Wednesday, December 31, 2008

life is like...

I'm working my first jigsaw puzzle in ages, and everytime I work one, I muse that life is like a puzzle. So many little pieces that come together to make something special. What can be a jumbled mess, with patience and attention, emerges into a state of order and completion.

Things not working out like you want? Try looking from a different perspective. It takes time to work a puzzle, it's not finished the first time you sit down to give it your attention. You do a lot of sorting, compartmentalizing. Think at first of the big picture, and set your boundaries. Get it straight along the outer edges, then start to see what goes where. See where you want to give your attention, and gather the bits to bring that into focus. But then again, you don't have to have just one focus...there are several parts to make the whole, and it's fun to figure out how to make the different parts of the puzzle, as with our lives, come together.

You might look and realize you have a piece in there that just doesn't fit. You've managed to jam it in there temporarily, and at a glance it looks as if it belongs. But when the other pieces try to fit in, it just doesn't work. We've all had this experience. While one side may jig in the jigsaw of life, the other sides do not. You have to pull it out of that spot and set it aside to see just how it will fit in the big picture. It may be a background piece...necessary for the picture to be complete, but not the main focal point.

Sometimes you don't see a piece fitting when you look at it individually. You may not recognize what that piece is until you join the parts to see the big picture. Sound familiar? Such is life. Sometimes things shift a bit, and you have to be able to adjust. Step back, take a look, and see if things have gotten askew. That particular row or section may have slipped, and once you set it right, the pieces go together easily.

Happy new year everyone. May the pieces of your puzzle be colorful and complete. And if you think you're missing a piece, take a look around. Maybe it's just dropped on the floor, waiting for you to pick it up again.

Monday, December 29, 2008

a bit of progress on the sewing room

Still not done, but I'm making progress. One of the ladies on the HGTV board, Kim-Strut526, has a picture of her sewing room, and she included a peg board. I had been thinking along those lines myself, so this was a good time to do it. It's not readily visible as you walk in, being tucked behind the door, and it works out really well. Keeps my rulers accessible, but not in the way.

My design wall is up, but I still want to tweak it a bit. It's 4 pieces of foam board that I taped together on the back side, and has batting on the front. There are 3 binder clips spaced across the top that are used to hang it on the wall. It feels a bit flimsy. I'll be thinking on that one. Maybe mount it on some little strips of wood similar to the peg board? Feel free to comment and let me know what you'd do, or how you did yours.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sew Happy Quilting had a Christmas miracle...

You've got to see this. A wonderful Christmas miracle indeed. Make sure you watch the youtube video.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas and the sewing room

The kids came over Sunday for our family gathering and gift exchange. Flexibility is nice when there are other gatherings going on, and it worked out well to be finished with the hustle/bustle a bit early. Yesterday was good, going over to John and Bonnie's, and Nolene and Joe came too on their way back from Tammy's house.

Wednesday I got started on fixing up my sewing room. I kind of threw things in there when I moved in, and had things where I could pretty well get to them but not really put together. So I've painted the room, put up a curtain (though that could change, at least something's up besides the blinds) and have started getting it back together. At this point my plan is to not bring back in everything that went out! I'll get out today and possibly get some shelves to go on the wall. I'm slipping in the "before" picture and the "during" picture. Bear in mind I had the hutch in the sewing room initially, which took up some space, and it has recently been moved to a better spot, giving me more space to work with. The paint is Behr's Berries and Cream for the accent wall, and Canyon Cloud for the other three.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

the stockings were hung by the chimney with care

Years ago when the kids were small, 'way back when we lived in Haltom City, I made these Christmas stockings from one of those pre-printed quilted panels and embroidered their names. They were cute, and every year they've been brought out, even though the kids have long since moved out on their own.

Each year Santa still makes a visit to their stockings, leaving little trinkets of this 'n that. However, as they've grown and now have families of their own, the stockings have evolved into family stockings, and the number of trinkets has increased. Last year the stocking was supplemented with a Wal-Mart bag to hold some of the goodies.

This year, I decided to come up with something a bit better, but still honoring the age-old tradition. I picked up a couple of larger stockings, and stitched the old to the new. Now, instead of one, there are actually two stockings to hold the goodies! Wah-lah!!

In case I don't write again before the big day, Merry Christmas all. I trust your blessings are many.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

comfortable shoes

I bought a new pair of shoes the other day. I was in the store and had a lot of walking to do, and it didn't take very long to realize the flats I wore to work weren't going to cut it. You see, I bruised my big toes sometime in the last year, so I've been wearing open-toed shoes for awhile. Why I decided I would wear the flats when I knew we had shopping to do is beyond me, but it didn't take long to feel the pressure. Anyway, one of our stops was in a shoe store to get some gift cards, and while we were there, I took a look around. I came across these, reminiscent (probably spelled that wrong!) of Mary Janes. Can't say I was ever overly fond of Mary Janes, with their straps and patent leather, but these had plenty of toe room, and are actually made in tennis shoe comfort. (I notice the pic is kind of dark, but I think you can see it ok.)

So this got me to thinking of different shoe fashions. Remember saddle oxfords? Seems like I wore those for years as a girl in the late 50's. Then as I was googling for an image, look what I found! I don't wear heels anymore, but if I did, I don't think there's any worry that I'd be wearing these.

I rocked along through high school, and I think tennis shoes were my main footwear, can't remember too well so they must not have made an impression on me. But....a few years later I was working in a doctor's office, and clogs became the rage. Didn't I look cute in my little white uniform clogging around. Sorry, you'll have to settle for a mental image, I don't think I have a picture of me wearing them, but here's one of some similar clogs. I don't really recall them being all that great, but darned if I was going to say anything about it since I paid more than what I usually paid, and didn't want to hear any "I told you so".

Anyway, I guess I've graduated into the "I don't care what they look like, I want to be comfortable" stage. Though Elizabeth has been known to point out when it's time for new tennis shoes after they've worked in the yard a few times, I've got to say, that's probably when they're at their best.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

tick, tick, tick

Well, some would say it's tick tock, tick tock. But as I sit here in the quiet of the early morning, I hear tick tick tick from the clock on the wall. After all, each tick is a new second, so they wouldn't be echo's of the one previous. Ah, enough.

Anyway, I worked last night. We had our Night of Holiday Magic, the community's tree lighting event. I was in the booth to receive toys and food drop-offs, and people are generous. I was surrounded by sacks long before the end of the evening. Yes, there are people with needs this year, but it's nice to be reminded that there are those who want to help in whatever way they can. Sorry I don't have a picture to post, but if I come up with one when I get back to the office, I'll add it.With time ticking along, I haven't been able to do much more than toss Christmas goodies into my spare room. Think the sign will do any good to act as a deterrent to any who happen to wander down the hall?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

a mural and a window

I had the pleasure of meeting up yesterday with a few of the ladies from the HGTV Quilting and Needlework message boards. Sassy Needle Pusher, Christmas Queen and her DIL Sara, and Happy Erm made the trip to Quilt Country in Lewisville, and after just a few wrong turns, I did too. You see names on the board and form your own mental impression of what they're like, and it's fun to meet in person and put a face to the name. So, in order of the linup in the picture, we have Sara, me, Christmas Queen, Happy Erm, and Sassy Needle Pusher. Thanks to Happy Erm for coming up with the idea of meeting.

One of the ladies in the shop came out and took our picture in front of their mural on the outside wall. If you get the chance to go there, you won't be sorry. They have fabric galore, and quilts hanging just everywhere you look. We were told ahead of time about their special over the weekend of getting a 5% discount for each canned good brought in, up to 5 cans. The canned goods helped replenish the food bank, and we got a bargain. What a deal!

Today I worked on a snowmen in the window pattern. I made one last year, and got my measurements a little off (see this posting). I expect this one to see some improvement, but that's not to say it's replacing the first. I'm just adding more windows.

Sad to say, vacation is over and it's back to the grind tomorrow. But, Pollyanna that I am, I'll just be thankful I have a job to go back to considering how many people are not as fortunate.

Have a good week, everyone.

Friday, November 28, 2008

another day, another year

It's amazing how fast the time flies these days, and the older I get, the faster it goes. Ah well, such is life...

I received a couple of Carol Doak quilting books for my birthday, so I took them to an office supply store today to get them spiral bound. I've done that now for several books, and it's so much easier to look through the pages, or be able to leave the book open to a page and not worry about it flopping shut. Anyway, these are on paper piecing, something I've been wanting to try. It may be after the first of the year before I can do much, but I'm sure you'll be seeing glimpses here and there of whatever I do. To see some examples of beautiful paper piecing using these books, check out Penny's blog on my blog list. She has a quilt called "Surf and Sand" on her sidebar, and in her archives for about October or so are more pictures. She did a great job. I'm meeting a few of the ladies from HGTV's quilting forum tomorrow. It will be nice to get to know some of the people who live in this area, and should be fun. Appropriately, we'll be meeting up at a quilt shop!

That's it for now. Hope everyone has had a nice Thanksgiving, and a renewed appreciation of those you hold close to your heart.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Another taste of retirement...ain't life grand? Yes I'm on vacation again. But it's been well over two months since my last one, and I traditionally take off the week of Thanksgiving. When the kids were younger, it was a chance to make a start on Christmas shopping or sewing, or maybe spend time with Mom when she would be able to make it out for the holiday. Now there's not a particular need or reason to take it, other than I just want to. Which I guess is a good enough reason in itself.

I have been able to baste Wild and Free in preparation for quilting, and did some running around today. I found a really neat place in Fort Worth that sells salvaged goods for old houses. Lots of eye don't just walk in and walk out, it takes awhile to look at all the fun stuff. Hinges, door knobs, drawer pulls, claw foot bathtubs, doors, windows, and on and on. Not that I need any of it, but I didn't let that stop me.

And I treated myself to coconut shrimp at Red Lobster. Love it, love it, love it. I've actually downloaded a recipe and might try my hand at making it one of these days.

I've said many times, don't put your life on hold waiting for some magic day (like retirement) to do what you want to do. We all know there are no guarantees in life, and we need to do what we enjoy as we go along. So I do enjoy... but it's still gonna be nice!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I've got to learn a bit more about this blogging business. This morning I posted about my latest quilting project, the one named "Wild and Free". I think it's pretty descriptive, and apt. However, maybe I should have thought it through a bit more before heading up my posting with the title. I looked at my little world map, and going into it I see that I've had visits from Austria, Singapore, Sweden, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Spain, and Germany. Far more than my usual list of visitor countries (it doesn't show who is from where, just the location). Do you think a few were surprised to see Elsie as a quilting grams?

wild and free

I started this Fractured Flag pattern several years ago. The first one I did was shortly after 9/11, and I gave it to Robert. Then I made the second flag, probably about a year later, and it's been a UFO ever since. The other night when the Bunco ladies were over, I showed a couple of them my sewing room. While I was seeing stacks of this and that and mentioning my mess, Glenda and Linda saw it on my design board and really liked it. I think I had quit "seeing" it because I'd had it up there so long. Anyway, their enthusiasm spurred me on to finishing the top.

I was in a red, white, and blue strip swap (get your thoughts up out of that gutter, I'm talking about the squares with the strips of fabric!) a couple of years ago, and had in the back of my mind that I wanted to combine them with the flag in some form or fashion. This is the result. Once it's quilted, the binding will be the same darker blue that separates the flag from the strips.

Meet Wild and Free:

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Another project is pretty well finished. The top is completed on Ashley's t-shirt quilt, and today I'll get the backing ready so it can go to the quilter's this week. She won't be able to get to it until after Thanksgiving, but that's ok.

What's next on the agenda? Hmmm. Heaven knows I have plenty of things I can work on, and I may actually pull out one of those ufo's (unfinished objects) and knock it out just for that sense of accomplishment. Alright, and so I won't feel guilty starting something new.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

snake in the rain

So the other night I was watching Dancing With the Stars, and there came a tapping on my door. A vigorous tapping. Alright, an urgent knocking. Anyway. I, looking particularly lovely in my nightshirt and sweatpants, answer the door, and this young woman says something to the effect of we just saw a snake heading to your garage and wanted to let you know so it wouldn't get into your house! Let me tell you, she got my attention with that.

I stepped out into the misty dampness to see what she was talking about, and sure enough, there was a snake about a couple of feet long and maybe 3/4" to 1" in diameter slinking to the side of the garage door where the weatherstripping doesn't go all the way across. (They must have a way to sense the heat or dryness or something for it to know where it was going.) Of course by this time I'm picking up the girl's excitement as my own, asking what am I going to do????? One of the guys in the car suggests getting some really hot water on it. He obviously doesn't realize how long it takes for my water to heat up all the way to the kitchen sink. But I did put some water in a pitcher, ran to the garage, opened the door, and slung the water at the snake...getting about a cup on him. Just made him move a little faster. Terry (the fellow making the hot water suggestion)got a stick and managed to get him before he got into the corner under a shelf thing. I grabbed a shovel, and started whacking. By this time, we were all making our share of noise, and my neighbor and his wife from next door come over to see what's going on. Of course it crossed my mind that I must look really great in my sweats and nightshirt but surely nobody would look too close when there's a snake to look at. I whacked 3 or 4 times, hitting his back. Terry got the shovel, and managed to whack off his head. Whew. But I was really surprised when the mouth kept moving at least another 3 or 4 minutes. Well, maybe only 30 seconds, but it felt like 3 or 4 minutes. We got him into a trash bag, and the excitement was over.

I asked how they happened to see the snake? Turns out they were turning around in my driveway, and happened to see him in the headlights.

You know, several years ago when I lived out in the country I probably wouldn't have been too surprised at something like this happening. I've got to say I was a bit taken aback at this happening in town, and not too thrilled. But, I survived and that's all that matters. That, and I'm glad it was Monday night and not Tuesday night when I had my house full of bunco ladies!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

a little of this, a little of that

This weekend moved right along. I got up and out Saturday morning, and hit a few garage sales. Always fun and full of useful (and some not-so-useful) stuff. I picked up a few soup bowls along the way (I'm having bunco at my house Tuesday nite, and serving Italian pasta soup, yummo!), a couple of patio chairs, another coat for my kids coats project (50 cents, what a deal!), a pretty vase at one sale, and the tall things to go in it at another. Not to mention a fan, some wine glasses, 3 stainless steel pans for 50 cents (a little elbow grease and they're good as new), an area rug, and who knows what else.
Do you have any idea of how many I'd ask, "do you happen to have any soup bowls?" Almost invariably, "we had some, but someone just got them a little while ago". Guess everyone is getting ready for the cold weather and the soup that will be dished up.

Moving along, Ashley's t-shirt quilt is progressing. I hit a little drawback and had to take out a few seams, but I think I'm back on track now. Don't have a picture readily available, but it will be going to the quilter before too long. I'm sure you'll be seeing the final layout before it goes.

You may notice I've listed another blog on my blog list to the side. "One Minute Writer" was one of the blogs of note that blogspot highlights. I've noticed that since I've started blogging, my journal entries are practically nil. I'm thinking this might get me back into it again, even if only for one minute a day. Do you keep a journal? If not, you might consider it. It's interesting to look back over the years, and see what was going on at the time.

Just for grins, here's the recipe for the Italian pasta soup. It's one of those that's a knock-off of Olive Garden's pasta fagiole. I've made it several times, though I leave out the mushroom pieces.

That's it for now. Oh...and remember to thank a Veteran on Tuesday. Or any day for that matter. But especially Tuesday, since it's Veteran's Day. Thanks to my family members: Robert, Carl, John, Joe, Troy, Virgil, and Art for the time you served, and Robert and Mike for being there for us now.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mansfield Writes

I went to a program Saturday put on by the Friends of the Library here in Mansfield, called "Mansfield Writes". There was a panel of 10 published authors, representing a variety of genres, and they each spoke for a few minutes, covering a variety of topics.

Some of the topics? Writing under more than one name, failing your way to success, writing in multiple genres, the heady life of a writer, and finding your voice.

Here's a listing of the authors:

Celya Bowers/Kennedy Shaw, romantic suspense
Juliet Burns, romance
Rachel Caine, vampires
Angela Cavener, paranormal suspense
Carole Nelson Douglas, mysteries
P. N. Elrod, vampires
James Ward Lee, Texas subjects
Janis Susan May, romance and other genres
Laurie Moore, mysteries
Martha Moore, children's books

They're in the Fort Worth/Mansfield/Dallas area, so these are local people who "made good". The audience filled the room to overflowing, so for each one who's made it, there are plenty ready to step up and join them.

Our library is one more reason I'm glad I moved to Mansfield.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

pics from Halloween nite and California delivered

I made it over to help Rhett and Ashlynn pass out the Halloween candy last night, and they were so sweet. They reached into the candy bowl, and would drop the pieces into the trick-or-treaters goody bags, and responded to the "thank you's" with really sweet "you're welcomes". They weren't excited about getting into costumes, but Rhett did have some google eyes he was sporting, and Ashlynn had her hair ribbons and a t-shirt that lit up. The weather was perfect, and we sat by the driveway to watch everyone.

When we were finished, I headed over to John and Bonnie's and dropped off the completed California. It came out well, and I think they'll enjoy it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

vintage halloween?

I can't say I'm one to go all out on dressing or decorating for halloween. There have been years when I sported my dracula cape and fangs, but they seem to have gone by the wayside some time back. What has remained a constant for the past 20+ years have been a couple of button-pins. Pair them with a black shirt, and I'm ready.

If I had a scanner, I'd add a few of the old days in here, but I don't, so I'll just say "happy halloween y'all"...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's done!

Finally, it's done. No, I'm not talking about a quilt. Not talking about my reupholstery project (though I wish I were). I'm talking about my colonoscopy. If you're squeamish or don't want to hear anymore, you can stop here, though I don't have any pics to show.

This is the little scope the doctors prefer you get done around age 50, if you're not having problems, just to see how things are looking. Well, I've rocked along almost 9 years past that. "Oh, I'm regular as clock work, I can wait," or "eew, that prep sounds terrible, I'll wait thank you". Couldn't put it off any longer, I knew it needed to be done.

The prep? Well, I practically built a little nest in the bathroom, thinking I'd be in there for several hours. I had a book or two, and a book of puzzles. Made sure the portable phone was in there, along with my cell. You know what? The anticipation was far worse than the actual doing. I'd heard the horror stories of drinking a whole jug of awful tasting stuff to clean you out. Nope. My doctor's method of choice is a little 1.5 ounce bottle of oral saline laxative, ginger lemon flavor thank you, that you combine with 1/2 glass of ginger ale, followed by a glass of water. Then a glass of clear liquid hourly after that for a few hours. Maybe it helped that I ate light over the weekend leading up to this, but it really wasn't a problem.

Probably the hardest part, in my case, was getting the little needle in my arm to give me the anesthesia. I have small veins anyway, and it took the 4th poke to make it work, but work it did. As Bob administered the anesthesia, he said I'd start to feel tired. I said ok, closed my eyes a second, and asked when they'd be starting. "We're almost finished. Open your eyes if you want to take a look." I had already been told it was not unusual to wake up after they were in, so I wasn't surprised at that...just surprised that we were already to that point. And no, there's absolutely no discomfort when they're on the way out.

So within an hour of the start of the procedure, it was done, I talked to the doc, got dressed, and was on my way home. And they gave me some pictures! How often do you get to see your insides??? As instructed, I had a driver (Elizabeth was good enough to take care of that). I guess my major complaint was that he recommended I wait a day to eat my Mexican food and margarita, and I have to admit I was looking forward to it, but that's ok. It can wait. The colonoscopy couldn't.

So here's me on my soap box: don't put it off for the fear of the unknown. It wasn't bad, and it's the right thing to do.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

casting more shadows

Making progress on Ashley's t-shirt quilt. I'm continuing to do it in sections, then join the sections together. With this section now sewn, I'm able to pretty well have a final layout planned...about 5 shirts wide by 6 down. It's set aside for the weekend, because Sue and Troy are coming to town, but I'll get back to it next week.

In other quilting news, Ty finished the quilting on California. I've sewn the binding strip on, and will get it stitched to the back side and make the hanging sleeve. Wah-lah, another project will be marked "done".

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another weekend goes by

Hard to believe that weekends can zip by so fast. If only the middle of the week would move so quickly!

As usual, it's been a busy one. I hit quite a few garage sales, and raked in the goods. Mixing bowls, broiler pans, gift bags, sheets, decorative items, curtain panels. And coats. Here's my contribution to society. I really think its sensible, and something any of us can do to help a kiddo and not cost a fortune. The schools in the area where I work have "clothes closets" that help out families in need of basic items. I think most of the clothing is donated, or lost clothing that never gets picked up by the end of the school year. My goal is to find kids' coats at garage sales, usually spending no more than $1-2, and take them to Debra at work to pass on to the schools. (I think her point of contact is the school nurse.) I took one up to her a week or two ago, and picked up 3 more this weekend (total for the 3 was $4!). There was something I heard recently that was basically about maybe not making a world of difference, but making a difference one person at a time. With our Santa Cops program, so many of the families request coats and shoes for the children, so we know the need is out there. Something to keep in mind for you bargain hunters.

Ashley's t-shirt quilt is making progress, although it's taking some time. I decided to go for the shadow effect, something I've seen but not tried, so it's a learning process on measurements for the pieces. Here's a bit of it. At first I thought it might work up faster than just sashing, but I don't think so. Maybe even a bit more time involved, but I do like how it's coming along.

I watched Lily last night for a little while, and it was nice to spend some Grams time with her. We went to eat at the restaurant of her choice (McDonald's), then back home for a bit of coloring before bedtime. She drew 4 costumes that she'd like to have, and knew just what she wanted, right down to hair pieces and tights. We might have a budding fashion designer in the family...

That's it for now. Have a good week, everyone.

Monday, October 13, 2008

We're almost 1/2 way through October already

Life gets busy, doesn't it? Hopefully things will settle down a bit. And I can't even say there's been anything momentous going on, just stuff.

I got started on a t-shirt quilt for Keith and Misty's daughter, Ashley. Keith has been a good friend for a number of years, one of "my guys" at work. I don't have the final layout yet, but have one in mind that will give a shadow effect. That will allow a randomness to the design, as opposed to just joining them together or sashing them. Here's a picture of several of the shirts. Ashley's involved in volleyball in school, does some running, and is active in her church, and the quilt will reflect that.

I've also started in on an upholstery project. I picked up a chair at a garage sale sometime in the last year, and about a month ago got the fabric to put on it. I've been able to strip off the old dusty and faded material, and it's stripped down to the frame. The springs are in good shape. But can you say, "sneeze"????? Some of that dust had to be 40 or 50 years old, and sure did tickle my nose. The first layer of upholstery was probably from the 60's or 70's, but underneath that, and underneath the batting and some kind of a shaved wood filling, was another material that I'm sure was the original which had been flipped over and re-used. I've put some Old English on the exposed wood, and my next step will be to put on new webbing, then batting. I don't know how long this project will take, but I'd like to see it functional and in use within a month or so. I like it, and think it has character.

And my bedroom re-decorating project is coming along. I found a nice bench for the foot of the bed on Craig's List, and at a garage sale the other morning got a tall display shelf that will help on balancing out the room. (Can you tell I watch a lot of HGTV???) I had thought I'd make a new bedspread, but it's just not coming out like I want, so I'm still looking for the right bed treatment. So much of what's out there now are comforters, and I may end up going that route, but I'm still looking for a spread.

It's been beautiful fall weather, and yesterday I made it to the park to take a walk. I don't know why I keep putting off getting off my duff and getting some exercise, but once I was there I really enjoyed it. Such a variety of ages and reasons for people being there. I saw a young mother with her little one sitting on a blanket under a shade tree, and a boy who looked to be about 9 on his scooter. He'd go past me, and circle back, coming around again to do a trick or two. There was a dad with a fishing line in the pond, and a fellow sitting on the bench reading a book (must have been a good one, he was on the last few pages). Of course there were the bicyclists, runners, and walkers, as well as the young families on the playground. As I rounded one of the curves, there was a couple sitting on a table with their bongo's playing a repetitous beat. The guy was real serious till I gave him the thumbs up sign, then he grinned. And there was a little couple who looked to be about 80 out for a walk before it got hot. Their's was a slow shuffle of a walk, but they looked to be enjoying it. Why do I go into this much detail about a walk in the park? It's simple really... I hope that if I look at this and remember that it really was a nice experience, I'll be inclined to get out and do it again!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

fun times...

I went to my very first Grandparent's Day lunch at Lily's school! We had a good time, and Lily got some big-time attention with 4 grandparents on hand to enjoy lunch with her. After Chik-fil-a sandwiches and chips, we went to a book fair and to see her classroom. A relatively short visit, but a special one. Thanks, Lily.

In other news, I've got the California wall hanging ready to go to the quilters. It came out well, and I know Ty will do a great job with it. Here's the final version.

And today is Elizabeth's friend Jessica's wedding day! Blessings to Jessica and Brandon...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Whew, I'm tired...

I've been mulling over thoughts on how to decorate my bedroom. What colors do I want, do I want to paint, how much do I want to spend, what accessories would look good and work well. You know the thoughts.

Yesterday I came across a garage sale, and lo and behold, a color scheme took shape. Not colors that were in my original thoughts, but as I looked at these drapes that were laid out, I began to see some possibilities. The drapes, along with pillow shams, were a so-so beige. What caught my eye was a bold print in black, white, gray, and tan. "Are those feathers in the design," I asked the lady. She said no, they were leaves. She went on to explain how there were two pieces of that print, they were actually scarves that drape over the top of the window treatment. Long scarves, as it turned out. As in 140" long, 50" wide. Each. When she said I could have it all for $10, I thought, why not.

My window is on a 10' wall, and it's got one of those half-circle tops. I was at a loss on how to drape it, until I laid out my new scarves. Floor to ceiling! I had plenty of material, all I had to do was get some sheers to go underneath. But Walmart's longest sheers are 84", not long enough to go the full length. Inspiration struck, and I got two sets of sheers, and sewed them together.

So, here I started out to make a simple little window treatment. As I took off the old window treatment, I noticed the caulking needed to be replaced. So I dragged out the tools, took off the old caulking, visited Home Depot, and proceeded to take care of that chore. Well, while I'm at it, the window sill looks like it could use a coat of paint. Now's the time to do it, before the cumbersome drapes are up there. At least I don't have to paint the whole room because it coordinates just fine. Still, it could use a little touch up here and there, especially since I caulked. Then I had to make the new sheers. And of course the huge ladder got hauled in so I could install the hardware next to the ceiling.

For all the effort in this project, I have a feeling these colors will be just wonderful. And truthfully, I am really pleased with how they came out. I still need to make the tiebacks, but here's a couple of pictures for your perusal.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

my adventure into new territory

It's nice to continue to learn new things. I went with Bonnie on my first venture into a golf store. Who knew there were so many accessories to playing golf? While she headed in the direction of shoes and whatnot, I took a stroll. As I pondered a round little thing that looked like a level, the man at the counter let me know it's used to assess the slope between your ball and the hole. I saw fancy little divots for replanting the grass that gets kicked up when you hit the ball, complete with pictures on the back telling you what to do. And putters! I didn't realize they were such odd shapes! Different than putt-putt golf, let me tell you.

There are a variety of bags for carrying the clubs too. Check this out: "

If at anytime you lift your bag or move the golf cart and a club is missing, a warning light flashes and you will hear a "clicking" sound coming from your bag to let you know a club has been left behind.

Flashing red LED = Missing club:" (I put the quotation marks in because I did copy the picture and text).

Whether this particular model was at the store, I'm not sure, but they had a model similar in that it let you know if a club was missing from it's compartment. Whew, technology is right there in the golf world.

Then I saw these cute little puppets! There were dogs, rabbits, cats, and all kinds of little fuzzies. When I stuck my hand in one, well, as far as it would go, there was no access to move the critter's mouth. Looking closer at the display, I realized these were covers for the individual golf clubs. You could have a whole menagerie tagging along on the course.

I did actually learn a little something about the clubs. I asked Bonnie how you could tell which club did what. She explained that they are numbered, and the higher the number, the more of an angle on the club (either that, or the lower the number the more of an angle, I can't remember which but you get the idea). As you play and gain experience, you learn which one you use to get the ball the distance it needs to go.

It was an interesting shopping trip, and a quick look at a world I know little about. Lesson to be learned: you don't have to travel to far away places when you're on vacation to see and learn about things that are new and different to you. Sometimes you only have to go as far as the next shopping center.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A true Mansfielder, -ite, -idian, -ee

I don't know exactly what the term is, but I truly am a part of Mansfield now. Since I'm on vacation this week, I've made it to the Library and got my library card, and to the Activity Center for my MAC card.

I looked through the activity catalog, hoping for an evening art class, but didn't see anything listed in that timeframe. They have one on a weekday morning, as part of the senior activities, but I'm not quite there yet. Give me another one year, six months, and two weeks, and I might be able to fit it in.

My vacation plans changed a bit, thanks to Hurricane Ike. I had planned to go to Colorado with John and Bonnie to meet up with Nolene and Joe and Carl and Billie, but the weather forecast was not good for our travel days. We canceled our reservations, and passed on the trip. It would have been nice to go, but I've enjoyed being here at home. I've had several things needing my attention, and have been able to get a few items crossed off my list.

And it's not all work and no play. Going to lunch with Bonnie tomorrow, and probably into Fort Worth on Thursday to see an art exhibit, then I'm watching Rhett and Ashlynn on Friday, and back to Fort Worth on Saturday for a quilt show.

That's it for now. I'm thinking I might fix spaghetti for supper...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Take the plunge" has new meaning...

Ya know, I never really thought I would be one to endorse products, but thanks to David, I have found a gem I need to give a plug. Eh, maybe not the best choice of words...

I had a little problem with the commode, in that it became stopped up. Terribly. Messily. Yucky. I tried the plunger several times, to no avail. I called Elizabeth to ask if David could recommend a plumber in the area. I mean, this is not a problem that I care to have a family member try to come take care of. That's toooooooo big of a favor to ask.

He recommended that before I go to the expense of a plumber, to try an air powered plunger. Who knew there were such things??? Not me. I googled it, about the same time that Elizabeth was googling it, and we each discovered they were reasonably priced, and available at the local big box store (Lowe's, in this case). I initially thought, ewww, this is going to be messy. But surprise, surprise, it wasn't bad. It has the pump action of maybe a bicycle pump, or a syringe. Stick it down to the drain hole, pump it a few times, and wah lah, it's flowing free. All for $9.95 plus tax. What a deal. And, it has an additional small suction cup that allows it to unplug sinks. Of course, you do want to clean it mightily with bleach water after using.

So there's my endorsement of the day. The official name is the Plung-It, made by Cobra. Not a bad thing to have in your arsenal of supplies.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Recommended reading

Kathy at work loaned me a book recently, and let me tell you, it's not an easy book to put down. The Shack by William P. Young addresses the question of where is God in all of the pain and suffering in the world.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

California's progress

So, I've been working on this California wall hanging for a bit now, and it's coming right along. After looking at maps, and thinking of things relevant to the state and Antelope Valley, squares were cut (a bunch of them!) and the placement began. Then, more squares were put into place, and like a puzzle, moved around to see what fit where. By no means is it intended to be an exact map of the state, but I think its respectable. We have the Salton Sea, a segment of the San Andreas Fault close to home (it is earthquake country, after all), the San Francisco Bay, military bases, the wine country, and the gold rush is represented. And whatever else I threw in.

I think all of the squares are in their final resting place, so now I'm sewing the strips together. After that, a border of contrasting color will go at the top and bottom, then John and Bonnie's personalized patches inset into the final rows of top and bottom. I've talked to my quilting friend, Ty, and I'm hopeful she can fit this into her schedule in a couple of weeks.

It will be fun to see the final outcome.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The week passes, and a new one on the horizon

It's been a good weekend, hasn't it? But then, you don't hardly see a bad one.

I went with Robert and his family to Cleburne State Park for a picnic lunch. The kids (young and older!) were able to splash in the lake a bit and play at the playground, and Robert and I found a geocache site. First one we'd found together this year. We got to the area, but the trees were making it hard to get an exact signal on the GPS. Fortunately between the clue by the person who hid the cache and Robert's eagle eyes, we were able to find it.

Angela had to go put some finishing touches on her classroom this afternoon, but I have a feeling everyone else pretty well took it easy the rest of the day. I know I got a nap in when I got home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sue's relief method

My sister Sue has commented many times over the past several years about squeezing between the 4th and 5th toes (next to the little toe) for back pain relief. She's used it on Troy quite often with good results, having him lay down and stretch out while she squeezes the area for a minute. When Nolene and I visited a couple of months ago, I got to see in person that Nolene's back pain eased up considerably when Sue squeezed between Nolene's toes. Sue learned about this method from the book "Tai Chi in a Chair", which, along with tai chi routines, lists acupressure points that provide pain relief. (Author Cynthia Quarta, and I got a copy from Barnes and Noble in their bargain section.)

The other day I had the occasion to try it on myself. You'll notice I sad "try". When there are two people involved, it seems to go much smoother. It's hard to lay down, and with your back hurting, pull your foot up to an angle that you can grab hold real tight for a full minute. I'd barely get started when my foot would cramp from being twisted around, and I'd have to let go.

I got the book several years ago, and maybe the title worked on my subconscious, because the next morning I woke up, sat in a chair, hoisted my foot up onto my knee, and squeezed like the dickens for a full minute. By that evening after work, I had forgotten that my back was hurting that morning. Sue called to ask how I was doing (I had emailed her in the middle of my misery), and that jogged my memory of the earlier discomfort.

All of this has prompted me to pull out my book again. I hadn't read it completely to begin with, but it's on my nightstand now, ready for my attention.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday morning sunshine

I got out and mowed the lawn this morning, did some edging, and pulled a few weeds. When I got to the lone little planting area in the yard to clean it up a bit, I was hit by the pungent aroma and realized it was quite enjoyable. The old axiom we've heard over the years is true. You need to take time to stop and smell the flowers. Yes, there are always a few deadheads in our gardens, but we need to appreciate and enjoy those who bloom.