Saturday, July 31, 2010

August Will Be Better

I guess it's not fair to blame a month for everything, but July was not a good month. Nothing bad, just blah. I didn't want to write, didn't want to talk, just wanted to sleep a lot and stay cool.

So magically tomorrow with the arrival of August, life will be rosy again.

It kind of started looking up today. I escaped from my doldrums and wallpaper scraping and drove over to Wetumpka, Alabama, to Beth's Heirloom Sewing. It was actually a very pleasant drive, even though I did have to call and be directed in. GPS didn't recognize any of the landmarks from the map on the newsletter. I did put in what looked to be a Mexican restaurant, Ranchito Morin, and the GPS lady dutifully took me to - Marco's - with no heirloom shop nearby. When I called, I was practically across the street, so no harm done.

My main reason for going other than just being around pretty things was that I decided to join Jeannie Baumeister's Sew-Along. Her Old-Fashioned Baby blog is beautifully done, and I love to see the needlework she does as well as enjoying pictures of her rose garden. It was just too tempting for her to offer to teach her pattern step by step, so I joined in a little bit late. I still have some catching up to do.

This is what I'm starting with. I can't seem to stay away from blue.

Cute little buttons and entredeux.

I figured if I gave myself a deadline and mentioned on the blog what I was doing, I might just keep up and finish it. Not that I don't enjoy doing this type of needlework; I just don't have the time I need to devote to it. Did I mention this is sewn entirely by hand? I think that's neat. My sewing machine sometimes has a mind of its own, and I think I can control things better this way.

Anyway, I just enjoyed so much walking around and looking at the pretty things in Beth's. I didn't ask, but it seems to be a new location, large and well-lighted.

These are some pictures I took of the things hanging on the walls and everywhere you look. Too much to take in at once.

War Eagle.

Pretty fabrics.

Things to embroider on.

Lots of detail.

The classrooms are really roomy and nice, and I'm hoping they'll be offering some classes that I would enjoy in the fall.

Very nice. I'll definitely be back now that I know where to go.

Now, to quilting, as I never want to be without some project half started:

Barbara and I are starting Kudzu Blossom's Nine-Patch Quiltalong Hmmm. Looks like only 24 participants signed up, but I'm sure there will be more doing it. It starts tomorrow, and I'm still not sure what I'm going to be doing.

At first Elise liked the looks of this quilt from Crazy Mom Quits so I thought I would try to do that one for her. I had already laid out my first blocks - excuse Maddy - she's possessive of 9-patch things.

That's a yawn, not a snarl.

Elise has had her head turned, though, by another quilt and is thinking of this one for hers:

She's still thinking about it.

Since we have news of a new baby-to-be in the Pinnacle family (Emily's friend Stacy) and since we heard she likes green and purple, I've gathered these fabrics for a little quilt for him/her. A 9-patch might look good from these.

In my "spare time" I'm restarting my "guilt quilt" for Emily. We picked out the fabrics and pattern a couple of years ago - surely not longer than that - and it's still in its drawer. Luckily, she still loves the fabric, and I'm just waiting for a final decision on which pattern she likes. The main fabrics are from the Sierra line by Anna Griffin for - guess what? - Windham Fabrics.

That should do it. I guess my problem with July is that I didn't have enough projects rattling around in my head.

Speaking of quilting, when I talked to Mike this morning he was headed to Plainview, TX, with a carload of quilting ladies. Don't ask. I just know that when one of these quilting ladies, Betty, mentioned last April when I was there that he should take me to Plainview to see the cows, he refused to do it. It had nothing to do with the fact that he had driven us around all day, it was nearly dark, and he didn't see the purpose of driving 20 miles to see painted cows. It was just mean-spiritedness, and I like to have something to hold over him to make him feel guilty. So he really didn't want to tell me where he was going - and I still don't know the reason.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Schedule

Any little change to keep me motivated.

I normally worked Monday through Wednesday from 8 until 12 and then again from 5 until 9. I thought I could be more productive if I split up my time, but that 5 hour break in the middle of the day was kind of wasted. I would eat lunch and read and fall asleep in my chair half the time. The times I would go out, I always had the 5:00 work time facing me.

I also hate alarm clocks. I would have to get up at 6:30. resenting and muttering at cats, to get all my morning stuff done plus catching up on emails and work updates to start at 8:00. (I have been known though to oversleep and be ready for work in about 5 minutes). Now I can sleep as late as I want to - or as late as the cats want me to - and not have to start work until 3:00 in the afternoon. So this morning? I was up at 6:30! That's fine though. I have all this energy in the mornings, and I can get a lot done. If I want to run errands or go shopping, I still have 5 hours. I have no life anyway, so being tied up from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. 3 days a week is no problem. Sunday is 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. The others 3 days, I just work when I feel like it to get 8 hours in.

I really needed to work on the wallpaper this morning, but instead I tackled the eyesore that was my desk (and underneath). I spend half my life there (in front of, not under the desk) and tend to let things kind of pile up. Things fall behind the desk and dangle (like my router). Pens and paper clips get dropped and disappear in the web of cords. I have 2 monitors and 2 keyboards on a rather small desk, so I worked on making those more accessible. Now my play keyboard and mouse don't have to live in a drawer. I crawled under the desk and tried to make sense of all those cords and wires and neatened them up - somewhat. I cleaned out the printer shelves and the bookshelves next to the computer and threw away any instructions to computers not owned my me or a family member. Why do I keep every instructional CD ever given to me? I guess afraid some repair guy will ask me for it one day - even if I no longer have that computer. If it doesn't refer to Dell or Belkin (router), it got tossed.

I found these under my desk or in the back of a drawer. I have no idea, but of course they won't get thrown away. They'll go back into the drawer to be pulled out next time I clean and wonder what they are.

The filing cabinet is next, and it will be harder because there will be interesting things in folders to sit and read and reminisce about - or sewing and decorating pictures I have to weed through. Things to make me guilty I didn't do or things that make me wonder why I would have saved such a thing. I wonder if I truly expected one day to make bread dough Christmas ornaments.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy Birthday

To my cousin Sherry.

We agree we like to let birthdays just kind of happen with no fanfare nowadays but wanting to wish her a happy day. She and David are going to the Comedy Catch in Chatanooga to see the comedian Henry Cho. Sounds interesting. A Korean with a southern accent. Hope it's lots of fun.

I'm still the oldest of all the cousins - all of them.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fishing in the Pacific

Instead of picking out a few pictures of Emily and Mike's adventures, I'm going to post a link to his first album. The comments make fun reading.

It's all beautiful, and I'm so glad they got to experience this. Simply looking at some of the pictures made me feel queasy, and I feel sure that might be the only Pacific deep-sea fishing trip they undertake. Well, I can't speak for Emily. The call for ocean adventure will probably come again, and she will answer.

Although I would love to have seen a cute little life jacket as one of her fishing accessories.

And my adventures? Only a trip to Home Depot to hang out with the painter men at the paint department. I seem to have the best conversations every time I go there - with just random people who are waiting there too. I may have found someone to do the things I can't handle. I got a card and an expression of willingness anyway. The way he was tossing out paint colors and textures, I told him he could be my decorator too.

I was also able to relieve a good bit of stress between one man and the Home Depot worker over how to spell taupe. Then once I told them, that caused a little more stress over there being about 50 different taupes in the paint selection.

I didn't make any final paint decisions, but I did get my own personal cute ladder.

I have only maybe 2 more days of wallpaper taking down, and then I can begin to paint. I'm still waiting for the magic paint chip to appear in front of me. As much as I like color, I imagine there will be only neutrals with maybe a little venturing out to greens in this house.
I sure would like to do a pretty color in that little room though. I may not can resist.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vacation Without Me

But I'll go one day. They tell me they will plan things a little less adventurous for me. Maybe a marathon quilt shop tour of Washington and Oregon?

Just a few pictures from Emily's FB page.

She and Ryan are treating Mike to a week of sightseeing in Washington.

Fishing in the Pacific. Ferry riding. Lavender fields. Much good food.

Beautiful weather. Snow on Mt. Rainier.

Just a few of the things I've heard about. There are probably thousands of pictures to be organized, so I imagine we'll be treated to some more Picasa albums in the next week or 2.

These two are more than likely having a good time. I'm not real sure, but I would sort of bet on it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back in Time

Mama and I had a nice visit from my cousin Carol this afternoon. Her mother and my dad were sister and brother, but except for funerals we probably haven't had a chance to talk in 10 years or more. She and David are retired and not complaining too much about that, visiting the daughters and grandsons in Auburn and Birmingham, growing some vegetables, and just enjoying life the way they deserve.

I was looking for a particular picture taken of us when we were about 5 and 6, but I didn't have that one scanned.

I did find this, however, and it always makes me laugh.

Carol and I are trying for a little dignity on each end of the row in our obligatory plaid dresses and patent-leather shoes. It must have been Sunday afternoon. We would never have been allowed to wear those except to church.

But the middle two. Words are not enough. My brother Mike and another cousin Bobby. My parents must have blown the whole Christmas budget on just that outfit. No stone unturned. Those pants might have made riding a horse a little iffy though. I'm not sure about what Bobby was portraying, a gangster maybe with the candy cigarette hanging out of his mouth. I'm not sure what he has clutched in his hand. Maybe he took one of the guns out of Mike's holster. Or most probably the packet of cigarettes. He doesn't look in the mood to share. Those corduroy overalls kind of ruin the debonair appearance though, probably red.

I don't remember the particulars of that day, but just one look at Mama's old china cabinet today reminded Carol of the Sunday afternoon when we were playing in the vacant lot behind our house, and Carol fell onto something - a limb maybe - and cut the palm of her hand. Or jabbed it, I guess. It seems it was kind of a star-burst shape, but I guess she had stitches. She still has the scar anyway. What I remember is that when she came over, she already had a cast on her foot from another accident. I think I was envious of the cute little cast - but not the stitches.

Again, nice memories. We'll have to do it more often.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nice Saturday

I like it when things work out, and I get get some things done, and this happened nicely Saturday morning even if I did have to do a little back-tracking.

This was my first stop. The recycling place.

When I used to go to the quilt shop for my First Saturday block last winter, I would see cars and trucks lined up at a school and finally figured they were waiting for the big recycling trucks to haul off their appliances and limbs and construction trash. They're just there the 1st and 3rd Saturdays, and it happened to work out this time that I was going by there on the 3rd Saturday, so I grabbed the old dead VCR and small TV taking up room in the guest room closet. I got in line, and amazingly at 9:00 sharp the big trucks drove up and starting uploading. I felt a little out of place not having to back up and cause a lot of yelling and noise to get rid of my stuff, but it was quick, and now I'll know how to do it if I have anything else.

It was too early for the quilt shop, and I had a package to mail, so I searched for a post office on the GPS. It turned out the nearest one was my usual one, so I backtracked and got that mailed. No lines, no people at all. I was going to use the machine in the lobby since it was a flat-rate box, but it was nice to talk to the ladies behind the counter. I always have questions for them, and they had time to explain things nicely.

CVS was right around the corner, so I took my little envelope of coupons in to see if there were any free things I had missed this week, but they were out of everything I was looking for. Quickly in, quickly out.

I met Barbara at Kudzu Blossom where she already had her list ready and was stacking up her fabrics to be cut. The ladies all had their Santa hats on, and there was Chrismas music playing. I had sense enough not to be tempted by any of the big quilt kits since I have a couple of small ones from the past years that I haven't made. But I did get a couple of pillowcase kits and some neat snowman fabric and a beautiful striped piece. I always have to get some charm squares, and these are really nice Chrismas ones. If I'm going to make anything, it will be from these little squares.

We met Judy at a Mexican restaurant nearby and had a lot of enchiladas and fun conversation. Oh, Barbara and I did make a quick 15-minute trip to Hancock Fabrics before lunch, but I didn't buy anything there.

After lunch, our caravan headed to East Chase to JoAnn Fabrics. I had a lot of coupons that expired that day, so I got a couple of things I had been waiting to get 40% and 50% off. I ended up giving one coupon to someone else in line and saved her about $10.

It was a nice day, but spending money makes me tired, and I came home and slept for 2 hours before I had to work. Then the power went off, so I talked to Elise awhile and then Mike who was getting on the ferry with Ryan and Emily somewhere west of Seattle. I could never find it on my Google map. They're having a great time. I want to be there too, and maybe I will soon.

So - fun Saturday that ended with LOTS of rain finally, lightning, wind, and thunder, just like I like it. There may be more coming this afternoon too.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Week's End

Ho hum.

Not much to remember about this week except for unrelenting heat and no rain. I swear I looked at the Weather Channel web site earlier, and it said 92 degrees, feels like 104. I just don't make eye contact with my plants when I go outside now. They are so dry and wilted. I try to water, but it's never enough. I do hear thunder now, and there is a 40% chance of rain, but I won't hold my breath.

A cool thing to do tomorrow morning is to go to the Christmas in July sale at Kudzu Blossom Quilt Shop. I really don't need to buy another thing to add to my collection of things I'll never get around to, but Buy 2, Get 1 Free. . . I don't know. Barbara is going to meet me there, and we might can get together on that one. If I see anything interesting. We're going to meet her cousin at the Mexican restaurant nearby and then go to other places, meaning anywhere there is fabric. I have a whole handful of 40% off coupons. I'm looking forward to a change of pace from house stuff and working.

My next-door neighbors are planning to paint their house inside this summer and/fall, and they said if their guys are agreeable, I might be able to hire a couple of them to do a little work for me while they're over there. I have a mental block about bringing the tape measure in here and measuring for that wallpaper, but I guess there's no hurry.

In other news, Debby has made such good progress that she's able to manage without her physical therapist from now on. The rocking-chair torture was awful, and if Emily can't come torture her, then she'll do without. Wonderful news. We're already talking about a fall trip to the beach and maybe other places.

Speaking of travel, Mike is about halfway to Seattle, I guess. He left Lubbock and flew to Memphis and should have gotten to Minneapolis by now. Talking about circling the country! I'm envious of the fun they're going to have. We'll have a bunch of pictures to enjoy soon. Fishing this time instead of hiking - or maybe both.

Now this looks promising. There are a few drops coming down.

The marigolds are one of the few flowers that haven't suffered from the heat too much, but they might enjoy being deadheaded and weeded every once in awhile. There's a little Dusty Miller there too that made it.

It's nice to drink coffee and work while it rains and look forward to a little reading time tonight. My life is just so full of excitement. I'll be happier when the plane lands in Seattle.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wallpaper Fun

It really is fun. I just wish I had time to get more done. By tomorrow I should be up to the point where I can't reach any more. It was slow at first but as soon as I found this state-of-the-art wallpaper stripper, I'm making good time.

Once you wet it down with my secret formula wallpaper removal mixture (water in an old Windex bottle), it just peels off so easily. It's hard to tear myself away sometimes.
The stick might just allow me to reach the ceiling, but then I have to worry about how I'm going to mask the ceiling to paint. It will probably take me a few months to make the big decision about what color to paint and whether to put up that bead-board wallpaper beneath the chair rail that is not there yet.

My inquiries (through Emily) to my very good carpenter son-in-law about how hard it would be to put up a chair rail myself were met with much laughter and an emphatic, "VERY." Probably some eye rolling and more laughter. So I might not do that. Or ... I might.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Time to Vote for the Cow Baby

Here he is again. Jacob.
Go here and vote and pass it on. I enjoyed looking at some of the other pictures too. This is really a big deal, and people put a lot of time and thought into it.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Forgettable Day (Pictures Added)

It's just early afternoon, but this has not been a good day.

First I realized that my anticipated visit with Debby was not going to happen. Things just didn't fall into place like I thought they would, so I was a little down anyway when I went out.

Already steamy at 9:30. Mind full of things I have to do. Driving Mama to the beauty shop while she talks nonstop about political candidates and somebody I used to know dying. Just not my favorite start to the day.

I did go to the library though where there were so many new books that looked good that I came out with an armload along with 2 audio books, a do-it-yourself book, and 2 Kennedy biographies for Mama. I love the librarian at the Pike Road branch. It's such a lovely contrast to downtown.

Then I went to Rite-Aid and managed to get contact lens solution and a toothbrush and made $3. Didn't need either one, but it was nice to get the free things and the $3.

The badness started with Chic-Fil-A. How could you have a bad experience on "Dress Like a Cow Day."

I ordered Mama her usual sandwich with cheese - that was fine. She usually gets a brownie, but I had a coupon for a free dessert - yogurt parfait or something with chocolate cookie crumbs. She said to get 2. So that's what I ordered. My Styrofoam cups I love are getting old, so I got a chicken strips combo - to get the cup. The fries aren't bad either. So we got the order - like pulling teeth - the girl kept getting it wrong, and I hate the screen now where they can see you and you can see them. I guess they can see you! Anyway as we drove away, I told Mama to check the bag, and she said there were no parfaits there. Well heck! I was parking to go in when this guy ran out with a bag in his hand. Ah, thank goodness, huh?

When we got home, Debby called just as we drove into the garage, and while I was talking to her, Mama was in the process of spilling one bag all over the floor. So we got that cleaned up and into the kitchen where I discovered there was only 1 dessert - or at least 1 vanilla yogurt with a strawberry on top. What the heck? For $2.25? Something you could buy in Publix for 50 cents. And we didn't even get the free one. I just put that one into 2 bowls.

Then I opened my "strips" and they were nuggets. Second week in a row for that to happen! Sigh. But I didn't want to take it all back, so we made do.

Now, here's the highlight of the day (hopefully it's the worst). I sat down to enjoy my lunch and read a chapter in my book. The yummy cold Coke in the Styrofoam cup was on the table next to me. As I reached for it, it tipped over. The top came off and it poured onto the couch and floor AND my finger went through the side of it, spilling even more and (honestly the worst thing) causing me to ruin that nice cup. I just stood there in the den thinking, "If it would do any good, I would just cry. CRY."

Instead since Mike is not here, I went and got paper towels and spent 15 minutes sopping up the mess from the carpet and couch. That cup holds a LOT of Coke. Then I sat there with the remaining 2 inches of my drink and ate those hard little nuggets and the 5 fries that didn't get spilled on the floor of the car. And did not enjoy it.

I decided to come here and get some sympathy.

I know I should take my receipt and the fake parfaits and go back to Chic-Fil-A. But I'm tired and irritable, and don't really want to. Although it might be worth it to see all the little cows running around. We've never had any trouble before last week, and that's our favorite fast food place.

I'm going to blame it on those new screens.

Added: Here are some cow parts to print if you want to participate and don't have a costume.

I had to do it.

But not for long.

I think we've met Jacob the Cow before - last Halloween. They missed the contest today, but Lydia is entering his picture into the Chic-Fil-A "Show Us the Cow Contest." I'll post the link as soon as they get it up so we can vote.

I think he should win something!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Certain people from Littlefield, Andalusia, and Issaquah might not want to look at the next pictures. (Kathy and Debby can look.)

My life is just so boring with nothing to occupy the long hours that I've decided to take down all the wallpaper in my house.

There's no turning back now.

The little toilet nook is the first room I tackled. It's about 3 x 4 feet and with a 9-foot ceiling. The vertical stripes make it look 12 feet tall - and purple - not my color.

As soon as we decided to delay selling the house, I started attacking it (well, as soon as Mike left the state). I forgot how much I love removing wallpaper. It's nothing like putting it up. It's therapeutic. I actually have to set an alarm to make me stop, and once I get a good audio book to listen to, I may be in trouble.

None of the wallpaper bothered me when I looked at the house, and I guess I've just gotten used to it. It's not really offensive - except maybe this one.

After a hard day sometimes when I get out of the shower I get the idea I might get tangled up in these fronds.

Now I'm not sure what I'll do with it. Easy way out is a creamy beige, which would make it boring but more attractive than this. Any ideas are welcome. I guess the red towels and tipsy candle are an attempt to brighten it up - or maybe they were left over from the bathroom in Columbus.

I've started to search for some decorating pictures to get an idea of paint colors. The good thing about beige floors and fixtures and white cabinets is that there are a lot of options. I'd very much like to do this in that teeny room - if only I could do mitering - but probably not in blue and not in the whole bathroom. Rhoda's wonderful decorating blog is one of the ones in my favorites in the right-hand column, Southern Hospitality. There's nothing she won't tackle, but I'm a little afraid of some things. I feel like I could do the bead-board wallpaper but not those moldings.

Anyway here are some more examples of wallpaper that has to go.

This is what surrounds me at night on the ceiling of the bedroom - restful, huh?

And the area of the bedroom where I work. Again, it's not ugly but kind of not ME. The moldings are great, so a pretty solid color will work here - just not sure what.

I think the worst is Mama's bathroom. I almost forget it because I don't have to see it much. Awful.
I believe it's supposed to be Italian maybe, bricks and ivy - or something, but all I see when I look at it are smiling pigs running around the walls.

The other 3 bedrooms and hall and living room are just painted, thank goodness.

The foyer is not bad, kind of a marbly look, but the seams are obvious, and it's a little dark. That could be improved but it's not at the top of the list.

The dining room has paintable wallpaper below a chair rail, and that can be painted over.

Once I get rid of that particular shade of green, I'll be a happier person.
And the kitchen! Strangely, as busy as this wallpaper is, it seems to work fine with all the ceramic tile. And the tile in this kitchen is pretty. If I can manage it, it will come down. It would look so much nicer painted.

If I can find Lima Bean Green again, I'll grab it. In Meridian, we inherited a sunroom and kitchen with green and purple grapevines - huge purple grapes. It took a lot of hit-and-miss tries, but we turned that mess into the prettiest little sitting area and kitchen.

We sure do miss that house in Meridian and that particular time in our lives. I'll look for a picture of the disastrous grapes to scan later.

So, I've completely lost my mind, I know. I also know I'll have to have some help sooner or later to fix what I start and can't finish.

At least I don't feel the need to change this. It will stay this nice shade of red as long as I live here anyway.