Saturday, December 30, 2006

Abe's Feast...

Abe is 3 and he has personality. Lots of personality. His Grandmother made this apron for him and he was so thrilled to receive it. He was having to wear an old white waist apron- up under his armpits. This one, with the tools on it, is "kewl." Abe had a feast any 3 year old would have loved- and we all enjoyed it, too. Let's see... he set the table with a picnic tablecloth in bright plaid blue and orange. His appetizer was Ritz crackers with cream cheese and strawberry jelly. This is a treat Abraham dearly loves and so it was a no-brainer for him to serve to his guests. He made them himself and the kids were sweet in not mentioning the big blops of jelly all over the serving plate. He also dished up a big bowl of goldfish crackers. His main dish was West Virginia hotdogs. Hotdogs are one of those foods that differ greatly from one area to the next. First, you broil the hotdogs- no water near our weenies, please. Then, be sure to steam your buns. A West Virginia hotdog is topped with mustard, onions, chili, and a sweet creamy coleslaw. Now, I know that probably sounds weird to you guys, but we West Virginians like our coleslaw. You should try it- as Abe says, forking in a big bite, "I love this stuff!" And yeah, you usually have to clean your plate with a fork because it gets real messy. Ah come on, you know you want to try it! He fixed a side of french fries and we had orange juice to drink. He made giant cookies with M&Ms in them for his dessert- which I don't know why he bothered as he likes to pick all the candy out and just eat that! He bought ink pens for the bigger kids and the 3 youngest all got little travel magna-doodles. It was a lot of fun to be 3 again!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

One felt bag...

done. Or nearly so. I still have to sew a lining. I am making this bag for my friend, K. K has been my friend longer than any other- 21 years. and that is saying something. She just lost her mom a few days before Christmas and I was already in a quandry about what to give her for Christmas... There are only so many quilts you can make someone- especially when they don't live in a cold climate- I've made her 3. But I think this little handbag is a winner! I might have to fill it with some luxurious little gifts. It is all sewn by hand- I am going to have to try to make one using the sewing machine, next.

Paul's Feast...
Paul(12) is my still water... you know what they say about still waters running deep. That's Paul. He tends to be quiet and private... but sometimes he just overflows and it is amazing what is going on under the surface of his controlled veneer. He is very smart. He had a really fun feast. Have you ever read any of the Redwall novels by Brian Jacques? Paul's feast was a Redwall feast. There are pages in his books dedicated to the menus of the "folks" at Redwall Abbey. The occupants are mostly mice and small woodland creatures like badgers and squirrels, moles and such. So... think vegetarian. He had scones, sprinkled with sugar, and dried fruit for his appetizer. His main course was macaroni and cheese. He wanted to do fish, but he has several brothers who aren't the biggest fan of fish, so... He had strawberry fizz for his drink- he mixed Hawaiian punch with 7-up. And then his dessert was really spectacular. The kids were all amazed. Apparently shrews are really good cooks in Redwall Abbey. So he served not 1, but 2, shrew cakes. He fixed a yellow cake and a white cake- 3 layers each. Hollowed out the cakes and stacked them on top of each other. He filled the white cake with strawberries and strawberry glaze and the yellow cake- my favorite, with peaches and blueberries with peach glaze. The cakes he covered with cool whip. They were so pretty- these big fluffy mounds and when you cut into them- oh, the fruit! It was really very very tasty- good enough for company and an easy thing to make! The gifts- well, the 4 oldest boys got new pocket knives, and the 4 youngest got those little "break and shake" glow tubes that you can take camping. They took them to bed with them and had a fun time staying up later than they probably should have! It was a very original feast and "tasty" as Abe says.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It's a blessing... and a curse...

...Nines is standing, contrite, in the laundry room.... It's 11:00pm, and she's in her nightgown...

"That's the price ya pay, Dan, when you marry a woman with a creative bent of mind..." there's a twinkle in Bill's eye as he says this and I can see his dimples, so I know he isn't too cross with me. There's clothes washer parts scattered about the room- buckets full of fuzzy water... Dan is handing Bill another tool. "Just think Mom, how much you'd have to pay to get this fixed if Dad weren't so handy..." "oh, she'll pay, son, she'll pay..." There's more than a twinkle in his eye now...maybe even a leer... Suffice to say, I paid.

  • 1 sweater= $3.50+1 new clothes washer= $350=1 very expensive handbag
  • A handy husband to fix the washer for free=priceless

I have come to several conclusions about felting- which is actually "fulling" since the sweaters are already knit...

  1. It's sadistic- taking a perfectly good sweater and "ruining"it.
  2. It's rebellious- blatantly ignoring the label and not only not "drycleaning only", but plunking the sweater into hot water, using harsh dishwashing soap- no mild detergent, throwing in a couple pair of jeans, and then tossing the sweater into the hottest dryer possible. Goes against all the laws of good laundering.
  3. It's masochistic- you're the one who has to pay for a new washer.
  4. It's a whole lot of fun! If you leave out the "little" worry of ruining your washer machine.

So... I was amazed at how much the sweaters shrunk up- the purple one is in the washer now. Oh I know, it's dreadful isn't it? But now that I know Bill can fix it... oh this is terrible. But I just can't seem to be able to stop myself... point #5... It's addictive. You never know what you're gonna get. I am saving the red sweater for a laundry mat and that is what I suggest for all you out there who don't have such an indulgent, sweet-tempered, handy man in your lives.

Dan's Feast...

Daniel is 15 and he's a classic. He likes classic cars from the 50's, football, and is an avid outdoorsman. He has the heart of a knight... always looking for the right thing to do and is singularly focused on doing it. He's always been that way. (I remember when he was 7 and a neighbor's little boy came into our yard - we lived in town then, and even though Daniel was younger and smaller, he told the boy to go back to his own yard and not to come back until he had decided to stop with the potty mouth!) As you can see, Daniel's feast was a fast food restaurant... We made up the menu and hung it in the living room- he set up a couple walkie-talkies and the children made their selections. Daniel made lots of static-y sounds and asked for them to repeat their orders- "You want grapes on your cheeseburger?" Then they "pulled up to the second window"- the door of the kitchen! where he had their meals all sacked and ready to take to the table! He had goofy little gifts in their meal bags and the kids had such a blast placing their orders. (The Joe Jr. burger is a joke- to tease his older brother. Joe has had some tummy problems and so we decided to joke about it- sometimes you gotta make light of things that worry you a little bit- Joe loved it and ordered 6 Joe Jr. Burgers!) Daniel put red and green streamers across the ceiling- very fast-foodish! The dessert was apple crisp and vanilla icecream. See? A classic. We all had a great time at a very original feast.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

OK Darcie, Now what??

I've purchased 6, 100% wool sweaters at a local thrift shop and I am now ready to... I am not sure what you had in mind, but I am ready to get started whenever you are ready to give me a little direction! Well, yeah, I realize that it is 3 days until Xmas but I was thinking that a little creative diversion would allay any panic that I feel bubbling up. Sort of a denial type thing, but I figured it would be a lot more fun to ignore the obvious, I'm hopelessly behind, and felt wool- never done that, than face reality in all it's cold hard splendor. Aren't the sweaters pretty? I paid about $1.79 for each of them- the patterned one I paid a whoping $3.50. Won't they make pretty... see? Here's where I need some help!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Red Hat Happy...

I know the picture is a bit fuzzy, but it is the only one I took, so it'll have to do. This is what we made using that cool 9-patch sew, cut and flip method that I showed you a few weeks ago. This was a commission piece- something I rarely- read that NEVER do, but... I was charmed into it! One rainy morning at the quiltshop- just before Thanksgiving, a man comes in. (This is a fairly rare happening. We don't see many men. Maybe the UPS guy...There is this one guy who rides a Harley...) But this other guy- who happened to come into the shop on the same morning as "Mr.Harley" was a different kinda guy. He looked mystified, but on a mission. I think he took courage from "Mr. Harley" and asked if we knew of any little old ladies that might like to make some extra money for Xmas... giggle. It was real hard to keep a straight face. I could see where this was going... He thought he had come into the shop with plenty of time to spare to have a quilt made for his wife for Xmas... And Tanya just about shut him down with a quote about what it would cost. ($700) We explained that we just can't compete with Malasia. Usually folks leave right there and then, but he kinda lingered. I could see he was flabbergasted but still determined to come up with an original gift for his wife who... is a real enthusiastic red hat lady. Tanya returns to her conversation with "Mr. Harley" and I take the charmer in hand. (He reminded me so much of my Uncle Tommy. Uncle Tommy was a bachelor and he would spoil us kids crazy with candy and new winter coats. He would visit near Xmas each year and bring a trunkload of oranges from Florida. He bought me a new wardrobe when I graduated high school- even helped me pick it all out- he had very good, and expensive, taste. Every child should have an Uncle Tommy. He even helped me with some college tuition. He has a big heart.) Well, this guy reminded me of him... And he loved the red hat fabric that we had. And I said that maybe it didn't need to be a bed-size quilt... now what was I thinking? I don't know, but he left with me promising to call him when I had a total rung up for a throw-size quilt that would fit very nicely into her spare bedroom that was decorated to the nines in redhat! Tanya decided we could do it, if we kept it very simple. She made up the pattern, we figured yardage, batting, quilting fees, labor... $275!! I called him, nervously, and he only says, "It'll be nice, right? You get what you pay for. OK." So she cut and pinned and I sewed. Tanya peiced the back- her specialty(Which I could kick myself for forgetting to take a picture!) I quilted it and she bound it. it was really a joint effort and then she called him up and she made him this incredible label that included 2 pictures of him and his wife together and a poem he had written for her!!! "'re my best chum, you're my sugarplum." was the last line and I knew that even though we were a little stressed out about getting it done during this busy season, it was worth it! How sweet is that? I can't wait to find out how she liked it, but I know that there won't be another like it- shew!

Eva's feast...

was a couple nights ago. Eva...understands things. I don't have to explain much when it comes to people. She just knows. She's 7 going on 70. She is very sympathetic and authentic. I love her easy company. She made a spaghetti dinner for the family. She had orange wedges for her appetizer and chocolate milk to drink. Her dessert was sundaes with all kinds of topping- chopped candy bars and cookies, sprinkles and cherries, syrup and whipped cream- making sure to tell the boys that they are NOT to squirt it into their mouths. She decorated the room by making tons of paper snowflakes and DH Bill hung them from the ceiling using string. It was really lovely. She draped my scrap batting over the backs of the seats and across the children's bench- like it was snowing, she said. We had a runway of red glass votives sitting on paper snowflakes down the length of the table. Her gifts were a great find at the dollar store- puzzles. The big boys' puzzles have 500 peices and a couple of them have already been completed. The smaller children had simpler puzzles, even a wooden one for Abe the babe. It was a really great feast.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Favorite things...Just a picture I like... these are the boys and DH Bill on their recent hunting trip- they got rained out of their tent and had to spend the nights at a hotel. Now that sounds like more fun to me. DS Joe(16), DS Jacob(13), DH Bill, and DS Daniel(15). Their smiles are certainly a few of my favorite "things!"

Feast Days...

Every December, we celebrate what we call "Feast Days." We put the numbers 1-8 in a bowl and the children draw- to determine the order that they will be going in. We get out a calender to assign dates to each child and then they each meet with me- secretly- to plan their menu. The meals are usually very simple, but incredibly thought-out, as to what they think the other children might especially like. We read the book of Ester to show how a simple act of kindness can make a big difference. Then on each feast day- or the day before, I take each child out to shop for groceries and small simple gifts to give each of their "guests." They decide how they will set the table and how they will decorate the room. On the feast day, as they are preparing their meal- with a little help from Mom, we curtain off the kitchen so it will all be a surprise.

Jacob's Feast... was last night. He set out the best china and put pine on the table along with gold tinsel. He put 2 oil lamps on the table, also. He made fried chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans and rolls. Bottled sodas- remember when they were always in glass bottles? My kids get the biggest kick out of opening the bottles! Orange and Grape Crush. Another feast tradition is having appetizers- I think the children look forward to that as much as the meal. Why don't we have appetizers with our everyday suppers? Maybe because it would make the feast days less special;) Jacob sliced apples and served them with caramel sauce. His dessert was a big hit- butterfinger ice cream- (a 2 quart box of ice cream, a large box of coolwhip, and a gazillion chopped up butterfinger candybars.) He thought that one up, himself. Soooooo good. And simple. His gifts were those little pocket notebooks which he gussied up with stickers that had inspirational sayings on them. The kids loved them. They all are walking around today looking like little detectives taking notes!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Doodling or noodling...

It's a slow quilting/sewing week for me. Already Wednesday and not a thing to show for it. So... I thought I'd just show you one of my doodles. I have a large doodle sheet. It is about a queen size peice of muslin- which I cut into squares and then sewed back together. Threw in some batting. Whenever I want to try a new design, I just pin it to the machine and then I doodle away. (It takes a while to pin the thing on- I think that most people don't realize the time involved in just getting ready to quilt. It takes me anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes to get a quilt on the frame- depends on the size. It is one of my least favorite parts of the whole process, but not a bad "I'm too tired to do much else" kinda job. Rather like the dishes or the laundry. Jobs that needs be done. I like to get my quilts on the machine at night- then I can come in, all fresh in the morning, and get straight to work.) Doodling is one of my favorite things to do- just go where the needle takes me. Do you ever do that on the margins of your papers? You know, draw little curlyques and squiggles? That's so much fun. Now try it without lifting your pencil. That's continuous line and bit more of a challenge, but you'll get the hang of it. I find that doodling with the machine is actually easier than doodling with a pencil. Can't say why. Maybe it is that loud droning in my ears. It is quite loud. I remember when we first got the machine- I would just about jump out of my skin when that thing would kick in- so loud. It was intimidating. A common response, as I can rarely get anyone to play around with the thing. They refuse to make eye contact and back away slowly. I am kinda that way with anything loud. I love my food processor, and my KitchenAid mixer- but I sometimes avoid using them because they are so loud. Kinda spoils the whole theraputic process of making a pot of soup! When I am finished doodling, I just remove the doodle sheet and get back to work... but you know me, right? It will be a whole cloth quilt when I have used up all the spaces on it! No point in using up fabric, even muslin, with no useful purpose other than doodling!

Favorite things... I know you can barely see it in this tiny picture... But I love this bangle. It belonged to my DH's grandmother. Everybody called her Baba, and she lived to be almost 93. She was a cool and practical lady, and she loved her jewely. This bangle is made from 2 stainless steel wires that are twisted together and then pounded flat- no easy feat with stainless steel. The thing is unbendable- I've tried. Yet is so smooth and "soft" feeling at the same time. And the scalloped edge is pretty. My favorite quote of Baba's... OK, I have 2 favorite quotes..."The Devil has made life hard for me... Not that I hold that against him. That's his job." and "Fish and company stink after 3 days."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Love Letters...

Isn't it funny how a simple little note can make you smile for days? The boys (the 3 oldest) all went hunting with their Dad a week or so ago. They were gone for 3 days, and I was kinda dreading their absence. When I went back to my sewing room to pout, I found this note on my machine- how well they know me! It is from my DS Jake(13y) and it just made me laugh! How sweet is that?

Not much sewing going on here. I have a client quilt on the frame- the last of the season. And I think I can finish it, today, if I just knuckle down and do it. I am helping a friend to make a quilt for her husband for Xmas. It is a simple Trip Around the World- the one by Eleanor Burns. She has the trip done, and today we go shopping for border fabric. I keep thinking that I don't have time for this, but then... there's always time to do what God wants you to do. I did make 8 turban towels, this weekend, to put into college student gift bags. But that's about all the sewing I have had time for. The floor of the sewing room looks like snow as the terry fabric sheds something fierce when you cut it!

Favorite things... This platter was given to me by Sarah for my birthday- years ago. It is pressed aluminum with daffodils running all around it- she had a mirror cut to fit the indentation in the center. It hangs by my kitchen door and is one of my favorite things.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sewing of a different kind...

I suppose stringing popcorn could be considered sewing- it does involve a needle and thread, right? And how fast it goes when you have 8 busy little sets of hands! I could barely get their strings tied together in the amount of time they were turning them out. I have a small tree which I put up in the kitchen. We cover it with all edible things. So there are strings of popcorn and gingerbread men and dried apples and orange slices studded with cloves. It smells yummy! It needs some candy canes, I think. DS Dan said that the tree was pathetic, but that is only because it is quite small- only 6 feet high and like the rest of his family, he likes things BIG! So we bought a 10 foot tree, last night, for the living room. I usually like a bigger one than that, but it was the biggest one I could find, so we'll be happy to have it. (The picture also shows my kitchen sink. Darcie and I were talking about sinks, the other day. This sink was in the house when we bought it and it is one of the few original things that we kept. It is a gardener's dream- makes canning so easy and great with a large family. I am considering getting the base painted at an automotive shop- the paint I put on there just doesn't stand up to the constant water and soap. And isn't that a great window? DH Bill put that in for me. I love the light and sunshine- and the view for miles across the fields! It is so phenomenal on a snowy day!)
Favorite things....
This little cup, I bought at a thrift shop for 49 cents. It says, "Made in New Zealand" on the bottom, and I can't say why, really, but I just like it. It makes me happy and I have put it on my list of favorite things.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'm better than I think...

...I said that the other day in regards to getting the collar on this coat. My Mom said that wasn't a bad mantra. Personnally, I think the coat fits me better. Sorry about cutting my head off- I'm having a bad hair year. DS Joe was horsing around, last night, while I was trying to get a picture of it, and I told him to cut it out, or I'd blog him. He really isn't worried about that kind of thing. Fine. Consider him blogged. I have no idea what that dwarf beard is all about...

I made the four panels for this coat, last December- it's in the archives. The weather here has turned cold and I thought, that with the guys on a hunting trip... I should try to finish a project. (I did get 2 of the 3 client quilts done, so I was feelin' a bit neglected.) It really is like making four little baby quilts! I quilted them up, Friday. There is cotton batting in the body of the coat and flannel in the sleeves. I washed the panels after they were quilted so I didn't need to worry about my jacket shrinking after I had put all the work into making it! I am not the best at clothing construction- or "wearables" as they are called in the quilting industry. (Don't the terms "quilting" and "industry" sound weird in the same sentence?) But I am better than I think I am! The pattern that I used was great because it was for a shearling coat and so they took into consideration the extra thickness of the fabric and all. It is a bit too big, but that'll just make it more comfy, right? It only took 3 hours to make- and that includes the bias binding. Bias binding... I think that is a first for me. They say it is supposed to wear better. I took the coat for a test run, yesterday evening. 18* and it was really quite comfortable. But I did have a sweater on under it...

Well, I need to scoot- It's Tuesday and work won't wait. Have a great day and stay warm!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I Painted 15 doors, yesterday...

let me rephrase that... I painted 15, 6-panel doors, yesterday! Oh guys, com'on! Cut it out. Really, I'm blushing. There's no need for a standing ovation! I'm not doing this for the glory... (I'm doing it for the cold hard cash!) I also painted 2 bathrooms. Amazing how much whiter things look when you paint everything white! I need to finish up all the painting, tomorrow. Just touchups, really- and the doorframes- which might just get a good washing... Then, DH Bill gets to finish up, putting a clear coat on 100 miles, seemingly, of trim. I think it all looks great, hope she's happy with it.
So... what am I sewing on? Well, guys that would be nothin. nada. Zip. Not any time for that kinda thing. OK, you caught me, I did throw together a postcard or 6, but they were super simple with a Michael Miller print. But other than that... it's been something of a forced hiatus. Which I am sure I will be paying for dearly in the next few weeks. 3 client quilts to wrap up in the next week, but I am hopeful as the guys are all going hunting and that leaves me in a wonderful housebound situation- must quilt or else! I usually work on Tuesday, but I am playing hooky. No, not really, Tanya! I didn't abandon you lightly. But Abe the babe is feeling poorly with a croupy cough and stuffed up head. So I am playing nursemaid with him. He has been miserable. And when the baby ain't happy... well, you know the rest.
See that hand? That is DS Jake's hand. See what's on it? Well, it was the weirdest thing... Thanksgiving day was unseasonably warm and very sunny- not a cloud in the sky. The guys were busy framing in my new porch/dining room. About noon, it gets real quiet out there, no more hammering or groaning... and they start to shout that I need to bring my camara and get outside. I dash out and... Weird! The sky is full of... this stuff. Odd. Not just like a small patch, but the whole sky. It was floating and moving- kinda like strands of silk... Did you figure it out before I did? It was a gi-normous spiderweb!!!! Tons of spiderwebs, actually. Full of these tiny little chigger-size spiders. weird. All of a sudden I start feelin' like I had all these things crawling over me.... probably did, but just freaked out a little bit over the quantity. DS John caught a few of the little buggers- should I ask where they are, now? Nah, sometimes ignorance is blisss. By 2 in the afternoon, all of the cars and trees are draped in these strands of spiderweb. Weird. You could just reach up your hand and catch them as they floated down to earth. If you wanted to. Me? Not so much. But it was an awesome thing to see. The pictures didn't come out- the sun was too bright. So I had a little excitement thrown in with the montony of painting.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Squeezing in one more thing...

I did get a postcard made, last night. I have a friend that collects Raggedy Anns(even has a business named after her) and so I put it in the mail first thing, this morning. I thought she turned out sweet and cheerful. I had a lace collar on her, but it wouldn't lay down right so I had to simplify. better luck, next time. I love her raggedy hair- I was going to use yarn, but the fabric just called to me, so.. I once had a Raggedy Ann doll and I took her with me to the hospital when I had my tonsils out- I was 8. I had prettier dolls, but I was attatched to her- she was so soft and had been with me for a long while. Now, she was a bit grubby- spindled, even. But I loved her anyway. The admissions nurse took a look at her and said, "My! Isn't she a pretty ugly doll?" Well, I guess she thought this 8 year old wasn't intelligent enough to understand what she said, but it only made me love Raggedy Ann more. What kind of nurse criticizes an 8 year old's babydoll? I haven't cared much for hospitals, since!

Dawn- Yes, I love to cook. But you know, there are all kinds of tricks to it- just like sewing. And knowing the tricks is most of the battle. It doesn't take me much effort to fix a meal for just me or for the 10 of us. Really. I just use a bigger pot! And look at that expression on my 16 y olds' face! Worth every bit of effort I put into it! I have 4 teenage boys- I gotta cook or I'd have a rebellion on my hands! Keeps the natives happy. Hang in there and think "one pot meals" - maybe a crockpot recipe book would help! And I don't cater much to individual tastes- you don't like green peppers? Well, you can fish them out of your own plate!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

I'm just grabbing a couple minutes between cooking to wish you all a blessed day! We are having a great day- the weather is crisp and the children are all outside- some playing in the forest- a pleasure they have had to forgo while there were crops in the field, but now that the corn has been harvested, they can now cross the field and play in the 5 acres of woods in the middle of 250 acres of corn. They make bases and do all those universal things children do when they have the world as their playground. Several of the older boys are helping their Dad make a new porch on the house- the old one is barely worthy of the name. Next year, we plan to enclose the new porch so that we can have a new dining room- it's a tight fit around our rather long and narrow kitchen table! That leaves me in the kitchen, cooking. And running up here to blog and running to the quilting room while uploading pictures, to mend some curtains that didn't much appreciate the time they had in the clothes washer. I take down most of the curtains in the summer, but when cool weather returns... it just feels a bit cozier with the curtains rehung.

Here is a picture of the children at their big breakfast yesterday. It wasn't easy to get them to all look up at me- they had their little noses pressed to their plates! 8 of mine and the one girl is our "adopted" daughter- a young nursing student here at the university. It was a perfect morning- the children were so surprised and so sweet in thanking me for fixing their favorite things. Frost was thick on the ground and it just sparkled in the morning sunshine. Oh guys, how couldn't I be happy? It is so easy to get worried about silly things- things I can't control and it can make you cynical- like where in the world are we headed with wars and polution and people being so unkind and cruel? But when you see the joy in a child's eyes when they lift their sweet little faces up to the snow floating down all around them... it just tells your heart, "It's OK." There are still beautiful, pure things in this world and it's OK.

Forest Jane- Creamed tomatoes- it's a poor folk, mountain food. And if you like tomatoes, well, I think you'll appreciate it. I use tomatoes that I've canned during the summer, but you can use store- canned tomatoes with good results. Just empty a can of diced tomatoes into a saucepan, a pinch of sugar and salt and pepper to taste- bring to a simmer. While that's heating up, mix some flour with some milk and add to the tomatoes to thicken- thicker than gravy, but the same idea. Spoon over hot buttered biscuits. mmmm...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Mission Accomplished...

I finished the table runners I was making to sell at the tearoom. And a few wonderwallets. And while we were at it, we made some tree ornaments. And some earrings and bracelets... and my Mom made these adorable little pinafore aprons, and tons of napkins. I even made some redhat postcards! Imagine that. I dropped everything off this afternoon and the owner of the gift shop couldn't have been happier. And now it's back to everyday life. ahhh....

I love this time of year. Winter is waiting to drop it's white mantle upon the fields- we had our first "stick" last night. The children were ecstatic- so much fun to see it falling down and covering the ground and frosting the trees- makes the winter worthwhile. We moved into our house 7 years ago, today. We spent our first night here, on the kitchen floor- all the children on pallets on the floor around us. We had so much to be thankful for. Our Thanksgiving table was some plywood on a couple 50 gallon drums. It was really lovely. Such sweet memories. Thursday is my favorite day of the week- I can't say why, but the fact that Thanksgiving comes on a Thursday, every year, makes it a near perfect holiday in my book. It will be a quiet holiday. Dh Bill will bring his mom over and we'll have a turkey with all the trimmings. Last year I must have cooked 7 desserts. This year, we'll cook 4 pumpkin pies- keeping it simple. A quiet day at home surrounded by my favorite 9 people.

I am planning a surprise breakfast for the children on Wednesday- all of their favorite foods. Pancakes and bacon and creamed tomatoes and biscuits, applebutter(thank you Grandmother) and orange juice with gingerale. Scrambled eggs and fried potatoes. Sausages and croissants and coffee cake. And strawberries. I am so excited. Joe(16) is going to help me keep the little ones out of the kitchen while I cook. I want to set the table with my best china and linens(thanks Grandmother!) Yes, I'll be up early, but seeing as I get up at 3:30 am anyway... and I have something else to celebrate. Bill is changing his work schedule so we will be able to sleep in until 5:30, after this week! Who would have thought there would ever be a day when I would be thankful for the chance to sleep in until 5:30am? See? Life has a way of changing your perspective. Even when things seem a little dismal and bleak... I am just so amazed at the riches of His grace. Another year of happy memories of precious family and loved friends- even some new friends, here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Life gets "teedjus"...

So sometimes ya gotta shake things up a bit. How about that simple little 9-patch? You have to love the 9-patch, a staple of many a quilt. But, if I slice it down the middle and again, across the middle... turn the pieces... how cool is that!!?? Blocks with sashing and cornerstones all thrown in!! I've been wanting to share my little discovery of this for a couple weeks now. (I'm sure some of you smarty-pants have already been doing this for years! But it's a new trick for me!) Tanya, at the quilt shop showed me and I thought it was a really fun way to make a simple change. These are 6 1/2" blocks, but it works for any size! We even cut out 6" squares(made an 18" block) and it worked great. Try it, you'll love it! Now, you will have to make sashing and cornerstones for the left side and across the top, but that's a snap. Just add after you piece the top. Have fun!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

One I wouldn't want to be stuck with...

When I first started making table runners to sell, I figured that if I didn't sell them, I'd just give them as gifts. I have plenty of people in mind to whom I'd love to give a little gift. So there really wasn't any stress involved in color choices and design... until I started making them for the tearoom. She requested victorian- not my strong suit, but it's just a table runner, right? And flowers are generally something that a lot of traditional people like. But then there was the "Red-hat" ladies... Oh, dear, I really don't know anybody that I could give this to as a gift, so I sure hope it sells!! And I made 2! For those of you unfamiliar with the Red Hat set, I believe they are women 60 and older who... well, I am not sure what they do- other than wear red hats and eat their dessert, first. Maybe they are worried they won't make it through the entre... There were about 20 of them in the tea room when I last visited- they kinda stand out in a crowd, if you know what I mean. Well, this table runner certainly stands out! I have made several Xmas table runners and those "wonder wallets"- which make very nice gifts. In fact, I made 5 table runner tops, yesterday, before the children got up! And did about 6 loads of laundry, too. It was a pretty good morning! I had 4 of them quilted before breakfast. I have a few more things to throw together before the holiday sales. I decided that I wasn't going to rush or try to hurry- where would the fun be in that? So what I get done will be what I have done and that's it, folks!

An amazing thing happened, today. I didn't have a headache! I have had a headache since July- no kidding. And today, I am afraid to hold my head the wrong way for fear of it returning! I have a little niggling pain dancing along my right eyebrow, but nothing compared to the intense ache I have been trying to get rid of for months now! I am off the caffeine and synthetic sugar, I quit pulling my hair on top of my head, I have seriously cut back on my time at the quilting machine(sniff), I haven't taken a pain killer in about 2 months, I am drinking more water and eating more protein, I have started with new supplements of whole grain oil, Salmon oil, and Carotenoids... Really, I am trying! Next stop, the chiropractor. I am determined that he understand that it is a one time stop- I won't be returning- so hope he gets it right, the first time!

All this, in time to paint an entire house- even the closets by Monday. Is that possible? I might put off the chiropractic adjustment until after the house painting marathon... and it isn't even my house! And can I whine for just a minute- or have I whined enough, already? OK, just a little bit more... I just wish the paint were more interesting colors. White. Moonlit white. Now that's white, friends. sigh. All done whining. Now it's back to work. Those table runners aren't going to bind themselves!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Good Morning! Good Morning! Good Morning!!!!!!!

Well, it is still dark outside, but I have faith!! And I have so much to share! I had a stellar day, yesterday! I want to tell you how it started- I hope you don't think me materialistic!

  1. I made $110, yesterday!!!!! On Postcards!!! I just can't believe it!! I am thrilled, thrilled thrilled- and apparently talking in triplet, today! Where to start... I had this lunch date with a girl friend at a local tea house. (Yes, I am still decaffeinated- my eyes feel a little too big for their sockets and the headache persists- though abated, somewhat.) The Tea in the Country teahouse is in Yorktown, IN, and you have to make reservations to eat there. The food is delish and they sell gifts- she is expanding- bought the cottage next door- only 2 feet away. She's opening the new addition the day after Thanksgiving. (For those of you in other cultures and climates, the day after Thanksgiving is a huge shopping day here in the States- you'll find me hiding in my house.) After tea, I showed them my postcards- she bought 25! in 10 minutes! And her daughter bought several, also. And I gave her 1 as a tip for waiting table. I brought my 2 table runners- she grabbed them up and asked if I had any more? I will!! (Those will be on consignment) Then I sold 11 more postcards to a couple friends last night. So now I won't be doing that little craft show next month- I'll just sell my stuff at her shop and let her deal with the hassle. She told me to go home and start sewing- and don't stop for 2 weeks! She loved my cards and my quilting and didn't even make any artistic suggestions-said she could see I had talent- she'd take whatever I brought in. She had a nice variety there and I could see where my more traditional stuff would fit in nicely. I don't know if I can do victorian, but I'll give it a whirl. I'll have to find a place to sell the art postcards...
  2. I received the most beautiful thank you note from a soldier in Iraq. I had made a QOV quilt and he was so sweet in his appreciation. If you haven't taken the time out to make one of these- wow! The thank you letter is enough to make it all more than worthwhile!! I have always thought it would be so cool to write a book with pictures of quilts- a little blurb about who it is for- and then a copy of the thank you letter on the opposing page. I have a small stash of these letters and it is really very humbling to see how your time and efforts can really touch someone. So many people I love, so many quilts, man! I need some more time!
  3. I got a letter from my friend "Windy." She knows who she is! She had even printed out the words to that song- "Who's looking out to capture a rainbow? Everyone knows it's Windy!" Had me just singing my heart out- if a bit quietly so as to not allow my head to roll off my shoulders from the pain behind my right eye! I did buy some decaf tea at the teahouse- yummy stuff- had to add milk as I am off the sweetners, too.

It was just a great day! The kids and I will be huddled in the quilting room, if anyone needs me! No, don't say that! It's not a sweat shop! It's quite cool out there...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Honey, I'm home!!

Joe (16) got his first deer, today. 11 point buck- not a bad way to start! Bill got a 6 point buck. We'll be busy cutting up the meat, tomorrow! Oh, that's right! I work on Tuesdays. I guess they'll be busy tomorrow, teeheehee. See Tracey? Delegate. And they had such a wonderful time together.

Whatza Monday?

It's just another day of the week. Nothing special, but somehow... it's a day that can make me a bit moody. Maybe because I am always starting another diet on Mondays! The diet du jour- and that's all I can hope it will last- no caffeine (wah!) and I am trying to seriously restrict the artificial sweeteners. And for some one with BB's- that's a challenge. So I went without my morning cup of tea. Honestly, I'm havin' chest pains. And hot flashes. and a bad headache. And my toes are cold and my nose is hot. And I hear this strange ringing... Oh, OK, I'll survive. But I'm not happy about it.

DH Bill and the 3 oldest boys are hunting, today. They left yesterday afternoon and spent the night in the woods. So that might attest to my normal routine being out of whack. Speaking of whacking... hope they get something. I figure that with 4 people hunting, surely they will be coming home with some protein for the freezer, right? I have been bumping around the house with all the extra room their absence has afforded me. Just me and the 5 little ones. We've done some cooking and watched a movie. I made a few more postcards- I like this dragon fly one. It is a lot of fun to make- I use the 4x6" stabilizer as my foundation and then just stitch and flip- improvisationally. I don't even trim up the extra fabric- what fer? It's just a post card, right? When I have covered the whole peice of stabilizer, I iron it down and trim it up. Ta-da! I stitched over all the seams with some pretty variegated primary color thread- rayon. (5 adjectives in that sentence-shew!) And then stitched it to the card base.

The table runners I made to sell at a tea room. (Notice the empty tea cup?) Now aren't you all just shocked at their traditional colors and patterns? I can do traditional if I put my mind to it! These are the poetry collection fabrics by Moda. I got them while down in Tennessee with Sarah. I have been making a few things to sell at the tea room and at the craft show- but I always have someone specific in mind, if they don't sell. That way I have some gifts all ready to go.

oh, I think my decaffeinated body needs a nap! Now why am I doing this? Oh, that's right, caffeine and artificial sweetners are supposed to be bad for me. I'm wondering if I really care... Now stop that, Nines! I can do this!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Heading to Riley Childrens' Hospital, today...

Evabeth has her last routine visit with the neurologists at Riley. Her Dr. is Romanian and she can do a hilarious imitation of him, "Soooo... Ow are yu veeling today?" Like a Transilvanian Vampire! Even he laughs when she does it for him. She has been doing so well on her medication and I am pretty sure we'll skate through this visit. While she isn't cured, the difference in her is so great that we feel that we can certainly be very happy and feel very blessed with her current condition. She told me last night that she was going to outgrow it and I thought, "From your mouth to God's ears, little one." I will be glad to wrap up our visits at Riley- they are very good to us there, but it will be nice to come back home and have visits with the local drs- like normal people. At least until she has a growing spurt. Then it'll be back to the circus. But she is only 7 so I figure she has a couple years until... things change. Lord willing.

How do you like our "do's"? I wear my hair pulled up most of the time, and the girl's wanted theirs up, too. Of course Abe had to have his picture taken, too. Eva's dress is a sore point with me. You didn't notice it? I really don't like fussy clothes- lace or big flowers... but a friend made it and Evabeth loves it- of course! So she gets to wear it around the house- didn't want you thinking I'd let her out of the house in that giddup. It looks like a curtain, doesn't it? A little Von Trap child. The more froo-froo, the more she likes it. Typical 7, huh?

Update: Bummer. Because Eva had a severe convulsion in the past 6 months, and she still has some abnormal brain activity, her meds are being increased and she isn't being released from the specialists' care. No big deal really. I guess I was just ready to get on with our lives. Which of course, we still can. 6 more months. We can do that.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Like it...

or not, I have quite a bit of this fabric. Apparently, I liked it enough to buy it...twice! It all started when Sarah and I went to a little quilt shop in Pendleton. They had this fabric on the clearance table. Hmm... wonder why? ohh, I do like it. It was half-off and so I bought a few yards. I remember Sarah rolling her eyes. About 6 months later, it was still on the clearance table. Hmm... wonder why? Ahhh... I still like it. It was half-off the clearance price so I bought the rest of the bolt. Now I have a tub half full of this fabric. About 8 yards. It is a rather large print- and I think it is one of those unusual civil war reproduction fabrics. I have always been a sucker for brown and turquoise, but I don't have a clue of what to do with it- that funny green is really hard to match.

If it isn't too late to show my pincushions, I thought I'd share mine. The little crow is the one I take with me when I am appliqueing and only need a few pins- and there is a little "under-wing" to hold the needles. The chicken I made from Darcie's pattern- I admit to feeling a bit... queasily guilty, every time I stick her with a pin! (I used to rotate the dolls I slept with- to keep from hurting any of their feelings- such an emotional pushover!) I thought Finn would especially like my rocking chair pincushion. It is quite old and needs some repair work. Those pins are permanantly embedded into the "cushion." It must be sawdust- but it is hard as a rock and you can't use the pins after they have been dulled by it. I have some real vintage fabric that I'll try to get around to replacing it with a little bean bag. The little lace pillow is covering a silk pillow and the tomato is my favorite standby. The rulers- my mom got me the 6" square- I can't tell you how much easier it makes making postcards- I have made about 35 in the last couple days- getting ready for Xmas. The Kaleidoscope ruler I treated myself to- I think my mom needs one!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Retreeeeat!!!! When I was a little girl, my sister and I used to go up on the mountain behind our house and pick blackberries. It was a pretty good hike and once we were there, we would head into the brambles... if you don't know about blackberries- well, they grow on briar canes. They are really quite vicious. They recommend that you wear long-sleeved shirts so that you don't get scratched, but then the briars snag you and you can barely move. My sister went down into a particularly thick patch of blackberry canes. Deeper she went, until I couldn't see her from up on the ridge behind her. Occasionally the brush would move, and then, eventually, one quivering hand came out from the green leaves, with one finger pointed into the air, a faint cry of, "Retreeeeat!" floated up the mountain. Sometimes you got to know when to get out of a sticky situation.

Well, I hollered my own little, "Run away!" chant yesterday! I had this huge mess in the quilting room. The tables were all covered and the shelves were all disheveled. Fabric had exploded and settled on every horizontal surface. Time to retreat and regroup. The power was out all day- high winds. And so I cleaned and organized and sorted and reclaimed. Ahh... now doesn't that feel good? Well, it should, anyway. Oh you guys know me, I am not one to need a clean slate in order to muddle through. If I waited until I cleared a space, I would rarely get the opportunity to create. And when everything is so clean and neat... well, I just don't feel at home. I am conditioned to mayhem and confusion! I took it as a challenge to make something after all that cleaning. I did find 2 of my favorite pieces of fabric in the process, you know! And I had this new 45* ruler... and there it is. It fills in a blank space on the wall that was buggin' me- I don't do "places to rest your eye." Close your eyes, if you want to rest them!

The following pix is of my bedside table- I didn't clear here, can ya tell? I just thought it was a funny sight. Maybe I have a problem. Well, water bottles on the bedside table are better than candybar wrappers, right? I look like I have that malady suffered by that girl in "Signs." (Remember her need to have water all around- hers was always contaminated.) I am reading this book about water- and our vital need for it and I guess, I am taking it all to heart. After every 10 bottles of water, I am allowing myself a sugar-free orange juice. I guess I really need a wastebasket by the bed. Or maybe a trash compactor.

PS Mom... Maybe you should
reconsider and give that picnic on Mars
another chance. I found that if I cut the
corner triangle considerably larger
than the pattern says and square up
after sewing- much much easier than
trying to find the center if those wedges
to place the center of the triangles.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Floating from the past...

No, silly, no ghosts here! Bill will sometimes say, with tongue in cheek, "No good deed goes unpunished." But ya know, sometimes good things happen when you least expect it!

I had a ton of errands to run one day, last week. I made 7 stops and I was really beat. I looked in the back of the Jeep and noticed 2 bags of fabric that Tanya- at the quilt shop- had been bequeathed for charity. My friend Jeanie, had been telling me how her preacher had asked her to start a ladies' sewing circle to make quilts for their Heart to Heart program. I understand that this is for unwed mothers. She was buying all of the fabric, herself, and then I thought of the fabric in Tanya's basement... So the two things came together. I was so tired, and I thought of waiting to deliver it until another day. But I hated the thought of her being able to use it and not having it... So I dropped by her house, like Santa, with these 2 big garbage bags on my shoulders. As always, Jeanie was so thrilled with her surprise and says, how she was just thinking of me- and there sat a bag by the door to prove it! In this bag were all these wonderful undies of her Mom's. Jeanie is one of those timeless people and I really couldn't guess how old she is, but I know she has a grandson in college. These clothes have to be over 100 years old!! Jeanie said that she couldn't think of anyone who would appreciate her old things more...than ME!! I was blown away!! In the top picture are a pair of bloomers- see the buttons on the bottom of the left garment? And a really delicate and beautiful petticoat- which I wore to church, Sunday! No kidding! Under my skirt- but I had to keep lifting up my hem to show everybody!! Probably a Bible verse about that kind of thing!! (It went beautifully under a "new" skirt I had found at Goodwill. Jeanie said that her Mom always said, "It's not what you have... it's what people think you have!!" I laughed so hard!) And a chemise. There was also a nightgown- with lots of little tucks and a gorgeous piano scarf of real battenburg lace. Needless to say, I left Jeanie's considerably more energized!! I am thinking that I will crochet-cover some wire hangers and line up all the pretties down the length of an 8-foot quilt rack that is hanging on my bedroom wall. Could be kinda romantic. I plan on painting the walls a dark color- eventually- so that'll set them off nicely, eh?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Keeping Mom busy...

My Mom and Dad have come for a short visit. I've been showing her how to make postcards. She has made at least 8, herself. I don't know how she can be creative in that mess she's made!! Giggle. That's the way it is- things start to pile up and at some point you need to put it all back so you can figure out what you have! I think she's having fun. My Dad has given my furnace a complete check up and cleaning- a job which I figure would have taken an hour seemed to stretch to a solid 3 hours as he was busy talking and explaining each peice of mechanics to my 2 oldest boys. I am wondering if he is going to quiz them today and have them dissassemble the whole thing and put it back together!! (Dh Bill is determined to put off firing it up for real until November. Which is funny, because he is the coldest natured of all of us! And it snowed just a tiny bit, today. We baked a turkey and that kept the house toasty. I suppose that as long as we are using the oven often and long, we might be able to keep the heating bills down! Of course, we'll also be adding lots of fat to keep us warm. I don't think that is a viable solution; ) Dad also has a weedwacker back in tip-top shape. See? We'll break anything just to keep the repair man happy!

These are 3 of the 4 slates that my Mom painted and gave to me to sell at the craft show in December. The pictures really don't do them justice. It was dark and gloomy most of the day, and I had to snap the pictures at an angle to keep the flash from reflecting and hiding the actual painting. The colors and the detail are amazing! These slates used to be on an old friend's barn roof, but he gave a bunch to my Mom and she paints them up- leaving lots of the natural slate still showing. My Dad put a really nice clear coat on them so they are outdoor friendly, too. I have one in my living room that she painted a few years back and Sarah has one she painted for her- blue, of course. I know I will have a hard time parting with these. And what kind of price could you put on them? I have no idea about that. I'll need to do some shopping "research"... yeah, that's what I'll call it!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ding-dong, the Witch is Dead...

Confession time. I despise Halloween. I didn't used to hate it so. But I clearly did not think out the quantity of children that I have and the number of costumes to round up. Usually, when I hear that some one would like to have a large family, someday, I just like to point out that they better like to cook, 'cause you do a whole lot of that with a large family. But I guess, I might need to say, "Hey! Make sure you like sewing capes!" Whoda thunk? I used to make a lot of costumes in high school and college... and it is one of those activities that leave me feeling frustrated. I want things to last longer and be useful for more than just one night! So I am sewing, sewing, lots of black fabric. A few ruffles of lace, some satin, A cape that needs sleeves- I point out that it isn't a cape if it has sleeves. But it all got done. Finally. The only good thing about Halloween is that their costume party came a week early this year! Now I can put up my feet- put the witch to rest until next year! I just don't get into the plastic pumpkins- love the real ones, the fake spider webs-hate the real ones, or all the cheap junk that gets piled in the yards and messes up a perfectly beautiful scene of changing leaves and such. My own yard looks way too much like that on an ordinary day- can't imagine why any one who choose to do that to their yard! One or two pumpkins should do me- maybe a few corn shocks... a hay bale. But please, nothing cute. Cute... it just isn't something I'd do, voluntarily. But the kids love it, and so it is all worth it!

But aren't the kids cute?!! Abe loves the Phantom of the Opera. If I pop the soundtrack into the stereo, he will lay down in front of it and listen to the whole thing. Quite an attention span for a 3 year old. The big boys were cowboys(Dan was a silly cowboy- in case you didn't guess from the stick horse. And his hair is a wig- Bill says , "Now you know why we keep our hair short- scary!") and the 3 younger boys were... well, I am not sure. They are big fans of Lord of The Rings, so I am sure that is where they found their inspiration. Each year I ask if they wouldn't mind being something... nicer... like anything that doesn't involve armor and swords. Every year I get the same blank looks. What fun would that be? The girls were a ballerina- "a modest one" and Little Bo-Peep- see her crying over her lost sheep? They had a great time at the bonfire and Bill just looks at me and smiles- knowing what a trial all that sewing was and how much the children enjoyed every minute of their big evening. Next year, I'll try to keep that in mind just a little more.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Happiness is...

30 postcards done before the kids get up! I had already stitched the "tops" of these postcards, so they just needed mounted and bound. But still, it took me a couple hours! The goofy Halloween print I won as a door prize at a quilt show. Not my thing, but kinda cute. In a very remote kinda way. I sure didn't want it in my stash for another year. I just fussy cut them, appliqued them down, sewed on some fiber frames. We have a lot of college kids here at church and I figure they might like getting a little something in the mail. I know I did when I was in college. The homespun stuff... well, what do you do with a fat quarter of fabric with barns and pumpkins and scarecrows on it? I admit to being puzzled. I teamed it up with some homespun that I had left from a project I worked on last week. With the black and the red framing... I kinda like 'em. The African-esque cards I love! I found some of these fabrics on clearence at a LQS. I remember a friend of mine- who used to live in Africa- had a lot of copper in their tourist art, so that's what I did and I really like the effect. Out of all the metalic threads I have used, the copper seems to be the least tempermental. I used a whole spool on 10 cards. You can't really see it in the pictures, but it is a nice change from the gold.

Well, I have bunch of productive things to do- rather than just playing in the quilting room! My Mom and Dad are coming for a visit, Sunday. It has been a long time since they have been here and I need to get my spring cleaning done. Better late than never! Maybe I'm just early. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


... The guys were practicing their lumber jack skills, yesterday. Nothing like a little demolition in the morning to get the guys in a good mood. We had this huge electrical pole in our yard since we bought our house- it had been set there to help keep vandalism down- our house had been abandoned for several years before we bought it. Well, dh Bill and I figure that if we wanted bright light shining in our windows at night we'd move back into town. So we had it removed right after we moved in- but the post remained. I was trying to figure out a way to fit it into the landscaping plans I had, but honestly, a 25 foot post isn't the easiest thing to disguise. Turns out some friends needed a new one by their barn- in time for their Autumn weenie roast. So down came ours. The boys had spent the morning digging out around the pole, Bill took the chain saw to it and the boys pulled it down. I thought this was a funny picture of the guys- both boys are considerably taller than their dad, but Bill had placed himself on the tallest side of the pole, and on his tippy toes- he's still the top man!

The lamp on my piano makes the quilting on this quilt show up so pretty, don't you think? Some people were wondering what random Baptist fans look like, and here are what mine look like- they just sort of go in every direction and are a lot of different sizes. It makes a nice texturing effect.

Post Script...
You guys would not believe the wails of "Foul" arising from this last post!! First, we had to measure all the boys and their Dad. To be perfectly honest, I have to say that I was mistaken. Dan is only 1/2" taller than his Dad and Joe is only 2 1/2" taller than Bill. The term "considerably" was called into question and I am now confessing that I was using an inaccurate term. Maybe "slightly" would be more appropriate. The boys are slightly taller than their Dad. I still maintain that Bill is standing on his tippy toes. He says that I needn't point that out as the picture is blurry. But we are all about being completely accurate, here, right? Bill is a faithful reader of my blog- even if it is mostly about quilts. It's nice to have such a supportive spouse...