Monday, March 16, 2015

Big Box of Scraps

Most of my days go by with a sameness that could be perceived as blandness and boredom. But actually I am enjoying my time.  While Mr. Scottie Dog does his work outside I mostly stay indoors. Every day I pack a few boxes/sort through stuff/throw away stuff/fill boxes to go the the thrift store.  But most of the time you will find me at my sewing machine while I watch/listen to movies or TV shows on the computer.  I have a huge box of scraps that I've been working from for the past few months.  So far I have made about 350 crumb blocks.  A crumb block is a block of "made" fabric.  Scraps are sewn together and trimmed to make a block of a particular size.  I choose 6.5".  

Then I take those crumb blocks and put them into the center of one of my personal favorite quilt blocks: The Sawtooth Star.  What I like about the Sawtooth Star is that  it is a bold, graphic pattern that can be changed at a whim by putting special things in the center...a crumb block, a fussy-cut dog or cat or stripe.  The star points may match the center square...or not.  Even the background can be changed by putting a different fabric in each corner.  So much potential for each star.

All these blocks (and I now have over 200 of the 12.5" star blocks) will be made into quilts for a few different charities serving children overseas.  WAS or Wrap A Smile is a branch of a Rotary Int. sponsored group that provides free cleft palate surgeries for children in other countries.  You can learn more about WAS HERE It used to be that after surgery these children were wrapped up in a Mylar space blanket.  For close to 20 years now, each and every child is wrapped up in a colorful quilt.  My heart has always been softened by children so I'm proud to play a small part in this organization.  I make blocks and send them to others who will make quilts with the blocks.

Remember that huge box of scraps?  Well for some reason, that box seems to be as full as when I began.  So until I move to MN, my main project has been the sewing of these blocks.  It fulfills the creative passion of mine to sew, play with color and do something for others.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Company's Coming!

Mr. Scottie Dog and I are still in limbo.  One of the things we are trying to do is see old friends and make connections before we leave Northern CA for a final time.  We've had dinner with a few friends, see people at church on Sundays.  I try to get out once or twice a week to sew with my quilting friends.  I also belong to a small group of ladies that have been meeting for over 20 years.  We have quilting in common.  We gather regularly to chat, sew, laugh, eat and laugh some more.  The group has changed some over the years and I think there are only two of us left from the original club.  We call ourselves The Grateful Threads and there's a new generation of gals taking over.  Lately we've gone to the movies, gone out for dessert and chatted at one member's house.  Monday we plan to see The Second Best Marigold Hotel together.  (We like chick flicks!)  I think I'm going to miss this group most of all.

This week we've had two friends drop by unannounced from our past.  It's been wonderful!  Rob and Crystal moved last year from Humboldt Co.  I miss them so.  They are now in Utah and we visited them last September.  They knocked on our door the other day.  Hugs all around!  Of course there's not enough time to chat and remember.  They had to get to their grandson's 3rd birthday party. But it's great to know we'll be seeing them in April when we make another trip to MN.  Their hospitality is wonderful.

Yesterday I made Mr. Scottie Dog some chocolate chip cookies (still trying to use up what's in the cupboards).  As I took the last pan from the oven I looked up and saw Kathryn, one of our oldest friends (they moved away when Liz was a baby).  We saw Kathryn and her hubby last at our 25th wedding anniversary (this year it's 43). But time doesn't seem to have passed at all.  She still has the same snickering giggle, still knows us through and through.  So great to catch up!

It was nice to be able to offer cookies....I only wish I had them for Rob and Crystal.  Note to self:  maybe making cookies more regularly than once a year is a good idea.  Having some nice, homemade goodies on hand is just plain neighborly.  I think with a year-long move I have forgotten my hospitality graces.

Just do it! Company's Coming!

Monday, March 2, 2015


I'm in Limbo, remember?  My days are filled with little jobs, indecision, a little sewing, a little packing and a (very) little cleaning. This past week we spent a delightful evening at the home of dear friends.  They cooked us an absolutely wonderful meal but the real treasure of the evening was the conversation. Catching up on our lives, our kids' lives and comparing grandchild stories.  Old friendships are the best...they have to be because there is so much shared history, remembrance and purpose.  Why is it that we don't actively connect with these friends on a regular basis and not just when we know our time is short?

This weekend while I was pasting in some recipes onto one of my Pinterest boards I had the bold thought:  What if I actually MADE these bread sticks instead of just dreaming of making them?  I haven't made bread in years.  Actually I haven't really cooked with any degree of regularity for years.  Certainly not the 14 years I owned the Quilt Shop.  Mr. Scottie Dog and I got into a routine:  He grilled a piece of meat/poultry/seafood, I made a salad and maybe he had a baked potato.  Every once in awhile we'd shake things up and he'd make waffles or I'd make soup.  The only REAL meals were Holiday meals and usually there was a daughter or two to help make the meal.

There was a time I made all our bread stuffs. Daily bread, bagels, hamburger buns. I made yogurt, salad dressings, cakes, pies, casseroles and more.  I actually made plans and cooked meals.  I had knife skills.  I could FEEL when a yeast dough was perfectly kneaded.  And I enjoyed it.

Today is Monday.  I feel domestic.  I did laundry.  I actually baked those bread sticks (going to have to try them again, though...I don't think I let them rise quite enough).  Mr. Scottie Dog  sampled them and declared the "right fine."  I think they are a bit heavy, but
I'll try harder next time.  I cleaned up the kitchen as I went (with things so up in the air lately, I sometimes leave it until after dinner).  

We took our chest freezer to Minnesota on a previous trip so we are down to the freezer in our refrigerator and I'm still trying to use up what's in it.  What to do with some ground 97% beef.  Meatloaf!  Personally, I like meatloaf, although I like left-over meatloaf sandwiches even more!  So I made a meatloaf.  Making use of some of those afore mentioned knife skills, it is full of veggies. When Mr. Scottie Dog saw the pan he proclaimed my "domestication." 

Sadly, the photo of this meatloaf is from the Internet.....mine is cooking....the timer went off and I opened up the oven.  I forgot to turn it on!  Dinner's going to be a bit late.  The rumors of my "domestication" are sadly exaggerated.

But I feel it returning!  Maybe I'll make some bagels and a pie tomorrow (still trying to use up all I find in the cupboards).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Limbo: n. an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition.

Mr. Scottie Dog and I are in limbo.  Not really here nor there, currently in CA but thinking we are in MN. Dreaming we are in MN.  After a quick turn-around of less than 20 days in December we took a huge load of household goods (think dishes, Brenda's fabric collection, knick-knacks, family heirlooms, an antique pump organ,  lamps, kitchen supplies, a wood stove and all that stuff you use on a regular basis)...They were first packed in cardboard boxes, wrapped in plastic, placed into wooden packing crates 4' x 4' x 8' or 8' x 4' x 8' high.  These crates were then bolted together and then bolted onto a trailer.  The trailer was covered with thick plastic tarps and cinched together. 

 We knew that driving in late December might take a bit longer but somehow our 3 day trip turned into 6 days.  We didn't actually arrive in time for Christmas morning, but did make it about 9 pm Christmas Day.  We experienced snow storms, ice storms, black ice (it's not much fun  going 65 mph BACKWARDS and SIDEWAYS down the highway and landing in a snow-filled ditch facing the WRONG way!).  Thankfully not a scratch on us, our truck or our trailer!  And did you know that the only places in the Midwest open on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day are hotels and gas stations. Nary a restaurant, fast-food joint or grocery store was open!  We made do with pretzels, bottled water and stale, white bread sandwiches from the few gas stations open.
 But we made it!  Snow on Dec. 26, the flurry of children opening presents, squeals and Christmas dinner.  The entire family together.
 Don't we look great?  We got to stay for three weeks.  Then back across the country to Portland, OR.  My niece was getting married.  It was a fairy-tale wedding at the Historic Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.  The day was sunny and beautiful.  We were so blessed to witness the marriage of these in love, such a wonderful couple. 
 Kim and Corey, soul mates.

 So now we're back in CA.  Working on the house.  I'm still packing, sorting and throwing away.  While in MN it's -10 and snow on the ground, the daffodils are blooming here. Sun shiny days in the high 60's.  Even the camellias are blooming.'s where we are.  Trying to make the most of our friendships here in CA, yearning to know what all is going on in MN.  Mr. Scottie Dog and I.  Side by side.  Anxious and yet satisfied with each day.  Limbo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sometimes moving takes a LOOOOONNNNGGG time!

 Just the other day, Mr. Scottie Dog and I remarked as how we now feel like Mid-Westerners.  We belong here: this flat, fertile, farmland in the middle of the country.  Even with the early snowstorms and temperatures around 10 degrees, we feel grounded in this place.  Minnesota has become HOME.

That said, we are still just sojourners.  We've brought load 2 of 6-7 here to our new land.  Notice I didn't say "home."  As of yet here in Minnesota we are homeless.  Well, not technically because Beka and Jason cheerfully put us up in their guest room and the Krause family lets us store our trailers of household goods in their farm warehouse, but we don't as of yet have a house here.  Wellll, actually we DO have TWO houses here but they are rentals.  No place to hang our hats that we can call our own.  I suppose that will come next Spring or Summer when we finally get the last load moved and our home in Eureka sold.

We'll be back in CA soon, pack and load up another trailer so we can be in Minnesota for Christmas surrounded by grandchildren!

Last night the family gathered to celebrate Beka's birthday.  What fun to have the whole family together.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Another wonderful Quilting Retreat

Last week daughter Liz flew to Eureka from her new home in Prior Lake, Minnesota.  She and I hosted a Scottie Dog Quilting Retreat with 43 quilters from all over California, Oregon and Washington. We've been holding two or three retreats a year for about 15 years. There are many Eureka area quilters who are regulars but some of the regulars live far away.  We've had repeaters from as far away as Minnesota, Texas and Washington DC.

Quilters are pampered with lovely views. This is the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center where our retreats are held right on Humboldt Bay....two huge walls of windows insure sweeping vistas and an abundance of natural light.

Our meals are fully catered. A big hit this time were the Brownie Sundaes everyone made on Saturday night. You may eat outdoors on the balconies if you wish.....

 One night we ate as the sun set over the water.

Starstruck was the quilt we made this retreat.  We always design an original quilt for each retreat and it is debuted at retreat.

Many sewers completed their tops in the three days. Here's Denise F's quilt artfully displayed on one of the balconies with the Marina in the background.

I wish I'd gotten pictures of them all...each as beautiful and different as their creative makers.

The dates are set for the Spring Quilting Retreat, April 10-12, 2015. We are happy to announce it will again be held at the beautiful Aquatic Center in Eureka, CA  Just click HERE for the Facebook page.  You can sign up and pay your deposit HERE at

As Sydney says, "Lots of fun, lots of laughing and lots of good food." (I like to add, good quilting and wonderful friends).