Saturday, May 21, 2011

Last Minute Crocheting

Last Sunday a lady at church was carrying around a little purple crocheted hat with a bow on it. During greeting time, she was going around asking if anyone crocheted. I said I knitted and somewhat crocheted.

She was starting to collect children's caps for the cancer center at UAB and asked me if I would make one by next week. I foolishly agreed and figured it would be easy to find a little hat pattern. But I was so wrong. I couldn't believe how hard it was to find just a simple little hat. No elf hats, no pig hats, no bunny hats. Just a plain maybe striped hat!

I tried a few, and I either didn't have the right yarn, or the pattern was just crazy (think Barbie hat).

But I finally found one last night (a ladies' hat that I did smaller) and crocheted one with a flower to match. Not totally thrilled with it, but I think it's fine. I figured I could go look for some different yarn and pattern next week when I had more time. Then I remembered some Peaches and Cream cotton yarn that I have plenty of for knitting dishrags. It took me probably 30 minutes to do that one - fun and fast. So now that I have a kind of pattern, I'll look for some boy-colored yarn and some school colors too and leave off the bottom trim.

Here are my works of art.
I actually participated in the Friday Night Sew-In that I've signed up for before. I need to run send a picture of something I've finally finished.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Camera Gremlins

It's kind of a ho-hum week around here except for my garage door breaking and getting repaired. I took 2 pictures of it and was trying to figure out how I could make it interesting enough to mention on the blog.

Then I plugged my camera into the computer and 7 pictures popped up and downloaded. When I looked at them, I had no idea where they came from.

It's been years since I babysat the grandcat Jack, obviously in the fall of some year.

Life is hard for a cat. Just exhausting. Too tired to stand up to drink water.

Then there were a couple of just random bookshelf pictures taken at Christmas - what Christmas, I have no idea.

But I was glad to see this one. I mentioned a few weeks ago when I was listing my unfinished projects that I had the finishing fabric for a block-of-the-month quilt but had no idea how to put it together. I knew it was log cabins, but I didn't know what direction to place them. Here's my answer.

I'm not sure I like it now, but I think seeing the whole quilt makes more sense, a pattern of the light part of the log cabins. I might place the blocks another way. And I've never been crazy about the bright pink/red color used. I might redo those blocks - on the off chance I ever get around to finishing it. I won't be using that pink and white flower border either. That didn't come in the kit, thank goodness.

As for those pictures of the garage? Maybe they'll turn up in a couple of years.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Isley Says War Eagle

What do you mean Cam's not going to be back next year?

Sweet girl. She's 2 months old now. By this fall, she can shake a shaker and cheer the tigers on.

Saturday Morning Meaderings

Since I've decided not to spend a lot of time on flowers this year except for the geraniums on the front porch and some petunias by the back door, it was nice to see that my Texas vine has already started blooming. I think it's officially called a trumpet creeper. The bees and butterflies are enjoying it, and it sure softens up that old gray fence.

If last year is any indication, the blooms should be covering the fence by June. The blooms fall off and make a mess and the vine just kind of takes over, but it makes an easy-to-look-at corner that I didn't have to work to get.

I did notice this beautiful little guy just looking at me when I opened the back door. You have to click on the picture a couple of time to really see him. The cats and Darby wage war on all creatures in their territory, so I hardly ever get to see one. It's probably a matter of time until he gets eaten too if he hangs around.
I surprise myself at being able to get this close to him because of my phobia about creatures without legs, but I kind of like lizards. I don't want them surprising me though, and I might not hold one, but I can admire their coloring and - well cuteness.

Speaking of cuteness, I was looking for a picture of the plumeria in the above picture to see how much it has grown and found this. The plumeria is in the background. It was probably 8 years old then. It's now 15 years old.

Darby is the sweetie in the chair. It's hard to believe she was that tiny. She used the chair as her ramp for hauling her toys up and down. When she wasn't biting heads off the flowers. I'm glad she's out of that stage.

But she sure was cuddly. I'm now going to sneak into my sewing room and try to work on my quilt until I get interrupted or until my lack of focus takes me somewhere else. If I even make it there, I'll post a picture of what I did.

Unfortunately, this is all I got done between phone calls and a little guilty housework. It's better than nothing, I guess.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Boring Health Things

(The Blogger people were working on their stuff today and took this post off temporarily. I noticed the comments were gone, but I think that's all that changed.)

They finally wore me down.

My daughters and even Mike have been proclaiming the glories of agave nectar for months now. I didn't pay much attention to it at first. After all, it wasn't MY idea, was it? I picked up Elise's bottle when she was here last month and saw that it had 60 calories a tablespoon. Really!?

But then regular sugar has 45 calories a tablespoon.

I started thinking about my coffee. I use about 2 teaspoons of sugar in a cup of coffee (I guess - I don't measure), so that's 30 right there. No one would use a tablespoon of honey in coffee, maybe a quarter. So I gave in and bought some.

Emily had been recommending it this week too - natural, no chemicals like in the artificial stuff - which I can't make myself like anyway, I do drink Milo's or Publix tea with Splenda and love that though. Maybe I'll have to start making my on agave nectar tea.

The one cup of coffee I used it in was fine. It's sure more convenient - just pick up the bottle and squeeze.

If I ever cook anything that calls for sugar, I'll try it there too.

Speaking of reading labels, (I think I kind of alluded to that above), I now have to get serious about salt. Should have been all along, but it took a swollen ankle - twice - to get my attention.

My blood pressure was high at the doctor's office yesterday, which it sometimes is, but she told me I had to be on a blood pressure medication. I mentioned that I don't like taking medicine, and she mentioned that I probably wouldn't be real happy with a stroke either. She said not to take it personally - that a high percentage of people over 50 have to take an antihypertensive just because of aging arteries.

So here they are. If something like this saves my life, I'm all for it. Once a day. Small pills. Cheap. I didn't get them at Wal-Mart but found that I can get a 90-day supply there for $10.

Now, I'm studying the sodium count on all the things I like. I believe the normal sodium allowance by the American Heart Association is 2300 gm a day. Sounds like a lot, but there is so much hidden sodium in all the things I like. I've already cut down on diet colas. They only have 55 gm apiece, but I think I'm addicted to them. I'm now just having 1 every 3 or 4 days where before I would have 2 or 3 a day sometimes.

I've gone back to an old favorite - juice and club soda or tonic water. I can't find the white cranberry any more, so I'll go with this flavor. The juice still has 50 gm of sodium, but you get a bonus of vitamin C. It's a really good summer drink too, with the (sodium free) club soda making it fizzy.

So those are my health tips for the day - or maybe full of misinformation - I don't know. I'll see what works for me to get my blood pressure back down. I hate the whole no popcorn thing. I can do without sweets, but I love popcorn and chips as a snack.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Busy Work

Now that Emily and Ryan have received "the package,"I can post a picture of a little project I did complete.

Having a daughter live a continent away is sad. I sometimes start a box to mail and keep it for weeks, just putting in things I think they might like. I guess the main ingredient in this one was self-rising corn meal. For some reason, they've not been able to find this in Washington, and good ole southern cornbread needs it. I also packed a bag of grits. As she was unpacking it last night, she was saying she was going to make grits and salmon for supper. Way to merge the south and the NW!

I used her Anna White Sierra fabrics in these 2 dish towels. All these fabrics are sitting in a box waiting for me to find time to make her quilt. This is just a little teaser. And we love those knitted dishrags. Just a way to make me feel closer to them.

I also emptied 3 of her scrapbooks and sent a whole bunch of pictures from junior high and high school for her to dispose of or keep - or pay back her friends on Facebook. Lots of good material there.

I'm getting ready for my annual doctor's visit today. I guess not annual because I did miss it last year. Fingers crossed there are no surprises.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

64th Mother's Day

Here's Mama after church. She got a corsage for being the next oldest mother in the congregation. There's a 90-year-old who always beats her, but she did beat out the 87-year-old this year since she turned 88 last week.

I put her picture on Facebook. She's always talking about that "Face thing" that people are so busy on. I'll show it to her later and see what she thinks.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I love getting packages

It seems like last week the UPS man rang the doorbell more than usual, and even our postlady had to make a trip to deliver something.

I love surprises, and some of these were. Other things I was expecting.

The one that got the most wondering about was this one.

I was expecting a package from Sherry, but this was Shari's Berries, and we're not all about fruits except on quilts. I saw that it was to me, so I started to open it, and then I noticed Mama's name there too, so we both got to make predictions about what it was. The first things we encountered were melting ice bags. Hmm. Must mean food. We kind of missed the words "perishable" and "fragile" on the box.

Then there was this. Fan-cee.

At first glance, it looked like huge pieces of candy, but then looking closer we saw strawberry stems and realized that's what was inside. We're kind of slow.
But such a fun and different gift from our son/grandson) and daughter-in-law for Mother's Day. And delicious. We can't let them sit long because the strawberries need to be eaten SOON. Or that's our story. And strawberries are good for you.

Oh, this was on the outside of the box.

Right after that, I received this.

It's 4 free K-cups from Green Mountain Coffee, the Barista Prima Coffeehouse selections. Thank goodness! I was getting tired of Rain Forest Nut and Breakfast Blend. Notice the hole in the top of the Italian Roast. That means I've already tried this, and it was good. I wonder if it was that good or if it was because I knew I was drinking "a deep roasted delight, done right." Now I won't have to bother with those that are done wrong. Can't wait to try the French Roast "a sweet smoky love song to the cafes of Paris." It kind of seems wrong to have a cup of that on my dusty front porch (but I am).

And then this came!

Kind of exciting, huh? Quite a contrast to the latest trend for everything to be smaller and sleeker. This is a 90s dinosaur. But I'm looking for anything to make me enjoy my job better the last few years (make me faster/make more money.

When I first started doing transcription 16 years ago in-house in Atlanta, we would all rush to get the "best" keyboards, meaning the clickiest and fastest. When I went home to work, I got the tech guys to give me a couple of the old ones from the storage room. One after another they died, and for a year or so, I've been using a modern IBM one with a soft touch. And it really made a difference in speed - or so it seemed to me. Or maybe it was boredom and my rather-be-sewing attitude. Who knows? You can't buy them just anywhere, but I found a company who sells them and ordered one. I now have this one plugged in, and it's truly clicky and LOUD. It offended the cats, so they won't stay in the room with me. But I expect to double my earnings this month.

My last surprise was from Sherry. I knew it was coming but didn't expect such a treasure chest of goodies. She works at a beautiful quilt shop in TN that is closing, sadly, and since I can't be there for the big sale, she chose for me. She knows me well.

There was this cute little suitcase just packed with goodies.

There is an American Jane pattern and all the fabrics to make the quilt. Every one of them. No making decisions and wondering about colors. It's all right there ready to go.

I love every one of the fabrics.

Next is a panel and borders for another cute quilt. You can cut up the pieces and arrange them any way you want to. Looks like fun too.

And there is this old-fashioned apron panel with the instructions printed right there on the fabric. How can you go wrong with this? I love it. Something tells me this might get cut out and worked on soon.

Thanks again, Sherry.

My new plants look right at home on the front porch, dust and all.

The ferns look too low in the picture, but I think they're about right.

Every year there is a nest of baby birds at the top of the last brick column. There is obviously a hollow there because I've never seen the babies. I just see the mother flying in and out bringing bugs. It's so sweet to hear those first little tiny peep-peeps and then hear them get louder as the days go by. Right now, they're actually a little raucous in there and might be getting ready to take off. I try to keep the cats off the front porch, but they're very interested in the mother's comings and going from behind the living room window.

I'm going to take my French Roast coffee out there in a minute and see if I feel like I'm in a smoky Paris cafe.


So sad. I went to the little box to pick out my French Roast coffee, and it was GONE. In the coffeemaker with the hole in it. Mama took it. I told her to help herself, and she did! I guess I'll have to order the whole box next month to find out how it tastes. I tried the Columbian, and it's good too, not as good as the Italian but better than usual.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Court Street Curb Market

Mama and I drove to Wright's Curb Market on the corner of Court Street and the Southern Blvd today and got some vegetables, none of them grown here but pretty anyway. We also got some squash and a cantaloupe, and Mama got a bag of oranges and some boiled peanuts. They let her sample the peanuts, and it was an easy sale.

There are so many flowers and plants you can't take them all in. Mike took a lot of pictures there last week, and I'm waiting to see those.

I knew I was going back after the geraniums I had seen. I'm the only person in my family who likes them. I don't know how people couldn't love something this pretty. I'll take better pictures when they're out of the car.

I also added 2 ferns for the front porch - as a Mother's Day gift in case anyone forgot.

I've moved them to the front porch, but I've left the rear hatch open, and right now 2 cats are allowed to roam in the car. I did read once about someone bringing home ferns and there being an unwanted visitor in one. The ferns sat in the car all afternoon, so I know if there was a visitor, it's already crawled out and is hiding under my seat waiting for me to get in a lot of traffic to show itself.

Thus the cats.

This little bottle makes me happy. As usual, I'm easily pleased. I was in JoAnn Fabrics last month and saw these bottle in the tempt-you-as-you-check-out rack. I thought they would work better than my plastic water gun for shooting a certain cat who likes to scratch carpet. It does work - great - but there were 2 in the package for maybe $1, so I put Windex in the other. Elise says it might even make her want to clean to have a bottle like this.

The UPS truck and postlady have been ringing my doorbell the past 2 days. I'll get pictures of my surprises for tomorrow.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sunrises, sunsets, and a handsome corgi

Because of my lack of interesting things happening around here, I've asked 2 guest contributors for their latest photos.

The first set Emily took on her walk around her neighborhood with my grand-dog Griff.

A warning on the first picture. Kathy or others with severe aversion to 8-legged creatures might want to scroll quickly to the second one. It's NOT REAL though. Just someone's idea of a cute gate.

I know it doesn't help. If someone thought it was "cute" to put an image of a snake on a gate, I would be terribly offended and avoid passing by it.

I can't see these flowers close enough to know what they are. It looks like a fruit tree, but I don't know my fruit tree blossoms. Emily and Ryan are slowly learning that some things that grow well in the south don't too much like the NW (tomatoes), but hostas do really well. Hers are coming up from last year.

Someone is thrilled to be out of the house to romp in the sunshine.

The next set was photographed by my falsely modest husband (well, hardly modest at all). Some people are storm chasers. He's a sunset (or sunrise) chaser.

The storm one was on the way back to TX the night before the tornadoes hit MS and AL.

Others are around Littlefield, TX, and the last 2 were taken in Mexico City from the hotel room.


I went into the quilt shop just for a minute today to get a couple of colors for the scrappy quilt, but I won't post pictures, because I've already told Mike that joke about the lady whose husband didn't mind how much fabric she bought as long as it was in fat quarters because she had told him fat quarters were free.

I'll have to think of something else.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I'm Hopeless

I think I've already mentioned my problem with starting too many projects at one time. There are folks out there in blogland who are dangerous to my vow to not start another one. I probably need to not look at any more. I just can't help it though.

I have categories under my Favorites with Blogs, Quilting; Blogs, Sewing; Blogs, Smocking; Blogs, Knitting and Crochet and on and on. Some of them are so full that I started a new category this week: New Fun Blogs to Read.

It was Rachel at Stitched in Color who first introduced me to Bottled Rainbows. It's very different but intriguing. It used the same concept of quilting as you go that I love, and it uses scraps, which I also love.

Here are a couple of examples. So pretty. The orange one. And the plum one. Scroll down to see others.

Here's a finished one by Crystal at Sonnet of the Moon.

I'm not starting this - NOW. But it's nice to know how to do it, and I will add it to my list of want-to's.

Speaking of which, let's take a look at what I have that I want/need to finish/start.

No wonder Mike's worried about moving home.

Elise's quilt, of course. It's getting done gradually.

Emily's quilt that she's waited for for 3 years. It's next.

Christmas pillowcases and fabric I couldn't resist last December.

A Christmas panel Barbara gave me at the same time.

A block-of-the month right after I moved to Montgomery. The quilt looked gorgeous hanging on the wall, and the blocks were fun to too. And I have all the fabrics to do log cabin blocks to finish it - but. I'm not quite as crazy about it as I once was.
The next block-of-the-month at Kudzu Blossom. I like this one better and intend to finish it. Lots of pretty Civil War fabrics.

I want to make myself a Latte Log Cabin like I made for a gift 2 years ago.

I loved working with the Michael Miller neutrals and got enough fabric to made one but this time not under pressure to finish at a certain time. I still can't believe I pulled that off in 2 months.

This one is a "what was I thinking" project. Sherry and I went to a quilting symposium for a weekend and took several classes. One was this wedding ring quilt taught by Judy Neimeyer.

It was a fun class, and she did a great job, but once I was home and didn't have Sherry to laugh with me and spur me on, it kind of just fizzled. I'm worried now that I won't remember exactly how to do it since it's a little tricky. It was my first paper piecing project, and I loved it.

And not to forget things besides quilting, I have this blanket that I finished 10 years ago and still have to weave in the last thread and clip. How hard could that be?
A smocking disaster when I decided to get back to smocking after a long vacation. I refuse to toss it, but this neck binding needs to behave. I'll try cutting a new one and see what happens.

These 3 need buttons or snaps or buttonholes.

I need to be locked in my house for a year with no access to fabric shops and no computer, just a supply of thread and needles, and see if I can plow my way through these things. I can think of worse punishments.