Take me out to the Tundra ...

So ... today actually marked the first day of summer ... in a way. Today the PDaddy and I went to our first baseball game of the season. It was actually a pre-season game and it was actually to see the Dodgers play and not the Diamondbacks and they actually ... lost ... but that doesn't take away from the fact that the sun was ablazin' in the sky and we were in that piece of Heaven where it's always 80 degrees and where there is always ... always ... a seventh-inning stretch.

The irony of this is that tomorrow at this time I will step off the plane in Salt Lake City where it will hopefully be in the forties (not lower) and my patootie will be hanging on by a thread in a major attempt to avoid being frozen off. How the heck am I supposed to flip-flop like that in less than 24 hours?


And I'm guessing that wearing flip flops is out of the question. Sheesh. Any advice from any Utahns on what I should pack?? Please tell me there has been a last minute change to the forecast.

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March Madness

So ... it is March and I am mad about something, but most of all I just wanted to throw off those looking to update their "brackets". Sorry guys ... I haven't a clue about UConn, but stick around, 'cause I actually have some practical advice as to something UCan do.

My swollen lip has gone down and the purple is almost all yellow and this morning I got the stitches out on my little dermatology "incident". Truth be told this is the third place on my relatively small face that has been cut into. The purpose of my post today, however, is not to garner sympathy but to serve as a public service announcement. Because not one of these three places was dark and irregularly shaped. Not one fit any sort of description put forth by those wishing to get us into the dermatologist to be checked. And each and every one could have gone un-checked for quite some time to come.

So pay attention, sit up straight and have a mirror handy. 'Cause I've decided that if no one else will come forward, I will. And let's be honest ... I can be a little pushy.

My first "spot" was discovered and hacked into last summer only because I was already in the doc's office with PDaddy and casually said ... 'is this something I should be concerned about?' This particular spot was nothing more than a brittle "flake" of skin that I flicked off several times, only to see come back in a couple of weeks. There was no bump whatsoever. Just a flake. Turns out that this is a very common sign of potential skin cancer. Turns out mine was squamous cell. Turns out it was a really good idea to casually ask that question.

* That was the jolt that forced me to dial a dermatologist. Once there she discovered 2 more potential boo-boos on my face. They had been there for months without me giving them a second thought. These two were just teeny-weeny rough little bumps. I thought that they were ... like ... baby warts. They were almost translucent. They had perfect, regular shapes. Turns out one of those was benign and the other one was basel cell. They looked exactly the same. The basel cell one was removed last week and went deeper than she thought. I've got a scar in my laugh line. I'm not laughing.

So check it out peoples. I mean it. And while your are at it, listen up in behalf of your husbands/fathers/brothers/sons (or yourself) who might have a problem with chronic acid indigestion/acid reflux. Check that out too. Because an esophagus is a terrible thing to waste.

Tomorrow I'll go back to cutting up pretty pieces of fabric and putting them back together again. But today I'm mad as heck, and I'm not going to take it anymore. Today I just want to save your life.

(The heirchy of seriousness goes like this: benign > basel > squamous > melanoma.)

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Fun with Fake

So ... I've got nothing, people. And ... I have no right taking pictures at night when I'm high on desperation and low on light.

But what I do have is some fake fruit. You have to admit that it beats the heck out of the fake fruit of yore: you know, plastic apples or glass grapes. I do have some lovely, original painted fruit. And I also have some leftover grapes in the fridge that really, really need to be thrown out that I have judiciously chosen not to take a picture of.

Oh, one more thing. I have a recipe for fake lemon bars (that I made today and forgot to take pictures of before they were given away) that are a real time-saving treat and taste quite nummy to boot. Even though the "fruit" in them is lemon jello. But here goes anyway:

Mix 1 stick soft butter, 1 box Yellow Cake Mix and 1 egg. Line a 13 x 9 pan with foil, spray with Pam and spread out the mixture.

Mix 2 large packages of soft cream cheese, 1 small box of lemon jello, 1/3 C of sugar and 2 eggs together until creamy. Pour on top of the bottom layer and spread evenly. Bake in a 350 oven for 40 minutes. Cool and dust with powdered sugar.

Voila! A fake and fruity day for sure. Now ... go and eat a real apple ... I am.
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The Color Purple

So ... it would appear I have added to my growing list of projects. Projects involving fabric. Gooooood, good projects.

Truth be told, the little lavender and green number seen above is just a sample from a class. A class I took, not a class I am teaching. This is from a class I took yesterday ... all day yesterday ... from the renowned Sue Nickels, queen of machine applique. I learned most of what I know (and teach) from her books and when I had the chance to sit there in person, I jumped at it.

Even though ... I had to do so with a large band-aid covering half of my face, but not quite obstructing a swollen and bruised lip.(Hold on there people ... before you let your imagination go whacko on me ... this was from a dermatological proceedure to combat too much time spent at Bear Lake in northern Utah as a youth. It involved 3 'swipes' and 8 stitches. It isn't pretty but it is lifesaving. The scar should [hopefully] rest right in my laugh line. Thank you PDaddy for making me laugh every single, solitary day.)

Anyhoo, the class was more than fabulous and I learned many intricate tips to help fine-tune the whole process for me. (Case in point: I have been using tear-away stabilizer behind my MA for years, but she taught us just to starch the heck out of the background piece. This is a huge timesaver ... huge.) I seriously don't remember the last time that six hours flew by so fast. It was fun. It was informative. It was theraputic.

And ... not a single soul made fun of my fat lip. All gooooood.

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Just helping the Economy ...

So ... if you were under the impression that the construction industry was suffering in the recession ... you weren't entirely right. A whole neighborhood of homes went up in my sewing room this week, with nary a bailout in sight. I was blissfully at work on my paper-pieced houses and in true paper-piecing fashion ... my sewing room looks like it has been hit by a major storm system.

No problem. I'm sure one of the teeny-weeny, one-dimensional people who live in my teeny-weeny one-dimensional neighborhood will come out after dark and clean up the whole thing.

That's how it works ... right?
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Two, two, two blocks at once

So ... I finally finished both my February and my March blocks last week. You know, the ones from Bunny Hill, Land O'Precious (not to mention Land of the Free [patterns]). I did them in assembly line fashion and had a rip-roaring time. Now I have got to figure out how to do the whole Flickr thing, because she is posting them there.

And since I already wished you a Happy Valentines, and since I probably won't post again tomorrow, let's just call this second block my official Happy St. Patrick's Day wish for you. Around here that has always translated to Happy Birthday Mrs. Gee.*

So make sure to wear green tomorrow, so you don't get pinched. (Does anyone remember that from elementary school in the 60's?)

* On that beautiful St. Paddy's Day ... some years ago ... as I sweated, panted, and pushed ... my nurse was a darling, skinny little redhead that had a huge button on her uniform that said Kiss Me I'm Irish!. Which I resented mightily, I might add.
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Bird Brained

So ... I'm in the middle of not one, not two, but three projects ... which is pretty much pig heaven for me. And just so you know, pig heaven is good, like winning the lottery ... or pie.

But as I'm sitting there sewing my heart out, I look around and realize that I'm sitting in the middle of an aviary, surrounded by birds. So I picked up my camera and started clicking away, being careful not to duplicate birds that have already been showcased here ... and here.

I want it on the record that I liked birds before birds were cool. (I really can't say the same thing about country music.) I swear I'm ahead of my time. I have had my eye on these bird stamps, seen below, for almost a year, but resisted buying them because ... well ... I clearly have enough birds and I really am not that much into stamping. But, succumb I did and then came home and realized that I had had my eye on this exact box of stamps for the entire year, because the ink in them was all dried up.


All this rambling clearly brings us to the question of the day:

How many projects are you generally working on at the same time?

And while you are working ... what are you surrounded by?

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A Springtime Thanksgiving

So ... I just know you have been consumed with the following thought: "What the heck ever happened to those birds she was hand applique-ing in Seattle last summer? Did they like ... fly the coop?

No, dearest reader, they just took way more time than they should have to morph their way into my next pattern. They are Bluebirds of Gratitude, of course, because I came away from that whole "my husband is having life threatening surgery" pleasure trip with a heart full of thanks and a calendar full of catch-up. But ... here ... finally is where I put my little feathered friends. I was certainly glad to be home and I thought that they deserved to be home also.

I must say that I was pleased with the sales of my last pattern, so I'm giving this another go around. If this works out I may go so far as to hook myself up with professional printers and photographers. And if you would like to boost me in that direction and help out those professions in this struggling economy, feel free to buy a pattern(s) by sending me an email.

In the meantime, just feel free to be grateful.

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I may have lied ...

So ... when we were last together I was bemoaning the fact that machine quilting was not exactly at the top of my list (and few other's lists too, I gather.) I said that because I was just starting the MQ process on my latest pattern ... to be unveiled next week, fyi. But between laying down the straight lines (a little bit boring) and doing all the fill in work (a big bit of back breaking) I did some free motion on my tree.

What a joy that was!! I had worried in the piecing/applique process that my leaves would fade too much into the background, but with a bit of King Tut thread (see here) in a varigated green, they came to life. Too. Much. Fun.

I must have had blue and green on the brain because on a side trip to TJ Maxx (to let my back rest ... really) I just happened upon this way too perfect rug which I had seen in my mind for several weeks but hadn't even begun to search for in earnest.

So I just want to say to that girl in the third grade who told me that it was heresy for me to wear blue and green together ...

Take. That.
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Processing the Process

So ... I have some questions and I expect some answers. Be prepared for some deep thinking.

In the process of making a quilt (or some other creative venture) from start to finish, what part is your favorite and what part is your least favorite? In other words, what part makes you feel giddy and what part makes you feel tired? What part makes you accidently drool and what part makes you purposely blow raspberries? Is there a part that actually makes you forget to eat?

And if you say that "every part makes me drool", then think deeper, people. I just have to believe that there is some sort of hierarchy involved.

As for me ... just thinking about picking fabrics for a new project makes my heart palpatate. I love, love, love pulling 'em out and switching 'em around. I'm willing to do this for a very long time until I think it's just right. Sometimes I'm actually sad when it is just right because that means that part of the process is over. That's just a little sick, isn't it? Eh, what can I say? I'm sick.

My least favorite has to be the machine quilting part. Mostly because it makes my back hurt. And my shoulders. But inspite of all that, I don't dislike it. It's just that I am happy when that part is over. At that point I'm reenergized because I truly enjoy attaching bindings and sewing them down. I start thinking about the next project ... and ... I begin to drool all over again.

So how about you? Please do tell. I swear I'm going to write a book someday on motivation and creativity and so this information is vitally important to my research.

I'm also really nosy.
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This takes the Cake

So ... someone had a birthday.

His second birthday.

Someone gave us the excuse to come over and enjoy the California sun.

But let's be perfectly honest ... we would have gone anywhere to be with this birthday boy. And let's be honest once again ... I would have gone any~where to have a piece of that coconut cake.

Happy Birthday L'il Gee.

Thanks for having a birthday.

No thanks for growing so fast.

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