Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Show me your -----

Libby has challenged us all to show our ironing boards. Now just think about this a minute...........In what other society, anywhere on EARTH do people show off their commonest, meanest household items? LOL -- we are a strange breed alright. And not only do we show them off, but we LOVE our ironing boards!! Humble, royal, pristine or grungy, we leave them up all the time and can't get through a day without them. Speaking of grungy.......... don't tell Sharon -- I'm just sayin! So in the spirit of wretched camaraderie, (or soulful sisterhood?) I present my humble ironing table, and it's CURRENT hot occupant:
I made this topper myself, to go over the cabinet that DH made. It's a 2x4 sheet of white laminated shelving with one layer of cotton batt over it, and topped with this heavy cotton duck I got on the clearance table for a couple of bucks. It's been on there for close to 3 years now, and I've taken it off to wash once. Looks like it's about due again, I guess. It's a nice hard surface and seems impervious to abuse. Good thing, considering it's lot in life, eh? And what's that piled up on the left side? Well, there is ALWAYS a stack of fabric there, I don't know how it gets there. This time it's pieces left over from a 2 a.m. play date this morning, looking a lot like a SPRING SWAP wannabe:
The idea is that it will have some sort of appliques in the biggest blocks. Meeybe yes, meeybe no. I see now that the lower right has a serious bigtime problem that's going to prevent it from ever seeing the light of day, but that's how the creative cookie crumbles. Playing with my new toy I finally finished the quilting on the Spools quilt, and the borders look so cool!
That's a King Tut variegated thread and I just love how it pops - something tells me there's a lot of that thread going to show up in my mailbox soon.
I'm off to a comatose day at work - LOL!!! I have to sit all alone in the abandoned clinic waiting for deliveries. Awww, darn it anyway. No phones - they're forwarded to the other place. No fax - it's gone. No visitors - front is all locked up and dark. No patients, no whiny staff, no crazy families. Jes' lil old me and my celly, and what will I do with all that time????

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Toy

Aren't new toys good for what ails you? You can be so down in the dumps that you can wipe your nose on
your socks without bending over, but get a new toy and suddenly everything is fine!
This is my old toy:

And this is my new toy:

Ahhhh -- you noticed they are remarkably similar, and you're right, they're brothers. (Sisters?) The ruler is there because it looked like the 6600 had less room under the arm, in which case it might have been flying back to the store. It's one heck of an optical illusion, I tell you! I bought the 6500 at PIQF a couple of years ago, and have been very happy with it. Then a vendor at a show told me that the feed dogs on the 6600 actually have one more set of teeth, and it doesn't "eat" so much fabric, i.e. - drag it down the black hole. I have always had problems with that on my 65 but assumed it was me - but it's not!! I couldn't possibly do anything that dumb. Anyway, I started researching and bugging 6600 owners, and finally decided I need to get the 66. What a difference! Lot's more bells and whistles, to be sure, but mostly I love that it's so solid, sounds so smooth like a low purr from a kitty, and is perfectly tuned. I originally picked it because of the BIG space under the arm - I can cram a king quilt under there to quilt - but also because of the overall heavy, solid feel of it. The thing weighs 40 lbs!!! The base is all metal, oh and speaking of that!! The wonderful guy who owns the shop and gave me a little lesson also gave me a fantastic tip. He advises car wax for the deck and surrounding area so when you're quilting, the whole thing will slide like magic. Car wax!!! makes perfect sense - I'm going to try it tomorrow.

After fiddling with it most of the afternoon, here's the first block out of the gate:

It's a liddle-biddle, 6 inches, and I just might make some more. FUN!!! Well, duuhh, it's all fun, that's why we do it! Think I'll go do some more!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Happy Dance!!!

WHOO-HOOO!!! I'm OUTA there!
I spent 2 hours with my future employer this morning, and we had a great time. She and her DH are just like me, and this is going to be a real good gig. Better hours, better $$, better office, 1/8th the workload and next to nuthin' for stress. Her quote - "This is going to be a cakewalk for you and a godsend for me" She has actually seen me in action over the last 6 months or so and she knows what I can do. It took us a long time to work out the timing, and it looks like it will be sometime in May, and I'm actually going to get about 3 weeks off in between. Three weeks in a ROW! Can you imagine? I never even get 2.... So I still have to face the resignation scene in about a month - aarrghh.... meantime, things look so good. **VVBG**
Last night the guy who wants a 'special' quilt for his girlfriend came over with ideas and holy cow this is going to be AWFUL!
It's not Strawberry Shortcake, it's Hello Kitty.
And Jeeps.
And the Beatles.
And pictures of them together; her baby pics and his baby pics and her mother's pic.
And some kind of Hawaiian colors thrown in to commemorate their vacation.
With a snowy white background.
And lots of pink.
60 x 60 wallhanging to hang over her bed.
Gag a maggot! This guy was all over the place with bizarre color combinations and subject matter -- Jeeps and Hello Kitty? And I tried as tactfully as I could to explain composition and continuity and balance, but he wants what he wants. Oh man -- sometimes I'm dumber than a box of rocks and I'll never do this again. Eeeewwwww....... this is gonna stink.
Tonight my sweetie is taking me out for champagne and tomorrow I get my new Janome - it's gonna be a good weekend! I hope yours is everything you need it to be!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Going for it!

Right off the bat, let me say a huge THANK YOU for all your support - it's overwhelming to say the least. Reading all those encouraging comments has really made me feel stronger and braver, and so I called the potentials and made an appointment to talk particulars. (meaning $$$$ and benefits, lol!) So Friday morning keep your fingers crossed that we can see eye to eye, because if we do, I will have my resignation letter in my pocket and deliver it that afternoon. To make things worse, my clinical administrator who will be receiving that letter, was talking at lunch today about all the problems we're having. She mentioned one staffer in particular who is having marital difficulties and has missed a lot of work because of being so upset, (!!!) and told me she's just waiting for that person to quit - "That's all we need. I'll just shoot myself" Oh great. Of course that's a figure of speech, but all the same; wait till she hears this. See why the guilt? BUT -- nonetheless, it feels like Springtime and new starts:

And I'm looking for inspiration so pulled these out to put together:
Not springy, but certainly a bright spot, eh? Then I got a call from a guy my DH works with, and he wants to commision a quilt!! My first comission! Yeee-Haawww! He'll be here tomorrow night to brainstorm ideas, but right now he's leaning towards a pink Strawberry Shortcake for his girlfriend.
His 55 year old girlfriend.
Yikes - I thought maybe a granddaughter, and almost choked trying to stifle a laugh when he told me she just LOVES Strawberry Shortcake. ROFLOL! Whatever! He says my DH told him the going rate for a made-to-order handmade quilt is around $500.00 and that didn't faze him in the slightest - even funnier!!! My good ol' Hunny; always watching out for me! Can you imagine??? Hey - at least I didn't have to be in that awkward position of trying to come up with a price.
Ahhh........I'm so hoping for an entirely different life a month from now, one that will allow a LOT more time and energy to do things I enjoy.
Friday morning, cross your fingers!
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Monday, February 18, 2008


WARNING - this post has absolutely zero quilt related content!
I'm in a pickle, and I'd like some opinions; it's a complicated scenario. I hold a key position in this dialysis clinic, which is currently in an advanced state of choas because of the need to relocate and make repairs to our own clinic, as well as several resignations which left us understaffed. Within a few weeks that work will be complete and we'll be able to move back, which is will be another 2 weeks of insanity, extremely long hours and very very high stress. Meantime, I have been approached with another job offer, one that I really really want. (better money, fewer hours and about 1/32nd the stress) My personal standards tell me it's not OK to run out while there's so much trouble in the clinic, knowing my absence will be a big blow on top of all the other problems. My potential employers understand and are willing to wait but not indefinately. Add into this mix my wish that I could have 2 or 3 weeks off before starting another job, and suddenly I'm feeling squished. I can see both sides so clearly that I'm paralyzed. My friends and family all say RUN, don't walk, and get out of there fast; and my conscience says "How could you???"
This has been simmering for a couple of months now, and today I got a gentle little nudge from the potentials. I'm so torn -- what the heck should I do???

Sunday, February 17, 2008

weekend fun

There is nothing nothing nothing better than being a Grandma! NOTHING! I thought that about being a Mom, but I really have to give the edge to Gramma-hood. LOL - I am not responsible for vaccinations or diapers or fights at school and I am always treated like royalty -- what could be better? Take this little prince; Nicholas. He's six months old and hasn't seen me since he was 4 months old - one third of his life, right?

Yet, when his Mama came to hand him to me, he put out his arms and dove into me - and immediately grabbed 2 little fistfuls of my skin and hair and tried his best to eat my face, squealing the whole time. Now that's a welcome!! And a wet one too, I might add. He was equally excited to see his cousin Madeline -
but she wasn't having any of the hair pulling so she held his hands, LOL! Smart girl! Too much fun, I tell you.
My other fun was buying a new sewing machine, WHOO-HOO!! I have the Janome 6500 that I bought just a couple of months before the 6600 came out, and that was fine, until I learned some things about the 6600 that made me decide to step up. So I wandered into the dealer and said "I want that" and they sputtered, "don't you want a demo?" "Nope - wrap it up please" Well, it doesn't work that way. They have to bring it in from the warehouse, and do a "test & tune" on it so I won't get it till next weekend, which means another trip South. Oh well........ Madeline was with me and when the shop owner asked her if she knows how to sew, she patiently explained, "Well, not exactly. You see, I'm only 4 years old" Really? Because she speaks like she's 40!!!! We went to Starbucks where ordering a cup of coffee is an exercise in adjectives, and Lil Miss can order her own "grande milk froth with an ad shot of vanilla", followed by her mothers huge 24 word order that I won't even try to repeat. Finally I asked for a plain, medium, mild, no-frills, straight cup of regular black coffee. After a long pause, the girl said "huh?" Geeeeesh..... and that's why I'm not a big Starbucks fan.
My least fun of the weekend was a horrible fingernail accident - while trying to buckle Madeline's carseat into my truck, something slipped, jammed my hand and bent my nail all the way back, and tore it off just slightly north of the end of the nailbed. Tore. It. Off. Remember I told you I'm clumsy? So tonight I'm nursing a throbbing finger and need to go cuddle up to an ice pack. It will be better by Saturday, right?
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Friday, February 15, 2008

Sleepless nights and other weird things

So what do we do when we can't sleep? We play, same as we did when we were 4 and not taking a nap when we were supposed to be. Right? So in my sleeplessness the other night, I played with EQ and made a dozen quilts. So far, this one is my favorite, and might actually get made, since I still have that blue wedding quilt to produce.

This was inspired by Judys' Quilt for an Hour project from Oct '06 - I still want to make that one! I love how you can't exactly tell where the block is.... My idea is that this would have 86 different blues, and be called "Moody Blue". Not too original, but what do you want for 3 am?

One of the things Hunny and I like to do is haunt antique stores and estate sales and auctions. He collects old slot machines, and I pick up ancient sewing stuff, of course. A couple of years ago, this little gem was in a box lot I scored at an auction -

They must be 45 years old, do you think?? And guess what? They really do cut everything, and cut GOOD! They've been forgotten in a box until I unearthed them during the Great Stash Purge, and I used them the other day - what fun! They even have the original users manual, complete with a Lifetime Warranty. Can you imagine if I sent them back? Wonder if the company still even exists?

Mar, at Pincushion Diaries, tagged me for the 7 weird things challenge. I think everyone has already been tagged, so I'll let the tagging peter out, but I had to think long and hard about my 7 things. Not to come up with that many, but to eliminate 93 and ONLY share 7!! LOL - I am 100% weird! So here goes the "safest" of my weirdness:
1) I am the clumsiest person on Earth. I cannot cross a room without knocking something over or breaking a nail. This is a familial trait shared with my youngest brother. We have both been offered personalized parking at Emergency Rooms all over California.

2) I am also the un-luckiest person around, meaning in games or contests. I do not gamble unless I have a set amount I care to give away. I have never won a drawing or coin toss or drawn the long straw. My SIL on the other hand, can win a thousand bucks just by walking in a casino door. You know the type.

3)I haven't seen a movie in a theater since Titanic, and the one before that was Saturday Night Fever. I don't sit still well enough and there's that short attention span problem.

4) I have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. So does my Mom, and my youngest son. I twitch when I have to sit still. Some part of my anatomy is ALWAYS moving.

5) This is a hard one to admit. I don't really love chocolate. It's OK, but I prefer fruit flavors or licorice. Now, don't write me off!! Look at it this way - there's more for you!

6) I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

7) My eyes are very light brown, and when I was younger they were gold. OK they were actually orange but gold sounds a little less like I am a space alien.
I think that's all the weirdness you can handle for now. Tomorrow I get to travel down to visit my kids and grands that I haven't seen since Christmas. My daughter never tells her 4 year old daughter that I'm coming, because she gets a little too wound up, so she hears about it when I'm in their parking lot. She and I have one of those special close bonds, and she "knows" things. Last night they were watching TV and suddenly Madeline said, out of nowhere, "I wonder if my Gramma is missing me?" Yep, Baby - I am missing you.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It takes all Hearts

Happy Valentines Day! This is my only heart quilt, made last year and I still like it - I have a big potato baking in the oven and a filet marinating in a bag for my Sweethearts dinner, along with a renewed sense of thankfulness for him.

Yesterday we had a patient go into full cardiac arrest and die in our clinic, a very rare event. In my many years in dialysis clinics, this is only the second time I've seen it - usually if they develop symptoms we have a chance to get them to the hospital emergency room. Not this time. And as we shocked her and the EMTs did CPR, her husband stood a couple of feet away, frozen. No expression. After she had been taken away, the husband came to talk to me - about MY husband! Seems they had known each other for many years back, when they were both young deputies in the Sheriffs Department. He chatted sociably for long minutes, while inside my head I was yelling at him - "DUDE!!! Your wife just DIED!!!" Finally he turned to go, picking up her bag and purse. He looked at me again and shook his head - "I guess I should have given her her Valentines present early, I got her a string of pearls, she loves pearls." And he left. And we all cried. And I came home and gave my Hunny his present, early. I hope you and everyone you love celebrate each day you have together, and realize it only takes a couple of swift seconds to make us say "I wish I had......."

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Swap Surprise!!

Whoo-hooo -- I'm doing the Happy Dance tonight! My Winter swap quilt came, and I love it! My swap partner Darlene from Quilting Daze made it and I'm so tickled with it, I can't even tell you. I can never remember what this pattern is called, but it's always captivated me -

I love the graphicness of it - (is that a word?) and the illusion, the color play. And the snow men are too adorable, and the bright colors are right up my alley. Now here's the funny part. I'm a regular lurker over on the Surface of the Sun without doing too much commenting. (blush) A week or so ago, she showed this darling set of shelf sitters that had just arrived in her mail from Collections, Etc and I fell madly in love, just HAD to have 'em. I clicked on her link and ordered them immediately.
Are you ready for this? They arrived in todays mail, along with Darlene's little quilt! I just think that's so COSMIC!!! ROFL - I had no idea she was making me a quilt! Darlene -- THANK YOU!!!! You've made my day!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A little bit O spring

We've had a most SPLENDID weekend! The weather hung around in the low 70's, with a teeny whisper of breeze, and it felt like a warm spring day. I played outside most of the day and have a bit of a rosy glow about me, and these gorgeous shots:

The first daffys of the year -- whoo-hooo! I have a hundred more that are little yellow buds, and another hundred that are just a few inches up, so I'll have daffys for quite awhile **VBG**
Today was the first day that I've been human for awhile - I fought with that ear infection for a week or so, and just as that was cleared up I got a case of labrynthitis -- dizziness. Almost certainly related to the ear, and certainly enough to knock down a horse! So that feeling human jazz was terrific - I couldn't sit still! I finagled Hunny into helping me (read that - DOING IT HIMSELF- LOL!!) finally install the dryer vent hose to the outside. Our washer/dryer set up is very very strange, the former owners had them outside on the back porch and until I decide where I want them to be, they're OK there. We never did get around to hooking up the vent hose tho, so that porch got really hot and really linty, but NO MORE! Hunny sure growls a lot when I get good ideas. Hmmm... I don't understand. I found a nest of chickens eggs behind the dryer - how redneck is that???? My chickens have the run of the yard for now, and I guess we had a bit too much rain for them. ROFL! Not as bad as the time DH left the outside door to his office open and they laid an egg on his filthy desk! And he discovered it when the Captain of the squad stopped by and they went into the office! Oh man, I laughed myself sick, and the captain is still telling that story.

I did play inside a bit today - and mostly I hunted around online for an iron. Yes, my saga of the irons continues. You'll recall that the $130.00 "professional model" that DH bought for me without any begging on my part (no, really!!) turns out to be SO HOT that I can set it on the fabric and go read a few blogs. So Leslie brought by this oldie but goodie, and that sucker will scorch if I so much as draw breath while I'm using it. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!!! She found this at a yard sale for $5 - and she and her DH cleaned it all up and it's good. I've been using it for a few weeks now and it's so hot, I just giggle. I know, simple things for simple minds. Anyhow - my only complaint is that it doesn't have the shot of steam, nor does the spray work, and those are both tools that I use a lot so I want to find something similar. To date, I have purchased 3 brand new irons and they've all gone back to the store. e-bay is a disappointment so far, but the search will go on!
I spent a fair amount of time today sitting in the sun in my adirondack chair, working on dollys and clothes; you realize I have the attention span of a 2 year old? Maybe not that good........hey, I bet that's why all the grands like me! Oh no, wait, maybe it's the chocolate chip cookies. But I digress.

Here are 3 of the femme fatales that are currently hanging around my room. There's a few more in various stages, including a couple of slightly disturbing scenes. The gal on the left is wearing a FQ so she won't be caught 'nekkid', and the one in the middle is an original, made by Nicole Ellison. On the right is my dirty-faced girl, LOL! my first attempt at coffee staining. Oh man, they have to come out better than that!!! Now for the slightly disturbing shots:

ROFL!! Really only one leg had fallen just about there, but I couldn't resist.

This dismembered, bald sweetie is laying right where I set her down, waiting patiently to be given arms and legs and hair and all that good stuff. Gee, I hope my attention span doesn't flit off somewhere else before that happens! She could be lying there staring at me for months!

So now on to the mundane Sunday night tasks: close the time clock, paint the nails, prepare for the cleaning ladies tomorrow - my favorite day of the week!! I hope your weekend was a good one - I better go see what you're up to, just in case.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

It was a dark and stormy night.....

Picture it -- February 5th, 1972. And it really was a dark and stormy night . My mother drove me and my husband to the hospital, and as we pulled into the parking lot I changed my mind. "Nope, I don't want to. It's going to hurt, there's no other way to get this kid out, right?" My Mom shrugged and said, OK - and she turned around. We made a few laps around the hospital while Hubby about wet his pants and came unglued. Finally I relented, and they took me in. This was the Bad Old Days of childbirth - no epidurals, and of course no one in the delivery room. Certain husbands were allowed in if they had completed six months of that new Lamaze thing, AND had a note from the doctor!! Honest! Well, my 17 yr. old husband certainly was no candidate for any delivery room, and Grandmas didn't count so I was on my own. There was a lot they didn't explain back then - like EVERYTHING. Eventually they did give me what was called a "saddle-block" that made everything numb from the waist down - then they yelled at me to push. Push what? I thought they were crazy, and they finally had to clamp on forcepts and yank him out - all 9lbs, 6 oz, 23 inches of him, but while I was aghast at how tiny he was, they all flipped out at how big. Perspective is a funny thing, huh? We both survived this adventure, not much worse for wear. He had bruises on his head for a week, and I had twice daily dressing changes - unbeknownst to anyone including me, I had been scratching my right thigh the whole time, and it was a shredded, bloody mess. Oh yea - my wrists were restrained, strapped to the bed or something, and my thigh was the only thing I could touch but couldn't feel. Thank God and medicine that those bad old days are history.

That young man and I grew up together and to my delight he finally had a child of his own this year. I sent him a dozen text messages throughout the day today, giving him bits of family trivia about the magic age of 36. Like how when I was his age, he was in college. How his Grandma was 36 when he was born. When I was 36, I adopted my current cat, Cuervo. LOL -- that was when he called me back - "WHAT???" yes, the same cat Cuervo. "You've had that cat since you were MY age???" LOL!! True! Suddenly stunned silence..........then my baby boys voice - "Does this mean I'm old?"
Yes Dear.
"So if I'm middle aged, that makes you............"
It's an amazing, wonderful gift, these kids. Even though I had no business having a baby at that age, I never considered any alternative. He's been my joy & delight, my rock, my teacher and my student and now we're very close friends. As time goes on, what short little age gap there once was is all evened out, and now we're about the same, I think. God knew what He was doing, as always, to entrust me with an angel. The snot-nosed teenager disappeared overnight and I blossomed into Steve's Mom, and it was the BEST thing to ever happen to me!! Happy Birthday, Booper!