Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
This is going on my dining room table. It was designed by the Quilt Basket and really fun to quilt. I think they have one kit left if anyone's interested. It's not on their website, but a call or email asking for the 'spiderweb strip quilt' will get the job done.
While I was outside taking a picture of the quilt, I had to take a picture of this clear, cold autumn day.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I decided to learn to speak Spanish last year. I can now order beer, find the bathroom, and understand the 'First Semester of Spanish Spanish Love Song'.
Working in the LQS this morning made me realize how rusty my sign language skills are so I'll probably be working on that now, too. The customer and I were able to communicate enough to pick out fabric for pillows, but it was a lot of pointing and finger-spelling.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
the movie starring Bob Hoskins:
the movie starring Ian McKellan (yes, from LOTR):
and the movie starring Laurence Fishburne:
The woman at the desk looked curiously at my three different copies of Othello movies. I explained that I was studying it in college and had a test on it this week. Her retort? "Did you know this is available as a book, too?" Cute.
In the interest of full disclosure, I also borrowed the audio cds of Othello:
The test was this morning and I'm hoping for a B or better. I still have to write a paper over the weekend. Whose bright idea was it to go back to school?
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
I really, really, really enjoyed this book but I can't explain why. I enjoyed the journey immensely.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
I decided to re-read the series to get me to #7. I haven't read number seven yet, so don't tell me what happens. This one was fun, even for the 5th or 6th go round.
Ricochet by Sandra Brown
I enjoyed the 12 hours spent listening to this book, but that was due more to Dennis Boutsikaris than Sandra Brown. I enjoy Dennis as an actor and he did a great job reading this book. The story wasn't too bad. It had twists and turns and kept me guessing, but it ended on a bit of a syrupy, preachy note.
Play Dirty by Sandra Brown This book was as enjoyable as Ricochet even with a different speaker. There was no preachy ending to distract me from this one, though. I didn't plan to read two Sandra Brown novels back-to-back, but I did. I probably won't read another one for quite some time, but I will definitely read her again.
Power Play by Joseph Finder
Normally I have to stay up and work and the book keeps me company, but this time I had to stay up for the book and the quilting kept me company. Once the book ended (at 3am!!!!), I wasn't disappointed. I've never read anything by Finder before, but I definitely will again. Oh, and Dennis Boutsikaris read this one, too. I like Dennis.
The Burnt House by Faye Kellerman
This was my first book with this author, but the reading by George Guidall made it seem like old times. He's one of mine (and most other audiobook listeners) favorite readers. The story had some great twists and turns and kept me quilting. Another great quilting book. I'm getting spoiled.
Break No Bones by Kathy Reich If you've read this book, answer me one question....... Has the author ever read Harry Potter? Crookshanks? Harry? Hermoine? It could have been annoying, but it was subtly done and kind of cute. The story was nicely done, as well.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Not much to say. Too busy pursuing my personal legend. Whatever.
Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
Slipknot by Linda Greenlaw
Harmless little book.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
Still good, even on the fourth time through. On to number 3!
Lisey's Story by Stephen King
This was a great way to spend 19 hours. Mare Winningham read the book and I loved her Pittsburgh accent. Snce there is no 'typical' Stephen King novel, I'm not sure what I expected, but I enjoyed this. The Mist is back on the bestseller list, so I'll have to add that to my ever-expanding t0-be-read list.
In addition to reading, I also:
1. worked at the First Dutchess Quilt Show. It's my local guild show. I demo-ed longarm quilting and bonded with my saddle stool. Quilt shows are so much more fun when you can sit for a portion of the day! Five of my customers entered quilts and two won ribbons. Several of my students won major ribbons for their quilting. It was a really nice weekend.
2. finished the 3rd season of CSI: Miami around the time my cold went away. So, the next time
you get a cold, take 3 seasons and call me in 1o days. You'll feel better by then.
3. had my ebay account infiltrated. Like I really want a copy of Grand Tourismo Racing game. Now I have no ebay account to be defrauded in the future. Just a friendly reminder that there are indeed stinky people out there who can ruin things for the rest of us.
4. went to the Sheep and Wool Festival and had a beautiful time. I was with some old friends and some new ones and already plan to go next year.
5. taught a quilting class locally. I love to teach quilting. (see number 6)
6. made the Machine Quilters Exposition catalog. I'm so honored and humbled to be teaching at the same event as the most talented quilters alive. If you dig through the sight, you may even find my picture. I'm not so very fond of that picture, but I guess that's what I look like most of the time.
7. finished 21 customer quilts. I know, fewer than last month, but most of these were queen/king and custom.
AND...... the very last thing I did in October ........
8. packed to go to Houston!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
On another front, we got our new generator and electrical hookups today, thus guaranteeing no extended power outages in the near future. When my husband showed me how to use the new equipment in the garage, I noticed what was possibly the same mouse (or a near relative of the mid-sized brown variety), now dead in a trap. Poor, poor mouse.
Monday, October 01, 2007
The Company by Robert Littell
This is one long book. It got me through many quilts, but did I mention that it was long?
Hot Stuff by Janet Evanovich and Leanne Banks
I did enjoy it, but it wasn't exactly memorable.
The Ruins by Scott Smith
I saw this on the NYTimes bestseller list and then downloaded it from the library. Knew absolutely nothing about it. Imagine my surprise when it was a Stephen King-like horror novel?!?!?!? Don't get me wrong, I love Stephen King, but it wasn't what I was expecting. I did like this book and it was memorable.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
As I was listening to this book on my MP3 player, I was thinking, "Wow, this book sure jumps around a lot." Then I listened to the end, and then it kept going? My MP3 player shuffled the tracks. I actually liked this book, but maybe it was boring if you listened all the way through in order?
Body Surfing by Anita Shreve
I didn't really like Wedding in December. As in, I disliked Wedding in December, but I thought I'd give her another try. I'm glad I did. This was probably my favorite book in recent months. I'm not sure why I liked it so much. In case you were wondering, The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory is still the best book of 2007 for me.
Crisis by Robin Cook
Loved it! I started this book maybe 3 months ago and couldn't get into it. I'm so glad I started it again. Did I mention that I loved it? I read a lot and can usually see the ending from the beginning. I love having no clue where the book is going so I can just buckle up and enjoy the ride. Still pondering the ending and the title. Did I mention that I loved this book?
Off the Record by Elizabeth White
I'm going to venture onto shaky grounds with this one. I'm in a book club at church and this was this month's selection. (I was sick and couldn't go to the club, but that's a little beside the point). I am a Christian and that's really important to me. Like probably most important to me. I don't have a problem with Jesus at all. I do have a few small issues with the Christian culture. Like, Christian books and Christian music and stuff. This book was a Christian book, but it wasn't very good. Most aren't. I have to say there have been a few books that have been very, very, good but that it's not the norm. It's interesting to go to the book club and hear people rave about the book. "This was so well-written," they'll gush. "Have you ever read a real book?" I want to answer, but I restrain myself. This book, like most others in the book club, was pleasant and harmless and somewhat enjoyable. I'll mail it to my mom and she'll just love it. Rant over. (Pun not intended)
Rant by Chuck Palahniuk
Um, what can I say? Chuch Palahniuk wrote this. Not quite as gritty as Choke. I still liked Fight Club best. Interesting and thought-provoking and very, very memorable.
The Afghan by Frederick Forsyth
I think I enjoyed this. I remember some parts. I guess it was enjoyable and passed the time, but my ears kinda glazed over. I'll have to read another Forsyth book to tell if it was him or the actor who read it that numbed my brain. My guess is that it was Forsyth. LeCarre does the same thing to me.
In addition to reading, I also:
1. quilted 22 quilts for customers
2. taught a weekend quilting retreat for 19 ladies (FUN!)
3. taught a regular quilting class (while sick)
4. taught a machine quilting club (a week later, still sick)
5. got my daughter started in high school
6. got my son moved out to his own apartment
7. got terribly sick and skipped a week of life and by the time I woke up the season had changed!
8. watched 2 1/2 seasons of CSI Miami. I'm listening to the rest of season 3 while I work. I'll start reading again when I'm done.
9. started back to college, because I'm insane. Now you know it, too.
Yes, I'm a huge calendar and list person. Why do you ask?
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
ME: I'm sick, cough, cough, and I hope to have your quilts to you by next Tuesday.
CUSTOMER: Oh, dear, you sound terrible.
ME: Thank you. That helps so much. Cough, cough, cough.
CUSTOMER: So you think the quilts will be done by the end of this week?
ME: No, I'll probably be down a few more days (cough, cough), but I can probably have them to you by Tuesday. Cough, cough, cough, sneeze.
CUSTOMER: Oh, OK. But when will you start working on them? Tomorrow?
ME: Cough, cough, cough, cough, I'll call you when I'm feeling better to give you a more definite time.
CUSTOMER: OK. But if you feel better sooner, you'll work on them?
ME: Cough, cough, cough, cough, cough. I'll do the best I can and call you when I'm feeling better, ok?
CUSTOMER: OK. Goodbye.
Three hours later....
ME: (waking up to answer the phone) Hello? cough, cough, cough, hack, cough, gasp for breath, etc.
CUSTOMER: It's me again. I was just checking to see if you were feeling better yet.
ME: Cough, cough, cough. No. I'm afraid it'll be a few more days.
I actually checked call ID later on to see if I dreamed the second phone call. I didn't.
You can't make this stuff up!
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I picked up my saddle stool today from the best quilt shop ever. Since I'm a geek, I know that it took less than 8 minutes to assemble (7 minutes, 11 seconds, but it's not like I actually used a stopwatch or anything). I pulled my wonderful stool right up to my quilting machine and was able to quilt WHILE SITTING DOWN!!!! My back, hips, knees, and feet are gonna send me thank you notes.
Since everything in life should be fun, I read the "Important Safety Instructions" included in the box. I'll share my favorites here:
1. Before assembling the chair. Make sure to wear Gloves for the safety of your hands.
3. Disposed packing materials properly. Do not play with plastic bag as head covering. It may cause suffocation.
5. Except on the seat, do no sit on any part of the chair. Improper sitting may cause imbalance which results to bodily injury.
8. The fabric color may fade when exposed under the sun. keep chair under the shade.
These were direct quotes. The drawings accompanying the warnings were equally hilarious.
And yes, this chair makes my butt look fat(ter than it already is).
Also, be wary of improper sitting. I've read that it may results to bodily injury.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
What's a girl to do?
Well, a girl could answer 2 phone calls within 10 minutes and suddenly discover 2 customers who are really interested in receiving their quilts, like, NOW.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Gimme an S!
Gimme an O!
Gimme a T!
Gimme another T!
Gimme an O!
What's it spell? Risotto.
I would love to confess to a lifelong love affair with risotto, but sadly I cannot. I grew up in a culinary wasteland. Dinner was either meat cooked to shoe leather or a casserole with Campbell's soup, Velveeta cheese, and potato chips on top. Cheese came in a green can. It's ok if you tell my mom I said this -- she and I have discussed it many times.
I never learned to cook when living at home. None of this food tasted good, so why bother? When I got married and had kids, I had to learn to cook. I became a fairly adventurous cook. I always try new recipes. What's the worst that can happen?
I've eaten risotto in restaurants a few times and really like it. I've tried making it a few times and found out the worst that could happen -- it was awful.
Then I found this book*. I made artichoke risotto and it was easy and delicious. My children, who have never tasted risotto (because I always threw my feeble attempts away), adored it.
Since my son is moving into his own apartment and going to have to cook, I tested a simpler version that he can make himself. Put some olive oil in the pan and saute some garlic and onion. Add the rice and cook until translucent. Stir in some broth and cook until it's absorbed. Put the rice into a 5-qt slow cooker and add broth (vegetable broth for my vegetarian daughter) and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring once or twice. Before serving, stir in unsalted butter and pecorino-romano cheese. YUM!
The real amounts:
1-2 T olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup vegetable broth
6 more cups vegetable broth
2 T butter
1/3 cup cheese
When you put this in the slow cooker, you can clean out the fridge and put in peas, mushrooms, or whatever else is lurking in there.
*I've also made Midas Feast. I plan to try several more recipes since the book's already scored 2 out of 2.
The Detroit airport was interesting as well. Since I was well over three hours late*, I missed my connection. The nice lady handed me a new ticket when I got off the plane. They rebooked my flight to Nashville and it was leaving in 28 minutes. Cool, right? Did I mention that the gate I needed to get to was in Texas? Seriously. Prove that I'm lying. After doing an OJ through the airport, I decided that I have to take my computer bag to the gym with me in the morning. Running on a treadmill doesn't quite prepare you for running with luggage and I want to be ready for the next time.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I brought 3 books with me, Ping, and yarn for 2 pair of socks. I have my mp3 player loaded with about 40 hours of books. Oh, and a book for a class I'm taking. And a sketch pad for a class I'm teaching. And some notecards in case I want to write some letters.
Someone stop me before I pack anything else.
See y'all in Nashville!
Saturday, August 18, 2007
My blog silence in the past has meant many things, but this time it means that I've been busy working. So busy working, in fact, that I forgot to have fun. Fun for me is sewing and today I finally did some:
This morning was the "Strip Club" at the Quilt Basket. For you non-quilters, we use strips of fabrics to make various projects and today's project was a bag. I've made a few bags in the past, but I've never really done any that were very involved (i.e. linings, inner pockets, etc.). This one had lining and ties and button flaps and TEN pockets. One for my wallet, camera, mp3 player, and seven more that are currently empty. Any suggestions?
I also heard recently that McDonald's serves iced vanilla coffee. I was led to believe that it's impossible to drink it without the proper amount of sweetener. I've never been a fan of coffee, but this sounds like it's worth a try.
Well, Post #100 was lame, but at least there was a picture, right?
Monday, August 06, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
We decided to explore the area and try to take pictures of lighthouses*. We were hoping to take a boat ride, but the boat sank earlier this year. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. We decided to walk along the river to see if we could catch a glimpse of the lighthouse. On our walk, we kept seeing these metal things sticking out of the ground. We were baffled as to their function until we saw this one:
I learned something new that day.
We walked for about an hour before we came upon a beach. It was hysterical to see this little patch of riverbank with sand dumped onto it. There was even a paid lifeguard. We didn't feel compelled to take off our shoes and wade in the pristine waters of the Hudson River.
I assure you that it looks prettier than it smelled.
After our walk, we went on to explore some local wineries and then met with some friends for dinner. It was a beautiful start to our two weeks of kidlessness.
*We never did see that lighthouse.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Here's a(nother) tablerunner for my mom. Made from leftover blocks from a chocolate quilt for a friend.
Monday, June 18, 2007
I mostly make quilts that I feel like making and then worry about what I'll do with them. When I was binding this next one, my husband said he liked he and he usually has no opinions about my quilts. That was my clue to keep this one. It's going to be my fall bedspread. It's Bound to the Prairie from the Moda University. It's huge and all half-square triangles. I will NOT be making another one of these.
Since I haven't had a chance to hike this last week and therefore could post no nature pictures, I had my son hold up the quilts outside just to show some green.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Anyway, tick checks are a part of every day life in these here parts. That means you search your entire body daily for tiny little critters that think of you as dinner. FUN! This morning I checked for ticks as usual and, as usual, found myself tick-less. This afternoon, however, I was changing my shirt and found a not-so-little critter attached to the middle of my back. It was actually huge. Like a quarter-of-an-inch huge. Sticking-straight-out-of-the-middle-of-my-back huge.
You know when you get an itch in the middle of your back that you cannot scratch by yourself? That's where this tick was. Removing it by myself was not an option. Fortunately I was not home alone. My 20-year-old son, his 19-year-old friend-who-happens-to-be-female (I make no judgements here and she reads this blog), and my 16-year-old daughter. My daughter is scared to death of bugs, so she's out. The 19-year-old is a bit squeamish, so she's out. My son had his wisdom teeth removed this morning and is a little drugged, so he's out. Wait a minute, that leaves no one! I called upon my poor son for assistance.
I apologized ahead of time for possibly scarring him for life since he was going to have to see his mother's bare back, but he handled himself like the adult he is. Pain-filled, swollen and drugged, he pulled (most of) the tick out of me and tended my wound until my husband came home to dig out the rest. (My husband spent 30 minutes doing just that. He loves me. And no, that doesn't qualify as a date night.)
We checked out the ticks that are native to New York state and identified the ridiculous creature. It is, of course, the big one in the photo. Yes, it was sticking straight out of my back. It's a brown dog tick. I must be a brown dog. Call me Rover. *
"This tick is considered a nuisance species and is not known to transmit disease-causing organisms to humans in the United States." I'm still going to watch for symptoms since "Although brown dog ticks can be found crawling on humans they rarely attach and feed on humans." I'm already the exception to one rule.....
*We do not have a dog. We have two cats that never go outdoors. This was just a random and freaky event. Did I mention gross? Because it was truly gross, too.
Monday, June 11, 2007
An jus' smile.
Just take in some clean fresh air, boy!
Ain't no sense in stayin' insideIf the weather's fine an' you got the time.
It's your chance to wake up and plan another brand new day.
It's a beautiful mornin',
Ahhh,Each bird keeps singin' his own song.
I've got to be on my way, now.
Ain't no fun just hangin' around,
I've got to cover ground,
you couldn't keep me down.
It just ain't no good if the sun shines
When you're still inside,
Shouldn't hide, still inside, shouldn't hide,
Ahhhh..Oh! (shouldn't hide) Ah, ah, Oh.....
Even dead mountain laurel looks pretty when sunbeams come to play:
Don't you just love ferns?
Evidence of humans.
My son came home from college on Saturday. I think I'll take him out to lunch. I have such a tough life.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
After church we drove on very crowded roads to a very crowded mall to get clothes for my darling daughter. She's going to a college for a summer study program for a few weeks and needs some new duds. She'll have a great time and study literature and art, too. We're very proud of her for being accepted.
Back to the mall. Too many people on the roads. Too many people in the parking lot. Too many people in the stores buying too many things that they don't need. I sat on a bench while waiting for my daughter to try on some clothes. Within seconds, there were two families worth of children climbing on me. Not next to me but ON me. Is this necessary? Was buying two pairs of jeans and swim shorts for my daughter worth all this? I vote no.
At Steve and Barry's I saw Sarah Jessica Parker's new clothing line, Bitten. Do I really need a dress for $12.99? Agreed, it's not a bad price but do I need another dress? How many dresses do those women in China or wherever have to make in order to make $12.99? It just seems pointless.
After we made our planned purchases, my husband asked if I needed anything else. "I need to get away from these people," I replied. "Which people?" he asked. "ALL OF THEM!" was my final answer.
Now that I'm back home, I plan to sit on the front porch and look at nothing and drink a glass of wine and simply breathe. And plan a hike for tomorrow. Being alone in the woods is the antidote to the ridiculousness of today.
Fair reader, it is now for you to decide. Was today's experience was an epiphany of a sort, possibly leading me away from the consumer culture and toward a simpler and more meaningful existence? OR am I just having a nervous breakdown?
Comments are welcome and appreciated.
Friday, June 08, 2007
It's obviously long-abandoned and in very poor repair. I didn't go closer to check things out (I'm a rule person and the rules say to stay on the trails). From what I could see, though, it was made with semi-modern building techniques. There were rain gutters, plaster and lathe walls, red brick foundation, and a tin roof. Did I mention that I was an hour's walk away from any road? How the heck did all those building materials get there? And when? The picture doesn't show scale well, but the house is twice as large as the house I grew up in. This is not a 'little cabin in the woods'.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Sunday, June 03, 2007
This was a quick and easy pattern using all 2-1/2 inch strips. I will definitely make this pattern again.
This past weekend, we went to my husband's family reunion and I got to see my son! His grandparents brought him for the day and then he returned to college for his finals.
Of course, I finished this quilt ON THE DRIVE HOME so I'll have to mail it to the neglected friend.
Why do quilters always wait until AFTER the last minute?
Friday, June 01, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
1. I only slept 2 hours the night before. Note to self: don't drink 2 caffeinated diet cokes with dinner EVER AGAIN! Finally going to sleep when the sun is rising is NOT FUN!
2. It was ridiculously hot and humid with a stagnant air advisory. And lest we forget, I have asthma.
3. I'm overweight and out of shape and my knees hate me.
Some pics from the day:
I rested on a rock overlooking this farm while a mosquito devoured my backside. Laugh if you must, but I'm slightly uncomfortable.
This flower is no larger than my thumbnail. It was so fragile and intricate. Each petal is actually a hollow cone. Being plant-challenged I have no idea what it is, but it's cool anyway.
My dear quilting friend bought me these trekking poles for my birthday. I LOVE trekking poles. I saw about a dozen hikers on Saturday, and 100% of them used poles. Try them, you'll really like them.
The good news is that I made it home. The rest is like childbirth...... I blocked it out.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Wouldn't you be happy to cross this bridge?
I thought the fungus in this picture looked like little butterfly wings.