Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Snuggly and Warm

Hopefully this will be the last in my recent series of lousy photos:

This is where-I-go-it-goes quilt. The fabric is Pop Parade from P&B and I used Quilter's Dream wool batting. It's warm and snuggly and happy and bright and all mine. And I made matching pillowcases, too.
I'm working to finish more quilts and will make a serious effort to produce not only beautiful quilts, but maybe some halfway decent photographs.

Monday, December 29, 2008

And the award goes to........

Despite the record-breakingly long title, When You Need a Lift But Don't Want to Eat Chocolate, Pay a Shrink, or Drink a Bottle of Gin by Joy Behar was a fun book to read in small chunks. I wondered, though, when wouldn't someone want to eat chocolate? I also thought about what I do when I need a lift.

My lift: pull out all my scraps of fabric, cut them into useable sizes, and start piecing a scrap quilt.

What do you do?

Friday, December 26, 2008

We Three Quilts, part three

My absolutely favorite Thimbleberries quilting pattern looks like this:

It's been published several times, but I know for sure it's in the Beginner's Luck book. I believe it was earlier published in a book featuring children's fabric, and I think it was re-published last year as a pattern.
The fabrics in my version are from an old line, Christmas in Paris. There are little Eiffel Towers on the binding fabric. I just had to buy this fabric.
I gave the quilt to my Music Pastor. She's French Canadian. Her mother in law is a wonderful quilter, so she definitely understand what all goes into making a quilt.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We Three Quilts, part two

My first time working with subtle Christmas toile fabrics yielded this:

This one was for our youth pastor. I didn't get to give it to him in person, so I don't know how it was received.

And this photo is also terrible.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We Three Quilts, part one

Resurrecting a working on post, I finished this:

I brought the top to my quilting club and asked their opinion on the quilting. They laughed at me, but when I let them knew I seriously wanted their input, they picked a great thread for me from Hemingworth. It's tan but the sheen makes it look slightly metallic. It worked great on the rich Christmas fabrics and made for a very elegant quilt.

My church hired a new senior pastor this year, and this one was for him. He received it wonderfully well. He didn't call it a blanket and even noticed the quilting.

Isn't it great that my son returned home from college in time to hold up my quilts for photography? And wouldn't it be great if the photo wasn't blurry?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Extreme Reading

I'll have to admit it..... I really enjoy Vince Flynn novels. Most of time when I read, I really want to escape and get caught up in a good tale. It helps to keep me working. Really deep and heavy books are definitely worth reading, but during a busy work season (almost done!!!), I need something much lighter.

Extreme Measures by Vince Flynn was something lighter. It was definitely a book with a (pointed?) point and dealt with a very serious subject matter (terrorism), but it didn't make the reader work too hard to find it.

Need something heavier? Read Dennis Lehane. I'm chugging through his latest now. He's always worth the effort, but for me effort is definitely required.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Could it be?

Have I actually finished all of my customer quilts and started working on presents? Why yes, yes I have!

I had a dinner with my quilting group and we exchanged handmade ornaments. This is mine:

Terrible photo, but a fun ornament to make. I received a gorgeous wool santa ornament in exhange. Thanks Sally!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Getting smarter as I'm getting older

I've been trying to read John LeCarre novels since I was in high school. I always get most of the way through and realize that I have absolutely no idea what is happening. I have a mental picture of him sitting at his typewriter/computer, typing away. There's a speech balloon over his head that reads "There, that was complicated. I am smart; people are sheep. They only wish they were bright enough to understand my very clever books." Every time a new book comes out, I dutifully get it out of the library. Hope springs eternal.

Drumroll, please.......

I actually finished a John LeCarre novel AND I understood what was happening. So maybe he writes for the over-40 crowd? I'm not 40 yet, but if you round.......

Notice I didn't say that I liked A Most Wanted Man. I'm mostly meh about the book, but terribly impressed that I was smart enough to finish it.

So how about you? Are you smarter than me? Than John LeCarre? Than a Fifth Grader?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Unexpected Grace

So there's this author named Richard Paul Evans and he's written a whole bunch of books that have sold really well. I somehow had the impression that they weren't my type of books.

Since I'm still in the Christmas Quilt Countdown, I have a stack of books on CD from the library. Grace by Richard Paul Evans was on the top of the stack. I expected light and fluffy. It had much more to it than I expected and I think I enjoyed the tale. I got over five hours of quilting done, too!

I will probably read more of his books, but are they all this deliberately emotional?

I'm in desperate need of another Sookie Stackhouse book or three. That would help the quilt stack go down, I'm certain.

Dear Ms. Harris,
Please write faster.
A desperate reader

Monday, December 01, 2008

By the time you read this post....

... you may already have seen The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. I haven't*. I have, however, read the book.

Due to the setting I didn't expect it to be exactly uplifting so the beauty of this book caught me off guard. I was riveted and had to read on and on, until the end when I asked my family to finish the book for me and give me the short version of what happened. They refused and I persevered.

It's difficult to love a book with such a harsh subject matter, but it was well-treated and beautifully written. If you get the chance to listen to the cd, there's a great interview with the author on the last disc. I highly recommend listening to it.

* I am unable to watch movies about this subject. War movies, yes; movies about the Holocaust, never.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

If I could keep a day in a bottle......

After leaving my lungs in Baltimore, I went home long enough to do laundry and then back in the car for Nashua, NH.

More details about that trip on my other blog.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I don't like English Breakfast, either

Confession time.... I am not in love with Sex and the City. I saw parts of a few episodes and discovered that they were not exactly my cup of tea.

I did, however, read One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell and am mostly neutral about it. Positive: it resolved well. Negative: one of the characters often referred to Sex in the City. Isn't that like having two imaginary friends who start talking about you behind your back? It just felt a little off to me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I left my lungs in...


If you have the chance to go to Baltimore in the fall, jump at it! The weather and scenery were fantastic, but the trip overall was a story of good news/bad news.

Good news: I stopped at the Baltimore Museum of Art on my way down.

Bad news: It cost $7 to park

Good news: The museum was free!

Bad news: I only had 3 hours

Good news: They let me take photos!

Bad news: There were so many gorgeous mosaics from Antioch and the museum is hundreds of miles away.

Good news: I still have the photos!

When I saw the mosaics for the first time, I actually cried. My heart was pounding wildly at the thought that I was going to have to leave and not see them again for a very long time. I stopped hyperventilating only when I found out I was allowed to take photos.

Bad news: The traffic was insane

Good news: I began a brief yet passionate love affair with lettuce wraps at The Cheesecake Factory.

Bad news: The traffic was still insane

Good news: The hotel was really, really nice

Bad news: Apparently the hotel room air conditioner had some mold in it. When I returned home and went to the doctor, he actually said, "Good news! It's not Legionnaire's Disease." It was, however, the renewal of my acquaintance with asthma.

Good news: After a month, the medications have it mostly under control.

Bad news: It's still not much fun.

Good news: I taught at a really cute shop in the Historic Savage Mills and met some really fun quilters.

Bad news: I didn't have extra time to check out all the shops.

Good news: I did see a gorgeous painting in the hallway from one of the galleries. It was a painting of Peruvian musicians and it was the first time I've ever wanted to purchase art.

Bad news: I didn't buy it, and the lung issues were beginning to make me very, very tired.

Good news: I stopped in New Jersey on the way home to go to church with old friends.

Bad news: I won't see them again until spring.
Good news: I didn't get stuck on the George Washington Bridge

Bad news: the whole "I'm coughing" thing didn't get stuck on the bridge either. It followed me home.
Good news: Other than the whole sick thing, I loved my trip to Baltimore and hope to go back in the spring.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Because one can never have too many vampires

When planning my recent trips I prepared folders of hotel reservations, directions to quilt shows and quilt shops, airline reservations, local attractions and addresses of local restaurants. I also went to the library and checked out all of the Sookie Stackhouse novels in paperback.

That series by Charlaine Harris is like candy. I kept a book tucked into my purse at all times and instead of dining alone, I dined with Miss Stackhouse. Argue with me if you must, but after reading all of her eight books in a short time, I decided she should definitely stay with Bill.

I read on Ms. Harris' blog that her books were made into a series on HBO. True Blood. Even though we recently subscribed to cable television, we did not subscribe to HBO. But, good news! I spend a lot of time in hotels and hotels usually have HBO, do they not? I looked online and saw that the series is aired at 9pm on Sundays. I made a mental note to turn on the television in hotels on Sunday nights. Since it was a mental note and not an actual note on actual paper filed in my oh-so-organized travel files, do you think I remembered to tune in? I forgot the first Sunday night. And the next. I remembered the following one, but that hotel did not have HBO. What the heck?!?!?!? And the Sunday night I spent in Houston? Once again I forgot.

I will have to wait to see Sookie on dvd. I'm not terribly interested in watching the series. (Reference Dexter and Edward). I am just astonished by the casting choice of Anna Paquin. I liked her somewhat in The Piano, but have pretty much hated her in every role since then. I think I just wanted to see her try to be Sookie for 2 minutes so I could continue hating her, this time for mis-representing my beloved dining companion.

Has anyone actually succeeded in watching the show? Should I stop fretting about seeing the show and continue hating her now? Or might I be pleasantly surprised when I finally watch the dvds?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A list of cities

that might explain my absense from blogworld.

In early October I went to Salt Lake City for a week. Since then, I've been to:

Baltimore, MD
Nashua, NH
Portsmouth, RI
Charlton, MA
Houston, TX
Monroe, CT

and probably a few other places that I'm not remembering right now. It was a weird month full of fun places, but I'm glad that I'm going to be home for a while now.

Now that I've officially started the annual "Twere the Quilts Before Christmas" countdown I don't have tons of time for blogging, but I hope to tell fun stories and share photos from my recent adventures in the near future. Due to the countdown, I'll be listening to a lot of books. Plan on a few book posts as well. Quite a few book posts. Like a book-a-day book posts.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Oh, Edward

I have to admit it... I was suckered into reading Twilight. Pages turned and then I had to read another. Then another. Then I had to wait a long time to read the last. I finished just in time to see the movie trailers FOR A MOVIE I SHALL NOT SEE! No offense to anyone who is excited about the movie, but Cedric is not my Edward.

After I saw the disappointing trailers, I read another Stephenie Meyer novel, The Host. It was nice and long.

Any rumors of another Stephenie Meyer novel?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Just back from Utah

I spent a wonderful several days in the company of some of my favorite people in Salt Lake City, Utah last week. I took a photo of the Handi Quilter building, but the sun glare killed it. I really need to learn how to take a proper photo, but that won't happen for quite some time.

The sun didn't kill the photo of the business down the way from Handi Quilter, though. Jack Black, anyone?

Wow, I just noticed that I'm in that photo. Blue sweater, brown handbag, black pants. Ever fashionable am I.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Mondays are for food

Working weekends has definitely helped in my quest for organization. Every Monday morning I go grocery shopping and spend until noon cooking for the week.

Today I cooked up 10 pounds of chicken yielding many cups of cooked chicken for the freezer and a gallon of broth. Once that was done, it was easy to whip up 3 chicken potpies (now in the freezer).

All that yummy chicken and broth reminded me of the lettuce wraps I had last week in Salt Lake City (can't remember the name of the restaurant, sorry), so I made chicken lettuce wraps and vegetable lo mein. We ate it tonight and it rocked!

I also chopped up all my vegetables for the week and cooked up a bunch of pasta. The daughter usually zaps some after school for lunch.

Since I'm out of town a lot, I cook many meals ahead. I wouldn't want my two nearest and dearest starving in my absence.

A full freezer makes me happy.


If you ever fly cross-country, take more than one book with you. If you choose not to take this advice, you will only be able to read 190 pages on the way to Utah and have to save the other 190 pages for the flight home.

Another hint -- if you only take one book, make sure it isn't Sinner by Ted Dekker. In a word.... meh.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Working on....

This WIP (work in progress) won't be finished any time soon. It's name is Ping and it was a block of the month from Pinwheels. I am absolutely smitten with Daiwabo fabrics, and this uses hundreds of different ones. Bliss! It is English paper pieced and very time consuming, but it's been a great travel project. A week's worth of hand work can be transported in a small zippered bag.

Here's one star:

Those stars will eventually be appliqued onto larger squares. I have 11 of 20 stars pieced.

Here's the 12th star:

And the 13th:

This WIP may show up in "working on..." many more times over many more months years.

Gee, I love Philadelphia

Once upon a time, I had a dear friend. We were pregnant together and both had little girls. We kept each other sane. One day, the big bad company transferred her husband thousands of miles away and my friend left me behind. We kept in touch and visited with each other whenever we were in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, that wasn't very often. Several years later, the big bad company tried to redeem itself by moving my dear friend back to my time zone. We still see each other whenever we're in the neighborhood, but that's much more often now.

Last week, I was in her neighborhood and we went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the Quilts from Gees Bend. They were beautiful in a different way than the quilts I see every day in my job. These women used whatever they had and didn't stress over perfection, but they were beautiful anyway. Even though I don't think I'm going to stop using precision quilting techniques, there are things I learned from these quilts that will enhance my own quilts.

Since I couldn't take photographs of the quilts, I took one of my lunch:

When in Rome, right?

Still in the neighborhood, I stopped in to visit with my aunt and uncle:

I haven't seen them since my wedding. We had a lot of catching up to do!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Toot! Toot!

Check this out.

Scroll down to "Contents". See that Christmas bed scarf? I quilted that.

I'm done tooting my own horn.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

You meet the neatest people

when you blog.

I posted about a Jodi Picoult book a few weeks ago and Kelly Simmons left a comment. Kelly suggested that I read her book, Standing Still. Ever the obedient one, I did just that. I started it while working in Philadelphia last weekend and finished it at home. As in, I started reading it the minute my eyes opened and was late for church because I couldn't not finish it.

This is a book that made me go "hmmmmmmmmmmm". Have you heard the description of an iceberg where 90% of the ice is below the surface of the water? Well, 90% of the story took place outside of the book. I think I really, really like that.

For other obedient ones just waiting for instructions....... GO READ THIS BOOK!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Notice I didn't imply that I finished anything. These are some the projects the gals at my quilt retreat last weekend were working on.

The fabrics in this evening bag are so yummy you just have to touch them:

I think this bag is going on a trip at some point. Maybe it's large enough to smuggle me aboard?

A strip swap from a previous retreat finally got finished:

My favorite lawyer and I started this quilt 18 months or so ago. Mine's in pieces in a box. Here's my friend's:

She's such an over-achiever! (And I love her even though she can't comment on my blog)

We clucked away all weekend making chicken blocks:

They grew up and turned into this quilt:

The retreat ended Sunday afternoon. The quilt was quilted, bound, and delivered to the intended recipient by Wednesday. Apparently there's more than one over-achiever in the group.
I managed to piece a simple scrap quilt:

This will be a wedding gift for another of my daughter's teachers. He's getting married in October.

And I miss my A number-1 quilt holder upper. He went back to college.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

If you give a moose a muffin....

.... he'll want some jam to go with it.

If you give me a muffin, I'll eat it just the way it is and be extremely happy.

Mmmmmmmmmmm. Fresh chocolate chip muffins. I also made fresh strawberry-orange muffins.
to my new best friend: Lie to me and tell my that my photos are crappy because I use a really cheap camera instead of my extreme lack of skill. See you Saturday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Working on....

This was a strip club quilt from a year or two ago. The light in my dining sewing room doesn't do the fabrics justice. They are gorgeous!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I love quilters!

So much so that I spent a whole weekend with them, just hanging out and sewing (in our PJs most of the time).

The view was incredible:

Even though that picture doesn't capture the mist over the river in the morning, the blazing sunsets, or large ships sailing by.

We were well fed:

That is just the snack table. The kitchen was also full, and more food showed up at mealtimes! There was even a really cute bagel delivery boy......

We enjoyed luxurious accommodations:

It was a good thing though. Who wants to sleep when there's quilting to do?

We stayed toasty warm:

Several of our women were expert fire-tenders and keepers of the hearth.

So, basically, we had a blast!!!! When's the next getaway????


note: the bagel delivery boy may or may not be married to the founder of our little group.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Deal Maker

I have a crush on a man named Myron. I just finished reading Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben and am shocked that I haven't heard of this book before; it was fantastic. I was in suspense until almost the end, but the wit and style carried me through the book easily. Please oh please let there be another book featuring Myron Bolitar and Co.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Martha has a blog?

She most certainly does! See? And she wants to see your blog, too. Leave her a comment and she may check out your blog.


It snuck up on me again. Today is "Talk Like a Pirate Day". Check it out, or walk the plank!


Another Finish

Last summer I made a new quilt for my bed. The leftover blocks made a nice baby quilt:

My son's church is experiencing a population explosion. I'm sending a bunch of baby quilts for him to give away. Babies are cool, aren't they?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

So long, old friend

I recently damaged my sewing machine. This week I'm investigating the fixing vs. replacing costs. It's a Janome Gem Gold and I literally loved it to death.

Since I still had sewing to do, I pulled out my old Viking 500.

I bought it in 1996 and used it exclusively until the last few years. Sewing on it this week, I realized that I'm not very happy with the quarter-inch. If I use the quarter-inch foot, the feed dogs pull the fabric in a displeasing manner (was that polite enough? because I used less polite words earlier).

I re-boxed the Viking and pulled out my daughter's Janome Sewist 509 and have been using that with much better results. It's a short-term solution, but sometimes that's all you need.

I've been feeling very guilty about my perfectly good Viking that I plan to never use again. I feel like a whiny princess for not using a machine that still works. It's so old that it would be very difficult to sell. I offered this machine to my mother, my sister, a friend, and my son's girlfriend. No takers. Recently we had company (could this be the inspiration for the clean dining room? I vote "yes") and my friend wanted to see what I do. I took her into the pit sewing room. She asked about all the machines and I asked if she wanted one. She excitedly said yes! My Viking 500 has a new home and my friend is now dreaming of hems and curtains and gifts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So this is the dining room?

Finally, I got all my quilting crap stuff moved out of my dining room:

My family was kind enough to help. I truly appreciated the help. Unfortunately, everything is now thrown back in my sewing room. I will not show a picture of that pit. Maybe later. Probably not.


I just noticed one piece of debris left on the dining room chair. His name is Spike. He's very active and enthusiastic. Can't you tell?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Retreat or Advance

You decide.

I spent the weekend at a wonderful quilt shop with 17 of my newest best friends:

We ate really, really good food. We played games. We won prizes. Oh, and we did some longarm quilting, too.


These were amazingly talented and wonderful women and I was honored that they chose to spend a weekend with me, learning more about longarm quilting.

Monday, September 15, 2008

To Dexter or not to Dexter, that is the question

I've seen the Dexter dvds at the library and been sorely tempted to watch them. I absolutely ADORE the Dexter books. If you haven't heard of them, Dexter is a serial killer. And the good guy. Yeah, I know it's strange. The books are very, very dark but somehow funny and I completely get that.

I went to Showtime's website and watched trailers for Dexter and I had serious issues...... that wasn't MY Dexter. Does that ever happen to you? I've had a picture of Dexter in my head since I read the first book a few years ago. The tv-Dexter didn't match my mental picture and I'm afraid that watching the show will ruin my crush on book-Dexter.

I'm stumped. And going to read the Dexter books. Yet again.

Friday, September 12, 2008


A few years ago I took several blue fabrics from my stash and made up a bunch (80!) of blocks. I sewed them into 5 baby quilts. This is number 3, I think:

Preparing this quilt for photography caused a minor ruckus in my household. I used a new batting, Quilter's Dream Green (made from recycled soda bottles), and wanted to test it thoroughly. I threw it in the washer and dryer to see how it would wear. More than one member of my family questioned me about running the dryer. I rarely/never use the dryer for laundry. I have probably dried one load since April, since it was raining and we had to leave town the next morning with clean laundry.

Runing the dryer..... one more thing I'm willing to do for my art. But only on occasion.


Note on the batting: It washed beautifully and I will definitely use this batting again.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

When life hands you lemons...

...make lemonade. When life hands you smooshy bananas...

...make low-fat vegan banana bread from The Veganomicon!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Working On......

Cleaning out the 2.5-inch strip bucket. This will likely be a graduation quilt for some young man.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I'd walk a mile for a quilt class

I'd also drive about an hour to Pinwheels. It's a great quilt shop, and one with a great big heart. They recently spent a day sewing back-to-school bags for young students who would otherwise not get the needed school supplies.

Quilters are definitely above average individuals.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Wedding Quilt Update

My daughter gave her photo teacher the wedding quilt today. The response was as wonderful as one could ask for:

"You shouldn't have." "Your mom MADE this?" "This is the best thing anyone has ever given me."

Isn't it wonderful that a simple scrap quilt can bring so much joy?

The Picoult Plunge

Do you read Jodi Picoult's books? I do....... sometimes.

I read The Tenth Circle about two years ago. It really got to me. Difficult subject matter, difficult resolution. It took me nearly a year to work up the courage to read another one of her books. That time I chose Nineteen Minutes. It didn't rock me like The Tenth Circle did, but I didn't want to rush right out and read another one of her books, either. I was able to figure out the ending of the book, too, and that's a huge turn-off for me.

Last week I took the Picoult Plunge and read The Plain Truth. It was somewhat predictable, but I mostly enjoyed the journey.

Which book of hers should I read next? You can tell me now, but it may take up to a year for me to be willing to crack the spine.

Friday, September 05, 2008

A Finish on a Friday

Over the summer, my daughter repeatedly told me that her photo teacher was getting married. Eventually I got the hint. Here's the quilt we I made for her wedding:

And a closeup of the quilting:

I <3 this quilt.

size -- approx. 65x78 inches
batting -- Mountain Mist White Rose (I'm starting to like this batting that I have an entire roll of!)
thread -- Perma Core off-white something or other
fabric used -- 270 five-inch squares from my scrap buckets

The binding was hand-sewn last night courtesy of the Giants game, McCain's speech, and a lot of tennis on TV.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What Did You Do Today?

Most days I can answer that question with mundane things like "work" or "laundry" or "ran errands". Today's answer is "I saved someone's life".
I am a platelet donor. Whenever I have a couple of hours to spare, they hook me up to a fancy machine that takes my blood out, spins it around, keeps some and gives the rest back. Need proof? Check this out:
They give you nice blankets and heating pads if you get chilly. You can see the wires for my MP3 player. I listened to 90 minutes of a good psychic crime novel. When I was done donating, I got a pretty purple bandage on my arm and access to the goodie table:
I ate Cheezits. And I saved someone's life.
If you have a couple of hours to spare, consider donating platelets or whole blood. Someone did it for my mom, and I do it to honor those donors.

Finally, A Finish

Last February, a group of wonderful women held a quilt retreat. They invited me to join them. I was out of town for most of it, but I did get to spend a little time on Saturday evening and Sunday morning with them.

We worked on our own projects for most of the time, but we each made this tablerunner:

(Isn't my son's 1992 Camry gorgeous?)
These ladies are having another retreat this September. I will get to spend most of the weekend with them, leaving only to teach 2 classes at the local quilt shop. I'm already sorting through projects, trying to decide which to take with me to finish.
I know one thing that will be at the retreat: Death By Chocolate. Made by one of my favorite people. And that person is reading this, my camera is on the trail somewhere between my house and yours. Let me know if you find it, ok?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Old Tobacco Road, part 4

I have no pictures of part 3, since my camera is enjoying it's time on the Appalachian Trail without me.

I do have a picture of part 4, since I went out and bought a new camera today. My camera was only 18 months old, but it wasn't working very well. I was trying to make do with it (smacking it around, waiting and waiting while it decided if it was going to take the picture yet, etc), but losing it made the decision to replace it much easier. Oh, and my new camera is pink!

On to step 5 (maybe).
About the camera: I have really low requirements for a camera. I only take snapshots. I like a camera that is small, has a decent optical zoom, and is fairly inexpensive. Done!

But I live in the woods!

I just finished "The Woods" by Harlan Coben. It was fantastic. Not necessarily uplifting though. It's a rare joy when a book twists and turns without my knowing where it will end.

Mr. Coben's woods, however, are much different than mine. Mine aren't scary.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wanted: Hiking Pictures

I live on the Appalachian Trail and hike often. OK, so I used to hike often. I hiked regularly until Mother's Day and haven't hiked since. Until today.

For the first time ever, my husband came with me. I got a great picture of him at the top of the mountain with the gorgeous view behind him. Wanna see it?

Well, you can't. Don't feel bad, though, because I can't either. My camera didn't come home with me. I'm beyond bummed. If you happen to hike the AT and see my green Samsung camera, let me know, ok?

I'm going to engage in some quilt therapy and maybe finish Old Tobacco Road part 3. And then I'm going to go through camera withdrawal. Is there a 12-step program for that?

Old Tobacco Road, part 2

Here they are:

And yes, I did put them all together backwards. Thanks for noticing. I'm going to reverse everything in step three, hoping it all comes together ok. If not, it's a graduation quilt for someone and they'll love it regardless.
No scrap baskets were emptied in the making of these blocks. Not empty at all. So much so that I'm thinking of finally starting Orange Crush, just to use up some of these scraps.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Old Tobacco Road, part 1

I decided to take the Old Tobacco Road plunge. I don't get much time for personal sewing, so here's hoping I'll get to finish this one.

For my four-patches, I raided my 2-inch square bucket. I used mostly browns.

I made 190 or so, and will cut the triangle blocks from these later.

Wow, I forgot my scrap buckets actually had bottoms to them. One down, eleven to go!

On to the Windmills!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Another good book

I have a very weird system for picking books to read. Sometimes it's everything by an author. Sometimes it's what I've seen others read in airports. And sometimes I pick audiobooks based on who the reader is.

Scott Brick is one of my favorites. I requested a whole bunch of books that he's read and found some very enjoyable ones. "City of the Sun" by David Levien is one of those. I started listening with absolutely no pre-conceived ideas and this book blew me away.

Gritty might be a good description. Moving would be another. Tragic. Compelling. I finished listening to this book in my garage after listening to the last CD while driving and arriving home before it was over. I couldn't stand the thought of turning it off long enough to walk upstairs and put it in the CD player in my office.

So, not for the faint of heart (sensitive subject matter), but absolutely compelling. Read it!

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm not dead yet!

Things just got a bit crazy. Sorry.

I'll post now, though, if that's ok.

My daughter and I went to the University of Maryland this weekend. I really, really liked the school, but it's not completely about me, I guess. We had to be there at 10am Friday. In case you are new, we live in New York. I love waking at 4am in order to cross the George Washington Bridge before rush hour. Yay! I also love construction traffic, weekend traffic, and all other forms of traffic. We hit them all.

To pass the time, we listened to "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" by Stephen King. I was shocked to discover that I have never read it before. I've read most of his works (except The Dark Tower series. I don't like them). I rarely read books after I've seen the movie; it's such a set-up for disappointment. I took the risk since my daughter and I both love the movie. The book was read by someone who wasn't Morgan Freeman but who sounded shockingly like Morgan Freeman anyway. We pointed out places where the screenplay differed from the book, but thankfully they were few. All movies that are based on books should at least resemble the books they were based on, don't you think? It's tragic how many don't.

Stephen King outdid himself in this novella. The last line is now one of my favorites: "I hope."

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Making a Spectacle of Myself

I've often mentioned that I hang my laundry outside to dry. It's something that is good for the environment and our budget. It's a bright part of my day. I love going outside in the morning and listening to the birds and critters making their normal racket. It makes me wonder why people think that it's quiet in the country. I'm soothed by the process of hanging laundry and I love folding the fresh-smelling clothes at the end of the day.

It's obvious that I enjoy my laundry-hanging experience. Today, it became obvious that someone else enjoys it as well:

This lovely lady made herself comfortable and watched me intently for the entire process.

Mission Accomplished

I've had some interesting experiences on the road recently. Unfortunately, a lot of them involved tow trucks.

My husband and I have had several 'date night' trips to drop my car at the shop. I enjoyed spending that time with my husband, but I would have preferred candle-lit dinners. With what we paid the mechanic, they would have been some ah-ma-zing dinners.

We started visiting exciting places with bright lights and friendly people. Places like this:

and others like Pontiac, Nissan, and Dodge.

After too many days spent without a working vehicle, I finally have a new baby:

Ugly car comments? Bring them on!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Black socks & sandals

Are these the most typical tourist photos you've ever seen?:

It was a good day. And one totally filled with incredibly cute toddlers and dogs. Was there a convention or something? Because they were completely adorable, all of them.