Sunday, April 27, 2008

Visions of Sugarplums danced in my Head

When I spotted these giant lollipops my first thought was Christmas.

Quite a few years ago I searched every store in my town for these to use on a Christmas tree in the dining room at work. There was not a giant sucker to be found. In all the years since this is the first time I've seen them.

So I bought 15.

I can't wait to see what I can do with them next year.

If only I remember that I have them.

I hit pay dirt in the mailbox yesterday. When the mailman has to wrap a rubberband around all the magazines, it's a good mail day.

I haven't read any of them yet.
I also went to the library to pick up a book I'd put on hold. It's Jennifer Chiaverini's latest in her Elm Creek Quilter's series. I hope it's better than the last one I read in January.

I'm saving all the reading material for a three-day trip we will be taking after work Thursday. It's the Mexican Flamenco dinner theatre weekend.

I recently bought this jacket. I was going to wear it last week, but it was so bright that I just couldn't bring myself to go out in public in it! I thought I'd wait for warmer weather when it would seem more appropriate to wear something that required sunglasses to look at.

Anyway the Mexican dinner dance may be just the occasion to wear this jacket. How fortunate that I would make such a buying mistake and then end up with the perfect event to wear it. So Mom, this is probably what I will be wearing to the dinner (Mom will be there, too).

Now I must get to work and move all my LR furniture back to the living room all my dining room furniture back to the dining room. A few weeks ago I switched the two rooms and now I don't like it so I have to move it all back. It's a TON of work because there are four china cabinets that have to be emptied of all their glassware to make the move.

Why oh why do I do such crazy things? I did the exact same thing last year. I don't know why I thought it would look different this year!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Doesn't Brecks know that mid April is not the planting time in Michigan?

Before I get to the gardeing, let me attempt to tantalize your taste buds with these twice-baked potatoes I made for dinner today. They have a layer of caramelized Vidalia onions on the bottom, a bit of sour cream, cheddar cheese, and crushed Caesar salad croutons on the top. YUM! They were good. I really don't have a recipe, it's one of those toss-in-whatever-you-like items. I never make the exact same twice baked potato. I had this bag of croutons that we both hated (too hard and crunchy), so I dumped them into the food processor and turned them into crumbs for the topping. They gave a delicious flavor--much better then flour.

We will come back to the potatoes later, after I show you the little bit of gardening I did today.

Last week I received my Breck's order of cannas, dahlias and flame flower. I ordered them months ago and they said they would send the order at the proper planting time.

The proper plating time in my region for tender plants like these is early June. I stuck the box in the garage for the past week. I am not sure if sitting in the garage for six weeks is a good idea.

Today I decided to plant them in containers and store them in the garage at night. I thought it would be nice to get a head start on the blooms. That means I have a good month of hauling nine pots in and out every day. I hope the blooms will be worth all this extra work!

I am supposed to plant these two Wyoming canna rhizomes 15 - 20 inches apart. I just ignored that and stuck them both in the same container.
Here I have six containers of Rembrandt dahlias. I may end up popping them into the ground in June.
I looked at this tiny little flame flower bulb and wondered what in the world I was thinking! I can't imagine that this one little bulb is going to do much. I've never even seen a flame flower. This was one of those too-easy-to-click Internet impulse buys. The "cup shape blooms of bold red and yellow" must have made my mouse-clicking finger tremble right to the order form. I gave it a pot of it's own and we will see what becomes of it.

I spent the rest of the afternoon cooking. MY sister-in-law had a sudden operation yesterday and is now in the intensive care unit. I wanted to make a few things to take to my brother-in-law. I am sure he will appreciate having a meal or two ready in the next few days. I made a dozen of those twice-baked potatoes so I took some to him and froze a couple more meals.

Do the work only once and enjoy the meal at least four times....that's my motto.

Anyway here is the meal of baked chicken strips, carrots and the twice bakes that I am taking to him. I hope he likes it. I stuck some Sweet and Sour dipping sauce in there, too.

I am also taking some chili. I hope he likes it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another day in the Hospitality Industry

Today one of my coworkers came into the front office. His eyes opened wide with astonishment as he told of walking down the hall behind a big woman in stilettos with the largest calf muscles he'd ever seen.

"I'm telling you, she was this big," he proclaimed, raising his hands and arms to illustrate Amazonian proportions. As he shook his head in amazement, he added, "You should have seen her trying to walk in those heels."

He brought his shoulders to his chin and his jowls quivered in disgust as he declared, "I've never seen such an ugly woman."

A few minutes later he called to tell me she was now at the pool in her bathing suit.

I was pretty sure that I already knew who this woman was, but I took a little stroll to the other side of the hotel, because I couldn't resist seeing for myself.

Sure enough it was Rachael.

Rachael is a c*r*oss d*r*esser man. We know he calls himself "Rachael" because a very important hospitality rule is: Call the guest by his/her name whenever possible. To comply one of our guest service reps asked him what he would like to be called when in feminine attire. He was very pleased that she asked and he happily told her that he would like to be called Rachael.

He is sitting outside his poolside room in a woman's one-piece bathing suit, heels, long glue-on fingernails, red lipstick and a shoulder length chestnut-colored human hair wig.

This is the first time I have actually seen Rachael.

The guest service reps tell me that he checks in about every 3 months...usually at night and usually as a (very unattractive) woman. When he checks out he is a senior citizen man.

He never bothers anyone. Except for our employees strolling by his room to catch a glimpse, he is all alone out by the pool. I would have loved to stand there and gawk a bit, maybe even chat with him a little, but I just nodded and said, "Hello." He smiled and returned the greeting (in his manly voice).

A housekeeper came from another direction. We gave each other a knowing glance in passing. Neither of us could suppress a slight giggle.

I wonder what Rachael's life is really like? Does he have a family? A job? What does he think as he watches all of us walk by? Is he embarrassed? Excited? Angry?

I guess he must want us to give him attention. Otherwise he would not be sitting there publicly flaunting himself in all his feminine glory.

I bet you thought the hospitality industry was just carrying luggage and giving out room keys!

I rarely have a dull day at work.

Trick or Treat

It's barely spring and here I am getting ready for fall. I've been wanting to make this little pumpkin block for a while and decided to finally do it. I made two of them and then I had to think of something to use them for. They are small - just 4.5 inches and I really didn't want to make more of them. So I did what I like to do best, use them for the center of a larger 9-piece star block.

Oh, cute. I am liking these playful blocks that now finish at 13.5 inches. If I still had a little boy who went trick-or-treating, I would make a candy bag from them. But I don't have a little boy (or girl). I really don't want to make another big quilt right now. Though it's tempting to make black stars with witches, ghosts, etc. inside. That would be fun! But I don't have enough of that green background fabric left, so I will save that idea for another time.

I decided they would make a cute tablerunner with my pumpkin flower holder as centerpiece and my octagon shaped black dishes. I just needed to design a center block.
Hmmmmmmm, as you can see, my first attempt is just not going to work. That animal print orange/yellow color is just too strong. I need to redo it with green.
I will probably do that after work tonight.

Edited 7:46 pm, Thursday, April 24 to show the runner with the new center block:

Second Edit, Friday, April 25, 9:36 PM: Rather than waste the original center block, I made two more and created a second table runner.

I like this one quite a bit.

I have not been outside since the weekend. The weather has been beautiful, but on Mon/Tue I had appointments after work and by the time I got home, I just didn't feel like going outside.

I hear there is snow in the weekend forcast, so I will probably regret not getting out there this week.I have not even sprayed my tulips with deer repellent, so it will be my own fault if they get eaten. I am just a lazy gardener this spring!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Weekend was Productive

I accomplished most of what I wanted to. There are still a few gardens that need cutting down, but that's a never ending job. I got a bit sidetracked when my dear husband accidentally spilled a full cup of hot coffee down and under the refrigerator and across the kitchen floor. It was a mess and he had to pull out the refrigerator so I could clean the floor behind it. Of course, the vents were dusty so they had to be cleaned and then the whole floor had to be scrubbed...

I was actually happy he did that because it was the first time the refrigerator has been pulled out since we bought it two years ago.

I did finish quilting the feather design border. (4/21 6:19 PM I switched out the pics because this one shows the quilting much better)

I think it took about 4 hours. I sat in front of the TV and watched taped Gardener's Journal, Kitty B., and Simply Quilts while I worked on it.

I am beginning to see the end of quilting on this one. I still have the same border on the other side and then the final border to quilt. Probably a minimum of 20 more hours and then the binding and it will be done. It's nice to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I harvested my first chives and DH bought some Vidalia onions. YUM!

I caramelized some onions with mushrooms to top these steaks that DH cooked Saturday night.

It was a good weekend.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Snow in the Summer and Christmas Mittens in the Spring

Imagine my surprise when I found my elf Christmas mittens in my rock garden.

How in the world did they end up here? Maybe those elves do move around while we sleep!

I pondered that thought all morning. Finally I figured it out. I had these mittens in one of my evergreen bouquets on the kitchen counter. When I took the evergreen boughs out I tossed them over the rock wall. The mittens dropped out on the way to the wall.

Now I need to remember what was in this pot that I stuck in the ground last fall to overwinter.

I am pretty sure I blogged about it, so I will go back later and find out. I can't tell you how often this blog has come in handy for me to remember things.

This mat of silver is snow-in-the-summer. I get many people googling how to remove grass from this ground cover (and from phlox). I thought I'd show how I do it.

There is no easy way. You must be brutal. Just stick a shovel in near the grass and pop the whole shovelfull up (I normally wear gloves, but I had to remove them to get the camera).
Get as close to the grass root as you can and shake the soil away so you can get the full root. If you don't go after the whole root, you may as well not bother pulling the grass. It will be back before the week is out.

Once it's out just pull out the shovel and let the soil drop back down. I don't even bother to stomp on it or pat it down.

I never notice any killing of the ground cover from this method. Snow-in-the-summer is one of those plants that is almost impossible to kill. I just keep sticking the shovel in and removing grass until I've had enough of it (you will never get it all unless you have a very tiny patch--save your sanity and just put in a respectable amount of effort and move on). Here's mine after I dug around for about 15 minutes.
I just leave it like that. It will look great after a rainfall and a bit of warm weather.

Look what else the shovel turned up. My first grubs of the year!

It's early in the season so I am too squeamish to squish the little devils between my (gloved)fingers. Instead I dropped them on a rock and initiated my new gardening shoes. Ah, what fun! I squished 5 of them.

It's 3:00 p.m. and I have put in a pretty good day of garden work. I hope I don't feel it tomorrow. Gardening work usually doesn't make me too sore. But I am getting older and I suspect that's one more thing that will be changing as I move toward those golden years.

Weekends are for Sleeping In?

Not in my little world.

I'd never get anything done if I spent my two days off sleeping.

Here is what I was doing at 6:00 a.m.

Marking my feather design for quilting. Remember when I told you I put in a long green border on my star quilt and that I would be very happy next winter to reach that point with no seams when I quilted it?

Well, that is the exact point I am at on the this winter's quilting project. After months of hand quilting over zillions of seams, I am now at the glorious point of having over 9 feet of seam free quilting. I found a nice feather design and used yellow chalk to mark it. I have been using a combination of a disappearing ink pen (blue ink) and yellow chalk to mark this quilt. I like the pen, but the color didn't show up on this purple border so I had to use chalk.

I have done all sorts of different patterns of quilting on this one.

There are big clam shells, little clam shells, triangles, diamonds, straight lines (well, not exactly straight, LOL) I like to change the design to keep myself entertained as well as to find ways to limit the amount of seams to quilt over.

I love to watch the quilt take on a personality as each section is quilted. I guess if you aren't a quilter, you wouldn't understand how exciting that is. We quilters can't keep our hands from slowly caressing the quilt top after we finish a design. Before it's quilted, it's just a bunch of patchwork pieces. The quilting gives it life.

I have made a mental goal to finish quilting this border this weekend. It's a lofty goal because I also plan to finish my outdoor work. So I guess I'd better quit blogging and get to work!

8:15 am update.

I took a shower (yes, I showered before I went out to work in the garden) and while getting dressed to go outside I realized that I didn't have any gardening shoes.

My favorite leather slip on shoes finally bit the dust last year and were tossed. I needed something stronger than Crocs if I planned to do any real work.

Luckily I used to buy a lot of shoes and I found these in my sewing room closet. Yes, they are nearly new even though I have probably had them more than 5 years. The only time I ever wore this type of shoe is when I went to the gym and I stopped doing that about 4 years ago.

So out I go to see if I can work in these. They do look quite fashionable with my biking pants, don't you think? No, I don't bike. I just liked the pants.

I hope we all have a very productive day today.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Has Anyone Read this Book?

I am trying to read it. I am on page 30 and it's been over 2 weeks since I started to read it.

I must not like it much or I would have found the time to continue. By now I have forgotten almost everything in the first 30 pages.

I am trying to decide whether to give it another shot this weekend, or just forget it.

So I am looking for anyone who has read it to guide me forward. Is it worth trying again?

I want to enjoy it because this author has written a number of books and I am eager to find an author that I just can't wait to read the next book.

I need to take a weekend trip.

It's the only time I get to read.

I've worked a bit each night on the gardens. Just a bit. No more than one hour per night. I hope to finish it all this weekend.

Here is the rest of my fashion show week.

Wednesday, my newest copper shine top with the animal print jacket I bought as one of my very first CC purchases. I love this jacket (so much that I ordered another one with aqua animal stripes. It's a very lightweight jacket which is what I like):

Thurs: The coral jacket (this is the one I matched my nail color to)

and today it was back to the darker colors. This is the only outfit that was not purchased from CC:

So there you have one full week of my work attire. Every day I wore black pants (I bought 8 pair of the exact same pant). I went from wearing only dresses and skirts to wearing only pants during the past year or so.

I used to wear pantyhose everyday.

Now I never wear pantyhose.

I am getting very boring in my dress habits.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fold up the Quilts and Bring Out the Crocs!

I just spent my first 45 minutes outside cleaning the gardens.

It felt good!

It's only 58 degrees, but to me that's perfect for cleanup work.

After work this afternoon, I cut down 2 wheelbarrow loads of Sedum Autumn Joy and picked up some big pine branches that fell during the winter.

That was enough for my first time out in '08.

It's supposed to be around 60 degrees for the next few days, so I will probably do a bit more each night.

I have decided to continue my fashion show. Today I wore my new blue jacket with the ruffley edge. Here I am at 6:30 this morning just before going out the door (had to edit and remove the head. I couldn't stand it anymore):
I liked this jacket enough to buy two of them. I have a peach-colored one just like it.

i am wearing the same jewlery as I wore yesterday. I've been pretty lazy lately about changing my jewelry. I used to take the time to change all my accessories every day--even my purse. Now I just put on whatever jewelry is the easiest to grab and I use the same purse every day. I guess I used to enjoy dressing for work more than I do now.

Monday, April 14, 2008

In the Pink (and Black)

I love pink and black together.

A couple of you asked for a fashion show with the new jackets, so here it least one of them. Please forgive the missing head. :)

I am quite happy with all 5 of the new jackets. Well, I haven't actually worn the jean jacket yet. It's the one most of you liked the best, but I like it the least. It's too casual for work and I almost never wear jeans. I had cool summer evenings and capri jeans in mind when I ordered it. One of these days I am sure I will find a reason to wear it.

Can you stand one more post about the quilt? It was bothering me that there was no dark border to anchor it. To me most quilts need a dark border. Today at work I thought of some blocks I had been sewing for the past year. When I felt like doing mindless sewing I would do a few of these and toss them in this plastic bin. (The 2007 is for the Roses are Red quilt. It was intended to be done by the end of 2007 and that label was to be sewn on the back. I think I will call it "close enough" and sew it in anyway)

I was thrilled when I got home and discovered that I had enough of these blocks to add another border to the star quilt. (If I keep this up, it will end up as another king-sized quilt). So here is a pic of the quilt as it looks with the new border.

It uses most of the same fabrics that are in the stars. Here's a close up of one corner:

There are 436 pieces in the border! It would take a long time to just sit down and sew them all together. When I was making them, I thought I'd be happy one day to have a border all ready to sew on.

Today was the day. And I was indeed quite happy to remember I had these!

So in the last two days it went from this:

to this:

to this:

I am pretty certain that I am now done! :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fast Food Toys, a Preening Turkey and More of the Quilt

My husband has a very odd hobby.

He collects fast food toys.

He has thousands of them--many, many thousands.

His twelve-year old niece decided to get rid of her collection and gave Uncle Jim a call. Of course he couldn't resist another three bags of them.

He found a few he didn't have so he was happy.

We had 4 hens and a Tom turkey visiting today. Here's Tom trying to impress the ladies. Unfortunately I couldn't get him with a full tail feather spread. The ladies just ignored him and continued walking away.

I decided to add a border to the star quilt and spent a good portion of the morning making the 4 corner blocks and attaching them. I decided to finish it now while I still had matching fabric. It would be just like me to use up all the fabric in another project without realizing that I still needed that fabric for a border.I like the size much better now.

This quilt is made of 289 3-inch blocks. Here's the back side. You would never guess what the front looks like from the back, would you?
Most of these 3-inch blocks are made from 8 different pieces. That's a TON of seams and a hand quilter's nightmare. Just look at all these fabric layers that must be quilted through . Since these seams are every three inches, it is nearly impossible not to have to quilt through them.
The 6-inch plain border will give me a place to quilt with no seams and I can do some sort of fancy pattern in that area. I can now fold it up and put it away until I decide to start the quilting. I will also cut the fabric for the binding and fold it up inside the quilt top so that I have it when the time comes.

I can't believe it's 1:30 p.m. already. The day is zooming by. I am cooking pork roast and scalloped potatoes for dinner. A nice comfort meal for a cold spring day.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Snow Finally Melted so I Thought I Would Start Cleaning My Gardens Today

until I woke up and saw this!

It was so beautiful that I had to go out and take pictures.

Needless to say, there was no garden work done today. Nonetheless, I enjoyed a wonderful day. I cleaned just a little, I finished the 64 3-inch blocks I've been working on all week to finish off the X's for this star quilt I started last fall,

and I spent a few hours hand quilting my 'Roses are Red...' quilt while watching a marathon of Deadliest Catch, an Alaska Bering Sea fishermen show on the Discovery channel. It's probably some hit reality show that I've never heard of. I was captivated by the life of those fishermen. Talk about a tough job! I can't imagine living that life.

I think that may be as big as my star quilt is going to get. I am planning to buy new family room sofas and I think this quilt may be perfect for a throw on a solid colored sofa (tan or green is what I am thinking). It's big enough to throw over your lap, but not really long enough to pull up to your chin and curl up with (I think it's 51' by 51' right now). I will have to think about whether to enlarge it because I really enjoy curling up covered to my chin while watching a movie. It's about 4th in line to be quilted, so I have plenty of time to reconsider the size.

In the mail today, I got something about a group called Ojos Gitanos, A night of Spanish guitar, song and colorful Flamenco dance. I haven't the vaguest idea what this is, but I called anyway and made reservations for the first weekend in May. I googled it and found this pic

It's a dinner show. I am assuming it's a Mexican meal. Has anyone heard of it? I think it's a group out of Chicago. DH and I love to go to dinner shows so we're game to go and see what it's all about. I hope I don't have to dance! I have no rhythm.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...