Thursday, May 30, 2013

Maker of Super Heroes

Today, I am the maker of Super Heroes.  School will be out next week, and I wanted something special that all four of the grand kids could play with.  At age 12, Kristina is almost too old for super heroes, but she will do just about anything to amuse the younger ones.  I used a pattern that i found on Pinterest for the capes.  I also have pinned a pattern for the masks, but haven't decided whether to do them with fabric or felt.

I chose special fabrics for each of the kids, and a coordinating name. These fabrics are for Kristina's cape.  She loves yellow and is very into peace signs.  The cotton is the lining, and the cape will be the satin.  I have designed  peace sign to applique on the back, and she will be known as the "Peacemaker".

These are the fabrics I chose for Bubba's cape.  Again the red satin will be the outside with the baseballs for the lining.  He will be known as "The Home Run Hero", and his cape will feature a large baseball on the back.

Izzy's favorite color is pink, so I chose a pink satin for the outside of her cape and a ladybug print for the inside. She has chosen the name "Mutant Ninja Ladybug". (she's a big fan of the Ninja Turtles).  I have a ladybug applique designed for the back of her cape.

And last, but certainly not least, is Jake.  He loves all things dinosaur related, so I chose the lining fabric first. The characters from the Dinosaur Train on PBS are on the fabric, and then I chose the satin to coordinate with the lining.  And he will be transformed into "DinoMan" when he dons his cape. His applique is a brontosaurus.  I am so anxious to finish them for the kids.  The capes are all cut, and ready to start putting on the appliques.  It should prove to be a fun project.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Problem, A Party, A Pretty Penny, and Peace

I think that I've posted several times about how much I love our pond.  Krissy used to say that Grammy tells Pappy what she wants, and Pappy gets it.  Such was the case with the pond.  About 10 years ago, I wanted a pond, and Rod and the twins worked really hard to create the pond as my Mother's Day gift that year.  Sometime over the last two weeks, our pond liner sprung a leak.  And this was the problem. We ordered the liner, and a new filter from Lowe's online, and through, we saved nearly $20.00.  In order to replace the liner, the pond would have to be drained, the fish and plants removed, and the liner pulled out and replaced.  That also meant moving all the stones around the pond, and that in itself is a job.  We filled the canoe we have with water on Thursday evening to let the chlorine evaporate out of the water.  Friday evening, Rod began to drain the water from the pond.  As it drained, we realized how dirty it was and that this was a good time to clean it.

Saturday morning, we had some errands to run.  When we returned home, we called the twins and they came down to "go fishing".  Those little buggers are hard to catch, especially when you don't have a net.  Pam solved the problem by using a large leaf rake.  But it picked up the fish and a lot of crud.  Pat and Rod were a bucket brigade, taking out the water that the pump didn't remove.  These are the two of the pictures from Saturday.  In the photo on the right, you can see some of the crud that rake picked up.  Pat ended up "going in" at least twice, shoes and all.  And soon Rod was in there too.  Not intentionally, mind you.  We laughed really hard at trying to catch the fish, people falling in, and putting the fish into the clean water in the canoe.  And thus, our problem became a party.

This morning, Rod and I took a road trip to Elmer's Aquarium Store in Monroeville, PA.  We were waited on by a great young man.  Not only was he knowledgeable, but he patiently caught each fish that I wanted.  And when we decided to buy bullfrog tadpoles for the grand kids, he made sure he got ones that hadn't grown legs yet so the kids could watch them grow. We ended up buying five new fish ($10.00), three tadpoles ($4.50), a water hyacinth ($4.99) and a parrot feather ($2.99).  Oh, and we bought a new water lily.  And when we checked out, our bill was $69.00. Say what!!!  Well, what we didn't know since our clerk picked out the water lily (the last they had) was that the water lily was $36.00.  Yep, a pretty penny!
We ordered two catfish to be picked up next Saturday, and stupid us . . . we didn't ask how much they are.

Rod had picked out a wonderful filter.  It is a floating filter/pump combination, so there are no unsightly hoses like we had before.  It also has 4 LED lights on it and a fountain, and is just beautiful at night.  If it ever gets warm enough to sit outside, we'll enjoy it from the deck instead of from the bathroom window.  So, now the fish are in, the new plants are in, the new filter is in, and the pond is nearly full.  In the photo on the left, we are floating the fish to acclimate them to the water temperature, and are preparing to pump some more water in.  In the photo on the right, you can see the fountain, and the pond is nearly full.  We had to fill the canoe, and will be able to pump that water in tomorrow.  The Japanese iris at the far end, aren't looking so good and I'm hoping they will snap back.  And now this evening, we are at peace.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Yes, today I'm feeling a little bummed out.  I was so excited about the "gourmet" shoelaces I was working on. I loved the way they looked, and couldn't wait to finish them.  To do the agets, I needed a way to heat the shrink tubing. Everyplace I looked suggested using a heat gun.  I couldn't find the heat gun that Mary had loaned me.  I have looked everywhere I could think of, but alas, no heat gun.  So, when Rod suggested that I try ironing them between sheets of parchment, I thought it might be a viable solution.  And I thought they looked pretty good.  I gave the first pair to Izzy, since she loves pink and her own shoelaces were in really bad shape.  Unfortunately, when Kristin tried to put them into Izzy's sneakers, they wouldn't fit through the grommets, and in the end, the tips pulled off.  That was not acceptable.  I couldn't sell them like that.

And although I've searched again, I still haven't located the heat gun.  I googled making aglets, and read that someone suggested using a curling iron.  I plugged mine in, turned it on to "turbo" and tried it on the shoelaces.  And it was a bust!  The aglets are no smaller.  I have pulled the laces from Etsy until I can solve the problem.  So, I guess I have four choices - either I break down and buy a heat gun, I search every nook and cranny until I find the gun Mary loaned me (which I need to find anyway), I find another way to make the aglets, or I chalk the shoelaces up to a very good idea that just didn't pan out.

Today is very gloomy, which probably is aided to my "bummed out" feeling.  And as Annie says," The sun will come out tomorrow".

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Memories and Unsung Heroes

As I watch the TV reports about the devastation in Moore, Oklahoma, I am overcome with emotion.  I watch the reunions of parents with their children at the two elementary schools, and pray for those parents whose children didn't survive to come forward.  I thank God for those teachers who covered their students with their own bodies in an attempt to save their lives.  And I admire the bravery of the emergency personnel who searched through the rubble for survivors and now for victims.  Their joy at finding those who survived and their heartbreak at finding those who did not must be extreme, and yet still they continue to do their jobs.

Here in western Pennsylvania, we don't experience many tornadoes.  We did experience a memorable one on May 31, 1985.  We were visiting my parents in a nearby town when Rod's sister called to say that a report of a tornado on our road had come over the police scanner.  We sat their for an hour, not knowing if our home had survived.  Rod had been out of work for quite some time, and had received an offer for a job in Newark, New Jersey.  We didn't want to leave our area; but while we waited, we decided that if our home was gone, it was a sign that it was time to go.  My dad and Rod came out to check on things while the girls and I stayed with my mom.  Not knowing what the area would be like, we felt it best for the kids and I to stay put.  What they found was nothing short of amazing.  One of our neighbors stood on their back deck and watched as the tornado traveled through the field behind our houses.  And yet, our lawn chairs were still standing in the back yard.  The devastation was severe, yet only a few lives were lost.  Many of the residents of our township were attending the graduation ceremony at our high school, and although their homes were damaged or lost, their lives were saved.  We had days with no electricity, the kids thought we were living like the pioneers.  We cooked on the gas grill, stayed outside until dark and then came inside to candlelight until bedtime.  Rod found work with the clean up, and some of what he saw was amazing.

And now, I think of my grand kids who attend elementary school.  Would Bubby be safe in such a circumstance?  I know in my heart that his aide would do everything in his power to save Bubby's life.  And Mary, as an elementary teacher, would protect her students at any cost.

Thank you to the teachers and the emergency responders who do their jobs so selflessly.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Aglets And an Edge Foot

Are you curious as to what I'm doing with an edge foot and aglets?? Do you know what an aglet is??  I didn't until our 2011 trip to Walt Disney World.  We were at Hollywood Studios waiting to meet Phineas and Ferb when the cast member asked if anyone knew what the little plastic tip on a shoelace was called.  Krissy raised her hand immediately, gave the right answer, and was given a place in the show with Phineas and Ferb for her knowledge.  The little plastic tip is indeed called an aglet!

If you haven't guessed by now, I'm making shoelaces.  About a year ago I pinned the directions for making shoelaces.  Six months ago, I cut several pair and put them in a plastic box,  Over the weekend, Rod picked up located the box, and this morning I ironed several pair of shoelaces.  The first pair I attempted to sew didn't look so great, and then I discovered that I have an "edge foot" for my Janome machine.  I didn't think I could love this machine any more than I do, but the edge foot was an exciting discovery.  Sewing the laces was a cinch with that foot.  As you can see from the photo, I chose several bright fabrics.  I've decided to give my "gourmet" shoelaces some summer-y names:  Lemon-shake, cotton candy, orange sherbet, cherry chocolate chunk, tutti-frutti, chocolate sprinkles, and more.  Tonight I will attempt to make the aglets, using a heat gun. I've never used a heat gun before, so say a quick prayer for the safety of my upper appendages.  Will post more pictures when they're complete.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What I've Been Working On

The Saddle Up Quilts were finished by Monday at noon.  While I was waiting for the fleece to arrive, I cut out some new wristlets .  The pattern that I used was one that was designed and  copyrighted 2012, by Erin Erickson at Dog Under My Desk, all rights reserved.  I made the Two Zipper One, and I love them.  I used nearly all the coffee fabric that I had left on these two, one has matching lining and the other has lining with coffee beans.

I also did a couple of floral prints - this yellow one and a light blue one.

Also two with bandana fabrics - one turquoise and the other hot pink.

I'll probably take a couple of days off, and then I'm not sure what I'll get into.  Have a great weekend.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Week in Review

This past week has been spent checking off my list.  Since Mom's funeral last Saturday, my head hasn't been where it should be.  Everyone says it's to be expected.  But there was so much to be done, and I made lists to make sure I got everything done that I should have.  I've been in touch with Mom's banks and the one credit card company with which she held a card .  I've talked with the VA and they were surprisingly kind and uncomplicated.  Pat, Pat and Rod emptied her room, and Pam found someone to take Mom's hospital bed.  They even went and picked it up, which saved us a huge headache.  Kristin delivered death certificates to the two places that required them.  Life insurance has been taken care of, and one check has been received already.  Thank you notes have been written and mailed.  Today, I'm feeling exhausted.  For some reason, I didn't think it would be this difficult.  And this morning, it hit me that this will be my first Mother's Day without my mom. Again I cried.

Now, I have one week to quilt and bind the two quilts for the Saddle Up.  I don't normally let things go til the last minute, but this time it couldn't be helped.

Yesterday, I had a horrible sinus headache which I figured was probably from crying so much.  George picked the kids up early, and I needed something positive. . . something to take me to a happier place.  Enter Disney!!  Rod and I had talked about where he wanted to eat on our December trip, and so I did a little early planning.  It felt good to think about something hopeful for a change.  And so today, I have a renewed strength and can face the sandwiching of the quilts (which is the part I dislike the most).  We are having a campfire on Saturday night with family and friends to celebrate Mother's Day.  I'm looking forward to that.

Hope your weekend is full of love.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday Whine Fest

We haven't had a whine fest for quite some time, but I really need one today.  If you like cheese with your whine, go get some and I'll wait til you get back.  La, La, La, La, La.  Are you ready???  Oh, and please feel free to add your whine to the comment section.

Whine #1 - I'm working on a new wristlet for my Etsy store.  Yesterday I cut out 10 wristlets.  And I spent the day preparing them for sewing.  I pressed, ironed on the interfacing, folded - boy I was on the ball.  This is a new pattern for me, but I have read it at least 50 times.  So why is it that while ironing #8, I discover that I have been folding the D ring tab the wrong way!!  The piece is 2.5" x 4" and is to be folded in fourths.  And the D ring is one inch wide.  Why did it take me until 9:00 last night to realize that my tab needed to be 1" wide not 5/8" wide.  So now today, I have to re-fold and press 8 tabs.  On  a more positive note, it could have been worse - I could have sewn them before realizing they were folded wrong.

Whine #2 - I wear microfiber gutchies (TMI, I know) that I have been buying for years.  I used to be able to buy them at KMart or Walmart, then suddenly you could only buy them online.  I always bought nine pair at a time, and complained about the fact they have been made in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Haiti.  Tags have been on the wrong side, one leg has been bigger than the other, and other mistakes.  Why OH Why can't we make gutchies in America, I have lamented.  The company has changed its name and finally my gutchies are made in USA.  I sang a little ditty and danced a happy dance, but it was short lived.  After the first washing, they were fine.  After the second washing, they didn't stretch very well (and I need stretch).    But after the third washing, they were suddenly three feet long and only 8 inches wide.  Well, maybe I exaggerate a little!  Really, I'm only 4'8" tall, why do I want gutchies that are 3 feet long.  Geez, they could be a sleeveless onsie, if I was only 8 inches wide!  Thank goodness they got their stretch back, 'cause after tugging and pulling (remember girdles), I finally managed to get them on.  But it was frustrating to say the least

OK, my whine fest is done.  Don't forget to add your whine. Misery loves company, you know.

As a post script to yesterday's post, dinner was pretty good.  The apple pie filling made a great sauce for the pork.  The cauliflower, however, left a lot to be desired.  Memo to self - do not use artificial bacon bits when you're cooking cauliflower.  It turns the cauliflower the most ungodly shade of grey-brown, and ruins the taste.   Have a good day.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I think last week is finally catching up with me.  My energy level is lower than normal, but tonight dinner is my responsibility.  I needed something healthy, delicious, and easy.  Tonight's dinner is brought to you by . . .  my crock pot.  Have you ever done an entire meal in a crock pot???  I did a couple of weeks ago, and it was delicious.  So today I decided to try a new one.  On the bottom of the pot,  I placed a pork tenderloin, it's small but plenty for Rod and I with some left over for his lunch.  On top of the tenderloin, I put a can of low sugar apple pie filling.  I just love pork with apples.  Over that, is a layer of aluminum foil to protect the meat from the other ingredients.  I took four large baking potatoes, cut them in wedges, placed each one on it's own sheet of foil, sprayed them with a spray margarine, and sprinkled them with Mrs. Dash Original.  Then I wrapped them up and placed them around the outside edges of the crock pot.  Enter a larger sheet of foil.  I cut some cauliflower florets, put them on the foil, and sprayed them with the spray margarine.  They were then topped with Tastefully Simple's Bacon-Bacon seasoning.  I wrapped them up and placed the packet in the center of the crock pot.  And Voila - dinner is cooking while I do whatever. Think I may cut out some new items for the Etsy store.  Have a great day!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Few Final Thoughts

On Saturday, I said goodbye to my Mom for the final time in this life.  It was probably as good as such an experience can be.  I was surprised by some of the people who came to pay their respects - some from fairly great distances.  My daughters said it should prove to me that I was well liked and respected, that those people came for me more so than for Mom.  I guess that could be true, although I'm not really sure.

Mary's pastor did the service for us.  Mom didn't really have a church, and Pastor Brad had seen her in the hospital at different times.  It was a comforting service, he's a wonderful speaker. Mary did a wonderful slide show of photos of Mom, and set it to music including two of Mom's favorite hymns.   Kristin spoke, and got a few chuckles with memories of Mom.  Then, a childhood friend of mine came forward to speak.  I was surprised that she was even there, I probably hadn't seen her for at least 30 years.  What she shared left my children, and myself, somewhat offended.  She spoke about how opinionated Mother had been and about how she didn't hesitate to voice those opinions; about how Mom believed that her way was the only right way.  Silly me - I thought you were supposed to remember the deceased kindly, fondly.  Or as Thumper would say, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all."

And then she came to the house after the funeral.  We had invited those in attendance to come to our house for food and fellowship following the service.  Although there were several grannies in attendance, she felt more qualified to offer advice on child rearing, and did so while insulting the new mom that she was addressing.  She made Krissy cry when she commented, not so kindly, on the length of her shorts.  And then, did a dissertation on how men were all stupid and lazy (while my hubby and one of my sons-in-law were cleaning up).  She stayed until everyone else had gone, ignoring my hints that perhaps it was time for her exit, too.  My girls commented yesterday that they found it hard to believe we were really ever friends.  We weren't really ever that close, and although she asked for my phone number, I realize that we have very little in common.  I do appreciate her thoughtfulness in showing up, but certainly could have done without all her opinions.  Especially after she eulogized my poor mom for all her opinions!  In Girl Scouts we sang a song, "Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold".  I guess in this case the silver is tarnished.

It was certainly an interesting afternoon.  Rod got a lawn chair down from the rafters of the deck, and a bazillion dead stink bugs fell out of it onto the floor.  Although everyone was saying "Ugh", it was sort of funny. However, in the middle of our little get-together, Rod had to drag out the sweeper. And if that wasn't enough, as Mother Robin was flying into the nest in the rafters with a fat, juicy worm, she decided to leave a small deposit on the head and shoulders of our one neighbor.  He handled it pretty well, but after the coleslaw container fell off the table and splashed onto the back of his leg, he left pretty quickly.  Not that I could blame him.  Still, sharing food and fellowship with friends and family was comforting and healing. R.I.P. Mom, you will be missed.

 Have a good week.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

R.I.P. Sweet Lady

My wonderful sweet mother passed away yesterday quite unexpectedly.  It was a merciful death, she did not suffer, but went quickly.  And that is what I prayed for.

My mom was an amazing woman, we called her the "Ever ready bunny" because no matter what obstacles presented themselves, she just kept going!  Mom was a cancer survivor -- many times over.  Her first bout with cancer was in the sixties when she was in her thirties.  She was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer.  And she beat it!

Fast forward to the nineties.  My only sister passed away in 1991 from a pulmonary embolism.  And two years later my dad passed away following a two year battle with infections resulting from surgery. She was never a very loving mother - never said "I love you".  In 1992 Mom developed breast cancer and since my dad was ill and couldn't drive, I was elected to take her to her chemo sessions.  And then we joined the YMCA together.  After Daddy passed, there was just Mom and me.  How could it be just the two of us???  I barely knew her.  But all that changed. We got through everything together with the unwavering support of my dear hubby and my girls. We thought she had beat the breast cancer, but it returned.  And that led to a mastectomy.  And still she kept going!!

After she fractured her hip, we moved her in with us.  It was difficult to say the least.  She was an opinionated woman, and didn't hesitate to voice those opinions.  But at that point everything changed.  We told each other every day that we loved each other. My kids and the grand kids became her lifeline.  She and Bubby became best friends, and played together.  After one of her many hospitalizations, Mom could no longer use her walker and my house couldn't accommodate her wheelchair.  We needed to make other living arrangements for her, and found an assisted nursing facility near us.  We moved her there, and she was so happy.  They provided many activities for the residents.  They did many crafts, they baked Christmas cookies, had parties and picnics, and played games.  It was like her second family.  After she passed on yesterday, Pam and Pat went to get clothes for her, and her housemates were sitting at the kitchen table remembering her and crying for their loss.

My girls are all hurting, but Pam and Pat are having an especially difficult time right now.  They were totally devoted to Mom and her every need.  They took her to her doctor appointments, they did her shopping, they decorated her room for various holidays. Pat told me last night that she doesn't know what she will do with her time now.

This great lady has been such an inspiration for me.  She taught me the true meaning of loving your spouse in the way she cared for my dad when he became ill.  She taught me that many times determination will lead to success.  I've cried so much in the last two days, but find comfort that she is finally reunited with my dad.  As a child, I loved to watch them dance together - truly cheek to cheek.  I like to think that now they can dance everyday.  God Bless you my sweet Mom, and know that you will be missed.