Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Design Wall (for Quilters)

I wrote about getting some Maxine fabric here.

Once I received the Maxine fabric, I did some research online for ideas on how to make my own design wall. In my old house, I had used a king-sized flannel sheet. I hung it up on a wall with lots of thumbtacks. Hey! Don't make fun of what I did - it worked. Ha!

However, I cannot do the same thing here because

  1. I don’t have a wall to freely use (my current sewing/guest room is TINY),
  2. I don’t really want to put holes in this house as we do not own it and
  3. I was never happy with the old method. I’ve been dreaming of creating a decent design wall for quite some time anyway.

When I gained enough information and ideas from my research, I went shopping. I didn’t have any concrete plans on how I was going to create it. I wanted to explore my options first and the costs involved. I wanted to keep it cheap.

I went to Hancock Fabrics. I looked at their flannels and checked out sizes. The widest was 54 inches. I also checked out the “tablecloths”. Most of them didn’t even have a backing. What is up with that? Anyway, I then explored the rest of the store.

I came across a section that was selling vinyl with a decent amount of flannel on the back. It is very sturdy, 54 inches wide and the flannel part is 100% cotton. A light bulb came on. I knew what I could do if I got some material. The stuff was on sale for $6.00 a yard. Not bad.

We dragged it all the way home from Mother’s (4 hour drive) with hardly a fold in it. I was pleased.

I had hoped that Dan had a long enough closet rod that I could use. Nope. The one he had was a tad too short. Darn it.

So, we went to a nearby Home Depot to pick up a section of closet rod. We had to cut one down to the length we wanted right there in the store. Once we got it home, I couldn’t wait to get started on making the design wall. I already had my own hand stapler from a previous project. That (the hand stapler) is turning out to be a good investment.

Dan practically took over because I was doing a lousy job. But, I didn’t mind as it freed me up to take pictures. It was during this time that I captured the picture of Gracie doing the “freaky exorcist” thing.

Anyway, as you can see, we stapled the vinyl to the curtain rod. We then rolled it up and… hit a roadblock…

I thought we could use these cheap ol’ over-the-door hooks I already had. Nope. The hook part wasn't wide enough to hold the rod! Darn it.

So, we had to do some yet more shopping. We ended up going to the The Container Store because Target and Walmart didn’t have what we were looking for.

We found these.

And Finally! we were able to hang it up. It is now ready to use.

Perfect. It goes all the way down to the floor and more. I purchased enough material so that I could one day hang it near the top of the wall in my own home. And, the most important thing is that it is portable for that time when we move yet again.

So, if you want to make something similar to what I made, All you will need is the vinyl with flannel backing, a curtain rod that is wide enough to hold the material plus extra to hang it up with, a stapler, a hammer and a couple of hooks (not shown). By the way, the hammer is used to tap in the staples that didn't quite make it all the way into the wood.

The total cost of this project was around $30. It would have been cheaper if I hadn't needed a curtain rod... or those hooks... :-)

Next Up: WIP: Maxine Quilt

Creations by Kara

Monday, August 30, 2010

Backyard Ramblings (7/11/2010)

I felt restless early Sunday morning of July 11th, 2010. So, I grabbed my camera and went out into the backyard to practice.

Our current backyard has no rhyme or reason to the landscaping and we're very neglectful caretakers. I'm one of those people who like to let the yard go within reason. As a result, nature loves it. And, a person can find beauty in the midst of what seems like chaos. It's not really chaos out there.

The owner of this place planted an American Agave. Both the Agave and the flowering cactus beside it is overgrown. I know nothing, absolutely nothing, about taking care of cactus or plants like the Agave. I notice this thing sprouting late in May or early in June; but, didn't think much of it. I was shocked at how tall this thing had grown. It is about two stories tall.

You can't see it in this picture; but, there were hundreds of honeybees swarming all over the flowers.

The honeybees were also all over the flowering cactus next to the Agave.

Note: I'm not scared of honeybees. I actually stood in the middle of a swarm once when I was a little girl and I didn't get stung. I have a fascination with honeybees and would love to have a hive or two or three.

Moving on.

This little Clouded Skipper butterfly was resting on one leaf of the cactus.

This bird was sitting in a tree next to the Agave. I was a tad disappointed with it because it moved his head when I snapped the picture. But still, it's a cool shot because it had a bug in its beak.

I decided to see if I could find some butterflies among the various plants and grass. I had fun stalking them. Many are just too shy or skittish to be photographed. But, I was patient and I won out with several. It was early enough for the dew to be present and as a result, many of them were still be resting and/or drinking.

A beautiful Elada Checkerspot butterfly.

A Little Yellow butterfly. This critter is extremely tiny. Thank God for my macro lens. I must have stalked this thing for at least 15 minutes before it decided that I wasn't going to harm it and rested for a bit for me.

Another Clouded Skipper butterfly drinking from a Morning Glory. The Glories around here have run amok in the the backyard. I am not complaining, just saying.

Morning Glories among the Crepe Myrtle bush. I didn't notice the ant until after I snapped the picture. I guess he adds interest. But, I'm not so sure because at this moment, I despise ants and have declared war upon the ones that insist upon entering the house. I must have gotten bitten a dozen times or so amongst my toes and on top of my feet before winning the war. By the way, tracking the ants to plug up the holes along with Cayenne Pepper seems to work best with these suckers.

{takes a deep breath} Moving on.

By this time, the sun had risen and it was hot enough for me to sweat. But, I had to attempt to take just one more picture.

Paper wasps. These are often mistaken for Yellow Jackets. I know I did until I did some research. I'm one of those who hate to destroy a nest of any kind unless I absolutely have to (such as one being in a bad place whenever mowing the lawn). I must say that if they had been Yellow Jackets, I would have destroyed the nest because they are known to be aggressive. However, most wasps are generally good garden critters. They feed on nectar and many will also feed on other insects including beetle larvae.

Like the honeybees, I'm not afraid of wasps. They generally leave you alone if you leave them alone. Mess with them, you'll get stung.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Indiscriminate Contemplations

Indiscriminate Contemplations == Random Thoughts

I am still working on the pictures from our camping trip to Garner. Please be patient with me. I took a LOT of pictures and have a lot to go through.

I have been busy with other things including the following:

  1. Never ending regular life that keeps coming back around to bite me in the butt
  2. Going through all the Garner pictures
  3. Thinking about and working on my Mother’s Maxine quilt
  4. Thinking about and planning on making Hexies (more on that later
  5. Looking through listing on Houses for sale that our Realtor sends to us
  6. Scanning in the family slides again (started this morning)
I am a dreamer while going about my tasks, which includes the creative projects. That is why I am a slow poke. I would rather be slow than try to change and rush through things making mistakes in the process. I have come to accept this fact about me. It is just going to take me twice as long (or even longer) to do things than a “normal” person would.

I often will get distracted while going about household tasks. I will start on something only to stop mid-way and start on something else. Needless to say, it’s very frustrating because nothing seems to get accomplished.

All of this is why my Dan said I was just unfocused when I “complained” to him about this. That is the reason for the name of this blog.

On No Spend Month and the Budget

Today is Day 15 of our No Spending Month. It is also the last Friday of August. I cannot believe the year is almost gone!

There were four minor purchases that we could have done without; but, we just couldn’t resist.
  1. An ergonomic mouse. I have needed a new mouse for several months because I lost the old one. However, I didn’t want to pay the regular price for one. As a result, my hand suffered from using Dan’s old cheap mouse. We got this new mouse for $50 off the regular price.
  2. A Bath Junkie Groupon $20 for $50 worth of products. I love Bath Junkie’s Vanilla scented scrub; but, I rarely get any due to being a cheapskate.
  3. A My Place Bar & Grille Groupon-- $10 for $25. It’s mainly a Burger place. The reviews were good and it’ll give us an excuse to take a short road trip in the future.
  4. An acrylic Hexagon template. Could I have waited to get the Hexagon template? Not really. I’ll explain why later.
Ah well, we’re not perfect.

I am FINALLY caught up on the budget for the month of August. I haven’t done the budget since November or December of last year. Bad ol’ me. Now that I’m back on track, I am determined to stay on track. If all goes well, we’ll have some significant amount of money to put into our saving funds. I think most of that money will go to the House fund as we have decided to significantly increase it. However, some of it will go towards the car and camper fund.

On Crafting

I have decided to start making some Hexies (Hexagons) using the English Paper Piecing method. I figured the Hexies project would be a good portable project to work on when I’m away from home. I’ll be making my own hexagon paper patterns using the hexagonal graph paper generator.

I am planning to return to Mother September 17th to visit for a week. That’s why I couldn’t wait to get the template. It will make cutting fabrics easier not to mention quicker.

It takes time to make some fabric and paper Hexies. Remember, I am a slowpoke? I believe I mentioned that. I need time to make enough two Grandmother Flower Garden "blocks" to take with me to Mother's place.

I haven’t decided how I will store them for traveling yet. Baggies? Containers? Any ideas?

On House Hunting

We went to see four houses last Saturday and none of them were what we were looking for. We decided to expand the list. We originally wanted a big ol’ one story house. But, there just aren’t a whole lot of those around here. So, we decided to look at two-story houses also. When we get old and cannot handle stairs, we’ll sell and downsize. By then, we’ll be retired and can live wherever our heart’s desire.

We received a new listing yesterday and had tons of houses to dig through.We picked out three more houses to look at and are hoping to see them this weekend. So, we’ll see what happens. We are not in any hurry as we want a house that we both can be happy with – no settling here on a few issues.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

Freaky Gracie

I don't know what happened here. But, it made both Dan and I laugh upon seeing the picture.

This was taken July 11th, 2010. She had gotten into the sewing room while Dan and I worked on the design wall. {The cats are generally banned from the sewing room because it is not a safe playground for them.} I saw her hiding behind this fake plant and thought she looked like a jungle cat. I am afraid that it didn't quite work out that way. Ha!

The flash made her eyes look wonky and I just happened to catch her licking her mouth? It doesn't matter what she was doing -- it is just too funny to delete.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Baby Shower

I finally got my hands on the pictures taken at my youngest niece's shower on July 24th, 2010. I need to get Dan (the photographer) to burn a CD of all the original pictures so that we can mail them to her. Here are a few pictures from the shower itself. Enjoy.

Lunch Spread

Closeup of Fruit


Before I go on, I must explain what the following three pictures are about. You see, there was a game that involved grabbing a partner. Each team was given a jar of baby food and a baby spoon. One person feeds baby food to his/her partner. Whoever finishes the jar first, wins a prize. The prize went to Mommy-to-be of course. It was total entertainment!

The Parents-to-be

Even the Hostess and her husband played

Sister to Mommy-to-be and her son



Time with Grammy

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I won a $25 Jasmere code!

Wow! I’ve been very fortunate of late. I’m winner AGAIN! How cool is that?!?!?

This time it’s for a $25 gift code to Jasmere! The way I understand it is that Jasmere is similar to Groupon However, it "seeks out lesser-known specialty retailers that deserve national attention". They negotiate with the retailer and offer the deals to us for 24 hours. The more users purchase that deal, the greater the possibility that the price will lower. You can see more information here if your interested: How it works.

Thank you Common Sense with Money!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Indiscriminate Contemplations

Indiscriminate Contemplations == Random Thoughts

On Love

Pioneer Woman is currently having a photography contest on the subject of “LOVE”. I do not have any photography skills. Plus, I wouldn’t stand a chance among all the professionals entering her photography contests. Anyhow, I do have a couple of photos of us that I love and feel expresses the concept of “Love”. They are not mine. (In other words, I am not the photographer.) I thought I share them here:

Love in the Midst of Sorrow
{My oldest brother took this picture. Childhood home. January 2009}

Tunnel of Love
{Dan took this one using a tripod. Riverwalk (San Antonio). September 2009}

On the Progress of No Spend Month

Today is Day 10 of our No Spend Month and we’re doing fabulously. Only a few splurges that we could have postponed; but, I felt we needed them NOW.

For example: We had a plastic laundry basket that completely wore out from using it for the “dump” papers. What are the “dump” papers? I tend call the community recycling dumpsters placed mostly at schools “the dump”. There is one located at a nearby Catholic school that we use. They accept mail, newspapers, and most papers. So, I throw our junk mail, newspapers and regular papers into our "dump" basket that is conveniently located underneath the desk/table in the office. When it gets full, we then take them to the “dump” and dump the papers into the dumpsters for recycling.

Anyway, we went shopping at Target. Why Target? Our Walmart is now pathetic when it comes to needing stuff like this. More often than not, I would have better luck finding something at Target than at Walmart. So, we shop at Target for most non-grocery items now.

We found a nice short cloth “laundry” basket to place the “dump” papers. The price was reasonable. And, it was in one of my favorite colors – chocolate brown – a plus! Ha!

I also needed a door hanger to hang my kitchen aprons on. The magnet hooks on the fridge are losing the ability to hold stuff. Plus, one broke. So, that was another item we found at Target. It was cheap and on sale. Someday, if our kitchen has the perfect spot for it, I’d like to get a lovely cute coat rack to put the aprons on.

Boy, I have digressed. No spending month is going very well so far for us. Those two items that I mentioned above were the only two exceptions we made.

On Some Favorite Links

I am sharing some links that I've found this past week that touched my heart or interested me. Hope you'll enjoy them too.

  1. This is Love Tissue Alert! A true love story that will bring you tears to your eyes
  2. What it Really Takes to Join the Sisterhood I have been following this author’s own blog for some time. This is an inspirational article. This article touched me to the depths of my heart because it’s me. I think I know one or two of you out there that can identify with this too. Here is a quote from the article:

    And when you’ve been hurt, you’re making sure that won’t be happening any time soon and you keep this wary distance from anywhere where you’d have to show the bare underbelly of your tender heart. But no one tells you that the shields you carry to keep you safe, become the the steel cages that keep you alone.

    And then sometimes along comes someone who lays a hand on your shield, who sticks her hand through the bars of your protective cage... and quietly waits. And for you.

    All I can say is read it. I haven’t even made it as far as to “trust the places with no shields.”

  3. Mass Hysteria I guess this could be called a photo essay. It’s a beautiful expression of the joy of the Basset Hound (named Charlie) leaping amongst the hay bales. It made me smile. Beautiful kids too.

  4. Does the Bible Teach Communism? This article is on the Personal Finance by the Book blog. And, it was very interesting. I never KNEW that “biblical communism” ideas floated around until now. Call me educated now! ha!

  5. Hercules: the biggest of Big Cats A friend sent a beautiful email on this cat. He’s a Liger. Sidenote: There are Tiglons too. Anyway, I went searching online for more information on this cat and found many. He’s in the Guinness Book of World Records and is claimed to be “an accident”. To be honest, I really do not approve of deliberate breeding of Hybrids of animals. After all, offsprings of Tigers and Lions in the wild are impossible due to living in different continents (Asia and Africa). All I can say here is what a humongous Beaut!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My New Pillowcase

In the beginning, I had Garfield. RIP.

I was galvanized to sew up a pillowcase from a kit that I purchased on our road trip home from Missouri. Confession: I sleep with two pillows. I MUST have the second pillow AND its "special" pillowcase.

I think I have Dyslexia when in comes to written instructions. I'm a visual learner – a "show me how to do it" type of person. It did not help me at all that one of the diagrams in the instructions is incorrect.

The whole thing was giving me a headache because I just didn't understand how it could work. I gave up, played around online, and then went to take a shower. While in the shower, I pondered upon the problem. I suddenly was able to visualize how it is supposed to be done.

I am constantly amazed how my mind works sometimes. Ha!

Due to the incorrect diagram, what could have taken me an hour or two to whip up actually took me about five or six hours total. In the end, I was pretty pleased with the results AND with myself.

Isn't it cute?

I plan to make more in the future with my own fabric selections now that I know how to make them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

RIP Garfield

{A Wordy Wednesday Post}

Do you see them?

{I slid a piece of pink fabric from my stash inside to make them stand out.}

This poor pillowcase I had for years just had it. It went "pop" last Sunday night. It's not simply a matter of resewing the seam. The fabric actually was cut through over time by the seam (thread) itself. It is threadbare and worn.

I loved this thing. I am sad that I cannot use it anymore.

RIP Garfield.

edited to add: My New Pillowcase

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Beautiful Picture by Kim Ayres

One day quite some time ago, I was bored. So, I went hunting up some more good blogs to read. I found Ramblings of the Bearded One through Blogs of Note.

I loved his photography (pictures). I liked his style of writing. I loved how I would get a hint of what the blogger's life is like. I liked the fact that he's not in the same country as I am. And, I loved the fact that he had a beard. (Confession: I love beards -- Dan himself has one. I haven't seen his nekkid face since before we got married). So, I added this blog to Google Reader and have been reading it ever since.

Here's one example of why I like his blog: I never heard of The Wickerman Festival until he mentioned it recently -- very fascinating tradition/history. And, it's amazing how they take the time to build a 30 ft structure only to have it burn up in flames in mere minutes. I found it all fascinating.

Here are the links to the blog posts about Wickerman with pictures if you're interested...

Building Wickerman
Burning Wickerman

Anyway, I'm not big on commenting on blogs. But recently, I realized that if I like to see comments on my own posts even if it's only a "hey!", then I'm sure that others would probably like to see comments from me. So, I try to be brave and comment with my honest opinions. However, there are quite a few blogs that I read regularly that intimidate me for some odd reason; so, I rarely comment on those. His is one of them.

This man has been blogging for five years. Wow. Five years! That's amazing! He offered a giveaway for his fifth anniversary -- a high resolution image of any of the photos he has taken that are either on his blog or in one his photo accounts. All we had to do was tell him what we'd like to see him blog about.

Heh. I had no ideas whatsoever. Plus, I liked what he's been doing so far. As far as I was concerned, he didn't need to change or blog about things he thought others would be interested in. So, I basically just told him to continue doing what he's been doing all along. I also told him that I didn't want my comment to be considered an entry because I didn't know what I'd do with the print if I won because I currently live in a rental and we don't have very many things hanging on the walls (don't want to put holes in the walls of a house that we don't own). He did comment back saying that I could use it as a desktop background. I never even thought about that until he mentioned it. But, I still didn't have a clue (idea) to what he could blog about.

Anyway, I found out yesterday that I was a winner. In fact, I think every person that commented on his post was a winner. He mentioned that he was a big sucker for flattery. I had to laugh when I read that. I thought it was mighty generous of him to do this.

I picked out his Aquilegia print. I thought it'd be perfect to hang up in my future dream kitchen, which will be painted in a subtle green and accessorized with a few pigs (My Gram had pigs on top of her fridge in her kitchen once upon a time and it's stuck with me ever since). Before you think, "ugh!" about how I want to do my kitchen, I need to say that not all the accessories will be pigs -- it will be just a main accent if you will. Anyhow, since pigs are generally pink, I thought this print would be perfect because it had shades of green with the pink flowers. And, it helps that I absolutely love wildflowers (or flowers that look like they could be wild).

I received the print and my goodness, it's absolutely gorgeous. I plan to view it often and can hardly wait for us to find our dream home.

I thank him from the bottom of my heart for giving away this picture. He didn't have to; but, I'm glad he did.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Maxine Fabric (The Beginning)

Way back in June, I received a Keepsake Quilting catalog in the mail. I happily perused the catalog even though I rarely buy anything from them. You can get tons of ideas, drool over fabrics and kits, and add a few items to your "wish list".

Doesn't everyone keep a "wish list"? I do. It's mostly for my husband to use. But, family has access to it also.

Anyway, I came upon a medley of Maxine Fabric by Robert Kaufman for sale in the catalog. When I spied the main fabric panel, I immediately knew that I had to get some to make a quilt for my Mother. She’s such a Maxine freak.

At first, I tried to purchase the fabric through Keepsake Quilting online. But, they were having issues online. In case you don't know, I'm deaf. I hate using the phone and I hate bugging Dan unnecessarily to do this for me. So, seeing that I’m impatient, I went searching elsewhere online.

I used the fabshop search engine of the FabShopHop site. Much to my surprise, I found a medley that contained fat quarters of ALL the fabrics in the line along with the main panel. I ended up purchasing that instead of what Keepsake Quilting offered. Sorry Keepsake Quilting!

While waiting for the fabric to arrive in the mail, I fished for ideas from others on facebook. I got some responses back that helped me go in a certain direction. But, I still wasn’t sure what to do. I needed the actual fabric on hand. The medley came in the mail around June 15th.

Arrgggg! The colors! – vibrant and bold – not exactly my Mother’s preferences.

The main panel is cute and typical Maxine. But, the colors! Acckkk! What to do?

Since I was going home to Mother that weekend, I decided to put them all in a tiny clear box and take them home with me. I planned to go shopping for coordinating fabric to use with the panels. And, I hoped to meet with my sister-in-law to show her the fabric and get ideas. And yes, we managed to meet. She loved the fabric and the panel. She helped me out immensely with providing direction to which way I should go with them.

While at Mother’s, I went to one of my favorite quilt shops when I lived in the area, Painted Pony ‘n Quilts. I took along my box of fabrics. I roamed the store and looked. They have tons of fabrics to peruse. It’s almost mind boggling. But, you almost always find fabric that will work perfectly.

I was looking for fabric that was deeper and more muted than the colors of the actual medley and panels. It was a tough assignment for me. I was beginning to despair of finding any until near the end. I found a line of fabric that was gorgeous and had a range of colors that was awesome. I had fun picking out and matching fabrics for the medley.

I would take a bolt, lay it on the floor, place the panel on top of the bolt and then stand back to see if it worked. If it did, I would randomly place fat quarters on them to see if it coordinated well with most. I did this one at a time until I obtained six coordinating fabrics. I then put all the bolts together and placed the panel on top.

This picture was taken with my camera phone and I sent it to my sister in law with a caption along the lines of “Shopping for Fabric is Hard Work”. It’s not a very good picture; but, what do you expect of a phone camera?

Anyway, I also randomly placed fat quarters from the medley on top. In the end, was very pleased with the selection. I ended up buying a yard of each with the exception of the “purple” (2nd from top), which I bought 2 yards. I figured that any leftover fabric could become a part of my fabric stash. They read as “solids” which is perfect for many situations.

When I got home, I had to do this all over again just to see all the fabrics together again.

What do you think? I wish I could get the colors in the picture 100% right; but, the lighting is tricky. The colors are fairly accurate though.

Next up: Creation of a Design Wall

Friday, August 13, 2010

Indiscriminate Contemplations

Indiscriminate Contemplations == Random Thoughts

On Our No Spending Month:

Today is Day five of our No Spending Month. So far, so good. There were times when I forced myself to put things back. For example, I was at Walmart the other day and noticed a clearance on some sleeveless shirts. I went so far to look some over and try a few on. I almost bought two; but, then I remembered my “pact” of no spending – no unnecessary spending.

I didn’t need any more shirts. So, I made myself put them back. For the most part, this is not all that hard to do. I/we lived like this for a long time before; so, this period is not difficult for me.

There were incidents where I groaned because a product would come across my desk (via email or blog). I’d want it so bad that I’d want to have a hissy fit. Moi? A hissy fit? I rarely throw a fit. Dan can testify to that. But, when I do, look out! And yes, I bookmarked the links to the products. I am planning to return to them after our No Spending Month is over. Ha! Actually, I want to get one for a gift for a special person in our life.

On Feeling Guilty:

I am feeling bad about not being able to go see Mother in the next couple of weeks. With our vacations recently, Dan’s “on call” schedule being chaotic, Gracie needing special attention (something is causing her to have terrible ear problems, most likely allergies as steroids seems to alleviate her problems), searching for a house (starts tonight), and appointments with a Dermatologist on August 31st, I just cannot see us getting to visit Mother anytime soon. The earliest I can see us returning to visit Mother is in September.

I have to confess that I am a little relieved. And, this makes me feel selfish. And, this in return, makes me feel bad (guilty). There is so much I want to do. I would like to work on Mom’s quilt (started on it this week) along with various projects such as finishing up the family slides (I am scanning them all in). I would also like to focus on being with Dan and on being a homemaker again. I haven’t had much time to myself since Mother’s fall back late January. I was with her for two months straight and then it was a lot of traveling back and forth. I would spend two weeks (one weekend) here and one week (two weekends) with Mother. But, that is now changing.

Anyway, I need to recoup. Dan and this house, is sorely neglected too. This shouldn’t be. Not one bit.

However, sacrifices are often made for the good of our loved ones. Mother needed me/us. And now, that things are settled, she doesn’t really need me to be there all that much anymore; although, she desires me to be there with her. She’s lonely, alone and depressed. And, that breaks my heart. What more can a daughter do for her? For the millionth time, I wish I lived closer. I wish I had the skills to take care of her. I wish… But, no matter how much I wish, I cannot change things. It is what it is. And, I feel so helpless…

On Making Personal Sacrifices

I got up early this morning. Actually, Dan woke me up. Let me tell you, it is not an easy thing for this girl to do – to immediately get up, get dressed, and out the door. I was groaning sluggard. I am used to taking my time getting out bed, taking my time waking up mentally, taking my time period. Why did I even do this?

Well, we are going to meet a Realtor late this afternoon. This Realtor is on his side of the town. By “his side”, I mean the side of the town where he works. And, this place is on the opposite side of the city. So, we decided that I should take him to work, then go pick him up and go from there to meet the Realtor. It would save him time. He wouldn’t have to come home early, pick me up, and return back to the other side of the city. It is just easier this way – for him anyway.

Speaking of getting up early in the morning, quite some years back, I did this for my Dan every morning for months on end when he was suffering from pain and tingling in his right arm from a pinched nerve. I would get up, take him to work, and pick him up. He needed to relax and not get uptight from the rush of everyday traffic. Plus, the drugs he took made him sleepy and dangerous for driving. What I did was the normal thing to do for us. Dan would have done the same for me.

At least, I thought it was the norm – that most anyone would do this for their spouse, for their loved ones. It startled me to hear from Dan that a couple of coworkers of his were surprised to learn that I would even do this for him. Even he (Dan) was surprised to hear this. One person, according to Dan, got an amazed look on his face and mentioned to him that we had a unique relationship. He was like “isn’t this what you do for the people you love and care about?” Apparently not. And, this puzzled me.

Are we really the minority? – People making personal sacrifices for the greater good and for the good of their love ones? I just don’t understand why a person would not do such a thing for the people they love and care about if it is within their means to do so. It is just puzzling to me.

On Fabric Panels

In case you don’t know, a fabric panel is a piece of cloth that has various related designs on it. Sometimes, you can find a panel of fabric that has designs you cut out and sew together to make something such as an Apron or a cloth book.

Anyway, you cut out the panels and then do whatever your heart desires with them. I purchased some Maxine fabric panels not too long ago. I cut these up yesterday and remembered why I do not care for fabric panels. A few reasons are:

1) Sometimes the panels are skewed or wonky. Three of the Maxine panels were really off – not squared at all. Frustrating. I am not sure what I will do with them now.

2) The lines of panels are never straight. You have to make do and whack off a little more than you really want to in order to make them squared up. And even then, not all the panels are the same size.

3) The perfectionist in me hates this. I am going to have to “fudge” the blocks and ultimately, the quilt in order to make it work. The perfectionist in me hates this. Oh, did I say that already?

I once had an Apron pattern panel. It was all sunflowers (I love sunflowers). I cut out all the pieces and started to sew them up. I got frustrated because the cut out pieces weren’t perfectly lining up. Instead of fudging and redoing (re-sewing) the panel patterns together, I dumped it all into a Rubbermaid container and promptly put them way back into a deep dark corner of the closet. So, there is an UFO (Unfinished Object) languishing in one of the boxes somewhere.

I am determined to NOT let this Maxine Project become an UFO. I have too many UFOs as it is. One of them is blocks, signed squares, and etc. from a block swap with many quilters all over the USA and Canada. This was way back before the year 2000 when I was involved with a quilting group via chat software. It was suppose to be a millennium quilt. Did I ever put them together? Nope.

[Am I still a part of that group? Sad to say, no. When we got a new computer way back when, we also got a firewall. For some odd reason, I could not use this chat program with the firewall. So, I lost contact with all those lovely people. I miss doing fabric and block swaps with quilters. I even met a few of them real life. It was fun. ]

Anyway, I am determined. I am going to persevere and make Mother a quilt. By the way, Maxine is her favorite character. She owns all the Hallmark ornaments ever put out (and is getting this year’s ornament). I will do this even if it drives me batty. She would love it.