Friday, December 30, 2011


This idea is not original with me, but, having seen some quilts done this way, I have decided to spend a day teaching my guild members how to create the cathedral window look in a new way.  You can make any size block, any size quilt, any combination of colors, and any order of base and top pairings.  Here's how it starts. 

I wanted to make a 24" square table topper.  I had in mind four corner sections and a separate center with the cathedral windows in it, surrounded by my background color and then bordered by more cathedral windows.

I decided to use white as my background fabric and twelve 3 1/2" strips of Kaffe Fassett yummies.  This particular way of combining the fabrics will be the reverse of what you usually see in cathedral windows, where the outside (or top fabric) is white and the leaf (or arced) section is in colored fabric. 

Because I wanted a 24" topper, I divided my top into 8 x 8 sections in my square.  Each section, therefore, measured 3" x 3".  This allowed me to have a four section cathedral window block (finished size = 6") with the white peeking out from under the folded back colors.  But more of the design as the pattern emerges.

What you see above is cut from 3 1/2" strips, one from each of 12 fat quarters:  Eighty Kaffe Fassett squares 3 1/2 x 3 1/2", 40 white squares the same size plus four more 3 1/2" white squares for the corner treatments,  six white 3 1/2 x 6 1/2" rectangles and two white 3 1/2 x 12 1/2" rectangles.  You can use as many colors or fabrics as you wish, and nothing has to match if you want it to be nice and scrappy.  At the very least, however, use four different colors and eight different fabrics to get some texture into the finished project.

You fold each of the colored squares in half right sides out and press them so that they form triangles.  That's what you see so far in the first picture.

Next I placed two of the colored fabric triangles over each of the 40 white squares and pinned them so that the outer raw edges met and the center folds touched but did not overlap.  The last step for this first part of the preparation for assembling the cathedral window block is to sew the outer edges with a basting stitch about 1/8" in from the edge.  This will keep the triangles from slipping in the next part of the project, which I will publish in a few days.

Here's a picture of the first PCW block I made earlier this year, with some of the top triangles pinned back in preparation for sewing those edges to reveal the white fabric underneath.  This is NOT the design for our January project, but it gives you a hint of how things are going to evolve, in case your curiosity is killing you.

Friday, December 9, 2011


My MIL is quite a lady.  Half-Italian, she's an incredible cook.  She also has the best Mexican food recipes, and I have happily tasted and collected each one.  Yum!  She has the energy level of a 50 year old and the memory of someone in her 30's.  Petite and curvy, she can still turn heads when she comes in the room.  I think she may have kept every gift ever given to her since birth, and she remembers who gave it to her, too.

I admire Ellen for her sustained good will to all, her cheerful disposition, her inventive and creative mind and her indomitable spirit. Most of all I admire her for LIVING her life and making every day full and rewarding.

This past Sunday was her 80th birthday, so DH and I flew out to California Thursday to surprise her.  The result was everything we hoped it would be -- shock, joy, tears, and lots of hugs.  We caught up with the family at the birthday party --  nieces and nephew and cousins and brothers and sister -- extracting promises to come and visit us in the near future.  Well, you know how that goes -- all good intentions at the time but life gets in the way, so we're not holding our breath.  Nonetheless, we miss all those folks and hope that at least one or two manages to land in our neck of the woods once in awhile.

Time for reflection.  None of us knows how long we have on this earth, but the older I get, the more I love being here, and the less I want to leave, ever.  I want to breathe this clean country air, kiss my grandchildren, laugh with DH, marvel at the sunsets, and gather precious memories forever.  So I try not to squander this precious time, whatever it is, that is allotted to me.

Besides, I can't go until I have used up all my fabric, right?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Catch up time!

It's been forever since this blog was updated, so I guess I'd better fill you all in.

In November, my sisty, Missy, and I went on our first cruise.  This was a combination quilting/sightseeing cruise (read that to mean shopping...), and we had a ball!  Our ship was the Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas out of Baltimore, MD harbor.  The stateroom was spare but had a nice, big window and was adequate for our needs.  This picture is of our ship docked at Labadee, Haiti.

Here's a shot of the interior of the ship.  It seemed there was always music playing somewhere, and in the evenings there was dancing or shows to entertain us.  During the day while we were at sea, we worked on quilting projects created just for us by our teachers, Bonnie Hunter and Pat Sloan!

Bonnie is known for her extraordinary scrap quilts, and Pat is our applique guru.

Missy and I took Bonnie's class on the first day.  Bonnie introduced us to the Baby Lock machines provided by a dealer in Florida, and we made a small needle case with them just to get the hang of how they worked.

Here's the finished project from the familiarization exercise with the sewing machines.  We worked on the blocks for Bonnie's quilting project after making this needle case.  There were four days at sea -- two down and two back.  Two of those days were spent with Bonnie.  Although all my blocks are made, I haven't assembled them yet, so I'll post the final result of those classes another day.

On the second day at sea, we began Pat's class.  Again, we had a small initial project to do prior to starting on Pat's special pattern for us.  Here's my wool applique needle case from Pat's warm up exercise.

Cute little thing, isn't it?  I hadn't finished the stitching around the outside of the case when I took this picture, but you get the idea.

This is the final project, all assembled but not all appliqued, for Pat's class.  I will be doing machine applique in a blanket stitch for this wall hanging.

We were heading first for Puerto Rico and arrived there around 1 PM on the third day at sea.  This pictures El Morro, the fort that sits at the entrance to the harbor.

With very little time for shopping, we briskly walked the narrow, cobbled streets of old San Juan, finding this and that for our families back home and enjoying the architecture.

I never did find out exactly what this building was, but someone thought it housed part of the city government.  I thought it was charming.

On the fourth day of the cruise, we landed at St. Thomas, USVI.  This is one of my favorite islands in the Caribbean.  DH and I used to come here annually for my medical conferences and some wonderful scuba diving, but we stopped after several tourists were murdered, preferring the safety of Grand Cayman thereafter -- and GC has better diving.

Nonetheless, you can't beat St. Thomas for shopping.  Sisty and I did our share to boost the economy of that small island, I can assure you.  One has to bargain in the Caribbean.  You must NEVER accept the asking price for anything, or you will be taken to the cleaners.  If the vendor asks $100, you start at $10, because chances are that he paid no more than that for the item.  However, this is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for those who do not know the true value of an item, particularly gems.  Here we are with our favorite jeweler.  At one point, I was ready to walk out the door without a purchase and thanked him for his time.  Need I say more?  I have a lovely ring and watch as a result.

Our next stop was Samana, Dominican Republic.  DH and I had vacationed for our first anniversary on the northern side of the DR during a gasoline rationing crisis where the lines were miles long and the gas stations had armed guards and the locals'  idea of scuba diving was to take 8 divers out in a small dinghy and throw them overboard with their gear and tell them to gear up in the water, so we had never returned.  Most of the island looks like this.

We were greeted with residents clothed in traditional colorful holiday garb and swaying to steel drum music that was impossible to keep from dancing to along with them.  Small lorries that held up to four passengers were powered by one man on a scooter at the front.  Housing was dismal, and the pretty homes on the hills were only for the very rich.  Closer to the town, the government had made a mighty effort to clean up the view from the main street and had built or refurbished small adjoining cottages that housed souvenir stores.  Outrageous prices demanded serious and sustained haggling to get the cost down to something even vaguely comparable to the price in the US.  Of course, I LOVE to haggle, so I got that $55 hat down to $3 in no time.  Heaven help those meek souls who bought anything at face value, though!

I must admit that I was very concerned to be visiting Haiti, what with all the poverty and storm damage and crime on that island.  I thought that a bunch of rich (comparatively) tourists should not descend on a town that was desperate for reconstruction and just the basics of life.  So I was not prepared for Labadee, which is a peninsula privately owned by the Royal Caribbean lines.  The scenery was breathtaking.  The beaches were clean and the water a wonderful Caribbean turquoise blue.  Because this part of the island is privately owned, we were prohibited from leaving this portion to tour any other part of the island.  Local craftspeople had remarkable painted clothes, well turned wooden boxes, beautifully fired ceramics, and some of the best painted steel drum sculptures I have ever seen.  The prices were pretty much the same as in the states for such mementos, and the locals were not very flexible in their bargaining, but I bought a few things to take home with me anyway.

So, we bid adieu to this lovely place and spent the next two days at sea, where our course took us through a major storm that we could not escape.  This was my first experience with aiming for one place and ending up at another whenever I sallied forth from my cabin in those tumultuous seas.  Fortunately, neither sisty nor I got seasick and were able to enjoy our final two days of classes.  We even got up VERY early the last morning in order to see the coastline from Virginia Beach north and to watch the sun come up over the Bay Bridge.

Would I do it again?  Well, let me break that down into quilting cruise vs cruise alone.  Maybe to the quilting cruise, and no to the cruise alone.  Unless DH was with me so I could dance under the stars and have him to share the romance of the seas.  I have to say that if I didn't have the quilting projects to fill my time, though, I would have been a bit bored on this trip on the days that we were at sea.  DH and I, being scuba divers, much prefer flying to a land base and exploring from there, both the under water beauty and the sights and activites on land.  Going out here and there with unknown diving companies at various islands is not our scene. So we're not likely to take a long ocean voyage in the near future.  But I wouldn't mind flying to the Greek Isles and then touring them by boat.  Or Loch Ness.  Or the fjords of Norway.  Something new and different to see.  So we'll just have to keep our minds open about all that.

Monday, October 24, 2011


THIS is a bonfire!  We had the first annual Wachter family reunion Saturday at my niece, Jenna's house in Pennsylvania.  Jen is lucky enough to have a darling log cabin/stone spacious cottage on four level acres, so most of the Wachter clan that was descended from my father gathered there at her invitation.  The kids ran and played, we all ate too much, and the bonfire was a huge success.  Various menfolk tested their mettle dragging full size fir trees from a pile about 20 feet high across two acres to the bonfire to keep it crackling and going long into the night.  Those of us with more traditional tastes added chopped wood sections to the fire, and the warmth and glow from all of this was enchanting.

Meet the cast of characters.  This is youngest son, Jon, bringing folding chairs to the bonfire set up.

This is Jon's eldest, Jon Russ, dragging his own tree to the fire.

Jon's wife, Shary, is NOT texting!  She's taking a movie of the men dragging the trees and logs for the bonfire.

Jon and Shary's youngest son, Adrian, just "happened" to catch his stick for marshmallows on fire.

Sister Missy and progeny:  Lara in front and Jenna in back.

                                           Jen's daughter, Aubrey.

   Jen resting after all that cooking and cleaning and stockpiling wood.

Missy's youngest, Lara, above, and her fiance, Jeff, here.

Grandma Missy reading to Jeff and Lara's daughter, Gianna.

Brother Elm's eldest son, Joey. Elm couldn't attend since his race track was open that day (Mason-Dixon race track).  Joey and Jenna and Jon have a "special" way about them when they start cutting up together, and all political correctness is left waaayyyyy far behind.

Joey's son, Jakob.

Just a word about start-up reunions:  they're every bit as much fun as long standing ones, and one of the best things about them is that you actually KNOW the people involved, since fifteen generations haven't produced 400 people that you've never met. 

We have a Hake reunion every year.  Hake was my mother's mother's family name, and although I grew up with my cousins and aunts and uncles, I am now a member of the eldest generation represented there, so I know almost none of the great-great grandchildren. And it's hard enough to remember the names of my own contemporaries.  This makes that reunion more befuddling than befriending for me.

I think that's why my kids and their generation decided that having a family reunion with just my father's descendants would be such fun.  There aren't as many  of us to keep track of.  And my kids and my brother's used to go with us to Murder Mystery Weekend at Allenberry in Boiling Springs, PA some years.  It was an annual tradition for my sister, my brother and I to go to this event for 17 years, so we had at least one full weekend that afforded us time to catch up on each other's lives. I love that our children are now feeling the need to continue that weekend of visiting in a pastoral setting welcoming to all generations.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quilting by embroidery!

This pretty patchwork was created in the hoop of MY sewing/embroidery machine!  A week or so ago about eight of us from the quilt guild decided to get together with Sherry Newton, an extraordinary software teacher/embroiderer/longarm quilter who lives in the Lake Gaston area.  We wanted to learn how to do those amazing embroidered quilts that are on the web these days, but some of us hadn't even taken our embroidery hoops out of the boxes yet!  This was completely undaunting to Sherry.  We had at least three different kinds of embroidery machines, and Sherry was able to work with all of our formats and put us on the right path!

Each of us had her own table.  I don't know how you are, but when I am a little nervous about doing something I haven't tried before, I don't want to be crowded until I get my sea legs.  I've embroidered towels and such, but never an entire quilt. 

Here's Kay's block, coming together nicely. She looks like she really has the hang of this thing.  It's not just embroidery that we are doing in this class.  We are also learning how to applique small bits of fabric into the block cleanly and securely.  Even though this is all done with the machine, you have to decide what colors you want in each block and follow Sherry's careful directions as to how to applique them in the correct order.  Sherry also taught us about the various stabilizers and threads that we are using in this class.

Jan loves purple and green combinations, and these fabrics were just perfect for her pansy block.  Every one of us finished the first block in the series of 20, even though it took a full three hours to do so!  Hopefully, as we become more familiar with these techniques, it will go a little faster.  We're supposed to go ahead and do as many of the first five blocks as we can before the next class (monthly). 

It's nice to stretch one's wings now and then, isn't it?

Don't forget to check out my other blog:  where I show a bargello Christmas table runner in the making this week. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I have a second blogspot for my professional work as a quilter.  Sometimes I will post new discoveries in the quilting world.  Sometimes I will show my latest quilting commission.  There is less personal chat and more business conversation on this second blog:

Please visit it from time to time to catch up on my customers' work.  My latest quilt is a stunning New York Beauty effort by Kay McA.  Here's a picture of the entire quilt, below.

I will continue to share my own quilting adventures and personal journey with you on this blog, so stay tuned.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Marilyn Doheny has worked her butt off the past two days, presenting an amazing and awesome trunk show on Wednesday and a jam-packed full day class on Thursday using her remarkable 9 degree rulers.  We were all completely saturated with  the variety of designs that could be accomplished with her quilting techniques, and we were also totally immersed in the process to the extent that while finally creeping out of the class at the end of the day, we found ourselves tired but exhilarated by all that we had learned to do.

So I thought that today, Marilyn, who is my guest for the next several days, should have a little relaxation.  The first requirement was that the fun would not require any of us to meet anyone's schedule on anything, and the second was that it must involve fabric.

After the trunk show on Wednesday, we had held a luncheon for her at the Rosemont Winery.  Chef David had made incredibly delectable tidbits of this and that for us, topping it all off with a heavenly flan.  During that luncheon, I heard of a new quilt shop in the area, the Threads Run Thru It Quilt Shop in Phenix, VA.

Now, you have to realize that "the area" in rural Virginia does not mean "the area" in any other civilized and populated part of the world.  If you lived in a suburb of a big city, it could mean just a few blocks.  If you lived in a small town, it could include the backroads between that town and the next.  But in rural Virginia, "the area" means anything between your home and about 2 hours away, because there is absolutely NOTHING around where we all live down here until we get to a major city, like Richmond or Raleigh. 

So that meant that we needed to make an hour and a half trip to see this quilt shop.  And we did.  In the rain on a grey and somewhat muggy day. But oh boy!  Was it ever worth it!

The quilt shop itself is a charming log cabin out in the middle of nowhere.  It's not even near the three or four houses that pass for a town in this neck of the woods.  It is REMOTE!  As you go down the lane and come upon this pretty place, you are immediately greeted by two things:  the lovely quilts hanging on the outer walls, and the cat, Wing Nut, who is a long-haired, multicolored, affectionate "familiar" of this bewitching place.

Once inside, the warm greetings continue.  Lori and Steve Clayton (who built the log cabin himself!) welcome you with an exquisite collection of every fabric you could possibly want, with the exception of no Amy Butler(which I don't use anyway) or Kaffe Fassett (which is ok, because I can get his stuff any number of places).  The fabrics are top notch quality and very up to date.  I spent over an hour just drooling and touching and thinking and planning and combining one with the other.  Finally, I bought a whole bunch of yummy stuff and sat down to wait for the others in my party.  Myrt was with us, and she looked over some fabrics I wanted to make into strata for the Eye of Rah quilt.  She quickly saw that I needed a particular red as a zinger, so back I went to the batiks rows to choose a strong, deep red.  While there, Marilyn had found a batik with several heart-catching colors in it, so of course I needed some of that, too.  I ended up at the cash register for two more purchases.
This is Emily.  She must have cut more than 50 fabrics for the three of us today!  And always with a smile.  While we were there, four more ladies arrived, and by the time we left, another two had come in the door and were proceeding up and down the aisles, eyes glazed over, slack-mouthed and drooling, just like we had been upon seeing all those fabrics, willing and eager to jump into our arms almost of their own volition.
I sat back down again and watched others fondle, carry and combine their treasures.  Then another spark of color caught my eye, and of course, that needed to go in my bag.  And the black and white diagonal stripes -- I had forgotten I needed them, too.  By now, I'm a little embarrassed at showing up for a third time at the register, but what's a quilter to do?  You have to have the correct supplies, right?

If you look at the top picture, you will see that Marilyn is seated at a little bistro table.  These tables are in one section of the cabin/shop, as is a small kitchenette.  Lori Clayton will prepare lunch for her customers if she knows when you are coming and how many there will be!  We had delicious chicken salad sandwiches, potato chips, brownies and iced tea -- for free!!!  What service!

Lori is also a longarmer.  She has a Gammill with the Statler computerized robotics attached.  I'm giving her a plug even though she is competition for me.  But she's also a good sport about it and seems to have a comfortably large customer base.

This quilt shop has been in business for a year and is doing very well.  Both Steve and Lori are personable quilters who know what is required to have a successful enterprise.  They make a good team, and the shop is absolutely, 100% worth the trip.  I highly recommend them to all the quilters in "the area."

Monday, August 29, 2011


Although I spent pretty much a sleepless night last night, convinced that I would die of carbon monoxide poisoning in my sleep, I did manage to catch a few winks when all of a sudden we were startled awake with the sound of a thunk/explosion!  We jumped out of bed, DH with a baseball bat and flashlight, me dashing headlong to the basement stairs to see if the noise had come from there.  We discovered that the generator had stopped -- no electricity at all.  We went outside to see what had happened.  The indicator said that the coolant was too hot.  Ok.  We'll just have to fix it in the morning.

When morning came, however, this is what we found:

This is a generator fan belt, pretty much stripped and chewed up and slung around the insides of the generator enclosure.  That explained both the crashing sound and the cessation of function of the generator, for without the cooling effects of the fan, the whole thing would overheat.

Resigned, but undaunted, we marched off to the Napa Auto store to get a new belt.  Turns out they gave us the wrong size, even though we gave them the identical numbers off the old belt.  We'll have to exchange it tomorrow.

One good thing happened, though.  The electricity was restored to the development this morning.

While at the Napa store, DH got a lead on a new job, but it turned out that the shop owner talked bigger than he could deliver.  We saw no sign of any work having been brought in, worked on, or waiting for pick up while we were there. Back to the drawing board.

We're done.  We're fried.  One more thing is going to put us over the edge.  We rail against the gods who have made it their quest to test our mettle.  It's over.  Mother Nature and I have called it quits.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


There are days that it just doesn't pay to get up in the morning.  Some Machiavellian destiny awaits, and we, unsuspectingly, march blithely forward, innocent of where it lurks or how it will affect our lives forever more.

One of my dogs has seizures and is on phenobarbital.  The other one, Razzy, above, doesn't.  However about a week ago I was sitting on the couch with Razzy behind it where she likes to lie next to the air conditioning floor vents, and I felt this shaking of the back of the couch.  I put my feet on the floor, thinking that now Razzy must be having seizures and wanting to go to her to comfort her while she went through it.  The floor was shaking, and I looked at DH and said "The dog's having a seizure!"  The shaking got worse and worse.  The whole house seemed to be bouncing up and down from it!  My husband, being from California and experienced in this sort of thing,  grabbed my hand and said, "That's no seizure!  That's an earthquake!" and he tried to drag me to the stairs to the basement.  An earthquake!?  Who ever heard of an earthquake without a fault line nearby?  I tried to go to the dog to make sure it wasn't her quaking, but he was insistent.  No sooner did we get to the top steps than it subsided.  Nothing broken, no stonework in the house loosened.  I still couldn't believe it.  But there it was, on the internet.  A 5.9 quake centered near Lake Anna and felt as far as Atlanta, Rhode Island, and Ohio!  Go figure! 

So, that was interesting, and we were none the worse for wear, but over the next few days, Hurricane Irene formed, strengthened, and travelled her inexorable route along the East coast, wreaking havoc in her path.  We cleared the patio of furniture, covered and tied down the tarp over the mulch we had just had delivered, put away the lawn tractor and wheel barrows, and planted the few remaining chrysanthemums that remained from my gardening spruce up spree.  We called in an electrician to correct the errors that the idiot who had wired the house and generator panel when we first built this place had made, and we thought we were ready.

Then came Irene.  Wind and rain blew SIDEWAYS at 40 mph, hard as a pressure washer against our Pella windows, two of which leaked.  Water ran down the great room wall from the clerestory window far above us.  We sopped it up with towels and waited. 

Of course, at this particular moment in time, the dogs needed to piddle, so out I went with them.  They took one look outside and cowered, but a mixture of firmness and coaxing got them out into the storm.  A dead tree that belonged to our mean neighbor was swaying.  Finally they finished and we went back in.  About an hour later we heard a thump.  It was the dead tree.  It fell onto the mean neighbor's yard, not ours.  Hurray!

Then the power went out.  Smugly, I went outside to turn on the generator.  Nothing happened.  Much criticism from IH (irate husband) about my technique ensued until he went outside and couldn't get the darn thing to go on, either.  Turned out that the electrician that checked out our generator the day before had turned it off, so we had to dissemble the front panel and turn the switch back to automatic so it would work.  This in gale winds and pouring rain, whipping our faces like tiny splinters.  Success!  We had power!  Lights.  Microwave. Gas stove. Air conditioning -- ahhhhh!

But no phone.  So no internet.  For a short time we had TV, but then the power went out to the DirecTV people, too, and that was the end of that.  We watched DVD's and listened to the howling winds.  By about 11 or 12 at night, the rain settled down and the winds calmed to about 20 mph.  One more bathroom trip for the doggies, and we toddled off to bed.

This morning I let doggies out, totally forgetting that the underground fence was not on, it being a "non-essential" item and therefore not on the emergency panel.  They, of course, took advantage of the lack of warning beeps and went scampering off into the neighborhood.  We jumped in the golf cart to look for them, taking with us a chain saw in case a neighbor needed help or there was a tree in the road, but two trips around the development failed to reveal their whereabouts. 

We did find some trees down across the road, so DH fired up the chain saw and had at it.  During the second tree, the chain saw clutch seized up.  Brand new Poulan. Apparently he had had this same trouble with it before, and no amount of fiddling with it could get it to loosen back up.  So he threw it on the ground a few times -- his version of anger management.  Wouldn't you know, the neighborhood psychologist drives up at that instant, hears what happened, laughs his head off and goes on to breakfast.  We go back home.

When we returned, a neighbor was in our driveway (the phones still being out) in her van.  Our dogs had gone to her court and had treed one of their "volunteer" outdoor cats and had killed the other.  We were heartsick!  She told us where they were, still  circling the tree that the second cat had escaped into, so we hopped back into the golf cart and high tailed it to the empty lot, capturing them before more damage could be done.

Back home, chagrinned and sweaty, generator chugging away, air conditioning beckoning, dreadful dogs refusing to meet our eyes.  They knew they had done two bad things already, and it wasn't even 9 AM!

The phone service returned.  We checked in with our kids to let them know we were fine and to see how they had fared. Fired up the internet and checked Irene's path and email.  Then the phone lines went down again.  We decided we had had enough of being responsible adults for today and went out for lunch, badly in need of some mothering and comfort food.

When we got home, the alarms were going off.  Specifically, the carbon monoxide alarms.  We opened all the doors and turned off the generator, which emits alot of carbon monoxide in its exhaust since it runs on propane.  Every single alarm in the entire house was shrieking "Warning!  Carbon monoxide!"  There was nothing more to do but go outside and begin cleaning up the leaves and branches all over our lawn and blow off the patio.  About an hour into that, we'd had enough, so we poked our heads back into the house.  Silence.  We shut the doors and discovered that Razzy had gotten out again.  This time she was only two doors away when we found her, and she came right back.  Good thing.  I think there may have been an iota of murderous intent in our tone when we ordered her to "Come!"

In another half hour we fired the generator back up, took showers, ate something, and nearly died when the alarms went off again.  This time we decided to disarm the alarm that seemed to be triggering all the others.  And that did the trick.  Apparently all the alarms were having sympathy pains to this one alarm.  We had replaced the battery when we went outside to work on the lawn, thinking that that would do the trick.  But it didn't, so it got dissembled.  We intend to sleep through the night.  All other alarms are now silent!  Hurray!

I'm tired of being a grown up this week.

Friday, August 12, 2011


The dock has been power washed and resealed!  Hurray!  It has only taken us 4 years to get around to doing this, but now it looks pretty spiffy.  However, the woods in front of it could use a good bushwhacking.  Trouble is, we don't have a bushwhacker.  So machetes and weed whackers and chain saws will have to do.  I've got the weekend's schedule full of this for us, combined with jumping in the lake from time to time to cool off.  I'm going to have to bring some heavy lawn chairs with colorful cushions down to decorate this dock a little.

We're doing a little sprucing up around here.  All of our gardens had gone to grass, so I hired a crew to come out and pull up as much grass as they could see.  Dig it out, pull it up, rake it within an inch of its life -- whatever it took.  And even after two days with three men working pretty much nonstop, there were still little slivers here and there. That crew was too expensive, so I found someone else who could work odd hours before or after his other jobs to help me remulch my gardens.

DH has pretty much every tool known to man, whether it be for automobiles or lawn tractors or gardening, so I filled his metal pump cylinder with weed/grass killer, sealed it, pumped air into it, and went charging out to conquer those remaining insolent weeds!  Alas, the nozzle was clogged, and despite scraping and turning and rinsing and using all my magic words ($))^$@#&*(*^##**!!!), the thing just wouldn't work. 

Undaunted, I grabbed my keys and headed for the local hardware store, purchasing a cheaper, plastic version of DH's super duper spray pump system.  This one worked perfectly.  Someone had told me to spray Round Up on the weeds and grass bits before recovering with landscape cloth.  Hah!  Southern grass scoffs at Round Up!  Scoffs!  I grow more grass on my gravel driveway than in my lawn!!  And for years, I have sprayed the darn stuff with Round Up to no avail. 

This year, we used a layman's version of Agent Orange it seems -- Crossbow.  Don't ask me what it is.  I just know it works.  However, you do need to keep up with it.

Here's the front garden newly weeded, sprayed and mulched.  And yes, that's grass on the driveway.  I'll be getting to that this weekend.

Two other gardens down and two more to go.  The one on the bottom needs some new plants.  I'll check in with the local nursery to see what would do well being transplanted at this time of year.

Now for a glass of iced tea and a pizza!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I'm a big fan of Marilyn Doheny's work.  In fact, I'm so much a fan that I have arranged for her to come to my guild in September for a trunk show one day and a class the next.  Marilyn works with free form art to make leaves and stems, but she also is the inventor of the 9 degree ruler, with which she has created many wonderful masterpieces.

This is my favorite of her quilts.  The wedges created by making strata of very different fabrics and then cutting them in different ways are well demonstrated in this quilt.  You may remember that Mary and I went to Tryon, NC last September for a week long quilting retreat at Marilyn's newly refurbished Melrose Inn.  That's where I started this quilt:

I haven't finished the antennae or the butterfly bodies just yet, but I'm working on them.  I hope to complete at least the applique on this quilt before Marilyn comes to our guild.

Of course, Mary, being the over achiever she is (and I like that about her!), has not only finished her applique but has quilted her quilt and bound it!  She is coming in September at the same time as Marilyn, and I will be hosting these two creative ladies in my home.  Can't wait!