Friday, May 22, 2015

In Defense of Television

People love to bash television. Really. Dissing television has become a national pastime. It's a daily game of  "I am better than you, because I watch so-and-so". Or -- much more likely -- "I am better than you because I WOULD NEVER watch so-and-so."


Television has become the proof -- maybe the lightening rod -- for everything that is shallow or wrong with America.

I don't get it. YOU HAVE CHOICES, PEOPLE....I absolutely do not care what you watch. OR IF YOU WATCH.  To review -- IT'S A FREE COUNTRY.  But puhleeeze don't give me 'tude just because you have never watched an episode of The Bachelor...

I want to go on record.  TELEVISION has never been better. Our choices are amazing. Maybe because of the heavy competition -- the pressure from streaming shows via the internet -- Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.  The major networks stepped up their game. There is no more LONG BORING SUMMER full of tired re-runs. This week, when Dancing With the Stars ended, the new Bachelorette immediately began. (bye bye Britt).  The minute the VOICE announced their winner, NBC is selling America's Got Talent for the summer.  (remember the Willett family from Nashville?  They have their own show on TLC now...)

I came to Downton Abbey late in the game -- but thanks to the fabulous invention of AN ENTIRE SEASON OF SHOWS ON DVD's -- Ross and I fell in love with the Crawley's, Carson and Mrs. Hughes, watching two episodes per night for one entire summer.

There are few things more enjoyable than looking forward to a television show you are addicted to. A quality show with complex characters, great writing, and memorable lines. Shows like West Wing or China Beach make you think.  All In the Family and Modern Family CHANGED our families...

This summer, for Lillian Claire's Grandma Camp, we'll binge watch one television series for three months. One episode a day...maybe Little House on the Prairie. Or -- how about the Walton's?
I am saving Designing Women for the year she is 10...

Just in case you didn't understand yesterday's reference...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Season FINALES

Ahhhh, television.

There is so much to love. And so much to hate. Like cantalopes and/or in-laws -- some are really good.  (Downton Abbey) Others are colossally bad. (Atlanta Housewives)  I watch them all. 

The good shows make you feel something...the bad ones make you grateful for your own life.

Shows come and go. May is the month when the traditional network shows have their big Season Finales.  Then, for the next three months -- we were forced to endure a long hot summer, with nothing to look forward to but tired reruns.

BUT THAT WAS THEN...and this is NOW. You won't hear any complaints from me.

When this season of Dancing With The Stars began, it looked unremarkable to me. I was taping both DWTS and The Voice, so I usually watched the Voice live, and DWTS a few days after it happened. But, by the end of the season, I didn't even know the names of the singers on the Voice -- and DWTS won me over. Completely. Especially Rumer Willis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy.

Oh My God....Rumer and Val....

I'll fall in love with the new shows...but right now, I'm missing Rumer and Val, Noah and Sharna.  I'm grieving for Dr. Dreamy, and afraid for my friends in Nashville.

But losing Don Draper, Peggy, and Joan and the 70's has put a hole in my life.  Mad Men was a complex show, with such great writing.  It often surprised me, sometimes disappointed me, but it always made me think.   

It feels like the night the lights went out in Georgia...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sewing Weekend, Day ONE

On our first day in Beaver Dam, Mary and I HIT THE STAGE to do our "tips and techniques" class. We showed some of our favorite sewing ideas...(I'm going to take some close-up pictures to show you my BRAND NEW THING...)
The room was full of happy, smiling faces. Can you see who's sitting in the back???
As the ladies were being seated, I took a few pictures...
Then, I handed the camera to Dianna, who was in charge of this venue.
We were at Peace Lutheran Church. And that's Dianne Dhein working the camera...
If you look carefully.....
THEY CAME...!! Unbelievable. Chris and Judy -- the Ya Ya Stalkers!! They came all the way from Oregon!!
OMG. We were shocked. And we had no idea they would be in Beaver Dam. AGAIN. Later on, we found out they flew into Milwaukee. ALL THE WAY FROM PORTLAND, OREGON....Holy Cow!! This show better be good!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Sofa Zipper Cheat...

I am back from Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis -- and ALMOST ready to get back to my "normal" life -- whatever that looks like...

When I got home, there were several emails from ladies from my Saturday seminar in Beaver Dam -- asking about the Zipper Cheat on my porch sofa cushions.

Remember -- the challenge of this sofa was to NOT SPEND ANY MONEY. I was using fabric out of my stash (even if I had to PAINT it to make it work)...and buying six long upholstery zippers was not in the budget.

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Besides -- I am NOT A ZIPPER GIRL...mostly I leave that job to Mary Mulari -- my Ya Ya Sister who inherited ALL THE ZIPPER GENES in our family....

I looked at the cushions -- and thought about my options.  It occurred to me that somebody else had already done the hard work. These six zippers work fine...they are the right size...they fit the cushions already...hummm...
I thought about how I could re-use the existing zippers...I have NO INTENTION of picking out the stitching...and, besides, I'd still be stuck with the job of sewing in six long USED, puckered upholstery zippers....
First, I cut the entire bottom (including the zipper) off the first cushion cover...
Then, I just topstitched two pieces of zebra fabric down both sides...
Here's what it looks like on the back side...
This is the front side. WHAT A GREAT CHEAT...!!
After I topstitched the new zebra fabric in place (hiding the ugly floral print) -- I cut it down to size...
AND I added a zipper stop at both ends...
IT IS OFFICIAL -- YES, I AM A GENIUS...

I am LOVING MY revamped porch sofa...

Monday, May 18, 2015

Deborah, Me & the Blackhawk

 Originally published in 2011:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEB

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I have been remiss...and fallen behind in my reports about the progress of the Blackhawk Hotel. Because Deborah missed our big cousins party -- I thought the least I could do was take her down there for dinner on the Friday night during her last visit...

Did I tell you how they found this hidden skylight during the restoration? Sadly, there was no glass left -- but they hired artisans to create the new glass. It is the centerpiece of the main lobby...

Still decorated for Christmas, Deb and I were horsing around on the grand staircase in the new lobby...

I always have to do one of my goofy in-the-mirror shots...

AND -- here we are, enjoying a really great dinner. This is dessert!! A banana bread pudding...

OH, YEAH -- it was awesome!!

Deb was in Iowa to babysit for her teenage grandchildren (Austin & Lexi) so her son and his wife could take a vacation.

It was great to have her back in the hood for awhile...we enjoyed our dinner at the Blackhawk. Hey -- I REALLY DID -- because Deborah insisted on paying!!

Deb has always been a generous, thoughtful person. She enjoyed her time with the kids -- and when they were in school, she was running two embroidery machines at all times. Near as I can tell, she gives away everything she makes.

THANKS AGAIN, Deb. Next time -- it's my treat! (I'll take her to Riefe's -- a great local joint with $2.99 daily specials)...

P.S. take a good look at Deborah's recycled wool vest...more tomorrow...

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Decorated Luggage

Sorry about the blog post that did not go up. I'm sitting in Minneapolis, at the Spring Quilt Market trying to write a blog post on a very old, slow business center computer at the hotel.


 The opening page says, "Blogger detects a browser that may not be supported..." Hey -- THAT CAN'T BE GOOD...


Quilt Market has been amazing.  I will be sooo glad to get home. 


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I still get more questions about my DECORATED LUGGAGE...than any other single thing I've ever done. Most of these bags have been burned...no rolling tote can survive the airline handling forever!  But, then -- HEY -- I just DO A NEW BAG!!

From 2011:

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Here I am, arriving in Rochester, New York with Mary Mulari -- remember our long wait at the airport? I don't think I've ever sat on a more picturesque bench...I am surrounded by all my favorite bags...



Years ago -- I started painting my luggage so it would be easier to find on those airport carousels....

I always ADD MY AIRPORT CODE....and my home phone number. There is NO WAY THEY CAN LOSE MY BAGS...
This bag was featured in an issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. I always LOVE when I'm arriving in a big city where there's a major sewing event...the other women, also waiting for their bags, always notice my luggage and ask, "is your suitcase EMBROIDERED??"
Without cracking a smile, I say, "once you get it hooped, the rest is easy"...
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Mary is giving Doug's daughter, Luci, a plain suitcase for Christmas -- and I sent "embellishment instructions"...



So -- I'LL KEEP YOU POSTED. And I'm hoping there WILL BE PICTURES...

Friday, May 15, 2015

Nancy's Notions Warehouse SALE

Of course, besides the wonderful classes, the beautiful hanging quilts, the excited crowds of sewing enthusiasts -- THERE IS INCREDIBLE SHOPPING in Beaver Dam.

Nancy's Notions completely transforms the warehouse for their BIGGEST SALE OF THE YEAR...
Always one of the most popular spots...
THESE are the smiling faces we got to visit with for 3 whole days. SUCH JOY, EH??
There is always something going on at the free stage.  Demos, techniques, new notions!
We had our own area in the Warehouse!
A few very special handsome men are always eager to help the ladies...
Mary and I ALWAYS look for John on Day One!!
Jon from CLOVER, working in the Ya Ya booth...
He looks a bit overwhelmed, eh??