A Do-Nothing Day

If you happen to be a cat, this is the saddest picture you'll ever see:

It's been a week or more like this. How's a cat supposed to get outside to do his doody? He's been consigned to sharing the indoor litter box with...you know...

She's not sorry about the cold weather. It just means that her humans take extra care to see that she's all warm and cozy.

It isn't true to say that I did nothing yesterday. Uncharacteristically, I was motivated to take care of some housekeeping chores. For one thing, I really needed to deal with the empty canning jars. Mine had taken up the last available space on the top shelf in my pantry. There was room in those boxes, but that would have meant actually raising my arms over my head and taking a box down off the shelf. And I'm far too delicate for that, don't you know?

It was far easier to fill up the shelf avalanche-style until there was no room left. Besides, the prospect of certain death from falling glass makes life just a little bit more interesting, don't you think? Oh yes, and then there was the grocery sackful the kids returned a couple of weeks ago. Those were sitting on the floor where someone could easily trip over them and break an arm...or a face...or something.

So I sorted and boxed them, and now it looks better. Also, it's a whole lot less dangerous.

There will be more jars for sure, but now the boxes are better organized and the empty boxes all in one place. I really need to move these to a lower shelf, but that will have to wait for another day.

Also, I'm terribly excited about the big trip we're planning to take back east beginning in September. Our expectation is that we'll be traveling for 6-8 months. As I said in an earlier post, we've been dreaming of this trip literally for decades. Now that it's actually close enough, I'm jumping on the planning bandwagon. To that end, I've been writing to AAA in dribs and drabs asking them to send maps and tour books for the lower 48 states. (I don't want to overwhelm them, and so I'm asking for around ten states at a time.) Some of the tour books and most of the maps cover more than one state, and so I'm keeping track of what I need on a map of the USA. Yesterday, the second batch arrived, and here's what I have so far.

Now, this may not seem all that exciting to you, but it is positively intoxicating for me. The tour books are residing next to my desk where I can turn around and gaze at them every few minutes. Occasionally, I take one out and fondle it some. Yes, traveling has become a bit of a perversion, and I haven't even started organizing the many articles I've printed off over the past decades. For now, I'm focusing on tour books and maps. With such an exhilarating task, it's important to pace oneself, as I'm sure you can imagine. The next group will cover most of the Northeastern states. After that, the South.

And while I was doing all of those things, I was preoccupied thinking about the last quilt in the quilt sandwich pile...Stars and Stripes. I really love how this quilt turned out. The star blocks came from an online bee. I made two of them, the rest were made by others. When I bought that red and white stripe, I wasn't thinking of making a patriotic quilt, but it turned out to be perfect for the sashing. The gold stars are fussy cut from another piece of fabric, and it all came together in grand old flag fashion.

The reason it's the last to be quilted from the stack of sandwiches is because I've had the hardest time deciding how to quilt it. So yesterday I spent hours upon hours thinking, thinking, thinking. As a precaution I first checked the batteries in our smoke alarms. You never know what might happen when my brain gets to puzzling something out.

My friend Google spent hours searching out quilting design inspiration and finally came up with something that could work. Then, I decided to use Press and Seal to test out the ideas to see if any of them were appealing. I've never actually tried this before, and so I first tested the press and seal with my Sharpie pen on a scrap of fabric to be certain it wouldn't seep through the plastic.

Okay, no problem there.

Then I pinned the Press and Seal over a quilt block...

and tried drawing out several different quilt designs on it.

And I didn't like any of that, and so I started over with a second piece. Also, my little cat showed up to help, which I took to indicate my luck was changing.

And I still didn't like anything I did, so I started over with my thinking. I'm used to quilting one block at a time, and all of a sudden it hit me that I could do an all-over design and that would be so much easier. Also, I felt comfortable using this red,white, and blue variegated thread that I have...two spools, in fact!

So I'm going to do a variation on that design you see there using the variegated thread in both top and bottom and see where that takes me. Now, I'm kind of excited to start practicing.

The only other thing I did yesterday was to continue to attend to my new bread flour sourdough starter. This one is started with white bread flour and pineapple juice. After I fed it yesterday morning, it had a few bubbles rising.

When I looked at it this morning, it looked like this:

Okay, now this is looking very promising. I'll wait until tomorrow morning to feed it again, and then it will get one more feeding the next day. If all goes well, it'll be ready for baking bread.

Today I'm picking up eggs from our farmers. Hopefully, I can get there without sliding off the road. Tonight I was supposed to have dinner with Matthew and Valerie, but we're expecting "heavy snowfall" beginning this evening and overnight. Gah! What happened to that warming trend? So I rescheduled with them, and that means I should have plenty of time to quilt the small quilt I made over the weekend, and start practicing my all-over stars. The housework is all done for now. It's gonna be a good day.


  1. Hehe, pretty much the way our canning jars are stored, except the uncaptured ones are piled up in front of the boxes in our 24" deep shelf, high enough that it necessitates finding a sturdy chair to stand on while resorting everything. Yeah, we old folks enjoy living dangerously. Love your patriotic stars. Snowing sideways now, still waiting for the freezing rain.

  2. I always stored my jars no higher than shoulder high for safety sake - I am clutzy! But all that was donated to the Amish who helped with our community flood clean up as I have given up that 'chore'. I was going to suggest a 'panto' - this is a quilt that needs to shine on it's own rather than the quilting.

  3. It is nicer out today, snow and a little warmer, but a pain to trudge through, lol.
    I like how you did the design ideas, I have write on sheets for my projector, that is a good idea for thinking about ideas.


  4. Love the star design, can't wait to see it in action! We got a bunch of snow last night with more predicted. This will be a good test of my Christmas-present-snowplow-guy, who hasn't appeared yet. I would go out and do it myself since I'm home, but don't want to hurt my kids' feelings, so sitting and eating instead. Such a sacrifice. Really, when I think about it, my life is a lot like Sadie's, although sadly there is no available lap for me to sit in today.

  5. Dearest Smitty,

    I am sorry you drank too much whine. Today I was locked out of the sewing room because "my naughty was turned up to eleven." I don't even know what that means.



  6. Poor Smitty! The indignities a cat has to deal with in life are outright shameful!!! Love your patriotic quilt and totally agree on your choice of quilting design. So what method do you use to get that design on your quilt for quilting? Inquiring minds want to know!

  7. I agree poor Smitty! No vermin to get in the cold wet snow. I know he is quite the helper so I fee sure the last quilting design he brought you to will work wonderfully! Also looks like you are making great strides with the bread... You do have lots of canning jars but since they get reused you should pat yourself on the back for not adding to the landfill. Enjoy your practice piece . I know you and Mike both are quite excited about your trip... I know I would be . I do hope you plan on bringing the sewing machine, you will miss the sewing if you don't.

  8. Hmmm, only the lower 48? Alaska is pretty nice....

  9. Poor Smitty! Your jars did get out of hand! Glad you boxed them into shape. I like the star quilt. The variegated thread will look good

  10. The quilt is so pretty. I never heard of using press and seal.
    Your trip sounds awesome! Hope you will share the sites you visit with us.

  11. Your quilting design is perfect for this lovely quilt.

  12. Your canning jars look like the jars and containers I've been saving to make candles, just before Christmas I needed to organize and store them, I ended up throwing them all away, LOL.

  13. Safe, schmafe ... who needs safe?? I like living on the edge with the threat of broken limbs and bloody cuts. LOL! Seriously, the jars look nice now. Sorry Smitty is having to be contained to the--ick--litter box. How cumbersome! I'm with Sadie. The cold weather doesn't bother me lick as long as I have a comfy couch and blankie. :) Your Stars and Stripes is a stunner. I love your idea for quilting and the variegated thread will be such fun and really enhance the design! Do you need me to send you information on North Alabama? I'll be happy to enhance your big trip! Haha! The starter is looking good, good, good! I've never heard of using pineapple juice, but I bet it works like a charm! :)

  14. Love your patriotic quilt and your trip in September sounds amazing - do you have a caravan or a Winnebago?

  15. Your snow looks purr-fect. Please send some to me. So very, very hot here.

  16. Poor Smitty. Your title applies to the cats, but NOT to you. You did a week's work in one day!! Rearranging those jars and layering a quilt, planning a quilting design, playing with bread starter, taking a nap (perhaps?) and just thinking about planning a trip is exhausting work. I'd say you accomplished a lot. I love your patriot quilt. That is really a wonderful design. An overall is nice, but last design elements you drew look really good to me. I am in the process of trying to design quilting designs for 26 different tops that are waiting for my attention. Whew, just thinking about that is overwhelming. I think I need to join Sadie for a nap too. So glad you are getting all the snow, maybe there won't be much left for our neck of the woods. lol

  17. You got a lot done this week. Looking forward to seeing how the quilting goes on your Stars and Stripes quilt.

  18. So nice to see the stars & stripes quilt top! I too like your idea for the all-over quilting AND love the variegated thread!!
    Your starter looks...well it does look like something alien really, but can't wait to see the bread you make with it. :)
    Poor Smitster, stuck in the house. We've been having rain on more days than "they" predicted, but that's OK by me. I love the rain, especially living in a tin house!! It's funny at work, Yoli will say "It's POURING outside!" and we can't even hear it from the office. (Yoli's office has windows that look out onto our front door & parking lot.)