Fribble's Blend

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Location: Jefferson City, Tennessee, United States

Published by: Hard Shell Word Factory ( and Awe-Struck E-Books (

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Tea, and the Defense of Civilization As We Know It

Shortly before Christmas, my favorite teapot met with a disaster -- the lid was broken when Husband was in charge of it. I have other teapots, but it's not the same. That pot, even though it was a second, was Royal Doulton. The lines were clean, the color pure, the capacity perfect for our family. Bummer!

Son took me shopping Tuesday, and we stopped by the Royal Doulton store. We looked, and looked -- and then a nice woman asked if she could help us. We found a teapot that was -- well, even more perfect, more elegant. It is white porceline, tall and stately, sensuously rounded, tastefully outlined in silver. You can look inside and, when holding it up to the light, see the trace of the trademark on the bottom.

It holds six cups of Earl Grey. Order has been restored to the universe, or at least to our household.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Arrest Me! I've Commited Neatness!

Husband uttered the fateful words Sunday after church: "I've invited the preacher for lunch on Wednesday.

Son left for Florida Monday evening, to be gone a few days. I had done all the sewing I had to do, and I really didn't want to start any new projects. The writing takes too much concentration to do during the Christmas season, so I succumbed to the temptation to CLEAN. This is a trait I have suppressed so well over the years. Ask my kids.

I worked my little fingers to the bone Tuesday and Wednesday morning, only to have the preacher ditch us for his dentist. Son was still away and I was beginning to be nervous about his return trip and -- I just could not keep myself from doing it! -- I kept sweeping and throwing things out rearranging things in more space-conservative configurations.

Even pulling out an unfinished project, and making tissue-pack covers for allt he women I expected to show up at last night's Christmas program could not keep me from my addiction. This very morning, I've been at it again, even though I expect my daughter and her fellow for lunch. And I've shamefully been consolidating and eliminating clutter and dust.

Please, someone! Tie my hands behind my back and stop me from being a serial neatness freak! It's the time of year for pity and forebearnace, and all I can look forward to is the temptation presented by port-present clutter! The shame of it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My Work Is Cut Out For Me

One of the email groups I can't live without is about quilting. We all complain about not having enough time to do the projects we have lined up to do, so someone came up with the great idea of having us register the projects (UFOs) we have and see how many of them we can get done in the next six months.

Well, to start counting my UFOs (unfinished objects), I first had to dive into my half of the dining room which I frequently "shamblize" in the process of starting something, working on it and (maybe) finishing. (Besides, the preacher is coming for lunch tomorrow.) Among the scraps, fabric lengths, patterns and books, I kept finding to-do lists of varying ages -- listing some of the same projects I was running into as I piled them into a clothes basket.

Never mind that I was busy all fall doing sewing projects. Two quilts have actually been finished and are now in the hands of people I made them for. Two little girls have new dresses for Christmas. Many women will be putting tissue packs in nice little covers that will be easier to find in their purses. A new bride will be serving dinners on a set of placemats. But that doesn't make much difference when that part of the room looks so messy.

Okay, things look better now. I just hope the preacher doesn't take too long to finish his lunch!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Best of Both Worlds

I got a postcard today saying that the annual QuiltFest in Pigeon Forge is the second weekend of March, instead of the third -- which is EPICon in San Antonio.

This points up on the dilemmas in my life -- how to balance the quilting with the writing with the presidency of EPIC with the gardening. Whew! I'm busy most of the year, but right now I slow down to a walk for the holidays.

For instance, yesterday we planted trees. Now big trees, very small trees. Ten of them, in small containers. We used the kitchen table for the project. But in a few years, they will be huge. Maybe.

Yesterday, I also finished a quilt, a gift for a friend of my son. From a distance it looks great -- up close, well, I could have done better. But it will be out of the house!

I've spent a lot of time at the computer lately on EPIC business. So I haven't been able to write. I've been working on a book in my head, a huge idea, similar to ONCE AGAIN A PRINCESS, which was my first ebook. Only this will be more cutting edge, more controversial. I'm hoping, if I can find a publisher for it, that it will sell a huge number of books. Maybe a quarter of s million, maybe a million. I'll probably happily settle for 5000 and a movie deal.

Anyway -- that's my world.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

So Much For Bragging!

Husband's bread did indeed smell wonderful. But I have no idea if it tastes as good as it smells. We took one loaf to our daughter yesterday when we took her Christmas present to her...and it's a good thing we did. She was feeling puny with some type of flu, and we do refer to the Apple Bread as Bierce Family Miracle Cure.

She wasn't expecting us -- guess she hadn't heard my message on her phone -- and when I walked into her bedroom, she thought she was hallucinating. She really needed that Apple Bread.

The other loaf was mailed today to Ken's "adopted" sister -- they adopted each other when they were teenagers. She needs it, too, as old age infirmities are gathering her.

So -- I was hugely disappointed! Now he has chocolate chip cookies in the oven and I'll arm-wrstle anyong who gets between me and them!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Apple Bread

Husband is famous for his apple bread...the timer just went off! It smells delightful! The recipe happen by chance when we had a failure of the zucchini crop. Husband had a batch of batter all ready, only to find the zucchinis had turned bad waiting in the refrigerator and there weren't any ready in the garden.

So he peeled and finely chopped some apples. He's made some refinements to the recipe since, which were once available on the Internet, somewhere, put have probably drifted out into the ether by now. But it is a hit everywhere he takes it or sends it.

His particular product improves if you put it in the refrigerator for a few days, and it travels very well in the mail if it is securely packed and the mailman doesn't get hungry.

We now have a hand-crank food grinder that does the chopping part very nicely and much more quickly than the hand chopping.

Gotta stop! Making myself hungry....if you could only smell this batch....

Friday, December 09, 2005


Faithful readers who read yesterday's blog will have some background applicable to today's meditation. Let me tell you that the room in which I am now sitting (our dining room, my office and my sewing room) is the original part of the house. It's fifteen feet by fifteen feet -- the builders obviously had a sixteen foot rule which was well made as all the rooms are the same basic size, whether built in the 1870's or 1900. You can't get tools like that any more!

But I digress. The room has not yet suffered any attempt at neatness. The ironing board is between the dining table and my fabric stash cupboard. My sewing table has several layers of projects on it. In all this mess, I could not find the pattern for the little girl's dress I am making, nor necessary additional fabric for finishing details. Luckily, when searching for the pattern, I remembered a noise I had heard yesterday afternoon -- the rustling of paper -- and, yes, the pattern had slithered into the corner under the sewing table, probably looking for a hiding place. The fabric had crept under some wandering items displaced when the deacon's bench was dispatched to the living room where it belongs.

Sigh! Back to gathering stitches and blind hemming.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

What We Did This Afternoon

It has long been a maxim in this house that to err is human, to really foul up takes a computer. To this I am adding "To totally disarrange your whole house takes a new piece of computer equipment."

I've had a new printer sitting in the dining room/office/sewing room for several weeks. I got it for free -- what's the rush? The factors mitigating against installing it were of the furniture kind. What to put it on? About the time the printer arrived, the old hutch (acquired second hand with first TRS Model III back in '84) was falling apart. Husband was given a smaller hutch, which in itself necessitated a total rearrangement of my work area, but there was still not enough room for the new printer in the configuration...not a problem as son's computer had an adequate printer and there is, of course, email!

Husband dragged home another piece of donated equipment suitable for the printer. Life should have been easy. You are now laughing, because you know that it isn't!

To install the printer involved -- not necessarily in chronological order -- moving five dining room chairs which have been stashed around the house as a Christmas gift for our daughter, one deacon's bench, one quilt rack, and one bookcase overloaded with the family's irreplaceable collection of telephone directories. In this same operation, but irrelevant to the actual installation of the printer, a missing power strip was found, which led to a rearrangement of some other equipment not necessary, but helpful. The power strip in use for the computer had to be relocated, making it necessary to re-establish the tangle behind the hutch. That was fun!

Guess what! The first message from the printer was that it wanted more RAM. I have only 127 whatchamacallits and it wanted 128. But the printer works anyway!

It was an afternoon well spent.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Mail Call

As you know -- or have guessed from previous blogs -- I am the "go to" person around here when it comes to getting the mail. This is not your easy job of opening the front door and lifting a flap on a box mounted right beside the door. Nor is it walking to the end of the porch. It is going out the back door (this is country, and NO ONE uses their front door) walking the depth of the house down the uneven flagstone walk until it turns into a mud path, then coming out of the lee of the house into the strong cross wind, walking past the black walnut tree and the attendant walnuts that lie in wait to cause a sprained ankle, down the proverbial slippery slope to the roadside box.

This is the same box that a friend ran into a few months ago, rendering it hard to open and harder to close. Opened, it often reveals an armload of mail -- mostly ads, requests for donations, catalogues and bills. Why so much mail?

Husband in his retirement has discovered the joys of donating to worthwhile causes, buying inexpensive gadgets which promise to make our lives better, and supporting my gardening habit by ordering plants for me. There are times when I wish he were less magnanimous with his largesse -- because I have to bring in the mail.

Yesterday, we got a Christmas card from Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter and an autographed picture of Hillary Clinton -- along with many items to be sent through the catalogue-ordered paper shredder mentioned in an earlier post.

(Someday I'll write about the loneliness of being a Democrat in Tennessee.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The W-M Experience

I spent much too much time in (dare I say it!) WalMart today. I semi-boycott the place, for some very cogent reasons--like treatment of employees and stifling of local businesses when they move in. But there are some reasons why I have to go there. They carry fancy teas and alfredo sauce. Besides that, they are the only place in the county where I can get thread, buttons and the occasional package of sewing needles.

When we went there today, husband stopped to give them a couple of pairs of old eye glasses, and unbeknownst to me (I'd already left for the fabric department) he intended to get his eyes examined. I chose my thread and buttons -- they were right beside each other, which is good placement, but doesn't really help my cabin fever all that much -- and cruised around to check out what else they had, expecting that husband had gone in the other direction to get the aflredo sauce and the fancy tea. (You should have guessed by now that we are creatures of habit.)

When people started looking at me funny, I went to see if he was in the grocery part of the store. He was not. Nor was he checking his blood pressure. I returned to the fabric department. Then I went looking for him again. And returned to the fabric department.....

An hour later he came strolling a bit gingerly down the aisle, dark plastic glasses on -- and no alfredo sauce or fancy tea. He wondered why I was a bit perturbed.

It was a good thing he had coupons for the tea. That was the bright point of the experience.

Monday, December 05, 2005

A Touch of Winter

I was raised in Northwestern Pennsylvania where the winters tend to come early and stay late. And I've lived in Florida, where winter is pretty namby-pamby. Except for the year the pump exploded and the horse died, but let's not get into that.

Here in Tennessee, we're at elevation, out in the country. Out temperatures generally run a little colder than Knoxville's -- the nearest big city. We don't have all that pavement to keep us warm. But what gets me is that everyone gets bent out of shape over a temperature that is lower the 35, and start chewing their nails if there is snow in Kentucky.

Come on, Tennessee! Buck up! You don't know what it is to have the snow start on November 1st and not see ground again until Easter. You don't know what two straight days of minus-36 degrees does to what little epidermis you dare to expose to the elements.

Then again -- I'd like to forget that. So long as I have running water, I'm a happy camper. Any day I can go out and get the mail in my sneakers is a good day.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Quilter In Me

I finished a quilt today -- that last little clipping of stray threads and signing my name. It's a good feeling. I lost count of the number of quilts I've made back around 125 -- i'm probably over 150 by now, but there is no way to be precise, and no reason.

This is a quilt for a woman who was chased out of Meterie, LA, by Katrina and has decided to make her home somewhere in Illinois. I imagine it is a big change for her. She has lived in cooler climes before, I seem to recall, but it's been a long time. So she'll need an extra quilt.

Just between you and me, I didn't make the top just for her. No, I saw a book I had to have, and just started making tops -- "just in case." In case I needed to finish a quilt in a hurry some day. I have more tops than I care to tell anyone about, tucked away. I have blocks to put together, grouped and secreted somewhere. I have fabric to use -- "just in case."

You see, a quilter makes quilts after a while, just to make quilts. It doesn't have to be for someone she knows, or someone who needs it. It is just a way of making something beautiful and useful -- and giving an excuse to buy more fabric and spend more time playing at the sewing machine. And someone saying "thank you" makes the occasional aggravation worth the while.