Monday, November 30, 2009

The End of November

Eleven months of 2009 have come and gone. Now it's the big countdown to Christmas and then New Year's and then it will be 2010. I remember as a kid thinking that I would be 45 in 2000 (that seemed old then!) and now it is almost ten years later. It must have been a group blink that moved us along that far that fast.

Nothing exciting going on here--a bit of wet snow today and cold. I did get my tulips and mini daffodils planted yesterday while the sun was out. Also dragged out the dreaded snow shovel and sled. Hoping that I won't need either!

On an eerie note, the angel has not reappeared. The pile of stuff and the lighting are all the same, but nothing on the computer screen. I'm so glad that I didn't miss her!

That's it for tonight. I am going to do something fun for a few minutes and then it's on to the next thing.

I came, I saw, I posted!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Do You See What I See???

Earlier tonight I came into my sewing room and discovered this on my computer monitor. I think it looks like an angel! So I took a picture of it for the blog and also one of what I think caused it.
It's a combination of the canned air canister and the paper that is winged up to the left of it. I guess...after I turned out the lights and left for a bit, I was unable to see the image again. Dee dee dee dee. And yes, Virginia, that is my desk. Luckily for me, I rarely use that computer because my laptop is on a different table. So, in the way of many of us, any flat surface becomes a dumping ground. I do occasionally clean it off--but had I done that prior to tonight, the angel would not have visited.
I've spent most of the day appliqueing a new cutwork design. And I finished half a pair of Christmas socks (that means that one is done and the other one is cast on and five rows up (or down) the cuff.
Books that I've enjoyed on CD: Vision in White by Nora Roberts, Dashing Through the Snow by Mary and Carol Higgins Clark, and Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark.
Hugs til tomorrow!

It Never Fails

Last night when I tried to post, my computer absolutely refused to display any graphics when I was on-line. Do you know how hard it is to post with no graphics? Needless to say, I gave up and vacuumed instead!

I stayed home yesterday--no Black Friday sales for me. Did some knitting, some cutting, laundry...all the good stuff ;-) I do need to be out and about today to go to the post office and to have a turn signal fixed (bulb is blown, but in a weird place to replace it) and to see about a feather tree for the holidays. (Okay, okay, it will probably be up all year--I like to see my stuff!)

If my computer allows, perhaps I'll post again tonight with some project pics. Wish me luck!

Happy Saturday!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Never in a Million Years

As many of you may have gleaned from previous posts, housecleaning is not my favorite activity. But when I do it, I want to get the most benefit with the least amount of effort--unlike my quilting, where I will work tirelessly and like a stevedore to get things "just right".

So when my old canister cleaner continued to run up the red flag (danger, danger, Will Robinson) even after I put in a new bag, I had had enough. It's bad enough to go over an area once, but to have to go over the same area seven or eight or even nine times and still have to pick up the bigger pieces of debris...well.

So I did some research and asked lots of people what they had for a vacuum and then I did more research and looked and...TA DA My new Dyson DC25 Animal! The commercials just do not do this cleaner justice. I went over a section of rug that I had vacuumed just two days before with the old vacuum and...the rug was at least three shades lighter! And it felt better under bare feet. And it is entertaining! You can see the stuff being sucked up by the cyclonic action and whirled around the clear canister! Makes you want to keep vacuuming--I know, can you believe I said that? On-board attachments, an upholstery attachment, separate motor for the beater brushes in the front, a telescoping wand conversion that happens in about 2 minutes. WOW! And did I mention the ball? A flick of the wrist and you are into corners, turning in circles, whatever your heart desires! I know this probably sounds like a commercial for Dyson--but for ME to be this happy about cleaning, I simply must share the news. The price is not cheap--that's why I did so much research before buying. And I found a sale, which helped some. And with a five year warranty (most vacuums have 90 days maximum), I took the plunge. And I'm so glad I did. So, if you are in the market for a vacuum, look at the Dyson DC25 Animal.

Sheila, I'm sure you are disappointed...after all, you did have some absolutely wonderful guesses! I really must look into that Pole Dancing!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I spent the day with family and we had a great time. I am very blessed with family and friends.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Students Part 3

Good things come to those who wait. Irene, from northern New York (think above Watertown), figures she took the Mariner's Compass class at least 2-1/2 years ago. She remembers because her grandson was born while she was working on the first one and he is that old now! Time sure passes quickly. Irene hand pieced this stunning compass--and was happy with my suggestion to use this particular background fabric.

When she made the second one, she decided to use all tone-on-tone prints for a pastel version.

Then she went all the way with a 32 point compass! I do believe she is addicted to hand piecing Mariner's Compasses! Look at those points! Way to go, Irene!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the United States. Let's all be extra thankful for our many blessings. And one of our greatest is our friends. Near or far, they sustain us in good times and bad. Let's also pray for an abundance of good times in the years to come.
I'll share a bit of my abundance with you tomorrow! No, it's not the horses. It's something you'll never in a million years guess! But you are welcome to try--no prizes will be awarded--even for the wildest guess! (Let's face it, there were some really wild guesses about what I was doing over the summer--such imaginations!)
Til tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Students Part 2

Okay...first the disclaimer. Virtually no one wants their picture included with the quilt, which results in various attempts to hide behind the quilt. Thus, pictures of strangely shaped quilt tops. Rest assured they really all were straight and true--blame it on the photographer!

Pam, from the Candor area, was in the same class as Jen and Julie (see below). Pam did a queen sized top featuring a hollyhock border. She artfully pieced the back with fabrics she had left over as someone was so bold as to buy almost the entire bolt of backing fabric that coordinated with the top! Talk about a tense moment! She will really have a reversible quilt because the back and front are both beautiful. Great job, Pam!
A close-up of the border and one of the rows.

Julie, who happens to be Jen's daughter (and the mother of Samantha) completed her 12 block top in just class time. No time to work at home with a little one on the move! The blocks are pieced from tone-on-tone fabrics--the setting and border fabrics moved this to WOW! I am so proud of you, Julie! You did it!

The sunsets have been so spectacular lately. I am especially enamored of the pinky hue.

Everyone is struggling with something. So be extra kind to everyone you encounter. The holiday season is upon us, so smile lots, let someone with fewer items go ahead of you at the checkout, and do something especially nice for yourself. You deserve it--I have so decreed it--make it sew! Hee hee!
Hugs to all and to all a good night!
P.S. Where have you gone, Dick? Over two months with no post? I know you have great pics from your great adventure!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Students Part 1

Two or three years ago I went to Florida to teach for the Feather Princesses, a chapter of The Applique Society. When I entered the classroom, I saw a familiar face, but definitely not one I associated with Florida. It was Francie, from Painted Post, New York! She was house sitting in Florida, saw that I would be there and contacted the Feather Princesses and made arrangement to take the classes!

This year Francie is taking my In Baltimore Style Block of the Month and brought in her finished (yes, hand quilted and bound!) piece based on my hand appliqued Dancing Flowers design. She did an excellent job and is justifiably proud.

We used Anita Shackelford's circle ruching guide for the dimensional blooms. Great job, Francie! Thanks for sharing!

To the other end of the spectrum: Jen of Candor, New York, just finished her Let's Get Vertical Block of the Month quilt top. The color is better in the two detail shots--think overhead lights and not much flash. Twelve women worked diligently for 10 months. One lady decided to make a king size quilt and she needed 48 eight-inch blocks. Done in a fabulous array of Asian prints, it is to die for!

Okay, back to Jen's quilt. Twelve blocks set on point, with sashing and borders.

Sharp points all around.

On the reading front, I loved Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas--I hated to see it end. Also now reading the new Jennifer Chiaverini--excellent. Did you know that Nevada Barr has just published a new novel not in the Anna Pigeon series that is billed as "a major novel of psychological suspense". I am doing the audio version of that, as I did for Prayers for Sale.
Til tomorrow!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mind Boggling

First, let me address Janet's comment: Halloween?!?! I was hoping for Valentine's Day or, at the very latest, St. Patrick's Day! If you are going to wish or keep your head in the sand, wish big or bury your head deeper!!!! LOL! Thanks for commenting!

I was making name tags late last night and, in the usual stupor of putting pins into muslin, was surprised when this pin did not work as I thought it should. Upon closer reflection, you can see why I had a problem.

Here's a closer look. Especially loved the head! Let's just say this woke me out of my reverie and made me think it would make a great blog entry!

A while ago I was enjoying a box of Snowcaps. You know, just mindlessly popping the little bits of chocolaty goodness into my mouth. When my fingers felt an unusually large gobbet, I took a look. Don't you think it looks remarkably like a seahorse? So I saved it until I could properly photograph it and share it with you all. (Please remember that many of you miss me when I don't post--do you still feel that way?)

The featherweight class was wonderful and ten machines went home cleaned, oiled and polished. One lady even said she loved her featherweight more than her bigger, newer, fancier machine! I just smiled and nodded!

This really is a two-fer day since both of these posts will be on Sunday. But tomorrow I have pictures of student quilts to share--probably for several posts as they have accumulated over the past few weeks. I just love to see stuff finished (and by finished I mean even just the top done).

And a brief rant: What happened to people using turning signals? When did they become optional? Are people afraid that the turning signals are only good for so many clicks and then they are gone? Are they trying to conserve? Are they always wondering why other drivers are so upset with them? I must admit to having to drag out the "Thank you, thank you very much" defense more frequently. And it's wearing mighty thin. Just sayin'.

That's all, folks. Until tomorrow--yes, that's both a threat and a promise!


Prepare Yourselves!

I'm saying this out loud--I am planning to blog every day until the first of December--and hopefully beyond that. I have lots to say and lots of pictures and stories to share. So check back each day this week and come along for the ride.

While you are waiting for tomorrow's post ponder this: How can it be almost Thanksgiving already???? I swear it was just New Year's Day yesterday! Is anyone ready for the holidays? I am using the head in the sand method of coping--if I don't look up, I won't know what day it is and I can just coast along--until NEXT New Year's Day! Want to join me?

Gotta run for now--have to get up in a few hours to go teach a Featherweight class. Stay tuned!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Something to Make You Smile

With so much on our minds lately, I thought I would enliven things by sharing a couple more photos from the horse show.

Here's another picture of Topper in the tack stall. I don't think he's ever had so many pictures taken of him as I did at the show!
What happens when you are short--and your arms are short--and you want to take a picture of yourself and a horse? Well, take a look:

Can anyone working that hard at a horse show and being so darn happy be in their right mind? OKAY...down in the cheap seats! It was a rhetorical question! Because the answer is a resounding YES!
Today I spent time grooming the 24 year old mare Electra. She stood so still and enjoyed her spa day so much--I even combed out her tail again. She carries it so elegantly and it looks like falling water when it is combed out. Someday maybe I can get a pictures of her to share with you. Of course, the other horses were looking on and wondering when their turn would come! I assured all of them that their turn would come. All the horses' coats are thick and soft--I sure hope that is not a sign of a really cold winter. (No wooly-bear sightings to confirm my suspicions.)
Okay, enough for tonight. I hope you had a good laugh--we all needed one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


It has been a bittersweet day. Earlier today I learned that one of my favorite students passed away from breast cancer. She was such a vibrant, happy woman--she will be sorely missed by so many. She and her daughter-in-law took my Monthly Bliss classes for the past two years--always smiling, always a great sense of humor. Regina, I miss you already.

This evening was like a mini reunion with Carol, Jay, Marion, Nancy, Karen and Rose. Karen and Rose drove down from Skaneateles (over an hour away) and Jay comes from an hour away. We had a great time looking at old quilts I got last week (I'll post pictures some day--don't hold your breath!), looking at applique quilts and refreshing some fine points on applique and hand quilting. Marion is working on crazy quilt blocks--she's going to try to not repeat any of the hand embroidery stitches! Carol was working on a quilt-as-you-go tablerunner as a gift and it wasn't going well. We think we got things figured out so she can finish--I told her to name it "Easy--NOT" or "Tablerunner from Hades". The pleasure of being surrounded by like-minded people in an atmosphere of sharing and stitching. Who could ask for more?

As this day ends, I am again reflecting on how uncertain life is and how we should not take a single moment for granted. What seems so terrible this minute will seem like nothing tomorrow. Have you told someone today that you love them? Have you done something nice just for you today? As I always tell my mom: "You have to put your oxygen mask on first--before you help someone else." So please put your oxygen mask on and breathe deeply. And, again...can you feel the calm coming over you?

You are each special--spread that specialness around.

Hugs to you all,