"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Monday, May 31, 2010


It has been an active weekend that has definitely kicked off summertime.  I mentioned to my husband that it just felt like Oklahoma summer but I couldn't put my finger on exactly what was different.  He knew, immediately.  

The dust. 

Not the dust like the Grapes of Wrath or anything unpleasant.  He meant the dust that comes from warm air in a dry spell that kicks up with the wind and makes the air feel like life, itself.  But not like new life, the way it is in the spring.  More like life in your prime, when you are strong and vigorous and learning the joy of not being the youngest, anymore.  But not being the oldest, either.  The kind of day and the time of life that so many of our fallen veterans were when they made the ultimate sacrifice.  Lost forever in their glory days, leaving behind grief stricken parents, shocked siblings and heart broken mates. 

For us.  So that we have the freedom and opportunity to live out our own summers carefree and optimistic about our future and the future of our country.  I could go on and on about the wonderful things our veterans have defended but I don't need to.  The people who read my blog are fully aware of the gifts we have received, the sacrifices that have been made and, importantly, that none of what we have is certain or pre-ordained. 

Thank God for our troops, in the past and in the future.  God bless them and their families. 

We celebrated my father-in-law's 85th birthday on Saturday.  He is a veteran.   He served on submarines in the Pacific during WWII.   He is the one that they said was filled with cancer, two months ago.  But then, it turned out, he wasn't.  After being sent to the cancer center, they discovered no cancer, anywhere - just a really nasty gall bladder that had to come out (can you imagine the stress all that caused??).  He is healing up, nicely, although impatient at what he considers slow progress.  As soon as the doctor gave him the okay to drive, he was out for several hours running the weed eater.

They don't make 'em like that anymore. 

My sister-in-law made a fabulous birthday cake:
It tasted as good as it looked.
And along with the other veterans, thanks for your service, dad.   And Happy Birthday, you handsome thing!

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Busy Days

I've been pretty busy the past few days between working on a long arm quilting website and blog, visiting Mimi, doctor's visits, shopping and some new quilting projects.   It feels good to be doing something.  I've been pretty inactive since we moved between not working and one minor ailment after another. 

My longarm quilting website is in progress.  I haven't really done anything on the accompanying blog but will get around to it, eventually.  I ordered business cards, this afternoon.

Had a great visit with Mimi.   We didn't do much of anything but eat Indian food, buy a baby car seat and buy nail polish but it was a great visit.  As always. 

I've had some doctor's appointments - nothing major but they are recommending with my family history that I remove my ovaries laproscopically when they quit working.  Whenever that happens.  I confess, after seeing what my mother went through (she died of ovarian cancer in 2007), it would be a relief to know I am not facing the same fate.  No final decision has been made but the option is out there.  If anyone has any experience with this or knows anything about it, give me a shout out. 

The roadrunners are behaving differently and I suspect their babies have probably left the nest.  We aren't seeing them nearly so much but still see them several times a day.  Here are the latest birdcam photos:
"Well they call him the streak..."
"The fastest thing on two feet..."

Daddy Roadrunner actually seems to like us.  This morning, as the sun came up, a big fog bank covered the pasture and that is all I could see while I sat on the patio with the girls drinking my first cuppa joe.  At a certain point, the fog bank rose about a foot and there was our roadrunner buddy, walking along the fence with something in his mouth.  Pearl flew back there and she and Daddy Roadrunner raced back and forth on opposite sides of the fence, parallel to each other, both seeming to have a great time and in a companionable way rather than an adversarial one.  Eventually, he raced off and she barked after him, but it sounded more like she wanted him to come back to play than that she wanted to eat him. 

And then there is this that showed up:
What dark creatures of the skies prowl.

Happily, while I was sitting on the back patio, this evening, I spotted a pair of bluebirds checking out the new bluebird house.  I am hopeful they will decide to move in and I'll have a new project for the birdcam now that the roadrunners aren't being so sociable (not that you would notice from the way Daddy Roadrunner was playing with Pearl).

I am so excited because my youngest girl and her husband will be in town, tomorrow.   I haven't seen her since Christmas and desperately need a daughter-hug.  I plan to take them out to eat (our gas oven has died and needs to be replaced - BLAH!) and if she has time, take her out for a mom/daughter spa pedicure.  I bought some mauve and coral polish when Mimi and I went shopping and we can use that.   I don't like using the polish at the shop because they use the same brush on everyone.   Nasty.

I've also joined two groups working on quilting projects.  The first one is a group called "The Twelve of Us" and the object is to make a home made gift for each of the members over about a year and a half.  Each of us chooses a project to create (the first one is a purse/tote that has yo-yos on it) and we send it to another assigned person on the list.   I am in the process of working on my yo-yo tote and can show you some snippets but not the whole thing until after it has been received by its recipient.  The next project is a planner with a quilted and embellished cover.  The group has a blog but it is not open to the public. 

Here is the fabric I chose for the yo-yo bag:
I've had this fabric awhile and just love it.  But the project calls for the use of yo-yos and I have never made one. 

What is a yo-yo?  Here is a picture of the example given by the person who chose the first project (it is the little round things at the bottom of the tote):
Now, I will be honest with you.  I hate the name.  Yo-yo.  Just sounds stupid. 

Moreover, I got out three of my basic quilting books for instructions and the first four I made looked awful.  Happily, someone else in the group suggested that we try using the yo-yo making tool put out by Clover.  She said it made the whole thing a cinch.  While I was out with Mimi, we picked up one at Hobby Lobby.  I think she thought the name was as dumb as I do.  I told her about the project and before I could describe it, she asked me if I was supposed to sew a yo-yo (you could tell she was trying to picture it and probably thinking something had happened to my brain).  However, it was an honest mistake and an obvious question. 

But I digress.  Today, I tried out the yo-yo tool and I'll be danged if I didn't have fun with it and am becoming a yo-yo fan (that just makes me cringe).   I struggled with the instructions on the package until I found a youtube video that made it all clear. 

I'd bought some metallic thread and embellishments in anticipation of the project and here are some photos of making the yo-yo:

Here is my new magnifying glass:
It has a light and a stand.  I figure the doctor can use something like that to see what she is doing when she yanks out my ovaries.  And no, I don't know when that will happen.  She said ASAP but I don't know what that means. 

Here is a sneak peek of my first yo-yo made with the tool:
I'm darned proud of it.

A second group I joined is The Bakers Dozen.  It is comprised of thirteen textile artists (yeah, go ahead and call us that - sounds fancy!).  The object of the Dozen group is for each of the thirteen members to choose a theme and we will have six weeks to create a small, artsy project or 12 x 12 inch mini quilt with that theme in mind.  Hopefully, we can find a gallery to use the projects as an exhibit.  When they see my work, they may change the name to "An Even Dozen" and kick me out.  Some of the themes selected, so far, are: Baubles, Bangles and Beads; Symbol; Totem (I picked that one); and Ocean.  I am completely intimidated by the group - quite a few do nothing BUT art and I am not much past hemming pants with a stapler. 

The group was inspired by another online group called Twelve by Twelve.  If you want to see some great quilted artwork, check it out. 

Okay, that is it for tonight.  I've been up since before dawn (Pearl saw a toad outside the bedroom window at 5:30 a.m. and had a canniption until I let her out). 

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Monday, May 24, 2010

Beep Beep!

Okay, I have mentioned that we are overrun with road runners. They have nested near the house and you can't walk outside without tripping over them.  I haven't been able to get a &^%$*&#@ picture of them! This has been going on for two weeks.  Husband suggested I set out a pile of birdseed with a little sign embeded that says, "Free Birdseed."

Four days ago, I wandered out to the back gate looking into the pasture and the Daddy Roadrunner waltzed right up to me and went hunting for bugs.  He wasn't more than an arm's length away.  He saw me standing there and just cocked his head back and forth before going back to grabbing bugs.

I didn't have my camera.

I went back into the house to get the video and waited until he came back.  I pointed the video camera at him with the notion that I would film him as he came by. 

For the first time, ever, the video camera malfunctioned.  I couldn't even turn it off.  That bird has magical powers. 

So when I checked the birdcam (which I had positioned right in front of the where they go into the woods to their nest) I was sure I would have a ton of pictures.  I'd seen them preening and carrying on right in front of the cam and was confident I would have a ton of great shots when I checked the memory card.  But no.  For some reason, it had taken only one picture and the date/time was wrong.  I have no idea why it malfunctioned.  I had it on timelapse.  It was supposed to take two pictures every 30 seconds and had been running for two days.  One picture and then it shut down.  Voo Doo, clearly. 

So I took the memory card back out to the birdcam in the pasture, which was attached to the bird cam holder near the ground.  I had to crawl on my belly to turn it on.  My shirt crawled up and my belly still itches.  The sun was at a certain point creating a glare, so I couldn't really see very well and had to concentrate.  I had sweat in my eyes, too.  I had to reprogram the time so I flipped on my cell phone for the time and glanced up, my chin just grazing the top of the grass:

Two roadrunners were standing there staring me in the eye. 
Gulp.  The first thing that went through my mind was wondering whether they would mistake me for a bug.  When they calmly stood and looked at me, I sat up and reached for my camera, which I had FINALLY remembered to take with me.  I got quite a few closeup shots and am feeling pretty darn proud of myself.
I figure Mama (pictured above and below) would have pecked me if her mouth wasn't already full. 
Daddy Roadrunner is a lot more laid back and posed for me: 
He is pretty friendly.  He even seems to get along with the girls. 
Then, I moved the birdcam to a slightly different location and got a few more, today (click to enlarge). 
And here are a few more that I managed to get looking out my bedroom window - Daddy Roadrunner was running through the back yard:
He is as big as a chicken. 

I finally made the decision to start longarming for money and am working on a website.  That took up most of the day and I barely scratched the surface.  I'll get back to it later this week but tomorrow, I am going up to Stillwater to get a pedicure with Mimi. 

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fiery Stars

I finished the Fiery Stars lap quilt top, this afternoon.  It is fifty inches square. 

I'd already posted the main part but I used the scraps to make a border.
There are hourglass blocks on the sides and pinwheels in the corners.
The fabrics definitely blend and aren't very defined in the hourglasses or the pinwheels.
Don't look close.  I missed more corners than I hit.
But I always love a white or off white background to make darker colors pop, overall.
For a time, I had to stop because my good quilting buddy fell asleep on my feet.  I couldn't use the sewing machine pedal or get up to press or cut.
She isn't spoiled or anything.  

I love Evelyn's feet. Have I mentioned that?
That face:
That FACE!!
Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Tornado Alley

We had another day of active weather, yesterday.  Happily, although there were approximately twenty tornadoes reported in the state, they were mainly small and primarily stayed in pastures, traumatizing cows.  One skirted Stillwater and caused a ruckus, and a semi was flipped west of there but as far as I know, property damage was minimal and no one was hurt.

Here is a photo of storm clouds firing up looking towards the east:
The storms were both north and south of us but we didn't get any rain, thunder or lightning. Pearl, who is afraid of storms, is a good barometer of whether there is anything active in the vicinity.
She wasn't too worried.

Before the storms, I continued to unsuccessfully try to get photos of our roadrunner pair.  They are making me crazy.  They have a nest right behind our backyard fence in the trees.  I set up the birdcam in that area because they are constantly going back and forth.  Yesterday, the daddy had a snake in his mouth.   With the storms coming in, I didn't turn on the birdcam, thinking they would have the good sense to hunker down.  But no.  Before our eyes, the male roadrunner got into fisticuffs with two crows who had invaded his territory trying to get some suet I'd set out.  Talons flying, tail puffed up, the whole works.  Mama Roadrunner came out to provide backup and they chased crows all over the pasture for about two hours.  A particularly big fight was directly in front of the birdcam - which was turned off.  Grrrr.  I was having such a good time watching them that I didn't want to interrupt to turn on the cam. 

We had a fabulous sunset and enjoyed a cool drink on the patio while we watched Mother Nature do her thing.  Here are a few shots. 

Looking to the southeast as the storm builds:
See the blue sky?  The dry line passed us relatively early giving us a safe show towards the east and southeast:
As the sun begins to set and add color:
Looking due east and enjoying how the clouds reflected the active atmosphere:
Oh, how I missed this back east:
Look at the energy in those clouds!:
Straight out of the camera, baby - no color added!
While sitting and enjoying the evening, Mimi called to let me know that she was heading home to her ranch after getting a good report from her doctor.  She'd been driving in the wake of a tornado and pulled over to take a photo of a double rainbow.  We also had one (a single):
What a fabulous day.

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl