Monday, October 16, 2017

Julie Says

My pal Julie has been my inspiration more than once before this. She was the catalyst for the intricate R5 quilt from a few years back. Most important, she was the brains behind the SSOB and the one who convinced me that I could free piece a barn.

Lately she's been making a series of "scrapbook" blocks, using fabric scraps that had been gifted to her or left-over from other, more intentional projects. She seems to like the square-in-a-square-in-a-square concept a lot. So do I. I've been watching her scrapbook blocks evolve over the past week or so, and gradually got sucked in.

I'm not a particularly sentimental person, so I didn't have the carefully catalogued left-overs that Julie does. But I do have left-over bits and pieces from my recent foray into the super-brights that Allison Glass (and a couple of others) produced in the past six months or so. And I do have a F8 bundle of text prints I got from Pink Castle. And my white-gray-black bin has a fair amount of blurry blacks. And so, off I go. Here are four from the first seven, with more to follow. I kind of think these will go together side-by-side with no lattice, just a blurry black background quilt with these wonderful pops of super bright color.

Now I'm wondering if there are other quilters out there interpreting Julie's notion for themselves, and if so, what their blocks are like. Wouldn't it be fun to have a "Julie Says" exhibit of all of them!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

It's About Time

I got my refund.

You know, the one that's taken so long that you've forgotten about it. I wonder if that's what they were hoping I would do.

On September 11, I placed an order with The Popcorn Factory. When the FREE SHIPPING code I had wasn't applied, I canceled the order. When I didn't get my refund, I contacted them, and they gave me a hard time and suggested I contact PayPal.

I contacted PayPal who made promises that they didn't keep. One thing led to another. And today, October 11, I got the refund that had been deducted from my account five minutes after I placed the order.

I'm not thrilled with PayPal's performance, but I'll continue to use the service. The Popcorn Factory, however, is history for me.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Popcorn Factory Update

Well, I thought I'd go ahead and give you an update on The Popcorn Factory. And as you can probably tell by the *COW graphic, it's not totally a good one!

When last we left our hero on September 11, The Popcorn Factory had screwed up the free shipping on the order and had refused to send an email confirming the adjustment when I phoned them about it. I ended up cancelling the entire order in the amount of $143.63. And they refused to send me an email confirming the cancellation and added that it would take seven to ten days for me to get my refund. I said that was unacceptable, but they wouldn't budge.

This morning, on Day Twelve my bank balance showed no refund and my PayPal balance showed no refund. So again I phoned The Popcorn Factory. Oh, my, were they sorry about my situation. They checked and said that indeed, the order had been cancelled, that the refund had been initiated on September 11, and -- unfortunately -- I had been given wrong information. In fact, they said, since my order had been through PayPal it would take 30 days for me to get my money back. But not to worry, the refund had been initiated on the day the order was placed. So I need wait only eighteen more days for the refund. Again, I used the word unacceptable. Again, they didn't budge. They told me to call PayPal.

So I did.

PayPal was overly busy and their machine said they would call me back in 31-47 minutes and promptly at 32 minutes my phone rang. They couldn't have been nicer! Here is what they told me, and this is important:

First, it never takes thirty days for PayPal to issue a refund. 

Second, The Popcorn Factory did not initiate my refund on September 11. In fact, they never initiated my refund at all.

Ms. Helpful offered to open a dispute and then offered to open a claim; I agreed to everything. She told me that I was now out of the conversation, that the dispute was between PayPal and The Popcorn Factory, and that my money would be back in my account no earlier than today (!) and no later than Friday.

So, friends, again, MOOOOOO to The Popcorn Factory, and KUDOS to PayPal!

•Cranky Old Woman

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Baby Bureau

 I believe I've written previously on this blog about The  Baby Bureau, a wonderful local agency that collects new and gently used baby things, up to size 18 months.

My Circle has supported this organization for a number of years, timing our collections with the semi-annual rummage sale at church.

 This year we have an opportunity to expand our giving! The church has come up with a handful of "ministry grants," and one need only have a plan and fill out an application for the perusal of the Powers That Be.

Our Rummage Sale was on a temporary hiatus and it occurred to me that the young moms in our church may not know about The Baby Bureau, and how much the agency would appreciate their babies' outgrown clothing.

 I applied for a grant of $100, enough to purchase backing, batting, and binding for four baby quilts. I would make the tops out of scraps from my stash. 

My grant was approved! I set to work! I pieced my four tops and purchased my supplies. My initial plan was to machine quilt them myself, but after being less than impressed by my efforts, I decided instead to tie them.

Baby Bureau Sunday is coming up early in October. The congregation has been invited to bring in their baby things. The Baby Bureau agency will assemble packets of clothing and blankets according to size and furnish them to moms who don't have a lot of money.

I didn't spend my whole hundred dollars AND the Rummage Sale is back on!

Life is good.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Crazy Anne

Everyone and her cousin seem to be making quilts from Jen Kingwell's patterns. And some of them have "invited" me to make one, too. I decline. This designer's quilts are intricate and striking. And they have too much going on, for me. It's a case of their not being to my taste, but I can appreciate the artistry behind them and the work that goes into them.

Recently one of the Jen-ites posted a picture of a block that she was making for, I think, Gypsy Wife. The block is called Crazy Anne. Without delving too far into Anne's presenting problems and mental history, I thought the block, while a traditional one, had a bit of a contemporary flair. And I had these wonderful bright bundles that I'd acquired after getting started back in March at the Lancaster show. So I made a block. And then another.

And here I am, sewing rows together already! Anne's going to need a border, and I have a plan for that. Alas, it will necessitate buying some fabric!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Who Made This Masterpiece?

I went to the Mancuso Show at Oaks last week and saw some very nice quilts. This one stopped me in my tracks. I was so taken by it that I forgot to capture the name of its maker. If anyone knows, sing out -- I'd love to give that quilter credit. Meanwhile, I'm about to head downstairs and rummage through my black-on-whites and my brights . . . .

Monday, September 11, 2017

Mooing About Popcorn, Of All Things

Such an exasperating way to start the day: Cranky Old Woman here mooing about popcorn, of all things.

I want to share with you my experience this morning with The Popcorn Factory. It wasn't good.

I thought I'd send a little autumn surprise to some people I know, and past experience with products from The Popcorn Factory brought them to mind.

I was happy when I got to the website that there was a code for free shipping, so I placed a large order and went to the check out to find there was no place for the free shipping code. I went through to PayPal, thinking that I would be rerouted back to The Popcorn Factory to confirm the order and that the place for the code would be there. That's not what happened; the order went through with nearly $40 in shipping charges applied.

So I phoned to have it fixed. The person I spoke with said he would remove the shipping charges, and I was happy about that. I asked him to send me a revised order confirmation that would show the actual charge, and to refund my PayPal account. He declined the first request and said it would take 7-10 days to put the money back into my account. Yes, you read that correctly: He refused to send me an email confirming that they shipping charge had been removed. I was astonished!

I told him that if he wouldn't send me the email, then to cancel the order and to refund  my money completely. He agreed to cancel the order and, again, refused to send an email confirming the cancellation. Furthermore, he said it would take 7-10 days to refund the money I had paid just a few minutes earlier.

A conversation with his supervisor yielded the same result: A refusal to send an email confirming either the removal of the shipping charges or the cancellation of the order, and a 7-10 day wait for a refund.

I thought it was a good idea to share this experience. If you are looking for a nice surprise gift for someone, the popcorn from The Popcorn Factory is very, very good. But their customer service is very, very bad. You can decide for yourself it it is worth it.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Elizabeth to the Rescue

In my job as a chaplain at our local hospital/level one trauma center, I carry this little black 6" x 9" notepad holder everywhere I go. Inside, of course, is a notepad and a pen, as well as business cards and another set of tiny forms I use in trauma work.

I also carry a portable phone and a beeper with me everywhere I go.

So I can never wear anything that doesn't have pockets.

Last week my friend Elizabeth posted on Facebook about some special pouches she was making. They had a zipper and a pair of elastic straps. I asked Elizabeth if she could make a smaller-than-usual size pouch that would fit my pad holder; my thought was that I could put the beeper inside the pouch and somehow manage to carry the phone, which does have a clip on it. We back-and-forthed for a few minutes and today my postal person brought me an absolute marvelousness.

Just you look at this treasure! The zip pouch is gray, the pocket on the front that will hold the phone is purple, and so is the zipper. The beeper is small; it will go inside the pouch and maybe even those darned keys can come off the lanyard and go into the pouch, too.

Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I'm almost eager to go to work this weekend and try it out! And I'll wear my blue dress that doesn't have pockets!

Sunday, September 03, 2017

What To Do

I have never been a particularly fearful person, you know, the kind of individual who worries a lot about things that are unlikely to come to fruition. I confess to a bit of uneasiness during take-offs and landings when I fly, and that's about it. 

But in the past eight-and-a-half months, I've had times of downright terror when I look at what is going on in my country. Terror isn't the only feeling; there is anger; there is sadness, there is despair. And there is helplessness.

I remember how hopelessly said I was on November 9; I blogged about my feelings then. I said that the election may have changed a lot of things, but it hadn't changed who I am. 

Over these months, though, I've lost sight of that resolve. I've given in to fear and the other associated feelings. This morning, however, I received a none-too-subtle reminder that I'm not completely helpless in the face of our country's situation. I received a clear outline of what I am to do. 

If you attend a church that follows the Revised Common Lectionary, you may have heard what I heard. But if you didn't, let me share it with you now. It comes from the 12th Chapter of Romans:

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;[b] do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God;[c] for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

It's a Boy! It's a Girl!

Someone I know is expecting a baby boy.

Someone else I know just had a baby girl.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sheepishly Yours

I can't remember if I ever posted a picture of the finished sheep quilt that I made some months back. I hand quilted it using floss in all of the colors of the blocks. I'm donating it to the silent auction at our church's upcoming Oktoberfest.

The back.

Friday, August 25, 2017

9" Stars

I had so much fun making the 6" stars for the Guild project that I asked The Powers That Be to send me another packet so I could make a few 9" ones.

There's enough background fabric for one more, but I'm going to let someone else have that pleasure.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Cranky Old Woman here, with a rant about what's well on its way to becoming a former friend.

Remember when we all first got on Pinterest and followed each other's pins? And occasionally there would be an ad pop up? It was kind of fun.

And then, insidiously, the "Picked For You" crap started. And the redundancy. To the point that now, it seems, about 10% of the pins are from folk I follow and the rest are sponsored or "picked for me."

Y'know, I looked at a friend's recipe for a tomato pie. And saved it. Now my feed is saturated with tomato pie recipes. Prolly nine today of the original tomato pie and about twelve more different ones. Picked for me. Like I really want to look at all these variations of a dish I might someday make?

And if Pinterest knows me so well that they believe they can pick pins that are applicable to me, why the heck are they giving me shrimp linguini? And crab casseroles? Do they think I no longer have the shellfish allergy? Or are they wishing me dead?

I get it that there have to be ads on Pinterest. I totally get that. I'm not mooing about the ads. I just wish I could turn off "Picked for You" because I'm about fed up.

And if I ever do try that tomato pie and it is any good, I'll publish the recipe right here so that you'll be spared the barrage.

Thank you for listening to this rant.

Monday, August 21, 2017


I spent much of this morning making these two blocks. I'd acquired the pattern last week and had some scraps that were just the right size, and so I dug in.

The two blocks took three washer-and-dryer loads to finish. I didn't measure them, but I believe they finish at six inches. And the top one really is straight and not on an angle for the left side. I think.

When I was nearly done, it occurred to me that a color scheme of red-orange-gold-yellow on black would have been more appropriate for today.

The eclipse was mostly clouded over here in my part of Near Philadelphia. I liked looking at NASA's footage from South Carolina, and thought fondly of my friend Lori in Madras whose town is suddenly the place to be!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

6" Stars

The guild is making a charity quilt (I don't know what charity exactly but what does that matter?) and this past week fabric packets were distributed with the instructions to make 3", 6", 9", or 12" stars using the purple that barely shows up in the photo as a background.

I decided to go with 6" and spent much of yesterday making this group.

There is one other design that I want to do but I've run out of background, so the Powers That Be are sending me some more.

It will be 9".

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Cathy is Queen Bee

And she asked us to make these Christmas wreaths. What fun!

This monthly challenge is coming to a close in a couple of months and I'll miss it. It's enabled me to try a whole lot of different techniques and work with fabrics I wouldn't ordinarily change.

I tried two other guilds before finding my home at Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Look What a Good Person I Am!

Yesterday I read this article and posted a link to it on my Facebook page. I posted it because the words virtue signaling were new to me and I was thinking that the concept explained a lot of what I've seen recently.

Virtue signaling, according to an on-line dictionary is "the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one's good character or the moral correctness of one's position on a particular issue." It seems it is a way to get credit for being a good person without having to actually do anything good.

Earlier today I posted a link to this blog post on my Facebook page. I posted it because the writer had articulated so well the jumble of thoughts that have swirled around in my head for so many weeks. At least that is the reason I believe I had for the posting. Who knows what my subconscious is up to?

Now I'm thinking about having posted the link to the piece about Mr. Trump's character was virtue sharing on my part. Facebook is a place to share abridged or redacted versions of ourselves; that is, we tend to share pieces of ourselves that we want people to know about, pieces that show us in a good light. 

There's another piece to it, though. I think that I -- and many of my Facebook friends -- post things that might be interpreted as virtue sharing for a different reason. For me, it's because I often feel helpless, powerless in the face of this President; I get to a point where I think, "I have to do something!" and so I rail a bit on Facebook because I think that is all I can do. But the Facebook mini-rant doesn't accomplish anything, really.

It's a conundrum.

Like so many people I know, I am angry, sad, frustrated, and a good many other things by what is going on in our country and by the words and actions of its leadership. But it isn't enough to just talk about it.  I need to find other ways to express my convictions. Ways of actions rather than words. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

50 and Counting

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. Our party was on the actual day of our anniversary and we limited the attendees to family. Joe's brother, wife, and daughter came from afar to join all of our kids, grandchildren, my sister and her family, and a couple of special cousins. The evening was all about being a family and is something we will look back on with such love. Our great-niece, a photographer, provided us with 304 photos of the event, one of which is pictured here.

The next day, Joe and I and our children and grandchildren all went away for a week. I had rented a big old house in -- where else? -- Cape May, of course. We were just a couple of blocks from the beach, there was plenty of room for everyone, the weather held up surprisingly well, and, as they say, a good time was had by all. It was especially nice for the little ones; the six cousins get together infrequently, and always for a much shorter period of time. This was totally different. Here they are:

And here are the people they came with.

Friday, August 11, 2017


I'm really not much of a blogger any more. One would think that a half-retired person working part-time and having only one other person and one dog at home would have plenty of time to post. I suppose I do have plenty of time, but it seems I choose to spend it in other ways.

Today I had fun fooling around with some new F8s and FQs that came in the mail recently. I'd pre-ordered them and completely forgotten, so it was a wonderful surprise when they appeared in the mailbox. The photo does not do justice to the richness of the colors. 

Saturday, July 08, 2017

First Things First?

My second grandson, Nate, turned seven this past spring. Since he was five, he has been intrigued by fabric and fascinated by sewing. The last several times he has visited here, I've worked with him using Bernina to make some simple quilt blocks, of which he is so proud.

I told him at the get-go that when he was eight if he was still interested in sewing, I would buy him a machine. But he had to wait until he was eight.

Awhile back I bought a Hello Kitty machine, thinking it would be a good light-weight travel machine. As it turned out, it IS a good light-weight travel machine, but once you've sewing on a Bernina for twenty years . . . .  I bought a new lighter-weight Bernina for travel and set Miss Kitty aside for when Nate turned eight.

Just around the time that school let out, Nate's mom told me excitedly that the LQS was having a week-long sewing camp for kids nine and older. Nate has a friend who also wanted to sew and when my DIL contacted the shop they told her that the class wasn't full yet, and they would take the two seven-year-olds if they could find an assistant teacher. They did, and the report I received is that Nate produced and brought home a new project every day!

My daughter was going down South to visit her brother, so I sent Miss Kitty along with her. I included about 20 FQs that I had won in a game and a treasure I'd found on Amazon. It was a small wooden box containing sewing essentials, just the kind of thing a kid would adore. Under the lift-out tray I included extra bobbins for Miss Kitty, a package of blue-head pins, and a 1/4" foot.

My daughter reported that Nate was, of course, delighted at the gift. He turned first to the little box of goodies, rummaged around, and then cried out, "Where's the seam ripper? You GOTTA have a seam ripper!"

Sherry assured him that certainly Grandmom would have included one and there it was. THEN he was able to turn to examine the machine!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Black and White

A week or so after we returned from the West, a group of us had an impromptu sewing day down in the church's Fellowship Hall.

I didn't take my machine. Instead, I took a rotary cutter with a new blade and a whole Rubbermaid tub of black, white, and gray fabrics.

I'd seen a picture of a quilt that I wanted to try to make. The picture was all bright Kaffe fabrics, but I knew I had that tub of neutrals . . . .

Here are all of the units up on the wall. They've since been sewn together and the flimsy is complete.

It looks pretty much like this.