Saturday, December 19, 2015

Twas the Week Before Christmas

And LA Quilter hasn't gotten the first present wrapped -- nor purchased.  Today's the day.  I'm going to make it as simple as possible this year, but I still have to go to a mall in a strange town that I've only been to once before.

If you don't hear from me in a couple of days, send out Search and Rescue!

I did get a tree up this year, the first in probably 12 years.  I wanted a live tree but had no way to get one here.  My cleaning lady was coming last Friday and her boyfriend was also coming to do some yard work, so they picked one up for me.  I had purchased what I thought was a Vicky-proof tree stand and then couldn't figure out how to get it together.  They rescued me and installed it in the stand and in the den, hauled down boxes and boxes of decorations from the "holiday closet" upstairs, and the rest was up to me.

I had gotten four new strings of lights as mine were so old.  Penny and I managed to get those on last weekend, and whatever ornaments were in the first two boxes I opened were what ended up on the tree.  There was a box of little red bows and those filled in the gaps.  Didn't do so great getting those lights on that blasted tree!

Don't laugh!  I am SO not a decorator!

I plugged it in for about an hour or two last weekend, and then didn't plug it in until Wednesday this week.  The lights died on the top half of the tree.  I was so disgusted and was ready to just take the whole thing down.  Then it got funny.  And the more I looked at that ugly tree, the funnier it got!  I didn't take a nighttime picture but even in this daytime shot I think you can see the problem!  Hilarious!

Oh, well, at least it smells good!  I did manage to put a little Christmas cheer on the front porch.  I wanted to get lights up outside but, again, no way I could do that myself.  Maybe next year I should just concentrate on that and forget about a tree!

Work is going great.  One week into it, I'm so glad I made the decision to work again.  It's busy and  interesting - and I'm happy.  I make the five-minute commute home every day to let Penny out and grab a bite.  I've been appliqueing a little on a basket block every day while I'm home for lunch, and am happy to report that 230 blocks are done out of 291.

I probably won't be posting again before the 25th, so I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas.  May the joy of the season fill your hearts!

Saturday, December 05, 2015


I absolutely cannot believe how busy a "retired" person can be.  My calendar has something on it every single day. 

Some quilting has happened but it's mostly finishing up stuff and appliqueing baskets.  I made two Route 66 placemats for a friend's motor home.  There were issues with my Bernina 750 on the quilting.  I was so frustrated.  I actually sat down and removed the cross hatching on the first placemat.  The 750 was in the shop when it was unpacked because of "moving" issues and has been sitting in the Cottage fixed but unused for almost the whole year.  The fabric was bunching up.  I was about to pull out another Bernina when the light bulb came on.  While the machine was in the shop, the repairman lifted the dual feed mechanism.  Once I realized that and dropped it back down into position, the cross hatch quilting worked perfectly.  Those placemats were delivered around Thanksgiving and are checked off the to-do list.

I sewed the bindings on two quilts (with the dual feed working perfectly), did the hand stitching, and those are going out in the mail on Monday for the grandchildren of two friends.  Check.  I have one more binding to get machine stitched on this weekend, and I'll get it finished next week.  It's a Christmas quilt for my quilt rack display this year.  All three of these quilts were back from the quilter this summer but I'm just now getting around to finishing them.

Baskets -- 225 done out of 291.  I'm really getting a little tired of these but am plugging away.  I hadn't worked on them for a week, so I sat down last night and did one.  It's the old "how do you eat an elephant" thing.  My goal now to get these done is two months.  There will be some appliqued setting blocks to do, but not too many, and those will get done in due time.  This long-term project will definitely be a 2016 finish.

Shopping -- There was an estate sale that began on Thanksgiving Day in a little town near me.  I went with my nephew and his wife, and we had a ball going through this gorgeous turn of the century home.  I wanted so many things, but settled on this old secretary.  It hasn't been cleaned here yet, and there are a few scratches that I can handle, but I love it!  I also picked up a beautiful crystal bowl for $25 that will hold a nice flower arrangement on the dining room table, and some beautiful doilies and mantle scarves.  Don't know how much I'll use those but I couldn't pass them up for just a couple of dollars.  I quickly scanned the books in the library and found two books on antique furniture for next to nothing.  What a fun afternoon!

Health -- I think Monday will be my last PT visit because of a life change that is happening.  I had an orthopedic appointment today.  I love that guy.  He's a hoot.  He examined my knees, and said I should go next door and talk to the therapist about a good regimen of home exercises to do, and "We'll give it a shot."  Okay, great, we'll give the home exercise program a shot. Uh, no.  The look on my face I'm sure was priceless when the nurse walked in with a small ultrasound machine and a syringe.  I really need to pay closer attention!  Anyway, all is well; the knee is feeling a lot better and I'm off and running.  No, wait, no running.  Sheesh.  No pictures on that one.  Can I hear a "Thank You!"?

The change -- I am going back to work.  It's a governmental administrative support position. I think I'll be much happier getting out of the house every day, meeting people, and having more structure in my life.  Frankly, I missed working.  But the beauty of this position -- it's about a mile from my house!  I left home 15 minutes before my interview this week, and then had to sit in the car and kill 10 minutes so I wouldn't show up too early.  I'll work four and a half days a week.  Win/win.

So back to sewing at nights and on the weekends.  There's the structure.  No more being exhausted after an hour to hour and a half commute.  I can walk Penny, eat, and dive in.  Wait, no diving ...

This weekend is busy.  A facial, a two year-old birthday party, and the Christmas parade and lighting ceremony in the evening.  I'm loving life in my tiny town!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Today's the Day

Yep, today's the day I get back in the cottage and turn on the 750.  I've been putting it off and really don't know why except that I wanted everything finished back there first.  It's going to be a while before that happens, so I might as well just do it.  Of course, I'm already procrastinating this morning, doing laundry in my pajamas instead of showering and making the trek.  Okay, okay, I'm going just as soon as I finish this post.

I have so many UFOs that are near finished, but I need to concentrate on a couple of things before Christmas.  I promised a friend I would make two Route 66 placemats for her sister's motor home.  I have the fabrics but just need to sit down and do the boring cross hatch quilting on those.  I have three quilts that need bindings, so those need to get sewn on.  And I have two quilts for Brenda Riddle's Quilted Comfort project that were lost in the move.  I've found the tops but only one of the backings.  I need to make those a priority.  Once these items are off my plate, I can turn my attention to other things.

I'm having the worst time finding my pictures on Picasa.  It makes no sense because I've been using that program for years.  I downloaded several pictures and this is the only one I could find, so this is it for today.

Zapp's is a Louisiana company founded in 1985.  They started out with kettle cooked potato chips with a bit of Cajun seasoning, and their menu has expanded to include these pretzels in the shapes of footballs and fleur de lis.  For everyone who doesn't know, the fleur de lis is the logo of the New Orleans Saints, and "Who Dat?" is the official saying, I guess.  LOL.  Louisianians certainly take their football seriously.  (But we won't talk about LSU's loss to Bama last week, will we?)

I need to figure out computer things.  I need a new blog site and somewhere else to download and edit pictures.  I just don't have the knowledge or the desire to deal with those things right now. 

I've finished 208 out of 291 of the baskets.  My goal is a minimum of one a day, and that's all I've gotten accomplished for the last eight days.  I'm back at physical therapy when I thought I was done.  Turns out my "good" knee is now my "bad" knee.  I have developed chondromalacia in that knee, probably from overcompensating the past year.  It'll get well but I have to back off on exercising for now and can only do certain things with that knee.  It has certainly messed up my nice little exercise routine.  I was dropping a pound a week exercising, a slow and steady progress, and was feeling good.  I'll try to keep that up but it will be harder now.  I read something someone posted a couple of weeks ago, "My goal is to lose 10 pounds.  Only 15 more to go."  That cracked me up.

It has been so wet here for the past month.  This week has been sunny but the yard is saturated and the mosquitoes are horrendous.  I had totally forgotten about those as we didn't have any where I lived in SoCal.  I took Penny out yesterday afternoon when I got back from therapy, and she was coated by mosquitoes in about two minutes.  She was trying to pee and I was swatting at her back.  The look she gave me ..... "Really, Mom?"  I finally had to just leave her alone for a couple of minutes to take care of business.  She's on heartworm preventative medicine, but it still disturbs me to see them on her.

All of this rambling - yes, procrastination.   So off to the cottage.  Wish me luck!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween

This crazy weather has cancelled the Harvest Festival in my little town for a couple of weeks.  And I'm not sure what's going to happen to the little Trick-or-Treaters with the huge rain storm expected tomorrow.  Truly ghastly ghostly weather!

My yard is loving the rain, though.  The pool overflowed, but all of the plants and shrubberies are a gorgeous green.  The weeds, too!  Seriously, they popped up in three days this week. 

I found a couple of Halloween-ish quilts to hang on the quilt rack.  I have a couple of more around the house but for some reason I can't get those pictures to download.

The top quilt was done at a retreat about ten years ago.  A blackish-gray background with lots of leaves and houses in fall colors.  The bottom quilt was a kit offered at the Fat Quarter Shop five years ago or so.  I'm sorry but I don't remember the names of either of the quilts.  I love the Halloween fabrics in the bottom quilt.

I've had serious computer issues since I switched to U-Verse.  I was totally down three days this week.  My laptop won't connect at all to the internet even though it says I have a connection.  I finally got the desktop back up this morning by rebooting a dozen times.  I may not like this new service very much.  If this continues over the weekend, I'll give them a call on Monday to schedule a visit out here. 

Beware of all the ghosts and goblins who may be visiting you.  FYI:  There's a rumor going around that candy will keep you from getting tricked!

P.S.:  This is my 1300th post.  Sort of fitting for Halloween, don't you think?  ;)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Nervous Waiting

I'm pacing nervously awaiting a call from the vet that Penny's teeth cleaning under anesthesia is over and that she's fine.  This has always been an annual routine procedure, but Penny was having some health issues that I had checked out.  My wonderful local vet and a specialist vet in Lafayette together with consultations with LSU vet school found that she has an enlarged heart, a mitral valve issue, and an enlarged liver.  We're just keeping a close eye on her for now and she'll go on medications when the problems progress.  She was cleared for anesthesia by a vet cardiologist specialist, but I'm still nervous this morning.  My vet promised me that she would call me immediately when Penny was awake. UPDATE:  Penny did fine.  I'm SO relieved!  Of course, she's not going to be talking to me for a couple of days!

It's so beautiful today that I thought I would ride and walk around downtown to get rid of some of this nervous energy.  The town is preparing for the big harvest festival at the end of the month.  Well, "big" is a relative term when you live in a small town.  But it's been fun watching the decorations go up along Main Street, around the historic light poles in the middle, and all of the store fronts that are decorating.  I dodged traffic - don't laugh; there were a couple of cars - to grab a few pics.  The businesses and organizations are still decorating the poles, so it'll be pretty when they're done all the way down the boulevard.  In the meantime ...

Isn't that sky the most gorgeous blue?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gorgeous Sunday

Yep, fall is here.  The weather is in the low 60s, crispy, clear, a slight breeze, sun shining brightly.  As soon as I'm done here, Penny and I are going outside to play!

I've been working on the Trick or Treat baskets, from the Blackbird Designs book When the Cold Wind Blows.  There were 120 something done when I picked it up last month.  I now have 168 finished out of 291.  Well, the one standing alone below needs the handle redone.  It's a tad wonky!  But that's the beauty of needle turn applique.  Just take out those stitches, reposition and restitch.   I laughed when I pulled out the last eight done and saw this one.  Geez Louise!  Goes to show I can't stitch and watch an LSU game at the same time!

And I've also been working in the Cottage every day.  This week I cleared off my sewing table -- well, mostly cleared it off -- the cutting table, placed the dining table and chairs, and emptied a ton more boxes.  Of course, every corner has things sitting around that need to be put away.  I have a lot more room, really a lot more, than I had before, and more closets, but everything is different and I just have to decide where to put those last piles of things. 

Penny walks around thinking, "What the heck?"  I have a pillow for her to lay on but she's too busy exploring now to settle down in one spot.   As soon as I can get help for a hour or so I'll be able to knock this out.  But in the meantime, I need to turn on the 750.  I have three quilts that need bindings sewn on, and two placemats for a friend that need to be quilted.  Maybe later today I'll get started on those.
It's been almost a year since I moved here, and I'm just now getting back into the swing of things.  I'm sure by this time next year I'll have a bunch of UFOs finished up and I'll be putting the finishing touches on my Christmas 2016 projects!  Yeah, I know.  If wishes were fishes ...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Another UFO

I have UFOs all over the place, and the two I've chosen to work on lately are truly long-term projects.  I need to concentrate on the ones that can be finished in shorter order, not these!

Kathie Holland inspired me to start these drunkard's path blocks a couple or three years ago.  I pulled out this project bag at the same time I pulled the Trick or Treat baskets because a lot of the same fabrics are used in both.  I was delighted to find that I had probably 75 strips already cut.  I couldn't find the quarter circle template, though, so I made another one.  Then I apparently dropped that one somewhere on the floor and Penny found it .... so I made another one.  I'm doing these in increments of 50, and I now have 250 done.  It's an easy project to pick up.  I need to find Kathie's inspiration picture so I can at least have a ballpark estimate of how many I need.  I suspect it will be a lot more than 250 since these are only four inch blocks.

It warmed up a tad here this past week but fall is still in the air.  Or maybe football is in the air.  LSU plays today.  The game was supposed to be held in South Carolina but because of the flooding there, the game was moved to Baton Rouge.  LSU's team plane will pick up the USC team and take them back home after the game.  The LSU band will also play the USC fight song.  All proceeds from the game after expenses will go back to USC.  I'm proud to be an LSU Tiger fan!

But back to fall -- the little nursery here had some fall mums that I tried and tried to resist and just couldn't.  So I clumped a few on either side of my front door with a wreath that was unearthed when I moved.  Nothing fancy, but it decorates the joint up a bit.  If I run across some pumpkins, I'll add them to the mix.                                                       

The squirrels were gathered around these on the first morning they were on the porch.  So far I haven't seen any nibbling on them.

Monday, October 05, 2015


The Cottage is coming along nicely.  The cutting and sewing tables are clear, and although there are some project tubs and a few boxes lined up against the walls awaiting their designated place, at least I think I can start sewing in there a bit.

I was reminded by a friend (thanks, LadyB) about my basket blocks.  I quickly put my hands on that project tub, and I've been working on those.  It's definitely a long-term project but I'm not taking this one to The Home with me.  I want to use it before then!  There were around 128 done when I pulled them.  I now have 148 done - out of 291.  I'll plug away on these every time I sit down at night.  I'm working in increments of 20 so as not to get overwhelmed.

Other than that, I've been doing a lot of work in the yard.  Mostly with hired help, but I've been doing what I can with the limitations.  I can sit in a chair and lean over and weed.  I can rake leaves.  I can supervise and give directions .......  ;)
We cut back these azaleas outside the sunroom about three weeks ago.  They were way too tall, and I was okay with the fact that they wouldn't bloom this year.  Lo and behold, the blooms starting popping out.  They're a dark pink and then fade to a lovely pale pink as the bloom ages.  I guess they just needed a haircut! 

Penny is doing great.  She loves going outside and chasing squirrels and lizards.  The birds, however, drive her nuts.  There are one or two birds that love to taunt her by swooping low and squawking loudly.  She immediately hits the dirt, and then when they're past her, she jumps up and acts real brave.  I love my weenie dog!

I plan on blogging more regularly just as soon as a couple of projects are finished up around the homestead.  I'll have the extra time to do what I want to do - no yard projects, no physical therapy, just me and my sewing machine!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Winner Chosen

LSU won last night, and it's glorious and cool here today.  All is right in my world! 

Penny wasn't cooperating this morning in  picking a winner for the four Miss Rosie's new patterns from the Fat Quarter Shop.  She was more interested in eating and rolling in the grass.  So I let the random number generator thing chose the winner:

Terry said, "Carrie lived in Arizona before moving to Texas and the Birdie, Birdie, Birdie is from Hope Floats, one of my favorite movies. Can't wait to see your Sewing Cottage all done." 

Terry, please email me at with your mailing address and I'll get these out to you tomorrow. 

I'd like to thank everyone for entering.  I haven't blogged much for the past couple of years but I hope to change that very soon.  I have a plan for getting some quilting done and I'll have something to post - finally!

As far as the answers to the questions, all of them were answered correctly except for one.  Maybe Carrie Nelson will provide the answer to us on how many patterns she's published through the years.  Someone said it was a lot and they are all wonderful, and I totally agree with that! 

Thank you to Kimberly at the Fat Quarter Shop for donating the patterns for the give-away. 

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

National Sewing Month Give-Away

I hope all of you are sewing up a storm for National Sewing Month.  Me, not so much, but I am working on getting the Cottage in sewing shape.  I plan on spending some parts of every day out there for the rest of the year - and forever - so if it's not finished in time to sew this month, that's okay.

Kimberly at the Fat Quarter Shop has sent me four patterns for a give-away to help us celebrate National Sewing Month. 

Yes, they're the latest Miss Rosie's patterns by Carrie Nelson!!  Some of you are currently making the Viola (or Voila!) pattern, and it's been so much fun seeing all of the fabric choices.  I've been eyeing the Full Circle or the Paris Texas patterns thinking I might use my vast collection of  Minick & Simpson patriotic colors, and also Otis using the V and Co. fabrics I collected last year.  The patterns are all so wonderful no matter which fabric we use. 

One thing I particularly like about the new patterns would be the booklet format.  No more shuffling pages around! 

I've listed some questions below.  To be entered in the contest, all you have to do is answer at least ONE of them correctly. If you don't know the answers, take a guess

If your comment doesn't link to your blog, please be sure to leave an email address in case you're the winner.  There's nothing worse than being picked and I can't tell you you've won!

Remember, you just have to answer one correctly.  Or you can answer all of them.  Or you can just guess!  Probably almost anything you answer will put you in the drawing.  Here goes:

1.  What state did Carrie live in before she moved to Dallas for that dream job with Moda?

2.  Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. has published how many patterns through the years?

3.  "Birdie, Birdie, Birdie."  Name the movie.

4.  What was the score of the LSU game last week?

5.  How long has the Fat Quarter Shop been in business?

Just put the number and your answer.  Easy peasy.  Winner will be announced Sunday morning.

A huge "thank you" to the Fat Quarter Shop for the give-away patterns!  This is a great idea to help us celebrate National Sewing Month!  Thank you, thank you!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Good Guys Won

I had quite a bit of excitement here Friday afternoon.

I had just come downstairs from taking a nap when the front doorbell rang and then several hard knocks on it.  I looked out and didn't recognize the car.  Stupidly I opened the door a crack to see a younger man standing on the steps with no shirt on.  He asked if they could camp behind my house.  No, it's private property.  Then he wanted to know if they could camp behind the house next door.  That's not my property.  I can't give permission to do that.  A guy driving the car in the driveway, also shirtless, leaned over and yelled out if the house next door was for rent.  No.  He then said they were going to see if anyone else would let them camp behind their house.

I watched as they pulled out of my driveway, and noted it was a dark gray sedan with no license tags.  They turned towards town.  I thought about it a minute and decided to call the police department in my little town.  The dispatcher took the info and said she would get it out to her patrol vehicles.

About five minutes later there was another knock at the door.  This time there was a patrol car in the driveway.  The officer asked me for a description of the men, their vehicle, and what they said.  Another patrol car pulled in, and the first officer repeated everything I said to the second officer.  That officer left to go look for the vehicle.  The officer told me that I had done right by calling the police, and to always call if I feel something isn't right.  I wondered all night if these guys were found, and, frankly, didn't sleep very well.

This morning, the police officer came by to give me an update.  He said shortly after he left the car was seen, followed, and it was trying to evade the police.  They were able to get it hemmed in and approached the vehicle with guns drawn.  The two men in the car were high on meth, and had a shotgun on the seat between them with a round in the chamber.  They were arrested for a lot of things and are now in jail.  One is out on parole and will be returning to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence.  The other one also had a record.


He again emphasized that I should always call the police if I see something unusual or if I am uncomfortable with anyone who comes on my property.  He gave me some good safety tips, one of which was to get a recording of a ferocious sounding dog that will bark and growl when the doorbell rings.  (He said this after he caught a glimpse of Penny who was hiding behind the door!)  And I am never never never to open the door unless it's a relative or someone I love.  I thought that was funny.  Certainly eliminates the pizza delivery guy!

Anyway, this could have been a bad situation had these guys pushed their way into my home, or if they had pulled that gun on the police officers when they were stopped.  It's too scary to even think about that.

A huge thank you to the police force for their quick response and especially for following up with me.  The good guys won!

Monday, August 10, 2015


I love finding signs that make me chuckle.  One below did - the other not so much.

A while back, Thelma mentioned never finding her name printed on things.  At that time she was looking at the Coke cans that had names on them.  I remember thinking that it's the same way with me.  If I see my name on something it's usually misspelled.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I got caught at a red light (seriously, there are only four in my little town) and I looked up and saw this.

I laughed out loud and grabbed my phone to get a picture!

Thelma, just so you know, John Deere is an important business in this farming community, not only for the farmers but for all of us who have an acre or more to mow, which is probably most of the population.  I suspect at least once a year everyone turns on your street to get to the green and yellow place!  It's the most important street in the town, and befitting that it was named for you!

The other sign ...

I told the CT doctor that I couldn't go in there.  He laughed.  He said they need to change that "Do Not Enter" sign as everyone says the same thing!

On this day I would rather have been on Thelma Street!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Week Five

I'll bet everyone will be happy when I stop counting!

I'm rehabbing really nicely now.  This week I was able to get back into my "good" ACL brace, the custom fitted one, and can walk with only one crutch.  It's so wonderful to be ambulating without a brace that holds my leg stiff and two crutches.  I'm back to doing almost all of my pre-surgery exercises and machines at PT, but doing them slower and at lower levels and less reps.  At this point it's all up to me to get strong again.  My therapist talked to me about the local gym here in my little town and we discussed the machines they have available there for me to work with.  I went for two weeks between my therapy and surgery and it's a good alternative to PT.  But there's no cute therapist there!  My life for the past several months has revolved around those two days a week when I blew my hair dry, put on decent workout clothes, some make-up, and drove 60 miles round trip.  I guess the good thing is now I can go to the gym five minute away with wet hair and whatever workout clothes are comfortable.  Since there's no cute therapist there!  Wait, I already said that.  Seriously, though, I guess it's not uncommon to bond with those folks who have been helping you get well for months on end - and to miss them when you've reached your goals.  I'll send them a Christmas card but I doubt by December they'll remember who I am.  They see so many people each year.  But, yep, I'll miss them - a lot.   Dang!

Here's a picture of Penny on the car ride home after a month at the boarding place.  She was like "Who are you and where are you taking me?  I want to stay there and play with all the other puppies!"

Right now she's in the empty sun room.  I threw some old rugs down in there, and she drug this one over to where sun was coming in.  She stays out there until the sun goes away.  Silly dog!  And, yes, there's a shovel by the door going outside.  I call it my snake shovel and I carry it out with me each time I walk back there with her.  I've only seen one other snake since the first scare, and it was an itty bitty baby about pencil-length long.  It's harmless and she wasn't interested in it at all.  But I'm armed and ready just in case!  And, yes, those azaleas need trimming again.  I bought a battery-operated trimmer and will tackle those just as soon as my leg feels stable enough.  It's hard to find folks to do these little jobs for me.

Back five years ago (has it been that long?) when my late boss was so sick with cancer and I was working such long hours, Anne Sutton suggested that I get a needle project that I could do to relax.  I did one of her redwork patterns and really used it as a reflective time and the stitching was so relaxing.  Remembering what Anne said, I found this preprinted Santa face by Lakadaisies in a box in the Cottage.  I don't even remember buying it, but it was nice to have it all ready to stitch.  I used a dark plum on everything, but stitched the holly in a dark green and put a touch of gray-blue in his eyes. The thread was the Needleworks thread on a spool, two strands.  I had gotten a lot of this from Anne a few years back and although I have a lot of floss, it's my go-to thread for embroidery now.  This is definitely not my best work as most of this was done reclining back on pillows on the sofa.  I started it about two weeks after I was home from the hospital and finished it this week.  A couple minutes here and there when I would get frustrated or start feeling sorry for myself.  Thanks again to Anne for suggesting this type of project during tough or sad times.

Sadness - I'm so saddened by the tragedy that happened in Lafayette a couple of days ago.  It's so scary to think that this type of thing can happen in your community.  One of the beautiful young ladies who was killed was from my little town. Her parents live just down the way from my brother.  She was just 21 years old.  I just can't wrap my mind around this.  Please keep her family in your prayers, as well as all the victims and families of this senseless shooting.

I stopped at the market yesterday on the way home from getting poked for blood again.  I'm going to cook today!  Hooray!  Baked chicken and veggies, probably Brussels sprouts, squash, maybe asparagus, a butter lettuce salad.  The produce here isn't nearly as nice and varied as it was in SoCal, but I lucked into going in a nice market nearby that was just unloading their weekly shipment.  I'm ready to get real food in my tummy again!

Off to do my morning ritual of exercises before I get in the kitchen.  I lead a very simple life these days ...

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Week Two

Today is two weeks post-op.  I'm now quite the expert using crutches on the stairs.  It would make a health care professional really nervous to watch me, but, knock wood, no crashes so far.

A few days ago my sister-in-law came over for a bit.  She stood by while I made it down the two steps into the sunroom and rolled backwards on my walker to the Cottage.  I pulled a couple of hand projects to work on.  We pulled the little green wagon into the Cottage -- there's a wheelchair ramp at the French doors -- and loaded her up.  I was able to find everything I needed, the light box, bias makers, etc., a couple of applique projects.  I was all set to prep some applique and get some stitching done while watching movies.  Unfortunately, everything that I pulled needed template plastic and I don't know where that is.  Back to Square One.  The next time I have some help over here, I'll get the Ezi table and the 350 in the main house to work on those bindings.
The boarding kennel that has custody of Penny has been sending me pictures and yesterday sent a video of her playing with three other dogs.  She's so cute.  The other dogs were rolling around in a tangled, playful ball of fur.  Penny was running in circle around them.  She looked like the referee at a boxing match.  The kennel owner said Penny is the sweetest dog -- I knew that already! -- and has made friends with every dog she's met there.  I have a doctor's appointment on Friday, and I hope to stop by for a few minutes to hug her.  As soon as I'm comfortable going down the steps and rolling on the sidewalk outside by myself I'll bring her home.  She's probably having way more fun there, though!

A new home physical therapist started visiting this week.  The doctor has revised my rehab plan.  I will be able to partially weight-bear sooner than six weeks, maybe as soon as this week.  It will be nice to be able to walk instead of rolling everywhere.  I just need to remember not to overdo it.  I'm one of those "give me an inch and I'll take a mile" folks.  I can't do that in this case.  And just an observation here from a senior citizen - being extremely cute must be a job requirement for being a male physical therapist!  I mean, I may be old and decrepit, but I sure ain't blind!  ;)

My iPhone today decided that I didn't need to connect to the internet.  Don't know what's up with that.  I'll call the service provider tomorrow and see if they can trouble-shoot it over the phone. 

I've taken a few pictures but never have the camera cord handy to connect to the laptop to download them.  I need to get an extra one to leave downstairs.  Something else to add to my things-to-do list.  I tell you, that list is growing and growing.   Last night I finally saw what was setting off one of the motion detectors in the back yard - a gigantic raccoon.  I snapped a picture along with shots of the hundreds of cardinals, a turtle in the very back of the yard, and anything I can see from the windows.  All of the pictures were from afar but if I can get them downloaded, I might can crop them in enough to see what's going on.

It's raining again and thundering.  I hear we will have clear weather this week.  I'll believe it when I see it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Today's the Day

I'm heading off to the surgery center in a bit.  Yes, I'm nervous.  No, I didn't get everything I wanted done but I did accomplish a lot in the past two weeks around the house.

I'll be non-weight-bearing for six weeks.  I'm a total klutz using crutches on the staircase.  I mean, a serious case of klutziness.  I can barely walk on a flat floor with them but I've been practicing.  As I think I've said here before, I'm ambidextrous.  Although I now focus on my right hand, my left hand is in constant motion.  For instance, I mouse left-handed.  I played reed instruments for years using two hands simultaneously.  I played basketball in high school and dribbled with both hands.  But for the life of me, I cannot use crutches.  I get my left leg going where my right leg should be ... it's not pretty.

I don't know exactly how the upstairs/downstairs thing will work when I get home.  Bedrooms and full baths are upstairs.  But I know me well enough to know that I'll figure something out.  I've readied the sleeper sofa downstairs just in case.

Penny is boarded until further notice.  I have hired someone to come a couple of hours each day to get me up and bathed and dressed, maybe fed.  Friends and loved ones will, I'm sure, be checking in on me.  It'll work.  It just won't be fun at all. 

This year has been a total waste for me, hasn't it?

I'm going to set up my Ezi table with a Bernina in the main house.  I have three quilts that need bindings.  I hope to be able to work on those in a couple of weeks.  I know I won't feel like doing them right away but my goal is to get them finished before I'm weight-bearing again.  That's a small goal. I can do that.

The thing I'm dreading most is the anesthesia.  I get so sick no matter what anti-nausea stuff they give me.  I mean, sick as a dog for 48 hours.  Then it's over.  So that's another small goal for me - not be sick for the first 48 hours.  I'm going to try real hard to do that, too.

Thanks in advance for any good thoughts sent my way today.  I'll talk to everyone on the flip side!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Exciting Night

I came downstairs about 11:30 last night because Penny was agitated and wouldn't settle down for the night.  When I walked through the foyer, I heard a kitten crying outside on the front porch.  I opened the door and there was the cutest little black and white kitty just crying his heart out.  I reached down for it, and he jumped/fell off the porch on the side under some big azalea bushes.  I tried to coax him out.  He was under the bushes crying so loudly.  He just wouldn't come to me but kept peeking his head out and looking at me.  So I sat on the front porch until after midnight and finally he got close enough that I could grab him.  I just couldn't go back to bed with him out there, especially under those bushes.  I was so scared that a snake or something would get him.

He was so very tiny.  His little ribs were poking out under the fluffy fur.  He wouldn't drink anything and I didn't have anything to feed him.  Nourishment would have to wait until the morning, but at least he was safe.  At this point Penny had not seen the kitten.  He spent the night on top of the kitchen counter in the little kennel.  I scrubbed down and took antihistamines because I'm so allergic to cats., and went to bed.

This morning I called the local vet who advised me to call the pound.  I hated to do that but between my allergies and the surgery in a week, he couldn't stay here.  I did introduce Penny to the little fluff ball, and there were no issues with them.  (sigh)  No, Penny, we can't keep the kitten.

The St. Mary Parish truck came right away to get him.  Apparently they are just three minutes away.  The lady on the phone was so nice, and the young man who came to the house was just delightful.  He assured me that this kitten would be adopted in very short order.  I sent the little kitty away in a heavy duty cardboard moving box with an oversized bath towel for his comfort.

He asked me whether it was a girl or a boy.  I gave the stupidest answer which evoked the silliest grin on this young man's face.  I said, "I don't know.  How would we find that out?" 




I can hear you!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Updates on Everything

I've been an AWOL blogger.  Things moved at warp speed and then came to a screeching halt when I fell two days after I got here.  Wheelchairs, walkers, braces, physical therapy -- I'm so much better now but will never get to the point I can live life without this leg brace unless ...

I'm having ACL reconstruction surgery on 6/17.  Initially I was told that I was not a candidate for this surgery, but I have been working so hard in PT building up all the leg muscles.  (I could barely leg press five pounds at first and now I'm up to 100 pounds.  Just call me Superwoman!)   So the therapist and the doctor got together and decided to offer the surgery to me because I am so motivated.  It'll be another tough six months, but there is that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.  Without the surgery all I kept seeing were more tunnels.  I have so much to do before then.  First thing is finding a caregiver or someone who can come and help me out a bit as I will be non-weight-bearing for six weeks.  I commented to the doctor that I guess I'd be living upstairs for six weeks, and he and the therapist both said I would be shown how to negotiate the stairs.  It'll be a huge step backwards as far as my mobility but then I can only look forward to a bright future with being able to work in the yard, kneel, squat down to pick up things, and not wearing this brace all the time.  I never realized how often I knelt and squatted until I couldn't do it any more!  I'll find out on June 3rd the logistics of the surgery and whether a rehab hospital stay will be involved. I'm not going to be able to drive for a while and I mentioned to a friend that I would just call a taxi if I need to go somewhere.  They about fell over laughing.  Apparently there are no taxis in my small town!  Anyway, please think kind thoughts and send good karma if you happen to think about me in the middle of June.

The last coat of paint is going on the inside and outside trim of the windows today.  It has been a long haul getting these things done, but I absolutely love them.  It was tricky trying to match the trim paint.  I think I came up with good choices, though, and now I know what colors to use when the rest of the trim is painted.  And there's a LOT of trim.  At present it's all different colors, and while that's not noticeable walking from room to room, it really bothers me.  There will be some touch-up that needs to be done on the gray house wood around the windows.  I went to Sherwin Williams in this little town and picked out a color I thought would match best.  I came home and put the sample up against the wood and it looked great.  Then I found an old can of paint in the storeage room on the property and it was the same color I picked!  Maybe quilting has honed my senses a bit on that score!

Anyway, there hasn't been much quilting going on but things are shaping up nicely so that I can dive into it during my recovery.  The Cottage is almost completely devoid of boxes, and I just need to figure out where to put the little knick-knack things that we all collect in our studios and get the boxes of kitchen stuff unloaded back there.  I am still looking for a few things, i.e., the first three months of Austin Bluebird blocks, but I know they're there.  Just need to put my hands on them.

I've given away a lot of furniture that was left here on the property when I bought the house.  There was a fire in a small apartment house downtown, and my cleaning lady's daughter-in-law was one who lost everything.  So they came last week and took the two white sofas out of the sunroom, a chest, a vacuum cleaner, a twin bed set, and a coffee table that I was temporarily using in the living room.  I now have a "gap" in front of the sofa but I plan to find a smaller table this week to put there.  (Excuse the piles in the photo.  I've been sorting stuff out and tossing and those things haven't been put away yet.)

It sure felt good to able to give this to a family who could really use them, and they were delighted to get them.  Win/win!

This week I also got in the four chairs for the kitchen that I ordered from Crate and Barrel.  I had put a small round table in the kitchen, but was just using the three dinky chairs that were left here.  I was so scared that those chairs would collapse with someone sitting in them.  Anyway, those two big boxes were left on my doorstep, but I managed to get them inside and unpacked.  It looks so much better now in the kitchen.

I now have a formal table and chairs in the dining room.  I've been so used to walking straight through the room that I actually ran right into the table a couple of times!  Also my bedroom looks so much better.  There were horrible old bamboo shades and awful maroon curtains in my bedroom.  When I put the recently finished Heritage quilt on my bed it did not improve the looks of the room any. I was going to get wooden blinds or plantation shutters but the windows are 75" wide and those have to be custom made.  So I went on an adventure to find a Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought a lot of panels of beige colored curtains.  Wow, what a difference it made, and the color matches the background of the quilt.  They aren't the perfect solution but I'm happy with the interim choice I made.  I'll get a picture of that for next time.  Next up is scrubbing down the large sunroom and getting some wicker furniture or something that will enhance that nice area.  Choosing that furniture will probably have to wait until I'm recuperating, as will painting all the walls in the house.  I need to lighten up the dark colors that are on the walls.  So much to do, but I have decided to just take it one room at a time and not get overwhelmed by the whole project.

I mentioned last time that I have been having more fun watching to see what will pop up around the property in the way of flowers or plantings.  The hydrangeas that I thought were dead have greened up and now have a couple of blooms on them.  I was so happy to find hostas under the oak trees in the front.

They are in a couple of spots, and really look nice.  I love hostas but have never been very successful in growing them because my areas were always too sunny.  As you can see from the lack of grass in this area, it's real shady.  A friend here suggested that I have the oak trees manicured to remove some of the smaller branches so that light will get to the ground in the spots where there is no grass.  Another project for another day.  One project at a time, Vicky.

Penny is over the moon about this yard.  I'm still keeping her in just the front part of the yard between the house and pool.  It's a nice big area and she really doesn't need to explore beyond that.  Her usual routine is taking care of business, and then sniffing around all of the flower beds and shrubs.  Then she finds a sunny spot and stretches out.  Oh, to be my dog!

Hopefully my next post will have something quilt-related in it!  I've been doing a little sewing but my free time is sadly lacking these days.  And here I thought I would be bored when I retired! 

Friday, May 01, 2015

Joyful Progress

I'm so stoked today.  I woke up to new windows in the den and an absolutely breathtaking view. 

It was traumatic to watch these guys lift out a 9 x 20 foot window.  I'm amazed it came out in one piece and, frankly, I think the contractor was also. 

Whew!  That's done!  Now there's a gaping hole in the wall.  The contractor had to do some reframing because this old house just ain't plumb!  I was watching him measure and remeasure and then do it all over again.  I said, "Measure twice, cut once, right?"  He laughed and said he measures a lot more than twice!  A sixteenth off here, and a thirty-second off there and it was done.  He really is a master at working on old homes.

It doesn't look that big sitting outside, does it?  Oh, there's a shutter or two missing off the back of the house.  Those are being remade.  I guess they struggled through one too many hurricanes and it was time to fix them.

At two hours later -- ta dah, new windows!  Lots and lots of wide open glass with a window that opens on each end. 

Oh, hello Cottage!  I remember you!  You're going to be my quilting studio.  I plan to get real intimate with you really soon!  Hang in there, honey.  It won't be much longer!

While the windows were going in, another crew was taking out this tree that broke.  Or the part of it that broke.  Pictures can be deceiving because this doesn't really look that bad.  It broke over 20 feet up, and there were 30 feet of limbs hanging down over the fence and into the yard.  The removal debris entirely filled a large trailer, and some of the trunks were two feet across.  The good news is that the fence wasn't broken.  The other good news is that the neighbor's dogs didn't eat me up when we went over there to remove the tree limbs on their side of the fence.  The bad news is that now I have an unobstructed view of their green greenhouse.  Get it?  Green greenhouse?   Did I ever say that blue was my favorite color? 

PT is going great.  Now that the exercises have been ramped up, I'm "glowing" after each session.  I really am sweating like a pig, but I've been told that it's much more Southern lady-like to glow.  Let's just say that my glow would light up the State of Texas for the day!  I had a really down moment last week about the therapy.  It's been five months since the injury, and the doctor told me he wants five more months of PT before a decision is made on what to do with that knee.  But my absolutely adorable therapist gave me a pep talk and I'm back on track.  Of course, the fact that he's so cute has absolutely nothing to do with my wanting to continue those sessions ... and I will never admit to anyone that I just said that!

Today the cleaning lady comes and hopefully we can rid this house of some of the sawdust that is lingering on every flat surface.  The contractor did a good job of cleaning up but it needs a woman's touch.  He'll be back today to do some caulking, and the painter will be here next week to paint the new window frame molding inside and out.  It will just get dirty again but I can't wait until they're done to clean up.  I'll just have to do it over when they're finished.  I always say I have to do everything twice.  I can't wait to get that room furnished, get the landscaping done, and be able to sit and enjoy the fabulous view all the way back to the bayou.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Busy - Sort Of

I thought I would have all this free time when I moved here.  Nope.  Of course, physical therapy takes up a lot of my schedule each week, but the time just flies by each day.  I wonder what I have accomplished as I get ready for bed at night.  Sometimes I feel like I'm just "piddling." 

The windows still aren't installed.  It's raining so much now and we have to wait for a week of sunshine to get that done.  So the den still is empty except for the fold-out table with a sewing machine on it.  The cottage is progressing but still not done five months after the move.  This weekend I will have help getting the last of the boxes moved out and then I can move in, so to speak.  I have boxes of Cottage kitchen stuff sitting in the sunroom.  My goal is another month to make it into a studio but I hope it happens sooner than that.  I will get the cleaning lady when she comes again next week to clean the kitchen cabinets and the three bathrooms back there.  Then the rest is up to me.  I can do it.

I haven't been sewing a lot but have gotten a few things accomplished. 

I'm hand stitching down the binding for my bed quilt.  Finally!  I'm real anxious to get this on my bed and get new curtains in there.  The folks from whom I bought the house were supposed to leave the window treatments.  I guess they decided they wanted the bedroom drapes, and put some awful maroon things up when they left.  My heart flips every time I walk in there.  I am going to have some wooden blinds made to fit those odd sized, very wide windows, but in the meantime I'm going to just look for some dark cream drapes or curtains to hang.   I have a lot of this fabric left over, and I will maybe try to trim out those to match the quilt.  I just know I cannot stand what's in there one more minute.  When this is done I can mark at least one room off my list.

I have been spending some time each day working in the yard.  By "working," I mean walking around, snipping things, and just basically marveling at all the flowers and bulbs that are coming up that I didn't know were there.

It's really funny but there are things that were frozen to the ground and are popping up exactly where I planned to put those same plants.  For example, this amaryllis.  I received one for Christmas, and thought I'd put it here and add two or three more.  I'm glad I waited to start digging because green started showing above ground and then it bloomed - the same spot I was going to plant the other one.

Around the oak trees in the front and at other strategic points in the yard daylilies greened up and are now blooming.  I thought I would add something green at the base of those trees.  I guess previous owners had the same thoughts.

In several places around the yard there are crepe myrtles that were so overgrown and scraggly.  I decided to just cut those back to the nubs and see what happened. I was told that wasn't the correct way to trim them. They are all leafing out and I think they will bloom nicely this year.  Now I can thoughtfully prune them each year and keep them at a manageable size.  Under these were some really awful looking roses.  They were just sticks.  I cut those back to about six inches above the ground.  They bloomed a beautiful soft pink that's not really apparent in this picture.  They are a variety of an English rose with tiny single blooms.  More daylilies surfaced. 

Penny has been enjoying the outside a lot.  I go out with her and sit while she explores.  She's only allowed to roam between the house and the pool.  I don't want her going between the pool and the bayou for now.  I was so scared of her coming across a snake.  Everyone, the gardener, workers, my brother, the cleaning lady, have all told me that they've seen a snake somewhere in the yard.  I had never seen one -- until yesterday afternoon.  I went to my nephew's for barbecue, and when I got home I walked with Penny out of the sunroom into the yard.  We both stepped right over a snake on the sidewalk about six feet from the house next to a flower bed.  When I saw it, I reach down and grabbed her, ran (or as close to running as I can do right now) to the screened porch at the Cottage and threw her in there.  I called a friend for advice, grabbed a shovel and headed back to that area, getting advice the whole time on what to do.  Well, the snake was gone by the time I got back to it.  From my description, he told me it was a garter or garden snake and was good for my yard.  Well, I.don'!  Mr. Snake can just go eat lizards at someone else's house - or in Heaven if I see him again!  So now I'm going to walk outside with Penny with a shovel or hoe in hand. 

I think seeing my first snake is kind of like getting the first nick on a new car.  Now that it's done, maybe I can relax a bit.  Maybe.  Or not.  We'll see.

It's Monday and it's a free day for me.  I'm heading in there to work on that binding.  I guess there are more important things I could be doing today, but that's what I'm focused on at the moment.  No piddling today!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Glorious Sunday

It's so beautiful here today.  It was 65 at 9:00 this morning and it's now 75.  Love this weather!

I've been working like a mad woman in the Cottage.  I thought I had a couple of more weeks before my new Horn cutting table was to be delivered.  They called me Friday night to tell me it was in and would be delivered Saturday afternoon.  Yikes!  I had done a lot in the Cottage but I still had boxes to unpack so that would fit in there.  I'm now about 75% done but there are still a lot of boxes sitting around.  Most of those have to go upstairs and I'll need to hire some muscle to do that.  But I did empty 30 more boxes.

I went ahead and got two cabinets to slide under each end of it as well as a big cutting mat to cover the top.  The tables aren't under there all the way so the top looks wonky.  Once the boxes behind it are moved out, then I can put it in its forever home and lock the wheels.  I already love it and I haven't cut a single thing on it yet.  The height is perfect, and my cutters and rulers will fit nicely in the drawers.

I ordered this from the Quilting Niche in Houma, LA.  I looked for a Horn dealership nearby, called them, and was able to place the order over the phone.  The owners, Debbie and Patrick, brought it to me yesterday and set it up.  It turns out they are also a Bernina dealer.  I showed Patrick the box that looked crushed that my 750 was packed in.  He took it out and, sure enough, there was a problem with it.  So they took it back to the shop and I'll go pick it up in a couple of weeks.  I can't wait to visit their quilt shop.  It's an hour away but that's close enough considering how perfectly lovely they were.  And the plus is that they also can service my Berninas.  Win/win!

All of the blocks are made for Lucy but I had to stop sewing on it to work on the Cottage project.  I'll don't know how much I'll get to sew this week because my brother is having surgery, and I also have physical therapy two days, blood work and an abdominal ultrasound.  So that's four days busted.   I'm going to try really hard to sew even for a few minutes each day. 

The best thing is I finally found all of my photo albums.  I enjoyed looking through them this morning.  There was a tearful moment when I found lots of pictures of Katie, my first doxie.

This was from November 1980 when she was three months old and I was about four months old.  (rolls eyes)  She was the best dog, extremely active, ran-not-walked, made me laugh every single day for 17 years, and she'll always have a piece of my heart.

I've been taking lots of pictures of flowering things in the yard and beds, but I won't bore everyone here.  It's been so much fun watching things bloom that I thought were dead, bulbs popping up everywhere.  Now that I pretty much know what's here, I can add to it more easily.  I love my yard!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sewing a Little - or a Lot

I've been sewing.  I can't do a whole lot of other things.  I'm still waiting for the last window to come in (it had to be remade), and then waiting for a dry week to get them installed.  I tell you, patience is not a virtue I possess!  I did make a decision on some of the new furniture, and that should be ordered this week.

Since I've taken over the empty den to sew in for the time being, I've used this time to be a bit productive.  Of course, physical therapy two times a week, and at a place 30 miles away, has cut into my production, but I am forging ahead as best as I can.

I made Block 10 of the Designer Mystery BOM from the Fat Quarter Shop.

Two more months and this can be assembled.  I looked at the finishing kit yesterday and am considering changing it up a bit.  Still have time to ponder that.

I have *almost* finished the Moda Modern Building Blocks top.  I was an inch and a half short on a color and had to place an order last week.  Hopefully it will come in today and I can get this one off my sewing table - and off the floor.  I'm sure I wastefully cut something to have come up short. (sigh)  This is a big quilt and I've really had a bunch of fun making it, especially working with the Moda solids.

Last week I unearthed the Lucy quilt from those boxes out back.  Carrie Nelson offered this kit shortly before she went to work for Moda.  I love the orange, black and gray fabrics.  Anyway, I decided to cut those out yesterday.  Busy hands and all ....

I still have to cut the background that happens to be my favorite dots from Minick & Simpson.  I thought if I get these strips cut, I can start sewing the strip sets between other sewing projects I have going on.  There are a lot of them to make.

After I cut the strips, I sat down and organized the strips into sets.  I used the binding clips to hold each set.  I'm ready to sew these now, and am so proud of myself for being so organized!  ;)

My new cutting table will be in in two or three weeks, so I'm going to spend time on the days I feel good tackling the rest of those boxes downstairs in the Cottage, or at least the part of the downstairs that my sewing table and cutting table will go.  I haven't even set up my Bernina 750 out there yet.  I did take it out of the box.  A couple of boxes later I found the foot pedal.  The next box had the cord, and yet another box had the knee lift.  What was that packer thinking?  It's been such a mess finding things.  I'm in my forever home and I plan on the next move being in a hearse, but I can honestly say that if I did move again, I wouldn't use that company!  I have two or three long boxes of freezer paper and I can't find any of them, and the little local market didn't have any.  It's so irritating to open a box with almost all of the things I'm looking for, only to find one thing missing and the box stuffed with unrelated items.  Another example, I found the Bose radio but the envelope containing the instructions and the remote are not in that box.  I purposely placed them on top of the radio before the packers arrived. Sheesh ...

Enough complaining.  I need to head to a larger market and I have just added freezer paper to my list.  I'm anxious to get started on the Austin Bluebird BOM!