Monday, January 30, 2012


Managed to spend a lot of quality time in the sewing room this weekend. I finished piecing the Betty Boop comfort quilt, created six 10-Minute Blocks for myself, pieced ten more 10-Minute Blocks with five inch squares - scarlet and grey - for my nephew's graduation quilt, and read on line about the 1600 quilts. That last idea is rather intriguing and I made give it a go soon But first I need to get some things quilted on the frame. As soon as payday arrives (tomorrow) I can purchase the backing for the comfort quilts I'm working on.

After church yesterday, my brother and sister-in-love invited me to accompany them to Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati. It was lovely walking around and looking at all the plants and flowers. Inspired me to come home and water my poor excuses for plants. LOL. Not really, but it was neat to see the conservatory's angel wing begonias looking worse than mine. My angel wings get battered around on a regular basis by the kitties.

As a special treat, I made a turkey breast with stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy and brussel sprouts for dinner yesterday. Andrea was ga-ga. "Best meal, we've had in a long time," she claimed. Lots of left-over turkey, so we'll have turkey tettrazini for dinner tonight. It is kind of hard to learn to cook for just the two of us. And I'll be honest, we probably have gone out to eat more often than we should have since Michael died. Slowly, but surely though, I'm cooking more. I made a chocolate pudding cake last week - one of my Weight Watchers recipes - and it lasted a week.

Speaking of Michael, the oddest thing happened to me yesterday while I was on Facebook. I was reading the comments from other folks on the main page, when all of a sudden Michael's name popped up - like I was receiving an instant message. But there was no message - just his name.

I was on You Tube for a bit on Saturday night - watched some of Michael's recordings - just to hear his voice again. When he made those videos I really did not like them - they sounded too negative to me. But now, I'm glad they're there, if anything just to hear him again. He had a lovely voice before pulmonary fibrosis destroyed his lung capacity. He used to phone me at work and I'd put him on speaker phone just so my friends could hear him too. Nice memory.

Love ya,

Friday, January 27, 2012

No Groovy Boards

Ah, the never-ending saga of the Groovy Boards. I got an e-mail yesterday from the shop owner - they still haven't been shipped. Don't fully understand why the latest delay, but I may have them next week. Yeah and piggies fly!

Despite all the work stacked on my desk at the office, I am NOT going there tomorrow. I need to spend quality time with my sewing machine.

Love ya,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ten Minute Blocks

Last night I met with my church's quilting group. There are a lot of nice things about this group: we share a similar faith, love quilting, and we learn something every meeting.

Our group leader taught Ten Minute Blocks last night. It uses 10 inch squares (layer cake pre-cuts) and only takes three seams to put together. Conceivably, one could piece a decent sized quilt in a REAL short period of time.

I was amazed how it worked and had three blocks put together in less than 30 minutes. With all the quilts I have to create for graduations, weddings, etc. this year, several of them just may be Ten Minute block quilts. I may even experiment with five inch blocks once I'm home this evening.

My dear friend, Mary, has asked me to create a quilt for her sister who is battling lung cancer. She wanted Betty Boop fabric to be the "theme" fabric. Further cementing my belief that one can find ANYTHING on EBay - that's where I found two yards of what I needed and the mailman delivered it yesterday. I have a really easy, nice looking pattern for a comfort quilt and that's what I'll start tonight.

Before quilt club, I had to venture into the craft room to fetch my sewing machine tote. A lot of Michael's things are also stored in that room. It's time to start mailing some items to his kids and figure out what to do with all the record albums. They're certainly not doing anybody any good where they are now.

Love ya,

Friday, January 20, 2012


My daughter's French Bulldog, Emma, has been my constant companion in the sewing room the last few months. During the evenings when her mistress is at work, Emma's presence has been a source of amusement and frustration at times.

You see, I'm one of those strange people who talk to their pets. Of all four of our family pets, Emma is the only one who seems to listen; she cocks her head and looks at me rather stupidly, but heck, she does listen. The cats? They never give me the impression they EVER listen - they're cats and they're known for ignoring their humans.

Emma has dragged all her toys and a fleece bed into the sewing room. If I get busy and don't hear her chomping on a chew toy or terrorizing the cats, I know she's wandered to the front door and wants outside. I have to drop what I'm doing, put a leash on the dog and take her out. Surely don't want that dog messing in the house -she smells!

Oh, my word, she does stink at times! I've never, ever had a dog fart as much as she does and they are d-e-a-d-l-y.

Except for the interruptions and the occasional smell, she's a good companion and she chases the cats off the quilts I'm working on. Once she and I have achieved our sewing goals for the night, we watch television together. Emma puts her head on my lap and rests....until her "mom" comes home.

The odd thing is until the last few months, I truly resented that I had to care for this animal whilst Andrea was at work. Somehow, this odd dog who snorts and grunts like a pig, eats like there's no tomorrow and has a mile-long stubborn streak has wormed her way into my heart. There's just something endearing about an animal who gets excited when the door to the sewing room is open and dashes into the room ahead of me.

I guess we're both happy to be in there.

Love ya,

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Update on Groovy Boards

I finally got a non-nasty e-mail from the shop owner. Apparently, he has "straightened out" (i.e. remembered to order) the long-anticipated Groovy Boards for my Avante. They should be here early next week. We shall see.....

Just finished piecing the last of the blocks for my "Sunshine and Shadows" quilt! I started this two years ago, my friends...with a lot of stuff in between. My design wall's not big enough for them all, so I suppose I'll wing it when I sew them together.

I had a lovely lunch with Linda S. this afternoon. We're going to put our heads together and make plans for a sew-in with a couple of other quilters later this summer or fall. It's been ages since we've done that. None of us can afford a fancy quilters' cruise or trip to California, so we'll make do with what we can - perhaps half-way between us all.

Love ya,

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Getting Better

Love those three-day weekends! I did not get a huge amount of sewing done, but I greatly enjoyed the time I did have in the sewing room. I'm close to completing all the blocks I need for my "Sunshine and Shadows" log cabin quilt. Excellent way to use up the scraps. I posted some shots of the design wall and my sewing room on my Facebook account. For some reason, I can't figure out how to post them on my blog using my new laptop - I'll get some help with that soon.

I went to the Community Center last night and had a fitness assessment, or in my case, lack of fitness. Well, at least it's a starting point. And like my doctor said, it's time for Cathy to take care of Cathy. I may try an exercise class or two in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for the details. The trainer who did my assessment recommended a few classes to start with: gentle yoga, water aerobics, and Zumba. That's in addition to treadmilling it twice a week (minimum). If I pack my work out gear in the car and go straight to the center after work, I'll have a better chance of getting it done. Once I'm home most nights, FORGET IT - I don't want to go anywhere else once I'm home.

Andrea and I went to see the 3-D version of "Beauty and the Beast" at the theater yesterday afternoon. Not like we haven't seen this film a hundred times on DVD, but the 3-D changes were truly special.

Other than the above mentioned activities, nothing really special or different about the weekend: laundry, some shopping, bit of cleaning, church.....The nice thing about my life right now - most of my free time I can CHOOSE what I want to do. Like yesterday morning, I slept in until 10 am! That is so unlike me since I'm usually up around 7 or 8 on my off-work days. But, you know what? It felt good to sleep that long and I must have needed it.

Love ya,

Friday, January 13, 2012

Damage Control

At 2:30 this morning, I was woken from a deep sleep by my daughter crying. Seems her ex-friend posted some bitter, ugly things about my daughter again on the ex's blog. Honestly, Andrea asked for it since she left a comment on the blog. But, the ex had no business writing Andrea's full name in capital letters. I advised Andrea to eliminate the blog from her favorites, don't go there again and do not respond to the lies. Also told Andrea that she's far better off without this creepy crud in her life. Better friends and relationships are ahead. Anybody and everybody who has grown up knows that in life relationships change all the time. Andrea's a very sensitive, caring girl who needs to develop "thicker skin", as Michael would have said. Keep her in your prayers.

I received an e-mail from the shop owner regarding my groovy boards. He wanted to confirm the patterns and number of the patterns I wanted. He's only had since September to remember this! GEESH! I was told he was going to make another effort to get these and would tell me later all the problems he encountered obtaining them. I really don't care about that - what I do care about is the weeks/months passing by with no communication. Makes it sound like I'm the one causing issues when he claimed he wants this completed.

It was also the first day I drove my VW Beetle in the snow. Wow! No issues at all; the snow removal teams in SW Ohio did a good job with the roads.

Another retirement quilt gifted today. My co-worker Steve is retiring. I've worked with him for ten years and he will be greatly missed.

Love ya,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blood Pressure

Just as I thought, my blood pressure was way out of line. My doctor prescribed some medication for that plus a mild anxiety drug. The great thing about the pills - I felt better 30 minutes after taking the things. It may be all "in my head", but I am feeling better. I'll take that any day!

Andrea appeared to be doing better last night when she returned from work. She has an appointment with her nurse practitioner today. Thank you for all your prayers and kind thoughts - keep 'em coming!

I slept much better last night.

Will report back soon.

Love ya,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Muddling Through

Nine months ago today I lost my best friend/husband. In a lot of ways, it seems like he died just yesterday. But, in many aspects, it's been a LONG nine months. There's this huge hole in my life right now that I've tried my best to fill with friends, family, church, quilting, etc. These activities are kind of like pouring sand in a sieve; passing right through the hole. One of these days though, I pray that hole will close up. It's going to take time, I've been told.

It does not help right now that I'm dealing with my daughter's anxiety issues. Her so-called best friend has ended their seven year friendship based on a lot of false accusations and bitter, hurtful words to my Andrea. Anybody who knows Andrea knows she's not capable of the things she's been accused of. But now my darling girl is suffering inside - on top of her already raw grief. As a mother, I'd like to literally smack the ever-living crap out of the x-friend. But, as a Christian and in respect to my girl, I'm doing my best to steer clear of the brat who has caused so much pain. I'm feeling a bit of sadness about it too - the x-friend was a fixture in our family for years - she even went on vacations with us and told me I was more of a mother to her than her own mom was.

On to other "scum" - still no e-mail communication from the shop owner regarding my groovy boards. Jennifer, if you're reading this, yes, I would like the name of the shop you deal with - it would be nice to deal with reputable people.

During all the drama of the last few days, I realized it was time to see my doctor about my blood pressure - it's been horrible the last few times I took it. So, I have an appointment this afternoon.

One of my quilting friends came over to the house on Saturday afternoon with a king-sized top. We loaded it on the frame, I showed her how to operate the Avante and voila - two hours later - she was done with the quilting. She was amazed. I finished piecing a top - a kit from Connecting Threads with the Parlor Pets line - need to order the backing for it now. I also dug out an old project I started two years ago- log cabin blocks from the Judy Martin book. The design wall is now filled with the blocks and I'm making more for a "Sunshine and Shadows" pattern - appropriate, eh?

Well, the sun is not shining today in southwestern Ohio, but it will again someday. Of that I am certain. I'm reading through the Bible again this year. The chapter in Genesis that I read yesterday had a verse which said God can do anything. I believe that and with that faith, I KNOW brighter days are ahead.

Love ya,

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dilemma Update

I e-mailed HQ and was told there is no backlog on most of their Groovy Boards and certainly no back log since September. OK- so I e-mailed the shop in Columbus again and the owner finally e-mailed me back. Oh, my word, was he ever angry. Told me that somebody at HQ was going to lose their job and accused me of questioning his integrity. I don't know what or whom to believe now.

What I do know is that I will NEVER, EVER order another thing from this shop in Columbus. I've never had this bad of an experience with any other merchant. Even Sears was better than this with the washing machine issues we had several years ago.

And it goes to show you that not everybody in the quilting industry is a nice person.

Love ya,

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Customer Service Dilemma

I purchased an HQ Avante last summer during an out-of-town quilt show. Part of the deal was an additional $500 worth of Avante supplies for free. And, yes, it was written in the contract. I've since used about $300 of the deal - purchased some items when the in-house instructor came to my house for my start up lessons.

Well, redeeming the rest has proven to be a nightmare. I went to the quilt show in Sharonville in September with the specific purpose of meeting with the shop owner at their booth to obtain the rest of my supplies. He wrote down the request since he didn't have the items there with him and promised to get back to me. When I didn't hear back, I phoned and left several messages. Once, I actually got to talk with the shop owner who assured me the shop had every intention of honoring their promise to me. Still, no action.

I e-mailed the shop around Thanksgiving. A few days later, I received part of my order - a stylus. Still no sign of the groovy boards I wanted. E-mailed again and the response was the HQ company is having difficulties with the groovy board manufacturer, the shop owner had dropped the ball, the company had forgotten about it too, etc. BUT, he wanted to assure me that I was not forgotten. This was three weeks before Christmas.

I still have no groovy boards.

Any suggestions? I'm about ready to drop the whole thing and order groovy boards straight from HQ to see if I was being fed a "line". But that means I have to pay for something I was already promised.

This whole situation has definitely made me think twice before doing business with a brick and mortar store. It's tons easier with my work schedule to feed my quilting addiction over the internet and the customer service I've received from various sites has been superb, including HQ. I like supporting small local businesses, don't get me wrong. But when they cannot meet their promises after repeated opportunities, they're losing more than one customer - they're losing their reputation.

Love ya,

P.S. I love my Avante!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Winter Begins

When is it a good day to snow? Answer: On a day off from work.

That's what happened yesterday - we received our first measurable snow fall and I had the absolute luxury of staying home in the morning. Good thing too - the roads were a mess most of the morning.

Spent the time packing away the Christmas decor and made the decision to purchase a new tree for the 2012 festivities. (The old tree served us well for 15 years for a $29 expenditure.) Once the packing was accomplished, I headed for the sewing room and got eight blocks finished for a lapsized quilt with a kit from Connecting Threads.

Once Andrea crawled out of bed I knew my "me" time was done. We headed out into the snow for a lunch at Chipotle and a movie, "We Bought A Zoo".

The rest of the day - watching television and finishing the binding for a wall hanging. Great day, all-in-all - relaxing start to the new year.

Love ya,