Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wow....It's been a while

Happy New Year to all. We've been busy. After the pre-Christmas madness....decorating, shopping, wrapping etc....we had a four-day trip to New Jersey. It was great to see all our old friends as well as the Son and Daughters and their SOs. The only bad part of the trip was damage to The Tramp's car. Someone in a Toyota (we found parts of their car in the street) hit and ran when we were parked outside Middle Daughter's apartment and we are now a mirror short, and just grateful that was the only damage. With the wires hanging out the stub it looks a bit like something from Star Wars.

We stayed at the Newark Airport Marriott....with the control tower looming over us.

The weather was cold, rainy and dull and there was snow on the ground. Reminders of why we moved south! We had a not-so-glamorous view of the airport exit and the Anheuser-Busch Newark Brewery with the revolving sign. The bed was comfortable anyway.

The highlight of the weekend was the baptism of Baby J. He was cute as a button in his little white suit and behaved like an angel of course!

I got in some quality grandma time.

We drove home Christmas Eve, and I promptly came down with a flu. I've spent most of the week feeling feverish, woozy and tired. Today I'm happy to report that the nausea appears to finally be gone. I haven't had long-term low-grade nausea like that since I was last pregnant. Yuck. I didn't even get to eat Christmas dinner. Ah well. I have high hopes for New Years Day!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ewww, yuck, damn, eureka, gross, itch, sneeze, OMG, itch, sigh....

The vacuum was acting weird this afternoon. It took me a bit but I finally realized it had no suction. Nothing coming through the hose. Hmmmm.....was the problem in the hose or in the cannister? How can you tell if you can't turn the machine on unless the hose is attached? Ok...I pondered on this for a couple of minutes, then I took the hose off and tried blowing through it (the ewwww part). Ah hah! Clogged.

So what could be in there??? Much peering in the ends (yuck) but you can't see straight in so that isn't useful. I see a bit of dog hair so haul the hose into the workshop and find the longest pair of The Tramp's pliers and pull a bit out. Well that was over quick. Not very useful. what?

Ahhhhh! The proverbial wire coat hanger should do the trick. Oh. We don't own a single wire coat hanger! (the damn part) All the extra hangers went to the thrift shop after I unpacked and we haven't been to a dry cleaners yet in NC. So I root busily around in the workshop for something else. Poop. Nothing.

Feeling rather defeated and contemplating repair costs on a relatively new vacuum, in desperation I go stand in my sewing room and gaze around aimlessly, hoping for inspiration. And (eureka) it comes!!! Armature wire! Hee hee! I cut off about a 2 foot length, bend one end into a small hook and get to work. It turns out the hose is Completely Wadded With Dog Hair (GROSS) and I have to spend a half and hour hooking out the wads, reconnecting the hose, sucking it down to the end with the vacuum, and hooking out more.....over and over again. (this is where the itch starts)

I'm happy to say that it's all clear now but I'm (sneeze) somewhat unhappily realizing that the dog is still here, the hair is still going to need vacuuming up, and, (OMG) I've got two of these vacuum cleaners which are probably going to need this treatment every once in a while. (ITCH)


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


You have got to check this out. Cute, cute, cute.
I think I have to have one!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Get out the grinder and grind up the leftover Sunday roast.
And make a personal Shepherd's Pie. The ultimate comfort food!
Then steal time to complete step one of Bonnie's mystery quilt.
A much better day than yesterday!

Monday, December 17, 2007


The gifts are wrapped and the cards are done!

Pity day

I feel so lousy today. Headachy and achy. Not a good time to get sick! I also bit wrong and have a tender tooth. The only sensible thing to do is lay low, wallow in self pity, and hope for the best. Hmmmm....pass the hot chocolate!

The Christmas decorating....such that it done. The Holiday Missive is written and the Christmas cards are addressed. Today I'll finish up that job. I'll also finish wrapping all the presents. Getting all that done should definitely improve my mood!

Mom and Dad came over for Sunday dinner yesterday so I had the camera out and took photos of some of the decor. I did not put out the large herd of nutcrackers this year. Maybe I'll have room for them next year when the living room is done.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Still alive...

Still alive, still here. Nothing much to say. Fed the last of the Thanksgiving turkey to the dogs today. Just trying to finish the Christmas shopping/wrapping and possibly actually decorating. I'm not holding my breath. Mom and I went on a shopping trip this morning to buy a christening outfit for baby J. I texted photos to DIL and she's very happy with what we found. The baptism is on Christmas Sunday. I can't wait. We're going home to NJ for the event.

I'm running around like a chicken with it's head cut off and I can't figure out what I'm accomplishing! How did I do this with a passel of children underfoot? I got old really quick...sigh. The Twelve Days of Christmas to go!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Formica Fun

Wow. It was a record over 80F here in North Carolina yesterday and it's pretty darned balmy today too. It's a whole new experience for me to be actually able to wear my Peanuts Christmas t-shirts at Christmastime!!! The Tramp says it's almost warm enough for a "real" NZ Christmas. LOL

I've chosen my fabric's for Bonnie's Carolina Crossroads Mystery Quilt. I didn't have time to go very far afield and my stash didn't have any appropriate pieces that were large enough. But I did have time for a flying stop in JoAnn's while Christmas shopping yesterday.

I was immediately taken with the retro-looking print. Vibrations of my childhood. :-)

I had used this blue for another project and loved it.

Now this pink struck me as retro also. I love it as a fabric, but for those of you who are old enough...doesn't it look like mid-20th century Formica?

It's right up there with the old white-with-gold-fleck Formica. For 29 years I lived in houses with those kind of counter-tops. In fact it was very nasty old Formica so most of the fleck had worn off. Yuck. I often wondered how much of the gold fleck got into our food. One day they'll find out older baby boomers have some Dreaded Formica Fleck Disease brewing in their systems. RFLOL

One of the things that attracted me to The Tramp is that he doesn't believe in grotty old kitchens. Just one of those small things that Love Is All About. :-)

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Whew...Blogger isn't happy this morning! What a struggle.

The Sandbox has been reorganized. The Poor Tramp was getting squeezed out (I'd spread into three rooms!) and I wasn't pleased with my initial setup of the room anyway. To say nothing of mountains of patterns shoved willy-nilly on shelves. So.....

The Sandbox is long and narrow with lots of windows and doors. But I managed! The TV is now properly hooked up to the cable so I can junk out on movies, HGTV or something worse while I'm sewing. :-)
Eye candy! I need more fabric, don't you think?
It is sooo nice to have all of my quilt and doll patterns sorted into binders!
Now I have a beading corner. But yikes, when will I have time to use it????
The plants are happy with the arrangement too I think.

I've been working on shopping bags as Christmas gifts.*
It's nice to find a use for this wierd blue Ikea computer desk. It cost us nearly nothing since it was "damaged" but this is the first room the blue doesn't look seriously out of place in. I love having the keyboard drawer next to my sewing machine to work on then shove away.
We put up two "design boards" so far, one here, with patterns and the TV channels pinned up and one...

next to the pegboard. I've got one more piece to put up over my ironing station but I need more fleece or flannel to cover it with.
Now the quilt frame is out of The Tramp's study I have to get that moved around too. I took the back off an old Ikea bookcase and recycled it as a plant stand. The African Violets seem to be loving it!
Ngaire, vigilantly watching for cats in the neighbor's yard and any squirrel foolish enough to stroll through "her" yard. :-)
*I'm sorry, I want to give credit but I can't figure out who I got the bag pattern from. The pdf I downloaded doesn't say. I will if I find it again!

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Arrrrrgggghh. Don't mind me, I've been rearranging furniture and throwing out junk and I'm allergic to the dust! My face itches sooooo bad!

I've been staying away from my computer as I've been busy totally rearranging my sewing room. I had Completely Taken Over three rooms and my Poor Tramp was Squeezed into a Dark Corner. On Thursday I covered three foam insulation boards as "design walls". I drafted a floor plan of the room and pushed little pieces of paper furniture around until I got it right. I considered the Feng Shui of the whole thing for a while, then I moved the furniture (oh my aching back!) That was Friday.

Saturday, The Tramp helped me put my peg board back up and we mounted the design walls. I took all my quilting and doll patterns off of the book shelves (where they slither all around), put them in sleeves and sorted them into looseleaf binders. Actually I did a bunch of that at 5:00 this morning since I couldn't sleep. :)

So there's not too much more to do...then I can take some photos. THEN I'll get back to sewing! I've got such a pile of things waiting to be worked on! YIKES.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"AIDS Quilt Visits the Triangle"

Many years ago I made a quilt for the NAMES Project with a friend, in memory of her brother. The local quilt guild brought this News & Observer article to my attention yesterday. I haven't seen the block since it was dedicated. I don't know where it's touring right now but I'm thrilled to see the blocks are available for viewing online. His quilt is the one on the bottom-right of this block. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it.
She went to see the last display of the whole AIDS Memorial Quilt in 1996 when it covered the entire National Mall in Washington DC. What an experience that must have been! I'm sorry I missed it.
It'll be wonderful when we don't have to make these anymore....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Post Thanksgiving Dinner

We had our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday because that's when the Sailor Son, DIL and Baby J could visit. I was in grandmother heaven!

He met his great-grandparents for the first time. My mom came to this country as a nanny, after working in the day-nurseries in London during the war. She had lots of advice for the new parents. :) At one point when he was crying, she took him and demonstrated the "nanny bounce". He was immediately quiet!

OMG. Don't look at me. That furry vest is awful! *shudder* What was I thinking???? Anyway... I haven't had the opportunity to feed a baby for such a long time. It was so great to flex my grandma muscles. Hee hee.

I get such a bang out of this photo. It's been twenty years since I've seen him with a pacifier in his mouth!!! RFLOL
And right before they left we got a Sleeping With A Finger Up The Nose photo. What's not to love?

When they left The Tramp remarked it looked like I'd had the best weekend I've had in a very long time. You bet!


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I think this is the first time in my life I haven't had a "Thanksgiving dinner" on Thanksgiving Day. Even counting the time I had a lousy turkey dinner in Denny's in Ottawa a few years back (in my personal experience, Denny's is always lousy!). I was visiting The Tramp over the US Thanksgiving holiday and I just couldn't resist having a turkey dinner! Lots of times when my kids were little I roasted chicken because they wouldn't eat turkey but it was still Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.

Today Mom and Dad came over and we had brunch. Lots of bacon and eggs and coffee cake and croissants. Yum! The weather was warm and breezy so we went for a walk too. It was really nice.

The Sailor Son, DIL and Baby J will be here on Saturday. *happy dance* So we'll have our turkey then. This is the latest photo they sent. Couldn't you just eat him up!!!

Yesterday was pretty exciting. We ordered new appliances from Sears last week and they arrived yesterday morning. Just in time! I had laundry climbing the walls and new fabric waiting to be washed. Washer, dryer, stove and microwave/vent fan. I desperately needed a new washer and we found the one I wanted for half price. Wow! It's last year's model but no big deal. The wonderful set I left back in New Jersey were the same and I loved them. We never would have left them behind except the dryer was gas. :( I'd planned on keeping them forever...sigh. The new dryer is this year's model so they don't quite match, but who cares??? If they wash and dry I'm happy. :) The top is back-ordered so I'm making do with a pink towel for now.
This is a 70s house and these are new millenium appliances, so of course they don't fit in the utility closet. We had to take off the closet doors and I got a white shower curtain from Target that'll do for the time being. Eventually we're going to make the dark room into a laundry.
So we got the washer for half price, the rest on clearance or 30% off, free delivery and since the top of the microwave turned out to have a dent a $100 was refunded to us. I'm not complaining!!!!
The microwave will go up over the stove in place of the broken hood. We have to figure out how to carve up the cabinet to fit it in. The dent turns out to be just up in the right top corner of the microwave. I'm sure we can bang it out and it'll never show.

The dryer makes the cutest little beeps when you press buttons. It almost plays tunes! I wonder how many years before all this stuff is connected to our computer network and I can load ring tones in my appliances. RFLOL When we first got our Uniden cordless phones The Tramp programmed each handset to a different ring tone/tune. It was like living in a carnival each time the phones "rang". After about a month I couldn't stand it anymore and reprogrammed them all. Then of course we bought a new doorbell for him to play with that has 64 tunes in it! Do you sense a tendency here???

We spent Thanksgiving afternoon cleaning the gutters. It really needed to be done before we put up Christmas lights. So The Tramp tested out our new ladder.

Then I went up and crawled along the roof scooping the gunk and throwing it down into the garden cart. Ewwww. And oh how my butt hurts after hitching along all over the shingles! Our little house has miles of gutters!!!
And of course The Tramp couldn't resist a shot of my tush on the way down. At least I didn't fall off the ladder giggling. LOL Boy was I dirty!

On the sewing front, Tami passed along some advice for de-mildewing my Featherweight. Thanks Tami! For the last few days I've had it sitting in the sun inside the workshop door and the case sitting outside in the sun. I should have done this during the summer! :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I finished another UFO yesterday. This is a quilted bag made from a Butterick pattern. I just LOVE the fabrics. The lining fabric is my favorite but of course you can't see it. :)

I decided to count...or try counting my UFOs/WIPs. Yikes! Why am I fooling around here??? I should be BUSY at my sewing machine!!! I kind of lost track at 47. There are at least 50 all together. *shudder* Who suggested counting them? And I just counted things I have fabric for, not all the patterns waiting to be used! Or any beading project.

On a lighter note.... (can you tell I'm traumatized??? LOL) I just snapped this photo of Tiny Dog curled up on her pink puff under my cutting table. This evening I reunited her with the toy we call the Pink Thing. For some unknown reason it was packed with sewing stuff and I found it during the UFO listing. Well....that's not quite true...I know why it was in with sewing stuff, it must have been packed in the last week or so before the move, when whatever came to hand was being thrown into the closest box!

She's laying on the Pink Thing, guarding it from Ngaire and will defend it fiercely, turning into a snarling wildcat if Ngaire moves too close! Mind you, this is 4lbs vs 60lbs but Ngaire knows when to keep her nose out of the way! So Belle is hard asleep, so much so that the flash didn't wake her up, and obviously confident she won't be disturbed.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Today we took a bit of a drive to enjoy the fall colors. This week is most likely the peak and I wanted to snap a few photos before it's all over. It's hard to snap photos while moving in the car but I got a few. It would have been nice to stop but on most of these roads there is no where to go but in the ditch! I should have planned a walk on one of the greenways.

And this sight never fails to amuse me. (There were more signs than I could fit in the photo.) Do you think they want to sell a house??? :)
Then in our own yard I found this.
Mistletoe! In this tree. You can just see the dark spot.
I didn't even know what it was at first, my neighbor had to tell me. I know it's a pest in some places, but I am delighted. I've never seen anything but the wilted bits you can buy in the store at Christmas. Judging from my Jersey girl experience I've never even been sure that mistletoe is real. Now I know! LOL