Thursday, September 22, 2016

img_4277 First things first — we had house guests from Switzerland this past Sunday evening. As before, Ruedi brought me  several Swiss chocolate bars. This time he’d created a special photo wrap for the five large chocolate bars. I’ve tried to be very good about devouring them, only eating a couple of squares a day–but I have to tell you it’s been hard to stop at just a couple of squares. Their chocolate is far superior to anything made here in the U.S.

And as Ruedi has done in the past, he brought a new friend with him on the trip. Come to find out, this friend (Peter) is a Lionel Collector and Repairman. He had slides of his collection and his layout. Very impressive, and when I happened to see a picture that was identical to the fabric I used in a quillow I had recently made for the Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum’s gift shop, I quickly called Sheryl P. (the Depot gift shop manager) to see if it would be possible to purchase one of the two remaining fabric panels as a gift for Peter. We agreed on a price and I quickly separated the two panels and got the one ready to give to Peter as a parting gift. A few minutes later, the house phone rang and it was Sheryl’s husband, Doug. He quickly invited our house guests to HIS home to check out his Lionel trains. It was a very impromptu, spur of the moment thing that just made the day for all involved.


At Sheryl and Doug’s home, she and I left the guys to their trains and we proceeded to the house for coffee. We sat outside and although it was a bit warmer than it had been the day before, it was still nice out. After a bit, we saw the guys emerging from the shop on the upper level of their back yard so I knew it was time to go. Ruedi insisted on taking photos of everyone, and then we took one of Ruedi and Peter holding a copy of The Loop newspaper. When I get the image from Ruedi, I’ll submit it to the Loop for inclusion in one of their issues. The front page had photos and a story about the yearly migration of the Turkey Vultures. Our friends had never seen vultures like this.

I’ve been sewing on a dress for the Dress A Girl Around the World program. It’s finished except for sewing on the pockets. A woman in Arizona gave me a pattern for the little pocket dolls that she used to make to include with the dresses that were made for this same program there in Roadhaven. I have the pattern some where in my stash — will have to find it and perhaps make a few dolls to go in the pockets of the dresses.


Other than sewing, this morning I went to a friend’s home and picked Concord Grapes! And tonight I made Concord Grape Jelly!


I have enough grapes pressed to make another batch of jelly, and yet a third batch of grapes that have been washed and cleaned, waiting in the refrigerator. I’m going to try my hand at making Grape Cordial with the batch in the refrigerator. I love Cordials and I’ve found a recipe that’s fairly simple. I just need the containers, which I will purchase tomorrow.


Not much else to report — be safe, be well, and be happy. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them!


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Friday, September 9, 2016


This isn’t my Honda Civic, but one just like it — mine just got out of the shop tonight. I’ve been without it for almost 2 weeks and I thought I was going to go into withdrawal I’d been without it for so long. I am really not comfortable driving my husband’s truck. It’s big, high off the ground so I have to absolutely pull myself up into it, and it makes me feel very small and vulnerable. I love my Honda — my little “Silver Bullet”. Happiness is.

We’ve been having trouble with our water softener. Besides the fact that we’ve had it for nine years and it’s never been serviced (which we discovered should be done on a yearly basis), there’s apparently a crack in one of the valves so the part has to be ordered. It works (I think) but it leaks water. The guy was here for close to 3 hours working on it and couldn’t get it fixed. He’ll see if he has a part to fit it in his shop and if not, he’ll have to order it. When it comes in, he’ll be back. He only charged me for one service call, which was nice considering the amount of time he spent working at trying to fix the unit.

I didn’t get much sewing done today, but have all of my stay-stitching done on another apron and I gave the water softener guy one of the crayon rolls. He said he has 10 kids — from 26 years down to 5 years so I figured he’d score some points with the 5 year old if he brought him a neat little holder for crayons.

We have a full house this weekend — well, almost full. Our niece is here and our eldest son is still with us. Everyone has gone to bed but me — naturally. It’s like being the first one up in the morning — you have the house all to yourself and it’s quiet. There’s a peace that is so soothing…

But I have a big day ahead of me tomorrow. I’m going to drive to Bakersfield and pick up my Bernina sewing machine. The shop called yesterday to say that it was all ready to go. The only thing wrong with it was the bulb was the wrong kind. It takes a BERNINA bulb and nothing but a Bernina bulb will do. I thought I had bought a Bernina bulb when I ordered one online. Guess not. He replaced the one in the machine and exchanged the one that I had bought and they’re only charging me for the one bulb. Nice people! And, they’re having a grand opening tomorrow with all sorts of prize drawings. Should be fun. Who knows? I might win a new sewing machine!! Whoo hoooo!😉

Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Know that you are loved, even when you feel you aren’t lovable. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them, each and every day.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My serger arrived this afternoon!! I was at the library just this afternoon, picking up four more books on learning to operate a serger. I knew that when my serger arrived it would have the manual with it, but I figured the more I read up on this type of machine, the more comfortable I would feel once mine arrived.

When we opened the box, the first thing we saw was batting — the serger had been set in the box surrounded by cones and cones of thread, and covered snugly with batting. I have to say that although I bought this machine online, it felt like Christmas and that I had just opened an early Christmas present. I could feel the warmth of the woman who owned it previously–truly, just a warm, fuzzy feeling of happiness. I’ve told her daughter and her husband that I will think of her whenever I use the machine. I am blessed… I never did figure out how I came across the posting about the serger being for sale. The woman’s daughter had asked a friend to post it on some of her sewing lists and I happened to subscribe to one of the lists. The post was over a month old so I figured everything was gone (there was also an embroidery machine that I really wasn’t interested in owning). The serger was still available! Oh my… then came the decision to go ahead and buy it. It’s in beautiful condition and I know I’ll get many hours of happy usage out of it.

I happened to be sitting at my computer a bit ago, just staring out at the view of the sun going down on the mountain across the way when DH came in and asked me if I was alright. I said, yes, it’s just another day is almost finished and I was watching the view and thinking that I felt like writing. He patted me on the back and said, “Get to writing! I’ve told you for years you can write a book.” I think he misunderstood me… LOL

Update on the Sunset Pacific Ry — We were going to see the younger son and grandsons this coming weekend, but it’s been put off for a few weeks. Dan Tufts, owner of Centerline Concrete Cutting Company, is a dear friend of ours and has been very helpful to us in the past, bringing his skip loader over and helping to move DG from the street down to the back yard and into the layout. We were going to take delivery of five more yards of DG for this upcoming Labor Day weekend, but Dan is going to be busy so we’re putting it off until it’s a convenient time for him. The amount of labor saved by using a skip loader is well worth the wait.

I have an apron cut out for a young volunteer at the Depot, and I’ll have to see how much of it can be sewn using my new-to-me serger. I have also decided to sell my Viking and buy another Bernina. I’ve done a bit of research and have found a Bernina dealer that accepts trade-ins. If I don’t sell the machine by next week, we’ll take a drive down to North Hills to Sewing Machine Warehouse. This company sells Bernina, Viking, Brother, Juki and Janome, so I’m sure to find something at a good price.

Be safe, be well and please be happy. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them. I haven’t written about it, but for several months I quit speaking with my younger sister. It took time for me to adjust and accept what she did that upset me. The other day I sent her an e-mail, explaining why I got mad at her and telling her I was sorry. She responded and we’re working on getting beyond the situation, letting bygones be bygones.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Monday, August 29, 2016

I have been having fits with my sewing machines. Granted, I shouldn’t be grumbling at having trouble with a machine when I have more than one, but if you can’t get it to sew, you may as well not even have it.

On to the explanation for the photo showing packets of sewing machine needles. How about this for a handy-dandy keeper for sewing machine needles? Each packet standing up in a row holdsIMG_4202a about 6-8 needles each, and the two along the side hold 8-10 needles each. Quite a collection. I researched why I was having such ugly stitching when the machine I was using supposedly had automatic/computerized fabric tension adjusting. I was using my Viking Sapphire 870Q, which is a quilter’s model sewing machine. I shouldn’t have been having problems with it as I’d just had it in the shop for servicing.

So I changed the needle. I had been keeping my needles in a Ziploc baggie… a real pain to have to pull all of them out, collect them in your hand as though you were getting ready to roll pennies, and sort through them. A juggle every time I needed to change my needle. Then the light bulb came on and I reached into the trash bin under the desk and retrieved the little plastic baby food container I had thrown out just the day before. Yep, the needle packets fit perfectly and it held every last one of them. Now all I have to do is look — the red packet is my Bernina needles — the rest are Schmetz  (click on the link for a needle guide) or a universal brand, and being the ultra-obsessive person that I am, the needle packets are sorted according to size/use. No more digging through the baggie!

I learned that you need to match the needle size to the thread size else you may wind up with holes in your fabric (although the stitch will be there, there’ll be excess space around the thread, which means you’re using too large a needle.)

New needle installed, the stitching was still unsightly. I knew it should look better than  this and I shouldn’t have trouble sewing more than two layers at a time. So I unplugged the machine, went out to the car and brought my Bernina back in and set it up. With the aid of a desk lamp (since the light socket is kaput), I sewed and sewed and sewed. Straight seams, neat stitches. It wasn’t the seamstress, it was the machine!

I’ve been considering selling the Viking here in Tehachapi, but if I don’t sell it here, I’ll take it to Arizona and use it for a trade-in on another Bernina. I know a lot of people are in love with the Viking, but I’m not one of them.

Here’s what I got accomplished between last night and today — two aprons finished and three Crayon Rolls made. The Bernina sewed over the elastic closure just like it was nothing. Excellent work!

Be safe, be well and please be happy. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Saturday, August 27, 2016

I love the Internet–I love how you can do searches and find out things, you can see wonders from all over the world and never leave your home. You can learn new things, and broaden your perspective on life.

But there’s a quirk about the Internet that we forget — unless people post current photos of themselves, you haven’t a clue what they actually look like. You can read the words and thoughts that they put out to the world, but oftentimes, their words don’t match the concept you have of their physical presence.

I have mental images of the people I connect with on the Internet, images that don’t actually match their real faces. There’s a disconnect of sorts when I see the person’s face and think of the name I know them by and realize that what they really look like doesn’t match up to my mental image of them. Interesting…

.I did a bit of sewing today but didn’t care for the looks of the stitching so I have taken a seam ripper to it and removed 90% of the stitching. I did a  bit of searching online and discovered that the needle you use and the presser foot you use make a difference in the quality/consistency of the stitches you create. I’ve checked my needles and will do a bit of sample work tomorrow to verify what foot/needle combination I need to use to obtain the best stitch. We shall see…

Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Barbara, me and Nancy (Barbara is the eldest sister to my mother’s 5 daughters, and a full sister to Nancy on my right). Today would have been Nancy’s 77th birthday; she and Barb are both gone, as is my next eldest sister, Sudie, whose birthday would be tomorrow.

Today was not a good day — I just felt out of sorts for most of the day.

I got my Bernina sewing machine out of the shop yesterday, brought it home and turned it on. That’s when I discovered that the light had burned out. I have no idea when it burned out but that meant going back to the shop to buy a bulb. Went back to the shop today and they didn’t have one to fit my machine — actually I did buy one, but we were pulling out of the parking lot in front of the store when I decided I’d better open the package and double check the bulb. Glad I did — wrong style. Back in I went — we did the money exchange and they looked for another bulb but couldn’t find one. They’re going to be a Bernina dealer, but they don’t have the machines (or parts) yet.

Went to the Chevrolet dealer there in Bakersfield to pick up parts for DH’s pick-up. Asked for an additional part. DH started to order yet another part, but I stopped him, saying that we’d already ordered that part from another place. Problem is, we’ve been piece-mealing this project, getting a piece here and a piece there without keeping track of what we’ve ordered.

We arrived back home and I immediately took the car and went up to K-Mart’s pharmacy to pick up the four prescriptions for eye drops for DH, who is scheduled for cataract surgery next month. I’d heard that these eye drops were expensive. That didn’t prepare me for the cost — $298.66 — and that’s WITH insurance! I wondered whether people who have Medicare pay anything at all. We’ll also be responsible for 30% of the allowed cost of the surgery plus the cost of the lens that will be inserted in his eye to correct his slight nearsightedness. I think we’ve reached our golden years because we’re surely paying some golden prices for healthcare.

I returned home and checked the answering machine — a message from the sewing repair shop here in town said that my Viking was ready for pick-up. I told DH I would be right back and headed back out to the car. I lucked out and was able to buy a light bulb for my Bernina there at the sewing machine repair shop, and then I asked if they had a small hand-held vacuum for computers. They did, but it attaches to a regular vacuum. Got it home and nope, it won’t fit, so back I go tomorrow.

I know there’s been days worse than this one, but for the life of me I don’t remember when. I did try to alter my frame of mind after the incident at the sewing machine store in Bakersfield, but it really didn’t change the rest of the day. We stopped at a Subway and I ordered a sandwich for the two of us — got to the table and opened it up and it hadn’t been cut in half. Now when have you ever gone to a Subway and they didn’t cut your sandwich in half??? <sigh> Small things, I know, but it was like Murphy’s Law was bucking me all day long. Little things, over and over again.

So now the day is at an end and I go onto Facebook and the first message I see on my homepage is that my cousin Dossie’s husband Hal has passed away. Dossie passed away two days before my sister Barbara (July 23 and 25, respectively). It feels like the cherry on top of the sundae of my day. His passing is as unexpected as his wife’s was, and it’s hitting me just as hard. My sisters are the ones I would go to for consolation when I had a bad day — they’re all gone except for the youngest one and we’re not on speaking terms anymore. So I call my daughter-in-law… she too has had a bad day and had called her mom for consolation.

Is it something in the air? I hope it’s as simple as that — I hope tomorrow is a better day. I’ll do my part and wake with a positive attitude. I’ll go slow through the day and not rush through it; I’ll take the time to savor every minute, knowing it will only be enjoyed once in this lifetime. Just maybe, that will help me retain a positive frame of mind. I surely hope so.

Be safe, be well and please be happy. I hope I haven’t been too negative here in my little corner of the Internet. I’m not sharing this post on Facebook, so the only ones who see it will be those who subscribe to my posts. I thank you for your kind thoughts and for being in my life.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

This is another apron finished for the Depot gift shop. I added the ruffle at the bottom after seeing aprons made by a friend here in town. Hers were all much larger/longer and more involved than mine. IIMG_4170 think I’ll  change from the 3-across pocket style to just patch pockets. Simpler, and possibly less involved than this style.





Here’s another apron that’s in the works — almost finished, except for sewing the side seams and adding the tie.


When this apron is finished, I’ll work on the remaining two that have been cut out — they’ll be adult size, and I’m not sure how I will embellish them. As I make these aprons, my mind goes back to the first apron I made in junior high home economics. It was half a yard of fabric, hemmed top and bottom, with a plastic ring/band slipped through the top channel. I haven’t seen aprons like that in ages — they were the first “One Size Fits All” in aprons. Quick to make and just as quick to put on or take off.  By coincidence, my first apron fabric was a brown and white gingham, much like the pink and white shown here. The photo caption says, “1960’s” which would be about right, time-wise.


Onward and upward, I’d like to get the last of the aprons done so I can move on to other projects. I have a few ideas for things to make for the gift shop, and I’m hoping they will bring in some extra sales revenue.

Be safe, be well and please be happy. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment