Monday, February 28, 2011

We Knew it Was Coming

As Tennyson said, "In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love."

The cat has some of those feelings, but in his newly altered and ambivalent state, he doesn't know what to do with himself. He is once again trying to scratch us when we quit petting him. Yesterday I was tucking the towel around his pillow and he attacked my arm. And twice when I stepped off the deck he bounded after me to attack my legs. Luckily I saw him out of the corner of my eye and told him to back off. He has been trying (unsuccessfully) to spray the deck, and he has been itching for a fight. So we knew it was only a matter of time before he found an opponent. The time came last night, and the opponent was the mean cat. The cat must have gotten in a few good licks judging by the black hair beneath his claws, and surprisingly, he doesn't have many scratches on him. I sure hope he got it all out of his system.

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Design Wall (Floor) Monday February 28, 2011


I've still got the old flower basket quilt on my floor. It's basted and I've started tying it in places. It is quilted with such a thick thread that I decided to use embroidery floss to tie it. I found a color that matches, but it looks a little too new so I aged with a little tea.

Also on the floor is the beginning of a Depression Block Quilt. I've been cutting triangles every time I have a small bit of fabric and I've finally got them all cut. 544 dark triangles in various colors, and 544 light triangles in various colors. I've got 84 triangles put together into squares. Only 1004 to go.
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stash Report - Week 9, 2011

Boy howdy, this is hard for me to admit. I fell off the "using-the-stash" wagon big time. I bought some fabric to make into some projects I hope to sell on etsy. I made the mistake of going to Jo-Ann's for just some thread and a set of grommets. Then I began perusing their marked down home decor fabrics and came across some pretty pieces. Unfortunately, I had to match them to fabrics that weren't on sale. I stood in a long line at the cutting area and an even longer line at the checkout, and three of my fabrics were near the end of the bolt so I just took the whole bolt. Because of that, the lady marked them 50% off! So it was worth the wait.

I also bought some thread, even though my thread stash is overflowing too, but most of that thread is probably vintage. I haven't been sewing this week either. A pinched nerve in my neck is making life difficult to do anything looking down.

Does it count if I cut up a couple of pairs of jeans for a future denim quilt and put them in my quilt projects drawer?

So, here goes.

I hope you did better than I did this week.
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Just a Question

On the news last night, there was a story about the popularity of gray hair. Rather than dying it, notable women are leaving their hair natural. To quote the news anchor: "gray is the new black." So my question, is curly the new straight (hair), is fat the new thin, and is old the new young? If so, I'm in, baby!

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

First Blooms 2011


Last Saturday, my neighbor and I were walking, and I saw daffodil leaves on the side of the road. A touch of yellow on the tip of a stem told me that it would soon be blooming, and I lamented that untended flowers are going to bloom before mine. Then yesterday I noticed this group of flowers in my very own yard. Could have even been blooming Saturday for all I know. So I confess, I haven't really tended them since last fall.

And here's my new siggie:

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Design Wall (Floor) Monday

Still laying on my design floor is this:

Remember this quilt?: (click the picture to read the post about it)

Now that I've finally got the backing ready, I'm nervous about putting it on. I know it needs to be done to keep the wool from falling out as the original backing deteriorates, but I'm really not sure how to baste it. I don't want to use pins because I think it could tear the old fabric. I'm going to put a few gentle stitches into the seams to hold this backing in place, but I need it basted first. So I'll probably study it awhile, or until Hubby tells me to get it off the floor.

In other areas of design, I've been working on my shopping bags.  Have you ever taken your cloth shopping bags to the grocery store, handed them to the checker, and seen a look of annoyance on her face? I've been using cloth bags for years and have seen that look a lot - to the point that at the Wall of Mart I finally told the checker to just put my groceries back in the basket. Then, after pulling the cart out of the way, I loaded them into my cloth bags. Why? Take a look at my cloth bags:

I got the two in the top left corner about 1986. They were freebies - one at the grand opening of a Hypermart (a precursor of Super Wally), and one at the grand opening of a Page Drug (before Tom Thumb had their own inside drug store). The two in the lower left corner were company freebies at a trade show. I actually bought the Brookshires bag in the top right corner (and it's the poorest quality of the lot), and based on the construction of all these bags and a paper bag, I made the one in the bottom right corner.

The reason most cashiers despise these bags (and the person who brings them in) is mainly because of the handle. For one thing, the handles are too long, and for another, they are attached side to side instead of front to back. Because of the handles, the bags don't fit well on their wire rack made for plastic bags. The long handles also make it harder to carry them without dragging on the ground.

I've been meaning to remake my bags for quite a while and a handle on the Page Drug bag was unravelled so it was a good time to try a remake. (I had replaced the other handle to match the size of original.) Oh, and this is the other side of the bag.

I took both handles off, cut a shorter piece of strap, and reattached front to back.

Better, and fits the wire rack but not well. The construction of the bag could be improved.

So I made a new bag based on the typical grocery store plastic bag.





Marti

Stash Report

I decided to start doing a stash report like a lot of other quilters since there is no 12 step program for my stash addiction. These gals are trying to use their stash also and post their progress for all the world to see. It seems to be working for them, and since I have added more than used this year, I think I need the support.

So here goes.

Eeek! I didn't know I was in the red until just now. I resolve not to add this week, but to lose those 8 yards. Losing a few pounds would be nice too.

* I included the project I am revealing tomorrow because technically, it's already used.

I have a question for all of you quilters out there. What is the oldest quilt you've ever washed, how did you wash it, and what product did you use? Ok, that's three questions, but only one question mark.

Until next time, may you have blessings and resolve,
Marti

Seed Starting Methods

Experienced gardeners may already know this, but it was a surprise to me so I thought I'd share. I usually buy my tomato plants in pots from the store and plant them in the garden. But this year I thought I'd try starting from seed. I had saved a bunch of four inch pots, but the day I wanted to plant seeds, I could only find two of them. So I used those two, several one gallon pots, and for the rest, Hubby scrounged up a package of plastic cups. I punched a few holes in the bottom of the cups, lined all the cups and pots with squares of paper towels, and filled with seed starter mix, dropped in a few seeds in each one, sprinkled with water, and covered each with Press 'n Seal wrap.


They all sprouted about the same time, but now, a week later, the seedlings in the translucent plastic cups are twice as big as the seedlings in the opaque plastic pots. More sun coming through the sides as well as top must make a difference, as all the seedlings in cups are ahead of the pots. I have these little greenhouses in several windows in the house, some facing east, some south, and some west.

Until next time, may you have blessings and growth,
Marti

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Full Moon

It was a dark and windless night. I opened the door and heard the scurrying of little animal feet through the brittle leaves. Next door a dog was baying at the sound of the animal running by, and in the distance the yip, yip, yipping of coyotes. Above it all, the burnished moon glowed eerily in the sky. And then...



I snapped the photo.

Until next time, may you have blessings and portent,
Marti

Friday, February 18, 2011

That Annoying Cell Phone Password

Hubby came home this afternoon and told me he had been ripped off. I thought maybe someone didn't give him the right amount of change at lunch or something. Nope. His cell phone was stolen. Hubby was taking inventory, bending over, squatting on the floor, and his Blackberry was in the way, so he set it down. When he finished inventory, his phone was gone. There had only been one customer in the store during that time, so not hard to figure out who did it, but finding him and proving it would be difficult.

Here's where that annoying password came in handy. Hubby called his phone as soon as he knew it was missing, and it went to voice mail which told him the thief had tried to guess the password and the phone locked down. With this phone, after three failed attempts, the phone dumps its contents.

My phone isn't password protected, and it's so old I'm not even sure it's possible. But after this, I'm going to check into it.

Here's an interesting article about cell phone security from The Better Business Bureau.

Until next time, may you have blessings and security,
Marti

Cell phone tips, My ordinary life

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Protector

Today, an insurance adjuster came to the house. I was standing on the deck when he drove into the driveway, and the cat casually walked over and sat in front of me. The man got out of his car and began walking toward me, and the cat got up and started walking toward him, with his head down and tail out - the same posture he uses when another cat enters our yard.

I tried to shoo him in another direction, but he was intent on going to the man. Knowing the cat's tendency to slash at people, I picked him up and locked him in the shed until the man got back in his car.

A little later, three men from a roofing company came over, and the adjuster came back. The cat had been in a chair and I was sitting in another chair. When the men began walking toward me, I got up and saw the cat making a bee line for the men, ears back and with an intent look on his face. This time when I picked him up, he struggled to get down and tried to fight me when I put him in the shed.

After the men left and I let him out, he wouldn't leave my side and was my shadow every time I was out the rest of the day. I guess I'm going to have to get one of those signs that say "Beware of Cat", only it won't be a joke!

Until next time, may you have blessings and devotion,
Marti

Monday, February 14, 2011

Remake a Short Shirt

Have you noticed how hard it is to find a long, knit shirt? After a few washings, most of my barely long enough knit shirts are too short to wear in public. I finally decided to do something about it. There is a reason I don't make clothes, and it is because they seldom fit, even if I follow a pattern and adjust in all the right places. But I was going to toss this one anyway, so what did I have to lose?

Before (and this is where it hit the top of my jeans:
After:
And it still fits! I still need to do the hem, but I have a red velvet cake to make.

Until next time, may you have blessings and easy sewing,
Marti

Happy Valentine's Day!

I got an old turn of the century 3D Valentine's Day card in the box of old quilts I've been showing you. Those old cards were really something special.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a lovely day,
Marti

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Interesting Sunset


Not the best picture, but the best I could do without a good zoom. If you can't see it, it was a brilliant red streak straight up through the clouds.

Until next time, may you have blessings and beautiful sunsets,
Marti

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Doin' The Flintstone


During the freezing temperatures we had last week, I let the cat in every morning. Who could resist that pitiful look?

He was pretty good about staying on the rug, but he kept trying to sneak into the laundry room, and finally he made it. I found him snuggled into a pile of white sheets. So I dug out an old pillow, a box, and a couple of towels and made him a bed. He loved it - climbed right in and began purring. I never knew cats snored before.


He was so happy in the box, I could leave the room for a few minutes and not worry about him getting into anything. He hopped out of the box to eat and drink and then climbed back in. He didn't want to go outside even when he needed to, and wouldn't go out to the heated doghouse at night even with a little prodding. Hubby tried to dump him out of the box and then herd him out the door, but the cat had other ideas and did a quick turn around as soon as he saw he was headed to the door. Finally, we found that the only way to get him out was to carry him out, set him down, and shut the door. Now I ask Hubby to "do the Flintstone" when we're ready to put the cat out for the night. The cat has learned that it's harder for us to pick him up when he flattens down into the box and becomes limp as a wet noodle.

Until next time, may you have blessings and cooperative pets,
Marti

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Super Bowl is in Town

Yesterday, Hubby asked me if I was going to be in a foul mood until the Superbowl is over. He thinks I hate the Superbowl. No siree, that couldn't be further from the truth. I think the Superbowl is wonderful. Do you know that in the last two weeks, there has not been one crime committed in the entire Dallas-Fort Worth area? How great is that?!! It's like that movie, Death Takes a Holiday or the newer version, Meet Joe Black, without the love story - unless you count Jerry Jones and his mirror.

Several weeks ago, the news was filled with the great event, and all the preparation for it. Dingy little houses in the neighborhoods on the route to the stadium were remodeled, for free. Wonderful! Restaurants doubled or tripled their waitstaff. Marvelous! Hotels jacked up their prices, and residents gave up their lovely homes so they could rent them out for $2500 per night. Surprise! Taxi and limo services doubled or tripled their prices. Oh boy! Parking around the stadium skyrocketed to unbelievable highs. Welcome to Arlington, Superbowl fans!

The Superbowl committee began running commercials with Troy Aikman and other local favorites asking everyone to be good hosts to the guests in our cities. See that they have a good time, refrain from bringing up past rivalries, and don't tell Yankee jokes. Since it's Troy Aikman asking.... Women love his boyish good looks and charm, and men admire his athletic ability and character.... Well ok. But really, no Yankee jokes? So everyone smile while asking your guests to bend over.

By last Sunday, the national media was all here, ready for the two teams, the Stealers and the Movers (or something like that), to arrive on Monday. Since there was no crime to cover, our local media set up locations to cover the National Media. Very kind of them to let us know how the big networks set up their cameras. They tried to interview some of the media superstars, but had to settle for visitors to Sundance Square in Fort Worth and the NFL Experience at Dallas Convention Center instead. A typical interview sounded like this:

Hi, what's your name? Eric
How old are you Eric? Nine
Are you visiting Dallas? Huh uh.
Are you enjoying this great weather? Uh huh.
How long have you been here? I dunno.
Are you going to the game? Yep
Thanks for talking to us Eric, we'll let you get back to your games now. Ok.

Meanwhile, behind Eric and the newsmen with the microphone and camera, a small crowd of Eric's friends had gathered. They were jumping up and down, waving their arms, yelling hello to their friends, and generally trying to horn in on Eric's 15 seconds of fame.

But like the movies, the bliss didn't last long before tragedy occurred. An ice storm with record low temperatures, and the Superbowl activity literally ground to a halt. Schools closed, city offices closed, businesses closed. And then it snowed. The media turned it's attention to wrecks blocking the interstates, and then to the empty restaurants, and vacant hotel rooms. They showed empty streets, collapsing party tents, and ice cascading off the football arena. Things were looking grim. There was talk that Arlington may never get another Superbowl. Tragic!

They reported on the 10 p.m. news standing outside in -1 degree wind chill with their mouths so numb they couldn't form words with "r" in it. They bravely faced frostbite so those watchers who couldn't go outside to feel the cold could see what it was like. You know, people stuck in hospital beds, nursing homes, prisons, and anyone else who didn't have to go outside to get the newspaper, get the mail, feed the dog, or go to work. Well, maybe not prisoners. They probably don't have a tv to watch at 10 p.m. And maybe not hospitals and nursing homes. Nurses like to give the nitey-nite pill long before 10 p.m. So that leaves my mother-in-law and a few other folks who just sit around the house all day.

With the two football teams tucked into indoor practice areas, the media once again tried to interview people who were walking down the streets trying to find something open. A few brave football fans could be seen in their colored jerseys, red, blue, or something like that. The media people encouraged them to hoot and hollar and show their football spirit, and ran after them for an interview. It sounded something like this:

Hi, what's your name? Josh (shouted)
Where are you from? some northern city (shouted)
Are you visiting Dallas? Uh (like Duh!)
Are you enjoying this weather? Uh (another like Duh!)
How long have you been here? Uh, a day
Are you going to the game? Yep

Meanwhile, people have begun stopping behind them, trying to get their face on camera, waving arms, jumping up and down, shouting hellos to their friends...

And finally the newsman asks them all to give their team a big yell. Some yell for one team, and some for the other and the big friendly group of people separated into two sides and began shouting for their team at the other side. The newsman with the microphone and the cameraman beat a hasty retreat.

Now the weather is warmer, the snow has melted, and people are once again walking down the streets, visiting restaurants, Superbowl activity sites, the stockyards, and the Fat Stock Show and Rodeo. Best of all, there will be perfect weather for the Superbowl. And all is well with the world.

The best thing about the Superbowl? The malls are just about empty. Wonderful!

Until next time, may you have blessings and a Superbowl in your town,
Marti

p.s. Have you heard the one about the two Yankees and the armadillo?