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.