Thursday, July 29, 2010

Insert Giveaway into blog silence

Sorry to have neglected this little blog and all you great cyber-friends!  Things have been a bit busy here and at work, and I just haven't gotten around to posting--or reading.  I opened the Reader today and there were 369 new posts!

So I'll catch up with posting later, but in the meantime, there's a giveway that I reallllly debated over telling you about--but hey, if I can't win it, next best thing is for one of you to.  It's over at Candace's place--Squash House Quilts--and it's a giveaway tailor-made for me! And once you've registered, take a few minutes and peruse her blog.  She's got some lovely quilts and a flourishing garden and loves to fly-fish with her hubby.

I'll be back after while.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Friday Night at the Theater

Jack and I went to another play tonight.  We really have the opportunity to go to way more than we do, and we always enjoy it, but I'm bad to forget about getting tickets until it's too late.This time we saw "Twelve Angry Men", put on, of course, by the State Theater of North Carolina--Flat Rock Playhouse--and it was done in Hendersonville's historic courthouse. I have to say it was awesome! Yeah, I know I said that about "The Woman in Black", but I really meant it--both times!

Most of the time, the productions are performed at the Flat Rock Playhouse itself, with the actors and actresses up on the stage.  This is one of only two plays I've attended where the stage is on a level with the audience, and the whole atmosphere is different.

We were on the second row, only because 3 people propelled themselves past us to the front and saved the entire row of seats for their friends. I was a bit miffed, because Jack needs a little extra leg room to accomodate his splinted leg, but next time I'll just have to move a bit faster. It was open seating, and  really, there were no bad seats, just good, better, and best.

Being that close to the players really draws you in.  You feel so much a part of the action. The thunder had us all trying to peer out of the windows, because we actually had some thunder earlier in the day.  When Juror #3 pretended to stab Juror #8, more than one person in the audience recoiled. And when Juror #8 is imitating the limp of the old man witness, and discussing how long it would take him to walk 55 feet,  it was all I could do not to volunteer Jack's assistance.

In fact, that almost happened one other time, too. Way back in 2007 I blogged about another play we attended ,  (Gosh, has it really been 3 years???)  and reminisced about a play DD directed years ago in which we lent them our Christmas tree--and never got it back. And in that play, "A Doll's House", I got so wrapped up I almost broke into their argument, too.   I mean, dang it, the sofa was right in front of me, and they were being so pig-headed!

One of these days, I'm going to lose total control and be banned from live performances.

So, I know I've said this before, but if you have the opportunity to go and support a nearby community theater, please do so.  Don't be a Ouiser Boudreaux:

Ouiser Boudreaux: I do not see plays, because I can nap at home for free. And I don't see movies 'cause they're trash, and they got nothin' but naked people in 'em! And I don't read books, 'cause if they're any good, they're gonna make 'em into a miniseries.

Name that movie!  (Yes, I miss Saturday at the Movies!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Halloween progress

Over the weekend, I finally got down to sorting my new Halloween goodies into piles and storing like things together.  I even started listing in a spiral notebook all the props I could remember.  That required going back through some pictures on the memory card and past blog posts.  It was too hot to drag  all the bins down from the garage shelves and into the house, so I know I've missed some things.

But I have new candleholders,

new masks and wigs, what looks to be a Frankenstein tree-hugger, several yard signs,


and my second favorite item: a small poseable skeleton. 

His arms and legs all bend at the joints, but they don't rotate.  Nor does his head rotate.  Nevermind, though, I'm having fun just moving him around the house and messing with Tandi's head.

She's such an easy mark.

Some of the goodies are just too cutesie for me, but I have friends with children who will enjoy them more, so I will do some re-gifting.  Besides, I'm up to 9 bins--in addition to the things that won't fit in bins.

I found canopy tents at Wally World a couple of weeks ago and priced them at $49.00.  I'm thinking they may come down in price within the next couple of weeks as the Big W needs to start putting out the fall items, but even if they don't, that's not a bad price and I can work with it.

In the meantime, I will be scouring yard sales and thrift stores for old Ouija boards, odd jars, tarot cards, beads, bright scarves or fabric, etc. It's about time for Michael's to start putting out their Halloween items, too.

We're down to 109 days, people.

Friday, July 09, 2010

June Revisited

Being on call is not conducive to sleeping well.  After making sure everything is moved to the guest bedroom and hall bath, so I can change into scrubs, etc. without waking Jack, I spend time watching the clock and waiting for the phone to ring. Not wanting to get into a project and have to leave it at a spot not of my choosing, I waste time watching HGTV (no movies for the same reason) and playing on the computer. When I finally go to bed, with the phone at my side, I sleep lightly, afraid I'll miss the call that I am needed. If I do sleep, it's only to wake up and reach for the phone to make sure it hasn't rung. Last night was such a night.  I went to bed at midnight, and was awake for good by 4am.

On the up side, I spent a good deal of time in the yard before it got hot.  Here are the tipsy pots pictures for July (compare with planting day):

Last evening, as I was carrying jugs of water out to water the potted plants around the yard, the couple on the other side of the vacant lots next to me, slowed down to introduce themselves and talk a moment.  She asked where I bought my tipsy pot set-up, and I told her about the tutorial and how to find it.  According to her, someone at the Garden Jubilee was selling kits to make these for $20.00. I guess that's an okay price--when you add the rebar with the price of the pots, unless you already have all the pots you need. Then you still have to add the plants and soil. At any rate, that makes 3 neighbors so far who've asked how to make these.  Our neighborhood is getting tipsy. 

I managed to plant 7 more half-grown sunflowers  this morning, too.  Something is eating the leaves on a couple of the established plants and I haven't been able to catch whatever it is, even though I'm checking early in the morning, during the day, and just before it gets dark. 

Guess I'll have to get out there with a flashlight late some night and hope nobody reports a possible intruder to the police.
Buds are forming--I should have big, happy sunflowers soon!

The tomatoes are thriving in their new spot.  Most folks are beginning to harvest theirs, so we're running behind, but at least they aren't dead!

In other "where are they now?" news, apparently mama bird got freaked out when I disturbed the nest in our garage and never came back.  Since it takes 12-14 days for Carolina wren eggs to hatch, I waited an additional 2 weeks before cautiously checking the wreath box, but there was only an empty nest.  When I dumped it out on the ground, a single, dried-up little egg fell out.  It was really sad. My research revealed the male wren builds several nests, and then the female chooses which one she wants.  Bet he caught hell for this one.

I didn't finish the patriotic UFO wall hanging/table topper in time for the Fourth, but I did take the suggestion to just bind it in red fabric.  This is my long weekend (made even longer due to the extra night off!), so am hoping to get some serious sewing time.  I also need to make more doggy treats (Tandi is bewildered that the pantry no longer yields her favorite peanut butter cookies), use up some of my large basil harvest making pesto, and finish sorting and storing the casket contents

(teaser picture)

First, I think it's time for a nap. It's not even 12:30 and I've been up 8 hours already!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Independence Day

How long has it been since you read the Declaration of Independence?

Me, too. These powerful words shouldn't be forgotten.

Here it is:


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:

Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton


John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:

Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery


Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:

William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:

Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark


Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross


Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean


Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton


George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:

William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:

Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton


Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

I couldn't help but notice that some of the grievances held against the King of England, could be attributed to our own government over the last 50 years. 

That's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Orphan No More

Several years ago, in our quilting "bee" meetings, a part of the program involved different members presenting a block of the month. When it came my turn, I pulled one of my favorites from Marcia Hohn's site:  the Next Door Neighbor block.  It's a simple block, but put several of them together and a nice secondary pattern emerges. I simplified it even more to show off the star.

We had talked of doing some red/white/blue blocks and combining them for a couple of community quilts, so that's how I made mine, but there was no follow-through, so the block came back home with me and got lost in a bin.  I pulled it out when I came across Jack's chessboard and have been pondering whether to send it to Finn for her Orphan Train, or to try and do something with it, as I don't have more than a scrap of any of those fabrics now.

Finally I took the easy way out: just kept adding borders to it until the large 12" star wasn't so overwhelming.  And here is the result:

Now it measures 29 1/4 inches square and will make a nice little table topper--if I can get it quilted by Sunday. Otherwise it might just sit in the UFO zone until next summer. Two things are holding me up here; one is the quilting, the other is the final border.

The red is so prominent , I tried to tone it down with the final blue fireworks border, but seeing it in a photograph makes me think it needs a final red border--if only a narrow one--as the blues seem to recede. What do you all think?

And I have a question for all you domestic machine quilters out there. Somewhere along the way I either read or heard it recommended that you pull the last upper thread of your quilting through to the back and then tie it off.  I tried that, and ended up with all these little "rabbit ears" at the ends of lines everywhere.  I didn't like the look of that, and sometimes it made the end of the quilt line a little short of its connecting point. 

Then I did a no-no: I back stitched a couple of stitches at the beginnings and ends of lines of quilting. It looked better from the back, but I've heard we aren't supposed to do that.  Now, I know long-armers go for the continuous line of quilting, but sometimes I do parallel rows, so how do you stop and start all those times and make it look neat? Hand-quilting it would solve the problem, but that's not always an option.  Anyone out there have the same problem?  Or am I missing something?