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Sunday, November 18, 2007

be nice to me...

...I gave blood today!

This weekend was the annual Harvest Festival. They have an arts & craft show, antique car show, model train display, food court and my fav...historic zone. The historic area has reenactors from many wars along with settlers and almost everything in between. Besides yet another book on lighthouses that I had somehow missed, the only thing I couldn't walk away from was a wooden spoon from the historic zone. They are made by Wonky Wood Works and I picked one made of Birdseye Maple. The proprietor-ess told me I have great taste because they don't get Birdseye very often. I do have a small collection of wooden spoons made of all kinds of wood and designs. My mom has also given me some antique spoons used by right-handed people according to the wear on the bowl of the spoon. Oh yeah, and no thanks to the blood drive recruiter who was standing there barking "blood drive," I did donate a pint of blood.

Last weak was feast and I am hoping this week is famine. Last week I had someplace to be every night after work and this week I am on vacation. I have a quilt class tomorrow night and plans for Thanksgiving but otherwise I want to stay home and sew sew sew. I hope to work on Christmas projects and a few UFOs. I'll get you some pictures later this week, right now I want to get on with the sewing :)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Star Struck fabrics

Here are the fabrics that I intend to use for nephew #2 baby's quilt. The blue and 2 neutrals at the bottom of this picture will be the quarter square triangles for consistentcy. I'll to use the extras towards the my scrap system like Bonnie uses for her quilting. I have some vacation time in the next couple of weeks so I hope to get a good start on the Star Struck.

Mom - what do you think of the fabric?
Caro - we'll be at the M.O.M.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

my week at a glance

Last Wednesday, my car overheated in the evening rush hour. I took my car to the dealer Thursday morning (yeah!! - it’s still under warranty) and walked to the Metrorail. I purposefully live within walking distance of the train and it’s been a lifesaver several times. It takes the same amount of time to drive the 6 miles to work as it does to walk to the train, go 4 stops and then take the free trolley the rest of the way to work. Kind of sad but it’s a nice break from stressful traffic and I get to catch up on some reading. If you click on the train photo you can see the traffic that runs parallel to the train...that's what I am usually stuck in twice a day, 5 days a week...

After finally getting my car back over the weekend, I did a little Christmas shopping for nephew #1 and stopped at The Quilt Scene to pick up a different red for the German Mystery quilt as well as more blues and neutrals I need to make Star Struck for nephew #2 who is due around Easter.

Later, my friend Angela called from Louisiana. She was back in the USA for her 20-year high school reunion and would have a 6-hour layover the next day in Miami before returning to Buenos Aires. On Sunday I swooped her up from the airport and we went to Miami Beach. She treated me to SushiSamba and then we laid on the beach for a while. We then walked the Lincoln Road pedestrian strip, she ran into some friends, we did a little shopping and I dropped her back at the airport an hour before she needed to board the plane. A whirlwind stopover but we did plan my trip to visit her next spring!! I brought my camera with me but of course I left it in the car, as soon as Ang sends me her pictures, I’ll post them.

Monday night was Bernina Club and we made cute mini quilts with machine-appliquéd trees. As soon as I get mine done I’ll post a picture. I also got another kit in brighter colors that will probably be a gift and I have plans to make a similar project with a snowman for my SIL for Christmas.

Anyone else annoyed with the time change? I feel like I have jet lag all day and the “kids” still want breakfast at the old 6am. At least the sunny mornings and cooler weather, thanks to 2 “cold” fronts, have inspired me to restart my morning walks but I do wish I could get myself back into sewing mode. I have paperwork I should be doing and instead I seem to be stalling on everything that needs to be done…
PS - Blogger doesn't know how to spell Bernina - who would have guessed?!

Friday, October 19, 2007


Thought I fell off the plant didn’t ‘cha? Well, I could offer a ton of excuses but they probably wouldn’t be worth the pixels they would be written in so lets just say a lot of water has gone under the bridge and a lot of quilts have been started – some have even been finished! Flylady says jump in where you are but the one thing I want to fill you in on would be that I bought a Bernina!! My LQS had a great sale this summer so I bought an Aurora 430.

I thought I would (re)start by sharing our International Mystery Series class this past Monday. Every month or so, my LQS has a 3 hour mystery quilt class based on a country. So far we have had Egypt, Scotland and this month, Germany. The kits have color choices based on the country (Oktoberfest and Red Baron this month) and sometimes the pattern even fits. We also have a passport and get stamps for “taking a tour” (the class), “crossing the border” and “come back” (buying borders and backings) at which point we are eligible for “homeward bound” (free binding fabric). They’re easy quilts and everyone’s turns out so different even though we only have 2 color choices. To the left are my German braids. The Geishas will be strips between the braids, the first 1” border will be the bright red (part of the kit) and hopefully the Asian text will be the outer border.

What other passports do I have? There’s the Penny Passport for my elongated pennies – I just can’t leave them laying around can I? I have pennies from San Fran, Ponce Inlet lighthouse and even Miami Seaquarium when we took my nephew, plus other places in between. Wish I could find the rest of my pennies to put in the passport…

I also gave in and bought the US Lighthouse Passport. It seems like I should have bought one some time ago but I just hadn’t and now I’ll have to visit a lot of lighthouses again. Darn, I just dread that chore! When this passport is filled it can be turned in for a commemorative patch.

Of course, then there’s the best passport of all – my US passport. OK, so I’m on my second one and neither is very full but it’s fun to plan the next trip and that would be to visit Angela in Argentina with a possible side trip to Machu Pichu. Can’t wait! Oh, you didn’t think I would share my passport picture did you? Harharhar!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Red sky at night…sailor’s delight

That was what my grandmother would say when “predicting” the weather for the next day. Of course, the opposite phrase was “red sky in the morning…sailors take warning.” I’m pleased as punch to say that today was a delight and if the phrase holds true so will tomorrow.

This morning I rose early to a brisk 39 degrees – not so bad in February, given the storms racking the northeast BUT I don’t live anywhere near the north. Miamians can't handle this yummy turn of the weather: I stopped at Einstein’s this morning and saw people with 3 or 4 layers of clothes compared to my one layered uniform shirt and jeans – yipper, I’m a Yankee thru and thru. Now this is not to say that the patio door was closed nor will it be closed tonight when we expect the same temperatures. As I was saying…the clear skies and vibrant sunset predict another cool night followed by a Sunday.

Sorry, no photos – I spent too much time enjoying the cats curled up on quilts this morning or watching tonight’s sunset to even think of grabbing a camera.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day!!!

This is the mini quilt I made while learning paper foundation piecing. I was also practicing free motion quilting while I finished this pink beauty so you might be able to see the hearts stitched into the border. OK - I'll admit it, I'm still working on my free motion but I can do ivy leaves very well!

I just started the Pineapples Plus class at QuiltUniversity.com. This is my homework for week 1. I plan to make at least 3 more for a wall hanging or pillow.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Not paying attention

Yesterday I was working on dinner and preparing to sew at the same time. The pork chops were already baking so I decided to start some egg noodles on the burner that vents the oven, thinking it was already warm. I had just emptied the dishwasher and placed the Pyrex dishes on the front burner until I could get the step stool out to put them away on the top shelf. Can you guess where this is going? I turned on the front burner instead of the back burner and stepped out of the kitchen for 2 seconds. When I returned to see if the water was boiling, the burner cover was red hot, the paint burning off and the Pyrex were quite warm. I was not a happy camper as I vented the kitchen to get rid of the smoke. At least dinner turned out yummy. The leftover pork chops were even better today with raisin risotto and okra but you can bet I was focused on cooking only.

Hmm…there is a quilt show in the Keys this weekend: Piecing in Paradise. Let’s see, on one hand I can stay home, do laundry and sew or on the other hand, I can drive 3 hours thru The Keys to see 200+ quilts and shop the vendor mall! This is the Keys we’re talking about – I think I’ll be going for a road trip!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunrise at the Lighthouse

Yesterday morning I brought some photog friends into the Cape Florida State Park before it opened for sunrise at the lighthouse. The sunrise and the weather were both perfect. I know the guys took some wonderful photos and while I got a few, I really enjoyed the quietness…just the waves, the birds and the view. As soon as the park and then the lighthouse opened to the public, the noise level rose considerably, especially when ~20 rambunctious cub scouts came rambling thru!

I also saw the trifecta – 2 jumping stingrays, a manatee and a dolphin. The 4 of us had started the day with breakfast at the tiny local diner and later had lunch at the park café. After giving my weekly LH tours I went home and crashed! I may be a morning person but my morning doesn't usually start at 4:30.

It appears my hard drive is full so I can’t Photoshop or re-size the photos I’d like to share but I will do so ASAP and then post them. I’m off to sew more log cabins and then I have to work on my quilt university homework…

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Puttering along...

I’ve actually been working on 2 projects but there hasn’t been any significant visual progress to post a photo. I’ve got ¼ of the orange and black log cabin blocks done. I’ve also finished the binding on my strips and curves quilt and I’m working on hiding all the ends. I think it needs a bit more quilting so I hope to get that finished this weekend…which will mean more ends to hide. Somehow that is the worst part for me, I just find it dreadfully boring to hide ends. At least the new glasses help – it’s much easier to do handwork and watch TV or movies at the same time. Recently I have watched Wicker Man, Lady in the Water and Step Up while I was stitching. All were thumbs up movies.

I think the next step will be to wash the S&Cs quilt. Any suggestions? I'm relatively new to FINISHING quilts so I haven't washed very many. My LQS sold me a special quilt soap and told me to wash them in front loading washers only. As it is, I only have access to the laundry room at my apartment complex but must I really go sit in a laundromat to find a front-loader??

I had to go for more medical tests today. Strange, this odyssey started to check my eyes (my thyroid and the eyes are fine!) but now I need a nerve test of my left arm and the knee MRIs indicated I need to see another orthopedist. I was injured 12 years ago with a repetitive twist injury over the course of a 4-summer job as well as that little horse that kicked me and nothing has ever really been done besides 4 sessions of PT. It seems I have swelling, possible fracture and unknown meniscus damage. Oh and they want more tests for other problems...hopefully all will be solved soon cuz this is costing me precious quilt money :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Happy birthday to me!

I decided to make my own cake this year with a recipe from Rachel Ray’s magazine – it’s a pumpkin spice cake with whipped cream frosting and crushed pralines. It’s yummy, if not a bit too sweet, but it used nearly all of my plentiful cooking and baking utensils to accomplish this masterpiece. Thank god for dishwashers!!!

I hope to spend this evening sewing and I also have Monday off as my “birthday day” (annual freebie day off work) and hope to do more sewing then…can’t wait!!

Lemme know if anyone wants a piece of cake – there’s plenty left after sharing with my coworkers…

Monday, January 15, 2007

4 down, 60 to go…

This is a project I really started several years ago. I’ve been sewing since I was 10 or so but when I started quilting I didn’t know all the quilting techniques, such as paper piecing, and just stitched the strips together. Also at that time, I had no concept of how many other quilts I would want to make regardless of just how many large quilts I can actually use. As the original log cabin blocks were nowhere near square, I squirreled them away in my “in-progress” drawers until today, when I finally had the guts to toss them. I’ve since learned paper piecing and have fully realized I love the opportunities of making minis. I re-started the blocks (originally 9”) as 3” blocks and will end up with a 24” square quilt. I can't wait to finally see my design come together!

Also, since I had originally cut enough strips for a large quilt. I may continue to make more blocks and see what other layouts I can come up with. I saw a windmill layout today that looked interesting...

And here’s dinner – Wasabi Crusted Salmon. The original recipe was for hors d'oeuvres on crusty bread with cucumber slices. The picture doesn’t do justice to the meal nor did the meal end up as pretty as on the TV show where I got the recipe. It makes no difference because this recipe is easy and a keeper. It’s essentially crushed wasabi peas pressed into salmon and then pan-fried. Don’t worry, cooking turns down the heat of wasabi peas. I placed the salmon on a bed of egg noodles and left over spinach and then it’s topped with more crushed peas and a sesame aioli. Yum!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

blah week

Kind of a blah week - I had a bad head cold so the only thing I did was prepare for my CSO meeting on Wednesday and about an hours worth of stitiching binding. Why do I always read that everyone is able to do a complete quilt binding in a day? I must have tiny stitches...

On Friday I went to the optometrist. I'll tell you why in a minute but he did tell me my prescription has only changed a teeny bit in the past 2 years which is pretty much par for the course. He also told me to get my thyroid checked as my eyeballs have rolled or "bugged" a little since the last time I saw him. My mom has thyroid problems and I have never been able to loose weight so I always as my doc to check it. She always tells me the test results are fine. We'll see what the results are this time...

The reason I had gone to the eye doc was because I prefer to hand sew bindings, etc, without my glasses but that makes it hard to watch the TV on the other side of the room. I've tried wearing the glasses on the end of my nose but it made for ridiculous head movements to hold the sewing up and then look down for the TV. I've even tried sitting right in front of the TV so I could see just enough of what was happening since I tend to just listen to it half of the time anyway. I asked him if it would be appropriate to get bifocals with the bottom half of the lens without a prescription. The doc said the more economical solution would actually be to get a tiny rectangular lens that will sit high on my nose, allowing me to easilty look at the TV and below the lens. The optician can also adjust the nose pads to make it sit higher. This wasn't a cheap decision as the new glasses will be some $200 but I think it's worth it since I can hopefully get more work done. Did I mention that was the sale price - it would have been much less if i didn't need to pay for the poly-carbonate (read "thin") lenses. Oh well...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Meet the kids

I wasn't able to get these pictures into the last post so...
meet Tula and her son Pepper.

They adopted me after someone dumped them outside of a building I used to work in. Pepper was only about a month old at the time and I nicknamed him Bitzie cuz he was so little. Tula's favorite activities are eating and sleeping while Pepper likes to chase an LED light and hide.

As you can see from the photos...Tula likes to let it all hang out during bath time while Pepper is lounging with a friend on the couch.

Hello and welcome to my new blog!

Well, I have been kind of floundering around trying to decide how to start this blog. I was working on Christmas gifts when I first signed up and didn’t want to give anything away but now Christmas has come and gone and I still haven’t posted so lets start with a bit about me…

I grew up in Castile, NY, a tiny town in the middle of dairy and apple country, 1 hour south of Rochester. In the summer of 1994 I fled the cold and moved to Miami, Florida, where I currently work for a medical school and volunteer every Saturday at the Cape Florida Lighthouse. I’m the president of the Friends of Cape Florida and in my “spare” time I like to travel, read, cook, sew/quilt and bead, among other things. I love Miami, except for the occasional hurricane and traffic, but I still look forward to my white Christmas’ at home!

While you are unlikely to see many photos of myself (I like to take the pictures, not be in them), I couldn’t resist this photo with my nephew, Tyler, who will be 2 on February 4th.

And for the record, here is a photo at the lighthouse.

I am hoping this blog will encourage me to work a little more diligently on my quilty projects this year but you can probably also expect news of my cooking adventures, my family, my cats and whatever else seems to happen here in Miami! My goal for at least the beginning of 2007 is to work on UFOs and only buy black and white fabrics (my fav) or whatever I might need to finish current projects. Wish me luck!!!