Friday, February 27, 2015


I was making big progress in appliqueing the arcs for my wedding ring quilt.  Then I noticed that the tiny pattern on the background fabric that I thought was random, wasn't



I quickly laid all the pieces I had finished out on a bed.  I could turn the squares with four arcs any way I wanted, but the single arc squares had to attach to the sides and they had to go the correct way.  You might not notice, but I would.  It couldn't be seen from a distance, but up close someone might notice.  So I had to find out how many were not going to work.

I found there were only two going the wrong direction.  Whew!

I used a seam ripper to remove the top stitching and then heated the arcs gently with an iron and slowly worked them off. Then I had to cut some more squares.  I couldn't get the glue off the fabric.

I ironed and stitched them and I was back in business.

I decided to do all the four arc squares and then I could figure out what I needed to do for the single arcs.  Some have to be on the left and right sides.  Some have to be on the top or bottom of the square.


Once those were in place I could start on the jewels in the corners of the squares.   And that is my next project.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A String Of Beads


I just finished the latest Jane Whitefield novel from Thomas Perry.  If you haven't read him, he is consistently good and worth checking out.  This is a series, though, and you should start with the first one.

Jane is a Seneca and has a talent for helping people disappear when they need to go.  She doesn't hide criminals, but people who have angered the wrong people and don't trust the police to save them.  Jane teaches them how to completely change all their usual routines and gets them new identities and places them in new cities.  It is a long process and dangerous.  Most people are not prepared and have no money, so she doesn't charge them.  Once they are established elsewhere, many people send her money or offer to help in other ways.

These relocations are frequently dangerous as people don't give up everything and everybody they know unless it is to save their lives.

Jane is now married and doesn't want to do this kind of work anymore.  But one day her clan mothers from the Tonawanda band show up at her house.  They have a situation with Jimmy Sanders,  a young man from Jane's youth on the reservation.  He has been accused of murder, a crime he didn't commit, and they have heard that people are getting themselves arrested and put in jail, so that he can be killed if he turns himself in to the authorities.  He needs to hide until his name can be cleared and they want Jane to do it.

She didn't even know that they were aware of her work in this area. 

One of the clan mothers gives her a string of beads, an ote-ko-a.  The rest of the world called it wampum and thought of it as a form of money.  But it wasn't.  It was a sacred commemoration.  It was a way for the clan mothers to assign a an important task and it is not something Jane could take lightly or refuse.

She needed to find where Jimmy was hiding and then keep him safe.  Later, Jane would need to try to find out who really committed the crime and clear his name.  And not get dead, because it turns out the Mob is involved.

As you can imagine, her husband is not on board with this plan and it causes some tension in their relationship.  Again.

Perry writes a compelling mystery and is worthy of a read.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Finished The Serving Display Table

I'm not sure what this table is called.  I bought it recently from a local store, but the stain was coming off when I cleaned it.  I wrote about it recently.

I decided that it could use a couple of coats of lacquer to seal it.  First I had to tape up the windows.  Then I sprayed a coat, did a bit of rubbing with very fine steel wool, and then a second coat.


I let it dry a few days because it has been freaking cold. 


Then I brought it in to warm up, removed all the masking tape, replaced the hardware and cleaned it up.


Lee carried it to the basement and we put a lamp on the serving tray.  If someone wants to use the serving tray, they will have to remove the lamp.


I placed a few things inside and it looks OK.  Not grand, but if someone spills wine on it, it isn't a disaster.


Now Lee says we need a picture for the wall above it.


Yay for more trips to art co-ops and antique stores!

Monday, February 23, 2015


It has warmed up....some.

And the snow on the roof is starting to melt...a bit


But that means large, thick sheets of icy snow are working their way off the roof.  But not falling to the ground.


Lee went out with a long piece of PVC pipe and knocked some of them off the roof.  Those he could reach.


Don't stand under our eaves any time soon.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

This Is NOT 2 to 4 Inches

They said we would get another 2 to 4 inches.  Instead it snowed all day.  And we now have more than 10 inches of accumulation.


Lee scraped the driveway late yesterday, but then we had more snow overnight.  So out he went.  Poor guy.  At least it isn't as cold as it has been.

It is supposed to get up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit today.  I hope that means all the snow will melt. 


Next week it is supposed to drop to 6.  SIX.  That is pretty cold.  At least for someone who grew up in California and spent years in  Hawaii.

At least it is a fair trade for the joy of seasons and the beauty of spring and fall.  She tells herself.  Over and over.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snowing, AGAIN

Lee grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  When it first snows in the winter, the snow frequently stays in place until spring.  That is one of the reasons we don't live in the U.P. 

That being said, it is snowing again.  And the snow from last week is still on the ground.


You can see a lump from the last snow storm along the front path.

Earlier this week we woke up to the lowest temperature since we have been here.  It was 7 degrees Fahrenheit on our screen porch.  The neighbor across the way said her thermometer showed 2 degrees.  Two.


Today it is much warmer.  Now it is 15 degrees although it was 12 when we got up.  So it is MUCH warmer.

I took some pictures but didn't step outside the house.  Too cold.


Can you imagine how cold it would be if we didn't have global warming?  Will you send some of that warming my way?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


It is currently snowing.  Again.  A good day for getting some quilting done.


I finished sewing the colorful arcs to the interfacing, all 116 of them.  well, 115 of them.  On one of them the interfacing tore when I was turning it and I am too tired of working on them, so I will fix it later. 


Now,  I am placing them on the background squares.  I had to trim the interfacing to make them fit.  You don't want it to hang over and stick to the ironing pad.  I am not using a full ironing board. I am also using the pressing sheet.  This keeps any of the glue side that might peek through on the arcs from sticking to the iron.  It gets hot, though and can burn your finger tips.  Don't ask me how I know this.


I press one tip in one corner and then place the other corner and press it.  Only then do I press the rest of the arc. 


Once one set of arcs are in place I use invisible thread to top stitch with a zigzag stitch.  The invisible thread gets tangled every once in a while and I have to cut it and rethread the machine.  But I like it because it doesn't show a lot on the arcs.


I have to place four arcs on 24 background squares and one arc on 24 squares for this quilt.  I have done 6. 


But, once again it is snowing and I can only read so much.

I'm lying!!  I can read a lot!   And sit on a comfy bed with warm blankets and hot cups of tea.  But I have to be sort of productive, don't I?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Day

It snowed yesterday.  It started in the morning and continued off and on all day.  By about 3:00 there was an accumulation of about 4 inches. 


Lee took the tractor out and made a path to the street. 


He placed our recently acquired posts to show the edge of the drive, especially where it curves.  In years past, the tractor has gone off the road, and even with 4-wheel drive, it is difficult to get back on when the snow is deep.



They predicted another 4 to 8 inches overnight.  Having done one pass on the driveway, Lee felt he could stay in the house overnight. It is no fun plowing in the dark, in the snow, on the tractor without a cab.



He got up this morning and started scraping.  We don't have a snow plow, just a scraper on the back of the tractor. 

A plow would work better, but we only need one every few years and they are expensive.

The poles helped Lee stay on the curving driveway.  He went down, got the paper for me and took these pictures.  Back when we had horses, he would scrape a path for me to drive the Kawasaki Mule to the barn and then scrape the driveway while I worked in the barn.  Now I get to sit at the table and drink coffee, while he works in the cold.  It is currently 18 degrees.


I'm sure glad I have Lee to do these things for me.  If not, I may just wait in the house for a spring thaw.  I have a shelf of granola and other sorts of meal bars and I'm not afraid to use them.

There are days when I bet Lee wishes HE had someone to do the cold jobs.  I imagine this might be one of them.

I can't ask.  He is still working.

I am going to visit my mother in Southern California soon.  It is 7:30 AM there and 58 degrees.  It is supposed to be 70 tomorrow.  I may take shorts.  And flip flops!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Montano's Restaurant

We have driven by Montano's Restaurant many times and every time we mention that we should try it.  Well, last night we did.  Fortunately Lee made reservations way in advance for the Valentine's meal.  It was packed.  So packed that they gave each diner a polite note to keep their stay at the table limited to 1 1/2 hours to accommodate the next reservation.

On this particular day they had a delicious, but limited menu.  Their regular menu is extensive and they picked some of the best (and probably priciest) options for the meal.  I was going to be a good girl and just have a delicious sandwich.  But that was no longer available and I was FORCED to order the Angus Filet.  With mashed potatoes.  I have been on a diet since the beginning of January and my meal was probably more food and calories than I had been eating in three days.  Were you worried I couldn't finish all that glorious food?  Don't be silly.


First, they served a delicious salad, crisp and cold with the world's best avocado vinaigrette.  Make sure you try that dressing from their many options.  Their bread was airy and crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.  It was served with some olive oil with herbs on the bread plate.  It tasted like it was infused with Parmesan cheese.  Another must.  Was the dressing and bread delicious because I haven't had any for so long?  No.  It was just delicious.


The steak was perfectly cooked.  I don't like a raw center and ordered a medium steak.  I know.  Stop yelling at me.  That's what I like.  Lots of times when I order medium, the center is bright red and undercooked. Mine was perfect all the way through.  It was also served on a generous bed of mashed potatoes.  Yum.  And circled with perfectly cooked asparagus.  The asparagus was crisp and tender and great.  It came with a bleu cheese sauce which I asked to just have a small amount and then scraped off most.  No, I was not being good.  I don't like a large amount of bleu cheese.

The waitress was friendly and polite, even on the busiest day for a restaurant.  The kitchen must have been hectic and yet my requests were honored and just what I asked for, not too much bleu cheese and dressing on the side.

And then, because it is a national holiday, we were forced to eat dessert.  This is required and a damn good law, in my opinion. 

We couldn't decide between the chocolate cake and the bread pudding.  So we ordered both and shared them.  And here is the only place where I would have an issue.  The bread pudding was too dense, almost hard, and the whiskey sauce did not taste of whiskey.  It was the only thing we didn't finish.  The cinnamon topping was a nice touch that I may incorporate into my next batch of bread pudding. I have no complaints about the chocolate cake.  It was dark and rich and chocolaty.  The cake was served with whipped cream, but the dense cake would have been nice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead.  Not that I needed anything else to eat at that point.


Lee had fish.  He said it was delicious.  Sure, if you like fish. But I had the STEAK.  Marvelous.

And now I am back to my diet.  A granola bar (190 calories) and coffee for breakfast.

I can't wait for the next time we get visitors from out of town.  I am so going back to Montano's.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Stitching and Turning

I cut 116 pieces of interfacing for the arcs on the wedding ring quilt.  Then I started stitching them to the colorful arcs I already sewed, of six wedges each.

It is important to get the interfacing placed properly.  One side has glue.  The other does not.  When you are finished with this task, you will iron them in place on the background and then zigzag stitch around the edges.  The interfacing will glue the arcs to the fabric and then you stitch it in place.


First you place it smooth side up on the right side of the fabric.  Then you pin it in place and sew on the stitching lines.

You can sew them all, trim them all and then turn them all.  Or do a few of each, so you don't get sick of doing the same thing for hours.  There are 116, remember.


I trimmed and turned a few just to make sure I was doing it correctly before I sewed all of them INcorrectly.  I used scissors to cut on the curved cutting lines.  It would be difficult to cut them with a cutting wheel and not very accurate.


I bought a special turning tool.  You slide the FABRIC, not the fragile interfacing, under the clip on the turning tool and press it closed, to hold the fabric. 


Then , gently slide the fabric over the tool until it is right side out.  The rough, dried glue side of the interfacing is facing out.  Release the clip and finish turning the fabric. 


I also bought a wooden pressing tool.  This is just a flat piece of wood for rubbing on the edges of the seams to push them mostly flat for future ironing and sewing.


Three down to go.  Higher math takes a few seconds.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

116 Arcs

I had to cut a LOT of wedges for the wedding ring quilt I am working on.  On which I am working.  Then I sewed them in sets of 6.


One hundred and sixteen sets of six. 


I have cut up the squares for the "jewels" that connect the arcs into circles.  I cut the background squares.  And now for the fun part.


I have to cut out 116 arcs from the fusible interfacing.  This is a fragile paper with dried glue on the back printed with arcs and stitch lines.


Oh, boy..

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Barn For Rent

The horses are gone.  And we finally got rid of the tack.  We had three saddles, a bunch of bridles, halters, blankets and bits and bobs of horsey things.  I was hanging on to it.  Some of it I have had since the kids were little.  Oh, my gosh, since the mid eighties.  The saddle that fit me and the ones for the kids.


When we were trying to sell the horses we had them up at Stone Tavern Stable.  Terry Whitmore helped us a lot, at a reasonable price.  Rather than selling off everything, we took the whole shebang up to her and gave them to her.  She can use them, sell them, or give them to her lesson kids when they get their first horse.


All I know is it is the end of an era.  My time with horses.  I hope my back gets better, but I doubt it will be good enough to ride regularly.  I can ride on vacation or something like that.  But no more horses for me.


So we have a great big empty barn.
It is all set up for a bunch of horses, but is currently just housing our canoe. 



Do you know anyone that has a bunch of horses and no place to put them?  Or maybe wants to start a llama business? 


I know of someone that is turning their unused barn into spot to brew craft beer for themselves.  I'm not a big beer drinker, but maybe you are and need a location!

Barn for rent.