Monday, June 30, 2008

The Road to Nowhere....

Last week we drove South on 101 on our way to Sacramento. We haven't had much rain lately so I didn't call CalTrans before we left to see if there was a problem with the Confusion Hill Slide (in Winter we never leave home without checking first as the highway closes often due to the unstable hill which often slides and covers the road). Imagine my surprise when we rounded the corner and saw this! The Road to Nowhere.

I can report that the new bridge (what is it costing? Something like $64 MILLION?) is well under way. I confess,I had no idea they were this far along. We stopped on the way home and Liz took this awesome picture.

I taught a class on Saturday, French Roses. This is such a beautiful quilt and so very much fun. You don't have to stress about anything. I made the cottage chic quilt here and during class I began another one for Sydney's big girl bed from 1930's prints. I used a background of white with large pink polka dots and all the flowers will have a solid yellow center. Sort of paying homage to 1930's Grandma's Flower Garden Quilts. (I'll be teaching it again in August and September).

Just a few minutes after I got home after class my next-door neighbor rang the door bell. One of our neighbor's house was on fire! I looked out my bedroom window and there were flames shooting 8' in the air from their roof! Lots of smoke and loud crackles filled the air. "Anyone got a phone?" yelled the only person I could see. He had a garden hose and aimed it's tiny and ineffective stream of water onto the roof. I returned to the bedroom and called 911. They told me the fire dept. was at the scene. "No...I'm at the scene and there are no firemen here. "Well, soon.....5 engines are on their way," the 911 dispatcher said. Some very, very long minutes later the first truck arrived...and down the little drive on the side of our house. Problem: eventually 5 engines arrived, an ambulance and 4 other fire vehicles. Where to park????? Only one truck can make it down the little lane. The rest parked and double parked in front of MY house. I'm sure all the traffic thought it was our house burning down.

We're fine.....the neighbors and their cats got out in time. The insurance company has repairs already is Monday, fire was Saturday 5 pm. Fire last month near the store, now near our house.....and all those Northern CA wildfires. Hmmmm.........

Sunday, June 29, 2008


It's now official:

Runs with Scissors Quilt Shop in Citrus Heights, CA is open! Miss Citrus Heights even showed up!

Marie & Mark Duncan are the nicest people and their new shop is beautiful, filled with beautiful fabrics and all you will need to start your next (or your first!) quilting project.

Liz, Sydney and I drove down on Sunday. We became part of the crew that included friends and family from far and away. Here are Marie's niece and nephew, Chris & Nichole busy rolling fat quarters late, late into the night.

The shop was full for the Grand Opening, the Chamber of Commerce was there for the ribbon cutting. There was cake and all manner of goodies. Sydney poses with the fruit bouquet.

Here's another view of Marie's lovely shop. I bought a FQ of all 24 bolts in this Red, Pink & Black line. Liz demonstrated the AccuCut and cut out enough Tumbler shapes for me to make a Queen Size Quilt for MY bed. It is going to be so pretty.

Be sure to come to Sylvan Corners in Citrus Heights (Corner of Auburn & Old Auburn) to Runs With Scissors Quilt Shop. Tell that Crazy Redhead that BrendaLou sent you!

Runs With Scissors Quilt Shop
7130 Auburn Blvd

Citrus Heights, CA 95610


Friday, June 20, 2008

Runs With Scissors

If you live anywhere near the Sacramento area and you love to sew or quilt then you will be happy to know that a new shop is opening next week in Citrus Heights.

Next Wednesday, June 25 our good friend, Marie Duncan is opening Runs With Scissors Quilt Shop at Sylvan Corners. That is the corner of Auburn Blvd and Old Auburn. Liz and I are going to help her open the store and we'll be leaving Sunday and we'll be back Thursday afternoon.

They'll be open 11 am until 8 pm that day with a Ribbon Cutting ceremony at 1 pm. Demonstrations and food all day. Liz will be demonstrating the AccuCut and I'll be doing Thangles. Marie has been coming to our retreats for several years and has a lot of friends in the Eureka area.

So, while of course we hope you LIKE to shop with us, we'd like to recommend that when you are in the Sacramento area that you stop in and shop with Marie, the crazy redhead at Runs With Scissors Quilt Shop.

Runs With Scissors Quilt Shop
7130 Auburn Blvd
Citrus Heights, CA 95610

School Bells Ring

Today I did it. I enrolled in school. After graduating high school 1970 and then college, today I enrolled in Eureka Adult School. Felt a little weird. Long hallways smelling like chalk, the office had that "school office look." Classes start Monday but I'll be out of town (more about that in my next post) until Thursday so I start Friday morning 9 am. What am I doing going back to school? I'm taking some computer classes. I want to learn Microsoft Publisher and Adobe Photo Elements. Both are necessary for my work at Scottie Dog Quilts. But so far both of them may as well be written in Korean as far as I'm concerned. I can't even begin to make them work.

I was a little worried. The woman who signed me up didn't know how to use a computer. She had to hunt and peck to get my info.....she asked if they could use my SS# as an identification number. When I said I'd rather they didn't she became is entirely voluntary, but no one has ever refused her. I said if it was voluntary then I didn't care to volunteer. Oh, what a rebel I was. Someone came to show her how to fill out the forms without using the SS#. After about 15 minutes she asked for payment. "That will be $125 please." I couldn't figure it out....the class I was taking for the summer was only $50. Turns out she'd signed me up for three classes. So it took another 20 minutes to cancel out the wrong classes and sign me up for the new ones. "Social Security Number, please," she said with a straight face.

I explained again I'd rather not give it out. She acted as if the earlier conversation had never taken place. I handed over my credit guessed it. She didn't know how run a credit card. I said innocently, "It's OK, we all have to learn new things from time to time." She brightly replied, "Oh, I'm not new, I've worked here for 15 years."

I smiled and as I left I thought perhaps she could use a computer class or two also.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day Dinner

It was Father's Day today. Bill and I had gone to church, out to brunch and for a long drive. Even with gas prices at $4.79/gallon in our neck of the woods, it was nice to just drive. We tried a rural road we'd not been on for many years. We drove across one of Humboldt County's wooden covered bridge on Berta Road and off to thick redwood forest, ferns and beauty. We made a big loop and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

Back at home Bill puttered in the garden and I did
some much needed cleaning of the house. Bill and my son-in-law Steve had put forth their ideas of Father's Day Dinner so I got it all ready. Liz was bringing dessert. I made the's nice that here in California we get great avocados nearly all year long. I put chopped tomato in my guacamole along with Kosher salt, pepper, lemon juice and a touch of mayo. We had a great salad with mandarin oranges in it....I think Sydney ate all of them right out of the salad bowl. After all, it was Grandma's house! They boys got their prawns & steaks---Bill is the master of the grill.

Liz made dessert....Peanut Butter Hearts. I just had to take a picture. Here's the recipe:

Peanut Butter Hearts
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup butter or margarine
Mix ingredients and press into an un-greased 9" X 13" pan.
Melt 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 4 Tablespoons peanut butter and spread on top. Refrigerate for 1 hour, cut with cookie cutter into hearts.

As you can see, Sydney liked them. They are like heart shaped Peanut Butter Cups. Yum, yum!

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day and I'm paying tribute to the man I call Daddy. Robert Leroy McNally. Born and raised in Lincoln, IL during the depression, the youngest, the baby of the family. His mother and my namesake, Brenda Turner McNally, as a single mom, raised her kids with the help of her parents during the Great Depression. Dad's family was poor, dirt poor....but then, so were most of the people in the Midwest during the 1930's. His older brother and sisters looked out for him and to hear Daddy tell it, they had a great life. Looking on the bright side is one of the characteristics Daddy has passed onto me. It's a lot more fun than always complaining about the things you cannot have.

His older siblings left home and married and early in his teens tragedy struck. An automobile accident took the lives of his mother, grandmother and grandfather. Dad doesn't talk much about it, but he moved to the tiny town of Bement, Illinois to live with his older married sister and family. Bement is now larger than it was in those days.....1800 residents and that's counting the surrounding farms. It looks much as it did so very many years ago....a central square with a memorial to those who have fought in every war since the Civil War...Dad's name is right there under World War II. He lied about his age in order to join up when his country needed him. We've never heard much about the War, but Dad flew over Europe and along with so many of his young counterparts, saved the world from a Mad Man and it is because of them we are able to live in this great land. I don't think my generation will ever appreciate that fully.

After the War, he followed family members to California, the land of jobs and opportunities. He met my mom, Marcella Pontious and shortly thereafter they married. A picture of them taken at the time shows them grinning at my grandparent's home in Mentone, CA. Mom was 32 and Dad was 26. A year and a half later I came along. I don't know if Dad ever worried about being a great father.....after all, he didn't have a role model to follow. His Dad had never been in the picture. But Daddy was and is the best Father I could have had. I was the first born and the only girl. I was a princess! I could wrap him around my little finger (probably still can!). Daddy was there for all my school events, my Camp Fire Girl programs, praised me when I got good grades and pushed me to achieve better things when I slacked off. I wanted him to be proud of me, but I also knew without a shadow of a doubt he loved me exactly as I was.

Daddy and I shared a love for musical theatre. I remember him taking me to see My Fair Lady, South Pacific and more. He'd ask me for a date and we'd go to Chinatown in LA for dinner and then to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to see a musical. He took us camping and taught me how to fish and clean a trout. He was THERE for me. I could ask him anything. He sang silly songs and had a million stock phrases ("Tired of walking? Let's run awhile!"). He prepared me to become an adult by slowly giving me privileges as I grew. He wasn't prepared for me to fall in love so young and marry at 20, but he gave me away anyway. We both shed a few tears as we walked down the aisle.

And then I moved with my new husband 850 miles away. I probably broke his heart. But we kept up with weekly phone calls and letters. He was visiting without my Mom when Bill and I first shared the news that we were expecting a baby. I'll never forget his face. He was so proud! His baby was having a baby. As each of the girls were born, Daddy held them, loved them and gave them a nickname. Despite the distance Daddy has kept a close relationship with the girls.

When I told Dad about the store I was going to open he became one of my biggest cheerleaders. Wherever he travels he's quick to tell people that HIS daughter owns Scottie Dog Quilts. His years in business have provided me with a wealth of wisdom. His example of unselfish giving of one's time and talents to the community at large has been one that has been embraced by both his children and grandchildren.

Daddy and Mom were married 50 years. The last couple of years Mom was alive he continued to honor her with all the love and devotion a man can give a woman. Their life was full, their marriage one to emulate. Those last years, Dad learned how to do laundry, cook for himself and clean up. When Mom passed, a light went out of Dad. I wondered if we'd ever see a spark again. Then I got a call.....Dad said he had been spending time with an old friend from Bement. Some one he'd known in high school. And so Willa Mae Maderas McNally came into our lives. We could trust Dad to find a lovely woman the 2nd time around and he has. Willie is perfect for Dad in his golden years. And golden they are! They are still traveling the country, enjoying friends and family. Dad still has so much wisdom, wit and humor to give.

Thanks Daddy, for all you've given me. I am who I am because of you. I love you. I"m so very proud to be your daughter. Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Master Suite

A few weeks ago Bill started working on our Master Suite. Our house (remember, the NEW house we bought in 1985) has been in an almost constant state of remodel---projects over the years have included a 2 story addition which contains 2 bedrooms, a full bath, a den & dining room; old dining room turned into a bedroom and bath, the old kitchen was doubled in size and updated, complete foundation work completed. Now it's time to finally do our Master Suite. The original girls' bedroom is becoming a walk-in closet and beautiful bath with a huge walk-in shower.

I'm married to a wonderfully talented man---not only did he draw the plans for the beautiful suite, but he can do the demolition, the carpentry, the electrical & plumbing. He'll do all the beautiful tile work, the painting, carpeting our room and all.

It is interesting to see what you find when you demo parts of a house.....especially our house. This house holds all sorts of secrets and when you remove walls or wall board the secrets are exposed. When the Sheetrock came off the old kid's room walls we found an old window......the bedroom was once a covered porch and the window was on what was once an outside wall! The first picture is Bill in the soon-to-be bathroom from our room and the other is from bathroom looking into our room. You can barely move in our's full to the brim of dressers and hanging clothes that will go into the closet when it's finished.

I'm looking forward to the new bathroom and a shower with every kind of shower heads imaginable. The tiles we picked are so pretty. I'll be sure to keep you all updated.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sewing with Sydney

Today I had a chance to sew! Quilt Shop Owners don't get to sew as often as they wish, but today I indulged my passion and worked on several projects. Liz and I both had plenty of customers to help, but Sydney and I retreated often to the classroom and kept the sewing machine humming. Liz was head ironer and trimmer.

First thing this morning the UPS man came with several boxes. Sydney signed for the packages and Liz cut open the boxes. Christmas has arrived! Or rather---Christmas fabrics are BEGINNING to arrive at Scottie Dog Quilts. We have a cute line in---all Scottie Dogs, gift boxes and Christmas trees. Liz and brainstormed and a cute quilt ensued. Here it is half-finished and Sydney is doing show and tell.

Jelly Rolls, Charm Packs (5" squares) and Layer Cakes (10" squares) of Moda's new Christmas lines from Mary Englebreit, Sandy Gervais & 3 Sisters have arrived. The yardage will follow soon.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

UFO's and more

If you are a quilter then I know you have some UFO's around, probably some WIP's and maybe even some NESY's in brown paper bags or plastic containers.......

WHAT is she talking about?????

Well, UFO in the quilting vernacular stands for Un Finished Object. As in, "I started this quilt/table runner/wall hanging six months (or years) ago and haven't finished it yet." Personally, I'm not sure I'm ever going to finish the projects I categorize as UFO's. These are projects that, for me, the colors/fabrics weren't quite right....the pattern never did quite fit together right and all the points are wonky....the designated recipient of said project doesn't like/need it anymore...and so forth. I've tried over the past few years to pass most of these Un Finished Projects on to others to finish, tear apart and recycle the parts & pieces or to just languish at THEIR houses for now.

That brings us to WIP's. No, has nothing to do with whips! A WIP is a Work In Progress. To me it's something I've started and am wishing and hoping and praying I WILL finish in the next week/month/year/decade. I like this project. I WANT to finish this project. This project calls to me in the middle of the night, the middle of the afternoon, while I'm taking a shower, working, shopping. My plan is to finish this project.

OK, so what is a NESY? Not Even Started Yet. I have the fabric, I've picked out the pattern, I can see it in my mind BUT it's not cut out, not sewn, Not Even Started Yet. I have a love/hate relationship with NESY's. The anticipation, the eagerness to cut into that beautiful fabric, fondle the pieces, run them through the! But ARRRGGG! I have no time to even begin. Some NESY's are vague....I don't even have a plan yet....but I've got the fabrics all picked out and sitting together in a vinyl zippered project bag. Ahhh.....can't wait to start!

To the best of my recollections:

10 UFO's
12 WIP's
25 NESY's

How about you? I want to hear from you!

Friday, June 6, 2008


When I was a little girl growing up in Los Angeles my mother tended her flowers with care. Nothing elaborate or exotic but a very large rose garden with white Sweet Alyssim in between the bushes. She had plump red and purple Fuchsias. A palm tree, some pansies, and large grassy lawns. I think she loved to plant and weed when my brothers and I became too much to deal with. We moved to Redlands when I was 13 and Mom was too busy with teenagers to garden much.
When my girls were small we lived on one and one half acres right in town and usually had huge vegetable gardens. Most of the flowers had been planted 80-100 years before when the large Victorian house we lived in was new. Bulbs---daffodils, naked lady lilies and tulips had multiplied for decades and there was one Cecil Bruner Climbing Rose that took over one long side of the drive. When we moved a few miles away in 1985 we took a small rooted piece of the rose with us. It has flourished over the years and these pictures I took today don't begin to do it justice. You can only see a small portion. The yard smells heavenly!

Most of the yard at the NEW house (funny even after 23 years we call it the NEW house) is nearly in complete shade due to the towering Redwood Trees. We have some solar lights lining the driveway and only two of them will shine all night as the others don't get enough sun to power them for more than an hour or two. So you have to get creative if you want color. Mostly we have rhododendrons, azaleas and ferns. I have a Camellia bush, a couple of holly bushes, more and more ferns. Primroses and forget-me-nots do well too. I like perennials as I really don't have a lot of time to keep the garden up.

Years ago Liz and Bill put in a goldfish pond with some nice ground covers---Irish Moss, Baby Tears and Blue Star Creeper. You can hardly find the pond it is so overgrown these days....after several tries with the goldfish we found that the raccoons ate them with relish! I like to feed the birds, but feeding the raccoons is ridiculous. So the pond sort of went back to nature. Last Spring I noticed that most of the moss and baby tears are gone and the Blue Star Creeper has crept over them....and over into the grass and now a good many feet into the grass are the tiny blue stars. The mower misses them and I'm glad. I like the cheerfulness of their blooms and Sydney delights in picking these teeny tiny blossoms.
I don't really garden these days, I just leave it up to God! He does a great job. Oh, we prune and pull weeds sometimes, but mostly we just let it go. I like it. It's Natural...(keep telling yourself Brenda!).
How does your garden grow?????

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I read somewhere that the AVERAGE woman (I'm assuming this mean an American woman) owns 60 pairs of shoes. Wow! 60! I have 14 pair, not counting a pair of water shoes I haven't used in years and a pair of rubber flip flops with black sequins and glittery seed beads. I do have 3 pairs of slippers and I've only worn one pair of those a handful of times in the past several years, but I like the idea slippers. Where would I keep 60 pairs of shoes? In reality, I have 4 or 5 pairs I like and wear with any regularity. None of the shoes pictured here are my shoes, nor do I wear striped sox, but it was fun to look for shoes on the Internet.

Truth be told, I'd rather not wear shoes at all! When I get home at the end of the day, my shoes come off. I got this from my Mother and have passed this on to my children. My granddaughter Sydney would rather go barefoot also.

These black strappy heels are just downright weird. No other word for it. They are from Japan and I doubt they are mainstream. I think I've seen the Cheetah heels on someone before. They are attractive, but I don't wear heels. Never have. Not once. I got married in 1972 in near flats--my husband is 10" taller than I so it wasn't because I was afraid I'd be taller than he, but I have never gotten used to heels and now I'm not stupid enough to try. My one pair of "Sunday-go-to-meeting" shoes are black pumps with a 1" chunky heel.

So the question is......How many shoes do YOU own? Are you average, above average or below average like me?????

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cottage Chic

A few weeks ago I had a few days to sew and mentioned making "French Roses," a pattern new to our store. I had such fun making it since the blocks are made of free-form layers of soft, pastel fabrics. Of course, you know me, I had to use several different background fabrics and I changed the border to a soft yellow instead of repeating the white background as a border. We got it quilted and washed and it is lovely. The applique couldn't be easier as you just try to stitch about 1/4" away from the edges. You don't have to be exact so it goes quickly. I've made up a few kits already so just ask if you are interested. My friend Sandy Brawner, owner of Quilt Country in Texas, made one with a black background and bright lime greens and shocking pinks and oranges! Totally different look.

If you haven't yet seen the Quiltsmart Cell Phone Bags, come in and ask for a demo. You buy ($4.00) a piece of Quiltsmart printed interfacing. This piece will make three bags. Iron the interfacing to 1/8th yard of fabric, fold on the fold lines, sew on the sew lines and you are done!

What's new in our store is that we are now carrying several types and colors of cording for your bags. Chenille, Ultra-suede, green, black, red, cream and more.

Another new bag pattern from Quilt Country called "Teeny Tiny Tote" is available too. This one will carry your phone or camera, pictures, credit cards and more! We've got samples.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Going Once, Twice, SOLD!

Friday night was Scottie Dog Quilts night at the KEET-TV auction. Many thanks to our many friends who helped us out....Camryn, Louise, Sue, Lori, Laura, Larissa, Liz, Ilene, Ilene's husband (forgive me I can't remember your name, but I so appreciate your help on the Auction Board!), Pam, Tina, Karen, Lewis and Mr. Scottie Dog.....I hope I haven't forgotten memory is sooo very poor these days. Here are Liz and Larissa as auctioneers. They did an awesome job.....often squeezing out some extra $$ for KEET-TV.

Manning the phones can be hectic...Only once did I answer the phone, "Scottie Dog Quilts, may I help you?" but it was ok, since the item up for bid just happened to be a Scottie Dog Quilts Gift Certificate! The bidder on the phone and I had a good laugh over that. What I find the most interesting is that if you are watching on TV you have no idea that in that tiny studio (and it is quite tiny) there are probably no less than 20 people, most of them yelling out bids from the phones, confirming the bids, calling once, twice sold! The director is yelling instructions to the people writing on the boards, someone is setting the next table set up, two or three camera operators are doing their thing. And you, the TV watcher are oblivious as all you hear are the two auctioneers talking.

Humboldt County, CA KEET-TV is the 2nd to the smallest PBS station in the United States. We count it a privilege to help out at their twice per year auctions by donating gift certificates (which we are proud to say nearly always go for full value or more!) and by manning the telephones, being on camera and writing up the bids on the auction boards. The auction continues next Wed-Friday (June 4, 5, 6) nights from 6:30-11 pm. More Scottie Dog Gift Certificates to come...... Channel 13. Be there.