Monday, June 30, 2008

And a Good Old Staffer, Too

My friend Jen has been sharing her "quilting history" photos with us recently, and I have realized that I don't have good photos of some of my earlier quilts.

This particular quilt I still have access to, as I see the recipient on a regular basis, so I borrowed it back for a photo shoot.

This was actually one of my earlier quilts - I was armed with the quilt as you go assembly knowledge, a walking foot, and a whole lot of gumption to attempt this one. These were my first paper pieced blocks, and I had not done much in the way of appliqué prior to this project. I was also flying completely without a pattern on this project - and it is a large reason why I have so very many tans and browns in my stash, as I had no clue on how much of each fabric to purchase.

The slideshow has some up close shots of the different areas, and some detail on how they were done.

This quilt was also completed at 3:00 AM the morning it was to be delivered to camp - 2 hours drive away. My SIL rode shotgun since I had not had much sleep and we met Hubby in the parking lot to make the transfer. I was unfortunately not in attendance at the banquet at which it was presented, but got to see the recipient later. I did not know him well at the time, but he and his wife are now my Munchkin's godparents.

Turtle of the Day - Gimpy Columbus

Once upon a time, almost another lifetime ago, I lived in a place far far away from anywhere - Buckeye Lake, Ohio - and attended The Ohio State University for graduate school.

During my second year of the program, I must have had more time on my hands than I knew what to do with (surprising, since I was a newlywed), or I must have known this crafting addiction was something that really could not be denied, so I started working at the JoAnn Fabrics store on Brice Road in Columbus (not sure if that store is still there or not). I worked there right up until we moved back to SC after I graduated.

One of my favorite jobs was doing the resets of the seasonal merchandise - because I got first peek at everything new that came out. I was on a big "cherry decor" kick at the time, and would always dive on the cherry themed products (I have gotten rid of all of them by the way - that phase is WAAAYYY past).

I came across Gimpy the stepping stone as I was unpacking things for the summer line. All 4 of Gimpy's feet had broken off and he was in pretty sad shape for a turtle. I asked my boss what was to become of him, and she let me take him home. So he and his feet were carefully packed into a box and taken back to the cottage - where my then-new Hubby carefully helped me do turtle surgery.

A little super glue later he was good to go - and his legs have held up through 7 moves since then. While Gimpy is not running laps around the yard, he is doing just fine as a stepping stone. Right now he does well keeping the grass down around my herb garden, and gives the Munchkin a place to stand when he is leaning over to smell the rosemary or water the basil.

(sorry the picture of him is not clearer - but I was trying to keep the non-waterproof camera a safe distance from the hose wielding Munchkin)

(oh - and I am starting to get to the bottom of my list of turtles - so "Turtle of the Day" posts will only appear on Mondays now)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dirty Tales from The Garden III

A garden repossessed. That would be a good sub-title for this story.

In our early years we relied heavily on our friend Bernie and on Hubby's mother to get our garden restarted with cuttings and transplants. We were very fortunate - our trips to the local home improvement stores were frequent enough working on the inside of the house, but our garden center expenditures were relatively low.

But this was getting us little plants - flowers, ground covers and the like. We were looking at having to dig in our pockets to fill the gaps left when we pulled the old, woody and overgrown box hedges and holly bushes out from the front of the house.

Then M called. Fortune was not smiling on M, but was about to smile on us.

M's house was being repossessed by the bank. M had bought his parent's old house, and shared his late mother's love of gardening, so had kept up what she had started.

"Bring your shovels," he said. "The bank may get the house, but they're not getting Mom's garden."

So we came - and went - making many many trips to traverse the mile between our houses, filling the back of the van each time with tubs and buckets of plants, shrubs, trees, gardening supplies, mulch, and more.

We first took a big division from the huge hydrangea, until M found a bigger shovel and helped us wrestle the whole thing out of the ground. It went right into one of the holes recently vacated by a holly bush, and is now thriving again.

The lilacs were more problematic, having put down deep deep taproots (and the weather was dry, so the soil was rock hard). Two of those came, too, and are thriving.

We were able to get one of his Mom's roses out - but the rest were just too tight to the house and driveway and we did not want to kill them. The one is HUGE now.

And the rhubarb - but I will leave that to another post.

Friday, June 27, 2008

OOPS -Missed Something

How the heck did THAT happen??? Between February 10th and now (actually some time last week) I have generated ONE HUNDRED posts! I jumped from my 100th post-a-versary back then to over 200 now!!!

So I think that means Giveaway time. But this time I won't give unless I get - so in the spirit of summer potluck picnics - entry requires you to post a comment with your favorite "go to" dish to pass AND THE RECIPE PLEASE!!!

I'd love to say I was ambitious enough to cook them all up and pick the yummiest, but I know my own limitations - so it will be a random draw.

The winner can expect a "squishie" full of summery goodness, including one of my hobo lunchbags (which doubles as a hat!)

Flashback Fridays -the Play House

(Note to my siblings - this is what you get for letting me scan all the slides!!! And yes, I do accept bribes)

Putting together the Munchkin's new "playground" reminded me of the great Play House we had growing up - I recall the A-Frame house on top (that the wasps liked to nest in), and the big sand pit/swing area -can't recall exactly what was under the A Frame although I think it was firewood for some reason.

Here's a great shot of 5 of the 6 of us during the construction phase. Lazy Sister Sue is not in attendance. (I am the cute little one to the front right.)

I wonder if this is the same day my Big Brother Bill dropped me on my head in the grass and caused a major emergency. Seems he was holding me upside down and dropped me in the grass in the back yard. It was about a 2 inch drop and did not hurt, but when I got up my face was all dripping in blood.

Mom and Dad rushed me into the house, and Mom put compresses on my head while Dad tried to call the doctor. No answer (I think it was a weekend - but he was a good country doctor, so you never knew). She lifted the compress to check on my head and saw this long jagged line of blood all across my face - told Dad to grab the keys to drive to the hospital (20+ minutes away) as I was going to need stitches.

As he went to get the keys, she checked on my face again - and then called Dad back and said we did not have to go - it turns out that the jagged "gash" was actually a fine hair that had been covered in blood, and the cut was so very tiny that they never did actually find it at all.

I was probably around 3 or 4 or so at the time - although I am sure my family can chime in and clarify the details. I recall being in my little youth chair in the kitchen at the end of the peninsula with the washcloth on my head - although I am sure with all the scrapes and bangs and such of being a kid in a big active family I might just be recalling a different "kitchen first aid" incident.

I also remember Big Brother Bill searching the lawn to figure out what it was that I had gotten cut on. Never did figure that out either.

But I still give Big Brother Bill a hard time for dropping me on my head in the first place. It's all his fault I am the way I am, right?!??!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dusting myself off

The smoke has cleared from yesterday's debacle, and I am moving on. A trip to the fabric store after work should yield more of the blue, and I dove into my stash last night and found I still have plenty of the browns and tans to get all my blocks. And if anything else should decide to leap into my cart while I am at the store - so be it...

I my search of the stash I even found a scrap from the wedding quilt Lazy Sister Sue made for hubby and I - so I am working a few squares of that in as well. I think that is fitting.

I've got a few ideas for the remains from Take I - including one that actually uses all the blocks in the same quilt but in a different setting - more like a sampler or row by row quilt. Hubby does not think it will work, but it's not for him anyway. I just need to find a time when I can get the Munchkin's toys cleared up from the floor and spread it all out to get the full effect and see if that is what I really want to do. I will be sure to post pictures.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

At least it has a name now.

Out of the chaos of this morning's revelations on the Northwoods Crossroads, a name has finally evolved.

"It Takes Two"

Good for a wedding quilt, don't ya think? And for me - it's "Northwoods Crossroads, Take II"

Now lets just hope that my local craft store did not discontinue my crackle blue between last Saturday and this Saturday, because I am scrapping the entire thing and starting over.

Anyone have any good ideas that use 72 four-patches and 72 pseudo floating star blocks - but not in the same quilt?

Early Morning Traffic Report

"This is Eagle Eye in the Eye in the Sky Traffic Copter. At approximately 5:30 AM this morning there was a horrendous pile up on the Northwoods Crossroads. Looks like 216 units were involved. It was a total loss.

Initial reports find that faulty directions and an inattentive driver contributed to this mishap.

The driver is in satisfactoryguarded condition.
Husbands and children are advised to avoid the area until the dust settles and the blue smoke clears.

This EARLY report brought to you courtesy of the fine people at
Meow Mix, Scoop Away, Brawny and Windex - because what goes IN - must come OUT."

Quilting - step by step by HUH?

Most quilts I make follow some sort of process.

They are either Process A:
1. pick pattern
2. pick fabric
3. cut and quilt

Or they are Process B:
1. pick fabric
2. pick pattern that works with said fabric, or make it up as I go along
(2a. buy more fabric as needed)
3. cut and quilt

My Lazy (and Frugal) Sister Sue just added a third option:

Process C:
1. print label for quilt to be made later because you have extra labels on a sheet and don't want to waste the fabric.
2. Proceed with either Process A or Process B.

In her own words: "at $7.99 for three sheets of iron on fabric for inkjet printing..........I need to make the most of it, even if I used a 40% off coupon"

Quilters are nothing if not frugal.

Don't worry, LSS, I won't add to your nickname. Too long to type and too risky to add to the abbreviation.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stash Buster Update

The good news - my local fabric store had the two blues I was thinking of using for the Northwoods Crossing wedding quilt - as well as a few other fabrics to round out the project. The backing fabric I wanted was not going to work - there was not enough left - so that is becoming the pillowcases and I went with a different backing. The best part - it was all on sale!!! (and I will admit to buying just a smidge more of one of the fabrics so I would have some left over - it is just a great fabric!)

After washing all the fabric on Saturday evening I was able to get everything cut (except the backing, which I will cut later) - and yesterday assembled the 72 "Floating Star" blocks. Tonight I hope to make a dent in the 72 four-patches that make up the rest of this quilt.

It needs a name, though - "Northwoods Crossing" just is not doing it for me. Maybe when I have more of the blocks done and can start to see an overall impact the name will come.

Tutorial Tuesday - the Portable Crafter

Do you have one of those laptop cases that unzips all the way to lay flat, and is lined with a flannel-like material. Those are great for organizing your craft supplies for an on-the-go project case.

I had a case from a Sony Vaio like that, and when the computer was "gone" (kaput, doorstop fodder, extinct - you get the idea), I turned it into a bead project case. I took the leftover containers from my son's Gerber baby food (the new plastic ones with snap on lids) and put heavy duty adhesive velcro on the bottom (the hook side). These stick to the flannel lining of the case, and I can hold 15. The outside pocket holds my pliers and other tools that don't fit in the containers. When I need to go teach a class, I just zip up my case, and I am off. It even has a handy dandy shoulder strap.

If you don't have the lined case to use, you can just use both sides of the velcro and stick it to whatever case you want to use (or make your own case-for those so inclined to do that) - it just makes it a little pickier for positioning your containers, so you probably want to pick the containers out before deciding where your velcro should go.

Sorry - no pictures - if I keep writing these I really need to get on the ball and get some illustrations going. At least I managed 2 weeks in a row, so I am on a roll, right???

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dirty Tales from the Garden II

And we come to chapter II of our peony saga - the story of Bernie's Peony (read here about how I name plants).

When we bought our house in 2001 the gardens were very neglected and overgrown, so even though the house was a 1929 we were essentially starting from scratch on many beds.

A good friend (Bernie) was very generous and used to let me come over with buckets and shovels and dig freely - lilies, iris, black eyed susan's, seedum, and much much more.

One 4th of July weekend we were "garden and swimming pool sitting" while they were out of town. She told me as long as we were going to be over there to take cuttings of anything, and that I could have an entire peony plant that was in her side garden down behind some bushes.

It was HUGE! I was so excited- knowing I could divide it and get at least 5 separate clumps out of it. And knowing the peonies I already had were white/yellow, I was excited to get a different color.

Imagine my embarrassment when they returned from their trip and I learned that I had taken out the WRONG plant!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Stash Busting

So I got right to work last night on the wedding quilt - going through my stash for tans, creams, whites, browns and blues. 432 2" blocks needed for the main body of the quilt, not counting the blue "stitches" as Hubby calls the big blue blocks. I figured I would cut what I had and then make my shopping list for today.

Without a hiccup, without a foot set into a fabric store, with just me and my mad rotary cutter - I now have a bin of 432+ 2" blocks cut and waiting. Did not think it was possible - but it was.

The worst part is that my stash does not look any smaller. I thought I busted a lot of the "black/brown/tan" fabrics when I made a Mid-Winter Night's Dream. Nope. Nary a dent. I could probably make a few more of those, and a few more of these - and STILL have blacks, browns, tans and creams left over.

How? When? Why? - those were many questions going through my mind as I came across more and more and more of these colors.

HOW? - well - we all know how fabric happens. It happens when we can't keep our feet out of the fabric store, or our mouse off those fabric shop online pages, and our wallet in our pocket. Forget birth control - I need fabric control.

WHEN? - mostly since moving back to NY right before the Millennium. I did a couple of big "lion" or "camping/wilderness" themed projects back then - mostly involving appliqué and paper piecing, so I needed lots of little tiny bits of lots of different fabrics. (pictures on real film - so I need to hunt down the prints to share).

So did I buy inches and 1/8th's? Noooo..... I bought 1/2's and more. Guess I did not inherit my Dad's calibrated eyeballs (I swear - the man can look at something and tell you nearly exactly what the dimensions are)

WHY? - I think I just covered that in "when" as far as these fabrics are concerned, but I guess a bigger "why" is why I have gotten into quilting and sewing, and why I find these escalating and overtaking some of my other crafts (rubber stamping, beading, stenciling to name a few)

I think it is the utility of it all - as far as I am concerned. While I like my "bling" and I like to give handmade cards (when I plan ahead enough to make them), I find quilts and totes and wallets and other fabric projects to be hands on useful on a day to day basis. Even my curtains in my house, the occasional furniture slipcover (not my favorite project), and a storage bag for our Christmas Tree were all satisfying projects. And with so many fabrics out there - the same pattern will be different every time.

OK - enough deep thinking - I am still working on that first cup of coffee and counting the minutes until I am out of work and fabric shopping - again.

Lets just hope that the local store has not discontinued the three blues I have in mind for the rest of the quilt (don't even need to buy that narrow middle border beige - got PLENTY!!!).

Friday, June 20, 2008

I've Got the Blues

I've got the blues - and browns -again. As in I am getting ready to start another quilt with those colors. A co-worker of my hubby is getting married in mid-July and I thought that a lap quilt (with a pair of matching pillowcases) would be nice to make for them (just wish I had known a bit sooner)... I checked their registry at Linens and Things and they have tan sheets, chocolate brown blankets and a blue throw listed.

Since I already have lots of brown binding (still) - I can run with those colors easily. I don't want a repeat of Joe's quilt pattern - and continuing on my quest to try new patterns when I can - I decided to go with this one. I really liked the blues I used in Joe's quilt, so I will pick those same fabrics up again, and I have lots of tans/creams/browns in my scrap bin, so I can run with those for the scrappy patches. I think a cream thin middle border, and perhaps a lighter almost wedgewood blue for the inner border would really make it all pop nicely with their color scheme.

Awww -that means I need to go fabric shopping tomorrow - drat.... (hee hee!!!)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Little Vermouth...

...and a toast to my Grandfather, who would have been 100 yesterday.

These are the days that I wish I had my scanner and box of old photos right at my fingertips all the time - we have these great vintage photos of Grandpa as a young man - those old black and whites that seem to stop time when you look at them.

We don't have many pictures of him from when I was growing up. In fact a few years ago I scanned all of our family slides into the computer, and I could not find ONE of him in there at all. He owned a bakery and a grocery store - and we often only saw him when we stopped in there on our way in and out of town. He worked VERY long hours, and we lived more than 6 hours away. We tried to visit summers and Thanksgiving.

I remember Thanksgivings most of all - Grandpa would work in the morning and then come home for the big family dinner. We were usually sleeping on the living room or dining room floors somewhere - all us cousins stacked up like cord wood sometimes - and if you were lucky you woke up as he was leaving and got a quick hug. He was stealthy, though, and we slept pretty soundly.

I might have the details wrong, but one year I think one of his customers needed the turkey that he had set aside for us - so we had steak instead. His customers loved him - we all loved him.

Grandpa's chair was always the one at the living room end of the table - except for Thanksgiving when he sat where he could watch football through the door in to the sunroom where the TV was. He was so excited and proud when I went to Clemson - and watched all of their games! I remember telling him to watch for me in the stands when I went to two bowl games in Florida. I would be the one in orange, I would tell him.

When Grandpa finally would come home from work, Nana would usually have something like greens and beans or bean soup ready for him - that and a loaf of crusty bread. He was a butcher -but he did not eat meat. And he always got the heel of the loaf - unless you were really good and he gave it to you. That was always a special moment. I think of him every time I reach for the heel, and it is still my favorite piece of the loaf.

When he "retired" at 80'ish, he kept on working, moving to my uncle's vegetable farm and helping out on trips to the fresh market. I worked on that farm for a summer - Uncle Mike (pictured here at market) called me his "migrant worker" and worked me hard for the weeks I was there. Trips to market are not for the faint of heart - I don't remember what time we got up to load the truck, but it was not long after we went to bed, and market was at least an hours drive away - and we were usually set up and ready to sell by 7 or 8:00 AM.

The family picture to the right is from 1970. It is a rare photo of my grandmother, my mom and her siblings, and all us cousins. My dad took the photo - so he's not in it. And Grandpa was at work... (bonus points to non family members if you can figure out which one is me...)

Grandpa - this gang is your legacy... I hope we all continue to do you proud.

Happy Birthday!

PS - I think Grandpa is watching... one Halloween my Mom put on those "groucho glasses" and said "A Little Vermouth" and we cracked up saying she looked JUST LIKE Grandpa. Well, I just did a google image search on my grandfather's last name - and came up with THIS. Hmmm....

Love ya Grandpa!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tutorial Tuesdays - TyTote

I've got a few little projects up my sleeve that I need to write out tutorials for. Some are full start to finish projects, and some are just little shortcuts or some little thing that I thought of as I was making something that may (or may not) make it easier for someone else.

I keep procrastinating, though - so I figured if I schedule a day to do these, they might get done.

Here's the first one - a fun little tote lined with tyvek that makes a great shower caddy or cosmetic tote.

(Note - if you would like a PDF of this file, please leave me your contact information in a comment)


Materials Needed: cover fabric, lining fabric*, nylon zipper

1. Cutting

Decide on the dimensions you want for your finished bag.
Use the following formula to determine the dimension of fabric you need to cut.

Width: finished bag length + finished bag depth + 1/2”

(eg: for a 10x 3” bag you would need to cut a panel that is 10+3+.5 = 13.5”)

Height: Finished bag height + finished bag depth + ½”

(eg: for a bag that is 5” deep, you would need to cut your panel 5.5” high)

Cut 2 panels each from your outside fabric and your lining fabric.

In my example, you would be cutting 4 panels that are 13.5” wide x 5.5” high. You do not need to worry much about directional fabric, as your panels will be identical top and bottom.

Cut one strip 4 inches wide and about 10 inches long for your strap and zipper loop.

2. Notching

From each panel (outside and lining) cut a square out of each of the corners per the following formula: (bag depth/2)+1/4”

In my example – for a 3” depth bag, you would cut out a square that is 1 ¾” x 1 ¾”.

3. Installing the zipper

Be sure the zipper is longer than the length of your bag.

o Put the lining fabric face up on your workspace.

o Place the zipper face up on top of the lining, aligning the zipper edge and the edge of the fabric.

o Place the cover fabric face down on the zipper. (check directionality of fabric)

o Pin and stitch with a ¼” seam allowance.

o Press the cover and lining away from the zipper.

o Top stitch through all 3 layers if desired.

Repeat with the other lining section and cover, being sure to align the fabrics so both sides will match up.

4. Making the strap and zipper loop

o Press the strap/loop fabric in half lengthwise.

o Open, and fold each edge in to the center fold.

o Press.

o Fold in half again.

o Top stitch down each edge.

o Cut a 3 inch piece off one end. Fold this in half and baste the raw edge. This will be your zipper loop. The remainder will be your strap.

*** open the zipper about ½ way before continuing. You will be working with the bag inside out to do the next seams.

5. Bottom seam

Match all four layers along the bottom and stitch with a ¼” seam allowance. Zigzag the raw edge for a cleaner finish.

6. Side Seams

Match all four layers along each side seam and stitch with a ¼” seam allowance. Zigzag the raw edge for a cleaner finish.

7. Finishing the corners and attaching the strap and zipper loop.

Work on the side of the bag with the closed end of the zipper first.

o Stitch the bottom corner closed, zigzag for reinforcement.

o Pin the zipper loop to the top corner, underneath the zipper, being sure the loop is on the right side of the fabric (so that it ends up on the outside of the bag when you turn it right side out.)

o Stitch through all the layers, being careful when you go across the teeth of the zipper, and backstitching for reinforcement.

o Trim the zipper flush with the seam allowance and zigzag the edge for reinforcement and a cleaner finish.

Now attach the strap

o Tuck the strap into the bag and pin it in the center of each corner, being sure the strap is not twisted. If the strap is longer than you want it to be, trim it to the desired length.

o Stitch the bottom corner closed, zigzag for reinforcement.

o Fold the open ends of the zipper in so that they meet in the center. Stitch through all the layers,, being careful when you go across the teeth of the zipper, and backstitching for reinforcement.

o Trim the zipper flush with the seam allowance and zigzag the edge for reinforcement and a cleaner finish.

8. You are done!

Turn the bag right side out through the zipper, and be sure to push the corners out to square up the bag. Add a decorative zipper pull, and you are DONE!

* to use Tyvek as a lining fabric please note the following:

Tyvek can be found in jumpsuits/coveralls for industry work. This type of tyvek is very soft and fabric-like.

You can also find Tyvek by recycling mailing envelopes or FedEx pouches. This tyvek is medium weight, but not suitable to use with light colored cover fabrics as the printing will probably show through.

Tyvek used to wrap houses in new construction is also useful. This is very stiff and paperlike, but softens when you crumple it. It will stay wrinkled though.

Tyvek should not be ironed or put into the dryer.

Tyvek lends itself to some fun embellishing. It can be painted, rubber stamped, and beaded or embroidered. In the sample above I used all three techniques. Because of it's non-porous nature, inks for non-porous surfaces, alcohol based quick drying inks, and acrylic paints work best. Embellishments and other seams should be done with long stitches to avoid perforating and tear out of the material.

On this bag I did the stamping and painting before assembly, and added the beaded embellishments later.

Writing on the tyvek is also fun - in this bag I wrote a message to the recipient on the inside with a permanant marker before assembling the bag.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day

My Hubby had quite the day yesterday - it was Father's Day - but did he alter his Sunday morning routine of making the Munchkin and I yummy waffles? Nope.

Did he sit and watch a game on the TV or play video games? Nope.

What he did do is work extremely hard helping me to add three new planter boxes to our back yard vegetable patch - cutting the landscape timbers, cutting the sod and pulling out the rocks and weeds, assembling the boxes, and then filling them with topsoil and helping me mix in peat moss and cow poop. Four bags of cow poop.

By the end of the day - we were pooped out.

He even made the lunch run to the local grocery store for some picnic fixins, and made us all lunch. Of course it helped that he was a little bit less grubby than I was at that point. Sawdust does not get under your fingernails like topsoil does.

We had good help throughout the day - The Munchkin helped measure, helped by playing while we did some digging, and helped with some planting. And Hubby got to try out his new corded drill - complete with carrying case. It made short work of drilling through the timbers.

The Munchkin is great at measuring, and pretty good at planting, but has got to work a bit on the concept of NOT digging in the bed where we just planted seeds. I think once they start to sprout he will have a better idea of how this all works. Yes - I know these seeds are in late in the season - but he asked for carrots, so we will see what happens.

Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dirty Tales from the Garden

This time of year finds me out in the garden more than inside - when circumstances allow.

Tricks, tips, mishaps - I've got a few of each to tell so I think this will become a recurring category of posts.

Let me start with the peonies.

I had never grown peonies before we bought our house in 2001. I'm not even sure if my Mom did, and she had some pretty extensive gardens. When we discovered ONE peony plant growing right on the lot line edge of the property, perched precariously at the tip of the neighbor's driveway, I decided to read up on these plants and figure out how to transplant it somewhere closer and safer.

I carefully divided it - leaving enough behind in case my little transplants failed to thrive.

Well - they thrived -and then some!!! The tough thing with peonies is that they like to bloom during the blustery late days of spring/early days of summer, and often get blown away in the wind.

The picture above is of one of Monnie's Peonies - from one of the transplants. (Monnie was the previous owner of our house, so plants that were here are tagged as Monnie's) This was taken BY ME this year - I am getting better with my nature photography and really like how this photo turned out.

More peony drama in our next installment...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Turtle of the Day - Dollar Store Refugee

So a few months ago I was in the dollar store - I needed to get some "diaper disposal bags" for Hubby's mom, who had just gotten a new dog. They are great for poops of whatever kind, and at 100 bags for a buck, a great deal.

While browsing to find some other things (can't remember what now - I think it was envelopes) there was a bit of a "scene" in the store because someone rang up wanting cash back on a debit card purchase, and the cashier hit the wrong key and the woman wanted her $5+ change RIGHT THEN - with lines stretching to the back of the store. Since the manager/owner had to make the correction, she was asked to wait until he cleared a customer through the register he was operating - and this woman pitched a total hissy fit, to the point where they asked her to leave the store or she would be removed.

Riots at the Dollar Store -who woulda thunk.

But given the scene at the registers, I hung out a bit longer than usual and came across this cute little fella, who is now hiding out in my huge patch of lavender. Hope he gets along well with the bees that will be moving in as soon as the flowers open.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Turtle of the Day - Gnome in the Garden

Here's the Gnome out in the garden instead of hanging around in our dining room. I've already had to move him once - the plants grew up too much and hid the turtle (gasp!).

He seems to like his new digs under the Arborvitae.

You know you're a parent when...

Last night I got stuck at work late, so we had to meet our wonderful babysitter (sister-in-law) in a parking lot half way between her house and the area where Hubby and I work (car pooling is a WONDERFUL thing!) - we decided to then make the most of being out as a family and run some grocery store errands (and pick up pizza for dinner) while we were out.

The Munchkin loves the grocery store - between the free cookies or fruit bars in the bakery, and the large model train that runs above the ethnic food section (don't ask - I think it's been there through a few re-sets of that store) - he's in heaven. Plus he's a full out flirt, and the ladies that work there just adore him!

On the way there, we crossed a rail road crossing we don't normally cross when Munchkin is in the car. He liked finding a new one. Then we decided to take the back way home - which took us across a triple crossing - again a newish one for the Munchkin. That one had a train parked on one track, which he insisted was moving (nope - parked), so Hubby agreed to take an even more back way home that would take us up and over that triple track, and the parked train.

Ohh - can you sense the excitement that caused!!! And going that way meant that we had one more crossing to go (a double this time, and part of our normal commute) to get back to the house. We figured it out - from home to daycare and back to home, he got to go across 6 (SIX) crossings that day! Unfortunately the only trains he saw were one (parked) and one (scale model) but I really don't think he cared.

Ah - simple happiness.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I've Been Tagged

Jill tagged me this morning, or maybe it was last night. Either way- here goes.

Here are the rules: Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

Now to the questions:

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? 1998 - had just started a new job with a Japanese company starting up a language immersion program in Clemson, SC. Our first batch of guys came over in May, so I was pretty busy.

2. What are 5 things on my list to do today? 1. Set up an online photo gallery of pictures my son took. 2. Go through a bunch of files at work getting ready for an audit. 3. Go to the "Walkabout" in our village center tonight. 4. Figure out what's for dinner after the Walkabout. 5.Water my garden - if it does not rain this afternoon.

3.What snacks do I enjoy? Yes, please to just about anything - but especially popcorn and ice cream.

4. What would I do if I was a billionaire?
Spend it wisely.

5.Where have I lived? Alfred, NY - Kanazawa, Japan - Clemson, SC - back to Kanazawa, Japan - Columbus, OH - back to Clemson, SC - Pendleton, SC - Churchville, NY

Most of my blogging buddies have done this already - but I will tag SisterCindy.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Votes are In....and the winner is...

Wow - who would have thought that the battle of naming rights for a little stuffed turtle would be so fierce!

In 3rd Place - with 3 of 38 votes
Travis T. Turtle (the other Regina)

In 2nd Place - a 3 way tie each with 7 votes -
Terra-Pin (why - um - me!)
Lil' Mim (Lazy Sister Sue)
Toby (Glenda in Florida)

in 1st Place - with 9 votes
Shelly (DragonBen and the Mercantile Gang)

So - with apologies to my niece Shelly (or perhaps she was one of the 9 votes??) - this little Turtle is now forever more known as Shelly.

So some home made goodness will be sent in the direction of Dragon Ben (and probably the rest of the Mercantile Gang as well.)

Saturday, June 07, 2008


Many months ago, my Lazy Sister Sue started signing off our chats or concluding her emails with the phrases "Love You Lots, Miss You More." With the chats, it soon became a challenge for me to type back "Miss You More" before she got it typed in. Abbreviations soon took over, and it became a playful game between the two of us to see who could type it first.

We've had fun with it - even starting out a chat to get our "LYL MYM" in first - or adding extra letters like "MYEM" for "even", "exceptionally", "exceedingly", "energetically" - and then we go off into a whole "e" word game. (yes - you probably had to be there...) Needless to say "signing off" of a chat in our world usually takes a while.

This even carried over into one of the name suggestions for the turtle: Lil' Mim is LSS's version of LYL MYM as a name.

Earlier this spring I decided I wanted to make LSS a surprise - I had found a pattern for paper pieced letters inside of hearts and thought it would be fun to make the blocks and then assemble them into something. A Runaround Bag, a pillowcase, an open top tote - all these were considered, but then I decided to do just a simple zippered tote (with Handy Tabs, of course!!!)

I had hoped to finish this before a retreat LSS went on - while she worked on her version of our Sister's Choice swap - since I could not be with her I thought I would send something special - bit I soon realized that time and the postal system were against me, and the project got set aside.

With the tiny bits of paper piecing involved with this project, it was not something I could do if I was not focused, so most evenings it got passed over for more straightforward (easy) projects. But last night I was determined -and even though I had to christen the ripper that came with Zoe more than once (and chase a spool of thread across the floor) - it is DONE!!!

LSS has been sent pictures, and it will be sent to her in Monday's mail (along with her Sister's Choice pillowcase).

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Turtle of the Day: Two Turtle-Boys

These are my two turtle boys - the Munchkin and his cousin DragonBen. DragonBen is actually inside a turtle shell on a family vacation to Minnesota, but seeing this photo reminded me that our zoo here in Rochester has a similar shell. I will have to find a time to bring The Munchkin over and see what he thinks of it.

The Munchkin was climbing on a Turtle at Barret's Place, a VERY VERY nice playground near my parents house in Pendleton, SC. He keeps asking to go to the playgrounds around here - but their wide open landscapes with nary a tree in sight and metal structures pale in comparison to this great space.

Even when the temperature was up in the 90's, most of the playground was in the shade and comfortable (of course the Munchkin kept gravitating to the sandbox, the only area in full sun most of the time.) I have extreme playground envy now - and cannot even envision a place in my community where we could build something remotely similar.

I am hoping the Munchkin's backyard "playground" - under the shelter of the black walnut and surrounded by mommy's gardens - will keep him content. And with his turtle sandbox underneath the "fort" we've got everything a playground needs, right? Slide, swings, fort, turtle, pirate wheel and periscope. What else could a little boy want?? (Oh - and Daddy wants to add a flagpole for the pirate flag).