Friday, June 30, 2006

It’s been four days since my last posting. Yes, and four days since I’ve done any quilting. I think I’ve got the ‘Quilter’s Shakes’ from not being in my sewing room. But I guess it’s all part of the keeping things in the right perspective.

Monday night we went to a retirement party for someone retiring in Don’s office. It was a fun. It was a cookout at a cabin on a small lake near here. The cabin was quaint. But you know me; in my mind I was immediately thinking of places where there should be quilts.

Tuesday night, it was just Don and I. We went to a Little League game for a kid who’s dad work’s with Don. Twenty years ago, we were the youngest couple in Don’s office, now we’re pretty close to one of the oldest. Time stands still for no one. Again, it was lots of fun. I was impressed with the sportsmanship of the kids and parents in a playoff situation.

Wednesday--- We went to Green Bay --- and Picked up Eric from his trip to France. It’s like he aged five years. He seemed so grown up. But we still hugged me and picked me up when he was in the airport (those sons are the greatest!!!) He had lots of stories and pictures to share. I think France is definitely on the ‘To do’ list one day. It’s makes me realize how young the USA really is.

While in Green Bay I picked up a new pattern.

It’s by Buggy Barn called Heart Crazies. I used to be a poster child for ‘Thimbleberries’. The little quilt shop in town carried every line and the colors were beautiful. But now when I study all the scrap quilts on line, I’m hooked. This pattern will make a great scrap quilt. I’m thinking of using yellows --- something different. I need to start remembering my camera more. I wanted to show you pictures of the Quilt shop I like.

I’ve done a lot of talking with Chelsey. She’s coming around and really picking up the ‘slack’ around the house. I think every day she’s learning more. She’s got a couple of interviews and follow-ups to do today.

No – I haven’t done any quilting this week, but I have a couple of quilt patterns by the bed, I look over them every night planning things and studying techniques --- makes for good dreaming----

You’re grinning now ---

1. A great week at work.
2. Eric’s safe arrival home
3. Crickets – for luck
4. Chocolate chip cookies

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sunday is a better day, definitely. Chelsey has leads on a couple of jobs that we went on after church. She woke up and realized she had no income for some things she wanted. She’s admitted she’s learned something already. Thanks for the pep talk girls. Saturday was one of those “Mama said there would be days like this…” kind of days. I’m glad it is Sunday.

I had 13 kids in Sunday school. We had another sewing lesson. We had the story of Aquilla and Priscilla the tent makers. It was fun. After church we went biking – slowly this time and Ransom ran along side. Chelsey and Don are runners and Don didn’t want her running alone on these country roads. So he trained Ransom to run along without a lead and to stop at road crossing and keep up. He does real well.

This afternoon I worked on the birthday gift again.

The pumpkins are really bringing it to life. I’ve decided to do some of that ‘Maverick’ stuff and add some fall leaves to it as well. Then I’ll stretch it and quilt.

We did do some fun stuff this weekend. We went to see “the Lake house” with Sandra Bullock. It was an OK show, but I’m not recommending it. Don was pretty miserable. We did rent “Eight Below” Saturday night and it was outstanding. If you are a dog lover it is a MUST see. I loved it.

Until Tomorrow – Live up today –

1. Sunday Bakery – Apple walnut cinnamon bread
2. Afternoon rains watering the garden
3. Internet friends – knowing just what to type.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

O.K., I’m going to take a couple of paragraphs to throw a fit and then I’ll get on with life. I had a really bad day. My sixteen year old daughter quit her job because they told her they needed her forty hours a week for the rest of the summer. Her Dad and I told her it was OK to quit, but find another job first. But she didn’t. It’s one of those butt your head into a brick wall decisions, one of life’s lessons she’s going to have to go through. She had a good job – no nights, no Sundays, and she blew it. I know I need to count my blessings, she not a smoker, drinker, and she doesn’t run around with bad kids. In the grand scheme of things it does not matter. But she quit a job, and she quit on bad terms. I’m so disappointed. Then her Dad and I fight with her, then we fight with each other, and everyone says things they don’t mean. It’s definitely been a war zone here today. But Don & I regrouped and as they say--- tomorrow is another day. Teenagers are tough.

Here’s the dumb part. What do I want to do for comfort? I want to go to a quilt store and spend money. I know it would make me feel better. But there’s nothing I need, Other than a book or two, there’s nothing I even want. But I know that would fix everything. The goal is to use up what I have and to save money. So I pull out the pattern below.

I decided when I not doing the handwork on my mother-in-law’s gift, this should really dig deep into the scrap pile. I have seen it made up and it’s beautiful.

I was hoeing away the weeds trying to clear my head today. I thought was another quilt on the ‘to-do list’. The quilt has angels on it and letters on the border say: “Save Room in the Garden for Angels to Dance”. Here’s a picture of my angels.

The little fenced in area in the middle is for perennials – tulips, daisies, etc., - the fence keeps Don from tilling it up. This is in the middle of the vegetable garden. If you don’t have things inside the 8 foot fence, deer eat it like crazy. The vine growing on the angel’s post is some kind of weed, but I liked it and left it… one person’s weeds, are another person’s roses…

Until tomorrow – Live up today.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Hey, It’s Friday. It was 40 degrees this morning warming up to 76 this afternoon. No pictures today, but I did get some of the appliqué work down on the table runner I’m working on. I’m already thinking about the next project I want to work on and I haven’t completed this one. I’m trying to quit doing that so much. Since I don’t get to quilt that often, I need to enjoy the time in the present. The table runner is looking better all the time. Things always seem not so great when you’re tired.

Some have asked about Stromboli. The town I live in was a small mining community at one time. There’s an entire section of town called the North Side that the Italian people kind of lived together. They talk of forty years ago the gang fights between the Polish people and the Italians. I can picture some West Side Story thing going on back when. Anyway there are lots of Italian folks and some outstanding Italian cooks.

Here’s the recipe:
1 loaf of French bread dough
Deli Ham slices
Pepperoni slices
Genoa Salami Slices
Black Olives Slices – 1 small can
Mushrooms - 1 small can
Bellpepper pieces – ½ cup
Onion Pieces – Your favorite kind of Onion ½ cup
½ lb Provolone Cheese slices or your favorite

Using your rolling pin, roll out bread dough to a size 15 in wide x 12 in tall.
Start layering the meats in a 5 inch strip. When done you’ll have a 15 x 5 layer.
Add a layer of cheese.
Layer the veges.
Add a layer of cheese.
Sprinkle Oregano as desired.

The next step is to cover and seal the sandwich with the remaining bread. Pinch the ends closed. When complete, it’s like you have a bread roll with meat and vegtables and cheese inside. Place on a greased cookie sheet and cook for 20 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown. Remove and run a little butter stick over the top. Enjoy.

I’ve had this cut into 2-inch segments and eaten at parties as an appetizer. Or cut in to 5- inch segments and have as a meal. This usually feeds 3 people an entire meal.

Mix it around and clean out the Fridge. Put what you have, It's pretty easy and tastes like you worked all day.

Until tomorrow - live up today.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I finished my cards to my Sunday school kids. They will go in the mail tomorrow.
I stayed busy at work. I need to stay real busy at work because if I don’t I find myself making lists of what I want to be doing at home. Summer is beautiful in the U.P. But I guess it’s beautiful to most of us – wherever we live. You just have to find the beauty.

No quilt pictures today, but I did get the appliqué pieces cut out for the project I’m working on.

The picture today is on the inside of my home.
It’s a picture of the entryway between the living room and the breakfast area. Yep, you got it. It is mistletoe and it hangs year round. It's my motto that everyone needs to be kissed and not just at Christmas time.

It’s simply amazing the power of a hug …..And then there’s that kiss….

Until tomorrow - live up today

1. Construction Paper in every color of the rainbow
2. Stromboli – last night's supper
3. Telephone calls from family
4. Vanilla Ice Cream

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Calico Cat asked for an Apple Nut Cake recipe. So, to go with the recipe is the apple basket table runner.

I tried hand quilting it with lighter thread hoping to make it stand out more. There’s something about fabric with apples on it. Reminds me of when I was a little girl. My Mom and I would go to the store and draw pictures of the dresses and come home and she would make them for me--- remember “Buffy” Dresses. Buffy was the little girl on the TV show Family Affair. As an adult, I now realize how tight money really was, but as a kid, I never knew. Mom and Dad never discussed or complained about it around me.

Now in today’s world, I don’t have a problem with telling my kids when things are too expensive. I’ll tell them in a heart beat to get creative, there has to be a better purchase out there. Or maybe it’s an opportunity to save up. Sometimes it’s “O.K. I’ll spend this much… if you really want it - you pay the rest. “It’s amazing when kids spend their own money how careful they monitor it.

Back to the recipe. It’s totally not cholesterol free, fat free, or sugar free, but I can tell you this – It is delicious.

Apple Nut Cake

3 cups chopped apples
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
1 ¼ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups white sugar
2 or 3 eggs depending on size
2 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cup self-rising flour

Beat eggs. Add sugar and oil. Add vanilla and spices. Add apples and nuts. And flour 1 cup and a time. Mix well. Place in a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes.

The kind of apples doesn’t really matter. We have apples growing wild in the U.P. so it’s always fun to use them. This is a cake that gets even better after it’s a day or two old. I usually use pecans because I get them free – my Dad in Louisiana has pecan trees filled every year. – I figure you La. Girls out there can relate.

Thanks for asking about the recipe – It’s always fun to share.

Until tomorrow – live up today

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Rough night on the home front. Parents don’t get the luxury of being exhausted when raising teenagers. Parenting is a Participative Sport to say the least. A tedious day a work, a barking dog, and very short fuses join together for a tough mix. I think we just need to slow down a little and re-group. I have a friend always tell me that raising teenagers is hard because you remember what it was like when you were a teenager… probably some truth to that.

Here is some therapy. It needs ironing big-time but I didn’t have time to do this post before work AND iron, so I decide to type instead. It’s the table runner for my mother-in-law. The next step is to appliqué pumpkins and leaves on each end. No – I don’t like it either. Maybe it’ll be better once it’s ironed and appliquéd and quilted. But I never like things as I work on them. It’s an exercise in patience and fortitude. Fortitude to give it a chance and complete the project. Patience in that I only get to work on it a little at a time so it bugs me for a while and I have to deal with it. My ‘Ma-in-Law’s’ kitchen is navy and she has a pine kitchen table. I’m not giving up on the runner yet.

Eric will be home in 8 days – not that I’m counting. Today is his last day with the French family. We’ve done email and on-line chats with him this weekend. The ‘Mommy’ thing kicks in and you want to tell him to check under beds for his junk, or to look in the shower for stuff. But at the same time, I realize I half to let him grow up. Letting go is tough.

Eight kids in Sunday school this week. It was Father’s day, we made Peanut Bags that said “I’m Nuts about my Dad!!” They were shelling and eating as many as they placed in bags. It’s was funny. Definitely a good part of the weekend.

I don’t need to be late for work.

Until tomorrow – live up today

1. Sharpie markers – my favorite
2. Ransom – never too tired to wag with tail
3. Bird feeders – Invite birds to make music, no electricity required.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday morning, everyone is still sleeping but Ransom and me. Kinda nice.
Chelsey had friends over (guys and girls) for a tie dying party last night. Here are the results. They had fun. There are a lot of bad choices out there for teenagers to make, so I never squabble when she wants friends at home. At 16, you know where they are, who they are with and what they are doing.

What am I going to do today? Don and Chelsey did most of the housework. They just left me a little to do, so I’m going to knock that out. I’m going out to play in the garden before it gets too warm. If thunderstorms hold out, we’re planning on rafting the Pine River. It’s a lazy river that has a horseshoe bend in it. We throw in inner tubes (like for tires) and a cooler and relax for a couple of hours. It’s slow moving and not deep. We’ve seen ducks, a bear, beaver, and fish. It’s a lot of fun.

I change the quilts around.
Here’s my cottage flower quilt. It’s got the flying geese blocks I love. It looks O.K., but I like the way it drapes on a table. Usually after I make a quilt, I have to put it away for a couple of weeks. I never like it after it’s done. But a couple of weeks later, I guess I’ve taken a break from it, I pull it out and we’re best friends again.

Eric will be home in eleven days (not that I’m counting). He’s going to college eight hours away, I better get used to this.

Until tomorrow--- live up today—
1. Summer days
2. housework help from the family (it lets me have more of a weekend)
3. French Vanilla Cream

Friday, June 16, 2006

Plaid Flowers was made a few of years ago. It was machine-pieced and hand-quilted, probably hand-quilted in the car between piano, dance or karate lessons. When I went back to work full time I thought I'd never quilt again. Going back to work was the right choice for my family, but tough on free time. This piece reminds me- when there's a will, there's a way. I wanted to quilt but recognized I'd never complete a large piece. This quilt teaches me that with compromise you have have the best of both worlds. Life got easier. I got a handle on the job, the kids learned to drive, and in turn got time to quilt.

I'm bumbed that I didn't get every thing I wanted to get done this week accomplished, but the weekend is almost here.

Enjoy your weekend - where ever you are.

Gratitudes -
1. Butterflies
2. The braces Chelsey wears for her teeth - even though they hurt sometimes.
3. Chocolate Almond Ice Cream

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I wanted to jump in on the ABC's so here goes...
Accent – Southern, I don’t want to lose it…
Booze – Brandy, Old–fashioned
Chore – Dusting- hate it
Dog/cat – Ransom, the lab/mutt, that’s a movie star in our hearts
Essential electronics – My sewing machine, laptop
Favorite perfume – Obsession, the only thing I’ve worn for years- it’s a trademark.
Gold/silver – Yes to both, but classic pieces only, Not real trendy with jewelry
Hometown – Alexandria, La., deep south
Insomnia – never, can drink a pot of coffee and go down like the titanic
Job title – Director of Materials, for an aviation company
Kid(s) - Two teenagers, One each flavor
Living arrangements – ranch house out the outskirts of a small town (I pretend it’s a cottage in the woods- the imagination is a great thing)
Most admirable trait – I hope it’s that I’m finding the bright side when things suck the most.
Number of countries visited – Just Canada
Overnight hospital stays - Four in my adult life: two kids, two surgeries
Phobias – Heights, water when I can’t see the other side of the lake
Quote – I have 2- “Well-behaved women seldom make history” “ You can’t make someone love you, all you can do is be someone they can love…”
Religion – Baptist, 3 or four generations worth.
Siblings - One brother, A year and a day younger, but we’re not at all close.
Time you usually wake - 4:30 am, 6:00 am on weekends
Unusual talent – can’t come up with anything…maybe Sudoku puzzles
Vegetable I refuse to eat – brussel sprouts, asparagus, beans that aren't green.
Worst habit – Not subtracting my checkbook, infuriates my husband
X-rays – teeth, mammograms… religiously faithful. My grandmother had breast cancer. My mom always panics when she goes to have hers done. I always tell her, “Mom relax, It’s one of those things that skips a generation… you’re in the clear.”
Yummy foods I make – Spaghetti, Apple nut cake
Zodiac – Pisces, and a hopeless romantic.
Ransom and I went daisy picking last evening. Here's the breakfast table.

It's funny. When Don walks with me, Ransom will go roaming off, playing in the woods. But when it's just me with him, he stays close, never getting more than 10 feet away. He's far from perfect, but his good points definitely outweigh the bad.

Flats of flowers are 60% off now. I stopped after work and picked up one flat. My mother always says you plant a row of flowers in the vegetable garden becauses it will attract the bees to pollenate more. I don't know if it's true, but I'm not tempting fate.

Seeds are coming up. Beans, carrots, pumpkins, ghourds, and cucumbers all have small leaves. You're suppose to plant two in each spot and thin up as they mature. Why do I always have trouble doing that? It's like killing a plant or something. I have the toughest time. Last year I didn't even do the two in a spot planting and consequently that year I had alot of holes in the garden, not as many came up. This year I'm trying to be objective and rationalize the plants willl grow bigger if I pick every other seedling. I worked on it this evening.

Don's still on night shift. I had a million things I wanted to get done, but I ran out of time. As the song goes,"There's always tomrrow..."

We've gotten a phone call and an email from Eric. He says he's having 'The Time of his Life'. Good for him.

Until tomorrow --- Live up today

1. Email - It makes the world a much smaller place.
2. Fresh vegetables for supper.
3. Bubble baths - a must.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I mailed my Dad’s Father’s Day gift today. I went and bought the gift yesterday, and then I went to the Hallmark store to get wrapping paper, a bow and a card. I got home and realized I did something really dumb. I bought a birthday card, birthday wrapping paper and a bow that says happy birthday. I don’t know where my mind was. So I put up the birthday stuff and went back today and bought Father’s day trimmings. We’re not going to say my mind was empty (kind of seems like it!!!) We’ll just say it was too full to keep track of everything!

Don went back to shift work for a while. He’s working 12-hour nights right now. He’s really missing Eric. He needs to get busy. He has way too much time on his hands to think about him being so far away. With Eric in France, it gives Chelsey and I some time together—just girls. Tonight night we rented a major chick flick, and got Chinese take out. The rule is: When Dad’s not eating with us you MUST eat with chopsticks. It makes for lots of good laughs.

Chelsey’s really into photography and scrapbooking, so we share the sewing/scrapbooking room in the basement. We’ll say it’s a 50/50 split, but I think it’s more 63/35 in her favor. So we stayed up late and played while listening to old music, I’ve got her hooked on the group Chicago right now. Here’s the fabric I’m working on.

The piece with the ribbon was ordered a year ago. It was part a ‘good intention’ to make my Mother-in-law a fall table runner. As you can see, it didn’t happen. But we’re going to give it another shot this year. Her kitchen is navy so I think the dark blue will bring it all together. We’ll keep you posted.

I want to get all of the machine work done so I can do the handwork sitting outside enjoying summer. Summers are so short, you want to spend every minute outside you can.

1. Chelsey –definitely a light in my life.
2. Chinese takeout – where would we be without it???
3. Chopsticks - they make us appreciate forks.
4. Rain watering my garden for me.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

You know I save keys. I quilt. Here’s something else. I have a thing about placemats and napkins. Here’s a placemat that is on my dining room table right now. There’s just something about walking up to a table that’s fixed up.

I remember when I was little. My Mother cooked roast beef and rice and gravy every Sunday after church. It was the one day we used cloth napkins. We had roast because it could be prepared ahead of time and warmed up. What is it about Sunday lunchtime--- you’re always starving.

I tried to carry on the tradition, but roast beef is not Eric favorite meal, we often sleep late, and I’m just not that organized. Most of the time we eat Sunday lunch out or have sandwiches. I don’t beat myself up about it. I realize that the time with family is much more important than the food on the menu.

We still use cloth napkins often. I make many of them (it’s my excuse for purchasing homespun fabric). I even go into stores and check the clearance aisle. Many times they have odd numbers of napkins remaining that are really inexpensive. They’re great for lining bread baskets or dinner for two.

We’re not even going to talk about saving trees, or eliminating trash, but my teenagers even note the cloth napkins, and seem impressed with the different napkins rings or the checked napkins on the supper table. Impressing a teenager – a feat in itself.

Yes – I realize—it’s probably just another excuse of mind to buy fabric--- but it’s a pretty good one.

Until tomorrow – live up today….

Monday, June 12, 2006

The weekend was good. Friday evening we went to a movie. We slept late Saturday. I played in my garden and sewing room. We had our last two graduation parties to go to Saturday afternoon.

There was a frost/freeze warning Saturday night with temperatures getting down between 33 and 31 degrees. I started out the day angry saying “let the chips fall we they may”---I’m not doing anything. If the flowers and tomato plants freeze in June, I wasn’t meant to have flowers. By 6:00 pm – I was bringing in everything I could and covering everything I couldn’t with blankets.

There was church on Sunday—11 kids in Sunday school. We had the story of Jonah and the Whale, kids love that story. Sunday afternoon we got the tandem bicycle down and went for a ride. Don’t think it was some tranquil stroll with the “bicycle built for two” song in the background. Don rides bicycles for exercise and it’s up to me to keep up. But I guess the work out was good.

Here is a quilt I made that reminds me of summer picnics when I was a kid. We live out in the woods now, so I guess everyday could be a picnic, so we really don’t pack up and go on them. It’s from a Thimbleberries club a couple of years ago, the quilt was made in three sections, receiving one every month. It just reminds me of summer time.

1. Warm weather – In the U.P. you never take it for granted.
2. Cinnamon Muffins for Breakfast.
3. Friday Night dates
4. Ransom sitting next to me.

Until tomorrow – live up today.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

O.K., It’s the French confession. I’ve said before I do an incredible juggling act to balance everything I do in an every day life. When I started making the quilt for my son’s hostess family, I picked fabrics with loving care. I’m not an addict (at least I don’t think so) but every piece is precious. I can pretty much tell you where every piece of fabric I have came from. You all have shared stories of people’s reactions when you give them a quilt you’ve made with your own two hands. Time is precious, the fabric is precious, and the labor poured into a quilt is precious. Though my intentions were good, I kept thinking, I don’t have time to make people I know quilts---I’m giving this quilt to complete strangers, what if… they don’t like it????

Sooooo, the extra blocks became a safety net…It kept me focused on the plan and made it easier to let go. Hey, it worked. It even made it seem like not such a big deal. And Eric seemed real proud of it as he packed. If anything, it was a gift for him.

And I’ve decided to use the remainder blocks for another gift giving opportunity. There have been times when someone needed a quilt. A friend was in a car accident; someone’s mother passed away; I had a friend whose son went to Iraq; all great chances to let someone know you care. It felt so good to give the quilt away. I just can’t whip up a quilt. But I can make one and save it for 'just in case'.

I haven’t written in three days. I have missed it. It’s so funny how quickly habits are formed. But I bet there has been it least a dozen times that I said, “Hey, I need to write that down.”
Hang in there, Have a good week.

Until tomorrow--- Live up today---

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I watered the flowers and weeded the garden. For the past three mornings at 4:20 am a bird has started whistling outside our window. Luckily, I have to get up at 4:30 am for work, so I really don’t mind. Do birds have clocks? It’s just strange that it is at the same time for the past three mornings. Now if he does it on Saturday---- we’re going to have to talk…..

Here is another favorite mug. While my photography is not the best in the world, it says

“I hope that while so many people are out smelling the flowers
someone is taking the time to plant some.”

I liked it.

Eric is on his way to France. Don and Chelsey drove him to the airport. It’s definitely a different sound in the house when you are home alone.

1. Small doses of silence. It’s kind of nice.
2. A job that leaves me time to enjoy summer afternoons.
3. Iced tea.
4. My laptop to write these thoughts down.

Until tomorrow--- live up today.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Here’s the French Quilt …..

My son is leaving tomorrow for a 3 week trip to France with his French Class. It should be an awesome experience. There will be one week touring castles, landmarks, and the ocean. There is one week he’ll tour several cities, and one week he’ll spend with a French family learning their way of life.

The French families choose the American students by a profile and photos the kids send in. The idea is for a French brother to adopt and American brother and show them their way of life—what French teenagers do. Well, the French people contacted the American School which contacted us. There seems to be a French sister who wants an American brother and she’s chosen Eric. The guys at work tell me there is going to be an International incident—Eric’s not going to want to come home! I laugh; I’ve decided it’s a great opportunity.

Eric has to bring hostess gifts for the family. He’s bringing the daughter a Kentucky quarter on a necklace because she’s into horses. The ten year old boy is getting a football and a Green Bay Packer Puppet. Dad is getting Maple Syrup and Mom is getting this Quilt.

I started it back in March, but had some medical problems and have been burning the midnight oil now to get it done. It’s machine pieced and hand quilted. I chose the Log Cabin block because of its American history.

I labeled it on the back... I liked the American Flags.

I hope the family enjoys this quilt because a lot of heart and soul went into it. Everyone in our family has been taught to realize that the gift of a quilt – in any language – is a gift of love.

Until tomorrow—live up today.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

We built our home in 1990. We dreamed of this 2-story home with a wrap around porch, and dormers peaking through the roof. In reality we built a 1-story ranch with a small porch for two rocking chairs. I’ve said before, very few people build their dream home--- most make it their dream home. We were indeed proud of our home.

I was never risky when it came to color… remember the days of white wallpaper with little blue flowers. Well, that was pretty much me. The one risk I took was my kitchen counter top and it was country blue. It was incredibly hard to match, showed every water spot, and it was terribly permanent. You don’t change your kitchen counter top every day.

I made this quilt to hang in the breakfast area. It had my two favorite quilt blocks in it. That is the Flying Geese block and the North Wind block. The pattern was from an issue of APQ back in the early 90’s. We had no quilt store or fabric store close by. I had small kids and Don worked a lot so the only fabric source I had was a Shopko, which was kind of like Wal-Mart. The blues and pinks in the houses are from dresses I had made my daughter. Gray fabric was in real short supply. The lady that designed the pattern even said so. To get the snowy shadowy effect she even used the back side of the gray fabric for additional color and so did I.

My sewing room is in our basement. And that is where this quilt top was when our house caught fire December 30, 1995. It started in the chimney. We weren’t there. We had taken our kids to an afternoon matinee. I’ve relived the ‘what ifs’ a million times. What if we were sleeping? What if it had been at night and no one from the road had seen? What if? What if? Any way we had to rebuild the middle third of our home in the dead of winter. I was bitter. I felt like the world was picking on me. I finally went down after two or three weeks to see how bad things were in the sewing room. The fire never reached there, but the water damage was evident as it poured from the ceiling above. I looked at the quilt top. Brown stains covered it. I started to throw it away, but with angry, teary eyes threw it across room.

Three months later, when we moved back in the house, I took the quilt top and attempted to get the stains out. I did a pretty good job; you can only see them up real close. But I decided some things aren’t meant to be forgotten. Maybe I was meant to remember what happened and learned from it. It’s a gentle reminder of what doesn’t break you makes you stronger…. It could have been so much worse—Hey—I got a new kitchen counter top out of the deal, a nice neutral pebble beach colored one…

So I finished the quilt and bring the quilt out in January every year to remind me…

Until tomorrow--- live up today.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I had a great weekend. The weather was gorgeous. I went to the graduation party of a future Sports Agent, Sports Trainer, and Teacher. Will they succeed? I don’t know, but I think it’s wonderful that they have dreams and aspirations and are willing to take the steps to make their dreams realities.

I worked diligently on “The French Quilt”. By Wednesday, I’ll have pictures. At least I better; Eric leaves on a plane to France Thursday, so he’ll need to have it with him. I have just one line of the border and the binding to do. More on that later.

I had 13 kids with Sunday school. We began a new quarter. I’ve got 16 on roll. The class keeps growing. When I was a little girl, I never played dolls, I lined them up and taught them school. Never played ‘Barbie’s’, but I did have a log book of homemade lesson plans to teach them. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, but growing up in Louisiana in the 60’s and 70’s my folks did not feel it would be the job for me to have. They never had any idea that I’d ever move across the country. So I majored in Computer Science. But somehow the ‘Teacher thing’ always came through. I’ve taught for a few universities. I’ve done software training at every place I’ve ever worked. The job I have now pays more than a schoolteacher and my Sunday school kids fill the need to teach. I guess it’s a nice compromise.

Please don’t fault me for the money comment because, it’s like my son’s always says “That’s why they call it work, it’s not supposed to be fun. You wouldn’t do it for free. That’s why they pay you. Get over it Mom…. Everybody works.”

I provide for my family (and quilting habits) and yet still get to do the thing I love.

I better get busy but I wanted to write down something I heard Saturday.

‘For people with faith, no explanation is needed, for people without faith—no explanation will do.’ Something to think about…..

Until tomorrow---

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Everything in my house has that dark green/khaki look to it. Maybe because of the open concept it just kind of flows that way. With so much snow, I know I just want to see color. Here is a thimbleberries quilt. The pattern didn’t do it justice. In fact I got it on clearance, but I had seen it made up in a quilt shop in Green Bay. Others agree, they bought the pattern after I brought mine to quilt club one week. It was originally a Christmas quilt, Holy Hill town, but I left the Holly off, because I wanted to use it anytime. My favorite part is the picket fence.

I’m home all day. I’m having coffee (in my favorite cup) There is a list a mile long of things to do, but I don’t care – because I get to do them at home.

1. My 18 year old son still hugs me in the morning.
2. Birds singing outside.
3. Believe or not—having a house of my own to clean.
4. Steak and shrimp last night for supper… Don cooked.

Until tomorrow---Live up today….

Friday, June 02, 2006

School’s out. It’s Friday and Pay Day, when you’re a teenager does it get any better?!?!
The quilt below was made for my daughter’s room when she was about 2 years old. Every block was hand quilted.

There was the brass queen size bed that changed from the guestroom to her room. There was pastel country bunny wallpaper—in cute country wagons, I think. The quilt completed the picture of Sugar and Spice and everything nice. Today the quilt is in the linen closet. Not because it’s worn out or because furniture changed. My daughter just grew up. Today her room is bright orange, vivid purple, and brilliant green. Quite a contrast—yes?!?. You walk into her territory and without a doubt it’s her. There are snapshots of friends on every wall, stuffed animals for every occasion, and dried dance flowers too dear to part with. She may have been the pastel blue, pink and green once, but animated colors definitely fit her now.

But I’m still holding onto this quilt, because I can remember when……

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I got my garden planted yesterday. Tomatoes, peppers and all the seeds I have purchased are now in the ground. The garden isn’t beautiful yet. The fence needs weeding the perennials need grooming and the section for herbs isn’t complete. I lost several herbs from last year. The winters are hard on everything in the U.P., but the parsley and oregano survived. I’ve purchased more lavender, thyme and rosemary. The picture below is of my garden gate. People often ask about the mailbox. I keep my garden gloves, twine, and hand shovel in there. There is also small bottle of bug spray and garden scissors. The mailbox keeps things dry and handy. How many times have you gone out to the garden and forgotten something?

My Mom thinks the Internet is the Anti-Christ. Ever since the cult with the purple tennis shoes did their thing she considers the Internet evil. We talk on the telephone 3 or 4 times a weeks, but we still write letters the old fashioned way. She always tells me that when she hangs up the phone I’m gone, but if she has a letter, she can read it over and over again. When she sees my handwriting—she knows it’s me.

It’s kind of like those computerized recipe programs where you can type your recipes and store them on the computer. My husband encouraged me to upgrade to this century. I tried it. I was enchanted. I typed a recipe box full into the software. It was handy to look up something, but I kept the originals too. There’s just something about seeing your Grandma’s handwriting, and like a friend once asked me: ‘ Is it really a recipe if there’s not that speck of flour on the corner from fingers touching it over and over again?’ And God Forbid, my marriage almost ended when the hard drive crashed on the computer.

So there are great advantages to technology….but every once in a while there’s something to be said for the old fashioned way—recipes and letters to your mother…

Until tomorrow--