Monday, July 30, 2012

Faster Than A . . .

. . . Speeding Bullet Bernina!

That's what I've got to say about a certain fabric shop.

Read on.

Saturday afternoon, I spread Pinkish out on our bed to think about her borders.  My generous friend Pat had, during the day while I was at work, delivered a portion of her traveling stash (I've never seen the motherload of Pat's fabric -- I'm sure I'd be green blue orange magenta with envy) for me to consider some of her Kaffeish fabrics for Pinkish. Joe was a wonderful help with the audition process, and we settled on Baba Ganoush in pink for the border and Plink in turquoise for binding.

I then went to my usual on-line source for Kaffe, and she was out of Plink. Hancock's of Paducah was out of Plink but expecting to get it in. Someday. And they were fifty cents more per yard. So, worrying that Plink was perhaps an endangered species, I Googled Plink Turquoise and ended up at Canton Village Quilt Works, whose fabric was forty-five cents less per yard than my original source! They were low on Plink, and I placed my order immediately, using PayPal to settle up. And thought that perhaps by the end of the week I'd be bordering Pinkish.

Nope. This afternoon, fewer than forty-eight hours after placing the order, when I came home from work, a pleasantly bulgy Priority Mail parcel was sticking out of the mailbox. With my fabrics inside, all neat and packaged in cellophane with a personal note from Jackie, the shop owner! I don't know how she did it. But I'm delighted.

I'd like to be down there putting that border on right now, but, you see, there's a complication. On Saturday, after ordering the border, my palm got a little twitchy I got a hankering to do some more with what remained of my pinkish Kaffes. And I started making more square-in-a-square blocks to turn into a baby quilt. Which needs to be finished and then we can start the border patrol.

And, golly, doesn't that fabric make a person just smile and smile and smile!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Slowdown?

It may appear that we're having a bit of a summer slowdown here Near Philadelphia. Not the case. In fact, I'm staying very, very busy. Still loving my Summer Hours at work, I'm making the most of all of this time at home.

Later this morning I'm making a little trip over to the genius machinist, to leave her a couple of quilts to quilt. Still considering/auditioning border fabrics for Pinkish. Have begun a baby version of Pinkish for someone expecting a little girl in a few weeks.

Last night in front of the Opening Ceremonies, I worked on the penultimate Dresden Plate block, so that particular batch of blocks is likely to be making flimsy status within the week. Once that last plate is appliqued, I have a mercy quilt to sandwich and tie; we'd agreed to each try to provide one mercy quilt each at our September gathering to be delivered to Rebuilding Together. I had finished the one from the blocks Julie had sent me, tied with mushroom-color thread and bound and was all ready, but then learned of a family that had lost everything in a fire. Blogless Kathy had sent me two sets of blocks that I'd flimsied; Honna is finishing up one of those and I'll get the other one done for our contributions.

And there are at least two other things whirling around in my head. Not to mention the long-anticipated clean-up of the studio if the weather ever breaks. Which it shows no signs of doing.

So I leave you with this picture of Aberdeen, solemn. She can't believe what a whirlwind her grandmom has turned into!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Friends, I am smitten. Pinkish is nearly finished. I assembled the final rows this evening and all that remains is selecting, purchasing, and attaching a border and then she can go off to the machinist.

I have two friends waiting in the wings to help with the border selection; one has gone so far as to have dropped off her collection of appropriate Kaffe-and-company prints to audition. This should be resolved within a few days, and perhaps by this time next week, Pinkish will be a flimsy. I hope it isn't too sophisticated for a not-yet-five-year-old girl  . . . .

While I've been stitching on Pinkish, a stack of BOMs caught my eye. It is one of the Designer Mystery BOMs that the Fat Quarter shop puts out. When then announced it, I simply had to have it. Regrettably, I did not put each block together as it arrived and there is a stack of them there and I've no interest whatsoever in them.

Part of the problem is the color scheme: It is mostly cheerful red(dish) and almost aqua. They look nice together. Trouble is, they've been so much the trend for the past couple of years that I'm tired of them. You know, the way we eventually got tired of Harvest Gold, Avocado and Coppertone once the Sixties were over? I'm going to have to think up some sort of an incentive to proceed.

Meanwhile, I'm in love with Pinkish.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chance Encounter

If I'm in one of those stopped-forever-on-the-interstate situations and this person is in front of me, I can pass the time making up a story about the driver and his family. But beyond that, I think having a lot of stickers all over the car is sort of tacky. Joe detests them, and won't have any; he's in despair because I have three. Three smallish ones. Confined to the bumper. On the left.

Last evening I had to run out for an errand and when I came home, I parked in front of the house. As I was getting out of the car, a shiny-clean, pretty blue, somewhat older car pulled up and the window went down. A very cute clean-cut red-haired fellow called out, "Excuse me?" My first thought was he wanted directions to someplace, but he was young and coming from the direction of the high school, so I didn't think that was likely. So I smiled at him.

"I've seen your car out front sometimes when I drive by here. And I just wanted to tell you, I like your bumper sticker."

Amazed, I quickly considered which one he meant: Women for Obama, Marriage Equality, or Sweden? So I said, "Oh! I'm not really much of a bumper sticker person, but those things are important to me."

"You bet!" he replied, and then flashed his phone at me so I could see his Marriage Equality sticker. "That's really important," I agreed. "We've got the right President, too!" He added. So I said, "Let's hope we can keep him."

And then this adorable kid said, "I just turned eighteen and I can't wait to vote for him!"

Wasn't that just the nicest thing? I'm still smiling.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Schizophrenic, Near Philadelphia

When Sherry was a little girl, perhaps about three years old, she coined a word that Joe and I have used ever since. We no longer remember what it was in reference to, but in describing the color of something, she deemed it to be "pinkish."

And "pinkish" is what Joe said when I came home on Saturday after spending much of the day sewing with two dozen other women down at the church. I was making square in a square in a square blocks from the Kaffe (or perhaps Kaffeish) fabrics. I had the half-dozen or so FQs that I'd acquired earlier and then when Glorious Color posted on Facebook that they had scrap bags, I ordered one of those and was amazed at how many of the offerings fit right in.

I'm not far from finishing this top. This top that I made the first four blocks for on Friday. I have to sew the rows together (not my favorite part), put the remaining two side borders on, and decide about a real border. I have a consultant waiting in the wings for that last.

The schizo thing is, I do this by daylight and in the evenings, when I sit with Himself watching West Wing reruns from Netflix (we're half-way through Season 5 [there are 7 seasons]), I am hand appliqueing Dresden Plates made from Civil War repros. Anybody see a disconnect here?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Post #1490

It occurs to me that perhaps my readers don't know my sweetheart very well. I allude to him from time to time. I post pictures of him.

Here are some things you might like to know:

...When I met him he had bright orange hair.
...And he's an architect.
...But he's a lot more sensible than Howard Roark.
...He's a good father.
...And even better grandfather.
...He makes better french toast than I do.
...He gardens.

...He's patient (would have to be, living with me).
...He's funny.
...He would never wear a pink shirt.
...He thinks Martin Sheen is the Real President. Or should be.
...He made my design wall for me.
...He loves Blackberry.
...He enjoys sailing. His own boat or a Star Clipper ship.
...He sketches.

These photos were taken and sent to me by a lovely lady we met on our trip to Scandinavia. What a nice surprise.

Speaking of surprises, when I get to Post #1500, I'm going to have a give-away.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Love is All Around

Forty-five years ago today, Joe and I were married. It was a Friday evening, raining ever so slightly, a candlelight ceremony at the church where I grew up.

Our big celebration of this anniversary, of course, was our trip to Scandinavia.

Tonight we are going to a favorite restaurant for dinner, and I'd be happy to sign up for another forty-five years.

Yesterday I was moved to tears by someone's thoughtfulness. You may remember that a young couple at school, Brian and Erin, had told me that July 21, 2012, would be their wedding day. Delighted that their date was our date, I made them a quilt, Stars In Their Eyes.  I was surprised to receive a delivery of flowers on Friday afternoon -- I couldn't imagine who they could be from. It turned out that this dear young man and woman, on the day before their own wedding when they must have had a million and one things to do, took the time to send me flowers, 45th anniversary wishes, and a thank you for the quilt.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sea Change

This baby quilt top went together Just Like That! I'm calling it Sea Change, just because I like the name. And there is ample fabric and strips to make a second one, which I prolly will do later on this summer.

And Now For Something Completely Different: Ta Da! I've decided what to do with the Kaffe fabrics that I have acquired. And I can't wait to plunge right in!

Conveniently, my church has its semi-annual quilting day this coming Saturday; that will be a perfect opportunity to get going on my project!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sanity Prevails

The joint venture between two local hospitals that I wrote about here now is Yesterday's News.

A huge community effort, a Facebook page, petitions, and common sense from physicians on the staff of the secular hospital all worked together for good.

The two hospitals issued a joint statement that they have decided to end discussions to create a partnership. As explained in my earlier post, this proposed partnership had been contingent on the secular hospital's  agreeing to discontinue providing abortion services.

Relieved, Near Philadelphia

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Beating the Heat [NOT] Near Philadelphia

We came home last evening after a few days away to find it was just as hot, or perhaps even hotter, than when we'd left! Our destinations were State College, Pennsylvania, where Joe's brother is on the faculty, and Kent, Ohio, where we once lived.  Both of our hosts showed us a lovely time -- in State College we enjoyed the Arts Festival, which we'd heard about for a long while but never visited, toured the relatively new Arboretum, and spent family time with a couple of very good cooks. In Kent, we stayed close to home, venturing out only on Sunday to go to church and to have a tour of the downtown rehab that is going on. Again, our hostess prepared delicious meals for us, and the conversation and laughter seldom lagged.

I'd prepped three of the Dresdens to take along for busy work. Being pretty inexperienced at applique, I thought I might finish one or two of them. I finished all three and have now got the rest of them ready to work on. With the hot weather, I don't want to be hand-quilting or binding something warm on my lap, so these little guys are just right. I'm enjoying the process and have been thinking about possibly doing another Dresden at some point. If this weather continues, these will be finished in no time!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Recent Acquisitions

When I was up at the Round Bobbin recently, looking for fabrics to finish the Dresden plates, I found some. But that is not all I bought.

I have a quilt to make for a baby boy, and when I saw these gorgeous green and aqua and turquoise and blue batiks, I thought they would be just the thing. I'm going to make the baby quilt along the same lines as We The Purple, but, obviously, much smaller.

The other quilt that I made using this recipe was Cinnamon Latte. I think this cool sea version will be just as excellent!

Oh, yes, I bought some other fabric. I'd sort of quietly acquired a few Kaffe FQs and on this trip I bought five more as well as some pale pink Kona for background. I'm not sure yet what my design will be; there are two or three ideas dueling in my head and we'll just have to see which one wins.

This project will be a real stretch for me.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Suggestible . . .

One wise woman, upon reading my recent post about the deplorable state of my studio said that she needed to clean hers, too, but was waiting for cooler weather.

I'm so suggestible.

Finished the binding on this quilt that Julie made the blocks for. It is a real nice quilt, not shown to its best advantage by this particular angle. It will be part of the Uvulati ingathering of mercy quilts in September, and will be donated to Rebuilding Together. Since I don't machine quilt [yet], it is tied with mushroom-colored embroidery floss.

And here are the Dresdens in their present state. Twelve plates assembled. Twelve center circles prepped via freezer paper/starch method. Three background squares cut. Ready to settle in when the Olympics come -- these will be my handwork.

There are Dresdens here and there in bloggerville and I've enjoyed looking at them. I've wanted to do Dresdens for a long time and am having a good time with them.

I notice that a particular craze will swoop across the blogs, with so many people jumping in. I must be the only person in existence who will admit to not liking Swoon and not needing to make one. Nor do I -- now, anyway -- need to do anything with hexagons. And, since I'm telling all kinds of truth, I really don't care for Flea Market Fancy. It used to be that I would see someone's quilt and think, "Oh, I must do that!" After so many years and so many foiled projects, I'm glad that I know what I do and do not need/want to make!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Spiting the Face

I nearly called this post "Throwing out the Baby with the Bath Water," but I didn't. It just didn't seem right somehow. You'll see why.

The hospital closest to my part of Near Philadelphia astonished the community a week or so ago by announcing that it -- a secular institution of high regard -- was negotiating a merger with the second closest hospital, one with Roman Catholic ties. As a result of this proposed merger, the secular hospital was agreeing not to perform abortions in either facility. And this has caused a brouhaha of epic proportions Near Philadelphia.

The secular hospital is fiscally sound, has a state of the art coronary care facility, an affiliation with the leading children's hospital in the area, a powerful oncology unit, and is almost always undergoing a new building project. In short, it is a success story. The Roman Catholic hospital, on the other hand, appears to be in financial difficulty. So I get it that the bigger, more stable institution might want to absorb the other one. Especially since the Roman Catholic hospital is well known for its home care division, a perceived weakness of the larger hospital. But to make such a huge concession baffled me; I believe there is something that is unrevealed.

People are outraged. People are vocal. The plan has somehow been perceived as anti-Semitic. There are those who believe that this is the first step in a series of affronts against women, that surely it is just a matter of time until contraceptive pills, tubal ligations and God knows what else will be denied them. Others are railing out that end of life issues will become cloudy and we'll all be back in the days of Karen Ann Quinlan.We are hearing prophecies of slippery slopes and of camels with their noses under the tent. At least one person I know has declared that she will not go back to this hospital, that she will go elsewhere for all of her health care needs.

As difficult as it often is for me to take a firm stand on an issue, I know precisely where I am on this one. I believe that abortion is never an easy decision, that most people do not use abortion "as a means of birth control," and that those who make this difficult choice do so out of what they have come to understand as necessity. I have never been in a situation of needing to make this decision. But I remember the days of back alley abortions, where women's lives were put in danger -- and often lost -- because the procedure was illegal. I firmly support a woman's right to choose.

I'm not at all happy with the news of a week or so ago. And if the secular hospital doesn't reverse itself, I'll write a letter to them, indicating my disappointment.

And I'll continue to use their facilities and be thankful that I can. This is the hospital where I worked as a candy striper when I was in high school, where my mother found a job after my father's death, where I received fine care on numerous occasions, where my kids were stitched back together and had their bones set, where I first worked as a hospital chaplain.

This is the hospital that saved my husband's life.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Action

Or, in other words,

It's time to clean up the sewing studio.

The space is beyond dreadful. I can't find a thing. There are open fabric boxes all over and fabric out of boxes and this and that and mess and oh dear it is really seriously awful. There's been a cleaning and reorganizing virus going through bloggerville, most recently noticed at Piecemeal's place (a major ongoing effort in her case) and I really need to give in before I come home and find a sign like this one (doncha LOVE "Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene"?) on my door.

I've got Show that needs to be shown and Tell that I'm wanting to tell and there is all this clutter in the way. Marsha and I went out to Round Bobbin on Saturday and I spent far more than I'd intended and I want to share my fun with you. A couple of people have asked to see the lamps resplendent in their new shades. And there's been some nice progress on the Dresdens. Not to mention the charity quilt that I'm finishing up that Julie started (speaking of Dresdens, just look at what she's been doing!). The Olympics start all too soon and I still don't have everything lined up for that (though the Dresdens prolly would be happy to enter as a new event). 

While I've been surfing to stall the clean-up, I somehow came across this great-looking new publication. I ordered two -- one for me and one for a give-away on my 1500th post, sometime later this summer.  I also discovered this new blog that I'll likely add to my sidebar when things settle down.

Okay. I've provided a healthy half-dozen links for you to explore. Have fun. Meanwhile, you know where I'll be and what I'll be doing. Before the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene strikes. And puts up a yellow sign that may not be removed.

Monday, July 09, 2012

An Opportunity Not To Be Missed

This is post number 1481 for Blogging, Near Philadelphia. Sometime this summer post 1500 will occur. That will trigger a give-away, a second Opportunity Not To Be Missed (in case you miss the first one).

What We've Been Up To

Before we went to Scandinavia, I'd begun hand quilting this little baby quilt that I'd made for Carol's new granddaughter, Lucy Paige. When we returned home, I had just the border to do, and it has taken nearly a month to do that and to get the binding on! The quilting on the main part of the quilt is just diagonal lines, as you might be able to see. What doesn't show up so well is the border which is a twisty-turny heart design. It might be visible if you click the photo to enlarge it.

The quilt is made from a Moda charm pack that I'd acquired before swearing off all-one-line-of-fabric quilts.  The border fabric is something different, from a different manufacturer, even. I bought it in Intercourse the last time we were at White Oak and Honna and I stopped at Bitty Kinna's, a new-to-us shop that we just loved. Carol is going up to New England for Lucy's Baptism next week, and she'll take this quilt along.

Lucy's quilt is draped over an Adirondack chair, but not just any Adirondack chair. Some years back, when we went up to hear Tom who was participating in Loon Lake Live! as a violist, we bought two genuine authentic Adirondack chairs and a matching foot rest to bring home for our deck. It is not exaggerating to say that we used them so much that we wore them out.  I thought perhaps we might take a trip up to Lake Placid and get another pair, but Joe had a better idea.

 He took apart one of the dying chairs, made a pattern, bought some gorgeous cedar, and -- viola! we have a new pair of hand -made chairs! They are even more comfortable than the originals, if that is possible. 

Already at least two people have requested that Joe make a pair for them. We'll see.

Sunday, July 08, 2012


I was reminded this morning on reading Anya's rant that it is good to get these things out of our systems. And then, fortuitously, I was on Facebook and saw this wonderful photograph on Art Drescher's page and, well, here we go:

Fewer than ten years ago, Joe bought me a pair of wonderful lamps for the living room. I'd seen them in the Pottery Barn catalog and admired them. I still do. They are wonderful lamps. But the shades haven't held up well (how many years is the typical lifespan of a lampshade, anyway?) and while I'd been putting up with their blot upon the aesthetics of the parlor and hoping to get out and find new ones, the other night in a burst of exuberance, Blackberry scrambled, inadvertently tugged at the cord and sent one of the lamps to the floor, finishing off the shade and making immediate replacement a necessity. I can't say that I minded, really.

So we went off to Manayunk thinking that either Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn would have a nice selection of shades and we could take care of that problem and also replace a shade from a bedroom lamp (black and beautiful and sophisticated but actually blocking the light from the lamp) and perhaps even pick up a shade for that little pottery lamp that has been sitting in the basement for about seven years waiting to be repaired.

For the impatient reader, the story has a happy ending.

But here's the rant: First of all, without giving us any personal notice whatsoever, Restoration Hardware closed its Manayunk store! The nerve! So we went to Pottery Barn, where, I must emphasize, the lamps needing attention had been purchased.  They had shades. Nice ones. In a wide variety of colors and even patterns. And every single one of them had a fitting-configuration (don't really know the words for what I need here) that differed from the lamps we have!  Instead of the shade fitting directly atop the thingie above the bulb and being further topped with a finial (phew, I remembered that terrific word), these shades required some sort of side support gizmos that we lacked. And, no, they did not have any shades that were not of this species. In fewer than ten years, it looked as though I was going to have to buy new lamps for the lack of the fitting style! I was livid.  Planned obsolescence, I muttered practically shouted, inspiring Joe to head directly for the door, dragging me behind him.

Yesterday morning he went over to that terrific hardware store in Chestnut Hill, Kilian's (a real hardware store, not a Lowe's or Home Depot big box of crap place) where he found and purchased new fittings for the living room and bedroom lamps and also bought what was needed to repair the little pottery lamp! Off, then, we went to King of Prussia (with me trembling in terror as previously posted). There at Restoration Hardware with the help of one Very Knowledgeable Ashley, we came home with three new beautiful shades and an order for one more, all on sale, and she waived the postage on the ordered one!

Life is good. Also lighter and brighter.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Salad Plates, circa Civil War

Back in the early spring I started making Dresden blades as a leader-ender project. I noticed the other day that the tub that I'd been tossing them into was about half-full. I didn't have any idea how many blocks I was looking to make,and was also clueless about background and the center circles.

So today I thought I'd put a batch of blades together to see how I liked them. I guess I liked them because when I quit for the night a little while ago there were five cutie-pies up on my wall. Each has ten fabrics in it, all CW repros in warmish tones. I've pulled out enough blades for two more and am thinking that if there are two more beyond those two, I'll have nine and I think that might be enough. Not having begun the applique process, I don't know how I'll take to it, so I don't want to commit to too many.

Am trying to lure Helen into a LQS run so I can pick out background (am thinking unbleached muslin?) and something for all of the center circles. So I imagine I'll be posting more on this project this summer.

In other efforts, yesterday I finished hand-quilting a baby girl quilt and got the binding machined on, so I know what the rest of this evening holds. Pic soon, fer shure.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

A Full House

Nate: "Can't go wrong with Cheerios."

Tom and Miss A

Some say we look alike. They may be right.

Ready for the Parade
The third generation, some happier than others. Left to right: Eli, Nate, Caroline, Sam, Aberdeen.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Cool Maze

I wrote about purchasing this pattern just before we went away on our trip. I was home about a week before I gave in to the urge to start yet another new project.

And once I started, I had to stay with it. Until it was a finished flimsy.

I love it.

I love it so much that I've go a second one in my head and am trying to convince myself to go back to the myriad UFOs before starting to cut again.

Let's see how successful I am with that.

Meanwhile, if you haven't bought your pattern yet, don't delay. You can get one here. It's a winner.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Movin' Slowly Near Philadelphia

This photo was from last year. Or perhaps the year before that. Dunno. It's still good. And timely.

I've been living in my kitchen -- a little over a week ago I got on a baking jag of epic proportions: banana/coconut bread with lime glaze, blueberry muffins, coconut custard pie, puppy biscuits. chocolate chip cookies, more blueberry muffins, English muffin bread, and a chocolate cake. Beyond baking, yesterday I made a lemony orzo salad and today a huge bowl of potato salad. Don't know what else might strike my fancy.

Fourth of July is a major event Near Philadelphia. I wrote about it here and here. Our good friend Bill, the driving force of the local Patriotic Association is in hospital this year, so the rest of us have to be sure to make the holiday happen. It's the least we can do for him. Perhaps that's why I've been the crazed cook.

Tom, Anastasia, Nate and Aberdeen (TANA) arrived yesterday and are staying with us. Amy, Eli and Andrew are driving up today and staying with her parents. Sherry and her kids will be joining us tomorrow evening. and All of the aforementioned plus many more will be here on Wednesday.

So if you don't hear from me for a while, it's 'cuz we're celebrating. Celebrating freedom and independence. Celebrating family and friends. And celebrating Grandbaby Number Six, recently announced, who will be the finest Christmas gift ever!