Monday, March 31, 2008

Jigsaw Puzzles

I'm spending a week visiting my daughter and 11-year-old grandson. One of our week's activities is putting together a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. A breeze, you say? Yah, right! My grandson picked out this particular puzzle. The problem is that every single piece (1000, remember!) has one edge that is straight. Every Single Piece!!!! Now who would be nasty enough to design a puzzle in such a way! And what mother in her right mind would allow her son to pick out THAT Puzzle!!! I like puzzles. But I like them solveable in less than six months. Jig saw puzzles are supposed to be entertainment, not torture. LOL

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My Niece! She Answered!

A little over a week ago I mentioned that I had found a long-lost niece. It took me awhile to figure out how to contact her by email but was able to do that a couple days ago. No Answer! This morning there was an email in my mailbox! I am thrilled, for our two families lost contact about 23 years ago. This is so exciting!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Postage Stamp Basket Quilt Block

Isn't this a nifty quilt block? It measures a mere 4.5 inches finished size. I made it yesterday. However, I've already made one quilt using this block and will probably not make another. So this Postage Stamp Basket Quilt block hangs pinned to the curtain for its decorative effect...and perhaps to entice me to make another...and another...and...No! I'm not going there! There are too many other tasks today!

You, however, may have time on your hands. If you do and if you are intrigued by this pattern, you can read Alex Anderson's instruction at this website.

This is a great pattern for scraps. Each basket takes two pieces of fabric, one light, one dark, each 6"x8" in size.


Him and Me? He and I? It's Easy As Pie!

It's been decades since I studied grade school grammar and I'll admit that my own grammar is not always correct. However, the misuse of pronouns when talking about "him and me" is rampant. There is a simple rule that makes it easy to determine whether to use "I" or "me".

First of all, when speaking of another person and yourself always mention the other person first, i.e., "him and me", or "he and I". Never "I and he", or "me and him". It is proper (and polite) to refer to the other person first just as it is polite to allow the other person to walk through a door first. It's simply courteous as well as grammatically correct.

Secondly, when speaking of yourself and another person, there are times to use "me" and times to use "I".

Here's an easy test to determine when to use "I" and when to use "me". Simply remove "he and" or "him and" from your sentence and you will automatically know whether to use "I" or "me". It's easy as pie.

My mother gave him and me a sandwich. (My mother gave ... ... me a sandwich.)
He and I drove down to the beach. (... ... I drove down to the beach.)
Look at this photo of him and me. (Look at this photo of ... ... me.)
We ate lunch and then he and I left. (We ate lunch and then .. ... I left.)

Please don't get me started on the verbs "lie" and "lay". For the proper use of "lie, lay, lain" or "lay, laid, laid" go to this website. It's easier to give you a link than to try to explain it myself. (Said with a wink and a smile).

My spouse is clamoring for breakfast. I'll go make oatmeal for him and me. Later, after lunch, I'll lie down for a nap.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's Time in My Life to Downsize

My neighbor holds the best yard sales! Sometimes twice each summer. Her grown daughters must hire U-Hauls when they visit from across the state for much of the clothing, etc., seems to be theirs. Tables and tables. And there is always one very long table for ten-cent items. I found this New Home sewing machine on that ten-cent table. I grabbed it faster than you can blink an eye. The funny thing is that this was at the end of the day and this "treasure", if you can call it that and some do, still sat unsold.

I figured for ten cents I'd have a piece of garden art. However, this little machine, with all its attachments and its original instruction book, still works. And I cannot simply set it in the garden to simply turn to rust.

It is a treadle machine and needs a treadle base. I thought perhaps I might fortuitously run across such a base sometime in my yard saling but I have not. The machine sits on a shelf in the basement awaiting rejuvenation by me or some future owner.

I'm not quite ready to give up on it. Maybe THIS summer I'll find a treadle base and I can take a soapy cloth and some WD-40 and make this gem look ALmost as good as new.

As for the Singer 201 in the background? It's one of my favorite excellent straight-stitch machine that I bought at a friend's sale a dozen years ago. I've named this one Leona after it's former owner. It sat in my sewing room for many years and has pieced many a quilt. However, I've downsized my sewing room to TWO machines (my Singer 403a and a Singer 15-91). I can't bring myself to get rid of the 201 for I may yet again use it.

Maybe I'll wait till Next Year to downsize.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Alpha Dog

We live in a small town. We live on a small lot. That means our house is within mere feet of the neighbor's house. The neighbors have a new dog. We don't mind that. We like dogs. We like cats.

The problem is that when the dog is tied out on their back deck, he barks. Yips. Yaps. Barks. Whines. The fella wants indoors where the kids are, where the fun is, where the food is. Can't blame him.

Still. Yipping and Yapping are annoying to say the least. It was especially annoying last summer. Every time we went out into OUR back yard, Neighbor Dog would yip-yap at if WE were invading HIS territory.

DH tried an experiment. He walked outdoors with a hamburger in hand, walked to the edge of the property, faced off Mr. Yipyap, stood there and calmly ate his hamburger. He saved the last little bite and tossed it to Yipyap. To this day Yipyap has never again barked at us while we are in our backyard. What DH did was to tell Yipyap that DH was the alpha male. The alpha male eats first. The rest of the pack eats the leftovers.

The funny thing about this is that somehow Yipyap now assumes that I, too, stand higher in the pack than he. If he happens to be yipping on his back deck, I simply tap on the window, do a stare-down until he is quiet. Now and then I'll have to do this more than once, or perhaps stick my head out the backdoor and give a low growl. He blinks his eyes, looks to each side, pretends he is not watching me, and eventually lies down and is quiet.

A Quiet Yipyap is a much better neighbor than a Barking Yipyap.

Yipyap's two live-in friends, two orange cats, are much friendlier. They are allowed to visit our deck for scratches behind the ears. They purr. They don't yip. That's a nice difference.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter 2008

It's Easter morning. There are no dyed eggs at our house. It takes grandkids to develop in me a desire to dye eggs and today they are not here. Nothing wrong with dyed eggs. It's simply that they are so "fluff" in regards to Easter.

The "real" Easter is in the Bible and My favorite Bible verses this morning are in Romans, Chapter 8.

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become con-formed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies;
34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Apostle Paul said it so well. How can I say it any better!

Christ is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wow! I Found My Niece!

Wow! I've been a member at for several months now and have spent zillions of hours entering data on family (both mine and DH's). It's amazing how much info is out there if you know a person's name and birthplace or perhaps where they lived during certain census years. Ancestry allows you to search the census data up through the 1930 census. The 1890 census was somehow pretty much lost in a fire. I have a lot of data assembled from the 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 census years for my direct ancestors as well as for a number of their siblings. However, the loss of the 1890 census sometimes throws me for a loop.

What is exciting is that last night I found a niece who had entered her parents' names as well as her own birth name. Her father died decades ago and their family dropped out of sight. I tried contacting her but Ancestry was being stubborn and the link would not work. I'm hoping hers was not a trial membership in which case I still won't be able to contact her. I do not know her residence nor her married name, so unless I can contact her in this way, I'm not certain how else to find her.

Patience! Persistence!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


When I say "Gorgeous!", I'm talking about the vintage Singer treadle sewing machine. However, the seamstress is pretty gorgeous herself, and I'll bet dimes to doughnuts that the average seamstress of that era didn't dress up this well to do her sewing.

I've often wondered about the long dresses of this era (early 1900s). How did they ever manage to keep the hems clean as they tromped across muddy walkways or down rain-drenched sidewalks?

I'm guessing the sewing machine is a Singer Model 66. Mine is, too, but is in a much fancier oak parlor cabinet. The cabinet encloses and hides the machine entirely.

The interesting thing about the machine in the photo is that if it were periodically cleaned and oiled, it would still be sewing today. Those old machines were entirely mechanical (no computerized components) and all-metal. A bit of oil. Keep the lint cleaned out. Replace the belt as necessary. Put in a new needle now and then. This baby will sew forever. Sew as fast or as slow as you wish. Way Cool! And Gorgeous!

I'm Still in Love!!!

This is an amazing photo! You don't think so??? You WOULD if you had seen these fabrics two days ago. I was in the middle of finishing the blocks for the Log Cabin Shirt Quilt (LCSQ)and fabric was piled high on my cutting mat. Now they look so TIDY! And I'm still in love with them, even after wrestling for weeks over these blocks.

The red/white toile was so lovely I couldn't bring myself to cut more than a couple small strips for the quilt. Instead I plan to make an apron where the fabric will be fully displayed. Photo later!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Log Cabin Shirt Quilt

Click on the photo for a larger view! I've just finished putting on one border on the log cabin quilt. The red strip is fussy cut from a bright plaid. All the fabrics in this quilt top are from shirts (men's and boy's). The fabrics are 100 percent cotton and of a high thread count. That means there are no flimsy fabrics included.
By the way, I am a stickler for accuracy when stitching. The photo of the main portion of the quilt was taken before the border was added. The photo makes it appear as if it is askew but that's a trick of the camera. I laid the quilt top on the living room rug and I couldn't get squarely overhead to take the photo. Hence the camera distortion.

I've made seven or eight "shirt quilts" and have a substantial stash of fabrics cut from said shirts. It's almost an addiction. Whereas I used to hit quilt shops and never came out without new fabric to add to my stash, I now watch the local thrift shops, the Goodwill, and yard sales, always with my eye towards finding another shirt for my stash.
I say it's an addiction because I really, really don't have time to spend quilting. I have enough quilts in two closets to keep several beds warm all winter long. I don't need any more quilts. Not even a nap size quilt like this one. Still...its rather fun to rotate them for naptime.
What can I say? I like my quilts. I like making them. I like sleeping under them. I like wrapping them around me and getting cozy for an afternoon's nap.

It's Coming! It's Almost Here!

My sewing time seems to be 'hit and miss'. So my latest quilt project is coming along slowly. I've just finished stitching 40 log cabin blocks for a nap size quilt. Just as soon as I put on the border, I'll post a photo! Keep Watching!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Is It That Time Again?

Tax Time. Even with using a computerized tax program this is a time-consuming process. I don't use Quicken but I do keep a well-organized filing system. Still, it's a long process to fill in all the blanks, cross every "T" and dot every "I". We have some rather odd things that are included on our returns and sometimes I have to sit and ponder, wondering whether the computerized "experts" really do know what they are doing.

And what is it with this tax credit thing? Surely it would be better to keep the money in the treasury?? Won't these payments to everybody under the sun simply add to the deficit? Am I missing something here? Politicians buying votes? If they really want to put a few bucks back into the pockets of the people they could go out and dig a few oil wells here in America. Now THAT would be a sensible investment of these bucks.

It's wayyy past my bedtime. Well past midnight.

I'm gone. G'nite.

Monday, March 10, 2008

GET RID OF THE PLASTIC!!! BUY GLASS!!! Or Why I Love Pyrex Stacking Storage Bowls

I've recently become averse to using plastic for food storage. Instead I've begun collecting these Pyrex stacking bowls. They come in several sizes and styles. Sometimes I find them at yard sales or thrift shops. They're a popular item on eBay, too, but I don't like to pay today's shipping costs. Better to be patient and find local bargains.

One of the things I like about these bowls is their stackability. If the lid is placed on the bowl upside down it provides a nifty and safe platform for a second bowl. I can stack three bowls on the top shelf in my fridge in a single space. I like that the glass lids allow me to see the contents. I like the fact that I can heat leftovers in my microwave without worrying about plastic. And I like the various colors and designs. The bowls are ovenproof as well and work nicely for small casserole dishes.

Pyrex! Toss the plastic! Buy glass! Yayyyy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Awakening in the Morning Doesn't Have to Be Torture

Read an article in the WSJ today about night owls and sleep patterns. It reminded me of how I got rid of the alarm clock and trained myself to awaken on time every time.

Alarm clocks don't work for me. Oh, yes, they DO wake me up. But it makes no difference whether they wake me with music, buzz, bells, or bugles. When they sound off at the preset time I am instantly awake and angry that the alarm has the audacity of breaking me early morning dream time and that I have to crawl out of bed when all I want is more sleep.

I tried different alarms but all brought about the same anger upon being awakened. To avoid having to hear that dratted contraption every morning, I taught myself to awaken myself. On time. Every time.

Upon going to bed and just before lying down to go to sleep I would visualize the face of a clock. First I would visualize the current time. Then I would visualize my waking time and tell myself "I will wake up at 6:00 o'clock." It took no more than a few tries and I became quite good at it and almost always awoke within a minute or two of my prescribed time. I could do the same at noon if I wanted a short 20-minute nap before going back to work. There was one caveat. If I thought I could snooze and catch a few more ZZZs, I would inevitably go into a deep sleep and not awaken for another hour.

As for the naps, short naps were refreshing. Even a mere ten minutes. If I napped longer than 30 minutes, I awoke extremely tired.

The only time I now use an alarm is if I have to arise at an extremely early hour (to catch a plane for instance). Then, and only then, do I use an alarm.

Happy dreams.