Sunday, March 31, 2013

Random Notions – April Block

I hope you are having a super Easter day.  We certainly have nice weather for it – the kids had some friends over and they had an egg hunt.  I was amazed that they found all the eggs – I figured the dogs would be bringing in a few over the next few weeks.

So I got my April block finished for the BOM.  I am really loving the way these batik fabrics are going together.  This month is a fan block, which four of them were put together to create a big circle.  I decided I needed a rainbow effect-
Now that it’s together, I can see where I should have switched some colors around.  Oh well, live and learn!  So with this block, here is what I have so far-
For May, we are doing what’s called “Strippy Spools”, which I think go into the places where there are X’s across the squares.  The purpose of that block is to demonstrate making 45 degree triangles.  I am really looking forward to the basket of flowers for the appliqué but I don’t think that is until around October.  I don’t know, I may be too impatient for a “blank” of the month anything!  LOL

Got some more of Linda’s bag done – I’m getting there.

Hope you have had a great Easter!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Random Notions – It really is H*LL getting old!

I think my daughter and her kids were trying to kill me or at the very least, put me out of commission for the last couple of days.  After the fun the kids had on Wednesday at McKee Ranch, Alexis, who took Thursday and Friday off, decided she wanted to take them again on Thursday.  Both days, after getting home, I was exhausted and fell asleep as soon as I lay on the bed.  So then yesterday, Friday, Alexis wanted to go to take the kids to this really neat little park we had passed on the way to the ranch.  We spent about an hour or so there- they had a blast-
After eating, we went to the Bass Pro Shop at the Silverton Casino, to see all the stuffed animals – I hate that – and with the hope of seeing the mermaid in the giant aquarium located between the store and the casino.  We lucked out- the mermaid was there.  Harry was so thrilled because he loves mermaids - Lex got an awesome picture-
I had never seen her before – I didn’t even know they had a little show with a mermaid.  By the time we got home, about four hours later, again I was beat.  Am I just getting old?  How will I ever get through another day at Disneyland or an even worse thought – DisneyWorld and Epcot?  I really need to lose weight so that I can drag my old body around for longer periods of time!

The tote bag I am making for Linda is coming along – she had posted a comment about how she was anxious to see it so I decided I would at least give her a glimpse of the fabrics I am using-
They aren’t ironed here, but the parts I have been working on that have been ironed look really “fabu” together!  Linda, I hope you like them – you said bright green and pink- and they are brighter in person than in the photo.

It really is pretty.  I have an idea of what to do with it that could be really cool.  I have to wash it before I can use it.  Everything has to be washed before I can use it because I’m allergic to the finishes and starches used on new fabrics.  I usually sneeze like crazy if I am in a fabric store too long- it can be miserable!

The April block is up on my block of the month class.  It’s a fan block so there is some curved piecing.  I think I am going to put that together this evening.  It should go pretty fast and I will still have time to work on Linda’s tote bag.  I thought I should get some waxed paper to help with the piecing – that isn’t something we usually have in our house so I had to run to the store real quick.  Does anyone still use waxed paper besides quilters?

Off to sew!  Happy Easter to everyone!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Random Notions – Fun with the kids

I have been working on Linda’s tote bag in the evenings but I decided rather early on I wouldn’t be blogging about it right away.  In fact, I quit taking pictures after just a bit into it, because I found that working by the seat of my pants (without a pattern) I was ripping out a lot whenever I forgot to do something!  It is close to being finished, but now I have decided that as soon as I have it done, I will be making another one like it, which I will blog in detail about.  It is coming out really nice, and I am glad that I haven’t made any mistakes too big to correct so far!  LOL

A couple of weeks ago, I saw something on Facebook about a local ranch having a special spring break event for kids – only $5 per kid included a pony ride and hay rides.  So today, Layla, Harry, and I went to pick up Layla’s friend, Sierra and her dad, Joe, to go.  It was fun – they said to bring carrots to feed the horses-
This big guy reached over to me at one point and wiped his mouth along my arm- argh, I thought it was just dogs that do that to me!

Then the kids had their pony rides-
We walked about and saw the animals- Harry attempted to pet this goat- he was petting the back end of it, when the goat turned around and gently bumped him in the tummy.  Harry looked at me so shocked!

Mr. Rooster was going around crowing at everyone – guess he was showing us all who was in charge of the place.


There was a sign that these two were abandoned and in need of new owners – they were really sweet. 
I loved this guy – this is what my hair looks like after I wash it!
And this guy was very cute, but he looks like he can’t see.  No idea about that, but he had a great personality!
The kids posed in front of the horse that slobbered on me.
There were a couple of really clever tire swings-
Hard to tell, but this one looked just like a tractor- Sierra had a tough time getting on it!

And stuff everywhere – I swear, we have enough junk we could decorate like this in our back yard!
Finally, the kids went for the hay ride – twice!  Harry sat on one side without the girls the first time around– I was so afraid he would try to get up and move around with them during the ride, but he was really good.
Layla and Sierra are the last two at the left here.

They sat together for the second ride.
On the way out, the kids played in the playground-
We were only there maybe an hour and a half, but for $5 a kid, and free for adults, it was well worth it!

Afterwards, we went to Cici’s Pizza for lunch.  Harry was so tired, he sat very quietly and ate three pieces of pizza plus a piece of the dessert pizza without making any noise.  Never saw him do that before.

When we got home, I noticed there was a bloom on Cosmo’s rose bush-
Cosmo was a Peach-fronted Conure parrot I had for over 27 years.  He passed away a couple of years ago, and I planted a Tropicana rose over where I buried him.  The color of the rose is very fitting, because Cosmo’s head was just about the same color.  I looked for a picture of him to put up, but unfortunately, every picture I have of him is on the external hard drive that died.  I hope I will eventually be able to get all the stuff off of it.

I also realized that today was March 27.  Thirty-something years ago, Alexis was due on this date.  A couple of days before I went to the movies with my brothers, with Kelly at the wheel of the car.  Now, Kelly was not the best driver in the world – in fact, he could be downright scary.  As we left the movie, which was Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, showing at the Parkway Theaters on Maryland Parkway (which no long exist), Kelly thought we should try to hurry Lex out.  He drove through the parking lot of the Boulevard Mall very fast – it was late so the mall was closed and the lot was empty – and he was flying over the speed bumps!  We were in my mom’s little Toyota and I was in the back seat bouncing up and down.  Well, it didn’t do any good- if anything, it made Alexis quite stubborn as she did not decide to grace us with her presence until April 6.  Hard to believe my baby is so old now!

I hope everyone is having a great spring break!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Random Notions – Finished the top

Today was a really nice day.  I worked all day on putting the geese together.  It’s unbalanced and crooked, but I like it.
This one will be called Puzzled Geese.  As much as I want to completely finish it with the quilting, I have to put it aside- I found the material for the tote bag for Linda, so I’m pretty excited to get that going.  This one will have to go on the pile with a few other finished tops that just need the quilting.  That is something I really need to work on, because I have never been very good at it.  However, I have read so much stuff about machine quilting on plain old sewing machines lately I know I have to give it a go - I will just have to do some practicing first.

Layla has spring break this week – it will probably be a busy week.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Random Notions – So Glad it’s Saturday

This was a tough week.  I was dealing with the people who were here to fix the shower in the master bedroom all week, and trying to keep the kids out of the way.  Poor Harry didn’t get a nap most of the week because of the noise.  But it’s finished!  Maybe life can return to normal.  Of course, I guess I should figure out what normal is first.

Mom convinced Casey to take her to some yard sales today and Alexis and Layla went with them.  I went to Walmart today to get some batteries for my mouse- I guess I must have bought really bad AAA batteries last time – guess it serves me right for buying them at the dollar store – it kept dying.  I had parked next to the garden department.  As I was walking to the garden check out, I was passing the shelf on the wall that has all the hummingbird feeders and wild bird food.  I got right up next to all that seed, when something moved and the biggest freaking pigeon went flying out about 4 inches from my nose – I felt the wind of the wings on my face!  It had apparently found an open bag of seed to dine on and I startled it- it has no idea how it startled me!  A woman that had been walking toward me was about three feet away- she was on her cell phone and almost dropped it.  She started laughing and telling the person on the other end she almost crapped her pants.  It was pretty funny.

When I got home, the yard-salers were home and Mom said she got something for me.  She comes out of her room with an armful of books- quilting and needlework books, which I just love!  I was really excited about these-
These are big soft covers that usually retail for $15 - $25, so for just a $1 apiece, it’s awesome!  And then she got these for just 25¢ and 50¢ apiece-
The last package of the Charm Quilt Templates was all there- it was opened but never used. Four acrylic templates that look fresh and inviting!  I love stuff like this- what a great start to the weekend!  I wish I could find this kind of stuff at yard sales, but it just eludes me – if I don’t go, Mom will find it.  Of course, now I have to find room for them in the “library” which may not be easy.

I got to work on the geese today.  After looking at the piece I had put together, I decided I didn’t like it- it looked crooked and it wasn’t what I really wanted.  I took it apart and started over.  This is how the first quarter came out-
It still looks crooked, but once I added the second quarter, I thought it was okay-
Looking through the Jenny Beyer book I got, I saw that this particular layout of the Flying Geese patch is called Dutchman’s Puzzle.  I think I knew that at some time, because it sounds really familiar.  I think it’s perfect, because my geese are really looking puzzled!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Random Notions – Busy Day

Good news – the other three textbooks sold, so I got back a little more than three-fourths of what I originally paid for them.  It will pay for gas for a week or 10 days- yay!

So it was hard to get much done today.  The shower in Alexis and Mike’s room is being replaced and when the old boards from behind the tile were being removed, I had to make sure Harry was downstairs because they were rather moldy and I didn’t want the kid around it as it was torn down.  Between watching Harry downstairs and running back up every bit to check my girls, it wasn't much of a "me" day.  Whenever the girls hear the doorbell ring, they run to hide under the covers on my bed.  I wanted to make sure they were still breathing – they were both under there for about 7 hours straight!

So I got the bottom half of the first quarter of the geese together, but it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind- I don’t know what I was thinking.  This is how I wanted it to look as an 18” square –
But this is what I wound up with for the bottom of that part–
I should probably have marked my lines better on the paper so I could remember exactly what I was trying to do.  I may still add a little to the right side so I can take some off the left to get more like what I wanted in the first place.  I was just cutting strips big enough to get to each junction and trimming off – it seems easier than trying to figure out exact dimensions.  Is there a better way?

While I was trying to slide around in my chair, I realized I wasn’t sliding too well.  If you have been reading my stuff for very long, you know I am a very messy sewer, so when I turned the chair upside down, I wasn’t terribly surprised to find all five casters looking something like this –
I spent part of this evening pulling all of the garbage out of the wheels.  I tried using a pair of scissors and a seam ripper before I got out an X-acto (sp?) knife to work on it.  When I was done, this is what I had-
The tissue wasn’t stuck in the wheels- I used it when I cut myself to stop the blood flow.  Well, it was pretty much worth it, I can slide about much better now.  I love this chair – when the real estate company I was working for decided to get new furniture, I asked if I could my old desk chair and they said yes.  I’ve glad because it is the best thing I ever got there after seven long years!  LOL

I need to mention that today was also a little blue because it would have been Kelly’s 60th birthday and my dad’s 86th.  I didn’t say anything to anyone, but Mom brought it up at dinner.  Kelly has been gone almost four and a half years, my dad seventeen.  It’s amazing how quickly time passes.

I will try to be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Random Notions – Catching up

They say everything goes in seven year cycles – I guess my luck is finally on an upward turn!  I enter a lot of the contests on Facebook and Twitter from companies that have something to do with sewing – fabric, machines, nifty tools, and books – but I never win.  Imagine my surprise yesterday when I saw that I won one from a fabric company- two yards of their fabric- I was very excited!  The contest was by Springs Creative, the company who supplies the precut fabrics to Walmart.  I have bought a lot of their fat quarters in the past and I’m looking forward to this new two yards to arrive!

Today is the first day of my two week vacation from classes.  What a huge sigh of relief I let go of last night as I uploaded my final document!  It was also my last English class and I am so happy about that- it seemed like the last four classes were just the same thing over and over.  The day wasn’t even over, and looking at the four textbooks I had to buy for that class, I had an overwhelming urge to put them up for sale on half.com.  So I did.  Less than an hour later, the first one sold!  Yay!

Another thing I am also very happy about – I was able to sell that expensive cone of thread!  I was so relieved – it had been an impulse buy when I had received a little money as a gift, and when I couldn’t get it to work in my machine, being unemployed, I suffered buyer’s remorse horribly.  I was so happy to sell it I included one of the change purses I made as a thank you to the buyer- won't she be surprised!  A big thank you to that lady in Washington!  (She probably won’t see this, but at least I’ve put my gratitude out in the universe!)

Okay, but what about the flying geese, right?  I got some newspaper print and cut a piece the size I wanted the four pieces in the upper left hand corner to work out to when put together.  At first I was really confusing myself as I was drawing it out, trying to remember to include the seam allowances, but I think I have finally gotten the hang of putting together odd sized blocks.  I have half of that quarter done – not a lot, but tomorrow I will finish it.

Going to bed early again tonight- without the stress of school, I hope to sleep better for the next few days- I really need it!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Random Notions – I cannot believe my luck!

I am always on the lookout for quilting books – my wish list on half.com is probably 8 pages long.  I really love the catalog type books that show zillions of block patterns.  One book I had been wanting recently came up for only $6.46 plus $3.99 shipping.  The book was The Quilter’s Album of Blocks & Borders by Jenny Beyer, copyright 1980.  The condition was described as: Good- Book shows minor use. Cover and Binding have minimal wear, and the pages have only minimal creases.  I figured for that price it would be okay, nothing spectacular, probably without a dust cover, but I would take it, because every other seller that had it listed at the time wanted $30 or more for it.  Right now, as I look, all the “Brand New” copies listed are softcover reprints listed for $69.99 up to $171.04 – absolutely ridiculous!  Here – look for yourself!  Anyone that knows quilting has heard of Jenny Beyer – she does gorgeous work and she designs fabulous fabrics.  The book came today and I could not believe what great condition it is in for being 33 years old!
There is only one small tear on the cover at the top left – you can barely see it in this picture.  As usual, I start leafing from the back, and was surprised to see someone had left a Polaroid picture of a quilt they had made based on one of the blocks.  This is what one spread of the book looks like:
The book is chock full like this - incredible blocks!  I love this book just from the first few pages I have looked at!  Then I finally turned to the front of the book, turned the cover, and what do I see – 
Signed?  For only $6.46 plus shipping?  I couldn’t believe it!  But wait – there’s more!  I turned to the title page- 
Again?  Really?  Unbelievable!  Now, I’m sure there are probably hundreds of signed copies of this book out there, but I can’t believe I got one - I usually do not have THAT good of luck.  There is next to zero chance that I would ever meet her to get a book signed.

So my day was made right there!  I will sit in bed tonight looking at all the beautiful blocks I would like to make!  To heck with that “Visions of sugar plums” stuff – I am going to have visions of beautiful quilt blocks tonight!

And I should not forget to mention, the last little block of geese is finished- 
Poor little guys seem very insignificant after the book!  Now it’s time to put it all together.  I will do it in quarters and get started tomorrow.

Hope you had as good a day as I did! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Random Notions – Geese a-flyin’!

I had a really nice, easy day.  First I took Mom to get a haircut from my dear friend and hairstylist Linda, and I got a trim while I was there.  Linda is the only hairstylist I have allowed to cut my hair more than once in my life!  I believe I have been going to her since around 2007 – I think?  She is awesome and if you are in Las Vegas and need a haircut, you should go see her!

Then, when I got home, I got to making geese again.  I know, doesn’t it seem like I have been doing them forever?  I’m happy to say that at this point, I only need to make 8 more – here is how I am going to lay them out-


I just need one more square of the size of the one in the middle on the bottom – the littlest ones.  I left them last because the littler they are, the harder they are to put together.  I have new found respect for quilters who only work in miniature!

Once I have that square done – fingers crossed for tomorrow – I will start figuring out how much white I will need to put them together.  I’ve never worked on a piece like this before that is going to have a bunch of odd sized sashes, but I am pretty confident I can figure it out.

Once they are together, I will have to decide if I am brave enough to tackle the thought of making a lot of really little geese for the border.  The smallest I have made so far are the 1” x 2”, but I could make the ¾” X 1 ½” size – but think how many I would need! 

I really love how this layout looks – it has so much action happening.  Lots of energy – maybe it will rub off on me when it is finished!

There will be a new project starting soon – I promised Linda I would make her a tote bag.  I will start gathering stuff for that in the next couple of days.

Off to bed!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Random Notions - Back to the Good Stuff!

Again, I would like to apologize for my rant yesterday.  My crabby bitch has been locked away, hopefully not to rear her ugly head for a long time to come!  But you know- I feel so much better.  I never felt I had gotten closure with that friendship, but now I do.  I guess I had always viewed that person as a project- maybe I could help her, but as I have learned way too many times now, you can’t help someone who doesn’t want help.  From now on, if I meet someone like that, I will run for the hills!

Because I was stewing over the weekend over that situation, I didn’t get much fun stuff done.  I couldn’t take my mind off it, but once I did something about it, my creativity started flowing again!  I actually wrote a paper for my class last night very quickly and even though I didn’t think it was too great, I was pleasantly surprised this morning to find I lost less than one point on it.  Just one more week and I will be free from classes for two weeks – very exciting!  I’m sure my dear friend and college buddy, Chrystal, is also looking forward to that!

So what have I been doing today?  I’ve made more geese – I almost have enough for the layout I am thinking of – maybe tomorrow I will have a picture of that.  In the meantime, I do have two pictures to share-

This is a picture of the marking pen I have been using – I had been using it for quite some time when I finally read the side of the pen-


I am guessing that this means not only your mouth, but those of your significant other, kids or friends as well since it says “a mouth.”

And then, I have wanted to share more of the artwork by my grandmother, Laura Dodd, since I posted the story about her winning a contest for designing the fabric for curtains in a local hospital – if you missed it, you can see that here.  This is a piece that hung in my grandparents’ home for as long as I could remember.  I always told her that I really wanted it, and when she passed away, there were instructions to give it to me-


(It’s not really a good picture, but to get a good one, I would have to take it down
and find someplace where there wouldn’t be reflections on it – not too easy in this house.)

My entire life, I have always loved to be around water, especially moving water, but I am not crazy about getting into it – maybe I drowned in a previous life or something!  I suppose this is why this was always my favorite of what she had hanging on her wall.  She told me once that it was also her favorite. Perhaps it was this piece of art that inspired my love of cruising!

For some reason, I always had it in my mind that this was a watercolor, but when it was taken down from her wall, I found out it was a charcoal/pastel piece.  We also found out when we took artwork off the walls that she had won several ribbons – mostly blue – from contests she entered in the early 50’s.  She was one of the three original founding members of the Las Vegas Art League, but she was so temperamental, she didn’t stay with them long.  She also made her own frames – including cutting the wood!  How I wish that I had inherited her talents! 

My late older brother Kelly and I had wanted to try to get photographs of as much of our grandmother's works as possible, but it is spread out with many people.  Maybe someday I will get a chance to do that.  If any of my family members are reading this and willing to let me come take pictures, please let me know!

Okay – off to make a few more geese!  Cheers!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Random Notions – Please- Rid Yourself of Toxic People & Be Happy

I am sitting here kind of angry right now.  The crabby bitch in me, which I have tried to keep wrapped up for quite some time, is coming out and I need to vent.  I apologize up front that I am doing it here.

Have you ever had one of those friends with the worst negative attitude, that spoils all kinds of things for you because of their petty jealousy, and then when you finally have enough of it, you say something, one simple little thing, and they no longer want to be your friend? 

I put up with a person for about nine years and I want to say – and I hope she has somehow found her way here to see this – I have been way happier in the last three years without her in my life than at any point she was my “friend”. This person spoiled Layla’s first trip to Disneyland for me – simply because it was HER birthday and it had to be all about HER – a 55 year old woman jealous of a 3 year old!  She tried to turn me against my daughter, informing me that I was being taken advantage of.  She made crass remarks about Hispanics when I implied it would be nice if my daughter and her family could rent her available house, knowing full well that my son-in-law is part Hispanic, yet she had no problem asking him for help when she needed it.  What a hypocrite.

For the last couple of years, I actually kind of hoped this person would see what was wrong with her, and maybe turn her life around, but now, nope.  I had enough - I'm done.  

Dear “friend”-   as far as I am concerned, you can sit there, playing with your Barbies and miniatures at age 59 and beyond, listening to your 60’s pop music, and rot into your old age alone.  You can continue to do your makeup and hair in that Barbie fashion of the 50’s and 60’s, trying to look like her.  You always told me of the friends you had previously that you found out weren’t really your friends – now I know that it wasn’t your friends, it was you.  You are still an immature child, unable to accept that your friends moved on to bigger and better things in this game we call life.  I have always felt bad for your mother having to put up with you. 

There is no help for you – it is way too late for you to grow up into a decent, happy adult.  You have no happiness, so you have no desire to see happiness for anyone else.  It sounds like the beginning of a plot for a horror story, which no doubt, you would love to read since you are still in that silly teenage frame of mind where you like to be scared - you have no idea what is really scary to an intelligent adult, because you refuse to accept adult situations.  You seem unable to hold a job very long because you do not like having people telling you what to do- another clear sign of an immature child.  You seem to think an employer should pay you to do only what you want or like to do.

Anyone reading this – if you have a Toxic Person like this in your life, please do not let them drag you down with them.  Leave them in their tiny bubbles- there is absolutely nothing you can do to help them, because they don’t want your help.  Don’t waste your time trying to make them happy, because you never will and they will do nothing but trod on anything that makes you happy.

I apologize for my venting.  I am letting go now.  I hope that I have touched at least one person who has had this problem too – maybe you will be able to rid yourself of it as well now.

Tomorrow, my crabby bitch will be firmly leashed and I will be back with something fun!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Random Notions – Geese, Elephants, Cats, Peacocks, & Stars

Today was a really nice rainy day, enhanced by lunch with my best buddy, Rebecca with whom I rarely get to spend time.  We were going to a Mexican restaurant that when we got there, we found out was closed!  We were both so disappointed – I hadn’t been there for a few months and Rebecca had never been there, so we had both really been looking forward to it.  We wound up going to an old standby favorite Mexican restaurant instead, which was great, but we were still disappointed! 

I made more geese when I got home – nothing new to really show – trying to figure out how many more I will need at this point.

I can finally show the change purses I made the other day – they were all made for other people and I didn’t want to spoil any surprises.

First, for my cousin Frances who loves elephants, I had promised to make two more change purses exactly like the one I had made for her a couple of months ago.  She belongs to an elephant collector’s club and a couple of the other collectors wanted them.


While I was resizing that picture in PhotoShop, Harry came running in – he looked at the screen and yelled “Cousin Frankie!”  Every time he sees an elephant, he associates it with her – kids are so funny!

And then for my dear friend and college buddy Chrystal (The Hobby Horse), I made these-

I almost couldn’t part with the peacock feather one – it really is a gorgeous piece of material and thankfully I have enough left to make one for myself out of it.  I made three because Chrystal has two lovely daughters and I figured she may want to share with them, but I told her she could keep all three for herself if she wanted.  LOL!  However it turns out she is a great mom and wound up giving the moon/stars to her older daughter and the cats to her younger daughter, while keeping the peacock one for herself.  I’m so glad they all three liked what they got- I really lucked out with the fabric choices. 

And that was it for today.  Not much, but at least I feel like I got something accomplished!