March 31, 2014

Tuesdays With Tag - I Wanna Ride...

Hi, Everybody!
I bet you're wonderin' why I'm wearin' my Harley hat today, aren't you?
This is a very special week, 'cuz I'm havin' a BIRTHDAY.
Mom told me that I can write more than one blog post to celebrate, too.

So, today, I wanna tell you about Mom's bike - that I really wanna ride - and
then I'm gonna come back on Thursday so we can celebrate me turnin' three
years old. I'm pretty excited about it, so it's gonna be a little hard to concentrate.
H-D 100th Anniversary '03 Deuce for sale on Ebay
  You probably saw Mom's bike before, but if you haven't, this is what she rides 
when she and Dad roll out for a little sightseein' in Florida. She hasn't been able 
to ride it for about a year ('cuz the doctors told her she couldn't ), so it's just been 
sittin' in the garage where she starts it up or polishes it to keep it nice and pretty.
Well, I can't tell you how much I like the sound of Mom and Dad's bikes. I run 
around like a maniac when they start 'em up! I really wish that Mom had a 
special back seat or carrier for me so I could ride along with her every stinkin' 
time she rides, but I always have to stay home. It's borrrinngg and highly unfair!
Then, she tells me that she's sellin' her beautiful Deuce. Wha? Are ya kiddin'
me? Ya mean I'm never gonna get to ride on her Harley? BARK BARK BARK!
(This is no April Fool's prank either. This is for real.)
That's how serious I am about his! I was hopin' for a sidecar for my Birthday
this year...and my own helmet and doggles...and maybe chaps... Instead, she's
 probably gonna get one of those stoopid carts to pull behind her bicycle when
she exercises around our block. (I bet she'll even repeat "potato, potato, potato" 
like the noise Harleys make, but it just won't be the same.) Oh, well. What's a
guy to do? I know! I'm just gonna look on the bright side. More car rides for me!
So, I'm lookin' forward to Thursday when we'll actually have a celebration.
I'm thinkin' cake and vanilla ice cream, more sweet potato rawhides and a toy
or three... Maybe I'll have a real Birthday hat instead of my Harley one?
Mom said we're gonna have another giveaway, too! Wonder what that's gonna
be? She won't tell me 'cuz she says I talk more than Duke from Bush's Beans.
Who? me? "Roll that be-u-tiful bean footage." Muahahahaha!
I'll be back Thursday. 'til then...
"Bark Like Ya Mean It." 
(I sure will!) 

March 30, 2014

Pressing Table Tutorial...

 After Handsome and I did a little Sunday DIY in the Flying Cloud, I was inspired
to do one more small project before putting up my feet for the rest of the day.
I have been wanting to make a small, portable pressing table for a while.

Many of you have probably seen one of these projects before in Blogland,
but just. in. case. you've missed it, I'm going to share the process with you.

Supplies include:
• one folding tv table
• Insul-Bright batting
• cotton or wool batting
• reflective ironing board fabric
• permanent spray adhesive
• staple gun and staples
• scissors 
 • Oh, and one Corgi supervisor (or breed of your choice)
 Insul-Bright is a special batting used in potholders or wherever you want
to have a protective layer between your surface (skin or otherwise) and heat.
There's a reflective, metallic material that has been "needled" with batting
 on both sides. You still need to add more batting to each side if you're
 creating potholders, but this is what really keeps the heat away from your hands.
Cut a piece of Insul-Bright large enough to overlap the top of the
table on all sides by about 2 inches. After cutting, set it aside.
 I purchased my tv table at Wal-mart for $8.97, plus state sales tax.
The finish on the top is really crappy, so I never would have bought it to
use for its intended purpose, but it's going to work great for this. I know
 it looks dusty, but this really is the finish they expect you to live with!

Start by standing upwind and spray the permanent adhesive all over 
the top of the table. ("Upwind" means that any breeze is behind you so
that the adhesive doesn't blow back all over your clothing - or your dog.)
 Before the adhesive dries, place the Insul-Bright on top and smooth
onto the table. You have a little leeway to lift it up if you do it right
away. If you're not confident placing it on the first try, cut a larger 
piece of batting so that you can trim it to the right size after gluing.
 Trim all around and cut an angle at the corner, still leaving enough to
fold completely to the back side of the table top. On to the next step...
 Cut a piece of regular cotton (or wool) batting and place a single
layer over the top of the Insul-Bright layer. No adhesive is needed.
The batting will stay in place on its own without the spray adhesive.

Then cut a piece of the heat-reflective ironing board fabric the same
size and smooth on top of the other layers. I have mine on the bolt
so it doesn't wrinkle, and I use it to also cover my applique' boards.
 Hold onto the whole padding assembly and flip the table over onto
a flat surface for the next step. You need to staple everthing in place.
 Staple across one side and then spin it around to pull the opposite side
 taught and staple that down, too. Then staple the "end", pulling slightly,
 finishing up on the final side. Remember to give the fabric just a little
 tug to make sure there are no wrinkles on the top. I do my corners last.
 Stop for a little break to admire the handsome Corgi supervisor.

Then, turn the angled corner over the edge and fold each side as
you would a miter. I staple at each step so it's nice, tight and flat.
Repeat this process on all four corners. It's really that simple.
 Flip your table over and admire your handywork.
 It took less than an hour to finish this pressing table project and
it's going to come in so handy in the studio. Especially when I'm
working on my Farmer's Wife or Pineapple Blocks as they require
pressing after nearly every seam. Now, all I'll need to do is swivel
my chair a bit, rather than stretching to the ironing board. Lazy me!

March 29, 2014

Sunday Scripture...

courtesy of

March 28, 2014

A Wisconsin Wedding Today...

Today is the day my niece, Stephanie and her son, Ethan add a new family member.
Stephanie is marrying her sweetheart, Jeremiah at 3 o'clock this afternoon.
I'm so happy that they will become an official family and, although I won't be in
attendance, Stephanie and Jeremiah know that I'm with them in thought and spirit.
I've heard the excitement in Stephanie's voice during our conversations and I
can imagine the hustle and bustle that envelopes the bride, groom and all their
loved ones as they prepare for that joyful, nervous, brief walk down the aisle.

I've counseled Stephi to savor each and every moment so that she can tell future
children and grandchildren every minute detail of their ceremony and celebration.
I truly regret that I'm unable to attend, but those circumstances can be part of
their story, too. There will be a video to help tell their tale, along with myriad
photographs. Some will be sent to us after all the excitement has died down, 
and I'm looking forward to seeing how wonderful their day turns out to be.
I'll stop to say a wedding prayer for them this afternoon. 
I'll ask that they have a long, loving and joyful life together,
and pray that God guides them to always find delight in each other.

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Jeremiah Buchanan
(and Ethan, too) as they all begin their new life together.

March 27, 2014

I Love Pineapples...

 I love the fruit and the quilt blocks!
 It all began when I learned about this great Creative Grids™ Pineapple 
Trim Tool from my friend, Pam at Crazy Quilters. She kept posting 
blocks on her FaceBook page and saying how easy it was to create the 
blocks using it. I purchased my own tool and set it aside until last night.

When I saw Pam yesterday, she gave me a quickie lesson in its use and
I couldn't wait to try it myself as soon as I got back home from the shop.
Once in the studio, I decided to use some of the batik "Bali Pops" from
my stash. I chose an assortment of blues from Hoffman and then picked 
an appropriate pineapple-yellow batik as the focus fabric. I was anxious to
create my first block, so I started sewing while Handsome was at rehearsal.
This block was my very first effort and there will be many to follow.
Each block will feature a light batik and various blue batiks from the
same Bali Pop assortment, but all of them will feature the same 
cheerful yellow. This tool really helps create a block that looks much
more difficult than it really is. I'll have to thank Pam next time I see her!

 I'll be playing in the studio today if anyone is looking for me.

March 26, 2014

Disappearing Four-Patch...

Do you know about the Disappearing Four-Patch Block?
I learned about it while on Susan's retreat. One of the Donnas was
 working on a number of kidlet quilts...quick and colorful...the whole
time we were together. This one caught my eye so I asked for details.

The Disappearing Four-Patch block begins with a regular Four-Patch, using 
5" squares of fabric. You can also begin with 5" wide strips of fabric - one 
light and one dark. After you sew the strips together, cut into  5" segments.
Then alternate the segments as shown in the first picture and sew them into the
 traditional Four-Patch block. The next step forms the "disappearing" variation.

After pressing the seams on the block, cut one inch from the center seamline on
each side as well as top and bottom. You can see the cut lines in the top picture.
If you use blocks larger than 5", you can adjust the cutting lines to suit your taste.
(The red arrows show cutting lines on both sides, top and bottom of the block.)
Now, leave the center of the block (and the corner blocks) alone and 
rotate each of the bar sections 90ยบ. (You can see the difference between
the original block (A)  and the new block (B) in this picture. Your next step
is to sew all the new components back together as laid out into one block.
Once you've made the desired number of blocks, you can join them,
with or without sashing. An extra border will make a larger kid's quilt.
It doesn't get much easier than that, and the overall effect is bound to
make a youngster very, very happy. I'm going to be making one of
these very soon. (I want to finish two Headstart quilts in April.)
I'll be heading over to Crazy Quilter's today to teach another class.
Web image

March 25, 2014

Little Bee...

  I worked as an Inspector at one of our local polling places yesterday.
It was a "minor" election, with only one item on our ballot (a question),
so we didn't expect a large turnout. Our Clerk told us we could bring a
book to read (or needlework) to help pass the time. (We were there from 
6 am - 7:30 pm). It was a long day. I decided to take a book for simplicity.

I've had this book for a while as it was a gift for Christmas, so I thought
it would be the perfect way to spend the "waiting time". Little did I know
that the entire story line takes place in my birthplace in England! I was 
reading along when "Kingston-upon-Thames" came up. Imagine my delight.

"Little Bee" is a #1 New York Times Bestseller written by Chris Cleave.
This is the synopsis that appears on the back of his book:
"This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and
one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you
never have to face. Two years later, they meet again - the story starts there...
Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do,
please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds."

Well, alright then. I'm going to continue reading this book and when I
finish it, I'll keep my review simple..."thumbs up" or "thumbs down".
Just know that, for now, I'm enjoying it and smiling an awful lot.

March 24, 2014

Tuesdays With Tag - Gimme Somethin' Good...

 Hi, Everybody!
Is it Tuesday again already? Whew. Time sure flies.

I wanna tell you about my newest, favorite treat...and before you ask...
No. I'm not gettin' compensation from some big, fat corporate sponsor. 
I'm not even gettin' any free stuff for doing this! I just think I oughta share
when I find somethin' worth tellin' you about. I'm just a nice guy that way.
 Mom got these from Dr. Stephanie the last time we were in the vet's
office (remember I had to go get my teeth cleaned?). Mom always
 checks the "treat shelf" in the front lobby to see if there's somethin'
special she can bring home for her favorite Corgi. That's me!!!
 What she brought home for me was a bag of these little beauties.
They're real sweet potato, transmogrified into veggie rawhides.
 See? 100% Sweet Potato.

Mom and I laughed at the comment the founder (Chef David) put on
the back of his bags. "Enjoy and say ARF ARF to your Dog for me."
He obviously has never met a Corgi. We are way more sophisticated
than to utter a simple "ARF ARF". Hasn't this guy ever heard of me???

Either way, I'm here to tell ya that these babies are delish! Mom usually cuts
 the big ones in half so I don't blow up like some big, overfed, over-treated dog
(but that's a rant for another time). Most of the time they're just the right size.
 The other cool thing is that they're made in the
good ol' U.S. of WISCONSIN even!
(about a 1/2 hour from where Mom and Dad used to live!)

WARNING: NEVER eat dog food or treats from China!
They put stuff in their food that kills dogs. If you have
food or treats from China, better get rid of it right away.
Your future health - or your life, even - depends on it!
 To say it's my most favorite treat of all would be a serious
understatement. I'd eat 'em for dessert if Mom would let me.
 OK. It's time for me to quit talkin' and get chewin'.
It's gonna be a great week. Mom is over at the Morgan Center
helpin' people vote today. If anyone needs me, I'll be here keepin'
busy with my little piece of sweet potato heaven. mmm, mmm good!
I'll see ya next week. 'til then...
"Wag Like Ya Mean It!"

March 23, 2014

Great Weekend and Giveaway Winners...

Printed autograph with a "smiley" face. Adorable!
The North Port Concert Band put together a great show yesterday.

Top of the bill was a thirteen year old lad named Geoff Gallante. He's
been playing music since he was SIX! He started with the cornet and
has since mastered trumpet, flugal horn and piano.We enjoyed a rare 
treat when he performed "Carnival of Venice", "My Cherie Amore"
(a version arranged especially for him), and "Come Back To Sorrento".
He also sang a sweet version of "Que Sera Sera" that left us all smiling.
He was more than happy to pose for pictures after the concert, too.
Geoff autographed my program, so I could say, "I knew him when".
If you look closely at the first picture, you'll see his signature up in the
top left corner. He was lying down on two chairs in the music suite
telling me that he'd love to live here in Florida while he signed it! (He
 lives in the northeast and told me it's cold up there right now.) All that
 talent makes one forget he's still a little boy until we had that exchange.
  He put on his "picture face" for his shot with Handsome. That's not 
the shirt Handsome wore for the concert, but he's always a real quick-change 
artist after they finish playing. Suits and ties get hot under the bright lights! 
Geoff couldn't wait to head over to the  restaurant for something to 
eat, so he just put on his jazz hat and smiled. He's an all-around, great kid.
If you've never heard of Geoff Gallante before, head over to YouTube and
type in his name. (This is a link to a version of "Carnival of Venice" he played
three years ago. He's definitely better after three more years of practice!)
What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon!
Are you ready for the Giveaway winners?
I went to Random Number Generator and here are the results:
 First winner is one of my very first blog friends:
Second winner is one of my newest blog friends:
Sharon Hughson
Sharon: please contact me with your email address so I can get
the information I need to transmit your prize to you. (I already
 have contact information for Twyla and will contact her, too.)
Thanks to everyone who entered. 
Don't be too disappointed. There's another celebration coming in
 ten, short days. If anyone can guess what we might be celebrating, 
leave a comment on this post and the first right answer will win 
a little gift!  (I'll see who read this all the way to the end, right?)

March 22, 2014

Sunday Scripture...

Image from
  (Direct link:
This is a wonderful performance of Pharrell William's "Happy"
brought to you by the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences.
(My buddy, Shell May of The Raspberry Rabbits has made this song
her official theme song, so I know she's gonna love this version!) 

Happy Sunday!