Monday, August 31, 2009

Computer gone

My DH finally took my computer away today to get it fixed. I managed to steal a few minutes on his computer, but he is looking at me with the evil eye like he wants his computer back. Didn't get much quilting done this weekend as I was sick with a cold, and it knocked me out pretty much all weekend.

I'll have to catch with eveyone when I can. Take care,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Vacation from Hell, part 2

Continued from part 1. Click here if you didn't see the first part.

The strangers whose car we got into were very nice, and they dropped us off at the winery. We called a tow truck to tow the van. Not an easy task with the trailer attached. After forever, they came and towed our van to town, and dropped us off at a hotel. They promised they would take the van to a nearby repair shop who would look at it on Saturday. Now, we're stuck in a hotel with no transportation. Oh, and did I tell you that my DH decided we no longer needed the AAA roadside insurance that would have paid for the tow truck and also have given us a significant discount on the hotel?

Saturday morning I was able to spend some time walking around the town, looking at the shops. DH wanted to stick around the repair shop to see what was up with the van. Oh, and Calico Cat, this proves that my DH can act just like your husband. The difference is when we were at the Biltmore, he thought that cooling off the van engine would help, so we went on the tour. The repair shop was unable to diagnose the problem (and they closed at noon), so we were told they would tow it AGAIN $$ on Monday to a dealer. We were really stuck there now.

DH was so upset, he started making calls to friends and family back home to tell them of our troubles. He decided to use an old phone credit card for the calls since our cell phones didn't work in that area. He used that credit card the entire time he was there. We were shocked when we got the $600 phone bill a month later.

After telling my boss that I was not going to be back on Monday, he said he needed me back to work and was willing to pay to put me on a plane. Our company had just been acquired, and they needed the budget done! It was the first of many new experiences with a big corporation. Who am I kidding? When you've been married as long as I have, you know when to retreat... So, on Sunday, I got into a cab BY MYSELF (first time was a little nerve wracking), and went to the airport to fly home. I flew into a different airport than where I flew out of so I didn't have my car, and my mom had to come get me and drive me to another airport 100 miles away to get my car...

DH stayed behind, incurring hotel costs for several days. Finally, after days of the dealer "fixing the problem" only to break down shortly after leaving the dealer, while at the same time charging us lots of money for each new part that had been "fixed", DH convinced his very good friend to drive down with a trailer to tow the van (and our trailer) home to Michigan. That trip over the mountains would put a strain on any vehicle let alone towing a trailer with a van AND trailer on it, but they finally made it home. Good friends like that are a treasure!

When I got home, the stray cat we had taken in seemed kind of tired. But being an outdoor stray, he was constantly getting into fights with other animals, and I didn't think too much of it. DH was very attached to that cat, and worried himself sick about the cat. When he got home, he found some lumps on the cat and took him to the vet. After extensive, and yes expensive tests, they told us the cat had cancer. So, a week before Christmas, we had to put him down. We were both heartbroken, and DH blamed himself for being gone while the cat was sick.

The local dealer was finally able to diagnose and fix the electrical problem on the van, and it only cost a mere $1800.

And that, my friends, is why we have not gone vacation in over ten years due to the vacation from HELL! It took us a while to recover financially, and emotionally...

After listening to that long recital, I promise a more quilty post next time.

Take care,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vacation from Hell

First, let me say that the mini-vacation went great. Some relaxation, lots of shopping, and gawking at beautiful beach houses along the shores of Lake Michigan. No pictures and no quilt shops though. Gives me hope for future vacations...

Some of you have asked about the vacation from hell, so here's the (very long) story:

10 years ago, in search of more work during the cold Michigan winter, my DH went to Florida with a friend to help build home additions. The plan was that I would fly down for a vacation in early December, and we would drive back to Michigan for Christmas and he would return to Florida after Christmas. We had been married over 20 years by then and had never been apart for that long. I flew to Florida and we had a nice vacation visiting Mickey Mouse and relatives and just hanging out and relaxing. Except, if you want to stay married, NEVER EVER, attempt to live a week with your spouse in a 19 ft trailer. It's just not normal. After a week, I had to get back to work on Monday, so we started the long drive back to Michigan.

Since my DH was staying in Florida while I had to take care of EVERYTHING at home while he was gone during the LONG, COLD WINTER, he agreed to my request to see the Biltmore Estate all decked out for Christmas. Can you say "guilty conscience" anyone? Anyway, on the map, it looked like only a short detour from I-75 to Asheville, NC. I didn't factor in that the detour was over the mountains and took a little longer than expected.

Our first clue was when we stopped for gas, and had a hard time starting the van again. Ahh, we thought, it is just not built for travel through the mountains, and we were also towing a small utility trailer. The van was chugging, slowly, through the mountains, misfiring and making lots of engine noises. And our cell phones don't work very well in the mountains. We finally got to the Biltmore Estate around mid-day on Friday. If you've ever been to the Biltmore, you know that from the entrance to the house is a long, winding road through beautiful grounds. It is a 3 mile long stretch of road and the van started sputtering. We finally pulled into the parking lot and the van died. Nothing we could do, so we went and enjoyed the house tour.

When we came out, it was starting to get dark, and thank heavens, the van started again! So, we started on the 2 mile trek to the next stop, a store and winery. Part way there, the van died. In the middle of NOWHERE. We have no idea how long it is to the next stop. We have NO cell phones. The road is deserted. It is getting dark. Every 5 or 10 minutes, a car passes by, but nobody stops. Finally, after a LONG 20-30 minutes or so while frantically trying to get a cell signal, someone stops and offers us a ride to the winery. GULP, we take a leap of faith and get in the strangers' car.

At times like this, I wish I was a drinker...

Whew, this is a long story. To be here

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Going on Vacation

Have you ever had a bad vacation experience?

Well, I have. It has been 10 years since my husband and I went on our last vacation. That was the vacation from hell...and I didn't think he'd ever go on vacation again. In the time since then, we've only gone on day trips that were close to home. Last month, he had to take a short business trip to Indiana, and I went with him. We stumbled across this cute little town on the shore of Lake Michigan called St. Joseph. It was a beautiful, sunny day with lots of sailboats out on the lake. The town was a bit crowded however, because they were having a festival. You could have blown me away when he said he wanted to come back and spend the day and stay overnight. I made plans so fast it would make your head spin. It's only for two days, but we have to start with baby steps before we can walk faster...

I'm so excited. We're off tomorrow to St. Joseph, and we're also visiting Saugatuk (lots of small shops & galleries) on Tuesday. Oh wait, I have to go check out the net to see if there are any quilt shops along the way...Do they make a GPS with quilt shop listings???

See you later.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mystery Solved

One of the keys to a good marriage, at least in our house, is two bathrooms. I have mine, and he has his. This morning, my husband went to his bathroom to use the shower, and had this to say:

Him: Dear, have you been in my bathroom today?

Me: Anticipating some sort of accusation since there are only two people in this house, No...

Him: You need to see this.

Me: Thinking why do I want to get up to see something in the bathroom? I reluctantly go the bathroom and see

The scale in the middle of the doorway.

What the ??

Me: I didn't move that scale. What are you thinking, I'm trying to tell you something? hmmm

Him: Oh, here's the cause as he lifts the tiny dead tree frog out of the corner where the scale usually sits.

Redford: (or Buster, we don't know) Dude, that was fun!!

Me: How in the world were they strong enough to move that scale??

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Garden update

Those of you who followed myquiltblog may remember the story of the pumpkins that we threw out in the compost pile two years ago, and they self-seeded into pumpkin plants the next year. Well, we did it again last year, and here is the result. We have several pumpkins!

This pumpkin is pretty large. All we need now is for it to change colors. But I don't want it to be ready too early...

This year, we intentionally planted several varieties of pumpkins and gourds. The result is mixed. There are several plants with flowers, but I don't know if they'll have time enough to grow. We'll see.

We also planted these morning glories. No flowers yet, but it sure is interesting to see the way the plants grow and attach itself to the arbor that we placed behind the pot.

We have several tall sunflower plants, and the big yellow flowers are not ready yet. But the darker-colored sunflowers are lookin' good!

Take care,


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fabric is a cat magnet

I decided to take the fabric from the Shop Hop quilt and add it to my stash.

Gee, that felt good!

The minute I started laying out these fabrics, Red showed up. He likes to be in the middle everything!

This one's for Becky. This is the fabric I was considering for the back of my pinwheel quilt. It saw it with a cream background and a green background. Although I really like this fabric, it seemed to be too pastel for the pinwheel quilt. I thought that quilt needed more primary colors.

It is from Windham Fabrics and it is called Sunbonnet Sue. You can find it here.

This is the fabric I decided to use for the back of the pinwheel quilt. I think it goes well with the 30's prints. I feel a need to get this quilt done and sent to a longarmer. I will make a double border with the blue and red fabrics.

This fabric is produced by Henry Glass & Co. and is called Playtime with Bill and Sue. It is sold as a panel, and I bought a double panel for the backing. You can find the fabric here. Well, I think I'm off to put together the backing.


Friday, August 14, 2009


This is the weekend for the Woodward Dream Cruise. The Woodward Dream Cruise is the world's largest one-day celebration of classic cars that attracts more than 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles. The cars drive up and down Wooward Avenue just outside of Detroit. Woodward Avenue was often used as a drag strip in the 50's and 60's. They are expecting over 1 million people to line the 16-mile route on Saturday to see the show. They also have many "side" shows where groups of car enthusiasts gather in certain parking lots along the route. We are expecting warm humid weather, high 80's, low 90's but no rain. It should be a good show, but I think I'll just watch the highlights on the local channel later this evening. This is a small sample of what happens at the show. I'm happy to say I just mastered the art of adding YouTube of last year's dream cruise to my blog.

You can read more about it on the official dream cruise site.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shop Hop Quilts

I started quilting about 7 years ago. I've always been into different crafts, and I have loved to look at quilts since I started making annual trips to Shipshewanna in the early 90's with my girlfriends. I had a stressful job in 2002 that was taking up a lot of my time back then, and decided that I needed some balance in my life. My husband bought me a used sewing machine, and I signed up for a shop hop and my first quilt class at the same time. I had no idea of what a shop hop was. My mother and I went on the shop hop and had a lot of fun collecting fabrics for their progressive quilt and for my first quilt, a rail fence quilt. I had done some sewing before, but never on a quilt. When I got this pattern, I had to look up applique and try to figure out how to make the quilt. I bought some Wonder Under, not knowing that there were different weights you could buy. I bought the stiffest, heaviest stuff and couldn't figure out why my new sewing machine was giving me fits with the gummed up needles! Anyway, this is my first quilt. It hangs in my hallway. It doesn't exactly hang straight, but I'm proud of it anyway since I made it without any help or classes.

I continued to go on shop hops each year, and continued collecting fabrics for the progressive quilts. Sad to say, only the first quilt was ever finished. The 2nd quilt has a finished top, and I started to quilt it, but never finished the quilting. I think I'll try to finish that UFO next after I finish the Halloween quilt. I don't have a picture of this quilt. The ladies at the LSQ are quite talented, and have designed all of the shop hop quilts.

This is one of the UFO's I was working on earlier this year, before I got bored making the same blocks over and over again. It is very pretty, not the typical bright colors I usually choose.

I was looking for a tote bag the other day to put my pinwheel quilt in to take to the LQS to find some fabric for the borders. I am quite embarassed to admit what I found in the tote bag. I had purchased this at the shop hop 2 years ago. I found the fabric in the tote bag, and I couldn't even remember when I had purchased the fabric. I had to open several of the kits to figure out what the quilt looked like. Now, I don't know whether I want to make this quilt any longer. I'm thinking about just adding the fabric to my stash.

What do you think?

This is last year's shop hop quilt. While I think it is very cute, this one just didn't call me enough to buy the fabric. I had decided that I wasn't going to buy another shop hop quilt until I finished some of my UFO's.

Hope you enjoyed the show.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday night rambling...

Well, the weather was as bad as we thought it was going to be this weekend. It rained ALL day yesterday, and today it was hot and humid, with a heat index above 100 degrees. It was a good weekend to stay inside and quilt. My husband worked most of today, so it was nice and quiet. We are now having another severe thunderstorm with lightning and strong winds. Enough whining about the weather, at least it gave me some quilting time.

I worked on the applique flowers for my pinwheel quilt. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. I decided that I was going to use freezer paper and turn the edges under rather than do raw edge applique. I am a bit late in learning the benefits of freezer paper. That stuff is amazing. I used it to draw the flower shapes, and then when I was done cutting out the flowers, I used it again to cut the batting that I stuffed the flowers with. Next, I will break out the bias bars I bought 2 years ago (and never used) to make the flower vine. I've decided on a black border, with a green repro print for the binding and flowers. I'll try to get some pictures next time.

I'll leave you with a smile. A couple of years ago, I was privileged to go to the Houston International Quilt show. I took so many pictures of breath-taking quilts. This was one of my favorite quilts. Perfect for a hot day like today. I just love the way the quilter captured all of the "lumps, bumps, and grey hair" of these two "lovers". Unfortunately, I did not get the quilter's name. But I think they did a fabulous job!

Hope everyone had a good weekend.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Quilt Give A Way

I really like this quilt. These fabrics are gorgeous, and it is so bright and cheerful. The ladies over at marie-madeline studio are giving this quilt away. But there are only 2 days left to enter their contest, so if you're interested, visit them soon using the link above.

I haven't done much quilting this week as we've been busy at work with the month end books. I did get some fabric last weekend for my pinwheel quilt. I also got got my designs transferred onto some fusible web for the applique I want to put in the border. I'm still excited about finishing this quilt, so that is a good thing.

We are expecting to get some very warm, humid weather this weekend. Not the really hot weather that Lane and other have been experiencing, but 93 and humid is still the warmest I think it has been all summer. So, I think it will be a good time to quilt.

Take care,