Friday, August 31, 2012

Busy Week

I've had a pretty busy week for someone who is out of work, again.  I'm not sure how I could work and get all I need to do done.  Most of my efforts this week have been related to quilting.  

I needed to get a location for the November workshops and decided on using the church where that month's meeting is to be held.  I ordered more rack cards from Vistaprint to broadcast our schedule for the year and some business cards that will serve as membership cards for members who need a card to get the 10% discount at Joann's.  I sent updates for the website to our webmistress, who's vacationing in the Bahamas this week - poor thing!  Next I organized the speaker addresses for our correspondence secretary so she can send out the thank you cards I had printed by Vistaprint in the spring.

Tuesday I had lunch with my Chicken friend Sue at my favorite restaurant of late, Vinsetta Garage, and we had the exact same thing, Chop Shop Salad, Iced Tea, and split a side of their fabulous, did I say fabulous?, macaroni and cheese.  Then we headed down to Material Girls in Dearborn, where we both managed to find a *few* fabrics we had to have.  I bought 3 more spools of the 60 weight 3 ply Presencia thread and when I got home I discovered two of the three colors I already had!  Guess I have plenty to quilt with now.  Our Chicken Stitch Group met that night and it was nice to get caught up with the ladies.

Wednesday I had my orientation meeting with the outplacement firm and met someone who told me I should apply at the company he just left.  Hmmm.  Sue's husband works for the same company so I know it's a good place to work.  We'll see.  This finding a job thing is a job in itself!  I've got one agency sending me jobs and the guy is clueless about what I can do.  I'm about to give up on them.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my dentist for my occlusal guard check up.  I've been faithful about wearing it every night except for one when I forgot and went to bed without it.  After the appointment I finished sewing the last of the borders on my grandson Denver's birthday quilt.  Good thing -- today is his first birthday!  

Today I got the first oil change done on my Focus.  While I was waiting I wandered over to the used car lot to see if they had anything for my roommate.  They have the perfect truck for him and I hope he gets it.  He works so many hours that he can't even look for a new truck but I'm hoping we can swing the deal next week before someone else snatches it up!

I'm off to baste and quilt Denver's birthday present, which I will give to him at his party on the 9th -- good thing I've got a little buffer to complete it.  Then I have one more baby quilt to finish and then???????

In the mean time I'm swatting nasty fruit gnats -- any suggestions for ridding my house of them?  Besides putting the fruit in the fridge, which I've already done.  I'm walking around the house with my swatter -- going nuts!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, August 27, 2012

So Many Quilts..... sew little time!  It was challenging to see all the quilts at the AQS show on Saturday and I will admit that I did not see them all.  Here are some of my favorites.  I was hindered in my photo taking because I foolishly forgot to put my SD card back into my camera after downloading some pictures on Friday night -- argggghhhh!

The first two quilts were part of the Gwen Marston exhibit, though they were created by people who attended her retreat.

The next quilt was part of an exhibit of Japanese made quilts.  This one was amazing to me in part because the maker used blue silk fabric from her grandmother - see the sign below it for her story.

This next quilt was simply stunning -- the detail had to be seen in person to be appreciated!

Cathy McIntee's Extreme I-Spy Silhouettes quilt is so much fun to look at:

I love this beautiful green, red, and white quilt -- wonderful quilting on it:

Doesn't this terrific quilt remind you of a wool rug??

Two more quilts that I thought were spectacular:

And finally, the quilt that won Best of Show.  I liked it a lot but I saw a couple of others that could have won as well.  Beauty is in the eye of the judges!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Worn Out!

I spent the day Saturday with my friend Mary at the AQS show in Grand Rapids.  We weren't alone.  Many thousands of people trekked to see over 900 quilts on display.  Oh, and the vendors too. Instead of starting with viewing the quilts, as is my norm, I decided we should start by stopping by a FEW booths and I did my part to help spur on the economy.  Ok, maybe a little more than my part but it's retail therapy, right?

More pictures and details coming tomorrow!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Drive By

This is a drive by post.  I've been home for a day, just long enough to get my laundry caught up and take Maggie to the Vet's.  She's having a terrible allergy season and is itchin' and scratchin' so much it's even making ME crazy.  She's had a shot, gotten some new medications to take with some cheese, and I gave her a bath with a VERY expensive shampoo -- $30 -- I would never spend that much on me!  But she seems to be feeling much, much better and I'm so glad for that.

Now that my chores are done I'm off to stay at Holly's house tonight so I can watch my grandson Denver all day tomorrow.  Shameful to say, but it's the first all-day sitting experience for me with him.  I can hardly believe it hasn't happened already but Holly has several sitters who live closer and were always more available, especially when I was still working.  I'm taking out some early birthday gifts -- his birthday is August 31st -- woohoo!

Hope you've had a great week.  I'll check in again soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Absent but Busy

My photography class went really well and I learned a lot.  I learned I have a lot to learn!  I'll keep practicing.  I already put some of it to good use when I photographed a little quilt I made for someone special (more next week).

Today I updated my resumé on the unemployment website and before I could finish my in-person meeting there, I had a call and message from someone who had a position I might be interested in -- amazing!  We'll see what happens next week.

For now, I'm off to bed and will probably sleep fitfully, the way I always do before a vacation.  I'm driving up to Charlevoix tomorrow morning for a visit with my sister Denise and her family.  So much packing to do still and lots of little things to remember to take.  I'm hoping my brother in law Mike will be able to tutor me on my camera.

Have a great weekend!  Catch up with you next week.......

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I was able, after some considerable consternation, to update my blog banner -- phew!  This is only the second time I've done it and each time it's like birthing a baby!  I should make an effort to update seasonally and perhaps I will do that so I don't get so rusty.

I'm off to take a photography workshop this afternoon.  I've never taken a workshop like this before so I'm not entirely sure how it will go.  I'm hoping to get some lessons on making the most of my camera and improving the pictures I take.  I happen to think I'm doing a pretty good job and getting better all the time.  It's definitely a hobby that I enjoy but I'm not trying to become the next Ansel Adams.  My brother in law, Mike, has tried to give me tips from time to time but honestly, I've been overwhelmed and not really able to absorb what he says.  For some reason I just couldn't grasp it -- not that he didn't explain it in a good way -- more like I wasn't ready to learn it.  Kind of like the teacher in Charlie Brown movies -- waa waa waa, waa waa.

But now I'm ready so I hope this instructor is good.  I'm a little worried because he's fresh out of college -- I'm not sure how much teaching experience he has had and there's a big difference between knowing your craft and being able to teach effectively.  I'll let you know how it goes!

In the mean time, if you need to relax a bit, please take the time to visit Mike's website.  Not only are the photographs beautiful but there's soothing music playing in the background.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Blog Tweak

I've tweaked the blog a bit today.  I know, I know.  The title is no longer centered.  I've got to think about what to do with that so in the mean time please bare with me!  

Feedback from my regular readers????

I'm off to get my hair cut & colored and read my photography book while I sit and wait.  I'm trying learn more about my camera so I make use of all of its features.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Restless Sleep

Yesterday I went to my dentist and picked up this:
Can you guess what it contains?  For several years now I have been suffering the affects of acid reflux disease on my teeth.  It was actually first diagnosed by my dentist, the wonderful Dr. Hoste.  I've been on meds for GERD for years but unfortunately most of the enamel on my teeth is gone so my teeth are subject to frequent cavities.  Ugh.

So now I have to wear this at night:
It's an occlusal night guard and let me tell you, it was tough getting to sleep and staying asleep last night.  At first my gag reflex was kicking in.  I have a pretty tiny mouth and have an awful time with dental xrays and impressions.  Last time I gagged big time and nearly peed my pants.  Guess I need to empty before I get into the chair going forward.

I'll be wearing the night guard for a long time to come so I just better get used to it.  I was a little petrified that it wouldn't come off this morning but it did and it didn't pull any crowns out with it so I guess I'm safe.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to Sewing

I hadn't sewn a stitch in three weeks until today.  I had planned to meet Holly for dinner in Rochester after her meeting at Oakland University for her final class for her Masters degree.  I figured I had better get going and make the car seat protector I had told her about a few months ago.

So I got out my Bernina and set her up on the kitchen counter, the easiest space to get her going.  While standing in the aisle at Costco one day I spotted some dish draining mats and figured they'd be perfect for this project.  Well they absorb don't they???

I followed the tutorial from Home Sweet Homebodies and made this in about a 1/2 hour.
It will fit on Denver's car seat and protect it in case of a massive explosion or spillage from a drink cup.  I cut the slits for the side straps and zigzagged around the edges.

Next I sewed the darts at the top to draw it in where the seat back rises.  Here's a shot of the back side.
I cut a 3 1/4" slit in the center, 9" from the top, for the crotch strap to slide through.  And lastly, I sewed 1" squares of Velcro to the side strap openings to close them up a bit once it's in place.
It's completely washable so if when disaster strikes, it will be easier to clean up the mess!  I gave it tonight to Holly as a prototype.  She will see what kind of tweaking is needed to make it perfect.  

We had a fabulous dinner at Georgio's in Rochester.  I had their specialty, 
"Wild Cherry Chicken . . .Almond breaded chicken with mushrooms, onions & dry cherries sautéed in a Cherry brandy cream sauce" and it was out of this world good.  I will definitely order it again and soon!  I just wish I had remembered to take a picture of it before digging in.  Darn.

After dinner I headed over to Cristina's Quilt Shoppe and found some must-have fabric for a future project:
It's a new line from Michael Miller called Backyard Baby and it's designed by Patty Sloniger -- so cute!!  And yes, Joyce, there is a more girly line called Bella Butterfly.  The dog in the center fabric reminds me of Maggie -- she will just sit there in my backyard, even on the hottest of days and stare endlessly out into space!

Now that my Craft Cave clean up project is nearing completion, I can't wait to get back to my sewing machine.  So many ideas floating around my head -- sometimes I think I might burst!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Craft Cave Reveal

Two + weeks into my Craft Cave clean up project and I'm now 3/4 of the way done.  Phew!  I've tossed some things, set others aside for my next yard sale, and re-organized many other items.

Remember this is how it looked before the latest clean up:

When it gets to this state I have to say I feel pretty overwhelmed.  I really struggle with where to start and how to tackle the mess.  Every time I turned around I would find more 'stuff' and wish it would all just go away.  But only partly, because then I would recall exactly what I had intended to do with most everything in the room.  It was pretty debilitating and I'll bet that some of you would think it wasn't a particularly good idea to tackle a project like this when I had just lost my job again and probably didn't need anything quite so taxing in my life.  But, I persevered and today I'm feeling pretty darn good about it.

And this is how it looked this afternoon after much effort.  Notice Maggie sitting like a statue?  She would neither look at me or move -- sassy girl!

The first Expedit is all sewing and quilting stuff now.  I bought the dotted and black cubes from Target, a big outlay of cash but I wanted the fabric protected from the sunlight and dust.  The second Expedit is now all yarn but I think some of that will be sold in my next yard sale in September.  It is actually quite freeing to have much of my yarn stash gone already.  I know someone else will love and use it and I no longer have to feel guilty about trapping it in my Craft Cave.

I've added several organizing pieces that I picked up for 40% off at Michael's on Sunday.  The picture above is a table I got at IKEA a while back as a yarn winding station.  Now it holds my AccuQuilt GO cutter and dies.  I'll be able to cut fabric right there and won't have to search for a table or use the floor.  That's my swift next to it with a cover my Chicken friend Sue made for me.  Next to the table is the basket from my first paper shredder that my roommate destroyed.  Notice I said 'first' -- the second one he destroyed is banished somewhere else in the house, awaiting disposal courtesy of me.  The basket now contains interfacing, fusible web, Silamide thread, etc.

Here's a couple of close-ups of the organizing pieces from Michael's:

I love finding new places for my craft items but I think even more, at least today, I love getting rid of things that are cluttering both my space and my mind.  It truly is freeing.  But remember I said I'm 3/4 of the way done.  There's still one corner I need to tackle tomorrow:
My computer desk has all sorts of things on it that truly do not belong there.  I've got documents and manuals to put away in my accordion file box.  Spent ink cartridges that need to be recycled.  This list goes on and on.  But.  I know I can do this.  I have to have a clean space so I can start launching my next career move and be prepared for what lies ahead.  

So tonight when I go to bed I'll be feeling much better than I have for a while.  Cluttered space leads to cluttered minds and that just makes me sleep poorly.  Not to mention that when I work hard I always sleep better and now I have something to show for my efforts.  Tomorrow I'll finish with my desk and then I'll be done with this room.  Yeah!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Not Done Yet

Amazingly enough, I'm still working in my Craft Cave.  Things are looking up though because I found some new storage pieces for my work space that should help keep things looking tidy.  

I have to confess I've been playing around a LOT with my new smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S3.  I've been using the Android operating system on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet for a few months so there wasn't as much of a learning curve as when I got my first smartphone in 2010.  One of the best features is I can actually sync it up with my car and make/receive phone calls -- hallelujah!!

Sometimes Most of the time I have a difficult time getting all the things I want to do done in a day, and then I forget that I meant to get the leftover tasks done the following day.  Must be the ADD kicking in now and again.  I found a website that will come in handy for me and maybe you too!  It's called Lazy Meter and so far it looks like it will help keep me accountable to myself.  I know, a notepad would work too, but it's more fun to use my computer (and soon they'll make an app for phones for it), especially when you can move un-done tasks to tomorrow!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


All is right with the world.  I'm able to use my brand spanking new Samsung Galaxy S III phone with the Sync in my Ford Focus!  OK, before you all roll your eyes at me, remember that I was having a terrible time getting my Samsung Focus to work in the Ford Focus.  Besides the obvious name similarities, they both operated on the Windows platform so there was absolutely no excuse in my mind for them not to work together!  I spent hours and hours in the hottest weather of the summer sitting in my car, trying to get them to behave nicely together with absolutely no luck whatsoever!

Yesterday was the first day I could get a new phone under my plan with AT&T so you can believe that I was at Costco first thing in the morning to make the switcheroo.  I played around with the phone a bit and even paired it up in the Focus.  Oddly enough, though, the address book sync up did not bring the phone numbers over as they should.  Today I had to re-format the numbers that were in my old phone as into (xxx)xxx-xxxx.  You can only guess how much fun THAT was.  Next I went outside to my car and reloaded the address book and -voila- it worked.  I called my friend Mary and then she called me.  It was HEAVEN -- it worked as it should.  Joy is back in my life!  OK, it wasn't really that necessary, but at least I know that something I paid extra to get is actually working now.  WooHoo!!!!