Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sewing Room Mess

I know I've been gone for way too long. I've been spending a lot of time with my friend Shirley who has brain cancer. And been very lazy about doing any sewing.

So how did my sewing room get so messed up? I pulled out lots of containers and today I filled four boxes for the Iraqi Bundles of Love. Looks like I could have filled a lot more. I got them all packed and into the mail. The four boxes weighed 32 1/2 pounds. They sure seemed to weigh more than that. Of course the weight didn't matter because the postage was a flat rate. I really filled each box as full as I could get it. I had the first one all taped up when I thought of something else I wanted to include - a picture of myself. So three of the bundles have my picture and one of my sewing. I really like the idea of this being a women to women project even if it uses a marvelous man to accomplish it. Art and all his military helpers are just the greatest and I'm sure they will try to get the bundles directly into the hands of the women. I hope they can somehow get some of them to the Kurdish women too.

While it is so true that we are now a world community, we also have local communities. Mine here in Michigan is still hurting so very much. As so many people move away to find jobs, it is believed that the city of Flint will soon have half the population that it had at its peak. Currently, Flint has a 25% unemployment rate. There are so many boarded up homes and businesses. People have been donating
back-packs filled with school supplies. It is hard but we are a determined people. We built the auto capital of the world and now we will start all over to build something else.
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Show and Tell

Recently I spent three weeks at my DD's in PA. I had a lot of sitting around time so I got three books read and three redwork pictures made. I like these kitty scenes. By the way, my DGG who was in the hospital is doing very well now.
Click on pics to see them better.

After I got home, I put together some very old blocks (maybe late 1930's). They were in an old trunk that belonged to my grandmother. These 8 blocks were made but not put together. I really liked how they went with each other into this pattern. I added a backing by hand and gave it to my Aunt for her 85th birthday.

After our cooler than normal weather, we are now having hot weather. It went from the 70's to over 90. Strange. I got my little flower garden in front of my house cleaned up and the pond started. After a recent storm, the turtle is not spurting water. Oh, me.

Most recent unemployment rate for MI is 14.1 Still highest in the nation. Good news yesterday was they are going to open an auto plant and GE bringing in something too. But these won't help for months. Very hard times here yet.

Good news on the family front. My 25 year old DGS has gotten his first full time job. After finishing his masters degree, he worked three part-time jobs last year. One of them is now full time. He has been living in a room with kitchen privileges but is now looking for an apartment. He is in the Boston area.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Home Again

For the last three weeks I've been visiting my DD1 and her family in PA. My DGD was in the hospital and I went to try to help. At least I could let the dog out. My DD and her husband needed to keep working so I tried to be of some help. My DGD is home now and doing well. Kipper went with me and enjoyed visiting with his old doggy friend Lady. She is a year younger then Kipper - 10 years old - but she seams so much older. She has arthritis and is deaf. I wonder why some dogs age faster than others do. They also had a cat. Kipper was good with her although he stole cat food and gained weight. I did to. Gained weight - not ate the cat's food. Not we are back to out regular diets and hope to take a few pounds off.

The first picture is the pile of mail I picked up at the post office today. I have no idea how the picture turned up side down. Almost all my bills are on autopay so this is mostly junk, but I must go through it.

The other pictures are of a jeans quilt that I made and gave my daughter a few years ago. I don't think I took a picture of it then so I took some while visiting. It was interesting to make but ended up being heavy. I guess that also means it is warm. The red plaid seen in the last picture is what is on the back. I collected jeans and some are those my DGD wore.

While out today, I also make a stop at the grocery store. Prices in PA are so much higher than here in MI, or even in FL. A box of pudding mix that costs 89 cents here was $1.39 and that was at a major grocery store. Gas is now $3 a gallon here.

Michigan is hurting so much from the economy mess. Our last official unemployment rate was 13.5% but it is expected to reach 20%. It is so sad to see all the stores closed and houses abandoned.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Thanks to Tonya at Lazy Girl I actually sewed something. I've been in a slump for some time now and this challenge was just what I needed. Tonya asked for people to make letters for sounds of Halloween. We will send them to her for her to make a quilt. The first pic is the correct color. I don't know what happened to the second pic but it really is the same color as the first one. Click on the top one to see the different prints I used. Tonya wanted different font styles used and I decided I didn't like the R in OR so I replaced the one in the top pic with the one in the bottom pic. I have left the words for Tonya to make into whatever shape block will work best. It will be so much fun to see the end quilt.

Spring is finally here in my part of MI. It is still on the cold side with a heavy frost this morning. The tulips are shivering a little.

A week ago I remembered to go block off the top to my propane tank so the robins couldn't make a nest in it. I was too late. Not only was there a nest but eggs too. They are so blue. Now I won't disturb the nest until the babies are gone. Last year they died so I hope they make it this year. I'm glad I won't need a gas refill until they are gown.
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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Look what I just brought home from the grocery store! I stopped to buy some cottage cheese and found some great looking produce at very good prices. Those tomatoes smell so good. They are definitely vine ripened and were $1 per pound. The broccoli heads were the same price and the corn was 19 cents per ear. The pineapple was $2.

For lunch I had a huge salad. In my refrigerator I already had some field greens, carrots, celery, radishes and carrots. I also added grated cheese. mmm good. What is your favorite salad dressing? Mine is fresh lemon juice and Splenda.

What will I make with my goodies? veggable soup? BLTs? goloush? peanut butter and pineapple sandwich? baked sweet potatoes? or maybe boil them and then "candy" them with Splenda pancake syrup and butter? I do enjoy food.

I went to a dermatologist today and got a "sun spot" taken off my cheek. This is the second time and it was quite large. Three weeks ago I had two moles removed. Those spots are healing nicely. No chance of cancer in either one.

I stopped at the drug store on the way home. I got some large bandaids for my face. The only ones my skin will tolerate are the flexible ones. I forgot to take one with me to the doctor. I also picked up my refills on my prescriptions. There were three of them and the bill was $436.79. This is the same price as it would be if I sent away for them. Yes, I have insurance. That was just my copay. Unfortunately, none of the drugs have generic forms. That was a three month supply anyway. I also have another one that I didn't get today. And I'm actually healthy. Just arthritis, bladder spasms, gastric reflux and diabetes. Well, that may not sound like I'm so healthy but with these drugs, everything is well under control. So maybe I shouldn't complain.

On the way home it started raining again. We have had major huge rain storms in the last two weeks and I have water standing all around my home. My windshield wipper is torn up. How come I can't remember to get it fixed when it is't raining? I have two dehumidifers running in my basement and am constantly listening to make sure my sump pump is running. I had to put Kipper in the basement shower three times yesterday to get his feet and legs clean. He has a fenced in yard to run in and there is lots of water and mud. The last time he went out, I put him on a leash and just let him get on a bit of grass.

I've actually gotten into my sewing room and will make a quilty blog soon.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Blogger Quilt Festival

Today is the last day to get into Amy's (Park City Girl) Quilt Show. What a great idea.

I have so many favorite quilts but chose to enter "What's In A Name?" I made questions and the answers were the names on the quilt. I still usually refer to it as my space quilt.

It was made for a challenge to commemorate 50 years in space. I used my version of Tonya's letters and really enjoyed doing it. I hand quilted the stars which gave it just the right finishing touch.

Soon after I finished it, Astronaut Barbara Morgan went into space. She was a teacher and then became an astronaut. I really admired her. She was very pleased to receive it and donated it to Idaho State Historical Museum in Boise, where it now hangs. She dedicated it to teachers and students everywhere.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April in MI

I've been busy getting ready to come back to MI from FL and then busy getting things done here. You know, things like doctor to get my labs done and Rx refilled, dentist to get teeth cleaned, dermatologist to get a couple moles taken off my face and tax person to get that done. Lots of other small errands with delays. In the five months I've been gone, the laboratory where I usually get my blood work done has closed and many businesses are on four day weeks to try to save energy. Things are very difficult here with 12 percent unemployment, which is highest in the country. I do notice that the grocery prices are lower here than in FL and both places are lower than in many other parts of the country.

Last week Mother Nature send me a taste of winter. Most of our weather comes from the west but this came directly from the north. The left side of the tree faces north. It only lasted one day but the temperatures have continued to be cold.

Winters here are hard on roads and other things. The cement holding my clothes pole down has heaved. Notice the water in the field now the snow has melted.

Joyce on J's Quilting Blog has a picture of her muddy road. Oh, this brought back memories. My road has been black topped for years now but for many years we were the last house before cars got stuck in the mess. Everyone came to my house to call for help. Those were the days before cell phones. I kept calling the county to get them to close the road - put up a sign to warn people. They hated to do that because then they would have to do something about fixing the road. The school bus couldn't make it either and we had mud emergency routes with places the children had to go to to get on the buses. Winter is very hard on our roads here in MI and the pot holes are terrible. People send pictures to the weather person on TV to see who has the worst pot hole. Recently I was driving on a paved road where they had put up a sign saying "Rough Road Ahead". That meant the top layer of the road was all broken up and there are places with major pot holes so drive about 20 mph and good luck.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Space Shuttle Discovery March 15, 2009
Click to enlarge these.

The weather was perfect. Dusk was falling. It was 7:43 and there it was. I live 90 miles from Kennedy Space Center. Actually you could view it from much further away than I am.

The first picture has no telephoto. The rest have some. It was easily seen. The sun was very low in the sky and it colored the vapor trail a beautiful pink.

I was surprised that I could see the separation. See the third picture. And how long I could see the shuttle after it separated. See the light dot in the last picture.

If you haven't done so, google the launch and see some wonderful close up pictures. I have visited the launch pad and and area where the press took those pictures.

If you are ever able, visit Kennedy Space Center.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Strawberry Pie

Yes, this pie is as good as it looks. And it has no sugar added.

Now is the strawberry season here in Florida. You can buy them at the strawberry farm, farmer's market or grocery store. I bought a half flat.

I live in a senior mobile home park here in Florida. We have pot luck dinners each month. Most of our residents are natives of another state. Some are snow-birds, like I am, and some are now year-rounders. Each pot luck is put on by the people from a state or combination of states. We set up the tables and clean up afterwards. We also prepare the meat and desert. Each person pays $2.50 to cover the costs involved. This week the residents from Michigan put on a chicken dinner. We made homemade cakes for general desert and strawberry pies for the diabetic residents. I made two and they were good. Actually I made three - two for the dinner and a third for me. I had to eat a piece to make sure it was okay before taking to the dinner, right? I also gave pieces to some people who couldn't attend. One is a lady and her husband who were about my age fifteen years ago when my dad lived here. They were so kind to him and I'm so happy to do a little pay back now. My closest neighbors, who watch out for my home when I'm north, also each got a piece, as did another friend who just got home from the hospital.

Here's the recipe. It is so simple.

Bake and cool pie crusts. See my April 17, 2007 post for a no-fail recipe.

For each pie:

Wash, hull and slice 4 cups of strawberries. Put in baked, cooled pie crust.
In a sauce pan mix 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 3/4 cup of Splenda and a large box (or 2 small boxes) of sugar-free strawberry jello. Bring to a full boil to thicken. Pour over strawberries. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Store in refrigerator.

If desired, top with whipped cream before serving.

You can make a sugar version by substituting sugar and regular jello.

Hope you can buy some fresh strawberries and make this one. If not keep this recipe handy until your part of the country has some.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I give Kipper a bath every month. It is a major process. I have a shower here in Florida that is bath tub size but has glass doors that go to the floor. I keep a bath seat in this shower. So I take off all my clothes and sit on this seat while Kipper stands in the rest of the shower. That's right, there is no photo. "S" Kipper likes to get bathed and is very good but his fur makes him hard to get wet. The shower head comes down and we run water, add oatmeal shampoo and scrub. First one area than another. I wash his head last and use no-tears baby shampoo there. Kipper is very good about not shaking but it is hard when I spray water on his head. When done, I drape a towel over him and he shakes. I dry him a little and then he takes over and uses his big tongue to dry himself. I know many dogs roll to dry themselves, but Kipper only rubs his head on the rug. He drys very quickly.

After he is out, I clean the shower and then the rest of the bathroom. Finally I take a shower myself. Three tasks done.

Next I brush Kipper's teeth with his electric toothbrush. He loves this. Then I check his ears. With his perky ears he never has any problems. Finally I file his nails with a battery-powered file. Some of his nails are white and it is easy to see where to cut but many of his nails are black and it is very hard. Even if I cut them, they also need filed, so now I just skip the cutting. Kipper does not like having anything done with his nails, so we have a system where he hides his head behind my back as I work on each paw. Out of sight, out of mind? Anyway, it works. The last step to this long process is to give him a little brushing and launder the towels.

Kipper's last haircut was a couple months ago. For this current hot Florida weather, he needs cut again but I think he'll need some fur for the Michigan weather when we head back at the end of this month. Since his last haircut, he has areas where his hair and fur has not grown back. They are mostly along his back. They are hard to see in the pictures but you can see the color change in the last one. They don't bother him. There is a little dandruff-like flaking. He has been scratching his head a lot lately. I know it is his spring allergy. He gets it every year here in Florida and also in the fall in Michigan. So, yesterday I took Kipper to his Florida doctor. I like him very much. He thinks the alopecia areas are not indicative of any disease. Kipper has no signs of hypothyroidism. He already gets Omega oils in his dog food. The vet gave him a shot for his allergy. It usually works in a few hours but he is still scratching his head today. I sure hope it gives him some relief soon.
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Aren't these beautiful? No they aren't in my yard here in Florida but in a friend's. We took several days of hard frost (and more than once) this year so many of plants have been cut back. These came from bulbs.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

What's Happening?

I haven't posted in a while. No good reason for not doing so. I've just had nothing to say. And not been doing much either.

So what is going on with the pictures? Are my neighbors having an outdoor quilt show? Nope. We had some freezing nights a bit ago here in mid-Florida and people covered their plants. The quilt in the first picture looked to me like it really should have stayed on the bed. Very pretty. The one in the second picture is really a woven blanket but is a nice inspiration for a quilt, huh? The third is a tree all covered up and it made it. The last one shows what happened when a plant didn't get covered. It was the hardest freeze here that I have ever seen and it lasted for several nights. I don't have any plants that need covered around my home except a hibiscus and about half if it froze. I tried to cover it one night but the wind was so strong that I give up. The plant is still alive and will come back another year. They water the strawberries and burn smug pots for the citrus and they make it through. The garden crops including tomatoes and green beans aren't unusually so lucky. However, I was able to buy both this weekend at the farmer's market. I feel guilty telling about the "bad" weather here when everyone up north is having such a terrible winter. My DD1 in PA has been without electricity for three days. They have a generator for the refrigerator and freezer and used the fireplace for heat. I'm trying to send sunshine to all of you.

Yesterday, I broke down and bought a small bottle of real vanilla. It is so expensive. I was tempted to buy the imitation kind for a dollar less but decided to just give up $5 for a little bottle of the real stuff. I tried the farmer's market/flea market and discount stores where I have gotten it before, but they have none now. I plan to make some banana bread today. This makes me think about how women used to keep their spices locked up and they kept the only key. The spices were that valuable.

Kipper is doing fine. He got a short hair cut at Christmas time and has been growing his fur back but for some reason it is not growing on his back and upper part of his neck. Their is a row of longer hair between the two areas. Strange. He never did this before and my DD2 says he is having male pattern baldness. :)
Well, he is a handsome older guy anyway. Hard to think that he will be 11 years old in a couple months.

I haven't replaced my broken sewing machine and just haven't had an urge to get any fabric out. Hancock was having a batting sale so I bought some Thermore and have been hand quiting one of the tops that have been waiting so patiently. I have six inch diagonal direction lines finished. I was going to call that done as the Thermore says it only has to be quilted every nine inches so this would have been enough. However, I started doing the other direction. If I would work on it every day, I might get it done. This is only the second quilt I've hand quited and I'm using two strands of embroidery floss. If I would work on it every day, I'd make more progress.

Got to go get that banana bread going now.
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