Monday, January 31, 2011

Ice Ice Baby

Nick got home okay, thankfully.  His late classes were canceled and he got on the road a little after four.  The roads were bad, he said.  I'm just glad he is home. 

While I was being a worry wart, I went upstairs and got busy.  I pieced the back for the baby quilt, then pin basted it.  Then I quilted it.  All I have to do is put the binding on it and Johanna can give it to her friend.   I don't expect to see her until the weekend so there isn't any big hurry or anything.

The ice has coated the tree branches.  Nick and I moved the cars to the back where there aren't any branches that could fall on them.  Been there, done that, don't want to do it again!  I'm just hoping we don't lose power!

Nervous Nelly

That's what I am right now, a Nervous Nelly.  The roads are getting bad with icy sleet coming down, and my son is still an hour North, at college, and not planning to leave for home until 7pm when his class is over.  I really wish he would come home now.  Our office let us go at 2 today because of the weather.  I'm doubtful I will be going to work tomorrow if we get all that is predicted.

I am going to go upstairs and sew.  Maybe if I get lost in that I won't worry so much.  I have the little half square triangles sewn into sections of four.  I need to add one more so that they are sections of five and that part will be done.  Still on the fence about how I'm going to handle the other part of the step.  It calls for making triangles to add to the border section, but I just don't like to make triangles and my machine does like to eat the corners of them.  Maybe I'll do a couple test ones and see how they turn out.

Got a small steak at the grocery store this morning.  Going to make it for Ev tonight with some fresh steamed asparagus.  He took meat loaf and mashed potatoes for his lunch at work.  I hope he gets to come home at regular time.  With the bad weather, you never know who will call off and he may be stuck there an extra four hours.

I have a load of wash in right now.  Going to go downstairs and check to see if there is any water on the floor.  I really hope not.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bright baby quilt

I thought I would show my progress so far on the baby quilt.  I cut flannel into 6-1/2" squares and sewed them together.  There are seven different fabrics and the top is seven squares by seven squares.  I sent Johanna a picture of it when it was just assembled in rows and she said "it looks huge!".  Well, at that time, I guess it did, but I really don't like to make tiny little baby quilts.  I like to make something that the baby can use into toddler-hood.

I also need to keep in mind that this will shrink up some as it's quilted.  Since this is just going to be a quick top, I'll probably just quilt in the ditch or something equally simple.  The backing is going to be the light pink material.  I may put a strip of the print across the middle of the back.

Oh, and I have to mention that I waylaid Nick's friend, Brent when they came upstairs.  He is the one holding the top up for me.  Brent just was the first one through the door.  He's happy because he found a job and starts tomorrow.  It's so hard for young people these days to get jobs.  I wish him luck!

We are supposed to get ice and snow over the next few days.  I went to the grocery store again today, this time taking my uncle.  He really didn't need anything, but I wanted to get him out of the house for a while.  He broke his hand last week and I thought he might have a little cabin fever.  Turns out he did get out last Friday, which is a good thing.  I just thought if we get this weather he may be stuck for a while.

Made a good dinner tonight.  Wanted Ev to eat something because he's not been eating with that cold.  I made two meat loaves, one for dinner tonight and one to freeze.  Also made mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn.  Was a really good meal!  I froze the second meat loaf, along with the leftover mushroom gravy, for another meal.  The leftovers from the first meat loaf I put in a container with some of the mashed potatoes for Ev to take to work tomorrow.  He will be in good shape for meals at work this week, as I put some of the chicken rice soup I made yesterday in containers in the freezer for him.

Changed the sheets tonight.  With Ev being sick, that's one thing I wanted to make sure I did over the weekend.  He helped me put all the quilts back on the bed, and then threw an additional blanket throw over his side!  He already has an extra blanket over his side of the bed, so this makes two.  I cannot imagine he will be cold.

I had washed all the quilts today.  That was three loads, with two quilts in each load.  Well, when I pulled the last load out of the washer, I noticed some dampness on the floor under the washer.  This is not good.  I don't know what happened, but I'm not going to stress over it.  It may be nothing.  I'm going to let it dry, then tomorrow night or soon, I will sit and watch a load and see if something is going on.  It could just be that the drain overflowed or something simple.  I hope, I hope... 

Sunday morning

Just got back from church and trying to get Ev moving to go to breakfast.  He's still got that lousy cold, but once he gets up and moving and gets something in his stomach, he usually feels better. 

I have got to get the sheets changed today.  I always think that all those cold germs hang out in the sheets and pillowcases, so getting fresh ones on the bed when someone is sick made sense to me.  I could be way off base on this, but either way, I will be changing them today.

I need to whip up a quick baby quilt and I'm thinking that I have some flannel that would work nicely.  After breakfast I'll get upstairs and have a look at what's in the flannel drawer.  It will just be something simple, but that's okay.

Don't really have any plans for today.  Just going to hang around the house.  We are supposed to have some bad weather coming in over the next three days.  I should get my car up to the car wash and get all the salt and grime off of it before the next wave comes through.  Mom had made an appointment that I needed to be at Gram's house for on Tuesday, but I think she's going to change it.  If we get the ice they are predicting, I wouldn't want to drive to St. Louis if I didn't have to!

Maybe next weekend Ev and I will go out with our friends Diane and Bill.  I would love to get down to Lotawata Creek for a meal.  I just love that place!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kitty's song

Did I mention that the cat, Cheetah, is home and on the mend?  He has to take one pill a day for ten days.  This is day three of taking pills, and he's really doing okay with them.  I have been just giving it to him the old fashioned way and puttin git in the back of his throat and then holding his mouth shut until he swallows.  So, to distract him, while I'm holding his mouth shut, tonight I was singing a silly little made up song.  And wouldn't you know it, that was the precise time my darling husband walked into the house from work.  He caught me singing to the cat.  I don't even think it phased him...  lol

I trimmed all the dogears off the tiny blocks upstairs and sewed some more pairs together.  Going to get through that step soon.  Johanna asked me to make a baby quilt for a friend of hers if I fee like it.  I'd like to make up a quick one.  Might even use one of those cheater panels I picked up at Salvation Army the other day.

Nick and I went to Cavataio's for dinner tonight.  He had a pineapple pizza and I had a half order of spaghetti.  I know I went over my daily points but I still have plenty of the extra weekly points.  Made a pot of chicken rice soup for Ev.  He requested it, since he has had that cold.  Luckily he is starting to feel better.

Icicle, icicle!

When we had our house sided about ten years ago, after a hail storm, we had new gutters put on at the same time.  The outfit that did the work did a lousy job hanging the gutters and they have always leaked.  Here's a pic of a group of icicles that formed on some vines.  Yes, I know I should get rid of the vines...  This morning I was sitting in the front room and heard something that sounded like ice falling, so I'm thinking the icicles are breaking apart and hitting the ground.  It's not quite as cold today, so we will probably see some melting before the day is over.

Ev is still sick with a lousy cold/flu.  He's supposed to work today, so I'm hoping he gets to feeling better before he has to go in!

Nick's still sleeping in the sewing room.  When he rolls out of bed I guess I'll go do some more sewing on RRCB.  I need to go get the little pieces that need clipped and do that while he's still asleep.

Johanna and Ben stopped by last night.  I was making some chocolate chip cookies and they ate about a cookie sheet full before they left!  That's okay, that's what I made them for!  I froze the rest and have them marked as to how many points plus they are on Weight Watchers.  If I want a treat, I can just grab one.  So far, I have been good and only eaten one.

I have those samples from that drapery place and I saw a quilt that I think they would work well in.  It's a strip quilt that uses colors alternating with a constant (in this case it was bright colors alternating with black for a stained glass effect) and then also had the constant in between the strips.  It would work up fairly quickly I think.  May have to try that.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A little here and a little there

I sewed a little bit on the RRCB.  I put together 200 half square triangle blocks into pairs.  Would have done more but Nick came home and wanted to be in the sewing room with his friend on the computer.  He's gone now, but I'm ready for bed.

Sure am glad tomorrow is Friday.  Ev woke up with a cold this morning.  I'm hoping he feels better for the weekend.  I hate to see him sick.

Tonight for dinner I made a spaghetti squash.  I baked it in the oven.  Only ate half of it with some spaghetti sauce on it.  It was really good.  I'll be eating it again.  Made Ev some turkey enchiladas.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tell me again why we have a puppy?

 Tell me again why I have a puppy?  She has once again proven that she is a mouth with a dog attached...  For reasons known only to Ivy, she chewed up my quilting journal!  It always was sitting out where she could get at it and she always left it alone.  Then one day, chomp, chomp, chomp.  She pulled the cover off of it, chewed some pages inside, chewed the binding...  Well, I guess she just likes to devour a good book.  haha.

I found a pattern on the web for a cover for regular old composition books, even though I don't really need a pattern for something like that, it was nice to have a few measurement guidelines.  I made one cover and am going to use this as my new quilting journal.  I think I might keep it put out of Ivy's reach...wherever that is!

I found composition notebooks in the clearance aisle at Wal Mart for fifty cents, so I picked up a few and will make covers for them and give them away, I think.  The cover I made isn't quilted, but it is lined.  I might try and make a couple quilted covers.

I stopped at the thrift store on my lunch hour today.  They had several rolls of drapery type fabric standing up in a couple barrels.  I found some that will make nice throw rugs.  I'll just use some denim or muslin or something plain for the backs of them and maybe put some batting between the layers.  Hopefully Ivy won't eat them!

Cheetah Bear came home today from the vet.  It's good to have him back by my side.  He's better than a hot water bottle for keeping me warm sometimes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Just another Tuesday

Not a very interesting day here, at least not in my little corner of the world.  Nick got his new glasses and likes them.  He looks good in them.  I hope they stop the headaches.

Washed and dried the one quilt from my bed.  One of the reasons I washed it to begin with was that it had a lot of dog hair on it.  Well, when I took the lint trap out of the dryer after the quilt was done, I think there was enough hair to make a small dog a coat in it!  With all the hair the animals in this house shed, I'm surprised they aren't all bald!

Cheetah will be able to come home tomorrow.  He has either a bladder or kidney infection and they are giving him antibiotics.  Hey, for an eleven year old cat he is faring pretty well.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cold has me zapped

I have really become a wimp.  This cold weather has me quite zapped of energy.  I did take a walk today at work on my break.  It felt good to get out for a few minutes.  While we were walking, we saw an opossum in one of the fields.  He was walking like the snow was just too cold on his feet, it was funny to watch.  I've never seen an opossum out in the daylight like that and I wonder if it was sick.  It wasn't very big, so maybe it was just young and stupid!  haha.

Made Ev a couple of chicken bacon ranch sandwiches for dinner.  Nick was at school late and I had a frozen chicken and pasta dinner with salad and cooked carrots.  Trying real hard to get back on my diet.  Gotta do it!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bad news Bears

Football is over in Chicago until next season.  Sigh.  Guess we will watch the Pro Bowl next weekend and the Superbowl the weekend after that.  Would have been nice to be in it but there's always next year!

I did quite a bit of laundry today.  It seems like it is never ending.  I have a load of colors in the dryer, towels in the washer, and two more loads to wash, but I'm just plum tuckered out!  The last two loads are sheets and a quilt, so that can wait until tomorrow, and I had already washed two loads of towels, so we have enough for a few days.  I'll throw them in the dryer tomorrow when I get up.

Tomorrow Nick has classes late, so if I'm not too beat when I get home maybe I can get some more of RRCB done.  The only sewing I did today was to shorten a pillowcase.  I picked up a flannel pillow case at the thrift store that was king sized, so I just shortened it a bit.  Saved the scrap and turned it into a towel for the kitchen.

Just a bit more snow

Overnight we had a little more snow.  I'm not sure how much, but it was enough to dust over the cars.  Maybe even an inch.  I just haven't been outside yet to tell! 

Went over to my dad's last night to play some board games.  Had fun playing 'Sequence'.  There were six of us playing on three teams.  We played four games and my team won two.  The other teams won one each, so when it got down to the last game to break the tie, it got real fun.  My one brother, Bill, was trying his darndest to win, so I gave him a little ribbing about it.  They also played 'Tripoli' which seems like a real fun game.  I sat out on that one.  Johanna and Ben came to our house with Jonathon so I ran home to visit with them a little bit.  Jonathon is getting so big and he's so smart and cute!  When I came in the door he was sitting on the couch with Ev and came running to me for a hug!  My heart just melted.  So we sat in the kitchen for a bit and he had some grapes, vanilla wafers, juice, and a little bit of turkey.  Later he wanted and apple so I sliced that up for him, too.  He took a little bag of fruit home with him.  It was a nice visit.  He can say our last name very well, which pleases Ev especially.  Oh, and he and Ivy got along real good!  He would tell Ivy to 'sit' and then give her a doggy treat (or piece of turkey!) and she was his best friend.  Wrigley kind of stayed in the background still, but she is getting a lot better around company.

So I don't know how it happened, but the cord to charge my computer had a place in it that was almost completely cut through.  I'm thinking it got closed in a drawer on accident, but don't really know.  I'm sure it wasn't the dog, because there are no bite marks, it's a clean slice.  I noticed it because the velcro cord wrap was hanging up on it and actually sparking!  I noticed it last night, luckily, before it could do some major damage.  This morning I got out the trusty electrical tape and did the best job I could on it.  I think it will be okay, but I am going to watch it carefully.  Probably price a new cord, and if they aren't too much, will just go ahead and get one.  I don't like to take chances with electrical things.

Going to church soon.  Today Mass is for my Grandmother who passed away in January 2004.  It's hard to believe she has been gone for seven years.  What is more unbelievable is that her house has stood empty all this time.  When she passed, it was left to my dad and his sister.  My aunt wanted the house so she bought out my dad's portion.  And there it sits.  Empty.

After church we will go to breakfast and then...GO BEARS!  The Bears are playing Green Bay today in the playoffs (did you say playoffs?) and we are all pumped up for it around here, that's for sure!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Turkey today

I took a turkey bird out of the freezer yesterday and have had him defrosting in the sink under running water.  Going to make that bird with all the trimmings today for dinner, then tomorrow have those yummy sandwiches with the blue cheese and onion and turkey!

Here's the sawtooth star block I made yesterday.  When I looked at the pattern again, I realized this was the same pattern I used to make my brother and his wife their wedding quilt.  I guess I like this pattern alot!

Here's all my half square triangles all neatly stacked in stacks of 100.  Last night I started sewing them together in their little groups of five.  Those danged dog ears are what aggravates me!  I'm sewing them together in pairs, then will sew the pairs together and add one on the end.  I have to remember to not sew all of them together in pairs or I will be frogging them to get single squares back to make the groupings of five! 

I have been debating with myself about the next part of the mystery.  It is to cut many triangles using the Easy Angle ruler and sew to the ends of another piece already constructed.  I am not a big fan of that particular ruler and prefer to do things with triangles differently, however, these particular triangles need to have straight of grain, not bias, on a particular edge.  If I changed up the directions and did it the easiest way for me, that would not be the case.  What I'm trying to avoid is making triangles in the first place.  The strips the triangles would be sewn to are going to become the borders when sewn together and I was thinking of just sewing squares to the ends and then making the edge pieces into triangles after they were sewn.  That leaves a bias edge on the outside and that really is a recipe for disaster, so I'll just bite the bullet and make them using the Easy Angle.  My machine is touchy about sewing those stinky little triangles, too.  Ugh.  I know the end product is worth it.  Kinda like labor...only without stretch

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chain piecing

I started sewing step 6 of the mystery.  It's sewing those 600 pieces into strips of five.  I'm chain piecing them.  I have about half of them trimmed of their little dog ears.  Did that while watching t.v. for a bit. 

I did take a little breather from them and made a block to send to a Stashbuster friend.  I made a sawtooth star block out of some nice purple colors.  Will post a pic soon.

Took Cheetah cat to the vet but didn't get any results.  Have to take him back Monday morning.

Very cold here.  It was -3 when I went to work this morning.  brrr!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

601 Done

I have finished pressing all 600+1 half square triangles.  Life is good.

I made a soup tonight that was pretty good.  It was a noodle and bean soup without meat in it.  I think Nick will like it too.  While blog surfing a few days ago I found a recipe for it, but didn't follow it exactly, just used it as a guideline to make this one.  It has spaghetti noodles, white kidney beans, chick peas, lentils, onions, and a lot of different spices.  Crushed red pepper, bay leaf, dill, parsley, cilantro, celery flakes, season salt, and pepper.  Was pretty good.  I don't think Ev will care for it because it doesn't have meat in it.  I made him a plate of pork, gravy, corn, and noodles. 


Here is a pic of the plotchkas.  They aren't pretty or anything, but they are yummy!  I took this pic when they came out of the oven.  Good thing, too, because there is only one left!  heeheehee.  I think I replicated Mammy's recipe pretty closely.  I will warn you, if you make these, they have a bite to them.  Nothing is in them to cut the sharpness of the kraut.  That said, it's the way I remember them being.  All this is, like I said in the previous post, is leftover kraut and a couple heaping tablespoons of flour.

I pressed some more of the half square triangles.  I still have about 200 of them left to press.  I'm not going to trim the dog ears until I sew them together into the next step.  The thought of sitting down and clipping all those dog ears is mind numbing, let alone will probably give me hand cramps for a week.

Here's a guy on Main Street on a little tractor with a scoop.  Our town usually has angled parking on Main Street, but when we get snow, the plow will pile it in the middle of the street and people will park parallel until the snow in the middle is removed.  This guy is helping remove what's in the middle.  Up ahead is another city worker removing snow with a scoop.  Hey, small towns do what they can to get the job done, right?

Ev and I went to Sunset for lunch, just to get out of the house for a bit.  The drive wasn't bad, but I was real glad I didn't go to work.  In fact, I'm sorely tempted not to go again tomorrow, but I don't think I will cave in to that temptation.  I have the time to take but I think I'll save it for another time.  I will have to leave a little early tomorrow because the cat has an appointment with the vet.

I'm not going to do any cooking tonight.  I made that pork roast last night and there's plenty of it left.  Well, I might make some potatoes to go with it, or noodles, but that's about it.


I don't know if that's the correct spelling or not, because I'm not sure if it's even a real word, but plotchkas are a food from my past.  When my great grandmother made Sunday dinner, which was every Sunday, we always had sauerkraut.  Always.  Mammy would make a lot of kraut so there were always leftovers.  With the leftover kraut she would make plotchkas.  Now, before you go 'eeeewwww grosss' at what I'm going to describe next, just keep an open mind...  Plotchkas are somewhat of a sauerkraut cookie.  They are bigger than a cookie and not sweet.  All they are is leftover kraut and some flour.  I think.  See, there isn't a written down recipe for plotchkas.  They are about 4" in diameter, give or take, and maybe 3/8th's inch thick.  You just pat them into a circle and flatten them out.  Then put on a baking sheet and put in the oven.  Now, I'm baking them at 350 for half an hour and I THINK that should be the right amount of time.  They should be nice and crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside.

I have to add a side note that the sauerkraut my family eats is not your straight out of the can variety.  Mammy used to can her own kraut, and I have done so in the past, but don't anymore.  When we make kraut for a meal we add some of the drippings from the roast or whatever meat we are having at the meal, and usually some caraway seeds.  The first time my husband saw caraway seeds in the kraut he asked if they were cabbage bugs!  So, you aren't starting out with something bland and white when you make plotchkas, you are starting out with kraut that is nicely flavored and seasoned.

I'm debating whether or not to take my great uncle a plotchka.  Remember, this was his mother that made them, so they are part of his food memory also.  But I only made 4 this time, so I'm not sure if I will be taking him one or not...  Sorry Uncle Ray...

I'll get a picture of them up before the day is out.  Well, that is if they turn out!

Snow day!

I got my wish! We have about five inches of snow and it's still snowing. I'm not even going to attempt to drive to work today. I have put my sweat pants on and a heavy sweatshirt and have camped out on the couch with the electric blanket, a cup of hot tea, and ivy stretched out next to me! I think I'll play on the computer for a while, then roust Nick into moving from the sewing room so I can get in there and do some fun stuff.

Johanna's classes were canceled due to the weather and Nick doesn't have class on Thursday, so no one needs to go out this morning.

The fire whistle in town went off a few minutes ago, signaling a call for the fire/rescue squad. My guess is they will be responding to a wreck on the highway. Probably hear a lot of that today.

Supposed to take Cheetah to the vet today at 1:45 but I may have to cancel that. If the roads don't get cleared, I'm just staying put.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Let it snow

The snow started here about half an hour ago. The roads have a dusting over them already. I sure hope it snows a lot so I can play hooky and not feel guilty! I'm so glad Nick doesn't have to go to school tomorrow.

Made a nice pork loin roast for dinner tonight and a good amount of gravy. I'll have a lot of leftover meat and gravy to freeze. I might use some of the leftover roast in chimichangas or something like that.

Cut apart another swatch book tonight and separated out the cotton from non cotton pieces. A friend at work would like the non cotton pieces, so I'll take them to her as I cut them out. I'm thinking now I might make a scrappy house quilt with the pieces. Just not sure yet.

Johanna and Ben stopped by tonight. She got a new job and needed some black pants that she had here in her room. They didn't stay long, but it was nice to see them.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday that felt like Monday

I guess that's the price we pay for having a day off at the beginning of the week. The next day feels like a Monday! Oh well, at least it's a short week.

Made Ev a hamburger dish for supper. I had a cup of homemade lentil soup from the freezer and a three ounce turkey burger. It was pretty good, really.

Tonight I had to do some laundry, as the basket in the bathroom was overflowing. When I went to sort through some of what was on the floor, I found one of Ivy's rawhide bones hiding in the pile of dirty laundry! Last night when Donna was over, Ivy tried to bury Donna's coat in the couch cushion. I think that dog has a bit of obsessive compulsive disorder.... I had to change out my pillowcases because she hid something under them during the day. It's not that there was anything left under them, she had long since moved whatever it was, but the pillowcases had streaks of blood on them. Ivy has a scratch across her nose, and I guess she must have scraped it again to make it start bleeding when she was on the hunt for hiding places! Oh well, not a big deal.

I keep thinking about those swatches of material I got from the drapery place. The material is a mixed bag when it comes to the weight of it. If I stick with swatches primarily out of one swatch book, I should be able to keep the weight fairly consistent. What I'm thinking of doing is making a quilt with one constant color, probably a neutral, and alternating with the swatch colors. I don't know, though. It might be too boring.

I did get 100 of the 600 RRCB half square triangles pressed yesterday. That was something, at least. Didn't do anything on it tonight. Too beat from work. It was a busy day today!

The weather people are predicting a snowstorm tomorrow evening. I wouldn't mind a good snowfall.

Monday, January 17, 2011

MLK day

Hopefully I can get my son up and out of the sewing room at some point before noon today. I would like to move forward on the Roll Roll Cotton Boll mystery. I need to press those squares but I'm thinking I will go ahead with the sewing part on the next clue and press the squares in between times when I can't or don't feel like getting upstairs.

So I made those burritos last night for dinner, with the intention of using the extra cooked sausage in more burritos for Ev's lunch at work today. I get up this morning, and there's the bowl the extra sausage was in, empty, on the counter. I guess Ev got hungry last night after I went to bed and had a snack! We will be doing a little running around this morning, so we can stop and get more. I used Farmland's Pork and Bacon flavored sausage and it was very good.

This afternoon we are supposed to get some rain. It's supposed to turn to snow, later. I would like to see the rain come and wash away all the old yucky snow we have had on the ground for a while now, then see a nice new layer of snow fall. It's supposed to get into the 40's, so I think it's a safe bet that the snow on the ground now will be melted soon.

Been eating a lot of fruit. On the new Weight Watchers plan fruit is a 'free' food. You can eat as much fresh fruit, or fruit in water, as you like. One day last week I think I ate 6 clementines throughout the day!

I changed out the bed linen yesterday and as I was remaking the bed I got to thinking about all the time there was spent in making all the quilts that are currently on my bed. There is the quilt my grandmother (who will be gone 7 years this coming Sunday) and I made when I was 17. My first real quilt making venture.

Then there is the 'chicken scratch' purple and white gingham that the same grandmother made for me. She made one for each of her 'girls'. It's a nice big quilt too, just like my first quilt was.

Also on the bed is Ev's double nine patch. It took a long long time to hand quilt that puppy, but once it was done, it got pride of place on the bed and never left! Consequently, it is now showing a lot of wear. Being washed every couple weeks has faded it, and the puppy has caused a few patches to be placed on it.

There is the hand stitched trip around the world quilt, that really is more of a throw sized one, but Ev likes it so much it is on the bed, over mostly his side (he gets colder than me at night). I hand stitched that one in some really neat ways, each square had it's own designation as to what design it would get. For example, the green colored squares got a swirl in them, representing the movement of grass. The red squares got hearts stitched into them for love. The orange squares got a sun design in them for the sun. The purple squares got a cross for our Lord's passion. Blue squares got a flower in them. Black squares got a star in them just like stars in the night sky. There were a few more designs, but I can't think of them right now.

The only machine quilted one on the bed is a quilt as you go string block pattern. It was one that I started out doing the exact same geometrical patterns in each block, then got tired of that and made all kinds of different designs on the blocks. After I pieced it together, I stood back and looked at it and thought about how the squares represented life in a way. The ones that were geometrically the same reminded me about how they were boring to make, but 'safe'. No adventure in them! That, to me, represented the normal everyday times in my life. The other squares, the ones with the free motion designs in them, fun to make, or frustrating to make, some crooked, some graceful, all different, represented the times in my life when it might have been chaotic, but I still came through. Those times, interlaced with the everyday times, are just the way things go.

Enough philosophy for the morning! Ev's up and we are going to breakfast!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Not so lazy Sunday

Had a productive day. Yesterday I had cut apart all those little blocks, which took four hours, by the way. Today I pulled all the papers off, which took over three hours. I did it while the Bears were playing football and it took the entire game to get them all finished! Now, to press and trim! yay...

I made breakfast burritos for supper tonight. It wasn't my old recipe. I put scrambled eggs, cooked sausage, cheese, and salsa. I grilled them for Ev, then made some without meat for Nick and I. Put black beans in ours. Were pretty good eats.

I don't have to work tomorrow. Sure will be nice to have an extra day off.

Just don't look in the trunk!

Sigh. I went to that shop and came home with a trunk full of drapery samples. Luckily for me, the fiber content was printed on a tag on the end of each swatch, so I was able to pick out the mostly cotton books. There are some really neat fabrics, and it's like each book is it's own little collection. There are a couple particularly bright collections that I am already imagining quilts made out of! I think what I will do is bring the books in, purge the non cotton fabrics, and then let my imagination wander!

I just got home from being uptown at the tavern with Ev and Johanna and Ben. Ev wanted to take her out for a beer at the local tavern he goes to and wanted me to go with. I am not a bar person. I can count on one hand the amount of times I have been in a bar, other than for a meal, in the last twenty years. It's just not my thing. Well, I went with them, but drove separately so I could come home when I wanted to. I had a nice time. I did order a beer, but only drank about a fourth of it. That's about my limit for the year! Then I had a soda, and after that I was pretty much ready to go home. Saw a few friends there and talked, but I was glad to leave. I am just not comfortable in bars. Never have been.

I made another cheesecake today for the guys here. I had a very very small piece and it was good. I also made a pot of chili for dinner. That was pretty good too. I have a container of crushed red pepper flakes that I picked up at the Amish store when we were there last. I used them in it. It gives the chili a good flavor. I want to make sure I get more of them when I go back to that area.

I cut apart all the half square triangle blocks. Now I have to remove all the little papers, press them, and trim the dog ears. No problem. I'll get right on that... Sigh.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Early morning jaunt

Okay, I'm out of the shower and ready to roll. Everyone else is still asleep and I think I'll just sneak out and go to that shop to look at the fabric swatches. If I'm lucky, when I get home Ev will be up and ready to go to breakfast/lunch! My mother asked me yesterday if all I thought about was food... sigh. She may have a point....

Friday, January 14, 2011

A few things that make me smile

Wouldn't you love to be a cat, just for a day? Look at that lazy guy, all curled up, not a care in the world! He sleeps with his head upside down sometimes and it just makes me smile.

Something else that makes me smile is this great dinner I had! I made homemade veggie burgers again, put some fat free sour cream with herbs and spices on top, steamed some broccoli and baked some fries. It was yummy and healthy! I realized this evening that I did not eat any meat at all today and didn't miss it, either! I'm not turning into a vegetarian, just find I don't have a taste for it as much.

Speaking of vegetarians, here's my son, preparing his dinner of veggie burgers. I added hot sauce and olives to his burgers, something he likes and I'm not a fan of. Well, hot sauce I like, but definitely not olives! I wonder if all vegetarians wear plaids and stripes together? He has inherited my lack of fashion sense, that's for sure. I don't think he went out of the house like that. He is just trying to stay warm.

One thing I really like about snow, and I think about it every morning when I go out the door to work, is the way it crunches and squeaks under foot. Only a certain kind of snow will have that squeak, or maybe it's only when the temperature is at a certain point that it will do that. Anyway, it's something else that makes me smile.

There is a store that makes custom window treatments that is giving away all their sample books. The gal said each booklet has tons of fabric samples, enough to make a couple of squares from each one, and if I wanted any, I was welcome to come down tomorrow and pick them up. I think I will do that first thing. I hope the material is not all drapery fabric, that there are some usable cottons in it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cheesecake revisited

Sigh. I thought I was done making cheesecakes for a while. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men. My great uncle's birthday is today. I think he turned 84. Anyway, I thought he just might like a cherry cheesecake for his birthday instead of the traditional cake. I came home at lunch and whipped one together. It was still in the oven when I had to go back to work, so Ev took it out for me when it was time. Then, when I got home tonight I took it over to him. It was early, around 5, and I offered to take him out for dinner, which he accepted. We went to Crossroads Diner, which is a local dive (oh, and I mean dive... the wall paper is quite easily older than I am). He knew that tonight was the pork chop special and really got going on it. He had three pork chops and took another one home! They serve family style, so we had good portions of green beans and mashed potatoes also. It was a good meal and I feel good about taking him out. No one should have to eat dinner out of a styrofoam box, alone, on their birthday! And I don't think I went too far over on my points. I had my pork chop grilled instead of breaded and fried.

So since I made the house smell all cheesecake like, Nick and Ev both loudly complained at the unfairness of having to smell the aroma and not get to eat any cheesecake. I'm such a sucker. I picked up the ingredients for another cheesecake and plan on making it tomorrow night for the guys. That should make them happy.

I'm procrastinating on cutting all those triangles apart and pressing them. It's just such tedious work to me. But, if I want to move on to the next step in the mystery, it has to be done. Maybe tomorrow I will work on them while sitting in front of the t.v. I want to get over to the thrift shop and find a nice basket that I can use to put them in as I'm working on them.

I made Ev a couple nice juicy cheeseburgers for supper. Nick was giving lessons and picked up something to eat before he came home. I did have that oatmeal from McDonald's for breakfast today. MM MM Good!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Race to the finish

It's no secret that the machine I sew on is an old model. It has metal gears and likes to be oiled on a regular basis. So, I'm upstairs this evening, sewing away on the triangle papers and I hear this 'click, click, click' sound. I stop sewing and the sound stops. I start sewing again and hear it again. It doesn't sound like it's coming from the machine but that's the only thing running in the room. Or so I thought. The next time I hear it, I look behind me and on the floor is Wrigley. She is sleeping and when the machine motor runs, she runs in her sleep. See where here back paws are? They are touching the metal leg of a table and when she 'runs' in her sleep, her toenails go 'click, click, click' on the leg of table!

Here's the stack of papers and material all sewn together. There are 25 sheets of triangle papers all ready to get cut apart.

Here's what they look like on the back. I kind of like the way the thread makes a pattern. It looks like a heart to me, or a ribbon tied into a bow.

Do you ever get antsy to finish a spool of thread just so you can start another one? Well, I'm down to the last part of what was once a large cone of thread and I'm anticipating starting that brand new cone that's still in the plastic wrap.

I made clam chowder for dinner tonight. I'm back on my weight loss program and made sure I saved enough points so I could have some for dinner. It was very good. I had a chef's salad for lunch today. One of my new favorite things for breakfast is McDonald's new maple oatmeal with fruit in it. I think I will have that tomorrow morning for breakfast.

While sewing tonight I had the television on. President Obama was speaking at the memorial service in Tuscon for the victims of the shooting. My heart and prayers go out to the families and community. It's heartbreaking. I can't even begin to imagine.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rabbit tracks

Look closely at this picture and you will see bunny tracks in the snow. We had about four inches of snow overnight and when I went out to my car to go to work this morning there were bunny tracks in the yard. I hope those bunnies have found someplace warm to hunker down tonight because it's getting really cold out there!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weekend almost over

Almost time to hit the sack. Had a busy day. We went to breakfast at Sunset. Had a nice lazy breakfast and when it came time to pay our bill the waitress said it was already paid for! Someone we didn't know had paid our bill for us, saying he was just paying it forward. Someone had done it for him and he was returning the favor! Wow! Ev was floored by it. I was pleasantly surprised.

We went to Rural King after breakfast. I got another pair of soft socks like I bought yesterday and liked so much. Also got the dogs some big rawhide bones. Ivy is still working on one of them, and it's ten hours later.

We went to Maryville and then to Fast Eddies. Took Johanna there for her 21st birthday. Had a nice time.

I pressed the material for the 600 half square triangles, then pinned the paper cheater sheets to the material. Then cut apart the material. I sewed five of the 25 sheets tonight. I am not looking forward to having to press all those little suckers!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lazy morning

Haven't done much yet this morning except take a shower and get dressed. Ev's still asleep, but when he gets up I guess we will go get some breakfast and run over to Rural King. We are out of dog food and they sell the kind we buy. I am a big fan of Hill's Science Diet products. I totally believe that feeding Nakia their product all those years is what kept her around. When she was with us we bough Hill's prescription dog food from the vet because she had special needs. Once she passed, we switched over to their product that isn't a prescription, but is still a fantastic food to feed a pet. It's not cheap, but it is definitely worth the money. It keeps your pet healthy so you save in the long run by not having veterinary bills.

While we are at Rural King I'm sure we will pick up some pig's ears for the dogs as treats. They sell them there in bulk, which means you have to pick through the bin of them and put them in a sack to take to the counter. Well, that doesn't bother me, except they are a little greasy, but it cracks me up because I'm always the one who has to do that part. Ev seems to manage to squiggle out of it! haha.

Isn't this tree pretty? I took a picture yesterday morning when I went out to the car to go to work. It's our big Sweetgum Tree in the front yard. The snow and ice always make this tree look like a work of art.

When we had that bad ice storm years ago this tree really took a pounding. The upper portion of it sheared off from the weight of the ice. For a couple years after that it looked so sad, seeing that raw scar right at the top of the tree. Since then it has filled in at the top and unless you know what to look for, you would not even know it had lost those branches.

The road in front of the house had some snow on it yesterday morning, too, of course. Driving wasn't bad in the morning when it was just snow. It didn't warm up much during the day, then the temp started to drop in the late afternoon. By evening the roads were icy and slick. It wasn't bad on the roads that were well traveled, but the side streets were tricky to maneuver on. When you got out in areas by fields, there was some blowing and drifting to contend with also. Diane and I found that out when we went over to Decamp Junction for dinner last night. I really miss Tilley's. Hope someone else opens it up and makes a go of it!

I got bored at work yesterday about half an hour before quitting time. This was about the only productive, and I use the word loosely, thing I did for that last half hour.

Then I ate the clementines/eyes! On the new Weight Watcher's program fruit is a "free" food, so I'm taking advantage of that! I love fruits and veggies.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday night

I didn't sew tonight. Had intentions of doing some half square triangles on paper, just didn't get there. Tomorrow is another day. And tomorrow my first job in the sewing room is going to be to patch the quilt we have on our bed because Ivy confused it with a chew toy (again). sigh. Some day she will be out of the puppy stage.

Woke up to snow this morning. There was about an inch and a half on the ground, and it continued to snow off and on throughout the morning. It was very pretty.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Testing, one two three

Went upstairs and sewed a test page of half square triangles on the paper. It worked out really well. I'm going to use this method to sew the 600 half square triangles for clue 5 in the mystery.

Tired tonight. Sure am glad that tomorrow is Friday. I've got the third load of laundry for the night in the washer. I'd like to have most of the laundry done before the weekend starts. Tomorrow morning I'll throw this load in the dryer and put a load of towels in the wash before work. If I come home at lunch I can throw another load in. Ev's thinking about going to Alton tomorrow to the Harley Davidson place. He has a couple gift certificates. I think they are burning a hole in his pocket.

Ev came up for lunch today. We went to Route 66 Cafe. He had a burger and I had a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich (the best sandwich ever invented). Anyway, after we were done eating he looked at me and said he just wanted to sit and talk and have another cup of coffee. It was the nicest lunch. I really enjoyed it. I love my husband.

The lost sheep is found

For a few days now there has been an ongoing investigation into the missing sheep from my nativity scene. The most likely suspect was furry and walks on all fours. Her involvement was almost certain as she was caught trying to devour the cow from the same nativity scene! Well, tonight the mystery has been solved. Rather than turn it into a homicide investigation, the sheep was found, safe and sound, hiding under the big chair in the front room. She was safely returned to the scene, to be put away for another year. Ivy, your not-so-good name has been cleared. For now.

I'm trying to convince my mom to keep my brother's dog. When my brother went away on business for a few weeks, Mom kept his beagle for him. Well, ol' Brasco is a sweet dog and gets along really well with Mom's dog, Danny Boy. I think the two of them are good for each other. Here's a pic from Christmas when I put red bows on their collars when no one was looking!

Brasco, or BRAT as I call him, is my brother's dog and he is on the left. Danny Boy is the one with his head on a pillow! My brother took the bows off and gave me grief because Brat has a spike collar and it just wasn't going to fly with his tough dog image! haha. (the spike collar is only for show - tiny dull spikes, nothing mean or that could hurt anyone or anything).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pretty picture

Isn't this a pretty sunrise? I took this picture on my way to work this morning. The colors were just beautiful. I love it when there is that gorgeous purple color in the sky.

I finished clue number 4 in the mystery tonight. Sometimes I wonder if I have a math deficiency because I always seem to make too many pieces! This step called for 30 sets of pieces and I made 35! Oh well, better too many than not enough! Next I will start on step 5, which is all the half square triangles. I'll be doing them on paper. I have the materials picked out to make them with, but I'm going to make one page of test squares, just to be sure I get the right size pieces.

I'm sitting on the bed typing this and I have all four of the animals up here with me! Shadow Cat is laying on me purring up a storm, Cheetah Bear is laying against my side all snuggled up and taking a snooze, Ivy Jane is laying down by my feet dreaming of the next act of destruction she can commit, and Wrigley Lynn is snoring away with her paws twitching as she chases an elusive rabbit in her dreams. What a life....

Work, work, work

Don't get me wrong, I'm extremely grateful to have a job, but I sure wish I would have won that big lottery prize! Haha. Well, I just hope the people that won it will do some good things with the money. I'm doing okay. We have food, shelter, clothing, transportation - all the essentials. Most of all we have faith in God and a wonderful family. Money isn't everything and I wouldn't give up my family for any amount, that's for sure.

I went up to the sewing room this morning to get something from my son (he's sleeping there because it's too cold in the basement right now). I wanted so badly to just stay up there and sew instead of leaving for work! Those strips are calling to me to be cut! I just realized all I have to do is cut them out and I can move on to the next step in the mystery, so now I'm chomping at the bit.

Going to lunch with my friend Barb from work today. I really should go somewhere where I can get something light, like salad, but there is a new place that has a buffet and I really would like to try it. Don't know what Barb has in mind, so will wait and see what she wants to do.

Better get back to work now!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Step four of mystery

Here are some strips I'm working on for step four of the mystery Roll Roll Cotton Boll. I need to cut them into two inch segments and also cut some two inch squares of green to go with each set of four twosies. This is a fairly simple step in the mystery. I'm happy about this and hoping to get it done before the weekend. I have most of the clues so I know where these pieces will fit in and I think they will look nice.

Not much going on today. Johanna called to remind me it will be her birthday in a day and a half. I'm surprised she doesn't have an hourly countdown going. Nick has had some blurry vision issues. Going to get him appointments with the doc and eye doc.

Tired tonight. Being back to work has me wanting nap time about two in the afternoon!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Yes, Wrigley

Yes, Wrigley, there is food on Daddy's plate...but it's not YOUR food! Such patience, such hope, such sad eyes... It's the whole Labrador package, right there, waiting for something, anything, to drop from Ev's plate! And as you can see from Wrigley's size, she does not miss a bite.

Today was the first day back after my long time off. I was pleasantly surprised that the day went fairly quickly. It was extremely busy in the office, which made it go fast, I think. And I had a fair amount of work to get done.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Before and after

Above is the pile of string blocks before I trimmed them up to 8-1/2" blocks.

And here they are after. A nice stack of 60 string blocks, trimmed up nice and neat. And now I have tennis elbow from all the cutting! haha.

Tomorrow it's back to work. Going to try and not complain because I'm so lucky to have a job. I'm thankful for that! While I'm on the subject of what I'm thankful for, I want to add my wonderful family to that list. They are on top of it, that's for sure. God has certainly blessed me and I am grateful.

I also started to trim up those pesky 3-1/2" half square triangle blocks from step 2 of the mystery. Didn't get too far on that. And I know I did not accomplish my goal of getting through step four of the mystery, but that's okay. Those strings are done done and done. I'm behind on the mystery because clue 7 is out and I think there are only 8 or 9 total. I don't look at it as a race, though. I'm just having fun with it.

I'm really determined to make it completely from my stash. The red constant fabric is a challenge because I haven't found any red in my stash I really love for it. I'm going to just pick something that is the next best thing and go with it. Just as with my machine quilting ventures, this is not a museum piece. I'll keep telling myself that, anyway! haha.

I made the cornish game hens for dinner tonight. I stuffed them with a mixture of veggies. The stuffing was horrible. I didn't even put it on our plates. I should have browned the skin more on them, but other than those couple things, they were pretty good. We had roasted potatoes and corn with them. Didn't make a salad because Ev didn't want any. I made Nick some flat dumplings and warmed up the leftover sauerkraut for him to put over them. I had a little of that myself. Pretty good eats. Tomorrow it's back to my points and eating healthy. Playtime is over...sigh.

I've gotten sidetracked while doing the mystery with other sewing projects. I made the two tree skirts and a couple pot holders. I also made another set of waterbed sheets. I'm probably going to veer off course again and make a few pillowcases pretty soon. The thing with that is, I have to wash the material first. If I don't they will shrink and not fit our pillows.

Done pressing string blocks

I finally finished pressing the string blocks. Whew. I brought the small pressing board down into the kitchen and put it on the top of the freezer to press them. It was a lot easier than trying to set things up in the sewing room, since Nick has been sleeping there. I'm going to bring the cutting mat and ruler down and start trimming them a little later today. I also need to square up those three and a half inch half square triangle blocks. sigh.

I am going to make those cornish hens around 3 this afternoon. Going to make some roasted potatoes to go with them and a big salad. That will be our dinner. We can eat and watch da Bears at the same time! Go Bears!

Texted Lori a bit ago. We might take a walk this afternoon if her grandbaby isn't there. I need to get my butt moving again. Just don't like walking in the cold weather!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Innocent little puppy

See where little Miss Innocent puppy is laying? Ev went out the front door to run an errand and Ivy decided to lay down by the door and wait for him like a good little puppy. Right. Who does she think she is fooling? haha. See the corner of the pink chair? That's some of Destructo Dog's handiwork.

Okay, so yesterday I did something that I find totally natural to do, and Ev thinks I'm weird for it. I smiled at the dog. Wrigley was laying on the couch and I happened to look over at her, while she was looking at me, and I just smiled at her. Is that strange? I don't think so. He caught me doing it and says "did you just smile at the dog?" and of course I had to admit that I had just done that, yes. But seriously, I think dogs read our facial expressions and even if they don't, so what? I can smile at the dog if I want to....

Aren't these some odd looking clouds? We were driving home from breakfast this morning and there was this line of two different color clouds that looked so odd I just had to snap a pic. Plus, I thought they were pretty. Oh, and see our tall sweetgum tree by the house? It's one of the tallest in the neighborhood. It's a beautiful tree, but those little spiky balls are a real pain in the pattutie.

I finished the sewing on the string blocks and started pressing them. There are several that still need the paper torn off of them, but I'm making progress now! Not sure if I will complete the next step or not tomorrow, but just getting these blocks done is a big deal. They sure took a lot of time.

Happy New Year!

It's here, 1/1/11! I hope everyone had a safe night last night and wish everyone a blessed and wonderful 2011.

Today my dad is having an open house, something he does every New Year's Day. It's from 1 to 4 so my thought is to go around 1, grab a bite to eat, and then come home early. I am hoping to see my aunt on his side, as I haven't seen her for quite a while, but I don't know if she will be there or not.

It's after 10 a.m. and my house is still quiet. Everyone is still sleeping, including Ivy, who is keeping my feet warm. Doesn't she look peaceful? And innocent...well, we all know better about THAT one! haha.

I know she is kind of hard to see, being all black, but that's her little head all snuggled up against me.

The Salvation Army Thrift Store is having a sale today. Half off all of their clothes and shoes. I'm tempted to go up and get some more shirts to use in quilts, but without something in particular in mind, I am on the fence about it. S.A. has sales like this frequently on Saturdays, so if I miss this one it's no big deal.

I'm debating whether or not to get those cornish game hens out of the freezer or not. The pizza restaurant we like to go to is having a special this evening. All you can eat pizza and salad for $5.99 from 4 to 7. It depends on what Ev wants to do, I guess. If Nick is home, he might want to go with us.