Thursday, May 29, 2008


The Kitchen Kabinet Projekt from Hades continues. I stripped four of the doors a second time today, only to find they still were not free of finish.

After taking them into the shower to wash off the stripper and sludge, they still were sticky in places. Yuck. One more treatment should do the trick.

However, I did not sew one stitch.

I made it to my workout. And my walk. But not to my quilting room. Grrrrrrrrr!

Tomorrow is another day!

One quick note....
I sent an email to a few close friends joking about how sometimes men should "humor the little woman"....i.e., listen to us, because sometimes we do have a clue. Michael had asked me which stripping product to use on the front porch posts and after pointing it out, I offered unsolicited advice that perhaps he should reconsider his choice of a trashed plastic cookie tray to hold the stripping solution while he slathered it on. He chose to continue with that tray, and shortly afterwards, we had a good laugh over his shock at the speed with which his container of choice disintegrated.

One would think, truly, that SINCE I KNEW THAT COULD HAPPEN, I would have had better sense yesterday. But I didn't. And fair is fair....

As soon as I saw what my feeble brain had permitted me to do, I told Michael to grab the camera.....

I still do not believe I did that. I've been laughing about that ever since (when I'm not cursing and throwing tantrums about having to strip those four doors again tomorrow)!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Goals for my day

1. Get my work done EARLY. DONE!

2. Resolutely ignore my sewing room calling me.....instead, focus on the Kitchen Kabinet Projekt from Hades and strip the island frame,

the two island drawers, and the four island doors,

click on pix to experience the horror! ;)

and then top coat the remaining six cabinet doors along the last wall of the kitchen by the fridge. DONE! (I had a near accident while putting something away upstairs, almost slipped and landed in the sewing my machine.....snicker!)

3. Fix Michael and myself a decent dinner. (Frugal Wednesday - An entire pound of turkey breast cutlets marked down by Manager Special to a dollar! With three days left before the sell-by date! Don't know what the logic was for that, but Michael scarfed four of them up, fast!!) DONE!

4. Do my workout. DONE!

5. Bonus! Take a walk! DONE!

Tomorrow I reward myself.....after getting my work done EARLY.....I sew! The next day....I top coat those miserable cabinets and the Kitchen Kabinet Projekt from Hades is DONE!

And then......I start my next home improvement project on the never-ending List of Things to Do to have a downstairs that is finished. Uncluttered. Clean. Lightly decorated. Serving as a backdrop for multitudes of seasonally appropriate quilted items that rotate in-and-out all year according to the calendar. (Yeah, dream on, Joy!)

Ahem. The next project is the
Staircase of Doom. But someday, I will have it done.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hey, now, what's that sound?

Progress was made on the rail fence quilt tonight. I got within 1-1/2 passes of being completely DONE meandering (on the HandyQuilter frame)......

And something went wrong with my machine! I heard this awful clunking, and my needle broke and I screeched to a halt to examine the damage. After recovering from a near heart attack (and regaining my capacity for non-profane speech) I found all the needle fragments, but the machine is still clunking and thunking, even after a new needle, a cleaning, and oiling. Something is certainly not right!

Well, that definitely did not make my evening! I went ahead and took the quilt off the frame. I can do the last row and a half on my regular machine, with feed dogs down, and the darning foot. Same results! Here it is, off the frame.

And here's a peek at the back.....I had one row that was a miserable disaster, near the top of the quilt..... (click to enlarge pix)

Yuck! It looks Horreeblay!! I've frogged that entire row and will re-meander it when I finish the last row and a half at the bottom.

Note to be added to my personal cheat sheet for machine quilting success: Always attach a 6-10 inch extra piece (baste on) at the top of a quilt to be machine's worth the extra batting, etc, to have that 6+ inches as a practice area, getting stitches, tension, thread choices, etc, all nailed down BEFORE actually starting to stitch on the real quilt top!

After I restitch the frogged area, it's ready to be bound, and I'm going to make a label for it....I will try to remember to blog the label if it turns out well. This will be the first quilt given as a chemo comfort quilt by our Red Hat chapter, the Red Hot Sew 'n Sews. The wife of one of Michael's fellow couriers at Fed Ex is undergoing year-long treatment right now.

I think i'm going to cut out and package up a Take Five for the next one. I'll share the packaged block kits with anyone in the chapter who wants to help make it. My goal is to have a nice selection of these simple, sturdy quilts on hand to give to people undergoing chemo/radiation treatment. Seems like we are hearing about more and more people in our families, our work places, who are fighting this disease.

Hopefully, the quilts will bring some comfort, warmth, and the knowledge that we care, to those they are given to.

Sadie Blogging

"I am cute. Just ask me, I'll tell you. I'm just being honest!"

"He's cute too. Not as cute as me, you understand, but he'll do!"

"We drive Joy crazy during the day, pretending we are Oh So Tuff! See Tuff Boy pretending to rip off my back leg? And see me, refusing to let him distract me? Maintaining complete ownership of that tennis ball?"

"Even when we're just laying around.....we're still Tuff!"


Room Snaggers

Yay! Finally, some quilting content for De Blawg!

We snagged the room at Leah's quilt shop on Memorial Day! The usual cast of characters showed up....all with beautiful works in progress.

In addition to Karen's quilt being pinned and ready for machine quilting, some other ladies were pinning some really pretty quilts also.

I am really liking the "Winning Hand" pattern more and more, each time I see it in yet another color scheme. Karene made this pattern a long time ago and I loved hers. This one is just beautiful, too. I think I will "have" to make one in "my" colors.... ('scuze me while i add it to the list for....let's see....2012!)

TiJae and Janet came by also, and Janet's table runner is going to be so pretty. I completely forgot to take a picture of it....but it's coming right along. We have the room again on Father's Day, so hopefully they can join us again that day.

I worked on my Saturday Sampler block for this month, and I'm happy to report that I will get next month's block free, because I managed to finish this one on time! So far, I've finished each month in time to get the next one free! (Crossing fingers that it's a trend!)

Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Another party!!

Tonight Karen, TiJae and Carol celebrated their collective birthdays during the month of May by throwing a masquerade party! TiJae's mom works for the bishop at the Episcopal Church and she arranged for them to use the fellowship hall and the big kitchen, for the party. TiJae's brother's girlfriend Sam is quite a cook, and she did an awesome job making pasta dishes, bruschetta, salad, chicken and shrimp on skewers, a delicious soup, and veggies and dip and cupcakes and.....Yum! There was a lot of good food!

When we first arrived, we helped out in the kitchen a bit.....Washed a few dishes and got a chance to talk with Janet, TiJae's mom. Why is it I'm more comfortable in the kitchen than I am out in the main part of a party? Hmmmmm.....

Michael and I didn't wear a mask, but Michael did wear his FedEx hat....does that count?

We didn't feel too bad about being maskless; Laurie and Billy were there too, also without masks! (click on pix to enlarge)

Here they are sitting with the birthday girls themselves!

TiJae is still sporting "birthday hair" and has a fantastic little dress paired with some funky Doc Martin type boots that laced up - the look is so TiJae! That's the mask she worked on during the craft gathering at the quilt shop classroom last week! I love it! Karen is decked out in her favorite "greens".....a pretty green dress, a green cardi, green ballet slipper-type shoes, and her mask with the green feathers - it's just perfect for her. She used a lot of green eyeshadow and the look was very striking up close! Carol is in the beautiful Asian print. She made that outfit (she was working on it during our craft gathering) and my pictures don't do it justice! She paired it with beautiful tall boots with very pointy toes, in a deep aqua that perfectly set off the shimmery dress!

Mr. Patrick and his room mate Rich posed for me.....

The kids had done a great job with decorating. There were balloons tied to chairs, stars and sprinkly decorations scattered across the tables, noise makers which didn't work.......until Karen realized she had several stuck together......once separated, they turned out to be quite functional and loud! There was a fog making machine (compliments of Mr. Patrick, I believe)! We left before the karaoke machine was fired up, which was disappointing, cos I've never seen anyone do karaoke in real life, just on TV....but we're old we tottered on home to bed, leaving the kids to their fun.

Happy Birthday to all!

Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm a Big Boy

"Please, I'm a big boy.....I am! I am! I want a big bone, please, oh please, oh please??!!"

"It is NOT bigger than I am...."

"I'm a Nine Pound Tuff Boy!"

"I am so too big enough!! Seeeee?! I'm a Big Boy!"

Note: He can only have it in his crate, otherwise, the real big boy and girls would try to take it!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A few more party pix

Karen's BFF TiJae's birthday was actually the day of Karen's party, and TiJae was sporting "birthday hair"!! (we sang to both girls and they blew out Karen's candles together!)

Sadie and Jerry and Bella partied hardy! At one point, we caught this picture of Jerry and Sadie wanting to come inside.....(which was followed with wanting to go outside......and inside.......and......indecisive pooches!)

Laurie reassured Sadie that though they have Bella now too, she's still her Number One!

Michael and Bella and Jerry spent some quality time together.

Bella (who is still recovering from a kind of rough time with her spaying) found a comfy cool surface for her belly! Sadie does this too, in hot weather, and its so cute!

Someone snapped this picture of Laurie and I..... :)

All in all, a Great Party!

Happy Birthday Karen!

Happy Birthday Karen!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Frugal Friday After All (well, that is until we got to the Vet)

I went to the Ralphs last night to do some quick shopping....

Of note, the purchases that made Mr. B's eyes light up:

Manager's Special - less than half price - Ground beef for the grill. I would prefer a meat that was a little leaner, but, since most of the fat cooks away on a grill anyway, he's really been enjoying bunless hamburgers, grilled, with some steak sauce. I scored four packages of his "marked down" favorite, all with at least two-three days left before the "sell by" date, and they went straight into the freezer.

I scored another unexpected Manager's Special on this sausage.

Normally in the neighborhood of $3.00 or more per pound - again with three days left before the "sell by" date. These are residing in the freezer beside the ground beef. One is being used tonight in a recipe, so I've already browned it and drained it and set it aside to use.

I made Mr. B's connection for him, got him his fix......for his diet Coke addiction.


(He bought another ten yesterday!) I keep mentioning 12-step programs, but usually he just makes noise about intercepting my fat-quarter supply, and I shut up!

All but two things I purchased were on sale.....the shrimp for the salad tonight was not and the milk was not. The milk will become about 18-20 homemade yogurts, so that's a lot of frugal yogurts for about $4.00.

And I had a coupon for $5.00 off if your total expenditure was over $75.00. To insure that could be used, I stocked up on 10/$10.00 frozen veggies which I love, saving almost a dollar on each bag anyway, as they were on sale, and then being able to use that $5.00 coupon on my total at the end!

$92.62 spent. $44.58 saved. Yay!

I'm off to prepare for Karen's birthday party tonight. It's a Pasta Party. I'm making a green salad (romaine, various other veggies, slivered almonds, mandarin oranges and champagne flavored dressing). Then the pasta dishes: There will be a shrimp/salmon pasta salad and there will be mock chicken alfredo for the vegetarians, and a sausage/red sauce/pasta dish for the carnivores.

Oh, and poor Sadie is a cone-head again! We noticed a tiny pinkish spot on one paw that she kept trying to lick....we watched it for 24 hours, and sure enough, the pink area became a bit larger and she still seemed to want to lick it. She wasn't happy about us trying to touch it, so we went to the vet's......they know us all to well there! They were able to restrain her and do a better exam, and a thorough cleaning....maybe an insect sting or bite? No sign of splinter or thorn....yet.

So we have antibiotics, and a topical medication, and instructions to use the cone....

Poor baby!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Triple Digits Today!

We just reached one hundred degrees, and the afternoon is young.....

(not my thermometer, just a pretty and appropriate picture I found online)

The Heat. She is back. :(

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Frugal Friday Came Early This Week!

Summer Living® Solid Umbrella
orig. $99.99
sale $49.99
At Kohl's!!

(Nine feet span!)

I was happy to see it on sale and when I showed the ad to Michael, he just grinned! We went over there and there was only one left.....but I could have it (the floor model, which had been up for only a couple of days!) for an additional 10% off!!

But it gets better! The heavy decorative stand? Marked down also, from $$39.99 to $19.99.

So up to the register I went. And there, I watched it ring up......$49.99, minus $5.00 for floor model discount, plus 19.99 for half price decorative stand........

and then I pulled out my coupon! Good for an additional 15% off everything and discounted items included!

So my $140.00 umbrella and stand? $55.23 plus tax at 7.75% for a grand total of $59.51. I saved 62% off the regular price!

And she scores!!

I have a few ideas for my backyard, though nothing spectacular. I plan to put this umbrella through a hole I will create in my picnic table from Home Depot.....after reinforcing the table slats with cross bars from underneath. Since the table is very heavy, hopefully, we can avoid a repeat of the last umbrella incident when the Santa Ana winds come through! (Always lowering the umbrella when done with the table will go a long way toward preventing that mishap also!) The table is going to be repainted soon, so hopefully it will all go together nicely.

My next frugal trick? I'm going to take the grungy looking old white resin chairs, and use that special paint made to stick to resin.....maybe in a shade that coordinates with table color and umbrella. I'm not sure what color to pick.

With any luck, the chairs we bought about 10-12 years ago at Sams Club for 12.00 apiece will be rejuvenated for the cost of a half can of spray paint apiece! If it works, I will post pictures.

Color suggestions, anyone? Right now I'm leaning towards a boring Satin Almond.

Or maybe River Rock..... (still kind of boring, but safe....)

Monday, May 12, 2008

More good times!

Yesterday we snagged the classroom at Leah's quilt store and we filled it with people and projects! (Click on pix to enlarge!)

Karene pinned the quilt she made for the upcoming fundraiser for the Tug McGraw Foundation. She designed and made this quilt, from idea, to completed quilt top, and it's sew pretty!

Ms.Yvette (better known as the Obsessive Quilter!) has in the range of a DOZEN block of the month quilts going, simultaneously, and still found time to make this new quilt top.....she and Ellen are trying to figure out something involving a ruler....I'm actually not sure what the issue was.

Yvette's quilt top uses an interesting technique I had not seen before, a little like the rag quilt that Karen made, in that you leave exposed raw edges throughout, and after washing, it will frey and have a whole new, different look. It's already sew cute, but I'm anxious to see what the final quilt looks like after the freying takes place.

We had a "newbie" with us and we did our dead level best to get her hooked on quilting! Janet is Karen's best friend TiJae's mom, and such a sweet person! I hope we didn't scare her to death and that she comes back on Memorial Day to work on her table runner some more (even though we sort of messed it still has the potential to be really gorgeous, though smaller than we originally thought!! Thank heavens we had Ellen to help us read that pattern!!)

Here she is admiring her perfectly executed center block!

Jenny was working on something new! Such pretty fabrics! She picked a neat pattern and I look forward to seeing it progress!

TiJae was working on a mask for the upcoming masquerade birthday party that she, Carol and Karen are having (their birthdays are on three consecutive or nearly consecutive days, later this month). She is very creative (and a lot of fun!) and I really admire her talent! (She also brought me a lovely rose bouquet for Mother's Day!! Did I mention she's extremely sweet!?!)

Carol was working on a beautiful kimono-type party dress. I didn't manage to get a picture that showed her material (a beautiful Asian print in almost an aquamarine color). She put it on at the end and it's going to be amazing.

Karen worked on finishing up a quilt for a friend who lives in Alaska. This friend loves batiks and loves purples. I think she has that nailed! (I had some in my stash that Deb gave me, and I had to guard them closely! She kept eyeing them!!) I think she did a gorgeous job on this! She's going to finish it with a simple meander and off it will go to its new home.

At one point I was concentrating on what I was sewing, and heard everyone saying "Ohhhhhhh, look how cute! Ohhhhhh, so sweet, Joy, you have to see this, come look!" I thought maybe somebody had brought in a completed baby quilt or something, and I turned around completely unprepared for what I saw.

Right through the quilt shop (they got permission from Candi, who was working the front counter) came Laurie, Billy and their new furbaby, Bella! And they brought an arrangement of white roses and the sweetest card for me! Here's a pic of all of us, outside....

And a pic of Laurie, Billy and Bella! She has only been with them a very short time (a week, I think?), but she has gone from deplorable conditions, to a home where she is loved, and treasured! In one week, she's had three baths (she was really dirty - it was time for some pampering and primping!), and she has been treated for an absessed tooth, and spayed! Her shots are now up-to-date and she's recovering nicely from the spaying. She obviously adores her new family!

(Billy went into his work the day after they got her and told his friends in the body shop, "We took our relationship to the next level......we got a dog!!")

I told Bella she's one of the luckiest dogs on the planet!!

When I got home, I had a phone message from my "son from another mother" wishing me a Happy Mother's Day.....Thank you Patrick!!!

My goal for the week: get that pesky noncooperative quilt off the frame, and plan a Third Saturday family get together/birthday celebration for Karen. Any and all good recipes or party ideas are wanted!!