Saturday, December 31, 2005

Airing the Dirty Laundry

I did finish the quilting and binding on this block swap quilt from this past year. We do 4 swaps a year at the store, and this is the only one I played in 2005. (We won't talk about the blocks in boxes from 2003 & 2004...) It's hard to see, but all the blocks used Kaffe Fassett fabrics. This quilt will be used as a secondary sample for our beginning quilting class.

Tonight is New Year's Eve. Audrey is spending the night with a friend and will be attending an African-American church service. That will be a new experience for her and I'm sure she will enjoy it. Russ has a gig. Where does that leave me? Home alone. How wonderful for me!

I took pictures last night of my sewing room. I should be embarrassed. It is an absolute disaster and speaks to to how I'd rather be "doing" than cleaning up after myself. I have many challenges ahead in here in 2006 - cleaning out, reorganizing, and finishing some old projects. I don't think that I can do it all in the 36 hours I have this weekend, so I'll start with some cleaning chores first. My hope is that by showing these photos to the world, I will be compelled to do something about it and do it right.

My sewing machine faces the front porch so I can watch what's going on in the 'hood. Conversely, the 'hood can watch me. I'm known locally as the crazy lady who sews in the window.

Stuff in the floor....
One of Mommy's little helpers. She knocks a lot of stuff off onto the floor.

More stuff.

The overflowing bookcase.

The corner with the bookcase.

Leftover batting and fabric dyeing supplies.

Pathetic, isn't it. I know this won't be a quick fix or a short process. But I will get started tonight.
I hope you all get to celebrate this evening is a way that makes you happy. I hope the morons in North Texas leave the fireworks alone and nobody loses their home or property due to fire. I hope the best for us all in 2006.....

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Best Laid Plans

Yesterday was a fun day. My husband and I got to spend some quality time together and then I spent the evening in the company of some really good girlfriends. All of our daughters are in the local orchestra program, so of course, after a couple of margaritas, we were able to solve ALL the worlds' problems! The only downside was when I asked the waiter to take our picture, the batteries in my camera had died. We plan to make this a regular get-together (although coordinating all of our schedules takes a little bit of mastery), so there will be another photo opportunity.

The reason I called this meeting in the first place was to toss out an idea for a signature quilt to be auctioned off at the annual Spring fundraiser. The plan met with approval and so I will now proceed with making the blocks. I'll share with you a photo when my camera batteries recharge.

Audrey had a friend sleep over last night, and Tori became sick at 4:00 am this morning. I was mopping the bathroom floor at 5:00am. Thought about staying up and quilting, but deciding to go back to sleep won out. The girls were supposed to go to a kids' cooking class this morning, and Audrey was devasted to realize the plan was a no-go. Maybe they can do it again sometime.

I have a quilt halfway finished on the Gammill and my plan for this evening was to finish it and bind it so that I can start my massive cleaning effort tomorrow after work. Between the slight over-indulgence last night and the multiple awakenings this morning, we'll see if I can keep my eyelids open once I get home....


Thursday, December 29, 2005

I'ts a Play Day!

I'm running away from home today. Russ is off all week (he gets 5 or 6 weeks vacation per year, poor thing...). We're ditching Audrey at day camp and heading to Durant, OK to play a little blackjack.

Tonight I'm going to a local Mexican restaurant for girls night out with a handful of friends. There's a margarita with my name on it waiting for me!

To entertain yourself today, check out this site. Warning: the language is a little dicey, but you will laugh your hiney off!

Wish me luck!


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Musings on Tuesday

After all my "but first..." procrastinations, I quilted and bound this shop sample quilt. It was pieced by Diane and is made with reproduction feedsacks. It's very sweet and I know where you can get a kit to make one just like it!

After dinner, I heard a rattle in a cupboard. Seems like Merle has taught Sophie how to open cabinet doors.

I went back into my sewing room. I pulled out a couple of UFO's to see how much more work they need. I need to quilt a block swap UFO to be used during a class as a sample. I couldn't get motivated because of the mess. It's kind of like the chicken and the egg. Do I finish UFO's before I clean up and reorganize, or do I clean up and reorganize before I start finishing things? Maybe I'll attempt to tackle this issue over New Year's. I got so overwhelmed that I went upstairs and watched "Stand By Me" with Russ.

He's never seen this movie and I found re-watching it rather poignant because of the ultimate death of River Phoenix. I enjoyed seeing Jerry O'Connell (who now plays cutie-patootie Woody Boyd on "Crossing Jordan") as an eleven year old kid with a lisp. We both enjoyed the movie and I highly recommend this oldie-but-goodie .

Have a great day,


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

"But First..." Syndrome

Do you suffer from "But first....." syndrome? You know, "I need to do such-and-such, but first I think I'll do such-and-such...". It's horrible. My sewing room is an absolute disaster - and I'm too far away from the coast to blame it on a hurricane. I can't even blame Audrey (the rest of the house is her fault..). It's all ME. And I am overwhelmed with "But first"s.

I want to clean it up. I want to reorganize. I want to finish UFO's. I also must keep up with sewing for work. Where to begin? I WILL get it under control in 2006, but first, I must quilt a sample for the store today....

Since you've already met 2 of the furry babies in the house, I thought I would introduce you to Toby, affectionately known as Granny Cat. She's 15 and cantankerous.

She wouldn't sit still for her photograph. She's been banished to the laundry room because of some bad habits, and when I come into the room, she wants me to pet her - hence, why she wouldn't pose nicely.

And yes, she has her own quilt on her chair.

I guess I need to go load that quilt now.

But first....


Monday, December 26, 2005

Whad'ja Get?

Well, what did YOU get for Christmas? It was very laid back for us this year. From my family, I got exactly what I asked for - a portable DVD player. My husband ventured into Wal-Mart all by himself this year. After 12 years, I've almost got him trained. Since I knew this was coming, I bought myself 2 DVD's (Remember the Titans and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and wrapped them so that there would be even unwrapping distribution on Christmas morn.

At the Allen Family gathering on Christmas eve, we did a Chinese gift exchange and I got this.

It's a foot massager cushion which I had to steal from my SIL. Trust me, it was the best option. Now I just need some D batteries and I'm in business.

My crazy grandmother gave us a framed photo of us from 1993. 'Nough said.

Merle got a box for Christmas. Merle (named by Russell after Mr. Haggard) is Sophie's brother and is super smart. If he had opposable thumbs, he'd be dangerous.

We made our annual pilgrimage to Waxahachie. Beckye LOOOOOOOVED her stitchery and immediately got out hammer and nail and put it on her kitchen wall. However, we didn't make it to I-HOP this year - between grazing all day on the cheese & crackers, honey ham, sausage balls, fudge and brownies, we just weren't hungry enough to leave the house.

The funniest part of yesterday was the poker game. Beckye's son Damon (who is 20 years older than Audrey) got poker chips for Christmas. As he was fondling them, I told him Audrey could kick his *** in Texas Hold'em. He looked at me to see if I was pulling his leg. Nope. She learned poker last Christmas and is pretty good. I don't think he really believed me, but was willing to play cards with a 10 year old just to have something to do. I checked in on them an hour later, and sure enough, she was taking him to the cleaners! Go Audrey - you rock! Your momma taught you so well.

A good time was had by all - and today I have to return to the real world.


Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmakwanzaka.....

.....from my family to yours!

Audrey, Susan and Russell

Audrey, the wrapping elf

I hope you have a great day, and I'll check in with you later!


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Where are my shoes?

I've lost a pair of shoes. How does that happen? I wear my shoes. I don't kick them off the minute I hit the house (unlike other members of my family). I have a heel spur, so I wear my shoes until it's time to get ready for bed. I only have a couple of pairs that I wear all the time, and I really need the black ones today. I've looked everywhere. Where can they be? If you run across a pair of black Clark clogs in a size 8, will you send them home where they belong?

One Sentence Says It All

I certainly agree with this sentiment!

This is a little stitchery I stitched last Spring with my friend Beckye in mind. I finished the framing last night. Does this count as a finished UFO? Beckye lives in Waxahachie and is one of my bestest friends. She doesn't quilt, but we became buddies back in the day when I collected Fire-King glassware with a vengeance. She has the ultimate collection and led me with her evil grin down that slippery slope of collecting. She is also a Master Gardner and one day I hope to be just like her - someday when I am kidless and jobless. She is my muse each spring. Anyway, we have started a tradition each Chrismas day where my family goes to her house, we visit, the guys play music, and then we eat at I-Hop - the only restaurant open in Waxahachie, TX on Christmas day. I made Beckye a table runner out of the vintage salt and pepper shaker fabric a couple of years ago, so I covered the picture mat with fabric to match. I am sure she will swoon with delight!

This is Sophie, my very pretty but dumb as a box of rocks kitty. She approves of the new computer. If I am working on something, she will find a way to sit in the middle of it!

Today is a busy day. The store will be open until 2, then I have to run Audrey to church to play her violin, and then we will go to Hurst to the Allen Family Christmas. Gotta run - the brownies for tonight are ready in the oven !

Happy Holidays to all -


Friday, December 23, 2005

Twas the Day Before the Day Before Christmas

Yesterday I stayed home. It was the first day of Christmas vacation for Audrey, so I thought we would have a "sleep in" day as a treat. Well, I slept in all the way to 7:30 - she made it to the crack of noon. I didn't intend to get up that early, but the cats wanted to go outside and wouldn't take no for an answer. Since I was up, I decided that I would go ahead and start sewing. I finished the quilting and binding on this quilt.

Here's a little backstory about this project. I am crazy enough to cut leftover scraps into 1-1/2" squares. I have a bucket of these things. I have already made a full sized quilt using these things. I keep a little container of them next to my sewing machine and use them as leaders and enders when I chain piece other things (ala Bonnie - see her explanation). I decided I had a bunch of pairs needing to be made into something, so I dug into the neutral basket and cut 5-1/2" squares and framed them with the little 1" squares. Seventy-two blocks later, I then had to figure out how to add 1" squares to the setting triangles and corners. Whew! Got that done. Had planned to put borders on it, but I was really tired of this project by now and decided the top was big enough to be called finished. ALL made out of my stash!

Then I began looking for backing. Since my yardage closet is such a mess, I blew off finding just the right piece (in just the right size....) and again used a hint from Bonnie's web site on using scraps (you'll have to scroll down quite a bit to find the paragraph on pieced backings) and pieced the back using 10-1/2" squares of icky juvenile fabric that I would never use any where else.

It even has scrappy binding! I dug through my string piecing bin (everybody has one of those, right?) and pulled out pieces of leftover binding. I feel so virtuous about making something out of nothing and using my stash, but unfortunately, it didn't make a dent.

After putting the quilt in the wash, I began making doll bedding for Audrey's violin teacher's daughter for Christmas. Margaret came in the shop on Wednesday afternoon desparately looking for bedding for an American Doll bunk bed. Could I recommend some place for her to find something suitable? Sucker that I am, I told her that I could probably whip up what she needed in trade for a couple of private lessons---3 days before Christmas, no less. I'm all about bartering!

I first made two little ticking mattresses.

Then I made two doll quilts using our 30's happy stack. Backing and binding were found in the stash. Margaret just came and picked them up and she's delighted! I'd also like to thank Debbie H. for being such a good quilt holder....

I also roasted a chicken for dinner, did 3 loads of laundry, cleaned out the refrigerator, swept the kitchen and laundry room and watched a movie last night with my husband (well, I sort of watched the movie....I had my new wireless laptop on my lap and was dinking around with photos for classes on the website). It was almost like being a real housewife! I told Russ that if I stayed home more often, I could be really dangerous. He looked scared. For those of you who don't know me, I NEED a housewife 'coz I'm certainly not cut out to be one! But I did get a small sense of satisfaction out of being so productive.


Thursday, December 22, 2005


I've been reading so many other blogs lately that I've decided to start my own. Some days there might actually be quilting-related content - some days there might not....

Bear with my while I get the hang of all this; I'm just computer-literate enough to be dangerous! It's hard to believe I actually have a degree in computers (well, actually a Business Admininstration degree with a major in Computer Programming). Back in the day, our biggest issue was learning DOS commands and pulling reports off the mainframe! Things sure have changed in the last 20 years and now I seem to be hanging on by my toenails.....

I went in to Best Buy on Wednesday to buy a $15 gift card for a nephew for Christmas. Somehow, my feet wandered over to the computer section - thinking I would look up on old work colleague who now works there. I've been thinking about this laptop thing for about a week or so, but knew I really shouldn't be spending the money right now. Back in the spring when we hooked our home computer up to DSL, they sent us a wireless router. Okay. No big deal. We are about as hard-wired as they come. Since I am also trying to teach myself to update my web pages, I had this revelation in the middle of the night. What if I had a laptop (which ALL come with wireless connections these days) and could work on the web site at home? Between Russ and Audrey, there's not a snowball's chance in Hades of using the home computer after hours. So, I talked to the resident expert at Best Buy (who was probably all of 24 years old) and asked some questions. Just asking, doncha know. A little more information couldn't hurt....
"So, these come with a wireless connection?"
"Oh, yes."
"I have this wireless router at home - would a this laptop be able to talk to it?"
"Oh, sure. It will detect the network automatically and you'll have no problem."
"Really? Just like that?"
"Uh-huh. You can walk into any Starbucks and be connected in an instant. (Obviously, this kid doesn't know I don't drink coffee or hang out at Starbucks. ) And this one is on sale and can be financed with no interest for 18 months. It would be perfect for you."

Well, gee! What was a girl to do? All that sweet talk about no interest had me swooning in the aisle. And my $15 gift card ended up costing me $1300 bucks.... I figure that 's about $80 a month and surely I can swing that?

Look at my new toy!

So, I get this bad boy home and turn it on. Sure enough, it automatically detects my wireless router in the house. It also detect's Bob's network aross the street, but I don't think he'd like me horning in. Let's hit the "connect" button. It then asks me for the password to the network. The what? What password? When I followed the idiot directions from SBC last spring, I don't remember anything about a password. Now, what have I got myself into? Who do I know that's geeky enough to figure this out? I then called my friend Susan's husband. Fred WORKS for SBC and I know he's got a wireless network in his house because I've seen him sitting on the couch with his laptop. So I call Fred. Tell him the situation and he begins spouting Geek-Speak. What? Theoretically, I understand what he's telling me, but I don't think I actually have the technical skills to pull it off. If I cook dinner one night next week, will you come fix this? Sure, but he's going pig hunting next week and is not available until Friday. Friday!!! But I want to play with my new toy NOW! (Some days, I'm just like a little kid...) Oh well, I guess the stupid must wait.

Well, I just couldn't stand it. Maybe if I hunted around on my home computer I might find a clue. Can you believe I figured it out? The modem came pre-configured with a password printed on the bottom of it and the help pages (written in actual English) had real help. I'm connected! I don't have to wait 10 days! I ran upstairs to tell Russell about my victory and was greeted with loud snoring. I guess I'll just have to gloat all by myself.

So, I now have the technology to be more efficient in my work. Do you think this is going to cut into my quilting time? Will I have to discipline myself? Self-discipline sucks. Have I become Alice in Wonderland who's going to be totally sucked down the rabbit hole? Only time will tell.

Stick with me - who knows where we'll go!