Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday’s Miscellaneous Musings



After an unseasonably cool (but delightful) start to our summer, the summer-like weather has returned … with a vengeance.  Still I was hopeful that we’d be spared the 100+ degree weather … but yesterday we broke that barrier … in fact, our little village recorded the highest temperature in the St. Louis Metro area yesterday.  Here’s a screen print I captured yesterday:



I didn’t get in any time in the sewing room yesterday, and I have to say that I’m not the least bit sorry Winking smile … after DD got off work, we ended up going to the pool … a perfect day for some pool time (see above).  By the time I got home, it was too late and I was too tired (albeit a good tired Red heart). 


I’m not sure that I’m going to get much sewing time today.  My neighbor told me about a quilt shop in a small town about 35 minutes north, so we’re going to go check it out.  DH and I will be going out for dinner with her and her husband this evening, so there might be a very brief window of time for working on that storm at sea top this afternoon.


We don’t have anything special planned this weekend … and I have to say that I’m looking forward to that!  Now that I’m “working” again – ha! – I could use a bit of a break.  DH and I talked briefly about getting away – anywhere – this weekend, but since we’re now just 2 weeks from our trip to Hilton Head (woo hoo!), we decided to make this weekend a staycation instead. 


Hope you all have a fabulous Friday … and a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

It’s another Wednesday, time for another Hodgepodge!  Interested in checking out everyone else’s answers?  Just click on the button above.

1. Labor Day weekend (in the US of A) is approaching...what's something you've labored over this year?
I’ve been laboring on my storm at sea quilt.  I’ve got all my blocks pieced into rows and am now piecing the little finishing pieces into a row.  I had to rip out and restitch two pieces that I didn’t get lined up right … and evidently my needle has gotten dull as the threads of the fabric have been pulled out … all across where the seamline was … it looks like the needle didn’t pierce the fabric but poked/pulled threads as it went through the fabric.  I was determined to get all the rows put together yesterday, but I quit when I saw that I’m going to need to make a new finishing block.  It won’t take long to get the rows finished and then it will be time to sew the rows together to create the quilt top.  Then comes the fun part - removing the foundation papers!  ha!  There’s still light at the end of the tunnel … I’ll be there eventually.  Winking smile
2. What is one word to describe your 'job' or career?
OCD.  When I worked outside the home, I was an accountant, and I think you need to be fairly OCD to be a good accountant.

3. What was your worst or least favorite job ever? Why?
Oh dear, I had a loooong story about the BEST job I’ve ever held … then I reread the question.  Ooops!  The worst or least favorite?  My first position at the University was as an accountant in an office where there should have been at least two, if not three of us.  While I didn’t dislike the work, I disliked the work load, especially in the summer when I had to work huge amounts of overtime in order to prepare for the annual audit.
4. How do you measure contentment?
I’m not sure that contentment can be measured … contentment is having a peace and serenity that all too often in today’s crazy world can only come from God.

5. Pickles-like or dislike? What is something you eat that requires a pickle? Dill, bread and butter, sweet gherkins...what's your favorite kind of pickle?
I’m not a fan of pickles.

6. In your current house-town-state, what is it you like living close to?
I Red heart being no more than 10-15 minutes from DD and my Ts.  I also like our subdivision … on the outskirts of town, so it almost feels like we’re living in the country, and it’s just small enough to feel cozy and to get to know our neighbors.

7. What is one thing on your 'want-to-do' list before summer draws to an official close?
Since summer doesn’t officially end until September 21, spending some time on Hilton Head Island is at the top of my “want-to-do” list.  Thankfully we’ll be there for the last few days of summer (and the first few of fall). 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
When I was at DD’s yesterday, I happened to look out the window upstairs and saw something that just tugged at my heartstrings.  (Forgive the blurriness … I took this with my iPhone, through a tinted window with a screen … you can click on it to get a better view.)

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Weekend Wrap-up

Didn’t I just do a Weekend Wrap-up yesterday?  I am amazed at how time just flies by … I know I say that every Monday, but I guess I keep thinking that one of these days, time will slow down.  ha!

I didn’t get any progress made on my Storm at Sea this weekend … it’s beginning to look like I won’t get it into a hoop until next week. 

Friday I spent the day at DD’s … she worked that afternoon, and after she and DSIL got home, they suggested that we call Papa (DH) and ask him to come join us for some game time.  I suggested that he stop on the way and bring some carryout at our favorite Chinese place.  I don’t remember who won the games, but I do remember the fun we had and the laughs we shared.

We visited my Dad on Saturday.  He’s getting so frail, and he was having a particularly bad day.  He’s adamant about staying in his home, and while he does have some days that are better than others, I still worry that one of these days he’s not going to be able to live on his own. 

Not long after we got home from church Sunday, we got a phone call from DD … her in-laws needed some help.  They’ve always had some health issues, but after her MIL’s emergency surgery a couple of weeks ago, things have gotten significantly worse.  DD and DSIL went to help them reorganize/rearrange their apartment to try to make it a little easier for them … so we had all four Ts over for the afternoon. 

It doesn’t look like things are going to slow down today … DD works in the morning, I have a hair cut this afternoon, we have small group this evening.  It doesn’t look like I’m going to get any time in the sewing room until tomorrow afternoon … although that’s subject to change.  Winking smile

Hope you have a marvelous Monday!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Catching up Friday


A lot has happened this week, and it’s time to play “catch-up”.


DD started work … she’s taken a part time job at the YMCA, working the opening shift at the front desk.  That means that Nana has taken a part time “job”, watching the littles until Mama comes home at 9:30.  I hesitate calling it a job, because how can something that I love doing be called a job?  Winking smile 


Our deck is finished … and we couldn’t be more pleased with how it’s turned out.  I took before pictures, but I suspect they were lost when I attempted to import them from my camera … I got a communication error message and my laptop froze up.  Sad smile  When I rebooted there were no images on my camera … and none on my laptop.  But I do have after pictures!

photo (4)See the part under roof?  That is the size of the original deck.     

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We sat out on the deck after dinner last night, and even though it was still very warm, it was quite delightful out there. 


I have also finished construction of all 80 of my storm at sea blocks … I’m now in the process of stitching the blocks into rows.  Once I’ve sewn together the rows, I’ll stitch them together into a quilt top.  I’ve finished 5 of the 10 rows … I’m hoping to have the remaining rows finished by Sunday evening, which means I should be able to start quilting next week!!  Red heart

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We are now 3 weeks away from leaving for Hilton Head.  It still feels so far away … but then it feels like it is just mid-June to me.  Winking smile  Still, I’m ready to leave now.  Ha!


Hope you all have a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge



It’s Wednesday again … time for some more Hodgepodge!  Why not join in the fun … just click on the button above – AFTER you’ve visited here and chatted a bit.  Winking smile



1. What's your worst food memory?  How about one of your best?

My worst?  The time I ate a couple of chocolate covered cherries and then had the stomach flu.  Needless to say, I can’t bring myself to eat a chocolate covered cherry.  Sick smile  It’s hard for me to think of a best food memory … as someone who loves food (too much), there are so many to choose from.  I guess I’ll choose the first time I had the James Island benedict … brunch at A Lowcountry Backyard … we’ll be in Hilton Head for 2 weekends next month, and I imagine we’ll have brunch in the courtyard at A Lowcountry Backyard both weekends! 

2. Do you appreciate people telling it like it is, or would you rather a speaker temper his/her words and maybe beat around the bush a little?  How about when you're the one communicating...which type are you?

It depends – how’s that for an answer?  ha!  Seriously, I appreciate the truth, I do not appreciate those who excuse rudeness or downright meanness as “just telling it like it is”.  I generally would prefer to honest (not brutally honest, though), but I do struggle with not wanting to hurt or upset someone, even if what I’m sharing is the truth.

3. What's your favorite place to hang out?

My most favorite place to hang out is … you guessed it, the beach!  Especially if I’m there with my favorite people!  Red heart     

4. When do you most feel like you're a slave to time?

I rarely feel like I’m a slave to time … certainly one of the benefits of being retired.   

5. What was the last concert you attended?  Who'd you go with? Was it any good?

I guess the last concert I attended was 7 years ago … Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and Louie Giglio … with DH, DD, DSIL and T#1.  It was absolutely wonderful!  It felt like we were experiencing a little bit of heaven here on earth.

6. Reality TV...harmful or harmless?  What's your guilty pleasure when it comes to reality TV?

The only reality TV I’ve watched are a couple of episodes of Duck Dynasty.  So I guess it goes without saying that I’m not a fan of reality TV (although I rather enjoyed Duck Dynasty … unfortunately our nighttime TV viewing is limited to baseball or hockey games … and NCIS).

7. What's something you think is overrated?

Most reality TV shows, especially the celebrity-based ones. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Look what DH brought home from his stop at the garden yesterday!  Granted, it’s only 7 beans, but we actually got beans from our garden!  After all those times when the plants were under water, I really didn’t expect those plants to produce a single bean. 



Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Weekend Wrap-up




Another weekend has just flown by … time flies when we’re having fun, right?


Actually, it was a good weekend … a good bit of it was spent in the sewing room.  I used Friday to “play with” the construction of my storm at sea blocks and by lunch time, I had figured out a way to construct my blocks and end up with blocks that I’m pleased with.  Are they all perfect?  No.  But they’re certainly very acceptable.  Of the three blocks that I was ready to pitch Thursday, I am able to salvage two of them.  By the time I left the sewing room late Sunday afternoon, I had constructed 75 of the 80 blocks.  All that’s left before sewing this into a top is to finish those last 5 blocks and to tweak a couple of the blocks I did as I was “learning” how to piece together these blocks.  There is light at the end of the tunnel!


Sunday after church, we decided to do some shopping for new deck furniture.  We have a patio table and chairs that’s at least 10 years old, and I would prefer to have a conversation set out on our new deck.  As we left church, I told DH that I feared that we were just not going to be able to find anything we’d like, figuring that it was too late in the outdoor furniture season.  Our first stop was Home Depot, and their extremely limited selection certainly gave us reason to believe that I was right.  Our next stop was Lowe’s … where we found just the set I wanted!  It’s beautiful, it’s comfortable … and best of all, I don’t do an Edith Ann impersonation when I sit on it!  (I’m not very tall to begin with … and since I’m long-waisted, that means that I’m short-legged.) 

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We got 2 chairs, loveseat and low table.  Unfortunately the markdown of their summer stock hadn’t extended to this set, but we were so thrilled at finding what we wanted locally that it didn’t matter.  I can’t wait to sit out on our new deck … but first things first:  gotta get the deck finished up and then the furniture put together.


The warm weather is returning … we broke down and turned back on the A/C … it was 85 inside … I like it warm but that’s just a little too warm even for me.


Hope you all have a marvelous Monday!

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Little Bit of Nothing Much


It’s going to be another gorgeous day here at Chez Nana … it feels more like late September than mid August.  And having the windows open gives our heating/cooling budget a break.


I didn’t get any work done in the sewing room yesterday.  I spent the afternoon watching the Ts while Mama worked.  Before I left, I had several minor sewing repairs to make for DD … a button sewn onto a pair of DSIL’s shorts, a seam repaired on one of T#4’s dresses, a repair to a Luigi stuffie, etc.  My plan for today includes more sewing … storm at sea blocks.  Winking smile


I injured my back Tuesday evening … T#4 was not ready to leave the playground and wouldn’t come down off the jungle gym when I called her, leaving me no alternative but to climb up there to get her.  The climbing up wasn’t a problem … but the getting down with a fussy toddler was.  I tried as best as I could to get both of us down safely, and I suspect that my attempts to brace myself sprained my upper back muscle.  I can’t believe how much that muscle is used!  Thankfully OTC ibuprofen seems to help. 


We’re now 4 weeks from leaving for Hilton Head … and I can’t wait.  We haven’t met a beach yet that we didn’t love, but there’s something magical about the beach at Hilton Head that keeps drawing us back.


Our deck is coming along nicely … I couldn’t be more pleased with how it’s turning out.  They should finish it up today or Monday at the latest, I would think … I’m hoping for today as it would be delightful to be able to spend some of the weekend out on our new deck.  I’ve been taking pictures to share when the job is done.


Hope you all have a fabulous Friday!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Patience, patience

Ok, maybe I spoke a little too early when I said yesterday that I had mastered paper piecing … it seems that maybe I had mastered only a portion of the paper piecing technique. 

I finished up the trimming yesterday morning, and after lunch I started assembling the storm at sea blocks.  While I’ve been sewing together lots of little blocks (between the miniature pineapples and the storm at sea sub-units), this was my first time to put together those little blocks.  I pinned together the first two sub-units … not an easy process because with the seams and papers, these were two bulky pieces … I wasn’t too surprised when I saw that my points didn’t line up very well.  I carefully ripped out the seam, but the paper was decimated … without the papers, I thought it would be a little easier to line up the points.  It may have been a little easier to line up the points, but it was also very easy to distort those bias edges … the more frustrated I became, the fussier I became with my sewing … ripping out and bias edges –> not a good combination!  By the time I had put together 3 blocks, I was not a happy camper!  Not a single block was done to my satisfaction …    and I was so frustrated that I ready to bag up all the sub-units and offer them to anyone who’d take them off my hands.  Thankfully DH persuaded me to try just one more block … he knew how much time and effort I’d put into piecing those 320 sub-units and how much I wanted to make a storm at sea quilt.  I calmed down, went back into the sewing room, slapped a couple of sub-units together (with the papers still on) and sewed.  And the block came together!  It wasn’t perfect, but it was acceptable … and it was done.  Not to mention that it would pass the 30 mph test.  Winking smile  So I kept putting together blocks.  A couple are giving my perfectionist tendencies a little grief, but I’m going to leave them … for now anyway.  So I would have to say that I have yet to master paper piecing, but that's ok ... since I really don't intend for my quilts to be masterpieces, I really don't expect to be a master at quilting ... and paper piecing.  Sometimes good is good enough.  
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At some point, I’m going to have to remove all those papers Disappointed smile but that will be a small price to pay to have decent points that line up even halfway … although I may need you all to remind me of that when I’m grousing about all those papers in seams.  Winking smile

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge



Didn’t we just do the Hodgepodge yesterday?  Winking smile  How time flies when we’re having fun!  And the Hodgepodge certainly falls into that fun category … why not join in?  Just click on the button above.


1. My daughter earned her Master's Degree this past weekend...what's something you've 'mastered' in recent weeks or months?

I think I’ve mastered paper piecing … if only because I’ve been working so much on it in the last few months:  my miniature pineapples and my storm at sea.


Yes, I do love the blue and white quilts.  Winking smile


2. What song most reminds you of your childhood?

I can’t recall a song that reminds me of my childhood, but there are plenty that take me back to my teen years … too many to come up with just one that *most* reminds me of those years. 

3. What do you think about single gender groups and/or events? Should every group/event be open to both genders?  If not, what sort of exceptions do you think are appropriate?

No, I don’t believe that every group/even should be open to any and all who want to participate/attend.    There are times and situations where inclusion might be appropriate, but it seems like some are trying to take things just too far.

4. What's your favorite spice? Your favorite dish containing your favorite spice?

That’s a toughie … I love cinnamon but I also love garlic!  Since I don’t bake much, I use garlic more often, so I’ll go with garlic.  My favorite dish containing garlic?  That’s a toughie, too, since I do love to cook with garlic.  The first thing that comes to mind is Sweet Sticky and Spicy Chicken (which I serve with stir fry veggies over rice for a yummy, quick and easy meal).  

5.  I saw this question on Marla's Facebook page and asked if I could steal borrow it for the Hodgepodge...thanks Marla!
Chevron patterns are everywhere!  Do you like it or think its just a little too much? Do you own anything 'chevron'?

I like chevrons but am not crazy about them.  And as a rule, I usually steer clear of big trends/colors/styles so that in a year or two, I’m not stuck with something that has become hopelessly outdated.  I did however include a blue chevron fabric in my storm at sea (no, that piece isn’t completely trimmed yet).

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6.  What's something you disliked as a child, but can fully appreciate now?

Green beans. I did NOT like green beans as a child, but they are one of my favorite vegetables now. 

7. What can irritate you very quickly?

Someone chewing with their mouth open (especially gum and especially when they’re cracking their gum). 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of my storm at sea, if I’ve counted correctly, I have the segments for all 80 blocks sewn together.  I’m now trimming my segments … next up: sewing the segments into those 80 blocks!  Woo hoo!


And we’ve got some really nice weather forecast for the next several days … what a treat to be working on my storm at sea with fresh air blowing in the windows! 


Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Weekend Wrap-Up

Another weekend has come and gone … my, but time is certainly flying by this year!  It was such a wonderful weekend here at Chez Nana.

I spent most of Saturday at DD’s … it was delightful to just spend some time with DD and the Ts.  We didn’t do anything special … just a nice day spent together.  I did rediscover my love for white cheddar … it started a few years back when we visited the Tillamook cheese factory when we were in Oregon … the sample I chose after the tour was white cheddar … mmmmmm.  We had lunch at McDonald’s Saturday, and I ordered their grilled onion cheddar burger ….  when I got home, I added white cheddar to the grocery list!  Winking smile

I did manage to get in a little sewing before and after heading up to DD’s … with the end in sight, I’m on a mission to get all the pieces sewn so I can start constructing the blocks … so I can start constructing the quilt top … so I can start quilting!  So Sunday after church was spent in the sewing room.  If my count is accurate, I’m in the middle of stitching up the segments for my 78th block.  I was really thinking that I was going to get the 80th block segments done, but mid afternoon I ran out of foundation papers and had to find the new package I bought.  Then I spent way too long trying to get our printer to print … after finally rebooting the printer (why didn’t I think of that first??), I finally got it to print.   And speaking of foundation papers, who knew that there was so much difference in quality.  I definitely won’t be reordering the brand that I opened yesterday … the paper is not really any thinner than standard printer paper (or at least not enough thinner to justify the cost), and it curls like crazy when pressing.  The papers I had been using were newsprint, and they just worked up better/easier … and I suspect that they’ll tear away easier.  I found newsprint online … read the reviews that many quilters used it satisfactorily for paper piecing … I ordered 500 sheets for half the price of 100 sheets of papers sold as foundation papers! 

And speaking of ordering, I wanted to sign up for another quilting class … Diamond Log Cabin. 

But I’m not sure I would be able to make it to class in time (DD works that morning … I’d have just enough time to get there is she got home on time and if I encountered little/no traffic).  I decided to Google “diamond log cabin” and found the very same pattern that will be used in the class.  Since it’s paper pieced, I’m sure that I won’t have any problem working it up on my own.  Goodness … my list of quilts to make seems to be growing! 

While in the sewing room I took a picture of what I accomplished at the class I took Thursday night (disregard that little ripple in the "block" ... it really does lay flat).  I thought I was going to have a completed block to show as well, but as I was pressing it at the end of class, I noticed that I had the wrong side of the center piece showing.  By the time I ripped it out, class was over.  I certainly plan to get back to it and complete at least a wall quilt … but it will have to wait until after I get my machine back from servicing – after I finish the storm at sea … and after I make quilts for T#1 and T#3, for DD, her sister-in-law, and the quilts from the fabric I purchased at Hancock’s on our way to Florida in May … and whatever else catches my eye between now and then!  ha!
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I also finished up the book I was reading … from a few references made by the author, I gather that this is not their first book about their story … and a Google search confirmed that … this was a shorter book, telling their story, timed to coincide with the release of the movie.  Still, this book doesn’t assume that the reader has read the original book.  All in all, it was a good read.  I’m now reading book 1 in the Quilts of Love series Beyond the Storm.  I’m just getting started, and so far it’s ok … some nice light reading, a perfect beach book (too bad we’re still 5 weeks from the beach ha!). 

Have a marvelous Monday!