Monday, June 26, 2006

All my bags are packed...

I'm ready to go. I'm standing here, thinkin' they might explode! Never been accused of being a light traveler. I'm one who always throws in one more pair of jeans or one more t-shirt. Never have too many t-shirts. Had to sit on the suitcase to close it. Figure I won't have to open it until I arrive. To be fair, I am sharing the same suitcase with two little girls. Baby Abe woke me up this morning, crying. He thought I had already left. Broke my heart. He seems over it. I don't know that I am. That's the hard part- all the fun people I'm leaving behind. My DH is pretending like I'm not going. Now, the big boys are planning a horror movie fest. (I hate those things- keep me up at night. Well, I figure they can go for it, but no pity from me when the younger of the boys are up and worried at night.) I guess it'll be lots of pizza and sandwiches and cereal for them. Although Daniel can bake a great cake and Joe's very handy with the brownies. I won't worry. Ok, I'll worry, but they'll be fine.

I finished all the handwork. whew. Bindings are bound and labels are affixed. Dresses are buttoned. I have the sewing machine packed up. Sarah emailed me to remind me not to forget it. Apparently she nearly had. Then I get an email requesting that I bring my cutting mat and ruler- 'cause she was planning on bringing hers, but she forgot. I'm beginning to see why Sarah needs a plan. I already had my cutting board packed. I'll have to explain to Sarah the concept of a list when I get to Tennessee. You don't get to be a mom to 8 kids without learning to organize and never, ever, trusting your brain to be able to function like a normal person- information goes in, but it is seldom there for more than a flash and hidden under a pile of useles rubbish in no time. Kinda like my camera software. So... I'm finishing the few things that need to be done- like painting my toe nails, and plucking my eyebrows. oh, Sarah, calm down. I'll be there, but the whole experience is gonna need a little fine tuning if I'm going to get out of here without blubbering like a big baby!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

If I had a brain I might be dangerous...

Guess what I got? A new camera!! Thrilled with it, but like all new things in technology, it takes a while to figure out. And it takes some of us a while longer than others. I just need to know how all of this works. It works, but how? Where did that file come from and where is it stored? If you can't find a file, does it really exist? What's the point of creating a file if it is hiding somewhere on the harddrive behind some kind of cyber-bully. It is more difficult to be excited about taking new pictures when you have to face the new software that isn't like the comfy pair of jeans the old software felt like. Nothing soft about it. And then it happened. Every last picture on my old software transferred to the new- how? Why? I have no idea. Maybe I should just accept it. As long as it plays nice.

I am getting ready for the big event. Sarah had this idea, along with her DMom, that we should get together for a little mini-retreat sometime near our birthdays. So I am driving down to Nashville and Sarah is driving up to Nashville and we are spending the week with her folks. I am taking Eva and Bekah with me and she is toting up her Maddie and Ian. So they will have a fun week, too. Grandma has volunteered to cook and watch kiddos- yes, she is a saint. Sarah is all about the plan. I tease her about this, but really she is the ideal tour guide. She Googles and Mapquests and finds all the cool places (quiltshops) and such(restaurants) to visit. Then she graphs it all out on a spread sheet on the sequence of events... I jest. But it isn't far off the mark. But she says, "What's the point of going somewhere if you spend your whole day wandering around trying to find what you're looking for?" What's the point, indeed. I intend to do all that kind of stuff, and then fizzle out before I accomplish anything. So, I'll drive down on Monday. Tuesday looks like the shopping day. My cousin Beth might be joining us. Wednesday looks like a sewing day- we are hoping to make a Quilt of Valor, each, and another little quilting project which can't be mentioned here 'cause you never know who might be lurking. Thursday is rounding up with some dyeing- woohoo! I whined lots and lots about her dyeing without me. Now we're going to dye together. That's true friends for ya. And then, I'll be driving back on Friday.

Am I ready? Hmmmm. Well, you see, oh this is gonna be bad, huh? Well, um, yes, I think I am pretty ready. All things considered.

  • Last September, Sarah instigated a quilt challenge- the girl with a plan. She gave me 3 yards of fabric(wouldn't you know it's blue?) that needed to be made into a quilt by our birthdays. In June. I gave her 3 yards of orange- seemed only fair. The quilt is done- the binding still needs to be done- the hand part, and sewing on the label.
  • I need to bind another small project for her, too. Again, the handwork.
  • Then the girls' dresses. I made the three girls each a dress using the redwork embroidery that I did on my sister's sewing machine. I need to sew on the buttons and make the button holes- again, with the handwork.
  • Then I need to pack. Laundry. Could that be called handwork? I don't see why not.

All in all, I think I will be ready in a few days... Oh, that's right, I need to be ready in one day. Sarah asked yesterday if I were hyper, too. I said I'm 2 years older that her and way past hyper. Actually I just said that I'm too tired to be hyper. But I'll rest up and be ready to cut a wide swath in Tennessee. So... If I don't talk to you guys before I go, have a great week- I plan on it. Taking lots of pictures with my new camara. (Oh, and Sarah might even show me how to make a favorite reads list and a profile picture- so some of you - and you know who you are- might be happier when I return!)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ewwwww.... I am now intimately acquainted with this dumpster...

It wasn't how I had planned my day... At no point during my morning did I say to myself, "Why don't I climb into a smelly ole dumpster? It's an extremely hot day and I bet the smells emanating from it would be just yummy..." Nope, nothing like that crossed my mind.

Had a decent morning. Finished quilting Sarah's quilt for our quilt challenge- due next week, during our "retreat." I was thrilled with this little milestone. Called DH Bill up and asked him if he would like me to bring him lunch at work... He said he was finishing up and would I like to meet him? Now doesn't that sound like fun? So.. had a pleasant lunch at Subway- you guys know I am being good with the diet when I mention Subway. At anyrate, Bill goes on his way and I decide to do a little shopping before heading back to quilt another quilt. Oops! I accidentally drop Bill's cell phone into my purse- makes it difficult to call him and let him know that I have his phone... But about an hour later, he calls to say that he is at the bank and that he is closing all 3 of his accounts(business and personal) due to the fact that his briefcase had been stolen while we were having lunch... well, that was a bummer. He had dozens of receipts in that briefcase- and the three checkbooks... I knew there was going to be no living with the man for a while- he just wasn't going to be able to snap out of it. So, I had this bright idea that I would cruise the neighborhood and check all the trash cans and dumpsters. Ok, it was an act of desperation. But what was worthless paperwork to some one else, was invaluable to Bill. And like I said, Bill was not going to be a happy camper... So I went searching through trash cans- the gas station attendant was kinda rude, but I just smiled my goofy grin...Then I notice this dumpster behind some construction trailers... worth a try, I figure. Can you believe that Bill's briefcase was in there? Way down in there, but I could see it. Well, you'll notice there are all kinds of handholds and footholds on the outside the dumpster... Scrambled over pretty fast. Real fast- before the smell of sour milk and sour mash made a weenie out of me. (Sour mash? What they throw out when making something with an alcohol content higher than 89%. Nasty.) Hoisted the case over the side... hmmm... that case weighed a ton, but not so much as I... hoisted myself over the side- touching the inside of the dumpster as little as possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you to whoever invented hand-sanitizer! Too bad I couldn't call Bill and tell him the good news... ring, ring. That would be Bill. I say how I have his briefcase and he says how this really isn't the time to joke around. No really. Think he is going to be a happy camper when I tell him that the check books are right where he left them- only thing missing was a $1 calculator and some pens and pencils. Kind of rekindles your faith in mankind... ok, maybe not, but a big relief. Reopened the accounts- well, they will be in a couple days. Good enough. He insisted I blog about it and wasn't it a coincidence that I had my camera with me? That's me by the dumpster- trying to smile and not breath through my nose at the same time.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Stylish ladies...

Aren't these adorable? They are hanging on one of the guest room walls at my Aunt June's house. I asked her about them and she said that a lady friend of hers had made them for her- as greeting cards. But of course, they were too precious for her to part with. They are very tiny- with button faces not even an inch across. Their fancy hats are felt-embellished, and their dresses are just drawn with a nice pen. I just thought they were way cool.

The rain is giving everything a nice soaking, tonight. Sorry Dad. He's having to tote 60 gallons of water a day to keep his garden from completely giving up. I can't figure that would be good for the recently refurbished ticker... At any rate... here are some things that have occurred to me...

I believe...

  • That one is never so aware of the blessing of sunshine and rain as when one is gardening.
  • That never will a flower garden be happier than in June.
  • That if we try harder we can store up the memory of the sun on our foreheads and the heat pressing against our faces for a cold winters' day- it might even make us smile.
  • That children should work on a strict catch and release method when collecting fireflies. And never, ever, taught that it's ok to rip their tails off just so you can have a glowing ring. that's just wrong.
  • That some of the flowers in the clearance section should be taken home out of pity. Not pity for the plant, but it's good for the soul to at least attempt to save something from the brink of destruction.
  • That a "watched pot" will eventually boil- but the wait can be excrutiating. Turn your back on it and throw together a salad.
  • That while "watched pots" will eventually boil, a watched quilt will never quilt itself. Weird how that doesn't happen. It just sits there and sits there and sits there...
  • That The Pink Panther movie isn't very funny, but once you add the really bad French accent... hilarious. We'll see if Tonya agrees with this assessment in a few months... only they'll be really good French accents... so maybe the effect will be lost.
  • That nothing feels as sweet as chubby little baby arms wrapped around your neck.
  • That no child could feel unloved when given a piece of warm, homemade bread. Bread is very serious business- Monkey Bread not withstanding.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

My First 39th...

I teasingly tell people that I celebrated my 1st 39th birthday, yesterday. And I had a really great one. Actually, we celebrated a day early, because I planned to work yesterday. So... I played in the flower garden for a couple hours and even hoed some in the vegetable garden- loads of fun- really. Then I showered and we took the kids to see X-Men. I say that we took the kids, but I've been wanting to see that one since it came out. I have a thing for Wolverine. We had the theater to ourselves and Eva said that it was like having our own theater..."sweet," she said. Hmmm... oh, and then we went by the grocery store and picked up 2 big boxes of fried chicken, and a B-day cake. I am a big fan of the homemade variety, but really, one shouldn't have to bake their own, eh? Then we took our goodies out to the lake- again had the whole place to ourselves, and had a great time. It was a gorgeous day- cool, but warm in the sun. Returned home and hung out- while we all came off the sugar high- and opened my present. I had eyed this "china" a year ago at a yard sale and then, this year it was in the same yard sale again- we have an annual one, down the road. (Now, it is a place setting for 12, but they wanted $50 for it. I just don't carry that kinda cash to a yard sale, and I figured it was really too... dressy for me- even though it really isn't china but a type of stoneware. About 75 years old, I guess. This year, with $50 in my pocket, I went back to get it, and noticed these tiny lines in the finish. I don't think they were there last year- maybe stored in a garage. So I walked away thinking it just wasn't meant to be. DH followed behind me later in the afternoon and got it for $40- with a set(14) of teaplates and cups thrown in! He's been hiding them in his van for the past month! Imagine my surprise! I really love the teaplates- have you seen these?- definitely 50's. Right in front of the punch cups are ashtrays!! What a hoot! We are hoping to start work on another addition in the fall that includes a formal dining room, so I'll have a place to show my pretty plates- the scalloped edges are so pretty.) Bill worked some more on the stadium seating in our family room. (He has that all finished except for a few finishing details. Anxious to take it for a spin.) Around the kids' bedtime, Bill and I snuck off for a late dinner and then to the store where we picked up a bench for the flower garden- now I can sit and feel guilty about all the work that needs to be done. All in all, a great day.

The other things in the picture are some fun stuff I picked out for myself at the quiltshop, yesterday. My Aunt Eva had sent a check to the quiltshop for a gift certificate for me. How sweet is that? I can hardly wait to start playing with the paintstiks- oil paint for fabric- it's a creme, so you can do rubbings on the those texture sheets and stencils and all kinds of fun things. I am working on a fabric scrapbook of the children and thought that would be fun to incorporate into it. If it goes well I'd like to buy a set for my Uncle Greg as he loves to paint on fabric and supposedly this paint does not change the hand of the fabric- even when applied liberally. The colors that I choose are all irredescent.

Last, you have to check out my Mom's blog and see the beautiful painting she is doing for me. It is of the barn that used to sit on our property. It was so huge- 4 stories. It fell, due to heavy winds, age and neglect. We always wanted to save it, but all of our resources went into salvaging the house. Her painting looks better than the photo she was using as a model. She is so talented and I have always wanted one of her paintings.

Now wouldn't you agree that I have had a GREAT day?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Moonlit gardening...

I wish you could hear how pretty the fountain sounds. DH bought me this pond and fountain kit at a garage sale, last month. For only 20 bucks!! That included the silly little frog! I have been wanting a water feature for so long and was about to settle for a bucket of water... but now I have a very nice little pond. DS Joe, 16yo, did all the manual labor for me- (well, I had to pick the spot for it, giggle, the corner of the garden under a big Elm tree)- but in just a few short hours, he had it up and running. I was willing to do the digging, but there is one thing that I think is fairly universal about boys- they like to dig holes. If my boys are acting moody and otherwise grumpy, I usually find a job for them that involves a shovel. They come back in all sweetness. Now Joe is rarely moody. He is one of those steady kinda guys that not much- anything- unsettles. But he saw me start in on the shoveling... so he grabs the shovel and gets the job done in no time. I got all of the flower garden weeded while he worked on that. My kind of multi-tasking. The next day, I framed it up with some rocks I dug up from the yard- looks nice, I think. And ahhhhh.... the sound. This little flower garden is right outside my bedroom window. The trickling water is a very sweet sound to sleep by- though it did take some getting used to- had to keep running to the bathroom! I love to garden in the dark- hard to find time during the day, sometimes. It is so quiet and peaceful out there. I'll water the tomato plants and splash water everywhere. Loads of fun. Unfortunately, it has been raining solidly for the past couple days, so I have been missing my moonlit fun- very chilly out or I'd weed in the rain. But I know the Lord can water the plants so much better than me and my water hose, so I'll let Him have at it and not complain.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I swan, I love that man!

How cute is that? Woke up this morning to the sound of the rain... a rainy Saturday morning. Just about perfect to my way of thinking. Asked DH what his plans were. He usually works on Saturday and takes Monday off. But he decided that the rain would keep him from getting anything done, today, so... he's stayin' home. I am such a brat, 'cause he could stay home every day and that would be fine with me. Of course, I don't get much done... I just like to sit and watch him, like we haven't been together for 20 years! He has had a little home project on his mind. There are always things to get done around here, but this one has been moving to the top of his list. Our family room is on the second floor. It's a very old house and there is this odd room at the top of the stairs that really can't be used if privacy is an issue. So we have always used it as a TV and computer room. But with 10 people in the family, it is almost impossible for everyone to have a seat. Movie night has been more of an endurance marathon- how long can three people sit crushed in one recliner? (We don't really watch TV on a regular basis- there is a grand selection of about 5 channels, and I can't endure commercials- is there anything more obnoxious on this planet? But we all love to watch movies.) So out went all the furniture- a motley crew, to be sure. We have tried about everything out there- couches, chairs, and even a futon couch with a bunk bed overhead- thinking that vertical might help. If you think fingerprints on walls are unsightly, try the ceiling- they seem even worse. But none of it has really been ideal. The futon rattled and squeaked and eventually fell apart and the recliner would drive me bonkers because it was a swivel recliner and I can't express the nausea that I feel when someone bumps into the recliner and swings me one way and then the other. Weird, I know. I don't know if Bill has it all figured out, but at least the kids will all fit and be able to see the TV. I'm not sure how comfy it will be for grandfather and grandmother... but we can always bring the recliners back in for the geriatric crew. Can you believe I said that? At any rate, he has this stadium seat thing going on, two levels. Reminds me of the pit seating from the 70's. Remember that? U-shaped and kinda cozy. I'll be sewing padding and pillows for the remainder of the summer.

When Jack found out that his Dad was going to be working here at home, he rushes off to his room and returns, all dressed up as Dad. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! He borrowed my glasses and they were good enough to let me take their picture. Jack does resemble DH the most of all 6 boys. Got a giggle out of their jeans- matching right down to the hole in the knee!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Almost Gone With The Wind...

Here's the YBR that I made for my nephew's wedding, last month. The wind nearly ripped the quilt from the boys' hands while I was trying to get a picture of it. Thought it was a funny picture that shows how windy it can be here, on a relatively still day. This quilt had a really nice feel to it- the reproduction fabrics felt almost like linen- very heavy and thick. I just backed it in extra-wide muslin and quilted it with one of Keryn Emmersons' pantos (roses.) It was such a busy quilt, it would have been impossible to see what I was doing, otherwise. Michael and his wife loved it and even took it with them on their honeymoon.


Here it is midnight and I'm just sitting down. Today was my first day back at work- been off since the first of May. (I did set up at a quilt show, around the middle of the month, but that was just one day.) It wasn't a hard day, rather fun and I've been missing it, just a bit slow at getting back in the swing of things. Tanya has some great new things that she found at Spring Market... more for me to buy! You never get ahead when you work at a quilt shop!

I realized that I haven't posted a picture of the quilt I gave to my Aunt Eva- during my Florida trip. My Aunt Eva had been asking for a quilt for awhile now. This isn't a great picture of it, but then, it was hardly a great quilt. I had fun making it, though. It was one of those quilting projects that took place while I should have been packing and getting ready for our trip, but I was avoiding the inevitable... you probably never do that. I love to escape in piecing. I just sit at the sewing machine and mindlessly slide little squares and triangles through. Then I stand at the ironing board and flip and press... I just love the whole process. It relaxes me. I remember when I first started quilting- about 18 years ago, how I would get all tense and stressed over it. "Oh no! The points don't match up." Now it is so much more likely that they will, and even on the many occasions when they don't, I figure there is a whole lot more to life than two points matching up perfectly. I can love it anyway. Hope I can do the same with people, and that they can do the same with me. Not much of me is even close to perfect.

Some of you have made comments about the humorous little knees and hands that pop out over and below the quilts in some of the pictures- especially of the larger quilts. Well, when the sun decides to cooperate and shine, I try to get a few pictures taken of the different quilts I've gotten done lately. Only problem. The wind might not feel as cooperative as the sun. It can yank a person right off the chairs they are precariously perched on. The "they" would be DSs Joe, and Dan and the little guy would be Jack. it's like para-sailing. On dry land. Wish you could hear the audio. The moaning and groaning going on behind that quilt as their arms are being stretched all out by the wind- that's why Jack sits on the ground- otherwise the quilt goes vertical. Then I have to try to time the picture for when the gusts die down and the quilt lays more flat. Not always easy or possible. And the guys are always good to humor this whole painful process. No one wants to admit that their arms might not hold up to the test of holding up quilts for a silly picture.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Feelin' all Sarah-ish...

She is always posting pictures of quilts she made "today." How do you make a quilt, today? Well this is a quilt that I made, yesterday. I finished her quilt top (for the challenge), and with half of the kids gone, I was at loose ends. The flower beds could have used a little tweaking, but I kept hearing rain rumbling South of us and so I figured it would be easier after the ground got a bit wet. (Had a perfect rainy evening and night, last night. The seeds must be doing a happy-happy dance.) So... what to do? I wanted to work on my bones quilt- I am so close to being done. I just have to add in some filler pieces for the borders. But, alas, I was out of black thread. I considered working on one of Selma Lou's quilts (my other quilter personality that insists on starting things she'll never finish.) But, again, I felt it needed black thread also. So, found this bag full of half-square triangles (3")... from the scraps of a quilt top I made last fall. And there were these 10" blocks of fabric... ok, and no note as to where I was going with this. But I must not have liked the direction, 'cause I didn't do it, right? I do recall that I considered doing some of Sarah's stars. Remember those? They were blue in a yellow background. Made entirely of HST. But the contrast was too low with the batiks, so I abandoned that thought. (If you haven't worked much with batiks, that's always something to keep in mind. Batik might read, say, blue in it's entirety, but once you start cutting it up, you'll find that the individual pieces are something else. More subtle. Not a bad thing, just not so conducive to really obvious patterns, yeah? That's why, generally, I prefer to mix batiks in with other fabics. But in this case, I was just wanting to use up the scraps.) So I threw the HST together, added a few 3" squares for a little more definition- a joke, that, with these fabrics. Just put all the 10" blocks together for a border of sorts. Done. It measures 62x75". My DS # 3 will like this one, so I guess it's his. So, I may feel Sarah-ish 'cause I made a quilt in a day, but I didn't really, 'cause all the HST were already made. So, Sarah, how do you do it?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Stash enhancement...
Here are some of the fabrics that I picked up at the Doormouse. I told you that none of them go together. And you thought I wasn't serious about that. Maybe that would be a way to go... choose fabric that matches... nay, that'd be too easy. This is just stuff I like. With no purpose but to make me happy.

The house was strangely quiet, today. The three middle boys- ages 9, 11, 13- were away at a birthday party. The 16 year old was working, so it was just me and 4 kids. Quiet.

Woo-hoo! I finished the quilt challenge that Sarah gave me- the quilt top, anyway. She had lots of rules, and I'm not sure if I complied with all of them... ok, I'm pretty sure I broke a few. But mostly I was very obedient. For me. More on that after I get to deliver it at our retreat- the last week of June.