Friday, November 03, 2006

best friends,mercy, and Max

Pull up a chair and have a piece of my bagel while I tell you a cautionary tale of a death in the family. Not a death in my family but the death of my friend Trisha's father-in-law Max. It's a cautionary tale because this is the kind of thing that can happen to you-SO PAY ATTENTION.
Last night I went to my Thursday night quilting with the girls. The girls are my two best friends, Trisha and Pat. Now both these women have the ability to make me laugh till stuff comes out my nose. Unfortunately, in the past few months Trisha's father-in-law Max had gotten progressively worse with a number of ailments that seemed to increase daily. It was one of those things you hear about in the news. Here's the headline- Man Never Sees Doc in 40 yrs-dies in 2 months of EVERYTHING!- O.K. got the picture? Now Max was probably in a health food store for the latest vitamin every other day and because of his(ahem)bazaar take on life, he wouldn't hesitate to tell you in detail what was wrong with your life and as an addendum, how miserable you were. Max was known far and wide in our village. He had long ago retired and only went to the Store on Mondays. I could make a list rivaling the phonebook of people who would put off going to the store until Tuesday just to Not see Max. If you went in for a specific item and forgot it was Monday-undoubtedly, you would come out having been lectured to about how ridiculous your idea was and you would hold in your hand the item that Max thought was more appropriate. Business on Monday was not brisk....For thirty years Max made every holiday miserable for my friend Trisha by initiating an argument with a random family member and clearing the room faster than a farting dog. Often after scraping his plate clean her would imperiously inform her how much better so and so's whatever was. He was as genuinely mean to her as he was sweet to the other daughter-in-law, who NEVER EVER invited him to dinner, EVER. Stay with me now.... Well..a couple of years ago I taught Trisha to paper piece. Sometime later I gave her some really special fabric for Christmas and she made, what started out to be a t-block quilt. It was really pretty and her work is always on the mark even without paper piecing. I watched her make the little blocks(many little blocks)and assumed is would be just lovely slightly larger than mini wall quilt. She picked out a paper pieced border with, I"M NOT KIDDING a million little pieces. It was very intricate. Well she decided to stretch out of the box on this one. When it was finished she had made a quilt that had all these t-blocks and toward the bottom they were twisted and turned as if they were falling out of the quilt. This was a really big stretch towards art for her. It was no less than spectacular. O.K. for those of you who have stuck with me on this journey-a few weeks ago Max finally left this mortal plane for a place where he can be a curmudggeon in eternity. Let me also add that the daughter-in-law who stayed by his bedside and comforted him was not the other daughter-in-law but Trisha. On the day he was buried, the mother-in-law asked if she could pick out something to put in the coffin with Max(you see where I'm going with this?) Trisha, being the best person in the world simply said "sure" and of all the houseful of quilts to pick from-MIL picked this one. OH!! yes!! she did! So anyway, last night at the Thursday night meeting of the quilting ladies the occasion arose to discuss someones quilt and how it wasn't done nearly as well as Trisha's. She said "you mean the one that's in the box with Max?" Now I'm not one given to throwing around colorful language(even though I find it amusing sometimes)but I yelled out in a barely restrained yelp "What the F__K were you thinking?" and of course everyone was very quiet for about 30 seconds-then we laughed so hard stuff came out our noses.....In closing let me just say that among the many reasons that this woman is a rock of a friend, after all the crap he gave her-she gave the eulogy for Max when no one else in the family was able to. As part of the eulogy she told everyone that if they had come to the store on Monday and wound up with stuff they didn't want because Max insisted he knew better-returns would be accepted on Tuesday of next week. Life is pretty damned amazing sometimes-for all the people who Max annoyed(and there are legions)over 400 people showed up at the funeral. We think some of them came to make sure he was really gone. The police blocked a main artery road so the funeral could get to the graveyard and there was a dinner at the VFW for everyone afterward. I guess that's what it means to be a part of a small town. People come to support each other and tell cautionary tales. I love this place. I will never pass the cemetery again without thinking of that quilt and hoping that Max is enjoying it.I hope it can stand up to the heat....

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I was lost in the dust yesterday...literally. When you can write your name in it, it's time to consider a major clean-up. In my clean-up of the great dryer vent debacle on Saturday, I found that there is, indeed a floor under all the stuff in the closet and on that floor there were several bags of scraps. Now I'm not talking about big bags but just ziplocs. In the past I''ve always been excited to unearth such things. These were not the sort of thing you get excited about. Why on earth I saved bits(really little bits) of fabric that was questionable 15 years ago is a mystery. I guess back then I must have thought that I'd do do something with it someday(not)In case I forgot to mention it before, I live by the Scarlett O'Hara rules for life. Number one on that list is_ I'll worry about that tomorrow, or in this case, next millenium. Well, I am happy to report that it feels really great to unburden oneself of a lot of useless crap. While I was on a role I threw away a lot of clothes that will never in this life fit me again. I also found a bunch of UFOs that I clearly didn't like to begin with and, wait for it.....I chucked them. They were poorly done with fabric that was of a poor quality and so-out they went. Stuff that I started way back before I realised that you get what you pay for in the fabric world. I found a pretty good piece of fabric that was one of the early Asian designs with outlining in gold around the camellias and I held my breath and threw it away. Why, you may wonder?? Because I used it in two different quilts I made and after a number of (not many)washings the gold turned green and austic and actually ate through the fabric. Well all of this is by way of explaining my absence from the blog world yesterday. I am finding that it is really hard to get to the computer if I don't do it first thing in the day. I am trying to up-load a photo of the quilt that I just finished for my son's girlfriend, Dani. I don't know if it will work. Fingers crossed. If not I'll try again later. Have a spectacular day...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Two posts in one day-I'm really not getting anything done. Thanks to my friend Deb(Red Shoe Rambling) for the nice comment. Happy Halloween to everyone who cares. I do love seeing the kids in their costumes. My son and I used to dress up(yes, I did too) and walk the neighborhood. Then we would fight over the candy(Hee) Until he figured out that taking the candy into his room over night would mean having some the next day. I really developed a sweet tooth. Funny thing about that is that before I got married and had a kid I never ever ate candy. All my life I've been a meat and potatoes person. Growing up in a German household with my grandmother, who put gravy on everything that didn't move really had a profound effect on me. A profound and enlarging effect. As soon as I left home I lost poundage really fast. Then I went to weight watchers and lost about 55 pounds. Since I was in the cosmetic business I had to look good and stay that way-so for many years I was hungry-really really hungry. I have since lost that hunger and need desperately to return to WW. We live way up here on this hill and most children are too lazy to climb up here for candy or anything else so we rarely get anyone on Halloween. I can count on one hand the number of kids in the last five years. In fact, we get so excited and surprised that we probably scare them when they do jumping around yelling "Hey come look at the trick or treater" they probably have our house pegged as the one where the crazy people live. My point being-I don't need to buy candy-every year I do anyway-every year I eat the stuff myself-every year I gain more weight and every year I say I won't do it again...excuse me while I unwrap this Snickers mini. Hopeless!!!
Have You Ever?
1. Taken a quilting class
2. Paper pieced- yes-I've taught it to others
3. Hand quilted-
4. Hand pieced-yes but I wish I was more focused
5. Created your own pattern
6. Published a pattern in a magazine or book-
7. Gone on a quilting retreat-
8. Gone to a quilting convention
9. Met someone who wrote a quilting book
10 combined your quilting with some other craft
11. Done any three dimensional quilting - like fabric origami?
12. Made something using Thimbleberries fabric
13. Made something using batiks
14. Dyed your own fabric
15. Made a landscape hanging
16 Made a New York Beauty quilt-does starting count?
17 Made a baby quilt
18 Made a wall hanging
19 Made a journal quilt
20 Submitted your journal quilt for viewing
21 Made a fabric postcard
22 Made a artistic trading card (ATC)
23 Exchanged artistic trading cards
24. Mailed our your postcard?
25. Made a lap quilt
26 Made a twin size quilt
27 Made a full size quilt
28 Made a queen size quilt
29 Made a king size quilt
30 Donated a quilt to charity
31 Sent a quilt out to a quilter
32 Thrown away a UFO
33 Given away a UFO
34 Cut up a UFO and made something else with it
35 Ripped fabric instead of cutting it
36 Made a quilt exactly like the pattern, with no changes whatsoever
37 Done any Sashiko
38 Quilted your own quilt
39 Did free motion quilting- just practicing so far
40 Put any embroidery or beads on your quilt
41 Given away your quilt to a stranger
42 Swapped fabric
43 swapped blocks
44 participated in a round robin
45 participated in an ostritch round robin
46 kept a journal about your quilting
47 written a letter to someone who made an antique quilt
49 kept a blog about your quilting-this blog, although it's about a lot of other stuff too.
50 participated in a gift exchange
51 sent a quilting random act of kindness
52 joined a newsgroup about quilting
53 made a quilt using a pattern from quilterscache I love this site
54 joined an online block of the month
55 made a block of the month quilt
56 subscribed to a fabric of the month club
57 bought fabric at an online store
58 bought fabric from ebay
59 own more than one sewing machine
60 have a room dedicated solely to sewing-does part of my bedroom and part of my kitchen count?
61 hide a fabric purchase-not anymore though it's a silly thing to do since my husband collects toy and antique trains-He always says I couldn't begin to spend as much on fabric as he has on trains so no problemo.
62 finished making a holiday gift before July
63 made a landscape quilt
64 made a quilt using a book from the library
65 worked with someone else to make a quilt-baby quilt for a young woman my quilt group knows
66. joined a quilt guild
67 become president of a quilt guild
68 taught a quilting class
69 helped someone else get the quilting bug
70 taught a child to sew
71 made a Dear Jane block- no but I enjoy that site and love those blocks
72 Made a miniature quilt-that's how I began quilting by getting a copy of Miniature Quilts mag. which has unfortunately gone out of business. I have made many minis and given many away as gifts.
73 watch QNN - quilters news network-seen it a few times-neat idea
73 subscribe to a quilting magazine from your own country-Quilters Newsletter(not so good anymore, dropped my subscription and Miniature Quilts-see above
74 subscribe to a quilting magazine from another country
75 buy fabric from another country
76 swapped completed quilts with someone else
77 asked for quilting help online
78 gone to a quilt shop to ask for quilting help
79 bought fabric at a local quilt shop-wish there were more locally-I have to travel a bit to get to my nearest one.
80 travelled more than 100 miles to go to a quilt shop-my husband used to think we travelled to see the sites-now he just looks for the nearest quilt shop when planning a trip.
81 used nontraditional fabric for a quilt - something other than cotton or flannel
82 made a quilt using instructions given to you on a blog- still working on Judy's first quilt for an hour on Sunshine Quilts.
83 make comments on someone's quilting blog- yes indeed, that's how I made quilting artist friends on line.
84 meet a quilter in person after only having talked online
85 had a quilting retreat in your home
86 own quilting software-EQ-5
87 made a quilt you designed on your quilting software
88 done any quilt research - history, interviewing quilters, etc.- along with being a quilter I'm a history buff and bookaholic so I have a number of history books about quilting
89 had any quilt related subject published anywhere
90 donated a quilt to a museum
91 bought a quilt from a thrift store
92 made a quilt using fabric from a thrift store
93 made a quilt using photos-for my husbands 50th
94 made a pastel quilt
95 made a quilt using brights
96 made a quilt using ethnic fabric from another country - African, Asian, etc.-I have a huge collection of asian fabric.
97 made a quilt using leftover blocks from other quilts
98 had your quilt in a magazine, newspaper, newsletter, TV, etc.
99. submitted your quilt to a quilt show?
100. won any ribbons with your quilts?
101 had more finished quilts than UFOs
102 made a quilt using reproduction fabrics-I have a huge collection of civil war fabrics
103 took a break from quilting that was longer than a year
104 made money with your quilting
105 had a job in the fabric / quilting industry

Monday, October 30, 2006

Dumb and Dumberer

OMG I can't believe how stupid this lack of knowledge about computer-related stuff makes one feel. I'm married to a verrrry smart man and my son is a computer nut who was going to make his living with computers and as for me....well, lets just say I'm challenged. Smart cookie in many other ways but when I come up against the mighty computer gods, I shrink in horror and quake in my high heeled sneakers. I know that much of it has to do with the generation and age but up till now I haven't really cared too much. Now I would like to get into the writing and blogging and picture up-loading. One day at a time(or week, or month) Today there are a number of semi-important things I must do(cleaning,cooking,laundry,ugh) in order to get to the good stuff(blogging and sewing) SO for a little while, I'll take a suggestion from Debra Spincic(really talented lady) and just write a few posts to get the thing going. Maybe a meme or two to introduce the uniqueness of me(heh) to anyone who might be interested. I hope I don't scare anyone away. I'm a fairly honest spoken woman and I'm usually not afraid to state my opinions-that doesn't please some people but I think life is too short to beat around the bush too much...and after's my blog and welcome to it! I'm a woman of nearly 60(gad that hurt) who is passionate about books, tea, old movies, quilting-sewing-needlework, and my super family and friends. I really hate housework because lets face it at my age I've been doing it for eons and it still looks the same every morning. I live in a very big , very old house that is a rabbit warren of rooms that really need the have the walls torn out of to make larger spaces that people could live in(whew-that felt good)but there are the usual financial constraints and so we cram ourselves into teeny tiny spaces and live in an eternal jumble of stuff. I spend some of my time helping to run a food pantry in our village. It's not a place to get a cooked meal but simply a Pantry with canned goods and a freezer with some stuff that the local food establishments are good enough to donate. We have a number of excellent bakeries and restaurants and such who bring day old good like bagels ,bread, food left over from civic functions and such. Most of our clients are retired people who need to make ends meet, disabled vets from the local VA and single Moms, some with disabled kids. The Moms often have to choose between rent and food to pay for the cost of an Autistic child. There is almost nothing sadder than that. They come in and cry and visit and sometimes I think it is less for the food than for an adult human voice and some compassion. Anyway that's where I'm headed now and so I'll just leave todays post off here. I hope you enjoy reading and I look forward to any comments that friends care to leave. Thanks for the chance to chat....