Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Am Lucky

My mom disagrees with that statement--mainly this week because my trusty eleven-year-old Jeep blew its engine on Thursday. Diagnosis and treatment: new motor. The irony? I was on my way to the repair shop to have a small leak in the radiator fixed--on the way!! I only got part way there when everything came to a screeching halt and I found myself stopped by the side of the road. (No, the engine did not overheat--I keep an eye to my gauges, and I keep the oil changed regularly. I knew someone out there was trying to figure out why it seized. No exact explanation has been forthcoming.) Lucky? Yes--I was able to get to the side of the road, not be in it. Lucky? Yes, I have AAA. Lucky? Yes--because I could have been on one of the major trips I have lined up in April. Now I know inquiring minds want to know why I am fixing an eleven-year-old car. Well, I just love it--and I have maintained it for all the years I've owned it (nine of those eleven). I just had new brakes and tires put on it, I found leather seats at a junk yard and replaced those awful cloth seats that grab my jumpers and hold me captive. (I replaced the seats within months of buying it--loooooove leather seats; I know that's not PC, but....) And the other good news and why I am still lucky--the repair shop is being absolutely wonderful about finding a new motor and doing the work in a timely fashion. Everyone has been kind and not treated me like an imbecile. That's rare in the auto repair industry today.

Lynnie and I were outside today enjoying the sunshine, so I snapped her picture. She felt bad that she had not been seen lately. She is in her glory because the woodchucks are out and about and they have all kinds of places to hide. But she can smell them--and runs from one end of the porch to the other in an attempt to see them. I can just see the woodchucks sitting under the porch, with a paw to their mouth, trying not to laugh out loud at the silly dog who thinks she can get them!
Tonight I heard the peepers for the first time--supposedly they have to be frozen off three times before it is officially spring. But what a thrill to hear them! And my first crocus was out today. Proof positive that things are looking up for better weather.

A few months ago disaster befell me in the form of my favorite moisturizer being discontinued. You all know what a pain it is to find something new. Well, I decided to do a little research before jumping into a new moisturizer. Now, we've all seen the commercials that promise us the moon, but I also wanted to find something that let my conscience be more at ease--no animal testing. I found out a lot about the wording of claims about no animal testing and how they can be manipulated to seem okay. I'm not going to go into all that--you can read more about it elsewhere on the web if you are interested. However--here's the good news! I found a company that can be reached at They claim "no animal testing whatsoever." Seemed okay, but I emailed them anyway and asked them to confirm that statement. They were very nice and did so. The products are actually made of ingredients that we use as food. My fav, of course, is the night cream that is made with...cocoa! I have been using the products for about two months now and have been very happy with the results. My skin looks good and I know no animals were harmed in helping me stay so darn good looking! (OK already, get up off the floor and stop that laughing...I mean it...don't make me come over there!) Be fine products can be found at places like CVS and Rite Aid and some grocery store chains. Check out the website for more information. And, no, I am not getting any sort of endorsement deal out of this--just passing along my opinion.
Remember to leave a comment on the last post (March 23) to be eligible for the drawing. So far only 7 people (thank you!) have left comments. One in seven odds are good! You only have until midnight Sunday, March 29.
I'm leaving you tonight with a picture of the top of my computer tower. Carol, a dear friend and student, has been making me wonderful Hardanger pieces for several years. I have displayed them on and around my desk and thought you would like to see them. They are truly works of art and I treasure them. The little girl figurine was a gift from another friend, Joyce--it says "I picked this for you" on the bottom, and she sways. The seal pup is crystal from Austria and the sewing machine is from Clair S., another special friend. Please notice the lizard on top of the light (which Clair's husband made for me). Iggy was given to me by Bonni B. when I made my own lizard quilt several years ago. Lucky? You bet--I've been blessed with the best family, friends and students around.

Ta-ta for now. See you on Monday for the unveiling of the winner.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My One Year Blog-iversary!!!

How time flies! I remember it was Easter 2008 when I started this blog. It doesn't seem possible that an entire year has elapsed since then. To celebrate this momentous event, there will be a give-away! Yeah!!!! To win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post before midnight on Sunday, March 29. I will draw for a winner on Monday, March 30. Nothing to guess at, no research needed--just leave me a comment. The prize will be something I have made--could be an appliqued or pieced UFO block--could be something else--you won't know until the drawing. So, for those of you who have just been lurking--come on out and leave a comment! Nothing bad will happen by de-lurking--I promise!

As you may have noticed, I have made a few changes on the bar to the right of the blog. At the very bottom, there is now a list of categories for the posts. I have not had a chance to "label" all the posts yet, but at least half are done. That way, you won't have to search through every post to find that one bit of wisdom you can't live without but can't remember!!!

Also, I've added two more blogs to my list. I enjoy both of these ladies very much and hope you will as well. Another item I've added in that category is the title of the last post--so you can easily tell if you've already read it. Please stop by "Quilts and Creativity" and go back a couple posts. Maria has a blog about how she budgets dollars for quilting in this tough economy. It is excellent and may help all of us survive with enhanced stashes in place!

Many thanks to all who left messages for Grace and Debbie. I know they said they emailed friends and relatives across the world--so they are now also international internet stars! What fun!

Will close this post for now. I have lots more to share in the coming days. But remember to leave your comments on this blog to be eligible for the drawing. something nice for yourself today--you're worth it!


Monday, March 9, 2009

Debbie and Grace

This is the story of Debbie and Grace, a mother/daughter team of quilters. Grace (the mother) and Debbie (the daughter) started my handpiecing Monthly Bliss 2 class in September 2007. Pooling their talents, they worked on one quilt. Working mostly from a scrap bag, colors for each block were carefully considered and Debbie's daughter Margaret helped in that department.

When the class ended in June 2008, most of the blocks were done. Debbie spent time near Christmas 2008 setting the top together. The choice of border/sashing material and setting triangles made all the blocks look gorgeous.

In February 2009 Debbie and Grace came to the current Hexagon Bliss class (also hand piecing) with the top done. Trust me when I say that the picture does not do it justice. Debbie recently completed my hand quilting class and has plans to hand quilt this piece. (Debbie, that's our story--just nod your head yes, even if that's not the plan!!!)
These are two of the nicest ladies you would ever want to meet. It makes me smile when I see them--either together or singly. And guess what? This was their first quilt--yes, FIRST! I can't tell you how proud I am of them both. If you'd like to leave comments for them, do so and I'll make sure they get them.

Alas and alack--will spring ever get here? It's been cold, blustery and rainy here in central New York. And tonight the temperature is dropping again. Are you quilting to stay warm?
I'm reading a really good book--"Julia's Chocolates" by Cathy Lamb. In places you laugh out loud and in others you want to just cry your eyes out. Well worth a read.
For those of you who may be interested, I still have a few places left for the handwork retreat. For more info, please go to and look under the retreat section.
Coming up--a contest of sorts. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Just Checking In

Blustery, frigid--brrrr! And just a few days ago it was in the low 50's. Just enough to let the crocus and daffodils start out of the ground. I think they changed their mind!

I took these photos a couple weeks ago and wanted to share them with you. The first one shows a chickadee and a woodpecker sharing a tree.

This is the same woodpecker--now sadly alone in his quest for food.

And keeping a watchful eye--a hawk. He's puffed out to keep warm!

Stay warm and safe. Settle into a comfy chair with a quilt (or afgan), a good book and some hot chocolate. Immerse yourself in total pleasure......while you can, 'cause you know that phone is going to ring ;-)