Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I'm Smokin'!!

 OKAY! I'm NOT smokin'.  This is the little lamp that I keep behind my sewing machines so that when I need more light I can just adjust it and wallah!  More light.

IT was not smokin' EITHER.

But while I was sewing, I smelled smoke!!

I looked up from my machine and I SAW smoke.  I was REAL quick to jump up and find out what was going on.  Just as quickly I said a prayer that it was NOT my machine!!

Nope.  The material I was sewing got bunched up behind the machine and piled up high enough to touch the bulb in the lamp.  See that little hole that looks like a cigarette burn?  THAT is what was smokin'.  Luckily it was in a spot close to the bottom of the fabric that is in the hem of the curtains.

We are HUGE Black Hawk fans...ALWAYS have been...forever.
Black Hawks, Cubs, Bears and Bulls.

When my daughter moved to her new home, my grandson asked me to make a valance for his bedroom windows.  He didn't want whole window curtains, just a topper.  I surprised him with a Black Hawk valance.  I have had the material for a LONG time.  Way before they won the last cup.  Good thing because I wanted more to make pillow cases or even a quilt but nope...couldn't find it anywhere.

He's a Cubs fan too.  I bought a lot of material before they took the series but haven't decided what to do with it yet.  I'm thinking I'll make another valance at least so he can switch with the seasons.

Today I am Thankful:

Yes, of course because I caught that little smokin' before it got tooooo big!  But there are other things I think about in this thought process.  Like the snow.  We have about 10 inches right now.  I HATE snow...absolutely.  But today I am thankful for snow because it's really water that goes back into the ground and allows the water cycle to continue.  So many of my blog friends suffered from a drought this year.  I am thankful to have enough water. And yes, this is also part of my motto to look for the good in everything.

Merry Christmas Week!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

IRW And A Bit Of Blogger Info

I have a habit.  I didn't set out to have it, but it just developed.  Around the first of the year I like to switch my look.  It's become an expectation of my friends and family.  I might decide to change my hair color...it's been about every hair color there is.  I definitely change the cut.  Do you know that some women I know have had the same style since the 70s?  I asked my daughter to give me the long layered look.  I can easily mousse and air diffuse and wallah...go.  That's where the IRW in the title comes in...In The Real World.

See that spot on my cheek?  It appeared about 3 years ago..about the size of a pin head and it's still growing.  My doc assures me it does not appear cancerous.  I had one about 30 years ago on my shoulder that I had removed just in case.  So  it's probably going to go to but I can't get into the dermatologist until May.  That's OK.

Don't you just love how Google mixes up your mind with changes to the Blogger platform and doesn't give you a clue on how to get where you want to go?  I wanted my new picture to appear in the "about me" gadget on my blog.  You used to go to design and change it there.  The blogger forum is totally useless in getting info.  So let me tell you where to find the fix, just in case you want to know before they switch it up again.

Go to your Dashboard. Click on the Settings link on the left. Go to User Settings.  See where it says User Profile and "edit" just below it?  Click there to switch your picture.

I have something else to share.  Those of you that quilt probably know this trick but when I read it on Chris Dodsley's Blog  it was one of those "why didn't I think of THAT" moments.  I am definitely going to use this technique when I quilt Laurie's quilt.

So this morning I am particularly grateful to the inventor of the internet.  I was introduced to it back in the mid 80s.  The first computer that I used at my job at that time was actually made in Gate's dorm room...really it was!!  I thought DOS was the best invention EVER!!  It made bookkeeping a dream. Look how far we have come.  Like everything it has it's drawbacks and dreadful users.  But I am so happy to be connected with the world through it from my little rural area in Northern Indiana.

Tell me just one thing you are grateful today...not family, home, or all the givens.
Much Love to all of my friends.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Word--2017

I'm writing this post on the day after Thanksgiving.

There a so many things going on in the world sometimes it's hard to focus on yourself.  Your mental health which translates to your physical well being.

At the beginning of the year some people, including me, select a word of focus for the coming year.  By the time a few months have passed we forget what the heck that word WAS.  One word, thought, STATE OF MIND is always foremost in my personality.  I reflect on it often.  My intention through the coming year...better yet the rest of my life...will be to intensify it.  The state of being is GRATEFUL.

My WORD for 2017 is Grateful.  Each post will end with something I am grateful for, but will not include all those common things people include in a list.  It's a given that I am grateful for friends, family, my pet friends, my home etc.  Each time I post I'll look for some uncommon thing to realize and pay special attention to. Give that a shot...sometimes not so easy.  I'm going to add the list to my sidebar as well.

Today I am grateful for the birds that are visiting my feeders.  They give me joy to watch them coming and going.  They give me satisfaction knowing I am providing them with a habitat with food, water and shelter.   Birds.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Pinned (Not A Political Post)

Don't mind the lint on my black coat.

Most people have heard that some are wearing a safety pin.  I have read a lot about the Why and Why Not to wear one.  Then I read a recount of a lady that was wearing one and was approached in the grocery story by a woman and her small daughter who spoke broken english.  She asked questions about preparing a turkey and dressing.  The pin wearing lady was glad to offer conversation and advice.  When done, the little girl looked up at the lady  and pointed to the pin  and said that she had told her mother it would be okay to ask her.

Stories like this fill my heart with joy.  I AM that person wearing the pin.  A stranger might not know it because my facial expression is a frown.  I don't know why my lips turn down.  When I think of it, I turn them up.  Why isn't it normal for me?  Anyway, I decided to add a pin to my coat.  For good measure I added a heart charm.  I want people to know I am approachable.  That I am willing to be helpful.  It's not a political statement.  It's a personal one.

I'd be interested to hear you thoughts about wearing a safety pin whether they are political or not. If your comment is rude, I'll read it, I might respond to it, but I WILL delete it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

An Easy Start For A Cupcake

Sometimes I think about why I write blog posts. I'm pretty sure that one of the reasons is for me to validate  that I am actually doing something I love and doing something useful.

Granted, I am a slow worker and let life get in the way of my focus. But I finally have a good start on my first quilt.  I found this free and easy pattern on line. It's meant to use fat quarters and the pattern is for a crib quilt and called for 16 blocks.  I improvised a little using yardage and fat quarters and enlarged the size to a little larger than a twin size.  I mean for it to be a throw quilt for my daughter that she can use on the couch if she wants to.  She collects cupcake items and I have had the fabric for a long time.  I have the same cupcake fabric in brown and will probably use it for the backing.

The fabric selection was a bit tough because I have vowed to use my stash and not go looking a something "new" because I don't have the right fabric color or shade.  The green fabric is the same shade of green in the cupcake fabric.  It has pink cows on it.  Laurie LOVES cows so it was a MUST to use it in the quilt.

I have been checking on batting and nearly fainted when I saw the price.  I should have bought of stash of it for retirement too!  Luckily there are sales and I have coupons!  I am thinking I would like to use warm and natural.  Is that a good choice?  Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Girl On The Train

This is not a review or it kinda is.  I won't be talking about the story.

I used to be a constant reader.  When I was young I walked to the library and spent hours searching out books.  Sometime in my early thirties I stopped reading. Several of my blog friends are promote reading and have inspired me to reacquaint myself with the written story.

I didn't really know about this book until I heard they had made a movie of it.  We don't go to the theatre much so I decided to buy the book.  I usually like books better than the movie version anyway.

For me this book was really hard to get involved in.  I think at about page 60 or so I wanted to know where the tale was going.  But things happen and I put it down for a few days.  When I started reading again it was hard to remember what I had already read.  The last week of pre-election coverage sent me back to the book.  I really did want to know how it was going to end.  I have to say, I really didn't see the end coming.  It was more of ahh, haaa that OH WOW though.

The movie was rated 1-1/2 stars, a sure tell to me that I don't want to go.  I can see why...not much to work with here for a movie.

Since The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo was published, there are been a slew of "Girl" books hit the market.

If you read, or saw the movie The Girl On The Train, I'd love to know what you thought of either of them.

In the mean time, I'm going to read "Somebody I Used To Know" by David Bell.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

My Tree

My living room is 11 x 23 and filled with furniture.  Filled with chairs, really.  Add two patio doors into the mix and I can tell you I have a hard time finding space to add a Christmas Tree.  No, THIS is NOT my CHRISTMAS TREE!!  But this window is at one end of the room.  It's a spot that I like to decorate for Halloween which got me thinking about how much I love that the Halloween decor for it includes lights.

I was thinking that I would go outside and see if I could find an appropriate branch that I could recycle to be an indoor tree.  I didn't have much luck,

But when I walked through the Christmas display at Walmart, this "branch tree" caught my eye.  It's 48" tall wired with white lights.  It's not quite what I had in mind, but I brought it home anyway.

My Thanksgiving display is in honor of Indians.  I have a lot of Indian and Bison figurines in my home.  I added orange lights to the tree, my favorite Indian and a Buffalo (on the left).  I can turn either the white or orange lights off if I want, but I like them both on.  The vignette gives a soft glow on that end of the room.

I plan to leave the tree there until I need to have the air on and change the light color and decor with whatever holiday/event I am decorating for.

In case you wonder, we now leave the air conditioner in the window year round.  Terry is no longer able to remove and replace it.  We hate to depend on anyone else to do it.  I cover the front of the window with that shrink clear plastic which really does keep the cold air out.

This display reminds me of Thanksgiving and all that I have to be thankful for. I mentally enumerate them, ticking them off one by one with Terry and family always at the top. The list is never ending.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!!


Hope you celebrate like Peanuts....no one does it better.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Happy Was Not Too Happy

This is Happy.  He is one of my daughter's 3 dogs.  He is a Blue Nose Pit Bull.  He is also the MOST timid dog I have ever met in my life.

Shortly after Laurie left my house last night, I received a frantic phone call.  It was hard to understand what she was saying, but what I got from her side of the line was that Happy had a fish hook stuck in his mouth.  Look at his lip.  You can see it hanging down.  I immediately called the Animal ER and told her I would meet her there.  (Oh yeah, my husband advised her to cut the hook and push it though to get it out.....NOT).

Happy is almost a year old and is a Rescue Dog.  You may remember that Laurie just moved into a different house and thinks Happy found that hook in the garage.  It was a large barbed hook.  I'm thinking it might have been the type used for Coho fishing which is a big sport here with the St. Joseph River running through this area.  Happy was given an anesthetic and the hook had to be cut out of his lip because it was multi-barbed.  3 hours and $250 later, Happy went home a little tired, but Happy!

Friday, October 14, 2016


I know, I know...Google knows too much about me.  It sometimes follows me around and gives me suggestions of stuff to buy that I ALREADY bought.  BUT.  When you wake up on your birthday and open your Google Page and there it is...Google in Birthday Mode and even says Happy Birthday Carol...well I HAVE to admit that I thought it was pretty cool.

Terry and I are going out today.  I'm not sure where we will end up.  For sure at Target because I received a rather large gift card from them for sheets that I bought whose content was misrepresented.  Not by Target but by the manufacturer...probably made in china.

We are meeting the kids at Golden Corral because GC sent me a free birthday meal and they are having a Shrimp Extravaganza.  GC is not my favorite place to go by any means but we're going by the kids budget so it's all good.

Today I am 65...medicare ready.  I was thinking yesterday how lucky I am that I was able to retire early and enjoy the past couple of years with Terry all day long.  If I hadn't retired, we would not have our dogs because we would not have gotten dogs until I could be home to housebreak them.  We love them so much and they are really great friends.

I was thinking back on so many things I am grateful for...far too many to mention.

So Happy Birthday to me!!  For the most part the past 65 years have been a blast!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ta-Ta to Summer 2016

This summer got off to a great start for us.  We had super ambition for yard work and started to whip the pond area into what we wanted it to be.  However, the Universe has a way of throwing curves just to see how you react and observe how you bounce back.  Well, we can bounce pretty high.  July and August kind of fell off the calendar due to my FIL illness and passing.  We took time to rest and reflect.  The Universe said you did good, but here's another bump..no HILL  in the road.  She sent a 5 minute storm with 50 MPH wind gusts that blew down 1/4 of my favorite tree.  We need to take the entire tree down now and Corey did what he could to see that happen.  However, there is another part that is over our fence and back gargage and it too high to climb to cut.  There is no way into our back yard for a cherry picker so I'm not sure how we will complete the cutting down part.  But as you might guess, the removal part has been a huge job for Terry and his brother.  Corey has helped a lot when he is available.

Gosh I love my frogs.  I wake up everyday and go out to see them and feed the fish.  I believe I have 7 frogs ranging from very young to the pretty darned large parents.  This is a picture of what I like to call one of the frog rides in the frog amusement park.  The fish get under the alligator head and move it around and this little guy just sits there with a big froggy smile.

Our pond has been a blessing this summer.  A place to rest and reflect.  Terry and my conversations have been about just about everything you can imagine.  He is missing his father so much and we have talked a lot about all aspects of death  and what happens after someone leaves this earth.  Terry's dad had a real fear of death and did not want to let go.

His sister just completed Chemo and is cancer free.  But when the surgeon removed the tumor, he also removed cancer cells they did not know that she had.  Her doctor tells her the cancer will return...somewhere.  Her options are to do nothing...take radiation...take chemo pills for the rest of her life which cause her so much illness.  She has opted to do nothing and take her chances.  It's a hard thing to hear and pray for her.

My daughter is moving, yet again.  She has been renting a house from the Church she attends.  The Church building has been for sale and the idea was that when it sells she would be able to buy the house she is renting.  Yet another dart tossed out from the Universe...the Church sold and they buyers want to buy the house.  Laurie will move this weekend to a house she will have the opportunity to buy...the closing is today.  She chose to rent to own for the first year.  It's a nice house in a quiet neighborhood, but quite a bit farther from work and in a different town than where she lived.  The option to rent for the first year and beyond is probably good so she can see if she likes it.

I am done sorting fabric.  I am getting rid of a lot of things in my room that I have been keeping for no good reason.  Each time you do this, it gets more and more easy.  I have decided what my first quilt will be and what fabrics I will use.  It will be a VERY EASY project.  The objective is to use fabric and enjoy what I am doing, so with my present state of mind I need to keep it easy.

Got a favorite really easy beginner quilt pattern?  Let me know.  I'm interested!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

My Favorite Gift Ever

In my last post I mentioned that I would post about the most favorite gift I ever received from Terry.  Did you have any guesses about what it might be?  Well there have been plenty of intangibles, that's for sure.  If you were guessing and thought it might be a diamond, a car, or any other expensive gift you would be so wrong.

I have always sewn.  When Laurie was little I mad a LOT of her clothes and my own as well.  Back then, I never even knew a presser like this was available.  I used to tell Terry about a ironing contraption that my aunt had.  Honestly it was something from the ringer washer era.  It was a MUCH larger version of the pictures I am showing.  Her's was so wide that she placed sheets that were folded in half on it and pressed them that way.

My first presser was a Singer.  I don't even remember where Terry bought it, probably at a Singer store. I used it for years until one day I switched it on and it smoked. It was dead.  Terry encouraged me to buy another one as soon as possible.  I think I found this one...a Steamfast...on Amazon.

I mentioned that I am washing and pressing my fabric stash.  I certainly have come across fabrics I forgot I had and wonder what I had in mind when I bought them.  Oh, I mean that in a good way.  I haven't found an ugly one yet!  But I wonder if I had a project in mind, or did it just catch my eye and the price was right.  You may look at the picture here and think "what the heck was she thiiinnnnking".  I don't think that at all.  The picture does not show how bright the aqua is in this piece.  I suspect the animal print attracted me to it.  Also the color combo.  Now it really reminds me of the 60s.  These two main colors were the rage back then.  I remember having a princess waist dress with these colors and I LOVED it. (So much that I can actually remember THAT far back, lol.)

So tell me.

Do YOU have a favorite gift ever?
Do you have fabrics that you can't remember what project you had in mind when you bought it?
Do you have fabrics that just make you happy to look at?

Thank you my bloggy friends, for continuing to blog, visit blogs, and comment.  I appreciate you all.
xx, Carol

Monday, September 12, 2016

Traditional Quilt Class Finally for Me

 These are the last two blocks I completed in Kathy Shawl's On Line Traditional Quilt Class.

They went together SO smoothly. I completed both in two days after my FIL came home from the hospital and before he passed.

Kathy immediately sent me the instructions for the final block which was Paper Pieced.  Auggghhh.  You see that Not A Word in the comics a lot.  Well, anyway you do in Snoopy.  I'm pretty sure it translates to "I just can't get into this paper pieced block and I know I never really will".

Then my FIL passed and I had to clear the dining room table of everything that didn't belong there.
Lots of company coming in and out and my clutter is always an embarrassment for me to family that doesn't understand it.

I don't know when I actually decided to call the class done for me, but it is.

Someone mentioned on their blog that they were washing and pressing all of their fabrics.  At the time I thought "Are they crazy?"  Well that got a little seed growing and all of a sudden when I was doing loads of laundry...you know the not really dirty things...I would throw a few pieces of fabric in a laundry bag and toss it in the wash.

You can't press that much fabric with your iron...not me anyway.  The next post will show you the best present Terry ever gave me.  And I never asked for it.  He just found it all on his own.  I may have not even known it existed back then.  I'll show you in the next post.

I read an article about the Pro and Con of washing fabric before you stitch blocks.  I have always washed fabric before I sewed clothes so for me it was a no brainer.  So tell me what you think or what YOU do. And while you are thinking about that, let me know how you sort your fabric because that is certainly the next step in the process of washing and pressing.

I'm back in the swing of posting again.  Thank you to every one that continues to maintain a blog and to every one that leaves comments here.  I absolutely LOVE the blog community and ALL of the friends I have made through belonging.
xx, Carol

Thursday, September 1, 2016

TA-TA, Farewell, Adios, Good Riddance

Yup, as I like to say Thank God and Greyhound you're gone.  That saying dates me.  It's from an old country song, when country was really country but that's a different story.

I have never been so glad to see the end of a month.  This has been a roller coaster ride.

After my FIL funeral, some family "difference of opinions" occurred that caused quite a bit of turmoil.  For me, I stayed out of it.  I have always believed that when it comes to our families, Terry rules his and I rule mine.  That didn't make the issues any easier to deal with.

Then, the wind blew in.  Not literally, actually.  50 MPH winds hit for just a few minutes.  But that was long enough to break a branch that was about 1/4 of an old Maple in the back yard.  You know, the biggest and best.  The one that the squirrels lived in.  Woodpeckers found food.  An my Orioles built their nest.  Our yard is 110' wide and the "branch" spanned the entire width.  Luckily it missed the house, our new patio table and chairs.  It took out the picnic table.  Somewhere under it is my sparrow trap.  It took out most of the fence we just put up last year around the pond area.

The birds were going crazy.  The squirrels were jumping from branch to branch.  Blue Jays, Nut Hatch and Cardinals were clearly upset.  And the mosquitoes...well that sought immediate revenge. I didn't notice THEM until that tree busted up.

So, off to Menards to buy a chain saw and new fence.  Luckily the boys will do the clean up and repairs because there is absolutely no way Terry can handle the task.

Oh, the dogs are happy.  They can just walk right into the sacred pond area. They just give us that Ha Ha look and look the other way.   Mutts.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Peaceful Passing

Saying goodbye was not easy.
I loved you as if you were mine.
You were one of a kind and there will never be another like you. It's true.  A good man is hard to find.
 We knew it was your time.  You saw your mother and brother who you missed so much.  You relived fond memories...we knew that because you talked about them when you could not talk to us.
You will always be with your son and with me.
In our hearts and in our mind you will never be forgotten.

My father- in-law passed peacefully on August 11, 2016 at 10:10 PM.

Monday, August 8, 2016

I Asked for a Table--I GOT a TABLE!!

Remember when I mentioned that I was trying to figure out how to put a pull out cutting table in My Room?  I wanted to free up the dining room table so we could actually sit at it. Heck, when I met with my health insurance salesman we arranged to meet at a local cafe because I didn't want to clear my dining room table!!

I asked Terry to make a table that could pull out from under a counter that my Singer Presser sits on.  No matter what I ask Terry to make for me...he does.  So off we went to Menards to buy a piece of sanded 1/2" plywood, 3/4" x 2" strips of birch to frame it, and drawer slide outs.  The slides pull out 100%.

Here is a side view of the table with my 18 x 24 mat placed on it.(That's Bosco laying under it.  This is both dogs favorite spot when they are in my room.  Usually there is a doggy bed there.  Tyson cried until I put it back.)

I guess I'll have to move the bed when I am actually using the table, but anything to keep my puppies happy.

Here is a front view.  The table must stick out a little bit from under the counter, but that's OK.

Having the table located in this spot My Room caused me to rething about what is on my counter above it.  The drawers above it contain some of my bead items so I moved them and actually made it more of a sewing center.  I like to use 12 x 12 scrapbook containers as project boxes so they are what I switched into that spot.

This is the shelf above my computer desk.  I love to look up at these babies while I am thinking about what to say when I write blog posts and comments.

There are two of my mouse witches I made last year and some doll gifts from a couple of my blog friends.

I think of you guys every time I look at them.

So, I have put the temp afghan aside for now due to the 90 degree weather.  I am keeping track of the temperatures but really don't think I catch up until the weather cools off.

I need to start the next block in Kathy's class.  Of course I am still putzing around the pond.  We spend time with Terry's dad every day, stay close with his sis who is having an awful time with side effects of Chemo treatment.

To my friend Jenclair...thank you for inspiring me to actually pick up a book I can get interested in. You made me realize how much I love to get lost in a book.  I am now reading Every Breath You Take by Ann Rule.

What is filling YOUR days?  Are you like me and feel guilty that you don't get done all that you want to?

Friday, August 5, 2016

Another Mystery? Go See

A few months ago I was so excited because we had literally thousands of tadpoles in the pond.  What the heck happened to them?  I researched a little and found that they eat algae.  Since Terry was putting algae killer in the pond, they may have starved to death.

Then about a week ago I saw about 10 LARGE tadpoles.  No legs yet.  So back to Google.  It takes about 3 months for tadpoles to develope legs. So that means if there ARE tadpoles left, I should see frogs any time now.

But look at THIS guy.  He was on a rock.  I was pretty sure he wasn't one of my tadpoles.  My fish girl says these are Tree Frog babies and I have hundreds of them hopping around, but mostly hiding under the deck, I think.  I love my little frogs and look for them daily.

Oh look at my friend!!  Do you think that HE thinks that he is a turtle? I just love this frog.  I have tried to watch to see how he gets under that shell.  I just have to know if he backs in or WHAT!!  The other day there was a smaller frog and a baby frog out there, but I have not seen them again.  And there have been no frog serenades at night.  I wonder if they remain quiet when it's hot.  I haven't even heard any croaking in the day.  I miss their conversations.

The viney bush growing next to the Chief is a Trumpet Vine.  I have seen other Trumpet Vines in the area that are blooming like crazy.  Right now mine only has a little blooming cluster near the bottom.  My Rose of Sharon have just started blooming also.  I always remember that mine bloom in August, but I have seen others around the neighborhood blooming like crazy already.  I love Rose of Sharon and fight to keep them every year because the multiply like crazy and Terry hates them.  I don't know why he thinks he has any control over what plants we have around this house, lol.  The ground cover that I planted in the rocks are spreading nicely but I am continually washing away spider webs.  I saw a couple of those Tree Frog babies caught in the webs so I have made it a daily ritual.  Plus, we have not had rain so the plants need to be watered.
  We are continuing to enhance and improve the pond area as time and temperature allow.

We still have some of the boards that my BIL disposed of when he put in a new deck.  Terry has made a boardwalk out to the deck that has the table on it.  He has also added a wood deck under the swing.  I think his next project will be to build a boardwalk where the patio blocks are.  We also have a picnic table that is not shown here that Terry uses as a catchall for his tools when he is working.  I think I'll move those patio blocks under it.  Keeping the picnic table in the pond area was my concession when we put a glass table on the deck.  Terry never saw a table that doesn't deserve to hold a tool, lol.

We have not been working outside in the past week or so.  The temps have been in the high 80s and low 90s with the humidity at about 1000%.  It's not healthy for Terry to be out there.  I suffered heat exhaustion a few years ago and have not done well in this kind of heat ever since.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Who Ever Said Money Can't Buy Happiness!!

Whoever said it was NUTS!!

It would buy me a lot of happiness.  Get a new house that Terry doesn't have to worry about repairing.  Likewise for the car.  Several family members need stuff and I would be so HAPPY to give it to them.  Medical help for Terry that is out of out financial reach.  My grands can use some of that too.  My daughter could use a house...no more renting and moving and single parent struggling.  How about the Pet Refuge?  I KNOW they would love to share my HAPPINESS!!  I would be so HAPPY to make some little kids happy...and some elders too.

Recently the large Mega Million jackpot was won by someone around the Indianapolis Indiana area.  The winning number was drawn the day my brother in law passed through on his return trip from visiting family in Tennessee.  We got a lot of mileage in joking about him being the one that won and keeping it a secret from us.  It was during the time my father in law was in the hospital so I saw him everyday.  One day I brought him a picture of a house blueprint from the paper and asked him to add it to our wish list.    Sometime in the conversation each day someone would pop up and say Glenn will buy it.  We even planned to tell him that he had a great disguise when they showed the winner on TV.  DANG WINNERs  had an agent accept it in order to conceal their identity..  You can do that in Indiana if you accept the prize as an LLC.  So, we had great fun teasing Glenn.  It's always nice to dream about how you would spend that kind of money.  For me it's mostly about how I can make others as happy as I would be.

How about you.  Do you play the lottery and dream about how you would spend the money?  It seems like those jackpots increase to high values pretty quickly now.  Do YOU think money can buy happiness?

On second thought, maybe money can't buy me happiness, but ENHANCE my happiness!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Nine Down, Three To Go

OMGosh, I am finally getting back to stitching.

I wanted to sew.  Thought about it a lot when I couldn't.  Even bought new fabric.  That always gets the juices flowing.

Where was my focus? It really took me 2 days to get my mind to pay attention to what I needed to do. I read the instructions more than twice and still cut the wrong sizes from the wrong fabrics, then cut again. I laid out the pieces to form the block.  Stitched a few only to find I stitched the wrong sides together on a couple of them.  HOW DID I DO THAT?!? I thought I was paying close attention to the task at hand. Somehow before I knew it my focus was back.  The block went together easily.

This is the block for Lesson 9 of Kathy Shawl's traditional quilt class. The triangles are stitched on a paper grid.  I kind of liked that when I was stitching the grid. But in the end I really like just stitching squares into triangles without the paper.  But I like the finished block and like the fabrics I chose.

The pieces in my scrap piece box are slowly growing. For sure a scrap quilt is in my future.  The next lesson is a Dresden Block.

The one big thought I have after stitching this block is that I NEED a dedicated cutting table.  Not the dining room table.  Since lack of space is an issue I'm going to be working on an idea  to have a table that can slide under my sewing machine table that I can slide out when I need it. Maybe something like the keyboard tray on my computer desk.  I'll put Terry right on it!! LOL.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Here's a Little Mystery

Look at this!  Know what it is?  Probably.  The mystery question is WHERE is it?  I was shocked.  More in a minute.  I'll give you a little time to think about it.

Life was on hold since July 2 until today.  My father-in-law is coming home today to enjoy the rest of his life under the guiding hands of hospice.  Boy did that decision cause a stir in the family.  Someone put it in my mother-in-law's head that he could go to rehab and that is where she decided he would go but failed to tell her two daughters who have been taking care of him day and night  during his hospital stay.  Since I have been reading my recently received Medicare Manual I knew that was not an option so I asked her to please talk to the case worker to know what her options ARE.  She refused.  So here is info for you.  If you have a terminal illness, your options are hospice or a nursing home.  Since they had not made provisions for nursing home insurance, she realized that Hospice would be the best for everyone.  We will all do whatever we need to do to make these next months as comfortable for him as possible.

You have no idea what can happen to landscaping when it is neglected for 3 weeks.  Luckily I am able to try to catch up.  BUT, the pond cannot be neglected.  We add water every day which helps to add oxygen to the  water and keep the algae down.  We also have to clean the filter in the filtration box.  Have you guessed the mystery yet?

I do the box duty since it's hard for Terry to get the filter out.  The box is about 1/2 full of water and contains a net that catches debree.  The pump pulls the water through a filter to catch algae then sends the water out through a hose to be recycled to the pond.  We keep another filter under the pump to be sure that nothing gets sucked into the pump to ruin it.  I usually reach down in the water to get that little filter out.

The other day I lifted the filter box lid to see a little face with a forked tongue looking back at me.  He drew back in the water, but here it came again when it needed air. OMGOSH!! I hate these critters with a passion!!  I closed the intake flap so water would empty the box.  I thought I'd get that thing!!  But the best I could do was chuck him to the side of the pond where he scurried under the deck.  OK, so I can't see him so I'm not scared...but I know he's out there.

When Terry was cutting the grass he saw one of his sisters and a niece snake out in the front yard.  We hardly EVER see snakes.  What the heck is going on?!!?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Life on Hold

I've talked about my father-in-law before.  He has battled one cancer or another over the last 8 years.  He is 92 and does not easily give up.

He was having trouble walking.  Actually having trouble moving his left leg. About 5 days ago he entered the hospital to find out that he has a tumor on his spine and his lung cancer has grown.  He would not be able to take chemo, but they are treating the tumor with radiation.

We go go see him in the morning for 4-5 hours then go back in the evening for 3-4. Terry's youngest sister spends the night with him taking care of him.  The hospital he is in was once, in our opinion, the best in the area.  However, it has been bought by a large corporation and it has changed a lot.  Our family is not impressed.

We can't speculate what the next few days will bring, but we will be there to see him through it.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Another Block - CARD TRICK!!

I love this block!!  I like the fabric I chose.  I enjoyed learning how to piece it, though I needed to concentrate when stitching the pieces.

As each lesson becomes progressively more difficult, I "get" something in each one.  I think I especially learned the importance of squaring each pieced block before stitching the rows. Yes, I know I should have "got" that from the beginning, but sometimes it takes me a while.

I think the next lesson will be about paper piecing, though I have not had a chance to read through the instructions yet.

The most difficult thing for me in this learning process is selecting fabrics.  I am trying to use fabrics from my stash.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Churn Dash Block

The good thing about making a mistake is that it is a lesson learned.

I remember that when I read through the class instructions, Kathy mentioned to be sure to pay attention to VALUE when selecting your fabric.

I remembered reading that....AFTER I laid out the completed pieces when I was getting ready to sew them together.  I didn't want to remake the pieces so I switched them around to get the "Churn Dash" motif.  Like Kathy told me when I posted it to the class blog...I won't ignore value again!!  My block is NOT wonky.  I don't know why I can't get a good pic of my blocks.  They all look crooked and off in the pictures, but in reality they aren't!  I probably need a design board but I have no clue on where I could put one.

The next class is the Card Game Block.  I have seen it called the Card Trick Block too.  I first saw this block when Cathy  (Cathy's Crazy by Design) posted the one she made a while ago.  I was so excited to see it is a block I am going to learn how to make!  Today, I will be looking for just the right fabric to get the next one right!!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Traditional Quilt Class - Diamond Bars Quilt Block

Remember when I said I was going to sew everyday to create a habit?  Well, I gotta tell you the sun and pond call to me and you know what they say about the best intentions.day. However, when I do sew, I am uninterrupted and focused.

Here is the latest block I learned to build in Kathy Shaw's online traditional quilt class. I have decided and been approved to discontinue sewing mug rugs and focus on using the blocks in another way.  I'll be saving them to use on kitchen appliance covers and a table quilt.

My seams look wonky here, but they are straight in person.  I just can't get a great pic of these blocks.

After completing each block I think about what I learned in the class, besides how to cut and piece each one.  I check each cut for accurate size.  I stitch each seam with a 1/4" allowance.  REALLY, I DO. I have a 1/4" guide foot on my machine.  I stitch slowly.  But when it comes to stitching the rows together I have had to rip a seam or two to make seams match.  Even though I analyze where I made the mistake, it is not apparent to me.  But rip and restitch and it all works.  Brother.  As I was restitching I was thinking these little pieces stitched together with precision is just not for me.  Maybe larger blocks would be easier.  (these are 6")    But that is silly. The problem is not in the size.  After re-sewing the seam it all matched perfectly.  I had a supreme feeling of satisfaction. I guess I WILL continue on to the next class after all.

So, I sew on to the next task.  Learning to cut and piece a Churn Dash Block.

Do you quilt?  I'd love to here ANYTHING from you.  Any tip or comment will do!!  If you don't quilt, well you all know I love your comments.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Life Is A Beach...or....A Pond!

 Imagine a huge hole in the ground, lined in black rubber that also lays out around the hole which is really a fish pond.  That is what we started out with this year.  Just that black rubber with no landscaping around it.

We have tons, literally tons of rocks that we have collected since we moved here 40+ years ago.  I can't tell you how many times we have moved them over the years.  So of course, I started moving rocks to line the side of the pond, covering what I could of the black rubber.  Sometimes work stopped to give our Blue Birds the time they needed with their babies.  This is a pic of the female, either visiting the pond or maybe deciding if she should use this house again.  I thought it might be getting late for another brood, but I'm not sure.

Here is a pic of the same side of the pond, to the right of the area where that house is.  It looks much more presentable than the area where the blue bird house is.  I moved dirt under the rubber to create that island where the alligator is which created a small channel between the island and the edge of the pond.  In the early morning the fish swim really fast back and forth down the channel.  We have two frogs that like to sit on the island and keep the alligator company.  We have tree frogs too, but they are not usually in the immediate pond area.

The front of this picture is the opposite side of the pond.  I planted ground cover all along this side.  There is also a two seat covered swing on this side and the Indian is directly across and to the right of the swing. You can see the black rubber in front of the rocks.  We plan to fill this area in with smaller rocks and pea gravel as a walk area.

This area is on the right end of the pond.  We were originally going to put a water fall in here, but really it would have been so much more work and we decided against it.  My daughter bought us this little bridge several years ago.  As we were sitting in the swing enjoying our 90 degree weather, I got the idea to move the little bridge here and added rocks under and in front of it to cover the liner as best I could.  After I came in the house after placing the bridge I caught a pic of this chipmunk enjoying a view of the pond.  The green behind it are Rose of Sharon that will bloom in July and August.  I have elected not to plant annual flowers in the pond area.  But as a second thought, I might add a few pots of geranium for more color right now.

There are Iris and Day Lily planted along the fence that are not in bloom yet.  Also orange Trumpet vine his climbing on the fence.  You can see it behind and next to the Indian.  I can't remember when exactly it blooms, but it is pretty invasive so I have to keep it from going crazy where I don't want it.

We had a terrible and unusually cold winter two years ago.  We lost all of our fish, even though we had a heated air hole for them.  We also lost the pond plants.  Last year we went to a nearby lake and dug out a couple of plant to bring home.  This year we added 7 Water Lily.  Most have not reached the top of the water yet, but a few have and have just started to bloom.  I bought all colors at Terry's insistence, but this dark pink is my favorite.  Until the rest start to bloom, of course.

We often see a frog sitting on a Lily Pad.  Also, Terry bought a battery operated alligator a few years ago.  So far I have only found the head, which floats.  It usually hangs out in these Lily Pads and looks so real.  You might also notice a plastic snake I have added to the plants in the rocks.

This has been a really lot of work.  Our weather last year in the summer was pretty much overcast most days.  It always felt like it was going to rain so we didn't really feel like tackling the pond landscape.  My grandson Kyle helped Terry build a deck at the left end of the pond.  We just got a patio table and chairs for it.

This year for Father's Day, Laurie and Kyle bought Terry a light for the pond.  It kind of pulsates creating the effect of glistening water in the moon light.  It relects on the fence and in the trees above.  I'm sure if our neighbors have noticed it they are wondering what the heck we have over here.  I have never seen one before.

Its a beautiful and relaxing spot in the day. It's a wonderland at night.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Temperature Afghan Update

Some of my Blog Buddies have asked how this afghan is going.  I can't believe that May flew by and I didn't post an update. Now here it is the middle of June already and I haven't posted the May progress report.

Here it is.  Six months of stitching a row a day.  I am so excited that the two yellow shades (70 degree weather) and the ORANGE!! (80 degree weather) have been added. I've been adding a lot of orange in  June!!

So far this has been a great summer with lots of sunny days. For Terry and I the sun is empowering.  Getting up on a sunny day gets the juices flowing and we are busy all day outside.  Lots of things are getting done that we neglected last year, which was warm, but cloudy all the time. This year, even though it's been hot, we haven't had a lot of humidity and there is a nice breeze blowing most days.  My youngest grandson who is 19 comes over about 2 days a week to spend the day with us and usually helps doing things that Terry needs help with.

How is YOUR summer (or winter) shaping up? How are you spending your days? Any big projects going on?  Will you go away for a vacation?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Traditional Quilt Class Task #4 Completed

This is the second pattern block (Task #4) that I completed for the on line class that Kathy Shaw is conducting. It looks wonky here but it really isn't.

It is 1/4 inch smaller than it is supposed to be, I looked to see what I did to make it wrong.  This is a great learning experience for me.  I suspect that most of the issue with this block was caused when I "pressed the seams on the three stip piece that was cut into small pieces.  I "ironed" rather than "pressed" the seams.

I gave the first mug rug I made to my sister-in-law Marcella.

I made two of these mug rugs for my other sister-in-law Sharon.  See the cats?  You might think she loves cats.  Well, I guess she probably DOES.  Sharon and her husband live in our neighborhood, as most of the DeLater's do.  For years Sharon has fed feral cats.  She also takes them to the vet to have them neutered.  She has  taken two into her home to be inside cats, though I have never seen them.  NO ONE has, except Glenn and Sharon.  Those cats hide as soon as someone comes to the door.  Sharon always has cute cat stories to tell us. I know she is going to love these mug rugs.

So far, I am loving learning how pieces to create blocks are created.  My slow start on new Tasks is cutting procrastination.  Not that I am scared to cut, I do need quiet time to do it which can be hard to come by in my house!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Denial Is A Dirty Word

If you have followed my blog for a while, you might remember that Terry's niece beat her battle with Cancer.  She went through hell.  I never shared the depth of her story of a doctor that prescribed an incorrect treatment that almost killed her and was destroying her heart.  Luckily she consulted another doctor and she is now cancer free.

So after all that, you would think that when her mother Marcella (Terry's sister) discovered last October a lump under her arm she would have rushed to the doctor to have it checked out.  No.  I guess that is where denial comes in.

Marcella has been through a lot in the last three  years.  Her husband suffered a heart attack and died while shoveling snow three winters ago.  Last year her daughter went through cancer treatment. Last year Terry's father discovered three cancer's and has had treatment.  Even though he was given three months to live he has been fighting and surviving.

The lump under Marcella's arm continued to grow and she finally broke down and saw a doctor.  I'll skip forward in the story to what is currently going on. When they diagnosed the cancer about 5 weeks ago, it was determined to be Stage II.  From then to today it is Stage IV.  Her cancer is fast growing and aggressive. Two lumps in her breast that spread to her lymph nodes.  Now they found the breast cancer has spread to her lungs.  They say it is not lung cancer, but that her cancer is the kind that travels and hides and waits to grow.  The cancer on her lung cannot be killed.  It can only be stopped from growing.  She will have to continually have CT scans to be sure it does not travels to her kidneys, liver or stomach or anywhere else.  She is having chemo to stop it from growing and will then have surgery.

I can't tell you how much I love Marcella.  She became so special to me when she helped me through the worst time of my life when most of Terry's family abandoned or ignored me.

Please don't be in denial.  Don't even get to that point.  BE PROACTIVE.  Get the tests before you suspect.  So many people love you so much.  Maybe even a few care more than you could suspect.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mother Nature Love Me!!

I'm telling you, I am truly blessed!!  What now, you say?  What the heck is that a picture of?

Well, let me tell you!! Many years ago...at least 20 I bet, we used to see Orioles flying in the air and wonder where their nest was.  I read that they liked to make a nest high in the trees.  We began seeing them at our pond.  Then we occasionally saw them at our feeders.  I began to put out what I read would attract them.  Got a feeder and syrup.  Put out orange halves.  Nope, occasional sightings but no regular visits.

When I put the Hummer feeder out this year, who do you think was the first visitor?  Yup, a beautiful male Oriole.  He liked the orange flavored suet too. And there he was eating from the sliced oranges.  He brought his wife too.

Then we saw young ones at the feeders and taking baths in the puddles at the pond.

My best view of our pond from the house is from the bathroom window.  I like to look out that window when I wake up and see what is going on.  I saw that male oriole land on a thin branch hanging from the maple tree in the back yard.  He left and came back to the same spot.  What the heck...all I saw was the leaves on the hanging branch.  Out I went to investigate.  I never noticed that brown balloon looking thing in the tree before.  I kept watching and trying to get a picture.  THAT is an Oriole nest.  How cool is that!! Guess I'll be seeing more babies soon.

By the way, we have another brood of Blue Birds ready to leave the nest soon.  I'm telling you, I LOVE that Mother Nature!!

Friday, June 3, 2016

I'm So Excited!!


Can you hear the music in those words?  Well, you know it doesn't take much!!

One of the things that I have always wanted to do is learn to quilt.  When Kathy Shaw posted that she is offering a Traditional Quilt Class I couldn't ask fast enough to be accepted to participate. After all, I HAVE collected a HUGE fabric stash with the thought in mind to spend my retirement stitching one thing or another.

I got off to a terrible start.  Sprained hand and arm that took 1-1/2 weeks to get the brace off.  Then I got "horned" by the catfish.  Family drama hit once again. Then losing Junior was more difficult than I thought it would be.

Remember I posted that as of June 1 I would sew every day?  Well, so far I have held to it.  Oh, I know it's only June 3, but they say that if you do something for 20 days it becomes a habit so that is what I am striving for.

So anyway, the class is all about piecing which means precision cutting and stitching. AND paying close attention to what you are doing and hopefully it all becomes second nature.

So far I learned that when they say to measure twice...they MEAN IT. I'm pretty sure this has already become second nature to me.  Oh, and try not to become distracted by the dog nudging your leg to attend to his needs.  That can lead to laying fabric in the wrong direction...face down instead of face UP!!

If you are a quilter, you are probably laughing snickering right now.  But I have to tell you that I have sewn tons of purses, dolls, and clothes.  Learning how to cut and  piece 2-1/2 inch squares and sew them together so the seams match is intimidating.  I'm pretty sure that I will opt for larger blocks when I do my first quilt.  But I am so proud of the way this mug rug turned out.  I can tell already I am going to be making quilts for a long time.  Watch me grow!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Welcome Back To The Crazy Train

If you know me, you know that I refer to my life as the Crazy Train.  For some reason, the holidays always turn the train loose and it rages out of control.  As an example, when my mother died she was buried on Memorial Day.  My father died on New Year's Day.  I have a whole lot more examples of many incidents and events that occurred in our family on a holiday.

Why should this weekend be any different?!?

We had the usual family drama but this is not about THAT.

Yesterday we went to the vet and Terry had an appointment to be fitted for new orthopedic shoes.  We stopped and brought sandwiches home for lunch.  I thought I would settle into a peaceful day.  I signed up for Kathy Shaw's On Line Traditional Quilting Class.  Time has blown by as I dealt with that dang arm sprain, tending to Junior, and other Crazy Train events.

I need to cut my quilt fabrics in 2-1/2 inch strips.  I can see now why quilters like Jelly Rolls.  No, it's not hard, but just sayin' it saves a step.  Anyway as I was sorting fabric to press I heard Corey yelling from his room "Bamma Come Help Me!!"  He was yelling REALLY loudly. When I got there, he had been adding water to a 150 gallon tank he has that houses a the Killer Fish.

As Corey was pouring a bucket of water into the tank, this stinking foot long catfish decided that he wanted to swim upstream in the water flowing from the bucket and landed on the floor. Now, I have to remind you that Corey is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu cage fighter who takes a hit to the head and kick to the groin in stride.  But if he sees a mouse or that stinking catfish on the floor he yells like a girl! lol.  Bamma...STUPID BAMMA...to the rescue.  I grabbed a rag from the laundry room and went to pick up the fish with it.  That dang fish whipped around and jabbed me in my right had middle finger with his barb.  Or maybe his fin got me.  I don't know, but I am telling you that jab hurt more than any other pain I have ever experienced.  I think even more than childbirth or a toothache but those memories may have dulled with time.

While Terry and Corey were trying to get that stinking fish off the floor and into the tank, I was laying on the bathroom floor crying like a baby and squeezing the first knuckle of my middle finger as tight as I could.  Corey was so upset that I got hurt.  Trusty Google told him to put my wound in the hottest water I could stand for 30 minutes.  The pain should subside in 60 minutes.  60 FREAKING MINUTES!!!  I asked him to be sure it wasn't poisonous because I felt hot and cold and wanted to pass out.  No, not poisonous.  There I went again. On the couch for a healing nap.  This is getting old.

So much for cutting fabric.  Yet another setback. Today my finger is swelled from the first knuckle to the tip and kind of numb on the print side.  The very same knuckle that Terry smashed when he raised the window on it (power) 35 years ago.

Today is June 1.  I WILL complete this quilting class.  I will find time to stitch every single day.  EVERY day.  I will log on my daily planner when I do, because I am finding that by documenting things on my planner and using the daily pages as a journal really does work for me.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Deal With It

How many times has someone said that to you?  Deal With It.  Or if no one ever has, how many times have you overheard it said?  Or saw it in a movie?  Lots I bet.

Well, for me it is an everyday mantra running through my head.  Every single day we have some situation or issue to deal with.  Big or small, no matter, things must be attended to.

On the small scale we had terribly dirty pond water to deal with.  For some reason this year it has been a lot harder to clear up.  Finally we flooded it out for about 24 hours and it was beautiful.  That was yesterday.  I can see from the window that it's not quite so clear this morning.  Hopefully it won't take long for the Muck Buster to do it's thing and whatever else Terry adds to the water.  We were enjoying watching the fish chase each other up and down the water way.  My favorite frog just enjoys sitting on the island I added last year.  He never moves while I work around moving rocks and weeding as I talk to him about whatever is on my mind.  I just love him.  You can see he has helped to create lots of babies that are getting bigger and I am enjoying watching them grow.  I sure don't know what I will do with them all if they make it!!  I suppose when they start developing legs I'll have to net them and cart them down to the river.

My daughter is tearing out a perennial garden in the front of her house.  Even though it's not transplant time we went ahead a took this ground cover that I hope will spread into the rocks we put around the pond on one side.  I was so happy to see this peony is surviving and blooming.  Peony are of my very favorite bushes.

the last and most serious issue I have had to deal with is realizing that it is time to say goodbye to Junior.  The other two dogs have been staying close to him whether he is in the house or outside.  Here they are laying in their favorite dirt spot, even though there is plenty of grass.  They love this spot that they created.  Junior has been one of the best dogs we have ever had.  I can't think of a time that he has done anything that made me mad.  I am grateful that this is not an emergency situation. It's just time.

Please don't comment condolences.  Junior has been struggling and I have made peace with the decision.