Happy Boo-Day to You!!

So ... every Halloween I do the same lame thing for my children who ... I may have previously mentioned ... do not live close to me. I send them an email with a secret riddle (oh yes ... the same secret riddle year after year after year) and tempt them to answer it. I offer a prize to the first one, and that prize is usually my leftover candy which no one is particularly jumping up and down to receive, so ... it saves me alot of postage. (Also ... why bother to mail it when most of it is still here when they come at Thanksgiving or Christmas.)

This year I am hoping to lure them with my blog instead of an email. I am hoping they will be so excited to answer it that they will arrive on my doorstep (in costume of course) and tell me the answer in person while I dole out candy into their Halloween bucket and/or pillow case ... once again saving me postage.

So ... the infamous riddle is this:

What did the butcher say when he handed the customer the empty frankfurter?

For the rest of you out there in bloggo-land, feel free to answer also. If you are not going to come to my doorstep to retrieve your prize, the least you can do is tell me what your costume would be, so I can anticipate your arrival ... in my head. (As I have previously explained, there are alot of conversations going on in there that do not neccessarily involve other human beings.)That costume instruction goes double for you ... offspring. Just throw me a bone, here.

Happy Halloween to One and All! Now, please excuse me while I open the big bag of candy from Costco and test it out for you ... it's really the right thing to do.
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Flora and Fauna

So ... these pictures are not of Arizona.
Not even close.
These pictures are from our mid-west adventure.
These pictures are of the Dub's backyard.
(So ... it's at an apartment complex, sue me, they still walk out their door and see this.)
I love Arizona ... really I do, but somedays you just want to look at this.
Somedays you just want a little foliage in your life.
But, you know me ... perky as always. If the flora can't come to the front yard, then the fauna will come to the fabric.

Remember these guys? Well, the evolution continues. I grew my own garden with some hand embroidery, finished her up and now she only wants quilting and binding.
I'm tickled pink.

How about you?

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So ... I am still in the Land O' Lincoln, absorbing the crisp fall air, wearing more layers than I have in many a moon and inhaling the sweet, sweet scent that is my Miss Dub. But wait ... there's more . . .

Today (yes, this very day) we are celebrating her first birthday!! What a joy a year of grandmotherhood has been. Wow.

I must add that I am also reveling in every moment with Mrs. Dub. Last night we had mother-daughter bonding time while we "made" a pirate. Isn't that what you do to bond with your children? I thought so. If not, you ought to try it.

* Go here to see Miss Dub in action
** The pirate is for the church Halloween party. And it's not alive.


By Popular Demand ...

As I am on the road (posting as we speak from Amarillo, Texas) I thought I would use this opportunity to answer the request of astute reader Sara, who mentioned that she would like to see pictures of my precious grandson l'il Gee, since she can already see pictures of my darling Miss Dub on this blog, frequently.

How could I possibly deny her (or any loyal readers) the chance to witness the most glorious grins EVER.

So ... enjoy ... and grin back. I'll get back to you from Kansas City. Or St. Louis. Or Beyond.
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Skirting the issue ...

So ... it's done. The bedskirt is done. I realize that this picture cuts off the fabulous, famous, finials (which, by the way, were voted most likely to be pineapples) and for that I apologize.

Seriously, wouldn't you want to be my guest?

In the way of helpful hints on sewing bedskirts, I offer the following:
HH #1: When sewing the veeerrrrry long hems -- use a "walking foot" as not to end up with a "triangle" at the end where the top fabric got pushed over ... and
HH #2: When gathering for veerrrrryyy long stretches -- use string attached with a large zig-zag stitch. Much easier, faster and stronger to pull on than thread.

In the way of other long stories. PDaddy and I are about to embark on a veeerrrryyy long roadtrip to deliver birthday gifts to our precious Miss Dub. I am hoping to be able to post along the way.

I know Mrs. Dub and I are planning a side trip to Wisconsin. Who knows? Maybe I will have some interesting pictures of cheese.
Any requests?


So ... you tell me ...

So ... I spent part of today working on the bedskirt for the guestroom. I walked back and forth between there and the sewing room (aka "The Kingdom") as I measured and cut. Each time, I took a look at the four poster queen-sized bed which used to be ours and now is basically willed to our oldest daughter.

And for good reason.

You see those finials in the picture above? They are the source of countless memories. Countless. And they all involve this same daughter, who shall remain nameless but is, interestingly enough ... a Vespa-riding-sewing-Martha-loving-Attorney-at-law.

And a thief.

Once she had gone away to college, she would immediately make her presence known when in town for holidays and the occasional summer, by stealing the above pictured finials and hiding them in unusual places. We would find them in our drawers, as parts of centerpieces, under our pillows (uh ... usually found that out the hard way) and one year, while opening our gifts on Christmas morning, we found they were ... our gifts. Oft times, her siblings were in on the joke, on other occasions they were part of the joke. Although ever since the bed is no longer in our room to be scrutinized during her visits, the finials have stayed neatly on top of their respective posters ... and I am sooooo very sad.

My question is this: What the heck are they? I believe we have referred to them over the years as Acorns, but now that I am staring at them on my computer screen, I am doubting that. Help me out here.

And help me think of a good trick to play on her ... she'll be here for Thanksgiving.

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Just the Two of Us

I have discovered what may be the most useful purpose of a blog:
You get to talk to yourself ... and it's perfectly, socially acceptable.
Sort of.

So ... here are some conversations that have taken place in and around my head over the last week:

(Mary to Self:) What the heck happened to all the patterned sheets? Why are so many of them (and by that, I mean ... all the ones at TJ Maxx) in solid colors?

Shortly after Sonny and the Mrs. shipped off to Spain, I soothed my aching heart by giving myself permission (oh yes ... another conversation) to buy brand new sheets for the guest-bedroom bed. I knew I wanted girly-girl floral stuff and (having found nothing at a boffo price that fit the bill at TJM) I found some Shabby Chic ones at Target (see green ones below) -- for bigger bills. But, I wanted some king pillow cases and I wanted a floral skirt and I didn't want to continue to pay the full price at Target. So back to TJM I go and ... hidden in a dark corner with other lonely-hearts-on-sale-for-6-months linens, I found the perfect pillow cases ... encased in plastic with an entire king-sized bed set.

(Mary to Self:) What the heck can I do with the rest of the set? Can I justify buying the whole dang thing just for the pillowcases? The guest-bed is queen, my king bed is in blue (because I love you PDaddy, and because I am adverse to too much pink) and I still need to spend money on the bed skirt.

Ooooohhhh. (Mary and Self jelling as one.) I can use the sheets to make the bedskirt.

When I got home and opened the plastic, I was ecstatic with the sheets. Mostly white, a touch of pink and all in all perfection for $29.00!

Oh ... here's a heads-up on True Confession #4: I am really ... really cheap.

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"Bountiful" Blessings

So ... you remember this little number?
It now has it's own collection.

I taught the class on Tuesday ... sick as can be ... with no discernable voice ...

And the results were fabulous ... thanks to...

Sandee, who is an experienced sewer and teacher and friend, and served as my "voice" at many points during the class.

Beth, who is also an experienced sewer and first-time-mom-to-be in January. Her belly gave us all good vibes.

And Sue, who is just a newbie among newbies at this and yet look! she kept up with the best of them and did a terrific job.

It was a thrill to see my pattern in different fabrics. (Fyi, Sue and Beth did not pick out their fabrics together. Apparently great minds do think alike.) Also, Sue is planning on putting the borders on the ends instead of the top and bottom and make it into a table runner. I am seriously beginning to question the validity of her "newbie-ness".

Thanks to all. My voice has almost returned. Apologies to those who are a little let down by that last statement.
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Blue Plate Special

So ... in the interest of Collections ... I offer the following:

and White Plates
Pretty much ... everywhere.

On the wall in the dining room ...

Above the bay window in the kitchen ...

Over an arched doorway in my bathroom ...

PDaddy once commented that his cause of death could possibly read, "Hit on the head by a plate. A Blue and White plate." He really needn't worry. I am quite the expert on hanging my plates. I am never going to put one of my precious plates in danger!

Just kidding, PDaddy. I promise to save you first.

So ... what ARE your collections?

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Collecting My Thoughts ...

True Story:

When Sonny Boy was 4 or 5 and considered PB&J to be a food group, he developed an interesting ... if not annoying habit. I would make him his favorite sandwich, (which had to be cut crosswise -- heaven forbid I should cut it into rectangles) he would take a couple of small bites out of the center ... and then pretty much call it a day. I figured out pretty quickly that he was adverse to the "crusts" as all children are wont to do at some point or another, but he wasn't within miles of the crust. This resulted in a) a waste (something I am adverse to) and b) Sonny Boy being hungry in approximately 14.5 minutes. In not long, the following conversation took place:

Mommie: "Sonny Boy ... why won't you eat the crusts on your sandwich?"

Sonny Boy: "Because ... mmmm..... (long pause) ... because I am starting a crust collection."

I knew immediately I had to take some responsibility for his answer, because I too was a collector. And I still am. I have been thinking of devoting some posts to my collections . . . and yours. Start thinking about it. Be prepared to answer the following questions.

What are your favorite collections and why?
Do you have some collections that were important once and no longer drive you ... but still take up a lot of space?

And most importantly: Do you think Sonny Boy still has his collection stored somewhere in my home?

P.S. It worked! The Clam Dip worked! One day after that post, the temperature dropped almost 20 degrees -- with nary a stormcloud in sight. Ooooh ... I should try and sell my clam dip recipe. Ya think?

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The Clam Dip Edition

So ... it's still in the 90's around here. Someone needs to take a stand, and I am just guessing that person would be me. Talking about the "frost" on the pumpkins didn't even phase it, so I'll obviously have to take it one step further. Today I'm going to talk about Thanksgiving.

Or more specifically . . . clam dip.

You see this daughter did a fun and entertaining thing on her blog today. She has been blogging for almost 2 years now and has quite the following of ardent fans. Many of them she knows well, a few she knows a little and the rest have been total strangers . . . until today. Today she said she was having a party and asked everyone to introduce themselves and explain how they found their way to her blog. She also mentioned something about bringing clam dip to the party ... a long time family tradition ... particularly at Thanksgiving.

(Is any of this making sense? Try to stay with me, people.)

As her "fan club" introduced themselves, some of them took issue with the Clam Dip thing. Someone even went so far to say that it sounded "disgusting". Mrs. Dub (aka my daughter) suggested that they might look here for further enlightenment on the CD issue. All I can offer is my somewhat vague recipe since I have never had a written one. All I can say is that I have been eating it since my own childhood and have never, ever tired of it.

Take one 8 oz. package of cream cheese that has been softened and mix it with the following: (All of the following measurements have only ever been in my head with the word "some" in front. So basically, play around with it until you are happy.)
1/2 cup mayonaisse
1 T lemon juice
1 t. worchestershire sauce
2 t. grated onion and juice.
1/4 t garlic salt
Drain one can of clams but save the juice. Add the clams and then add clam juice until you are happy with the consistency. Serve with crackers or veggies or . . . best of all . . . Ruffles potato chips.

Nums-ville. Now ... is it at least in the 80's now??

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Applique - tions

How many times can we segue into Fall when ... let's face it ... it is still in the 90's out my front door? The way I look at it, if every segue lowers the temps a degree or two, then we are that much closer to a little "frost" on the pumpkins. After entertaining you with the delightful charm of my grandchildren over the last few days however, I thought it time to get back to the very serious business of quilting. And Fall.

This little number has a certain significance above and beyond trying to force a change of seasons. This quilt, "Bountiful", is one I designed and made last year and will be teaching as a class next Tuesday the 9th of October at this store. It also marks the inauguration of my foray into the business of publishing quilt patterns . . . under the name

simplehappy designs

To be perfectly honest, it took me almost as much time to make the pattern as it took me to make the quilt. But, that's OK. I've heard that's not unusual.

Did I mention that I have actually sold some copies? Wow ... will wonders never cease?

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More Patchwork ...

So ... do NOT let it be said that I am not an Equal Opportunity Grandma. After the lovely nine-patch quilt from the other day, I just couldn't resist this four-patch, done in ever popular neutrals.

Wow. Isn't quilting just the best!?!

My grandson, L'il Gee was not professionally posed for this quilt. That's how he looks all the time. Seriously.

And you wonder why I have a hard time staying focused.