Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Price to Pay

    Snowdays come with a price, you know.   When you work in a school and the snow comes in the middle of the night you go to bed with your fingers crossed.  You can gamble, too.  Should you stay up extra late reading or quilting or watching the late shows?  You stand the chance the weather forcast could be wrong and you'd not receive the 5:30 a.m. phone call telling you "school is cancelled due to weather conditions."  It's a gamble. 
    BUT when that 5:30 a.m. call comes you can hang up the phone, punch up the pillow and sink back down with a smile on your face. 
     Sooner or later you have to deal with it.  You have to dig out.  I hate this thing.  Hate, hate, hate.  It's my brother's.  We're at his house while he's on a little vacation so we took the opportunity to be closer to work for a week.  The week it snowed. The week we had to use this thing.  It is as heavy as a small tractor.  It's like PUSHING a small tractor.   WHEN it decides to start.  I had issues with it a week ago, ending up stomping my feet, crying, yelling at it and going back into the house slamming the door.   Handy brother-in-law came over and got it going. 
      Then it snowed.  Patient Husband is somewhere in Florida sitting by some pool right now.  I'm here dealing with this...this..."thing."  Don't ask.  I told him to go have some fun in the sun.
      In this neighborhood dealing with the snow means trying to figure out when the street plow is going to come and undo what you just did.  Over and over and over again.  I thought I had this under control yesterday but when I came home from school today the plow had come again!  I couldn't figure out why...the streets were D R Y.  But it found big honkin' monster slush ice chunks to deposit at the end of the driveway.  And I had to fire up this thing once again.  Did it?  Did it fire up?  Heck no.  Another stomping, crying, yelling, slamming session.  This time I went out to the end of the drive and kicked some of those big chunks to Kansas.   "Ok, one more chance, you......"  and after a few pulls of the cord it started. It didn't want to.  I could see it thinking it was going to have the last word.
     But that honor goes to the pinched nerve in my back, which I've been babying for a week, IT is letting me know who's going to be boss for awhile.
      I HATE that machine.  Hate it!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Yet again

Yet another snow day from school.  We've finished shovelling, my helpers and me.

Monday, February 25, 2013



 If I thought our retreat heaven was quiet in the fall, well....winter was just

 the most peaceful, snowglobe, Christmas Eve quiet ever.
  I don't know when I've enjoyed watching it snow so much.
We went away for a short weekend with half of our quilt retreat group and half of another crafty group that "belonged" to Quilter Barb.  She mixed up the dynamics and it worked beautifully.  So much so we already booked another weekend next winter and added a day.
We had knitters

 Scrapbook people and
a cross-stitcher
 Quilter Barb worked on finishing a wall hanging she constructed in a class.

 Janet was working on several projects

 Friend Marilyn was working on circles

 And Sally was working on two BOMs. 
As always, we were fed and pampered the whole weekend. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Goin' on a quilt hunt...

Do you see that picture at the top of my page?  That's what it looks like outside...again!  More snow in February than we've seen in years....and today Friend Marilyn and I are going on a quilt weekend retreat...same place as in October and we're excited....but it's snowing like Christmas Eve out there. She's driving.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


   I mean WHY do people save these things?  Really. Why?   Have you ever seen the many things people do with them?  Try looking on Pinterest and just see what things people do with dead toilet paper cores. 
   I understand recycling.  I understand re-use and re-purpose.  But come on......
   And why am I bothering to blog about them??? 

Just wondering....

Monday, February 18, 2013


Friday night my friend Marge gave these two old quilts to me.  She said a great aunt made them and this aunt died in  1950 (ish).  They're old and worn and soft and beautiful!  Marge had them sitting on a chair all folded up.  Immediately I saw them.  "Where'd you find these quilts, Marge?"  She told me the story and then said, "Do you want them?"  I wasn't sure I heard her right and didn't want to seem over eager so I mumbled something about sentimental value.  She said they had no value to her at all and her intent was to take them to the ANIMAL SHELTER for DOG BEDS!  I said I'd love them. "If you're sure...."  She was sure.   She asked, because they are worn in parts, "what are you going to do with them?" thing for them from the animal shelter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look at these!

 Yes, there are worn parts.  This quilt is heavier than the other one.  And I love that whoever made them tried to make this one bigger by sticking this crazy green fabric on both ends!

 It isn't worn everywhere, just some wheres.  They are so incredibly soft!
 This one is much thinner, even to the point Friend Marilyn wondered if there was any batting.  There is.  While I don't generally care for a black/white/red combination, this one is quite pretty. Probably because it's so softened by time.

Thank you, Marge!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Something new

Do you remember this?  My "utility" quilt?   Do you remember my talking about a place I could go and rent a Handi-Quiter Sweet Sixteen machine for a whole day for $10 and try my hand at free motion machine quilting?
    Well, today, Friend Marilyn and I went to Inspirations of Art Studio and got a lesson in using this machine.  Owner Dana explained everything, from threading to speed to hints on how to move the piece around.  I was given a piece of batted cloth to practice with. 
   I'm kinda one of those jump-in-with-both-feet people. While I knew that this was going to take some practice, I had absolutely no plan.  None.
    Keep in mind I don't quilt with a machine nor have I done free motion quilting.  I sloth around with my hands and hand quilt.  It takes time but sewing machines are not my friends.  They are not relaxing.  But for the price, I had to try this and while both Owner Dana and Friend Marilyn admonished me for thinking this was a "utility"  quilt, in my mind, it is.  So on we go.
   This is about the only square I can show you.  Good God, what a mess I made!  I told Friend Marilyn on the way home it's harder than it looks.  Kind of like rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time.  "Keep the petal to the floor" - not a natural thing to do.  "Move the quilt because the machine doesn't" - not a natural thing to do.   I guess coming away without a back ache was a good thing.
   Next time?  Yeah, I think there could be a next time but a next time with a better plan of what to do.  A next time with another quilt top I don't care about might take some doing but I could see Friend Marilyn giving it a go.  She will learn by my mistakes. 
    Yikes, the thing is a mess!   I came home and gave my quilting hoop a hug.
    On a more positive note,  Owner Dana has a very interesting and inspiring thing going in her studio space.  We were both very impressed with the classes offered, the work space, the idea of just going someplace inspiring and working for a day.  She offers classes in so many different topics it would be hard not to find something stimulating to do or learn.  Silk scarf painting, acrylic, oil and water color,  upholstery, quilting, doll making, felting, making paper, painting eggs, making gourd bowls, I know I'm forgetting some things. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sunshine snow

We have another snow day!  And it's Friday!  Thank you!  We did get dumped on, though, and I hope the plow comes soon.  But it's a beautiful blue sky day and the snow had the birds frantically eating at the feeders.  Peep!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Meet Michael

 Ceci is telling Grandpa something only she understands!
Our newest member of our family, Michael, was born Monday.  We introduced ourselves on Tuesday.  As you can see, he's perfect.  I didn't blame him for not opening his eyes, compared to where he's been, it's pretty bright out here!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Works in progress

Do you remember the post a few posts back where I showed the fat 8ths our little retreat group passed out to each other as a challenge?  I've been working on some of them.  I can't show you my thinking process for Friend Marilyn's because I know she reads this blog.  I don't think the others do.
MY biggest challenge is making what I want to do fit into a 12.5 inch finished size.  Many of the ideas are 8 inch or 20 inch or any other inch but 12.  I'm using the enlarge or decrease button on the copy machine at work a lot, holding a piece of 12 inch square paper up to the light to see if they'll fit. 

These little gems all need an appointment with the iron, but you get the idea, anyway.
 The little yellow petal is just basted on.  I have to live with it awhile to see if I like it "plucked."
 I like how this one turned out.
 The challenge fabric is the butterfly (as yet without embroidered antennae and legs.)  Somehow, in that very busy fabric I saw this shape and exclaimed to Friend Marilyn,"there's a butterfly!"  So I fussy cut and added just one flower.  Very minimal but in person it looks very elegant.
 This whole block was a challenge to me.  I have never done the orange peel thing and why I decided to try it now I'll never understand.  But I did.  I raided my batiks and only purchased one.  The challenge fabric is the rust red colored one paired with the more orange colored one. 
I found the blocks for this "utility" quilt in the bottom of my fabric drawers last summer.  I think it was probably the second thing I ever pieced.  Just a pile of these simple square in a square blocks.  I remember when I did them but can't remember how old I was.  Younger than now, at any rate.  I decided last summer to dig into the stash and find something to piece them together with and then scrounged for some scraps to back it.  Voila!  A utiltiy quilt.  I even layerd and pinned it. Then folded it up and tucked it back into the drawer.  Well, awhile ago I heard of a place that rents space for crafters and one of the services they offer is the use of a long arm machine for - wait for it, wait for it  - $10. a DAY.  I'm editing a little here....the machine they rent is a Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen, not a full sized quilting machine. Either way, it's one way to get this one quilted and done.
    I've never used a long arm machine.  I've never quilted a quilt by machine.  I barely have a machine that does more than sew a straight line and even then it depends on who is doing the sewing.  But I decided I'd call and see what I needed to do to learn on something that really didn't matter what it looked like in the end.  This puppy.    I made an appointment to use the machine for yesterday.  I was excited.  For $10 and the thread, I'd have this thing actually earning its keep.
We woke up yesterday to 8 inches of snow and counting.   I cancelled.  I was bummed the whole day. I put it back in storage.  I looked at the calendar.  Someday.....