Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Adios 2008!!!

I got this card in 2006 from the Obama family and I treasured it then, but even more so now.

I welcome the new year and what it will mean for our Nation and her people.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We Went to the Movies


Despereaux......little mouse with big dreams, a big heart, and big courage.

My niece TreShawn generously let me have the company of her son Haki for a couple of nights. It was his first sleep-over at my house, and we had a great time.

We rented some DVD's to watch at home and then today we went to the movies. It's been a tradition of mine for many years to go to the movies on Christmas weekend, and this year we chose to go see the animated movie "Tale of Despereaux". It had a great message about not accepting the limitations that others try to put on you. For example Despereaux got terrible marks in school because he refused to "scurry" and didn't "cower". LOL I really liked the movie, and Haki was attentive throughout. He gave it two thumbs up.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Right Down to the Wire....

I shopped yesterday for the stuff I need to make Green Bean Casserole, which is my responsibility for Christmas dinner. I'm spending it with my "sista-women-friends" and their kids. I have made this before and it's soooo easy to do and everyone seems to like it. So that's a snap.

I'll take everything there to assemble and bake. Easy-Peasy.


Before I headed out to do that little bit of shopping, and for my dentist appointment, I made my first ever batch of Biscotti. Orange almond in flavor and so good with my morning coffee today.

OH YUM!!!


The last of the goodie trays went out the door yesterday evening. I made a total of 7 with cookies on the bottom and candy on top. They were lovely and I was channeling my inner Martha the whole time.

Actually I was channeling my inner Ginny Ingle, mom, who was Martha long before Martha became a brand. She was room mother when we three were in school and her treats were over the top. During our school's fall festival, her decorated cakes were the ones that raised the most money. Her holiday platters were altogether amazing and looked-forward-to by all our neighbors. If I can do anything at all well, all thanks belong to her.

I got a lovely in the mail this week. My friend, Doro, who is a water-colorist and was a neighbor of mine in Mexico sent me a watercolor she painted ~ already matted and framed. She and David live in Ouray, Colorado part of the year and this is a painting of the mountains in the fall, showing snow on the peaks. She had no idea that the colors in my bathroom are all in those fallish colors, so it is perfect. I took down the picture I had in there and put this one up. It is so beautiful and makes my heart glad. Thanks Doro for sharing your talent with me.

It's rainy today and I'm doing laundry and cleaning house. Maya and I have been on our walk and we both got wet and were glad to get home, where it's warm and dry.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Peace!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Home, Sweet, Home....


City living has required some compromise on my part and some patience on the part of my companion and best-dog, Maya. Until we moved here, Maya only had to stand at the door and I'd let her out to go take care of business. I cleaned up the yard after her when we were in Mexico. When we moved to North Carolina we lived out in the country and she had the run of 80 some acres which she shared with cows, coyotes, wild turkeys, deer, and other critters. No clean up was required.

Here in the city, she has to be on a leash and I follow behind with bags. She has me right where she wants me...lol.

This is our apartment, the one on the bottom floor to the right of the lamp post. You can't see it, but not only is there a patio off the living room, but there's another off the dining room (behind the bushes there in the picture). I love that it gives me the illusion of more space than there is.

I took this picture from the top of the levy that runs along the Sacramento River which is across the street from me. The levy provides a paved surface for bike riders, stroller-pushers, joggers, dog-walkers, skateboarders, walkers, and Maya and I walk it regularly. I'm the one on the end of the leash with the plastic bags.

Looking at the river to the right, you can see we are on a bend.
and looking to the left, you can see the bend going away. Those are barges tied up to pilings and filled with rock and dirt....they are working on the levys.

We sometimes see seals in the river who have made their way upstream from the San Francisco Bay, and also Sea Otters. Once or twice whales have made it upstream and have had to be guided back down to the bay...they get their internal direction finder out of kilter somehow.

Some days we go to the park for our walk, and sometimes we go to the dog park where Maya can be off leash. She never strays far from my side though so we more often go to the people park.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I am enjoying my clean-for-a-minute house. It's been rainy so I am not even trying to convince myself that it will stay that way for long. Every time Maya and I go out, we track. I towel her off at the door, and we wipe our feet.....but the outside still clings and insists on being invited in! Oh dang.

I've been enjoying my eensy teensy tree!
It is manageable and so festive at night with all the lights turned off except for these twinkly ones on the tree and the flicker of candles throughout the house.
I love the look of the holidays and always feel cheery with all the decorations, the music, and the generally sparkly look of the world.

I wanted to make some slipcovers for the task chair at the desk in my room. The basic black is okay, but it is of some fabric that is a dog-hair magnet and no amount of brushing, lint rolling, or vacuuming will work. 5 minutes later, it needs it again. So for now I have the back and seat covered with pillowcases...not a good look.

The bed linens are rust/orange part of the year and shades of caribbean blue/turquoise the rest of the year. I got this fabric at IKEA and have made a pattern. Stay tuned.

This year I'm going to make a few trays of iced cookies and some homemade candy. I remember that my mother always started well in advance and made oodles of trays of goodies for us to give to our teachers, carry to the neighbors, some went to Dad's workplace, and she mailed off boxes to relatives who couldn't be with us at Christmas. She was Martha long before Martha existed and did it all so well.

I've never made candy before but yesterday I made Peanut Brittle and this morning I made English Toffee! And they both turned out! Waaa-hooooooooooo!!!!

This afternoon I'm going to make the cookie dough, wrap it and refrigerate it and once the cookies are made....I can make up the trays and deliver them. Early yes, but I don't have room to store all that stuff, nor do I want it in the house...lol.

I don't think I'll do this every year. Candy making is messy and tricky. Cookie making is okay, so that will probably continue. I never mastered the art of decorating with royal icing and a pastry bag.....I got it all over me, and it seemed to get flung far and wide as well. I can manage icing and sprinkles though.

All of this baking/cooking has me in the kitchen spending time with memories of mom and all the loveliness she created for our holidays. I'm a little nostalgic and enjoying it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Seasonal Deliciousness

Trader Joe's, which in any season is snack-central, has some special items that are only available during the Holidays.

Chocolatey cookie goodness with stuff in the middle containing crushed peppermints. Oh dang, it's amazing!

I love Joe-Joe's and curse the day my cousin Peggy introduced me to them.

Hope you have some sinful sweetness in your life.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Acccckkkkkkk! How do the days get away??


I love my blog buddies who manage to rassle with kids, keep the house, cook, do lovely crafts, make their Christmas presents, quilt, take amazing photographs, and still blog every day. I love that they can. I can't. Today I'm cleaning house, so I still won't be able to take pics and blog.

I have this sign hanging up; I feel like it was meant just for me. I need to remember it right now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Maybe I Found My Quilt Shop Home!!!!

I finally found a shop in the greater Sacramento area that sells Quilting Arts Magazine. I've been looking all over for the latest issue because it features one of my favorite bloggers shown on the cover...Malka Dubrowski. The magazine is pricey, but I was curious about her process, so wanted it.

I walked into JR Flamingo (which was a new fabric store to me) and I felt right at home. The ladies there ~ Susan and Valerie ~ were really helpful and the quilts were gorgeous. They are also a shop for sewers other than quilters, but most of their fabric was quilt fabric and their selections were wonderful. Every quilt shop is different in the fabric they select to sell, and I really liked the "eye" of this shop's buyer. They had a lot of Kaffe Fasset shot cottons, tons of dupioni silk ~ which I want to incorporate into some of my quilts, and they had a good selection of african and ethnic prints.

I'm going to try to take a class there when the new schedule comes out. It felt like home.

Wanna Be Santa?

Have you seen this Macy's Page? You gotta try it. I've doodled away 45 minutes making me and everyone I have a picture of into Santa...what a hoot!


And here's another Holiday Season pic showing the first Xmas card I received. I thought it looked good on my red stash cabinet.

Holiday Spirit

Well, most of the decorating is done.
I'm calling it a minimalist Holiday Season here.

The lights are up.
I hung them under the upstairs patio, and I like the twinkle at night.




I got a teeny weeny tree at Trader Joe's and some teeny weeny lights to go on it. That corner of the living room looks festive as all get-out!











I got these little red doo-dads at IKEA and with a poinsetta bloom they are kinda holiday-ish, don't you think?







There are lights around the inside of the patio fence and I'm going to leave these up after the holidays too. I love the twinkle.











A reindeer and some red votives on the table.






A cheery candle and a glittery wreath on the entry hall table.








Christmas cards have been sent out.
And everything is in the pantry for some holiday baking. I'm pretty much ready.

I have loved reading everyone's blogs! If you haven't checked out Sew, Mama, Sew you should if you need ideas for some holiday gifting that are hand made. Not all of them require a lot of time, so you still can make a hand-made Christmas.

I also loved Jane Sassaman's blog today~ she had some beautiful wondrous things utilizing her fabrics.

I listed all my favorite blogs on the sidebar ~ if you can't get inspired on your own, these women will get you going.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Today...preparation.


How could I have forgotten Trader Joe's in my posting about my favorites?

I was so happy to move to a town where we have 3 of them. I stopped by this one yesterday as well because they sell Maya's favorite dog food and we were almost out. Can you believe I got in there and out again without buying anything but dog food? That's a first for me.

Okay, so this is what I'm up to today...


Two are in the oven and two are out and cooling.
Sweet Potato pie is my favorite and I've been making these for over 30 years. I love them and while 1 is for my home, the other three will go to other families for their holiday dinners. In Columbus, Ohio, my cousin Randy will be making my recipe for this pie along with 4-5 other pies for the table with all my cousins and their families. He inherited my grandmother's pie-making gene and really puts the rest of us to shame.

I'm also making green bean casserole. Even though I'm joining my two best sister-friends for dinner tomorrow at a local restaurant (none of us want to do the cooking, have the mess, or clean up after...lol), I want something here because I'm going to bake a chicken and make stove top stuffing for "leftovers" on Friday.

I think I love "leftovers" better than the actual dinner.


Yesterday, I finished all my mending. I got some fabric to cover my great task chairs that I got from IKEA....they are okay, but the fabric seems to be a dog hair magnet ~ it's the texture of the fabric or something, so I'm going to make cotton covers that I can take off, shake off, and launder when I need to. The bedding in my bedroom is orange/rusts, or all white, or watery blues. I like to switch it up. So I found a wonderful graphic print at IKEA that has the blues and oranges on a white background and will make the cover for the chair at my desk in those colors. The sewing table in the living room will have a red cover for that chair.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Yesterday's Favorite Things

I had a gazillion errands and left my camera in the car so I was able to show you some of my favorite things about living in Sacramento.

IKEA is only just across the river ~ less than 5 miles from my home. I got the IKEA catalog every year while I was living in Mexico and drooled over it. When I moved to North Carolina, the closest IKEA was in Atlanta....5-6 hours away and I made that drive twice in 2 years just to get my IKEA fix. Now I go at least once a month and when I first moved here it was 2-3 times a week!!! I love me some IKEA.

We are so lucky to live in what is called the Market Basket of the world ~ the central valley of California is largely agricultural. We have some wonderful markets here and a new one to me, is Nugget Market. Not only is the outside of their market wonderously beautiful, the inside is amazing to behold. Even if you aren't in the mood to cook....you will once you travel these aisles.

Isn't this butterfly bench something? The corporate offices have opted for beauty and function when it would have been less expensive to just go for function.






Sculptures on the walls of gossamer-clad beauties holding up platters of fruit. My, my, my.

Oh, and the awnings over the windows look as if they are made of seeds...the texture is remarkable.



The produce is displayed like fine art, and even though you came to shop for vegetables, it seems a shame to change a thing...it is so perfect.






That was yesterday....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

She's Baaaaaaaaaack!

It may seem that I've been gone, like forever, but really it's only been 6 months....in which I moved cross country, unpacked, wandered hours and hours through IKEA, furnished my digs, settled in, and got the lay of the land. Whew! Now during that time you guys went on with your lives and a couple of my favorite bloggers, Anna Maria and Meg, got pregnant. How do I know? Well, even though I was busy doing all that stuff up there, I was also getting online and reading blogs. I needed an anchor for the upheaval in my life, and my blog-sisters were that and then some.

Can I show you my dining room and my stash? Here ya go!
Ha! Just kidding about the stash, 'cause this isn't all of it. (There's a bunch in rubbermaid tubs in the storage closet and some more in my bedroom closet.)

The stash in my dining room is arranged delightfully. I love looking at it, and so do my guests. Those purple boxes on top hold my quilting books.

The cabinet is IKEA.
I'm glad to be back here. Let me know if you found me.




Friday, May 2, 2008

On the road to California

I'm packing up the last of the stuff I'm taking and on Monday, bright and early, Maya and I will be on the road. We are hauling a U-Haul trailer with the stuff we can't live without (fabric, fabric, stash, sewing machine.....you get my drift) and hope to be there on Friday.

I've found an apartment that will take Maya, most wouldn't, and so we are both happy. See you when I get settled in.

Happy trails to youuuuuuuuuuuu!

That reminds me of a little story......
When my brother and I were little, I wanted to play cowboys, so I told him that when he rode off into the sunset he had to sing. He couldn't sing "Happy Trails" ~ so speech impediment and all, he galloped off singing, "wing awound da wosy". I was mortified!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Taking a Break.....

You might have noticed that I've been away for a while. I was sick, then on the couch depressed.

I made a decision a last month that I was going to need to move back to California. My employer, who I worked 30 years for made a decision to stop all but catastrophic health coverage for retirees who lived "out of area". I'm one of them, and the coverage provides for no routine health care and costs me out of pocket nearly $400 a month for the privilege (*note sarcasm here*) on no routine medical coverage. If I move back to California, I can rejoin the HMO I belonged to and everything other than minimal copays is covered. So, I must move.















What I'm leaving........the beautiful in every season Blue Ridge Mountains. A quiet country road where the only traffic that passes my house is the family who live at the end of the road, the local farmer whose access to the pasture below my place is just down the road a bit, the mailman, and in the winter the snowplow.

Wild turkeys parade down the broken yellow line sometimes, cows moo, and there is a coyote who has moved into the woods on the other side of the pasture. People here wave even if they have never seen you before and most folks don't bother to lock their cars when they go to town or their house until bedtime.

I can't afford to stay here without health insurance and the move will be expensive. I will most likely become an apartment dweller, housing is expensive. I've been grieving and I've been angry, and now I'm just on the front edge of acceptance.

There's a lot to do to get ready to make this move......so I am going to take a break from blogging, from quilting, and get to work. Look for me sometime in June. I'll be checking in on my blogging buddies from time to time and will look forward to see what you all are working on.

Abrazos y Hasta Luego Amigas.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday with the Quilty Girls...

NOT!!!!

I looked out the window at 3:00am and there was a faint dusting of snow just along the road...and none on the car or the mailbox. It was windy, and there was so little snow I figured what was there had probably blown there from Ashe County. LOL

I got up at 8:30 and saw this.

No Wednesday at the Quilt Shop for me. The snowplow hasn't passed...the wind is still blowing to beat the band and it looks like a fine day to stay inside.

I haven't been sewing. I'm in a mid-winter slump despite my full-spectrum lightbulbs and I know that this too shall pass.

Thank God for Netflix!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weekend at the Movies.....

Mira Nair, director, known for "Vanity Fair" and "Monsoon Wedding" presents this study of a couple who emigrate from Northern India. Their relationship with this new country, with each other, and with their american-born children explore the questions that come up in those relationships. I enjoyed this film immensely, and really enjoyed the special features which were rich with excerpts from seminars that the director presented in film school about the making of this film. I learned a lot about film-making; things I had not ever considered before, and appreciate how generous she was in sharing that insider information. I had seen Vanity Fair before, and will put Monsoon Wedding on my Netflix Que.

The Night Listener creeped me out. This is not the first drama that Robin Williams has been in that has done so. But I think it will be the last. I was totally unsettled by it, and halfway through found myself thinking, "why am I wasting my time on this?".

But, I persisted. Wish I could say that I found some redeeming value in it, but I think I was just too lazy to get up off the couch and turn it off before it finished. Is it that I fear I will have judged it too hastily, or that it will at the last moment save itself? I dunno.


I don't know where I heard about this one, but I put it on my Netflix Que and was happy when I saw that it was on it's way. A Chinese film, that was thoroughly enjoyable despite the sad circumstances of the woman in the title ~ it stretched credibility a little. How could a man who had become lovers with a woman 3 different times over the course of their lives not remember her each time he meets her? Despite that leap of credibility I still enjoyed it. I like Chinese films and have come to know certain directors and can count on their films to not disappoint. This director, though, was new to me.


Okay, I wasn't expecting a heavy film but was prepared to be happy just to be in the company of this ensemble. It did have some lessons....not delivered in a heavy-handed way, just presented for consideration. I liked it. C'mon, it had Morgan Freeman in it! Need I say more?


I don't remember the first Elizabeth movie with Cate Blanchett, so I will have to order it. I will remember this one, though. I enjoyed it so much and the special features were every bit as entertaining because they were lush with how the sets, costumes, and art direction were major players in this film. It was lush and made me curious to know more about the Elizabethan era....now that's saying something. I loved it.

As you can guess, I got very little accomplished this weekend. But I had a great time and the weather ~ cold, wet, and foggy lent themselves to spending the weekend entertained thusly. No guilt here. (well except for The Night Listener, that is...) LOL

Tomorrow I'm off to Greensboro for a visit to the periodontist. Will be gone most of the day.

See ya layta!

Friday, February 15, 2008

What's Happening?

Before I get into where I'm at in the process with the series of Mexican frames quilts, Recuerdos I, II, and III ~ I will make a confession.

I hate to throw away the selvages I trim off of yardage.

I know they must be good for something and I have found some ways to use them, but trust me when I say that I have more than I will ever use. Still, I tie them to the left end of the shelf high on the wall in my studio and like how they cheerfully await whatever mission I assign to them. When the heat comes on, the forced air from the heat register causes them to shimmy and dance and it seems that they are reminding me that they are at my service. LOL


Recuerdos 1, the first of the Mexican frames quilts is back
from the long-arm quilter and I couldn't be happier with the results.

She did a really fine job of it. I am just about ready to sew the binding onto the front and get busy finishing it.

(That's the binding for 3 quilts hanging off the right end of the shelf....waiting for the tops to be quilted)

I like to prepare the binding at the same time as I sew on the borders. That way when I have it layered, quilted and nearly done...I can immediately get the binding sewn on and get it finished. I have a lot of quilts ready to go in my head, but have few actual UFO's and I think the reason is that I keep the momentum going til I cross the finish line.

Parts for Recuerdos III are on the design wall. The border fabric has been chosen, but the top has a ways to go until it is ready.

The top for Recuerdos II is finished. When III is finished, I will send them both to the long-armer.



I couldn't find exactly what I wanted to use for backing for II and III, so I found some 300 thread count cotton flat sheets that I thought would work fine. I have to trim off the finished edges and hems, and they will be good to go. They are a good quality cotton, with a slight sheen ~ one in a nice gold color and the other in an olive green. Both will work with the fabrics in the quilt top.

Each of the sheets cost $10 and that is much cheaper than I would have had to pay for yardage. I've heard some stories that sheets are hard on the machine needle, so I will be curious to see how it works.

Mas tarde!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Little footnote...

One of my quilty girlfriendz dropped me a note yesterday to say that "a clean house is a sign of a sick mind".

Bless her heart, she was hoping to get that note to me before I started cleaning house...LOL, but alas I was already engaged.

There is something satisfying about looking around and seeing a clean house. The smell of furniture polish, and the absence of dust is an amazing antidote for whatever ails you. After I finished cleaning, I took a shower, put on some clean clothes and a dab of my good perfume and sat in the living room and just enjoyed the view. My house felt like home again, and I felt better. Sick mind or not.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Things You Notice

It's funny, that when you are immobile you notice stuff. Dust bunnies, layers of dust on the furniture, corners of the floor taken over by crumbs and whatever, and the general shabbiness of a house that is in serious need of cleaning. That stuff is generally invisible when I'm busy doing other stuff, but this past week I've been sort of held captive by the couch.


Ugh....I can in most instances ignore the need to break out the vacuum and mop, but I'm unable to ignore this. I feel a little better today and any other time that would signal that it's time to get back in the studio and working on those 2 quilts that are still in parts. But, not today.

I'm going to put on my shirtwaist dress and pearls just like Beaver Cleaver's mom, and clean house. I don't think I'll get it all done today, but I'm going to make a dent in it.

Layta!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sniff, Snort, Blow, Sneeze, Cough....and repeat

However, even waking up with a cold beats the alternative...........




Later, gator!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Comfort.....and a crazy little song

When you have a cold or need comfort....this is the stuff~!!!

I'm so glad that I keep it on hand, because I think this is what I'll be living on for the next few days.

That blue box in front is Tabcin ~ Contra La Gripa. It's a cold medicine from Mexico that is much like Alka Selzer for colds...plop, plop, fizz, fizz.

I just had a bowl of creme of wheat with Splenda Brown Sugar and it was yumalicious!

night night.

ps. click HERE for the crazy little song that will crack you up...

Tuesday...Wednesday...


Yesterday's trip to Asheville was wonderful!
72 degrees, lunch al fresco, neat bookstore, folk art gallery, beautiful small city....it reminded me a little of Berkeley. Lots of diversity, art, and interesting architecture. I'll be going down there once a month for a while.

Today my cold is back and in full force!
I thought it was done and so I quit the Zicam on Monday. **ah-choo, sniffle, blow, ah-choo**

I went into The Quilt Shop for my weekly day with the quilty girlz...but didn't stay long and came home to crawl into my pajamas and veg-out on the couch with a box of kleenex.



3 red Netflix envelopes in the mail....wa-hooooooo!!!
Across the Universe
The Jane Austen Book Club
The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio

**ah-choo, sniff, blow...et-cetera**

Hope you're feeling well and that I will be soon.

Later, 'gator!