Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Chocolate Covered Cherries

Another quilt in the to-be-quilted pile. This is from, hmmmm... I think a Possibilities book, "Super Simple Strips." Jane kitted the strips for The Fabric Patch and I grabbed a set of them because I loved the colors. It was real easy - another of my one-handed quilts. Now to get it quilted!

I ran by the furniture store tonight on the way home to find out why I haven't gotten the bookshelves I ordered. Mike told me he was holding the order until I measured. I didn't tell him I needed to measure anything ... grrrr. Anyway, he said he'll call the factory tomorrow and see if they have any already made up. I just get these varnished with a medium glaze instead of staining them. Gives them an oak look. I'm just going to put it in the foyer - it won't match anything else in the area, but I need something there and I'll be able to use it (when I get back into a house) in my sewing room as it will match the others. I've got boxes of books in the garage that I want to unpack.

That's it for me today. Leftovers again. I cooked way too much shredded beef this weekend! LOL!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Back to Work

I was real busy today so the day passed fairly quickly. I really need a vacation because I'm starting to work from weekend to weekend ... or maybe I'm just getting old! :)

Judy got me to thinking about machine quilting. This is a table topper I made in the summer of 2005. I decided to try to do a large meander on it as I had just gotten a Bernina 440 Aurora with the new stitch regulator. Well, I got it all pinned and ready to go, set all the controls and I was off. I quilted it in just about an hour. I was SO excited. I had done it. It wasn't until I was taking the stitch regulator foot off that I realized I had installed it but never turned it on! LOL! Oops! There are a few places that the stitch lengths "vary" and the meandering is jerky in some places. But I wasn't building a piano, like Dad used to say, and I'm happy with it. It graced my breakfast room table this past Christmas. My friend in San Antonio, Gwen, sent me this kit last year. She's such a sweetie! And she has THREE doxies!

So, thank, Judy, for inspiring me - again. I'm going to take some of the tops I don't care about and do more practicing!

My gratitude today - the daylilies all abloom around town. They're so beautiful!

Calif. Poppies

It's done. I really enjoyed working on this bright quilt, but I'm real ready to pull out the maple leaves - a much calmer quilt!

Back to work today. Why do I always feel I just need one more day? I guess I plan too many things for three days and come away a bit disappointed when I don't accomplish them all. The next three day weekend - not until Labor Day - I will just go with the flow! LOL!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Happy Memorial Day

Today I am thinking about Scotty, a family friend from Baton Rouge, who was killed at the Pentagon on 9/11/01.

It's real early here, but time to get moving. I'm ready to put borders on the poppy string quilt, but I must vacuum first and dust since the little housekeeper elves must have lost my address.

Jeanne has me thinking about yo-yos. I've got a bag of them upstairs from an auction. That auction was only described as a box of antique quilt blocks and scraps of fabric dating from the late 1800s through the 1940s. I think I paid about 20 bucks for it and it was chocked full of stuff. It was a fun box to open. Someday soon I'm going to dig into those huge tubs I have upstairs and take stock. I have a lot of antique blocks like those Finn has been posting, most of them from the Civil War era.

At one time I was really into finding Civil War fabric, thinking I could use it to repair some of the blocks I have accumulated. But I almost hate to cut that fabric. Most of it is "new off the bolt." The fabric is very narrow, not the 44" widths we have today. What I have always wondered is how these antique shops came across this fabric. Where has it been for over 140 years? And how did it remain in pristine condition? I envision some lady tucking it away in a cedar chest (did they have those then?) and forgetting about it. Sounds like our stash, doesn't it? I'll get some pictures posted when I open the tubs. I've also got a quilt made in the mid to late 1800s that only needs a tiny bit of repair on a couple of seam lines on the backing and one small faded area on a sashing on the front. Amazing considering how old it is. I wonder if our quilts will endure as this one has.

Today, Memorial Day, I'd like to challenge everyone to make one quilt this year for a soldier or a veteran. The Quilts of Valor project that Judy posted about yesterday is a wonderful program. Most guilds have special projects for the military. Most Veterans Hospitals will accept wheelchair lap quilts for their patients. Check with your churchs and local nursing homes. All of us, whether in America or abroad, have been blessed with freedom to pursue our lives as we see fit. It is not only our right but our obligation to remember and honor our soldiers.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


I asked Jane if it would be all right to post a picture of her loggie top and she said yes. This is just the most beautiful quilt. The blocks are 4" finished. I can't remember now how many are in the quilt, but I think she said 600+. It took her several years to make it. She's trying to decide on borders now, but it would be fine without a border. It's huge! These pictures just don't do justice. Tracey is making one, as well as a lot of ladies on our online group. I have one started, but was sidetracked by my shoulder surgery and haven't gotten back to it. This summer, though, I plan on pulling it all out and working on it again. Now you can see what an inspiration she is to me! Constantly!

Today was a lazy day. I ran the washer and dryer almost all day. Still not finished. There were boxes of towels, etc., still in the garage so I decided to tackle those.

My gratitude today are the birds chirping outside. Daisy has taken keen interest in them, and has been sitting by the window all day.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Poppy Strings

Another sew-in day at The Fabric Patch with the friendship group. I've said it before and I'll say it again - what a nice group of ladies! We laughed so much!

I was disappointed that I didn't get this quilt all finished up today, but then I remembered I only started it last Saturday! One more sitting and it'll be done.

Jane has turned so many folks onto these string quilts in the past week or so. My goodness! Every customer that came in the classroom and several employees there all left with fabric to start one! I definitely want to do another one. Might have to go digging up in the stash room for a focus fabric! These strips go a long way - the purple bag isn't empty yet! It's a good thing I only cut half of my fabric up. That will be plenty of strips.

I'm tired tonight, so might turn in early. I didn't sleep well last night, and then got up way too early this morning. Just need to learn to relax!

My gratitudes today:

- A light misty rain this morning which kept everything wonderfully cool.

- Watching a customer in the quilt shop pulling fabrics for a quilt - the twinkling eyes and smile as it was coming together.

- Marilyn's brother, Ken, doing much better today, but continuing prayers for him.

- The nice long chat with Jane last night!

Crockpot Shredded Roast Beef

Since I was asked to share, I thought I'd post this now in case someone is so inclined to start the crockpot for easy Memorial Day weekend meals.

I call it "Marie's Roast Beef" because Marie is the one who posted this recipe originally three or four years back on the Alex Anderson message board.

3-5 lbs chuck roast - (or any kind of beef, but this gets real tender)
1-2 pouches of Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
1-2 beef bouillon cubes

I rinse off the roast(s) and put them in the crock pot. Sprinkle the Italian dressing mix all over the top. If I've got a lot of beef in the pot, I might use 1.5 pouches of dressing mix. Set the crockpot on low for 8 hours.

After you've been smelling this wonderful aroma for eight hours, take the meat out and put it on a plate. I use two forks to shred the beef (it's hot), and I remove all the fat at this time. I also run a slotted spoon at this point through the juice in the crockpot just to remove any large hunks of fat that may be in there.

Place the shredded beef back in the juice in the crockpot. Dissolve 1 beef bouillon cube in one cup of boiling water. Double this if you've got a lot of beef. [Marie said to use a can of beef broth, but I found it was way too salty. I like salty, but it was too much even for me.)

Turn the crockpot back on medium for two hours or high for one hour. Voila!

I usually pick up a bag of those nice rolls in the deli section of the market. I split them open and stick them in the oven for a few minutes. Mayo, Dijon, whatever, and it makes a great sandwich. Bet you can't eat just one! Oh, and it's great over mashed potatoes, noodles......

Easy peasy! Enjoy!

Friday, May 26, 2006

At Last!

The three-day weekend is here! I thought I was going to get away a little early today, hoping to avoid the 5:00 freeway traffic. That was quashed when the CEO asked me to take him to pick up his car. He said, "At least you'll get to leave early." Yeah, right, 4:30? LOL. (At least he gave me fair warning, so I was able to zip over to the car wash at lunchtime!)

I was pondering what to work on this weekend, and I decided to pull out a UFO that's not too far from being finished. These are the first two blocks. I've got a ton of leaves made. I just need to take inventory to see how many more I need. It can't be more than six or eight. And they're already all sashed, so it should go together fairly quickly once I finish up those last blocks. All the batiks have leaves or ferns on them. Only one repeat fabric. That was an oops! And I'm going to continue making strings. My sewing table has an explosion of colored strips on it right now!

My gratitude today is the crockpot and breadmaker, both working away right now!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Today's Gratitudes

* Chad's graduation, and Judy's wonderful visit with her family.

* Nick is safe and unhurt.

* A very nice lunch today with the CEO. :)

* A very short line at the market tonight.

* A new purse - long overdue!

* Forgetting to turn up the A/C this morning and coming home to a nice, cool house!

* My Daisy, as always, happy to see me.

* Only one more day until a nice three-day weekend.

* My brother is feeling good!

* Friends!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

To-Do Pile

I posted a while back a picture of the stack of quilts that could be finished up in short order. This is one of them. Another freebie pattern called "Let it Snow, Let it Sew" or something like that. One in my cybergroup found it online, and a bunch of us did it one weekend. Sally put beautiful borders on hers, but I'm thinking I just might quilt it as is for a wallhanging. I don't know. I'll have to ponder this one.

At the end of a long day today, my boss told me he wanted to take me to lunch tomorrow to celebrate my anniversary with the company. I was hoping he'd pick one of the casual restaurants in our area, but he picked a fancy-smancy French restaurant. So I dug in my closet when I got home to find something to wear tomorrow. It's way too hot for a jacket, so I've got a couple of cotton sweater sets and a couple of nice blouses to pick from. Black slacks and medium heels. I need to dig out my jewelry since I haven't worn any at all in the past year. Maybe pearls. I ponder things way too much!!

American Idol is on in a few minutes. I've enjoyed watching it for the past few weeks. I hardly ever watch these kind of shows. I had a ticket offered to me for the show tonight, but I didn't want to go alone. But it's fun to know that I could have! LOL!

Congratulations to Chad on his graduation! And for Leora, welcome home! Puerto Rico was way too far away!!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sorely Need a Decorator

I came home and unloaded the groceries (or "saved them" as we say down South), and then walked to the door to take Daisy for her walk. And it occurred to me right then and there that I need a decorator, or at least take some lessons on what NOT to hang on the inside of your front door! A basket with dog leash and poop bags!!! My mother would have been mortified!! ROFLOL

The cool day yesterday didn't last. It was much warmer today and I think it's supposed to be plumb hot tomorrow. But I don't mind so much this week. I just keep thinking about the three-day weekend coming up! I really need that extra day of R&R! I'm so excited that I can hardly stand to be in the same room with myself! Three whole days! I need to start planning out what I'm going to get accomplished quilty-wise. Don't want to waste a minute! I already know Friday morning I'm going to put a roast in the crock pot. That will take care of most of the cooking over the weekend!

Had to terminate a young plant worker today. I was hoping he was going to make it because I thought he was real nice and he was working hard. Well, it turns out he has temper issues, and it wasn't a real good idea to curse out the plant manager. Nope, that's never a good idea. Meetings both days this week. One more tomorrow, and then it's countdown to the weekend! :)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Nice Weather Today

We had an unusually heavy rain last night, and it sure cooled things off today. It was downright nice! Daisy and I had a cool walk this evening, but the grass was still damp! Fat little doxies with 4" legs don't like getting their bellies wet! LOL

I commented last week about the wonderful sweet olive I smelled around the office. I realized today when I walked out of the building for lunch that it was truly amazing that I could smell it. I work in a small town that is almost all light to heavy industrial. Today there was an overwhelming smell of "eau de toilet" coming from the cheap perfume manufacturer down the street! Of course, it could have been worse. Another company down the street could have been sauteeing thousands of pounds of onions today! Seriously! You should smell our area of town about once a week! One day a few weeks back both events happened on the same day - plus our propane tanks were filled that afternoon! Ewww.....I'm just glad we didn't have any important visitors in that day!

This quilt was made by my online group for one of our members who had a death in her family. Sally got the commitments from folks to make a block, and then I mailed them each a fat eighth of Hannah Bella fabric. They were to use a WOW background. When the blocks came back to me, I sashed each of them again in WOW and then started assembling. There were so many blocks, too many for the front of the quilt. As it was, the quilt ended up being 109" square! The rest of the blocks went on the back of the quilt. I created a monster, though, for Judy to quilt. I didn't realize that putting all the pieced blocks in the center of the back and then vast spaces of plain fabric around them could cause the back to pucker, and she'd have to fight it the whole time she was quilting it. (She ever so gently and kindly explained that to me! Sorry, Judy!) But the quilt was absolutely gorgeous when it was all quilted and bound. It took me about three weeks to piece the front, but I worked diligently on it every day as the blocks came in the mail. Because it was so big, the only place I had to take a picture of it was hanging it off the balcony. You can't see the top of the quilt, but you'll get the idea.

I'm having leftovers tonight, so that's going to be easy. I need to check on the bookcase I ordered. It's been almost three weeks. They said it would be two. And I got a couple of auction backings in the mail today. A wonderful Jane Sasseman for the back of my Freddy quilt, and a beautiful Kaffe Fassett for backing for another quilt in the planning stages. I know, I know, I'm supposed to be stash busting, but these were perfect - and cheap! And I just love having boxes on the doorstep when I get home! ~sigh~ stash busting is SO hard!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Pattern Developing

I won't keep boring you all with pix of the strings, but I'm just amazed at how this is developing. I've been giggling all afternoon! :)

I cooked spaghetti today and made another carrot cake. I really need to learn how to make another kind! LOL. Cleaned bathrooms, washed clothes, and sewed strings. Sounds like a boring day, but I had a nice time just being home.

My gratitude today is a phone call from a special friend, and then a beautiful email from her.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


I had fun today. First thing this morning, a haircut, or as I call it, a dip & clip! Four ladies whom I've met in classes at The Fabric Patch invited me to join them on their sew-in today. We used the classroom there. It was a lot of fun just sitting in a relaxed atmosphere sewing on our projects. Of course, I always manage to do more visiting than sewing, but it's good to be with other quilters, and nice ones at that!

I decided to start my string quilt that I got the pink, orange, yellow fabric for a couple of months ago. To start this was challenging: I had to overcome a few inhibitions - scrappy, random and brights - all in one day! LOL!

I managed to get four blocks done, and I can see that it'll be fun to make a few of these every weekend. It's bright! It's scrappy! It's random! I can do it!!

And it's always fun getting to visit with Jane. I bought a few more brights for my Freddy collection, and a couple of small cuts I'll need for the new "Pumpkin Hill" pattern by Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs. I have all of the rest of the fabric needed for that one! :)

I'm smiling today and my heart is happy.

My gratitude today is the pure joy Daisy displayed when I got home. Yep, she knows I love her!

Friday, May 19, 2006

A Thoughtful Day

I'm really angry with myself tonight. Not over anything I've done, but the fact that I allowed the actions of someone else to hurt my feelings. How childish is that! This will be a weekend of putting things into perspective.

This quilt was made for me at the Alex Anderson Retreat 2004 and signed by all the retreaters. I had to cancel my plans at the last minute because my shoulder surgery date was moved. Marlene spearheaded the project, Holly made the label, and Deb and I think even Alex worked on the binding. It was quilted at the retreat by the APQS rep who was there demonstrating long-arms. What joy to get this in the mail a week or so after retreat! And what wonderful friends I have made through the years at the retreat! I can't wait until this November to see them all again!

I have been invited to a sew-in tomorrow. It'll be good to be with other quilters. I think I'm going to work on my orange/yellow/pink string quilt. I've never made one before but have admired them for a long time. It should be a fun day.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Round Robins

This was a round robin project for our Retreat in the Middle 2005. It was the first round robin I had ever done. One or two of the quilts that came to me were challenging, but for the most part I enjoyed the experience. As it turned out, I was not able to attend the retreat, but I received a video of the RR unveilings - and also of Judy being presented her quilt. Those ladies looked like they were having a ton of fun!

Tomorrow is my 12th anniversary at work. Looking back I'm surprised I lasted a year there. It was real hard for me to go from being a world-traveling court reporter to going to one office every day. Add that to the unhappiness of being uprooted from everything I knew and loved, and I was just not a happy camper. But I not a quitter, so here I am 12 years later. For the most part I was pretty miserable out here until I started quilting five years ago. That's when I met folks and found something to do with my idle mind! Like Judy, I think a lot about going home, but I guess I'll stick it out another couple of years. Then who knows!

Daisy is walking real slowly the last couple of days. I'm hoping it's not her back again. She had surgery a year ago and I don't know if I can put her through that again. It might be that she's just not very active any more since we moved into the condo. There's no yard I can just turn her out into. I've got to walk her on a leash. I've need to make a concerted effort to take her out for strolls three or four times a day on the weekends instead of just twice. That would probably be good for both of us!

My gratitude today is a sweet olive tree that I can smell at the office but I can't locate. It must be at a nearby office. I must investigate!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hump Day!

I'm so tired lately. And I remembered today that I get real tired at this time every year. I think it's when the hot weather sets in down here. I adjust to it somewhat but basically I stay indoors. It was so hot today when I got in the car to get lunch. I'm going to have to start packing a lunch in the morning, I guess. You would have thought, coming from the South, that I'd be able to handle this heat. :(

This is a little quilt made for the Veterans Hospital project about a year or so ago. It was one of those online mystery quilts. It's not very good, a lot of missing points, because I tried to do this one during that one-handed quilting time. When I mailed it off to the coordinator, I was just hoping that it wouldn't end up with a veteran who had quilters in his/her family!

I was upstairs in the stash room a little while ago taking stock of brights up there. I think with the polka dot collection that I've got a good start on a Freddy Moran quilt. Now I just have to decide which one to do! LOL

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I'm SO boring!

I have absolutely nothing to blog about tonight. It was boring at work today. It's boring at home. I guess I need to start a new quilt! That ought to liven things up in this joint!

My gratitude today is Bear Creek soup mix, quick and easy!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Rainbow Connection

I'm reorganizing pictures and came across Judy's Rainbow Connection. This was hanging in the arcade at Road to California 2005. The Fabric Patch owner asked me if I would make the quilt up for them for Road. It was dicey getting it done two weeks before Christmas and four weeks after my shoulder replacement. But, hey, quilters can do anything! It was just thrilling for me to see it hanging there, and I was delighted to get to help promote Judy's pattern a bit! Now I'm going to have to make one for myself!! A fun, fun pattern to make!

My computer seems to be working fine tonight. I'll cross my fingers. When I got home I was able to get into my online quilting group. Joy joy!

My gratitude today is my neighbor's patio garden. She makes walking Daisy a delightful (and fragrant) experience!

Shopping for Brights

I can't believe I spent three hours shopping and only came away with half yard cuts of these fabrics. Well, it's a start! I've got a lot of polka dots upstairs in the stash room that I need to pull out. That's why I didn't buy many yesterday.

It was a fun day with Jane! Really fun! And we found that doggone restaurant we looked for once before! A lot of mileage for cornbread, huh, Jane?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day!

My gratitude is the wonderful splash of color in my daily life.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Around the Block

This was a fun quilt to make. A lot of piecing, but there was something real gratifying in making all these buildings. And it was completely from stash and scraps! :)

My computer still has issues - or rather, I don't know how to change some settings. We'll see if this old dog can learn some new tricks! LOL

My gratitude today is a feeling of total freedom to do whatever I want to do.

Several of you asked about the pattern. It is "Around the Block" by The Rabbit Factory. Thanks for the nice comments!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Back Online!

Got the computer hooked up tonight, and hopefully everything will run smoothly now. Thank you, Matt!

Now I can't figure out how to edit the pictures... hope it's not too gigantic!

I've missed everyone!