Yesterday around dinnertime I got a call from Ticketmaster. I thought it was a marketing call and was ready to hang up when my ears picked up the word fraud. "Excuse me, could you please repeat what you just said?!!"
Long story short...some SOB (yes, I do mean SOB) used my credit card number to purchase sporting tickets!!! Ticketmaster suspected fraud and contacted me to verify the purchase. NO. I did not buy over $1500.00 worth of tickets! They suggested I contact my local police, which I did.
The officer called me back tonight to let me know they have info on the thief and will attempt to prosecute. I say throw his/her arse in jail! Thieves are doing this to so many people. To me it is no different than robbing me personally. I still feel violated! It is NOT a victimless crime!
So be sure to check your statements carefully and notify your credit card company and local authorities if you find anything suspicious!
...and I will NEVER box myself into a corner like this again, lol. Next Christmas my aunt is getting a quilt. It will be started January 1, 2014, lol.
Here is a brief trip through the process with lots and lots of pictures.........
In case this is the first time you are reading my blog...a little back history. My mom is a chocoholic! Big Time! For my entire young life my mom's breakfast consisted of a cup of tea and a Hershey's Chocolate Bar. I had to eat yucky cereal, but she reveled in her favorite food first thing in the morning, lol. Also, my mom's nickname since childhood is "Tootsie". Kind of appropriate, huh? Months and months ago I saw something that mentioned the movie "Breakfast At Tiffany's" and I thought to myself, "It ought to be Breakfast at Tootsie's and then it could be all about chocolate." And so, an idea was born.
For a month or two I searched ebay and every online fabric shop I frequent looking for "chocolate" fabric. My Dear Hubby took me to Lancaster, PA for a day and drove me from shop to shop as I purchased a few yards here, a few yards there. I knew what I wanted..."chocolate", but a tiny bit more sophisticated than a typical "kid" fabric. I also knew that I wanted to incorporate machine embroidery into the quilt. I went online to my favorite pattern shops and found just what I was looking for. Time to begin putting my ideas to the test.
I knew I wanted to make a Dresden quilt for mom, but I had one problem...I had never made a Dresden block before. So, I pulled out some scrap fabric and tackled my first Dresden.
I used my finished block to make a pillow...which I showed to mom. She LOVED it. First phase completed!
I began making Dresdens and while searching machine embroidery sites I came across the most perfect pattern...a woman munching on candy with the saying "Chocolate..It's not just for breakfast anymore!" It couldn't be more perfect.
I finally narrowed the fabric selections down to five different material Dresdens. I used three of the materials twice to make 8 Dresdens and the central square for the main embroidery. The plan was coming together!
I chose beige as the background fabric for the Dresdens. It would pick up the beige in the candy and also match the beige in the quilt I made my Dad last Christmas. Since they would be used in the same room I wanted them to coordinate a bit. I also found four smaller embroideries to use as cornerstones of the border.
I finally finished sewing together my eight Dresdens and even put quarter Dresdens around the central embroidery. It was just too "blah" without any other materials surrounding it.
I was pretty happy with the quilt so far, but it was "square" and I really wanted a rectangular quilt. I seemed to remember spotting a cupcake "border" embroidery pattern on one of the sites I frequented, and I was sure it would make an adorable border, if I could just FIND it. A bit of searching produced the pattern and I was one step closer to the quilt vision in my head.
The finished border added to the length...and to the charm. I was loving it more and more every day!
It was pretty obvious that the quilt needed a "darker" border to set off the lightness of the quilt and also showcase the individual desserts embroidered on the corners.
I machine quilted the blocks (amid some crises...which is a WHOLE other story!) and added a deep pink border for contrast.
The pink REALLY played well with the desserts!
When I looked at the back of the quilt, the center of each Dresden was blank...and BORING! Another quick search online and I found the perfect quilting for the center of each block!
The central block was still a bit blah...so I made a 1/2" binding strip and followed the outline of the quarter Dresdens....better...but now TOO pink! I went to JoAnn's looking for some type of "candy" trim to break up the pink. I know. I know. Just because I WANT "candy" trim doesn't mean they have it, lol! When I spotted this mini pompom trim my mouth began to water and visions of Malted Milk Balls filled my head. Mmmmmm.....YUM! PERFECT! Now I just had to sew it all on...by hand!
Much better, don't you think?
So here it is...FINISHED...in all of it's glory! I am so THRILLED with the way it turned out. This is without a doubt the hardest, most detailed and most themed quilt I have ever made...but I love every square inch of it. Are there "mistakes"? Sure, lots of them. But this quilt encompassed an awful lot of sewing and quilting "firsts" for me and I am thrilled with the progress I have made in the one year since I made my dad's quilt.
I even took a picture of the back...for posterity's sake.
All tied up and ready to wrap. I told my Dear Hubby that I should have named it "Blood, Sweat and Tears" instead of "Breakfast At Tootsie's". There is an awful lot of love, along with quite a bit of DNA (complements of my blood, sweat and tears), in this quilt and I am sure it will remain my favorite for many years to come.
I think we are going to need lots of Kleenex on Christmas morning...
First off...I want to apologize for the lack of a photo above. Murphy just won't quit! But since this is the third thing to break in the past 11 days, I am hoping this is it!!! This morning my mouse decided to give up the ghost...so I am writing this on my IPAD. Of course my camera cord is a regular USB...not the tiny one on an IPAD. I really need to look for an adapter.
In an effort to keep my mind off of the Murphyisms, I have been contemplating my goals for 2014.
My first goal is to lose weight and begin gentle exercise. I am hoping my rheumatologist will lower my steroids more at my next visit. Yes, it has been MIRACULOUS to have reduced pain all of these months, but the weight gain is making me uncomfortable and my blood sugar is much harder to control. So I will talk with him about getting me off of this steroid induced "honeymoon". I know my pain will ramp back up but if I can hold out six months or more before I can no longer stand the pain, it would do my body good to have a break from the steroids.
Secondly, I want to begin doing a small food shop every Saturday with just enough food for the week. Since dear hubby and I run errands together on Saturday he will be able to do the schlepping of heavy bags that I can't handle. Buying smaller amounts of food will allow us to buy a smaller freezer to replace our freezer that died a month ago...money saved.
Thirdly, I want to start cooking dinner at home 5 nights a week and packing lunches for dear hubby 5 days a week. Our usual Saturday breakfast date and a nice dinner on Saturday night, and a sandwich/pizza on Sunday night should be a feasible part of our budget.
Fourth goal, I want to look into hiring the cleaning crew again once or twice a month to keep up with the jobs that neither dear hubby or I can physically handle. We will work together to keep up with dusting, sweeping, toilets and sinks on a weekly basis.
Fifth goal, we need to get back to seriously purging the house...hopefully selling what we can and padding out our savings acct.
Finally, I want to continue to sew and craft as much as my body will allow. It is my sanity!
The picture you see above is "Ellie"...jammed solid. I had just begun the first stitch on my mom's quilt label with the machine made a horrible noise, an error appeared on the screen and it is all locked up. I can't even turn the wheel! I called the shop where I bought it and she suggested I bring it in for her to see, or I COULD try to wiggle the needle out, even if I have to break it. As I REALLY don't want to mess up my machine, I told her I will be there on Thursday. I have to go with my mom and dad to the oncologist tomorrow. So I will be the next two days, minimum, without my machine...hopefully not longer. I could give it to my mom WITHOUT the label, but it is an integral part of the theme...it NEEDS to be there. In fact I am going to wrap it so that the first thing she sees is the label. Other than making the label and sewing it to the quilt (with a satin stitch to mirror the satin stitch in the cupcake border), snipping threads and giving it a quick lick with the lint brush...the quilt is done. I had figured I would finish the label today and then sew it on tomorrow morning when my hands are a lot steadier. So much for plans... As my aunt said, this quilt really IS a labor of love!
Strange, the material didn't look half as scrunched up in person. The pink lines are simply there to space out the printing and will be pulled out after each word is embroidered.
Hopefully Ellie can be "unstuck" while I wait and I can bring her home to finish things up.......
This is what I had HOPED to be concentrating on this morning! J and K are coming over around 11:00 to bake Christmas cookies! It has been at least 10 years since I have made the traditional homemade Christmas cookies that I grew up with. Way too long! The past few years I have just been too sick to consider any baking at all. This year, after my dear son saying how much he missed the traditions from his childhood (Christmas cookie baking being the most important, lol) I asked if he and K would like to come over to bake cookies. This holiday season I am still on steroids, so my pain is a bit better and I think, with a little help from my dear son and his fiance', at least SOME of the homemade cookies may find their way onto plates this Christmas day. Notice I said I had HOPED to be concentrating on my Kitchenaid?
THIS is actually what I have been concentrating on since about 4:30 yesterday afternoon! One blocked kitchen sink! Definitely NOT on my wish list for this Christmas! Now, tell me, HOW do you bake Christmas cookies without a kitchen sink or dishwasher? Laundry tub? Nope. It is situated on the other side of the kitchen wall and is also blocked...and leaking (err, gushing) water out of the trap! I tried hot water, baking soda and vinegar and plunging and the dang water never budged. Then dear hubby came home and plunged, snaked and applied half a bottle of Drano. Still it sits...
So this morning I bit the bullet and called a plumber. He will be here any minute and hopefully I will have a fully functioning kitchen by 11:00. And hopefully he will be done quickly as I STILL have to go to the store and buy the ingredients! Time sure is getting away from me!
But, the holidays are here and I'm listening to Christmas carols on my computer and working furiously on finishing up Christmas gifts...I am NOT going to let a little bit of standing water get me upset. No sir. In this house there will be peace, joy and hopefully a few cookie crumbs to celebrate the season!
See that horrid black spotting above the word "chocolate" on my mom's quilt? It's grease! Horrible, ugly, black GREASE! There are a total of 4 separate areas of grease now gracing my mom's beautiful, perfect quilt. I could just cry buckets.
I had my machine serviced the week before we went away on vacation, picked it up the day before we left and sat down this morning to get back into quilting it. After I finished the blades of the Dresden I pulled the quilt out of the machine to look at it. I almost DIED when I saw four separate areas of black grease. This is the worst area as it encompasses about 6-8 separate little spots...and of course is in the central embroidery block...the embroidery and saying that MAKE the whole quilt!
I called the shop where my machine was serviced and they suggested Dawn Dishwashing Liquid. Fortunately I had a sample of Dawn in my kitchen. The spot you see now is after Shout, Greased Lightening and Dawn! It is lighter...but still there. I know my mom will love the quilt no matter what...but this is her big gift and I just wanted it to be PERFECT. I have spent so many hours designing, piecing, embroidering and now quilting...I am devastated.
I'm going to put a bit more Dawn on the spots and pray that tomorrow morning they are gone. If not, I will just keep on quilting it. I don't have the time, material or ambition to start it all over again from scratch. I know in the big scheme of things this is not a big deal...and I am ashamed of myself for making it such a big deal...but why this handmade item and why this area of the quilt? It couldn't have happened on one of the dark brown chocolate areas, right?
I am off to drown my sorrows in a glass of wine. Don't worry friends, it is one of the 4 glasses per week prescribed by my physician. I'm just drinking it at the time it may do the most good for more than just my liver......
Just a quick note to let you know that we are home safe and sound. We arrived home last evening and collapsed into bed shortly thereafter. We drove straight through (12+ hours from the time we left SC) and were EXHAUSTED by the time we emptied the car...into the kitchen. No further, lol, just to the kitchen. We dumped EVERYTHING on the kitchen floor, table and island...to be dealt with today.
So today we have spent all day: emptying suitcases, sorting a mountain of mail and handling the resulting piles, reading and deleting emails, ordering Christmas gifts that we had picked out while away but didn't order as we didn't want to use credit cards on a hotel internet network. We have sorted the bags of Christmas gifts that we purchased from brick and mortar stores while away, moved a broken futon down the basement (long story for another time, lol) and went to the local deli to pick up just the bare necessities for the next few days...milk, bread, cheese, lunchmeat, etc. DH vacuumed up all of the leaves that had fallen in the past two weeks. It's a miracle that there are any leaves LEFT on the trees given the piles of leaves all over the lawn and driveway! I took down my summer wreath and hung the Christmas wreath on the front door. Dinner tonight? Chinese...delivered, lol.
TOMORROW I have one more suitcase of clean clothes to put away (I do laundry while we are away) and a small pile of dirty clothing to add to the hamper of clothing that didn't get washed before we left...and then I need to wash it all and put it away. I have to get back to my mom's quilt and I have to go to the store to research K's (J's fiance) Christmas gift. I have a good idea what I am getting...in fact I have it all picked out from researching online, I just want to see it in person. I also have to call my doctor's office to get them started on authorizing the MRI of my brain recommended by my family doctor to take with me to the new neurologist I am seeing on January 2nd.
I'm hoping by Tuesday I will be back to the normal organization around here and I can begin spending all day in my sewing room working on Christmas gifts. Keeping my fingers crossed!
Be back soon to show you the fabric I purchased for me (just because); and the beginning fabrics for my Aunt's quilt! It will be her Christmas gift next year...but I am DETERMINED to start it in January to avoid another last minute crush!