Thursday, March 29, 2012

All My Bags Are Packed...

Quote for the Day:
"Velcome to the nineties, Mr. Baunks"
~Martin Short in Father of the Bride

Well...I've gone and done it...I'm finally entering the 21st century.  I got my first "smartphone" ...and boy, do I feel dumb!  They probably shouldn't let "old" people like me have these things, ya know?  I need a teenager or twenty-something to help me figure out the in's and out's of this thing.

After an hour on the phone with the carrier, I finally got the phone activated and my number ported over.  I was able to figure out enough get my contacts entered into it...whew!  And I did manage to figure out how to access the internet with it via Google, though there may be a shorter way and I just haven't figured it out, yet.  However, when I went to access my regular email account, for some reason it keeps telling me that my username and password don't match.  :(    I guess I may have to contact my email carrier tomorrow and find out why that keeps happening.

I was also able to download the Blackberry Facebook app, but for some reason, I haven't figured out how to view the "comments" left by others.  Like I said, I'm gonna have to ask one of the "youngsters" at work to show me some things on it. 

This Saturday I am teaching a beginning hand quilting class at the Classic Quilt Shop in Clarksburg.   This is the first time for me to teach a class.  I've taught two people to hand quilt in a one-on-one setting, but never in a group setting... so wish me luck!  :)   

I packed my display quilts in this rolling suitcase for easy transport to the class.  The quilt laying on top is the one I will be demonstrating on for the class and the basket holds my supplies.  I'm really excited to be teaching this class and just hope that everybody has a good time and learns something in the process!  :)

Last Sunday, Andy & I spent 6.5 hours cleaning carpets and shampooing the upholstered furniture.  Well...I did the cleaning and Andy did the moving of the furniture, etc.  In the process, I KILLED my back!  :(   Subsequently, I have had a terrible week of pain.  When, oh when, will I ever learn my lesson about what I can and cannot do???  BUT...the carpets do look great!!!  :)

Now onto a book review...

"The Man in the Rockefeller Suit" by Mark Seal.

The story of Clark Rockefeller is a stranger-than-fiction twist on the classic American success story of the self-made man-because Clark Rockefeller was totally made up. The career con man who convincingly passed himself off as Rockefeller was born in a small village in Germany. At seventeen, obsessed with getting to America, he flew into the country on dubious student visa documents and his journey of deception began.

Over the next thirty years, boldly assuming a series of false identities, he moved up the social ladder through exclusive enclaves on both coasts-culminating in a stunning twelve-year marriage to a rising star businesswoman with a Harvard MBA who believed she'd wed a Rockefeller.

The imposter charmed his way into exclusive clubs and financial institutions-working on Wall Street, showing off an extraordinary art collection-until his marriage ended and he was arrested for kidnapping his daughter, which exposed his past of astounding deceptions as well as a connection to the bizarre disappearance of a California couple in the mid-1980s.
People often ask me why I read non-fiction instead of fiction, and all I can say is that why do I need to read made-up stuff when real life gives us stories like these???  Truth really is stranger than fiction!

This is an excellent, excellent book and I highly recommend it! 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Sewing Chair Redo...

Quote for the Day:
"I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work."
 ~  Thomas Edison

Well...I finally gave in and did it...
I joined Pinterest.   I said I wouldn't because I didn't need one more internet thing to take up my time, but I do like having a way to save ideas, recipes, quilt inspiration, etc., without having to "bookmark" everything.

So there you have it...I'm weak...what can I say?  LOL

Anyway, on to today's post...
One of the things I had pinned was about using baking soda to clean an oven door. time like the present to try it out and share with my blog readers, right?

Exhibit A:  dirty oven door...

Yeah, I know...NASTY!   So I made the baking soda and water paste like the instructions said:

...and slathered it on the oven door and set the timer for 15 minutes.

 After the 15 minutes I wiped it down and it looked like this...

Not much improvement.  :(

So I decided to redo it, except that this time I added 3 squirts of Dawn dish detergent to the baking soda and water paste.  Again, I slathered it on the oven door and set the timer for 15 minutes.  

After wiping it down a second time it looked like this...

Better, but still not CLEAN.  

Finally, I resorted to THIS...

That's right...EASY OFF oven cleaner!!!  

And now the door looks like THIS:

Sparking clean!!!  (Except for that one area on the lower right hand side...but that is my fault for not spraying enough of the Easy Off in that spot...I was too worried about over-spray getting on the floor.)

So in my humble opinion, the baking soda and water, and even Dawn, were a FAIL.  

I guess there's a reason that Reckitt Benckiser has been making Easy Off Oven Cleaner for so long WORKS!  :)

Now, onto my next project for today...
Exhibit B:  ugly sewing chair...

I bought this office chair second-hand 13 years ago for $2.00.  It was stained then, too!  LOL  I tried to use upholstery cleaner on it when I first got it, but it didn't come clean.  Then I thought that one day I'd paint the fabric.  (YES, you CAN paint fabric!)  

But, alas, yesterday I noticed a hole starting on the corner of the seat.  :(

Not even painting could help this chair now. 
**cue sad music**
Sigh.  What IS a girl to do???
Well...make a cover out of the selvages she's been saving!  
"What", you ask, "are 'selvages'"?
Thanks for asking!  I'll tell you!  :)
According to Wikipedia:
The selvage (US English) or selvedge (British English) is the term for the self-finished edges of fabric. The selvages keep the fabric from unraveling or fraying.
Basically, it is the strip that runs down both sides of the fabric that holds the fabric on the loom as it is being madeIt  has a different "feel" and does not shrink the same way the rest of the fabric does, thus making it non-useful to quilters and sewists.  The selvage frequently contains the name of the fabric company, the name of the fabric line, the designer, and color dots for each color that is used in the fabric.  (BTW, for quilters that are not confident in their ability to pick fabrics that go well together, you can look at those dots on the fabrics you are considering, and if several of the color dots are the same in the different fabrics, they will work well together.  I won't even charge you extra for that little "tip"!)

Since the selvage is not used in a quilt, it is cut off and discarded by most people.
But you already know that I'm not like "most" people.  
Yes, there is a small subsection of quilters that save the selvages and use them in special "selvage" quilts and other projects.  In fact, there is a whole blog devoted to projects that can be made with selvages,  "Selvage Blog".  :)

This is my basket of selvages before I started this project:

First, I cut a piece of muslin in the shape of the seat and added the extra inches that I would need to cover around to the bottom of the seat.
Then I sewed selvages onto it in strips.  Since one side of the selvage is already "bound" and will not ravel, you can take the strip and lay that bound side over the exposed thread side of the previous strip and sew it down.  You've now covered the raw edge with the bound edge.  

 After covering the entire muslin seat cover, I covered the seat and attached it by stapling it to the underneath of the seat.  I then made muslin cutouts to cover the back of the chair.  However, because the back is unwieldy because of the hardware behind it, I simply made a slip cover and tied it with ribbons underneath the back rest.


Cool, huh???  I like it!  

Oh...and the basket of selvages didn't seem to go down at all!  I guess I'll have to find more projects to make with them.  I'm liking this basket, for one...

Stay tuned!  LOL


Weekend Update...

Quote for the Day:
                          "Always strive to excel, but only on weekends."
                                                       ~Richard Rorty

It's Sunday evening and we've had a full and productive weekend.  :)  The weather has been sunny and in the 78 degree range...very nice!  It feels like Spring is here, but I'm afraid that just as soon as we let our guard down, we'll be ambushed by cold again.

There is a group in Grafton called LEFA (Loose Ends Fiber Artists) that meets at the local coffee shop the third Saturday of every month.  Most of the women are knitters, crocheters and spinners, but the group is for anyone who enjoys working with fiber of any kind.  It is an informal group, no dues or organized meeting agenda.  The "meeting" runs from 10 AM till 3:30ish.  People come and stay for however long they want/can.  We bring items to work on while we are there and finished items or tools to show.  There is always interesting conversation and an informal exchange of ideas.  I forgot to take my camera so there are not pictures of that to share with you.  :(

However, when I got home from the meeting, there was a package waiting for me from my two nieces, Tina and Kristin!  Back in October I blogged here about going to Kristin's wedding and how she made all her decorations, bouquets, etc., for the wedding and even shared some pictures of her neat creations.  She had told me that since she had no need for the fabric that she had used, that after the wedding she would give it to me.  Now how nice is that???  So on Saturday the fabric finally arrived, along with one of the reception table decorations (a ceramic bird), and a flat sheet from Tina for me to use as a quilt backing!  

Look at all of this beautiful fabric!  

Here it is all folded on my ironing board.   Such beautiful florals!   The green bundle on the right is the sheet., which seems to go very well with the colors in the fabrics! 

Thank you, Kristin & Tina, for blessing me with these pretties!  :)

On Saturday, March 31, I'm going to be teaching a beginner's hand quilting class at Classic Quilt Shop in Clarksburg.  It is my first time teaching other than the one-on-one teaching I've done with my daughter-in-law, Trinity, and my friend, Pat....both whom I've taught to hand quilt as well as machine piece.  

I'm having each student bring a preprinted quilt panel of their choice and we will be sandwiching them there and learning the "rocking" hand quilting stitch.  I needed a small project to take along with me to demonstrate on so I took a kit that I had purchased at the estate auction last summer that included a panel in it.  It's called "Pumpkin & Spice and Everything Nice." 

I looked at the picture that was included with the kit as well as the book that was included and decided that I didn't like any of those ideas.  Then I proceeded to come up with my own concoction.  :)

I am not a "kit" or "matchy-matchy" person when it comes to my quilting.  I rarely buy more than two fabrics from any one line to use in the same quilt.  All of the above fabrics were from the same "line", designed to go together for people who want all of the fabric decisions made for them and like to work from a preplanned kit.  The center is the preprinted panel and I added 3 borders around it...the inner thin green border, the cream-colored middle border, and the outer sage green border.  This currently measures about 44" X 61" and will make a nice couch quilt.  :)

BUT...what is a scrap quilter supposed to do to make this quilt truly her own???  PIECE THE BACKING!  :)  

I decided to use up the leftover fabric from this "kit" by piecing it together for the backing.  However...I was a little I added the leftover sunflower fabric used as the focal fabric in this quilt across the top to make it long enough for the quilt.  I like the way it turned out!

Now this quilt is all sandwiched and ready for quilting at the class in 2 weeks and everything used in this quilt came totally from my stash.  I even used pieced batting in the quilt!  Pieced batting is where you take fairly good size pieces of leftover batting trimmed off of other projects and then join them together until you get a piece large enough to use in another this one!  :)   ( I use the serpentine stitch on my sewing machine to join them together.)

Tonight I watched "Frozen Planet" on Discovery and worked on mending the bargello quilt that we use on our bed.  

There are several places where the stitches have "popped" from use, so I decided to restitch those areas using my portable 17" PVC lap frame.

You can see some of the areas where the stitches are missing in this photo...

What I do is start stitching about 5-6 stitches before the area, matching my stitches on top of the old ones, through the area of missing stitches, and continue stitching about 5-6 stitches past the area.

Thanks for stopping by and have a GREAT week!  :)


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mixin' It Up...

Quote for the Day:
"If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried”
~author unknown

First off, let me thank everyone for your kind words of condolence and emotional support on the loss of our dear Lady...some came as comments on this blog, some in person, some through emails, and in two cases, through greeting cards designed especially for this situation!  Your show of love and support has meant the world to me and has helped me through this very bad time.  If it were up to me, we'd already have another 4-legged child by now, but Andy wants/needs to wait a until after our next trip in a couple months.  I'll be sure to share news of any new family members with you when it happens.  :)

If you know anything about being a nurse, you know that we are CONSTANTLY washing our hands.  For that reason, we usually have very dry skin...dry skin to the point of  redness and frequent cracks in the skin.  It gets worse in the winter because of using the heaters/furnaces that dry out the air even more.  Usually in the winter, using Avon's Intensive Moisture Therapy works pretty well for me, but his year it just doesn't seem to be doing it's job and my hands are worse than ever.  :(

Enter Carla, a friend and co-worker, to the rescue!  :)  She made this recipe and brought it in for us to use at work, and lo and behold, my hands are feeling and looking wonderful!  She shared the recipe with us and today I made it and am going to share the recipe with you!  (Aren't I just the nicest thing since sliced bread???  LOL)

Okay, here goes....this is what you need:

4 oz. vitamin E cream
8 oz. baby cream (not lotion)
1/4-1/3 cup coconut oil

Throw it all in a GLASS or METAL mixing bowl...if you use plastic it will absorb the odor of the lotion!

Mix it all with an electric mixer until it is smooth and there are no more lumps of coconut oil.

Scoop into jars.  (I saved the Vitamin E cream jar and refilled it with the mixture.)  This is what I ended up with...

Trust me...this stuff is FANTASTIC!  And if you want a little more moisturizing, you can increase the amount of coconut oil.  It smells good and feels WONDERFUL!  :)'s some extra information...I won't even charge you extra for it!  ;)
Anytime you buy something in a plastic tube, do NOT throw it away when you can no longer squeeze anything out of the tube.  Instead, using regular scissors, cut the tube in the middle so you can scoop the rest of the product out.  I have found with most tubes that there is easily 1-2 weeks of whatever left in the tube!  :)  

There was still about 2 tablespoons of cream left in this one even after squeezing it as much as I could!  While you are using the product left in the tube, you can "close" it by sticking the lower half up into the upper half like this...

Trust me...I do it all the time with creams, makeup, etc., that come in a tube.  :)

Now for a book review...

"Farewell My Subaru:  An epic adventure in local living" by Doug Fine was a hilarious book.

In this memoir of mishaps and lessons learned, Fine shares his yearlong trek to turn his newly bought New Mexico ranch into a green and sustainable environment with as little carbon fuel as possible. From using two very lovable goats for his organic food production to transitioning into a biofuel engine for his truck and even installing solar panels, Fine balances the troubling decisions Americans must consider while also revealing a host of unexpected benefits. He advocates that a gradual process, despite having to deal with moments of hypocrisy, is essential for it to work. Fine's wry narration blends well with his often humorous and sarcastic tone.

I really enjoyed this book...until the last chapter.  I knew all along that I was reading a work by an author that was of a different political persuasion than me.  That part did not bother me.  I have mentioned before that I am always reading about persons/ideas/lifestyles, etc. that I don't necessarily agree with.  I don't have to agree with everyone else's beliefs to read their book and enjoy it.  

But what I DESPISE is when people take the opportunity, in an otherwise perfectly great memoir, to espouse their political beliefs...most of the time it has NOTHING to do with the rest of the book...they just get off on a tangent and rant against conservatives.  I have found it in so many books...and it's always the liberals tearing into the conservatives.  I've never read a memoir by a conservative that lambasted a liberal.  If I wanted to read a book about politics, I would have picked out one on politics...I would not have picked a book that is supposed to be a memoir about how someone made it through a difficult time in their life...only to find a totally unrelated rant about the politics of the day.

Seriously, Folks!  I was reading a book about how a lady dealt with the loss of her husband and she wrote about how she could still picture her husband sitting at the breakfast table...only to go off on a totally unrelated rant about how her husband hated the president at the time.  How in the world does this have ANYTHING to do with the rest of the book???   I really hate getting ambushed like that when reading a book.  I didn't read the book to hear your political leanings...I want to read about how you made it through your trials that are writing about.

So...back to "Farewell My Subaru"...the author is hilarious and it was a very fun book to read.  But basically, I would recommend that you just stop at the next to last chapter.  (I stopped about 2 paragraphs into the last chapter!)  Yes, I get it that the author is a liberal.  Yes, I get it that we have problems in this country.  No, I don't think they are all caused by the conservatives.   And since you could tell all the way through the book that Mr. Fine is a liberal, I really thought the last chapter was just plain unnecessary.  

That's my 2 cents worth!  


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

There Are No Words....

Lady has been progressively getting worse with each day.  Watching her was like watching someone with Alzheimers.  She was getting more and more confused and was getting "lost" in the house and basement the last couple of days and seemed to have lost almost all vision and hearing.

Last evening, she started throwing up and it continued this morning.  She lost control of her hind quarters while on the stairs yesterday and today and rolled down the stairs. 

Since awaking this morning, she was unable to lay down or even sit...she wandered about the house aimlessly, walking into things and getting lost under chairs and tables.  She walked in circles a lot. 

After 4 hours of this, I took her to the vet.  After an examination and review of the original symptoms from 2.5 weeks ago and hearing about her worsening neurological symptoms, circling, etc., the vet felt that the most likely explanation was a brain tumor.  (The possibility of this was mentioned at the original visit as a "possible" reason for the blown pupil.)


Andy, I, and the vet all agreed that Lady seemed like she was suffering today so we made the decision to put her to sleep and had it done right away.  We have brought her body home and Andy will bury her in the back yard later this evening.

Lady died peacefully in my arms with both Andy & myself there to comfort her.  She is no longer suffering.  We will always remember her for the joy she brought to our lives.  She was a sweet, faithful, and loving companion for 12.5 years.


August 9, 1999 - March 7, 2012

You will be missed.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Sewing...

Quote for the Day:
"A day spent with friends is always a day well-spent."
~author unknown

In January I blogged that a friend, Pat, and myself were going to do a "block-of-the-month" quilt where you make two blocks each month.  You can read my blog entry about it here.  

For a variety of reasons, we were unable to get together in February to do the February blocks.  But today, Pat came over and we made the two blocks for February and one of the two blocks for March.  When she comes over in April for our sewing date, we'll do the second of the March blocks and then move onto the April blocks.  Since the new blocks for each month aren't revealed until the first of the month, we don't know what the April blocks will be, yet.

Here's a picture of the two February blocks and the first March block that I made today:

I can't seem to get the green to come out right in the's actually a very pretty medium sage green with pink flowers...very pretty in person!  :)

You can see the green better in this picture...
These blocks will be added to these blocks that I made in January:

These are Pat's blocks from today:

When I posted after getting my sacro-iliac joint injection I was so excited because I was virtually pain-free.  However, later on that same evening some of my pain started coming back.  It's not quite as bad as it was before I had the injection, but I've heard such good things from people who have had injections into joints for pain, that I was kinda expecting 100% pain relief...which I had for about the first 4-5 hours after the injection.  I have a follow-up appointment on March 23, so we'll see how I'm doing by then and I'll be discussing it further with the doctor at that time.  Maybe my expectations are too high???  Or maybe it needs to be repeated?  I know that when I used to help give similar pain injections where I worked in California, the person was automatically scheduled for three injections and they didn't usually get much relief till after the second one.  

I'm hoping for more/better relief from my back pain in the future.  Is that too much to ask?


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Quilter's Saturday Yard Sale

Bonnie Hunter over at Quiltville's Quips and Snips is hosting a quilter's yard sale today, so I'm linking up to it here.  

This item has SOLD!

Up for sale is a COMPLETE KIT plus FINISHING KIT for a BOM applique quilt called Folk Art Flowers by The Stitch Connection.   Here's a picture of what the completed quilt will look like and measures 84" X 96":

You will receive all 12 BOM kits with instructions AND the finishing kit that has all the fabric for borders, etc.   The entire kit is marked $257.00, but I am asking for $100 postage paid within the USA.  If you are outside the USA, please contact me and we can work something out.

Here is what you will be receiving....

The fabric was only taken out of the bag to show that it is all there and marked nicely for you!  :)  All the fabric to do the individual BOM's are in the bags shown in the last photo.

Thanks for taking a look!  :)


Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's Been a GREAT Day...

Quote for the Day:
"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
~Herm Albright

Today turned from a stressful day to a GREAT day for me!  

If you know me or have been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I've been dealing with lower right back pain for about 1.5 years now caused by significant arthritis in my spine.  The worst of it is in my lumbar spine, but I do have areas in my neck and thoracic spine, too.

Today I finally got my sacro-iliac joint injected!  It's been a long time know how the medical system is...referral...wait...appointment....more tests...wait...referral...wait...appointment...get scheduled for treatment...wait...etc., etc., etc.
Don't get me wrong, we are very blessed to have good medical insurance and care, but sometimes it just seems to take FOREVER to get to the final treatment!  

I was very nervous about having this injection because the only thing I've had injected until now were my heels to treat plantar fasciatis...and trust me...that was HORRIBLE!!!  I did get my primary care physician to order an oral Valium for me to take prior to today's injection, but quite frankly, after going through it, if I have to have it done again, I doubt I'll need went that smoothly and was minimally painful.  Really, the only "pain" was the injection of the local anesthetic at the felt like a "sting".  

The injection into the joint was done under fluoroscopy and the whole procedure took about 3 minutes from start to finish!  

I had almost instantaneous relief of about 80% of my pain.  I should enjoy even further pain relief over the next 24 hours as the steroid he injected starts to go to work.  :)  I was discharged with the instructions to "take it easy" the rest of the day.    Hmmmm...I hope that going out to brunch at IHOP and then a shopping trip to Goodwill fell into the definition of "take it easy"!  LOL

Prior to the injection, the shopping trip would have ended with me being in pretty bad pain, and may have even been brought to an abrupt end due to the pain.  But today, I had no pain or problems while shopping/walking!  

And to brighten my day even more, the Thrifting Gods were smiling on me today!  :)  It is difficult for me to find nice clothes at a thrift store because of my size.  If I find 2 things I feel lucky!  But today, not only did I find FIVE pieces of clothing...I also found neat quilty things!  How cool is that???

Now, remember...these items have not been washed, yet, so they are wrinkled from being in the bag...

First up is a Liz Claiborne shirt that still has the original tags on it...

A short-sleeved top from Chaps with crocheted lace neckline...
A nice CJBanks shirt...
A pretty, colorful sweater by American Sweater Co. and it's even made in America!!!  :)  Love that!
I also found this pair of Tommy Hilfiger capris!  :)

Then in the housewares section, I found not ONE...but TWO puzzles about quilts!!!  :D

A couple of years ago, for Christmas, my DS & DDIL, Paul & Trinity, gave me this framed puzzle for my sewing room.  
If I ever get these new ones put together, I can add them, too!  :)

I also found this "picture" for my quilting room.  (I look for pictures with quilts in them to hang in my quilting room, since I have more wall space in that room.)  This "picture" is about 12" square and is made from pieces of wood.  

As you can see, Lady had to check out what I had brought home!  LOL  The colors are very 80' and peach...but I might paint over the peach with another color...or I may leave it...don't know, yet.

Andy got some great things for resaling, too.  :)  

All in all...this day turned from stressful to blessedful!  (Okay...I just made up that word...but it rhymes, doesn't it?)