Monday, August 3, 2015

Jeff's Quilt

This was made a long time ago...Jeff joined the Army in 1998 I think it was.  He became an Army Ranger and while the experience was valuable to him, it scared the heck out of me.  Anyway, I wanted to make him a quilt so I started with the idea of green and black, army colors.  This was an Eleanor Burns pattern, courthouse steps.  I think it was a Quilt In A Day....unh huh....sure.....
In those days I purchased a lot of my fabrics at NON quilt stores.  It cost less, looked pretty so what's the big deal.  Once I finished the blocks, I waited to finish because I hadn't found a border print I really liked.  I didn't want anything too flowery or girly.  In a quilt store I found that print.  Yes, it has flowers, but it was more masculine and so I bought it.  I gave the quilt to Jeff Christmas of 2000 I think.  Our first Christmas in Lynden.  Since then he has had two children, married Krista, had numerous dogs, cats, iguana's.  Moved several times.  The quilt has been loved, washed and worn about.  When I was up visiting last year I took a photo of this quilt.  I had been pretty astonished at the wear, of the BLOCKS!  All that inexpensive fabric.  And yet the colors and clarity of the border print still remained lovely.  Here is a close up.
As I lecture around Nor Cal, I talk about the 'difference' between Walmart fabric and quilt store fabric.  But now I carry this quilt with me to SHOW the difference.  No, I'm not saying you have to buy quilt store fabric.  I want you to know though, that the inexpensive fabric is not going to wear as well, over time.  
I'll return Jeff's quilt to him when I move back home, not to worry.  I did leave him with a wonderful red, white and blue quilt to use in the meantime....

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August 1, 2015

This plant has gone crazy in my kitchen!  Everyday I plan to do some trimming, and some directing, but then I don't.  I need to find some of those command strips to hook it up.  I'm thinking of going to the left over the door...And maybe rooting a few pieces, now that I'm going to be home for several weeks and can tend to it.

Also planning to do some deer fencing and plant some flowers.  I know it's late, but summer lasts a long time in this environment. There is lots of pruning and weeding and feeding I can do in the front yard especially.  And maybe I'll pick some rhubarb and freeze it. or start a batch of rhubarb liquor!!  OH YES!  I still have two bottles of everclear that I bought for such a project.  

Including this one, I only have 3 more August's to enjoy here in California.  I really hope it's in this house and I won't have to move again.  It was so great to have Jillian, Ethan and Krista here for a visit!!!  And now that Krista has seen how the airlines handles kids travelling alone, it looks like we will get Jillian and Ethan visits at least a few times before we return 'home'.  

Looking forward to Mary Chapin Carpenter tonight!  This might put my concerts with her into double digits.  No where the 54 times LJ has been with the Beach Boys, but she is probably the artist I have seen in concert most often.  

Stay cool today, and Stay Cool Always!

Friday, January 30, 2015

January 29, 2015

This is the quilt that I made for my Mom, years ago.  It is folded over a chair in her living room.  I know that she used it from time to time, to cover up.  One of those patterns I have always loved and planned to make another.  Still might.

End of January.  L J and I went out to dinner at a local mexican restaurant, not the one that tossed salsa at me a few weeks ago.  It was pretty busy, so we took a seat outside and then shook our heads in wonder that here we were having dinner outside in late January.  Ah the joys of living in this environment.  

A week ago I attended our guilds annual retreat at Walker Creek Ranch and got a few things done.  

This is a piece that I had started in a class last year.  It is all inset or Y seams, for those of you who know of such things.  So it was a PITA to finish, but finished it is!!  I might still put a small border of the blue with a larger border of the floral to finish it off.  It will be a nice spring wall hanging.  

While there I thought why not? and came back and scheduled my first 
California retreat to host!  Hopefully it will all come together and work out!  In February, after our guild meeting and workday on the 14th and 15th, I'm going to hit the road north and spend some family time.  Going to actually take my machine and some projects to work on while there.  I'm hoping the weather will be okay through the passes.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy 2015!!

Goodness, only one post last year?  Actually it's probably a good indicator of what kind of year it was.  Let's take a quick look back...
The year started out with all kinds of promise.  Started having some great time as The Chaotic Quilter.  Speaking to several guilds around the Nor Cal area.  Had a lot of fun, made some new friends.  Went on the Napa Valley Quilt retreat in January, then a new retreat at a charming place called Bishops Ranch in March.  Followed by a great time up in Auburn with a group of quilters from Vallejo.  It was in late June as I was driving home from a presentation near Fresno that I ruptured my achilles tendon and cracked the heel bone.  My previous post pretty much covered that. We did make the drive to Seattle the day after the cast came off, but it was in AGONY!  Turned out I had a raging case of bursitis in that right knee.  Thankfully the very good folks at a Kaiser clinic in Salem Oregon took good care of me, loaded me up with some good drugs and we continued on north.  It was a brief, but good visit with several family members.  I'm so thankful we went to my Uncle Robin's annual family gathering.
Had a successful cataract surgery in August.  Both done on the same day and almost immediate results.  Just as I was enjoying being out of the leg cast, pain free in the knee, able to SEE, I was at Costco and after returning my cart to the cart return, turned and stumbled out of my shoes and crashed to the ground.  Bad news, it was behind a car that was running and waiting to back up, thankfully we got her attention.  Good news, a couple of very compassionate people saw me fall and came to my rescue.  Biggest concern to all was the bleeding from the wound above my right eye.  You know how those head wounds bleed!  Yes, I could get up, so I slowly did.  My van was only a few spots away, with the tail gate still up, so I sat in the back there, as people provided me napkins.  Costco personnel were very kind, brought some bandaids and offered to call me an ambulance.  Oh no, I assured them.  It was just a little cut.  The hospital (where I had just been to pick up my trial CPAP machine) was only a mile or so away.  I would sit for a while and then drive over there, and if I didn't feel like I could, then I would call someone for help.  I got into the drivers seat, closed the door and proceeded to have a good cry.  When I tried to reach for the kleenex in the back seat, I realized my right arm was having NONE OF THAT!  Oh no....I was sure then my right arm was broken!  Calm down, take some deep breaths....realizing I wasn't going to be able to drive I called dear friend Jamie, who immediately got in her car and headed to help!  While still crying I realized that my right breast was swelling really fast!!  My poor little breast cancer treated boobie.....Jamie soon arrived and took me to the ER.  Tears, tears and more tears.  After an IV and some serious pain medicine, I was off for x-rays and CT scans.  Diagnosis, fractured elbow, minor concussion, head laceration and hematoma in the right breast.  Put me in a temporary cast, glued my wound shut and directions to see specialists in the next couple of days.....My biggest concern, was that I was scheduled to get on a cruise ship in Boston in two weeks!!  And I WAS GOING!!!  Good news again, I only had to be in a cast for the two weeks, then could go with just a sling, if I was careful.  Which I was.
Then on Sunday evening 10-12-14, I received a call from my youngest brother that my Mom had died suddenly.  She would have been 88 next week.  I'll post more on this then, as it is still kind of hard to talk about.  She had adamantly said she wanted no services and we did honor that.

Off to Boston I went, met up with sister Carol and had a really great two weeks with some cruising friends.  Except for the part of getting a sinus, respiratory issue.  Spent every morning coughing and hacking.  Carried tissue with me everywhere for the perpetual runny nose.  But I was going to make the best of it!!  Once I returned home, I realized that my poor right breast was still very unhappy.  Went to my doc, who sent me to a GYN doc who sent me to a surgeon.  Really nice man.  Thankfully I had had a mammogram just a few months before.  We did an ultrasound and it did confirm a large hematoma.  Now, all these months later, it is indeed shrinking, but very slowly.  As long as it doesn't get infected, we can wait it out.  No one really knows how a breast that has been through surgery and radiation is going to react, and no one really wants to go in there and take the hematoma out.  Including me!  So watch and wait.  
I drove north again and spent two weeks including Thanksgiving.  Got to spend some good time with Dad while up there.  He seems to be doing okay, very lonely.  Which would be expected when your partner of 60 years is gone.
Back to Napa for Christmas, which was thankfully pleasant and uneventful.  Just to finish off a lousy 6 months, we went to dinner the last weekend of the year to a mexican restaurant we had visited a few times.  This was the last time.  As the chips and salsa were being delivered, the bowl was dropped and and salsa went everywhere, mostly all over me........
Happy New Year!  Let's Move Forward....

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Wholey Moley

Yes, it has been a very long time since I have been here.  And yes, a lot of life has happened.  So much for making plans for the summer, for the the two oldest grands to fly down and visit and then me to drive them home.  Tickets bought, thrown away.  Two weeks before the big trip, I ruptured my achilles tendon, while getting out of my car at a rest stop on my way home from a great lecture and overnight in Madera, a town close to Fresno.  I followed my instincts the next day, that something was really wrong, and turned out I have a rupture achilles and a break in the bone.  Great.  Prior to that I had confirmed that my diminishing eyesight was due to cataracts and at least got that surgery scheduled for mid August.  Problem being, now I am in a cast and immobile and can't use this great down time to do any real hand work.  Sigh....and to make it even better, I broke a tooth, the only one on the upper right that didn't already have a crown.  Jeez.....I've had few mini meltdowns, and I keep moving forward.  Getting around is tough.  I bought a $200 knee scooter thinking that would be the answer, but it turned out to just crush my knee.  Today, I'm working with the walker, since my new (second) cast angle works better, and I can toe walk a bit on it.  I'm supposed to be no weight bearing.  This is the best I can do.
As I live in my cute little hippie house, I am so thankful I have hardwood floors, so I can scoot around on my computer chair and my sewing chair.
Poor L Jay is trying his best.  And I appreciate the effort.  Enough said,
I'm 'supposed' to get the cast removed and get into a boot on the 23rd, and we would then leave and drive north on the 24th, so that I can attend a family reunion of sorts on the 26th.  If he says I need another cast, I just don't know what I will do......
I had some great plans for Jillian and Ethan for their visit.  We will get to visit with them for a few days if the drive north works out.
It's sad to watch the peaches on my tree in the back yard continue to ripen and I can't go out and pick them.  L Jay gets a few each day, but I had such great plans for them all.  A few friends have come over to pick a few, so that helps.
The hardest part of the whole thing has been taking a shower.  A very private thing.  But I have to do it after wrapping my cast in this bag, and then sit in a chair in the shower and L Jay has to sit there to help me.  The best part is I get him to do a great scrubbing of my back, the worst part is sitting in front of him in my naked big belly self to wash.  Ah love....
My neighbor is not doing well.  She was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in I think 2005 and then after treatment pronounced cured, until it recurred in 2010.  She has been in one treatment or another since then, and done a fair amount of travelling but according to her husband, her numbers are now going the 'wrong way' so it looks like the end is nearer than we had hoped.  She has a vacation planned this month, 20 days to Alaska, with a cruise as part of it.  I hope she can make it and has a glorious time.  She is an amazing woman, who has not "battled with cancer" these last years, but continued to live her life in spite of it.  I hate that I am so immobile and cannot go over and offer her more support.......
Enough for now.  I should try to sleep.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Front Yard in December

 Good afternoon.  I thought that after I showed parts of the back yard, I'd do the front yard this time.  And then I'll post the same views in the spring, summer and fall.  That way I'll have a record of the yard throughout a year.

This is the right upper corner of the yard within the fence.  I have put my two small wooden yard chairs in the garden, which you can see if you click on the photo to enlarge it.

 I'm told this is a potato vine.  And will be covered in flowers come late spring.

This is along the driveway, and I'm so excited that the tree in the left corner of the photo is sure enough a Crepe Myrtle!!!  The tree I have been admiring since I moved to NorCal and could never remember the name.  The landlord said it is either pink or purple, he couldn't remember.

I LOVE this funky gate.  It is going to be great to photo throughout the year as all those perennials and roses start blooming around it.

It is the reason I call this my little "Hippie" house.

All around the front lawn runs a flat stone path.  Wonderful.  

This is just outside the gate.  LOVE the stone planter!!  Everything is on an automatic watering system which makes it even more wonderful.

I pivoted left from the gate (outside the fence) and even out here is nicely appointed.  More rocks, some natural ground cover.

Rocco especially likes it out here.

From the gate, looking at the front door with the enormous wreath.  The solar lights I added along the sidewalk.  The window on the right is into the garage and has a "stained glass" look.

And a close up of the front door and the big wreath.  The window is into the main living area, which I added a lovely purple sheer to, just for some privacy.

I do indeed like this little house very much.  And so far it looks like my PG&E bill is about HALF what it was in the condo for this month last year.  
Thanks for taking my front yard tour.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Back Yard Joy

I considered this a treasure when we saw it in the back yard, and L Jay considered it trash.  Que sera, sera.....and I win!!

It is an actual old railroad cart that the original owner (house built in the 50's) put here for some yard art.  The wood is pretty fragile, but I'm hoping to care for it a bit and maybe have a planter inside that will have some trailing something in it next spring.  Do you love it???

Here is a different view, you can just barely see the cart there.  This purple shrub is   ?????  anyone?  The hummers love it and I love they are still here in December visiting it.

The orange flowers are great, and apparently will take over the yard if allowed.  In the sunniest part of the day, they are wide open and almost smiling.  Already here you can see (if you click on the photo it enlarges) they are already starting to close up for the evening.  

In the left corner of the yard is this huge mass of rosemary.  I do love using rosemary in my cooking.  I'm wondering if I ought to pick some and dry it upside down in the garage, or if it will produce year round.  Again, anyone know?

Behind it is one of the two peach trees that I am told are very prolific.  They are sadly clingstone peaches, so won't come off the pit nicely, but will cut up great for jams and chutneys which I'm planning to produce next year.
Are you on my gift list??

And hidden over here behind the now leaf less Ginko tree is what is left of the firewood that was here when we moved in.  I do love having a real fire and will probably be ordering some more wood after I return here in January.

Long ago (and far away, in a land almost forgotten) we thought (okay, I thought and talked Lynn into it) a fireplace insert would be a good idea.  It took four friends and a rental sander to shave down the hearth to get it into the space, but it was put in!!  Firewood back then was just about $80 a cord.  Now, and here it is $350.  Walnut is what the neighbor recommends, and that is the price delivered.  YIKES.

One of my favorite Christmas gifts ever was the bundling of kindling that my Uncle Dan used to gift those of us with fireplaces.  I really miss him, and wish I had told him more how much I appreciated him.

The speed and efficiency of this computer is so awesome, I expect to be here more often again.  Thanks for coming to visit my back yard.  Next time, lets have tea....


It's been a long time since I have been here!

This is darling Spencer Harrison Templeton who arrived in October.  I got to spend some time with him when he was a couple of weeks old, and look forward to seeing him again later this month when I head north, for our Christmas visit

Much has changed since I was here last.  We have moved from the condo in Yountville after a 14 month stay, to a sweet house in Napa.  I call it my Hippie House.  The landlord in Yountville decided he wanted to sell the unit, and we didn't want it for the half million + they were asking.  So after some serious searching, we landed in Browns Valley in Napa.  I really like it a lot.  The cats have adjusted nicely.

I went from working in probably the nicest kitchen I will ever have to a .....well.....kind of a hippie kitchen.  But it does have a gas stove, and that was my highest priority in the kitchen.  We had a few appliance hiccups in the first few days, but are hopefully over all those and really to rock.

My sewing studio is at about 80%.  I finally have a studio with a hardwood floor! Actually did some sewing in it a few days ago.

The presentation in October at NCQC was a lot of fun, and so far I am booked to speak and/or teach a workshop at 6 different  Quilt Guilds in the Northern California area!!  Excited, and nervous!

My website is up, and I'm doing some fine tuning in the next few days.

Also, I've decided that what the heck, I'm retired.  I have lots of free time, right?  So I going to launch another blog.  This one will be dedicated to my experiences growing up with food.  Will be sharing stories and recipes from as far back as I can remember.  Planning to look for a name like "NOT Julia Child".  Shall let you know when ready for viewing.

More big news, I got a new computer!  I had no idea things could go so fast!!  A friend of ours added Office to it tonight, so I'm excited to play around in that.

Not planning to do much Christmas decorating as we will both be north for the actual holiday.  But some things will come out this week, and I'll get some photos to share, so you can see my new home.

Thanks for checking back.  All is good.  I will be back soon~!~!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Birthday

Today is Genie's birthday.  And in just a few weeks she will receive a wonderful gift, her new baby boy, Spencer.  Three boys, don't I know what that feels like!
I wish her joy and peace and hope that she cherishes any full nights of sleep she can get before this little sweetie arrives.
Carter is such a blonde boy, Henry with his dark hair, it will be fun to see what Spencer will bring with him.
Happy Birthday.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Fall

I have always loved the Fall.  And lately I have been really, really, really missing Ethan.  This photo is 3 years old, but that is the charming, happy face of pure joy that I miss.

This will be my second Fall living in the Napa Valley.  It is definitely different than the PNW.  Right now the Harvest is on, and soon it will be the Crush.  In the mornings when I open the door I can actually smell the scent of the grapes in the air.  

I will miss that nice crisp feeling of grass on those mornings when the fog is hovering.  The air is cooler here in the evenings now, but it is doesn't have the dampness about it that there is up north.  

My travel plans for the fall are to come up around the 22nd of October.  It will be my moment to meet Spencer who is due earlier in the month.  And get some hugs and snuggles in with Carter and Henry.  There is a quilting retreat with some old friends I'm hoping to make, and then further north to spend a few days and Halloween with Jillian and Ethan.  I hated missing that first day of school with them, but happy to get to do Trick or Treat.  

Last year when I drove up in late September, the colors around Mt Shasta were just breath taking.  This time I will stop and snap some photos!

The Chaotic Quilter is up and running - HOORAY!  I'm looking forward to my presentation coming up in about 3 weeks at the Meet The Teacher meeting of NCQC (North California Quilters Commission)..and hopeful to get a couple of bookings for next year.  Also going to send some info to the guilds I have presented to up north and let them know of my new programs.  I am hoping to be doing at least one a month by the time 2015 begins.  

Hope your Fall will be wonderful.