Monday, December 31, 2007

Fresh Start

Part of my de-clutter resolution for 2008 is to deal with some personal issues that have been around a while and I need to deal with so I can move on.

One of these involves a Sunbonnet Sue quilt that I was hand appliqueing for my niece about three years ago. I was happily stitching away, sewing love and part of me into every stitch when my step father put my mother in a nursing home. The resulting family upheaval between my family and the step family was awful. It went down hill from there, causing much disagreement between my entire family. When Mom died about a month later, the *you know what* hit the fan big time. The result is my family is split down the middle and I will never see my niece again.

This is not fixable, too many painful, hurtful words were tossed about, too many unforgivable things happened. So, here I was with a half finished quilt. I tried to throw it away and could not, I tried to finish it and give it as a donation quilt and I could not even thread a needle. So I packed it up and put it away, only to be reminded on occasion that I needed to deal with it and could not. It was a symbol of not dealing with what was happening to my family.

I read a post by Finn about her sisters and their lack of relationship just before Christmas. I had read before about her Orphan Train quilts, blocks that found a home with other blocks from other quilters to make donation quilts. YES, I found my answer. I wrote to her and she has agreed to take my finished blocks and all the rest of the odds and ends and make it into a little girl donation quilt! So next week, the blocks go in the mail..........and Norma moves on. Step one of the de-clutter towards a all around healing process is underway. Thanks Finn!

End result is a negative is made into a positive, good start for 2008, don't you think?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

2008 Resolution(s)

I am like the rest of the world, I make resolutions and promptly break them or ignore them all together. With that in mind, not making many this year, in fact I am making just ONE.

Clutter is taking over my home, my mind, my life, my entire being! My house is cluttered, my head is cluttered and I have cluttered up my life with stuff that I can do nothing about. So, I decided that if I just de-clutter, one thing at a time, life would be better all the way around.

So, will start on the house. I plan a big time clean up that results in a lot of out the door clutter. That will make the space for the things I really want to keep to be stored in a less cluttered space.

Then we will move on to the mind, which should be much better already because of less physical clutter in my life. Then we will de-clutter my life........and this one will take some honest soul searching and maybe a little pain but the result will be a happier, healthier ME. Not going to happen over night, that is for sure, but the goal is slow and steady!

DOWN WITH CLUTTER IN 2008.......anybody want to join my quest for LESS stuff and the resulting less stress in their life?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Nice and Quiet Now

We had a lovely Christmas. Everything went as planned, we ate and ate, unwrapped and enjoyed our family time. The food and gifts were good and plenty. Time to wind down now and get back on a normal schedule. I hope that doesn't sound like I am ungrateful or don't know how fortunate I really am but, there is no way folks can keep up the frantic pace we all seem to thrive on around the holidays. The body needs REST, less rich food and not quite so much excess in our lives. Christmas comes but once a year.............and that is a good thing!!!

Julia and I got a special package from Santa............tomorrow night we are going to ASU Gammage to see the Broadway production of "ANNIE"! She is wearing her Christmas dress and Mom is taking us to dinner first. Julia asked if it could be somewhere "nice". (this is at age 7, by age 10 she will want a limo!) Nana will have a chance to wear her new black dress pants and new earrings. We are both very excited about our girls night out!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

End of a Journey

I find it mind boggling how so many of the quilter's out there post pictures of finished quilts just days after they show the start. It doesn't work that way with me, each quilt is a ordeal from start to finish. I find a pattern, I dig in my stash for fabric, I make six trips to look at fabric on the bolt, and come home empty handed. Then I drag the great white hunter to help and we struggle. I buy fabric, get started and then go buy more. I cut and pin and wear out a seam ripper BEFORE I see real progress. Then I say, "to heck with it." I stop stressing and forge on ahead. Then there is the sandwich and the tie process, which is shorter than quilting yet pretty labor intensive. On to the binding and label finally and by then I am so happy to be done with it!

They say its the destination that counts, not the journey and it is a good thing. My journeys are slow and involve much hair pulling on my part.

The "I think I will make the grand kids a quilt for Christmas" journey is over and all I have to say is. "Thank goodness!"

Here is Colin's quilt, ready to bag up for under the tree.

This is Julia's quilt in one of the cute bags we found at Michael's for the quilts. Colin's will go in a bag just like it once I get the label on.

The great white hunter and I bought 24 of these tins and I have been working to fill them as gifts for the folks he supervises at work. They have peanut brittle, white and milk chocolate coated pretzels, fudge, cookies and a chocolate candy. Kept me busy for a day or so! I am excited that they go to work with him tomorrow when they have a pizza/sub sandwich Christmas get together planned.

This will be my last post until after Christmas. I send good wishes to you all for a safe and happy holiday with your loved ones. May 2008 be a good quilty year for you all!

My Santa wish...........that more of you who stop by would say hello now and then. I would really like to get to know more of you.


By far, my great white hunter

My children, our son in law and daughter in law who make them happy, and the blessing of those two little ones in our lives.

Relative good health

The means to do what I love and enjoy in my daily life. I am truly blessed and I do not take any of those blessings lightly.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nana is a MESS!

This is not a pretty picture at all. My nose and eyes are red and runny. My ears are plugged and I sound like I am talking through, well, you know. My close companion today has been a box of Kleenx. I took cold pills this morning and they made NO difference. No fever and I don't feel bad, yet. DH kissed the top of my head when he left this afternoon, as if that would change anything. Hey, I got it, they will all have it soon.

To top this great picture off, I desperately need a haircut and some quality time with some hair color product. The absolute last thing I want to do is get dressed and leave the house so that might not change here soon. Good thing Santa leaves the grand kid gifts at their house because I might just scare him away for good.

Good news is I have about two feet of binding left on Colin's quilt and it is done!! So chances of a Christmas Eve sewing session are getting less. Hands are sore but we won't even go there.

HO, HO, HO, cross your fingers for me as the family is planning a trip to Northern AZ on Sunday to take the kids to the snow. Ok, where did that Kleenx box go? (and aren't you glad that the germs don't travel through cyberspace?)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Still Here

I am still here, try to bake and wrap and put the binding on Colin's quilt. I am sure you all know the routine as you are doing it yourselves. So, might not get out from under for a couple of days. I am sending good thoughts out to you all! Looking forward to cleaning out the sewing/spare bedroom and sewing just for the heck of it!

This afternoon I am making reservations in CA for the weekend of Jan. 18th and 19th. The great white hunter is taking me to the "Road to California" quilt show in Ontario, CA. I am so exited! I read about it last year AFTER it was all over and he said to put it on the calendar and we would see about it this year. WooHOO!! The weekend of the Jan. 11 and 12 is the Quilt Fiesta in Tucson and we have plans to go down for that. Hope to meet Fitzy while we are there. I will have visions of quilts in my head for sure!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Sweatshirt, 2007

When my grand daughter Julia was a year old, I appliqued her a red sweatshirt with gingerbread men. The shirt was cut down the middle of the front to make a jacket and had tiny white rickrack all around the sides. She looked so cute and wore it to go see Santa. So, every Christmas since, Nana has made a Christmas sweatshirt. Last year, I made two because I had two designs I liked. Colin has had a couple but we decided that he was too much of a "boy" for cute shirts!

This year I found a pattern I really liked from Bloomin' Minds and ordered it last summer. When the Walmart put out the sweatshirts this fall, I bought a navy blue one. Last month when I dug out the pattern and looked at it close, I didn't like it quite as well but still planned to do it. Then the quilts come along and time got short and it was still way too warm here, and Nana didn't do the sweatshirt.

Last week it got cold and DD dug out last years shirt that still just fit and Julia asked if Nana was making her a shirt this year. Mom told her she didn't think so. She cried, cried again when I told her that I didn't make it because I didn't like it. So........guess what I have been doing the past couple of days?? Nana came through and made her girl happy. Nana feels a lot better about herself to boot! So who needs to sleep this time of year? I can do that NEXT month!

All I had to do was remind myself that the time is near when she is not going to want to wear one of Nana's Christmas sweatshirts because they won't be cool. As long as they are cool though, she will have one!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Slaved Over a Hot Stove (Microwave) For Hours (mmm, Minutes)

I have been making candy and baking cookies for the great white hunter to take to work for all his co-workers. One of the things that everyone loves is the peanut brittle, so I will share this with those of you who haven't discovered my secret. Don't care what you do with it, just don't tell anyone that I don't work for hours to make this. A girl has a image to maintain and mine is what a great cook I am. I believe in quick and easy, looks a lot harder and more impressive than it really is. From my last quilting projects to my cooking, "Show me the shortcut!'

This is a great gift. I have given it to neighbors, co-workers, teachers and whoever else I could find that was impressed with my efforts. Hubby had a co-worker who said her Dad owned a small candy shop where they made and sold fresh candy. She said MY peanut brittle was better than her Dad's. (blush!) I think she was homesick.

Here it is broken up and ready to package.

So put on your apron, dig out all your heavy pots and spoons and put a look of heavy concentration on your face, (just in case someone is watching, remember we are out to impress here). Set aside several hours for the candy making process, here goes.

Peanut Brittle

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup white corn syrup

Mix in a glass bowl, microwave on high for 4 minutes.


1 cup salted roasted peanuts

Microwave on high for 4 minutes.


1 Tablespoon butter or margarine

1 Teaspoon vanilla

Microwave on high for 1 minute.

Remove from microwave and add

1 teaspoon baking soda.

Stir well; pour on well greased cookie sheet. Cool, break into pieces.

I have made this well over 100 times and have only had it fail twice. Once was when I had a new microwave and I had to adjust my time and one time it burnt. I have NO idea why it burnt but somewhere I must have pushed the wrong button.

I run a sink full of hot water before I start cooking and just put the nasty, sticky blowl in it to soak until the remains soak off.

Now, get a cup of tea or whatever (wine?), and go quilt, sit and relax, take a bubble bath, or what ever your favorite my time thing is. You worked hard and have the homemade candy to prove it!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

One Down, One to Go!

I finished up Julia's Christmas quilt last night, complete with label. I am really pleased with the colors now. I must say that I turned what was a simple quilt pattern into a major ordeal. First there was the directional focus fabric which gave me fits, then half way into it I decided to change colors.....aagggghhhh! I still have a long way to go on this quilting thing. I am really wondering how long is it going to take before I have one that is "all right". Not that I expect perfection because I don't believe in it! It would be nice, though, to finish a quilt without finding boo boos in it when it was almost finished. I won't quit because I love doing this so much but sure wish my learning curve was moving along a little faster. It is a good thing that I make utility quilts for folks who have no clue what I am doing anyway.

Here are the six blocks I have done for Colin's quilt. They went quite a bit faster since I figured out how to deal with the directional issue. I hope to have this ready to put together by the weekend. Next week is the start of a huge amount of baking and candy making that I do for the great white hunter to take to work. Seriously, I am a much better cook/baker than I am a quilter. Too bad I don't think I have 40 years to perfect the craft!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas in AZ

After reading how nasty and cold the weather is back East, I thought I would share how it is to have Christmas where there is no snow. It seems really odd to have the roses blooming and the flower beds doing well in the middle of your Christmas decorations!! Then there is Colin's bike. The kids are able to get out and play here in the winter, we stay indoors during the hot summer. It's not the usual picture on a card but it's how we do it here.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Table Runner

Here is the Christmas table runner top, complete with borders. Not sure when I will get it the rest of the way but hopefully in time for Christmas. It is really simple and you get such amazing results.

Thank you for your great instructions, Finn!

A note of thanks to everyone who tried to raise my down in the dumps spirit. I feel some better, not back to me yet but working on it. I am trying to focus my energy on making this a great holiday for my family and moving ON. Having special friends out there helps more than you could ever know!

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I am normally a pretty upbeat person, belive that what happens, happens for a reason. I try to focus on the good things in my life rather than the bad, and have a "pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again" outlook on the downside of things. But for some reason, the past few days have been miserable emotionally. Tears are very near to the surface and the least little thing, sends me into a blue funk! I am carrying the entire world on my shoulders here and it is way heavy.

Not sure if it is the weather or just that time of year when you feel more emotional pain for the misery of the world in general. The holidays can be a major high or a major low when you look around you and know that there are so many who are just struggling to get through each day, forget about 24 days from now.

It's been cool and rainy but I have loved that so don't think that is it......sure will be glad when it passes though and I can get back to my happy go lucky self here.

We were busy today with the grand kids and will be at their birthday party tomorrow. I have several projects that I am working like crazy on and that does help. Keeps me from drowning in my thoughts. Just crossing my fingers that when I wake up in the morning, my mental sun is shining again!

Haven't included gratitudes for a long time but today I really need lots!

A sweet hubby who worked on hanging lights out front before he went to work almost every morning this week.

Reading Christmas books with the grand kids.

Good friends

Special children and their husband/wife

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Finn Got Me Off Track

Now it doesn't take much to get me way off track but Finn did it today. She has this great tutorial on her blog for a great Christmas table runner. I really wanted to do one for my table this year and this one is quick and easy. Check it out and you can join me up to my neck in several projects going all at once.

Here are my strips sub cut into four sections. They went together in a snap but I had to quit when I got this far. I have Julia's quilt on a table in the middle of the family room so I can tie it. If we are to move around tomorrow, I need to get with it.

Here is 1/2 a block that I sewed together just to see how my fabrics looked. The green is a little off in this picture. It has gold glitter specks in it and so does the light fabric. I used the WOF for my stips and have 22 so I can make a long runner or two smaller ones. I will decide when I see how it looks put together.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Crazy Nana

The great white hunter had to be a work this morning at five, so we were up about four. DD picked me up at five and we hit Kohl's big sale. We stood in a check out line for over a hour and this is what NANA bought!

They are really soft and when you squeeze them, they chatter. The "chatter" is just a bunch of weird sounds! The kids will love them and what better thing for a Nana to do with her time?

We had a great day yesterday, full of family and good food. Julia's seventh birthday is today so we celebrated that while we were all together. We have so much to be thankful for, we are truly blessed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Blocks Finally Done!

I am about a week behind on Julia's Christmas quilt thanks to my decision to dump the green, but I am happy with the result. I spent a good bit of time with the seam ripper and there are bits of thread all over the house. I was playing with layout and snapped this picture. It will have a pink border and backing with the blue for binding. Hopefully I can finish by this weekend, then I need to shop for fabric for one for Colin. Learned a few things, and that is my goal with every quilt I do. I am pleased with the result.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Happy Now

I just had to get rid of that green in Julia's quilt. Honestly, it made me want to run and hide just looking at it. So, the great white hunter and I hit two fabric stores today and stood and compared, discussed, agreed, disagreed and finally hit pay dirt. Now I disagreed a little because I didn't care for the price of what we found but, he said "Just don't look at the price and let's go." I love that man!

He is a lot of help choosing colors and doesn't mind going to fabric shops or quilt shows with me. I am a lucky lady. (of course, he was with me when WE bought the sick green too, but we all make mistakes!)

I am happy with the result. My new seam ripper and I will spend some quality time this weekend. Now any suggestions what to do with that awful green?

Anybody Have One of These?

The great white hunter and I bought one of these for our grand daughter for Christmas. We bought her a toy Singer sewing machine last year but it was just that, a toy. It was a cute replica but useless to sew with. She wants to sew like Nana and we want to encourage it. We also wanted something for her to grow with but not too difficult to start. So, we found this at Hancock's today and it seemed to be ideal. I opened it and threaded it along with a bobbin and sewed a couple of seams. It seemed to work really well and was easy to thread. It doesn't go as fast as a regular machine and I liked that because when she sewed on my machine, it seemed to scare her a little.

The box has a big blurb on it saying it is NOT a toy and says ages 8+. She will be using it only with my close supervision so that is not a problem.

It comes with three bobbins and one extra needle and a good instruction book. No where in the book does it say what type needle to buy, just the number size of the needle. So, will need to find that out, the Janome site doesn't show this machine at all.

I know some of you buy these smaller machines for classes and travel, wondered what you think? Thanks!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sunglasses Recommended

This one might just glow in the dark and keep her awake at night! I couldn't find fabric that I felt went well with the other cats on the focus fabric so went with the green for the green kitty. Wow, it does kind of jump out at you. Good thing that seven year old girls like bright colors. I am in hopes when I add the pink border it will come together, please tell me it will come together!!!

This is the very reason I hate to pick out fabric, I am never sure what the end result will be. Oh well, she will love it because Nana made it just for her. Nana might cringe every time she sees it but live and learn.

This is the 9 patch that you start with, then slice it down the center and then slice those two pieces down the center.

This is what you get. I love this, it is quick and easy, however, if I do another one I will make sure that my focus fabric is not going in one direction. Keeping those squares straight was not fun. I know for most, it would be no problem but, it was definately for me. I will forever be in the learning stages of this quilting thing.

My red and white quilt using this pattern is almost done. I just need to add another row to the bottom to make it long enough for the day bed. I found a white dust ruffle at Wal Mart but I will need to modify it for the day bed. It has three sides but not the three sides that a day bed ruffle has. So, need to take some off the back and put it on the side. Think this will be a "after the holidays" project.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thank You to Our Veterans

In honor of Veteran's Day, here is a picture of my husband's hard earned Air Force Stripes. He served almost 23 years and is a Vietnam veteran. It was not a easy life, we spent a lot of time apart, have a son who was 8 months old before his Daddy even saw him. It was our choice, what we believed in and I am proud of him on this special day.

My father and his father and our oldest son also served our country. My prayers are with the families of so many young men who are serving our country now. My heart goes out to the mother's and father's, the wives and children, who wait for their safe return. I wish them a safe return and the support of their country while they serve.

Let's Get With It!

In case anyone else is having problems getting moving on Christmas things, I put that tree there to motivate you/me. I need to get my you know what up off the couch and get with it. I normally would not touch anything that even looked like a Christmas decoration this early. I get disgusted big time when I hear Christmas music before the day after Thanksgiving, as much as I love it. Something has got to get me moving here soon though and maybe that little number telling how many days left will do the trick?

I am open to any and all suggestions on how to get into Christmas gift making spirit when it is still in the 90's and I am wearing shorts! Sorry, moving to a colder climate is not an option.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Another Great Quick Quilt, Same Pattern

I love this one! I have bright kitten fabric that I want to use for Julia's Christmas gift quilt. This one will be perfect because it will use more of the focus. Thank you Life is a Stitch.

Now, two links in one George, I think I MIGHT have it!

Here goes, got my toes and fingers crossed, holding my breath so hopefully I can get a link that works on here for the quick quilt in the last post.

All of a sudden, I remembered what I needed to do to get the link to least I THINK! That's the funny thing about getting older. The information isn't lost, it just comes to you in installments! Oh dear, is that scary or what?

So here goes...........Life is a Stitch

So, dear Fitzy, it was not as bad as you thought here at my house. (very, very big sigh).

Friday, November 2, 2007

More Than Half Way There

I found a tutorial for a fast quilt on a blog called Life is a Stitch. I have tried to add a link but for the life of me can't remember how to get it in the body of the post.

I am thinking about quick Christmas gifts but wanted to give it a try to see how it went and how it looked made up. She doesn't call it that, but I believe this is the Disappearing Nine Patch block. Just to make sure that there is NO copyright problem here.........I have no idea who wrote the book on this but I acknowledge that there is someone out there!

This is my first STASH quilt too. My "stash" doesn't have a lot of yardage. It's more odds and ends, pieces added from here and there. I love scrap quilts and applique so I buy a lot of remnants. So, this is the first quilt that I could put together on the spot without a trip to buy something. My great white hunter will be SO impressed! I think this is going on the daybed in the sewing/guest bedroom. It really needs a new bedspread and shams but I haven't been able to find anything that I liked well enough to pay over a hundred dollars for. Now if I can find a white twin bed bed skirt somewhere!

Here is what the first set of 9 patch blocks looks like once it is cut, sewn and then sewn together. I wasn't sure if there would be too much white but I am really pleased with the look I got.

Here are the pinned 9 patch units that will be cut in half both ways after they are sewn.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Quilt 4 Fun

Look at my sidebar! It's the new link icon for the Quilt 4 Fun web ring. This will replace the Quilt4Pleasure ring. Thanks to Swooze for getting this going for us. I am much happier about the placement of my blog in this ring so looking forward to reading lots of blogs with quilt type postings! Thanks to Kim for all her great work on the Quilt 4 Pleasure ring.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Desert Fall

If you have lived somewhere that has a true fall, with color in the trees and a slow down of life, Fall in AZ is odd. While the rest of the country is digging out winter clothes, we are still wearing shorts. It has cooled down some, the night temps are down but there is still a feeling of growth, rather than the feeling of shuting down.

It's hard to describe it, it's not the same feeling as Spring, when everything is new and having a fresh start. It's more the feeling of celebration that you made it through another hot, miserable summer. It's like one last umph before things shut down for the winter season.

So, no leaves giving their final show, but the other plants are giving one of their own. The flowers bloom smaller stressed blooms as if to say, "I still have my punch!" We plant winter veggie gardens and some folks put in winter grass that keeps everything a bright green all winter.

We planted tomatoes but no winter grass. I firmly believe that things in nature deserve a rest just like we do. Wasting water for winter lawns drives me crazy and to use the great white hunter's words, " Who wants to mow grass year around?" So, while most of our neighbors have bright green lawns to set their Christmas displays on, we do it on brown grass. I think Santa approves.

Here's Fall as we know it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Quilt Rack

When I first started making quilting noise, I told the great white hunter that I needed a quilt rack. He does beautiful woodworking so he said ok but not until I knew exactly what I wanted. The man knows me well!

We looked in books and magazines and on the net. We found a couple in stores and craft shows. I didn't like them at all. They were too close to the ground so you had to fold a full size quilt several times to keep it up. That caused extra bulk so that even if it had three racks, there was not space enough between them to put three quilts on it. I had plans to really pump out those quilts, I needed space!!!

Another thing I didn't like was how light weight they were. They were beautiful, graceful things with thin spindle legs and I wanted something more sturdy. At that time, we had a toddler and one who would be crawling soon, here every day and I had mental pictures of the graceful quilt rack crashing down on top of them because it didn't sit well on the carpet.

He found a unfinished one at Joann's one day while I was waiting to have fabric cut. It was roughly the style I had in mind but way too small. It was marked down so we decided to buy it, take it home and modify the basic pattern to what I had in mind.

Above is the end result. I wanted tall, wide, plain and sturdy. This one easily holds three quilts and would hold more if need be. (haven't kept enough of them here to fill it much more but someday it will have.) It never crashed down on the little ones but it did become a great place to hide for hide and seek games. The cat hides her stuffed toys behind it now. It is just perfect..........thank you sweetie!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

That's All Until Next "Season"!

Not much quilting going on at my house. I spent the days my hunter was gone trying to organize all the patterns and hints I have collected. I tried to divide them into categories........took forever but hopefully, now I can find something when I want it. I also cut and hemmed six curtain panels for DD. Definitely not my favorite job. I hate to cut anything that I might ruin because chances are, I will ruin it. I think they are OK and even straight but we will see when she hangs them. I suggested that next time she not buy curtains that needed hemmed with the idea that MOM could do it.

My great white hunters are home. They are both tired and poor husband is disappointed as he came home without his elk. Our son did get his deer so it was not all for naught. Below are pictures from Sunday morning that might explain the lack of game. For two AZ men who came home to temps. in the mid 90's today, it was quite a shock to the system. These were taken outside Meeker, CO.

It's good to have them home safe and sound regardless.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Home Alone!

I married a good man. He is my best friend and my biggest fan. Soon we will celebrate our 41st wedding anniversary, but we met and fell in love when I was 15 and he was 16.

There is just one thing about him though, once a year, he leaves me for another love. Physically he leaves for about a week, mentally he leaves a few weeks before when the "season" rolls around. I used to fight it when the kids were young because I needed him to listen to what I was saying now and then, but as I have aged, I accept it because I am happy that he is getting to do something that he truely loves almost as much as he loves me. (it better be ALMOST).

I married a HUNTER. Now I know there are those out there who think killing Bambi is just terrible but, that is who he is. I am the daughter of a hunter and there were times when I was growing up that the venison my dad brought home provided the meat we would not have other wise had that winter. We have the elk or deer that my husband and son kill, professionally processed and we eat and enjoy every ounce. My husband does not kill what we can not eat.

So, after three long weeks of preperation, he and my son left for a week in Colorado to elk and deer hunt. I made sure they had homemade stew and chili (both made with last years elk meat) and a double batch of homemade cookies. Add that to enough canned food to keep them fed for a month and lots of warm clothes.

My plans...........catch up on some sleep, try and find the floor in the sewing room and a long, slow stroll through the mall, shopping as I go. Hope to have time to get some Christmas projects going and work on a quilt. I think I might enjoy being home alone, at least the first couple of days!

He will miss me and when he comes home, he will be with me again, at least until this time next year. About this time 41 years ago, he came home on leave from the AF with two purposes in mind. One was to marry me, the other was to go hunting. There has been a lot of discussion over the years as to which was the MAIN reason he came home. He pleads innocent every time!! His brother made us a plaque that says, "We Interrupt this Marriage for the Hunting Season". That about sums it up.

Good luck and keep safe, my love!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


In case anyone is wondering, why there are no pictures of my grandchildren on my blog. I am so proud of both of them, they are cute, attractive kids.

My daughter and son in law are concerned parents that believe in protecting their children in all ways, including the Internet. So, they have a policy that says, no pictures on the Internet of the kids, except those we send to family and good friends.

Are we being too careful? Not sure about that one but I respect their wishes when it comes to the kids. In any case, I would rather be too careful than not and have some weirdo use my most precious thing in the whole world for the wrong purpose. You will just have to believe me when I tell you how cute they are.

My blog would be more enjoyable and more colorful with pictures but, we have to be careful out here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Julia's Quilt

My almost seven year old grand daughter spent last Thursday with us. She used to be here every day when Mom and Dad went to work but since she started first grade, my daughter takes her to school in the district where she works. They were out of school for fall break and Mom and little brother had a play date, so Julia came here for some Nana/Papa quality time.

She wanted to sew. She has done some hand stitching and is really good at it. She has a little toy sewing machine that she keeps here but we aren't too happy with it. So, Julia thought she might like to try to sew on my machine. She also thought she might like to have some of that Halloween fabric that Nana has been stockpiling this month for some unknown reason.

I cut some six inch strips, she matched what she wanted and pinned them together. Then she sat on my lap, I pushed the foot pedal and she guided the fabric. She was so afraid I would sew over a pin! I could feel her body tense whenever a pin got even close to the needle.

After they were sewed, I cut each two strip section into six inch widths. I let her try the cutter but that gave me a near heart attack so I did the cutting. Then she arranged them and pinned and we were back at the machine. We arranged the last time, pinned and sewed. It was a good thing we were done with the machine at this point because she was tired and I could feel her attention wandering.

After lunch, we sandwiched it, she helped pin it and then I tied it. Later that night I sewed the binding on. She was thrilled and so proud that she used Nana's machine.

Today my grandson, her brother, asked if I would make him one just like it!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Look Fitzy, I'm Knitting!

My blogging friend Quilting Fitzy, (link on sidebar) knits socks on her way to and from work. I have never knit socks but did lots of hats and mittens when my kids were small and we lived where there was real WINTER. Arizona doesn't need much in the knitted line. I missed having the hand work that I could do, just a little, whenever I had time, once the table topper was finished. So,I started a afghan/throw for the family room and the new couch. This will replace the old much loved and used broomstick lace afghan that I made a few years ago. I love working with the new yarn they have out now.

I learned the basic of knit, crochet, sewing and cooking in a eighth grade Home EC. class. We looked at it as kind of a joke because we were almost 1960's kids and not going to sit home, we were going where the guys went. I have, however, used what I learned in that class every bit as much as what I learned in math and social studies. (to be honest, I didn't learn much in either one of those.........I am math challenged and social studies was more learn it forget it). I hope they still have these classes out there for the kids who want to know how to tie knots and have a end product to show for it!

Monday, October 8, 2007

News to Me

I just discovered there is another blog out there called Random Stitches. It's a knitting blog so the name makes sense for that too. Really surprised that Blogger would let there be two of the same name, maybe there was some difference, need to check that. I found it when I checked a Google search someone did from site meter.

On a positive note..........last night I decided to delete program that I had downloaded from our server. NOT a good move, Norma! After I did that, I got a message saying that without that program, I could not log on to the Internet. (then they gave me the site I needed to get it reloaded. How can you get to a site when you have no access? Oh well, sat here and pushed buttons until I found it and reloaded it and here I am. Nothing amazing for most people but my computer knowledge is somewhat limited so.............a step forward in that dept. (yeah, if I knew what I was doing, I would have never deleted the program in the first place!)

Absolutely beautiful weather outside................

Saturday, October 6, 2007


I had a goal of Oct. 1 to finish my table topper so I could use it this fall but didn't quite make it. I finally finished up last night after a couple of marathon hand quilting sessions and a sit down and do it binding session. Very pleased with the result.

I rarely make something "just for me" but this one definitely is. It did seem like a lot of work to just use a few months out of the year but I think we will enjoy it enough to make it worth the effort.

Now, want to adapt the pattern with a Christmas theme..........maybe in blues with a snowman applique or red and white with candy canes? Whatever, that one will NOT be hand quilted.

I am amazed at what some bloggers accomplish. I will see a pic of uncut fabric on a blog and then a few days later a finished top or a complete quilt. I do not have the "stick with it" patience to do that I guess. Got to work on that

Monday, October 1, 2007

Happy Oct. 1!

Whoo hoo, its fall or getting there in the valley of the SUN! Today is overcast but the door is open and the window too.

Had a great weekend after the toe and water woes. The toe is no longer huge and purple but I have a bruise that covers a good 1/4th of my foot on that side. It"s a little sore today but then, I walked on it quite a bit this weekend. The water heater problem was with the timer we have on it. It jammed and there was no power going to the heater. DH fooled with it and its working but we may need a new timer box. That will be a much easier fix than the water heater. On the down side, today I need to do the things I would have done Friday except I used the "I don't have hot water" excuse! Ugh..............

Sat. night we went to the ASU Gammage theater to see "JERSEY BOYS." It's the story of the singing group "The Four Seasons" from the sixties and it was wonderful. It's music from beginning to end and of course, songs we loved. It is very well done and I highly recommend it if it comes your way.

Sunday we headed to Pinetop in the White Mts. to a quilt/antique show. It was a small show but I really enjoyed seeing the quilts. There weren't many vendors and what they had was way out of my price comfort zone but fun to look at just the same. Antique show was fun also.

I did come out of the quilt show feeling like I really have a long ways to go on my piecing. I don't stress a lot about things that are a little off and I guess I should...........but then my inner self tells me that is not the kind of quilter I am! I will never show a quilt, I make them for my family and to be used and abused. Still it is a skill and I should work on improving it, at least to the point that I am not miserable doing it. I was thrilled to see a quilt that was,
"gasp" TIED! I understood that you would never submit a TIED quilt to a show, that a
TIED quilt wasn't even a quilt in most show circles. To me a tied quilt is a real quilt, and ranks even higher than a machine quilted quilt because of the hand work involved. No disrespect to the machine quilter, just a history thing. What is your opinion?

So, got a lot to do today to make up for no hot water/can't clean Friday and Sat. morning and being gone all day Sunday. Where is the mop and bucket?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Purple Toe, Two Water Woes and Dental Insurance Lows

I think we ought to have lights on the headboard of our beds that blink on and off bright red and say, "you might rethink getting up today because it is going to be one of THOSE days." We all have THOSE days and it would be nice to have the choice, do you really want to get up and face it? LOL

Mine really started yesterday when I dropped a carton of ice cream on my toe at the grocery store. I was comparing calorie and carb count between *no sugar added* and *fat free.* (I am diabetic, constantly trying to keep the pounds off and read labels on EVERYTHING!) The fat free slipped and came down hard on my little toe. I saw flashing lights and felt major pain. I did not swear but not sure how come, it was definitely one of those excusable moments when four letter words are the norm. I picked up the carton, put the sugar free in my cart and hobbled through the store finishing my shopping. By the time I got home, the pain was gone but the toe was twice its normal size. After a while I decided ice might be needed. It didn't bother me during the night but this morning is a nice fat purple toe.........looks like part of a Halloween prop. I don't think it is broken, just badly banged. I have broken this same toe twice before..........know the routine by now.

After deciding this morning that no, I was not headed to the dr for the toe, I opened the water bill that arrived yesterday. More swear words could have flown but actually I was speechless. Our water bill had more than doubled. (which when you live in the desert and have a pool, is high enough in Sept.) Talked to the water company lady and she said to check for a leak and check the reading on the meter. We did both and still have no idea why we supposedly used that much water. The water company was NO help either so I guess you pay was that cut and dried. (ha, ha, dried........for that much water, something was WET!)

Then went to do some kitchen clean up.............and we have no hot water. Which means a new water heater or a repair and soon please! (at this point I have been up about a hour).

Opened the letter from the dental insurance company about the crown replacement and filling that my dentist says I need. As best I can figure out, they only agree to pay for part of what the dentist said was covered. But then, the dentist called last week and said they wanted a xray so I went Tuesday for that. How they got the xray and mailed out a response so soon is beyond me so maybe this was something else??
Whatever, there is a big dental bill looming in my future.............

Mama said there would be days like this. Poor DH just braced himself every time I started to tell him something this morning. As for me, I am staying put today. Can't get a shoe on for starters and besides, I figure when things are going this good, its best not to press your luck too far! Makes you want to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies and sit down and eat more than a few, but that would send my blood sugar through the roof and I think I have enough problems right now. I'll just have some of that sugar free ice cream!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Out of the Closet

Not everything in that closet full of treasures is a unfinished quilt. For several years I started in August and made applique sweatshirts for Christmas. My daughter took them to work and they sold like hot cakes. It was a great way to make some extra Christmas money and it was a hoot to see people wear my shirts. I got really sick of them after a while though and it would take a lot to convince me to do another one. This one is a left over, there are two like this (x large) hanging in there just waiting for their day! I made Santa's, snowmen and a cute moose from a McCall's craft pattern.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's a Good Thing!

Not sure if you can tell by the picture but that is a OPEN window. Now for all of you who are feeling fall and unpacking the winter things, you might not relate but bear with me.

When you live in the desert and need AC from mid April to sometime in Oct. just to function, a open window is a grand and glorious thing. It is cool enough to have the doors and windows open today and it is wonderful...........the house airs out and you can hear the outside sounds without the hum of your electric meter going full speed. Pretty soon I can bake without feeling I am doing a bad thing turning on a oven when I am trying to keep the house cool. Life is good!!!


That when it is needed, the AC is there in good working order and we can pay the electric bill.

That our outside time of year is almost here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

It's MINE!

Paris just loves my grand kid's shoes, backpacks, toys or anything they bring in the house. She did a good chewing job on DD's flip flops this summer too. She ignores our shoes so we think it is because her mama lives at their house. So when our grandson took off his shoes, she claimed them as hers. She sat for quite a while with the shoe on HER paw!

We had a great weekend. It was so good to get away and relax. We did some shopping and lots of eating and of course, lost money in the slot machines. That's how it goes. Enjoyed the river but really didn't get to spend anytime just sitting by it. I worked on the quilting of the table topper in the car and that went really well. Hope to have it almost done by Oct. 1st, if life doesn't get in the way.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Nothing New Here

I am still reading Mr. King's wordy book and have moved on to hand quilting the fall table topper. No need to post pictures again of either one and there is nothing else new that I can think of.

Hubby and I are off to Laughlin Nev. tomorrow for a three day weekend. He had suggested we do one for my birthday but decided that we would wait until this month when things weren't so busy. We are going the long way by the Colorado River. Hope to spend some quiet time down by the river, saying good bye to summer and welcome to fall!

Wish me luck in Laughlin, I will need it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Real Reason

I confess, the real reason that not much is being accomplished around my corner of the world is thanks to the below pic. Sunday night my dd handed me a stack of books as we left her house, and she told me that she really enjoyed this one.

I like some of what Stephen King writes but haven't read anything of his in a long time. So I started to read a few pages just to see. (forgetting the book I was already reading, of course).

One thing I must say about Mr King's writing.........he uses more words to describe the smallest detail that anyone I have ever read. Granted, it is very well done and he paints a beautiful, clear picture for his reader with those words, but after a few pages you understand why his books are so stinking thick! It is good, I guess. I can bury my nose way down deep and not see the things I SHOULD be doing!

Monday, September 17, 2007

More Closet Treasures!

I am still working on the blanket stitch on the fall table I thought maybe we could visit the closet again and its stock of WIP. These blocks were the summer of 2006 vacation take alongs. There are five of each color, all complete. Some need to be sized but other than that, they are ready to put together. There is one problem though..........I have no idea what color to put them together with!! I have some left over of each one of the print but not of the solid colors as they were scraps. I had half an idea, acted on it and now have no plan for the big finish. So I am, again open to suggestions from blogland. I am thinking that a border for each block consisting of print/white/print with a nine patch of the same in each corner might solve the problem. What do you think fellow quilter's?

I would love to hand quilt this one...........someday...........LO

Friday, September 14, 2007

For Mom

My mother passed away three years ago today. It was somewhat unexpected in a way and then not really a surprise. Her death was surrounded by family and step family squabbles that in the end, completely split my remaining family apart. It was not a good time in more ways than one.

On a positive note, I quilt today because of Mom. She was always doing something of a handcraft nature. She did beautiful crochet work, she made some of our clothes when we were growing up. I volunteered her to make a banner for my Brownie troop when I was seven and she was not happy.......but she did it. We had a old Singer treadle sewing machine and I learned what little I know on it. I say that because I might piece quilts but that is where my sewing ability stops..........straight seams! She had four daughters and all of us do some type of handwork. It's who she was, it's who we are because of her.

I have a stack of quilt blocks that she made, the last time I saw her we talked about the quilt she wanted to make with them. Someday I hope to divide them and make several quilts for family members. Just have not been able to deal with it just yet.

I am a much different person that she was, I take after my paternal grandmother (who also did beautiful handwork). But the thing that has always made me happy and content in life was a gift from Mom and with this post I send my thanks upward her way.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Strings Here and There and EVERYWHERE

Don't you just love all the strings on my topper in the picture below? Those strings just follow me everywhere..........and drive DH crazy!

Blanket Stitch is Almost Done

I have just a few things to finish up and the blanket stitching on the table topper applique is finished. I am looking forward to sandwiching this and getting on to the quilting. My goal is the first of Oct. but a little past that would still be OK. I saw a bag of gourds at Walmart today that I am going to get to put in my copper bowl to use with the topper on my table. Now, have these great plans, hopefully I can finish it! If not guess the bowl and the gourds would still look nice! LOL

If you see mistakes, that is because I am human. I have sworn off trying to be perfect in my work. If it is close to what it should be, I am happy. I read blogs where the quilter is trying for perfection.....and I, unlike them, live happily in my imperfect world here, enjoying what I am doing along the way.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Guess This Means He is a Big Boy.

My four year old grandson lost his first tooth today. It's been very loose and I have tried to talk him into letting me pull it without much success. We would get all ready and the minute he felt me tug on it, he would change his mind. So he ate lunch with this tooth just hanging by a thread. Later this afternoon he was playing and all of a sudden started laughing..........and came and handed me the tooth. It just fell out on its own. We made a big fuss over him and then he told me, "Guess that means I am a big boy now." I had to agree although my heart was not in it. He will always be my baby along with his sister. (and his mother and her two brothers).

I was there when all five came into this birth to the first three and observing (and praying hard) with the grands. And come to think of it, I was with all five when that first tooth came out........pulled several of them. I am so blessed!

It's been a hard week, my mother's birthday was the 11th and the anniversay of her death three years ago is this week. Losing his tooth made me realize that we need to focus on what might lie in the future rather than what might have been in the past. Those five babies I mentioned are her legacy in this world, along with quite a few others.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Still Using Apples

Here's left over pie crust with cinnamon sugar, rolled and baked. This is a all time family favorite, my kids fight over them.

My "made entirely from scratch, picked the apples myself" apple pie with lots of cinnamon in and outside.

Still have a lot of apples left after making applesauce, giving them to the kids, giving some to a neighbor and DH took some to work. So, guess its apple cake or apple muffins next.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Rant and Rave....Wal-Mart

If you are not into listening to some one stand on a box of fabric scraps and venting, you might want to forget this one.

I was in WalMart today looking for DMC embroidery thread to blanket stitch around the applique on my fall table topper. (I caved in and put it in all four is a bit much but without it, the blank corners looked too bare and I am not artistic enough to come up with something smaller to put there.)

They had thread, just a few assorted lonely colors in the big plastic turn tables that hold the thread by color..............on CLEARANCE for $.10 a skein. Only one of the colors I was looking for but I did grab some black and some Christmas type green along with a few others. I asked the clerk in the dept. if they were no long going to be carrying DMC thread and she said YES!! Can you believe it? She said it made no sense as it was a big seller and with all the hand works like knit, crochet and hand embroidery coming back into fashion, it made even less sense but that is how it was.

First some Walmarts did away with fabric depts., now they aren't going to carry a simple thing like DMC embroidery thread. They have a huge craft dept. with all sorts of weird stuff and no DMC? I think that Walmart is no longer a store for the people like it was started to be. Its a store for as much profit as you can make and to heck with the little guy.

I understand why the thread is going. To carry the 100's of colors takes a lot of inventory time and space. I think each skein was $.28 and even if you bought ten or twelve skeins, they maybe lost money. So out it goes and they will put something more trendy in its place.

I have heard a lot of people say they won't shop Walmart because of its policies. I won't go that far but I will spend less time in the fabric/craft dept. from now on.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fall Table Topper or a Rebirth of Sorts

A couple of years ago I found someone's UFO in a antique shop. It is in no way a antique but a lot of what you find in today's shops isn't. It was a large log cabin block about 20 inches across plus a lot of cut strips and more odds and ends of fabric in assorted sizes. The colors were browns and rusts, very fall. The thing talked to me and said "take me home and finish me." (I saw in my mind all my UFO's some day in Goodwill because my children didn't have a clue what to do with all my WIP and assorted quilting "things". LOL) So, for $7 or $8, I bought it, planning to, of course, finish it someday.

When I got it home, I tried to sort out the strips according to size and found out that there was no consistant size. Some were torn and some cut and nothing was straight. The widths were different too. So, it was easy to see why this one was a UFO although the one block was nicely done. (either the person had help or it was from a class.............something went wrong somewhere that is for sure). So, put the strips in my strip bin and the fabric in my stash and forgot about it.

Then last week someone posted this Fall tabletopper on my Yahoo group. I went looking to see what I had that was fall fabric, and there was the already matched fabric just waiting.

So, to whoever might have started the log cabin block, please know that it has a new life. (and I think there is enough for more of the same if I want).

Here is what I have done so far. It needs the applique ironed down and stitched after I do the other two corners. I am debating that as it seems busy enough with just two..............going to sleep on it. Needs pressed too, but I am excited about the way it already looks on my table.

Cinnamon Apple Sauce, anyone?

Beings I have a "few' apples, I am making applesauce for the freezer. Can you tell that I really, really like cinnamon?

Chunky Apple Sauce

3 lbs. baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced. (about four cups)

3/4 cup sugar to taste

1/2 cup water

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon ( I just add cinnamon until I like the color.......did I say I like cinnamon?)

In a large glass bowl combine all ingredients. Heat on high for 7 to 9 minutes after covering bowl with waxed paper. Stir once, cook until apples are soft and translucent.

Mash apples with potato masher to make sauce..

The applesauce in the picture is a double batch.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Arizona Apples

Believe it or not, they do grow apples in Arizona. We picked these at a Date Creek Ranch outside of Wickenburg. After you turn off the main road, you drive on a bumpy dirt road in the middle of the desert for quite a while. Then, you drop down into a valley and there is a working ranch complete with a peach/apple/pear orchard. The fruit is pesticide free and wonderful! We go every year for apples,sometimes peaches if we don't get them locally. This year the grand kids were old enough to go with us and experience the joy of picking fresh fruit. Colin did want to know why we didn't just go to the store and buy some apples but I think he enjoyed it once he got there.

I will make applesauce and freeze it and maybe a pie or two. (some apple crisp, muffins or whatever, that's a lot of apples folks!)

The ranch has cattle (hormone free) that they sell and there is pork available too. They also have horses, which made our horse loving girl very happy. I took carrots so we could feed the horses and the folks at Date Creek were great about letting the kids do that.

Here's the kids feeding "Sophie"


Fresh, juicy, crisp APPLES

Great folks who share their outdoor space with us city folks

A great day with DH, DD and grand babies

The diversity of this great state............mountains, desert and fruit orchards!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Closet Treasures III

I am enjoying my visits to the WIPs in my closet. I am bad about finishing things though so I am making a list as I go. One day I WILL finish some of these quilts!!!

This one goes way back to when I first gave in to the quilt urge. For more years than I care to count, I kept saying that I wanted to make a quilt. I bought books and talked some more. Then got started and the closet collection was born. Its a block of the month from Joann's called, "Vintage Treasures". ( now how did they know it would become a *vintage* treasure in my closet??) DH and I happened to be in Joann's right after Christmas and they had it on clearance for 75% off. DH did the math and convinced a more frugal me to buy the entire thing. Then when we got home, he convinced me to buy another one so I have another complete set unopened somewhere in that same closet!

I know that some of my points don't match well and it is no way a great piecing job but it is really good for me at that time and I learned so much. Each block had great instructions and for the most parts were blocks that I would never in a 1000 years attempt on my own. (nor would I ever put some of these fabrics together).

For 75% off, I feel like I took a quilting class without a live teacher and what I learned about construction was invaluable. After working on this, I could look at a quilt and see the individual blocks. It is set on point and has a great border...........and just looking at it makes me want to finish it. So, someday............

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Going In Circles or Closet Treasure II

Is there such a thing as blogger's block? I just haven't been able to think of anything lately that seemed revelant to post about. I haven't felt like quilting either so nothing new on that front to post about. I guess I could post a picture of my dirty ironing board cover like I saw on a blog but.......NAW! I have even had problems finding something to say for other blog comments. Now as much as I talk, this is scary!

Shelina has pictures of her denim circle quilt on her blog. I have one just like it hidden in that same closet as the Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt in the last post. Oh, the WIP that closet holds/hides. Her quilt has batting and blue cotton centers. Mine is scrappy (of course) and does not have batting in the centers. It is way heavy for AZ use as it is without the batting. I plan to back it with flannel and use it when we go to the mountains.

It started out as a long term project. I lost a lot of weight and had some jeans that I decided to cut up for a quilt. I have short legs so didn't get a lot of circles, just enough to play with. Then my over six foot son brought me a stack of his old jeans. Now this guy has LONG legs so I ended up with lots of circles.........Need to put this on the "finish me please" list!


Long legged son

large closet

the good life!

Here are pictures of the two in progress large blocks, the circles ready for fabric centers and the piles of many, many circles waiting for my undivided attention.