Thursday, July 30, 2009

This and That

What a week it's been! Monday was the visit to the attorney. Tuesday was the dentist- what I was afraid was an abscess is an infection, so I'm on an antibiotic. Wednesday I ran a bunch of errands.

This morning was the eye doctor, and new glasses and sunglasses ordered. Then to lunch with Ralph and his Mom. Later, dinner and good conversation with my friend Roseanne. When I got home there was a message from my physician (labs were last week) that I need to take a lot of Vitamin D.

Tomorrow I have a whole list of errands to do (including buying some Vitamin D), and in the evening I'm getting together with my Cookie Swap group- no cookies involved.

Tonight I finally spent some time in the sewing room. I just haven't felt like it since we got back from NC, but tonight I got to it. I made a pillowcase for Eddie from the leftovers of his curtain valance, and made a cushion cover for Heather's bench from fabric she had picked up at MaryJo's Fabric Store in NC. It really felt good to get some sewing done.

I've done a little crocheting this week. I started an afghan for Eddie, out of some leftover and some bought yarn- single sized, just double crochet stripes. Greens, blue, purple, varigated, a little yellow for some punch. It'll be nice and warm for him to curl up under.

Now that Miss Millie is an only cat, she's being a pain. Frenzy always slept with us, and Mills slept on the couch. Now she's started galluping into our room at 0400, walking on us and scratching at the sheets- she thinks we should leap up and feed her. Today I got so annoyed I put her out of the room and closed the door. Tonight I'm going to close the door when I go to bed, and see how that works.

Two weeks from tomorrow is our Alaska cruise! Manda, Steph, my friend Linda and I are cruising out of Seattle, and I'm nervous and excited. It'll be my longest plane ride so far, and I've never cruised before. Manda and Steph are planning kayaking and mountain climbing excursions, I'm more the trolley tour type, with my knee issues.

It's been a typical NJ July week- hot, humid, and thundershowers. At least (knock on wood) our power hasn't gone out.

And the beat goes on!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Life's a Bitch, and then you die

My best friend, the sister of my heart, is dying. It really hit home for me yesterday, when I went with her to the attorney's office, to get paperwork in place so that I can ensure that her last wishes are followed.

Sam and I bonded over The Man From UNCLE, when we were in junior high. We moved on to Dark Shadows in senior high. After high school we were in more sporadic contact, but each knew the other was there if needed. She was widowed suddenly and terribly at age 30, and we talked for hours every night for a year or so. She's my youngest daughter's godmother, and we laughed that the church roof didn't fall in when she entered.

December 8, 2000 was the day my oldest daughter go engaged, and Sam had a mastectomy for breast cancer. She went thru the usual chemo and radiation management, and after 5 years was deemed cancer free. Last year she started some symptoms, and this spring spent over a week in the hospital. Bone and lung cancer, a deadly combination.

We email more than we talk, even tho we only live 3 miles from each other. I've always known her feelings about death, and how she wants hers managed. We've debated the usefullness of funerals many times over the years- are they good therapy for the survivors or just barbaric? (My personal feeling is that they're somewhere in the middle).

So we spent time with MaryBeth, attorney, yesterday. Arrangements have to be made for the care of Sam's elderly husband, who is in poor health. Who ever dreamed that he may outlive her? Sam's doctor is recommending that she hook up with hospice. Wills and living wills have to be made, arrangements with a funeral home. Arrangements for power of attorney and for executor, and guardianship. Arrangements so that if/when estranged relatives from either side show up, that I don't have to deal with them. It's all being done very pragmatically, loose ends are being tied up.

And I just want to scream- "NO! this isn't supposed to be happening " I always pictured Sam and I in a little old ladies home, rocking on the porch. I manage to not cry, because if I do, she will too, and we'll both feel stupid.

I gave Sam the 3rd quilt I ever made. I made her another one this spring, when she was in the hospital, and named it "The Road is Long" from the song by the Hollies. I printed out and the lyrics and altered them somewhat, and gave them to her with the quilt.

The Road isn't going to be as long as we want it to be, and it's going to have the winding turns and be bumpy. But so far it's been a good road most of the time. And when it's the end of the road, I'll be there, making sure her wishes are followed. She ain't heavy, she's my sister.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Scones and fabric and patterns

Heather, Julianna and I shopped at World Market and we bought packages of scone mix. Heather made raspberry ones while we were there. This morning I made buttermilk scones. Kinda like a biscuit, not too sweet- really good. For this package, I only had to add milk and oil.
I was lucky enough to get Nora Roberts new book at the library. I started it yesterday, and didn't get much else done!
I bought this pattern. If Manda likes it, it may be what Julianna wears as flower girl in the wedding, color to be decided. I like the long version, but we'll see what the bride likes.
I gave up on counting fabric bought and used! This was 2 trips to Joann's, and a lot of coupons- I used mine, and some of Mom's. On the left is 4 sundresses for Heather- the fabric is shirred, and I only have to sew the seam and make straps. Behind it is flannel for a nightshirt for Julie, and cotton for aprons for Heather. On the right, on the top, is what will be a mermaid and princess sundress for Julianna- I'll probably not make them til spring. Under that is a bunch of patterns from a new line of M'Liss Ray fabric, all wedding based. I have to find a pattern I like to use it.
Here's the pattern I got for the nightshirt for Julianna. I like the pink one on the lower left- it looks a lot like the one she has, that I just shortened the sleeves for. The flannel I bought is lightweight, so she can wear it anytime.

Of course, now I have to stop fooling around, and get to it!


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lazy Saturday

When we were in NC, Julianna helped make breakfast.
This is a lap afghan that I just finished. Every year I donate a small afghan for the Burlington County Farm Fair- my friend Barbara is very involved in the needlework part of the fair. They sell chances for a quilt, my afghan, and other handwork.
These are pictures of my quilting room. The cutting table is a drafting table that we got at a yardsale for $10! One of my best ever purchases.
The loveseat pulls out into a bed, for when we have company. The ottoman lifts up for storage of sheets. The sewing machine table was bought from a lady who was moving. It will hold two machines, and Ralph cut me plexiglas to cover the other machine opening when it's not needed. It doesn't show in the pictures, but there's a TV that can be seen from both the sewing machine and the loveseat.
My stash! The green in the upper left corner is a sheet that comes down to make my design wall.
The TV can be seen in the left corner of the picture. The bookcase holds my quilting and crocheting books and magazines. The oversized ironing board is in the right lower corner.

The room used to be Manda's room, til she graduated college and moved to Houston. I haven't gotten around to painting it- one of these years!

Ralph and I went to the diner for breakfast, and now he's outside cutting the lawn. It's nice out, in the mid 70's with a breeze. I'm totally lacking in ambition!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

We're back!

Ralph and I spent several days visiting Ed, Heather, Eddie and Julianna in their new house in NC. It's a beautiful rancher with a huge deck on the left side, off the kitchen.
We took them this Fisher Price toy. Every time Julie went under the water spray, she put her hands on top of her head.
They entertained us constantly. So cute!
Isn't this the most precious face? Heather's face with Manda's hair! It was so hard to leave them!
But we'll be back!
Eddie helped Heather make us breakfast. Ed grilled almost every night- chicken, veggies, hamburgers, hot dogs.
Julie loved the jacket I made for her, and it looks so cute on her.

When we came home, Ralph was able to fix the PC by using a program called Ghost. I love the laptop, but you can't beat the full keyboard of a PC.

I took my Janome Jem with me to NC. I made Eddie a valance for his bedroom, fixed the sleeves on a nightie for Julianna, and made Heather a sundress from the fabric that you just sew up the seam, and the top is already smocked.

One of the places we went in NC was Mary Jo's Fabric store in Gastonia, about 45 minutes from Heather's. Talk about sensory overload! I just stood there- I didn't know what direction to go in first! I could have stayed there for a week! I didn't buy too much- I forced myself to only get what I had an immediate use for. And there was a McAlistair's Deli in the same shopping center, so we went there for lunch. We'd been to the one in Houston with Manda and Ben, and the food is really good.

Another day we went to Hobby Lobby and Hancock's, two more stores we don't have in NJ. Ralph went with us, and there was a Harbor Freight right next to Hancock's! He had a nice shopping trip to the Harbor Freight.

It was a wonderful trip, and I'm eager to go back!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Well, this is a big pain!

Our PC is sick! It was fine yesterday morning, then it locked up. Ralph has been running all kinds of diagnositic scans to figure out what the problem is, with no luck so far. It could be the hard drive, it could be a virus. Only the fact that I have this laptop is keeping me somewhat sane.

I need my computer! It has all my addresses, my usual sites, my full keyboard! I don't know how to put pix on this blog with the laptop! We just hooked up the wireless mouse to the laptop, because the touch screen is such a pain (and I'm so not used to it!)

Someone on the message boards asked which we could do without, our computer or our sewing machine. Neither! I'm totally dependent on both! When I'm off, I go between one and the other all day long.

On a happy note, the cruise tickets came! Yay! And we've got the car partially packed for our journey to NC tomorrow. Ed and Heather have a computer, of course, so I can be in touch with my world. And I'm taking my Janome Jem, because I'm adjusting some curtains for them.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I didn't sleep well last night- one of those nights that you wake up every hour. I don't know if it's too much caffeine (iced tea) or watching too much Criminal Minds. I taped Criminal Minds and CSI:NY all year, and I'm working my way thru them. Great shows, but CM can be very disturbing.

I've got a quarter row left on an afghan that's my yearly donation to the BurlCo Farm Fair. I had fallen way behind, and all of a sudden it's farm fair time, so I spent hours and hours over the weekend on it (while watching those Criminal Minds). I'll finished that up today and then bind Julianna's jacket. Then it's back to the border of Malibu Breeze.

Ralph and I leave on Thursday to go visit Heather, Ed and the kidlets in NC. We're driving, and AAA says best time is 8.5 hours. Heather says their best time is 10. When Steph and I flew, since you can't go directly from Philly to Charlotte (unless you want to pay $800), we left the house before 7 a.m. and arrived at Heather's at 3 pm- so driving can't be much worse. We're leaving after rush hour, since we have to clear Baltimore, DC and Richmond. Toast, Steph and various of her friends are house sitting, so the house will never be empty. LOL, I told her to be careful no one falls into the pool.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday night

This will be for Julianna. I took a sweatshirt, dismantled it, sewed strips of fabric in a stitch and flip method, and I'm in the process of putting it back together. I had to stop until I go and get some binding for the outer seams. It's easier to do the wrist binding before I sew the seam back together. I tried to do it leaving the wrist and waist bands on, but that didn't work and I had to do some ripping out of seams.
We were at Sharon's last night for birthdays. Tori will be 13 next month! A teenager! Tori and proud Dad Kevin posed for me.
Sharon and MacKenzie- Kenzie wasn't giving up the doll.
Kenzie and Connor blew out the candles. It was a fun evening.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ta Da! Presenting Malibu Breeze!

Presenting Malibu Breeze, aka Orange Crush. This was taken last night, when I had the first half of it put together. Luckily Bonnie gave good instructions, including pix, for putting it together. It's the first quilt I've done on point, and I was so afraid of messing it up!
And here it is! It's so long I had to stand on the deck for it to be full length!
Can you believe it has 1804 pieces in 82 blocks! And I haven't put borders on it yet!
I worked on steps 1 and 2 along with the quiltville group a year ago. Then it took a labor intensive week to do the rest and assemble it. So it was by no means a quick quilt. I'm so glad I went with the blue- the orange just wasn't doing it for me.

And that was the last of my UFO/WIPs! They've all moved on to being flimsies. I'm going to have to move from the Janome to the HQ and do some quilting!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday Morning

Orange Crush has changed to Malibu Bay Breeze! I think that sounds blue. The orange just wasn't doing it for me. So yesterday I made 20 of the above "album blocks".
It needs 18 half album blocks- I got 7 made, and quit for the night. They all need to be ironed and trimmed, after I do the rest of the half albums, and make 4 quarter albums. It'll be hard to figure yardage used, since only the red, black and blues came from stash and not from scraps.
Toast was curled up on the loveseat, keeping me company. She has her summer haircut.
Mom and I were in Michaels Crafts, and I was in the bridal aisle. I really liked this cake topper, so I took a pic so Manda and Ben can see it.

No big plans for today- I'd like to work more on the half album blocks.

Tomorrow is my brother John's birthday, and Tuesday is Steph's birthday. I was hoping she's be born on his birthday, but she wanted her own!

Also this week is Mackenzie's 2nd birthday, then Connor's 7th. Later this month is Nadia's birthday, but she's already had her party. Also this month is Helen's, as well as our late Uncle Frank. Happy birthday to all!


Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4

Dad's stone is finally in! Big Mike and Jacob are going to put flags on the graves today. Putting pix of gravestones on my blog may seem strange, but I thought it was appropriate for July 4.

I'm not a big grave visitor. When Mom and I were there to see if the stone had been placed, it was the first that we'd visited the grave. Donna and Jake have been there a few times, and Manda and Steph were there last year. I don't need to be in the cemetery to talk to Dad and Pop. For years, every time I drove by there I'd wave to Pop.

Dad rode his bike in the town's July 4 parade every year. To Dad, Memorial Day and July 4 were two of the most important holidays.

Ralph is working today- unfortunately, the ER never closes. Since he went part time, he rotates thru the "summer" holidays- Memorial Day, July4, Labor Day and Thanksgiving. The "winter holidays" of Christmas Eve and Day, and New Years Eve and Day, he still has to work an eve and a day.

I did nothing quilty yesterday! I needed a break from Orange Crush, after sewing together the 40 star blocks. I did watch a little Tv and crochet last night.


Friday, July 3, 2009

The quilt that may be known as Orange Crush

This is a scrappy quilt that was a mystery quilt by Bonnie Hunter on her website. I started out with the group, but then fell way behind. First of all, we made a whole bunch of 4 patches.
Steph 2 was split 4 patches, and I made these when the group was making them. It was last fall, I think. It's made from all scraps from my scrap bin.
Steph 3 I did the beginning of this week. We only had to make forty-something of these.
These are two of the focus fabrics, and it needed 120 half square triangles. Thanks goodness for strip piecing!
The half square triangles and the 4 patches went together to make block 1. Each block took 8 seams to put together, and there's 40 of them. It took all day yesterday to make the 40 blocks, because it got so tedious. Today I have to press and trim them, and decide if the other focus fabric is going to be the orange of orange crush, or if I'm changing the color. At the moment I'm leaning toward yellow, but I have to think about it.
And of course I had to get a picture of Miss Millie! Ralph brought this basket in from the garage, and Mills thought it was for her (which is it, of course).

In a little while I'm taking Mom to Michael's Crafts. Steph has a party to go to today, and one tomorrow, so Toast will come visit me.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Planning a wedding shower

This is the room at Scotland Run that the shower will be held in. That's Mom at the table, and the use of the centerpieces is included. The linens will be white, as shown. The room is a nice size.
The room overlooks the gold course, and if it's warm enough the guests can go on the terrace. The shower will be in March 2010, and it'll be a brunch shower.
Manda has to pick the color of the napkins. We're not even trying to surprise her, since she's coming from Houston, Polly (her future Mom in law) is coming from Nebraska, and Heather is coming from North Carolina.

Mom and I checked out the room and made the deposit yesterday, then we had lunch with Donna and Jacob.

It seems so quiet here since Steph took Toast to the new apartment. Ralph and I keep joking about who's turn it is to take the dog out. Since Toast can't do steps anymore, due to her back issues, taking her out involves carrying her down and up the steps.

On a quilting note, I'm up to step 4 of Orange Crush. By the time I get to the next step, I have to decide if I'm using Orange as the accent color, or changing it.

Today's plan- work on step 4, go to the library then drop off Mom's books to her, work on step 4 some more.