Friday, December 24, 2010


Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Whatever Else you celebrate!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MMC 2010

Back HERE I mentioned that I joined the Make-My-Christmas event again this year.  This was it's 17th year, and my second participating.  This year I drew someone I knew, and really had fun.

DT's favorite color is TieDye followed by Purple.  I've never tie dye'd anything myself, but figured I'd give it a shot.  So I cut twenty 13 inch squares of bleached muslim (on sale, of course) and spent a day twirling, tying, rubberbanding, twisting, etc...  and dying.  Then rinsing.  And rinsing.  and rinsing.  Oh, did I mention rinsing?  About 6 HOURS of rinsing.  And when I was done?  Yep, RINSED some more!

And ended up with some cool looking squares.  Got some way cool purple fabric for the sashing.  And pieced a very simple quilt.  

Then decided to Tie Dye a solid piece for the back.  So I twirled, rubberbanded, twisted, tied, and dyed.  And then I rinsed.  Again.  And yes, again....  You get the picture.

Ok, fine - you held in here long enough to see some pictures...

The front.

Close up of a few blocks...

The back.

Close up of the back (with a little of the quilting).

Folded on the pool table.
And it was a hit!  I'm so happy that she like it as much as she did...  Here's a couple of pics:

She walked around the place wearing it as a cape for a bit.

The smile says it all.  On both of us!  

Oh, what'd I get?  Something very special!!!  I'm gonna save that for it's own post...


Monday, December 20, 2010

And here it is...

Well, this is officially my 200th post!!!  Pretty exciting for me...

I've thought and thought and thought some more about what to post for the milestone, and couldn't figure it out.

A few years ago, before starting this blog, I found a few blogs that I liked.  And would check them everyday to see what was new.  And then a friend started blogging (even though she rarely does now that she is a fairly new mom!)  Then I found out that someone else I knew had a blog.  So I figured, why not?  

I said in that first post, that it was likely going to be pretty random, and I think that's been true for the most part.  I've covered everything from trips, to pets, to quilting, to sinking kayaks, to rants about work, and on, and on, and on...

Why do I do it?  Hard to answer...

Sometimes I blogged to get something out.  Sometimes, I blogged to so I wouldn't forget the details of a fun event.  Sometimes I blogged to share my experience with others...  And sometimes I blogged because I felt obligated to.  And then when people started commenting, I realized I blogged to get responses.  It's so exciting to get a response.  And then there were followers, and I blogged so that they would have something of mine to read.

Sometimes I didn't blog, because nothing exciting had happened.  And I felt like I had to have something important to share.  Sometimes I felt I had something to share, then couldn't find time.  Or didn't have the pictures accessible.

I "follow" over 60 blogs.  Some publicly, and some anonymously.  When I look at the list, it's pretty random, too.  Some haven't posted in over a year.  Some post AT LEAST once a week, and many post either everyday, or several times a week.  And for the most part, I'm a lurker.  I rarely comment.  But love it when people comment on mine...  I guess I have only partially found my voice.  

I've been blogging for 986 days.  Or 2 years, 8 months, and 12 days.  Or 140 weeks.  Or 23,664 hours.  Or 1,419,840 minutes.  No matter how you look at it, it's been a good amount of time.  

While I can't make any specific promises about the number of posts I'll do or how often, I can promise I'll still be here, still posting as it hits, and definitely still lurking in blogland out there.


PS - WHEW!  Now that this post is out of the way, and the pressure is off, I can focus on a post about Make-My-Christmas (MMC) from Saturday night!  Stay tuned for that one with some fun pictures!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

No pressure, right???

So my next post will be my 200th post.  And I have no idea what to post for such a monumental occasion.  So, instead, I've been putting off posting at all...  Silly, right?

Some of my favorite blogs do giveaways for milestone blogs.  And I don't really have anything to giveaway.  And being so close to Christmas, I don't really have time to make something to giveaway.

Perhaps a list of random facts about me?  Or a post about some of my favorite posts?  (seems kind of redundant?  Or a "year in review" picture style?  So at a loss...  

Suggestions???  What do you want to read???


Thursday, December 2, 2010

National Mutt Day!

I was not aware that today was National Mutt Day, until I saw it on another blog.  I've featured my girl before, but it's been a few years.  And well, I LOVE her!!

Casey is a 15 1/2 year old Lab mix.  Her momma was a lab, and her daddy was a travelin' man.  She was born in a barn in eastern NC, and most of her litter mates died of liver disease fairly early on.

Doing what she does best (and most of the time!)

Here she is begging for attention (and showing her cataracts...)

Here are just a few other random pics as well:

And there's the little things that you know you'll miss when they're gone.  One of the funniest things I'll miss is her opening the bathroom door.  I'm convinced she thinks there is an escape hatch in there, and if we shut the door, we'll be gone.  If you don't shut the door (and latch it), she'll nudge it open, and just pop her head in.  She won't come in, she'll just check to make sure you're still there.  She's been doing this for about 4 years, and it still makes me smile.  Of course, we do know to shut it all the way if we really need privacy.  Even then, you can here her nose nudging it, and can almost see the wonder on her face as to why it won't open.

I am soo, sooo, sooooo fortunate that I've had her as long as I have.  And that at 15+, she's still holding her own.  I'm thankful for every day I get with her....

Happy National Mutt Day!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Over two years ago, on another blog (that is pretty much defunct, I haven't posted on it in over a year) I did several posts about a new roof we had put on.  HERE are the before pictures, HERE are the in progress pictures (and basically finished, because I apparently didn't do an after post....  Sheesh!)

Well, mostly finished.  It was 99% done.  I've been waiting over two years for the finishing touch.

And here it is.  THE most important part of the roof:

This mermaid weathervane has been sitting in the shed, just waiting for someone to put her up.  And now that she's there, she's BEAUTIFUL!  We live just blocks from the water, and no other weathervane would have represented us as well as this one.

I LOVE it!  She makes me smile every time I pull in to the driveway...

Happy Turkey Day!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Quotes from this week

This week while watching the TLC reality show "Police women of Dallas",  I heard two of the funniest lines I've heard in a while.

#1 - Drunk guy walking his bike and talking to it.  Being questioned by officers -
Drunk Guy "You're about to get your knees cut off."
Officer "What?"
Drunk Guy "Well, not really, but you're about to get your knees cut off."
Officer "Just my knees?"
Drunk Guy "Yep, just your knees"

#2 - Another Drunk guy - stopped for driving while intoxicated.  Being asked to take a breathalyzer.
He pretends not to understand how to blow into the machine.  Several times.  After about the 10th to 12th time of not getting it right (trying to mess up on purpose, I assume) he states, "My blow is broken."
Yep, his blow is broken.

Ah - the things we say when we've been drinking....

Hmmm...  Maybe I should get plastered and then BLOG!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Highlight of a Roadtrip

Went on a little road trip last weekend to western North Carolina for an annual event.  While there were MANY, MANY fun moments, and lots of highlights that include seeing folks that I sometimes only get to see once a year, I really want to share one specific highlight.

While driving home on Sunday, we took the scenic route for part of the trip.  An one point, we were driving through the little town of Salisbury, NC.  We saw several signs for "Historic Mural" and after the 3rd or 4th sign, we were convinced to stop.

STUNNING!  And after the first few pictures, we decided to make it interactive.......

Just in case - I'm in the yellow jacket...  

Have you ever encountered a great piece of art and jumped in???


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Where did this year go????

Wow!  I can't believe it's November and that Christmas is a mere 53 days away...  It really does feel like summer was just here.   

Oh wait....  That's probably because we had temperatures in the 80's (almost 90) last week.  

But now that the temperatures are falling (much to my dismay), it's finally setting in that fall is here, and the holidays are peeking right around the corner.

I'm reading blogs with folks working on holiday projects, and thinking, OH SHIT!  

I signed up for Make My Christmas (MMC) again this year.  In case you're new or forgot, MMC is similar to a "Secret Santa" gift exchange, but you MAKE a gift for the person whose name you draw.  And in return, you get a handmade gift from whoever draws your name.  Last year was my first time participating and you can read about my project and the results in the second half of THIS post.  

Luckily, this year I drew someone's name that I know.  A little bit.  But I've gotten some good info, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't have a clue about this blog, so I just might post some preview pics along the way.  I'll say this:  I'm going to once again step outside my comfort zone and do things with fabric I've never done before.  

Easy now - don't go going anywhere crazy with your thoughts on that last sentence......  ;)  It's a quilt, after all.  

Ordered some supplies and books on amazon today to help the project along.

Off on another out-of-town adventure this coming up weekend, and then I'll be home to get started....

That's about it for now...


Friday, October 29, 2010

Question of the day...

I work in the public eye.  Sometimes, being the smartass that I am, this is extremely difficult.  Difficult in that I can't always say what I'm thinking.  ESPECIALLY when asked a stupid question.

This sign, and about 20 others exactly like it are posted in the circular drive right outside the lobby that I sit in.

So here was the question that was presented to me today:

"How long can I park in the 15 minute parking area?"


(Sadly, this is NOT the first time this has been asked, and is not even the dumbest thing that has ever been asked of me....)

Thoughts anyone?


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quick before and after...

Today, I decided to pull up the carpet in the office.  I didn't immediately think of doing before and after pictures.  Shortly after starting, it hit me, and I ran off to grab the camera.  The batteries were dying, and honestly, I just wanted to get back to ripping things apart/up to bother with something like batteries.....


Yes, that is greenish/brown shag carpet.   That has probably been down on this floor for 30-40 years.  So, what do you think was underneath??

Here ya go!

The carpet apparently did a FABULOUS job of protecting these hardwood floors. Really makes a HUGE difference in this room.  

We will put some kind of rug down, to protect the floors a bit, since it's an office, with a rolling chair, and all, but for the moment, I'm enjoying walking in and seeing these beautiful wood slats all aligned perfectly....

I'm sore as hell, and would love to get in the hot tub to relieve the pain, but I'm too tired to lift the lid!  But it's worth it...  I think......


Monday, October 18, 2010

Candy Corn Addiction

I love me some candy corn.  I try to buy only one bag per holiday season, and stretch it to make it last.  

I don't like the mix bag with the little pumpkins in it.  Just the plain old candy corn.  And not the store brand, either.  It has to be Brachs.  

And you know what's even better?  Put a few pieces in your hand, and hold it for a couple of minutes until they are just a little warm, and they are even yummier.  Yes, I said yummier.  And, yes, I know it nearly impossible to just hold them in your hand without eating them, but trust me...  it'll be worth it.  

Do you have a favorite holiday treat?

Now quit eyeing my stash up there, and go get your own bag........


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Feast or Famine

It seems here lately, it's been either feast or famine in the rain department. We went for months when we were in such a drought, and then it rained heavily for days and days.  Same with today. It hasn't rained for two weeks, and today, torrential downpours with thunder and lightning.  

The biggest problem with this, is that we are in a VERY tidal area, and either with the wind, or heavy rains, we'll get street flooding.  It actually doesn't take a LOT of rain, just a LOT of rain in a short amount of time.  

I've been watching out the front of my building (with my now VERY limited view) and was surprised how HARD it was raining.  You almost couldn't see, it was coming down in sheets.  

Not complaining.  We need the rain.  

And I'm glad it's on a Thursday and not the weekend!  

Off to a local quilt show tomorrow........  


Monday, October 11, 2010

Sneak Preview Revealed!!

OK so here is FINALLY the reveal of the sneak preview from a couple weeks ago nearly two months ago.

Here is the sneak preview picture.

One of three focus fabrics.

Another of three focus fabrics.

Last of three focus fabrics.

Just a view of the corner.

Notice the decorative stitch on the binding????
The back.

And Finally, the finished quilt!
Not sure what is to become of this one.  We may keep it, or it may become a give-away of some kind.

BONUS QUESTION:  Can you identify the quilt pattern used in this one???


Thursday, October 7, 2010


In my last post, I promised to expand on the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo that I attended last Wednesday to Saturday.

We drove up Wednesday night in the rain, late, because we had both signed up for an 8:30 am class on Thursday.  Since it's a 4 hour drive, we really didn't want to get up and do that on Thursday morning.

My first (of 6 classes for the weekend) was a machine quilting free motion class.  Hmmm...  now that I think about it, I think I will review this one LAST!

There were many classes available and tons of vendors!  I love going to quilt shows with all the vendors...  So many neat ideas and gadgets and fabric and, well, you get the idea.

My second class was called "No Stress Color Theory" by Marty Moon.  I really liked her, but made the mistake of taking this class at 6:30 in the evening after a loooooong day.  So I was actually a little stressed.  The class itself was helpful, since I'd never really paid attention to the color wheel, much less used it in a practical setting.  This class had me walking away with a better understanding of colors.  Now I can break the rules!

Friday morning, I took another color class called "Get Creative with a Color Activist" by M'Liss Ray Hawley.  I was glad to have taken Marty Moon's class the night before, cause now I understood when they were talking about tertiary colors, shades, tints, analagous, and so many other terms that were thrown out.  But again, I learned a lot about color and how to break the rules!  I didn't know I was breaking so many to begin with!

Friday afternoon, I took a class called "Laptop Case or Project Portfolio" by Cathy Gandy.  This class was outside my comfort zone, but hey, isn't that what classes are supposed to be for?  Learning new things?  I'll also say that when I got there and saw the fabric selection, these weren't colors or fabrics I would have chosen.  But somehow, it all worked, and turned out kinda neat.  Mine isn't technically complete, as I ran out of time, but it's close enough.  And I don't think I'm going to finish it the way it was intended.  I usually do have to put my own spin on things.  To steal a line from American Idol, "I have to make it my own"!

Here's a couple pics:

At the end of my Friday class, I had to run out to the daily drawing to see if I won one of the Super Grand Prize drawings.  I'm sorry to say that I did NOT.  Although I did win one of the consolation prizes which was a tote bag full of stuff.  Fat quarter bundles, patterns, kits, etc....

Three pics of some of the haul:

Saturday morning, I took another class with Marty Moon.  It was "Easy Microwave Fabric Dyeing".  It wasn't really a "hands-on" class, since it was only an hour, but man was it cool!  Of course, I had to leave and go straight to buy fabric dyes.  I CAN'T WAIT to try this out!!  This may, in fact, have been my favorite class, which is ironic since I signed up for it last, kind of as a whim.  I haven't really ever had any interest in dyeing my own fabric.  Go figure.  I'm thinking that will be a post of it's own when I give it a shot....

The dyes I bought:

Also Saturday morning, I took my last class, which again was more of a lecture, in a very loose sense of the word.  It was called "Notions Commotion" by Kim Montagnese.  Kim went around to all the booths before the show started and looked for the all of the cool notions or gadgets or things that would otherwise be looked over.  So, of course that called for yet another trip to some of the previously visited vendors!  

Now back to that first class.......  The dreaded "Machine Quilting: Basics and Beyond" by Debbie Kratovil.  Now first off, I have to say that Debbie is a very talented quilter and a great teacher.  I also have to say that I learned a great deal and a valuable lesson in her class.  The main thing that I learned is that I'm not cut out for free motion quilting.  At least not in the traditional sense.  And after demo-ing products at different vendor booths, I am GREAT at free motion quilting on a long-arm machine, or something similar.  I have to move the machine and not the quilt while free motion quilting.

Here are my to practice pieces.  Ignore that one really good section in the upper left of the first pic.  That was done by the sewing machine SALESMAN after he re-threaded the machine.  Again.

I test drove every single long-arm machine at the show, and managed to do great on every single one.  From the cheapest to the most expensive.  

So now you see why I have to save my pennies, and decide which one to work toward.  

I also picked up some little tips and tricks throughout the show.  One teacher suggested using kid's washable crayola markers for marking pens.  Since they're washable, they rinse right out of fabric, and they are a LOT cheaper than traditional marking pens.  Someone else suggested using a decorative stitch when attaching your binding.  I think that's one I'm going to use almost immediately.  And on that same subject, I thought, since I "stitch in the ditch" so much for my quilting, why couldn't I do some kind of simple decorative stitch for the quilting too?  I think I'm gonna have to try that one real soon as well.

I think that about covers it.  Lots of ideas, tips and a few projects came out of this show.  I can hardly wait until the next one!!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Whirlwind of Activity

Well, the last couple of weeks have been hectic, but are settling down just a bit.  The fish tank is now listed on Craigslist and will hopefully be gone by the weekend.  

The painter that we had scheduled a few weeks ago has come and gone and now one room has been COMPLETELY repainted from ceilings to walls to even the inside of the closet!  It looks FANTASTIC!  It's a slow process getting it put all back together, but we're even decorating in the process.  It will be kinda cool to have one room decorated.  All it REALLY needs now is a QUILT!!!!  Gotta get to work on that......

Last weekend, Wednesday through Saturday, I went to the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Chantilly, VA.  It's about a 4 hour ride.  A lady where I work told me about it, so we decided to go together.  She was thrilled that she didn't have to drive up there and back.  Just realized that I have a ton to say about this trip, so I'll do another post....  (And I promise, you won't have to wait tooooo long for it....)

And the Sneak Preview post from a few weeks back is 97% complete.  It is down to the binding, which has been put on the front, and I'm toying with the idea of finishing the binding with a decorative stitch.  I saw it done at the Expo, and it looked REALLY cool.  Just need to see if I can step out of the box enough to do it......

No trips or anything major planned until the first weekend in November.  But around here, you never know....

What have you been up to?

Friday, September 24, 2010

A fish tale... part 2.

So what was the fate of the PSYCHO shark?  Did he jump out and become a dog treat?  Did he jump out and die of (un)natural causes?  Did I fry him up (with chips, Ms. P.)?  Did I release him in the wild?  Did I flush him?

All of the above were viable options that I either considered, or could have feasibly happened.

BUT, we did the humane thing, and took him to the local pet shop.  Re-homed him if you will.

Now, I will spare you details of how we got him into a five gallon bucket, but will just say that it was not pretty, or dry.  And he was NOT happy to be in the bucket.  Fortunately, I had a lid on it, cause we could hear him jumping around in there.

Back at the pet shop, a couple of the employees peeked at him, and he jumped around when they did.  And they were amazed at his size.  They found a suitable tank, and true to form, when they removed the lid on the bucket, he promptly jumped out onto the floor.  Sheesh!  Will he ever learn?  Does that make him suicidal???

So here he is in his new temporary home.  This is probably about a 35 gallon tank (ours was a 55 gallon), and he is HUGE in there.  One employee said he guess he was about 12 years old.  He was astounded when I said he was less than 4 years old.  Apparently, saving his life periodically equated to "taking really good care of this fish".  And the manager of the shop said he was the largest one she'd ever seen.  

And gave us $20 store credit.  Not bad for a $4.00 investment, 4 years ago.  And the stress is GONE!

It was very therapeutic today to scrub out the tank.  

So all's well that ends well.  He has a new clean home (and someone else to worry about him jumping out) and we have a section of house back that is stress-free!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

A fish tale...

About 4 years ago, we had the opportunity to get a used fish tank from a friend.  The price was right, and well, we thought it would be fun and relaxing.  And it was....  for a bit.

As you can see, all was well with the world, and things were pretty, and fun, calming.  There was quite the variety, from sharks to barbs to platys to suckers.  You can see the Bala shark in the middle of the pic above.  He's silver with black tips.  About an inch  or so long.

As happens, some fish made it, and some didn't.  Some lasted a loooooooooong time, and some only made it days.  The bala shark was one that lasted a long time.  He's here again in the top left of this pic above.

While most of the fish died off for one reason or another, the sharks held tough.  There was the bala shark, a red-tailed shark, and a rainbow shark.  The red-tailed shark and rainbow shark were both black with red tips on them, but the red-tailed dominated over the rainbow, and kept him confined to one spot.

The bala shark was not aggressive at all, but he kept growing and growing and growing.  Within 3 years, he went from about an inch, to about 8 inches.  He was HUGE in the tank.  

Not a problem, except that during one cleaning, he JUMPED OUT OF THE TANK!  We saved him, and put him back in, but he was never right after that.  He became PSYCHO!

He tried to jump out REGULARLY if you LOOKED at him.  And at times, he succeeded.  And yet, we always got him back in the tank.

Our calming, relaxing tank was now a STRESSFUL side show.  No more cleaning, for fear of the the PSYCHO fish jumping out at you.  You can't look at him, cause he might SNAP and JUMP!

Yes, a FISH is causing this much stress!  And this has been going on for well over a YEAR!

So what do we do????????  What would you do??????

Tune in tomorrow to find out, but I'd love to read your comments as to either what you would do, or what you think we did.......