Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thank You, Lord, for Wednesday's !

Wednesday is my day off from my regular full time job. I use this day to go to the "shop" & operate the long arm quilting machine. Since we are in trasition with the garage & moving, I am limited to JUST Wednesday's. I have been trying to quilt 2 quilts every Wednesday. Today - I just couldn't do it. #1 I was cold. The shop wasn't cold, I was. Being cold is the exact opposite of my normal temperature , and also my back was still sore from ditch digging on Sunday - so I stopped after one quilt. I was home by 2 PM

My original intention was to come home & start painting on the sewing room walls. Instead? I took a nap & tried to get warm. Chelsea was in a loving mood & wanted up on the bed with me. She's too old & too fat to get up there herself, so I helped her up there. Good thing too, that fat dog must have a built in heater. I was so cold I thought I'd need more than one quilt, but in about 20 minutes, I was snoozing comfortably with my dog. We woke up about 5 PM & then I decided that I'd complete what I had set out to do that afternoon.

I painted the sewing room! I only had to paint the top half of the walls, the bottom has the paisley/bird/vine wallpaper & we color matched the blue bird in the wall paper. I thinkt he blue is a littel darker than I had intended, but it still looks nice. And the best part? I FINISHED it. I didn't finish until about 9 PM so too dark to take a photo. The room looks larger - DH thinks so too. ( you can just barely see the blue in the attached photos - but it's less bright than the photos seem to make it!)

It's supposed to be right at 30-32 degrees tonight. I bought the "boys" in from outside. DH said it wasn't too cold outside too leave them out there - but if I borught them in, I'd have to give Bourbon a bath. No problem, Bourbon LOVES the water & is very co-operative in the tub. There is no way that Briscoe was going to settle down , so soon as I brought him inside I put him in his crate. I think he thinks he's being punished. It took both me & DH to get Briscoe in his crate! No easy task. Maybe after consecutive cratings he'll get the idea & crate without can hope right? Bourbon will (willingly) sleep on a pallett & stay there all night. Briscoe won't. Eventually I will get Bourbon a crate too, but not right now. Durn things are $152 EACH. After I crated Briscoe, I bathed Bourbon. Suprisingly enough, he only smelled bad, he wasn't dirty. Less dirt came off him than Chelsea when I bathed her last week. And Chelsea sleeps on the loveseat! Boubon stays outside. Enough of the "boys". I put up some photos for y'all to see them!

The electrician was here today . He hooked the garage box to the house box. Now DH has to install all the breakers! Whoo Hoo! this is a happy day! We're getting closer to completion! I am so excited. I can't wait to get into the garage. Moving or not, the machine is going up! I am QUILTING.

I want to make a banner for the wall in my quilting studio - i can't remember the artist - but there is a rock-n-roll song that is called (I think) "Hold on to your dreams" and in the song they say it in FRENCH, and it sounds so beautiful - and as sappy as it may sound, I hold to my dreams, I dream a lot, sometimes, they come true! Or close to true ! I would like to make a banner that says "Hold on to your dreams" in French & then maybe in Italian too. Why? WHY NOT, that's why. I like the song & I like the saying....

it's late - i have had a hugely full Wednesday & now/ I hear my feather pillow calling me again.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Moving Plans

Well, this is the formal announcement. We're moving back to TN. DH was offered a supervisory position over more than one facility & it will be personally & (very) financially rewarding to do it.
We will be moving within the next 5-6 months, so it's not RIGHT AWAY.
Obviously the house isn't ready to be put up for sale. We still need to finish the garage, and do some freshing up inside before we can put it up. I don't know what the moving package actually entails, so we are waiting to see that. But I DO know that if we don't sell the house by "x" date that the corporation will pay us "x" percentage of the appraisal...and since the area has "grown" that won't be too bad....
we will be looking in the North West to South West side of Nashville. We can't afford a home in the BIG cities. Not a home like I want. Suffice it to say: the *new* house will already have a basement/garage/bonus room (SOMETHING) pre-existing to put up my long arm machine!
I'm excited & I'm not.
I am excited because I really love TN. My sister is there & it would mean a great deal to me to be able to spend more time together with her. TN is beautiful, I think it is more beautiful than AL. I am excited about getting a newer home (maybe) I am excited about what my job responsibilities will be.
I'm not excited about packing. I'm not excited about leaving the friends that I have made - I am not excited aobut long distance ....I am not excited about having to train someone to do my job.
BUT - as evil as some people may think me, I ALWAYS try to find the silver lining.....And I want this move to be a good one.
This was a much easier decision to make this time around. since both DD's are out of the house, and school is no longer an issue, relocating just does not seem the burden it was 10 or 15 years ago.
DD#1 is living out of state & talks about going to "remote" job sites. DD#2 is half way through year #3 of college & is contemplating graduate shool out of state - so it's not like either one of my precious DD's is coming back home to roost. Not this year anyway....Besides that, I think our little county is a little too COUNTRY for either of them to make a permanent residence here....but Nashville? That might be another story. Los Angeles it isn't, but it's bigger than here.
Not that "here" has been bad. I like where I live. I especially like my house. I like the land that we live on & I like the quiet. I would really have to bowled over by the *new* house to even consider a SUB-DIVISION !
anyway - that's the NEWS I'll keep ya'll posted on our progress.
We're still working hard on the garage though, I'm determined to get my machine up & running.


What I don't want to be when I grow up!

DH & I are building a 3 car garage so that I can put up & operate my long arm quilting machine. We started in August & we only get to work on it on the weekends & that generally means ONLY Sunday. Today we rented a walk-behind trencher to dig the little ditch for the water line & the electrical line. Well DH handled that part, it really is a one person job. BUT ! When we got to the sidewalk it was all by hand. UNDER the sidewalk. It took us 3 hours to dig under a 4 foot wide sidewalk. It's done, we have some clean up to do & we have to dig a little DEEPER than we thought to tie into the water back is SORE, sore , sore.
I am absolutely positive that I never want to be a ditch digger for a living or a grave digger. No way. I am sure that both carreers are fullfilling but there's no way I'm signing up. Not willingly!
It looks like we were digging a raceway for hampsters or something.
and I let the big dogs out & Bourbon kept bringing his ball & dropping it in the ditch - he does that on purpose, he wants to make sure you SEE the ball so you can throw it for him. Sweet dog, but that trencher is very mean looking.
DH walked behind that thing & it shook & vibrated so bad! I am surprised his hands are not more swallen then they are right now. Bless his heart. We had Alabama red clay caked on our boots, it felt like I had on elevator shoes or something...ha ha ha
Tomorrow we put in the PVC lines for the water (with a manual cut off valve) and the electrical conduit. We will have a certified electrician do the actual "hooking up".
the county that we live in has ZERO building codes. You actually don't even have to have a certified electrician, but if you want the electric company to approve the installation & turn power to what ever is not adjacent to your main supply - it's best. you don't have to have a permit to put a roof on, add-on to your home, or replace anything. The only inspection you hav eto pass is from the sewer folks. they come & make sure your septic tak & field lines are done correctly , but they don't care who does it.
When I lived in Orange County , CA - you couldn't even repair your own roof, or build a deck without first obtaining a permit. It was a pain, but if you ever saw how some people LIVE here in AL then the pain might be worth it. Some folks look like they live in some 3rd world country....
That's a story for another post some other time...

I don't ever want to dig ditches when I gorw up - certainly , it can not be inticing enough to take me away from my present job. No chance at all.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008


3rd & final post of the evening.

Me & my fav fat dog!
Just for the record: I'm the one in red.......LOL


Non-Traditional Log Cabin

This is another Log Cabin Quilt. It's very NON-traditional.

I made this for DD#2 - I lack getting borders on it.

My "helpers" were kind enough to hold it for me, I couldn't figure out how to crop them out!

Thought you'd like to see the wild side of the Cabin! these colors are really out of my comfort zone - I am very , very NOT these colors. But it is HAPPY & DD#2 likes it. It will have purple borders & I am intending on quilting it with something really girlly , like butterflies & flowers or double power purple thread. I'll probably end up with motion sickness before I'm finished.
I don't like brights, I don't like batiks, and I don't like huge prints. I am totally drwan to rich deep browns , reds, blues....Civil War Reproduction prints, or my absolute fave: Thimbleberries! I also like 30's reproductions, but not nearly as much as the other 2. I never get tired them, or so it seems. I think i have made 3 or 4 Red/White/Blue quilts int he last 5 years. Both my DD's sigh & roll thier eyes when they set (yet) another r/w/b quilt!


Log Cabins

I finally finished all my blocks. And now the hard part comes. Which setting? I laid the blocks out on the floor & took photos of the 3 setting that I like best. I figure it will be easier to choose WHICH setting I like in a photo , then to sew it all together & decide I don't like it at all. The 1st setting takes a little ingenuity to see the setting. It's actually a Ohio Star in the center. I think you have to know what you're looking at before you can really see it. 2nd setting is (I think) called the Streak of Lighting( or maybe Fields & Furrows? not sure.....), and the 3rd is the very traditional Barn Raising setting.

I have a Log Cabin quilt in the barn raising setting, so my decision is between the first 2.....Ha Ha ha I found an error too! I have one block still turned the wrong way in the Streak of Lightning setting! It's the very last block in the lower right hand corner of the photo....See? setting them out gives me REVIEW tiem - I'd have probably sewn that mistake right in there! Then had to frog-stitch it!

Keep in mind, I am an experienced quilt maker and the Log Cabin quilt that I have made is fairly simple in comparison to "other" quilts I have made. I call making Log Cabins , therapy quilting because they don't really have to have much of a pattern....I didn't use one for the ones I'm making. I just cut 2.5 inch strips & started's great therapy for me!

( I don't know how I got the italicized locked!)
I am excited that I finally have these blocks done. That's what I get for making enough blocks for 2 quilts.....even though they have been simple, it's been a journey.....I started them in (what?) October , I think......about time I'm done, I think

I figure I'll send emails out to F & F and get opinions on which setting looks best! the best part of having made enough blocks for 2 quilts is that I can make each quilt in a different setting or both the same. We'll see.

Have a good evening!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Snow in Alabama

I have lived in AL for 9 years and 6 months. It has never snowed. It did today. The snow won't stick, it hasn't been cold enough for long enough. It was pretty while it lasted.

It was after 4:30 PM when I could get these photos - so they are dark.

You are seeing the back of our house, the deck & then also a look from the back of the house towards the front. The front of the house faces the lake (only there is no water there right now...)

I think I got more snowflakes ont he lens of the camera!

The roads will probably be a horrible mess tomorrow. North East Alabama does not get enough fowl weather for the municipalities to spend any money on emergency equipment for fowl weather - so when it does get bad - everything literally shuts down, closes....

I don't think that will happen with this particular snow event - but! I could be wrong!



My friend & fellow blogger Joan, posted the link to HGTV with the directions for Double Pinwheel Blocks. It's an Eleanor Burns pattern & I have the book & to this day I have never used the BOOK. Last night I made 2 blocks

So simple! And if I follow the directions correctly, there is a teeny tiny pinwheel on the back. You have to do that so that all the seams lie down flat!

I was just trying to see if I could do them & they were fast & easy.These Were just "test"blocks to see if I could make them easy enough. I sew with Singer Featherweight and I use a 1/4 inch foot on it. The "foot" makes the seams a scant wider than a TRUE 1/4 inch & since I use it so much, I compensate. My strip sets did not measure EXACTLY 4.5 inches. They were more like 4 & 3/8's. So that is the width I sub-cut the strip sets. By looking at the blocks - can you tell I didn't have an EXACT 1/4 inch? I don't think so !!!


Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy Quilting!

Oh Happy Day ! I have finished 56 of the log cabin blocks! I am so excited. That just leaves another 56 blocks. i have an extrememly horrid habit of making the "body" of a quilt top but never geting around to borders.....matter-of-fact, I have 2 such tops, right now, under my ironing board waiting for borders. After I get the (2) Log Cabin quilts completed they are NEXT. I don't know why I do that????
I plan on machine quilting , at least one of the Log Cabins, with a pantograph called "Autumn Oaks". It's from Willow Leaf Studio & the pantograph has Oak Leaves & Acorns. it's been hugely popular with my long arm customers! I decided that I need to use the pattern for myself.
I'm just excited to have 50% of my blocks DONE.

Tomorrow night I am going to go to the "shop" & load a customer quilt so that Wednesday , while I'm off (off from my real job), I can get 2 customer quilts done.
With the holidays, my car being in the shop, and taking Saturday's off to work on the garage ( my future Long Arm Quilting Studio!!!) I'm pretty backed up.....but 6 quilts is "backed up". Right now it is!
I got a call from a customer last week regarding the quilt that I had quilted for her. I used a pantograph called "Paisley Playtime", again from Wilow Leaf Studios (my favorite shop for pantographs - as you'll notice) she told me that she was VERY pleased with the job that I did for her. I am so glad when i make my customers happy. I like the validation, I guess.
It truly hurts me when I can't make someone happy with the long arm quilting. Or when I've done exactly what they asked & I don't get the reaction from them that I expect. A reaction equal to or greater than the effort I spent on quilting it, I suppose.....It always makes me panic when a customer tells me to pick a pattern for them....that makes me the guilty party if the quilt isn't what they expect....(huge sigh here...)
I guess that's why I am currently sticking to Pantographs. The free hand quilting is a little further awa than I would like it to be, but when I can spend more one-on-one time on the machine without squeezing quilting into ONE day, then I think I can tackle it. I know one thing is for sure, I have filled a sketch book with feathers, they look great on paper, I sure hope they'll look as good on fabric!

Have a good evening!


Oh Brother

I have 4 brothers. 2 of them older than I am & 2 younger. I have 2 sisters too, one older than I am & one younger. But this post is regarding DB#2. You know? You just have to love brothers. No matter how mad they make you & no matter how dirty a trick they play on you....( I told you that I'd pay for playing that trick on Simple Simon, right? - well it's here) Over 20 years ago...1984 maybe 1986...somewhere in there, my craft-of-choice was making porcelain dolls. I had molds & poured them & had them fired in someone else's kiln. I liked making "baby" dolls. Well , as a JOKE that I don't have enough room to explain, I made & gave one to DB#2. Fast forward to 2008. DB#2 is now married & has 3 children. His middle child is a little girl, and she makes niece #7 for me so she'll be called DN#7 - DB#2 phones me & says that DN#7 wants to ask me a question......DN#7 gets on the phone w/me & askes me ever-so-politely "Aunt M, would you pretty please make a "glass doll" for me like you did for Daddy?" At first I was baffled & didn't understand the question & then it dawned on me what DN#7 was talking about!!!! She was talking about the doll I made 20 years ago! I told DN#7 that I would do what I could & that it's been a long, long time since I made dolls & I sure would try real hard...and to put her Daddy BACK-ON-THE-PHONE !!!!! With no hesitation I have told my brother that my foot will definatley connect with his butt, the very next time I see him.
DB#2 said that every once in a while his DD#1 wants to hold the doll....I informed DB#2 that I don't make dolls anymore & would know where to begin to FIND one....he said I really needed to try hard, as the doll is his & isn't going to give it to DN#7.
Oh boy! Now I am on a quest for the doll. i have a budget, but in order to secure the EXACT SAME doll I think I'm going to have to blow the said budget to get DN#7 the doll. I am afraid to get her a substitute because I would want the exact one, so i am sure she does too.
What can I say? I'm a sucker for the kid! It might not be tomorrow, but I'll send the kid a doll, just like I made for her Daddy.
My brother is SO not nice!

Wish me luck on the doll hunt.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Got Fabric? And Wheels ! And vocal dogs.

I was happy, happy, happy when the mail lady came today! Remember I needed that specific color to finsih my log cabin quilt? I FOUND it! I went to and they have several different search criterias to use & I just typed in "Old Sturbridge Village III" and up popped the thumbnails of all the photos of the fabrics available at (insert quiltshop name here) It was fantastic. I had to pay double per yard then i orginally paid, but, I HAD to have it. and it came pretty quick too. I will use that web site again, I am sure.

The Friday before Thanksgiving, I hit a deer on my way to work. it was about 6:15 AM & still dark & he just jumped out there, I never even saw him. He was jumping as I hit & all I could pray for is that the air bag didn't deploy or that the deer doesn't slide over the hood & come through the windsheild. Scared me! And killed the deer. (by-the-way, this is my 2nd kill, by car, in 5 years...) Well - the deer dented my hood pretty good, smashed out the grill, and cracked my bumper. Otherwise, my car was unscathed, and ran fine. I got ahold of the insurance company, got the estimate & went to a body man. Since it was operational & he was tied up - we decided that it could wait until after Christmas to be fixed. Well it went in this week, and I have it back today. We picked it up in the dark, so I can't look at it until tomorrow.

Being without a car was no fun. I am totally spoiled. I carpooled with DH to work, which was nice, we got to talk. Ha Ha - me with my eyes closed! DH was a much better conversationalist that Fatdog#1 is, that's for sure.

but I have wheels, and tomorrow is Saturday & I have a list of errands to do. Grocery shopping is one of them! All 3 fatdogs need food! And the fatcat too.

That fatcat is so funny! Can't leave a quilt on the floor, clean or dirty, that he doesn't find it & curl up on it. I took a nap (tried too) on Wednesday & when I got up, I dropped the quilt I was covered with onto the floor with every intention of picking it up & putting it on the rack at the end of the bed.....fatcat found it first. Everytime I go to pick it up to wash it, he's beat me to it. Normally - I would not wash the quilt since I ony used it to nap with ONCE - but since he's been on it, it HAS to be washed. I'm allergic to cats. I hate dumping him out of it, he is after all, 13 years old!

My feather pillow is calling - time for sleep. It should be more peaceful tonight - even though it Friday night

.....the puppy started barking at around 7 PM - incessantly- so he's wearing the barking collar again tonight. He didn't wear it last night, and he barked for 2 hours right around 2 AM - I am not a heavy sleeper. Puppy's barking did not wake DH.....What is is with him? I play with him every night, get him so tired he won't even fetch a ball or chase the fatdog #2. And he still barks, and barks & barks. This is the first dog in my entire life of pet ownership , that I have had such a barky dog. Folks - he's a 10 month old puppy - he (currently) weighs about 60 maybe 70 pounds, and when he sits, his collar is at my hip. He's gorgeos, he's obedient, he kennels when told, he comes when called. But he BARKS! At everything. I think the squirrels purposely taunt him! If he makes it to a year and a half old, it will me a miracle. I say that long, because Fatdog #2 took that long to calm down. and now Fatdog#2 is the Momma's Boy !

For future reference so I don't have to keep my dogs straight: Fatdog#1 is Chelsea. She is 9 year old Bassett Hound, spoiled rotten, and comes to work with me everyday. Fatdog #2 is Bourbon , a (nearly) 2 year old Springer Spaniel. and Fatdog#3 - the Barking Puppy - is Briscoe. he is a black German Shepherd. I like dogs, I like animals. I've always had dogs, and will probably always have dogs. I call them all my fatdogs, or the "boys" or my babies.....I humanize them & that probably isn't good - but I only humanize them to a certain point.....but the "point" is blurred.....

My sister used to laugh at me because of my loving relationship with my favorite fatdog, but now my sister has her own little fur ball that loves her more than anything & she doesn't laugh at me anymore!!

gotta go sleep!

I was not nice!

So earlier today Simple Simon from the office next door calls me & tells me that he's killed a HUGE snake. In January, you ask? It was 70 degrees today.....Anyway Simon goes on to say that this snake isn't a normal snake it's a python and it's 7 feet long - well WAS 7 feet long. Simon asks me if I know anyone that will come over to his office & scout around the parking lot for more? This is true! He said "Sam, if there's ONE snake that big around here, there has to be more! - I hate snakes, I'm scared of them!" (did you see that door open just now?) I told Simon to calm down & that since it was dead that snake wasn't going to bother him any more & that it was likely someone's pet that got loose & now it's dead.
Fast forward about 4 hours into the day.....
I call another co-worker at yet a 3rd office & ask her if she wants to have some fun? She accepts. I tell her to call Simon at the 2nd office & inform him that she has recieved a call from a customer that was visitng family over Christmas (in the area of my office) & that they have lost a pet snake & heard that one MIGHT have been found around our office???? Well Simon fell for it & immediatley emails me to find out if we had any liability over this matter? The snake is dead, remember? Oh boy! Poor Simon, we had fun for a whole 40 minutes. He caught on, though. i don't think we could keep a straight voice on the phone. bless him! I'm going to pay for my fun, though, you wait & see what I tell you.......
A 7 foot snake indeed! Simon is a good sport! Still doesn't like snakes, but a sport, none-the-less!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Long Lost Earrings!

Oaky ! If you've been following the blog , you KNOW that I purchased some earrings, in November, for DD#1 for Christmas...well They came today!

the stinking envelope is post marked November 22nd! Amazing...

They came wrapped so pretty too. A nice little chiffon bag & a business card. Really girl-ly.

I will mail them to DD#1 along with her glasses that she left home over Christmas!

I am so excited that they came!

and to think that I tore my house up looking for them!

Ha Ha ha

Maybe all this gray hair is really BLONDE?


Photo Test

let's see if I can upload or add a photo!

this is not MY log cabin quilt, but mine will look exactly like this one, because I am using the same fabrics! The fabric that I have to buy more of is the cream colored floral with what looks like water lillies on it. the "print" is purple, but up against those other browns - it looks more like brown than purple!

hope this test works


Monday, January 7, 2008

Hurray for Holidays

I love the holidays. I really do, but I DO feel like Christmas has been way over commercialized. On & on & on about BUYING everything & anything. How is anyone supposed to feel like they can even meet the expected goals of the media? I have not been a greatly religious person - espescially in the last 20 or so years - but Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of the birth of Christ. When did it get so far away from that? the 1950's maybe? I don't know.

I do know that I bought a pair of earrings for DD#1 - and "put them in a safe place" until Christmas. I turned the house upside down looking for those stinking earrings. Guess what? I never got them! They got lost inthe mail! I feel really stupid. Oh well, maybe they'll get here soon.

I quilted a quilt for a rather prolific Log Cabin Quilt maker. She's 86 +/-. I quilted this quilt for her - actually it was a comissioned quilt that she made for a customer - anyway I quilted this quilt in October. The quilt was done in browns/tans/brick red. I quilted it with an all over pantograph called "Autumn Oaks". Oak leaves & Acorns...It turned out SO nice that I decided that I wanted one EXACTLY like it for myself. So I run next door & buy the fabrics to do just that. But , as usual, i bought a little more than I really needed & decided that I would make 2 of them. Yes! 2 identical Log Cabin Quilts.

#1 - Log Cabin Quilts are a little boring, #2 making TWO identical log cabin quilts simultaneously is doubly boring. Once again - I do this....WHY? Well......seems everytime I make something that I realy like, someone wants one too. So there will be 2 this time! If I ever get done. I started them in October & now it's January & I am only just now getting in some sewing time to finish them.

There are 56 blocks in each quilt. I am on the last "light" round and I have determined that even though I purchased fabrics for 2, I don't have enough of this particular fabric to finish ALL the blocks. I can finish 56 but not 112. I got all the fabric for $4.95 per yard. Basically right at $100 for enough fabric for 2 quilt tops (tops only) But , I need at least a half yard to finish. the shop doesn't have any more. All sold out! Dang it! I found some on / $8.98 per yard, minimum one yard! I had to get it, or I can't finish the tops. I just hope that it gets here quick so i can finish.

I want to finish because I am eager to start another project. There is always another, isn't there?

Had a bad scare with my favorite fat dog this week. Friday she started puking & then just laid down. Rolled her eys up in her head and started shuttering. It scared me to death. I had to get DH to help me load her into the car & rushed her to the vet. I was so afraid that she was going to die on my way there. She started moving around & waggin her tail when we got there. He took her vitals & said she appeared okay but that if she didn't start acting "herself" he'd do a blood work up. She seemed to be okay by the time we got home, was better Saturday & today you can't tell she'd even been under the weather. i cried & cried & cried. it's a wonder I could drive! It's going to be a bad, bad day , the day my favorite fat dog dies.....I hope whatever she ate or got bit by or WHATEVER does not happen again. i really hope that this isn't something that she'll KEEP having. I think it scared her as much as me! I am glad all is okay & she's back to normal. She still needs a bath. Badly.

Dh & I worked in the garage this past weekend. Got all the plywood up on the walls in his bay. We still lack getting it up the 2 feet from the ceiling down. It looks good. Next we start installing the vinyl on the soffits & the J'molding in preparation for the vinyl siding & then finish the inside. Once the inside is finished then i can get Black Beauty out of the box!! I can't wait. It will be nice to walk out the back door & go quilt.

More on another day! My pillow is calling!
Good Night