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!