Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sew Day Snow Day!!!




This is nothing for those of you in Northern Climes, but to be dumped on in January even worse than we were dumped on in December...IN THE SOUTH...it's quite the thing. It's all anyone has been able to talk about! Last night on the TV scrolling at the bottom all night long are all the CHURCH closings for Sunday....being closed ahead of time on Friday night!

We don't have the equipment necessary to make transportation safe, not for plowing every street, or even major thoroughfares. The only thing I saw anyone doing was spraying the road ways 2 days ahead of time with salt brine. So 2 days after it's been spread, it's been driven on and probably scattered and pretty much non existent by the time the snow actually arrives!

It started last night around 5pm....fine icy crystals...and it snowed all night...it's still coming down, we've got over 6".

We parked our cars up on the road at the TOP of the driveway knowing that we'd never get out if we left them parked down here at the house. I've got a steep winding driveway and no real running room for gaining speed and/or traction. You'd end up in the bushes or the trees!

I took a couple pics of the dogs with my phone this morning. Buddy loves it...Sadie hates it!!

Look at the BBQ!! I can barely see the top of the "put out the fire" water bottle there on the left hand side!! *LOL* If anyone braves it outside, I'll send them to get pics of the front of the house. As it is, I took pics from the doorway and the front porch only. I'm NOT going out!
As for me...I'm staying in. It's an official "sweats wearing sew all day" Day! Good thing I have my basement, because DH swears its an ESPN sports all day TV watching, Internet poker playing day. :cÞ

I've blown through this quilting space like a hurricane pulling fabrics for a pieced border...cutting 1/2 square triangle pairs, and left quite a pile on the table. I'm going to spend a bit of time straightening in here, and then I'm going to sew sew sew and sew some more!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Busy Year Ahead!!


A couple of the venues planned for this year include Quilt Odyssey in Hershey PA July 21-25, and the NC Quilt Symposium Jun 3-6!!

I'm teaching Crumb Piecing and String Spiderweb in Charlotte for the NC Quilt Symposium!

I'm teaching Crumb Piecing, Basketweave Strings, and Happy Scrappy Houses in Hershey at Quilt Odyssey!

If you've always wanted to take ANY of these classes and you find yourself somewhere nearby....both venues are getting close to having sign-ups available on their respective websites.

In fact....this logo was sent to me by the NC Quilt Symposium gurus today asking if I would put it on my blog and start a quilty spam campagne...Sure!! :cD I'm excited that the Quilt Symposium is in Charlotte this year, it's only 80 miles or so from my home, yet far enough to feel like I've really "GONE" somewhere! *LOL*

If you are going to be in NC, live in NC, want to come to Symposium, now is the time to start planning! Here is the LINK!

Likewise! Can't make it to Charlotte....come to Quilt Odyssey!! I just checked the website, and they aren't taking sign-ups for Hershey until March 1st. I have no info on who else is teaching what there, so asking me isn't going to get answers.....you'll have to wait til March 1st (oooh, can you STAND IT?!?) And then get your registration in as early as possible so you can get the classes you want.

I am sitting here waiting to be pounded by another snow storm in NC! Its all anyone can talk about around here. At the Chiropractor, the post office, the bank..."Are you ready for another storm"?? Well yes...it's supposed to thaw completely in a couple days, so what's the big deal? Yes, I have bread, milk, eggs, cheese, butter.....the only thing I'm short on is my Diet Dr Pepper, but I've been working really hard to get that bad habit out of my life anyway. I'll survive!

I'm looking forward to another weekend to PUTTER without having to go anywhere. BRING ON THE STORM! I'm ready!! Just....please leave my power on...that's the one thing I ask!

Next week?? I'm headed to ALABAMA!! YEAHHHH!!! I sure hope it's a lot warmer there. I've never had Spring Fever this bad since moving south....but this has been the coldest winter I remember in the past 10 years easy, and I am SO ready to be WARM!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday is Soup Day!


I have a friend who LOVES to cook. And truly, I envy the meals that they enjoy because it's a bit tricky with my family. When someone says we are having "Lentil Chili" or "something something prima vera" Not only am I JEALOUS, but bummed....because you see, even if I *could* cook that way, and I would love to cook that way....my family would turn up their collective noses and ask where the nearest hot dog is instead.

This past summer I watched and listened to the tales of which garden grown yummies were going into what fabulous meal or side dish.....zucchini this, home grown string bean that...and OH! the blueberries by the gallons off the bushes, and the beautiful tomatoes and Armenian cucumbers (Were they Armenian? I don't remember!)

I feel like a culinary failure on a lot of levels just because it is not worth the effort for me to try to cook in a way that my husband will not eat. I know if I do break out and try recipes, that I will get my feelings hurt when he doesn't like them. I already know ahead of time what he likes and doesn't like and won't bother to try, so why am I setting myself up for more disappointment and hurt feelings?

Because! Sometimes you have to. For my own sanity, I have to break out of the meat and potato routine and just fill my kitchen with delicious smells of something that *I* want to eat.

A few days ago I asked my friend what was cooking for dinner. I should have known not to ask this, because the moment the typing came across the chat screen saying "Spicy black bean soup with ham" I KNEW I was in trouble! My mouth began watering right there. I love soups. Especially crockpot ones. Especially savory spicy ham and bean ones.

I put it out of my mind.

The next morning..thanks to the thoughtful consideration of my darling friend..there it was in my inbox. THE. RECIPE. !!!

Well, yesterday evening (or was it the night before?) Came the text...."Did you get the recipe I sent?" Well.....yes......(guilt guilt guilt....)How to explain that though I want to make it, my family won't appreciate my efforts? :c|

Today was THE day.

The morning dawned cold and windy and gray, much like yesterday and I thought to myself....after taking stock of what I did have in the fridge and what I would need to make this delicious concoction....that all I needed really to buy was a pound of black beans, a ham steak, and low and behold...celery salt! I had EVERYTHING else I needed.

This afternoon I pre-soaked beans! I chopped! I diced! I measured! I stirred! And I was extremely happy when the only canned thing in the soup was a can of diced tomatoes. I'm not fond of recipes that require me to just open 8 cans of various things and dump them together. That is NOT cooking to me! I added seasonings.....and ohhhhh BOY HOWDY! You should smell my kitchen.

It's simmering right now. And if the husband and son don't like it? I've got hot dogs for them, they can cook them themselves. There comes a time in a woman's life where she has to follow her own culinary desires, reward her own palate, hear and feel her tummy rumble and cook what she is longing for!

And if you would like to try it out with me...here's the recipe!

Spicy Black Bean Soup With Ham
Ingredients

* 1 pound black beans, washed
* 10 cups water
* 1 pound diced ham
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 stalks celery, chopped
* 1 cup shredded carrots
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 4 teaspoons garlic powder
* 4 teaspoons dried parsley
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1 teaspoon celery salt
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 2 cubes chicken bouillon
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions

1. In an eight quart stock pot, add rinsed black beans, water, ham, onion, celery, carrots, diced tomatoes, minced garlic, garlic powder, parsley, salt, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon cubes, bay leaf, pepper, mustard, cayenne pepper, oregano and thyme. Cover and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Discard bay leave and serve.

(And I suppose if you don't like it spicy you can just omit the cayenne pepper :c)

****NOTE***** I did the quick soak on the beans by filling a pot with water, adding the beans and bringing them to a rapid boil. Boil for 2 minutes and let sit covered for an hour. Then I rinsed them, and put them in the crock pot with more water, and the other ingredients listed above. I hope it's done by dinner time....it's now 4:05 and it's simmering away. Dinner may be late tonight if the beans aren't soft enough...and from what I hear, this soup is better the next day! (Serve with corn bread!!)

****After Dinner Update****
Jeff and I enjoyed the soup immensely. DH, on the other hand, proceeded to open up a can of chicken noodle soup, heat it in the microwave and had THAT as his dinner instead.

Next time I make this...I think I will leave out the 2 tsp of plain salt. I think it was salty enough with the boullion, the celery salt, and the salt that is already in the ham, and then just salt it to taste when it is about done. Other than that, it was awesome!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book Review -- Amish Abstractions!



How appropriate! After my last post about loving to work with solids, look what I've got here to review!

There is a new book out called Amish Abstractions, published by Pomegranate Communications. You can look at their website HERE!

If you love antique quilts, antique AMISH quilts especially, as I do....you need this book in your collection.

I've got a large selection of books on Amish quilts, but this one really really pleased me! The quilts shown are from the collection of Faith and Stephen Brown. More than 75 quilts originating in communities throughout PA and the Midwest from 1880 to the 1940s are shown. LARGE photos...great detail....

There are contributions by Joe Cunningham, Robert Shaw, and Janneken Smucker.

Being the kind of quilter who loves things a bit "quirky" I was pleasantly surprised that there is not an "overwhelming" amount of "center diamond" or "joseph's coat" or "bars" quilts which tend to bore me, even tho the quilting can be significant in them. I LOVE LOVE LOVE scrappy wonky versions of Amish patchwork, and there is plenty to whet my appetite in this book!

Crazy patchwork with feather stitching, wow colors against black, some quilts with TINY PIECING which to me means they were making the best use of every bit of left over scrap they could......

Where as "center diamond" quilts took big pieces of yardage and the piecing was simple, it also usually meant special purchases of yard goods in big amounts to make them. I do love the scrap bag quilts BEST!

Pick up a copy if you have a chance....it's a lovely hard bound book, no patterns, just beautiful quilt after beautiful quilt, and lots of inspiration! A great "READ" too!

PS...this is as close to advertising for anyone else that I tend to get, but the note that came with the book said that they also have a related Amish Quilts calendar, boxed notecard set, notecard folio, book of postcards, and a jigsaw puzzle! If anyone on your "secret stitcher" list is in to all goodies Amish, these would be worth checking out. I know I'd be plum tickled if someone sent ME a jigsaw puzzle of Amish quilts! Remember, Valentine's Day is right around the corner!

Fun with Pat!

I had a great time chatting with Pat Sloan yesterday! If you didn't get a chance to listen in, here is the link to the radio show page. When you get there, look for the box in the right hand corner that has the shows listed by date, the date on mine is Jan 25!

The call ins were fun too! I had no idea who would call in, and I was thrilled that a couple of the callers were people I knew either through email, or had met in person. I got to thinking later....if YOU guys hadn't called, maybe no one who didn't know me would have! *LOL* But it was great to have you support me by calling in, and now I have your little voices forever recorded too :c)

I wanted to share this pic of an antique beauty that I found on one of my jaunts. Do you recognize the setting?! It's nearly the same "storm at sea" sashing that I used on my brown and pink dear jane! (There is a pic of it here on Pat's Blog)

I fell in love with this, and would have bought it, but if you look at the top edge of the quilt, upper left, you will see a big piece of fabric that has been stitched over a very very falling apart place in the quilt. In the detail shot, you will also see that a lot of the fabrics have just disintegrated to nothing.

Still...it's the same album variation that I used in "Old Kentucky Album" in the January issue of Quiltmaker...just love that album block! And what's not to like about that solid blue and cheddar sashing? I love to mix solids in with my prints. I think it's a time honored tradition that we have really stepped away from. Solids don't have to just go with other solids as in Amish style quilts. Solids can go with prints and everything else. They don't read as flat to me...to me they are dynamic and a great place to show off quilting stitches that can sometimes get lost in a printy fabric.

The close up pic will show you how the quilting stands out more in the solid areas..isn't it great? And what's not to like about double pink and red together! Especially with Valentine's Day right around the corner. If you look closely you will see that the brown/tan fabrics are shredding and there is a lot of batting peeking through.

It's still a beauty....it still inspired me...but in this case, a picture was worth keeping, where the quilt wasn't worth bringing home.

On the home front, I'm having a bit of a back issue. I finally made it to the chiropractor yesterday...oh yes....SI joints all out of whack, pain radiating down into my left thigh...After an adjustment, I was pretty sore, spent much of the afternoon on ice packs. Evening too. Today I'm feeling a bit more mobile, but I've been told to stay away from the gym for a few days to let the inflammation go down. I've got another appointment on Friday.

Still, that isn't going to stop me from having a sew day with my friend Mary on Thursday! We haven't seen each other in months (since last year, since it was before December...)and I'm looking forward to spending time with her and catching up on all her doings.

I'm also meeting a new friend for lunch today. It's fun when a blog or a website or an email connects you with someone just the next town over! And I'm going to be late if I don't get going....

Enjoy the day!



Thursday, January 21, 2010

I've got a date with PAT SLOAN!


And you can listen in! Every Monday at 4pm EST she broadcasts her Creative Talk radio show.

I'll be the featured guest on Monday, Jan 25th! Which is also the day that my BABY Jeff turns 20....so a big day for celebration all around.

After it is taped, the show will be on her page at the radio station FOR-EVER! You can listen online or download it when you have time (which I HOPE is right away!).

If you are listening live, Pat is having a call in during the 3rd part of the show... I sure hope some of you give me a call!
Here is Pat's show page where you can listen the day of the broadcast or download afterwards.

I'll also link to the show archive here on my blog and on my website so if you miss it (wrong time zone or life just got in the way, we know how it goes..)you'll be able to listen in.

The other EXCITING thing is that my book publisher, Kansas City Star, and QuiltMaker magazine are both hosting a giveaway!

Here is how you get in on it the giveaway. Go to Pat's Blog on the Jan 25 post

Leave a comment telling her your favorite part of my interview! The comments will be open until noon Friday Jan 29. At that time Pat and I will select 2 random winners... yeah!

Stay tuned for more info!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's Here!!!


It arrived yesterday afternoon via UPS....and I didn't even KNOW it! I must have been in the basement and didn't hear the doorbell..because when Dave came home from work he said "Do you know there are 12 cases in the garage? I think your books are here?"

So...today is the day! I've been to the post office where I received about 11 different bins. I have to separate all the mail by zip code into said different bins. This is a lot different than it was last time, but postal proceedures have changed. And I live in a one stop light town with a one window postoffice with ONE postal employee! I can't overload her, and I promised not to....

I'm home for 2 weeks......and hope to have all the pre-orders caught up before I head to Alabama on the 3rd of Feb! Last time I sat in the dining room chair for hours and days trying to get all sent out IMMEDIATELY...and my back paid for it. Today...I'll do a couple hours in the morning....go do something else, come back maybe do some more tonight, but I'm going to be kind to my body.

Saturday is my birthday, and I have to tell you, holding this 2nd book in my hands is the best birthday present I could get!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Relief For Earthquake Torn Haiti..

I'm forwarding the following because my heart is in knots as I watch scenes unfold on the news about the Haitian earthquake and the aftermath.

Ruth sent me the following, and I think it is a wonderful cause, and I wanted to put it out there for you to consider. If those who could, could make just one....or work it as a team with a friend, someone piece, someone quilt and bind (okay, that's three friends, but you know what I mean) I feel like we, as a quilting community, can make a difference.

Ruth writes:

I am contacting YOU to see if you, and perhaps women who are involved in your charity work, would be interested in contributing utilitarian quilts through the ausipices of Lutheran World Relief (LWR). Our church guild has been sewing for many years making quilts for the LWR projects. At this time, we are planning to send whatever quilts we already have made up (and in process of making new) - and found out last night that there is a warehouse in St. Paul, Minnesota where we will be forwarding our local suppplies/quilts.

I am enclosing some basic information about this organization with this e-mail, concerning how to contact them, who to contact, etc. IF you are interested or think others may be, I would be happy to TRY to coordinate collection of quilts for being sent to Haiti.

LWR normally asks that these quilts be 60"x80" approximately. They have found this particular size works well in most locations. Cotton fabrics are requested, however cotton or polyester battings can be used. We have been told, in the past, that the quilts they distribute to disaster areas throughout the world are used not only for bed coverings and/or warmth, but oftentime are put on the ground or used as make-shift living quarters when there are few tents or shelters available. So, these quilts can function in numerous ways (i.e. utilitarian - don't have to be pretty or fancy, but usable and washable) and are gratefully received wherever they are distributed.

I realize there are large organizations that do participate in disaster relief efforts. LWR is one that is reputable and already has people "on the gound" in Haiti. It is a worthwhile cause that we personally support, and because we can't physically help at the disaster site(s), or perhaps are not in a position to contribute monetarialy, we CAN sew and give quilts.

Sincerely - J. Ruth Zelenko, Hibbing, Minnesota e-mail dzlett@mediacombb.net

Looking forward to hearing from you - attached is some basic info on Lutheran World Relief


Your gift will be used to respond to the “Haiti Earthquake” crisis until needs there are met. After that, further gifts will be used to help LWR respond where the need is greatest. Please also consider making an unrestricted donation which will enable LWR to respond quickly to the next emergency.

During regular business hours, Monday through Friday, you may also call 1-800-LWR-LWR-2, or mail a check or money order to:

Lutheran World Relief -
Haiti Earthquake
P.O. Box 17061
Baltimore, MD 21298-9832
USA

INTERNATIONAL DISASTERS:
Editors: When listing organizations receiving donations for aid to survivors of major disasters outside the United States, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, please include:

Lutheran World Relief, www.lwr.org, 1-800-597-5972

FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
Emily Sollie, 410-230-2802 (office), 443-220-3269 (cell), esollie@lwr.org

Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), individuals and parish groups in international relief, development, advocacy and social responsibility. LWR is a member of Action by Churches Together.


Please contact Ruth personally about any questions, or answers on where to send your quilt. She is willing to help get them to the warehouse in Minnesota, and they will be directly used where they are needed by those in need.

I'm leaving this with you with no affiliation personally, but I just feel like it is a wonderful way to help those who have been so hurt by this disaster.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nominated!!!! (updated)


I just checked into my hotel in Casper..I should be napping, but you know how it goes??

I had to check email!

Look what I found!!



CONGRATULATIONS! MQX is pleased to inform you that you have been nominated for the 2009 Machine Quilting Teacher of the Year Award. Attached you will find a “Nominee Logo” for your use. Please feel free to add this logo to your website to let everyone know you are in the running! When this nominee logo was created, only the MQX logo was used, no other reference to MQX is made since this is about you, the teacher and recognition for your work. However, when you put this up on your website, please link it to the Nomination Form (see below). As people visit your site may well add more nominations for you.


Now before you go any farther and get all excited..I did some thinking on this. It's a MACHINE QUILTING award...not a piecing award? I teach piecing classes. I've been in contact with Janet-Lee and we think that whoever (or the more than one whoever) did the nominating didn't understand what MQX is all about...

SO, I'm declining. I'm tickled to death to be nominated, but I really have to take myself out of the running because what I do is not the kind of teaching that MQX is about.

But thank you ANYWAY!!! I love you guys!

Oh!! And I got an email from my editor...THE BOOKS ARE IN!!! I should have them in my hands soon, so if you haven't placed your order for Adventures With Leaders & Enders yet....now's the time! They will be sent first come first serve....

(Okay, I'm going for a nap now...book signing tonight.....)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bad Bad Blogger!!!

It's one of those times where I am almost embarrassed to peek in here and tell you that I have no pictures, I have no time, and I'm on my way to Wyoming in the morning!! How can it be? Where did the last week go?

I hit the ground running when I left for Seneca and Pickens SC. It was SO COLD...I've never BEEN so cold in SC. It never left the 20s...it certainly never STAYED that cold when I lived down there. And I guess it isn't far enough south from NC to make a difference, even though I hoped so!

We had a wonderful whirlwind time, A lecture and trunkshow, a Cathedral Stars workshop, and a Jared Takes A Wife workshop.....

I left from the 2nd workshop and came straight home on Wednesday evening, a 4 hour drive...so I could spend most of Thursday taking care of things here before Randy arrived Thursday evening.

I picked her up in Charlotte (about 1.5 hours from me....so this is more driving and more driving!) and we caught up with each other while enjoying a dinner out at Ruby Tuesday...

Friday morning had us scrambling to leave for the retreat at Camp Dogwood, and we had a wonderful time. I was able to finish 3 UFOs: The applique oak leaf I did all those ridiculous triangles on at Gwen Marston's retreat...a sample for "Nine Patch Split" for a workshop coming up in March at the Gulf States Quilting Association in Baton Rouge, Louisiana...The 3rd one incorporates some string blocks along with regular patchwork and is a candidate for the sequel to Scraps & Shirttails (And no, can't show pics!) And the 4th project I got a good start on, just piecing piecing piecing on something I had kitted up back in August I think, also for the next book...it's all in tones of green/red/rust/burgundy and I really like how it's going to come out!

We returned home from retreat, Where it also barely got above 30 if any...good thing we were sewing all weekend!!.....on Sunday evening. DH had gone to a funeral, so Randy and I decided to extend our girls weekend and enjoy dinner out at a mexican place, and go to the movies! We saw "It's Complicated" with Meryl Streep....and I have never laughed so hard in my entire life! LOVED IT!! It was perfect to see it with a good girlfriend.

Tuesday? Shopping. We headed to Greensboro where we hit some furniture outlets and lighting stores, threw in lunch at Panera and a stop at the quilt shop and then headed to the antique mall...can you tell it was a full day?

That brings me to yesterday. (whew) Another trip to Charlotte to drop Randy off at the airport. I decided that I had NOT had enough retail therapy, and decided since I was only 20 minutes from Mary Jos....to take a detour! I didn't buy much, I got out of there for $30 with some remnants of solids, and some fat quarters. That's it! Let's face it...when you have reached saturation level when it comes to your stash, there isn't much more that you can add to it that you really need.

Today was fairly normal, but I had a ton of stuff to do to get ready for Wyoming tomorrow. I hit the gym....the grocery store (the guys are going to need food, right?) and proceeded to take care of laundry, house work, paid some bills, took care of book orders, invoices, mailing labels for the pre-orders....and that took me to dinner time (and beyond)

I just finished packing. It's 20 til 10pm and I've got to be up at 3:45am to leave for the airport at 4:15 am to get to the airport by 4:45 so I can board a flight at 5:30 that is leaving at 6:00am. It's going to be a long day. I fly Greensboro to Chicago to Denver to Casper.....

Let's hope and pray that all my bags and I make it to the same place, same time! My biggest fear is that the bags won't show up on an evening I have to do a trunkshow.....*fingers crossed*

I'll be back Monday night! Wish me WARMTH!!!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Binding Police?!


Well, the binding saga continues here, and it will probably for quite a while! I've currently got 4 quilts awaiting binding, and not enough time to sit and do them all continuously, so I try to get in one side a night or something. Keep it manageable?

Still, it makes me wonder, and ponder, almost in amazement, no it can't be possible...how many MILES of binding have I sewn down in my quilting life time?! The sheer enormity hits me like an anvil on the head (remember those road-runner cartoons?!) Can it really be that much? Oh yes. When you make BIG bedsized quilts, the amount of binding increases much more than you think it would....

I bet it's miles, don't you? I certainly think so!

There is something soothing about hand stitching down a binding. And my binding rarely varies...I cut the same sizes of strips, continually. They are all joined the same way...their extra "cut off" bonus triangles placed in that tall pretzel jar by my machine like colorful confetti, waiting for a project to use them up. The binding is stitched to every quilt by machine in the same way. Somehow I like to play Russian Roulette, just starting my binding somewhere down one side, and stitching bindly to the next corner, just hoping..praying..that I won't get a dreaded seam IN the corner. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't....but I must enjoy the gamble, because I don't find myself doing a test-run first so I can adjust those seams AWAY from the corners! (What does this say about my personality?? No....don't tell me...I don't want to know!)

This picture is of Oscar on my legs as I proceeded to bind this lovely.....I wasn't sure whether he was telling me to hurry up, or to just stop and pet him, which I ended up doing, because I couldn't move the quilt around with him on it. (And I think he knew that too!)

I had a lovely day at my friend Karen's house yesterday....we shared a lunch, worked on projects, gabbed, gossiped, laughed and enjoyed the day. Thanks Karen!

I leave Monday for Seneca and Pickens, SC! First trips of the year...and tho it isn't far, I'm greatly grateful that it is somewhat SOUTH of me. It's way too dang cold here this morning. Something like 28? at NOON? Nope. Not going out.

I've been tackling paperwork....cleaning...reorganizing...trying to get things ready for my friend Randy who comes in from California on Thursday! She is attending my Bee's retreat with me next weekend....oh FUN FUN FUN! Can't wait to see her. It's the first time she's come to see me since I moved to NC. I tend to catch her everywhere else on the planet, but she is actually coming to my HOUSE! And we have much fun planned....