Sunday, May 31, 2009


The Red Wings went up 2 games to none over the Penguins tonight. What a great day! The weather was stellar. Nearly 70º and sunny all day long. I sat outside sewing the binding on Carla's quilt from 10:30 to 5:30. I'm so glad to have it done. Now I need to wash the quilt and sew the label on it. The consensus, however, was that I should save it for a stupendous occasion, like a bridal shower gift. I don't think I want to wait that long but I'll consider it. A wedding could be in the near future for my oldest niece.
I discovered, though, that while I was watching the hockey game I neglected to turn on the dryer, into which I had placed my wet laundry. Nuts.
I need to work on the napkin rings tomorrow for Denise. I did a test run tonight and I think my measurements will do the trick-- surprisingly, I don't have any actual linen napkins so I'm using paper ones to guess the size. After that I'll need to get started on the baby blanket.................

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Busy Saturday

Today is Holly's 26th birthday but she went up north so I didn't get to see her. :`(

I managed to fill up my day though. I started out at Barnes & Noble where I picked up another book for her for her present and found a knitting magazine with several cute items, including a baby blanket that begs to be knitted.

I headed over to Right off the Sheep to visit with the ladies, toting my Asian quilt with me so I could pick out the basting stitches. Everyone loved the quilt and marveled at the time it must have taken to make it. Someday I'll actually keep track of the all the hours that go into quilt construction so I'll have a 'real' answer for them. I found the yarn for the baby blanket, now I just need to find the hours for that!

Super hungry, I decided to eat at one of my favorite restaurants in Ferndale, Maria's Front Room. I've loved their food for ages and when they suddenly closed last year I was stunned. They changed owners, redecorated the place (thank goodness!!) and revamped the menu, retaining many of the signature dishes. I ordered the Chicken Marsala, my go-to dish, and it did not disappoint. It is the best I've had anywhere and I was craving it that fateful day last year when I discovered they had closed.

Back home, I began to sew the binding to the back of Carla's quilt. Here are a few pictures, including some of the machine quilting that my friend Jackie did.

My blind hem stitching ~~

The backside of the quilt ~~

And a couple of the characters ~~

I worked on the binding for 2 1/2 hours tonight, getting about 80" finished, while watching the Red Wings beat the Penguins 3-1 in the first game of the Stanley Cup championship.

At this rate it will take me about 6 1/2 more hours to get the binding done. Good thing there are at least 3 more games to be played!

Hey, hey, Hockeytown!

Friday, May 29, 2009


Not much to say today. Several co-workers lost their jobs today. GM stock fell below $1 a share today. The recent happenings are just unfathomable. General Motors is such a staple in our economy I just can't imagine the stock dropping below $50 much less $1.

Hopefully GM will emerge from bankruptcy leaner and stronger and we can all get back to our regularly scheduled lives.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ready to burst

It won't be long before my Gertrude Jekyll roses are ready to pop! If the weather warms up, it will be perfect for a multi bloom season. These rose bushes are about 15 years old. I planted them the first summer after I bought my house. They can be super plentiful and oh, so fragrant. I just have to keep those nasty aphids at bay. Time to spray the soapy water before things get out of hand.

My latest mission in the perfect honeymoon endeavor has been to find the rental car. Now, never mind that I alerted Holly to the deal of the century last Friday -- 8 days rental of a mini-van like vehicle (Ford Freestyle) for a mere $353 dollars through Guess what? She didn't call on it Friday and when she did call this week the same rental was $1000. Live and learn. So I'm still searching. Now it's looking like it will be a Chevy Impala for about $550. They need something that will do well on the mountain roads plus get good gas mileage. Remember Alaska usually has about the highest price for gas -- currently it's not much more than here at about $2.65 per gallon. Go figure!

It's hard to believe the wedding is only 4 weeks away. I know the days will fly by. I'll get back to working on their rug tomorrow. I promise.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Back again...

...after taking a couple of days off of blogging. I usually blog near the end of the day but the last two days I was up way too late to blog. Monday night I was sewing the 66 Parrot blocks until 12:30 AM (which makes it Tuesday actually) and yesterday I didn't get home from my quilt group until 11 PM.

So I'm making up for the lack of pictures and stories. I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend, taking time to actually remember why it is we have that extra day off of work.

I got a lot of gardening done and finished knitting two bags which I took out to my Mom & Dad's to felt on Monday.

First, though, I stopped by a neighbor's house where the children had set up a lemonade stand to raise money to send to a charity in Africa to help children there. These kids are really growing!

I love watching them play -- running, biking, playing ball. The laughter is contagious.

These are the two bags I felted on Monday. I'm pleased with the shape and plan to sew the pockets and then magnetic closures on them when I have a 'finishing' day. I set aside several projects, much like my mother used to set aside mending projects, and then tackle them all in one day.

Yesterday at work I happened to be staring out the window again and saw the most unique clouds. They reminded me of Van Gogh paintings ~~

I was really mesmerized by the sky. I don't remember ever seeing clouds quite like these.

On my way home from work yesterday I was driving behind this ~~

Yes, an old hearse and oddly enough, it's owned by one of my co-workers. As a matter of fact, she is a bit different. There aren't too many people who would choose ride in a hearse while they were still living. Rae marches to the beat of her own drum, that's for sure. One morning I was driving in to work and noticed the hearse by the side of the road with its flashers on. No sign of Rae inside so I continued down the road. Sure enough, there she was, walking with a gas can back to her car. I bet nobody else stopped to see if the hearse driver needed help. Sadly, Rae is one of the people being downsized on Friday. Happening way too much around here.

Well I'm off to watch the Red Wings game. They are leading 3-1 in the series so it's looking good for them to go the Stanley Cup playoffs against Pittsburgh, again.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Some days there are so many things floating around in my head that I feel like a balloon about to pop. I've got to write out a list so I can at least try to organize all of the crazy tasks I have ahead of me for the next 4+ weeks until Holly's wedding.
  • Sew the 60+ Parrot blocks for Kathy for quilt group on Tuesday (yes, the day after tomorrow)
  • Finish the wedding rug (I know a few rug hookers out there who could hold my feet to the fire on this one)
  • Find the perfect wrap for my dress if I don't find the right yarn to knit one up first
  • Sew 72 napkin rings for Denise's ladies golf team soiree
  • Felt the Denmark bag so I can send it off and make some money
  • Find a nice gift for Holly's bachelorette party
  • Crank out more products for the fall show season
  • Finish my Hoodie Tunic
  • Write out a honey-do list of all the home repair projects
  • Find a honey to tackle the honey-do list (I can dream, can't I?)
I think I'll be using some vacation days between now and the wedding or I'll never find enough hours in the day to get these things accomplished.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Chameleons

Today I headed back over to Macy's to exchange the size 6 Chameleons I bought last week for size 6 1/2. Now, I know better. Why I came home with 6s I'll never know. I love these shoes by Merrell -- they're my third pair. They are super comfortable and so quick to put on, especially when I'm running late for the bus in the morning.

On my way home from Trader Joe's I spotted two youngsters sitting on the side of the road waiving to passing cars. I remember being that way. I used to ride my bike on the dirt shoulder of Gratiot Avenue to the candy store. I'd pause along the way, trying to get truck drivers to honk their horns. You remember how -- holding your right arm at a 90º angle, as if you were pulling the cord to the truck horn. I got such a tickle out of hearing the loud horn honks. I'm not sure what would happen if I tried that at my age. 40 years have passed since I last tried that trick.

I've had a wicked headache most of the day so I've taken my Benadryl and I'm heading off to bed. Lots of things to do tomorrow ~~ knit, sew, garden, fix door closer.....................................

Friday, May 22, 2009

Perking Up

Yesterday when I got home from work I found my pansies were 'suffering poorly'. Sad, oh so sad. Neglect is a strong word but I'm afraid these poor plants were woefully neglected. The cure, however, was as simple as massive infusions of water. Like magic, they were back to their perky selves.

And while I was outside snapping pictures, I took the opportunity to capture some of my Columbines. I love how delicate yet resilient they are, holding up in strong winds and bouncing back after a rain shower.

I enjoy playing with the macro on my camera and getting in as tight as possible on the flowers.

This is one of my favorites ~~ it looks like the flower has wings, like an airplane.

Today was Kevin's birthday. I got out of work early and we did some shopping and had dinner at Memphis Smoke, one of his favorites. We then got some ice cream at Oberweis and headed back home for a night of yelling, er, I mean watching first the Tigers and then the Red Wings on TV. So far the Tigers won and the Wings have tied it up. Sure would be nice for them to win also. That would put them up in the series, 3-0, making it virtually impossible not to advance to the Stanley Cup series. Go Wings!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Time sucker

Tonight's blog is severely limited. I spent most of the evening working out wedding and honeymoon plans with Holly. In between was an hour at the gym. I planned to post some swell flower photos but that will have to wait for tomorrow.

We got 5 of the 7 nights booked and Holly will call on a place tomorrow for their first night. That will only leave us one night to book in Anchorage. Phew!

I ordered a Pauline Frommer book that shows you great things to do on the cheap in Alaska -- can't wait to get it from Amazon. I hope it's here in time for Holly's birthday on the 30th! Shhhh!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nagging tasks

Today I had my monthly meeting with my supervisor at work. Our mid year reviews are due to her in two weeks. Every half year I struggle with this assignment. I moan and groan about it for days and almost always put it off until the last couple of days. Many times I wind up staying late to complete it on time.

Such a foolish way to handle this inevitable task. I'm always putting undue pressure on myself instead of getting a jump on it and completing a bit of it each day. It's a lot like doing my taxes -- again, I'm always relieved when they're done, too.

This is the time to toot your own horn and justify your position. More so than ever, it's the time to show your leaders why you deserve to keep your job. No pressure there.....

On the crafty side, I did start a new felted bag in a rich chocolate brown wool. I very seldom use brown shades but I have no explanation for that, other than to say that I wear very little brown so that's why I'm not drawn to the color family. But it's not about me, now is it??!! It's about making what my customers want!! I have several brown items planned including brown/pale blue and brown/pink combinations, which have been very popular lately. What are your favorite new color combinations??

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Not much

Nothing exciting today. I'm ok with that. Typical Tuesday -- worked out at the gym after work, ate dinner, and then I went to Panera to knit. I finished knitting the bag that will be going to Denmark. I used Lamb's Pride Bulky in a fabulous multi green color, called Grassy Knoll. I'll post pictures once it's felted.

Now I need to start my next show project. Bag? Hat? Fingerless mitts? I think I'll do a felted hat using the Lopi yarn that Judith gave me at our last guild meeting (thanks Judith!!!). It will be a simple cloche that I will most likely needle felt some sort of sweet design onto.

Watching the Red Wings tonight in their game 2 of the playoffs is proving to be quite stressful. I think I'll just turn off the TV and get to bed. Hopefully I'll be able to sleep through Kevin's 'commentary' on the game.

Monday, May 18, 2009


...the honeymoon tonight. Holly booked the plane tickets for the flights to/from Alaska that I scouted for her. Today I've been searching for accommodations and activities that she and Mike would enjoy. They're both such outdoorsy people that I'm looking for fishing, rafting, hiking, etc., trips for them. I think they should pick up one of those self guided tour books so they can pick and choose what to do each day.

It looks like I've found a couple of great spots for them to stay. One is near Denali and the other is in the Kenai peninsula. Now I just need to run them by her. Both can be base camps from which to travel to other nearby spots. They're run by the Princess company, as in the cruise ships, and look very nice and are remarkably reasonable.

I love to plan vacations.....I only wish I could take them more often. One of my dream jobs would be a travel writer. I'd visit all sorts of fabulous places, snapping pictures, and writing about my adventures. Sounds so much more exciting than what I really do for a living.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Holly's Bridal Shower

Well this has been quite a day. Holly and Mike had the most wonderful bridal shower designed and executed by my sister Denise, who happens to also be Holly's godmother. Holly couldn't be luckier.

I actually slept well last night, after my sleep deprived night before. Don't you ever wonder how your body gets caught up? I once went to a sleep doctor who, after studying me, decided I needed 7 hours of sleep to be fully rested. He also suggested that I go to bed each night at 10:30 PM so I can get up at 5:30 AM each day. Yep, Saturdays and Sundays too. I thought that was a lot of hooey, except for the part where I need 7 hours of sleep. He also told me to cut out wine or at the very least limit it to 2 ounces each night. Ok, that's when I knew we were done.

My day began with a wake up call from my sister Renee (faithful blog reader -- thank you!), making sure I didn't over-sleep. After a quick shower I dressed in my new outfit and headed over to the restaurant to help set up the shower.

There were 50 guests at Holly's shower today. I met some guests but many I did not. I'm ok with that. I scarcely remember the names of those I did meet. Two of the most important people today were Mike's parents, Bonnie and Larry. Both were lovely and they brought me a floral bouquet, extra credit points there. I look forward to getting to know them. I also unknowingly met my ex's girlfriend, as I searched out the location of one of her gifts to set the second one beside. My outlaws were just as I remembered them: self absorbed and a reminder of why I don't miss being married to Holly's dad -- AT ALL.

Holly and Mike received many, many nice, practical gifts. My sister Denise made sure every detail was attended to. Amazing that nothing was amiss. Kevin sat with my father so my mother could attend the shower. He took Maggie with him to entertain my Dad while they watched whatever sports happened to be on TV. Always good to have a sidekick.

I won't bore you with loads of pictures but here are a few that I thought you'd like to see ~~

A fabulous cutting board that my BIL Mike made:

Super cute cookie bouquet from Mike's parents :

One of Denise's games, Holly Bingo:

And a swell picture of me with my daughter and sister:

I have never really been comfortable having my picture taken.

Holly examines one of my bathroom accessory gifts ~~

Nice shot of my sisters, nieces, Mom, Holly and me ~~

and lastly, Holly and her two 'Moms' ~~

I hope her mother in law is everything mine was not, and more.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Late night visitor

Last night, just after I finished my blog posting, the doorbell rang. It was 11:45 PM. This is highly unusual. Kevin answered the door only to find an old classmate standing there. Brian came in. Big mistake. He stayed until 4:15 AM. Yes, 4 1/2 hours. No, I don't know what he could have possibly been thinking but Kevin said every time he comes over he's talking religion.

My bedroom is right next to the living room so I never got to sleep. Once he left I was so annoyed, again, I never got to sleep. I've been running on fumes all day, plus my stomach has been queasy all this time too.

I never got to the gym -- I kept telling myself I needed to get to sleep but it never happened. Instead I showered and headed out to Macy's to look for shoes to wear for tomorrow. I tried on many and finally decided on a nice wedge. I don't think I've owned a wedge for a hundred years but they sure felt comfortable, even at a 3" heel.

Tonight I went to the fundraiser that Diane's daughter was having to raise money for her 3 day Breast Cancer walk. It was a nice evening with music, snacks, a beer, and a band. I'm sure Samantha raised well over $1000, so that was great for her.

Now I'm off to bed to hopefully get caught up on my sleep so I look and feel as good as I can for Holly's shower. I'm sure she will have a lovely day. I'm putting on my big girl pants to deal with the outlaws, inlaws and ex's girlfriend. I'll have pictures to post tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 15, 2009

2 Days to go....

How do you spell stress?? How about "d-a-u-g-h-t-e-r's b-r-i-d-a-l s-h-o-w-e-r"?? Loaded with out-laws, soon to be in-laws and the ex's girlfriend. Egad. Sunday will be a busy day. I'm planning on getting to the restaurant by 10 AM on Sunday to help my sister Denise get the place set up for the shower. Tomorrow I need to pick up wrapping paper to wrap the boxes that came in from Macy's. And I think I 'need' to pick up some spiffy green sandals. Holly's wedding registry has been decimated -- how nice is that!!

Tonight I skipped the gym in lieu of shopping for an outfit for Holly's shower. Maybe I'm different (I doubt it!) but shopping for clothes is not my favorite after-work activity. I told Maggie I'd only be gone a couple of hours but 4 hours later I arrived home with not one, but two dresses! Oh my. One for the shower, one for the rehearsal dinner. I am normally not one to plan 6 weeks ahead but look what happened. I tried on at least 15 suits, several looked nice, but decided the event called for a dress. I'll post the pictures of the dress after the shower -- don't want to give anything away!

I'll be at the gym first thing in the morning for an extra tough work out -- lots of abdominal work! Then I'll be off to Macy's for some snappy shoes. The evening will be a fundraiser for the 3 day Cancer Walk. Remind me not to over-indulge -- otherwise there will be serious bulges in the new dress!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bad news, good news, better news....

Today was a super day. Well, mostly. The worst news of the day came when I heard my local Chrysler dealership would be closing. So sad. Terrible for the workers, shoppers, and city.

Kevin finally took Maggie to the dog groomer for her spring cleaning. Thank goodness! She wasn't looking like much of a wire haired fox terrier. This is how she started the day:

and this is how she finished the day:

She was whipped from the activity (maybe it was the 1/2 Benadryl?)

I whipped up a batch of Snickerdoodle Blondies to take to my quilt guild meeting and while they were baking I took Maggie out in the backyard. That's where I took today's flower pictures -- my wonderfully fragrant lilac trees.

Close up of the flowers ~~

Here are the Snickerdoodle Blondies, waiting for snack time at guild ~~

Here are some of the quilts from our Show 'n Tell portion ~~

For a new little one:

For a retiring kindergarten teacher:

From a recent workshop by Sue Holdaway-Heyes:

A block of the month quilt made from felted wool on flannel:

A close up of one of the blocks:

A Hawaiian style quilt ~~

A small quilt made by Cathy for her friend Colleen, who has recently become a U.S. citizen:

A fabulous quilt of Cathy's that was made with the help of three other quilters. Each one made two columns of the quilt.

And finally, Diane's quilt which will be auctioned off on Saturday at her daughter's fundraiser for her 3 Day Breast Cancer walk.

And a close up ~~

For more great news, the Red Wings finally put away the Anaheim Ducks. Next up will be the Blackhawks. Go Wings!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Button, button -- I'VE got the buttons!!

I've had a fascination with buttons since I was a child. I used to love to dump the buttons from the old tins at my grandparents and sift through the montage -- looking for unique and fancy buttons. I remember finding a teeny tiny thimble that I still have today.

I've collected all sorts of buttons. I've even made some out of fimo clay. My favorites by far are my ceramic buttons. I keep my 'special' buttons in nifty plastic storage cases. Notice that is plural. :*)

I took a few of my favorites out to give you a close up ~~

These are all done by Marcia Hovland and I will use them, eventually, for felted bags. Whenever I need a button I go to her studio and show her the color I need and just like magic, I get what I need. Many of my customers have complimented me on my buttons and I have Marcia to thank for that.

I've also found another great source for ceramic buttons in Briar Rose Fibers. Here are some buttons from them ~~~

(A denim-y blue, though you wouldn't know it from my picture :(

And here is one of the great Petoskey stone buttons that I bought at the Charlevoix Apple Festival a couple of years ago when I was a vendor there. Still looking for the perfect bag for those.

These marvelous buttons below traveled all the way from Zimbabwe and the company name is Penzo. They are hand-painted by various individuals who sign their names to them. Besides being beautiful, they are so special because they are one of a kind. I could instantly visualize them on my bags. Check out their website -- they offer so many beautiful items.

And last weekend I added a few more buttons from Marcia to my collection:

Sometimes I have a specific bag in mind when I buy buttons and other times, I just plain like 'em. There's no real reason to buy some buttons, other than I love them and they need to go home with me!

Now here is my new wooden display to use for my shows. I need to find out the name of the person who made it and that will become the display's name.

Isn't it marvelous!!!

And I'm trading yarn for it. What do you think Tanya -- would your Aunt Gloria like any of these???