Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Many, many thanks to my blogging friends who left comments about Morticia. Y'all are so sweet and kind and it is much appreciated.

I hope to get working on the OC mystery quilt steps 2 & 3 tomorrow evening. Yikes I'm behind!

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Tribute to a Feisty Lady

Forgive me for a sad post.
I said goodbye to Morticia today. It is so hard to let pets go but she has not been doing well, has been having breathing problems, and it was time. This photo is a couple of years old because ladies should always look their best in tributes.
She had such a quirky personality. I adopted her at 6 mo. old and unlike all my other cats, she didn't like playing or sleeping as a group but preferred to be by herself. She was sweet and funny and feisty and smart. She went through some "terrible twos" for a while and would terrorize my other 2 older cats and the black lab I had at the time so much that she would be put in "time out" in the bathroom for 2 min. till she calmed down. She quickly learned what "time out" meant and soon all you had to say was "Tish time out" and she would march in the bathroom and sit on the bath mat. Even after her terrible twos, she liked to hang out on the bath mat.
She also liked to drink out of the faucet and would meow at the top of her lungs to get someone to run the faucet for her. She never did learn what water conservation was and that we shouldn't leave water dripping during the drought. When my dad remodeled the bathroom for me a couple of years ago, he took out the sink and Morticia threw a fit because her sink was gone. Of course we didn't help matters by repeatedly asking "Tish where's your sink?" And she would meow and meow at us indignantly like she was saying "how dare you remove my sink!" She was really happy when a new sink appeared with a better faucet for drinking. That's how I knew she was really doing badly recently because she stopped asking for water from the faucet.
I am comforted that I could give her a graceful and dignified last day. I have the kindest vet and he really is great with my cats. I took her there mid-morning and Morticia passed away in my arms with no pain. I hope she is somewhere where faucets always drip with cool water and she can be her feisty smart self.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I'll Take Obscure Holidays for $300

Well tomorrow is a state holiday for state employees. Don't check your calendar, it's only a state holiday for a couple of states--Georgia being one of them--Confederate Memorial Day. I cannot believe we still have this day as a day off in the 21st century; it's so un-PC I don't know where to start. But don't look a gift holiday in the un-PC-ness. I'll be spending the day (not celebrating the Confederacy) but celebrating oh I don't know...National Cats and Quilting day. That's a better holiday.
Did get some quilting in yesterday. I sewed the backing together for my Morris Garden quilt. I think it ended up the size of Rhode Island (which is 84"X 98" for the top--add 6" all around for the back). I have no business sewing quilts the size of states, even small states, in my small house. If my house were a geo-political entity--it would be a hamlet. I couldn't even spread the whole thing out. This is why sewing backings is my least favorite quilty thing to do (my friend Becky dislikes borders). This is also why I will never sew drapes, very large pieces of fabric make me crazy.

I also happened to err in my logic for making the backing (actually I don't think there was any logic involved whatsoever). Since I dislike large pieces of fabric, I thought sewing a back out of 10 1/2" squares would be easier. Ummmm it's like making another queen-size quilt....takes a lot of cutting and piecing and ironing.....what was I (not) thinking????? chalk up one life lesson learned.... So now I have this quilt ready for the quilter. Hooray!

Here's a gratuitous cute cat photo. Stella was hanging out in the sewing space with me yesterday. Now this doesn't look very comfortable to me, but she loves to hang out here in front of the window.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Shocking Discovery

I was rummaging around in my sewing space on a mission to get some stash to start cutting for the OC mystery quilt step 2 when I discovered, lurking in an old apple crate, a stash of UFOs that I didn't know I had because they were not on my purple index cards!!!! I was shocked, shocked I tell you. Where did these come from???? Perhaps they were purchased and partially started by a doppelganger who has the same taste in fabric that I do. I also discovered fabric still in it's original bag that had somehow snuck in there also (this is not so unusual).

So I did what every other self-respecting quiltress would do, I put the inexplicable bags back where they came from, found my scraps, turned off the light, and left the room. That doppelganger better get working on those quilts, I have enough to do.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Earth Day

(image from

It's Earth Day! Going "green" has become part of our everyday lexicon. What are you doing to go green?

I have made a lot of changes in the past year and a half--trying to do all I can to reuse, reduce, recycle, and buy organic. There's tons of links for Earth Day info and sites. Here are some of my favorites: Check out your ecological footprint at this site. For some Earth Day info check out the World Wildlife Fund's website or the Nature Conservancy.

Here's some Quilty Earth Day tips I thought of today:
1. make some reusable and stylish shopping bags out of the favorite fabric from your stash
2. reuse the bag from your LQS for your next trip or better yet forego the bag and wrap your purchases up in some yardage.
3. check out the new organic fabrics from Michael Miller, vegetable dyed fabric from Andover, and eco-friendly bamboo or organic cotton batting
4. make a "green" quilt from your green fabric stash LOL!!!

Did you see the Planet Earth series on the Discovery Channel last year? I recorded this series and never get tired of watching it. I am still amazed at the incredible beauty captured on film for this series and appreciate even more this wonderful, diverse, fragile planet we live on.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Scrambling

Whew! It's been a busy and exhausting week. I am glad it is over. Worked a lot at SBux (busy and exhausting). Too much stuff going on at day job (exhausting mentally).

I got the biopsy results back for Morticia (my kitty) and as suspected she has soft tissue cancer. Poor baby. We had a couple of really bad days this week and one bad night Wednesday when I was up til 3:45 am. But she is doing OK this weekend so that is good. Spent a lot of time with her and we took a couple of really good naps, which we both needed so that was time well spent this weekend. So we are taking it by the day now.

I did get some sewing time in. I finished the borders on my Morris Garden quilt and cut of the backing for it (I'm doing pieced 10" square from the leftover FQs, some yardage, and some leftover bits and pieces. I also pieced the back for "Sleep Deprivation". So I have 2 quilts ready and one nearly ready to go to the long-arm quilter. I have another back to piece and that will make 4 to take to her next weekend. I'm giving her my own economic stimulus package LOL!!!!Did not get started on the second clue to the OC mystery quilt but will work on that this week.

Read two great books which I highly recommend: Dream When You Are Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg and Pug Hill by Allison Pace. Dream takes place during WWII on the homefront and is about a family dealing with food shortages, fiances overseas, dances at the USOs, etc. Really good book. I think a lot of kids would be surprised at how people lived during the 1940s. For instance, the 3 teenage sisters sleep in the same bed and have to share all their clothes. Can you imagine teenage girls doing that today???? Pug Hill is a delightful book about a 31 y.o. single woman living in NYC. The title comes from her favorite thing to do when life is stressful--go to Central Park and watch pugs playing. The author does a great job of creating believable characters and creating a wonderful, realistic first-person narrative voice.

OK must run. Going to visit my friend Pat, then coming home and cooking and doing laundry and feeding cats, and ....and...and the usual Sunday scrambling to get ready for another week.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Forbidden Jelly Roll

Well my Bernina came back from the shop working fine and whatever was wrong with it was covered under warranty so I just had to pay for the cleaning (yea!). I immediately cranked it up and put the pedal to the floor working on a UFO and then....

there it was...

sitting on my sewing table so innocently...

the new Moda jelly roll....

the beautiful cheery ZaZa line....

but I was resolved to work on my UFO (even though it was going badly and I had to unsew and I was getting frustrated)...

there it was so cute and new....

the forbidden New Project...

I felt like Homer Simpson in the Treehouse of Horror IV and his forbidden donut

it was the forbidden jelly roll...

my fingers itched to cut into new fabric.....

must resist...

Whew! now that I got that out of my system, I'm back to working only on UFOs. NO NEW PROJECTS!!!
P.S. This is a great quick quilt from the pattern "Strip Search" by G.E. Designs and none of the points match on purpose! I am naming my quilt "Sleep Deprivation" because it reminds me of all the great ideas I have when I'm really sleep deprived and they never quite connect LOL!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rainy Saturday Plans

Woo hoo I have a weekend off!! Yes, I did a happy dance closing SBux last night knowing I had the weekend off. I hope the second step of the Orange Crush quilt are posted this weekend. Here are my 4-patches all done:

I am enjoying a pot of our new Pike Place Roast. If you haven't tried it, put down the mouse and run and get some. This is truly a fabulous coffee. And yes, I drank the Howard Schultz (coffee-flavored) Kool Aid but really it's a great coffee. Mmmmm can you smell the beans.

This is my new canister. I am such a SBux geek--I have a zillion mugs, shirts, Bearista bears, and who knows what else. But what can I say? I love the company and I love my job there (and I get a discount hee hee).
Here is Gomez enjoying the rain. Hooray for rain in the ATL! A brief respite from the Green Menace (aka pollen).
I was hoping to spend all day in my pjs but I need to pick up my Bernina. Keeping fingers crossed and cautiously optimistic.
I had a somewhat bizarre Twilight Zone experience last night at SBux. A dear friend of mine from college who I haven't seen in 12 years came into my store. In the middle of me saying "Hello can I help...." recognition. It was so great to see him even for a few minutes. I *found* him on Facebook and am so glad to have reconnected. Even though my crazy stupid schedule/life has prevented me from seeing him when he has been in town, I am glad to know he is out there. In a very disconnected society, it is nice to know that parts of your past that you thought you'd lost can be found through the wonders of the Internet. Well, more later. My cup is empty and the rain has stopped and need to run my errands.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

ASPCA Day--Go orange! (and Morticia update)

A cause near and dear to my heart. Do you know that the Empire State Building in NYC will be lit in orange today in honor of the founding of the ASPCA in 1866? The famous Wall Street bull sculpture will sport orange ribbons too. Visit for ways that you can help make the world a better place for animals. One year when I was "volunteered" to be in charge of the Yellow Daisy Quilt Guild's holiday party, my co-chair and I decided that the theme would be cats and dogs and we made cookies in the shape of dog biscuits and made little catnip favors out of four-patches. The favors went home with people who had cats or members could put them in a basket for donation to the local humane society.
If anyone has leftover four-patches from the Orange Crush quilt, you can make really cute cat toys by sewing two four-patches wrong sides together and leaving a space to turn rightside out. Stuff with leftover cotton batting (you know all those little scraps you have everywhere) and add a couple of spoonfuls of dried catnip (organic is best since it has the best catnippiness). Sew up and voila a quilty cat toy! My cats LOVE these little quick, easy toys from scraps. I made a bunch and donated them to the local humane society and gave out to my friends who have cats. And it's a great way to use up scraps.
OK Morticia update. The news is not good. She most likely has soft tissue cancer in her nasal passage and the vet had to remove some of her teeth where the cancer had eaten away her jaw bone. Dr. Harris took biopsies and sent them to the University of GA vet school. We'll get the results back next week. The lump means that the cancer has become aggressive and Dr. Harris said that maybe she will have one to three months, six at the long shot to have a comfortable life. I didn't know it would be so short but I knew that her prognosis was not good. I am going to make sure she is comfortable and pain-free and when it is time then it will be time. I know that she has had the best life possible for the past 10 years. Morticia was adopted from a humane society at the age of 6 months and the other 4 are strays. They really have the best life. My cats eat better than I do, have better health care, have a zillion toys, and are happy to be indoor only cats safe from dangers outside. That's all I can do for them.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Waiting Wednesday

Well I am home today waiting to hear about Morticia. I took her in this AM for X-rays so the vet can determine why she has a large lump on the side of of her nose and will go pick her up this afternoon. Poor sweet Tish.

I have finished two books this week already: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which is the selection for my book club, and Winding Ways Quilt, the latest Elm Creek Quilts book. I have three more books "on deck" from the library. Like my friend Becky, I was horrified reading about foot binding in Snow Flower. Made my feet hurt reading about it. Also makes you realize how horrible life was for women during much of China's history. The book was good, but didn't really delve into the historical events happening around the main characters as much as I would have liked. I thought Memoirs of a Geisha was much better at explaining the culture and history. Winding Ways was a nice light read, much like the other books. I always wonder why someone hasn't purchased a huge old mansion and turned it into a retreat like in the book. I would sign up in a heartbeat!

Next up in the reading list are some other light reads. I usually read a lot of nonfiction, history, and biographies. For one long spell I read Breach of Faith by Jed Horne, Fiasco by Thomas Ricks, The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Frank Rich, Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill, The One Percent Doctrine by Ron Suskind, and The Long Road Home by Martha Raddatz (I'm probably on some FBI list now LOL!). I think I am reading more fiction nowadays for the same reason screwball comedies were so popular during the 1930s and 1940s--the news/economy is just too bleak and I need some escapism. Hmm maybe some Cary Grant movies would be good for the weekend...

Speaking of Cary Grant, George Clooney (who has been called the Cary Grant of the present) was fabulous in the movie Michael Clayton. This was not a "light" movie but it had an original story, excellent cinematography, and great acting. I liked it so much, I watched it again with the director's commentary. After seeing this, I definitely think Tilda Swinton deserved her Oscar and the movie got so many nominations. One of the best films I've seen lately. I liked it better than No Country for Old Men. Also sort of watched Valley of Elah. Not a good movie in my opinion and the only saving grace was Tommy Lee Jones and Susan Sarandon.

Off to get something accomplished and more waiting.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

One UFO done

Yea! Finished a quilt top

The pattern is called "Road to Romance" by my friend and quilt designer Pat Wys (see the pattern and the quilt made in 1930s prints here: and check out her other designs too). I started this quilt in 2007 and the focus fabric is a special dogwood-patterned batik that was printed for the 2007 Atlanta Shop Hop. This quilt makes me think of Ireland since it's so bright and green. Here's a detail.
Worked on another UFO (from 2006) at our sewing group on Saturday. Great day sewing with Karin and Becky. My decision on which quilt to work on went like this: pick up nearest bag off the floor of the sewing room and take it with you LOL! I think I'm going to pick projects this way and maybe at some point it will work up to: pick any project from on(e of several big plastic bins (as soon as I get the ones off the floor done). How's that for a plan????
Also worked on step 1 of the Orange Crush mystery quilt. Karin is way ahead of me and has her 4-patches done. I have some 2-patches and am really glad we have more time for this step. I am jealous of Becky having Spring break and time for quilting and blogging this week. I expect grand things from her LOL!!!!
On Friday, I took 2 cats to the vet. Morpheus went for his annual shots and geriatric blood tests. He is doing good and lost a little weight (which we all need to do here at chez crazy cat lady....) Also took Morticia, who now has a large lump on the side of her nose near her eye. The vet is very concerned about it and I am taking her in on Wednesday for anesthesia, X-rays, and testing. Probably not good and that is what I am expecting. Will post an update when I know something.
Reviews of books and movies I finished over the weekend in another post. It's time to watch John Adams on HBO (yes I am a history geek!)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Machine Woes

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. My Bernina 440 sewing machine has apparently caught consumption or perhaps a case of the vapors because now it is only making little clicky-coughy sounds instead of sewing (why I imagine my Bernina as a Victorian lady I don't know--probably because it's being fussy and just up and stopped sewing in the middle of chain piecing without warning. Now, in my view things like applicances, sewing machines, and cars should not be fussy or stop without warning when you keep them maintained. They should let you know ahead of time so you can be prepared.) Where was I?? Oh yes, little annoying expensive-sounding unhappy computer noises. After two days of fiddling with it (clean clean clean, unplug, replug, pray, chant, beg, sacrifices to the sewing goddess), I am resigned to take it to the local Bernina dealer on Saturday. Grrrrrrrrrrr (sometimes you just have to growl)

I do not like taking my machine to the dealer because A) they take FOREVER to get it back to you (umm 4 weeks just to clean it the last time) and B) everyone I have dealt with there either ignored me, didn't look kindly on non-embroidery machines, or was rude to me. I dread going there and leaving my machine to people with bad customer service and/or bad attitudes towards customers they think are "unworthy". Unfortunately, this particular shop has a monopoly on Berninas in the metro area and I think the next closest dealer is in North Carolina so I really don’t have a choice on taking it elsewhere. I didn’t even want to buy this machine from them because I had such bad service with my first Bernina but didn’t have a choice. Triple grrrrrrrrr. Maybe I will be surprised and get nice, helpful, courteous service but I am not holding my breath.

Luckily I have my trusty 1948 Singer Featherweight so I can keep sewing. Hooray for old, non-fussy technology!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Orange Crush fabrics

Well I've got my main fabrics all picked out for the Orange Crush mystery quilt. I decided to go with Mardi Gras colors and HOPEFULLY I'll have this done by next Mardi Gras LOL! I think I will keep the same colors for the scrappy four-patches (green, purple, yellow). Green and purple are my favorite colors so I have a TON of those colors. I'll dig into those scraps and working on Step 1 during the weekend.
On Pat Sloan's blog today, she sent a directive to Finish It Up. So AGAIN I am going to try to get the borders on the 2 quilts hanging around this weekend too.
Update on police activity--no it wasn't the quilt police coming to get me for having too many UFOs (although this is a strong possibility...). A local police officer was attacked by a drunk driver who fled the scene (thank you Karin for updating me on the events!) The suspect must have been captured around 2 AM when the helicopter left and I could finally get to bed.