Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Clean room is a Dream room

Because usually it's only this clean in my dreams! This morning I sweet-talked DH into helping me move an un-used dresser into my quilt room to put under my big cutting table. The cutting table is just 2 hollow-doors screwed together and set on top. Originally there was a small bookcase under it:

You can't see the whole thing in this picture, but you get the idea. It was "OK" but always messy looking and just not big enough. The cutting top dwarfed it, and had to be held to the wall in back with brackets. There was a ton of stuffed jammed in beside and behind the little bookcase, and it was a solid hour of pulling everything apart - not even taking time to play with any of it! Then Hunny brought in some risers to put under the dresser, because it was just shy of being tall enough for me - I'm tall so I want the cutting table up there too.

Having all this room to store stuff means you have to dig it out from wherever it's stuffed, and get it organised into the new space. Somehow, this task took me all day, and I ended up with an immaculate quilt room! Whoop-pee! I took lots of pics, so I can remember this. The only thing I didn't tackle today was the monster stash; it's a mess too because I'm not too good about folding stuff and putting it back neatly. I even forgot to eat lunch. Towards the evening I had to put on some bumpin' rock music to keep me going, and now I'm all worn out but can't seem to tear myself away to go to bed. Think Hunny would mind if I slept here?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Diamonds are a girls best friend

I haven't been real inspired to start a new quilt for awhile now, but tonight that "bug" bit, and I've hatched a new plan:

It won't be these colors, it will be more dark saturated jewel tones, I think -- scrappy. These were pieces from the uglies basket, for test purposes only. This was in the Dec. issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. It caught my eye the first time I saw it, and I've gone back 4 or 5 times. Today I got another Dec. issue in the mail -(huh????) and figured that's a sign. This little test went together pretty easily, even tho I ignored the directions which gave a strip piecing method for the little diamonds. Ahem.
Now for the fun part -- pulling fabrics! I think, I hope, I have a 3-day weekend to do nothing but play.
No new news about my Mom. She feels fine, but is very, very thin. She's waiting for the cancer specialist in either Salt Lake City or San Diego to call with an appointment. She says whoever calls first gets her body. That sounds just like her. I have oone suitcase packed and another setting open so if I need to fly quickly I can. Meanwhile, as she said, life goes on till it doesn't.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

He is Born! Gloria inexcelsius Deo.

OK -- my Latin isn't what it used to be. My message is; Celebrate and sing praises to God, our Saviour is born

I hope you and yours have a very Blessed Christmas.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Roller Coaster

Mom sent an e-mail to her family and closest friends, telling about her diagnosis and her plan. She is not interested in anything that will prolong dying nor make it more expensive. She said that she will play the hand dealt with as much grace and dignity as possible. (My mom and Jackie Kennedy are SO alike - when I was very young I used to think they were sisters) She went on to ask that everyone think of her on a good horse, flying through the mountains.
A friend of mine sent word around the globe thru her network of cyber-friends that my mother and I need prayer, and the most amazing thing happened! My old best friend from high school, whom I lost touch with about 15 years or so ago, thought she recognized the two names, Moms and mine, when it came to her through many channels. She sent me a note asking if it was me, and we've had a wonderful cyber reunion! She reminded me that I have Gods word that He will strengthen me, and of course she is right. It's a good thought I have held close all day.
The picture is Mom taken summer of '05 - her favorite dog and one of her horses. A mountain meadow high in the Wasatch mountains of Utah. Isn't it beautiful? She might look so little and forlorn, but believe me she is never happier than in this picture.
Still not sure when I'll be leaving - she has agreed to travel to southern Ca for a second opinion at my uncles' urging. As we agreed on the phone tonight, one day at a time. One day at a time.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I'm not dealing well at all with my Mothers' news...... surprised at myself. I'm all grown up and hold a responsible position in a dialysis clinic etc etc, but now it's MY mom, and I am a blubbering mess. Happily, that is nowhere in sight when I talk to her. Today, first day I'm home all day without work to be distracting, I stayed moving all day. Laundry, cleaned the chicken pen and yard - spread fresh straw all over. Shovelled out the horses shelter. Cleaned the kitchen, and the bathrooms. (housekeepers are coming Monday) and dug out the 2" squares. Mindless sewing - "No-Thinkum" projects. This is the first, the second (which is different), is in my machine getting borders.

Dolly quilts, 22x25 - both of them. I don't know what I'll do with them, but I plan to hand quilt them just to have something to do with my hands while I travel. No sewing for several weeks may be hard, or may not. We'll see. It was pretty theraputic today tho, just kind of feed 'em thru. Choosing the borders was what froze me.
I spent over an hour on the phone talking to my younger brother the other night. I was nearly 6 when he was born, and I was pretty sure he was a present for me, he was my special baby. I "left his life" as he puts it, when he was young, less than 10. I married and moved away, so we really don't know each other too well and live on opposite ends of a really long state, but when we do see each other or talk on the phone, that old connection is there. We think the same, hold identical opinions on strange subjects, and both describe ourselves as "Nazi" parents. Meaning that neither of us (past tense for me, present for him) forgot who was the adult in our families, and who is the kid. I used to tell my kids "This is not a democracy, this is a dictatorship. When you are 18 you may attempt a non-violent coup and try making your own rules" They laugh at that now, and of course they agree now. Anyway, my baby brother Bart is as shocked as I. We talked about mom, about the possibility of life without mom, finally - finding the blessing that this actually is to us all. Mom's biggest fear as she aged was becoming too sick to stay on her ranch, and becoming a "burden" to us. If she has to go, this is the way she wants it - no lingering for years as an invalid or even a frail elder. Enough time to say anything - sign papers, direct the family; it really is my Mom's way. We can both cry hysterical tears, but when we need to we will both step up and deal. Bart is travelling with his family from L.A. tomorrow, and he will assess her and let me know if I need to come right away. We briefly discussed what to do with the ranch in Utah. Neither of us is interested in living there, and neither of us really cares what happens to it. Strange idea, isn't it? Here's the reasoning - Bart and I believe that the treasures in our lives are our families. Having things that belonged to or were precious to our parents is not important to us. A few little things is all either of us needs to take away. We reacted the same way when our dad died, 25 years ago this month. Bart was just 21, I was 27. There was no will, and not a single argument over who takes what. Not even discussion.
On the radio, Christmas songs. Right now is a song about a little boy wanting to buy special Christmas shoes for his Mama, who is going to meet Jesus tonight. Country music is full of dying Mama songs, and they break my heart all over every time.
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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Time, time time.....

I received the worst news possible today - my mother has advanced colon and liver cancer, and probably has only weeks left with us. Time, my enemy, is here again. I made immediate plans to fly to Utah for the duration, leaving this weekend. Whatever Time leaves me of her, I want like an angry child. My mother is my inspiration, my hero, she is everything. The greatest regret of my life has always been, and will remain, the fact that I am not like her, in any way. I've cried all day, at work - cried driving home - cried trying to tell my kids, cried when my husband assured me, Go and do not worry. I am alternately furious, and devastated. Heartbroken and grateful for the little Time has given. I can see this Time as a left-handed gift; we will have the chance to say the unsaid, remember the best and forget the rest. I want to have her voice on tape - what I wouldn't give to have my dad, or my grandmothers voices for my children and grands to hear. For me to hear on those worst of days.
(2 hours later.........)
Now after a series of phone calls, I know slightly more. I know that she does not understand how short her Time is. The reason I do is because she faxed me all the test results of what she's had done the past couple of weeks, and I speak that language. She has not yet met with her doctor about these results, so she is still waiting for interpretation. I could not tell her. She seems to know that she will not recover from this. She also asked me not to come yet - she has other people she wants to come visit, "While I still look and act like a human being" In a couple of weeks perhaps. She denies pain to me, but I know that to be something less than truthful. Actually, I recognise she is protecting me. She tells me she is eating well, and in the same breath admits to being down to 100 lbs. She is 5'6" tall. One of the reports describes her as "cachectic" which is medical terminology for cadaveric. Sunken, hollow-eyed and frail. Like the Aushwich survivors.
Tonight she is supposed to call my brother and tell him. I'll know if she does because he will immediately call me. He had no idea she was dealing with any health problems of any sort until I gave him a little heads-up this past weekend. I'm glad I did, so he will not be caught completely off guard.
Tonight is an Advent supper at church and I did not go, but DH did, and he will talk to our Pastor. I want prayers for her, for her comfort both physically and mentally, and for peace for her. I would also like prayers for myself because I need to be my strongest at the same time I want to howl and scream - "I want my Mother!!"

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lots of pics!

Lot's happening here suddenly. Like I just found out Christmas is in 20 days, and I haven't finished/started anything yet!! First up - the wallhanging I finished over the weekend. I did get both trees up - there's a peek of one to the right. More tree pics later!

There is a niche in the wall behind it that contains all my stereo equipment. (you can see a bit of it at the bottom) Very cool, but sort of looks like a black hole in the wall, and begs to be covered up. It's a perfect place to expirement, or get some color combination out of my system without a big commitment. It measures out at 26 x 66 - odd size, but what the hey! This one was designed in EQ and it looks just like my design, but somehow it doesn't jazz me like I thought it would.

I have small granddaughters, and small girls love to carry treasures everywhere they go. These little drawstring bags were designed to be hand-sewing bags, for your threads etc. and the pattern includes a pincushion in a fabric flower, that sits down inside. Without that, it's a cute little bag for little ladies. I have 4 to make, these and one in blue and another in an animal print. Everyone gets their favorite color. Animal print? Yes, Miranda is strongly into anything jungle animal print - lepoard, tiger, zebra. I'll put a few little fun things in each one, and maybe even a bit of candy. These only take an hour or so to whip up, and 4 FQs.

Finally, some fabric with a dreadful design I found for my son, the bouncer. It suits him perfectly, (I think he has some of these tattoos!) but, yikes, what on earth to do with it?? My first inclination is to use it as setting squares for some coordinating blocks.

My quilt room is going to be a busy place the next few weeks -- wish me luck! Nothing like procrastination, I always say -- LOL!! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 02, 2006

In the Mood

It's that time again - I start feeling all cozy and Christmasy. I made this star last year - it wasn't supposed to be a Christmas star, it was supposed to go with the somewhat muddy tones of the family roo. It's not nearly as bright as it photographs, and I've taken a dozen shots but it's always too bright. Oh well --
Guild meeting today had our white elephant gift exchange + a yard of nice fabric and I got some beautiful dark purpley-blue fossil fern. The potluck was fantastic, and seeing everyone in their Christmas duds was enough to make me ready to decorate. We've had the tree for a week, sitting outside in the cold in a wheelbarrow ful of water. So that's in and set up, and I got started but ran short of lights. This tree is a lot bigger than we've had before. I tend to go for the thinner trees, so as to not take up too much room. This one is really big and full, and left plenty of room in that big room, so what was I thinkin? I put two trees up, one old fashioned and a bit country in the family room, and in the living room a much more formal tree, all Victorian and over the top with ribbons and bows and shades of mauve and pink. Very lady-like.
By the way, I hold strong feelings about what to call this season. I refuse to accept this "Happy Holidays" junk -- it's Christs' birthday, (for all we know) and the phrase is "Merry Christmas" I'll say it over and over, and even correct people. I don't have any beef with my Jewish friends, and I'll send Happy Haunnaka to all of them; but happy holidays is a crock.
So from me to you --

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I feel the Earth Move!

No, not more earthquakes! LOL -- It's finally, after 2+ years, having the front yard graded and new drainage and culverts and maybe even, (dare I hope?) lawn and trees....

On the red tractor is our oldest boy Jerry Jr. - who lives next door and is the father of those 5 grandchildren. The tractor is ours, the talent is his!

Nice, stinky topsoil -- oh goody!! The first load, of 3.

Ever seen anyone so excited about drainage? Well, we had 4 feet of rain in 6 months or so last year, and much of this front yard was under water. It's TIME!
Of course, no project is complete unless one of the tractors breaks something, and all the guys get to stand around talking about it.

It was a grand day, I loved it. Now -- lets see how much farther we can go?
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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Don'cha hate when this happens?

This is the back of a queen sized quilt I spent 2 days doing an all-over meander on - and as I was doing the hand work on the binding I found this:

These are 4 squares of another project that I must have left on the quilting table, and they are "quite quilted"! RATZ!! The other thing I found, again while doing the hand portion of the binding, was 2 small tucks in the backing - AAArrrrggghhhh!! I haven't done that since my first time quilting! Ahhh well -- ya gotta laugh!!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

All better now!

She came!!! Boy was I surprised, thrilled, thankful, shocked -- all of it. Meghan and I had a wonderful day, she insisted on sitting next to me at dinner, and we were kind of joined at the hip all day. It was fantastic. We played games, visited the horses, collected the eggs, back to the horses again, more games.....
The next best thing came when my son and DIL announced that we will have a new grandbaby in May!!! Ya Hooo!!!!

I'm telling you, this absolutely has to be the best Thanksgiving ever. My list of things to be grateful for is overflowing.

Happy, sleepy, full of pie am I, toddling off to bed. I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful too!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanksgiving Rant

Red for really really upset!! My youngest son has a 6 yr old daughter, and has been separated from her mother for most of those 6 years. His side of the family (me) was invited to see the baby any time we liked - as long as it was at the grandparents house! Supervised visits was meant to be, and taken as, a slap in the face. So I get to see this doll maybe 2 or 3 times a year. She was going to be allowed to come for Thanksgiving with her father, (her family does not celebrate any holidays) and tonight he tells me she has to be back at the grandparents house by 3pm. We live an hour and a half away, so we would get to see her for about 3 hours, and not even have dinner before he had to turn around and go back. I'm mad, but also hurt and I want to bawl like a kid. What in the world can they be afraid of? I treasure every minute I get to see her, and she is always loving and pleased to see me too. We have a blast, considering we really don't know each other too well. She is always shy for the first 30 minutes or so. Oh, I just want to scream.

Dear God:
I am so thankful for my large and healthy family.
I am thankful for my husband's recovery from his strokes.
I am thankful for the opportunity and the means to be a quilter.
I am thankful for the rain.
I am thankful for Your bounty every day, not just certain days.
I am thankful for the many many blessing I have in my life.
I am thankful that I am able to see the beauty all around me.

So much to be thankful for, I could never list it all.

Thanksgiving Menu:

Big turkey, roasted in the BBQ
Beautiful Dungeness crabs
DH's stuffing in the bird, and mine in a pan
my special 2 layer pumpkin pies
stuffed mushrooms
sweet potatoes
polenta with sausage/mushroom pasta sauce.
mixed fresh veggies, roasted with olive oil and garlic
fresh, crusty sour dough french bread from San Francisco
salad with everything but the sink thrown in!
Alka Seltzer

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Last week quite by accident I found this wonderful fabric by Valori Wells, that exactly matches my stack of handdyed FQ's -- wow!! It looks like this picture won't do it justice, but trust me - they look like they were designed to be the same line. No idea what I'll do with them yet, but there is certainly a project brewing here.
Todays project is a Christmas wallhanging. It's on point, three - 9inch squares across. I already have the outside block done, like a frame. Now I have to decide on the inside block design. I wish I could just stay in here all day and sew, but I have to run into my office later for a bit. YUCK!!! Just having to go to town is a bummer. Oh well....... maybe I'll have my blocks all cut and ready to sew when I get home? Yipee! More on that later............

Thursday, November 09, 2006


My friends in other parts of the world will cringe at this, but we had an earthquake last night, and it was of the "fun" sort. It registered a 4.0 on the Richter Scale, which is kind of a moderate/mild one, and was centered just about 8 miles from us. This was the sort that will wake you up, with a very sharp jerk and tremendous boom, louder than any thunder. The noise is always the part that gets to me, not the rockin' and rollin' To think that such an enormous sound comes right up from the very earth beneath me is a bit frightening. What in the world could cause such a sound? Think about it.......
The fun comes in when everyone has to ask each other, "Well, did you feel that one?" And laugh at the folks who might be fairly new to California and maybe it's their first; or be amazed at the ones that can sleep thru it. A 4.0, if you're in bed, feels vaguely like someone drove their car into your bed. The shaking goes on for a long minute or so. I've been in 2 really big, very serious quakes, and one smaller one - that one was really funny. I was in the bathtub and the tub cracked right under me! Water sloshed onto the floor, and my Mom yelled from the hall - "Susan! Don't get water all over the floor!" Like I could stop it! I was in a big quake in southern California in February of 1971, driving for the first time on a freeway. I was newly licensed, had Mom riding shotgun, a trailer full of motorcycles hitched on, and my brothers and boyfriend in the back of the van. When the quake hit, I thought I had a flat tire, or maybe the trailer did, and I slowed waaaay down. About then, an overpass less than 1/4 mile in front of us just fell straight down. It landed on a pickup truck, flattened all but the last 3 feet or so of the truck bed. Very traumatizing - to this day I am afraid of overpasses and bridges. In 1989, we had another very big quake that dropped part of the elevated Embarcadero freeway near San Francisco, and broke sections of the Bay Bridge which runs across the bay from Oakland to San Francisco, (more or less). During that one, I looked out my kitchen window at the fields behind the house, and watched them roll - the way a quilt rolls when you shake it from one end. In waves. Totally amazing. The earth looked fluid, I'll never forget it. My oldest son rode it out sitting on top of his first car and he described it as somewhere between a Disneyland "E" ticket ride, and rollercoaster with a broken track. We pretty much take these in stride, at least most of the long-time residents. When my daughter was in the Air Force and stationed in Texas, she experienced a tornado. That scared the bejabbers out of her, and when someone teased her about coming from earthquake-land, she shot back, "Hey! When the earthquake is over, at least you're still in the same zip code!!" Funny stuff! If you've never felt an earthquake, hopefully you'll get to at some point, really! It is an awe inspiring display of Earths might. It's an object lesson in how frail we are, and how much we are NOT in control of as much as we think. In some odd way, Californians are proud of our earthquakes, and get some little bit of pride from the fact that folks in Ohio wouldn't dream of coming to California, lest they fall victim to an earthquake. LOL! To those people I say, "Hey! At least we stay in the same zip code!" Cheers ---

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

No Sew, No Go --

Gee -- I didn't realise it had been so long since I posted.....Time flies when you're old! LOL!
My DH has started a new job, about a year after retiring from law enforcement. He had 2 small strokes in June of '05, and it affected his right hand enough that he was not reliable with a gun. If you can't shoot, you can't be a cop, and he had done it for 30 years so no big deal. However - he found himself getting bored, and heard about a job opening up as a Lead Investigator for the state Gaming Commission, which oversees our local casinos and makes sure all the laws are being followed. Perfect for him, because it's investigation which he loves, and slot machines which he also loves. It's a 4-day a week, 10 hr a day position, and we are just not used to that! He has always set his own hours and his office has been in the house, and this being gone all day is tough! He can't do all our running around, errands, etc; and he can't fix dinner! O-mi-Gosh!! THAT's a tragedy! Now it's up to me, and I'm real spoiled. He's done the cooking for 15 years! And the funniest part of this is the bathroom crunch in the mornings - only one of our bathrooms has a shower, so we have to figure out some sort of schedule. The only sewing I've been doing is hemming al the new slacks he bought, no uniforms for this job, it's slacks, shirt and tie. Big a time when we thought we were past all that. It's exciting and fun and challenging and, ummm, strange. It's fun to see him so excited, tho; it's been awhile since he's been this animated. I love that!
Hopefully I can get some sewing done soon, and be rid of all this pant hemming -- ug.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

More Sad Times

It seems like I'm talking about Death alot these days.......Tim, the Memory quilt, and now my close friend Lee. Her husband passed away on Friday. It wasn't entirely unexpected, but still and always, we're never braced for it. On Saturday, I picked her up at her house because she just wanted to get out. She only has one sister and a nephew, and no other family. So off we went, first stop the mortuary for some business, then, believe it or not, we went to the LQS. There's a lot of comfort there. Friends ready with hugs and condolences and bright fabrics and quilts hanging. It was a nice place to be. Leaving there, we stopped at a tiny Mexican market and bought fresh tamales, right out of the steamer. We took those and some sodas and drove way out of town to another friends house, where we had a beautiful afternoon. Her house is on a remote hillside, and her back deck looks out on trees and wildness and silence. We shared prayers and lunch, and quiet conversation. We also shared irrreverent jokes, plenty of laughs and stories before heading upstairs to her quilt room. More comfort. If there was any doubt, quilters are the best friends anyone can have.

The memory quilt "A Hug from Charley" is a complete top, and I hope to start quilting it tonight.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pumpkins and Punkin Heads

WOW I had the most fun today!! I played hooky from work, and went with my daughter and granddaughter to a punkin farm. The highlight foe DD and me was the huge, multi acre corn maze. We had a ball! DGD had fun for awhile, but when she started asking me, "Gramma, are we lost?" I realized it wasn't her favorite thing. What she really loved was the giant haystack. She scrambled on that for a long, long time. Ita was a blast. When it came to actually huntimng down those perfect pumpkins, wel, lets say that all three of us know our own minds --- except when it comes to ice cream flavors or perfect punkins. We searched for a good long time. Back in the truck on the road after 3 hours of hard play, DGD was asleep before we left the parking lot! A wonderful, relaxing, HUG of a day.

Look carefully....they both have an opinion as to which way to go!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Old Shirts and Quilts

One of my favorite long-time patients passed away early in September, and his wife came in to my office a few weeks later. In talking to her, she mentioned that she didn't know what to do with all his clothes, and I quickly told her, "Bring his shirts to me, I'll make you a quilt" So she did, and I am. There's 22 plaid shirts.
It's given me alot to think about as I piece these simple blocks. First, it has to be about the fabrics only, so that's why the very simple block. Second, I'm going to use a thin cotton batt and flannel plaid backing because she is a tiny lady and gets cold easily. I want it to be as snuggly as I can make it. Third, his shirts are the same ones my husband wears. They both shop exclusively at the same farm supply store, and the only shirts they both have are these plaid, snap-front western shirts. I'm always yammering at my sweetie to pleeeese buy some "normal" shirts. Working these same shirts into a quilt however, gives me pause. Do I really want his shirts to disappear from my closet and my life? Ummm... NO!! This could be his shirts, his quilt. For me. I have a fresh appreciation for him and his shirts.
Working with these fabrics has been an adventure. Many of them are very very thin, and have NO body left to them. I'm pretty sure they're some sort of poly blend, and they are as stretchie as gum. I starched the bejabbers out of them before I cut. LOL - they were about as stiff as balsa wood!! It'll wash out, but it's a lot easier to work them now. I'm about the halfway point with the blocks, hope to have it all done this weekend.
The cowboy boot block is a prototype for our oldest granddaughters Christmas quilt; she's a horse crazy 15 years old and wears nothing but this style boots, every day.
Oh, one more thing. The name of this quilt is "A Hug from Charley" :-)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I've seen this at a couple of blogs and thought it's a fun way to get to know someone. The idea is you bold the ones that apply to you. Here goes!

I have ...
1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
2. Swam with dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said "I love you" and meant it
9. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an expert
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Eaten fugu (pufferfish)
89. Had a one-night stand
90. Gone to Thailand
91. Bought a house
92. Been in a combat zone
93. Buried one/both of your parents
94. Been on a cruise ship
95. Spoken more than one language fluently
96. Performed in Rocky Horror Picture Show
97. Raised children
98. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Ridden a bike
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one important author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life

There's some real doozies in there -- bungee jumped? Not in this lifetime! Petted a cockroach? Eeeeeewewwww!!! Go ahead, try it yourself!

What Hubby Does

I've seen a few other bloggers post what their DH's do while we all quilt. So I got brave and ventured into our shop (where I hardly ever go!) to show you a bit of what my DH does. He buys old slot machines, restores them and sells them. Well, some of them, he has UFO's also. I counted 18 slots in various stages of disrepair, but just 3 that were accessable to photograph, and looked like slot machines;

He had to OK these shots to make sure I didn't show too much of his mess - LOL!! Lets just say that in a shop built for 4 cars, there's not a safe easy way to walk 2 feet! If I take something out there I have to hunt for anyplace to set it down, and I'm pretty sure there's a lost grandchild out there.......

The road trip we made in July started out as an antique slot auction in Reno Nevada, and one of these, I think, came from there. We brought home 6 slots, but I can't remember which ones. Fun, huh?

Today was our guild meeting, and I was really hoping for some inspiration. What a dud I've been in the quilt room! Haven't sewn so much as one stitch since about Oct 2!! Well, I did get a teeny bit jazzed; I won a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to affiliate quilt store of my choice, and at the freebie table I grabbed up an 8 CD set of Print Shop Pro Deluxe, for free! Wowsa! I can't wait to play with that! I'm going to try to draft up somekind of Christmas quilt wallhanging, and see if that'll get me going again. Part of my problem, I know, is that it's still HOT!! It's nearing the end of October, and I want my cool weather, darn it! It's 87 out right now, and I'd like to go out for a walk in the beautiful brisk fall weather. HA! Oh well -- I can make it snow in here. Hmmm....I wonder if i need to go buy some Christmas fabric? Heee hee.....

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Skunk Train

If you ever have the chance to go to Ft. Bragg, California, you must take the Skunk Train ride. It winds it's way thru some pretty dense redwood forests, remnants of what was once a huge timberland. The train was originally only for logs, the qickest way to get them out od the woods and into a sawmill. We got to ride the original steam engine, and it made all the perfect steam engine sounds. I spent the day in Ft. Bragg again, this time with an old high school chum of mine. We figured out that we have not spent a day alone together since 1972. WOW! Time sure flew by!! We stayed out on the open observation car, even tho it has no seats, and we froze solid. Debbie hates hot weather as much as I do, and we revelled in being cold. It felt so good to get a cup of hot cocoa and wrap our popcicle-fingers around it. Felt good to be bundled against the cold, and having to wipe runny noses. In other words, we LOVED being cold!

After the 4 1/2 hour ride, we went to a restrauant on the wharf and had steaming bread-bowls of thick clam chowder --- Ummmmm!! Some hot, fresh sourdough bread to go with it, and a nice beer, and we were happy girls. We haven't seen each other in about 10 years, and that was short, and the time before that was maybe 10 years also. Gee -- it's sure easy to stay friends that way, huh?? We picked up wherever we left off tho, without a minutes worth of strangeness. That has to speak for something. As different as we've become, we are still connected on some level and really enjoyed each other. Took lots of goofy pictures, and had others take some of us together, and when we meet again in 10 more years, we'll laugh at how dumb we were. Tomorrow they'll come to my house, along with all my kids who haven't seen these friends since they were little kids. My kids have great memories, and they're anxious to renew friendships and show of their own kids. Another fun, but long day - so I'm off to bed early to be ready!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Flowers and a Requiem

Gee - funny thing, I'm taking a breather from the quilt room. Just trying to decide what to do next. Cowboy boot quilt for 15 yr old horse-crazy granddaughter? Christmas something? Utility something for our king sized bed? So many choices!

Back in May, I started work on one little flower bed in my wreck of a backyard. You may recall I hauled 2 tons of gravel out of there with some much appreciated help from a young strong guy. Then I shoveled 6 yards of topsoil mix from the trailer to the bed, and finally planted it in June, I think. I was so desperate for some dirt to play in, some sweet flowers, and something besides weeds and dust to look at.

This is the BEFORE, although in reality it was already in progress. The stump there was a huge bush that completely covered that window, which is my DH's woodworking shop. The other bush on the laeft is a lilac that threatened to eat the whole garage, and I whacked it back by about 70%. And that gravel was a good 8 inches deep.

Here's what it looked like a couple of weeks ago: (but it looks fuller now!)

There are so many blooming flowers that smell terrific in this bed! The whole end of the yard smells sweet, and it even drifts into the house sometimes. Out of camera range are two butterfly bushes, which smell divine, and the alyssym really took over the edging. The crepe myrtle didn't grow that much in a few months, but it did put on a good 8 inches after I banged it out of it's plastic prison. The myrtle was a gift to us from Jerry's squad following Tim's death 2 years ago, and it had been in that pot ever since. Weekend before last I planted a few dozen daffodil bulbs and we fortunately got our first little rain after that. Beyond the mrytle is my rototiller, waiting patiently for me to stay home and work the yucky weed bed that's just behind it. <> another BIG job, but our oldest grandson from next door, Zach aged 14, is excited about helping, can you imagine? It will really be fun to work with him tho - he's a great kid. He's not filling the hole that Tim left, but he reminds me so much of the young Tim, before something soured in him, and he seems to be very happy hanging around Gramps and me, and jumping into any odd job big or small. Jerry and I are enjoying it immensely. I guess my thoughts are on Tim tonight because tomorrow is Tims birthday, he would be 22. We'll take fresh flowers and a balloon to the masoleum, and dinner is always meatloaf, mashed potatoes gravy and peas. Jerry is not yet to the point that he can talk about Tim without breaking down, but I persist. I want us to remember the good times, the funny things, the lame excuses he came up with. When he was just 8 years old, we were riding our horses on the top of a mountain, day after Christmas. I was watching the two of them ahead of me and not paying attention when my horse stumbled, then bucked me off. I sailed over the horses head and landed on my face, fracturing my neck in exactly the same place as Christopher Reeve did a few months later. While Jerry had to ride down 3 miles back downhill in a hurry for help, Tim sat with me and kept sun out of my face, wiped blood away from my eyes and mouth, kept talking to me as I drifted in and out, and kept some jerk who happened by on his horse from moving me. When he heard a helicopter coming, he rightly figured out the only place it could land, and he took his horse and mine a long ways away and tied them tight so they wouldn't run off. 8 years old. He wrote a paper in school later on telling how he saved my life, and we were so proud of him. That's the boy I remember and miss, not the sullen monster whose actions resulted in his own death.
Happy Birthday, Timmy.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Quilt Show

So many changes and new things! I'm trying a new way to post pictures - Picasa has a direct line, but it wouldn't put 2 pictures in one post. Hmmmmm.... I'll figure it out!
This weekend was our guilds annual quilt show, with over 25o quilts entered. With some reluctance I entered three quilts, I thought for show only, not for judging. After some bit of misunderstanding, they were in fact judged, and to my complete shock, I won a first, a second and an honorable mention.

Fire in the Hearth, (working title Log Cabin from Grief) took first in it's category. Shocked is barely descriptive enough. Almost horrified - it's a LOG CABIN. There were dozens and dozens of original designs and way more beautiful, and made by incredibly talented women. I still wonder a bit if the nice judge had forgotten her glasses. I found out from my quilt buddy Leslie, for which I will be eternally grateful. I know there's an unwritten law among quilters that you don't tell, but if I had walked in there cold and seen this, I really think I might have cried. As it was, I shook for an hour while my husband crowed like a rooster. Bless him - he gets to say "I told you so" and he is.

The second quilt to stun me was this Red Radio Flyer which took second. I'm still flabbergasted. The only comment the judge made in the "Areas you could improve" was that I had left some threads unclipped -- oops! Dang it, I thought I got them all!
Finally, the Ice Mountains got the honorable mention. I'm thrilled, embarrassed, gratified, shocked......a tumult of emotions. I truly don't feel like my work is on a par with the others in the show, and I'm not being falsely modest. Maybe because this is only the second time I've had quilts judged and it's still all new. My friend Dottie got a Best of Show with one of hers, and she was pretty blase about it. I've seen Dotties quilt room, and she's got plenty of ribbons so maybe you get used to it? Maybe having a totally impartial person say they're good? At any rate, as Leslie says - "I don't want to hear you say any more that you're not as good " So OK, I will set about giving myself an attitude adjustment.
It was a good weekend!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Quilt Camp!

Twice a year I run away to quilt camp in Ft. Bragg, CA. It really energizes me, and is a hugely needed break from my frantic life. No one needs anything from me, no demands are made. and no complaints. It's so refreshing! This time, I made not a single block -- well, OK I did start to. I volunteered to make a quilt for the widow of a favorite patient from his shirts. I did cut pieces, and sewed a pile, but decided I have to do this at home. The fabric is so thin, and so difficult to handle that I need to really soak it in starch to be able to handle it without deforming the blocks. I ended up making 8 purses! Here's some of them:

5 of them were gifts, 3 for me! The red bag in the center has a lining of tiny red frogs, my favorite little collectible. Mascot? Not sure what to call it, but when any of my friends see cute frogs they think of me --

The bag pattern is my own, and I spent the days perfecting it - a tweak here and a "try this" there. I'm amazed that I can do this. Simple things for simple minds, eh?

This is the view from our hotel rooms:

Noyo Harbor in Ft. Bragg -- Hard to wake up to, huh? I just love going to camp - sharing with all the other quilters, running around saying - "What are you working on?" and making new friends. I met a lady named Cathy, from Sacramento. She and I shared the same outrageous sense of humor and clicked immediately - I hope she comes to the next one!
Now that I'm home, I have to buckle down and get these quilts done for the show - I promised to enter, but the quilts weren't done! Now I have less than 2 weeks, so I better get busy.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Time, Time, Time --

I have an ancestor! I can't tell you what a thrill this is; we do know our family history and can trace one arm back to the 11th century, but have never seen the face of anyone older than my grandmother, and have no pictures. Behold, my great-great grandfather, Jacob Landis Berry, 1838 - 1885

And a handsome fella he is, too!
So far I've learned he was born in Ohio and died in Oregon, served in the Union Army during the Civil War and had 2 wives, Emmeline and Susan. (How's that for cool?) but I haven't seen mention of his children anywhere yet but of course, here we are! Turns out that a distant cousin of my mothers had given the picture to my Aunt, who passed away 15 years ago. My Aunts husband turned it up and passed it to my mother. Mom told me the inscription on the back gives his name and dates of birth and death, and the photographers name. I am so foolishly tickled with this guy! I've printed out a sepie toned print and I'm going to find a old timey frame and write his history, as much as I can find.
Then I have to get to work quilting - those show entries are not going to get done without em.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day Play

Waaay too hot to ever play outside, unless you have a big body of water, so I played inside with my favorite toy - EQ5. I dyed some more fat quarters, and love them even more, but now I'm considering what I want to do with them to show them off to best advantage. My first idea:

I've made a couple of test blocks, and have to say I'm a little hesitant. That's an awful lot of "plain" fabric, meaning no design. The quilting on it will be important, so there's my question, as always. Will quilting inspiration ever come easily? Boy, I sure hope so....... Is this the right project for my hand dyes? Should I do applique? But it's Kona cotton, so it's pretty dense for applique, unless I don't do needle turn. What do I do? What is the meaning of Life? LOL -- I love these kinds of dilemmas, so much easier than the daily grind problems. I could always just keep them as is and use them for petting, right?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Big Change

After many months of agonizing and prayer, I've finally made a decision that will direct the rest of my life. I am going to leave the security of the working world, and stay home. It's a hard-fought decision, believe me. I'm at least 13 years from "real" retirement and don't intend to be retired yet, but I have a great need to simplify my life and enjoy what I have instead of being too unhappy, stressed and sick to enjoy any of it. DH and I don't have a solid clear plan yet, let alone a time frame, but one thing that will happen is the addition of a long arm quilting rig, which will bring some income and allow me to do something I love. I will have the luxury of taking a walk in the early morning hours instead of flying down the freeway. I'll be able to watch my chickens and hummingbirds and horses - I'll walk my yard and even be able to work in it. I will be able to joyfully join friends for social and quilting times without feeling like it's yet another demand on my time. Already I feel a great weight lifted, and there's still much work to do and road to travel. I slept so well last night, after thanking my Savior for His guidence and feeling His hand on my shoulder I drifted right off.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Long time no see!

I have been completely occupied by social-type stuff, quilty and non-quilty, for the past couple of weeks. It seems like that takes a lot of my time, but oh well -- it's fun, right? At Bunko 2 weeks ago, I won this huge glass candy jar, stands about 18 inches high and might hold a whole gallon of liquid. Everyone was offering suggestions about what I might want to put in it, but I only saw one thing: thread!

I think it's perfectly appropriate for my house and besides - I have to get all my thread off the hangers on the wall because it's getting dusty. This took about a third of it, and the rest will go into drawers - but how pretty!!!

In more pretties, I planted this very unusual perennial salvia this past June, and it's actually beginning to bloom. I think it's called Black Magic? Anyway, it has the most striking and true dark blue blooms I've ever seen. For a plant that came out of a 4 inch pot just a couple of months ago. it's doing fantastic. The tiny blooms will really be breathtaking when they cover the whole plant!!

DH Jerry had a birthday last week, and wanted no fanfare whatsoever. In the past, I've managed to surprise him every year with a big party at some restaurant. This year, he didn't feel well and just said no, and in fact refused to even tell me where he wanted to go for dinner on his day. At least I got to pull one surprise on him: I was able to buy him the gas bar-b-que he's always wanted. By a fortunate twist, I received an unexpected bonus at work that easily covered the expense, and left me a little to play with. (Roll of Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 for me!) Jerry was shocked, and we had a great time yesterday putting it together - man, this thing is heavy!! In fact - it's nicer than the stove in my kitchen!

A huge downside to being busy is I haven't seen Madeline for awhile, and she is feeling the separation acutely. She's been crying and whining "I want my Gramma" and generally acting out for her Mom. They live 70 miles from me, so I can't exactly pop over any old time I want. But they called the other day, and she talked her little head off very happily and told me everything that was happening in her world. She ended by saying, "I love you, but I no come see you cos you too busy" Aarrrgghhhh!!! Knife to the heart!! With all the innocence of little children. I immediately told my daughter that next weekend is on us, and cancelled all other plans. That sweet baby should never have to think I'm too busy for her. Next weekend, Labor Day, will be a big birthday blow-out for all 3 of us. Mine and Madelines on the same day, the 14th, and my daughter Cory on the 11th. I'll be away at quilt retreat that week, (there I go again) so we're going to have our party early. I asked Madeline what she wants to do with Gramma and she giggled -- "Gramma eat my toes!" Life is good if you have someone to eat your toes.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

It's a QUILT!!!

Incredibly, finally it's a real quilt. The Log Cabin from Grief is all quilted, and I'll have the binding on tonight. Even more amazing, it's square and flat and drapes nicely despite the very heavy quilting in the background areas. The logs are quilted an inch apart so I guess that was enough to save it from being a real log -- LOL!
So now, still on my goal of finishing 3 quilts to put in the show -- I'm drawing a bead on the Ice Mountains.....remember that one from a couple months ago?

Again, set aside while I hemmed and hawed over borders. I took it to mini-group for opinions, and those wonderful talented ladies unanimously agreed, just plain borders, maybe with prairie points. Hmmmm....never done those......

Fair Days

A Day at the fair -- this is the booth where Leslie and I spent 4 hours people watching, sweltering and selling tickets. Even tho it was VERY hot, we had a good time, sold quite a few tickets and had a nice long visit. The banner was whipped up in a couple weeks by one of our guild members, Dottie, and it is fabulous!! All appliqued, it's terrific. Our show is called Falling Leaves, and it's in October; thus the autumn motif. The CAR:

A few years ago, guild members pooled their UFO and orphan blocks and pieced a car cover - can you believe this? It's goal is to draw attention to the guild and it's activities and it certainly does. It's fully drivable, there's see-thru mesh over the windows, and it drives along in parades, etc. How fun is that?

After a pretty long day at the fair, I had enough time when I got home to change my sweaty clothes and jump into the truck to go to the races with DH. He's feeling a little better today and the races were great - we had a blast. Long long day in the heat for me, cold lover that I am, but today I have all day to stay inside, stay cool and work on my quilt. Wonder if I can get the quilting all done today? Laundry is almost done - last load in the dryer, I still have to go in and do my staffs' timeclock entries and corrections, but gee -- chores are about over. I need to shut this down and get to work!!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I'm a Chicken

OK - fry me up, serve with potato salad. I didn't do the feathers. I put on RickyTimmsDVD for inspiration, and drew a hundred or so feathers. I made copies, and did mirror images, and fit them to the spaces on the quilt, and practiced/practiced/practiced and then - I decided on a loopy design Ricky Timms calls "Ricky Doodles". I have another top coming up next that will lend itself to feathers better than this one - in the end, I just didn't like the way it filled the space, and didn't want to do tight little stippling around it.

Here's what I ended up with. I'm very confident with this one, I can do this at mach 3 with my hair on fire. Stitching in the ditch of the logs is another story - a scary story. HATE it!! Susan - thank you for your advise, I did put on some nice classy music while I practiced, and it really does help get that flowing feeling.

Off today to the fair, see what my friends are up to and sit with my sew buddy Leslie and sell tickets for our guild opportunity quilt, that will be a nice fun afternoon. Immediately after that tho, it's off to the races with DH who is feeling really really punky, but hey, it's Saturday night! Off now to quilt a little and gather something to do this afternoon.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Oh man, this is awful. The Log Cabin I'm having such a love/hate relationship with has a lot to teach me, and I am suffering with it. I want to do feathers in the white areas, and simply stitch the ditches of the dark areas. I've never done feathers outside of some playing around freehand, and it's SO hard!! They need to gently follow the non-existent curves, but how do you do the corners? And why won't the feathers follow the curves smoothly; they keep kind of changing shapes. All this on paper so far, of course, as I try to form a stencil or pattern to follow.

I really want to do it, and I'm really afraid. Clearly, if this one comes out OK I'll be walking on air, and if it doesn't, well......
(big sigh)
OK -- I'm big, I'm tough and I am determined. I created this thing, right? So it can't have more power than I, right? And I'm the one with 20 different feather patterns and a copier that enlarges/reduces. So why do I want my mommy???? lol -- as if she could help me now.

This is my Mom -- not a great picture, but it was 16 below that day and she was bundled up to her eyeballs. Mom is 72 years old, lives on a ranch in a remote part of Utah and spends most of her days on horseback, herding sheep in 12,000 ft mountains. When she is bundled up like this, soaking wet and with all 6 feet of her hair wet too, (yes, 6 feet of hair!) AND with boots/chaps on, she might weigh 110. Yes, my Mom's a cowboy. She's not exactly sure quilting is a viable pastime, but since I broke my neck in a horse wreck I looked for a more sedate hobby. Oh, the horse is her new little Islandic mare Brita, newly arrived that day from Newfoundland. As round as she is tall. If I were to ride that horse, all 5'10 inches of me, I could drag my toes to make her stop! So, as you can see, Mama is no help to me whatsoever. I can call her and whimper, and she'll say all the right things and cheerfully admit she has no idea what I'm talking about.

I love my Mom!! She sure has helped out tonight! LOL!!