Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Before it becomes a foregone conclusion

I’m posting my picks.

NCAA picks, of course.

Is there any other kind?

I think it was rather bold of me to pick Marquette to go to the Final Four.  Nevermind that my 13 year old’s friend helped me with everything else.  Marquette?  That one was all mine.

Behold a thing of beauty.

Before I get crushed.


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The post wherein I reveal EVEN MORE embarrassing stuff about myself

Tag – I’m it.

My sister-in-law Elena (A Casarella) tagged me in a game yesterday.  Because she’s my sister-in-law (and pretty fabulous) and I can’t resist her, I agreed to play.

The game goes thusly: I’ve been tagged so I answer Elena’s questions.  I tag 3 more people and they answer my questions farther below or they answer the questions I answered, OK?

Here goes with Elena’s questions:

1.         How did you come up with your blog name?   I am a sister and I stitch.  I wish I had a more original answer but that pretty much sums it up.   I like all things stitchy though I don’t spend as much time with yarn pursuits as I would like.  (Confession:  I actually have been considering renaming my blog and I have a good idea in mind but haven’t pulled the trigger yet.  I’ll be sure to tell my follower if/when I change my name so she can still find me.  See #9 below.)

2.         Name one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.  I was a Domino’s secret shopper in college.  That’s Domino’s, as in pizza.  I wonder how much pizza I had been ordering before they decided that they would pay me to eat their food?  Oh, and for you quilters, I am the Fat Quarterly proofreader.  I like that gig.

3.         What blogs do you read religiously? Religiously?  None.  Frequently? Read on…I’ll give a shout out here to my favorite Wisconsin bloggers whom I also know personally:  Lee from Freshly Pieced, Rebecca from Pieces and Cream, and Erika from Midwest Family Life.  They’re also the ones I’ve tagged.  Heh heh.  They’re also also members of the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild.  Following are people whose blogs I enjoy and who I would also love to meet because they seem like fun and nice people.  Nice is so underrated.  In no particular order:  Blabbermouse (cracks me up); Alissa Haight Carlton (quilter and producer of Project Runway.  She emailed me TWICE!! I think she likes me); Katy Jones from Fat Quarterly (funny and clever and BRITISH!); Tacha Bruecher from Fat Quarterly (another Brit – her stitching and patterns are divine); Carol/mamacjt (a Wisconsinite and practically a neighbor.  Super funny and irreverent and prolific!); Ree Drummond (everyone knows who she is); How About Orange. I could go on and on.

4.         If money were no object, where would you live and why? If money were no object and I could travel to and fro visiting my family (or paying for them to visit me) I would make my base in Europe, probably in England or Ireland.  I think it would make me taller, thinner, and better looking.

5.         What fashion choice do you look back on with regret?  I would have to say big hair. 80s fashions make a comeback now and then, but no one wants to see the hair again.  I’d prove it to you if I could find my college graduation picture.

6.         Post a link to your favorite blog post to date.  You’re looking at it.

7.         What was the first job you ever had?  “Bus girl” at a restaurant a few blocks from my parents’ house.  I shudder to remember.

8.         What song in your music collection would you consider your guiltiest pleasure?  “Baby, it’s cold outside” by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey.  I play it even when it’s warm.  What?  It’s not in your music collection?

9.         Fill in the blank:  I would die a happy woman if I discovered that ____________ read my blog.  Considering that I am literally the most frequent commenter on my own blog, I would be happy to know anyone is reading it*.

10.       What is your favorite “tip” to share with other people?  It can be a product you love, a great place to get a bargain, an easy kitchen tip, your favorite book (anything, really).  Hmmm…this is the one I share with first time expecting moms (though always in hushed tones – I can’t believe I’m revealing this here): stock up on maxi pads before the baby is born.  You don’t want your husband buying them for you, if you know what I mean.  If you don’t know what I mean, you will after that baby comes.  Just take my advice and you can thank me later.

Seriously, my best tip, also for moms (and dads) is to read to your child even before s/he is old enough to sit still in your lap and even if s/he just wants to chew on the book or crawl around at your feet.  And don’t give up.  Reading is a right, not a privilege, and is the cheapest hobby you’ll ever have.  I still read to my 10-year-old every night; it’s my favorite time of the day.  I am proud to say that my boys are good readers, read well above grade level, and they enjoy it.

11.       What don’t you know how to do with your blog that you’d love to learn?  I’d like to be able to change the font style easily and willy nilly.  You know, like Blogspot bloggers can, because who doesn’t want better fonts in her life?  I tried it once and failed big time.  For some reason WordPress simply doesn’t support an easy font change. (See here WordPress:  I couldn’t even change THE COLOR of the text in this little Q&A.  Aargh!)

And that’s it!  Now it’s your turn Lee, Rebecca, and Erika. Care to play along?

Here are the questions:

  • How big is your fabric stash? (i.e., how many boxes, bins or pounds?  You determine the measurement)  [edited for clarity – thank you Elena, whose mind apparently goes to “doobie-ous” thoughts when she sees the word stash]
  • Are you an early bird or night owl?
  • Do you speak any other languages?  If not what other language do you wish you knew?
  • What store do you have a hard time leaving empty-handed (online or bricks and sticks)?
  • What are your favorite blogs to read?
  • What is your favorite book or movie?
  • Where do you sew?
  • When did you make your first quilt?
  • How many hours per week (per day?) do you spend on Pinterest?  What, if anything have you made/acquired/acted on that you pinned?
  • What’s your favorite quilting tip?
  • Did you make a New Years resolution? Have you kept it?

If you were tagged:

  • answer the questions above
  • create 11 new questions  (or use the same ones)
  • tag 2-3 (5-10, whatever) other blogs and link to them in your post
  • let them know you’ve tagged them
  • have fun!


*OK, honestly, if I found out Rachel Maddow was reading my blog I’d just about die.


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Before and After, AKA Martha would DIE here

I have a favorite little plaque sitting in my kitchen

and that pretty much sums it up.  Martha I am NOT.  Well, not in terms of getting up at 5 AM to bake muffins made with blueberries from my back garden and wheat I ground in my mill and butter I churned from my own cow and eggs from chickens that scratch at my back door.

Because I don’t grow my own blueberries, of course.  That’s hard work.

In many other ways I am just like her.

But another reason I am unlike Martha:  she would never reveal that this lives in her house:

Yellow monster

Oh yeah, you know you want one.

I didn’t buy it like this, I bought it new.  It came into the house and I immediately put it into the sun room because it was so clean and NEW and I envisioned myself sitting on it in the sun and reading while the kids napped.  In reality, it just languished in the sun room all alone.  Meanwhile, about 10 years passed while the kids puked and colored and drooled on the other new furniture (actually, I think they were sucking on it.  Don’t judge me; they’re boys you know) .  We finally listed the old couch on Craigslist and found some poor suckers people to take it, adopted my in-laws’ couch when they moved out of the country, moved a second armchair to the basement, and the beautiful yellow chair came back into daily use.

Almost immediately the seat shredded. We blamed it on years of overexposure to the sun, not unlike a tanning bed.  Am I right?

Then the kids started drooling/sucking on the arms (remember, we’re not judging).  I tried to clean it up with spot remover but that just left more spots.

And then the dog discovered that sleeping against it was better than peanut butter.  Got a dog?  You know what I’m talking about.  No amount of vacuuming could remove all that black hair:

pelo de perro

Of COURSE we didn’t sit on it like that.  Don’t be silly.  We covered it with an equally ugly throw.  Unfortunately, the throw didn’t cover this side of the chair.  I would vacuum that thing within an inch of its miserable life with limited success.

It was awful, plain and simple.

Once we decided we could afford to replace it, we looked and looked for one we liked better.  Don’t get me wrong, the yellow monster was UGLY but it was also very comfortable.  The legs were sturdy, the back was just the right height and it had one other very important criteria that I didn’t even know my husband required:  it was not overstuffed.  We must have shopped for 4 months for a new chair, each time coming home empty-handed.  New chairs had become really expensive in the 12 years we weren’t looking for one, yet they were cheap if you know what I mean.  Not only were they pricey, they were too big, too overstuffed, and simply not quite right.

I finally broached the subject of re-upholstering the yellow monster.  I fully thought my husband would object.

He did not.

So we went shopping for fabric and he picked out A LOT of fabric I didn’t like.  I had no idea we were upholsterally incompatible.  Finally he said I should just choose something, as long as it wasn’t gray, and take care of it.


Isn’t she beautiful??

No more spots, or drool, or dog hair.

And so…so…so GRAY!

Before and After

Coming soon:  the in-laws’ couch.


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Laughter in 17 syl·la·bles

Inspired by this:

Train Commute Haiku #407:
With curtains, artwork
A rug and some throw pillows
This train could be cute

I wrote this:

Why am I the one
who cleans mess on the rim?
I don’t raise the seat

to which my husband shot back:

I had just cleaned the rim, ‘ere
I read her haiku

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A 6th grade boy at my son’s middle school in Wauwatosa was killed by a train yesterday morning as he walked to school.  He was wearing headphones and didn’t hear the train coming.  He didn’t see the guard arm or the flashing lights.  He didn’t hear the train’s whistle the conductor was frantically blaring when he realized he was going to hit the boy.  The boy didn’t die immediately; it took about 30 minutes.  If there is mercy in this world, the boy was unconscious after he was hit.

I don’t know him or his family personally, but I do know them because I am a mother.  His friends are my sons’ friends.  We live in a small community and our kids play together or against each other in soccer and baseball and football.  We parents bond with each other through our kids at games and concerts and at school and at countless other community events.  We are joined by a commonality of children whom we love and pray for and wish the best for.  And we wish they didn’t have to deal with something so senseless.  I wish his parents weren’t grieving right now.  I grieve for them.




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March Madness picks are locked

We do this at work for bragging rights.

Posting this will keep me honest because otherwise I’ll be tempted to keep changing my picks.  It will also expose my basketball ignorance.

Last year I came in 2nd last.

It shouldn’t be hard to do better this year.


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