Friday, May 31, 2013

The weekend is back again!

I am just getting ready to start my weekend, the last few requests are walking in my door and once the flow of drive-bys stops I will head out the door.  I am usually the last one out of the office for my department, and sometimes even the last one out of the building but not tonight I hope!

So I thought since I spend so much time here I would showyou a picture of where I spend so much of my time ...

That's really only a partial view from the door.  But this is it!!  The quilted wallhanging I made a few years ago for my spare room, when Stephen moved out.  I moved in to the office shortly after he came back home I think, so I brought it in here. You can see a little frame on the left side - there are actually five of them - they are like shadowbox frames and in each is a 2' square of a favorite battik fabric.

The plant is a relic from the first Bosses Day I had after I cane to Hospira 8 years ago.  My SAP SQA team gifted me a basket with a few plants in it and this guy survived.  He loves my office and is spreading like crazy. 

What's reallly interesting is that the walls between my office and the ones on either side are metal.  So all of these items have to be hung with magnets!    I never knew magnets could be so expensive - but the more weight you want to support the higher the price tag goes!  I was fortunate to be magnet shopping for my frames just before Christmas and found very strong, very reasonably prices hooks made for hanging wreaths on metal doors.  They are a little funky and green - but they do a great job of holding my frames in place!  Also I travel frequently for work, so I started last year collecting magnets for each city or airport I travel to.  They help bring some interest to the place too!

well - my week is almost over - Hope you have some fun planned for the weekend- I know I will be sewing, we are epxecting a lot more rain! I have some quilts to work on so I'll be happy.  Hope you are too! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How was your Memorial Day?

Mine was mostly wet.

So sad to have a 3 day weekend and it was rainy or looking like rain most of the time.  Cold too. 

So I did the best with it I could and hibernated in my basement - working on a new quilt. 

I am not thrilled with it so far - it's got a lot of ivory in it - lots of background - so I think I won't be sure until it is quilted with some colorful thread.  I'll post some pictures soon - right now it's only 2 rows wide - though all of teh blocks are done and borders are all planned. 

When I did come up for air or food or diet Coke, I did some small home chores and headed right back down to my lair.  Let's see Friday night I made a stop at Costco on my way home and picked up a rotisserie chicken then did several loads of laundry and vegged on the couch in front of the TV.

Saturday morning I cleaned the kitchen then made some orange creamsicle cupcakes.  Threw together a Caesar salad for dinner and washed and spun enough lettuce for Sunday too.   Headed back down and sewed and cut and sewed some more.  I cannot even remember what we did for dinner on Saturday - oops!!   I do recall I stayed up until 5:30 in the morning Sunday watching TV shows on Netflix.  (Yes, sometimes I act irresposibly,  especially about sleeping!)

Sunday I  ran some errands with Mark in the afternoon - primarily to Joann's for some Guterman's thread on sale and to pick up some Diet Coke!  Grabbed a late lunch  or was it early dinner at Panera. Then back to sewing and more TV.

Monday I sewed again, did more laundry, cleaned the kitchen. marinated pork tenderloins for dinner, and later cooked same tenderloins on the grill and served with cheddar broccoli rice (thank you Zatarains!)   Mid afternoon baking break for a batch of ginger crinkle cookies  - yummmy...

I did not get my basil plants in the containers outdoors as planned.  I did not get my hollyhock bulbs in the ground - I think they are probably dead by now or mushy from the rain exposure.  

We are expecting rain all week this week - so I guess those tasks will just get pushed out til next weekend - or not.  

Gotta go - home is calling!

Friday, May 24, 2013

The weekend is here!!!

I love weekends. 
No -  I REALLY,  REALLY LOVE weekends!!

and better than just a weekend is a three day weekend. 

I love my job too, but I do work hard all week - burning brain cells.  And I need my weekends to rest and recover.  By the time Friday comes, my fingers are tired, my brain is tired, my eyes ache ... sometimes I think my hair even aches!! 

I was recounting working this morning on the phone with Mom.  I have been working full time summers in between full time college and so on since 1975.  My mom thinks going to college is not equivalent to working full time.  Hmmm - I don't agree.  In fact, if I had to go back to college full time I think it would be harder than working.   What do you think?

This weekend all of our pollen is out in full force - so I may be hibernating at home.  But I have lots of inside projects to work on, or I could get back to my quilt in progress (one of many in progress) or my new V stitch ripple crochet throw in progress or any other crafty thing I can think up as long as I don't have to go shop for it!! 

I just need to get home and hang my big flag on the front of the house and I will be ready for Memorial Day!! 

See you all next week with some pictures of finished projects I hope!!  Here's a quilt I made a few years ago and we raffled off to support our hospitalized veterans!   

Please buy a poppy this weekend to help those who have sacrificed for our freedom.

Monday, May 20, 2013

13 years in the making!

This past week Mark and I flew to Austin Texas to see our son Thomas graduate from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX.  My MIL also flew in from NC and we all met in the airport. 

Southwestern is actually the first institute of higher learning in Texas, founded in 1840.  It is a beautiful campus in a wonderfully rejuvenated small town.  We drove around the town square multiple times and altho I was driving I was also salivating over all the cute shops and restaurants, but no shopping for me!  At least not that day! 

The graduation photos are on Mark's phone, so they will have to wait. But suffice to say it was a beautiful (hot) day and our buttons were almost popping off with pride at learning that Thomas graduated Magna Cum Laude with Honors.  Of the 59 students receiving their BS that day only 4 did the honors program. So it was 'big stuff' to us.  Thomas' paper will be bound and retained in the Southwestern library for generations ot come!

The day before heading to Texas I took a day off to get ready, do a doctor's appointment, and do a little home decor project that has been bugging me for 13 years!  Our home built in 1955 originally had a big lava rock wall surrounding the fireplace.  The next owners in the late 70's replaced that with cherry wood paneling.  Nice paneling - but still... (eyes rolling)  Not being a rustic kind of girl that wall has really bugged me.  I tried to get Mark to let me paint it when we repainted the living room in 'Parchment Paper' 3 years ago, to no avail.  To make matters worse the adjacent wall which goes up the stairs to the top level of the house I had painted in Ralph Lauren River Rock in a deep cherry color (trying to disguise the cherry elephant in the room).  So that wall had to be completely sanded to lose the rock texture before any painting could begin.

I hand sanded, taped, applied 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint and the wall was done!  I loved it!!!  I had the mantel decor back up before Mark got home and he loved it too!  Now we sit and wonder why we waited so long!  I guess I should have pushed harder all those years ago.  The almost white wall really opens up the space.  My next project is a family 'rogue's gallery' going up the stairs.  The frames are all purchased, just need to pull pictures and plan the layout - this might be a good task for next weekend when I have 3 days off! 

Timber !!!

Here are some pics from my last posting.  The small trees along the back fence line are about 6 feet tall - so extrapolate that to the spruce and you can see what a loss this huge tree was!

In this next picture you can see the tree on the right which is a Norway Spruce on the back fence line and the CO Blue to the left of the one removed are both trimmed and thinning - in the two weeks since this picture was taken they are even more dead from the ground up.  We will be doing sterile trimming on the CO Blue to try to save it - but the Norway will come down in the next few weeks also.  If we don't contain this it can spread airborne to our other evergreens.  So far all of our front trees are unaffected.

Lots of work ahead for us!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Doing Better!

So - Only a few days since my last post - over a weekend - and while I wish I had a picture to share I left my phone at home today - so pictures will wait until my next posting. 

The big weekend news is that our 60 year old Colorado Blue SPruce which towered over the neighborhood from our back yard is now gone.   It had lost almost all of it's needles since last fall and we are worried it may be a fungus that could spread to our other spruces - but after taking a piece of stem with dead and live needles to the nursery it may be drought related.    I am going to try to get an arborist out to give me guidance this week but hope we can save our other trees. 

So here is something I learned - when trimming branches from trees you should alwyas wipe the saw blade with alcohol between each branch - so if lower branches are sick you don't spread it!  AND especially if you trim from tree to tree!!  Good to know eh?

The tree came down in about 15 minutes - then an hour and a half later, the stump was gone, the trunk wood had been picked up by some neighbors, the branches were at the curb - other than a blank circle in the back yard you would never know there had been a giant tree there!  So sad.  Loved our tree guy - great prices great service - if you are in upper IL, lower WI call Kotierra Tree Service out of Winthrop Harbor. 

So with that done, we spent the rest of the weekend working on smaller gardening projects - planting containers in the front, putting in a new rose bush, general grooming.  The hostas are just peeking through the soil. the magnolia tree is shedding her beautiful flower petals and in a couple of weeks the pool will be open and on it's way to warming!  That's the first sign of our hope for a nice hot summer! 

Today is my nephew Freddie's 24th Birthday!!  Happy Birthday Freddie!!! Where did the years go?   

Friday, May 3, 2013

OMG!!! Two Years!

Can't believe it's been that long!  Well - yeah I can.... no excuses - life has been busy, between work, home and family it's a wonder I even recall my name some days!   But I am back!

Strangely enough, I probably stopped blogging much around the same time I stopped spending so much time in the quilting studio.  Most days I dream of stealing some time in there.  No longer do I get up and stay in jammies all day on Saturday or Sunday and just sew to my hearts content!  More often I am busy with something else - some house project or shopping, or cooking, or gardening and in the evenings I am just worn out! 

I did a lot of travel for work in the last 18 months - I went to Argentina, Peru, Mexico City, UK, Paris, Philadelphia a couple of times, Florida, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, Quebec City, Lexington, KY and Boston, then we added a 3 week road trip at year end that took us from Illinois to North Carolina, down the East Coast to Port St Lucie, FL. down and over to Naples, then back up.  We were changing locations about every three days and drove almost 4,000 miles in 21 days.  We also shuttled 2 kids to 4 different airports on 4 different days!  I needed to come back to work to rest!!

I do love to travel and I enjoy meeting new people.  So it's not a hardship for me other than the rest of my work doesn't go away when I travel and I do know Mark did not marry me thinking I would be travelling so much!    This past year was a bit more extreme than usual (but it was fun!!)

Here's some great pictures I took in Paris - at least they were great for me!  I did find a little quilt shop in Saint Germain - Le Rouvray - and indulged in some wonderful fabric in fact I just picked up some coordinating fabrics last week at my new haunt in Elmhurst so maybe I'll get back in the studio some day soon.   Still researching designs.  Be back soon!  Toby