Tuesday, June 30, 2009

not all who wander are lost

if you wandered over here from Kim's blog about megging and Hocuspocusville (referred to around here as HPV - not the virus) and studies and soccer terms and quilting embroidered quilts and the other myriad topics that Kim worked her word magic into one cohesive post ... and you've noticed that the picture that i posted of HPV's quilt shop wasn't actually finished ... well, here it is in all its wrinkly glory...you want it ... you know you do!!!
i decided to use a back stitch for the words on the tree banner after all ... i think i will do the same for the small words on the other blocks ... and (raising up my glass to Kim and her love of Starbucks - the coffee bar, not the Colonial Warrior) i've traced out Bubble and Brew - the fly-thru coffee shop - to embroider next...
...while i was wandering around searching for the links i realized that the designer for Crabapple Hill is named Meg ... coincidence?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

coulda shoulda woulda

i coulda gone to see the new Transformers movie this morning
and i shoulda gone to see Little Nonnie
and i woulda cleaned house...

but i piddled around and now it's too late for any of that ... and now i could be quilting Auntia's quilt that i promised would be finished by July 4th but i didn't say which year...and i should be mowing the lawn
and i would be working on the bat prototype......but i'm piddling around with Blogger - which has been very cranky today...
...and since Blogger IS being cranky i think that i will go and write (with a pen and a piece of stationery ... like in the old days) a thank you note to my world's best sister for the pansy pillowcases that she gave to me for no special reason...
...and the tea towel that she embroidered of Uncle Sam pointing his finger at me so i would remember to vote on her sooper-dooper embroidery machine ... she had to do some modifying because the design didn't tell her to change thread colors for his pointer finger and when she took it out of the hoop the first time she said where's his freakin' finger??!! only she didn't say freakin' but that's okay because we both learned how to swear like sailors from the eXMen (who were, in fact, sailors) and sometimes cussin' just makes me feel better ... i gotta go write that freakin' thank you note

Friday, June 26, 2009

pahwhoosh!

i started working on Hocuspocusville from Crab-apple Hill at the end of february ... it is supposed to be blackwork ... but i chose DMC#3371 because brownish black is not as harsh to me as black black ... i feel the same way about mascara - i have enough laugh lines gone sour without drawing attention to them with stark black arrows pointing the way ... anywho, i hadn't embroidered in ... i dunno ... a loooong time ... and i was not so sure about embroidering 12 big blocks of buildings with no color changes ... so i started with the plan of stitching just one building ... and if i didn't like the whole process i could make a wall hanging or a pillow or a whatever, and forget about making an entire quilt ... my favorite building in the design is the quilt shop ... so i traced it onto a cream-on-cream dotted fabric and put it in the hoop ... threaded a needle and needled a french nun's knot (i think that's what it's called - i attended a little workshop on smocking back when rocks were soft and mist was in the air and that's what the head-smocker called it) and poked the needle through ...... nothing sounds quite like the first pahwoosh of floss being drawn through tight fabric ...... i can stitch a fairly decent stem stitch, but my back stitch is not too (unless i am cross stitching) so i decided to do the stem stitch......i like it ... i like it a lot! i was kinda weary of just doing the stem stitch, though - so when i started on the bat which is supposed to be a loosely spaced, uneven satin stitch i got kinda carried away ... and then i did the same for the raven ... and the lazy daisies for the banner ties were over far too soon ... i still have the banner in the tree with all its words to stitch ... but it is coming along nicely ...... it will probably take me a few years to embroider all of the buildings ...... i'm not in a hurry...

my oldest daughter has stopped lurking and made her presence known (yes, i did read your comment and it's about time that you let me know you are there ... here ...whatever) and i know that she has very, very little interest in the leisure (cough) arts ... so, for Mrs. Moth's viewing enjoyment ... here is a picture of my baby girls...
Littlelle, Peanut Butter Cup and Gumdrop in Mrs. Moth's kitchen at Gumdrop's birthday party
twist my arm and make me post my darling granddaughters...

Helen from Hugs and Kisses is having a giveaway of her new design...i love redwork ... even though i usually do not use red for it ... does that make it periwinkle blue work? anywho ... i would love to stitch this!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

AA - the first step

our applique instructor is the same lady who made the sewing machine go bonkers when she was putting the castles in spain block together at the BOM meeting ... Sheri is a real sweetheart and very, very patient with my cranky hands and Auntia's frosty fingers ... i believe her exact words were you have the coldest hands i have ever touched when she reached over to show Auntia how to use her needle to position a leaf ... we are the only two students in the class (which either means everybody else already knows how to hand applique or they all heard that we were gonna be there and didn't show up) and the one teacher/two students ratio was super ... we learned needle turn applique last night and next week will learn a different technique ... Sheri told us that the folk heart threads book is the one she likes to teach beginners because it's folk art and so it's not supposed to be perfect ... it's supposed to be folksy...
...this is my block - i still have to make three little circles for the center of the flower ... i have to keep telling myself that it is a flower and not an alien waving his little E.T. arms at me...
...and this is Auntia's finished block ... i'm loving the plaid leaves ...... our homework is cutting out the pieces for flowers with squared corners for next week's blocks ... the whole process was much less stressful than i thought it would be ... we learned a lot ... and it was kinda nice to not have to worry about meeting points and matching seams and not stretching biases...
...Auntia took this picture on the way home ... we were going 65mph down 287 and watching a glorious sunset most of the way ... the delicious aroma of Schlotsky's sandwiches was wafting through the car ...... our home is in a valley (a very, very windy valley) and the houses around us block any view of the Rockies ... unless i stand on a step stool and lean into the sewing room window till my head smacks the glass - then i can see about a quarter inch of one of the 14ers ... the setting sun is out of range unless we walk down to the corner and over two or three blocks ...... Schlotsky's serious sandwiches ... a sunset ... and good company ... what could be better?
...unfortunately, Mingo has fallen off the wagon again ... this is what he was doing while the rest of us were attending AA

...and when we arrived at home there was a message from my sister ... Little Nonnie has bronchitis (antibiotics) and a pinched nerve (neck exercises that she will not do unless she is forced by a physical therapist) and an ulcerated sore in her mouth (special $37 mouthwash four times a day) and PMR (with its accompanying threat of the nightmare of Prednisone rearing its ugly head) ... sigh.

anywho ... the sunset was beautiful, the sandwiches were yummy ... and hand applique is kinda fun

Monday, June 22, 2009

12 step

tomorrow night is the first of two applique classes that Auntia and i registered for back in april ... the end of june seemed so far away and the idea of becoming
an "AA" (appliqué addict) it's really much easier than it seems
was much
more appealing then than it is now ...... the class is from 6:30-8:30pm - with a looong drive there and back again ... and when it is over it will be too late to visit Little Nonnie so don't tell her ... but we will be close to Schlotsky's and i do have a coupon...

...this is the class sample that is displayed in the shop...
...and this is the fabric and the book that we will be working with...
when the book arrived, i thought that it must be wrong because it looks so different from the sample ... there is no way that book would ever have convinced me to spend $25 on it if it had just been sitting on a shelf at the shop ...... Auntia chose most of the fabrics ... the leaves, stems and (maybe) a border are gonna be the green plaid ... the purple thistles on black will be the setting triangles and alternate blocks ... and the flowers will be from the purples and oranges ... maybe she will quilt men in kilts or bagpipes on it ...

...there are other supplies that are required... ...we are each gonna work on two blocks ... and if we like doing applique, we'll each do two more ... so this might be a wall hanging or a crib-sized quilt, depending on whether or not we need to go to any more AA meetings ...... i'm hoping that this goes better than the last class that we took together ... after four years of sitting in the purple bag, i finally took out the stained glass projects that we started but never looked at again and recycled the fat quarters ... the rest of the stuff found its way into a giveaway bag destined for the crafts gone bad aisle (i think that Kim coined that phrase) at the local thrift store

Saturday, June 20, 2009

apparition, art, and appellations

Little Nonnie expects us the first saturday of every month ... she waits at the door and looks out its window till we get there ... and when we're later than she thinks we should be ... well, she gets kinda crabby...
...after june's BOM meeting, we stopped at Winchell's for donuts and when we arrived at the assisted living center that little face was peering out at us ... she looked kinda spooky - like the pictures that you see of ghosts ... anywho, after she saw that donuts were the reason for our tardiness, her mood lightened considerably and we sat down at the gathering table to munch on them ... her watercolors were at the other end of the table...
...my mother has Parkinson's and it makes her hands tremble ... but it's okay to have trembly hands when you are painting with watercolors ... maybe even preferable...
...i learned to be my own worst critic from Little Nonnie ... i was admiring her work when she told me that the hamburger is supposed to be steps at the end of the garden path ... what hamburger?!? i asked ... oh, don't tell me you don't see it - it's as plain as the nose on your face ... the nose on my face is definitely there for all to see ... i looked at her painting again ... and now i can't look at it without seeing the hamburger...
...Little Nonnie wouldn't let me take her picture, but she said i could take a picture of her new walker tote ... it was a gift from one of her friends ... it's made from Ultrasuede and it has lots of pockets ... her old one was getting kinda shabby and i'm grateful that someone made her a new one because who knows when i would have gotten around to it...

...the camera ran out of memory during Gumdrop's birthday party and we have been moving pictures off of it and onto the computer and then to Cd's ... picture number jpgs get lost forever in the memory files and the computer doesn't like for any particular designation to show up on more than one picture ... so i assign names to the pictures when i'm trying to avoid housework ... i'm trying to decide how to title this picture...it's a tossup between the heart breakers ... the heart brakers ... or five for fighting ... the sweet little lady on the left is Granny my children's grandmother ... next to her is Earth Science my oldest son and Corbadoo my youngest grandson ... and standing in the back is eXMan my children's father (his birthday is today - he's the big six-oh) and LAB Corbadoo's and Peanut Butter Cup's mother

Friday, June 19, 2009

it's not too difficult

i am (finally) caught up on The Quilters Studio BOM blocks ... this month the required block was castles in spain and the alternate was friendship ... they are pieced on the diagonal and Sheri, our BOM leader, was having a terrible time with castles in spain when she demonstrated the assembly ... so terrible, in fact, that she made her sewing machine go bonkers when she rested her head against it one time too many ...... i do that to Sven - and i usually hurt myself because my forehead inevitably hits the up and down thingy when it's in the up position ...... anywho, after watching Sheri struggle with the block for an interminable amount of time (she normally whips right through the demonstration and then we get to shop) i was not looking forward to trying it myself ... she kept telling us it's not too difficult ... you won't have any trouble with this ... it's not too difficult ... and then her head would hit the machine again ... i wasn't convinced ... so i waited and waited and waited for Auntia to put hers together ... and i listened at the door to where the magic happens for any discouraging words ... but there were none ... as a matter of fact, she said it's not too difficult ... just lay out your pieces and sew them the way the book says ... then lay them out again and keep following the instructions ... of course, i didn't believe her and tried to re engineer the block ... which i could have done if i hadn't had a limited amount of fabric that was cut the way the book says to cut it ... so i laid out the pieces and i sewed them according to the book and then i laid them out again and did some ripping because i didn't have them laid out correctly the first time ... i put them back together and laid them out again ... and it was right ... and pretty much square ... then i did it three more times with the pink and orange colorway - and they looked okay, too ... so i cut the friendship pieces and put them together by piecing on the diagonal...
...and they look pretty good ... the best part about all of it is that i don't have to avoid blocks that are pieced on the diagonal anymore because it's not too difficult ... just like Sheri said

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

it's miller time

i worked nights for a long, long time ... when i got off work each morning around this time of year there was an aerial ballet of birds (especially swallows) at intersections ... they would dive bomb toward the pavement and then swoop back up again with millers in their beaks ... watching their dance with miller death was mesmerizing ... and i don't have to tell you who i was cheering for ...... the ballet served as a warning that there were gonna be millers in the house ... i would psych myself up to not be afraid ... i'd swoosh them into a jar or shoo them to the outside with a broom or flyswatter ... no panic ... no screams ... no running in place ... i was a miller savior ... not because i'm a harm-no-thing kinda person, but because miller wing dust and miller body juice is nasty to clean up...
there was no warning this year ... and when the first miller of note arrived in the house, i was not prepared to be brave...

mom ... there's a miller in the kitchen

okay - you have two options - you can kill it and clean up the mess or you can catch it and take it outside

okay ... yeah ... not gonna happen ... so can you take care of it ... now?

oh, for pete's sake - you big baby ... get me a kleenex


she handed me a kleenex and i bravely approached the flying beast ... it never saw me coming and i swooped it up and decided not to take it outside because then it would just come back in and scare the beejeezus out of me again ... so i sqwushed the kleenex between my thumb and fingers...

POP!!!

in a split second, i processed the POP!!! with the fact that i had never heard that sound when sqwushing a miller before ... turned ten shades of green ... screamed like a little girl ... and threw the kleenex into the sink ... Auntia screamed ... which fed my fear and i screamed again ... the kitchen was a screamfest ... and then the impossible happened ... the sqwushed, POPPED miller flew up out of the sink toward me ... scream! scream! scream!! scream!! and it flew into an open cabinet ... Auntia's fight or flight response was decidedly flight - she zoomed across the house in the opposite direction and her screams turned into squeaks and whimpers ... i started taking glasses out of the cabinet and putting them in the dishwasher ... searching, searching, searching ... where is the little sonofamoth ... i was about to pick up another glass and saw it ... scream!

scream!! kill it!!! kill it now!!!

i can't - it won't die - i popped it and it didn't die - it's the flying dead!!!

scream!!! KILL IT!!!

meanwhile, the miller was hanging off the green coca-cola glass and fluttering its broken wings, trying to get away from the crazy women who wouldn't shut up ... i gulped down some air, reached forward with another kleenex ... grabbed the bug ... sqwushed the bug with all my might ... and then sqwushed it some more ... i slammed the wadded mess into the trash and tied up the bag - took it outside and threw it in the big trash can ... no funeral for that miller ... no tears ... and no words said over the grave ... just a whole lot of shuddering and gasping..

here's a link to what the experts have to say about millers ... it includes the following tips:

"Once in the home, the best way to remove the moths is to swat or vacuum them or to attract them to traps. A easy trap to make is to suspend a light bulb over a bucket partially filled with soapy water. (Always use a grounded plug and extreme caution when using any electrical device near water!) Some wetting agent, such as soap or detergent must be added or many moths will escape, the water beading readily off the scales of their wings and body. Moths attracted to the light often will fall into the water and be killed. Jingling keys or some other noise that induces evasive flight behaviors can sometimes dramatically speed the capture rate when using the soapy water trap."


jingling keys or some other noise that induces evasive flight?!?

"Do noises affect miller moths? Army cutworm moths are very sensitive to certain noises, making erratic flying movements in response. Among the sounds which elicit greatest response are jingling keys, dog tags, rattling coins, and crumpled pop cans. The likely reason for this is that certain frequencies are produced to which the moths are sensitive. Many moths make evasive movements in response to frequencies used by bats during echolocation of prey. Since bats are an important predator of night flying moths, rapid evasive movements are a means of protection."

and now we have proof that screams are an effective noise, too

Monday, June 15, 2009

pick ME ... choose ME ... love ME

last night i finished the last of the nine-patch blocks for A Quilt for Melanie Wilkes block swap ... i laid them out on the living room floor and asked Auntia to help me count them ... i was picking up each one and setting it back down in a nice, neat pile - she fingered through her stack ... when i added up her numbers and my numbers i was one block short ... but i was sure that i had 120 of them, so we counted again ... and then i had one too many ... so we counted yet again and came up with the number i was looking for...
...this afternoon i put them in Ziploc bags and set them next to the bag with the un-pieced blocks ... then i cleaned up the cutting area because it was an awful mess and started on the BOM blocks (which is what i should be working on right now instead of fiddle-farting around on the computer) ... but i kept thinking about not missing the deadline for mailing the Miss Melly blocks - it's more than two months away and there is plenty of time - but i just couldn't get it out of my head - so i took them all to the post office and sent them on their way ... and came home and started obsessing again ...... my quilts have always been for people i love who love me back ... and, with the exception of The Real Thing and Sew Big, my friends and family have loved what i have made for them ... but these blocks ... well, these blocks are for real quilters ... quilters who know everything about Civil War reproduction fabrics and what shirtings are and what conversational shirtings are and sew perfect seams and understand color values and have made a gazillion quilts that are all beautiful and have swapped blocks with each other for years and have been friends for even longer and ... well ... just and, i guess ... and i wondered what was i thinking? i don't know anything about this - if it wasn't printed on the selvage, i wouldn't know Civil War repros from novelties from calicoes. i don't sew perfect seams. i am mediocre at pressing. i have nothing to contribute. why did i think that i could do this?

i've given that some serious thought - why did i think that i could pass myself off as a quilter? and i don't like the answer, not one little bit because it is shallow and juvenile and plain old stupid ...... because ... just this once ... i wanted to sit at the cool kids' table

Saturday, June 13, 2009

that which we call a rose

by any other name
would smell as sweet

and, believe me - while these were being made, they were called a whole lot of names that have nothing to do with the flower...
cupcakes for Gumdrop's 6th birthday party
Auntia started out with these...lemon and strawberry cupcakes baked by yours truly
strawberry frosting tinted hot pink ... it was supposed to be red frosting, but the pink just kept getting hotter and hotter instead of redder and redder
and turned them into these...
who's gonna eat all those cupcakes??? that's only 35 of 72!!!
and this is how she did it...
video
she's not muttering, she's counting ribbon, onetwothree, onetwothreefourfive, onetwothreefourfivesixseven
is that cool or what!!??!! she learned that at the cake decorating class ... a few days ago, she practiced a few times with some white frosting... Auntia made the skinny roses - mine (from the technique i learned at Mrs. Mayo's cake decorating class a long, long time ago - back when rocks were soft and mist was in the air) are the fat ones ... they're all kinda ugly, but practice makes perfect
she put them on a yellow cake with chocolate frosting and then practiced making ribbons and rosettes

by the time she'd turned out 74 roses (two of them splatted upside down when they came off the flower nail) she was pretty doggone good at it


and now, for a bit of haiku...
the sunrise was rose
and covered the sky with light
to conquer the night

okay ... oh-kay ... that wasn't actually inspired by frosting roses chilling out in the fridge ... and i wrote it a long, long time ago ... but, still

Thursday, June 11, 2009

roses are pink

violets are purple
if you mess with the Kingons
they'll give you a nurple

maybe i shouldn't have bad-mouthed Burger King


i was going to prune the jeanne la joie rose that is climbing (not!) up the trellis by the garage ... too late again ... not only did the Finches nest on top of the light (for the fourth year in a row)...
...A.N. Onymus has taken up residence right above the garage door ... that poor rosebush is never gonna get trimmed...
...she hangs out over Michael Myson's vw bug and whacks me in the face anytime i get too close...
...but she is beautiful when she is in bloom!

51 of the 120 Miss Melly nine-patches are finished (no pictures - the cutting table is just as messy as it was during the tornado)

and Ranette is having a giveaway in honor of her three pretty daughters ... she makes beautiful quilts and homemade flour tortillas, too

strawberry fields forever

i planted strawberries the first year we moved in ... a couple of little alpine strawberry plants with pink flowers, and twenty-five june-bearers from Stark Brothers ... i thought it would be nice to have some fresh strawberries in late spring ... the alpine berries did okay the first couple of years and then they disappeared ... the other plants sent out some runners and i moved them around a few times ...... not too many strawberries made it onto the table because the birds and Ebony ate them before i could get to them ...... i think that birds have a rough life ... they do get to fly and that is pretty cool ... but they also have to eat bugs and worms ... and they don't have hands to work with ... so i'm okay with the robins that like to nest in one of the backyard trees eating most of the strawberries ...... what i don't like is the poop ... bird poop from strawberries is disgusting...
...we've had a really weird spring ... it has been uncommonly cool and wet ... lots of rain showers and big billowy clouds ... the strawberry plants love it...
that is the camera strap hanging down and my fingertips holding back the leaves - we had to stretch to reach those berries!
...lots and lots of strawberries for the robins and for the other birds, too ... so many strawberries that the entire drive and all of the walks are covered with strawberry bird poop ... it's been raining every other day, so it gets washed off ... but, still - it's gross ...... anywho, we were looking out the living room window and saw some red amongst the green in the wall garden ... most of the flowers in the wall garden are pastels - there's not supposed to be any red ... so we investigated and found that the birds haven't been keeping up with the strawberries ... there were some for us for a change ... so we went out with a gathering basket and started picking...
i weawy wike stwabewwies
me, too
i wuv strawbewwies
me, too
and i want some
i want some strawberries
i asked first
... i looked up and saw that the neighborhood kids had collected and we were surrounded...
...i sent them off to ask their parents if they were allergic and they all came back in record time to say that no, none of them have allergies and it was okay with all of their parents if they ate some strawberries...
...so i gave each of them a strawberry...
...and then another and another...
...they started to get a bit demanding...
...i put on my stern nonna face and said i haven't heard a please or a thank you from any of you...
there was a chorus of please!
and a refrain of thank you!
and then a plaintive wail of i said "puh-leeese"!!!
they each received another round of berries
and then one of the little stinkers said
my d-d-dad told me ... m-m-my daddy told me to t-t-tell you that he l-l-likes strawberries, too!

okay, here's a big fat one for your daddy ... and tell him that i said he's welcome
thank you!
and she took one, two, three, four, five steps down the drive before i saw the strawberry head for her mouth ...
are you eating your daddy's strawberry?!?
n-n-no! well, y-y-yes ... thank you?

it was fun to see a bunch of little faces with red juice dripping down their chins and staining their little lips ... and knowing that it meant that much less bird poop on the drive ... we still had plenty for dessert...
i shall sit on a cushion
And sew a fine seam,
And feast upon strawberries,
sugar, and cream.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

have it your way

just before Mother's Day, Michael Myson called and said that Burger King had Star Trek glasses ... and not to go to all Kellogg's and buy a bunch of BK stuff, trying to get all four of the glasses ... he and his buddy Omen were gonna go to BK the next day and he would check out the glasses and let me know if they were cool ... and if they were cool enough, he and Omen would eat there till they had one of each of the glasses because they like Burger King whoppers ... and then he reiterated that i was not to spend a week's worth of grocery money buying Burger King just so i could have all of the Star Trek glasses and that he really meant it, mom!!!

i dunno - kids these days ... they grow into adults and they get all bossy and judgmental and think they have all the answers ... i wasn't gonna buy a bunch of Burger King stuff - i don't even like Burger King ... their commercials are creepy with that funky mask-faced king ... and i've never forgiven them for the whopper jingle that is still stuck in my head ... hold-the-pickle-hold-the-lettuce-special-orders-don't-upset-us-all-we-ask-is-that-you-let-us-serve-it-your-way ... arghhh - there it goes again ... anywho, Michael followed through and gave me a complete mint in the box set of Star Trek glasses for Mother's Day and they are pretty doggone cool...
that is not my glass - it is Auntia's because she wanted to actually be able to use them ... mine are MIB
...a few days later, the phone rang again ... this time it was NoJo and Gumdrop ... Nona! Burger King has Star Trek toys!!! oh man - you gotta be kidding me - why couldn't it be Mickey D's or Taco Bell or Wendy's or any place except Burger King??? i surfed the Burger King site and found that there were sixteen (groan) different Star Trek toys available only at Burger King ... sixteen kids' meals ... at least fifty dollars worth of gastrointestinal distress ... what to do? what to do?
eBay!
those are not my toys - they are Auntia's and i get to play with them whenever i want - mine are MIP
no nasty BK kids' meals or sixteen trips through the drive-thru ... Spock and company were delivered right to my door by my friendly postal person for a fraction of the price in dollars, calories and stomachaches ... all of them talk or make sounds and they are incredibly cool ... and i didn't have to go all Kellogg's

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

it was a dark and stormy night

photo courtesy of NoJo's dad (who should have been cowering in the basement instead of taking pictures)...
...i called my grandson on sunday ... no special reason, i just wanted to tell him that i love him...
hi Nona (sniff, sob)
what's the matter NoJo?
(sniff, snarfle ... sniff) nothing
no, seriously dude ... what's wrong?
nothing ... i'm okay (SNIFF, sob)
are you hurt? did you get into trouble? did you get yelled at?
(SOB) no ... no (snarfle) ... no (SNIFF)
dude, let me talk to your mom.
oooohhhh (SOB) kaaaay

seems there was a tornado in Aurora ... by Grandma Rachel's house ... where NoJo's dad was ... and it scared NoJo's dad ... so he called his kids to tell him that he loves them ... just in case ... which is, by the way, something i would do ... and then NoJo got scared, too ... but he has to be a tough guy, so he couldn't tell me why he was upset because that would make him look like a wuss and no self-respecting eight-year-old boy wants to look like a wuss, right!??!
his step-dad, Mr. Moth, put him in the car and took him to an open field so they could watch the storm from a safe distance (is 35 miles a safe distance, i wonder ... i guess it is) and told him that only rarely do people get hurt in tornadoes because we have tornado watches and warnings and safe places to be when the rare storm does decide to do some damage and that his dad and grandma and cousin were gonna be okay...
...thank Spirit that it's okay for plenty-seven-year old nonnas to look like wusses, because if i saw that coming at me, i wouldn't be taking pictures of it - i'd be cowering in the basement with my flashlight, duct tape, plastic sheeting, battery-powered radio, and bottled water...
...the only serious human injury from that particular tornado was a man who was taking pictures of it ... ya think?!?
and, even though Aurora is really, really far away, i'm thinking that the Miss Melly blocks must have been caught up in the maelstrom ... what a mess ... i have the 120 plain blocks cut and a whopping eight nine-patches completed for the (240 - omigawd) block swap

Saturday, June 6, 2009

cuter than a bug's butt

glow little glow-worm
glimmer, glimmer

Littlelle's mom has titled this picture twins ... i think the one on the left is way cuter than the other one


Kim is having a giveaway for honorary students, but don't go there because i want to win and if you go you might spoil my chances...

Friday, June 5, 2009

skippy's salad dressing cake

tomorrow is the first saturday of the month - the entire day will be spent in Longmont ... we have the TQS BOM meeting ... errands to run ... Schlotsky's to eat ... Little Nonnie to visit...

...on Mother's Day, she reminisced about Skip's salad dressing cake and mentioned that it has been a long, long time since she's eaten a piece of homemade chocolate cake and sighed that it sure would be nice to have a piece of cake like Skip used to make...

...my brother did make a mean salad dressing cake when he'd come home from school ... he's four years older than i am, so he was allowed to turn on the oven long before i could even reach the controls ... he's a leftie and i remember thinking that it was so cool that he could hold the wooden spoon with his left hand when he beat the batter...

...anywho, after all those nudges from Little Nonnie, i told her that i would bring some of Skip's world famous salad dressing cake the next time i visited...

...the last time i baked one (okay ... oh-kay ... the last time i baked two) i measured all of the dry ingredients together in a Ziploc plastic bag for two more so i wouldn't have to mix them the next time - which was tonight ... that cut the prep time to about ten minutes...
...i was supposed to mow the lawn this evening ... but it is all thunder stormy (how disappointing is that?) and it's just too dangerous to be outside in this kind of weather (uh huh) ... besides ... baking comfort food warms up the house and the soul...

...i just took the cakes out of the oven and the house smells all chocolaty good ... i think i will pour a cuppa and eat a piece of cake ... it's a good thing that there are two of them, huh?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

kitchen nightmare

when i moved into this house i had every intention of reworking every thing in it ... i especially hated the kitchen ... i was gonna tear out the cabinets and knock down a wall and replace the sink and the counters and the floor and the appliances and put up wallpaper and get rid of the wrought iron railing ... everything was gonna be new and improved ...... and then reality set in ...... it was a year before i had enough money just to paint the cabinets (the previous owners had slapped a coat of white paint on the doors, trying to cover the gross dark brown "wood", but didn't bother painting the insides or replacing the trim) and another year before i could replace their hinges and handles and trim ... there was no microwave (i thought i could live without one - till i found myself wandering around aimlessly with a cold cup of coffee and no idea of how to warm it up) and the dishwasher pooped out after the first month - i used it as a dish-drying rack for two years ... next to die was the refrigerator ... the oven was hotter on the outside than the inside and only three out of four burners worked on the stove top ... i lived with just one side of the kitchen sink working (the other side had the non-working disposal and there was something wrong with the drain) for five years and the faucet dripped so much that i kept a two gallon bucket under it to collect water for the few plants that were still surviving outside ... the counters were faded butcher block (yeah, right) Formica that never looked clean and was covered with chips and missing chunks ... there was thick ceramic tile on the floor - anything that dropped on it shattered into bits and pieces - and the grout was gross ... the railing was rusted and rickety ... one of the lights didn't work and two outlets had no power ... the patio door leaked like a sieve and the "garden" window over the sink was even worse ... it was a nightmare...

...i painted every paintable surface with Benjamin Moore semi-gloss white paint ... and then i painted it all again ... and again ... and again ... finally, i used Kilz on the surfaces that just wouldn't cooperate ... three more coats of the good stuff (it's amazing with all those layers of paint that there is any room left to walk, huh?) and i decided that was gonna have to do ... Sears installed an over-the-stove microwave (a scratch and dent find) ... the dishwasher has been replaced twice ... can't live without a refrigerator (i replaced the original with a freezer-on-top/fridge-on-bottom - it fit into the space, but i couldn't open the fridge door all the way - so the veggie drawers were never used ... bought a side-by-side, but the freezer is too narrow to hold a turkey ... sigh) ... the stove had to go before some innocent bystander was burned ... then the railing was replaced by unpainted bookshelves (more paint - and fake bead board to cover the backs and sides) and a shiny black tile counter (that i built with my handsaw and trusty tile cutter) ... i liked the tile, so i covered the little counter between the stove and the fridge with it, too ... i still liked the tile and put it on the window sill (not a bright idea - glossy black tile under an open window looks dusty five seconds after it's been wiped down) ... i replaced the light fixtures and had a ceiling fan installed ... then black Formica counter tops (i wanted granite - yeah , right - like that's ever gonna happen) were installed, along with a new sink (it's deep enough to give grandbabies a bath) and disposal ... i put up pleated shades (when they were on sale at JCP for 60% + 10% off) ... i hung pictures and shelves and unpacked my Mary Engelbreit plates and teapots (that i bought B.D. - when i thought i had discretionary income) ... and then i had the awful tile floor replaced with wood flooring ...... all of this has taken thirteen years ...... and everything that could go wrong in the process has gone wrong ...... the final touch was gonna be a bar table and stools ... i wanted an oak pub table and oak swivel bar stools with leather seats and fancy backs ... i settled for a chrome and black (plastic - when they wear out i want to replace the vinyl with leather - i think i can) retro set that was $109+shipping on eBay...
...i think it's kinda cool looking...
...it arrived via UPS and i took pictures of the box because it looked like it might be damaged...
...the corner was smashed - but the contents were all present and accounted for ... except the instructions on how to put the table together ... no problem, right? there's a picture on the box - i can figure this out...
...i tried to put the table together, but it didn't work - i couldn't get the rings to fit ...... so Auntia and i followed the enclosed instructions for assembling the bar stools - they actually swivel, which is way better than what i thought i had ordered - and they went together just like the instructions said they would ...... and then we started on the table again ... we tried three times to get the rings on the table like they are shown in the picture - see the rings on the outside of the legs? then i sent an email to the seller, asking for a copy of the instructions ... and waited ... and waited ... and waited ... that was eleven days ago and i still haven't heard from him ...... anywho, after three days i decided to search the Web for instructions on how to assemble a retro pub table ...... an entry caught my eye - it was someone on eBay selling a table just like mine and stated in the little blurb that assembly was so easy her seven-year-old put the table together ... so i went to the site and read the rest of it - she said that she handed him the instructions and her little boy put the table together all by himself ...... and i thought well, yeah - he had instructions!!! and then i looked closely at her picture - the rings are supposed to go on the inside!!!
half an hour later ... voila!
here's another picture - you can see my time flies clock (another eBay find) in this one ... and if you look very closely, you can see my attack dinosaur's back amidst the plants - he used to roar but i think his batteries have died...
...anywho, after i got all of it this far, i decided to try it out ...... it has been a very, very long time since i sat on a bar stool ...... and i think i must have been taller all those years ago because i had to jump (backwards, mind you) to get up onto it ... and they must have downsized the seat part because my butt runneth over ...... next time i buy furniture online, i think i will go to some furniture showrooms and try it out before i order...

...look who came to see me today ... she is getting bigger - her toes actually stretch out her newborn clothes...
...she always frowns when i hold her, even if she's asleep ... little stinkpot...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

no calorie cupcakes

the cupcake totes/party favor bags for Gumdrop's sixth birthday are (finally) finished ... i tweaked the pattern a bit more - the outside striped fabric is cut in one piece instead of two (so i didn't have to match stripes along the bottom - shudder) ... i would have cut the liners the same way, but the fabric is directional and i didn't want any of those cupcakes standing on their little heads ... i really liked the button and elastic loop to keep the goodies inside, but this time i used smaller hairbands and bigger buttons ... most of the little girls haven't rsvp'ed yet - so i made a dozen for the party and two extra (one for Itty Bitty and one for a certain swap list mom's granddaughter) ... now that these are ready for goodies, i can concentrate on Miss Melly's blocks and Mr. Husker's Homestead...
...this peony is for Ranette ... it's a good thing i took the picture when i did - today's rain has weighed down all of the blossoms and turned them into mush...
...the white irises were already here when i bought the house - i've moved and divided them a few times ... the little pink flowers to the left belong to a columbine plant that was in the clearance section at King Soopers at the end of last year's growing season ... the checker said when did we start selling dead plants? he was a pretty sad looking little fella ... but he just needed a bit of dirt, water, some sunshine, and a little help from his guardian angels...
...and this dandelion is for chris in topekamerica ... i saw this little guy on the way to pick up NoJo and Gumdrop from school about a month ago ... he was just waiting for someone to phoof him ... but on the way back all of the dandelion puffs were gone with the wind...
...i dunno if anybody read Auntia's post about her fourth meal ... she said that the meatballs in the crockpot (which was under the bread cloth because i was borrowing its heat to help the rolls rise) smelled like Taco Bell (yo quiero) and called them ugly ... well, ugly is as ugly does ... and ugly didn't stop her from chomping down half of the rolls before i could stuff them with sauce and cheese ... that plate needs some green on it ... maybe an olive or two

note to self - do not prewash sparkly fabric with your t-shirts unless you want to glitter while standing in line, waiting to buy orange ratchet straps for the swamp cooler cover, at Home Depot