Friday, July 31, 2009

Yes, I do know I have my mouth wide open...hey -- it's not a good picture! But I'm standing in front of a few of the 120+ pillowcase dresses my friend Bonnie made this summer. Apparently, she has an obsessive-compulsive-disorder...if she was an Indian, we'd give her one of those names that tells about the person. "Woman who sews too much." Come to think of it -- many moons ago, when Bonnie was teaching in my store -- she made an outfit and named it "Dances with Wolves". Funny what comes back to you...
Bonnie and her IDENTICAL TWIN sister, Barb -- invited me to lunch yesterday and we had one of those magical afternoons that only women friends can have. We've been out of touch for a long time -- so we could have talked for 24 hours straight, trying to catch up. We laughed, we cried, we ate chocolate...and we soooo enjoyed each other's company. It was truly a perfect day.
Alas, like all perfect things -- it was fleeting. But we made the most of our time -- and I have LOTS OF PICTURES to prove it.
The sad news is that this really poor photo was supposed to be my FIRST VIDEO assignment. But so far, it's just a fuzzy jpeg...I'm still working on it. And with any luck, it will morph into an action movie in the next day or so.
THANK YOU BONNIE AND BARB for the best day of the whole dog-gone-summer!! I wish I could freeze the whole afternoon in my brain.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy Birthday KIM

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SUMMER DAY we had. 2009 has been a cool and breezy summer here in Iowa, and we could NOT be more grateful. It seems New Jersey got our usual hail storms with a mix of tornados and Seattle got our sweltering suck-the-air-out-of-your-lungs 100 degree heatwave. Wow. Who knew that could happen?

Meanwhile, Kim & I have spent many beautiful summer mornings sitting on the porch, drinking a nice cup of hot coffee. GO FIGURE.

Although I'm quite sure ya'll are sick to death of my porch pictures -- I just can't help myself.
The most interesting thing about this picture is that you can see the people who love me think it's a good idea to DRESS to match my porch!

I love it , love it, love it when people go along and play my little zebra stripe game...

As I post this picture, I'm on my way to Kim's house for a piece of her birthday cheesecake.

Oh, yeah -- life is good. Kim always says, "we'll take this"...

Happy Birthday, Cuz! YOU ARE THE BEST...

Nancy Zieman, Mary, et al..

Is that a swimming pool in the background?? This is another picture that TURNED UP during my Picasa search. You'll recognize Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman, of course.

The two BABES sitting at the table, wearing the matching shirts, are Mary's sister, Sarah and her other friend Nancy Harp...I can't make out what their shirts say...And you KNOW how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE t-shirts with messages.

I believe the two women in the back were the official designated drivers.

Although, I only see water bottles on the table -- this is a blog and I'm free to make up anything I want. That's really the very best thing about blogging....

Now that I'm actually looking at the picture -- that looks A LOT like a birthday cake. they had a party -- didn't invite ME.

THEN -- just to rub it in -- they decided to SEND ME A PICTURE??

Posted by Picasa

Mary Mulari's Apron Picture

This is a picture of Mary Mulari and some of her Aurora, Minnesota friends -- attending a "Church Basement Ladies" theater event. Of course, Mary made EVERYBODY AN APRON.... Do you recognize some seminar samples? I stumbled across this picture and decided to post it, just to see if Mary really is reading my blog....

Hey -- if you want to have an apron sew-a-thon with your own friends -- take a look at Mary's apron patterns. Use this hyperlink Mary's Productions If it works -- nobody will be more surprised than me! (And tell Mary you saw it on my blog!)

It's early days, people. I made a beautiful movie yesterday -- WITH MUSIC -- but cannot, for the life of me, get it to post.

As it turns out, my first "slide show" (over in the right hand side) -- was just beginner's luck. I CAN'T DO IT AGAIN...

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

CTA Rock Stars!

Mary Collen is one of our CTA's. (Clothing Textile Advisors)

The CTA's are the backbone of the Puyallup Sewing & Stitchery Expo. If you have ever attended the show -- you know they're in the back of every classroom, taking tickets, managing seating, directing traffic.
But there is also a lot of BEHIND THE SCENES work. If I can manage it, I'm trying to post a slideshow of Mary's crew -- they have rehearsals for SIX style shows. Every garment must be fitted to the model, and then each model has "dressers" who help during the quick changes.
Like most things worthwhile -- it is MUCH MORE WORK THAN YOU CAN EVER IMAGINE.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Mary Collen. Her daughter London is an excellent photogrpaher (more about her later). Two years ago, we were changing the format of our at-door piece (the Expo Insider) and I needed a picture really FAST. London sent me this FAB PIC of her Mom -- hiding behind a mountain of fabric. Who hasn't done that? (bought more than you can possibly sew in a lifetime!)

Mary sent me a sweet note about this "blog" -- so she became TODAY'S ASSIGNMENT.

Mary -- what are you doing this summer?

Here's the report I REALLY WANT to hear...

Mary won the Bernina sewing challenge, "Project Everyday" -- and that meant a trip to BERNINA UNIVERSITY in San Francisco!


so -- HOW WAS IT, MARY??


Let's see if you AND I can figure out this back-and-forth-blogging thing...

Your comment also prompted me to try to upload an album ALL ABOUT THE STYLE SHOWS...but that didn't go so well.

Maybe tomorrow...

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This is a picture of the new pillow I made for the porch. For two years now, I've had a complete obsession with zebra stripes. (no surprise, eh?) The original pillow I made got soaking wet in a rainstorm and the black stripes ran into the white stripes. ugh. It was a horrible, soggy mess. And yet another chance for me to learn that most valuable, basic sewing 101 lesson -- PREWASH THE FABRIC, RITA!!!

No picture?? What?? The lesson I'm working on is how to send myself an image from my Blackberry -- and then FIND it -- save it to my computer and then post it in the blog.

Any ideas?? I guess I'm back to the blogging tutorials...ugh...

Trust me -- IT'S A GREAT PILLOW!! T-shirt fringe, a pithy saying on the top -- zebra stripes everywhere. You're really gonna love it...

HEY -- I DID IT!! I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT. The pillow is full of spirit and sarcasm. My two favorite "S" words. (I've always resented most of the "S" words....they're usually so full of themselves -- you know 'em -- super, sensational, sweet, skinny, sexy, slender, slim.)
So here's a second picture -- just in case you couldn't read the words. I was also worried that perhaps the charm of the t-shirt fringes wasn't evident in the first picture. BUT the first picture does show off my new zebra-stripe rug -- so I had to post it. this point -- I've figured out the Blackberry exercise for the day. so now I'm just showing off...

Posted by Picasa

Best Meal of 2009

For the record -- the best meal I ever ate in my life happened in 2009. It was my first time at the Paducah, Ky. Quilt Show (American Quilt Society) -- and I went with my friend, Rhonda Pierce.

You really learn something about people when you travel with them. And -- thanks to Rhonda's great sense of adventure -- we discovered Patti's.

Altho, thousands of other quilt enthusiasts discovered it long before we did. Which meant a two hour wait. ugh. But neither one of us gives up easy....and, believe me -- IT WAS WELL WORTH IT. And the outside grounds are beautiful. There's a gazebo, and shops, beautiful flowers. Really amazing. And so unexpected -- in the middle of nowhere -- they feed hundreds of people every single night! Especially during the famous Paducah Quilt Show.

The pork chop dinner was so incredible -- and the company was so interesting (we sat with two women we met in the waiting line!).

We went BACK THE NEXT NIGHT. Oh, yeah -- even though it's 30 miles out of town. And we knew there would be a long line. That night, we took two friends with us. Nancy Zieman and Kaye Wood. Nancy was exhausted from a long day of teaching -- and she kept saying (from the back seat) -- "how far is this place?"

Turns out, Kaye is a longtime fan of Patti's. She has eaten there every year for over 20 years. (We figured it out when she ordered her pork chop dinner without even opening the menu.)

I asked, "do you get the same thing every year?" Kaye replied, "Rita -- I eat the same thing every time I come here. This is my third night in a row..."

Dick Clark

Okay -- I'm really new to the world of blogging. So far, every one of my "posts" has been some kind of an exercise to learn a new skill. On July 24, I was delighted to find the "Cancer Dance" from So You Think You Can Dance on You Tube. I posted it on this blog and my cousin Kim and my friend Marion both enjoyed watching it.

Imagine my surprise this morning when I realized it had vaporized overnight. Instead of the beautiful dance video, there was a message telling me Dick Clark had creeped into my blog and SUCKED the video out. Amazing, eh? (Marion is Canadian, and I know "eh" annoys her).

Yes, I know it's risky to use the words Dick and Suck in the same paragraph. I can hardly wait to see what happens to THIS POST...
It's ALL A TEST, people...

Monday, July 27, 2009

E&E on their wedding day

This is a picture of my son Elliott on the day he married the beautiful Emily....
My husband John is giving Emily a kiss on the cheek, and, obviously, I'm trying to hide behind Elliott -- who has his usual look of sheer delight at the prospect of YET ANOTHER kiss on the cheek from his Mom. (these wedding pictures had a LOT to do with me going on a diet...and losing 100 pounds in the last 3 years...)

They're doing great. Still in the Army -- but now stationed in Wisconsin. Which is a very good thing -- because in March, they had LILLIAN...and we're falling in love with a little girl.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Memphis Rose

This is a picture of my great-niece, Memphis Rose Kearney. She was brand new when I took this photo -- I was trying to work out the correct dimensions to make a crib sheet.

Because my sister Ronda (Memphis' Grandma) collects ALL THINGS PIGS -- it seemed like a good idea to make a crib sheet out of PIG FABRIC...

Memphis just turned a year old last week! I've made a dozen crib sheets since then. The new mothers LOVE getting them -- they have so much more personality than the boring blue or pink crib sheets available on the market. My young neighbors are having a baby boy in the fall -- and I've already purchased the "John Deere" fabric. (the Dad is a mechannic for John Deere)

The You Tube Wedding Dance Sensation

I wish I'd been at this wedding! They were in the TODAY show this morning -- and I couldn't resist sharing the video. I predict this marriage will be a long and happy one. I cannot believe more couples don't do this! WHAT FUN...Their guests will long remember this entrance, I'm sure! Well done!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

2008 Puyallup Sewing & Stitchery Charity Event

This is a picture from the 2008 Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup. On Sunday, we had a "Charity Tea" -- and hundreds of women paid $10 to sit at a table for an hour and visit with a "Sewing Star". Here you see Joanne Ross, Expo Chair and Sue Hausmann rushing around to re-set the tables. We only had 15 minutes between each session (we did SIX sessions). It was a very, very busy time. All the money we raised went to Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer.

In 2009 -- we changed the charity event and it morphed into a "GO RED" Style Show to benefit the American Heart Association. It was a very big deal -- a one-time only ALL RED EVENT. Our Sewing Stars all agreed to make a special red outfit for themselves -- and we had everything you can think of -- from jogging suits to evening gowns. The audience all WORE RED as well. My next blog assignment is to find the pictures from the Go Red event and put up another "slide show".

Just when I thought things were going great -- I went back to my Picasa account -- and can't seem to find the 3000 photos I uploaded last night.

Hey -- if it was easy -- anybody could BLOG...

Friday, July 24, 2009

50's Apron-Jello-Bookclub Party

Okay -- because I was messing around with my new Picasa account -- and I have absolutely NO IDEA what I'm doing -- this picture accidentally got posted to my blog. It's four members of my book club -- the night (2006?) we made a 50's dinner for the old folks living in the Fountains. Linda Phillips, Linda Kreiling, Jackie Siefers and ME -- about 100 pounds ago. We shared the book, "Growing Up Country" that night...we ate Red Velvet cake for dessert. Posted by Picasa
And, yeah, I get the joke. Who's the old folks???

Bonne & Jan -- Sewing Artists Extraordinaire

First of all -- let me say that Jan Potter made the fabulous ZEBRA bag that I carry with me everywhere I go! She surprised me with it at the 2009 Expo -- and I love it so much -- I use the picture of me (with the bag) as my profile photo at the top of this blog...(thanks again, Jan!)

Jan Potter is on the left and Bonne Swett is on the right. Of course, that's one of our most popular Expo Sewing Stars -- Linda McGehee standing in the middle. Linda "discovered' the dynamic sewing duo of Jan & Bonne. And they brought 25 of their sewing "Challenges" to the 2009 Sewing & Stitchery Expo.

Their program was OUTSTANDING. The audience loved their presentation! Jan sews everything over-the-top -- with hanging threads, matching purses, embroidery, embellishments, whatever she can think of to push it to the BRINK. Bonne is more of an accountant-who-likes-orderly-matching-symetrical. Their differences are EXACTLY why their program was so entertaining! Because their challenge was to buy the same fabric, pattern or book and then go home to make their own "version". One year later, they unveil their creations to each other -- and they've been doing it for YEARS. In 2009 -- they shared their very different final projects with our EXPO audience and they were a BIG HIT.

In the second picture (if I get lucky) -- you can see Jan & Bonne on the stage with the FABULOUS MARK LIPINSKI!! His Saturday Night Quilter's Night Out was an incredible event. Mark came, loaded down with 40+ quilts -- and we all understood why his magazine, "Quilter's Home" is such a huge success story in the competitive world of quilting. He got the biggest standing ovation I have ever witnessed -- and nobody enjoyed it more than Jan & Bonne.

How am I doin', Jan & Bonne??

And -- have you started your 2010 challenges yet??

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sailing Down the Moonbeam

I LOVE IOWA. Tonight, I met Mary Gottschalk, the author of "Sailing Down The Moonbeam". It's her memoir about living in New York, leaving on a sailboat for a five-year journey with her husband -- and then -- well -- she told me I had to buy the book to learn the rest of the story. AND I CAN HARDLY WAIT.
Mary is in Iowa City attending a class at the Iowa Writer's Festival. I met her during dinner with our mutual friend, Carol (see her book below). Two fascinating women!! And we had a great meal at the Motley Cow. We could have talked all night long. The conversation was so intense -- we didn't get around to wondering how the restaurant ended up with that name.'ve gotta wonder...
The Iowa Writer's Festival is a first-class-event-to-make-you-think. Next year -- be sure to SIGN UP FOR A CLASS!! Hey -- it was in a Blogging class at the Festival where I learned how to do this. (don't worry - the quality of the Festival is in no way reflected by my amatuerish blog.)
A big THANK YOU to everybody who works so hard to make the Writer's Festival happen.

Growing Up Country

Tonight, I went to Iowa City to eat supper with my friend Carol Bodensteiner. She's in town for the Iowa Writer's Festival (where we met -- many years ago). She wrote the wonderful book, "Growing Up Country".
Last year, after my book club read the book (a bunch of country girls) -- we had our meeting at the Fountains, a retirement community where my aunt & uncle live. We had a GREAT time wearing gingham aprons and setting up the dining room with printed tablecloths from the 50's. Each of us brought food we remembered from our childhood -- (translation -- a big selection of jello salads). And we discussed Carol's book.
So many things in her book rang true with us. The farm life, the county fair -- oh, yeah -- the jello salads!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE is on tonight! I LOVE that show -- especially Mary Murphy. She is so enthusiastic! I'm always a sucker for somebody with a really good attitude. (and a lot of knowledge, of course). I wonder if that concept might work for the Puyallup Sewing & Stitchery Expo. Y'know? We could have a style show called, "So You Think You Can Sew?" Hummm...How would that work? You'd bring your best project of the year, and then compete with other people and their sewing projects?
Who would do the judging? Maybe we'd have an audience vote? Yeah. That's a really sucky idea.

Zebra Striped Porch Days

July 22, 2009

This has been the BEST SUMMER EVER for sitting on the porch. John and I have eaten almost every meal outside since May. Hey -- I understand that's not very interesting -- but I'm using this as an excuse to practice posting more pictures. I reupholstered my 40+ year old porch furniture -- and the challenge was to use only fabric I already owned. This picture shows how it turned out.

Then -- just to be radical -- I decided that what was really needed was a VALANCE. Oh, yeah -- this is how I roll. Completely over the top. how much fun is this?? I made it out of scrap fabric --then finished it off with a red/white and blue Zebra Knit. Which, as you can see -- I simply cut into long, flowing fringes. It's a lot of fun when a breeze is blowing!
My next assignment is to figure out how to take pictures with my digital camera. If that works out -- I'll post pictures of my new ZEBRA RUG. Oh, yeah, there is no end to my porch fun this year!!
What have you been sewing??

Saturday, July 18, 2009

July 18, 2009

This is a picture of my new grand-daughter -- Lillian Claire. She was born March 9, 2009. do you see how smart she is? She waited until I got back from Puyallup!!

Of course -- I could hardly wait to make her a custom blanket. Zebra stripes on one side and pink flannel on the other. Notice the 2" black t-shirt fringe around the edges...Lillian's Mom (my beautiful daughter-in-law, Emily) -- tells me that whenever she takes Lillian out with her zebra blanket, she gets asked a lot of questions.

Humm...funny -- she didn't exactly tell me what the questions were. Something on the order of 'WHERE DID YOU GET THAT WACKO BABY BLANKET??"


Okay -- so this is my first stab at writing a "blog". Ugh. I've been putting it off for two reasons -- first of all -- I'm afraid it will be a time-suck. There are only so many hours in a day and if Ray Charles could visit my house, even he could see that I'm already plenty behind on my important housework...

But my second big reason NOT to write a blog is that I'm afraid my blog will SUCK. It's like having a party and nobody comes. Or -- worse yet -- a lot of people come, but they are bored out of their mind and leave early. You just know they can't wait to call everybody you know to tell them what a bad party-giver you are.

One of the ways I’ve been putting off actually WRITING a blog is to read a lot of books and take a lot of classes telling me how to do it. (This is the same approach I used in 1970 for having sex…)


Whereas I've been PUTTING OFF WRITING A BLOG -- some people are out there actually DOING THE RIGHT THING. Like Susan Chesney and the CTA's in Everett, Washington. Here's what she writes:

The official title of the school is Camp StitchALot. We had almost 80 kids signed up this year.
Class topics included: Cargo pants, knit top, Chalkboard apron, and refashion your wardrobe. Each class was 3 hours a day for 5 days. We offered 2 morning classes and 2 afternoon sessions.


Hey -- one more thing I want to do -- post a picture from my cellphone. The thing is -- I've never actually taken a picture with my Blackberry -- and I know less than nothing about writing a, posting a picture from my cellphone seems a bit ambitious.

But -- in the spirit of "no pain -- no gain" -- here is a picture of Schaeffer Hall in Iowa City. In order to tell the story of the first morning of our "Blogging" Class -- with pictures instead of words -- I would have criss-crossed the front doors with bright yellow crime scene tape.
(exactly 11 people get that joke...)

I'm slowly but surely learning how to "post". BUT -- I cannot figure out why THESE GOOFY SPACES KEEP REAPPEARING??


Now, for more "homework" -- I need to figure out how to add a video from YouTube to my blog. So here goes....although it may not seem related (lol) -- Th big mean guy in this video (Pedro) is my son Ross -- he is a photojournalist working in remote, cold Minnesota. In their spare time, he and his buddies make short films for contests. Hey -- everybody's gotta have a hobby!!

'He's My Brother' - (..I received this story TWICE on the same day. Once from my husband John, and also from my friend Donna Babylon.) It is priceless...

Two young boys walked into a pharmacy one day, picked out a box of tampons and proceeded to the checkout counter. The man at the counter asked the older boy, "Son, how old are you?" "Eight," the boy replied. The man continued, "do you know what these are used for?" The boy replied, "not exactly, but they aren't for me. They're for him. He's my brother. He's four. We saw on TV that if you use these you would be able to swim and ride a bike. Right now, he can't do either."