Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's the last day of August. It was 40 degrees this morning heading for a high of 73 degrees. No complaints. This is my kind of weather. You are going to have to bear with some garden pictures.
Don always laughs when I grow my gourds—‘You can’t eat ‘em….We’d starve if we were pioneers having to surviving on your “crops”!!!’ I laugh.
But he’s right. Clay soil, Short growing season, way too much shade….but I can grow gourds like crazy.
I decorate the house for fall with them, share with my Sunday school kids; I even send some home to my Mom (even though she could buy them there with the postage it costs!!!) At least she can say they are Michigan gourds.
I guess God knew what he was doing when I was born in 1963 vs 1763, right?!?!?

Eric will be home late Friday night for three days and that will be it until Thanksgiving. I’m trying to psyche myself up.

The High School Girls basketball team lost their first game-brutally- Tuesday night. But Chelsey ‘s not playing, so it’s no travesty. Don laughed-- Chelsey came home from Cheerleading practice with ‘Go Football team!!’ written on here windshield, happy as a lark and having fun. No tears, no one blaming each other for a game loss. The world – at our house – is a better place. Definitely a good move on her part not to join. It’s not the winning or losing, it’s the backbiting and lack of sportsmanship that was the turn off.

I’m working in my Sunday school class after work today. One more afternoon and I’ll have it ready for the next quarter. Then other than letters and studying my weekly lesson, I’ll be a back to being a ‘Full-time’ Part-time Quilter. I can’t wait…..

1. A warm coffee mug to hug driving to work.
2. The headlights I need now on the way.
3. Email and new friends

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I’ve finished a table runner this weekend. I just have to get pictures taken. So I have gotten some sewing completed. I’ve really been working on getting my Sunday school class set up for the next quarter.

This is a quilt block made by my grandmother.
I have no idea the name of the block, It took me a second to even see a pattern in the blocks. I tried to take pictures of the hand-piecing on the backside, but I not real good with a camera. I have about 20 blocks that were in her sewing box given to me 18 years ago. I thought about completing the quilt but decided to treasure the blocks instead, maybe framing a couple of them one day.

You can see a book on a stand in the picture. My Mom and I collect Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks. They have great stories as well as recipes. The artwork in the books are pretty enough for display. I have a wooden recipe holder and I change it monthly with the seasonal cookbooks.

School starts the day after Labor Day for Chelsey. I’m ready to get back to a routine.

My Mother-in-law’s birthday is Monday, so I have to get her a present and get it mailed today. I made her the table runner, but I gave it to her early, but well, she doesn’t have people looking out for her that much, so I think more presents are in order.

1. Crayons for my Sunday School Kids
2. An Evening walk with Don when I know he was too tired to go.
3. Broccoli out of the garden

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It’s Tuesday –I’m glad. Monday wasn’t a great day at work or at home. I got Don’s work schedule confused and had dinner ready an hour and a half before he got home, not to mention the frantic pace I was working at to get everything done that he doesn’t like doing Before he got home. Oh well. When he was 45 minutes late, I got worried that something had happened to him. Moral of the story: better communication.

I haven’t showed you this quilt. It’s called ‘A Cabin in the Woods’.
I don’t know who it’s by, but it was on the cover of a magazine at my mother in laws about 12 years ago, and she let me have the magazine and I ordered the pattern. I used muslin that was dyed in tea and strong coffee. The rest of the fabric pieces were scraps. I know that because I had never been to a quilt shop.

I’ve always had a thing for house blocks. Don and I used to talk about having a “cabin” somewhere for weekends. We talked about saving and getting this “place” pictured in the quilt. But money was tight enough with one place and we realized we lived in the woods anyway; there was just no lake. We added our Covered Porch and made our home our Cabin in the woods…..

Until tomorrow---

1. Eric likes his classes
2. Apple Trees
3. Acorns falling
4. Getting the right attitude about a lot of things.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I’m back on-line!!!! I haven’t quilted in over a week, but I feel like I have because I’ve been reading your stories. Everyone has been so busy.

I got Eric to school. I think he’s doing great. It’s been an adjustment at home. Chelsey says she thought when Eric went off to school, he’d be gone. But the way her Dad worries about him it’s like he’s still here… I just laugh.

Work has been incredibly busy--Computer crash issues, and catching up on work you missed. I took a day off to get Chelsey set up with school clothes and a Homecoming dance dress.

It’s my last Sunday with my SS kids. They will promote to a new class and I’ll get a new crop. Every year, I think ..”I’ll never get a group of kids this great..” But I always do. Change is never easy for me, even good ones.

I’m getting the chores done so I can play in my sewing room (Doesn’t look like I’m doing much of that right now!).

On a quilty subject, Bonnie showed some toys and I wanted to share mine. This is a bear I made from one of my Grandmothers old quilts.
It was moth eaten beyond belief. I really had to piece together to get enough blocks to complete the Bear. I even made my Mom the brother bear to it so she would also have it to remember my Grandmother’s quilts. I should have taken a picture of the two together.

I made my son one when he was little out of a pair of Don’s old jeans. It stayed in his room until he went off to school.
I even put the Levis tag on the back. I don’t know if he thinks it’s “dorky” or not, but I think about how great it would be to have a Teddy Bear from my Grandpa, or even Great-Grandpa. Tradition has to start somewhere. And call me cynical, but I just don’t think the tradition and memories are going to come from the passing down of video games…. One day he’ll understand.

The last is a muslin floppy eared bunny I made.
Still sits in my kid’s child size rocking chair in the den. No eyes or mouth embroidered, but I’m confident he’s the wisest of rabbits. Think about it, he knows the things to overlook and the things better left unsaid…

1. Don pushing me to work out for my health.
2. Phone calls from Eric
3. Rainy Saturday to catch up inside
4. My digital camera

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday – yes, I’m glad it’s Saturday. I’m taking a few days away from the laptop to get my son to college. Are we ready??? He’s ready—and I think I am too. We’ve had our moments though out the past week. The house is disarray. We were going to church before traveling, but Don changed his mind and wants to leave sooner.

I’ll be back typing (and hopefully quilting) away by the end of next week.

Take care-
Remember it’s not what you don’t have…
It’s what you do have that counts.
Whether it's Quilt fabric,
or loved ones.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Chelsey worked last night till 10:00 pm---wayyyyy past my bedtime. Don always stayed up and waited for Eric, whether it was work, a school thing, a date, or out with friends. I’m stepping up to the plate for Chelsey. She always likes to talk to me and we play catch up. There is no point in both of us losing sleep. At least we trade off.

Last night, I finish folding the fabric and got it back on the shelf.
I still have a basket of scraps, but we’re saving it for another time. I’ve said before, I teach Sunday school to four-year-olds. I send them a letter-snail mail- every week. We talk about friends, weather, minding their parents, and something from their bible story. We’ve been taking a letter of the alphabet every two weeks and being thankful for things that begin with that letter. They are mostly five yr olds now and there were several kids that didn’t know their ABC’s so it was an ‘open door’ for their parents to bring it up. ‘W’ is the letter for Sunday.
I found this fabric is the stack—I think it’s a Sandy Gervais print. I have no idea why I bought teddy bear fabric except that I just plain liked it. I’m not finished yet, but here are the beginnings of their card for this week. I used fusible webbing and attached them to construction paper.

It was a long day at work. Everybody has days like that. Don called and suggested eating out… no cooking. He didn’t have to ask twice. I’m off to run Ransom, play in the garden, and maybe quilt tonight. Chelsey pitched in and the house is all picked up. Those daughters---they come in handy every once in a while……

1. A summer of outstanding weather.
2. Letters from home
3. The oldies on the Radio--- nice memories.

Monday, August 14, 2006

No quilting this weekend, but here are pictures to show the honest effort at getting my stash of fabrics organized. I’ve got the blues (and not just a feeling about this project) and the gold fabrics left to fold. The bottom shelf holds my yardage pieces. I’ll tell you this, it’s a lot more fun to buy it and put it away the first time.
But I did find pieces that I remember falling in love with the first time---I’m pretty psyched to get back to quilting.

I used to work at a place years ago that had hydrangeas framing the building. I would dry the flowers for fall arrangements. I bought a hydrangea bush about 6 years ago. Not one flower has ever bloomed. Either the deer got it or I decided it was one of those Male/female things and I needed another bush. But At $20.00 a pop, I decided it was a nice green bush. Well lo and behold,
look what’s blooming this year. I’m just captivated. There’s not a day goes by that I’m not amazed….I guess I’m easily thrilled.

I did lots of playing in the garden. We’re getting cucumbers and tomatoes now. My gourds are really coming on too.

I shopped for Eric’s college dorm room stuff. This is his last week at home. We’ll get him settled in this coming weekend. He’s ready…I just hope I am.

Don and I logged over 20 miles on the bicycles this weekend. He took me along all the back roads in the woods. There were lots of cottages, hunting camps and I told him how I would decorate every one of them if they were mine. I would look at a place and tell him if the owners loved it or not. I told him where the swing should be and of course there have to be quilts and cool mailboxes… He says I’m all about emotion and passion…. I told him he was lucky…

1. Eight kids in Sunday school and the Mom that donated school supplies.
2. A job that makes it a lot easier to get the things Eric wants/needs for school away from home.
3. Beans, Corn and Cornbread with Sunday night’s supper.
4. A daughter that keeps encouraging me to sew.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

When you show photos of a mess, I guess you see the real person. I started reorganizing my stash of fabrics. It was a lot neater on the shelf, but you know how you pull one fabric and three others come out to, well I decided to start from scratch. These are the before pictures. You bet I’ll post the ‘after’ ones too.

I have to get busy with it because Chelsey has been at Cheerleader Camp since Sunday and she’ll be home tonight and we share the sewing/scrapbooking room. I’m ready for her to come home. The camp the girls went to was seven hours away. Yeah, we got a call Sunday evening, the first day; they had to ambulance her to a hospital. They were stunting and a girl fell on her and knocked her out. Just what every Mom wants to hear. After x-rays and CT scans they say she’s OK, but I’ve been uneasy for 3 days. I’ll just be glad to get her home. I don’t want to be one of those Moms that lock them up, but it’s hard letting them have a life. I guess they could get hurt in the front yard…but heck….

I’ve showed you my buggy in the front yard, but I want to show it with all of the summer flowers. I’ve never had flowers this late in the season. We have deer running wild. No kidding, there were eight that I saw on the way to work. No, we’re not talking a herd of eight. We’re talking 8 separate sightings of does. About this time of the year they start getting real aggressive with their eating--- stocking up for winter. I’ve taken real good care of the flowers this year and kept them cover in this stuff called “Liquid Fence”. I swear by it. And the deer, at least so far, don’t like it.

I better get busy—
Until tomorrow, live up today.

1. Don & Eric toting 2 tons of pellets to the basement for winter.
2. Queen Anne’s Lace decorating the roadside.
3. Mail – the old=fashioned way from my Mom.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I started writing last night, but I was just plain exhausted, so I saved it and finished this morning. These are perennials blooming in my garden. And they inspired this:

It's my first fabric postcard. I worked on it last night. My sister-in-law sent me this stamp to use on the other side as a friendship gift. Isn't it the greatest??!!??!! I should have finished cleaning my sewing room, but I was rewarding myself for my 7 mile bike ride with Don this evening. I was going to wait until it was completed to share...but I couldn't wait. I'll finish it tonight---maybe. No promises, because this is about fun. No pressure, because I have realized that summer in the U.P. is winding down. I'm going to savor all of it I can. That means long walks, Bike rides, and incredible amount of weed pulling (it's really theraputic!!!) I realize working full time I have to make choices, while my love for quilting is first, I know there are other things that must get taken care of. If I don't exercise I might not be here for the next 25 years I plan on quilting. The U.P. winters being so long, I can make up for lost time quilting November thru April. Without the Laundry washing, We're going to catch colds running around naked without clothes--How much quilting will I do if I'm sick. And then there's Ransom... quilting would be pretty lonely without him, so he needs exercise and brushing to make sure he's around for a long time... I want to make Judy's quilt, but I think I'm going to be the cheerleader from the sidelines. Now I'm going to be disappointed if someone doesn't make one out of the country Thimbleberries colors (my favorites)...I can just picture how it would look. There are lots of changes going on at work and even at home with Eric getting ready to go off to school. I don't think I can sub-divide my focus another inch. Hey I'm not bumbed, recognizing limits is a huge step for me.

I was stressing to Chelsey about not being able to fit it all in.. and through the wisdom of a 16-year-old--believe it or not--her response was "Mom you'll get your turn, It's just not your time...But you will" You know, she's right... and I'm OK with that...I can wait.

1. Crickets
2. Coffee in the Morning
3. My scissors - Christmas presents from the kids

Sunday, August 06, 2006

It’s Sunday evening. I’ve had a great weekend. Nothing exciting---that’s my kind of weekend. Grocery shopped and did the Wal-mart run Saturday morning. We don’t write a lot about grocery shopping, but that food doesn’t just magically appear in the cabinets. I like going early Saturday mornings before the crowd comes. It’s a little more peaceful that way. I had a bridal shower to go to Saturday afternoon. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but, at least for me, that’s when I have the most fun. It was really nice.I played in the garden, the rains have really made a difference. Don and took a 13 mile bike ride, I was pretty useless after that.

Not a lot of quilting going on, but don’t feel bad for me….I really worked on cleaning the sewing room out. Organization is the name of the game. I’m about half way through. I’ve got a hefty garbage bag full of old fabric—wools, corduroy, Halloween costume scraps that are going to St. Vinnie’s (our version of Good Will). As stupid as it sounds, I always kind of disloyal parting with fabric---any kind of fabric--- knowing the love I had for it. But after reading others journal entries and responses to mine, I’ve gotten unsentimental and parted with things I know I’d never use. And after all, maybe there is someone out there with a genuine use for these things. And it’s just wrong to hang on to something you’ll never use.

Among the cleaning I found these blocks.
When there was a quilt shop in town, she had a program for a while. For $2.00 you received a Ziploc bag of fabric squares that she had made up and you had to create a 12 inch block and return it by the end of the month. Your name was entered and there was a drawing to win the blocks. Of course the month I did it, the fabric colors weren’t exactly my favorites, but it was still fun. I won---- it’s always fun winning—my block was the first one in the second row. What will I do with the blocks??? I have no idea, but I loved seeing the workmanship of others. I have enough fabric to create a couple more blocks, which I keep all together with the squares. Maybe one day…..

I've got another workweek ahead, so I better turn in.

Gratitudes -
1. A weekend for afternoon naps
2. A husband that helps around the house
3. birch trees in the woods

Thursday, August 03, 2006

This morning before work, I had coffee with the second family of Robins to use a nest right next to our back porch. The Momma Robin was taxing herself with the responsibility of taking care of three hungry mouths. My guess is by this evening these babies will take flight of their own. It was a hefty job she had; in today’s world if she were one of us I think it would be pretty safe to say she had little time for quilting.

On the drive into town to work this morning there was a doe with two fawns that she was protecting and ensuring that they stay out of traffic. A little further up the road, I stopped and waited as two Momma turkeys and 12 babies scurried across a country road. I’m reminded countless times in a day, the role a mother plays and how vital it is.

My heart went out to my neighbors up the road. I call them my neighbors because I couldn’t tell you their names if I had to. They’re a ’35-37’ ish couple with a 16-month-old baby. Quiet couple—they’re great neighbors… I pass their home daily when I run Ransom. We wave, talk about the weather, if they have the baby out I always gush over it. Well, yesterday, the same scenario starts playing out:

“How’s it going?”
“OK, I guess, the baby took her first steps today”
“ Ah, man that’s great!!!”
“ Yeah, she was at daycare--- we missed everything”
My response….”Guys, she’ll have so many more firsts….many first steps in so many ways…Don’t worry about it. Hey, get a new daycare lady…. She should have never told you…”

By now I had walked up close enough that I could see tears on the mom’s face holding the baby. My heart went out to the family. I worked part time when Eric was little until he was about eighteen months old. I had a neighbor lady take care of him. We still see each other every now and then at the grocery store; we’ve since moved from next door.
Maybe it’s just nostalgia because Eric’s leaving for school, or heartbreak for this couple, but you know what I did. I wrote Eric’s old sitter a thank you note. I’m quite certain I missed several firsts (I was the definition of a ‘rookie’ parent), but she was so awesome, she loved Eric (and me) enough to never tell me… and Don & I thought we experienced every one of them first hand….

Whether it is that Momma Robin, a young parent, or that mother of a college freshman….I’m still awestruck and honored at the role of a parent….

Until tomorrow—live up today.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Quote of the day: “One amazing thing about a quilt is that something so priceless can be made out of something that is so common.”

No, I didn’t say it, but I wish I had. Roy Lessin did in a Patterns of Grace calendar I have. What is it about a quilt? I’ve tried to tell someone why I’m so into quilts and I’ve found it hard to explain. They get this “Aunt Bea” impression and something out of Mayberry RFD and this ‘Oh My God’ look on their face. Now I’m not a closet quilter by any means…but I’m very careful about sharing something that means so incredibly much to me.

The temps have lessened some but the humidity is on the rise. We’re having a thunderstorm this evening. Eric just left to bring his girlfriend home. I’m wishing he’d come home. Yeah, I know there will be rain at college, but there’s this thing about mothering them when they are under your roof I guess. Do you ever turn the “Mom” switch off?

I ran Ransom, worked on my kids Sunday school lesson for this week, laundry, and Supper. I did put on a pot of soup so Don and I would have lunches for the rest of the week. The Vegetable Soup has beans, onions and bell peppers out of the garden.

I didn’t do any major sewing but I did piece this together. The blocks were already made. They were part of a block of the month that I’m convinced will never happen. So, I regrouped and I’m going to make it a smaller project. I had a minor anxiety attack thinking I didn’t have fabric to complete it. Remember, we’re making no fabric purchases this month. It is the first day and I’m already in a panic. But look at the piece I found in my stash. It’s a perfect match. I don’t know what I’ll do next, but it will make a nice small project for travel and the back porch on warm evenings.

The Rocking horse was a gift from my late Father-in-law. We were walking through a craft show together. I admired it and he got it for me. That’s just the way he was. I think about him every time I look at it. He passed away 11 years ago. He was a good person.

Well, Eric made it home; I better hit the hay…4:30 am gets here awfully early.