Culture and the art of not getting it

As a mother I occasionally have a yen to throw something a little different at The Codefendants and see what pans out.  Most times we’re all pleasantly surprised and wind up feeling a little smug and worldly as if to say well, we never had any doubts.  Piece a cake, baby!

Unless it’s food.  Generally speaking, if it’s food what pans out is vomit.  Here’s a tip for ya: NEVER FORCE A CHILD TO EAT BROCCOLI UNLESS YOU’RE COMMITTED TO CLEANING IT UP.

Where was I?

So, school’s out for summer (any Alice Cooper fans out there?) and they’re already bored.  Fortunately, His Awesomeness’ boredom is somewhat alleviated by a little thing called a job.  Sonic slush, anyone?  

Which leaves The Diva.  

She’s already made homemade slime.  Think snot, only purple.  She gave me a makeover because, at forty-three, I have no idea how to apply makeup.  She fussed over my lack of appropriate brushes and primer (isn’t that for walls?) and bemoaned my crepey eyelids and orange-ish complexion a la The Donald.

And then there’s that mecca for all brainiacs…the library.  ๐Ÿ“š.  It’s the summer of the biography in our house and she’s already devoured tomes on CS Lewis, Audrey Hepburn, Henry VIII’s six wives, and Mickey Mantle while I’m over here speed reading through raunchy romance novels.

Not to cast aspersions on our town, but there isn’t much to do here.  Which means you have to drive.  And hope that what awaits at the end doesn’t require funds from a body part you sold or a bathing suit.

Dallas, here we come.


It’s deja vu all over again!  It’s like Dallas knows we’re coming and just rolls out the welcome mat right along with the crummy weather, traffic accidents and nutty drivers.

Yay.

We finally arrive, after driving the I-35 corridor at 50 mph most of the way, at the Dallas Museum of Art.


Four floors of old stuff (apparently that’s me); really old stuff (pottery, textiles, paintings, furniture); and ancient stuff (as in sculpture).


Homage to Victory Boogie Woogie #1 by Leon Polk Smith.  I see a quilt here. ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿป

A Baltimore album quilt with trapunto attributed to Martha E. Keech.  ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿป

We’d been there maybe thirty minutes when I realized The Diva was extraordinarily quiet and I looked over to find her stone faced, responding to my questions with one word answers.  Are you okay?  Fine.  Are you sick?  No.  What’s the matter?  Nothing.

Sensing a mood swing of epic proportions and not wanting either of us to lose our shit in what was essentially a mausoleum for old, really expensive stuff, I was trying to think fast.  And quietly.  

Light bulb ๐Ÿ’ก 

Are you overwhelmed?  

I got a look that was part relief and part duh ๐Ÿ™„ and after giving ourselves permission to skip the stuff that made us check each other for a pulse, we more or less hustled ourselves through the remainder of the early American section and most of Africa.  I’m pretty sure there was plenty of other stuff to see, but most of it was a blur interspersed with me asking myself  what is THAT and what does it MEAN?

Forgive me for being a philistine, but I don’t get art at all.  To me, it’s like attending car shows with Himself.  A car’s either pretty or ugly and sounds good.  End of story.

With art, I stand there, head cocked like an eager spaniel and hope I don’t scratch or widdle on the floor.

Like this ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป.  It’s cool and it’d look great as a quilt, but ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ


Or this ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป by Christopher Wool.  What does it mean?  No more home and no more coats.  Huh?


This (by Leon Frederic) ๐Ÿ‘‡๐ŸปI get, but the gratuitous display of breast unsettled The Diva.  Do we really need to see that? she intoned.  Beats me, but it’s just so beautiful and nurturing and hey, I get it! 


The detail…swoon.

Anyway, we’d made it down to the lower level with all the sculpture.  My favorite!  It never ceases to amaze me how ancient dudes got the drape of fabric, the curl of a lock of hair, the detail just so from rock.

How did they do that?!  Genius.

I’m marveling at it all when I hear a huge sigh, one generally reserved for a climactic final cinematic breath and the words every mother wants to hear uttered aloud in what was a fairly crowded room.

Another penis.  What is it with all these penises?!

I was stuck somewhere between wanting to be zapped by lightning on the spot, hoping for a huge sinkhole to open beneath me and making that ugly braying donkey laugh I generate when I’m really amused and trying not to be.  Nevertheless, I had some splainin’ to do.  She didn’t believe me about the ancients’ love of the human form and isn’t it beautiful, etc, etc.  All she saw was nekkid men.  I’ll admit to never understanding the ancient use of urine to bleach items or grabbing ones testicles as a attestation of ones truthfulness (hence the word testimony) but whatever.  Naked people look good, even the fat ones and can we please bring back the appreciation of such from Rubens?!  Can I get a hallelujah?

Maybe I should just stick to getting my culture from yogurt.

Chocolate Pop-tarts

One morning, I sat alone, as is my preference, with a good read (an actual bonafide book and not an ebook on my iPhone so it should’ve been clear I was BUSY) and a package of chocolate pop-tarts.

That should tell you all you need to know about me.  I love to read, eat chocolate and generally be left to my own devices.  It’s not a bad gig if one can actually get it, amiright?

Anyhoo, the door swung open and in walked ๐Ÿ‘นwho proceeded to ogle my package of nutritionally bankrupt breakfast offerings.

Fabulous.  

I could already tell by ๐Ÿ‘น’s facial expressions that my moment of solitude was about to come to an ignominious end as every introvert on the planet KNOWS the look.  Someone is about to speak. ๐Ÿ™„

“Oh, chocolate pop-tarts”, ๐Ÿ‘น intoned in the same voice one might use while working as a 1-900 operator or starring in a porno.  

Not that I’d know personally.  I’m just guessing here.  

Shit, why can’t I just eat in peace?  Apparently, I’d aggravated Karma and she didn’t want me to be one with my trashy romance novel and my equally craptastic breakfast of calories and caffeine.

I offered up what could only have been a pained, constipated smile and said nothing.  

I’m told I’m good at doing this and the ones of weaker constitution usually slink off in search of easier prey.

Not this one.  

“Oh, I haven’t had one of those in agesssss”, ๐Ÿ‘น continued, “but do you know how many calories are in them?”

For the record, I don’t care.  At least it wasn’t one of those nasty Jolly Rancher or coffee flavored ones.  Yes, that’s a thing now.  Ugh.

Now, I’m guessing ๐Ÿ‘น is one of those that dips the tines of the fork in the salad dressing before plunging it into a bowl of greens the size of Cincinnati and grins all the while like a jackass eating cactus.  These people claim to be happy eating rabbit food drizzled with a whiff of organic unicorn farts and a sprinkling of good wishes and I am equally happy for them to do so but, dammit kindly leave my plate alone!

I watch, hapless, as ๐Ÿ‘น drew a deep breath and…here it goes.

Sweet sister Sadie, cover my mouth and remind me with visuals of the eternal flames of hell what awaits me if I lose it.

“Ugh, this new diet is killing me and I’m soooo hungry.  I’d kill for a Pop-tart!”  

I gave a bit of side-eye to see if the brandishment of weaponry was in my future, but no, it appeared I was to be talked to death.  

Someone hold me.

What followed can only be described as verbal dysentery.  It certainly wasn’t a conversation because I wasn’t talking.  I had a book…wasn’t that my antidote to talking?

In brief, I got to hear about the diet, the strict adherence to the diet, how much work went into preparing the dishes for the diet (not to mention the cost of the diet), the spouse’s lackadaisical adherence to the diet, that evening’s plans (concert) and where they intended to eat (steakhouse) …and how the diet fit into all of it.

Clearly, I was off my game.  I felt the panic seeping into my pores.  I’d lost my touch.  My trademark “my give a damn’s busted” visage had fled.  In my 15 minutes of need, I’d been abandoned by my snark, that fickle wench.

I had nothing.  Even my constipated smile had further dried up and turned into a full blown impaction.

Listen, don’t get me wrong.  I’m happy you’re starving yourself into abject misery.  I truly am.  I mean, who WOULDN’T think that 800 calories a day was sufficient?   If it makes you flatter, fitter, healthier, quieter, I am all for it like Hugh Hefner is for half-naked chicks in bunny suits.  I just don’t want to hear about it!   And neither does anyone else!


Drink your shake, eat your kale, gulp great lungfuls of air for all I care.  But do it quietly.  It isn’t confession or penance.  It’s food.  Eat it or don’t.  Just don’t talk to me about it.  

Here, have a Pop-tart.

#550

Here it is, my 550th blog post!  Not as catchy as Chanel No5 or OU812, but I’ll take it.

So this is where I finally get around to cataloging all the projects I completed at the last Brazos House retreat I attended Mother’s Day weekend.  

The larger the to-be-packed-pile became, the more disgruntled the dachshund.  That is a face that guarantees a retaliatory pee.  Little jerk!



Y’all, I kicked butt.  I don’t think there’s been a retreat where I’ve accomplished more.  Can you say ‘hurray’ for UFOs?!  Three cheers for being half-assed about your finishes!

Outside of my own home coming into view (assuming neither of The Codefendants has royally screwed the pooch while I’ve been gone all weekend and Himself is about to blow a gasket…yeah, don’t ask), the view below is my all-time favorite.


Happiness in five cattle guards!

Mom and I spent several days here with our quilting friends and one pink crop-toting sheriff.  Don’t ask.  I’m still scared of Sheriff L.  ๐Ÿ˜ณ  It’s always the quiet ones that’ll get ya, isn’t it?  No picture though…what happens at retreat, stays at retreat.  ๐Ÿค

My first finish was Garden Party by Bonnie Hunter.


All the posy blocks are polka dots.  All.  Of.  Them.  The chain blocks are the black and whites I’ve hoarded forever and orange, because orange is an under appreciated color and I love it.  The outer border is black with tiny white polka dots.  It’s been described as “halloweenish”.  Um, no, but whatever revs your engine.

I opted to straight set my blocks so that the chain blocks were on the diagonal.  The diagonal chains make me think of the Irish Chain block which makes me think of green Ireland ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช which makes me happy.  In Bonnie’s pattern, the chains wound up hanging straight which made me think of executed prisoners.  โ˜ ๏ธ.  Hey, if you’re looking for logic, this blog isn’t the place for you.  Move along…

The next finish was a leader/ender baby quilt from Garden Party.  I love the handprint border!


My final finish was En Provence, or as I like to call it, A Weed Grows in France ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท.   You see, this is what happens when you think you’ve cut enough units and then get down to the last block only to discover that you didn’t.


I’m still dithering on how I’ll do the last border.  I’m thinking purple…or maybe green…or maybe none at all.

This was the top that required some tiara power and a seam ripper.




There was a woolie project to play about with…thanks, Deb!  See the tiny heart and C + S on the tree trunk?  Himself and I will celebrate 20 years on the 31st.


Mom and I each won a round of LRC.  Here’s my loot…42 western fat quarters!


And a picture of my mother after she realized she’d won a jelly roll. 


This may be my last post if she ups and kills me for posting this.

I also won this lovely package of Perfect Man sponges.


And in the end, back home again to my sweet family.


I am now impatiently awaiting the arrival of September and my first ever beach retreat.

Quilt on, my peeps!

A date with a Featherweightย 

My day off dawned much the same as any other: too early and with a sweaty dachshund snuggled against my backside.  At least today I had no plans: no appointments, no errands, and no sick people mucking about.  I’d abandoned responsible adult chores in favor of spending quality time in my sewing corner.  Who needed clean tighty whities anyway?!

The weather outside had been typical for May in central Texas.  Humid, hazy, and windy.  The thermostat settled somewhere in the upper 80s with humidity at approximately melt-the-fat-from-your-thighs range.  Not that I’d mind thinner thighs.  It’s the boob sweat that’s a killer.  Sorry, TMI.  And now there are tornadoes threatening.  Good times.

I’d left my retreat boxes and bags on the floor where Himself and The Codefendants had plopped them Sunday afternoon and today was the day they’d have their contents disgorged and put away.  Retreat unpacking isn’t near as much fun as packing to go.  Anyway, I managed to get that done in record time, despite the efforts of aforementioned dachshund.


Please, no one pity this dog.  She’s spoiled beyond belief and lucky to be alive after biting me in the face on Tuesday.  

Lenny the Featherweight and I made a quick project I’d seen demonstrated at retreat, a pot holder.  Smaller versions were made into coasters.  And, yes, I was stalling.


Once the cleanup was done, I started another project because who doesn’t love seven thousand UFOs lounging about, amiright?

My favorite aunt had gifted me a bag of scraps and I freely admit they sat on a shelf for ages and, in full disclosure, I tried giving them away without success.  ๐Ÿ˜ณ. What to do with them?  In the words of my Granmommie, there were gobs and scads of them.  Like rabbits without the droppings or potential for tularemia.


There were several orphan blocks in the mix, too.  See…๐Ÿ‘€.  I still haven’t figured out the lone light blue unit.


I love this swirly fabric.


I tried several blocks using her fabrics and some from my stash.  I won’t show you pictures as it’d be like pouring over photos of a really ugly baby and being compelled to lie that it was the cutest baby EVER.  Not that I’d know about such things.  Just know the blocks weren’t a good idea at all.  Kind of like being a woman of a certain age and not crossing your legs before sneezing.  

At least no one wet themselves.

So there I sat with really pretty swirly fabric that kinda reminded my of tooled leather and nary a clue of what to do.๐Ÿค”

And then it dawned on me.  Or I guess I should say it sat there staring me in the face.  (Personally, I think a lightbulb moment makes me seem smarter than one of the face-smacking variety.  I digress.)


My fabric winnings from retreat.  Forty-two Western fat quarters. Yippy-ki-yay!

In the end, I chucked my ugly baby blocks and churned out these.  Yee-haw, y’all!



Two thumbs up ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป and another thirty-eight fabrics from which to choose.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for a shower and clean underpants in case we’re visited by a twister.  Heaven forbid I meet my Maker in ratty granny panties.

Happy quilting!

Anyone seen my brain?

So, I’ve been at retreat since Thursday and accomplished tons.  But that’s for a later post.   And before you ask why, it’s because I’m the mom and I said so.


Today, I’m working on yet another Bonnie Hunter pattern.  For someone who doesn’t like scrappy, I’ve seemingly leapt from the precipice of sanity with a rebel yell of ‘screw it, let’s do it!’ and ne’er a fair-thee-well.  Or maybe that’s frat boy.  ๐Ÿค”.  Whatevs.

Idiot.

So, back in January when I had my lady bits yanked and was confined to home for six solid weeks (sounds fun in theory, but the reality is like being promised a night with Tom Selleck and getting PeeWee Herman.  I want to shower in bleach just thinking about it ๐Ÿ˜ฑ).  

Where was I?

Oh, yes.  Post-surgical recovery.

So, here I was: a nifty abdominal incision, unable to lift anything more than my own substantial badonkadonk into and out of the recliner (because we’re idiots and bought a really tall bed I had no hope of clambering into for the foreseeable future); and a dachshund with questionable mental faculties, the temperament of a band of pillaging Vikings, and a penchant for nesting in my lap atop aforementioned incision and not moving.  Ever.  

Geez, I’m tired just writing all that.

Anyway, what I was, was bored.  My days and nights were flip-flopped and I’d be awake all night with Jessica Fletcher and an endless loop of infomercials.  I was *this* close to caving in and buying a Square Dance Pan, but that woman was annoying.  Like a lifetime of wearing granny panties and suddenly switching to butt floss aka thongs.  Annoying.  But I’m still not convinced I don’t NEED a Miracle Bamboo Cushion.  And my bodily neighbors to the north might really be on board with a Miracle Bamboo Bra.

Yet again, I digress.

Once I got myself straightened out timewise, I thought it’d be brilliant to cut out some quilts.  Never mind the fact I had pre-surgical time to do this.  Nope, pre-planning is for funerals.  Just saying.  Never mind that I was the lone passenger on the Narcotics Express and made a valiant attempt at wielding a rotary cutter whilst under the influence and scared the bejeebers out of myself.  But what I did have going for me, was my Accuquilt Studio.

Light.  Bulb.  ๐Ÿ’ก 

Generally speaking, I’m fairly bright.  Unless you ask The Codefendants.  To them, all brain function ceased in 1999.  But still, I’m not dragging knuckles through the gravel and I manage to not disgrace myself by wearing pajamas to the Walmart, so, you know, there’s that.  Sigh.

I thought why not use this nifty device, sorry, I’m back to the Studio here (squirrel!) and cut out the roughly six million pieces in this quilt!  Woohoo.  So, I got down to bidness and proceeded to cut out the required 1 1/2″ strips I’d need.  And then it happened.  

The instructions clearly stated to cut 1 1/2″ squares.  And being a good citizen, I did.  

No questions.  

No qualms.  

Instructions say cut, I cut.

And before you say it, yes, I am well aware I could’ve strip pieced these.  The thought has occurred.


Someone hold me.

Comfort Cases

I recently came across a Facebook post about a charitable organization out of Maryland called Comfort Cases.  Comfort Cases was started by a couple of foster parents who were dismayed to see children toting their worldly possessions in trash bags.  Seeing a need, they stepped up and Comfort Cases was born.

What is a Comfort Case?  

It’s a backpack filled with a pair of pjs, toiletries, a small stuffed toy and a blanket.  No longer do these kids have to tote their belongings in a garbage sack.  

I gazed at my fabric stash and thought well, heck, I can sew a straight seam!  Full disclosure: I started out with just no-sew fleece blankets that I clipped around the edges, but I do so love the softness of flannel.  And so I spent an afternoon cutting out flannel (45×60 is the finished size that fits well in the backpack).  Y’all I haven’t even made a dent in the stash, but this is fun.  And for a good cause!




I thought about doing small quilts, but worried with batting, they’d be too bulky for the backpacks.  Even the fleece ones are a little iffy, but the flannel is perfect.

Today’s my day off and after lunch with The Diva (I was INVITED, y’all!) I’m back at my machine.


I finished this sweet one this morning between running errands and letting the dachshund in and out, and in and out.



Next up under the needle is some Curious George…love that little monkey!


We all have a talent.  Please consider finding something, be it local or national, where you can use your gift to brighten someone else’s day.

#nomoretrashbags

Help a quilter out!

Just saw this posted in a Facebook group and wanted to share it here.  


Let’s see if any of my awesome followers can help this lady get her granddaughter’ quilt back. The post speaks for itself.  Spread this far and wide, y’all!

Simple stitches

I can say with pride that I am waaay behind on En Provence and a Garden Party quilt along.  I have tops in need of quilting stacking up and I care not one whit.  My mantra has become ‘Nope, not today’.  

Three cheers for slackers!  Perhaps this means I’m finally beating my perfectionist side into submission.

That said, this week has been one of simple projects.

I’ll start with these fleece stadium blankets.


After freezing portions of my substantial badonkadonk off at The Diva’s interminable track meets (if they run THAT fast, why does the meet take so dang long?!) I decided Gramma and I needed a little cover.  These were easy.  I got three blankets out of seven yards of leopard print fleece.  Yes, they are generous.  That and the badonkadonk is big.  Ahem.  I broke out the Ginghers and ragged the edges.  Voila!

Never mind that there are only two meets left and the temperatures have now reached the 80s.  At least I’ll be prepared for next season, right?!

Next up was a quilt-as-you-go baby quilt.


Flannel top, flannel back.  It’s so snuggly!


I planned to bind the edges and then thought ‘Nope, not today’ and opted for the ragged edge instead.



Some people, i.e. the Quilt Police, will tell you the  Canons of Quilting state that the batting shouldn’t be visible.  To that I say pshaw!  Or something more colorful.  I’ll get back to you on that one.  A quilt should be however the heck you like it.  Tell the QP to take a flying leap.

Here, enjoy one more pic of fluffy-edged rag quilt porn.  You’re welcome.  Oh.  Em.  Gee!


And last, I made several burp cloths.  I haven’t wiped upchuck from my shoulder in an age, but I remember those tissue thin, useless store bought jobbies with contempt.  I used a micro-fiber towel for the back and flannel for the front.


The dachshund was completely unimpressed.


Easy peasy!  

What’re you working on today?

Our day in the big D

The Co-Defendants were on Spring Break this past week.  His Awesomeness spent it job hunting. The Diva spent it in bed with the flu.  Are my kids party animals or what?!

She awoke Saturday morning fever-free and chomping at the bit to get out of the house…anywhere.  It didn’t matter one whit where we went or what we did.

As luck would have it, this past weekend was the Dallas Quilt Show.  I offered it up as an option and she jumped on it.  You know your kid is desperate for a change of scenery when they typically equate the fun of attending a quilt show with animals chewing off a limb to get out of a steel trap.  But she agreed and our plan was set in motion.

Now, I’ve expressed my displeasure plenty of times about the sanity (or apparent lack thereof) of Dallas drivers.  There’s the incessant lane changing, like squirrels running amok amongst tree branches, the complete disregard for any posted speed limit, and the fact that all cars in the metroplex lack turn signals.  I will say, however, that they seem a rather tolerant lot, letting me exercise my own inner squirrel and lane change at will without honking and waving of the middle finger.

This is where The Diva wants to live when she grows up.  Sigh. 

After a fairly uneventful drive up i.e. no one died, we arrived at Dallas Market Hall.


We quickly ran into several friends and I even managed a picture with Miss Boston.  Thanks for the hug, Lori!


For The Diva, it’s all about the quilts and she quickly shuffled me up and down the rows of vendors so we could get to the meat of the matter.  But, but there’s shopping to be had!  She was on a mission.  Alas, no pictures because I didn’t get the accompanying info so I can’t give credit.  Sigh.

We made it about halfway through and she decided she was famished.  In a week, she’d dropped three pounds she didn’t need to lose to begin with.  We sat down to a 1/4lb Nathan’s hot dog.  Divine.  And how about the death ray glare (see pic below).

Throughout our day, The Diva kept the conversation running and no topic was off limits.  This is a change from the norm, because like me, she tends to be quiet and private.  I’ll wait while you finish snickering over that one.  The only thing I’m allowed to share is that she loves ‘old people’ (her term, not mine and yes, I fit into this category) and that they smell nice.  I’m not sure if this is weird or endearing…or both.  But, two thumbs up old folks, y’all smell great.  ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ 


After lunch we were back to the quilts and wound up having our picture taken in front of the selfie sign.


And yes, at twelve years old she’s taller than me.  ๐Ÿ˜ญ.  At least I’m taller than the dog, never you mind that she’s a dachshund.

We came to the end of the show and, as promised, I took her to the two-story Barnes and Noble I’d stumbled upon last fall.  Three cheers for books! ๐Ÿ“š 


After a quick snack, we were on the road and headed for the hacienda.  But not so fast!  Dallas weather had other ideas and it took for-ev-er to get out of town.  And no, I didn’t take this while driving.


Interestingly enough, the usually pedal to the metal drivers slowed down to a snail’s pace, sometimes coming to a complete stop.  I kept waiting to become someone’s hood ornament.   Yikes!  Three hours later, we made it home.

For being rushed through the shopping portion of the show, I’d say I made a pretty good haul.


I got a non-skid pad for Lenny the Featherweight’s foot pedal from Woodturnings by Tim.  The Diva and I scored some yummy smelling soaps and an Everything Balm (good for anything that ails ya) from Goodies Unlimited in Guthrie, Oklahoma.  Some Laurel Burch socks and sewing themed bandages rounded out the early purchases.

I snatched up a quilt kit because of all the low volume neutrals it had that my stash is currently lacking.  I bought several patterns, all different in style and some completely outside of my box.  Can you say ‘appliquรฉ’?  Gulp.

I also picked up two mini wool kits to work on at an upcoming beach retreat in September.  Hey, I’m thinking ahead here!

The Diva proclaimed she had the best time being with old Mom and I have to say time alone with her was fantastic.

Until next time.