Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I know, October is almost half over, and I should have reminded you sooner... but maybe I forgot to remind myself!  I made my appointment in September. 
I went out to the internet and did a search for artwork for Breast Cancer Awareness.  I think we're all aware, but sometimes we think it might apply to everyone else, not ourselves.
Seriously ladies -- if you haven't done this yet, this is a good reminder that you should be making an appointment to get your annual mammogram!!
I love the humorous ones most!  This one tickled me...

Self exams are extremely important.  Your doctor only sees you annually or a couple times a year, maybe less, but you know how you 'feel' every since day.
This is how you do it...

And this is a reminder of what cancer cannot do:

Just do it...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


I think I've posted about our cat before... a year and a half ago we took Miss A and Miss E to the local shelter and picked out a nice kitty for them to love on while at our house.  They have a dog at theirs.

She's pretty calm for the most part, witness the above photo.  She is very vocal, especially around dinner time, and she will run around a bit in the evenings, getting the kinks out so to speak.

The other evening we were sitting and watching the nine o'clock news and she suddenly took off like she was shot out of a cannon!  She was down in the basement and back up and running around like crazy.  Then she calmly walked into the living room and dropped a mouse on the carpeting.  She poked at it a bit, then picked it up again and dropped it a second time.

I guess it didn't move, but DH sure did!  I was knitting, so I kind of saw things out of the corner of my eye, but he said in a loud voice "Oh my God, is that a REAL mouse??"  and a few other comments not fit for this blog.

I guess at first he thought it was her toy mouse, but then he noticed its tail was not the fuzzy cord and there was no label!  He jumped up and went to the broom closet.

She was poking at it again when he brought in the broom and dustpan to pick it up and toss it in the trash.  Personally I'm kind of proud that she's a good mouser!  And also a bit appalled that we have mice in our house!  In our basement!!  With my sewing stuff!!!

Go, Miss Kitty!!  Earn your keep, and terrorize the local mouse population to your hearts content!

Scream on...

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I'm Rushing As Fast As I Can!!

Goodness, gracious, sakes alive!!  Sometimes I hate September...

Here's what has happened in the two weeks since I posted last:
  • My daughter got engaged (second time for both, this one's a keeper IMHO)
  • My granddaughter bought a dress for Homecoming that needed inspection and luckily NO ALTERATIONS!  But it came from CHINA - and took so long to get here we were completely stressed out.
  • I went to Charlotte, NC, for a work meeting.  Connections through Chicago were horrible and I missed the homeward bound one completely.  That trip is a story for another post!
  • Corporate year end flew up on me like nobody's business.  I'm still burning the midnight oil there.
  • Two meetings were held to discuss the accounting for the Church's dedicated funds, for which I am the accountant.  With a new Pastor there was a lot to go over, but I think we've got it now.
  • DH and I celebrated 46 years of marriage with a lovely dinner out.  We were home by 7:30 but it seemed later because it's getting dark outside so early now!

Check out the tiles in the ladies' bathroom!

  • I had two doctor appointments, a dentist appointment, and did labs (blood and other stuff), three of which happened THIS WEEK!  Ugh!
  • I had my first pneumonia vaccine.  Boy, that made me feel kinda old... 
  • I need to schedule a shopping trip for shoes because, well SHOES.  This was prompted by the running through the airport in Chicago and the resulting achy feet.
  • Next week I'll be in Chicago for a major conference of Wastewater Engineers.  Fun, fun, fun!!  I am going by train this time.  That's at least 90 minutes of reading time each way!
  • I shopped at Mary Jo's Cloth Store in Charlotte NC.  What an experience!  I was standing in the checkout line when I saw this:
Maybe in North Carolina... but our Midwestern fabric shops rarely sell grits!!

The ladies at Mary Jo's were still hand writing the cutting slips, and they tear the fabric.  It reminded me of the old days when they used to do that at Joann Fabrics and Mary Lester.  Ah nostalgia!

I have dinner scheduled with my friends who used to work with me at Joann's.  It's Red Lobster Endless Shrimp days...

Gotta run, and I mean RUN.  I'm late for everything!

Rock on...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Skating Toward Year End...

Boy, what fun we're having this week!  Two weeks and one day to Fiscal Year End at work and I'm running as fast as I can!!
There have been some light moments though... my friend Tony's daughter got married recently.  Someone found him this shirt to wear. I nearly snorted tea out through my nose when I saw it!

Here are a few recently completed projects, some of which have helped maintain my tenuous hold on sanity while the office is screaming around me.

This first one is a panel surrounded by some borders, made for the wall of the Little Lams Academy nursery room.  We all thought this was so adorably appropriate!


This is a blue "Yellow Brick Road", or a "Blue Brick Road" if you prefer.  I got it sewn together and now it just needs layering and quilting.  It's about a dozen miscellaneous left-over fat quarters from my blue bin, which NEVER seems to get any emptier!

I started this skinny quilt for the foot of my bed about two years ago.  The quilt on my bed is blue and white, this one is to cover our feet with one extra layer when the Wisconsin winter starts.  Next week, by the look of thing!  (It's nice today but the evening temps have been in the 60's and upper 50's recently!)

This one is called My Favorite Donation Strip Quilt, pattern compliments of Patched Works in Elm Grove WI.  It's easy to sew, easy to cut, looks great either planned or with scrappy interior strips and one repeated edge strip, and you can make extra blocks and make it bigger, but this one is about 45x54.

This quilt...ah, this quilt has been the bane of my summer!  A lady in our church guild bought a half jelly roll in browns, and once it was sewn together it was long and skinny and not what she thought it would be.  Dare I remind you that I once said there are no ugly fabrics, just ugly combos?  Well I think I proved myself wrong (again). 

I'm not much of a brown person, and certainly not these browns!  I tried cutting the quilt into smaller sections, then I found some complementary browns in our church stash, and tried large blocks of those to supplement.  I hated it.  I un-sewed and rearranged.  I still think I hate it, but I hate it less than I originally did.  I originally thought I'd do some applique but lost interest.  I thought I did a better job of laying out the blocks too, but there that one fabric is, lined up like soldiers!

A couple of weeks ago I went to the farmers' market for vegetables, and evidently I bought a duck!!

Carry on and sew to keep calm!

Monday, September 11, 2017

September, the Whole Month and the 11th

September is a month that has always been a big one for my family.  DH and I were married in September, and this year will celebrate our 46th anniversary.  If I did the math correctly...

Our son will celebrate his 45th birthday.  Which is odd considering I'm only 40 years old!  (I had to add a year since Miss A can add -- I used to claim 39 but she's on to me now.)  Happy birthday Kevin!

Two of my brothers have September birthdays.  Happy birthday on the 4th to Chet and on the 6th to Tom.

Middle school!!
The kids go back to school in earnest, and I love back to school shopping!  Especially the school supplies.  These days the schools have the kids preorder their supplies and they all come in a big package so you don't have to run all over town to get the right size box of crayons or a particular kind of notebook.  You may just need to go for a few special things.  I always buy myself a new box of crayons or colored pencils for the house, and for me! 

My mom showed us how to do these
crayon doodles (this one used markers)
and the grands and I do them now.
Labor Day is one of my favorite holidays - no big meal to prepare, a lot of lazing around the house or the park.  DD and her family go to a local fair, and I take extra vacation days to make it a long weekend.

I'm remembering where I was on Sept. 11, 2001.  I was in Indianapolis with a rental car and no hotel room when the news came that all the airports were closing down.  The people in our office there went a little off the rails and everyone left except me and two other people.  I will never forget that only Louis asked whether I had a place to stay, and invited me to dinner at his home.  Thank you so much Louis, your kindness meant a lot that day.

My company closes its fiscal year on the last Friday in September.  THAT I am not looking forward to... but there are three weeks to go so I guess it will be here before you know it.  I've been preaching for the past two and a half months:  get your invoices submitted, get the purchase orders done, get your expense sheets in.  Then suddenly this week someone said to me "holy cow, there are only three weeks left until the end of the year! Process this quick!!"

To quote a famous movie line, "No sh*t, Sherlock!"

On top of that, this year I have to take three days out of the center of that three weeks to attend a leadership meeting in Charlotte, NC.  That's good news and bad news.  Good news because we've never been invited to that before, us support staff, so we always felt left out and unimportant.  Bad news because we've never been invited before and we always had three days where we were not being interrupted by last minute requests and we could actually get work done!

On top of that is the annual Wastewater Conference that happens during the week of year end close this year.  UGH!

Hoping this is me next month:

Rock on...

Friday, September 8, 2017

I Read It On The Internet!

It must be true, right?  I read it on the internet!!

The other day I was having a conversation with Miss A, aged 10, and she was going on about aliens.  She said they must be real, because she saw a couple of videos on YouTube.

Well, that was a conversation that was just not going anywhere, and I let her jabber until she got tired, and then I said "there are no such things as aliens" and she said "Yes, there are Gramma, I saw it on the internet!"


But seriously, this got me thinking about what a lot of people believe, and believe strongly, even adamantly!  And where do they get these ideas?  Well, it used to be across the back fence, the old Rumor Mill.  Then it was email... remember the guy in Nigeria who had a million dollars for you, if you just send him your credit card number? 

Now it's news in an instant, whether it's true or not.  Someone's opinion becomes a thing on Facebook or Instagram or whatever and suddenly there's a protest group on Wisconsin Avenue throwing rocks at a State building or something!

My rule of thumb is:  Trust, but verify.


If you see articles like "Human Remains Found in a Hot Dog Plant" or "Dogs Are Serving Coffee at Starbucks", you would think twice before you believe it.  I have un-followed a couple of people from FB because they're always getting upset about stuff that turns out not to be true. I don't need extra drama in my life!

But here's the thing, people can post anything they want on some sites, and nobody says "hey, that's not real".  Because if you DID, a million OTHER people would hate on them for disagreeing! 


It's silly.  This week, someone made a comment on a social media platform about a certain fabric precut set -- just a general comment that the precut sets they had purchased had not been of very good quality.  Immediately, a couple dozen people started bashing the precuts and said they would NEVER buy them because they're always JUNK.

Well, if I were the manufacturer of fabric precuts, I would take exception to that!  And truly, there are some very good ones out there that do a great job and do not need the bad publicity from the one or three people who got bad sets and hated them.  (In this case it's true, you're only as good as your 'cutter'...)

But what kind of set me off was that someone chimed in with a remark to the tune of  'suck it up, buttercup, you got it cheap so get over it'.

That was a little mean.  People say things they wouldn't say in person because it's so easy to hit that "post" button if you don't see the sad face of the person on the  other end of the comment.

I like precuts.  I buy them at my local quilt shop.  I buy them on line.  I try to get them on sale, but if I like them, I buy them.  I have and will continue to buy quality fabric.  You get what you pay for.  That must be true, because I read it on the internet!

Rock on...


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

My Quiet House

It's SO quiet here this morning.  It isn't usually this quiet.  The girls are at school and DH has gone for his weekly coffee jaunt to a local restaurant with the guys across the street.

No one is mowing their lawns because rain is in the forecast.  The TV is off, as is the radio.

The cat is sleeping on the back of the couch.  No one is walking dogs or riding bikes down our short street.

It's kind of spooky! (But in a nice way.)  I was just taking a minute to think about the people in Texas again.  It looks so bad on TV, what must it be like up close and personal?  I can't imagine losing everything in a few minutes like that.  Those people who lost so much probably never imagined it either.

We are so lucky in this country to have so much, and then to lose it all is so hard.  I also was thinking about those in the tsunami a few years back who didn't have that much and lost it all.  It probably wasn't any easier for them. 

And yet they're just things.  If we have family and they are safe, we can get more things.  God has His eye on those in Texas and elsewhere who are hurting.  I trust Him that He has a plan.  Maybe it's to make us reach out to help our fellow humans, to exercise our generosity muscles and our loving kindness genes.

Be generous and kind but if you're going to donate and help make sure you give to legitimate agencies with good reputations, because the same human impulses to goodness are out there in the less than good, who could take this opportunity to take advantage.

The Bible teaches us to give generously to all who ask in the name of goodness.  I believe that those who use situations like Harvey to take advantage have a special circle in hell just waiting for them.

So my friends in the storm's path, my prayers are with you this quiet, contemplative morning.

Stay calm and carry on...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hurricane Harvey

My thoughts and prayers are with all my friends in Houston and southern Texas.  My company has a very large office in Houston and offices in San Antonio and elsewhere.  We're getting involved in mitigation of the flood damage and other aspects of the storm.  Many of our employees are working with volunteer organizations, taking personal time off to help the Red Cross and others provide needed services.

American Sewing Guild headquarters are in Houston. I pray that all my friends there are safe.  The last time I was there the office was on the fifth floor so hopefully the physical property damage will be minimal.  All that matters is that the people are safe.

Don't mess with Mother Nature.

Praying on...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Back to School!

Time for the kids to go back to school.  How exciting is that?  The girls started school on Thursday this week, so they now have two full days under their belts. 

Miss E says the second year of high school was not as stressful to start as the first year. That's a good sign, because every time I ask her how school was, she replies "horrible".  I don't get that, because I loved school, and I still love learning things.  Oh well.

Miss A says middle school is confusing.  Evidently a lot of the fifth graders were lost the first day, which is normal in a new school, especially one that is larger than the one you attended previously.  She says she doesn't know too many people on her bus either, except the driver!  He's a man who goes to our church, and he's a good friend. 

I spent this weekend catching up on my retail therapy... I hadn't been to the green market in a while, so I did that today.  I bought three of the biggest tomatoes I've ever seen.  We had BLT sandwiches for dinner tonight.  I picked up some small cucumbers and some squash, and the year's first corn on the cob.  I just love the fresh veggies!

Then I did the rounds of some quilt shops, the Amazing Goodwill and the yarn shop.  I went to the office supply store and picked out a new printer which will be delivered next week by the UPS man.  I got tired of trying to figure out why the old one refuses to print anything no matter what I do.  Maybe it was just too old to function anymore... plus the one I'm getting is wireless so everyone can use it.

I hope.
On Friday I stopped at Patched Works and picked up some fun new notions from Moda.  The bag that says MAKE contains small clothespins that say things like "Measure Twice". 
This is the shop's 2017 Row
by Row license plate.
Then on Saturday I stopped at Quiltagious to get my free August yard of fabric.  I could not resist the colors in this three yard quilt kit!

I scored pretty well at the AG, picked up a lovely purple quilted jacket and two handbags, one a Vera Bradley.  I picked up a second jacket too, and promptly ruined it in the washer.  Duh!  Read the labels, miss!  100% polyester LINING, the jacket was SILK.  It had been pleated and ironed down to iron-on interfacing.  Washing the jacket loosened up all the pleats and made it into a balloon!  Oh well, it was only $5.  And I did salvage the larger pieces of silk fabric.  That will get used somewhere.

Now DH is watching the preseason Packer football game and I'm contemplating watching a few of the recorded Jeopardy programs before I go to bed.  All in all, it's been a good weekend.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who are suffering from severe weather in the south. 

Sew on...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

That Was Then, This Is...

Some of you may be of the age to remember films in high school history class with Walter Cronkite reporting a history event as if it was a current event, like the signing of the Declaration of Independence, or the Battle of Concord.  He'd start out with the headlines and then go to the scene.  And at the end, they'd return to Walter and he'd say "And that's the way it was, July 4, 1776."

I'm not sure when they started saying "that was then, this is now".  I'm thinking about the kids going back to school next week locally, and suffering from a little nostalgia.

Preschool graduation
It wasn't horrible of me
to want to take a picture...

The backpack was
nearly as big as
the girl carrying it!

How did he get so big?
 How did we go from then to

drivers' license and hair up in a fancy do?

Miss A is going to Middle School this year.  Miss A is old enough to get her drivers' license learner's permit... Miss K and Master J are no longer cuddly toddlers either, everyone has gotten older and more mature including the G's -- Gramps and Gramma.

Oh well, I guess it's good to know that when it's time for someone to drive me to the nursing home, there will be people to do it!

Sew on...

Monday, August 14, 2017

Summer's Ending, Hello Fall!

I cannot believe I just said that!  Hello fall??  Whaaaattt??

Well, as much as I appreciate spring and summer in Wisconsin, I love fall.  September is the loveliest month... It's when DH and I got married, well EONS ago.  We used to take an almost annual trek up to Door County in September.  After all the flatlanders go back to Illinois but while the shops and restaurants are still open it's quite nice and you can travel around without fear of getting stuck in traffic jams everywhere.

Then in October the leaves on the trees start changing colors and it's sweater weather!!  Yay!  I love sweaters.  Can't have too many sweaters...

To all the sheep I say thank you!!

I think it's why I love knitting,
especially the small stuff!
And why I love packages that arrive
full of this fun stuff!  The bright
green skein is now socks.
Miss E is taking Drivers' Ed classroom training this week.  Next week Thursday she and Miss A go back to school.  DH's birthday is their first day of school, I have a dentist appointment in the morning and a church meeting that evening, so maybe I can convince him to go out to lunch with me to celebrate.  It's a major milestone birthday this year.  Of course he'd like to just ignore it...  My grandma used to say you're not old until you hit 100!  Well, aren't we both on the way to that, I ask?  LOL!

The less I go to the office, the less I want to go to the office.  Working from home has its advantages, and its disadvantages.  No one to commiserate with when the red tape gremlins get to you, no big printer or scanner for those monster jobs, but then again, the commute is very nice and the price of lunch fits my budget.  :-)

Last week at my local quilt guild meeting we had schoolhouse night.  Four tables were set up for four demonstrators, me being one... I showed the ladies how to do our strip pieced blocks.  I was amazed at how many of them had never heard of strip piecing!  There were about 50 in attendance, and I'll bet there were only a handful who admitted to knowing what it was.

I'm certainly no expert, but our church group has been doing these blocks for a very long while, using up the scraps or trying to... it's funny, but no matter how many quilts we make from our scraps, the size of the pile never seems to shrink! 

There are lots of tutorials out there to show you how to do this type of quilting, but I like to call it the no stress method.  Your foundation pieces don't have to be anything special, or cut to a specific size other than larger than what you want your finished blocks to be.  Your seam allowance doesn't have to be a quarter of an inch, or a scant quarter, or even consistent, as long as you sew straight lines.

Sew, press, sew, press, trim.  Repeat as often as you like.  Make them any size you want, put them together in any way you want.  Use all string blocks, use with other blocks.  Sash if you want to, coordinate your colors or don't.   It doesn't matter, the finished product is always pretty.  No worries about the right shade of anything.  Don't be too matchy-matchy, it's supposed to be fun, remember?

You don't have to carefully cut all your strips the same width either.  Some say don't go below 3/4 of an inch, some say the smallest you should use is one inch.  (The strip width less 2 seams = the total exposure on the right side.  How small do you want that to be?  It's your block!!)  

The strip has to be long enough to cover the foundation square with some 'overhang'.   Is your strip too short?  Sew on another piece, and it doesn't have to be the same fabric!  Even and 8 year old can do this, if her feet hit the foot pedal of the sewing machine.

Our church quilters meet this Saturday.  We took July off but now are anxious to get started again.  I miss our fellowship when we're not meeting.  And we have some work to do -- since our new pastor started doing services in June, we've had a spate of baptisms that doesn't show any sign of stopping.  Blessings abound! 

On the opposite end of our mission there doesn't seem to be any slowing down of people with illness or surgery or other kinds of needs either.  We're viewing the option of partnering with a hospice in the area to provide quilts for their patients on a regular basis.  We view the end of life as just as important as the beginning, and blessing to be shared there too.

On a happier note, the State Fair ended yesterday with wonderful weather and a good time had by all.  I didn't get there this year (Mr. Crabby declined to take me and I hate going by myself...) so I didn't see the wonderful stuff in the family living center.  But I understand that several of our LQG members took home some ribbons for quilts and other crafts.  Congratulations, everyone!

Time to get going on some projects in real life!  My giant blue quilt is ready to have its rows sewn together, and I finished the back for Miss A's project, started so long ago she lost interest.  Ha!  She's 10, more interested in Minecraft and Spotify to pay attention to her UFOs I guess.

The pattern is Yellow Brick Road. 
Mine is blue because my blue bin is overflowing.
Because, well, blue...
 Sew on...

Friday, August 4, 2017

Brrrr... It's State Fair Opening Weekend

This morning when I got out of bed a rather frigid wind was blowing in from the open windows.  Yesterday we turned off the air and opened up windows after dinner because it seemed so nice out!  Some sort of front moved in, causing several hard but brief showers through the afternoon, and cutting the temperature down by nearly 15 degrees within a few hours.

So 72 down from 86 isn't bad.  I like 72 degrees.  72 is a good room temp -- you rarely need a sweater indoors. 

Then this morning... when DH turned on the TV it said 57.  It's August!!  This is late September weather!  Oh the joys of living in Wisconsin.  If you don't like the weather, hang around a little, it will change.

I think it was a 'take that' moment from Mother Nature for the opening day of State Fair.  A lot of folks got wet yesterday!

There's a lot to do and see at the Fair.  When I was a member of the American Sewing Guild I used to sometimes work a table there to encourage people to take an interest and maybe join.  We would sit in the Family Living Center, hand out leaflets, sometimes sew something.  The last time I was there I could have sold about a half dozen sergers because I was using mine.  Now I just go and look.
There's also Fair Food... like anything on a stick, or deep fried on a stick.
 My favorite fair treat is the lemonade from the small stands that make it with fresh lemons and fizzy water. Oh and a cream puff.

In doing an internet search on the Fair I came across this poster from 1900.  Parking was not a problem because you could get there by rail.  I wonder how close it was to a train station or stop?

I hope your weekend is wonderful.  Miss A and I are going to Walgreens and maybe for a little trip to the Amazing Goodwill.
Rock on!