Friday, December 5, 2008

Go Have a Mug of Chocolate Cake

Oh, my God in heaven. I am forever thankful to Granny G for posting her 'Chocolate Cake in a Mug recipe' on her web site. I am sitting here enjoying a gooey, hot, melty, chocolate cake out of a mug. It was made in 3 minutes. Go get the recipe here:, and then run to your pantry right now! It is an emergency. No measuring cups needed, just a 1 Tbsp. Run, I tell you, Run. I would have taken a picture of mine and posted it, but the drool broke my camera.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Calm After the Storm

Here are the 'after' pictures of Chris' office. If I had more money, I would do the dining room next. Thank God I don't have any more money.
I didn't have enough funds to get him a new desk so I had to 'recreate' his current one. Since I wanted to place his desk in the middle of the room, and it was (is) an open front desk, I built a wooden 'skirt' to go around the two sides and back so that you dont see all of the ugly cords. To bring the cords to the desk, I bought a large area rug. I ran the cords between the area rug and the carpeting. I cut a 4 inch diameter circle out of the rug under the desk to bring the cords up. If the rug is ever to be used for another purpose in the future, the circle that I cut out of the rug can simply be duct-taped back into place from the back side.
I wanted to hang a big picture on this wall. I found a perfect one of Paris, France for 60 dollars. (we spent a few weeks there on our honeymoon, so it is sentimental as well as the black and white scheme that I was trying to follow)Chris likes to enjoy an occasional adult beverage in the evening. He used to keep this stuff in my kitchen pantry and cart it into his office. I figured, why not just make a spot for it in his office since it is locked anyway. I found the drink tray at Hobby Lobby. (Thanksgiving, half-price). It had a painted pumpkin design that needed to be covered so I cut a waterproof place mat to the exact size and placed it in the bottom of the tray. The dresser had to be built, but it was a cinch. The floating shelf was a snap also. I will eventually put a couple of small lights under the shelf that light the dresser.These shelves had to be built also. In addition to the four shelf units, I assembled two height extensions, added four doors, and four drawers. I still had room on this wall to hang his patent and college diploma. A floor plant will go by the window in the back corner.
Really, these curtains on his doors are only pinned up for now. I wasn't sure if he was going to like them so I didn't finish them until I got the "O.K." this step should only take a few minutes. The pictures above the doors are regular photos that I had made into black and white, then blown up to a 11x14 inch size. Ritz was able to print them in a matter of hours. I found the 16x20 inch frames with mats included at Michaels for 13 dollars each. The first night of my project I cleaned out his office and painted. The blue dot on the wall that you see is actually a piece of blue painters tape. I always go back and look over the walls when I am finished painting. If there is an area that needs touch-up, I place a little piece of blue tape there so that I don't forget where to go. Luckily, this is the only little spot that needs attention.
I screwed knobs into the wall; four on each side of each window so that I could hang decorative curtains without spending money on two rods. These shutter blinds swing open, so hanging functional curtains would have been more expensive and stupid.

I hope that I didn't bore you all to death with my project...but I figured someone may get some ideas from it. Now on to my quilting room!

The Calm Before the Storm

Here are a few "before" pictures of my husbands office. I will post the "after" pictures on the next post.

The Race of 50 Million

Does anyone else out there feel like they are constantly running towards a finish line, only to have the race coordinator tell you that you actually have a whole lot farther to go? I feel like I am in this race every day. There are fifty million other runners lapping me while I am going at life with a constant stitch in my side. Why is it that I can't reach my (not too far set) goals?Laundry is never "done". I mean it could be, but the whole house would have to go up in flames for me to see that. Dishes are not too much trouble, but I like to not have anything icky or sticky to look at in the morning so I try to tackle those as often as possible. The fridge has leftovers in it from the Clinton administration and my desk still is not cleared off...but duct tape is holding it all up like a charm! Making my bed in the morning is the only big sense of accomplishment that I normally have in a day. (I should take pictures since I really am proud of that one.) I have figured out that I love to plan and start things. A lot of things. I like to finish them too, but not as much as I like to start them. In quilting, my bindings are few and far between, but at least I set realistic goals with quilting. Maybe I should wash all of my socks today and call it quits on laundry; then wash only the forks for dishes. Hey, in a week I could have half of it done! More time for quilting. One of the most lofty goals that I have set recently is re-doing my husbands office. I decided to wait to do this job until he went out of town for a weekend (apparently, that is like...two days) so that he would be surprised when he came home. Well, long story short...I did it. I cannot believe I did it! There were a few minor loose ends that didn't get done in time; but for the most part it is done. I think that making this outrageous goal, then reaching it was exactly what I needed to start getting my second wind to sprint towards the finish line on my other goals. Before I know it, even my vacuum cleaner will come out of hiding. Kidding, Kidding. Let's not get too crazy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Quilting Statue of Liberty

I would like to go to a quilt show. Yes, I have been to Houston. But I would like to go to a quilt show where the quilts are made and used by human beings. I really do not want to ruffle any feathers here or give anyone the impression that I don't genuinely appreciate the talent, work, time, money, etc. etc. etc. that goes into making a 'best of show' quilt; but I really am a lot more grounded than that. I have seen some of these best of show quilts, and quite frankly; I have mixed emotions about the whole deal. On one hand, if there should be art, this is the kind of art that not only holds my attention, but is something that is beyond words in beauty. In other words, quilts are my favorite kind of art to appreciate. No question. On the other hand, the hand that bleeds from hand quilting, hand piecing, and building shelves to hold fabric; I have to say:


I want and need to see a traditional quilt win something. It has to have under 1 billion stitches per square inch. It has to have two, maybe three, colors to it. It cannot have any applique anywhere on it or it is disqualified for being "showy'. It has to be made by someone who actually has grandchildren ( grandchildren who have one of her quilts and drags it around where ever they go), it has to have a 'humble block', it cannot be perfectly square, it has to have a mistake in it somewhere and that mistake has to be notated on the information card, it has to have a wave at the bottom when hung, and most importantly, it actually has to drape when displayed on a bed. If it is stiff as cardboard from the quilting and sizing, it needs to be omitted from the show completely. this quilt needs to have pictures submitted with the application showing it actually being used as a quilt being slept under. That is what I want to see. If I had any grandchildren, I am sure that I would have one quilt (or two) in that show for other human quilters to appreciate.

So fellow quilters, I say this: Show me your worn, your seam-ripped, your faded, show the huddled masses yearning to breathe free! I lift my rotary cutter in salute to you!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Winning Battle in the War of UFOs (part 3)

Hello everyone. I am sorry that I kept a few of you hanging on this post. I have honestly been quite busy doing all of the normal things that you are supposed to do to keep a house in order. Well, at least I gave it some thought and a little effort. So without going into that and boring the crap out of you all; instead, I will give my last day of information to you all about UFOs.

This next picture is just another example of the calendar, except it is a view of your week.

This is what I don't have to do the same thing, but it makes me realize my goals if I know where I am in the week. Before beginning my week on my one project, I write a goal on the last day of the week. If you do this, make sure it is a realistic goal, or you will just set yourself up for failure, giving you no sense of accomplishment.

If you never use a calendar, that is OK. Like I said earlier, I don't really use one anymore now that I have the system down. But one thing that is VERY important is the 5-subject notebook. I use it as a kind of journal and note keeper on the 4 projects. Each section is dedicated to one project. As I am working on a project, I will add an entry about what I was able to finish. This comes in handy when I pull the project out the next month. I can see that I left off needing to make 52 more churn dash blocks, for example. Before I started doing my projects this way, I would waste so much time trying to figure out what size I had to cut each piece, how much fabric I would need, what finished measurements I would have, what fabric options I would use, what quilting design I was going to put where...the list is long and tedious. I wasted so much time; in fact, that I would only finish a few things on that project and 'put it away' not bothering to write any of that information down. OH MY GOODNESS! This seems like a no-brainer, but it saves so much time. I love pulling a project down now. It is so nice to have all of that info right there for you to just jump in to start quilting.

The pocket dividers are a nice addition to the notebook if you are able to find one that way. I tend to throw magazine patterns, idea clippings, swatches, pictures, post-its or whatever in there.

When I finish a project, I pull out all of the pages, notes, pictures, etc. and I put them in my scrapbook. I then use that empty section of the notebook for the next project replacing it. (you will be able to go through quite a few projects in each section before having to buy a new notebook. The 5th section, I use for my cheater project notes, but I am sure there may be a lot of other uses for it.

That's it. That's all I have. It doesn't seem that hard, does it? It is all just a matter of disciplining yourself a little bit. You don't have to get too anal-retentive here, but just tiny bits of organization helps a whole lot. Good luck with your projects. Please do not hesitate to give me updates and please tell me what worked for you better. Any tips and hints that I can get will help me get rid of the aliens in my closet.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Winning Battle in the War of UFOs (part 2)

O.K. Just so you all know, I am only using the calendar as a way to explain how this works. After doing your projects like this for a few months, you will not need to use a calendar because, well, you will just get it. The picture above is just an example of how your month will go.

  1. The first week you will work on your 2nd most important project that needs to get done.

  2. The second week you will work on your 1st most important project that needs to get done. (I know you are saying "Huh?" but just wait...)

  3. The 3rd week you will work on your 3rd most important project of the 4.

  4. The 4th week you will work on your 4th most important project.

Each week you will work on one quilt. Your week starts on Monday and finishes on Sunday. Sunday is the day that you will pack your project back up into its box or bag and put it away until the next month. If a month has 5 Mondays, then in this system, it has 5 weeks, in which case you would work on the 1st most important project again on that 5th week. Then next month on the first Monday you will start again with the 2nd most important project. Now you see why I do the 2nd on the first week...I needed to have a 'break' between me working on my 1st priority.

Now, lets say that you are piecing blocks by machine on one of your projects one week and your machine breaks, or you run out of fabric and have to order actually have a 'cheater project' or 5th project that you can work on but you should not work on any of the other 3 projects. I work on my 'cheater project' when my hands get sore from hand quilting or when I am creatively blank or if I just plain don't want to work on that weeks project for a day or so.

Let me give you reasons why this system works for me (and hopefully you, too)

  1. I force myself to only work on one project during the simply put: If you wanna quilt, Monica, quilt forces me to get over whatever road block that caused me to stick the thing in my closet in the first place.

  2. By working on a project for a week, and being 'forced' to put it away on are going to find yourself actually wanting to work on it again the next month. In other words, you are not working on these projects long enough to get sick of them.

  3. I never feel guilty about starting a new project long as it is used as my 'cheater project'

  4. By only focusing on 4 projects, I find that I am more aware of what supplies I need to get them done. I try to only spend money on fabric, etc. for these 4 projects. I don't even worry that I have 35 (or much more) UFOs that need to get done...just these 4.

  5. After completing a project, I will finish out the week doing the 'cheater project' then I get to re-evaluate which quilts are most important and add another UFO from my pile to replace the one that I finished.

  6. If you find that you are not getting one of you projects done or are not looking forward to it after a few months of this system; it is a very good indication that you don't want it done bad enough and you should find another person to give it to. ( IS a way to get it out of your closet you know)

  7. By putting my entire project away at the end of every week, I don't have it in the way of my other projects or stressing me out; plus, when I take that project out again, everything is there. No hunting everywhere for the fabric, stencils, etc.

I will give final information tomorrow. Don't worry...tomorrow's instructions won't make your head hurt. Big huge smile.

My 4 Projects

O.K. everyone out there in quiltland. I don't have a lot of time to post right now, so I will make this one quick and do part 2 tonight when I have a little more time and the sweet sound of silence. I just wanted to share a picture of how I store my 4 projects...I hang them on the wall on coat hooks that I screwed into a stud behind the drywall so that they are strong enough to hold the weight. I can put my projects away so much easier, then bring them out knowing that the whole project is right there in the bag. See y'all tonight!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Winning Battle in the War of UFOs. (Part 1)

How many of you want to get rid of UFOs? How many of you have a closet that looks anything like the one in the picture above? I collect projects like Michael Phelps collects medals. But I have a system that works. You can get tons of them done in the next 6 months. All you have to do is send 3 equal payments of $29.95 to...KIDDING. Man, I actually heard purses being ripped open. OK, all seriousness aside...I really do have a system that works. In the next few days I am going to go over the details of how it works and what to do if you want to try it out. It is not for everyone. I repeat. It is not for everyone. If you are one of those quilters that needs to work on 20 different quilts in one day because you get bored with 10 minutes on one; this is not for you; however, it could be modified for you. If you find that you are woman enough to step up to the line to give it a try; well, come on with your bad self. I challenge you. To give you a teaser: You work on 4 quilts at a time. You will save so much money. Your friends will like you better.

I am going to start day one of the instructions today:

  1. You will need 1 calendar dedicated to this project. This does not have to be fancy, but don't make it too tiny. The best ones are the ones that have a month view and a week view so that you can take notes. If you like cheap...Your computer has one.

  2. you will need a 5 subject notebook, or 5 single subject notebooks will work, it is just a lot nicer to have it all in one book. Mine has pockets in the divider pages which really comes in handy.

  3. To really play by the rules. You will have to clean your sewing room/space up. (as good as humanly possible) Mine was so bad before I started this system that when a tornado hit it; everything ended back up in the right place. But don't be waitin' for a high wind, girls. Just focus on one area at a time and it will come together.

  4. You will need 4 big bags or boxes to keep 4 of the projects in. To give you an idea of know those cardboard file boxes for IRS documents? bigger than that.

I realize that I have already lost a lot of you with number 3. But just hear me out on this...there is a reason for everything.

So your first assignment is NOT to list every stinking UFO that you have, but to simply choose 4 of the quilts that need to be done first. Prioritize! (One little hint: If you are a hand quilter, make sure that you have only one of these in hand-quilting stage) Do you have those 4? Once you do, none of the other UFOs should exist in your mind. Sure, they are still all huddled together in the back of your closet crying because you didn't choose them, but their day will come. For now they don't exist. Isn't that cool? Your mind will only focus on 4. Zero stress. I can already feel your planets aligning.

That's not all! Tomorrow I will give you the next set of instructions for the "System that Works"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Did I Mention that Yellow is My Favorite Color?

Y'all need to go over to Pigtails and Snails to try to win a quilt. Yes, a quilt. I know that there a lot of generous people out there that make quilts and just give them away....wait, I guess that is what I do. But for some reason I have the ssssslllllllooooooowwwww gene. If I can spit out a quilt or two in a decade, I am doing good. I think that I need to be a little more accepting to machine quilting though. My quilts become my babies. By the time I finish them, I don't feel very good about giving them away, even if they were started with someone in mind. It is really hard for me to let go; that is until I see the reaction on the face of the person receiving my quilt. I guess it is a lot like giving a child up for adoption. So...if I should ever be so lucky to win a quilt, or receive a quilt as a gift, I would be one of those great 'open-adoption quilt parents' that would allow the maker to visit the quilt whenever they would like to see it again. I can't wait to give a quilt away on my blog. Start watching for it in 2015...It will be worth the wait, I promise!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Molly Keeps Me on Pins and Needles

I was reading a blog post today at Molly's Place and she is making up all of these cute pincushions (which; by the way, you cannot have too many of.) It made me think of sharing this thing that I do with some of my hand-type projects. I load up on pencil boxes every year from back-to-school sales when you can get them for 50 cents a piece. Then, I put a block that I am working on in each one making sure that I have everything that I need in it. I put thread on bobbins so that I don't have to carry around whole spools. I put a pair of scissors in each one that I am working on (sometimes 6 at a time!). A mechanical pencil, needles and pins. Since pincushions are usually so big, I make up the soda-pop bottle cap ones like you see above. It is big enough to hold the pins and needles that I need and small enough that it fits in the box. My plan is to put a Velcro tab on the inside of the box, and the bottom of the pincushion so that it stays put when I am working on my blocks. These boxes are great for crazy quilting (all quilting is), applique', Dear Jane blocks, or embroidery. I keep one of these boxes in my car for those times when I am waiting in line at the bank, or when Connor falls asleep in his car seat and I don't dare wake him up or move him, or when I go to Dr.'s offices, restaurants, etc. where I am forced to wait. I keep one at home just sitting out so that I can grab it when I get a 5 minute break. Anyway...that is my little idea. And if you want to make those pincushions...go to Molly's blog and check hers out because they are a thousand times more beautiful than mine! She already has me running around my house rounding up every cap I can find so that I can give mine a face lift. Gotta keep up with the Jones' you know.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Patience is a Virtue...But so is Hope, Right?

My husband left this morning to watch the Texas-Oklahoma game at a friends house. It is an early game. I was invited also, but I thought that it would be nice to get a blog in and do some uninterrupted sewing. He even brought Connor with him; bless his heart. Connor was very cooperative so far today. He ate his eggs and toast without tornado strength destruction, he sat very still so that I could comb his hair (so still, in fact, that I did not have to use mom spit to do the job), he didn't insist on picking his own clothes and dressing himself, and he pooped his pants right before walking out the door. Take that daddy. O.K., O.K., I didn't let him go like that. I did clean him up for my husband. We are trying (without success) to potty-train Connor. It is horrible. I have put the training underwear on him because people tell me that they don't like the way wet clothes feel on their skin. Not only is Connor completely fine with the sensation, but it puts a smile on his face to complete it with the 'I've got a potato in the back of my pants' look. Most likely he is just practicing defiance to prepare for the teenage years. I really hope he is using the big boy potty by that time.
He is only two, so I am not discouraged, just impatient. Also, the very last thing that moms in my situation want to hear is other moms bragging about how they trained their children in two days, and telling me what I am doing 'wrong'. Look, you got lucky. It has nothing to do with your super human mom qualities. I am the oldest of 7 children. None of us were the same. If a child decides to bestow the gift of pooping in the potty to his parents, it was completely their own decision to do so. No smoke and mirrors, no rain dances, no voo-doo wiccan potions, no prayers to St. Jude will help...(believe me on this one). He will just figure it out eventually; as long as I am consistent and persistent, and loving and encouraging. The only things that keep me going on this is the knowledge that he will have to train his kids someday, and quilting.
I have talked to so many quilters that have said that they just couldn't do any quilting during the child-rearing years. How could you not? I would go absolutely and verifiably insane if I could not make a stinking nine patch every now and then. Here's an idea: I could start a quilt with a embroidered toilet on it and a border that says: Congratulations, Connor! You are a big boy now! You went pee pee in the potty!...If I start it now I can give it to his wife as a wedding gift, too. I am sure she will understand why.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Before and After

I can finally post pictures of Kath's quilt top. She has been so wonderful and patient while I babysat it for her. This first picture is the 'before' picture; that is, before I started sewing the outer border that you see. This is an image from my EQ6.

Here is what the quilt top looks like now that I got it sewn together and mailed off to Kathleen.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

If I Were 'Desserted' on an Island...

I needed to clean just a little before posting this picture of my island in my kitchen. I find it just amazingly funny that almost every person who walks into this kitchen says: "Wow! I wish I had an island this big, I would spend so much time in the kitchen cooking!" Grass is always greener, I tell you. When I first saw this island I thought "Now THAT is a Texas-sized area to cut fabric!" (with enough extra room on the side for a chocolate dish and coffee cup.) It really bothers me that I am forced to defile that area every evening with food and kitchen-type stuff. Now, just so you know, I am not a bad cook; but Oreos need some love too...and you can't make those in this room. As soon as I get the dishes done, the Olfa mat and cookies are going down.

Quick, Cheap, and Easy...Just the Way I Like 'Em

My son gives me the hours of 9pm to 2am to work on quilting; and that is being generous. Well after the hours of potty training, booger-picking, and going into wild happy or hostile hysterics, I have visitation rights with my sewing machine. Works for me, but my husband tends to miss me every once and awhile. In fact by the time that I go to bed some mornings, he awakes from a groggy stupor and mistakenly believes that I am a burglar where I end up in a head-lock begging for my life. No, not really...but I am ready for such an occasion. In order for me to be able to get to that appointment with my sewing room, I have to make sure that the hours up to bedtime go very smoothly. This means not making rack of lamb for dinner. I have decided to share quilting-friendly recipes on occasion so that you beautiful and well-deserving ladies (or men) can get a UFO done and not starve your family in the process. The ones I provide will not have too many steps, too many ingredients, or cost too much money. Here is one of my newer ones:

Baked Pork Chops and Rice
  • 1 C. regular rice, uncooked
  • 1 pkg. onion soup mix
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can of mushrooms (do not drain)
  • 1 soup can of milk
  • 4 -6 pork chops

Combine first five ingredients in a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Brown pork chops in a fry pan. Put the browned pork chops in the casserole dish with the rice mixture, being sure to coat the chops. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for about an hour at 350 degrees, stirring every once in a while.

O.K. there you go. Now you can quilt tonight.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ten-Four Good Buddy...

Well, I am back. It is my birthday today. I have already had 3 people ask me if I feel any older. But I really don't. Yesterday morning I felt 10 years older than I do today and let me tell you why...I got out of bed, made coffee, and right before my husband walks out the door, he says "Hey, we have ants in our bedroom closet crawling all over my dirty clothes; well, gotta go. Bye." What the Hell!? Don't just leave me here in my pajamas with nothing but a spray can to defend myself from what I find out later as being mom-eating fire ants. Lets not forget a 2-year old in tow that wants to play with the new little friends that he has found surrounded by a toxic poison that will make you forget your own name. I don't know how I made it past morning without running out of my house screaming in tongues. First, I had to make my son take a shower with me so that he wouldn't run into the closet and roll around in the mess like a dog that just found a dead fish. Then, I had the crawlies so bad after doing my husbands laundry that I just had to leave the house. I took Connor to a playground close to our neighborhood thinking that that would be relaxing. I even grabbed an applique' block that I was working on, thinking that I would have this blissful moment of happy stitching, watching my wonderful child sliding and swinging, listening to the beautiful birds chirping and the lulfull, cool breeze whispering through the live oak tree branches shading the play yard below. Well, after another mommy's spawn of the devil shoved my son in the face and pushed him down off of a elevated landing, causing him to have bleeding extremities, I just knew that my day was only getting worse. I provided the pain-easing kisses to scraped knees and without spitting on the bad kid, asked him where his 'irresponsible' parent was. The little brat told me to shut my face. O.K. lets just say that child protective services didn't have to show up, and I did not end up in jail...but jail might have been worth it. As soon as I got Connor cleaned up, my period showed up, at the playground, ruining my clothing and my hopes of maybe being pregnant. Connor was quite pissed off at the fact that we were leaving very abruptly, but I promised him that I would bring him back right away. Ran home. Changed. Decided that I deserved to stop by Starbucks on the way back to the playground. The coffee was perfect (which made me really wonder) until I got out to my car and a police officer was pointing out my 2 month expired registration sticker. (my wonderful loving husband always renews them right away and waits until I get a ticket before finally sticking the actual valid sticker on the vehicle) I did not get a ticket. Thank God. The rest of my day went very similar to the first half in entertainment value, but maybe I will save all of that for another post! Just so you all leave me with a sense of happiness, today has been wonderful! My glass is actually half-full. My toilet bowl is half-full...actually it overfloweth...gotta go.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wipe That Dirty Look Off Your Face

My ABC's

I have seen this before. I recently saw it on someone else's blog and decided to go ahead and do it too. I promise that I wont send it on to others to do, but I think that it would be fun to learn a thing or two about you all. Here goes:
  • A. Attached or Single? attached
  • B. Best Friend? My sister, JoAnn
  • C. Cake or pie? You mean which one would I eat first? Pie (Pumpkin)
  • D. Day of choice? Mother's Day
  • E. Essential item? Carmex or Cherry Chap-stick
  • F. Favorite color? Yellow...and believe it or not I am not a fan of purple! Shocking!
  • G. Gummy bears or worms? Gummy a prior post.
  • H. Hometown? I don't really have one, but if I had to pick...Sherwood, North Dakota
  • I. Favorite indulgence? Retreats at The Compass Centre (
  • J. January or July? July in North Dakota and January in Texas!
  • K. Kids? Well, O.K., but two more and that's it. (one daughter-12yrs, one son-2yrs)
  • L. Life isn’t complete without? my friends, my family, my husband, and coffee.
  • M. Marriage date? No, my husband won't let me.
  • N. Number of brothers and sisters? Three brothers and Three sisters (I am the oldest)
  • O. Oranges or Apples? Apples, unless we are talking about those chocolate orange balls that you whack against the table then cram into your mouth like a squirrel on a 10 day starve.
  • P. Phobias? Cockroaches, June bugs, pretty much anything that could land on my face or head and make me do the icky-bug-seizure. give me a snake or rat any day.
  • Q. Quotes? "Blessings are like buttons; people seldom notice them until one is missing." This is how I got the name for my blog.
  • R. Reasons to smile? "Were going out for dinner, Honey"
  • S. Season of choice? I know this is supposed to be a time of the year but I really have to say Cinnamon.
  • T. Tag 5 people: I never tag any one...I never like to pressure anyone except my husband.
  • U. Unknown fact about me? I have a very strong American Indian background. (Oglala, Sioux) My Grandmothers cousin is Russell Means., you would never guess that because I am also half German-Russian so I am as white as fence primer.
  • V. Vegetable? I would prefer to be called 'intelligence-challenged' what? oh...Sweet Potatoes.
  • W. Worst habit? Biting my nails...I know, I know...Gross. But I don't smoke. and I don't drink more than a bottle of wine a day.
  • X. X-ray or Ultrasound? Lets hope that I don't have to choose.
  • Y. Your favorite food? French, Italian, German, Moroccan, and Chocolate.
  • Z. Zodiac sign? an out-of-balance Libra...I am a walking oxymoron.

Wow, that was more fun than I have had in two whole hours! Now, I better start learning a thing or two about a few of you out there since I had to lay my heart and soul out there for everyone. Just remember...there is info. and there is TM info.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Nervous Twitch

I really wanted to show pictures of the project that I am working on, but since it is a surprise, I just cannot. I will, however; share with you a picture of one of the blocks that I have made for a quilt that I plan on finishing by my 98th birthday. They say a person who fails to plan, plans to fail, so I had to set an official date. Maybe I should have a countdown bar located in my blog. I will be 35 in October so I really should get working on it. This is one block from the Nearly Insane quilt from the book with the same title by Liz Lois. It measures 6" finished. Yes. That means that the tiny blue diamond that you see in the center is 1/2 inch square and the little triangles surrounding it are smaller. I have decided (in my fragile mentality) that it should be done completely by hand. The block you see above was completely hand pieced. I figured that since I was able to complete this one, I should tackle the hardest one in the book has 229 pieces. I have the hardest part of it done already. Now you all know why I need so much coffee and chocolate...and therapy.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Project of the Day

I am almost finished with the border that I have made for Kathleen, who is one of the famous and talented Wackies. The attached picture is only what the quilt looked like before I got it. Oh, and it is a EQ6 picture. I have added my border to the outside of this one. It is so nice to just throw a quilt into a computer. I have saved so much time and fabric by trying different designs and colors on my virtual design wall. My seam ripper gets some cool-down time too. The border should be completely done tonight (early tomorrow morning) or tomorrow evening. All I have to do is drink a pot of coffee...after cutting the coping border, and sew. Unfortunately, when I finish this one I will not be able to share pictures until Kathleen has seen it, since she reads my blog every now and again. Or I could really mess with her and put one of my EQ6 pictures up showing a border with clown or leprechaun skipping around with candy and pots of gold. O.K. Everybody reading this, don't tell her. I'm gonna do it.


MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

Baby Steps

If organization is the key, the lock must be around here some place. I usually go through my desk about once a month to clean it off. My brain cannot work with clutter so I need to do this or go insane. If it goes a few months without a good methodical shuffling, I will out of nowhere grab an armful and bring it to the good ol' grill outside and make up a bunch of Smores over the soon to be missing phone numbers of gynecologists and expired coupons to that awesome restaurant that I beg my husband to at least drive by every once and awhile. I have one of those desks that is considered the kitchen desk, but is in the hall by the garage. It is built in, so the outlets are above the desktop on the wall instead of below. The result is a spaghetti pile of cords from all kinds of electronics sitting on my work surface. It is a feng shui disaster. I have decided to make a shelf to cover the mess and to give me my area back so that I can keep my phone, calendar, pen cup and sanity on soon as I find them. I thought about buying one of those cute paperweights, but really it would have to be a brick/bungee-cord contraption to do the trick and I just haven't found one of those in the right color. So, until I get this shelf done, I have promised myself to go through 30 minutes of papers and files a day until I catch up to that utopia that everyone tells me about. Does anyone out there know how to make Smores in that one room that the dishwasher is in? I think I may need that recipe soon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I have a feeling that Carol woke in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat from a nightmare. She was probably dreaming that I had decided to keep her round robin quilt for myself. In her dream, I am sleeping like an angel under the most beautiful compass in the county. It is probably hand quilted with intricate feathers and miniature cross-hatching. Maybe even has a label on the back that says "To my wonderful friend, Monica. Love, Carol."
Wow, I guess that would be a nightmare for her. Carol, if you are out there. I promise that I didn't put a stitch of binding on it. It is safe and sound, awaiting its next (freaking awesome, beautiful, monica-made) border. I have my EQ6 program holding on to the border so it will have to be a surprise to all of you when I get that one done. Selling our old house kind of put my quilting, blogging, and potty-training on hold. But now...I am climbing out of the wood works again. Trust me. I have a lot to talk about.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Potty Mouth

I am quite sure that I am the only person on the planet that can make my phone ring by sitting down on the toilet. Every time. I just wish that I had talents that could make me rich and famous, but a butt that gets people to call you is not exactly the kind of material that gets you on 'Entertainment Tonight'.
I have a two-year-old. The only way I can 'hide' from him is to read a short chapter in a well locked (and ventilated) realm for 5 minutes. Mommies everywhere know exactly what I am talking about. These 5 minutes are so precious, that if we do not get them, we start talking to ourselves while ironing those used dryer sheets that you are supposed to throw away after each use.
There actually was a time when I would try to finish my 'chapter' so that I could beat the phones 4th ring before the answering machine picked up. What the hell for? It would only be my husband calling me from work saying he is bored and what am I doing...let me tell ya gals, it is a lot better to let the answering machine pick up. Your husband will think that you are out having the time of your life without him, possibly making him jealous as hell, when really you are just trying to see if Elizabeth ever gets Mr. Darcy to pop the question.
My son has a very similar talent. He saves his most potent #2 packages for the times that we are eating out at a restaurant. Beautiful child. His best ones are delivered at places with no changing stations. I would like to trade this one in for a model who simply throws a tantrum in a store when they don't get the kind of candy they demand. I can deal with that breed without a problem. You simply tell them that Santa and the Easter Bunny are waiting for them at the house and we have to hurry because they are not going to wait for long. When you get home to find the absence of their favorite idols you simply explain that if they didn't waste so much time throwing hissy-fit about the pop rocks you'd would be sitting in fisher-price bliss right now.
I think that I am going to install a phone in the bathroom. It will help lower the number of calls from tele-marketers. And besides, Oprah might be trying to get ahold of me.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Goodbye, baby Connor

I am losing my baby. Connor turns 2 today, so technically he is not a baby anymore. He is a male though, so he will, in, fact always be a baby, just a bigger one. Yesterday was his last day as a real baby. I held him so hard that I think his eyes look bigger today. Twice he had out of the blue kissed me and said 'yuvoo, mama' and gave me a hug with a pat on the back. It is kinda funny to feel him pat me on the back. His little arms try to reach way around to do it. I wish that I could just record everything like this. While Connor and I had a mommy/son lunch today, I got to talking with an older lady at the next table. She was quite taken with Connor and asked how old he is. I told her that it was his 2nd birthday today. She said that she never had children and loves being around them when they are young. She said that it must get very tiring though. I told her that having children is like having a swimming pool in your backyard. They cost a lot of money to acquire and maintain. They are very hard to keep clean. They leak when you least expect it. In short, they require a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. But the times that you have fun with them after utter exhaustion, the memories that you collect from all of the celebrations, or being able to enjoy them as a family or all alone...make all of the hard work worth it. I recommend that everyone get a pool for their backyard...even if it is just a kiddie pool.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

another UFO wanna be

This is a picture of a quilt top that I wanted to share with you all. It was made by Carol Hassel, a friend of mine. I thought it might be a great way to get rid of scraps, (or you could still send them to me!) or it would make a great block exchange idea. This one was a block exchange done in batiks with white bars on each side of the rectangular 4-patch to make it square. I love how it has the illusion of being rectangles. If the white parts were brown or black and the patches green and brown, it would look like an aerial picture of the crops in North Dakota. I might even have some wheat prints and tree prints...sunflower prints, some house prints. I would love to make one, and I will, if I ever get the 32 other quilts done...

Honorable Mention

O.K. I am going to be vague about this story to protect the guilty. I am a member of a certain non-profit organization. One of our tasks is to make these 'items' for a particular group of people in need. The other day, when I was collecting these 'items' from other members, I had a lady tell me that she thought that we should give out pins to those people (like her) that made so many of these items. She said that she was making one of these items a month. Lets pretend that these items are shirts to make the story a little more interesting. Now, I am going to list a few reasons why I think this pin idea is stupid. One; on a financial standpoint, these pins are going to have to be ordered and paid for. I know that I am not going to waste any of my time ordering pins when I could spend it cutting fabric for these 'shirts'...or blogging. The budgeted amount that we have to spend on fabric and other costs for these 'shirts' is somewhat small, as can be expected from a non-profit organization, so taking half of that budget amount to pay for an order of pins is not exactly bright. Second, some of the members of this organization get together as a group to make these shirts so that more can be made in a smaller period of time. Should each member of the group get a pin? How about those people who pay for the fabric for these shirts out of their own pocket and donate it, but never are able to make a shirt. Also, there are members who cannot sew a shirt but can cut out fabric for the shirts all day long and are able to do 10 in a month, where another member cannot cut, but can sew 10 shirts in a month...according to this lady, only those people who cut the fabric for the shirt and sew it completely should get pins (like her). Wow, it is my opinion that if people are willing and wanting to help in any way that they possibly can, that help should be taken very gratefully, no matter how large or small. Last, (and definitely not least) why on earth do people need a damn sign on their forehead that says: Look at me, I did more nice things than you did. Why are there so many people who want some kind of credit or attention for a good deed that they have done. It just pisses me off to no end. If I do something for someone, it is because that person needs or deserves it. I don't need any medal or pat on the back. There is this thing that happens in your heart when you do something for someone else, and it feels good. That good feeling is all that I need. There. I feel better.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Nice set of pillows ya got there.

Two blog posts today! This one is about a project that I just finished. My mother in law was given a chair cushion by her grandmother when she was a little girl that was made for her little wicker rocking chair that is now in our sons room. The cushion was adorable, with an appliqued kitten in a basket done with a yellow 30's print fabric. The problem was that it was extremely stained and had mildew spots on the muslin background. After taking the cushion apart, I carefully washed the cushion cover in OXY. This got the main stains out and cleaned it up very nice. Then I meticulously took each piece apart and found that the muslin was appliqued to the yellow background (so there was extra fabric back there to use on another project!) I cut new muslin and re-appliqued the kitten and basket to it, making sure to match every stitch hole so that it would not be obvious that it had been taken apart. I then appliqued the muslin kitten/basket block back on to the yellow print exactly as it had been, except that I cut out the back of the yellow fabric to omit thickness. With this 'extra' fabric, I made another block using the 'Pride of Ohio' block pattern since that is where my mother-in-law lived as a little girl. I put batting and muslin to the back of each block and hand quilted them both. I added a matching border to the blocks then sewed a back to them that buttons so that the pillow cases can now be removed for washing. Please enjoy the following pictures as an idea to use if you have something special that you want to save but do not have enough for a quilt. P.S. I found after research that the kitten pattern (called "Kitten Basket")came from both Alice Brooks (#6218) and Laura Wheeler (#604) of Old Chelsea Station Needlecraft Service in the 1940's. It was a pattern that you would get by mail order from an ad in a newspaper.

Quilters sleep when they die.

Hey everyone! I did not get much sleep last night. I could not fall asleep even though I was extremely tired. 3AM and I finally did, just to wake up again to Connor having one of his fits. Then I went walking this morning with my neighbor. (I have been very naughty and have missed a couple of days, or I would have said forget it). We are now into the afternoon and I still have not had a single cup of Joe. And I need one of those like Britney needs underwear. You all probably wonder what kinds of crazy things quilters do at 1 and 2 in the morning; and I could probably tell you, but I would be breaking a very sacred oath that quilters take on the 3rd night of their first retreat right after the chocolate baptism. We just cannot tell you. Even our husbands do not know. If any of them wake in the middle of the night to check on us, well, we just say something crazy like "I thought I heard someone outside getting into your truck and now I cannot sleep." At this point he could care less that we or fabric even exist and is outside in his boxers checking the alarm which may or may not go off. This is called 'The Diversion'. Another thing that we may do is pretend we were sleep-walking. (This will probably only work once and not if we are found pushing fabric into a machine at the time.) If your quilter happens to come home after running errands and has with her a chocolate item, a fabric item, and a new doo-hickey that she got at the quilt store (on sale...40% off!); it is one hint that there is something going down in quiltville tonight. And guys...if she comes to bed at 4 in the morning crying with a seam ripper in her hand, she is not trying to scare the life out of you. She just needs a hug. Pry the thing out of her icy grip first though.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Thank you for helping me, Rhonda!

My husband walked in the door the other day, carrying with him the mail. In that mail, was a box from my friend, Rhonda. Inside that box, was the most wonderful gift a girl like me could get. FABRIC SCRAPS! and there were some vintage pieces to make a double wedding ring quilt. I sat in my room and sorted all of the scraps into colors then put them away into the designated bins for each color. Then for dessert, I opened the bag full of vintage pieces to decide what I was going to do with them. After carefully looking at each grouping with motherly adoration, I paged through books and magazines. I surfed a little on the net to find something wonderful, then I opened my Encyclopedia of pieced blocks by Barbara Brackman (the goddess of quilts), and found the most awesome quilt block that I could make. This one is it. It is my personality. It is called Letha's Electric Fan, and was published by the Kansas City Star in 1938. As soon as I get one of my projects done, (my rule is that I only work on 4 at a time) I will begin on this one. I am pretty excited to do it. I found a picture of it flying around on the Internet that I am putting here just to give you all an idea of what it looks like. I hope the owner of the picture does not mind that I am borrowing it...what do you all think? Is it me?

Friday, April 25, 2008

will clean for fabric

O.K. y'all are going to think that I am weird. But, I love doing laundry. I love ironing. and I love doing the dishes. It could be the initial attack of the job that does it for me. First off you have this love/hate thing going on where you hate looking at the peanut butter and jelly sandwich stuck to the bottom of that plate and the mystery sippy cup that just turned up (take my advise and just throw the sippy cup out or when you open it you will be unconscious for the kids entire nap time and you don't want to miss that), or you love the smell of the new mountain breeze dish soap more than the scent of lingering stir fry that you made yesterday night. Maybe it is the before and after effect...come to think of it, I am quite sure that is it. I mean, I don't take before and after pictures and keep a log or anything too anal-retentive like that; Its just that I like to get the job done and stand back and enjoy the vision of what I accomplished. I think to myself, "Wow, even Martha freaking Stewart couldn't make my sink shine like that." I carry this into my hobby as well. You see, I take vintage quilt tops or blocks that I swear were sewn together in the dark with nothing but a hammer and band-saw, totally seam-rip the whole thing, iron all of the little pieces, then sew them back together. The uglier the quilt top the more that I love it. It is like this big challenge for me to make something of it. I do have standards though. Double-knit polyester is great to watch on fire and that is about it, so that comes out and fabric that is so weak that it would explode when you sneeze on it is not too great to keep, either. I can't wait to finish some of my projects that I have been working on so that I can make one of my beds, which I promised myself I would not do until then. Hey, I can't have a totally clean husband would raise his expectations of me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tubbies=crack/cocaine for toddlers

I hate the Teletubbies. I hate Barney, too. My husband tells me that I should never hate but it's not like these are people or anything. Connor loves them both. I guess I should be grateful that there is something that could keep him entertained when I am fighting with a telemarketer on the phone; although I am not really excited about him learning any of the language that they use on these shows. I can barely understand anything dipsy or lala are we really need our children learning to talk like babies...and Barney with all of his love this and love that, let's hold hands and hug all the time. No wonder today's teens have a record high dose of hormones. I make Connor wear pants when he watches Barney because, well, the dinosaur just plain freaks me out. In my mind I can hear Barney saying "C'mon boys and girls. Lets take our clothes off!" Maybe I am the only person who is weirded out by these shows. I look back at the shows I watched as a kid. I LOVED the Muppets (the two old grumpy guys were my favorite...I wonder why?) Romper Room was another one that I couldn't miss. And I don't care what you all say about Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I thought that guy was cool with his sneakers and sweaters. Maybe my parents hated my shows too. Wow, I never thought of that. The other day I accidentally baked some biscuits a tad too long (OK...burned) by the time I realized it, I ran into the kitchen saying "Oh, Shit!" Connor is watching his tubbies in the living room and clear as a bell says "Shit". I had to give him an overdose of Baby Einstein so that he would not remember the word. I guess those lovable puppets aren't so bad after all.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An army of one

Sorry everyone, for leaving you without my entertainment for the last two days. I had plenty to talk about; but I was so tired from lack of sleep to permit myself to type. Something really embarrassing would have been posted about myself...and you can delete posts (thank God), but it is usually too late and then everyone knows about the time that you had gummi bears stuck to your crotch from the movie theatre for an entire evening on a very important date with a handsome man. Oops, I must still be tired.
Connor (my son, the devil) received his big boy bed on Sunday. His Sunday nap went well. He climbed right in and grabbed his bunny (lovie) and went right to sleep. I am thinking at this point that I am probably the best mom in the world and knows everything there is to know about the psyche of a toddler. Apparently, toddlers don't have a psyche. Its called a psycho, AND they know when a great and wonderful mom like myself gets a little too confident in her parenting skills. I am quite sure that Sunday night, when Connor decided that he needed to wake up to practice getting out of bed every half hour, he wasn't really trying to destroy me. But, you made me realize that one single toddler could take down as many adults as the plague. Last night was no different. but tonight I will lay down the law of momdom and then he will see who is really in charge. How am I going to do that you ask. I haven't the faintest idea.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

4 bedroom, 3 bathroom tent wanted.

I love getting scraps. Friends give me scraps. Perfect strangers give me scraps...(isn't it weird how there are never perfect friends and many perfect strangers? Thank God!) Heck, sometimes I even buy scraps. However it is that I acquire them, I always get asked "what do you do with all of these little things?" (I use scraps as small as 1 1/2 inch square). Some people think that I am plain crazy for using such small pieces. Well, let me tell you I am not PLAIN crazy; I am extravagantly crazy. I tell them that I was crazy to begin with, so using them won't make me go there. MRT (mindless repetitive task) is a wonderful thing for those of us who have put in a full day of cleaning smashed bananas off walls, changing interesting diapers, and pulling beans out of noses. Quilting is a MRT, and a damn good one. My problem is that I love the variety of what is out there in fabric world. Think of it in comparison to an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord. You love the ham and the potatoes and oh, the chicken and gotta try the marshmallow-jello thing, sticky bun, and why don't these plates have two levels anyway...but really, you can't eat a pound of each; which is what I mean with scraps. I can enjoy so many fabrics, just small bits at a time. Otherwise, if I bought a yard of every fabric that I loved, my husband and I would be living in a tent down by the railroad tracks with a big out-building as a sewing room. (you didn't think I would give that up, did you?) So, if there is anyone out there who can't stand to look at those little pieces, throw them in a bag and donate them to: Monica's Home for the Textile Insane. (it just may be a tax write-off)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Can you exercise in pajamas?

I went on my morning walk again with my neighbor. We push strollers with kids in them. I suggest to everyone who walks for health to start pushing a stroller with about 30-50 pounds of weight in it. I don't care if you have kids or not. I have lost about 4 pounds in the last week and a half doing this. Now I am not going to start a new product line of weights and powder drinks or even write a book about how I lost all of this weight, but it does make you wonder how someone as stagnant as I, can all of the sudden start a walking program without my body rejecting me. I get home when I am done and I am mentally ready to start my day. Whereas before, I would do house cleaning and child chasing in pajamas until about noon or so. This is not to say that I slept in before either, I was just kind of a cozy homebody. Being holed up during long winters in North Dakota probably had a lot to do with my 'I-can't-leave-the-house-unless-there-is-a-sale-at-JoAnn's' way of thinking. Even then I would look in the mirror before leaving and ask myself if the JoAnn's employees would care if I failed to brush my hair or wore bunny slippers. No, you are looking at an all new and improved Monica. Next thing you know I will be walking ALL the way around the block. (I could do it if I didn't have the stroller, for sure)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I wanted to show the border that I did for Erika's round robin quilt. She was very happy with it, and I had loads of fun doing it. The first picture is a close-up of what the front label says. The second is the large view of the quilt top.

Do be a drop-out.

I used to belong to a quilting group (bee) that would meet on a weekly basis. I belonged to this group for more than a few years, until last night. Now, let me tell ya that nothing really dramatic happened for those of you sickos that want the details of a steamy cat fight. It was more of a light being turned on and the desire for a quiet exit. You see, this group is VERY serious. My personality is such that you might lose a kidney laughing if you hang around me too much. (but I would gladly give you one of mine to replace the void). People who are too serious do not have a single thing wrong with them except that they do not understand people that have a crazy sense of humor. I am not insane, mind you. But it is very comforting to me to know that I could possibly have a great conversation with an insane person. I take great pride in that. Hell, they may even be relatives of mine. Scene Two: I went to a quilting retreat this last weekend with an awesome group of ladies that I only get to see once or twice a year. They are hilarious! But most importantly, I am understood by these ladies. I almost have the same level of funny. (but if you knew the 'Wacky Pack' you would understand that this is a very elite, widely known and esteemed group of ladies that don't let just any person join. You must pass a certain criteria.) Although I am not a member of their group, I at least feel like honorary guest. I think it was when one of these members wet their pants laughing that I realized that I really need to drop out of 'The Serious Ladies' bee. Sometimes it is O.K. to let go. No one is going to toilet paper my house over this for crying out loud. (thank God t.p. is expensive now). Let this be a lesson to all of you that time is too short to not be 100 percent crazy happy. Surround yourself with people who love you and who you love and I promise you will live longer...unless you lose your other kidney.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

And on the second day, I created coffee

Shortly after moving to my new permanant home of Texas, I was making a pot of coffee with a co-worker one day. I asked him how strong I should make it. He said that if you throw a horseshoe in it and it floats; well, its done. I was so relieved that someone else out there liked it the same way. I love the colorful way all Texans talk. As you can guess, growing up in North Dakota provided me with this accent that can turn any guy off immediately (unless his name is Sven Jorgensen). I say stupid things like 'yoo gise' and 'ya noo' (which means respectively: 'you guys' and 'you know'). I seriously did not even think that I had an accent until I moved out of N.D. Gradually, I added "y'all" and "fixin' ta" to my vocabulary...and tryin' real hard to drop out those bad uns; but all that ever comes out is "Doon't chY'all noo". It is starting to tame down alot now that I have been here for almost 10 years. I figure that by the time I am 92 I will have the Texan accent nailed down. I will be trying hard until then to just practice, and add idioms every now and again. Wish me luck...Now, I am off to make my morning coffee. How much sugar do I add? Well, enough to bend the fork; of course.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

First step for mankind...or just me.

Wow! Day one of my blog...I have seen where people start a blog and leave the first message and that is about it. God help me get to day two. This must be like starting a new diet...well, hopefully better since I am not a diet person. I went for a walk with a neighbor this morning for exercise (and to lose some weight?) I feel lighter already so I am going to go find that OREO bag and make love to it the way it was meant to be loved.