Sunday, October 31, 2010


Which is the better Jack-O-Lantern?

Lily, with her one missing tooth and very wiggly other teeth?

Or Jack, which she created last night?


Friday, October 29, 2010

Fave Things Friday

As always, I was at a loss as to my favorite thing today. Here's my thinking process: Last night I finished the pieced backing for the little throw quilt I've been procrastinating about for weeks, and I cut the batting to fit. Brought it to work today, thinking I'll use the tables in one of the conference rooms after work to lay it out and pin baste it all together. Then, it occurred to me: My favorite thing today is to pin baste a quilt on a table so I can move on to the joy of machine quilting it.

For anyone who's not familiar with pin-basting a quilt, there are good instructions here: crazy mom quilts: one way to baste a quilt. The only thing I do different is work on a table instead of crawling on the floor--those days are gone for good!

I enjoy choosing the fabrics to make a quilt, piecing it together on the machine, basting the quilt "sandwich," machine quilting it in fancy designs, and even hand sewing the binding--all the steps of quiltmaking. But I most enjoy snuggling under the finished quilt OR seeing the look of pleasure on the face of the one to whom I've given the quilt.

Whatever you do today, whether it be quilting or another activity, I hope you enjoy the process as much as I enjoy mine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yikes! It's the S_ _ _ word!

Indeed, it was SNOWING when I left home for work this morning. Coming down, frosting the roofs, dusting the grasses in the wayside. This is one heck of a storm here in the midwest. Yesterday, Superior WI set the record for low pressure in WI. Radio said it was equal to a category 2 or 3 hurricane low pressure, but not as destructive. Last night, as I lay in bed listening to the wind howl and rip at my house, I couldn't imagine how it would be in a real hurricane. I was afraid all evening that the windows would blow out and in bed, I swear I could hear the roofing nails being pulled out. It was too dark this morning to check the roof for shingle damage, but I will tonight.

I hope all this blows over in another day or two instead of developing into another gi-normous snowstorm like the one we had for Halloween over 15 years ago. At that time, I was working in Duluth and had a 75 mile commute home. The snow started falling heavy on Thursday afternoon and I decided to leave work around 3, I think. I arrived home about 8 pm, following a snow plow most of the way. Earlier, Don had taken the girls trick-or-treating around town but after a half hour or so, they gave up and came home. Hard to run from house to house, in costume (under the parka) in foot high snow! No one went to work or school on Friday--we stayed home and tried to keep up with the shoveling--and the storm lasted until Sunday. When it was all finished blowing around, we had between 4 and 5 feet of snow on the ground at our house!

Ahhh. Life in the Northland--ain't it great!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My New Purse

A while ago I decided to knit myself a purse and felt it. I've done this before for others but, since the purse I was using was being held together by a safety pin, I decided it was time to make one that I would keep. Besides, I need that pin for basting my next quilt. :)

It was pretty large, soft and flexible. Would have made a great bulky knit sweater, I think. I washed it in hot water in my machine along with a bath towel. It came out somewhat smaller but VERY heavy and wet, so I decided to throw it in the drier for 10 minutes. I don't recommend you do this unless you're willing to end up with a teeny tiny coin purse, but this time, it worked great! After these few minutes on high heat, it had shrunk up perfectly and was nearly dry. I stuffed it with a bath towel and set it out to finish drying overnight

The next night, I embellished it with a fringe made of leftover yarns, added the knobby thing, and Voila!, it was finished! I like the way it looks. It's very thick and strong from all the wool shrinking up, and it holds all my stuff as well as the old one did. That one? It went into the garbage a couple of days ago--but I saved the pin!

Here's the finished product:
I'm being very lazy these past few weeks. I was at 2 days of training earlier this month and we celebrated 10 years of the Disability Benefits Specialist program in Wisconsin and maybe that has made my lethargic. I don't know why--I'm very proud to be one of the 70 DBSs in the state and I'm very proud of the work we all do.

I have arranged with my supervisors for my transitioning out of full time work and last week, I learned that the top applicants will be interviewed today. I was kind of shocked to hear that--it's really becoming true--I really am going to be retired before long! Yikes! That's a life changing event for anyone, I think. And today, all the interviewees are stopping by my office to meet the staff and see the office layout here and to ask me any questions about the job.

The arrangement that we have is that the new DBS will be hired this fall and there will be a couple of months where we both will be working full time. Later, in January, I'll be dropping down to half time work for a few months in order to help train my replacement and to help manage the work load. I'm really looking forward to having more time off to do the things I want to do but still, it's a big change.

Maybe that's why I don't seem to have the energy I used to have. I don't know. Last night I forced myself to make a vampire cape for Lily to wear this Halloween and that seemed to help get me started again. I found a long black velvet skirt at Goodwill that I cut up the back seam and lined with some sparkly red satin. Added a tie and it's good to go! I've been teaching her to say, "I vant to drrrrink your bloood!" and she's getting pretty good at it!

After making the cape, I realized that my sewing table was uncluttered for once, and I plan to procede with the pieced backing for the lap throw I'm working on. I also finished the knitted and felted purse that I'd started--Pix of that to follow.

Maybe it's just the fall weather and short days--it gets dark so soon after work. Nothing to be done about that except wait until winter when the days grow long again. Or, I could move to Australia for the next 6 months. I like that idea! :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Favorite Things Friday

Wow! How do I choose a favorite thing for this day? There are a lot of things I really love, like my husband, children and granddaughter. Oh yes! I just thought of my favorite thing today.

I'm so greatful that Don and I have reached the stage in our lives where we've finished raising kids, have paid off (most) of our debt and have a bit of extra cash to play with. I love to travel but haven't done nearly as much as I would like to. Don usually travels only to golf courses unless I pitch a fit and force him to go on a vacation with me--and then he loves it! The best we can do is plan a vacation where he can bring his clubs and spend some time on the course while I do what I like and then we do some things together. We spent a week in Bayfield WI (one of my favorite places in WI) a couple of years ago with Lily and while he played golf on a most beautiful course, Lily and I went to the beach and enjoyed Lake Superior. Everyone was happy!

So, this year, he's going to spend a week or so with family and friends in Florida in January, playing golf, of course! I've decided to take a trip as well and what we've worked out so far is a long weekend in Chicago with 2 of my kids coming in from Milwaukee and Austin and Tessa and Lily and I taking the train from here. It's not too often that all of us can get together and I can't wait for the trip! Lily is 6 1/2 and interested in science and nature so we'll go to the Shedd Aquarium , The Field Museum and if we have time, the Adler Planetarium. She's going to love it, and since I've never vacationed in Chicago--just passed through on my way to somewhere else--I'm going to love it as well.

So, my favorite thing this Friday is a winter vacation with my family in the Windy City! (I know, I know. Some of you are cringing at the thought of winter in Chicago, but hey, when you live in a cold climate, you have to embrace it and not let it stop you from doing what you like!)

Little Bluebell: Bliss Giveaway

Do you need more fabric? Sign up here: Little Bluebell: Bliss Giveaway for another giveaway.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

¡Hurra por Chile!

I watched the first and second trapped miners coming up from the Chilean mine last night and had tears in my eyes as they emerged. What a wonder of technology that not only have they been rescued but that they are all alive and in relatively good health! Absolutely amazing! And kudo's to the Chilean government who was pushing this rescue all the way--and allowing the world to participate in the rescue efforts. Talk about transparency!

As I write this, 13 miners have surfaced--I'll keep watching until the last miner and rescuer has been pulled to safety. Again, HURRA POR CHILE!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall Pix

The weather was nothing short of glorious this past weekend at my house. Sunny, warm and perfect for being outdoors. Lily spent Saturday night with us and she said she would like to go on a leaf hike on Sunday. So we did. We spent an hour or more prowling along the trails in the hills behind the house, gathering leaves so she can make a leaf collection. Of course, I forgot the camera but I returned later in the day to take some pix of the views from the high points on the ridge. A few clouds had begun to gather by then so these pix aren't as brilliant as in the morning, but I still want to share with you.

Most of the red maple leaves have dropped and a lot of the birch as well. What we have now are the dark red-brown oak leaves and the remaining golden birch.
The best thing about the hike--other than spending time with Lily--was how well my knee held up! I've not been able to go hiking for nearly a year, and I am so grateful to be able to be out there again.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Favorite Things Saturday

Story of my life--a day late, a dollar short. Oh well, here's my FTF entry--on Saturday.

About 10 years ago, I bought a shallow pottery dish to use as a fruit bowl, but after awhile, it developed a crack and eventually cracked open completely one day last spring. Oh well, things don't last forever, right? I've been using a different bowl but it's a bit too deep to be a fruit bowl. So last weekend when I was with my friend, we went to nearby Cambridge WI to find a replacement. None to be had at the local pottery so we went along the country roads where there are a number of small independent potters, and there it was waiting for me! And here it is --my new fruit bowl!--with fruit even!

(You might notice there are holes in the bottom of the bowl and on the side as well. That's because it's not really a bowl but a strainer! Shhhh--don't tell anyone. I say it's a fruit bowl. That's my story and I'm sticking to it)

And since I'm a day late for FTF, I'll do a second favorite thing--my baking center. We put in a new kitchen about 5 years ago and I designated one area as a baking center. This means the counter top is a couple of inches lower than usual since I'm short and have to stand on a stool when I'm rolling out dough and doing other baking things on a standard height counter. I designed the center to have enough shelving for mixing bowls, baking ingredients like soda and extracts, and so forth and below, there are pull-out shelves for bins of sugar and flour and all my baking pans. I also had some wine bottle cubbies built because you know, baking always goes better with a little wine! LOL And the final feature of this center, as well as throughout the kitchen, is under cabinet lighting--wonderful!
So, now you know two of my favorite things in my house. I think I'll go make an apple pie. ;)

Friday, October 1, 2010


My husband is having a golf weekend with his buddies and the four of them will take over the house. I'm leaving! After work tonight, I'm driving to my friend, Elaine's, house in So WI for the weekend. She is one of my favorite things and today I'll tell you about her.

Because of my husband's work--and his wanderlust too--I have lived in 9 different towns since we were married nearly 39 years ago. I've met lots of wonderful people in each community , but, ya know, it gets hard to keep those friendships going over all these years. I got caught up with my kid's activities, running my business, adjusting to each new town and sometimes, new jobs as well. People grow apart if there aren't common threads strong enough to last a long time. So I don't keep in touch with a lot of my old friends as I should.

I can count on one hand the really, really good friends I have. Friendships that have lasted many years and still seem fresh. Friends who are more close to me than my sisters were. Elaine is one of these sister-friends and I love spending time with her. She and I met when our youngest daughters were beginning orchestra in middle school. We discovered that we each needed an exercise partner and we began walking together every morning for the next several years--until I moved away from that town. We shared our triumphs and joys on those early morning walks as well as our sorrows and despair at times. We counselled each other about our "unique" daughters and what to make of them. We supported each other when our husbands seemed the dumbest men on earth. When 9/11 happened, we turned to each other for support in what seemed to be very dark days for our country.

Now I see Elaine about 3 or 4 times a year either at her house or mine. She has a very dry sense of humor that I love and her favorite saying is, "Oh well" with a kind of up-and-down inflection on the "well." Cracks me up! She's a very classy and yet casual person and people always feel comfortable in her home and in her presence. This weekend, we'll spend hours talking--over a couple glasses of wine. :) We're planning on going to a pottery in a nearby town where I hope to get a new fruit bowl--or not. We may go to the nearby state park where there are ancient Woodland Indian artifacts--or not. We may play cards all afternoon--or not. Without our husbands (hers is one of the golfing buddies who'll be at my house) we'll do whatever we damn well please.

So my Favorite Thing on this Friday is a person--my best friend, Elaine. I'm so glad you are part of my life.