Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Hair Cut

My DD2 gave Kipper a hair cut and this time she cut his ears and even his face. Oh well, it will grow. And he is cool. Then she took him to the dog beach to swim and play with the other dogs. He sure loved that. Kipper doesn't look like a 10 year old does he? There is a little tell-tale gray under his eyes but he gets away with it very nicely.

We have had warmer than normal weather lately with 10 days over 80 degrees in December. Normal is low 70's. We are back to that today.

Oranges are ripe and even some early strawberries but they weren't too good.

All that snow up north is nice to see in pictures but I'm glad I'm not feeling it or trying to drive in it. It is flowers here.

2008 is almost over. It has been a very eventful year. Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy New Year.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008


I have finished a UFO butterfly quilt. It was quilted by hand and bound in black.

I also made a utility quilt for my DGS. I wanted to use fabric I had but just wasn't happy with any of it for a young boy so I bought these two patriotic fabrics. It went together easily and looked nice. Then I looked through my stash for something for the backing or fabric I could sew together to make a backing. Nothing. I went to Hancock and discovered their selection of St. Jude fabrics. They are just wonderful and a dollar of each yard is donated to them. This is such a wonderful place to donater to anyway. I really loved the pokadot fabric so bought it for the back - and extra for the stash. I also bought some coordinating fabric from this collection. See the bottom picture. Sorry the color is still not good. Enlarging it helps.

The quilting of this quilt was a disaster. I put on my walking foot and the sample looked fine. But when I went to reverse, the stitches were very short. So I ended up only going forward and turning the quilt. Ugg. With most of it done, I left it and went to bed one night. The next morning, everything was wrong. I broke needles and got thread messes. For the next hour I worked on it. I finally decided that the plastic area where the bobbin case goes is somehow broken. This is an inexpensive machanical machine. I got it when the needle of my even older and cheaper one refused to move from right to left (couldn't make an accurate 1/4 inch seam). I bought it for Florida and didn't want to spend much money as I figured it would be damaged with the high humidity when I went north for the summers. I found this machine in the back of the closet and used it to finish the quilting and putting on the binding of both quilts.

Now I need to think about getting another machine here in Florida. When I put in a new heating/cooling system, I got a control that regulates the humidity when am gone. I also keep a dehumidifier set up and draining into my kitchen sink. These work well and I haven't had any machine damage. So now I guess I need to start shopping. Well, after looking at my finances again.

Kipper was in the bedroom and had something in his mouth. His jaws were locked tight and whatever he had was falling out of his mouth. It was definitely wet and looked furry. I asked him what he had and he crouched down and pleaded with me to keep it. Oh me. Did he have an animal? And inside my house. I told him to leave it and he begged to keep it. I insisted and out came a large gray glob. It least it didn't move. What was it? A well chewed spool of my gray quilting thread. You know, one of those big cone ones of cotton thread. I remembered dropping it and not wanting to crawl under the table to get it. Then I forgot to pick it up. That will teach me.

Kipper and I are going to my DD's for the holidays. Hope everyone has a happy, healthy time with families. See you next year.
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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Mobile Home Park

This is a sign in my mobile home park in FL. If you can't see it, the bottom two lines say, "Seniors at Play Strictly Enforced." I ride my bike and Kipper runs with me through the park every day. I stopped to take the picture and Kipper thought he better check to see what other dogs had been by. There are lots of dogs, and some cats, too in my park. Many of the other mobile home parks don't allow dogs at all. My park has only about 300 homes so is one of the smallest ones. There are 600 mobile home parks in this county and most would have many more homes than mine. Most, like mine, are senior (over age 55) parks.

It has been cold here. Okay, nothing like up north. I've sure been happy I came south when I did. Here is Kipper curled up to keep warm. He always wakes up when I get the camera out but was so comfortable that he only opened his eyes this time.

It has been good soup weather. I made squash soup. Roast a butternut squash and remove the flesh. Boil some potatoes and onions in chicken broth. You can boil the squash with the potatoes and onions but I like the roasted flavor better.
I beat the potato/onion/chicken broth mixture with an electric mixer, add the squash and then put it in the blender. Put back in the pan and add milk. I think you are suppose to use cream but I use whole milk. Since I drink skim milk this tastes like cream to me. Season to taste. I use seasoning salt, butter and bits of cooked bacon. For a large squash and a couple potatoes, I use two cups of milk. Really good the next day and the day after that too.

I have finished making 12 hot pads for my younger grandchildren to give teachers and other people for gifts. I bought that insulated batting and made the first three by adding a second layer of plain cotton batting. Then I decided the second layer make them too thick to use in your hand to grab something hot from the oven. The two layers make a nice pad to set a hot dish on.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Western Flowers

I have been hand quilting with stars the butterfly quilt. For some reason, I thought it needed close quilting and started putting the stars about an inch-and-a-half apart. Really dumb idea but now I've started it .... I try to work on it for an hour each day and have about half of it done. It really is easy work while I listen to audio library books that I download onto my computer.

I just had to start a new quilt and have made another top. I'm intrigued with doing blocks using three fabrics. Two of them are fungly but color coordinated and the third is a contrast. I was going to make the blocks like the butterfly quilt but I goofed and ended up with the 12 inch block pictured in the first picture. The second picture shows one arrangement of the first batch of blocks. I cut a few blocks and then sew them and then repeat the progress. The third picture is the arrangement I decided on. The last picture shows the finished top. I pinned it to my drapes. I need to get some quilt hangers and make a design wall here in FL. The top picture has the best color. I see the diagonal line more in the quilt than this picture shows it. This is a easy fun quilt to make. It is 42 by 60 inches and I used every bit of the blue and the flower print. The flower print was left over from the backing of Walk in the Woods that I made in FL during the winter of 2006. I use it for a chair throw.

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Recently I was cleaning out the air fungus in my shrub everygreens which are located at the front of my home. This stuff, which I think is called Spanish Moss, lives independently of the tree but fastens itself to the tree, often at an elbow. They say it doesn't kill the tree but it grows and as it does, it takes over the green leaves. I don't want this to happen and I don't like the looks of it, so I went out to remove as much of it as I could reach. I was dressed in blue jeans, a long sleeve shirt and gloves so I could pull the branches down and wiggle into the interior to get to the trunk. Suddently I see some color at about my eye level. What is it? Oh, my. A snake is curled up on a branch. It is very small, about as big around as my small finger. I go get the camera but I'm not about to move the needles of the tree to get a really good shot. The snake does not move at all and I wonder if it is alive. I'm sure glad it wasn't on one of the branches that I pulled down or it probably would have been dumped on my head. I asked a neighbor about it and she said there are a lot of them and she usually sees them on the ground. I checked the next day and it was gone. The third picture is enlarged so you can see the color better but it is not as big as it looks in that picture. Anyone know what kind of snake it was?
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans' Day

The external fan for my computer is not working so I can't do a long post but I do want to share some pictures of the memorial in my park here in FL after a very moving ceremony this morning.

May we all pause today to remember all the men and women who served and continue to serve our country. And remember their families, too.
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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Here are the pics of of the butterfly quilt that somehow got omitted for the next blog post.
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Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I am very proud to be an American today. I am an old white woman and am so proud that I have lived to see Americans look beyond religion, race, sex and most of all "hateful garbage" to come to the polls and vote for the person they thought would deal best with the issues.

Quilting and More

I brought these two butterfly quilt tops to FL and am hand quilting one of them. I am using the random star technique. Because I'm concerned that the poly batting is not very good quality, I am putting the stars pretty close together. I put in plenty of pins and sew on it on my dining room table. It has a good light hanging over it. I removed the globe and put in a bright bulb. I do limit myself to one hour at a time. It has been many months since I did hand quilting to am getting back in the groove. One thing I like to do is pull the knot through at a seam in the patchwork. I think it goes through easier. I also heard a hint on Sewing With Nancy that has been helpful. Use one of those easy threading needles - the ones that you pull the thread down from the top rather than thread the eye - for the short pieces of thread at the end. I once had some of these needles but didn't like them and got rid of them. So after I heard the hint, I went to Hancock and bought some more. It really does work. I'm using double strand blue embroidery floss. So happy that Hancock is still here near my house in FL.

I dropped an empty Pyrex cup yesterday and it shattered into so many slivers of glass. I didn't think it would do that. Anyway I finally got it all cleaned up without any injuries.

I'm still adjusting to FL. The lock on my back door here is locked when the line on the knob is vertical. My one in MI is locked when it is horizontal. The knobs on my cook stove are also in a different order so I have to stop and think if the one I'm turning on is the burner I want to get hot. Also adjusting to my cable here. In MI when I turn it on, the last channel I had it on is where it comes on again. Here it always comes on to the cable channel. Also finding the channels and times for shows I watch. And where the buttons are on my remote. My DD says all this is good for me. I say I'm lazy.

It is interesting how different we do and say things in different parts of our county. I remember being in Arkansas and saying "pardon". They had never heard anyone say that. Here in FL the news announcers talk about "wrecks". In MI we say accidents. I always think of a wreck as being a mess. Every year when I come here, I miss having the prices actually on the items in the stores. It is required in MI and here I have to look all over for a sign with the price. It seems that a lot of the time there isn't one We also have a 10 cent bottle and can deposit in MI so I'm always separating them from my other recycle items. Every town both here and in MI recycle different things. I have the list on the refrig now. I have found that Walgreen has milk for $3.69 while it is near $5 in the grocery store. I found some great smoked neck bones and made pea soup yesterday. The secret everywhere is to buy what is on sale. I'm also trying to grocery shop every two weeks with just buying milk and bread every week. I made banana cookies with Splenda and pumpkin custard too. Gasoline was just gone down to $2.29. I filled my car up. I hope people don't stop their conservation efforts now.

I got my mobile home power washed. The man also did the inside of my porch, my sheds and driveway so all the black mold is gone. I'm battling fire ants again. I tried using salt but they just move over as it doesn't kill them. I have to be careful not to use anything that will hurt Kipper. The best thing I have found is boiling water but it is a big job boiling and carrying it out to the ant hills. I'm always afraid I'll spill and burn myself.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fabric Stash in FL

I was thinking of making another quilt top but thought I didn't have much in my stash here in FL. Oh was I wrong. See what I took out of the cupboard on the left. The top shelf has white background fabrics that I didn't take out. I had so much fun touching and arranging and thinking and wondering. Some pieces are very small but some are a decent size. The colors still aren't coming through just right but you can see the browns that I laid out and then the blacks. I brought three tops from MI to quilt and there are a couple UFO here too. I went to Hancock Fabrics and bought batting on sale. Looks like I'm all set for this winter.

In case you haven't figured it out, that is a mirror I'm taking the picture into so it s reflecting to show me, my fan and light, a lamp, the window with drapes open to my porch and my neighbors' home. I use my dining room for my sewing room here in FL. That s my sewing machine under the blue fabric in the middle and my sewing light is bent behind the machine.

See the next post for more pics of my stash.
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Look What's In My FL Stash.

Oh my! So much fun.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Posting From Florida

Kipper and I are safely in FL again and just in time so I hear. It is even cold here and may break the record for the low temp tonight. Not pool weather here but it won't last long. And it is great weather to ride my bike while Kipper runs with me. Sunny.

Our trip went fine. My son was able to come and help me close up my MI home and get us to the airport. We had to change planes in Detroit
and were delayed for an extra half hour because they had so many wheelchair passengers to get seated. Sure glad I didn't have to have one this year. They gave Kipper water. He must have been panting. That is the first time I've known of them to do that. He is a seasoned flier and does so well.

My daughter was here to pick us up at the airport. She had been to my house already and had it all opened up. She even bought groceries and dog food. That was Saturday and on Sunday she gave Kipper a hair cut - a nice short one. He had been rapidly growing his winter coat.

The palm is in my neighbor's yard, as is the grapefruit tree. The ducks have multiplied and were at the pond last evening.

Yesterday Kipper went running with me as I rode my bike around. Then he ate supper and was soon snoozing on the couch. This
is his usual one ear cocked-up position. Somehow he always knows when I get the camera out and gets up but he was so tired this time, he only opened his eyes a little and quickly went back to sleep. As I write this he is in exactly the same position. Ah, the life.

I am still unpacking and cleaning but hope to get to the sewing machine soon. I brought down a couple of the quilt tops I had ready to finish and hope to get to them soon. I am so happy to see the Hancock store is still here and I will soon be going there to buy some batting. soon.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Bit More

I didn't explain very well the problem I had with food stamps. It was the people who were "living for a week" on food stamps. One of them said she bought her daughter "snackables' and juice boxes for her lunch but had to put back the frozen sausage biscuits she wanted to buy for her breakfast. And the canned veggie prices were a special just last week. I do think we need to help people learn to cook from scratch. One thing they do at my local food give-away place is to give out recipes and the food needed to make it. Good idea.

People with food stamps have several problems. One of them is getting to the grocery store. And the selections at local grocery stores is often very poor. It amazes me that chain stores don't carry the same produce in their stores in the poor area of a city than they carry in other areas. I sure think there are lots of people that are needing help now days. And not just with food. I often donate toilet paper, laundry soap, toothpaste etc. And dog food too. People are having a rough time keeping their pets. Lots of senior citizens are having it tough too. We have a van at our local center that will take seniors to stores and doctors and such places. They also bring them into the center for lunch. The big soup kitchen in our nearby city is feeding over 300 people a day - many of them are children. You can also donate to them food left over from things like funeral dinners. And then there are the working poor. Everyone is hurting.

I know my local food prices are lower than in many other parts of the country. This week a gallon of milk is $2.69 at Walgreens drug store. The regular price at the grocery is $3.59 and will probably be a dollar more than that in FL. And there are so many people just barely making it in good times in FL. I think Walmart has the best prices on spices. Not everything there but onions and cinnamon and such.

Okay on to other things.

I've been cleaning out a little and found the two pictures I made about 45 years ago. At the time I had two little children and was a stay at home mom with no car. I joined a craft club that sent me a craft every month. After lunch, my daughters took naps and that was my time. I know lots of women who said nap time was when they got so much done. Not me. I ate my lunch and worked on a craft or read a book.

This summer I have been going into my senior center working on my family genealogy. A great volunteer there has been a lot of help to me. I discovered she was going to make her grandchild an "I Spy" quilt. I decided to cut her some squares from my stash. I cut two of each and kept one set. They are 6 1/2 inches each. Now I need to decide if I want to take them to FL.

I'm busy getting ready for my trip to FL. My next post will be next week from there.

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Friday, October 17, 2008


Do you know who Cynthia McKinney, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Bau are? I didn't either until today when I filled in my absentee ballot. Along with Ralph Nader, they are also running for President.
My vote is cast. Hope you also vote.


I was putting this one away and wondered if I had a pic of it. My mother made it. She used several designs and made many afghans. I especially liked this one as it looked so modern. I should have taken a close-up pic. Just click on it so a better view.

Fall Outing
Today Shirley and I went for a ride to see the fall colors. They are at their peak with lots of red color now. We went out for lunch and then to the orchard. I had to have a fried cake (donut) made with cider and a glass of fresh, unpasteurized cider. Absolutely delicious. Wish you could have come with us.


Do you have one of these Swifer dusters? They are just wonderful for anyone who has trouble getting up high or down low to dust. It also bends to clean things like ceiling fans. It also gets in long narrow places like behind the microwave. I'm sure they have other brands but it sure has made my life easier. No excuses now for things being dusty.

Low Cost Eating

I don't know if they are doing this in other parts of the county, but here in MI, they have had a push for people, especially public officials, to eat for a week on the amount of money a person on food stamps would have. They have had the stories about the people moaning about missing their coffee and having to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day. One said she would be eating a lot of macaroni and cheese made from a box. It can be an economical choice but there is no need to eat it every day. How about making coffee at home and taking it to work in a Thermos? Or take a tea bag and heat water in the microwave at work? Also those people getting food stamps, would also be able to get free hot lunches at school for their children. I got thinking and did some math to see how I would do. For one person, I would have $3.40 cents per day. Of course I couldn't eat in a restaurant or have goodies at the orchard but I'd eat very well at home. My Cheerios with milk, sugar substitute and banana was about 75 cents. Choices for lunch were several sandwiches including toasted cheese (made with 1 1/2 slices of real cheese - none of that terrible cheese food stuff), tuna, egg salad or that peanut butter one - any of them for a $ or less. I also often eat a cup of cottage cheese with canned dices peaches or tomato and whole wheat crackers. About a $ and a half. Or a bowl of homemade soup with crackers or bread and butter. Or serve it over a home made biscuit. Add a glass of milk and a couple chocolate graham crackers or save them for a snack later. Supper might be 1/4 pound of pork steak (on sale this week was 50 cents), fried potatoes with onion, green beans, radishes, dill pickles, carrot sticks, bread and butter. Cup of tea. Maybe a dish of custard or pudding. I'd definitely be under the $3.40. I know I eat what is on sale. And food prices are lower here in MI than in many parts of the county. And fresh fruit and veggies are getting expensive. Bananas have just gone from 59 cents a pound to 69 cents. That means a medium-size one is 25 cents now. Apples are so expensive that they can be $ each and they are in season too. But canned vegetables were on sale this week for 2 or even 3 cans for a $. I sometimes treat myself to a "day old" donut which if half price (25 cents) after 5:00. I bought fresh bread baked in the store. Regular price for the cracked wheat, which is my favorite, is $1.99 You can't buy anything you want and can't buy premade foods but you sure can eat well.

I definitely can eat well for little money. Now buying medications is another story. Sorry for the rant.

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