got to the end of the hall, her friend said they needed to sit, so I got her settled and told them good-bye and went back to my presentation. 

Five minutes in time that I’ll never be prouder of.  And, so will my Mom.


I have never smiled so much in my life. Smiling was one of the things I was there to do.  But, because I never knew whether I was smiling at someone coming to our presentation or not, I had to smile at everybody. Have you ever noticed how people smile back?  I’m loving this whole smile thing.

Y’all take care.  Have a great Saturday.  I’m off to a raffle quilt meeting.  We’re going to cut the fabrics for the kits for the quilt. 



High praise

well, the country boy is headed home.

I got my first good nights sleep since I got here last night. The only thing I did different was that I pulled the down comforter off the bed and pulled the blanket out of the closet. But I didn't wake in a puddle of my own sweat, so it worked.

We had our last meeting. It went just as well as the others. And, when I was leaving, everyone thanked me for all the help. What they saw as exceptional was just my normal. My boss went so far as to tell her boss, in front of me, that whenever she needed something, she would look around to see where it was and I'd be there handing it to her, anticipating her needs. We even developed some hand and eye signals...our own private language.

I had fun. My butt is dragging on the ground behind me I'm so tired. I won't be surprised if I fall asleep on the plane, which I almost never do.

It will be nice to sleep n my own bed, with my very own bed partners, both the human and the furry.

Everybody have a great Friday. If you see my plane overhead at 35000 feet, be sure to wave. I have a window seat.



Who is that man?

I got a real good look at him in the mirror at the zoo yesterday.  He looked tired and he's getting old.  But, there was something else about him that caught my eye.  A proud, self-satisfied look.  The look of a man that is doing things he's not sure he can do, and doing them well.  And, while he complains to his friends, his co-workers have no idea how hard all this is for him. 

Yesterday, he stood in the cold wind for hours, with a smile on his face and a joyful welcome for all those that needed to see him to register for the event. 

His fingers were cold and he kept blowing into his hands.  And, he kept turning his back to the wind... and his favorite line of the day was "The weather ain't like this in Texas, y'all.". That got a good laugh every time. 

He's closer to one of his co-workers than the others.  They're about the same age, and they always have something to talk about.  Maybe it's work sometimes, but mostly, it's personal stuff that they enjoy hearing from one another.  It's rare that you find two people who are incredibly different and yet, when they talk about themselves, it's interesting to the other person.  So, they talked and talked all day, sometimes complaining about how cold their hands were and sometimes how bad their feet hurt from being on them all day.  But, mostly about their families and relationships and homes. 

And, when that day was over, he made the three hour drive to the next city, listening to a book about quilting... incidentally, am I the last person to read Marie Bostwick?  Loving her Threads series. 

When he drove up to the casino, he was intimidated.  Having heard a lot about casinos, and this being his first one, he wasn't so sure what to expect from the huge flashy building.  And, once inside and checked in, and walking around, he found he wasn't intimidating, he just wasn't all that interested.  Instead, he sat alone in his room, watching a movie, and getting some much needed rest and time to re-charge. 

Yesterday, he was exhausted and wondered if he'd made a mistake.  Could he keep up with the pace?  Very few of his co-workers that are attending these meetings are attending all of them.  Somehow, he managed to sign up for the full week experience.  But, today, he's feeling like he can conquer the world again.  Ready to face the masses.  But, maybe not ready for the rude lady that he ordered room service breakfast from. 

Okay, so two more days and I will be home.  And, boy, am I looking forward to it. 

There's something about me that needs to see the negative in each experience before I can see the positive.  I don't know what it is.  I don't know why it is.  I can tell I'm doing it when I get feedback, from you guys and from Rob...y'all know me best.  And, while it sometimes hurts a little bit, that whole pull up your big boy boxers and get on with it advice does help... after I've had a few minutes to decide it was meant in kindness.  And, it was meant as encouragement.  And, it is encouraging. 

My negativity and fear used to stop me from doing things, and now, not so much.  Now, I can work through that negativity, try to express it in small amounts, and move forward.  That's so much better.  I can remember days when I was so depressed and afraid that I couldn't get up and go out.  Not even to work.  Now, not so much.  I can't remember the last time I couldn't get out of bed to go to work. 

That's all improvement.  So, when I say that I am surprised by the confident man that I see in the mirror, it's true.  Nobody can be more surprised than me, because nobody else knows what's going on behind that face.  That smile. 

Yesterday, the lady I was working with and I were talking about the project that burned me out at work.  And, I told her about how long that lasted and about sitting at my desk, just being angry for a couple years.  But, then I told her about getting my new boss and deciding to give myself a new opportunity for a fresh start.  Leave all that anger and hurt that I felt about that older project behind and begin again.  And, I told her how nice that was.  And, how nice it was that I didn't have to look for a new job to get it.  I doubt many people get an opportunity to make themselves over at work without getting a new job. But, I got that chance and I took it.  And, while I'm not perfect... take Tuesday's post as an example... I'm doing better.  Much better. 

A therapist once asked if I was good, or good enough?  I said I was good, but I'd never be good enough.  Now, that's changed.  I am certainly good enough.

It's too hard to be perfect.  I'm going to settle for being better. 

And, yesterday, in that mirror in a Men's room at the Indianapolis zoo, I saw what better looks like.  Maybe not in the wrinkles on my face.  But, in the confidence in my eyes. 

Have a good Thursday.  I'm off duty until mid-morning.  Someday, maybe I'll tell the story about taking the air conditioner in my room apart and fixing that rattling sound.  Believe me, it was easier than making them give me another room and I'm certain the next guest in this room will appreciate it.

And, there is my fun fact for the day's meetings.

See ya'.  Lane 


The broken hearted

Last night, I sat and listened to my daughter cry on the phone about a boy for almost an hour.  I didn't understand most of what she was saying, but it wasn't important.  My job was to listen, not to understand. 

There's a boy.  And, she has a lot in common with said boy and they are really good friends.  The boy graduates in a month and has big plans to get away; go to some other city for college and leave Austin and his parents behind.  (I knew most of this already).  And, because of that, Sydney isn't interested in being more than friends. 

There's another boy that's gay and likes the first boy.  But, the first boy isn't gay.  The second boy is jealous of how close Syd and boy one are, and like a bitchy queen, he's tearing Syd down to try to get her out of the picture, even though boy one already told boy two he's not gay and not interested.  (thankfully I knew some of this subplot, too.).

They all have a class together, and it's gotten so bad that boy two has made stuff up and told the teacher.  The class was supposed to be a communication class.  That's what we signed Syd up for, but it turned out to be more of a free-form poetry class where they shared lots of emotional stuff, so boy two has lots of hurtful ammunition.  So, a class that Sydney was doing so well in, now she just wants to hide in the corner in the back of the room and not participate. 

I know my girl.  I know she is not guilt free in this situation.  She didn't tell me any of her part, but she has kind of a smart mouth and can lash out like nobody's business. 

But, if you remember back to being a teenager, that doesn't stop it from hurting.

So, I'm sitting there, on the phone with her, listening, and the only message that I can deliver is the message we normally deliver to gay kids, but it's not just a gay lesson.  "It gets better, I promise". 

Yeah, I said it about 53 different ways.  I was very creative that way.  You're between being a child and an adult and the lessons you're learning now will keep you from making those same mistakes as an adult.  Adulthood lasts a lot longer than childhood, so be glad you're learning these lessons now while you still live at home with people that care about you.  At least two old men think you're very special and soon, lots of boys are going to know it, too.  You're about to head out into the world with a job and college and you're going to meet a whole new set of boys; boys that will be the same, but also boys that will be different.  Boys with different priorities.  Boys who have already learned the lessons you're learning now. 

Whatever I could think to say that would be encouraging. 

Sydney doesn't usually talk to me this way.  It was easier to talk to me over the phone than face to face.  I wonder if she'd talk to me if we were both at home, but talking on the phone. 

I was torn between wanting to hug her, and being proud that she would talk to me.  That's work I've done.  Years worth of work.  Paying off.

And, that makes me a proud dad. 

Things in Indiana are a little different.  It got better when I got around my team and we could all talk about what was going on and I wasn't just a floating island out there on my own in a strange place that I was comfortable in.  But, this trip was still a mistake for me personally.  I'm the oldest one and there is too much going on for me.  It's only Wednesday, and I'm exhausted.  One thing I know I'm giving up is team dinners.  They can eat at 9pm, but if I do that, I don't sleep.  And, the rich food is really working a number on my insides.  For breakfast today, I'm planning plain eggs and toast, just to give my stomach a break.  And, tonight, I'll find something plain as well and eat it early and hopefully, I will get a better nights sleep than I did last night. 

The upside is that I can already tell I've lost some weight, and that's a good thing.  Except when I get home and start eating my own cooking again, I'll put it right back on.

Everybody have a great Wednesday.  At least I think it's Wednesday.  There is no time to sew or knit.  I almost wish I'd left those things at home because they are just clutter in the suitcase that I can't take anything out of because I'm not in one place long enough. 

And, the driving.  What lovely scenery I'm seeing in Indiana in the spring.  This must be what makes the winters worth it.  Tonight, after a full day of meetings, we have a three hour drive to the next city.  At least that's what the locals told me.  My phone says it's only an hour and 45 minutes.  Y'all, please hope that my phone is right.  I need all of us thinking clear traffic and an easy drive. 

And, I need a fun fact about myself that I can share with strangers and doesn't out me as gay.  See, that's the problem with having to share a fun fact about yourself.  Not everybody has one that they're comfortable sharing.  But, that doesn't stop the gregarious from putting us on the spot.  My theory is that if I wanted you to know, you'd know and I wouldn't be put on the spot trying to come up with something.

Headed to the shower to see if I can come up with a fun fact about me that is work related and not too private. 

See ya'.  Lane


A fun little quilt shop

Hi, all.  I'm in a resort town in Indiana.  I wish I could say more good things about it, but it's hard to stay in a hotel you can't afford to eat at.  There is no food that is within my per diem, so I've had to walk to town for my meals.  Not so bad.  Except it's really pissing me off because all the hotels we'll stay in this week are the same way.  Clearly, my company has lost all perspective when fancy meeting hotels are better than giving their employees a raise.  And, don't think I don't resent it.

But, nothing I can do about that. 

On the way here yesterday, I stopped in a very fun quilt shop in Louisville, KY.  When I was on my long layover in Dallas, I scoped out the quilt shops in the area, and while there were two on my route to Indiana, they were both closed on Monday.  But, I found a shop in Louisville that was very nice and not too far out of the way, and I decided to stop there.  I'd show you a picture, but Google sucks... well, Google sucks if you refuse to let them take over your life.  I'm sure if I'd just surrender to the corporate giant, things would go smoother.  But, forget that!

Life is more fun as a rebel.

The quilt shot was called Among Friends.  And, this morning, when I looked at the business card, I saw that it is owned by Jon Lehman.  I tried to check whether he is related to Libby, but couldn't find anything in a quick search. 

Anyway, it was a big shop in a strip center.  Tons of fabric to touch and lots of supplies and patterns.  Before I knew it, I'd spent more than I intended and had to unzip that extra pouch that allows my luggage to expand.  I might have to have my boss ship some clothes home to me.   Not my fabric.  I'll want that soon as I get home.  But, I could let her take a box of clothes home and ship them. 

If I gave the owner any feedback, it would be that there was too much MODA.  I mean, y'all, too much of it looked the same.  But, I still found things I liked... and only one came from MODA.

Anyway, all is well here.  I did a little quilting in the Dallas airport yesterday, working on that black pre-printed whole cloth.  I hope I didn't make a mistake using dark gray thread to quilt it.  But, I'm too far along to change that decision now.  I wanted to knit on the airplane, but I was in one of American's new planes, and literally, there was no room to knit, and if you're a knitter making socks, you know that doesn't take up much room.  The fat ass in front of me dropped his seat back and my tray table hit me in the chest, causing me to "Umph!" real loud.  He didn't care, so I spent the next two hours kicking the back of his seat in time to the music I was listening to.  Because of the changing beats, there was no predictability to my kicking, so I know I annoyed hell out of him until he sat back up.

(Insert victory lap here.)

And, if you're in front of me, and lean back, expect the same if we're on a plane with too many seats. 

And, the lack of room is just another reason I don't fly American unless forced to do so.  That, and they have really, incredibly bad customer service.

Corporate America seems to actually enjoy running off their business. 

And, I'm fine with that.  Shop local!  Shop small!

Everybody have a great day.  I know there's lots of negativity in this post.  You know I'm not normally like that.  But, I can't help it today.  Maybe things will get better.  And, if not, I'll be home at the end of the week.  Even if I have to walk there.

See ya'.  Have a great Tuesday.  Somebody tell me how much fun they're having at their sewing machine, please.  I already miss my machines.



Days to laugh

We certainly packed a lot into the weekend, especially considering I was packing for a trip.

I even finally gave myself a new suitcase, so now I have a bag for longer trips.  An in-between bag.  Bigger than my overnight bag that I can take on three day trips, but small enough that I don’t have to check it.  And, I have my huge bag that I could check, if I ever could afford to do that again.

Anyway, I made a block on Saturday before things got too wild. 


I wish my camera would do better with the reds.  It’s a fun block, very spring.  This will be the March block in my quilt.  And, hopefully, today, I’ll stop and get the fabrics for the April block.  They’ve got me so busy with meetings this week that there is no time to shop after today, and they’re after me to give up my car and ride with someone else, which is fine, except I’m actually okay with some alone time at the end of every day, while we drive to the next city.

We’ll see.  Tomorrow night is the longest drive and I am not looking forward to it.  But, it is what it is, right?

We are all well.  Life is good.  And, I’m off to experience the wonderful world of air travel, first hand.  Boy, do I miss the good old days, when you could relax and enjoy the travel.

See ya’



Precision piecing

I love precision piecing, no matter the size of the pieces.  I’m so glad I took Sally Collins’ class last year.  I know, it was a class to make an $80 pin cushion.  But, it was so much more than that.  It was matching points for life. 

So, what is the most important thing that I think I took from her class?


Let’s take this feathered star point, for example.  We’re going to look at two things, the red and white feathers and the white star point that they are attached to.


The feathers should finish at 3/4” each.  So, when I pieced the five feathers together, I made sure that the section measured 4 1/4” and if it didn’t, then I checked each square to see if it was 3/4” and where they weren’t, I corrected them.  Then, I measured the star point.  I measured 4 1/4” from the y seam and I knew that was how far the feathers could extend.  I pinned and made adjustments to make sure that the feathers were the right size and that, when attached to the next piece, they took up exactly as much space as they were supposed to. 

That was one of the main things that made this block easy to piece for me.  Because everything fit it’s spot, it all went together very nicely. 

I did not iron or press the block during construction.  I pressed the individual components, but once they were attached to the star, no more pressing.  Then, at the end, I laid the whole thing out and measured how big it should be, and I pressed the block into that size.  That forced any slight adjustments I’d made during construction to conform to the space they were allowed to occupy.

Okay, I know that’s unconventional.  And, I know lots of people wouldn’t approve.  But, it worked for me.

When the raffle quilt committee reached out the other night, it was about some lemoyne stars that need to be precision pieced.  This is the first border outside the triple feathered star.  I agreed.  It’s just 44 lemoyne stars that finish at 4” each. 

Easy-peasy.  I’ll do that instead of working on star blocks for the quilt.  We have several sew-in dates scheduled, so I’m not at all worried about being able to do it. 

I might have been more nervous about that, but I’m making 5” lemoyne stars for my own Feathered Star blocks, and I know how the block goes together…lots of partial seams and Y seams. 

Whoo-hoo…errrm, aren’t we supposede to hate those two things?

It’s all about careful marking. 

Keep your pencil handy.

Have a great Friday.  This afternoon, Nirti has a followup visit, so she’ll be mad at me for the next couple days.  Hopefully, she’ll get over it before I leave for IN. 

Rob’s been sick, Syd’s been sick, one dog was injured, one cat was sick.  Just call me Nurse Ratchet.



Loving what you look like

Hard one, huh?

Yep.  I need a headshot. 

So, in my family’s normal fashion, we all got involved. 

Rob was lighting, Sydney was photographer.  And, I tried to smile a natural smile, while at the same time, keep both eyes open.  It’s wonderful to have a support team.

When did I get these apple cheeks that close my eyes when I smile?  I kinda like ‘em.  Makes me look happy.  No wonder so many people smile back.  And, this isn’t even my big smile…the one that makes my eyes close.  My Dad’s eyes close when he laughs. 


This is for work, and for the blog, and for my teaching.  And, yes, I do see the shameless promotion of The Point is the Points in the background.  Shameless.  And, unashamed.

Some of the shots Syd took were all nose.  Not sure when my nose got so big.  But, I kinda don’t mind.  It’s a good nose, with plenty of room to breathe.  And, that’s what it’s all about, right?

And, my beard has gone grey.  When its trimmed close, you can barely see it.  So, last night was a great night for a picture.  I’ve been bald so long I never even thought about grey.

Anyway.  That’s me.  Pretty as a postcard.

Is it a bad thing if I still think I’ve got “it”? 

So, how about some garden pictures to let your eyes rest.  I was out in it yesterday afternoon, pulling weeds while the casserole baked, and just couldn’t resist some pictures.

Iris from the compost pile at the Boston Public Garden.  They were so prolific, people were throwing them away.  Rob and I cut the tops off all we could pack into a box and brought it home on the plane.  Oh, for the good old days of flying, when you could carry almost anything on.  That was many years ago, and for many years they did not bloom.  But, the last couple of years, they’ve made up for it.  I guess they had to acclimate…it is a long way from Boston to Austin.


These lilies are from the neighbor across the street.  We filled and keep her front flower bed maintained.  One of the few things in it when we started was these lilies, and I was lucky enough to “accidentally” dig one up one day, and it found its way into my bucket and now, it lives in my yard.  The neighbor would definitely call it a fair trade.


More Boston Iris.


Roses and Iris and Lilies, and sunshine.  What a way to wait for supper.


And, finally, I thought I’d show some pictures of other things I’ve used the tissue paper marking method on.  Remember, I said it was great for repeated patterns. 

The Point is the Points has 25 block centers.  I wanted the same design in each one.  I drew it out once, and then copied it to 25 squares of tissue and it came out great.


I used it for these feathers in A Place for Life to Happen.  I wanted the same feather on one side and reversed on the other.  And, I wanted the same thing at the top of the quilt.  I drew the design once and made four copies and used some of them right side up and others right side down and got these perfect mirror images.  (Yes, we did hang the quilt front side to the wall.  The quilt front is the same color as the wall, so to enjoy it, we need to look at it from the more vibrantly colored back.


And, here’s another look at the Baptist Fan progress on the Civil War Stars quilt.


Three sides down.  And, the last one is a short side.  I can smell the finish line.

Everybody have a great Thursday. 



My favorite quilt marking method

You all have seen plenty of my quilting.  I love to free hand, fmq. 

Speaking of, I’m going to link you to the blog …and sew on where she has a link to a really good video about the three things quilters should stop doing.  Okay, y’all.  Some of them are my big beliefs as well, like not focusing on the four square inches that are under the needle, and instead focusing on the whole quilt.

I think you’ll like the video by Angela Walters.  I’ve recently bought her book and really enjoy it and use it to help pick free hand patterns.  After you’ve watched the video, be sure to come back and see my marking technique for those quilts where free hand just won’t do.

I’m quilting my Civil War stars quilt. 


And, I’m out to the border.  Incidentally, if you missed Barbara Brackman’s post on Foulard prints, this is a foulard print.  I wanted to quilt Baptist Fans in the border, but I worried that I would not be exact enough to make me happy.  I wanted to mark the fans, but I didn’t want to take the time to mark them on the quilt.  So, I went to my favorite marking method for repeating patterns.  It’s much quicker than tracing a lot of repeats. 

I cut a strip of plain white paper that is as wide as the border, not including the seam allowance for the binding, and three feet long.  I used my compass to draw the outer arcs for the Baptist Fans. 


I reduced the distance of the compass by one inch for each repeat, and repeated the arcs to fill them in.


I cut regular gift wrap sheets of tissue paper into strips the width of the border, and stacked them up neatly (more neatly than this picture would imply) and pinned all the layers together to prevent shifting.  Then, with no thread in the machine, I “sewed” along all the lines letting the machine’s needle perforate all the layers of paper.  That gave me lots of “copies” of the pattern on paper that is easy to tear, but sturdy enough to stand up to me manhandling it under the sewing machine needle. 


I pinned the strip of tissue to the quilt, using straight pins…I’m not bothered if I get stuck, but if it’s a concern for you, you can use your basting safety pins.  And, I sew along all the dotted lines.  You don’t want to pin paper over the whole quilt.  It won’t stand up to that.  If you’re using full sheets of paper, I can successfully quilt that much space before the paper starts to disintegrate from all the twisting and turning.


Peel off the tissue paper and you have perfect Baptist Fans.


Okay, so you probably noticed that there was no measuring along the length of the quilt, and no estimate of the number of repeats along the border.  I am a true slacker.  To avoid that extra work, I started at both ends, and let the repeats end where they would in the middle.  On the long sides, they touch.  On the shorter sides, I’ll fill in.


I do believe in taking the easy route.

I pinned in the full length of one side of the border, working out where the patterns meet-up using the paper copies and cutting away any extra tissue so I got a good view of what I was quilting.  You don’t want your paper stacked up because you will invariably follow the line you don’t want to follow.  I started at one end and worked my way to the other.  You could stop in the middle, where the direction changes, if that directional change is challenging, and then start again at the other end.  I pinned a whole side down, quilted it, pulled the paper, then pinned down another side.

Don’t wait to pull your paper, unless you’re willing to pick it up off the floor.  As you continue to add pieces of paper, that original piece will shred, if left attached to the quilt, and the little bits will drop to the floor.  So, I quilt through whatever size sheet of tissue I’m using as a pattern, pull the tissue off, and then attach the next sheet of tissue.

Ask me how I learned that one.

Sydney had to be at school this morning at 7am, in a black evening dress.

Y’all, it’s like some kind of a movie.  Who goes around at 7am in an evening dress?

Choirs do.  And, they really all looked so nice, in the partial dark, ladies in gowns, gentlemen in tuxes. 

Too bad they’re all high school students in real life.

Have a great Tuesday.  Lane


Stars and Feathers

This year has definitely been feathered star focused.

On Saturday, I finished the guild’s star.


And, wonder of wonders, it came out the right size.

I’m taking it to the guild meeting to show the committee.

While I was finishing this star, I was also thinking about that project I described a few days ago, here, near the bottom of the post.  I have these little collections of four or five fat quarters that I’ve picked up here and there and I want to use them in a quilt that commemorates the year. 

I’m going to start with my own triple feathered star in the center.  And, around that, I want to put smaller feathered stars, made from my fabric collections.  Here is the first one.


I made it from a collection of fabrics I bought in January, with the gift certificate to my LQS that my boss gave me.

Loving that one.  And, the next set of fabrics is washed and ready.  I plan to use the same pattern for each block, and in each, use a set of fat quarters that I collected in a certain month of this year; 12 blocks around that triple star. 

Anyway, ambitious, I know.  But, it will give me an excuse to stop at a LQS while I’m on my business trip this month, right?  All I need is an excuse.

And, yesterday, I worked on Syd’s purse.  I think we were both surprised at the size.  She’s more of an overnight bag, used as a purse kind of girl.  But, this will be nice for when she just needs a little bit of stuff, and isn’t carrying books and pencils and calculators at school.  Just made the strap this morning, so it’s not attached yet, but that’s the last step.

100_8082 100_8086

It’s only about 10”x11”.  Just big enough for a tablet and a phone and a few personal items.  But, now that it’s made, I could absolutely make a bigger one.  The instructions were very complex.  But, I followed them, one step at a time, and they worked out okay.  However, there were a couple times I wasn’t sure this was going to work.

Everybody have a great Monday.  I’m working up a toturial on tissue paper marking for free motion quilting.  Tonight is guild and tomorrow night is board, so the family is feeding themselves.  I’ll miss them.  And, then next week, I’m out of town, so I’ll miss them again.

Oh, and Megan made me laugh on Friday.  “Sleep is for the weak!”  I was strong.  But, I did manage to get some sleep.  When I wasn’t tossing and turning and planning future quilts.  Some people count sheep.  I count quilt blocks.

See ya’.  Lane


Tantalizing Tomatoes

Well, the Tantalizing Tomatoes block from my “Simply Delicious” applique quilt is almost done.  Some of the pieces around the edge aren’t sewn completely down.  There is a border that gets added, and these pieces will be appliqued onto the border.  I applique almost all the pieces down, leaving those that overhang incomplete because my work tends to pull in the background fabric.  After most of the pieces are on, like this one, I can trim the block to the size I want, add the pieced border, and then finish the little bit of applique. 

I’d love to take credit for that revelation, but the designers at Piece o’ Cake thought of it for me and included it in the instructions.  And, it’s a good thing.


It’s hard to sit inside and sew when this is going on out in the yard.




Things are growing so fast.  I can hardly keep the garden weeded…and most of what I’m weeding out is volunteers in places I don’t want them.  There is a point where abundant becomes invasive.

The birds and the bugs and especially the chameleons are loving the garden.  There are a lot of aphids on the daylilies, but there are also a lot of ladybugs eating those aphids.  And, hopefully, ladybug tastes bad to the chameleons…or maybe the chameleons are pulling their weight and eating aphids, too.  But, I can hardly walk around out there without something jumping from leaf to leaf and giving me a start, usually about 6 inches from my face when I’m bent over in an unflattering position, pulling out a huge length of the root of something.

I don’t scream.


Who can resist a picture of cats on a quilt?  Nirti is feeling well enough to take up her traditional spots, otherwise known as “in the way”. 


This morning, she chirped at Rob, and last night, she lay on her back in my lap and let me give her a big belly rub, to the accompaniment of her big bass drum purr that can be heard from across the room.  Little cat.  Big noise.

Everybody have a great friday.  It’s supposed to rain all weekend, which is a mixed blessing…April showers and May flowers, you know.  It means I won’t get to do anything in the yard.  But, it just might mean I get a lot done in the studio.

I’d like to finish the triple feathered star and get that border on Stargazer and piece a little something for me, and start a purse for Syd…

who needs sleep?

See ya’ at the sewing machine.



Just a post to pass the time

Nothing important going on here.  It’s very important that it is not crazy around me all the time.  I need the slow times to rest and rejuvenate.  I didn’t appreciate how much I needed that when I was younger and would go-go-go until I dropped.  Now, I’m much more able to stop for a while and smell some roses, then step back into the fray of life.

Today, I wanted to show a few things I picked up at the quilt show a few weeks ago. 

I love old issues of QNM.  I should have made them a cash offer for the whole box of back issues that were for sale.  But, I contented myself with three, chosen at random from the box.


Syd is definitely a fabric purse girl and she found the pattern and a fat quarter that she wants as the color basis, so as soon as this triple feathered star is pieced, I plan on starting a purse for her.  It will be my first one.  Are you excited for me? 

I also bought this book.  I couldn’t resist the title.


It’s a pattern book for things made out of pearl cotton; knitted, crocheted, and tatted.  No, it’s not what you’d expect if you just saw the title.

I don’t know how much stuff I’ll actually make.

These intrigue me…


more than these.  (Nothing against the 40’s y’all, but ewwww!)


This knitting bag looked fun.


And, one of these would make a great rug in the 40’s diorama house.


Okay, yes, I would learn how to do this.  Maybe.  I don’t know.  It looks complicated.  We’ll see.  Just what I don’t need is another hobby.


On a side note, I am a messy sewist.  It’s a wonder I can find anything.  It’s just who I am.  I have a cluttered mind and a cluttered workspace.  Not just this one.  My office workspace is not much better, sadly.

But, underneath the clutter, I can guarantee you it is clean.


You just have to get past the clutter to find the clean.

Anybody wanna guess why there’s a compass on my workspace? 

I am not good at free hand quilting Baptist Fans.  So, I will be making a paper template to quilt through.  Anybody wanna know how I’m going to do that? 

I introduced the idea of quilting through a paper punched tissue paper template at my class last weekend.  I’m thinking there’s going to be a tutorial on my blog about how I do that. 

It’ll give me something to talk about.

Everybody have a great Thursday.  Nirti is slowly getting over being mad at me for taking her to the vet.  She voluntarily sat in my lap for the first time this morning.  And, Syd is feeling good enough to complain about the antibiotics. 

I’m so glad.

“I’m not a wabbit!  I’m tie-uhd”

See ya’ at the sewing machine.  Lane


Sick girls

Syd and I were supposed to go clothes shopping last Friday.  When she came to me and said she didn’t feel like it, I asked if I needed to call an ambulance. 

That’s an armageddon, end of the world, head to the bunker type warning.

And, we had to have a very frank and awkward conversation.  Incidentally, if anyone asks, it doesn’t take parents of different gender to raise a kid.  It takes parents that are willing to have awkward and uncomfortable conversations and I am proud to say that all the awkward and weird talks she and I had in the past have made it possible for us to talk in an honest, frank and mature way today.

A few minutes later, and she had a doctor’s appointment and a couple hours after that, she was on antibiotics and all was well with the world again.  Except she still didn’t feel like shopping. 

Hey, the doctor costs a heck of a lot less than the mall.  And, yes, I do realize that there’s something wrong with that.

Unfortunately, my other girl, my little cat Nirti, didn’t get so lucky.  She’s been getting sick, and each time, I’d give her a lot of protein rich food and she’d get better.  But, after a while, she’d get sick again.  So, it was time for some research, and then, the vet. 

I went into the room and said “I think my cat has diabetes.”  The doctor said, “it doesn’t sound like it.  We need to run several tests”.  And, dutifully, I said yes.  Several hundred dollars later (no, I’m not going to tell you how many…it’s embarassing) and he comes in and says “your cat has diabetes.”

Okay, so why did I have to pay for all those tests when I did the diagnosis? 

Not going there.  Just glad my cat is better.

So, now, she gets a drop of insanely expensive insulin by injection, twice a day.  And, no I wasn’t at all squeamish about giving the injections.  I just had the doc show me one time.  I was so blown away by the price, the injection was a piece of cake.

Anyway, we changed her diet permanently.  And, she’ll be on this insulin for a month, then we’ll assess whether she needs to stay on insulin or if we can control it with diet alone.  And, if she needs to stay on the insulin, we’ll go to a much more affordable brand.  But, this is supposed to be the best stuff for jump starting the pancreas and then discontinuing. 

So, that was all very stressful for me.  I know other people could have just taken all that in stride, but I can’t.  So, when the crises were over and my iphone went berserk, I turned into an angry, swearing fool.  Then, we went to Syd’s choir concert; dress rehearsal for the choir competition next week.  And, having to sit still, in the dark, and listen to beautiful music was calming and I was able to talk to Rob about what had really been bothering me.  And, it all got better after that. 

And, miraculously, overnight, the phone thing resolved itself.  I didn’t do anything that I know of.  But, it’s all good today, after a week of pissing me off.  It’s kind of a let down to have it resolve so suddenly.

But, a good kind of let down.

And, it gave me something innocuous to vent at yesterday, when I needed it real bad.

Everybody have a great Wednesday.  It’s cloudy outside, but for me, the sun is shining because I’ve taken care of business and problems are resolved and I am feeling pretty good about being me.

Now, where did I leave off on my real life?  It would be nice to pick it back up at that point.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t wait for you to get back to it.  It just keeps percolating along during every crisis, forcing us to join it where it is, not particularly where we’d like to step back into it. 

Did I miss anything?



Learning and teaching

I’m not sure what I did more of on Saturday, learning or teaching. 

My class handout is going through an overhaul based on participant feedback.  Lots of changes there.  Little things that I wouldn’t have considered, but having ten extra pair of eyes on it were definitely up for some improvement.  Even the font size, which I didn’t have any trouble with, but when it was printed and all those little numbers jammed together; yep, area for improvement.

Biggest faux pas of the day was when my machine wouldn’t work.  the first thing on the supply list was a working machine.  And, mine was the only one that didn’t work.  I only needed it for five minutes and it was just a mis-threading issue, but, I’ll certainly be more sure of that next time by sewing a practice bit before the whole class is watching.

I think everyone enjoyed themselves and I’ve seen some wonderful finished blocks.  I’m going to write for permission to show them on the blog.  There was lots of laughing and while there were lots of mistakes, there was lots of humor around those mistakes.  So, I’m feeling much more confident about teaching it and the good thing about teaching to my bee is that if they run into trouble, we get together regularly for me to answer questions.

After class, I sewed a bit to help me relax and unwind.  Then, we went to dinner with the neighbors.  That was nice.  We went to a local Cuban restaurant.  Their in-laws were in town and we had a quilt for them to take back to Canada.  Mr M does wonderful chain saw wood carvings and we have a couple of his pieces.  Now, they ahve one of our quitls. 

And, Sunday was Easter.  No matter how far I get from my religious holiday roots, Easter still reminds me of the old hymns in church.  And, I spent a lot of the weekend with them rolling through my head, and while Syd and I cooked yesterday, I did sing my way through quite a few of the remembered words and melodies.  We had deviled eggs because that is the ultimate justaposition of ideas, right?  A holy day and deviled eggs?  Sydney baked a ham and made a strawberry cake and her first seven minute frosting…I loved that surprised look at six minutes and 45 seconds when the frosting turned into actual frosting.  She stuffed the leftover into her chocolate Easter bunny.  We’ll see how that’s going to turn out.  He didn’t melt, surprisingly, but did spring a small white frosting leak.

I enjoyed lots of time in the garden, walking around and studying it.  Of course, the Columbine are going wild.


And, the Coreopsis are starting to bloom…they skipped last year for some reason.


And, the Mock Orange are going nuts!!!  We have three and they are all this covered in white bloom.


I spent a good bit of time yesterday tidying up in the garage.  I’ve moved my cutting table out there and, as always happens at my cutting table, things get bogged down and periodically need to be cleared off.  Lots of fabric got folded and put away and the area was swept and furniture got moved so now I have three distinct areas; a sewing machine repair area, a sewing machine testing area for machines to get used while I’m decided if they are fully repaired, and a cutting area.  It’s wonderful to be organized.  For a little while.

And, yesterday afternoon, to rest, I worked on the guild’s star.  I got the second round on.  Now, I’m cutting the pieces for the final round. 


Looking good!  But, there’s been lots of picking out and doing “better”.  I’m trying to make sure i hit every point on this one.  The pattern is surprisingly easy, especially the second time.  But, I did have to open my mind to it.  There’s lots of little fiddly bits, but if you’re open to letting them be fiddly and not trying to force anything together, it works out pretty well. 

Same can be said of real life sometimes, right?

Everybody have a great Monday. 

“I sew, and sew, then off to work I go.” 

I am the eighth dwarf.



Just a little texture, please

I really like this quilt. 


When I finished it, I was skeptical.  I like the piecing and the color.  But, how the heck was I going to quilt it?  I wanted to add quilting, but only as additional texture, not to show off.

I started with the ditchwork.  On a quilt like this one, ditchwork serves a double purpose.  It stabilizes the sandwich, but it also lets me get to know the quilt.  Really, run my hands all over it and look at it from different angles and figure out the things I like and the things I’d like to hide.  After all the seams were locked down, I quilted a freehand flower and leaf pattern in the sashing.  When that was done, I was still not sure what to do next.  I sat and looked at the quilt, without sewing a stitch, for a whole morning.  The answer I kept coming up with was, don’t do anything else, except the outer border.  But, that isn’t what I wanted to do either.  One morning, i sat down and started drawing straight lines, outward, toward the corners at 3/4” intervals.  I drew on two blocks and I liked what I saw, so I quilted those lines in.  And, I liked them better.  And, the more I quilted, the better I liked them. 


100_8057 \

So, then I got all ambitious and started quilting a double Ohio Star outline in the center blocks.  At least the large center blocks.  Some centers are too small or the wrong shape for this, but most of the blocks have a 4” center square.


Just texture. 

Remember that I wasn’t sure how I was feeling about the Hobb’s wool batting?  Well, I’ve decided I like it.  So, I bought another one to use.  I like the loft it gives me.  These straight lines would have disappeared in a warm and natural batting, which was my preferred.  But, here, they stand up and add to the quilt, without standing out in any way.


On an unpopular side note, I am sooooo tired of gay being in the news, y’all.  I think people would find that if they’d just tell us they have a problem with gay people, we’d leave them alone.  Unfortunately, that means other people would leave them alone, too.  And, they don’t want to do that.  They want the right to be prejudiced, but not the right to face the repercussions of that. 

Well, honestly, I don’t care.  To get this far, a whole lot of us had to come out and let people know that we are gay and a whole lot of our friends had to come out and tell the world they support us.  And, we ALL faced the repercussions of that.  So, don’t tell me that the other side can’t face those same repercussions, too.  The world don’t work that way.

Even the bible tells us that you reap what you sow.


Everybody have a great Thursday.  Syd is off tomorrow and I’m planning to take the day, too.  After all, can’t have her enjoying herself.  As parent, it’s my responsibility to make her as un-happy as possible.

Just kidding.  She wants to go clothes shopping. 

What’s that gonna cost me?

See ya!  Lane