Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sombre Saturday

The saddest thing... one of my former students died in a car accident last weekend. She was only eighteen - a beautiful young lady, smart, friendly, with her whole life ahead of her. Her funeral was this morning and the church was packed with sobbing girls and sober-looking young men, friends, family, teachers. Everyone wore a touch of green (her favourite colour) and her uncle and aunt delivered a heart-wrenching eulogy. It was sad, but also very sweet.

Life is short, my friends. Do what makes you and those close to you happy. Pursue your dreams and passions.

I'm off to take my own advice.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Au revoir, chocolat...

Farewell, cookies...

Adios, all kinds of sweets...

I'm giving you up for Lent. Yes, 'tis the season, and although I'm not a particularly religious person, I do try each year to give up something for Lent. This year it's sweets and ~ gasp! ~ Facebook. Forty days without chocolate, cookies, cake, granola bars, pudding, candy, suckers, ice cream... and Facebook. Can I do it? Just watch me.
Here's my reasoning: I think I indulge far too often in sweets, sometimes eating them instead of regular food at mealtime, when I'm home alone. Isn't that terrible? I will eat a bowl of ice cream (fat free, of course) for dinner. Bad bad bad. Plus, some of the students at school bring me chocolate quite regularly and, because it's a gift, I feel compelled to EAT IT! It would be rude of me to refuse. I think this will not only be a good exercise in self-control and moderation, but also will help with the Diet Challenge. (Fingers crossed.) Apparently, if you replace sweets with healthy food, your body will eventually start to crave the healthy food instead of the sweets. (Fingers crossed again.)
As for Facebook, well, it was simply taking up too much of my time and I found myself getting altogether too interested in what other people are doing. Through Facebook, I've reconnected with people I haven't seen for 20-plus years. To be honest, I hadn't even thought about most of them until they found me (or I found them) on FB. I think it's time for a break from worrying about the same stupid things I worried about in high school. Oh, who cares if so-and-so talks to her more than me, or if my grade 9 boyfriend hasn't returned my poke. Gawd! It's all so dumb! A self-imposed moratorium on Facebook will be good for me, refreshing even. (And if I really need to know what's going on, the OnlyChild will tell me.)
I will not, however, be giving up any blog time. The jury is in, folks, and it is felt unanimously that we bloggers are most definitely NOT a bunch of self-centred narcissists; rather, we are a community of people who enjoy each other's cyber-company and love to talk about our shared passions. So there! That's a relief, considering this whole post has been about ME (again).
I'm off to Teachers' Convention today and tomorrow. Two days of professional development sessions about topics such as Youth and Drugs, Human Slavery, Math and Puppets (?), Classroom Management, No-Marks Assessment (is that even possible?). My friend Sandi and I are going to a writing session this morning. Hopefully it will be worthwhile. This afternoon, I have a "Smart Board" workshop. Yeah, tons of laughs! But, we get to spend a couple of days downtown and eat real lunches in restaurants with other adults and take public transit (because parking downtown is a nightmare), so it will be a novelty. After years of these conventions, I'm becoming a bit jaded, but I'm professionally obligated to attend so I shall.
Have a great day... it's almost the weekend!

I just wanted to add this: Right now, it's -32 degrees celsius. I found a converter online so for all you American gals, that's MINUS 25.6 degrees fahrenheit. As we say up here in the Great White North, Cold enough for ya?

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm such a loser...

...and that's a good thing to be on Loser Monday!

I'm down 1.5 lbs since last Monday, so that leaves me with 13 lbs to go. Hip hip hooray! I think I may have unravelled the secret to losing weight and I'm gonna share it with all of you. It's this crazy fad diet:

Wow - imagine that!

I have a question for you. I've read a few articles in the newspaper lately that describe online communities such as Facebook and MySpace as "narcissistic". I think blogs were lumped in there too. So, I was wondering if YOU think blogging is a narcissistic, self-absorbed activity. When we blog, we write about ourselves and share information about what we've done. I've looked back at my posts and, yes indeed, mine are very self-centred. They're all about ME (even this one). Most blogs I read are similar, except many of them also share patterns and sewing tips, which is very nice and generous. I'm not at the point yet where I feel I have anything of value to share in that realm. I'm working on it. In the meantime, I use blogging to kind of chat with people and I really enjoy it.

So, if blogging is a self-absorbed activity, are novel-writing, script-writing, painting, photography, quilting (gasp!), etc? In all of these 'arts', the artists plants a bit of him/herself. Right? Hmmm... maybe it's too early in the morning to be so thoughtful.

I hope you have a wonderful Monday, despite the fact that it is Monday. I have a busy week ahead of me (see, there I go again, talking about myself) but I'll always have time for the lovely inhabitants of blogland.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I want to show you some of the things I love in my house. Let's start in the kitchen. This is a plate made by the OnlyChild after our little dog, Bosun, died. He was hit by a car. It was so sad; we still miss him almost 4 years later.

Wonky-house pictures from New Orleans. Sorry about the awful picture - the wall behind these pictures is the same colour as in the picture above, but I had to turn off the flash because it was reflecting in the glass. (You can kind of see me taking the picture in the lower one.)

Now into the dining room. This is a Valentine made for me by the OnlyChild. We were not really on good terms around VDay and she was quite mad at me (can't remember why - teenagers!), but she still cared enough to create something crazy and sweet. She signed it "From your belly-button connection".

A wax/paint picture I made when I was four years old. My mum had it framed and sent it to me for Christmas one year. On the back it says "To Mum, Love Rachel" and she added a little sticker that said, "To Rachel, Love Mum".

Japanese Washi eggs in a bowl. I made tons of these years ago with a couple of friends. The bowl was overflowing. One day I came home from work to find that Abby Dog had eaten half of them. If it wasn't so funny, she would have been in the doghouse. Oh, the little egg in the bottom right-hand corner is a Ukrainian Easter egg, made by a man who is quite high up in the school district that I work for. I guess that's his relaxation.

Into the living room... Dear little Abby Dog, dozing on the couch.

Derby Dog, anticipating a treat as usual.

Family picture circa 1971. That's me sitting on my dad's lap.

I love these mouth-blown glass pears. They were made by a local artist and I purchased them at a fundraising auction. I momentarily considered giving them to my friend Sandi for Christmas (she would love them!) but I found I couldn't part with them after I put them on the mantle in the living room.

We're in the front entry way now. I have an antique mahogany table that I bought at an auction on Prince Edward Island about 3 years ago. We brought it home in the back of the truck, carefully wrapped in blankets. Yes, we drove 4500 km with that table in the truck, along with our luggage, the OnlyChild and the dogs. The old jar came out of the basement in my mum's house in New Brunswick, and I purchased the black sheep in St. Peter's, Nova Scotia when I was there visiting friends.

On the way up the stairs, you'll see this big birdcage. I don't own a bird and never plan to (well, I had a canary called Sunshine when I was a little girl living in the Canary Islands), but I love the birdcage. To the left is a huge window that lights up the whole staircase.

A portrait of my older sister, Sarah, painted by the OnlyChild as a Christmas gift for me. My sister died in 1990 and this picture was painted from a photograph taken when she was in grade 11. Needless to say, the gift brought tears to my eyes.

Upstairs in the bedroom - a stack of books, recently read and currently being read, found on the bedside table. I am really interested in history and current events, but I also read a lot of fiction. I don't like romance novels, though, or fantasy/sci fi. I am a realist.
The shelves in my sewing room. This is a tiny little room, but it's kind of neat. We think it may have been the "maid's" room in the house. It has built-in shelves, a built-in ironing board but no closet. Or maybe it was the sewing room originally. My house is 100 years old this year! These shelves may not look tidy to you, but you should have seen them yesterday. Yikes! I should have taken a before pic. I'm slowly trying to clean up this room because it feels like the walls are closing in on me. Too much stuff!

Coloured pencils make me happy. I had to move them from the shelf in the sewing room so they would have a nice backdrop. The red walls are in the spare bedroom (formerly the OnlyChild's room). I love that room - red walls (and one green, sounds weird but looks great!), white woodwork, white furniture, off-white comforter with bright red poppies and green leaves on it.

So, that's a little tour of some of the items in my house that I love. It's a good thing Mr. P isn't home this morning - he'd think I was strange taking pictures of all those things!

Have a lovely and relaxing Sunday. I'm off to do my tiny bit of marking and planning, and then edit some yearbook pages. Later I have a date with a treadmill at the gym, and (groan) need to stop at Wal-mart for some necessities. I tried to boycott Sprawl-mart a couple of years ago, but after about three months was forced to go back. No other store has such a good variety of products at such great prices. The Wal-mart by my house is also open 24 hours. And it's always busy. Ahhhh... the Americanization of the world.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I've been a naughty girl

Shhh... don't tell anyone. While Mr. P was away this week, I was naughty. No, not that kind of naughty.

No, no. I was Etsy-naughty! I went shopping at Lara Lewis's Etsy Shop. Here are the goodies I bought:

The Cherry Charming set. Yummy!

The Damask Blush earrings.

And for the OnlyChild (I couldn't forget her - she was hovering at my shoulder):

A Poppy Ring and

an Estate Necklace.

We only planned to buy one item each, honestly. But I couldn't say no to the other items. Really, though, I think I exercised amazing restraint. You'll understand when you see what she has for sale in her store. She emailed me to say that my goodies are on their way already! I can't wait... I just hope I'm the first one home to get the mail the day that parcel arrives... hehehe.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

golden bird and lola

I work (play?) on my laptop in my sewing room. The "computer room" is across the hall and my daughter usually plays (works? no!) in there. Quite often, a conversation such as this can be heard:
"Hey Mum!"
"Come here and look at this."
steps across the hall
"Look!" - pointing to computer
"Oh, cool!"
steps back across the hall

Such was the conversation a couple of nights ago as the OnlyChild gave up on Wordpress and discovered Blogger. She kept hitting the "Next Blog" button and discovered all kinds of neat things out there in blogland.

And she pointed me in the direction of golden bird knits. Stacy is brand new on the blog block but I think I already love her because she posted the most wonderful knitting pattern for her Blue Bamboo Scarf.

Now, I'm not a knitter. I have made a few sweaters in my life and not much more. There was the baby outfit for Cheryl's first child, a navy blue sweater for my nephew Mathew, the snowflake sweater for the OnlyChild, and that wonderful turquoise cable-knit and chevron pattern chunky sweater I made for myself that my husband convinced me to give to Goodwill because I rarely wore it. Boy, do I regret giving that away. I mean, I made it! Plus, one day on the bus going to the university (this was wayyyy back), an elderly lady complimented me on it.

I tend not to knit unless my mother is around. She can hear a dropped stitch from the next room and is always willing to fix my mistakes, but she lives all the way across the country. This scarf from golden bird is so easy! And beautiful! Here's my version (made out of some leftover wool from another sweater I started to knit about a decade ago), but please go and visit her blog to see what it should look like!

And Lola. L-O-L-A. Lola. Sorry, I couldn't resist. Lola of ...And Sew On is having a giveaway. She makes adorable potholders and even posted a tutorial on how to make them. How nice is she! But she's made a couple to give away too. I think they would look very nice in my kitchen, but I'd have to keep them away from Mr. P, who is the real cook of the family, because he'd get them all dirty or something. Sheesh, he might actually use them.

Not much news from the homefront. Oh, except that I received a parcel in the mail. Remember I won a gift certificate from Above All Fabric? My Moda Soiree Jelly Roll and Charm Pack arrived today! So beautiful... I'm drooling... Melanie wrote me a little note on the invoice: "LOL ☺ Guess you knew what you wanted!" Hmmm... could she be referring to the fact that I ordered this fabric immediately after I found out I'd won the gift certificate? She's right, though, I knew exactly what I wanted! Now I need to find a pattern that will do them justice. Any suggestions?

Today was what I like to call Monday-equivalent. When you have a holiday Monday, the next day back at work always feels like Monday, so it might as well be. It was a pretty good day. My student teacher started today. She seems like a nice girl and a smart one (thank goodness!). I think we'll get along just fine - especially when she takes over my marking and I can sit with my feet up. Haha. It doesn't quite work that way, in case you actually believed me. Having a student teacher can be a lot of work if he or she is needy/scared/easily intimidated by the kids. Yikes! I've never had a bad one; I've been lucky in that regard. The school where I work has a unique program so any student teacher coming to us has to be open-minded and flexible. I'll tell you more about the school another time, if you're interested.

It's still winter; it's still cold; I'm still sick of it. I'm counting down the days until Spring Break when I jet off to Italy and France for 12 days. That's what's keeping me going for now!

Hope your week is humming along nicely.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday is for losers... me, I'm going back to bed!

Good morning, friends. Here we are again, on another Loser Monday morning and heading into another week. I sure hope you have some good things planned for the days between now and the weekend, and that those plans include sewing! I do my fair share of exercise every week. I go to the gym 2-3 times a week - cardio for 40 minutes and weights for about 30 minutes. I also take a belly dance class every Thursday night for an hour and a half. One would think that the pounds would be melting off me, but no. No. Nope. I used to be a WW leader so I know how the game is played, but somehow I can't seem to wrap my head around eating well. I have cookbooks. I have half a dozen "points finders". I have a food journal. I have no willpower. Every day I wake up with fresh new resolve. This will be the day, I tell myself. No more fooling around, I say. No more chocolate, I admonish my psyche. You saw my post last week. Did you believe me? I did - I really believed I was going to turn over a new leaf. It lasted... until about Tuesday. During the day I do well. I eat a decent breakfast, pack a healthy lunch, and try to drink water at work. But when I get home in the evening... well, let's just say that my will is weak and good sense is thrown out the window. It's not like I'm lacking a reason to lose weight. I have a lovely red dress that I wore to a wedding just over a year ago and I plan to wear it again to an event in May. At this rate, though, I won't fit into it. My goal is to lose 15 lbs. That's it - 15! I'm not horribly overweight, just a little spongy around the middle. Sigh. Maybe hypnosis will work on me...?

That said, I did just step on the scale and find that, despite my awful food week, I'm down 0.5 lbs. So, now I have 14.5 lbs to lose. For some reason, I am really happy about that.

Anyhooo... I did a little sewing this weekend. I'm supposed to be making costumes for the school's Open House on March 2, but nobody else has got their job done and I have to wait to find out the cast of characters and meet with the drama teacher before I can proceed. At the rate they're going, I'll be sewing from Friday night to Monday morning the weekend before the event. I hate doing things at the last minute (when it's not my choice to do so). This is what spent my time on the last couple of days:

Block 2 of the Bunny Hill Designs BOM. I was planning to make the top bird yellow and now I wish I had. Oh well, it's still a pretty block. I can't wait to see what Anne has planned for March!

Plus, I made both the January and February blocks from Sandi Anderson's Seasons of the Heart BOM. Usually I pick reds to go in my quilts (lots of red in the Bunny Hill blocks I made) but this one begged for pink, just to be different.
I've never done a block of the month before and I am really enjoying it. It's not so overwhelming to have just one block to do each month. And by the end of the year, I'll have a whole quilt done and ready to put together (or, in this case, I'll have 2 done).

I'm still working on the Let it Snow quilt. Thanks to some nice comments in response to my questions about the applique, I have a good idea of how to deal with all those picky little pieces. I'm making that quilt as a Christmas present for my friend Cheryl (don't worry - she doesn't read my blog), so I don't have to rush to finish it... yet.

Today is Family Day in Alberta. For me, it's a day to catch up on marking that I didn't do on the weekend. Lots of that piling up. I'd rather be sewing, but as I keep reminding myself, the job pays me a salary that helps me buy fabric. It's all about balance.

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Are you feeling loved?

Happy Valentine's Day! Are you feeling loved today? I hope you feel loved every day. As you know, Mr. P and I aren't big believers in V Day (it is very close to both our birthdays), so no gifts were exchanged between us today. He did, however, take me out to dinner last night, which was very nice. No roses or diamonds for me, but he takes care of me all year long so I know he loves me without the fancy schmancy presents. I do make/buy a gift for the OnlyChild; this year, I made her the Pink Penguin basket and stuffed it with undies, a couple of chocolates, a sucker and a handmade card. Plus, I bought her a cute pair of pajamas. She was thrilled and is wearing the pjs now, at 4:30 in the afternoon.

So, today is not a bad day at all. But yesterday. Oh yesterday. Horrible. Friday the thirteenth. I'm certainly not superstitious, but it was an awful day. Let me recount:

7:23 am - I pull out of the driveway in my husband's truck. I have in the back the waffle iron, waffle mix, fruit and whipped cream to make a V Day breakfast for my colleagues. I am dressed up in a nice burgundy silk top and dressy pants, feeling good. I pull out from the side road onto the main road and BAM! I get hit by a pickup truck that decided to change lanes at the same time I pulled out. No damage to Mr. P's sturdy SUV, very little to the pick-up (just a light broken) but, boy, is he MAD. And he yells at me that it's my fault. And he won't talk to me to exchange info, preferring to talk to someone who pulled over as a witness (I am suspicious of this because I was not allowed to hear their conversation). And he won't back up his truck so I can assess damage. In fact, I actually had to call my husband to come to the corner to "rescue" me. The guy obviously has issues with women. Anyway....

8:10 am - finally arrive at school. Don't tell anyone what happened ('cause I feel like an idiot) and just make waffles for my five department colleagues. One of the guys brought bacon and eggs, so it was quite a feast! Yummm.

9:30-ish am - kid lips me off. I'm not very tolerant. She complains to the department head. He backs me (thank goodness).

10:00-ish am - another kid with an attitude. What is with these young people? Have they no respect. Okay, I sound like an old woman now.

1:00 pm - have to attend a meeting in place of the department head. Booorrrring. Listen to principal yak yak yak for over 2 hours.

3:15 pm - go back to my office and mark (and talk to colleague about rude kids and boring meeting).

4:17 pm - Mr. P calls. Where am I? I'm still at work. He thought we had made arrangements to meet at home and then attend a going-away party (for one of his colleagues who I don't know). I don't think we ever decided on that. I was going to meet him downtown. I decide not to go to the party. He's a bit annoyed, but we're meeting for supper with another couple at 6:30 anyway.

5:00 pm - Mr. P calls again. Reminding me to meet at 6:30 pm. Duh.

6:15 pm - I arrive at the restaurant. Early. Think about ordering a drink at the bar, but I don't.

6:35 pm - Mr. P and the other couple arrive. We have a very nice supper together.

9:00 pm - home. Waiting for me is a parcel from Regena from Quilt n Quilt Things. What a sweetheart! She sent me gifts for my birthday... just because she is a lovely person. Lookie...

There's an adorable apron, a project bag (I know just what I'm storing in there!), a hat pincushion (which has already been put to use), and that little pouch. Do you see that? It's the neatest thing - and it has chocolate in it (yes, it still does). I just about cried when I opened that box. I cannot believe how nice some people are (so I reverse any miserable thoughts I had about humanity at 7:30-ish in the morning). Thank you, Regena!

After reading what I just wrote, I guess it wasn't such a bad day after all. I have a husband who will rescue me when I need him (and won't make a big deal about a little fender-bender), colleagues who support me and listen to me whine (and enjoy breakfast with me), a daughter who actually asked me to help her sew her dress, two dogs who are happy to see me when I get home after a rough day, and a lovely blog friend who sent me beautiful gifts, even though she's never met me.

I'm feeling loved I hope you had a nice Valentine's Day and keep the love going all year long!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

There's not much going on here...

I've been working on my Bunny Hill February block. It's coming along and I just have the embroidery to do, which is not my forte at all. When I have some quiet time, I'll do the hand work and then I'll post a picture of the finished block. It's a really cute design (of course - it's from Bunny Hill!), but I think I liked January's design better because I love snowmen!

I also finished the pine tree blocks for my "Let it snow" quilt. I now have all 18 blocks finished - 14 dark and 4 light. Here are a couple of the light blocks. They are made using the same pattern as the dark blocks, with many different fabrics. Oops, looks like I still need to trim.

Next on the to-do list is the three appliqued skiers. I'm still pondering those. In the pattern, fabrics such as lycra are suggested. What? I think I'll just use plain old cotton. The pieces are small and picky, though, so I'm wondering what method of applique to use. I don't like to do it by hand but buttonhole stitch might be too bulky for the little bits. Can I use fusible web and do a tiny little straight stitch around each piece? Has anyone ever tried that, and did it work? I've seen it done for wall hangings, but this is a quilt that will be used and washed.

I won't have a whole lot of time to work on this project in the next couple of weeks anyway. My school has its open house March 2 and the theme this year is "The Greatest School on Earth" - a kind of circus/carnival setting. My job is costume coordinator, so I have to design, create and probably cobble together about 20 costumes for our "performers". The purpose of an open house is to sell the school to prospective students and their parents. Now, you might think only private schools do this. Nope. There is such fierce competition even among the publicly funded schools that we all have to expend a ton of energy advertising and drawing in new students. The principle of that bothers me, but I do like the fun and creativity that goes into planning the open house. We have a wonderful art teacher who comes up with these ideas and puts everything in motion. I volunteered to do costumes because they are my favourite thing to make/sew, although I doubt I'll be making any complete costumes. It's more likely we'll use what we have in the drama department and accessorize.

Here's the basket of Valentine lollipops that I made for my high school students. I think they'll get a kick out of receiving a Valentine from their teacher. I simplified the BH&G pattern found here.

It's still cold and snowy here. Oh, how I envy you gals who live in the southern parts of the continent. California is sounding really good right now! Can you send some sunshine and warm temps my way, please?
Please go over to visit Jeanne at A Bushel and a Peck. She is having the most wonderful giveaway to celebrate one year of business at her Etsy store. She has a lovely blog, too, that is definitely worth adding to your favourites!

Monday, February 09, 2009

It's Loser Monday

Yikes! I forgot to weigh myself in the traditional way - bucknaked, before breakfast - and now the scale says I'm up half a pound. I'm going to take that to mean the numbers should have stayed the same. C'mon, oatmeal and tea must weigh that, right? Or is that just wishful thinking, girls?

My tree building expedition went well this weekend. I finished all the X and Y blocks and now just need to do the Z blocks (all light fabrics). Here are a few samples of the pine tree blocks:

I am well aware that some of my seams don't match perfectly. I don't care; in fact, I may have done that on purpose. hehe. For so long, I have been told that I am a perfectionist, anal-retentive, A-type personality, control freak. Therefore, I have decided to become more human and allow some little mistakes in my work. I will not rip out stitches (and my hair) unless it is a glaring error. After all, the small glitches show that the item was handmade. Right?

Yeah, yeah, I am a master of justification. But, really, I pinned the heck out of these blocks when I was sewing the pieces together. They should have matched up exactly. I love the scrappy look of this quilt. To me, it's interesting to see how all the fabrics combine. Some of them are, maybe, kind of weird to be sewn into trees, but somehow they all work together. This is definitely a stash-buster; with the exception of the borders and the outside triangles, I didn't have to buy any new fabric to make this.

I think I'm over the blue funk. I had such a great time out Saturday night. The show we saw was Three Mo' Tenors. It was fantastic! If you ever get a chance to see these fellas, you should go. Even Mr. P enjoyed himself immensely. After the show, we went to get a bite to eat and had a couple of drinks. The drink special was a blueberry margarita. How fitting. I had two. Mmmmm. Yep, I'm cured of the blues. And now, for some strange reason, craving blueberries.

While we were out, the OnlyChild decided to do some experimental cooking. She phoned me to let me know that she had used my pasta cookbook (that I've only ever made one recipe from) to create All-American Mac and Cheese. She said it was so beautiful that she had to take photos. It really was good, too; we got the leftovers yesterday morning. And wonder of wonders, she cleaned up the kitchen.

A good weekend, after all. And, listen girls, I'm done dabbling in the weight loss challenge. I commit to being more committed because if I don't do something about this tummy bulge, I will need to be committed. Remind me of this promise later in the week, would you? I need to be accountable!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

I won, I won!

Remember when I told you about this giveaway from Above All Fabric? And I said I'd entered, even though I never win anything?

Well... guess what! I won! I won a $50 gift certificate, so I ordered a Moda jelly roll and charm squares. How exciting. Isn't that a great feeling, just to be chosen as the winner! Thanks Melanie!

It's Saturday. Hurray! I supervised a dance at school last night, which wasn't quite as bad as I had anticipated. I was on the early shift, so the kids were still pretty mellow. Today I moped around the house for the morning, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper, before I decided to kick myself in the butt and NOT waste the day. I've put together the other halves of my trees, so now I just have to sew the two halves together and ~ voila! ~ trees! It will be nice to see something formed out of all these scraps. This is the pattern:

It's from an older issue of Quilt it for Christmas. I was having some problems getting my pieces to match and seams to line up, so I emailed the company. After more than three weeks, I hadn't received a reply so I emailed again. Yesterday I got a rather rude response, basically telling me to "chill out" and that there weren't any mistakes with the pattern. Ouch! I had already figured out the problem was my mistake, but I still don't think such an answer was warranted. Oh well, it's still a cute quilt so I'll finish it... but I will likely not buy another one of their magazines.

I have a date with Mr. P tonight. We're going to see a play and then we're going to stay in a hotel for the night. Yes, I did just say that. We do this about once a year, just to get away. The OnlyChild watches the fort (and the dogs) for the night. No doubt she will sleep in our bed with both puppies. We'll be 10 minutes from home, but it's still nice to do something out of the ordinary. I have to shake off this blue funk or I'll be horrible company. Perhaps I'll open a bottle of wine; I have a nice Reisling in the fridge that's probably been there since before Christmas. Things are looking up already.
I hope your weekend is shaping up nicely. I'm off to build some trees!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Draggin' my tail

Oh, I'm not having a very good week. I've been feeling blue and crabby and intolerant, and I can't even blame it on PMS because I know that's not it. Sigh. The kids at school have been hard on the head, I'm just so tired, and I feel like I'm not going anywhere. Have you ever had days like that? When everything you do seems to be a waste of time and you start to question your purpose in life? Sigh again. I sure hope this goes away soon. It's very annoying.

On the upside, I did manage to hide away in my little sewing room the other night and work on the "Let it Snow" quilt I started a while back. Here's a peek at what I've done:

You may not see this, but they are half-trees. I haven't put the other halves together yet. But I will soon. And I will show you my progress, when I've made some. I rushed home from work today and cleaned the house so that I don't have to do it tomorrow morning. I can sew instead.

Well, that ought to cheer me up a bit.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Valentiney Things

I am not a fan of Valentine's Day. I think it comes from all those lonely V Days during junior high and high school when my friends had boyfriends and I didn't. My mum used to try to make up for it by packing little treats and cards in my lunch, but I still felt left out when the other girls got gifts from their boys. I was the ultimate wallflower in school - I still am in some ways. I'm fine around people I know, but new people find me a bit standoffish, I think, because I'm a little shy. In the tradition of my lovely mummy, I'm putting together a Valentine's basket for the OnlyChild. She doesn't have a boyfriend, either. God knows, she doesn't need one - and neither did I back then - but she thinks she does.

I made her a basket from the Pink Penguin Tutorial and I will stuff it with some goodies, such as the lollipops (I made some for the kids at school, too) and Purdy's chocolate lips. I'll also put in some non-food items (don't know what yet). And I made a little card for her.

I made Mr. P a card, too (on the right). He maybe wouldn't appreciate a Valentine's basket but a card is nice. We don't usually exchange presents because we both consider Valentine's Day to be a "Hallmark" holiday. Can you say BAH HUMBUG?

I don't decorate for Valentine's Day either. I have a quilted wall hanging called "Open Hearts" (pattern by Laura Heine) on the wall going up the stairs. It stays up nearly all year, except for Christmas, so it's not really a V Day decoration. You can see it on the blog header until about the end of February - then I'll change the layout again to reflect the next season/holiday... Spring?

I'm very impatient for Spring to arrive. Always at this time of year, I find myself simply SICK of the snow and cold. We have about 5 solid months of winter here. Brrrr and Bleah! The only good thing about winter (besides Christmas) is that I don't feel guilty for spending so much time up in my sewing room. It's too bloody cold to be outside!

Barb at Bejewelled Quilts by Barb is having an "Ugly Quilt" giveaway. The quilt is not in the least bit ugly but, hey, if Barb wants to give it away, who am I to complain? Go take a peek and enter her giveaway. Tell her Rachel sent you!
And Holee at Bea's Hive is also having a great giveaway to celebrate her 100th post. It's not like I seek these out, folks, but giveaways are EVERYWHERE lately! All the better for those of us who love to enter (and hope to win)!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Another Monday, Another Silly Diet Cartoon

There's just something about Sharon's Diet Challenge that brings out the smart ass in me. I guess it's because it really is a challenge for me and that's how I deal with failure. Okay, not total failure; the scale says I'm down 1 lb. Ooohhhh one whole pound. How many weeks have we been going at this? I think I can, I think I can...
How can you tell it's Monday? That's a rhetorical question, by the way. We ALL know what Monday feels like. After the usual sleepless Sunday night, I drag my tired body out of bed and crawl to work. Doesn't that sound pathetic. is the first day of the new semester at school - so new students, new classes, new piles of marking. Yippeeee. Actually, I am pretty excited, except about the marking (it's going to cut into my sewing time, I just know it).

Here are a couple of the pages I did on Saturday at scrapbooking. These pictures of my daughter were taken when she was just over a year-and-a-half old... so fifteen years ago. I love black and white pictures and I love the red paper I picked for the background. Obviously, I have a little more work to do on the pages, but I get such pleasure out of looking at these photos that I wanted to share them with you.

I'm heading to the post office after work today to mail Shirley's package. Shirley was the winner of my Birthday Giveaway last week. I hope she likes her goodies because I had such fun putting the box together!
And one last message to add to this hodge-podge post today: Sweet Cottage Dreams is having a giveaway - so many red and white lovelies to be won. I hope I win, but you should enter too!

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

I name inanimate objects

The OnlyChild and I have an odd habit, one that Mr. P just doesn't get. We name inanimate objects. Anything that means something to us gets a name, and is henceforth referred to by that name.

My computer is Lucille; she is a fiery redhead, like Lucille Ball.

The vacuum cleaner is Cherry (as in Cherry Valance from The Outsiders - my daughter was reading that novel when we got the vacuum).

This is my new car, Bettie. As you can see, we've had some strange weather lately - freeze, thaw, freeze - resulting in a very messy vehicle. The old car was named Suzy. Poor Suzy; I sure hope her new owners will love her as much as I did. We named Mr. P's truck Xavier, but he will never call it that.

Carlos is my camera. I think he's the only object of mine to have a masculine name.

The fridge is Bianca Nevada (Snow White). Yes, we have magnetic poetry and most of the so-called poems people compose end up being... ummm... irreverant.

The stove is Callie (short for Caliente).

The dishwasher is Wanda. Her name came about in an odd way. Silly me - I call things by weird names and the dishwasher is often referred to as the "fishsquasher" in our house. Remember that old movie, A Fish Called Wanda? Well, we started calling the dishwasher a "Fishsquasher called Wanda." Hmmm... strange family...?

My phone is Ruby Tuesday.

And finally, one of my most prized possessions, my sewing machine Bernice. We are very close.

Bernice and I haven't spent very much time together this weekend. I went to a scrapbooking day with some friends yesterday instead of sewing. I don't scrapbook much (Mr. P. once referred to it as an old-lady hobby and I took great offense to that), but I'd like to finish the OnlyChild's baby book - she is sixteen, after all.

Plus, we went on a great (but too short) trip to New York last summer, so I'm doing a little book up to commemorate that wonderful adventure. And I am heading to France and Italy for spring break, so I will definitely create another book to showcase those memories. It looks like I will have more scrapbooking in my future whether I want to or not. When I got home tonight, I had the "bug" so I made a couple of cards. They're quick and easy to do and who doesn't love a handmade card?
Today, I'm either going to finish embellishing the pages I did yesterday or put all the stuff away and do some sewing. (My sewing room is so small that I can only do one project at a time.) I'd like to make another Pink Penguin basket. I made one for Mum for her Christmas stocking presents and I think I'll do one for the OnlyChild for Valentine's Day. Wouldn't one of those baskets be cute in pink, red, and white stuffed with little heart-themed gifts? She'll love it, but the snoopy little thing already found the chocolate lips I bought to put in it. She's not getting them until February 14, though.

Since I'm feeling ambitious, I think I'll also make some of these for my students: (click on the picture to go to the instructions)

This post that I started with no idea what I would write about has gotten quite long. Time to let you go, my friends. I'm sure you have lives to live and quilts to make. But before I go, I will point you in the direction of Christine, who is having a lovely giveaway on her blog. Take a look; you will be glad you did!

Have a wonderful Sunday.