Thursday, December 31, 2009

Is there a "clock that always says 12:30"? (12/30/09)

I was avoiding a year-end post because this year has been so crappy for us: my cancer, Lou's circulation problems, the ongoing issue of aging parents, and yesterday, the putting down of our beloved, LuLu. We had her for 16 years, and though Lillian was her "girl", she was still my dog, too. It was a tough day for all of us, especially as Lou is in Cleveland, and the vet couldn't come to the house, we had to take her in. But, she was ready, it was in her eyes. I kind of think she was just holding on until Lilli came in from AZ for break, and that's okay, too. I posted a comment on the quilting blog that I may be out of touch dealing with this, and the comments back from "the girls' were so uplifting I could feel the support from all over the country.

And then I glanced at Shawnee's latest theme for a flirty apron swap, and I realized I had lied to my children when I said I was staying out of swaps for a while. The theme is "Martini Madness"-what fun for the new year! So, of course I registered, and will get my quilt blocks sewn and out in the mail so I can play with ideas for this one. I guess when I made my hair stylist a satin and organza apron for the holidays, I was just getting some practice-huh?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Got snow? Day 2

Here we have two pictures of the only things I have accomplished today. On the left is my lovely Miss Lucy, looking out from the carport. She is supposed to go to Lilli's appointments tomorrow, but if the county doesn't plow our street tonight, there is no way she will go, and Lilli will only go if Jack picks her up in the 4 wheel drive. On the right is our Violet, who is wondering why she can't frolic all over the front yard, why is that snow higher than she is?

Lou checked, and Federal agencies are closed tomorrow.

But, the big question is: how many weight watcher activity points did that snow shoveling earn me today?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Got Snow?

Yes, this is the South. We are a little over 12 hours into the snowstorm, the rate of "fall" has doubled since last night. Conservatively, we are expecting another foot to foot and a half before it moves on sometime late tonight or early Sunday. On the bottom is the view of our deck. On the top is the view out the front door; one can see that Eric and Erica chose the wrong tree to hide under since they did not fly home to Florida in time. Steps? we have them somewhere out there... After a filling breakfast of eggs and toast, I will go out with my trusty shovel and try to find them......

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hold on, it's coming"

We are getting ready for the mother of storms coming to our area. Since this is the South (we are below the Mason-Dixon Line) one expects it to be southern. Ha.

Right now the forecast is for 3-5 in. of snow tonight after 9 PM. Tomorrow, it is supposed to start snowing late morning, with an expected drop of 2-4 in. per hour most of the day. Add in winds and we could get some very interesting weather; right now the total snow expected is 15-20 in. depending on which news broadcast you lsiten to. I grew up in Ohio where people know how to deal with winter, here it's another story. The radio weather man said if this storm hits as expected, we will still be digging out on Monday. (Snow day from work? that would be cool). So this morning Lou and I made a list of stuff we needed for the house and I went out grocery shopping with a stop at the hardware store for ice melting stuff. It was not a pretty sight at Hardware City, it was only around noon and already people had cleared one shelf and were getting pretty nasty about the other two. Once I got to the grocery store, I couldn't believe how crowded the underground parking was-nobody ever parks down there. I never shop on Fridays so I asked my grocery clerk friend if the Safeway is always this crowded, and he said "No, it's because of the predicted storm. And this is nothing compared to how it will be when people get out of work and we start running out of things like milk and bread. You're smart to come this early."

So, I did the old Ohio stock-up of milk, cereal, batteries, etc. We are READY!!! I moved about one third of a cord of wood to the front stoop so it will be easier to get to if the power goes out and we need to use the fireplace as heat source, I have plenty of propane for the camp stove and we moved the wooden chairs off the front under cover so they won't get wrecked by snow.

So, if you don't see me here for a few days, it's not because I'm busy doing what I should be doing, it's because the power's out and we used up the laptop battery watching movies.

If you're in line for this storm, stay safe. Don't do anything stupid like thinking you can drive out there; you may know how to drive in the snow, but I can guarantee you that close to 95% of the other people who will be out on the road don't have a clue. If you're not in line, thank whatever power you want to that it's not coming your way. I'll keep you posted on the progress....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Post Office-yeah!

Here's what I'm sending out for my first participation in BakingGaLS. Be back later.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Okay, Chanukah's coming!!

I KNOW there are other Jewish bloggers out there, but I don't seem to know where they are! So, I'm sharing with my reading friends. Chanukah (my preferred spelling) is considered a minor-hard to believe, huh?-holiday. It's a great story, recounting bravery, fighting and miracles. the Maccabees were victorious, the single vial of lamp oil lasted eight days, long enough to procure sanctified oil (or to make sanctified oil, depends on which story version you grew up with), and we get to eat great food. That's pretty tongue-in-cheek, but the story is simple: persecuted people ousted the oppressors, cleaned up the Temple, relit the light, and enjoyed a celebration. Now, some people try to equate it to Christmas, and I'm not about to go down that path, I'll share my feelings and thoughts....

When I think about Chanukah, I think of my mother hand grating all those potatoes for latkes. I think about oranges that my Uncle Itz ordered by mail for everyone in Cleveland. I think about the paper plate of cookies my Aunt Lill brought each family from Youngstown: with pineapple tartlettes, hermits and Grandma Riva's cookie press cookies. Of course the cookie press cookies were all colored and pressed in the Christmas shapes, but that's what came with the press so that's what the sisters' used.

When my children were young, we fashioned that base into our own traditions. Our extended family would come for dinner one night of Chanukah, we'd have brisket, latkes, poppyseed cake and lots of cookie press cookies. Debbie would bring spinach dip because that's what she makes best, Donna would bring 7 layer dip because that's what she likes best. I usually wear my Happy Challah Day sweatshirt-which really makes no sense since I never serve challah at the big dinner-but it has dancing dreidels and a menorah, so it fits.

But this year I have the "piece du resistance": blue velvety dreidel dellibobbers!! What a find! I will post pictures soon, and you all will be green with envy...hmmm, one of those Christmas colors, huh?

The important thread that weaves through these memories and traditions is family. My family is my grounding point, plain and simple. I make no excuse for loving them all to bits, it's the way I am.

Tomorrow: share-able recipes start!

Monday, November 30, 2009


We did okay in Cleveland though I left Lou there to help and will go get him this weekend; most likely Omi will go in Saturday for a week, and I will probably take the next one. But that's not what the Ah-Ha is for. That's for a picture that multitasks:

this picture shows me in the apron I won (on the left) and the apron I made for Peg for National Tie One on Day-an apron of course! 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday, Monday-can't trust that day

Today has really been "one of those days".... My father-in-law called mid-morning to cancel their trip in for Thanksgiving because Peg had to be hospitalized. She has been having a series of bad days...and neither of them are getting much sleep. He is exhausted and just needs some respite time. So, Lou and I will take Thanksgiving on the road-minus the turkey. There's no sense in cooking a 16-18 pounder for 4 people, 3 of whom don't eat a lot at one sitting (and don't even ask who number 4 is...)

Then, Alan texted me that his mother-in-law passed away on Saturday, the funeral was today. so, we will see them when we're in town. It isn't exactly shaping up to be a great holiday.

Next, I had to call Sarah and cancel their trip in and assure her she didn't need to come into Cleveland with us. So, she and Henry will stay in New York, and hopefully one of his friends' families will take pity on them and invite them for the day.

I worked like a fiend today to get everything on the system and my paper checks cut. I'll do the direct deposits tomorrow, and then mail the signed checks and get the filing done, then I'm just going to have to go with the flow about the rest of it.

On a more positive note, there are many things I am thankful for. First, my health ("If you don't have your health, you don't have anything") I remain Plus 1, cancer free. My family and friends who have been my support staff throughout this adventure. Second, all the new friends I have made online through blogging, swapping, and Weight Watchers. To share common interests with people all over the world, and see how similar we are in so many ways, makes my heart light.

And now, a word or so to all: There is a very cool site called Baking GALS that you can google and read about. The idea is to bake goods and make a package to be sent to a service person. Not a bad idea given these folks are putting themselves in danger to protect us. Read about it, blog about it, participate if you feel you can. It will make your heart light.

love to you all, beddy bye time for me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

OMG I won!

I can't believe it: I won a give away at The Apron Goddesses!! If you haven't gone to their site, click right over and read away, you will love these girls. I love them, but I'm partial to anything apron, right?

Have to help Lou with dinner, so I'll blog later. Right now, I am enjoying my good luck to have won a fantastic apron--one I didn't make myself!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I missed it?

here's a link to a great site of fabulous aprons....too many aprons, so little time!
Julie from Aprons by Julie

Go to Apron Goddesses to learn more.....

Friday, November 13, 2009

Angeling and Pay it Forward

I have never thought of myself as a weak person, but I must be a closet weakling. I had this grand idea of not getting into anymore swaps or such so I could devote my time to working on things that MIGHT make a little money if I ever got my butt in gear to sew them; aprons, coasters and mitts come to mind immediately.....

Then I saw a note about angeling a few swappers who had missed out on a very fun swap because their partners bailed, so I asked if I could help out. That's not that big a deal, I've got lots of stuff for it and I really liked the theme.

But, then I realized I never posted about my sign up for Tara's Pay it Forward. I won a spot as one of her three. And so my pay it forward means that the first three people who respond that they would like to play will receive a handcrafted gift from me and in turn, have to offer a pay it forward on their blogs making handcrafted things for three people and who agree to do the same and so on-you get the idea. You have 365 days to get the item to them, but most people don't take that long. Make sense?

So, now I'm off to watch original Saturday Night Lives with Lou, and I'll check later to see if anyone grabbed at the chance to pay it forward......

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To the Veterans

I would like to take a moment to thank all the active service men and women who are at this time defending our country and the ideals it was founded on.

Thank you

I would also like to remember other veterans, some still with us and others not. To my brother, Barney, who served in Germany and then came home and took care of our mom after my dad died. To cousins Mark, Sherlene, Debbie, Shawn and Robbie, active and reserve Air Force. My father, Henry, my uncles Nate, Abe and David who served in World War II and rarely spoke of the horrors they witnessed, some being in on the liberation of the concentration camps and the liberation of Paris. I cannot imagine what families went through waiting for news, and my heart goes out to families today who wait for news.

I am glad that I live in a country where I can say what I think, when I think, where I think. And I am eternally grateful to the men and women who risk their lives and their families' anguish to preserve that right. May G-d bless you and keep you.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What I'm working on

I've just finished up the November block for the Bee Balm, it's a wonky log cabin with really cool colors. I think I did it right, it's hard because I read about log cabin blocks in a few different books, and each said to do it differently. I tried to do it the way some of the other bee-ers did it. You decide:

I'd like to start some Chanukah fabric aprons, but I think I need to concentrate on Will's blanket to get it finished before he goes to school.:-) I may decide to rotary cut out one of my more basic patterns, then I can just whip them up.

It was an absolutely beautiful day today, I spent about a half hour raking leaves in the sunshine, then coming in and reading. We've been vegging out in front of the tv way too much, so I'm back in a book.

I also was approved for membership in the Baking GALS, and that will be a really neat thing to be doing.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Right Stuff, er, blogspot....

I am definitely lame when it comes to knowing where I am in cyberspace. I originally posted this to our online quilting bee blog when it really belongs here.....

Yesterday between doctor appointments I finished up the Passionately Pink apron swap apron; well, to be honest, I started and finished it. October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, just got away from me with all the traveling we did and I couldn't seem to get to my sewing machine. Today I will box up the package and send it out. I made Mary's clothespin apron because my partner wanted something full and functional. I made it reversible. I made it out of pink print fabric from the stash-some I'd bought for Lill and never made into anything (sorry, Sweeta, I owe you...) It's very cute, I will post a picture after I get an email that she received it. Even though pink is not one of my favorite colors to wear, I would keep this one....

Today starts Tara's quilting retreat in Colorado. Amanda Jean from crazy mom quilts is leading it. I would have loved to go, but it just wasn't in the cards, or the flight plan. I am there in spirit, and this weekend I will start Lill's lap quilt so I am working on a quilting project.

Will's baby blanket continues to progress, I'm about a third to a half done. It's really very cute even if it doesn't look like the picture on the pattern slip. I'm hoping to finish it by next week so I can send it off.

Today the sun is shining, I'm feeling good, and the sky is the limit in terms of energy. There is something to be said for getting a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

WIPs and UFOs

So, now that we are done with Halloween, I'm thinking it may be time to face the STACKS: all those works-in-progress and unfinished objects stacked around the dining room and sewing table in the blue room (just like the White House, we have a Blue Room, but it begs the question: do they have a Yellow Room like we do?).

And now I have incentive...Lou just let me know he will be doing a prospective student interview here at the house on Sunday. And I honestly thought I had until the week before Thanksgiving before I thought about cleaning and moving WIPs and UFOs. Well, I'll just rearrange my thoughts and start organizing earlier than expected.

I wanted to create a master list of things needing finishing, but then realized that the list is probably so LONG that I'd get discouraged and not pick up anything. I did make a list of about 8 items that are recently started and need finishing; I know I have tons more, but they're not needed in the near future.

I'm feeling really good right now and fairly strong, so I want to take advantage of these feelings and move ahead on the things I want to do rather than the things I have had to do. It's almost like the whole cancer adventure happened to a different me, except that I see the scars everyday when I look at my body. I am strong, I am healing, I am Plus 1.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I need some Geritol

I am so tired right now I need some Geritol. It will be interesting to see if anyone even knows/remembers what Geritol is or if they still make it.

I hate not being able to find things in my house. It is happening a lot lately. It is scary.

On a brighter note, plans are zooming along for the upcoming visit to Cleveland. I have a blueberry pie on hold at Giant that I will pick up after work. The meals planned so far are lobster and steak for the anniversary dinner, salmon patties and spaghetti and meatballs for the other nights. We'll have salad, fresh warmed bread, applesauce, and all the other goodies that go along with those meals. I bought them a "tower of chocolate" collection from Harry and David for a little present, and they will enjoy opening all the different boxes of stuff.

I'm going to bed now, nighty night.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sadness and Sunshine

Today, in Eugene, OR, the unveiling of the headstone for my mother-in-law, Gloria, took place. In Judaism, this ceremony usually occurs 11 months after a person's death. It's hard to believe it's been almost a year since her passing, that her house was broken down, and that other people are living there. I wish I could have gone to support my sisters-in-law, but to be honest, I really don't ever want to be in Eugene again. I did promise Jude I would come when the boys are Bar Mitzvah, but I don't want the years of good memories to be marred by trips that will not produce those kinds of memories.

Instead, to honor her memory, Lou and I planted 40+ bulbs today. She always loved flowers, her beds beautifully planned and tended. Though we tend to have a "wilder" look to our beds than she preferred, the daffs will come up next spring and sway in the breeze and perfume the air drifting into the house, and I will think of her and how much she meant to me. She actually told Zelda that I was more stubborn than she was. I'm not sure that's true, we never really went head to head on things. When she visited, we did things her way. When she wasn't around, we did things our way. She was definitely an "Ashet Chiyel", a woman of valor, and I will miss her.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tiles down, swap to go

Here is the picture of my italian tile blocks for Shelly, the second of our online quilting bee group. This is the "third time's a charm" for me; I had to do them 3 times before they came out close enough to "right" for me to send along. It's the most involved block I've done to date, and sewing on the bias in a quilt block is not something I have mastered yet. Tara suggested starching the material before sewing, and I did read about that after I'd done the blocks. But, I think they are okay.

Tomorrow I plan on getting the laundry caught up and sewing my passionately pink breast cancer awareness month swap apron. My partner wants something full and functional, and I've decided to make a reversible bib apron with pockets along the bottom edge-very functional I think. I've got a few add-ins related to awareness, and then it'll be off into the mail.

After this, I think I'll "retire" from the swap trade for a while and work on holiday gifts for family and friends. I'll be doing a lot of aprons and coasters, maybe mitts, and hopefully the little microwave mitts kathleen was talking about. I've made some good progress on Will's blanket, and I'm waiting for color confirmation from Kathleen to start on Johnny's quilt.

Tonight, a nice steak dinner and then baseball. My life is so good.....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halloween, received and on its way

So, you saw it o
n the mannequin, now you see it on the girl-child! I'm not sure how she took this picture of herself, but you get the gist of how the outfit looks. Best part-there may be a party from some folks in her department who are Dr. Who fans, and they will know immediately what she is. Life is good!

lou and I had a great time in Providence over the weekend with our Redhead. It was butt-cold, but we survived! Here is KS at the game, Brown beat Princeton, and her grandfather saw her on national television.... can you tell it is cold? and the only thing I cut off was the top of her hat, but she sure looks cute, huh? And we ate lots of really good sushi with the kids.

Then, I finally got the Halloween spook and rattle swap apron package for Val finished and packed up for mailing tomorrow. I had to put it aside to get Lill's costume done, but she understood because the same thing has happened to her. So, I'll send it out priority tomorrow and she'll have it before Halloween. She did say she likes a party, so that's what she is getting. The picture is kind of screwed up colorwise-the satin is purple and the overlays are sheer black with embossed spiderwebs and spiders, and multicolored sequins. Val didn't want the standard orange and black-already has it in her Halloween wardrobe. Then, I got her a black tablecloth, a ceiling spider hang-down like the one I use on the front porch, a centerpiece for her table, a swag to put around her door, and two sweet little tealight holders with purple insides. There are a few spiderwebs to spread in purple and black-going with the color scheme here-and I threw in some jelly beans to enjoy while she's planning her party. I hope she takes a picture with the apron on because it's so cute--three layers of swirls. I like this pattern a lot and will probably use it more often, with various treatments.

While we were up north, Saskia came and got the rest of her stuff from the yellow room. This weekend I hope to rearrange the furniture in the room so we can bring in the bargain oak table we got, and have a good surface for my cutting board. Then, I plan on sewing!! lots and lots of sewing, though right now I'm working on a knitted baby blanket for the latest addition on the Neufeld side, William Fletcher Matthews, known as Will. he will probably get the blanket before the sweater is done, and with any luck I will finish the blanket for Lily (big sis who has her sweater) before she graduates from high school......she is about 18 months now, so I have a fighting chance.

We have had a few spectacular fall afternoons, perfect top down weather, which I took advantage of. We also scored some seeds and cuttings from Japanese maples in the neighborhood, and hopefully over the course of the winter, with his new growlight arrangement, Lou will get some started to bonzai. It should be fun, and that's an important part of everything, right?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Halloween is on it's way West-don't look Lill!

After a few days of nonstop, drop everything else sewing, I have finished Lilli's Halloween costume. It is packed and ready to mail tomorrow. Here is the picture. It's actually pretty ingenious as the top and outer skirt are one piece, and the lavender is a pull-on underskirt with a crinoline slip attached at the waist. Usually I take pictures of the girls in their costumes in front of the fireplace by the french doors, but since Lill isn't here, it had to be on Dolly the dressform.

Unfortunately, because we are going to Providence on Thursday I won't be able to get Val's apron finished and into the mail on Saturday. I will have it out on Tuesday, but I hate getting my timing jammed like this; having company is wonderful but it can mess with your schedule (enough said).

Other news of the day, I have two orders for holiday aprons. I will be meeting with the client (does that sound cool or what?) next week to find out what she wants. I emailed some pictures of my work, and she liked it. I'm jazzed!

I've cut the next quilt blocks out in larger squares, and will start round 2 next week when we're back from Providence. Of course, the Redhead realized last Saturday that Halloween is only 3 weeks away, and she's not sure what costume she wants to wear this year. I sent her a bunch of pattern numbers to look at and maybe she'll find something she likes, if not, she's going to have to wing it.

NEWS FLASH: We met with the plastic surgeon today and he is completely satisfied with my progress and doesn't want to see me until NEXT YEAR! we are celebrating! LIfe is good. A nod to my friend Corey at work who ran as part of a team in a marathon to raise funds for breast cancer-and he wore my name on his number. I am really blessed in the family and friends dept. So, now that I have my life back, we probably won't be having many discussions about my journey. The last leg is the tattooing, and I'm still not sure I want to do; it's bad enough I can't give blood for 2 years because of the surgery, I don't want to mess it up by having a tat. I'll have to call NIH and ask about it.

Last Thursday was my guild meeting, and the program was on beading. This is a craft I have never delved into deeply, and I can tell that is about to change. Judy Shapiro, a local artist, was the presenter, and I am hooked. We are doing these really cool pomegranate pins. She does some amazing jewelry. I like to think I have some skill, but these women I'm meeting are amazing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Time flies

time has a habit of getting away from me. there are so many things I wanted to get done this week, and I've been doing all kinds of things but those on my list. Hopefully, tomorrow will be the day I can cross things off my list.

I am having a little trouble with this month's quilting bee block. I tried really hard to keep all the seams at 1/4 inch, but my finished block is a little off, and once trimmed it's not going to be 6 1/2 in. I'm not sure what I did wrong. So, I'm going to try the other two blocks that are ready to sew, then see what they measure. Some others have cut their starting blocks larger, but I don't understand how that will help-I just don't know enough about blocks yet.

I have basically nothing new to take to the Guild meeting tomorrow. I have one coaster; not even a full set.

Once I get back from the meeting tomorrow, I'm hoping to have a marathon session with the sewing machine. I have missed it, but I'm not sure what I've been so busy doing, it's just been a weird week.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dear Jane news flash!

I don't know how I missed it over at Apron Goddesses, but the current giveaway is a sweet apron from Dear Jane, at Oh, now I know, it was posted on the 28th, erev Yom Kippur, so I wasn't on the computer........

go look, go buy, support independent craft women!

One great weekend

This had been one great weekend. On Friday I did errands and got the lawn mowed-before the rains came. Finally, I beat Mother Nature for once. Saturday I did laundry, cut out the rest of Lillian's costume, cut out the new blocks for the quilting bee, and washed the floors. Today I got a haircut-still short because we continue to have top down weather-and then took a walk with Vera. This time her daughter came along and we went to the track up at the high school. We walked and talked for a little over a mile, and the sunshine kid probably did about a mile and a half on her bike. Not bad for a kid in the "doghouse"-she didn't do her homework yesterday as requested and has lost some privileges...I am so glad those days are behind me.

Lou and I mounted the brackets for the plant light fixtures over the bay window and will let the one hang for a few days to decide if we like the height. We needed to get plant lights up here because when we bring in the more fragile plants for the winter, they don't really get enough light because of the blocking film on the windows. The poor pomegranate usually looks like it died; and I really don't want that to happen.

Yesterday I read about a really interesting non-profit that has set a goal (for October) of delivering 400 quilts to homeless children. I wish I could help, but I have too many projects for October already. There is Lill's costume, my Halloween swap, the flirty and sassy support breast cancer awareness swap, Lill's lap quilt, the baby quilts for Jamie's and Anna's new born baby boys and of course my aprons that I want to start getting finished. Ah, it's good to have a list, and hopefully I will get things crossed off it in a timely manner.

I'm looking forward to a busy week and weekend, then on the 15th we'll go up to Providence to visit Sarah for Parents' Weekend. The band highlights seniors at the football game-scary thought if you know anything about the Brown Band..... but it will be fun to have lunch with Aunt Zelda and Uncle Ed, and to hang out with the KS.

We hope to go into Cleveland for Halloween weekend just to visit, and then we'll be needing to think about Thanksgiving. We've invited Si and Peg to come here-he's got a bazillion frequent flyer miles and could come before and leave after the blackout dates. So, we'll see how that goes.

Then we'll have December when Lillian will be home for a few weeks, maybe KS, too if she's not too deep into research, and that's always fun. We'll try and go to Cleveland for Si's birthday-the Big 8-6, ya know....

I love this time of year-all the color, the breezes, thoughts of my kids being around. Life doesn't get much better than this!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Dear sweet daughter,
I am not talking about the Pilsbury or Duncan Hines cans that have been around for years. I am talking about a new kind that has a decorator tip that you can shoot directly into your mouth-it looks like a skinny whipped cream can. It's a good thing I don't need to decorate any cakes.....I love you, now do your work and go to bed!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I cannot believe it, you can now buy frosting in a can so that you don't even need a spoon to get it to your mouth. I could be in trouble.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"The check is in the mail"

Actually, it's Tara's online quilting bee block that is in the mail, on its way to her. She went first, picking a house theme. We muddled our way through the initial month, and are now ready to really have fun. we even have "membership" cards--very cool. Ya-hoo!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Isn't it Friday?

I have been thinking today is Friday all day long because I was going to give blood at NIH today, and I usually go in on Fridays. What a fiasco, it seems that breast cancer surgery and reconstruction is one of the cancers tha put you on a two year hold; I can't give blood until I go through two years of no recurrence. This is reasonable, I imagine, but it would have been a whole lot better if the person who called in May for me to come in and give (I'm on a special list because of certain antibodies in my blood-I only give when they have a patient who need that type of blood) and I told her about my surgery would have told me about the wait. Unfortunately, the nurse who was checking me in said that that calling person probably hadn't listened. I asked her to please let management know this had happened, because 1) it was disappointing not to be able to give blood and 2) it took a lot of time from my day that i could have done something else with.

When I was talking with Lillian about it, she asked that I find a venue to "give" that didn't involve being around people, like a soup kitchen, because she didn't want me picking up a cold or flu this winter. It was very sweet. Most likely I will knit or crochet helmet liners for service people, the Lion brand yarn website has a list of lots of charities that need handcrafted donations.

So, the plan is now to walk, sew, and read tomorrow. Lou wants to walk about two blocks tomorrow, then a little farther Saturday, then a little farther on Sunday. As a WW friend says, any walking is better than sitting watching the TV. I'd probably agree, unless it was NCIS reruns. Lou and I have become addicted to them; and watch a couple every night they are on.....

Monday, September 21, 2009

I cannot believe it

Shock. Amazement. Dumbfoundedness. I actually got a button up on the blog.

Tara you are amazing-I followed your directions.

Enough said.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where Have I Been?

I have been very busy but I'm not sure at what. I feel like it is days since I have checked blogs, and there's so much news to catch up on. I am doing very well with WW (weight watchers) and the pounds are starting to fall again-not very fast, but at least down rather than up.

I have been increasing my steps as the prelude to starting an exercise program: I have my long term goal (to hike the Grand Canyon with Lillian next summer) and have to set up my short term goals. A funny thing at work happened today. One of the young IT guys, while talking about diet and exercise, asked me if I wanted to run a marathon with them next month. Who are they kidding? I'm probably 25-30 years older than most of them, and haven't nearly enough time to train even if I thought it was something I wanted to do. And I have to admit, once upon a time I wanted to train to race-maybe not a marathon, but a 5 or 10K. Though I did do a lot of running in my 20s, I never raced. Omi did-I've even seen a picture of her with her number tag on.

I have been busy cutting out material, both for Lill's costume and for the Halloween apron swap. I was at Bruce's Variety yesterday and got some cool Halloween stuff (as if I didn't have enough already).

I have been to my first meeting of the local chapter of the Pomegranate Guild. What a wonderful bunch of ladies, and they are working on some incredible Judaic crafts. One woman is hooking a wall hanging for her daughter of Chagall's windows, another is quilting challah covers, a third is needlepointing a pillow top while a fourth is a beader, doing beaded yalmulkes (headcoverings) and a really interesting crochet beaded necklace. I hope to have a few of my holiday aprons ready to take next month to show them. This month I took the crocheted placemats that look like Passover candy slices.

I have made four loaves of zucchini bread in the last two nights-thank you, Dave, our next door neighbor, for growing zuccs this summer.....

There are things I have not done. I have not finished the laundry, and given there are just two of us home now, that's pathetic. I have not painted the front door, but that will happen soon. I have not made new seat cushions for the dining room chairs. I have not mailed out Rosh Hashanah cards. But, I have enjoyed some beautiful fall weather, I have talked on the phone with friends, I have eaten some wonderful meals Lou has cooked and I have almost finished reading a book about the last few days of Grant's march toward Appomattox. See, Lill, I can read something besides Nora Roberts.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

End of the day thoughts

what a day it's been! I got a great email from my partner, Val, in the Halloween Spooky apron swap, or course I can't figure out how to post the button or you'd know I entered it. Anyway, it's cool knowing who my partner is this time. I have a few really great stash items that I can use depending on her preferences.

I also spent some time tonight looking up quilt blocks for the The Bee Balm quilting bee. It's so sweet of Tara to let me participate when I don't have any clue as to what I'm doing- a true friend and I haven't even met her in person yet! I am honestly in awe of the many women who quilt. I spent some time going through the inventory on a website of Amish quilts from Lancaster, PA. These are some of the most amazing pieces of work I have ever seen-I am humbled at the ability and creativity these women have and yet take for granted. When you look at the close up photos and see the intricacy of design, not to mention these things are hand quilted, you can't help but let your jaw drop. I know I'm good with a needle, but these are truly works of art.

Tomorrow I am going to my first meeting of the local chapter of the Pomegranate Guild, the organization that supports Jewish Needlework. Hopefully it will lead to some contacts for temple holiday craft boutiques. Last night I was looking at some of the things that are being marketed for Passover, made out of the matzo print cloth, and of course I said to myself, Self-you could do that, especially since you have lots of batting and just bought 2 yards of Insul-Bright.... so of course I bought about 3 yards of material from them, and once it gets here will have to decide whether to make placemats and hot pads or reversible aprons. The matzo print is 60 in wide, so 2 yards will go a long way. Sometimes it's the choices that get in the way, you know?

I've got a great sewing afternoon planned for tomorrrow. I'm going to start Lillian's costume-lots of pieces to cut out, but it's going to be so cute I can't stand it already. And, if I hear from Val, I'll probably start on her apron. She likes half aprons, so that's barely an afternoon of sewing and it's done! The question remains: will she want traditionally Halloween in orange and black, racy Halloween in sheers and sparkles, or fall traditional colors? we'll see soon enough...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Nothing like a sale!

There is nothing like a great sale to make sure that I contribute to the economy. Lilli sent the pattern she wanted for Halloween home from AZ with Jack, and since JoAnn's was having a big sale, I talked Angie into going with me. Of course with patterns on sale, I had to get a few-9-mostly apron but some clothes, too, as I did promise myself to do some sewing for ME.

I got great materials for Lilli's costume. If you are a Dr. Who fan, you may remember the face in the fireplace episode where the clock androids keep checking on Mme. du Pompadour until she is "ready". So, Lilli found a costume pattern similar to the dresses the ladies wore
-short rather than floor length. I found a lovely brocade with a pink background and a gold/blue-gray paisley, and lavender for the underskirt. The question now is to make the bodice insert the lavender under lace or the champagne under lace. We will have to think on it. the pattern is Simplicity #2832, view B, and these are the basic materials:this shows the border lace, the scalloped edge for the lower sleeves, the brocade, and my choices of bodice top, the underskirt is the lavender. it'll be fun doing some period sewing again..... I will probably start tonight or tomorrow.

I also went wild for the spooks etc swap I entered on Aunt Pitty Pat's blog. It's really going to be something different--shiny, embossed, glittery--I'll post the finished product once I decide which style to make...... I do hope I will actually get some sewing done for sales, I really need to stop giving everything away.....

We have had some lovely fall temperatures this past week, and when we took Sarah up to Providence Wednesday, the trees were starting to change up North. It was beautiful there, cool and sunny. Her room is nice, she probably still has way too much stuff there, and eventually it will get sorted out. Lou and I will now have to get used to being just the two of us again, and when we're comfortable with that, you know they both will be home for the holidays, and it'll be crazy around here again.

I think it's nap time.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Caution-whine ahead

I have been wandering some of the blogs I follow catching up tonight, and it just seems that everyone is really creative and busy and I am letting life pass me by. I don't know why this funk has settled in, I have been having a few great days and today it was sunny and cool and I put the top down on Miss Lucy to drive home from work.

I know I am supposed to take things slowly and work my way back up to full speed ahead, but when I do nothing I feel like I should be doing something, even though I know that rest=healing and I still have so much healing to do. I think I am suffering from a caffeine dump, I had a lot of coffee at work today, and didn't have any soda under my desk so I got it out of the machine and it was caffeinated which I hardly ever drink.

I think I need to go have some cheese with my whine. I think I am feeling sorry for myself. I think I will go to bed after I have some milk and cookies.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Well, here it is

Well, this is my very first quilt EVER. I am so proud of it. It is for Sarah to cuddle under while she is doing all her reading for her honors thesis. It is one of the quilt kits I bought online in my fit of craziness, but it turned out pretty good. There are definitely some places where the "dancing geese" don't exactly match up, but Lou says that's part of the charm of handcrafted. The back side brings in one of her favorite colors, green, and some blue with little froggies all over the place: and no, Omi, frogs do not fly-ever-no matter what you think. I machine quilted it by sewing "in the ditch" and she did not want any extra stitching in the triangles. Her quilt, her choice.

This project helped me realize why the first sets of coasters I made seemed off. I was using a mark on the plate as a 1/4 inch measure, and it's a hair wider-so none of my rounds matched the way they should have. Now I know to use the presser foot, and since I have other coasters cut out to stitch, I'll try it on them.

I'm going to wait a little bit before I start Lilli's quilt, she'll get to pick whether she wants the geese or windmills. I didn't like the colors of Sarah's as windmills, that's why I didn't give her a choice.....Lilli's materials are blues and lavenders, not her usual first choice, but the package was called Lily Rose, and I had to buy it for my Lillian Rose. I'll do the back in pinks, her colors, and even if it's a little nontraditional, who cares?

My new game plan is to start planning holiday sewing next week and then begin when we get back from Providence and taking Sarah up to school. I have most of my stash material organized in plastic bins now and will be able to see exactly what I have to play with. So far I haven't had any luck finding Insul-Brite locally, but I may just order it online so I can make some of those microwave mitts Kathleen was talking about. I think I need to give my hands a rest from the crochet, my fingers have been cramping a lot lately.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A new sting

It's official: I've been stung by the quilting bee. I have never really quilted before, though I have been buying books on quilting for years. (Just goes to show: all these years I've been saying if you can read you can learn to do anything, so reading all those books finally paid off). Friday night, when I couldn't sleep, I started on one of the three quilt kits I recently bought online. Since Sarah is going back to school soon, I started with her lap quilt. Now, I know there are a lot of places where points don't match up or sewing lines are skewed, but boy was it fun! I did a variation of the flying geese block pattern, and working with triangles that size was a good introduction. I changed around the colors from the picture because I wanted more contrast in the top. Then to bring in her other favorite colors, I found a cute frog on lilypad print in greens and blues for the backing. All I have left is the binding and making a label to sew on. I will post a picture when I finish the binding. It was definitely a cool project.

I am starting to have some feeling in my breasts, so the nerve regeneration must be moving along. I really didn't expect this for another three months. It's weird to have these body parts that you can see but not feel; and like "the wet spot", nobody tells you about it. I didn't see anything in any of the literature I read. The only comment close was that the body can take up to a year to "settle" into its new shape. I'm hoping mine doesn't change too much, I knid of like what I have now......

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The good news: she liked it!

Well, I got this really nice email from Dayna, my partner for the Lucy swap and she really liked her package. It's so nice that she responded right away, I don't have to worry if she got it, etc. Personally, I think the Jell-O is what really makes the package.

So, I'm thinking it's about time to stop entering swaps and start getting some sewing done for inventory, and what happens? I read about Aunt Pitty Pat doing a Halloween swap that sounds like real fun, and a fast turn around. Of course I signed up, and think I might try some stuff from the fabric origami book on it. Then, if I like it, I might incorporate that into some other things I do. Once again, branching out instead of refining---hmmmm, do we see a trend here?

I got my hair cut yesterday, nice and short. Since it's been so hot around here it is definitely still top down weather. It'll be fun when we start the monthly drives to Cleveland, especially if we take the scenic route.

I am so proud. Lillian, my older daughter, has made her first set of curtains for the kitchen window in her apartment. The picture of them is very cute, and taking after her bargain hunting mother, the material came from a sheet she found at Goodwill.

It's hard to believe my baby, Sarah, will be 21 years old tomorrow. Where has the time gone? I can still remember the first day I dropped her at preschool. She readily went into Peggy's arms, knowing everyone at Montessori, but as I started to leave, she cried out, "Mommy, don't leave me here! Don't leave me here!" I thought it would only echo in my head that day, but there are moments it creeps up and takes me by surprise.

I look at the two of them, my girls, and am so proud of the people they have become. Though so very different in many ways, they are so alike in so many others: they call their family (aunts, uncles, grandfather) without prompting, they send cards for birthdays and anniversaries or "just because", they deal with each other....they keep trying to get me and Louie to clean up our stuff-mainly because they don't want to have to deal with it, and there's definitely a lot of it!

Today I started organizing the dining/living room areas, what I would have started in May if I hadn't had the fun of surgery and healing to deal with. It'll just get finished later and later.

We are due for some tremendous thunderstorms this evening that were supposed to start an hour ago. They may not come, but I'm prepared, I have my candles out and new batteries for the little radio. Unfortunately, the TV part is analog, so we won't be able to watch that anymore and since the battery on this laptop doesn't hold a charge, we won't be watching movies on this either.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another day in apron heaven

Please skip over to the apron goddesses and check out the cool giveaway from momomadeit.......but try not to enter so I have a better chance of winning. In fact, help the economy recover and buy one of Joan's aprons instead of waiting around to see if you win it!

I took a great picture of my Lucy swap package, and was about to ask Lillian how long I should expect the charge on the battery to hold since it's been from Chanukah last December, and just as I sat down to call the little sign came on, and the camera went out. So, the battery is charging and that picture will be on tomorrow.

BUT, Sarah helped me learn a new skill tonight: how to burn downloaded pictures to a cd. Now I will be able to send these cds to Omi for the picture frame she got for Si, it will be so cool.... I even put some pictures from last year on the cd for her to have a nice choice of stuff.

Tomorrow I am going to work a little on the bedroom book piles, then I am taking myself off to the fabric store. I am on a mission to find insul-brite (spelling?) an insulating material for using in hotpads and oven mitts. Since I have this cool pattern for oven mitts, and I want to try making some microwave mitts, I need to get this stuff so the pots don't burn the user (Louis). Besides, does one ever need a reason to go to the fabric store?

In case you haven't heard, there is a movement afoot (not unlike Arlo Guthrie's Thanksgiving Day Massacre Movement) to be sure that independent fabric stores don't fade from the face of the earth. It is called Project 95. Here is some information on it:

Project 95: Fabric Shoppers Unite!
When you shop at independent quilt and fabric shops, you support small businesses (often in your community) that cater specifically to your needs. Join us in this worthy cause. Shop independent. And voice your support for the movement by following the activities of Project 95 on:

Please read through this and support in any way you can.

My fingers are cramping up from typing and crochet, so it's time to say goodnight to you all, my princes and princesses of the world.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Fun

for those of you who haven't found them yet, there is a wonderful blog at Presser Foot by two sisters who are advancing the art of sewing by using their blog as an ongoing tutorial. they pick a pattern monthly, make fabric suggestions, then walk the reader through the steps, and missteps, that go into making the pattern. They are having a giveaway in august for a darling maxi dress pattern and retro fabric, go see them and enjoy.

Today I'm going with Vera to a wine and cheese fundraiser at Strathmore Music Center. I'm not sure why, since I don't really like wine or cheese. I think she really wanted to go, but not alone. So, we'll go and see how they try to convince us to spend money.

The doctor was very happy with my progress and has released me to go back to work on the 24th. i think I can spend the week working up to staying awake all day, etc. so I'm not so exhausted when I go back.

We'll be taking Sarah up to school on the second, it's hard to believe she's a senior. I can't even think about the logistics of graduation yet.

lou and I have decided that the best help we can be to Si and Peg is to arrange to go into Cleveland once a month and help/hang out with them so that they can get everything in order for Florida. Lou is convinced it's something his father really needs to do, and arranging help for Peg will be something we work on in the next few months.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Plunge

Now that I have this cancer thing licked, I decided I needed to attack some of my WIPs and see if anything would come of it. From the leftover apple print fabric, I made three half aprons today with pocket trim/placement variation. My first "inventory"-it's really exciting! I have a few other half apron ideas to play with, and I need to settle on one or two full patterns to make. I realized today that my biggest problem has been definition: I love so many hand arts that I haven't been able to edit down what I want on my website. Alan says "one of anything is 'inventory'" but I can't go by that. I think I need to settle on a few styles, then fabricate them in various prints, and see how they do.

I finished and boxed my Lucy swap last night: I'll download a picture tomorrow. I made the tiered apron pattern I like so much, but switched it to blue polka dots on white. I included a juicer and glasses, some pearls, a "dust collector" for the kitchen table, and of course, Jell-O. I would only spent Shawnee's goody budget if we hadn't seen the oak table and the Wedgewood creamer. The table's a beauty, about 48" square, and was reasonably priced because it was missing the leaves. Lou thought it would work well with the table I have downstairs already to create a cutting area for me so I don't need to use the dining room table and be running up and down all the time.

We got the creamer for Sarah for school for her milk with tea, she really likes Wedgewood and she will be 21 next Thursday. It was a little pricey, but it adds to the collection her grandmother started for her.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Feeling fine

I think I have finally caught up on my sleep from getting up at 5 AM on Friday for the surgery. It went well and I was home in my own bed by 11:30. I slept most of Friday and Saturday, and today have only pain twinges that OTC drugs are taking care of, no need for the narcotics. I have weird looking nipples, and there has been some uplift-but until the swelling goes down, we really don't know what I'll look like. As long as the tests come back "cancer free" I don't really care what it looks like.

I still have some work to do on my Lucy swap, later in the week when I am feeling better I will go to the Society for the Prevention of Blindness thrift store and get some kitchenware for my package. It may be hard to come up to snuff when you look at some of the other packages that people are posting. I'll get my picture soon since Lou brought my camera back from Cleveland.

I am trying to re-dedicate myself to following the weight watchers plan, and therefore have set a long term goal for myself, short term goals to be worked out this week: I want to be in good enough physical shape to go camping and hiking in the Grand Canyon with Lillian next summer. The pictures she sent back are so beautiful, I want to see that place. So, over-achiever that I tend to be, I will be figuring out walking mileage goals and strength training goals to meet so that I will be in shape by June, 2010. I am hoping it will keep my blood pressure down so that I do not have to go back on drugs....

I was pretty pissed off at the black squirrel who frequents the deck yesterday. I watched as he plumped himself down in the pot of the miniature pomegranate tree and just reached over and started eating the newly forming fruits. last summer no one touched that plant and we had lots of miniature fruit for Rosh Hashanah, but this year it may be a battle to keep him out of there. Lou puts out seed 3-6 times a day, so I don't see why he has to go into my plant....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

FAS6 Lucy faces

FAS6 Lucy faces
Originally uploaded by shawneeh
here's one of Shawnee's great buttons for the Lucy, to get it on my sidebar? hmmmmmmm

Monday, August 3, 2009

On the road again

Actually, I'm off the road again, I am back in MD from OH. It was a pleasant drive except for the two sections of single lane, 10 mph 5 mile stretches due to construction and a disabled truck.

I had a nice few days in Cleveland, though I think it's a little overwhelming for Peg, and that Si didn't realize that his friends reuniting their kids for a weekend when they have one or two kids is a lot different than reuniting 5 kids, their families, and one cousin added...I'm sorry to miss the meal at Marbella's, but Lou did burgers on the grill last night, and the lobster we had Friday for his birthday was superb.

I just finished going through the mail and it feels like my birthday! First, there was the box from Lill with a dvd for me, then there was the package from the Lucy apron swap. And that little sneaky girl Tara asked for me as her partner. she sent me an amazing package: a full length reversible apron in blue/blue dots (is there any other color? of course, the Ostrachs would say it has to be purple-but I was a Neufeld before I was an Ostrach), dish towels, fat quarters of Lucy fabric, a felted pin cushion and pins, a felted bag with a Lucy lottery card, trading cards and of course chocolate. Then, she added a bottle of her gardener salt scrub--if it is anything like her other soaps, it will be heaven. I'm disappointed I can't go to the quilting retreat because of the timing, but I will be there is spirit because.....

I have truly lost my mind and ordered 3 quilt top kits from Fabric Cafe. It's hard to resist a sale, and these look like a beginner can handle them....if not, I'll muddle through anyway.

I will post a picture of my fabulous Lucy package when Lou gets home thursday night as I left my camera in Cleveland for him (he thinks I left it by accident, I probably did but this is a good save.)

I need to stop now though I have more news, but Sarah loaded her GRE test stuff on the toshiba, and it changed the magnification to HUGE and it's difficult to follow though very easy to read.....we'll have to figure out how to fix it or get Lill or Jack to explain it...

more to follow tomorrow...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy birthday to Lou

My husband and I are finally the same age again, I am no longer the older woman in his life. We are in Cleveland visiting for the family reunion his dad wants, and already there have been two bids for Family Fun Day status: David didn't know airlines don't serve food anymore (where has he been?) and then the special van was the wrong one.....and we have a whole lot more days of this, and everyone else is coming in tomorrow.

I've been fairly good, mentally in a good place. Sewing hasn't really picked up, but then I think it's part of the mess the downstairs is...but at least it doesn't stink anymore.

I can't write anymore at the moment, there is too much "oh, is this about me or you" going on and I have to leave this room.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Good news from the doc front

I had an appointment today with the oncologist, Dr. Raj. My blood work is normal which means that the iron deficiency 6 weeks ago was probably from surgical blood loss. Dr. Raj is really happy with my progress and basically said-"go, I'll see you at year end". She's really pleased with how "natural" my body looks right now-and the "bounce-ability" of my breasts....I told her that the nail softness and hot flashes were the only side affects of the new drug she put me on, and when she looked concerned, I told I'd eat more jello and that I'd rather have 20 hot flashes a day then have cancer.

then I took Sarah out to MVA to get her permit again so she can think about getting her license. good thing I took a crochet project, we were there for about 3+ hours. But, she doesn't have to wait the six month period to take the test-that's only for first time permit holders, and we're on number 3. She'll spend a while brushing up her skills, then take the test and have it done with! Of course, it's my fault I never forced her to take her test right away, like it's my fault I never forced her to stay in dancing lessons....I think this is one of those damned if I do, damned if I don't areas of our relationship. She's off with bandie friends in the district, so Lou and I are going out for turkey club sandwiches to celebrate his great work week and my morning news.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lots of Firsts Today

I have a list of firsts for today: I finished my "first" swap angel assignment-it will go into the mail on Monday. For it, I made coasters and an oven mitt for the "first" time. I can honestly say they are the "first" projects I've quilted. Not bad for a beginner....but I definitely will need a better light if I'm going to do anything like that again.

It was fun putting the package together. The recipient was from the dream vacation swap (before my time swapping-I'm still a newbie) and her dream was cycling through Italy and a food tour of France. I made the wonderful French Flea Market apron from Busy Bee Designs-and this pattern is definitely a winner. I changed the stitching order, but that's no "nevermind". Since she wanted to bike around Italy, I figured she would need a picnic basket, and I found this neat one that folds out into a serving space. Since she would probably have wine to drink at her picnic, I made some coasters. Thinking she might want to be cooking herself, I made an oven mitt, too. Then she gets to France and will of course need a market apron-which Lou says they really wear in Paris-and browsing through the book stalls she finds an Italian cookbook, and one from Provence. So, I hope she enjoys it because I pretty much forgot to take her colors with me to the fabric store, and these are what I went with.

Now on to the Lucy swap. I'll be mailing mine later than a lot of the folks-I started the apron and then changed my mind about what I wanted to do, and I wanted to keep the first one anyway.....but, I'll definitely make it before the final mailing date.

We're doing BBQ and a movie tonight, so I'm off to set things up.

Friday, July 17, 2009

fas6 lucy collage

fas6 lucy collage
Originally uploaded by shawneeh
hopefully, this gets the button to the blog.....

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lots to catch up on!

First things first-go look at the Apron goddesses to see the darling aprons by jillie willie and enter to win-too much fun.

Sarah and I drove to Cleveland last Thursday-and I didn't have computer access so I didn't write anything-and had a busy time! Thursday night she hung out with Grandpa and Grandma Peg while I met Big Lou and about 30 people from my high school class for dinner. Our 40th reunion is this fall, and apparently a bunch of people have been getting together once a month. It was really fun, and a riot to see some of these people I haven't seen for 40 years. Most were from Roosevelt, so the junior high buddies are getting together. Unfortunately, on the way home we hit a deer, the deer was stunned but Miss Lucy took a hit to the bumper and license plate holder--she sort of looks like she has a split lip. the bumper is cracked about 6-8 inches down in the exact middle, and we had to tie one side of the license plate on so we wouldn't lose it. We'll have to wait to get it fixed, thank G-d there wasn't any mechanical damage (knock wood).

Friday we went to the cemetery to visit with Aunt Dorth, it was nice except for the guy mowing the lawn not too far from us. Then we met Alan and Marcia for lunch and they had Zach with them-he is 14 months now and really a cutie!

Saturday we hung out with Grandpa again, spent some time visiting with Arnie and Suzie and Debra, then had dinner with Grandpa and Grandma Peg.

Sunday we went to the stone setting for Big Lou's dad and the rabbi kept it going pretty fast-he said some nice things and still got everyone out of the sun in a half hour. Then we drove back to Maryland and it was pretty pleasant, Sarah dozed and I played cds that I'd never get to play if Lou was in the car....

The best part was that justice was served: there are a lot of obnoxious drivers in MD, and one passed us at about 85-90 mph in one of those cars with the noisy mufflers and rear spoilers. He was weaving in and out of traffic to get wherever faster. About 2 miles after he passed us in Rockville, we saw him pulled over by an unmarked police car. Thank you, G-d.

Work was a little weird today because we couldn't print for the longest time, still can't print to the printer next to me. It's going to be interesting to try and print checks on the master printer tomorrow......

Monday, July 6, 2009

another hot spot

Not only does she have a website (jealousy, jealousy), but she has an Etsy store too! go look at these really cute aprons she's created, and isn't life great that people are continuing the crafts?????

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hmm, sweet, hmmm

Well, the Redhead's mode continued yesterday, but to do what she wanted me to do I had to start in the blue room downstairs because that needs to be where I stage everything from the bedroom.

Do you have any idea how gross damp smelly carpet and padding can be to remove? I started with the still pretty damp sections, and worked almost all day pulling and rolling and tying off. There was a not too bad beige speckled tile under the carpet which they messed up pretty good when they put the carpet down. Most of it seems to come up pretty fast, but under that is the puke green and brown checkerboard like the laundry room has. It is going to be a real pain to pull it up, and then who knows what shape the concrete will be in. But since 3/4 of the carpet is up and out, at least the room doesn't smell like it did after the laundry tub overflowed. so, it will be my project for this week to see how far I can get stuff finished in there.

The steps look great and there is a real texture to them that should make it much easier for LuLu to get up and down.

Today I mostly did sitting down jobs like folding laundry because I was pretty sore from the walk on Friday and yesterday's work: I'm pushing myself, and it feels good, but maybe I pushed a little too hard....I felt pretty crappy most of today.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Wonderful Day

Today I took a walk with Vera, my neighbor, and we rambled over 3 miles, mostly on the Capitol Crescent Trail. It was great, even thebikers were polite for a change. We talked about all kinds of stuff and just enjoyed the beautiful day.

When I got home, the Redhead was in serious fix-up mode; and got us to go to HD and get paint for the stairway to the basement. She finished the whole thing in a short time; it looks fantastic. I think she wants to paint my bedroom next....

today was just one of those great days you want to save up and pull out to enjoy another time. I hope tomorrow will be the same.

OH-I am (almost) speechless!

OMG is al(most) all I can say right now: I am the featured apronista today at The Apron Goddesses, I also want everyone to know I have lost about 5 pounds since that picture was taken... It was taken presurgery, and even though Righty and Lefty didn't weigh that much, I am losing some weight on my own right now!!

Tara over at Tinkerfrog was my secret partner for that swap-I think she did a great job on that apron and I love it.

We're off to Home Depot to get special paint for the steps to the basement so LuLu won't slip on them anymore; the Redhead is ready to paint!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Aprons, everywhere II

Another fantastic give away and a great recipe for key lime cupcakes is over at the secret Stitch Club,

go look, you won't be sorry!

Aprons, everywhere!!!

There is a great apron giveaway going on over at
highlighting some very cute convertible aprons. Just go look, don't enter (kidding.... maybe).

I have now worked two days in a row and survived, though I am really tired. I have tried to be very careful about how far I push myself, and I think I'm doing okay.

Sarah was just taking pictures for her facebook, I think, but she sure looks cute from work today. When did she grow up?

I'm going to try and make coasters tonight, hopefully they will look cute. I may even try the oven mitt pattern, though I think it's a little dorky.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Busy Days are Back!

Wow, it's only Monday and I'm tired! Yesterday we went to the national Gallery and saw an exhibit of Luis Melendez, considered the premier Spanish still life painter. The works were magnificent, it was hard to believe they were from the 1700s. His use of color, light and detail was amazing. Next we met Lou's dad for dinner in Dupont Circle and had a really good meal. Since it was our anniversary, we splurged and had dessert, ummmmmmm creme brulee!

Today is the first time in 7 weeks I worked a full day. It was nice to have everyone coming up and welcoming me back, and Siane, my supervisor, made sure I did not overdue things. Thankfully this is a somewhat slow time of the year, so there wasn't a lot of stuff backing up.

If you are interested in quilting, please "hop" over to and read about the fantastic weekend Tara and Amanda Jean have planned. I'll be checking the calendar and the plane flights to figure out if there is any way I can go. Improvisational quilting sounds just like something I could get into.....

I promised myself that my angeling project would be finished by month end, and I'm still hoping to make that deadline tomorrow but since the laundry water overflow it's so soggy and smelly downstairs I don't know if I could really spend time sewing right now. I think this was really the last straw and that we will have to pull that disgusting carpet up now. yuck.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sunny Saturday

We are having a really lazy day around here today. Yesterday Sarah scored over 600 on the GMAT and is happy with her score, so we had a celebratory dinner with Sara B last night at an Indian restaurant then came home and watched Elizabeth. Going to bed so late made everyone lazy.

Lou and I managed to stabilize the ceiling fan in Lill's room so it doesn't make much noise. I also managed to overflow the laundry sink so once again we are trying to dry out the carpet is truly sad. I think we really need to rip it up and put tile down. Area rugs would be easier to clean when the tub overflows, and I think as long as we have the amount of dog hair we have generated by LuLu and Violet, that sucker will overflow.

Popcorn and a movie tonight-oh yeah...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mrs. Doubtfire

Well, I am doing it again. I sent off an apron swap package, checked the delivery confirmation and it was delivered last Saturday, and I haven't heard from the recipient so I feel like what I sent didn't come up to snuff. It's a package I would have liked (pictured a few posts back) but I guess I missed the mark on this one, too. I am angeling another person, that package is almost done, and I have entered the I Love Lucy swap. If I get the same type of lukewarm or non-existent responses, I will probably not join another. Oh, where does this self-doubt come from?

On the flip side, the surgeon's appointment went very well yesterday! My final surgery will be in a month; I'm waiting for the office to call with the date so I can make arrangements to go back to work, take off for that surgery, etc. I am getting my life back: I can stop wearing sports bras.....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Double Duty Day

Today is double duty: Father's Day and Lillian's 24th birthday. We've sent her presents and email cards, and she'll be over at Linda's today for brunch, but it's not the same as being together--sorry, baby.

When the Atlas roared into space Thursday, we got an added bonus. Lillian was one of the scientists interviewed by Fox News about the launch. (just a little kvell: I don't know how long the link will be active, but it's great to see that she's articulate and excited about what she's doing.

Red is getting stressed about the GMAT but we're trying to keep it in perspective, wish us luck.

Happy Father's Day, Lou, you deserve to still be sleeping at almost 11 AM since we had such a disrupted night. Eventually I will find a comfortable position and not send you out of the room with all my twisting, turning and groaning.

Rain (again) and hopefully some sunshine today. I'm starting to feel scaly. I'll probably do laundry and finish up my angeling project, I think I'm pretty set on coasters because the ones Omi made are so cute.

I entered another online contest at for a really cute bib apron. I am so enjoying the different things people are doing; the creativity is fantastic.

The sun is finally out and I think I'll go enjoy it for a while before the next storm moves in. According to Friday's Washington Post we have had twice the monthly level of rain for June already.....yuck...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Garden Partying

Today I feel almost normal! Yesterday's report from the oncologist was great-for all intents and purposes she's very happy-and I'll see her again in 6 weeks.

But, what really makes me feel good is that I finished a WIP (work in progress) today. Before I had surgery, I signed up for a garden theme swap thinking I'd have it done before the surgery. Partners weren't assigned until after my surgery date, and it took awhile to get my act together to get my project done once I got home. My partner has a gardening apron
, so I made her a garden party apron! It's a double layer half apron, the bottom is a happy floral print covered by a sheer embossed (circa 60s) piece from a tablecloth I found on my vintage fabric wanderings. The pocket has a gold braid necklace with a sparkly drop. I'm pretty sure she has a deck, so I thought an ice cream party with berries from the garden would be perfect-I do hope she grows berries! My package includes 4 ice cream sundae dishes and an ice cream scoop. The best part, I think, are the flamingo sunglasses I found for her in case it's too bright outside. I sure wouldn't mind getting it. You can click on the image to see the detail....I'm not sure how to enlarge it yet.

Tomorrow I will start an angeling project. In an earlier swap, some people bailed on their responsibility to make the package-hard to believe of the crafting community, but things do happen. I offered to angel a person who never received her package. The theme was dream vacations. It was the perfect excuse, I mean reason, to check out the grand opening sale at G St Fabrics at their new location while Omi was here. We found some great stuff-I got a very soft impressionist type print, a bright Van Gogh/Toulouse Lautrec type of print, and a wonderful dreidel print. Aprons, here we come. Though my person's dream vacation included Italy, I spaced and only focused on the Paris part. So, in addition to the artist prints, I got this cute "travel to Paris" quilting print that will become oven mitts or coasters, I haven't decided which yet. Maybe I'll send an Italian cookbook to cover that part of the trip.....but, the important thing is that I'm sewing again, and enjoying it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Green Monster

I am ashamed to admit it: I am jealous of all the young SAHMs whose blogs I have been visiting because they understand how to use this computer stuff so well. Really cool pictures, really cool comments, lots of pretty wallpaper, etc. Well, I guess I will break down soon and call Tara and ask (maybe plead?) for help on how to spruce stuff up.

I saw a darling 4th of July apron giveaway on the apron goddesses' blog-go visit and sign up for it! Again, I just love everything people are doing with aprons....too many ideas, too little time!

Tomorrow I will sew on some UFOs that I haven't been able to sit and deal with since the surgery, but I think I'll be able to manage some time now. Swelling in the tummy area has really gone down with the ibuprofen regime, so sitting in a regular chair isn't so bad anymore.

We have lots of green tomatoes out on the deck, and I really hope the birds leave them for us. The gourd seeds have also sprouted and the vines are starting to grow up the bushes in the front of the house and over the pussy willow next to the deck. Louis is definitely inventive about using our sparse sunshine.....

I miss Omi, but I know she was ready to go back to her life rather than visit mine. We will see each other in Cleveland in August, and I for one am not going to be the one to trample on her "happy". I'm too busy finding my own.

Life is good. I'm ready to be back in it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Going Postal

Omi is definitely keeping her promise to Lill to get me walking some each day. Today we went to the Postal Museum and though it is small compared to so many other places here, we spent a lot of time there because it was amazingly cool. Then, after a rest and snack at Capital City Brewing Co., we walked up First St. past the Supreme Court Building, the Library of Congress, etc taking pictures like tourists and having fun until we walked on the wrong side of a barricade and got questioned by the guard-figuring it was going to be pretty bad if we had to call Louis to come bail us out. Fortunately he believed us when we said we had just not paid attention.

Today I received the package from Busy Bee Quilt Designs with my winning pattern in it; and Michelle sent a few other things to keep me busy. I love getting acquainted with this online community of craftswomen. The ideas they have are so fresh and young-gives me all kinds of things to steal when I get back to sewing my aprons!

Tomorrow Omi and I will venture out to the new G Street Fabric Store-the grand opening weekend sale after their move. They're advertising $2.97 quilting prints-great apron stock since I don't seem to be going anywhere with my quilting.

Lou wants to go out for Italian tonight, and since he has been doing so much cooking and cleaning since I got sick, I am taking him out. It should be a lot of fun, though Sarah went off with the girls to a movie-it looks too much like rain for them to venture down to the ballgame downtown.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I SAW it

In keeping with her promise to Lill, Omi got me out walking yesterday. We metroed to Arlington and watched the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldiers, then watched a wreath placement ceremony. We walked over to JFK's memorial, but I didn't walk up the final hill. We stopped when we needed to, drank when we needed to. Since it was early and I didn't want to disturb Sarah, we stopped at the Smithsonian to have a quick look-see. We saw the finalized display of Old Glory-the flag that inspired the national anthem. But the BEST: we saw Julia Child's kitchen!! It is amazing, and the exhibit is so cool because they have a video running of her cooking shows, interviews, etc and they are a sight to see. It's almost as good as Lincoln's hat or Dorothy's ruby slippers. It was great. My pictures came out crappy because I didn't know how to turn the flash off and it reflected against the windows; but Omi got some great pictures that she will share once she downloads them to her computer.

I joined another apron swap....need I say more?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

New challenges

Each day I try to challenge myself with doing a little more; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I finished the first blouse for Lill except for the buttons and buttonholes and it looks so cute on her. I need to sit for another session to do the buttonholes, I realize I have to be fresh to try them. I also cut out the basic of the second blouse pattern and pinned all the darts, etc. and realized that I had tried too much. I'm not ready for all the bending over the table to lay out and cut a pattern.

Yesterday was another post surgery first: I put on real jeans rather than tie-on pajama pants type bottoms. It was a good feeling. I also drove in a real downpour without feeling stressed, and that felt good, too.

I got an email from Siane, my supervisor, that according to HR I have used up all accumulated vacation and sick leave; I guess I will never understand how excel spreadsheets calculate things because I thought, when I looked at my leave balance sheet before I left, that I had about 7 weeks available. Siane emailed that I may have looked at the wrong figures, I honestly don't know. I guess my feeling is if you add up what they tell you you have, you should have that. If they include projected hours on the chart, they should tell you they are projected numbers. Ah well, it'll just make life a little more interesting around here.

I'm still waiting for the sun to come out today-I hope it happens. Omi is coming in from CA this evening for the week, should be fun.

I've offered to angel another vintage apron swap package because there are still about a dozen people who haven't gotten anything, I don't understand how people can do that....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Three more perfect words

As I told my family and friends, I thought "cancer free" would be the two most important words I would ever want to hear. I have three more: VERY LOW RISK. These are the words the assistant from the oncologist office said were on the report from the lab from San Francisco, as in "very low risk of recurrence". I can say a tremendous weight has lifted from my spirit, and I am definitely ready to move on and get back to my life.

That may take a while-I still have absolutely no stamina. It took me an hour and a half to organize the secretary and pay three bills. Then I had to go take a nap for 2 hours. Hopefully this will stop soon and I'll feel like a regular person again. I have all these wonderful WIPs (works in progress) and UFOs (unfinished objects) that I want to work with. I did get out for a few errands yesterday and found these wonderful sunglasses as part of the garden party swap package-they are flamingos--I mean, how can you have a garden party without flamingos? Sarah's response is that only I would have a garden party with them; I'm hoping she is wrong.....

I really wanted to get gourd seeds to send too, but I bought the wrong kind and haven't been able to find the right ones anywhere. The gourds are so much fun to grow, they spread everywhere, and then if you let them dry out you can paint them and use them as shaker noisemakers. We learned about them at Girl Scout camp years ago. they make great bird houses, too, but I may already have talked about this-I can't remember and don't want to go back and check my other posts.

So, I've gotten nothing done on the quilt challenge for the nine patch; but I may be able to catch up with the easy method if I ever get to sit down long enough at the sewing machine. I haven't made anything for May for the "I count too" challenge, but I'm not that concerned about that.

Hopefully, tomorrow can be a sewing day-wouldn't that be wonderful?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Glad we have a downstairs

there is something about the community that a college/university such as Brown creates. Maybe it's because of the small total population compared to a state school like Kent, but there's a real caring and sharing that develops and "plays itself forward" so to speak. I think it was spring break freshman year that Sarah's buddies Saskia and Eli came to visit and see the DC sites. The yellow room had more than ample sleeping space, and the kids had a ball. then, winter break this year Saskia stayed with us while she interviewed for a job after graduation, she's one of the lucky ones and got it. We offered her space while she looks for an apt, but it turns out another Brownie will already be starting her job and they will be rooming together and she will find the apt. We are, however, storing Saskia's "stuff" while she does Bike and Build this summer. So, the yellow room now has three girls' worth of stuff in varying degrees of "I'm going through it to get rid of what I don't need". Not much different than a few years back when Lilli's friend Ben had a summer internship on the Hill and stayed with us since his internship didn't have a stipend and housing isn't exactly cheap around here. When Ben asked why we were willing to put him up (and feed him, his girlfriend, and on occasion his brother) Lou said it's because that's what we do-whether he meant as a Brown alum (he is) or as Jewish parents wasn't clear and didn't matter. Either way, it's clear that years down the road when these kids have children and their children's friends need a place, they will most likely offer it because they've been recipients.

Today was a pretty good day though it did wipe me put physically. Sarah and I did the first leg of professional clothes shopping before her internship starts; and since there really wasn't a place for me to sit down while she tried on lots of stuff, it did wear me out. However, she got some very nice things that say "professional" rather than "cute college girl who doesn't know how to dress for the real world". I'm really proud of the her, making the choice isn't always easy. Now, she needs some nice blouses and of course shoes, and hopefully we can work on those this week.

After a long talk with Lou I realized that I am not really ready for a 6 hour car ride to Cleveland when Omi gets here in two weeks. I'm doing well, but that is really pushing it. Instead, we will do the touristy kinds of things that involve sitting on metro and places that have opportunities for me to sit down when I need to. It's probably a better idea than 12 hours in the car on four days....

I have planned the apron for the garden apron swap-I know I'm late but that's okay-and it will be really cool. I'm doing a variation of an entertaining apron of my mom's. Rather than dotted swiss, I'm using a patterned sheer voile-like material for the top layer (one of my vintage finds) and a bright flower print for the bottom layer. The waistband will be the sheer over the print, and the ties the sheer alone. Little pockets, I haven't decided yet on one or two, will be in the print, probably with some lace edging and some really cute pink beading-just an idea that I want to try. If it looks goofy than I'll take it off. I'm trying to decide whether to make matching printed coasters. The thing I love about these swaps is creating a package I would want--and there are just so many cool things out there to play with! the kids are wondering if I'm ever going to get the aprons up and running for sale--eventually. Right now I'm experimenting with patterns and ideas. I want to send some of the gourd seeds for the really cool ones that you can make native american shakers out of; but we only saw them at Bruce's Variety and we haven't been there since before my surgery. Hopefully, after the doctor's appt tomorrow we can see if they still have any. We had so much fun making those shakers at Girl Scout camp, and Lou's made a couple of bird houses out of them for the magnolia tree which are in use this spring.

and last but not least, we have a "regular" who shows up at the hummingbird feeder who is clearly identifiable by a white band around his neck. We've named him Eric, which shouldn't be any surprise to anyone in the family......

Good night and G-d bless.