Tuesday, September 30

The Casting Couch


Couch—get it? I held auditions yesterday. These guys made the cut:1-IMG_1334

The close-up. Interesting to see them all laid out in a photo..Now I’m thinking maybe tans and beiges for the backgrounds instead of grays and blues. I’d kind of like to have some citrine yellows instead of the ochre-y ones but I am NOT buying any more fabric! 1-IMG_1336

So what am I making.1-IMG_1339


I struggled and struggled because I wanted to do something cubism, a style I love, but I couldn’t break through the invisible barrier. My sister Mike told me to cut the crap and I did. As soon as I found some photos of leaves (in this case, ginkgo), my creativity came back. Well, I do have a lot of the right fabrics.


This is going on outside my window today. It is loud. I have the windows closed and this noise is rattling the fillings out of my teeth. These guys are not wearing earplugs.

It’s always a construction zone around here on weekdays. Gets old. We wake up every morning to the beep beep beep of trucks backing up, and hammering, and now jackhammers. It’s like living in New York City.

Saturday, September 27

Getting Fit and Healthy

We took a walk today. Yeah, I know I know, you’d rather read about the quilting. Later.

It was a beautiful morning, and we got out for a walk before it turned hot. I wanted to take some pictures from the hill in the front of our house. That’s our house with the little awning and the dirty SUV (“Bud”) in the driveway. 1-IMG_1322

There are many trails all around our development. We’re working up to the longer ones. This one goes up, up, up. 1-IMG_1324

Going uphill really gets your heart pumping quickly in addition to giving you a great bird’s eye view. 1-IMG_1326
The trail continues up, even steeper still, but we had climbed high enough for today and we still had to walk our little section of the neighborhood to see what our neighbors were doing landscape-wise. And we were getting hungry for breakfast.

Okay, that’s the fit part. How about the health part? Oh, I thought you’d never ask. Here’s a short bit of wisdom for today:


Whether it’s from a lollipop or a slice of cinnamon-raisin bread, we all know that sugar is not the healthiest of ingredients, especially when it is consumed in excess or comes from refined forms such as high-fructose corn syrup. We also know that sugar is partly to blame for challenges with our waistlines, appetites, blood sugar control, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. The data confirming the relationship between high carbohydrate (sugar) consumption and diabetes is clear. And the data that supports the relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease is profound. Diabetes is a powerful risk factor for simple cognitive decline, dementia, accelerated aging, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
(from Grain Brain, Dr. David Perlmutter)

Thank you for reading. Be healthy. And take your Vitamin D!

Thursday, September 25

Like Riding a Bicycle

I had fun making this little (75 x 15) piece. I think I made it in four days, that has to be some kind of record for me. The free-motion quilting is stars and holly, with ribbons. The ribbons are no-brainers and allow me the breathing room to look ahead and maneuver into position for the next motifs. I don’t draw on the fabric (my pens all dried up in the desert anyway), I just sew and go. However, I do practice on paper until the design is committed to memory. If I get lost I just sew over to the side to stop and plan my next move.


I chose a honey-colored rayon instead of a metallic because I didn’t want the hassle of sewing with metallic thread, which can be so temperamental. It has a nice sheen. Sorry, we’re a bit out of focus here. Happens.


Here’s a shot of the underside because my sister Mike likes to see the back. I used white rayon thread in the bobbin. The Janome performed perfectly despite being in dry dock for almost a year.


Finally, I glued sequin stars in clusters…well, I started to. But my glue dried up like my pens, so I need to go to Michael’s before I wreck the whole thing. I almost finished it without mishap…sigh.

On the home front, our landscape plans have been approved and groundbreaking should commence next week. Yippee!

In other news, I am reading Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, MD.KRUPP KOMMUNICATIONS GRAIN BRAIN

It was first recommended to me by Judy of Stitch Along With Me.  There was a long wait at the digital library, but I finally got to the front of the line and I have been nose-in ever since. Thank you, Judy! I have been a Perlmutter fan ever since, and now I get to read the book for free! I have a bunch of other books I should be reading, like the book club selection for example, but I can’t put this one down. I have been reading everything I can get my hands on since I learned about this wheat stuff. I’m positively rabid. And, for the record, we are five months wheat free. Jim has lost 27 pounds. Only 21 for me, but I still drink wine. I’m not in any hurry.

Sunday, September 21

Christmas Table Runner

I debated whether to call this post what I did, or “Adios I Don’t Need You Anymore,” but I thought I might convey the idea that I’m checking out. I’m not going anywhere, THIS is what I meant:


These are the drugs I no longer have to take. Three meds for the asthma that I had for 25 years. The Advair is hideously expensive and makes the drug company billions every year. Bye-bye, Big Pharma! The prescription on the right is for migraine—if I took that at the first sign (visual aura) I could knock some of the fury out of it, but the drug made me feel SO AWFUL for about six hours that sometimes I made the conscious decision to suffer through the full-blown migraine because I hated it so much. Once I took two by mistake thinking they were Excedrin because they look alike, and I felt so bad I almost went to the hospital. I lost so many days over the last 10 years to debilitating migraines. But now I don’t need you, either! Bye-bye and good riddance! The other stuff is OTC, but I don’t take them either because I no longer have chronic joint pain and stiffness, and I sleep great every night. I think I’ve had one headache in six months.

Okay, so here’s the table runner I’m working on:


The strips on the left/bottom have been sewn together, the others are in the queue. I spent some time cogitating designs and I had one all set to go, but yesterday I went to Scrabble Club, and while there I used the ladies’ room and noticed the tiles on the wall had been cut to varying widths and lengths and I just liked it. So that’s what I did.

Here’s a close-up:


The narrowest strips are 1” wide finished. The greens look black, and the strips are actually straight, unlike how they look in the photo. I am using the crappy camera, obviously. All the fabrics are metallic, but the camera doesn’t pick that up, either.

I am deciding whether to use hot-fix crystals (rhinestones) or snowflake sequins for sparkle. I think the crystals. I also have some white beads that could look like snow, but that requires hand sewing and I don’t know if I want to put that much effort into it.

It feels good to get my hands back into fabric.

Thursday, September 18

Down The Rabbit Hole (Again)

This week three of my cyber friends actually emailed me to ask if I was still of this world because I’ve been so silent.

I AM HERE! Just busy. Totally.

I guess the best place to start is I joined a book club, and, at this book club—beside the fact that I’m reading lots of fiction that I may or may not love—I learned that, if one has a library card, one can download and read books for free on their Kindle! This is like getting free candy at the candy store—and off to the candy store I went.

I’m still digging (deeper) into the subject of inflammation and gut health. I have forsaken all grains and sugars in exchange for a better, thinner, pain-free me, with amazing energy, a happier outlook, and just better health all around. Anyway, I am plundering stacks of books and learning new things. Once I stopped eating junk my brain woke up and it’s hungry.

The days and weeks are flying by. There are clubs and happy hours several times a week. You’ll remember that having a social life was one of the reasons we moved (the other being climate). I love the gals on my street, we’re like old friends already. It’s all so much fun.

I got out for some golf but then the weather turned very hot. As soon as it cools I’ll be back out on the course, and that will be soon. I’m very rusty.

I am making a concerted effort to spend time in the studio, I have made some sketches for the next quilt but I’m finding it challenging to wake up my creative juices. I ordered some Christmas fabric and decided to make a table runner to get my hand (and brain) back into it. Something happened to my photo-editing software, so these photos are unedited. Jeez—now I have to go chase down THAT problem. It never ends.


I have yet to work out a design, I got the fabric yesterday and am letting it speak to me. I didn’t want the standard red/green Christmas colors, but I had that red piece in my box of holiday fabrics so I’m auditioning it with the others.

On the house front, we still have contractors almost every day. There are only a few things left on the fix-it list, but the major one, the floor  was damaged when they wheeled in the cast-iron bathtub, remains a big problem because they can’t find wood to match. If they can’t, we may have to get a whole new floor. Needless to say, they are trying very hard to hand-pick the wood pieces to match.

Landscaping is not underway yet, but soon. Maybe three weeks. The cabinet-repair guy has arrived, so I’ll stop here.

Love, Rian.