Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meet Sassy!

This adorable little kitten was adopted by our neighbors Mark and Kathleen after they found her, dehydrated and overheated, in Mark's automotive garage last week. She bounced back with fluids and love, and has settled into her loving new home. She purrs pretty much every moment she is awake!

While I was taking pictures of Miss Sassy I also sneaked pictures of these lovely lilies in their yard.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Please Vote For Our Aprons

The Quilts and More Quarterly Challenge voting is open! Please vote for the best pair of aprons. (Vania and I hope you will like ours best, but please vote honestly.) You can vote once per day per email address.

Honestly, the judges picked most of my favorites. Our competition will be fierce! I especially like the fireman apron and the mixed drink aprons.

Looking for the Maranatha! Praise Red Book

At church, we are looking for the Maranatha! Praise 3rd edition song book, the version with the words and music. It is out of print and quite expensive on the secondary market. If you have a copy you'd like to sell us at a reasonable price, please let me know. Thank you!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tag - I'm It

Erin tagged me to tell 7 things about myself. I'm also supposed to tag some other people. I'm going to be a giant party pooper and NOT tag anybody, though you are welcome to tag yourself if you like; just tell 7 things about yourself. And tag some other people. If you want.
  1. I grind my teeth a lot. It's weird, and it's not good for my teeth, but I can't seem to quit.
  2. My left thumb is double-jointed.
  3. I think baby fish are cute.
  4. I have always loved brussels sprouts. No kid likes brussels sprouts. Except me. I loved them.
  5. I sometimes eat rhubarb straight out of the garden. Just rinse it in the hose and chomp on it.
  6. I have never driven past a garage sale in my life. (Okay, that's an exaggeration.)
  7. I am addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper.
Well! Wasn't that exciting? I'm sure you're very glad you read this blog tonight. :o)

P.S. May I add another?

8. My husband and I actually have a Zombie Attack Defense Plan. Seriously. You just never know.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday's Apron: A One-Hour Apron for Mrs. Mac

I haven't posted a Saturday's Apron in ages. This one was made as a present for Mrs. Mac. It's from Jona's one-hour apron pattern, only I made it reversible again, and added a pocket to each side.

I chose all the fabric from my stash. I hope it works in her kitchen.

Movie Recommendations

Two movies we have seen recently on Netflix:

1. The Secret Life of Bees. Kind of chick-flicky, but good story and they did a good job of sticking with the book. Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo and Alicia Keys portray the three Boatwright sisters in 1964 South Carolina. Sophie especially was convincing as the sweet but damaged May Boatwright. And that kid that played Michael on The Wire is in here with a very 1960s cut-in part in his hair. Oh, and Dakota Fanning, too. And Paul Bettany being nearly unrecognizeable as a bitter, sweaty good ol' boy. Read the book first. Please.

2. Taken, where Liam Neeson tears most of France apart in an effort to recover his 17-year-old daughter from slave traffickers. Considering that this sort of thing actually happens, and as parents of an 18-year-old, it made our hair stand on end to see the setup: Spoiled, naive American girls, indulgent parents who tiptoe around trying not to stifle the independence of their children, throw in some lying to Dad and whaddya get? A huge, heartbreaking mess. Reminds me of both Frantic (Harrison Ford was trying to rescue his wife in that one) and Target (this time it was Gene Hackman). A little too much typical action-movie people-jumping-off-tall-buildings-and-not-getting-hurt, plus an evil/fat/ugly sheik who just doesn't fit in with the rest of the story at all, but still, I recommend it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

U-pick! I-pick! We-all-pick!

Lil Miss A and I picked about 22 pounds of strawberries this morning. Most of them are in the freezer, though we ate plenty, and shared them with the neighbors.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Presents for MEEEEEEE!!!

I just got the most wonderful package from Mrs. Mac!

Have you ever seen Swedish embroidery? It's usually done on blankets or on huck kitchen towels. Mrs. Mac did this towel when she was in SECOND GRADE. For those of you not familiar with the American school system, that would be when she was about SEVEN YEARS OLD.

Take a closer look! Click on the image to see it better.

The coolest thing about Swedish embroidery is that it is invisible from the back. It's all worked on the front, picking up just the top layer of threads. I am always amazed by it. But knowing how little Mrs. Mac was when she did this work just floors me. I sure didn't have the patience to do this kind of handwork at 7! In fact I don't have it now.

Mrs. Mac sent me all these goodies because the towel doesn't go with her kitchen colors and never will. She included those wonderful red and green crocheted dishcloths. I love crocheted dishcloths! I resolve to use these, as tempting as it is to just keep and admire them. By the way, the colors are perfect in MY kitchen. I think I need to add a towel rack at eye level so I can admire them while working at the sink.

Those interesting looking fabric packages in the first photo are homemade soaps, each with its own slice of loofah. The rectangular one is guest soap and the round one is "gardening soap," with an abrasive in it to scrub the dirt from your fingers after you weed. They scented the whole package beautifully. Plus I get to add the squares of fabric to some interesting project or another.

Next was this vintage Folkwear pattern for sweet prairie style dresses for little girls. Mrs. Mac's little girls are all grown up, and it was so nice of her to pass this along to me. Folkwear patterns are excellent.

And lastly, here are three little Wade Pottery critters. Red Rose Tea critters, if I'm not mistaken. Aren't they precious? They are going straight into the type tray with all of Lil Miss A's Wade circus figures that she doesn't actually know belong to her. (Maybe I should tell her. I was under orders not to let her have them when she was too little to take care of them; she's old enough now.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009


We were in Ames for a couple of days while Barry ran around with his friends and set stuff on fire (at fire school). Lil Miss A and I hung out at the hotel. I worked while Lil Miss A swam in the pool and complained about nothing being on TV even though there were 87 channels. We took a garage saling break on Saturday afternoon after we had to check out of the hotel, and it was so great! Ames is a lovely town. I have only seen it during All State Speech when it's about 40 below. In June, it's green and shady and there are real live people (and dogs) walking around, jogging around, attending concerts in the bandshell park, and holding garage sales.

To the lady with the garage sale on Roosevelt Avenue off 13th, !!thank you!! for the fun ethnic clothing you were selling for next to nothing! I bought a couple of salwar kameez knowing they were too small but hoping maybe Britta might like one. When I got home and took a better look, I found that this one had lots of letting-out room, and now it fits me just great. I wore it to church. Seventy-five cents. Yes, you read that right.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My tip for squeezing in moments to sew

Nicole at Sister's Choice posted some suggestions encouraging us all to find a few moments (actually she said an hour) every day to sew. My addition to this would be, have several sewing machines! I'm serious. If you have 2 or 3 sewing machines, you can have them set up for 2-3 different projects, or 2-3 different stages of one project, and it's easier to accomplish something in 5 found minutes between other things if it's all set up and you can just sit down and stitch. I have 2 machines set up at the moment but am thinking of getting Britta's set up for a 3rd project. I cannot just sit down and sew, at least not for long. A 15-minute sewing break is a luxury. If I can chainstitch 10 pairs of fabric pieces in a few stolen moments, I can feel better about going back to what I MUST do.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Apron Challenge: We're finalists!!

I just got an e-mail saying Vania and I were chosen as one of the 10 finalist teams for the All People Quilt Apron Challenge!

Voting starts Tuesday, and when it does, you can rest assured that I'll post a whiny, begging, vote-grubbing link. Over and over, probably.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why Medical Transcriptionists

Note the misspelling of Beth-Israel DeaconESS Hospital... LOL

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Not following the right news websites

Okay so we thought our XBox was broken, and the router has been misbehaving lately so we thought maybe it had decided not to do what it was supposed to, and also we worried that something had gotten unplugged and we fussed and we checked and we jiggled connections and said "what did you DO??" to each other over and over until FINALLY... Barry noticed the little box on the screen that said XBox Live will be down for maintenance on Tuesday, for as long as 24 hours.



And THEN when I Googled of course everyone else in the developing or developed world knew this already. Because, you know, they read their news.

Back we go into our cave.

BTW, Microsoft's 24 hours is just about up. And I wanna stream some Netflix.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tiger cub!

Britta went to a friend's house the other night and then called to see if she could please bring home an adorable baby kitten she had fallen love with. I said no. No. NO. NOOOOO.

The next day she went up to the Onalaska (Wisconsin) mall where there was a display of exotic animals from a shelter that rescues former exotic pets that become too much for their owners and are surrendered. She was not sure what organization it was, though when I mentioned Tippi Hendren's name, she thought that sounded familiar. Anyway, she donated $25 and received the privilege of actually playing with and cuddling a week-old tiger cub for a few minutes!

She tried to talk them into letting her take Sasha home, but to no avail.

The other arms in the pictures are Britta's friend Melissa and the trainer/handler.

Friday, June 12, 2009

"My Double" wire dress form on eBay, ends today

In case you are interested in acquiring a vintage wire My Double dress form like mine, there's one on eBay right now, ending later today. The seller did not know what it was until I spoiled the sleeper and told him/her.

Guess you can't pick up a photo from an eBay auction anymore! Grrr.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

So what is "normal" anyway?

I frequently find myself wishing things would get back to normal. Nobody graduating, for instance. Nobody taking tests. Nobody going to night classes. No house guests, at least for a little while (I love house guests, but they are wearing). No FUNERALS would be nice. No appointments to work around. Nothing in need of repair. Nobody sick.

But then I ask myself: When have all those things EVER happened at once in my life?

I bet if things were ever "normal" around here, I'd be bored silly.

I would still like to give it a try, though.

William ‘Bill’ Mitchell

NEW ALBIN, Iowa — William “Bill” Mitchell, 62, passed away Saturday, June 6, 2009, at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse.

Bill was born in McGregor, Iowa, on March 5, 1947, to James and Teresa (Hammel) Mitchell.

He married the love of his life, Ginny M. Hayes, on Oct. 25, 1969, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Caledonia, Minn.

Bill served with the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1969. He worked for New Albin Police Department, drove school bus for Eastern Allamakee School District, worked in the roofing business and later attended gunsmith school in Denver.

Bill cherished his God, family, friends and nature. His love of deer, turkey, morel and ginseng hunting was the substance of his being. There was not a day that went by without a funny story or joke he would share with whomever was present. His quick wit and harmless pranks will bring many people he loved memories of laughter. He shared his wisdom and vast knowledge of guns, hunting and skills with a large audience, one being a hunter’s safety instructor, teaching children the proper way to handle firearms. He was a lifetime member and president of the Northeast Iowa Whitetails Unlimited for 18 years. He was also a member of the NRA, National Turkey Federation Board, active in his church and community and a proud veteran.

Bill is survived by his wife, Ginny; sons, Jeremy (Amanda), Chad (Laura), Josh (Jill) and Trevor; and a daughter, Kelsey; seven grandchildren, Jasmine, Allison, Alex, Jani Mitchell and Mason Johnson, Camden Mitchell and Arianna Mitchell; his brothers, Lorny (Lucille) and David (Barb) of New Albin, Raymond (Carol) of Maple Grove, Minn., Jerry (Mary) of Alburnett, Iowa, and Earl (Donna) of Palo, Iowa; his sisters, Mary Jo Colsch of Caledonia and Esther (Jim) Benesh of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Kenneth, James and Peter Mitchell; and a sister, Teresa Kubitz.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, New Albin, with military rites to follow. Father Daniel Knipper and Monsignor Ed Lechtenberg will officiate. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at New Albin Community Center, with a 7:30 p.m. prayer service. Visitation will also be from 9:30 to 10 a.m. Wednesday at the community center before the service at the church. McCormick Funeral Home, Caledonia, is assisting the family with arrangements.

I would also add that he was the man who would bring us wild morel mushrooms every spring.

Adding this after the funeral: Msgr Ed Lechtenberg, who is one of Ginny's cousins, as it happens, did a marvelous job on the service. He was so encouraging. Nobody was saying the S word out loud, and then all of a sudden in his sermon he started talking about it, how no one needed to worry and wonder about Bill's salvation, or to wrack their brains over what they could have done differently to prevent it; it's just that diseases come in many forms, diseases of the body and diseases of the mind, and sometimes it's cancer or heart disease that takes someone, and sometimes it's a disease of the mind. He said that 99.9% of the time, suicide is about unbearable pain and the desperation that it brings. He assured the family that the Lord was waiting in the valley of the shadow of death, waiting for Bill with His hand outstretched. He said that every single day he thanks God that God's mercy is so much better and larger than our own.

He also said, "We cry and mourn because we are human. We rejoice because we are Christians."

This is the first Catholic funeral I have been to.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Quilts and More Quarterly Challenge: Aprons!

Remember I told you about my sister-in-law Vania and me entering the All People Quilt Quarterly Challenge? Well, we each finished our aprons a few weeks ago. Vania mailed hers to me so I could do the photographs, and then I returned it to her, and we uploaded them today. I thought I'd show 'em to you here, too.

To see all 6 photos, click here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Random Bowie Post

Lots of things to tell you but no time to say 'em. Cannot let a day go by without a post, so:

Ground control to Major Tom... Can you hear me, Major Tom?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The one thing I really miss about having a working clothes dryer.

We're doing fine so far just using the clothesline, saving the laundry for nice days, and in a pinch just hanging things indoors, on the back porch.

The one thing I miss is not being able to preshrink fabric! I can still wash it in hot water, but I cannot blast it with high heat in the dryer, so I always fear there is some shrinkage left lurking in it somewhere. I have a piece of green batik I need to preshrink before I can use it on a quilt border. It would not matter except that the entire quilt is made up of preshrunk fabric so far. If the borders are not preshrunk I'm afraid the whole thing will end up looking like a big patchwork mushroom the first time I wash it.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Zombie Instructional Videos

This one is okay...

What To Do In A Zombie Attack

... but my fave will probably always be this one, from Fido (not embeddable, so you will have to follow the link). I love Fido. It and Shaun of the Dead take turns being my favorite zombie movie.

Binding a Quilt by Machine: A Judy Laquidara Tutorial

I've tried to sew bindings completely by machine before and they looked awful. I think I'll try again, though.

Judy's blog

Thursday, June 04, 2009

If you ever go to the Dells, stay at the Dell Creek.

I like to recommend good service providers whenever I come across them, and the Dell Creek Motel is the best-kept secret of the Wisconsin Dells. Britta has stayed there twice now and reports that it is "cute, clean and cheap" - with very friendly service. It's convenient to all the attractions.
Britta and a friend just got back from The Dells. They spent the day at Noah's Ark, and then stayed at the Dell Creek for the night before heading home. They were the only guests. The proprietress had hot cocoa waiting for them when they arrived! 

If you ever get the chance, stay at the Dell Creek and tell them Britta Stahl sent you.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Happy 45th birthday to one of the cutest little boys ever.

Look at that cute little guy! That's my brother Aaron as a little boy. Aaron is much bigger now, and quite a bit less cute, though his wife may disagree.

Happy birthday, brother dear. (You can give him good wishes yourself if you like, on his blog.)

Here he is again. That other photo was undated; this one is dated November 23, 1965, so he was about 2-1/2. I would have been 4-1/2.

Thanks to Papa and Mama for the scanning ordeal today that yielded these wonderful pictures.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Never one to leave well enough alone...

This year for Medical Transcriptionist Week, Webmedx sent each of us a black barbecue apron with the company logo embroidered on the bib.

I like the gift, really I do - when have I EVER said no to an apron? - but I believe that all aprons need pockets, and this one had none.

So I fixed it.