Friday, August 31, 2012

The Fandango Dilemma

I need more fabric! Okay, so really I need more fabric that goes with the Fandango line by Kate Spain from Moda.

Subdued reds, corals and pastels mingle among ivory and aqua. These colors aren’t necessarily part of my repertoire. Oh, I have a red or two and ivory I’ve got as well, either in the form of quilting fabric or muslin, but the overall pastel color scheme? Not so much. Also, I calculated just how large, or small to be more specific, the finished quilt will be. Perfect for a child, not so much for an adult… even it will be a lap quilt.

Do I continue my search for fabric from this line? Do I look for similar fabrics to fill in? Or should I simply break down and buy some pastels to add to my stash? That’s it! I’m giving myself until Christmas to finish this quilt instead of next week!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


You can’t be pro-life and pro guns; pro-family and against gay marriage; pro-lower class and against funding to help them; pro-smaller government and pro-restrictions in personal lives. Unless you’re a Republican.
First of all, this is simply based off of the Rupublican Platform 2012, not necessarily Republicans themselves, many of whom are much more moderate. However, the platform is not. Read it ( It talks about the sanctity of life and how they will repeal abortion laws because it takes innocent lives, and then defends the right to take lives using guns. It talks about being pro-family and dignity of all Americans, and how they want to make sure some families are torn apart or not recognized. They talk about smaller government, less taxes, and more invasion into our personal lives which, in contrast, will cost more in taxes and bigger government. Ugh. Yet people who will be directly affected by the very things the party stand for will still vote for them.
I’m reminded of a quote by a world leader, “What luck for rulers that men do not think.” – Adolf Hitler.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Possible Quilt Pattern

With my day off being, well, today, I thought it best to figure out a plan for the Fandango quilt. I’ve decided on combining four and nine patches… maybe.

Unable to blog this morning without a plan, I sketched out a quick idea for a possible quilt pattern. I’m spontaneous like that. Okay, so every morning I wake up, make coffee, feed the animals then start writing whatever comes to mind (as if it wasn’t obvious.) Some days, inspiration hits easier than others. Lately I’ve been in a rather disgusting slump where my daily write-ups are a tad on the boring side. I apologize to any daily readers out there. Anyway, after I started sketching out what I could do with those two charm packs of Kate Spain’s Fandango from Moda I’ve had in my stash for years just begging to be turned into something fabulous, I couldn’t stop thinking of four patches and nine patches. From there I thought it would be cute to make some of the nine patches using smaller four patches. This got me excited to start the quilt.

While I would love to get this done in the next week, I’m not going to push myself just for the sake of pushing. It will get done; just maybe it will be a Christmas gift instead. Part of me wishes we had the money to buy just a little more fabric for it, but at the same time one must be frugal in times of financial drought. This project will instead rely on ingenuity.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Precut fabric should make quilting easier, right? Then why is it so hard to find a design I like?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the two Charm Packs of Kate Spain’s Fandango line by Moda. I just don’t know what to do with them. I have gone through most of my quilt books and searched online for inspiration, but alas, nothing catches my eye. Perhaps something in the design of the fabric itself will help lend to a pattern. Perhaps I simply need to break open the packs and fiddle with it. Perhaps I need to stop thinking so much about it and start doing something.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Quilting on the Mind

With autumn just around the corner, my brain is ready to switch back over to quilt-mode. The internet doesn’t help.

Figuring I needed some inspiration, I scoured the internet for quilts and blocks to start sewing again, however, after going over all of the Desperate Housewife’s Quilt blocks on Want it, Need it, Quilt! ( Jane hosted over the past year, I realized most of those blocks are challenges I’d like to do for myself without feeling rushed. Then, of course, is the creativity killer, Pinterest. I love looking at the pictures, but then I find myself simply wanting to look rather than do. It appears it is time to grab a pen and paper and sketch out what I want to do.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blessing the Animals

This morning is our annual outdoor service at church for the Blessing of the Animals. I don’t know if I can trust any of our animals to be around, well, anyone or anything!

We’ve been trying to figure out which of our pets to bring to the Blessing of the Animals at church today, and so far every one of them has a con and only a few have a pro. While this significantly lowers the potential candidates, it doesn’t make the decision for us. I’d love to bring the ducks, but they are large and would require a larger cage. I also thought of getting harnesses to wrap around their chest and wings, but that seems like more work than it is worth, though walking a pair of ducks into the labyrinth would be quite the sight to see. Then there are the two chicks we got with the ducks that are now pullets and look like miniature versions of their adult selves. They would both fit into a cat carrier or the old ferret cage they were brooded in, but might be difficult to catch them both. We also have one of our hens who would be a good choice because of her calm demeanor. Alas, it may come down to that my husband and I are too involved in the service to bring any pets. We’ll see where the next half an hour takes us.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I still haven’t gotten used to the fact that we have neighbors who actually want to be neighborly. It is mind boggling, I tell you.

Our next door neighbors are super friendly. Our dogs, on the other hand, like to pick fights with each other. Hopefully we can introduce them to each other soon so they can stop bickering between the fence whenever they are outside. Anyway, the neighbors recently acquired chicks and have been very interested in our coop, watering system, the whole chicken-chilada. Last night after a Tour-de-Coop, we sat around and talked some more, getting to know each other better. We’ve hung out before, and the more I get to know them the more I like them. It is great to have neighbors you can be friends with, but it saddens me if and when we have to move out because the guy who owns the house is ready to move back in.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Alternate Route

With road construction underway on my normal route to work, I have to find an alternative. Preferably one that doesn’t require an excessive amount of traffic lights to sit through as, well, I’m not that patient in the morning. Alas, I’m afraid my options are take the route selected by the department of transportation, go way north and travel back down, or go way south and travel back up. Of course, the worst part is that half of my alternate routes are also experiencing road construction. Joy.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Do you ever have a day where you think, “Ah! A day off! Splendid!” and then get a frantic phone call from work wondering where the hell you are? That’d be me yesterday.

Normally I have Wednesdays off. Even the schedule says I have Wednesdays off. So without much thought, even though the person who normally works the Wednesday morning shift at the clinic was going flying out of state that morning, I figured I had the day off. Alas, I must have said I’d work it and, well, forgotten about it. Crap.

My memory isn’t what it used to be, so it appears from now on if we make plans or change anything, I have to write it down in a place I can find it and see it EVERYDAY like a calendar or on the refrigerator. On top of it all, I think I’m getting sick too. Double crap.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Warm days, cool nights
Flowers give way to seeds
Summer sweetness nearing its end

Crispness in the air
Crops ready for harvest
Autumn just around the corner

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Stash Dilemma

Looking at my fabric stash, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really need to start sewing again. Now, if only I could find out where I left my motivation!

A majority of my stash is fabric leftover from past projects. When I buy fabric, I tend to buy it by the yard, as in a full yard or in yard increments. The other way I buy is fat quarters, especially when I see one that will work perfectly for a project I’m working on but can’t find yardage of it, or the price dictates a fat quarter would be enough. Over the past couple years I’ve started getting precuts, mostly from Moda in the form of Layer Cakes and Charm packs, as a way to easily coordinate a project. However, I find it much more difficult to cut into those than yardage. And then, of course, there is the fabric I bought that I slap my head and ask, “What the hell was I thinking?!”

Alas, the time has come to make another quilt before I finish piecing the top of That 70s Quilt which I will use as my fall/winter hand-quilting project. Perhaps, just perhaps, a lap quilt for an upcoming birthday is in order.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Yesterday at church I was asked by a nine-year-old girl, “Why do you wear pink and purple so much?” And I answered, “Because I like pink and purple, and blue and green and yellow and orange… I like colors.”

So why is it that one has to defend wearing certain colors because of their gender? Personally I feel that if you like a certain color, wear it. Besides, I look good in pink and purple. It compliments my skin tone.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lack of Picture Taking

I’m getting really bad at taking pictures lately. I mean, really really really really really bad.

There was a time I would take pictures of everything. There was a time I would take my camera with me to weddings and birthday parties and events. Lately I’ve been “forgetting” it at home a lot. Part of it is because I decided to make a conscious effort to be present during said events instead of trying to capture moments from those events. What I really need to do is find a happy medium. I need to find a way to get back to a frame of mind where I have my camera with me, but am not constantly hiding behind it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Camping With Children

It's time for another Good Idea, Bad Idea!

Good idea: Camping at the church with your nephews.

Bad Idea: Camping at the church with your nephews on an air mattress that needs to be patched because there is a slow leak in it and waking up in the middle of the night and having to pee but the church doors are locked and I refuse to pee outside.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Church Retreat

Tonight is the start of our all-church retreat. Unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts, it will actually be held at the church.

Last year we had a church retreat at Camp Adams in Molalla, Oregon. This camp is owned and operated by the Central Pacific Conference of UCC churches, of which we are a part of. However, it is quite the popular site as we were told we won’t be able to reserve a spot for our church during a weekend for the next couple years. Shoot. Thusly, our church retreat will be held at the church this year.

My hope is that, even though we are mostly unenthused at the idea, we will still be able to recreate some of the faith-restoring experiences we had last year. I suppose a lot of it will be dependent on those of us participating in the retreat.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hot Summer Nights

Having friends over last night for hot dogs and wine was a great way to not think about the heat. Yes, I know, classy combination.

When it is still in the nineties after dark, you know it’s going to be a rough night. I can already picture all you people in normally hot climates telling me to quit my bitching, but seriously, that is not normal weather here in the Pacific Northwest. Hell, we’ve had years we never even hit the nineties once. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be even hotter. Oh joy. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Christmas Planning

It’s the middle of August. It’s time to start thinking about Christmas.

Crafter’s usually plan out the following year’s gifts, well, about a year in advance. I used to do this when I was younger. I’d pull out a notepad and jot down names and what to make them during the winter break and start working on projects by spring break. By the time summer break would be over I would be well on my way to finishing my list. The older I got, the further my list would get made and the later my presents would be finished. By college I’d be up the night before starting most of my handmade presents up until it was time to leave for the Christmas party.

Now I find myself wanting to at least do some planning. I’ve scaled back on gift giving tremendously. No longer do I feel compelled to make something for every single person I know. Instead I try to focus mostly on the kids and, if I’m up to it, an ornament for the adults. This year I’m thinking it would be nice to make something for my parents (all sets of them) since it has been some years since actually making gifts for them.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vacation Bible School

One thing I looked forward to during the summer growing up, even though we weren’t church going folk for the most part, was Vacation Bible School. The church was a block away from where we lived and the activities were always fun. The tradition continued when we’d spend our summers with our aunt Diana during the day and she’d take us to another church for their Vacation Bible School which always featured puppets. I’m pretty sure my fascination with Muppet-style puppets was cemented in watching a live performance daily during that first year.

Now it is time for our church to have its annual Vacation Bible School, and I’m finding a way to incorporate one of my puppet characters, Noah, who is like an unofficial mascot for our church. Eventually I’d love to be able to create a whole cast and story for each year to start and end each day of Vacation Bible School, or Camp Earthwalkers as we call it since it is usually nature-based. Alas, my procrastination and lack of focus lately will make this reality have to wait another year. Perhaps a conversation at our next Christian Education meeting with the director is in order to gauge if something like this would work for next year.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Editing Home Movies

Home movies from when we were kids are always fun to watch. However, VHS isn’t the best format for preservation.

After watching the movie Super 8, my husband and I were talking about the movies we used to make as kids. A couple years ago, we had mostly gone through our VHS collection and transferred everything to DVD using our DVR. Wow, that’s a lot of initials for technology, isn’t it? Anyway, after watching Super 8 again, we both started getting a bit nostalgic about those old movies to the point where my husband actually started cataloging all the DVDs with which takes of each scene to use in the final versions of his movies. While I don’t have nearly the collection he has, I plan on doing the same with what I’ve got. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Afternoon Sewing Project: Potholders

I wanted to sew something, but wanted a quick project. Enter the potholder.

Yesterday afternoon I was in the mood to sew, even though the weather was still hot and my lack of inspiration still had a stronghold. It was then that I decided to make a pair of potholders as a wedding present to friends of ours whose wedding we missed because we were out of town, but were having a barbecue at their house last night. I pulled out the quilted ironing board fabric I bought years ago specifically for making potholders (though now I’m wondering if I should use it for the ironing board since it irons cottons so beautifully and quickly), a retro-modern fruit fabric from my quilting stash, and started cutting out eight inch squares from each. I then picked out a brown from my solids, cut it into two-and-a-half inch strips by thirty-six inches (I needed one strip for each potholder), and ironed them into binding for the potholders.

To sew the potholders together, I sandwiched the front and back wrong sides together. Using a neutral cotton thread and the quilt lines from the ironing board cover fabric, I stitched over them to create the same pattern on the front. Before sewing the binding on, I switched to a matching brown thread and bobbin, snipped three of the four corners, leaving the upper right corner square since that would be the starting and ending point, as well as the hanging loop. On the last run of the binding I sewed the strip together to the end. To form the loop, I double folded the end of the strip in and matched seams before making an X within a square to secure the loop. The results? Two cute potholders for a wedding gift and a quilting withdrawal satisfied.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Neighbor Chicks

Our friends and family usually will either walk right into the house or knock lightly then walk in. Rarely does our doorbell ring except for the landlord or solicitors.

Last night there was ring of our doorbell. Our dog was unimpressed as she was apparently napping until I got up to investigate. It was one of our neighbors asking if we had some time to answer a few questions about chickens because they just got some chicks. We immediately said yes. I know, we’re geeks like that.

Ready to put our chicken knowledge to the test, they started in with how much heat and light the newborn chicks they had just picked up from one of the local feed stores as we watched them roam around inside a Rubbermaid tote. After we told them what breeds they probably have, we moved on to the backyard where they had to possibilities for building a chicken coop. Now, their available space is actually less than ours, but they have a dog run on the side of the house and an old playground with a built-in play house their kids are all too old to use. Both of these areas would be perfect for keeping chickens with just some minor adjustments. We’re going to have to have them over to take a look at our coop to get an idea of what the chickens would need. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Art of Bartering

In a depressed economy, sometimes you simply don’t have the option of going out and acquiring the goods and/or services you need. Enter the barter system.

Bartering, or trading, has been around for as long as civilization. I have something you want and you have something I want, let’s trade. Simple. You fix my sewing machine, I will bake you a cake. You take family pictures, I make you a cake (or five.) [Insert whatever I want] for cake. Sound like a deal? 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Oh, the Quilts I Will Make!

Oh, the quilts I will make!
Oh, the projects I’ll do!
Oh, when this hot weather
Will finally subdue.

Oh, the fabric I’ll need!
Oh, the cash that I lacks!
To finish all the quilts
And make all the quilt backs!

Oh, one day soon I know
I won’t fret of such things
But today, oh! today
I have lots of frettings!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Egg Based Diet

With our finances dwindled to a rather frightening level, it appears eggs are what’s for eating. Lots and lots of eggs.

Fried eggs, sunny-side up eggs, scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs, soft boiled eggs, egg salad sandwiches, egg soup, huevos rancheros, omelets, frittatas, quiches; eggs for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert! I have a bad feeling I’m going to be so sick of eggs before the week is up I’ll want to forage the forest behind our house for wild berries. Something tells me I’m going to want to scour over The Farmstead Egg Cookbook by Terry Golson for new recipes and ideas to prevent that from happening… or Pinterest.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bad Sewing Weather

Hot weather is good for a great many things. Sewing is not one of them.

My sewing machine looks sad. With the weather being so unbearably hot, the last thing I want to do is drape myself in quilting fabric and sew. Of course, my creativity level drops by like a thousand when the thermometer hovers over seventy to begin with, so the fact that these last few weeks I’ve been a little less homemaker-like and a lot more poetic shouldn’t come as a surprise. Well, except to me, as I don’t consider myself a poet.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Drinking coffee
Watching birds dance in the yard
Searching for worms and seeds
It must be morning

The quiet before the storm
That is work and life
Is almost enough
To get me through the day

Alas the day must go on
And work must be done
But in this moment
I know peace and serenity

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Living in a neighborhood usually means you will have neighbors. Sometimes those neighbors are friendly and other times they are asses. We’ve been fortunate enough to have had mostly great neighbors both here and where we used to live. It certainly makes for a better living environment than if we all argued over which side of the fence the blackberries and ivy was coming from. For the record, the blackberries were from their side and the ivy was on both, but only because it spread from their side onto our side of the fence.

Anyway, last night we were invited over to our next door neighbors’s house for margaritas and games. At first we were a little hesitant because, well, we would have just said our goodbyes to my brother and his family as they were driving back to California, and because, well, we don’t know them all too well. But we decided to go for it. I’m so glad we did. We had a blast getting to know each other and playing games with their friends and coworkers and kids. It almost makes me want to make our house presentable enough to have them over for dinner. Almost.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Life's Rollercoaster

When life gets you down, pick yourself back up again. Of course, sometimes life’s downs are deeper than you realize and you need help from someone else.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Art and Money

I was recently asked, “If you could make a living off of your passions, would you?” The answer is a resounding, “YES!”

Art is subjective. I’d like to say that I have a pretty broad range when it comes to painting, but honestly, I love to tell stories so they tend to have an illustrative quality to them. It is said that artists develop a unique style, and this is quite true. One can look at a painting I’ve done and then look at a puppet or quilt and see the same qualities and characteristics. When I was a kid I wanted to imitate so many other artists and illustrators and writers, but as an adult I find that I really like to explore my own style further. I find myself wanting to collect other artist’s work rather than try and make something similar even if I can because I have a better understanding of what goes on behind the work and could never duplicate that feeling unless it is uniquely mine. I also find myself wondering I could ever work up the courage to put myself out there for the world to see.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Titles are Hard

Brain is mush. Want more sleep.

With family visiting from out of town, one usually feels obligated to spend time with them, even if it means sleep deprivation. Yesterday we had a family barbecue for my mom’s side of the family at our house and amazingly were able to fit everyone. Today there are plans for my husband to take them around Portland and show them the city which sadly I won’t be able to join them as I have to work. Stupid work.

Brain is mush.

Want more sleep.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Time to Clean

There are times when you just want to sit and do absolutely nothing. Today is that day, and it just isn’t going to happen.

Coming home after an out of town trip should be relaxing. However, coming home and needing to clean the house is another feeling altogether. Alas, the time has come to clean. We are having a family barbecue at our house for the local family and friends to visit with my brother and his family while they are in town, so cleaning must be done. And pictures to put into frames, and groceries to buy, and food to make…