Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Do you ever have one of those weeks when it seems like you can't finish anything? Am I dancing the cha-cha or running in circles? Who knows. More posts near the end of this week....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday with Harry

Harry Potter that is. I dragged S. to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with me this afternoon. Two movies at the theater in two week--I'm livin' big, let me tell you! I had to see HP at the theater though on the big screen. (I have them all on DVD too.) HP & tHBP was another great movie in the series.

I also went to Melisa's in the morning. I saw Cindi there but missed Karin, who must have been waiting for Melisa to open the doors at 10AM. Bought a few things. I'll post a photo tomorrow. Now I'm off to cut up some fabric.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Not much going on

This week has been uneventful.

I think I need to visit Melisa at Sweet Home tomorrow.

Just to see what's new of course.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Reading

No sewing tonight as I used up all my energy buying out Whole Foods (or at least that's what it seemed like...). The kitties are happy as they now have treats for the treat jar and I am happy to have some food in the house. So as I'm eating some veggie quesadillas, I thought I'd post some books I've read in the past month or so. Everyone has their own taste in books but I can tell you that I really enjoyed all these books and I recommend them if they sound interesting to you.

I read a lot (roughly a book every two weeks maybe more maybe less) and I read rather quickly so here goes:
A great book about the Great War. At nearly 800 pages, this one did take me awhile to read. Not your dry history book, this book explained the politics leading up to the war, biographies of all the leading political and military figures, life in the trenches, and life on the homefront as well as troop movements, stalemates, and battles. A good overview of the whole war.
Next up was Renegade: The Making of a President by Richard Wolffe. If this isn't your cup of tea scroll ahead to the next book.

If you are still here, this book was a wonderful insight into the campaign and it was fun to relive all the excitement with none of the anxiety about the outcome. I share *karendianne's admiration of Richard Wolffe. My friend Suzanne (no blog) would like this book and I think anyone who is interested in the campaign and wants to know more about our president would also enjoy this book.

Next up is My Life in France by Julia Child

A quick read. If you watched Julia Child on TV like I did, when you read this book you can hear her voice telling the story. If you liked Dan Aykroyd's impersonation of Julia Child on Saturday Night Live, you may hear that too. This book explains how Julia got into cooking and became the renowned cookbook author and teacher that she was. For about 5 minutes I wanted to run out and buy her cookbooks and start mastering the art of French cooking just like in the book Julie and Julia, but I thought better of it. The last time I was in DC, I saw Julia's kitchen in the Museum of American History (along with 500 other people squeezed in the small space) so it was fun to read about her buying the cookware that ended up in the Smithsonian. I read Julie and Julia a long time ago when it first came out and if you haven't read either of these, read them both before you see the movie.
My current read is Simon Schama's The American Future: A History. I adore Simon Schama's BBC documentaries, especially "The Power of Art". I am about halfway through the book and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I'll give a review when I finish.

I often get asked how I read so much with working two jobs, quilting, etc. etc. etc. Well I read between jobs, on breaks, before bed every night, and read more than I watch TV. I never go anywhere without a book in case I'm stuck somewhere. Time management and multitasking I guess.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Quilter's ADD

Yesterday was my sewing group meeting and I dutifully worked on a UFO from last year (see above pile of blocks on the right). I finished the blocks last night, pinned all the rows together, and it's ready to sew.

So what is the pile of fabric strips on the left? A different quilt that I cut out this afternoon while watching a DVD. Does anyone know a cure for quilter's attention deficit disorder?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Furlough Friday #1

Today's furlough day is sponsored by Gov. Perdue. Hey gov, why aren't you taking a furlough day?????? What no shared sacrifice?
So in honor of not getting paid today, I went to the movies because that's what everyone did during the Great Depression. S., E., and I went to see Public Enemies. The last movie I saw at the theater was Defiance. So I was really looking forward to overpriced popcorn and Coke.
It was a GREAT movie. Although not entirely historically accurate, I highly recommend it. I may be biased though because I highly recommend all Johnny Depp movies. I also love gangster movies. Being so predisposed to liking it--I LOVED this movie. I can't wait for it to come out on DVD. Johnny Depp in 1930s clothes, driving 1930s cars, and toting big guns--what else can a girl want?

Link to a Giveaway

Becky over at the Quilting Booklady is having a great giveaway in honor of cleaning up her sewing room and reaching 200 posts.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Morpheus and I feel the same way. Time to hide and take a nap.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Laundry--It's the New Fun!

Oh I am so happy to have my new dryer and while we are at it, let's all hope this is the last post about dryers, okay?
Voila, the inaugural load. So instead of spending time at the beach this summer watching the waves, I can sit in the back hall and watch laundry tumble.
Add a paper umbrella to that sweet tea--it's gonna be a wild summer!!!!!

If you can believe it, the mail today was even more exciting than the new dryer! I received two BOMs and of course had to immediately drop everything and start in on them (yes, I even missed the little chime from the dryer telling me the laundry was done).

Here is Block #2 from the Fat Quarter Shop's 2009 Designer Mystery Quilt (which I am now going to refer to as FQS09DMQ)
I love this quilt!
The next block is Block #6 from the Little Quilts Saturday Sampler
A great patriotic block for July--Martha Washington block in red, white & blue. I think I forgot to post the block from June so here it is
OK that's enough excitement for a Tuesday.

PS: In case you are wondering, no I didn't re-wash everything so I could tumble dry it.....

Well except for the bath towels....

But I only have about six so I really didn't waste that much water....

Oh the "green" guilt of it all!!! More treehugging penitence for me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My First Quilt

I'm late on adding my first quilt to the quilt parade by Camille and Carrie but I thought I'd throw mine in too (bringing up the end of the parade as spectators are already leaving I guess..) The funniest story is Pat Sloan's. Oh my!
This is my first quilt made in October 2001 at a beginning quilt class at a quilt shop that was located three blocks from my house (!!!!!!) Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), the owner retired and closed the shop shortly after I started quilting. Can you imagine--I could walk there anytime I wanted to. Oh how I miss that shop so much!!! I met some of my bestest quilting friends there (including Sandy, Sharon, and Shannon the no-bloggers).

Sandy helped me pick out the fabric for the quilt. Oh how excited and nerve wracking that was--deciding on the perfect fabrics for my first quilt. The fabrics are MODA! Wouldn't you know that would be the beginning of my neverending quest to have almost every Moda line there is (I think there are a few other bloggers out there that can relate Nicole and Vicky maybe?)

I had the best teacher, which is probably why someone who hated sewing (me) became quilt obsessed. My first sewing machine was a Kenmore that I got for my high-school graduation and I think my mom was the only person who used it. I had the worst problems with trying to get a 1/4" seam and after doing my homework brought my blocks in to find out that they were all a mess with wonky wrong-sized seams. I amazed myself, I guess, by not quitting (which would be the easy thing to do for someone who didn't like sewing to begin with) and dutifully unsewed every block and redid them. Don't look too close though because points were still lost and there are some slightly crooked seams. In the class, we also learned how to pin baste, stitch in the ditch, stitch a border pattern, and do binding. My stitching in the ditch leaves a little to be desired but I'm OK with that. (In the spirit of full disclosure, in the middle of my several week class, I went out and bought a Bernina...)

The quilt is now used for the cat's to sleep on when they feel like sleeping on the dining room arm chair (and there is a lot of cat hair on it right now as well as a whole cat! Hello Stella!).

This is my latest project (although not the best photo...). I finished Glory Bound last night and have a perfect gift-giving opportunity for it.
I am so thankful that I found quilting because it has brought me so many great friends (here and in blogland) and has definitely kept me sane and happy.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Tomorrow is the big day--my new dryer arrives! Can I get a woo hoo? Thanks to everyone who commiserated with me about appliance woes. Poor Karen at Life at Leehaven was suffering from morte des appliances also. Sneak over and give her some love if you have the chance. Although my bloggy friends from the UK (Amanda and Jane) mentioned that it is not unusual in England to have clothes hanging all over to dry. So, yes, I feel like a spoiled American and I may have to do some treehugging to make up for it (but I am going to LOVE having soft towels again).

Anyway--remember way back in June, I was going to post about my helping-the-Michigan-economy quilt shop hop. Well I nearly forgot about it until I went to put the stuff away (yes, it is mid-July; I am so behind). My mom, SIL, and I went to every quilt store within somewhat reasonable driving distance. The first stop was Christina's in Rochester. She was having a sale on everything so I picked up some
black & white fat quarters because me and Becky were supposed to make some quilt with B&W fabric and I'm sure I'll remember it at some point and need these.
At Mabelena's, I picked up some Moda goodness for a future tablerunner
(or a dryer cozy HAHA)
I also bought some Halloween fat quarters because my goal is to have enough Halloween fabric to make a quilt for every man, woman, and child in the US. The green rickrack is a just because.
We went to a couple other shops but I think whatever I bought was absorbed into the sewing room already (kinda like the BLOB!)
We also went to Lake Street Mercantile and I bought one of Windham's new Fat Rolls (5" strips) of their Clara Barton line of fabric. Mom and I split this and I cut all the strips in half so now we each have a jelly roll!
I already have a quilt picked out of this book to make.
Today, I am working on finishing up the "Glory Bound" quilt even though I am OVER this quilt and just want to be done and moving on. But I am steadfast in finishing it. Also, I am still pouting from not being able to join all my sewing buds at the week-long stitch-in. If you haven't checked out my friend Pat at Silver Thimble Talk, click on over there and hold on to your hat for all the great quilts and hilarity that ensued over the week.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Expiration Date

Please excuse my absence from blogging for a few days. I have been rather grumpy and not up to blogging. Apparently a number of appliance-type things have reached their expiration date at the same time. I am neither amused nor happy about this and neither is my bank account. Remember in May when the water heater died. RIP old water heater and I am still waiting for an errant bailout to fall from the sky.

Right before I left for Michigan, my dryer quit working. I spent three days attempting to fix the dryer myself because I am my father's daughter and darn it I should be able to fix things! (My dad can fix and build just about anything). I was equipped with laptop (for googling "how to fix dryers"), flashlight, various screwdrivers, suggestions from Dad, a multimeter (which I had to run to the hardware store to get because well who knew I would need one of these?), and a fierce determination not to spend money on a new dryer.

Meanwhile--laundry was hanging all over the house to dry (for numerous reasons it is not a good idea to hang laundry outside in my neighborhood, trust me on this one and with two jobs, it's really hard to get to a laundromat). Do you know what air-drying does to towels??? They can stand up by themselves and turn into sandpaper--I kid you not. I had "unmentionables" hanging from doorknobs, makeshift clotheslines hanging all over, and I thought I would scare the bejeebers out of myself with sheets draped and looking like ghosts.

The last straw came when I had to wear damp clothes to SBux on Saturday.

Outcome: dryer 1, Gretchen 0.

July 4th I gave up, went to Home Depot after I got off work, and bought a new dryer. It will be delivered in 5 days. I hope this is the last of the large expenses for this year. I'm over it!

Thanks for letting me un-grump. We will return to our regularly scheduled blogginess soon.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Hope everyone has a fabulous 4th!

Friday, July 3, 2009

And the Winner is...

Random number generator at random.org picked #10! Dianne at A Month of Sundays please email me your mailing address and I'll get the goodies sent to you.

Dianne said she wanted to spend the summer in "Dinky Creek, California - i spent two weeks there when i was (much, much) younger and it was incredibly cool (as in far out, not as in temperature)"

Thank you all for entering my giveaway and for sharing where you would spend the summer. Everyone had great ideas and I think I would be happy with any of your choices. Where would I spend the summer if money was no problem?
I would spend the entire three months touring around England,


and Scotland! I have always wanted to go and I think I would need at least three months to see everything I want to see cities, countryside, shores, castles, ruins, battle sites, cemeteries, museums, shops, pubs, and on and on. I would probably take 5 million photos at least. Well, it is nice to dream....

Thursday, July 2, 2009

One of My Favorite Places in Michigan

Why has this short (three day) workweek seemed like a five-day workweek? I have tomorrow off from both jobs (woo hoo!) and am going to...guess what.... (not clean house)... sew all day! When I was in Michigan last week, I got to spend some time sewing with my mom, aunt, and SIL, who all quilt too. I worked on "Glory Bound" and have all the blocks made and tomorrow I'll work on sewing the quilt together. Karin already has hers done (maybe because she has such a great helper).

I still need to get some photos together of my Michigan fabric purchases so that will be another post. I do want to share another one of my favorite places to go
Cook's Farm Dairy! Cook's is located out in the country and is a family-owned working dairy farm (soapbox alert: please support your local family farms and family-owned businesses--I did, we went there twice!!!!).
Cows! Admit it, the word just makes you smile. It was feeding time when we were there and the ladies were too busy to turn around and pose for pictures.
You can also see new cows! How cute is this little sweetie.

Cook's produces their own hormone-free milk and butter and unbelievably delicious homemade ice cream. I think it's the best I've ever had. Actually I'm glad Cook's is located in Michigan and not anywhere within driving distance...especially since their version of a single scoop is huge!
This is my favorite ice cream (yes, this is a single scoop)
It's dark chocolate with caramel sauce swirls and chocolate-covered cashews. The name is very tongue-in-cheek funny...

...it's called Cow Pie! I kid you not.

PS: Don't forget, the deadline for my post #250 giveaway is tomorrow!