Friday, December 31, 2010

Living vicariously

2011Today while I was at the grocery store, there was a young girl behind the counter in the bakery and she was talking to a fellow employee about going home to wash her face & put on new make-up and get ready to go out.

I said that I can’t remember the last time I’d talked to someone who said they were going out on New Year’s Eve and neither could all the other eavesdroppers! 

I asked if she could let us know her plans for the evening.  She said she was going to a Peruvian Restaurant with her boyfriend and his parents and then to Bayside in Miami for the rest of the evening.  I told her I would be living vicariously through her evening!

I remember when I went out to a restaurant on New Year’s Eve with a young man & his parents.  Fifty years later, that same young-at-heart man & I are staying home on this New Year’s Eve & will be lucky if we stay up as late as 10:30pm !

Oh, and at that restaurant of long ago – I had lobster.  It was $4.50.

Hope you have some Happy New Year’s Eve memories, too. 
Let’s all make a Happy New Year’s Eve memory …

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pretzel Jell-O Salad

My younger sister sent me a recipe and I just had to share it.  She said it’s an old recipe and had made the rounds in the Midwest about 10 years ago.  I had never heard of it.  Maybe you haven’t, either.

PretzelJelloSaladThe tartness of the raspberries, the sweet of the Jell-O and sugar, the coolness of the cream cheese and the saltiness of the pretzels make a song in your mouth!

Pretzel Jell-O Salad

1.  Spray or butter a 9 x 13 pan  (you could cut recipe in half for an 8 x 8 size)
    2 CUPS CRUSHED PRETZELS (crush to the size of chopped pecans)
    3/4 cup of melted butter or margarine
    2 Tbsp. sugar
Blend together, press into bottom of pan.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
Let cool.

2.  Cream together:
    8 oz. cream cheese (room temp)
    1 c. sugar
     Fold in:
     8 oz. Cool Whip (room temp)
Spread on top of cooled crust.  Put into freezer for an hour.

3.  2 small or 1 large package of Raspberry     
    TWO    12 oz. packages of frozen raspberries
    2 cups boiling water
Mix Jell-O with boiling water.  Mix in raspberries. 
Chill a little until sort of set.
Spoon over cheese layer and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. 

You can use any kind of pretzels you have on hand.  I used the skinny stick ones.  But, twisted or rods will do fine.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Only in South Florida

Interesting reading in this morning’s Miami Herald.  Yes, I know you can get newspapers online, but I like the feel of the newspaper in my hand as I drink my cup of morning coffee with the other. 

DH & I tend to switch between our local newspapers down here.  We’ll get the Herald for a period of time and then switch over to the Sun-Sentinel for awhile.  Since “the South Beach Scene” is in Miami Beach, the Herald is loaded with Celebrity Gossip.

But what I found very interesting this morning was the crazy headlines and crazy stories that, I suppose, if you wanted to write a book of fiction, no one would ever believe these things -- too preposterous.  But, they are real life.  I read them in the newspaper!

How about this one -- “Worker finds head, body parts near a canal”  Not an everyday occurrence, eh?  Did the worker quit his job?  Or did he come back to work the next day, figuring the odds were good that this kind of thing would never happen again?

And then there was “The trial against a police officer accused of raping a family member while his allegedly drugged wife and 4-year-old child slept in the same bed begins”  He also allegedly drugged the family member.  Gives more meaning to “let’s keep it all in the family”.

And in Miami-Dade county, you can pay your property taxes online.  But, they charge you $87.25 for the privilege.  They call it a “non-refundable convenience fee”.  I think writing out a check and putting a 44¢ stamp on an envelope would be much more convenient.

And the most bizarre of all.  It seems that a book published this past summer, which didn’t really sell many copies, might have been possibly the inspiration for a recent murder.  You’re just going to have to read this one for yourself – another book will probably come out about this whole thing.

Do these stories happen in your neck of the woods?  Or is it just South Florida? -- “Things are different here” was a clever advertising phrase to sell tourism in South Florida, at one time.  I don’t think it was intended to be a derogatory comment.

I know South Florida won’t disappoint.  I know I’ll be back with some more “Only in South Florida” stories … all I have to do is open the local newspaper …

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Radiator Cover

100_1564 It all started with this article in Quilters Newsletter Magazine, dated October 2003.

100_1567The fabric above was bought specifically for the making of a wallhanging.  The fabric at top is a panel print and there are 4 fabrics below it.

100_0322 After cutting the pieces for 1 block, I decided I didn't want to make a whole bunch more – a little too much fussy-cutting.  So, I set the fabric and the block aside.

Then, came the winter of 2010. It was cold.  More days in a row of cold than we've ever experienced living in South Florida for 38 years. We bought a portable room radiator and used it more times in January thru March than I care to think about.

100_1565I knew just by looking at that radiator that it was going to be a dust-catcher! It needed a cover. I remembered that fabric and the lonely block.

I went into my EQ7 with my measurements for the radiator cover and started to design.  I even scanned my fabric so I could use it in the design in EQ7.  In order to make what looks like the panel print, I took a digital picture of the actual fabric and brought the image into EQ7.  If you do that, make sure the image is “square” so that the proportion will be correct.  You end up with some real silly looking images if you use rectangle-shaped images.fromEQRadiatorCoverBackEditedI took a screenshot of the upside-down back portion of design and brought it into MS Paint. I am delighted with Windows7 version of MS Paint. I can manipulate images with ease and it doesn’t have the learning curve that the high-end graphics programs do.

100_1527Here’s the layout, in progress, on the design wall.

100_1562 Here's all the layers pinned together, ready to be quilted.

100_1563After a couple of movies on the Hallmark Movie Channel, the "bones" of the cover are quilted and now the "fun quilting" begins …

I used Sulky Blendable 12 wt cotton thread for the quilting.  I like the heaviness of that thread.  Makes the stitching stand out.  I use a 90/14 Topstitch needle for the 12 wt. thread.

I find I get a better fit if I wash & dry the piece after quilting and before sewing the sides together.  Especially if I use cotton batting as I did in this project. 

100_1600Finished cover – front

Finished cover - back

Dolphins on a radiator?
In South Florida - but of course!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Convert WMV to iPad compatible file

I like to combine digital photos with the movies that I take with my PureDigital Flip Camera and make them into slideshows using HP Memories Creator which came bundled with my HP printer.

Thought it would be nice to have a slideshow presentation like that on my iPad.

Well, I figured out how.  And I didn’t have to buy any new programs to do it - the necessary programs were free.

I got the Windows Live Movie Maker program free from Microsoft.
Get yours here.  It comes as part of the Live Essentials package. You have to have Windows 7 to run WLMM.

In Windows Live Movie Maker, I can combine photos, videos, music and have special effects and all kinds of cool stuff.  It generates a WMV file.  WMV files can be viewed in a Windows Media Player.

You cannot upload a WMV file to the iPad / iPodTouch. 

You will need to convert that WMV file into a MP4, which is compatible with the iPad and iPod Touch.  And to convert it, you need another free program - Any Video Converter.  Get the “Any Video Converter Free”.

Once you convert the WMV to MP4, you upload the MP4 through iTunes, the usual way. 

I’ve been looking for a WMV file convertor for a long time.  The ones I’ve seen cost $40 to $50.  Free is so much nicer!  And you can convert WMV to AVI, also.

And Microsoft has another nice free program that does a nice slideshow of zooming in, out and across photos – Photo Story.  It really makes a nice presentation of your quilts, with music.  Or make a slideshow of the construction of a particular quilt (or gift) for a special occasion.  It will generate a WMV file that you can convert to MP4 for iPad / iPodTouch.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

An Innocent Quilt Block

100723-6The above photo appeared in an article by Jenny Deam of the LATimes in my morning paper about the above quilt.  It mentions that the “swastika block” is known by other names (aren’t all quilt blocks): Whirligig and Catch Me If You Can.  After reading the article, I was intrigued and went on a quest.

I had to go and see what information Barbara Brackman had in her Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilted Patterns book and in the software program Block Base v2 about the above mentioned quilt blocks.

100723-1Blocks known as Whirligig
~ screenshot from BlockBase v2 ~

The blocks from the photo at top is not in image above.

100723-2 Blocks known as Catch Me If You Can
~ screenshot from BlockBase v2 ~

There’s the block from the photo at top in the image above, block on right.  But, there’s 2 borders around that block, a white one and a blue one which makes it a tad different than the blocks in the photo at the top.

So then I decided to do a search in BlockBase for “swastika”.

100723-3 Blocks known as Swastika
~ screenshot from BlockBase v2 ~

I just don’t see how all the blocks in the first row could be named Swastika.  They don’t even resemble one.

By the way – here’s a Swastika --

And here is a symbol for a Unit in the United States Army 45th Infantry Division in World War I which was mentioned in the article --

And this block (left) is not to be confused with the Rail Fence (right):


The block on the left is drawn on a 5x5 grid.  The block on the right is drawn on a 6x6 grid.

I think I’m going to call the block on the left Catch Me If You Can.  After all, it is not the block’s fault that a despicable little man chose that symbol and turned it into something hateful.

Will I ever use the Catch Me If You Can block in a quilt - no, I don’t think so.  Would you?

100723-10I made the above image in EQ7, trying to duplicate what was in the photo at the top of this post.  I wonder if the maker of the quilt meant for the blocks to be mirrored from one to the other.  Maybe not, cuz there isn’t a pattern to the mirroring.  Maybe that wasn’t a concern for the quilt maker.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jenny of Elefantz (BOM)

In the current issue of Quilters Newsletter Magazine, there is an article, page 28, Stitchery from Down Under.  One of the quilters interviewed is Jenny Reynolds from Queensland, Australia.  QNM did not list Jenny’s website, but it was easy enuf to goggle her --

I just love the way she combines quilting and simple embroidery.  And she is so generous in giving away her designs for free.  She makes them available for a while and then you have to go to her Etsy shop to purchase some of the older designs. Her prices are very reasonable.

Jenny has a Block of the Month coming up – Daisy Do on July 1.  Her sneak peeks have got me hooked. 

I love doing embroidery every once in a while.  It calms the soul.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hurricane Season, again

June 1 to November 30 is Hurricane Season in my part of the world.  This will be our 37th Hurricane season in South Florida.  We’ve had to lower the awnings quite a few times over the years.  The most devastating hurricanes we’ve been through were Hurricane Andrew in August 1992 and Hurricane Wilma, the end of October 2005.

The worst year for the whole state of Florida was 2004 when 4 hurricanes criss-crossed the state.  That was also the year that my younger sister and her husband moved to the west coast of Florida!  What a welcome that was.  During Hurricane Charley, they hunkered down with martinis and popcorn in a big closet in their bathroom!

In 2005, there were 28 named storms: 15 of which were hurricanes.  They had predicted 14 named storms (9 hurricanes)!  I guess “they” didn’t see it coming …

DCP_3703The above pic is taken after Wilma visited our neighborhood in 2005.  Our beautiful Pon Gam tree in the front yard has been uprooted and stripped of half its leaves.  Lamppost had been blown over and is laying on its side.  Leaves from a tree on side of the house litter the sidewalk.  With the help of neighbors, the Pon Gam was pushed back into place.  It is a still a good tree, but is not the same and I don’t expect it ever will be.

This year they are predicting 14 – 23 storms, which includes 8 – 14 hurricanes.  Unless you have one of them Time Machines and go take a trip to the future and come back again, I really don’t think you can be an accurate predictor of hurricanes.

I hope the number of storms falls short of this year’s predictions.  I have a feeling that we will be preparing for some storms in Florida.  All we can do is be prepared.  Keep a watch on the weather.  And always respect Mother Nature. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Can’t move my fonts

Okay, I thought I’d do the computer a favor and move some of the 1,339 fonts I have.  I find I can’t.  I can copy them, I can delete them, but I cannot move them.

Does anyone know how to move fonts from the Windows>Fonts directory to another directory?

Computer running slow?

If your computer is running slow, it is time for a little bit of maintenance.  If you’ve let it go for awhile, this maintenance might take more than a little while to complete.  But, future maintenance will be a piece of cake.

I knew that fonts were probably causing my computer to boot up slowly.  But, I was hesitant to remove them.  Ya know, the fonts I throw out today are going to be the fonts I’ll need tomorrow!

Today AOL had this article  that had some tips and links to getting your computer up to speed.  It also gave me a link to Microsoft’s directions on adding fonts, removing fonts and deleting fonts.  And in those directions, there’s directions to move fonts.  Now, I didn’t know I could move fonts.  That’s gonna work for me.  I will see what fonts I can live without and move them to my external harddrive.  That way they won’t boot up.  And if I ever find I need them, I know where to find them.

When I went to C > Windows > Fonts > I was shocked to see that I had 1339 fonts on my computer!  Just about every program you install seems to put in their own fonts – especially the publishing programs.  I got a big moving job ahead of me.  I’ll just do a little at a time, when I can spare the time.

And then there was a link to an article about what you should do at least once a month to improve your computer’s performance.  I must say that I’m pretty good about doing the Disk Cleanup and Defragging.  But, I will now add Disk Check to my list.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

45” fabric ???

Whatever happened to 44” – 45” wide fabric? I’ve put in some sewing time this week and had the occasion to follow directions that called for a cut of fabric that measured 41-1/2” of fabric across the width. I had to cut into part of the selvage to get 41-1/2” of fabric in that cut!

Now, this was “Quilt Shop” fabric. As opposed to “Big Box Store” fabric, which tends to be not as generous in their widths. Altho, some of the big box stores are carrying some high-end fabric and things are getting better on that front.

Being a quilter, I generally take big pieces of fabric and cut them into small pieces and then sew those small pieces into big pieces. I usually buy a little more fabric than my design calls for. And if sewing something created by others, I generally buy a little more, too. Doesn’t hurt to “feed the stash”. Plus, most times, I buy Fat Quarters. So, I really don’t concern myself with width of fabric. I buy what fabric grabs my heart, my senses.

Unless I am designing a pattern. Then, I am concerned with fabric width and that’s another story.

I wondered if other fabrics in my stash came close to being 44'” – 45” wide. Well, after measuring several fabrics from my stash – I did not have any that measured 44” wide. None at 43”. None at 42. I lucked out to find 41-1/2” wide fabric! That’s not anywhere near 44” – 45”! Karamba!

I went to to see if the newer patterns compensated for these narrower fabrics.


Nope, they were still using 45” as a “buyable” width. Even if you could buy 45” wide fabric, that width would include the selvage.

I went into EQ to see on what fabric widths they were basing their “yardage to buy”.

yardage EQ had a 44” wide option. But, NOT a 45”. They must have measured their fabric, too! They also have 42” wide as an option. I use the 42” width for determining fabric yardage in EQ.

Now, why would a pattern company such as Simplicity still hold onto the notion that there is 45” wide “usable” fabric in the width? Never was. If fabric were 45”, that would include the selvage – selvage is NOT usable. With clothing patterns, you follow their directions to place your pattern pieces on the fabric and generally they don’t give you much “wiggle room”. And if that wide sleeve butts up against another pattern piece on a narrower width of fabric (less than 45”), you WILL have to piece that sleeve in the underarm area. Been there, done that.

I don’t think I have any 44” wide usable fabric. Do you?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Live Auctions: Exhilarating

gavelIf seen auctions in movies and on TV, but I’ve never been to a live auction.  Until today.  Wow!  What an experience.

We were in the market for some new kitchen floor tile and son said that there was a close-out sale at a place he does business with.  Well, it turned out to be an auction, not a sale.  With a fast-talking auctioneer who stood on a ladder as he moved from pallet to pallet of tile.

Luckily, I found a tile I liked and it was in a pile that was going to be auctioned off shortly.  DH & son went and got us registered.  You had to put down $100 cash to register and get a number.  You could only bid if you had registered and had a number.  The registration was refundable in case you didn’t bid on anything or if you wanted to charge your purchase.

Most of the palettes of tile were big lots – 500+ square feet and one I heard was 5,000 square feet and we only needed 131 square feet for our kitchen.  And the tile I liked came 144 square foot in a pile.

When that auctioneer started doing his thing – my, you felt like you just had to buy something.  It was fast & exciting.  Would be easy to get caught up in a frenzy.  The adrenaline was pumping.  And please don’t raise your hand, unless you intend to bid.

DH did the bidding for our small pile of tile – got it for 45¢ a square foot.  That tile originally sold for around  $1.75 a square foot.  I think we got a bargain!  It was such a feeling of euphoria when we “won” our bid!  Just a natural high.

I’ve signed up at the auctioneer’s website to get their newsletter.  I wonder what other auctions will be coming up in the future that might have something I’d be interested in.

I see on their website that they have an auction that will be at a Moving & Storage - 110+ vaults of un-paid storage.  “Vaults opened as they go. Be prepared to make immediate buying decisions.”

gavel2I wonder if any of those vaults hold anything of value?  What are the odds of lucking out on a purchase?  Like having something really good inside the vault.  But, then, they have not paid their bill, so the items might not be that important, or that valuable.  Hmmm, one can only wonder.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The price of sewing has gone up

I save things.  In some circles I might be known as a pack rat.  I’d rather be referred to as a “keeper of important things.”  In my container that has snaps, hooks & eyes and other closures is an old card that used to have snaps snapped to it.

1518If you will click on the above pic, you will see that the empty card on the left is from “Penneys” and the price printed right on the card is 13¢ !  I don’t know the year that those snaps were bought, but Pennys is now known as JC Penney and certainly does not sell snaps today.  The card on the left has snaps made by Dritz and they sell for $2.29 today at JoAnn.  Same amount of snaps – 12 of them – but very different pricing!

I did a search in Bing for “calculate percentage increase” and got a formula that gave me a price increase of 1661.54%.  That’s One Thousand Six Hundred plus percent increase!   That can’t be right!  Anyone out there who knows their math?  Let me know if that percentage is right.

Actually, I got the snaps from JoAnn on sale and only paid half-price $1.14.  And using the same formula to calculate the percentage it was only a 776%+ increase.  Such a deal …

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Raccoons & Dinosaurs

1492 Another grandchild came to use the sewing machine on Sunday and Tuesday.  This wasn’t the 1st time that Jessi has been here to sew/quilt.  In fact, way before I started blogging, I wrote about our first Quilting Adventure together.  Goodness, she was 5 then, is 17 now.  Doesn’t seem like 12 years ago!

Along with pics of grandkid’s shoes, I like to take “back” shots --

1494Jessi is working on the planks in the boat.

1493We found that the “waves” fabric we liked didn’t show up too well on the fleece background.  Soooo, fused “wave” to blue fleece and cut a margin of blue around & were able to use the fabric.

1496Looks like a tall chair with feet!

1497    Aaaah, but it is only Jessi!

Jessi had bought the fleece & a Tshirt with a raccoon on it.  Her mom sketched paw prints on the Tshirt and we were able to appliqué the paw prints down on the fleece, also.  The boat fabric came from this grandma's stash.  The blanket goes to a special friend.

There’s a raccoon on the other corner.  There’s a story to this blanket & the appliqués, but it’s not mine to tell …

We have raccoons back in our neighborhood, again.  The cold weather had kept them away, but they are back to digging in the flower beds and the mulch and knocking things around.  So, my DH traps them & re-locates them.  This guy is no longer in our neighborhood --

1499What a coincidence – a raccoon in a cage and a raccoon in the sewing room … I prefer the sewing room kind!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bloggers can get EQ7 free!

Bloggers – if you want a chance to give away a copy of EQ7 on your blog AND get a free copy for yourself, head on over to EQ’s blog for details.  Scroll on down to April 26 entry.

Electric Quilt will even mail EQ7 to the winner.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Beta-testing EQ7

Usually, I am not lucky. Someone else always wins the lottery. Someone else always wins the quilt that a local guild raffled off. Someone else always gets the best parking spot. But, this time, I got lucky! I was asked to Beta-test EQ7! How about that!

What exactly is "Beta-testing"? Well, let's say you've created a pattern for a quilt you designed and want to present it to a class or publish it. You'd want to be sure the pattern was accurate as accurate can be. So, you ask some friends if they would check thru the pattern for typographical errors. Spell-checkers do not know the difference between "their" and "there", but people do. Pattern has to be checked for accuracy in the measurements of the pieces to be cut to make the blocks, yardage required for the pattern must be accurate. And it would be best if some of the friends would make the quilt. That's the real, true test for patterns.

So, that's basically "Beta-Testing" -- checking and re-checking that the product is written correctly. In the case of computer programs, every click of every button has to produce the correct results.

How it all started --

At the end of Dec. 2009, I received an email from EQ asking if I'd like to test EQ7. Would I? You betcha! We were asked to keep this hush - hush.  (On April 28, we found out from Ann that we could talk about or even blog about what we did.)

In our next email, we found out that we would be asked to spend 20 hours in EQ7, over a course of 4 weeks. Hey, I could do that.

We received a CD of EQ7 Beta in the postal mail. The note inside said to go ahead and install it and play with it, doing usual things and trying out new things. There were a few instructions on things to try. It also said that EQ6 project files would be created with this version.  So that meant if we were to design, we would have EQ6 files after the testing was over – no need to use EQ6 during the testing period.

It was interesting working in a "beta" program. Things were incomplete. Some of the new features were so new they weren't included on the CD. There were only 3 block libraries in the program and 1 fabric library. The Help files weren't complete. There were notations in the Help files to remind the programmers about things they were yet to do in that area. I was surprised to see that some of the notations they used were the same things I do when re-vamping a webpage. Like putting 3 big X's at the top of the paragraph that needs further info. Can always search for "XXX" and find all the things that need attention.

Another email came and had an attached file that had "Beta Testing Instructions". We were asked to give info about our computers -- the make & model, operating system, screen resolution, etc. There were also tasks that we were asked to perform, covering every aspect of the program. Majority of the tasks involved working with the new features (the new features that were complete).  And printing from the program. We were asked to report any problems we found. I found a few - very minor things. Everything was just working beautifully.

The CD had an expiration date of March 15 and on March 15, the program no longer worked.  I had been using EQ7 for almost 2 months and when I went back into EQ 6, I found I was missing so many of the new features from EQ7.  Drag & drop blocks, grid on the Custom Set Quilt, to name a couple.

I wasn’t expecting it, but near the end of March, another CD came in the postal mail from EQ – EQ7 Upgrade Beta 3.  Wow, I got to play some more!

The note in the packaging asked us to try out the completed new features and test out the Help files which were now pretty much complete.  The problems that the Beta-testers found, they had fixed.  The libraries were still being worked on, so they still weren’t complete. 

Also in the note was the 1st time we found out about the new activation/de-activation program.  On EQ6, you were only allowed so many activations.  EQ7 allows for having 2 activations at one time.  If you get a new computer, you de-activate on the old computer and then you can activate on the new computer.  Much better than a dongle would have been.

On April 10, we received an email with a ZIP file that contained some files to copy over to the program which would give new code to the way the program works.  And some tasks to work through.  Again, asking us to report any problems.  EQ7 is addressing the netbook this time around.  When EQ6 came out, there was no such thing as a netbook.  I did not find any problems in my testing of this version.

I felt honored to have been asked to Beta-test EQ7.  I enjoyed poking around in the program.  And I had an excuse for all the time spent having fun – I was working – I was Beta-testing!  LOL

Electric Quilt announced EQ7 on April 24 and they are running a fantastic pre-order sale price for a new program or an upgrade.  EQ7 will be shipping June 7 (how clever).  And while you’re there, you can read all about the new features.

If you’re going to jump in on the fun of EQ7, might I suggest joining the info-eq list for a while – you will pick up a lot of tips from all the new EQ7 users.  And if you have any questions, that’s the place to get (almost) immediate answers.

What did I think of EQ7?  I loved it and recommend it, but that’s fodder for another blog post.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lists for iPod Touch

Has this ever happened to you – you bring home a book from the library and when you start reading it, you realize you have read it before?  The thought of dragging around a list of “books read” never appealed to me.  Although I did meet a gentleman at the library who had a printed list (of many pages) of books he had read!  It would have to be constantly re-printed, in order to keep it in alphabetical order, or sorted by author.

I do bring an envelope of clippings of articles on books to watch for when I go to the library.  What a mess that is to look through!

So, I thought – how about putting the list on a page on my website and then I could look at the list at the library on my iPod Touch.  Wow!  What a great idea this is!

1490I can update it at any time and don’t have to print anything to have a current list at my finger tips.

I had a head start on a list of books I had read, as I had created one on a spreadsheet, years ago, but I never kept up on it.  I was able to get names of some “books read” from the notes in the envelope.  My list is not complete, but it I had to start somewhere and now was a good time.

I also have a list of books I want to read.  And also a list of my favorite authors.  I can hardly wait to try this out the next time I go to the library!

Then, I thought, why not put up a list of movies we’ve watched so that I can access them on my iPod Touch?  So when someone asks me, “seen any good movies lately?”, I can just whip out my iPod Touch & flick through the list of movies to jog my memory.

It was easy to get up a list of movies, cuz I’ve been keeping track of the movies we’ve watched since we got Netflix in Dec. 2009.

We recently enjoyed “Fracture” with Anthony Hopkins. A good courtroom drama with suspense.

Another thing I have put on my website – for my own use – is a webpage that has a list of all my favorite links.  So, it’s real easy to find all my “private pages” – all I have to do is remember the address of that one page.
I can do that …

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oscars 2010


Image from

I love movies.
Can’t wait to see the glitz and glamour at Sunday’s Oscars.

Who’ll win Best Film this year?  Avatar or Hurt Locker?

Will Jeff Bridges win Best Actor for his role in Crazy Heart?  I hope so.  I have enjoyed him in so many films over the years.  Gonna have to watch him in Starman again.  Starman is on my list of movies that I have to watch over & over again.

Hope Sandra Bullock gets Best Actress for The Blind Side.

My daily newspaper, the Sun-Sentinel, has a link to a one page ballot.
I printed one off for me and one for DH.  I wonder who will get more right, DH or me?  I wonder what the prize will be for guessing the most winners?

Here’s a link to a page that the Oscars has for Twitter.

I want to try Wolfgang Puck’s “Black Truffle Chicken Pot Pie” and Pastry Chef Sherry Yard’s “Baked Alaska” at the Governor’s Ball.  I want one of the Goodie Bags that they give to the stars.

But, I will just have to be content watching from my living room.  No fancy food or swag!  I binged “swag” and it said it was an acronym for “stuff we all get”.  Well, then, where’s mine?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Beef Taco Skillet

100303Don’t you just love it when you find a recipe that’s quick & easy and tastes good?  Well, this one fits the bill and since DH preferred noodles instead of strips of tortillas, there was no chopping!

Here’s a link to the recipe at CampbellKitchen - Beef Taco Skillet 

Changes  --
3 cups dry extra wide noodles for the tortillas.  Cook the noodles while hamburger is browning.

Future Changes --
Next time, I will add more salsa.  Will use 3/4 cup of salsa, instead of 1/2 cup.  Used a favorite salsa from the Deli.

Served with a salad and a nice crusty Sour Dough French bread.

I look forward to the leftovers at lunch today.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Reading Pillow Cover

Read on and you will see what I did with the fabric that gave me the scraps in the previous post.

I have some things that help to keep me "on track" when I quilt. Sometimes I use little patterns drawn on Freezer Paper and ironed on to the piece being quilted. Let me show you how I make ‘em.

I am using a block I found in Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine, Jan/Feb 2010, page 92, Star Rosette block by Nancy Mahoney.  I drew the block in EQ6.  I like to draw interesting blocks in EQ6, it gives me practice.

I use EQ6 to create quilting stencils --

Since I like to draw the stencil directly on the block, I need to bring the block back into EQ6 as an image that I can trace on. Use the "Export Image" tool and save the image (block I drew) to a Directory where you can find it. I created an IMAGES directory right off the EQ6 directory and put images in there that I will be using for tracing, etc.

Make a new block for drawing stencil motif
Block > New Block > PatchDraw Motif
Block > Import image for tracing (the quilt block I drew)

Using the Freehand tool on the Appliqué layer, draw out a design directly on the block. You will probably need to tweak it up some. Save to sketchbook.

pillow01 Here's block with tweaked freehand
design drawn on it

pillow02 Saved drawn appliqué without
the block image underneath it

If I were using multiple quilt blocks in a quilt, I could then place the saved drawn appliqué onto each block in the quilt, to see how it would look on the finished quilt.

pillow03The repeat in the  drawn appliqué is 2 sizes of teardrops.  Convert the drawn design into guides – Block > Convert to Guides and then draw a template of a teardrop for each of the 2 different sized loops
Save to sketchbook.


I then printed a 10" block of those 2 teardrops
Print > Templates

I could've printed the 8 teardrops templates onto Freezer Paper, but I was being conservative and find it easier to print one of a needed repeat and then trace it, staple it to layers of Freezer Paper for additional copies, having only to cut the template shape once.

Plus, I get to use up scraps of Freezer Paper.

1460Smaller teardrop traced to Freezer Paper
and stapled to sheets of more Freezer Paper

1463 Teardrops cut out

1464Teardrops ironed onto quilt sandwich,
ready to be quilted around

1466Another favorite guide for quilting lines
is Contact Paper.  It is repositionable
many times

And here’s my completed Reading Pillow, waiting in my Reading Chair.  I use the pillow to prop up my book.

1473 FYI, I always have a book in progress.  I just finished “Just Take my Heart” by Mary Higgins Clark and will be starting “Promise Me” by Harlan Coben.

Monday is one of DH’s & my movie nights.  We will be watching “The Painted Veil” from Netflix this evening.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

To pitch or to keep


It’s always a tough decision for me when it comes to the smaller pieces of fabric left over after all the patches for a project have been cut.  Do I throw them out?  Do I keep them?  What’s considered small enuf to throw away.  When you do PaperPiecing, the decision is more difficult as you can use really small pieces of fabric.  How small?  Now, that’s the question.

The scraps in the pic above are from a project that I will be blogging about in the next post.  The spool of thread is there to show scale.

I already have a small drawer with small scraps of fabric in it.  I don’t go into that drawer very often, so that should tell me something. 

I have made a decision that I will no longer keep small pieces.  Anything under 2-1/2” hits the trash.  Starting with the scraps in the above pic.  And also the scraps in the small drawer.

Now, watch – next week I will be needing one of those scraps that I threw away this week!  Don’t you hate it when that happens?  Well, if it does happen, I’ll just have to take a trip to the fabric store!  ;-) 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bags under ironing board

Sunnie from Patchwork Pie left a comment on my post yesterday --

How big is that cute bag?
Could you leave it hanging under the ironing board and keep spray starch, etc. in it?

1455 The Little Georgia Tote Bag stands at 9” tall.
Here’s the bag holding a can of Spray Sizing.  I could probably put a small spray bottle of water in the bag, too.  Don’t think it will be too heavy for the bag.  The other bag was made long ago for an item I no longer own.  I put the packaging from the various feet I have (& will) purchase for my Janome 6600.  The package always has some sort of necessary info I might want to refer to.

Even though it’s not a full-sized ironing board that I have in my sewing room, there is lots of room under there to hang bags from metal shower hooks.  And I’ve got more bags and can always make bags I might need.  So, I’ll just keep my eyes open for things that could be put into bags and hang them under there.

And the convenience of that space – I just swivel around in my chair and have access to all the hanging bags.  And since I never fold up the ironing board, this makes quite the nice storage area.  And I get to look at all the various bags a-hangin’.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Little Georgia Tote

1454I followed PlanetPatchWork on Twitter during Houston’s Quilt Market 2009.  They took pics of a lot of the new products and it was fun to see what they saw.  Lynn Holland wrote a review of the trip and said that Pat Sloan's Georgia bag class seemed to be most in demand on the “class wanted” board.

So, of course, I had to go to Pat Sloan’s website and see what Lynn was talking about.  I thought the tote was just the cutest thing and I had to order the kit.  This particular kit had all the items necessary to complete the tote.  Decorative threads were even included. The appliqués and rick-rack were already fused to the fabric. All the pieces were cut to size. And the bottom part was stitched to the front.  Most of the grunt work done – all I had to do was start the fun part. 

I had a good time choosing the various decorative stitches to hold those appliqués in place.  And the background was a nice place to practice some quilting motifs.

I haven’t yet decided what purpose this bag is going to serve, I just like the looks of it and all the bright colors used.  Right now it is hanging from a metal shower hook that is hooked under my ironing board.  What a convenient, out of the way place, to hang things.  And when I swivel around in my sewing chair, I can admire The Little Georgia Tote!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cold Winter

SnowmanPalm Around this time of year, the temperature in my hometown is the envy of my northern friends.  They all wish they could be here to enjoy the balmy breezes of South Florida.  Well, this year my temps are on par with a northern winter!  37, 41, 44 – those are not numbers we usually see on our thermometers in South Florida.

It is supposed to get up into the 70’s tomorrow (Thursday).  Now, that’s more like it.  BUT, then another cold front is supposed to come through for the weekend.  Well, at least we don’t have to get out the snow shovel !