Thursday, May 31, 2007

A sunny morning--- I’m probably going to be late for work. Well, work isn’t going anywhere. Thundershowers again last evening but I played with the flowers before they came. Chelsey worked last night. Don has meetings all day today, so I stayed up and quilted and waited for her. What is it about needle and thread that just soothes your soul? At least mine anyways….

I took a stroll through the damp yard this morning, yeah, I’m that crazy person you see walking in the grass at 5:30 in the morning. In the wintertime, there is silence outside. No leaves, no birds, just maybe birch limbs clapping together keeping time with the wind howls. But in the summer, the birds and chipmunks shout from the rafters. Here are a couple of photos from this morning on the front porch.

I’ve written before about mother; she’ll be 75 years old in a couple of weeks. We’re really close, pretty amazing since we live so far away. We talk two or three times a week, at least. She’s anti- Internet. I think it’s because she’s never had anyone work with her on it, but she feels that it could be “the root of all evil.” I still write her once a week and she writes back. She includes clippings from the hometown newspaper, photographs, (I giggle—she sends funeral programs from friends passing away.) I always say relationships take the effort of two people and she does a heck of a job. She’s even sent coupons and fabric swatches when she’s picking out things for the house. I stayed a few minutes after work yesterday to jot a few lines down to get sent to her through the post office. She always tells me that when you hang up the phone call is over, but if you have a letter, you can read it over and over again (and typed letters don’t count—they’re impersonal—they must be hand written). I took a camera phone snap shot because I guess I wanted to remember what I wrote her this time.
The photo is pretty bad but here it is:

“My quilt blocks I’m working on have embroidery. Brings back memories. I’m so glad you taught me how. Thanks.”

Maybe you learned on your own, maybe you didn’t, I but never want it to believe that I don’t appreciate learning about needle and thread….

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A quick post and I’m off to work. Man—I want to stay home today, but I got a 19-year-old kid looking at me in the face wanting the same thing, so I’ll set the mark and get to work. Here’s a photo of the flower baskets on my light post.
Usually there are geraniums or regular petunias hanging there, but this year I was charmed by the baby petunias the gardener called, “Million Dollar Belles”. So they came home with me.

Left early from work because I had a meeting with an auditor. But wouldn’t you know it—I left my purse and had to go back. It just wasn’t in the cards. Eric is coaching Chelsey through finals.

Chelsey: “Eric, I don’t wanna learn this.”
Eric: “ You don’t a have choice”
Chelsey: “ But I don’t wanna”
Eric: “ You can do this…”

He has the patience of a saint, she may not appreciate now, but I hope one day she appreciates him.

When I got home, I had treasures in the mailbox. Chelsey always find cool sayings that fit the right moment. “ A friend is someone who sings the words to your song even when you forget them…” That’s what kind of friend I have.

The needles have big eyes to go easy on my own and the picture of roses from her garden—sharing a view because I don’t have them.

The Guys at work
My two guys at home
Alfredo for supper

Monday, May 28, 2007

I enjoyed my three day weekend tremendously. I vote for three day weekends every week. The weekend started kind of tough. I had my list of “Have to do’s”. We went to several graduation parties. It was fun, saw people we hadn’t seen in a while. But after the “have to do’s” were complete, it rained. That means no gardening, no playing outside. Sunday it was frightfully cold, again I couldn’t plant. Then Sunday afternoon they put out frost warnings so everything worked out for the best. I think it was God’s way of telling me to quilt.

I slept in until 7:00 am on Monday. Totally out of the ordinary, but even Ransom slept in. We did the breakfast thing and Don and Eric took Ransom running. I hit the elliptical machine for a couple of miles. We’re redoing the walkway in front of the house. Seventeen years of frost lines heaving up and down—it’s cracked and sinks and holds ice so Don and Eric are working on it together. It’s going from a straight sidewalk to and S-shape winding one. It’ll look sharp I hope.

I got dressed. Only quilters can appreciate my bibs.
They are the ceremonial gardening outfit for the past few years. Chelsey says, “Mom – you’re a Dork,” but I’m OK with that.

I planted my geraniums for the steps, played with the hanging baskets, and purchased my tomato plants and bell peppers.

I ordered fabric for a gift that arrived on Saturday. It was clearance I got four yards for $15.00.
What I really liked was the packaging. Looked at how it arrived. I guess it goes to show—little things can mean a lot. I made the gift; pictures will follow after it reaches its destination.

The quilt today is the second quilt I ever made.
I could almost say it was made on a dare. The double wedding ring quilt has always been one of my favorites. I showed Don a picture and kind of talked about making it. Don’s response, “Look at the symmetry... and those curves. There’s no way, Mel that quilt is wayyyy tooo tough.” But instead of caving in, I took the challenge. I used templates and cut each piece individually. I remember sandwich bags all over the place holding the pieces. I hand pieced it because I was worried about stretching the bias if I used the machine. And it’s hand quilted because I had never heard of machine quilting at the time. Talking about rookie quilting--- it has “purchased quilt binding” because I had never heard of making your own. I think I made it in 1991. The fabrics are muslin and scraps picked up here and there. There’s even a piece from an old curtain in our first house. The quilt hung for many years above my bed in our room until I changed the colors. There are lots of nice memories looking at this quilt.

I’m really trying to be grateful for the three-day weekend…. But I find myself wanting more time….

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Thanks for the comments from my last post. It’s not always easy hanging yourself out there—even for the silly stuff. We’re supposed to hit over 80 degrees today and tomorrow I plan on playing in the dirt. I just have to knock out work first.

I have some photos from weekend projects. Here is my basket with the blocks I have cut for my 365-day quilt.
I’ve got the pens and some “doodling” books for inspiration. I’m looking forward to this. The next photo has my watermelon placemats. I made them a couple of years ago. They’re from a Thimbleberries club meeting. I made one block. They’re kind of plain but I loved the blue plaid backing and binding, so I went back up to the shop and got more fabric to make a set of four. Last summer Chelsey and I found Watermelon napkin rings and I stumbled across watermelon seed fabric on the Internet
so I finished up napkins this weekend and I have a setup for June on the back porch.

I’m going to defend a gratitude before I type it today. Cooler days. The past 4 days have been in the low 50 to low 60-degree range. While I’m so excited for warmer weather, but the cooler days kept me from planting too soon and making more work for myself by covering every night. The cooler /rainy weather let me catch up on rest and reading and stitches without the feeling of “I need to be raking or pulling weeds”. Life been so hectic and now I’m getting back into my routine. I know Ransom is grateful.

Cooler days
Eric running Ransom with me
Chelsey’s coming home

Monday, May 21, 2007

OK, Seven random things about myself—which you don’t already know. I’ve talked about the ‘dish thing’ and the several other things.

1. When it comes to Burgers, I want Mayonnaise only on mine. No cheese, no ketchup, no other stuff. If I wanted a salad, I’d order one—I want meat, bread, and mayo… that’s it.

2. I pretty much do plain—I think it’s a neatness thing. French fries – no ketchup, toast no jam (butter’s ok), bread sticks- no sauce. Thank Goodness, my kids have a father that mixes EVERYTHING up, because they would never learn it from me.

3. I’m not a jewelry person. Sure I have jewelry, but every piece has a soul-searched meaning. Every piece is a gift; I don’t go out and just buy. I could never ‘upgrade’ a diamond – the sentimentality of the smaller is too great. I’m not saying it’s wrong… I just couldn’t do it.

4. I was a dancer all through school. I’ve had about 15 years of dance training. Yeah I did the football field thing with white go-go boots (No, you’ll never see that picture).

5. Change is really hard for me. I thrive on constants. Why I got a Bachelor’s degree in computer science, a field that changes with the speed of sound, I’ll never know. I lacked one class getting my Bachelor’s degree in 2 ½ years. I’m not bragging by any means. I’m seeing now through my son, that I missed out on the total college experience. I’m half way through to my MBA. I don’t ever see me finishing it. I get nauseous thinking about it. Oh, I’ll go back to school one day but I want to learn a foreign language, take a photography class, or learn how to sketch. I have a passion for things that are constant—I think most things are disposable these days (computers, televisions, cameras, dishes, plastic anything), a quilt, an old key, a wooden table (complete with scratch marks) are not.

6. Best feature – well, it use to be my belly button…don’t laugh. I don’t have great legs, I’m pretty much average when it comes to chest or the “hind in” but until I had Chelsey I had a great belly button. Now it’s just kind of there between stretch marks and too much pasta…but I know in my heart that at one time “it rocked!”

7. When I was in high school, I had an after school job at Woolco department store. I was the fitting room girl. They wouldn’t let me have a stool or a chair; I had to stand the entire time. “Mrs. Fox”, my manager, made the Wicked Witch of the West look compassionate. I had to watch for shoplifters. I was amazed, more often than not, the shoplifters were little old ladies that would put their old clothes on hangars and come out wearing the ones they had not purchased. Kind of sad…

8. My first name is Melanie. My Mom is a big reader of romance novels and sends me every one that has a girl named ‘Melanie’ in them. I better read them because there will be a telephone quiz on them…. I read them and think—“My gosh, my mother is reading this.” But they say Women that read romance novels have sex 35 % more than women who don’t… I say good for her and Good for me too…..

Looking back over this, I don’t see anything intriguing. I was never a wild child, I’m pretty much an ‘open-book’. But I’m a team player…so here’s my seven—correction – eight.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I left work an hour later than I had planned… it’s been that way all week. By the time I hit the parking lot, I was contemplating how long I could hang in there like this. It’s a choice.. But there are lots of new tasks and things will stream line eventually. But home can’t suffer because of it. It defeats the purpose of working. I wonder if guys feel things like this.

I promised myself that I was buying the flowers for the horse buggy after work. So I went and bought my annual bottle of Liquid Fence, and impatients for the buggy.

Not much quilting taking place, But I got some needed quiet when I made it home as the guys worked late and Chelsey had dinner plans. Ransom and I relaxed on the porch swing. I looked out over the woods. We’d planted an apple tree 17 years ago. Don’s wanted to cut it down the past 5 years as it’s never produced an apple… well—I looked out and it’s got Apple blossoms everywhere.
We’re going to have apples.
I laughed and went and got the ladder and camera. As I traipsed through the woods, the trilliums
are everywhere and the wild violets (I think) are blooming.

I felt better and knew I could tackle another day tomorrow. I know the steps to take to lighten the load; I just have to do them.

Chelsey’s improving grades
Eric’s safety at work
The tail wagging of a ‘sorta Labrador’ dog

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

OK – a five minute post and I’m off to quilting…. If I want a detour in my life, all I have to do is make plans to quilt and Wham!!! There will be an obstacle guaranteed…I worked yesterday and ran through the checklist of evening chores, took a bath and … got called back in to work. A plane’s nose wheel went flat upon landing, No one was hurt but we had to get parts in line so the plane could run tomorrow. By the time I got home again, it was time to start winding down.

I had a great Mother’s day. I got a necklace from Don/Ransom, rubber stamps from Chelsey, and a book from Eric. I loved all of them. It’s interesting how the gifts reflect my time with them. Eric and I loved to get at opposite ends on the couch and read—we always say we’re bonding. Or we love to go to Barnes and Noble. We’re even sharing a discount card together. It’s “our” thing. Chelsey and I make cards and “play with scissors “ together, so the stamps make sense.

Yesterday I opened up the mail box and got fabric from a friend.
I loved it. I think I held onto it all evening. I plan on using it in my “Journey of a Quilter” piece I’m working on. It seems fitting as I met her in my journey of quilting. I brought it to work to show my friend at work. An interesting thing happened. Chelsey stopped by for lunch. We’re sitting there talking and she says something:

“Mom – you’re such a dork…I’ve never seen you pick out fabric with words on it before. If I walked into a quilt store, I’d never pick this piece for you… you just like it because a quilter sent it to you….” I thought about it---

But I’m crazy about the piece—
Because I love the color… I love the words written on it…. and because a quilter sent it to me…..

Until tomorrow-----

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Tulips in the garden. I’ll probably cut them for the dinner table today. Yes, they are double-fenced. One is to protect them from the deer, and the small one protects perennials from the tiller.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother’s day. My family is still asleep. I mailed my Mother’s day gifts to my mom and MIL Wednesday. My MIL opens immediately. My mom tries to wait until Sunday. But I called her yesterday and asked --- did you open your gift. She told me, “I was having a bad day, so it was open the gift or the bottle of wine… I chose your gift…” We laughed and talked for 30 minutes about the cookbook, napkins and stationary I sent her. I miss her.

We’re making Mother’s day books in Sunday school. I’ve got everything ready to go. Hopefully I’ll be sewing this afternoon.

I love being a Mom. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. While I don’t want any more children, I can say without hesitation I’d have mine all over again. I hope Parenting is an evolutionary experience in that my kids will be better parents and enjoy the good points and conquers the pitfalls that we’ve encountered along the road together. I hope they do it better, with more grace, and patience.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Before everything went crazy last Friday, I decided to treat myself to new a summer purse.
I couldn’t decide between the two, so I bought both. Yeah, I probably could have made them, but sometimes, It’s fun to treat yourself. I even got Chelsey’s approval – I guess that means they’re “teenage- approved” Is that good or bad?!?!?!

I’ve got the FAA coming in so I’m about to head to work. I think my department is ready.

My new project - I’ve really now got 4 things going. My Primitive Garden BOM, putting the binding on my floral quilt, and the Project I started tonight – The Journey of a Quilter by Leanne Beasley. I just ordered the patterns. I felt like to me my journal should have pieces from my fabric stash. The picture is beautifully done in pinks and greens and whites. I’m going to try and change it up a little. I suppose I could work on one large project, but I need small victories at this point in the game, so I’m pretty content.

It’s suppose to be sunny and 80 degrees here today. I might purchased flowers for the buggy after work. There’s so many things I want to be doing—
a. Tilling the garden
b. Changing my dishes in the kitchen
c. Bike riding
d. Quilting

All good things in time….

Monday, May 07, 2007

I’ve been kind of going through the motions the past few days. I can honestly say, last Friday was my toughest day of work ever. I was called into a meeting and four hours later I had to lay off a guy that works for me. It wasn’t a performance issue, an attitude problem, and in my department we had the best year ever. It was strictly a number crunching issue and I didn’t get a vote. It was really tough for me. But, in the grand scheme of things it was worse for the guy that got pink slipped. And who am I to feel sorry for myself.

Saturday I purchased my seeds for the summer.
It’s still a couple of weeks before I dare plant, but they’re something to wish over in the mean time.

Eric is home and we’re all kind of adjusting but so for it’s pretty great. He started his summer job for a well drilling company. I laughed when he told me he was going to make one of those paper chains like little kids make counting down the days till Christmas. He said his was for counting down till he gets to go back to school—the summer job is work!!!! Positive reinforcement--- I don’t have to worry about him dropping out….

People checking on me at work—I guess I’m not as tough as I think I am.
My new quilt project that starts tonight
My family’s patience with me this weekend.

Friday, May 04, 2007

It’s Friday and we’re heading for a temperature of 69 degrees today with sunny skies. Don is downstate bringing Eric home for the summer. Ransom pretty much paced the floors all night. I guess he for anxious with someone ‘out-of pocket’. Chelsey was working last night so I was forced to quilt alone till she got home (bummer, hah!). I made great progress on My Primitive Garden BOM Square; maybe by the end of the weekend I’ll have a photo to post.

Weekend Plans – we have dinner plans with friends on Saturday night, and we’ll be getting Eric moved back in with his junk. I haven’t had time to put the winter clothes away, but we’ll definitely be swapping those for the summer ones. Mother’s day is coming up so I’m going to get my shopping done to get things in the mail.

I’ve been cutting my blocks out for the 365-day quilt. While I was downstate I picked up this book to guide me with stitches to dress up the blocks. I’m starting the project June 1st, marking Chelsey’s senior year of high school. My last kid, her last year of school and there should be all kinds of events that I don’t want to forget.

My hostas waking up after winter
Don and Eric’s safe travel
Cell phones for keeping in touch

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I wanted to take a picture to prove to myself and everyone else that I’ve been quilting. It’s not completed, but it’s progress. OK, the first thing most people would do is look at the top of the screen, to check and see whose journal this is because this photo is definitely not the ‘typical’ quilt for me. It’s from the first quilt shop I ever went to, the Country Peddler in Minneapolis. It’s since closed, but if you’re like me you always remember that first quilt shop. They had a quilt similar to this one, sitting in a corner next to a watering can. Definitely patchwork, but the quilt was simply squares joined together. The fabrics were mostly small floral and there was a bin to purchase 5 inch squares. Every square reminded me of my grandmother. She always wore what she called “dusters” in the morning for breakfast and doing the morning chores. They were light cotton robes, but she never called them robes--- they were dusters. In the winter, they were heavier and she called them housecoats. The squares could have been patterns right out of those dusters, I just loved them.

What will I do with this quilt?—I’m finally finishing it (it’s been pieced for about 10 years) and thought about using it as a palette for my Sunday school kids for bible stories, and then there’s always the porch swing on the back porch, we’re still having chilly days. I’ll take the low 60’s instead of below freezing we were having a month ago.

What’s been going on? We had a fun visit with my MIL and SIL. There’s never enough time to do the things you want to do. Eric will be home for the summer on Friday. Can you believe he’s got a year behind him already? The summer job for him is waiting “in the wings”.

Don’s a black belt in Tae kwon do and he’s helping test some high school kids for their black belts tonight--- that’s probably why I got a few stitches in. Chelsey‘s battling a cold and pouring it into the school books, catching up from missing classes, not always easy.

Lots of “number crunching” at work, but it keeps my mind from wandering and it seems like I get to come home sooner…..

Lunch with Chelsey
Hugs in the afternoon