Sunday, February 26, 2012

My walk

   It doesn't take much to entertain me.  Really, it doesn't.  I know people will think I am kind of weird but I love to take a basket of laundry that looks like this:

    And make it turn into this:

  And then I like to...wait for it..... wait for it.  I like to iron the clothes in the basket.  Woohoo!  Okay, maybe I don't love to fold and iron clothes, but I really don't hate it either as I don't have to think about it while I think about something I would rather be doing.  Did you get that?

   This has nothing whatsoever to do with what I want to blog about today.  Two years ago I began an odyssey that turned me into a much thinner, healthier person with better balance and the ability to wear a pair of jeans.  I read online about the 10,000 steps program.  A doctor discovered that if a person would walk 10,000 steps a day, he/she would be healthy.  I liked to walk, but never paid much attention to how far I went.  10,000 steps is suppose to be about five miles.  I thought, "I can do that."  Well, it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.  I started out walking 3 or 4 thousand steps a day.  I was determined to reach that 10,000 step goal.  I walked in the sun, in the rain, in cold weather and warm.  I roamed all over our neighborhood, met the neighbors and the neighbors' dogs.  People would stop to talk to me and tell me they liked seeing me walk with my dogs.  I celebrated when I finally reached 10,000 steps.   When I start my walk I have three ways I can go.

   I can go this way: 

  Or this way:

   Or this way.  Depending on how I feel I pick my direction and start out.

  I go past this concrete plant or cee-ment plant as I like to call it.  Remember the movie, "Mosquito Coast" starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren where this family moves to central or South American and builds an ice making plant in the middle of the rain forest and eventually end up freeze drying two bad guys that cross them?  You don't?  It was a really good  movie and this plant makes the same kind of sounds theirs did.  It sounds weird when I am back there by myself.  Kind of freaks me out.

  Here are all the cement mixers or as I like to call them cee-ment mixers all in a row.  In busy times they are all lined up to get filled up with concrete and take it to a job site.  Today is their day off.    By the way, I am made fun of by my son-in-law for saying cee-ment.   He is from the Adirondack area and I use to call it Ad-iron-dak until he set me straight.  Really, that is how I said it.  No one ever told me any different and that is how it looked like it sounded to me.  Of course I also read mature as rhyming with nature when I was younger, but I am way off the subject now.  That is how my mind works, sorry.

  Here are the dump trucks or as I like to call them, dumb trucks....okay, I'm just getting silly now.  It's late and this blog is getting much too long and I'm not done yet.  These dump trucks go to the gravel pit that is across the road from us and bring sand to the concrete plant and gravel to other job sites.  This past couple of years they have all worked overtime while our city was putting in a new four lane road through town.  I have to watch out for all these truckers and they watch out for me.   We all wave to each other and they try not to squash me and I try not to get squashed and everything works out okay.

  See this big pile of dirt?  You don't?  Then you may need glasses.  Anyway, behind this pile of dirt is a lake.  We use to walk back here years ago through meadows and by streams, but when the gravel pit went in they all went away.  As the gravel pit grew, so did the lake.  We hope that one day it will become a recreation area with paths and  fishing areas after the gravel pit goes away.  It's only 500 steps from our house.  Wouldn't that be great having a lake so close to our house?  It would be for us.  The gravel pit is building high dirt walls all around the lake.  I'm going to climb one of the hills one day and see what's going on over on the other side. 

  This little tree has survived the dirt hill making so far.  I am rooting for it to make it and not have dirt dumped on it.    Alot of trees have been bulldozed down, but, hey, there's a lake.

   Years ago a family lived in this little house.  It now belongs to the gravel pit and is an office now, I think.  Alot of things disappeared when the gravel pit went in.  This is just a short part of my walk and I will be showing you more later.  It's getting late, the Oscars are almost over and I must go.  Bye.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I know it's Spring

After the cold days of January and February comes with Valentine's Day, I think winter is finally over. We could be standing in ten feet of snow and I still would think it was Spring because the crocus have come up and flowers begin to peek their little heads out of the cold soil. We have a little patch of crocuses by the front walk that are always the first to show themselves to the elements. I keep thinking I will plant some more, but these little brave ones have been so loyal to come back again and again, I never feel the need to do so.

A couple of years ago I planted hundreds of daffodils to naturalize in our front yard. When we first moved to our home 34 years ago, we had a half acre of grass to mow. We have slowly, but surely gotten rid of lawn and added gardens and mulch. It takes me about 15 minutes to mow the front yard. Now the daffodils are all coming up, some ready to bust into bloom. They ususally last about two weeks and are so beautiful.

This bunch will be blooming soon if the weather stays as warm as it's been.

Even though it's Spring, we still like our comfort food. David makes the best chili, but I don't ask him what he puts in it or I would probably not want to eat it. He likes it spicy and tones it down for me, but I can still feel the heat when I eat it.

Nothing is better than a bowl of chili with a little cheese on top. Okay, alot of cheese on top. I'm eating a cup of it right now as I type. Hope I don't spill it all over the keys.

Now for your entertainment a little dog wrestling. In this corner is Bonnie Blue weighing in at 85 pounds and in the other corner is Belle weighing in at 80 pounds. Bonnie body slams Belle down and much barking and growling ensues. Tails are going a mile a minute, of course.

Bonnie wins this match by keeping Belle down until the bell. Belle until the bell, ha.

"Come play ball with me, Mom." You know what that means, folks. Bye

Friday, February 17, 2012

Granny squares

  Hi, I'm Belle, Kate's most beautiful, bestest, obedient chocolate lab.  She thinks I'm pretty special, but she isn't going to talk about me again today.  She's going to be saying, "Blah, blah, quilts, blah, blah, fabrics, blah, blah sewing."  She's got quilting on the brain and I can't make her change.  Oh, well, as long as she feeds me, plays with me and takes me for a walk every day, I guess she can have her one vice.  So I will go lay out in the sun now while she tells you what she is up to.

  Has that Belle been talking about me?  Don't believe everything a dog will tell you.  See this pile of fabric?  I am all excited about a new quilt project I found on a blog.  It is a quilt that looks like a crocheted granny square afghan.  I don't crochet, but I love granny afghans.  This is a wonderful pattern.  It only takes two and a half inch squares sewed on the diagonal and trimed to a nine inch block  Choosing and cutting out the fabric is the best part for me.  I love to look through my stash and see all the fabrics I can use in this quilt.  I figure it will take about eighty-one of these blocks to make the quilt with a two and a half  sashing between the rows and a five inch border. 

  First I will cut out two and a half inch squares from many different fabrics.

  Then from the smaller scraps left I cut out two inch squares for another project.

  Then from the tiniest scraps left from that I cut out one inch squares.  I have a quilt book called "Little Quilts all through the house" that we sold in our store many years ago.  I have just about worn my book out making the quilts in it.  I will show you the book and some of the quilts I have made from it another day.  None of the quilts in it are larger than 25 inch by 25 inch and some are much smaller and many of them take one and a half inch squares. 

  Here is my first granny square block. There is a real good tutorial on how to make it on Blue Elephant blog.  There are also many granny square quilts exhibited on Flicker.  I am really excited about this quilt as I believe it will go together easily and will be bright and colorful which I like.

  If you know me, you know I don't just work on one quilt at a time.  Right now I have one ready to machine quilt and this one I am sewing right now that I can only show a tiny bit as it will be a gift later in the year.  I have so many ideas in my head I am about to bust.  I have also been making purses to give away and I will be showing them soon also.  I got the tutorial on a blog also and will try to put that up for you soon.

   Hey, Belle, is Mom done talking about quilts and sewing and stuff?    Yes, I am Bonnie, you precious pup.  Maybe I will make you a quilted coat to wear some day.  What's that, you say.  You would never wear a quilted coat or any other coat for that matter?  Okay, Bonnie, love you anyway.  Bye everyone.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

  Happy Valentine's Day to all you sweethearts out there in blogland.  Hope you are having a wonderful day.  

  I spent the day sewing on quilts with two sweethearts and friends.  This is the only the second quilt Shannon has made and she sewed it in a day.  All she has to do is add the borders and she will be ready to quilt it.  Love the colors.

  Linda is cutting out her quilt.  She has to cut out 250 2 inch strips, sew them together and cut them apart in 2 inch pieces.  She is an accomplished quilter so this will probably be a breeze for her, but it looks hard.  I will enjoy seeing this quilt go together.   We do alot of laughing and talking which makes the time fly and we get alot done too.

  Who is this coming into my shop?   No flowers?  No candy?  Hmmmmmm.  But that smile is worth everything to me and as long as I can see that face every day, I am happy.

   Belle peeks in the window at us wondering what we are doing.  "What you doin' Willis."

    This is the cutest pincushion I have ever seen.  A little owl sits atop it with  a rose in front.  Shannon gave it to me today because she doesn't think I have enough pincushions.  We are always looking for mine.  I told her this one was way too cute to stick ugly pins in and make it all holey. 

   So as this Valentine's Day comes to an end, I send you my love and hope you know there is always someone who loves you.    I'm going to make myself a cup of hot chocolate with heart marshmallows.  Why don't you join me?   By the way, David took me out for dinner.  The best Valentine's Day present ever.  I didn't have to cook or do dishes all day.  Hurray!!!  Bye.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Antique shopping

   Yesterday David and I decided to go antiqueing.  Not for anything in particular although we were looking for some sturdy chairs for someone else.  Usually I am looking for old American flags, vintage tablecloths and old books. 

  There were lots of old books to choose from.  I found this book and it looked interesting.  I have read all the Jan Karon books about Mitford and Father Tim.  I am reading them through for the fourth time right now.  This book about Miss Read appears to be the same sort of book about a small English village instead of a little mountain town in North Carolina.

  There were several Miss Read books, but I bought only two.  This one looked interesting.  If you have ever read any of the Miss Read books please tell me what you thought of them. 

  Jessamyn West was born in Indiana and has written many books.  She also wrote the screenplay for the wonderful movie, "Friendly Persuasion," about a Quaker family in southern Indiana trying to remain neutral during the Civil War.  It starred Gary Cooper, Dororthy McGuire and Anthony Perkins.  It has alway been one of my favorite movies and I try to watch it when it's on TV.  
    This particular book is about an event in 1824 that threatened  massive and bloody Indian reprisals for the murder of some peaceful Indians including women and five children by five white men.   There is little known about this massacre, but Miss West has woven a story from it that I am sure will be interesting and historical.

  Suddenly, I came across this beautiful vintage peach fabric.  There were two yards of it and low and behold, there was a stack of vintage fabric in the same booth.  I wasn't planning on buying fabric that day, really I wasn't, but this was such a find I couldn't resist.

    There were four pieces of this  lovely rose fabric cut in one yard pieces perfect for pillowcases or cut up in pieces for a very girly quilt.

   This is what I ended up with.  Never say I will pass up a good fabric buy when I see one.  Oh, I ended up going to Ady's quilt store in Morgantown and picked up three pieces that are in the picture also.   The yellow flowered fabric on the right are actually four table napkins that I am going to use to make summer pillows for my family room. 

   The last of my purchases was this red, white and blue vintage tablecloth that I will use come fourth of July.  I don't have anything like it and was so happy to purchase this one.  I am pretty selective what tablecloths I buy now as I have quite a collection.  I like changing the tablecloths with the seasons.  They just seem to make the table look a little more dressed up and inviting. 

     When I get new fabric I cannot wait to cut into it and start a project.  I have numerous projects going at any one time and some of them I get done!   There are so many blogs with women who have the same disease I have who can't resist beautiful fabrics and love to make things from it.  Some people think it's crazy to buy a whole piece of  fabric, cut it into pieces and then sew it back together again.  If nothing else, it's theraputic and keeps me off the streets and out of the bars so I will take my vice over someone else's any day.  At the end I have a useful object, a gift or a warm cover for the bed.   What more could one ask.  I have a friend who has been bitten by the fabric bug just lately and I will be  writing about her new venture into quilting and how addictive buying fabric can be. Bye

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sewing machines galore

  I am a sewing machine connoisseur of a sort and this is the machine that started it all.  Back in the sixties my mother purchased her new Singer 401.  It was the top of the line Singer at the time and she was so proud of it.  When it was delivered the man who brought it set it up for her and showed her how to use it.  I don't know if sewing machine retailers do that anymore.  My mother loved to sew and I was the glad recipient of many of her creations.  I remember one dress in particular, a red and white dotted swiss dress with a full skirt you could twirl in and a big velvet sash.   She made this dress for me to wear to a television show in Cincinnati.  Some of you reading this may remember the Ruth Lyons 50-50 club that was on WLW. 

   My sister, brother, my mother and I drove down to Cincinnati for the show.  Mother was just sure that Ruth Lyons would notice me.  Her show had just turned to color from black and white so everyone tried to dress as flashily as possible.  Well, I wasn't noticed and prizes were given away and my little five year old brother won a set of gold plated silverware in a fancy box.  I was so jealous.

   Back to sewing machines, I learned how to sew on this Singer and made some of my own clothes while in high school.  When I graduated, my mother and father offered to buy me a new sewing machine and I told them I was never going to sew anymore.  Boy, have I eaten my words and kicked myself several times for refusing their offer.

     Years later in the late eighties my husband and I opened a sewing machine and vacumn cleaner sales and repair shop.  It quickly morphed into a quilt shop, but that's another story.  This was one of the first machines we sold.  This is a Riccar R3600.  Most people have never even heard of the Riccar sewing machine, but I would put it up against any sewing machine made today.  We had this model in our shop and I loved sewing on it.  David had a bad habit of selling the machines I loved right out from under me.  After we sold the last one of these they stopped making this model.  I was so disappointed we hadn't purchased one for ourselves.  This Christmas David was looking for parts to repair another Riccar I had worn out and came across this machine on Ebay.  He bought it and also bought the machine he was trying to buy parts for.  It seems Riccar parts are hard to come by anymore.  I am now the happy owner of one of the best sewing machines in the world in my opinion if you are using it to make quilts and quilt them which I do alot.

     This is a Riccar RE571.  This is the model I completely wore out sewing.  I would not be exaggerating to say I probably made hundreds of quilts and other things on it.  This is not the one I wore out.  David bought me another one on Ebay and it sews like brand new.    Do you see a pattern here?   I do like Riccars and do not want to be without one for a single day!

       This is the Riccar R751 that I am using in my shop right now.  It is a work horse of a machine and sews so smoothly.  I'm not even selling them anymore, but I could sing their praises forever.    Right now I am making a special person a Christmas present on it.  That person shall not be named nor what I am making.  Just suffice it to say I am enjoying making it very much.

     This is a Singer Featherweight.  It is a quilter's dream machine because it sews so well and is small enough to carry to classes.  David got me this one from an older lady in Bedford.  She advertised it on the radio and he heard it and went to her house and bought it.  It has its own carrying case and attachments and is in mint condition.  Ain't it cute?

   I also have a treadle machine that is dated l913, the same year our house was built.  It is in a beautiful cabinet, but I can't get to it right now because David has one of his old thread cases on it.  Yes, he collects old thread cases.  I will write about them some day.  I have one more Riccar that I have never sewn on and I would show you, but Bonnie is looking at me and saying "Quit all that sewing machine shenanigans and come out and play with me.  So bye for now.  My pup calleth.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What I'm drinking

  For years this was my drink of choice.  I always believed that at least I wasn't adding any calories to my diet if I drank it.  I am not advertising any drinks here, just saying what I always drank and what I drink now.

    A few years back my daughter gained alot of weight after being given steroids in the hospital.  They told her at the time she would not gain weight taking them.  Well, guess what, she did.  I have always been told steroids will cause you to gain weight.  When I had histoplasmosis in my eye many years ago the doctor gave me a choice of taking steroids which he told me would make me gain weight or getting a shot in the eye.  I chose the shot in the eye. What we women will do to keep from gaining weight!  Anyway, my daughter did gain weight on steroids but she took it off using Weight Watchers.  I noticed, though, that she was always drinking regular cokes and asked her how she could lose weight that way.  I have heard through the years that drinking diet drinks do not aide in weight loss.   Now that I have lost alot of weight, I find that is true.  I drink one coke over two days and have not gained any weight back.

   This is David's drink of choice.  I haven't seen him drink anything but this except for sweet tea occasionally since we've been married.  He's the only person I know who drinks this.  I drink it once in a while.  The can reads  0calories, 0carbs, 0caffeine and 0sodium.  I use to say 0 taste too.  When we went to Alaska last summer, my husband loaded the car with Diet Rites so that he would always have them because you can't find it everywhere.  He learned this while we were driving home from Alaska through Canada and he ran out.  There was no Diet Rite to be found anywhere.  He tried to describe it to a store clerk, "It has 0 calories, 0carbs, 0caffeine and 0 sodium."   She replied, "Sounds like water to me."  He had to go without until we hit the border and as soon as he found a store, he bought more.  A very traumatic time for him.

   I try to drink alot of water now and that is truly the best thing anyone can drink for their health.  I still can't believe people buy it in bottles when it comes out of the tap almost free.  Whoever thought of that idea must have known how foolish we people sometimes are and that we will buy almost anything. 

   I hope this has enlightened your day.  If you drink something else almost daily, tell me what it is.  Well, unless it's alcohol and then I don't want to know.   Keep hydrated.  Bye.