Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cats and Cottages

College Girl asked me to post a picture of her kitty. I think Mia really misses playing out in the backyard with you. Here's the latest funny (or would that be annoying?) cat story...

Two nights ago we were sleeping with the window opened a crack. Around three in the morning I was awakened by a troubled meow coming from outside my window. I figured it was Mia telling me that she wanted to come in. So I got up and went to open the back door. When I opened the door and called for Mia she didn't come running up the stairs like she usually does, but strangely I could hear the bell on her collar jingling. The next thing I heard was a meow coming from above my head. What?! I looked up and there was Mia peering at me from over the rain gutter.

This isn't the first time that Mia has climbed on the roof from the apricot tree that grows next to our home. Usually DH pulls out the extension ladder and goes up to get her, but the last time it happened we weren't home and the girls had to figure out a way to get her down. To Blondie's credit, she came up with a brilliant idea. She took a chair out on the deck and lifted a basket up for Mia to jump in. So that's what DH did two nights ago. Then he locked her down in the mud room! LOL!
Are you getting tired of seeing village blocks yet? I have to admit that I'm getting pretty tired of making them. This block is called Summer Cottage. Only two more to go, and once I get the blocks all put together I'll have another UFO checked off my list.

Potting Sheds and Potting Tables

Yep, one more block done! This is the potting shed. I've never had a potting shed, but I love the thought of having one. I love to garden during the spring and summer and would love to have a shed dedicated to growing a garden. One without a lawn mower and weed whacker. It's a romantic thought, but I doubt it'll ever be.

I'm really happy with the way this block turned out, but I did a lot of fiddling with the pattern to make it to my specifications. The original pattern has the green part of the tree constructed with NINE different pieces. That seemed like WAY too many, especially with that particular fabric, so I redesigned the tree so that it was only made with four different green pieces. Much better. Of course, that meant that I also had to redesign the stars, but in the end I'm happier with the overall look of the block. I also did some redesigning of the sunflower block so that it was made with fewer pieces and seams. I already said that I don't have a potting shed, but if I did I'd have a potting table to put inside. To you this table may not look like much, but it's one of my favorite new possessions. This potting table was made by Ed, an elderly man who lives down the street. Ed and his wife, Vi, are the type of people that everyone wants to be like when they grow up. Kind, giving, thoughtful, and a couple who know what it means to endure to the end.

For many years we woke up a couple of times a month to the sound of knocking at the front door. It was Ed with hot bread in hand. My kids called him the Bread Man. The story goes that Ed was sure that Vi would die before him and he would no longer be able to eat her homemade bread. Obviously, the solution was for Ed to learn to make bread. So he did. He made bread once or twice a week and always made extra to take to friends in the neighborhood.

Well, Ed started getting older and developed several different health problems, including Parkinson's disease. Ed was never one to sit idly by, so he replaced bread making with a new hobby. He started making potting tables from the scrap lumber left around the new homes that are being built in our neighborhood. Sadly, a couple of months back Ed had a mishap with his table saw and nearly cut his thumb off. It was a close call and the doctors weren't sure if they could save his thumb. Obviously the doctors didn't know who they were dealing with. Ed and Vi are people with a strong faith in God and they believe that miracles happen. When Ed went in for a follow up appointment the doctors were amazed at how well his thumb had healed. No one else was surprised. We've seen Ed pull through cancer, brain surgery and more.

Vi doesn't let Ed use his table saw anymore, but there are other good men in our neighborhood who cut the wood for Ed so that he can continue to build potting tables. Although Ed puts the Energizer Bunny to shame, I don't know how much longer he'll be around, but I'll always treasure the memories of hot bread in the mornings and my potting table in the backyard.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sunflower Garden

Yippee! One more block finished! I'm hoping to get one block finished each day, but I'm sure you know all about the best laid plans. lol! Eight finished, four more to go.

Monday, September 24, 2007

On A Roll

I'm feeling like pretty hot stuff!!! Two village block completed in one day. This is the Washington Ave. House. Have you ever seen a house painted with snowflakes? Neither have I. Still, I kinda like it. With lots of BIG pieces and no half square triangles, this was a quick block to make. I'll admit that I already had the checkerboard section pieced so it went together that much more quickly. Seven down, five more to go!
And here's another one of my fall quilts. I made this in a quilt of the month class a couple years back. It's definitely a knock off of the Thimbleberries Pumpkins for Sale quilt. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get a picture of this quilt that was in focus. I really like the colors in this quilt.

Thimbleberries Village Progress

Now that I've got my Thimbleberries Month by Month quilt top finished and delivered to the quilter, I decided to pull out my Thimbleberries Village quilt and get it finished up.

When I first became interested in Thimbleberries fabrics and patterns I went on a search for all of the original fabrics. After a lot of searching and some help from my friends, Kristie and Patty, I was able to get started. I can't remember exactly how long ago it was that I started this quilt, but up until this weekend I had five blocks completed. This weekend I finally finished one more block...the Apple Orchard. Six down, six more to go!

These are all of the blocks that I have finished so far.....

And here's a picture of my Cranberry Sparkle quilt. I chose this one to hang on my living room wall when I pulled out my fall decorations last week. I finished it in September 2004 after starting it at the Main Street Cotton Shop retreat in

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Catching Up

I only have a few minutes to post some picture before I have to run and pick up the carpool, so here goes...

I finally finished my Thimbleberries Month by Month quilt. It's nice to have this top done. All of the fabric, except for the border, were from my stash. It was fun to choose some of my favorite fabrics for this quilt because, like I mentioned before, this quilt will be for me. I've even got the backing pieced. I just need to buy more batting and send it off to be quilted with a couple others.
This little apple quilt is made from a kit that Kim gave to us at our rereat last fall. I've had the top done, but it wasn't quilted. I still have to add some quilting to the border, but that will have to wait until my stencils come out of hiding. Even after searching high and low, I still can't find where I put my stencils when I was reorganizing my sewing room. Does that say something about me? I'm sure it does! LOL!
And here are the promised pictures of the goodies that I bought while visiting Michele in New Brunswick. The second shop that we went to had a deal that you paid $3.99 for as much fabric as you could fit into the baggie.

And this is what was stuffed into the bag. I would guess that there is well over a yard of fabric not too bad! I tried to get pieces that I could cut into 2.5" strips. I also bought a pattern, but forgot to take a picture of it.
These are a pair of earrings that I bought for my daughter, College Girl. I'm having a hard time parting with them and even have them dangling from my ears right now. I guess at some point before the end of the week I need to pack up all of the stuff that I've told her I'd send and put it in the mail. I hope I remember to include the earrings in the package. lol!

[Note to CG: If I forget to include the earrings in the package, it was purely and accident. I promise!]
This is the gift that I brought back for me! Michele's mother has a small collection of these blown glass balls. They come in all sorts of different colors and designs. They look so beautiful with the sun shining through them. I'm still trying to find the perfect window in which to hang this.
And since Kim reminded us that it's Talk Like a Pirate Day, I decided to post a couple of pictures of my favorite pirates! Me matie, Sherry, and I met these scalawags while vacationing in the Bahamas in January 2006.
This was after they had wrapped up a day of filming Pirates of the Caribbean 2/3. What a sight for these landlubber! Arrrrgh!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety, Jig

Oh, what a trip! I arrived home yesterday afternoon from a wonderful getaway. I spent four days in Boston with my DH and then I went on to Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada to visit my friend, Michele, for a few more days. It took me 15 hours of travel to arrive back home yesterday, but here I am safe and sound.

I won't go on and on about everything that I saw...still a little too tired to think straight...but here are some pictures of my trip. I guess I should say that DH had a two day conference, so I spent that time sightseeing on my own, so I'm not in the pictures (not saying that's a bad!).

Here's a look at downtown Boston. The blocks are small and it's pretty easy to get around. I even figured out the subway system that took me to a lot of different places.
This is the Old State House, site of the Boston Massacre.
Here's Faneuil Hall Marketplace (see the golden grasshopper weather vain?) and
Quincy Market. We did a little bit of shopping and a lot of eating here.
Here are some street performers at Faneuil Hall. They were there every day, so the donations must be pretty good.I had a few different friends recommend that we take the duck tour so the hubby and I did that on Saturday. It was a fun way to see many parts of the city. Toward the end of the tour the truck turns into a boat and takes you for a ride on the Charles river.

This is the New State House, with its 24k gold leaf dome.
Here's a picture of the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge. It's beautiful from every angle.
This is a picture of the Museum of Science viewed from the duck boat on the Charles river. The tour began and ended in the parking lot on the other side.
Look, a picture of me and my husband! We really were there!!! This picture was taken from inside the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. See the Boston skyline in the background?
One more of my hubby.On Sunday morning DH jumped on a big jet and headed back home to Happy Valley. I, on the other hand, climbed aboard this propeller plane that carries a total of 18 passengers, and headed to visit Michele. The above picture is of the plane after it landed in Fredericton. It's an interesting experience to sit in the front seat and watch the pilots through the open cabin door. They must have flipped all of the right switches and turned the right knobs, cause I made there and back without any problem. Here's a word of warning to those of you who might fly on a similar plane...don't drink a lot of diet Coke before boarding, as there are no bathrooms aboard!

Michele and her family were so wonderful to welcome me into their home for a few days. Michele and I have been members of a Yahoo! Group for several years and have met three times previously, twice at the Main Street Cotton Shop retreat in Minnesota and again last year when she came to Happy Valley to attend a retreat that I hosted here.

The day that I arrived, Michele and her children picked me up at the airport and took me to their lakeside cottage, where I met her husband, who was already there, and her mother, who has a lakeside home next door to theirs.

The next day we drove to Moncton to visit a couple of quilt shops. We also had lunch at a little home style cafe and stopped at Tim Horton's for a last minute treat. We stopped at an antique shop on the way home so that I could purchase a blown glass ball as a souvenir. Both Michele and her mother had them and I figured it would be a great remembrance of my trip.

On the last day Michele and I did a little running around town. The picture above is of us in front of a teeny tiny quilt shop in town. Check out Michele's blog to see a couple more pictures of my trip to Fredericton. Tomorrow I'll post a few pictures of the goodies that found their way home in my suitcase.

Monday, September 03, 2007

My Sister, Suz

I come from a large family. Okay, maybe that's an understatement...I come from a VERY large blended family, but in the home in which I was raised there were six kids. For most of our growing up years I shared a bedroom with my sister, Susan. That's a picture of her family that I lifted from her blog.

Suz and I are quite different. She has blond hair, mine is brown. She has blue eyes, mine, again are, brown. She's skinny, I'm...well...not. She's more relaxed and easy going, I'm not so much.

I have to admit, she is definitely the "cool" sister. As a matter of fact, I think my kids would go and live with her if I didn't give them guilt beyond measure. I mean, let's face it...her girls have a Wii. My kids don't have a Wii. They want a me, it has been the topic of many conversations this past week! Aunt Susie's family drives around in a Denali while my kids all jump into a minivan. We're just not cool.

Suz can knit. I can't knit. How come she can knit and I can't?! I want to learn how to knit like my sister. I think knitting is SO cool!

Well, I guess the one thing that I have that Suz doesn't have is a home in Happy Valley. Suz loves Happy Valley, but she doesn't live here. Nope. She has to suffer through life in SoCal. She doesn't get to endure the freezing cold winters and scorching summers. Instead, she lives near Malibu Beach and sometimes buys season passes to Disneyland. Poor, poor, Susie.

At least once each year, usually in the summer, I take pity on poor Suz and let her come to visit. Sometimes I make her family stay with us until they can't stand it anymore and move to a motel. This summer I even made her watch my kids while my husband and I took off for Nashville for a few days. I know how to work the system! Evil, conniving sisters are like that.

Well, my cool sister recently tagged me with some questions and in an effort to be cool like her, here are my answers....

Jobs I have had...

  • Babysitter (isn't that every one's first job?)

  • Page at the city library

  • Drapery maker who was promoted to office manager

  • Data entry supervisor for a military contractor

  • Worked for a temporary agency and was eventually hired full time as an

  • Accounts payable clerk for a steel fabricator

  • Stay at home mom for the past 17 years

Movies I never get sick of...

  • You've Got Mail

  • Pride and Prejudice (all six hours)...hey, my cool sister had this on her list, too!

  • Emma

  • Anne of Green Gables series

Places I've called home...

  • Beacon, NY...was born there

  • Provo, UT

  • Rialto, CA

  • Orem, UT

Favorite TV shows...

  • Today Show

  • Perry Mason reruns

  • the News

Favorite vacation spot...

  • Four Seasons resort on Great Exuma, Bahamas (my favorite vacation ever!)

Favorite web site...

  • Although I visit a lot of different sites that I enjoy, I don't think that I have a "favorite".

Would you bungee jump?...

  • I would have in my younger days, but there's no chance I'd do it now.

Favorite cereal...

  • I'm not a big cereal eater, but I'll take an Einstein's whole wheat bagel (toasted) with sun dried tomato cream cheese on the a diet coke

The last thing I ate...

  • A fresh peach

The last person I talked to on the phone...

  • That would be my daughter, Blondie

What I am listening to...

  • the Today Show

Eye color...

  • Brown

Summer or winter...

  • Spring!

Scary or happy ending...

  • Happy

Tag, you are it...

  • I'm not big on committing someone to do something they may not want to, but if you want to be as cool as my sister, Suz, then it's your turn to answer the questions above.