Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas 2009

I feel like a big, woolly bear, crawling out of my cozy den on Christmas Eve to just have a look see. After a long stretch, a healthy yawn and a sigh, I want to wish my friends out there in blog land a very Merry Christmas. Add to that a healthy dose of good wishes for a bright New Year, and back into that warm, cozy spot, I go.

Life has had it's challenges for my family this last six months but in reflection, we really are doing well. All the surgeries except one have been accomplished with good out comes. SIL Joe goes next week for a out patient procedure to check and possibly repair the vein that had the clot in it this fall. We are in deed a lucky bunch and I celebrate that with all my heart. Good health is, indeed, one of life's greatest gifts.

May you all be so very blessed.

Goal for the New and quality time with my poor neglected sewing machine.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


No quilting photos as I have had to take a break. Life has really happened in our neck of the woods these past two weeks but I am happy to say, things are starting to get somewhat normal.

Son in law Joe was hospitalized with a blood clot in his chest. Long involved story but it was a congenital condition that required surgery to remove, then an additional surgery to remove the rib from that side of his chest. Then, he developed a hematoma which required another procedure to install a drain. Needless to say, this left us all scrabbling to make sure the grand kids were taken care of and that we could help our daughter as much as possible. The combined efforts of Joe's family and ours, kept kids safe and secure. He is home now, recovering slowly but surely and they are trying to get life back to normal a bit at a time. He will be on blood thinners for a long time, as well as having a projected long recovery process but, we are giving thanks for a good outcome.

I went ahead with my cataract surgery last Wed. It went very well and things looked good until sometime over the weekend. My night and far vision are awful. A post op trip to the surgeon confirmed what I already knew, the lens had slipped and will require them to redo it. This leaves me with the choice of doing it next or doing the left eye first. I think at this point we are going to do the redo first. The vision in this eye is now not very good and I would like to have at least one eye at a time in good working order. I do have confidence that it will work second time around...........not sure why, but I am OK with this. It was like a punch in the stomach at first, then talking with my great white hunter and my daughter has made me just want to move on. So Oct. 28, we try again. Got to come up with something cool to decorate my eye patch with for Halloween!!!

During the past two weeks, I have had enormous support from my blogging friends. Amelia, Granny Lyn and Finn have been there sending prayers and good wishes from the very beginning. I can not tell you how very much this has meant for all of us. I am truly blessed and amazed at the gifts this blog has given me.

I got up this morning determined to face the day with a positive attitude and get on with life. My near vision is very good so hope to find my self back with my Jewel Box quilt and getting a start on some Christmas projects. Life is good again in AZ!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jewel Box Quilt

The sewing/spare bedroom looks like a hurricane hit, but it is creative mess. A few years ago, I bought some 6 inch batik squares on Ebay. I won two sets and I loved them. There weren't enough to make anything and they were small but there was a wonderful assortment of color and texture. Being the fabric addict that I am, I was content to take them out now and then, drink in their wonderfulness and enjoy them. During that time, I added a few batik remnants, a fat quarter here and there and there were some wonderful batik fat quarters in the fabric that I found at Goodwill. Still not what anyone would consider a "stash" of batik, but a great assortment.

Then I found this "Jewel Box" quilt pattern, and my batiks had found a home! (Sorry, but I can't get the link to work. It is from the site) My great white hunter does not care for the black in this quilt, but I think it gives the punch needed to showcase each and every one of these lovely fabrics. It has also provided more practice on half square triangles, I WILL master those someday!

Here are the first two rows. All the units for the other blocks are sewn, so it just needs to be put together. It will have a black border and I will buy actual batik yardage for the back. (be still my heart!) Seriously thinking that this one will be a winter hand quilting project.

It is the first day of Fall and the TV says 99 degrees. We have planted fall tomatoes and cucumbers, flowers are next!

We are headed to the mountains this weekend for a quilt show, I am really looking forward to it, having gone to this one several years in a row. I will try to have pictures to post.

Finn asked for the date of my cataract surgery. It is the 30Th of this month. I have had my pre op appointment and have my eye drops and signed all the paper work. I am still not very comfortable with this whole thing, keep thinking about what the loss will be if it fails but trying hard to be positive. I love color so much and everyone says colors are brighter.......will concentrate on that for now. Thanks for asking, dear Finn!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Alive in AZ

I am still alive, have not fell off the face of the earth or been abducted by aliens! Really having a lazy summer where I am avoiding anything that feels like a obligation of any kind. I will come around soon........

We went on a wonderful run away from home trip to Colorado. We just drove until hungry, stopped when tired and forgot what day it was as often as possible. We saw some awesome countryside. I learned that even though I left Colorado for good almost 40 years ago, it is still home. I have lived in AZ longer than I did in Colorado but, where you grow up is always home.

On a personal front, I am headed to surgery the end of Sept. to remove the cataract from my right eye. Then the end of Oct., will repeat the process on the left eye. Now I always thought that cataracts happened to "OLD" people so I was surprised to say the least. Good news is they are going to implant lenses that will also correct my severe near no more glasses if all goes well. Having worn glasses since I was 13 or 14, this will be quite an adjustment! I am also letting my hair grow back to its natural color, so no one might recognize me when things are all done!(Now if I could afford a face lift and loose a few pounds, it would be a whole new Norma.) I am very nervous about having work done on my eyes, but the cataracts will not go away without it and just get worse until I can't see at all, so thankful there is something to be done to take care of them. Meanwhile, I would be very thankful if you would include me in your prayers!

Promise to be back soon, maybe with some honest to goodness quilt content! I do miss my blogging friends!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kid's New Pet

Julia and Colin have a new friend, actually two new friends as they added a friend for this guy after reading that this type of rat did best in same sex pairs. OK, he came to our house to visit but will live at their house so they can have all that the Momma and the Daddy will allow. This guy is Zion, and the other one is Bryce. They named them for the parks they visited on their vacation to Utah, Colorado and New Mexico earlier this month. He is a rat but cute. Can a rat be cute?

My great white hunter and I are excited. The kids come tomorrow to spend their last two weeks before going off to school. It is just during the day but Papa is working nights again so it will be fun. A great way to end the summer for them, and a fun time for us. We will live in the pool and have a few other fun things planned.

Hope summer is going well for everyone. It has been a odd summer weather wise. June had record breaking low temps and July has been HOT. Not much monsoon rain but we are getting the humidity and the threatening storm stuff. Just three months to go............ugh!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Facebook Experience

My plan to stay off the computer has been a failure. I am addicted. I have tried to limit some things but just added others, so the time factor is the same. Is there a twelve step program that addresses fabric addiction along with computer over use out there?

My kids are big Facebook, Twitter users, something I resisted for a long time. Sharing every thought I have with the entire world was a concept that I did not warm up to easily. Then the Momma (DD) mentioned how she had hooked up with several of the folks she graduated from school with, and how fun it was to reconnect with them. I have been a member of for awhile but still thought this would be a great way to see if I could make contact with some friends from High School.

I joined Facebook and found a friendly face........our own beloved Amelia was one of the first to ask me to be her friend. I did find my graduating class although I was disappointed that there were not many names listed. Then I figured out that looking at the friends of classmates might lead me to someone that I knew. That worked wonderfully and I made contact with one of my best buddies. We exchanged information about our kids and where we lived. I was on a roll.

When you live in a small town all your life, even when you leave, you hear about people you grew up with. I read the local newspaper on line and have run across obits for former classmates, not a fun experience at all. There was one guy on the class list that had not grown up there, he had moved to town in our Senior year. I remembered him as being a really nice fellow and had often wondered what became of him. So I contacted him. He had NO clue who I was and that was apparent from the very beginning. He sent me his information, he lives in Washington D.C. and looks quite successful. I sent some of my information, but he never commented on it so figured he was not interested and was ready to move on. A comment about the summer after graduation brought a long message from him telling me his story. Two tours of Vietnam, three wives and a long affair with the booze bottle took us to 1985 when he became sober and straighted out his life. We talked about that........not once did he ask or comment on what I had been doing since 1965. Finally I decided that this was a one sided conversation that I did not have time for and wished him luck and that was that. So I have found one good friend, one high school buddy and one guy whose name was on the list.

I then made contact with another classmate, had good conversation with her about her family and life after school. Hey, this was fun.

About this time, the great white hunter son #2 asks me to be his Facebook friend. Now I didn't expect for my children to want me to have access to their private lives this way, but I said fine. That opened two more doors that had been closed for many years.

First was tgwhunter son #2's high school girlfriend. This girl and I had hit it off from the very beginning. There were times when I think she came to our house to see the family as much as to see my son. If he was working, she would call or just pop in. I jokingly called her my "other daughter" and she called me "Mom". When they broke up, she and I cried. She asked if she could still come to the house or could we at least meet now and then. I had divided feelings, I didn't want to lose someone that I cared about but our house was my son's home. I told him what she asked and he begged me to tell her no. So, I did and have not seen or heard from her in 20 years.

She made contact with him through Facebook last fall and found me on his page. My "other daughter" wasted no time in contacting "Mom". She is divorced and has two lovely boys. We have chatted a couple of times. She is headed to AZ to visit her family and told me she will be on my doorstep with her boys and we will do lunch or something like we used to do. This is a blessing I never expected.

Another one of tgwhunter son# 2's friends contacted me. This was a young man who was around our house a lot. His girl friend lived in the neighborhood and was in and out of the house all the time. When they married and had a son, they proudly brought him to our house. I remember sitting on the floor holding that baby. But as often happens, life takes over and people move on. I hadn't heard much about either of them for years.

Today, I got a long message from him. He and the girl friend divorced, he remarried and that fell apart. He wanted a mother to listen to him and console him.........and he chose me. I had to tell him that I am not the one he needs now. Mostly because he was feeling so sorry for himself and all that the world had done to him. My children could tell him that doesn't work with this Mom. If I chose to be his substitute Mother, I would tell him that he needed to look at his actions and ask what he did to get himself to this place, to grow up and take responsibility and then try and fix his life. I know that is not what he want to hear from me, so it is best he look else where.

So far this Facebook thing has been interesting to say the very least. Things seem to have calmed down for now. I might not find anymore "friends" and that will be fine. It has been a lot like life, pros and cons and more than one way to look at things.

This Internet thing is amazing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Ya'll remember late last winter and spring? You know when you were suffering though the dregs of winter, thinking it was never going to go away. I was posting pictures of my flowers and my new tomato plants and my lovely spot on the patio swing.

Well, folks, here is your revenge. This is what I saw when I climbed into my car this afternoon about two o'clock. Yes, you are seeing right, 118 degrees!

Granted the car had been sitting in the full hot sun for several hours and that temp did go down to 113 after I drove down the street a ways. July is not a fun month and this year it is really hot

So, now that you know I am getting mine, back under the AC with my iced tea...........

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just had to Comment

I read this and found it very interesting considering the recent developments on this show. It states how I feel about the entire matter. Years of watching that poor guy get treated like the family dog seem to have had the expected result, and I am amazed that folks are surprised at the out come.

Meanwhile, my prayers go out to those eight little ones...........with added prayers that the parents and TCL wake up and protect them. Oh wait, there is the large amount of cash involved. Hopefully the sponsors will realize that this is no place to showcase their products.....but then, there is that cash again.........

Should Jon & Kate Plus 8 Be Taken Off the Air?
This once-endearing show about raising twins and sextuplets has turned into a spectacle highlighting Kate's inability to handle the daily stress caused by her many hang-ups. Meanwhile, Discovery is essentially condoning her abusive tendencies...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


To my reader at network out of Springfield or Miller, Missouri,

I really am not planning on posting much in the near future, you can rest and go check out someone else for a while.

Still smiling here in AZ,

Your friend,


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Time Out

I have become very discontent with the blogging process lately. It is starting to feel like work. Life is very much the same from season to season and coming up with fresh new posts is not always easy to do. Reading blogs and trying to comment, plus answering comments seems to take a lot of time that could be used more wisely elsewhere. So, think it is time to take some time off and see if I can't maybe come back with a fresh prospective, or maybe fill that time with more constructive things. Time will tell on that one.

I am also disillusioned with a lot of what I am seeing and reading in some of the blogs now days. For the most part, I have made wonderful friends in blogland and I value those friendships so very much. I will be visiting those blogs and making a major effort to keep in touch with those people. You all know who you are. I may take a day and read and comment on others at random, but for the most part, Norma has "Gone Quilting/reading/crocheting/stitching and maybe, just maybe doing some much needed work around her home.

Have a great summer and I will be around later.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Ok, so the link for Broomstick Lace directions does not work.......grrrr.

Try here and if that fails........just Google Broomstick Lace, there are several sites that have directions!

Broomstick Lace Afghan for Ryan

A few years ago, I made a broomstick lace afghan for a birthday gift for a close friend. She had just gotten a new couch so I made it to go with that. Her son was still living at home then and soon after her birthday, got sick with a really bad cold and spent his recovery days on that couch wrapped in her afghan. After he got well, he liked to watch TV, again wrapped in her afghan. The family jokingly started calling the afghan, "Ryan's blankie". My friend said she was forever finding it in his room rather than on the couch where it belonged.

I made the comment that well, I knew what to make him for a wedding gift anyway.

Fast forward, Ryan is now on his second enlistment in the Army, has spent almost a year in Japan and is now engaged to be married on July 4th. The wedding is in Vegas with just family, followed by casual reception at her parents house on July 18th.

They are doing their living room in cream and black, so the bride wanted a black afghan...........and Ryan is off doing Army things so couldn't ask him. So, I am working like crazy to keep my word and make Ryan his own "blankie."

I have done broom stick lace for years........this shows the big plastic pin that I use. I bought this in Germany when we were stationed there in the 70's. I have since found other needles but they are smaller, so this is my old stand by that I guard carefully. Never know when someone will need a "blankie" all their own.

Click here for directions for Broomstick Lace.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mother's Day Gifts and My New Fave Tool

Here are the lovely gifts that Julia and Colin painted for me for Mother's Day. I am one of those people who would rather have something that they made (or anyone made just for me) instead of a purchased gift. The Momma and Daddy gave me a lovely gift too, but the kids gifts always get the first spot!

I either tie or hand quilt my quilts. For the most part, my quilts are use and abuse so I tie them. That is what was done when I was growing up and I respect it as a quilt. Now I have read that it is not a quilt but a "comforter" if it is tied. You can call it what you want, I don't think the ladies who made quilts 100 years ago always had the time to wait for the quilting process because they needed those quilts on the bed to keep their family warm. A quilt is a quilt, regardless of the methods used to put it together in my book.

The sandwich process has become really hard as the only place I have that is large enough is the living room floor. The old knees can't do that much anymore, plus I get a stiff neck and headache from having my head hang down when I am on my knees basting. The last few quilts I have done, I basted down the center in both directions and then moved it to my folding table to baste and then tie. It worked but I have been less than happy with the results because my backing was not always smooth.

Then I read somewhere how a lady used her husband's clamps to clamp her quilt to her table. Norma had a AH_HA moment! My great white hunter uses these clamps in his woodworking and there were some in the garage! I mentioned it to him and he suggested that I get new ones to make sure there was nothing on them from the woodworking process. (besides his tools are HIS tools). Well, they work wonderfully! In fact, I just did my usual baste down the center both ways and then clamped it to the table, tied a section, moved it and re clamped until I was done without any more basting. My backing is nice and smooth and it took about a third of the time. Now I need to find a box to store MY clamps.

Colin did ask if I asked Papa before I used his clamps, and was very impressed that Nana had her own set!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day Visitors

We were up early on Sunday, getting ready to head out for our annual Mother's Day picnic. I looked over to see if the coffee was done and noticed that there was something floating in the pool. Now, when he was smaller, the little guy next door liked to see if he could throw things over the fence and hit the pool, so I figured maybe he hadn't outgrown that like we thought.

Much to my surprise, this is what was floating in the pool. Ma and Pa had made a stop in our backyard. They floated around like they owned the place. (and we were hoping that they would decide no, it was not for them) My great white hunter had to get a step ladder out of the garage so he could get a picture over the fence and they took no notice at all. After a nice swim, they took to the air, off to visit someone else and try out their pool.

We have not ventured into the water yet, way too cool for our taste just yet but it apparently was just right for ducks on Mother's Day 2009. Not bad for living right smack dab in the middle of large metropolitan area.

Picnic was wonderful, pictures later.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Home At Last!

Boy, you have got to watch this Flat Stanley guy. First, he takes his own sweet time going from Arizona to Canada, then he has a visit that my whole family is in awe of, takes a leisurely trip back home and brings a GIRLFRIEND with him!! The note that came with her said she was his Canadian cousin but.........he was way too happy to be traveling with a cousin!

Carol's daughter included this travel friend for Flat Stanley. Isn't she cute?

Dalton, Carol's son, drew this picture for the box. He does wonderful work!

Stanley returned home in a box full to the brim of great things from our friends to the North. The album was full of great pictures of his travels with Carol and her family. The Momma (DD) was taking the package to Colin's class today to share it with them. Colin was very excited that there were pencils for his classmates.

Thank you Carol, John, Dakota and Dalton for all your efforts in this. Bloggers are amazing people. Funny how you can reach out to folks and get very little response, then you have someone like Carol who volunteers and then goes way beyond what is expected. Friendship on the web is amazing. I am old enough to be Carol's mother. She found me through another Canadian blog I commented on, and a great friendship evolved.

On a "what is happening at my house" report, here are the first of the tomatoes! We had them sliced with salt and pepper the other night and they were so good. There are a lot more out back but the plants are in bad shape. Don't think the great white hunter and I will ever earn our farming badge! Cucumbers are doing well in spite of the heat. I am in hopes we will have lots of them for ice box pickles this year.

My great white hunter and I went yesterday and picked about 40 lbs of local peaches. That means I will be busy making jam and freezing peaches..........might fit a peach pie in there over the weekend.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

It is Raining Lemons!

This is the time of year when last year's unpicked citrus crop falls from the trees. There are little dark green new lemons already formed and growing as the tree bloomed in April. So we sit in the family room and hear the thump of lemons hitting the ground out back from our neighbor's tree. My great white hunter spent quite a bit of time one night this week picking lemons for the people at work. He took in three huge boxes (and this is just from our side of the fence) and the folks there took all of them home and were thrilled to get them. I priced lemons at the store and they wanted 39 cents for a small one, so I guess I would be glad to get them too. When you just go out and pick what you want, you kind of take them for granted.

Just to show you that Texas is not the only state that grows things big......I picked this one up out of the yard this morning on my daily "pick up lemons" job. The coin on the side is a quarter, sorry that is not too clear in the picture.

"Tuscan Sun" had a set back the past couple of days while I recovered from a nice bout of stomach flu but looking forward to posting the next couple of blocks soon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tuscan Sun Blocks 2 and 3

Here is number two, redone, and number three of the Tuscan Sun BOM. Is it growing on me? Not yet.............

I am going to throw caution to the wind and do a block out of order to spice things up a bit! Let's see, should I do seven or eight next?

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Tuscan Sun"

In 2006 or maybe 2007, I bought a BOM quilt from Joann's called "Tuscan Sun". I remember really liking it and budgeting my coupons and a few of the Mama's (DD) to get it for less than the posted price. I was in the middle of something else at the time, so of course, packed it away and promptly forgot all about it. After cutting out all those 2 1/2" squares and the half square triangles for the Chiclet quilt, I thought it might be nice to sew something that is pre cut, plus not the same block over and over.

I dug in my overflowing sewing room closet and found the BOM's waiting patiently for me. first look at the picture on the top package made me wonder if that was really it? Did I really want/buy this quilt? Why??? It is not exactly made from colors that I would choose, and the lay out is not my usual traditional block. What in the world will I do with it when it is finished?

Do you think that while it sat smoldering in my closet that it changed into something different than what I bought? Did the colors redo themselves into something I don't recognize? Strange, now I understand when I read about quilter's saying that they find they don't like their older stash fabric. Something in the quilter changes but who knows what makes that happen. How can you love it enough to bring it home and then after you don't look at it for a while, your opinion of it changes? Guess the answer is use it while you still love it!

Anyway, here is block one and it is very subdued compared to some of the others. Hmmm, do you think it might grow on me again? I sure hope so because I have it, I paid quite a bit for it and I am making it. Not sure where we will go from there.

I would put a picture of block two on here except it is in pieces. After I had it all put together, carefully lining everything up, I discovered I had mixed up the two greens and had to take the whole thing apart again. Note to Norma, the pictures in the illustrations are TINY and it is not a good idea to try and sew at midnight!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Still Around

Where have I been? Good question! I have been right here but for some reason, could not think of much to say. Now for me that is a RARE thing!

I did some treasure shopping last week. These came from Half Priced Books. They are the wonderful Australian quilt magazines, "Patchwork and Quilting". Believe me when I say our quilting magazine publishers could learn something from the Australian sewing industry. They have such wonderful designs. Now these come under the heading of "oldie but goodie". They are 1998, 99 and 2000 issues but are complete with the very detailed center pull out section with patterns, directions and templates. I paid 50 cents a piece and have enjoyed them so much. Talk about eye candy, these are wonderful.

The Chiclet top is done, has been done for a while. I have said before that each quilt is a journey and this is no exception. I do love it though, each and every not so beautiful scrap of fabric was placed with love. Too, my quilt inspector, Princess Paris has given it her stamp of approval and what more do you need?

The tomatoes are growing so well, there are almost twenty on this one plant. We have had a cool spring and everything thrived. However, the big question is will they survive to make it to the dinner table. The problem with growing things here in the "Valley of the Sun", is that it gets hot really fast. So fast that the plants get major stressed and it just takes a few hours for the whole thing to die. I have stood and watched cucumbers just shrivel up and die from the heat. It is supposed to be 95 today and I think it is time to put the shade cloth on the top of the frames my great white hunter built this winter. Cross your fingers for my tomatoes please!

These are the white roses outside our front door. They are doing wonderful! They are not my favorite but were planted and mature when we bought the house so there they stay for now. I would be much happier with a blast of color there but you can't be unhappy with this mass of roses! I keep wondering why the people we bought the house from would plant white roses??? Must have been a good reason at the time.

This bush has little pink tea roses and is in the back yard. It was also here when we bought the house, along with two others. There were huge trees in our neighbors backyard just behind the fence and our flower beds were really shady and it was hard to keep things growing there. They cut down the trees to put in a swimming pool and things have done much better in our flower beds. I do miss those beautiful trees and the wall they put between the two houses.

Not feeling very productive here but apparently there has been activity in my life even though I was not writing about it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Apron Memories

I received this in a email from my DIL's mom today. It brought back many a loving memory of my beloved Grandma and my Aunt Cora, who was in all sense of the word, a grandmother to me. Each morning, they put on their house dress, cotton stockings and a bib type apron to cover the dress. They used their new aprons on Sunday until they were needed for everyday use. These ladies used these aprons exactly like it says.........and all these years later I remember the smell of starch in them when I was grabbed for a hug.

The History of 'APRONS'

I don't think our kids today even know what an
apron is, so let me explain.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was, of course, to protect the dress underneath, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was
used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that "old-time apron" that served so many purposes.

Folks would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron - except love.

I would love to give credit to the author but I do not know who it was so all I can do is say thank you for bringing those two ladies to mind on a windy April day. I miss them both.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

If you have Google reader the link to Carol does not work......try No Reason Needed. Someday I will get this all right on the first try!

Flat Stanley's Adventure Has Started

Flat Stanley arrived safe and sound in Canada. Carol and family have already made him feel right at home. To follow his adventure, go to No Reason Needed.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Flat Stanley, WHERE Are YOU??

NOTE: I have just heard from Carol in Canada. Flat Stanley has arrived, safe and sound. Oh, don't I wish he could tell the story of this part of his journey! Thanks, Carol and family for opening your home to him!

I have lost Flat Stanley. In reality, the US Postal Service has lost Flat Stanley but I know they are not going to take responsibility for it so guess it falls on my shoulders. I raised three children, took care of my grand children, worked with first graders for 15 years, have had dogs, cats and birds..........and NEVER lost anyone but Flat Stanley is out there somewhere.

My dear friend Carol and her family in Canada offered to host Flat Stanley for my grandson, Colin's kindergarten class. The teacher thought it was a wonderful idea and sent another Flat Stanley, a travel log and letter home with Colin. He colored him, added a light saber in one hand and a apple in the other, cut off his feet for some reason, that he refused to share, and brought it to me to mail. I put it in a Priority mail folder from the PO and mailed it on March 25. It was not cheap travel fare for a someone made from paper, believe me! So it has been well over a week and he has still not arrived. I am afraid the immigration folks at the border are holding him in a cell somewhere because of the light saber!!! Carol and her family have been on the look out and have made plans for his visit but so far, he is a no show.

We had a family get together for our oldest son's (#1) birthday yesterday and I mentioned that Flat Stanley was lost and did the Momma (DD) think she could get another one? The great white hunter son #2, looked me right in the eye and said, "Mom, how could you lose Flat Stanley?" It sounded like it was all MY fault! I explained what happened but I think they still all think I lost him.

So Flat Stanley, if you are out there between Arizona and Canada, would you please phone home????

Friday, April 3, 2009

Prize in the Mailbox

I read on Kristie's blog that her friend Lisa was having a give away for a lovely quilt. I just had to go see what it was all about and threw my hat in the ring. I didn't win the quilt but she sent out prizes to TWO others, and mine arrived the other day.

I have never had a Moda charm pack or any of the precut things they offer so this is fun. It is a selection of fabrics that I am not sure I would buy for myself but I love them. So I am looking at patterns and dreaming about what I can do with this lovely gift! I have got to say that it is so much fun to open that mail box and find a package in there that you don't know what it contains! Makes the rest of the day pretty special. Thanks again Miniature Quilter and Kristie for sending me to her friend's blog.

Chiclet quilt top is all done except to sew a few rows together........picture soon. Yeah! I was not sure it was going to happen with out the quilt police coming in and tying me down!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Rainbow

This is so me. Now, I would not choose those colors but the description of who I am is right on. Kind of scary.............What does it say about you?

Your rainbow is intensely shaded red, brown, and indigo.


What is says about you: You are a deep thinking person. You appreciate cities, technology, and other great things people have created. Friends count on you for being honest and insightful. You get bored easily and want friends who will keep up with you.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

I have chained myself to the sewing machine to finish the "Chiclet" quilt top. I got about 3/4 done and had to really fight the urge to move on to something else. What is with that? You would think being that close to a finish would be motivation to keep with it. I had a long talk with myself, have all the blocks done, and have it laid out on the floor to sew the rows together. Bonus is this has the border already on!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Shrinking World

I am not much of a shopper any more. Now the great white hunter would be snickering at that statement but really, I finally figured out that I was buying stuff I did not need about the time I did my big de clutter in 2008. I do/did have favorite places to go though and although I am a very frugal (the great white hunter would say, "CHEAP") shopper, I enjoyed those places.

In the last four or five months, the place where I bought most of my clothes has gone out of business, my favorite junk/used book store closed and now the neighborhood grocery store that I have shopped at for twenty some years has closed. I am now in search of new places and to be honest, have not found anywhere that I like as well.

The grocery store was a local chain but one of their smaller stores. I have shopped there since the day it opened, knew where everything was, knew the cashiers on a first name basis and going there was EASY. There is another store in the same chain close by but it is a SUPER store and not near as easy to shop in.

The junk/used book store was where I went for a treat. They had a great selection of used books and lots of other thrift shop goodies. I really miss going there but now there is the Good Will store about two blocks away so I am finding my thrift shop fun there. As for clothes, have yet to solve that problem. Not that there is a lack of clothing stores, it is just that I LIKED the one that closed. I am old and set in my ways and changing is hard.

Used to be when I went to my dentist, there was no place to park because the complex was so busy. I have been to see him twice this week and there were empty spots all over. Many of the little offices have closed.

Empty shops and stores mean lost jobs and lost futures for many, and that is a much bigger problem than Norma having to find a new place to shop. Hopefully things will start to turn around soon!

On a plus note, I have blogged a couple of times about my beloved Betty Crocker Cooky cookbook that I have used since I was a teenager. It has been reprinted since the first edition copyright in 1963 and I have that copy too. Yesterday I was wandering around the book isle in Good Will and look what I almost mint condition.

In fact there were two and I am headed back to get the other one. At $1.99, I am sure it will find a home. The one I bought yesterday is for my great white hunter son #2, who is a great cook. If the other one is still there I will stick it back for Julia when she is ready to bake her own cookies. I would say she could have mine but it is in such poor condition from lots of use over the years, I am not sure it will make it that far.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Half Way There

I have 15 of 30 blocks made in my "Chiclets" quilt. I am going to call it my "Half Square Triangle or Bust" quilt. I love the look even though it has a lot of my Good Will bargain uglies in it. Some day someone is going to be looking close at some of that fabric and be wondering "WHY?" Oh well, in 2 inch squares, how bad can it be? I am really pleased with the patchwork border, think I will use that idea more often. One piece borders are great but this one really adds the punch.

This pattern is from Brandy's.

This one would qualify for one of Finn's Frugal Friday posts. The only new, purchased fabric is the white. It was purchased with a coupon. The rest of it came from my Good Will fat quarter bargains. I wish the lady whose stash I bought at Good Will could see that it found a good home.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Traveling With Flat Stanley

This last weekend, my great white hunter and I took a four day weekend and ran away from home. He has been working some very long, stressful hours and we needed a break. It was perfect timing as the weather is just beautiful.

The week before we left, Colin brought Flat Stanley home from school. Flat Stanley is a little man who had a bulletin board fall on him and flatten him out. Since that happened, people have been putting him in a envelope and mailing him all over for adventures. You are supposed to show him around, take pictures of him in your area, with your family and having a good time. He comes with a journal to write about his adventures. Then you send Stanley, the journal, pictures and souvenirs back to the class and they learn about the area where he visited. Colin colored and cut out his Flat Stanley and sent him off with Nana and Papa on their weekend adventure.

Taking Flat Stanley's picture is an adventure in itself, because he is so small and the backgrounds are so big. Too, trying to keep fingers out of the picture is a challenge. We did have several people stop while we were taking pictures and tell us that they had had Flat Stanley for a visit too. This little guy lives the traveling life!

Here is Stanley in front of the Colorado River.

Finding a place to take a picture of Flat Stanley and the London Bridge took some fast thinking by my great white hunter. This is where we met a man who said he had "been there and done that." We agreed that grandparents will do just about anything for their grandchildren!

The Tropicana Hotel in Laughlin, Nevada has a train station theme so we showed Stanley the little train. Pretend you don't see the fingers in the picture. I doubt that six year olds will mind.

They were standing in line to take pictures by the famous Las Vegas sign. There is a special parking lot and everything. We did not stand in line because you could just hold him up and click.

We made a trip to the M & M store on the Las Vegas strip. Anything and everything
with the M & M logo is for sale in this store. There are four floors full of just about anything you can imagine, including the candy! Here is Stanley on the race car.

This is the entrance to the store. We met another lady here who said her grandparents had taken Flat Stanley on a adventure for her son. It was good meeting these people because you knew that not everyone thought you were out of your mind!

Stanley did some shopping here and has a M & M pencil for each one of the kids in Colin's class.

Finally, just outside of Las Vegas on the way home, Flat Stanley gets to visit the Hoover Dam. It was dusk, the road was narrow and crowded and it was time to put Stanley back in his envelope.

Watching my great white hunter take pictures of Colin's Flat Stanley made me realize, once again, how lucky we all are to have my great white hunter. He planned the stops for Stanley and did the leg work so his grandson would have a nice project to return to his class. What a guy!!!

Now, Nana needs to do her part and go get the pictures printed, write in the journal and send it off to Colin's class.

Because we ran away from home, I am behind in my blog reading and comments........missed you all and will be up to date soon!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yellow Flowers

The yellow flower in my header is from our yard. It is from the daisy family but I don't remember the name. We planted these from seed three or four years ago, in a flower bed that my great white hunter built out by the pool patio. There are two different colors, one with the brown and then the all yellow. I can see these from my kitchen window and I love them!

These flowers just flourished. They make it though the cold weather in the winter, the hot in the summer and bloom for the most part through most of the year. In the winter, when the days are short, they don't put out blooms as much. The seeds blow and sprout along the edges of the lawn and the patio. My great white hunter transplanted some of these run aways in the white pot and they just made themselves at home there.

This pack of seeds was a great investment!

More Like It..... Yellow

The pink had to go, every time I opened my own blog, it was a shock!

I am more of a yellow person, always have been, so this is it until I get the urge to change again. Now that I have figured out how to do it, may happen often.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Thought I would try a new look here. Pink is a bit much but will leave it to see if it grows on me. Right now, I would say it is not going to, not a pink person, never have been.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is There Life AFTER Half Square Triangles?

OK, I will admit to it, I hate half square triangles. I will not even go into quarter square because that is way out there!

Quilting is something I taught myself, along with most of what I do. No classes, just books and video and Internet and as much as I can absorb. I have read more about half square triangles than I care to admit. Read tutorials, watched videos, bought rulers, papers.........and still really, really struggle with getting everything where it is supposed to be. So I just made quilts that I liked that didn't have the blessed things in them.

You need to grow in what ever you do! So, just like I have taught myself everything else........practice makes perfect. I am in the middle of two quilts with a few half square triangles in them. Scrappy use and abuse quilts, but patterns that I really like. Is it getting better? I am not redoing every one over so that must mean some progress, a baby step maybe?

My question is.........How many of these lovely things do you have to make before you have the "Ah" moment that says you know what you are doing? Will I ever know what I am doing or is this like Algebra and will never quite make it past the knot on my head?

I am trying to follow the liberated quilting thing and not stress if things are just a tad off but if I see it, everyone else will too and that just says, don't quite have it yet.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cherry Mash

For those of you that mentioned not knowing what a Cherry Mash candy bar is, I thought I would show you what you have been missing. I had to dig deep in the freezer for this one and I am having a hard time NOT having it for my breakfast. Sad thing is, diabetes and Cherry Mash don't go together very well so I have to just have a little at a time. Come to think of it, doesn't do much for the size of what I sit on either.

This is the 2.05 ounce size, they also come in a snack size bar. Now the chocolate nut covering is about half the thickness of what it was when I was a kid. I got bigger, the candy bar got smaller. They were a very special treat when I was a teenager because they were one of the more expensive candy bars. I was as tight with my money then as I am now, so that made it a even bigger purchase when I did buy one. They just might have had something to do with my teenage acne problem too!

Sorry the picture is fuzzy but you get the idea.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cherry Mash Moments

About ten years ago, we had a kitchen fire. No one was hurt, we lost nothing of great sentimental value but it did mean major renovations on our house. They came and took everything out to be treated for smoke and stored. Then, they ripped up most of the flooring, gutted the kitchen, repainted the walls and replaced anything that might have been damaged by heat. It was a long process, made worse by uncaring workmen who wasted time and a constant dealing with the insurance company. We had to shop for everything we lost and give a price for purchasing new. We had to pick out carpet and drapes and............Sounds wonderful but doing it all at once is hard. It took over six months and we lived like gypsies all that time.

One day, we were out on a "fill in the insurance company list" shopping trip and stopped at a Wal Mart where we normally don't go. As we walked in the door, the first thing I spied was a end cap full of boxes of Cherry Mash candy bars. I have blogged here about how these are my all time favorite candy, but they don't distribute them in AZ. We bought a few (mmmmm, quite a few) for the freezer and the check out lady said they had gotten them in by mistake and they had no place for them in the candy isle. It raised our sagging spirits considerably, and we laughed that a simple thing like a candy bar could chase the blahs away. So, since then, when something happens that is a little odd, we call them "Cherry Mash Moments". Over the years, there have been others........not sure if they really are something special or it is just that we are open to them at the time. I am not religious but I do believe in a higher power and to me, these are a sign that, yes, someone is watching over you.

This last Sat., I had a major Cherry Mash Moment. Now I have to tell you that at first I thought that the time had come when my mind was going it's own way and leaving me behind. I am way too young for that so it was a little scary. I found myself looking around to make sure I was where I thought I was.

Last week I read a post on one of my favorite blogs "Covered Porches and Wooden Screen Doors." She told how she had embroidered a Holly Hobbie on a shirt when she was in JR High with a friend. She had just found the pattern they used and bought it to send to her friend. However, she lost the auction for the pattern she was bidding on for herself. She ended with the note that no matter what, the pattern she did get had her friend's name on it.

We were in a antique store in Prescott AZ. on Sat. afternoon and as I came around a corner, I saw the word, "Holly" out of the corner of my eye. I went to check and found a basket with three patterns in it. Two were for a "Holly Hobbie" embroidery and one was for a "Holly Hobbie" doll. The embroidery patterns were the same one that she posted about. I stood there in that booth with chills going down my spine. After I made sure I was really where I thought I was and I really did have that pattern in my hand, I took it to show my great white hunter. When I told him the story, he said I needed to get it and send it to her. I told him she might think I was a wacko and not want to send me her address. He said to try because think how I would feel if someone did that for me.

I emailed her when we got home, and made her day.

The pattern went in the mail today as a Pay It Forward gift from me. Hopefully, she will find someone, someday that she can do the same for. I know that this pattern was the one with HER name on it.

So, was it chance that put me there where those patterns were or was there more to the story? I believe there is more to the story and I am looking forward to the next "Cherry Mash Moment" in my life.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hugs for Jakey and Granny Lyn.

One of the hardest part of making good friends through blogging is that when one of those friends needs a hug, they aren't right there for you to give it to them. You want to be there for them but you can't take dinner to their family, help clean their house or baby sit for them. You can just send good words and prayers and hope they know how much you care.

My good friend, Granny Lyn, has needed a hug for the last few months. She has lost a beloved daughter and her grandson Jakey is under going treatment for leukemia. My heart is heavy for my friend.

Her family has organized a benefit to raise money for Jakey's expenses. One of the raffle items is a wonderful, machine pieced, hand quilted "Jacob's Ladder" quilt that her aunt made. If you feel you might want to purchase a raffle ticket for this wonderful quilt, email Granny Lyn. I am buying my tickets and planning on winning but you can always try. The trip to her blog is worth just a look see at the lovely quilt!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A New Backyard Tour

Finn mentioned that they were now looking at the ugly brown that you get when the snow starts to melt. I remember living with snow and how dirty and yuck things looked as it started to melt and you were waiting for that green to show though.

So I thought I would give you another tour of the AZ backyard come March. We have had temps way above normal so things are really doing well. Our ugly brown is in July when everything looks scorched.

The citrus trees are in bloom. This means when you walk out the door, you get hit with the heavy,almost thick smell. At a distance, it is wonderful, get too close to the tree and it is way heavy and overwhelming. When we first moved here, there were a lot of orchards right in town and this time of year, you could smell citrus everywhere. Now most of those orchards are apartment complexes or strip malls.

Here are the Sweet 100 tomato plants we planted in the fall. They are still producing fast and furious. We are not sure how this is going to go as far as lasting as we have never been able to keep them going this long. The small amount of frost we get usually takes them out.

Here are the new tomato plants, the empty part of the bed is for my sunflowers. We are trying some full sized tomatoes to see if maybe the work the great white hunter has done on the beds will help us shade the plants when it gets hot. He spent a lot of time this winter building the wooden frame around the beds to hold shade cloth. We had PVC pipe frames but they were falling apart. PVC does hold up well in the sun.

I assured my great white hunter that if nothing else, his hard work makes it look like we know what we are doing. The key word in that sentence being "look".

This is the fun part of all this, our sunflower seeds planted and popping those green shoots out of the soil. To me, this is the true illustration of the "circle of life". I bought a couple of different varieties this year so we well see how it goes. Last year the flowers did not get near as big a heads as we have had in the past. Not sure if it was the seeds or the conditions........or the would be farmers that tended them.

This used to be the grand kids sand box. My great white hunter built it with the idea that it would become another raised bed. He took the cover off and most of the sand out, built the shade cloth frame and set up the water. The plants are cucumbers and summer squash.

This is what I see out the kitchen window when I wash the dishes. I am looking forward to the flowers growing longer and hanging down. Can't ask for a better view than that!

Hummmm, what is this? This is where Norma takes her handwork, her music and her ice tea to enjoy the afternoons and is the very best spot in the whole house. It was a Mother's Day gift about eight years ago. I have fond memories of giving both Julia and Colin their bottles while we rocked back and forth and enjoyed the fresh air. Now it is just Nana, enjoying the whole back yard.

Hope you all can dig in the dirt soon and plant the things that make you happy!

A Note

I have set my comments so that I can read them before they are published on my blog. As much as I hate to have to do these things, I have learned the hard way that it is a must.

If you make a comment and you are set that there can be no reply from my end, I will not publish your comment or will delete it. Communication is a two way thing and I will not give up my right to have my response.

Thankfully, this will not matter to 99.5% of those who might comment.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


You might want to head over to my friend Belvie's blog for what she has learned about copyright law and our blogs. She has done some good research and what she has found might be surprising. I know it was to me.

Last week a picture of my RV showed up on someone else's blog. It was taken directly off of this blog from a post I made a long time ago. It was later removed, but that
still tells us that we should know all we can about protecting what we put out there. I found the information she discovered about being responsible for the comments on your blog interesting also. Information on a commerical blog, or one that has things for sale is also a interesting issue.

How sad that we need these laws, and I am not sure they are worth much but just the same, something to think about as we blog away.

While you are there, you can see her wonderful baby quilt too.

One Of Those "Days"

We all have those "days" when things don't feel right, things don't go right and you wonder if getting up that morning was really a good idea. Now I am pretty up beat and don't have them very often but every so often, you just feel like the littlest thing is a heavy load. So, I had a few of those days last week. I walked around amazed at the human condition.

About Sat. the load was pretty heavy. The great white hunter had to work but the kids were here after a Friday night sleep over. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful until we stopped to pick up the mail after a short road trip. I had a SQUISHIE in the mail! I could hardly wait to get in the house to open it and see my surprise.

My wonderful, supportive blogging friend, Belvie, made and sent me this patchwork bucket bag! The colors are wonderful as is the workmanship. She has even promised to help "not a seamstress" me try to make some for my Christmas gifts. There are some perfect fat quarters in that Good Will stash. She also included a great little wool pincushion. I have tried to get a picture of the pincushion but the flash seems too much for something that small. The bag is for my embroidery supplies.

Now I did have a problem with the pincushion. My great white hunter found Princess Paris up on the counter, trying her best to knock it down on the floor so she could claim it for her own, twice! So may have to use it IN the bag to keep it just for me.

Needless to say, this was just what I needed to jump start life again. I am discovering that for every miserable, hateful person out there, there are at least ten good hearted ones. I am so lucky that I am surrounded by the good ones! The lesson learned is choose the people you let touch your life carefully. If you do this, when you have one of those inevitable days, they make the load lighter.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

This was one of my Christmas presents from the great white hunter son #2 and our DIL. When I make apple sauce for the freezer after we pick apples in the fall, I peel a lot of apples, so he thought this would make the process go faster. It peels, cores and slices the apple.

The Momma (DD) got 40 lbs of apples from the fresh fruit and vegetable co op that they belong to. We shared so I have a "few" apples to deal with. I made the great white hunter a apple pie and so it was the perfect time to try my peeler.

It works well, but I don't think it makes the process faster. You have to dig it out and get it going, then make sure you get the apple on there just right so that you get the entire core out. It didn't take longer though, and I really liked that the apple slices were all the same thickness and cooked more even. I will definitely use it when I need to peel several apples. Colin is going to love it, it is a "contraption" and he is into contraptions!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Little Here, A Little There

Although I have been busy, no finishes to report. I have been going through my sewing messy room and finding all my partly done projects, gathering together fabric and directions and putting it all in one spot. Finally figured out that I would have more storage if I finished just a few of the things I have started. So, one by one, I am going to work on one of them, at the same time working on one that I really want to work on. So eventually if this system works, a lot should get finished soon. I was amazed at how much work I seem to put into a project before I reject it and move on. It is a disease we quilter's seem to have and I am trying to find MY cure anyway. If I loved it once, I can love it again...

So, the Crayon Box is ready for borders. It would have borders if I were not having color issues with it. I wanted this one to be completely out of the closet, not buying anything. So dug out all my fabric that was big enough for borders. I did not find anything that works with all these busy colors but BLUE. Seems like every time I do a scrappy quilt, I settle on a dark blue or green border. So I am thinking maybe a deep rose color? I tried red but that seemed too safe also. Gonna take my great white hunter for a color consult...........he is so much better at that than I am. So much for all the fabric coming from what I have on hand. I am open to any suggestions anyone would have

Strip quilt is coming along nicely, I have a bunch of 6 1/2 muslin squares setting by the sewing machine, the strip bin by the chair and the goal is to make four sections for 1 square a day. Some days there are more, some days none but it is moving along. Of course, it is busy with colors too and then I will need to find a border color.........this one might just be the red. I love these quilts!

This is my reward/challenge for working towards a finish on the other two. I struggle with half square triangles, getting everything lined up right when there are a gazillion of them is still hard for me. So, this is perfect. Still goes along with my scrappy goal of using up some of the Good Will fat quarters and is much different from just scrappy for scrappy sake. I found another pattern for a basket that uses half square triangles that is next on the "new" starts list. Next on the list of unfinished projects is a yellow and blue log cabin that I started before Christmas. I hope to get out from under this pile eventually and have some finished items! This comes from a great tutorial on Kim's Big Quilting Adventure.

Meanwhile, I will be in awe of the quilter's who whip out a entire complicated top in a weekend. I am missing that patience factor, I sew awhile and then have to walk away from it. I think I have Quilter ADD.

I have my BOM blocks for February done, looking forward to March! I redid the Gail Pan block for Jan. on the pale yellow so that leaves me with the one done on white. I think I might just do Feb. on white also and have two going, think it would make a nice gift and I do enjoy those blocks.