Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring has Sprung! Part 3

Heh heh....(sorry Yvette, I couldn't resist!)

Daughter Karen brought us home some gorgeous daffodils that she purchased to support the American Cancer Society....

And they came with this cute Boyd's bear! (She says I get to keep the Bear, who is named Bea R. Hope!) Bea is holding a daffodil and it has a bee on it, plus, there is an embroidered daffodil on her right foot! Too cute!!

And one more flower picture.

I lied.....Here's another! (Too bad! I love flowers, so bear with me!)

But finally! Quilty stuff....... lookie what I found - a Dresden Star!! (click on pix to enlarge)

And when I went searching on the internet to see if I could find a pattern for the one above, I found another variation (by Laundry Basket Quilts) that I like even better! I think the one below might be from that pattern.

Is anyone drooling? There now, my work here is done!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

By special request......

I hear Ms. Yvette, the FitQuilter, is tired of looking at my last blog entry. I've been kinda busy and not blogging, and rumor has it she thinks "Spring Has Sprung" for long enough....

So I will catch up on all the blog-worthy items I can think of, for all my three (or six) loyal readers. First up.....some canine cuteness.....Ms. Yvette likes dogz!

Tiger was in such a hurry to get to her dinner yesterday, she forgot to come all the way downstairs.

And last Friday night, we had what may have been the Last Ever Second Friday gathering of the clan......A vote was taken at the table and everyone but me is in favor of having Second SATURDAYs! As Billy so clearly put it......"see that way, we can sleep in, run a few errands, take a nap, and THEN come to dinner!" Makes sense to me! Everyone is pooped after a long day at work on we will give this a try and see if any of us can stay awake past 8:30 PM! (Maybe Mr. Patrick will be able to come.....hint, hint!)

We did enjoy a nice meal and some of these creme de menthe brownies in honor of St. Patrick's Day!

Yum! This is a big favorite from back when the girls were little. Recipe as follows:

Crème de Menthe Brownies

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9 inch pan.

1 c. sugar
4 eggs
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. butter (real butter)
1 c. flour
1 t. vanilla
1 - 16 oz. can Hershey’s Syrup

1-1/2 stick butter, softened to room temperature
3 cup confectioner’s sugar
6 tablespoons Crème de Menthe

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
10 tablespoons butter.

For the Brownies: Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, salt and vanilla. Add flour and syrup alternately until mixed. Pour into pan and bake 30 minutes or until they appear barely done. Cool in pan.
For the Filling: With an electric mixer beat the butter and confectioners sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the Crème de Menthe and adjust the consistency with additional sugar or Crème de Menthe. When brownies are cool, spread frosting and refrigerate until firm.
For the Icing: In a small saucepan melt the butter and pour in chocolate chips and stir over low heat until melted. Pour over the green mint filling and refrigerate.
When you are ready to serve the brownies, let them sit at room temperature for a little while so they are easier to cut. Close the windows before the moaning starts and the neighbors become alarmed. They're that good!

At one point, Laurie curled up on the sofa with her childhood friend "Stuffy" (a pink bunny). Sadie was obviously insulted!

Now for the quilting/sewing portion of this entry. Late this afternoon, I threw up my hands and stormed out of my office. Enough! I had started at 4 AM and I wanted to sew! I had purchased some of the cutest owl material recently and wanted to make a tote bag for my Mom. Here's the material....and the pattern....

Mom taught me to sew when I was really young. Her mom, my Nana, even let me use her sewing machine and I was in seventh heaven! Mom was an excellent teacher and she demanded that I learn the correct way, and that I try over and over until I mastered various techniques. I remember thinking she was picky......but I'm really grateful to her today! Things like easing curves are a piece of cake, or at least, a bit technically difficult for me, but I can do them! (Thanks Mom!)

Here I was easing the curves of the lower corners of the bag onto the band that separated the front and back of the bag. Then I got to do it again for the lining!

I "fussy" cut some strips of the materal to stitch onto the strapping, to jazz it up a bit.

Pockets abound, both inside and out.

I took cloth-backed vinyl to make the bottom and side pieces. Wasn't sure it would work, but it did!

Got it all sewed together, lining to bag, right sides together, left a small opening to pull everything through, and Voila! A tote bag for Mom's birthday! (She loves owls. Last owl count, according to my Dad, was up in the two or three hundreds, located all over their house!) So here's a few more in honor of her 75th birthday!

Now I have some vacuuming to do - I am not a neat seamstress!

Night, all!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Spring has sprung! Part 2

Spring has sprung, Part 1

Today we sent the old TodiYodi that we are trying to fix up off to the shop......seems they "did us a favor" and steam cleaned the engine when we had some work done last week. Big mistake. It's shuttering and shaking like like crazy and deja vu! we've had that same problem before.

When I get it back - I'm supergluing a sign somewhere under the hood......


After the Knights in Shining Armor from AAA hauled it away, Karen and I grabbed the Port-a-Puppy (Sadie) and went to meet Laurie for lunch. Sadie spends the night with Laurie and Billy every few weeks, and it's hard to say who looks forward to it more! Here's a picture of Sadie anxiously watching the door at Laurie's office down in Irvine....

"Watching the door for my Laurie! Where is she?"

A grand reunion took place!

From there, we went to the
Veggie Grill, in Irvine. What a great place to eat! You can check out their menu at the link in the name. Everything on the menu is not only vegetarian, but vegan also! I tasted the most fantastic sweet potatoe fries, and Laurie really had trouble choosing between the available selections. I had a great spinach salad and Karen had a portabello mushroom burger that looked amazing. Delicious! Billy joined us and also Karen's friends, Tijae, Carol and Sam showed up.

After a great lunch, I passed Sadie off to Laurie and Billy, and I passed Karen off to TiJae, Carol and Sam (who happens to be a lovely young lady!) and I headed for JoAnn Fabrics. Armed with a 40% coupon, I got something very similar to
but mine has only the six big drawers, and will hold 12 inch squares neatly....the drawers can be taken to quilt class and toted back home, keeping things organized. I'm really loving it!

I also found some materal that Laurie might like - she has a good friend who is expecting, and she has been joking about me making a traditional looking quilted baby blanket and backing it with, of all things, skulls and crossbones. This just might be the ticket!

Wouldn't be my first choice, but it's not for me!

After all that fun, I came back home to work! On the way, I just SAVORED the day. The temperatures were perfect. And the flowers?

As you can see in the post above..... SPECTACULAR!!! This is what I love about SoCal! Flowers everywhere!

Happy weekend everyone!

P.S. Here's two pix of Laurie when she got her Butterfly Quilt! I think she likes it!

Ignore the piles of tools/equipment on the dining room table. (we do!) We're a work in progress here, folks!


Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Anthem

quickie post, cos nothing in my life right now resembles anything but work! but this too will pass and the weekend looms - yay!

Here's a clip on youtube that is just fantastic. These young ladies treated our national anthem with the respect it deserves. Simple, five part harmony, no attempt to be cool or jazz it up, just honest, respectful and beautifully clear.....I loved this!

Have a great day!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Saturday Sampler Block One

I took a look around after I finished working today, and assessed my household chores remaining to be completed. After all, as one person pointed out to me in a helpful email, I needed to cover my bases before sewing.

Advice from a Singer Sewing Manual from 1949: Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do. . . Never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates. Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing. . .When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress. Keep a little bag full of French chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals. Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on . . .[If] you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing as you should.

Yeah....well, this is what I saw when I looked around.

And I don't recall the last time I wore a dress. It may have been ten years ago. So I promptly went upstairs and worked on my Saturday Sampler. (Without makeup.)

I have a new love! I wasn't sure if I would like this, but I am so glad I decided to try making this quilt, and learning to use the Marti Michell templates!

I love the cutting process, the precision, the templates, and eventually, I love the block!

Upon extremely close examination, it is apparent that I have a block that is a cross between the block in the quilt on the wall at Leah's (click to enlarge and check top row, third block counting from left to right),

and the exploded view Janet had on the teaching board (a picture of which I printed on my color printer to use as a cheat sheet!),

and the printed directions.

I managed to get so confused going between the wall quilt, and the exploded view, and the directions (which my feeble mind thought said something else altogether), that one square, in one portion in particular, had reverse sewing* performed on four sides before I finally settled down to the original seam as the final seam. Hysterical laughter was heard from the sewing studio as Karen attempted to help her spatially-challenged mother nail down the block. Again. We laughed so much - it really was fun as well as challenging!

I had a ball! I love my finished version. It's kind of a mix of all available input and examples and I can hear Janet saying once again "It's YOUR quilt!" So little variations are fine!!

Wonder if I could pester Candi into giving me my next block early? This was FUN!!

 *Reverse Sewing: ripping out, as in "frogging" in, rib-bit, rib-bit!!!


I've had mixed reactions to the post about the First Aid/CPR class for pets.

First of all, Karene laughed so hard when she saw this post, that I feared she would choke.

Yvette thought it was a great idea......Thank you, Yvette!

Deb said something along the line of "Eeeeeeeeeeeeew!" and giggled. A lot, I think!

Then I directed another of my friends (Vicki, who also transcribes for me) to the post, for a giggle. Her comments and our conversation on IM are listed below.

joybmts: oh, and if you want a good laugh - see my blog. i took a class last night. i think karene might have almost wet her pants laughing.

vicki: okie, will do.

joybmts: (the things we do to be supportive of our significant others......) byebye.

(a few moments go by)

vicki: well, I have to say the pic of you kissing the dog is REALLY cute!

vicki: (grin)

joybmts: snort!

vicki: You might want to use that one for next year's Xmas cards.

vicki: (wink)

joybmts: you're pushing your luck

vicki: lol

joybmts: (LOL so loud i woke up Max the WunderWuss)

vicki: the idea is NEAT, though. I'm thinking of getting a pup

joybmts: it's really a great class, offered through regular Red Cross offices....

joybmts: i think you should get one!! they're fun (when you don't have a whole herd like we do, snicker)

vicki: I just want one.

vicki: Every time I go to Bill's house and Noodles is all over me, I say I'm going to get a dog.

vicki: lol

joybmts: and i can personally recommend the world's best vacuum for dog hair - beat the dysun hands down.....

joybmts: can't recall what it is at the moment (i don't use it often!)

vicki: (eyebrow up)

vicki: that was a LOT of help

vicki: stick to kissing em, Joy. (grin)

joybmts: you are so bad.

joybmts: i was trying to talk intelligently to a physician on phone and read that comment at the same time

vicki: oops......sorry

vicki: do you mind if I print it out?

vicki: I'll only show it to 2 or 3 people........honest.

vicki: this is my boss............

vicki: lmao

joybmts: teehee..... Eureka Max...or boss max, etc. i can tell you later, if you get the puppy

joybmts: and yes, direct the whole world to the blog or print it, etc...particularly if I can copy part of this conversation and put it on the blog as a comment

joybmts: snicker

joybmts: we live for comments around here....

vicki: lol

joybmts: anyway, will send some work, and yes, print away!

vicki: bye

I'm such a refined and dignified medical transcription service owner.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

We're certified.....

Yes, we are certified. Of course, most of my friends would say I'm certifiably NUTS. But, tonight, Mr. B and I had an evening out. We ran a few errands, and.......well.....

had another adventure. And I will admit, this adventure was more fun than the car Cemetary!

We've been tossing lots of crazy ideas around lately. Some have been possible income producing ideas......some have been just fun or silly things to do (although I'm not sure refinishing the kitchen cabinets comes under either category, "fun" or "silly").

Tonight, after we got errands accomplished, we headed over to take a class together. We took that three hour class, and at the end, we took a test.....

I didn't tell anyone I was going to do this, except daughter Karen, in case I......well.... failed. That would have been embarrassing!

But hey, we passed. We were certified by the Orange County Chapter of the American Red Cross......

In Pet First Aid (CPR) for Cats and Dogs!

I can't believe how much information they packed into that class. It was held in a veterinary hospital. Our teachers were excellent. We got a book and DVD to review that will help reinforce what we learned. And we learned a LOT. Our teachers had worked at this veterinary office for quite a few years, and it was obvious they really cared about what they were sharing with us.

Nearly everyone I know professes to be a dog or cat lover. And peoples, these little furbabies (or in the case of Max the Wuss, BIG furbabies) are kind of dumb. Sometimes they redefine dumb. They get into things that can cut or burn them, they eat things that can make them sick, they fall, they get hit by cars, they get sick, they have seizures, they get snakebit or stung, they catch germs that could kill them......

And I had no clue what to do if anything happened to one of the dogs at our house. So we decided to take the course.

Afterwards, we got tested. We had seen various things illustrated during class with the use of Jerry, a large floppy stuffed dog. After class, we got to meet Jerry, up close and personal. We had to review exactly what we would do, if Jerry was really "down".

The ABCs (just like for human CPR) of airway, breathing, and circulation were to be checked. We now know more about how to clear an airway, how to check for any breathing, and where to check for pulses on our dogs (along the femoral arteries, for instance) .....

If those were all negative, we needed to give Jerry four or five "rescue" breaths, to see if we could jump start him, so to speak. Notice the plastic lung hanging out of Jerry's chest. Our teacher covered Jerry's mouth/nose with a plastic mouth sheet to protect us from each other's "cooties"......and we tried to get enough air blowing in Jerry's nose to inflate the "lung".

If the rescue breaths failed, which was determined by repeating the ABCs check, then we moved on to CPR. Sadly, none of us could get Jerry moving with just the "rescue" breaths.....

So chest compressions, five rapid ones, alternating with breathing, were given.

Notice how hard I'm trying - I'm a blur of motion between compressions and breaths.

(You would think, as full of hot air as I am, that this would have been a little easier for me!)

It was not as easy as it looked! Especially when she tucked the lung back inside under his fur and I couldn't really tell how I was doing!

Poor Jerry. We tried really hard. All 9 or 10 of us. He didn't make it. But we did!

We passed and we have the certification card to prove it!

Seriously, if you really love animals and want to know how to help your pet when he can't help himself......this class is truly helpful. The teachers thanked us for coming out on our Sunday night to learn about this, but as Mr. B said, we should be thanking them. They give up lots of Sunday nights this way!

If anyone is interested, the number to get information about the next class, or to speak with Trina (the lady in the pix with me) is 949-586-4250. I really recommend it!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Very Quilty Day

We started the day with our long awaited Saturday Sampler session with Janet Salcido. Indicative of how eager we were, was the fact that it did NOT take a well-placed stick of dynamite beneath Karen to pry her from her bed at 6:45 on a Saturday morning!

We gathered at Leah's Fabric Gallery, forming a line outside the shop where the kind souls running the show had placed coffee, juice and donut holes for us to get a kick start to the day! We checked in, got our sampler packet and snagged a seat with the masses to await our teacher.

Janet did her little "infomercial" and showed us a number of really nifty tools and gadgets. Then she explained portions of this month's block, and answered questions with her usual delightful brand of encouraging humor.

Yes, this "exploded" block below, is the first step.........

on the way to THIS:

Afterwards, Karen singlehandedly made up for them having to open and staff the shop so early, by purchasing a huge amount of fabric to make this year's BOM Mystery Quilt. She picked Asian prints in a gorgeous off-white, and a pink and a green.

Sigh! So pretty.....

We dashed home, and I threw my machine and sewing box in the car and headed for Karene's house. Yvette joined us there, and the Three Amigos rode again! We headed for the Claremont University campus where Karene's mom Doris works, and joined Doris and her boss Laura in a conference room. We plugged in all our machines and spent the day making a quilt top that will be raffled off as a part of her Claremont University team's efforts for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in May.

Here you can see Laura, Yvette and Karene industriously organizing, sorting colors and placing them in rows to begin piecing.

We kept Doris busy once or twice with "reverse sewing", and she was a big help with ironing and even went out in search of Mexican food to keep us fortified!

It grew.......and grew......

We persevered despite the "reverse sewing" necessary when we mixed up a few positions of a few pieces, and the results are seen here.

Beautiful! All Laura has to do now is add her borders, quilting and binding! I look forward to seeing a picture of the finished quilt.

Pattern info: Better Homes & Gardens American Patchwork and Quilting magazine,15 Anniversary issue, April 2008, issue 91, named Two of a Kind, Page 71-79.

Before we left, Laura and Doris gave us a hot tip about Ginger's Quilt Shoppe, right there in town. We decided to stop and check it out - and were we glad we did!

It's one of the nicest shops I've visited, ever! Huge, airy, light-filled and filled to the brim with gorgeous quilts, patterns, samples, fabric, books, a spacious class area, and a Gammill too! The Gammill had a sign that said "do not touch" so I drooled from a safe distance.

I found one quilt I would LOVE to make for Michael. It was called Rising Star, and it is exactly the sort of patriotic quilt he loves.... but I think one must attend class to have any chance of getting the pattern.....and since it is a good hour from my house to Ginger's Quilt Shoppe.....there's no way I can do that on two consecutive Mondays. (It's different than any Rising Star I have seen before.)

I commenced pouting before we left the store....

All the fabric and quilts and ideas made me temporarily forget to take pictures while I was at Ginger's Quilt Shoppe.....I think I should go back and try again!

:) Thanks to my Amigos for a fun day with them!