Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dilemma Resolved

About a month ago, I wrote about the moral dilemma that my women's Circle from church was facing. My post was about whether or not we would continue to help support a young woman living in poverty through an organization called The Box Project.

Readers of this blog provided thoughtful input through their comments, some following the link and informing themselves about the mission of The Box Project.

Last night our Circle met for our opening-of-the-year meeting. On the agenda was "what to do about the Box Project."

More than one member thanked the readers of this blog for their helpful comments.

One of our members has a daughter doing social work at a shelter for abused and homeless women and their children. There are many needs there. Another member shared information on a small grass roots agency providing assistance to children in Appalachia.

The Circle has decided to support both of those projects and suspend our involvement with The Box Project. A letter to The Box Project has been drafted, explaining our reasons, and a gentler letter has been drafted, saying goodbye to Jennifer and urging her to return to completing her GED.

Thanks, readers, for your help.

On behalf of Deborah Circle,

Friday, September 25, 2009

Oh, No! "No Reply"

Oh, dear.

Blogger's doing a dumb thing. It must have burped or something.

It seems that some people's profiles have been reset to "no reply." What this means is that when you leave a comment on a blog, it comes up as "no reply" and the blogger can't get back to you.

This seems to be happening in a random way at present. Blogger's burping. Or something. It happened to earlier this week and Lori was kind enough to point it out to me.

Karen has provided clear, detailed instructions on how you can check to make sure this isn't happening to you. I'm not going to reinvent the wheel. Go here to see how you can check to be sure your Profile is set the way you want it to be.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is That A STORK?

You bet it's a stork.

Apparently it's been sighted in the Richmond, Virginia area.

Tom phoned us last night to say that he and Anastasia are expecting a tiny little new musician early in April.

Himself and I just can't stop smiling.

Life is good, Mz. G. And new life is the best yet!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When Ya Gotta Go . . .

During the wedding reception on Saturday, eventually I needed to leave the table to find the restroom. When I found it, I saw a sign just like the one to the left and in front of it, the dreaded line.

But what was very, very odd, was that all of the people in the line were men.

Bewildered, I glanced around. Another woman asked, "Are you looking for the ladies room? It's right there." She pointed to an unmarked door. I opened it to find a large, lovely ladies room, with about five stalls, a large counter with sinks and places for touch-up, a comfy chair, and a basket of amenities. No crowd. No line. No crossed legs. No nothing, except a couple of nicely-dressed women exchanging pleasantries, and the mother of the bride, who gave me a hug.

We were at the Women's Civic Club in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. The women's civic club.

Aha!

And when I left the ladies room, that long line of men was still there. The same ones!

Did my heart good, I tell you. Did my heart good.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BOMs and BOMs and Stars

Been working on my 2009 Fat Quarter Shop Mystery BOM and I'm up to date! Block Number Four was the dickens to put together; I frogstitched and resewed a couple of seams before I had it right.

Block Number Five won't be here for another two or three weeks, and that's just fine.

The last week in October a bunch of us are retreating to White Oak and since I've bought the fabrics for setting the 2008 Mystery BOM, I think that is going to be my main project.

On the wall behind the BOMs, you can see some of the yield from the brown and aqua star swap that I organized -- oh -- more than a year ago. I've been putting the rows together as a leader-ender while I sewed the bazillion or more little bitty seams for Block Number Four.

Once I had these up on the wall to photograph, I noticed that one piece in Number Three was in wrong-side-up and I've gone ahead and fixed it.

The colors in these BOMs are not my usual choice, but I do love how they play together. And I like learning one new block each month.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Comment Backlog

My inbox is jammed. Some of it is email from family, friends, and businesses. A lot of it, however, is from you. Comments left on my blog. Comments that I was hoping to respond to.

It's to the point that my mailbox is clogged. I can't find anything.

And I don't realistically have to time to respond to the comments.

I've never been one who responded to each and every comment left. I do try hard to respond to first-timers and from time-to-time to the regular readers.

Right now, however, I need to invoke some kind of Comment Response Amnesty. I need to just go in and delete all of those comments. And start fresh.

With a Clean Slate!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Wedding and A Wee Getaway

Saturday was Stephanie's wedding. What a beautiful bride she made! Stephanie had lost her dad a little less than a year ago and had asked her mom to walk down the aisle with her. Kathy looked lovely in a rose dress, and was brave and composed. I knew how proud Steve would have been, but still the tears came into my eyes as I looked at the two of them.

You remember Stephanie; she's the one who fell in love by the sea. I'd gone over to her home one evening last week to deliver "Porcelainberries" to her and she was very pleased with it.

The wedding was at the seashore, of course, about a two-hour drive from Near Philadelphia.

We drove down on Saturday morning, arriving in Sea Isle City in time to get a bit of lunch before the ceremony. Afterwards, there was a three-hour gap before the reception. We'd decided to stay overnight in Cape May. Since it was a weekend, all of the B&Bs wanted a two-night stay. But we'd found a place that had a tiny efficiency in the back and the owner was willing to let us have it for the one night. We went down the coast from Sea Isle and checked in to the efficiency, had a nap, and went back up to Stone Harbor for a pig roast on the beach. What fun!

This morning we slept in, had a late breakfast at the Mad Batter (a really rare treat because we normally stay at a bed and breakfast), wandered a very little bit and got home just in time for another nap!

It was a lovely mini-getaway! We didn't feel the need to do much more because in another few weeks we'll be down again for a longer weekend.

We did stop in the Life Is Good shop because Joe wanted to get a pair of Crocs and I knew they had them there. While he did that, I wandered around looking at all of the Life Is Good merchandise. And of course I thought of dear Debbie and thought, "Even when there are tears, life is good."


Friday, September 18, 2009

Shattered Glass

The high school is at the end of our block. There are people who don't like living near a school; they don't like the noise, they say. In my opinion, there's bad noise and good noise, and football games and band practice fall into the latter category.

During the school year, in the mornings there is about a half-hour of traffic as a steady stream of student drivers and parents delivering students go to the school. A handful of buses, too. And the walkers, in ones, twos, and threes, pass by on their way to school. The same happens for about a half-hour in the afternoon. We've never been bothered by living near a school.

Until last spring. We have a lightpost on the edge of our front lawn, right next to the sidewalk. There is a pile of stones around the lightpost. We used to have flowers there instead of stones but (a) the newspaper deliveryman used them for target practice when tossing the paper out of his car window and (b) the neighborhood dogs pretty much finished off whatever he left by peeing on them. So we went to the pile of apple-sized stones.

One day last spring I came home to find that one of the four glass panels in the lightpost had been broken. The glass was in the fixture and on the stones below. A few days later a second panel was broken. At that point we removed the remaining panels and the bulb until after school let out for the summer. During the summer I had new panels made and we installed them and all has been well.

Until today. School has been in session for approximately two weeks, and I came home to find a broken glass panel.

The strange thing is, it didn't make me angry. It made me sad. I was an impulsive and self-centered young teenager at one point and did some things I shouldn't have. I didn't think or care about the impact of those things on other people. So I suppose it is a case of "what goes around comes around."

It took time and money to get those new glass panels. It took effort on my husband's part to make the lightpost look presentable and be functional again. And it felt crummy that someone had done this to us. We'd say to each other, "We have an enemy." And now, here we go again.

We imagine that they are using our own stones to damage our property. Probably this evening we'll go out and gather up the stones and leave the bare dirt there around the base of the lightpost. And see what happens. And, if the kid or kids are resourceful enough to find stones someplace else and break one more panel, I suppose we'll dismantle the lightpost completely.

I just can't imagine that the fun somebody is having doing this is anywhere near the amount of unhappiness that he's causing.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Unpleasant Surprise

I'd hoped to have another vegetarian recipe to share with you tonight. I'd cut out a recipe for a wonderful leek, grape tomato and fresh mozzarella risotto. I'm a real sucker for risotto.

I even skipped play practice to come home and stand and stir and stir and stir. As I was getting the ingredients together, I opened the fresh mozzarella I'd bought a couple of days ago. "Use by 09/27/09" it said. I took a tiny taste and recoiled in distaste. It was bad!

Sheesh.

Fortunately, I had a couple of nice chicken breasts and came up with an alternative entree. Tomorrow I'm taking that cheese back and asking for a new one. And perhaps then I can make my dish. And share it with you.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What's for Dinner?

Something I accomplished this summer was going through that stack of magazines and cutting out the recipes of possibility. And I've actually been making some of them!

The other day I had to go to the store for something I've not bought before: two ounces of prosciutto. The clerk cut it with incredible care, layering the four slices in sheets of paper in the package. And our dinner was just wonderful!
Here's the recipe, from the October 2008 issue of Cooking Light:

Pasta with Prosciutto and Spinach

1 9-ounch package fresh cheese tortellini (such as DiGiorno)
1 Tbsp pine nuts
1 tsp olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped (I substituted jarred chopped garlic)
1 6-ounch package fresh baby spinach
1/4 Cup shredded Parmesan cheese (the real stuff, not the kind in the tall green "can")
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Transfer pasta to a large bowl.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add nuts to pan; cook 1-1/2 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally. Add nuts to bowl.

Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach to pan; cook 2 minutes or until spinace wilts, stirring constantly. Add spinach mixture, cheese, and remaining ingredients to bowl and toss well. 4 servings, 1 cup each.

We served it with a side dish of fresh canteloupe.

Yum.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Neapolitan

Neapolitan's a flimsy! I love this quilt.

It will be for Caroline's bed when she is a little older.

When I looked at the picture I saw one block that is wrong. I didn't mind. I thought, "If there were more than one, I would mind. "

Then I saw the second one that was wrong. So I'm going to take them out and redo that particlar section.

When I get a back ready for this one and for Mellie, I'm going to send them off to the machine quilter.

This is two quilts in a row without borders. Interesting.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Melanie Wilkes

We've had a happy, busy weekend here Near Philadelphia. Tom and Anastasia arrived around midnight on Friday; they'd come to town specifically to play their viola and harp in church this morning. They played a prelude and also played during Communion and it was just lovely.

Andrew and Amy came home, too, and we had some dear friends and Bonnie join us after church for lunch. It was just so nice to have this collection of beloved people out on our deck.

I didn't get any pictures of the group, but after they left and we'd cleaned up the kitchen a bit, I went down and sewed the last two seams of Melanie Wilkes, and now she's a flimsy! You can't see the top two rows of blocks; they are much like the others, though. I'd like very much to get this off to the machine quilter soon -- I can't wait to start sleeping under this quilt.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Peace on Earth Progress

Look what the postal person brought today! It is fabrics to finish the long-neglected BOM set from 2009!

When I subscribed to the BOM, I didn't order the finishing kit. I figured once I had the blocks done, I'd figure out how I wanted to set them and order yardage. Well, was I in for a surprise! I knew exactly how I wanted to set them, and then dear Pam sent me the photograph of her finished quilt and the setting instructions -- and the set was precisely what I had in my brain!

Different fabrics, but the same design.

This is Pam's quilt -- isn't it gorgeous? I'll be using browns where she red and green lattice and border; I'm after a slightly less Christmasy look.

Well, the fabric isn't as readily available as some, and I spent some time Googling around and ended up at Piecework Fabrics. They had a huge selection of Peace on Earth. When I phoned to place my order, the lovely lady there put me down on the counter very gently while she checked each bolt to be sure there was still enough. I was impressed.

And I was impressed again today when the package of fabrics came. Look how nicely they've done them up. Squint a little, the photo glare won't be so obvious. I'll surely shop with these folks again. And perhaps you will want to pay them a visit. No affiliation, yadda yadda, just a super satisfied customer!

This particular post may strike you as a bit disorganized. It does me, too. Oh, well.


The Show Must Go On!

There are a couple of changes afoot for this blog.

First, I suspect posts will become less frequent for the next two months. Second, I suspect the content may change somewhat to include a new topic.

A few years ago, Joe and I went to New York to see "The Twenty-Fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" after reading a rave review in the Philadelphia newspaper. We both loved the show, and when it came to Philadelphia, I took Honna to see it.

I mentioned it to the theatre teacher at the school where I work, and this autumn, she's chosen "Spelling Bee" as the upper school musical.

I was absolutely tickled when she invited me to come down to the choral room and watch the auditions and help to cast the show. And I was thrilled when she invited me to stay on and help in some way with the production. I don't know exactly what I'll be doing, but I do know that my work day will be two hours longer three days each week and that some Sunday afternoons will also be taken up with rehearsals.

This involvement will take away from sewing time, from blogging time, from all kinds of time. I've never done anything even remotely like this before. But when Megan asked me, I said "yes" quicker than I could spell cystitis.

Stay tuned . . . .


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Taking Woodstock

Well, we went to the movies Sunday afternoon. We'd seen the preview, erm, trailer, for "Taking Woodstock," and thought it looked interesting. I sort of hoped it would shed some light on something I'd heard about for forty years and never really understood.

We sat there watching this re-enactment of thousands of people of our approximate vintage experiencing this cultural phenomenon. I kept waiting to understand. But that didn't happen.

I couldn't stop thinking of exactly where we were when Woodstock took place. My husband -- whose college education had unceremoniously been interrupted by the draft board -- and I were living in substandard enlisted housing on a military base in Florida, waiting for orders that more than likely would send him off to Vietnam to quite possibly give his life and our future together for his country. While these clowns -- thousands of them -- were doing drugs, rolling in mud, dancing naked, and, in general, acting like idiots.

I didn't understand it then. And I don't understand it now.

A Facebook "friend" writes, "My ex was there and still considers it one of the high points of his life."

Sheesh.



Monday, September 07, 2009

Holiday Weekend

It's the final day of our wonderful four-day weekend, and we've enjoyed every minute of it. Dinner with the cousins on Saturday evening went very well; I marinated some kabobs for Joe to grill and added fresh blackberries and raspberries to our salad. Bonnie brought dessert and it was a pretty easy meal. The cousins are great laughers and this night was no exception

On Sunday I made Suzanne's birthday block for her. I'm always fascinated by the totally different fabrics and blocks that the monthly participants will choose. Every once in a while someone will choose a block that will become instantly popular and the next year's envelopes will bring requests for that block in various colors and fabrics.

Saturday also showed the completion of Neapolitan and if the weather is decent later today I'll get a pic to post. We had another yummy meal and lots more laughter at our friends' home last night.

I woke early this morning and got Julie's birthday block finished. She sent the swirly fabric and requested it be the background with participants to add a tone-on-tone for the design. Her quilt is going to be happy and colorful, doncha think?

Am well on my way to getting Melanie Wilkes under control. Now there's a sentence I never thought to read or write anywhere! Imagine! All of the blocks are put together into huge four-patches and the first half have been arranged on the design wall. I have to get that half together before I can get the second half laid out. My design wall is big, but not queen size! I'm going to spend the better part of this day dealing with Mellie and then we're off to see "Taking Woodstock."

I hope your holiday weekend has been equally satifying.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Super Long Weekend

At the school where I work, the Friday of Labor Day weekend is a school holiday. Which gives us four whole wonderful days before the madness of the school year begins. And this year it started off with a dinner party at the head's home on Thursday evening. This surely did set the tone!

So yesterday, the bonus day, was a splendid amalgam of family and fabric. Sherry and her little ones came down for a visit. The mall nearest to my home has a carousel and the kids had never been there. So off we went! The carousel operator had not arrived by the time we did, so we popped into a department store where I bought each of the children a new autumn outfit and Sherry found some warm, fuzzy pajamas that they'll need all too soon. Lunch at the food court -- joined by Grandpop -- and then the carousel! Sherry rode on the back of an ostrich and the rest of us chose horses that went up and down. Sam was ecstatic and renamed the ride the horsosel. After more visiting back at home, off they all went to an end-of-summer pizza and pool party with some friends, and I went down to the studio.

I may have mentioned that I subscribed to the next year's Mystery BOM from the Fat Quarter Shop and since my subscription started a little late, I received the first three blocks all together. Well, friends, I'm so proud to report that all three -- including the million-piece Block #3 -- are together and looking good! Block #4 will likely arrive by the end of the week, so I'm right where I should be on this! I used the blocks from Mellie's quilt as leader-enders, pairing a square with a nine-patch, and now am working on making giant four-patch blocks from those pairs. When they are all finished, I'll put them up on the design wall and move them around before proceeding further.

Tonight I have cousins coming to dinner and tomorrow evening we're going to visit some dear friends; Monday perhaps we'll catch a movie.

And in between . . . well, need I spell it out?


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Peeved. Really Peeved.

Well, a little while ago, because I didn't care for any of the tasks I was supposed to be doing, I clicked a couple of my Followers for my blog. It was nice to visit the blogs of the people who are following mine. Most of them were familiar; some were ones I really didn't know before. So it was fun.

And then I clicked on an unfamiliar follower. The little picture-gizmo said "Help" and I thought that was an odd name for a blog. So I went there and boy was I surprised! It was somebody asking for money! Just asking for hand-outs! In about 27 different languages, no less!

I felt used. I felt invaded. I felt peeved. Really peeved.

So I found out how to block a Follower and -- there, take that! -- blocked this person.

So there.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sister's Choice

A group project called for some Sister's Choice blocks to be made, and the specs were cool batiks on black. What fun last night to dig through the big tub of batik scraps and pick out enough to make these three!

Tonight is the monthly hand-sewing group and I'll be working on my present hand-quilting project. It's a good-sized quilt, one that I had machine basted for me. I spent some time on Friday and Saturday watching the coverage of Teddy's memorial and funeral, and got a lot of that handquilting done during that. There's no rush; it is just something nice to have to pick up when I'm sitting in the living room.