thanks a bunch!

So ... I had a fabulous birthday and I have all of you to thank ... along with a kajillion other people.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thanks to my friend Jane who gave me these spectacular flowers (along with a basket of healthy goodies to consume while surrounded by hospital food ... which is not neccessarily healthy btw.)

Thanks to Sonny Boy and the Mrs. who came bearing gifts. The biggest gift of all was seeing SB with his newly shaved head as a token of solidarity with his PDaddy. So ... that one made me cry.

Thanks to children, husbands, grandkids and friends who gave nary a single mention to the numbers that don't bother me ... but bother me less when they are not mentioned.

You know ... I do believe I have too many blessings, friends and family members to mention. So let just ask one last question ...

What kind of flowers are these? Are they, like, so spectacular?

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M is for "Me"

So ... we're home. I have been home every night for the last six, but last night PDaddy was with me. And this morning when I woke up, he was still here. Woohoo!

Happy Birthday to Me.

Yes folks, I am another year older and it isn't pretty. But for some bizarre reason the numbers haven't ever really bothered me. Who knows how much longer that can continue to be true.

In just a few short hours, Sonny Boy and the Mrs. will be here, (whom I haven't seen since January) and I have already opened a couple of gifts which incuded the lovely stationary pictured above (thank you Mrs. Gee) and ... let's see ... what else?

Oh yeah. PDaddy is home. A fine, fine, birthday it is.

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'cause there's no room on the little table for a big vase ...

So ... I am sending the above-pictured and afore-posted flowers to PDaddy as he recuperates from some annoying complications ... to other annoying complications.

This is also to explain my recent hiatus from the blogosphere and possible future gaps as well. Nothing like a good excuse than spans the globe.

So ... PDaddy is "da bomb" (thank you DIL steffa) and weathers these storms with humor and grace. Nurses cry when he switches floors and everyone wonders if he is a doctor because of his wealth of knowledge.

However ... amazing as he is (and he is) ... neither of us can chalk up all of our blessings to his good looks and my natural charm. You see we have even more amazing Family and Friends. Family and Friends who pray for us daily and constantly show their concern in fabulous, practical ways.

Thank you Family. Thank you Friends. And thanks in advance to all my Bloggy Friends all who will no doubt put a little PDaddy in their hearts as well.

We are fine. We have watched a lot of World Cup Soccer and Discovery Channel Space Program Documentary. We have eaten a lot of hospital food and lived to tell the tale.

But, thanks for asking.
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A Chair by any other Name ...

So ... let it be known that I like my name. Mary. It can't get much more simple (or happy) than that. I have always liked it. And ... contrary to popular belief, I was the only Mary in school growing up. There were plenty of Mary Anns and Mary Janes, but only one ... me.

So what does my name have to do with this chair? I'll tell you. The pettipoint on this chair was done by my father's first wife who died shortly before he met my mother. I was 6 or 7 before I knew she existed, and frankly ... the fact that she had existed, gave me pause. We really didn't talk about her much, except the fact that she had made this chair and that her name was ... Mary.

So whenever I see this chair in the corner of my living room, I lovingly think about ... my mom. You see, my mom naturally felt a little intimidated by this Mary, and yet she very lovingly agreed to name me that. My mom was quite a woman. For that reason I named this daughter after her.

So, tell me. Do you like your name? Does it have a story?

'Cause it's story time.

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My Little Monkies!

So ... our weekend with the Gee's knew no bounds. There was even more fun, fun, fun to come. (And heat, heat, heat ... but, really, who's counting?) First thing Saturday morning we headed to the Zoo to show the li'l guy around. We loved the Monkey Village where we walked through a habitat of squirrel monkeys. We also saw some regular squirrels at the Zoo, but they weren't nearly as exiting.

We spent some time at the playground at the mall (it was 110 outside by that time ... do not judge our decision not to fry ourselves) where Li'l Gee climbed and explored and apparently hunted for a future bride.

And let's not forget how much fun we just had hanging out together. Asher the SuperDog continued to show his interest in quilting. On their next trip I am teaching him to thread a needle.

Thank you Gee's. Please come back. Please make us more delicious food ... Please take good care of my monkies.

And of course I send out big Father's Day hoorays to PDaddy and to Mr. Gee and to Mr. Dub. We seemed to have cornered the market on wonderful Dads.

So .... how was your Father's Day? And how are your little monkies doing?
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It's Root, Root, Root for the Gee Man

So ... L'il Gee came to town and the first thing he said was

"Take me out to the Ballgame!!"

so we did.

and we won.


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Show and Tell

So ... enough already with the ... color scheme ... of the last few posts, here's a brand new theme that has emerged in my home over the last decade or more.

Dots. Polka Dots. I love 'em, love 'em ... love 'em!

The above picture is from some pillows on my bed made however many years ago. This same dotty fabric also showed up here around the same time.

This lovely dish was essentially a gift from Sonny-Boy on Mother's Day ... ooh ... a lot of years ago. The best part of the gift was this: He took me to a Paint-your-own-Pottery Place where I painted this platter and as I recall he painted a mug with flames on it. So I not only got this gift, but the chance to spend the afternoon with my Sonny-Boy. It just doesn't get better than that!

These dotty towels are my latest aquisition, purchased a couple of weeks ago on sale at my Marshalls. The dotty plate is actually hanging above them. It was the hanging of the towels that caused me to ponder on this polka-dot theme and start taking pictures.

Last but not least are these very favorite kitchen curtains made of ... what else ... Dotted Swiss. (These are the bottom half --cafe -style ... the top parts are blue and white striped. Duh.) These curtains have hung in my kitchen for over 15 years. Every time I think of changing them, I don't because I just love them too dang much.

In keeping with the theme I will tell you that as a young child, my very bestest friend, Dianna S* had a stack of 45's that we used to play, and my all time favorite was "Beer Barrel Polka". Who knew that choice would have such lasting influence on me.

And ... thank goodness it was the "polka" part and not the "beer" part.

So ... look around your home. What themes manifest themselves in your home that you didn't realize at the time? Do Tell. And feel free to make reference to Show them.
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It is a Big Deal ...

So ... I finished my latest (and last ... for awhile ... I think) red/green project. In case you are wondering if it is for you ... it's not. It's for my darling Miss Dub and I have no idea if it will fit her. But I am able to get over that anxiety because I am so excited that I already got over the anxiety of actually sewing clothing from a pattern. Like a McCall's pattern, people. Like a regular sewer.

Since I first picked up a rotary cutter however many years ago, I have shied away from making things involving scissors ... and tissue paper ... and notches. Once when this daughter was living at home, (and she is a seamstress extraordinaire although I can pretty much guarantee that she will retract that statement) she took me to the fabric store and helped me pick out a pattern and material for a simple skirt. Yes, a true mother/daughter role reversal for sure. But wait ... it gets worse. It was too hard for me, so I had her finish it.

But, I am proud to say that I finished this dress all by myself. I even added the piping which wasn't on the pattern. Suddenly, I feel all grown up. Oooh ... maybe I'll try to stay up past 10 tonight.

Eh ... probably not.

Anyway, I love you Miss Dub. Nanny will get this in the mail today.

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Don't Sass the Teacher ...

So ... it was my plan a couple of days ago when I last blogged, to post pictures today of my latest red/green project.

Uh .... not so much.

Truth be told I haven't touched it in the last two days. But trust me ... it will be charming and delightful when I do.
And that is because the intended recipient is more than charming and delightful.

So, in order to buy myself some more time because I am not yet done (or even a whole lot further along) with it than I was two days ago, I offer the following tutorial. I love to use this trick on any ruffle that is longer than a breadstick and thicker than a breadbox. Who wants to put deep grooves in ones hands while trying to gather with one or two strands of basting thread? Not me, I'm telling you.

The trick is to use string. As you can see I have my two-years supply of string because I consider it an essential part of my preparedness program. Attach the string to the fabric (which is a double thickness btw) with a large zig-zag stitch. (If it's too small the string won't pull through it with ease.) I love to use my Bernina #31 foot which holds everything nicely in place, but a simple open-toed foot would work. Then ... pulling just on the string and not on the threads ...

Voila! Gathering with grace. Ruffles with refinement. Pillows with panache.
Now that's your lesson for today. You all get stars on your foreheads.

Any questions?

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Would you get married in these pillows?

So ... the other day I was applying (as in applique-ing) the umpteenth leaf to a new quilt I was working on, when I had the following epiphany:

"Why the heck do I keep cutting up my fabrics into these teeny-weeny pieces? Is it possible to sew with ... larger .... more visible ... pieces of fabric? Is it?

So I immediately dropped what I was doing (oh, I have every intention of going back to it ... don't you worry your pretty little heads) and made these pillow slipcovers to brighten up my family room. I loved every minute of it. I love the red and I love the green.

Then today while browsing through my local Stein-Mart, I came across these more-than-charming flip-flops that have a similar red/green thing going for them. They were on sale but when I got to the check out, they apparently were on sale for even more. As in Five dollars and thirty-two cents (including tax.) More love was infused into the atmosphere.

Then ... when I went upstairs to start on yet another non-quilting project, I was an hour into it before I realized that once again I was working the red/green thing. Weird.

And then I remembered that 34 years ago this very summer ... as I was planning my wedding and sewing bridesmaid's dresses, I was indeed working with this same combo. (The bridesmaids wore red/white and the mom's wore green.) I referred to these colors for my August wedding as "apple red and apple green". Let's face it, I was way ahead of my time. Every other bride I knew was dressing her friends in taupey-pinks.

So ... fess up. What were your wedding colors? Go on ... give us the year so we can put in into perspective. And ... If I was doing it over again, should my bridesmaids wear these to-die-for flip-flops?

I am thinking so.
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It's Bustin' Out All Over!

So ... June has arrived and I am tickled pink. Truth be told ... it's my birthday month and ... it is officially the start of summer vacation. As an empty nester (you kids are in such trouble for having the nerve to grow up and leave home) summer vacation loses some of it's meaning, but for some reason I felt a little giddy yesterday when I realized that it was, indeed, June. So sue me.

This is one of my all-time favorite quilts -- which served as the paper-piecing and the machine applique sample until just recently. I was thrilled to bring it home and hang it in the ol' Kingdom. As you can tell, I am a huge fan of assymetrical borders. Let's face it ... I am assymetrical.

I have not one but two (and by the end of today ... possibly three) projects in the works as we speak. So ... not only is June busting out all over, but so is The Stash.

So ... what's your favorite month? Why? ("December" as an answer will not be accepted ... unless it's your birthday month.)
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