En Provence Progress 

En Provence isn’t my first Bonnie Hunter rodeo (that was Double Delight…ugh and it still isn’t done), but it is the first one I’ve participated in at the time the clues have been coming out.  

I’m so glad Bonnie included paper piecing options for clues 2 and 4 as I’m a little intimidated by that ruler and paper piecing makes my perfectionist heart go potty pat.  Maybe someday I’ll use that ruler.  And add in the fact that these block pieces aren’t tiny like Double Delight and I am one happy quilter.

Surprisingly, I’ve kept up kinda-sorta pretty well.  Clues 1 and 2 are completed and I’ve spent the weekend working on clues 3 and 4.  In fact, Clue 3 is finished except for the pressing.  That’s close enough to finished, isn’t it?!

  

I love batiks.  I pulled all the magenta, purples, pinks and greens from my stash and barely made a dent.  I’ve had to buy neutrals by the bucketload because there’s nary a one to be had at my house.  The LQS doesn’t carry many batiks and definitely no batik neutrals so I opted to use whatever non-batik neutrals I could find.  I reasoned that if I ordered fabrics, I’d have to wait and be behind when everything got rolling.  Also, I’m cheap.  Just ask The Co-Defendants.

This weekend has been perfect for sewing.  A cold front blew in Saturday dropping the temperature to an overnight low in the 20s.  And I didn’t cook…all weekend long (until tonight anyway).


Perfect weather for sewing, chugging coffee by the gallon and letting the dachshund in and out (and in and out) to chase imaginary squirrels.  I never convinced her the squirrels were holed up somewhere toasty.  Crazy dog.


His Awesomeness and I did get out some yesterday (he’s practicing for his upcoming driver’s license test) and I managed to convince him to take me by a quilt shop I spied on the way to his girlfriend’s house.  It’s a lovely shop I never knew existed because they don’t advertise at all.  I guess that’s how you miss something for four years!  Anyway, look what I found.


Neutral batiks and some pretty flannel plaid ($6/yd from Benartex…be still my heart)!  I’ll definitely be back.  Himself just cringed at the mention of my finding a new place to drop some dough.

I’ve started spinning seams on some clue 3 blocks I’ve actually pressed and cranked up some T. Swift while readying my paper piecing templates for Clue 4.


My children didn’t appreciate head-bopping and I suffered through plenty of head shaking and looks of horror before the day concluded.  Tomorrow it’s back to work, but I’m hoping to be fully caught up by the debut of the next clue.

Happy quilting!

While the Cat’s Away 

The bards were right on the money about distance and hearts and fondness.  I for one am an advocate of getting away for a bit from the spouse.  Isn’t that why quilt retreats were invented?  Himself gets to do his thing: cars, beer, scratching without nagging. And I get to do mine: shop, read, quilt.

Such was life at ye olde homestead this past weekend.  The Testosterone Twins hied off to Louisiana for the Power Tour (cars and, most assuredly, questionably clad female folks) while The Diva and I stayed behind.  

All alone.  On a payday weekend.  Heehee.

I’ve had some experience with being left to my own devices while my better half attends one of his car events and, I must say, for a brief time it is divine.

For one thing, I didn’t cook all weekend long.  Can I get a hallelujah?! 

I introduced The Diva to the wonders of Double Dave’s peproni rolls.  Yes, that’s how they spell it.


I’d already told Himself that I wanted new dishes.  It’s been almost twenty years and I’ve tired of them.  He looked a bit nervous until I assured him I’d keep him.  Unless Tom Selleck called and then I’d have to weigh my options.


Yep, that’s turquoise and avocado green.  They’re fun and funky and practically indestructible.  And they play nicely against my Lustro ware circa 1950s kitchen canisters.

We started our weekend with a lively discussion of fashion do-s and don’ts. Apparently, this is okay…


Camel toe, is not.  No pictures.  You’re welcome.

Saturday morning we set out for local antiques shops, on the hunt for vintage Pyrex and linens. Let me say up front: The Diva was a trooper.  Sure, we only made it to three places, but when they aren’t air conditioned, that’s the equivalent of ten.

Our first stop was to downtown Lorena and Just for You, which is in an old bank/post office building.

Check out the ceiling tin!




Funny how peeling paint lends ambiance in someone else’s place.  In mine it just looks redneck.

And look at the view into the courtyard.


Alas, no Pyrex, but The Diva just had to have this miniature.


As if one real live miniature isn’t enough. 🙄 

Then we crossed the street to Center Street Antiques Mall.  If I were one of those folks who takes pictures instead of standing in the aisles slack-jawed, I’d have something to show you.  But, no.  They had everything and then some as my grandmother would’ve said.  And they had these.


My covetous little heart spied a nearly perfect set of four mixing bowls, but my stomach dropped at the asking price.  What would it take to own them?  Could I hawk a body part, sell a child? 

I guess some of my Nana rubbed off because I talked him down and brought these home.  Along with all my parts.  Oh, and the kid.



Don’t they look right purty in my cabinet?


It’s the little things, y’all.

I’d scored the blue bowls a few days before the boys’ departure.


Next up: downtown Waco and Hey Sugar!

It’s the newest candy shop in town and a must stop for The Diva.  Retro music blaring, bright colors, and a hearty “hey, sugar!” as we walked through the door.  Whats not to love?!


It was packed to the gills with children who thought their grubby mitts were perfect devices for plucking unwrapped candies from their bins and harried parents.  I tried not to think of all the cooties.

The Diva was in heaven.



Here she is Saturday night, ripping the head off a gummy frog.  🐸


There are no words.  Ugh.

There was ice cream, too.


And an interesting door.


And this questionable photo angle.  Geesh.


There was the requisite visit (or two) to the bookstore; the pool; a viewing or ten of Zootopia (a kids’ movie that’s actually good); and a stop at the quilt shop.  We had a blast!

The boys have since made it home, complete with sunburns, tshirts and one cracked windshield.  Don’t ask.


We’re pooped, but what a weekend!

Revisiting Mary Ellen’s Sunflowers 

You remember this quilt top?


It’s the one my great-grandmother made, the one desperately in need of quilting, the elephant sitting squarely in the middle of the quilting room.  Since that blog post in 2011, I haven’t touched this baby.  I decided this was the time.

Luck and an escape from work allowed me to hit the road to Brazos House in Rainbow, TX again for the second time this year.  Squeal!  The Diva claims the chuckle I emitted and happy dance I performed were just this side of pure evil.  Something told me this wasn’t kid code for cool.  So I did what any self-respecting mother would do.  I hopped on my broom and blew that popcorn stand, leaving behind His Awesomeness who may or may not have marked my departure as his good fortune; The Diva who bemoaned being left behind with two testosterone laden beings; Himself, whom I’m fairly certain I kissed as I blew out the door; and the dog, whom I’m sure is planning a retaliatory poop for my return home.  Be sure to flick it onto the carpet like last time, you little schnitzel!

Himself just stood there and looked like he’d been shot out of a cannon.  

There may be carnage when I get home.  At the very least, the house will look like a merry band of marauding Vikings encamped in the living room.  But for a few days of quilting in the country, I’ll take it.

The Diva and Himself (before becoming cannon fodder)

The more I make this trip, the faster it is to get here.  This may or may not have something to do with my willy-nilly adherence to posted speed limits and my general disregard for my own personal safety.  I like to think of it as survival instinct.  Only in reverse.  Because, even though I love ’em, sometimes a little distance makes me love them even more and want to kill them a little less.  Mommy loves you guys!

My mission this go round was to make headway with quilting the sunflowers.  You remember them?  Go back and read the beginning of this post.  I’ll wait.  Yes, I got sidetracked, but I’m back now.  Keep up.

The going is slow and tedious and requires significant snackage.  Yes, that’s a word because I said so.  Don’t argue with Mother.  Here’s a bit of progress.  I’m not showing it all because I’m mean and I want you to come back for more.  Plus, I haven’t had coffee yet so I’m not even human.


These colors aren’t true, but I’m making do.  They are, in fact, lighter and more toward the pastel side of things.  Eww.  Again, I digress.

There are twenty (pause for dramatic sobbing and liberal use of tissues) blocks.  Twenty.  Like what I was twenty-two years ago.  

I am going to die before I finish this thing (more sobbing and perhaps a fit of the vapors.  Where’s my fainting couch?) !!!

I did have a nice walk yesterday morning, with two lovely escorts.  I bet their bathroom business isn’t vindictive.  Take note my dictatorial dachshund!


And there was a trip to Babe’s for chicken fried steak.  Yes, that’s leftovers.  In my purse.  You can never be too prepared.


I’m not so Pollyanna or delusional as to think I’ll actually get this whole thing quilted, but a quilter can dream.

Until next time.

Of Quilts, Kids, and Questionable Odors

Mine is a world filled with the wondrous wonderfulness that is beautiful fabric: its softness, its supple textures, its exorbitant price tag.  Pretty fabric, lovely fabric, jump into my stash.  

I always say this weekend I will sew, which roughly translates to after tending to everything else.  

This weekend, ‘everything else’ has amounted to a plethora of experiences, some of which I’d just as soon avoid.

First up, letting His Awesomeness get behind the wheel. 😱  

This child, like his father before him, is a curb hugger.  I cannot tell you the times I’ve shrunk toward the driver’s side in an effort to, please, sweet baby Jesus!, don’t let us hit that mailbox!!  He doesn’t seem to appreciate that there’s plenty of asphalt for all to enjoy.  Never mind the fact that there is no oncoming traffic.  Meanwhile, my posterior is doing something my Mama nicely refers to as ‘working buttonholes in the seat’.  As much clenching as my butt cheeks have done, you should be able to bounce a quarter off ’em. Not that you’d want to since we’ve never formally met, but, you know.  Frankly, driving lessons should fall to the father, I mean biological here, not God, but boy have God and I had some pretty intense conversations during those drives.

In an effort to relax, I turn to Lennie the Featherweight.  Sewing for me is like a wonderful night on the town with a good looking man without all those pesky expectations of what happens when you get dropped at the door.  Lennie doesn’t care if I drink or swear, wear undergarments reminiscent of grannies and he certainly doesn’t expect to be invited in for a nightcap.  

On that note, I finished one flimsy and have moved on to another.  Clearly, quilting it isn’t high on my list of priorities, like shaving my legs in the dead of winter.

I don’t name my quilts, but this one reminds me of water flowing over rocks.  I love it.   

 
I’ve started another one that’s all flannel, because obviously, when the temperatures start to climb, you want to work with fabric that’ll  make you sweat like a hooker at a Saturday night tent revival.  Idiot. 

   

This past Friday, I said goodbye to my favorite volunteer who is moving to be closer to family.  I’ll miss you, Mr. Todd.  

And to round out my week, our newest furbaby decided it would be epically delightful to roll in something that smells of a wonderful dichotomy of sewage and death.  My Lulu never did this.  I can only guess that it’s a hound thing.  Bad Ziva!  

I’m hoping this next week leaves out the surprises and just leaves me with a tighter tush.

Double D…again

(Sorry if the post title brought you here looking for hooters.  Try the next blog.🙄)

The saga of Double Delight seems to be a recurring theme for me and the blog…to the point even I’m getting tired of hearing about it.  

I told my Mama just this afternoon that I’ve never been so focused on getting a quilt finished already.  Part of it is the money invested…something Himself needn’t know about.  Ever.  Never you mind the value of the fabric already in my obscenely large stash.  This monetary investment is different because I chose it with a specific project in mind rather than my typical “oooh, pretty fabric”.  And let’s not discount all the time involved in cutting it up.  Argh!

I’ve given up on actually keeping up with the quilt along.  Wait, wait.  Let me rephrase that.  Did I mention they’re finished?  Right-o!

Here’s where I’m at…at the end of Clue #2. 

And hey there, Hello Kitty pajama pants!  I saw you adorning a woman’s backside several weeks back in the halls where I work.  And, no, it’s not Walmart.  I’ve resigned myself to the fact that for a significant portion of society, pajama pants are the new yoga pants.

Anyhoo, I’ve committed to leaving the squaring up to the very last before assembling the blocks.   I’ve already had one lady comment that she’ll be waiting for the rant I’ll be posting.  Give it time, sugar!

————🐾🌺🐾🌸🐾🌼————

On another note, if you follow me on Facebook, you know the family and I lost our furbaby/fursibling/sewing buddy to cancer last Friday.  Cancer sucks.  I give it two middle fingers. 🖕🏻🖕🏻

Our Lulu was a sweetie pie.  Sewing without an 80lb boxer laying across the foot pedal just won’t be the same.

Lulu, His Awesomeness and The Diva
  

  

December hodge-podge

Every year it seems the Christmas season is upon us before I’ve even exhaled from the hubbub that is Thanksgiving.  You’d think after 41 years it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise.  You’d be wrong, but you could think it.  The whole Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas thing is such a conglomeration of activity. Kind of like this post.  Buckle up, buttercup.

So, I’d cleared the table of the bounty that was the last holiday and started hauling in the stash that represents 18 years worth of Christmases for Himself and I and our precious little snowflakes, The Codefendants.  

So.  Much.  Stuff.

We’ve lucked out the last few years, or maybe it’s that Himself and I have cried ‘uncle’ and said “To heck with it; it’s not about the tree anyway” and let His Awesomeness and The Diva have *mostly* free rein to decorate as they see fit.  Having a prelit tree doesn’t hurt either.  Two thumbs up for the prelit tree creator!

His Awesomeness , tree master

I always thought my husband was anal (trust me, that is the word for it) about the tree lights and branches being just so.  He’s got nothing on this kid.
Yes, this is my son shaping branches from under the tree!  Who looks under the tree?!  I wish he’d give as much attention to his rank as a locker room bedroom.

  
  

Still at it.

The Diva, being the expert on fashion (hoodies are appropriate for all occasions) and all things decor, none too gently informed me that aqua and lime green weren’t appropriate choices for Christmas.  I’m such a troglodyte.  🙄

And so it was silver and red for the front porch.  
   

The only place I was allowed to touch was the treadle sewing machine in the living room.  I swear I don’t know how I leave the house in the morning without being a complete embarrassment to them.  Oh, wait, haha, I don’t.

Still, left to my own devices, I didn’t do half bad.  I love the little olive wood nativity.

 

And I snuck in a wreath after they’d gone to bed.  We moms are good at that sneaky thing, aren’t we?  How else would the little darlings learn to do it right?  

At the end of the frenzy, we have a truly awesome tree.  Can anyone spot my favorite ornament?  Hint: it’s a hockey player.  

There’s even been a bit of decorating where I work.  Who says bodily functions aren’t funny?!

 

It was in the 70s here today with 80% humidity and won’t get truly cold until about February.  And the trees still look like this…  

I’m pretty sure Santa wears shorts and a tank top for his flyover.  That’s Texas for ya.

And on a final note, WordPress kindly informed me the other day of my three year blogging anniversary.  As I hopped over from another site, this puts me at the 5 year blogging mark.  Holy crap!  Five years of torturing folks with my ramblings on all things kid, mothering and quilting, with a few expletive filled rants thrown in for good measure. My followers are saints.  Or masochists.  Yep, y’all are awesome!

So, in the spirit of giving, I made a little something to give away in celebration of aforementioned anniversary and in appreciation of you guys.

 

It’s meant to be a mat for a sewing machine, but let’s face it, once it gets to your house, you can do as you please with it.
  

If you’d like a chance at it, leave a comment and I’ll have a minion, I mean a child, draw a name on December 18th.

So, here endeth my 5th year of blogging and my 495th post.  I leave you with this…

There’s enough meanspiritedness and asshattery to go around. I should know: I ride a broom occasionally myself. 

So…

While we’re all winding down to make merry and, for some, to await the birth of the Savior, please remember the spirit of the season and be nice to one another…not just for now.  Make an effort.  For the love of Pete, go spread some joy and good cheer!

A Walk in the Park

The Diva and I spent several hours this morning exploring the walking trails of Mother Neff State Park in nearby Coryell County.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

I Got Your Excitement Right Here

As a soon-to-be high school graduate, I had a rather nebulous vision of what my future held and it went a little something like this…

Find a calling, one that would pay the bucks for minimal work in a faraway land (preferably tropical but without those pesky vector-borne illnesses) where the hip folk eschewed all things involving razors and soap and water.

It was peaceful, purpose-filled (whatever the hell that means nowadays) and lovely, if you didn’t stop to consider the gorilla armpits and two-day old corpse smell wafting from all the hot bods.

I wonder whatever happened to that freak?

Ah, yes, I beat her to death with my mom jeans.

Whomever said motherhood was a cop-out, a bending to traditional old white man standards of keeping ’em barefoot and pregnant, has never experienced the fun and games that is parenthood.

Tell me your life is richer for having missed those experiences and I’ll call you a liar.  Sure, I’ll say it under my breath and just smile but it’ll be the one I reserve for those asshats who don’t know how to comport themselves in the school pickup line.  But that’s another post.

How could life be complete without these little gems…

* Rolling out of bed at the call of a child with a tummyache only to step in the still-warm inadvertent personal  protein spill on the way down the hall

* Sniffing that suspicious stain on the arm of the recliner only to discover that, yes indeedy, it’s poop

* Discovering inexplicable drip marks down the side of the dresser with accompanying bleached-out spots on the hunter green carpet…  it’s pee, yippee!  As a side note, did you know ancient cultures used urine to keep their whites white?  Consider yourself educated.  Moving on…

* Crunchy underpants, underpants teaming with more stool than a sewage treatment plant, and socks that have bred like minks between the sofa cushions

I’m practically giddy with excitement just typing this!

Now, I’m no Polly Homemaker, but I’ve learned a thing or two about getting our humble abode spic-and-span.

* Cleaning up any sort of icky bodily expulsion is far easier when you think of something else.  Like baseball.  When the dog leaves a cold, gelatinous lump complete with dry kibble bits as physical evidence of her gastrointestinal displeasure, I can almost convince myself not to launch my own lunch by saying ‘It’s filet mignon’ as I scoop that stuff up with a spatula.  Never mind the fact that I can no longer eat this cut of meat.  And don’t ask which spatula ’cause it could be the one I mixed up the brownies with last night.

* Boogers, especially the ginormous caked on, been-on-the-wall-so-long-it’s-practically-an-artifact-from-an-ancient-culture, will, when eventually discovered and cleaned off the wall, strip paint faster than a pole-dancer can shuck her skivvies.

*You’ll never get that oatmeal puke stain out of the carpet.  Invest in a potted plant for that spot and call it a day.

This list doesn’t even begin to cover the topics of conversation involving such things as where tampons go, why it’s socially unacceptable to whip it out on the playground to pee and why some people look like men but sound like women.  There’s funny stuff, like explaining it’s the ‘Gorton’s fisherman’ and not the ‘Gorgeous fisherman’ and the stuff where I get to try and explain why our faith means we’re generally thought of as a bunch of raging homophobes, islamophobes, get-our-jollies-from kicking puppies douchebags and that, yes, we will have and adhere to higher personal standards than those of the asshats in the federal government.  Yes, I did just discuss God and managed to curse all at the same time.  It’s a gift.

Go ahead and tell me what I’ve missed out on by buying into the whole wife/mother/worker bee role and try to shame me for my choices with your war-stories of nightlife, drinking ( I do that from the safety of my sofa with my flannel-clad hunk of burnin’ love right next to me and there’s no cover charge, thank you very much) and your hookups.  Whatevs, amateur.

What an exciting Saturday night?  Come by my house.

I’ll be Monistat-ing the dog for the next week.

Good times, y’all.  Good times.

Three Cheers from the Parental Unit

It’s a ‘My Imperfect Life’ shout-out to The Co-Defendants who participated this past Friday in UIL competition!  His Awesomeness placed 6th in Listening Skills while The Diva placed 4th in the same category.  What this means is a complete stranger recites a story or conglomeration of meaningless words and phrases and they have to regurgitate all the facts back to the moderator.  Hence, they have to listen and pay attention at the same time.

Why can’t I get this kind of compliance at home?!

001

They get their dweebishness from their father’s side.  Good grief, they look like a circus act!

002
His Awesomeness can listen!

 

003
The Diva can listen just a little bit better!

They’re weird, but I love ’em…and apparently they can be trained.  There’s hope for me yet, folks!