Monday, August 24, 2009

Life is Good

Don't you love these T-shirts? This is my favorite. My sister gave it too me ages ago and I wear it all the time--way more often than a woman my age should. But I love the kitty and I love the message.

Yes, life is good around here.

After four days of rain, cold and general gloom, we finally have a what my husband calls a "bluebird day".....
This came in the mail yesterday.... My Bliss cutter is back and I can get back to rug hooking without having to cut my wool by hand! I finished this........

......and I love it! It is roomy and has two pockets on the outside and several on the inside. I hoping this will help keep everything from falling into a big jumble in the bottom of my purse. And it is so cute I can hardly stand upright from the cuteness!

I am, after ten weeks in various casts, in two shoes......

Granted, not very attractive shoes, but shoes nonetheless. It doesn't look like I will be wearing heels to my son's wedding on the September 12th, but I won't be wearing a cast either.

And best of all, Rog's daughter and two of his grandchildren are coming to visit for a few days.

Yes, life is good!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What do You do on a Rainy Day?

Build a fire in the a good book........grab the cat and an afghan and settle down on the couch for a good nap?
If you are us, and seriously you should thank goodness that you are not, you drive an hour in the pouring rain and then tromp around outside for an hour and a half.
We made plans to visit a perennial farm in Interlochen on Saturday. We checked the weather--cool, but no rain in the forecast. All right--let's go!
Five minutes into the trip it began to pour. We discussed turning back, but then decided the rain couldn't last long.
Of course, it was still raining when we pulled into the driveway to the garden! Fortunately we had umbrellas in the back seat of the car, which we pulled out, opened and held over our heads as we walked around and explored this beautiful farm.
They had water features.......They had flowering perennials.......
and so many different varieties of hostas........
The amazing thing was that although these all look like planted gardens, everything here is in pots, so you walk through and pick out what you want, put it in the pathway and they will come along and put it in your car for youI bought two different types of sedum for the front walkway and bee balm for my butterfly garden.
Afterwards, we went to the cutest coffee shop where they had the BEST cinnamon rolls with thick cream cheese icing. Which we ate while sitting in two very comfy chairs in front of the fireplace. Oh, I guess we did get our rainy day fire in the fireplace after all!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Moving on to Plan B

So I have been waiting and waiting for my Bliss cutter to return from the repair shop. I had received a call on August 5th saying that she (and don't you love how I have turned an inanimate object into a "she"?) was fixed and would be on her way home the next day.
And then the waiting began. I waited......and waited......and waited.........
Until I couldn't wait any longer and had to call and find out exactly what happened. Had she coded and gone into ICU.......did she need surgery........extensive physical I watch way too much Grey's Anatomy?
No, none of the above. She had been moved off the shipping table onto a shelf and then had other boxes stored in front of her. If I hadn't called......well, we won't even go there.
So no harm, no foul. She's on her way home and should be here in a day or two at the most. But until then I have been dying to hook! I could barely stand to look my Crazy Horse Quilt rug.
Something had to be done! Drastic measures had to be taken! Pioneer women didn't have cutters. No, they made do with their wits and whatever was at hand.....and so did I. I got my scissors out and cut my own wool strips. It took a couple of tries before I was able to get them fairly straight and thin enough (I'm doing this rug in a #6 cut). But I didn't do too bad and have this to show for my effort:
I finished my paisley leaf! I'm still not sure about the dark vein, but am going to let it stand for a while. I wanted to move on and do the horse next, but seem to have left all my black wool at home, so I think I will so some of the smaller stars and flowers.
Speaking of moving on, I managed to get all the pieces cut out for my new bag.

I've heard we have a 70% chance of rain tomorrow. If so, I will be getting the sewing machine out and see if I can't get this done.
And, if that weren't enough, I also managed to cut out 100 of these:

I am making a signature quilt for my son and future daughter-in-law. We will have the hearts at the reception for guests to write the good wishes and blessings for the happy couple. Then, after the wedding, I will applique them to a quilt. My sister made one for her son's wedding and it was a lovely keepsake of their wedding day.

Well, as you can imagine, Rog is thrilled, thrilled I tell you, with the debris from three projects spread all over the house! Thank goodness he has the patience of Job...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fiber Festival

Yesterday Rog and I traveled down to Allegan to the Michigan Fiber Festival. We had a great time. Even Rog, who originally said he would probably find something to do in town, stayed and enjoyed it! Something for everyone, as the old adage goes.
While the main focus of the event was geared toward knitters and weavers, they did have two rug hooking vendors. Linda Harwood from Hooked on Ewe was there. I had never seen her work, and I have to tell you it is just fabulous!
Kris Miller from Spruce Ridge Studio was there also. I know I have mentioned before how much I love Kris' work. Not only is she talented, she is just the nicest person and so helpful and encouraging. This is a rug that my husband wants me to do for him:
Of course, I couldn't leave without buying some wool. I think I restrained myself nicely....

Don't you think that blue and mauve would make the cutest little bluebird with a rosy little breast? And the orange.....well, I see some fall leaves or a pumpkin in its future.
After shopping, we watched the border collies herd sheep. It was such a hot day that this guy jumped right into his drinking water to cool off!
And, after seeing this guy with his funky hair do, we had a serious discussion about starting an alpaca farm!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

We're Back!

At the cottage, that is. I don't think I have shown you my view when I am hooking or sewing:

I I so lucky or what? My husband had this house when we married. Which should be a big lesson to any single people reading this blog. Find someone with a house on a lake. Looks will faded and you will probably run out of things to talk about at some point, but a house on a lake will be there FOREVER! The only sad part about this whole scenario is that I still have a job downstate--well that is not exactly sad because I do have a job and believe me, living in the Detroit area I know I am lucky to have a job. However, it does mean that I have to leave our little happy place in two weeks while my husband, who is retired, gets to stay up here. (One day I will explain our marriage, but I think it can be summed up in the words of a good friend of mine--"You two have the strangest relationship, but you seem happy." And we are.)

In rug hooking news, my cutter is still not back from being fixed. I know it is fixed, because I talked to the man who fixed it. And I have to say, all the way up here I was like a dog with its head hanging out the car window because I was so excited thinking about how my cutter was going to be waiting on the doorstep when we arrived. In fact, I mentioned it so much that my husband finally turned the radio up a little too loud so he wouldn't have to listen to it anymore. Sigh.............

This is not to mean that I do not have things to do. I'm not sure I mentioned this is the last five minutes, but my son is getting married in September and I am making a signature quilt for them. So one project is to cut out 75-100 hearts that people at the reception can write their prayers, thoughts and good wishes for the happy couple. I will then take the hearts and applique them to a quilt. So I have that. But, of course, while I was at the quilt store today picking out fabric for the hearts, I happened to see this fabric

Is this not the cutest fabric ever??? And I have to tell you, I do love me some cute. So I bought enough to make a bag for when I go back to work. Because having a bag this cute could possible make me feel just a teeny bit better about leaving the lake.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Spot of Tea

We had a wonderful time at our wedding shower yesterday! We had it at a beautiful little tea room near us. They had all sorts of beautiful English hats for us to try on. Don't we all look beautiful?
This is my "almost" daughter-in-law, Lesley, with her mom and grandmother.

And my daughter Kate. Trust me, she hasn't worn anything this girly-girly since she started picking out her own clothes at about age three!
Of course, my sister and I had to get into the act! And there was food. Oh my gosh was there food........ tea sandwiches on the bottom level, scones with lemon curd and Devonshire cream on the middle level and tasty little deserts on the top. Mmmmmm!Lesley opened her presents........

I am so happy and proud that Lesley is joining our family. I tell everyone I got the two-for-one special because Lesley has a charming and delightful daughter (who is helping her open the presents). So I not only get to be a mother-in-law, I also get to be a grandmother! Needless to say I am on cloud nine about that.

With the hard times that so many people in this country are going through, it is important to hold our blessings close to us and to be thankful for them. These are just a few of mine.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Someone's in the Kitchen......

I know, I know........this blog is supposed to be about rug hooking and quilting and so far it has pretty much been about everything except that. What can I say.......Life, she can be a stern mistress and I must follow where she leads..

So......baking. Let me just say that I am not much of a cook. When my kids were home, I did cook. Nothing inspired, but food got on the table at regular intervals. However, since the kids left home, I've pretty much given up on cooking. I did my 25 years of dinners and I felt I deserved a break. I will make dinner during the summer when I'm off work, my husband cooks to fill in the blanks, and we go out to eat way too often. What can I tell you? We get by.

I do like to bake, but rarely do so because sugar is like crystal meth for me. Seriously, is there is sugar in the house, I cannot stop thinking about it. And then I eat it. And let me tell you at age 58 with no ovaries (was that too much information?) I cannot eat sugar without gaining weight. And since diet and exercise seem to be the best thing you can do to avoid a recurrence of breast cancer (I am a eight year survivor), I am trying hard to avoid it. Unfortunately, it is mostly a case of the spirit being willing while the flesh is weak, but I'm trying.

Now.....where was I....oh yes, baking. My ex-husband's wife and I are having a wedding shower for our daughter-in-law to be. Since I am still on crutches and really didn't want to have it at our house, we decided to have the shower at the cutest little tea room near us. I had been thinking of favors to give to our guests, and since I tend to leave everything until the absolute last minute, I spent a day this week googling everything I could think of to come up with some sort of idea. In the end, I used an idea I had bookmarked a while ago......cake in a jar! It seemed easy. It seemed quick. It seemed cheap. How could I lose?

So I set up to do some baking. And pretty soon, this:
became this:

I made chocolate zucchini and Michigan blueberry (with the blueberries picked by our own little hands.) You are supposed to be able to use any cake recipe that uses baking powder. You can even use cake mixes. The one piece of advice I have is to not fill up six jars with cake mix and put them in the oven without first doing a practice run to determin exactly how much cake mix you should put in the jars. I filled my jars within an inch of the top on my first attempt and they all overflowed. I then did a couple of practice jars and ended up filling the jars just a little more than 1/2 full. This may vary with the recipe and the size of jar used. So there you go.....cute little favors for our shower tomorrow.
I went to Borders this afternoon and bought three books, so I am off to do some reading.
See ya!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Perfect Day in Michigan

People who live in Michigan talk about the weather. A lot. Of course, we have good reason to. Our winters are long and cold and snowy and icy and grey. Did I mention long? I'm convinced that many of us suffer from seasonal mood disorder and vitamin D deficiency. We get crabby. And moody. We yell at the dog.

Our summers are not that much better. They are short, generally hot and humid. Not a little humid. The kind of humid that makes you feel as if you are wrapped in a wet blanket. A hot wet blanket. Your hair gets frizzy or, as in my case, stringy straight. We get crabby and moody and we continue to yell at the dog.

However, despite all that, Michigan has a great deal going for it. We have two peninsulas, one of which is shaped like a mitten. We have the Great Lakes--and in my mind these five great bodies of water rival either coast. We have waterfalls, rivers and white pine forests. And every so often the universe aligns to give us a perfect day--not too hot--not too humid. The sun shines. A gentle breeze blows. And you tell the dog to get in the car because you are going for a road trip.

That's exactly what we did the other day. It was a perfect day after a long period of rainy, cool weather. So we went traveling to Manistee.

After dropping Rog off at the casino (because there is nothing he likes better than the free senior breakfast buffet!), I took off to visit a new quilt store in Bear Lake called Two Sisters. What a great shop! The ladies that work in the store were so friendly and nice. And the fabric; I could have taken one of everything! I did see this quilt done up in the Legacy fabric from Moda:

I am making a quilt for my son's wedding in September. I thought they might like this fabric, but no go. Not modern enough for their taste. Oh well.
Afterwards we walked through downtown Manistee and had lunch. We picked the restaurant solely on the fact that it had a deck overlooking the river. The food was so-so; the view was beautiful.
I have had days where I have brushed my hair, put on make-up and looked thinner (Okay, I am lying about the thinner part.). Obviously this was not one of them. However, I do have to tell you why I am the luckiest women in the world. I am not making this up. As we sat there, my husband grabbed the camera and said he wanted a picture because I looked so nice with the wind in my hair and the river in the background. This is why I am not pushing for him to get his cataracts operated on!

Next we went to the shore and just sat, talked and watched the water for a while.

It was a day for the memory books!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

10 Minutes a Day

April at Red Jack Rugs put out a challenge for rug hookers to spend at least 10 minutes a day on some aspect of rug hooking. Since the demise of my Bliss cutter, I wasn't able to get very much hooking done. I did begin to add in the other colors to my leaf. I'm not sure about the vein, as the wool, which is a very dark teal, comes off as a greenish-black next to the other wools. But I am going to live with it for a while and see how I feel after I get more of the rug done.
I did, however, decide to bite the bullet and whip the edges of an unfinished rug since hooking wasn't an option right at this moment. So off I went shopping at our local yarn store (shopping for supplies counts as a rug hooking option, right? Because, to tell the truth, I am an average rug hooker, but I seriously rock at shopping!) where I bought this:
Yarn to finish the edges. (By the way, the pretty little finch next to my purchase was carved by my husband.)
I love this challenge because it gives me that little push to do small, manageable bits every day.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Rest in peace my little Bliss cutter.
I was cutting some wool today and she just died. Oh, there had been warnings. Some slipping, not cutting completely through the wool. I guess I should have seen the signs and sent her away for some first aid because now there is nothing.....she flatlined and now matter what type of CPR I try, I just can't get her back.
I guess I'll have to send her off tomorrow to see if she can be saved. Let's all keep our fingers crossed as I really don't have the money for a new cutter right now.
My rug hooking will be hiatus until I get word on the cutter. I cut my wool as I need it. I"ve found that if I cut too much wool at one time, the little wool fibers floating around set off an alergic reaction--sneezing, eyes swelling and tearing. So I have learned to cut just enough for the hooking I am going to do that day which means that at this moment I have no cut wool to work with. >sob<
Ah well, certainly worse things can happen. On the bright side, I've been wanting to design my own rug--I will use my 10 minutes a day to do some drawing. And I have a half-finished quilt that could use my attention. I certainly won't be without things to do.