Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's "Spring"

Ahh, for a couple of years now I've really loved when these pop up. They are from a planter I got from Jean & Jane on my 50th birthday.

Sadie has found her not-really-a-frisbee.  And she's not giving it up.

Friggin' dandelions, circled in red (you'll have to click on the pic to enlarge it).  I think I counted 12 in this tiny patch.
I shed a couple of tears tonight, again, over a friend who recently died.  For several years I held a plant swap in June.  DH and I would throw a barbeque and invite our friends to dig up stuff that had spread too much in their gardens.  We'd eat & drink & trade pots of flowers & shrubs & fruits & veggies.  One year Tony brought a zillion pair of garden gloves, crazy guy.  Anyways... I have stuff in my garden from Kathy and tonight when I was thinking about the plant swap she popped into my head.  Then I remembered that she's gone.  People go and you tell yourself that it's part of life, and you carry on.  Then at odd moments you think of someone, and in the act of remembering you remember that they are gone.  And if you're like me, you cry a little more.  Well, Kathy, if you're listening:  I'm still taking care of your (not very) Obedient Plant and I'm really sad that for now, we can't share another laugh.  I will probably think of you EVERY spring until I follow you, wherever the hell you've gone.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Baby Quilt and Red Hats at the Art Gallery of Hamilton

This is such a pretty baby quilt.  This was made by a gal who makes dog coats.  Well, not just coats - other dog clothes too.  Check out her stuff.

Prairie Points on the inside of the quilt add a cute touch.

Love the back.

Thursday was Red Hat day and it was my job to organize our April outing.  I took the ladies to the Art Gallery of Hamilton where we had a docent led tour and then lunch in the Cafe.  The highlight of the day was when one of our gals walked straight into a fundraising box - the clear lexan pedestal kind, and knocked it over.  She's very quick though - she caught it before it crashed open.  What made this even funnier for me (since I was standing right there) was the fact that she is the same gal who took a screen door off it's hinges at a quilt shop last year.  We ALL saw her do that.  She'll get a reputation if she keeps this up.

Afterwards we hit the Hamilton Farmer's Market.  That is almost enough to make me move back to the city.  When I lived in downtown Hamilton I used to get to the Market on a regular basis.  I had such a good time wandering around I could have stayed all day.  Good thing my cash was limited.  I brought home salmon (which DH does not like), asparagus (which DH does not like), cucumbers (on everyone's hit parade - yaay), cranberry Stilton (which DH is not permitted to eat without my close supervision to ensure he does not get more than half), and a poppy seed roll (to make up for the salmon and the asparagus).

We only ate half of the asparagus on Thursday night so maybe tomorrow's breakfast will be asparagus omelet?

I need to work up my strength for Wednesday, which is Mom's pacemaker replacement day.  If I have as much aggravation at the hospital this week as I've had the last two times we've been there she may come home with the old pacemaker.  I can't keep drinking like this.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beautiful Batiks & Retreat at Margaret's

Oooh - this is such a pretty quilt.

This is how I record the spacing on my background fill.  I take a picture with something to use for reference.  In this case, it's one finger width.  If I can't get back to quilting for a day or two (like, maybe Kevin Costner will whisk me off to Tahiti???) I will be consistent with the density.

The large flowers in the border needed some fill but I couldn't get too close to the yo-yo centre.

Flowers & leaves fill the unusual space between the star blocks.

We had a wonderful long weekend at Margaret's.  Except for the friggin' weather.  What's with SNOW in the middle of April?  We spent Saturday at the Kawartha Quilt Show.  As you can see, I didn't want to go outside.

I got my Goose in the Pond blocks together.  Pretty.  But they were kinda like wire hangers - I'm sure they kept multiplying.  Every time I thought I had them all done, there was another one or two to be stitched.

Sunday after lunch we're getting ready to head for home.  In the SNOW.  I kept myself awake with half a box of Girl Guide cookies on the drive home.  It's a good thing they only sell those things in the spring.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tree Quilt and Retreat in the Kawarthas

Here is a beautiful tree quilt.

There were no piecing errors - none of the half-squares were set in the wrong way.

Such a pretty back!

I'm heading off to Margaret's for our semi-annual retreat.  We will visit the quilt show in the Kawartha's to take our minds off our own projects for a little while, and...maybe (?) stop in at the chocolate warehouse.
On my way I'll be stopping at Northcott Fabrics to drop off 3 quilts that are destined for Japan (one of mine and two from guild friends).  Hopefully I won't also be dropping off lots of $$$$.  I've been on a fabric moratorium for about three years (fell off in Houston, but hey - I'm human).

At Margaret's I am in charge of one supper, which will be pork tenderloin.  I'm also bringing a dessert...
Fudgy Brownies Swirled with Cheesecake
(note- I made this in two 8" x 8" pans - one pan to bring, a 3/4 portion for the freezer, and a 1/4 portion in the fridge for DH.  He needs breakfast, you know?)

1 package brownie mix for 9” x 13” pan, oil and eggs  (I made mine from scratch, using a recipe to fit a 9-ish x 13-ish pan)

15 oz.container Sorrento® Ricotta Cheese
8 oz. package cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat ovento350̊ degrees

Grease bottom of a 13” x 9” pan.
Mix brownie batter according to directions on box.

Cheesecake filling: Mix cream cheese and sugar at
medium speed for 2 minutes until smooth.
Add ricotta, egg and vanilla. Mix for 2 minutes; set aside.
Spread brownie batter into prepared pan.
Top with cheesecake batter and make swirls with rubber spatula.

Bake for 28-32 minutes.

Brownies will be fudgy. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
Makes 16 brownies.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Small Civil War Sampler and Mood recovery via Martini

This is a small-ish quilt - beautifully pieced. I know that most patchwork instructions tell you to press seams to one side. And that is the only way to get a ditch for Stitch-In-The-Ditch quilting.  I find that quilts like this which have the seams pressed OPEN lie really really flat.
This was treated with feathers, curls, line dancing, and stitch-in-the-ditch (which, lemme tell you, is challenging when there is no ditch).

Friday was Mom's first two appointments for the pacemaker replacement.  She needed an EKG and bloodwork, then to see the resident surgeon, then to preop to see the anesthetist and the surgery nurse.  I picked her up at the nursing home and say "She has had her breakfast, right?"  Um, no, she's been fasting because she needs bloodwork.  "No, she does not need to fast" I explain to the nurse (?).  Crap.  Now I have to take her out HUNGRY.  So we get a couple of cookies Mom can eat in the car.  Not a good start to our day.

We get to appointment #1 and discover the nursing home has given me the wrong health card.  It belongs to someone else.  Pfft.  (that is steam coming out of my ears)

The EKG and bloodwork went fine.  The appointment was on time, and outside of Mom having her normal OUCH OUCH OUCH over bloodwork and the blood pressure cuff everything was good.  The two nice nurses tell us to go sit in the waiting room until the resident sees us.  We wait half an hour and I begin to think I have mixed up the instructions.  We are getting close to being late for the second appointment with the anesthetist and the nurse.  I check with the receptionist and I heard correctly - we ARE still waiting for the resident.  At the one hour mark Mom is getting really antsy so we go for a nice long walk down the hall and check out all the offices.  Come back and wait some more.  Mom, by now, has had enough and wants to go home.  Now.  She's 90 and has Alzheimers - she gets agitated.  She also gets tired.  And she hasn't eaten. I go see the receptionist and explain the situation, AND remind here that now we're half an hour late for our other appointment downstairs.  I ask her to rebook with the resident (since we have to come back on the 20th) and we will go finish up so I can take Mom home.  Well, she's totally flustered and won't/can't make us another appointment.  The resident has had an emergency and will be done in 10 minutes.  Me?  I'm not buying that.  After 10 minutes of the receptionist calling someone to see how to rebook our appointment and making us wait for that gal to come see us, the resident (who has been standing at the photocopier this whole time) decides he can see us now.  Pfft (that is steam coming out of my ears.  Again.).  The instant we sit down in his office, his cell phone rings.  He spends 10 minutes talking to someone in Spanish (?), hangs up and apologizes to us that his daughter is sick and he may have to go pick her up.  Then he calls someone (his wife??) and talks to HER in Spanish for 10 minutes.  Mom turns to me and gets up and says "we'll come back another time".  Doc hangs up the phone and starts going through the paperwork.  I think it's his first day because he is READING every single item on every single page.  He took my list of Mom's meds, wrote them all down, then gave me back the printout.  But he kept the old printout from February.  (yes I cleared that up before we left).  Then he takes her blood pressure again, more OUCH OUCH OUCH.  He calls another doc in to check about a scratch on her skin near where the incision will go.  Finally sends us on our way to our next appointment.  They wondered where we'd been all this time.  Obviously Miss Receptionist did not call them to explain that we'd be late.  Pfft (more steam coming out of my ears - there was actually quite a lot of that going on).  The folks at appointment #2 were very sympathetic that it was now going on 2 pm and Mom hadn't eaten and did their best to rush us through.  I finally made it home at 4 pm.
It took two double martinis and four episodes of GLEE to untwist me.  Poor DH had worked all day and ended up having to make supper because I was not moving until 6 pm.  He is so understanding sometimes.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Four Patch Posie, Stash Report, UFO report, Garden update

I am way behind in posting quilt photos.  This is a Four-Patch Posie one of the gals made at the Binbrook retreat last year.

As usual, I just love the back.

When DH starts supper, somebody thinks I should be upstairs supervising.  Sadie does this every time, without fail.  I can hear her little dog brain saying "Mom, Mom, GET UP HERE.  IT'S SUPPERTIME.

She makes me laugh with her odd little habits. She has taken to going back to bed in the morning after she has her constitutional. I guess she has figured out that nothing much goes on, with me working downstairs all day. When she hears me shut Floyd off at lunchtime she'll get up and go outside to patrol the perimeter for a round or two. She also knows when I shut Floyd off in late afternoon, there is a good chance we are going for a walk.  She'll start prancing around the front hall as soon as she hears the switch.  Her birthday is in a week and a half - she'll be four.  And still thinks that every person who comes to the house is there just to play with her.

Enough about the dog...

STASH REPORT (March 31st - I'm a few days behind on this too.)
Used this month  4.7 m
Used YTD         26.1 m
Added this month   0  m
Added YTD       15.1 m
Net 2011           - 11 m

Check my UFO page for the April info.

Why am I behind on everything (including my taxes, but that is a story for another day)?  Gardening season is creeping up.  My seeds from March 23rd are mostly sprouted.  Today I started Leeks, Mesclun Mix, and this very interesting Purple Millet.  Hopefully the 7 (yes SEVEN) seeds will all sprout.  No wonder these are $20 per pot at the garden centre.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Social Events

My girlfriend's daughter is heading off to college in May.  I can't let her go without a quilt, so I am using the cute little butterfly blocks (preprinted - not appliqued by me!) that I picked up in Louisville, KY.  Now I just need to find a couple of days to quilt it.  April is turning in to a rash of medical appointments.  I have to go for my bi-annual mammogram (groan...) and Mom has, so far, three appointments booked for her pacemaker replacement.  One is the pre-op, one is with the Thrombosis Clinic, and then there is the actual procedure day.  Quilting may be a bit late this month.

Before all the medical appointments popped up on my calendar, I had arranged with Jean, Jane & Teresa to take them bowling.  None of them wanted to go.  So... clockwise from top left: Teresa is humouring me.  Jane is crying because she just broke her thumbnail.  Me in the worst photo ever taken - joyful that I just bowled a spare.  Jean is ready to roar (actually, pretending she is the good bowler from the next lane).  Like my family on my birthday, these silly girls forgot they were supposed to let me win.  After I reminded them, they kindly started throwing gutter balls.  I love my friends. 

I had a date with my s.i.l. to go shoe shopping to celebrate her first day of 'retirement'.  We had made that date over a couple of Kamikazeeberry martinis (which were very good, by the way), before her hubby decided to move across the country with his employer.  She & I had to cancel our date because now she is in the midst of preparing to relocate 3300 km away.  But I had a DSW coupon for $20 that was burning a hole in my pocket.  And it had an expiry date.  I called up my friend Sue to check if she was busy.  I started at Walden Galleria Mall's DSW store with 2 pair of shoes, and worked my way up to 4 bras at Kohls, and covered everything in between.  Also got 2 lipsticks.  Even Sue got a pair of shoes, and she's not a shoe lover (which I TOTALLY do not understand).
  • lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.  Including cheesecake.
  • 2 pair shoes
  • 3 pair jeans
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 2 sweaters
  • 1 sweater set
  • 1 bathing suit (sh*t I HATE trying on swimsuits)
  • 1 shirt
  • 4 bras
  • 2 lipsticks
  • emergency rations at Arbys
This was a really good week that I won't be able to duplicate for quite some time.