Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday afternoon

Almost time to go home. We are going to have chef's salads for supper tonight. I have to stop on my way home to get a few groceries. The Sweedish Meatballs were very very good last night. The sauce was the best. I chopped up some onion real fine and used half in the burger mixture and sauteed the other half with some garlic in butter. Added boullion cubes and beef stock, then some cream cheese to make the sauce. mmm mmm good!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

View of the Ohio River

Here's part of the view we had from our cabin in Golconda. It's hard to imagine from this photo, but we were hundreds of feet above the river. It really was beautiful scenery. But scary if you don't like heights!

I haven't done any sewing since I got home. I did set my machine up and unpack everything in the sewing room. I've been pretty tired every night when I get home from work. After dinner is made all I want to do is sit down and collapse.

Getting a little concerned about this Swine Flu everyone is talking about. I work in a public office. I have my can of Lysol right next to my desk and have been washing my hands about a million times a day!

Making Sweedish Meatballs for supper tonight, with noodles, garlic bread, and salad. Last night I made chicken wraps. I took breaded chicken strips purchased from the grocery store deli and wrapped them up in large tortillas with beans, salsa, and cheese. Then put them in the oven for 20 minutes to crisp up a bit. They were very good with sour cream and tomatoes on top of them.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Back to work

I'm back from Paducah! It was a great trip. My friend and I went to a retreat center in Southern Illinois, then drove over to Paducah for the Quilt Show. We got to our rooms on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday morning we went to the show. There were quite a few people there and it was pretty hot and humid. We had a nice time, though. I bought some things I had really wanted to get, including a 60mm rotary cutter and some books from Billie Lauder.

We also went to Hancock's of Paducah and shopped for fabric. We did that on Thursday and on Friday we went to another fabric store in the area. I finished a top for a baby quilt and started another top while down there. It wasn't work for me to be sewing while down there. The room was large enough to set up both our sewing machines. I had brought a card table to put mine on and my friend used a table that was in the room. One of the days I was up sewing at 5:45 a.m.! We went out and were back by 3 in the afternoon, when I started sewing again. That day I sewed for 9-1/2 hours and loved every minute of it.

Now I need to concentrate on my darling son's graduation and party from High School and his orientation into college.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Last post before I leave for Paducah!

This is it! It's down to the wire now. I'm leaving tomorrow morning for the quilt show. Really excited to be getting away for a few days.

Last night I made a pressing board from a piece of plywood, batting, and muslin. I layered the batting on one side and covered it in muslin, then stapled it on the back of the board. Will be taking that with on our trip.

I stopped at Wal Mart and Aldi at lunch to get some goodies for the trip. Then I went to the library and picked up a couple light reads to take with.

It's going to be a fun time!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday before Paducah trip

Here's a picture of the blocks I'm making for a baby quilt. I thought it was cute, the dog and cat fabric paired with the bones and hearts.

The blocks are six inches each and the center of the quilt will be five by five blocks. Not sure what borders I will put on it yet.

I have all the snowball blocks done and ironed. I finished the nine patch blocks but still need to iron them. If I don't get them done before Wednesday, I will probably take the project to Paducah with me.

I say Paducah, but we are actually staying at a retreat center in Golconda, IL. It's on the Ohio River. In fact, in the pictures, the cabins are right on the bluffs, overlooking the river. I'm excited about going. I really need a break.

Last week darling hubby was on the midnight shift at work. That was terrible. He was so upset about his job and having to work midnights it just upset the entire household. He is back on afternoons starting today. We are all relieved.

I have been making lists of things that I have to do for darling son's graduation and enrollment in college. It's sneaking up on me! I think once I get back from my trip, I can concentrate on those things more.

I'm hoping to get inspired at the show. We will stop at the big fabric store there, also. When we went to Nashville a couple years ago we stopped in Paducah on our way through. I purchased the fabrics that went into the Tennessee August quilt I'm currently hand quilting. Those fabrics were inspired by the trip. In the quilt are a lot of bright oranges and reds. Since it was unbearably hot during that trip, the fabrics were fitting for the time.

Last night I made a beef roast with all the trimmings for supper. It was pretty good. Saturday night my darling husband took me out for pizza. We went with a couple of friends to a place over in the next town that serves food and beer. I was the designated driver, so I had soda, not that I would have drank much beer either way!

I was going to make homemade pizzas over the weekend, but put that on hold after we decided to go out Saturday. Maybe next weekend we will have them.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Darling son on guitar

I think there is a way to post a video on my blog, but I don't know how just yet. So, I was surfing the 'net and found a video my darling son had posted on YouTube of him singing one of my favorite songs. Here's the link: Hope you like it! (Oh and ignore my messy kitchen in the background!)

Friday, April 17, 2009

A long week finally over

This has been a long, stressful week. Darling hubby was on midnights and was very stressed out, in turn making everyone in the household stressed. Thankfully he will be returning to second shift next week. This is a good thing.

I did not get any sewing done this week at all. It seems that all I did was work, cook, and try to keep everyone from jumping down each other's throats. Tonight I'm treating myself to a hot bath when I get home and just making some Rueben sandwiches for supper. Then I'm going to go upstairs and cut the rest of the pieces for the baby quilt. I need to make a test block first so I don't get that all wonky, I guess.

Getting real excited about going to Paducah next week. I've started making lists of what I need to bring and have printed out directions and maps to where we are going.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Finished Mosaic Tiles

Darling husband started the midnight shift last night. He went to work at 11 and got home at 7. I was going to bed when he left and leaving for work myself when he got home. I just hope he can get some sleep today. I also hope these midnights don't last very long, but at least he has a job.

I finished the Mosaic Tiles baby quilt this weekend. My daughter wanted to give it to her boyfriend's little boy, so he took it with him last night. The boyfriend really seemed to like it. I hope his son does. The machine quilting didn't turn out too bad. I was pleased. Of course, I forgot to get a picture of the finished quilt before it left the house! agh.

We had a nice Easter. I made some Cornish Hens for supper last night. I also made mashed potatoes with some sour cream and shredded cheddar in them. I baked them with a little parmesan cheese on top just to finish them off. They were a big hit! We had some fresh steamed asparagus also. It was a good dinner.

Tonight I'm making fried pork chops. I guess darling hubby will eat before he leaves for work. This will take some getting used to.

I went to St. Louis to visit my grandma on Good Friday. We went to one of the fabric stores and I picked out some material to make a baby quilt from. Well, I picked out four fabrics, thinking I would make another pinwheel quilt, but then when I got home the material just didn't seem suited to go into pinwheels. I decided to raid my stash and see what I could pair with the new material and found some good fabrics. I am only using half of the new fabric and plan to use the other half to make another baby quilt by adding some of my stash material to it also.

I've decided to make a snowball and nine patch baby quilt. One of the new fabrics I'm using as a 'focus' fabric has the cutest pattern of dogs on it. That will be the snowball block. Then I have a coordinating fabric with little dog bones and hearts on it to use in the nine patch blocks. I got the snowball blocks cut out yesterday.

It's a rainy day here today. I am waiting for good weather to set out a few tomato plants. I would love to have a garden, but we don't have the room for it. I'm just going to put the plants in five gallon buckets, I guess.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I'm going to Paducah, whoopee!

Well, my friend had her surgery today and had the best possible outcome, so we will be travelling to Paducah later this month! I'm so happy!

I have a three day weekend. Tomorrow is Good Friday. I'm considering going to St. Louis to visit my grandma in the morning. Not sure yet whether I will or not. But if I do, I will go to JoAnn's while I'm there. I need to get the material for the baby quilt my mother wants me to make.

Don't really have plans for Saturday. Easter is Sunday. Going to my dad's for dinner at noon, but other than that, nothing planned. Kids are too old to hide eggs for. I bought them each new pillows, in lieu of Easter baskets. Thinking of making each of them new pillowcases for the pillows as part of their gift, instead of a 'goodie bag' like I have been doing for the holidays. I do however, have a couple pieces of chocolate for each of them. It wouldn't be Easter without a chocolate rabbit, you know!

I'm dreaming of living in the woods. This has always been a dream of mine. I have actually been looking at properties with wooded acreage. They are so far out of our price range that this is just fantasy, but it's nice to dream...

I'm reading a Debbie Macomber book right now. I enjoy her books. The library in the town where I work has a nice collection of hers, mostly in paperback, but that doesn't matter to me. I enjoy going to this library, one of the reasons being that they just recently acquired a library 'cat'. It's a real live cat named "Stacks". That cracks me up. The cat is friendly, too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Just a little more to go...

Here's a picture of the mosaic tiles being quilted. I just have a small area to finish, but haven't gotten around to it. Maybe tonight...

The quilting is just me practicing my machine quilting. I really liked the frog material on the back! I used yellow thread on the top and bobbin. It was the only thread, other than green, that I though would match. And I didn't have the right shade of green to use.

I dozed off on the couch last night during the Cub game (Cubs won, by the way!). My mom called me during my "nap" and asked me to make a baby quilt for her to give to a friend. At least I thought she did...I had to ask her via email this morning if she had really called!

Yes, she called and yes she needs a baby quilt. She doesn't know if it will be a boy or girl. I am thinking I will make another pinwheel quilt but I'm a little stumped on the colors to use. I guess I could go with yellows and greens, but they really don't do much for me. I need some ideas of what colors would be neutral for a baby.

This Thursday my friend is having her surgery. It depends on the outcome whether she will be able to go to Paducah or not. If she cannot go, I don't know what I'm going to do. I am really looking forward to getting away.

Last night we just had hot dogs and chips for supper. I picked up some broccoli slaw at Wal Mart's deli. It was a quick and easy dinner. I made macaroni and cheese and put the hot dogs under the broiler. Closest you can come to grilling out in the house. I like to run the tip of a paring knife around the hot dog in a lazy spiral. Then when it's under the broiler, it splits along that area and cooks up real nice.

Tonight I have some chicken strips thawed out to bread and bake or fry. Will make some gravy and heat up the leftover mashed potatoes from the pork roast. Again, nothing fancy but it will be a good dinner.

Monday, April 6, 2009

My Neanderthal Son

It's not the best picture in the world, but it's pretty neat. Darling son did a great job in the play last Friday. He really fit the part with his long hair. He's the one on the right, by the way! This was the curtain call.

I didn't get back upstairs to finish the baby quilt, but it's very close to being done. I just have two of the outer border sides to finish machine quilting on. Don't know what I'll do for a binding. Something happy and bright.

Last night I made a pork roast in the crock pot for supper. Saturday we had spaghetti. Tonight it's hot dogs and mac and cheese!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sweet Saturday

I finally started machine quilting the mosaic tiles baby quilt. I'm doing swirls and loops in the center and outer border. I did some lazy stars in the inner border. It's not perfect but it could certainly be worse.

Darling son let his car run out of gas and burned up the fuel pump. It was pretty old and ready to be replaced anyway, the mechanic said, but it was still an aggravation and expense we didn't need right now. Luckily, the mechanic we took it to was able to finish it right away this morning and will take payments. You don't find people like that just anywhere, we are very fortunate.

I put some spaghetti sauce on to cook this afternoon. It smells very good. I'm tempted to go to the grocery and get the makings for meatballs, but I've already been to the store once today and really don't want to go out again. The sauce has sausage in it, so there's enough meat in it without the meatballs.

Remember how I was not real enthused about making the purple pinwheel quilt for my coworker? She came in one day this past week and got her gift. She opened it at work and really liked it, which I'm glad. Then a couple days later she sends me a text message that her dad saw it and would love to have one in that pattern for himself and would I make one in a larger size for him? She would pay for it. I told her no, that I wasn't doing any commission work right now, but I was flattered that she and her dad liked my work.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. I was tossing around the idea of going to church today, but it's at the other Catholic Church tonight, not ours (the priest takes turns saying Saturday Mass at the two churches) and I really like to go to our church. It's where I grew up and made all my childhood sacraments. The kids have fallen away from going every week, which makes me sad, but I understand it. And darling husband will be going to the motorcycle safety course again tomorrow morning, so I will probably be going to church alone.

Well, I have an hour and a half before darling hubby gets home from the classes, so I think I will go up and finish the quilting. Then it will just need to be bound. I'm thinking of giving it to darling daughter's boyfriends' little boy, if I ever get to meet him.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Late night posting

Went to the senior play tonight. Darling son was great. I will post a picture soon. Too tired to mess around with it right now.

Darling husband went to a motorcycle safety course tonight. He has an old bike that we got fixed up and wants to ride to and from work (7/10ths of a mile from the house). I'm not nuts about him riding a bike, but don't really have much say in it, I guess. The safety class is all weekend. Three hours tonight, ten hours tomorrow and ten hours Sunday. I should have a lot of time to myself to sew tomorrow morning as both kids spent the night with friends tonight.

The plan is to machine free motion quilt the mosaic tiles baby quilt. I need to clear off the table behind the old Singer, but that won't be a big deal.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

More upbeat than yesterday

Okay, no politics today. It's a rainy Spring day here, not too cold or anything. I took a walk with a coworker on my break this afternoon and really enjoyed it.

Tonight is dress rehearsal for my son's senior play at school. I don't know if I will go tonight or tomorrow or both.

I picked up a few different things that I could make for dinner. It's a toss up between breakfast sausage and eggs, or chicken strips. I'm leaning towards the sausage and eggs.

Last night we had salisbury steak. It turned out good.

I didn't do any sewing last night. If I go to the rehearsal I probably won't get any done tonight and tomorrow night I won't because of the play. That's okay. I'll have to take the camera and get lots of pictures!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Not a happy post

I made it up to the sewing room and pin basted the mosaic tiles baby quilt last night. I'm using a green fabric with frog designs on it for the backing. That should make some little boy happy. The yellow in the top isn't really for a boy, but it's not a pastel yellow. And I think I am going to quilt it with yellow thread, just because that is what I have that will go with it the best.

My hesitancy to start free motion quilting on it is strong. I just am not confident in my ability in this area. It's just going to be a sink or swim situation and if I ruin the top, I ruin it.

Last night we all had something different for supper. The kids had toasted ravioli and garlic bread. I had some boiled ravioli, and made darling husband a frozen skillet dinner. It was supposed to feed two, but I think he may have eaten it all unless he put some away for his lunch at work tonight.

We still don't know what's going to happen with his job. It will be a couple weeks before the dust settles. I'm asking for prayers that he keeps his job, please.

I went to Aldi at lunch to pick up some ground beef for salisbury steak tonight. Today is the first day of the month. Someone needs to remind me NOT to go shopping, especially to Aldi or Wal Mart. They were packed with people.

The next part of my blog today is not quilt related. It is not upbeat. If you want to stop reading here, feel free. What it is, is a reality check.

I know I primarily talk about quilting and family on my blog, however, because it is weighing heavily on my mind, I need to vent about the state of the country. We are really in some desperate times. I work at the state unemployment office, not for the state, but for a training program. Our office, usually not very busy at all, has become very busy the past couple months. The county I work in has a 12.5% unemployment rate, I believe the third highest in the state. Last week another company in town closed it's doors, idling 52+ workers.

Coal mines have closed. Factories have closed. The remaining factories are closing, laying off or hiring only temporary workers, and at a lower rate of pay. What can we do? We need to come together and find a solution for these problems NOW. RIGHT NOW. As much as I am a proponent of green energy, and I truly am, I worry that may take jobs away from the remaining coal miners. However, I can also see that green energy may be able to work in tandem with fossil fuel. We need to open up the closed factories, put people back to work making parts for windmills, or solar panels. We need to get the auto workers that have been laid off back to work making 'green' cars. The people in power have lost touch with reality, sitting in their ivory towers. Our new president has to spur this into being. If anyone is reading this that can do any good at all to improve this situation, please do it. We have to think of a solution and get it moving FAST. And we have to work together.

This personal desperation of mine is mostly borne out of the uncertainty at my husbands place of employment, however I have known the situation was desperate for a long time, working where I do.

The actual lack of income would be difficult, the loss of insurance horrible. I've said this before. Unemployment insurance in my state without taking taxes out, combined with my income, would allow us to keep things going for a while. However, when you factor in the amount of insurance premiums we would have to pay, even at the 35% COBRA rate, that reduces the unemployment benefits by one third. And after nine months the COBRA rate goes up to 102%. Do the math. We would hardly have any income at all. There are too many people already facing these same issues. How long can it continue? Extensions of unemployment benefits can only go on for so long. We have to create jobs. And they need to be jobs that a person can work at and support a family on. Minimum wage gas station jobs and fast food jobs are fine, and are necessary for the economy. But a person laid off from a factory job, supporting a family that may have kids in diapers or in school or college cannot survive on minimum wage.

Any suggestions? Solutions? Comments? Leave me a note on this blog. I don't have a plan or know what I can do by myself, but with help I think we can come up with a solution. Let's not leave it to fate. And if you just want to leave a comment about your own personal situation, if it will make you feel better to vent, whatever, feel free.

We are Americans. We are not going to lay down without a fight. Let's take action before we are all too beat down to do anything. And pray God upholds us all through these difficult, but not impossible times.