Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Roxy is the only one who dresses up at our house, and she is SO happy about it---NOT.


Once a month our family meets for dinner. (This was a Christmas gift my kids gave to me and my Mom. My almost DIL, K came up with the idea and got my Sons, D2 and D3 and DIL M to agree with.) This month it was at D3's home, which was perfect since my DIL M LOVES Halloween. She did a great job with the menu.

First came our appetizer, chips and dare I say...vomit.

Dinner consisted of:

Scary Peppers:

They were tasty

Grubs, I will be adding this to my menu's in the near future, they were great.

And for dessert, worms in dirt:

Despite how it looks the food was delicious. It was the most fun I've had celebrating Halloween in a long time.

Thank you D3 and M for all you hard work, you did a great job.

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Mini

I once heard that you should buy a "cool" car just before you retire. Who am I not to take such wonderful advice? My cool car of choice was a bright blue Mini Cooper.

Mini's have always made me smile and this one is no exception. It is fun to drive and in my opinion much cooler than the Smart car or Fiat. (I can't decide if I like the looks of the Fiat or not, but they don't make me smile). Lucky me it also gets good gas mileage, except I have to use premium so it may not save as much gas money as I had planned.

You might think that the Mini is not a good fit for the mountains. It is almost perfect for the mountains it loves to climb the hills and go fast around the curves. However when it gets cold their is a warning light that comes on to tell me it's "feet" are cold. (Really it's just warning that the temp has dropped and the roads could be icy)

My Mini is an "S", sport model. The dealer was in the Bay Area so I got to drive it home, when we stopped for a break I told D that I think we're in trouble and better take it back because it does NOT like to go slow. I look at the speedometer and couldn't believe I was going 80. Speaking of the speedometer take a look at this:

Do you see that huge round thing in the middle of the dash? That is the speedometer! There is NO hiding your speed from your passenger. The Mini is a tattletale. When D is driving I try not to look.

Operating the Mini took a little getting use to. What should be switches or buttons are toggles:

Locating them the first couple of times was a challenge. the ones shown are below the speedometer and operate the door locks and windows. There are more located above the mirror. They operate the moon roof and I'm not sure what else.
I also didn't take into consideration that even though the Mini has a back seat it is pretty much a two person car. It's a hatchback so there isn't a trunk. It's not perfect but I do love it.
This is probably more than you ever wanted to know about a Mini so I'll end now.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Warning: Addictive Information below

If you are a crafter of any kind I have some cool websites to share with you. I want to be a responsible person so I'm warning you ahead of time these websites are highly addictive. Hours will slip away from you as you get inspired.

The patterns on each of these sites are free.

The first one is This site has any type of craft you're looking for.

The next one is It's title is self explanatory, anyting to do with sewing.

The last one is Yep it's free quilt patterns.

You can use the search box on each of the sites to find what you're looking for. You can put in easy and or beginner and it will pull up patterns that will work for you.

You can also sign up for their newsletters but be warned you will receive a newsletter almost daily. It's nice at first but after a while you might want to unsubscribe from them.

Hope you have fun checking them out.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The purse is FINISHED!

Yesterday was my last Crazy Patch Pocket Purse class. Again the other members of the class had not finished their homework, but the teacher had put together step by step instructions on how to put together the purse so I had something to do while the others caught up.

I was moving right along until it came time to put the lining into the purse----it was about 3 inches too short---major issue. It turns out the instuctor had put the wrong measurements on the instructions. I was lucky that I had more of the lining fabric and was able to add 3 inches to the lining so it would work.

There was another glitch in the instructions that caused me and another classmate to have to take apart the bottom of the purse and redo it.

Needless to say no one finished their purse in class.

Today I finished it up, I put in the lining and did some top stitching--ta dah:

Here is a close up of the front pocket (it's hard to see the decorative stitches, but you can see the couching).

Here is the back of the purse:

Here is one of my classmates almost completed purse.
 This is the first time the teacher had taught this class and she doesn't think she'll teach it again. It is very labor intensive and she's going to come up with a different project that will teach the same techniques. Even though there were some glitches I did enjoy her teaching style.
 I learned the techniques I went to the class for and I finished the purse so I guess it was worth the time and frustration. It also built up my confidence. I figure if I could keep up in this class I can probably do okay in any class. Taking a class allows me to focus on one thing without any interuptions and meet some nice people. I'll probably take another class of some kind after the holidays.
Tomorrow I'm going to the Fresno Modern Quilters Guild meeting. I'm taking a leaf hotpad that I made for the fall themed item swap. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jury duty

Spent the day yesterday with a bunch of people who wanted to be somewhere else. Ah, jury duty. This is the first time I reported in the smaller county that I now live in. I must say that the staff was much friendlier and more informative than the bigger county.

I went through a jury selection. I was not one of the initial 12 so I was able to observe as the attorneys questioned them. It seemed like those that wanted off the jury knew just what to say to be taken off the panel. After all the questioning I guessed which ones would be excused and got all but one right. Then came their replacements, when the judge asked one if he could follow her directions on how to decide on a verdict he said "no, if they do the crime they do the time" The denfense attorney asked him if he thought the defendant was guilty, the juror said yes. The judge and the defense attorney asked him several more times in different ways and he gave the same answer. Talk about a way to get off a jury. I was surprised he wasn't held in comtempt of court. So if I'm ever on a jury panel and want to get off my answer will be "they do the crime, they do the time".

I was excused so I don't have to worry about it for another year. That means I can go to my final crazy patch purse class and hopefully put all the parts together so I'll actually have a purse.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The never-ending purse

Beautiful crisp autumn day here in the mountains. Spent several hours today working on my never-ending "crazy patch purse". I finished my homework for the week. I learned never to say never but I don't think I'll be making another one any time soon.

This purse ended up having over 20 pieces, here is a picture of some of them.The part on the bottom left is the completed lining. Miss Roxy is inspecting them, I think she approves.

One of the reasons I did all my homework today is that I'm on call for jury duty this week. Hey, I'm retired, I don't have time for jury duty! I sure hope I don't have to go in cause I'll miss my final purse class on Thursday. I want to go to class so I can get this thing put together. Do you think not missing the final class is an good excuse for missing jury duty?

My handsome, talented husband put up track lighting in my studio this morning, what a difference I can actually see what I'm doing. Thank you D.

I have chili cooking in the crockpot for dinner. Think I'll go and make some cornbread to go with it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Son the Artist

Yesterday I went to a festival in Clovis to help my Oldest Son (and his beautiful bride to be) at his booth.

My Son does metal sculpture and is an amazing artist. He uses found items, old bicycle parts, ect. He was "upcycling" (no pun intended) before it was popular.

Below I have posted pictures of some of his work.

This first picture is of his first major piece called "Nemo Found". As you can see he won several awards, including the viewer choice award.

The next few pictures are close ups of the parts of this sculpture
The next few pictures are of some of his more recent pieces
One of my favorite thing is watching how people respond to his work. As you can imagine boys of all ages love it. Most of the little girls don't get it. I have never seen so many men crowded around an art booth like this, they try to figure out what he used in each piece. Here are some images of guys checking out his booth. (some of the pictures aren't great but I was trying to take them without the guys knowing it)


Finally these are flowers he made for me, they will never die. I like his pieces when he doesn't paint them, but that's just me.
Yes, I will admit I'm biased and a proud Mom, but what Mom doesn't like to brag about their kids?
Watch out, in an upcoming blog I'll be bragging about my other very talented son.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I dyed fabric!

Did you know you could dye fabric using Sharpie permanent markers and rubbing alcohol? I didn't but saw a demonstration online and decided to try it.

You'll need:

Sharpie permanent markers, chisel tip, in different colors.
Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol- regular rubbing alcohol the kind you can get at the drug store
Small plastic bottle--travel size used for lotion--to put alcohol in
Fabric of some type, I used a a small piece of muslin (aprox 5x10)
Freezer paper or cardboard to protect your work surface.

Make sure you put down something to protect your work surface, you can use freezer paper or a piece of cardboard. I  DON'T suggest newspaper as the newprint would probably get on your fabric. (You could try it and you might get a cool effect---or not?)

Using the permanent markers draw a design on the fabric:

Using the small bottle drop alcohol into the middle of the design, saturating the design. The design will "bleed" out onto the fabric.

Allow the fabric to dry.

To set the dye, iron DRY fabric several minutes.

There are a couple of videos on You Tube demonstarting this technique. Martha Stewart has one using t shirts that is cool.

Not sure where I'll use this fabric, but had fun exploring this medium.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Busy day

Busy day here on the mountain, I did 4 loads of laundry, ran and emptied the dishwasher, trimmed Roxy's hair, and if that wasn't enough I did the annual clothes switch out. According to the weather forecast daytime temps are suppose to be in the mid 60's next week. For those of us in Cali it means winter is fast approaching.

Back to the clothes switch out, what a job.

 When I packed my winter clothes away I was still a working woman so I had to decide how much business clothing to hang onto. While I was at it I decided to use only white hangers in my closet and go through my purses and shoes. (Darn only found a dime in my purses).

I'm done and the closet looks nice, two totes of summer clothes went back to storage and I have a box of clothes to donate.

Going to work on my crazy patch purse homework for a couple of hours.

All in all a pretty productive day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Class Day

Today I had my second, out of three, crazy patch purse class. I was the only one in the class that completed the homework which meant the first 90 minutes of the class I had nothing to do until the others finished it up. It was very frustrating and taught me the importance of completing  homework assignments so I don't hold up other people.

In spite of the delay I was able to complete the lining with pockets so next week I'll be able to put the purse together.

I've learned how to do bobbin work, which was my main purpose of taking the class, prepare a lining with pockets and several other tips. In spite of my frustration I think taking the class was time well spent.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I need Clinton and Stacey!

Someone please submit my name to "What not to wear", I need Clinton and Stacey's guidance. I cannot understand how I can try things on, think they look great on me, buy them and then see a picture of myself in them (out in public mind you) and wonder what was I thinking.

 I also wonder how my handsome husband let me leave the house looking like that. I guess that is how we've stayed married 43 years, he tells me what I want to hear. However this morning he put his life in danger. I was putting my makeup on and doing my hair when he came in carrying Miss Roxy (our Yorkie), he says to Miss Rox "don't look "it" might scare you". Unbeleivable!

A few hours later he had the nerve to ask me to bake him a cake. MEN!

On another subject, several of you have told me you weren't able to comment on my posts. I think I fixed the problem so I'd appreciate it if you would test it out for me.

Doug and Roxy



Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I've been working on my homework for my crazy patch purse class for several days now, it's due on Thursday morning. I may have to come up with some excuse for not having completed it but can't think of a good one. I can't say I didn't have time because she gave us two weeks, I could always use the old standby my dog ate it. Maybe I can get Doug to write me a note, "please excuse my wife for not completing her homework, she's retired so she doesn't meet deadlines any more."

Who knew that I'd still hate homework at my age? Sigh, I guess I'll have to make extra effort to finish it, but I'm not happy about it! If I don't post anything tomorrow you'll know why, my mean teacher gave me way too much homework.

Monday, October 15, 2012

2012 Pacific Internation Quilt Festival

Last week I attended the 2012 Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara CA. I went on Thursday the opening day thinking it wouldn't be as crowded as the weekend. I don't know what the weekend is like but it was so crowded it was hard to have the time to enjoy the quilts.

The variety of quilts was amazing, from a display of antique quilts (1800's to 1930) to traditional, modern, embellished, postcard size and International quilts.
This quilt was one of my favorites, it is covered entirely in buttons. Worth a close up view.
The next two quilts are from the International display. The first one is from Japan and the one below it is from Africa.



In looking at the pictures I took I found that I was drawn toward the modern/abstract quilts. The two below are an example, the top one is about pomegrantes, not sure what the bottom one is about, the ladies in the pic seem to be trying to figure it out as well.
I was glad that I went but have decided I like smaller quilt shows. This show almost overwhelmed my senses, there was too much to absorb. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Getting educated

Yesterday I went to an emergency preparation meeting for our community. I must admit when I lived in the city I really didn't think much about this, however living up here where there is a chance of wild fires I thought I'd better educate myself.

I knew a lot of the information but I did learn I need to turn off the main propane valve to the house and that the Sheriff is the one that calls for an evacuation. I also learned that there may in fact be "stupid" questions, one lady asked the fire department where the fire would come from? Anyone have an answer for that one?

I'm going to the city today to get groceries. I never thought I would dread this. It's not the traffic or the distance, I'd just rather stay home. That is not an option today our cupboards are getting bare and even worse Miss Roxy is out of food.

Friday, October 12, 2012

That kind of a day

I found another reason to love retirement, I get to stay home on a rainy day.

looking out my living room window, 10-12-12

What to do? Make stew and bake cookies of course.

Now that dinner is ready, I'm going to enjoy a warm cookie with a cup of tea and then I'm going to work in my studio.
What do you like to do on rainy days?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


So nice to have Fall weather finally arrive, it means the leaves will be changing soon. Fall is my favorite season, cooler weather, beautiful colors, soups, stews, pumpkin pie and "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" on TV. What's not to like?

D and I will be going to the Pacific International Quilt Show in Santa Clara on Thursday.
I've always wanted to see this show but my work schedule never allowed it. We'll be leaving tomorrow so I may not post again until Friday. Hope to have pictures to share.

Monday, October 8, 2012

One month anniversary

Happy one month retirment anniversary to me! Must admit it seems like longer, my work memories are fading quickly.

My friend Irene gave me the best advice, she told me to just "breathe". I took that to mean relax, don't do a lot of planning, just enjoy life as it comes. I try to take her advice often. I was so used to juggling several crisis at one time I was finding it hard to relax---I'm getting better at it though.

Since I retired on Sept 7th I have:

- celebrated my birthday
-our 43 wedding anniversary
-Doug's birthday
-went to the Modern Quilt Guild meeting
-took a class
-helped my Granddaughter move.
-started a blog
-learned several new quilting techniques
-set up and organized my studio

After looking at that list, I don't think I have the relaxing part down yet.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tired but inspired

Tired from yesterdays journey on the Sierra Art Trail. There was a lot to see and a lot to process, by the end of the day my brain was too full.

I learned that I need to put things I love and that inspire me in my studio from seeing the artists studios so I moved items into my studio from other areas of the house: a small clay quail made by Margaret Hudson, an Art Doll that I made a few years ago, a small fall floral display, the felted pin cushion I bought yesterday and a picture of a sunflower. I lit a wonderful smelling candle and am playing Kenny G, ahhh bliss.

 Now I need to take this inspiration and actually create something.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sierra Art Trails

Today I attended the 10th Annual Sierra Art Trails Open Studio Tour with my husband and friends.

 According to the catalog “Sierra Art Trails allows the visitor to meet artist, visit studios, ask questions, view demonstrations and see the creative process at work.”  This event is held for three days each fall, usually in early October.

There were 108 artists but not all of them were at their studio, many of them set up displays with other artists.  The mediums represented: Acrylic, Airbrush, Basketry, Ceramics, Drawing, Fiber Art, Furniture, Glass, Jewelry, Mixed Media, Pastel, Photography, Sculpture, Watercolor and Woodworking. There was something for everyone.

This is the first time I’ve attended and I loved being able to visit many of the artists in their studios.  What inspirational spaces, most with views of the surrounding mountains. I saw amazing Wooden Clocks by Gary Johnson that sold for over $10,000 (, cool felted jewelry, and even Goddess Dolls.

I spoke to an Artist who uses found items to create her pieces. I pointed to one of her pieces and asked her what the inspiration item was in the piece? It turned out to be a squished aluminum can she found on a walk, she painted it gold and used it as the backround. Right…like I’d even think of such a thing, if I’d even have seen it and picked it up I would have thrown it away.

I highly recommend this event for any art lover.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Year of Discovery

It has been a little over a year since my husband and I moved from Clovis CA to Coarsegold, CA located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, 20 miles south of Yosemite National Park. In that year I have discovered several things:

-The pace of life it slower.
-There is less traffic.
-May through September is "Tourist Season".
-It cools off at night even the during the hottest days of summer.
-Don't put away winter clothes until mid May.
-The chorus of frogs on a spring night is loud enough to keep a person awake.
-We live in a wildlife area, we have seen coyotes, deer, and a bobcat or two.
-It is easier to make hamburger bunsnfrom scratch than go to the store to buy them.
-Sitting on the front porch in the evening enjoying the scenery is better than most TV programs.
-You need to plan ahead to make the most of a trip to "town".

Having lived in the city all of my life it has been fun experiencing mountain life.