Friday, December 30, 2011

The end of this year

And hoping for a more productive year ahead. With less anger and more joy.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Merry Christmas Birthday

Today, my granddaughter turned 18. I made the requested dinner of sorts, spanikopita and crab rangoon. Also a birthday cake in the shape of a Smurf house....????......whatever........ No photos of the food. It's all gone now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidaze

This is on the Christmas card we sent out for 2011. The caption reads "Peace, Love and Dope(s)"
Apologies to Yoko.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Friday am

Friday pm
The last piece of siding is up---yay!! Of course there are some other things to do, like boxing in the rafters and a little trim near the roof to be fixed. And the painting and relandscaping, but that can wait a while. I hardly know what to do with myself. Well that's not true, there's still sewing and never ending housework on the inside.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Since I don't get to watch much TV these days, I am not always up on the latest weather reports and forecasts. It snowed during the night and into the morning today. I am just not a fan of snow. Especially after three days of rain and dreariness. At least I'm getting some sewing done. In my nice warm space.
  There is a party scheduled for this evening that I feel obligated to attend. As long as there is no ice, I will brave the white stuff and go. brrrrr.......

Saturday, December 3, 2011


The last two days have been spent on siding before the rains come....again. We finished the siding on the east wall this afternoon. The sense of completion is very satisfying I must say. We were dreading this wall since we had to get up on ladders and there were so many fiddly cuts involving the windows and all the pesky angles along the roof line. But we did it and nearly broke our arms patting ourselves on the back for doing such a good job. Thanks to good friends who have offered encouragement and brought cookies to fortify us in our labor.
  The north wall is still unfinished. That is where the worst of the rot and repairs had to be made. It is also the wall that covers my sewing space which is now warm and quiet. This wall should be pretty easy as far as the siding goes. No ladders or fussy cuts. Don't want to jinx myself with too much discussion here.
today--the last piece at the top
where we left off the other day
  Why did I not do this years ago (when I was younger, btw) and have all this luxury to enjoy? Oh well, it's done now and I am as happy as a clam. That was a subject of conversation this afternoon, what exactly makes a clam happy?
   The addition looks so good, even better than I had imagined it would be. When it gets painted I may pass out!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December is here--oh my......

Today has been a laid back kind of day, a good one too. Friend Fred has arrived to be a Memphian. I could not be happier. Friend Marion arrived to be a Memphian back in August, so the joy is doubled. Now if I could convince my sister to be a Memphian, that would be really great!
Of course things will have to get busy VERY soon to finish this project on the house. Like tomorrow. The weather is holding up pretty well although today was a tad chilly. The next couple of days are looking good for outdoor activity.
   I will post more photos when things have moved along to a more complete stage.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back to Fiber Art (finally)

Today, I was able to enjoy my new warm space. The weather has turned dreary and cold and rainy. But I stayed in and machine quilted a piece that has been laying around for a while.
  It was very good and quiet in my wonderfully improved space. The wind blew outside but not in here! I thought the window unit was a bit noisy back in August when it was installed, but it seems it was the vibration of the old wall making all the racket. WOW what a difference. Just like modern times.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Progress in the face of pesky holidays

The title is a joke. I had quite a nice Thanksgiving with my sons and Vincent and in laws. We went to my younger son's house and made him jealous of all the fun he has missed working like immigrant labor on the "siding" project. We did borrow his extension ladder for the east part of the house. He has been keeping up with all the "joy" by reading this crap.
   Today we got some more of the siding up on the remaining walls. It looks SO GOOD!!!! I will take photos tomorrow, but they are not nearly as entertaining as the ones with the rot. hahaha. Maybe when we get to the point where the rafters are boxed in or when I get back to fiber art or sewing---those photos will be fun..............

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


The rains came for the last few days, so we got some time off from the outside work. I did anyway. Max has been doing fiddly things with the blue foam stuff.
  My attention was turned to the interior so I can get back to income generating. I hung insulation and covered it with luaun, then trimmed around the window with corner molding. Don't look too closely at the mitered corners. I was in a hurry and it is just my work space.

wall before insulation

completed wall (except for painting)
  In any event I am happy as a clam with the improved space. With the new energy efficient heat A/C unit and all the insulation and double paned windows, I should be toasty warm this winter and able to get lots accomplished. And the savings on the utility bill will be very welcome.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Even more Progress

Things are moving along quite well. We've had two VERY productive days and got things to a point that if the big rains predicted fall upon us, we can sleep easy knowing there won't be any major damage. We got the cement board up this morning and all that's left is the wood siding, maybe a few more pieces of the insulation board to be attached too.
  I cannot get over how quiet my sewing room is now that it is properly insulated and the window is more than a sheet of tissue paper over a big hole. The wall no longer vibrates when a plane passes over and the neighbor's barking dogs aren't quite as noisy. Of course it looks like a bomb has gone off inside there, and I HAVE to get it put back together ASAP. The grindstone is screaming for my nose!!
   A good day all round. The Noodlemans invited me for an early dinner at our favorite Mexican joint and a little retail therapy, too. Then Vincent came to spend a few days. Life is looking up.
  Thanks go out to my friends who have left encouraging comments.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The north side

  As reported in an earlier post, the north wall of the addition had to be nearly rebuilt because of the damage over time from insects, rot and neglect.

framing in the hole left from old windows

where we left off yesterday-inside view

where we left off yesterday--outside view

sheathing completed

   Today we got the window installed after putting up the plywood sheathing. The door stills needs to be trimmed out and of course now the interior is in destruction mode because of the window replacement. AND the siding needs to go up. Yikes! What a process. But things are moving in a forward direction.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Progress in the face of douchebaggery

So we are making the daily trip to the hardware store after a quick side trip to Danver's for yummy burgers. I pull into a parking space next to a van from some recovery center here in Midtown ( what better place for recovering druggies and alcoholics?) and while I am enjoy the luscious burger, some guy says, "Excuse me MISTER, would you mind moving your truck so I can load this cement mix into the van?"
   I'll admit, I am not the most girliest of girls, but I had not realized menopause had taken such a toll. Gee whiz, I did pluck that pesky whisker from my chin last night!
   The only other thing I can think of is that getting up at 7 am and picking up the tarp the wind and rain have blown everywhere just didn't leave me enough time to put on makeup and fix my hair in a proper feminine style for all the hard working guys at the Home Depot to enjoy.
  Today the rain stopped but a cold wind was blowing. That did not deter the team here on Willett from the continuous repair of rot and sheathing replacement. I had sense to take photos and will post maybe tomorrow after the window has been replaced. Of course, I had to have my obligatory hissy fit in the morning. My son will surely be happier than I when all this is over. We were kidding today about how easy the siding installation will be when all the repairs are done. That's just holding up boards compared to all this work.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Progress in the rain

It hasn't rained in forever, but now that there is an outdoor project, of course the skies open. And my son is probably quite annoyed with me, too, since I seem to want to do more than hold up the other end of the boards. Most likely, my bad attitude has to do with the fact I have some kind of yucky upper respiratory crud that isn't quite bad enough to make me take to my sick bed (so he could actually get something done without my kvetching) but just enough to put me in a bad temper.
We pulled off the old siding and sheathing on the last wall and founds TONS of rot ughhhh--it is so nasty. And the window is rotten too, so it will have to be replaced. It is an absolute miracle this end of the house has not fallen over a long time ago. We(meaning my son) worked under a tarp today and most likely, according to the local weather guy--Dave Brown--will have to be under it early tomorrow too.
   So, boys and girls, when all the repairs are done on the north side, and we get back to just siding, that will be a fucking piece of cake. Of course it will look totally like an awesome million dollars too. This will be the BEST Xmas gift to myself I ever had!!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Oops, I nearly forgot to show the south side and the finished siding. The rafters still need to be boxed in, but I hope to have the siding up on the rest of the addition by Thanksgiving, but maybe will have to wait til spring to paint. And by I, I mean we--my son and myself.
  The weather here is crazy, so there may be enough nice days in December for painting. We never know. People talk about the weather not as idle chatter for a reason.

more progress

east side exposed

rotten stuff with bad shims

repairs covered with plywood
Another day on the house project. We thought most of the rot was at the bottom of the wall but upon closer inspection the bottom of the window was bad too. So we went to the hardware store AGAIN! replaced the studs under the window and this time covered the scab on this cancer with part of a sheet of plywood. Being a firm believer in adhesives, I put some Liquid Nails on the inside of this repair, and if this shit falls off in the future, place bets now that THIS will be standing when the rest of the addition falls down! Blue insulation and siding tomorrow--fingers crossed.
   We had a discussion over whether the actual window gets to stay. There will be many hours of glazing removal, glass and glazing replacement, trim and molding replacements, then tedious painting. I voted for a huge piece of plywood, but relented and the window stays.
   Improper window installation was the reason for all the rot. But that happened in the late '60s and those who did this deed are long gone. Thanks guys!

Friday, November 11, 2011


south side-trim on windows
photo taken at corner of south and east side--WOW!

My new day job

east side-before

south side in progress


south side-further progress
Due to a huge project my son and I have taken on, I have not kept up with posting here. We are replacing the ancient siding on the addition to this house. Many days have been spent at the hardware stores gathering tools and supplies--ibuprofen included.
There was quite a bit of rotten wood that had to be replaced and we are expecting much more bad stuff when we get to the north side of the addition. We have one side nearly completed and are riding high on a huge wave of accomplishment.It is such a vast improvement and looks really great! I do hope we can keep up the pace and not get bogged down in the actual LABOR of the job before us. We also need to beat the upcoming crappy weather.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Some of the gourds from Ripley looked just like eggs. I dug in the bin and got all I could find. This afternoon I cleaned up this little corner of the yard and made a small "installation" and I am very happy to see it. Of course, I am easily amused.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Another day in the country

My life is turning into that old Canned Heat song.
Yesterday I went back to the Noodlemans, this time to get pumpkins. And the companionship and grilled food didn't hurt either. We drove up to Ripley to the Carmack's farm to find the barn open with a few pumpkins, lots of gourds, and signs with prices--$1 a piece, 50 cents for the small gourds--and a handmade repository for the money. Totally on the honor system. My faith in the society is restored.
  Besides these lovelies, there are many small ornamental gourds, some that look like eggs. I plan on creating a small tableau with my concrete chickens and a nest. Photos of that at a later date.
  A very good day. The fun grows on trees in the country, sometimes on the ground.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fun stuff

Mrs. Noodleman is quite the artist (always has been) and makes gracious living look easy. She has a keen mind and can figure out how to make the nicest silk purse from the most mundane of the sow's ear.
glass globes with solar powered tea lights

Halloween rat
Take her on your next outing to the thrift store and you will come home with a treasure.

A Day in the Country

On Saturday we went to visit the Noodleman's. Our usual day to go up there is Sunday, but I had a previous commitment that day, so did the Noodlemans and Vincent was here for the weekend, so Saturday was the day to go.
   Mr. Noodleman brought home stuff to put on the fire-yummy--and we all pitched in to create a delicious meal. Afterwards, walnut bowling was the order of the day. As in prehistoric times, a new game was discovered, walnut baseball. All you need is a bucket of black walnuts in their green shells, a fairly substantial stick off the ground, a pitcher, catcher, and batter. Fortunately, Vincent has a good arm and pitched walnuts for half an hour. With much encouragement from Emaw and Mrs. Noodleman, he managed to throw to the strike zone more often than not.
walnut bowling
  The sun set on a very good day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

something weird

It is nearly the middle of October and I am ready for the trip to Ripley to buy pumpkins from the farmer on Carmack Road. Maybe he will have gourds too this year. It has been very dry here lately which is good for gourds. Last year we had a wet summer and fall after a torrential spring, so the gourds did not fare as well as other crops. The pumpkins were awesome.
   Back to my little yard.......I have watered and picked suckers off this tomato plant all spring and summer. It was purchased from Home Depot garden center with a tag that proclaimed it a "patio" tomato, which in my humble opinion meant it was supposed to be grown in a container. I also protected it from the blasted squirrels, mockingbirds and the ever damned blue jays, and it flowered, yet never produced anything resembling a sought after home grown tomato. We all know there is nothing better in a summer than a luscious big red juicy tomato, sun kissed, ready to bite into to make the hot days worth suffering through. We had one of the hottest summers on record. So hot, I had to get up before 6 am to go for a walk.
the patio tomato plant as of Oct 11, 2011
  NOW, in the waning days of the growing season, when I am looking forward to ornamental fall vegetables, this plant, that was so carefully looked after and tended has decided to bear fruit!!!! Will there be enough warmth and sunshine left to make these babies red and full of that elusive taste that one expects of the vine ripened orbs that excite all gardeners and foodies??? All I can do now is hope for the best and keep my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The End of an Era

Mrs. Webster passed away today. Marie was one of the most stylish, demanding, fashion conscious people any dressmaker could ever sew for. And I like to think she was my friend.
When I took her on as  a client 20 something years ago, it was not without trepidation as her reputation as a fashionista (before the term was invented, mind you) with a keen eye for detail was well known in the sewing circles here.
Marie Webster will forever and always hold a dear place in my heart because she trusted my talent as a dressmaker and I can only hope I lived up to her standards of excellence in the time we shared making her wardrobe. She expected the best and I had to step up my game to the highest level of my sewing abilities and learn what made a garment a piece of art. It's because of Marie that I can make a bound buttonhole that is the envy of any top notch designer and understand how much better a jacket will hang with the proper underlining. And how wonderful the feel of silk charmeuse is against your skin when you slide on that tropic weight wool jacket, that jacket that has a lapel roll in just the right way because it was built in as the garment was cut. She helped me hone my pattern making skills by handing me photos torn out of Town & Country magazines and Neiman Marcus catalogs with a hunk of the finest fabrics available and saying, "This is what I want." I learned more sewing for her than I ever could have had I gone to any design school.
   She was a dressmaker's dream and the angels in heaven had better have the most wonderful, perfect fitting wings ready for Marie Webster. She will wear nothing less.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Something funny

This is how last week was for me. Let me know what you think about my "quilty" writing.

Good News and Bad News

Yesterday, I got to spend the day with Vincent, a rare treat these days since he has moved to the country with his mother--an hour and half away. When I went to visit my nephew last weekend to pick up my new bike, he graciously gave a bike to my grandson.( These are two bicycle fanatics who have never laid eyes on one another, mind you.)
  After a delicious breakfast of pancakes and bacon, I showed Vincent his surprise, and he was duly impressed with the big boy bike, especially the kickstand! Of course we rode to the little park around the corner, cuz that's what one does at your grandma's house over here. And that bike stood up all by itself when he got off it, because it has a KICKSTAND!
   So the bad news is Vincent had to go home. Fortunately, country living agrees with him (and his mother) but I miss him and wish he was closer. I let him take his other bike home so he can have something to ride. That boy is a natural on two wheels. It's like he knew how to ride all his life all he needed was a bike under him.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fun stuff

Earlier this month was my birthday and I spent most of that day doing something just for me. Just frittered the whole day away. This is what I did. Not my original idea, but very fun to make and so cute! Of course, I had to make a tiny box for the pixie shoes to live in and that was loads of fun too. Notice how I took the photos with out having my messy sewing room in the background to distract you.

New bike

Last Saturday, I drove to Milan TN to get one of my nephew's bikes. He has restored some very nice vintage bicycles and sells them, but after hearing of my plight, offered one to me. In return for his generosity, I took several wall hangings that I thought he and his wife might like and let him choose the one he wanted. He must be a very good husband, because although his wife was working that day, he chose a piece she really likes too. She is quite talented, too and makes some very special jewelry and other ornaments. Her blog is on my list--Dandy Apple--have a look.
1970's Huffy--made in Ohio

  Today I bought a bell and tomorrow the plan is to go to a bike store to look for a basket. It has been recommended by someone (you know who you are) to get those handle bar streamers. Maybe I will if I find just the right ones. Oh yeah, I can see me now--59 yr old dried up old lady riding around Midtown with handle bar is one will notice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The stolen bicycle situation near resolution

1 of 6 weddings

did I mention how big this is?
A couple of photos from the recent trip to St. Louis. (Obviously, I don't get out much, and you'd think I'd been on a world cruise as many times as I have written about it.)
    The plan for this weekend is to drive to Milan Tn and get a bike from my nephew who posted photos on his Face Book page of some of the bicycles he has been collecting and refurbishing. This dear child has offered me one of his lovely vintage bikes. This means so much to me, because I did not want to go out and buy some cheap thing to replace the bike that was stolen, which I had since 1993 and had recently been riding a lot. Big thanks to my generous nephew.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


The fabric I printed with the recent screens turned out pretty good. I cut into it before I took photos of the whole piece but you get the idea. With other fabrics added to a design and some clever quilting and stitching, this could be a decent art quilt.

Monday, September 12, 2011

St. Louis

The trip to the art fair near St. Louis was so much fun. The Noodlemans are kinda crazy and it must run in the family.
  While at the Arch in downtown (and I cannot say enough good things about the commuter train we took to get there) I saw at least six couples, with complete wedding entourage, get hitched. And I was there for only about an hour and a half! Guess it's the thing to do up there. A limo would pull up, the entire wedding party would pile out, like clowns out of a VW, go up the stairs to the park at the bottom of the Arch, brief ceremony, photo op, then off to the reception.(I took photos too.) Brides in big fluffy white dresses, guys in tuxedos, groomsmen, bridesmaids--the works!
wearing my new earrings, waiting for the train

it is HUGE!!!

something on the tracks @ the downtown station
And the Arch is HUGE!!! The last time I was up that way was nearly 20 years ago and I never actually went to the park where the thing is, just drove by it. Last weekend we went to see it and I was amazed at how accessible it is. It just sticks up right out of the ground and it is HUGE!!! It reminded me of the machine in that scifi movie with Jodie Foster--"Contact"--did I mention how f***ing BIG it is???


The screen printed fabrics came out pretty good and I will post photos as soon as I take them. Last week was a bizzy one, full of activity playing nanny for my friend's children, making progress on a new set of graduation dresses and making the aforementioned fabric. On Friday morning, I went with the Noodlemans to attend the art fair in Clayton, MO. WOW!!! It was very nice and I had a lot of fun. We walked our feet off for two and a half days, stayed at a hotel a block away from the fair, ate everything we wanted (except the cheesecake-what was wrong with us?) saw more art than I have seen in one place in a long, long time and went downtown to see The Arch.
 St. Louis has a commuter train, the MetroLink, that is very easy to ride and stops at all the convenient places, plus isn't too expensive. We were able to park at the hotel and never get back in the car until it was time to come home. That is my idea of a vacation. (Sleeping is also a good thing to do on vacation.)

what I want to be when I grow up
So now I'm back home and my punishment for having fun--this is where the balance comes in--is that my bike was stolen from the shed in the backyard Friday morning. boohoo--I loved my bike and had I been here to monitor the perimeter, it wouldn't be gone with someone who might not love at much as I did. I actually cried a little last night, because in addition to riding my bike, I will miss the bell and the nifty side basket on it, too.