Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Do Pigs Sweat?

Well......do they?  The saying goes 'sweating like a pig'.  I'm no pig but I sure did more than my fair share of sweating today.  It was at least 90º F and steamy as all get out.  It was so warm at Panera's tonight for knit group that I had to leave.  I don't care much for this type of heat.  If it got up to 70-75º all Summer long I'd be happy.  Happy as a clam --- say, are clams really happy??

Monday, May 30, 2011


I know today was Monday but it sure felt like a Sunday.  I started the day with Blogger issues.  Lost the site counter I'd been using for ages -- it just up and went away.  Good thing I knew what the count was for visitors.  I spent quite a bit of time trying to find and load a new counter.  Not that I establish my worthiness by the number of visitors I get but it's just a kick to see the numbers roll along.

Something else is on the fritz with Blogger.  I can't seem to sign out.  When I click on that link it looks like I've logged out but when I open the blog back up, I'm still signed in -- argh!  Even after I shut down and power back up it's still the same - double argh!

I wasted spent 2 hours putzing on the computer this morning and by the time I got a shower in and headed out the door to see my Mom it was noon.  I picked up some Boston Market goodies for us for lunch, knowing the leftovers would be good for at least a couple of meals for her this week.

It was stinkin' hot today - 90º F - so I wasn't about to spend much time outdoors.  I stopped at the cemetery to visit my Dad and the ground was so saturated some of the markers were covered with rain water.  The cemetery was full of visitors and flags flying everywhere -- so nice to see.

I started working on woven scarf #10 when I got home.  I decided to put twice the normal length of warp on the loom so that I can weave #11 when I get to the end of #10 without having to re-load the warp.  Not sure how that's going to work since the entire length of warp was only 188" long, about 12" shorter than I anticipated.  Must have involved some faulty math there.  Could be some short fringe coming up.  

I managed to get about 24" woven before I decided I'd had enough.  So my mini-vacation was pretty productive since I got 4+ scarves woven.  Now it's back to the grindstone tomorrow.....

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Woven Scarves - So Far!

I've been loving making scarves with my rigid heddle loom.  I've got the warping process down to about 35 minutes which is far better than the 1 1/2 hours it took me when I did the first two scarves.  I finished number 9 today, using some Noro yarn my friend Judith gave me:

Here are the first 8 scarves I've woven so far:

I'm trying hard, really, to use up a lot of stash yarn.  Here are some of the yarns I'll be weaving with in the next few days:

Tomorrow is Memorial Day plus it's my daughter Holly's birthday.  So hard to believe she's turning 28!  I really don't know where the years went.  Time has really flown by.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Woven Scarf #8

Today I finished woven scarf #8:

I used 1 1/2 skeins of Jo Sharp DK Wool for the warp and a skein of Cascade 220 Handpaints for the weft. The picture above was taken before I washed and set the scarf.  I used a squirt of Method laundry soap in hot water and boy did the scarf bleed.  I rinsed it in cold water and repeated the entire process again.  It bled a bit more but I think it's done.  I've got it carefully laid out on a towel so I'll see if there's any dye transfer when I wake up in the morning!

This is my new favorite tool for weaving: 

I'm sure it looks crazy but it's really fantastic.  It's a Leclerc fringe twister that I got it from Paradise Fibers in California.  It comes in 2, 3, or 4 clip versions and I figured I could finish things faster with the 4 clip.

Right now they've got $2 shipping so you might want to head over to the Paradise Fibers website to see if there's anything you can't live without!

Friday, May 27, 2011


My go-to LYS received a reprieve yesterday.  The building owner approached the shop owner and she will stay open.  Yeah!  

I finished weaving my 7th scarf today and am working on the 8th -- yeehaw!  I'm gearing up to start challenging myself by attempting some pattern work.  I just need to take some time to devote to reading the books I've bought on weaving!

There's a rumor the rain will stop tomorrow morning and the sun just might come out.  If it does, I'll snap some photos of my scarves and finally get them posted.

I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Last Saturday my friend Tanya and I ventured to the other side of the state for a wet felting workshop.  It was held in the small town of Plainwell, population approximately 4000.  I heard on the news today that a soldier was killed on Monday in Afghanistan.  He hailed from Plainwell and was an only child.  Every soldier's death is sad but especially when it's an only child.  His unit, the 25th Infantry, was based out of Schofield Barracks on the north shore of Oahu.  That's the very same base where my brother in law Tim served nearly 40 years ago.

Four years ago last week, a good friend's daughter, her only child, was killed by a drunk driver.  I always feel bad sharing stories about my kids with her, knowing she'll never experience her daughter's college graduation or  wedding, or become a grandmother.  As is often said, no parent should ever have to bury their child.  Ever.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away

It rained cats and dogs around here today.  I took a half vacation day since I had a dental appointment this afternoon, and it rained and rained all day.  I was lying on my back in the dental exam chair, getting my teeth checked, when the power went out!  Well, that was interesting.  There's something unsettling about a dental hygienist with power tools in her hands in MY mouth during a storm full of lightning!  The power came back on and I completed my exam. 

The roads are flooded all over, including my street in spots.  This is when I'm glad I don't have a basement!  Apparently I'm not meant to weed my flower beds, right?  I've taken a few vacation days so I'm off work until Tuesday -- yeehaw!  But from the looks of the weather report I'll be hunkering down, weaving, cleaning and getting caught up around the inside of the house.  I'm looking forward to getting a few things woven while I'm off and I'll try to post some progress pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Would you help please?

Judy Laquidara lives near Joplin, MO, and often writes about her visits there on her blog, Patchwork Times.  Right now she's doing her part to help raise money to aid the victims of Sunday's ferocious tornado.  If you send her a check for $25, made payable to the American Red Cross, you will be entered into a drawing for one of her wonderful quilts.  Please go to her blog to get all of the details.  If you were already thinking about donating to the ARC, fantastic -- now you can even have a chance to win a quilt for your good deed!

Door to Door Organics

Today's delivery included:

I used the Romaine lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes to make a nice salad for dinner tonight.  I knew the lettuce was coming in today's box so I picked up some nice Gorgonzola cheese at Trader Joe's to crumble on top -- yummo!  Now that I think about it -- I probably could have put some of those snap peas in it too.  Maybe tomorrow!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wicked Weather

Joplin, Missouri was hit by a powerful tornado last night.  The carnage is unbelievable.  Video and audio reports tell a terrifying story.  One audio report from the beer cooler at a convenience store where people sought refuge was particularly remarkable.  First they thought the storm had passed.  'We're good, we're good' one voice said and then the real storm hit.  Next you heard people saying 'I love you, I love you all' and one woman saying over and over again 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus'.  Once the storm had passed they checked each other out and emerged from their safe haven.

Today at work a wicked storm struck about 12:30 pm.  The winds were blowing so hard it was raining sideways.  If I had really felt threatened I would have headed for the hallway near the bathrooms but thankfully our storm just passed without any real damage.

The death toll in Joplin has surpassed the previous worst death count from a single tornado.  Interestingly enough that storm took place about 50 miles north of where I live and basically wiped a town off of the map.  I hope the people of Joplin get the aid they need to rebuild and recover.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wet Felting Workshop

Yesterday Tanya and I took part in Nicola Brown's Mosaic Nuno Felted Wrap workshop.  There were about a dozen or so of us and each person created something very different from the next person.

We were the first ones to arrive yesterday, after Nicola and Dawn, and we made fast friends of them both.  They're both very experienced in wet felting and even though I've done a few things before, I learned a lot.  We started by placing our silk chiffon pieces on top of a plastic wrap on long tables.  I chose not to cut my pieces up into mosaics and in hindsight, I wish I had.  Next we placed our layers of roving on top, wet them down, soaped them up and rubbed them lightly for quite a while.  My shirt got soaked from leaning over my piece -- ick!  Here are some shots of my progress:

Here's a photo of Tanya's work in progress:

After several hours we were done with our pieces.

It sure was a lot of work -- I have a new found respect for this craft.  I think Tanya and I ached every where when we were done.  Dawn and Nicola chipped in on our projects by giving them a rub or a roll to move them along:

I think I've recovered from this taxing class and today I finished another woven scarf.  It turned out quite nicely and hopefully I'll get some photos taken tomorrow and share them with you!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


....like a potato!  I had a great time with my friend Tanya at the wet felting workshop today but I am positively whipped!  Every part of me is aching -- I even found a blister on my finger, egad!  I took several pictures of our progress with Nicola and will edit and post them tomorrow -- once I've recovered.

Today was Doomsday.  Apparently they were wrong again because -- here I am!  Good thing too, because tomorrow is Kevin's 31st birthday and we'll all be here to celebrate it -- hurray!

Now I'm off to find that bottle of Ibuprofen.......

Friday, May 20, 2011

Deja Vu

Here I am on another Friday night, scampering around the house gathering supplies for another workshop.  This time I'll be taking a mosaic nuno felting workshop, taught by Nicola Brown, in Plainwell, MI.  It's a bit of a drive but considering that Nicola is traveling all the way from Ireland, it's a piece of cake.  I'm heading out at the crack of dawn, picking up my friend Tanya, and hopefully having a day full of fun and instruction.  The camera is going with me but I'm not sure how many photos I'll be able to take.  The last couple of times I've been too busy to snap any pictures!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Carla's Bridal Shower

My niece Carla is getting married in July.  Last Sunday was her bridal shower.  So appropriate with all the torrential rain we had that day!  The luncheon took place at the Maggiano's Restaurant in nearby Troy.  I had wrapped my gifts carefully then covered each of the four boxes with a garbage bag -- so classy!  Good thing they had valet parking and attendants willing to help me get the boxes into the room where we were meeting.

The shower was given by my sister's best friend Dawn, and Carla's sister Erica, who had flown in from NYC.

Each of us had a framed placecard so we knew where to sit.

Carla was very charming and looked lovely as she welcomed and thanked everyone for coming.

After our delicious meal, Carla began to open her gifts.  She received many useful things but I'm sure this is one thing she didn't have on her list:

One of my sister's dear friends made this apron for Carla -- it was adorable!

She opened her gift  from Holly and me -- her everyday dishes from her Crate and Barrel registry.
One of the nice things about these dishes is that they are open stock so if/when they break something they can easily get new ones.

Erica was the scribe, carefully writing down each gift and the giver's name.  Carla's fiance Jeff was there to share in the fun and help haul the loot out at the end.

Carla and Jeff received many nice things and I know they're on their way to setting up their new home in Atlanta.  I will have to get down there someday and visit.  From the looks of the things they've chosen their home will be beautiful.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Makeover #2

Today Kevin took Maggie to the groomer.  Probably for the last time there.  They don't like her and she doesn't like them.  Not a pleasant situation for anyone.  Anyhow, we'll be looking for a new groomer later this year.

Here are her before and after photos:

She's not one to sit still for photos and I'm sure she's not too good at the groomers but I think they aren't especially fond of wire haired fox terriers.  They never liked Stewart either.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Makeover #1

My back porch was literally falling apart.  Over the years I had painted it and patched it the best I could.  There were squatters residing in its crevices (see fourth photo below).  Last Monday I hired a mason named Terry off of Craigslist.  It was a leap of faith since I was choosing him without getting other bids to tear out and re-do my back porch.  A couple of years ago the guy who cut down a tree in my backyard said he would do it for about $400 so when Terry gave me his bid I knew he was in the ballpark.

Terry's ad said he was out of work and I could relate to that.  I met with him about an hour after talking to him on the phone.  He looked over the situation and asked for a $200 check so he could pick up materials and get started the next day.  After he left I wondered if he'd be back.  I don't like to be cynical but in this economy I couldn't be certain.

But he did come back the next day, despite the forecast of rain, rain and more rain over the next few days.  He started with this:

He made a lot of progress by the end of the first day:

By the end of the day on Wednesday he had poured the cement for the slab and came back on Thursday to set the steps:

If the rain ever stops around here, it will dry out and look beee-u-t-ful!  He suggested I coat it in a couple of weeks.  We'll see about that.  Terry also repaired some bricks and mortar on my front porch and replaced those steps too.  I feel so much better with these relatively simple repairs.  It's the simple things.  If you live in the Detroit area and are in need of a good, fair mason, let me know and I'll pass along his information!

Tomorrow I'll show you another makeover......

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Diane Gaudynski Workshop

Yesterday I took a 6 hour machine quilting workshop with the very talented Diane Gaudynski.  I had been looking forward to hearing her speak at the GLHQ meeting on Thursday ever since I heard she had been scheduled to come.

I own both of her books on machine quilting but admittedly, barely cracked them open.  Why?

  • Too intimidated
  • Too impatient
  • Too scared
  • Too many other fiber hobbies
  • Too little time to practice
  • Too many other people who can machine quilt for me
So yesterday I took the plunge.  Friday night I tried to gather all of the tools and fabric needed for Saturday's workshop.  I had shopped on Wednesday for some things:  18" ruler, wool batting, size 70 Microtex needles, and a new ArtBin carrying box for the items.  I found them at JoAnn's instead of my local quilt shop, which was out of everything and seemingly disinterested in helping me.  

Next I had to find the large custom table that fits around my Bernina.  Where-oh-where did my roommate put it when he was 'cleaning' the house up a few months ago??  I searched high and low, then high again.  I moved things around, looked in cabinets, behind cabinets, under tables.  Eventually I found it (probably around midnight) - tightly wedged between the dryer and the folding table.  Relieved, I carried on.  Now that I found the table, where did I stick that bag of the feet that go to the table???  I could see in my mind where the bag used to be, but I too, had tidied things up and it wasn't where it had been for the last 5 years since I bought the table.

I gave up and went to bed at 1:30 am but I slept fitfully since I hadn't resolved that problem.  In the morning I started searching again, certain I'd find the feet.  I looked through another plastic tub, then some drawers in the craft room.  Voila, I found them - under a pile of papers on the corner of my bed.  I found my Supreme Slider, chose the fabrics (pressing them quickly), packed it all up and headed for the church for the workshop.

I am always nervous taking workshops from well-known people, especially when I'm not very skilled in the subject.  I set up my workspace and started applying what Diane was teaching.  I did horribly on several of the 'tests' but once I warmed up I was mildly successful.  I like doing leaves.  Funny, because Diane talked about one of her students who couldn't do anything but leaves and now only does leaves and wins awards with her quilts!  No, I'm not going to win any awards, I know that, but at least I have something in my repertoire that I can use if/when I need to machine quilt something.

It was a long day but at the end we took time for a photo:

There were about 20 of us in Diane's workshop and I think everyone went away a better quilter.  I know I learned a lot.
  • I love the large sewing table that fits on my Bernina
  • I love the #24 open toe foot that my friend Diane sold me
  • I love the wool batting I found at JoAnn's
  • I love the Aurifil thread I used in the bobbin and top
Later my friends Joyce, Diane, and I went to dinner with Diane Gaudynski at the fabulous McCormick & Schmick's restaurant in Troy.  Yummo!  We all had fish so I chose a bottle of Chenin Blanc for us to share.  Not quite as tasty as the one I had taken to Diane's house for dinner on Friday but it was good.  We finished off the meal by sharing a a flour-less chocolate cake slice that arrived for my friend Diane's birthday, which is today!!

A perfect way to end a great day!

P.S.  Happy Birthday Diane!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Today was a rainy, gray day but you know what?  It didn't matter!  I packed up my gear early this morning and headed over to the machine quilting workshop with Diane Gaudynski.  I have always struggled with that aspect of quilting but I actually made some headway today, thanks to her wonderful teaching and demonstrations.  Unfortunately I was up until 1:30 am last night this morning, so I'm pooped.  Much more to say about this fun day in tomorrow's posting.

Friday, May 13, 2011

GLHQ Meeting

Remember how I said that Blogger was on the fritz Wednesday and that I couldn't post any pictures?  Apparently that wasn't the only problem they were having.  The whole thing crashed and they had to go back in their history, wiping out the Wednesday posts and comments.  Today around 4 pm, things were back to normal for my blog - phew!

Last night's speaker, Diane Gaudynski, was the biggest draw of the guild year.  We had 29 guests!  Everyone loved Diane -- she was charming and engaging and had wonderful quilts for us to see.

Here's our raffle quilt, to be given away at our quilt show in February 2012.  First, a close up of the quilt, designed by the very talented Ruth:

The red is really not that glaring -- too many flashes going off at the same time I was taking my pictures.

The beautiful front:

And the delightful back: 

Next up, Show 'n Tell quilts -- pictures are of varying quality, depending on the holders.

This last one was made by fellow Chicken member, Judy, using many of her hand-dyed fabrics -- wonderful!

Now, I'm off to dinner.  Our Chicken group is cooking for Diane Gaudynski -- home cooking while you're on the road!  I'm in charge of one of the beverages.  Since we're having Barbecued Chicken, I chose a Chenin Blanc as well as a German Riesling.  I looked up the proper pairings in a book my friend Sue gave me and I'm spot on!  Woohoo!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Not sure why, but Blogger is acting up tonight.  I can't post pictures so I'm changing gears.

In the meantime, I am happy to report that my friend Joyce is a grandmother once again, as of this afternoon!  I was on pins and needles all day waiting for word of a safe delivery for her daughter Colleen.  Joyce let us know yesterday that Colleen had gone into the hospital yesterday afternoon and I was waiting and waiting for the word.  I guess I'm in training for my grandchild's arrival in September.  It will be here before we know it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oddest Thing

When I was driving home last Saturday after helping my friend Kate set up her loom, I spotted these in her neighborhood.

They're like tandem bikes but with 4 wheels and you sit waaaaaaay up high.  Must take a step ladder to get into the seats!