Sunday, August 28, 2011

Some sewin' goin' on!

I renewed my sewing mojo when I went on a weekend quilting retreat back in April. I took a Santa kit, to work on, that I have had in the wings since... the beginning of time more or less.

He turned out quite cute, if I do say so myself. I hung him haphazardly in the living room, in August, to see how he looked. Santa looked like it was too hot outside to have him on the wall. Now he is hanging comfortably in a closet... for another month or two. It felt great to get that quilt finished.

Santa was followed by a log cabin that was part of a quilt along at our local quilt store.

It is stripey and dottie and just wonderfully crazy.At this point I swore I would never do another log cabin as this is possibly the most un-square quilt I have ever made.

I quickly forgot that vow when I saw the coolest log cabin that is an American flag. I may have to make it for the marine. If he can fight for our country...I can surely suffer through another wonky log cabin, right?

Then I did 2 little tunics for my precious twin nieces.I have not sewn clothes since I was in college. I may not ever sew clothes again. These sweet little tops had shorts that went with them. I won't even go in to the comedy of errors that was me attempting... and then scratching the shorts idea.

Next on the agenda is making a slip cover for my darling daughter-in-law.
It if a funky junk store chair that I am going to slip cover with cotton seed bags. She is going to put it in her sun room. I am waiting until a day when I feel I have sufficient brain power to start that project. After the shorts debacle, my confidence is temporarily, I hope, waning.

These spurts of creative energy are usually followed by fits of rearranging and reorganizing of the Quilty Shack.

Can you tell it has been a scorcher of a West TX summer?

Here the little shack is earlier in the summer when the geraniums were slightly more happy and everything was a little less dusty.

There is always a plethora of animals hanging around the Q.S.Missy, ever in the center of activity.

Then Jake,...who earlier in the summer dug up my cute little flower beds in front of the Q.S., looking for a cool spot. Darling.

Of course Bianca......the sweet Bordie Collie who is in dire need of some sort of spa day.

Opening the door to the QS, always to be met by cluttered chaos that creativity generally creates.
Off to the left is lots of storage spots, my cutting table and dresser turned ironing board.The. Best. Junk. Store. Find. Ever.
Old metal school lockers. Spray painted pink, what else? The storage capacity of lockers is stellar.

Back up at the front, past the dresser, is my sewing machine. It is parked on an old wooden and enamel table that belonged to hub's grandmother.

Keep going to the left is a bulky cabinet with more great storage capacity...Keep in mind that this photo shoot was not staged. It is real life in the Quilty Shack...complete with pictures that have fallen off the wall and everything.

Next to incredible hulk cabinet, is my junk store (sense a pattern here?) cart, which I left in its original chippy yellow paint condition.
Above it is an old wooden ironing board which also belonged to hub's grandmother, that is currently being used as a bulletin board, if you will.

My rusty cart holds some serious essentials... electric hot water kettle thing, Starbucks instant coffee and a Scentsy warmer to make things smell fab. A ridiculous amount of quilting magazines and an old school set of canisters, which were found at the junk store too. Why do you ask? In the canisters are some people snacks, along with kitty and doggie treats. You saw the unruly gathering of animals hanging around, and that was not even the half of them, they get hungry.

Missy has quickly caught on to the snack stash....and is obsessed. All the puppy treats were she polished off the kitty treats. Meow.

Lastly we have my newly appointed scrapbook desk, which is still under construction and organization efforts...I have not scrapbooked in some 3 or 4 years sadly, nor have I printed the 60,987 pictures on my computer. But, as you can see I am working on that. In theory anyway. Also you will see I painted the bathroom door with chalkboard paint. Good times.

Now, Missy is bored so I guess I better go.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

School. Already?

So, my last post was 6 days in to summer. Yesterday was the first day of school. Where did you go summer? I love summer because I love blonde rascal being at home with me. End of story.

Let's review his unwillingness to be photographed on the first day of school, shall we?

The sleepy scowl.
Followed by complete disinterest.
Ending with a smirk as he makes his escape and runs for the car.

On a side note, back to school time does give me hope that cold weather is scheduled to appear in the next few months. I am a winter girl. Bring on the cold and the dark at 6pm and the quilts to snuggle under and the fires in the fireplace and the hot chocolate and snow and rain and icy windshields and cold toes and....well all of it! West Texas has had a HECK of a summer. Over 100 degrees for some ridiculous record # of days. 50 or 60 days. Sweating is so unattractive. No rain....since almost going on a year now. Honestly. We have gotten a quick rain shower, 10 minutes at a time maybe twice this summer. It is bad. Brown, dead, ugly bad.

SO all you summer lovers (Mary) I have paid my dues to summer weather. It better snow, rain, sleet, hail whatever it has to do for a little precipitation in this parched country, this winter. And cold? Bring it. We have had extreme I feel like a little extreme cold is only fair. I'm just warning you. I have sweat like a stuck pig all summer, so conversely it is time to freeze the proverbial tushies off this winter. Mmmmhmmm that's right.

So let's talk about blonde rascal and how he is in the 6th grade now? Why does it go so fast? He is half way through his schooling....well K-12 that is, because he will be going to MIT or Harvard or Yale or wherever his little heart desires, except the University of Texas because we bleed Red Raider in this house.....but I digress. Thank goodness in this little bitty school that he attends, 6th grade is still elementary. My heart is not ready for jr. high. I have this one year left to make snacks for the class, gifts for the teacher, attend class parties....and I plan on fully embracing it!

Sunday at church, he went from Sunday School to Youth Group. Ack. My baby. The up side of that is that both hubs and I reminisce fondly about our experiences with our respective church "youth groups" growing up and how it holds some of the most fantastic memories. Oh the fun. In fact hubs is still very, very close to this day to the band of thieves friends from his youth group. We are excited for the good times in store for blonde rascal.

My Dad requested a showing of the first day of school pics so that they could see blonde rascal's new brace-free smile! Well as it turns out the first day of school pics were apparently too early in the morning to, well, smile.

Here is the brace-free smile from when we went to Schlitterbahn a few weeks ago...
That would be me, hubs, the marine, darling-daughter-in-law and a brace free blonde rascal getting ready to brave the water park... which I am hoping is a good excuse for why I sort of look like a drowned something or other in clearly the most unflattering swimsuit cover-up known to man which will promptly be donated to Goodwill. Ahem. But isn't my new daughter-in-love cute??!!

And finally for your viewing pleasure, Dad, a full on mouth view whilst at the orthodontist immediately following the brace removal....Charming, eh?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Summer Time

School has been out for one week. Bliss. This momma loves summer. I love not having a to stick to a stringent schedule and necessary bedtimes and homework. Last day of school, blonde rascal getting his honor roll medal. That's right my boy has it all, brains and good looks.

Now I must get you caught up on all the riveting occurrences that you really should know about...

*I had to laugh because I got some comments on my last post from people who had considered putting in a pool, and I have caused them to ponder on that idea. Here is the standard that you must accept if you decide to put in a pool... you have to digest and know as the gospel truth that it IS expensive and the upkeep is time consuming... always, every summer, no breaks. If you think the payoff is worth sinking your money and time into.....then go for it. If not then join a country club, neighborhood pool or make friends with other poor schmucks who have pools. Come visit me and swim to your hearts desire!

*Elmo is a baby daddy.

Sassy is the baby mama.
A fine couple, yes? They had 4 pretty babies. More on that later. We still can't catch the little rascals in order to photograph their cute selves.

*In April I went on a weekend quilt retreat with our local quilt store and it was dreamy.
Between LOTs of eating and laughing, I did get some work done. I'll show ya later.

*We took blonde rascal and his BFF to Great Wolf Lodge in Dallas for his 11th birthday.

My baby boy is 11?

He is my greatest joy in life.
In a fit of laughter on the floor, above. He is regular character, that one.
How is he big enough to be shooting guns?

Blonde Rascal's birthday is May 9th, which always hits on or near Mom's Day.
Which is fine with me. I mean, what better way to celebrate Mother's Day than with the little man who made me a mom?
Eleven? Yet in my mind, he will always be like this....
So, we were in Dallas for b.r.'s birthday and Mother's Day. On Sunday, Mother's Day the boys took me to Bass Pro Shop.Just exactly how many fishing lures and varieties of bullets are there? Painful is what that was.

That is all for now. I must go make elaborate plans our Father's Day trip to Dallas where we will be shopping at the largest quilt store Dallas has to offer....

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Evolution of the swear word

The alternate title to this post was...Swimming pool parts massacre.

Back in the day, before in ground swimming pools, swearing was a gentler sport. When was the first in ground pool? I should have googled that since, you know, I am bent on having an accurate and truthful blog. I am guessing early 1900's?

Before that date, whatever it was, swearing amounted to awwww shucks, durn, phooey, fiddlesticks, tarnation, crimeninny, cotton pickin'....

Install the first in ground pool and hello $%*@, !*##, @&$^&#, %+?!, #$}=*!

Have some mercy on the foul mouthed, potty talkers of the world. It ALL stemmed from the poor schmuck who had to maintain the first pool.

This is our 3rd summer living in this house. When we were looking at the house I was mildly worried about becoming a pool owner knowing they required a tad bit of maintenance. However, we really loved everything about the house and property so my pool apprehension got swept aside and we bought it.

Summer #1. By the end of the summer, whilst digging in the couch cushions for spare change to buy pool chemicals & parts, we were scratching our heads wondering just exactly how much grief an in ground pool could cause? Well, look at this and this post, if you are brave

Summer #2. Let's just say that hubs did have a really comfy retirement sum tucked away. Living in a box under a bridge in our golden years won't be so bad. We'll have such torturous happy memories of summers full of swimming!

Summer #3...which is right now in case you are confused. Took the pool cover off on Friday the 13th. That's appropriate. Admittedly, May 13th is waaayyy too late to be removing the pool cover but we have had a windy, windy spring. If you know West Texas, then you know what I mean. 50 mph sustained winds is sort the norm for a bad spring. So had we removed the durn pool cover earlier we would have been digging patio furniture, dirt (and lots of it), tree limbs, leaves and whatever else could have blown in, out of the pool daily.

On Friday the 13th I spent $ at the hardware store for chemical, salt, acid, etc... Understandable for the initial start up for the season.

I failed to mention that when we took the cover off, it was very swampy and nasty and terrible.

Not to worry. We diligently chemical-ed and vacuumed and back-washed and monitored that week and things slowly were looking up.

The following Friday it was back to the hardware store, because you just can't have enough acid at a time like this. Both to snort or shoot up (whatever you do with acid) AND dump in the pool. (Who is funny this morning?) Oh and salt. Saltwater pools love them some salt. You can't just go buy 10 of Mortons blue cylinders of salt at the grocery store and call it good. Oh no, we need mineral fluffy, fancy, super dooper, $ salt. Anyway another $ was spent last Friday.

However we had achieved a somewhat normal shade of blue and we were darn skippy proud of our progress. The water was cloudy but it was a blue you could find in a crayon box.

Wednesday morning. The cloudiness in the water was gone! We did it. The sun broke through the clouds.....Haaaaaaaleeeeeluuyah!!!

Wednesday afternoon a doozie of a wind storm popped up and the bottom of the pool was covered in dirt. Irritating but not the end of the world, just turn on the vac and all will be well again.

We innocently turn on the pump and backwash. The start up the vac. Sand starts pouring out of the jets into the pool. (Which is what happened the first summer when we had to drain the pool) So we begrudgingly take apart the sand filter, which is no cake walk. A part had come loose, hubs reattached it. Put it all back together. Dig as much sand out of the pool as we can. Turn it back on. More @$*$^@ sand blowing out the jets.

We savagely disassemble the filter again and same part had blown off.

We live in a small town with certainly no pool companies nor parts available.

Thursday I make the 180 mile round trip to San Angelo, home of our favorite family owned pool store. These folks are really nice and needless to say, have gotten to know us very well over the past three delightful years! I did not re-read the previous pool posts I linked to above, much too painful. So if you bravely read those and I am now repeating myself, I apologize...but the pool store keeps records in the computer of what you buy, your water readings, etc... My name in their computer is misspelled...Broke instead of Brooke. It, sadly, cracks me up every time I am in there. I won't let them change it.

Additionally, to add insult to injury on that trip to the big city I had to go to Lowes to buy PVC pipe parts. Hubs had sent me with a precise little list. Have you seen the PVC section at Lowes? For the love of pete I wanted to scratch my eyeballs out in frustration. I was already in a hyper--foul mood by the time I got to Lowes after the pool store...and then I had to paw through 45,000 PVC pieces parts.

Schedule 40, male coupling....what the tarnation is that? I was seething with anger when I left Lowes.

We had hopes for our bright young blonde rascal to go to college one day. Perhaps an Ivy League? Those hopes are dashed now. He will be in the box under the bridge with us. I spent his college fund that day at the pool store. Ever bought a new sand filter for a pool? Oh and a new booster motor for the vac too. It seems that sand in the lines screws all the bearings and such in a motor straight to poop.

Angry is what I am now. I am not a habitual cuss-er. I am nothing if not a genteel, refined, polished southern woman. Ahem. This pool makes my face turn red and steam blow from my ears. If there was ever a moment when I could just cuss like a would purely pool related.

As I was leaving the pool store $ lighter, a fellow customer was in the store and I over head him innocently say y'all put my pool in about a month ago and now the water isn't looking so good. It took all I had not to drag him outside by his ear, violently shake him by the shoulders while yelling with tears in my eyes WHY, why would you do something so stupid as installing a #*%$& pool??

Instead I stood silently while the owner, who I am sure has a tidy retirement & college funds for all his children, said oh no problem 6 bags of blah blah, a case of blah blah and 12 bottles of blah blah will fix you right up. That will be $16, 493.

I get home from my 180 mile round trip at about 8:30pm and we commence to installing the new filter. At midnight after hubs worked like a champ at the installation, blonde rascal was a gem and a huge help to his Dad and I had entertained myself thoroughly with schemes of how we could get rid of the pool...dynamite, a heck of a storm shelter, giant flower garden... we slept like babies.

I like to call the above photo...the Clampets re-plumb the pool.

And the money shot....The million dollar pool part summer.

Here we have trash, empty pool filter sand bags.50lb bags and we needed 500 lbs. Ask me how my back feels.

Thankfully the pool gods were kind. Not running your pump for 4 days is generally a death sentence, the water will go green and that is not a good quality in this case. Luckily our water has stayed clear and now the filter is running.

Uhhhh....the booster pump for the automatic vac is not working but hubs thinks it might be an error in his wiring. So he is still figuring that one out.

(I paused at this point in my blogging and went to manually vac the pool.)

Guess what? Now the $&%# control valve handle won't turn. Sounds like it has sand jamming it up. Hmmm sand? How odd! So I can't turn the pump to filter. Square one? Hubs is out of town. I am on the verge of l-o-s-i-n-g it. Good news is I did call the only known pool boy in this town. Left a message. If he calls back and says he does not have room for another client I will scream and cry and cuss...out loud this time.

I am moments away from calling the realtor.

Come back soon to read more of this painful saga.

Broke Brooke

Friday, May 6, 2011

Burning questions

First of all I am irritated with Blogger. I don't know what has gone on in the past 5 months or so.... but I can't change anything. Not my font, not color, nada. Am I missing something? Do I need to download something? It used to be relatively easy to change. Does anyone know the answer to this? My blog needs a serious update & cleanup. However, I am pooh pooh-ing the whole situation because I don't have 12 consecutive free hours to figure out why I have no creative freedom with Blogger anymore.

Secondly, what does Queen Elizabeth carry in that purse of hers? For the record, I did get up at 4:45 am to watch the royal nuptials and was positively giddy about the whole situation. What can I say, but the entire thing was fabulous. I think Kate is stunning and a breath of fresh air. William is charming, Charles is a door knob, Camilla is a woofer, Harry looks like fun and Fergie's daughter's hats were just flat out bizarre.

Anyway, it seems like whenever I see the Queen, she has her purse. Her cute grandmotherly purse hanging in the crook of her arm. What on earth is in that thing? Receipts from Target? A Starbucks card? Keys to the palace? Her Jitterbug? (Kleenex goes without saying, as you cannot be a grandmother without them, amen?) Hubs thinks there is a James Bond-ish little gun in there. I vote for a package of peanut butter crackers. What say you?

Lastly, I have pictures of every minute detail from the last 100 years since I have not been blogging regularly. Bet you can't wait to see those! I perused through them just now...where to start? In an effort to stay on task with my burning questions theme....

Here is the marine on the Friday morning before his wedding. He is stationed in AZ, so he drove all night to get here. Understandably a nap was in order before the craziness of the weekend started.

Let's take a closer look....
There is a weapon in his waistband? (Probably not unlike the one hubs imagines QE to have in her dainty handbag.) During his nap, the day before his wedding, on our living room couch. Was he expecting an attack? Pre-wedding jitters? Of course one would have to think, what kind of a damper would a nap time gunshot wound place on the honeymoon?

Well, that is all. I declare with every quarterly post, as now seems to be my schedule, that I will post more often. I really like hearing myself talk, so I do hope to be posting more frequently....

In the meantime please tell me why Blogger is a butt and how to resolve it, what you think is in QE's purse and for the love of Pete, do tell if you had a weapon on your being on your wedding day.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The big wedding day arrived

Here is my family, in the marine's last moments as a single man! He looks pretty calm, huh?

Our darling d-i-l was calm too. Nerves of steel, those two.

Then came the ceremony.

It is official!

After 10,000 pictures, it was time to eat cake.....

....and party like rock stars......

It was a fun, sweet, crazy day. However, I am glad it is a big happy memory now! Looking at pictures is fun....and no stress! Welcome to the family darling d-i-l!!