Archive for March, 2010

Sprung Spring

Well, spring has definitely sprung around these parts!


My crocus… an obvious sign

I have 2 clumps of these! Much bigger than last year.   🙂

All the trucks are here but no workers.  Phil & Bob are putting on anhydrous (stored in those white tanks) as fertilizer for the corn fields this year.  (My truck & JP’s are in the garage but there was the consideration of getting them out for the photo op!)

Phil started last Thursday.  He quit at 8:30 p.m.  The 2+2 tractor lost the clutch in the lower gears. (repair would be $4-5K, he thinks) The anhydrous tool bar needed some tweaking.  The chart for setting the drill for the oats is lost in the office piles of mess.  His GMC runs… occasionally.

The biggest evidence that spring has sprung —

Stress Level here….







Soon, I’ll be showing pictures of the office… all done!!   🙂  Moving back in happens occasionally….

We’ve reduced Molly’s seizure meds a bit (she hasn’t had a seizure since before Nina arrived.   😉  ) and she is up & about a bit more.  And she hears us better too.

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Current Works in Progress

I usually don’ t have 2 projects going at once but…

I started back to my 2009 Block of the Month project on Sunday.   After working various 1 hour chunks Sun & Monday, I completed one arc x 4…. and had logged 4 hours!

Unfortunately, I would guesstimate that 1/2 an hour of that was unsewing!!   😦

Gotta love paper piecing without picking paper!! (int – adv pp class coming to guild in October!   🙂 )

Then I pieced the smallest arc for the blocks and moved on to the middle arc.  The quilt shop supplied the fabrics for the BOM and the middle arc pieces were to be cut 1 1/2″ x 1″.  That size piece of fabric is TOO small to cover the area, I learned.  AFTER I cut them all!!   😦   I struggled and struggled and finally emailed the store because I was barely getting 1/4″ seam on them!!

Do you have any more green & brown for August’s middle arc?

Yes!  However, she only sent me 1/2 a strip of each so I won’t be able to start over, just continue on and pray those tiny seam allowances I had to use STAY PUT!!

So while I waited (and after I sewed the smallest arc to the center 1/4 circle), I decided to make a quilted jacket out of some Amy Butler fabric I got way back in 2009!  Ahem!  January!!  But it was 40% off at the Super Bowl sale so a super time to get quantities for clothing.   🙂

After living most of 2009 on the end of my cutting table, I guess I put it away! Haha!!  So it took 20 minutes to find the pattern & the fabrics!! I had actually moved on and decided to work on another project and consider the jacket when it appeared again.  LOL!!  🙂  Meanwhile, I DID find some things to throw away.  haha!

Boy, you gotta love patterns for clothing written by quilters.   🙂  Not very good instructions so luckily I still have my instruction from Mrs. McBurney in my head.  (She was my Tailoring prof in college and her daughter is a friend of mine.)    I have quilted all the fabrics for the front, back, side front, side back, & sleeves.

Today I finished cutting out all the pieces and I’m sewing the lining currently.  I decided to sew the lining first to check the sizing a bit more.

The extra fabric strips arrived in Friday’s mail that Phil brought in this morning.  (I guess I was too tired to miss it last night!)   They are going to wait while I sew up this jacket.  It is already out and all over the table!   🙂

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Mixed Media ATC #1

Well, technically this is the re-do of #1.

I’m in a mixed media yahoo group and we are swapping ATCs * in April in sets of 5 similar or the same cards.  This is making of the first set.

*Artist Trading Cards – either from fiber, fabric, or papers – 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″

First I took of chunk of previously made fabric paper,

I covered it with blue acrylic paint mixed with glaze,

It really is dark blueish turquoise, this isn’t a good pix.

Then I dibbled on a dark green alcohol ink and rubbed it around with a felt square,

This is my background.  I fused it to a heavy interfacing, Timtex, and also fused muslin to the back side. Then I cut out my ATCs at 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″.

I cut pieces of my snow-dyed cheesecloth the same size but turned up a bit of the edge for more depth and to show part of the edge of the background.

Since the fabric paper was made using old canner book pages, I first googled “vintage kitchen woman” image.  I found some but really liked this girl picture with the necklace.  So I printed the image, added fusible, cut them out, and after fusing to the ATC, I added a heat-set rhinestone to her necklace and thread stitched her bow.

I don’t have a picture with her bling & pink bow.  However, I didn’t know it looked like a common cartoon character and I didn’t want that with my name on it.   😦

So I found another image to use and started over…

Thankfully, I had enough of the blue glazed background left to use for 6 more ATCs.  I stitched a double strand of some funky yarn around the outer edges.  I like her scream!!   😉

I’ll sign the back with my name & email for the swap.  Five are to swap, one is to keep.

I’d like to do one more set of something different before the mailing date.  I’m excited to finally have people to swap ATCs!!!

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Friday night & Saturday our church sponsored a Love & Respect seminar.  We have the book (& have read it, but long ago!) and Phil suggested we go.  Good timing with Phil not being in the fields yet.

During the preceding week, I received the email that a professional photographer would be there and offer FREE pictures for us to download and use as we wish.

THIS got me excited!!   🙂  I went shopping and made sure we had something “us” for pictures.

Friday night began with supper but I had eaten at home (to be safe for me) and just had salad at the church.  We were at a table with a new friend, Darla, and our friends from our previous small group, Brian & Renna.

We were on a tight schedule and most finished supper while the seminar started.  It was via video and presented by Emerson Eggerichs, the author of the book.  He is an outstanding speaker and it was so easy to listen to him!

After the first section, we divided into groups of men & women.  Our mates were in a men’s group together.  Then another video session and we went to our small groups as couples. Brian & Renna were our group leaders so that made it easy for us.  Plus we are used to small group sharing.  There were 10 in our group and 12 groups for the weekend.  So that is a good estimate… 120 were there.  Wow!

Friday night was a good overview of the Love & Respect cycle and bits of what each of us could do and why to do things.  He talked about the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would like done unto them. 🙂

We got home about 9:45 p.m., I had snacks and Phil checked buildings & occupants and put the dogs in the barn.  He is a good man!!  We also had homework and filled in a questionnaire on the 5 love languages.   We talked about that as we climbed into bed for a short night.  (Poor Phil lamented that twice now in filling out the survey, I have had gift giving as my top love language…..)

Phil was up & out by 6 the next morning and I was up soon after.  We left at 7:30!!  Agh!!  Saturday started at 8 a.m. with breakfast but we had had ours at home.  Phil added a muffin & some fruit and I had chosen 4 JUMBO strawberries for myself.   🙂  But… I bit into one and a powder coated my mouth!!    :p   I tried another one and got the same effect.   😦   I asked a friend at another table and she winced as well.

Since I only had those strawberries on my plate, I rinsed and rubbed them with my bottle of water.  That at least made them edible.  I can’t imagine …. and I’m not sure I want to… what was invisibly coating them!!  >shudder!<

The first section on Saturday morning explained areas in which women receive & feel love.  At our small group, the women rated what they prefer best (we all wanted them ALL!!) individually while our mates guessed how we rated them!  That was fun to share!  And we discussed this as a group.

In the next section, he explained how men receive & feel respected and again we rated these in our small groups.  It was so fascinating and practical!  That was what I was hoping for…. some real examples of how this plays out in real life.

Yes, there was lunch thrown in there for good measure and I was thankful to be able to eat some of that safely!  We concluded at 2 and hurried home.  We needed to get JP’s truck from the neighborhood repairman as he needed to leave for church as soon as we got home.

I grabbed a 50 min nap and my afternoon snack while Phil did chores.  We soon headed back to church for early service.  The band was fantastic as we expected!!  😉

Sunday afternoon was our couples small group and 3 of the 6 couples had been at the seminar.  We are all making sure the others attend next time!  It was fun to talk with them about the weekend.  It also tied in with our small group discussion on honor in the home.

Great – Busy Weekend!

(this is the best of 2 pictures of us she posted)

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Before I put the lid back on the oak chest,

yes, I asked for someone else to do this 3 weeks ago when my shoulder was too sore.  Now I did it myself! 🙂

I flipped through some pictures near the top of the pile…



I was a Brownie!! :)

May 1971 before the Memorial Day parade.  I’m on the right and my friend, Tracy, is on the left.  She is the tall one.

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Girl Scout Sewing

On Saturday, I was invited to come help a granddaughter of a quilt guild friend finish up her Gold Award in Girl Scouts.

This isn't me but it could be!

Since I was a Girl Scout (back in the day) but only through elementary school, I thought it would be a fun way to help her out!  I knew Saturday was to be busy but this was just in the morning.

Ashley had sewed 100 pillows that will be donated to the local cancer center.  The pillows are used to give the patients a soft place to rest their arm during chemo.  Part of her project is to include leadership and so she corralled a bunch of quilter’s (friends of her grandma!) to help out with the hand sewing.

Ashley mailed out a flyer with all the specifics and even included a little extra page in my envelope with directions specific to my town.  🙂

Soon after we all arrived at 9:30 a.m., Ashley, her mom, her sister, and Grandma began stuffing pillows.  As they finished, the younger sisters brought the pillows to our sewing tables.

Four were at this card table where I worked

And 2 others and the grandma were at the kitchen table.

We finished them ALL before the 12 noon end time.  Yeah!!  I was surprised and the mom was extra thankful! 🙂  In fact, I was on the way home by 11:30 after enjoying some time visiting together.

And now you know some of my quilt guild friends!  🙂

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Birthday in Chicago

Phil’s birthday was Sunday (3/14) and back at the beginning of February announced (yes, he announced!) that he wanted to spend his birthday in Chicago with K.  🙂  I told her to save-the-date!!

I’m going to tell you about it sooner rather than later so you’ll forgive me for stepping out of chronological line this once.  😉

Saturday was BUSY!!  The whole last week was busy while I made 4 different Mrs. So & So’s products for K to replace her stock.  But Saturday really did it.  I had a sewing morning in the next town over, grabbed some leftovers for lunch, then to town for a haircut.  🙂  I rested (w/o laying down and messing up my haircut!!) after that and at 5, we headed to a wedding reception.

I do not have pictures from the wedding (so don’t wait) as even tho I didn’t forget my camera, I didn’t ask anyone to take our picture either!! :p

We got home about 10:45 p.m. from the wedding and as I crawled into bed soon after and set the clock an hour ahead, I groaned at going to bed past midnight!

And then at 6:30 a.m. (new time) I heard Phil close the garage door and head out for chores!! Major groan and realization I was SO tired my eyes hurt.

However, we all got going and were on our way to Chi by 8:50 a.m.!!  Even JP was along for the day which doesn’t happen very often.

We arrived at K’s back door and she & JP took up a small armload to her apt.  Then we drove just a bit to a great parking garage we use.  We walked down the street a bit and found our first choice for lunch was FULL with an hour wait.  No way!!  Another half-block was Five Guys restaurant and that was Phil’s second choice so that was good for us.  They weren’t busy yet so announced our entry by yelling “FOUR IN THE DOOR”!!!  (THIS was the point I should have asked them to sing to Phil!  I just thought of this!! >smacks head here<)

(yes, this is the point you are stunned that JP made it onto the blog in picture form.  🙂 )

We then walked just a bit to K’s parking garage (as she can come & go w/o paying each time like we would have to do) and went to the Museum of Science & Industry.


(view to Navy Pier)

(in the heart of it all)

(the day after, the parade the river was still green)

JP went to the museum about 5 yrs ago.  K went there about 8 yrs ago.  I went there so many years ago (about 33!!! yikes!!).  And Phil had never been there.  His request for the day.

(His review at the end was that he doesn’t need to go back there for a long, long time.)

We saw the submarine display and the Navy area, the airplane & train set-ups, the toymaker, and the ag display.  We found and were ready to take the coal mine tour but there was a 30 min wait until the next show and then it was a 30 min walking tour and Phil said he didn’t need to see it that badly!  (the current show & the one in 15 mins were already full; the wait was standing in line in a curly-cue staircase! 😦 )

(I loved this display with the circus train cars and the b&w background!)

(yes, the sub is in the background and no, we didn’t buy the photos the worker guy offered to take)

(when I got off the bench they were spread out on the whole bench.  Because my little point & shoot camera took a few minutes to agree to taking the picture, K & Phil were then doing this funny slide down the bench to JP….)

We were even more tired by then so headed back to K’s.

After parking K’s car, we headed to her apartment… but stopped by the cupcake store first.  Phil & K had stopped there last fall when we were in town.  I figured a repeat visit was good for Phil’s birthday!

I was fine with not having a cupcake.

However, this was a bit harder.  (I didn’t.  In my previous life, I would have put half a shaker on my 1 cupcake!! Or poured some extra in my pockets!!)

Phil loves that the “seats” at the counter are swings!! 🙂

Three cupcakes to go….

Berry, Chocolate Raspberry, Cookie Monster

Phil popped in a DVD to watch, I snuggled on the bed, JP laid down to watch the movie, K curled up on another section… and we lounged!! 🙂

A bit later, K ordered pizza online and we all enjoyed pizza and the unheard-of-in-the-sticks delivery man!!  Pizza was good!

We tracked the process online as it was made and baked and delivered.  However, for pizza “made by Jesus”… well, let’s just say we all agreed that if God was making our pizza, it would have tasted even better than that!! 🙂  What a laugh!!

After the movie ended, we walked back to get our car, dropped K off at the front door of her building, and headed home just at 7 p.m..

The skyline at dusk was pretty but not too photogenic!

JP slept on the way home (literally hasn’t happened post-carseat days!) and we arrived at 9:15!!  I was done & in bed by 10!!

Phil enjoyed his day a lot!!

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Many of you know that I have been going to the fitness center to swim for oh… about 7 yrs or so.  I started when K was in ballet in that town 4x a week!  I needed something more to do than wander in stores and find things I  “needed”!  I’ve really enjoyed it!

It was perfect timing for an aqua aerobics class.  Love it!  Even tho ballet ended way back in 2003, I still enjoy going to swim.

However last January {2009}, our instructor for all those years moved on to full-time employment.  You know the panic one feels when the SS update comes and you have NOTHING!  :p  And the replacement has not cut it.  Nope.  Nadda.

Most of my “friends” have quit going.  There were about 4 of us ‘originals’ left.  New ones came in but the class was never the same.  Not just socially b/c I’m fine with new friends but not very aerobic!  (I commented many-a-time… {of course under my breath…}  I’m NOT 80 y/o!!  In other words, don’t lead the “Aqua Burner” class like the arthritis class in the mornings!)

Note to Marci: Karen, purple suit, tall, now comes in the early afternoons too!

But really, now that I’m “retired”, I’m not bound by the time schedule as  the previous 7 yrs.  🙂

So about 3 weeks ago, I started going to the pool just after lunch.  I get there about 1:30 or so and it isn’t busy.  My only drawback is that it can get lonely and then I’m bored after only 20 mins and leave.  Not much work-out.

However, 2 weeks ago there was a group of older ladies in the shallow end, moving a bit.  It was like the Cheers bar! Sylvia would come in and everyone would greet her, same with Shirley, even the “other” Joyce, etc!!  🙂 One day, a lady got in the deep end where I was working.  We chatted about the lovely sunshine and how perfectly heated the water was, and then she started introducing me to the other ladies!  🙂  We were at the edge of the deep end where we wanted to be but in close-enough proximity to the ladies that stay in the shallow end for chatting.  I’m still trying to remember all their names.

Yes, I’m 20-30 + years their junior but they were kind none-the-less.  🙂

As I headed out that day, I thanked them for their visiting and said I now “had 8 new friends”!!

I know Peg  from quilt retreats so it is fun to talk quilting with her.

They come about that time every day so only see me on T & Th.

On Tuesday, there were only a few of us.  Phil (not mine; stays mostly in the deep end where I work out), Betty (nice lady), unknown and more of a  lap swimmer lady that didn’t visit, and Roy (just learned his name; laps swims and only has one leg, tho his other one waits for him at a chair on the deck).  So Phil & Betty & I were chatting.

Came to find out that during this time period on Friday, a man died.

Roy hollered for someone to call 911 as he tried to drag him over to the edge while Peg (quilter friend) and 2 others worked to launch “Joe” to the deck edge.  Phil had already gotten out but had passed Joe in the locker room.   Roy exclaimed Joe had just done 2 laps! and then he was found him like this.  Not swimming & blue.  😦   I assume a massive heart attack mid-swim.

The circle of ladies chatting never heard anything or noticed until Roy called for help.

As I got out of the pool on Tuesday, Roy had finished his laps and was resting at the shallow end.  I said I was sorry for his Friday and asked how he was handling it.  He said that was his first day back to the pool.  It was hard.  😦

As I changed clothes, several of the points about Joe sounded a lot like another quilter friend’s husband and that had me sad.  So I hurried home (maybe there was still time to see her at a visitation) and I quickly checked online to see if it was my friend’s husband really.  (about the same age, same place of employment, same number & gender of children, one son a doctor, …. seemed like a lot of matches!)  Thankfully, it wasn’t that family.  I didn’t know Joe at all.

Roy wasn’t there Thursday.

But Betty was there and greeted me like the others when I got in.  🙂  I seem to be “in” with them.  😉

Phil introduced me to Jeri & her friend as I headed to the deep end where they were.

On Tuesday, I had said to Phil & Betty that I was newly “retired” since I had homeschooled our kids for 17 years and now the youngest was in college.  They were hesitantly interested.

So on Thursday, as Phil introduced me to Jeri, he said that Jeri’s son and DIL homeschool their children!  Jeri, was taken aback.  Shocked that I had done it so long, that the kids stayed home through high school, etc. The usual response we are used to receiving!  She came over near where I was working and continued to ask about homeschooling & the kids.

Jeri: Did you take them to other homes for art, and music, and all those classes?

Me: No, we had them at home for all their classes.   In fact, we never did art classes and our daughter graduated from the Art Institute last summer.

Jeri: The Art Institute of Chicago? (gasp!)

Me: Yes.

Jeri: I’m from Chicago.  I grew up there!  When I was in 8th grade, I won the chance to take a class at The Art Institute!  (as she melts into a pile of warm butter…..)  🙂

So we continued on and mostly I reassured her that GOOD things come from homeschooled kids, they do make it in the real world, are perfectly socialized, and are good citizens.  🙂

After a bit, I added we live in the country and she said her son’s family does too.  They rent a house on a farm.  She asked if someone farmed our farm.  🙂  Yes, my husband!! I explained about this being his family’s farm.

She exclaimed, “Like with cows?”


Well, “like” that but we have hogs and he raises corn & soybeans.

*stunned look on Jeri’s face*

And then I silently remind myself she “grew up in Chicago”.  🙂

She asked if we get attached to the pigs and if it is hard to sell them. 🙂  So I explained that this has been my husband’s life for 48 yrs (as of this weekend! *gasp!!*) and that there are way too many to get attached.

Jeri: Do you have pets? (groping for a glimmer of compassion it seemed)

So then I explained about the 2 dogs and she was so relieved!  LOL!!  Nearly teary as I told her about “old” Molly at 10 1/2 yrs old and the 90 pound “puppy” that is just full of it and loves to r u n!!   Then I learned her beloved dog died last May and the new dog they adopted is wonderful but still not the previous dog.  You know how that goes….

We threw in some good paragraphs on dogs and mud and vacuums and shopping on overstocks.com.  🙂

Her workout time was up and she thanked me for sharing with her about homeschooling.  She was trying really hard to understand it.     I hope this helps with her relationship with the granddaughters & DIL.  🙂

I chatted quilting with Peg for the rest of my time.  With some health issues discussion of hers thrown in for good measure.  She wanted to head out to get home in time to dry her hair as she had a visitation to attend.  Joe’s.  😦

Sorry to be a wet blanket in this post.  I have to process this somehow.  I’m thankful that I wasn’t there last Friday.

I was at my massage.

Across the street from the fitness center.

At the same time.

I pulled in the parking lot as the ambulance came down the street.

And heard the ambulance head to the hospital.


Not by choice, but I saw the sun rise this morning.  It was lovely! 🙂  My dad has mentioned we have good sunrises…..  heehee!

Wednesday & Thursday I made a batch of soap, face wash, oil-free moisturizer, and MSM cream to replenish K’s stock.  I need to add labels to them today, move the soap downstairs to cure, and get caught up and prepped for a busy weekend.  I think I need to sew something!!

The weekly hog truck was due at 8:15 this morning.  Arrived at 7:30 a.m.

JP is out the door for a math test & writing class.   Lunch will be chicken & dumplings but YAHOO FOR ME!!! I cooked the chicken last night and it is done & deboned.  🙂

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Kelly’s Books

I am participating in Kelly’s Book Drive that my friend Heather is hosting.   Kelly is Heather’s dear step-mom that would have been 5o years old that day had she not graduated into heaven too soon for those that loved her.    I thought Heather’s idea of honoring Kelly with a book drive was totally fun and knew I’d love to be a part of it.

But I was late in ordering my books.  So really I only ordered my books by the deadline and didn’t donate them by the deadline.  I think both Heather & Kelly will be OK with that.   🙂

Meanwhile, the books finally arrived today!!  🙂  I’m off to package my books for 3 of my favorite families and let Phil pop them in the mail tomorrow.

I hope they like getting new books!

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I started my canvas board using mixed media at THE sleepover. 🙂

I finally finished it and it is hanging in my sewing room.  (As JP commented, “Why there?  No one comes here.”)

Here is how it looked after the sleepover:

Shelly, our instructor, sent me some great ideas of adding to this.  I wanted to add a dress form and found some great choices HERE.

It is a site called “The Graphics Fairy” and the vintage sewing items were just up my alley!  However, getting the image on the board… that was the question!

I have read about image transfers using gel medium and toner-based copies but I didn’t really want the image black.  So once again, Shelly came to the rescue.  She sent me this link for making a transfer with my ink-jet printer.

First I did a practice image on a scrap of wood Phil donated to my cause.

I layered on scraps of paper with mod podge and let it dry so it would be about like my canvas board. Then I followed the instructions for doing the ink-jet transfer.  Basically, I put a layer of Elmer’s glue on a piece of cardstock, let dry, and then printed my image onto the cardstock.  I covered the image with mod podge and adhered it face down to the block of wood.   I let it dry overnight, misted it with water, and started rubbing off the paper with my finger.

I was so excited to see some of the image showing through!!

One just keeps rubbing off the paper until the image is left.  As you can see in my first photo of this, that I lost a bit of the transfer image.  I’m not sure what happened but sure didn’t want that look for the final  one!!

I decided maybe more elmer’s glue on the cardstock so added an additional layer to the remainging piece of cardstock.  When I tried to run that piece through my printer it jammed and ruined the image.  Ugh!!

So I treated another piece of cardstock with elmer’s glue but did a heavier one time coat this time.  Not that it was heavy and gloppy but a smooth layer but fully covered the cardstock.  (I knew my image wasn’t the full width of the paper so I only did the middle section.)

This time I made sure to set my printer to heavier paper and babysat it as it started through.  It coughed a little but then fed all right.  Before applying to my canvas, I trimmed it within 1/4″ of the image.

You can see the very top didn’t color correctly and that was where it didn’t feed right when getting started.  It is also mirror-imaged.

This time I rubbed off the paper a bit more carefully and only lost one little spot.

I was pleased but the board still needed help.

Next I added a zipper flower.  I used one of the old zippers taken from one of the myriad of sweatshirt jacket zippers I replace each year.   *sigh*

Here is one of the tutorials I used.  It took 3 tries but I was pretty satisfied with the result.  I added used buttons around the zipper flower and the top of the dress form.

Finally, I dusted in the sewing room >cue much laughter!< and decided where to hang it.

(yes, those snowmen & women stay out year round showing off their quilted garments!)

I feel like it is missing something still but don’t know what else to do.  Maybe I shouldn’t have added the zipper & buttons.  ???

(Phil says the blank areas allow his mind to create.  >roll your eyes here<  )

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