Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekends Go Way Too Quickly

Does it seem that way in your world, too?  I love the weekends.  For nearly 16 years, we did craft shows almost every weekend.  We stopped because it got to be too much, and with all the imports, people just didn't want to pay the prices.  For all those years, my weekends were not my own.  And now, I enjoy the weekends more than anyone can imagine.

On Friday, Mary surprised us with an invitation to dinner at her house.  Mary lives back off the main road, and her porch is usually very peaceful, but for an occasional rooster or donkey.  Friday evening, her neighbor seemed to be using either a vacuum cleaner or leaf blower the entire time we were eating dinner.  I think it bothered Mary more than anyone else.  Dinner was so good.  She cooked NY Strip steaks on the grill along with garlic-lime shrimp.  There was corn on the cob, pierogis and baked beans.  She is really an excellent cook, and dinner was only hindered by the gas grill "blowing out" when she was lighting it.  She lost some hair and part of one eyebrow, but was none the worse for wear.

Saturday morning was Bubby's baseball game.  My great nephew, Jaremy, now plays on Bubby's team.  Rod's sister Kathy (Jaremy's Nanna) was there, as well as all her daughters and grandkids.  It was truly a family occasion. These are the two "Bubbas".  Kathy's family calls Jaremy "Bubba", and we call our little ball player, "Bubby".  They really love playing on the same team and give each other a "Hi-5" whenever one crosses home plate.

Then in the afternoon, it was off to watch Krissy cheer at her first football game. She did so well, and I have to admit that I was a little teary while watching her.  I can't believe she has grown so, and am so proud of the beautiful young girl she has become.  And most importantly, she is more beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.

Saturday night we kept Izzy while Kris and George went to hear George's oldest daughter, Mandy and her fiance perform at a local restaurant.  She and Pappy picked strawberries (which she ate as fast as they were picking), and then we settled in with our "hoagies" to watch the new movies we had gotten - "G-Force" and "Finding Nemo".  Her Nunnie (George's mom)  picked her up about 10:00 pm.

Sunday morning, Jimmy was scheduled to play in the softball playoffs at 7:15 am.  What an ungodly hour to pay softball!  We offered to keep Bubby and Krissy and they arrived about 7:00.  Kris came down with Izzy at about 8:00 and Pappy made his famous Pappy Donuts.  We had a good time with the kids, and everyone was gone by noon.  Jimmy hurt his knee during the first game, and was unable to play the second.  Today he's seeing an orthopedic doctor.  Pray he will be able to return to work soon.

Next weekend is the Labor Day holiday weekend.  We are going to see Phantom in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon.  Nothing else is planned as of now.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Friday

For several days last week, I tried to add photos to my blog post and blogger just wouldn't accept them.  They must have fixed the glitch, because this morning it works again.  Thank you, blogger.

I've been busy trying to finish Izzy's quilt before we leave for Disney on the 16th since her birthday is the 24th and we don't get back until the 22nd.  All the blocks are fused and stitched, and now I have to cut the sashing and put them together.  Thought I'd give you a quick preview of some of the blocks today.  Here's Woody.  Not bad.

And here's Jessie, Woody's good friend.  That is not a wart between her eyes, just a wrinkle in the fabric that I didn't notice until the photo was saved.

And of course, the final member of the Round-Up gang trio, Bullseye.  I also did Stinky Pete, just because I like him and Kelsey Grammer - who did the voice of Stinky Pete for the movie.

Of all the characters I did for this quilt, I think Pete is one of the best.  I had planned to use something special for Slinky's springs, but that didn't work out at all.  Daughter Mary suggested that I just use the marker and draw the lines, and that's just what I did.  I was afraid to try anything new since I didn't know how it would wear or wash.

This will be a busy weekend.  Tomorrow morning I have to go for blood work.  I've been putting it off for weeks now, and just can't do it any longer.  Then Bubby has a baseball game at 10:15.  We'll come back home for lunch, but then Krissy is cheering at a game at our home field at 3:00.  I think we might just get hoagies for dinner. But Sunday will be spent right here at home.  There's a chill in the air today, and although it's supposed to warm up next week, I'm hungry for turkey.  So I'm thinking that I will do a turkey breast on Sunday complete with pumpkin pie, stuffing and mashed potatoes.

I've never made a jacket from a sweatshirt, and dug out my patterns thinking that would be my next project.  But then it hit me that I have two quilts to make for a set of twins due in early November and another quilt for my new grandson, due the end of November.  Kristin's friend from vet school is planning on doing the twins' nursery in brown and pink.  I have gathered together a group of brown and pink fabrics, and am going to do log cabin quilts.  However, to make the quilts different from each other, I will alter the block arrangement.  Should be a quick quilt, and yet I love log cabins.  But if I can find time to do the sweatshirt jacket, I think I might do fall appliques on a dark green shirt.  I have a beautiful metallic variegated thread that I could use for the stitching around the appliques, and I could add some crystals (which I bought and have never used) for a little added "bling".

But for now, I have to concentrate on what's needed in which order - quilt, packing, and whatever else pops up.  Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

(Sirens Wailing) Emergency!!

Yes, there's an emergency. . . a bump in the road. . . an error in design.  I had purchased some fusible silver binding to use for the springs in Slinky Dog.  Good Idea - Pat me on the back!!  Oh no, there's an emergency.  Slap me in the back of the head.  The braid is too wide and won't loop the way I want it to.  You can see (if you look closely) where I have penciled in the springs for Slinky.  So now what???  Well, I will be going to Joann's this weekend to see what my other options are.  I guess DMC makes a silver metallic floss, and I'm going to look at that.  If it won't work, I'm going to look for a silver cording that I can couch on the block.

Thus far, I have 7 blocks that are ready to be stitched  down on the background.  I will probably use the rayon embroidery thread again, as I love the richness that thread gives to the blocks.  And I will use matching colors so as not to call attention to the stitching rather than to the applique.  Here's Jessie.

Mr. Potato Head, again ready to be stitched.  Once the stitching is completed, I will probably use a fabric marker to make the details darker.

Here's Wheezie, the penguin.  I decided to do reverse applique on him.  The large white stomach would have shown the black underneath, so reverse applique was a good solution.  I cut out the stomach, the eyes, and the beak.  Then I inserted the yellow piece under the beak cut-out, and will add the details to the eyes after the stitching is complete.  The little grey cloud will have lines from there to his mouth, it's supposed to be a dusty cough.

Here's T-Rex.  I'm thinking I may stitch him with a darker green just to make his details show up.  There's a yellow circle where his jaws meet, and I'm planning on using a yellow button there.  Teeth will be added with a marker after stitching.

And last, but not least, is Bullseye.  Once again, details have to be added after stitching.  I may decide to stitch him with a darker brown thread.

So, there are the seven that are done.  Today I plan to trace off the last 5 blocks and get them ready to fuse.  I have 4 weeks until our trip, and I really want this quilt done before we leave since we come home just two days before Izzy's birthday.  Wish me luck.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th

Are you afraid of bad luck on Friday the 13th?  Do you think of 13 as an unlucky number?  It's always been a lucky number for me.  There are 13 days between my birthday and that of my hubby.  And then 13 days after his birthday is our anniversary.  I'm not leery of black cats, don't worry about broken mirrors, and am not afraid of stepping on a crack.  However, as a point of common sense, I don't walk under ladders.

Yesterday,I finished the neck coolers and fused "Wheezie" from Toy Story onto his block.  I am saving Slinky Dog for the weekend, since I'm planning on using silver braid to form the "slinky" rings. I want to make sure I don't have to hurry on this block.  Hopefully it won't be too big of an undertaking.  I still have 7 blocks to finish, and then will begin to finish the edges of the fusible.

I have also been working on my Grandmother's Garden veggie and fruit blocks.  I had thought that I would give this quilt to daughter Kristin for Christmas, but learned the other day that she would rather have a Star Wars quilt.  I believe this will be one of the most difficult character quilts I have done, but will just take it one step at a time.  I have already found the characters I will use, and sized them for the blocks.  But I have other things to finish before Sept. 15.  I have to admit, I'm in love with the garden blocks, and was dreading giving them away.  So it all works out.

Tomorrow is blood work day, and then a lunchtime picnic at my mom's nursing home.  After that, I'm hoping to sew, sew, sew.  Have a good weekend.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday Whine Fest on Thursday

I haven't had a whine fest for quite some time. . . but today, one is called for.  So, bear with me as I do a "Why-ne fest".

Here locally, we have a certain furniture store that seems to run a constant sale.  And each week, it's their "Best Offer Ever".  Why don't they just reduce the everyday cost of their furniture, and stop the constant advertising of a new sale?????

Here in Pennsylvania we have a certain political candidate who started advertising for the general election on the morning after the primary election.  He doesn't toot his horn, but merely bashes the opposition.  Why couldn't he have given us a few months of no political advertising before he started???  Guess who won't be voting for this candidate!!!

We have mice ...  field mice, and living in the country you expect to have mice.  But three mornings this past week when I poured my cereal, mouse droppings were in the box  of cereal.  And I had to throw that cereal and the whole box into the trash.  Now, answer me  . . why do they have to get into my cereal and why can  they get into the new, unopened box when I can't hardly open those bags???

Why when you get older and have experienced all the unpleasantries of menopause, do you suddenly have to begin sprouting chin and facial hair???  Don't the powers that be know that you can't see those hairs with your glasses on or off???  And why does that wayward, white, wirey eyebrow hair hurt as much if you leave it there as it does when you yank it out????

And last, but not least, to quote that adorable Captain Jack Sparrow in the "Pirates" movies, why is the rum always gone???? (That's been my favorite quote for quite some time now.)  And, I had to include this photo just because it makes me smile, and today I needed to smile!!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Stinky Pete

Today I started working in earnest on the Toy Story quilt for Izzy's third birthday.  I really want it done before we leave for Disney on September 16th since we don't return until the 22nd, just before her birthday.  Mr. Potato Head and T-Rex are already fused and ready for the final stitching.  But I thought you might like to see how I proceed.  Today's first block was Stinky Pete, the prospector.

This is the coloring page I started with.  Since I only wanted Pete, I inserted this page into my graphics program, Photodraw.  I know it's an old one, but I love it and still use it.  I cut and cropped Pete out of the page, and then made him the size I wanted him for the 10.5" block that I'm using.  Then I reversed him so that he would be all ready for fusing onto fusible webbing.  I really like Heat n Bond lite.

This is Pete, all ready to trace.  As you can see, I have rounded out the hat where Woody's face and arm were, and finished the edges where they had been cut off.  Then I decided which pieces would be behind which pieces, and started to trace onto the fusible.

Here the traced pieces are fused to the fabric.  Remember, they get fused to the wrong side of the fabric.  You're seeing two of some of the pieces because I did two of the blocks -- one for Izzy and one for daughter Mary.

I cut the pieces out, and get ready to fuse them together.  Sometimes I take "artist license", and choose a fabric that isn't quite what the original was.  Here, I have chosen a checkered fabric, instead of doing a red with denim suspender straps.   When I fuse my pieces together, I use a teflon pressing sheet. My pattern is reversed so that the right side is up, and then inserted under the applique sheet.  Yes, I have put it on top and then had to start all over.

And then I start to fuse, starting with the pieces that I have decided to put on the bottom, and building to the top.  You can see the applique pressing sheet here on top of my ironing surface.

And finally he's all fused.  And I use my fabric markers (mostly Pigma pens and brushes) to add the details.  I let it cool, and peel it up from the pressing sheet. I then do a good pressing on the background square, and fuse Pete as one piece to the background.  It makes the positioning so much easier when the piece is already put together.

And here's Pete all fused to the background and ready for the final stitching.  I used to use a buttonhole stitching, but lately have been doing a close zig zag stitch around all the exposed, fused edges.  I have a large collection of rayon threads that I bought for the embroidery machine.  I don't do a whole lot of embroidery, and love the shimmer that the rayon threads give to the blocks.  

Friday, August 6, 2010


Yest, I'm glad it's Friday.  This week seemed unusually long.  I know, they're all seven days, but some just seem longer than others.  Rod is only working 1/2 day since he has a doctor's appointment late this morning.  I'm kind of nervous about him driving home.  It's supposed to rain, and the last time he came home early for a doctor's appointment in the rain, he was in an accident.  I just know I'll feel better when he's home.

Tomorrow morning I have to go for blood work, and I'm afraid it won't be good.  I've been watching what I eat, and I'm doing more around the house.  Since the dishwasher broke, I'm washing dishes by hand again, but my numbers just seem a little high to me.  I go to the doctor in September, maybe my meds just need adjusted.  Speaking of the dishwasher, I know it sounds crazy, but I swear the kitchen stays cleaner when I'm doing dishes by hand.  Don't figure.

Not too many dishes last night.  Rod was a grill boy at Eat n' Park when we were dating, and one of their specials was a club sandwich.  Years ago, he used to make them for the kids and I ; but as daughter Mary says, he hasn't made her one in years (I think it was last November).  So, last night she showed up with two loaves of bread, 2 pounds of baked ham, and a pound of good longhorn cheese, and her daddy made club sandwiches for all of us.  We had fresh yellow tomatoes from our garden, and they were the crowning glory.  MMmm, they were so good!!  Pat and Pam came down for dinner after they were done feeding the horses, and it was definitely an unscheduled family night.  And aren't they the best kind??

Sunday, our Bubby will be turning 7 years old.  Hard to believe, but it's true.  Mary is having his birthday party at the Miracle League field where he plays baseball.  She's a great party planner, and is making this a baseball themed party.  Food is ball park food - nachos, hot dogs, and I'm in charge of making the "cracker jacks".  Ours will be put in little white bags, and Mary even found baseball tattoos to put in the bags for their "prize".  She has nacho trays and hot dog papers for those items, and has gotten ball caps and "Big League Chew" gum for favors.  She found a template to make baseball cards with pictures of those kids in attendance. I love her parties, and this will be Bubby's first party where his school chums have been invited.  Even his teacher and therapists will be in attendance.  Should be a great day for all.

On the sewing front, I'm finishing up the neck coolers, I've been working on the grandmother's garden veggie flowers, and have started Izzy's Toy Story quilt.  Photos next week.  Have a great weekend.

Monday, August 2, 2010


It was a whirlwind of a weekend.  Friday night we were supposed to go to an informal get together with some of my classmates, but decided instead just to veg at home.  There were ripe yellow tomatoes from the garden, and nothing makes me happier in the summer than a fried egg sandwich with lettuce, mayo and fresh tomatoes.  So, that's what I had for dinner.  And Rod had grilled cheese.  And then we just relaxed, just the two of us.

Saturday A.M. we went to Giant Eagle to pick up the sandwich I had ordered for the picnic, and decided to buy groceries too.  Which meant, no shopping on Sunday morning.  And, you know how I hate grocery shopping.  I worked some on tracing patterns for the next quilt, and then got ready for the picnic.  There were so many of my "old" friends there.

This is a picture of  Gibbie, the girl who was in the newspaper clipping I posted last week.  This was not at the picnic -- Lily Tomlin wasn't there.  But I didn't have a shot of Gibbie from the picnic.  The picnic was very surprising.  People who were chubby are now thin; some who were thin are now chubby.  Some of the guys who had great hair are now bald, others with great hair are now snow white.  It was wonderful to see those who I haven't see for so long and find out just what they're doing in life.  But the very best part about the picnic is that I got to see the two people who were my very best friends in high school.  We just seemed to lose track of each other after high school, and lately I've really been missing them.  I was able to hook up with one Nancy on Facebook, but the other I never found. (She is on Facebook now, and this morning I accepted her friend request).

The lady on the left here is Donna.  She is a friend from high school, and is married to an old neighbor of mine.  The lady on the right is Nancy - the one who wasn't on Facebook.  Oh what wonderful times we used to have!!  She lived in a huge house (her parents were interior decorators) and we used to ride up and down in the dumb waiter.  We were both pretty small and spent more sleepovers giggling than anyone can imagine.  One sleepover, when her parents came home from a party, they found us in the kitchen baking a lemon cake with lemon frosting.  We were wearing aprons and shower caps and had dirty dishes everywhere.  We were acting so silly that they wanted to know if we had been drinking -- and we had -- root beer.  We didn't need alcohol to have a great time.  We played guitar together, sang together, and walked home from school together when Nancy was going to her grandparents.  And within the first 5 minutes on Saturday, it was like we had never been apart.

Here you can see Rod in the Steeler shirt, me in the tie dyed shirt, and my other friend Nancy with her husband, Bob.  This is the Nancy that I reconnected with on Facebook, she lives in South Carolina now.  We had so much fun as kids, and it just continued on Saturday.  Her husband is a real hoot, and I hated to leave because I don't when I'll see her again.

And here's the whole crew, not nearly all the class, but more than we anticipated.  There were "birthday presents" for everyone -- nothing fancy, but hats, shirts, pens and can covers that had been donated by members of the class.  Our local movie theater (which is no more) used to have a drawing at intermission during the Saturday matinee.  Whomever's ticket was called went to the front of the theater and stuck their hand in a fishbowl filled with pennies.  However many you pulled, went into a bag for you to take home.  Ian, who was instrumental in putting this whole picnic together, did this for all the little ones in attendance.  Hmm, was it rigged that every kid's ticket was pulled at the picnic Saturday???

What did I learn this weekend?  That I'm not the only one who got older, some seem to have gotten older than I did.  That each of us have had tragedy in our life.  That we've all had to deal with aging parents. That each of us feel life is better because of spouses, children and grandchildren.  And most of all, we can all still have fun and good fellowship together.  And that ain't bad!