Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Partying on New Year's Eve never really was all that appealing for me, even in my wild and crazy youth. A quiet meal, with a few friends and family was all that I wanted - and into bed by 10. What a wimp! I still enjoy the day, but I spend most of it reflecting on the old year, creating hope for the new and being grateful for the wonderful things in my life.

So, join me at 7 pm in raising your glass - here's to us in 2009!! Good health, good friends and good times!!!

Hugs,
Cathy

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Something So Simple

Positively itching to start something new, I looked at the new Nickel quilts book Michael gave me for Christmas. Selected the pattern and less than 40 minutes into the deal, I had two blocks completely done and 20 more half-done. I'm using University of Cincinnati logo fabric in combination with blacks and reds. The goal? My son's birthday is Jan. 8. I know it's going to be a real stretch, but if the little time spent last night is any indication, I should be able to complete it by then. If not - well there's always Christmas 2009.....Pat Speth titled this book appropriately - AMAZING NICKEL QUILTS. 'Cause I am truly amazed at how simple it is and how great I think it's going to turn out. Stay tuned........

Our family New Year's Eve tradition lives! After work tomorrow, we're going to the local Chinese buffet for our yearly feast. This year, Martin and Bev - our friends from Norwood - are joining us.

Funny Michael story: He had an appointment at 12:30 yesterday for his initial consultation regarding a sleep study our doctor recommended he have done. Over Christmas, I totally forgot about this coming up. So did Michael. I phoned him at work around 7 AM yesterday to remind him. Of course, he wasn't happy - going for doctor's appointments ranks REALLY low on his list of fun things to do. I also told him the paperwork with location, time, etc... was on the kitchen counter. AND I phoned him again at 10:30 when he was home to remind him of the appointment. All to no avail - the man slept through his appointment. He got tired after reading his railroad forum stuff on the internet, laid down and went to sleep! I imagine the staff at the sleep center are also having a good chuckle about this and it's probably not the first time it's happened.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Here Comes 2009!

This time of year, I find myself reading recaps and highlights of the previous year - which celebrities no longer are with us, what stories were important, etc. I also page through my planner to see what my family and I have done. This past year was filled with a lot of fun - a trip to England, two quilting retreats - and some not-so-fun things - pulmonary rehab, trips to doctors/dentists. All-in-all, we had a fairly good year. Now, on to 2009......

Keep healthy. I learned a long time ago that I cannot tell Michael how to take care of himself. He does as he bloody well pleases when it comes to diet (what diet?), exercise (none) and preventative care. What I CAN control is myself - that is goal number one - to continue down the Weight Watchers' path and exercise more. I've already made it a habit of sorts to put in 30 minutes each day on Wii Fit. The boxing's my favorite - and it helps my stress level.

Expand my "Circle of Influence". I'll explain. A year ago at this time, the only folks I interacted with on a regular basis were my family and work associates. Through my blog and the local quilt guild, I've made a lot of new friends. That will continue and grow. In addition, I've returned to church on a weekly basis. I've signed up for a class starting next month and I want to get more involved with church-sponsored activities. The friends I earn through my various activities will be part of my Circle of Influence. And I'll be a much better person for all of it.

Quilt more. No, duh! I haven't signed up for any classes this year, but I have every intention of attending the St. Jude's retreat and the fall guild retreat again. The NQA show is also in June. I had a blast going there on the bus with the guild earlier this year. Since Santa was kind enough to give me digital camera, I'll be posting more photos of my projects. Stay tuned....

Pay more attention to budget/money. This could conflict with the above paragraph. But, if we're to visit England again this year - saving will become necessary right now. Also, there are some things I want done to the house and garden this year. It all costs money. Cash only.

Laundry woes. The biggest problem in my bedroom is piles of laundry. I take them out of the dryer and VOILA! they appear in clothes baskets all over the room. I resolve to fold, hang and put away said clean clothes as soon as possible from now on. If there is one basket of laundry hanging around my bedroom, I should not be permitted to wander into the sewing room. PERIOD!

I'm sure there are other areas in my life that could use tweaking. But those are the biggies that I can share with y'all on my blog.

Our church's associate pastor's topic yesterday was "New Beginnings". Wonderful message and it's strongly influenced how I'm looking at things today. It's utterly marvelous that we get chance after chance to make things better and right. There is just something magical too, about starting over. Don't you think?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all my quilty bloggy buddies!

I wish you all the happiest, most joyful possible Christmas. I've made some terrific quilting friends over the last year - both on-line and in person and I want you all to know it has enhanced my life immeasurably to have friends who share my fabric passion.

This holiday season has been special to me in many ways - it may be one of the last I get to spend with my darling husband, my son has returned home (in more ways than one), I have a comfortable home, a good - fairly secure job, and a daughter who is fast becoming a beautiful young woman. My "presents" are truly not under the Christmas tree this year. And I've managed to navigate all the requisites of the season with the least stress I've experienced in years.

So, raise a glass to us all - Happy, merry Christmas and we'll get to that stash in 2009!

Hugs and love,
Cathy

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm a Tae Kwon Do Mom and PROUD of it!

Tattoo Boy tested for his second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do on Saturday. So, I skipped the last Stash Pot pie of the year and I am so very glad that I did.

Long story short here folks: Tattoo Boy (aka Danny) rebelled against family, Tae Kwon Do and just about anything that made sense to a normal functioning adult member of society during his senior year of high school. Shortly after graduation, two years ago, he stormed out of our house spewing a lot of angry words. He moved into his own apartment, went through a series of low-paying, meaningless jobs and finally the stupidity of it all hit him. He returned to school and moved back home.

On Saturday, I saw a lot of people I've come to know throughout Tattoo Boy's years in Tae Kwon Do. We exchanged hugs many times and talked about how wonderful it is that Danny has returned to his Tae Kwon Do family. Grand Master Kim hugged me several times and said "You have your boy back." Brought tears to my eyes. I've never admitted to anybody how much I missed my son. But he has returned and the kind, caring young man who has replaced him is giving me so much joy it's hard to describe.

Danny's test went extremely well - he broke through FOUR concrete slabs during his breaking test. The bruise on his forearm is not pretty though! I have some photos which I'll post later for y'all.

Michael and I took Danny, his girlfriend (Brielle) and Andrea to dinner at Olive Garden on Saturday night to celebrate the successful test completion and Danny having finished his first quarter at the University of Cincinnati. We had a fun time.

Quilting? Well, I did some more work on my "Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin" on Friday night in class. Still not complete, so we've scheduled an extra class time on Jan. 4. I did the preliminary sewing on a dozen quilted coffee cup wraps yesterday. Doing the hand sewing on those at the moment. Those are for my co-workers - will get an empty coffee cup from UDF and put a gift certificate in each along with the wraps. I'm doing it that way since I'm not sure everyone would know what they were otherwise!

Well, it's Monday and it's raining. The snow's supposed to start tonight - 1 to 3 inches. Gotta LOVE this time of year.

Hugs,
Cathy

Friday, December 5, 2008

First Friday in December

Thank goodness I made it to Friday in one piece and in charge of my sanity (well, mostly) . When this week started, I REALLY had my doubts! Let's give y'all a brief review.....

Michael's district manager has been a real turkey. On Monday he accused Michael of stealing from the cash drawer in front of customers . On Wednesday, Michael showed up five minutes before his shift was to start and the district manager accused him of being late. These two incidents were just the "icing". Michael had enough and walked off the job. I know it's just a stupid job at a convenience store, but it helps out tremendously with finances, and given the state of the economy and Michael's health - I know also that it would be tough for him to find another position. Mind you, this is only the second time that I have known Michael to get angry. Both times involved others accusing Michael of lying, stealing, etc. He's a very proud man and having his good ethics questioned really irritates him. (Give me credit, I didn't freak out and even was OK with his decision to walk out.) He wrote an e-mail to their HR department right after he returned home at 6 am. By 5 that night, a VP was on the phone with Michael and begged him to return to work on Thursday. He did and things appear to have calmed down. The district manager is clearly different towards Michael now. Let's hope and pray it stays this way. One good thing: The district manager is not spending as much time in that store now.

The announcement was made at my office that there will be no bonuses or raises in 2009. Morale, as you can guess, is not great around here going into the busiest month of the year. That may be one of the reasons that they're backing off on their demand that we work tomorrow. Honestly, I'm not jumping for joy over the lack of increased income, but I am content to have the job. It's a blessing I hope to continue for a long time.

OK, Catherine, this blog is supposed to be about QUILTING, you're saying. I have done a bit of that this week. I decided to make small tote bags for each of my assistants at work - seven needed. Found a very easy pattern and in two hours have made three of them. They're very cute - I may make one for myself this weekend with cat fabric. Managed to get the binding materials cut for my brother's quilt. Purchased the backing materials for the two Christmas wall hangings I hope to quilt this weekend.

Debating in my mind whether or not to sign up for Stash Pot Pie again next quarter at Best Friends. When the events at Michael's work happened, I looked at our checkbook and about had a coronary when I saw how much I spent on fabric, quilting, meals out and what I consider non-essentials. I really need to cut back. Heaven knows I have enough fabric to keep me busy for decades and enough patterns to keep a whole army of quilters happy. But will that keep me from going to the Open Houses this weekend at Best Friends and SewEzy? Let's see how much will power this old girl has! It's supposed to snow tomorrow - good enough to keep me home? We'll see.

Hugs,
Cathy

Monday, December 1, 2008

Let the Season Begin!

Very appropriately, it's snowing this morning in southwestern Ohio - not enough to pile up, but enough to put me in a holiday mood.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my mother and her husband. We ate too much, played some card games and just basically enjoyed being together. Friday morning, I stood in line at Game Place to get one of the few Wii Fit games at a reduced price. Mission accomplished! I was #22 in line for 30 of the games. We spent much of the morning setting it up and trying the games. Mom and I went to Hobby Lobby after that - I found some decent buys on Christmas fabric, cards, and wrapping paper. Other than, that we managed to stay away from the stores....

...that is until Saturday night. Michael, Andrea and I went to WalMart. There was hardly anyone there at 7 pm. I found some Barbie items for the church's celebration and headbands for the one at the office. Also picked up a couple of items for Andrea, Danny and the last gift for Michael. I'm finished with his gifts - except for the train quilt. That's another story......

The quilting front was not very productive this weekend. I finished the quilting on my brother's quilt and a small table runner for a friend at work. Next on the frame is the train quilt once I figure out in my head what free motion pattern I should use. The guild meeting is tonight and I'm looking forward to seeing some quick, easy gift ideas. I'm pleased that I completed the sew to win block for this month. It didn't take that long but it looks nice enough.

Andrea's home from school today with some crud her brother was nice enough to share with her. I made a doctor's appointment for her this afternoon just as a precaution - strept throat and whopping cough are going around her school. Sure don't want Michael to come down with any of this - it'll kill him. The man's so freaking stubborn - he still refuses to get a flu shot.

At least this year I don't have to bake an English Christmas cake. Michael's the only one who eats it, so he said not to bother. I'm making an effort this year to simplify things - not to bake so many freaking cookies, avoid over-extending myself, and to simply relax/enjoy the season. If I can get through the next two weeks without a "melt-down" then I'll be in fine shape. I have to put in my mandatory over-time this coming Saturday. Then, the following weekend I have two quilt classes and my son's second degree black belt test. After that - nothing planned and it feels wonderful to have that flexibility. I'll get to the decorating when I can - I'm not spazzing out this year over the state of the house, the shopping and other holiday affiliated activities. I'm certain my family will be overjoyed to learn that!

Hugs,
Cathy

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rushing around

I hit the house running last night after work. First off, made a chocolate cake for my mother's birthday today. Then, baked two dozen pumpkin muffins and made dinner. Once all the clean-up was accomplished, we drove to Biggs for a "few" more items - ONLY $65 of stuff. Dashed back home in time to watch "Biggest Loser", made frosting for above-mentioned cake during the commercial breaks, cleaned the kitchen (again), did two loads of laundry AND got the trash out to the curb for pick-up. PHEW! So, no sewing, no quilting for this bad girl last night. Michael said he would sweep the floors after he gets home from work and Danny promised to clean their bathroom, so that's how Mom is going to have to take our house.

So far, it's been a rather quiet day at the office. A lot of folks have the day off and are already starting their Thanksgiving holiday. It's production cut off day for the month so naturally my company will insist that we remain at our desks until every last piece of eligible business is accounted for. Not meant as a gripe, mind you. I'm truly grateful for the job that I have since it provides for me and my family in so many ways.

Whilst we're on the subject of gratitude, I'd like to make a list of some of my blessings:

-My spouse still with us. I try to enjoy each holiday with him as much as possible and not dwell on the fact that sometime soon he will not be here.
- Mom is visiting
-Children - Tattoo Boy has started college successfully. Andrea does well in school.
-Home - far from a designer show place, but it's comfortable and is my refuge
-Quilting friends from blog land, classes and guild. Richly blessed here, folks.
-A return to my faith, church

And there are many more, but these are the biggies.

So, as I rush around like mad with all the holiday activities, I fully intend to think of the above and thank God for everything in my life. Despite the rushing around, I'm REALLY at peace this Thanksgiving.

I wish the same for you.
Hugs,
Cathy

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A finish.....



This quilt is for my dear friend, Mary, who lives in Atlanta. For the last five years, Mary and her husband have worked with me and in the process we have become close friends. We have much in common, including a love of quilts, but unfortunately Mary's many talents do not include sewing.

I can't wait to hear her shouting when she gets this in the mail! She knows it's hers since I showed her the top several months ago when she was in town for a conference. She just doesn't know WHEN it's coming......

Don't you just LOVE surprises?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

Upon initial thoughts - I didn't think that I had done a great deal over the weekend. Then I got to thinking........

Friday night was spent in class at Best Friends where I ironed and cut fabric from 6:30 to 9. Loads of pieces in Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin and I'm still not completely done cutting. I bought some ZipLock bags to store all the pieces until they're sewn into the blocks. Friday was a long day since I didn't return home until 9:45. It was fun though and I got to enjoy a nice bowl of soup at Panera's with Jill and Linda.

Got my hair cut on Saturday morning, made the Thanksgiving grocery list up, sorted through coupons and wrestled my family into the car for lunch at Bob Evans before heading to Biggs for the shopping expedition of the year. It's my theory that one should NEVER grocery shop on an empty stomach! Especially with Michael! Once the shopping was done, we headed home since Andrea was to meet a friend and see "Twilight". After everything was put away, I went back out into the fray and got some Christmas shopping done at Penney's. Michael is now officially bought for! As for the kids - I have some ideas for Andrea. Danny, I may end up just giving him a check. I was on my way home when the cell phone rang, it was Michael. Even with all the groceries we bought, we were out of onions! So I ran into Biggs again! I'm certain I'll be there again tomorrow!

I tried a new service time at church on Sunday. Definitely like it - it's a blend of traditional and contemporary worship. May choose 9:30 as service time from now on. The congregation started its annual drive to help needy families at Christmas and I chose a gift for a 10-year-old girl. Andrea promised to help me select a "cool" Barbie and some clothing for the doll. When I told Michael about it, he got all choked up. He obviously was touched that we're helping this little girl have a brighter Christmas. Good thing I didn't tell him about taking a gift idea from the Wish Tree at work too or else the man would have been sobbing! LOL.

Got a couple of the oven pads done for Mom before I ran out of InsulBright. Joann's in Loveland didn't have any nor did Hancock. I'll try the Joann's close to my office at lunchtime today. If that fails, I'll head to Hobby Lobby tonight, which is where I bought the first batch. I also finished the Big Block Quilt for my Atlanta friend. That will be mailed soon.

Michael accompanied me to Fabric Shack in the afternoon on Sunday. Purchased the backing, borders for three of the quilts I pieced during the retreat. Also found some marvelous red, green and white variegated thread.

So, that's the story of my weekend. I'm really looking forward to seeing my Mom and her husband in several days. Just wish we had a nicer bedroom for them, but Andrea is making a tremendous effort to tidy her room. She doesn't mind sleeping in the family room for a couple of days. Mom wants to shop at Hobby Lobby whilst she's here. I'm surprised she wants to shop at all since she really doesn't like shopping in crowded stores. My brother and his family will stop by as well for dessert on Thursday. Thanksgiving is certainly one of my favorite holidays - it's all about celebrating and being thankful for all that is good and beautiful in our lives. No matter what, there is always something for which to be grateful.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Turkeys beware!


Here's the first thing I worked on at the retreat last weekend. It's now hanging in my breakfast nook.

Friday, Friday, Friday, Friday!!!!!

You obviously CANNOT tell that I'm happy the weekend is here. Phew! Tough week at work, especially since I was suffering from quilting withdrawals most of other time.

I finished the turkey wall hanging and it's now proudly displayed in my breakfast nook. During the football game last night I got about 1/2 of the binding done on the Thimbleberries Big Blocks that I'm giving to my friend in Atlanta for Christmas. This weekend I HAVE TO finish some quilted hot pads for my mom to give to her friends for Christmas. I've been putting that project off for some time and mom will be here next week. They should be easy though.

Purchased the backing for my brother's gift, so that should go on the frame soon. Debating on how to quilt it - to stipple or not to stipple - that is the question. (Groan!)

Tattoo Boy has moved back into the house. It's truly amazing - he lets me know when to expect him, says thank you for stuff, picks up around the house...... Doesn't seem like this is the angry young man who stormed out of the house two years ago protesting that he didn't want to follow guidelines of common courtesy.

On the teen girlie front: She's mad at me. I wouldn't let her go to the theatre at midnight last night to see "Twilight". I am probably the ONLY mother in the country who refused. What is it with kids and these movies that they HAVE to see it the minute it's released?

I forced Michael to see the doctor yesterday since he's tired all the time and coughs a lot. They want to put him through a sleep study and did blood work on him to rule out anemia. He's still grumpy that I made him go. And he's irritated that I made an appointment to have our carpets cleaned. They'll just get messed up again, is his statement and it's waste of money. I think he'd rather point out the dirty spots to my mother and make me look like the world's worst housekeeper. He said houses in England go 20+ years without getting the carpets cleaned. Perhaps those are the homes on "How Clean Is Your House?".......?

Going to meet Jill and Linda tonight for dinner and then we have a class at Best Friends. I'll get home around 9:30ish. Long day, but I'll certainly enjoy the latter bit.

Hugs,
Cathy

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back to the Real World....

From Thursday to Sunday, I immersed myself into sewing at the guild's retreat in Blue Licks, KY. Admittedly, I'm pleased that I completed as much as I did. But, the thing I'm most pumped up about is that I met other quilters, formed new friendships and cemented ones that were already started. Roomie Jill and I "fought off" the advances of the local wildlife. (Not really - just kept them from getting into our sodas and food in the coolers!) I met several other quilters from my area - one in particular is keen to set up a local group to meet every other week. With each completed project, I cheered and admired the craftsmanship. There's still so much to learn and so much to quilt!

I'll get Michael to take some photos of the tops I worked on and post later. Mentally, I'm finding it difficult to get back into the rhythm of things. Mondays are bad enough, but when you've been out for four days, it's even nastier.

How many days until the next retreat?

Hugs,
Cathy

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Very Quilty Weekend

Saturday morning I met Jill and Linda at IHOP for breakfast before our Stash Pot Pie Class at Best Friends. A near tragedy was avoided when the waitress informed us they did indeed have pumpkin pancakes. We did not see them on the special menu and were considering a near riot before the waitress calmed us down! Once I had my fill of pumpkin, it was on to Best Friends.

There weren't too many people who completed the assignment for October, but as always, I was amazed by others' choice of colours, fabrics and how the patterns are "adjusted". Mine was not completed - still needs the borders sewn on. I did bring a show and tell though and Linda asked me to post a photo:



The assignment for December is a big block quilt - it looks perfect to use for all the railroad material I have. So, that is one project that is coming with me to the retreat on Thursday.

Speaking of that, I began to pack up some projects for my four day retreat. I way overpacked for the St. Jude's retreat in April, not knowing how much I was going to complete. Suppose it's better to over pack, over-estimate what you can get done vs. doing the opposite. I'm going to Joann's on my lunch hour since all their thread is 50 percent off - I'm almost out of neutral thread for piecing.

The rest of the weekend was fairly uneventful except for our dishwasher deciding to die. Michael's repaired the thing twice and we think the electronics are shot, so we went to Home Depot armed with a coupon and found a discounted floor model. I hope Mr. Michael can get the new dishwasher installed this afternoon. I didn't get much sewing done on Sunday since I struggled with a migraine most of the day. It didn't disappear until after dinner and then I got some work done on the quilt on my frame. If I would have had one more hour of weekend, I could have finished it!

Hope you all have a fantastic week!
Hugs,
Cathy

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Comfort Quilt

One of my co-workers is scheduled to have major spine surgery this Thursday. The surgery is going to take at least six hours and she'll be out of work for possibly four months recuperating. The poor girl is frightened to say the least, but very tired of the constant pain. I had this quilt top done and in my closet for almost two years. I was searching for a quick pattern for her get well gift and re-discovered the top. It seemed appropriate, so I quilted and bound this over the weekend for her. I think she's pleased with the gift. Keep Kathy in your prayers for the next several weeks. She is going to need them.


My reward? One less pending project.

Went to the guild meeting last night, but Jill and I bolted half-way into the event since we both had more pressing issues than to listen to a lecture about applique. I returned home after a pit stop at the grocery store for milk, finished the above-mentioned quilt, and was able to get a few things done at the house before bedtime.

Tonight's going to be just as hectic. Vote, fix dinner, run Andrea to the store. Who has time for sewing? I WILL NEXT WEEK!

In the meantime, I need to figure out what projects are going with me to Kentucky. I may as well take my entire stash. LOL Right, like it would fit in my car. Who are we trying to kid here? I have a couple of Christmas jelly rolls that I know are coming with. Beyond that - nothing is set in stone. One additional task - call AAA and get a Trip Tik.

Hugs,
Cathy

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The anticipation begins

A group of us are going on the guild's retreat next month at Blue Licks Park in KY. We're already discussing drinks (alcoholic, of course), projects and what to bring. Imagine - four solid days of no home responsibilities - just sew, eat, drink and sleep a little.

My sewing room regained, I loaded a Halloween quilt onto the frame last night and made two passes before the bobbin ran out. I tend to stop once a bobbin runs out and start working on something else for a while - sort of gives me a break from free-motion quilting. I'll get back at it tonight. Trouble is, I can't find my sidewinder. I put it somewhere in the mad rush to get the room tidy for our guests and I can't remember where it's gone! Same goes for my seam rippers stand. Bought some backing material for several projects to go on the frame within the week. With the retreat coming up, I'll concentrate on getting quilting done on the frame and leave the piecing projects for the four days in Blue Licks.

Did you see that there is a new Nickel Quilts book? It's the third one by Pat Speth, called "Amazing Nickel Quilts". I have the first two books and love them - made one project so far from that series. I'll have to give DH some strong hints about the new book because my birthday is coming up soon and the man is totally clueless when it comes to presents.

Got some cross stitching done last night as well when I watched a little television. Biggest Loser is on tonight - one of the few shows that I watch on a regular basis. So, I'll get some cross stitching done tonight too. I think I'm about half-way done with the 2008 Prairie Schooler Santa.

Andrea's going trick or treating on Friday night with her friends and they're all coming to our house afterwards for a sleep-over. Instead of ordering pizza from Donatos (YUM) I'll make little individual pies and each girl can adorn their pizza the way they want - then I'll pop the pizzas into the oven. It's always so maddening to try and get home on Halloween night after work, get dinner first, then scoot the kiddies out for begging. Since it's the end of the month, we're expected to stay late at the office (ugh) until all the payable business is processed. Then everybody and his brother are on the highways struggling to get home just like me. So, I'm trying to go about it a bit more intelligently this year. The kids can eat their dinner AFTER the candy gathering. They won't starve and sometimes they're so pumped up before going out, they don't eat anyways.

Our visitors from England were amazed by the Halloween decorations in our house and how other folks in our subdivision put lights out, have blow up creatures and displays. I guess it's not as big a deal in the UK as it is here. I love Halloween - great holiday for kids. Forget all that stuff about witchcraft, pagan celebrations, evil spirits. I know that's what the date used to be. Today - it's a good time for kids to pretend, have fun and provide business for the dentists. The only truly scary bit for me? I met my ex-husband on Halloween. ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a good one!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Homestretch

Apologize for not posting a thing for twelve days, but I've done next to nothing in the quilting/sewing department since our company arrived nine days ago. Fortunately, I'll regain my sewing room tomorrow, hence the title of the posting today.

I adore my step-daughter, Leah, and wish she could stay longer. Unfortunately, it's a package deal with her mum, Margaret. Ms. M literally took over my kitchen for days - baking stuff for our get-together on Saturday night and a roast dinner on Sunday. As my husband warned me and we've experienced during past visits, Ms. M takes a lot of delight in not only cooking, but dirtying every freakin' pot, pan, utensil in the kitchen! The resultant mess was left for me to clean up. My oven needs a good cleaning now, but I'll wait until she leaves tomorrow to tackle that chore. Needless to say, our dishwasher's had quite a workout and I should buy stock in SOS wooly pads.

It's been somewhat amusing to hear Michael and Ms. M go at each other at various times throughout the visit. Leah commented that it was just like her childhood - poor kid. No one can doubt why those two were destined for divorce after hearing their "discussions".

Leah and I went to church on Sunday morning. First time in quite some time that I've attended a service. The revelation - I missed it and more than likely will start attending more often. My brother and his family are quite active in the church, so I'll have company most Sundays. During our drive home from church, Leah confided in me that she is seriously thinking about leaving her spouse. No tears on that one, folks. The man is only slightly less of a loser than my first husband. I bought a study Bible for Leah yesterday since she told me she lost her Bible during their trip to Florida last month.

Ok, I did get one project done - a table runner that needs to go to England with Leah as a Christmas pressie for another family member.

One day this week the girls went to Keepsakes, a cross stitch store in Sharonville. I haven't picked up a cross stitch project in ages, but I purchased the 2008 Prairie Schooler Santa - I've made these little Santas every year since they started, I think 1984. So when I don't have any hand sewing to do whilst watching television - I'll pick up a cross stitch project. I've missed it. Lord only knows I have nearly as many unfinished cross stitch items and patterns as I do quilting stuff. Possibly more. Yes, I know I'm hopeless.

Looking forward to re-joining the land of the quilters tomorrow.

Hugs,
Cathy

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday's Foolishness

Today's the last day of my company's United Way campaign and they're setting up the picnic/party stuff right outside my office - makes it kind of difficult to concentrate on anything, so I figured I'd blog.

One of the New Business processors on my team won the quilt, so I'm pleased it's gone to an excellent home. This gal now has two of my quilts as I made a quilt for her adopted son about 18 months ago.

I've been able to sew two nights in a row! Wow! I got the main part of the top done for my Stash Pot Pie assignment which is due tomorrow. Hope to get the borders sewn on tonight, but my family wants to swim at the community center and have pizza afterwards, so there might not be time to finish it tonight. If it's any kind of normal Friday for me, I'll probably be bone-dead tired by 8:30 and want to sleep. Sucks getting old. Long gone are the days when I could easily stay up and alert until 1 or 2 am on the weekends.

Meeting Jill at IHOP for breakfast. Hoping that they'll have pumpkin pancakes, but the menu on the internet says not. WAH!!! Then, it's on to Best Friends for another Stash Pot Pie session.

The rest of the weekend? Getting the house ready for our company on Monday.

Have a great weekend!
Hugs,
Cathy

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mid-Week Update

First off, I apologize for not posting much lately. The primary reason for this is that I have not been sewing much at all except for an hour on Sunday. I mean, who the heck wants to read a quilting blog when there's little to no quilting to report.

The raffle tickets are still being sold for the United Way quilt. The deadline's tomorrow and I'm quite anxious to find out the number of tickets we've sold. I know it's not the biggest seller - a week's stay in Daytona Beach is the top seller. Heck, I even bought $5 in tickets for that one!

Jill and I have our spots reserved for the guild's retreat next month. Three days to do nothing but sew, gab and eat. Sheer heaven!

Michael and I purchased a membership at our local community center to use their exercise facilities and swimming pool/spa. Since we bought the membership last Thursday, we've been there three times - the latest being last night. Andrea's now old enough that she can use the exercise equipment so she and I walked on the treadmills side-by-side last night. Hoping her presence will keep me motivated to keep going. Michael's enjoying the swimming, but he's not pushing too hard - it puffs him out and he has to stop mid pool at times.

I decided to return to Weight Watchers, only this time attend the meetings here at the office. That way, I will not feel any guilt for wanting to sleep in on Saturday mornings or skipping because of quilt classes, etc. I'm here, there is no excuse. Today's weigh in for the first time and I'm mortified. Trying to tell myself it'll be OK - it's another starting point, it is what it is.

Last night after our trip to the community center, Michael and Andrea wanted to go to Skyline Chili for dinner. OMG! I adore their five-ways, but I KNOW it's probably a horrendous number of points on WW. I relented to the family outing, but I stuck to my will and had a chicken salad instead of my usual. You know what? It was tasty and satisfied. It felt good!

Five more days and our company from England will be here - Michael's ex-wife (Margaret) and his oldest daughter (Leah). Folks who know about this think it's really strange that I permit Margaret to visit us - this will be her 4th trip here. She and I get along OK - we have much in common beyond Michael (obviously) and she's usually half a world away, so I can take it for ten days. Their marriage was dead long before I arrived on the scene and they parted as friends. Most ex-spouses, I suppose, don't feel that way. I know there is no way in hell I would want my ex-husband to spend time with us. It will be Leah's first visit with us - and I know she's tickled pink about seeing her dad and having some time to herself. She mentioned to Michael on the phone last week that it will be the first time in almost twenty years that she has gone on holiday by herself and not be responsible for her husband or kids.

My hope is to get some work done on the Stash Pot Pie assignment tonight. Class is on Saturday and I'd hate to not have it completed by then. I've met all the other deadlines. Meeting Jill at IHOP prior to class and keeping my fingers crossed their pumpkin pancakes are on the menu. Tis yummy!

Hugs,
Cathy

Thursday, October 2, 2008

United Way Quilt


Here is the quilt - Around The World pattern- that I put together for the United Way drawing at work. They started to sell raffle tickets yesterday and in one hour sold $300 worth of tickets! I'm tickled pink about that.
I finished 3/4 of the binding on the Care Bears baby quilt last night whilst I watched the Biggest Loser show we taped from Tuesday night. Other than that, it was an uneventful evening. I think we needed that after having a house full of company on Tuesday.
Started back to Weight Watchers meeting yesterday - but I did not weigh in. I keep postponing that as if it will help. (sarcasm) So, last night for dinner, I made a WW recipe of potato soup and grilled sandwiches with fat free cheese on mine. Gotta get back into the habit of writing down everything I eat again. It works - just gotta do it.
Have a great day!
Hugs,
Cathy

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

End of September already?

With nine months on the books already for 2008, I decided to take stock of the things I needed to get done for Christmas and year-end. The list is somewhat daunting but very do-able, especially when I remind myself that in mid-November I'll be going to the guild retreat.

Finished the Around the World for United Way quilt last night. My photographer had already gone to bed when I sewed the last stitch, so y'all will have to wait for a photograph. I brought the quilt to the office today to stir up some interest in ticket sales which go on sale tomorrow.

Feeling energized after finishing that project, I started to clip down the binding on the Care Bears quilt. Once I get that done, I intend on finishing the piecing for the next Stash Pot Pie project due on the 11th. After that, who knows, but the reality is there is certainly no lack of projects in mind......

Having dinner for several of the agents I work with tonight. They're in town for a three-day meeting. Whenever I travel to their territories, these agents are really good to me and have become great friends, so I'm looking forward to treating them. The best part about it? Michael's doing all the cooking since it's an all-English dinner of roast beef, yorkshire puddings, roasted potatoes, sprouts, trifle for dessert and wrap it up with tea, cheese and biscuits.

Hugs,
Cathy

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wieners' Day Out

Doesn't DD look "thrilled" to be there? After the race, she exclaimed "Let's do this again next year!"Sure changed her tune!

Poor little wiener was tired after her race.....Daisy got carried back to the car.

We had such a good time with the Dachshund races on Friday. Our little Daisy finished second and ran her little legs off. Truth be told, I didn't care how well she did or didn't do - it was so funny to see 60 wiener dogs running around all wearing little bun outfits. I laughed so hard, the tears ran down my cheeks and my daughter admonished me for embarrassing her by laughing. Teenagers! Ah well....here is the news site where you can click on the video from some of the races. After the advert, you'll catch a glimpse of me in a navy shirt holding our Miss Daisy and Andrea (wearing a green shirt) at the finish line.




Tattoo Boy starts his classes tomorrow at the University of Cincinnati - proof positive that prayer works!
Check out Jill's blog for the details on our small group meeting last night. Fun, fun, fun!
Tonight I start the binding on the United Way quilt. That's after grocery shopping, laundry, paying tuition, picking up Michael's prescription, trash take-out, etc.......
Oh, good news about Michael - the CT scan was the same as last year, so his lung disease is not progressing - it's stable. That's the best we can hope for!
Hugs,
Cathy




Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Powers Up!

Finally!!!! The lights went back on at our house at 3:30 this afternoon. That's fantastic news from Michael and I can't wait to get home to see it. Unfortunately, everything in the freezer and fridge has to be tossed out. Such a waste! I spoke with our insurance agent earlier today and was told to create a list of all the stuff we have to pitch - the paperwork's been filed and the adjuster will get in touch with us for the total. Well, I suppose it was excellent timing since trash collection is tomorrow morning. Good thing - I was out of clean underwear! Was doing laundry on Sunday when the lights went out.

Two of my co-workers and I went out for lunch at Frisch's today. A lot of the restaurants, this one included, are severely limited by what they can serve because much of their stores had to be trashed due to no power.

After the fridge has been cleaned out tonight, some laundry started - I' m gonna quilt for the first time in over 48 hours. I'm so addicted.........

Hugs,
Cathy

Monday, September 15, 2008

We don't like Ike!

Ike's remnants came blowing through the Tri-State/Cincinnati area yesterday. The 70 mph winds did a number on a lot of the trees, roofs siding, etc through the area and out went the lights! Approximately 90 percent of Duke Energy's customers in our area are without power. Our electric went out around 5 pm yesterday and we're not-so-patiently waiting for it to be restored. Of course, the power's on at the office, thus I'm able to get a few things done on the computer. I would have stayed home with Michael and Andrea, but management really frowns on those associates who don't make the effort to come into the office on bad weather days. Plus, it was heavenly to get a hot cup of coffee in the cafeteria this morning! Besides, I can't get any machine sewing done. If I had stayed home, I could have cut fabric for several planned projects.

The winds were rather frightening yesterday - once the power went off -downright spooky. As far as we can tell, the only damage to our property was a bunch of tree limbs which Andrea and I dragged to the curb already. Our neighbors weren't so lucky with big trees down and roofs being shredded. We will have to ditch a lot of stuff in the fridge - and we had just returned from the grocery store before the power went off! The freezer items are good for another day - keep your fingers crossed that power's restored before then since there's a decent amount of meat in there.

Michael drove into West Chester for his dental appointment this morning and was able to get the preliminary work done on his teeth. I'm glad he didn't ditch the appointment. His main beef at the moment is lack of a decent cup of tea. I am concerned that Michael is unable to use him oxygen at night due to lack of power. One, perhaps two nights without it - OK, but more than that I will get concerned about the overall affect on his health.

Andrea's home, no school, probably bored to death since there's no computer or television.

Yesterday I got up early and finished quilting the United Way quilt. I had just started to press the binding when the power went out. I'm so glad I was at least able to finish the quilting - overall well pleased with quilt. Hope the raffle for it will raise a decent amount of money for United Way.

Michael's eldest daughter, Leah, e-mailed me - she and Michael's ex are coming here for a visit October 13-23. Leah's never been to visit us, this will be Margaret's (the ex's) 4th trip here. Yes, I know it's weird that Michael's ex comes to visit. Fortunately, she and I get along well. She gets on Michael's nerves if she's the only one around. Leah's presence will help in that matter. It's only for ten days........

Hugs,
Cathy

Friday, September 12, 2008

Roof Monkey

OK - you're probably wondering what the title is all about. I can now honestly put roof repairs on my list of multiple talents and skills. With the rain that was predicted to hit us today and the rest of the weekend, I told Michael I was concerned about the leak in our enclosed back patio. The water leaking into the roof was affecting the kids' bathroom - so we have issues in that room to repair, but my primary concern was to stop any more damage. He agreed, so last night we were on the roof, tacking down roofing material. My "job" was to spread some black tarry goo on the seams. (I'm sure it has a name other than goo!) Thank goodness I had the foresight to wear gloves 'cause that goo is tough to remove from skin. Keep your fingers crossed that our repair efforts worked.

After my goo glop job, I got a few lines of quilting done on the United Way quilt. Thus far, I'm really pleased with the thread I'm using - Connecting Threads variegated fall colours. If this keeps up, I'll place another thread order from them.

Tattoo Boy came by the house for a few minutes last night. He needed to pick up his mail, get a copy of a blank tax return, help us move the old fridge into the storage area, and toss the roofing material onto the roof for us. I think his presence is going to be a big help around the house when he returns in November. But, let me tell you what happened to him earlier this week. It's just left a sour feeling in the pit of my stomach for employers. He told Lowe's his school plans and asked them if they could work around his class schedule; he wanted to stay there as a team leader and go to school. They said no. OK, he thought, I'll find another job that will work around school. Pizza Hut hired him and at a higher rate of pay. Last Friday he turned in his two week notice at Lowe's. Monday when he showed up for work at Lowe's, his name was crossed off the schedule and he was informed that he has been dismissed for no reason. So much for trying to do the right thing.

Michael expressed that he was a bit homesick - he gets that way once in awhile - not as frequently as when we first were married six years ago though. He hasn't heard word one from any of his family in months. Course, he hasn't made the effort to write or phone either! I dashed off a few lines in an e-mail to his oldest daughter yesterday - the only one who has access to a computer on a regular basis and she's usually the most reliable one in the family. I asked her to take a few mins to contact her dad. Hope she does.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend.
Hugs,
Cathy

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mid-week update

Managed to get the backing pieced and ironed for the United Way Quilt last night. Didn't get around to it until 9:30 - lots of stuff kept me out of the sewing room, like dinner, laundry, grocery shopping, trash to put out, etc. Loved every minute of the Shop Hop last weekend, but it did put me behind in the household chores since I usually do them on the weekends. Tonight should be a bit less hectic. (I hope, I hope, I hope.) I want to get the United Way quilt loaded onto the frame tonight at the very least.

Poor Miss Daisy has a nasty ear infection. She was constantly shaking her head and crying every time we'd pet her head on the right side. Sure enough, the inside of her ear was really inflamed. The vet gave us some medication for her ear and said it was a good thing we brought her in for the infection. Dachshunds, she explained, can shake their heads so hard when they have an ear infection that it can burst blood vessels which require surgical repair. Yikes! She also mentioned Daisy was the fifth dog she saw Monday with an ear infection. Must be something in the air?

Michael's still battling his dental issues. His temporary tooth fell out for the third time and the dentist told him he's just doing to have to deal with the gap until the permanent work starts on Monday.

Things have settled down for me at the office this week, which is a tremendous blessing. It may be the calm before the storm - who knows? There's an upper management position available in my department which as it's structured will be my boss. I'll still defer to the Chief Underwriter for technical stuff, but everything else will go through this newly created VP spot. One of the current managers applied for the job and I just cringe at the thought of having to report to her for ANYTHING. Also heard several other internal candidates are out there as well as an external candidate the company has been courting for months. They'd better make a decision quickly since the new systems that we so desperately want and need are going out to bid in November and this new person is supposed to be the point man/woman for it. This new system will enable people in my position to work out of home - that's one of the goals at least. That would free up 90 minutes of my time every day.

Hugs,
Cathy

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stash from the Shop Hop

Hi, all! Thought you'd want to see the stash I purchased during the Shop Hop last weekend. The first photo is the Big Shirt pattern from Best Friends, a cat quilt from Aunt Ruth's I found on the discount table and a Thanksgiving turkey from SewEzy. The photo of the turkey wall hanging doesn't do it justice - the one in the shop was really, really cute - the tail is made with Prairie Points.

These are various fabrics I picked up at every shop we stopped at. No specific purpose in mind for any of them yet. I just liked them. I definitely was in a Fall/Christmas frame of mind though.

The Cat quotes are adorable from SewEzy - I want to make a wall hanging and pillows for a friend at work with these. The Moda pattern is from Fabric Shack and has been on my wish list for months. I was so happy to have finally found it. The small quilt pattern is from Quilt Box and I thought it would be very cute to make one of those for my cubicle wall with autumnal colours and squirrel fabric to enhance my squirrel collection.


Just couldn't resist these kits for Halloween projects. I had a Thimbleberries pattern in mind before we started the Shop Hop, but once I saw the quilt in Quilt Cabin, I forgot all about the Thimbleberries. The table runner is from SewEzy and will have a small black cat appliqued to each end of the runner.

More fabric.......


Fat quarters from Sew A Lot and jelly rolls from Fabric Shack and Stitches. I have a strip pattern for the jelly rolls that I purchased at the National Quilt Show in Columbus that will be perfect for these.

I'll be in great shape once I find the time to work on all this. I have several projects that are on a deadline, by the last week of this month, so I'd better get cracking. I didn't sew at all last night. By the time I got Michael to the doctor, Daisy to the vet, dinner, picked up prescriptions, donated blood and picked up milk and bagels it was 8 pm.
Hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday!
Hugs,
Cathy

Monday, September 8, 2008

Notes On A Successful Shop Hop

Can't believe that it's over already! Jill, Maddy, Dominique and I had a ball shopping and travelling together this weekend. Think about it: four women in a car for hours with a humongous tray of cookies, shopping and finding a great deal to talk about despite not knowing each other much at all prior to the trip. Certainly can't say that now! Luv 'em like sisters!

Best Friends was our first stop of the day on Saturday. We were "treated" to a conga line courtesy of the shop owner and employees - that was the only dance routine we saw all day. What a way to start! I picked up a pattern for a Big Shirt and some Thimbleberries Halloween fabric. May not seem like much, but heck I'm in this store a lot and I WILL BE BACK.

The next four stores were ones that I had never been to before. And honestly, they're too far for a normal drive when there are other shops closer to me. But it's good to know this store is good for Civil War repro fabrics, that store is good for a treasure hunt and another has such beautiful landscaping/scenery that one should pack a lunch for an outdoor picnic.

Here's another thing: The more I get in to this quilting thing, the more I'm realizing that I have certain likes/dislikes. One shop in particular had nothing I was interested in - don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful shop, but the patterns, samples, and fabrics were things that didn't appeal to me. It all boils down to what a shopowner orders based on their anticipation of success or how well they know their customer base. That's why each one is different and special in its own way.

Like Jill mentioned, Dom locked us out of Aunt Ruth's. Livened us up a bit for the last shop of the day on Saturday. I hadn't been to Aunt Ruth's since the week after they moved to their new location. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of stock and how nice the store looked. It's evident the new owner has worked hard.

First stop on Sunday after lunch was the mother of all local quilt shops - Fabric Shack. I spent more at this store than any of the ten shops. And it was liberating! Usually Michael and Andrea are with me when I visit Fabric Shack. Those two moan like mad and pitch fits if I spend more than ten minutes there. This time - what nirvana! Uninterrupted fabric fondling -sheer joy! I found the ModaU pattern that was first on my list, a Moda Christmas jelly roll, and assorted fabrics.

The last stop of the hop was Stitches in Springdale. I'll always have a special spot in my heart for Stitches since Cheri from that store was my first quilt teacher. And I love the squirrel statues in that little town. Found another Moda jellyroll there, a magazine and some fabric from their discount rack.

Then, back home to the reality of stacks of laundry, a hungry family, and pets who couldn't figure out why their momma disappeared for two days. Even my next door neighbor came over after dinner and said, "You're never home!"

Well, it was fun while it lasted.......

Reality today - a doctor's appointment for Michael, a vet's appointment for Daisy the dashing dachshund, and blood donation for yours truly. Hoxworth's low on my blood type and phoned me at work this morning. Think I can get away with disappearing into my sewing room after all that?

Enjoy!
Cathy

Friday, September 5, 2008

End of a rough work week

I know it's been a short work week, but am I ever glad that Friday is here! Despite being at my current job for almost eight years, I still don't feel like I'm all that secure. With the power structure being the way it is, folks in my job have very little clout and the employees who are doing the processing for some reason or another have more pull with management. So, when a processor complains about a decision I've made on a risk, I get nervous. Add to that the typical phone calls from agents questioning decisions, asking for exceptions, and basic whining - it hasn't been a real enjoyable week at the office for me. Honestly, I don't know why I have such insecure feelings since nobody in underwriting management has ever said bean word one to me about how I do my job and I've had nothing but glowing reviews. Perhaps it's because I was downsized at my last job - one that I absolutely adored- after 16 years with that company. Once the rug is pulled out from under you, I guess no carpet/rug ever seems firmly tacked down again. My friend, Diane, tried to ease my fears by telling me about an underwriter who didn't read an EKG correctly, issued the policy and during an audit the EKG was read again by a manager who saw it was abnormal enough that the policy should not have been issued. That underwriter is still here, Diane said, so I shouldn't worry.

Daisy update: She ran for a bit last night, but after about five passes on the course, she clearly had enough and sat down in the middle of the driveway. (We changed the course from the yard to the drive because the race downtown will be held on a concrete area. The training is meant to teach her to run like the dickens from me to Andrea - that's all - it's certainly not an endurance deal.) So, we picked her up, took her back inside gave her a biscuit and she fell asleep on the sofa.

SHOP HOP - tomorrow!!! Meeting Jill, Dominique and Maddy at 9 am and we're going to half of the stores Saturday, the other half on Sunday. At least that's the plan. Do I NEED any more fabric or patterns? Heck no, but why should that stop me? I'm really MAD, I tell you, positively looney!

Finished quilting three of the four placemats I'm working on last night. Probably would have done all four, but the bobbin ran out, it was getting late and I wanted to listen to John McCain's speech.

Have a great weekend!!!
Hugs,
Cathy

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Daisy - The Racing Weiner

....is now officially signed up for the Octoberfest Running of the Wieners. She's Weinee #31. Daisy, Andrea and I need to be at Fountain Square at 11:30 am on Friday, Sept. 19 ready to race. I will have to pull Andrea out of school early that day, but somehow I don't think she's going to protest all that much! I was already planning on taking that day off because of the kittens' surgery that morning.

Training will now have to really be intense - stayed tuned!

Misc Ramblings

Didn't get all that much done in the sewing room last night, but I did manage to piece a super secret gift. Hoping to get the quilting done tonight on that secret project.

Honestly, I did have several distractions from the sewing room last night. Michael, Andrea and I went to McAllister's for dinner since the soup Michael wanted to make for dinner didn't sound appealing to me. Now, I ask you, who eats hot soup when it's close to 100 degrees outside? Got to McAllister's and I discovered my wallet was gone! Michael didn't have his wallet either. Fortunately, I knew where mine was after I thought about it. I should know better than to put it somewhere else other than my handbag. Such a creature of habit! Dinner was delayed a bit for a side trip to the bank.

After dinner, the real fun started - we took Daisy, our mini-dachshund, outside and started to run with her in anticipation of signing her up for the Cincinnati Octoberfest Weenie Race. We marked off a 50 foot space in the front yard for our "track". She did remarkably well for the first go at it. Tonight, we'll get the hot dog outfit out for her since all the racing dogs need to wear "buns". Daisy slept REAL GOOD last night too.

September is shaping up to be an incredibly busy month for my little family at the doctors, dentist and optometrist. Michael is going in for bridgework at the dentist in ten days. That will require four dental appointments for him! All three of us have our regular dental checkups later. On the 13th - all of us at the optical clinic. Michael has his yearly CT lung scan and follow-up appointment with his pulmonologist in mid month. (Expecting bad news with that one as his breathing difficulties are becoming more noticeable.) Keeping track of it and the other things we need to do is going to be fun. Tattoo Boy's orientation at UC is on the 17th and 18th. The kittens have their surgery on the 19th, on and on and on.....

You'd better believe I'll find time to quilt! My sanity will require it.
Keep stitchin'!
Hugs,
Cathy

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Play time's over

Didn't seem like I got much done in the sewing room or around the house despite the extra day at home. I finished the binding on the Thimbleberries Sunflower Table Runner and this baby quilt for a co-worker. Very pleased with how it turned out.







Now, it's on to the next project - a secret project and quilting the United Way quilt.


The kittens and I spent about an hour yesterday morning tearing apart the two vacuum cleaners, cleaning them all out and putting them back together again. I've been meaning to do that chore for weeks now since neither one was working to its true capacity. Oddly enough, the kittens were of little help, other than scattering the dust balls.


Met Jill, Linda and Patrice at IHOP on Saturday morning for delightful chat - they're all such nice people and welcomed me into their group. After that, we went on to Best Friends and signed up for our fall quarter classes. All four of us are taking one in November/December called "Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin". I signed up for Stash Pot Pie as well - thus taking that monthly class for the entire year.


This coming Saturday is the start of the Tri-State Shop Hop. I've already warned my family that I won't be around home much on Saturday or Sunday, so they've been given ample notice. I've already started my shopping list. Michael's in agreement that I should stock up on the items I need to make Christmas gifts. Let's take bets to see if I can stick to the list....NOT!


Tattoo Boy (aka Danny) dropped by the house for a short visit on Sunday and helped us move the fridge back into the house. Michael's tried to hook up the icemaker on that thing, but all it does is leak on the floor and he can't figure out how to fix it. Icemaker aside, I'm pleased to have the good, big fridge repaired and back into the kitchen. The smaller fridge we've been using will now go into the back room for drinks and extra storage. It looks like I'll accompany Danny to orientation at the university on the 17th and 18th. I may take the 19th off as well since that's the day the kittens are scheduled for their surgery.


I'd best get back to the files on my desk and make an effort to at least look like I'm working. LOL

Keep on stitchin'!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fiction Vs Non-Fiction in the Quilting World

I've been reading the Elm Creek Quilters books this summer, thoroughly immersing myself in the fictional world of the Bergstrom family and the quilt campers. On more than one occasion, I found myself wishing that such a group existed and how I'd relish the chance to be a part of it despite my sub-par quilting abilities. Then, I started to think. My reality? Thanks to getting acquainted with Jill after a Google search last year, I've joined the local guild, met Jill and a number of her quilting buddies (now my buddies too!), attended a wonderful retreat in April and am now prepping for a Shop Hop with my new-found pals next week. Like the Elm Creek Quilters, my quilting pals are a great group - kind, supportive and fun. Can't ask for any more than that and comes darn close to that fictional world in Elm Creek.

Now, if I could only persuade my spouse that quilting is not so horrible an addiction!

Keep stitchin'!
Hugs,
Cathy

Monday, August 25, 2008

Productive Weekend

Seems like I got a lot done this weekend. I finished the binding on two quilts and pieced 32 blocks for the strip happy quilt. Also got the sewing room tidied up a bit. Between all that, we went to the Heritage Festival (sweat a lot there!), dinner at Martin and Bev's, a trip to the new model train layout in West Chester, and school supplies shopping.

Whale of a thunderstorm went through last night dumping some much-needed rain on our poor parched lawn.

Whilst finishing the binding on Turquoise Geese last night, we watched a film from Netflix - "I Am Legend". That movie must have really bothered me since I had the strangest dream last night about a virus killing half of my family. In my dream, people were dumping all their possessions on the curb and I remember seeing piles of sewing machines everywhere. Weird, eh?

I'm hoping this will be a quiet week both at home and work. Michael needs to visit the dentist again as his crown fell out again. I need to keep reminding myself that it's a three-day weekend coming up!

Keep on stitchin'!

Friday, August 22, 2008

TGIF

This has been a challenging week in many ways for my family and I. First off, Michael pulled a muscle in his back which hurts like a knife whenever he coughs. Squelching a cough isn't easy for someone who has a lung disease like his. Fortunately, our doctor gave him some high powered cough medication which is giving the pulled muscle a chance to heal. On the drive home from the doctor's, the crown fell off one of his top front teeth. Got him a dentist's appointment that afternoon since we were planning on meeting friends from Atlanta for dinner that night.

All this happened on the first day of school to boot! It wasn't stressful for me, mind you, but Andrea was unable to eat or sleep well the night before. She's OK now, but doesn't talk much about school other than she likes her English teacher.

Last night, I went to a small quilters' group meeting in Fairfield thanks to Jill. I enjoyed my time with the other quilters and got a lot done on my Turquoise Geese binding. Most of the gals worked on quilts for charity, so I felt a bit odd working on something for myself. Next meeting, I'll have something to work on and donate.

The end of the binding job for Turquoise Geese is in sight! I made a list of things I want to get done this weekend: put another top on the frame, finish the binding on Linda's Horsies, put a serious dent into the sewing for the Strip Happy quilt and cut the fabric out for the Stash Pot Pie assignment. Since it's going to be VERY, VERY hot outside, it will be a great time to stay in the comforts of my air conditioned house and sew. The Mason Heritage Festival is tomorrow so Andrea and I may go to that. Never know what we'll find at that event, other than picking up a few new fridge magnets. We're supposed to go to Martin and Bev's for dinner tomorrow evening too, but we haven't heard any details about that yet.

Tattoo Boy got his acceptance letter from the university. The paperwork for his enrollment was hung up because his father neglected to complete a necessary form. For the first time, EVER, I phoned my ex at work, got his schedule and told TB to take the form to him and fax it from there. A week's delay taken care of in 10 minutes - POOF!!! Real typical of the ex; don't get me started. We're waiting on a time slot for orientation. Classes start Sept. 24.

Girly Day on Monday was a hit. Andrea and I got our hair and nails done, picked up recycling bins at city hall, bought neutering vouchers for the kittens at the Humane Society, visited the homeless kitties, had lunch at Subway, went to the movies and had dinner with Michael at Skyline Chili. I LOVED sleeping in until 8 am too! At least taking Monday off made the week go a bit quicker. It is TGIF!

Keep stitchin'

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Must Have Checklist

Here is the list we were given in class on Saturday:

The Top Four Notions ("Givens")

-Rotary cutter
-Cutting mat - 18" x 24"
-Scissors - 5" or 6" blade shears
-Rulers - 6" x 24"


Must Have Notions:

-Seam ripper
-120" tape measure
-Ott light - Day light
-Thread snips
-Shape Rulers
-Flower head pins
-IBC pins (glass head silk pins)
-Add-a-quarter ruler
-Invisi-grip/Omni-grip
-Chalk-o-liner
-Magnetic pincushion
-Little scissors
-Wound bobbins
-Needle threader
-Creative Grids 6 1/2 x 6 1/2 ruler
-Stiletto
-Micro Scissors
-Omnigrid glow line tape
-Baste-It glue
-Silk pins
-Nifty notions - glass headed pins
-Small iron
-Organizing bins
-Ruler rack
-Triangle paper
-Thread
-Thread rack
-Bobbin saver
-Cut and Press
-Fork pins
-Big board

I checked off the items I DID NOT have. Several of those sounded like a great addition to my sewing area, including the desk needle threader from Clover. The shop was sold out of them on Saturday, but I found them on line at Connecting Threads for half-off. (LOVE a bargain!) I'm on the hunt for a ruler rack at the moment, since my ruler collection has been expanding and stacking them on the worktop is getting to be a challenge.

Keep on stitchin'!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Essentials for Quilting/Sewing Studios

Absolutely adore the Stash Pot Pie class I'm taking one Saturday each month. We discuss stash organization, techniques and have an assigned quilt top to complete. Every class, I learn some thing - sometimes small, other times big. Saturday's class was no exception. I learned I was using the seam ripper incorrectly. I was picking out stitches one stitch at a time. Talk about an a ha moment and did I EVER feel stupid. We talked about the tools/essentials one needed for a basic quilting studio. Jan, the shop owner, had a list from one of her magazines and she had samples of each item on a table in the classroom. There were very few I didn't already own, but could easily see the sense in having. (Hence the needle threader purchase after class.) One gadget I have that was NOT on the list was my sidewinder - bobbin winder. I'd lose my mind if I didn't have that thing. The question for you all is this: Other than the machine, fabric, thread, cutting mat and rotary cutter, what item(s) do you think are essential for a well-supplied home quilting studio?

I'll post the article's list tomorrow. (I left it at home, like a complete doofus.)

IT'S FINISHED!

Not in time for class, mind you. I started far too late and made way, way too many mistakes on this month's assignment. But, I was determined to finish the Star Cats quilt top with the ribbon border and by God, I did!!!!!! Very happy that I chose to complete it as the pattern dictated. The ribbon border really adds to it. If I think of it, I'll have DH take a photo of it tonight and a photo of the quilt top I finished for our company's United Way campaign.


Pinch me, I'm dreaming.....

Our weather is absolutely fantastic at the moment; sunny and warm with low humidity and cool at night. Last night I sat on our back patio with my hand sewing for nearly an hour. That's my dream evening; hand sewing and a nice glass of iced tea. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes had their own idea of a dream evening and it involved my arms and face.


School daze

Took Tattoo Boy and Andrea school clothes shopping yesterday. With all the sales and my mother's discount card, I saved $358 over the original prices on our purchases. I spent $313, so I basically got the items at less than half of the original price. Well pleased. I knew Mom's 30+ years at Penney's had to count for something! Thanks, Mom!

Positive thinking needed

or prayer, if you believe...my former mother-in-law is in bad shape. She was hospitalized last week with kidney failure. Bad news since she only has one kidney after a bout with cancer twenty years ago.

Keep stitchin'!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Chickened Out

I'll wait for another day to do the Thangles thing. I found a companion angle ruler at Hobby Lobby last night on the 50 percent off sale rack. So, I started to cut out the pieces I needed for the ribbon border for the Stash Pot Pie assignment. Rats! I didn't have enough fabric for one of the main pieces! GRRRRR! Not wanting to start all over with the pieced border, I phoned the store where I bought it - they were out. I phoned another store on the other side of town - they have it, so I'm off to Joann's after dinner tonight. This class assignment has been filled with detours - perhaps I'm not meant to finish it after all. I've ripped out more blocks sewn together wrong than any of my other projects. I'm determined, however, to finish it and soon. Otherwise, who knows when I'll get done.

A Kitty Story

Our kittens are still with us. Andrea and I are getting very attached to the little dears, but Michael's less than enamoured with them since one of his prized cacti was destroyed earlier this week. Last night, I gave them a special treat of canned cat food. Yummy! Stuff smells like rotten garbage. About 9 last night, Andrea was locking up the back door when she told me to look out the window. There, on our patio table where we feed the kittens was a big butt of a raccoon chowing down on our kitties' kibble! So, what did I do? What any respecting kitten mum would do - I let the dog out! The raccoon left, Daisy got some exercise and the neighbors got to hear Daisy bark. Everybody won!

Gotta love it

The AC's off and the windows are open. I doubt we've seen the last of the heat and humidity though for the season.

Upheaval at the office

Our COO is leaving our company for greener pastures. The announcement this morning has left everybody in a state of shock - the man's well liked and respected. It will be interesting to see who's next for that office. Office politics make for interesting discussion and livened up an otherwise dull morning.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and keep stitchin'

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Thangles?

"You've never worked with Thangles?" the shop owner said in disbelief. "No," said I hanging my head in shame. "Well, you're in for a real treat and you'll never do half-square triangles any other way," she boasted. Well, quilt bloggers, we shall see. All this came about since I didn't have the companion angle the pattern called for and the store didn't have one in stock. Anybody have some advice to share with these Thangles?

I'm off to the fabric store at lunchtime today to see if they have any more of the pawprint fabric I've used with some of the split decision quilts I made earlier this year. I used it in the Stash Pot Pie top I'm working on right now, but I don't think I'll have enough for the ribbon-style border.

Oh, and I did the UNMENTIONABLE again. Ordered a book and more fabric from Quilt in A Day. One of the gals in the Stash Pot Pie class made a Halloween quilt and got me to thinking I'd like one as well, so I ordered the 10 yards special of Halloween fabric, some chicken fabric to make potholders for my Mum, and a book (half off). Got brave and ordered a pair of Crocs as well on line. I tried on a pair last Friday, but the store didn't have the colour I wanted.

SCHOOL STARTS TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY! happy dance, happy dance.......

Bad news runs in threes?

I'm waiting for the third shoe to drop, then. My dear friend at work learned her beautiful young daughter is heavily into drug use - they found cocaine and a big bag of marijuana in this girl's room. Put that together with the signs they've seen lately - my friend and her husband are devastated. They're waiting a day to confront their daughter, but the drugs were taken out of her room, so surely the girl knows her parents are aware. Please keep them in your thoughts. It's a tough thing to go through. Another friend, here at the office, was happily expecting her first grandchild in early January. Her daughter miscarried last night. My heart aches for that little family - I was so happy that my friend asked me to create a quilt for the new baby. I had the top done, so it'll just stay in the closet until there are happier times for them.

An answer to my prayer?
Tattoo Boy is going back to college - he's determined to take the ACT exam in October and hopefully enroll in the University of Cincinnati by winter term. I chatted on the phone with him for 30 minutes about his education plans and a lot of other things. I guess children do emerge from their teen years and are normal human beings again, after all.

The weather report this morning made me jump for joy! Fall-like temperatures by the weekend! As much as I depend on air conditioning, I still hate the fact that we have to use it. There's nothing better than opening up all the windows and getting fresh, cool air in the house.

Keep Stitchin'!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Andrea In the Spotlight!

This was certainly a weekend to remember for my daughter, Andrea. Friday night was the big book unveiling at Border's. There were hundreds of teenage girls at this event. Suppose I was kind of shocked at the extent of the "Twilight" books' popularity. Andrea's short story won the store's contest and as her prize Andrea got the first copy of the book at no cost and a $75 gift card for the store. She was so stunned when they announced her name, she just froze. "Is Andrea here? " the store manager yelled. Andrea's buddies and I quickly yelled back and pointed her out, pushing her to the front of the line. What an accomplishment for her first competitive writing entry!

Then, yesterday Andrea got to meet an on-line friend from the Buckeye Lake area. She's been chatting with this girl for nearly five years - one of her first on-line acquaintances. The friend's mom drove over two hours to get the girls together. The mom and I talked a lot and we discovered that not only do Andrea and Alli share a birthday, April 9, but they were born in the same hospital. All four of us were in the same ward that Easter weekend 15 years ago! What are the odds of that happening?

DAISY UPDATE:
Sweet little Daisy is recovering from her trip to the vet's. Four teeth (not just two) needed to be extracted. The rest were cleaned and polished leaving Daisy with a set of choppers that are just as bright and shiny as the chick's teeth in the gum commercials on television. My check book, however, is recovering slower than our dog. Michael will remain clueless about the cost of the surgery. What he doesn't know won't hurt him

QUILTING? What quilting?
OK, not as much time as I wanted, but I did get some sewing time in this weekend. I finished the main part of the quilt top that I'm donating to our company's United Way silent auction. Then, I proceeded to start on the blocks for the Stash Pot Pie project that is due this Saturday morning. I have eight more blocks to finish before they all get sewn together. I've never missed having a top done for this class in eight months so I'm intent on getting this one done. Not sure about going to the guild meeting tonight - they're having an ugly fabric exchange and I haven't gone through my stash with that in mind. This may be one of those nights that I don't want to leave the house after I get home from work - I'd rather sew. But, there is no guild meeting next month, so we'll see....

Other diversions:
-I've read four of the Elm Creek quilt series now and will start the fifth book soon.
-The Reds totally stink and are preparing themselves as a sacrifice to the Brewers starting tonight.
-It's hot, humid and hazy in southwestern Ohio. No wonder August is my least favorite month.
-On a bright note - SCHOOL STARTS IN TWO WEEKS!!!!!
-The scarlet and grey thread search has ended, not successfully. The owner of the quilt shop nearest the Ohio State campus said she doesn't know of any thread manufacturer who has that variegated thread available. A lot of her Ohio State quilters used white/black/grey variegated thread for their Buckeye creations. Perhaps, it would be a good idea to get somebody to produce the scarlet/grey combo, she stated.

y'all have a great week!
Keep Stitchin'!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good News!

The pathology report came back just as predicted - a fatty tumor, benign! I am sooooooo relieved. Thanks everybody for all your positive thoughts and wishes. Perhaps I should celebrate by ordering more fabric? Yeah, that's the ticket!

It's so stinkin' hot here and from what I heard it's going to get even hotter by the weekend. Good time to just stay indoors with the air conditioning and get a lot of sewing done. Last night I started sewing the strips together for an Around the World quilt that I'm donating to our company's United Way silent auction. I also pinned half of the binding down on Turquoise Geese in preparation for the hand sewing.

Friday's an off day from the usual fun and frolic at the office. Personal day for the dog's dental surgery, my car's new battery and Andrea's Twilight book party at Border's. She's quite anxious to hear if she won anything in the short story contest. I'm hoping she did win - her story was a good effort for her first contest, plus if she wins, I don't have to shell out $30 for the new book she wants.

We haven't seen Bev and Martin for weeks, so Michael and I are going to meet them at an English pub in Norwood on Saturday night for brews and fish and chips.

BTW, if anybody reading this can help with this, I'd appreciate it: I'm looking for scarlet and grey thread to quilt my brother's Ohio State quilt. Does anybody know where I can get my hands on scarlet and gray variegated thread?

Keep on stitchin'

Monday, July 28, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend

...and it started in the outpatient surgery suite at Jewish Hospital. Suppose that was the "low" point of the weekend. The breast biopsy procedure wasn't all that painful - I've had dental work that's more painful. It's just the results of the biopsy that has the potential for being more frightening and sometimes mental "pain" is more of an anxiety causing agent. I should find out the results early this week. The physician's assistant who prepped me for the work and operated the ultrasound machine was a real help. She tried to keep my mind off the procedure and asked me what I was doing before I came to the surgery suite. "Finishing a quilt," I replied. "OH! I'm a quilter, too," she said. Thus began a lengthy conversation about quilting, fabric, patterns, etc. "Excuse me," the doctor said about half-way into the procedure,"I hate to interrupt your conversation, but I need Ann to do something," Stupid doctor, doesn't he know NEVER to butt in when we're discussing our addiction? LOL.

The family reunion was a lot of fun. I got to see cousins I haven't seen in years. One of my cousins is a few years younger than me and she's already a grandmother three times over! The party planners did a fantastic job of making everyone feel welcome and happy. They gave each family a small photo album of old photos, which I really treasure. Andrea was amazed - "I didn't know I had this many people in my family," she exclaimed. It's true they'll probably remain strangers to her, but at least she knows they're out there. I was blessed in that our families were still all based in southwestern Pennsylvania when I was growing up and my relationships with my cousins are amongst my best memories. Family gatherings like Saturday's were held at least once each summer, not every 15 years. But when one family's in San Diego, another in Houston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, etc., it's tough to get them all together. My cousin, Lisa, wasn't able to make it. That was the only disappointment I had.

Good to be back home though. All three of us missed our beds. And the pets were pleased to see us return.

I finished the quilting on Turquoise Geese last night. I'm very pleased with how it turned out and will post a photo once the binding's done. It took a little over a week to complete the quilting using the rotation system. If I can keep a quilt top loaded onto the frame at all times, I should be able to "catch up" soon.

Another work week. Ugh! At least it will be a short four-day one for me. I'm taking Friday off to accompany Andrea to her book club, take Daisy to the vet's for her dental surgery and get the battery in my car replaced.

Keep on stitchin'
Hugs,
Cathy

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rotation

I tried something new last night and I think it's going to work well for me in my efforts to get some of those quilt tops completed. For one hour, I'll work on a top loaded on the frame. Once that hour is done, I can switch to another piecing project and work on that for an hour. That gets my two hours in each day and "forces" me to finish some of those tops hanging in the closet. I'd like to get the quilting done on a variety of tops so I can handsew the bindings whilst I watch television or am somewhere away from the machines. Now, if I could just stick to this mid-year resolution. My New Year's resolution of not purchasing more fabric fell by the wayside a LONG time ago. There is no hope for me!!!!

Don't know if I've mentioned it, but the Bumpus house has been sold!! A young single man has bought it with help from his parents. They seem like very nice people and keen to get the place spruced up. The kittens the Bumpus family left behind are sleeping in the log pile and jungle gym over there, but Andrea and I have been feeding them for several weeks now. They're getting quite used to us and even let us pet/hold them. They hear our back door open and they run to us! It's so cute. Michael has agreed that we can keep them outside and he will build a cat shelter for them provided we get them neutered - all three kittens are girls. I'm searching for a low-cost place to get the work done - so far the best I can find is $40 per cat through the Humane Society. The mom cat? She's expecting another litter and we haven't seen her for a few days.

Keep Stitchin'

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Tidings

The biopsy has finally been scheduled - Friday at 1:30. That "pleases" my family to no end since our day trip to Lake Erie will be postponed. We'll still be able to drive to Akron for the family reunion on Saturday though. Honestly, I tried to get the procedure scheduled for Thursday, but they were already booked. I just want it DONE!

I got a lot of sewing done last night - on the frame and piecing. I finished the borders on the Care Bears quilt. Also, got the initial cutting done for the Quick Trip quilt I'm donating to the silent auction at work. That's not due until the end of September, but it's best to get it out of the way. I haven't even started the July assignment for Stash Pot Pie, but I do have the fabric selected.

Work hasn't gone well this week. One of my file assistants has been transferred to another area and it's causing a lot of upheaval with my largest producing office, me and the assistant involved. And frankly, my mind's not on the work.

I think I'll go fabric shopping at lunchtime. That's an answer to ANY ailment!
Keep on stitchin'!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Next Step

I need to get a breast biopsy. There, that's out in the open now! I feel better getting that off my chest. (LOL!) After two more mammograms and an ultrasound, the team at Jewish Hospital told me there was definitely a growth in the right breast that wasn't there a year ago. It's small (1 cm) and has all the appearances of a fibroadenoma - which are benign. So, more than likely they said that's what it is, but they still want the biopsy just as a precaution. Doesn't fill me with a lot of glee, but I'll get it done. I spoke to my mom on the phone on Saturday and learned she's had a lot of these over the years, so my genetic track record of re-tracing her history continues.

On Saturday, I went to a yard sale which was advertised to have loads of sewing things. The seller must of dumped a lot of it the night before 'cause there was little for me to sift through. I did find a couple of sewing books - for 10 cents each. Not worth driving 20 minutes to get there though! One never knows what you'll find at these sales.

The rest of the weekend it was so stinking hot and humid outside, it gave me a wonderful excuse to stay indoors and sew. I used the book I purchased from Quilt in a Day - Quick Trips - and pieced a baby quilt all in pinks with a mossy green border. Have to admit I'm very pleased with that. After a trip to Hobby Lobby, I pieced another baby quilt together with Care Bears fabric I found there. When I was bored with piecing, I worked on Turquoise Geese on the frame.

The Care Bears quilt demands an explanation. A friend at work had a baby girl earlier this year. Her husband informed her when she was four months along into the pregnancy that he was in love with another woman (her best friend!) and didn't want to stay married anymore. She didn't say a word to ANY of us here at this office until she returned after maternity leave and had filed the divorce paperwork. Keep in mind that they had just bought a house and have a three year old son, too. So, she's loaded down with a lot of responsibilities and her skunk of a husband is unemployed and living with his mom. We took up a collection at work to help her out a bit, but I felt like there was something more I could do. We didn't have a shower for the baby girl, so I thought a quick quilt would be a nice thing to do. I found out from another friend that the baby's room is decorated in Care Bears, hence the Care Bear fabric which I found at Hobby Lobby. Been searching for it for a month. I feel badly for my friend; she was absolutely nutso about that man. Just shows you how quickly situations can turn sour.

Stay tuned for more updates....
Keep on stitchin'!