Friday, February 20, 2009

He Loves His Blankie!

I got to see Milton take his 20 year birthday tonight at a meeting. He spoke also, and I soaked up what he said like a sponge. That man oozes wisdom.

Afterwards, I grabbed a moment with him and gave him the bag with his quilt. He was so excited when he saw what it was! As soon as he saw it, he announced to everyone standing nearby watching, "people, get JEALOUS!! It's MINE!!" Then he saw the fish block, the bicycles, the music, the crochet abbreviations (he crochets beautifully!), and he just grinned from ear to ear and told me he LOVED it. He loved the label on the back too....

He's been fighting a flu bug all week, so he says he's going home to make some chicken soup, and he's going to grab a good book and curl up under his blankie!

Happy Birthday, love, prayers and cheers, Milton! And here's to 20 more years!!


I won!!

I Won!!

I won a pattern from Annie Unrein!! She guest-blogged on and had pictures of her beautiful studio and some of her current projects and a new product (Texture Magic) that will be available soon. At the end of her post, she had a contest where you were to finish the sentence "You know you are a quilter when...."

My entry:
You know you are a quilter when…. you successfully share your addiction with your best friend, your coworkers, and even your 78-year-old dad! He taught me how to sew clothing, crochet, knit, woodwork, and take apart cars, years ago…. This past weekend, I ordered him an even-feed quilting foot for his 50-year-old sewing machine because he has taken up quilting, BIG TIME. Score! After all these years of traipsing into quilt shops with me and helping me find fabrics, he’s assembling his own stash! Another convert!! :)

I won! Not because I was particularly brilliant... but because she used a random generator and my number came up! Whoohooooo! I got a sweet note from her and she said she had read some of my blog!

Ahem...In retrospect, perhaps I should have reconsidered including an entry on "burping".... Sigh.

Anyway, I picked her "Executive Carryall Pattern".

Executive Carryall

Aren't they cute? I love them! She sells finishing kits on her site that have the exact zipper you need, the headliner material that gives the finished carry-all a really professional appearance and durability/cushioning, etc.

I was torn between that pattern and another two quilt patterns....

"Chocolat Cherie" (this pattern is really two cute patterns! click underlined to see both on her site)

"You stole my heart!" (Click underlined to see this cute one up close on Annie's site! Love it!)

But I'd been eyeing that Executive Carryall pattern for a loooooooong time.... So I picked that one!

Whoohooo! Thank you, Annie Unrein!! Happy Friday everyone!!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I have probably 20-30 UFOs in bags and boxes all over that sewing room. So now that Milton's quilt is done.... what did I pull out to work on?

Something new!

(Stop laughing!)

A couple weeks ago, in the course of cleaning out a bin and cutting more strips for my string quilt, I came across a bag with a pattern that my friend Judy had sent to me. Judy was my mentor in transcription when I first moved to SoCal. (This was 15 years ago, at least!) I had been transcribing for quite a few years on the East Coast.... but it was an entirely different field out here, namely because of all the new accents I needed to learn. The good old Southern Boys I had been transcribing were tortoises in comparison to the rapid-fire Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Indian accents I encountered here. Judy was my lifeline! We worked on the same account, and when I was stuck, she would listen and patiently tell me the word I could not understand. More often than not, it was a word I KNEW. I just had never heard it said quite that way!

Judy eventually moved away from SoCal and landed in a little town in Texas. She is supremely happy there tending her kitties and has retired from transcribing. She was at a quilt show one day and came across a cute little package of various green fat quarters, folded into little triangles and packaged in a clear plastic fast-food box, and labeled "salad greens"! She bought it for me, with a pattern, and sent them to me. I have never forgotten those "salad greens", although they have long since become a part of the quilts I've made. I set the pattern aside for "someday".

Someday is here!

Here's a picture of the pattern, with Judy's note that says "Dear Joy, just thought of you at the quilt show and wanted you to have these, JAC"

I've kept that note tucked in the pattern for going on six years now.... I'll probably pin it to the back of the wall-hanging when it's done!

Here's a closer picture of the pattern. This is a wall-hanging that says "Do What You Love, With All Your Heart".

Tonight, I got the top shelf pieces picked out, cut out, and Steam-A-Seam'd.

I will actually fuse it and stitch it tomorrow night. I love this basket of fabric.

I'm having Way Too Much Fun with this one!!

P.S. To Susan in Texas: Yes, I used my walking foot on the binding of Milton's quilt. I also used a decorative stitch on my machine named Grandma's Garden. I have carpal tunnel in my wrists from all the years of typing, and I just can't sew bindings on by hand.... But this finishes so nicely, that I actually prefer it! And high fives to your husband, both for the 4 years (Yay!!) and the beautiful leather work he is doing for the Big Books! I'd love to see a picture! I bet they are beautiful!


Milton's Label

20 years. Our awesome friend Milton is celebrating 20 YEARS of sobriety this week. His "birthday" was Sunday (I thought it was this Friday!) but he will take chips and celebrate at all the meetings this whole week.

I picked the black and white materials because I wanted a more masculine tone..... I even found one with fish on it. Milton has a fish; he says he's not home long enough to take good care of a dog. I found one with bicycles on it; Milton is an avid cyclist. I found a LOT of different fabrics with music notes, saxaphones, keyboards; he is a real "blues" fan. Hence the blue/black accent fabric sprinkled throughout his quilt.

I wanted to make him a special label to commemorate such a great occasion. I took some of the blue/black print and fused it onto Steam-A-Seam.... and drew the NA symbol on it.

I cut that out..... and set it aside.

I got "Emma" (my embroidery machine) involved.... and used her to embroider some things on a piece of black fabric.

I then fused the symbol on the embroidered fabric, and applique stitched around the NA symbol.

This was then stitched onto the back of his quilt.

And I have a FO to post for February!


It was a good weekend

From start to finish, it was good. The weather has been horribly rainy, but we had brief periods of awesomeness....

I had a dog sit for one of my favorite clients. They had just added a new puppy to the family, so we had a ball playing with both of them. I slept there overnight, so the little one would have a middle-of-the-night potty break if needed. Here's a picture of Gunner, and the newest little Winston, attacking Mr. B during a potty break visit!

Meet Winston - whose middle name is TooCute!

Saturday afternoon, we piled in the car and went here. Michael had read this write up in the paper and mentioned in passing that he wanted to check it out. He has always loved cafeterias, and he passed on the love of them to Karen, so Karen (who knows LA like the back of her hand) drove us over and we had an early dinner. Mr. B had no idea where we were going until we turned the corner and there it was!

It's supposedly one of the last, if not the last, cafeteria in my City of Angels. Karen has always loved all the choices.... as a child she would ponder them just as she did candy, on the candy aisle. "Pick out a candy bar, honey" resulted in a long wait while she weighed her options and selected one! The cafeterias in Chicago and Texas when she was growing up, were her favorite dining experiences.

Here are some picture of it.... including, if you go through the eight pictures, the requisite green jello choices!! A cafeteria MUST have jello salads! Not that I'd touch them, but I remember them from MY childhood when my grandparents took me to the cafeteria!

Laurie was not able to be with us, and she was missed! Here's a pic of me and Mr. B at dinner....

I had a great time quilting this weekend. We had a sewing session at CozyCottage .... our dear Janet was recuperating from hand surgery, so we got to meet there and sew, but we missed our Fearless (and Very Wise) Leader!

I also had a productive time in my sewing room. Here, I have loaded Milton's quilt to machine quilt it.

And here, I have finished it!

Next came the binding (I do not like binding..... just say'n!)

And here it is, all done! Karen is holding it from the sewing room, over the railing so I can get a picture of the whole thing for my "quilt book"!

I will start another post and show the label I made. Too many pix makes Blogger contankerous!

P.S. Thank you Mr. B for making the weekend even more special by doing the dishes and helping with the dog sit! I got more time to sew! :)

And thank you also, for the 2.5 POUNDS of shrimp! Who needs roses??!! NOT ME! I've enjoyed those shrimp for days now, and still have half of them frozen for "later!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An open letter to daughter Karen

The following blog entry will be yet another blow to my image as a professional (cough!) business owner, wife, mom and quilting "arteeest"....

Karen, her BFF TiJae and my adopted "son" Patrick (thereby her adopted "brother") are extremely casual about burping. At times, they take pride in emitting a particularly rich, deep, rumbling explosion.... and to be honest, Mr. B. does it too. Not sure why, but I just can't. I think it was my Southern upbringing.... A proper young lady would never do such a thing.

If I feel a burp coming and Karen is around, and my inner child is feeling competitive, I let fly with abandon. I get this little sound more like a staccato gasp, and looks of pity from Karen. Then I get "Good try, Mom!"

Her dad lets one rip and HE gets "Nice one, Dad! That one had BASS!" I usually follow that with my own comment...



Anyway, I just sent the following note to Karen at her work email....

My dear Karen,

I just thought you'd like to know that taking an Airborne Tablet (because I hear through the grapevine that an acquaintance is under the weather and, you know, I hugged on this person yesterday....) with the tablet only BARELY DISSOLVED in the water, and in fact, still a tad crunchy, with the added challenge of swallowing 9 vitamin and mineral supplements with the Airborne Tablet, speeded along by the phone ringing (business line) and the need to swallow before reciting my many-digit corporate tax ID number to the Surgery Center's official tax dude.....

(Fitting in this staying healthy stuff is a challenge.)

All of the above will result in you being able to exit my office, round the corner to the kitchen for a cup of tea, leap over the Wuss dog who picks that moment to rise, barely land on your feet in an upright position, and thereby expel a deviant bilabial fricative which registers on the earthquake sensors out in the desert.

(It qualified as a DEVIANT bilabial fricative in that it does not meet with #3 definition)
1. Its manner of articulation is fricative which means it is produced by constricting air flow through a narrow channel at the place of articulation causing turbulence. (Turbulence, Karen, are you impressed???!!)

2. Its place of articulation is bilabial which means it is articulated with both lips. (I think my cheeks may have also been involved.)
3. Its phonation type is voiceless which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. (Sorry - this was a DEEPLY RESONANT utterance.)
4. It is an oral consonant which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth.
5. It is a central consonant which means it is produced by allowing the airstream to flow over the middle of the tongue rather than the sides.
6. The airstream mechanism is pulmonic egressive which means it is articulated by pushing air out of the lungs and through the vocal tract rather than from the glottis or the mouth.

All of Corona sat up and took notice as it blew through to the east. Max the Wuss barked ferociously.

You would have been proud!  I think George Carlin high-fived me from the grave, even though he (God rest his soul) incorrectly used the phrase bilabial fricative to refer to the sound of blowing a raspberry which is correctly called a linguolabial trill (except as performed by chimpanzees).

Carry on...



Monday, February 09, 2009

It was a Monday....All Day!

But that's okay, we got through it!

New alarm was installed today.... and the testing which ensued drove Max the Wuss over the edge into a full panic attack. He hate beeping noises and we thought long and hard before deciding to get an alarm. He has jumped from a second story twice and lived to tell the tale. He will eventually get used to the occasional beep of the alarm, we hope. The crime rate in our area has been escalating, so we took the plunge and bought a new alarm/monitoring service.

During installation, which took 6+ hours, we had Max in a "safe room" with no open windows and a fairly contained area. There are so many boxes and bins in the room, there is not a lot of romping area. I really thought there would be nothing he could do except perhaps scratch the back of the door, which already has pet scratches on it, so, no biggie, right?


New alarm: The expected hundreds of dollars
New rack for my extensive thread collection: $20.00
New blinds for four custom sized windows: $120.00
New finish for table top scratched by claws: $$$ I shutter to think.....
New sense of security while sleeping: Supposedly Priceless...

I'm not so sure about that now! Sigh. Poor dog went absolutely bonkers at one point and climbed over boxes and bedframes and bookshelves to reach windows I thought were inaccessable.... upending my thread collection along the way, and from that point he proceeded to shred the metal venetian blinds.... I'm not sure I'll even replace those, since that's The Big Green Closet Formerly Known As Laurie's Bedroom anyway. I may just get black-out shades and hang those and walk away quietly. Does the deed and plain white from the street view.

All is calm now... And I found all the spools of thread! (Very important, thank you very much!)

Didn't get a chance to post this weekend because I was cooking up a storm.

See how fast my hands are moving as I slice and dice? how fuzzy a picture we got of my efforts?

I made six different main dishes. Tried a new one for stuffed pork steaks that has a stuffing with apple chunks, corn, bread crumbs, onions, and various spices. They get stuffed, browned and frozen...

And someday soon, I'll take 'em out of the freezer, bake them an hour, and pair them with a green veggie/salad. I'm looking forward to seeing what Mr. B thinks of them.

I have two more entres to make (manicotti, and stuffed shells) and then I'll celebrate having a loaded freezer again. I think I'll make sticky chicken to celebrate. Mr. B. loves that and so do I!

I took a break Sunday and went to quilting class. Karen is making fantastic progress on her Bobbin' Along quilt. After hours of "cut 80, slice diagonally, sew this to that - 80 times", things are starting to reach a point where she has completed blocks!

Pieces, pieces, pieces....

Whoo hooo! Happy Karen holding pretty block!

I worked on the February Tiskit Tasket block.... Got it completely cut out and fused in class. Then came home and blanket stitched it.

Loving it!!!


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Home Is - Block 2 (February)


I hung it next to Block 1 (January) just to get a feel for how it's going to look....

Me likey!!

I've been a bit down for the last couple of days.... But this too shall pass! Tomorrow, I will put Milton's borders on his quilt top.... And then on the Handi-Quilter frame it goes! Here it is, ready for the borders...(can't remember if I've posted this before!)

And here is a You Tube video that will give you pause. It's worth every second. (I think its about 4 minutes long.)

"It's not how you start. It's how you finish!"

Now, as the little monk told us at the Buddist temple Karen and I visited over the Tet holiday weekend..... "don't have a good day....."

"be proactive about it! MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!"

P.S. Have you SEEN the new February Tiskit Tasket block!!??