Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Friday

Hurray, it's Friday.  And a holiday weekend.  What could be better?  This weekend will be especially great because we have almost no plans made.  Tomorrow at 9:00 AM Bubby has a ball game.  He is on the Rays team again this year in the Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania.  After the game, we plan on going to Joann's to fondle buy some fabric.  I need some vinyl for the neck wallets I'm working on, and some fleece and princess fabric for the Princess Lily quilt.  Might make a stop at McGinnis Sisters, a specialty foods store that I love.  They have really great produce selections, a wonderful seafood shop, butcher shop, cheese shop and bakery.  And the prices are pretty good.  Maybe I can even get Rod to spring for lunch.  My plan is to avoid Costco at all cost --  I spend way too much money there.  And then my plans for the rest of the weekend are to sew, sew and sew.  Rod got the air conditioner put in the sewing room, and I have my TV or my Zune base, and the best part is I'm just a few steps from the potty ( a necessity at my age).

Usually we plan a family BBQ, but this year we've decided to just do our own thing.  And that means three days with my best friend - Rod.  Who knows what we might get into.  Rod wants to re-landscape the front of the house.  He's going to make the flower beds larger which will make the bank easier to cut with the tractor. And I get to decide what I want him to plant.  I have a Japanese Maple at the corner of the deck, but I want some shrubs that will be low maintenance.  Guess I better start think about that.  I hope you all have a great holiday weekend, and get to spend it with someone you love.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Emergency, Emergency!!

We had a tragedy in our family on Sunday, but it could have been much worse.  Rod's sister, Kathy, lives in the home that used to belong to their parents. The fire marshall isn't sure of the actual cause, but on Sunday the house caught fire.  It's a very old house, but luckily the firemen were able to contain the flames to the bedroom where the fire started.  That bedroom, however, is gutted.  My niece Sharon and her family live there with Kathy, and it was their room that burned.  When I talked to Kathy on Monday, I asked her to please let me know if there was anything I could do   She called me yesterday afternoon to tell me that the quilt that I had made for her granddaughter had been destroyed in the fire.  Not that big a deal unless you're a 5 year old who sleeps with that quilt every night.  So, Lily wanted to know if Aunt Linny can make her a new quilt.  Her old one was a coloring quilt, but now she wants a "princess quilt".   This is Lily with her Uncle Jimmy at our Easter Egg Hunt.  Look at that smile.  Have you ever seen a more beautiful smile?  How can anyone say no to that happy face?  So, starting today everything else is being moved to the back burner while Aunt Linny makes a new quilt for Lily.

What I've decided to do is to make a quilt using the princess designs I used for my Disney autograph quilt.  I have already started enlarging the designs to fit on 10-1/12" blocks.  Problem is that I could only come up with 10 princesses and I want to do 12 blocks.  But I know that Lily loves Minnie Mouse, so I've decided to include her.  And for block #12, I'm going to use a photo of Lily and try to applique her face onto block 12.  I've never done that before, but some of my princess blocks were from photos rather than coloring pages. So, I'm hoping I can accomplish that.  I have some pink fabric that says "Princess" on it and has glitter and crowns and will sash the quilt with that.  And use pink fleece on the back since Lily's favorite color is pink.  And hopefully my Princess Lily will have her new quilt very soon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Time for a Confession

My name is Linda, and I'm a gadget fanatic.  Yes, it's true and it's definitely incurable.  Whenever I see a new gadget, rather it be for the kitchen or the sewing room, I just start to twitch.  And then I start into cold sweat, and finally I just shake uncontrollably.  And it doesn't stop until I order it or Rod says a firm "No Way".  So today, my post is about some of my "gadgets".

I love a salad that you buy in a restaurant.  Love those chicken cashew salads, the spinach and bacon salads, the Pittsburgh steak salads (complete with french fries), and just a salad you make yourself on a salad bar.  But here at home, salads just don't impress me.  They just don't taste the same.  I haven't quite figured out whether it's the dressing or the ingredients.  But then it hit me, it's the lettuce.  The nice dry lettuce.  So, I looked at salad spinners.  And they come in all price ranges - some for under $20 and many for much more than that.  Well, I'm also a tight wad, and so I finally decided on $10 one from Walmart.  It's a pretty green and white and I just love the fact that it doesn't crank, you don't have to swing it, but rather it has a pull cord much like the one on the lawnmower.  But, I haven't used it.  So, today daughter Mary came with all the fixing's for a spinach salad.  She boiled the eggs, cooked the bacon, and made a wonderful hot dressing with bacon grease, red wine vinegar, cooked red onion, and Dijon mustard.  And she used the salad spinner to wash and dry the baby spinach.  And you should have seen the water coming out of that spinach!!  It was so much fun (do you think I need something more in my life?).  And the salad --- ausgezeichnet!!  or excellent!! So the $10 salad spinner gets a thumbs up from me.

I'm working on designing a new project to sell online.  I've done a prototype, and think it needs a little tweaking.  But so far, so good.  I was searching online yesterday for seam binding that I could purchase inexpensively.  And then it hit me -- I purchased two different sizes of binding makers.  And again, I haven't used them.  So, before I purchase any binding, I'm going to try and use my makers.  That's my project for the rest of the week.  Trying to learn to master the binding maker "gadget"  I did manage to find a seller of zippers at really good prices on eBay, and ordered them yesterday.  They have already shipped, and hopefully will arrive by the weekend.  

Do you have any gadgets you just can't live without?  What is your favorite gadget?  I have had a Teflon pressing sheet for a few years now, and it has to be my favorite sewing room gadget at the present time.  It's so handy for fusing appliques together, not to mention when I'm applying fusible to fabric.  And now you have it -- the confession of a gadget-oholic.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays. . . . .

Yep, it's a rainy Monday.  And I hate the gloom, but today I'm still living in sunshine.  I have been fighting high blood sugar numbers for the last couple months.  I've known it was my eating, but I was on a sugar binge and couldn't seem to get off.  I have a new doctor.  It wasn't my choice, my doctor moved out of state for family reasons.  The new doctor is quite young, and asked me questions that my other doctor had never asked.  He asked me why I was on a cholesterol medication when I didn't have high cholesterol.  I replied that it was prophylactic since I am diabetic.  He asked how I was doing on it, and in talking, I discovered that it might be the cause of my leg weakness, leg cramps and swelling.  I hadn't had any for a few days since my scrip had expired and so I didn't get it refilled.  I started watching my diet, started drinking more water, and now I can't believe how different I feel in just one week's time.  No more weakness in my legs, and I'm able to walk better than before.  And this morning, my blood sugar was 109!!!  So you can see why I'm feeling so positive this morning.

The sewing room looks much better.  It's still not completely finished, but I couldn't wait any longer.  This morning I started to play with my GO cutter.  I cut some strips and then squares from those strips.  It's very fast, but you turn a "crank" to roll the fabric through.   And it's a workout!!  I will probably have arms like Popeye if I use it alot.  But I'm cranking with my left arm one time and then with my right.  Don't want to have one large arm and one skinny  (yea like I'm gonna have a skinny arm!!??)  Tomorrow I'll have more time to play, and will take some pictures for you.  But for now, I give it a "10".

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Grandparents' Day and more

Today was Grandparents' Day for the kindergarten classes in Bubby's school.  It's a wonderful day, and I had gone for Kristina four years ago.  Today Rod and I went to school while Mary watched Izzy for me.  We arrived at 9:30 and were greeted by Bubby shouting our names excitedly.  We were introduced to  his teacher and his aide, and then sat down at his table with him.  The teacher read a story titled "I Love You With All My Heart", and when she was finished there were some teary eyes in the room, including hers.  And then we had our photos taken with our grandchild.

We were given a kit to make a picture frame with Bubby.  Here's how ours turned out.  When we were finished, we went to the multi-purpose room for lemonade and cookies.  The cookies were donated by the kindergarten moms, and there were lots of different kinds.  We finished eating, and then went to another of the kindergarten rooms to paint a picture.  Pappy and Bubby made a great picture while experimenting with mixing colors.  Then we moved onto another room to play bingo.  Bubby went "Bingo" on his card and got to pick a prize for himself -- he chose a sheet of shiny car and truck stickers.  Pappy also got to pick a prize and chose a kitchen towel with charcoal grills on it.  We had a great time, and were very sad to have to leave.

When we got home, Pappy and Izzy took a nap, and then went outside to cut the grass.  Izzy loves being outside and riding the tractor with Pappy.  When the grass was done, we ordered panini from a local pizza shop and ate outside on the deck.  For Mother's Day  Rod bought me a new rocker for the deck.

Now, just look at the rocker, and not at all the stuff on the deck.  We've had a lot of rain and high winds lately, and I haven't taken the time to get out there to clean it up.  The rocker has nice pads on it, and is so comfortable.  I just love it.

Kristin and George know how much I love Jim Shore's work, and I also love lawn ornaments for around the pond.  This is Gabriel bear by Jim Shore, and was my Mother's Day gift from Kristin and family.  Kristin felt it was perfect for me with the beehive and the bumblebees.  I think so too.

Mary and her family surprised me with a beautiful tote bag with lots of pockets inside.  The outside has spaces to put photos, and Mary has photos of the grandkids already in it.  And inside the bag was the DVD for Mary Poppins.  I love the movie, and hadn't been able to find it anywhere.  Pat and Pam bought me a flat of pansies and impatiens to plant around the pond.  And as part of the gift, they're going to plant them for me.  They did this last year, and it looked beautiful.  So I got a lot of really thoughtful gifts and loved each and every one.

After dinner, Rod started to move the dirt from one of the garden boxes to another.  We need to add more dirt, and he figured it would be easier to back the truck up to one box and unload, rather than moving from one to another.  He's so smart.  Here you can see Izzy helping to move the dirt and peaking through the deck railing.  She had three or four different "shovels" and couldn't decide which one to use.

  But I think her favorite part was helping to wheel the wheelbarrow.  I'm not sure who had the most fun, her or pappy.  The day started out grey, chilly and rainy, but ended up warm and sunny.  I love days that leave memories.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I'm still cleaning in the sewing room.  I am making progress - I can see the top of the sewing cabinet, all the fabric that was thrown there is in a nice, neatly folded pile and ready to put on the shelves.  I can almost see the top of the sideboard -- most of the fabric scraps that were there have been put into a basket to await the time when I will take time to cut them into scraps for my July class.  But the sewing table -- still stacked a foot high!  and the windowsill--still stacked a foot high.  My AccuQuilt GO dies have found a suitable and neatly organized home.  Where are the quilt police when you need them?  I can concentrate on making sure that my points are crisp, but putting things away when I'm done with them is another story.  So if you know any quilt police that nag you about keeping your work area clean and tidy, please send them to my house.  And if you ever see me letting the clutter take over the neat, please kick me in the a**.  And now, back to the disaster.

Monday, May 10, 2010

This and That

Remember how I was going to play with my AccuQuilt GO after the charity quilts were finished. . . . well, it's still on my list of things to do.  This past week was just a big waste of time.  I don't think I told you that daughter Kristin is expecting in November.  She's had some problems, and had to come home from a conference in Baltimore two weeks ago to see the dr. and have an ultrasound.  The ultrasound was ok, but showed a spot of bleeding.  It has been checked twice since, and they are telling her that everything is OK.  At the last sonogram, she and George even got to see the baby moving his or her arms and legs.  But I've had Izzy more than usual, and it's more fun to play with her than to clean the sewing room.  And I made myself a promise that it would be cleaned before I started to play. Rod says that I practice the "Eleanor Burns Method of Cutting" --meaning that whatever I'm done with just goes into a big pile instead of back where it belongs.  I don't really throw it over my shoulder, but judging from the mess in there, you would think I do.

Isn't it funny how you think you have come up with the perfect setup for your sewing room, and after using it for a while, you discover it just doesn't work the way you thought it would.  I'm at that point again.  I bought a new sewing table to use with my Janome machine when I bought it last April, but I hate it.  It's just great that the machine sets down in the table for a flat sewing surface, but I miss the added space that my old table had.  I hate wasting money, and I keep thinking that if I stop using that table that's exactly what I'm doing.  But when Rod confronted me the other day about whether or not I like that new table, I had to finally tell him the truth -- I hate it!!  So, now I'm in the process of cleaning and when that's finished, I will decide what furniture is going to go where.  And hopefully when I'm done, the sewing room will be a whole lot more efficient.  I guess it will make me a more organized person if my room is organized -- right????  Please, just shake your head up and down and say, "Of course, Linda.  You are so right".  It will make me feel like I'm doing a good thing.  So hopefully by this coming weekend, I will be ready to begin anew.  I received the Baby die set and the die for 2" strips last week, and I need to cut 2" strips for the class that I'm taking from Bonnie Hunter in July.  So, I'm gonna play and plan and hopefully kill two birds with one stone.  (No animals will be harmed in the playing, I promise).  So check back later in the week, and maybe I'll post some pictures.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

SaddleUp Wrap Up

It was a beautiful day - warm and sunny, and we raised over $17,000 for the kids at St. Jude's.  This photo is of our trail ride sponsors, George and Cheryl, with the total board.  They are daughter Kristin's in-laws, but this was a family event before she and Georgie married.  All the Halls are involved in one way or another.  The Youngs (other neighbors) all participate, another neighborhood family, the Hoyles participate, and of course, all the Burtons.  The quilts raised over $500, not bad for 6 quilts.  Some people spend a good bit on raffle tickets, others spend next to nothing.  Rod and I have never taken chances on the quilts.  But, when I was making the red/white/blue quilt, Rod insisted he was going to win it.  And when he took 3 chances ($5 worth) I was really surprised.  After the trail ride was finished and everyone had enjoyed the barbecue provided by Texas Roadhouse, the quilt tickets were drawn.  Quilt #1, the horse quilt, and whose name was called but granddaughter Krissy's.  Yeah!  Quilt #2, the 6 hour quilt I did at the last minute, and name called was Bubby's.  Another Yeah!!  Quilt #3 no one we knew.  And it was time for Quilt #4, the r/w/b Chunky Churn Dash.  Rod Burton, they called.  And he thought they were kidding.  But it was true, and now that beautiful r/w/b quilt lives in my living room and my hubby finally has a quilt made by me. (I know I should be ashamed - never made my honey a quilt).  

This is Pam and Pat starting the ride.  Pat is in the front.  The trail is about 12 miles long, starting and George and Cheryl's.  It continues down our road to a county park, and into the park to a covered bridge.  Rod and Jimmy, step grandson Andrew and Georgie's brother, Ryan work traffic control, stopping traffic at the intersections to keep our riders safe.
Since this was Krissy's first year to ride, she rode only in the park and didn't attempt the road her first time.   She looks pretty happy to be there.  Again, in the concern for safety, George insists that all young, inexperienced riders wear safety helmets.

After the ride is over and people are eating dinner, George always sees that the kids who didn't ride get a chance to be on a horse.  It's always a great photo opportunity. Here's Bubby on a horse for the first time.  Now he says he wants to ride next year.  We'll see!

Izzy loves the horses, and gets on one whenever she gets the chance.  When she's at her Nunny's, they have to keep a close eye on her because she is always trying to get into the back field with the horses.

Step granddaughter Mandy and her fiance, Brian provided entertainment during dinner.  Who knew Mandy could sing? Wow! Can Mandy sing!!! They've been playing and singing in several restaurants in our area lately.

And here I am with my hubby and daughters at the end of the day, and we're all still smiling.  A great day, for sure, but I'm glad it's over for another year.