Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Want to Thank........

my mother who was always making something, my great white hunter, who encourages me more than anyone, my friend Mary Ann, who gets gifts made with my little hands that she loves, and of course, my kids and grandkids who cheer from the sidelines.

Then, I must thank Patty at Pip Stitch for awarding me this award. It made me smile and feel good, but not so sure I deserve it right now.

Having said that, I am wondering where my creative self is? I know it is floating around here somewhere in the stash of fabric, thread and notions, patterns and UFO's. (not to mention yarn, knitting needles, emboirdery thread and pattern, crochet hooks and thread plus assorted paints, brushes and what have you.) Maybe someday, it will magically reappear?

I am supposed to award this to others. I just awarded something so this one goes to all those bloggers out there who inspire me on a daily basis. I am amazed by the wonderful projects on the blogs I read. The wonderful way everyone shares their work. Their talent tells me that the wrong folks are running the world. It should be craft minded people who work with their hands and share with their hearts.


Pam of Passionate Purple Quilts has some gorgeous kaleidoscope blocks on her blog. Elaine at Elaine Adair Pieces has some scrappy ones on her blog also. This is a block I have always wanted to try but needed a ruler to cut the wedges. After looking at their wonderful results, I went shopping. Pam was really helpful telling me about her ruler.

This is what I bought, it is the Kaleido-ruler by Marti Mitchell. I ordered it from Joann's. com using a 50% off coupon. So that covered the shipping. How it can cost almost $7 to mail a piece of plastic drives me crazy but that is another post! I am excited to try it and hope my blocks are half as well done as theirs are. They have really set a high standard here! (so I will practice a lot before I post one!) Quilt In A Day has one also, but it was just to cut the wedges, this one is for the side blocks also.

Julia and Colin were here all last week during the day and we had a sleep over on Friday night. It was DD's birthday on Sat. plus they celebrated their wedding anniversary during the week. Kids stayed here so Mom and Dad could go out to dinner. They will be here this week, then off to school. Needless to say, we are having great fun. We have been in the pool everyday, made gifts for Momma's birthday and played. Nana, then crawls to the couch with a book after they go home and then off to bed early so she can do it again the next day. The energy that those two have is a little challenging to keep up with when you are a old lady!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Feeling Usless

The quilting slump is still here. In fact, I am not doing anything! My rag rug is sitting waiting for the next row, and I am not too into that either. Wish I could say my house was clean and my bills paid but, that is not happening either. I will blame it on the weather but, I think I need a good kick in the pants to get me going. Maybe tomorrow?

Promised more of the flowers who make a statement in the AZ heat. This one is about as loud a statement as you can find. We don't have one of these grand bushes but my neighbors do. (bet they were wondering what crazy Norma was doing taking a close up of a bush in their front yard on the way back from the mail box!) I think this is a Mexican Bird of Paradise. If any of you know different, let me know. It really draws humming birds but also draws bees and wasps in great numbers, which is why the great white hunter does not want one.....darn!

This is a Bougainvillea. They are popular plants in the Southwest because they thrive in the heat. They come in other colors also. They also have nasty thorns. I asked the great white hunter son #2 about the huge one he has in his back yard the other day and he said it was doing fine. Then he said it was "evil". It is a very messy plant when it is in full bloom..........a big, beautiful splash of color but the flower petals are paper thin and drop to the ground leaving a constant mess. I love them anyway. You can't have that much beauty without paying some price for it. Same for the bees and wasps. I just showed a few flowers because the plant is heat stressed and not covered like it will be in the Fall and Spring.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What Gets You Through the Day?

Here in the desert, we are in our "down" part of the year. When it is snowing and cold in the rest of the county, we have our "up" part of the year. When folks have high heating bills, ours are low but right now the AC runs 24/7 and the electric meter just spins it's little heart out.

For the most part, most plants get stressed about now, the lawns get brown spots and our roses have brown tips on the leaves. Other plants have brown on them but most survive. However, there are big splashes of color here and there. I don't know how many of the colorful plants that thrive in the heat are native, they seem pretty tropical to me......but none the less, they keep me going in the summer.

This is one of my favorites, a pink hibiscus. We have tried to grow yellow and red ones but they seem to suffer from the cold more and we lose the plants. Not sure if it is location or just our lack of a green thumb. We do have two of these in the backyard that are thriving just now.

So, if I can look out the window when I do the dishes and see this, I might just survive the 111 degree heat that is forecast for the weekend. You have to take whatever it is that keeps you going and concentrate on that. What gets you through the day or the season?

I will take some pictures of a few more of the flowers that keep me from packing my bag and moving to a cooler local and post them soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Now I would like to tell you that I spent all day slaving over a hot oven to make this wonderful bread............but like the quilts from Finn, someone else did the work.

A few weeks ago, my door bell rang mid afternoon. Both the grand kids were here and they ran to the door, but just peaked out to see who was there. They thought it might be Mom coming to pick them up, but it was a girl with a basket, covered with a small quilt. We opened the door and she asked if we wanted to buy some bread. Kids were jumping up and down saying, "yes, yes" and I was awestruck at the beautiful loaves she had. So I bought a large loaf for $5 and we had a bread and butter snack. It was wonderful.

Then, later I got to thinking about what I had done. This is 2008 after all, people don't just eat whatever comes to their door. I thought about that girl, who was clean and well dressed, polite and friendly. Then,there were the loaves of bread. There was PRIDE in those loaves.........and I knew down deep that the kitchen it came from was no doubt cleaner than mine. She came again the next week and we set it up that she would deliver the wonderful stuff that we were all hooked on, every other week. Then DD and the kids decided they wanted a loaf for their house too, so we enlarged the order to two.............and today was bread day. Whoohoo! Who could ask for more, freshly baked, beautiful, great tasting bread, delivered to the door on every other Tuesday? (the second visit, the girl did tell me that they do have a licence and do bake in a commercial kitchen........but at that point, it really didn't matter at all, we were hooked.) Can't you just taste it?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Not Forgotten

Teresa, you are most definately on the list!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Quilting Bee

Amelia awarded me this award. She wrote at the end of her blog, how some of us had become like sisters to her. That really got me thinking about what this all means to me.

When I started this blog, I wanted to get in touch with the quilting community. I don't belong to a guild or take classes, so it seemed like a great way to be in touch with other quilters. I figured I could learn from them, share with them and hopefully make some friends along the way. There was always the idea too, that I would become a quilting Diva like a few of the bloggers.

It didn't take long for me to realize that as a quilter, I pass muster but past that, naw. No Diva here, for one thing to be a quilting Diva, ya got to work at it. I quilt when the spirit moves, and it is for the most part, still a learning process. I also learned that there is so much more to me than quilting. I think quilts a lot during the day, I think fabric and books and patterns and notions, but there is more. I am enjoying making rag rugs right now, I have several things that I want to embroidery, books to read, recipes to try. So, the blog is who I am rather than a blog about quilting entirely.

The blog almost came to a crashing end more than once the first year. I felt like I was just chatting away with myself as I got very few comments and little input. That made me feel foolish. Just writing the blog was hard work, finding things to blog about and adding the different features to it was a real struggle. My computer skills grew about the same speed as my quilting skills do, slow........

Then I met a few ladies that I really identified with and things started looking up. Today as I near my 200th post, I know I would really miss my friends that I have made. It has become like a old time quilting bee in many respects.

Years ago when a group of quilters gathered around a quilt to work on it together, they surely chatted, caught up on every one's news. They may have shared a pattern, hints and even thread and fabric. They were no doubt at different levels of skill with the more experienced helping out the newbies. Then they chatted about their families, the kids and grand kids and the husbands. They shared recipes and news of what they were preparing in their kitchens. They talked about and shared their flower and veggie gardens. Now and then they went off and talked about what was bothering them, having a good rant and rave.

So, when I think about the blogs, I see a long distance quilting bee, spread over the weeks. There are tutorials to help newbies, patterns and shared fabrics, pictures and stories about family, recipes and shared prepared meals, wonderful pictures of what is growing in gardens across the country and beyond, and a occasional rant and rave.

I love my Cyber quilting bee and treasure the friends that I have made that make up that quilting bee. Thank you for the friendship and the fellowship. As Amelia said, you are indeed my sisters. I hope that my five will find five that they relate to and award the award to them as well.

I am supposed to award this to five blogs that I read on a regular basis, here goes. I can't award it to Amelia but she would definitely be on the list if I could. She is a take care of business lady who reminds me so much of the women in my great white hunter's family. They make them strong and caring in Oklahoma.

Belvie has become a dear friend. She lives in the Midwest and does the most beautiful applique. She and I are "housewives" and proud to be the rock that keeps our families together even though the kids are grown and out of the house. Her daily email and my cup of coffee start my day.

Finn and I share a love of scrappy! Her good heart and her salt of the earth goodness is hard to match. She takes me on trips down memory lane that I try to resist and then enjoy with my whole being.

Granny Lyn and I are twins! We seem to look at life through the same glasses. And, we both have liver spots on our aging hands!

Carol is my far away friend, living in Canada. I am old enough to be her mother, and grandma to her kids but that hasn't stopped a friendship from developing. She tries my recipes and reports the results. She is much braver than I ever was or will be, having gone skydiving not long ago.

Katie has been a friend from the very early days of my blog. She, too, does beautiful applique and stitching and I love seeing her work develop. She is a grandmother with a wonderful dog named Kipper.

There are others who pop in and out of my quilting bee, a few are new friends that I am just getting to know. If I haven't mentioned you, it does not mean that you are less important to me, I was limited to a small quilting bee of five this time. Beth, Kristie, Pam, Cheri, Patty, Fitzy and the rest, thank you for joining in now and then.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quilts at Last!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! There is finally quilt content on Random Stitches!

Not by the owner of the blog, however, who is still in somewhat of a quilting slump at the moment. I think quilts, but I am NOT making quilts. Someday soon..........

This special little tree is a gift from my friend Finn. She enclosed it with the Orphan Train give away quilt that I won. It will have a very special place in my home. Colin thought it was wonderful, especially after he discovered that it had two little rings on the back to hang it with. It is wonderfully hand quilted.

Here is my Orphan Train prize for anyone that has not seen it on Finn's blog. Now this is not your everyday quilt and I love it. It is named "Convergence" and is lovingly hand quilted also. It is bright and unexpected............and all MINE! Thanks again, Ebby.

This is what I did on our RV trip. I sewed strips the week before we went and worked on it on the way there and on the way home. (between getting snacks and drinks for the kids on the road). I have given notice to anyone getting even close to this one, this is MINE and will NOT leave my house for another home. I did promise to make one for DDIL, but AFTER I make this one. It is going well, I could not tell you how to increase because I am doing it when it feels right but so far so good.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Thank Heaven for the Port a Potty!

We are home from our RV adventure. Everything went well and we had a wonderful time. There was some rain but all in all, a successful trip. It was hard to come back to the heat and knowing that Monday morning meant life as usual.

As all Mom's and Grandma's know, when you travel with small children, what can happen will. Colin had tummy troubles all week the end of June. Julia was not feeling too well on Tuesday but there was no fever so we took her with us. To be honest, out of four adults involved, not one of us had the courage to tell her that she could not go on a trip that we have been planning for months. So, to explain my title.........she spent a lot of time in the RV bathroom on Wed and Thursday. Enough said but imagine being in the woods with one in that condition and no potty. Yeah...........

She did fine though, took a couple of naps and managed to perk up whenever there was something fun to do. We took them fishing. My great white hunter had bought them fishing poles last month and we stopped for worms and bobbers on the way. Now, neither had the patience required to actually sit and fish but, just by the shore there were all kinds of crawdads, so they spent quite a bit of time catching them. It was great fun and we crowned Julia as the "Crawdad Queen" because she got so good at putting her worm down and bringing them up!

The great white hunter took them to a site near where we camped to go horseback riding on Friday. I stayed at the camp to wait for the great white hunter son #2 and his wife plus DD and her husband. They had a great time!

We sat around waiting to see what the weather was going to do, and of course, it poured rain. Again, nice to have the RV to sit in while we read and played with the kids and DIL's dog, Bonnie. The great white hunter cooked steaks when the rain let up and we had a great Fourth of July dinner.

Here is a picture of one of the crawdads. Sure was ugly.

Here they are, getting ready to catch the big one. Too bad that it takes more than ten minutes of sitting still to catch a fish.

Now this part is a rant. While they were fishing and playing with the crawdads, I was walking around. I found this tiny cactus blooming in the middle of the rocky shore line of the lake. Wonderful, isn't it? Well, not more than three feet away from this beauty was a empty beer bottle. Someone had just threw it down when they got done and walked away. There was trash all around the lake, cans, water bottles, plastic bags, you name it. I would have carted some out but had nothing to put it in. Next time, I will take a garbage bag. My family believes that you leave the outdoors in better shape than you found it. So we pack out what we pack in and if need be, pack out what some other idiot left behind too. This was a beautiful lake with lots of folks enjoying it, why a few have to ruin it for us all is beyond me.