Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New York Beauty

These are the first three (and only) blocks I've completed from a workshop I took from Linda Hahn back in April or May. Her method of sewing the curved seam works really well and so far, each one has been perfect. These are Kansas Troubles fabrics. I was a little unsure about using them and having the center of the block the same as the outside. And sure enough, when I got to the workshop, everyone else was using fabrics that were a lot jazzier than mine. But now that I've done some of the piecing, I like the effect. I was planning for the completed project to be a wall hanging for the sewing/guest room that I wil be remaking my older son's bedroom into (we refer to it as "The Shrine" since it's almost exactly the way he left it six years ago when he went off to college--minus the clothes on the floor, of course). But we recently got the good news that he will be relocating from LA to Brooklyn by the end of the summer for a salaried position with health and dental benefits. So this New York Beauty may be just the thing he needs for his new apartment.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Polishing My Halo

"Polishing my halo" is what my mother used to say to congratulate herself when she had finished a large or tedious household task. I've been taking advantage of the uninterrupted time I have with my husband at work and all of the kids away to do some serious cleaning. The using a toothbrush to scrub the tiles kind of cleaning. My house is thanking me and my halo will be shining brightly by the end of this week.

When I take a break, I've been reading Stuff by Randy Frost. It's about compulsive hoarders, a disorder that has fascinated me since I saw a TV show or two about it. The book is extremely readable even though it presents Frost's research about the basis of hoarding. I think one of the things that makes it so good is that he really seems to like the people he studied. Reading their stories makes it a lot easier to clean out the closets.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Double Dipping Again

I've been participating in a year-long reading challenge hosted by Vickie. I decided back on January 1 to go for the gold and read 100 books this year. Vickie allows participants to include audio books in the total and thanks to that I'm up to 52 books this year, about half of them books on tape. Now A Southern Daydreamer has posted her summer reading challenge. Should be no sweat to meet the challenge by reading these books I've pulled from my shelves:

1. Evan Blessed by Rhys Bowen
2. Winterkill by C.J. Box
3. Glittering Images by Susan Howatch
4. Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts
5. For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose
6. look me in the eye by John Elder Robison
7. Letting Go by Karen Levin Coburn nd Madge Lawrence Treeger
8. Murder on Waverly Place by Victoria Thompson
9. To the Hilt by Dick Francis
10.Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by (do I even need to write this) J.K. Rowling (and yes, I know that I'm the only person on the planet who hasn't finished the Harry Potter series).

I haven't started any of these yet because I've been captivated by Stuff (Frost). More on that later, but suffice it to say the book has motivated me to put some heavy duty cleaning on my agenda for today. And while I'm cleaning, I'm listening to David Baldacci's latest, Deliver Us From Evil. Who says I have a book addiction??

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Catching Up, Part 2

I've managed to shift myself pretty well from work mode to home mode this summer. Some years it takes awhile, but this year I put some thought into a routine for the day. Haven't used the routine yet, but just thinking about it seems to have helped make the transition. My daughter left for "senior week" at the Maryland shore on Friday. After I dropped my daughter off at her ride's house on Friday morning, I took advantage of the fact that no one needed me for several hour and headed off to the quilt shop to pick up my Thimbleberries block of the month. On the way back, I stopped at two used book stores. One benefits a local hospital and I had never visited before. It's very well-organized and stocked, but a little pricey ($4 for a used paperback). The other book store is in Valley Forge Park and I dropped off a rather large donation of books my children had released from their shelves. It's smaller, but I managed to find a few paperbacks for $2 each. Since it was an absolutely gorgeous day, I indulged myself with lunch from the lovely shop next door and sat outside reading one of my books.

With our daughter off at senior week, my husband and I are home alone. Yesterday, we took a mid-morning walk and then I started cleaning while he went out with a friend. Managed to thoroughly clean the powder room and reorganize the closet in it before he came home and invited me to lunch with the friend and the friend's girlfriend. Which is how I wound up at a local tavern having a beer at 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon. It has been years since I've had that kind of time in my schedule. Not something I'd want to do every week, but a really nice change of pace.

Today, my husband and I made the 180 mile round trip to attend the worship service at my son's camp and see him installed as a counselor. It's a much better trip when I'm not driving and I used the time to finish a canvas ornament. My third finish in my 25-project challenge.

The quilt? It's the one I made for my daughter's Christmas gift and haven't shown before. My daughter picked out the Amy Butler fabrics. The blocks are from Calico Carriage Quilt Design's Post and Beam pattern. The pattern calls for the block to adjoin without the sashing, but I felt the sashing was needed to give the eye a place to rest. I had another Amy Butler fabric for the outer border, but think the batik I used ties it all together a little better.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Catching Up

The past ten days have been over-full. I had to finish up my paperwork as well as pack all the accumulated things of 19 years in one school. It took 60 (!) boxes and yes, I did some purging. Some of the paperwork's not quite finished, but an hour or two on the computer will take care of that.

School was out on the 11th, the same day my older son came in from California. On Monday, I put him on a 6:15 train to New York so he could talk with his company about job possibilities there, and then got ready to attend my daughter's high school award ceremony. After taking her to lunch, I helped set up for the post-graduation party. Tuesday was spent making sure my daughter got to graduation practice and my husband picked up my son from the train. I drove 180 miles round trip to pick up my son from his camp and then we all attended graduation. Yesterday, I took my older son to the airport from his 6:00am flight and then drove another 180 mile round trip to be sure my son got back to camp by 9:00. Whew! I rarely nap, but yesterday, I needed to.

So, I'm spending today catching up--on the newspaper, on putting things away and beginning to clear up the clutter from the things that accumulate at the end of the school year (my son's college stuff, my daughter's high school stuff and my own stuff that I don't store at school), taking things to the cleaners, getting prescriptions filled, etc. In short, all those little tasks that have to be done.

Also in the spirit of catching up, I'm showing my Perkiomen Valley quilt. This was a class I took in March, 2009. I got it back from the quilters in January or so and bound it right away, but never showed a picture of it, although I did show one block in this post. I used Wildflower Serenade from Kansas Troubles for the green and a Thimbleberries for the ivory contrast. Since I didn't have much of a stash when I started this quilt, I purchased quite a few fat quarters for it. I had some fun finding novelty prints for the things I love--some suitcases for travel, chocolates, coffee, books. The half-square triangles were made with Thangles. I am attempting to learn something new with each quilt so I mitered the border on this one. Now that I had a much larger stash, I'll be doing this pattern again sometime.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Reindeer Flies Sideways

It used to be that the tears would start rolling whenever I heard "Pomp and Circumstance." Until my kids paired these lyrics with the tune:
My reindeer flies sideways;
Your reindeer flies upside down.
My reindeer flies sideways;
Your reindeer is dead.
Which is why I was dry-eyed at my daughter's high school graduation last night. (OK, so I did choke up when she sang in the choir and I realized we were probably watching her perform for the last time.) All in all, it was a very happy time and both my sons were also in attendance (one came in from LA and I retrieved the other one from his job as a camp counselor.) My daughter spent four years collecting "graduation bling" as she and her friends referred to it and you can see that she amassed quite a bit of it from honor societies, band, drama and student council. We were all so proud of her and can't wait to see what the next four years will bring.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Do You Kindle?

Or use some other e-reader? I've been toying with the idea of getting one and am leaning toward the Nook from Barnes and Noble. But I always manage to talk myself out of the purchase. I have access to a wonderful public library system and often use their on-line service to reserve books. At least half of my "reading" is audio books because I'm in the car so much and I like to listen while I stitch or quilt. But my reading time may increase when my youngest goes off to college in August. But I also have about 2500 books under my bed waiting to be read (just kidding, of course. I probably only have 2400). So would those of you who have one of these devices or have gone through the decision not to buy one let me know what you think about them?