Monday, December 15, 2014

Bags, Bags, Bags

Bags are some of the fastest gifts to whip up, especially for an instant Christmas present.  If you need some ideas check out these great free patterns gathered by Heather of The Sewing Loft.  I dare you to make just one!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Red and White Quilt Challenge Reveal

I have been so darn busy this past week -- maybe that should be sew darn busy.  I made a super cute sock monkey pillow for the guild's Holiday Bazaar silent auction:

Altogether I had 6 items I contributed to the auction.  I bought several things that other members had made so I did my share to support the guild.

I sewed the binding on my Red & White Challenge quilt yesterday.  I used the stitch in the ditch foot, foot R for my Juki F600, to sew the binding to the backside of the quilt.  I love this method because it's so much quicker and saves wear and tear on my hands over hand sewing the binding to the back.  Since I think it will be a table cloth for my kitchen table it just didn't warrant the hand sewing method.  I washed the quilt using TWO Color Catcher sheets and there was no bleeding whatsoever.  The Color Catchers were pink when they came out of the washer but the quilt remained white where it should have and none of the reds bled -- phew!

The pattern is called Syncopated Rhythm by Karen Montgomery.  It's a fun pattern that works up quickly.

Now on to more Christmas sewing.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Serged Edges

My Red & White Challenge Quilt is nearly done.  I just need to cut the binding strips and sew them on.  I used my serger tonight to finish the edges of the quilt.  I had heard other quilters do this in the past but I never had a serger - now I do.

Can't reveal too much of it right now.  I liked serging the edges as I think it will make sewing the binding on much neater since all three edges are cleaned up and stable.  Can't wait to finish it!

Friday, December 5, 2014


Have you ever been to a great pottery show? Today I took a co-worker to her first Potters' Market.  I finally found the batter bowl I've been searching for ever since I gave my niece a batter bowl that I had originally purchased for me! Yeah!  I can't wait to make some scrambled eggs for breakfast. I also bought a berry bowl and a pin for a coworker who is a huge Santa fan.

This weekend I will have to baste and quilt my Red and White quilt.  Stay tuned!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Getting My Sewing Groove Back

After all of my down days lately I think I've finally got my sewing groove back.  I worked on my Red & White Challenge Quilt, which is due on December 14th and I think I will actually finish quilting and binding it in time.  I used the cutting mat from my new Martelli Round-About to square up my blocks.  Here are the scraps:

Tonight I worked on a orange clutch for my quilt guild's Holiday Bazaar, which is December 11th.  I like how it turned out and I think I'll be making a larger version, maybe a tote bag.  The idea came from but I made this one a bit different.  I used a great orange melton wool and faux leather for the hexagons, and an invisible zipper (because that's all Haberman Fabrics had tonight when I needed it at 8:30 pm).  I pressed it using the ironing pad from my new my Round-About.  

And now that I've looked at it here I could see where I forgot to stitch a row on the right side so I've since correct that.

When I sew I just feel so much happier.  Being creative is the perfect balance to my day job where I'm so left-brained sometimes my head hurts!  I've got lots of sewing projects to make for Christmas so it's a good thing that my mojo has returned.

Oh, and that Red & White challenge quilt -- stay tuned for the reveal, once the 14th has come and gone.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


I am so grateful for all the support I've received following my Mom's sudden passing.  My friends have been so kind and quick with a hug.  Countless times I've reached for my cell phone to call my Mom to ask advice, tell her what I'm up to or what my grandkids are doing.  For the most part I'm doing well, but then I'll see something -- Jeopardy, Red Wings games, etc. - and wish we could be watching them together, just once more.

The holidays are fast approaching and I don't know how I can get in the spirit this year.  I wish I could pull the covers up over my head and wake up in 2015.  Even New Year's Day will be hard as we spent it together for many years.  She would make a big pot of Canadian Pea Soup and we would reflect on the year gone by and talk about our plans for the coming year.

I'm grateful my mother died so peacefully but oh do I wish I had known it was coming.  I didn't have a proper goodbye.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sad Times

You know how things can go rolling along in your life relatively smoothly for a while and you feel like you haven't a care in the world?  The sun is shining, the leaves are turning beautiful shades of color, the air is getting crisper and Fall is in 'bloom'.  Work is going better, the kids are all healthy, my sewing mojo has returned - life is good.

Well it all goes to Hell in a hand basket with a phone call.  My sister Renee, who had a full knee replacement last week, couldn't get my mom on the phone.  My oldest sister Denise was on a cruise in Germany, my youngest sister Carol was in Ohio.  So I was the one to drive out to Mom's only to discover she had died in her sleep some time on Monday.  Renee had called the apartment handyman to check on Mom and he discovered her, shortly before Kevin and I arrived.

Stunned.  She had been doing so well having returned the week before from a visit with Denise for about 10 days, enjoying the Fall colors of northern Michigan.  Chester the handyman said he'd seen her Saturday sweeping the leaves from her porch.

As far as we can tell she just died peacefully in bed.  Age 88 1/2.  A good long life.

Yesterday was the visitation and today was her funeral and she would have been so pleased by all the folks who came to pay their respect and comfort all of her family.  Childhood friends, former co-workers, bowling buddies, they all came.  Denise had to keep adding and adding to the luncheon count -- so many people came.  We have treasured friends who mean the world to us, doing what they can to ease our sorrow.

If your Mom is still around, give her an extra hug for me please.  I miss mine already.

My sister Denise read this today at Mom's service and I hope you enjoy it.  I don't believe the author is known but if I'm wrong please kindly let me know.

Life is like a journey on a train...with its stations...changes of routes...and accidents!

At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel by our side.

However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone….but not quite.

As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.

Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Some will move to another car for awhile and come back. Others will go so unnoticed we don't realize they left their seats!

This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hurts, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells.

Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers...requiring that we give the best of ourselves because we are all on this ride together.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way - love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are, including our seat if necessary.

It’s important because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty -- we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life without us.

I wish you a joyful journey for the coming years on your train of life. Reap success, give lots of love and be happy.

More importantly, be thankful for the journey!

Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Swing Jacket

This past week I've been working on a new swing jacket.  As I posted on Facebook, this pattern is the worst pattern written in the history of the world.  No, I'm not exaggerating.  I bought it, along with 2 more, from a vendor named Barb at the Sewing Expo last month.  ARGHHHH!  It contains hand-drawn illustrations, completely misses the cuffs in the pattern as well as the instructions, and needs seriously proofreading -- 'sleve' -- ugh.  I bought the marvelous washable faux fur and cuddle fabric at Haberman Fabrics here in town, and ran my confusion about the collar past Cindy, one of their wonderful employees.  I managed to complete the jacket despite all the pitfalls, and while I still have issues with the sleeves I do LOVE it!  It's so comfortable and while it's not super warm it will make for a great Fall jacket.

Even including a selfie (ugh!)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

All Burned Up

I survived the visit from my boss, AKA Dr. Evil, and his assistant, Mini Me.  I've been micromanaged to DEATH.  His ideas are fine, but his delivery stinks.  I think he was out playing Cricket when he should have been in Charm School.  My job is going better and I am starting to 'get it' finally.  I've gotten two paychecks so far so I think I'll stay.  I like what I'm doing and who I'm working with and when you couple that with my short commute, I'm quite happy.

My former roommate is settled into his new place but today he stopped by in the most irate state I've seen him in a long, long time.  He went to the Lions game with his father and uncle.  I don't know what triggered it but his father decided it was time to let loose on all that has been bothering him about me for the past 25+ years.  Kevin was so upset over whatever transpired that he left his wallet and cell phone in his dad's car.

Unfortunately I had been trying a new recipe which called for heating up the pan before adding butter and olive oil and it burned horribly, causing me to open all the windows and turn on the fan as the house filled with smoke. So when Kevin starting screaming hysterically about the incident there isn't a soul within 5 miles that didn't know about it.

It's amazing to me how my ex views our marriage.  He deems me cold and insensitive and I view him the same way.  I was abandoned as were the kids so that he could spend his all of his spare time with his brothers and parents, long before his father's terminal illness.  I guess I just didn't understand what being married was supposed to be about.  Unfortunately Kevin had to be the recipient of his father's built up wrath.  Wow, it NEVER came up when we were in marriage counseling.

I feel horribly for Kevin, he never should have had to endure this.

The new chicken dish was delicious but the pan needs a little TLC, much like my former roommate.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Checking In

Sorry for the extended absence.  I've been busy getting the hang of things at work and that includes trying to understand a boss who seems to have flunked out of Charm School.  Said boss will be coming to spend the week with us starting tomorrow -- yikes!

I promise to update you with the latest events in my life, including the recent move-out of my roommate -- yaaay!  I've even been sewing a bit -- woohoo.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Stuff

This past week was my first one at my new company, XPO Logistics.  Everything is going swimmingly so far.  I like my co-workers, the work is interesting (read: lots to learn) and the commute is a breeze.  There's a great cafeteria that actually makes good food -- what a novel idea!  I'll be getting paid every other Friday -- haven't been paid this way in YEARS.  That means my first check won't be until October 3rd - YIKES!!!  I'll have to be careful with my bill paying until I get used to that.

I haven't been in the mood to sew lately.  Not sure why but I haven't, and that's okay.  Today my roommate was going full tilt on cleaning, decluttering, and packing -- preparing to move out next weekend.  I'll believe it when I see it but it is looking good right now.

I did manage to stitch one seam today in making a quilt backing.  I used the 2' x 4' ironing board that I bought at the Ann Arbor Quilt Show, which rests on top of my ironing board.  It worked amazingly and I pressed the fabric much more easily.  I also had to do a little applique repair on a quilt top and used the Tulip Hiroshima applique needles that I bought over the Summer.  I loved the needle -- smooth as can be and it did not bend on me.  I've got a pin cushion full of old bent needles that I can now toss!  They have the cutest packaging -- check them out and add some to your 'toolbox'.

And lastly, I found these great mittens for my grandson Denver:
They're great because they have side zippers which will make getting them on and off so easy.  Found them at Costco, of course.  I highly recommend them for all little ones out there.

So that's enough new stuff for now.  I've got to tidy up my kitchen and get ready for the work week.  Early to bed and early to rise makes me a happy girl.  Also gets me home early enough to actually enjoy the evenings these days!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The President's Quilt

I was the president of the Great Lakes Heritage Quilters last year and my term ended in June.  I am just now getting to posting pictures of the wonderful quilt I was given.  Many members of the guild contributed a block to the project which was designed by Modern Quilt Studio and chosen by my good friend Sue.  The blocks were assembled by more good friends, Joyce and Carol, and then quilted by another good friend Mary.  I've been sleeping under it most of the Summer and enjoyed it so much.

It contains several of Marcia Derse's fabrics, which I adore, and the colors couldn't be more perfect.  I'm looking forward to repainting my bedroom to match it some day....

Close up of Mary's quilting:

The backing was pieced using a few leftover blocks:
I appreciate all the thought that went into making this wonderful quilt for me.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Tidying Up

I spent yesterday and today getting caught up around the house.  My email folder was packed with old notes that needed sorting/discarding so I finally got that done.  I still have piles of documents to put in folders -- former employer filed away and new employer moved to handier location.
I also completed my onboarding documents for my new job.  You know, W4s, I-9, enrollments, beneficiaries, etc.  So glad to have that done and out of the way so I won't be bothered with it on my first day.

In my old emails I came across a couple of great tips and projects I had forgotten about.  First up is Sewing Loft's Top 5 sewing tips of 2013 and the second one is their Top 5 tutorials of 2013.

Once I get back into a normal work groove I'm hoping my sewing mojo will return.

My roommate is still promising he'll be moving out soon, maybe next month.  One can only hope.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


I have had absolutely no creative energy for the past few weeks whatsoever.

All of my energy has been geared toward acquiring a new job as well as my niece Lauren's wedding.

I accepted a new position with a small company that will be about 11 miles away, instead of the 51 mile journey (each way!) I have to my current job.  I really like what I'm doing and will miss many of the people I work with terribly.

The girl who put the Nerf pistol to my head is also quitting -- I think she didn't like that I beat her to it.  The one developer who I suspect has some sort of social disorder (Asperger's Syndrome maybe) and the loser HR Director who has the fashion sense of a Glamour Don't Queen are on my short list of co-workers I won't miss.  There are so many nice co-workers that I will miss that tomorrow will be a melancholy day for me.  I have l-o-a-d-s of work to do before I leave, including a bunch of knowledge transfer to my replacement.

As of today, the HR Director that I sent my resignation letter to has not responded.  Wouldn't you think by now she would have set up an exit interview with me?  Oh well.  

Yesterday my co-workers took me to a great brew-pub in Ann Arbor and today we went to a fabulous pizza place.  

I hope I make as many good friends at my new job.

In the mean time here are a few pictures from my niece's wedding.

Parents of the bride, my sister Renee and her husband Tim, with the bride and groom to their left:

My sister Carol's three children:

My sister Carol's family:

Again, my camera died before I could take more pictures.  Damn anyway!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Denver turns 3

My grandson Denver turned 3 years old yesterday.  I can hardly believe it's been 3 years since that little guy entered my life and made me a Grammie.  I know every grandma thinks their grandchild is the most handsome, the smartest, the most clever boy to walk the Earth but I am so proud of this little guy.  He really is bright and amazes everyone he comes in contact with.  He's finally potty-trained and begins Montessori school this week.  He's already a better 'sharer' than at least one little girl in school!

The day he came into our lives:

His first birthday -- he loves his tractors and trucks!

Denver at 2, an excellent eater

And these are from his 3rd birthday party, held last week.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Beyond Busy

Do you enjoy being busy all the time?  Do you relish the thought of just relaxing without anyone bothering you?  Lately I've been working way too much and would just love to have a day where I do NOTHING!

Work has been very stressful with deadlines approaching and more work than we should be able to do but somehow are.  To add to the mayhem, I've been contacted by several contract houses for some choice job openings.  Three interviews last week all seem promising so keep your fingers crossed.

I've had doctor and dental appointments, with yet another one tomorrow.  My niece's wedding is fast approaching and I finally found a dress to wear today.  There's not a thing on earth that would look good on me -- I am such a beached whale -- but I'm hoping the dress I've chosen will work out.  I forgot to sit down in it.  Uh oh.  Hope that's not a problem.  I'll need new shoes but since the dress is from Nordstrom (and getting a bit of beading repair tomorrow) I WILL find a suitable pair.

In the mean time, I've got a quilting project that's really busting my chops.  All that overtime I've been working has put the kibosh on it I'm afraid.  Must. Push. On.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rain, rain, go away

Yesterday we had a super flood in our area.  Highways were flooded with 9 feet of water.  People were trapped in their cars.  Basements flooded all over the place.  My friends Sue and Mary both had flooded basements.  Here's the view on my street.  It looks almost the same as last week's flood but believe it or not, it was even worse.

Even the Detroit Zoo is closed!  My drive into work this morning was a bit of a detour as my normal route was completely closed due to the flooding, stranded cars, and malfunctioning pumping systems.  See more in this story from NBC.  It's truly stunning how stupid some drivers are, trying to make their way through flooded streets.  Times like this I wish cars still had distributor caps so they would be stopped by their stupidity.

Tonight I passed house after house after house with 'basement' debris on their curb, awaiting the garbage man.  Poor garbage men -- they had nothing to do with it and imagine all the extra work they'll have this week!  One of my neighbors had 2 feet of water in their basement.  So sad.

Monday, August 11, 2014

How's it going?

Today I marked the 5th anniversary of my father's passing.  Five years ago I walked into his hospital room and said 'comment ça va mon père?'  It's a greeting I used many times over the years especially when I'd visit him in the hospital.  It translates to 'how's it going my father?' and even though I knew he was dying I said it just the same.  He didn't answer me that time and I didn't expect him to, and with those brief words from me he quickly passed away.  Faster than anyone else his nurse had ever cared for.  And for all of his earlier illnesses and battles, it was truly amazing that he went so peacefully and quickly.

I miss him so much but as the years have passed there are days that go by without me thinking about him.  I didn't think it would be possible when he died, but it is.  Today also marks 10 weeks since my nephew Paul committed suicide and it is still too fresh and painful to go more than a day without thinking about him and missing him so.  In time I know the sorrow will ease, much like it has with my dad.  God bless them both.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Unbelievable Coworker

Today was positively lousy.  Have you ever worked with someone who completely made you feel like hauling off and thrashing them?  Yes?  Well today was that day for me.

I'm currently sitting in a small conference room with 3 software developers and 2 other QA analysts.  It's very cozy - maybe too cozy.  It's a very collaborative environment where we can ask questions of each other and make the process go a little bit more smoothly.  One of the things that software developers seem to enjoy is Nerf gun wars with other teams.  Even in our little room they'll fire their guns at the wall, targets on the whiteboard, and each other.  I've been warning them not to include me -- don't shoot at me, don't ask me to be a part of any of it.

None of the team knew about my nephew Paul killing himself except for my QA Lead, who sits beside me.  Today she took insensitivity to a new level.  She actually put a Nerf pistol to my head as I worked intently testing software changes on my laptops.  Playful or not I did not appreciate it and did not find any humor or mischief in it whatsoever.  I swatted it away from my head and she said it wasn't loaded.  Low on tact I said 'I don't give a shit', at which point I admonished her and them by saying 'My nephew killed himself with a shotgun and I don't find any of this the least bit funny.'

Well playtime was over.  Complete silence came over the room as each of us went back to our own work.  Typically emotional, I could not sit there and went to the bathroom to cry it out.  Last Saturday marked two months since Paul committed suicide so my emotions were simmering near the surface.

I can't believe that anyone I shared this tragic loss with would ever take it so lightly and be so cruel and ignorant about my pain.  Going forward I can't go back to being on friendly terms with her.  I will do what is expected of me and I will share nothing personal going forward.  I will also step up my efforts to find another job closer to home.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Miss Sofia

Last month I finally got to meet my great-niece Sofia.  She is 10 months old tomorrow.  I'm so sad that I missed meeting her earlier but hopefully we'll see more of each other going forward.  I will need to make a trip to Pennsylvania to see them before the weather gets crazy later this year.

I took a few pictures of Sofia and played around with the photos in Picasa.  Here's my beautiful little gal:

I can't wait to see her again!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Last of the GAAQG Show Pics

Here are the last of my pictures from the GAAQG show.

These are smaller projects and they are probably the ones I enjoyed the most.  I like the way a small project can be artsy.

Monday, July 28, 2014

GAAQG Show Part II

As promised here are a few of the Modern quilts I enjoyed seeing at the Ann Arbor show last Saturday.  The first quilt was part of the 'general  population' of quilts, while the rest were a special exhibit by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild.