Sunday, November 04, 2012

Hallowe'en 2012

Winds from Hurricane Sandy changed the plans a little, but the parts that got left out can be set up next year. I didn't get a single pumpkin carved this year; as it was, I got the last cobweb strung up at 10 minutes to four that afternoon. It was just enough time to jump in the shower, put on some black clothing, and get all the lights turned on, lit, placed and whatever.

Here are some of the scenes from the night:


My sort-of them was "abandoned house". Earlier in the week, my "adult" skeletons had been sitting on the delapidated lawn swing Jack and DD had bought me many years ago, while shorter skeletons were riding the tricycle planter. For the big night, the swing was shown in its true collapsed state, and the tricycle overturned, with pumpkins smashed around, and cobwebs everywhere.




Loved how this guy threw shadows onto the side of the house:
We didn't get as many Trick-or-Treaters (ToTs) as in some years, but it was the middle of the week, and it had been really windy from Hurricane Sandy, so many went down to Main Street. However, we have a loyal following, and the night brought many kidlets who come year after year. For the second year in a row, the couple who sold us the house have come back with their twin daughters to see the place.
No less than 5 neighbors have remarked on how late I was at getting set up this year! Two separate groups have vowed to come help when I get too old and decrepit to do this anymore. I'm counting on their loyalty, as I had a little vandalism for the first time in the 10 Hallowe'ens I've been here. I'm pretty sure who did it, and fortunately, the damage wasn't permanent, but I found it disheartening that after all the time, effort, and expense that went into this display, someone would try to destroy it. I briefly considered giving up and not doing this anymore. Frankly, traipsing all over my uneven yard, getting up and down ladders, and making my way in and out of the crawlspace is killer on my knees.  No one but my husband knows how much work goes into this year after year, and bless his heart, he and the dog and the house have been neglected far too long.
But as a friend posted on my FB entry, "don't let them win." So I think I'm going to let some of my neighbors know about the vandalism and maybe pressure will be brought on the perpetrator to confess. I know just how I'm going to have him make amends.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall trip

Just a quick post to let you know I haven't fallen into a bottomless pit somewhere! (Oh, and the below pictures have nothing to do with my recent trip, but didn't want to leave you high and dry!)
Last week, I left hubby at home and drove to Gatlinburg to meet up with my nursing school roommate, whom I've not seen in over 20 years! In fact, the last time I saw her was in 1989, when we were flying from Albuquerque to Birmingham, and had a few hours layover in St. Louis. She came to the airport and we got to talk for a little while, but my hubby, daughter, and foster son were there, as were her 2 little girls, so not much was accomplished. Before that? 1975, nearest I can figure.

We met when we went for our nursing school interviews. She was from Helen Keller's hometown, and I was from Birmingham, and there was no guarantee either of us would be admitted. In fact, there were lots of gals there, and there was more than one weekend of interviews, but we found each other and almost immediately decided to be roommates. We were 17. Amazing, huh? We've been friends 43 years now.

Gatlinburg was gorgeous this time of the year, (which is why she trades her timeshare for that time and place), and the weather was nice, but all we did was talk. And talk, and talk, and talk. We did go outside to eat a couple of times, but that was it. Her poor husband just took naps and watched TV and just generally chilled out. He's her second husband, and it was the first time I'd met him. What a nice guy!

I took my cameras, because that's where my photos are, and she brought her wedding photos, but the only pictures we took were of us together on the tiny balcony just before I left. We have vowed to do this every year, so I can plan to spend more than just 24 hours and we can do some shopping or sight-seeing or something. Husbands are optional.

So it was a wonderful interlude, but now it's back to the yard haunt. It's coming along, though there's still lots to do. I had requested 2 vacation days this week just to enjoy the weather and work on my haunt, but it's hard to squeeze a month's worth of Hallowe'en into only a week. I need to be cloned! Pictures and details to come later.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Excuses, Excuses

It's 25 days 'til Halloween, and I haven't even started to decorate--inside or out. I don't even have a plan. I had an idea, given to me by my daughter, but it involves some building, and that's not my forte. Maybe I can execute that one next year, and it will give me time to find someone who's handy with tools. In the meantime, I have no idea what I'm going to do THIS year!  AAAGGGHHH!!!! 

Tomorrow is supposed to be chilly and rainy, so I won't be able to do anything outdoors.
I think I'll just start decorating inside and maybe that will put me in the mood. Last year I just started putting things up outside, and it evolved into a funeral theme almost by itself. I'm hoping the same thing will happen this year, but it feels really odd not to be knee-deep in Halloween preparations by now.

Work has been really busy lately.  Since we are a non-profit organization, relying mostly on Medicare and donations, we are especially budget-conscious. Our computer system is the dollar-store version of the kind we had at the hospital and is dealing us fits. It makes charting longer, not faster, and there are so many Medicare requirements for documentation in order to get reimbursed, it just seems endless. One of our nurses is out with her knee, and another with illness, and they hadn't yet filled my preceptor's position when she went to days. With the census high, and the staffing short, we've all been putting in extra hours. I work with a great group of guys and gals who really pull together with a minimum of complaining. It would be easy to deteriorate into a pool of negativity, but they don't. We're hiring as fast as we can, so this will hopefully ease up by December.

Remember way back in 2008, when I made a little star quilt for M, a blue star mom?

She left the hospital not long after, to work at a long-term rehab facility, and I haven't seen her since then. Well, she's been one of the home hospice nurses here for a while, and I didn't know that until just before I started working here. She is transferring to inpatient hospice nights, with me, and will be on board the first week of November. Another friend from my hospital has applied for a per diem position on  nights, too. Funny how so many critical care nurses seem to end up in hospice.

I must say, though, I am most impressed with the leadership in our little organization. Not only does our manager work shifts or partial shifts to help, so does our VP, who is an RN! I have never known a Director of Nursing who truly COULD do our job, much less one who WOULD do it. They truly care about us, our patients and families, and not just the almighty budget. It is such a pleasure to work here.

I don't get a chance to read blogs at this job, so every week there are over 400 posts in my Reader on my offdays. There are about 22 more hours of computer videos I am supposed to watch for my job. Add to that, Windows installed IE 9 and erased all my pictures and bookmarks. I'm trying to get everything back to normal, but I haven't gotten it all figured out yet, and I can't seem to get caught up. If I don't comment as much, please forgive me. I'm trying to get as much read as possible and sometimes I have to choose between reading more posts or commenting.

One of these days I may even get to sew again!


Sunday, September 16, 2012


Well, my fabric diet is over.  You remember I wrote about our local fabric shop closing down a year ago? Did I mention the other one closed down also? Seems when she moved, she downsized, and it was never a very large shop anyway, so business just spiraled downward after that. The next closest quilt shop is in Asheville, if you don't count the all-purpose Foam and Fabric shop that's just this side of Asheville. So I stocked up then, and just haven't bought any more fabric since the shop closed. Of course, I have done very little sewing since then, too.

About 4 weeks ago I got an email from someone in my quilt guild. One of our long-time members had died, and there was going to be a "quilters only" estate sale. I was off the night before, so I decided to check it out.


All the fabric was $1/yd. Books were 50 cents to a dollar, and magazines were 3 for a quarter. This is the room of fabric:

These were the only two pictures I took. There was more fabric on shelves to the left of the chest, and more in the closet. And this is 5 hours after the sale started! It opened to the smaller of the two local guilds at 9am, and to my guild at 11am. There were two other rooms with books, magazines, and supplies. Everything was picked over, of course, but STILL! I passed on the magazines, as I have too many myself, and will be mercilessly going through them soon, but I did buy a few books. One of them was Quilts! Quilts! Quilts!, the book I had to buy for my first quilting class. I lent my copy to a co-worker at my last job 3 years ago and, despite numerous reminders, she never brought it back. I was so happy to get another copy, as this book is now out of print.

Okay, so you want to see the booty?
The back stack is knits, and I'm planning to make some butterfly pillows and neck rolls for my hospice patients. The front three fabrics have quite a bit of yardage, and I figure they'll make good gowns and drawstring pants.
Oh, and the rose fabric on the right is knit, too. Everything else is cotton.
Books, hoops, ribbons, thread, needles, needle case, and ironing "ham".
More books (non-quilting), patterns, more ribbons, fusible webbing, drawstring cords.
Two boxes of laces and eyelets! MightyMom, are you up for some more eyelet?
This precious wall hanging/table topper. I love how she used plaids. There is no hanging sleeve on it, but I think I'm going to add one, because this will look so cheerful hanging in my sewing room!
Two beautiful  complete stockings, and a sweet little Sunbonnet Sue wall hanging that just needs quilting in the borders and binding. 
I'm thinking of adding some beading to it.
Then there was this..., um,... I don't know quite what to call it. I thought it was a quilt top. 
It was cheery and all put together.  
There were a couple of places that need patching.

But the top was sewn to a muslin back, which looked like maybe it had been pieced?
There was no batting at all, and a couple of small tears in the backing. 
There's no binding, just a kind of envelope closure, and no quilting. I don't know if she was finished with it or not, and if not, what did she plan to do with it? More to the point, what am I going to do with it? Do you think I can add another backing to it, quilt it, then bind it? There won't be the softness you get from batting, but maybe it'll make a good summer quilt.  What do you all think? Have you ever run into this before?
So everything's been washed and ironed and ready to stack on my shelves.
Um, what shelves? They're all full! Guess it's clearing out time.
Speaking of which, the road our new quilt shop ("Beginnings"), decided to have a yard sale Fri. and Sat. of this past week. A bunch of the little businesses all got together and this 3-mile section had a yard sale. Not everyone participated, and our LQS owner said her stuff was too new to discount, but what she DID do was invite all her customers to set up outside the store and get rid of any of THEIR wares.  There were ruler holders, books, threads, placemats, candle mats, knitted items, a vintage quilt top loaded onto a PVC quilting frame and ready to sell, and of course, fabric.  

This is all I came home with. I promise.
And even though part 2 of the estate sale was Fri. and Sat., I refrained from going over there. Actually, I would have gone, but a broken water main and the neighborhood repair work kept me at home yesterday morning.
All of that is now washed and dried and waiting to be ironed.
It occurred to me that if I don't sew something soon, my daughter is going to wind up in the same boat, and there will be another "quilters only" estate sale. 
She'll kill me.



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gardens and quilts

Apparently, I can only manage one post a month. Sheesh!

This one will be short, but picture-heavy, as I am so behind in chores and projects.

First, the garden.

The cherry tomatoes have gone ballistic! I have harvested at least a couple of hundred and given away more than half. Some have been eaten on salads, just eaten by the handul, tossed in the freezer, and chopped up in a salsa.

The jalapenos have been prolific, too--also given away, tossed in the freezer and chopped up in said salsa. The squash got decimated by a squash borer that ate through the stalks and rotted everything. I only got one squash off of it, but my neighbor's boyfriend brought a sackful from his garden for me, so I've put some of those in the freezer as well.

These pictures are about a week old, so I've already harvested these peppers--one is red, the other yellow. I'm not getting many from these plants, so I'm not sure if they didn't get enough sun early on, or if that's all they produce and I need to plant more next year.

My one okra plant! I am so surprised! There aren't many, so I may just pickle these few and give the jar to my daughter for Christmas. She loves them, and I bought some burgundy ones at the tailgate market last Sat. Red and green pickled okra--just says Christmas, doesn't it?

See my eggplant? Another surprise! It has a couple more blossoms on it, so I may get more than I figured. Last weekend I bought some Japanese eggplant from the tailgate market, and made this eggplant casserole with them. They were so good, I think I'll have to grow this kind myself  next year. Since we aren't big eggplant eaters, I was unsure about planting any, but hubby declared the recipe a hit, so there you go.

I already harvested most of the carrots, but I think there's time to plant more. I'm headed to Home Depot this afternoon to buy 2 more raised bed kits and am going to go for some cool weather plants before winter gets here. I am by no means a farmer, but it has been so gratifying to raise some of my own vegetables. The Homeowners' Association hasn't said anything, so I'm hoping as long as I keep the beds neat, no one will complain that they are right out there in what's practially my front yard.

The new job is going great! I am working with and for a great group of folks, and that has made such a difference. I'm a bit easier to live with at home, I think, because I'm not stressed out as I was before. I've been doing all 12-hr shifts, and that's working out really well for me.  As a plus, look at what's all around me on the beds:

and on the walls:


and tossed over recliners.
(Sorry some of the photos are so dark--they were taken with my phone, at night, and the lighting is okay for bedrooms, but not for photography.)
We have volunteers who have made these, as well as butterfly pillows, patient gowns, and drawstring pants, and we have a washer and dryer for washing these bedquilts, so they don't have to go to the commercial laundry.  Since ours is a non-profit organization, and we try to make these rooms as home-like as possible, we have gowns and pants made from old sheets, and lots of mismatched pillowcases. (Kinda like my house.) I never knew what was the big deal about making pillowcases for gifts, but since we use so many pillows repositioning people, and making up the sofas and recliners for family members to sleep on, I think I may just have to jump on this bandwagon.
As you can see, most of these quilts are works of heart, not necessarilyworks of art, but they do cheer up the rooms so much. I peeked into one of my rooms the other night to find the hubby in the bed under a red, white, and blue sampler quilt, the wife on the sofa bed under a scrappy quilt, and the daughter in the recliner with a lap quilt over her legs--all of them asleep. Not a normal situation, but made more comforting by quilts instead of hospital blankets. And if a family really loves a quilt that was over their loved one, we will give it to them.
I don't know if there's a hospice facility near you, but if there is, I hope you'd consider donating some bedquilts or pillowcases to them.  If you don't have much spare time, but do have a pattern for gowns or pants, they would be appreciated, too.  And please, consider volunteering if you can manage it. Again, as a non-profit organization, we depend on our volunteers so much. They save us so much money and time. We have volunteers who maintain the flowerbeds, run lab specimens to the local hospital, push patients in wheelchairs through the gardens, play music or CDs in the rooms, run the washer and dryer and fold towels and linens for the closets, and so much more. They free up the CNAs and nurses to do the more technological or hands-on care and the reams of documentation that must be done to qualify for the Medicare assistance that covers most patients' expenses. Our organization figures the volunteers save us the equivalent of 15 full-time employees' salaries every year. I wish we had some volunteers at night. If I ever get to retire, I think I'll have to stick around as a volunteer. 8^)