Cluster of Events With Good Fortune

Friday has come and gone.  My son now is officially titled with an associate degree from college.  We had quite a travel to get there, but my parents did not want to drive and my cars as you recall are gimping along.  So, I agreed to drive in downtown Dallas traffic in their automobile.

A few years back my youngest who was just 14 months old when she got sick, was very sick and so for several months, the longest stay was three and a half weeks, we would travel to Children’s Hospital in Dallas sometimes daily.  Either one of us would stay down there during her healing process.  I learned then (scared to death) to  maneuver Dallas traffic in the downtown area.

There were days we would only be 10 minutes away and Woodall Rodgers would be bumper to bumper and those couple of miles traveling under Clyde Warren Park tunnel, would take an hour and a half.  Nerve wracking, but now behind me.  My child forced me to learn something when she was sick.  Among being a nurse for her condition and learning medical procedures I learned the way to get through downtown.  Without those days of illness and mastering the art of driving in that area, I would have missed my son’s graduation or probably figured out the long way to take to avoid driving in that traffic.

Friday was a rainy day, but the rain did hold off for the downtown excursion.  As we finally got onto 35E South (yeah a road with an East in it’s name actually travels south), the rain started.

My father made the comment that he could never drive down here, I assume his butthole was puckered and his knuckles white, to whatever he was choosing the grasp.  The further we got the more relaxed the driving, even though I was still in unfamiliar territory it was just the interstate, pretty much a straight shot to Waco.

My dad also reveled in the gas mileage his car was getting.  In retrospect, the wind was behind our sail and so that is probably the reason for 31 MPG on the way down.  The way back was less by about 4 MPG.

Just as we made our last turn into the apartment complex my Son lived in for the last year and a half, we were rear ended.  My parents car was a Kia Soul, the truck that ran into us was an F250 with some kind of hook knobbies sticking out of the bumper.  She hit us on the driver’s side rear corner.

She admitted fault as her son had dropped his bottle and she reached back to pick it up and in that instant did not see us in time to maneuver a better plan.  Because I had my foot on the brake and was turning, it caused the Kia to be pushed violently in a jerky movement in the driveway of the apartment complex.  I could tell we had been rear ended because of the noise and the jolt of my hair.  The noise was the back glass breaking out of the Kia.  (Yeah away from home, raining, and now no back glass).  My hair is very thick and long.  I assume I could go on a hair diet and loose about 5 lbs if I cut it.  Instead I just twist it up into a bun and put some major hair clips within which does the trick and usually by the end of the day, the hair clips are still in the right spot, maintaining my hair.  But during the wreck the G-force knocked them almost all the way out of my hair.  My neck did hurt in that instant, but it went away.  I can only assume the adrenaline happening was some kind of pain blocker.

My parents both in their 70s seemed physically to only have bruises from their watches jarring either the back of their hand, or their wrist.  My mom’s pinky fingernail was bleeding, not sure how that happened.

So for Friday so far we are in a major wreck, and are awaiting a graduation ceremony to attend.  My sons fraternal grandfather wanted to move him back home on the same day, so for this day it will be an accident, a move, a graduation, rain, quite the cluster of a disorganized mess.

I felt sorry for my son as my ex in-laws were very hard on him.  I no longer wanted to drive in the town of Waco, and he offered to carry me to walmart to get some plastic for the back window and some duct tape.  I also purchased paper towels to wipe the wet car off and a nice pair of scissors.  My parents and I had not eaten, and he also carried me to the local drive in called Sonic to get each of us a hamburger to tide us over.

The accident occurred at 2:00.  Not sure when the officer left but it seemed like forever.  And then dealing with christmas traffic on the streets as well as the store, we did not get back until 3:30.  That time flew by.

When my son and I got back to the apartment, parents now being fed, he was chewed out by my ex in-laws and I quote “I am not sure if college made him smarter, or lazier, as he is not here to move his stuff”.  What they were not understanding is he was helping his other grandparents and me by doing what he did.  I believe he did the right thing, the rest of it was just stuff and totally an agenda can be disrupted by an accident, I mean come on people.

Why would they want to move him on the day he graduates?  I figured it was to get christmas money with the deposit money coming back.  But it should have waited until the weekend.

The idiots that they are even packed up the toilet paper, so you could not use the restroom.  There was food in the fridge, and we all know how expensive groceries are.  Some frozen chicken breasts, but they opted that would go bad and not be any good for the graduation ceremony and travel home.  Since it was only highs in the 40s and now in late afternoon the chicken would have been fine.  They opted to pack and keep the 1/2 eaten box of cereal.  A box of knock of fruity pebbles. ???? Another reason I know I chose better, as they make horrible choices.

This day was reassurance to me repeatedly that I am glad to be disconnected to my ex and his family.  The family talk bad about women in general, and after the separation from the state of marriage, I realize they were masters of disguise.  You see they would flag someone in the family and ride their but about something really unimportant.  As removed as I am from them, I can see it clearly now as they run someone down, because it keeps the family from talking bad about them.  A gang up routine, were the men pick a woman and talk bad about her, run her down.  In essence controlling the rest of the family from saying anything bad about the men.  Strength in numbers and very misbehaved people.  I am still sad for my son as he will have to deal with their mentality.

Instead of them realizing that perhaps that was not the best choice to move on another day, they would not admit that they were in error therefore running my son down, for helping out someone who ACTUALLY needed help.

The cluster of Friday is behind us.  He has graduated.  The pain will subside.  As expected my parents who seemed fine Friday, the ache of the G-force….they are feeling it.  From my shoulders down, I have no pain.  My neck however is very tender.  I have free movement but everything is sore to the touch.  There is the front right side I have no pain and tis fine, I am assuming this is the side my chin and head rotated to for the jarring.  The left side of my throat hurts, but only if I touch it.  If I pick up my youngest child, I feel the muscles in my neck begging me for a different course of action.  I assume I have whiplash.  I am taking aleeve, and will mend.  Tomorrow if my symptoms are worse, I will head to the doc.  But today I am more stiff in the neck than sore.

Yesterday I took it easy and wanted to quilt so bad, but wanted to mend and was afraid to do anything too strenuous.  So I decided to bind my second machined quilt.jrr10

This is now sandwiched and quilted.  Glad I managed to sneak this one in a couple of weeks back for the sandwiching.  Perfect for a day like today.  Mending the body, stitching is somewhat mending eh?  I did hand stitch the binding.  Binding is now finished this afternoon.


The fabric strips were by Moda and was a collection for a cause that was sale priced at for only 17.99.  I snatched that up in a heart beat.  The backing is also from a collection for a cause by the owner of Moda, but of years past that I picked up at a quilt shop when it was closing and purchased that yardage cheap.  The two collections meld wonderfully together.  I did piece the back with the dust rose color which is in the color scheme of things.  This was very inexpensive to make and wonderful to practice stitching on since I am new to my longarm.

Even though Friday was a cluster, I still have Good Fortune!  We all do!  And today I sat down and tried Bonnie Hunter’s method of drawing the line and attempting to get my spare HSTs with that method for the mystery quilt called Good Fortune.  It worked, I do not like the scant seam allowance.  And I am not going to make very many of these.  I was not fond of these in On Ringo Lake.  I thought they took away from the block with too much busy-ness and they were directional for one block and opposite for the next.  Here are mine.  Remember, my blacks are my neutrals and my yellow is my green.  A nice contrast and we will see next week what unfolds for the mystery.


I am off to do oodles of laundry.  I am linking up for the Monday Link up of GOOD FORTUNE.  Have you checked out other peoples fabrics and progress?  It is fun to see the masses all going down the same path with such variety of fabrics and colors.  Click here to check those past linkups.

Thanks for stopping in and reading my blog!


Amalgamation Complete

The homemade jelly roll of scraps and left overs from other peoples quilts through the years has come together with a few stitches, an amalgamation representing sew many memories.

Jelly Roll Race quilts are fun and quick.  I estimate without binding that this quilt I probably have less than 5 hours in it, including the quilting.

To dissect this quilt visually for me brings back so many memories.  I see part of the

  • Tree of Life,  I see
  • Green Lemonade,  
  • Star Capella,  
  • garlic knot Marinara
  • Baby Booties
  • Butter And Eggs
  • Farm Fresh II
  • My Aunt’s Memory Quilt of preserves made from my Grandpa’s clothes and my Grandma’s fabric.
  • The binding is made from a cheater quilt that was my first free motion experiment, and is now made into a car seat.  I rather like this binding as it is scrappy looking without any extra effort (note to self great use of panels that I have no use for!)
  • I see quilts that have not been quilted yet just ready for the next step in this quilt, the memories are waiting lol.

I highly recommend each time you are at the cutting table.  Cut a strip for your project you are making now, and cut a spare to be tucked away until you have a roll of 40-45 strips, and let the sewing commence.  You do not have to match a thing, scrappy is home around here.  This quilt was meant to be, it is just right for us.  I am glad the little effort I put into it, will go many years or a long way.  I have named this Amalgum, short for amalgamation.

Tomorrow is graduation, my son is graduating from college.  He is my best example of the wonderful child.  A sweet boy, who is now grown into a man.  A lovely girlfriend, and his whole life ahead of him with so many choices.  So far, he has such a level head on his shoulders, he surprises me.  Even  more level headed than me.  He is already making the right choices, and I hope it continues for years.  I am sad, but a whole lot more happy than sad.  I love ya son!

I will try to get some sewing done for Good Fortune, but the thread I ordered for the long arm came in and I hope to do that first.  I have another jelly roll race to quilt up, this one is in pinkish hues and am looking forward to the needle punctures and design to be determined.  Hopefully I will get a bit of stitching done this weekend.

Toodles!  And thank you for reading my blog!

Bee Butts and Chicken Beaks

This is the stuff of life eh?  No really, I am just describing my mystery Good Fortune HSTs.  I have sewn more than the bee butts and chicken beaks fabric.  But isn’t it fun the different fabric novelties and choosing those lovelies for your quilts?

I feel I have GOOD FORTUNE enough to have these fabrics.  And yes the blacks are my neutrals and my blues are just a different shade of blue.  I am hoping the black “neutrals” will really make this quilt pop.  For now I am just sampling a few blocks each week, crossing my fingers that it is going to work well and play nice together.


By the way I am really enjoying my thread cutter.  I purchased this at a quilt bazaar.  I had been wanting to get one for the string piecing that happens.  This stands up perfectly on its own, or fits beautifully in the palm of my hand.  The man who crafted it, was elderly and the ladies said my purchase would make his day.  He did a very good job.  This has more character and appeal to me than a hunk of plastic for the same price.  And when the clover thread cutter wears out, I can just wedge a new on in its place.bbcb2

I finally got Ursa the Purple Princess up and running.  Let’s just say the tension problems I was having were from operator error.  I have corrected and am binding my first ever scrappy jelly roll race quilt on my big machine.  Enjoyed this immensely.  The fabrics are all pulled from my stash.  They are a amalgamation of years of quilting.  Each strip in someone else’s quilt, now these will reside in mine.  Great memories of stitching for the last 20 years.

A strip from the memory “preserve Jars” I made for my Aunt

A strip from the charity quilts donated to the E-Stitchers of Greenville.

Lots of strips from various baby quilts made for those expecting.

Some scraps from a huge bag of scrap goodness from the local goodwill.

And so on…..

As I was quilting this, I thought it being my first it would turn out so ugly that I would donate it, but the more I looked at the fabrics, the more I realized I could not donate my stitch’n memories.  When it is completed (binding is now being hand sewn), it is right where it was meant to be.

This is free motion quilting that I just made up as I was doodling on a practice fabric before the first quilt was loaded.  I like my design.  Feel free to try this on a jelly roll race quilt.  It’s kinda is neat.


For those of you wanting to see others progress in the mystery quilt of Good Fortune, here is the link.  I urge everyone to take a peak at all the lovely fabrics and color schemes.  A wonderful time of year to come together for Good Fortune.

And thanks for reading my blog!


Free Motion Quilting

Ahhhhhh….at last, finally quilting, free motion style.  One third of this bird is complete.  And then tension problems.  I have figured out thread is somehow getting hung up in the hook/race mechanism.  I have been doodling with tension issues, and so out to the side of the quilt, have quilted the dickens out of scraps, trying to get it right.  I will have to invest in a pair of hemostats to get that little piece of thread out.  Other than that hiccup, just cruising along.

Here is the pattern I am winging under the needle.  It is easy, fast and looks like a quotation box.  Better than bricks for this Jelly Roll Race quilt, a more feminine touch.


Here is the row that gave me problems and I played with it until I had it almost right, and then I ran out of bobbin thread, and the bobbin thread got stuck in the machine mechanism…*SIGH*.  No hurry I have  my whole life ahead of me to quilt onward.  🙂  Sewing has taught me much patience through the years….come to think of it, so have my children!


Back side homespun with the “tension” issues.

Last night I managed a few Good Fortune HST’s.  A nice couple of days doing what it is I love to do (with other unfavorable things like, cooking, dishes, laundry ha!).


Some “raw” HSTs unsewn.


And some ready for pressing.  In the Good Fortune Mystery, my blacks are the mystery neutrals, and my sky blues, are the mystery blues.  Yup going dark for my neutrals.  I have seen people go gray with neutrals so why not.  Neutrals blend and the colors will pop against it.  I am not sewing the full set, but enough to see if I will end up with a twin size/lap size/ or wall hanging.  The mystery of not knowing is kinda fun and challenging, a thrill with my stash.

And as promised here are my before and after photos of the garage once my machine was set up.  The quilt on it now is the jelly roll race above in this post.  This picture looks almost magical.  No magic, just labor LOL!





You can see in the margins of batting where I practiced and practice to get the tension right.  Looks like I will try to go back tonight and see if I can pull that little thread out.  I need a tweezers or hemostats, something that will lock onto it.  The quilt will have to come off the frame as kitty a.k.a. Dummy will probably want to snooze on it.  Mom thinks the cat will go to her highest perch on the cat tree (almost to the ceiling) and bask under the heat lamp.  If I were a cat, a quilt is mighty tempting.

I am looking into what I can load next as I have only red, teal, and white now as workable thread.  Industrial thread to be exact as this is is a speedy machine, which is too fast and breaks OTC (over the counter) thread.  Thread has been ordered with a more pastel colors, stuff that will blend into the quilts.  That will probably be here Monday.  I have another Jelly Roll Race quilt that is already ironed and ready to go, but kinda want to hold off until I choose a better than what I have currently thread.

A beautiful day with lots of sun (after a night of rain).  Highs in the low 70s, sun on the face, wind in my hair.  Thread in my quilt.  Another wonderful day in the life of me!   May yours be just as wonderful and THANK YOU for reading my blog!


Ursa and Stash Thread Woes

Ursa has been mounted on a nice steel frame (which I helped assemble).  The purple princess was amazing!  As long as I had a certain brand of thread loaded, she was magnificent.  But I only had a smidgen given to me.  And it would not match the quilt I loaded.  I ended up with tension problems and a little operator error.  Finally figured all that out only to have extreme thread breakage.  I have this amazing star thread which I had all intentions of using from my stash.  My dealer instructed me to break the thread she gave me, and then break mine.  NO COMPARISON.  Let the industrial thread shopping begin.  This is a question I regret not asking ahead of time as I could have been quilting tonight.

What will not work for thread?

  • Coats and clark
  • Sulky
  • Star
  • Signature
  • and any omni polyester

These just will not handle the speed of the Ursa kind.

I have below some photos of set up.  Actually I took a bunch of notes on the frame assembly.  As an assembler for 30 years…that was over kill as this was just nuts and bolts, no biggie.  The real notes for the machine I failed to take.  I do have an instruction booklet.  And if you have ever played electronic games, you have to learn the hoops to jump through and which buttons to press correctly and when, with a tad of coordination.

And then besides thread woes, I have electrical woes.  There is a deep freeze running in the garage.  This is very dirty power, which causes voltage in the garage to drop.  So this winter, I will not be able to run any heat.  In the summer, probably no a/c.  The good news is, there is a warm up mode for the machine and should not cause any problems sewing.  Today highs were in the mid 70s and it would have been the perfect temperature to quilt.  No thread….*sigh*.

Additionally, I thought I would just set the quilt up, so on the weekend I will be able to just show up and stitch.  Turns out if I leave anything on the frame and the cat who is the keeper of the garage shows up, it could potentially hammock the batting which would be impossible to quilt.

My idea for Cat repel is to set mouse traps with paper laid over them, so if she does decide to get up there, there will be an arsenal of scare to keep her down, but then there is the fear of retaliation, I mean she is a cat.  I would not put it past her.  I am hoping she is just too damn lazy.  But with cats, you never know.

Since she resided the first 10 years of her life at my Dad’s shop, she was accustomed to be fed on the counter, and was welcomed to all high points, corners, and crevices, nothing was off limits.  I figure this will give me a problem.

Any of you longarmers out there, have a solution of cat repel?  Otherwise quilting will all have to happen within a day.

Before set up, the whole of the garage minus about a two foot section behind me and on my right as this photo is taken.before


And in all my haste, I only took a picture of her in the box……there will be other opportunities.


The good news is, with all the free motion I have done on my small machine, this is actually really easy.  Feathers will require a bit more practice, but flowers, and curves pretty much are flawless.  I have much time to practice, and it will happen soon.  I am still just itching to stitch, but can’t.

The garage was emptied and is now very full.  Three rolls of batting (thank you JoAnns for an amazing Black Friday price {And thanks Mom for an early Christmas present]).  I think it is appropriate to park the cost of a new car right in the garage.  This machine is plain jane, but 20 years ago my new car cost less!  I will drive her for years and the maintenance on her, I will be able to do it myself.

Shopping for a long arm, many questions need to be asked.  Most other machines all look the same and are rebadged.  I am not saying it is a bad thing, but most of those machines are hermetically sealed and impossible to access anything.  Loving the concept and engineering on this.  For those of you not familiar with this brand, next time you are at a show and see the Nolting booth, take her out of a test run.  I liked her best because there was little vibration, and the steel frame, leaning on the rods would not bend them.  Most of us quilters have budha bellies and this could cause the quilt not to be plum.  Food for thought.  I tried many, and kept gravitating to this one.  The team of people in this company is pretty awesome.  A small mom and pop shop, with the right kind of customer service.  A recipe for a long lasting wonderful relationship.

I have quilted my first quilt, and there is much tension issues, which I will probably pick out eventually.  I am in no hurry as I don’t have the right thread yet….and it is supposed to storm tomorrow.  This weekend is going to be a great sewing weekend, even if I just get in a few hours.

Please cat owners/longarm enthusiasts, if you have a cat repel remedy for the potential quilt hammock, leave it in the comments section.  And thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

Good Fortune and the Time Machine


Mystery quilt started……check.  Quilts ironed and backings sewn……check.  Garage cleaned and vacuumed……check.   Playing hookie today……check.  Turn on the heat….aw heck.  What does all of this have in common?

The time machine…..Ursa to be exact.  No Ursa is not human but machine.  She is lavender and has  a 20 inch throat.  She has only one eye.  Ursa is modest and utilitarian.

Ursa is being delivered today.  My new quilting machine.  This year is good fortune times two!  I have worked hard for the preparation of both.  In  the last week the time continuim slowed for me.  It seemed like that mystery quilt’s first clue was mever going to get here.  And today even last night, I slept very little.  The anticipation messing with how fast time normally flies by.  Today things will change forever.

Ursa the time machine will await my arrival.  The time leading up to using her will slowly pass by.  Once I touch her, the time will fly by.  Trying to cram a nights worth of  normal activities with machine quilting…..I am already geared for the time to fast forward through the evenings and drag during the days.  A time machine forever altering my days and nights with its magic.

The good fortune continues and I just marvel at the name of this years mystery.  It is perfectly named.  All of us participants can attest to that.  We have heat, running water, a roof over our heads, a reliable sewing machine, a gob of fabric, some thread, and the time to stitch.  Yes we all have good fortune.  Sure there maybe unsightly things going on.  Don’t focus on the bad, don’t be pessimistic.  Look at all the good around you.  Thinking of your own good fortune and how lucky you are to be able to read the words before your eyes.  A wonderful name for this years mystery.

Good fortune is stitching.  Stitching is time.  Good fortune is a time machine.  A capsule in time with memories created, to never escape, to now have good fortune in the past, the present, and the future.

Linking up with Bonnie Hunter and Good Fortune.

The reds are my neutrals. The neutrals are my blacks.  This year I am going to the dark side of neutral.  I hope the contrasts of fabrics has good fortune for my efforts.  Time will tell.  🙂


Good Fortune!

It is mystery quilt time!  I would like to thank Bonnie Hunter for going above and beyond and helping us out with another great mystery project.  Thank you Bonnie!  This is something great that I look forward to every year!

Because I have changed my colors I am going slow this year.  The Good Fortune mystery is priority but at the same time is on the back burner.  You are probably wondering how can this make sense?

My long arm is scheduled for delivery and set up on MONDAY!!!!!  I am getting a 20 inch Nolting in lavender.  I have already though of the name of my new machine.  So Monday I have the day off.  I have about 10 quilts to quilt.  (Mom mentioned she has another 10)  It is obvious I will not complete 10 quilts in a day because there is a huge learning curve.  Also, I will be doing all stuff free motion, no computerization (yet).

So Monday I will have a great story and will post for the link up party that Bonnie is hosting.  This is Good Fortune times 2.  I have worked hard with my hobby.  Quilting with a 6 inch throat space on queen size quilts is quite the trapezes muscle work out.  My neck looks like I lift weights and am very fit, but the rest of me is more couch potato, non-athletic physique.

About the name of my quilting machine…..I went to a baby names website.  I was looking for an old fashioned name and found the perfect one.  She will be hailed Ursa.  Yes, named after the little dipper.  Ursa in the constellation scheme of the things translates to bear.  Here at the house we all refer to one another as bears.  I am Momma Bear, and then there is Papa Bear.  My youngest’s name is Tully, so we call her Tully Bear….and so on.  A perfect name for this Teddy bearish family.

My color scheme for the good fortune mystery is different.  My blue is blue, but a lighter shade, orange is cheddar, red is neutrals, neutrals is black, and I think I have some yellow in there somewhere.

With the small pieces for this mystery, I am finding that prints with largeness may not work for the smaller scale.  So I have done a few, and will do a few more, but will not be doing the total count.  The goodness is, the black and neutrals that I sub’d go well together, and in her video about color theory stated contrast is key for this years mystery.

I have quite a variety going on here, using up the small pieces first.  Good to get rid of some of those.  Why some of these fabrics are in about 5 quilts, so let them be gone!  I see UFO fabric.  That is on the back of my Green Lemonade quilt as well as it is incorporated into Garlic Knots Marinara.  Now it is forever in what will become good fortune….huh….that sounds like a fortune cookie to me!

Are you interested in joining in the fun?  It is free and you can find the introductions to colors and clues here.  Free in the quilting realm is priceless!

Have a great weekend!  And thank you for reading my blog.

Postage Sheet Final Post

This fall we have had gobs of rain.  As promised, with a break in the weather, a photo op happened.  This quilt was made from vintage sheets.  The pink fabric was yardage I picked up at the thrift store.  This is a very pastel quilt and turned out soft on the eyes.  This was quilted in the Forget Me Not pattern, true symbolism for those around me who will receive it.  One day I will not be here anymore.  I expect this quilt will last longer than I, hence the pattern I chose the forget me not.  I named this Postage Sheet because it is in the postage stamp design and the vintage sheets used in its making.

The back I used a linen sheet that goes from white to floral which was perfect for this pastel quilt.  At the same estate sale that I purchased the vintage sheet back, they also had matching pillow cases.  When it is upon the bed, it will be a matched set.  Nothing in my house matches as my style is a bit eclectic, but there is a first for everything.


Math is not my strong suit, it is a suit that frustrates me sometimes.  So instead of doing math with measuring I just set some squares on point and floated that in two corners.  It turned out ok, even without math!postagesheet3

And the back….postagesheet4

And a close up of the florals on the back.postagesheet5

Not a stitch has been sewn this week.  My anxiety is high awaiting my quilting machine.  I just do not want to get in the middle of a project (which I am already) only to delve deeply in my quilting machine learning curve.  I am ready to master yet another quilt task, and just do not want to piece.

I have been enjoying knitting this past week.  I managed to find some round looms at the thrift store for only $3 for the set.  I snagged those up as well as some rake looms which I probably did not need.  I may pass these onto my mother, and if she does not want them, ask her to find a home for them.

My first hat….and now I wish I would have doubled the hat knotting it on each end tucking one into the other.  Ah well, I do like the odd yarn that I chose as it hides my stitches were are pretty imperfect.  I see some mittens to match in my looms near future.


I also made a scrubby for the kitchen as yarn is was on sale this week.

I managed to make a cranberry pie for the first time in my life.  The recipe I used was from the TV show Andy Griffin.  Those of you who frequent pinterest have probably seen the recipe cards created by Aunt Bea.  The recipe I used was from Otis Campbell.  You may remember him as the town drunk.  Friendly fellow on the grain alcohol made in someone’s still.  This pie had 1/2 c of brandy in it.  I just happened to have some nice brandy that was not getting drank and used it in the pie and then carried this pie to work to feed my coworkers as they are great guinea pigs and give great thumbs up or thumbs down.  I was told it was delicious.  Be looking for the recipe that I tweaked on my other blog the cookbook this weekend.  I have an adaptation if you do not care to use booze.

Well, next week it will be Thanksgiving, my my my.  The time has just flown by.  This year is gearing up to come to a close soon.  Have you met all your goals this year?  I have not entirely.  But some goals made is better than none.

I am looking forward to family and cooking, and time to decompress for the important things in life.  After that is all done, I am really looking forward to kicking up my feet and slowing down to my own pace with no time crunches, just time to pass as it does all too quickly.

Happy Trails!  And thank you for reading my blog!


When the word fire comes to mind, do you think of camping?  a fireplace?  Cooking?  The word fire is used everyday for things that are ordinary, and no big deal.   If I were to place a noun in front of the fire, it would describe the situation completely.


orange fire hydrant
Photo by Victor Zissou on

When one hears that they immediately think of structure fire and indeed that is what this post is about today.  How many of you have lived near something a structure that is on fire?   How many of you have had a structure fire of your own?

I have lived in this house for 24 years.  I am uncertain as to the year but when my son was just a baby, the grocery store at the end of the block burnt completely down.  I recall for whatever reason that day being up early right after the sun rose.  I kept hearing gunshots which even though we are in town the river bottom is less than a couple of miles away (on just right morning the sound would carry) and so it is not unusually to hear the popping of a gun in the distance.  I completely dismissed the noise for an ordinary Saturday morning noise for dove hunting or whatever was in season.

I woke up smelling smoke.  Sometimes burning of brush smells our town up a bit.  I searched the house to make sure it was not my house, and then I passed the kitchen window.  There was smoke coming down the alley like a fog rolling in between my big poplar tree (now it rests in peace) and the neighbors fence line.  The dogs, the cats, had no alarm bells on and I am really surprised I was not alerted by them.  So I slipped on my husbands work boots, and traveled west towards the end of the block to see if I could see what was on fire.  And the snap, crackle, pop which I mistook for gunfire got louder and louder.  By the time I was halfway there, the fire trucks and their sirens parked down my street and started running hoses hooking them up to substandard water pressure hydrants.  The grocery store burned to the ground and was a total loss.  They fought that blaze all morning and due to many factors, it just became a controlled burn.  All the accelerants in the store, it would have been impossible to put it out.  That is now an empty slab with a parking lot out front.

The noise that I heard in that fire were the aerosol cans exploding, as well as all the canned goods pressure cooking until release.  That structure was a nice brick store, you would not think that it could burn like that, but again with all the accelerants, it did with no problem.

I felt terrible.  We owed the owners around $100.  The mom and pop grocery store would let you keep a tab if you were on hard times.  My husband used to work there as a butcher and had an accident with his thumb, and so was unable to work.  I only made minimum wage, so a couple weeks worth of groceries were charged.  That being kept on paper before the computers taking business by storm, was lost.  An immediate out of business for all of the family.  All the IOUs and promises gone with it.

Fast forward to last year.  A house burned at the other end of my block.  Immediately when I heard the popping noise like gunfire I knew something was on fire, it is a sound you never forget.  I went out to find the neighbors standing, waiting for the fire dept as the house was totally engulfed in flames.  Me being halfway on the block, I could feel the heat of the fire, radiating all the way to my position facing eastward.  The house giving off warmth one more time.  I could smell all the carcinogens burning, which now that I think about it, it was probably the asphalt shingles burning/melting.

The house was a total loss and burned to the ground.  The fire dept did a really good job of keeping the other structures safe.  Unfortunately because the shed was too close to the house and property line, the house directly west did get smoke damage, but the lady that lived there had passed away so it was empty.

This house that burned was owned by a property slum lord.  Although he fixes up houses and then rents them out, he uses people who are not licensed.  The fire was caused by faulty wiring.  Renters had been in that house less than a month and lost all their belongings in the fire, they escaped with only their lives.

Fast forward to November 4th, 2018.  I am in the kitchen putting veggies on to steam as we are having meatloaf, homemade scalloped potatoes..  I am in there tending to the food and it was a bout 5:00.  I kept hearing that all familiar noise of popping like a gun.  It sounded very far away and I dismissed it.  I sat on the couch and was knitting this.



My daughter wants a humongous sock, like a sleeping bag.  When I started this afghan, I had one side that was open to make a  nice flat blanket.  After scouring the internet for jumbo sized knitting socks, nothing really came up and since I had already started, a sock was not going to be the result.  But then I learned you can fold your work back on itself and catch the stitches.  I had just turned this up to make the cuff after doing an experiment of popcorn stitches which I really like.

After rounding the loom once, I heard the popping noise of fire and this time it sounded much closer,, or from a different location than when I was in the kitchen.  I had just sat down for the second time on the couch after tending to our meal in the kitchen, and this time I heard glass break.  The glass was close by.  I got up because the neighborhood was deathly silent, unusual not to hear children playing, no dogs barking, nothing.

When I looked out my front door, the house straight across the street was on fire!  The flames/heat had broken out the kitchen window and were actually coming out the window.  The rush of adrenaline of keeping the family safe, oye!  I grabbed my camera to call 911, ok so I was a little panicked.  I then grabbed for my phone and for the first time in my life dialed 911.  Gave the address and the details, told who owned the house, told them the inhabitants had just moved out on the 30th.  And within minutes the fire dept was here.  By the time they had arrived, I no longer saw flames.  Whatever caught fire was only smoldering at this point.  I suspect the popping nosies I heard were cleaners /chemicals exploding, as the owners crew had been in there Wed and Thurs doing whatever it is they do.

I hear the fire dept power ram the kitchen door open (another sound I will never forget).  I saw them turn on a high velocity fan to move the smoke for better visibility..  Hoses were being ran, the police officer came over and took my brief statement.  And we watched as the 74 year old home let its smoke out.  We watched as other neighbors (nearly an hour later came to life and stepped outside shocked to see the fire trucks and hoses)  Living in Texas, I never looked this guesstimate up, but I believe the Cowboy game was on and therefore that was why the neighborhood was so quiet.

No one was injured, just the house now in a sadder state of affairs than before.    By 6:30 the fire dept was packing up and heading out.  A small fire, with much smoke damage.  It is odd to not see any life in that house.  It is odd to get my car started in the morning and the blackened soot on the windows blackening out the houses life.  Everyone who has ever lived in this rent house since I have been living here, has always left the overhead kitchen sink light on, you get used to that.

Both of these houses that burned were owned by the same person.  He does not have insurance.  I wonder if this was arson?  I wonder if it was something faulty?  I wonder if it was ammonia and bleach too close together?  I am very concerned as the house to the direct east of me, he completed gutted, added onto and then remodeled, took about 3 years.  The attic in the old house used to consist of gable vents at each end.  When he remodeled, those went away.  No whirly turbines on the roof, no attic vents whatsoever.  I have always wondered when the house will burn as it gets hot in Texas.

Tempuratures in barns with hay can reach over 100 degrees, not sure in a hot attic but one that is not vented would be hotter than a hot car as a house cannot move to cool down.  If the right conditions exist, chemical reactions can happen.  A fire can start.  My job now, to keep my family safe is to have a candid talk with the city and to get them to prevent another fire.

The owner of the burnt house, came by on Monday while I was at work and thanked me for calling.  He also wanted to set up a time to talk to me about the fire, wanted to ask if I had seen or heard anything.  He said he would come back by between 5 and 5:30 that day.  I rushed home because I wanted to tell him about the house he revamped next door.  I want to prevent another fire.  I wanted to have a very candid conversation with him.  I was stood up, never showed.

Dawn has just arrived and I hear the booms in the distance.  I think these are actual gunshot booms.  I am going to step outside now, and make sure all is right.

Have a great weekend!


Mystery Quilt Announced!

Bonnie Hunter is graciously designed another mystery quilt.  She announced colors and yardage requirements yesterday.  I started blindly planning for this quilt back in August. I will be deviating from her colors somewhat.  I am going with cheddar for my oranges and blacks for the neutrals.  A skyish blue for blue.  Yellow in place of red, and neutrals for green.  All of these contrast greatly and have already starched/ironed the fabric I know I will be using.  If you are interested in colors and mystery quilt building I highly recommend going to her blog at or by clicking this link directly to go to the details of the mystery quilt. This year’s mystery will be different for me.

With the upcomming delivery of my new longarm, I am itching for this process and have lots of tops to finish.  The mystery will be on the back burner ready to start after the reveal.  Because I have deviated to my own color scheme, I want to make sure I like the end result.  Last years On Ringo Lake mystery quilt is still only partially quilted waiting for me to quit being lazy and get going.  It is hard to quilt on a 6 inch throat space.  It really builds up your trapezes muscles, the muscles between your shoulders and your neck.  In much quilting my neck looks like that of a body builder.  (Too bad the rest of me us a gelatinous mess, ha!)

For the neutrals my plan is to go black.  The great thing about planing a quilt like this is photography.  What looks great to the human eye, may not look as great on camera.  Some of these may not make the cut.  These were taken from a layer cake called Harvest Moon.



For orange I am going cheddar!

For the blue I am going my hue of blue.


For red I will go yellow.  Will need to pull more from the stash or make a trip to the quilt shop.  I may shop my mothers stash.  🙂


I Think for the greens I will go neutrals!


I can’t wait to see how this unfolds!  I am dreaming of a mystery pineapple in blacks with colors in the corners.  I have the larger version of the folded corners ruler and I am finding I really like this ruler.  I can straight cut my smaller pieces of fabric with it as well as snowball the corners.  I have even used this as a binding tool and have emailed Doug Leko the creator of the tool and told him as such.  I am hoping that planted a seed and he teamed up with Bonnie for a dramatic mystery quilt event.  If you are having a hard time ordering this tool, last year I just ordered straight from him at Antler Designs.  This is Doug’s website, and he even signed my receipt and thanked me for my purchase.  Since is he is such a youngster I imagine his inventions as they come will take the quilting industry by storm in the future.  This ruler really makes you work smarter not harder!  For those of you curious about this implement, click here to see how you use it.  Bonnie is also demonstrating the larger version here.  A word of caution.  Using this tool, your 1/4 inch seam allowance needs to be a couple of  threads in so when you fold the fiber over the thread stitching, it will press out to the perfect dimension.  Something I learned during On Ringo Lake, my machine was waaaaaaay off for the seam allowance.  Quite frustrating if you do not know what is going on.  This makes beautiful flying geese without having to draw the line on the fabric then trim, then press.  It skips the tedious step of drawing the line.  The cut is accurate and the seam presses out perfectly to the right dimension.

If you have never followed along on a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, no matter what your experience YOU will LEARN more in a few weeks, than the lifetime you have been doing it!  I promise!  It will improve your piecing and accuracy in all things quilty.  You will get lessons on color and value, and if I am not mistaken there will be an upcoming video where Bonnie and Holly Anne Knight of String and Story discuss switching up the colors and how you know what direction to take.  I am curious about this and you will probably find mention of it here soon.

This week I have rather abandoned the sewing machine.  The temps in the house rose to an uncomfortable level and I refuse to run the AC.  It will be there, and guess what it cooled off just yesterday so I will be back at foot pedaling my way through fabric.  For now I have gotten out my knitting loom and with a hodgepodge of yarn have came a ways on a cuddle blanket.  I am playing with stitches and have attempted a trellis stitch, as well as just a knitting stitch.  I will attempting other stitches and will reveal this work one day when quilty things have slowed down.

So are you participating in this years Mystery Quilt?  I look forward to hearing your comments!  And thank you for reading my blog!