Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Rose That Lived

This is the only rose that has survived in my rose beds, we refer to it as "The Rose That Lived." The first year in our house we planted 30, yes 30 roses. They were glorious! The following spring, only 5 remained. We planted 20 more, they were spectacular. The following spring, 3 remained. That was it for me. No more planting new roses.

Then we were invaded by the wretched Japanese beetles. You can have a rose bush covered in blooms in the morning, and by evening, they are gone, eaten from the inside out. And nothing kills the disgusting things! It's been a war between them and me ever since.
At least I still have my Jackson and Perkins Tropical Sunset Rose. It's so beautiful, and ever changing. It looks totally different as a bud, newly opened bloom and old bloom.
And I picked my first harvest of the garden season! Radishes!

I saw two totally formed tomatoes on the tomato plants this afternoon as well! I would have taken photos of them, but it was 97 degrees out, and that's 15 degrees above my acceptable limit, so I watered the geraniums and got the heck back inside.

I took these garden photos over the weekend. It's my lettuce and petit pan squashes. I love the petit pans, also fondly referred to as "flying saucer squashes", they are phenomenal either grilled or stir fried w/garlic. I went out today, and they were gone! I'll bet it's that rascally rabbit that's always in my yard! What a bummer!

I'm going to go sequester myself in my nice cool sewing room in the basement now. I have to crank out that baby quilt by Saturday!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I have several projects going right now. The most urgent is a baby quilt that I forgot about and needs to be done by next Sunday. I chose the darling "Buttercup" pattern out of the new Anka's Treasure's book, "Stop, Drop and Roll." By the way, if you haven't checked out Heather Mulder Peterson's blog, you should, especially her house rehabbing narrative. Too Funny. Primarily because I didn't have to live it.
The baby's nursery theme is elephants, so instead of the bird and flowers, I'm doing an elephant w/a bird on it's back and a palm tree! I decided to do the top third in blues and the bottom two thirds in greens, kind of like a jungle going into a sky. I found a fabulous brown batik w/green, blue and tan dots for the zig zig portion. I'm seriously thinking of doing the elephant out of Minky, but we'll have to see how that works out. If I'm really feeling ambitious, I could do the palm tree out of Minky too!
I must say, I looked at this pattern and thought, sweet, it's a bunch of 2.5" strips, this should take no time at all to whip out! I even have a bunch of green and blue precut strips!
Boy was I ever WRONG!!! Even though the instructions are fabulous (as they always are with Anka's Treasure's patterns), this pattern takes a long time. The zig zigs take much longer than you would think, and you really have to be careful about the direction you sew them at since the diagonals have to go in opposite directions. It's not a big deal if you are totally random with the strip placement, but if you have an order, you have to watch it carefully. Still, I'm really enjoying how it's coming out and am hoping to finish it off this weekend. And as a bonus, I've been sewing together all the triangles that get cut off of the strips into half squares, so I'll get a mini quilt out of it as well!
I just received an invitation to another friend's baby shower for the second weekend in July, so that's another one I have to crank out. Then there's the bags , as well as a couple of Camille bags I started, and completely did a boneheaded thing while making, but those are a post unto themselves.

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!

Friday, June 19, 2009

My Civic duty

I had jury duty this week. I know people always complain about it, but I seriously don't mind it. I prepared my Halloween Baltimore applique block so that I could work on it w/o scissors, and purchased one of those circular thread cutters and are airplane approved and little bitty applique pins. I had been told that some county courthouses don't let you bring in sewing needles. I think that's silly because I'm always poking myself w/pins and needles, and they aren't exactly a weapon to hold people up with. I could take on someone threatening me w/a sewing needle.
The courthouse security guards were really nice. I told the guy I handed my bag over to at the x-ray that I had brought my applique with for jury duty, so there were bitty pins and sewing needles in it. He checked it out and said I was all good.
You do a ton of absolutely nothing during jury duty, and the tv's in the waiting room always have ESPN or some awful talk show on them. I sat there for a couple of hours listening to: the Laker's won, what will Phil Jackson do now, and the bonehead football player that was arrested for accidentally shooting himself with (ready for a shocker) an illegal handgun while he was partying at a nightclub. There was this whole debate about whether or not he should be allowed to play and the teams that were interested in him, including my hometown football team. It was enough to drive me over the edge. They just kept repeating those two stories the whole time! This is a prime example why I can't stand professional sports and most of what's on tv.

Lucky for me though, I had my applique and could tune it out (for the most part). I got my tree, leaves, owl head and eyes all in place and pinned down and part of the tree sewn, but that was all. It ended up being a much shorter jury day than in years past since I didn't make the jury selection. We were let go around lunch time and since I was near the lovely town of St. Charles, I called DiscoJen and she and her little guy joined me for lunch, chocolate, wine and wandering in downtown St. Charles. I had to share this photo I took of DiscoJen's little guy eating his chocolate covered pretzel. He was soooo cute! And agreeable, especially for a 2 year old. We did a small wine tasting at a wine store specializing in local wines, and he just sat there playing w/his toys the whole time.

It turned out to be the best jury duty day I've ever had!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

quilting over kill

This is what I've been working on lately:

It's the "You go girl" pattern by Tammy Tadd Designs. The fabric is the pink Lakehouse hydrangeas. I thought about cross hatching the fabric, but decided that it didn't do the fabric justice. I instead quilted the white areas around the flowers, thinking that would do it, but that left big areas unquilted. So then I quilted the leaves, but that still left a lot of area unquilted and it didn't highlight the flowers enough. I decided to quilt the flowers, which of course took 2 different colors of pink.
This is the result:
It's gorgeous, if I say so myself, but it took me 10, yes 10 hours to quilt! And I have one more to make, in the blue flowers. The blue will require 3 different blues.
I needed a day or two off from the bags to get my quilting mojo back, so I decided to actually start my Baltimore Halloween. Here's what I've done so far:

I'm pleased with the moon, but not so happy with the body or vest. I may like it better once I get the wings and head on. I chose the needle turn applique method, but I think I'm going to have to do a combo of needle turn and freezer paper so that I get my shapes just right. Here's where my type A quilting personality comes in. It's my first real applique project, so you'd think I'd cut myself some slack, but if I'm going to invest the time and money into this project, I want it to be the best that I can do. I think my stitches are ok, but I'll have to have my friend Debbie and the teacher of the block of the month look at them and see what they think.

And just because I think he's so darn cute:
Robbie figured out how to open the screen and let himself in. Isn't he clever?

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Blues

Hallelujah! I finally received my "Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake" painting! I ordered it last August and one miscommunication after another between the artist people resulted in me not getting my painting until June 1st, yes that's 10 months after the fact. I guess they have more business than anticipated/know how to deal with, which is a good problem to have. The background and sides are totally cute, the print is cake and cupcake recipes.

As a thank you for my extreme patience, they also sent me these two darling paintings as well:

I totally love them and must say that they are all worth the wait!

Of course the fact that they also come in my favorite robin's egg blue color doesn't hurt. I was torn between the blue sign and the pink sign, but I'm glad I chose the blue.

And to keep with the blue theme:

The hubby brought it home last week, and while I never choose to drink pop if there's water or tea (good tea that is) around, I must say that I have a weakness for unnaturally blue colored food. I love blue jello, blue slushies, blue cosmos, you name it, if it's blue, I love it. And I must say, I love the new blue Mountain Dew, which is fun to say too! It tastes just like a blue raspberry snow cone from my childhood. I can't have it too late in the day or drink too much of it though because it contains tons of caffeine and ginkgo, or is it ginseng? Whichever it is that gives you energy. The funny thing is that the hubby doesn't like it at all. He thinks it is.....wait for it.........unnatural!