Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Customer Service?

I got a letter today from my new (since Sept.) DSL service inviting me to call their customer care line if I had any problems. They noted that this was the second letter they had sent me and they want to know if there is anything they can do to make their service better.

Since changing to them I have not been getting comment alerts from Blogger, nor have I been getting automatic updates from Norton. Both worked just fine until I changed.

So I thought I may as well call them and see what they can do.

I waited on hold for 17 minutes. Jill finally came on the line. I spent about 3 minutes telling her my problems. She said she had to put me on hold for just a second while she wrote down my problems and then came back and said, "Our tech support will be able to help you. I will transfer you now."

**big inward groan****
What is Jill? I assumed she WAS tech support!
If she is the receptionist, why didn't she tell me before I spent 3 minutes telling her all my problems?

Back on hold I go. It didn't take too long and Brian came on the line. "Your phone number please,", he asks. I tell him.

"Your address?"

Oh, for Pete's sakes, I just told all of this to Jill. I pleasantly give Brian the same info.

"What can I help you with?" he says.

I let out an audible sigh, "What happened to all the info I just told Jill that she wrote down?"

Brian said, "Oh," like he was confused, "Let me put you on hold."

I let out a tiny shriek, I want to scream, "For God's sake DON'T put me on hold again!".

Instead I say quite nicely, "Never mind. I will tell it all to you all over again."

And I do...it takes a bit longer this time as he asks me questions like, "Blog, what?"

At this point I am not too optimistic.
He's a tech guy and does not seem to have ever heard of a blog.
"You mean these blog people want to...like... instant message you?"

Bigger GROAN from me........I try to explain to him how Blogger sends me an email when a person comments, but since switching to his service, this does not work. It worked perfectly fine right up to the day I made the change. I ask him if maybe they have some security setting that prevents the messages coming through from Blogger.com.

"O.K.", he says. "Let me check."

And just like that, HE PUTS ME ON HOLD AGAIN.

To his credit, he came back rather quickly.

"I am sorry but we can't help you with either problem. You will have to contact Norton and Blogger."

"I have already contacted Blogger and they said the problem was not with them." I almost laugh out loud as I know I am doomed.

"Well, we just provide a DSL line connection. What you do after that is up to you and them."

"Thank you, Brian. Have a good evening."

So much for customer service.

Dianne LOOK!

The Blogger bar has returned to span the full width!!!!

One of my pictures must have been too big causing it to drift into the right margin. When that post got bumped to the next page everything came back to normal!

Valentine Quilt

This is my scrappy hearts valentine's Day quilt. Each year I get it out in February.

This year I am kicking around the idea of using it for a tablecloth for a pink Valentine's table. If you ever look at decorating magazines, you have almost certainly seen quilts used as tablecloths.

They are not very practical for that purpose.

Try to balance a glass of liquid on a quilted cloth...not very easy to do. You must use a good stiff placemat on top of the quilt to set the glasses, etc.

Really I would only suggest using a quilt as a tablecloth, if you aren't going to actually eat at the table. . . you just want the romantic ambience a quilt-covered table gives.

OK, so I have probably just talked myself out of using it in the dining room. I will have to see if I find the energy this week to play around with the idea. I do have pink dinner plates..........it would be fun to see if I can create something with them.....

Tomorrow I have my root canal. That may be all the excitement I can handle for this week. :)

Monday, January 30, 2006

I Chose This One

Since I got home from work, I have sewn it together, sandwiched it (for the nonquilters: put the backing and batting and top together)and began tying it.

I have not tied a quilt since the very first one I made 28 years ago. I don't like tied quilts, but was not willing to spend the effort to hand quilt something that will be at the mercy of the outdoor elements. Forget machine quilting - I've tried and I just make a huge mess.

So tying it is -- and I sort of enjoyed it tonight. I probably did a quarter of it so far.

I think I am going to bind it in ORANGE. That probably shocks many of you.

There is a method to my madness.

All of the colors I am using in the quilt are the same colors the flowers will be. Lots of bright orange flowers, red, yellow and purple. The yellow poka dot fabric has some orange dots in it. I did not have any orange fabric in my stash, but I found two packages of orange binding that I have had for YEARS. I mean, really, WHAT else would I ever use it for??? LOL

Does anyone reading this tie their quilts? If so, what do you tie them with?
I used embroidery floss since I had that on hand. I think I used yarn in my first one.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Which Log Cabin Layout for the Glider?

Since I had so many extra strips of fabric cut, I decided to whip out a few more blocks to make a throw for the glider. Now I have to decide how to sew them together. I took pics of some of the possible layouts--I think I know which one I will use.

If you were here last night, yes, this picture changed. As I made more blocks the possibilities increased. Those who voted last night liked the bottom row, middle layout.

It will go in place of the crazy quilt throw in this photo. Some of the pillows,of course, will go here, too.
I guess I should make two more little throws for the tops of the 2 chairs. It really pays to have photos of your garden/deck. It is amazing how much you forget. . . like I totally forgot about the chairs until I looked at this picture.

Back to the sewing machine.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I am Ready for Summer

Last night I finished my 7th (and probably last) pillow for the deck. I found a triple star paper-pieced pattern that I wanted to try. These pillows were great for teaching myself paper-piecing. I got to practice on something that would end up being useful to me. And I got to use wickedly bright colors that I would never dream of using in my home.

I still need to stuff them all, but will wait another couple of months to do that. They are much easier to store flat. These are the three different designs all together.

With the triple star I finally realized the value of paper-piecing. It would have been nearly impossible to traditionally piece all those angles.

I am quite happy with them and glad that I learned a new technique.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Picture File Size

I found out how much space Blogger allows for pictures.

Here is the info taken from Blogger's own help files:

What are the limits on the size or number of pictures uploaded?
When you upload an image, it is resampled and resized according to the size you choose in the upload form. This lets it take up less space on the server. You can fill up to 300 MB of server space with images.

What file types are supported?
You can upload images in JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF or BMP format.

What I still have not found out is how you know how much space you are using and what happens when you use up all your space.

Thanks to Dianne (our resident HTML whiz!) I got rid of the little blurb that kept appearing before you entered my site.

Advertising Cookie Jars

I took pics of some of my advertising cookie jars while taking them down to clean this weekend. I have quite a few cookie jars, but I never put cookies in any of them!

Mr. Peanut is my favorite

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Still Trying to Learn Paper-Piecing

I am intrigued by this paper piecing. I decided to try a larger block before I forgot what I had learned.

I copied the pattern, taped the 4 pieces together and numbered them all

Then I just cut chunks of fabric that somewhat resembled the shape I needed, turned the pattern to the back side and started sewing

At this point I am not too optimistic. Did you ever see a more sorry-looking block?

I think the pattern should be on the back also. I can't tell where to place the piece to sew it on. I decided to use a pin to push through the front

When turned over you get this little holey line so you know where the fabric needs to end up

After ripping out and resewing 4 or 5 pieces that I still cut too short, I finally ended up with this

I have to say I am surprisingly happy with the outcome.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I've Been Wondering....

When you upload a picture to Blogger (using Blogger’s own feature) where are the files stored?

I have uploaded picures and then deleted them before posting. Are those pictures still someplace on Blogger where I could delete them?

How much space does each blog get on Blogger?

As you know I have a TON of pictures on this blog. Will I run out of space at some point?

And because I find it hard to post without a picture

WHY, do I get this little blurb across my screen every time I go into my site?
There must be something in my template that needs tweaking.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

It's not going to be as quick as I thought

Early this morning I turned the heart blocks into log cabin blocks.

I originally thought I wanted the logs (all the strips around the center) in bright colors--but I would have had to go dig through my boxes of fabric, find 3-4 different fabrics in 4 different bold colors, iron it all, and cut it into 1.5" strips. Too much work.

Instead I used light and dark green fabrics that I already had cut from another project.

After completing all five, I decided I did not like them. I wanted sunny, put-the-sunglasses-on bright fabrics. They were too dull.

I threw them aside and did other things. Early this afternoon I decided to do this

Yes, I ripped them all out. I decided better to rip out than to paper-piece new hearts.

Oh, by the way, did you notice what I use to rip out stitches?

Cuticle scissors. I have found them to be the perfect tool for the unpleasant task. The curved tips make it easy to snip the tiny stitches.

I spent quite a bit of time getting the fabrics, ironing and rotary cutting them. I did cut a lot of extra strips so I will have plenty for other projects.

I checked the clock before starting to piece. It took exactly 1.75 hours to sew them back together.

Get your sunglasses on because here they are

I like them much better now. It took awhile, but it was a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Chicken & 3 Pasta Soup

Last night my son and my Mom & Dad were here for dinner.
I cooked stuffed chicken breasts.

Since I had thawed 12 chicken breasts and only cooked 8 of them, I had to do something with the other four this morning.

I decided to make soup again. This time chicken noodle (I do love soup). I have no recipe for this as it's a "throw-in-whatever-you-feel-like" type of soup.

The only thing worth mentioning about the cooking procedure is the "noodle" portion.

I like to use different shapes of pasta in the same soup. . . just something about the different textures appeals to me.

I used a thin noodle, orzo, and Fiori. Fiori means flowers in Italian, which is just what the pasta looks like. Very cute and small.

If you have never used orzo, it is a tiny little pasta that looks much like rice.

Oh, one other thing I like to do is caramelize the onions prior to adding them to the soup. The onion flavor is so much better and it makes the broth a rich dark color.

It does take some time (at least half an hour) to caramelize the onions, so I like to cook extra and have them on hand. I cooked them yesterday because I needed some for the stuffed chicken anyway. (caramelizing is just cooking slowly in a little butter and olive oil until they turn a rich brown color. It adds sweetness to the onion).

I made a HUGE pot (you would think I was cooking for an army instead of just two!). I think I will take some over to my Mom & Dad.

I wish Santa didn't read blogs.

I posted my Christmas wish list and the dear old guy brought me just about everything I had asked for.

Including not one, but two of the silicone muffins pans that I thought would add immense pleasure to my baking life.

Yesterday I used them for the first time.

I eagerly tipped them over anticipating a clean tumble onto the awaiting rack

Hmmm...not one fell out...
I grabbed a knife and loosened the edges (something you are not supposed to have to do with the high-priced silicone pans).
They still did not fall.
I had to wrestle the knife around and under each one.
They finally came out.

What a waste of space in Santa's gift bag!
Bah Humbug.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I Tried Something New

I paper-pieced some hearts this morning. You see, I don't know how to paper piece. I think one of Brit's posts inspired me. Someone showed her how and she said it was not as difficult as she had originally thought.

I don't have anyone to show me how. In my nonblogging life, I don't know any quilters.

Sad, but true.

Anyway I saw a quilt pattern I liked in a magazine and darned if it wasn't paper-pieced. So I made some photo copies and decided to try it again.

It took two tossed hearts to figure it out.
I have discovered that knowing which piece to start with is the big secret!
Anyway I did these and they turned out OK.

I am going to do something with them for the new deck quilts. Not sure what yet--still tossing ideas around in my head. They might end up being pillows, or I may make more and turn them into a small throw quilt for the glider.

Right now the leading idea is to use the heart square for the center of a log cabin block for the glider throw. I need something quick and easy since its going on the deck. We shall see..........

Friday, January 20, 2006

Bad Font, Good Font

Why does word verification keep changing its font style?

I must say some of these are very difficult to read.

Just look at this? You have to actually study it to see if it's a "v" or a "u".

geez, can they jam these letters any closer together?
Very irritating!

Now here's a nice, easy-to-read font. Why can't they always use this one?

Just my pet peeve of the day.

Thalassa Cruso

I am beginning to get the urge to read garden books. It happens every year in January or February.

One of my favorite garden writers was the late Thalassa Cruso.

I found her book, To Everything There is a Season, at a used book store a few years ago. It is full of informative and reminiscent essays.

My favorite book of hers is, Making Things Grow Outdoors, but I can't seem to find it.You can feel her passion for her gardens with each chapter.
I thought I owned it, but maybe it was a library book. Before the computer came into my life, I used to get armloads of books every week from the library.

I miss that.

"Zoey took her clothes off"

that is what someone googled and found my site.

Is there some s e x queen named Zoey (well, other than me, of course)? hee hee

Every now and then I get some search terms suggesting that the person is definitely not looking for flowers, quilts, or tablescapes!

The search always has the name, "Zoey" or "Zo" in it, which leads me to believe I share my name with some well-known p o r n o star.

Imagine their disappointment when they arrive here.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I've Been Tagged

by Dianne. I have seen this on so many other blogs and thought it was one of the more interesting ones, so I will give it a try. I am not tagging anyone else, but if anyone would like to do it, feel free to jump right in.

Four jobs I've had:
waitress at an A&W Restaurant way back in the days of taking orders from the car window, a fast food place called, Arthur Treachers Fish & Chips (anybody remember them?), secretary to the General Manager at a manufacturing plant, hotel sales and admin. for the past 20 years.

Four movies I could watch over and over:
hmmmmmm…none. I rarely watch movies and sure don’t want to watch the same thing once I’ve already seen it.

Four places where I've lived:
Ft. Leonardwood, MO (born there),
Ft. Lauderdale, FL,
Glenview, IL,
Bad Axe, MI (couldn’t leave this one out because I just LOVE that name)

Four favorite tv shows
I don’t know any of the hit shows from the past 10 years, unless they are on HGTV/ Food Channel or Fox News. So I watch a lot of cooking shows, gardening & decorating shows, and now & then I check out the news of the nation.

Four places where I have been on vacation:
Las Vegas (3 times),
Disneyworld in Florida,
A fishing lodge in Canada (you have to land in the water in an airplane to get to it – may moons ago, can’t remember what it was called, someplace near Wawa),
Upper Penninsula of Michigan, where they have beautiful places like this:

Four favorite foods:
Macaroni and Cheese
Lobster Tail
Butter (the real stuff)
Milk Chocolate

Four places I'd rather be right now:
Sitting on my deck sipping wine and watching humming birds while flipping through a good gardening magazine

Four sites I visit daily:
I could not even list all the sites I visit daily! I counted just my “Quilt & Crafty” blogs and there were 121. I have hundreds in my favorites.
Of course, I don’t hit them all daily.
This morning I visited all of these:

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Compulsive Cookbook Collector?

These are some of the cookbooks on my desk in my kitchen

These are more cookbooks in the desk drawer

And more in another drawer

another drawer

and in the cupboard above the desk

If that is not enough

I even have them UNDER the desk!

Do you think I have too many? LOL

Summer Memories

on this dark, dreary, dismal day in Michigan I am beginning to miss my garden

Monday, January 16, 2006

Warning - Gross Post - Don't Read If You Have a Weak Stomach

Our hotel does a lot of business with hockey teams – high school, peewee, and even semi professional. Almost every weekend we have 3 or more teams staying with us.

It’s a tough way to make a buck.

You expect kids to be a bit rambunctious, but many (not all) of these kids are out of control. A good portion of the parents let them run wild through the halls, knocking pucks against the walls, ripping the numbers off the doors, knocking on doors while people are sleeping, then running away…we have had them fill the bathtub with water and put all the pillows in to get soaked…that is if they have left any pillows in the room (they are fond are stealing them). Last weekend 6 blankets were stolen, two lamps were broken,a number of bath towels were missing, and two rooms left numerous barf piles.

That’s a typical hockey weekend. We are used to it. We grit our teeth and bear it.

This weekend one of the little angels went too far.

We were not aware until a few hours after check out.

Another guest checked in early & had the misfortune of getting the hockey room.

After being in the room for a short while, the unspecting guest called down to complain of an unpleasant smell in the bathroom and said when he flushed the toilet, the water was a brownish color.

Our maintenance man went up to investigate.

If you are thinking, gross, disgusting thoughts, then you probably guessed it.

Our maintenance guy pulled off the top of the water tank and it was FULL of feces!

Evidently the teenager thought it would be funny to get on the top of the toilet seat, remove the tank lid, squat over it and defecate. Then he put the top back on, packed his bags and left for home.

I hope that hockey player's team did not win the tournament.

Why, you wonder, didn't the housekeeper notice the aroma and take care of it before the next guest arrived? Good question.

I am wondering the same.

I will bet that question will be a hot topic of conversation at our Wed. staff meeting.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

 Posted by Picasa

Cheeseburger Soup Recipe

Kathy asked for the recipe.
As I told Kathy in her comment, I had intended to post the recipe, but was too lazy to type it all out. So I went to the net and found it at this site:


I actually saw a lady on FoodTV (years ago) who had won some contest with the recipe.
She suggested garnishing it with sweet pickle relish, diced onions and diced tomoatoes (stuff you would put on a cheeseburger). I was out of tomatoes, but I did put the relish & onion on mine. (DH hates the relish in his).

Cheeseburger Soup

Recipe By : Taste of Home Oct/Nov '96
Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :0:00

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1/2 lb ground beef
3/4 c chopped onion
3/4 c shredded carrots
3/4 c diced celery
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
4 tbsp butter or margarine -- divided
3 c chicken broth
4 c diced peeled potatoes
1/4 c all-purpose flour
8 oz processed American cheese -- cubed
1 1/2 c milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 c sour cream

In a 3-qt. saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside. In the same
saucepan, saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1
tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add
broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and
simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, in a
small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3-5
minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir
for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper;
cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from the heat; blend in sour

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I used only about two cups of potatoes, I doubled the burger and I omitted the sour cream.

What to do with those plastic Folgers cans and other Timesaving Tips

While making my cheeseburger soup, it occurred to me that I practice a few time-saving techniques that might benefit others. I love to read blogs that teach me something, so I have decided to share them with you. There may be someone out there who will benefit from these little time savers.

Whether you work at home or outside of it, there are certainly days when you don't want to spend time cooking.

I love to cook, but NOT on work days, so I usually spend a few hours of each weekend preparing for time off during the week.

I needed to fry a pound of burger for my soup -- when I fry burger it makes a mess of the stove--way too much of a mess to cook just one pound. So I cooked 5 lbs. of hamburger with onions and celery.

I took out what I needed and put the rest in zip lock gallon bags to freeze. It can be a pain to fill the bags without dropping burger all over the counter. I have found a solution for that:
An empty Folgers coffee plastic can.
Just put the ziplock bag into the can and fold the top over the can edge (it's a perfect fit)

Then just fill it up. I put about 1# in each since there are only two of us. I then remove the bag, ziplock it, and fold it into a log shape (freezes & thaws more quickly).

Now when I need a little burger for spaghetti sauce, etc., all I have to do is thaw the meat and dump it in the sauce. I save time chopping onions & celery, cooking it, and most of all, cleaning up the greasy stove!

Once I had the burger cooked, I continued making my soup (in the same pan--no need to wash it out or anything).

Is there anything more beautiful than carrots, celery and onion? That common cooking combination is called mirepoix(pronounced something like mirror a paw)...just a bit of trivia thrown in for you :) It's such a fun word to say...just say it out loud. Don't you love it? LOL (thanks to Kathy and Sabine, I have corrected the french term. I had it saved with an incorrect spelling. I must have spelled it the way I heard Emeril say it--I watched him for two years trying to figure out what he was talking about when he spoke the term!)
As long as you are doing the work for a pot of homemade soup, you may as well double the batch. Then let it cool while you get your Folgers can ready. Yes, those Folgers cans are quite valuable. Put your trusty ziplock bag in the can and fill it with cooled soup. I only put about 4 cups in each bag, because that is all DH and I need for one meal. Lock the bag top carefully squeezing out all the air.
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