Friday, February 29, 2008

La Dee Dah!

Is this not the coolest composter?! I ordered it yesterday from Planet Natural; never done business with them before so I am keeping my fingers crossed. It cost $231 with free shipping. Gardeners Supply has them for $225, but they want almost $30 for shipping. I like most of the products I've ordered from Gardeners supply. Got these yellow jacket traps last year; they work and they look really pretty in the trees! They have a lot of really pretty, colorful and decorative items for the garden, like these cool birdhouses and butterly shelters!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Breath of Fresh Air!

Subtitled: How to sound like an old fogey.

I was walking through the plaza to get to a meeting this afternoon and at least one smoker dotted each of the dozen-or-so doorways along the way. I thought to myself: "I remember when you used to have to go outside to get a breath of fresh air, but now you have to go INSIDE." PEOPLE: STOP SMOKING! IT KILLS! Plus it makes your skin real wrinkly.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

An impasse

So I am at an impasse. I can do "furrow" or "barnraising" settings for these blocks. If you have an opinion, please leave a comment. The next row incoporporates the blue with grey background and then the following row blue with lighter background.
I was finally able to get outta the house this weekend!! Yesterday we went to Target and Barnes & Noble. Mark got sneakers and I got crossword puzzle books. It is a modern myth that CWPs can help to prevent age-related brain lock, but I love them and always have! When I was pregnant, I did them constantly. I solved them on the subway, in the break room, at home all night long. I really haven't indulged in over forty years, but it's like riding a bike.

Today we went to WalMart. Did you hear WM is going to put medical clinics in its stores? That's great news; now maybe we can get emergency care in the ER again! We do have a health care crisis in America. Have you been to an ER lately? It's full of people who don't have medical insurance: babies with ear infections, the flu and whatnot. Let me give you some advice: if you need emergency care, by all means call 911 and get an ambulance. If you are delivered by ambulance, you will get in right away -- no waiting room for you! Anyway, I was happy to get out of the house and breathe fresh air. For those of you who live out East, we got snow last night. Here it comes!!!

I made a MEAN chicken stir fry last night! Wish I had taken a photo of it, but here's the recipe:


4 chicken breasts, rinsed and cut into 1/2 cubes
Mongolian Fire Oil
Soy Sauce or Tamari
Stir Fry Sauce
5 celery stalks, sliced or chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1 crown broccoli, separated into small flowerets, stalks sliced
mushrooms, cabbage, any other veggie you might have in the fridge
Chinese noodles, boiled al dente and set aside

Heat a wok or skillet on medium. Pour in 2 tsps of fire oil.
Drop in chicken and cook until white. Remove from pan.
Pour in 1 tsp of fire oil, drop in cooked noodles and add stir fry sauce and soy sauce to taste.
Remove noodles after about 5 minutes of cooking.
Add another 1 tsp of fire oil and add veggies. Saute for about ten minutes until soft.
Add chicken and noodles and more soy sauce/stir fry sauce to taste.
Cook for five to ten minutes to desired doneness.

Stay warm and eat well! xxooo P

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Iron These

Sorry, that's "IRONIES". I am home sick again! I'm really tired of this! SO glad I have few deadlines this week! As I fulfill my responsibilities of temporary homemaker today, I find a pair of socks on the bed with a GAPING hole in the heel!! I shouldn't tell everyone in the universe about this, I guess, but this is a typical pattern of wear for Mark's socks. As you can see, I have darned these at least once before. I am so frugal that I actually DARN SOCKS! Has anyone done this since medieval times? In any case, the IRONY here is the darning tool I use: it's a $150 art glass paperweight. How many pairs of socks can you buy with $150? Also, the yarn I use for darning costs about $9/skein. Of course, one skein will darn a whole lotta socks. Don't laugh so hard or you'll pee your pants.

Being home all day with the likes of my medieval habits is not made better by the "winter mixture" falling right now. How do you know if it's ice, sleet or snow?? Ice and Sleet are LOUD! Ironically, it sounds much like palm fronds smacking against each other when the wind blows on the beaches of Florida, an image that might bring forth feelings of warmth.

Cuddle up! xxoo p

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Priddy Puddy Tat

I love tigers. The University of Missouri, Auburn University and Clemson University have joined forces with World Wildlife Fund to initiate a friendly competition to see which school can raise the most money to stop tiger farming and the illegal trade in tiger parts. If you want to help save them, like I do, please go to for the details.

Speaking of puddy tats, guess who puked up a big hairball on the new quilt? He doesn't care; it was there and he owns everything anyway. Bhu says "Whatever, human."

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Train Keeps a Rollin'

Howdy! I haven't been this ill since 1995! Still trying to get well, but it is slow-going. Saturday was the first day I had enough energy to go into the sewing room and work on the RTC quilt. I found this very cool paisley (I never met a paisley I didn't like, even during the 60's!) for the border. I ran out of energy pretty quickly, but went back yesterday and found the perfect backing, quilted it and handsewed the binding on while watching "The Trouble with Tribbles" episode from the original Star Trek TV show. I just LOVE Ohura!! Was she not a totally cool chic?

Then, whaddya know? I finally decided on the block pattern for Kyle's quilt! It is Massachusetts Cross & Crown, which I found in a Marsha McCloskey book ("On to Square One [or was that Two?]"). the only problem: I need more light background fabric. Or maybe not.

We were freaked about the shootings at NIU, but I got an e-mail from a friend who is a Sociology professor there and we were quite relieved to hear from her! She did not know the shooter, but many of her colleagues did. I hope she remains safe there! Of course, if there are armed security guards in our public high schools, I wonder what makes us think the college campuses are safe. Hmmm.

Bundle up babies! Winter won't last much longer! xxoo P

Thursday, February 14, 2008

V-Day 2008

I'm sick as a dog, I've been blowing my nose so much that the skin on my face is all rubbed off and crusty and I'm breathing through my mouth because of aforementioned nose-blowing BUT it's V-Day and Mark made me this super-cute, colorful V-card. Thank you, Lovee!!!

When Kyle was still a tot, I made this quilt for him and he said, "Hearts mean love." They do indeed. We have lots of hearts in our house. I really like the Kalico Kitty pattern.

Josiah Leming was eliminated from American Idol last night, so now there is no reason to watch that show anymore. Josiah was judged to be "too confident for his own good." What the FingH does THAT mean? There's not one finalist who has an ounce of originality; they all sound like amateur versions of someone else. But then I give American Idol too much credit. They are, after all, searching for someone to SING other people's songs and make money selling the cd's. Now you ask, "Patty, why do you even CARE what happens on American Idol?" Well, I don't. But I do care about Josiah and it's interesting how I got sucked in. Josiah has the gift of originality and the presence of an artist and he believes so much in his craft that he lives in his car. Or at least that is what I have bought and believe. And so it was with full heartbreak that I watched the sobbing Josiah turn his back to the American Idol camera and walk into the California sunset. I wish he would have just turned around and flipped the bird and screamed "SO WHAT! I can sing, I can write songs and Patty Skypants is transfixed while she is watching me perform. Who needs YOU JERKS!" Yea, baby! Wish I could send him a quilt!

Well, I hope everyone is feeling the love today, whether it be from friends, family, lovers, listeners, readers, watchers, fans of any kind. Big sloppy smootches to ALL! P

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

She'd be okay if she wasn't such a SHOW-OFF!

Remember that basket of flying geese? I started the top Monday when I was home sick and finished it yesterday afternoon after work. Even for a scrap quilt, it's kinda on the ugly side, but I love the Road to California pattern and once it's quilted it will have more character. Anyway, who says quilts have to be pretty? I think the Gees Bend ladies pretty much answered THAT question! Which is a perfect segue to this: when do you give up on a UFO and just let it be a HYTI (Here, you take it). I'm a sucker for the RTC pattern, though, because it's a great way to use up 5" squares, of which I still have a half-full shoebox. There is a half-basket of red and brown flying geese, so I will make another RTC with those.

On the other hand, Bhu's groomer informed me last week that she wouldnt' be able to groom him in April because she's having a baby in late March! Yikes, I didn't even notice her bump. I'm not quite sure poor Bhu can go for one month without being groomed. Nevertheless, you know what that means: BABY QUILT! And, hooray for me, it's a GIRL. And Josie LOVES roses and pink and everything girlie.

Hugs xxoo P

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Girl Can't Help It!

These are the two mid-section pieces of the thread-saver pinwheel quilt. It takes a LOT of sewing to make a top from 4" blocks! Next course of action is choosing a backing, making the sandwiches and quilting each section, then putting them together. Or, I just might decide to go ahead and put the whole top together and quilt it, although that sure makes the shoulders sore! But, OH NO!! There were left-overs! This happens more often than not. Then, of course, I don't seem to be able to get into the homestretch with one quilt before I am starting the next and I have chosen this basket of UFO flying geese as my next project.So here we go again! I've got at least eight more baskets of threadsaver blocks, some as small as 2 x 2. It's gonna be an adventure!!

Plus, I'm working on Valentine's day stuff and thinking about making these neat little origami seed packets. I'll scan the directions and add them to the sidebar, if anyone is interested. Last year when Karlene came to Bob Dyer's funeral, we went downtown for lunch before taking her to the airport. We stopped in Bluestem and found a huge basket of these the partners had made as kind of a vernal equinox "giftie" for their customers. They are very easy to make and I can see their usefullness going beyond the storing of seeds. For instance, one of these would make a cute container for a pair of earrings, necklace, ring, promisory note, paper currency, etc. That's a twig keeping the packet closed and Lord knows I have plenty of those in my yard now, thanks to several very windy days!

It's going to be another wild weather day!!! Unfortunately, Dr. Skypants' Prescription Hot & Sour Soup did NOT cure the cold, so Mark has to go to the clinic this morning to get a z-pack (poor baby). We're both home with a sick day, so I will get more quilting done!! kiss, kiss my lovelies P

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dr. Skypants, please report to Sick Bay!

Mark has a cold and there's no cure better than homemade Hot & Sour soup (straight up from the replicator--har har). There are three critical ingredients: chicken stock, freshly diced or grated ginger, and hot Kim Chee! YOW!! Guaranteed to clear up anyone's poor little congested nose. This is the adult version of the recipe. If you can't cook without measuring everything, then your first ingredient should be a very large pour of cabernet, gulp, and begin:


Put the following into a stock pot with heat on medium:
--half a jar of Frieda's Hot Kim Chee (heed the warnings on the jar)
--at least a quart of chicken stock (Wolfgang Puck's is good)
--two healthy pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and diced (between a quarter and a half a cup)

Additional ingredients to dice/slice and add:
--cubed tofu
--leftover chicken, ham, pork
--carrots, turnips, mushrooms, scallions/onions, kale, bok choy
Warning: broccoli, cauliflower, peas and beans are not recommended

Bring to a simmer, cover and turn heat down to low and let it "soup" for at least an hour. After an hour, add a handful of bean sprouts. Also, if you want to scramble an egg and add that, it's an interesting texture.

Individuals can season their soup with soy sauce, hot pepper oil, chow mein noodles or anything else their little hearts desire.

If you can't find Kim Chee in your town, then you need to move. Huggles, P

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Chinatown's Gail Shen Closes

Gail died of cancer last week when the big winds came through. Her obits call her a "local icon," but she was actually imported from San Luis Obispo. Everybody didn't know her but everybody loved her because of Chinatown, where you could be a child! The city is much less colorful without her and I'm sorry that she is gone. Gail jingled when she walked by, always loaded down with an assortment of trinkets from her shop. Her "key chains" were frantic arrangements of little plastic animals and beads and boas and whatnot!

So many cool people are dying young and, frankly, it just makes me worry who will be my roommates at the nursing home when the time comes. Crotchety old people who led safe, healthy lives? What kind of interesting stories would people like THAT have to tell? I don't want to be locked up with folks who have nothing to talk about but their grandchildren, who have never had any adventures (vacations and cruise ships don't count as adventures), or dared or glared or stood high and hollered!! Everybody needs a Patty in their world, even me.

Then here's a warning: Valentine's Day is a comin'! I love handmade cards and here's one Mark made for me some years back. I wanted to get it framed, but I haven't been able to find it; so glad I have this photo!! xxoo p

Saturday, February 2, 2008

G'Day, Matey!

This is an amaranth, the coolest annual in the garden! Warning to those in the 'hood: you'll be seeing lots of this July through October! Got a catalog today from Select Seeds ( They have EXCEPTIONAL prices on plants, both perennial and annual. I'm absolutely koo-koo for old-fashioned hollyhocks, so I will be ordering those as well as the aforementioned amaranth! Which reminds me, we need to take the Mantis tiller in for a little check-up. Those lifetime blades are great, but you never know about the innards. Also need to take the cordless mower in and get the handle and motherboard replaced.

My friend Gerri is on vacation in Australia and New Zealand and I got a postcard from her today featuring Uluru in the Northern Territory. Hope she's having a good time!! Reminds me of Annette, a former quilting buddy who lives there and works as an ob/gyn nurse at the hospital. I liked Annette and I miss hearing from her.

Had a really productive day yesterday but it turned into a really bad evening. I won't go into all the details, but I will say that I was able to successfully de-activate Mark's checking account. I don't seem to be able to do things like that on the weekdays -- only on the weekends! But you know it's kind of a good thing. Our bank gives you only a couple of tries to log in and if you fail, they close you down. Makes it hard for me, who can never remember passwords, but it makes it difficult for hackers, too.

Clintons, Clintons Everywhere!

Monday we had Chelsea, today we get Bill. Bill was here back in --what year was it when he last ran for president? He made a special trip to a BBQ restaurant, which closed down a little bit later. Aside from that, worked on the Adopt-a-Spot blog this morning, adding lists and a slideshow of the plants we would like to have. Paulette and I are hoping it will generate some interest among the neighbors.
Looking at these photos I realize I really need a new camera! Anyway, what we have here is the little corner of the threadsaver pinwheels quilt I am making this weekend, featuring the basket of pinwheels -- you can see I have plenty for a good size top. And here's my sweetie pie Bhu, atop the new quilt (that's the backing, of course). The top is actually a red/green/gold holiday quilt. I dislike Christmas quilts, but I had a lot of threadsaver pinwheels left over from another project and some orphan star blocks and voila! I sent it away to Linda Davis who does machine quilting cheaply, fast and reliably ( Actually, I mailed the quilt on 12/26 and it was returned the second week of January. Can you believe it? I have been sending my queen and king-size quilts to her for many years and I USE my quilts and I machine wash them. Her quilting is sturdy enough for this and did I say it was cheap? I recommend her highly, unless you are what Mark Lipinski ( calls a "quiltzilla," in which case you don't want to know what I think anyway, so don't listen to me. Toodles! xxoo p

Friday, February 1, 2008

Snow, what's up?

Here's a photo for my friend Margaret in Birmingham, UK. She loves the snow (at least when it's in my back yard, not hers). Folks, this is a COLOR photo!
I'm happy about the weekend, during which I intend to work some more on my threadsaver quilt. Maybe I will start Kyle's quilt. It has been difficult to start that one, but I need to just get on the horse and ride!

The Secret Service is in town. Kiss, Kiss P