Monday, July 23, 2007

A great weekend makes it tough to go to work on Monday morning… over and over again I keep telling myself that the job provides the “great weekend”. Work is just a few hours… I can do it.

A picture first…
The angel that watches over the back porch. The photo doesn’t do her justice. Summer is in full swing. The temps have been in the low 80’s…just about right for the U.P.

Thursday night we went to some friends’ house for supper from church. They have eighty acres about 20 miles from our place. The food was good, the conversation even better. We even walked through their vegetable garden. We don’t do things with friends as often as I’d like. We’ll get our turn as the kids get older.

The comments about Chelsey I really took to heart. As, I’ve said before… I think I’m the one growing as much as she is. She went to Green Bay with a couple of friends Friday looking for Grad picture clothes. I bet she called 10 times—“Mom, I can’t do this…I need you here…” I think my heart grew two sizes that day… Like I said before…maybe I need to grow up too.

I don’t know where the weekend went. Not much quilting went on. I caught up on laundry and the house. I looked at the clock on Sunday evening at it was 6:00pm and I hadn’t even bought groceries. I made a quick list and Don and I hit the store. The bill was about $50.00 higher because he went, but the company was definitely worth it.

Here are impatiens that are thriving this summer. I’m still a rookie at flowers, but next year, I’ll plant more of these. We have so much shade, and these love the morning sun and afternoon shade.

I lost Eric to Harry Potter this weekend…he said it had a great ending. He was really stressing over it before he started. I’m glad it did, he's too much of an optimist, to become cynical.

10 kids in Sunday school
Quilt pictures—food for the soul when I can’t quilt.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

OK – so last night I’m writing my block for my 365 day Challenge Quilt, Eric sits down beside me. He talking with his dad about the day—it’s about 7:30 at night. All of the sudden, he stops mid-sentence, “Hey - this is pretty cool… what is this?”

A Quilt Moment…..I went on to explain about how there’s a block for each day, I’m recording the temperatures, Prices of movie tickets, gas, a loaf of bread, milk.--Talking about everyday things like movies, Ransom, and conversations I have with family. I told him it started out as a project marking Chelsey’s Senior year, but Chelsey has turned out to be pretty much “anti family” this summer, so it’s a document of my life for a year.
“This is pretty neat, think about what it’ll mean looking back in a few years…”
“Eric – there’s hope for you yet---“
“Mom—I’m really into to the quilting thing…. If it weren’t for the sewing part…”

What?!?!?!I think he meant he appreciates them, just wouldn’t ever make one… we’ll go with that thought.

Chelsey anti-family? I think those are pretty tough words. She’s just busy with her life, working, cheerleading practice, and friends. Don says make a list of expectations—chores around the house—and as long as they’re done, her free time is hers. “Mel, you can’t ground her into hanging out with you… Mel, you need to find a new friend”.

At first, when she started this I was devastated, but we’ve kind of gotten a new routine established. Don points out for me to remember when a couple of Chelsey’s girlfriends Moms went through the same thing when their daughters hung out at our house all the time. I felt so lucky that they were at my house. Well, now I’m paying the Piper.

Again—whether I’m trying to convince someone else or maybe myself—You can't force the issue, but I won’t stop living either….dwelling on it won’t change anything, and I’m not losing a summer over it. Don said, “ God is preparing us for her to go to college…” Chelsey is in the world... the world doesn't revolve around Chelsey...

Me—I want the old Chelsey back…

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Here’s proof I’m still around. I’m stitching away on the birdhouse block of my project. It’s not moving as fast as I had hoped but the summer is filled with so much going on, we have to balance things out.

Don and Chelsey made it home. The laundry is even caught up. I got all the weekend housework done before they got home, so I had the entire weekend at home to play. Saturday, I sewed and played in the garden. The weeds were taking over. It took two days and the war isn’t over but the battle is definitely on my side. Someone asked to see a photo of the garden progress, so here it is. I have a twirling water sprinkler in the middle to shower the garden if it needs watering.
There are two rows with fencing that act as trellises for cucumbers and gourds. I have snap beans or what most call green beans planted in two patches about two weeks apart. I have hopes that the vegetables will be ready to pick at different times so maybe they will last longer. I have regular tomatoes and cherry tomatoes planted. Most of the time we get frost before the full size tomatoes are ready, but I planted them in the sunniest spot in the garden and got bigger plants to begin with. There are marigolds along the fence rail with birdhouse gourds planted amongst them.

The gourds will eventually tower above them on the fencing. And zinnias and forget-me-nots (I’m a sucker for a flower with a neat name) planted along another side. Hopefully I’ll have cut flowers for the dinner table before too long. The bell pepper and squash are coming along too.

Here is a photo out along the roadside – The Queen Anne’s Lace Flowers are blooming everywhere.

I always bring some in for the porch. I don’t know if it’s the name I love—the fact that they call it “lace” are just the flower it self, but these are some of my favorites.

Both my kids have good work “ethics” and are hanging onto their summer jobs
Less than 7 days and I should have my sewing machine back
Fried chicken for supper – Don makes the best…

Friday, July 13, 2007

It’s Friday. The travelers will be home. While Eric and do not have the frequent flyer miles added to our week, I think we’ve had a good one. Eric even cooked one night. Wednesday night we went out for dinner. He and a date hit the ‘Harry Potter’ movie last night so I had an evening to myself – Tomato Soup and grill cheese sandwich was the menu of choice.

One night I made my cards and got them mailed for my Sunday school kids. Another night I got all 43 pieces of my next Primitive Garden block ready to appliqué. Last night, I mostly caught up on laundry and got things ready for Don and Chelsey to come home.

Here’s a photo of the last block I completed.
It was sprinkling rain when I took the picture. We’ve had gorgeous days all week, but by 4:30 pm, it clouds over and rains. I don’t really mind—Ransom does—because he doesn’t get his run in. But it is taking a toll on the garden. The weeds and I are going to battle it out this weekend.

A couple of dish pictures--- My Blue Willow dishes that hang in my Dining room.
My Mom gave me one and the other I found in a second hand shop in Escanaba. You may already know this, but there’s a neat story about the dishes. The Willow-pattern ware, originated in Staffordshire, England, c.1780. Thomas Minton, then an apprentice potter, developed and engraved the design, presumably after an old Chinese legend.
It portrays the garden of a rich mandarin whose young daughter elopes with his secretary. The lovers were overtaken on the bridge by her father and were transformed by the gods into birds and flutter beyond his reach. Being the hopeless romantic--- keeper of dishes--- this is my kind of stuff.

I also have a Currier and Ives Pieces by Royal China called the Old Grist Mill. I always thought the name of the collection was Old Grist Mill, but it’s just part of the Currier and Ives Pattern.

I better head to work, It’s Friday and Pay-day… a great combination.
Grill Cheese Sandwiches
Airplane Travel—family gets home quick
Porch Swings

Monday, July 09, 2007

It’s a quarter to eight, and I beat. I worked an eleven hour day, and Eric worked a twelve. It was kind of one of those days where you worked hard and accomplished little. Oh well, we get another shot at it tomorrow.

I took my sewing machine in. It’s going to be at least two weeks. Don told me to start researching and if it costs too much, we’ll just get a new one. As understanding as he is, I really just want my old machine repaired. I think the thing that bothered me the most was leaving it there for the two weeks. I wanted to make the appointment for two weeks from now and bring it in. The lady said, “Well, is it sewing?” “Well, no, but…” The logical side of me realized how ridiculous I was being but the emotional side wanted to say---‘You don’t leave your kids at the doctor’s office when their appointment isn’t for two weeks….’

I completed block 4 of the Primitive Garden. I still have to wash out the pencil marks. The tail feathers are not sewn down. When you join it with other blocks the tail feathers overlap to the next block.
I’m jumping to Block 7--- why? Because I can…. Block 5 is my favorite and there are many small pieces so I want to do it later. Block 6 is OK. Block 7 just looked fun…

So after completing this post, I’m off to trace – when I should be settling down for the evening.

The Folks in California are having fun….I’m glad.

Long Distance phone calls—Everyone seems closer
Sewing Machine Repair People in our town
Grilled Steaks with Eric

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I’ve got a big week at work ahead, but I wanted to check in and type a few things to remember. First off, my patriotic dishes…fun for summer time.
Here are my blocks for my 365 challenge quilt I’ve been working on. I really how little fits in a square.
But I’m putting things like temperatures and when is the first time I picked daisies or when do we start bike riding…I want to be more creative, but I’ll get better as I go along.

Don and Chelsey are in California for her FCCLA trip and that leaves Eric and I (and Ransom) at home. We knocked out the housework and even did the laundry together so we had the rest of the day to play. He went to kickboxing class and I did some grocery shopping for the week. We both have finished novels this weekend.

We went to church together today and out for lunch afterward. We cooked pancakes and bacon for supper. Ransom got a long overdue bath this afternoon. It was 98 degrees today and now we’re in the middle of a thunderstorm.

I went down to sew this afternoon and turned the machine on and got the error message “Step Motor Error”. I’m just sick… Don called and I’m taking it into the shop to be fixed tomorrow. It’s not the end of the world. I’m going to cut out the next blocks for the Primitive Garden in stead. I’m just re-grouping.

Don and Chelsey’s safe flight
I didn’t throw a fit about the sewing machine (But I wanted to)
A weekend with lots of good memories

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Our flag --- here is the view on Independence Day from our front porch.
I took a picture because I wanted to remember the view. We had a relaxing day for the holiday. There was a small thunderstorm about 2:00 pm, but it just made us take a nap until the sun came back out….

Both kids were in the hometown parade. The parade covered a five mile path. It was complete with cotton candy vendors and school bands. At 17, Chelsey was in the senior Cheerleader group. Eric works for a well drilling company so he got roped into walking along their float in the parade passing out water bottles with the company logo. While this isn’t a great picture, I wanted to keep it.
I realize both of my kids are pretty much “grown” and this will be the last “Independence Day” parade for them… We’ve sat through them in strollers, through the ‘Candy-catching’ years and their last year of being “In” the parade…. While Eric wasn’t at all thrilled about being in the parade, he admitted afterward it was a blast--- on a hot day you’re real popular—and after toting cases of bottles of water for five miles, he doesn’t have to lift weights tonight….

Chelsey is about to go to a national FCCLA convention. She’ll represent Michigan. Each person is given a pack of state pins – 5 in a package—to trade with other kids. You can buy additional pins but their really expensive. So the kids make their own representing their state. Chelsey has been working on hers. “ Mom, when I think of Michigan--- I think of snow and the Mitten state…” Here are some of her Pins. They were buttons that her father took the fastener off the back.—Of course the plaid paper that we laminated is my favorite part.

Answers to quilt questions. The ‘White’ stuff on the back of my BOM block is a thin interfacing that I used to stabilize the fabric. The homespun fabric is so flimsy that the blocks were difficult to appliqué and the stitching wasn’t coming out crisp…

What kind of appliqué? Keep in mind, I’ve never had a quilting class, and we were taught NOT to take sewing class in school. I trace the patterns on freezer paper and then iron the fabric down around the edges. I pull the freezer paper out press the edges back down and stitch into place. The Primitive garden came in a cotton set or a woolen set. I almost wished I had gotten the wool set but I had so little experience. I hand appliquéd it because I don’t want the edges frayed, I want the quilt to last for ages….

Red white and blue flags
Corn on the cob

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

‘Rainy days and Mondays always get me down…’ at least Mondays do…. I’m glad we’ve made it to Tuesday. I had a great weekend, that’s what makes Mondays tough. You don’t want them to end.

Friday night we went to the show. The Bruce Willis Flick was great. A little ‘Over the top’ as far as stunts go… but I don’t watch movies for reality anyway…It was fun. We went out for pizza afterward, I almost felt like I was on a real date. We should do it more. We had called home to check on the kids (not that they needed it) but Eric said he and a date we headed for Pizza and asked if we wanted to come. We even did the silly puzzles with crayons on the back of the paper placemats. And we laughed…I think that was the best part.

Saturday I got on my bike and set out for the first picking of the Black-eyed Susan’s for the Season.
The Ceramic pitcher was a gift from my Mom 22 years ago when we moved up here. It’s still a favorite. It gets filled with different things depending on the season—from Tulips to Pine boughs at Christmas. The birdhouse is from my sister-in- law… definitely a Louisiana Swamp Birdhouse.

Saturday night we had dinner with friends—It was an outside thing and the temps were chilly, but we really had fun.

I’m back working on my Primitive Garden Blocks---Here’s the block I’m working on now. It definitely needs pressing but I wanted to share it.I've been marking placement with a white chalk pencil. Even if I don't exactly match it, it kind of gives me an idea of where everything goes and everything fits a lot better.
I’ve got two old crows and seven orange flowers to stitch on and this block will be complete. I guess I’m officially 3 blocks behind—the decision is which to do next; they’re all just darling.

Tomorrow’s a Holiday--- no work
Crickets—I just love their sound
My new front porch steps.